How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

Social media is a big draw for over 2.3 billion users around the globe, but its true value is only starting to be unlocked, according to Poptip, a New York-based startup company has seen early success running quick, realtime text analysis of tweets on Twitter as a kind of hi-tech snap polling method.

Mainstream companies from Pepsi to People Magazine to ESPN have begun experimenting with Poptip's first and to date, only product, an app that allows users to post their questions on Twitter, then tracks and displays responses from respondents in realtime.

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Research in Motion (RIM) is no more.

In an unexpected move, the company officially changed its name on Wednesday to that of its flagship mobile brand BlackBerry, before unveiling the first two smartphones running the company's new operating system, BlackBerry 10.

"From this point forward, RIM becomes BlackBerry...it is one brand, one promise," CEO Thorsten Heins said before a crowd in New York City, one of eight separate events around the globe held to celebrate the launch of the much anticipated BlackBerry 10 software.

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Twitter is not the only short-messaging social network expanding its offerings to users lately: App.net, a subscription network launched in August 2012 specifically with the goal of offering an alternative to Twitter for posting short messages, on Monday added the ability for its users to post photos, video and other multimedia content from their accounts.

But in a dramatic departure from the way rival social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and even Google Plus treat multimedia content, App.net's new feature gives every user his or her own bucket of flexible online file storage, starting at 10 gigabytes, which users can access, download from, export from or import into, or delete entirely at any time.

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As more tech companies request access to users' digital information, the details of just how that data is handled and where it is distributed becomes all the more important.

Enter Data Privacy Day, an annual international celebration held on January 28 by large Web companies, consumer rights' agencies and government dedicated to helping people understand how to control the flow of their data online and in digital products, such as mobile apps.

The event kicked-off in North America in 2008, based off a celebration in Europe commemorating the 1981 passage of the first legally binding international treaty on data management.

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Updated, 3:03 p.m. EST, Monday, January 28

Over the past week, a number of users of the popular photo sharing app Instagram and parent company Facebook have been locked out of their accounts and prompted by both services to upload images of their government issued photo IDs to regain access, as CNET first reported on Tuesday.

Concerned users seeking to regain account access have turned to several outlets online, including Yahoo Answers, to try and determine whether or not the prompts asking for images of their IDs are real or are hacking attempts.

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Call it the little rover that could: NASA's Opportunity Mars Rover, which landed on the Red Planet on January 24, 2004, is still going strong after nine years of continuous operations and counting, the agency announced this week.

Opportunity's longevity is all the more impressive considering its original mission was only supposed to last three months, and that an identical twin rover, Spirit, which landed on Mars three weeks earlier, ceased communications in 2011 after getting irreversibly stuck in loose Martian soil in May 2009.

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NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover has already captured hundreds of images of the Red Planet's surface since touching down there last August, but none quite like this: NASA on Thursday published the first images captured at night.

The three images highlighted by NASA were snapped on January 23 using the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) instrument and its accompanying LED and ultraviolet lights.

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Twitter on Thursday took a bold step toward expanding its content offerings outside of its classic 140-character short-messages, launching a separate app, "Vine," for the iPhone, which allows users to quickly create 6-second-long videos with audio and share them through Twitter itself and rival Facebook.

Within just a few hours after Vine's launch in the Apple App Store, however, Twitter abruptly disabled the sharing ability.

"We're temporarily disabling Twitter and Facebook sharing," tweeted the official Vine account on Twitter. "It should be back soon. Thanks for your patience!"

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The challenge of packing more memory into ever-smaller digital devices is no small feat, but a group of international scientists led by researchers at MIT may have achieved enormous progress.

On Wednesday, the team revealed they had successfully tested a way to store data on individual molecules at room temperature, paving the way for a 1,000-fold improvement in storage density, over the current limits of 1 terabyte-per-square inch.

The method was demonstrated on a new type of "supramolecule," which was created from binding atoms of two different molecules: fragments of graphene -- a wonder material consisting of thin sheets of carbon atoms -- attached to zinc atoms.

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