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Mobile Technology News, September 13, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Twitter plans stock market listing
    Twitter says it plans to join the stock market flotation in the most hotly anticipated flotation since Facebook’s last year.
  • Official High Resolution Images of The iPhone 5c

    Apple has released the official high resolution images of the new iPhone 5c and we have them right here at AlliOSNews.  The images are of the newest phone from different angles, the line up of available colours and the back of the iPhone 5c with their new colourful cases on them.
    To keep AlliOSNews […]

    The post Official High Resolution Images of The iPhone 5c appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Dave Carney Jumps On 'Wendy Davis Is Too Stupid To Be Governor' Bandwagon
    Dave Carney, a top adviser to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) tweeted out a blog on Thursday calling Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth) “too stupid to be governor.”

    Total Recall in CO (and why Wendy Davis is too Stupid to be Governor) http://t.co/NcLglHHRlD via @robbiecooper

    — Dave Carney (@granitewinger) September 12, 2013

    The link leads to an Urban Grounds post in which a blogger celebrates the recall of two Democratic senators in Colorado, and explains why he thinks “Texas state Senator Wendy ‘Abortion Barbie’ Davis is even dumber than her fake blonde hair would imply.”

    The tweet came only weeks after Abbott thanked a supporter for a tweet that referred to Wendy Davis as “Retard Barbie.”

    The Texas Democratic party responded to Carney’s tweet in a statement available on the Burnt Orange Report, saying that offending women appears to be a campaign strategy:

    It’s clear that Abbott’s advisers are following a strategy of offending every woman voter in the state of Texas. A woman who worked her way from a trailer park to graduate from Harvard Law School with honors is anything but stupid. Women throughout the state know what it’s like to have their intelligence ignored and made a joke. It’s never been a good idea to mess with Texas women. And come November 2014, the women of Texas will make clear that the joke’s actually on Republicans who find it okay to reference such a hard working and smart woman as stupid.

  • Ray Dolby Dead: Founder Of Dolby Laboratories Dies At 80
    PORTLAND, Ore. — Ray Dolby, an American inventor and audio pioneer who founded Dolby Laboratories, has died at the age of 80.

    The company said Thursday that Dolby died in his home at San Francisco. He had been living with Alzheimer’s disease for several years and was diagnosed with acute leukemia this summer. Dolby founded his namesake company in 1965 and grew it into an industry leader in audio technology. His work in noise reduction and surround sound led to the creation of a number of technologies that are still used in music, movies and entertainment today. The innovations also turned Dolby into a rich man with an estimated fortune of $2.3 billion, according to Forbes magazine.

    “Today we lost a friend, mentor and true visionary,” Kevin Yeaman, president and CEO of Dolby Laboratories, said in a statement.

    Yeaman said that Dolby invented an entire industry around delivering an experience in sound. His work ranged from helping to reduce the hiss in cassette recordings to bringing “Star Wars” to life on the big screen in Dolby Stereo.

    Dolby held 50 U.S. patents and won a number of notable awards for his life’s work, including several Emmys, two Oscars and a Grammy.

    He was awarded the National Medal of Technology from President Bill Clinton and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in the U.S. and the Royal Academy of Engineers in the U.K., among other honors. In 2012, the theater that serves as home to the Academy Awards was renamed the Dolby Theatre and the Ray Dolby Ballroom was named in his honor.

    “Ray really managed to have a dream job,” said Dagmar Dolby, his wife of 47 years. “Because he could do exactly what he wanted to do, whichever way he wanted to do it, and in the process, did a lot of good for many music and film lovers. And in the end, built a very successful company.”

    Dolby was born in Portland, Ore., and his family eventually moved to the San Francisco peninsula. It was there that he started his professional work at Ampex Corp. working on videotape recording systems while he was still a student.

    After graduating from Stanford University, he left Ampex to study at Cambridge University. Following his time as a United Nations adviser in India, he returned to England and founded Dolby in London. In 1976, he moved to San Francisco where the company established its headquarters.

    Dolby’s co-workers described him as inspiring and thoughtful man, who cared passionately about engineering.

    “To be an inventor, you have to be willing to live with a sense of uncertainty, to work in the darkness and grope toward an answer, to put up with the anxiety about whether there is an answer,” Dolby once said.

    He is survived by his wife, Dagmar, his sons, Tom and David, their spouses, Andrew and Natasha, and four grandchildren.

    Dolby and his wife were active in philanthropy and supported numerous causes and organizations. The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Regeneration Medicine Building at the University of California, San Francisco’s Stem Cell Center and the Brain Health Center at California Pacific Medical Center were opened with their support.

    His family described Dolby as generous, patient, curious and fair.

    “Though he was an engineer at heart, my father’s achievements in technology grew out of a love of music and the arts,” said Tom Dolby, son, filmmaker and novelist. “He brought his appreciation of the artistic process to all of his work in film and audio recording.”

  • Fashion house Burberry to use iPhone 5s cameras for fashion show
    Luxury outerwear designer and historic fashion house Burberry will be using the new iPhone 5s exclusively to document in HD video and still images its Spring/Summer 2014 fashion show in London next week, according to an announcement from both Apple and the clothier. The designer will get early access to the iPhone 5s, which is not expected to formally debut until September 20, for its September 16 women’s wear show — which will be streamed live from London’s Hyde Park on the Burberry website. The entire show will be captured using the iPhone 5s’ advanced camera.


  • Here's The Answer To The Question Everyone's Asking About Twitter's IPO
    With a tweet, Twitter did what it was long expected to do. On Thursday, the social network announced that it filed the necessary paperwork to go public in the next year or two. This means that in the coming months, investors, pundits and your mother will all be asking the same question ad nauseam about the micro-blogging service: How does it make any money?

    You should be prepared to have an answer when asked about Twitter at get-togethers, especially with the holidays coming. The short answer — ads — ignores some wrinkles in the way Twitter could become an online behemoth. After Facebook’s tumultuous IPO, when investors started to doubt Facebook’s advertising business, expect Twitter to take pains over the coming months to justify its own business.

    Essentially, Twitter lets advertisers place tweets that they have written into people’s Twitter feeds, even if those individuals aren’t following that advertiser’s Twitter account. Twitter has been using “Promoted Tweets” to make money since 2011, though how well it has worked for the company is unclear since Twitter’s financial information is still private. Here’s an illustrative example from the software company Hubspot, bound between tweets from accounts I actually follow:

    twitter money

    A related gimmick is “Promoted Trends,” which inserts a corporate-crafted hashtag into the trending topics list shown to Twitter members. Here’s one from Motorola.

    twitter money

    Over time, Twitter will apply three forces to milk as much revenue as possible from these promotional tools. The first one is drawing in more tweeters. As of February, Twitter had 200 million active accounts. Unlike Facebook, where a person is permitted only one account, Twitter lets individuals set up as many handles as they want, making it unclear how many actual human eyeballs go to the site every month. But Twitter will likely continue to grow at a healthy clip unless it finds a way of irking members with too many ads — a Catch-22 for the company.

    The second strategy will be getting people already signed up for Twitter to spend as much time as possible on the site. For most of its history, tweets were used as a way to send followers to other parts of the Internet to watch a video clip or see a picture. Now, a tweeter can edit his or her own photos on the site or post their own videos with Vine, a 6-second video network launched in January. Other apps like Twitter’s #music keep people committed to the Twitter ecosystem instead of going to Spotify or Rdio to find new music.

    Third and finally, Twitter wants to have Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends in front of the right sets of eyeballs on the network. To that end, Twitter has recently gone on a spending spree to purchase startups. The most notable is MoPub, bought for reported $350 million earlier this month, which will let Twitter offer real-time bidding on Promoted Tweets. Such a market for ads, similar to Google’s lucrative DoubleClick Ad Exchange, could help an advertiser blast Promoted Tweets at the right moment to a specific demographic or to people in a specific location.

    This may not be the entire answer to the question, but it’s a start. Before its IPO, Twitter could reveal or create new revenue streams — it’s certain that the company is looking for them.

  • And the winner of TC Disrupt SF 2013 is: Layer
    After three days and some truly incredible pitches from each of our 30 Battlefield competitors, the time has finally come to crown a Disrupt Battlefield champion. Competition among this year’s pack of six finalists — Dryft, Fates Forever, Layer, Soil IQ, Regalii, and Cota by Ossia — was as stiff as ever, but even with a batch as strong as this, only one startup can take home the Disrupt Cup.
  • Parts Of Secret Yahoo Court Order Will Be Declassified, Justice Department Says
    WASHINGTON — The federal government says it will declassify parts of a 2008 secret court order that required Yahoo to turn over customer data under the National Security Agency’s PRISM data-gathering program.

    In a filing Thursday with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Justice Department said that the declassification would make possible the publication of “much of the court’s opinion and order.” But the department said that some of the information in the opinion must remain classified and would be redacted. Thursday’s ruling came after the presiding judge on the court ordered the government to conduct a “declassification review” of the 2008 order and legal briefs in the case.

    Yahoo was among several U.S. Internet businesses identified as giving the National Security Agency access to customer data under the PRISM program. In a filing with the FISA Court in June, Yahoo asked that the 2008 opinion be released, along with legal briefs in the case. In a subsequent filing the next month, Yahoo said that the disclosure of the opinion and briefs would allow the company to “demonstrate that it objected strenuously to the directives that are now the subject of debate, and objected at every stage of the proceeding,” but that its objections were overruled.

    Revelations about the PRISM program by former NSA systems analyst Edward Snowden have prompted a broader debate about government monitoring and the privacy of Americans’ communications.

    The case is separate from another one Yahoo has pending that urges the FISA Court to allow the company to disclose data on national security orders it received under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Facebook, Google and Microsoft have similar motions pending with the court.

    Neither Yahoo nor the Justice Department had any comment on Thursday’s filing.


    Follow Fred Frommer at https://twitter.com/ffrommer

  • RadioShack also taking preorders for iPhone 5c, offering trade-ins
    A day after announcing that it would accept iPhone trade-ins towards the cost of the new iPhone models (or other brands of contract phones), RadioShack has announced that it will join with carriers AT&T, Verizon and Sprint in offering pre-orders on the iPhone 5c, which commence on Friday. According to reader reports, RadioShack stores will begin accepting preorders at each store’s usual opening time, and plans to have stock of all color options for all three of its affiliated carriers. Buyers can trade in smartphones to get up to $250 in credit.


  • Audio pioneer Ray Dolby dies aged 80
    Ray Dolby, the US engineer who founded Dolby Laboratories and pioneered noise reduction in audio recordings, dies in California aged 80.
  • Chrome for iOS learns pronouns
    Google updates Chrome for iOS with better voice-activated searches, faster returns to search results, and bandwidth savings tracker.
  • The maps transforming how we interact with the world
    Transforming the way we interact with the world
  • New icebreaker opens Arctic waters
    Could a ship that moves sideways change life in the Arctic?
  • Nicholas Savino Charged With Obama Death Threat
    HARRISBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania grand jury has charged a Clarks Summit man with threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

    Prosecutors say in a Thursday news release that 42-year-old Nicholas Savino allegedly sent a threatening email to the White House on Aug. 16. The email allegedly said that Obama is the Antichrist and that he must stand down or be shot dead. The charges stem from an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service and the Clarks Summit police.

    Clarks Summit is about 10 miles outside Scranton. Obama visited Scranton and the region Aug. 23, a week after the alleged threatening email. That same day, local police seized ammunition and weapons at a Clarks Summit home on behalf of the Secret Service.

    Savino couldn’t be reached for comment.

  • Why Don't Girls Grok Physics?
    I am from India and went to a high school where 60 percent of the girls wanted to go into medicine and the rest wanted to go into engineering (computer science/electrical engineering being the top choice). I did a B.Sc in Physics and my class had 60 percent females.

    When I came to the U.S. for my Masters in Aerospace Engineering, I was completely stunned to find a university environment where most of the students in the engineering classes were male and a cultural environment where it was OK for women to say that shopping was a legitimate hobby, girls mostly wore pink, played with dolls, and worst of all, a complete lack of female role models.

    Only one in five Physics degrees are awarded to girls. Why?

    In fact, we’re all classical physicists. We feel force, velocity, and acceleration at a gut level. In the science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), Robert Heinlein invented a word to express this kind of deeply intuitive, almost visceral understanding of a phenomenon: grok. 3 I grok force, velocity, and acceleration. I grok three-dimensional space. I grok time and the number 5 . The trajectories of a stone or a spear are grokable. But my built-in, standard-issue groker breaks down when I try to apply it to ten-dimensional space-time, or to the number 101,000, or even worse to the world of electrons and the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

    -Leonard Susskind [1]

    Leonard Susskind (one of the fathers of string theory) may have a hard time “grokking” the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, but the majority of girls have a hard time “grokking” classical physics.

    I think there are three main reasons: toys, experiences and role models.

    Have you ever noticed how girls’ toys are mostly static? Dolls, kitchen sets and stuffed animals don’t demonstrate concepts of forces, momentum, cause and effect, control, friction, balance and inertia. Boys’ toys on the other hand constitute trucks, balls, bats, gears, motors, remote controlled vehicles and sensors — things that jump, roll, bounce, run, can be controlled etc.  Lego sets, k’nex kits etc are more popular amongst boys, not girls. You just need to read customer reviews on Amazon to see how many more times grandparents will give lego sets to grandsons and not granddaughters.

    To compound the above drawback in girls’ toys, their play also serves as practice for the child care, kitchen work and home decoration they will likely take charge of as adults.

    But adults prepare boys differently. Fathers in particular, encourage play that rarely involves taking care of someone else and is hardly ever direct practice for adult work. For instance, boys do not play at taking out the garbage or washing the car. If their play does involve someone’s welfare like pretending to be a firefighter, the role is one for which adults are paid. However, most of boys’ play remains play.

    Although play is inherently enjoyable, adults shape children’s preferences and proclivities for enjoyment. Adults encourage little girls to play at “pretend” housework and child care — and most girls seem to find it fun. Boys would most likely feel the same, if encouraged in the same way. And, if boys were to spend as much time playing with dolls, they would probably develop the same nurturing skills; but boys spend very little time playing with dolls [2].


    Most girls are usually entered into “girl-oriented” after school programs and summer camps such as ballet, theater, music, arts, dance or sports. Science, engineering, computer science experiences tend to be predominated by boys. And so the differences that first started as innocent and little, begin to widen each year.

    Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers covers a similar point. It is all about practice. For example, it takes roughly 15,000 hours (or 7.5 years) to become a master programmer, 13,000 hours to become a master chef, 40,000 hours to become a neurosurgeon).

    We all understand how music and sports require years of commitment. What we do not realize that it also takes years of practice to get familiar with “groking how the world works,” solving problems, inventing solutions. The basic skills of asking the right questions, trying an idea, persisting through failure — eventually lead to finding out how the world works. But, it takes years of practice and it starts with the toys you give a girl and the afterschool programs you sign her up for.


    There are many amazing female role models, its just that the media doesn’t give them much attention.

    This is again one point at which the Indian culture gets it right when it comes to treating girls as intellectually equal to boys. There is a nationwide drive to encourage girls to take an interest in technical disciplines and role models such as Kalpana Chawla — the first Indian woman in space — exemplify these efforts. They are accorded much national attention and respect.

    I believe mainstream media and popular Hollywood figures can accomplish much in this regard. That is why I was so thrilled to learn about Warner Bros’ upcoming movie Gravity in which Sandra Bullock plays the role of a courageous and persistent engineer, problem solving her way through a malfunctioning space station. We created a Gravity Design Challenge to help teenagers get a taste of the problems Sandra Bullock was solving and to view science and engineering as something that is accessible to all — even girls.


    [1] Susskind, Leonard (2008-07-07). The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics (p. 5). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

    [2] Valian, V. (1998). Why so slow? The advancement of women. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T. Press.

  • Samsung backs 64-bit smartphones
    Samsung announces it will follow Apple’s move to use 64-bit processors in its handsets. However, experts warn there may little immediate benefit to users.
  • Goldman Named Twitter IPO's Lead Underwriter Despite Involvement In Facebook Mess
    Goldman Sachs will be the lead underwriter of Twitter’s initial public offering, according to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg.

    The investment bank was one of a number of underwriters sued for allegedly deceiving investors in the wake of Facebook’s initial public offering.

    The social network has only recently recovered from its disastrous IPO. After the company debuted on the NASDAQ selling shares at $38, the company’s stock price dropped by more than half over the next three months. Investors initially lost billions.

    Plaintiffs in the lawsuit alleged that both Facebook and the underwriters failed to publicly provide revenue estimates that would have made the company look worse before its initial trading.

    Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter of the Facebook IPO, eventually reached a $5 million deal in order to settle allegations that one of its employees attempted to “improperly influence” analysts in the lead up.

    Other investment banks will likely join Goldman in shepherding Twitter to market and it’s entirely possible that Morgan Stanley would be one of them.

    Twitter announced its plants to go public in a Thursday tweet (and you can read more about that here):

    We’ve confidentially submitted an S-1 to the SEC for a planned IPO. This Tweet does not constitute an offer of any securities for sale.

    — Twitter (@twitter) September 12, 2013

  • Festival to embrace cat video craze
    The phenomenon of internet cat videos gets its own festival in the UK City of Culture
  • Here's Why Twitter Filed For A Secret IPO
    You might want to buy Twitter’s stock when it finally goes public, but you’re going to have to wait a while before you can figure out how much it’s worth.

    That’s because the micro-blogging site filed secret paperwork for its initial public offering, taking advantage of a new law called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which lets companies with less than $1 billion in revenue keep their finances hidden from the public until not long before they start pitching their IPO.

    This means we won’t know anything about Twitter’s finances (aside from the fact that it makes less than $1 billion in revenue, which we pretty much already knew) until three weeks before the company starts its “road show” to pitch the stock to investors.

    As Quartz’s Zachary Seward points out in explaining the JOBS Act’s rationale in greater detail, this could make life easier on Twitter in a lot of ways, including keeping its finances hidden from competitors a little while longer. It will also make life harder for investors, however, who will have less time to dig through Twitter’s details — which is one reason I and other people who care about financial reform bemoaned the act’s passage last year.

    Seward also suggests that a secret IPO “could help Twitter avoid the overheated anticipation that Facebook had to deal with ahead of its disastrous IPO.”

    I’m willing to take the other side of that bet. Ungodly legions of tech analysts and reporters have been unleashed this evening to speculate endlessly about Twitter’s worth, and that will not stop until the day Twitter rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange (assuming Twitter lists there instead of the Nasdaq, which botched the Facebook IPO).

    The secret IPO might only add to the frenzy of speculation and interest (think Salinger, J.D.; and Pynchon, Thomas), while also giving a rubber-stamp of legitimacy to the dangerous JOBS Act.

Mobile Technology News, September 12, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Verizon, Sprint to commence iPhone 5c preorders at 3AM ET Friday
    The first- and third-largest carriers in the US have confirmed that they will begin accepting preorders on the iPhone 5c, the more colorful and less expensive of the two new iPhone models Apple introduced on Tuesday, beginning at 12:01AM Pacific Time (3:01AM Eastern) on Friday, September 13. Verizon and Sprint have formally confirmed the times, while Apple, AT&T and fourth-place T-Mobile USA are expected to follow suit. The new iPhones are functionally similar to the iPhone 5, but cost $100 less at full price and start on contract at $99.


  • Strange Bedfellows
    There have been many-storied rivalries in American history. In the 1800s, the bitter political rivalry between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton was settled with a famous duel. Later that century, the Hatfields started warring with the McCoys, leaving behind epic tales still told today. Two-hundred years later, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird staged heated battles on the basketball court, and actors Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie remain bitter rivals in the battle over Brad Pitt’s heart. Despite the intensity, the rivalries were all ultimately settled. Burr shot Hamilton dead, the Hatfields and McCoys hugged it out, Magic and Larry became friends, and Brangelina became the “it” couple while Aniston is engaged to be married, hopefully putting an end to the tabloid-style coverage of the matter.

    Rivalries exist everywhere in life, even in the exciting world of communications policy. Communications and technology company AT&T and public interest group Public Knowledge are widely known to lock horns on matters of public policy, often bitterly. But it seems this rivalry may have a little more Magic-and-Bird vibe to it than Hamilton-and-Burr. Of late, the communications company and the advocacy group seem to have put aside their differences and locked arms in solidarity over the vision for the future of next generation communications infrastructure. Perhaps this doesn’t have the drama of some of the other famous feuds, but in the communications policy world, when something like this happens, it’s worth paying attention to because it must be important.

    Specifically, AT&T found common ground with a white paper Public Knowledge released about the transition from antiquated telephone networks to the advanced high-speed broadband networks of the future. In this paper, Public Knowledge articulated five principles to govern the transition:

    1) Service to all Americans
    2) Interconnection and Competition
    3) Consumer Protection
    4) Network Reliability
    5) Public Safety

    For those not regularly knee deep in matters of communications policy, these five principles are basically a distillation of the ideas that have always guided communications in America, which is undoubtedly why AT&T agrees with them. As a recent post on the company’s Public Policy Blog states:

    There were several points in Public Knowledge’s white paper that we could have written ourselves at AT&T. First, the transition has to occur. Our old reliable TDM technology is obsolete and defined by two words: “Manufacturer discontinued.” Second, the fundamental principles of universal connectivity, consumer protection, reliability and public safety — all hallmarks of our Nation’s centuries old commitment to communications — should not be lost in this transition.

    Indeed, it appears maintaining this central principle — that everyone should remain connected — was the goal of AT&T’s petition with the Federal Communications Commission to conduct regulatory “beta trials” in select markets as the outdated copper networks are upgraded and modernized. The idea behind these trials is that by ironing out potential issues in its micro stages, the transition will go much more smoothly when taken macro.

    AT&T notes that some 70 percent of households in the company’s wireline footprint have already ditched their traditional landline. It is precisely the inevitability of this transition to next generation high-speed broadband networks that makes the AT&T and Public Knowledge accord less surprising. It is obvious technology is evolving and it is equally as obvious that people are choosing to communicate in new, innovative ways. The five principles represent the shared universal goals to pursue as policy and regulation try to modernize to keep up with the speed of technological innovation.

    The idea of modernizing our infrastructure with next generation broadband networks isn’t at all new or controversial; consumers, consumer groups, and corporate America have spoken, and they’re all saying the same thing. The only question is whether government agencies can work with the various stakeholders to make such a monumental upgrade to our nation’s communications infrastructure quickly enough, while ensuring sufficient consumer protection. If the AT&T/Public Knowledge cease-fire teaches us anything, feuds and rivalries come and go. When common sense prevails, progress is a certainty.

  • What is America's Broadband Agenda?
    As the birthplace of the Internet, there are those who continuously clamor for the United States to be “Number One” when it comes to broadband. At a crossroads where we are figuring out the best way to manage the growth of our country’s broadband, a fair question arises: What is America’s broadband agenda today?

    The desire for broadband Internet to be available to everyone wanting it is a noble and worthwhile goal, but in order to be successful it requires a set of interconnected strategies. If we build it, they won’t just come. Giving someone a device to access the Internet won’t do it either. It requires a combination of infrastructure, device availability and education, in the form of digital literacy and other public awareness efforts, to get us to that goal.

    A recent report by Ev Ehrlich of the Progressive Policy Institute, Shaping the Digital Age: A Progressive Broadband Agenda, sets out a series of interconnected strategies for a “progressive broadband agenda” reflecting some of the nuances that are inherent in achieving the goal of meaningful Internet use for everyone in the United States.

    Ehrlich first explores “liberating” spectrum. While mentioning the Federal Communication Commission’s spectrum auction, Ehrlich discusses the non-use of spectrum by the public sector, such as that by large federal agencies including the Department of Defense. If we dug around and did an audit of use and non-use, we might discover some much needed spectrum that could be a boon for facilitating broadband infrastructure.

    Regulation is often a hot button topic when it comes to the Internet. While the debate around some forms of regulation will have its day in court soon, regulation that may prohibit the free and innovative use of broadband must be explored prospectively. Are there local, state and federal laws that may have unintended consequences in the broadband age? If we want to bolster the availability of telehealth, what might be standing in the way? How do we ensure rural and minority groups have broadband access and how to we measure the impact it has on those communities? Has an active discussion begun on how we balance the availability of broadband with the original intent of some of the laws that may be on our books? Ninety-one percent of Americans have access to wired broadband speeds of at least 10 Mbps downstream, and 81 percent of Americans have access to similarly fast mobile wireless broadband, according to a 2013 White House report.

    Addressing the perceptions of broadband is also important. Ehrlich brings up a National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Pew Research study where respondents claimed broadband simply was not “relevant” to their lives. While one can see where someone who has never used the Internet may be coming from, the issue is a combination of relevance meets wariness of the unknown.

    Broadband will inherently become more relevant, for example, with the proliferation of individual devices to students. If a school district implements a “one iPad per child” policy, broadband will increasingly become more relevant to entire families. Placing an iPad in a student’s hands doesn’t just change the way they learn, it changes what they learn from vast and endless sources of information. The potential benefit on future generations is immeasurable, but rest assured one thing is for certain, it will change the way that America competes on an international playing field. In these cases, education, specifically digital literacy education, will become paramount.

    Privacy concerns remain a major obstacle. Many non-Internet users have trust issues when it comes to the Internet. They are afraid of sharing any form of personal information online. Bolstered consumer privacy protection will be critical. Information is a commodity, and we must ensure protections are in place to safeguard new Internet users.

    Ehrlich finally explores a concept of an empowered Federal Communications Commission to embrace 21st century leadership responsibilities when it comes to the Internet and broadband. We are sorely in need of a “guide” in making sure technology can reach everyone and be meaningfully used. A national digital literacy policy is needed if we are to truly make sure people can use the Internet if they want to. Over sixty million Americans will need to be reached in any awareness and education efforts.

    With broadband, we are looking to do what’s fair and just for everyone. While it would be much easier if there were a straightforward solution, a national conversation that explores all facets of America’s broadband agenda is critical.

  • Apple's shares fall on new launches
    Apple’s shares fall more than 5% as investors worry that the firm’s latest iPhone models may not help it increase its share in emerging markets.
  • FOMO & Inadequacy: Tech-Induced Maladies
    I’m on a flight as I sit to write this blog post and Pat Benetar’s “Love is a Battlefield” is pulsing through the stereo and into my headset. “We are young…” she exclaims with a feigned yet convincing defiance, and how right she is, or was? On the precipice of being considered “over the hill” and my three year anniversary blogging for Huffington Post, I cannot help but admit that my college tees no longer suit my frame as they once did, and that my face crinkles with the ease of perfectly pressed origami , or that a visit to my favorite barkeep merits Emergen-C with a bacon egg & cheese the next morning just to shake my lethargy. However, it’s not my physical world that I feel has come to cause me angst, it’s my supra social (online) ecosystem.

    In their study of the motivation behind social network disclosure among men and women on Facebook, Susan Waters and James Ackerman found that

    “Individuals using Facebook to disclose (private information) felt this helped them better manage relationships and improve their own psychological well-being. The second perceived consequence was negative: Individuals using Facebook to disclose often found they often spent too much time on it.”

    I must admit that I treat my Facebook and social media alerts like a client in need of nurturing and it’s my perception of that friend activity, and what it means, that I’m reevaluating.

    You see, my LinkedIn tells me that all my acquaintances are entrepreneurial self starters with an uncanny ability to direct, produce, create, manage and otherwise overshadow Bill Gates and my generation’s Mark Zuckerberg. Instagram shows me dogs that are cuter than mine alongside images that have been photo shopped so well that Anna Wintour’s staff seeks their publishers as future art directors at Vogue. Worst of all I’m made aware that my photos don’t receive #15likes, #10likes, or even #5likes on average. Should I even tell you about Facebook? Well…it creepily “news feed”(s) me all sorts of pontifications from friends mixed with advertisements that offer me underwear that will apparently make me look like some headless guy named Andrew Christian.


    I know that what this all means is that I haven’t accomplished enough. Sure, I’m employed. But then so are most of the folks I know and according to their bios they’re better equipped. More generally, they’re posts boast of how they’re just SO HAPPY and so I wonder where my excitement is. Is my relationship stale? Did I miss the super VIP performance for influencer-only types of which I try to position myself as? And in writing this, am I outing myself, AGAIN? Only now as a poseur?

    Surely I’m not alone. Elise Hu recently wrote,

    “a new University of Michigan study on college-aged adults finds that the more they used Facebook, the worse they felt. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, found Facebook use led to declines in moment-to-moment happiness and overall life satisfaction.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, I am that adult. While I’m no longer in college, the psychological effects are one and the same. We disclose private information and we take in private information on social media networks with various motivations ranging from maintaining personal ties to showing off. It’s the consequences of each that, particularly the latter, interest me.

    In Baz Luhrman’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s the “Great Gatsby,” now playing on my flight, Gatsby toils to win favor with an elite audience that will help him win Daisy’s heart. His reputation is insurmountable and his experiences legendary, both of which are on display for the enjoyment of others but he ultimately fails in his pursuit due, in part, to this. Similarly, modernity has provided us all with an audience and tools to toil with and help us net what we want. What happens then, when we find ourselves in constant fear that we’re missing out on the good, better, best moments in life because our notions of those are predicated on someone else’s INSERT PLATFORM TERM for stream?

    Are we truly living for ourselves or for the benefit of the exposition, and perpetuating our audience’s own #FOMO?

  • STUDY: How Smartphones Have Changed Dating Culture
    Since the invention of smartphones, singles have been feuding over texting versus calling–and for good reason. These days even emojis are getting in the way of relationships. As an online dating expert I hear arguments for both sides loud and clear, but a new study on Mobile’s Impact on Dating and Relationships (commissioned by ChristianMingle and JDate) sheds some blue light onto singles’ texting habits and preferences by dating stage and device.

    Pre-Meet Texts: Before meeting face-to-face with a match, women tell me that they’d prefer a guy to call, while gents cite calling as too forward. In fact, one of my male Twitter followers recently told me that calling a woman was “annoying and intrusive” and it “demanded they stop what they’re doing and pay attention to you.” (P.S. That’s the point, dude.)

    Meanwhile, the data tells a different story, finding that approximately one-third of both sexes agree it’s less intimidating to ask someone out via text. But while texting her “hello” may be less intimidating, that doesn’t mean it’s what women prefer. 68 percent of singles still want to talk on the phone or in person to schedule dates. In today’s techie world, texting is the typical approach in social circumstances but confidence is a trait that singles repeatedly prioritize. So stop being passive, pick up the phone and show genuine interest.

    Post-Date Texts: In my book, Love @ First Click, I highlight the importance of the thank you text. If you had a great time, dropping your date a quick note to this effect is a nice touch. Not only does it make your feelings clear in a low-pressure way, but also it opens the door for more flirty conversation so you don’t fall off your date’s radar (or vice versa). But now, it’s important to set your watch, too! 78 percent of singles expect to communicate within 24 hours after a good first date. If you don’t, you could end up at the bottom of your date’s virtual address book.

    If things didn’t go well on your date, don’t be shocked any longer if your heart is put on the line. More than 50 percent of singles would consider breaking up with someone they were casually dating with just a few swipes on screen. And 24 percent of people would even consider ending an exclusive relationship via text!

    iPhone vs. Android: Is that a 4G in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Apparently, the device you carry speaks loudly (even when your ringer is on silent). An iPhone or Android isn’t just a tech choice, it can give dates insight into your personality and behaviors, too. The study found that Android users are the more polite eDaters–they’re more likely to pick up a date at home, pay for the first date, eat at a nice restaurant and send a post-date text.

    And they’re trusting of their partners, too. Nearly 50 percent of Android users would allow someone they are dating to look through their phone. Be still, my mobile heart!

    Whatever device you tote, remember that tech is another tool to use in your eFlirt evolution. Texting mobile to mobile can bring you closer to heart to hearts the next time you meet. As your relationship develops, communicating via characters is inevitable and when done thoughtfully, can enhance your budding relationship.

    Laurie Davis is an online dating coach and the author of Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating. She helps singles navigate the Wink Wide Web via dating profile writing, text decoding, Facebook flirting and offline meeting. She is engaged to her tweetheart who she eFlirted with in 140 characters on Twitter.

  • RadioShack now offering trade-in deals, discounts on older iPhones
    In addition to trade-in offers from online resellers, Walmart and even Apple itself, RadioShack has jumped into the fray with a new trade-in offer and discounts on soon-to-be-discontinued iPhone 5 models. The company’s "Trade and Save" website offers a preliminary check on the value of your current smartphone, and will offer up to $250 (for an iPhone 5), $150 (iPhone 4S) or $100 (iPhone 4) towards a new smartphone (any brand) or discounted older-model iPhone. The retailer is offering the current 16GB iPhone 5 for $150 on contract to AT&T or Sprint.


  • VIDEO: Arms fair 'complies with UK law'
    Algeria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are among the countries invited to an arms fair hosted in London this week.
  • U.S., Brazil Meet To Talk Surveillance Concerns
    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s national security adviser conceded there are legitimate questions about U.S. spying on its allies, the White House said Wednesday as it sought to sooth Brazil’s concerns about far-reaching surveillance by the National Security Agency.

    A White House meeting between Susan Rice and Brazil’s foreign minister, Luiz Alberto Figueiredo, constituted the latest attempt by the Obama administration to stem the damage to foreign relations inflicted by revelations by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But it was not immediately clear whether that damage had been repaired. In the meeting, Rice acknowledged that recently revealed surveillance programs have sparked tensions in an otherwise close U.S.-Brazilian relationship, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council. She said some of the NSA’s activities have been distorted by Snowden’s leaks to the news media while others “raise legitimate questions for our friends and allies about how these capabilities are employed.”

    “The United States is committed to working with Brazil to address these concerns, while we continue to work together on a shared agenda of bilateral, regional and global initiatives,” Hayden said.

    Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been among the most vocal of foreign leaders expressing outrage over U.S. spying. After leaked documents showed U.S. spy agencies had monitored her communications, Rousseff threatened to cancel a planned state visit to Washington.

    After discussing the issue with Obama during an economic summit last week in St. Petersburg, Russia, Rousseff asserted that spying on a friendly country is incompatible with democratic alliances. She said Obama had promised answers and told her he didn’t want her to cancel her trip.

    “I want to know everything that they have. Everything,” Rousseff said.

    The White House didn’t say what specifics, if any, Rice offered Brazil on Wednesday.

    But even as the two officials prepared to meet in Washington, new revelations offered further fodder for Brazilian concerns about the surveillance. A report Sunday by Globo TV, based on leaked documents from Snowden, said the NSA targeted Brazil’s state-run oil company, Petrobras. It also said the NSA targeted the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, an organization that oversees international bank transfers thought to be secure transactions.

    The NSA programs have sparked international consternation from Latin America to Asia and Europe.

    Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, who shared his concerns during his own private meeting with Obama last week, has said reports the NSA had kept tabs on his communications, if true, would constitute an illegal act. And Obama found himself on the defensive last week during a stop in Stockholm, where he insisted the U.S. wasn’t targeting the personal communications of average Europeans but acknowledged that the programs haven’t always worked as intended and said “we had to tighten them up.”


    Follow Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP

  • Apple reveals details on its 'Touch ID' fingerprint technology
    More details have emerged about Apple’s Touch ID system, built into the home button of the forthcoming iPhone 5s. The company has confirmed that the devices doesn’t store an actual image of the user’s fingerprints, for example, and further revealed that a basic passcode is required to be set up as a fallback before users can set up one or more fingerprints that can be used to unlock the iPhone 5s or make iTunes Store purchases. The ID data, as the company said on Tuesday, remains locally-stored and encrypted.


  • Marissa Mayer Defends Yahoo Logo
    SAN FRANCISCO — Marissa Mayer is standing by the new — and much maligned — Yahoo logo that was unveiled last week.

    Speaking onstage during TechCrunch Disrupt SF, the San Francisco technology conference that ends on Wednesday, Yahoo’s CEO said that she “like[s] the way the logo turned out, and I like the way we did it.”

    “To me, we really pride ourselves at Yahoo as being the world’s largest startup,” she continued. “We’re a big and established company. We need to be really entrepreneurial and our attitude is to be really scrappy, and the way that we did the logo — we kept it in-house, we didn’t have someone, you know, as an external firm or consulting firm, we didn’t spend millions of dollars doing it. We did it in a way that came from a very authentic place”

    Mayer’s answer was in response to a question from Michael Arrington, the founder and former co-editor of TechCrunch, who asked a rather blunt question about the new branding: “What the f*ck happened here?”

    After the crowd of journalists, entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley insiders stopped laughing, and Mayer said she liked the redesign, the 38-year-old CEO shifted the focus from the logo to Yahoo’s products, many of which have been redesigned in the 14 months she’s been in charge.

    “For us, what the brand is really about is the products,” she said. “We’re happy with the logo, but for us the focus is really on the product.”

    Arrington followed up by asking Mayer how long it would be until Yahoo changed the logo, and Mayer replied that they’ll make small changes over time.

    Mayer also said that 87 percent of Yahoo employees didn’t like the old logo. She was hearing from customers that while they loved the newly redesigned products, the old logo looked “clunky,” Mayer said.

    Mayer came on as CEO last summer and has overseen the redesign of many of the company’s products, including its homepage, weather app and Flickr. She has also made a number of high-profile acquisitions, including Tumblr and Summly.

    The logo that Yahoo unveiled last week is the first redesign in 18 years. Max Ma, an intern on the design team who worked on the new logo, posted an alternate version on his website, and many thought it would have made a better choice than the one Yahoo settled on.

    TechCrunch is owned by AOL, which also owns The Huffington Post.

  • Giveaway: Minx Go portable Bluetooth speaker
    Since 1968, Cambridge Audio has been in the business of making amplifiers, tuners and later CD players. Fast forward to 2013, and the company has taken on building speakers for both the budget-minded and the most discerning audiophile looking for the best of the best. On the consumer end of the scale is the Minx wireless speaker range. The Minx Go Bluetooth speaker is the smallest of the bunch, but promises to offer "big music anywhere." Electronista has one to give away to our readers.


  • Would-be astronaut helping farmers
    The would-be astronaut helping Indian farmers
  • VIDEO: Super-shooter smartphone stand-off
    How does Nokia’s 41 megapixel phone compare to Sony’s 20.7MP rival?
  • Do you need to be rich to start your own company?
    Do you need to be rich to start a tech firm?
  • Why Some People Have No Boundaries Online
    We’re often shocked by what people post online. Sometime this year, you’ve probably marveled at an offensive Tweet, a debaucherous Facebook picture, an embarrassing YouTube clip, or an unprofessional comment on LinkedIn from someone you know. What shapes why some people seem to have no filter in social media, whereas others are more selective and private — and what should your strategy be?

    There are two key factors that drive our social media choices, according to new work by researchers Ariane Ollier-Malaterre, Nancy Rothbard, and Justin Berg. One is our boundary preferences: are we integrators or segmentors? If you’re an integrator, you like to build bridges between your professional and personal lives. Integrators strive to blend their jobs with their lives outside work — they’re eager to talk about their kids at work, don’t mind bringing their work home, and happy to share the same information with colleagues as family and friends.

    If you’re a segmentor, you like to keep your professional and personal lives separate. Segmentors create mental fences between their jobs and other aspects of their lives. On social media, this might mean using privacy controls, making your profile unsearchable, or segmenting your network by using LinkedIn for professional contacts and Facebook for personal contacts.

    The other factor is how we want to be seen by others: are we aiming to impress or express? Impressers see social media as a vehicle for looking good — they want to build a positive reputation and attract a strong base of followers. As the researchers write, impressers aim to “disclose information that is flattering (e.g. achievements, good picture), glamorous (e.g. travel observations and pictures) or makes one look smart (e.g. interesting news articles).” They also avoid controversial posts and carefully control and monitor photos, tags, and comments.

    For expressers, social media isn’t about winning others over; it’s an opportunity to be seen accurately by others. This means being more open online: sharing vulnerabilities, disclosing unpopular opinions, writing about stressful experiences, or posting photos that might not appeal to everyone.

    When we combine boundary preferences and image motives, we can gain insight into the strategies that we select and how much other people will like and respect us. Integrators with a strong motivation to express don’t filter their content or their audiences. This open strategy is the least time-consuming and the most authentic, but it sacrifices respect and liking: people develop a reputation for revealing too much information and sharing inappropriate information. It’s probably more common than ever before: as I noted recently, evidence suggests that compared to other generations, Millennials seem to care more about self-expression than social approval.

    People who want to express themselves are able to maintain respect by segmenting their audiences. By keeping LinkedIn and Facebook networks separate, for example, segmentors can still reveal their true identities and experiences to their friends and families without alienating or offending their colleagues. However, this approach still poses some challenges for liking. As the researchers explain, recent studies show that “41 percent of Facebook users think it is irresponsible to ignore a friend request from a coworker” and “younger employees are connected on Facebook to an average of 16 coworkers.” Segmentors who strive to self-express have to explain to colleagues why they won’t accept their friend requests on Facebook, and sometimes leave them wondering what’s being hidden in that private world.

    The researchers make a compelling case that keeping an eye on our image usually earns us greater respect and liking. By segmenting what we share with different audiences, the researchers write, we create online relationships that “mirror the tailored nature of offline relationships.” The challenge is that it involves a lot more work. Few people have the time and energy to create and maintain separate lists of contacts for sharing different types of information, and evolve these lists as our relationships change. And as hard as we try, sometimes it’s out of our control when friends cross our boundaries.

    Personally, as more of an integrator, I have a decent number of professional contacts in my Facebook network. My wife is a segmentor — to the point that she cringes at the mere mention of her existence in social media, and will probably even object to this one. In our experience, segmentation is the dominant preference in relationships: blurring boundaries is far more bothersome to a segmentor than building fences is to an integrator. (In fact, Rothbard and her colleagues conducted a study showing that segmentors are less satisfied and committed when their employers offer onsite childcare. Even when it doesn’t affect them directly, the mere presence of other people’s family lives in their workplaces punches holes in their mental fences.)

    Since many people are segmentors, being liked and respected probably requires some selectivity about what we share and with whom we share it. And there’s a way to be selective without spending inordinate amount of time and energy managing different networks and lists: it’s called conversation. So I’d like to propose a rule: when in doubt, share it offline.

    Adam is the author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMGrant and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/influencer/profadamgrant

  • Electric cars: The future of motorsport?
    The future of motorsport or a green gimmick?
  • VIDEO: The cows connected to the internet
    How tracking cows over the internet helps keep them healthy
  • VIDEO: Middle class jobs hit by technology
    The British middle class is under threat from advances in technology which could see white collar jobs in areas such as law, medicine and accounting replaced altogether.

Mobile Technology News, September 11, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Apple Posts Two iPhone 5S Videos to YouTube

    With the official launch of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C done yesterday, Apple has been posting several videos to their YouTube channel.  Apple has posted two iPhone5S videos highlighting a new feature and an improved feature.
    The first video highlights the all new Touch ID.  This is the fingerprint […]

    The post Apple Posts Two iPhone 5S Videos to YouTube appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • This Is What It's Like To Use Apple's Fancy New Fingerprint Scanner
    CUPERTINO, Calif. — I was skeptical about the fingerprint-scanning technology that Apple put in its just-announced high-end iPhone 5S. Called TouchID, the feature lets you unlock your phone with your fingertip — no more typing in a passcode.

    I initially imagined Touch ID, which was announced along with the cheaper, plastic iPhone 5C on Tuesday, would be an unreliable gimmick — something like Siri, Apple’s highly touted but relatively unloved virtual assistant.

    But in the few minutes I got to spend with the iPhone 5S at Apple’s headquarters Tuesday, I was impressed with how easy the sensor was to set up and how quick and responsive it was.

    The fingerprint scanner is Apple’s most high-profile addition to the iPhone 5S, which also boasts a new, faster A7 processor, another chip that turns the device into a tracker that works as a pedometer and measures activity, an improved camera, slow-motion video capability and improved battery life.

    Yet the iPhone 5S comes to market at a time when more than half of Americans already have smartphones and more of them are upgrading less frequently, happy with the features of handsets that aren’t quite state of the art. Lots of overseas smartphone buyers of late are choosing so-called phablets with huge screens, and the internal tune-ups to the newest iPhone may not be enough to lure them away.

    “The improvements though are harder to explain vs. saying the phone has a larger screen or a different design,” Carolina Milanesi, a research vice president at Gartner, said of the 5S in an email. “But Apple does not seem to pick the easy way.”

    Touch ID replaces the iPhone lock code that many people use dozens of times a day to check messages and use apps. When you place your finger on the home button, Touch ID analyzes a stored image of your fingerprint and unlocks the phone.

    Setting up the feature involves going to the “passcode and fingerprint” option in the phone’s settings menu. The phone prompts you to “lift and rest your finger on the Home button repeatedly” over the course of about a minute, so it can get to know your unique print. The phone also asks you to place different parts of your finger on the home button so that your finger doesn’t have to be in the same place each time to unlock the phone. And you can scan multiple fingers so you have options for accessing the device.

    It took about a minute to set up Touch ID for my thumb. The next time I tried to unlock the iPhone 5S, I instinctively went to type in my passcode, a habit from years of typing in my four-digit code each time I unlocked my phone. But as soon as I placed my thumb on the home button, the phone unlocked and the home screen quickly appeared. I locked and unlocked it several times this way, and each time it worked flawlessly.

    Beyond unlocking your handset, Touch ID can also be used to buy music, books and apps from Apple’s online stores.

    In the few minutes I had with the 5S on Tuesday, I was also able to check out the camera’s Burst Mode, which lets you take multiple pictures in rapid succession by keeping your finger on the shutter button, a feature that other smartphones already have.

    Apple’s Burst Mode promises it takes at least 10 photos a second, and it delivered on that promise, snapping significantly more shots in a short period of time than the Moto X does. The idea is that the more photos you take, the more likely you are to get the right one, or you can take a series of action shots. It’s also pretty easy to discard in bulk the photos you don’t want.

    Finally, I was impressed with the iPhone’s Slo-Mo video mode that shoots video in 120 frames per second and allows you to edit right on the phone which parts of the video you want to slow down.

    But the question remains of whether these features are enough to prompt people to pay $199 with a contract (or $649 without) — at best a full $100 more than the 5C — for the highest-end iPhone.

    “We think it is,” said Brian Colello, a senior equity analyst at Morningstar. “Certainly in the U.S., there’s enough demand on the high end. People have been buying premium phones for years. That diehard Apple user will certainly pay for the 5S.”

    Milanesi, for her part, said that considering the now-discontinued iPhone 5 also had a $199 price tag when purchased with a two-year contract, the 5S “does not seem like a bad deal.”

  • Microsoft offers free versions of Office 365 to nonprofits
    As part of its “Technology for Good” program, the software giant donates its cloud-based Office service to all qualifying organizations.
  • $100 Android tablets with new chip coming, says Intel
    Intel is planning a new chip that targets tablets as low as $100. Those products will run Android, the chip giant says.
  • Public Doubts Rise On Surveillance, Privacy: Poll
    WASHINGTON — Following disclosures about the National Security Agency’s massive surveillance programs, a majority of Americans believe the U.S. government is doing a poor job of protecting privacy rights, according to a new poll by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

    Close to 60 percent of Americans oppose the NSA’s collection of data on telephone and Internet usage. A similar majority opposes the legal process supervised by a secret federal court that oversees the government’s classified surveillance. The American public is still anxious about terrorism as the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks approaches. About 6 in 10 Americans feel it is sometimes necessary to sacrifice rights to confront terrorism.

    But suspicions about the government’s promises to protect civil liberties have deepened since 2011. Only 53 percent now say the government does a good job of ensuring freedoms, compared to 60 percent two years ago.

    The shift in public attitudes follows a three-month barrage of leaks to media organizations by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who released secret documents about the surveillance agency’s inner workings.

    In follow-up interviews after the poll, some respondents described Snowden as a criminal and an attention-seeker. Others called him a whistleblower. But many agree that his disclosures have highlighted the once-remote issue of government surveillance.

    “It’s not surprising this was going on, but I think all these revelations brought it home to people,” said Sam Thomas, a former musician from Knoxville, Tenn. “This is the eroding of American rights as we used to know it.”

    Not until Snowden’s leaks was the massive NSA trawling – of domestic telephone numbers, and their calling patterns, and the agency’s collection of Americans’ Internet user names, IP addresses and other metadata swept up in surveillance of foreign terror suspects – confirmed and detailed. The new poll sought to measure the public’s views on the revealed NSA activities, and it also tracked Americans’ shifting opinions over time.

    President Barack Obama has sought to reassure Americans that the government’s data collection does not extend to the contents of their phone calls and text messages. “Nobody is listening to your phone calls,” he said after the first wave of disclosures in June. He added: “They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content.”

    But a majority of Americans appear doubtful. Some 56 percent oppose the NSA’s collection of telephone records for future investigations even though they do not include actual conversations. And 54 percent oppose the government’s collection and retention of Internet metadata for future investigations that avoids actual email contents; only 34 percent favor such efforts.

    Even stronger majorities oppose unauthorized government surveillance of phone calls and Internet mail traffic within the U.S. As many as 71 percent do not want officials eavesdropping on U.S. phone calls without court warrants; 62 percent oppose collection of the contents of Americans’ emails without warrants.

    Donald Sigley, who works in freight logistics in St. Petersburg, Fla., said he is skeptical but is willing to cut the government some slack as long as they show good faith in ensuring the surveillance programs do not veer out of control.

    “This is sensitive information and it could come back and bite somebody down the road,” Sigley said. He is fine with the government’s intrusion into some forms of personal data, but says he would feel safer with strong oversight and the strict use of court warrants. “I do worry about what they’ll do with it in the future.”

    Even before Snowden’s revelations, many Americans put a premium on privacy and civil liberties. The 2011 AP-NORC Center poll showed just 40 percent felt that the government did a good job in protecting their privacy. That dropped to 34 percent in this year’s survey.

    Americans are divided on whether the government ought to prove its intelligence operations abide by civil rights protections. Fifty-one percent of people polled said it is more important to keep the details of those programs secret, but 43 percent preferred to have proof that civil rights have not been violated.

    Civil liberties advocates say they have seen a sharp rise in public interest in their causes in recent months after years of lukewarm support.

    “For the first time, the public is able to see what’s going on behind closed doors and it’s changing minds,” said Trevor Timm, a staffer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has sued the government to obtain secret documents on surveillance.

    Obama administration officials have openly acknowledged public discontent. During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Monday on oversight of the NSA’s surveillance programs, NSA General Counsel Robert S. Litt said the agency would consider changes that “provide greater public confidence.”

    Breakdowns of polling data show clear generational divides.

    Despite lingering concerns about terrorism, younger Americans appear more insistent than older Americans on greater transparency about surveillance programs as a way to ensure that privacy rights are upheld. Some 72 percent of Americans age 18 to 29 believe a leaker may be justified in providing illegal disclosures if they show the government broke the law. By contrast, 54 percent of those over age 45 say the same.

    The growing anxiety about the erosion of civil liberties coincides with deepening pessimism about the war on terrorist organizations. In a poll conducted two years ago by the AP-NORC Center, 53 percent of Americans felt the U.S. was likely to win the war in terrorism over the coming decade or that it had already done so. Now, just 44 percent of Americans expect that victory by 2023.

    Americans are less nervous about other precautions that have become institutionalized since the 9/11 attacks. Despite an initial burst of controversy, more Americans favor random full-body scans or pat-downs of passengers at airports – 62 percent now compared to 58 percent in 2011.

    The AP-NORC Center survey was conducted Aug. 12-29, 2013 by NORC at the University of Chicago. It involved landline and cellphone interviews in English or Spanish with 1,008 adults nationwide. Results from the full survey have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.


    Associated Press News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this story.

    Online: AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org

  • Leading the Sony Legacy: Q&A with Phil Molyneux
    I have recently had the honor of chatting with Phil Molyneux, the passionate Chief Operating Officer (COO) and President of Sony. He is a 23-year Sony veteran who started at the company as a sales engineer in 1987. Over time, Phil climbed the employment ladder after working sales and marketing positions in which he led the company in expanding through Europe. He has mastered the arts of impeccable quality and technology that the Sony brand is sought after for. Now, Phil leads this world-renowned electronics company after being appointed to his current position in September 2010. Phil’s interests outside of Sony are equally impressive, as he served as a member of the Consumer Electronics Association’s 2012 Executive Board. Even with his stellar history with Sony, Phil stays humble and is one of the most approachable and personable executives you’ll meet. I sat down to talk with Phil about Sony’s history, products, and his life outside of the company.


    Sony has been around for nearly 70 years. The company was founded in Japan in May 1946 as Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo. The company changed to Sony in 1955. Sony products encompass a wide variety including consumer electronics, semiconductors, video games, media/entertainment, computer hardware, and telecom equipment.

    What is the culture at Sony like? What makes it unique from other companies?

    Sony’s culture is very unique. It’s like being with your extended family; Sony takes care of its community and employees. Also, everyone has a shared connection for what they’re doing. There’s great drive to innovate and bring great experiences to people around the world. That’s what we do: deliver new, thrilling experiences to people. Sony has a good history — around 70 years — of contributing to consumer electronics and it’s what we love.

    So, there’s innovation in the culture?

    Yes. You’re not limited, you’re not in a box–you can make a difference. That’s the magic of Sony that has kept me here. I’ve been challenged to do many different things–I’ve got no regrets, I’m still happy here [after 27 years].

    Sony has become known for its quality. Tell me anything that you would like to share with the world about why Sony will continue to excel as an industry leader.

    We’ve got a brilliant heritage of engineering and culture. We have the core technology that makes many of our products come alive for our customers. There is always innovation and the search for how to bring new experiences that Sony brings to people around the world. Also, we have valuable partnerships — Sony Pictures and Sony Music — and we can leverage these partnerships to bring different and unique quality to consumers.

    Sony also employs a technique of ‘over-engineering’ to ensure that our consumers get the best. We have great engineers working on our products to make sure that we have top quality. For example, sometimes we get customers who will write to us and tell us that they have our products from early days and they still work. They could still have a comeback since they’re still in good condition! That’s part of our brand, though. If you pay for Sony, then you’re buying into a quality brand that stands for quality products in the long-term. We want our products to last. That’s what we’re about: innovation, quality and bringing new experiences to people.

    What are Sony’s new hot items for the Fall and holidays?

    Something that we’ve been working on is the 4K Ultra HD TV X850A series — there’s a 55″ ($3,999) and 65″ ($5,499). We worked closely with our sister company, Sony Pictures, on these new TVs and they have a great picture. These TVs have the highest resolution picture Sony has ever produced on a TV and it’s four times the resolution of Full HD. Also, there’s the re-mastered 4K, Ultra HD native 84″ TV that can be used for a home theater. This is the first time people can have feature films at home and watch them in Ultra HD. Also, in July we released a 4K, Ultra HD Media Player where you can download and play back 4K content.

    This fall, Sony will go live with our 4K, Ultra HD download service, launching September 4th with native 4K native content. We’ll release 70 more feature films and TV episodes for consumers to download for rental and purchase. This is a really exciting project that my team has been working on. Services like this will help in casting wider access for more people. Also, Sony is a leader in 4K content, so this release will continue in the footsteps of our professional cameras, TVs and more. We have been spearheading the advancement of 4K Ultra HD technology from the start, and have now reached another milestone as promised with the Video Unlimited 4K service going live. Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs featuring our exclusive TRILUMINOS Display have been receiving amazing feedback and now we are bringing the most immersive entertainment experiences to new audiences right in their living rooms.

    Sony XBR-X850A

    Sony XBR-X900A

    Another exciting item release this fall will be the world’s first consumer 4K Handycam camcorder (FDR-AX1) priced under $4,500. This new camera will be integrated for playback on our 4K TVs. The price point for this is higher than some of our other products that we’ve made more affordable since the technology embedded in the FDR-AX1 is very high quality.

    What is the target market for the FDR-AX1?
    The market for this new camcorder is really a mix of several audiences. The ‘prosumer’ is mostly who we’re targeting at this price point, but that encompasses a lot of different types of people. It could be a professional who’s shooting weddings and events, or someone in the reporting industry. It could even be the mom and dad at home taking videos of their family. They’ll want to keep every detail of all of their precious memories forever, and the FDR-AX1 can do that.

    What upcoming products are you looking forward to for the holiday season?
    Let’s see, first there are 2 new products coming out. The QX-10 that will be at $249 and the QX-100 at $499. This is a really exciting product, but a little hard to describe. You know how a camera has detachable lenses? This is a camera lens device that can be used on a smartphone. This device clips onto a smartphone and connects, via NFC or wireless connection. It’s like a lens that attaches to the phone and can be controlled by your smartphone to take high-quality pictures. Users can see “through” the lens on your smartphone interface. I think this device is really disruptive, and I’m excited for how people will be able to use it. People will be able to shoot pictures and share them like never before. If you’re familiar with the RX-100–this will have the quality of RX-100 but taken with a smartphone. Really excited for this, and we have set a September release date for it.

    Another product is the Sony VAIO Tap 11 Tablet PC. We’re releasing a whole lineup of VAIO PCs this Fall, and this is one of them. This is the world’s thinnest Windows 8 Tablet PC with Intel® Core™ Processor and is only 0.39″ thick. It’s ultra-slim and lightweight, with an aluminum magnetically connectable/detachable keyboard. You can use this tablet as you would any conventional notebook PC. It also features our Triluminous color display, so you’ll have the brilliant picture that Sony is known for. We’re looking at a late October release date for this.

    Also, here’s another good Christmas gift. I think these would be great for the holidays. Sony’s releasing Bluetooth speakers for the holidays. They’re portable with a fun design. And they come in great colors — we’ll have them in pink, red, gray, black, and turquoise. The speakers are rechargeable and splash-proof — so they’re great for rain or shine!

    Tell me more about what you do for fun — your life outside of Sony.
    My wife and I have two sons — Josh is 13, Louis is 10 — as well as a 22-year-old son in the UK. The boys play soccer — well, we know it as futbol. The boys are good players so my wife and I are always driving up and down California for soccer matches. It’s really nice and I’m thrilled that they enjoy soccer — it’s a sport that they’ll have forever. Besides that, I also like fast cars and motorbikes. I have a Triumph Speed Triple that I enjoy driving around. I drive through the mountains in California to relax.

    If you were stranded on an island, what 1 thing would you want to have?
    Can it be a person? I’d take my wife, if that were the case. If it was an electronic then, I’d take the Sony Xperia phone and I would call my wife. And the Xperia would be helpful because if you drop it in water, you can still use it since it’s waterproof.

    It was great being able to talk with Phil and get to know Sony and its products better. As always, the company is gearing up for some anticipated releases that will ‘wow’ consumers. Phil’s sentiment that “you can make a difference” at Sony is what drives the company to continue as the leader in its industry. Phil will continue his work inspired by Sony’s 70-year-old legacy: innovation, quality, and helping people have great experiences through technology.

    photos credit: Sony

  • Museum celebrates women in tech
    The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park has opened a gallery celebrating the role women played in computer history.
  • Apple's 'Cheap' iPhone Is Actually Kind Of Expensive, And Doesn't Feel Cheap At All
    CUPERTINO, CALIF. — Apple’s new “cheap” plastic phone doesn’t feel cheap at all. That makes sense when you consider that the colorful iPhone 5C unveiled here this morning actually costs quite a bit of money.

    When bought with a new two-year contract, the phone starts at $99, half the price of other new iPhones at launch. Yet the unlocked 16GB version of the phone will sell for $549, while the unlocked 32GB model will be available for $649. In China, the Wall Street Journal notes, the 5C will start at a whopping $733.42.

    On Tuesday Apple also unveiled a higher-end phone, the 5S, which features a raft of new bells and whistles you can’t get on the cheaper model. The 5S includes a slow-motion camera, a better flash, a fingerprint-sensing home button and a faster processor. The higher-priced model — the 16GB unlocked version is $649 — is made of aluminum.

    The 5C is Apple’s attempt to break into an international market dominated by Android, which powers smartphones from many different manufacturers. Devices running Android, including Samsung’s popular Galaxy lineup of smartphones, made up nearly 80 percent of smartphones sold worldwide in the three months ending in June, according to the technology research firm IDC.

    Using some polished corporate lingo before the small crowd of journalists, Apple executives and Silicon Valley insiders, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained Tuesday that company is trying to sell iPhones to many, many more people. The two iPhone models will allow Apple to “serve even more customers,” Cook told an enthusiastic crowd.

    I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with the new phone here at Apple’s headquarters Tuesday and was surprised by how solid the phone felt in my hands. While there’s a plastic (or, as Apple calls it, “hard-coated polycarbonate”) shell, there’s a steel frame that holds the components and functions as an antenna, giving the phone some heft. At 4.65 ounces, it’s seven-tenths of an ounce heavier than the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S.

    In the short time I had with the phone this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think that even though it’s less expensive and made from cheaper material, Apple hasn’t strayed from the clean, elegant design it’s known for. The 5C still feels like a premium product.

    Because it’s made from one piece of plastic, there are no seams that are visible when plastic pieces are joined together. In fact, it doesn’t even feel plastic — which is exactly what Apple is going for.

    From the front, it looks nearly identical to an iPhone 5. The camera, speaker, headphone jack and power plug are all in the same place. The biggest difference when you look at the phone is that you can see the outline of the plastic casing, which gives the phone a colorful accent. This is visible — and can even be more pronounced because of the contrast — with Apple’s $29 rubber cases it’s selling, which we’ll get to in a minute.

    iphone 5c
    The iPhone 5C on the left next to an iPhone 5 on the right.

    If you turn it over, though, you can see that it doesn’t have the two rear panels at the top and bottom that the iPhone 5 and 5S have, thanks to its one-piece construction.

    iphone 5s hands on
    The iPhone 5C on the left next to an iPhone 5 on the right.

    Speaking of cases, Apple’s cases come in five colors and feature a prominent cutout for the camera and flash. There are 35 holes on the back of the case, so the phone’s color still shows through. The cases, which have a grippy feel that contrasts with the iPhone 5C’s shiny finish, come in green, pink, blue, white and black.

    The phone comes in five colors — white, yellow, green, pink and blue — and will be available for pre-order on Sept. 13 and for sale on Sept. 20.

    The 5C will be available at the same time in the U.S. as it will be in a handful of other countries, including China and Japan. At a time when Apple is battling it out with low-cost handset makers to sell smartphones throughout the world, it remains to be seen whether or not Apple’s less expensive iPhone can help it catch up to Android.

  • The slow death of the pesky password
    Will fingerprint sensors and other biometric tech kill off logins?
  • Johns Hopkins University Apologizes To Professor For NSA Blog Removal
    WASHINGTON — A Johns Hopkins University dean who asked a prominent computer scientist to remove a blog over a post he published about the National Security Agency has apologized for acting in haste.

    Hopkins engineering school dean Andrew Douglas said in a letter to cryptologist Matthew Green that Douglas acted too quickly and used inadequate information when asking Green to remove a blog hosted on Hopkins’ servers. Green’s post discussed recent news reports the NSA secretly weakened encryption widely used on the Internet. A Hopkins spokesman said Monday it asked for the removal because Green’s post linked to classified information and used the NSA’s logo. But the university later said it realized the blog linked to material already published in the press.

    Hopkins said it has allowed Green to repost his blog.

  • Apple's Competitors Are Making Jokes About The New iPhones
    After Apple announced its two new iPhones, the 5s and the 5c, at an event on Tuesday, the company’s smartphone competitors were climbing over each other to crack jokes on Twitter.

    Thanks, #Apple 😉 pic.twitter.com/x4w3r8Ghcy

    — Nokia UK (@nokia_uk) September 10, 2013

    “Real gangsters don’t use gold phones.” pic.twitter.com/yurtFf3TML

    — Nokia UK (@nokia_uk) September 10, 2013

    Remember that one time you were stoked to give your fingerprints? Us either. #LazyPhone http://t.co/ckuu7otnJM

    — Motorola Mobility (@Motorola) September 10, 2013

    5 things Apple didn’t announce today http://t.co/1X8WYrGm2H It’s #timetoswitch to the #WindowsPhone Lumia 1020 w/ 41 MP & reinvented zoom.

    — Windows Phone (@windowsphone) September 10, 2013

    If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Unless it’s a “Breaking Bad” reference. In that case, carry on, Nokia.

    More news from Apple’s big event:

  • Keynote introducing iPhone 5S, 5C now available on Apple's site
    The video of this morning’s Cupertino presentation of the iPhone 5s and 5c has been made available, along with the videos shown within the presentation, on Apple’s website. The 85 minute talk showcases the new Stanford Apple Store, the introduction of iOS 7, making the iOS iLife and iWork apps free with new purchases, the debut of the iPhone 5c and high-end 5s, an overview of the iTunes Festival, a look at the new camera and photos app in the 5s, new cases and docks, and a surprise concert by Elvis Costello, among other highlights.


  • iPhone 4 remains in China; 5s, 5c LTE bands hint at China Mobile
    The iPhone 4 is still available through Apple’s online store in China, checks show. The 4 has disappeared as an option elsewhere in the world, the 4S taking its place as the cheapest option in Apple’s iPhone lineup. Many carriers will be offering the 4S for free on contract. In China, an 8GB iPhone 4 is listed at RMB 2,588 (about $420) unlocked, while a 4S is RMB 3,288, and 16GB versions of the 5c and 5s are RMB 4,488 and RMB 5,288, respectively.


  • New iPhones: The internet reacts
    The internet reacts to the new iPhones
  • Darrell Issa: DC Law Firm Meddled In Email Inquiry
    WASHINGTON — Leaders of the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday accused a prominent Washington law firm of trying to interfere with their investigation into use of personal email accounts by government officials.

    Reps. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said they were outraged by an email sent by an employee at Dickstein Shapiro, a firm that represents Jonathan Silver, former head of the Energy Department’s loan program office. Issa, who chairs the House oversight panel, released the email during a hearing Tuesday on transparency in government.

    “If possible. do not direct questions to Jonathan Silver. He’s a client of my firm’s,” the email reads. The one-line missive included the ellipses and ended with a smiley face emoticon symbol. The identity of the sender was blacked out.

    Issa said that he believed the email was “an interference with Congress” and that he and Cummings were considering whether to refer the issue to the American Bar Association.

    Cummings, the panel’s top Democrat, called the email “very unfortunate” and said it appeared to be “clearly out of bounds.”

    Silver, who led the loan office when the solar firm Solyndra collapsed in 2011 after receiving a $528 million Energy Department loan, said he knew nothing about the email.

    A spokeswoman for the the law firm said Dickstein Shapiro represents Silver in the committee’s inquiry.

    “We are looking into the circumstances surrounding the email,” the spokeswoman, Michelle Rodgers, said Tuesday. “Mr. Silver retained the firm for legal services. He had no knowledge of the communication.”

    The hearing was called to examine the Obama administration’s use of alternate email accounts to conduct official business.

    Several former Obama administration officials, including Silver and former Environment Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, told the panel that they did not intend to violate federal record-keeping rules when they used personal email addresses to contact those with whom they’ve done official business.


    Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

  • iPhone 5s Photos: Check Out What Apple's Flagship Phone Looks Like
    On Tuesday, Apple revealed the latest version of its flagship smartphone, iPhone 5s, at an event in Cupertion, Calif.

    The newest model looks similar to its predecessor, the iPhone 5, with a few upgrades: It has quicker processors, a sharper camera, new color casings and a fingerprint scanner for beefed-up security.

    But enough of the technical stuff (which you can read about here): What does this thing look like? Check out photos of the brand new iPhone 5s below.

    More news from Apple’s big event:

  • New iPhone Features Shown Off At Big Apple Event On Tuesday
    CUPERTINO, Calif. — For the first time since introducing the device that changed cellphones forever, Apple will offer two distinct versions of the latest iPhones – a cheaper one made of plastic and another that aims to be “the gold standard of smartphones” and reads your fingerprint.

    Apple unveiled the latest iPhone models, available on Sept. 20, during an event at its Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. The move comes as the company tries to fend off Samsung and other competitors that want to challenge Apple in the competitive smartphone market. The lower-cost iPhone 5C is expected to help boost sales in China and other areas where people don’t have as much money to spend on new gadgets as they do in the U.S. and Europe.

    Research firm Gartner Inc. estimates that Apple had a 14.4 percent share of the world’s smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, No. 2 behind Samsung’s 31.7 percent.

    The lower-cost iPhone 5C will be available in five colors – green, blue, yellow, pink and white. CEO Tim Cook calls it “more fun and colorful” than any other iPhone. The 5C has a 4-inch Retina display and is powered by Apple’s A6 chip. It also has an 8 megapixel camera, live photo filters and a rear cover that lights up.

    The iPhone 5C will cost $99 for a 16 gigabyte model and $199 for a 32 gigabyte model with a two-year wireless contract.

    Jefferies analyst Peter Misek called the phones “lovely,” but said in a note to investors that the $99 minimum price for the 5C is “is higher than expected and still leaves Apple with a product gap in the low-end.”

    Without a contract, the 5C costs $549 and $649 depending on memory size.

    The second phone, the 5S, is “the most forward-looking phone we have ever created,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple. It will come in silver, gold and “space gray” and run a new chip, the A7 that is up to twice as fast as the A6.

    Schiller said the new phone can run more health and fitness applications. These apps have become increasingly popular as more people use them to track exercise routines, calorie intake and even sleep patterns.

    The camera in the 5S received some major upgrades, including several automatic features designed to produce better photos. It has a larger pixels and a larger aperture, which helps capture more light. The phone also has a “true-tone” flash feature that is designed not to clash with the colors in the room or a person’s skin color – something Schiller said has not been done on a phone before.

    The camera, called iSight, has “auto image stabilization,” which helps avoid blurry pictures, and a slow-motion camera for video. A “burst mode” can take 10 frames per second as long as you hold your finger on the shutter, then find the best one in your camera roll.

    The 5S also includes “Touch ID,” which reads fingerprints at a “detailed level,” Schiller said. He said it is “fun and easy” to teach the 5S about your fingerprint and once you do, you can just touch the home button to unlock the phone. The company said fingerprints will not be stored on its servers.

    Tying the fingerprint scanner to payments could also open new revenue channels for Apple.

    Both models will be on sale on Sept. 20 in the U.S., Australia, China, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and U.K. Apple said this is the first time that a new phone has been available right away in China – a sign of the growing importance of that market to the company. People will be able to order the 5C in advance on Friday, but not the 5S.

    For buyers entering a two-year contract with a wireless carrier, the phone will cost $199 for 16 gigabytes of memory, $299 for 32 and $399 for 64.

    Apple also said its next mobile operating system, iOS 7, will be available as a free download on Sept. 18.

    Craig Federighi, head of software at Apple Inc., said at an event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters that “downloading iOS 7 is like getting an all new device.”

    The new system can be downloaded on the iPhone 4 and later models, as well as on the tablets beginning with the iPad 2.

    Apple also said that it expects to ship its 700 millionth iOS device next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook predicts that iOS 7 will become the most popular mobile operating system in the world.

    Investors seemed unimpressed. Apple’s stock price fell $11.60, or 2.3 percent to close Tuesday’s trading at $494.58.


    Ortutay reported from New York.

  • IT Outsourcing Lucky Chance: Who's Ready for It?
    Nowadays IT outsourcing seems to be the most natural service both from the point of view of those companies which do have such tasks and from the side of those who are eager to provide the service and necessary solutions. However, few would think a minute to answer a most simple question: how happened that companies of the developed West are eager to share knowledge and skills with representatives of the third-world states — things which have always been kept as the highest secret. One needs just to recall a famous historical example of Venetian secret of mirror making and what happened to those who betrayed it. Now the time and attitude turned out to have changed drastically and the West eagerly shares precious information, skills and ensures that third-world developers gain experience in the process. So what were the reasons for all that? Or maybe that precious knowledge is not a top secret in the least?

    Mass IT outsourcing started, in fact, when developed countries had to solve the notorious Y2K problem. Six digit time input pattern cost much for the developed world but gave a chance to Indian developers who engaged into that monotonous, and tedious, and consumptive work. It seemed that American and European countries needed anyone who would do that job at a lowest cost, and Indian developers turned to be at the right time at the right place. The task did not provide lots of knowledge or experience but set a communication channel as well as Western business processes understanding which turned for India to be a solid bridge into the new millennium. According to NASSCOM, Indian software export in software for the years of 1997 totaled to $125 million USD while in 2001 it reached 2 billion USD. Of course, some outsourcing companies did exist in India before year 2000 such as the big five Indian IT providers (TCS, Cognizant, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies) but the country was more like a back yard for big international companies which outsourced here their business processes. The Y2K issue quickened the whole thing and distinguished the trend.

    Then the dot com bubble came and as Indians were old acquaintances they managed to deliver services when again they were needed most. The bubble burst and the crisis broke and the Westerners needed the same level IT coverage at a much lower cost and India was again at hand. Comparing the level of life and salary rates American and European companies saved huge sums of money hiring Indian developers. Those were the key factors why now despite all forecasts India is the leading provider of IT outsourcing services: a challenge of cheap and resource-consuming task and again a sufficient ratio of salary and work quality.

    Today many researches guess whether new powerful centers of outsourcing development will rise and replace India. As it was mentioned above, two things are necessary for that. Something extremely simple and time consuming and a huge number of developers ready to fulfill that task at a really low price.

    That’s why Eastern Europe is highly unlike to become that future monster, as the level of developers will not allow them to engage in such an unsavory and unrewarding activity. The same stands true for Latin and South America which developers are quite spoiled by the near shoring contracts from the US. China might be an alternative, big IT providers have appeared in China lately, like Pactera, GDS, and many others. What is a really huge benefit similarly to that which contributed to the rise of India as the world IT outsourcing leader is Chinese economy of scale allowing to engage a huge number of developers at a time.

    However, there is a range of factors which can harden the successful path to the Western market. Currently about a half of the software developers available in China works for Japan. More and more human resources are necessary to satisfy the IT needs of the booming internal market. Of course, some companies are focusing on only foreign markets but they can be hard hit by the coming alterations to the US immigration law.

    Some surveys view Africa as a promising candidate. Some African countries like Ghana, for example, do have a certain pool of skilled IT development professionals, however, taken into consideration, those skilled experts are scarce about a huge continent regularly torn by war actions of some less lucky and less developed African states, with no common guidance or strategy, we wouldn’t bet for Africa.

    Besides, availability of cheap workforce there is a need in an issue similar to Y2K, which would power a new outsourcing community to a level of Big Guys. Mobile development, though a very trendy thing of late, is definitely not such an issue. Developing applications for portables is really popular and brings profit to millions of developers around the world but at the same time does not provide the necessary scale. New technologies such as cloud computing, big data management or already popular things such as web application development are highly improbable as well. They demand skills and experience and as we agreed those are not strong sides of a potential power, at least at the starting point. At the same time now, when literally everybody is eager to work with Java and .Net technologies, quite few keep an eye on mainframe programming languages which are absolutely indispensable to keep the ball of existing operations rolling. However, similar to Y2K issue, the problem which thousands of some yet to-be-developers are looking forward to may arise quite unexpectedly and demand treatment at any cost and in no time. We definitely will not anticipate it but it would be interesting to see how it could affect the global IT outsourcing market and global cash flows.

  • Money in Your Pocket: Mobile Taking the Friction Out of Payments
    Facebook’s impending announcement of the release of a mobile payments platform based on Facebook log-ins and real currency– rather than private in-game bling bucks– is a harbinger of a new, dramatic era of digital money. Arguments about whether the social network giant will be successful aside, the mobile payment market is growing exponentially.

    It isn’t that Facebook’s move is entirely novel. The fact that your smart phone is a form of electronic payment is widespread today and looking to tap into the $7 trillion of transactions traditional credit card companies are making each year. We have apps like Venmo, that translates social connections into direct payments among friends; Stripe, which provides credit card transaction clearing for mobile devices; and Payleven, which makes the chip-and-Pin payments common now in Europe available for individuals to pay each other via their phones. Plus, mobile payment platforms like Google Wallet and Square are becoming commonplace; increasingly credit and debit cards are becoming extensions of the worldwide network. We even have Bitcoin, the latest and most intriguing pure net currency yet devised. Whether Bitcoin succeeds or not, it definitely shows the way toward low friction, high-velocity pure digital currencies of the future..

    In fact, way back in 2011, Michael Saylor, CEO of analytics company MicroStrategy, predicted this new era in a talk at the Pivot Conference. There was Michael, waving his phone saying “this isn’t a phone, it is money,” and then relaying a set of situations where the phone could stand in for money. One of those was using your phone to directly check-in to hotels. The phone has the smarts to do it, Saylor said, knows where you are, and can use any number of approaches to actually unlock your hotel room.

    Just last month, that scenario became real. Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel chain announced it will be opening a new line where the entire experience can be managed from an app: check-in, room service, temperature. Guests can even stream content directly from their phones onto the huge in-room TVs. Packaged as a “hub” as a more affordable option to keep costs lower and rooms more affordable for guests the new rooms also offer ultimate ease and personal control and that certain cool factor that will attract the more digitally savvy travelers.

    While the Whitbred example is a rarity today. We don’t think it will be for long. The difference between a curiosity and a movement is scale and Facebook brings that in spades.

    What Facebook brings to mobile commerce that is transformational is its vast population of users and apps. With Facebook now moving its legions of users toward deeper use of mobile currency, today’s interesting, but isolated projects are likely to merge into a swelling tide of change. We see the situation as much like the early impact Facebook’s hordes had on online gaming. Those hundreds of millions of birthday-wishers can push an emerging new mode of interaction past the tipping point.

    With Facebook’s serious movement into mobile payments space, we see 2014 as the year when people across the world begin looking at their phones and seeing not just messages and music, but money.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and the Pivot Conference. This event (held in New York on October 15-16, 2013), brings together more than 400 Social Business Leaders from major companies at the forefront of change. For more information about Pivot, click here.

Mobile Technology News, September 10, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Americans Use The Internet To Abandon Children Adopted Overseas
    Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.
  • iPhone 5S Fingerprint Scanner Confirmed by WSJ

    The Wall Street Journal has confirmed a long running rumour that the iPhone 5S, expected to be announced today by Apple, will indeed have a fingerprint scanner for added security.  The article from Danny Yadron states,
    People familiar with the matter said last week that Apple will include a […]

    The post iPhone 5S Fingerprint Scanner Confirmed by WSJ appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • WSJ: iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint-sensing home button
    On the eve of Apple’s announcement of new iPhones, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the long-rumored home button fingerprint scanner will become a feature of the iPhone 5S, the company’s next model of premium smartphone. The fingerprint sensor will likely be used in addition to standard security measures such as PIN numbers or passcodes, but add a significant extra layer of security which could push e-commerce, banking and other high-security applications forward, in addition to making iPhones less valuable to thieves.


  • Jimmy Kimmel Admits 'Twerking FAIL' Video Was Hoax Set Up By His Show
    If you’ve been on the Internet in the last week, you most likely saw a video entitled “Worst Twerk Fail EVER – Girl Catches On Fire!” In the video, a girl performs a suggestive dance routine that goes completely awry, ending with the young lady apparently catching on fire.

    The video instantly went viral, racking up over 9 million views in less than a week. Multiple TV and news outlets — including this site — reported on the video at face value. But until Jimmy Kimmel interviewed her on his talk show on Monday night, no one got the full story behind the viral video.

    Until now. Turns out the entire video was a hoax staged by Jimmy Kimmel and his show. In the extended version of the clip, Kimmel walks through the door and extinguishes the fire.

    Watch the video above to see Kimmel admit the video was a fake.

    Kimmel interviewed the woman, who in actuality is a stuntwoman named Daphne Avalon. “We didn’t send it to any TV station, we didn’t tweet it,” Kimmel said. “We just put it on YouTube and let the magic happen.”

    Some speculated that the video was fake, but was not until now that Kimmel, notorious for his large and small scale pranks, admitted that he was behind it.

    Avalon was unable to tell anyone the truth about the video, having been sworn to secrecy after they shot a video a few months ago, well before Miley Cyrus’ scandalous VMA performance.

    This is not the first time a comedy program intentionally made a viral video that organically took on a life of its own. Last year, a video of a pig saving a goat from drowning made the rounds before the Comedy Central show “Nathan For You” revealed that the video was their creation.

    What’s to be learned from all this? “Hopefully,” Kimmel said, this will “end twerking forever.” Consider that lesson learned.

  • Report: iPhone now holding 25 percent of all US cellphone share
    On the heels of recent reports that saw Apple growing its share of the US smartphone market, Pew Research has released a new study that looks at the entire US cellphone industry instead of just smartphones. The poll shows that smartphones are now dominant, with 58 percent of the US market. While Android remains the most popular platform with 28 percent of the overall cellphone market, Apple’s iOS and its recent growth have nearly caught up, with 25 percent of the market — a rise of six percent from a year ago.


  • VIDEO: Global plans for Chinese phone maker
    The chief executive of Xiaomi, Lei Jun, tells the BBC that he plans to sell his company’s smartphones outside China.
  • Homeland Security Seized Chelsea Manning Friend's Electronics Without Reasonable Suspicion
    WASHINGTON — Newly disclosed U.S. government files provide an inside look at the Homeland Security Department’s practice of seizing and searching electronic devices at the border without showing reasonable suspicion of a crime or getting a judge’s approval.

    The documents published Monday describe the case of David House, a young computer programmer in Boston who had befriended Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning, the soldier convicted of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks. U.S. agents quietly waited for months for House to leave the country then seized his laptop, thumb drive, digital camera and cellphone when he re-entered the United States. They held his laptop for weeks before returning it, acknowledging one year later that House had committed no crime and promising to destroy copies the government made of House’s personal data. The government turned over the federal records to House as part of a legal settlement agreement after a two-year court battle with the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sued the government on House’s behalf. The ACLU said the records suggest that federal investigators are using border crossings to investigate U.S. citizens in ways that would otherwise violate the Fourth Amendment.

    The Homeland Security Department declined to discuss the case.

    House said he was 22 when he first met Manning, who now is serving a 35-year sentence for one of the biggest intelligence leaks in U.S. history. It was a brief, uneventful encounter at a January 2010 computer science event. But when Manning was arrested later that June, that nearly forgotten handshake came to mind. House, another tech enthusiast, considered Manning a bright, young, tech-savvy person who was trying to stand up to the U.S. government and expose what he believed were wrongheaded politics.

    House volunteered with friends to set up an advocacy group they called the Bradley Manning Support Network, and he went to prison to visit Manning, formerly known as Bradley Manning.

    It was that summer that House quietly landed on a government watchlist used by immigrations and customs agents at the border. His file noted that the government was on the lookout for a second batch of classified documents Manning had reportedly shared with the group WikiLeaks but hadn’t made public yet. Border agents were told that House was “wanted for questioning” regarding the “leak of classified material.” They were given explicit instructions: If House attempted to cross the U.S. border, “secure digital media,” and “ID all companions.”

    But if House had been wanted for questioning, why hadn’t federal agents gone back to his home in Boston? House said the Army, State Department and FBI had already interviewed him.

    Instead, investigators monitored passenger flight records and waited for House to leave the country that November for a Mexico vacation with his girlfriend. When he returned, two agents were waiting for him, including one who specialized in computer forensics. They seized House’s laptop and detained his computer for seven weeks, giving the government enough time to try to copy every file and key stroke House had made since declaring himself a Manning supporter.

    President Barack Obama and his predecessors have maintained that people crossing into U.S. territory aren’t protected by the Fourth Amendment. That policy is intended to allow for intrusive searches that keep drugs, child pornography and other illegal imports out of the country. But it also means the government can target travelers for no reason other than political advocacy if it wants, and obtain electronic documents identifying fellow supporters.

    House and the ACLU are hoping his case will draw attention to the issue, and show how searching a suitcase is different than searching a computer.

    “It was pretty clear to me I was being targeted for my visits to Manning (in prison) and my support for him,” said House, in an interview last week.

    How Americans end up getting their laptops searched at the border still isn’t entirely clear.

    The Homeland Security Department said it should be able to act on a hunch if someone seems suspicious. But agents also rely on a massive government-wide system called TECS, named after its predecessor the Treasury Enforcement Communications System.

    Federal agencies, including the FBI and IRS, as well as Interpol, can feed TECS with information and flag travelers’ files.

    In one case that reached a federal appeals court, Howard Cotterman wound up in the TECS system because a 1992 child sex conviction. That “hit” encouraged border patrol agents to detain his computer, which was found to contain child pornography. Cotterman’s case ended up before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled this spring that the government should have reasonable suspicion before conducting a comprehensive search of an electronic device; but that ruling only applies to states that fall under that court’s jurisdiction, and left questions about what constitutes a comprehensive search.

    In the case of House, he showed up in TECS in July 2010, about the same time he was helping to establish the Bradley Manning Support Network. His TECS file, released as part of his settlement agreement, was the document that told border agents House was wanted in the questioning of the leak of classified material.

    It wasn’t until late October, though, that investigators noticed House’s passport number in an airline reservation system for travel to Los Cabos. When he returned to Chicago O’Hare airport, the agents waiting for him took House’s laptop, thumb drive, digital camera and cellphone. He was questioned about his affiliation with Manning and his visits to Manning in prison. The agents eventually let him go and returned his cell phone. But the other items were detained and taken to an ICE field office in Manhattan.

    Seven weeks after the incident, House faxed a letter to immigration authorities asking that the devices be returned. They were sent to him the next day, via Federal Express.

    By then agents had already created an “image” of his laptop, according to the documents. Because House had refused to give the agents his password and apparently had configured his computer in such a way that appeared to stump computer forensics experts, it wasn’t until June 2011 that investigators were satisfied that House’s computer didn’t contain anything illegal. By then, they had already sent a second image of his hard drive to Army criminal investigators familiar with the Manning case. In August 2011, the Army agreed that House’s laptop was clean and promised to destroy any files from House’s computer.

    Catherine Crump, an ACLU lawyer who represented House, said she doesn’t understand why Congress or the White House are leaving the debate up to the courts.

    “Ultimately, the Supreme Court will need to address this question because unfortunately neither of the other two branches of government appear motivated to do so,” said Crump.

    House, an Alabama native, said he didn’t ask for any money as part of his settlement agreement and that his primary concern was ensuring that a document containing the names of Manning Support Network donors didn’t wind up in a permanent government file. The court order required the destruction of all his files, which House said satisfied him.

    He is writing a book about his experiences and his hope to create a youth-based political organization. House said he severed ties with the Support Network last year after becoming disillusioned with Manning and WikiLeaks, which he said appeared more focused on destroying America and ruining lives than challenging policy.

    “That era was a strange time,” House said. “I’m hoping we can get our country to go in a better direction.”


    Follow Anne Flaherty on Twitter at . https://twitter.com/AnneKFlaherty

  • How To Make A Paper Airplane Fly Forever (VIDEO)
    If you’re in the mood to learn a little about the impact of thermals on aviation, or simply want an amazing conversation at almost any dinner party, then you’re in luck. Because with this quick tutorial below, you’re about to learn how to make a paper airplane that can fly in circles — wait for it — FOREVER!

    Okay, so maybe not forever, but for a seriously long time (or until your gas bill becomes a bit too costly to support this venture of infinite paper aviation). Watch and learn how to make one yourself in this video below.

    The mesmerizing video lesson was posted online by ViralVideoLab. They throw out the following background info and helpful tip:

    The paper airplane must be centered while it performs it turns, in the middle of the four heating plates. So it took me about 87 takes to produce this video. If the paper airplane isn’t exactly in the center of the plates, it will drop off. So feel free to build your own paper plane, and let it fly as long as you want in your kitchen. Good luck.

    So follow the video instructions very carefully, be sure to center the paper airplane over the heating plates and let the infinite flight fun begin!

  • NASDAQ Did the Right Thing by Halting Its Markets Last Week
    Just over two weeks ago, NASDAQ stopped trading midday, fueling a new wave of speculation about the reliability and, ultimately, appropriateness of using computer technology in trading. Critics of trading algorithms readily jumped on the news bandwagon, happily denouncing technology as a source of all economic ills.

    In reality, however, on Aug. 22, 2013, NASDAQ halted its servers to comply with instructions from the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Had NASDAQ continued trading as usual that day, it would undoubtedly face hefty fines on the order of $10 to $15 million, like the penalty assessed to the New York Stock Exchange by the SEC in September 2012 for failing to stop trading in similar circumstances.

    How so? First of all, the halt was not driven by any disruptions in the trading engine of NASDAQ. In other words, all trading orders submitted to NASDAQ were processed in proper fashion without a hint of trouble, just as they always do. The actual disturbance triggering the trading halt occurred in the reporting functionality of NASDAQ. This reporting engine, known as Securities Information Processor (SIP), is an SEC-designed system common to all exchanges in the U.S. that is used to collect and archive the latest market information from all exchanges. Once the information is accumulated by the SIP, it is distributed back to the exchanges. This is done with the explicit goal of protecting individual investors by ensuring that every investor’s market order is executed at the best price available for a given security in the U.S. exchanges at any given time.

    NASDAQ halted trading when it detected that the timestamp on NASDAQ messages sent to SIP differed from the timestamp of messages sent from SIP to NASDAQ. As I discussed in my new book, High-Frequency Trading: A Practical Guide to Algorithmic Strategies and Trading Systems, 2nd edition (Wiley), disruptions of this sort can be due to factors as benign as machine overload, or as malicious as hacking, the latter ruled out by NASDAQ. And according to the SEC guidance, NASDAQ has always had the authority and discretion to “(1) halt trading on Nasdaq of a Nasdaq-listed security to permit the dissemination of material news.” Since the latest trades and quotes are “material news” for many traders relying on technical and quantitative market analysis, as well as for investors that simply seek to obtain fair execution in the U.S. markets, NASDAQ acted appropriately under the circumstances by shutting down the systems until malicious causes of the incident were ruled out.

    It’s worth reiterating that, just like in any other industry, technology is good for the financial sector. In addition to lowering costs of trading, making markets more transparent, and returning money to investors, financial technology has been making our markets efficient year after year. Ask any economics and finance professor about market efficiency, and they will define it as follows: efficient markets distribute and incorporate news instantaneously. Most academics rightly think that this is the primary function of the markets, and not casinos that some people have come to expect from exchanges instead.

    Investors who call for a ban on market technology and high-frequency trading (the two are really the same discipline) should consider the following: Unlike 20 years ago, we are now bombarded by millions of data points every second — market data, economic indicators, news, Twitter, etc. Human eyes are biologically incapable of processing such volumes of information. (Think about this: movies display only 24 frames per second, and human brain thinks that it is watching a real-time show as people cannot absorb more data than 24 frames per second.) Without technology, financial markets simply cannot function any longer.

    As a result, denouncing current technology does little to help the markets. To prevent future glitches in trading, markets need more technology, not less. Developing the new technological frontier is easier than it may seem to a casual observer since many models for scientific monitoring and prediction already exist. Implementation and deployment of newer automated surveillance and risk management methodologies may need to become a priority of organizations across the entire financial system, at NASDAQ and beyond.

  • VIDEO: Could tablets replace teachers?
    Anna Holligan visits a “digital school” in the Netherlands which is pioneering the use of tablet computers as the primary tool for teaching.
  • Is 'mind control' becoming a reality?
    Could ‘mind control’ soon become a reality?
  • Bike champion seeks new speed record
    The athlete seeking a new speed record with a very unusual bike
  • Learning From Europe's 'Right to Be Forgotten'
    In 2008, millions of Internet users got a penetrating glimpse into the sordid sex life of Max Mosley, the then-head of Formula One racing, when British tabloid News of the World released secretly filmed videos of him engaging in a distinctly S&M themed “Nazi sex orgy” with several prostitutes.

    Mosley successfully sued the tabloid for the breach of his privacy, yet a win in the analog world has done little to protect him in the digital age. Even after successfully suing hundreds of websites to remove the illegally obtained videos of his sexy party, like the mythical hydra, they continue to rear their heads.

    Fortunately for Mosley, European privacy laws respect an individual’s dignity and have given him the legal grounds to sue Google in Germany and several other countries, and could even compel the Internet giant to filter out the raunchy videos.

    Under the current EU Data Protection Directive, Mosley has the right “to object to the processing of any data relating to himself.” His case could be further strengthened by a controversial privacy law under consideration by the European Commission: “the right to be forgotten,” which would allow individuals to force tech companies to delete all the data it has on them.

    While the implications of allowing individuals to raise objections to any links, content, or media are legion and its legality already in question, as the United States debates the precarious state of privacy rights in light of the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, American law could benefit from the underlying principle of the “right to be forgotten” — dignity.

    For Europeans, “dignity, honor, and the right to private life” are among the most important of fundamental rights — “mainly the right for the (moral and legal) integrity of a person not to be infringed and for a sphere of privacy to be maintained and distinguished,” explains University of Zurich Law Professor Rolf Weber.

    Despite the American myths that tout the individual as the pillar of society, European privacy laws have a more deeply rooted respect for individuals as evidenced by Europe’s long tradition of prioritizing people over newspapers, photographers, and more recently, tech companies.

    For instance, in the 19th century, famed French author Alexandre Dumas successfully sued a photographer who sought to profit from racy pictures he and his lover had posed for in private. A Parisian appeals court ruled that even if Dumas and his lover agreed to the publication of the photos, they still retained the right to withdraw their consent as privacy and dignity trumped commercial rights.

    “Private life must be walled off in the interest of individuals, and often in the interest of good morals as well,” the court argued.

    In an analysis of the case, Yale Law Professor James Whitman reasoned, “one’s privacy, like other aspects of one’s honor, was not a market commodity that could simply be definitively sold.”

    Perhaps a quaint notion, this humanistic interpretation of privacy is far more empathetic than the loosely defined laissez-faire American conception, which Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously described as the “right to be left alone.”

    To contrast these two conceptions of privacy, take for instance the 2004 European Court of Human Rights ruling that found German tabloids had violated Princess Caroline of Monaco’s privacy by publishing photographs of her and her children.

    “Photos appearing in the tabloid press were often taken in a climate of continual harassment which induced in the person concerned a very strong sense of intrusion into their private life or even of persecution,” the court argued.

    In contrast, in 1975, the California Supreme Court upheld the right of journalists to publicly out Oliver Sipple as a gay man after he stopped an assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford. Despite his repeated requests to journalists to keep his sexual orientation private, the court argued that Sipple was a public figure and therefore surrendered much of his privacy rights.

    Sipple’s outing led to his parents’ discovery that he was gay, a fact he had kept hidden, which ultimately led to ostracization from his family, depression, and alcoholism. In this case, by upholding the freedom of expression, Sipple was neither given the “right to be left alone” nor “dignity, honor, and the right to private life.”

    American laws frequently prioritize free speech at the expense of individual rights. For example, mug shots are considered public information and therefore their publication is protected by the First Amendment, giving rise to an entire industry where websites publish thousands of mug shots, publicly shaming those depicted and linking their search engine results to an embarrassing photo regardless of their guilt or innocence.

    Meanwhile, in Europe, the “right to be forgotten” can be traced back to French law, which acknowledges le droit à l’oubli — or the “right of oblivion” — which allows a convicted criminal who has served out their sentence to protest the publication of the facts of their conviction.

    In considering the “right to be forgotten” in America, the question isn’t whether individuals like Max Mosley should have the ability to compel search engines to filter out undesirable content, but why it takes a high-profile lawsuit before individuals are given a say in their digital identities.

    In matters concerning one’s reputation and dignity online, the burden of proof is placed on the individual, who is already at a disadvantage with little say in how their personal data is distributed, disseminated, and to who.

    Tech giants and government agencies parse through mountains of personal data that reveal everything from consumer preferences, location data, and search habits to the very content of our emails with little input beyond an individual’s consent. With this all or nothing decision, individuals are left with limited control over their data once they click “yes,” so it is no surprise that corporations and the government are continually violating privacy rights.

    It’s time we asserted control over our data, and by drawing on the European conception of privacy, Americans could have a legal weapon to wrestle control of our digital identities.

  • Virgin Media trials Netflix on Tivo
    Virgin Media is to offer Netflix, giving the US streaming service an advantage at a time when competition between video-on-demand providers is growing.
  • Only Two Ways to Guarantee Short-Term Digital Marketing Returns
    If you stacked all of the digital marketing strategies and tactics on top of each other they would stretch from here to the moon, and back again, twice. Actually that’s just made up–but the point is there’s a whole bunch of ways to use the Internet for marketing and companies of all shapes and sizes are throwing lots of tactics, strategies and money against the proverbial wall to see what sticks.

    Marketing budgets are in disequilibrium

    The motivating force behind these efforts is simple — to maximize return on investment. However, a company’s willingness to invest in the long-term is often undermined by the short-term demands of stakeholders (quarterly earnings reports). Companies without short-term pressure to deliver immediate returns are often the ones more willing to invest in a longer-term strategy like inbound and content marketing.

    This dynamic has created a ballooned population of late majority and laggards in the adoption of owned media. Earned and owned online media channels are 62 percent more cost-effective than online paid media, but ads still consume over 88 percent of today’s digital marketing budgets. This means that digital marketing budgets are in disequilibrium.

    Long-term returns

    Digital owned media – is a long-term strategy that can take six to 18 months to start delivering meaningful returns. This is a problem for those companies in the quarterly earnings race. It’s likely that many of them expect to move the needle in the same quarter they invest. They forgo the long-term gains inbound marketing can provide and settle for the short-term high of paid media.

    The long-term benefits of digital owned media are derived through its propensity to earn media over time. Whether it’s a link or mention on a popular blog, number one on Google or 500 Facebook shares, the point of online owned media is to earn media over time.

    Short-term returns

    Digital paid media – when executed properly can provide returns almost immediately. This is where the vast majority of enterprise-type companies spend most of their marketing budgets. Compared to earned and owned digital media the returns are generally meager, at best.

    This investment comes with a possible intangible cost for brands in the future. The public’s ever-growing loathing of interruption based advertising will likely start to negatively impact brand perceptions over time.

    People are also getting much better at blocking and ignoring annoying online ads altogether – their impact is diminishing. And online paid media is also strife with click fraud.

    Digital earned media – in its entirety, represents the smallest budget allocation in marketing today. Lots of different tactics fall under this category and can include search engine optimization, viral campaigns, media relations and word of mouth. Most of these tactics still don’t provide short-term returns confidently.

    However, the digital public relations piece of earned media, as defined by the Inbound Marketers Guide to Earned Media, most certainly can provide the short-term returns that are so highly valued by the enterprise today. It gives brands the chance to be part of the story and not sit in the webpage media doldrums where banner blindness is so pervasive.

    The advantage of deploying this strategy is that it completely eliminates the potential for future brand-drag caused by paid media and moves click fraud out of the realm of possibility. In addition, when deployed properly the return on investment can be multiples greater than paid online advertising.

    Putting marketing budgets back in equilibrium

    The late majority and laggard brands have essentially created a massive advertising bubble that’s bound to burst. Laggard brands will soon start to see their share of voice drastically decline as more late majority brands embrace both earned and owned digital media strategies.

    It’s not too late for brands chasing quarterly earnings reports to fix their budgets. Embracing earned media using digital PR tactics can displace online paid media altogether and still satisfy their need to show short-term results.

  • Dropbox is like Microsoft in the '90s, says startup's CEO
    CEO Drew Houston says the cloud-storage company balances consumer and enterprise much like the Microsoft of yesteryear. At the Disrupt conference, he also talks about why Dropbox needs a new mobile app and why it’s not going public anytime soon.
  • <i>Huffington</i> Issue 66: Let's Get Philosophical
    In this week’s issue of Huffington, we get philosophical: Are people still discussing “the big questions” about love, life and success the way they did in college? Or have these conversations waned in a world of technology-driven individualism? Elsewhere in the issue, a New York farmer reflects beautifully on how killing for a living has haunted him, while we offer ways changing your breathing can change your life. On the lighter side, we examine the exaltation of Google Glass in the pages of Vogue, put together a vegan dinner party, and much more.

    Huffington free in the iTunes App store

    Huffington, the weekly magazine app from the team behind The Huffington Post, will now offer iPad users an in-depth Huffington Post experience on a mobile platform. Huffington takes the best of HuffPost’s Pulitzer Prize-winning original content–including news of the week, deeply reported features, enticing Q&As, photo essays, top-tier commentary, and notable quotes from the HuffPost community–and puts it in an elegantly designed showcase that allows readers to have a deeper and richer reading experience.

    Download it free in the App Store today and spend a little more time with Huffington.

  • Snapchat Co-Founder On Google Glass: 'You Kind Of Feel Like You Have A Gun Pointed At You'
    SAN FRANCISCO — Glassholes, don’t expect a Snapchat app anytime soon.

    Evan Spiegel, the CEO and co-founder of the wildly popular photo and video sharing app Snapchat, said on Monday that his company is not working on an app for the Internet-connected eyewear Google Glass, unlike dozens of other companies.

    “A lot of people talk about the feeling of wearing Google Glass and having technology melt away, but I don’t think that acknowledges the experience of all the people standing around the person wearing the glasses,” he said during an onstage interview with TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook at TechCrunch Disrupt SF, a five-day technology conference. “[Y]ou kind of feel like you have a gun pointed at you, and that doesn’t fit into the Snapchat experience and certainly doesn’t make Snapchatters feel comfortable — so that’s not something we’re willing to explore right now.”

    On the other hand, Spiegel said, Snapchat is developing an app for Galaxy Gear, the recently announced Samsung smartwatch that has a 1.9 megapixel camera on its band. He said his company is interested in the watch because it reduces the “amount of time between seeing something you really want to share and being able to share it.”

    Snapchat, which allows people to share and annotate photos and videos for a pre-selected amount of time, currently has 350 million daily photo shares, up from 200 million in June, Spiegel said.

    The market research firm Forrester found that 28 percent of U.S. adults who took a survey said they’d consider wearing “a sensor device on their wrist,” but only 10 percent said they’d wear one on glasses. Additionally, a number of smartwatches have either already hit the market or have been announced — from Sony, Pebble and Qualcom. Apple is said to be working on a smartwatch-like device as well.

    Smartwatches are also less expensive than Glass — at least for now. Glass isn’t currently on the market for the general consumer, but “Explorer Editions” sent to a select group of people earlier this year cost $1,500 each. When it’s released next month, Samsung’s smartwatch will come with a $299 price tag.

    TechCrunch is owned by AOL, which also owns The Huffington Post.

  • Apple decks out Cupertino headquarters for tomorrow's iPhone event
    Apple has decorated the Town Hall auditorium at its Cupertino headquarters in preparation for tomorrow’s iPhone event, reports say. Banners on the outside use the same colored polka-dot theme found in invitations to the press. The event, which MacNN will cover live, is slated to begin at 10AM Pacific time, or 1 PM Eastern.


Mobile Technology News, September 9, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Microsoft Launches Xbox Music for iPhone

    Microsoft unexpectedly has released Xbox Music for iOS.  The streaming music app allows Xbox Music Pass subscribers to stream music content to their iPhone or iPad leveraging their subscription.  All indications are this is another gap that Microsoft has filled between themselves and iPhone users […]

    The post Microsoft Launches Xbox Music for iPhone appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • The Cowboy Of The NSA
    On Aug. 1, 2005, Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander reported for duty as the 16th director of the National Security Agency, the United States’ largest intelligence organization. He seemed perfect for the job. Alexander was a decorated Army intelligence officer and a West Point graduate with master’s degrees in systems technology and physics. He had run intelligence operations in combat and had held successive senior-level positions, most recently as the director of an Army intelligence organization and then as the service’s overall chief of intelligence. He was both a soldier and a spy, and he had the heart of a tech geek. Many of his peers thought Alexander would make a perfect NSA director. But one prominent person thought otherwise: the prior occupant of that office.
  • Net Neutrality Mockumentary Slams ISPs' Case For Playing Unfair
    The principle of net neutrality — that Internet service providers should not discriminate among different kinds of content — is getting two hearings Monday. One unfolds in a courtroom in Washington; the other you can access right here.

    Lawyers for Verizon are challenging the authority of the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet in a federal appeals court Monday morning. But the net neutrality argument unfolds with less legal verbiage in “The Internet Must Go,” a mockumentary featuring video “leaked” by a hapless market researcher.

    “John Wooley,” played by Second City’s Brian Shortall, is trying to figure out how to sell the public on the merits of a tiered system of online access, with companies paying Internet service providers to give consumers faster access to their sites.

    Instead, he ends up getting an earful from real-life defenders of net neutrality, including Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), law professors Lawrence Lessig and Tim Wu (who coined the term), and humorist John Hodgman.

    “Let’s say you build the Brooklyn Bridge under contract from the government,” says Wu, by way of example. “If that bridge decides, ‘Well, let’s do a deal with Pizza Hut,’ so they get to cross the bridge to do deliveries, but not Little Caesars, well, then they can put Little Caesars out of business. You can see that the bridge is a perfect example of what the Internet is. It is the critical infrastructure which everyone depends upon. And if it is picking winners and losers, that’s a big problem.”

    The video was produced by documentary maker Gena Konstantinakos, with funding and support from the Ford Foundation, Media Democracy Fund, Open Society Foundations, Wyncote Foundation, and Women Make Movies.

    Watch the video above.

  • Windows 8.1 tablets pin hopes on Intel's 'Bay Trail' processor
    WIll Windows 8.1 tablets take off? A lot of it depends on the performance of Intel’s new chip combined with head-turning designs.
  • Nissan launches driver's smartwatch
    A smartwatch that monitors the performance of a vehicle as well as the driver has been launched by car maker Nissan.
  • Rio's bid to become a smart city
    The Rio de Janeiro project changing lives
  • Harvard Business School Case Study: Gender Equity | New York Times
    BOSTON — When the members of the Harvard Business School class of 2013 gathered in May to celebrate the end of their studies, there was little visible evidence of the experiment they had undergone for the last two years. As they stood amid the brick buildings named after businessmen from Morgan to Bloomberg, black-and-crimson caps and gowns united the 905 graduates into one genderless mass.

    But during that week’s festivities, the Class Day speaker, a standout female student, alluded to “the frustrations of a group of people who feel ignored.” Others grumbled that another speechmaker, a former chief executive of a company in steep decline, was invited only because she was a woman. At a reception, a male student in tennis whites blurted out, as his friends laughed, that much of what had occurred at the school had “been a painful experience.”

    He and his classmates had been unwitting guinea pigs in what would have once sounded like a far-fetched feminist fantasy: What if Harvard Business School gave itself a gender makeover, changing its curriculum, rules and social rituals to foster female success?

  • Euro patent points to fingerprint sensor, NFC in future iPhone
    A recently revealed European patent shows that Apple has been working on combining a fingerprint scanner with near-field communication technology, in a move that could catapult the Cupertino company to the forefront of mobile security. The patent describes an "electronic device with shared near field communications and sensor structures," and it came to light due to Patently Apple. At least one model of the next iPhone is widely expected to integrate a fingerprint sensor as a security measure, but Apple’s patent seems to indicate that it is looking beyond just unlocking a phone.


  • 43 Best Vines Of The Week, In One Video: Sep. 1st – Sep. 7th, 2013
    Vine, Twitter’s micro-video social network, is perhaps the best form of entertainment for Generation Distraction. With a limit of 6 seconds per video, it’s easy for viewers to absorb a diverse array of content in just a few minutes and forces Vine-makers to be concise with their creations. The result is a steady supply of some of the most hilarious, surprising and inventive mini-movies around.

    To celebrate this relatively new media, we’ll be doing a weekly compilation of our favorite Vines. This week we have everything from a french bulldog losing a staring contest with a hose to very confused first time condom user and, of course, the most amazing toilet you’ll ever see. If you see something you like, we encourage you to follow its creator on Vine and if there’s something you don’t like, well, just wait a few seconds and it will be over.

    Video produced by Oliver Noble and Hannah Levy

  • iPhone launch may come late as China Mobile complete's LTE network
    Apple’s next generation of iPhone may launch later on China Mobile than on other Chinese carriers, according to a new report. KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo released a note last week explaining that China Mobile is still in the process of rolling out its TDD-LTE network, which will bring faster data speeds to its 700 million subscribers. While China Mobile completes that process, its customers could have to wait until November to get their hands on Apple’s phone.


  • NSA Allowed To Search Domestic Email After 2011 Ruling
    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration quietly won permission from a surveillance court in 2011 for the National Security Agency to search deliberately for Americans’ communications in its huge databases of intercepted phone calls and emails, according to a published report.

    The Washington Post reported Saturday that officials in 2011 got the court to lift the ban on those kinds of searches, which the court imposed in 2008 at the government’s request. The court also extended the length of time the NSA is allowed to retain intercepted communications from five to six years. The search authority has been used, the Post reported, noting that the permission to search and keep data longer expanded the NSA’s authority in significant ways without public debate or any specific authority from Congress. The newspaper cited interviews with government officials and documents that include a recently released 2011 opinion by U.S. District Judge John D. Bates, then chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    The court decision allowed the NSA “to query the vast majority” of its communications databases using the email addresses and phone numbers of Americans and legal residents without a warrant, according to Bates’ opinion. The queries must be “reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information.” And the results are subject to the NSA’s privacy rules.

    The White House on Sunday directed questions on the issue to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    The court in 2008 imposed a wholesale ban on such searches at the government’s request, said Alex Joel, civil liberties protection officer at ODNI. He told the Post the government included this restriction “to remain consistent with NSA policies and procedures that NSA applied to other authorized collection activities.”

    But in 2011, “we did ask the court” to lift the ban to more rapidly and effectively identify relevant foreign intelligence communications, ODNI general counsel Robert S. Litt said. “We wanted to be able to do it,” he said, referring to the searching of Americans’ communications without a warrant.

    Joel said the authority would be needed in certain situations, such as when the NSA learns of a rapidly developing terrorist plot and suspects that a U.S. person may be a conspirator. Searching for communications to, from or about that person can help assess that person’s involvement and whether he is in touch with terrorists who are surveillance targets, he said.

    A pair of Democratic senators, Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado, warned last year the administration had a “back-door search loophole” that enabled the NSA to scour intercepted communications for those of Americans. They introduced legislation to require a warrant, but could not disclose the court’s authorization or whether the NSA was already conducting such searches under classification rules.

    The searches take place under a surveillance program Congress authorized in 2008 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. In 2011, the Court approved procedures presented by the government that enable NSA to query information collected under Section 702 of the act, using identifiers of people from the U.S. The NSA may only use queries that are reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information, and this query activity is overseen by ODNI and the Justice Department and reported to Congress and the court, according to ODNI, which says these queries are only a small fraction of the overall query activity.

    But some are concerned that communications with Americans could be picked up without a court first determining that there is probable cause that the people they were talking to were terrorists, spies or “foreign powers.”

    Udall told the Post that is why it is important to require a warrant before searching for Americans’ data, adding, “Our founders laid out a roadmap where Americans’ privacy rights are protected before their communications are seized or searched – not after the fact.”

  • Yahoo Intern's New Logo Design Was Way Better
    Yahoo unveiled a new company logo last week, but it appears one of the designers who helped come up with the concept may have had other ideas.

    After the new logo was revealed, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer personally thanked design intern Max Ma for his help crafting the new design. But as Business Insider pointed out, Ma may have thought that the company should have gone with another design. The Yahoo intern previously hosted his alternative design on his personal website, according to Business Insider, but has since taken his site entirely offline.

    Here is a photo of the new company logo that Yahoo recently released:

    .@Yahoo unveils new logo for 1st time since shortly after it was founded 18 yrs ago. http://t.co/F8FRqUSk7j pic.twitter.com/hF8hFSZ9rJ

    — NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) September 6, 2013

    And here is a photo that Brad Ehney tweeted of the alternative logo that has since been pulled for Ma’s website:

    Yahoo Intern Logo Concept http://t.co/7MaxSgfSly pic.twitter.com/uJhC0USXCE

    — Brad Ehney (@got80s) September 8, 2013

    Once the other logo went public, many people went to Twitter to express their preference for the unchosen design:

    Yahoos design intern made this logo. Far better, more modern.

    http://t.co/8gg2oKR0rY pic.twitter.com/BK0zDubixg

    — Scott McDaniel (@mcdev) September 8, 2013

    Marissa Mayer’s design intern had another Idea for Yahoo’s New Logo, and it is awesome: http://t.co/sEb30AwnQA #logo pic.twitter.com/2OLEvaouu4

    — Reto A Staehli (@BrandMillennium) September 8, 2013

    Yahoo’s design intern has a very cool alternative logo for the company — what do you think? pic.twitter.com/inqXChdeel

    — TOUJOULA (@toujoula) September 8, 2013

  • Are Love, Money and Glory Building Blocks to a Better World?
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    Albert Einstein was once asked by a journalist about his formula for success, and he said: “If A is success, I should say the formula is A = X + Y + Z, X being work, Y being play and Z is keeping your mouth shut.”

    In her recent TEDTalk, “The Game That Can Give you 10 Extra Years of Life,” leading game designer Jane McGonical explores how playing games can not only improve the work we do, as Einstein realized in his own life, but can also be used as a key to greater longevity and overall personal happiness.

    Across her body of literature, McGonical argues that all good gameplay is hard work. It’s hard work that we enjoy and choose for ourselves. And, based on the most recent scientific findings, when we do hard work that we love, we are priming our minds for happiness.

    Satisfying work always starts with two things: a clear goal and actionable next steps toward achieving that goal. A great way to break down this work is by dividing our goal into bite-size, actionable items (these are also known as microtasks or microactions).

    In fact, I know from first-hand experience that gamifying a process with microactions is not only fun and rewarding, but can also be incredibly useful.

    In 2009, I was introduced to the fabulous Cindy Gallop, CEO and Founder of a radically simple web-meets-world online platform designed to transform intentions into action: IfWeRanTheWorld.

    Madly in love with the concept from day one, I would become the number one “superhero” on the platform over the course of several years. I roped in my entire family, friends and personal contacts, and we used microactions to crowdsource everything from election campaigns to seeing beauty in everything.

    Microacting, just as McGonical explains in her TEDTalk, makes me happy. Having a tool to use as an outlet to structure the activities I am already doing in my day-to-day life with the support of peers is great fun. It’s also incredibly versatile as there’s no limit to what you can do using microactions.

    I remember sitting at my favorite coffee shop in Ottawa one morning and thinking: all I want to do is microact.


    My Tweet that says it all from Sept. 10, 2010.

    And so I did — participating in 25 action platforms (a series of microactions grouped together by a cause) of my own creation, 18 action platforms created by others, and doing literally hundreds of microactions.

    My resolve was so strong that today, along with my international team of mystery, we’re set to roll-out yet another vehicle for microacting. Being piloted this Fall, MC2 is a crowdsourced mobile app designed to reward people with points and prizes for doing things they like or care about.

    With all of this said, I know that just providing people with a tool to take action is not enough. Rather, in order to get people motivated to do something they need the right set of incentives.

    Intrinsic rewards are positive emotions, personal strengths and social connections that we build by engaging with the world around us — by simply doing things we love. — Giovanna Mingarelli

    Incentivizing Real-World Actions: Love, Money and Glory

    McGonical has cited that in the gaming industry, there are two kinds of rewards: extrinsic and intrinsic.

    Extrinsic rewards appear in the form of money, status and praise. When we win them, we feel good, but they don’t lead to ultimate happiness, as we are only briefly satisfied.

    Intrinsic rewards are positive emotions, personal strengths and social connections that we build by engaging with the world around us — by simply doing things we love.

    Both are powerful motivating factors, but which ones have the power to incentivize real-world action?

    After mulling over it for a few years, the answer came to me one day while I was in Boston.

    I was at the world’s first-ever multidisciplinary collective intelligence conference in May of 2012 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    Two hundred academics and thought leaders from around the world came together for three days to discuss the reasons and ways in which humans, animals and insects engage in — what at least appears to be — activities underpinned by collectively intelligent behavior.

    After three days of fascinating presentations there was one clear thread that linked all of the presentations: regardless of the activity, or where in the world an activity is taking place, people will take action or engage in a crowdsourced project for at least one of three reasons: love, money or glory.

    Given the interesting coupling of intrinsic (love) and extrinsic (money and glory) rewards, I think these results form the basis of a really compelling set of incentives.

    These incentives, for instance, could be used to digitally harness billions of microactions in the creation and execution of social activities that can help tackle issues ranging from health and fitness, to political participation and beyond.

    The question is: who will take charge in providing people with the incentives they need to change the world? Will it be our governments? Our brands? Our startups? Or are intrinsic motivations enough to compel us to action, given the right tools?

    Like McGonical, I believe that we’re now at a unique time in the evolution of our planet, where we have the opportunity, the means and the latent motivation to use microactions as the foundation for enriching our cultures and to build better societies. It’ll be hard work — but that’s ok, as long as we make life a game that we play along the way.

    Einstein would certainly agree.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • Living Your Life Without Regrets: Gamifying Health and Well-being
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    In this talk Jane McGonigal discusses the game she designed, Superbetter, and how it could increase your life expectancy and improve your health and well-being. These are not the usual attributes you imagine being able to get from a game. Using a wealth of scientific research that proves how to increase happiness and build resilience, she challenges you to a personal gaming mission: to live your life well.

    Not everyone wants to play computer games, and there’s an increasing tide of negativity about how video games can be bad for you. We’re telling our children they’ll become obese if they play too computer games too long, or they’ll become aggressive if they play violent games. Many adults view gaming as a waste of time, when they could be achieving other goals. The polemic about gaming is driving these two very different attitudes towards gaming: those who are pro-gaming and those who are anti-gaming.

    But McGonigal’s video isn’t really about gaming. It uses game strategies to guide behaviors and thinking to change the way you respond to negatives in your life and build more positives. This talk highlights some important therapeutic strategies for psychologists. One of the key strategies I teach my clients I work with is to reduce suffering through acceptance. Acceptance is a core skill in both Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Research on these mindfulness-based therapies indicates they are effective in treating a variety of mental health issues (Hoffman, Sawyer & Fang, 2010), such as depression, suicidality, eating disorders, relationship issues and personality disorders. Acceptance is an important skill for everyone to develop; it’s not just for those who have a mental health diagnosis.

    The philosophy behind using acceptance comes from the idea that it’s not possible to control everything in life. Life isn’t easy and often bad things happen that can’t be changed immediately, but to focus on the negatives means that you also miss out on the positives. To reduce suffering in life you need to accept the situations that can’t be controlled, tolerate the pain that brings you, and avoid doing things that could make it worse. If there was no choice to change the situation, would you rather have pain or suffering?


    Trying to fight against the things we don’t like or don’t want doesn’t resolve the situation, and this stops us from achieving our goals. The skill is in coping with the pain that comes with life to be positive in spite of the negativity. — Danya Braunstein

    As McGonigal described when she was bedridden, she continued to experience the pain of her severe concussion. However she was able to tolerate being unable to do the things she enjoyed and also reduce thoughts of suicide by playing her Superbetter game. Acceptance doesn’t mean liking or wanting the situation, but it’s about tolerating the reality of the situation that cannot be changed. If McGonigal didn’t accept her situation she may have refused to stay in bed and exposed herself to triggers which would have prevented her brain injury from healing. Trying to fight against the things we don’t like or don’t want doesn’t resolve the situation, and this stops us from achieving our goals. The skill is in coping with the pain that comes with life to be positive in spite of the negativity. Doing this actually makes it easier to achieve your goal.

    Being able to cope with difficult life situations build resilience, if people are able to better manage their problems in life they have more capacity for increasing positivity. McGonigal’s tips for increasing positives are possible when people are able to manage the difficult situations in life. Acceptance is the first step in being able to make a commitment to positive goals and finding the motivation to improve physical, mental, emotional and social resilience. Gaming strategies such as those proposed by McGonigal encourage engagement with these key areas by making the process ‘fun’ by setting goals, involving others in overcoming challenges and increasing positive behaviors. For those who are involved with gaming, this way of thinking about life’s difficulties is effective for motivating positive change. However, those who don’t find games engaging may want to frame this in a way that is more effective for them. The skills are the same whether you make it into a game or find another motivator.

    To life live well there is a simple rule: do what works, and accept what doesn’t until you’re able to change it. Identify what is important to you and do more of that thing every day, for example following your dreams, or spending time with friends and family. Follow this rule and you may find you live your whole life positively and without regrets. If you do this it won’t matter how long you live because you’ll be enjoying each day in the present moment.

    The opinion and advice here are not a substitute for personalized medical treatment for those experiencing clinical mental health concerns.


    Hoffman, S.G., Sawyer, A.T., & Fang, A. (2010). The Empirical Status of the “New Wave” of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, Volume 33, Issue 3, Pages 701-710 doi: 10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.006. Retrieved 4th September, 2013.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • Why Your Best Ideas Happen In The Most Unusual Places
    Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shared some questionable advice on how to become successful at work: Don’t go to the bathroom.

    “I always tried to be the first one in in the morning and the last one to leave at night, take the fewest vacations and the least time away from the desk to go to the bathroom or have lunch,” Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. “You gotta be there.”

    It wasn’t the first time the mayor has suggested that chaining yourself to your desk is the way to get ahead. In 2011, he told TechCrunch, “Don’t ever take a lunch break or go to the bathroom, you keep working.”

    But Bloomberg’s bladder-holding approach may not be as conducive to productivity and success as the mayor would like to think. A number of incredibly successful people have had their most brilliant ideas in the bathroom, and research actually supports the idea that being in the shower could boost your powers of innovative thinking.

    According to Harvard psychologist Shelley H. Carson, author of “Your Creative Brain,” little distractions like going to the bathroom can actually be a good thing when it comes to creativity. She explains that interruptions and diversions can lead to a creative “incubation period.”

    “In other words, a distraction may provide the break you need to disengage from a fixation on the ineffective solution,” Carson told the Boston Globe.

    Looking for your next big idea? Here are six people who found inspiration in unexpected places — in the bathroom and beyond.

    Woody Allen

    woody allen

    The writer, actor and director regularly takes showers for inspiration, sometimes standing in the water for close to an hour to get his creative juices flowing.

    “In the shower, with the hot water coming down, you’ve left the real world behind, and very frequently things open up for you,” Allen said in a recent interview with Esquire. “It’s the change of venue, the unblocking the attempt to force the ideas that’s crippling you when you’re trying to write.”



    One of the most famous “aha!” moments in history occurred in a bathtub. Archimedes came up with the principles of density and buoyancy when watching water flow as he drew a bath, and realized that he could determine density by submerging an object in water and examining how much water had been displaced.

    Legend has it that the ancient mathematician jumped out of the bath and ran through the streets yelling “Eureka! Eureka!”

    Gertrude Stein

    gertrude stein

    Gertrude Stein’s best ideas came to her in the car — while she was looking at cows. She would write for only 30 minutes a day, driving around a farm and stopping at different cows until she found the one that most inspired her.

    John Lennon

    john lennon

    Rock and roll legend has it that John Lennon suddenly got the idea for “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” from looking at an interesting poster in an antique shop.

    “John got the idea for ‘Mr. Kite’ when… we had a lunch break, and we went in an antique shop on the way to the restaurant,” bandmate George Harrison said. “We were looking at what they had there and John pulled out this thing that we found … a little poster which had more or less the whole lyric of the song ‘Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!’ on it … I think he was just advanced in his awareness of putting everything in a song.”

    Nikola Tesla

    ideas creativity

    Nikola Tesla had many great ideas, but one of his best occurred to him far from the laboratory: the inventor came up with his idea for alternating electric currents while out on a leisurely stroll. According to the Science Channel, he used his walking stick to draw a picture explaining how it would work to his partner.

    J.K. Rowling

    jk rowling

    The British novelist got her idea for “Harry Potter” while on a crowded train. She didn’t have a pen to write the idea down and was too shy to ask for one, so she pondered over the concept for the remaining four hours of the train ride in order to lock it into her brain.

  • NSA Can Access Most Smartphone Data, Der Spiegel Reports
    BERLIN — The U.S. National Security Agency is able to crack protective measures on iPhones, BlackBerry and Android devices, giving it access to users’ data on all major smartphones, according to a report Sunday in German news weekly Der Spiegel.

    The magazine cited internal documents from the NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ in which the agencies describe setting up dedicated teams for each type of phone as part of their effort to gather intelligence on potential threats such as terrorists. The data obtained this way includes contacts, call lists, SMS traffic, notes and location information, Der Spiegel reported. The documents don’t indicate that the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of phone users but rather that these techniques are used to eavesdrop on specific individuals, the magazine said.

    The article doesn’t explain how the magazine obtained the documents, which are described as “secret.” But one of its authors is Laura Poitras, an American filmmaker with close contacts to NSA leaker Edward Snowden who has published several articles about the NSA in Der Spiegel in recent weeks.

    The documents outline how, starting in May 2009, intelligence agents were unable to access some information on BlackBerry phones for about a year after the Canadian manufacturer began using a new method to compress the data. After GCHQ cracked that problem, too, analysts celebrated their achievement with the word “Champagne,” Der Spiegel reported.

    The magazine printed several slides alleged to have come from an NSA presentation referencing the film “1984,” based on George Orwell’s book set in a totalitarian surveillance state. The slides – which show stills from the film, former Apple Inc. chairman Steve Jobs holding an iPhone, and iPhone buyers celebrating their purchase – are captioned: “Who knew in 1984…that this would be big brother…and the zombies would be paying customers?”

    Snowden’s revelations have sparked a heated debate in Germany about the country’s cooperation with the United States in intelligence matters.

    On Saturday, thousands of people in Berlin protested the NSA’s alleged mass surveillance of Internet users. Many held placards with slogans such as “Stop watching us.”

    Separately, an incident in which a German police helicopter was used to photograph the roof of the American consulate in Frankfurt has caused a minor diplomatic incident between the two countries.

    German magazine Focus reported Sunday that U.S. Ambassador John B. Emerson complained about the overflight, which German media reported was ordered by top officials after reports that the consulate housed a secret espionage site.

    A U.S. embassy spokesman downplayed the story, saying “the helicopter incident was, naturally enough, the subject of embassy conversation with the Foreign Ministry, but no demarche or letter of complaint about the incident was sent to the German government.”


    Frank Jordans can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter

  • Information and Access: Human Rights and the Internet
    The dust being kicked up by Edward Snowden in Russia now and of Chelsea Manning before him is likely not the latest in a long line of leakers that have challenged and redefined the national and international conversations about what is or is not acceptable limits on privacy in our societies. These conversations are critical, for it is only by consensus that we can come to a collective understanding about the boundaries between personal and public lives. However, the substantially sordid revelations by Snowden has inflamed the discussion to such an extent that it’s easy to lose track of an important thread that we might separate from concerns of privacy, and that’s that the exceptional progress we’ve made at making information more accessible at a lower cost to more people on the planet than at any time in human history.

    Access is an issue. The older among us can recall the long process of sifting through card catalogs, consulting journals for recommendations or personal networks for word-of-mouth suggestions. In many cases, this would be followed up with the realization that you’d have to request information through an interlibrary loan where a book or periodical would get mailed to you (if you were lucky enough to not simply be told that it was unavailable). In the world of mass media, dependency reigned on being able to afford equipment to pick up free broadcasts and the presumption that you lived in a nation that permitted access to you from diverse sources. At a glance, the notion that Bill Gates pushed that there are more important things than internet access seems true. Who would prioritize being able to read a copy of Le Monde over the pressure to get treatment access to a child dying of malaria, to say nothing of the frivolity implied with getting YouTube or Twitter accounts ahead of the goal of curing HIV/AIDS or ensuring clean water access to communities. And yet, it is precisely the lack of information that leads people to be unaware of the ways to prevent illness with handwashing, to leave them helpless and disempowered in the face of malaria prevention or treatment, and to believe that medical and economic and political problems are either unsolvable or are a feature unique to their culture/geography and thus impossible to address.

    Freedom has been described in different ways. Burma’s Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has called for the imperative to achieve freedom from fear as a foundation in political development. Freedoms of belief, speech, religion and ensuring the whole kit and kaboodle of human rights to be something the whole planet has access to? These are all predicated on an awareness that such rights are critical, are a birthright and are something that increasing numbers of the world are working to achieve on their own behalf and for those yet deprived. Witness the exploratory efforts made by Google to provide innovative access to the online world to far-flung regions of the globe. Endorse Mark Zuckerberg’s desire to empower more people to have lives online, even if you think it’s a business move. Celebrate the intentions of providing children with laptops with the OLPC project. Embrace the principles of freedom of thought and the ability to communicate equally, and the world is empowered to share innovations about medical research, technological advances, emergent threats to our collective well-being and the recognition that we are all on a little rock in space and should probably get along.

    Finally, we come full circle. The need to share information does not (should not) preclude the freedom of thought that requires a right to privacy to exist. The excesses of governments around the world, and particularly the American one right now, should give us real pause about just what we’re aiming for. While the idea of preventing mass violence against anyone is a laudable one, are we really willing to simply cast aside the idea of conversations even being able to happen outside of government oversights and regulation? Do you want to live in a world where there are large classes of people acting to decide not only the question of who gets to decide but to go deeper and decide the question of who gets to even know?

    We endorse the principle that information of all kinds should be more free for more people, that there should be limits to what governments anywhere should get to examine and regulate about your internal or interpersonal life and that conversations of import sometimes necessitate that they only exist between two people and at other times the whole world. For the sake of increasing the spheres of tolerance, knowledge and diversity, make information access a priority around the globe.

  • Australia's Carbon Tax Under Fire As New Government Takes Control
    CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s new government prepared to take control of the nation Sunday, with Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott vowing to immediately scrap a hated tax on carbon polluters and implement a controversial plan to stop asylum seekers from reaching the nation’s shores.

    Abbott met with bureaucrats to go over his border security plans and said his first priority would be to repeal the deeply unpopular carbon tax on Australia’s biggest industrial polluters. Abbott’s conservative Liberal Party-led coalition won a crushing victory in elections Saturday against the center-left Labor Party, which had ruled for six years, including during the turbulent global financial crisis. Labor was ultimately doomed by years of party instability and bickering, and by its decision to renege on an election promise by implementing the carbon tax, which many Australians blame for steep increases in their power bills.

    The Australian Electoral Commission’s latest count Sunday had the coalition likely to win a clear majority of 86 seats in the 150-seat House of Representatives. Labor appeared likely to secure 57.

    In an open letter Sunday, Abbott said he would immediately implement his border protection plan, under which the Australian navy would turn back Indonesian fishing boats carrying asylum seekers into Australian waters. The coalition has also proposed that the government buy old fishing boats from Indonesian fishermen to prevent them from falling into the hands of people smugglers.

    Labor has dismissed the boat-buying policy as “crazy,” and the idea was sharply criticized on Sunday by Mahfudz Siddiq, a senior Indonesian lawmaker, who said it would threaten relations between the two countries.

    “His idea is clearly insulting the dignity of Indonesians,” he said. “It showed to us that he does not understand diplomacy.”

    Abbott, a supremely fit 55-year-old, began his first day as prime minister-elect with an early morning bicycle ride from his Sydney home with friends.

    “It was a very big night, but this is just the start of another normal day and there’s going to be a fair bit of solid work this morning,” Abbott told reporters. “There’s a lot of work that will be done later today.”

    In his letter, Abbott took a dig at the outgoing Labor government’s notorious infighting.

    “We will be a careful, collegial, consultative, straight-forward government that says what it means and does what it says and that does not waste your money,” Abbott wrote.

    Abbott also held briefings Sunday with defense and intelligence officials to get an update on the Syrian civil war. Abbott, whose party is often criticized for placing too little value on foreign relations, caught heat last week for describing the Syrian crisis in an interview as “baddies versus baddies.” Outgoing Prime Minister Kevin Rudd dubbed the comments “the most simplistic analysis I’ve ever heard.”

    The coalition has made clear that it intends to make steep cuts to spending in a bid to return the Australian budget to a surplus after five consecutive deficits delivered by Labor since the global economic crisis.

    Last week, the party announced that if elected it would plan to save 4.5 billion Australian dollars ($4.1 billion) over the next four years by reducing increases in its aid spending to the Australian inflation rate, which is currently less than 3 percent. The money saved will be reallocated to fund road projects.

    The outgoing Labor government said in May that Australia’s long-standing pledge to increase its foreign aid spending to 0.5 percent of gross national income by 2015-16 would be postponed by two years.

    The coalition said in a statement last week that it shared Labor’s commitment to reach the 0.5 percent target “over time, but cannot commit to a date given the current state of the federal budget.”

    “I have to say, there are higher immediate priorities” than reaching the 0.5 percent target, Abbott told reporters last week. “The best thing we can do for our country and ultimately the best thing we can do for people around the world is to strengthen our economy.”

    The plans have been condemned by opponents and aid groups, who dubbed it short-sighted and contrary to the nation’s image of global cooperation, particularly in light of Australia’s recent appointments to presidency of the U.N. Security Council and the G-20 in 2014.

    The coalition appears unlikely to win a majority in the Senate. But the election could deliver some conservative-minded senators for minor parties that Abbott could deal with.

    Abbott also needs Senate support to fulfill his promises to repeal the carbon tax and a 30 percent tax on coal and iron ore miners’ profits.

    Saturday’s election likely brought Australia’s first Aboriginal woman to Parliament. Former Olympian Nova Peris is almost certain to win a Senate seat for Labor in the Northern Territory, but the final results will not be known for days.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s bid for a Senate seat in Victoria state appeared doomed on Sunday. His Senate running mate for the newly founded WikiLeaks Party, Binoy Kampmark, said the secrets spiller was unlikely to win a seat after attracting just a little more than 1 percent of the votes in Victoria. The Senate count won’t be finalized for days.


    Associated Press writers Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, contributed to this report.

Mobile Technology News, September 8, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • New reports confirm US share for iOS growing, Android dropping
    Though the combined Android installed base in the US is still larger than Apple’s iOS, reports from the past few months have shown a slow but steady drop in the platform — and the latest reports from ComScore MobiLens, Mobile Matrix, Quantcast and Millennial Media all indicate that iOS is gaining share, in spite of reports based on "shipments" rather than end-user sales or real-world usage. While Samsung also continues to grow share in the US, the failure of other Android-based retailers is dragging the platform down overall, the reports reveal.


  • NSA Can Spy on Smartphone Data
    The United States’ National Security Agency intelligence-gathering operation is capable of accessing user data from smart phones from all leading manufacturers. Top secret NSA documents that SPIEGEL has seen explicitly note that the NSA can tap into such information on Apple iPhones, BlackBerry devices and Google’s Android mobile operating system.
  • What's coming to Apple and Android? ARM offers a roadmap
    ARM chips are gong to power more PC-like devices from the likes of Samsung and Apple in 2014.
  • Silver ring around 'iPhone 5S' home button may be fingerprint sensor
    Recent images purportedly showing the next generation of iPhone portray the device with a silver ring around the home button, and some observers claim that the ring may be more than cosmetic. AppleInsider noted on Friday that the ring appears well in keeping with designs for a functional component necessary to the operation of a fingerprint sensor. Such an addition to the iPhone line would likely give Apple a significant advantage over its competition in terms of device security, and it could lead to a much wider range of uses for the iPhone.


  • Analyst: 4.5, 5-inch iPhones possible for next year
    If Apple is indeed working on larger-screened iPhones for release in the next year or so, the Cupertino company is unlikely to roll out anything with a display larger than five inches. This according to well-connected analyst Ming-hi Kuo, who explained in a note that any larger-screened iPhone will probably launch with a 4.5 to five-inch display. The reason: Apple’s "unwavering principle of one-hand use."


  • iPhone and DoCoMo is a big deal in Japan
    The likely introduction of the iPhone 5S and/or 5C by NTT DoCoMo is a hot topic in Japan.
  • Don't Let Your Twitter Haunt You
    I started my company, Utoria, when I was only 13, and my mom has always given me guidelines about what I should and shouldn’t be posting on social media. However, through speaking to audiences of peers, I’ve realized that most of you don’t have similar situations. The majority of young adults’ tweets, snaps, vines, and posts (that I’ve seen) look worse than Amanda Bynes does walking into a courthouse. Also see: train wreck.

    Maybe it’s because some of you don’t realize how what you can say online can impact you. Maybe you don’t care. Or maybe you do and you’re reading this thinking, “I’m glad she’s not talking about me.” Either way you need to read what I’m about to say. Help me spread awareness so we can cure OCD: Online Compulsive Disorder.

    As a 16 year-old girl, but also as a CEO, I must say that I love social media. You could even consider it a slight obsession. That being said, I love meeting new people, finding information and keeping up with trends online. (LIKE #SHARKWEEK! OMG!) But as Mr. Mark Cuban — famous entrepreneur, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of Shark Tank on ABC — once said on Shark After Dark, “Anything that is that powerful must be feared as well as admired.” Same goes for social media.

    Now speaking to you as a CEO, the first thing I do when anyone wants to work with me or for me is Google their name. When you Google anyone’s name some of the first things that will appear in the search results is their social media profiles. Employers are going to want to see what you’re saying online. Your Twitter feed could mean the difference between you getting your dream job and, well, not.

    Even outside of employers, certain extra curricular programs, scholarship programs, colleges and other organizations you want to be involved in may also look at your social media presence. And don’t be mistaken, that will include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Google+, Pinterest and more.

    So in light of your newfound social media enlightenment, I’ve put together some tips below to make sure you’ll never have any social media ghosts that can come back to haunt you.


    • Develop an “identity”. i.e. Frequent posts about fashion and style will make people associate you with that topic.
    • Set boundaries with friends and online peers. If you’re upfront with people in your life about what you’re okay and not okay with posting online, there’s going to be less damage-control for you to do after the fact.
    • Smile in pictures. People who smile are attractive.
    • Post things that you wouldn’t mind your mama seeing.
    • Use your accounts to post your own opinions and contribute to topics and online communities.
    • Be aware of who may look at what your posting. Now and forever.


    • Post personal information. Not only for your protection, but also to show that you’re mature and can be taken seriously.
    • Post about illegal or inappropriate activities you participate in. EVER. Private or public profile. Posts can be spread by photo.
    • Duck face. Just don’t.
    • Post “your mama” jokes. Or other things your mama would find offensive.
    • Say things that could be found offensive, rude, or immature.
    • Mention people or organizations in a negative way that could be mistaken as slander. No matter who it is. EVER.
  • Windows Phone 8 updates apparently revealed by phone bought on Craigslist
    A Craigslist shopper supposedly buys a smartphone by way of an ad on the site — and ends up with the yet-to-be-released GDR3 upgrade to Windows Phone 8. Screenshots reveal new features.
  • VIDEO: Virgin spaceship passes milestone
    What looks like being the world’s first commercial space plane has just passed another technical milestone.
  • Twitter Bans Al-Shabab, Somalia's Al Qaeda Extremists, For Violating Terms Of Service
    NAIROBI, Kenya — The flagship Twitter account of al-Shabab, Somalia’s al-Qaida-linked terror group, was closed Friday for the second time this year, less than 24 hours after a U.S.-based terrorism expert reported violations of Twitter’s terms of service.

    The closure comes only days after al-Shabab claimed a failed assassination attempt against Somalia’s president and tweeted that the next time the president wouldn’t be so lucky. Al-Shabab uses Twitter mainly to make claims of enemy kills and to spread its view of events in Somalia and East Africa. A United Nations report on Somalia released last month said U.N. experts believe the person running the English-language account is a British member of al-Shabab.

    Twitter in January suspended al-Shabab’s previous account two days after the group used the platform to announce a death threat against Kenyan hostages. Twitter’s terms of service says it does not allow specific threats of violence against others in its posts.

    The extremists’ use of Twitter has upsides and downsides, say terrorism analysts. Analysts and governments can use the rebels’ Twitter postings to gather intelligence, but militants can use the accounts to spread propaganda and recruit fighters.

    The closing of the account is likely to keep al-Shabab off Twitter only temporarily. Whoever ran the account can easily open another one.

    J.M. Berger, the U.S.-based terrorism analyst who made several posts on Thursday about al-Shabab’s violations on Twitter, said in a post early Friday that “I’m sure Al Shabab will be back on Twitter, but maybe next time they’ll know they have to behave like civilized people to stay.”

    Analysts debate whether society is better served by closing social media accounts and the messages they propagate or if it’s better to keep the accounts open so intelligence can be gathered. Berger argues that there is little intelligence of value to be mined from the accounts.

    Berger wrote earlier this year, following the first Twitter closure, that closing the accounts strengthens intelligence gathering because experts can track who quickly follows the new Twitter account, and that they are often people with a connection or interest in al-Shabab or terrorism.

    Meanwhile, a wanted American who moved from Alabama to Somalia to join al-Shabab resurfaced on Twitter on Friday. Omar Hammami was once an avid Twitter user who engaged in long Twitter conversations with U.S. terrorism experts when his Twitter handle suddenly went silent in May.

    Hammami, who had a well-publicized falling-out with al-Shabab, reported earlier this year that he had survived an al-Shabab assassination attempt. He then disappeared from social media sites. Hammami on Friday took to Twitter to complain that Voice of America had publicized only a small portion of a 30-minute interview he gave. VOA says it will air a special news report on Hammami later Friday.

  • 8 Ways Violent Games Are Bad for Your Kids
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    Life-changing. That sums up the reviews I read about Jane’s game, SuperBetter. A personal life coach wrapped into a $4.99 app that is actually fun to play — and will change your life in a super better way. I nodded with excitement (and already added over 21 minutes to my life!) as I watched her TED video three times.

    But if a game truly has the power to unlock such positivity on people’s lives, it made me think about some of the other “what ifs” behind the power of gaming, especially its effect on the developing brain. So, what happens when we expose our kids – our next generation of leaders, cure-seekers, and innovators – to games that are not-so-super?

    As a mom of three boys who like to shoot and blast things, and as co-creator of a wholesome game that teaches kids to solve real-world problems, my mind immediately worries about all the violent video games that are out there. You know, those “M” for Mature games that parents turn their backs to while the kids stay entertained for hours.

    Here are eight ways that I found violent games are bad for your kids:

    1. First-Hand Role in Killing Process. To kids, virtual experiences feel very real, not only because the graphics today are so amazing, but because they are taking on a first-person role in the killing process. Rather than just passively watching a rated-R violent movie, when kids play a game, they are one of the main characters inside the adventure. The entire experience becomes a more meaningful — and deadly – in their brains, which are forming new connections every day.

    2. Measure Success through Killing. You know that “I did it!” feeling you get from Jane’s SuperBetter game when you accomplish a mini task? A feeling of success should come from positive, challenging achievements — not the accomplishment of killing someone else. What kind of message is that sending to our kids?

    I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids learn about the birds and bees through a game. — Laura St. John

    3. Disrespect Women. I am a pretty tough little chick: I live in a house filled with plenty of testosterone, and they all know not to mess with me. But majority of the ultra-violent games feature violence toward women. Now if some games can teach the habits of heroes, why would we ever harness the power of gaming to be mean toward me, or your girls — your daughters, my boys’ future girlfriends?

    4. Inappropriate Sexual Content. Just like you wouldn’t allow your child to go to or rent a rated R movie because of its inappropriate sexual content, many violent games are just as bad, if not worse. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my kids learn about the birds and bees through a game.

    5. Resolve Conflicts through Violence. Violent video games show kids how to express themselves physically, in a violent way. It’s already way easier for a child to push another child when they’re angry than to express their emotions and resolve a conflict through words. My boys have their fair share of quarrels, but I don’t want them to learn they should resolve conflicts by hurting each other.

    6. De-Sensitizes Killing. When you hear the tragic, heart-wrenching stories such as what happened in Newtown, Conn., you wonder how exposure to violent games de-sensitizes people to the act of killing other people. The thought of my little boys picking up a gun to shoot someone is not only disgusting, it teaches them to disrespect life. What if that could carry over to their own life or others? Ick, that makes me shudder.

    7. Explicit Language. The first time one of my sons was exposed to a violent game, I learned quickly that he was guilty after he said, “Oh, sh@#!” Enough said.

    8. Fuzzy Line Between Real and Make-Believe. Little kids have a hard time distinguishing the line between the real-world and the virtual gaming world, as young minds are still forming what is real and what is make-believe. I put it into perspective like this: If my kids believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny, then how could they possibly understand that these other bad guys in games, who look real, are not really real?

    Now don’t get me wrong: I am all for allowing kids plenty of screen time to be useful, productive, creative, and help make the world a better place. When used appropriately, technology has the power and potential to be the best tool ever invented. So now go use your power-ups for the greater good, and help make the world a SuperBetter place.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • The Game Is <i>You</i>: Adding Years to Your Life
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    “I’m a gamer,” said Jane McGonigal in her TEDTalk. “So I like to have
    goals, like special missions, and secret objectives,” she added. “So here’s
    my special mission for this talk. I’m gonna try to increase the life span of
    every reasonable person in this room by 7 1/2 minutes.” Jane McGonigal, is a
    game designer, has a Ph.D. from Berkeley, author of Reality is Broken, and
    has researched the psychology of games for over a decade. She makes a bold
    statement on the TED stage in her talk, “The game that can give you 10 extra
    years of life.”

    In an audacious move by McGonigal claiming to increase the lifespan of her
    audience, McGonigal , for demonstration purposes, gave the audience simple
    challenges to boost four types of resilience — physical, mental, emotional
    and social; which in turn will add 7 1/2 minutes to their life, she said.

    And McGonigal concludes that “people who regularly boost these four types of
    resilience — physical, mental, emotional, and social live 10 years longer
    than everyone else.”

    Let’s back up a moment and put gaming into perspective.

    Video games are a multibillion-dollar industry, the average player is 30
    years old, forty-five percent of all game players are women, and thirty-six
    percent of gamers play games on their Smartphone, and 25 percent play games
    on their wireless device, according to
    the Entertainment Software

    And, gaming or gamification in health is a hot topic today.

    In gamification, people choose to set a goal and they can reach that goal
    with motivation, challenges and collaboration from friends and family.
    Gamification is about engagement, interaction, collaboration, and shared
    efforts to achieve the “win.”

    Michael Wu, PhD, principle scientist of analytics at Lithium Technologies
    defines gamification in this way, “Gamification is merely a tool for
    driving behaviors, which include engagement, interaction, competition,
    collaboration, awareness, learning, even to the extreme of obsession, and
    much more.”

    And while FiercehealthIT reports
    that the, “University of Pittsburgh
    researchers say video games as a powerful tool for improving patient health,
    according to a
    just published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine,” it’s just
    that, as Wu stated, “merely a tool.”

    Employers are getting into the gaming space with “tools” for employees to
    improve and achieve their health and wellness goals; including ShapeUP,
    Healthrageous and S2H Challenge. SuperBetter, an online game designed to
    help you achieve your health and wellness goals was created by Jane
    McGonigal after she suffered a severe concussion.

    But, the important message about gaming, about gamification, about “adding
    years to your life,” has to do with YOU. Did you notice that McGonigal’s
    talk is titled, “The game that can give you 10 extra years of life”? It
    doesn’t say, “The game that will give you 10 extra years of life.” There’s a
    big difference between “can” and “will.”

    You aren’t going to have Jane McGonigal sitting next to you
    each day telling you what to do to increase your lifespan by minutes or
    years, and she’s not going to be there to provide you with challenges to
    increase your resilience — physical, mental, emotional or social resilience. — Barbara Ficarra

    Yes, the mechanics of the games, the “tools” needed to achieve health and
    wellness goals, must be engaging and provide a level of excitement and an
    element for collaboration, but ultimately, your health and wellness goals
    start with YOU. You aren’t going to have Jane McGonigal sitting next to you
    each day telling you what to do to increase your lifespan by minutes or
    years, and she’s not going to be there to provide you with challenges to
    increase your resilience — physical, mental, emotional or social resilience.
    For example, telling you to count backwards from 100 by 7, raise your arms
    high in the air, snap your fingers exactly 50 times, or shake someone’s
    hand. Health and wellness goals and lifestyle changes begin with you. You
    can have a happier and healthier life if you choose to take steps to create
    the life you want. By taking personal responsibility for your own
    well-being, you have the power to add years to your life.

    B.J. Fogg , author of Persuasive
    Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do
    , and
    psychologist, directs the Persuasive Tech Lab at Stanford University, states
    that “three elements must converge at the same moment for a behavior to
    occur: Motivation, Ability, and Trigger.”

    So when you ultimately decide you want to achieve your health and wellness
    goals, whether it’s eating healthier, losing weight, sleeping better, or
    increasing your physical activity, gaming may help, but remember, games are
    only tools. You have the power to move the tools. You can be inspired by
    others, such as friends and family in your social networks and games can
    help ignite behavior change, but it first begins with YOU. Motivation to
    live a happier and healthier life first begins with the power of you. You
    can add years to your life.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • 50 Things That Will Make You Say 'Wow!'

    Welcome to O‘s rousing roundup of awe-inspiring people, places and things that bowled us over, choked us up and lifted our spirits high.

    1. Nothing But Net
    In 1997 painter Janet Echelman moved to India on a Fulbright Lectureship — but her paints, which she’d shipped separately, never arrived. One day while walking on the beach, she noticed the massive nets being used by local fishermen; unlike her abstract paintings, “they were able to change and move, and were soft but also incredibly strong,” she recalls. janet echelman amsterdamn She decided to experiment — and, working with the fishermen, produced her first woven sculpture, a jellyfish-like self-portrait she called Wide Hips. Now her enormous, billowing creations hang in cities around the globe, from an airport terminal in San Francisco to a plaza in Porto, Portugal. She chooses her materials — netting, mesh — for fluidity, which contrasts sharply with the urban environments where her pieces live. “In big cities we’re surrounded by concrete chasms, by glass and steel,” she says. Her sculptures serve “a greater need for softness,” providing a shared experience of awe in a hard-edged world.

    Echelman’s sculpture 1.26 Amsterdam, at left, captivated passerby from December 2012 to January 2013.
    — Zoe Donaldson

    2. Collective Muscle
    At 6:30 A.M. each Wednesday, roughly 400 academics, moms, marathoners, and recovering couch potatoes pour into Harvard Stadium in Boston to run all 37 sections of stairs — 1,147 steps total. They’re part of the November Project, a massive thrice-weekly group-sweat organized by two former college rowers, Bojan Mandaric and Brogan Graham, who wanted to stay in shape throughout the winter. What started as friends meeting for simple workouts grew to include friends of friends and strangers, summoned via Facebook and Twitter; to date, more than 2,000 people have participated. But it’s not just the newly toned quads (or the price: $0) that keeps everyone coming back. Says Mandaric, “It’s the high fives, the vibes, the hugs.” (Also in San Francisco and Madison, Wisconsin; november-project.com)
    — Emma Haak

    sam kaplan
    3. Using bone conduction technology originally developed for military special ops, these headphones transmit vibrations directly from your cheekbones to your inner ear, bypassing the eardrum — and leaving you free to crank up Nicki Minaj without drowning out voices or car horns. ($80; aftershokz.com)

    4. British newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger learned — “over 16 months of snatched private moments” — Chopin’s nearly ten-minute-long Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, one of the most difficult piano pieces ever written. Read about Rusbridger’s obsession in his inspiring, diary-like new book, Play It Again.

    5. That’s The Spirit
    “At first people tend to think they’re either elegant or weird,” says Chelsea Briganti, 30, of the edible “glassware” she created with two design school pals. “But in my experience, no one can refuse a bite.” Festive, biodegradable Loliware comes in citrusy Bitter Bitters (pairs well with gin cocktails), tangy Salty Lime (great with tequila), and tart Sour Lemon (helps Champagne pop). Made from pectin, a gelling agent derived from fruits, the cups are surprisingly durable, and Briganti hopes they’ll help replace disposable plastic — and spark delicious conversations — at parties. ($195 for 48; loliware.com)
    — Nicole Frensée


    6. Chinese artist Liu Bolin loses himself in his work — literally. In this photo, Hiding in New York No. 7 — Made in China, 2012, he had himself painted into a background of toys. Having trouble finding him?

    7. The natural beauty of America, as captured by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s glorious Instagram feed (@usinterior).

    michaela deprince8. The Life Story of Michaela DePrince
    In 1999 4-year-old Michaela DePrince was living in an orphanage in Sierra Leone, having lost both her parents to a civil war. But when she found a picture of a ballerina in an old magazine, “it gave me hope,” she recalls. She squirreled away the photo until she was adopted by a couple from New Jersey, who enrolled her in dance class. In 2012 DePrince became the youngest member of the acclaimed Dance Theater of Harlem; next she’ll be touring with the Dutch National Ballet’s Junior Company. Onstage, “I feel like I’m not even in my body,” she says. “I still can’t believe I get to do everything I always dreamed of.”
    — Kate Sztabnik

    9. Salad Days
    Daniel Humm is the chef at New York’s Eleven Madison Park, which has been called the best restaurant in America. Now, thanks to his charming new cookbook, you can make this perfect late-summer salad at home (don’t worry, it’s impossible to get wrong).
    Get the recipe

    10. A House For The Price Of A Handbag
    Detroit’s shrinking population has made the city a real estate bargain bin where homes sell for as little as $500 at auction — yet many properties still sit vacant. The Web site Why Don’t We Own This? features an interactive map with ownership information and color-coded foreclosure status. With just a few clicks, developers and young couples alike can seek out diamonds in the rough, neighborhood groups can identify lots for community gardens, and homeowners can find resources to help prevent foreclosure. Says founder Jerry Paffendorf, “I want us to see America’s problems and opportunities in a way that we can act on.”
    — Courtney Balestier

    fogo island inn11. The Beacon
    The Fogo Island Inn sits high on a rocky promontory jutting off the far eastern coast of North America, in Newfoundland, Canada, 1.5 hours ahead of Eastern Time and a world away from civilization as we know it. Yet it boasts high-end comforts like an art gallery, a talented young chef, and a rooftop sauna from which it’s possible to glimpse icebergs bobbing in the vast, coal-black Atlantic. The hotel was built by Zita Cobb, a retired Canadian tech executive who grew up in a small village on the island and returned to help grow the local economy, which was decimated by a ban on cod fishing (the result of years of commercial overfishing). Cobb notes that the inn, which opened in the spring, was constructed with local wood, employs 65 people, and hopes to attract international tourists. “If Fogo Island is going to survive, we have to remain relevant. We have to be woven into the fabric of the world, but on our own terms.”
    — Zoe Donaldson

    12. Get Sauced
    Created by a former manager for rock star Jon Bon Jovi, Mázi Piri Piri hot sauce has a tomato base spiked with lemon juice, garlic, and whiskey. But it’s the fiery piri piri peppers — grown in New Jersey, of course — that add wow to anything from eggs to chicken to pizza. ($12; sicklesmarket.com)
    — Lindsay Funston

    13. A Body Scanner You’ll Happily Step Into
    Shopping for jeans may be less self-esteem-pummeling than shopping for bathing suits — but just barely. A new scanner uses technology similar to the TSA’s to bounce low-power radio waves off your body and relay 200,000 measurements to a computer, which then matches you with brands, sizes, and styles that actually fit. So you’ll no longer have to stuff yourself into 20 pairs of expensive sausage casing before settling for new sweatpants. (In nearly 30 malls nationwide; me-ality.com)
    — Abbe Wright

    14. Fourteen HIV-positive adults in France are in remission– and living medication-free — after being aggressively treated following their diagnoses. Scientists aren’t calling them “cured” — but we’ve come a long, long way from the 1980s.

    15. The Most Riveting TED Talk Ever
    In which Hyeonseo Lee recounts escaping from North Korea at age 14, sneaking back over the border to smuggle her family out, the Chinese police boarding their bus, and — oh, just go watch the whole amazing video yourself! (ted.com)

    16. Meet the World’s Smallest Robot
    RoboBee, developed by researchers at Harvard University and the Wyss Institute, is an insect-size robot about a 30th the weight of a penny. In the future, he may pollinate crops, provide military intelligence, search for survivors in a disaster zone, and even rouse your partner from the couch to help do the dishes.
    — Emma Haak

    17. The New Director of the Secret Service
    Julia Pierson, 54, a former police officer and 30-plus-year veteran of the agency, is its first female head. Said President Obama, “I couldn’t be placing our lives in better hands.”

    joe bell18. One Step at a Time
    In a hotel in rural Idaho, Joe Bell nurses his aching, blistered feet. He walked 30 miles today along a green stretch of Interstate 84, turning in for the night only when he “couldn’t take another step.” Exhausted but determined, Bell plans to keep walking for as long as it takes — two years, he estimates — to travel a winding route from his Oregon home to New York City, where his 15-year-old son, Jadin, had always wanted to live. Jadin committed suicide earlier this year after being harassed in school for being gay. Bell, distraught and restless, quit his job at a plywood plant and hit the road in April, carrying little more than a sleeping bag and a tent. (His wife and younger son will visit him along the way.) As he walks, Bell is stopping at schools and community centers to offer support to struggling teens and convey to bullies that “the pain they cause is long-term.” One day, while trekking through Boise, he shared dessert at a local diner with a gay teen who had recently switched schools after being bullied. Bashful at first, the boy was smiling by the end of the conversation. “He said he wanted to move to New York City, too,” reports Bell. “I talked to him about how once you’re out of high school, there’s so much more to live for.”
    — Sarah Beauchamp

    19. With Instant Prescription Eyeglasses, Imagine All the People Seeing 20/20.
    These colorful retro glasses — styled in homage to John Lennon — use fluid-injection technology to let wearers instantly adjust the prescription with the twist of a removable dial, no doctor required. And for each pair purchased, another is donated to Rwanda, a country with more than 12 million citizens and fewer than 20 eyecare specialists. ($123 to $163; adlens.com)
    — Abbe Wright

    20. Good on Paper
    When Kavita Shukla visited her grandmother in India while still in middle school, she accidentally brushed her teeth with tap water. Her grandmother concocted a “murky brown spiced tea” for her to drink — and Shukla never got sick. Back home in Maryland, Shukla discovered that the spices in the tea inhibited bacterial growth. “I dipped some strawberries in the mixture,” she recalls, “and they stayed fresh for days.”

    Shukla, now 28, turned her grandma’s home remedy into FreshPaper, a small biodegradable sheet that, when placed in a crisper or fruit bowl, keeps produce fresh two to four times longer than normal. Over the next year, she’s partnering with nonprofits in developing countries to ship FreshPaper to some of the roughly 1.2 billion people in the world who lack refrigeration, including small-scale farmers in India and Africa who sometimes can’t sell their crop before it spoils. ($25 for 40 sheets; Whole Foods Market locations)
    — Lindsay Funston

    21. The Answer To Your 8,356 Unread E-Mails
    A young techie explains: “Recently, I signed up for Mailbox, and my in-box has never been cleaner. I love the ‘delay’ option, which lets me schedule messages to be redelivered, say, in the evening — when I can more fully focus on my mom’s computer problems.” mailboxapp.com
    — Bryan Farevaag, O deputy art director, digital

    22. If you’re the type of optimist who buys five-inch platform heels on clearance, thinking, ‘I just need to break these in!,’ do yourself a favor and pick up Band-Aid Friction Block Stick. This miraculous roll-on foot lube — it looks like the world’s tiniest deodorant — will prevent too-snug, too-new, too-cute shoes from cheese-gratering your feet ever again. ($6; drugstore.com)

    stacy zoern23. On a Roll
    In 2010 Stacy Zoern — who uses a wheelchair because of a congenital neuromuscular disease — felt trapped in the ten-block radius in Austin where she lived and worked as an attorney. Public transportation was near impossible, and, after totaling an $80,000 van, she’d shied away from other large retrofitted vehicles. When Zoern found a Hungarian company, Kenguru, that was developing small electric cars for the wheelchair-bound, she called their offices. Soon she was raising investment money and convincing Kenguru to relocate to Austin. Now she’s running the company, which will release its first cars — at a price of about $20,000 — this year. “It’s about giving people with disabilities a cost-effective, better quality of life,” she says.
    — Zoe Donaldson

    24. Poof!
    Jennifer Dionne, PhD, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford University, knows how to make small items like a penny or a coffee cup disappear. “We’re now able to steer light around an object and have it emerge on the other side as if it never interacted with the object — making it appear invisible,” she explains, adding that a life-size, Harry Potter–style invisibility cloak is “definitely possible.”
    — Emma Haak

    25. Clean Plate
    Sarah Britton’s gorgeous blog, My New Roots, is a haven for anyone who wants to reap the nutritional benefits of kale, quinoa, and chiaseeds without feeling like she’s eating cardboard. “I want to make delicious food that just happens to be good for you,” explains the Canadian holistic nutritionist, who lives in Copenhagen. Britton’s lushly photographed recipes — parsley root fries, butternut squash lasagna, a raw brownie made from cacao and Medjool dates — will make you forget you ever wanted butter or steak in the first place.
    — Candice Rainey

    26. Score!
    How to Use Hukkster, the World’s Easiest Online Bargain-Hunting Tool

    1. Visit hukkster.com and drag the “hukk it” button to your bookmarks bar.
    2. While perusing online stores — from Saks to Walmart — click on the button to flag, or “hukk,” anything you like; enter your size.
    3. Wait for an e-mail or text informing you that your item has gone on sale.
    4. Congratulate yourself on getting a deal on that [perfect trench, whimsical couch pillow] you’ve been lusting after.
    — Candice Rainey

    28. The Scoop
    At Robyn Sue Fisher’s San Francisco ice cream shop, Smitten, a patented machine called the Brrr uses minus 320 degree liquid nitrogen to speed-freeze organic milk, cream, sugar, and whatever else is in season — honey-nectarine for July, sweet corn with blueberries and raspberries for August — into the most decadent ice cream you’ve ever tasted. Fisher, 34, invented the machine after graduating from business school in 2007 and learning that great ice cream is all about temperature (the faster it freezes, the smoother the texture). Now, amid a cloud of chemistry-lab-like vapors, the Brrr makes dense, velvety ice cream in about 90 seconds as customers wait.
    — Bonnie Tsui

    29. Up On The Roof
    A new start-up called BrightFarms wants to bring farmers’ market produce to your grocer—by building a farm nearby or even on the store’s roof. The company’s pilot greenhouse in Pennsylvania grows about 500,000 pounds of produce for several stores; by 2015, BrightFarms plans to open at least seven more farms across the country (including three on rooftops). But it’s not all about carbon footprints, says Paul Lightfoot, the company’s CEO: “Just wait till you try our tomatoes.”
    — Lindsay Funston

    julie weiss marathon 30. The Finisher
    Accountant Julie Weiss of Santa Monica ran her 52nd marathon in 52 weeks to raise money for pancreatic cancer research after losing her father to the disease. “I was so overwhelmed when it was all over,” she says, “by emotion, pride, and the love from everyone I met along the way. I felt like I was a mirror, showing people that you can push through anything.” — Arianna Davis

    31. The Tiniest Sculptures You’ve Ever Seen
    When Connecticut carpenter Dalton M. Ghetti was a boy in Brazil, he sharpened his pencils with a pocket knife — a skill he now applies to the miniature still lifes he carves on the ends of number 2 pencils using a razor blade and a sewing needle (but no magnifying glass — “at least not yet,” he says). “They’re a meditation,” says Ghetti, who can take years to complete a single piece and refuses to sell his work. “I don’t do it for the money; I do it for the simple pleasure it brings me.” (daltonmghetti.com)

    32. Fit to Be Tied
    A third-generation dandy whose father and grandfather wear three-piece suits for no particular reason, Moziah “Mo” Bridges says that dressing up makes him feel “like an important person.” As a 9-year-old, Bridges was inspired by the bow ties being worn by singers like the Jonas Brothers, so he asked his grandmother to teach him to sew. Now he makes bow ties in a dizzying array of vintage fabrics, ginghams, tweeds, silks, and satins, selling them online and at boutiques throughout the South. Explains Bridges, “My family helps sew, because I have to go to school.” (mosbowsmemphis.com)
    — Jeryl Brunner

    34. Cheese Whizzes
    Crafted by a French cheesemaker, a cheesemaking instructor, a biochemistry professor, and vegan chef Tal Ronnen, White Alder is silky and pungent, with a delicate, bloomy rind. Surprisingly, it hails not from a cow or goat but from almond and macadamia nuts. It’s part of a new dairy-free-cheese line called Kite Hill, crafted and aged using traditional French cheesemaking techniques.
    — Bonnie Tsui

    35. The Skinny
    The MelaFind, which looks like a hair dryer fit for Darth Vader, is a skin scanner that has been shown to detect 98.3 percent of melanomas on the spot. Using technology originally developed by the Department of Defense to target missiles, the device creates a three-dimensional model of a mole and compares it with 10,000 other nevi; in less than a minute, your dermatologist knows whether to be worried. (Currently in more than 150 doctors’ offices around the country, with more shipping this year.)
    — Emma Haak

    36. Drones — Yes, Drones — That Can Save The World
    A company called Matternet has tested unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones,” in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, where it hopes to help deliver medical supplies and food to areas that lack reliable roads. “Most people associate the word drone with war,” says Paola Santana, one of Matternet’s cofounders. “Well, we’re trying to use them for good.” By 2020, the drones may even deliver those shoes you bought online to your door — in an hour.
    — Rachael Mt. Pleasant

    37. Rising Star
    This is what happens when you listen to British singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas for the first time: You gasp in disbelief that a 23-year-old’s voice could be so clear, warm, deep, and wise; you marvel that it’s equally stunning on rhythmic pop anthems (like the infectious “Is Your Love Big Enough?“) and big ballads (the plaintive, lovelorn “Lost & Found“); and you suddenly remember how you felt when you first heard Aretha or Whitney or Adele — like if you could listen to only one singer for the rest of your life, you’d be happy for it to be her.
    — Ashley Williams

    38. Finally, a Pot That Stirs Itself
    Invented by a Japanese dentist, the Kurukurunabe (which translates, roughly, to “pot round and round”) comes with a notched insert that causes water to swirl in a circular motion and boil faster — unless, perhaps, you’re watching it. ($228; amazon.com)

    39. The Little Black Dress, Reinvented
    Consulting for famous fashion brands on their manufacturing techniques, Natalia Allen saw “some atrocious practices” in mills and factories. Among them: rivers being polluted by dyes and workers being exposed to toxic chemicals. Which is why her minimalist LBDs (they also come in white and taupe) are made by robots — who were not exploited, to our knowledge — in New York. Each creates minimal waste by using a single piece of yarn sourced mostly from fast-growing trees. Seamless, lightweight, easy to throw in a suitcase, the dresses are so uncannily slimming you’ll want to wear them forever — which is, of course, the point. (nataliaallen.com)

    40. This quote:
    “The bigness of the world is redemption. Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest.”
    — Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby

    41. In The Bag
    Almost 23 million checked bags are lost or misplaced in airports every year. Now, thanks to a new palm-size tracking device called Trakdot Luggage, yours won’t be one of them. Slip the gadget into your suitcase, and when you land, it sends a text or an e-mail letting you know it arrived as well — or was accidentally rerouted to Des Moines. ($50 plus $9 activation fee and $13 annual service fee; trakdot.com)

    solar tower42. Sun Queen
    New York City’s planned Solar Carve Tower, designed by architect Jeanne Gang — and situated along the High Line raised railroad-track park — will take its shape from the geometric path of the sun’s rays over lower Manhattan, allowing maximum sunlight to reach the park and preserving views of the Hudson River. But just as impressive as the building’s engineering is its facade (see a digital rendering, left), barnacled with kaleidoscopic panels of glass, jaggedly razor-cut out of the sky.
    — Zoe Donaldson

    43. A Simple, Gorgeous Bouquet That Lasts Longer
    The Bouqs offers 40 elegant, minimalist arrangements, with nary a sprig of baby’s breath in sight, for a flat rate of $40, including shipping to anywhere in the United States. Because they’re sent straight from sustainable Equadorian farms, where they’re grown in sun-drenched, mineral-rich volcanic soil, the flowers arrive just four days after being cut (versus six to 14 for many florist-bought arrangements). (thebouqs.com)
    — Abbe Wright

    44. This colorful, retractable dog leash features a pop-out water bowl, a storage bin for treats, a baggie receptacle, an LED flashlight, and an LCD clock. ($26; fredflare.com)

    45. College, Take Two
    With 300-plus free online courses — Moralities of Everyday Life, Archaeology’s Dirty Little Secrets, Women and the Civil Rights Movement — all taught by professors at 62 of the world’s top schools, including Yale and Stanford, the Web site Coursera reads like the course catalog you wish you’d taken advantage of in college. The company’s goal is to allow every person in the world access to an Ivy League–caliber education — without the frat parties and calculus requirement. (coursera.org)
    — Abbe Wright

    46. Mail-Order Molten Chocolate Cakes in Mason Jars
    These adorable Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cakes, from Seattle’s beloved Hot Cakes Cakery, might more accurately be described as Stop-n-Moan. They need just 15 to 20 minutes in the oven to achieve a perfectly moist outer shell and an ultrarich, gooey center. Each supposedly serves two, but trust us, you won’t be sharing. ($8 each; getyourhotcakes.com)
    — Lindsay Funston

    47. Into the Woods
    One morning last April at Campowerment, a women-only sleepaway camp in Malibu, a 44-year-old “camper” named Ivy Lasky was watching with teary eyes as her bunkmate stood on a 35-foot-high platform and listened to a Kashmiri energy healer tell her to jump into her dead mother’s arms. Lasky, a talent executive and mother of two, had come to these idyllic woods with 87 other women — but no men, or kids, or cell service — for “a little me time,” she says.

    What she found was that camp had grown up. Started by 53-year-old “Extra” senior producer Tammi Leader Fuller, Campowerment is an adult take on the bug juice (now spiked with vodka), arts and crafts (now with vision boards), and evening sing-alongs (now no longer mandatory) many of us remember from childhood, stuffed into one long weekend. Fuller’s own camp experience affected her so deeply — “There was something about the camaraderie of girlfriendship I never forgot”—that she’s packed Campowerment with life coaching, journaling, and cooking demonstrations designed to help women realize that “you’re not alone in your struggle to juggle what life has thrown at you,” she says. Besides: “Sweatpants are the great equalizer.” (In four locations across the country; campowerment.com)
    — Doree Shafrir

    48. Shakespeare’s Star-Crossed Lovers — More Modern Than Ever
    Explains David Leveaux, director of Broadway’s first Romeo & Juliet in 36 years — which happens to feature a white Romeo and black Juliet: “I didn’t set out to make a comment on race. I just followed my nose. Orlando [Bloom] has this wonderful boyish charisma — you don’t want your Romeo to be a wimp — and Condola [Rashad, daughter of Phylicia] can channel Juliet’s heart and wit. She’s electrifying. They both inhabit the language in a way that makes the audience hear it as contemporary.”

    49. Gulp!
    Once upon a time, while visiting Ohio, deputy editor Deborah Way had a beer. Back at O, she regaled colleagues with the tale: Warm, woodsy, deep and dark, this pint was redolent of the oak barrels in which it was aged. The only problem: It wasn’t yet sold in New York. Undeterred, deputy managing editor Amy Grippo took to the Internet and announced, “Guys, we can order it online.” Huzzah! (Alltech’s Lexington Brewing Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale, $11 for four-pack; thepartysource.com)
    — Katie Arnold-Ratcliff

    50. This Comet Is 1.1 Times The Width Of Australia And Barreling Our Way at 55,000 MPHcometA mass of ice, gas, and dust, Comet ISON — scheduled to blaze brilliantly across our sky in late November (don’t worry, it’s not going to hit us) — “could be the comet of the century,” says Michael A’Hearn, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Maryland. Scientists caution that it may burn up before we have a chance to see it, but A’Hearn, for his part, “would bet at least a beer” — a Bourbon Barrel Ale, perhaps? — “that it won’t.”
    — Emma Haak

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost OWN on Facebook and Twitter .

  • LEGO Scientist Mini-Figure Portrays Woman In STEM Career (VIDEO)

    Wearing glasses and a lab coat, and holding out two Erlenmeyer flasks, Professor C. Bodin (as her nametag reads) is Lego’s first female scientist.

    The new model, simply dubbed the “Scientist,” is a member of Lego’s Minifigure Series 11, which hit stores in the United States on Sept. 1.

    Lego has come under fire in recent years for marketing its iconic interlocking bricks mostly to boys and otherwise playing into gender stereotypes in its plastic pantheon. But some researchers and critics say the new, pink-free scientist is a step in the right direction. [Busted! 6 Gender Myths in the Bedroom & Beyond]

    “I think this figure is a positive step because it portrays a woman in a STEM career without resorting to gender stereotyping by making her pink or calling her a ‘lady scientist,'” Elizabeth Sweet, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Davis, told LiveScience in an email, referring to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers.

    Though Professor C. Bodin may be the first female lab scientist in the Lego universe, Scientific American pointed out she is not the first female minifigure with a career in STEM. For example, Lego released a pigtailed doctor in the 1970s and a female astronaut in the 1990s as part of its Ice Planet 2002 series in the 1990s.

    However, the all-time sex ratio of minifigure models is roughly 4:1 in favor of males, with the female ones often playing into gender stereotypes, Scientific American reported.

    Sweet also noted that, paradoxically, gender stereotypes seem to have become more embedded in Lego’s marketing in recent years.

    “While Lego originally marketed their products broadly to children, actively incorporating both boys and girls in their ads, Lego toys today are overwhelmingly designed and marketed according to gender,” Sweet wrote.

    The Denmark-based company has done little to satisfy its critics with its recent girl-geared “Friends” line of female minifigs that are shapelier than the traditional boxy figures. The “Friends” models have collected disapproval for relying on stereotypically feminine colors and storylines, while most other Lego lines today are targeted toward boys and include fewer female characters, Sweet said.

    “So while I am glad to see Lego releasing the Scientist minifig, she is but one drop in a large bucket of otherwise gendered offerings,” Sweet wrote. “Ultimately, it would be ideal to see Lego offer many more non-stereotyped female characters like the Scientist in their sets, and it would be even better to see them go back to marketing such sets to both boys and girls.”

    Megan Perryman, a campaigner at the U.K.-based organization Let Toys Be Toys, echoed Sweet’s sentiments.

    “The female scientist is a step in the right direction, as it’s important for girls to see themselves reflected in as wide a range of occupations as possible, but Lego has a long way to go to make their products and marketing truly inclusive,” Perryman wrote in an email to LiveScience.

    Members of the public can submit design ideas for Lego products through the company’s Cuusoo website. (Cuusoo, a Japanese word, loosely translate to “wish.”) The Christian Science Monitor reported that one of the projects currently under review is a Female Minifigure Set, which includes an astronomer, paleontologist, falconer, judge, robotics engineer and chemist.

    The project’s creator, who identifies herself as an isotope geochemist named Alatariel Elensar, wrote on the site that female figures are still the minority in Lego sets, though recently the company has started to design and add more.

    “I have designed some professional female minifigures that also show that girls can become anything they want,” Elensar’s entry says.

    Follow Megan Gannon on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Numbers Get Mapped In Our Brains Like A 'Sixth Sense,' Study Suggests

    Whether it’s determining the number of ships on the horizon or the number of cookies in a jar, the human brain has a “map” for perceiving numbers, new research shows.

    Topographical maps of the human brain are known to exist for the primary senses, such as sight, hearing and touch, but this is the first time such a map has been found for numerosity, or number sense. The map’s layout allows for the most efficient communication among neurons doing similar tasks.

    Studies in monkeys have shown that certain neurons in the parietal cortex, located at the back of the brain beneath the crown of the hair, became active when the animals viewed a specific number of items. These studies did not find a map for numerosity, though scientists have long suspected one exists. [The Top 10 Mysteries of the Mind]

    numerosityDifferent sites on the brain’s surface respond maximally to different numbers of visually presented items.

    “Scientists have suspected an ordered mapping of numbers for a long time,” said Andreas Nieder, a neurobiologist at the University of Tübingen in Germany, who was not involved in the study. “Many laboratories have been investigating this idea intensively. Finally, Harvey et al. succeeded in convincingly demonstrating a map of numerical quantity in the human brain,” he added, referring to researcher Ben Harvey, a neuroscientist at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

    Dots on the mind

    In the study, Harvey and his colleagues placed participants in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner and showed them patterns of dots that varied in number over time. They would show one dot over and over, then two dots over and over, then three dots, and so on.

    The researchers used an advanced imaging method known as high-field fMRI, which allowed them to see fine-scale details of brain activity. They analyzed the neural responses using techniques similar to those used to study the parts of the brain responsible for vision.

    The posterior parietal cortex, responded to the dot patterns in an organized way: Small numbers of dots were represented in one area, whereas large numbers were represented in another, the results showed.

    It’s as if the brain was acting as an abacus. “In an abacus, you map number onto space,” Harvey told LiveScience. [5 Seriously Mind-Boggling Math Facts]

    The thinking brain

    The findings, detailed online today (Sept. 5) in the journal Science, suggest that higher cognitive functions might rely on the same organization principles as sensory systems do. For instance, in face recognition — which is much more complicated than number sense — objects that look similar might be grouped together in the brain, Harvey said.

    In these topographical maps, a larger brain area was dedicated to perceiving smaller numbers than to larger ones, in line with previous findings that number sense becomes less precise as the quantity of items increases.

    Importantly, numerosity is different from mathematical ability or symbolism. Numerosity only refers to numerical amount.

    People vary somewhat in their ability to distinguish numerosity, Harvey said. At the extreme, you have savants — individuals, many of who have autism or a similar disorder, who possess extraordinary abilities in math, art or other areas. Some savants can look at a pile of pick-up sticks, for example, and instantly know how many there are.

    “While there’s always this map structure, there’s not always the same context,” Harvey said.

    Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience.

    Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Twitter program 'maps nation's mood'
    British scientists develop a computer program they say can map the mood of the nation by analysing the emotional content of tweets.

Mobile Technology News, September 7, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • VIDEO: Virgin spaceship passes milestone
    What looks like being the world’s first commercial space plane has just passed another technical milestone.
  • NASA Launches Rocket Carrying LADEE Spacecraft To Moon From Virginia (VIDEO)
    NASA’s newest robotic explorer rocketed into space late Friday in an unprecedented moonshot from Virginia.

    The LADEE spacecraft, which is charged with studying the lunar atmosphere and dust, soared aboard an unmanned Minotaur rocket a little before midnight. It was a change of venue for NASA, which normally launches moon missions from Cape Canaveral, Fla. But it provided a rare light show along the East Coast for those blessed with clear skies.

    NASA expected the launch from Virginia’s Eastern Shore to be visible, weather permitting, as far south as South Carolina, as far north as Maine and as far west as Pittsburgh.

    The Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer or LADEE, pronounced “LA’dee,” is taking a roundabout path to the moon, making three huge laps around Earth before getting close enough to pop into lunar orbit.

    Unlike the quick three-day Apollo flights to the moon, LADEE will need a full month to reach Earth’s closest neighbor. An Air Force Minotaur V rocket, built by Orbital Sciences Corp., provided the ride from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

    LADEE, which is the size of a small car, is expected to reach the moon on Oct. 6.

    Scientists want to learn the composition of the moon’s ever-so-delicate atmosphere and how it might change over time. Another puzzle, dating back decades, is whether dust actually levitates from the lunar surface.

    The $280 million moon-orbiting mission will last six months and end with a suicide plunge into the moon for LADEE.

    The 844-pound spacecraft has three science instruments as well as laser communication test equipment that could revolutionize data relay. NASA hopes to eventually replace its traditional radio systems with laser communications, which would mean faster bandwidth using significantly less power and smaller devices.

    “There’s no question that as we send humans farther out into the solar system, certainly to Mars,” that laser communications will be needed to send high-definition and 3-D video, said NASA’s science mission chief, John Grunsfeld, a former astronaut who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope.

    It was a momentous night for Wallops, which was making its first deep-space liftoff. All of its previous launches were confined to Earth orbit.

    NASA chose Wallops for LADEE because of the Minotaur V rocket, comprised of converted intercontinental ballistic missile motors belonging to the Air Force. A U.S.-Russian treaty limits the number of launch sites because of the missile parts.

    All but one of NASA’s previous moon missions since 1959, including the manned Apollo flights of the late 1960s and early 1970s, originated from Cape Canaveral. The most recent were the twin Grail spacecraft launched almost exactly two years ago. The military-NASA Clementine rocketed away from Southern California in 1994.

    Wallops will be back in the spotlight in less than two weeks. The Virginia-based Orbital Sciences will make its first delivery to the International Space Station, using its own Antares rocket and Cygnus capsule. That commercial launch is scheduled for Sept. 17.



    NASA: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/ladee/main/index.html

    Orbital Sciences Corp.: http://tinyurl.com/n6jtpcm

    Lunar and Planetary Institute: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/lunar/missions

  • 10 Awesome (And Awesomely Bad) Nineties TV Shows On Netflix
    The nineties were weird. Not as weird as the eighties, when people ate cocaine for breakfast, but not as normal as the aughts, when only celebrities ate cocaine for breakfast. No, the nineties gave us baggy clothing, sex scandals — and a lot of great television. Some of it is even on instant Netflix right now. Here’s a selection of the ten most nineties shows worth revisiting.
  • Google Encrypts Data Amid Backlash Against NSA Spying
    Google is racing to encrypt the torrents of information that flow among its data centers around the world, in a bid to thwart snooping by the NSA as well as the intelligence agencies of foreign governments, company officials said on Friday.
  • VIDEO: Augmented reality sat-nav tried out
    The BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones tries out a sat-nav which is projected onto a car’s windscreen at Berlin’s IFA trade show.
  • Why Minecraft is more than just another video game
    Why do children get obsessed over blocky building game?
  • Nintendo faces 'path to irrelevance'
    Nintendo, whose latest console has sold poorly, could be on a “path to irrelevance”, the founder of legendary games company Atari says.
  • Amazon Is Reportedly Considering An Audacious Price For Its Phone: $0
    Amazon’s long-rumored smartphone may be available to customers for free when it arrives in stores and online, even if it’s not sold with a carrier contract.

    This is according to a Friday report from former Wall Street Journal reporters Jessica E. Lessin and Amir Efrati, who quote people “familiar with Amazon’s effort.” The report comes only days before Apple is expected to announce a budget “iPhone 5C” on Tuesday, Sept. 10.

    While Amazon’s audacious but unconfirmed plan to offer a smartphone for free will likely pique the curiosity of many prospective buyers, questions linger. The phone’s cost will be dependent on how the company works out its financial deals with hardware partners, Lessin and Efrati wrote, and some of their sources were less than convinced the free device strategy is even possible. To make up the cost, Amazon will reportedly depend on customers buying digital media and apps through services such as Amazon or Amazon Prime.

    Still, Amazon’s penchant for being a loss leader with its products — such as selling $79 Kindles that cost $84 to build — proves that if any company can pull this thing off, it may be Amazon. CNET pointed out that the phone, like the Kindle, could be a “classic Amazon move” to get customers pulled into the Amazon ecosystem of products.

    As for hardware, the speculation is that similar to the Kindle, the Amazon smartphone would run on a “forked” version of Android. This means that the phone would run on an open-sourced version of Google’s mobile operation system sans Google apps or the Google Play store. This would leave Amazon’s phone in direct competition with other Google-approved Android phones.

    The Wall Street Journal reported on Amazon’s smartphone in May, saying the phone would possibly have a glasses-free 3D screen and eye tracking technology. The company could also offer a low-end version of the device, the WSJ also reported.

  • Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences No Longer Uses Live Animals In Medical Training Programs
    Score one for the pigs and ferrets.

    A medical school located just outside the nation’s capital, in Bethesda, Md., announced this week that it would no longer use live animals in its training programs, according to an Associated Press report:

    The Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences said Thursday it began phasing out the use of live animals with the opening in 2000 of the National Capital Area Medical Simulation Center. The school says it now uses simulators to teach surgical skills and physiology.

    The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has long petitioned USUHS to stop its use of ferrets, pigs and other animals. The animal advocacy group also asked for a criminal investigation into USUHS’ animal practices.

    “We are shocked and we didn’t think they would change. It’s pretty exciting,” PCRM spokesperson Jeanne Stuart McVey told the Washington Post.

    According to the paper, USUHS stopped training students to do intubations on live ferrets in 2008, after complaints from the PCRM and military doctors, but did not cease all live animal trainings until more recently:

    In the surgery lab, students performed several procedures on pigs, involving cutting open the abdomen, chest and internal organs as well as inserting drainage tubes into the chest, both while the chest was closed and after opening the chest. After the procedures, the pigs were killed, according to documents obtained by the committee via a Freedom of Information Act this spring.

    You can watch a graphic training video of a pig’s use in surgery training, put online by the Physicians Committee, here.

    The advocacy group is now asking the four U.S. medical schools still using live animals — the University of Mississippi Medical Center, the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine — to switch to medical simulators.

    And, in case you want to see what medical simulation looks like (we certainly did!), here’s a video of a mannequin giving birth:

  • SolePower Shoe Insert Charges Mobile Devices Just By Walking, Tackles Energy Poverty
    By Monica Gray, Dowser

    Cell phones are transforming lives in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, where they are crucial for advancing everything from education to medicine to commerce.

    The problem? Many developing countries lack access to the electricity needed to charge mobile electronics. Over a billion people lack access to electricity worldwide, about 99% of whom live in the developing world.

    Enter SolePower. Using a basic shoe insert, SolePower allows users to charge mobile electronics simply by walking. In capturing the kinetic energy of footsteps, SolePower’s shoe insert converts energy into electrical power that is stored in a battery for later use. The battery is then used to charge electronics like cell phones.

    The device has the potential to be a game-changer in places like Kenya, where 84% of the population owns cell phones but only 14% has access to electricity.

    The same applies to lights: energy poverty, as its termed. Ten billion dollars is spent annually on kerosene-fueled lighting in developing nations, which is highly polluting, inefficient, and more costly than electric lighting, particularly when the electricity is generated from a footstep. SolePower wants to address both – the cellphone and the lightbulb
    Matthew Stanton, co-founder of SolePower, says the biggest challenge his team faces is making the device as efficient and compact as possible. “There are only 20 watts in a step. So if you’re losing a few percentages in efficiency, you are drastically reducing the power output in the device.”

    The cost of the insert will vary depending on location. In developed regions, SolePower expects to charge between $135-$150 per insert. Targeting hikers and backpackers, they will focus on distributing to high-end outdoor retailers like REI. In developing nations, the insert will likely sell for $35-$50, which Stanton says is in line with similar solar solutions that have yielded substantial sales in areas like Kenya and sub-Saharan Africa.

    “It’s hard to imagine there are that many people who don’t have electricity when you consider how important things like cell phones and lights are to being able to develop and innovate at all,” Hahna Alexander, co-founder of the Pittsburgh-based startup, reflects.

    It may still be beyond the reach of consumers in these $2 a day markets; that will require Sole Power to develop their consumer finance model further, perhaps adapting models of micro-payments and microfinance to make it within their reach.
    In this video, Alexander and Stanton explain how they came up with the idea for the insert, and how they plan to use it to put a spring in the step and a charge in the phone of movers across the world.

    Monica Gray is a DC-based filmmaker and the Senior Video Correspondent at The Diplomatic Courier.

    This story originally appeared on Dowser.com

    Read more at Dowser:

    24 Millennials Rode the Rails and This is What They Learned

    Cafe Impact: How To Tackle Thankless Social Change

  • U.S. Navy Makes Big Investment In Hawaii Green Tech
    The U.S. military is one of the most motivated parties when it comes to decreasing our reliance on foreign oils and a recent $30 million investment by the U.S. Navy proves it. The Navy’s commitment to The Energy Excelerator, a Hawaii-based accelerator program for clean energy start-ups, will help the company put money into tech developments in three main areas: integrating renewable energy into the electric grid, reducing the use of oil in transportation and energy efficiency.

    Hawaii, as Good points out, is an ideal incubator for green technologies. New technologies tend to be more expensive than traditional energy sources, but according to Forbes,
    renewable energy technologies do well in Hawaii because energy prices are already quadruple what they are on the mainland, giving new technologies a chance to compete.

    The U.S. military, which controls nearly 240,000 acres of land in Hawaii, is second only to tourism when in comes to economic drivers in the state, and it has already made multimillion-dollar investments in Hawaii businesses for solar, biofuels, conservation and other green areas.

    The Navy’s new investment, however, is a boon for local companies and ventures. The $30 million commitment tripled The Energy Excelerator’s funding since its founding three years ago and illustrates the extent to which Hawaii is seen as the ideal lab and marketplace for new, green technologies.

    As Dawn Lippert, Energy Excelerator’s Senior Manager, told TechCrunch, “Cleantech is struggling in the venture world. A lot of energy companies in clean tech are hungry for this program … They’re coming to Hawaii to get into a market, and that’s what we do … In the general world of clean tech and energy, this is a really bright spot.”

  • Marissa Mayer And Zach Bogue Buy Most Expensive House In San Francisco History
    Help launch one of the biggest companies in the world: Check. Hire The Killers to play at your wedding: Check. Install a baby nursery in your office: Check.

    Buy the most expensive house in the most expensive real estate market in the country: Why not?

    With the recently disclosed purchase of a $35 million historic San Francisco mansion, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer and husband, venture capitalist Zach Bogue, have now completed the most expensive single-family home sale in the city’s history, according to Curbed.


    The house is on San Francisco’s “Billionaires Row,” a stretch of the city’s priciest homes, occupied by the likes of Oracle founder Larry Ellison, Zynga founder Mark Pincus and oil tycoon Gordon Getty. The four-story, six-bedroom, seven-bathroom mansion is 11,000 square feet and boasts one of the only heated outdoor swimming pools in town.


    According to Radar Online, details include five fireplaces, two kitchens, a four-car garage, a wine cellar, an elevator and unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge:


    Life’s good when you’re Marissa Mayer.

    Check out more photos of the home in our slideshow below, courtesy of Move.com.

  • Sources: Apple prepping iPhone shipments to China Mobile
    Apple is getting ready to deliver iPhones to China Mobile, sources tell the Wall Street Journal. The paper notes that while it isn’t clear if the two businesses have signed a formal sales agreement, the impending delivery of phones would mean that some sort of deal has been arranged. One source elaborates that Apple has asked its main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, to add China Mobile to the list of carriers that will be getting the low-cost iPhone, better known as the iPhone 5C. When Mobile might be getting the 5C is uncertain.


  • People Are Lining Up For The New iPhone Weeks Before It Probably Goes On Sale
    It’s widely believed that Apple will announced its latest lines of iPhones on Tuesday. But it will still be days or weeks until the thing actually goes on sale.

    Picture from @SYMJustin and I hotel room. Does get much better than this! pic.twitter.com/R6scTTK0dK

    — Jon Murphy (@SYM_Jon) September 6, 2013

  • Racist Vine Post Rankles FSU Campus
    A racist post sent from a Florida State University student’s Vine and Twitter social media accounts set off a firestorm at the Tallahassee campus this week.

    Mandy Thurston’s Vine and Twitter accounts on Wednesday posted the message, “Welcome to FAMU…I mean FSU. #monkeyseverywhere,” according to screenshots circulated online (FAMU refers to Florida A&M University, a historically black university). The six-second Vine showed footage of students at the Oglesby Union courtyard on FSU’s campus during Market Wednesday, a weekly event where student organizations and vendors put up tables.

    The Vine post has since been deleted, as has Thurston’s Twitter account.

    Thurston told the Tallahassee Democrat Friday that her accounts had been hacked, and that she’s filed a police report about it. Maj. Jim Russell, assistant chief of FSU PD, confirmed to the newspaper that a report was filed this week, but did not provide any details.

    Prior to the Democrat’s report of the alleged hacking, campus police and the FSU administration had announced to the student body that an investigation was underway.

    Vice President for Student Affairs Mary B. Coburn and Student Government President Rosie Contreras sent a campuswide email Thursday in response to the post:

    Late yesterday evening (9/4/2013) an inappropriate social media message regarding students at Florida State University and Florida A & M University was brought to the attention of the University. Florida State has zero tolerance for “racist speech,” no matter which medium is used to communicate the message. Please be assured that the University is investigating this situation and will take appropriate action within University policy.

    Harold Scott, president of the FSU’s Black Student Union, told the Democrat the group wants to start an anti-racism campaign next week at Market Wednesday.

    Scott said, “I think it’s better for us to shift our focus from the student to racism itself and how we can work as an FSU committee to continue to expand on the diversity that FSU stands on so firmly.”

    (h/t Business Insider)

  • I Will Not Check My Son's Grades Online Five Times a Day
    More and more schools are adopting student information software, allowing millions of parents to monitor their kids’ attendance and academic progress. But should they?
  • Simple Life Hacks to Improve the Third Metric
    It’s 3:20 a.m. and the phone is ringing.

    How could the phone be ringing? I have do not disturb on…

    OMG. Calls get through do not disturb if the caller calls multiple times…

    Like in an emergency…

    OMG. It’s an emergency! OK. OK. I am up. What’s happening? Get it together, Jordan, this is a go-mode moment. Who could be most at-risk of an emergency? What’s the fastest way to get to them?

    And then I realized… It was my fiancée’s phone that was ringing.

    Last week, I was fortunate enough to hear Arianna Huffington speak at HubSpot’s Inbound conference. I have been a huge fan for a long time, and she did not disappoint. She even called out our host, Dharmesh Shah, for staying up until 3 a.m. the prior night.

    The last thing I want is for Arianna to call me out in front of 5,000 people, so I decided right then to get a hotel. I had been staying with friends and had been getting to bed late, sleeping uncomfortably and getting up very early to take a 50-minute train ride into Boston.

    The decision to get a hotel room and spend some time by myself only took a a few minutes and decreased my stress level tremendously for the rest of the week. Here are a few of my other favorite life hacks to improve the third metric. Most of them only take a few seconds.

    1. iPhone do not disturb:

    I love my iPhone do-not-disturb settings, but apparently, I had forgotten to tell my fiancée how great they are. I don’t want to make the same mistake again, so let me tell you.

    Head on over to Settings -> Notifications -> Do Not Disturb
    (Not Settings -> Do Not Disturb)

    Choose what time you would like not to be disturbed. You will still get notifications, they just won’t be disruptive. So, if you are lying on the couch playing Candy Crush, you will still receive texts from your friends.

    You can also set who you want to allow calls from. Choose a privileged group from your address book (I leave mine on favorites so my moms can still call me).

    Finally, choose how you want to handle emergencies. The last setting allows a person to make your phone ring if they call back to back within a three-minute window.

    2. Get a notebook:
    I personally prefer the Moleskine brand, because they make a version that is specifically designed to work with Evernote.

    3. Evernote:
    How to use Evernote productively is far too vast a topic for this article, so I suggest you check out this great post by Whitson Gordon on Lifehacker. The point I will emphasize is to clip notes to Evernote, and then catch up on them while you’re disconnected from the Internet. This will prevent you from being interrupted.

    4. Airplane mode
    You don’t need to be on an airplane to use airplane mode. Head on over to your iPhone settings and switch into airplane mode:

    • At the dinner table
    • At your kids soccer games
    • When you get into work
    • When you are driving

    Or, at any other time when you don’t want to be tempted by texts.

    5. Turn off Email Notifications
    Ugh. Outlook is the worst. It completely kills your productivity and flow at the office. Luckily, there is a way to prevent that pesky yellow envelope from perturbing you.

    1. On the Tools menu, click Options.
    2. On the Preferences tab, click Email Options, and then click Advanced Email Options.
    3. Under When new items arrive in my Inbox, uncheck the Display a New Mail Desktop Alert (default Inbox only) check box.

    Be sure to check your email every couple hours. For more on email, I really suggest you read about inbox zero.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in conjunction with our women’s conference, “The Third Metric: Redefining Success Beyond Money & Power,” which took place in New York on June 6, 2013. To read all of the posts in the series and learn more about the conference, click here. Join the conversation on Twitter #ThirdMetric.
  • Yahoo Says U.S. Looked At Only .01% Of People's Data, But That's Way More Than You Think
    Yahoo just released its first transparency report, and despite what the company wants you to believe, the U.S. government is looking at a lot of people’s data.

    In the report released Friday, Yahoo says that the U.S. government requested “less than one-hundredth of one percent of Yahoo users worldwide.” Sure, 0.01 percent sounds small, but if you take into account a few more factors, that number gets scarier.

    The U.S. was the No. 1 nation in terms of data requests, with 12,444 requests across 40,322 users. Yahoo disclosed 6,798 pieces of “non-content data,” or things like names, locations and IP addresses. It also disclosed 4,604 pieces of data that people created, like emails, Yahoo Calendar events and Flickr photos.

    In total, Yahoo gave up 11,402 pieces of data, or almost 92 percent of the data requested. This data is just for the first 6 months of 2013. Though these figures represent a fraction of a percentage of Yahoo’s overall userbase, they certainly are not insignificant, especially given that this all happened in such a short span of time.

    It is important to note, though, that Yahoo did not give up anyone’s data without a fight. Yahoo has been fighting the National Security Agency in a secret court since 2008, and was eventually forced to join PRISM, even though Yahoo argued that the data requests were unconstitutional.

    [h/t The Next Web]

  • POV Parkour In Honor Of 'Mirror's Edge' Video Game (VIDEO)
    If you’re an aficionado of extreme sports and first-person video games, then prepare to have your mind blown by a real-life tribute to modern gaming classic “Mirror’s Edge.” The thrilling video above from Ampisound is definitely worth watching in high-definition and full-screen, if at all possible.

    The video’s makers write about the inspiration for their adrenaline-pumping adventure:

    We’re massive fans of Mirror’s Edge, and are always getting comments and comments saying ‘Wow this is like real life Mirrors Edge’. Well EA/DICE recently announced Mirrors Edge 2, and out of excitement we decided to put together this POV video! If it does well, we’ve got some plans for a second one!

    So if you want to see them do a follow-up to this sweet video, share this post with all of your friends. And to check out more extreme parkour on display from Ampisound, visit their YouTube page.

    Via YouTube Trends

Mobile Technology News, September 6, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Nimble Ninja Price Drop Alert – Temporarily Free Today

    Nimble Ninja, the newest action game from the team over at evertap is going temporarily FREE today – Friday, September 6th! Don’t wait too long to download it because it won’t be free for long. Nimble Ninja is a high intensity action game with over 50 challenging levels to conquer! Imagine your old […]

    The post Nimble Ninja Price Drop Alert – Temporarily Free Today appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Elon Musk Unveils 'Iron Man' Rocket Design Interface (VIDEO)
    As the billionaire mind behind the rebirth of electric cars, a company sending cargo missions to the Space Station and a potential super-train capable of 700-mph journeys in sealed tubes, Elon Musk is used to comparisons to Iron Man’s Tony Stark.

    But this makes that comparison more legitimate than ever.

    Musk has unveiled his own 3D, ‘air gesture’ interface for designing space rockets. Using a Leap Motion controller and his own software, Musk has shown off a remarkably cool way of designing and altering parts using ‘wavvy hands’ motions rather than a traditional interface.

    It’s not quite holograms-in-the-air, cut-and-slice stuff yet. But its close. And more importantly, it looks really cool.

  • Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Preview: Hands-On With The New DIgital Sketch-Pad (VIDEO)
    The Galaxy Note 3 is Samsung’s latest 5.7-inch smartphone-tablet hybrid, with a built-in S-Pen stylus.

    Key Features

    • 5.7-inch 1080p screen
    • Faux-leather back
    • 2.3 Ghz Snapdragon 800
    • 13-megapixel rear camera
    • 32/64GB internal storage
    • ‘Air Command’ controls pop-up when you use the S-Pen

    The Pitch

    “In addition to meaningful technological advancements, Samsung GALAXY Note 3 delivers a new premium look and feel. Expanding on the modern Samsung GALAXY design approach, Samsung GALAXY Note 3 adds a soft and textured-touch back cover and delicate stitching.”


    The Samsung Galaxy Note III looks extremely similar to the previous version – because it is. But it adds a few really nice refinements that make the device a more-attractive option for anyone looking to make the switch to a large Android phone with a stylus.

    Oh, and a pink leather back.

    Yes, the Note III differs from its predecessors by not only being faster and slightly thinner, but also by coming in a hot pink colour, and switching from a plastic back to a leather-like, stitched material which rests just on the right side of tasteful.

    Yes, it feels a bit Jeremy Clarkson – but it’s preferable to the plastic feel of other Galaxy products. The pink is – well, it’s pink. It will appeal to some, but isn’t quite as attractive to our eyes as the classic white/black duopoly.

    The Note III boosts the internals as you’d expect – including the CPU, graphics processor and screen. Despite that, the drawing and note-taking performance of the S-Pen remains about the same, and still felt a little imprecise — though if you’re writing or drawing a lot, the S-Pen is obviously far preferable to using your finger.

    Take a look at how it all fits together in the video.

  • IPEVO’s Kickstarter Project – A Star Wars inspired iPhone Video Stand

    How did a “galaxy far, far away” inspire California-based technology company IPEVO’s newest product idea? We might not be able to communicate with 3D holograms as they do in the Star Wars movies, but smartphone video conferencing is here to stay, and it led to IPEVO’s first Kickstarter project.
    For […]

    The post IPEVO’s Kickstarter Project – A Star Wars inspired iPhone Video Stand appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • AT&amp;amp;T, Apple now training support staff on iOS 7, iTunes Radio
    Apple and its primary US iPhone carrier partner, AT&amp;T, have begun formally training their respective support staffs (such as front-desk sales, technicians and call-in support crews) on the upcoming iOS 7, which is expected to arrive alongside the announcement of new iPhones at an Apple media event on September 10. The training, revealed a set of leaked support screens, show overviews of the primary features of the upgrade, including things like iTunes Radio and the Activation Lock which will be part of the enhanced Find My iPhone app.


  • VIDEO: Trying out an eye-controlled TV
    Haier turned heads in 2012 when it unveiled Gaze TV, a device which users can control through eye movements and blinking.
  • San Francisco And Los Angeles Account For 35 Percent Of Nation's Electric Vehicle Sales, Data Finds
    When it comes to symbols of green innovation, San Francisco and Los Angeles can’t get enough. New data shows that the two cities account for over a third of the market of electric vehicle purchases in the country.

    San Francisco and Los Angeles make up 35 percent of the country’s electric vehicle sales, according to data collected by R.L. Polk and released by the Detroit News. Seattle, New York and Atlanta follow closely behind, according to Green Car Reports.

    While the numbers could be a testament to California’s perceived eco-obsession and enthusiasm for new technology, it may more likely be a reflection of statewide measures and incentives enacted to protect the environment. Starting in 2012, the state mandated that automakers sell a certain percentage of zero-emission vehicles.

    “California’s zero-emission vehicle requirement says that 15.4 percent of automakers’ vehicles sold in the state be powered by electric, hybrid or fuel cells by 2025 or they will face penalties,” the Detroit News reports.

    Additionally, California is home to an impressive 1,387 charging stations of the nation’s total 6,444, the U.S. Department of Energy reports.

  • Zen and the Zero Inbox
    Every night my inbox is completely empty. Yes. Zero emails. For the past 15 years. Without fail. And I’m going to show you how to do it too.


    Your Inbox is Your Life

    The journey you are about to take is not just some simple geeky cute Computer Minute moment. You will explore the depths of your very being and embark on a life-changing quest because your inbox is a reflection of who you are. To change the inbox you have to change your life. Conversely, according to Kay’s 1st Law of Metaphysical Technological Thermodynamics, by changing your inbox, you therefore change your life as a result.

    Your Inbox is Not Your To Do list

    The number one cause of inbox overload is that people use their inbox as a general purpose storage system. They use it for reminders, to dos, and filing email attachments. It’s no longer an inbox, it’s a store-all-my-stuff box. Which is why yours is a mess.

    You’re not going to go very far with this transformation unless you have a system to track your to dos. If you’re using Outlook, the Tasks folder works great. Gmail has a built-in task system too. Alternately, you can use several cloud-based task systems. Find one that fits and use it.

    Commit to the 3-step Program for 40 Days

    You have to promise yourself that no matter how painful this is, you have to execute the 3-step program once a day for a 40 day period. Personal development gurus say that if you do something for 27 days straight, it becomes a habit. Let’s use 40 because we’re talking about change of Biblical proportions.

    Make it the Last Work Thing You Do Each Day

    I suggest your inbox processing ritual is followed every night as the last work item. Get your mind trained to know that processing your inbox means work is ending. An empty inbox is your ticket out of the office and, as we say in Hawaii, your official start of “pau hana” or “work is done.”
    I assure you, nothing says “Go play now” as much as an empty inbox. The gain is surely worth the pain.

    Process Each Item and Don’t Skip

    The 3 steps to daily empty inbox nirvana are simple:
    1. Sort your email with the most recent item first and start working at the top.Do not skip an item. Process one by one in order. No exceptions.

    2. With each email item, you either: delete, archive, or unsubscribe; move to the to do list or save the attachment and then archive or delete; reply to the email and then archive or delete.

    3. Don’t stop until your inbox is completely clear.

    Cruise Through the Next Day

    If you empty your inbox at the end of each day, then it really doesn’t matter how you process your inbox throughout the next day. Go ahead and check it a lot, or a little, because everyone who needs a reply will get one in less than 24 hours.

    Find Shortcuts and Automations

    Use whatever tools you can to improve your productivity on the 3 steps. When I used Outlook, I had automatic filters pre-file and archived common email from my customers which saved me a time-consuming step. Using Gmail, I’ve turned on keyboard shortcuts (hit the “?” key to find out how) and quickly converted emails to tasks using shift-T.

    Keep the 40 Day Promise

    You must go through this process once a day, every day, for 40 days. The very first time, it will take a huge effort because you probably have over a thousand emails in your inbox. After that, you probably will never have to slog through more than a hundred and most of those will be quickly deleted without having to reply.

    The Real Challenge and the Secret Benefit

    Make no mistake; this will not be easy. You might get through your first few days but after that, you will have the urge to revert to your old habits. Perhaps it’s because your workday is so long that you just don’t want to do that one last thing. Chances are that the real reason you are falling off the wagon is because processing your inbox requires that you deal with a pain that is easier to ignore than to solve. If that happens, you have an incredible opportunity to directly face a personal dragon and slay it.

    Slay Your Fear Dragon

    Avoiding your inbox process is a fear reaction. And the more you avoid it, like any fear dragon, the bigger it gets. And like any fear dragon, the moment you directly face it down, it simply disappears. The Zen of the Zero Inbox is that it brings your fears to the fore, giving you the opportunity to slay them one by one and eliminate the things that hold you back from your full potential.

    Rule Your World

    Clearing your inbox every day means you are facing life head-on, taking charge, making decisions, and creating the world you want. While I can’t tell you the specific ways your life will change, I assure you, if you stick with this process, you will feel better about yourself and you will reinforce, on a daily basis, that you are the master of your universe.

    Let’s Form a Community of ZenZeros

    I’m going to watch the comments on this post and respond where appropriate. Let’s help each other get to the Zero Inbox and most importantly, stay there. I can’t wait to see how the next 40 days will transform your lives. Share it here!

  • Let's Not Forget That Beyond Gaming, There's Life
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    We’d just begun a family vacation this summer, when my teenager woke up barely able to swallow, with a throat raw and sore. I took her to the nearest ER, where the wait was blessedly brief. A triage nurse whisked into the examining room with a laptop on wheels and began questioning my daughter. Name? Weight? Pain on a scale of 10? The nurse was efficient, yet something was missing. During a 10-minute checklist, she never once looked at the case — the bundle of humanity (and mystery) that is my daughter.

    Was I expecting too much of this moment? Checklists in medicine can prevent infections. Taking 10,000 steps a day is now a global health movement. Shaking hands for six seconds boosts oxytocin, the “trust” hormone, Jane McGonigal recounts in her TEDTalk on how simple game-based tricks can better our lives. Anything daunting or monumental — health, medical diagnosis, resilience — demands entry points. The lists and formulas and tips that we adore point our muddled selves in the right direction, making small but powerful changes possible. Now portable and automated, they can help the fragile roots of good habits take hold.

    Since the mid-1980s, Americans show a 35-percent drop in their ability to elaborate on ideas, a key measure of creativity. — Maggie Jackson

    But are these entry points to change too often seen as endpoints today, especially when they come to us so easily, with a click and a touch? Are we increasingly sated by the checklist and tipsheet? Consider that a majority of teachers now see a link between middle and high school students’ use of digital tools and careless, short-cut writing. Most online searches consist of one query, and we tend to open just one document per search. Since the mid-1980s, Americans show a 35-percent drop in their ability to elaborate on ideas, a key measure of creativity. While briefly using my daughter’s laptop, I was taken aback to see slightly off-target word suggestions flashing above my prose — the work of her school software. How often had an algorithm’s choice eclipsed a moment of potential student musing?

    Yes, we evolved to survive a threatening world by plucking the low-hanging fruit — and by using tools to extend our grasp. Shortcuts and quick fixes appeal to what psychologists call our “cognitive miserliness.” Yet in a highly sci-tech society, our zeal for efficiency and brevity become akin to Plato’s wild horses of appetite and instinct battling the charioteer of deliberation. Nearly anything cloaked in a template or metric — six seconds, three steps, nine questions – seems unarguably sufficient. Insurers now reward doctors for treating complex conditions such as pneumonia with checklists that stipulate administering antibiotics within six hours of hospital arrival, writes the cardiologist Sandeep Jauhar. “But doctors often cannot diagnose pneumonia that quickly,” he notes. “Checklists lack flexibility.”

    And some walking behavior researchers – yes, they exist – are concerned by our sometimes blind faith in the 10,000 steps regimen. “This is just a guideline,” says Catrine Tudor-Locke. Not only do differing populations have varying exercise needs, but the myriad step-counting devices on the market measure “a step” in a plethora of ways, she says. In multiple ways, confidence in a magic formula is unwarranted, reminding us, as Aristotle once wrote, that versatile minds do not try to measure a fluted column with a rigid straight-edge.

    McGonigal is right in asserting that we can’t condemn games wholesale as a waste of time. Content matters. A ‘game’ that inspires an elderly recluse to walk farther each day is a good thing, and surely better for us all than one filled with gruesome violence. But shouldn’t we remember most of all that challenges don’t come with clear rules, levels of play and push-button heroics? The eminent British woodcarver David Pye once wrote of automation as a “workmanship of certainty.” Once in production, the widget as product is predictable. But craftsmanship is a “workmanship of risk,” in that the process of making is uncertain, like life itself.

    On that crisp blue-sky late-summer day, my daughter and I left the emergency room in great time, toting a correct diagnosis and an incorrect prescription, not knowing that ahead lay a two-week saga of three more doctor’s visits before she truly could begin to mend. As we click through checklists, apps and games that promise so much, let’s remember that games have a place in our lives, but life is not a game.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • Can Video Games Alter Society.. in a Good Way?
    Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.

    When I’m talking to people about why video games matter, I like to quote one of Woody Allen’s finest pieces of advice: “Eighty percent of life is showing up.” More than almost anything else, showing up matters. You can’t find your talent for football if you never touch a ball. You can’t make friends if you avoid other people. You can’t get the job if you don’t apply. You’ll never write that screenplay if you don’t start typing.

    Games are about everyone showing up. In classrooms full of students who range from brilliant to sullen disaffection, it’s games — and often games alone — that I’ve seen engage every single person in the room. For some, the right kind of play can spell the difference between becoming part of something, and the lifelong feeling that they’re not meant to take part.

    Why is this? Video games are a special kind of play, but at root they’re about the same things as other games: embracing particular rules and restrictions in order to develop skills and experience rewards. When a game is well-designed, it’s the balance between these factors that engages people on a fundamental level. Play precedes civilization. It spans continents and generations. It’s how we naturally learn the most basic mechanical and social skills — and how, at its best, we can build a safe space for discovering more about ourselves.

    During her talk, Jane McGonigal discusses the top five regrets that people express at the end of their lives. People don’t long for money, status or marble monuments. They wish they’d worked less hard, been better at staying in touch with friends, and more fully expressed their hopes and true selves. They wish they had shown up for more of the stuff that truly matters — and one of the things that games like Jane’s do is create structures and incentives to help people focus on these things while they still have time.

    Some people are suspicious of any attempt to manufacture this kind of experience — and I can understand why. I spoke at TED Global 2010 about the ways that video games engage the brain, and in particular the idea of reward structures: how a challenge or task can be broken down and presented to make it as engaging as possible. This can seem a slightly sinister idea: a manipulation that replaces genuine experience with boxes to tick and hoops to jump through. At worst, you end up with a jumble of “badges” and “achievements” dumped on top of a task in a misguided effort to make it fun.

    From exam grading to health education to professional training to democratic participation, paths towards self-realization and success in the world are often daunting and obscure: journeys only the privileged feel confident setting off along. — Tom Chatfield

    Yet the best games — and the lessons to be learned from them — are far more than this. The world is already full of systems aimed at measuring, motivating and engaging us. And most of them are, by the standards of great games, simply not good enough. From exam grading to health education to professional training to democratic participation, paths towards self-realization and success in the world are often daunting and obscure: journeys only the privileged feel confident setting off along.

    If there’s one lesson we should take from games, it’s that we can make this first step vastly easier and more accessible — and can, given sufficient care, prompt people of all backgrounds and abilities towards richer living. This isn’t to say that it’s easy, obvious, or that games embody any royal road towards contentment. What modernity’s potent mix of play and technology does offer, though, is an unprecedented opportunity to know ourselves better — and, in doing so, to master our regrets before they become our destinies.

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • Bing News brings trending stories from Facebook, Twitter
    Microsoft updates its news search engine with a revamped design, browser width adaptation, and popular topics from social media and around the Web.
  • Briefly: AIO Wireless US availability, PocketPlug iPhone case
    AT&amp;T subsidiary AIO Wireless is now available to customers throughout the US. The prepaid service gives users unlimited talk, messaging, and what the company calls "capless" data. Smartphone plans start at $55, giving the user 2GB of full-speed data, up to $70 per month for 7GB of data, at a peak speed of 8Mbps. Feature phone plans start af $40 per month. The carrier was previously limited to a small geographical area, and replaces some of AT&amp;T’s "bring your own" plans.


  • WATCH NOW: What Gamers Can Teach Us
    I’m going to tell you a secret.

    The TEDTalk you’re about to watch probably seems like a pretty ordinary TEDTalk, maybe even a pretty good one, given the standing ovation at the end.

    But here’s the truth that almost no one in the world knows: This talk, my talk, went down in TED history as the single biggest disaster to ever happen at TED.

    That’s right. My TEDTalk is officially the biggest disaster in TED history! And you know what? I couldn’t be prouder of that fact.

    I think it’s time to tell the true story behind “The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life.”


    I was halfway through delivering my TEDTalk, trying to convince the audience that they would have fewer regrets on their deathbed if they spent more time playing Angry Birds.

    It sounds ridiculous, I know! But as I explain in the talk, people who spend more time playing video games actually have a wealth of psychological resources, like mental and emotional resilience, that can be used to tackle tough challenges in their real lives — with more creativity, determination, motivation and social support.

    The idea of gamer resilience isn’t just an academic obsession for me. It’s something I’ve experienced personally. I’ve had to fight off suicidal thoughts after a traumatic brain injury — and I used my gamer strengths to do it.

    I was explaining this to the TED audience — that I’d reached my lowest point, when I said to myself: “I’m either going to kill myself, or I’m going to turn this into a game” — when suddenly, everything in the theater went pitch black.


    Photo credit: Jane McGonigal.

    It was the strangest thing. A gasp went up in the audience. Just when I was finding the courage to discuss the darkest moment in my life, we were literally plunged into darkness together.

    It took a moment to figure out what was going on. The power was out. And not just in our theater. It was in the entire neighborhood. A huge part of Edinburgh was experiencing a blackout.

    I was ushered offstage. I had to fight back tears. Would I get to finish my talk? I had been preparing for months. I had practiced it every single day for weeks. I had wanted so badly for it to go perfectly. And now, it wasn’t even clear if I would be able to get back up onstage. Even if I could, would I be able to pull myself back together and get through it?

    Remember, this isn’t just a disaster — this is the Biggest Disaster in TED history. — Jane McGonigal

    But then I realized: I’m a gamer. And that means I’m resilient. I’m not afraid to try again, to replay a level, to get back up after being shoved down. If anyone could handle this kind of a challenge, it would be me.

    I would get back up there and show them exactly how a gamer tackles a real-life obstacle: with relish.

    Two hours later, the lights came back on in Edinburgh. I took the stage again, and I gave the second half of my talk. I got two standing ovations — first when I walked back on, and again at the end. It was wonderful. It seemed everything would be okay — the TED team would just splice the two halves together, to make a complete talk.

    Except, that’s not what happened.

    Remember, this isn’t just a disaster — this is the Biggest Disaster in TED history.

    Five hours after I’d pulled it together and finished my talk, I got a frantic text message from the TED organizers. It turned out they had lost the video of the first half of the talk in the power outage. There was no record of my talk, the talk I had worked harder on than any other talk in my life. They asked me if I would be willing to give the first half of the talk one more time, now a full eight hours after I’d first gotten on stage.

    Having to stand back up and pour my heart out all over again wasn’t easy. But you know what? It just gave me the chance to prove my thesis with even more gusto.

    I stood up there for a third time and represented what gamers are all about. We aren’t afraid of failure. We can handle unexpected obstacles. In fact, we find joy in the opportunity to win under the toughest conditions.


    There’s an even happier ending to the Biggest Disaster in TED history. The game I teach you how to play in this talk — SuperBetter — has gone on to help more than 250,000 players tackle their own health challenges, from losing weight to sleeping better. And I’m most proud of this update: Psychology researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently conducted a randomized controlled trial of SuperBetter for depression. They found that the game helped players eliminate six symptoms of depression in six weeks. Epic win!


    Now here’s your challenge: When you watch my talk, try to see if you can spot the clues to this secret history. Remember, the first half was actually filmed five hours after the second half. So you should notice that my curls get mysteriously bouncier and my forehead a lot less shiny about halfway through the talk!

    Oh, and one more thing: I’m sure you’ll want to see the scientific research on gamer resilience for yourself. That’s why I’ve collected more than 100 peer-reviewed, scientific studies that support the ideas in this TEDTalk. At showmethescience.com, you’ll find everything from the clinical trials that showed casual video games are able to treat depression and anxiety better than pharmaceuticals, to research that shows how playing a video game with a heroic avatar can make you more confident and ambitious in real life. So when you friends ask you, “Is it really true that a game can add 10 years to your life?” you’ll not only be able to say yes, you’ll have the game-changing science to back it up!

    Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today’s most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com to learn about future weekend’s ideas to contribute as a writer.

  • US and UK 'crack online encryption'
    US and UK intelligence agencies reportedly crack technology used to encrypt internet services such as online banking, medical records and email.
  • Report: Vodaphone also planning to discontinue 32/64GB iPhone 5
    Just one day after reports that Canadian carrier Telus is going to discontinue the larger-capacity iPhone 5 models on September 28 — one day after the expected arrival of the forthcoming iPhone 5S — Vodafone Germany has been seen to be taking the same action on both the 32GB and 64GB iPhone 5 units, as well as the 16GB iPhone 4S through the leak of an internal email. The move reinforces speculation that Apple plans to fully retire the iPhone 4 design and make the 16GB iPhone 5 its "entry level" phone, with the "iPhone 5C" as the mid-range offering.


  • Redesigned Griffin Multidock shipping, charges 10 devices at once
    Peripheral and accessory manufacturer Griffin is rolling out a newly designed MultiDock for charging, storing and syncing multiple iPads, tablets and smartphones. Griffinís exclusive ChargeSensor technology in MultiDock adapts on the fly to any connected iOS or Android device by providing the fastest charging rate for that device. Connecting a device that uses Appleís new Lightning connector activates MultiDockís Quick Charge Mode to charge these devices at the fastest possible rate, even while syncing.


  • New iRig Pro gives musicians on iOS, Mac a universal input interface
    Mobile music app creator IK Multimedia has revealed the iRig Pro, the universal digital mobile audio/MIDI interface for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac. Pocket-sized, battery-powered and fully portable, the iRig Pro is designed to give mobile musicians and songwriters an interface that can handle the widest variety of audio input signals, for maximum flexibility to eliminate physical interface as an impediment to music creation.


  • Solar boat in quest for cleaner seafaring
    The world’s biggest boat powered by nothing but the sun’s rays
  • WSJ: Apple testing larger iPhone screens, 4.8 to six inches
    Even as Apple prepares to announce at least one and likely two new iPhone models with four-inch screens, the company has been said to be experimenting with different screen sizes for its iPhone and even iPad for some time — with the Wall Street Journal the latest to confirm that Apple is evaluating plans to offer future iPhones with larger displays in 2014, possibly as big as six inches — though the company is said to be favoring one of the test units with a 4.8-inch screen. The experiments are likely due to sales pressure from rivals such as Samsung, which have found a niche for "phablet" d


Mobile Technology News, September 5, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Yahoo Unveils New Logo
    SUNNYVALE, Calif. — Yahoo has adopted a new logo for the first time since shortly after the Internet company’s founding 18 years ago.

    The redesigned look unveiled late Wednesday is part of a makeover that Yahoo Inc. has been undergoing since the Sunnyvale, Calif., company hired Google executive Marissa Mayer to become Yahoo’s CEO 14 months ago. Mayer has already spruced up Yahoo’s front page, email and Flickr photo-sharing service, as well as engineered a series of acquisitions aimed at attracting more traffic on mobile devices.

    The shopping spree has been highlighted by Yahoo’s $1.1 billion purchase of Tumblr, an Internet blogging service where the company rolled out its new logo.

    The logo was shown both with purple letters and in white with a purple background spelling out the word Yahoo!, with no letters touching and ending with an exclamation point.

    “We wanted a logo that stayed true to our roots (whimsical, purple, with an exclamation point) yet embraced the evolution of our products,” a statement on the website said.

    In an effort to drum up more interest in the changeover, Yahoo spent the past 30 days showing some of the proposed logos that Mayer and other executives cast aside.

    The revision is the first time that Yahoo has made a significant change to its logo since a few tweaks shortly after co-founders Jerry Yang and David Filo incorporated the company in 1995.

    Mayer’s overhaul of Yahoo has attracted a lot of attention, but so far it hasn’t provided a significant lift to the company’s revenue. Yahoo depends on Internet advertising to make most of its money, an area where the company’s growth has been anemic while more marketing dollars flow to rivals such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

    Yahoo’s stock has climbed by nearly 80 percent, but most of that gain has been driven by the company’s 24 percent stake in China’s Alibaba Holdings Group. Investors prize Alibaba because it has emerged as one of the fastest growing companies on the Internet.


    On the web: http://yahoo.tumblr.com

  • High-Res Screen Prank Convinces People The World Is Ending (VIDEO)
    We’ve seen some pretty amazing TVs at IFA so far – but from a marketing perspective this is pretty impressive too.

    LG recently used their brand-new high-resolution IPS monitor to see if it could convince people that (a) it was actually a window and (b) that the world was coming to a violent end.

  • 'Zeus' 3D Scanner-Printer Is The World's First 3D Copymachine (VIDEO
    The world’s first machine which can scan, copy and print 3D objects in one box has hit Kickstarter.

    The imposingly-named ‘Zeus’ machine by AIO Robotics lets users press a single button to duplicate an object placed inside.

    Its inventors are looking for $100,000 on Kickstarter – and have already raised $85,000.

    It uses a laser scanner to collect data about the shape and colour of the object, and then builds a facsimile like a traditional 3D printer.


    “Wouldn’t it be great to buy a 3D printer, take it out of the box, plug it in, and be able to use it right away, the same way you would with any other piece of consumer electronics such as computers and TVs?” ask the team behind the device.

    “Just as 2D printers naturally evolved to incorporate more functions into one device, we set out to revolutionize the 3D printing industry to give makers a complete 3D printing experience with a multifunctional machine. Finally, you will now be able to scan, print, copy, and fax objects from one device at an affordable price.

    The result of this endeavor for the past 5 years has been breathtaking. The ZEUS does not only have the most functions, features, and assets to fulfill your wildest imaginations, but the final result is a stunningly beautiful product that has been matched with the structure, intelligence, performance, and user experience the 3D printing community has been looking for.”

  • IFA 2013: Tablets, Cameras And Smart Watch Mania On Day Two (PICTURES)
    Gadget fans are gearing up for a second day of exciting product launches in Berlin.

    LG and Acer are already claiming world firsts with their latest innovations, set to be unveiled at Berlin IFA.

    Both companies are holding press conferences at the tech show in the German capital, which is open to the public from tomorrow until Wednesday.

    LG will be showcasing its G Pad, which it says is the only 8-inch class tablet to feature a full HD display.

    And Acer’s Liquid S2 is claimed to be the first smartphone that can record video in the 4K ‘ultra-HD’ format.

    Around 240,000 gadget enthusiasts are expected to flock to Berlin IFA, which held its first press day yesterday.

    During the day, technology titans Samsung and Sony went head to head with their latest innovations.

    Samsung unveiled its hotly anticipated Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which offers phone calls, email and even a camera – all on the wrist.

    The company also revealed updated versions of the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1, which work in unison with Galaxy Gear.

    Sony also wowed crowds of press crammed the conference with the new Xperia Z1 smartphone, a fully waterproof handset which can stream video live to Facebook.

    Xperia Z1 also boasts a 20.7 megapixel camera though the company also announced the CyberShot QX10 and QX100.

    Both devices can be attached to smartphones – not just Sony models – to bring pocket camera quality photographs to mobiles.

    IFA, one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany, is represented by companies from all over the world.

    Products at the event range from smartphones to televisions, home appliances to tablets and computers.

    Panasonic, Lenovo, Toshiba, Philips and Dyson are among other companies holding press conferences during the show.

  • WIkipedia's Jimmy Wales: 'London Could Overtake Silicon Valley'
    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has called on the government to change the rules of entrepreneur visas to encourage more technology experts to move to Britain.

    He also claimed that living in London could prove more enticing than the USA’s Silicon Valley for tech-savvy people from around the globe.

    Speaking at Campus Party, a week-long technology festival at the O2 in London, last night he said:

    “I think we could go much further with (the entrepreneur visa), make it easier to get, make it possible to bring in more people. Those kind of things are quite critical.

    “I think we want to be able to go to Silicon Valley and say to all of those really talented people from China and India who are there on a H-1B (working) visa: As long as you are here on a H-1B visa the minute you lose your job you’ve got two weeks to leave the country, you have got no path to citizenship.

    “Come to the UK. We’ve got a similar programme but it’s a programme that will allow you to build a business and a future and a life for yourself rather than being a plantation worker for Google.”

    jimmy wales

    Above: Wales on stage with Chancellor George Osborne

    Wales went on to promote London as a destination for workers in the technology industry.

    “Nobody wants to live in San Jose, California. It’s incredibly boring, ” he said. There are reasons to move there if you are an entrepreneur, if you want to get a job at Google.

    “San Francisco is okay. San Francisco thinks it’s a world class city. London is a world class city and I think for creative young people, particularly as we’re moving into an era certainly in the consumer internet world – where the ideas are about the way people live their lives and interact and so forth – it’s not all going to be pure mathematical hard technology. I think that vibrant open culture is the second wave and it’s more about how do we connect with people.

    “It’s something that many Silicon Valley companies have a very hard time with because they’re a bunch of guys who live in an environment where they go to work and they code all day and go home and they really don’t have a sense of what’s going on outside there.”

    He added: “There’s the possibility that you will have an idea because you live in a vibrant city that you would have never had if you lived in the Silicon Valley echo chamber.”

  • Apple Emails Developers On Safari Site Notifications Development

    Apple yesterday sent an email to their developer community the encourage them to consider Safari Site Notifications for their websites.  The new feature is one of many that are coming in OS X Mavericks and a substantially improved Safari browser experience.  While the email does not hint at a […]

    The post Apple Emails Developers On Safari Site Notifications Development appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • VIDEO: Sony CEO on Microsoft's Nokia purchase
    Sony CEO on Microsoft’s Nokia purchase
  • Microsoft awarded $14.5M in Motorola patent licensing suit
    In second phase of closely-watched patent trial, federal jury finds the Google handset maker in breach of contract for failing to license standard essential patents at a reasonable rate.
  • NRA Backs Lawsuit Against U.S. Surveillance Over Fears Of Gun Registry
    NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) – The National Rifle Association said on Wednesday it supports a lawsuit brought by civil rights groups to strike down the U.S. government’s broad telephone surveillance program, citing potential violations of gun owners’ privacy rights.

    In a brief backing the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit against senior U.S. government officials, the NRA said the collection of vast communications threatens privacy and could allow the government to create a registry of gun owners.

    Civil rights groups filed the lawsuit earlier this year after documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed a massive government program to collect and store phone and Internet records from major telecommunications companies.

    The surveillance potentially provides “the government not only with the means of identifying members and others who communicate with the NRA,” the brief said, “but also with the means of identifying gun owners without their knowledge or consent.”

    The NSA referred questions to the U.S. Justice Department, which declined to comment.

    U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper declassified some details of the program, acknowledging it existed, after news stories from Snowden’s leaks appeared in the Guardian of Britain and the Washington Post.

    The ACLU said it welcomed the support from the NRA in its suit against Clapper and other officials filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

    “Americans from across the political spectrum value individual privacy,” said Jameel Jaffer, one of the ACLU lawyers on the suit. “The philosophical roots may differ, but I think that is a widely shared American value.”

    Jaffer also pointed to another supportive brief filed on Wednesday by Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, one of the authors of the 2001 Patriot Act that has been cited as part of the rationale behind the NSA’s program.

    “The defendants attempt to justify their practice of collecting the records of every telephone call made to or from the United States, including purely domestic calls, by claiming that Congress intended to authorize precisely such a program,” said Sensenbrenner’s brief. “But Congress intended no such thing.”

    President Barack Obama has defended the sweeping government surveillance but has also said he welcomed public debate on the balance between privacy and security.

    The ACLU is asking the court to immediately halt the NSA’s vast tracking program of telephone calls, declare the program illegal, and order the government to purge all databases of the call records.

    The case is American Civil Liberties Union et al v. Clapper et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 1:13-cv-03994. (Reporting by Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
  • Syrian Electronic Army Denies Being Attacked By Anonymous
    After a series of digital attacks on news organizations by the Syrian Electronic Army hacker group, members of hacktivist collective Anonymous may have struck back by swiping SEA data and publishing personal information of purported SEA members. But the SEA, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad, denies that it has ever been hacked and says the data revealed does not belong to its members.

    The SEA has been causing a ruckus online ever since the Syrian civil war began in 2011. Using mostly amateur tactics like phishing emails to deface websites and hijack social media feeds, the group has carried out attacks on Twitter, The New York Times, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, NPR, Thomson Reuters and The Huffington Post’s U.K. site, among other targets.

    Although the SEA is said to not be officially sanctioned by the Syrian government, the group has described its attacks as revenge for the way Western media outlets have reported the Syrian conflict. The hacker group claims to have more than 10,000 members; interviews suggest there are between four and nine core leaders coordinating the hacking schemes.

    International news site Global Post reported Tuesday that the SEA suffered a significant hack in mid-April. A hacker working in Syria, who may or may not be affiliated with Anonymous, recently told tech site Motherboard that he had broken into an SEA server and snagged about 140 email addresses of purported SEA members. These data weren’t released until after reports surfaced alleging that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 civilians.

    Both the Global Post and security reporter Brian Krebs wrote that a trove of private information about the SEA — including email addresses, passwords, Twitter handles and email messages of many purported SEA members — was published on Deep Web sites sometime over Labor Day weekend. The data dump also appears to unmask the identities of a handful of the SEA’s top members.

    Motherboard reported that a young man named Hatem Deeb was revealed by the hack to be the leader of the group. NBC News recently pointed out that Deeb had been named as a “founding member” of the SEA in a Syrian newspaper article published back at the beginning of the Syrian conflict.

    However, an SEA spokesperson, who wished to be called Syrian Eagle, told The Huffington Post Wednesday that the SEA had never been hacked — by Anonymous or anyone. Syrian Eagle went on to say that the individuals named in the Global Post report were not actually SEA members at all.

    “They published pictures/names of unknown persons for us,” the spokesman said.

    Syrian Eagle went on to add that news sites reporting the identities of alleged SEA leaders were just trying to “get attention” and speculated that the sites must have been ordered “to publish fake/fabricated informations about us.”

    Speaking to VICE back in May, an experienced and active Anonymous member known as Commander X said, “To be honest, the war has gone on so long now, you could probably fill up a book if you were to detail every engagement between Anonymous and the SEA.”

  • Canadian carrier to discontinue 32GB, 64GB iPhone 5; keep 16GB
    A move by Canadian wireless carrier Telus may hint at Apple’s strategy for its product line following the expected introduction of new iPhones at the September 10 event in Cupertino. The carrier, in a leaked inventory system screenshot, has plans to discontinue the 32GB and 64GB black versions of the iPhone 5 on on September 28 — just one day after the expected arrival of the iPhone 5S, and a week after the expected arrival of the iPhone 5C. The move may hint at a plan to retire the iPhone 4/4S design and make the 16GB iPhone 5 the entry-level model.


  • Intel Bay Trail, Windows 8.1 to arrive on 8-inch Toshiba tablet
    Get ready for a new breed of tablets and hybrids sporting Intel’s Atom chip and Windows 8.1. One of the first out of the gate is the Toshiba Encore.
  • Are You Inadvertently Tweeting Your Location? Many Are, Study Finds
    Be careful what you tweet — you may be inadvertently giving away your location.

    That’s the conclusion of a recent study conducted by a University of South California graduate student. After building an application that analyzed more than 15 million tweets over a one-week period, lead author Chris Weidemann discovered that 20 percent of tweets reveal a Twitter users’ location.

    “The scary part about Twitter is that it’s all publicly available data,” Weidemann wrote in an email to The Huffington Post.

    Though Twitter automatically includes location data for users who have geo-tagging enabled, Weidemann and his team found that many users who opt out of this setting also reveal specific details about their location — whether by name-dropping a specific establishment or through metadata in photos.

    “Roughly six to eight percent of all tweets include a GPS location,” Weidemann told HuffPost, explaining the most common type of location-revealing tweets. “That’s upwards of 30 million tweets a day. Beyond that, we’ve found the most common is physically identifiable text inside a tweet.”

    As part of his master’s thesis for USC’s Spatial Sciences Institute graduate program, Weidemann built an app called Twitter2GIS, which is capable of capturing location data from Twitter. The tool then analyzes text and metadata in order to translate it into personal location information.

    For example, if a Twitter user mentions a particular restaurant in a tweet, the tool will pull that establishment’s address from Google to determine the user’s location. If the restaurant mentioned is part of a chain or has several locations, the tool will search past tweets in an attempt to narrow down the locale.

    In all, Weidemann said the app took about four months to build, since he also works full time as a senior geospatial technology manager for a federal contractor.

    Along with a research paper published in the International Journal of Geoinformatics earlier this year, Weidemann also created a webpage that allows Twitter users to check their own accounts. If a user’s last 200 tweets included any location data, the tweets will show up as points on a zoomable Google map. The website will eventually pull in all tweets, Weidemann added.

    Additionally, the search tool allows at-risk users to download their location-revealing tweets in an spreadsheet document and toggle a heat map feature to see the hotspots (in red) where they revealed their location the most often. The site also offers explicit suggestions on how to prevent future over-sharing.

    “People should be aware that corporations and intelligence groups are using this type of analysis to create user/target profiles,” Weidemann said. “I felt that if people were going to be using this against the average Twitter user, someone needed to at least make a tool that allowed a user to view their own risk and manage it.”

    Do any of your tweets reveal your location?

    Check your risk level with the beta version of Weidemann’s tool (here) by typing in your Twitter username and clicking “Retrieve Tweets.”

    If you have given away a bit too much in the past, follow these general tips in order to hide your location on Twitter.

    • First, check if you have “Add a location to my Tweets” checked under security and privacy settings. If you do, uncheck that box and save changes. (You may also opt to delete all location information.)
    • Be wary of other applications, such as Foursquare, that may have authorization to post to your Twitter account. You can find out which apps you’ve already authorized under the apps section of Twitter’s settings page, and you also have the option to revoke access for individual apps.
    • When you take a photo on your smartphone, GPS coordinates are usually embedded in the image’s EXIF metadata (unless you disable geo-tagging, or use an app to manipulate this data.) While Facebook and Twitter strip metadata from photos uploaded directly, other sites like Flickr and Twitpic maintain this information, the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes.
    • Be cautious when tweeting information that is unique to a specific location. (You’re giving it away!)
  • Samsung Announces A Watch You Won't Stop Watching
    On Wednesday, Samsung unveiled its new Galaxy Gear smartwatch, a gadget being hailed as a leap forward for wearable computing, the first such device from a major technology company and an important offensive in Samsung’s ongoing battle with Apple.

    What Samsung has done with its gadget is certainly impressive. But what its smartwatch could do to us is even more remarkable.

    Next to the smartwatch, checking a smartphone seems downright cumbersome. It has to be fished out of pockets or purses, woken up from its slumber, unlocked and navigated. By tying a 1.6-inch display onto our wrists, Samsung ensures the Galaxy Gear is never out of sight or reach. In turn, that guarantees we’re never out of sight or reach to the people and companies that want access to us.

    “The ability to put away a smartphone is a feature, not a flaw,” noted Nathan Jurgenson, a social media theorist a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland. “With smartwatches, we’re strapping technology onto things we wear all the time, and I think that’s a major hurdle for them. Being able to put them away is really important.”

    The Galaxy Gear can answer calls, send text messages, snap photos, play music, take voice memos, track steps and currently offers over a dozen apps — including Tripit, Path, Line, Evernote and, for those who need the flexibility to buy antiques from their wrist, eBay. It also notifies wearers when they receive incoming calls, texts, emails or alerts from their apps, and allows them to quickly share content in messages or on social networking sites. The device, set to launch in September for $299, currently works only when paired with Samsung’s forthcoming Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Note 10.1 — though the company plans to add more phones to that list.

    Samsung bills the Gear as a device that will “enhance the freedom of mobile communications.” But it’s not only the Galaxy Gear wearers who are more free to communicate, whether speaking into the watch, Dick Tracy-style, or snapping photos from its wristband. It’s also the app creators, who, with their new wrist real estate, will become closer and less avoidable than ever. Samsung has handed them an entirely new way to feed us information — and feed on ours.

    The chief executive of Glympse, a location-sharing service that developed an app for the Galaxy Gear, said he sees the smartwatch as a way for his company to increase how frequently people interact with his service. With the Galaxy Gear, checking the Glympse app can become a “reflex,” or “something people can do multiple times a day,” Bryan Trussel, Glympse’s co-founder and CEO, noted.

    “Anything that gets us in front of the consumer more often, with a simplified interface, we’re all over,” Trussel explained. “[The smartwatch] is a way to get them to use Glympse more often and more regularly.”

    The Galaxy Gear might be a new gadget, but it seems poised to exacerbate a (relatively) old problem: the torrent of buzzes and beeps overwhelming peoples’ existing mobile devices, and their constant compulsion to be connected.

    A growing number of smartphone-toting humans are already troubled by how much time they spend staring at their screens, and are searching for ways to escape the tyranny of the app. Sleep-away camp has become step-away-from-the-phone camp. Unplugging now refers to people, not gadgets. Digital detox is the new coveted spa treatment.

    Though some companies promise the tech that created the tech overload will also cure it, through virtual personal assistants or context-aware devices, Samsung, at the launch of the Galaxy Gear, offered no such immediate solutions. Instead, Samsung Director of Research Pranav Mistry stressed the “ease of glanceability” of the device.

    Trussel acknowledged that smartwatches could become an annoyance unless developers show some “restraint and respect” when it comes to what they push to their users. But is there reason to be so optimistic? True, apps risk being deleted if they bother us too often. And yet so far, web companies, for all their innovation, have largely used a one-size-fits-all approach to their notifications. The alerts sent to my iPad and iPhone vary very little, even though one device is always with me, and the other I glance through only at night. It remains to be seen whether those firms will respect the intimate space to which we’re giving them access.

    If the past is any guide, however, we’ll just end up watching our watch.

  • Sony Xperia Z1 Among Host Of New Products Unveiled At IFA (PICTURES)
    Sony has launched its latest flagship smartphone, a new vision for mobile photography – and an awful lot of TVs.

    The Japanese tech giant unveiled its new range of electronics at the IFA trade show in Berlin alongside other big announcements by Samsung and Panasonic.

    Top of the Sony pile of new kit was the new Xperia Z1 smartphone – the successor to the Xperia Z.

    The Z1 takes the waterproof, high-end DNA of the original and rounds the corners of its design, adds an upgraded camera and a faster processor.

    Sony also used the 45-minute conference in the German capital to unveil an attachment which turns smartphones into top-of-the-range cameras.

    The new QX10 and QX100 lens-style cameras are designed to mount on all smartphones – not just Sony models.

    Sony president and chief executive Kazuo Hirari revealed the Xperia Z1, which will launch globally this month, at a packed press conference.

    He called the smartphone “the absolute embodiment of that one Sony ethos” as it used expertise from every aspect of the company.

    He said Sony had “created a smartphone that is not only beautiful but also fully waterproof”.

    The12.7cm (5in) phone features Sony’s G Lens with a 27mm (1.06in) wide angle and bright F2.0 aperture, custom made large 1/2.3-type CMOS image sensor Exmor RS for mobile with 20.7MP and a BIONZ for mobile image processing engine.

    Sony say independent tests show the Xperia Z1 provides the “best overall image quality” of leading smartphones.

    Hirari said the smartphone captures beautiful, sharp and bright images in lowlight conditions, which he said is an “experience you will find only in a Sony smartphone”.

    The phone’s camera also has a high shutter speed and 3x focus “with zero loss of clarity”, he added.
    Applications on the Xperia Z1 include Social live, giving a live stream from the handset straight to Facebook.

    Likes and comments made by Facebook friends stream to the phone, allowing contacts to direct the filming from anywhere in the world.

    The phone also has Info-eye, which provides information from the Eiffel Tower to food that goes with a wine the camera is pointed at.

    Timeshift burst mode captures 61 images in two seconds, while the AR effect allows users to overlay a section of custom animations on to pictures.

    The phone, which has Sony’s OmniBalance design, is made from a solid one-piece aluminium frame with tempered glass on the front and back.

    Sony launched a number of other new products at IFA, including the QX10 and QX100, high-performance camera that clip on to smartphones.

    Hirari, who described himself as “an avid photographer” said the cameras turned smartphones into “premier digital compacts”.

    “It really completely transforms your mobile shooting experience,” he added.

    Hirari said Sony’s SmartWatch 2 could be used as a second screen for the smartphone.

    The SmartWatch 2 enables users to read messages, handle calls, access notifications from their wrists – as well as triggering the Xperia Z1’s camera shutter.

    “Sony is poised to lead from the front,” he said.

  • This Ad For A Japanese USB Cigarette Lighter Is Kind Of Insane (VIDEO)
    From the moment this wacky animated Jii cigarette lighter arises from the scientist’s lab in this Japanese commercial, we’re intrigued.

    Watch the electronic lighter — which appears to be powered via a computer USB connection — dance with mythical creatures, walk in a street parade, be a captain of a pirate ship, get hot and bothered with a lady candle, plug itself into a computer to recharge and fall in love. After all of that, we are surprised this USB guy doesn’t go to outer space. Oh wait, yes he does.

    The stimulus is too much to handle. It’s invading our brains. A B C D E F Jii!

  • Pantone's Top Color For Spring 2014 Is Facebook Blue
    Every season, experts at Pantone decide on the top colors in fashion for men and women. On Wednesday, Pantone revealed the top hues for spring 2014, and the No. 1 color for women may remind you of something.

    The top color for women for spring 2014 is called “Dazzling Blue.” It’s the same as the nail polish Facebook sells in its office, called “Social Butterfly Blue” and meant to match the company’s signature blue.

    In addition to the Facebook color match, “Dazzling Blue” is the same color as the one used for the New York City bike share program, Citibike, Pantone tells Women’s Wear Daily.

    Facebook sells Facebook-blue nail polish ("social butterfly blue") in its campus store pic.twitter.com/3vm7Ylm4cL

    — Bianca Bosker (@bbosker) August 22, 2013

    Pantone decides a season’s color based on the season’s runway looks at New York Fashion week. A total of 17.05 percent of designers used the blue hue in their spring 2014 fashions for women, WWD reported.

    Though it does not seem to be the exact color of Facebook’s logo, “Dazzling Blue” is certainly quite similar to the site’s signature coloring.

    Mark Zuckerberg actually chose to make Facebook blue for a very specific reason: He can see it. He is red-green colorblind, so he chose blue for Facebook. “Blue is the richest color for me. I can see all of blue,” he told The New Yorker in 2010.

  • Why We Post Nothing — Nothing — About Our Kid Online. You Should Do the Same for Your Kids.
    Written By Amy Webb For Slate

    I vividly remember the Facebook post. It was my friend’s 5-year-old daughter “Kate,” (a pseudonym) standing outside of her house in a bright yellow bikini, the street address clearly visible behind her on the front door. A caption read “Leaving for our annual Labor Day weekend at the beach,” and beneath it were more than 50 likes and comments from friends—including many “friends” that Kate’s mom barely knew.

    The picture had been uploaded to a Facebook album, and there were 114 shots just of Kate: freshly cleaned and swaddled on the day of her birth … giving her Labradoodle a kiss … playing on a swing set. But there were also photos of her in a bathtub and an awkward moment posing in her mother’s lacy pink bra.

    I completely understood her parents’ desire to capture Kate’s everyday moments, because early childhood is so ephemeral. I also knew how those posts would affect Kate as an adult, and the broader impact of creating a generation of kids born into original digital sin.

    Last week, Facebook updated its privacy policy again. It reads in part: “We are able to suggest that your friend tag you in a picture by scanning and comparing your friend’s pictures to information we’ve put together from your profile pictures and the other photos in which you’ve been tagged.” Essentially, this means that with each photo upload, Kate’s parents are, unwittingly, helping Facebook to merge her digital and real worlds. Algorithms will analyze the people around Kate, the references made to them in posts, and over time will determine Kate’s most likely inner circle.

    The problem is that Facebook is only one site. With every status update, YouTube video, and birthday blog post, Kate’s parents are preventing her from any hope of future anonymity.

    That poses some obvious challenges for Kate’s future self. It’s hard enough to get through puberty. Why make hundreds of embarrassing, searchable photos freely available to her prospective homecoming dates? If Kate’s mother writes about a negative parenting experience, could that affect her ability to get into a good college? We know that admissions counselors review Facebook profiles and a host of other websites and networks in order to make their decisions.

    There’s a more insidious problem, though, which will haunt Kate well into the adulthood. Myriad applications, websites, and wearable technologies are relying on face recognition today, and ubiquitous bio-identification is only just getting started. In 2011, a group of hackers built an app that let you scan faces and immediately display their names and basic biographical details, right there on your mobile phone. Already developers have made a working facial recognition API for Google Glass. While Google has forbidden official facial recognition apps, it can’t prevent unofficial apps from launching. There’s huge value in gaining real-time access to view detailed information the people with whom we interact.

    The easiest way to opt-out is to not create that digital content in the first place, especially for kids. Kate’s parents haven’t just uploaded one or two photos of her: They’ve created a trove of data that will enable algorithms to learn about her over time. Any hopes Kate may have had for true anonymity ended with that ballet class YouTube channel.
    Knowing what we do about how digital content and data are being cataloged, my husband and I made an important choice before our daughter was born. We decided that we would never post any photos or other personally identifying information about her online. Instead, we created a digital trust fund.

    The process started in earnest as we were selecting her name. We’d narrowed the list down to a few alternatives and ran each (and their variants) through domain and keyword searches to see what was available. Next, we crawled through Google to see what content had been posted with those name combinations, and we also looked to see if a Gmail address was open.

    We turned to KnowEm.com, a website I often rely on to search for usernames, even though the site is primarily intended as a brand registration service. We certainly had a front-runner for her name, but we would have chosen something different if the KnowEm results produced limited availability or if we found negative content associated with our selection.

    With her name decided, we spent several hours registering her URL and a vast array of social media sites. All of that tied back to a single email account, which would act as a primary access key. We listed my permanent email address as a secondary—just as you’d fill out financial paperwork for a minor at a bank. We built a password management system for her to store all of her login information.

    On the day of her birth, our daughter already had accounts at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Github. And to this day, we’ve never posted any content.

    All accounts are kept active but private. We also regularly scour the networks of our friends and family and remove any tags. Those who know us well understand and respect our “no posts about the kid” rule.

    When we think she’s mature enough (an important distinction from her being technically old enough), we’ll hand her an envelope with her master password inside. She’ll have the opportunity to start cashing in parts of her digital identity, and we’ll ensure that she’s making informed decisions about what’s appropriate to reveal about herself, and to whom.
    It’s inevitable that our daughter will become a public figure, because we’re all public figures in this new digital age. I adore Kate’s parents, and they’re raising her to be an amazing young woman. But they’re essentially robbing her of a digital adulthood that’s free of bias and presupposition.

    Are Our Schools Churning Out Stepford Kids?
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  • Spotify Sued Over Playlists That Copy Albums
    Spotify members might be fooling themselves with their playlist-making abilities.

    The Ministry of Sound, a British dance music brand, is suing Spotify on the grounds of copyright infringement after the streaming-music service consistently refused to remove playlists that copy the brands compilation albums, according to the Guardian. The U.K. music company is seeking to eliminate current and future playlists that copy their compilations, along with damages and costs.

    The case is unique in that the lawsuit is not a matter of streaming rights — Spotify has the rights to all the songs — but rather a matter of the selection and order of particular songs made in playlists created by Spotify subscribers. The 24 million people who use Spotify have created over a billion playlists from its catalogue of 20 million songs.

    “We painstakingly create, compile and market our albums all over the world,” Ministry of Sound chief Lohan Presencer pleaded in a blog post, also published by The Guardian. “After 20 years and more than 50 million album sales, the value and creativity in our compilations are self evident.”

    For Spotify, the playlists come down to helping people discover music — and ultimately retain members.

    “Spotify’s goal is to grow a service which people love and ultimately want to pay for,” Spotify told The Huffington Post in an email. “Every single time a track is played on Spotify, rights-holders are paid – and every track played on Spotify is played under a full license from the owners of that track.”

    This is not the first time Spotify has had trouble with artists or record labels. In July, Thom Yorke — best known for his work fronting Radiohead — pulled all the songs by his other band, Atoms For Peace, along with his solo album from Spotify. Yorke thought too much money brought in by Spotify going to shareholders and not enough was going to artists. Later that month, several indie record labels said they would support any individual artist who wanted to pull their songs from Spotify.

Mobile Technology News, September 4, 2013

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • GoPro Camera Attached To Drone Takes Amazing Surf Video
    There are few things GoPro cameras haven’t been attached to yet, but this video pushes the creativity level up a notch. Per Gizmodo, “The filmmakers strapped a GoPro HERO3 to a DJI Phantom quadcopter [a drone] and took it several hundred feet into the air, affording majestic views along the coastline where dozens of surfers are bobbing in the water.”

    Aerial footage of surfers at Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz (DJI Phantom) from Eric Cheng on Vimeo.

    Back in March, FOX Sports used an eight-propellor “octocopter” to drop in on surfers at the Rip Curl Pro. Fuel TV’s Adam Howarth told Outside magazine, “Never before has a surfing broadcaster been able to provide live vision so close to the heart of the battle.”

    Drone use in war and espionage may be controversial, but the unmanned aircraft are gaining unanimous popularity in adventure sports. As Outside points out, they are generally cheaper than renting helicopters and their small size allows them to get close to subjects without disturbing them.

    Mammut 150 Years Peak Project: Trango Tower, Pakistan (6286m / 20,623ft) – RC Helicopter Sample Footage from Corey Rich on Vimeo.

  • Apple Releases OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 7

    Apple has released OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 7 to their developer community.  The update comes three weeks after Developer Preview 6 and brings the latest version of OS X closer to public release.
    OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 7 does not contain any new functionality over the previous […]

    The post Apple Releases OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 7 appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Varibike: Cycle WIth Your Arms, Thanks To This New And Terrifying Exercise Machine
    A German inventor has combined a bike with a rowing machine to create something new and terrifying to make you miserable, and more healthy.

    The Varibike is essentially a bike you can also power with your arms. It was built by Martin Kraiss from Ulm in Germany, who attached a set of ‘pedals’ that can be pumped with the arms to turn a cycle into a full body workout. It is available for £4,000.

    In a report on the Daily Mail the inventors say the objective was to build a vehicle that was more efficient – and faster – than a bike:

    “It is quick, environmentally-friendly and equally satisfying to body and soul. The intuitive inclination steering makes for incredible fun. This allows you to master fast and winding descents, as well as woodland and field tracks. You can therefore enjoy your favourite routes with ease, while at the same time exercising your whole body.
    Once you have ridden the Varibike you will never bother getting your old bicycle out of the garage again.”

    Take a look at how it works, below.

  • Largest Storm On Saturn For 20 Years 'Rips Water From Surface'
    The largest storm recorded on Saturn for 20 years ripped water and ammonia from the massive planet’s surface.

    Data from Nasa’s Cassini spacecraft showed that a 2011 superstorm more than 15,000 kilometres wide was powerful enough to pull at the seams of its atmosphere.

    The result is a unique insight into the composition and construction of the planet.


    Nasa says that the storm (the white spot, above), when it hit, was so big that it was actually visible to amateur astronomers on Earth.

    But after further study Nasa has found more than a few pretty pictures. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have shown that water ice, ammonia ice and other unknown elements were thrown up from the planet’s inner clouds, where they are usually impossible to see, into a volcano-like cloud.

    “We think this huge thunderstorm is driving these cloud particles upward, sort of like a volcano bringing up material from the depths and making it visible from outside the atmosphere,” said Lawrence Sromovsky, one of the scientists behind the study.

    “The upper haze is so optically pretty thick that it is only in the stormy regions where the haze is penetrated by powerful updrafts that you can see evidence for the ammonia ice and the water ice. Those storm particles have an infrared color signature that is very different from the haze particles in the surrounding atmosphere.”

    Check out the full story at Phys.org.

  • Kantar: Apple continuing to gain smartphone share in US, UK markets
    A new study from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech says that the iPhone is continuing to gain share in the US and lately in the UK and France as well, reversing trends seen in other countries where it is still losing ground. On the heels of a ComScore survey last month that showed Apple’s smartphone had risen to 40 percent of the US market, Kantar’s updated figures show a gain to 43.4 percent over the past month — a total gain of 7.8 percent over the past year, taken almost entirely from Android rather than smaller rivals like BlackBerry.


  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 2 Unveiled After Early Accidental Leak
    Amazon has confirmed that the leaked image of its new Kindle Paperwhite E-reader is real – and has now unveiled the device.

    The new Paperwhite looks the same as the old model, but features an upgraded screen, a faster processor and some new features designed to make reading more social and enjoyable.

    The new device has an upgraded screen with (naturally) ‘whiter’ whites and ‘blacker’ blacks.

    The built-in light also gains an upgrade, and is able to guide the light “toward the surface of the display so you can read comfortably without eyestrain”.

    The processor gains a 25% bump to increase page turning speeds, while the touch sensitivity is also improved.

    ‘Page Flip’ is a new mode designed to let you flip through your book without losing your place, while improved vocabulary, lookup and social reading features also look set to improve the E-reading experience.

    In a hands-on preview, Time magazine said:

    “[We] don’t think owners of the current-generation model will be crushed to learn they’re about to become owners of previous-generation Paperwhites. The new features aren’t that enticing. Mostly, I’m happy that the e-reader category remains popular enough that Amazon is still updating the Kindle as briskly as it ever did.”

    The new device will be released on 30 September.

  • Google Leaks Unreleased Phone In Android 'KitKat' Statue Unveiling VIdeo
    Amid the celebration of launching its new version of Android, Google might have accidentally revealed its next flagship phone.

    The current Google Nexus 4 just received a hefty price cut – indicating the search giant might be clearing stock.

    Now eagle-eyed techies have noticed that a phone featured in a video Google posted of its employees unveiling the new KitKat-themed statue looks a little unusual – in fact it looks just like a potential Nexus 5.

    Unfortunately the video has now been pulled – but a screen grab can be seen below…

    android kitkat

  • Android 4.4 Will Be Named After 'Kit-Kat' Biscuits
    Google has announced that the next version of its popular mobile operating system will be named ‘KitKat’.

    Continuing its tradition of naming each major release after a popular desert or sweet, analysts said the update (otherwise known as Android 4.4) would continue to push Android forward onto mobile devices, as well as potentially gaming consoles and smart watches.

    Needless to say, details on features and what the upgrade will entail are frustratingly slim at present.

    In fact the most Google did to mark the chocolate biscuit connection was release the new logo for 4.4 – a KitKat-ified Google Android.

    “We couldn’t imagine a better name for our Android K release than the tasty chocolate that’s been a favourite among the team since the early days of Android,” said Marc Vanlerberghe, Director of Android Marketing.

    But KitKat itself – whose marketing team have clearly just hit the jackpot with the deal- had other ideas. Among its moves is a limited release of 50 million Android-themed KitKat bars.

    “KitKat is one of the world’s top ten fast-moving consumer goods brands in social media in terms of fan numbers and engagement,” he continued. “We continue to build on its strong digital presence with interactive, creative branding campaigns.”

    This is their video celebrating the announcement.

  • New Wetsuits Could Be The Answer To Increased Shark Attacks
    After a record number of Hawaii shark attacks in 2012 — 10 instead of the yearly average of 4 — surfers and water sport enthusiasts alike are looking to their outerwear for some peace of mind.

    Australian research company SAMS’ (Shark Attack Mitigation Services) shark deterrent technology may by that extra source of comfort. In conjunction with The Oceans Institute at the University of Western Australia, SAMS looked to shark behavior to create a product that’s one step ahead of attack patterns.

    It goes something like this: A SAMS-developed formula using the variables of color, contrast, size, shape, depth and distance can determine how sharks perceive objects in the water and use wetsuits as a canvas to counteract those perceptions. The suits offer sharks the image of either a poisonous creature (by mimicking patterns of other sea life that sharks dislike) or a, more or less, invisible target. The idea is that this disrupted visual perception of what may once have been viewed as a meal, will delay an attack, giving ocean-goers a chance to react, or prevent it altogether.

    Though the company’s attempt to create a shark-repellant wetsuit seems promising, others are saying that it may actually do more harm than good.

    Director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, George Burgess, told National Geographic that the striped suits meant to imitate poisonous sea creatures may, in fact, be “highly attractive” to sharks.

    “That striped suit that is supposed to look like a lionfish is about as nice a thing as you can do to attract a shark, because of the contrast between dark and light,” he said, instead suggesting “countercoloration.”

    Turns out the only real way to prevent a shark attack is to stay out of the water.

    This suit plays off of sharks’ colorblindness and mimics water — like camouflage — making it difficult for sharks to see.

    This suit mimics patterns of other sea life that sharks dislike or find threatening.

  • Study Links Mercury Levels In Fish To Coal-Fired Power Plants
    As if you needed another reason to cringe at the number of coal-fired power plants operating on our fragile Earth, a new study published in Nature Geoscience links power plants in China and India to the ever-increasing mercury levels of fish in the Pacific Ocean.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, scientists from the University of Michigan and University of Hawaii traced the chemical “fingerprint” of mercury found in nine species of fish present in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, the largest ecosystem on the planet (also home of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch). They concluded that the mercury contamination originated from coal-fired power plant emissions in Asia.

    When mercury is emitted into the atmosphere from these power plants, winds carry it thousands of miles across the sea, where rainfall deposits it in the ocean water. While most of the mercury in shallow water is eliminated by sunlight-driven chemical processes, bacteria found in deep water converts mercury into monomethylmercury, a compound that collects in animal tissue and is highly toxic to humans. Deep water fish like tuna and swordfish, therefore, contain far higher levels of mercury in their systems.

    China and India have a staggering number of coal-powered plants, and Asia as a whole releases nearly 50 percent of global mercury emissions. According to the World Resources Institute, another 1,100 coal-fired plants are planned for construction around the globe, and 76 percent of those plants would be built in China and India.

    Mercury has been known to cause serious health problems in humans and animals. It was discovered to be dangerous in 1956, when over 2,000 people incurred mercury poisoning in Minamata, Japan, after a chemical company leaked huge levels of methylmercury into industrial wastewater. Cats displayed erratic behavior, birds fell from the sky, and fish carcasses floated on top of the surrounding waters. Residents began suffering convulsions, loss of motor and cognitive skills and death.

    While the epidemic was due to severe poisoning, today the FDA still warns of consuming too much mercury. Risks are particularly high for children and pregnant women, but anyone who consumes or absorbs too much is at risk of neurological and respiratory repercussions, among others.

    The study’s findings do not bode well for fish, fishermen or their customers. In Hawaii, the commercial fishing industry sees about a half-billion dollars in annual sales, supplies 11,000 jobs, and exports seafood all over the globe. The recreational fishing industry earns the state about another $700 million in sales. A recent study found that 84% of the world’s fish contain elevated levels of mercury, and the number will only rise. Power plants are popping up across the globe as third world nations develop. So who will blink first, seafood lovers or the coal power industry? Probably neither, so watch what you eat.

    The National Resources Defense Council provides a sustainable seafood guide that breaks down mercury levels in commonly-consumed fish.

  • Kodak emerges from bankruptcy with new focus
    The struggling photography pioneer exits Chapter 11 as a “leaner” company working on digital imaging for businesses.
  • VIDEO: Fashion's technology secrets revealed
    BBC News visits three people who in different ways are harnessing technology to change the way we experience fashion.
  • Hawaiian Airlines Now Provides iPad Minis On Flights
    If the idea of touching down in Hawaii isn’t comforting enough, Hawaiian airlines has gone one step further to ensure that their customers are completely at ease when in flight — they’re supplying passengers with iPad minis.

    The airline will become the first U.S. carrier to provide this type of technology to enhance in-flight entertainment. Provided by Bluebox Avionics, 1,500 iPad minis began serving 14 routes between the mainland and Hawaii on Sept. 1. But this extra cushy amenity comes at a cost for some Boeing 767-300 patrons. Business class flyers will receive the tablets for free while Economy class flyers have the opportunity to rent the devices for $15 if requested prior to boarding — $17 if purchased in flight.

    The iPads will allow passengers to watch new movie releases, a variety of TV shows and play games.

    This technological overhaul of in-flight entertainment comes on the heels of Hawaiian airlines launching non-stop service to China, now making weekly flights to Tahiti, and adding more flights between Oakland and Hawaii.

  • VIDEO: China 'is key' to Nokia's fortunes
    China is one of Nokia’s biggest markets but as the BBC’s Martin Patience reports from Beijing, it faces fierce competition there.
  • Microsoft sets out to build $250M data center in Finland
    As the tech giant announces its acquisition of Nokia’s devices unit, Microsoft also agrees to build a European data center in the phone maker’s homeland.
  • Microsoft acquisitions: Its biggest hits and misses
    Microsoft has spent a fortune snatching up other companies, and just dropped a cool $7.2 billion on Nokia’s phone unit. Here’s a look back on the company’s biggest hits and misses in the risky acquisition game.
  • Microsoft bolsters its patent access with Nokia deal
    Microsoft didn’t pick up Nokia’s entire patent collection as part of its acquisition plan, but it’s got more patents under its belt for the next decade and potentially beyond.
  • Brad Carter, Musician Whose Brain Surgery Went Viral On Vine, Wants To Record Album (VIDEO)
    As a musician, Brad Carter’s introduction to the world was more intimate than most. Last May, the guitarist’s brain surgery was live-Tweeted (and Vined, and Instagrammed) for all the world to see thanks to the social-media savvy folks at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

    Carter, who lives in Los Angeles and hails from Macon, Georgia, has a progressive neurological disorder called “essential tremor.” Seven years ago, he slowly began losing the ability to play the guitar because of his tremors. But on May 23, surgeons reversed that trend almost immediately by putting a pacemaker in his brain, mitigating the effects of his disease.

    Besides being broadcast live via social media, Carter made the relatively routine seven-hour operation all the more remarkable because he played his guitar to help doctors find the best location for the brain pacemaker. The Vine videos show Carter’s guitar-playing skills getting stronger and smoother as the operation progresses.

    The surgeries are done with — for now. But Carter knows that his disorder has no cure, and he’s not sure how long he has before it possibly develops into Parkinson’s disease. That’s why Carter wants to record a full-length professional album, while he still has the ability, and he’s taking his case to Kickstarter to raise funds for the project.

    “Having played music for many years, losing the ability to do the thing I love the most has been quite difficult and heartbreaking,” wrote Carter on his Kickstarter page. “I have run the gamut of emotions with this and sometimes the depression has been overwhelming.”

    “I want to make the most of the time the surgery has given me by recording an album and sharing my story with you,” Carter wrote. He set a goal of at least $45,000 to record the album, and if he raises another $10,000 he’ll also be able to film a music video. As of this story’s publish date, he has eight more days to raise about $16,000. To learn more about his project, check out his Kickstarter page.

    Check out Brad Carter’s brain surgery via Vine in the slideshow below. The slideshow is best viewed in fullscreen mode.

  • The forgotten father of web search
    The man who could have beaten Google
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