02 PM | 27 Nov

What does it take to tell a powerful visual story?


One topic that Mashable is particularly excited about is the rise of new visual platforms like Snapchat, Vine and Instagram. This is something we’ll be discussing and demoing at the Mashable Media Summit on Dec. 5, a one-day conference that focuses on the how digital storytelling is revolutionizing the media industry.

Eventbrite – Mashable Media Summit: Formats of Creativity We interviewed Mashable’s Jeff Petriello, head of visual storytelling on the marketing team, to get the conversation started on the latest visual trends.

Q: What are the newest visual tools in marketing and what do they do? JP: It seems like it’s less about what’s new technology-wise and more about what’s become easier for everyone to do. Photography, videography, animation, editing and manipulation – these used to be crafts with barriers to entry that now are much easier to break through. For marketers, especially in the digital realm, this change shifts targeting to a huge audience with significant creative power, and lets them do more with less cash.

Q: What differentiates these tools from one another? In other words, are there certain stories that Vine can tell better than Snapchat, for example? JP: Obviously different platforms lend themselves to different forms of content. It might be extremely powerful to see a stunning hi-res image, but that image could lose its value if looped with a Ken Burns effect from iPhoto 2k4 on Vine for all eternity. Knowing what goes where is a mixture of practice and common sense.

Q: What makes these tools effective in media? JP: Media is all about communication. The age we’re in now gives us more options than ever for how we can communicate. Those options hopefully increase the chance that a story will be told in the most effective way possible.

Q: Where do you see the future of visual storytelling heading? JP: As we experience a more entrenched commodification of the Internet, I think we’ll see increasingly higher-budget productions on our devices in the next few years. I continue to see games holding a larger share of the audience than anyone gives them credit for, and I’d expect high-profile collaborations in that world, like the one we saw this year between Kevin Spacey and Call of Duty, to multiply.

Like the music industry before it, the world of visual media will become less homogenized, letting individuals curate their own consumption. It’ll be more about the shows, brands and even celebrities that an individual likes, and less about what the industry wants us all to be into.

Q: What does it take to tell a great visual story? JP: Well, assuming you have a good story to tell in the first place, it’s about making sure each frame has a visual purpose. When I go back and look at movies, photographs or any other visual media that I truly admire, I’m amazed at just how much thought is squeezed into each and every composition. That, and a great team to put it together, like the one I’ve got.

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03 PM | 30 Oct

Google wants to flood your body with tiny magnets to search for disease


Google’s ambition to cure death is beginning to take shape in a new product from its Google X division. Andrew Conrad, the head of the company’s life sciences division, today announced the details of an effort that would use nanotechnology to identify signs of disease. The project would employ tiny magnetic nanoparticles, said to be one-thousandth the width of a red blood cell, to bind themselves to various molecules and identify them as trouble spots.

Google’s nanotechnology project, which would also involve a wearable magnetic device that tracks the particles, is said to be at least five years off, according to an accompanying report in the Wall Street Journal. The company is still figuring out how many nanoparticles are necessary to identify markers of disease, and scientists will have to develop coatings for the particles that will let them bind to targeted cells. One idea is to deliver the nanoparticles via a pill that you would swallow.

To read more, click here.

01 PM | 09 Oct

‘Interstellar’ Promo Site Blasts Off With Unique Google Partnership


The first movie to ever have an “official website” was Startgate, the October 1994 film starring Kurt Russell about a group of scientists who travel to Egypt, open a wormhole and discover a habitable planet.

The first movie to have an official website with Google as its partner? That’s Interstellar, the November 2014 film starring Matthew McConaughey about a group of astronauts who travel through deep space via wormholes seeking a habitable planet.

Whoa — did we just go through an internet wormhole there?

Anyway, late on Friday, Google and Paramount Pictures announced the launch of the Interstellar Space Hub, which is really just a fancy name for a very rich “official website” that they worked on together. Much of the exclusive content lives on Google Play, Google+ and YouTube, in case you were wondering what was in it for Google.

There are places to buy tickets, including explainers of the various formats in which the Christopher Nolan film will be shown, after Paramount announced that it would be available on 70mm, 35mm, 70mm IMAX film; as well as digital projection and 4K.

The site also has a link to the Interstellar Experience, which Mashable first told you about last week, a game that allows you to build and explore solar systems.

Interstellar website

To read more, click here.

11 AM | 09 Oct

Facebook Apologizes, Promises to Update ‘Real Name’ Policy


This story was updated at 2:50 pm P.T. with a statement from the Transgender Law Center.

Facebook has apologized to users affected by its “real name” policy and said in a statement it will update its policy to allow users to identify themselves by their preferred names, even if it’s not their legal name.

In the apology, issued in a lengthy statement from the company’s chief product officer, Chris Cox, the company promised to “fix the way this policy gets handled” but didn’t provide specifics on how it would do so.

Cox said that the so-called “real name” policy had been in effect for more than 10 years but clarified it “has never been to require everyone on Facebook to use their legal name.” Instead, he said, the policy stipulated that “everyone on Facebook uses the authentic name they use in real life.”

He said that Facebook was caught off guard by the recent backlash against the policy, which began last month after reports that several prominent members of San Francisco’s drag community were being locked out of their Facebook accounts for not using their legal names.

To read more, click here.

11 AM | 09 Oct

LinkedIn Continues Mobile Push With SlideShare for iOS


LinkedIn has added another standalone app to its growing mobile portfolio.

The company rolled out an iPhone version of SlideShare, the presentation-sharing platform acquired by LinkedIn in 2012.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tips and Tricks for LinkedIn Power Users

SlideShare’s iOS app was built completely with Swift, the programming language Apple introduced at this year’s WWDC — a first for the company.

“Apple used some new features to help developers make beautiful apps for bigger screen sizes and bigger screens are made for presentations,” Andri Kristinsson, LinkedIn’s mobile product manager for SlideShare, told Mashable. “Bigger is beautiful on mobile.”

To read more, click here.

11 AM | 09 Oct

Your Embedded Instagrams Will Now Appear Much Bigger and Clearer


Instagram rolled out a big improvement to the way embedded photos will look on the web on Thursday.

Embedded Instagram photos will now be bigger and cleaner than before, with a narrower bezel around the frame and a Follow button above the image. This will make it easier for readers to follow the Instagram account of the embedded photo’s owner via a Follow button.

The move to feature larger photos is a smart one for Instagram. Publishers that embed photos on websites or articles, especially media outlets, will most likely be pleased with the refreshed design and thus more inclined to embed Instagram photos. Users whose photos are embedded in stories will also have an easier way to accrue followers. Users whose photos are embedded in stories will also have an easier way to accrue followers.

Existing embeds featured on webpages will continue to work, but Instagram warned there may be a small time period right after the launch when embeds could be glitchy.

However, for a user to easily follow another account on a mobile device (via the Follow button on the embedded photo), he or she must be logged into the app and the mobile desktop page — a requirement that might prevent users from impulse following some accounts.

To read more, click here.

10 AM | 02 Oct

Windows 10 Preview and OS X Yosemite Look More Alike Than Ever Before


So just how similar are Windows 10 and OS X 10.10 Yosemite?

My immediate takeaway from Tuesday’s Windows 10 Preview event was “Wow, this looks a lot like OS X.” I say that not with any judgment — just as an observation.

On Wednesday, the Windows 10 Preview became available to advanced users and developers and I rushed to install it on a spare machine. I also happen to have a test machine running the latest OS X Yosemite GM. You know what that means? Operating system with ten in the title face-off!

SEE ALSO: With Windows 10, Microsoft Finally Gets It

Up until Windows 8, the OS X and Windows desktop worlds were running on similar — if still unique — paths. Sure, one had a dock and the other a Start menu, but the overall trajectory had similarly aligned goals.

All of that changed with Windows 8. Where Apple has long had the philosophy of keeping iOS and OS X separate — shared design language and some window dressing aside — Microsoft decided to go in a different, unified direction. It didn’t really work out.

Now, with Windows 10, Microsoft is righting the Windows ship and going back to a desktop-first experience. Don’t worry touch customers — Microsoft isn’t abandoning you — but the focus, especially for the enterprise-targeted Windows 10 Preview, is clearly on winning over the hearts and minds of desktop consumers.

So what does Microsoft’s new vision for the desktop look like? Well, it looks an awful like what Apple has envisioned for OS X.

To read more, click here.

12 PM | 11 Sep

Microsoft is killing the Nokia and Windows Phone brands


Microsoft is planning to stop using the Nokia and Windows Phone brands this holiday season in its marketing materials. GeeksOnGadgets has obtained an internal Microsoft document that details the company’s guidelines for its own brands, and The Verge can confirm the material is authentic and accurate. “As part of our phased transition, we will drop the manufacturer name [Nokia] from product references during the Holiday campaign,” reads one of the slides. Microsoft is also planning not to use the Windows Phone logo in promotions and commercials, instead it will be replaced with just Windows.


Although the death of the Nokia brand is understandable given that Microsoft only acquired the phone business from the Finnish company, a move to shy away from the Windows Phone brand marks a strategy shift. It’s not exactly surprising given some of the company’s recent moves though. Microsoft’s latest commercials for the Lumia 930 don’t even mention Windows Phone at all. In fact, Microsoft refers to Windows Phone simply as Windows. HTC’s new One M8 for Windows also drops the Windows Phone name in favor of just Windows. Likewise, Microsoft’s latest Cortana ads don’t even mention Windows Phone apart from a small URL during the entire 30-second spots. Promotional videos for the latest Lumia 530, Lumia 730, and Lumia 830 handsets also fail to mention Windows Phone.

To read more, click here.

05 PM | 04 Sep

US & World Like Follow The Space Station Is Getting Its First 3D Printer


The first 3D printer ever to fly in space will blast off this month, and NASA has high hopes for the innovative device’s test runs on the International Space Station.

The 3D printer, which is scheduled to launch toward the orbiting lab Sept. 19 aboard SpaceX’s unmanned Dragon cargo capsule, could help lay the foundation for broader in-space manufacturing capabilities, NASA officials said. The end result could be far less reliance on resupply from Earth, leading to cheaper and more efficient missions to faraway destinations such as Mars.

“The on-demand capability can revolutionize the constrained supply chain model we are limited to today and will be critical for exploration missions,” Niki Werkheiser, manager of NASA’s “3-D Printing in Zero-G” project at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, said in a statement.

To read more, click here.