Want to Know How Much Your Bitcoins Are Worth? Just Google It


Image: Flickr, Zach Copley

Google’s search engine has had a built-in currency converter for years now, and now it added an interesting addition to the mix: Bitcoin.

To find out how much a certain amount of Bitcoin is worth in any currency or vice versa, just Google “X Y to Bitcoin,” where “X” is the amount and “Y” is the currency. For example, Google will swiftly tell you that “300 USD to Bitcoin” equals 0.4829 Bitcoin.

Google Bitcoin

Image: Mashable, Google Search

Other syntaxes, such as “how much is 100 Bitcoin in British pounds” or “what is 50AUD in Bitcoin” also work. You can also simply Google “Bitcoin price” to get the current value of Bitcoin.

The new functionality was integrated approximately a month after Google Finance partnered with Bitcoin exchange Coinbase to add a Bitcoin chart into its service.

Other cryptocurrencies don’t work as of this writing, and Google by default mistakenly turns some of them, like Litecoin, into Bitcoin. Since there are hundreds of cryptocurrencies out there, we don’t expect Google to include them all in its currency converter any times soon.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/07/16/want-to-know-how-much-your-bitcoins-are-worth-just-google-it/

These iPad Magazines Now Let Readers Share Content Directly to Pinterest


Have you ever wished you could clip a layout or picture from a digital magazine straight to Pinterest? Now, there’s a way.

Maz, a startup that helps publishers design magazine apps for the iPad, recently launched a new feature to make it easier for readers to virtually cut out part of a page and share it to Pinterest, in addition to Twitter, Facebook and email.

With the new feature, called Clippings, readers can pinch any part of the page to select part of a picture or a chunk of text and post it directly to one of their Pinterest boards, without ever having to leave the magazine app. Some publishing apps on the iPad do let users highlight text and share it to social networks like Twitter, but Maz is the first to seamlessly integrate with Pinterest.

“Cutting clips out of a physical magazine is ingrained so deeply in the culture of magazines, and until now that was completely lost when reading on the iPad,” Paul Canetti, co-founder of Maz and a former Apple designer, told Mashable. Clippings essentially gives readers a chance to indulge that urge to scrapbook on Pinterest.

Maz launched in 2010 shortly after the iPad was released and has since partnered with more than 1,000 publications, including Inc, Bust and The New Criterion.

In recent months, other companies have tried a variety of ways to better integrate their content with Pinterest. House Beautiful, an interior design magazine, let readers pin photos from one article in its June print edition to Pinterest through a smartphone app, with plans to expand this option in the future. More recently, Gucci unveiled a new online banner ad with a “Pin It” button so users can post it to Pinterest with one click.

For magazine publishers — and particularly women’s magazine publishers — Pinterest is becoming an increasingly powerful tool to spread their content around. Pinterest is a top traffic driver for several magazines, including Country Living, Elle Decor and Self.

Get Your Tickets to Mashable Media Summit

The Mashable Media Summit 2012 will explore the impact that technology is having on media, and how digital media is affecting our lives and changing the world. This one-day conference will bring together the brightest minds in media, including content creators, technology leaders, entrepreneurs, social media executives and journalists.

Date: Friday, Nov. 2, 2012

Time: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York, NY 10036

Tickets: Purchase early bird tickets on Eventbrite.

A Look Back at Last Year’s Mashable Media Summit

LeBron James Has His Own App, and It’s Only on Samsung Devices


Image: Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Samsung on Thursday released a new app, titled “LeBron,” exclusively for Samsung Galaxy owners.

The LeBron App is available for the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 3, and the idea is to offer fans a “unique look” into the life of NBA superstar LeBron James during his NBA playoffs journey.

The app is split into four sections, each offering a look into the life and happenings of the Miami Heat forward both on and off the court:

  • Athlete – These are social updates, videos and photos from LeBron as he gets ready for games, post-game videos and more.

  • NBA Playoffs – This offers up LeBron’s season and career stats and also offers real-time updates and live scores from Heat games during the playoffs.

  • Style – This section includes photo updates and videos that feature LeBron’s kicks, breakfast choices and off-the-court clothing.

  • Journey – This is focused on photos and updates related to LeBron’s charity work and his family life.

LeBron App

Samsung’s LeBron app is split into four sections and available only to Galaxy owners.

Image: Screenshot Samsung

The app also includes a moving wallpaper, a LeBron lock screen for your phone and access to a radio station that plays LeBron’s favorite mix of songs. The lock screen plugs into the NBA Game Time app and offers real-time score information from a Miami Heat game as it happens.

Samsung has had an endorsement deal with LeBron James for several years, and the Miami Heat forward frequently appears in ads for Samsung products (although he was recently caught tweeting about problems with his phone, too). Last fall, Samsung also signed a broader deal with the NBA.

Part of that NBA partnership includes special access for Samsung Galaxy owners to special content inside the NBA Game Time app. That app is what powers a lot of the real-time analytical data for the LeBron app. That app also offers up custom lock screens for all NBA teams.

What’s the value?

Samsung LeBron App

Samsung’s LeBron app includes access to a special radio station of LeBron’s favorite tunes, a moving wallpaper and a Miami Heat lockscreen.

Image: Screenshot Samsung

According to Samsung, part of the value with the LeBron app — especially for his biggest fans — is that it will be the only place fans can expect to find lots of social updates from the sports giant.

“LeBron pretty much goes on social media lockdown during the playoffs,” a Samsung representative told Mashable. “The LeBron app will be one of the only places fans can get updates directly from LeBron.” In other words, don’t expect to see the same photo and video updates syndicated to Twitter and Instagram.

The bigger value is for Samsung. Over the last few years, Samsung has increasingly focused on bringing exclusive apps and experiences to its devices and users. In March, the company launched Milk Music, its own take on Pandora and iTunes radio.

The idea is that these kind of exclusives, when taken in aggregate, will help convince buyers to choose a Samsung phone over a model from someone else.

Of course, what’s interesting about the LeBron app is that it is distributed in the Google Play store. Yes, it only works on Samsung devices, but Samsung isn’t forcing users to go to its own app store to get the app. That indicates that Samsung realizes it doesn’t necessarily benefit from forcing users to go all-in on its own systems.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2014/05/01/samsung-lebron-app/

PETA Supports Frog Dissection — So Long As It’s Virtual


Remember frog dissection day in middle school science class? The X-acto knives, the awkward slicing, the formaldehyde — it was sort of a right of passage.

Like most things these days, that’s going digital.

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is sponsoring software called Frog Dissection that lets students poke around the innards of frogs — from the comforts, and hopefully formaldehyde-free environments, of their computers.

SEE ALSO: The Real and Virtual Worlds Are Melting Together

PETA is making its offer to schools and colleges throughout India. The program, created by digital education company Emantras, is priced between $2.99 and $4.99 in the U.S. In India, however, PETA will offer it for free to any classrooms that agree to offer non-animal dissection alternatives.

Watch the video above. Would you have preferred this method back in school? Or is actual dissection still the best way to learn? Tell us your thoughts below.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/25/peta-supports-virtual-frog-dissection/

Windows Phone 8 Update Will Reportedly Include VPN Support, Audio Improvements


Microsoft is reportedly working on an update for Windows Phone 8.

According to The Verge, the update, codenamed Apollo Plus, will bring new features to the mobile operating system that were not present in its initial release.

Specifically, the update is expected to bring VPN support, allowing corporate users to connect to work systems. A Wi-Fi fix will allow Windows Phone 8 users to leave Wi-Fi always on, and audio enhancements will improve the sound quality produced by Windows Phone 8 devices.

Details on the update are expected to be revealed in February at Mobile World Congress.

Microsoft revealed Windows Phone 8 in June of this year. A follow-up to Windows Phone 7, the mobile operating system got an updated look — with three tile size options rather than one — and support for higher resolution screens, multiple processors and NFC.

The first Windows 8 devices were released earlier this month.

Are any of you current Windows Phone 8 users? What features would you like to see added to the mobile operating system?

[via The Verge]

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/11/27/apollo-windows-phone-8/

Pandora’s New Mobile App Will Rock Your World


Pandora updated its mobile app Monday, adding new features and completely overhauling its mobile music listening experience.

“This is our biggest update to our iPhone and Android app since we launched on both platforms,” Asi Behar, Director of Product, User Experience at Pandora told Mashable.

Pandora currently houses a library of more than 1 million tracks from over 100,000 artists. More than 95% of those tracks get play time each month. Since its launch in 2005 more than 3.2 billion stations have been created on the service.

Officially called Pandora 4.0, the updated app finally brings features that have been available with the web version of Pandora to mobile phones.

The whole mobile experience has gotten an overhaul with the updated app, making it easier to access different stations, rename stations you’ve already created, and view station details. You can also spice up an existing station on the fly by adding additional artists, genres, or tracks to the mix.

A more personalized experience, the app gives each Pandora listener his or her own profile page. Much like a Facebook profile shows what you’ve done on the social network, your Pandora profile will show what stations you’ve created, tracks you’ve bookmarked, and tracks you’ve given a thumbs up or down to.

An activity feed works somewhat in the same way as your Facebook News Feed, and allows you to follow friends on the service as well as see what tunes Pandora listeners with similar interests are listening to.

Artists also have their own Artist pages in the updated app with biography and discography information. If you’re particularly fond of an artist, the Artist page also shows similar artists, so you can potentially discover someone new while browsing.

While listening to a track, you can also check out lyrics for the song on your phone as well as some of the features of the track such as “subtle use of vocal harmony” from the Music Genome project.

Social sharing has made its way into the mobile version of Pandora for the first time, and allows you to share links to your favorite tracks or stations with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

“It’s something our users have been requesting for a while,” says Behar. Unlike other apps with social integration, however, Pandora doesn’t share your information with friends by default. “We’re not pushing it in your face. If you don’t want to share, we’re not pushing it out to your network.

If you’re not into sharing anything about your musical exploits, your profile page on Pandora can also be made private.

Currently one of the most downloaded apps in the United States, 1 in every 3 smartphone owners have accessed Pandora on their smartphone, and the app is the second most-downloaded free iPhone app of all time, according to Apple.

Pandora currently has more than 150 million registered users, with more than 58 million of those users listening to tunes each month. An impressive 75% of those listeners are listening via mobile devices, with the iOS and Android apps currently logging more than 700 million listening hours each month.

Pandora 4.0 is available now for iOS, and will be available for Android in the coming weeks. Behar says the Android version will arrive later, simply because Pandora wants to support every Android device, of which there are many.

“We do a great job of supporting really old devices; we still test every ancient Android device and make sure it works”

Microsoft also announced on Monday that Pandora would be coming to Windows Phone 8 in 2013. When the app launches, it will give Windows Phone users ad-free radio for 1 year.

You can check out screenshots from the new iOS and Android versions of Pandora in the gallery below. Let us know in the comments what you think about the updated app.

Corrupt Apps Flood iOS App Store


error-message-600A number of iOS apps that posted updates in the App Store in the last couple of days are crashing upon launch. The issue appears to be affecting many apps, including popular ones such as Instapaper and Angry Birds Space.

The first official word about the problem appears to be from Instapaper creator Marco Arment. In a blog post he explains that after the latest Instapaper update went live on the evening of July 3, many users were complaining the app was crashing immediately upon launch, regardless of whether the user had merely updated the app, or started from scratch.

Arment soon found the problem wasn’t just with his app. Other developers and their users have been experiencing the same problem, including GoodReader for iPad and the free version of the popular game Angry Birds Space. Arment includes a list of the known corrupted apps in his post, all of which posted updates July 3-4.

Mashable confirmed the existence of the issue on Angry Birds and Pinball Maniacs. When you tap an corrupt app, it doesn’t even finish launching — instead it simply causes in the home screen to fade to black for a split second, then nothing. At least one of the apps Arment lists, Pair, installed and ran for us with no problems. As Arment notes, the problem may be limited to certain areas.

All competent developers ensure their app is running smoothly before issuing an update, so the problem in all likelihood lies in whatever Apple does to an app once it’s approved. That’s led some developers to suspect the problem may be rooted in Apple’s FairPlay wrapper — a piece of software the company adds to all apps for sale. FairPlay is Apple’s Digital Rights Management (DRM) tech, which acts as copy protection for apps and media.

“Given the symptoms and messages we’re seeing, this issue looks very likely to be related to FairPlay,” Arment told Mashable in an email.

Representatives for Apple didn’t immediately respond to Mashable‘s request for comment, though Arment says Apple has issued a functional version of the Instapaper update since he queried them and brought up the issue on Twitter.

Once Apple resolves the issue with a particular app, users should delete the corrupt version and re-install the corrected one. With some apps, however, this might result in a loss of data, settings or files. The creators of GoodReader for iPad have posted a step-by-step procedure for saving app-specifc data and resolving the crashing issue here.

Are you experiencing this problem with any iPhone or iPad apps? Which ones? Let us know in the comments.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, alengo

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/07/05/corrupt-ios-apps/

Amazon Cloud Player Launches PC App


As part of its mission to bring its music service “everywhere,” Amazon announced the release of a dedicated Cloud Player app for desktop PCs Monday. The release comes less than a week after Amazon announced iOS compatibility with Ford Sync-enabled vehicles.

PC users could already access Cloud Player through their web browsers, but the primary benefit of the PC application is the ability to store music offline. Users can also scan their hard drives for music files that haven’t yet been uploaded to their storage locker.

Cloud Player allows users to stream music files they’ve purchased from Amazon or uploaded to to a cloud-based storage locker. An unlimited number of Amazon songs, plus 250 songs purchased outside of Amazon, can be uploaded to the cloud and streamed wirelessly using one of Amazon’s players for free. First launched on Android two years ago, the service is also available on iOS, Mac, Sonos, Roku and (as mentioned) Ford Sync vehicles.

Update: An earlier version of this article said the app was released Thursday. It was released Monday. The story was also corrected to reflect that 250 songs purchased outside of Amazon, rather than 5 megabytes worth of songs purchased outside of Amazon, can be stored in Amazon’s cloud locker.

Images courtesy of Amazon

Read more: http://mashable.com/2013/05/13/amazon-cloud-player-for-pc/

Xbox Video and Xbox Games Apps Come to Windows 8


Xbox Video and Xbox Games are coming to Windows 8; this means that starting on Oct. 26 — when Microsoft’s latest OS launches — users will be able to purchase and rent content from the Xbox Video store on their Windows 8 devices.

What’s more, they can browse the Xbox Games catalog for titles that are PC-compatible, including games that can interact with the Xbox console. Along with the new Xbox Music service, this brings a host of new entertainment options to Windows 8 right at launch.

Until now, Microsoft hasn’t offered access to its video catalog outside of the Xbox. When Windows only ran on laptops and desktops, this made sense. After all, users could download or stream video from various services, not to mention watch DVDs. But now that the Surface and other Windows 8 tablets and hybrids are about to hit the market, having access to a more robust content ecosystem is essential.

Plus, with Xbox SmartGlass, Windows 8 users will be able to push video from their Xbox to a Windows 8 device (or vice versa) with the tap of a button.

While the title selection of the Xbox Video store isn’t as comprehensive as what iTunes offers, the catalog still has a wide selection for both movies and TV. For users who are already invested in their Xbox ecosystem, bringing the content onto the PC is a no-brainer.

Microsoft says it’s committed to extending the Xbox brand beyond gaming, and moving beyond the console. It’s no wonder: Xbox is one of the most valuable brands within Microsoft. Bringing Xbox services and extending its content to more devices only makes that brand more powerful.

Xbox Video and Xbox Games are just the latest entertainment-focused apps to hit Windows 8. Last week, Netflix released its official app for the OS. On Monday, Hulu Plus got the Windows 8 treatment, and it looks great.

Again, the real potential of these app-specific developments is when you look at Windows RT tablets, such as the Microsoft Surface. Out of the gate, Windows 8 will have support for the biggest entertainment video platforms and the ability to easily connect to an Xbox account to play games or view achievements. In the future, we can envision multiplayer games getting released on Xbox and Windows 8 simultaneously, with the option of users picking up a match from one device to the next.

Are you excited about Xbox content making its way to Windows 8? Let us know in the comments.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/10/23/xbox-video-xbox-games-apps-windows-8/

Living With Lumia, Day 3: Battery Woes


I’m now in my fourth day of using the Lumia 920 and Windows Phone 8 in lieu of the iPhone 5 in our Living With Lumia challenge.

So why is this post/video delayed? I’m glad you asked! Yesterday, we had a Google+ Hangout (sorry about the technical problems) and I answered some questions and talked with the community about the process of switching phones.

Originally, that hangout was going to be my Day 3 entry and video, but when I left to go to a series of events in the afternoon, a more pressing issue reared its head: Battery life.

In short, I’m having issues with it on my Lumia 920. On my first day with the 920, I noticed that the battery life wasn’t great and that the phone was hot to the touch. I didn’t dwell on this because I was doing a lot with the phone — setting it up, downloading apps, etc. After a full battery cycle, the problem seemed to disappear.

In fact, on day two with the phone, I really didn’t have any noticeable issues with the phone. So far, so good!

Yesterday, that changed. I left my office around 4:15 to go to an event — the phone was at 100%. By the time I got to the event’s location — maybe 20 minutes later, I’d probably lost 10 or 15% of my battery. Moreover, the phone was very hot to the touch.

At the event, I sent a few tweets, took a few photos and browsed some websites. I noticed the phone was getting increasingly warm and that the battery life was dropping quickly. I made sure my background tasks were off (only weather could still run in the background), NFC was turned off, and I didn’t have geotagging on the camera.

By 6 p.m., my phone was down to 55%, dropping at least 40% in just 90 minutes.

I sent the following tweet with a screenshot of my battery at 6:24 p.m.

While I was able to make it to my other events, I was afraid to use the phone. Even without being used — the phone was almost dead (4% battery) by 10:30 p.m.

Trying to Find Solutions

Perusing the Internet, I found I’m not the only one with battery issues. A quick poll of my Twitter followers showed about 50% of fellow 920 users have had issues, 50% haven’t.

On WPCentral, a forum titled “lumia 920 Battery Issues” has nearly 400 replies with various users offering advice and anecdotal feedback.

Nokia responded to my concerns on Twitter and via email and directed me to an area on its support forums.

I had already implemented the changes it suggested last night and still had issues with my phone’s battery.

As of right now, I’m having better luck today and will monitor the situation as the day continues. If I run into another period of rapid battery drain, I may take the drastic step of resetting my phone (which some users say has worked), though I’d like to avoid that if possible.

Battery life is a fundamental feature in using a smartphone so I look forward to seeing how this plays out in the future.

Living With Lumia, Previous Installments:

BONUS: A Tour of the Nokia Lumia 920