Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Rapture Date Moved to October, Twitter Users Mostly Joke About the Whole Thing”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Rapture Date Moved to October, Twitter Users Mostly Joke About the Whole Thing”


Rapture Date Moved to October, Twitter Users Mostly Joke About the Whole Thing

Posted: 24 May 2011 03:28 AM PDT


Well, we can now be fairly certain that the world didn’t end on May 21, as proposed by the self-proclaimed prophet, 89-year old Bible scholar Harold Camping.

Nevertheless, the doomsday “event” piqued a huge interest on Twitter and other social networks. Social media analytics company Crimson Hexagon analyzed tweets related to the rapture and determined that most people (67%) were joking about the “event,” some (10%) were criticizing Camping for his prophesies, and some (9%) even preparing an end-of-the-world party.

Interestingly enough, it’s all bound to happen again, as Harold Camping just reset the Rapture date to October 21, 2011.

“The whole world is under Judgment Day and it will continue right up until Oct. 21, 2011 and by that time the whole world will be destroyed,” he said in an interview with the Christian Post Reporter.

SEE ALSO: It's Happening: Top 10 Rapture Bomb Pics

The destruction of the world is a serious matter, and it’s quite plausible (if you believe in the whole doomsday thing, of course) that it takes a couple of months from start to end, but we somehow doubt that another “rapture” will rouse as much interest as the first one. Check out the infographic below for a breakdown of rapture-related tweets, and, if you will, prepare new jokes for the next date!

More About: Harold Camping, Rapture, social media, social networking, twitter

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Foursquare Is Facebook’s Equal on Super-Social INQ Phones

Posted: 23 May 2011 11:40 PM PDT


The “Facebook Phone” cometh! So the media lauded in a not-so-distant past that has since been rewritten in the truth: INQ Mobile, a device maker with a social penchant, worked with Facebook to release INQ Cloud Touch, an Android smartphone with rich Facebook integration.

Monday, INQ Mobile and Foursquare announced that they were collaborating on a similar home screen experience for INQ’s lineup of Android devices. The mobile marriage will help users better discover and explore nearby places via Foursquare.

The pending release will offer OS-level Foursquare integration — just as is the case with Facebook integration on the INQ “Facebook Phone” — for a deep Foursquare connection that gives users instant access to location-sharing and recommendation features.

“Because it's built directly into the Android system, you can check in and explore without even firing up the application,” Foursquare wrote on the company blog.

According to INQ’s press materials on the to-be-scheduled release, “Users will be able to swipe back and forth between Facebook and Foursquare home screens, depending on what they are doing, what they are looking for and who they want to connect with.”

What we have, then, is a lineup of super-socialized INQ handsets that will level the Facebook/Foursquare playing field. Both will compete for user attention on INQ devices’ dual home screens. One company may be looking towards one billion users and the other ten million; but in the eyes of the handset maker, the social networks, which battle in the location arena, are equals. Equal except that INQ has chosen Foursquare, not Facebook, to power its phones’ location services.

Lest we read too much into INQ’s decision, we should recall that the phone maker’s devices have limited carrier support and are not yet available in the United States. As such, INQ will do little to bolster Foursquare’s rung in the social networking hierarchy for the time being.

More About: android, facebook, Facebook Phone, foursquare, INQ, INQ Cloud Touch

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HOW TO: Get Started With Google Analytics

Posted: 23 May 2011 10:15 PM PDT


Whether you built a personal site from the ground up or oversee digital strategy for a huge corporation, many of us are managing a web presence these days.

There are millions of websites out there, and tracking how people are getting to your site and what’s performing well is a must for being competitive in the online market.

Google Analytics makes it easy for anyone managing a site to track and analyze this data. It’s a powerful, free tool that can answer a variety of questions for a wide range of users. Wondering which keywords resonate with visitors? Need insight on what design elements might be turning people away?

Here’s how you can start answering the website questions that have been keeping you awake at night.


Adding the Code


Once you set up your Google Analytics account, you’ll need to implement the code on your website.

Set up a profile for the site you’d like to track and the step-by-step process will generate a unique script that you can add. If you’re using a content management system or blogging platform like WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr, you only need to add the code once to your template or theme. The theme will propagate the code in every post and page you create.

If your site is custom-built, you’ll either need to implement the code on each page manually, or speak to your web developer about how the site generates content.

Copy the JavaScript code from Analytics and paste it just above the </head> tag in your page or template. Adding this code will not affect the look of your site.


What You Can Measure


After you connect your site to Google Analytics, hit “View Report” on the initial screen. This will bring you to the main dashboard. In the left column, you’ll see the various types of data Google Analytics provides:

  • Visitors: This shows many things about the people coming to your site, including where they’re located geographically, what language they speak, how often they visit your site and what computers and browsers they use to get there.
  • Traffic Sources: Here you’ll find how people got to your site. You can track which sites link to your page or keywords people search to find you.
  • Content: This tab gives you insight into specific pages on your site. It can help answer questions about how people enter and exit your pages, as well as which ones are most popular.
  • Goals: If you’re aiming for established objectives, reports in the Goals tab will be helpful to you. Here you’ll find data about desired actions from users, including downloads, registrations and purchases.
  • Ecommerce: You’ll only need this tab if you’re selling items on your site as it houses all merchandise, transaction and revenue activity information.

These tabs contain subreports that provide insights about specific aspects of your site, including top content and visitor loyalty.

The information you choose to track depends on what curiosities you want to quell. Being in touch with keyword searches can help a site with text-heavy content to boost search rankings, while knowing which products convert best can inspire ecommerce sites to increase visibility of these items.

With Google Analytics, figuring out what you measure is the tough part. It’s how you measure that’s simple.


Setting Up the Dashboard


On the main dashboard, you’ll see a summary of your site’s data. You can customize the dashboard to show whichever reports you decide you want to see upfront. Just click on the type of report you want to see from the left column and hit “Add to Dashboard.” You can then position reports on the dashboard by dragging and dropping, or deleting ones you don’t want.

You can delve deeper into a data set by clicking “View Report” underneath the report graphic on your dashboard. This brings you to the full report on that topic.


Adjusting the Time Range


Be sure to adjust the date range in the upper right-hand corner before analyzing information from your reports. It defaults to a month-long range, ending the day prior to the day you’re viewing the report. (For example, on May 18, you’d see reports spanning April 17 to May 17.) Click on the date range box and a calendar will pop up. You can adjust it to track information quarterly, weekly, daily, or whatever timeframe works best for you.

If you want to compare date ranges, hit “Comparison” underneath the “Date Range” field. This will bring up a second calendar for you to adjust based on what time periods you want to consider, such as weekend to weekend or the first Tuesday of the month vs. the last Tuesday of the month.


Data Tables and Visualizations


Many of the reports in Google Analytics, such as pageviews and conversion rates, contain linear graphs that present data for the topic and date range you’ve selected. When mousing over the dots on the line, you’ll see measurements for that day, week or hour.

You can change the metric you want to visualize by clicking the tab above the graph on the left. Here you’ll also have the option to compare two metrics against each other. When you’re not comparing date ranges, you can compare against the site average. This is particularly helpful if you’ve laid out goals, as you can compare site activity to conversion goals. When comparing, a second line (gray) will appear for the variable over the graph with the original metric line (blue), making it easy to see how you’re stacking up.

Beneath the graph, you’ll see more data laid out with summaries and scorecards prominently displaying important overall metrics, such as pages per visit and time on site. Most reports have three different tabs in the top left above the scorecards: Site Usage, Goal Conversion and Ecommerce.

More granular measurements of these data sets can be found in a table below. You can visualize the table in a pie chart or a bar graph by clicking the icons just above and to the right of the scorecards. Table information can be sorted in ascending or descending order by clicking on the column heading you want to reorganize. To increase or decrease the number of results displayed, click the “Show Rows” drop down menu at the bottom right of the report. The default is 10 and you can show up to 500 results per page.

You can also refine data with the “Find Source” box at the bottom left of the report. Enter keywords relevant to your search such as “source” or “keyword” and select “containing” or “excluding” to reveal more specific information.

If you’re unsure of what a specific measurement means, click the question mark next to it and an explanation bubble will pop up.


Sharing Reports


You’ll find an email button at the top of all reports, just beneath the title. You can send the email immediately, schedule a recurring report email or add the report to an existing pre-scheduled email. If you’re presenting the report, you can export it as a PDF (recommended), XML, CSV or TSV file.


Going for It


Now that we’ve broken down the basics, it’s your turn to go for it. Will you try your hand at Google Analytics? Which business questions might it help you answer? Let us know in the comments.


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

More About: business, data, google analytics, metrics, Web Development

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Did Twitter Acquire TweetDeck for $40M? [REPORT]

Posted: 23 May 2011 07:57 PM PDT


The seemingly indefatigable Twitter/TweetDeck rumor mill has begun its familiar grind once again.

This time, CNN is reporting that Twitter has nabbed the third-party Twitter client TweetDeck to the tune of $40 million.

We’ve heard no official word on whether this report is true; given the history of the Twitter/TweetDeck acquisition story, we’d be hard pressed to say, ourselves, if the deal has actually been signed and sealed.

Last time this rumor came up, TechCrunch was reporting the deal would be announced within the week. That was about three weeks ago.

The Twitter/TweetDeck acquisition rumor began in mid-April with a Wall Street Journal report that pinned the sale amount at $50 million.

Twitter hasn’t made any official comment on the report. In the past, Twitter’s official response to the acquisition rumors has been, “We don’t comment on rumors. We don’t provide off-the-record background on rumors. We don’t wink twice or release puffs of smoke about rumors.”

The relationship between TweetDeck and Twitter has been tense of late. Around 40% of tweets come from third-party apps, and TweetDeck is a leader in the third-party category.

And Twitter has been giving devs none-too-subtle hints that it doesn’t want its API being used for pure-play Twitter clients anymore.

We’ll continue to update you on this story as details become available.

More About: tweetdeck, twitter

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New Muppets Movie Due Out This Thanksgiving [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 May 2011 07:25 PM PDT

After a stint of viral video fame, the much-loved Muppets are headed back to the big screen this fall. The movie has been dubbed Green With Envy, and it looks to be a period piece set in mid-century Hollywood.

Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang will be joined by Amy Adams and Jason Segel, who appear to be playing out a sweet rom-com plot throughout the first part of the trailer.

The synopsis from the movie’s Facebook page reads, “Love struck meets star struck when a small town couple head to Hollywood and discover their dreams of hitting the big time may cost them the one thing that matters most — each other.”

The film is schedule to hit theaters November 23.

What do you think of the trailer so far? Will you be seeing the latest Muppets flick this fall?

More About: amy adams, jason segel, movie, muppets

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Meet Your Makers: 21 Smashing Photos from Maker Faire [PICS]

Posted: 23 May 2011 06:45 PM PDT


Maker Faire was held over the weekend in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the fest brought with it the usual assortment of crafters, tinkerers, hackers and DIY-ers — as well as their usual assortment of robots, machines, instruments, clothing and other handicraft.

Check out these hackers at play, from the bike-powered band that was playing on an outdoor stage to the small army of bots built by the local R2-D2 Builders’ Club.

Although the annual Bay Area Maker Faire has already pulled up stakes, the event is coming to Detroit in July and New York in September. Several Mini Maker Faires will be held around the U.S., as well. Check the Maker Faire schedule for more details.

Did you go — or are you planning to go — to a Maker Faire event this year?


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Carbots careening around a rubberized pen.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A Da Vinci's Cradle-esque machine demonstrates some of the laws of physics.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A spidery bot.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Young makers soldering away.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




For many longtime hackers, making starts with Lego.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Ultimate Jenga? This tower of power was made from wooden blocks.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A clever hat made of toothpicks -- it also served as a racing course for tiny plastic balls.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Felted critters.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Real men knit.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Historical costumes.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Solar-powered bots.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A crafter with her vibrant robot switchplates.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




The Colossus.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A fire-breathing, bug-shaped vehicle.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A bike-powered band.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A groovy instrument with strings, tuning pegs, and a hand crank.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




The man, the legend - it's Bre Pettis! At Maker Faire with his Maker Bots.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Tesla coils "dancing" to the bleeps and bloops of Popcorn, an early electronic song by Hot Butter.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A grove of flourescent polyps.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




A preview of the Playa -- there's a lot of overlap between Burning Man and Maker Faire.


Maker Faire Bay Area 2011




Every kid's dream: meeting R2 in person.

More About: maker faire

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Dropbox Users Save 1 Million Files Every 5 Minutes

Posted: 23 May 2011 05:19 PM PDT


Four-year-old file storage startup Dropbox has experienced explosive growth in the past year, jumping from 5 million users to more than 25 million users.

And together, these users are now saving more than 300 million files each day and 1 million files every five minutes. In total, Dropbox users have saved more than 100 billion files, CEO and co-founder Drew Houston said.

Houston, speaking at the Startup Lessons Learned conference in San Francisco on Monday afternoon, shared the massive figures in a presentation detailing how his startup has managed to scale under such enormous demand.

In the past year, Dropbox has added 35 employees to meet demand, growing from a 20-person team to a 55-person company. Roughly 50% of the startup’s team is comprised of engineers, Houston said.

Part of Dropbox’s ability to scale successfully, said Houston, is the startup’s focus on hiring fewer, better engineers and creating an office environment that its employees want to work in. The startup does not force mandatory office hours, nor does it instruct team members on how or where to work, Houston shared.

Another key, stated the CEO, is to set and reset company goals on a quarterly and annual basis in order to minimize overhead and reduce waste.

But when boiling it down to just the basics, Houston’s advice to founders is to, “Build the right thing, and build things right.” If forced to choose just one, founders should build the right thing, he says.

More About: Dropbox, file storage, startup

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Video-Sharing App Viddy Hits 500,000 Downloads

Posted: 23 May 2011 04:09 PM PDT


Video-sharing app Viddy has already hit a major milestone just six weeks after its launch.

Today, the company announced its iPhone app, which we called “an Instagram for video,” has been downloaded 500,000 times.

If you recall, Viddy [iTunes link] is a social video app that lets users apply filters and other effects to short clips shot on their iPhones.

Panic at the Disco recently launched a campaign to crowdsource its next video via the platform. The band has several million Facebook fans alone, so we can see how signups would be accelerating in part due to that initiative.

Regardless, the strong initial interest in this app hints at a growing trend of social video-sharing in the mobile sphere, coming in on the heels of the photo-sharing frenzy.

We’re interested to see if and when Viddy reaches the one-million-downloads mark.

More About: mobile apps, music, viddy, video

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Beyonce Puts on Stunning Live Show at The Billboard Music Awards [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:57 PM PDT


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

Beyonce recently look the stage at the Billboard Music Awards, putting on a live show to rival the most complicated of music videos.

Performing her new song, "Run the World (Girls)” — which has received mixed reviews among fans — the singer gyrated in front of an ever-changing screen features millions of Beyonces, looming globes and myriad stunning effects.

Which do you prefer: Beyonce dancing with kids, or tons of other Beyonces?

More About: beyonce, billboard-music-awards, video, viral video, viral-video-of-day, youtube

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Saudi Woman Arrested After Posting Online Clip of Herself Driving [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:36 PM PDT

Steering Wheel

A Saudi Arabian woman — at the center of a social media campaign protesting a ban against female drivers — has been re-arrested after posting a video on the Internet of herself driving.

Manal al-Sherif, a 32-year-old woman who launched an Internet campaign against the Saudi ban on female drivers, posted a video clip (below) of herself driving through the city of Khobar last week. On Saturday, religious police arrested al-Sherif, an information technology expert at oil firm Saudi Aramco.

As the Associated Press reports, she was released after signing a pledge to no longer drive. But authorities seized al-Sherif again at dawn on Sunday. She was accused of “violating public order” and is currently being held for five days as authorities investigate the case. Her brother, Mohammed al-Sherif — who was in the car as she drove — has also been detained.

Al-Sherif is one of the women behind Women2Drive, an initiative that calls for women to drive freely in Saudi Arabia. The campaign urges all Saudi women to go driving on June 17. Arab Studies Institute ezine Jadaliyya has some more information regarding campaign plans, which include:

  • Encouraging women with international driver’s licenses (or those from other countries) to drive their cars on June 17.
  • Taking photographs and videos to be posted on Facebook in support of the cause.
  • Adhering to the dress code (hijab) while driving.
  • Obeying traffic laws and not challenging authorities if stopped for questioning.

The campaign’s original Facebook Page gathered 12,000 supporters before it was removed. Since then, a copy of the Page — Teach me how to drive so I can protect myself — and additional Pages supporting al-Sherif herself have appeared on the social network. Other Pages have sprung up as a counter protest, saying women who drive on June 17 should be whipped.

No written law prevents women from driving in the country. However, religious rulings enforced by the police have been interpreted as a ban that keeps women — including foreign ones — from driving in Saudi Arabia. As a result, families hire live-in drivers, and those who can’t afford them rely on male relatives to drive them everywhere, including work and school.

As al-Sherif — who learned how to drive at 30 in New Hampshire — told CNN, she became frustrated after having trouble finding a cab one night and being harassed because she was traveling alone.

“I kept calling my brother to pick me up, but his phone wasn’t answering. I was crying in the street,” she said. “A 32-year-old grown woman, a mother, crying like a kid because I couldn’t find anyone to bring me home.”

Al-Sherif’s arrest has prompted a number of people to call for her release, as well as an end to the driving ban. The AP reports that Khalf al-Harbi, a columnist for Kuwait’s Al-Watan Daily, wrote: “Let Manal al-Sherif and all other women drive their own cars, take their kids to the hospital, buy stuff from the supermarket, go to work without a driver.”

The AP also says activist Walid Abou el-Kheir has posted a petition on his Twitter account. The petition, signed by 300 Saudi activists, asks the Saudi king to set al-Sherif free and commit to ending the driving ban.

Image courtesy of Flickr, smemon87

More About: facebook, manal al-sherif, Saudi Arabia, saudi driving ban, women2drive

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World’s Smartest Pens Get Social

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:24 PM PDT


There’s no easy way to share handwritten notes in a digital format, but LiveScribe wants to change that with a new shareable web media called “pencasts.”

LiveScribe makes pens that record audio in sync with a writer’s notes and allow him to play it back at a specific moment by tapping the desired place in his notebook. The company announced free software on Monday, LiveScribe Connect, that makes the resulting pair of recordings — handwriting and audio — compatible with Adobe Reader 10.

Using the new software, users can share their pencasts through mobile devices, Facebook, Evernote and Twitter (Google Docs and email options cost extra).

Pencasts look like this:

Previously, these digitized, handwritten notes could be uploaded from docked LiveScribe pens in a nonstandard file format. But in order to play them, recipients needed to download special software.

While LiveScribe Connect certainly makes paper notes a more shareable media, there’s still one thing standing between LiveScribe’s Echo pen (as of today available in a $99 2GB version) and the note-taking pen of my dreams: It’s not wireless.

It’s a pain to attach the pen to your computer to share pencasts, even if the new software does so automatically. If LiveScribe’s engineers can make a pen that warrants its own app store, I believe that they can find a way to transfer information from paper to Twitter without having to go through a USB cable. No doubt that feature is on the way.

More About: echo, LiveScribe

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10 Amazing Hipstamatic iPhone Photos

Posted: 23 May 2011 02:08 PM PDT

The Hipstamatic app for iPhone has been one of the most influential photography apps launched for the mobile platform. The app generates quirky results by emulating toy and vintage cameras with a variety of lenses, filters and flashes.

We’ve hooked up with Hipstamatic to bring you a gallery of great shots created with the app, as curated by Mario Estrada, “director of fun,” at parent company Synthetic. So far, the team has been more than impressed with the results.

“Some people shoot the skies while others focus on candid moments,” says Estrada. “People tend to believe that mobile art can’t be real, but what is art other than a person’s expression? What mobile photography has contributed to the field is the ability to share instantly. Some people chose to share brilliant moments while others share captivating compositions. We’ve turned social networks into art galleries, and like all art, you don’t have to like it for it to be real to someone.”

Have a look through Estrada’s choices in the photo gallery and let us know in the comments which Hipstamatic effects you love.


1. Union Station by Gary Cohen





"One of the things that I love about Hipstamatic is its ability to document moments that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. A moment that has since been forgotten by the subject has been captured and remembered by the photographer."


2. Double Crossing, Hong Kong by Cara Weil




"The Dali lens is one of our least traditional and most controversial lenses, but this is a shot where it's used in a beautiful way to enhance the story. It's like you can see their full commute and skip the hours in between."


3. Let There Be Light! by Andy Banks




"I chose this one because it's beautiful. Sun and palm trees will almost always make a good picture, but the Tejas lens adds a really warm temperature to the highlights of this shot."


4. Taxi in the puddle by Sion Fullana




"Sion is probably one of the most well known iPhoneographers out there. He captures really great candid moments of people just living, but this image's composition is what really caught my eye. It highlights the gritty New York that I love, yet still positions it in a way that looks 'glossy.'"


5. Reflections in a Golden Eye by Stephanie Powers




"The first time I saw this image, I stared at it for a few minutes. The doll's expression and eyes seemed happy at first, and then suddenly she looked trapped, and I started feeling bad for her. I'm totally aware I sound crazy, but I think it's amazing when someone's composition can tell such an extensive story."


6. Pool Readers by Jay Lag




"The colors in this are great. It's shot with the John S lens which can sometimes make images look moody, but in this shot, the colors pop and go really well together."


7. NYC by Jack Thomas




"I'm not sure if it's the washing out of the Empire State Building or the yellow globe, but I really love the colors in this image. The purples in the dark tones are caused by the Alfred Infrared film, and this is a great execution of it."


8. Dorian by BICO




"Everybody is shooting hipstamatic to shoot their friends, but this is more like a really well done portrait. You get personality and beautiful composition in this shot."


9. Grand Canyon by Mario Estrada




"The Lucifer lens is one of my favorites because of the way it saturates colors. What it does to landscapes is pretty amazing, and this is one of those beautiful results."


10. Plaça de les Olles by Edgar Torres




"I just really like it."


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

More About: apple, gallery, hipstamatic, iphone, iphone apps, iphonography, iphotography, List, photography, Photos

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Lady Gaga’s $0.99 Album Download Overwhelms Amazon

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:47 PM PDT


Lady Gaga fans were delighted Monday to learn that they could download her new album, Born This Way, from Amazon for a mere $0.99 — until, of course, technical difficulties set in.

Downloads of the album are delayed, leaving folks unable to get the entire album immediately upon purchase. Amazon issued the following statement:

Amazon is experiencing high volume and downloads are delayed. If customers order today, they will get the full Lady Gaga, Born This Way album for $0.99. Thanks for your patience.

However, the damage has already been done, as users are meting out one-star ratings in droves, most of which deal with Amazon’s slow service as opposed to the quality of the music (although some reviews in the lower bracket did dub the disc “disappointing”). As a result, the album has a relatively low three-star rating.

Reviews of the following nature reign: “This review isn’t a review of the album, but of the Amazon’s digital music service. I tried this as an experiment to see if I wanted to order more music this way, but it only downloaded half the songs. Still a deal at 99cents, but not an experiment I’ll want to repeat with a full-price album.”

Many reviews also trumpet the user’s intent to buy from iTunes in the future, instead of Amazon — a state of affairs Amazon would want to avoid, considering iTunes already holds most of the market share for digital music.

This backlash does not bode well for the future popularity of Amazon’s new Cloud Player service, which the company was touting in the promotional language of the deal, offering users more storage space for buying the album.

More About: amazon, born-this-way, Cloud Player, Lady Gaga, music, trending

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How Square’s New Pay-With-Your-Name System Works [PICS]

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:32 PM PDT


Square has just introduced a new mobile payment system that allows consumers to pay with their names, no wallet needed, with merchants who use the Square card reader and run the startup’s newly updated Square Register for iPad application.

Card Case, as the consumer update is called, utilizes a digital “put it on my tab” system and is supported in Square’s just-enhanced mobile application for iPhone and Android.

Beginning Monday, 50 merchants in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis will start accepting payments by tab. Users can unlock the Card Case and the ability to pay with their names by making their first purchases at a participating merchant.

"Cash registers and credit card terminals are relics of an expensive, complicated and impersonal commercial transaction system," Square CEO Jack Dorsey says. "With Register and Card Case, we're transforming everyday transactions between buyers and sellers into something special," said Dorsey.

Square invited three local merchants to demonstrate the new pay-with-your-name mobile payment system at a press event at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. Mashable got to see Register and Card Case in action. Here’s how the new mobile payment system works for consumers:


First Transaction




Card Case is not initialized until your first purchase at a Square merchant using the new Square Register application for iPad.

To activate, visit a Square merchant and pay with your credit card. The process will be nearly identical to the previous Square credit card transaction process, except for the final step when you'll be asked to input your mobile phone number. Register will tell you to look for an SMS receipt that will include a link to set up a "Tab" for that merchant and pay with your name in the future.


Text Message Receipt




The SMS message is delivered instantly. It includes a link that directs you to sign into Square or create a new account.


Set Up Your Tab




This screen loads in your mobile browser and asks you to create an account or sign in to Square.

This step actives the Square Card Case for your account and sets up your first merchant tab -- using the credit card of your last transaction -- at the venue in question.


Tab Setup Complete




On log in, you'll be invited to download the new Square application for Android or iPhone.

If you've already updated the Square application on your phone, clicking "Download the Square App" will load the application and ask you sign in and create a PIN for your Card Case.


Card Case Pin




Square has introduced an extra security mechanism for consumers. Before you can access your Card Case, you'll need to enter and confirm a four-digit PIN.


Square Card Case




This is your Square Card Case. It will include a card for each merchant that you start a tab with.


Explore Places




Click on the "Explore Places" button at the bottom of the Card Case to locate nearby merchants that accept tab payments.


Sightglass Coffee Menu




Select a merchant from the Nearby Places list to view its location and full menu.

If you're inside the store, the "Start Tab" button will be clickable. Here it's disabled because I'm not close enough to the merchant's location.


Lilybelle Menue




Here I've selected Lilybelle, and because I'm at the merchant's store, I can choose to "Start Tab."


Start Tab




If you start a tab at a merchant, a corresponding card will be saved to your Card Case, and you'll be able to pay with your name on all future visits.


Ready to Pay




Indicate that you're ready to pay and give your name to the cashier.


Pay With Your Name




Once you click "Ready to Pay" on your iPhone or Android, the merchant will see your name listed on Square Register's point-of-sale screen.

The merchant can select your name to charge the transaction to your tab.


Square Receipt




An electronic version of your itemized receipt is saved and attached to your merchant card.

You can view all your past transactions per merchant using Card Case.

More About: ipad app, mobile payments, Square, Square Card Case, Square Register

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Crowdsourcing Helps Holocaust Survivors Find Answers

Posted: 23 May 2011 01:06 PM PDT


About a thousand times every month, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum gets a request for information about a victim of the Holocaust. The museum houses more than 170 million documents naming more than 17 million people targeted by the Nazis, including Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, political prisoners, and many others.

Researchers rely on a combination of historical knowledge and guesswork to pick through the proverbial haystack of microfilm documents. Sometimes it takes weeks to answer an inquiry. Sometimes the question is never solved.

At that rate, according to Lisa Yavnai, director of the museum’s Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center, many of the most important inquiries — those from aging holocaust survivors who want information about their families and friends — would go unanswered before their deaths.

To make the search more efficient, the museum paired with genealogy resource Ancestry.com to launch the World Memory Project, a crowdsourced indexing of the museum’s microfilm documents. Since May 5, about 1,500 volunteers have downloaded Ancestry’s indexing software to tag online documents with the names, locations and other important information that make them searchable.

Together, they’ve already indexed more than 124,000 records — an astounding number, considering that a museum employee dedicated to the same task indexed 1,000 records per month.

The cumulative efforts of volunteers have paid off. For instance, Yavnai says, researchers were able to find a photograph of one man’s father using the newly formed database. It was the first image he had seen of his parent in more than 65 years.

Eventually the goal is to make the entirety of the museum’s records available for public search on Ancestry.com.

It’s not the first time the museum enlisted the Internet’s help in documenting the Holocaust. In March, the Remember Me web project launched. It publicized photos taken by relief workers during the immediate postwar period, in an effort to identify their subjects. So far about 80 have been identified.

Yavnai says she’s not surprised that so many people have participated in the new digital efforts.

“I think people, when they hear about the Holocaust, they might feel like it’s something terrible, but they can’t really do anything about it,” Yavnai says. “But you can still help victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution by helping them find information and answer questions they’ve had for more than 65 years.”

More About: crowdsourcing, holocaust, museum, Remember Me, World Memory Project

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Native App vs. Web App: Which Is Better for Mobile Commerce?

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:54 PM PDT


The Mobile App Trends Series is supported by Sourcebits, a leading product developer for mobile platforms. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iOS, Android, Mobile and Web platforms. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter for recent news and updates.

One of the primary beneficiaries of the smartphone (and now tablet) boom is the mobile commerce space. Mobile commerce revenues may still pale in comparison to their ecommerce brothers, but we’re already seeing signs of mobile commerce’s potential.

Companies like eBay and Amazon are bringing in billions of dollars a year from their mobile apps and mobile commerce sites. Marketing firm Performics reported that 49% of “heavy mobile web users” have made a purchase using a mobile device.

For merchants, it’s no longer enough to have an ecommerce strategy — businesses need to embrace a mobile commerce strategy as well. For most businesses, that means making a choice of creating an optimized mobile commerce website or a native mobile application.


Choosing Between Mobile and Native Apps


One of the resounding themes for mobile software developers in 2011 is the debate between building a native app or building a mobile web app. While some developers are looking at ways to build hybrid solutions, this is a topic that continues to become more complex.

This is especially true for mobile commerce sites, where the conversion rates between browsers and purchasers can vary dramatically based on the platform and the method of presentation.

David Eads, the vice president of product marketing at Kony Solutions recently wrote an article for Mobile Commerce assessing the mobile channels brands need to support.

Eads makes the argument that it is “critical” for brands to seek to support as many mobile devices as possible. That said, deciding how to allocate resources can be difficult.


Apps or Mobile Web: Conversion Rate is Platform Dependent


Although comScore’s MobileLens report ending in November 2010 indicates that nearly twice as many smartphone users accessed online retail via a website rather than a native app, that only tells part of the story.

David Eads reports that Kony Solutions sees 30% higher conversion rates for native iPhone apps versus typical mobile websites. Meanwhile, native Android apps tend to have about the same conversion rate as mobile commerce sites, and native BlackBerry apps have a lower conversion rate.

In other words, it isn’t just about choosing native apps or choosing the mobile web — it’s also about looking at who your customers are and what devices they use. For retailers that have lots of iPhone users, the fact that 50% of users can come from a native app and the conversion rate can be 30% higher makes a strong argument for creating a native app. Meanwhile, if conversion rates for native BlackBerry apps are subpar, it might make more sense to focus on optimizing the mobile commerce site to work with the BlackBerry browser.


Optimize for the Device: Speed Counts


Just like with standard ecommerce sites, speed and experience can make a huge difference in the effectiveness of a mobile commerce website or native application.

Sites that are slow to load — even by just a second or two — can often lead to users forgoing the transaction altogether. Mobile websites that aren’t optimized for touch or for larger screens can make customers confused, and again, unlikely to purchase.

In its Keynote Mobile Commerce Performance Index, Internet Retailer ranks mobile commerce websites based on load time, success rate and other factors. It noted last week that the recently revamped Buy.com m-commerce site moved the retailer up seven places in its index from the previous week.

Interestingly, the #1 mobile commerce site on Internet Retailer‘s index, Walgreens, is nearly identical in appearance to its native iPhone app.


HTML5 to the Future


As with video, HTML5 could play a key role in allowing retailers to create mobile commerce strategies that serve both the native and the mobile web masters.

Taking advantage of local data storage, better hardware integration and offline capabilities, an app created in HTML5 with a bit of tweaking, developers could create optimized experiences for tablets, smartphones and future devices without needing to reinvent the wheel every single time.

Are you looking into mobile commerce as as strategy for your business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


Series Supported by Sourcebits

The Mobile App Trends Series is sponsored by Sourcebits, a leading developer of applications and games for all major mobile platforms. Sourcebits has engineered over 200 apps to date, with plenty more to come. Sourcebits offers design and development services for iPhone, Android and more. Please feel free to get in touch with us to find out how we can help your app stand apart in a crowded marketplace. Follow Sourcebits on Twitter and Facebook for recent news and updates.


More Mobile Resources from Mashable:


- 4 Free Apps For Discovering Great Content On the Go
- 10 Terrific Tilt-Shift iPhone Photos
- Mobile Development: 5 Tips for Small Businesses
- The 3 Most Effective Approaches to In-App Advertising
- HOW TO: Create a Blockbuster Mobile App]

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, bezov

More About: android, blackberry, ecommerce, iphone, Mobile 2.0, Mobile App Trends Series, mobile commerce

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How Activist Investors Use Social Media to Influence Companies

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:44 PM PDT


Patrick Kerley is the Director of Levick Strategic Communications Social & Digital Media Practice. He is also a contributing author to Bulletproof Blog™ and can be found on Twitter @pjkerley and on LinkedIn.

Over the past several years, social media's impact on global activism has been undeniable. Across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, small bands of like-minded reformers have transformed whisper campaigns into all-out populist movements aimed at altering the political, economic, and societal dynamics at work in some of the world's most troubled regions.

All the while, however, it hasn't only been tyrannical leaders and despotic regimes in the crosshairs. Quietly, activist investors have been utilizing social media to overthrow boards, oust embattled CEOs, and reverse well-entrenched business practices at some of America's most well-known corporations. And when it comes to digital savvy, they are often leaving their freedom-fighter counterparts in the dust.


Strength in Numbers


Take the case of Eric Jackson, who in 2007 held only 96 shares of Yahoo stock and maintained a blog with about eight readers a day. On a whim, he wrote a post about dissatisfaction with CEO Terry Semel's performance and the need for a management shakeup. His post went viral and struck a chord with other Yahoo investors who shared his sentiments. Before long, he was getting thousands of hits a day, being interviewed on CNBC, and had built a voting bloc of investors representing more than 2.6 million shares in the company (worth approximately $60 million). Not long after that, Mr. Semel stepped down and Mr. Jackson's online efforts are widely credited as a catalyst in his downfall.

Since then, small investors have taken to Facebook and Twitter to build support for proxy proposals and sites such as Seeking Alpha, StockTwits and Wikinvest have emerged as venues for investors to discuss companies' valuation potential and social responsibility efforts. Among the most interesting developments is MoxyVote, a social network of corporate shareholders and advocates that aggregates investor proposals, expedites proxy voting, and helps investors support "good causes" in the areas of labor, the environment, animal welfare, and corporate governance, to name a few. Notably, investors in On2 Technologies recently turned to MoxyVote to force Google to increase its bid for the company by 25%.

In the same ways that revolutionaries half a world away are using social media to swell their ranks and consolidate their efforts, small investors are building support for their proposals and reaching a critical mass that companies simply can't ignore.


It’s Not Just the “Little Guys”


In yet another sign that social media usage has migrated from the basement to the penthouse, the wealthiest investors out there are also utilizing digital communications tools in their bids for control of major corporations.

In a proxy battle against the Lionsgate film studio last year, Carl Icahn (one of the best known activist investors in the world) built a website rife with content supportive of his plan to "save" the film studio. He published a letter to shareholders urging them elect a new slate of directors. He shared developments as they arose. He even included functionality by which investors could vote their shares. Although his effort ultimately failed, he did create a template that is already influencing others.

At the same time, websites such as Affluence.org, Pi Capital and Family Bhive, which calls itself the "Facebook for the Fortunate," have come online as arenas for the wealthy to engage proprietary networks of similarly affluent investors. On these sites, they can talk to their counterparts, influential financial media, and investment brokerage houses (which in most cases must pay to play) to gain insight into buying decisions and identify under-the-radar investment opportunities.


What Does All This Mean for Investor Relations Professionals?


Last summer, a report issued by Q4 Web Systems found that companies are beginning to understand that they can no longer cede control of the digital conversation to activist investors. According to the data, 93% of public companies are using LinkedIn to conduct shareholder outreach; 65% are using Twitter; 37% are using Facebook; 29% are using YouTube; and 10% make use of a corporate blog for investor relations (IR).

While growing adoption rates certainly connote progress, boards of directors and executive-level management still have much to do if they are going to catch up with those vying for control of their companies.

Due to disclosure rules, the potential for securities litigation, and speed with which information — and, more importantly, misinformation — reaches every corner of the marketplace, IR programs have understandably been among the last corporate functions to fully embrace the social media revolution. But that doesn't change the fact that activist investors have taken their game to a new playing field — and that those public companies still on the sidelines are putting themselves at a tremendous disadvantage, should a battle for control materialize.


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

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, holicow

More About: activism, business, investment, investors, social media

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Photo-Sharing Network Path Gets Organized With Stacks

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:28 PM PDT


Path, the photo-sharing network for small groups, announced a new feature Monday that helps organize photos as well as share them.

“Stacks” automatically sort your photos based on the places, people and things tagged in them. The three most popular tag topics in each of these categories are displayed on your profile, and they can be tapped to show the photos contained within them.

Your profile might, for instance, now include a pile of photos of your best friend or photos taken at a favorite vacation spot.

“As you collect more and more moments along your Path through life, we want to make it simple and easy to relive and explore your memories in deep and rich ways,” explains a blog post announcing the feature. “We want you to discover new and interesting things about yourself and your close friends and family.”

More About: Path, Photos

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Princess Beatrice’s Hat Fetches More Than $130,000 on eBay

Posted: 23 May 2011 12:18 PM PDT


An anonymous bidder has won an auction for the hat that launched a thousand memes.

The hat, a Philip Treacey creation worn by Princess Beatrice at her cousin Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding last month, fetched £81,000, or around $131,648, on eBay Sunday evening. The hat’s eBay page, now unfortunately taken down, described the hat as a “unique sculptural celebratory headpiece in delicate tea rose silk.”

The funds will be donated to UNICEF UK and Children in Crisis. There were more than 64 bids, according to the Guardian, including one from Australian children’s TV stars The Wiggles.

“I’ve been amazed by the amount of attention the hat has attracted,” the Princess said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to raise as much money as possible for two fantastic charities.” The proceeds went to Unicef and Children in Crisis.

Would you ever pay more than $100,000 for a piece of royal headgear? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of Princess Beatrice’s Ridiculous Royal Wedding Hat Facebook Page

More About: fashion, royal wedding

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Sallie Ford Recalls Golden Age Before Auto-Tune [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 May 2011 11:46 AM PDT


Each Monday, Mashable highlights an exclusive new video or song. Check out all our Music Monday picks.

If the persistent drone of auto-tune has you down, you might want to check out Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside — whose debut album has a distinctly retro sound.

“Sometimes I feel like I connect with an older generation, and I wish I could have lived in older times,” Ford says of the video for “I Swear” (above), featured on the band‘s first full-length disc, Dirty Radio [iTunes link], which drops Monday.

“Whenever somebody asks me what Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside is like, after trying to explain it’s got a little throwback rock sound, I’d say that anyone could like them,” says the video’s director, Matthew Ross. “High schoolers, hipsters, parents or even my grandparents could hear them and really enjoy it. They’re kind of timeless. So I thought showing them playing throughout the generations of the rock genre would be a perfect fit.”

Ford took a while to find that throwback rock sound. “I did a lot of singing with my family,” she says. “We would go on road trips and sing a lot of rounds. So I’ve always been encouraged to sing, and I’ve always been fascinated with harmony, but never really thought about singing until I decided to create a voice of my own.”

That voice — a cross between Ella Fitzgerald and Tom Waits — was solidified in 2006. When asked how she got that unique sound, Ford replied: “I was a weird kid, I would do a lot of imitating — like Donald Duck and Pee-Wee Herman.”

We’re glad she kept up the experimentation process past the Looney Tunes phase.

More About: music, music monday, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, video

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40+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 23 May 2011 11:02 AM PDT

social_media_events_guide1

Every week, Mashable puts together a calendar of upcoming social media and web events, parties and conferences.

Here are some tips on how to network, share your information and promote your event using social media:

Mashable’s Weekly Social Media and Marketing Event Guide is proudly supported by Eventbrite, the Web’s Event Marketplace.


May 23-24, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by Mediabistro and SocialTimes, Social Media Optimization Conference (SMOC) is a two-day event dedicated to social media optimization and social advertising. Boost search engine visibility, increase linkability, and fuel your readers' desire to share your content. Industry leaders will also show you how to get results whenadvertising on the social web in terms of strategy, targeting, privacy, and metrics. Our experts include Brian Solis (author, Engage), Rohit Bhargava (SVP, Digital, Strategy & Planning Group), Gary Ware (Covario), and many more. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.


May 23, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Hosted by Our Social Times, Social Media Marketing & Monitoring 2011 will bring together leading marketing and PR experts, brands, agencies and journalists for an intensive one-day conference. Following this sell-out event last year, join us for an update on the latest strategies, tools and techniques in social media marketing. Topics include: community management; blogger outreach; influencer analysis and engagement; Twitter marketing; geo-location marketing; social gaming; social media monitoring and Social CRM. Register and use the promo code Mash1 to save 10%.


May 24-26, 2011, New York, NY: BlogWorld & New Media Expo is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


May 24-26, 2011, San Francisco, CA: All About the Cloud — Save $100 with the promo code PRMMASH to attend the software industry's leading ISV conference on Cloud Computing. (Note: discount valid off the individual non-member rate only and does apply to current attendees.) You'll join an anticipated audience of more than 500 senior executives from ISVs, resellers, and platform / technology providers, as well as the industry's leading analysts, bankers, venture capitalists and the media. Key networking events include: a Golf Tournament, a Speed Networking Event, a Mardi Gras-themed Welcome Reception and an offsite Networking Reception featuring the Microsoft Rock Band Challenge. For details, including registration information, please visit AllAbouttheCloud.net.


May 24-26 2011, Gateshead, UK: Thinking Digital is an annual conference where the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators discuss the latest ideas, innovations and technologies. The conference provides an experience like no other, stimulating new thinking and new ideas. It's about what you'll learn, and who you'll meet. Our eclectic schedule means you'll listen to world-class authorities, meet amazing people, be entertained and outrageously inspired! When you leave Thinking Digital you'll know about things that you previously didn't even realise existed and have become part of our unique community. Register with the promo code TDCMASH and save 10%.


May 25-27, 2011, Portland, OR: WebVisions explores the future of web design, technology, user experience and business strategy in a punchy, new format! The all-star lineup of speakers includes author Douglas Rushkoff, design strategist David Armano, mobile researcher Rachel Hinman, usability expert Jared Spool, design ethnographer Kelly Goto and many more. Take advantage of package deals for workshops and conference passes, discounts on hotels, and networking events and after hour parties. Register here and save up to 30% off the Standard Admission rates! rates.


May 25, 2011, London, UK: The Guardian Sustainable Business Awards aim to showcase genuine innovation in corporate sustainability and reward those who take sustainability to the very heart of their business. Enter the awards today at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards to get the recognition you deserve. Winners will be invited to a ceremony held in London in May and will feature in a supplement published on guardian.co.uk. All entries meeting the criteria will be added to the new Guardian Sustainable Business best practice exchange – an online database allowing sustainability professionals to share their learning. Enter before February 7th at guardian.co.uk/gsb-awards.


May 29-30, 2011, Dubai, UAE: Social Media Marketing – The Way Forward – It is undeniable that social media has fundamentally transformed and evolved the architecture of business, communications, and the dissemination of information and influence. In July 2010, Facebook announced it had over 500 million users worldwide,of which at least 15 million were in Middle East.Survey findings also indicated that one out of five Facebook users is from Asia or Middle East. Participants at this two-day conference will be exposed to the intricacies of corporate social media strategies tailored for your industry. Participants would gain insights to maximizing the usage of social and establishing and maintaining a good relationship with consumers, thus effectively introducing their brands online and engaging long-term relationship with the audience. For more information, please click here.


June 3-4, 2011, Victoria, BC, Canada: Last year’s event was the largest social media event in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada. This year’s Social Media Camp will feature more time, more sessions, more speakers, more exhibitors and more sunshine! This year’s keynote speakers are the critically acclaimed authors of “The Now Revolution”, Jay Baer and Amber Naslund. Whether you are an avid Facebook user, interested in learning about Twitter, or you're trying to grow your business by leveraging social media tools – there is something for everyone at this event! Register and use the promo code MASHABLE to save $50!


June 5-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA: The 2011 Semantic Technology Conference (SemTech) is the world's largest educational conference for the community of executives, technologists, researchers, investors and customers who are involved with semantic technologies. The SemTech conference draws together more than 1,000 forward-thinking technology and business leaders from around the world, representing the entire marketplace of vendors, developers, researchers, start-ups, investors and customers. SemTech 2011 features five days of presentations, panels, tutorials, announcements, new company/product launches, and conversations. It’s a place for new learning, professional networking, and business development. For details and registration, visit the site. Register and use the promo code MASH to save 15%.!


June 6-8, 2011, Boston, MA: The Art & Science of Integrating Traditional & Social Media Marketing – Measure Up, is the world's most comprehensive cross-dimensional view of marketing measurement best practices. With a focus on return on investment (ROI) as it relates to the integration of traditional, online and mobile activities; specifically, social media, this event explores analytics across the entire marketing mix and incorporates those results into marketing strategies and tactics to drive higher revenue, profit and brand share. Register and use the promo code XU2308MASH and save 10%!


June 6, 2011, New York, NY: It’s time to make plans for Realtime NY 11, a full-day immersion entirely about business on the mobile, social and realtime web. Learn how innovative executives from brands like McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Delta, Citibank, IBM, and the NHL are using realtime tools to listen and respond to customers, create new opportunities and build bottom-line value. Realtime, mobile and social technologies fundamentally change how consumers and businesses interact. At The Realtime Conference you’ll see real case studies about real brands and meet the social media business pioneers who are driving real value. 10 hours of hardcore learning and networking. Plus wi-fi, power, breakfast, lunch and cocktails. Register with the promo code MASHABLE to save 20%


June 6-7,2011, New York, NY: Federated Media presents The Conversational Marketing Summit: Leading agencies, marketers, platforms and entrepreneurs come together for our industry’s most rigorous and thought-provoking annual 2-day gathering, the Conversational Marketing Summit, to benefit from a discussion about what we've learned so far and get a jump on what the future has to offer. We aim to bridge the innovations of the internet with the practice of marketing.  Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code CmMash to save 15%!


June 7-8, 2011, Munich, Germany: a4uexpo Europe is the largest pan European Affiliate and Performance Marketing Conference. With over 1000 delegates, a diverse conference programme, a focus on quality, knowledge transfer and unparalleled networking opportunities with delegates and key industry figures from around the world, a4uexpo Europe is a must attend educational and networking event. Whether a new or established affiliate, agency, entrepreneur, search specialist, merchant or network – a4uexpo is the conference for those serious about making an impact in Affiliate and Performance Marketing. Register with the promo code MASHABLE25 and save €25 on a full conference pass for a4uexpo Europe.


June 7-8, 2011, Seattle, WA: Join the most accomplished search marketers in the world – Search Marketing Expo – SMX Advanced Seattle. Check out the full agenda, featuring two days of experts-only sessions, keynotes and the highest-level networking anywhere. Don't wait – SMX Advanced has sold out 4 years running. Register with partner code smx100mashable and you'll save $100 and secure your spot.


June 8, 2011, Singapore: With the phenomenal growth of apps worldwide, Asia is the next big market to watch out for. Planet of the Apps Asia is the leading event dedicated to mobile applications in Asia. The two day conference plus a dedicated masterclass day brings together the mobile application ecosystem in one location. The event will shine on a light on the latest innovations and showcase the latest solutions in the world of mobile applications. Be part of this definitive event and network with professionals from all around the globe.


June 14, 2011, London, UK: 20 social media experts will be speaking at the Social Media Results Conference – From Engagement To ROI. Procter & Gamble, Barclaycard, Nokia, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd, MTV Networks UK & Ireland, Mothercare, Lonely Planet, American Airlines, Kodak Ltd, Comic Relief, Vue Entertainment, Cisco Europe, Phones 4u Limited and many more will be discussing their real-world, actionable social media insights on how to drive the customer journey with consistently genuine interaction and fully integrated, targeted social media campaigns. Click here to download/view the conference program.


June 15-18, 2011, Nairobi, Kenya: The spotlight in AfriTech Kenya 2011 will be on "Brand building using a digital platform". It’s projected to be the largest gathering of digital media gurus and industry shapers in the African continent. The conference will be held at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on June 15-18, 2011. Outstanding business luminaries, philanthropists, government decision-makers and investors will be participating during this four day historic summit. For more information and to register, please visit afri-tech.com.


June 15-16, 2011, New York, NY: “Exploring the State of NOW” – The 140 Characters Conference: New York City (#140conf) will be taking place June 15-16, 2011 at the 92nd Street Y, where we will continue to explore the effects of the real-time web on both business and on people. This event is expected to be the largest worldwide gathering of people interested in the effects of the real-time Internet on both business and "we" the people. #140conf exposes you to the power the Internet has to disrupt businesses, change lives and create serendipity. You will leave with a fresh outlook on how the real time web can be used in your business or personal life to actually do something meaningful. Register TODAY and take advantage of the "Early Bird" prices.


June 16, 2011, London, UK: The Augmented Reality Summit is designed to explore this new dynamic reality and provide delegates with the perfect opportunity to uncover Augmented Reality in full and explore the opportunity's AR brings any brand or company. The AR Summit is positioned at the forefront of this exciting continually developing new industry. Whether you are a Brand, Advertiser or Agency, Technology provider or Developer looking to meet key industry figures, keep up with the latest developments, technology's & tools or simply to network with other from the world of AR – Register and use the promo code ARMASH to save 25%!


June 20-21, New York, NY: At the new ALL FOR ONE Marketing Show presented by DM Days, you'll learn how Domino's, FreshDirect, Grey New York and other top companies maximize ROI by leveraging customer insight and data to successfully integrate marketing channels. You'll walk away with concrete examples of successful campaigns from marketing experts and thought leaders. Register with the promo code DM730 and save $200!


June 20, 2011, New York, NY: Games for Change is the leading global advocate for supporting and making games for social impact. The Games for Change Festival is the largest gaming event in New York City and the only international event uniting "games for change" creators, the public, civil society, academia, the gaming industry and media. Register before April 15th and save 30%!


June 21-22, 2011, New York, NY: The Second Annual Corporate Social Media Summit is 'the' event for big business using social media. This year we have speakers from Dell, Best Buy, Kodak, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines and many more. They will share best practice to help your company leverage the power of social media for better marketing, customer engagement and enhance profitability. The conference is designed for corporates like you – and our agenda is based on three months of research with your peers. Download a brochure here for all the info you need. Register and use the promo code MASH11 to save 10%.


June 21-22, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: Digital Content Monitization West 2011 is a unique opportunity to find out how to drive revenue and profitability from different content and formats across a wide variety of channels. 60+ senior level speakers from will help you sort out the best short and medium term strategies for delivering revenue through digital content. With its focus on west coast industries, you’ll dig deep into how the film, music and games sectors are driving new sources of revenue. Plus the publishing, sports, TV and news sectors will provide detailed information about how to monetize rich media content. Register online at dcm-west.com and use the promo code DCM MASH for early booking discounts.


June 23 - 24, 2011, Chicago, IL:  SOCIAL CUSTOMER 2011 is a high-level executive summit that focuses on using smart social CRM programs to improve customer loyalty, enhance brand experience and increase revenue. Hear from game-changing organizations such as Chicago Bulls, Verizon, PepsiCo, Dell, Bloomberg, Rosetta Stone, H&R Block, Godiva, Dominos Pizza and more! Also hear our keynote presentation by Becky Carroll, Social Media Correspondent, NBC 7 / SAN DIEGO, Author, THE HIDDEN POWER OF YOUR CUSTOMERS. Organizations must embrace today's empowered customers, so if you are a business leader who is looking to deliver world-class experience via social networks, this event is the #1 place to be. Join the conversation and register today (Save $200 with the promo code SYX243).


June 27-29, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The Future of Web Apps (FOWA) is coming to Vegas. After successfully running shows in Miami and London, the conference hits Vegas for the first time in June. A conference for web developers and entrepreneurs, there are 3 days of jam packed web fun including a day of workshops and 2 conference days of two tracks. As well as App Clinics and Expo Area, you can learn and network with people who have passion for the web! Register with the code FOWA_MASHABLE and receive 10% off our 2 day conference passes.


June 28-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Produced by AllFacebook, AF Expo is your how-to guide for Facebook marketing and development. This two-day event is your inside look at Facebook innovations and technology issues jointly impacting marketers and social developers. Packed with case studies and real-world perspectives, AF Expo offers attendees a sneak peek at the latest Facebook data, demographics and design issues. Our experts include Tamara Mendelsohn (Director of Marketing, Eventbrite), Joseph Adolf (Manager, Digital Marketing, JetBlue Airways), Mark Rose (VP Product, Visa), Clara Shih (author, The Facebook Era), and many more. Register with promo code MASH to save 15


July 14-16, 2011, Dallas, TX: The Big Design Conference is an intense day of learning within the scope of Strategy, Social Media, User Experience, Gaming, Mobile, Usability, Design, and Code Development. Experts from across the country will gather to present theories, research, experiences, and best practices to students, professionals, and executives looking to stay on the bleeding edge. Experts include Beverly Robertson (President, National Civil Rights Museum), Russ Unger (Director of UX, Happy Cog), Jeremy Johnson (Director of UX, Game Stop), Brian Sullivan (Usability Principal, Sabre), Joshua Clark (author of Tapworthy), Jared Spool (Founder, User Interface Engineering), and many more. Mashable readers receive 20% off conference registration by using the code MASHABLE during the checkout process.


July 27-29, 2011, San Francisco, CA: Join us at the premiere of ePharma Summit West, the sister event to The ePharma Summit, the largest, longest running and most respected digital marketing event for the Life Sciences Industry. Network and join the conversation with hundreds of fellow thought leaders from top Pharma, Biotech, Device and Health Science companies. Register as a Mashable reader with the promo code XP1656MASH and save 10%.


August 1-3, 2011, San Antonio, TX: The eduWeb Conference is the event for you to meet, share, explore, and learn from your higher education peers on topics including mobile apps, branding, web site analytics, social media strategic planning, and web development. eduWeb offers four tracks: marketing communications; design and development; social media; and information architecture. Register with the promo code 11Mash and save $50!


September 6-8, 2011, Cleveland, OH: At Content Marketing World, you'll learn how to transform your marketing department into a storytelling factory, engaging your prospects and customers in all the right channels with the right messages– including social, mobile, email, online and even print and in-person strategies. Through 24+ breakout sessions and amazing keynotes led by worldwide experts, you'll get the tools you need to be a successful content marketer. Plus, you'll experience the best of what Cleveland has to offer, starting with our opening night reception at the infamous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Register and use the promo code mash to receive $100 off the current price of a ticket.


September 11-14, 2011, Denver, CO: Come join the best and brightest of the iOS development community at 360|iDev, the first iOS developer event to be held by the developer community! Speakers include many leading community members, and app store success stories. With over 40 sessions, including hands-on training the sunday before the conference, 360|iDev offers more content than any other iOS developer event in the world. Register and use the promo code iosmash to save 20% of the ticket price.


September 12-13, 2011, Renaissance Glendale, Phoenix, AZ: The third Social Media Optimization Summit event, presented by Multifamilypro, brings together small to mid-sized business owners with an interest in putting social media to work successfully within their organizations in ways that are proven to generate results. The event offers two full days of intensive, hands-on workshops from the intermediate to advanced level, led by top social media experts. The unique "See it. Hear it. Do it." approach allows attendees to learn by doing, and begin immediately applying newly-acquired skills and knowledge while the event is underway. See what others are saying about the event and register now at optimizationsummits.com and use discount code Mashable to save $100!


September 20, 2011, Chicago, IL: Federated Media presents Signal Chicago: The Marketing in Real Time Conversation. We will be focusing on the theme of “Marketing in Real Time.” From “real time bidding” on new demand-side and exchange platforms to “real time messaging” of location-based services, marketing has time-shifted into the present tense. A new suite of tools and services have evolved which enable the marketer to have conversations with customers in real time, creating both challenges and opportunities.Please join us More information and registration details at http://www.federatedmedia.net/events – Register with promo code SIGMash to save 15%


Sept 21-22, 2011, London, UK: ad:tech London is the UK’s essential free to attend event for professionals seeking to stay ahead of the latest interactive media, advertising and marketing trends. The event unites advertisers, media owners and agencies to harness the power of digital and deliver real marketing ROI. Alongside the exhibition, there is also a conference featuring 100+ international speakers for serious digital innovators and marketers. Mashable readers can take 20% off their conference ticket price. Register online now with the promo code MASH11 at www.ad-techlondon.co.uk.


September 26-29, 2011, Kaua’i, HI: Search and Social Hawaii is an elite conference unlike any other that will provide you with the strategies and complete know how to thrive in this ever changing environment. Each day begins with morning sessions around the hottest topics. With Keynote Bruce Clay of Bruce Clay, Inc. and speakers from corporations such as Real Networks, Network Solutions, AT&T, Microsoft Bing and Logitech. Afternoons are spent in a relaxed environment including planned activities in which individual attendees can get to know speakers and each other on a more personal level continuing the discussion and building long lasting relationships. Register and use the promo code SSWootMash to save 10%.


September 29-October 1, 2011, Atlanta, GA: As pet owners, bloggers, consumer brands and those connected to the industry – including veterinarians – continue to build upon social media & marketing, pet social media education & networking is an extremely important aspect to mobilizing efforts and to address the challenges faced by pet owners. Whether you use YouTube, Twitter, Dog/Catbook or online forums to gather & share information about pets, it's increasingly important for this community to have a face-to-face forum. Established in 2009, the BarkWorld Conference & Expo is the only pet social media conference covering ALL facets of social media & pet education. Our 2011 annual conference will focus on many topics, including: how to take great photos your pet & use it online, how to build/design a blog & monetize, mobile applications, metrics/SEO, pet food demonstrations, promoting your pet/business via social media and using online forums. Join us for this 2 ½ day conference. You'll be amazed with the information you'll walk away with and the new connections you'll make; your well-trained, leashed, pet is welcome. Register with the promo code MASH2011 to receive a 25% discount.


October 1-6, Boston, MA: At DMA2011, you – and 10,000 marketing peers from around the world – will find everything you need to develop and execute the real-time integrated marketing campaigns that drive measurable bottomline results for your brand. Listen to 300+ marketing experts and gurus talk about social, mobile, mail, search, data, attribution, and more. Plus, you'll find hundreds of technologies in the Exhibit Hall, the only one of its kind in the world! Register now with the promo code AN504 and SAVE $250!


October 5-6, 2011, Seattle, WA: The first annual Seattle Interactive Conference is a two-day event celebrating the convergence of online technology, creativity, and emerging trends in one of the world’s most innovative cities. SIC brings together entrepreneurs, developers and online business professionals from throughout the U.S. and beyond for a powerful combination of in-depth presentations, networking opportunities, and uniquely Seattle social events. Attendees have the rare opportunity to explore disruptive technologies and business models with visionary thinkers and peers in areas ranging from online commerce and social media to gaming, interactive advertising, entertainment, and much more.


October 9-11, 2011, Scottsdale, AZ: Join 200 of your advertising and PR agency friends at BOLO 2011. This event champions the marketing stalwarts, showing you how to leverage today’s digital marketing trends and technologies for economic advantage. Hear from industry thought leaders such as Scott Stratton, President of UnMarketing, and Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution. From analytics and targeting to social media and agency management, the topics are cutting-edge and chosen to help your agency stay ahead of the curve in digital. Register now with the promo code MASHABLE for 10% off.


October 17-18, 2011, New York, NY: Pivot is the only conference focused purely on how major brands, agencies, marketers and content creators can succeed by understanding, accessing and influencing the emerging Social Consumer. Hosted by Brian Solis, a noted social marketing consultant to major brands worldwide and author of Engage, the self-help handbook for winning the new marketing game, Pivot delivers two full days of unique content and experiences that illuminate the altered marketing landscape, delivered by transformational thinkers, technologists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. Register with the promo code MASH20 and save 20%!


October 26-27, 2011, Sofia, Bulgaria: The only digital industry event for Central and Eastern Europe and one of industry’s premier events in Europe. At the Webit Expo & Conference, more than 6000 people from the CE Europe’ digital ecosystem gather together. Amazing line up of world renowned international and local speakers in the conference programme and some of the top service and technology providers among the exhibitors. Webit Conference programme includes The Main Stage (inspiring keynotes from the leading digital companies in the world), Webit Dev Camp (where platform owners meet the developers of CEE), eGov Summit (regional government officials and world CEOs in discussion on e-gov, e-health, etc), The Creative Lounge (the world’s creative minds gathered together). Register with the promo code WEBMASH and save 10%!


November 3-5, 2011, Los Angeles, CA: BlogWorld & New Media is the first and only industry-wide conference, tradeshow and media event dedicated to blogging, podcasting, social media, social networking, online video, music, Internet TV and radio. BlogWorld conference attendees enjoy more than 120 cutting-edge educational sessions presented by industry leaders, while New Media Expo provides the only industry-wide new media marketplace for networking, online business and marketing resources. Social Media Business Summit, exclusive to BlogWorld, is the world's largest social media business conference where business owners, marketing executives and global brands learn strategies, tools and technologies to grow their businesses with social media. Register at blogworldexpo.com with the promo code MASH20 to save 20% off the ticket price!


November 16-18, 2011, Las Vegas, NV: The WOMMA Summit is the only word of mouth marketing conference where research and measurement integrate with online social media and offline conversations. The Summit is a year-end review of BEST and NEXT practices in word or mouth and social media marketing in addition to future trends. WOMMA Summit showcases through leadership from some of the innovative and forward thinking. Go to www.womma.org to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.


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Eventbrite is an online events marketplace where tens of thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations of all sizes manage, promote and sell tickets to their events. Make your event a success on Eventbrite.

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Square Announces New Consumer Initiative: Pay With Your Name

Posted: 23 May 2011 10:34 AM PDT


Mobile payments startup Square announced a new consumer initiative Monday that allows customers who frequent businesses using the Square card reader to pay with just their names.

The Square Card Case — a mobile loyalty card holder — turns the Square application into a complete mobile payment solution, CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey explained during a press event at the startup’s San Francisco headquarters.

Each individual card in the case gives the carrier access to a venue’s entire menu, which is updated in real time, and highlights the most popular products in the store, based on sales. The customer can tap to use or view his “tab,” with the tab containing a digital record of all his past transactions at the venue.

The new payment system boils down to a modern day mobile version of telling the cashier, “Put it on my tab.” The user can locate a participating venue via the application’s “Explore Places” directory and then use just his name to checkout, no wallet required. The receipt is attached to the user’s loyalty card for that particular location.

SEE ALSO: How Square's New Pay-With-Your-Name System Works [PICS]

Businesses using the Square Register, the startup’s updated payment software for iPad, will have the user on file and can select him from the point-of-sale screen to charge the transaction to the user’s “tab.”

Fifty merchants in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, D.C., will begin accepting the new payment option.

Square, says Dorsey, is the only company in the world to link customers to places and transactions in this fashion. He sees the Square Card Case as a complete mobile payments solution that bests those (think Starbucks Card Mobile) already in existence.

The press event kicked off with Dorsey explaining the history of Square — it was started with the realization that everyone pays with credit cards — and sharing a few examples of how its card reader is proving to be disruptive.

Dorsey says Square has shipped out more than 500,000 card readers, is seeing $1 million in purchases per month and is processing $1 billion in gross payment volume annualized.

Dorsey has been hinting at today’s news, tweeting a few clues in anticipation of the press event.

Square, reportedly valued at more than $240 million after its $27.5 million round of financing, continues to process record transaction amounts. In late April, the startup processed more than $2 million in transactions on a Friday — then its highest single-day transaction figure. This past Saturday, however, Square set a new record: $3 million processed in a single day.

Apple sells Square’s credit card reader in 235 U.S. retail stores and online.

More About: Square, startup

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Amazon Looks To Build Full-Fledged Publishing House

Posted: 23 May 2011 09:57 AM PDT


Laurence Kirshbaum, the former CEO of Time Warner’s book division and most recently the founder of a well-respected, 40-client literary agency, has been named publisher of Amazon’s New York publishing office.

The move follows the launch of Amazon’s fifth imprint — this one for the mysteries and thrillers genre — last week, as well as the hiring of editors to man each of its imprints in recent months.

Kirshbaum will oversee a new general interest imprint that includes both fiction and non-fiction titles in digital and print formats.

He will also hire an editorial team to help manage the publication of these titles, building a somewhat traditional publishing house within the larger Amazon franchise.

His agency will likely be sold to several employees, he said.

Image courtesy of LJK Literary Management

More About: amazon, publishing

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Owl City Adds Life Experience To New Album But Stays True To Roots [VIDEO]

Posted: 23 May 2011 09:41 AM PDT


Each Monday, Mashable highlights an exclusive new video or song. Check out all our Music Monday picks.

Owl City’s Adam Young might have hit the proverbial “big time” in 2009 when his single “Fireflies” started climbing the charts, but the young musician is still undoubtedly a hometown boy.

“I got a house of my own, but still in my little hometown called Owatonna (in Minnesota),” Young says. “Until two years ago I was living in my parents’ basement. My new house is a mile from their house. It’s the right place for me, for sure. Somebody only really has one hometown and that’s mine.”

The above video, exclusive today to Mashable, features Young tooling around his old school. “It was a fun revisit for me, because I’m from a really small town and a really small school,” he says. “I’m really shy so I was never really much of a popular person back then.”

In high school, Young mowed lawns for two summers to raise the cash to buy an acoustic guitar, which set off his obsession with music. “I wanted to use this thing as a tool that would take me places,” he says. “We never really did the whole family vacation thing that a lot of people do, so my escape was always through music, so this acoustic guitar was the first cruise ship for me — my first time on an airplane. My first escape.”

Although music has afforded Young a lot more opportunities to see the world — he used to work loading Coca-Cola trucks — the musician still seems to retain the innocence and whimsy of Ocean Eyes [iTunes link], the album that yielded “Fireflies,” in his latest disc. His newest album, All Things Bright and Beautiful [iTunes link], is due out June 14.

The video above features the song “Deer in the Headlights,” [iTunes link] which is available today on iTunes. “I actually just got out of a relationship right before I wrote it,” Young says.

“Some of my older stuff is based around romance, but it’s kind of dreamy, beautiful, perfect and kind of surreal — ethereal,” he adds. “And this one is a little bit more raw…. Being an introverted guy, I’ve only ever had two girlfriends, so I’ve never had that much to draw from in that respect, so I’ve only ever written from imagination. So it was a kind of a fun song to pull really specifically from an actual life scenario.”


Owl City Galaxy


Despite being from a small town, Young has his own galaxy — a new app that lets his fans interact with the artist’s music and world.

“What we didn’t want was another artist app that was a website optimized for a smartphone,” says Zack Gershen, director of digital sales at Young’s label, Universal Republic. “We wanted an app that was a conduit between artist and fan.”

Consequently, the app is packed with content — including live streaming concerts — as well as merchandise and virtual goods. Users can also interact with each other within the app (via Facebook Connect) and rack up points for activity, which will net them awards like meet-and-greets and other goods.

More About: App, mobile apps, music, music monday, owl-city, video

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Missouri Tornado: Images, Video & Tweets Capture the Devastation

Posted: 23 May 2011 09:21 AM PDT

As residents of Joplin, Missouri, begin to sort through the aftermath of a tornado that killed at least 89 people on Sunday evening, many of them are posting information about the disaster using social media.

Video footage taken from a local Fastrip during the storm, photos of the damage, a post-tornado video taken from a helicopter and Twitter conversations between families and friends all help give a more complete picture of the terrifying and heartbreaking event.

We’ve compiled some of them below, and we also have four ways that you can help victims.

More About: flickr, Joplin, missouri, Storify, Tornado, twitter

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UK Football Star Files Lawsuit Against Twitter for Breaking Injunction About Affair

Posted: 23 May 2011 09:07 AM PDT


UK football star Ryan Giggs has filed a lawsuit against Twitter and the thousands of Twitter users who have broken a court injunction against naming the celebrity figures in an extramarital affair case he is involved in.

The lawsuit, which was filed through the High Court last Friday, was inspired by a series of tweets from @injunctionsuper disclosing details of the case. These details had been previously protected from the press by court-issued gag orders.

Twitter users are flouting the lawsuit. In the 24 hours since announcing the threat, Twitter users have posted some 6,000 tweets naming Giggs and the woman with whom he is accused of having an affair, Big Brother‘s Imogen Thomas. Altogether some 30,000 tweets about the star have been posted .

Over the weekend, the Sunday Herald, which is published in Scotland, printed a recognizable photo (above right) of the Manchester United player but did not name him. “Everyone knows that this is the footballer accused of using the courts to keep allegations of a sexual affair secret. But we weren’t supposed to tell you that…,” reads a caption beneath the photo.

Other outlets are beginning to publish the football star’s name, citing his Wikipedia page, Twitter and, as of this morning, MP John Hemmings as sources.

All of this goes to prove that press gag orders are of little use in the age of social media.


Mentions of Ryan Gigg’s name have spiked on Twitter over the past week, according to Trendistic.

More About: injunction, lawsuit, ryan giggs, twitter, uk

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Glenn Beck Launches Groupon Competitor

Posted: 23 May 2011 08:52 AM PDT


Conservative TV commentator Glenn Beck may still have a few months before he leaves his Fox News talk show, but he’s already prepping for his next venture: a daily deals website.

Mercury Radio Arts, the production company that Glenn Beck controls, has officially launched MarkDown.com. The site is almost identical to Groupon, LivingSocial and the thousands of other companies in the group buying space — it provides a daily deal if enough people purchase it within a specified time limit. Its first deal is $20 worth of chocolate from Chocolate.com for $10.

Markdown also boasts a referral system. If a user refers a friend to the site and that friend buys something, the user gets a 10% discount on the discounted price. In other words, 10 referrals and the item being promoted is free.

"Markdown is a place where I will be able to connect you directly with the products and retailers that I love,” Beck said on his website. “…But, best of all, Markdown is a place where my personal slogan and values will be brought to life."

Beck intends to use his name and reputation to kickstart the website’s growth. According to The Wall Street Journal, Beck intends to plug Markdown.com across his media empire, including his radio show, newsletter and news website TheBlaze.com.

Beck’s controversial Fox News show has propelled him into the limelight, but advertisers began abandoning the show after Beck called President Barack Obama racist. He has also been dogged with declining ratings.

Creating a Groupon competitor seems like an odd move for a TV and radio commentator, but Beck does have a loyal fanbase. We expect him to continue leveraging his fans as he expands into other ventures.

What do you think of Glenn Beck’s Groupon competitor? Let us know in the comments.

More About: daily deals, fox news, Glenn Beck, groupon, Markdown

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4 Ways To Help Missouri’s Tornado Victims

Posted: 23 May 2011 08:28 AM PDT

A tornado touched down Sunday in Joplin, Missouri, killing 89 people. The latest tornado to hit the South has raised the death toll to more than 400 people in recent months after a series of devastating twisters.

The May 22 tornado ripped a six-mile path across the southwestern part of Missouri. It was estimated to be a half-mile across when it hit Joplin, Slate reported.

If you can’t get on the ground to help in person, social media offers ways to help those most in need. You can also check out Mashable‘s original post for ways you can help victims of other recent tornadoes. Below we’ve collected some quick ways you can support those in Missouri.

There are, of course, hundreds more ways to help tornado victims through monetary and supply donations or simply monitoring the help and lost person’s pages to assist in finding matches. Let us know in the comments how you plan on helping and any other good resources to get aid to Joplin.

Note: With all charities and non-profits, make sure any site you visit is properly registered and trustworthy before blindly sending money. Make sure your help does the most good possible.

More About: charity, disaster, missouri, missouri tornado, non-profit, social good, Tornado, trending, twister

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GoFlex Satellite, the Wi-Fi Hard Drive for iPad Movies and More

Posted: 23 May 2011 08:00 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: GoFlex Satellite Mobile Wireless Storage

Price: $199.99

What It’s Good For: Now you can wirelessly stream movies, listen to music and view photos with up to three Wi-Fi devices at the same time.

Who It’s Good For: Anyone who travels with an iPad, and families with kids in the car who’d like to pass the time with photos, music and movies.

Limitations: Once your Wi-Fi devices are communicating with this wireless hard drive, you won’t have Internet access. Many movie formats must be converted before they’ll play on the iPad (as usual), or you must install an app that can play those files.

Bottom Line: If you like to watch movies, suddenly you can access 500GB of them from your iPad or iPhone — or any laptop, smartphone or tablet that can connect to a Wi-Fi network.


A Close-up Look At the GoFlex Satellite


This shiny, streamlined black box is about the size of a couple of decks of cards. Plug it into a Mac or PC via USB 3.0 (or 2.0), fill it up with music, movies and photos, and then enjoy them on any Wi-Fi device — if the files are compatible. Inside this attractive package is a rechargeable battery that powers the drive for five hours, a Wi-Fi access point and 500GB of hard drive storage space (it’s a conventional hard disk, not solid-state).

We plugged the GoFlex Satellite into a PC’s USB 3.0 port, and transferred a few gigabytes worth of movies, photos and music to the drive. Although we’ve seen faster USB 3.0 drives, the transfer still went quickly compared with USB 2.0. Even without its wireless capabilities, the GoFlex Satellite functions well as a plugged-in external drive.

Once we transferred the chosen content, it was time to set the drive free. Unplugging it from my PC, we removed its USB connecting cable and replaced its small removable door (see a photo of that in the gallery). Unfortunately, for those on the go, that plastic door is awfully easy to lose — it would’ve been better if it had been semi-attached to the drive.

Connecting a Wi-Fi device and the GoFlex satellite is the same as connecting an iPad or laptop to any Wi-Fi network. It’s a simple matter of selecting GoFlex Satellite from the list of available Wi-Fi connections. Its wireless connection is supposed to reach 30 feet, but we found that 15-20 feet is a more realistic maximum before connectivity became spotty.

Once connected via Wi-Fi, you can open any browser, and the GoFlex Satellite interface appears, showing the contents of the drive. Select a movie, and within about five seconds, it begins to play. We were able to play videos with surprising smoothness from two iPads and an iPhone at the same time.

There’s a downside: That Wi-Fi connection is used to communicate with the drive, so that meant we couldn’t access the Internet at the same time. For a long car trip, that might not be an issue, but for other uses, it might become inconvenient.

Besides accessing the GoFlex Satellite from any browser — a boon for Android smartphone and tablet users — there’s a free iPad app that accomplishes this as well. If all your movies are in formats the iPad can play, namely H.264, Motion JPEG or MPEG-4, you’re in luck — they all displayed beautifully on both our iPads, old and new.

However, if you have movies in other formats, you’ll need to either convert them before they’ll play on an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, or install a browser app such as the OPlayer HD ($5, or the free ad-supported OPlayer HD Lite) that can do the converting for you on the fly. We tried the OPlayer HD, and it played other file types such as AVI with ease. In fact, any file type your device is capable of playing can be streamed from the GoFlex Satellite — even iTunes movies.

While we found the iPad’s file incompatibility an annoyance, that’s not Seagate’s fault. The company’s built a unique product that works well. If you watch lots of movies on the road, and don’t have enough disk space to give yourself a wide-enough selection, this $200 Wi-Fi drive is a unique way to solve that problem.


Top Side




The rounded area in the foreground is where you plug in the included USB cable.


DC In




There's an included car charger, letting you plug the drive into a car's cigarette lighter for recharging. The batteries are said to last 5 hours.


Adapter Port




Here's where that adapter plugs in. This port is protected by a removable door, which we think is too easy to lose.


Plastic Door




Here's the plastic door that protects the port.


USB Cable Plugged In





Three Playing At Once




Here are two iPads and an iPhone, all three playing back movies from the drive at the same time without a hitch. Nice.


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 Gadget Reviews from Mashable:


- Will the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Click With New Users?
- With Latest Firmware, Boxee Box Is Finally Ready for Prime Time
- WiebeTech RTX220-QR: A Hard Drive Enclosure for Video & Photo Pros
- Polaroid 300 Brings Back the Fun of Instant Film

More About: Gadget of the Day Series, gadgets, hard drive, ipad, wi-fi

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Kobo Announces Touchscreen Ereader

Posted: 23 May 2011 07:52 AM PDT


Kobo has announced that it will release a touchscreen version of its eink ereader this June. Instead of using buttons to navigate, users will swipe to turn a page, tap to look up a word and slide to highlight.

“Books don’t have keyboards, so why should an ereader?” Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis says.

This isn’t the first touchscreen eink ereader — Sony has been making touchscreen ereaders for years — but it is the first one to be backed by a major book seller. Amazon’s Kindle has not been released as a touchscreen device, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Color is more like a tablet than an ereader.

By removing the keyboard, Borders-backed Kobo‘s new reader gains a slight size advantage. It will be a bit smaller and lighter than the standard Kindle and standard Nook (though all three have 6-inch screens). Sticking with eink instead of opting for a tablet-like device keeps it safely within an ereader price range. The device will hit the shelves of Kobo partners like Walmart and Best Buy with a $129 price tag.

Serbinis hopes the touchscreen will also make Kobo readers more accessible to senior citizens and children.

“If it doesn’t have a touchscreen, it’s broken to [children],” he says.

More About: ereader, Kindle, kobo, nook

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