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February 07 2014

Topher Grace Creates Website Full of 'Great Sh*t'
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Actor Topher Grace has gone from battling a web-slinging hero in 2007's Spider-Man 3 to being a different kind of web slinger himself Thursday — when he launched a video discovery website

Dubbed Cereal Prize, Grace's site is a hodgepodge of sketch comedies, revamped movie trailers and un-aired pilots, among other hilarious "sh*t" that Grace gathers to share with viewers

"I’m the guy that when you come over to my house to hang out, I always want to show people some weird video I found on the Internet," Grace told Mashable

But his love goes much deeper than just wanting to share content, he wants to create an entire user experience around it. On Cereal Prize, a haven for film buffs in particular, users browse content through the site's aptly-named channels: Great Shit, Funny Shit, Music, Trailers, Short Films and Self-Centered Shit. Read more...

More about Web, Viral Videos, Entertainment, Tv, and Internet

February 03 2014

Augmented Reality TV System Mixes Programming and Web Content
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A new venture in television created by a San Francisco-based startup combines web content with television programming in a way that makes information-rich viewing experiences nearly seamless.

InAir presents television programming side-by-side with related web content. For example, a viewer could watch a show on NASA's Voyager spacecraft while simultaneously accessing information from NASA's website. The product's three-person team believes that this new dynamic could eliminate the need to multitask on other devices, such as a tablet or smartphone, to glean information about a TV show currently being viewed. Read more...

More about Web, Content, Internet, Television, and Social Media
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November 14 2013

The Most Profitable New Reader Demographic: Robots
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Here is the weirdest thing about the modern Web: humans are only one constituency and maybe not the most profitable one.

Consider the case of an anonymous publishing executive who spoke with the media trade magazine Digiday about purchasing bulk robot traffic to his former company's website.

By robot, I mean software that is designed to simulate a human being browsing the Web. Bots, as they are known, are relatively easy to create, and now you can easily purchase their services to build a nice business, if you are willing to bend the rules of digital publishing Read more...

Arbitrage ... Now With More Robots

More about Web, Business Plans, Internet, Profit Model, and Robots

September 30 2013

Yahoo Japan's 3D Printer Helps Blind Children Search the Web
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At a school for the blind in Japan, the Internet is no longer just a visual toolYahoo Japan has made it possible for children who are blind to search the web.

In collaboration with Japanese creative agency Hakuhodo Kettle, Yahoo developed a machine called Hands On Search that is part 3D printer, part computer — and will build just about anything at your request.

SEE ALSO: You, Too, Can Print a 3D Robot

For example, children at the Special Needs Education School for the Visually Impaired can walk up to Hands On Search and say "giraffe" or "Tokyo Skytree Building." Then, the machine searches Yahoo for an image and prints a miniaturized version of the object. The machine will make an online request for more information if an image cannot be found, according to Yahoo Japan's website. Read more...

More about Yahoo, Web, Kids, School, and Blind

August 18 2013

Printed Atlas of the World Wide Web Will Wow You
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Humans have been practicing cartography — or, mapmaking — since ancient times, but much has changed since the digital revolution

It may be hard to remember at this point, but before there was Google Maps, there was Rand McNally. Before there was MapQuest, there was an atlas in your glove compartment. Israeli designer Dafna Aizenberg decided to visualize something new — the Web — in a way that harkens back to the age-old art of mapmaking.

In designing her 120-page (as in, printed pages) Atlas of the World Wide Web, Aizenberg did not use any computer-generated graphics, she told Wired. Aizenberg said the work was meant to commemorate the Internet's 30th anniversary. Read more...

More about Web, Internet, Maps, Infographics, and Dev Design

August 29 2012

Use These 10 Sites to Detect Plagiarism


1. TurnItIn




Four UC Berkeley graduate students designed a peer review application to use for their classes — thus, TurnItIn was born. Eventually, that prototype developed into one of the most recognizable names in plagiarism detection. TurnItIn, which processed over 60 million academic papers in 2011, is accessible for a fee per educator. Free quotes are available on the website. Students can use TurnItIn's WriteCheck service to maintain proper citations and to access various writing tools. Teachers can ask students to submit their papers through the service as a first measure.

Click here to view this gallery.


If we've learned one thing from the Jonah Lehrer plagiarism debacle it's that copying or falsifying your work just isn't worth it. Last month, The New Yorker writer resigned from his position at the magazine after admitting to fabricating quotes in his latest book, as well as borrowing from his own articles at other publications.

Plagiarism is as much a serious offense in the academic world as it is in journalism. Most high schools and universities take extreme disciplinary action if a student is caught cheating or plagiarizing, often leading to suspension or expulsion.

SEE ALSO: Students, Here’s How to Kick-Start Your Personal Brand Online

We've rounded up 10 online services tha…
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More About: Tech, back to school, education, features, plagiarism, web


August 22 2012

The Internet a Decade Later [INFOGRAPHIC]


Remember in 2002, when computers like the Apple iMac G4 were the sleekest on the market?

Internet users were just starting to use high-speed broadband access, instead of that slow dial-up. Gone were the days of waiting. We could download a whole song in 10 minutes!

Fast forward to 2012: Computers are even more polished, and the Internet is faster. Ten years ago, Internet usage was more of a leisure -- today, it's practically as important as water or oxygen.

SEE ALSO: PSA from 1995 Predicts the Future of the Internet

The animated infographic below, created by bestedsites.com, shows just how far technology has come in the past decade.

More About: Tech, infographics, internet, web


August 17 2012

9 Sites to Save You Big on College Textbooks


1. BookFinder




BookFinder is a comprehensive price comparison engine. Search for books by title, author or ISBN. Filters let you search for new, used and even out-of-print titles. We particularly like that the site displays book prices alongside shipping charges, a very helpful feature when comparing prices.

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It's that time of year again, when college students scramble for textbooks, in the hopes they'll have money left over for food and fun during the school year.

No longer does the campus bookstore have the monopoly on book sales. Students now have the option to buy their books elsewhere, often choosing to purchase used books online, or even rent textbooks from various sites. Some schools are even incorporating e-textbooks into their coursework.

The key is to find the right edition of a textbook at the right price, and that can take some research.

Fortunately, a few websites can help with that. Amazon has just hopped on the rental bandwagon, launching its own textbook rental service.…
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More About: college, education, features, lifestyle, textbooks, web


August 16 2012

Google Maps: 10 Handy Tricks You Should Know


1. Save Your Home and Work Addresses




Head to "My Places" on the top-left of the Google Maps page to save down your home and work addresses for easier directions and nearby searches.

Click here to view this gallery.


Google Maps is a fantastic free tool, but we're guessing you don't have much spare time to play around with the service.

That's why we've gathered 10 useful tips to help you get more out of Maps. We'll teach you how to better visualize directions, personalize your experience and mine maps for more useful information.

SEE ALSO: 12 Mysterious Google Maps Sightings

Take a look through our Google-tastic gallery above for more handy hints. Let us know in the comments below about any other Maps-related shortcuts you use.

More About: Google, Google Maps, How-To, features, software, tips and tricks, web


July 26 2012

10 Budget Airfare Tools Every Traveler Should Know


1. Kayak




Kayak searches hundreds of websites at one time, turning up the web's best flight deals. You can also set fare alerts for flights. Choose preferred travel dates to destinations of your choice. Kayak fare alerts can be scheduled as daily, weekly or monthly emails. Kayak's interface also lays out airfare to a particular place across a span of a month or more. Travelers can then pinpoint the lowest rates and the cheapest dates to fly. The company also offers exclusive deals from "Secret Carriers" — airlines are revealed after purchase. Kayak's money-saving management tools also include price alerts.

Click here to view this gallery.




If you're daydreaming about white sand, cobbled streets or medieval cityscapes, you're probably in need of a vacation. Being strapped for cash shouldn't keep you from traveling.

United Airlines initiated an airfare hike this week by tacking on an extra $10 to domestic round-trip tickets. The airline's competition including JetBlue, Delta, U.S. Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America followed suit by raising rates.

Luckily for us, plane tickets that fit your budget are just a few clicks away.

Travelers can hunt for low fares with aggregator sites such as Kayak or Momondo to save hours of research time. These metasearch engines amass the best airfare deals available, sweeping h…
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More About: airfare, features, lifestyle, travel, web


January 22 2012

9 Digital Ways to Become a Social Good Hero in 2012


Scott Henderson is managing director of CauseShift and writes about social impact for the Chronicle of Philanthropy, RallytheCause.com and occasionally for the ableBanking blog.

January is already half-over, so how’s that New Year’s resolution to do more good coming along? If you haven’t made much progress, don’t fret — changing the world might be easier than you think.

The web and social media continue to create new opportunities to do good in simple ways. Whether by putting aside some savings or checking-in with an app, you might be surprised how much good you can do with just a few clicks.


1. Do What You Already Do


  • Buy with Confidence: Find out whether the products you already use are healthy, green and socially responsible by consulting the Good Guide. Not happy with what you learn? Search thousands of products to find better ones.
  • Swipe Your Card: When you register with Swipe Good, your debit or credit cards will round up all your purchases to the nearest dollar. You choose which charity gets to keep the change.
  • Stuff Your Piggy Bank: Open up an online savings account with ableBanking, one of the companies I blog for. Right away, you’ll get $25 to give to your charity of choice. Each year, they’ll give you more money to donate, based on your account balance.

2. Baby Steps


For those feeling adventurous but strapped for time, give these new, simple actions a go.

  • Adopt a New Habit: People who track their new habits are more likely to keep them. Thanks to DailyFeats, track them easily while earning points, which you can then redeem for rewards from national brands or donate to a charity.
  • Give a Little Each Day: Who doesn’t love a special offer, especially when it helps a worthy cause? Philanthroper is a daily deals site that shares the story of a new 501(c)(3) charity, to which you can donate anywhere from $1 to $10.
  • Sell and Buy Stuff: Whether you want to find the perfect vintage outfit or thin out your closet, visit KarmaGoat, a local marketplace where you buy and sell items. The proceeds benefit the charity of your choice.
  • Give $10, Get Deals: Thanks to The Mutual, you can sign up to pay $10 each month, which is then donated to one of five featured monthly charities or spread evenly among them. In return, you’ll rack up points to use for special deals and offers from local businesses.

3. Take a Flying Leap


Feeling ready for something big? Take on one of these challenges.

  • Go Pro Bono: Catchafire matches up professionals with charities that need specific expertise for specific projects. You can build your resume, hone your abilities and help a worthy cause, all at the same time.
  • Rally Your Cause: Why wait for a charity to ask you to raise money? Sign up with Crowdrise, set up a fundraising goal, and start asking your friends, co-workers, neighbors and family. You can learn from other cause-promoters, earn reward points and cheer on other do-gooders.

Now that you know about these sites and services, what are you waiting for? Choose a strategy and mark off another New Year’s resolution! What are your favorite new everyday ways of doing good? Did we miss one you think others would like?

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, mangostock

More About: charity, contributor, features, philanthropy, Social Good, web

For more Social Good coverage:


January 17 2012

China Has 500 Million Web Users, Half of Them Are Microbloggers


China has more than 513 million internet users, and nearly half of them are using microblogs – mostly Chinese microblogging tools collectively called Weibo (Twitter is banned in the country).

The numbers from China Network Information Center’s report sound staggering, but China’s Internet penetration rate is actually only 38.3%. The country added around 55.8 million new internet users in 2011, which represents a 4% annual growth — lower than the average annual growth rate of 6% between 2006 and 2010.

Interestingly enough, the slowdown was to be expected, as most people with a high school diploma (90.9%) and nearly all with a college education (96.1%) are already online. The rest simply haven’t got the funds or the education level to use the web.

Microblogging might be the answer for further web usage growth, as it has become an extremely important way of accessing the web in China. The number of microbloggers increased by 296% year-on-year to 250 million in Dec. 2011.

For comparison, Twitter reported 100 million active users and 200 million registered users in Sept. 2011. Unfortunately for the largest microblogging service outside of Asia, grabbing a chunk of the vast Chinese market is, for now, an impossible task.

“We would love to have a strong Twitter in China, but we need to be allowed to do that,” said Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at the AsiaD conference held in Hong Kong in Oct. 2011. Weibo services, the largest of which is Sina Weibo, can compete anywhere they want. Sina Weibo is currently working on an international version; it’ll be interesting to see what it can do on the Western markets.

More About: china, microbloggers, web, web users


January 10 2012

January 05 2012

How to Get the Most Out of Google Analytics


After we published a primer for using Google Analytics, readers said they were hungry for more.

Google Analytics has since revamped its design, giving it not only a cleaner look but also updated data sets. You can now find everything from real-time stats to details about which mobile device your site visitors come from.

Though the data possibilities seem endless, Google Analytics product manager Phil Mui says the design reflects three core metrics: acquisition, engagement and outcome. Let’s take a closer look at what these numbers mean and how you can track them with one of the most widely used web analytics platforms.


Acquisition


The lowest-hanging fruit of web analytics is counting metrics. This data encompasses the number of visitors that come to your site and can be filtered to show what sites they’re coming from and how many of them have or haven’t been to your site before. In Google Analytics, this is described as “Visits.”

SEE ALSO: 10 New Google Analytics Features You Need to Start Using

The tool has long provided information about where your visitors are coming from (geographically and on the web), what language they speak, how often they visit your site and what computers and browsers they use to get there. More recently, Google Analytics released mobile reporting. As people increasingly access the web from smartphones and tablets, this information is key to optimizing your site for those looking at it from a mobile device. This and most visitor-specific information can be found under the Audience tab. On report pages, the Visits metric can be found in the upper-left, while New Visits — the percentage of visitors coming to your site for the first time — is second in from the right.

Measuring how many people are coming to your site is the most cut and dried — but it’s only one piece of the metrics pie.


Engagement


These numbers consider the quality of your site traffic. Once visitors come to your site, they’ll do one of three things: read the page they came to, click to more pages beyond their entry page, or leave. Engagement metrics focus on these actions visitors are taking once they get to your site — and how good you are at keeping them there.

The three key engagement metrics in Google Analytics are:

  • Pages per Visit: This is the average number of pages a visitor views when coming to your website. The more engaging your site is, the more inclined visitors will be to continue clicking beyond the entry page.
  • Average Time on Site: This refers to the typical amount of time visitors spend on your site, despite whether they continue to stay on the page they came in on or navigate elsewhere within your domain.
  • Bounce Rate: This represents the percentage of single-page visits to your site. It gives you a sense of how many visitors left your site from the entrance page rather than clicking further into your site as compared to total visitors. Like Pages per Visit, Bounce Rate can help you determine the performance of your entry pages based on the actions visitors take (or don’t take) after they’ve arrived on your site.

Engagement metrics are especially important for reports created in the Traffic Sources and Content tabs. On report pages, Pages per Visit and Average Time on site are located at the top middle of report pages, while Bounce Rate is at the far right.

So, how do you know if your site is “engaging?” Ask yourself: Is your site user-friendly? How simple is it for a visitor to click to the next page? Is there interactive content in which your readers can participate? Does landing page content match the keywords in its title? Considering these questions when designing your site is a surefire way to improve the quality of your web traffic.


Outcome


The Goals area is where your data tracking can really help you make a difference. These outcome-oriented metrics help you dive deeper into your site performance and learn whether you’re achieving what you want with your website.

The first step is defining your business objectives: Are you driving visitors to make online purchases? Getting them to view a specific piece of content? Aiming for more newsletter signups? Once you’ve pinned down your site goals, make sure your site administrator enables Goals in Google Analytics in the Account Settings page. Then you can choose one of four Goal types to track:

  • URL destination: This metric is best if your goal is to get visits to a key page of your site, such as your homepage or a post-purchase message page.
  • Time on Site: If you’re looking to measure engagement, this will track visitors spending a defined amount of time on your site.
  • Pages per Visit: Also important for engagement, Pages per Visit will keep tabs on a defined number of pages visitors view in a session on your site.
  • Events: Released in the most recent version of Google Analytics, Event Goals allow you to track specific actions visitors are taking on a page. This includes anything from downloading a PDF to watching a video.

Goals reports can be found under the Conversions tab, which will provide information about goal completions and conversion rates. You can opt to track goal value and abandonment rates (the percentage of visitors who fail to convert on the goal) as well.

If you’re an online retailer, it may make more sense for you to set up Ecommerce in Google Analytics, which allows you to track transactions and order values. It’s a more complicated setup process, but will provide more actionable metrics for visitors’ purchasing behavior on your site. For Google Adwords users, linking your account to Google Analytics goals can help you keep a closer eye on your marketing campaigns.


Other Noteworthy Features


One problem with the analytics industry, Mui says, is that tools give users so much information — but they’re not as good at telling users what they need to know. That’s why Google Analytics improved its Intelligence product in the most-recent update. It searches your site traffic for anything out of the ordinary and then alerts you to the anomaly. You can see all your alerts in a simple graph, where you can drill into and annotate specific events.

If you’re running a dynamic website that frequently publishes new content, Google Analytics Real-Time helps you understand what content is working best and what sites are sending you the most traffic at any given moment. It’s less useful for providing more long-term actionable insights.

For more useful v5 products, check out our top 10 features of the new Google Analytics.


Conclusion


While your level of interest in these key numbers and features may differ depending on your role and organization, these data points have become the standard for web analytics today. Whether you’re strategizing for a massive corporation or bolstering your personal web presence, understanding acquisition, engagement and outcome metrics is a must. “If content is king, then context is queen,” Mui says.

Which of these metrics and features are most important to your business? Has tracking them helped you improve your site? Tell us in the comments below.

More About: features, Google, google analytics, How-To, web


December 30 2011

December 29 2011

The Web’s Most Buzzworthy Questions of 2011


Whether it opens the doors of knowledge or turns us into lazy researchers, the web can instantly gratify most inquiries. So when we wondered which questions weighed heaviest on the minds of Internet users this year, we naturally turned to the same Q&A sites that they did.

We asked Formspring, Ask.com, Quora and ChaCha to compile lists of their most popular questions of 2011. Since all of the sites take different approaches to Q&A, we let them choose their own criteria for what constitutes “popular.”

Whether it’s possible to become Batman (it doesn’t look good) to who started Occupy Wall Street (debatable), here’s what the web wanted to know this year.


1. Quora


What it is: Quora is a crowdsourced social Q&A forum that tends toward long-form answers.

Criteria: The most viewed questions.


2. Ask.com


What it is: Ask.com is a Q&A platform turned search engine turned back to Q&A platform. It directs questions to people who are likely to have the best answers.

Criteria: The top “trending questions” posed by Ask.com’s 60 million users from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 14, 2011. Ask.com defines trending questions as those that are posed and viewed most frequently by users.

Health, Nutrition and Fitness:

  • 1. Healthcare Plan: Is the healthcare plan unconstitutional?
  • 2. Health Insurance: How can I get affordable health insurance?
  • 3. Juice Cleanse: What’s the best juice cleanse?

TV and Movies:

  • 1. Kim Kardashian: Was Kim Kardashian’s wedding fake?
  • 2. Oprah Winfrey: When is the Oprah finale?
  • 3. Regis Philbin: Who is replacing Regis Philbin?

Technology:

  • 1. iPhone: When will Apple release the iPhone 5?
  • 2. Google: How can I join Google+?
  • 3. Facebook: How can I keep my Facebook wall private?

Business:

  • 1. Occupy Wall Street: Who started Occupy Wall Street?
  • 2. Facebook: Is Facebook going public?
  • 3. Unemployment: Is the unemployment rate getting lower?

3. Formspring


What it is: Formspring is a social Q&A platform that lets users ask and answer questions.

Criteria: Most “smiles” to a response. Smiles are similar to Facebook Likes.

December 01 2011

November 11 2011

October 23 2011

56 New Digital Media Resources You May Have Missed

icons image

Weekends at Mashable mean the weekly features roundup is coming at’cha. You ready to rock this list?

This week, we spent some quality time with Siri, and now we can’t live without her. Then, we moved on to the Motorola Droid Razr, following the past week’s event with Verizon. Curious about our review? Read on. Then skip over to a gallery of rapture photos — or rather, what’s going to happen when the world ends. While you’re waiting for the apocalypse, we suggest you catch up on your reading…


Editor’s Picks



Social Media


For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Tech & Mobile


For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.


Business & Marketing


For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable’s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Image courtesy of WebTreats Etc.

More About: Business, Features Week In Review, List, Mobile, Social Media, web

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