Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “New MacBook Air Coming Late June [REPORT]”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “New MacBook Air Coming Late June [REPORT]”

New MacBook Air Coming Late June [REPORT]

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 05:18 AM PDT

A new version of Apple’s MacBook Air is coming in late June, Taiwan’s Economic Daily said, quoting sources familiar with the company’s plans.

The report does not bring any new specifics about the Air itself, but it says that Apple plans to sell 380,000 units of the new Air in the first shipment. This confirms (or recycles, if you will) an earlier report from Apple Insider that also claimed the new Air is coming by the end of June.

The Economic Daily also reintroduces rumors about the retina display on the iPad. Its sources claim that the next version of the device, expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2011, will have resolution five to six times higher than the iPad 2.

[via Reuters]

More About: apple, laptop, macbook, macbook air

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Apple, Nokia & Government Hacks: This Morning’s Top Stories

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 05:07 AM PDT

Social Media News

Welcome to this morning’s edition of "First To Know," a series in which we keep you in the know on what's happening in the digital world. We're keeping our eyes on seven particular stories of interest today.

Turkey Arrests 32 ‘Anonymous’ Suspects

Turkish police have arrested 32 suspected members of hacker group Anonymous following attacks against government websites.

LulzSec: We Hacked the U.S. Senate

Hacker group LulzSec, which recently claimed responsibility for high-profile attacks against Sony and Nintendo, says it attacked the U.S. Senate’s website over the weekend; Martina Bradford, the deputy Senate sergeant at arms, claims that the group did not access any private information.

Nokia Signs Patent License Agreement With Apple

Apple has entered what is likely an expensive patent license agreement with Nokia, which will settle all patent litigation between the two companies.

Apple Begins Selling Unlocked iPhone 4 in U.S.

Confirming rumors that surfaced over the weekend, Apple has started selling unlocked versions of the iPhone 4 at its retail stores.

Comcast to Begin Selling Skype Boxes for TV Calls

Later this year, Comcast will bring Skype calls to TV sets, complete with webcam, keyboard and adapter, according to the AP.

Apple To Refresh Macbook Air Next Month?

Taiwain’s Economic Daily paper is the latest to report that Apple will begin selling a new edition of the Macbook Air in late June.

Facebook Preparing for $100 Billion IPO in Early 2012?

Facebook is preparing for an IPO that could easily top $100 billion in the first quarter of 2012, according to a new report.

Further News

Apple Starts Selling Unlocked iPhone 4 in the U.S.

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 03:40 AM PDT

Confirming rumors that surfaced over the weekend, Apple has started selling the unlocked version of the iPhone 4 in Apple Retail stores.

Only the GSM model of the iPhone 4 is available for purchase without a carrier contract, while the the CDMA model is still tied to a Verizon contract.

Carrier-independence comes with a price, though: the 16 GB version of the iPhone 4 will set you back $649, while the 32 GB model costs $749.

With this move, Apple caters to U.S. users who often travel internationally and who don’t want to be locked in an AT&T contract, which means they can swap SIM cards and save money on roaming fees. Furthermore, international buyers will definitely want to get the contract-free version, whose price can be significantly higher in other countries (for example, an unlocked 16 GB iPhone 4 costs €629 ($909) in Germany, much pricier than the unlocked version in the U.S.)

[via TUAW]

More About: apple, Apple retail stores, iphone, iphone 4, U.S., unlocked

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Nokia Signs Patent License Agreement With Apple

Posted: 14 Jun 2011 02:09 AM PDT


Remember all those patent lawsuits from Nokia against Apple (and vice versa)? Well, they weren’t just smoke and mirrors. Nokia has announced it has entered a patent license agreement with Apple, which will settle all patent litigation between the two companies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Apple will make a one-time payment to Nokia, and continue paying royalties for the term of the agreement.

When Nokia originally sued Apple for patent violations, analysts estimated that the lawsuit could cost Apple as much as $1 billion. While the specifics of the agreement have not been revealed, it’s reasonable to assume that Apple will pay a hefty sum to Nokia, and the timing could not be better for the Finnish giant, who is struggling to restructure its smartphone business and regain its waning market share.

More About: agreement, apple, lawsuit, Nokia, patent

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Who Won the Presidential Debate? Facebook Gives Some Clues

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 11:40 PM PDT

In Monday’s New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, Americans tuned in (and logged on) to listen to what the seven declared Republican hopefuls had to say.

In the immediate aftermath of the debate, Mitt Romney and Michelle Bachmann (who officially announced herself in the running on air tonight) each got high marks from the pundits — but the pundits are a tiny fraction of America’s millions of voters.

And many of those voters gave their silent approval for each would-be nominee by liking the debaters’ Facebook Pages.

Here’s some data from Likester, a startup that’s all about analyzing the data in Facebook Likes, on who “won” the debate in terms of sheer popularity with everyday American Facebook users.

The stand-out frontrunner was Mitt Romney, who ended the night with the greatest number of new Facebook Likes and the greatest overall Likes on his Page.

Michelle Bachmann ranked second in the number of new Likes on her Facebook Page, showing that her performance was more popular than that of Ron Paul, who has more overall Likes but fewer new Likes because of the debate.

Clear losers were Newt Gingrich, who gained few new Likes and saw a smaller percentage increase in Likes, and Rick Santorum, who had the greatest percentage increase and the lowest number of new and overall Facebook Likes.

Mitt Romney

image courtesy of Flickr, wacphiladelphia

Michelle Bachmann

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

Ron Paul

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

Newt Gingrich

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

Herman Cain

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

Tim Pawlenty

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

Rick Santorum

image courtesy of Flickr, gageskidmore

More About: 2012, debate, gop, gop debate, Political, politics, presidential, Republican

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Instagram by the Numbers: 5 Million Users & 100 Million Photos

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 11:26 PM PDT

Instagram, the poster child of the mobile photo-sharing craze, now has more than 5 million users.

The eight month-old iPhone app added 100,000 new users this past weekend and is now seeing nearly 860,000 photos posted to its service each day, co-founder and CEO Kevin Systrom shared with TechCrunch.

Collectively, Instagram users have already posted more than 95 million photos, which means the startup should cross the 100 million photo mark before the end of the week.

Part of Instagram’s early success can be attributed to a still nascent but very popular API that’s now being accessed by more than 2,500 applications. Webstagram and Flipboard are among the most popular, said Systrom.

We’ve been tracking Instagram’s insta-comeuppance. You may recall that the app hit 100,000 users in week one, 1 million users in ten weeks and just recently surpassed 4.25 million users in late May.

Lately, we’ve been intrigued by top notch third-party Instagram applications (as seen below), inspired by the fashion photographers flocking to the application and excited by the potential opportunities for early adopter bands.

13 Instagram Apps for More Photo Fun


Carousel is a gorgeous Instagram Mac app for your desktop.

Carousel, which sells for $4.99 on the Mac App Store, includes the standard photo viewing and commenting features, but it also packs a number of nuances -- double-click photos to enlarge and save them to iPhoto for instance -- that make it a near picture-perfect interpretation of Instagram in desktop form.

We love the four theme options, keyboard shortcuts and the growl notification options, but its the simple and subtle design touches that make it a standout application.


Instagallery [iTunes link] is a $1.99 application for browsing Instagram photos on your iPad or iPhone.

Swipe through popular photos or login to scroll through, "like" and comment on your friends' Instagram photos. Hit the "play" button and the app will start a slideshow and scroll through photos for you.

Instagallery also includes user profiles, different background options, and supports tag and user search. You can even double-tap or pinch to zoom photos to enlarge them.


Screenstagram is an Instagram-powered screen saver for Mac. Download the app and you'll be able to view your friends' photos as your always-updating desktop screen saver.

"We wanted to do something that took advantage of the eye candy, something beyond a web-based photo browser – something to really showcase our friends' grainy, bar room photography," app creator Doug Pfeffer says. "A way we could sit with the photos and soak them in longer than usually allowed by the ephemeral, wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am approach taken by the feed in the Instagram iPhone app."

After download, simply select Screenstagram as your screen saver in the Desktop & Screen Saver settings panel. Input your user name and password, and optionally select to show user names or include popular images. Then, sit back and watch as Instagram photos are swapped in and out as tiles on your screen.

No Instagram account? No worries. You can still use Screenstagram to view popular photos.


Like Screenstagram, GramFrame is an Instagram screen saver, but this one is for your iPad.

The $1.99 iPad application [iTunes link] is as simple as they come. You can log in to Instagram and choose to watch popular photos, friends' photos or your own photos cascade on to your iPad.


Instagram early adopters have been posting photos for more than seven months and have likely developed a massive photo archive. MorningPics offers a simple way to relive those memories.

MorningPics delivers one randomly selected previously taken Instagram photo via email each morning. The email includes comments and "likes." Depending on what you post to Instagram, your daily morning trip down Instagram memory lane could be quite emotional or inspiring.

Sign up here for early access to the private beta.


Extragram is a third-party web app for Instagram you can use to view, search, "like" and comment on Instagram photos.

The elegant interface displays photos in three different styles: Grid, Filmstrip (pictured) or Map view. We like it for its subtleties and finesse. We also enjoy the "Discover" tab for finding trending tags and profiles on Instagram. Plus, the app developers frequently release new features so it continues to get better with time.


Gramfeed, like Extragram, is a web client for Instagram.

Gramfeed is a little less flashy than Extragram, but the interface does offer two different photo views and an enjoyable way to view your Instagram timeline, add comments and "likes" to friends' photos, search and browse popular photos.


Inkstagram is also a web app for browsing Instagram photos. You can view photos in small, medium or full sizes while browsing your feed, popular photos or your own photos.

We especially appreciate the "My Likes" view which showcases all of the photos that you've liked on Instagram.


Instaprint is a printer for Instagram photos.

Each Instaprint box, intended to be an Instagram photo booth for parties, is set with a location or tag so that any Instagram photo appropriately tagged will be automatically printed in an ink-less Polaroid-like fashion.

The Instagram prints even include comments. For the Instagram geek, it really doesn't get much cooler than this.

Keepsy Instant Album

Scrapbooking startup Keepsy's Instant Album is a print photo book for your Instagram photos.

The online app connects to your Instagram account, pre-selects your best filtered photos and auto-generates an instant album of roughly 35 photos that you can purchase and place on your coffee table. If you'd rather customize and design your album, have at it; Instant Album lets you edit page layouts, drag-and-drop photos onto the same page, tweak backgrounds, customize text and so forth.

The 11-by-8.5 inch hardback albums start at $29.95.


Musician Moby used Instagram to add photo flare to his Destroyed album release. The artist launched a microsite tying together Soundcloud and Instagram to create an album/photo book experience with interactive appeal.

Users can listen to the new album while clicking on map points to view Instagram photos taken from Moby's tour.

We think it's a marvelous and highly creative use of Instagram's API and hope it will inspire more artists to explore photo-sharing and music mashups.


Momento, the $2.99 personal social media diary application for iPhone users, was one of the first applications to add Instagram integration.

The app is a winner in our book because it lets you automatically import your Instagram photos for inclusion in your daily diary entries. Now your Instagram moments don't have to be so fleeting.


When social magazine Flipboard added Instagram integration in March, application users were presented with an elegant way to leanback, flip through and enjoy their friends' filtered and tilt-shifted photos.

The rich integration displays brighter, bolder photos, and lets you comment and "like" friends' photos from within Flipboard.

Instagram inside Flipboard is a fresh take on leisurely weekday or weekend reading.

More About: instagram, Mobile 2.0, mobile photo sharing, photo sharing, startup

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How the GOP Debate Exploded on Twitter [STATS]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 10:33 PM PDT

Monday night’s New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate had a huge impact on the web.

Current events are increasingly being mirrored in social media, and as we begin our journey down the 2012 campaign trail, it’s clear that the upcoming U.S. presidential election will uphold and even magnify that trend.

CNN hosted and broadcast the debate, and before the program started, they made it clear this event was social by design. The network’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief stated that relevant posts from Facebook, Twitter and would be used in the on-air debate.

The official hashtag for the debate was #CNNDebate. Without question, the promotion and management of this hashtag was a huge success.

By around 9 p.m. ET, that term was the top non-promoted trending topic worldwide on Twitter. Users were live-tweeting the debate, adding to the conversations their own thoughts, opinions and questions. A few high-profile Twitter users such as journalist Anderson Cooper were even tweeting behind-the-scenes pictures and video from the debate hall.

We turned to Trendistic to see just how many tweets were about the debate. An hour and a half into the debate, the official hashtag appeared in nearly 1.5% of all tweets published across the service — that’s a staggeringly high figure.

By contrast, use of the term “Republican” peaked at around .13% of tweets, and the terms “GOP” and “debate” each peaked at under .5% of all tweets published during the debate.

However, in trying to analyze the sentiments expressed around the debate, we’re at a bit of a loss. Most natural language processing Twitter tools are still rather crude. Some of them pegged positive sentiment on the hashtag #CNNDebate at around 66%; however, the majority of the “positive” tweets were deeply sarcastic. For example, one typical and supposedly positive tweet reads, “Don’t know who won but I think we can all agree America was the loser tonight #CNNdebate.”

Stay tuned for more info on how each Republican debater performed on Facebook.

More About: 2012, debate, gop, gop debate, Political, politics, presidential, Republican

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Watch It Later: Squrl Is Your Video Queue on the Web, iOS & Apple TV

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 09:22 PM PDT

Those who appreciate the on-demand and platform-agnostic news-reading experience engineered by Instapaper or Read It Later may come to find immense utility in Squrl, a video curation platform for watching videos on your own time.

Squrl, which refers to itself as a “watch-later” video service, is updating its web and mobile offering Tuesday to make it even easier for users to collect, organize and access videos on the web, using the iOS app or via Apple TV.

With the update, Squrl users will have access to a host of updates including better video discovery tools, new community and sharing features, the ability to access their existing YouTube playlists and a “Play All” option in the iPad app for continuous playback of videos in a playlist.

"Users can unlock a powerful video curation platform that makes it easy to discover community-driven video galleries across a wide range of topics, and the ability to watch video through the eyes and collections of others,” explains Mark Gray, co-founder and CEO of Squrl.

App users can also now minimize videos and continue watching them while also browsing through the application. Plus, video playlists in the iOS apps are AirPlay-compatible, meaning users can push their curated playlists to their television sets and watch them via second generation Apple TV.

Squrl is a bootstrapped startup with free apps for web, iPhone and iPad. Apps will also be available for several Android tablets.

Video Playlist

Video Playlist

Minimized Video

Watch a minimized video while browsing.


Use AirPlay to watch a video playlist on a second generation Apple TV.

Sort By Name

Sort videos.

Filter: Curated By Others

Filter videos.

Curated Galleries

Check out videos curated by other users.

Discover Galleries

Find video galleries by source.

Community Activity

See what others are watching.

Share Video

Share a video to Facebook or Twitter, send it via email or send it to a Squrl friend.

Share Gallery

Share a gallery to Facebook or Twitter, send it via email or send it to a Squrl friend.

Share Gallery to Squrl User

Share a gallery with another Squrl user.

Shared Gallery

More About: airplay, Apple TV, Squrl, video

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Obama Suggests Weiner Resign After Twitter Scandal [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:42 PM PDT

In an NBC interview, President Obama weighed in on Rep. Anthony Weiner (D) and the Congressman’s possible resignation from office over a scandal involving Twitter and an indecent photograph.

“If it was me,” said Obama, “I would resign.”

The President continued, “When you get to the point where, because of various personal distractions, you can't serve as effectively as you need to at the time when people are worrying about jobs, and their mortgages, and paying the bills, then you should probably step back.”

Two weeks ago, Weiner accidentally sent a lewd and very public image to a female follower on Twitter; he had intended to send the message privately. The Congressman, who is married and has served in the House of Representatives since 1999, then proceeded to lie about the incident.

“Last Friday night I tweeted a photograph of myself that I intended to send as a direct message as part of a joke to a woman in Seattle,” Weiner stated. “Once I realized I had posted to Twitter, I panicked, I took it down and said I had been hacked. I then continued to stick to that story which was a hugely regrettable mistake.”

At this point, many national leaders have called for Weiner to resign over the scandal. Those who say he should step down include fellow Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Jim Himes and even the young woman who was the intended recipient of the inappropriate picture.

Obama himself is no stranger to the power of social media. Even in the early days of his campaign for the presidency, the Commander In Chief was employing people and strategies and the cutting edges of web-based communication. But the President has very intentionally and carefully used that power for good — or at least indisputably for professional and non-personal communication about his political agenda.

Here’s the clip from NBC’s interview, which is set to air in full Tuesday morning:

More About: Anthony Weiner, obama, Political, politics, Weiner, weinergate

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Sneakpeeq’s Gaming & Social Layers Make Flash Sales Even More Addictive

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 08:05 PM PDT

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark. If you would like to have your startup considered for inclusion, please see the details here.

Name: Sneakpeeq

Quick Pitch: Sneakpeeq is a new kind of shopping site that uses social and gaming add-ons to make online flash sales even more addictive.

Genius Idea: Limited-time sales (between 48 and 72 hours each) for women’s apparel, accessories and makeup, as well as specialty food items, throughout the week.

Unlike most flash sales sites, recently launched ecommerce venture Sneakpeeq offers items from the current season and doesn’t list prices on the category pages; rather, visitors have to open up the item and click the “peeq” button to see the price. The more peeqs an item gets, the further its price drops, until inventory runs out.

Shoppers, who must sign in to the site using their Facebook accounts, have a 15-second window to click the “buy now” button. After that, they can opt to check the price again, but risk losing the item to another buyer — an effective mechanism for encouraging impulse purchases.

New users are allotted 10 peeqs every day; the peeqs expire at midnight. As users peeq at more items and make purchases, they are awarded points and status levels that grant them more daily peeqs, as well as lower shipping costs and other perks.

The gaming mechanics are admittedly effective; I found myself repeatedly peeqing on items to gather more points. (I also ended up buying a bangle at 51% off, so now I’m a bonafide customer as well.)

Equally effective are the social aspects, which are manifest in a streaming newsfeed of items that others are peeqing at. When Sneakpeeq rolls out a redesign later this week, users will also be able to see which of their Facebook friends have peeqed at a product, as well as solicit advice or feedback from their friends before making a purchase.

In the future, users will also be able to follow other users, or “tastemakers,” to navigate through Sneakpeeq’s growing catalog of products.

The San Francisco-based startup’s business model is also smart: Unlike flash sales sites such as Gilt, Sneakpeeq does not purchase any of the items it sells ahead of time, and thus isn’t left with any unwanted inventory at the end of a sale.

Instead, the company negotiates a wholesale price for between 200 and 500 units of a given item, and places orders for what customers have already agreed to purchase. Sneakpeeq will then ship those items to customers the same day. The startup pockets anything above the wholesale price as revenue.

The company has amassed more than 100,000 registered users in the first three weeks after its launch and landed partnerships with major brands such as Halston and Kate Spade. There are no plans to expand into menswear or other product categories at this time.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

Microsoft BizSpark

The Spark of Genius Series highlights a unique feature of startups and is made possible by Microsoft BizSpark, a startup program that gives you three-year access to the latest Microsoft development tools, as well as connecting you to a nationwide network of investors and incubators. There are no upfront costs, so if your business is privately owned, less than three years old, and generates less than U.S.$1 million in annual revenue, you can sign up today.

More About: ecommerce, fashion, flash sales, gilt, sneakpeeq

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10 Clever Laptop Cooling Solutions [PICS]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 06:47 PM PDT

As the weather heats up for summer, we’ve taken a look at some laptop cooling solutions to help keep your portable PC nice and chilled.

Whether it’s a full-on fan stand or simply a pad to prevent your thighs from getting too toasty, there’s something for everyone. And with prices starting under $10, there are options for every budget as well.

If you’re looking to avoid the burn, take a look through the slides. Let us know in the comments your tricks to curb notebook overheating as the weather warms.

1. Targus Lap Chill Mat

With an ergonomic tilt and rubber stops to keep your laptop in place, Targus' Lap Chill Mat boasts a built-in USB-powered fan and an open design to help keep things nicely ventilated.

Cost: $39.99

2. iLap

The iLap, specifically designed for MacBooks, is made up of three components: aluminum stand, swivel base and detachable velvet cushion. It's a great solution for both lap and desktop working.

Cost: From $49.90

3. Logitech Cooling Pad N100

Logitech's sleek Cooling Pad comes with a bold stripe of green or pink for a contemporary solution. Its USB fan claims to distribute air "quietly and evenly" under your laptop.

Cost: $29.99

4. ThermaPAK HeatShift

This simple solution is more concerned with protecting your lap from scorching than with keeping your computer cool. The fabric pad contains cooling crystals which absorb heat. You can just roll it up and stuff it in your bag when on the go. Now that's portable.

Cost: From $24.99

5. Antec Notebook Cooler to Go

The travel-friendly Cooler to Go feeds cold air into your laptop while slightly raising it to expel the hot stuff. Two settings mean you can choose between maximum cooling or minimum noise.

Cost: $34.95

6. Xpad

The Xpad is a power-free base for your laptop. It boasts thermal insulation for your lap with air pockets in the construction to help dissipate heat. Simple, but effective.

Cost: $24.95

7. Microsoft Notebook Cooling Base

Microsoft's Cooling Base is a competent all-rounder. The flip-up stand has a comfortable typing angle for desk use. Turn it sideways to use on your lap.

Cost: $29.95

8. Bluelounge Cool Feet

Bluelounge's "Cool Feet" are perfect for desktop laptop users. The removable feet attach with suction cups and raise your machine at just the right height to allow for better airflow.

Cost: $12.95

9. HandStands Cool Lift Pad

Designed for desktop use, the HandStands Cool Lift is a budget way of increasing the airflow around your portable PC.

Cost: $8.99

10. Belkin Cooling Strip

Belkin's fun Cooling Strip is another simple solution that will give your laptop the lift it needs to avoid overheating. The spiky design also allows for improved cable management.

Cost: $8.57

More About: accessories, gallery, laptop accessories, List, Lists, office

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LIVE BLOG: The 2011 Webby Awards

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:44 PM PDT

The 2011 Webby Awards are about to swing into action. Who’s going to be taking home the awards for the best of the web?

We’re live from New York, where Friends, Bandslam and P.S. I Love You star Lisa Kudrow is hosting the festivities for the 15th annual Webby Awards show.

The nominees were announced back in April and include such entities as the Old Spice Guy, Angry Birds, Justin Bieber and the YouTube hit, “Bed Intruder Song,” featuring Antoine Dodson.

Mashable is at the event, and we’re going to live blog the whole thing. Check out our commentary below:

More About: 2011 webbys, internet, live, live blog, Webby, webby awards, webbys

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The Republican Presidential Debate in Tweets, Pics & Videos

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 05:33 PM PDT

Tonight, as GOP presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann noted, “Republicans have a story to tell.” And to a great extent, they’re telling that story through social media.

As the New Hampshire Republican Presidential debate kicks off, we’re monitoring the live stream of the debate itself, as well as the pictures, videos and tweets flying across the web.

In fact, CNN, which is hosting and broadcasting the debate, is making heavy use of social media throughout the debate tonight, even going so far as to include comments and questions from Twitter, Facebook, and in the on-air proceedings.

You can watch the debate live online at CNN’s Politics hub. On Twitter, you can use the hashtag #CNNDebate to get involved in the conversation, yourself.

More About: 2012, debate, gop, gop debate, Political, politics, Republican

For more Social Media coverage:

How CNN Is Using Social Media for Tonight’s GOP Debate [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 04:21 PM PDT

The web is revving up for tonight’s Republican debate between 2012 presidential hopefuls, and social media is set to play a large role in public discussion of the event.

In the brief clip below, CNN‘s DC Bureau Chief Sam Feist describes how CNN will incorporate social media into the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate.

Anyone discussing the debate online is encouraged to use the hashtag #CNNDebate, which will flag comments and questions for CNN staffers’ attention. The set for the debate will include a video monitor with a stream of Facebook, Twitter and comments on the debate.

Some of the comments and questions might even be used on-air in the debate.

CurrentTV was using Twitter during debate coverage back in 2008. It will be interesting to see how social media in politics evolves during the 2012 campaign.

More About: 2012, debate, gop, gop debate, Political, politics, presidential, Republican

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American Airlines Giving First Class Passengers the New Samsung Galaxy Tabs

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 03:48 PM PDT

Attention American Airlines passengers: Some of those in first class are getting Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1s to play with during the flight.

Earlier this month, the airline began offering the tablet as an entertainment option, according to numerous online reports.

Around 6,000 of the tablets are being disbursed on flights between New York and Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, and Miami and Los Angeles.

Boston-Los Angeles flights served by 757 aircraft will also get the device, as will international flights to and from Europe and South America served by 767-300 aircraft. The tablets replace American's current entertainment system and can access Wi-Fi.

Other airlines are experimenting with tablet devices as well. Qantas unit Jetstar has employed the iPad as part of an in-flight entertainment system. Alaska Airlines last month also began replacing its 25-pound paper flight manuals with iPads.

More About: american airlines, Samsung Galaxy Tab, tablet pcs

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How Much Money Should Your Startup Raise?

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 03:11 PM PDT

money image

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

Many startups struggle with how much money they should raise. There are a lot of factors that you need to think of, and those factors vary depending on what you're trying to launch.

If you are a biotech startup, you may need a lot more capital than, say, a mobile app startup. There are two schools of thought when it comes to raising money for a seed stage startup: Raise as little as possible to avoid early dilution, or raise as much as you can as soon as possible.

There is no one right answer, so let's review both scenarios to see which may be a good fit for you.

Raising a Small Round

When you are just starting out, it might be best for your startup to raise a small amount capital to get your product out to market and prove your concept before you go looking for that large capital influx.


Raising a smaller round allows you to maintain majority ownership and control potential share dilution. This is crucial for an early stage startup because the company was founded on your idea and you want to be able to execute your vision without having to get approval from the board or group of shareholders.

Another benefit is that if and when you exit, the small amount of investment raised will yield a higher return to your investor pool based on the valuation of the company or idea.

As an example, let's say you raise $150,000 on a $1 million post-money valuation and eventually sell your company for $10 million. Your investors would see a 10x return. If you had raised $1.5 million, you would have had to sell for $100 million for your investors to see the same return.


No matter how conservative you are with estimating the amount of initial capital needed, there can be unforeseen issues that may require more cash to manage. These could be as drastic as having to change direction based on market feedback or new competition. If you don't plan up front to allot extra money for the unexpected, then you may not be able to ride out unexpected bumps down the road.

What happens when the money runs out and the initial investment did not even allow you to go to market and prove your concept? Investors being asked for additional funding may view your business plan as risky since there might be little to show from the first investment funds. It could put you in the difficult position of explaining what the initial monies funded. Investors want traction so they can see if the business has legs. It is important your first round can support a tangible result for potential future investors.

Currently, valuations of startups are high and it is a good time to get funding. But what the landscape looks like in 12 months is anyone's guess. Valuations could be higher or alternatively the "bubble" could deflate and send investors running.

If you raise a small round you might be thinking more about where the next dollar will come from instead of focusing your time and energy getting your concept to market and building new features. Raising capital takes an exceptional amount of time through building sell presentations and meeting with potential investors. Doing this takes away from the time you can spend on your business.

Raising a Large Round

Depending upon your level of experience, the industry and market conditions where your concept will compete, and your confidence in the idea, you may decide to raise a larger round of capital with initial investors.


You’ll be able to launch quicker. More available cash flow might allow you the time to solidly build and execute your startup rather than having to launch a quicker, less robust concept just to get first to market.

Having the funding accessible to build and execute marketing plans or add headcount for expansion is much simpler than going through another capital round to raise the necessary funds to support the growth.

A large round should mean you have enough capital for a minimum of 12 months and potentially 24 months. This allows you to put the focus more on the business and less on your future cash flow or whether the market will be right for funding.

You have to be prepared if the market landscape changes while your startup is ramping. Having that accessible capital up front just might provide enough runway for you to adjust your plan to get it back on track.


Taking a lot of money will quickly grow your organization. The more people you have going in one direction will make it that much more difficult to change direction if the market demands it.

Remember, the more money you take the more equity you are giving up. The trade-off might be worth it, but you want to be careful not to dilute your ownership too much in the early stages, especially if there is a chance for future capital rounds which will further dilute share value.

If you raise a lot of initial cash, yet need more, the expectation for future investors is to have something tangible to show for it. Let's say you raised $1.5 million in your first round and 18 months later you are looking for another round of $2 million. Even though you have a great idea, you have just a few investors and little traction. Next round investors may not find this attractive. With large initial investments, future investors want to see serious traction, exponential growth and a clear vision of profitability in a shorter amount of time.

Regardless of how much money you plan to raise, act like you don't have it at all. Being conservative with the money you have to work with from your initial capital investment, whether it's a little or a lot, will bode well when future investors come knocking.

Plan for the unexpected when it comes to deciding how much to raise in the initial round, but keep your monetary goal realistic and sized right for your idea and concept. Going too big may scare away potential investors or may lengthen the whole process of getting your startup off the ground and running. In the end, you know your business better than anyone and you should be able to determine the costs of making it successful.

>> For related resources, check out our Startup Investment Tips series.

Image courtesy of Flickr, sushi♥ina

More About: business, funding, investment, startup, venture capital

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Steve Jobs Set To Become Comic Book Hero

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 02:48 PM PDT

If you already have the Steve Jobs action figure, it’s possible that you’ve been lusting after an Apple-flavored comic book for a while now. Well, lust no longer.

This August, Bluewater Productions will be shipping a new comic book, Steve Jobs: Co-Founder of Apple, which will be on sale at comic book stores and via Amazon for $3.99.

According to CNET, the book will run 32 pages, and will detail Jobs’s “legendary drive to the top and his continuing fight to stay there.”

If you recall, Bluewater Productions also penned a comic book bio of Mark Zuckerberg — that one runs a whopping 48 pages.

Bluewater’s version of Job’s life isn’t the only tome about the entrepreneur set for release. iSteve: The Book of Jobs is slated for publication on March 6, 2012, and will be written by former Time magazine and CNN boss Walter Isaacson. The book has the distinction of being an official biography, which is significant because Jobs is famously guarded about his private life.

We wonder how the two works will compare.

More About: apple, Bluewater Productions, comic book, pop culture, steve jobs

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Should Apple Store Employees Form An iUnion? [POLL]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 02:32 PM PDT

Cory Moll wants to unionize Apple’s retail stores. The 30-year-old works part-time at an Apple Store in San Francisco and has embarked on a campaign for the last month, trying to spur interest in creating a union amongst the retail workforce.

Moll thinks a union is needed to address issues within the retail arm of the company. “The core issues definitely involve compensation, pay, benefits,” Moll told Reuters. Moll is calling his movement the “Apple Retail Workers Union.”

As a retail company, Apple has more than 30,000 employees across its 325 stores around the world. The occasional expose and complaint blog [PDF] aside, most Apple retail employees are known for being exceedingly loyal, compared to their retail peers.

That might be part of the reason that Moll’s campaign, which includes a sparse website and a Facebook page has met with little success.

Despite having two major media pushes inside of a month, the Apple Retail Workers Union Facebook page still has less than 500 “Likes.” Moreover, the first media campaign — which targeted Mac and Apple community sites — failed to gain significant traction online or in social networks.

It wasn’t until Moll spoke to Reuters that the story began picking up broader media attention. It might be fun to tout the idea that social media is leading the charge for unionization efforts, but in this case, it looks like the opposite is true. Most of the online activity we’re seeing from the story today comes via the wire services — not from any social campaign.

Do Apple Retail Employees Even Want a Union?

Over the past decade, we’ve seen an increase in organized labor campaigns at retail stores across the U.S. Retail employees, unlike those in trucking and manufacturing, are often more difficult to galvanize than other industries.

At retail stores like Apple, the battle for unionization might be even more difficult. Moll spoke to Reuters about the lack of public support for his efforts, saying: “There’s a lot of hesitation to want to speak about it. I don’t think there’s 50 % [support] in any one store but as people talk about it, we could get close in a couple of stores.”

Time will tell if Moll’s campaign — or the old-media publicity — can garner support. Let us know your thoughts in the comments and by taking our poll.

More About: apple, apple retail, Union

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25+ Upcoming Social Media & Tech Events

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 01:41 PM PDT


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.

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

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 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 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 – 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

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 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 to learn more about the event and use code WOMMASummitMASH when registering for the event.

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

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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How Nike Stepped Up Its Social Media Game for the NBA Playoffs

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 01:26 PM PDT

Nike has added another layer of competition to the NBA Playoffs with a social media data visualization tool that shows which players and teams got the most tweets per hour.

During the Playoffs, Nike turned its Nike Basketball webpage over to a data viz app called Epic that calculated which Nike-sponsored player was getting the most tweets per hour. Not surprisingly, Dallas Mavericks power forward and NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki (pictured) was ahead in that ranking on Monday afternoon, which gave him the largest picture on the page. The app also measures which teams were getting the most tweets per hour, a stat in which the Mavericks trounced the Miami Heat.

Nike worked with digital agency R/GA on the program, which began at the start of the NBA Playoffs. A link for "kicks" also details what shoes players were wearing during the games. Consumers visiting the site can click through to some of the sneakers to buy them. Another option was to fire off a ready-made tweet about the shoes at the player. For instance, if you liked the Nike Hyperdunk 2010 that Nowitzki wore, you could tweet this message at him: "#SPEED makes @swish41 an undeniable force #OnTheCourt. What defines your favorite player? #epic."

Matt Halfhill, founder and publisher of sneaker blog Nice Kicks, says Nike is way ahead of its competitors with Epic. "I think the new way to enjoy a game is to have your TV on and have your iPhone or smartphone in your hand," Halfhill says. "You no longer have to have a meetup of 20 people. I watch a game and I'm interacting with thousands of people."

Halfhill says the immediacy of social media also helps spur sales. For instance, during the playoffs, he saw incoming clicks for Jordan Fly Wades, Dwayne Wade's signature shoe, when Wade broke them out in Game 3.

More About: Dirk Nowitzki, MARKETING, NBA Playoffs, Nice Kicks, Nike, twitter

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Evernote for iOS Lets You Post Notes to Facebook & Twitter

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 01:01 PM PDT

Note-taking platform Evernote, fresh off a splashy release of Evernote Peek, has finally updated its iPhone, iPod touch and iPad apps to support sharing notes to Facebook and Twitter.

Version 4.0.4 of Evernote’s iOS application now includes social sharing, new sorting options for notebooks and tags, landscape snippets on iPhone and iPod touch, as well as some under-the-hood tuneups to improve search speed and application performance.

Application users can now share notes to Facebook and Twitter via the iOS app by clicking the share button. By choosing to share a note, the user is making the contents of the note publicly accessible. It’s a small but important update that furthers Evernote’s new-found social direction.

Evernote has previously upgraded its note-taking apps for Android, Windows, Mac and the web with social sharing. Unfortunately, iOS users will still have to wait a bit longer to get shared notebooks and Stacks, Evernote’s folder-like feature for grouping collections of notebooks.

More About: evernote, evernote for iphone, iOS, social media

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Neil Patrick Harris To Tony Audience: “Broadway’s Not Just For Gays Anymore” [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 12:51 PM PDT

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

On Sunday night, actor Neil Patrick Harris delivered a very important message to the audience of the 65th Annual Tony Awards: “Broadway’s not just for gays anymore.”

The video featuring Harris’s song — written by David Javerbaum and Adam Schlesinger of Cry Baby fame — is making its way around the web today, with largely positive reviews. What a way to celebrate Pride Month — with tongue-in-cheek humor and a star-studded, show-stopping number.

More About: neil patrick harris, pride month, Tony-Awards-2011, viral-video-of-day

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RIP iWeb

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 12:31 PM PDT

When Apple moves existing MobileMe users to its new iCloud service later this fall, the venerable iWeb hosting feature won’t make the transition.

MacRumors published email correspondence presumably between a MobileMe user and Steve Jobs, confirming the death of the service. The authenticity of the email exchange cannot be verified, however, MacRumors says that the email headers look legitimate.

The conversation:

Q: Dear Mr. Jobs,

Will I need to find an alternative website builder and someone to host my sites?

I have invested a lot of time and effort and the thought of re-training sucks more than mobileme ever did.

A: Yep.

Sent from my iPhone

Giles Turnball at Cult of Mac noticed the omission of iWeb and the MobileMe hosting service from Apple’s keynote and in the support documentation, leaving him (and plenty of iWeb users) to posit that Apple was considering shutting down the service feature. The company will continue to support all MobileMe features until June of 2012, so likely existing iWeb/MobileMe users have a year or so to find a new web host.

On the whole, the move makes sense. Apple hasn’t updated its iWeb software since iLife ’09 (iLife ’11 simply came with an old version of iWeb) and the company shut down its .Mac homepage publisher in November.

To be sure, a small — if vocal — community of users who publish their websites through iWeb to be hosted via the MobileMe service still exist. But this group continues to dwindle.

When iWeb was released five years ago, the personal publishing — and web hosting — space was quite different than it is today. Platforms like WordPress were still just getting started and Tumblr and Posterous didn’t even exist. For small businesses or individuals who wanted an easy, affordable way to host their own static web content, iWeb and MobileMe (nee .Mac) was a great tool.

Today, however, the world of static web hosting no longer makes as much sense as it once did. First, low-cost web hosts are available en masse. Second, those web hosts offer one-click installs for dozens of web publishing platforms, including WordPress. This significantly reduces the amount of friction involved with getting a website up and running.

Moreover, the type of personal publishing that was once reserved for a home page has become usurped by Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook — not to mention self-hosted blogs and websites. Publishing updates, photos, videos and links to Facebook takes less time than publishing to a blog or static website, and for many users instantly pushes their updates to those that they care about.

Still, for the loyal iWeb user, moving on from the service may prove difficult. The good news is that as long as the iWeb software continues to work under the latest versions of Mac OS X, users can still publish content to a third-party web server using FTP.

In the event that the software stops working or users want more features, third-party publishing solutions like Sandvox 2 and RapidWeaver are still going strong.

Did you ever use iWeb for personal publishing? Let us know in the comments.

More About: icloud, iWeb, mobileme

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The Future of Voice Search

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 12:00 PM PDT

The Future of Search Series is supported by SES San Francisco Conference & Expo, the leading search, social and display conference. From August 15-19, get five days of education, inspiration and conversations with marketing experts across the digital space. Save 20% with the code MASH20.

As today's mobile devices get smaller and their functionality increases, the simple act of finding the information you need becomes increasingly cumbersome. However, the emergence of a new technology is helping users easily find information without having to fiddle with tiny keyboards or scroll through multiple applications and menus. Welcome to voice search.

Voice-recognition technology has been around for quite some time. The majority of consumers have experienced it through self-service customer care. Now, for the first time in its history, this technology is being offered to a multitude of smartphone users as an option that may actually find an unprecedented level of adoption. Voice search is actually useful and is functioning better than ever. Some smartphones come equipped with voice search as an integral feature of the device software that is available all the times with the push of a button or a touch of the screen. Why does voice search have the capability to revolutionize the user experience on mobile phones? To understand the benefit, let's first explain exactly what voice search is.

Defining Voice Search

The availability of virtually infinite amounts of information makes web search not just a useful tool but a necessity. A web without search would be as useless as an encyclopedia without an index. The need for fast and effective search tools is increasing with the mass adoption of always-connected smartphones. The possibility of searching the web on mobile phones is becoming so ingrained in our everyday activities that users would feel lost without it. However, using the keyboard to enter query terms is not always practical –- mobile devices have tiny keyboards, making it difficult to type. Furthermore, speaking is undeniably always faster than typing. With this in mind, researchers figured out a way to collect speech on smartphones and stream it digitally through the Internet to a remote database running computationally demanding voice-recognition algorithms that return corresponding text to the user's search box in mere seconds.

The fact that voice recognition is performed in the cloud and not on the device itself allows for very high performance, not only in terms of response time, but also in terms of vocabulary size and accuracy. A remote voice search recognizer can typically handle vocabularies in the millions of words, including proper names like those of people, restaurants and businesses. Also, the speech collected by the remote servers is used to constantly improve the recognition accuracy by learning the idiosyncrasies of the language of a whole population of users. Since a smartphone is a personal device mostly used by the same person all the time, the remote voice recognizers can also adapt to the speech and pronunciation manners of each individual user. The possibility of continuous tuning and adaptation with millions of examples is pushing voice recognition accuracies to levels never seen before on such immense vocabularies. As a result of all these advancements, more and more smartphone users are using voice to search the web. Significant percentages of the mobile searches done on smartphones — some research has shown upwards of 25% — are made via voice.

What Comes Next

In the future, we will see significantly increased penetration and adoption of voice search technology, not only for searching the web, but also for controlling the functionality of the smartphone itself. The extension of search to local functions — like searching for a contact name or an address stored in the phone, complemented by the dictation of text — will promote voice recognition to first-class input modality, on par with the keyboard and the touch screen. But an even more important evolution, which is already happening today, is the integration of voice search with language understanding technology. While traditional search is based on the matching of query terms with an index of words extracted from a collection of documents, language understanding is adding the possibility of getting to the right meaning of the query and acting on that. So, for instance, if a user speaks or types "Reduce the brightness of the screen," traditional search would show a ranked list of relevant documents, some of which may contain instructions on how to actually do that. Instead, search integrated with language understanding — known as semantic search — would actually get the user to a screen where he could reduce the brightness of the screen right away at the touch of a finger.

The concept of natural language understanding coupled with voice recognition is making its first debut in the form of applications which are transforming the way consumers normally operate on mobile devices — searching for the right information on the web and acting on it — into a new delegation model, in which the system understands what the user needs and does it for him, or takes him to a place where he can get what he needs right away. This is particularly attractive for a lot of services, like restaurant and travel reservations, entertainment and customer care — all instances for which today's self-service system is not always a pleasurable experience. The delegation model will make that easier and more accessible: tap on the screen, and the system will understand and complete the desired request.

Semantic voice search on smartphones is just at the beginning. We are going to see more and more applications that are integrated not only with the web, but also with our whole environment at home, at work or even in our favorite stores. Soon, users will be able to access anything from their phone with a quick and easy voice command. The dream of a true personal assistant that can use voice input to interact with smartphone users is becoming a reality. Maybe, ten years from now, we will think of the tiny keyboards and the correction features as relics of the past.

Series Supported by SES San Francisco Conference & Expo

The Future of Search Series is supported by SES San Francisco Conference & Expo. Join more than 6,000 marketers August 15-19 at the Moscone Center for five days of education, inspiration and conversations with the most important voices online. Learn about the industry’s most pressing developments — everything from Google Panda to YouTube LIVE — and every essential topic, including email, display, mobile, search, social media, video and more. Register with “MASH20″ to save 20%. Join the discussion: #SESSF.

More Search Resources from Mashable:

- How Semantic Search Is Redefining Traditional & Social Media
- The Future of Social Search
- How Google & Bing Keep Spam Out of Search
- HOW TO: Get the Most Out of Advanced Social Media Search
- 4 Winning Strategies for Social Media Optimization

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Dizzo

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Facebook Preparing for $100 Billion IPO in Early 2012 [REPORT]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 11:24 AM PDT

Facebook is preparing itself for an IPO that could easily top $100 billion, according to a new report.

At $100 billion, Facebook’s impending IPO would be one of the largest in history, quadrupling Google’s $23 billion IPO in 2004.

CNBC says the social networking giant is likely to go public during the first quarter of 2012, less than nine months from now. That falls in line with a May 2012 deadline when Facebook will be required to publicly report its financial information, regardless of whether it’s a private or public company.

The $100 billion valuation isn’t a surprise — there were reports last month that Facebook’s IPO could easily top $100 billion, thanks to huge consumer and investor appeal. In fact, if LinkedIn’s stellar IPO is any indication, Facebook’s valuation could hit the stratosphere the day it hits the public markets.

Goldman Sachs is in the driver’s seat to underwrite the IPO, thanks to its $450 million investment in Facebook earlier this year. Facebook and Goldman might want to hurry, though: The social network’s growth is apparently slowing down.

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Google Confirms Admeld Buy

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 10:50 AM PDT

Google has purchased Admeld, a yield optimization firm, in a move to simplify the process of buying display ads.

The acquisition, which had been rumored last week, was confirmed on The Official Google Blog on Monday. In the post, Neal Mohan, Google's vice president of display advertising, explained the purchase as a way for Google to become more of a one-stop-shop for advertisers. "We often hear from major website publishers that ad management today is still mind-numbingly complicated and inefficient," Mohan wrote. "We've been investing in our publisher tools to try and improve this landscape and have made great progress, but we think we can do even better."

Mohan goes on to explain that there are a few different ways for publishers to sell ads — directly, indirectly via an ad network, or via an ad exchange or technology platform. The three options lead some publishers to hire a yield optimization provider like Admeld. Such firms supply technology "to select ads from across these many indirect options, while providing personalized service and support." The goal of the Admeld buy, Mohan writes, is to make display advertising simpler and more efficient.

Google's pending purchase comes as the display ad business is booming. The company, which just got into the business in 2009, has already surpassed Yahoo in market share, according to IDC. But, the Admeld purchase, which was reported to be in the $400 million range (Google did not confirm the figure), is likely to undergo heavy scrutiny from government regulators since Google is already dominant in search advertising.

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Boxee’s Mac, Windows & Linux Software To Get Major Updates

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 10:17 AM PDT

Boxee users on Mac OS X, Windows or Linux can expect a major update to the media center with a social twist later this fall.

On the official Boxee blog, Boxee CEO and co-founder Avner Ronen wrote that the Boxee team is working on delivering a new version of the downloadable Boxee software to end users that better matches the software that ships with the Boxee Box by D-Link.

Ronen goes on to explain the reasons for delays in the development of the Boxee software, noting that “We know Boxee users on computers have been frustrated with the long wait.” The reason for the wait, as most users have probably surmised, is the Boxee Box.

When Boxee first started in 2007, it wanted to build its own set-top box but realized that the cost in developing such a product was out of reach. Thus, the company focused instead on building software to run on Mac computers, Apple TV devices and Windows and Linux PCs. In 2009, flush with funding and a hardware partner, the dreams of building a box became an attainable reality.

Ronen writes:

“The effort to build the Boxee Box involved writing on a completely new OS, handling a totally different and more involved setup process, support for new security mechanisms, writing a new browser, integrating new hardware libraries for video, audio and graphics handling, and many more tasks. It was (and still is) an enormous task for a relatively small team, keeping in mind that we weren’t ‘starting from scratch’ — we were adapting a product and code base that already existed which is considerably harder.”

We’re impressed with Ronen’s transparency in the matter, even if the answer isn’t something Boxee fans like hearing. The goal is to bring the downloadable version more in-line with the CE version and to keep development better aligned in the future.

For do-it-yourself media server fans, Boxee — even without significant updates — remains a good choice. Still, other platforms, notably XBMC (the project Boxee is based on) and Plex are both charging ahead with development and new features. XBMC has experienced a renaissance of sorts in the last year, with builds available for a growing number of platforms and a host of new features.

Do you still use Boxee on your media PC or have you moved to something else?

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4 Tips For Interviewing Long-Distance Job Candidates

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 10:00 AM PDT

The Digital Careers Series is supported by Elance, the world's leading site for online work. Check out Startup Cloud for tips on how to build a remote team.

As more and more freelancers and employees work from home, there’s a good chance your next hire might be located many miles away from HQ. Although this brings many benefits to both the employer and employee, one area which can be a challenge is the job interview process.

Flying candidates out to meet you is too costly for some small companies, meaning a long-distance job interview is the only option. Interviewing is a skill in itself, and adding the element of distance can make it even more tough.

We’ve spoken to some experts in the area to bring you four tips for how to successfully interview long-distance.

1. Practice Makes Perfect

Interviewing is a skill like any other. It’s one thing to pen a set of questions, but quite another to use those as a basis for a successful and informative conversation, especially when you’re not in the same room as the candidate. It’s well worth running through a mock interview with an existing employee to see how well the questions flow, if the order works and to adjust as is best.

Additionally, if you’re using tech during the interview, such as a video webchat program or screen-sharing software, do at least one dry run before the actual interview to make sure you know exactly how it all works and that you are comfortable with the setup so you can concentrate on what the candidate is saying, rather than on technical issues.

And, if you’re going down the video webchat route, but are personally not that experienced at being on the small screen, then log some time in front of your webcam to get comfortable.

“Video interviews, although growing in popularity, are still not as widespread as you might think. The parties, even the recruiters, are still somewhat uncomfortable with being on camera. Although the same face is seen in real life, many people just don’t like the way they look on cameras. For a recruiter to use video tools effectively they need to be comfortable with the technology and comfortable in their own skin,” advises Michael D. Haberman, SPHR, vice president of Omega HR Solutions.

“Both take practice. The recruiter wants to come off as polished. You need to be aware of your mannerisms. Things which you do, such as blinking, looking away, etc., which would seem normal in a face-to-face become magnified on video. Despite the fact that you don’t actually have someone physically in front of you, you must remember that you can still be seen, and some people have lapses.”

2. Be Clear About Objectives

There may be many stages to your long distance interview process — an initial, more informal chat to arrange a more formal, longer phone interview, a video interview, and maybe even a demonstration or skills-based session.

It’s only fair to let your interviewee know exactly what to expect. This includes giving an estimate of how long you’d expect the session to last, what they should have on hand, any previous work examples to provide to you in advance, who will be on the call and what you’re hoping to get out of that stage of the interview.

And, always allow time at the end of every stage for the interviewee to ask you questions. What they ask (and how) can be as telling as some of their responses to your queries.

3. Keep Things Professional

“Do treat a telephone interview like any other face-to-face interview. It is tempting to treat a telephone interview more casually, but set clear objectives and stick to them,” suggests Andrew Spence, HR consultant for Glass Bead Consulting and author of the HR Transformer Blog.

Don’t forget that your candidate is also interviewing you and assessing your company’s prospects. Keeping the interview process as professional as possible — despite the fact you may both be taking part from your sofa — is important.

“Even though the interview is being done from your home, you still have to dress business professional for the interview,” confirms Haberman.

It might sound obvious, but for a phone or webchat interview ensure your cell phone is turned off, your laptop won’t start bleeping calendar reminders, no-one is going to burst in on you chatting, etc. Your candidate should likewise ensure the same, making for a calm and uninterrupted session.

4. Anticipate Awkward Silences

You might be lucky and just click with your interviewee, but chances are, even if they are a suitable candidate for the job, there will be the odd moment where you talk over each other, don’t catch what the person said, misconstrue meaning, etc. In these situations you need to try and smooth things along as best you can.

“Do try to build rapport, but don’t force it. Without being able to see the candidate’s non-verbal response, you might find there are some awkward silences and interruptions, but persevere without being domineering,” advises Spence.

Good communication is so much more important when you’re not face-to-face with someone. Ensure your interviewee clearly understands the questions you are asking. If they get stuck on something, offer to come back to that point, and if they’re getting fuddled or fudging an answer, step in with a firm but friendly manner to help them out.

If you give your candidate every chance to do well, you will get a better sense of their suitability for the role. Everyone gets nervous and flustered about an interview, the skill is not to get them to break down — but to rise up and show you their potential.

What other tips do you have for interviewing long-distance candidates? Let us know in the comments.

Series Supported by Elance

The Digital Careers Series is supported by Elance, where businesses hire and manage in the cloud for immediate access to the talent they need, when they need it. Elance offers the flexibility to staff up or down, and it's faster and less expensive than traditional staffing and outsourcing. Check out Startup Cloud to learn more.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, simoningate, numbeos, and Flickr, Xavi Calvo, Calsidyrose, Fotogravirus

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Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” Stars Rebecca Black, Glee Cast & More [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 09:45 AM PDT

Katy Perry’s ’90s-infused, B-list star-studded video for "Last Friday Night (TGIF)” has premiered on Funny Or Die, and we’re having enough nostalgia-induced panic attacks over here that we’re going to go ahead and pick the latter option.

Last week, we heard tell that the vid would feature such illustrious guest stars as YouTube pop princess, Rebecca Black. Now, after watching all eight minutes of the aforementioned video (yes, eight minutes) we know the guest stars also include: various Glee cast members, Hanson, Kenny G, Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson. Oh, and enough neon accoutrements to stock an entire chain of Contempo Casuals (RIP).

More About: Corey-Feldman, Debbie-Gibson, GLEE, hanson, humor, katy-perry, Kenny-G, music, pop culture, Rebecca Black, video

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CGI Baby Plays Guitar in Stealth Ad [VIDEO]

Posted: 13 Jun 2011 09:22 AM PDT

In a viral video that’s racked up more than 1 million views since going on YouTube June 6, a baby rocks out to the Black Keys with the help of CGI.

The video shows no overt reference to Ubisoft or its Rocksmith (besides a brief glimpse of the game on the TV), but because Rocksmith won’t be available for several months, at the earliest, we assume it’s a Ubisoft-created promo for the game.

Unruly Media also includes the video on its Mashable Global Ads Chart. Ubisoft reps could not be reached for comment.

SEE ALSO: 9 Viral Videos That Are Actually Advertising

Ubisoft introduced Rocksmith in March, shortly after Activision Blizzard announced it was shutting down the Guitar Hero franchise. Unlike Guitar Hero, Rocksmith uses a real guitar and promises to teach users to play the instrument.

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