Posted on

Google to Political Campaigns: Get Online, Now

Google to Political Campaigns: Get Online, Now


Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been pouring money into television — long considered the most crucial place for a political campaign to advertise — to the tune of at least $125 million combined. However, Google is urging all political candidates not to overlook the importance of online advertising.

Google released on Tuesday the below infographic which shows how people’s appetite for media is changing — an evolution the company argues means that political advertising should change, too:

Google has been proselytizing the Internet’s political potential in “Four Screens to Victory,” an informational campaign which began in March. Throughout the campaign, Google has stressed the need for politicians to pay attention to the web and mobile devices, lest their message is lost given the increasing number of people who pay little attention to television in favor of personal computers and mobile devices.

“Access to political information no longer comes from one place — or one screen,” wrote Google in a blog post on Tuesday. “In just the four years since the last presidential election, the continued growth of the web and the proliferation of mobile devices has radically transformed when, where, and how voters access political information.”

To support that claim, Google published data about the increasing importance of the Internet and mobile devices vis-à-vis television, including:

1. More than 80% of eligible voters are online.
2. Similarly, 83% of mobile phone owners are registered voters.
3. One out of every 3 likely voters in November say that they didn’t watch television in the past week.
4. Voters are spending more media time on their mobile devices than with newspapers & magazines combined.

Google, of course, owns YouTube (a popular platform for campaigns to publish online videos) and sells online advertising, so it has a financial interest in convincing campaigns to bolster their web presence.

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been spending unprecedented amounts of money on digital. A recent analysis by the marketing blog ClickZ found that the Obama and Romney campaigns are spending about 25% of their TV ad budget on digital — but should they be spending more? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thumbnail image courtesy of iStockphoto, pagadesign

Read more:

Posted on

Police Have Asked for 1.3 Million Cellphone Users’ Records

Police Have Asked for 1.3 Million Cellphone Users' Records


Police across the United States asked cellphone providers for the phone records, text message transcripts, location data and other information of at least 1.3 million customers during 2011, according to a Congressman investigating the practice.

Some of the data provided to Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the lawmaker who carried out the investigation, indicated that the number of police requests to mobile carriers have exploded over the past five years. Law enforcement requests to AT&T alone more than doubled from 125,425 in 2007 to 261,365 in 2011 — approximately 700 requests every day.

One type of law enforcement request, wherein police ask cell providers for a so-called “dump” of information about subscribers near a certain cell tower at a given point in time, may mean that thousands more people have been involved in police requests.

Markey called the results of his investigation — the most thorough inquiry into the practice thus far — “startling.”

“We cannot allow privacy protections to be swept aside with the sweeping nature of these information requests, especially for innocent consumers,” said Markey in a statement. “Law enforcement agencies are looking for a needle, but what are they doing with the haystack? We need to know how law enforcement differentiates between records of innocent people, and those that are subjects of investigation, as well as how it handles, administers, and disposes of this information.”

Markey initially requested the information in May after reading about the practice. Nine carriers have returned letters detailing each company’s procedures when police request users’ information.

Verizon Wireless, for instance, has a “team of trained employees and managers” that responded to more than 700 police requests each day in 2011. The company noted that it requires a warrant from police in all but the most extreme circumstances.

“Unless a customer consents to the release of the information or law enforcement certifies that there is an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury, we do not release location information to law enforcement without a signed warrant or order from a judge,” reads Verizon’s letter, which also stressed that the company prioritizes customer privacy.

Other carriers also said they require a warrant in most cases and sometimes deny requests in the interest of customer privacy. Sprint, for example, detailed a sort of investigative Pong process in which some requests bounced between the company and police while escalating up the chain of command on either side.

About 88% of American adults now own a cell phone, while 46% of them own a smartphone. Both types of devices are capable of storing an immense amount of data that can be useful to police investigations.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation called the report an indication of a “privacy disaster” in a blog post on Monday. The EFF urged cell phone providers to follow the example set by Google and Twitter, both of which deliver transparency reports about police and government requests for users’ data.

Should cellphone providers publish reports about police requests for users’ information? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, anouchka

Read more:

Posted on

25 Incredible Moments in Photos

25 Incredible Moments in Photos

After a week filled with all forms of memorable events, we bring you those best captured in photos. Last Monday the annual Boston Marathon was victim to a terrible act. Yet, looking beyond that the people of Boston managed to stick together and help those who were in need during the chaos and confusion. In London, protesters gathered in George Square to recognize the industries that suffered under the government of former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher, on the day of her funeral.

The Italian parliament gathered more than 1,000 politicians this week to vote for a new President of Republic and successor to Giorgio Napolitano. People in Yunnan celebrated the New Year of the Dai with its Water Splashing Festival, which is believed to wash away bad luck for the new year. In South Korea, conservatives gathered to protest against North Korea on its founder Kim Il-Sung’s 101th birthday.

These and many more events can be admired below. Did we miss any others? Let us know in the comments.

Boston Marathon Bombing

Carlos Arredondo, one of the many heroes who were at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon when two explosives detonated. (Image via Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

3D Painting Exhibit

A visitor poses with a 3D painting during exhibition at the Garland Shopping Center in Guiyang, Guizhou province of China. (Image via ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

Thatcher Rally In Glasgow

Protesters gathered in George Square at a rally to mourn the communities who suffered under the government of former British Prime Minister Baroness Margaret Thatcher, on the day of Thatcher’s funeral in Glasgow, Scotland. (Image via Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images)

April Fair 2013 in Seville, Spain

Young girls traditionally dress as ‘sevillanas’ at the Feria de Abril (April’s Fair). (Image via Daniel Perez/Getty Images)

2013 Australian National Surf Lifesaving Titles

Competitors enter the water during day three of the 2013 Australian National Surf Lifesaving Titles in Australia. (Image via Matt Roberts/Getty Images)

X-Games in Brazil

Douglas Leite in action during the BMX Freestyle Pratice at the X-Games Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. (Image via Buda Mendes/LatinContent/Getty Images)

Funeral of Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher

Pallbearers set down the coffin of Baroness Thatcher inside St Paul’s Cathedral in London. (Image via Dominik Lipinski – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Desert Sunlight Solar Farm

Solar panels are seen in this aerial photograph of First Solar Inc.’s Desert Sunlight Solar Farm in Mojave Desert, California. (Image via Tim Rue/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

English National Ballet Rehearsal

Dancers of the English National Ballet perform on stage during a dress rehearsal of ‘Ecstasy and Death’ at the Coliseum in London, England. (Image via Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

FINA/Midea Diving World Series 2013 – Previews

Jack Laugher in action during previews ahead of the FINA/Midea Diving World Series 2013 at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Scotland. (Image via Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Florida Celebrates Spanish Explorer Ponce De Leon

People walk past a replica of a 16th century galleon during Florida’s commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon’s arrival on the shores of Florida. (Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Florida Outlaws Gaming Machines

A worker waits to use a bucket loader to destroy gaming machines that had been confiscated as the City of Miami begins a crack down on business owners with illegal gambling machines in Miami, Florida. (Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Giro del Trentino

Cyclists compete during the second stage of the cycling road race ‘Giro del Trentino’ in Sillian, close to the Austrian-Italian. (Image via Pierre Teyssot/AFP/Getty Images)

Gromit sculptures by Famous Artists

Fundraising manager Lauren Vincent poses with four Gromit sculptures, out of around 70 which have been painted by celebrity artists, Sir Paul Smith, Cath Kidston, Richard Williams and Simon Tofield. (Image via Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Israel Celebrates Independence Day

Israeli children play to celebrate the Jewish state’s 65th Independence Day in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Image via Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)

Italy Parliament Votes For President of Republic

More than 1,000 politicians gather in the lower house of the Italian parliament to vote for a successor to Giorgio Napolitano. (Image via Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Keith Haring Exhibition in Paris, France

A piece from the Keith Haring Exhibition at Musee d’Art Moderne (Museum of Modern Art) in Paris, France during a press preview. (Image via Francois Durand/Getty Images)

One Direction Waxworks Unveiled

Waxworks of One Direction are unveiled at Madame Tussauds in London. (Image via John Phillips/UK Press via Getty Images)

Rare Beatles Guitar Exhibited At Newbridge Silverware Museum Of Style Icons

A rare Vox guitar played by George Harrison and John Lennon is exhibited at the Newbridge Silverware Museum of Style in Newbridge, Ireland. (Image via Clodagh Kilcoyne/Getty Images)

Sand Storm Hits Xinjiang

Cyclists ride along a road during a heavy sandstorm in Shache, China. (Image via ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)

South Korea Protests On North Korea Founder’s Birthday

South Korean conservative protester chant slogans during a rally against North Korea on its founder Kim Il-Sung’s 101th birthday. (Image via Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Southbank’s Skatepark To Be Replaced By Retail Units

A skater makes a jump in the South Bank skatepark as plans are underway to refurbished the Festival Wing ‘Undercroft’, a concrete enclave situated under the South Bank Centre and replace it with retail outlets. (Image via Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

St. Louis Chess Club Taking The Chess Capital To The U.S. Capital

International Chess Master Sam Sevian attends a special event held at United States Capitol Building. (Image via Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis)

Titanic Violin Goes On Display To The Public

Auctioneer Alan Aldridge of Henry Aldridge & Son holds the violin of Wallace Hartley, the instrument he played as the band leader of the Titanic, on the 101st anniversary of the sinking of the ship. (Image via Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Water-Splashing Festival Celebrated In Yunnan

People participate in the annual Water Splashing Festival to mark the 1,375th New Year of the Dai minority in Xishuang Banna, Yunnan province, China. (Image via ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

Homepage image via Francois Durand/Getty Images

Read more:

Posted on

Neil Armstrong Took the Hardest Step for All of Us

Neil Armstrong Took the Hardest Step for All of Us


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

When Neil Armstrong died today at the age of 82, we lost a beacon, a somewhat distant and fading light that remained present enough to remind us what’s possible. Armstrong was the first man — human— to ever set foot on the surface of the moon, and when he did, he spoke words that instantly lifted a generation’s eyes to the skies: “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The moment, which I witnessed when I was just five years old, changed me forever.

Now, back then, I didn’t even want to see the moment. I was tired and the Apollo 11 astronauts were not even scheduled to step onto the Moon’s surface until nearly midnight. My father, though, knew it would be a historic event and made me and my seven-year-old sister do laps around the coffee table until the big moment.

As you can see from the video, it was not an HD moment. The black and white feed was grainy, the audio clipped and our tube television set was 25 inches — postage-stamp-sized by today’s standards. Even so, I could see Armstrong walking carefully down the steps and then pausing as his foot touched the surface to say the famous line. Perhaps the line was scripted — it was certainly timed perfectly — but I think Armstrong was also primed to say something momentous because he knew this was his and the world’s brightest moment.

Being five, I didn’t think much of what he said. Maybe because I couldn’t yet think in those poetic terms (I was still reading Fun with Dick and Jane, after all). Still, from that moment on, I was smitten with space. In fact, much of the world was for a while. I recall that the local Mobil station even gave out flat sheets of cardboard that you could build-into 10-inch lunar landers. I spent hours making mine.

The Apollo missions continued, but Armstrong did not fly again. He worked with NASA for a number of years after Apollo 11, but eventually left NASA to work in business and even served as pitchman for companies like Chrysler.

For much of America, though, Armstrong faded into the background as his Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin (who followed him onto the moon’s surface that July night in 1969) became more and more present. Just a couple of years ago Aldrin competed in Dancing with the Stars.

Armstrong did not seem like the type to compete on a reality television show. In fact, in recent years he appeared more and more taciturn. It was as if he were angry. Perhaps he was frustrated that the U.S. had, after abandoning manned moon and Mars missions, even walked away from running its own manned spaceflight program.

That’s just conjecture on my part, though. The truth is, Armstrong’s heroic accomplishment on July 20, 1969 may have been enough for the quiet Ohioan. After conquering the stars and moon, what else is there left to do, really?

Today, we marvel at the mechanical brilliance of the Mars Rover Curiosity as it slowly creeps across the red, dusty surface of Mars, and we’ll be sad if it malfunctions. Yet, it’s still just a very smart machine and not a flesh-and-blood human who took the ultimate risk: Stepping inside a rocket and blasting off into airless space to step firmly on sphere that, with just 1/6 the earth’s gravity, seemed ready to cast him back out into space. Astronauts like Armstrong and Aldrin (and all those who came after them) had no guarantees they’d come home alive, and yet they did it for us, for science, for history and because something inside them said, “this is where we must go.”

That impulse made Armstrong and his kind unique among men and women. A quiet man with nerves of steel. A shy smile that hid true grit.

For me, I just want to thank Mr. Armstrong for giving me a memory I can never forget and a lifelong love and fascination for space. I suspect millions around the world feel the same.

Posted on

Texas Residents Capture Fatal Tornadoes on Film

Texas Residents Capture Fatal Tornadoes on Film

Deadly tornadoes ripped through central Texas Wednesday evening 70 miles west of Dallas, leaving at least six people dead with more than a dozen still missing. Storm trackers believe up to 10 separate tornadoes may have touched down in the area.

Officials are now busy locating those unaccounted for and surveying the damage.

The National Weather Service’s Texas-based Twitter account, @NWSFortWorth, was actively tweeting alerts throughout the night in an effort to warn those in the storm’s path. The NWS also blasted emergency alerts as push notifications to residents’ phones capable of receiving such alerts.

Some area residents captured the storm on video and uploaded it to YouTube; their footage is curated below:

[View the story “Texas Residents Capture Fatal Tornadoes on Film” on Storify]

Image via YouTube; tsubasachan777

Read more:

Posted on

Kodak Exiting the Consumer Printer Business

Kodak Exiting the Consumer Printer Business


The long, sad decline of Eastman Kodak continued on Friday as the company announced it was exiting the consumer printer business.

The company, which is in the process of submitting a restructuring plan to Bankruptcy Court, will “wind down sales of consumer inkjet printers” and focus instead on selling ink to its existing install base.

“Kodak is making good progress toward emergence from Chapter 11, taking significant actions to reorganize our core ongoing businesses, reduce costs, sell assets, and streamline our organizational structure,” said Antonio M. Perez, Kodak chairman and CEO, in a statement.

Perez added that halting consumer printer sales “will substantially advance the transformation of our business to focus on commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services. As we complete the other key objectives of our restructuring in the weeks ahead, we will be well positioned to emerge successfully in 2013.”

The move comes after Kodak stopped selling digital cameras in February to cut costs. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January.

Shorn of both businesses, Kodak will now concentrate on “commercial, packaging and functional printing solutions and enterprise services,” according to the release. The company also plans to eliminate about 4,000 positions this year, or 23% of its workforce.

Once a leader in the photography market, Kodak was unable to successfully adapt to the digital era. In an attempt to remain afloat, the company has proposed selling its trove of patents. The company also tried — unsuccessfully — to sue RIM and Apple over alleged patent violations, seeking more than $1 billion in damages.

BONUS: A History of Kodak in Pictures

Posted on

Twitter and Airbnb Founders Want to Build a Smarter City

Twitter and Airbnb Founders Want to Build a Smarter City


Can mobile technology and big data help build a smarter city? Some of the world’s brightest tech minds say “yes,” especially when that city happens to be home to so many of them: San Francisco.

The above video features Twitter and Square’s Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s Biz Stone, Airbnb’s Brian Chesky and Jawbone’s Hosain Roman all giving their tech and mobile-based solutions to city dwellers’ everyday problems. It’s the project of angel investor Ron Conway, who made it to highlight his new tech advocacy organization,

“What we wanted to do was get visibility for, which is basically the technology chamber of commerce of San Francisco,” Conway told Mashable. “We wanted to release this video that talks about the possibilities of where tech can actually bring solutions to improve the quality of life in San Francisco.”

Conway added that already has 350 members, which he estimates to be “90% of the tech population in San Francisco.”

The tail end of the video segues into a call for city residents to support Proposition E, a ballot measure that would shift San Francisco businesses from a payroll tax to a gross receipts tax. That would mean companies only pay tax on the profits it makes, adjusted by industry.

“The existing payroll tax disincentives job creation, because for every new job you create, it creates new taxes,” said Conway. “With a gross receipt tax, companies will start paying based on revenue after they’ve developed products. This is important for all small businesses in San Francisco, and for the 90% of tech companies are fewer than 50 employees, which makes them a small business. The gross receipts tax is by far the standard way that cities tax businesses — San Francisco will be one of the last to do away with [the payroll tax].”

Proposition E already has widespread support amongst San Francisco residents, officials, lawmakers and businesspeople.

Fun fact: The video is from Portal A, which also created the “Ed Lee, 2 Legit 2 Quit” video — a YouTube hit and Mashable favorite.

Read more:

Posted on

Occupy Wall Street: The Year’s Most Memorable Videos

Occupy Wall Street: The Year's Most Memorable Videos


A year ago, Tim Pool traveled to New York to see the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations for himself. On a whim, he came from Virginia with only a smartphone and a battery pack. Pool, who worked as a community outreach director at a non-profit, then began live-streaming the protests and clashes with NYPD.

Pool quickly gained followers to his channels on Ustream and Twitter where he reported on what was happening at the time in Zuccatti Park. He became a source of information for the outside world by covering what was happening as it happened and soon received the title “citizen journalist” — though that’s not exactly what he’d call himself.

“I never even considered myself a journalist until people told me I was,” Pool told Mashable. “It was for myself. I wasn’t putting it on YouTube.”

Much of Pool’s coverage was syndicated by major media outlets and TIME named him “The Media Messenger of Zuccotti Park.” He told Mashable that he wasn’t looking for attention, but rather was trying to figure out the movement’s intentions for himself.

Pool has covered the movement since the original demonstrations last year. He was in New York earlier this week covering what was the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’s beginning. In recognition of the event, Ustream has put together an Occupy Wall Street “most-memorable live-broadcast streams” which include some of Pool’s reporting:

Protesters take orange net from NYPD and Tim Pool yells: “Tonight belongs to occupy wall street.”

The Police Did What? NYPD Smashes Protesters Head Against Glass Door, shatters

Call For Medics…Unconscious Occupy Protester in DC

Most Viewed Occupy Wall Street Arrest At One-Year Occupy Anniversary

Occupy Wall Street 1-yr Celebration Needs Entertainment Too!

Image courtesy of Mashable Intern Kenneth Rosen

Read more:

Posted on

Pepper-Spraying Policeman No Longer Works for UC Davis

Pepper-Spraying Policeman No Longer Works for UC Davis


The police officer who doused students with pepper spray during Occupy Wall Street protests at the University of California, Davis, is no longer employed by the University.

“Consistent with privacy guidelines established in state law and university policy, I can confirm that John Pike’s employment with the university ended on July 31, 2012,” UC Davis spokesman Barry Shiller told the Sacramento Bee.

Pike, who was on paid leave since the incident, declined to comment, and Shiller said he cannot disclose the exact reason why Pike was laid off.

Videos of the incident, which appeared on YouTube, sparked calls for Pike’s resignation, as well as a wave of internet memes, joking with Pike’s seemingly casual stance while using pepper spray on protesters.

Read more: