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Mobile Technology News, January 7, 2014

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.

  • Samsung forecasts fall in profit
    Samsung Electronics, the world’s biggest maker of mobile phones and TVs, forecasts a fall in profit for the October-to-December quarter.
  • Burglars Who Took On FBI Emerge 43 Years Later
    PHILADELPHIA — The perfect crime is far easier to pull off when nobody is watching.
  • CES 2014: Director loses direction
    As there’s just so much going on at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show 2014, we bring you the highlights – and lowlights – on one handy page.
  • VIDEO: Smartphone app that parks your car
    Before completely driverless cars hit the roads sometime in the distant future, the technology can at least be used to tackle the dreaded parallel park.
  • Sony shows off life logging kit
    Sony announces an app that charts all your smartphone and physical activity on a timeline. New wearable tech, the Core, will let it study your actions.
  • VIDEO: Technology giants must innovate or die
    Why even tech giants fear the next big thing
  • 2 Weeks And 600M+ Lines Of Code Later, 20M Students Have Learned An "Hour Of Code"
    Less than a year ago, brothers Hadi Partovi and Ali Partovi launched Code.org to help advocate for computer science in the U.S. and increase participation in STEM education by making these subjects more available in schools and classrooms around the country. Today, it seems that what started as a whisper has grown into a roar.

    On December 9, Code.org kicked off a new, nationwide campaign called the “Hour of Code,” which asked teachers across the U.S. to help introduce their students to the basics of computer science through the organization’s coding programs and tutorials. Timed in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, the campaign has sought to change the perception of Computer Science in the American education system — chief of which is the fact that, today, 9 out of 10 schools in the U.S. do not offer computer science classes.

  • Samsung unveils its Bendable TV
    Samsung shows off a TV that allows its user to adjust how bendy its screen is. at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
  • VIDEO: Director stumbles at Samsung show
    A demonstration of Samsung’s new television equipment at the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show goes awry when Transformers director Michael Bay’s autocue failed.
  • 20 online dating cliches – and what they really mean
    And 19 other ubiquitous online dating cliches
  • Stress test: Are you fit for work?
    Are you fit for work? The tech that can help
  • Michael Bay Falls Apart, Shocks Crowd At CES (UPDATE)
    LAS VEGAS — Michael Bay certainly knows how to wow a crowd.

    The Hollywood director and producer abruptly walked off stage during a Samsung press conference here on Monday, surprising a large crowd and temporarily disrupting what was supposed to be a highly choreographed, well-scripted presentation to show off the South Korean tech giant’s latest lineup of consumer electronics.

    Bay was on stage to help Samsung promote the company’s huge, new curved UHD (ultra high definition) televisions. The press conference was part of CES, the annual gathering of electronics companies in Las Vegas.

    Samsung’s Joe Stinziano asked Bay, who has directed and produced blockbusters like “Armageddon” and the “Transformers” series, what inspires him and how he comes up with his “unbelievable ideas.”

    See video above.

    Bay started to answer, but then he trailed off, turned in a circle and appeared to blame the teleprompter, saying, “The type is all off. Sorry. But I’ll just wing this.”

    “Tell us what you think,” Stinziano said, going along with it.

    “Yeah, we’ll wing it right now,” Bay said, shaking his head.

    “I try to take people on an emotional ride and, um …” he trailed off again.

    Stinziano attempted to get Bay back on track by asking him how the new TV’s curved screen will impact viewers’ experience of his movies.

    But with that, Bay excused himself, apologized and walked off the stage.

    Startled, Stinziano apologized to the audience but still thanked Bay several times.

    “Welcome to Vegas. It’s live shows, folks,” Stinziano said.

    UPDATE: 5:10 p.m. PST — Later on Monday, Bay released a statement on his website:

    Wow! I just embarrassed myself at CES — I was about to speak for Samsung for this awesome Curved 105-inch UHD TV. I rarely lend my name to any products, but this one is just stellar. I got so excited to talk, that I skipped over the Exec VP’s intro line and then the teleprompter got lost. Then the prompter went up and down — then I walked off. I guess live shows aren’t my thing.

    But I’m doing a special curved screen experience with Samsung and Transformers 4 footage that will be traveling around the world.

    Michael

  • Laptops to get 3D depth cameras
    Intel says seven laptop manufacturers will incorporate a 3D camera it developed that contains a depth sensor into their models this year.
  • Apple Vows To Find Women And Minorities For Board Of Directors
    In response to complaints from major shareholders, Apple has vowed to diversify its nearly all-white, all-male Board of Directors with a tweak to its corporate charter.

    The added language reads:

    “The Committee is committed to actively seeking out highly qualified women and individuals from minority groups to include in the pool from which Board nominees are chosen.”

    The change follows diversity concerns raised by shareholders Trillium Asset Management LLC and the Sustainability Group, which objected to former Avon CEO Andrea Jung being the eight-person board’s only woman and sole ethnic minority.

    Over the past months, Apple representatives have discussed these concerns with the shareholders. The issue was set to be put to vote at the shareholders meeting in February, but plans were dropped upon Apple amending the charter.

    The pledge, shareholders say, is simply business savvy.

    “We live in an increasingly complex global marketplace, and the companies that can hire, attract and retain women and people of color are better equipped to capitalize on global opportunities and avoid missteps that may not be apparent to a more homogeneous group,” Larisa Ruoff of the Sustainability Group said.

    Jung is the only non-white board member in Apple’s history and only the second woman, following Katherine M. Hudson, who served from 1994 to 1997.

    Apple’s diversity problems are hardly unique amongst Silicon Valley’s tech giants. Twitter has had only one non-white board member and one woman, while Facebook appointed its first of two women to the board in 2012 and has yet to appoint a non-white member.

  • HBO's 'Girls' Joins Snapchat
    If there’s anything that 20-something girls like, it’s social media.

    HBO’s hit show “Girls” is embracing this trend and has joined the Snapchat community. The show certainly knows its audience and is using social media to its full advantage in promoting its upcoming season. “Girls” is also active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

    This season, we’re living snappily whatever after.
    It’s official. Add girlsHBO on @Snapchat. pic.twitter.com/vcLc4HbMoB

    — Girls (@girlsHBO) January 3, 2014

    The show has cleverly adorned the social media platform’s signature ghost in Hannah’s infamous yellow mesh tank top, as seen in Season 2.

    While fans eagerly wait for Season 3, which will premiere this weekend, they can receive fleeting photos from the show they love. Many fans have taken screenshots of the Snapchats they’ve received from “Girls” and have tweeted the images.

    Truth. @girlsHBO pic.twitter.com/CVgUt3gSX8

    — Gwenllian (@hogan_wirion) January 4, 2014

    Added @girlsHBO on snapchat, immediately treated to the all-time best Shosh quote in snap form pic.twitter.com/y7IPajVOLD

    — Carolyn (@cferggg) January 3, 2014

    you could say i’m excited, you really could @girlsHBO @lenadunham pic.twitter.com/0O9RfmiXER

    — melancholy maurisa (@moonnrise) January 6, 2014

    Season 3 of “Girls” will premiere this Sunday (Jan. 12) at 10 p.m. on HBO.

  • Why I'm Not Buying a New Car Anytime Soon
    Everyone loves that new car smell!

    I use to love that new carpet, those firm seats, and beautiful paint job without a single scratch. After I paid off both my cars, I came to the conclusion that I really hated car payments. No. I despised those payments every month.

    I recently found a great used car for my 16-year-old daughter. It did have some mileage on it and needed a few repairs, but so what?

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need all the latest new “stuff” on a car. Maybe it’s maturity or frugality. I much prefer the freedom of not owing money on a car. But that’s just one reason.

    Here are the reasons I’m not buying a new car anytime soon.

    1. Lower Car Insurance

    It’s no secret that car insurance is expensive for new cars today. An average repair can be hundreds or even thousands of dollars. I recently read that the average new car price for 2013 is nearly $32,000! Wow. That’s more than some of my retirement clients paid for their first home.

    I don’t skimp on the limits and liability levels on my car insurance. When I bought my daughter’s car, the insurance was only about $27 per month more. It pays to buy a “mature” car. With some much older cars, it may not be cost-effective to have full coverage. In this case, I only purchased liability. That kept my bill to a minimum.

    2. Lower Property Taxes

    Another great reason to buy a not so new auto is a lower tax bill. When I went to the title transfer office, this little mechanical gem only put me out $75 for property taxes. When I bought new cars in the past, this bill was always four to five times that sum. Remember: this bill is annual.

    3. No Car Payments.

    Oh what a beautiful feeling! I’ve had a car payment a good portion of my young adult life. A few years ago, I bought a pre-owned vehicle and paid it off quickly. As much as I like the new car thing, I enjoyed the freedom without car payments much more.

    4. No Depreciation

    Depreciation is the amount your car drops from the moment you drive it off the lot after purchase. New cars usually have depreciation of some amount. The beauty of buying a used car is that someone else took all that depreciation. When I buy a used car, I find out the Kelly Blue Book value and try to pay as close, or better than that price.

    5. Lack of Paranoia.

    I may be stretching it here a bit. When I had a new car, I’d always park it 50 miles away. I was always fearful of that first scratch or dent. With a previously owned car, it already has these marks of character. So I’m not so worried when another blemish shows up.

    It would be nice to buy a new car again someday. I’ve changed my feelings about a car. It’s about reliable transportation, not the status symbol. And yes, I’ve probably missed out on 0 percent interest offers, too. To be honest, I’d rather have the extra money for my retirement or a nice vacation every year.

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  • Five Ways the Cloud Will Change Your Professional Life in 2014
    If 2013 was the year in which we finally understood the cloud, this year will be all about making the most of storing and sharing files online. As a professional user of a file sharing service, now is the time to think about what you really need from your cloud provider in 2014, starting with these five major themes.

    Metadata

    Thanks to Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, metadata became one of 2013’s biggest issues. Metadata is all the information that surrounds a file, including the filename, when it was uploaded, who it was shared with and when it was accessed. The NSA’s widespread metadata collection program proves such information can be extremely useful, or so they claim.

    Even if you’re not a government agent, knowing who has viewed or downloaded a file you shared is valuable information. If you’re a salesperson, you know it’s a good time to pick up the phone if you’ve seen that a prospect has viewed the product brochure you sent. The ability to track everything that happens to your shared files could become your most powerful tool in 2014.

    Security and control

    Though security and control may seem like the same thing, they are actually two different yet equally important ways of protecting your files. Security means data encryption and the back-end systems and technology that your provider uses to safeguard your information from evildoers. Most legitimate services offer similarly high levels of security so if your provider is more exposed than Miley Cyrus’ tongue, move your important files to a more secure alternative.

    Control is about protecting what you share. To prevent someone from maliciously or accidentally leaking confidential information, you need sharing controls for your particularly sensitive files. So if, for example (and not something I actually did last year), you CC new people on an email thread, but forget that it contains a link to a confidential file, because you safeguarded your files, these unintended recipients will also need to enter a password or confirm their identity before they can view the file.

    The average person’s need for control tends to change depending on circumstance. It’s like how the share-all Facebook generation turns to Snapchat for those more (ahem) discrete moments. And though the media loves to foresee the demise of Facebook in the popularity of such apps, the reality is that people use a range of products to meet different needs.

    Cloudnostic

    Think about where your files are stored. You probably use a few consumer storage services like Dropbox or Flickr, alongside more professional services like Hightail. And of course, you have at least one email account that stores all those important attachments, not to mention your various devices. The number of places you have to search to find your most important files just keeps growing every year.

    In 2014, services need to be realistic about this trend. There won’t be one cloud to rule them all. File sharing providers will need to become cloudnostic (yes, I did make up another unnecessary buzzword) and let you quickly and easily search all your cloud services, from email to storage accounts, in order to find and share any file with ease.

    Storage

    Thanks to 2013’s deluge of high-res selfies, average file sizes are increasing. The arbitrary storage limits set by cloud storage providers no longer make sense, so in 2014 unlimited storage will become the standard offering for all paid accounts.

    This will bring an end to the game of watching a storage meter or forcing your family to sign up in order to earn additional space. You will simply be able to get on with what really matters without worrying about running out of room. Meanwhile providers will have to focus on offering you more for your money than a few measly gigs of virtual space.

    User experience

    Design thinking has ushered in a new Internet era. Where once, all we cared about was fast loading speeds, we now demand delightful user experiences. Designers have joined engineers as the rock stars of the digital world, so even a service as utilitarian as file sharing should be intuitive and easy-to-use. If your chosen product is not providing an experience equivalent to your favorite consumer site, it’s time to leave the table.

    Metadata, personal control, cloudnostic access, unlimited storage and delightful user experiences are the five major cloud themes that will change how you work in 2014. And as the industry becomes ever more mainstream, we’ll even stop using the word “cloud”.

    Just as the ubiquity of online shopping means we no longer say “e-retailers”, so “cloud” will hopefully be gone from our tech lexicon by the time 2015 rolls around. Tune in this time next year for my follow-up post: The cloud is dead, long live the cloud!

  • Man Worth $20 Billion Gets 'Crazy' When People Say He Cares About Money
    Normally, it’s shocking to hear someone of unfathomable wealth — in this case, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg — say with a straight face that he doesn’t care about money. That is, shocking to hear anywhere except Silicon Valley.

    “It drives me crazy when people write stuff and assert that we’re doing something because the goal is to make a lot of money,” Zuckerberg told The Wall Street Journal’s Evelyn M. Rusli in a rare interview. The big reason Zuck cares about Facebook stock’s price, the piece reveals, is because it’s a great employee retention tactic. Workers with growing stock options tend to stick around.

    On the heels of a year during which Facebook’s stock price nearly doubled, Zuckerberg decided to do a victory lap in the press (and ease fretful investors who might second-guess trusting a 29-year-old with so much money) by describing how he learned to really really love advertising.

    As described by The Journal, the moment came during a 2012 meeting when Facebook’s executives were reviewing an update to the company’s iPad app:

    The CEO quietly studied them. “Why don’t we just explore ads in news feed?” he said, according to people at the meeting. Mr. Zuckerberg indicated that he would be open to the possibility of more types of ads there, including ones not tied to “likes.”

    “Oh, my gosh, he’s actually open to it,” one executive present at the meeting remembers thinking. No one in the room asked Mr. Zuckerberg why. They were too worried he would change his mind.

    Pooh-poohing money concerns is a well established tradition among the princes of Silicon Valley. “Our goal absolutely at Apple is not to make money,” Apple’s chief designer Jonathan Ive once said in an equally unbelievable quote. Unlike many of their wealthy colleagues on Wall Street, tech executives can make an honest claim of creating products that improve people’s lives. However, some tech sector elite also fool themselves into thinking this means they don’t care about money at all.

    In the past, Zuckerberg has insisted that he never intended to run a corporation, much less one worth $138 billion. “Facebook was not originally created to be a company,” he told potential investors two years ago. But a publicly traded company, which can dole out stock to top employees, simply happened to be the best way to incentivize workers.

    And as the Journal tells it, employees’ stock portfolios are what finally got Zuckerberg to think like the fabulously rich capitalist that he is. Before that iPad meeting, ads had always second (or third or fourth…) priority for Zuckerberg. But an internal survey revealed that engineers “worried that top management couldn’t relate to their financial stress” after Facebook’s stock dipped following the company’s botched initial public offering. So retaining those frustrated workers meant finally learning to please Wall Street.

  • Christy Foley Makes Mars One Shortlist Along With 1,058 Others
    An Edmonton woman may become one of the few pioneers to head to Mars and fulfill a dream of travelling to space.

    Christy Foley has made the shortlist for Mars One, a Dutch-led one-way mission that hopes to colonize the red planet by 2025.

    She is joined by 31-year-old Calgary engineer Zac Trolley on the shortlist, who told CBC News the payoffs of the project are huge.

    “I’ve always loved space,” Foley said to Global News. “In elementary school I even said in my yearbook I wanted to colonize the moon, but I’m willing to miss the moon to hit Mars.”

    Story continues after slideshow

    Foley and her husband both applied for the project, but her husband did not make the shortlist.

    “It was definitely disappointing,” Foley told Metro, and her husband would continue to try his luck for future applications for the mission.

    More than 200,000 people have applied to join the $6-billion project, including nearly 7,000 Canadians.

    The brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Landorp, the project will use existing technology and be funded through sponsors and private investors. Mars One says primary funding will come from a “global media event” that will feature the astronauts and their preparation.

    At first, the home base would be limited to provisions, oxygen and water, but would expand to everything the settlers might need, including solar panels.

    If accepted and the mission takes flight, the 24 candidates will spend the rest of their lives settling a colony on the red planet.

    The next selection phases will include rigorous simulations that focus on testing the physical and emotional capabilities of remaining candidates.

    “We expect to begin understanding what is motivating our candidates to take this giant leap for humankind,” said Norbert Kraft, Chief Medical Officer of Mars One.

    “This is where it really gets exciting.”

    With files from The Canadian Press

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