Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Windows 8 Release Preview and Two Other Stories You Need to Know”

Friday, 1 June 2012 by Irwan K Ch

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Windows 8 Release Preview and Two Other Stories You Need to Know”


Windows 8 Release Preview and Two Other Stories You Need to Know

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 04:22 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. Today, we're looking at three particularly interesting stories.

Microsoft Launches Windows 8 Release Preview

As expected after an accidental leak on one of Microsoft’s blogs, Microsoft has released the Windows 8 Release Preview (RP). This version is an important milestone in the development of Windows 8, as it is probably the last major beta version of the OS before the final one, which should hit stores in late 2012.

Microsoft was kind enough to give us an advance look at Windows 8 RP; read our impressions here.

Samsung Sells 50 Million Galaxy S Devices

Samsung has announced it sold 24 million Galaxy S and 28 million Galaxy S2 smartphones, meaning 52 million Galaxy S devices have been sold to date.

Samsung also did good on the smartphone-tablet hybrid front, selling over 7 million Galaxy Notes so far.

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 Beta Now Available for Download

Research in Motion has launched BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 beta, bringing improvements for the tablet’s portrait mode — Email, Calendar and Contacts apps are now supported. The update also brings better support for Android apps and full device encryption.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mattjeacock

More About: blackberry, features, first to know series, galaxy s, mashable, microsoft, samsung, Windows 8

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Network of Homeless Newspapers Tries QR-Code Digital Edition

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 03:03 AM PDT

Joan  Maree - Street Papers Vendor

Since 1994, the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) has worked with the homeless to sell locally-produced newspapers or magazines as a way for them to earn a decent living.

The Glasgow, Scotland-based non-profit helps journalists set up weekly or monthly publications in cities globally. Homeless vendors buy the papers at a 50%+ discount and sell them for the full cover price. Profits are theirs to keep.

The organization wants to be prepared for a digital future — when consumers are digesting media widely on their smartphones and tablets. There are currently 122 editions of street papers, in 24 languages, that are available only in print.

“It was important to maintain the personal face-to-face model of the street papers initiative,” Maree Aldam, INSP network services manager, tells Mashable.

Many media outlets are facing drops in circulation and more modest ad revenue these days. For INSP, it’s complicated. The NGO must figure out how to bring their paid publications onto the web while preserving the personal interaction that homeless vendors rely on.

“The reason why people buy street papers is slightly different than why consumers buy any other paper,” Aldam says. “It’s partly because of the connection to the vendor and doing some good as well. It’s a part of the reason why circulation isn’t affected as much as the print media.”

Street Papers reaches 6 million readers worldwide with an “ever-growing circulation” in 40 countries. However, Aldam says: “things are changing so quickly with digital innovation. We’d like the model to be around and still be able to provide street papers for vendors to earn an income. It’s a way to stay ahead of the game.”

Digital Street Papers

The INSP is kicking off their first Digital Street Paper Project pilot in July. Homeless vendors will be armed with print and digital copies — for the same price. Readers can access the web-based publications with a printed coupon. Each card will come with a unique QR code. When the QR code is scanned on a mobile device, the digital edition will appear along with a personalized message from the vendor.

The project is currently on Kickstarter. INSP is hoping to raise an initial goal of $5,000. The money will go towards developing and maintaining the digital version of UK’s Big Issue in the North — a recognizable weekly magazine that sells for £2 an issue.

SEE ALSO: Magazines Get Serious About Ecommerce

Raising $10,000 — double the Kickstarter goal — will help kick off the second digital pilot in Chicago.

It’s all about learning from these initial pilot programs, representatives say. The pilot programs will help INSP streamline the process to make it as applicable as possible.

“There’s a lot for us to learn,” Aldam says. “The idea is that we want to build on this and eventually make this technology available for any street newspaper who wishes to use it in our network.”

Vendor-of-The-Big-Issue-in-the-North-UKPhoto-by-Rebecca-LuptonTheir network is huge — and still growing. More than 200,000 homeless vendors have received a hand up from the project. There are 12,000 vendors on the streets in the world at any one time, according to INSP’s latest estimates. The goal is ultimately bringing social justice by providing a fair way for homeless individuals to earn a decent wage.

“The important thing is it doesn’t change the model of the street paper,” Aldam says. “It’s still about journalism and independent medium. The vendors are still selling on the street and they have that connection with their customers and readers.”

As traditional outlets look towards their online options for ad revenue, the network of street papers is hoping their organic solution to preserve vendor interaction of the street will benefit the global homeless population.

Images courtesy of the International Network of Street Papers

More About: magazines, Mobile, newspapers, Social Good, Social Media

For more Mobile coverage:


Avoid Dirty Beaches With Swim Guide App

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 12:43 AM PDT


A newly released app called the Swim Guide directs users to the closest and cleanest beaches. Water quality data is sourced from government agencies to provide user information on the water cleanliness for more than 300 California beaches.

Created by the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network of 200 water protection groups around the globe, the app is available for iOS and Android devices.

"Every year, millions of people get sick from coming into contact with polluted water at their local beaches," Pete Nichols, western director for the Waterkeeper Alliance said in a statement.

"The Swim Guide provides a free, easy to use, way for beach goers to find a beach where their families can swim and enjoy the beach safely, " he continued.

The Swim Guide has information on more than 1,300 beaches in California, Miami, Fla., Mobile, Ala., the Great Lakes, British Columbia and Alberta. Currently, the app is mostly focused on beaches in California. Eventually, it will expand to include beaches throughout North America, wrote TreeHugger.com.

The purpose of the Swim Guide app is to help beach goers avoid dirty beaches, but it also connects with your social networks so users can share photos of their beach days. Use the app to find directions to the beach, view photos and read beach rules.

With summer coming, apps related to outdoor activities have been popping up with more frequency — for example the rip tide awareness app.

Would an app like this influence your summer beach trips? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, luoman

More About: App, apps, beach, vacation


UK Gets Its First Intel-Powered Smartphone

Posted: 31 May 2012 08:51 PM PDT


Europe will be getting its first Intel-powered smartphone next month — in the form of a handset named San Diego.

Originally codenamed Santa Clara, the phone will be available exclusively on Orange in the United Kingdom starting on June 6th. The handset is powered by an Intel Atom processor Z2460, and supports HSPA+ with the Intel XMM 6260 Platform.

The phone boasts a high-definition 4.03" screen, an 8-megapixel camera video 1080p video capture, and HD voice for outstanding audio quality for calls.

Customers will also be able to access T-Mobile’s signal on the phone, giving them access to signal in more places throughout the UK.

While Intel’s processors dominate the computer market, most smartphones currently use ARM processors.

The company announced, in March at Mobile World Congress, plans to bring an Intel-powered smartphone to the UK running its Medfield chip. It designated 2012 as the year that Intel-powered smartphones will finally hit the big time. The first Intel-powered smartphone launched in India in April with the Xolo X900.

SEE ALSO: Could Your Next Smartphone Have Intel Inside?

Intel was showing off a prototype of its phones at CES this year. We were able to spend a little bit of time with a prototype Android phone and were impressed with the handset’s ability to render 3D graphics while responding to touch and using the phone’s accelerometer.

Currently there are no plans to bring an Intel phone to the United States. Motorola is tapped as the likely phone manufacturer to use the chips — but it will probably hold off on including them until it sees how devices do in other countries.

According to ExtremeTech, the Medfield chip’s purpose is to just "earn seat at the table" in the smartphone war, something it should be able to do.

The question is whether it can hold its own against the competition and stay there.

The San Diego will be available on June 6th, and will be available free for Orange customers who sign up for a new 2-year contract. The phone will also be available for purchase by Pay As You Go customers.

More About: intel, Medfield, smartphone

For more Mobile coverage:


Meet Buyou, A One-Stop Shopping Mall for iPads

Posted: 31 May 2012 08:27 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: Buyou

Quick Pitch: Buyou is a virtual mall for the iPad.

Genius Idea: Puts popular stores in one simple interface, saving you from having to download and shop on different retail apps.


For Krish Jayaram, shopping on an iPad seemed more complicated than it should be.

"It's really inconvenient to shop on iPad apps because you have to seek out individual apps for each store, learn to navigate each one and then sign up to get updates from each store," Jayaram, founder of Buyou, told Mashable.

That's what led Jayaram to develop Buyou – a free iPad app that puts popular stores onto one simple interface for a seamless shopping experience.

Users can search through 32 popular stores on Buyou, and browse through featured items, sale items or different categories to find what they like. They can share their favorite items on Facebook and via e-mail, or add them to their wish list. Buyou's wish list lets you save items from different retailers all in one location.

The more you search, the more the app learns about your likes and dislikes. Buyou provides the stores with this information, and sends you updates about items you're interested in.

Although you can search for items, Buyou redirects you to the store's original website if you decide to buy something. The company receives an average of 6% commission for each purchase made from the app.

To save time searching for updates from your favorite stores, Buyou incorporates the retailers' social network activity right into the app. The "Social" button takes you to one screen that filters a retailer's activity from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Launched in April, Buyou's storefronts include Banana Republic, Express, 1-800-Flowers.com, Gap, Zales, Nine West, Oakley, Sharper Image and Wine.com. The company is in the process of adding 125 other stores.

What do you think of Buyou? Tell us in the comments.


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: bizspark, ecommerce, online tools, shopping

For more Business coverage:


How Instagram Is Taking Over Major League Baseball

Posted: 31 May 2012 07:56 PM PDT

Instagram and baseball have a few things in common — they both invite reflection and facilitate nostalgia, for example.

Now it seems they go together like 7th Inning and stretch. The photo sharing network is completely dominating in Major League ballparks this season.

A month into the 2012 season, there has already been a 400% increase in Instagram photos posted from big league parks compared to the entire 2011 season.

In total, more than 40,000 photos of ballparks have been posted to Instagram.

Which teams lead the charge? It’s no big surprise that the San Francisco Giants‘ hometown AT&T Park is the biggest filtered photo magnet, with almost 6,000 posts so far this year.

The Giants are extremely active in social media, play in a gorgeous stadium and are located in the heart of the American tech scene. In fact, Instagram grew into a billion dollar company not far from AT&T Park.

Yankee Stadium, Atlanta’s Turner Field, Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Boston’s Fenway Park round out the top five.

The social media tool VenueSeen compiled these stats and more from publicly posted Instagram photos to create the infographic below. The company even broke down some of major league baseball’s primary rivalries to see which teams own Instagram bragging rights so far this season.

SEE ALSO: Baseball Home Openers: Social Media's Best Shots [PICS]

In the Battle of the Bay, the league-leading Giants dominate the Oakland Athletics by a tally of about 6,000 Instagram posts to about 1,400. The Yankees-Red Sox America League East rivalry, meanwhile, goes to the Yankees at a score of approximately 2,200 to 2,000.

Chicago’s Red Line Series has the Cubs dominating the White Sox, and the Philadelphia Phillies trounce the Pittsburgh Pirates for bragging rights in Pennsylvania.

Check out the infographic below for the fuller picture, and let us know in the comments — what’s your favorite ballpark filter?


Thumbnail image courtesy Poppy Wright, Flickr.

More About: infographic, instagram, Major League Baseball, sports

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Students Cite YouTube, Google, Wikipedia the Most [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 31 May 2012 07:33 PM PDT

When doing homework, many students turn to the same websites as they do when they’re surfing the web under other circumstances.

Four of the top ten most-cited websites on Easybib, a site used to create more than 500 million citations, are user-generated sites like Wikipedia and YouTube.

Meanwhile, Google is filling the niche research databases once dominated. A recent ethnographic study found that students referred to Google more than any other database when discussing their research habits.

When they did use the search engine, they had trouble finding appropriate sources within the results.

“Students are often ill-equipped to sufficiently evaluate or refine the results that are returned," Andrew Asher, an anthropologist at Bucknell University and one of the project leads, told Mashable in August. "…I don't think this is a problem limited to students."

On Thursday, Easybib is launching a campaign to promote digital literacy, which includes a promise to donate 5% of its institutional sales through August to the American Library Association.

The startup has compiled research on information literacy in the infographic below. Let us know what you make of it in the comments. Is the Internet dumbing students down?


Image courtesy of iStockphoto, Squaredpixels

More About: digital literacy, easybib, education


Top Swimmer to Quit Twitter During Olympics, Blames Trolls

Posted: 31 May 2012 06:29 PM PDT


Two-time gold medalist swimmer Rebecca Adlington will take a Twitter timeout during this summer’s Olympics in London.

Why? Because of trolls who send vile comments about her looks, she says.

Adlington has about 50,000 followers, and looks like a normal — albeit very fit — person. She interacts with Twitter followers and posts training and personal updates regularly.

But that level of engagement has apparently come with a price.

Adlington recently told the Associated Press the online hate is “awful” and gets under her skin.

"Even if there are 10 nice comments, you get one idiot,” she says. “I can't help the way I look … but that has nothing to do with my swimming."

As an athlete competing in her sport’s biggest event, Adlington says, “you don’t want that added stress.”

Adlington posted a message to her @BeckAdlington account on Thursday saying that, while she does find an Olympics break wise, she “would never” quit the social network outright. She also blocked at least one troll, posting this message Thursday after a lengthy back and forth:

On the other side of the female-Olympians-on-Twitter-spectrum, hurdler Lolo Jones has become a darling among media and fans. An attractive 29-year-old who recently spoke candidly to HBO’s Real Sports about remaining a virgin until marriage, Jones has added more than 20,000 followers — and increase of almost 40% — over the past two weeks.

This summer's games are being hyped as the most social Olympics ever, and the International Olympic Committee has made social engagement a high priority. Earlier this week, the IOC launched Foursquare check-ins, and last month unveiled an Olympics Athletes' Hub to connect fans with verified athlete Facebook and Twitter feeds as well as additional digital content.

Some stringent restrictions on what fans and athletes are allowed to post from where during the event, however, has some worried the Olympics won't end up being so social.

Who are the athletes you'll be following on social media during the Summer Olympics? Can it be more of a distraction than a help to them? Let us know in the comments.

Image via @BeckAdlington

More About: olympics, sports, trending, Twitter

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Beware the Laptop Mutants! Intel Launches Ultrabook Ivy Bridge Chips

Posted: 31 May 2012 06:04 PM PDT

intel-nikiski-600

Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Intel officially launched the next wave of its new processing technology Thursday — this one including the chips meant for ultra-thin laptops or, as Intel calls them, Ultrabooks.

The dual-core Ivy Bridge chips won’t just make for speedier, better performing laptops — it should also lead to never-before-seen hybrid designs. Mutant laptop-tablets, if you will. But that isn’t necessarily a great thing for consumers.

In a blog post Thursday, Intel said it would show off many PCs based on the new chips at next week’s Computex trade show. “There will be more choice in style with a variety of both traditional but sleek and ultra-thin clamshell designs,” the statement said, “as well as new convertible systems which means that the device can change physical form based on how you want to use it – in laptop or tablet mode.”

“Change physical form” is overstating things a little. These aren’t Transformers. But the designs are novel. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Yoga, which folds the screen over 360 degrees to convert from laptop to tablet is a good example, and there are others that remove their keyboards altogether.

SEE ALSO: Why You Should Get an Ivy Bridge PC

Some go even further. It’s only a prototype, but Intel’s Nikiski laptop (shown in the pic above and the gallery below) sports a large transparent touchpad. When it’s folded up, some of the screen is still visible through the touchpad — which can display a customized Windows 8 interface that lets the user do basic stuff, like check calendar appointments.

While the Nikiski itself isn’t coming to market, you can bet models like it are.

It’s an exciting time for laptops. Ivy Bridge is making bolder designs possible, and it’s hard not to see that as a good for the industry and designers. I’m just not so sure it’s going to be great for consumers — at least not in the short term.

crazy laptop hybridBuying a new laptop is an expensive proposition, something most people do every few years (I’m still riding a machine I bought in 2009). It’s a commitment, and more important, it presumes getting good support.

But what if you buy something with a crazy design that totally tanks? As early adopters who opted to buy the Nokia Booklet 3G, PowerMac G4 Cube or any “Ultra-Mobile PC” can tell you — you have junk, or at least a machine that gets a lot less useful a lot more quickly.

If the Intel’s hype is to be believed, we’re about to enter a period of varied and experimental laptop design. It’s exciting, but it’s also worth exercising a little caution in the coming months, at least when you’re thinking about where to spend real money.

We’re still not even sure if consumers will respond positively to touchscreens in laptops. While it makes some sense, especially when you consider Windows 8 is designed from the ground up for touch, it adds a significant premium (which is why full capacitive touchscreens are a rarity even in all-in-one designs), and there’s some evidence that the experience isn’t great.

So unless you count yourself a serious early adopter, take the interesting and unusual laptop designs we’re sure to see next week with some sizable chunks of salt. And if you’re in the market for a new model, plenty of manufacturers have designs that’ll suit you fine, even if they can’t bend backwards.


BONUS: Ultrabook Gallery: From Cool to Crazy



Acer Aspire S5




The skinny:
Claiming to be the "world's thinnest" Ultrabook, the Acer Aspire S5 measures just 0.68 inches at its thickest point and weighs just 3 pounds. It has a 13.3-inch screen.

Interesting feature:
Besides its überthinness, the S5 also boasts next-generation connectivity with a Thunderbolt port, with provides a high-speed connection to peripherals. Acer's Always Connect tech keeps the machine logged into services when it goes to sleep, and you can wake it up via smartphone.

Potential roadblock:
The price, which is currently unknown.

Bottom line:
The Aspire S5's thickness certainly comes in well under Intel's guidelines. If it can perform the same trick with the price, Acer will have scored a home run.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: intel, Ivy Bridge, laptops, Processors, Ultrabooks, Windows 8

For more Dev & Design coverage:


How to Prevent Price-Comparison Apps From Killing Your Business

Posted: 31 May 2012 05:31 PM PDT


Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Shannon Denton is the president of the central region for Razorfish. He is also executive sponsor of Razorfish's global practices focused on retail innovation, multi-channel commerce. and emerging experiences.

I've done it. You've probably done it, too. I tried to be discreet. I did my research, online then looked around the store and chose the Blu-ray DVD player that I wanted. I glanced carefully around to make sure nobody was watching, kept my smartphone low, and scanned the product barcode. Sure enough, I found a lower price online. And with a mix of guilt and glee, I showroomed the retailer.

As a consumer, I think showrooming — the act of checking out a product in a store then buying it online for a lower price — is awesome. But if you’re a retailer, it’s not so great. In fact, it’s a huge threat to your business. How big? Let's start with what we know: Online sales reached $200 billion last year, according to Forrester Research, with about half of online shoppers first doing some form of in-person product experience.

In a 2011 survey by the Codex Group, 39% of people who bought books from Amazon said they had looked at the book in a bookstore before buying it from Amazon.

That makes sense. Books and media have been the leading categories but electronics, apparel and furnishings are also feeling the heat. Forrester estimates that by 2015 10% of all retail will be online, and for some specific categories the figure could be as high as 40%. Thanks to showromming this could be a multi-billion dollar headache for many retailers. So what can they do?

To fight against showrooming, retailers tend to focus on two things: pricing and merchandising. Regarding pricing, some retailers provide store associates greater flexibility to price match. Though it may save an individual sale, this approach could be a race to the bottom and favors the online retailer who likely has a cost advantage. On the merchandising front, retailers are pushing for greater product differentiation and white labeling to eliminate the ability to compare products across retailers.

In particular, exclusives and celebrity labels have proven effective in the apparel category by creating customers loyal to a particular line — Target and Macy's have been well-documented success stories. However, exclusives can also lead to SKU proliferation, consumer confusion, and require strong advertising/promotional support. Finally, many consumers in various categories still seek out the well-known brands they know and love.

The best way retailers can compete against showrooming is by greatly enhancing their in-store experiences. Only a few years ago, interactive digital experiences in retail environments consisted of a website kiosk over in a corner. Today, large-screen, immersive digital experiences utilizing touch-screen and gesture-based interactions engage consumers in entirely new ways.

They can help consumers compare products, find the right color or style, visualize product combinations, and even try their favorite outfit on virtually. These digital in-store experiences show promise to counterattack showrooming in five ways:

  • 1. The Consumer can Finalize Their Decision in the Store
    A lot of people leave the store because they still aren't sure if the product is right for them. Digital experiences in the store can enable access to consumer reviews, interactive product specifications, videos, and product comparisons. Thus, the consumer can make the final decision in the store, increasing the chance the store gets the sale.
  • 2.The Retail Store Becomes the Most Convenient Option for Purchases
    OK, maybe I can't decide which item I want to buy while in the store. But when I do decide later, it often is just more convenient to search on Google or buy it on Amazon.com. Today, through near-field communications or wireless connectivity, it is possible to let consumers “move” a product they are researching in a store to a wish list or shopping cart on their smart phone. When I decide to buy it later, it's a single click away.
  • 3. It’s a Way to Overcome Barriers
    We all know holding expansive inventory isn't getting any cheaper for the retailer, which is why issues like out-of-stock items become barriers. Digital experiences allow retailers endless shelf space without traditional costs.
  • 4. It Empowers the Sales Associate
    Good ol' person-to-person selling still works sometimes –- as long as the associate is friendly and knowledgeable. The problem is, in most stores, the associate isn't that much help. On a recent visit to Nordstrom to buy a gift, the associate used her iPad to show me product options and store locations that had items in stock. She even offered to have a necklace sent over from another store that I could pickup in the morning. I ended up purchasing an item she had in her store because the service was personalized and I felt like I had been shown via the iPad a full range of options beyond the store's current inventory.
  • 5. It Leads to a Unique and Memorable Experience
    Immersive digital experiences such as virtual dressing rooms, augmented reality, and interactive fitting are fun and helpful at the same time. As retailers focus on creating unique experiences, digital can play a bigger role in developing that shopping experience.

For retailers, future shopping experiences will certainly include a mixture of in-store and online digital experiences that complement their physical presence, with a focus on the shopping. That will help address showrooming because a stronger overall customer experience will address many of the reasons this issue occurs in the first place.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, webphotographeer

More About: amazon, contributor, features, online sales


Beachgoers Beware: This App Warns of Rip Tides

Posted: 31 May 2012 05:08 PM PDT


A team from the Stevens Institute of Technology and the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) have developed an app to tell you where you can find beaches safe for swimming — sans rip tides –and which beaches to avoid.

Rip Current Awareness Week begins on June 3, and with good reason. Rip tides are the number one beach danger, according to WebMD.

Often appealing to swimmers because waters look calm on the surface, rip tides and undertows are unpredictable and can be deadly. And since most beaches do not have lifeguards, swimming in new or unfamiliar waters is a risk.

The smartphone app, for Blackberry, Android and iOS, will track real-time rip current threats entered into the data system by lifeguards who patrol the coast. Here’s how the team sees this working, according to a press statement:

A lifeguard with a smartphone in a participating community can travel down the beach and stop when a rip current is identified. Using the app, the lifeguard will enter basic information about the rip current (approximate size, strength, adjacency to a structure, etc), and record its location using the phone's built-in GPS. Lifeguards can also use the app or the web-interface to keep track of rescues via a free-form description field.

Lifeguards can also view reports of rid tides from the past 24 hours on a map or list. However, since most beaches don’t have lifeguards, the app won’t help all beachgoers — at least not yet.

NJSGC's Coastal Processes Specialist and Stevens Professor Jon Miller hopes to test the app in one or two coastal towns in New Jersey early this summer. Once it gets off the ground, the app could provide life-saving data to lifeguards and the National Weather Service, the group says.

Would you download this app before heading to the beach, or take your chances? Tell us in the comments.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto, FernandoAH

More About: App, apps, public safety


Candidate Changes Legal Name to ‘VoteForEddie.com’

Posted: 31 May 2012 04:40 PM PDT

In what may be the ultimate example of Search Engine Optimization by a politician, U.S. House of Representatives candidate Eddie Gonzalez legally changed his name to “VoteForEddie.com.”

Why make the switch? Florida law requires that a candidate’s legal name be printed on election ballots. By making the switch, voters picking Gonzalez will now select “VoteForEddie.com” come Election Day.

Gonzalez already has enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.

The move will also generate publicity for the candidate, who’s running as an independent without the backing of any major political party.

“Since I’m not under the wings or good graces of both political parties, I had to find a different way to get my message out there,” Gonzalez told The Associated Press.

Gonzalez is challenging five-term U.S. representative U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Miami) for his seat in the House. According to Gonzalez’s website, he’s running on a platform of reducing the United States’ dependency on foreign oil and cutting taxes for teachers, police officers and firefighters. He was born in 1980 to Cuban parents.

What’s the most novel Internet campaign you’ve seen a politician run? Tell us your opinion in the comments below.

More About: Florida, Politics, US


Apple-Like Solar-Powered Keyboard Controls Mac, iPad, iPhone

Posted: 31 May 2012 04:13 PM PDT


Love portable keyboards? You're going to want to see Logitech's latest offering.

The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 for Mac, iPad and iPhone lets you pair up to three of those devices at a time.

That means no more disconnecting and re-entering a code each time you want to switch between devices, from your Mac to your iPad, say. Just one push of a button does it.

The Solar panel means never having to change batteries again. The keyboard can be charged either from sunlight, if you like to work outside, or from indoor lamp light. Logitech says that fully powered, the keyboard will run for three months, based on an average 8 hours of use a day.

The new solar keyboard is an upgrade from the Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 we reviewed in 2010, and has some welcome improvements for Apple users.

For starters, it looks a lot like the regular Apple Wireless Keyboard; Logitech has designed the layout and keys to more closely resemble those on a Mac. The dedicated Home key works like the Home button on your iPad or iPhone.

The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K760 hits stores in the U.S. and Europe in June with a list price of $80. If this report is correct, it may be followed by another hot sun-fueled Apple gadget from Logitech: a solar-powered iPad case that can charge your tablet.

Logitech Brand Manager Todd Walker demos the keyboard in the video below:

Are you using a portable keyboard with your tablet? Have you tried a solar keyboard? Let us know how it's working for you in the comments.

More About: Bluetooth Keyboard, logitech, solar power, trending, wireless keyboard


FTC: We’ve Protected the Privacy of a Billion People

Posted: 31 May 2012 03:58 PM PDT

FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz at All Thing D D10

In an era where partisan bickering in Washington has created dysfunctional and ineffective gridlock, the Federal Trade Commission may be an island of bi-partisan accomplishment.

At least, that's how FTC Chair Jon Leibowitz sees it.

In a wide-ranging discussion with All Thing D's Walt Mossberg at the 10th annual D tech and business conference, Leibowitz described the FTC as "about as bipartisan as you can get."

The FTC's privacy cases against Google and Facebook have, Leibowitz contended, protected "the privacy of more than a billion people around the world."

That's pretty impressive for an organization that does not have the power to jail anyone. Its powers are limited to imposing fines and working with companies on ameliorative measures.

In the case of Facebook, the FTC's oversight means that if at any time during the next 20 years Facebook changes its privacy policy, it has to offer users the right to opt in. In other words, Facebook can no longer change first and tell you later. You choose to enable the new settings.

The other big change is that now, if you leave the social network, you can take your information with you. The FTC created a similar settlement agreement with Google. Leibowitz acknowledged that the FTC is still investigating Google for anticompetitive practices, but wouldn’t say more than that they are trying to figure out if the evidence is there to pursue such a case.

Leibowitz was insistent that consumers, not web sites, own their information. He is not, though, anti-Google or Facebook and told the D10 audience that the services bring "tremendous value" to consumers. However, that admiration does not mean the FTC will pull back on trying to protect consumers' online rights. Leibowitz outlined three areas of focus:

Privacy by Design:

According to Leibowitz, developers should envision privacy settings and controls as they are building their services and not have to add or radically improve them after the fact.

Transparency:

Leibowitz described a mobile privacy policy that required 102 clicks to get through (he joked that you might not want to do it while driving). Privacy information, Leibowitz said, should be as simple and straight forward as "the nutrition guide on the side of a cereal box."

Choice:

For the FTC, this means the option to choose whether or not you want to be tracked. Thus far, all major Web browsers have introduced do not track settings, but Web site purveyors need to get on board, as well.

"If we knew 15 years ago what we know now, maybe more of the Internet would have been opt in now," lamented the FTC Chair.

Leibowitz, however, is confident that Web sites will be engaged in self-regulation of third-party cookies by the end of the year. Leibowitz calls a Do Not Track for third party cookies "a pretty modest proposal" for these companies and one that most of them support.

There is the question, however, if these changes will satisfy consumers who, Leibowitz told us, have only "a vague, inchoate understanding of what Websites are doing with their information."

Even so, he does think everyone understands that the services, information and entertainment Web sites deliver is funded by advertising and "no one wants to undermine them," he added.

The FTC is also looking at other parts of our online experience. Leibowitz said they're seeking to update COPA (the Child Online Protection Act) for the first time in years. Proposed changed include:

1. An opt-in from parents before web sites can track kids' online activities
2. Parental permission for geolocation of children under 12.

There's no timeline for implementing these changes, though. The FTC is still collecting public comments; Leibowitz said they have about 100 really good ones.

Leibowitz also responded to concerns about the ages of children on Facebook and acknowledged that there are likely many who are 11 or 12 years old (the official sign-up age is 13). It's a complicated issue, said Leibowitz, since underage children have often spoken to their parents before creating the account.

"If a parent lets their child on at age 12, at least the parent is the gatekeeper," said Leibowitz.

Do you think the FTC has been as successful in protecting your online privacy as Leibowitz says? What more can and should the FTC be doing to ensure your online rights are protected. Tell us in the comments.

More About: Facebook, FTC, Google, privacy, US


Too Funny: Google wants .LOL Domain

Posted: 31 May 2012 03:32 PM PDT

Google - 600

Google has applied to control a slew of domain names that are not only related to its core business but have “interesting and creative potential.”

The company announced on its blog on Thursday that it has submitted applications to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for the following domains: .google, .youtube, .doc and .lol.

ICANN, which assigns top-level domains to sites worldwide, will announce in June which domains will be added to the existing list that includes “.com” or “.gov.”

“In 2016, it's estimated that almost half of the world's population will be online, yet nearly 50 percent of the websites we visit are found in the .com top-level domain (TLD), which was among the first TLDs created in 1984,” Google wrote on its Official Blog.

“Despite the great opportunities the web has enabled for people around the world, there is still a lingering question about the diversity of the domain space (given that the number of generic TLDs has only increased by 14 in the last 28 years).”

Google aims to grow the number of TLDs in four categories, such as trademarks (such as .google), those related to its core business (.docs), ones that improve the user experience and increase the identification of certain genres (.youtube) and fun options (.lol).

The search engine giant also noted that it plans to keep security and abuse prevention top of mind in creating a positive experience for web users.

“We're just beginning to explore this potential source of innovation on the web, and we are curious to see how these proposed new TLDs will fare in the existing TLD environment,” the company says.

“By opening up more choices for Internet domain names, we hope people will find options for more diverse — and perhaps shorter — signposts in cyberspace.”

What do you think of Google’s choice for new top-level domain names? Which ones would you like to see pop up on the web? Let us know in the comments.

More About: Google, ICANN

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Which Summer Blockbusters Are Getting the Most Social Buzz?

Posted: 31 May 2012 03:20 PM PDT


Mashable’s mRank is presented by the Samsung Galaxy Note, a smarter phone for a smarter world. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #benoteworthy on Twitter.

With the summer movie season now upon us, it’s time to take a look at the summer films getting the most social buzz online.

We’ve consulted our very own chatter-tracker, mRank, to rank the buzz surrounding the biggest movies hitting theaters this summer. Mashable’s mRank monitors the social mentions for films across Twitter, Facebook and blogs to get an in-depth look into what everyone is talking about on the social web.

Unsurprisingly, Marvel’s The Avengers — which has already grossed more than $1.3 billion worldwide and has been dubbed “the first all-star movie by design” — leads in social mentions. The film, starring a cadre of celebrities including Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, has been the talk of social media since its release earlier this month. It has steadily dominated mRank’s leaderboard week-over-week, holding fast at the top spot among other blockbuster contenders.

It looks like The Avengers are starting to get some competition, however, from Sony’s Men in Black 3 and Universal’s upcoming Snow White and the Huntsman. Highly anticipated three-quel MIB 3 has flirted with the top of the leaderboard, and its overtaking of The Avengers at the domestic box office indicates that social media dominance is not too far off.

However, the Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron-helmed Snow White and the Huntsman has also been gaining interest on the Internet leading up to its June 1 debut — it’s currently sitting pretty at the top of the board today and could be a candidate for long-term leaderboard residence.

SEE ALSO: June Movie Preview: Summer Blockbusters Get Social

Other films with lots of buzz include Fox’s sci-fi sizzler Prometheus, Warner Bros.’s surefire hit The Dark Knight Rises and Universal’s Ted. DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar 3 and Disney/Pixar’s Brave are also getting lots of buzz — especially on Twitter and Facebook.

We’re really impressed with the social buzz following the R-rated comedy Ted. The film’s release date was recently bumped up (after G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra was delayed until March 2013) and the vast majority of the buzz for the film has been built entirely online.

With very little television or radio advertisements, Ted has almost 350,000 likes on Facebook, a popular Twitter account and a frequently updated Tumblr. Moreover, the two trailers for the film — both the red-band restricted trailer and the “acceptable for all audiences” version — have been viewed more than 15 million times on YouTube.

Check out a screenshot from today’s rankings below. What is your must-see film of the summer? Let us know in the comments.


mRank presented by Samsung

Mashable’s mRank is presented by the Samsung Galaxy Note, a smarter phone for a smarter world. Get ready to unleash your creativity and productivity. Check it out here, follow @SamsungMobileUS or join the conversation via #benoteworthy on Twitter.

More About: features, mashable, men in black, mrank, snow white, summer blockbuster, the avengers

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How Is Your Startup Improving Urban Life? [CONTEST]

Posted: 31 May 2012 02:57 PM PDT


For more than a year, Mashable has brought our readers the Global Innovation Series to highlight the latest innovations in urban mobility. Presented by BMW i, who provide mobility services for the urban environment, this series covers a range of topics from new forms of transportation to reimagining architecture, as well as technology innovations that improve quality of life in cities around the world.

On July 16, 2012, Mashable and BMW i will unite in Berlin to bring the Global Innovation Series to life through a one-day event at the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a mobile laboratory that explores new and innovative ideas for urban life.

Mashable, the BMW i team behind Mobility Services and a diverse set of thought leaders will headline an exclusive series of one-on-one conversations, workshops and presentations that explore how technology can make cities more mobile and efficient.

From new forms of digital media and cutting edge mobile apps to creative uses of space and architecture, we'll address a range of topics that will transform urban life in an increasingly connected world.

As part of the event, Mashable and BMW i are pleased to announce the Global Innovation Series startup contest. Three startups based in the United States that are building or using technology to improve urban life will compete for a chance to present at the Global Innovation Series in Berlin.

To enter the Global Innovation Series startup contest, apply online and tell us how your startup is improving urban life.

Submit your application

Three of these startups will send a representative to present the company’s work on stage at the Global Innovation Series on July 16, 2012, at the BMW Guggenheim Lab. The audience will be comprised of leaders in technology and digital across multiple industries.

Application criteria include:

  • Company headquarters must be based in the U.S.
  • Company is building or using technology to improve urban life.
  • Company has been in operation for at least a year with a product/technology/site that is public facing at the time of application.

Complete rules can be found here.

A travel stipend, roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations for two nights in Berlin will be provided to the three winners who will present at the Global Innovation Series.

The deadline for entering the contest is June 15, 2012. Mashable editors will judge submissions, and winners will be announced on June 20, 2012 on Mashable.com.

More About: Berlin, BWM i, contest, Global Innovation Series, Startups

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Steve Jobs Hated iMac, Wanted to Call it ‘MacMan’ [VIDEO]

Posted: 31 May 2012 02:41 PM PDT

Instead of an iMac, you might have a MacMan — if it wasn’t for Kevin Segall.

In an excerpt from his upcoming book published by Fast Company, Segall, the man behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign tells the story of the first time he saw the iMac.

In true Apple form, Jobs made everyone invited to a meeting wait to see the computer, then whipped a gray sheet off the device to reveal the computer that would put Apple back on the map.

"The group let out a collective "holy cow" and simply tried to absorb and appreciate what we were seeing–because it shattered every idea of what computers were supposed to look like," Segall write in the excerpt. "It was a colorful one-piece computer that showed off its inner circuitry through a semitransparent shell.

“I'd like to believe we were all so smart that within seconds we were convinced that we were witnessing the start of a miracle resurgence. But it wasn't quite like that."

Once the computer was on the fast-track to production, the group was called together once again to come up with a name for the revolutionary device. Segall recounts Steve Jobs saying to the group, "We already have a name we like a lot, but I want you guys to see if you can beat it. The name is 'MacMan.' "

After comparing the name to both Sony’s Walkman and the popular arcade game PacMan Segall suggested the name that finally stuck: iMac. Keeping the Mac in the name to let you know who made the computer, and adding the i to indicate that the computer was designed to be used on the internet.

The iMac name was not originally a hit with Jobs. It took a few attempts and a little persuasion to get him to stray from the MacMan name.

Jobs also had the new name silk-screened onto the model of the computer to see how it looked before finally settling on the name, one that would define not only that computer but a legacy of i products in the future.

Would the iMac have been as successful if it had been named MacMan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

More About: apple, iMac, steve jobs


Romney Gaffe Could Pay Off for Chinese Owner of Amercia.com

Posted: 31 May 2012 02:22 PM PDT


Forget the American dream for a moment. It’s time you knew about the Amercian dream.

The true tale of the Amercian Dream begins with a father and son. It is a story of geopolitics, immigrant dreams and the peculiar connections only the Internet can create.

And it may yet have a happy and lucrative ending.

It starts with a man named John Chen in Shanghai, China, who loves America so much that one day in July of 2009 he bought the slightly misspelled web domain Amercia.com.

What he didn’t know then was that a viral gaffe in a smartphone app by an American presidential candidate three years later might help him achieve one of his goals in life — sending his young boy to a university in the United States.

Chen used to work as a reporter at a news agency, he told Mashable in an email, and admired the United States’ freedom of the press. Today he tells his six-year-old son, whom he named Blue Sky, that the “USA is the first real democratic country in the human history.” (That’s Blue Sky and John in the photo above.)

When Blue Sky was four he told his father that he wanted to dedicate his life to helping others. John responded that to do so he should first study in America, “because USA is powerful, he can get help to help more people.”

The boy became a sponge for American culture. John has recorded YouTube videos of Blue Sky reciting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the Gettysburg Address and the Declaration of Independence (blindfolded, no less).

There’s also a video of Blue Sky covering country singer Lee Greenwood’s hit “God Bless the U.S.A.


Amercia: From $100 to $9,000


When John bought Amercia.com for $100 on July 27, 2009, he knew it was misspelled.

But that didn’t really matter, he writes Mashable: “For us, Amercia is so near to America, and it makes us feel so close to the USA and it also reminds us that we must work hard to get near to our soul land.”

In the soul land, 34 months after John bought the symbolic domain name, Mitt Romney released an official iPhone app designed to rally support for his bid for the American presidency. The app let people take a photo, then layer one of an assortment of text banners over that photo to show their love.

One banner, however, read “A Better Amercia.” Within hours, the Twittersphere and Internet at large lit up with ridicule and humor as the typo became a viral meme.

Within 24 hours, John received four emails from people interested in buying Amercia.com. A year prior, John had posted a message on Amercia.com indicating that the site was available for purchase. He had received just two inquiries before Romney‘s digital team inadvertently created the Amercia legend.

Puzzled, John searched for “Amercia” and discovered the cause of the sudden surge in interest.

The domain appraisal site EstiBot.com says Amercia.com is worth $9,000.

Three of John’s first four inquiries simply asked his selling price, while the fourth offered a potential buying range he prefers to keep confidential. John traced two of the addresses back to coder forums, and was unable to find the other two online.

Could they have been Romney staffers? Pro-Obama PAC workers? John doesn’t know.

John says “something like” $6,000 or $7,000 would likely be enough for him to sell. The money would go toward Blue Sky’s education fund, so he can study in the United States — and realize his family’s Amercian dream.

“As parents, we wish him healthy and happy, and the most important is, live in a country of freedom,” John writes. “That’s why we tell him, ‘Smile, Laugh, Live a Powerful Life.’

“That’s why I point at the bird at the sky, tell him, ‘People should live like a bird, fly over the sky, that’s why we call you Blue Sky.’”


BONUS: ‘Amercia’ and Twitter



1. @danielpunkass




Click here to view this gallery.

Thumbnail image courtesy of John Chen

More About: Mitt Romney, Politics, trending


5 Productivity Hacks for the Startup CEO

Posted: 31 May 2012 01:45 PM PDT


Ashish Rangnekar is the CEO and Co-Founder of BenchPrep, a marketplace and learning platform for exam prep and assessment courses. Follow him @ashishrangnekar.

Startups are all about speed, efficiency, and maniacal focus. It's exactly this breakneck pace and agility that enables them to beat large corporations at their own game. The startup CEO must also embody this speed and efficiency while managing exponential growth and, very often, the pains that come with it.

SEE ALSO: Bad Tech Etiquette to Avoid at Work

While a startup can grow from two to 100 employees and one to one million users, its CEO remains with just 24 hours a day to manage it all. That can be daunting, overwhelming, and exhausting if you lose focus. To stay on top, here are five simple, yet very powerful, productivity hacks.


1. Focus on Three Priorities a Day


Before you start the day — at the office, home or on the road — jot down three important tasks that you must finish that day at any cost. No more, no less. Just three. Of course, you may have to work on ten other things and stop to put out fires, but identifying and planning your entire day around these priorities enables you to maintain focus and keep critical tasks from getting lost in the fray.


2. Leave 10 Minutes for Email


Continuous access to an avalanche of emails can make you feel obligated to frequently check your email. But few emails require immediate attention, and taming the email beast can be a tremendous drain on productivity. Instead, set aside 10 minutes each hour to check and reply to emails. There is no need to write long dissertations with thoughtfully articulated openings and endings. You are busy and so is the next person. Keep it short. When necessary, handle critical issues that demand immediate attention with internal chat.


3. Make 20-Minute Meetings the Norm


As your team and responsibility grows, so can the number of meetings that sap your productivity, and that of your team. Every discussion does not require a 60-minute session. In fact, probably 95% of these conversations can be handled in 20 minutes or less. But you have to set appropriate expectations. Start by changing the default meeting length in your calendar tool to 20 minutes. In the long term, this will improve the overall efficiency and clarity of your communication, and encourage the entire team to communicate more quickly and with fewer words.


4. Give Yourself a 30-Minute Head Start


A CEO should be three steps ahead of the competition, two steps ahead of investors/partners, and a step ahead of other team members. An easy way to stay ahead is to start ahead. Begin your day 30 minutes before your stakeholders. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to be in the office 30 minutes before everyone. The idea is to anticipate issues and tasks before anyone else and get a jump on them early in the day. Also, before leaving the office each day, plan for things you know will need to be handled the next day. Perhaps even drop an email to your team so that it’s waiting in their inbox the next morning.


5. Have a 40-Minute Chill Out


Hacks or no hacks, managing time is a challenging task and it can wear you down quickly. Be smart about productivity and don't adhere to the theory of “just work hard” no matter what the cost. You must make time to clear your head, focus your thoughts, and relax. Otherwise, you’ll burn out. Step away for about 40 minutes every five hours to re-energize and regain your focus. Lunch with the team is a great way to relax, yet utilize the time toward achieving a greater goal. Casual lunch conversations will help take your mind off work while building a great relationship with colleagues.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andrearoad

More About: Business, contributor, features, Small Business, Startups

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SpaceX Founder: ‘I’m Overwhelmed With Joy’

Posted: 31 May 2012 01:16 PM PDT


Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, is on cloud nine after his company’s Dragon spacecraft successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean late Thursday morning.

“This has been a fantastic day,” said Musk during a press debriefing held a few hours after the landing. “I’d like to thank NASA and the whole SpaceX team for doing an amazing job. This really couldn’t have gone better. I’m just overwhelmed with joy.”

Musk admitted that he spent most of the mission thinking about what could go wrong with the flight.

“When you’ve been deeply involved in the design of a complex machine, when you see it operate, you know all the things that can go wrong,” said Musk. “When I was looking at the rocket and the spacecraft, I was thinking about the thousands of ways it could fail. This may sound sort of odd, but when you see it actually work you’re sort of surprised.

“Which is not to say that we didn’t expect it work,” added Musk, “you can just see see so many ways it can fail and then you’re like, ‘wow, it didn’t fail.’”

The Dragon’s success is SpaceX’s gain. Alan Lindenmoyer, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew & Cargo Program, was gushing with optimism about SpaceX’s future role in delivering cargo to the International Space Station.

SEE ALSO: Confirmed: SpaceX Dragon Ferried 'Scotty's' Remains Into Space

“We’ve been waiting for this day, and it’s a certainly been a tremendous day,” said Lindenmoyer during the debriefing. “We’re hoping to move forward now to routine regular cargo shipments. I don’t think it’s going to take us very long to make the formal determination that this was a very successful mission and that [SpaceX] is well on their way to start delivering regular services.”

Musk did, however, concede that the Dragon encountered at least one challenge while flying high above the Earth: a faulty laser-based guidance system created a minor hiccup during the birthing process. However, astronauts on board the ISS were able to correct the problem after the craft hooked up to the space station.

“On approach, we had slight trouble with LIDARs — laser-based radar,” said Musk. “It was a little flaky coming in, but we made adjustments while [Dragon] was on the ISS and eliminated that as a concern in the future.”

During the re-entry, Musk sat at SpaceX mission control in California, anxiously watching data sent from the Dragon tear across his monitors. However, he knew that if something went wrong at that point, there was very little he could do about it. He didn’t relax until he saw the main parachutes deploy, to him an indication that everything would be fine.

Musk called the mission a “grand slam” overall, adding that he hoped it would inspire young people to join the space industry.

“I hope that today’s events were really inspiring, and I encourage people to go into the space industry,” said Musk. “I think we’re at the dawn of a new era in space travel where there’s going to be a huge opportunity and lots of things happening.”

Up next for Musk?

“We’ll continue to upgrade the technology and push the frontier of space exploration,” he said, referring to hauling more than just cargo to the International Space Station, but launching astronauts and satellites into space as well.

How would you feel to be in Musk’s shoes today? Tell us in the comments below.

More About: elon musk, NASA, space, SpaceX, US

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Facebook’s New Scheduling Feature: 5 Design Missteps

Posted: 31 May 2012 01:09 PM PDT

A recent Facebook update lets page administrators schedule posts in advance, similar to the scheduling functions of HootSuite and other third-party apps.

However, users quickly noticed flaws in the user interface — that is, if they could even find the feature at all.

Check out the gallery below, where we pinpoint and troubleshoot these faults.

What do you think about the feature’s flaws? Will you still use it, or will you stick with third-party apps? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


1. A Good Scheduling Feature Is Hard to Find





If you're waiting for the scheduling feature to roll out to your page, look a little bit closer -- you already have it.

Go to your page and begin to write a post. In the bottom-left corner, you should see a small clock (yeah, it's tough to notice). Click on it and set the time to the future, and the button that says "Post" will change to "Schedule."

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Facebook, features, Social Media, trending

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Which DSLR Camera Is Right for You?

Posted: 31 May 2012 12:24 PM PDT


The Documenting Your Life Series is presented by Western Digital. We believe your life's most valuable moments should always be close and accessible. My Passport 2 TB portable hard drives let you dream big and carry small.

what-dslr-600Whether you use a smartphone or a point-and-shoot as your primary camera, if you’re serious about photography, all paths lead toward a digital SLR (single-lens reflex) model. With their large image sensors, interchangeable lenses and a seemingly endless supply of tweakable features, DSLRs maximize both flexibility and mobility. They look pretty hot, too.

Since the debut of the Nikon D1 in 1999 — the world’s first modern DSLR — the technology has advanced considerably. Once for still pictures only, almost all DSLRs manufactured today record video, too. Camera makers have enhanced autofocus mechanisms with swarms of extra focus points and added high-tech features, such as face detection. Some even have swiveling LCDs for hard-to-get shots.

But those are extras. The reason you get a DSLR is so you can take great pictures. The large image sensors in DSLR cameras capture more light than those in smaller models, and they’re paired with high-performing image sensors.

That lets many DSLRs shoot still photos in RAW format — which records all light data (except for direction, right Lytro?) with no compression. Shooting in RAW results in very large files, but it also ensures photographers get the most accurate pictures possible.

Finally, DLSRs are made to be the center of a photography experience that goes beyond the camera. Almost all have ports and jacks for accessories, and there’s also a “hot shoe” on top, where you can attach powered items, typically an external flash. DSLRs are the gateway to building a photography arsenal, but they’ll also take great pics on their own.

When you desire a new DSLR, the right camera depends mainly on what you’re looking to do with it. Below, we outline some typical use cases and suggest a model for each situation.


The Graduate


You’ve liked the simplicity of point-and-shoots, but their limitations are starting to frustrate you more and more. You need something that performs better in low light and can capture fast motion when needed — with minimal blur. Still, you don’t want to get overwhelmed by features.

Entry-level DSLRs were made with you in mind. Models like the Canon EOS Rebel T3 and Nikon D3100 have all you need to get started. Although they give the full-manual flexibility of any DSLR, they also have many simplified exposure presets. Just switch the dial to, say, landscape photography, and the camera will automatically configure its settings to capture a crisp shot of that mountain range.

Today, even basic DSLR cameras can capture HD video. But if that’s not important to you, you can still find some cheaper older models, such as the Nikon D3000, which shoots stills only. But the ability to switch is a very handy feature, so there’s a good chance it’s well worth the extra coin to get a camera that does both.


The Videographer


Buying a stand-alone video camera almost seems anachronistic today. However, still cameras don’t often make for the best video cameras. Because of differences in optics and image processing, cameras that are primarily used for taking stills often don’t capture high-quality video. Fortunately, DSLRs have tremendous advantages over cameraphones and point-and-shoots in those areas, and can make excellent video cameras — as long as you know what to look for.

The Canon T3i and Nikon D5100 are great choices for budding videographers. Both capture video in full 1080p resolution, and that speedy image processing means they have good “burst” modes. Nikon also offers continuous autofocus while shooting video, keeping your target sharp as it moves (however, this usually results in noise from the servos getting captured).

Looking beyond the usual suspects, Sony’s Alpha DSLRs have impressive video-capturing abilities, sometimes at a better price. The Sony Alpha a57 can capture 1080p video at 60 frames per second — Canon and Nikon cameras in its price range max out at 30. It also has nice bonuses, like a swiveling LCD screen and HDMI output for connecting to a big-screen TV (also available on the D5100).


The Upgrader


If you have an older or lower-end DSLR and are looking to upgrade, there’s lots to choose from. Going to a mid-level camera won’t just improve your photos, but also the overall photography experience. With better image processing and bigger camera bodies, you’ll enjoy faster burst mode rates and longer-lasting batteries, plus those swiveling LCDs become more common.

The Canon EOS 7D is an excellent choice for upgraders, able to capture full HD video and shoot up to eight still photos per second. “Prosumers” will love the 19-point autofocus system and the intelligent viewfinder, which is more graphically dynamic than previous models. If the 7D is a little on the pricey side for you, you might want to check out the 60D, which has many of the same features.

Nikon’s mid-level DSLRs start with the D7000, which has two user-definable exposure settings, letting you instantly configure the camera for your most common environments. There’s a 39-point autofocus system, and it can shoot up to six still pics per second. It also has continuous autofocus when shooting video.

Sony gives you great bang for your buck with its mid-level DSLR. The Alpha a65 captures pics with a massive 24.3 megapixels, and its Burst mode is an impressive 10 frames per second. Like the a57, it can record 1080p video at up to 60 frames per second, and you have full control of shutter speed and aperture while recording. The LCD can swivel, and the viewfinder is a high-resolution OLED screen that can show the results of camera adjustments in real time.

Finally, if you’ve broken more than one DSLR while shooting in extreme situations, the Pentax K-30 (due in July) is made with you in mind. It’s fully weather-sealed, so it’s up to the task of shooting on the beach or a mountaintop, and it can withstand cold temperatures and dust. It shoots 1080p video (30 frames per second) and can capture six stills per second in burst mode.


The Serious Photographer


If you want a taste of what it’s like for pro photographers — or simply want the best of the best — you’ll want a high-end DSLR. These are serious image-capturing devices that pour on the megapixels and customized settings. With so much tweakability, they often do away with some automatic features common on lower-end models (like exposure presets and a built-in flash) entirely.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is a great step toward true pro photography. Its full-frame image sensor can take 21-megapixel shots, and if your situation is less than ideal, you can improve your pics with features like an “Auto Lighting Optimizer” and “Peripheral Illumination Correction.” If you have a little more money to burn, there’s also the more recent 5D Mark III, which has better image processing and a few more tricks.

For Nikon, the D300s will get your feet wet with pro features, like in-camera image editing, a 51-point autofocus and nine customizable picture settings. But if its 12.3 megapixels aren’t enough for you, cast your eyes toward the D800, the highest-resolution full-frame DSLR on the market, at 36.3 megapixels. Both capture 1080p video at 30 frames per second.

If you think you’re ready for the extreme high end, you’ll want either the Nikon D4 or Canon EOS-1D X. Both have too many features to summarize well here, but each will satisfy the pro within you. Their bulky camera bodies provide lots of extra power and a convenient handgrip for portrait shots, but that also means they’re not for casual shooting.


What’s Your Shot?


Buying a DSLR is a lot like buying a computer or a car — it’s a commitment to both a product and a company. It’s not to be taken lightly, but if you can match the right model with your goals, it’ll unshackle the shutterbug within you and you’ll soon be taken better pictures than you ever have. We’ve covered just some of the options here — there are lots more to explore, so browse the web, visit your local camera shop and find your perfect model. Once you go DSLR, you’ll never go back. What’s your model? Let us know in the comments.


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The Documenting Your Life Series is is presented by Western Digital. We believe your life's most valuable moments should always be close and accessible. My Passport 2 TB portable hard drives let you dream big and carry small.

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The New Hollywood: Developing Entertainment for All Screens [VIDEO]

Posted: 31 May 2012 12:15 PM PDT

My guest on this episode of Revolution is Mike Rosenstein, a producer at Red Hour Films. Owned by Ben Stiller and Stuart Cornfeld, Red Hour Films is a production company that produced recent comedy classed, like Zoolander, Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder and others. As digital disrupts the entire entertainment industry, Stiller brought Rosenstein in to also lead the development of the company’s new digital arm, Red Hour Digital, as the director of digital content.

Under Rosenstein’s guidance, Red Hour Digital is investing in content across multiple screens, competing for consumer attention on mobile devices, PC and also TV. The company is developing original digital media properties in a multitude of formats, including live action, animated webisodes and games, and also recently signed a two-year first-look deal with Paramount Digital Entertainment.

As you'll hear in our interview, the team at Red Hour Digital is exploring possibilities through a "test and learn" culture. By not constraining themselves to a single format, and experimenting across multiple web communities, they're building monetization models for a new generation of top quality content across multiple screens.


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5 Hot Facebook Marketing Trends

Posted: 31 May 2012 12:06 PM PDT


The Facebook Marketing Series is presented by Webtrends, helping brands acquire, engage, nurture and optimize Facebook fans. Get the Social Media Marketing Playbook, a guide for maximizing returns. Download now.

Facebook looks completely different than it did a year ago, so it shouldn’t be surprising that marketing on the social network has also changed a great deal.

The biggest difference is Timeline, the photo-heavy redesign that Facebook herded brands into in March. Though there have been conflicting reports about Timeline’s effect on brand engagement, marketers are realizing that Timeline may not be more effective — but it definitely is different.

However, Timeline’s not the only catalyst for the changing marketing ecosystem on Facebook. Another is Facebook’s financial situation: We all know the company is under huge pressure from Wall Street to figure out a winning formula for advertising on the platform. The other big trend is driven by how advertisers view Facebook. With about 133 million users in the U.S., the social network has a potential audience bigger than the Super Bowl’s. Though GM has punctured Facebook’s air of inevitability, most advertisers haven’t lost faith enough to drop advertising on the platform wholesale.

The combination of influences has ushered in the following trends.


1. More, Bigger Photos


The success of Pinterest has prompted more emphasis on photos and may be a big influence in Timeline’s design. But consumers are adapting to a more visual web as well. Simply Measured, an analytics firm that measures brand performance on Facebook, found a 65% aggregate jump in engagement for photos and videos that brands posted on their Pages after Timeline. However, engagement for photo-less status updates fell over the same period.

Since Simply Measured looked at just 15 brands, you can take its findings with a grain of salt. However, a Facebook rep confirmed the trend: “Our research shows that posting photos and videos is significantly predictive of shares, comments and likes.”

Adam Schoenfeld, CEO of Simply Measured, says the trend towards more emphasis on photos is happening on Google+ as well. “Intuitively, it makes sense,” says Schoenfeld. “Pinterest is hot right now, and content presentation can be really powerful.”

One believer in the power of photos is Sprinkles Cupcakes, which regularly posts images on its Facebook Page. (The image above is of former Lois & Clark star Dean Cain using a Sprinkles cupcake ATM.) Nicole Schwartz, head of marketing and social media for Sprinkles, says while photos do better than text-only posts, “photos with a call to action (submit a photo to be entered into the Cupcake ATM photo contest) or special offer (whisper a special word for a free cupcake) receive triple the number of likes, shares and comments.”


2. Tapping Real-Time Data



The standard advertising model is that you release a campaign, then measure the results at some point to determine whether the ads are working. Facebook’s latest engagement metrics offer immediate visibility on your campaign’s success. Some brands are capitalizing on this by amplifying popular posts.

For instance, on April 17 — Tax Day — TurboTax saw certain posts that answered common questions about filing doing well on Facebook’s “People Talking About This” (PTAT) metric. In response, the brand bought advertising via Facebook that amplified the reach of those posts.

TurboTax may be ahead of the curve: Schoenfeld says that most brands are monitoring their Facebook activity on a daily or weekly basis, but doing so in real-time is still fairly rare.


3. Using Your Timeline Photo for Marketing



Some brands have realized that that huge photo at the top of the Timeline design can be a banner ad of sorts. For instance, Subway is using that real estate to promote its new Smokehouse BBQ Chicken sandwich. The image provides instant exposure to the brand’s 13 million fans.

In addition to using the lead photo to tout a new product, some are using the space to enhance posts or promotions. For instance, Tide used the image for a giant status update, asking fans to click on the image of a flag to answer the question, “What does the red, white & blue mean to you?”


4. Gamification of Posts



If you’re looking for a brand to emulate on Facebook, you might start with Coca-Cola, which is one of the most-followed brands on the platform. Recently, Coke has been trying some different things with its status updates, including URL riddles and the pictogram above.

Coke’s not the only one to realize that status updates can be used to do more than, well, update your status: JetBlue has also been employing gamification in the form of “Fill in the Blank” updates. For instance, a March 26 post by the brand asked, “If your city could be any district, it would be ____. May be the odds be ever in your favor!”

According to Simply Measured, JetBlue’s fill-in-the-blank updates garnered 182% more comments per post than the brand’s typical post. However, FITB posts, as they’re known, aren’t great for driving shares and Likes.


5. Creatively Saying ‘Thank You’



Singling out fans and giving them praise is Social Media 101, but a couple of marketers have discovered that if you do so in a creative way, you can entertain the 99.9% of other fans who would not be very interested in such a post. Kraft Mac & Cheese appears to be the first to realize this. In April, the brand thanked 4,800 fans who “liked” a recent post with a 7-minute tune that name-checked every single one of them. The following month, AT&T churned out 500 videos thanking fans individually for helping the brand reach its 2 million fans milestone.


Series presented by Webtrends

The Facebook Marketing Series is presented by Webtrends. With 850 million fans, Facebook is a marketer's dream. Yet many brands are not seeing expected results. With the right tools and a four-step plan, Facebook campaigns can be measured, tested, targeted and optimized with remarkable results. Webtrends shows you how in this step-by-step guide. Get the Social Media Marketing Playbook Now.

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Windows 8 Release Preview Unleashes the Power of Metro [HANDS ON]

Posted: 31 May 2012 12:04 PM PDT

windows-8-rp-640

Surprise! Microsoft just released the Windows 8 Release Preview (RP) — the next big step in its seemingly never-ending journey to get on store shelves — bringing new features, improved apps and more polish to the whole experience.

Except it’s totally not a surprise. Ever since a leak of the new version appeared on a Chinese website, unnamed “sources” have come forward to spill the beans that the RP was coming today, and Microsoft itself even reportedly let the cat out of the bag early with a blog post, which it quickly took down. Oops.

Microsoft was also kind enough to once again give Mashable an advance look at the many additions and improvements to Windows 8 and its innovative Metro user interface (download for yourself here). Almost all the changes are welcome, though some of the issues we had with the Consumer Preview still haven’t been addressed — although that may just come down to differing philosophies with how the UI should work.

A lightning recap: Microsoft is re-inventing Windows. Windows 8 radically alters the experience with a highly visual interface called Metro. Metro is loaded with rectangular iconography that maintains a consistent look and experience across apps — and it also happens to be ideal for touchscreens, like tablets.

If such massive change sounds scary, you can take heart that the familiar desktop environment is always a click away from Metro. Microsoft is rolling out Windows 8 in stages: The first was last fall’s Developer Preview, then the Consumer Preview in February, and now it’s time for the Release Preview. This will be followed by the full-on “here it is, folks” General Release, expected this fall (no formal date has been announced).

We got to try out the Windows 8 Release Preview on an Ultrabook — the Samsung Series 9, a gorgeously thin and light device, powered by an Intel Core i5 processor (merely second generation, sadly). The laptop environment is likely going to be the main place customers first encounter Windows 8, so it’s a great way to test how this thing is going to work in the “real world.”


Gearing Up


First impressions weren’t so great, since the machine’s touchpad was incapable of clicking on the “Accept” button on the terms of service page that first appears when you switch on the machine. After futzing with keyboard commands for a while, I was able to get past it, and the touchpad had no more problems. Hopefully it was just a bug with our machine.

The touchpad may have been a little buggy because that’s one area that’s much improved. Microsoft has added some new touchpad gestures to Windows 8. You’ll actually have to download the drivers for them separately from the RP download, but they include very useful tools like being able to call up the “charms” menu by sliding in from the right edge — exactly how it works on a tablet. I criticized the Consumer Preview for the keyboard-and-mouse interface not quite working the same way as the touch experience, and this mitigates the problem a little.

The special drivers also add the ever-popular ability to perform two-finger scrolling. The feature is extremely useful, proving popular on MacBooks and many Windows 7 machines. However, the implementation is incomprehensible.

Here’s why: Metro’s entire design aesthetic is based on scrolling horizontally. Why, then, when I scroll up and down, does the screen scroll left to right? This is an insane choice. It puts the experience at odds with the vertically scrolling pages you’ll encounter in Internet Explorer, and it’s totally inconsistent from app to app: To scroll horizontally, you sometimes gesture up/down (People, Photos), side-to-side (the Start screen) or both (Finance).

If there’s a setting that can restore order to this chaos, I didn’t find it. Microsoft really should sort this out before General Release — I can see it being a real turn-off for casual users. (Update: Microsoft says two-fingered scrolling isn’t supposed to work this way, and it would release updated drivers. In the final build, horizontal scrolling will be purely side-to-side.)

(more after the gallery)


New Start Screen




The Windows 8 Release Preview has many more dynamic live tiles, with new apps like News, Sports and Travel adding images and headlines to the mix.

Click here to view this gallery.


Doing It Live


Live tiles — those constantly changing rectangles on the Start screen — are one of the big improvements in RP. In the Consumer Preview, a scant few were really dynamic; now the majority are, and your Start screen is an ever-morphing array of photos, headlines and notifications. It may sound chaotic, but bringing order to things like this is where Metro excels.

As great as live tiles are, they could be better. Some of the new apps, such as News, Sports and Travel, don’t vary the live-tile content that much — you tend to see the same photos over and over.

Also, when a headline or photo catches your eye, there’s an expectation that when you click on it, you’ll see that content. However, clicking on a live tile will take you back to the app’s last state, regardless of what was showing on the tile. I understand the dilemma about which is more useful, though, so maybe there’s no good solution here.

Did I mention there were new apps? Microsoft used its beautiful Finance app as a template for its News, Sports and Travel apps. They all make great use of the horizontal scroll, and they have nice customizable features, like seeing feeds on specific teams or search terms for news topics.

They could use a little more polish, though. For example, once you set up a few topics to follow in News, there’s no easy way to rearrange them. And consistent refresh buttons would be nice, too.


Appapalooza


Many of the other primary apps have gotten a makeover as well. People (the contacts app) is most improved, with the “What’s new” feed, which shows social-network updates from your contacts, now approaching something useful. It would be even better if it incorporated images (a la Flipboard), but it’s a step in the right direction.

I finally got Flickr to connect with the Metro Photos app, although the pulling-teeth process to do so betrayed an issue: there’s no easy way to simply sign out of Flickr and reconnect. When you try (via the “Options” link), you get kicked into Internet Explorer to a very cluttered and confusing permissions screen. This should be handled within the app, and in a much simpler fashion.

Mail has a bit more polish, rendering HTML emails nicely. Unfortunately the RP only has presets for adding Windows Live and Google accounts — everything else is done through Microsoft Exchange. Lots of people still use Yahoo and AOL (sadly), and those should be added before general release. Also, there’s no combined-inbox view, oddly.

Music has a few more tricks, now able to access content from your Zune Pass (like that wasn’t going to happen) as well as a controller for the lock and start screen: Now when your screen times out, you’ll be able to adjust volume and skip tracks without logging in.

Xbox 360 owners will no doubt love the Xbox Companion, which is more than an app — it’s a way to stream media and control your console from your PC. Whenever you play a Video or Music file, you’ll be able to stream it right to your Xbox. You can even choose to download the title straight to the Xbox, without the need to stream. Best of all: It automatically sets itself up, as long as your PC and Xbox are on the same Wi-Fi network.


Internet Explorer Upgrade


Finally, there’s Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft’s in-house web browser, which adds a couple of interesting features. First, Microsoft has added a strip of frequently visited and pinned/bookmarked sites that appear when you begin typing in a URL.

Potentially more useful, however, is “Flip Ahead,” which adds an arrow (only visible if your mouse is close by) to the right of the screen. The arrow looks at Bing user activity and page data and actually tries to predict the most likely page you want to go to.

This would be very handy for, say, articles split among multiple pages — that is, if it actually took you to the next page. In my brief test with a few multi-page articles from Slate, it did nothing of the kind, but perhaps it just needs tweaking (and more user data).

Most important, IE10 now has Flash compatibility built in. However, as Microsoft explained to me, this does not mean that every Flash site will render properly. Since IE in Metro uses a customized version of Flash that Microsoft worked directly with Adobe to create, sites need to submit themselves for approval to work with IE10. Microsoft said it’s already taken care of big Flash sites (like YouTube) and more are getting added to the bucket.


Windows 8: Almost Fully Formed


With the Release Preview, Windows 8 enters its final stretch toward release, ready or not. There’s clearly lots of polish here, and Microsoft has good reason to be proud. One great example: In addition to the many features I’ve outlined here, the RP adds the ability for Wi-Fi passwords to travel with your Windows Live ID. That means if you ever borrow your friend’s Windows tablet or switch machines, you won’t have to input the network passwords for your home router, local coffee shop, etc. It’s a nice convenience that I hope is stolen by Android and iOS quickly.

Nonetheless, I’m still bothered by some of the basic interface issues (like the inconsistent scrolling). Windows isn’t just the OS for work machines — about 90% of the world’s computers run it. That means this thing has to be idiot-proof, or users will hurry to exit Metro for the traditional desktop.

That would be a shame, since there’s a lot to love in Metro; it just needs a perfectionist’s touch. There’s still time. Windows 8 may be close to the finish line, but whether or not it scores a win probably depends more on what happens in the next few months than even Microsoft thinks.

More About: internet explorer, Metro, microsoft, trending, Windows, Windows 8


60+ Events in Business, Advertising and Social Media

Posted: 31 May 2012 11:28 AM PDT


Do you want to optimize your knowledge and network in your industry? Then make sure to check out the collection of more than 60 events on Mashable’s new Events Board. Our listings represent the best digitally-focused business conferences and exhibitions in the next few months — these valuable events, held all over the world and even online, have dynamic and entertaining agendas to inspire you.

We post new listings frequently, and every week we highlight five new events that are worth their ticket price. Don’t forget to visit our Events Board for the freshest networking opportunities, meetings and expos that will expand your mind and give you great new ideas for your own professional journey.


Business


FailCon

Date: 10/22/2012
Location: San Francisco

The fourth-annual FailCon is all about business and startup failures. The day-long conference explores the consequences (and benefits) of failing in all realms of business, from startups to marketing. Speakers will explain their own professional failures and how attendees can best learn from them. Early bird tickets are available now, and sessions will also be held this year in France, Brazil and Sydney, Australia.


GROW 2012

Date: 8/22/2012 – 8/23/2012
Location: Vancouver, Canada

Founders of ModCloth, 99designs and Zendesk will speak at Dealmaker Media’s annual business conference, GROW 2012. The three-day event is split into three different segments: Wednesday’s GROWtalks event is a bootcamp for entrepreneurs, while the formal GROW Conference on Thursday focuses on established companies and trends, and Friday’s GROW Outdoor Adventure is full of activities, such as hiking, biking and kayaking.


iStrategy Melbourne

Date: 11/13/2012 – 11/14/2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia

The final conference in iStrategy’s massive worldwide business conference tour and the fourth session of the global conference series in Australia, iStrategy Melbourne will feature local experts in social media, display advertising, SEO and ecommerce among other topics. The multi-tracked conference includes strategy sessions, master classes and interactive workshops as well as plenty of networking sessions. Buy tickets now and get 40% off your ticket price.


Dev & Design


DESIGN East & ESC Boston 2012

Date: 9/17/2012 – 9/20/2012
Location: Boston

DESIGN East is an educational event dedicated to engineering, complete with five specialized summits, an expo floor and theater sessions. Hosted by UBM Electronics, the comprehensive event’s biggest summit is ESC Boston, which covers design and development challenges in electronic engineering fields. Enter the code “MASH30″ to get 30% off the ticket price between June 24 and July 12.


Social Media


Social Media Optimizations Summit

Date: 9/8/2012 – 9/9/2012
Location: Las Vegas

The Social Media Optimizations Summit is a two-day educational event that focuses on implementing and streamlining social media operations for enterprises. Attendees can customize their workshop “curriculum” for full-day, half-day or two-hour workshops on social media. This intensive educational series covers optimization for Facebook and other digital outreach strategies. The full agenda and ticket sales are scheduled to open soon.


Want to promote your upcoming event on Mashable’s Events Board? Click here.

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Downsize Me: NYC Mayor Proposes Sugary Drink Ban

Posted: 31 May 2012 11:18 AM PDT

Mayor Bloomberg

In an effort to combat rising obesity, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other “sugary drinks” on May 30. At the All Things Digital conference today in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Mayor Bloomberg addressed the proposed ban via a remote feed.

Mayor Bloomberg highlighted several public health acts that were at first unpopular but are now embraced, such as those against public smoking and grading restaurants.

The new ban would not apply to grocery or convenience stores, but will affect businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters, and street carts.

According to Bloomberg, smoking kills seven thousand New Yorkers per year, but that rate is dropping. In comparison, there are five thousand obesity related deaths per year in NYC, a total which is rising and will soon surpass smoking deaths. New York City was a pioneer in banning smoking in public places, beginning a trend that the rest of the United States soon followed.

When the news broke last night, Twitter users from New York City and beyond reacted with an expected level of witty candor.

NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg Proposes Ban On Large Sugary Drinks

Our favorite reactions across Twitter, compiled by Stephanie Haberman (@StephLauren).

Storified by Mashable · Thu, May 31 2012 12:22:43

Why Bloomberg is attempting to ban large sugary drinks:
Prohibiting the sale of 16 oz.+ sugary drinks will help fight #obesity & save lives in NYC: http://bit.ly/JTq4UiMike Bloomberg
How people on Twitter have responded:
The Prisoner, New York City edition: "I am not a number! I am a free man! And I’m drinking a Big Gulp!"John Hayward
BIG APPLE, TINY COKEsouthpaw
These colors don’t run. http://twitpic.com/9r5m61Andrew Kaczynski
I stand with the Mayor on soda restrictions. We all share the cost of an unhealthy city. Also ban bicycles because cyclists are a-holesDr. Mantis Toboggan
Bloomberg can ban sugary drinks but he’ll never take my Diet Coke. (really, he could, my grip is weak bc of osteoporosis from the aspartame)Alison Leiby
Yo soy want to ban el soda, el grande Starbuckos, y el grape drink. Por que no me gusto el obesity. Que no fatties!Miguel Bloombito
Soda ban means Kobayashi can eat 70 hot dogs in 10 min – but he breaks the law once if he washes them down with a lg soda instead of a med.Michael Biette
Even if you disagree with Bloomberg’s giant soda ban, he’s trying to do something about obesity epidemic. Good for him.Lisa Bloom
Heck, they gave up banning ALCOHOL 80 years ago. Now NYC is gonna ban large soda’s. Glad to see we’ve progressed.Brady Cremeens
I will give my money 2 any establishment that violates this. RT @nytimes: Bloomberg Plans a Ban on Large Sugared Drinks http://nyti.ms/LHRWt1Andy Levy
Take that, Mr. Mayor? $KO $PEP down but holding up better than rest of market despite NYC/Bloomberg talk of banning big-sized soda. $DPS up.Paul R. La Monica
Bloomberg smiled for photos as the axes went into the crates of cola. "Dr. Pepper," he said sternly. "Your medical license is revoked."Jon Lovett
@bigjohnrc I mean. We could talk about the fiscal cli— hey look a ban on soda! #importantissuesChris W
Too bad everyone who wants large sodas is too obese to organize a march.Andrew Kaczynski
Why do they have to ban soda? Why can’t they ban something nobody cares about, like "Don’t Walk" signs? #NYCTrivWorks
Kinda hope Bloomberg DOES ban sodas over 16 oz so I can get a good bootleg business going. #entrepreneursFTWLeah

Is the proposed ban a good idea? Let us know in the poll below, or explain further in the comments.


More About: All Things D, Bloomberg, trending


Kathie Lee Mistakenly Asks Martin Short About Deceased Wife

Posted: 31 May 2012 11:06 AM PDT

In what is probably every broadcast journalist’s worst nightmare, Kathie Lee Gifford made a very public error during the fourth hour of the Today show on Wednesday.

Guest star Martin Short appeared on the show to promote the film Madagascar 3. Midway through the conversation with co-anchors Gifford and Hoda Kotb, Gifford asks about Short’s wife, who died of ovarian cancer in 2010.

Short handles the questions calmly, even when Gifford makes an unknowing joke about how the couple are still in love.

Gifford is no stranger to on-air, cringe-worthy moments. In 2011, a segment that led to a crying autistic boy prompted Howard Stern to accuse her of child abuse.

Despite Gifford’s recent gaff on television, she has already sent a sincere apology on Twitter.


More About: kathie lee, martin short, today show, trending, viral, viral videos


Why Successful Startups Engage Their Peers

Posted: 31 May 2012 10:53 AM PDT

In the last episode of TechStars, we watched while a pair of startups dealt with the consequences of their decisions — both business and personal.

In this episode, we’ll see why good things happen when you mix in a dose of humility with your confidence and drive.

SEE ALSO: Watch the Full Season of TechStars on Mashable

A successful startup needs a strong vision and the passion to execute in the face of adversity, but that doesn’t mean it should ignore the advice of peers. For one startup at TechStars, it has been a struggle all season to accept that it will need help from others, during the path to success. When it finally clicks and the startup team gives its peers and mentors a seat at the table, positive things start to happen.

Check out the latest episode above, and be sure to leave your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.


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Getting into a top startup accelerator program can mean the difference between a company making it big and getting lost in the ether. Mashable is going behind the scenes of that experience by bringing the show TechStars to our community.

We’ve made the entire series available on-demand, and chopped it up into short segments ideal for Internet viewing. Over the course of the next couple of months, we’ll also be sharing each episode as part of a Mashable post, giving our community a chance to discuss the themes of each show in our comments section. You can read more about TechStars on Mashable here.

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