Microsoft shutterbugs shoot for a cause

Over the years, Microsoft employees have done a lot of things to raise money for the company's annual giving campaign. There have been cell phone tossing contests, executive dunkings, and even an auction to get one's name in an Xbox game.

This year, though, a group of photographers from across the company has come together to produce a fine-art book. Their creation, "Photographers@Microsoft 2009," is available from

More than 900 photos were submitted for the book, and 157 were chosen. We put a couple dozen in our photo gallery, but the photos are … Read more

Nonprofits next to test Facebook payment platform

NEW YORK--Four nonprofit organizations will be participating in a test of Facebook's "credits" platform, marketing and outreach director Randi Zuckerberg said on Friday morning at the Social Good Conference presented by social-media blog Mashable.

"I just received confirmation yesterday that...we're going to be reopening up charity gifts in the Gift Shop," said Zuckerberg (who is, yes, the sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg). "We are exploring ways for developers to use the Gift Shop to offer...virtual, real, and charity gifts."

This will be rolling out next week with four test … Read more

Crowded roads ahead for charity 2.0

Way back in February, the Web's elite were all abuzz over the "Twestivals," a series of events around the world that were organized online to benefit Charity Water, an otherwise small nonprofit organization that funds the construction of wells in developing countries. They ranged from small in-home gatherings to massive nightclub bashes, but there was one general, common hook: spread the word, donate, and tweet about it.

Months later, with Twitter practically bursting at the seams, is this strategy still sustainable?

One part fundraiser and one part publicity blitz, the big-picture hook of "Twestival" was … Read more

DoGood for iPhone encourages daily good deeds

Have you done your good deed for the day? I understand: You're busy. You forgot. You couldn't think of anything good to do. Enter DoGood, a free app that suggests and encourages good deeds, crowdsourcing-style.

The app recommends a new "DoGood" every day: give someone a hug, turn off some lights, thank an old teacher, and so on. Once you've done the deed, just tap "done" to record it.

DoGood keeps a running tally of how many people acted on the daily deed, and lets you post and read stories about it. There'… Read more

Portable-media players acting as teaching tools

Every once in a while, my black and shriveled heart is momentarily warmed by a piece of news coming from a tech company. Today is one of those rare occasions. I received an e-mail from Nextar informing me of the company's decision to donate a shipment of its MA715 MP3 players to the One Media Player per Teacher (OMPT) program.

It's always nice to hear about an act of generosity, but I was even more pleased to be made aware of OMPT. The innovative program provides portable-media players, speakers, and solar chargers to teachers in remote areas. The … Read more

Facebook hits 200 million members, thinks charity

We knew Facebook was about to hit 200 million active users, but now it's official, per a post by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the company's official blog.

"We will welcome our 200 millionth user to Facebook some time today," wrote Zuckerberg, who's just over a month away from his 25th birthday. "Growing rapidly to 200 million users is a really good start, but we've always known that in order for Facebook to help people represent everything that is happening in their world, everyone needs to have a voice."

To commemorate … Read more

Get nine Mac apps for $39 and help charity

Calling all Mac users! Now's your chance to score some first-class software on the cheap and help charity at the same time.

It's called the MacHeist 3 bundle, and here's how it works: For $39, you get nine full, unlocked, commercial Mac apps (which have a combined value of $621.75).

At the same time, you get to a choose a charity to receive 25 percent of that $39. Action Against Hunger, Humane Society International, Save the Children, and Save Darfur are among the 10 available charities.

Already, it's a win-win proposition. But wait, there's … Read more

The 404 302: Where Wilson is walking on sunshine

Justin calls Wilson out for being happy with his life, so they decide to name the show after the popular '80s song Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves. Meanwhile, Justin hates his life because New York City ruined his evening. Stay tuned for that story on today's The 404.

Jeff talks about a dangerous e-mail chain letter about entering your PIN number in reverse to call the police during a robbery. Too bad, it ain't true. You might just get stabbed in the stomach if you try this one. Speaking of your health, you can help stop the spread of the flu this year with Twitter. We also suggest not licking the subway poles, but hey--to each his own.

Also, Apple quietly introduces data tethering to the iPhone OS 3.0. Apparently, it takes a little minor hacking, but you'll be able to tether your iPhone 3G to your computer over USB. Bluetooth support is a few more hacks away. Hopefully, you don't take down the entire AT&T network when you BitTorrent the latest "Battlestar Galactica" over your iPhone 3G connection.

Microsoft releases the latest version of Internet Explorer 8 for download. The tech community gives a collective yawn (except for IT managers), while we get creeped out by a Japanese robot model.

Finally, our tagline contest is coming to an end, and before we decide on an official winner, we'd like you to chime in by taking our poll. Click here or look up and to your left. Jonathan Coulton had to reschedule but will make his appearance in the coming weeks, so hold onto your horses. Be sure to support our very own Natali Del Conte's Smackdown for Charity!

EPISODE 302 Download today's podcast Subscribe in iTunes Subscribe in RSSRead more

Buzz Out Loud 932: iPhone gets cheap Nokia phone features

The 3.0 version of the iPhone firmware is coming in the summer and will feature copy and paste, MMS, search, and more. All things a cheap Nokia phone can do now, but hey, the iPhone couldn't and now it can. So there. We also review the sleek new Dell Adamo and take Australia to task for a fine for hyperlinks.

Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 932

Live blog: iPhone OS 3.0 preview

Hands-on with the Dell Adamo more

Getting it wrong on Amazon's charitable donations

Slate's Paul Collins on Friday took to task for not being more generous in its charitable giving. "While is famously cheap in its prices, it's also become infamously cheap to the community it lives in," writes Collins. The criticism,while clever, misses the mark, much as deprecations of corporations for not contributing more open-source code largely miss the mark.

Why? Because a company should not be measured by its charity, but rather by how well it delivers returns to shareholders. A company is set up to generate profits, not alms.

This distinction … Read more