Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Sony Xperia Sola Brings “Floating Touch” Navigation”

Mashable: Latest 29 News Updates - including “Sony Xperia Sola Brings “Floating Touch” Navigation”


Sony Xperia Sola Brings “Floating Touch” Navigation

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 03:03 AM PDT


The latest Android smartphone from Sony, the Xperia sola, takes the touch out of the touch screen – although we’re not yet sure how.

One of the device’s key features is “floating touch” navigation, which enables web browsing without touching the screen.

“Sony’s unique floating touch lets consumers navigate the web by hovering their finger above the screen so it acts like a moving curser, without actually having to touch the screen,” Sony claims, adding that the technology will evolve through “software updates and engagement with developers.”

Other than that, the device is a fairly standard Android 2.3 handset (upgradeable to Android 4.0 during summer 2012), with a 3.7” Reality Display, a 1 GHz dual-core CPU, NFC and Xperia SmartTags support, as well as “3D surround sound.”

The device should hit the market globally in three colors – black, white and red – in the second quarter of 2012.

More About: sony, Sony Xperia sola, Xperia, Xperia sola

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How to Plan the Perfect Wedding Online

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 08:38 PM PDT


Dana Oshiro is a Canadian writer and the senior analyst and publishing strategist for NetShelter Technology Media‘s 200+ gadget, mobile and IT bloggers. She writes regularly at Villagers with Pitchforks, tweets as @suzyperplexus and connects with others via LinkedIn.

When I began planning one of the happiest days of my life, I felt like a failure. I’m just not one of those people who had dreamt of getting married since the age of four.

So, when a friend forwarded me her Pinterest inspiration board, I panicked. How could a mere mortal like me possibly collect 300 antique milk bottles, fashion an all-feather headdress, design a signature cocktail for 200 people, and still find time to do my job?

SEE ALSO: 10 iPhone Apps for Planning the Perfect Wedding

Then I came to my senses. Martha Stewart or Real Simple wasn’t going to suck me into a downward spiral of shame. With the help of a few friends and new brides, I’ve amassed a list of digital (and practical) resources. Here’s what we came up with to make it out of our weddings alive, on budget and in love.


1. Collaborative Planning


Many wedding planning tools don’t offer a collaborative, real-time editing feature. In other words, they assume one person is planning everything — not always the case. Meanwhile, DropBox and Google Docs let you share contracts and spreadsheets with ease. Use these tools in combination with Google Tasks or Remember the Milk to create calendar reminders.


2. The Venue


Let's get real — the venue can wreak havoc on your budget. Site rentals may not include furniture, linen, staff, security, liability insurance, corkage and cake-cutting fees or gratuities. Glamour compiled a list of questions to help you uncover hidden costs.

Also, check directories like VenueTastic, Eventective and Here Comes the Guide for quotes. There are also a number of location-specific venue directories, including DailyAisle for the Bay Area and LeadingSpaces for New York.


3. Invites and Next Steps


Pingg and Paperless Post are great electronic invite services. Afraid your Internet-challenged relatives might miss the memo? Check out Ink Garden, Moo, Minted and Etsy for a wide range of print designs.

Once the invites are out, collect RSVPs via email or through a Google Form linked to a website.

Rather than using a more expensive wedding service, our brides chose Virb and Tumblr to customize their wedding sites.


4. Food and Beverage


If your venue has a preferred list, then meal options are determined for you in advance. If not, consider booking a gourmet food truck to feed hungry guests. Or scour the reviews and pricing on sites like Local Catering and Yelp. If your venue allows you to bring your own booze, check liquor store sites for flash wine case sales. BevMo! has a great deal on wine: Buy one bottle, get the next one for $0.05.


5. Registries


In addition to a lifetime of everlasting love, another great result of your wedding is matching dishes. Amazon, Crate and Barrel and a number of ecommerce stores offer gift registries. Once you choose your items, aggregate your registries into MyRegistry.

Some couples forgo toasters for travel with services like HoneyFund and Traveler’s Joy. Others register at JustGive to raise money for their favorite charities.


6. Ceremony and Officiant


You can transform your wedding into virtually anything you want — as long as someone remembers to file the certificate. Certain states and countries do not recognize ministers who’ve been ordained online. Call your local marriage office for clarification.

Before hitting directories like Wedding Wire, ask your locally married friends to suggest officiants. Once you’ve targeted someone to officiate, meet with him or her and ask for a sample script.


7. Photography


Crowdsourcing photos from guests is an awesome idea — if your guests aren’t already drunk. Otherwise, search local Facebook and Flickr groups for wedding photographers. Be sure to ask for portfolio links and references.

If all else fails, check out Offbeat Bride, BridalHood and OneWed. Some couples skip the party photographer and rent a photo booth like Lensley. One friend rented The Laugh Box, a photo service that produces flipbooks on the spot.

Once you get the digital photo files back, Lulu and Blurb are great album-making services.


8. Music


One thing you can crowdsource is your music playlist. If you trust your friends to keep it classy, try Turntable.fm, which lets you create a real-time playlist as long as you have Internet access. We asked guests to contribute to an Rdio playlist ahead of time, and then and cached it offline. (Spotify lets you do the same.) And finally, Dropmark lets you make collaborative SoundCloud playlists.

Still want to go through with it? If you're committed to planning a wedding and you've got tips for others, let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of iStockphoto, Brasil2, Flickr, [Filhi][bahthi] photography ( with great hopes )

More About: contributor, features, internet, Social Media, wedding


Man Beats Machines In DNA Alignment Computer Game [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 08:20 PM PDT


Here’s one instance when man triumphs over the visually-impaired machine. The online game Phylo lets gamers solve the multiple sequence alignment (MSA) problem by finding the best possible DNA sequence match between up to eight species at a time — and, amazingly, beating out a computer, according to a study reported in the journal PLoS One.

"We have shown that humans' game-playing visual talents can do some things better than a computer algorithm," the study’s lead author Jérôme Waldispühl, a computational biologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, said in Nature.com.

If a player’s score beats the MULTIZ, a computer alignment program hosted by the University of California, Santa Cruz, their scores will be displayed in the game’s hall of fame. To play, gamers shift the sequences one block at a time to find alignments before time runs out. Players who align similar sequences before their time is up, get their sequences entered into Phylo’s database.

So far, Phylo has 12,252 registered users and almost 3,000 regular players. But it does take some biology know-how to play the game. So far, gamers have come up with about “350,000 solutions to various MSA problems, beating the accuracy of alignments from MULTIZ in roughly 70% of the sequences they manipulated,” notes the article.

There are many fascinating innovations for decoding and studying DNA. Just last month scientists unveiled a biological computer that could extract DNA from a chip. The biological computer acts like computer software to extract images.

What was once a subject only scientists and academics were concerned with, the idea of DNA and what unraveling it means for humans, is becoming an increasingly known and tangible concept.

This isn’t the first time gamers have played a role in helping scientists find answers and solutions to complex problems. Last year online gamers helped to discover an enzyme of an AIDS-like virus that had been a mystery for years.

Have you, by chance, played Phylo or any other biology-based games? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alengo

More About: biology, DNA, technology

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iPhone App Proves Your Musical Coolness

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 07:52 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.

lady gaga
Name: Tastemaker

Quick Pitch: Users place bets on undiscovered bands and their favorite artists in this social media game.

Genius Idea: TastemakerX was created for music lovers who take pride in knowing about bands before everyone else. Bet on the sure success of off-the-radar singers and songwriters in this music version of the stock market and watch how your favorite artists do. Plus, discover musical acts along the way.


TastemakerX is a mobile application for music fans and influencers who believe they can pick out the next Jennifer Hudson from the audition stage of American Idol or pick out a star on NBC’s The Voice faster than Christina Aguilera can spin around in her chair.

It’s a mobile stock market game to showcase musical trendsetting skills — knowing about Lady Gaga pre-global domination (on the charts) back in 2008 when “Just Dance” first debuted. When artists make it big, gamers will earn “notes,” the game’s virtual money, to buy more artists and show off their skills in connected social networks.

Marc Ruxin, the CEO and co-founder of TastemakerX, has worked in the music industry scouting unsigned artists and written about the music scene for years. He believes this app is filling a need for a music-based social graph. The creators of the mobile app wanted to build a social network for people passionate about entertainment — music in particular.

“It’s a mobile social game around culture,” Ruxin said. “It’s like fantasy sports for culture. The music graph doesn't exist. This is a vertical that is dedicated to music the way the IMDB is focused on movies.”

Users can buy stocks in garbage bands on the rise or in classic groups such as The Beatles.

As the network gets bigger, TastemakerX users will be exposed to many artists their friends are liking. Trending tastemakers and artists will be shown. Samples of artists, along with short biographies, photos and reviews are also available, making for easy artist discovery.

The application allows users to build portfolios of favorite artists using “notes” instead of money. Users trade bands when they are faltering in popularity. Think it was a bad choice for M.I.A. to share the stage with Madonna during the Super Bowl this year? Trade her up for 50 shares of Adele or Taylor Swift who seem unstoppable in music sales.

SEE ALSO: 11 Apps and Services for Sharing, Discovering and Organizing Music

TastemakerX can be connected to Twitter and Facebook to share activity on various feeds.

“It has an Instagram-like functionality, plus a gaming aspect like Foursquare. The goal is to gain followers and get more “notes,” concert tickets, specialized band posts, news and information experience that is like IMDB.”

Ruxin hopes the application will serve as a platform for artists to reach out to their fan base with access to an exclusive track, secret concert opportunities or tickets for their biggest shareholders.

“In tastemaker, [artists] will see top influencers, when [fans] bought you, so you can reward and understand your fan base,” Ruxin said.

Eventually, the creators of the application hope to be able to sell virtual “notes” to users, plus bring on brand-focused ads and sponsored posts.

The free app is only available for iPhone and iPod Touch at this time. Invite codes are necessary, as the application is still in beta.

Want to give the Tastemaker a try? Mashable readers can access the application by visiting the TastemakerX website, submitting an email address and entering “Stereolab” as the promo code. Then, download the application and follow registration instructions. Later, come back and tell us what you think!

Image courtesy of Flickr, Will Folsom


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, iphone, mobile application, Music

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Latest Invisible Children Video Responds to Critics of KONY 2012

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 07:29 PM PDT

KONY 2012

The KONY 2012 campaign, launched by the non-profit Invisible Children to stop Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony, became an international sensation last week with its viral video, which has since become the most viral video in history, according to one researcher. In response to criticism that has surfaced against Invisible Children in light of the campaign, Invisible Children CEO Ben Keesey has released a video specifically addressing concerns that the organization is promoting “slacktivisim” and has corrupt financial practices.

“I think I understand, a lot people are wondering, ‘Is this some kind of slick, fly by night, slacktivist thing?’ when actually it’s not at all. It’s actually a really — it’s connected to a really deep, very thoughtful, very intentional and strategic campaign,” Keesey says.

In the video, Keesey clarifies that Invisible Children’s threefold mission consists of 1) media; 2) advocacy and 3) development. He lays out how the organization allocates its expenses and justifies these expenses by defining how Invisible Children interprets them. Program expenses, for example, is “money that is spent that directly contributes to the mission.” This includes investing this money “directly on the ground,” mobilizing international communities and “mass awareness campaigns” like the Kony 2012 video.

Meanwhile, “travel and transportation expenses” encompasses the money the organization needs to bring the video face-to-face with students in high schools and colleges nationwide — to pay for things like roadies, vans, vehicle maintenance, gas and bringing survivors of Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) to these campuses to tell their stories personally. “Production costs,” another expense, is the “hard cost,” Keesey says, that goes into the goods that people supporting Invisible Children can buy, such as t-shirts, DVDs and bracelets.

The video goes on to show Invisible Children’s budgets for recent fiscal years, which are available online on its website. Keesey also directly addresses one of the organization’s major criticisms: “Any claims that we don’t have financial transparency, or that we’re not audited every year by an independent firm, or that we don’t have financial integrity, just aren’t true.”

With the goal of the Kony 2012 campaign being to stop Joseph Kony, Keesey offers no apologies for this budget. “It’s intentional. It is our strategy. It’s what we do, and we stand behind it,” he says.

SEE ALSO: Documentarians: KONY 2012 Achieved Its Goal

In accordance with Invisible Children’s mission, the Kony 2012 video has certainly made Joseph Kony a household name. However, this response video — ironically titled “Thank you, Kony 2012 Supporters” even though its targeted more toward Invisible Children’s critics — doesn’t necessarily address some of the more controversial topics that have arisen out of the campaign. How purchasing items like T-shirts and bracelets will actually ignite supporters of the campaign to talk to their leaders and governments about stopping the LRA, for example, is not discussed. Moreover, the idea of the “white man’s burden,” and the notion that Westerners must go to Africa in order to save it from itself actually seems propagated by the fact that Keesey begins and ends the video with his personal story of being affected by the situation in Uganda.

While this response video does feature local Ugandans on the ground who are working in conjunction with Invisible Children, another prominent Ugandan, journalist Rosebell Kagumir, has released her own video calling out Invisible Children.

“How do you tell the stories of Africans is so much more important than what the story is, actually,” Kagumir says in her video. “Because if you are showing me as voiceless, as hopeless, you have no space telling my story.”

What do you think of Invisible Children’s latest video? Does it adequately respond to its critics? Sound off in the comments.

More About: Invisible Children, kony 2012, Uganda, viral videos


Council Created to Regulate Aggregation, Bloggers

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 06:53 PM PDT


Information hits the Web and just like that the news spreads like fire. Stories are frantically re-reported and some are missing an important detail — attribution.

David Carr, media reporter for The New York Times, wrote an article on Monday about a group of editors who plan to establish guidelines for ethical aggregation and blogging and another journalism duo who have created symbols they call the Curator’s Code.

Simon Dumenco, Ad Age’s editor at large, Bill Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week, Julia Turner deputy editor of Slate will be on the “Is Aggregation Theft?” panel on Tuesday during the South by Southwest conference in Austin, TX., to discuss the promotion of a news organization’s work versus stealing reporting.

Over the weekend on another panel, Dumenco introduced The Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation as a way to set standards for aggregators, Carr reported. Editors from The New York Observer, The Atlantic, Esquire, Longreads.com and New York Magazine have joined the committee.

Demenco told Carr the council would be set up similar to the American Society of Magazine Editors, which has created editorial standards for the magazine industry. One key issue Dumenco told Carr he wants to address is the fact site traffic isn’t also routed back to the original source of news.

Demenco didn’t tell Carr many details about what sort of guidelines for aggregation will be set in place or how will they be enforced. His basic message is aggregation isn’t bad if done properly. It’s a simple idea really. Give credit where it’s due.

Carr quoted Demenco saying: "This is not an anti-aggregation group, we are pro-aggregation. We want some simple, common-sense rules. There should be some kind of variation of the Golden Rule here, which is that you should aggregate others as you would wish to be aggregated yourself."

The committee has support from big name editors, but how will the Council on Ethical Blogging and Aggregation reel-in the blogosphere?

A Gawker reporter responded to Carr’s piece by saying the committee is unneeded. The rebuttal blog post was slapped with this headline, “We Don't Need No Stinking Seal of Approval from the Blog Police.”

“This sort of top-down, expert-heavy, credential-credulous media structure is exactly what blogging has so brilliantly been destroying for more than a decade,” Hamilton Nolan, a senior writer wrote. “The internet is where the upstarts are on equal footing with the experts.”

Others in the industry have picked out the Council’s missing links, too. Mediabistro, a well-known news aggregator, thinks the Council is a good idea, but noted the problems the committee is facing.

“Maybe the most troubling thing is that for a group developing rules for bloggers, there aren't many bloggers taking part,” Chris O’Shea wrote in his Mediabistro article.

The other big idea that has emerged during South by Southwest is the Curator’s Code, which is Reporter Maria Popova’s idea that writers could stamp their articles with a symbol to note whether the the original news was reported by another news organization or was inspired by another article, Carr reported. Kelli Anderson designed two symbols that would offer a crutch for reporters to clearly state whether the story was “via” another source or a “hat tip.” (Check out the symbols in the New York Times column.)

"Discovery of information is a form of intellectual labor," Popova told the Carr. "When we don't honor discovery, we are robbing somebody's time and labor. The Curator's Code is an attempt to solve some of that."

So what do you think? Does the news and blogging industry need aggregation guidelines? Sound off in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, TommL

More About: aggregators, ethics, south by southwest, sxsw 2012

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What Men and Women Really Want, According to Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 06:28 PM PDT

As a fully-licensed and accredited man, I am wholly unqualified to discuss what women want or care about. That’s what social data is for.

Social media monitoring company NetBase analyzed a year’s worth of online conversations — 27 billion, to be exact. Using natural language processing, they parsed English grammar and gender voice in search of phrases like “I want X.” The data was then analyzed for sentiment, and condensed into a top 10 list for each sex. The fascinating results have been compiled in the punchy inforgraphic below.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Twitter Is Sexier Than Facebook [INFOGRAPHIC]

We won’t spoil the fun up front — you’ll have to scroll down to see the winners. But it’s worth noting that food absolutely dominates social media conversation among both genders.

Here we are, the most interconnected civilization the world has ever known, and humanity’s greatest collective aspiration can be boiled down to, “Me likey pizza.”

Same as it ever was.


Infographic courtesy of NetBase.

More About: data, Food, gender, infographic, Social Media


The Internet Remembers the Japan Quake, Tsunami Anniversary

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 05:59 PM PDT


March 11 was the anniversary of Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, and citizens worldwide commemorated the event. Not only did news outlets release countless stories assessing Japan’s situation one year later, but people all over the world also shared their thoughts and photos online — including politicians, journalists, celebrities and ordinary citizens.

Social media documented the enormity of the event as it unfolded. In the days prior to the one year anniversary, crowd-sourced projects and other online features showcasing the situation in Japan also emerged.

Needless to say, the anniversary attracted a huge amount of attention online this past weekend. Mashable collected some of the viewpoints to highlight how people, both in Japan and outside the country, interpreted the event.

More About: Fukushima, japan, japan earthquake, Japan Tsunami, Social Media, Storify, trending


March Madness Is Here! Twitter Reacts to Selection Sunday [CHARTS]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 05:27 PM PDT


1. @ShaneBattier





Former Duke star and current NBA player Shane Battier saw a little too much coincidence in his Blue Devils being set up for a potential Elite Eight showdown with Kentucky. Twenty year ago, the two schools played one of college basketball's all-time classic title games.

Click here to view this gallery.

With Sunday’s announcement of the NCAA Tournament field, March Madness is officially upon us. As has been the case since before the Internet ruled our lives, Selection Sunday sparked a barrage of fan reactions and analyst prognostications.

This year — as is the norm nowadays — most of the conversation took place on Twitter. Fans griped and bragged, writers dropped knowledge, and players expressed their eagerness to get the madness started. Check out the gallery above for a flavor of the chatter in the hours following the Big Dance’s big announcement.

Who dominated the Twitter talk? Bubble teams. Iona, who many felt did not deserve an at-large bid, was mentioned nearly 12,000 times over two hours beginning with the commencement of the tournament selection show at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Drexel, who many saw as an egregious snub, was mentioned more than 9,000 times during that span. Check out this chart from the social media research company Fizziology for more on which teams were Sunday’s hottest topics:



Tweets discussing Iona broke almost evenly between positive and negative sentiment (see pie chart at right), which makes sense given how many folks were also happy to see the exciting squad including in the field. Of the people who expressed negative feelings about Iona being Big Dance bound, 20% mentioned Marshall as a more deserving team, according to Fizziology. Drexel was identified as a worthy replacement by 11%, and Northwestern, Seton Hall, Nevada and Washington by 2% apiece.


The Twittersphere was less divided on Drexel, though. Of the Dragons’ 9,321 mentions, Fizziology counts 71% as positive — meaning people indicating they should be have received a bid. Just 5% were negative, arguing they were rightly excluded, and about a quarter took a neutral stance on the issue. Check out this comparison of how sentiment about Drexel and Iona compared:

Now that the tournament field is set, attention has started turning to March Madness’s second great tradition, after bracket bloviation — gambling. Head over to basketball data-visualization site Hoopism.com for a live-updating, interactive look at how fans are betting on the tournament’s first round games.

What were the best Selection Sunday tweets you saw? Does this data match what appeared in your feed? Who were the biggest snubs and most wrongfully-included teams? Let us know in the comments.

More About: march madness, sports, Twitter

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Have You Occupied Wall Street? NYC Wants Your Twitter Data

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 05:07 PM PDT


If you’ve taken part in Occupy Wall Street, then the New York County District Attorney’s Office might want to take a peek at your Twitter data.

The DA’s office has sent subpoenas to Twitter asking for the data of a handful of people arrested last year as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Twitter has been sending those users the text of the subpoenas via email.

Jeff Rae, an Occupier who received one of those emails, decided to publish it online.

“We are writing to inform you that Twitter has received legal process. . .requesting information regarding your Twitter account, @jeffrae,” reads the email. “The legal process requires Twitter to produce documents related to your account.”

In the email, Twitter goes on to notify Rae that the company will respond to New York’s subpoena in seven days, unless he notifies Twitter that he intends to “quash” the legal process. It also suggests that Rae “may wish” to speak with a lawyer about the matter.

Attached to Twitter’s email was the subpoena itself, in which Twitter is “commanded” to hand over “all public tweets” from mid-September to the end of October of last year. The subpoena also requires Twitter to provide the name, address, session records, telephone number and temporary IP addresses associated with Rae’s account.

Rae, an organizer and labor activist, was arrested last October along with hundreds of other protesters when Occupy Wall Street attempted to cross the vehicle roadway of New York’s Brooklyn Bridge. He was charged with blocking traffic, improper use of a roadway and failure to obey orders.

Rae told Mashable that he’s going to file a motion against the DA’s request. Rae pointed out that all of his tweets are public, but he’s concerned that the second part of the subpeona, which demands information not publicly available, has negative implications for free speech.

The New York County District Attorney’s Office has declined to comment.

Twitter has complied with similar legal motions in the past. Earlier this month, they gave Boston’s District Attorney the data of a user who allegedly hacked the Boston Police Department.

You can view the Brooklyn Bridge protest email and subpoena below, courtesy Jeff Rae:

Twitter Subpoena

Image courtesy of sharply_done

More About: Occupy Wall Street, privacy, Social Media, Twitter


Austin’s Homeless Become Controversial Wi-Fi Hotspots During SXSW [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 04:53 PM PDT


In what has become a highly controversial move, advertising agency BBH transformed some of Austin’s homeless people into mobile hotspots during SXSW Interactive. Thirteen homeless from Austin’s Front Steps shelter donning an "I’m a 4G hotspot" T-shirt and armed with a MiFi were strategically placed throughout SXSW and offered internet access around their personal location to attendees.

Attendees were encouraged to donate money to the “Homeless Hotspots” based on the amount of time they spent online, with a suggested donation of $2 for every 15 minutes. Money was collected via PayPal, with all of the proceeds of a hotspot going directly to the homeless person who was wearing it.


Each homeless hotspot’s location was tracked on a virtual map, and logging on to the website allowed you to find your closest hotspot, as well as learn more about the person wearing it. The test program was designed to be a modernized version of the Street Newspaper, a paper that is created and sold by the homeless as a form of income. Rather than being seen as a way to help the homeless, however, many SXSW attendees saw the hotspots as something that made the homeless be seen as products rather than people.

In a statement on its blog, BBH defended its actions, "Obviously, there's an insane amount of chatter about this, which although certainly villianizes us, in many ways is very good for the homeless people we're trying to help: homelessness is actually a subject being discussed at SXSW and these people are no longer invisible."

At least one of homeless involved in the project, Melvin, agreed: “I would say that these people are trying to help the homeless, and increase awareness. They’re trying not to put us in a situation where we’re stereotyped. That’s a good side of it, too — we get to talk to people. Maybe give them a different perception of what homeless is like,” he says in an interview with Buzzfeed.

Do you think the project is hurting or helping the homeless? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

More About: homeless, sxsw, wi-fi

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Jason Mraz Picks Instagram Contest’s Best Snapshots [PICS]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 04:28 PM PDT


Jason Mraz's Instagram Challenge





Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz gave a verbal thumbs-up to Instagram and printing services that bring the app's images to life during a recent New York City gallery event held for winners of his Instagram contest.

Photo by Mashable's Stephanie Haberman

Click here to view this gallery.

Singer-songwriter Jason Mraz gave a verbal thumbs-up to Instagram and printing services that bring the app’s images to life during a recent New York City gallery event held for winners of his Instagram contest.

Mraz challenged fans to visually translate his latest single, “I Won’t Give Up,” into one photograph. He hand-picked 25 winners out of thousands of entries and met many of them Thursday at Animazing Gallery, where the top submissions — printed on CanvasPop large-format canvas — were on display.

“Phones make us all be radical photographers,” Mraz, who is one the most-followed users on Instagram, told Mashable at the event. “Instagram and CanvasPop bring a lost art form back to the real world.”

Nineteen-year-old Ryan Carl from Lynchburg, Va., submitted one of the nearly 10,000 entries into the #iwontgiveup contest. He made small talk with Mraz as the singer signed his 20×20 wall art (see image on left).

“We’re not all professionals, but Instagram enables anybody to share on a national level,” says Carl, who co-created the funny “Stuff Instagrammers Say” video that has garnered more than 90,000 views on YouTube since Feb. 26.

Carl, a business marketing student, says the contest was “completely brilliant” for both the Instagram community and Mraz, whose fourth album Love Is A Four-Letter Word drops April 17. Mraz’s contest likely will give him a sales boost as the song associated with the competition is the lead single from his forthcoming album.

The contest hashtag also gained plenty of traction on Twitter as most people tweeted their photos, including pop star Selena Gomez andAmerican Idol judge Randy Jackson even joined in on the contest:

“The event was a spectacular success — seeing Jason interact with his fans and have them share the inspiration behind their Instagram canvas prints was amazing,” says CanvasPop director of marketing Spencer Callaghan.

Instagram, an iOS app that has been downloaded 27 million times, announced Sunday at South by Southwest that an Android version of the app will be released “very soon.” Apple also dubbed Instagram its App of the Year in 2011, and company founder Kevin Systrom appeared in Best Buy’s Super Bowl ad.


BONUS: 13 Products You Can Make From Your Instagram Pics



1. Bangles




This Instagram'd bangle on Etsy is made by BuyMyCrap.

"We fell in love with the Instagram process and how it allows you to create pieces representative of yesteryear with different tones, filters and effects," says Lainey Bard, who's affectionately known by her customers as Mrs. Crap. "Since we create wearable works of art, we decided to include Instagram inspired pieces in our shop."

The Craps access the Instagram API via iPod to pull photos. Bangles are sold for $40.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: celebrities, Entertainment, instagram, mobile apps, Music


SXSW 2012: Food Trumps Events on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 04:14 PM PDT

The weekend may be over, but SXSW‘s social media conversations are still happening.

According to findings from the Meltwater Group, there were almost 330,000 conversations occurring in social spaces surrounding SXSW; 95% of those occurred on Twitter, still the network of choice for SXSW.

Tech companies at the festival released big news, and the surrounding buzz swallowed up a lot social bandwidth. The most highly anticipated announcement came Sunday afternoon, when Instagram announced it would finally be coming to Android, and that it had 27 million users.

SEE ALSO: Rainn Wilson Talks Altruism at SXSW — Then Smashes a Guitar

Many were also talking about the death of check-in service Gowalla, an Austin company that launched at SXSW in 2009, and took the festival by storm in 2010, going head-to-head with Foursquare. The company shut its doors officially last weekend, a few months after an announcement that founder Josh Williams and others would be transitioning to Facebook.

Perhaps most interesting, Meltwater found that food reigns at SXSW. According to its data, attendees tweeted about food three times more often than panels or events. Free food giveaways are an important promotion strategy of SXSW — people create Twitter accounts like @SouthByFreeNoms just to help fest goers find the best free snacks.

Check out the infographic from Meltwater below, and let us know what SXSW has you buzzing about.


More About: apps, Food, infograhic, Social Media, sxsw, sxsw 2012, Twitter


Google Confirms It’s Working on Chrome for Windows 8

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 03:53 PM PDT

google-chrome-600

Google says it’s working on a version of Chrome that will run in the Metro environment. The news follows the revelation that Mozilla is building Firefox for Metro as well.

A Google spokesperson told Mashable that the new version of Chrome would be based on the desktop browser (as opposed to the Android version).

"Our goal is to be able to offer our users a speedy, simple, secure Chrome experience across all platforms, which includes both the desktop and Metro versions of Windows 8,” the rep said. “To that end we’re in the process of building a Metro version of Chrome along with improving desktop Chrome in Windows 8 such as adding enhanced touch support.”

That means when Windows 8 tablets start to appear later this year, customers will be able to use the same browsers they use in Windows 7, but re-imagined for the Metro interface.

Metro is the touch-friendly way of interacting for Windows 8 that’s ideally suited for tablets, though it also works with a mouse and keyboard. Users can either use Metro or the Windows traditional desktop.

SEE ALSO: Hands On With Google Chrome for Android

However, there was some question until recently whether Microsoft would even allow browsers other than the in-house Internet Explorer to run in Metro. In a recently published white paper, the company revealed that other Metro browsers were welcome, and they’d even get some privileges other Metro apps don’t have (like multitasking). The downside: users will only be able to run a single browser in Metro, the default one.

So what will the touch-enabled version of Chrome be like? Google’s history and Chrome for Android can offer some guidance: Think automatic syncing with your phone and Google account, tabs that you can swipe through and extensions galore.

What would you like to see in a Metro version of Chrome? Leave your suggestions in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, andrearoad


BONUS: Microsoft Unveils the Windows 8 Consumer Preview



Windows 8 at Mobile World Congress




Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Google, google chrome, internet explorer, Metro, microsoft, trending, Windows, Windows 8


Analyst: Apple Will Sell 1 Million iPads on Launch Day

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 03:35 PM PDT


The new iPad isn’t even out yet, but that’s not stopping people from trying to guess how big a hit it will be. One industry analyst estimates it’ll best the original iPad launch by more than a factor of three.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster said in a note to investors today that he expects Apple to sell at least 1 million iPads on the first day of release, Friday, March 16, AppleInsider reports. When Apple debuted the original iPad, the company said it sold 300,000 units on launch day. Apple never gave a day-one figure for the iPad 2, citing supply-chain difficulties.

Munster compared the coming launch of the third-generation iPad to the launch of the iPhone 4 in 2010. Since the launch of the first iPad, Apple has sold 55 million iPads total. When the iPhone 4 was poised to debut — in just five countries — Apple had sold 50 million iPhones worldwide. Apple said sales of the iPhone 4 numbered 1.7 million in the first three days.

“Given the new iPad will be sold in 12 countries on 3/16,” Munster wrote. “We are confident the company will sell over 1 (million) on launch day.”

SEE ALSO: How Windows 8 Tablets Could Seriously Challenge the iPad

The iPhone, of course, has gone on to capture huge swaths of the global mobile market, with Apple selling 37 million iPhones in the last quarter alone, the same quarter of the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Will the iPad achieve similar victories among tablets? Without a serious competitor, it looks like the iPad’s success is limited only by the size of the tablet market, which is growing steadily. Demand for the new model is so great, that ship dates have been pushed back to next week. Some studies have said the iPad will continue to dominate the tablet market until at least 2015.

Are you planning on buying the new iPad? What persuaded you? Let us know in the comments.


BONUS: Meet Apple’s New iPad



1. Retina Display




The most touted feature of the new iPad is its ultra-high-resolution "retina" display, which clocks in at 2,048 x 1,536 pixels -- a million more pixels than a 1080p HDTV. Thanks to the extra pixels and the iPad's new graphics processor, the screen has 44% better color saturation. The screen's pixels are so small, Apple says it had to change the design of the LCD itself to elevate the pixels above the circuitry to prevent distortion. Apple calls it the best display ever made for a mobile device, and -- from the specs -- it's hard to disagree.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: apple, ipad, iphone, iphone 4, iPhone 4S, trending


Shoppers Prefer Using Mobile Web Over Retail Apps

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 03:18 PM PDT

Mobile Web

Shoppers would rather visit a retailer’s mobile website over using a branded app, according to a new study.

A report released by Nielsen Wire on Monday found that retail websites are more popular than retail apps. It also revealed that Amazon is the most visited retail site on the mobile web.

The study — which was conducted among 5,000 U.S. smartphone users — noted that that Amazon is not only dominating the e-commerce world, it’s also leading the pack as the most popular retailer among iOS and Android smartphone users. During the 2011 holiday season, the top retail apps and websites included Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, Target and Walmart. These merchants combined reached nearly 60% of smartphone owners, the report said.

"The majority of smartphone owners used their devices for shopping this past holiday season," said John Burbank, President of Strategic Initiatives at Nielsen, in a statement. "Mobile shopping has reached scale and is only going to grow as smartphone penetration continues to rise."

The report noted that both male and female smartphone owners prefer retailer mobile websites over mobile apps. However, men are slightly more likely to try retail apps than women. Shoppers who do access retail apps tend to spend more time on them than those that access retail sites from the mobile web.

Target and Walmart attract more female shoppers when it comes to their mobile websites, while men prefer to visit Best Buy’s mobile site. Both men and women equally shop at Amazon and eBay’s mobile sites.

Homepage thumbnail courtesy of iStockphoto, http://www.istockphoto.com/user_view.php?id=4959487

More About: apps, ipad, iphone, Mobile, retail, smartphones


Hudld Wants to Replace TweetDeck on Your iPhone

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 03:04 PM PDT



A new iPhone app called Hudld is looking to replace TweetDeck on your iPhone. Much like TweetDeck, which was acquired last year by Twitter, Hudld offers the ability to post to both Facebook and Twitter simultaneously and integrates your Facebook and Twitter feeds into a single timeline. Direct messaging is supported on both services, and the app can support up to 30 different Facebook and Twitter accounts at the same time.

While the functionality is fairly similar, Hudld‘s founders think the app’s user interface is what will make it stand out. "Given that most aggregates available are very limited in their functionality, we decided to make a fully featured app with the two main services. Most of those apps are heavily Twitter integrated and have a lighter touch of Facebook. We decided to instead start with a heavy favor to both major networks and build them side by side, creating a much more user friendly UI," Hudld creator Brian Ash told Mashable.

Hudld offers the ability to not only view your Facebook feed, but also view likes and comments you’ve received on the service. You can upload photos into albums, tag friends, and add and delete comments as well. Clicking on a friend’s post within Hudld gives you the option to add your own message into the conversation, view that individual’s profile on the social network, or send him or her a direct message.

SEE ALSO: 5 Things Missing From the New TweetDeck for Chrome

Similarly, clicking on a tweet in your timeline gives you the ability to view the poster’s profile, reply to a message, retweet it, or send a direct message to the poster. You can also view replies that have already been posted to the message, or follow or unfollow the sender.

While the app currently only supports Facebook and Twitter, there are plans to integrate both LinkedIn and Google+ in the future. Plans are also in the works to integrate RSS feeds and Facebook messaging. "We started on the correct path from the beginning, and the potential for growth and additional features is practically limitless given the groundwork laid by the UI and the vision we have for the app and the understanding of our customers," says Ash.

An ad-supported version of Hudld is available now from the App Store. An update that’s expected soon will offer the ability to remove the ads via an in-app purchase.

Do any of you use a social media aggregator on your phone now? Tell us about your favorite service in the comments.

More About: apps, Facebook, hudld, tweetdeck, Twitter


Facebook Now Has 3,000 Timeline Apps, Adds The Onion and Vevo

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 02:46 PM PDT


Since Facebook‘s Open Graph became available just two months ago to Timeline apps, the social network has added nearly 3,000 of such apps, the company announced Monday at SXSW.

Facebook added a slew of new apps today as well, including Foursquare, The Onion, Vevo, Nike and more.

Timeline apps let users share a variety of actions with their Facebook friends — like where they’re running or what they’re cooking — creating a dynamic Timeline profile. The feature initially launched with 60 apps (Mashable‘s own social reading app launched in February).

Facebook project manager Austin Haugen said Monday at an app showcase at SXSW that now there are nearly 3,000 Timeline apps available and companies have seen increased engagement and growth because of them. He cited Pinterest as one of such Timeline app success stories. It grew its daily active Facebook user base by 60%. Another startup, Goodreads, was able to increase its daily traffic by 77%.

You can check out a complete list of Timeline apps here.

– Sarah Kessler contributed to this report.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GOIABA (Goiabarea)

More About: Facebook, facebook timeline, sxsw


Posterous Joins the Flock at Twitter

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 02:21 PM PDT


Posterous is now part of Twitter.

The 4-year-old blogging platform officially announced the acquisition Monday afternoon on its company blog, noting that "the opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn't be happier about bringing our team's expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe."

Twitter’s company blog echoed the same sentiments.

“We're always looking for talented people who have the passion and personality to join Twitter,” reads a blog post about the deal. “Acquisitions have given us people and technology that have enabled us to more quickly build a better Twitter for you.”

Posterous as a platform particularly lends itself to mobile blogging. While posts can be added using the website’s rich text editor, posts –including those containing pictures, video, or documents– can also be added via email.The acquisition brings Posterous’ engineers, product managers and other employees into the flock with plans for them to work “on several key initiatives that will make Twitter even better.”

Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption, and the company promises to “give users ample notice” if any changes are on the horizon.

If you purchased a domain from Posterous, you’ll receive an email from its domain partner eNom in the next several days with instructions on how to access your account. If you’re redirecting your domain or subdomain to Posterous, the service will continue to point to your Posterous Space, with no need for you to make any changes.

For those who want to backup content from Posterous or move your content to another service, the company will be providing instructions on how to do so in the coming weeks.

Why do you think Twitter bought Posterous? Tell us in the comments below.

More About: posterous, Posterous Spaces, Small Business, Startups, trending, Twitter


Yahoo Sues Facebook Over 10 Patents

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 01:59 PM PDT


Yahoo on Monday made good on its promise to sue Facebook, alleging in a complaint that Facebook violated 10 patents.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court in San Jose, Calif., makes a case that Yahoo innovated on several fronts, including messaging, news feed generation, social commenting advertising display, preventing click fraud and privacy controls.

“Facebook was not launched until 2004, 10 years after Yahoo was founded,” the complaint reads. “Facebook has since grown to be one of the most widely trafficked sites on the Internet. That growth, however, has been based in a large part on Facebook’s use of Yahoo’s patented technology.”

The complaint also quotes Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg as acknowledging that “getting there first is not what it’s all about.” Further on, it states, “Facebook’s entire social network model, which allows users to create profiles for and connect with, among other things, persons and businesses, is based on Yahoo’s patented social networking technology.”

Yahoo’s suit, which seeks unspecified damages, comes at an awkward time for Facebook. The social networking giant is expected to launch an IPO in May to raise $5 billion. Yahoo, meanwhile, risks being seen as desperate in engaging in patent trolling as its revenues and market share continue to slip.

The suit comes after Yahoo and Facebook were apparently unable to work out an agreement over the issue. Yahoo was in talks with Facebook over its patent claims last month, according to a report in The New York Times. At the time, Yahoo was threatening a lawsuit if Facebook didn’t pay licensing fees, according to the report.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Eric Hayes

Complaint for Patent Infringement

More About: Facebook, lawsuits, patents, trending, Yahoo


Gilt.com’s Half-Price Car Deal Sells in 2.5 Seconds [VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 01:45 PM PDT


If you want a half-price 2013 Infiniti JX crossover, get in line behind 4,600 people on the wait list. Though, getting in line won’t do much good either. This was a one-shot deal for charity.

Gilt Groupe offered one vehicle at half-price — $27,425 — at noon EST on Monday and one lucky person scooped up the vehicle in 2.5 seconds, said Caitlyn Carpanzano, a Gilt spokesperson. After six minutes, more than 2,000 people jumped on the waiting list, which reached 4,600 by 2:45 p.m. EST.

The brand-new vehicle retails at $54,850. Nissan won’t profit from the sale. Infiniti — a sponsor of NCAA Men’s Basketball — will donate $54,850 to Coaches vs. Cancer, an American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches effort to fight cancer and increase awareness about the disease.

Infiniti and Gilt also sold a limited number of VIP ticket and hotel packages for the final rounds of the upcoming NCAA Tournament. Packaged ranged from $800 to $3,500 and included travel, hotel and tickets. All packages sold out within an hour of going live on Gilt. Infiniti’s partnership with Gilt seems to be a way for Infiniti to brand itself as a luxury brand.

This isn’t the first time Gilt, a shopping site that offers deals on luxury items, has sold cars for a discounted price. Last October, Gilt sold a 2012 Range Rover Evoque Prestige. In December 2010, Gilt offered three Jettas for $5,995.

The vehicle and NCAA tourney deals are open for 60 hours. But, it’s not likely you’ll get your hands on a shiny new vehicle or a trip to the NCAA tourney.

Image courtesy of Gilt.

More About: deals, gilt groupe, Nissan, Video


Pinterest’s iPad App Is on the Way

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 01:29 PM PDT


Pinterest is actively working to bring an iPad application to market, said one of the white-hot startup’s co-founders.

In an interview with The New York Times, Ben Silbermann said an app is in the works, but did not name a launch date. The two-year-old social bookmarking site, which has skyrocketed in popularity in recent months, already has an iPhone app but doesn’t have apps for any other smartphone platforms.

It’s not surprising that the company would release an iPad app before launching an app for Android, even though far more people own Android smartphones than iPads. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup employs only 20 people, and its staffers are already familiar with Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. Developing an Android app would require the hiring of engineers with a background in a different programming language, Java.

Pinterest could not be reached for comment on the expected launch date for an iPad nor an Android app by press time.


SEE ALSO: What People Are Pinning on Pinterest

In addition, Silbermann told The Times that the company has severed its relationship with affiliate revenue service Skimlinks after user backlash. Previously, Pinterest received a cut every time a user clicked on a pinned product and then purchased it from retailer’s website. Users were largely unaware, however, that the company was making money from their pins. It’s unclear whether and how Pinterest will generate money in the future.

Silbermann added that the company is continuing to address another recent issue: copyright. Some publishers are displeased that their content has been pinned to Pinterest without proper attribution. The startup has since released a tool that allows publishers to block pinning on their websites, but is still working on a more extensive solution to the problem.


A Look Inside Pinterest’s Palo Alto Headquarters



The Surprising Exterior




This is the front of the Pinterest office in downtown Palo Alto.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: ipad app, pinterest


AT&T Firing Up 4G LTE in 12 More Cities, Including Staten Island

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 01:13 PM PDT

att-coverage-map-600

When AT&T turned on its 4G LTE network in New York City in January, it finally gave Verizon some needed competition in the market for high-speed mobile broadband. There was one part of the Big Apple that was shut out of the party, however: Staten Island.

That’s changing soon, the company says. AT&T will be expanding its LTE footprint to 12 more regions, including New York’s oft-overlooked southern borough, New Orleans and Cleveland in the coming months (scroll down for a complete list). A company rep says the new areas will begin to come online in April and continue through early summer.

AT&T says its 4G network is the largest, able to reach nearly 250 million people. However, the carrier includes its HSPA+ network as part of its 4G footprint. HSPA+, while faster than some 3G networks, isn’t nearly as fast as LTE. AT&T recently persuaded Apple to switch the labeling of the HSPA+ connection on the iPhone 4S to “4G,” a change that was decried by many in the tech industry.

While the international standards union has dithered on the issue, LTE is, for now, is the fastest network connection as you can get on a mobile device. In Mashable‘s own tests, we managed to get over 50 megabits per second (Mbps) download speed on a 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Note. By comparison, the HSPA+ connection on the iPhone 4S, given near-identical conditions, only managed about 2Mbps.

SEE ALSO: What is 4G? A FAQ On Next Generation Wireless

Verizon says its LTE market now reaches more than 200 million Americans, and AT&T says it started with 74 million last September. Of course, Verizon had a nine-month head start, so it makes sense that AT&T has some catching up to do. Sprint says it will begin to deploy an LTE network this summer, and T-Mobile has plans to introduce one in 2013.

How much does having LTE in your area affect your purchasing decision when considering a new phone? Let us know in the comments.

Here’s a complete list of places that will be getting LTE from AT&T in the coming months:

  • Naples, FL
  • Bloomington, IN
  • Lafayette, IN
  • Munice, IN
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • New Orleans, LA
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Staten Island, NY
  • Akron, OH
  • Canton, OH
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Bryan-College Station, TX

More About: 4G, 4g lte, att, LTE, verizon

For more Mobile coverage:


See the Best SXSW Panels, Illustrated [PICS]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 12:45 PM PDT


"The Wars of Tech"




Speaker: Steven Levy Artist: Nora

Click here to view this gallery.

Forget following a SXSW panel’s hashtag to see what happened. Why not look at some cool visual notes?

Ad agency Ogilvy created Ogilvy Notes to capture all the action of SXSW’s most interesting panels in a creative way. They sent several artists to the conference, who sketched key panels in a style known as visual note-taking.

Prints of the notes are available to attendees the day after the panel by stopping by Ogilvy’s booth in the Convention Center. If you’re not in Austin, you can view them all on the Ogilvy’s site. There are about 30 there right now, with more to be added as SXSW continues. If you want to see larger versions of these, click here.

Ogilvy also sketched panels from SXSW 2011.

More About: features, illustrations, Ogilvy, sxsw

For more Social Media coverage:


Doctors Believe Using Health Apps Will Cut Down on Visits [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 12:30 PM PDT


Many doctors believe that using apps that keep track of your health will help cut down on doctor visits, a new infographic suggests.

According to data revealed by Float Mobile Learning, 40% of doctors believe that using mobile health technologies such as apps that monitor fitness and eating habits can reduce the number of office visits needed by patients. About 88% of doctors are in full support of patients monitoring their health at home, especially when it comes to watching weight, blood sugar and vital signs, and many believe consumers should take advantage of the apps currently on the market to help along the process.

“With the forthcoming changes to the U.S. healthcare system, there will be an increased focus on wellness programs and preventative medicine,” Chad Udell, managing director of Float Mobile Learning, told Mashable. “Mobile health offers a tremendous opportunity for people to become more involved in their own health and wellness.”

It’s no secret that the mobile health industry is growing. There are more than 10,000 medical and healthcare apps available for download in the Apple App Store, making it the third-fastest growing app category among iPhone and Android users.

Doctors are also getting in on the trend, as 80% said they use smartphones and medical apps. Physicians are also 250% more likely to own a tablet than other consumers.

Udell noted that doctors continue to buy tablet devices in droves largely because they offer an easy way to stay in touch with their co-workers and patients. The infographic also noted that 56% of doctors said they turn to mobile devices to make faster decisions, and 40% said it reduces time spent on administration work.

SEE ALSO: iPad Credited With Saving Man's Life

“It will be interesting to see the impact of the new iPad on medical imaging professionals such as radiologists, who will be able to take advantage of its great graphic capabilities,” Udell said.

Among some of the most popular apps are Nike Plus — which turns a smartphone into a personal trainer — and iStethoscope that allows iPhone users to record and play back a heartbeat. Meanwhile, Welldoc is a series of programs and apps that can reduce hospital and ER visits in half by having patients monitor and manage their own chronic diseases.

Do you use any mobile health apps? Will apps play a big role in the future for the health industry? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Mobile Health Infographic

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, Lisa-Blue

More About: apps, health, Mobile, smartphones


Which Countries Top the List of ‘Enemies of the Internet?’

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 11:52 AM PDT

enemies of the internet

Global media watchdog organization Reporters Without Borders has released its annual list of “Enemies of the Internet,” highlighting countries that restrict online freedom of expression.

The list‘s release coincides with World Day Against Cyber Censorship, March 12, a day the organization started in 2008 to rally the world behind an open Internet.

The list includes 12 “Internet Enemies” and 14 “countries under surveillance.”

The Arab Spring, the social media-fueled protests that swept across the Arab world since December 2010, has led some countries to stiffen their Internet restrictions while others have loosened their controls.

"The Internet and social networks have been conclusively established as tools for protest, campaigning and circulating information, and as vehicles for freedom," the report says. "More than ever before, online freedom of expression is now a major foreign and domestic policy issue."

Following a revolution ousting dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya — in previous years considered an Internet Enemy — has been removed from both lists.

Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have been moved from the “under surveillance” category into “Internet Enemies.” Over the last year, Bahrain restricted Internet access during protests and Belarus placed limitations on visiting foreign websites.

The other 10 countries on the Internet Enemies list are Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The 14 under surveillance are Australia, Egypt, Eritrea, France, India, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

France’s spot on the list is of interest, considering Reporters Without Borders is a French NGO. According to the report, France requires surveillance because of a filtering law and a law that allows Internet access to be cut off from people who illegally download content.

Australia, the other surprise country under surveillance, is on the list because of its national filtering system, which restricts access to child pornography sites and other domains deemed inappropriate.

What do you think of the list? Are their any other countries Reporters Without Borders should have included?


2011′s Notable Social Media Uprisings



1. Tunisian Revolution




A 26-year-old Tunisian vegetable vendor set himself on fire Dec. 17, 2010 after police stole produce from his stand. The suicide of Mohamed Bouazizi, a college graduate unable to find work within his field of study, triggered a revolution in his home country that spread across the Arab world.

Young Tunisians began organizing on Facebook and Twitter-- with Bouazi as their role model -- protesting the oppressive regime of the country's 23-year President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

On Jan. 14, Ben Ali fled the Tunisia, seeking refuge in Saudi Arabia. His exit triggered similar movements across the region, from Western Sahara to Iran, the most noteworthy of which are highlighted on coming slides.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: censorship, Gaddafi, trending, World


What Is Your All-Time Best Apple Story? [CONTEST]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 11:38 AM PDT


Last week we asked you to predict Apple’s next game-changing innovation. We wanted you to think big, but also to be realistic. It’s highly unlikely, no matter how much we all wish for it, that the iHover is anywhere near done.

With iOS, the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple has innovated in ways that changed not simply its company, but its entire industry. We wanted you to envision what might come next.

The results are in, and it’s clear that many of you are thinking along the same lines. You believe Apple’s next big innovation will be in television. The next most popular prediction involved Apple changing the face of the automobile industry. Other responses included video game consoles, cameras and watches.

But no response stuck out quite like Steve Shatkin‘s, who envisioned an entire home entertainment system that runs iOS.

Apple Prediction

We appreciated his thorough vision, but also the realistic nature of his prediction. Tim Cook would do well to give Steve a call if he’s in need of some product advice. For his response, Steve will win a $500 Apple gift card and a Belkin prize pack.

He’s our third winner, but we still have two more gift card/prize pack combos to give away. Today, we ask you to share your best personal Apple story. It could be the way an Apple device changed your life, or it could be a fantastic and unique customer service experience. We’re guessing if you love Apple, you’ve got a good story to tell. Read on to learn how to enter.

Apple Gift Card

Today, we’re asking: What is your best personal Apple story?


How To Enter The Contest


  • Tell us in the comments: What is your best personal Apple story? OR
  • Tweet your response with the hashtag #mashtech.
  • Submit your response by 12:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday, March 13.

If you’ve not commented before, it’s easy: Just sign in to Mashable Follow with your existing Facebook or Twitter account and start posting! Please use your real identity in the submission so that we may contact you via email, Twitter or Facebook to let you know you've won. This contest is limited to residents of the United States who are 18 or older.

We look forward to hearing your responses!

Read our full contest rules here.


The New iPad Details Hit Apple.com




The new 9.7-inch iPad has 2048 x 1536-pixel retina display, 5-megapixel camera (with the same optics sensor from the iPhone 4S) and 1080p video recording. It is available March 16 in black and white, powered by A5X chip (with quad-core graphics) and supports 4G LTE networks. It's 9.4 millimeters thick and 1.4 pounds.

Wi-Fi only iPads cost $499 for 16 GB, $599 32 GB and $699 for 64 GB, while 4G versions cost $629 for 16 GB, $729 32 GB and $829 for 64 GB. Pre-orders start today, and the devices will be in stores March 16 in these 10 countries: U.S., UK, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, France, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.

Credit: Apple.com

Click here to view this gallery.


Apple iPad Event




Click here to view this gallery.


More Coverage of Apple’s New iPad


Image courtesy of iStockphoto, veni

More About: apple, Contests, Gadgets, iOS, ipad, iphone, Mobile


SXSW Documentary Explores the Human Side of Tech [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO]

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 11:22 AM PDT


When we live in a world of technology, what is the value of being a living, breathing thing? That’s one of the questions filmmaker Avi Zev Weider asks in his new documentary, Welcome to the Machine.

The film, which makes its world premiere at SXSW, follows Weider on his quest to find out what it means to be human.

The impetus of the film is born from Weider’s own life. He and his wife struggled for three years to have children before turning to in vitro fertilization. Almost immediately the couple became pregnant — with triplets!

In his director’s statement describing the idea behind the film, Weider writes:

…Every time we have a discussion about technology, be it artificial intelligence, cell phones or e-mail, the conversation invariably ends up being about ourselves – about what we value as people. And it is these values – be it choices, be it relationships, be it family – that are what make us human.

The film will be screening Monday at 9:45 p.m. at SXSW. Two figures from the film will also be at panels this afternoon.

If you’re not in Austin and would like to learn more about Welcome to the Machine, check out the official website.

More About: Film, robots, sxsw, Video, welcome to the machine

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Yes, You Will Be Able to Ditch Internet Explorer in Windows 8

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 11:05 AM PDT

firefox-chrome-metro-600

If you’re reading this on a PC, it’s probably on Google Chrome or Firefox — the two most popular browsers on Windows that Mashable readers use. It’s a telling example about how most tech-savvy Windows users don’t use the default browser on their machines, Internet Explorer. But how’s that going to change when Windows 8 launches later this year?

Windows 8, as you may know, has two modes: the familiar desktop, and the all-new Metro interface (for a primer on Windows 8, check out this link). Metro differs from traditional Windows in many ways, but one of the ways that’s not often talked about is that Microsoft will have final say over what apps run on it, since Windows 8 users will only be able to download Metro apps from the Windows Store.

With such ironclad control over the new operating system, would Microsoft even allow other web browsers to run in Metro? The answer is yes, and Mozilla is already hard at work developing the Metro version of Firefox, one of the company’s developers revealed on his personal blog. He also revealed a little tidbit: Browser apps will work somewhat differently than other Metro apps.

Mozilla engineer Brian R. Bondy says there are three types of Windows 8 apps: those that run solely in the classic desktop, Metro apps, and Metro-enabled browsers for the desktop. It’s the last one that Metro versions of Firefox (and presumably Google Chrome) will be.

SEE ALSO: Windows 8 Consumer Preview: The Good, the Bad and the Metro [REVIEW]

Bondy references a Microsoft white paper that says Metro-style browsers aren’t completely confined to the Metro environment. That means, as Bondy describes, that the browser can be just as powerful as its desktop equivalent, with the ability to multitask, download files in the background and render web-based HTML5 apps in their entirety.

That’s because, if Internet Explorer 10 is any indication, that the browser is essentially the same animal whether it’s running in the desktop or Metro — it’s only the user interface that’s different. Still, that involves quite a bit of coding, and Bondy says it’s a “very large project.”

There’s a catch, though: For a browser to run in Metro, the user must pick it as the default browser. That likely won’t be an issue for most fans of Firefox and Chrome, but it does mean you won’t be able to have multiple browsers open in Metro.


BONUS: A Tour of Windows 8



Start Menu




Here's what greets you every time you log into your Windows 8 machine. Yes, the tiles are customizable, though it's a little unwieldy in practice.

Click here to view this gallery.

More About: Firefox, google chrome, IE10, internet explorer, Metro, trending, web browsers, Windows 8


Is Duke March Madness’s Most Exciting Team? That’s What the Numbers Say

Posted: 12 Mar 2012 10:49 AM PDT


The NCAA Tournament’s official selection committee thinks its four best teams are number one seeds Kentucky, Syracuse, Michigan State and North Carolina.

But who are March Madness‘s most exciting teams to watch? Duke and Connecticut provide more viewing fun than anyone else, according to algorithms used by the mobile app Thuuz.

Thuuz rates games in real-time by excitement on a scale of zero to 100, then notifies you once your personal drama threshold is reached in a certain game. A contest of average excitement merits a 50. Teams’ season ratings (through March 4) represent the mean rating of contests in which they participated. CEO Warren Packard says algorithms consider a range of criteria including game pace, unusual plays, momentum shifts and, of course, scoring margin. So, while alley-oop dunks help a team’s excitement rating, continually blowing out hapless opponents does not.

With a score of 67.5, Duke beats out Connecticut for the top spot by nearly a point and a half. Rounding out the top four, Louisville rates a 65.7 and Vanderbilt a 65.2. Syracuse is the highest-ranked of the tournament’s top seeds, with a score of 61.3. That’s 12th overall among the 91 teams analyzed by Thuuz. How do the other top seeds rank? North Carolina scores a 59.9 (18th overall), Kentucky a 52.6 (33rd overall) and Michigan State a 50.3 (45th overall).

“It’s interesting that Duke ended up number one on the list, because you’d characterize them as a really good but not great team,” Packard says. “What really happens is the teams that are good but necessarily phenomenal are the ones that rank the highest here.”

After a full season of college basketball, the company has a trove of hoops data. The rankings include teams from seven well-regarded conferences, as well as small-conference teams that spent significant time ranked in the national top 25 polls this season.

The Big East, which placed nine teams in the Big Dance, ranks as this season’s most exciting conference, with an average team score of 56.4. The Pac 12, which only placed two teams in the tournament, was the least exciting of the seven conferences analyzed, with 44.7.

According to the data, the most exciting first-round game should be Thursday evening’s tilt between Connecticut and Iowa State. Connecticut rates a 66.1 and Iowa State an even 56.

The most exciting team to be snubbed by the selection committee was Illinois, which sports an excitement rating of 60.2, but struggled to an overall record of 17-15. The least exciting major-conference team to make the tournament, according to Thuuz? Colorado, which scored a measly 40.9.


BONUS GALLERY: March Madness Must-Follows



1. @GoodmanCBS




Jeff Goodman is a CBSSports.com writer. His SiriusXM show, Inside College Basketball, regularly has interesting and timely guests as well. Follow his Twitter feed to find out who's on when.

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More About: march madness, sports, Tech


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