- Apple’s Asia-Pacific Sales Up 174% This Year
- Samsung Galaxy Nexus Coming to Europe Nov. 17
- Find a Job in Social Media, Communications or Design
- New York Marathon Runners Getting Digital Love from RFID Chips
- Is There Room for a Klout for Professionals?
- Schmap Releases Tool to Break Down the Demographics of Your Twitter Followers
- Dropbox for Teams Offers a Terabyte of Space, Centralized Billing
- 3 Tips for Improving Customer Engagement in SaaS Applications
- The Guardian Launches Twitter-Based Search Bot
- HP Announces It’ll Stay in the Tablet Business, One Way or Another
- The Architect of #OccupyWallStreet Praises the Power of “Magical Hashtags”
- Kobo Vox, Social-Reading Android Competitor to the Kindle Fire [PICS]
- HP Rescues PCs — But Without a Tablet, Can It Save Itself?
- Redbox Raises DVD Prices: We’ve Seen This Movie Before
- Occupy Wall Street Beats Tea Party in Searches on Google
- I Want My Siri TV: Is Apple Aiming to Make the Remote Obsolete?
- HP Will Keep Its PC Division, Meg Whitman Decides
- Should the New Facebook Gestures Allow a Dislike Button?
- Google+ Adds Creative Kit Photo Fun and What’s Hot [HANDS-ON]
- Why Digital Medical Records Could Save Your Life
- Google+ Comes to Google Apps
- Tech Luminaries Sing SF Mayor Ed Lee’s Praises [VIDEO]
- iPhone vs. Android: The Social App Activities That Set Users Apart [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Why Coldplay and Adele Aren’t Bringing New Albums to Spotify
- What Is the Future of Media? Find Out at a Mashable Media Summit Meetup
- Netflix Takes Up 32.7% of Internet Bandwidth [STUDY]
- Graphic.ly Founder on Startup Life, Internet Fame & Getting Sober
- Google Execs Are Scary Monsters Thanks to New Creative Kit
- Police Brutality Videos That Google Refuses to Remove Are Not From Occupy Oakland
- Snip.it Lets You Collect and Share Web Content That Matters to You [INVITES]
Posted: 28 Oct 2011 03:59 AM PDT
Apple’s net sales in the Asia-Pacific region have risen to $14.3 billion in 2011, up 174% from the same period a year ago.
Much of that growth has come from Greater China, a region that includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in the company’s fiscal 2011 earnings call a week and a half ago. China accounted for just 2% of sales in fiscal 2009, and 12% in fiscal 2011, he said.
“I’ve never seen a country with as many people rising into the middle class that aspire to buy products that Apple makes,” he observed at the time.
Sales in Greater China were driven primarily by “strong demand” for the iPhone 4 and carrier expansion, as well as strong sales of the iPad. Mac sales were up, too, the filing indicated.
Sales in Japan were also strong, despite the earthquakes and tsunami that rattled the northeast coast of the country this past March. Net sales were up 37% to $1.5 billion year-over-year, although the country represented a smaller portion of Apple’s overall net sales — 5% compared to 6% a year ago.
Net sales were up 56% to $13.8 billion in the Americas, making up 35% of the company’s total net sales for 2011, while Europe accounted for 28% at $9.1 billion, up 49% from 2010.
Image courtesy of 37prime
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Posted: 28 Oct 2011 03:15 AM PDT
The Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to run Google’s next-generation Android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, is arriving in Europe on Nov. 17.
The news comes via a tweet from Samsung’s official mobile account. A pre-order page has also appeared on amazon.co.uk, which lists the device for £549.99 (€627, $885). Subsidized versions will be made available on Vodafone, 02 and 3UK with a two-year contract in the UK.
The Galaxy Nexus, which was announced at a joint event with Google in Hong Kong a week and a half ago, has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of RAM, a 4.65-inch super AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of shooting 1080p video and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The device is slated for November release in the U.S., Canada and Asia as well.
For more Mobile coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:29 PM PDT
If you’re seeking a job in social media, we’d like to help out. For starters, Mashable‘s Job Lists gather all our resource lists, how-tos and expert guides to help you get hired. In particular, you might want to see our articles, How to Leverage Social Media for Career Success and How to Find a Job on Twitter.
But we’d like to help in a more direct way, too. Mashable‘s job boards are a place for socially savvy companies to find people like you. This week and every week, Mashable features its coveted job board listings for a variety of positions on the web, social media space and beyond. Have a look at what's good and new on our job boards:
Mashable Job Postings
Community Intern (Fall 2011) at Mashable in New York, NY.
Community Intern (Winter 2012) at Mashable in New York, NY.
Editorial Intern (Fall 2011) at Mashable in New York, NY.
Editorial Intern (Winter 2012) at Mashable in New York, NY.
Tech Reporter at Mashable in San Francisco, CA.
Tech Reporter at Mashable in New York, NY.
Mashable Job Board Listings
Product Manager at Savings.com in Los Angeles, CA.
Community Manager at Sony Corporation of America in New York, NY.
PHP Engineer at Empire Avenue in San Francisco, CA.
Manager, Digital Marketing at Disney Theatrical Group in New York, NY.
Social Media Manager at Grubhub in Chicago, IL.
Audible Technology Meet & greet at Audible.com in Newark, NJ.
Senior Manager, PR – Interactive Entertainment (Wii) at GolinHarris in Los Angeles, CA.
Internet Task Manager at C-4 Analytics in Saugus, MA.
Marketing Account Manager at C-4 Analytics in Saugus, MA.
Online Marketing Strategist at PETA in Los Angeles, CA.
Project Manager, Mobile at Leading Media Company in New York, NY.
Social Media Marketing Specialist at BizziBiz in Scottsdale, AZ.
IT Hosted Operations Engineer @ Atlassian, makers of JIRA at Atlassian in San Francisco, CA.
Video Producer (Flexible; East Coast strongly preferred) at Teach For America in New York, New York.
Digital Marketing Programmer Analyst at The Nature Conservancy in Arlington, VA.
Director, Communications and Social Media at FOX Sports South in Atlanta, GA.
Coordinator, Social Media at Music Choice in New York, NY.
Big-Data Analytics Engineer at Atlassian in San Francisco, CA.
Content Manager at sweetgreen in Washinton, D.C.
Marketing Systems Administrator at Atlassian in San Francisco, CA.
Editor / Producer – NBC Olympics.com Affiliate content at NBC Universal in Stamford, CT.
Campaign Analyst at Acquinity Interactive in Deerfield Beach, FL.
Software Developer in Test at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.
Senior Mobile Developer at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.
West Coast Sales Director at LiveWorld in San Jose, CA.
Senior Web Developer at Innovative Funded Start-Up in Chicago, IL.
Digital Strategy Planner at Imagination (client – General Mills) in Chicago, IL.
Developer Advocate at Atlassian, creators of JIRA & Confluence in San Francisco, CA.
Java Developer at Atlassian, creators of JIRA & Confluence in San Francisco, CA.
Assistant Professor, Digital Media/Integrated Communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ.
Support Engineer – Dev Tools at Atlassian, creators of JIRA & Confluence in San Francisco, CA.
Digital Media Strategist at M Booth in New York, NY.
Web Developer at Atlassian, creators of JIRA & Confluence in San Francisco, CA.
Social Media Strategist at Creative Marketing Partners in Miami, FL.
Digital Media Sales at Social Reality in Beverly Hills, CA.
Marketing Specialist/Interactive Marketing Specialist at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA.
Community Manager at Advance Digital in Jersey City, NJ.
Online Communications Manager at The World Bank in Washington, D.C.
Web Graphic Designer at Pinnacle Promotions in Norcross, GA.
Digital Marketer at Qualifacts Systems, Inc. in Nashville, TN.
Client Account Manager at C-4 Analytics in Saugus, MA.
Marketing Manager at Rodale in New York, NY.
Platform Executive at BBC Worldwide in London, United Kingdom.
Web Developer at Creative Marketing Partners in Miami, FL.
Community Manager at Digital Brand Architects in New York, NY.
Lead Product Manager, Solutions at Synacor in Buffalo, NY.
Mashable‘s Job Board has a variety of web 2.0, application development, business development and social networking job opportunities available. Check them out here.
Got a job posting to share with our readers? Post a job to Mashable today ($99 for a 30 day listing) and get it highlighted every week on Mashable.com (in addition to exposure all day every day in the Mashable marketplace).
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Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:17 PM PDT
Running 26.2 miles is grueling work, but ASCIS is hoping to make the upcoming New York Marathon on November 5 just a little bit easier — with the help of RFID chips.
Marathoners who sign up for ASICS’s “Support Your Marathoner” will get an RFID tag they can attach to their shoes. That tag will then trigger messages of love and support specific to each of the runners on an LED screen as they run past it. There will be three screens in total placed at miles nine, 12 and 22.
Support Your Marathoner actually started at last year’s marathon, but ASCIS has added networks such as Facebook to collect support messages, videos and images.
Even if runners can’t stop and watch the screens during the marathon, each runner will have access to their personalized gallery of messages, videos and pictures to keep after the race.
Any runner can register for the program and any person can leave a message for any runner thanks to the website’s search function. The program currently has received more than 2,750 support messages since it began in mid-October.
Messages of support are certainly not a new concept, but the use of RFID chips brings it into the digital era. It’s nice to think of haggard marathoners getting a needed boost of love at mile 22, thanks to a tiny piece of tech.
Is Support Your Marathoner a taste of things to come? Will you leave a message of support or, if you’re a runner, do you want to receive one?
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 08:36 PM PDT
The 3-year-old Klout has already become the industry standard for measuring social media reach and influence, but the company no longer has that market to itself.
The Sarasota, Fla.-based PROskore is testing the waters for a sort of Klout for professionals, though PROskore CEO Bill Jura would likely recoil at the comparison. Jura says that the main difference between PROskore and Klout is that his company takes into account more than just social media.
That is one component of a PROSkore, but others include your background and your engagement on PROSkore’s network. The hope is that recruiters and businesspeople will look at your PROskore as a quick measure of your networking prowess and your skill at your chosen profession. Jura says, however, that scores — measured on a one to 100 scale — should be taken in context.
“Someone could live in a remote city and 20 would be pretty good,” he says, referring to the PROskore. Jura says that for people in big cities “anything above a 50 or 60 is doing pretty well.”
But how does PROskore get those numbers? Partially by filling in details about their business and profession, but PROskore also culls data from Twitter, Facebook, Klout and LinkedIn, though the score is weighted to give the latter more influence.
Jura evolved PROskore from Fast Pitch!, a network for small businesspeople that had been around for five years. Eyeing an opportunity, he rejiggered the site to provide rankings and launched it earlier this month.
Garth Holsinger, VP of global sales and business development at Klout, says he’s not worried about the competition. “I”m actually kind of intrigued,” he told Mashable, “there are copycats out there, but we consider ourselves the standard.” Holsinger says Klout has eight Ph.Ds working on the company’s scoring and he considers Klout to be in a good position “as long as the science is sound.”
BONUS: What Klout’s New Topic Pages Look Like
To populate a user’s Topic Pages (see screenshots below), Klout analyzes the user’s content created across the 11 networks it calculates.
Clickable Topics on Your Dashboard
On your Klout dashboard, you can click on a topic to open its Topic Page.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 08:14 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.
Quick Pitch: Know Your Twitter Followers takes Twitter one step further.
Genius Idea: Providing a demographic analysis of your Twitter followers.
Do you ever wonder who your Twitter followers are? Are the majority male or female, models or comedians, interested in flying planes or listening to Taylor Swift?
Whether you have millions or hundreds of followers, now you can obtain a full analysis that allows you to find out who they really are. Schmap, the social website that introduced the first real-time city guides covering more than 400 million locations worldwide, this morning launched “Know Your Twitter Followers,” an automated freemium service that allows any individual, company or brand immediate access to acquire a demographic analysis of their Twitter followers.
“If you are an individual Twitter user, you are naturally curious to know who is following you and where they are,” said Paul Hallett, CEO for Schmap. “Know Your Twitter Followers fills the void for audience measurement in social media and provides a breakdown of your followers so that you can understand how to target your audience.”
Schmap, which has raised $3 million in funding, demonstrated the new insightful service by generating follower profiles for a range of Twitter’s top celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Oprah Winfrey, Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin, Justin Bieber, Tiger Woods and Donald Trump.
Schmap’s analysis revealed the following entertaining facts about our favorite celebrities:
Shmap also generated a full analysis of Mashable’s approximately 2.5 million Twitter followers. It found that Mashable has Twitter followers across the globe, but also that the majority of followers are female, are in sales/marketing professions and are interested in technology and music.
“If users are using Twitter for fun, they will gain an understanding of who is reading their tweets,” said Hallett. “If they are using it for business, they can gain valuable insight into their audience that they can use commercially to produce content and services to their followers.”
Know Your Twitter Followers is the only web service that allows Twitter users to generate a complete analysis of their followers. Some sites like Twittercounter.com only provide statistics on your Twitter usage, and other sites like Twitterfollower.com and twiends.com help you obtain more followers.
If you’re interested in finding out who your Twitter followers are, here are the details: the free summary analysis generates a breakdown of followers by gender, marital status, profession, likes and interests, and location by country and U.S. state. The price for the full analysis depends on the number of followers and category of users – ranging from: $39.95 to $149.95 for most corporations/brands; and $4.95 to $24.95 for most individuals, charities and local merchants.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Shawn Campbell
Series Supported by 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.
For more Business coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 07:49 PM PDT
If you have a crowd of people collaborating with large files synchronized by Dropbox, you might be interested in this new offering from the online file synchronization service, called Dropbox for Teams.
It works the same way as the regular Dropbox service, where if you put files into a Dropbox folder on one computer, they immediately begin to synch up on all the other computers where you have the Dropbox application installed. It’s great for backing up files, collaborating, version control — and you can do some cool tricks with it, too.
The difference is, this $795-per-year Dropbox for Teams service gives five users shared use of a terabyte of storage. If you have more than 5 users, get the boss to chip in an additional $125 per year for each, and each one of those users gets 200 more gigabytes of space.
Even though it seems quite expensive at $795 a year, there’s an important distinction here. A conventional Dropbox account is free if you’re not going to use more than 2GB, but if you’re sharing large files as much we do here at Mashable (such as HD video production clips), you’ll be needing a whole lot more than that.
The problem is, each person needs a Dropbox account that’s big enough to accommodate all the files you’ll be synchronizing among your team. So if I have, say, a “Pro 50″ Dropbox account that can accommodate 50GB (that costs $99/year or $9.99 per month), that’s not going to do me much good to collaborate with my pals if all of them can only accommodate 2GB.
Beyond that, Dropbox for Teams solves that problem of who pays for all of this by using centralized billing, making it easy to pass the bill over to the boss. And the IT suits can manage everything from one centralized dashboard, controlling who shares what with whom. They like it like that. Another nice kicker is the free unlimited version history, a feature that lets you bring files back from the dead — that one’s saved our bacon quite a few times.
What’s the downside? Well, if you’re worried about putting your business’s sensitive files in the cloud, Dropbox is probably not for you. And, last summer a Dropbox bug briefly exposed user accounts, making it so bad guys could have possibly broken into your private data without needing a password. Even though it affected less than 1% of users and only lasted 5 minutes, such breaches are disconcerting.
Keeping that in mind, if you collaborate with large files, this veritable cornfield of extra space might be a good investment.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 06:50 PM PDT
Guy Nirpaz is the CEO and co-founder of Totango, which analyzes user actions on SaaS applications, providing sales teams invaluable information in qualifying prospects and prioritizing people to contact who are most likely to buy (or renew).
Customer engagement is key for software-as-a-service (SaaS) businesses. Correct interpretation of consumer actions is the basis for running a successful SaaS business. However, determining what your users choose to do in your application can be difficult.
Below are three tips to improve customer engagement for SaaS companies.
1. Understand and Track User Actions
To increase customer engagement, you first need to understand what engages them and how. In an SaaS environment, this means understanding the actions they take on your application, and the nature by which they use it.
Define an engagement score by combining key metrics, such as the time they spend using the solution, the frequency in which they visit and the core actions they perform. Interaction with your support and marketing material is also a factor in measuring customer engagement. That way, you can improve and replicate across your customer base.
2. Deliver Their Needs
The same tools that help you measure and understand customer behavior should help you draw conclusions about the actions needed to improve.
3. Evolve Your Service
It's easy to fall into the trap of treating your customers as unknown, faceless people. After all, chances are no one in your organization has ever met them.
A SaaS company must develop tools that will help its service measure customer behavior. These tools must be capable of answering key strategic and tactical questions to help evolve the product portfolio to engage current and future customers in deeper and richer ways.
Customer engagement can help answer some tough product and marketing questions. The key is to determine which parts of your product different users utilize, and to target users directly for primary market research. After all, if you provide an online destination that people want to visit, you will increase brand awareness, drive people to your service and end up engaging your customers all over again.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 06:15 PM PDT
The Guardian unveiled a Twitter-based search bot Thursday.
For example, users could tweet, “@GuardianTagBot latest Occupy Wall Street news?” to pull up related stories in reverse chronological order (pictured below).
Essentially, it’s a faster way to get the news you’re looking for (on The Guardian, at least) from Twitter.
In an introductory post, Nina Lovelace, content development manager at the Guardian Group, warned users that TagBot was a search tool, and that it would struggle with personal queries such as “Will you marry me?”
“It’s not Siri,” she wrote.
For more Business coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 05:55 PM PDT
“We need to be in the tablet business,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman in a conference call with analysts, just after she announced HP would keep its PC business rather than spinning it off.
Even though the company killed off its TouchPad tablet that ran the WebOS software it acquired along with Palm, Whitman didn’t know yet whether WebOS would be used in a future tablet from HP. She said the company would make a decision about WebOS within the next two months.
According to the The Wall Street Journal [paywall link], HP has said it might continue licensing WebOS to other manufacturers, even if it’s not going to be making tablets that run it.
Meanwhile, Whitman says HP will continue to focus its tablet efforts on hardware running Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8, a tablet-friendly operating system that’s not going to be available for at least a few months. A developer preview version for Windows 8 is now available for download — Microsoft hasn’t revealed when the final version will ship — but it’s expected “sometime next year,” according to Tom Kilroy, senior vice president and general manager of worldwide sales at Intel who spoke with PC World earlier this month.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 05:09 PM PDT
The #occupywallstreet movement didn’t spring up out of nowhere. It was very deliberately conceived by the creators of a title you may have seen on the newsstand: Adbusters.
After that, the Vancouver-based Adbusters continued to tweet about #occupywallstreet, but received almost no mainstream media coverage. All that changed on Sept. 17, when crowds showed up at New York City’s Zuccotti Park and stayed there for weeks. Despite the lack of press attention leading up to the event, Kalle Lasn, the co-founder of Adbusters Media Foundation, expected #occupywallstreet to be huge, though the fact that it has taken off in other cities has surprised him. Lasn and Adbusters were previously behind another social movement, Buy Nothing Day, on Black Friday in the U.S., but that was nowhere near as big.
Lasn’s next move is a “Robin Hood March” set for Oct. 29 in France coinciding with the G20 meeting. The objective this time is a 1% “Robin Hood” tax on all financial transactions with proceeds going to the poor. Lasn spoke with Mashable about both movements and how Adbusters has used social media to foment dissent.
Q&A With Kalle Lasn, Co-Founder of Adbusters
Was this movement created by social media?
I wouldn't quite put it that way. I think that social media played a critical part, but I think it was triggered, it was catalyzed, sparked by creativity, but also people coming up with magical hashtags and posters and above all, having the geopolitical savvy to realize that the moment was right on September 17.
It all started with a tweet in July, right?
It started off with a poster in the middle of Adbusters magazine and #occupywallstreet with the hashtag on our cover and then it started off when the Twitter feed started going crazy with that hashtag. Then of course after that it began to have a life of its own.
Are you surprised at how big it's gotten?
I wasn't surprised that it created a big havoc in New York because we knew this [was an] invitation to occupy the iconic center of global capitalism, Wall Street. I knew that was a very provocative move and if we could get a few thousand people out there that this would be an incredible moment. But when it started to spread to Chicago and Los Angeles and San Francisco and now it's creeping across the border to Canada, then I just sat there in front of my TV set in wonder.
I thought it was a bit surprising because you don't see these kinds of protests in the U.S. very often.
Well, don't forget you have the Tea Party. I mean, on the left we haven't had it that much, but the Tea Party has been a powerful movement with a lot of passion. Their ideas are by and large wrong, but they had a lot of passion going for them and the passion was very similar to our movement because there was a feeling … that there was something fundamentally wrong with the United States of America right now and a bit of stimulus here and a jobs program there doesn't make a hoot of difference. What's really needed is a tinkering with the processes of how America works. I kind of feel like I'm in the same boat as the Tea Party guys.
Yeah, I was going to ask if what you're doing is the left's version of the Tea Party. Would you agree?
Well, I wouldn't say that because at this moment there are a lot of people walking across the lines. I know a lot of die-hard lefties who have seen some wisdom in right-wing ideas and I know some righty types who have suddenly picked up Adbusters or something and say "You guys have a point."
I think we're living in an age where people are crossing the lines. If there's going to be a rejuvenation of American decline, if there's going to be a changing of that kind of corruption at the heart of American democracy, then it will have to be some sort of unified movement of people. And who cares if you're left or right — they just want to have fundamental change.
The name of your publication is Adbusters. What does #occupywallstreet have to do with advertising?
Nothing really, but I think there is kind of a link between the “Buy Nothing Day” and what we're doing now. This is a hard point to get across, but when you look at what's wrong with the First World and why is America in decline and why everyone is so unhappy and down in the dumps … it really comes down to a rampant consumerism coupled with rampant debt and a society that's just grown soft and fat. Like so many people in America are fat and can't pay off their credit card and so many people are living lousy lives. So at the very heart of the problem of American decline is culture. It's like a rotten apple. It's rotten at the core. So I think there's a really powerful link between Adbusters and #occupywallstreet.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 04:21 PM PDT
Kobo Vox, a competitor to the Amazon Kindle Fire, will go on sale Friday. We got our hands on the seven-inch ereader tablet, and here are our first impressions.
LIke the Kindle Fire, the Kobo Vox will retail for a relatively low price of $199 and does not come with 3G, a camera or an external microphone.
But Vox’s approach to the affordable tablet — which costs $300 less than the cheapest iPad 2 — differs from Amazon’s in that it sticks closer to the traditional tablet script.
Vox runs Android. And it looks like it runs Android. While the Kindle Fire’s Android interface looks like a bookshelf, Vox’s has the familiar app-icon layout. The home screen highlights books that have been read most recently, but when you swipe to other screens you might confuse Vox with any other Android tablet.
Borders-backed Kobo doesn’t vend non-book content like Amazon does, so the apps that come loaded on the device to provide media such as periodicals and music are from third parties. Newsstand apps Zinio and PressReader provide access to newspapers and magazines. Rdio provides the tunes.
In regard to hardware, Vox has three distinctions among other tablets: It is slightly lighter than most (14.2 ounces vs. Kindle Fire’s 14.6), allows you to add digital storage with an SD card, and its screen uses a different type of anti-reflective tech. While most screens have an anti-reflective coating, says Welch, Vox’s screen has anti-reflective properties baked in. It’s the same material used for screens in airplane cockpits, and it should make the device easier to read outdoors.
But, as usual, Kobo’s biggest departures from other ereading devices are in its software. One of these departures is that Kobo allows readers to take their content away from Kobo readers and apps.
“When you buy your first Kindle, you are marrying Jeff Bezos,” says Kobo General Manager Matt Welch.
The other departure has been a focus on social reading. In December 2010, Kobo became the first major ebook vendor to introduce a social reading app, Reading Life. The app adds statistics and badges to ebooks. On Vox, Kobo takes the “social reading” concept a step further with a product it announced at F8 called Pulse.
While Reading Life's social features were largely contained within a separate dashboard of the Kobo app, Kobo Pulse inserts them right into books' pages.
On each page of an ebook, there's a button ("a pulse") that glows stronger when there is a lot of social activity on the page. Tapping it pulls up a bar that shows how many of Kobo's 5 million users are reading and discussing the book, how many have liked it, and how many comments the page has. Dragging it upward pulls up a dashboard that keeps track of the conversation happening throughout the book, displays reader reviews and recommends new books.
The feature will soon be available as part of the Kobo apps on iPhone and iPad. As far as I can tell, the Kobo Vox‘s biggest feat — and if it isn’t planning to get into the business of selling other types of media, Kobo’s motive behind it — is to make its social reading features accessible on a tablet device that is more affordable than an iPad.
Kobo Vox Hands On
The Kobo Vox comes in four colors: Hot Pink, Lime Green, Ice Blue, Jet Black. It has a 7-inch screen and weighs 14.2 ounces, and stores 8GB of data. Its storage can be expanded with a 32GB micro SD card.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 03:26 PM PDT
Let's hear it for Captain Obvious! HP and its new leader Meg Whitman finally figured out what we knew all along — that ripping the PC business out of HP is akin to ripping a beating heart out of a jogger while she's running the Boston Marathon.
The erstwhile gubernatorial candidate saw the mess former HP CEO Leo Apotheker had made of things, and reversed course. This is a win for HP, a win for its PC division, a win for HP's millions of desktop and laptop customers and good news for the market, as a key player stays in the game. Too bad HP may still lose — and in a big way — in the long run.
HP will do well to continue making and selling PCs well into the next decade. It will be a strong, vibrant business, not just here in the U.S., but globally, for the better part of two decades.
Still, I do expect the industry to change. And while I think there will always be a need for desktops and laptops as our workhorse systems, it's clear that the future lies with smartphones and tablets.
HP, for the moment, no longer has a tablet play (the phone play went with WebOS, too: goodbye, Pre!). Whitman cannot do an about face and revive the WebOS business. The company reportedly laid off hundreds of WebOS employees; perhaps all of them. Jon Rubenstein, who came to HP with the Palm acquisition and was running the WebOS program, has been pushed into a marginal position in the Personal Systems Group (the one HP was considering spinning off until now).
The company may still know how to build WebOS TouchPad devices. But it no longer has a unique platform to run on them. And going back to component manufacturers who have already been burned once by HP is probably impossible.
It took years of missteps for HP to find its way in the tablet space. The company tried introducing a Windows 7 tablet, the HP Slate, which was smothered even more completely than the TouchPad. The Slate never actually made it to consumers’ hands — just businesses, which seemed largely uninterested.
The TouchPad was HP's last great hope for mobile relevance. Now it must rely more heavily than ever on its systems business. The good news is that this will work for years, even decades.
There is one possibility, and it goes like this: HP takes the TouchPad design, updates it, and pays its partners a lot of money to get back on board. But this time the model is married to Windows 8 (Editor’s Note: HP has now committed to Windows 8 for its upcoming tablets). Microsoft is desperate for a manufacturer to produce a tablet based on the upcoming version of Windows. It would likely throw in all kinds of incentives to make it even more attractive for HP.
That would give us a little deja vu, since HP was Microsoft's big tablet partner for Windows 7 tablets. However, there are a couple of critical differences: Windows 7 was never designed to run on ARM devices. Windows 8 is. And the Metro interface could be a real winner on the TouchPad's 10.1-inch touchscreen interface.
If Whitman ignores this advice and throws all HP's eggs back into the PC basket, she will surely have only won this battle, but lost the long-term tablet war.
Update: In a conference call, HP CEO Meg Whitman emphasized that HP intends to stay in the tablet business using Windows 8, but still hasn’t made a decision about what will happen with HP’s WebOS.
For more Business coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 02:37 PM PDT
In a move that no doubt caused a lot of consternation after rival Netflix‘s experience doing the same, Redbox has decided to raise the price of its DVD rentals.
The increase, which goes into effect Oct. 31, is only from $1 per day to $1.20. Prices for Blu-ray rentals and game rentals will stay at $1.50 and $2, respectively. “This marks the first price increase for a Redbox standard-definition DVD rental in eight years,” Paul Davis, CEO of Coinstar said in a press release. Davis went on to blame increased operating expenses, including recent increases in debit card interchange fees. Redbox has posted more than $1 billion in sales so far this year. However, some of the money will likely go towards Redbox’s first national brand advertising campaign, according to Advertising Age. A Redbox rep, however, says plans for such a campaign have not been announced.
Though the price increase was slight, it was enough to send parent company Coinstar’s stock down 11% in after-hours trading. One likely reason is the recent memory of Netflix’s disastrous experience with a 60% price increase that went into effect in September and has contributed to the company’s fall from grace. At least one analyst believed the move had benefited Redbox, as consumers canceled their Netflix accounts and sought out Redbox as an alternative.
What do you think? Will this increase influence your viewing habits at all? Let us know in the comments.
For more Business coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 01:53 PM PDT
Google has added its perspective — with a search-data-based popularity contest — to the comparisons between Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.
The data rules in favor of Occupy Wall Street. Users searched for the nascent movement more than the Tea Party for the first time in the United States on Sept. 24, according to Google’s politics blog. Search traffic for the term “Occupy Wall Street” has remained higher ever since.
Vermont, Oregon and New York are the biggest searchers of Occupy Wall Street. Tea Party search traffic peaks every April during tax season.
Because Occupy Wall Street has gotten a good deal of media attention throughout the past several weeks, it seems unfair to compare its search traffic to the Tea Party’s search traffic from only September and October. But Google notes that, even when each movement’s historical peak amount of search traffic is compared, Occupy Wall Street still has the slightly higher number of searches.
The search giant also analyzed recent media coverage of each movement to determine whether its comparison was fair. Between Oct. 7 and last week, the volume of news stories about Occupy Wall Street was only slightly higher than the volume of news stories about the Tea Party.
Occupy Wall Street seems to be legitimately more popular as a search topic than the Tea Party. So what does that mean? Essentially, more people are typing that search term into search engines. It’s dangerous to deduce anything else. Whether or not the two movements are even comparable is also debatable.
Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and other Tea Party leaders have argued that Occupy Wall Street “is no tea party.” And U.S.-based researcher for Cage Prisoners Ayesha Kazmi in a Guardian editorial wrote that “posing the various Occupy movements as an alternative to the Tea Party is a media oversimplification to fit the current movements within an easily comprehensible narrative.”
Veteran Democratic Party pollster Douglas Schoen, reports the Wall Street Journal, had a researcher ask those who are physically occupying Wall Street about the comparison. The firm found that 35% of them have “goals to influence the Democratic Party the way the Tea Party has influenced the GOP.”
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 01:32 PM PDT
Television is broken. I know it. You know it. Steve Jobs knew it.
I have a pretty state-of-the-art 2011 Sony LED TV, complete with Hulu Plus, Netflix and YouTube apps. Yet it still usually takes me about a dozen clicks on a button-rich remote to get to what I want to watch. By the time you actually load up the latest Daily Show, your dinner is getting cold and your drink is getting warm.
Wouldn’t it be so much better if you could simply tell your TV what you wanted to see, when to pause or when to turn the volume down? The remote could stay hidden down the back of the couch for good. You could ask for a specific show or YouTube clip, or just be wonderfully lazy and say something like “play me a new sitcom.”
Near the end of the mammoth Steve Jobs biography, there’s a tantalizing mention of the former Apple CEO working on the problem of the TV interface toward the end of his days. “I’ve finally cracked it!” Jobs said, but we never find out what “it” is. Now, if a New York Times report is to be believed, “it” is voice-activated TV — using Siri, the cutting-edge, intelligent agent baked into the iPhone 4S.
The Times‘ Nick Bilton has spent a year snooping around the story that Apple is working on launching its own TV set — the screen itself, rather than just the Apple TV box. His first conclusion: the Apple TV set is coming, it’s just a question of when (Bilton’s best guess: early 2013). His second conclusion: Siri is going to be the main interface.
Whether that means you’ll have to own an iOS device in order to control the TV, or whether the TV will have an ambient microphone good enough to pick up voice commands, still remains to be seen. We’d guess the latter. Apple does like to give you reasons to buy more Apple products, but there are no instances in which you’re forced into buying one to manipulate another. The company will want to avoid being ridiculed for requiring a $200-plus remote.
Besides, anyone who’s had a FaceTime chat on an iPad 2 knows how far Apple microphone technology has come. It picks up sound with astonishing clarity, good enough that it will likely work from across your TV room. But then how would you pull up the Siri interface on the screen in the first place? By calling her name, perhaps? Or will Apple provide a remote after all, with a single button that calls up Siri?
Both sound like elegant Jobsian solutions. But if it’s all the same to Apple, we’d rather not have another gadget that can get lost down the back of the couch, even if it is a clicker with one button.
BONUS: Siri Politely Answers 10 Absurd Questions [PICS]
The classic question
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 01:16 PM PDT
Hewlett-Packard will keep making PCs rather than spinning off its consumer computer division, the company announced Thursday.
HP surprised the tech world in August, when then-CEO Leo Apotheker announced he was killing the company’s webOS tablet, the TouchPad, and “considering” spinning off the PC division. HP is one of the world’s leading PC manufacturers, but the growth of its consumer division has slowed in recent years. Apotheker intended to take HP in the direction of his former company, SAP, by providing more business services — even though that currently constitutes a tiny percentage of the company’s sales.
Apotheker’s decision was widely jeered by customers and analysts; he was also thought to have overspent in paying $10 billion for business software maker Autonomy. A month later, in a board coup, Apotheker was replaced by former eBay CEO and failed California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. It was HP’s third CEO switch in the span of one year.
In her first press conference as CEO, Whitman said she was still exploring the sale of the PC division. But the chorus of voices calling on her to keep it has only grown louder. Two weeks ago, Michael Dell weighed in with three reasons why HP shouldn’t shrink from the PC market. While it may be maturing, he said, 500 million PCs are still expected to be sold in the next two years.
Indeed, while HP dithered over the PC division decision, the company actually gained market share against top rivals Lenovo and Dell.
Ultimately, the company decided the PC division is “right for customers and partners, right for shareholders, and right for employees,” Whitman said in a statement.
Mark Budgell, HP's PR manager of social media strategy, chimed in with a hearty endorsement. In a blog post, Budgell described a comprehensive, company-wide decision process: “Thousands of hours were spent understanding how extracting the PC business would impact everything from supply chain to product development and brand image,” he writes.
“Our leadership teams were locked in boardrooms late into many evenings. You could tell from the tired-but-determined look on their faces, and their coffee consumption, that no one was taking it lightly.”
Here’s the official HP press release in full:
For more Business coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 12:58 PM PDT
Lost in all the announcements about Timeline and frictionless experiences at Facebook's F8 conference in September was a change to the Open Graph that had developers salivating.
Instead of being restricted to simply "liking" a page or post, Facebook announced you could "verb any noun." That means you can "watch" a movie, "cook" a recipe or "hike" a trail. Developers can dictate those terms, creating custom user experiences for their sites. However there is one caveat.
Many developers saw this as the green light to create a "dislike" button on Facebook, a much debated add-on that millions of users are petitioning for via various Facebook groups. However, those hopes are quickly dashed during the Open Graph development process, when developers who typed "dislike" received this message:
Other words like "loathe" and "doesn't like" aren't on the blocked list, leading you to infer "dislike" was specifically excluded, presumably along with a laundry list of profanities. But why would Facebook block what at least a vocal minority are clamoring for? And the better question is, should they?
I used to be a supporter of adding the "dislike" button right next to "like." Many blogs and sites like YouTube employ a "thumbs up/down" graphic alongside every video or comment. However in learning more about the issue and the potential ramifications, I've been convinced otherwise.
For Facebook, it comes down to money. The site has built a platform that is without a doubt the most targeted marketing tool for brands of all sizes. Where else can you target potential customers down to their specific interests, age, sex and zip code? Sure, dissatisfied users can post negative comments on a brand's page, but that company has complete control to moderate and address those issues.
A "dislike" button has entirely different implications. Rather than encouraging people to "like" its own page, a company could promote the link to "dislike" its competition. There is nothing illegal about this type of hostile environment, but it is not business friendly. Remember that advertisers are the ones funding your beloved social network.
The arguments in favor of a "dislike" button are reasonable enough; however, they don't outweigh the potentially disastrous negatives. Users understandably don't feel comfortable "liking" a status update about a friend's dog being put to sleep, but they may want to click a "dislike" button in order to be alerted of other comments on that post. The easy solution is to simply comment on the post with your condolences. If you're concerned enough to want to stay in the loop, you should be concerned enough to post your sympathies. Consider the flip side, with people able to "dislike" your wedding photos or the announcement of your new nephew. Granted, as my mother would say, those people aren't your real friends, but the opportunity for cyber-bullying is a far bigger concern than the need to subscribe to posts.
While I'm against a Facebook sanctioned "dislike" button on every post for the reasons above, I don't agree that developers should be prohibited from making their own. I could see a group like PETA creating an app on its page that lets you dislike the concept of clubbing of baby seals, much like a petition. But they shouldn’t be able to elicit people to dislike a specific company. Users have a variety of other ways to express their concerns with those they disagree with.
There are legitimate uses for a "dislike" button, but putting them on every page is unnecessary — and it's asking for trouble. Facebook knows better than to bite the hand that feeds it, and as an advertiser on the platform, I have to agree.
What do you think? Should there be a button on every page? Should developers be allowed to create one, or should Facebook continue on its current path?
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 12:43 PM PDT
Google has been busy (and a little scary) today. It's unveiled a host of new Google+ features, including enhanced photo-editing tools, a new What's Hot area and a viral visualization for posts. Plus, Google is finally making its upstart social network Google+ available to Google Apps users.
Photo editing in Google+ is not new, but the Creative Kit, which adds a wide range of pre-made and fairly powerful photo-editing filters is. Google also used the opportunity to add a special set of Halloween filters.
The search giant snuck out the news this morning by letting some of its execs and a select group of celebrities Halloween-ize their own profile pictures prior to the announcement. These limited edition effects are now available to all Google+ members as part of the Creative Kit. I gave them a test-drive and found them intuitive and fun to use. They do not auto-transform your photos into scary Halloween surprises, but offer enough pre-sets and controls, like Draculan Dermis and Vampire Eyes, to help you apply some pretty entertaining effects to some of the 3.4 billion photos Google+ members have already reportedly posted on the service.
Eagle-eyed users will recognize controls from Picnik, Google's stand-alone online photo-editing service. My guess is it's all Picnik’s photo-editing engine underneath.
Check out the gallery to see what I did with Google's Halloween photo filters.
Google also unveiled "What's Hot," a new area that appears just below your new posts in Google+ and a new menu item on the right side of the interface. I had to sign in and out to finally see the "Hot stuff." The feature's designed to help Google+ users weed through the "billions" of posts added to the service each day. Google promised that What's Hot "isn't just the same old faces, we do our best to provide a variety of posts." Fair enough, but we did notice posts from Google+ heavyweights and industry notables Mike Elgan, Chris Brogan and Google's own Natalie Villalobos.
The third item on Google's list is Ripples, a new post visualization tool that should help Google+ users understand how posts spread among their contacts and beyond. Sadly, this feature may be rolling out slowly because I couldn't get it working on my Google+ account.
Accessing Creative Kit
You access Google+'s Creative Kit by selecting a photo from your photo albums and then choosing Edit. Creative Kit is a selection under there.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 12:29 PM PDT
I’m from Los Angeles, went to college in Philadelphia, grad school in Chicago and now live in New York — there is no one place to find my complete and comprehensive medical history. And I’m not alone — on average, an individual has 19 different doctors over the course of his life.
When patients see new doctors, they often spend a chunk of the appointment explaining their ailments and medical history is. They may even have bloodwork done, even if they had it done recently at a different doctor’s office.
If the system was digitized and all the information was in one convenient place, doctors visits would be quicker and less redundant. That “convenient place” is the cloud.
More than $20 billion has been earmarked under President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, a.k.a. the stimulus bill) for the transition to electronic health records. San Francisco-based Practice Fusion has taken 120,000 health care professionals digital, storing 22 million medical records in the cloud, accessible anywhere there’s an Internet connection. By digitizing medical history, physicians can eradicate inefficiencies and medical errors.
Practice Fusion was founded in 2005 by Ryan Howard, whose background is more in SaaS-based technologies than health care. Mashable spoke with Howard to learn more about the importance and the future of electronic medical records.
Howard arrived in the Bay Area during the dot com gold rush, and worked his way up from tech support to software installation for Brown & Toland, a large physician group in the area. It was there that he saw “bad technology” in the doctor’s office. “The doctors didn't want to use it, and the software was a pain in the ass. It was all incredibly complex and difficult,” says Howard. “It was through that experience that I realized the massive disconnect between the free, web-based technology, like Google, that revolutionized the consumer market, and what was going on in the health care sector.”
So he founded Practice Fusion in 2005 and launched the free electronic medical record service in 2007. Free is the operative word — at the time, Howard says, the average EMR system cost $50,000 per doctor each year.
Howard says nearly 200,000 people die each year from preventable medical errors, which could be mitigated if doctors go digital. “Paper is dangerous and inefficient, it doesn't belong in health care any longer,” he says. “Our mission is to enable doctors to save lives by making patient information available anytime, anywhere.”
Benefits for Patients
If Howard and other EMR companies get their way, you’ll have one health record from birth to death, with all of the necessary details in one secure and HIPAA-compliant place. Patients would get more access to their records, and thus, more control over their health. With access to a patient portal, users could view medical and immunization history, make appointments and see physician’s updates in real time. Doctors and patients would be equipped with the knowledge and power to reduce medical errors and duplication of services, which is a waste of both time and money for doctors and patients.
Doctor visits would be smoother and more comprehensive, and doctors won’t have to worry about patients not reporting medical events — like a trip to the ER or a visit to a specialist — because a record of that information will exist in one place, offering a complete picture of the patient’s health.
Benefits for Health Care Professionals
Sure, the digitization of medical records sounds like a dream for doctors, whose offices can be overrun by charts, but such a big transition is usually accompanied by massive fees. Because of the stimulus bill, doctors who digitize (and have a sizable pool of Medicare or Medicaid patients in the practice) are eligible for HITECH reimbursement funds from the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), ranging from $44,000 to $64,000, which covers the cost of switching to EMR and training staff.
New York-based nurse practitioner Denis Tarrant (pictured above) performs many a house call, always with an iPad in tow for charting and note-taking. Because of his digital practice, he’s eligible for $64,000 in Medicaid reimbursement through CMS.
But beyond the incentives, a digital doctor’s office just runs more smoothly. Lynn McCallum, a doctor in Redding, CA, says having the technology in her exam rooms hasn’t had an adverse effect on her bedside manner and makes her practice more efficient:
The “message” McCallum referred to is a feature called Chart Share, which enables a doctor to share a patient chart with X-ray, mammogram, MRI or other medical tests with any specialist in the U.S. in real-time for free, with bank-level encryption. That information provides context for the specialist and ensures that the patient’s appointment with him will address the necessary issues faster, without having to go through the preliminary and tedious medical history questionnaire.
Use of the site — including training, licensing and setup — is free both for health professionals and consumers. The site makes money by selling ad space to pharma companies, but these ads are not seen on the consumer-facing side of Practice Fusion. One might argue it’s unethical to market drugs on a site like this, but the ads’ audience is a group of well-educated physicians and can be interpreted as more of a learning tool than a selling tool. And it’s a less invasive and less costly (though perhaps less effective) approach to pharmaceutical marketing than the current standard — sending reps to doctors’ offices with lunch so the rep can get a few minutes of doctor facetime to discuss a new drug on the market.
The Public Health Benefits of Data
Electronic medical records make practicing medicine easier for the doctor and more transparent for the patient, but digitizing records also has promising implications for public health. Already, useful data has been mined — don’t worry, it’s unidentifiable — from the medical histories of the 22 million Practice Fusion patients to ascertain big picture trends in medicine.
Analysis of Practice Fusion data found that the availability of farmers’ markets and fruit consumption is associated with lower body mass index (above). Other useful medical insights already mined from Practice Fusion data includes top diagnoses in primary care, the most commonly prescribed medications and reported side effects for various drugs.
With more EMRs in the cloud, there is even more potential to uncover medical trends and information. EMR could greatly assist the CDC in seeing and containing outbreaks of diseases by providing health data and patient trends by age group or geography. Real-time medical information in the cloud can be parsed to quickly identify health trends and target areas with peculiar symptoms or diseases, and the information in these digital records could mitigate the effects of pandemics like H1N1.
The Future of EMR
“The future of EMR is similar to the trajectory of all technology: It's getting cheaper, easier, faster, better,” says Howard. With support of the government and the promise of hassle-free medical visits and improved public health statistics, electronic medical records are bound to become mainstream.
Does your physician use electronic medical records? Would you like him or her to? What are your concerns? Let us know in the comments below.
Series Supported by Lenovo
The Tech Innovators Series is supported by Lenovo. Lenovo makes machines specifically for the innovators. The creators. The people who move the world forward. Machines like the Lenovo ThinkPad and IdeaPad, meticulously engineered with visibly smart second-generation Intel® CoreTM processors to help the people who do, do what’s never been done.
Image courtesy of Flickr, Practice Fusion
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 12:26 PM PDT
Google has announced a host of new features for Google+, including the ability to use Google+ from a Google Apps account.
When Google made Google+ available to all users earlier this fall, people who use Google Apps for work or personal use were left out in the cold. This was frustrating for many users, who, like me, use Google Apps to control the email account on their own domain name.
Domain administrators can manually turn on Google+ for an organization now and users who have chosen to automatically enable new services will get access in the next few days. Google detailed the change on the Google Enterprise Blog.
Manually Enabling Google+ Access
Because of how Google Apps work, only users who have administrator access can enable or disable access for their users. If you are the only person who has access to your Google Apps account, you can manually turn on support now.
To turn on support, an administrator needs to login to the Google Apps dashboard.
Once logged in, go to the “Organization & users” section and click on the “Services” tab. Scroll down until you see “Google+” and then you can toggle the service on or off.
Administrators can enable Google+ for all users in an organization or for select users. Once access is enabled, users need to sign up at the regular Google+ page.
Caveats and Potential Headaches
Google acknowledges that many users with Google Apps accounts have already started using Google+ with a personal account. For those users, the company says it is working on a migration tool to carry over Circles and to connect and redirect users who already follow you.
Google says the migration tool will be available in a few weeks. This is great news for many users, but we should note that at this time, it appears as if the migration is one-way only. That is, you can only bring your personal Google+ information to a new Google Apps account and not the other way around.
This will be fine for most users — but some might prefer the ability to link Google Apps usage the other way. For instance, I would prefer the option to just “link” my Google Apps account to my existing Google+ account. That way, when I get email invites to Google+ at my personal address, I can just accept the request on my existing account. Likewise, someone who is searching for me based on an email address can find my current account, rather than me having to create and migrate over a new profile.
Still, even with these caveats in place, we’re glad that Google is allowing Google Apps users to sign up for Google+.
Will you sign up for Google+ under a Google Apps account, or migrate your existing account to a domain you use at work or at home? Let us know.
This is the Google+ logo.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 12:14 PM PDT
Bizarre campaign videos seem to be the rage this year. First, we had Herman Cain chief of staff Mark Block’s “Now is the time for action!” head-scratcher (see below) and now the suddenly ubiquitous MC Hammer is stepping up for apple butter and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
Hammer donated his "2 Legit 2 Quit" tune to Lee, and the Lee campaign got endorsements from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, YouTube product manager Hunter Walk and Google VP of location and local services Marissa Mayer, who dances during her role in the video. Portal A Interactive created the ad.
Other notables appearing include former 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, Will.i.am and Giants pitcher Brian Wilson, who offers the best pitch for Lee: “Let’s be honest, folks. If your last name is Lee, you’re kinda sweet.”
For equal time, here’s opponent Dennis Herrera’s non star-studded video.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:58 AM PDT
Okay, so maybe Mac and PC people have their differences — a lot of them. But, the same can’t be said about Android and iPhone users. Or can it?
New analysis from mobile data management startup Onavo, shared exclusively with Mashable, sheds some light on the differences between iPhone and Android users, at least when it comes to their mobile social networking behaviors.
Onavo analyzed data from a representative sample of more than 100,000 mobile owners, and looked at more than 40 terabytes of anonymized mobile data over a 30-day period.
The startup discovered some interesting tidbits. The typical iPhone owner, for instance, can’t get enough of Facebook. In fact, 90% of iPhone-toting folks use the social app over mobile networks, and Facebook usage happens to account for 10% of all the mobile data iPhone users consume on their pocket-friendly Apple devices. The Android user is a bit less enamored with Facebook, albeit still “in like” with the social network — 63% of Android owners use Facebook, and Facebook still accounts for 5% of all mobile data on Android.
“The social networking activity on mobile clearly differs according to which mobile you have,” Onavo CEO Guy Rosen tells Mashable. “Facebook, the overall winner no matter what phone you have, is significantly more popular on iPhones in terms of both number of users and amount of usage. And while Google+ has made some big moves on Android devices with more than one in three Androiders is on Google+, fewer than 1-in-10 iPhone users are there.”
In case you’re wondering, the usage percentages in the infographic below show what percentage of iPhone and Android populations use the social apps over mobile networks, and the mobile data usage ratios represent the average MB per user, per app, per month.
For more Mobile coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:37 AM PDT
Coldplay isn’t making its latest album, Mylo Xyloto, available on Spotify or any other streaming music subscription service.
Fans will either need to purchase physical copies or MP3 downloads from places like Apple’s iTunes store, Microsoft’s Zune store or Amazon.
The reason for the decision isn’t entirely clear. An anonymous industry source told Cnet that Coldplay wants Mylo Xyloto to be heard as “one cohesive work” — which hardly makes any sense, given that the songs are available for individual purchase online.
The decision is more likely financially motivated. As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Coldplay stands to make a great deal more money by encouraging the tens of millions of consumers who have streaming music subscriptions to purchase the songs.
Recording artists only make about three-tenths of a cent every time one of their songs is streamed, and 20 cents for every song sold on iTunes, according to estimates published in Rolling Stone.
The decision not to stream appears to be an effective one, as The Guardian points out. Adele’s latest album, 21 — which hasn’t been made available on Spotify — recently broke sales records worldwide. And Mylo Xyloto is on track to hit number one.
In an emailed statement, the band’s record label, EMI, said, “We always work with our artists and management on a case-by-case basis to deliver the best outcome for each release.”
Spotify, for its part, said that it respects Coldplay’s decision not to have its music on Spotify, whatever the reason. “We do however hope that they will change their minds as we believe that the Spotify model is adding, and will continue to add, huge value to the music industry,” a spokesperson said. “Right now we have already convinced millions of consumers to pay for music again, and … as we increase in scale, we will continue to re-educate millions of additional consumers as to the value of music, and we will thereby revitalize artists’ ability to make music and make money from it.”
Rhapsody declined to comment.
Should Artists Delay Album Releases on Streaming Services?
For popular, established artists such as Coldplay and Adele, electing to withhold their new releases from streaming services — for some time, at least — is likely a financially savvy strategy.
This is not necessarily the case for less established artists. Speaking of its client Idle Warship‘s decision to distribute its latest album on Spotify three weeks before its official release, Element 9 VP Stu Pflaum said, “I think we gain more than we lose, especially with an underground project like Idle Warship where it’s not that well known. Just getting the music in people’s hands is the ultimate goal.”
“Our web traffic has more than tripled in terms of site visitors and discussion,” he said in a separate interview with Billboard. “Nobody is pirating the album even after we’ve distributed promo copies. And most importantly, we’re getting real-time feedback from listeners on which tracks they favor and are able to adjust our marketing accordingly with most of our budget still intact. The group and the album have a legitimate buzz now.”
It will be interesting to see whether a trend is established among best-selling and lesser-known artists, and the timeliness with which each group releases new songs and albums on streaming music services.
For more Entertainment coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 11:15 AM PDT
Technology is constantly changing the way we define and consume media in our daily lives. It’s advancing the relationship between news organizations and their communities, reinvigorating advertising and creating new business models.
When it comes to the future of media, the possibilities are endless and a number of questions arise: How will we consume news and information? Can media companies be sustained? Is print truly dead?
These questions and more will be addressed at the Mashable Media Summit in New York City next week, and we want Mashable readers throughout the world to be a part of the conversation. We’re thrilled to invite you to organize or attend a post-Media Summit breakdown to discuss the lessons learned about the future of media.
The Mashable Media Summit Meetup will take place on Nov. 16, about two weeks after the Mashable Media Summit itself. We hope to inspire reflection on how technological advancements in media will not only change the world but also affect you on a personal level.
Media Summit Meetup Themes
Here are a few topics the Mashable Media Summit will spotlight that we encourage you to discuss at your local Meetup:
Feel free to talk about these ideas or your own. Your Mashable Media Summit Meetup can take just about any shape you'd like, depending on what best suits your community.
Ways You Can Participate
If you have questions about Mashable Meetups or want to bounce ideas off of other experienced organizers and Mashable staff, check out our Mashable Meetup Organizers Facebook Group, a private group for discussing the creation of Mashable Meetups.
We look forward to seeing your Mashable Media Summit Meetup plans!
Presenting Sponsor: AT&T
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Posted: 27 Oct 2011 10:52 AM PDT
Despite recent troubles, Netflix is a major force on the Internet, accounting for 32.7% of peak U.S. downstream traffic, according to a new report.
Sandvine Intelligent Broadband Networks’ report analyzed 200 Internet service providers in 80 countries and found that real-time entertainment apps take up 60% of peak downstream traffic, up from 50% last year. Netflix has more than half of that share. Sandvine considers the hours between 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. to be peak times.
Like others, Sandvine has also noticed a shift away from PCs to access such content. The company found 55% of traffic volume in North America is consumed on game consoles, set-top boxes, smart TVs and mobile devices. Only 45% is being accessed by laptops or PCs. Video makes up 32.6% of peak downstream mobile traffic, of which YouTube is the largest contributor.
The report comes as Netflix recently lost 800,000 paid subscribers in its most-recent quarter. The company’s stock is now trading at less than a third of the amount it was in July.
BONUS: Timeline: How Netflix Lost Two-Thirds of Its Value in 3 Months
July 13, 2011
Netflix stock more than doubled over the previous year, then increased by 15% in May to reach its last all-time high in July of $300.
For more Entertainment coverage:
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 10:27 AM PDT
The name Micah Baldwin may not immediately ring any bells, but if you’ve ever used the #followfriday hashtag in a tweet, read a digital comic book in the last two years or followed any of the startups emerging from the rising TechStars incubator program, then you’ve no doubt been influenced by the work of the serial entrepreneur, startup mentor, and current CEO and founder of Graphic.ly.
Baldwin’s most visible claim to fame was starting the Follow Friday movement on January 16, 2009, to encourage early Twitter users to recommend their fellow tweeters. The #followfriday hashtag (or #FF) quickly became a Twitter meme, and it continues to live on to this day.
But it’s behind the scenes, at some of the web’s youngest but most promising startups, where Baldwin’s sagacity is seen and felt most. As an adviser for the TechStars and 500 Startups programs, Baldwin mentors youngsters and first time entrepreneurs on how to build companies in a healthy way — and how to avoid the pitfalls of the larger-than-life personal brand and the party-too-hard startup lifestyle.
Mashable interviewed Micah Baldwin on his tenure in the technology industry and the path to starting his latest venture, the nearly ubiquitous digital comic marketplace and reader Graphic.ly. Baldwin went on the record with candid and intimate details from his early startup days, discussed the conflict between developing a personal brand and a company brand, and shared his approach to mentorship.
Q&A with Micah Baldwin, CEO & Founder of Graphic.ly
What’s something people don’t know about you?
Not much. I committed to being very open about myself publicly, so if it relates to me, it’s probably out in the world. I turned down an internship at IBM out of high school that was given to only one person in the area because I had committed to lifeguard at a local pool and refused to wear a tie. I often think what would have happened if I took the internship.
You started the #followfriday Twitter meme. What was the impetus for doing so, and did you think that the idea would go viral? When did you first realize that you had started a social movement?
In its most basic, I felt that Twitter lacked the ability to discover new and interesting people, and that the best way to do this (which is true in real life) is to get manual recommendations from friends.
I had no idea it would blow up. I realized that it was something special, when the next Thursday I started to see #followfriday tweets in foreign languages (since Friday had already arrived in other countries). It continues to this day as a big force on Twitter, although I am glad to see Twitter Suggests and Lists slowly take its place.You’ve been around web and technology companies for years now and, as a result, have accrued a bit of web celebrity. Does having a higher profile help or hurt when founding a startup?
It’s the constant battle of a startup founder in weighing the importance of their personal brand versus the company brand. I think many founders early on convince themselves that building their brand is building the company brand, but that’s just not correct. It also puts an enormous amount of pressure on the founder to not do anything to hurt their personal brand.
When I was considering joining Graphic.ly as CEO at the end of TechStars, a good friend and mentor said to me: “Micah, you will need to be more presidential.” He cautioned that I had to reduce the poop jokes on Twitter, watch what I blogged and generally understand that my brand was intertwined with the company’s.
In many ways, that desire to ensure that Graphic.ly is what people think about when they hear about me (versus say, #followfriday or poop jokes) is why I have taken a huge step backwards — I barely speak at conferences, I haven’t blogged as much about personal stuff and I only write poop jokes on Twitter on Thursdays — in building my personal brand.
What’s interesting is that I think every founder gets to this point. Pete Cashmore is a great example of someone who has quietly stepped into the background as Mashable has gotten so big.
What inspires you?
I know it’s cliche to say people, but it’s true. I have so many people around me that are highly creative and giving and successful, all things that I strive to be. I am also inspired by words. I think how people use them to help and hurt, to connect with one another and to express themselves is magical.
You sold Current Wisdom, the search marketing agency you owned and operated for several years, in 2007. When did you know that it was the right time to sell? What did you learn from the experience?
Current Wisdom was a big learning experience for me. As I built the company, I became deeply addicted to a party lifestyle (read: drugs) in part because I let the life of building a startup get away from me. I got sober in April of 2006, and knew that I also needed to sell Current Wisdom for my own personal well being. I am still great friends with most everyone that worked there, and it was great to see them go off and help build big companies all through Colorado.
I learned so much about me through that experience. I understand my limitations better; I was deeply humbled, and I understand how important humility is to success. I had great success, and I understand better what that means and how to measure it.
What’s your relationship with TechStars? How much time do you spend advising and mentoring startups, and how do you go about managing your time and commitments?
I’ve been a mentor of TechStars since 2007. I like to consider my role as mentor to be secondary to my role as cheerleader of the program. I firmly believe in the power of mentorship, and David Cohen has done an amazing job of creating a communal environment for mentorship and entrepreneurs to grow in a positive, healthy way.
I am currently formally advising six to eight startups and helping out another six to eight now and again. With some we have weekly meetings, but mostly all the founders know that I will always pick up their calls or answer their emails as quickly as I can. My hobby is startups, so I spend maybe four to six hours a week working with various founders.
I am also a mentor at 500 Startups and Advise.me — both have really exciting programs and some really interesting startups. I believe that not every startup is right for a specific accelerator. Working with a few allow me to help match the right program with the right founder.
While I don’t have a formal relationship with Y Combinator, I have been a huge admirer of Paul Graham’s program, and consider many of the alumni as friends. It’s nice to be able to suggest one or two programs out of a handful for founders, and be able to give positive, effective feedback as well.
There are many ways people can give back. Some of the great ones are places like DonorsChoose and Charity:Water. For me, I have dedicated my life to helping others achieve their dream of running their own companies. It might sound silly, but each company that I help creates jobs and happiness, and makes the world just a bit better.
In some ways, I feel that rather than just giving money to companies or causes, my time may create dozens and dozens of future investors and donors, and perhaps a few mentors and advisers.
Steve Ballmer gave the very first demo of Graphic.ly during Microsoft’s keynote at CES in 2010. It was a pretty big deal. How were you able to orchestrate such a high profile launch?
We asked? (kidding) Because of TechStars, we caught the eye of Microsoft and their BizSpark program. At the time, Microsoft was focused on showcasing Windows 7 and the “connected living room.” Our application fit in that vision, and we were lucky enough to be cool enough to be selected.
Right before the demo started, the power went out, and we were super afraid they would cut out our demo due to time. We had planned so much around this launch: press, coming out of stealth, marketing, etc. that we would have been crushed if it happened. I remember sitting next to Anthony Ha randomly and trying to figure out how I could get him interested in our story if we didn’t even get demoed!
Luckily, the power came back on, and we got our two minutes of fame.
Graphic.ly runs on a number of different web, mobile and tablet platforms. How do you manage, prioritize and support all of these applications?
That has been the hardest thing to deal with in building the company. We have had the mentality of releasing MVPs by platform, and then focusing on the platforms that gain traction. We cross-educate our development team, and have “area experts” for each platform. But, to make it simpler for us, we made a deep commitment to HTML5 and its cross-platform capabilities.
What’s been the most successful platform for Graphic.ly thus far? Do you think this could change in the future?
The web and tablets, which isn’t that big of a surprise, I guess.
We have focused on supporting independent creators and publishers and giving them a platform to get their story seen. To this end, Graphicly.com, and the ability to embed our widget on any site (much like YouTube) has really become a fantastic discovery engine for unique content. To this end, Facebook is doing amazingly well. Almost all of our publishers and creators are leveraging Facebook to drive engagement, awareness and sales around their content.
With the NOOKcolor and Amazon App Store, we are seeing huge leaps in usage. We expect even more success with the Kindle Fire, since users of those devices are readers and open to discovering interesting content.
Recently, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble ran promotions with us around Image’s The Walking Dead comics in conjunction with the start of Season Two on AMC and the release of the DVD. It was awesome to see the cross-promotion between content types and how well it did overall. Truly, that’s the future of selling digital comics.
How is Graphic.ly doing as a company? Is it performing above or below your pre-launch expectations?
I think in many ways, we are doing better than expected. We have more than 300 publishers and 5,000 creators in the system, each leveraging our technology to increase their fan base in new and unique ways. In other ways, I think that we could be doing better. We spent too much time early on working on platforms we should have dumped, and too much time in “research” mode.
The positive of all that is that we know the space and can see where its going. Great things are coming!
Does Graphic.ly have a social media strategy? If so, what are some of the key tenets?
We really don’t have a specific social media strategy, other than we consider it paramount to build a community of users, both fans and creators.
To be effective in building a community, we have to use all the available tools. What we are really good at is supporting the efforts of creators and publishers to leverage social media to build their brand and fan base. We have little interest in raising the profile of Graphic.ly (which is why we have traditionally been so quiet) and an enormous desire to increase the profile of independent creators and publishers.
Social has always been a big part of our platform, and will continue to be.
As a startup mentor, what’s your best piece of advice for first-time founders and entrepreneurs?
Listen. Evaluate. Make your own decisions.
Basically, take in a lot of advice and mentorship, but at the end of the day know that its your company and your decisions to make. Don’t be a punk — make a choice and live with the consequences.
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Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:55 AM PDT
744999" />Seriously. Something is going on with Google+ right now as six or more Google execs profile pics have turned from friendly to spooky.
It started with Google Senior VP of engineering Vic Gundotra and has now spread to folks like SVP of commerce and local Jeff Huber and chief business officer Nikesh Arora.
It started at 11:30 a.m. ET and has now spread (and keeps spreading) to much of the Google staff on Google+. The aforementioned execs and others now have some very entertaining pics and the hashtag: #gplushalloween.
Is this just a fun prank in the halls of Google that have spread to its still young social network? Or is Google mixing something more “monsterous” for Halloween? One post mentions something called “Google+ creative kit,” though we have no idea what that is.
We have a call out to Google and await further scares …er … information. In the meantime, we’ve grabbed some of the best images for your perusal.
Update: Looks like all those loopy Halloween images were, in fact, the product of Google’s new Creative Kit feature on Google+. A Google Blog post describes it thusly:
Google unveiled the Creative Kit and a couple of other updates for the Google+ social network this afternoon and from now through the end of October is encouraging Google+ members to use the limited edition Halloween effects to alter their own profiles and images. Those that are shared publicly on Google+ with the hashtag #gplushalloween will automatically become part of a photo contest to be judged by a celebrity panel next month. Google will announce the winners on Nov. 3.
Stay tuned for more details in an upcoming post, and tell us what you think of Creative Kit’s output in the comments below.
Dave Girouard, Apps Guy at Google
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Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:25 AM PDT
There’s an unsubstantiated rumor making the rounds that law enforcement asked Google to remove YouTube videos of police brutality captured during Occupy Oakland protests.
While Google recently acknowledges law enforcement has made such requests in the past, the allegation that one such request was made to remove footage of the Occupy Oakland protests seems to be based on a misinterpretation of a transparency report the search giant released Wednesday.
In the report, Google details requests it receives from governments to remove content and reveal information about users. It releases such reports every six months.
This time around, the “observations” section for the U.S. states:
“We received a request from a local law enforcement agency to remove YouTube videos of police brutality, which we did not remove. Separately, we received requests from a different local law enforcement agency for removal of videos allegedly defaming law enforcement officials. We did not comply with those requests.”
Because the report was released the day before police fired tear gas at Occupy Oakland protesters, some news organizations and individuals have conflated the two events and mistakenly concluded that police asked Google to remove videos of that incident.
In fact, the report refers only to reports made between January and June 2011 — several months before Occupy Wall Street appeared in the physical world.
Throughout this period, there were two incidents in which Google was requested to remove videos for reasons filed as “defamation.” The company says it has categorized requests to remove police brutality under this category.
We have reached out to Google for more information about the context of these requests and will update this article when we hear back.
Posted: 27 Oct 2011 09:00 AM PDT
If you want to collect and share web content, and express your opinion in a structured fashion, where would you turn?
Certainly not Facebook or Twitter, says Ramy Adeeb, founder of Snip.it, a startup launching this week in private beta to help you collect web content you want to save with your voice.
Adeeb, formerly a principal at Khosla Ventures, founded Snip.it as a place where people can create collections. They’re comprised of content and opinions — appropriately termed “snips” — and they can be saved privately, or shared with friends and strangers.
Snip.it users clip content as they browse the web, just as they would do using any other bookmarklet, add a little commentary of their own and then plop their digital discoveries into collections.
You can think of collections as elegantly styled, topic-themed buckets for storing the web content that relates to your interests. And you can use your collections for personal reference or as curation tools to publicly demonstrate your expertise and subject-matter knowledge.
The latter use case speaks to the very existence of the site. Adeeb, an Egyptian, was closely following the Egyptian revolution earlier this year. His inability to collect and share content in a relevant, permanent and structured fashion became the inspiration for Snip.it.
“I was glued to my laptop. I was consuming content night and day,” he says. “All my friends reached out to me and they said, ‘Ramy, what’s happening in Egypt? … What should we read?,’ and I wanted to share what my thoughts were. So I turned to social media.”
“Social media was great for real time topics, but it was very painful to actually say an opinion — something thoughtful — or to say … ‘here are the three or four articles that you should read’ … What I wanted was a place for me to collect what matters most, add my opinion and to share it with people,” he says. “In essence, I wanted a scrapbook. I wanted to collect my favorite articles, my favorite images, my favorite videos and to add my voice to it.”
Snip.it’s collections emphasize content and opinions. This is what makes it distinct from the buzzy, picture-based pinboard app Pinterest, Adeeb argues, although the differences may be hard to spot for the first-time user.
“We’re more of a new Tumblr — only we’re about curation and about emphasis on content as opposed to layout,” he says.
Snip.it strikes us as a fresh twist on yesterday’s basic bookmarking service — but instead of being a place where bookmarks go to die, Snip.it turns them into a living library organized around your interests and makes them ripe for conversation. And while each of the elements that make up the Snip.it experience are not wholly original, they work together to engineer a pleasant environment that users will want to revisit.
Snip.it has raised an undisclosed sum in funding from Koshla Ventures, True Ventures, Charles River Ventures and SV Angel.
500 Mashable readers can sign up for access to Snip.it using the code “mashable_500.”
Update: Readers are reporting issues with the sign up process. We’ve reached out to Snip.it and hope to have an update soon.
Update #2: Sign ups should be working now. “We had a minor issue with Heroku immediately after launch that is resolved now,” Adeeb tells us.
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