Burger King Twitter Account Hacked // via mashable.com


Hackers took over Burger King’s Twitter account on Monday.

The cyber tricksters changed the fast food company’s avatar and name to “McDonalds” and sent a McFlurry of questionable and offensive tweets. The Twitter mishap isn’t all bad news for Burger King though — the account added 5,000 new followers in the first 30 minutes since the hackers took over.

Mashable has reached out to the company and will update this post with any response.

UPDATE : As of 1:15 p.m. EST, it appears Twitter has suspended the @BurgerKing account.

Homepage image courtesy Burger King, via Twitter

The Tangled Web of Lawsuits in Mobile [INFOGRAPHIC]

Who’s suing whom in the mobile industry? It can be a tough question to answer, even if you’re closely following all the lawsuits that have been thrown around in the last couple of years.

Nokia sued Apple and vice versa, with both companies claiming the other was infringing on its patents. Both companies have also slapped other companies with lawsuits, again mostly over patent infringement or price fixing. Add other IT giants, such as Kodak, RIM, HTC, Google (Google), Sony Ericcson and LG into the mix, and soon it’ll feel like everyone is suing everyone else.

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Sparrow for Mac Simplifies Gmail for the Better

Jennifer Van Grove
Jennifer Van Grove

Name: Sparrow

Quick Pitch: Sparrow is a minimalist mail application for Mac. It was designed to keep things simple and efficient. No fancy stuff here — just your mail and nothing else.

Genius Idea: E-mail has become such a large part of our lives that everyone from Google (Google) to individual developers are looking to build the best solution for faster, better e-mail management. Yet all of the bright new features sometimes make our e-mail inboxes more complex (and sometimes slower) than ever. But not Sparrow.

The free Mac desktop client for Gmail (Gmail) approaches e-mail with Tweetie (tweetie)-like finesse and simplicity. If anything, Sparrow feels like a mobile e-mail client optimized for your desktop, which means it eliminates the chaff to focus on the wheat: exchanging e-mail. Seguir leyendo “Sparrow for Mac Simplifies Gmail for the Better”

With Less than 50% Market Share, IE Is Now Losing the Browser Wars

Jolie O’Dell http://mashable.com

According to data from StatCounter, Internet Explorer has dipped below the 50%-mark in its global share of the Internet browser market.

StatCounter shows IE at 51.34% of the market in August 2010; by the end of September, IE was holding on to just 49.87% of the browser market. The browser also shows a drop of nearly 10% year over year.

This is the first time IE has fallen below the halfway point in market share, and from where we sit, the glass is looking half empty.

These losses come in the face of steady growth from Firefox (Firefox) over the past several years and speedy gains by Chrome (Chrome) in recent months.

During the same month that IE sank to its all-time low, Firefox grew by about half a percent to 31.5%, while Chrome added almost a full percentage point to its share of the market.

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10 Dead Simple Gmail Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts

Gmail can be tweaked almost endlessly with various Firefox and Chrome extensions, and offers some pretty nifty Labs options too. However, we’ve taken a look at some simple tips, tricks, tweaks and shortcuts you can use without going down the plugin or experimental route.

These 10 features will help you get so much more out of the webmail service, from an enhanced chat experience, to smarter filters, to offline access.

Have a read through now and let us know any neat Gmail (Gmail) hints you’d like to share in the comments box below.

1. Add Emphasis in Chat

Gmail’s instant messaging Chat function is one of the more basic options around, but there are a few bits of formatting you can use to add nuance to your online communication.

To bold a word, asterisk it like this: *Mashable (Mashable)*

To add italics, just underscore before and after the word like this: _Mashable_

And to strike a word through, add hyphens before and after like so: -Mashable-

2. Customize Your Web Clips

You’ve no doubt noticed the “Web Clips” line of text that appears above your Gmail inbox which contains news, blog posts, ads and other info. But did you know you can personalize it to make it more relevant to you?

Simply go to “Settings” on the top right of your screen and select the “Web Clips” tab. From there, you can search, browse from the categories, and add and remove items to your heart’s content.

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Fring Challenges Skype With $0.01 Per Minute VoIP Calls

Samuel Axon | //mashable.com

The mobile voice over IP (VoIP) service Fring now allows its users to make phone calls to land line and cell phone numbers anywhere in the world with prices starting at one cent per minute. Not all calls will be that cheap. Calls to Canada start at 0.4 cents per minute, and calls to India start at 1.1 cents, for example. But it’s more competition in a very small space currently dominated by Skype and to a lesser extent Google Voice.

You used to be able to make Skype calls using the Fring applications for mobile phones like the iPhone and Android devices, but following the launch of the iPhone 4, Skype and Fring got in a bit of a scuffle and Fring users were left in the cold — no Skype access.

Rather than bridge the gap between the two services, Fring has opted to launch its own service to connect its users with outside phone lines. That service is called fringOut, and it’s hard to miss that it sounds a lot like Skype’s own service for that purpose, SkypeOut. Seguir leyendo “Fring Challenges Skype With $0.01 Per Minute VoIP Calls”

5 Important New Trends in Location

Jennifer Van Grove | //mashable.com

As Facebook enters into the location market with Facebook Places, the world’s largest social network will help to make the edgy concept of checkins and location-sharing a mainstream practice.

Facebook (Facebook) is just one company attempting to add location for context; there are countless others going above and beyond checkins to push the space forward. There’s also a noticeable uptick in consumer interest around applications and services that feature location for sharing or utility.

The geolocation space is the one to watch right now — celebrities are flocking to Foursquare (Foursquare), location is finding a unique purpose in many mobile apps, background location is becoming a commonplace feature on smartphones, geofencing is evolving in purpose and function, and location-based social networks are proving to be the perfect platforms for cause marketing. What follows is a more detailed look at these five huge trends in location and how they will influence consumer adoption and inspire developer creativity. Seguir leyendo “5 Important New Trends in Location”

5 Tips for Aspiring Web App Developers

by Jolie O’Dell//mashable.com

So, you’re not content with just using the social web; you want to be part of building it, too.

As a budding or beginning web app developer, you’ve got a difficult but rewarding path ahead of you. You have to master (or at least attempt to master) the intricacies of OOP and scripting languages, learn to build web apps the hard way (practice, practice, practice), and network your way into a few job opportunities. You must also decide whether you’d like to work as a solo/consultant/freelancer, a startup employee or founder, or a rank-and-file developer at an established company.

Here are a few tips and words of advice that might make your individual path a bit easier and hopefully a bit shorter. We’ve also compiled a gallery of 140-character tips from veterans at the end of this post.

If you’ve already found success as a front-end web dev, we welcome your suggestions in the comments, as well.

1. Go Open Source

By far the most oft-repeated words of advice we heard from masters of the web dev trade were these: Put in some time on open-source projects. The hands-on experience will challenge you, educate you and help you build your body of work.

Aside from code for code’s sake, open source projects are a good way to meet other devs and do some networking. You’ll have the opportunity to work with people who are much more skilled and experienced than you are yet; take full advantage of this situation and be a sponge.

SourceForge and GitHub and good places to start looking for open source projects that appeal to you; also, as you follow various blogs around the web and see what projects might need a few extra hands. Sites like Code for America and organizations such as the Mozilla Foundation are always looking for good developers with free time.

Finally, when working on open source apps, not only will you get great practice and be able to learn from some really excellent engineers; you’ll also be giving back to the community. As some would say, creating and sharing free and open-source software is one of the best things you can do to help your neighbors as a developer.

2. Expand Your Web-Browsing Repertoire

“Fish where the fish are” is an old advertising axiom. Its meaning is fairly obvious: If you’re aiming to meet, influence or otherwise “catch” a particular group of people, you have to be seen and heard in the places (real or digital) where they congregate.

If you’re “fishing” for other developers — the people who will teach you, help you, and with any luck, hire you — you’ll need to add a new set of websites to your browsing and bookmarking repertoire.

Hacker News (Hacker News), while it occasionally deviates toward social media/Silicon Valley in-jokes and gossip, can be a wonderful resource for meeting other developers, getting advice and learning about the ecosystem, particularly where startups are concerned. The site is an offshoot of Y Combinator, the well-known startup incubator.

GitHub’s Gist, Forrst, UseTheSource and CodeSnipp.it are four places on the web where you can go to see and post brief code examples. Be open to critique, and don’t be a show off. For UseTheSource, we recommend lurking until you’re ready to post your most stellar hacks, as the site is intended to be a repository for beautiful code.

Other sites to check out include SourceForge, Stack Overflow (Stack Overflow), Google Code and Google Groups (Google Groups). There are literally hundreds of solid online resources for web app developers; which sites you follow and which communities you join really depends on your desired areas of expertise and spheres of professional interest.

Once you’re ready to move into the work force as a web dev, our readers have recommended Dice, ODesk, and even Craigslist (Craigslist) as good spots for job-hunting, particularly for freelance work.

3. Network Your Socks Off

Of course, along with all this new web-browsing activity, you’ll be seeing a horde of new and friendly faces: The developers and designers that make up the web app-building community.

Blogger (blogger), entrepreneur and developer Jesse Stay says, “Network, network, network! Find your future boss on Facebook (Facebook), LinkedIn (LinkedIn) and Twitter (Twitter),” and his advice rings true. If you can locate and befriend a few like-minded, highly skilled professional web devs, they might be able to guide and help you in your career as you broaden and deepen your skill set.

We recommend joining a few Facebook groups and checking out developer-oriented Twitter lists from Twitter users you already follow and respect. Once you’ve located the people you’d like to emulate, go back to Tip 1 and see how you can offer your time and skills to any open source projects those people might be involved in.

The golden rules of networking still apply: Give as much as you’d like to receive, and be a good resource and connector for others, not just a parasite.

4. Show Your Code

Once you’re practicing, networking, reading, working and generating piles of beautifully functional code, you’re going to want to show it off to the world. After all, as one reader said, “GitHub is the new résumé.”

Use a robust, accessible code repository such as GitHub or SourceForge, release your code into the wild. And don’t stop there; be sure to blog about any clever hacks or efficient new ways of doing things that you may discover along the way. Make sure your code samples show good architecture, documentation and versatility.

Showing others your code is equal parts giving back (by open-sourcing it) and self-promotion (if the code is good, that is). If the code you’re posting is worthy, then sharing it is a win-win scenario.

5. Market Yourself

For some devs, bragging is second nature. For others, self-promotion is an uncomfortable stretch. No matter which camp you fit into (and even if you’re somewhere in between), you’ll need to learn how to gracefully and effectively promote yourself as a web applications developer.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to put the full force of your coding skills into building an elegant website. We don’t mean elegant in the general sense of the term; we mean “elegant” as in “the intersection of simplicity and functionality” in form and function. And it goes without saying that the source code for your site should be immaculate, as well.

Focus on creating a good portfolio that shows a breadth of work on a variety of projects. Your apps could be entirely open-source; you could also include client work, if you’ve had the opportunity to develop web apps for others. Make sure this experience is attractively highlighted on your résumé, along with any languages or frameworks you know and your proficiency in each.

Once you have a great website that showcases your skills, make sure you and others link to it frequently in your email signature and from your other online profiles, and don’t be afraid to show your Twitter and Facebook friends when you add a new item to your portfolio or update a section of your website. Whether you use physical or digital business cards, make sure your website is the most prominent link the receiver will see.

Bonus Round: Little Things Mean a Lot

  • If you’re looking for full-time work, be a great developer and a well-rounded candidate with communication skills.
  • Always thoroughly comment your code.
  • Be as good at reading code as you are at writing it.
  • If you’re a developer, learn something about design, UX/UI, business and web economics (especially if you’re going into a startup).
  • Customize your personal growth: If you don’t get a job, ask why and what you can do to improve.
  • Remember the big picture — make sure your code is built with scalability in mind.
  • Commit to perpetual self-education.
  • Don’t give up.

Best Buy: Notebooks Aren’t Dead

Ben Parr | //mashable.com

Is the notebook going the way of the dinosaur? Not a chance, says Best Buy.

Earlier today, a report made the rounds, depicting the decline of notebook sales since the launch of Apple’s wildly popular iPad tablet. According to the report, U.S. retail notebook unit growth rose by 70% in December 2009 while it actually shrank by 4% in August 2010.

The story gained further traction after Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn was cited in a report from The Wall Street Journal. In the story, he told the Journal that “internal estimates showed that the iPad had cannibalized sales from laptop PCs, especially netbooks, by as much as 50%.” Seguir leyendo “Best Buy: Notebooks Aren’t Dead”

Flash vs. HTML5: Adobe Weighs In

Christina Warren//mashable.com

Flash HTML5 ImageMuch has been written about the next wave of web technologies, namely HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. A big part of this conversation has surrounded the impact that these new technologies will have on older technologies like Adobe’s Flash.

We’ve written a lot abut the HTML5 vs. Flash “war,” primarily in the context of Flash’s use in mobile and Flash as a video wrapper. I personally have taken the position that at least when it comes to mobile devices, Flash is at a disadvantage in terms of its abilities and capabilities when compared to newer technologies that can better harness hardware and software optimizations.

Adobe, understandably, has a different position. It believes that Flash and HTML5 can exist side-by-side and that each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. I had a chance to talk to Paul Gubbay, Adobe’s VP of design and web engineering, about HTML5, Flash, the emerging mobile landscape and how Adobe fits into this new world.

The world of technology moves really, really quickly. To give you an idea of just how fast things can move, when I started working on this piece last month, Apple was still anti-Flash as an IDE for iOS development and Adobe’s set of HTML5 authoring tools was limited to Dreamweaver.

In the last week and a half, Apple has updated its developer guidelines and Adobe has issued an HTML5 add-on pack for Illustrator CS5.

I point out these recent changes because it indicates just how fast this industry is moving and that speed, inevitably, can impact the choices that designers, developers and end-users end up making. Seguir leyendo “Flash vs. HTML5: Adobe Weighs In”

Army Commander Will Tweet From War-Torn Afghanistan

Samuel Axon

A British army commander will tweet updates about life in the military while serving a six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan. It’s an unlikely task considering the life-and-death security issues involved.

The soldier is Lieutenant Colonel Dougie Graham, and he commands the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland — a sizable force of 450 soldiers. He’s currently in talks with his own commanding officers to work out exactly what he can and can’t include in his Twitter (Twitter) updates.

The battalion actually already has a Facebook (Facebook) page, so social media isn’t a new thing for them, but Graham hopes that a frequently updated Twitter account will help connect him and the men and women serving under his command with their families back home. Seguir leyendo “Army Commander Will Tweet From War-Torn Afghanistan”

Following the Money in the Social Media Advertising Boom

Adam Ostrow

Money ImageThis post originally appeared on Forbes.com, where Mashable regularly contributes articles about social media, business and technology.

Citing a recovering economy and increasing marketer interest in the space, research company eMarketer recently raised its 2010 spending forecast for advertising on social networks by nearly 30% to $1.68 billion domestically.

Within the social media world, however, a number of trends are dictating how, why and where money gets spent — trends that will push the industry past the $2 billion mark in 2011, according to eMarketer’s projections.

A Snowball Effect at Facebook

Not surprisingly, the biggest beneficiary of the current euphoria around social is Facebook (Facebook), with several estimates now pegging the company’s 2010 revenue at better than $1 billion. That growth is being fueled in part by what some advertisers see as competition to scoring prime advertising space on the site.

“Most of our clients see a real need to spend a lot on Facebook ads … the amount of dollars other brands have spent has forced spends up overall,” says Andrea Wolinetz, a partner at MEC Global, which represents the likes of Ikea, AT&T, and Citi. “There’s so much noise and clutter on Facebook now, that spending a good deal has become important in order to be heard.”

There’s also a growing sense that social media advertising can deliver a return on investment. Neil Kleiner, head of social media at Havas Media UK, says “We’ve found advertising on social networks to be very effective, but mainly as a part of a larger piece of activity that involved more ‘traditional’ social media techniques … ads on social media work best when they drive interaction and engagement. Interaction and engagement can then drive purchase.”

Kleiner, whose firm does work for brands ranging from McDonalds to Warner Brothers, adds that Facebook advertising has become a “default for most brands as a part of their media spend.”

Twitter’s Experimental Phase

Promoted Tweets

After years of fielding questions about how it plans to make money, Twitter (Twitter) has launched numerous experimental business models over the past several months. At the forefront is Promoted Tweets, a program that inserts a brand-sponsored topic into Twitter’s “trending topics” list and presents a tweet from that sponsor to users, in hopes of generating retweets, replies and other forms of engagement.

Early testers of the program include Virgin America and Coca-Cola, the latter of which reported 86 million impressions and an “engagement rate” of 6% back when it used the program in June during the World Cup. More recently, the online brokerage firm Zecco reported that engagement on its promoted tweets was 50% higher than its regular tweets, with “200 to 300% increases in some cases.”

Case studies are still limited, though. Kleiner says, “Promoted Tweets have not seen that much traction [with my clients],” though he sees an opportunity to “add real value to a long tail of advertisers.” For the moment though, that long tail is mostly left out of Promoted Tweets, as the program remains in limited beta.

As the program sees public rollout later this year, the results could be significant for Twitter and advertisers. In its report, eMarketer wrote that it expects “spending on the microblogging service [to] be low in 2010,” but adds that, “the potential for 2011 and beyond could be dramatic if it proves that its ‘resonance’ model of measuring advertising effectiveness works.”

Location Excites Marketers, Maybe More than Consumers

Location Image

The latest extension of social — knowing not just what your friends are doing but where they’re doing it — is one of the hottest trends of the year.

The field collectively referred to as “location” has marketers from Starbucks to Best Buy excited about the possibilities of increasing foot traffic through programs that reward customers for “checking in” and sharing their location and brand affinity with their friends.

That said, such programs are largely experimental, and many of the startups in the space lack the critical mass to significantly move the needle for big brands. “Foursquare is the buzz word on a lot of people’s lips,” says Kleiner, “but it has such a comparatively small audience that are niche to the point of incestuous. It’s mainly used by people that work in marketing, not ‘normal’ people.”

Still, getting started in the location realm requires less of an investment than competing for space on Facebook, says Wolinetz. “We spend a lot of our time testing and focusing interest in location-based services and Twitter, as our clients are eager to ‘master’ these emerging platforms, and [they] generally require less of a paid media investment than Facebook does.“

Kleiner concedes that he’s bullish on the potential of Facebook getting into location with the recent launch of Places, though the tools aren’t yet there for advertisers. “We will have some real mass to play with when Facebook allows advertisers to buy against location,” he said.

Social No Longer Sits at the Kids’ Table

While the market sorts out the winners and losers from a platform perspective, one thing that’s becoming clear is that social — which eMarketer estimates will account for 6.7% of total online ad spend this year — is being thought of in a much broader light than even the increasingly optimistic projections show.

“Social campaigns used to be more siloed from the rest of the communications and marketing strategies,” says Wolinetz, “but now we’re seeing social as either an extension of an overall activation idea that occurs throughout other media outlets, or conversely, the marketing/communication strategy is at its heart and inception social, and we’re using other media outlets to drive awareness and scale.”

And while that might mean social’s share of ad dollars is still relatively small, its importance within organizations is as high as it has ever been. “The biggest shift for us is that we are now seeing brands move away from pure campaign planning altogether and are allowing social media to be the bedrock for a 24-7, 365 days a year chance to engage their customers,” says Kleiner.

With increasing interest in social media marketing among advertisers, we’re excited to see where the industry will go in the next year. Let us know your thoughts on the topic in the comments below.


10 Killer Google Chrome Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts

Amy-Mae Elliott

Google Chrome ImageAs Google’s Chrome browser celebrates its second anniversary, we thought it appropriate to commemorate the occasion with some handy tips and tricks.

Here are 10 tried and tested hints that will help you to get the most out of Chrome (Chrome) by taking advantage of some of its more functional tools and time-saving setups.

Read through the suggestions below and let us know which ones you’ll be trying out, or any tricks we haven’t included, in the comments box.

1. Open Multiple Pages on Startup

Rather than just one trusty homepage, you can get Chrome to open several pages as it starts up, giving you instant access to whatever sites and services you prefer to start your day with.

It’s easy to setup. Just click on the wrench icon on the top right of your browser window, select “Options” and under the “Basic” tab check the box where it says “on startup… open the following pages.”

If you click “Add” it brings up a list of recently browsed sites to choose from, or you can manually enter a URL in the box at the top.

Now, the next time you fire up your browser, those pages will be automatically loaded in the order in which you entered them, saving you some precious time.

2. Pin Tabs in Place on the Browser Bar

If you are going to be using a site or service a lot in one web session, you can “pin” a tab in Chrome, which will shrink the window down to the size of the favicon, leaving more room for multi-tasking. It also prevents tabs from getting lost on the side of the screen when you have many open at once.

To do this, right-click on the tab you want to pin and hit “Pin tab.” To enlarge the tab, just right-click and hit “Pin tab” again to uncheck the option.

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The Next 5 Years in Social Media

Adam Ostrow

Social Media ImageOver the last five years, social media has evolved from a handful of communities that existed solely in a web browser to a multi-billion dollar industry that’s quickly expanding to mobile devices, driving major changes in content consumption habits and providing users with an identity and social graph that follows them across the web.

With that framework in place, the next five years are going to see even more dramatic change. Fueled by advancements in underlying technology – the wires, wireless networks and hardware that make social media possible – a world where everything is connected awaits us. The result will be both significant shifts in our everyday lives and a changing of the guard in several industries that are only now starting to feel the impact of social media. Seguir leyendo “The Next 5 Years in Social Media”