Mark Zuckerberg’s dog masters the art of camouflage in glorious new photos

By Saturday, April 30, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Mark Zuckerberg’s dog may be a public figure, but he’s also great at blending in.

In fact, Beast Zuckerberg (who, despite his appearance, is not a mop) has all but mastered the art of camouflage.

On Friday, Zuckerberg shared three photos of Beast “blending in around the house,” leading us to conclude that Beast might be part chameleon.

If you don’t pay enough attention, you could definitely trip over Beast on this fluffy rug.

SEE ALSO: This photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s levitating dog is a thing of beauty

Image: facebook/mark zuckerberg

Image: facebook/mark zuckerberg

And, finally, there’s this time-honored question: Is this a mop or a Hungarian sheepdog? Read more…

More about Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, Dogs, and Watercooler

Disney Crossy Road Updated With The Jungle Book, 25 New Characters

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Disney released a new content update for Disney Crossy Road on mobile, bringing The Jungle Book to the game. In addition, Disney announced that the game has surpassed 10 million downloads since its release April 7.

Created in partnership with Hipster Whale, Disney Crossy Road challenges players to survive as long as possible by tapping to advance across lanes while avoiding obstacles like cars, animals and more. The game features worlds based on The Lion King, Disney Pixar’s Inside Out and more.

With this update, players can unlock the Jungle Book world instantly by purchasing one of its characters via in-app purchase. Players can also unlock the world for free by winning one of its characters in the game’s prize machine.

While playing in the Jungle Book world, players must avoid forest fires, which are triggered by lightning strikes. Once lightning strikes a square and causes a fire, the fire will spread to nearby squares, sometimes blocking areas of the path.

The Jungle Book update includes 15 characters such as Mowgli, Kaa, Baloo and Shere Khan, among others. The set includes four secret characters, which are not available to purchase. In total, the game’s latest update includes 25 new characters, but 14 of these are secret.

Disney Crossy Road is available to download for free on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store and Amazon Appstore.

What does Apple’s first sales drop in 13 years mean?

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

This week on MashTalk, we’re taking stock of all things ;Apple ;after its first “bad” quarter in 13 years. Will the iPhone 7 turn things around? Has Apple reached its ceiling?

SEE ALSO: Apple needs a hot new product, and it can’t be another iPhone

Plus, we try to see what struggling Twitter can do to right the ship and look at another dominant earnings report from Facebook. Lastly, we wistfully pine over great gadgets we’ll never buy in a new segment titled “The Gadget Price Is Too Damn High.” ;

Listen to the episode on iTunes or on Stitcher. You can also subscribe to MashTalk on iTunes by clicking the button below to get our latest episodes, instantly. If you like MashTalk, please fill out our audience survey. Read more…

More about Dyson, Facebook, Twitter, Ipad Pro, and Iphone Se

Snapchat, NBC Ink Olympics Content Pact

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

NBC reached its first-ever deal to share video from the Olympic Games, reaching a deal with Snapchat.

Bloomberg reported that Snapchat will establish a dedicated channel for video from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio De Janiero, and it will create daily Live Stories with content from NBC, athletes and fans.

BuzzFeed will also populate that channel, Discover, with short clips and behind-the-scenes content, according to Bloomberg, which added that the agreement is exclusive to the U.S., while BuzzFeed’s content will be available on other outlets besides Snapchat.

NBC told Re/code it has a revenue-sharing deal with Snapchat for whatever ads it sells, not providing further details, and the network added that its partnership with Snapchat is non-exclusive.

Snapchat director of partnerships Ben Schwerin told Bloomberg:

It’s as much about what’s going on on the field as what’s going on in the Olympic village and Rio and really feeling like you’re there–seeing it through the fans’ eyes and the athletes’ eyes. Billions of people watch the Olympics on TV but a small fraction actually get to attend them in person.

NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel added:

We have never allowed the distribution of any game highlights off NBC’s own platforms, (but Snapchat) really effectively reaches a very important demographic in the U.S. and is very important to our efforts to assemble the large, massive audience that will show up to watch the Olympic Games.

And BuzzFeed Motion Pictures head of development Matthew Henick said:

(Young people) are not necessarily glued to their televisions anymore, and Snapchat is something they check in with multiple times a day.

Readers: Are you curious to see what type of content from Rio 2016 ends up on Snapchat?

Mobile Game Roundup: Spellbinders, War Tortoise and More

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

If you’re looking for a new mobile game to try this weekend, you have plenty of new options available, including Disney Magical Dice from Netmarble Games. The Monopoly-style board game allows up to four players to travel around a Disney-themed game board and spend coins to purchase properties.

In addition, Rovio and Tag Games released Angry Birds Action on mobile. The game was inspired by pinball, and it challenges players to help the Angry Birds rescue eggs by flinging the birds around the playing field.

Are you looking for something different to play? Here’s a look at some of the additional mobile games released this week.

Spellbinders (Free on iOS, Android) – This multiplayer strategy game from Kiloo and Funday Factory combines elements from tower defense and multiplayer online battle arena games. The game allows players to select a Titan and control an army in battles, with the goal of destroying the enemy’s base on the far side of the screen. The battlefield is split into lanes, and players can spend mana (which they earn automatically over time) to deploy their minions or cast spells onto the battlefield. If minions from either team reach the cannons in the center of the screen, they can capture them for their team. Cannons will automatically attack the enemy base over time. Minions, meanwhile, will continue to walk across the battlefield, automatically attacking enemies in the same lane, or attacking the base if they’re allowed to reach it. Games end when one base runs out of hit points.

Apestorm: Full Bananas ($0.99 on iOS, Android) – From Snowbound and Channel 4’s All 4 Games, Apestorm: Full Bananas is a side-scrolling zeppelin-bombing game, which asks players to help apes defeat humans who have destroyed the planet. In each of the game’s 20 levels, players can drop bombs on buildings and other man-made objects to earn points. However, if they hit a natural object, like a tree, they lose points. While the zeppelin flies automatically, players can control its speed and altitude to avoid obstacles and aim at targets. Users also have access to nine different power-ups, which can help them complete levels.

Dino Bash (Free on iOS, Android) – From pokoko Studio and Tilting Point, this tower-defense game challenges players to help dinosaurs protect their eggs from hungry cavemen. During each level, players can deploy dinosaurs using apples, which recharge automatically over time. Dinosaurs will automatically attack approaching cavemen. Players can also help the dinosaurs by using weapons like bombs and traps to attack enemies. Gamers will unlock new kinds of dinosaurs over time, and they can upgrade them to make them stronger. Dino Bash includes 75 levels to complete.

Tome of the Sun (Free on iOS, Android) – This action RPG from NetEase Games challenges players to protect the Sun Kingdom from evil forces. Players can choose to become a knight, mage, duelist or archer, and they can collect more than 1,000 gear, costume and accessory items for their hero. During battle, players tap on the ground to move, and their hero will automatically attack nearby enemies. Gamers can also tap buttons to trigger their hero’s special abilities. In addition to single-player battles, Tome of the Sun offers player vs. player modes, including an arena, clan wars and more.

The Walking Dead: Michonne Episode 3: What We Deserve ($4.99 on iOS, Android, Amazon) – This final episode in a three-part series from Telltale Games follows Michonne as she tries to protect an innocent family. While playing, gamers can make choices impacting the story. Specifically, Telltale said players’ choices will determine who lives and who dies. This episode is available as an in-app purchase for players who already own the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne on mobile. Players have the option to purchase Episode 2 and Episode 3 in a bundle for $7.99.

The Interactive Adventures of Dog Mendonça & PizzaBoy ($4.99 on iOS) – From Deep Silver Fishlabs and OKAM Studio, this adventure game is based on the graphic novel trilogy published by Dark Horse Comics. The game stars Eurico, a former pizza delivery boy, who now works as the apprentice of an occult investigator named Dog Mendonça. Gamers will help Eurico solve a crime in Lisbon, which is filled with a variety of monsters.

Tomb of the Golems ($4.99 on Samsung Gear VR) – This virtual reality action adventure game from GREE VR Studio places players in the role of Sydney, a girl searching for her brother who went missing on an archeological research trip. Players will investigate a sanctuary under Egyptian ruins, and will work with Sydney’s monkey, Luca, to fight enemies like Anubis and Horus, among others. The game is controlled using both head movements and the touch pad on the Samsung Gear VR headset.

Pathfinder Adventures (Free on iPad, Android tablet) – From Obsidian Entertainment and Paizo, Pathfinder Adventures is a mobile adaptation of Paizo’s Pathfinder Adventure Card Game. The card game allows players to build a team of heroes and choose each character’s class, and it allows players to add new gear and magic to their characters’ decks to make them stronger over time. In addition to single-player game play, Pathfinder Adventures supports pass-and-play multiplayer on a single device. The game is coming soon to iPhone and Android phones.

Risky Road (Free on iOS, Android) – This endless driving game from Ketchapp and Sanposuru challenges players to drive as long as possible along a hilly road while protecting the egg in their vehicle. Gamers hold on the screen to accelerate, and they can let go to slow down. Players will need to watch out for hills and gaps in the road, and they will earn points as they pass progress flags on the path. Games end when players allow the egg to be destroyed. Users can collect coins as they play, and spend these on new vehicles and eggs. Players can also watch video ads to receive free coins.

The Game Quantum (Free on iOS) – This multiplayer game from Pixel Drop asks players to claim nuclei spaces on a game board by placing electrons on the spaces. Each nuclei can only hold a limited number of electrons before it explodes and spreads the electrons to nearby squares. The game utilizes Game Center for online multiplayer matches. Players can also unlock a local multiplayer mode for $0.99, which allows multiple users to play offline on a single device.

Astro Lords Mobile (Free on iOS, Android) – This base-building combat game from Tartezal Holdings and Aratog Games allows players to build a base on an asteroid and compete against aliens, boss characters and other players. As players progress, they can conquer other asteroids and expand their territory. Users can also trade with other players.

War Tortoise (Free on iOS) – From Foursaken Media, War Tortoise combines elements from shooters, tower defense and idle games. The game challenges players to defeat enemies by taking control of the War Tortoise, a powerful tank armed with turrets. While playing, gamers drag their finger on the screen to aim the tank’s turrets, which automatically fire at enemies. Players must defeat waves of enemies approaching their tank, and will earn money as they progress. Gamers can spend money on upgrades for their tank, and can also purchase support units, which automatically attack nearby enemies.

In addition to these new releases, Veewo Games has launched Super Phantom Cat for free on Android. The game was previously released for $1.99 on iOS.

The NFL Draft and the $16 Million Tweet?

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Is it possible that new Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil cost himself up to $16 million with one tweet?

Tunsil, who starred at the University of Mississippi, was projected as the top pick in the 2016 National Football League Draft by some experts, but he was not selected until pick No. 13. Why the slide?

Just before the NFL Draft kicked off Thursday night, at 7:47 p.m. ET, a video appeared on Tunsil’s since-deleted Twitter account, @KingTunsil78, which appeared to show him smoking marijuana through a bong while wearing a gas mask.

According to social media optimization platform SocialFlow, by 7:55 p.m., just eight minutes after going live, Tunsil’s tweet was retweeted 3,148 times and liked 2,488 times.

The @KingTunsil78 account was deleted at 8:26 p.m., and the Dolphins selected Tunsil at 9:43 p.m.

According to SocialFlow, there were more than 800,000 Twitter mentions of Tunsil Thursday night.

SocialFlow also shared projections from NFL experts about the salaries earned by draft picks:

No. 1: $28.65 million over four years.
No. 6: $21.02 million over four years.
No. 13: $12.76 million over four years.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Tunsil’s slide down the NFL Draft?

Fire department comes to rescue after police department gets stuck in elevator

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

As the old saying says, keep your friends close and the fire department closer.

A group of officers from the Kansas City Police Department‘s tactical team unwittingly exceeded their police academy elevator’s weight limit earlier this week, leaving them unable to exit the lift.

To escape, they were forced to call their fiercest rivals: the Kansas City Fire Department.

SEE ALSO: Little girl sends letter requesting police cats, gets the sweetest reply

Image: facebook/kansas city missouri police department

According to a police representative, the two departments have a relationship best described as, “siblings who bicker and make fun of each other but will always have each other’s backs.” Read more…

More about Police, Facebook, and Watercooler

Facebook: Government Content-Restriction Requests Soar in Second Half of 2015

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

Facebook received 55,827 requests from governments to restrict content that violated local laws in the second half of 2015, up a staggering 271.4 percent from 20,568 in the first half of 2015.

The social network also said in its Global Government Requests Report for July through December 2015 that government requests for account data rose 13 percent, to 46,763 in the second half of 2015 from 41,214 in the first half.

The top 10 countries in terms of requests for content restrictions were:

  1. France, 37,695
  2. India, 14,971
  3. Turkey, 2,078
  4. Germany, 366
  5. Israel, 236
  6. Austria, 231
  7. U.K., 97
  8. Russia, 56
  9. Brazil, 34
  10. Kazakhstan, 25

And the top 10 countries in terms of requests for account data were:

  1. U.S., 19,235 from 30,041 accounts
  2. India, 5,561 from 7,018 accounts
  3. U.K., 4,190 from 5,478 accounts
  4. Germany, 3,140 from 3,628 accounts
  5. France, 2,711 from 2,894 accounts
  6. Brazil, 1,655 from 2,673 accounts
  7. Italy, 1,525 from 2,598 accounts
  8. Argentina, 892 from 1,047 accounts
  9. Australia, 802 from 846 accounts
  10. Poland, 611 from 627 accounts

Facebook deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said in a Newsroom post announcing the availability of the new Global Government Requests Report:

We’ve added several case studies to give people actual examples of government requests to restrict content and the resulting actions taken by Facebook. For instance, one of the case studies explains that the increase in restricted content in this half is almost entirely due to one photo related to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. The photo was alleged to violate French laws related to protecting human dignity. We restricted access to more than 32,000 copies of the photo, in France only, in response to a legal request from the French government.

For the first time, we are also reporting information about nondisclosure orders: approximately 60 percent of the requests we received for user data from authorities in the U.S. contained nondisclosure orders that prohibited us from notifying the user. Finally, consistent with legal changes in the U.S., we’ve updated our reporting on national security requests to bands of 500 (instead of bands of 1,000) for both the current and previous reports.

As we have emphasized many times, Facebook does not provide any government with “back doors” or direct access to people’s data. We scrutinize each request for user data we receive for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary.

Readers: What did you think of the latest Global Government Requests Report from Facebook?

What Can You Measure on Twitter?

By Friday, April 29, 2016 0 Permalink 0

You’re getting lots of retweets, clicks and eyeballs on your tweets. You know your Twitter account is doing great things for your brand … but you just can’t exactly explain how.

If you’ve been struggling to explain the value of Twitter to the higher-ups, you’re probably not measuring results well (or at all). In order to know what’s working and what’s not when it comes to all of that tweeting you’re doing, you’ve got to set objectives and define the metrics that you will measure to see how close you are to hitting them.

Here is a list of what you can measure on Twitter, and what each one will tell you about your successes–and where you need to improve.

Account growth: How many new followers you are adding each day/week/month. Useful for objectives like brand awareness.
Retweets: The number of retweets each of your tweets receives. Useful for objectives like reach, brand awareness, engagement with customers.
Favorites: The number of favorites each of your tweets receives. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, engagement with customers.
Replies: Who is replying to your tweets? What are they saying to/about your brand? Useful for objectives like engagement with customers, brand sentiment.
Mentions: The number of times your account is mentioned by others. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, engagement with customers.
Clicks on URLs: The number of clicks on a website you shared. Useful for objectives like website traffic from social media, customer acquisition.
Clicks to your profile: The number of clicks to your profile you see on each tweet. Useful for objectives like brand awareness, customer engagement.
Clicks on hashtags: The number of clicks on the hashtag(s) you share. Useful for objectives like brand (or event) awareness, customer engagement.

For most marketers, it isn’t possible–nor is it desirable–to try to measure and validate each one of the above metrics. Instead, choose the one(s) that will show you how close you are to achieving your objectives.

For instance, if you are exhibiting at a conference in two weeks and your goal is to use Twitter to raise awareness among attendees, you might want to measure hashtag clicks (How many people are engaging with the event hashtag?), retweets (How many people are sharing your tweets about the conference with their network?) and replies or mentions (Who is talking to you about the conference?). Alternatively, if you were the host of this conference, you might want to measure everything that an exhibitor would measure, plus clicks on the URLs you’re tweeting (Who is visiting your event page? Who is converting to a sale and buying a ticket?).

If you can zoom in on the metrics that matter most, you will be able to whip up impressive reports that showcase your big wins on Twitter, without being bogged down by irrelevant statistics. Plus, you’ll learn what worked–and what didn’t work–in the past so that you can improve going forward.

Readers: Which Twitter metrics have you focused on?