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Mobile Technology News, February 18, 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.

  • What Social Business Looks Like Beyond Social Media (INFOGRAPHIC)
    Sure, your business is killing it on Facebook and Twitter. With thousands of likes and followers, one might expect business to be booming.

    What many may not know, however, is that it takes a village — or in this case, collaboration, to take a business to the next level.

    By utilizing not merely social platforms, but also mobile and cloud technologies, see how businesses of all sizes are going from simply “liking” to leading using social business tactics in the infographic below.

    *Click to expand.*

    What Social Media Looks Like Beyond Social Business

    Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
  • VIDEO: Crowdsourced boats to map the seas
    Crowdsourced boats log what lies beneath the UK seas
  • How to cash in with off-the-peg apps
    How you too could become a mobile games mogul
  • Can Europe go its own way on data?
    Can Europe keep its data to itself?
  • More signs that Apple A8 chip production is approaching
    Apple may be gearing up for A8 processor production if its relationship with TSMC pans out.
  • Tesla Protests Bills That Would Curb Its Expansion
    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Tesla Motors enthusiasts drove their electric cars to Olympia on Monday to protest legislation they said would prevent the company from opening and operating additional facilities in Washington state.

    Tesla lobbyist Daniel Witt told supporters at the Capitol that under legislation currently proposed, Tesla would not be able to expand beyond the two stores and service centers it operates in Seattle and Bellevue. Language in House Bill 2524 and its companion Senate Bill 6272 says the Department of Licensing would no longer be able to issue additional facility licenses to Tesla because of its status as a vehicle manufacturer and not as a dealer. The company sells cars directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.

    “We’re eager to see this language out of the bill,” he said.

    Bill and Jean Hotchkiss of Vancouver, Wash., bought their Tesla Model S online in April 2013, a process Bill Hotchkiss called seamless.

    Bill Hotchkiss said that they came to Olympia, in part, because, “it cost us nothing to get here.” The car currently sold by Tesla can go up to 265 miles on a single battery charge.

    The Model S begins at about $70,000 but can top $100,000 with options. Washington state has the most Tesla Motors Inc. cars per capita in terms of sales, Witt said.

    Both bills, which also clarify existing laws between car dealers and manufacturers, have passed through one committee and are in their respective Rules Committees.

  • Where William Howard Taft's Steam-Powered Car Calls Home

    SANDWICH — It was Presidents Day in 1909 and William Howard Taft was watching television at the White House.

    Another car commercial came on.

    “Come on down!” said the pitchman. “What’s it going to take to put you in this 1909 White Steam Car today?

    Of course there was no Presidents Day back then and no TV either.

    But President Taft loved cars and he may have been the guy that got the whole Presidents Day/car sale thing going.

    One of his beloved autos calls Cape Cod home.

    “He was the first president to be officially transported by automobile as opposed to horse-drawn carriage,” said Jennifer Madden, director of collections and exhibitions at Heritage Museums & Gardens.

    For more than 40 years, Taft’s White steam car has been in the collection of vehicles displayed at the J.K. Lilly III Automobile Museum.

    A cheerful and gregarious man, Taft was a big auto enthusiast even before he helmed the country for four years starting in 1909.

    “When he became president, one of the first things he did was get some money to buy a fleet of automobiles and this car was one of them,” Madden said. “But, of course, while he was president, he had a chauffeur to drive him.”

    In addition to the White steamer, the 27th U.S. president also acquired two Pierce-Arrow limousines, according to the White House Historical Association. At the time, nobody was able to tell whether gasoline, steam or electrical power was going to corner the car market, Madden said.

    “Steam had its advantages because it was familiar to people — people knew it from locomotives and steam-powered factories,” she said. “It was safe, it was quiet, water was available everywhere.”

    But the drawbacks could cause road rage these days. The mechanically complicated vehicles took 10 to 40 minutes to warm up, for example. “You’re basically waiting for water to boil, like cooking pasta,” Madden said, adding that it wasn’t long before gasoline-powered vehicles were the favorite.

    Taft apparently liked that the White steamer helped him hide from the paparazzi.

    “The $4,000 Steamer became a favorite of the camera-shy president when he discovered he could conceal himself from pesky press photographers with a carefully timed burst of steam,” according to a 1993 article in Popular Mechanics magazine.

    It is unclear whether Taft’s steamer made the road trip to Provincetown in 1910, when the president dedicated the 252-foot-tall Pilgrim Monument. “Road conditions at the time were not great,” said Madden.

    The public can see Taft’s White steamer when the museum opens for the season April 19. ___

    (c)2014 the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.)

    Visit the Cape Cod Times (Hyannis, Mass.) at www.capecodonline.com

    Distributed by MCT Information Services

  • Parenting in a Wired World

    Parenting in our exceedingly connected, wired world can leave mothers, fathers, and caretakers alike wondering how to manage it all. The fast pace of life, combined with the use of multiple devices draws our attention away from our loved ones. At the same time, many of us notice our inner world beckoning us back for deeper connection. What actions do we take to find peace amidst it all?

    We have all observed with sadness entire families with their heads down in a device … barely noticing one another other. What if we took those moments to take a breath and set an intention to let the human beings we love take precedent over electronic devices, as Hands Free Mama Rachel Macy Stafford suggests?

    Our breath and presence alone is unlikely to unwind our own childhood patterns. As parents, we must also work to get in touch with those parts of ourselves that we have forgotten, discover where we have been wounded, and commit to new ways of being and living in the world, as Dr. Shefali Tsabary so skillfully suggests. Easier said than done, but nonetheless an honorable commitment to make as a parent or caregiver.

    My path to conscious parenting began many years ago, and although I’ve come a long way, it still feels as if I have so much more to learn. Perhaps for most of us, the willingness to be open to learning coupled with investigating our internal worlds is the easiest first step. Knowing what we don’t know allows for curiosity and wonder to play their parts in the way we raise our children.

    When my eldest son was only three years old, I asked him to tell mommy if ever he thought I needed to breath and take a break. I was dumbfounded by how often I would hear his little voice saying “breathe, Momma.” I would look at him, say thank you, and take a centering breath so he could see my energy shift and calm. He was my teacher then, and he remains one of my greatest teachers now.

    Many in the Wisdom 2.0 Community share an inner compass pointing us to the need for a new paradigm in the way we navigate this journey called “parenting.” We will explore this topic and many more at this year’s conference, beginning February 14th in San Francisco, California.

    Tickets are still available for the day-long Children, Family, and Parenting Intensive on Monday February 17th. You can find more information here.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Wisdom 2.0 in conjunction with the fifth annual Wisdom 2.0 Conference, held this weekend (Feb. 13-16, 2014), in San Francisco. Wisdom 2.0 is the premier event exploring the intersection of wisdom and technology. For more information about the conference, visit www.wisdom2conference.com. To see all the posts in the series, read here.

  • Social Media Week 2014 Promotes Discussion About Tech's Role In Business And Society
    Feb. 17 marks the beginning of Social Media Week 2014, a time for thoughtful discourse about how the always-changing technology landscape is impacting business, society and individual lives.

    Social Media Week has been going strong since its inception in 2009. This year, more than 30,000 people in eight cities across the world are expected to engage in the conversation, the event’s founder Toby Daniels told HuffPost Live’s Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani.

    Jordan Freeman, The Huffington Post’s vice president of brand strategy and development, said Social Media Week creates the perfect forum to have a discussion about what direction in which the proliferation of technology is taking the world.

    “The rise of technology has caused this 24/7 connection, and in some ways that’s great, and in some ways it could have a very negative impact on the way we’re managing our careers, our relationships, our families and our lives,” she said.

    Learn more about Social Media Week 2014 in the full HuffPost Live conversation below.

  • Krugman Slams Comcast-Time Warner Deal
    Last week’s big business news was the announcement that Comcast, a gigantic provider of cable TV and high-speed Internet service, has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner, which is merely huge.
  • Microsoft inks digital signature integration deal with DocuSign
    Partnership will allow users of the office suite to digitally sign documents from within Microsoft’s desktop apps.
  • Roaming makes visitors 'switch off'
    More than a quarter of travellers in Europe turn their phones off completely to avoid roaming charges, research from the European Commission suggests.
  • Samsung allegedly dropped as producer of A8 in favor of TSMC [u]
    (Updated with LTE chipset claims) Apple has dropped Samsung as a manufacturer of the A8 processor in 2014, a TechNews Taiwan report claims. Samsung is said to be having trouble manufacturing the chip using its 20nm process. TSMC, though, is allegedly capable of meeting Apple demands, and is predicted to take on all A8 production this year.


  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk Met With Apple Executives: Report
    Two of the world’s most innovative companies may have discussed working together or even joining forces, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk met with Adrian Pierca, Apple’s head of mergers and acquisitions, last spring as analysts were suggesting Apple acquire the electronic carmaker, the Chronicle reported Sunday, citing an unnamed source.

    “While a megadeal has yet to emerge (for all of its cash, Apple still plays hardball on valuation), such a high-level meeting between the two Silicon Valley giants involving their top dealmakers suggests Apple was very much interested in buying the electric car pioneer,” the report said.

    (Read the full story from the San Francisco Chronicle here.)

    Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post. Tesla declined to comment.

    Apple and its CEO Tim Cook spent much of last year fighting off concerns from analysts and investors that the company had lost its innovative edge. While the company added new technologies to many of its products in recent years, Apple hasn’t launched a new product in a new category since 2010, when the iPad first came out, according to USA Today.

    Acquiring Tesla could ease some of those worries. Nothing says “IT’S THE FUTURE” quite like a car that runs on electricity with a fancy touchscreen that tells drivers where they can charge up next. And Musk, a co-founder of PayPal, has become somewhat of a Silicon Valley darling, unveiling ideas like the Hyperloop — an idea for an elevated transit system that could get people from San Francisco to Los Angeles in just 30 minutes — to much fanfare.

    Andaan Ahmad, an analyst at German bank Berenberg, said as much when he suggested Apple buy Tesla in an open letter to Cook in October. Ahmad argued Apple needs “an out of the box” move into a new market, according to CNNMoney. Otherwise, he wrote, Apple’s future will only be about how much money the company can continue to squeeze out of the iPhone.

    In addition, if Apple acquired Tesla, the tech giant would get the added benefit of bringing an innovative leader like Musk into the fold. “You could strike up a partnership and obtain a new iconic partner to lead Apple’s innovation drive,” Ahmad wrote.

    Apple isn’t the only tech giant to explore the auto world. Google has a project in the works for driverless cars that would keep people safer on the road.

    Musk has signaled in the past that an Apple buy isn’t out of the realm of possibility. “They do have a lot of cash,” he told Bloomberg in an interview in May.

    This story was updated after Tesla declined to comment.

  • Meet The Man Who Uncovered The Target Hack
    SAN FRANCISCO — In the last year, Eastern European cybercriminals have stolen Brian Krebs’s identity a half dozen times, brought down his website, included his name and some unpleasant epithets in their malware code, sent fecal matter and heroin to his doorstep, and called a SWAT team to his home just as his mother was arriving for dinner.
  • Here's Proof That Beautiful Math Equations Affect The Brain Just Like Great Art
    What’s beautiful to you? A sunset? The face of a loved one? A favorite poem or song?

    Mathematicians sometimes say they find beauty in mathematical formulas, and a new brain scan study confirms that equations can activate the brain in much the same way that great art does.

    “To many of us, mathematical formulae appear dry and inaccessible, but to a mathematician an equation can embody the quintessence of beauty,” study author Dr. Semir Zeki, professor of neuroesthetics at University College London, said in a written statement. “The beauty of a formula may result from simplicity, symmetry, elegance or the expression of an immutable truth.”

    For the study, which was published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Zeki and his colleagues recruited from local colleges 16 male and female mathematicians between the ages of 22 and 32. The mathematicians were asked to review 60 mathematical formulas and to rate them on a scale ranging from minus five (ugly) to plus five (beautiful). Two weeks later they re-rated the equations while in a functional MRI (fMRI) scanner.

    fMRI scanners show neurological activity by measuring changes in the flow of blood inside the brain. The scans in the study showed that appreciating beautiful formulas is correlated with activity in the medial orbito-frontal cortex, a region at the front of the brain. Appreciating art or music is correlated with activity in that same region.

    Srinivasa Ramanujan’s infinite series (below) and Riemann’s functional equation didn’t fare well in the study. They were rated ugliest.

    final formula
    Srinivasa Ramanujan’s infinite series of 1/pi, which was rated as the ugliest mathematical formula.

    Which of the 60 math formulas were rated as especially beautiful? There were three: the Pythagorean identity, the Cauchy-Riemann equations, and Leonhard Euler’s identity (see above, top).

    It’s a real classic, and you can do no better than that,” Dr. David Percy, a professor affiliated with the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications in the U.K., told the BBC about Euler’s identity. “It is simple to look at and yet incredibly profound, it comprises the five most important mathematical constants… It also comprises the three most basic arithmetic operations–addition, multiplication, and exponentiation.”

    Dr. Steven Strogatz, professor of applied mathematics at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, offered a different take on the new research. “Some beautiful equations are like art, but others are more like great jokes,” he told The Huffington Post in an email. “They’re surprising and true at the same time. That’s what makes them so delightful.”

  • The unknown consequences of extended tablet use by children is a concern to many experts
    Since the release of the iPad, tablet use has proliferated among the general population including children that can barely walk. Children easily scroll through apps, stream videos and play games, yet there is some concern among pediatricians and other health experts that too much time spent on tablets can hinder their education and social development.
  • Vodafone wins 500,000 4G customers in six months
    The mobile operator celebrates the milestone that sees it rolling out the faster data connections across 208 cities and towns in the UK
  • Google Integrates with comScore's Cross-Platform Measurement Tool
    PALM  SPRINGS, CA –  At the IAB annual leadership meeting, Google and announced its full integration with comScore to measure the impact of cross-platform ad campaigns.   Here is is the comScore press release.

    For an overview on the agreement and its implications for the digital industry, we spoke with Serge Matta, president of comScore.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

Mobile Technology News, February 17, 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.

  • Google buys sound authentication firm
    Google acquires SlickLogin – an Israeli start-up behind the technology that allows websites to verify a user’s identity by using sound waves.
  • S Korea firms fined over data theft
    South Korean regulators have punished three credit card companies for their role in the country’s largest-ever theft of financial data last month.
  • Five-year-olds to study video games
    The game for five-year-olds and other Seattle start-ups
  • Data stolen in Kickstarter hack
    Popular online crowdfunding website Kickstarter is hacked, but no credit card data was accessed, says its chief executive.
  • 'iPad Pro' iffy, Microsoft Office on iPad 'alive' in 2014: Reports
    Coming soon — or not so soon — to an iPad near you: Reports weigh in on iPad ‘Pro’ and Microsoft Office coming to the popular tablet.
  • Gracie Gold, Ashley Wagner Among Olympians Letting Sponsors Compose Some Tweets
    SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Between photos and insights about their Olympic experience, some Olympians are turning over their social media accounts to sponsors, agreeing to quotas of postings on Twitter and Facebook and letting other people send commercial messages in their name.

    The agents for US figure skaters Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold both say sponsors draft some of their tweets, plugging their brands. “This is the first Olympics where I actually have a social media calendar, where an athlete has to tweet or mention something on a given day,” Gold’s agent, Yuki Saegusa, said in an interview.

    “We get a list of tweets or social media things that need to be posted and then we approve them for her,” said Saegusa, senior vice president for Olympic clients at sports management giant IMG.

    Although they “encourage” Gold to post the pre-packaged commercial tweets to her 65,000 followers herself, sometimes others do it for her.

    “We want it to be from her point of view, and from her mouth and from her fingers. So we try to get her to do them — mostly,” Saegusa said.

    “We’re in a very new age now where a lot of advertising, or PR, or promotions, is social media. That’s becoming a very important aspect of marketing.”

    Wagner’s IMG agent, David Baden, said athletes’ sponsorship deals are now starting to specify “how many tweets, how many Facebook mentions and even Instagram” photos they must post.

    “That is part of the contract now. That is how important social media has become,” he said. “The last Olympics that was not the case.”

    Baden, an IMG vice president for Olympic clients, worked with skating bronze medalist Joannie Rochette at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

    He said they have access to Wagner’s account, so they can post commercial tweets to her 60,000 followers.

    “It’s not like Ashley doesn’t know about these. I mean we send her all these. She had to approve all of them, and so it’s not that she does not know what is being said. She’s seen it. She’s part of this whole process,” he said.

    “It’s just that with her schedule, and if we can make things easier, what’s the difference?”

    Sponsors make sure schedules of tweets are adhered to.

    “We’ll get a message, usually, from the sponsor, and just say(ing) ‘Just reminding you this week, these tweets,” he said. “I’ll send it to my assistant. And she’ll just say; ‘Yes, I have it already in queue to do it.'”

    The agents did not specify which of their athletes’ tweets in recent months were drafted and posted on their behalf.

    The verified accounts of both Gold and Wagner — @GraceEGold and @AshWagner2010 — have referenced their own and US Olympic Committee sponsors, in tweets and re-tweets.

    It’s not clear which recent postings were paid for, but after the Feb. 7 opening ceremony Gold sent out an Instagram photo of herself holding a lipstick applier. “Couldn’t forget the red lips,” it read. As well as CoverGirl, her Twitter profile lists other sponsors: Visa, United Airlines, Procter & Gamble Family, Smucker’s, Pandora Jewelry and Airweave.

    Baden says to fulfill their contracts, simply retweeting a tweet first sent by a sponsor isn’t sufficient.

    When on one occasion he used his own account to send a sponsor’s tweet and then asked Wagner to retweet it, “they called me and said, ‘No, no. No retweets. It has to come from her.'”


    Follow John Leicester on Twitter at http://twitter.com/johnleicester

  • How A Bewildering Literary Phrase Taught Me To Love My Flaws And Limitations
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    The first assignment I was given at Oxford, where I was spending my junior year of college, was to write about the novels of Thomas Hardy, paying attention to “the disturb of the fictive.” There were eight of us in the room when our tutor pronounced these words, and we all looked at each other, dumbfounded, none of us daring to ask the woman for clarification. She was the ex-wife of a descendant of William Wordsworth, she smoked stinky French cigarettes, and she dressed, always, in black. She was terrifying.

    We were to write the essay over the course of the week and present it to the tutor at the first of our one-on-one tutorials. Off we went, bewildered and ignorant. Fictive was tricky enough, but disturb? As a noun? What on earth did it mean? We discussed the phrase over meals and coffees, but made no headway with it before it was time for us to settle in, alone, to write.

    There are moments in any writer’s work when something goes awry, or when something upsets the writer’s plan for the novel (or short story, or poem). Often, these deviations end up being for the best. — Henriette Lazaridis Power

    That first week, I was convinced the tutor was nuts and I looked ahead to a year of tutorials with dread, convinced I wouldn’t learn a thing. Instead, she turned out to be a professor of unusual intelligence and insight, and over the years, in my first career as an English professor and my current one as a novelist, I keep coming back to that strange idea of hers: the disturb of the fictive. I’ve looked through my old papers, but can’t find the essay I wrote, and I’ve Googled the phrase with no success. But the idea still fascinates me–or at least my idea of what I think it means.

    There are moments in any writer’s work when something goes awry, or when something upsets the writer’s plan for the novel (or short story, or poem). Often, these deviations end up being for the best. A novel that adheres too strictly to the outline laid out for it at the start might be too programmatic to be interesting. Sometimes, the detour becomes the road you need your plot to follow. Sometimes a character you had no intention of spending more than a few pages on can grow into a novel’s driving force.

    But there’s something more than that–and that’s what the tutor was trying to get at with her disturb of the fictive. There are instances in the work of a writer or a painter or a musician when the very energy of creation makes itself felt in the resulting art. In those Hardy novels, I think it’s in moments when it almost feels as if the narrative is a scroll that has stopped rolling while the pen keeps writing. You end up with a passage so deeply and intensely written over that it borders on the incomprehensible. And then the scroll starts up again and the novel moves on the way it’s supposed to.

    You can’t plan for these moments in your own work, but you can spot them and edit them out. Or should you?

    I’m all for writing that is meticulously cared for, and I value the same dedication in the photography or painting or acting or singing that I seek out. Still, why rid your work of the traces of its own creation? Couldn’t it be that the flaw you see but leave intact becomes your own mark of creation and identity, like the fingerprint at the edge of a potter’s vase, or the hair that drops from the painter’s head onto the still-wet canvas?

    These days, we can consume our art in conditions of perfection: CD’s with no crackle or static, photographs with no scratches. But I think we all find something intriguing in the idea of the disturbance. We love the Easter egg in the video game, the intentional flaw of a Navajo rug or a quilt. More and more of us have tired of the digital clarity of a CD, and film is still being produced for those who want the imperfections of a negative in the darkroom. Conceptual artists have long been making art that is set to decay, its disturb built in to the fictive energy that invented it. Audiobooks now come so cleanly produced that you hear only the syllables and nothing more, but I will never forget a recording of the Turn of the Screw in which I could hear the actor’s every inhalation–a poor production, no doubt, but so human.

    That is it, in the end: the disturb of the fictive is that quality in art that is human, impermanent, physical, that comes from our hard imaginative work. What I learned that week so many years ago took me a long time to truly discover. It’s in its flaws and limitations that our work comes alive, and it’s in those flaws and limitations that we reveal ourselves, as artists and as human beings.

    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.

  • 7 Random Acts Of Kindness Inspired By A Drinking Game
    When a dangerous online drinking game called “NekNomination” began spreading rapidly on Facebook and Twitter, it looked as though we’d found another reason to curse social media (and young people).

    NekNomination involves filming yourself drinking an alcoholic concoction and then nominating a friend to outdo you. The trend began in Australia but has spread across the globe, according to the Telegraph.

    But from this drinking game has come a new challenge — one that we’re promoting: RAKNominations.

    To counter the debauchery that NekNomination promotes, people have begun filming themselves doing random acts of kindness and nominating their friends to do the same.

    Here are just a few of the lovely gestures to pop up in the last week:

    1. This young man bought a bouquet of roses and randomly picked a stranger to give them to. His RAK target just happened to be an adorable elderly woman.

    2. This man bought a soup canteen, filled it with homemade soup and gave it to a homeless man, along with a new jacket.

    3. This group spent the day buying strangers coffee, paying for parking passes, and offering up banana bread to anyone they bumped into.

    4. This man went old-school and paid for the meals of people behind him in the KFC drive-thru.

    5. This young woman took the time to write a card for someone she doesn’t know. “Thank you for being you,” it reads. “I know your existence changed somebody’s life.”

    6. This woman decided to walk into a random convenience store and cover one (very appreciative) woman’s bill.

    7. This woman got creative. She walked into a book store, flipped to a random page number of a book, and went about getting that many hugs from strangers. With each embrace comes more smiles.

    h/t Metro News

  • Can You Pass The Science Quiz That Too Many Americans Failed?
    Do Americans know their science? The results are in from a new National Science Foundation survey that assessed our knowledge of basic biology, chemistry, astronomy, geology, and physics — and they don’t look promising.

    The survey shows that an alarming number of Americans think astrology has a foundation in science (it doesn’t). And too many of us don’t know what determines a baby’s sex or the correct answer to the simple true-or-false question “The universe began with a huge explosion.”


    Want to test your own science knowledge? All the questions from the survey are included in the quiz below.

  • First Map of Jupiter's Giant Moon Ganymede Unveiled (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

    The largest moon in the solar system has finally received its cartographic due.

    Scientists have created the first global geological map of Jupiter’s huge, ice-covered moon Ganymede, more than 400 years after its discovery by Galileo Galilei. The map, created using observations by NASA’s twin Voyager probes and Galileo orbiter, highlights the varied terrain of Ganymede, which is bigger than the planet Mercury.

    ganymede map
    To present the best information in a single view of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, a global image mosaic was assembled, incorporating the best available imagery from NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft and NASA’s Galileo spacecraft. This image shows Ganymede centered at 200 west longitude. This mosaic (right) served as the base map for the geologic map of Ganymede (left).

    “This map illustrates the incredible variety of geological features on Ganymede and helps to make order from the apparent chaos of its complex surface,” Robert Pappalardo, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., said in a statement. “This map is helping planetary scientists to decipher the evolution of this icy world and will aid in upcoming spacecraft observations.” [Watch the video animation of the 1st full map of Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede]

    The new map, which was published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), could also help scientists plan out the search for alien life, researchers said.

    “After Mars, the interiors of icy satellites of Jupiter are considered the best candidates for habitable environments for life in our solar system,” USGS Astrogeology Science Center director Laszlo Kestay said in a statement. “This geologic map will be the basis for many decisions by NASA and partners regarding future U.S. missions under consideration to explore these worlds.”

    Observations of Jupiter’s largest moon made since its discovery in 1610 have revealed many features and facts about Ganymede over the centuries. They show that the 3,273-mile-wide (5,268 kilometers) moon possesses dark, heavily cratered terrain as well as lighter, younger regions marked by many grooves and ridges.

    A geologic map of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede is superimposed over a global color mosaic of the Galilean moon made of images from NASA’s Voyager 1, 2 and Galileo spacecraft.

    The moon’s features have been shaped during three major geologic periods — one dominated by impact cratering, then another marked by lots of tectonic activity and finally a third in which this activity tapered off, scientists said.

    “The highly detailed, colorful map confirmed a number of outstanding scientific hypotheses regarding Ganymede’s geologic history, and also disproved others,” said Baerbel Lucchitta, scientist emeritus at the USGS in Flagstaff, Ariz. “For example, the more detailed Galileo images showed that cryovolcanism, or the creation of volcanoes that erupt water and ice, is very rare on Ganymede.”

    Voyager 1 and 2 flew by Ganymede in 1979 during their unprecedented solar system “grand tour,” then kept on going all the way toward interstellar space (which Voyager 1 entered in August 2012). The Galileo probe studied Ganymede and many other members of the Jovian system while orbiting Jupiter from 1995 through 2003.

    You can download a high-resolution copy of the new Ganymede geologic map for free at the USGS website here: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sim/3237/

    Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • The Most Epic Game Of 'Pokemon' Is Happening Right Now
    We all want to be the very best, like no one ever was, don’t we? Well, as we speak, thousands of players are simultaneously trying to catch ’em all in a single online game of “Pokémon.” And you can watch (or participate!) via streaming site Twitch.

    In a massive stream called “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” someone has adjusted a setting to allow any viewer to help control the character in a game of “Pokémon” Red or Blue (it’s unclear which early version of the game is being played).

    Instead of just watching the stream and commenting on the game, every person viewing the livestream can actually play the game by typing a controller command (up, left, A button, etc.) into the stream’s chat box. Sort of like virtually passing the controller back and forth between thousands of players.

    Pretty cool, huh?

    pokemon gif
    Gif via Wario64
    The image above shows the game unfolding on the left. On the right is the chat box, where you can see the different viewers (Gulgasaur, Dum dum dugan, etc.) and the commands they’re typing to progress the game.

    Ten of thousand viewers (and counting) are participating. Talk about teamwork! Someone was paying attention to all those heartwarming messages at the end of Pokémon episodes.

    Now, there are some limitations. Players can use only one command at a time (so no A+B+select+start restarts), and the chat box recognizes only the D-pad keys, A, B, Start and Select, according to Kotaku.

    As you can probably imagine, playing a single game of “Pokémon” controlled by more than 10,000 players is no easy feat, and even the simplest task (like walking in the right direction) requires a dizzying amount of luck and patience. But these resilient players seem to be doing okay, even as their numbers swell.

    Be strong, guys. Your courage will pull you through. We know it’s your destiny, and all that other stuff in the “Pokémon” theme song.

  • Academy's 2014 Scientific And Technical Awards Highlight Special Effects
    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The scientists and inventors who make big-screen superheroes, spectacular explosions and other only-in-the-movies effects possible have their own Oscar ceremony.

    Kristen Bell and Michael B. Jordan hosted the film academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Saturday at the Beverly Hills Hotel, recognizing more than 50 of the most creative scientists and engineers in the movie business. These are the men who developed the computer technology behind the bullet scene in “The Matrix” and the animation techniques in “Life of Pi.” They’re the visionaries who build the things the film industry needs that don’t yet exist, like advanced remote helicopter cameras and the Pneumatic Car Flipper (which does what it sounds like), for which they received certificates and plaques from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

    One honoree, Joshua Pines, who helped develop image-processing mathematics to standardize color, called the evening “this year’s annual winter Olympics for geeks.”

    The two Oscar statuettes were presented among the night’s 21 awards: The Gordon E. Sawyer Award to Peter W. Anderson for his contributions to 3-D technology, and an Academy Award of Merit in honor of the countless owners and operators of film-processing labs over the past century. “The Dark Knight” writer-director Christopher Nolan accepted the film lab Oscar, which will be on permanent display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles when it opens in 2017.

    Nolan described film processors as alchemists who “(turn) silver and plastic into dreams — and not just any kind of dreams, but the kind of dreams you can unspool from a reel and hold in your hand, hold up to the light and see, frozen: magic.”

    He also contributed to the film-versus-digital debate that other honorees nudged at during the night.

    Film is “the technology that lies at the heart of filmmaking,” Nolan said, “and still represents the gold standard in imaging technology.”

    Still, the majority of Saturday’s awards honored research and inventions related to digital filmmaking.

    Eric Veach was recognized for his Stanford doctoral thesis that incorporates the physics of lighting into computer graphics. Dan Piponi, part of a team who created a system to simulate smoke and fire first used in films such as “Avatar” and “Puss In Boots,” joked about his unlikely road to Oscar recognition.

    “Nobody told me if I wanted to get an Academy Award, I should study mathematics,” he said. “But that’s what I did, and here I am.”

    Bell said she learned new scientific concepts and vocabulary as she prepared for the show, adding she was happy to help honor the artists deep behind the scenes.

    “A lot of the science and technology behind making movies seem realistic, all of those geniuses are here tonight,” she said, “and I’m excited to celebrate them.”

    The rest of this year’s Academy Awards will be presented March 2.


    AP Entertainment Writer Ryan Pearson contributed to this report.


    Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .




  • NSA allies 'spied on US law firm'
    Australian secret services tapped a US law firm representing Indonesia in a trade dispute with the US, fresh leaks by Edward Snowden suggest.
  • My quest to fix a broken iPad
    How I fixed my smashed iPad screen
  • Miranda Barbour, Accused Craigslist Killer, Admits To Slaying 22 People As Part Of Satanic Cult: Report
    SUNBURY, Pa. (AP) — A Pennsylvania woman charged along with her newlywed husband in the murder of a man they met through Craigslist admitted to the slaying in a jailhouse interview with a newspaper and said she has killed more than 20 others across the country, claims police said they are investigating.

    In an interview with the Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa., 19-year-old Miranda Barbour said she wants to plead guilty to killing Troy LeFerrara in November. She also said in the interview that she has killed at least 22 other people from Alaska to North Carolina in the last six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult. “I feel it is time to get all of this out. I don’t care if people believe me. I just want to get it out,” Barbour told the newspaper for a story published Saturday night (http://bit.ly/1gN81z3).

    Sunbury police Chief Steve Mazzeo told the newspaper that investigators have been in contact with the FBI and law enforcement in several other states.

    “From information we gathered and from information gathered from her interview we are seriously concerned and have been in contact with the proper authorities,” Mazzeo said.

    Lawyers for the couple did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press left at their offices Saturday night. An FBI spokesman referred questions to its Philly office, but an email message wasn’t immediately returned.

    Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Barbour and her husband, 22-year-old Elytte Barbour. Authorities said Miranda Barbour, a petite woman with long brown hair, told investigators she met the 6-foot-2, 278-pound victim after he responded to her Craigslist ad offering companionship for money.

    Police allege in court papers that Elytte Barbour told investigators they committed the crime because they wanted to kill someone together. The couple, who were married in North Carolina and moved to Pennsylvania about three weeks before the crime, told police Miranda Barbour stabbed LaFerrara in the front seat of her car while her husband held a cord around his neck.

    She said in the interview that she doesn’t want to get out of jail and that she would kill again if she were released.

    Miranda Barbour offered little detail on the murders she claimed to have participated in in Alaska, Texas, North Carolina and California. She claims she joined a satanic cult in Alaska when she was 13 before moving to North Carolina. Online records for the woman that the newspaper identified as Barbour’s mother show her as having lived in both Alaska and North Carolina.

Mobile Technology News, February 16, 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.

  • My quest to fix a broken iPad
    How I fixed my smashed iPad screen
  • No, Facebook Didn't Crush Upworthy's Traffic

    Have you seen this graphic?

    Upworthy Crash -- Graphic by Business Insider

    Media analysts have been buzzing this last week about how this chart proves that a December change to the Facebook newsfeed algorithm is bringing the Upworthy media empire crashing down. Upworthy received nearly 50 million viewers in November, while their web traffic in December and January after the change was considerably lower. The timing here makes the cause obvious, right?

    Not so fast.

    Viral Sites Still Thriving

    Business Insider claims that “a quick survey of sites that post similar traffic to Upworthy show that they also saw peaks in November and declines in December, after the Facebook algorithm change.” However, an audit of other viral media websites shows this not to be the case. As Upworthy’s traffic went down, others saw an uptick. Utrend.tv and Distractify both grew from November to December, and ViralNova had no significant change. If the newsfeed algorithm change really was the culprit, you’d expect to see similar drops in viewership across the board.

    What Really “Crushed” Upworthy’s Traffic

    Upworthy is playing a numbers game. Not everything online can go viral, and that’s even true for a site like Upworthy.

    Upworthy's Top Stories - Graph via Scanvine

    A small number of Upworthy posts make up a majority of their shares and pageviews.

    Take a look at Upworthy’s traffic from Quantcast for the entire past year, and you’ll see clearly how a majority of their traffic comes from sporadic “viral” hits.

    Upworthy Yearly Traffic by Quantcast

    In November, Upworthy happened to have two particularly viral posts: “9 Out Of 10 Americans Are Completely Wrong About This Mind-Blowing Fact” and “2 People Described The Same Person To A Forensic Artist And This Is What Happened” both drove a huge number of people to their site. This resulted in a much higher monthly viewer count than usual — and you wouldn’t expect to see that many viewers again until the next time Upworthy happens to find back-to-back super-viral hits.

    So, the real story here isn’t that December and January had low traffic. It’s that, by chance, November had massive traffic, and that just makes every other month look small in comparison.

    This article was originally published at ShareProgress.org.

  • Kickstarter Hacked, Site Says Some Data Stolen
    Hackers breached the crowdfunding website Kickstarter and made off with some user information, the site revealed on Saturday.

    In a blog post, Kickstarter’s CEO Yancey Strickler wrote that though the hackers didn’t obtain any credit card data, they did gain access to other information about Kickstarter’s members, such as usernames, email addresses, mailing addresses and phone numbers. The site did not divulge details about the hackers’ methods.

    “On Wednesday night, law enforcement officials contacted Kickstarter and alerted us that hackers had sought and gained unauthorized access to some of our customers’ data,” the blog post reads. “Upon learning this, we immediately closed the security breach and began strengthening security measures throughout the Kickstarter system.”

    Kickstarter “strongly” recommends that all users change their passwords. The site, which allows people to fund projects ranging from independent films to gadgets for custom rewards, has over 5 million members.

    “We’re incredibly sorry that this happened,” Strickler wrote in the post. “We set a very high bar for how we serve our community, and this incident is frustrating and upsetting. We have since improved our security procedures and systems in numerous ways, and we will continue to do so in the weeks and months to come.”

    Read an email regarding the hack from Kickstarter CEO Yancey Strickler to the site’s members below:


  • 12 Reasons Google+ Isn't As Bad As You Think
    Sit down for this: I use Google+, and I love it.

    Having said that, you might be thinking that I, like the parent company aggressively pushing the social network, should stop trying to make Google+ happen. After all, how many social media accounts does one really need?

    When I first told a friend on Myspace about Facebook, she rolled her eyes. Maybe in the same way you might have shrugged off Twitter when you first learned of its existence. Both have been called fads. So has the entire Internet, for that matter.

    So why join Google+ in addition to (or even in lieu of) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their ilk? It started for me as curiosity after I had used Google Buzz. It wasn’t that I was “done” with Facebook, but I wanted to see what Google could bring to my social networking experience, which I thought was still lacking.

    On Google+, I’ve found a blank canvas to create, share and interact with people all over the world. It’s a chance to be openly expressive on a platform where there are no preconceived notions of people who think they “know” me. You might have a lot of strong political opinions or a love of food porn pictures that you want to share with the world, but hold back on Facebook in fear of what your friends might think.

    You can enjoy this blank canvas and find a place to share what you’re truly passionate about, too. Here are 12 reasons you should give Google+ a second chance, if you haven’t already:

    1. Easily Control Who Can See Your Stuff

    Let’s say, for example, you want to share a post with only 10 people, but not the entire world. It’s as simple as typing your friends’ names into Google+’s share box. And if someone’s not on Google+? If you include their email address, they’ll get an email that lets them read your post. (Though the email will, understandably, ask them to join the network.) On Facebook, you must go through the tedious process of creating a specific group of people to privately share anything, and you can’t share outside the social network. And what about disabling comments or reshares? Can’t do it on Facebook, but you can on Google+.

    huffpost post

    2. Google+ Is A Photographer’s Paradise

    Google+ is full of amazing photographers, but you don’t have to include yourself in that category to appreciate what the social network offers. Google+ can automatically back up your Android or iPhone pictures privately as you take them (no other social network does that), and offers you tools to improve the tone, color and saturation of your so-so camera phone pics. There’s also something called “Auto Awesome,” a set of photo-editing tools that can automatically merge a burst of five or more pics into a GIF, erase people in the background of photos or add animated snow and twinkle to shots, among other tricks.

    3. Unlimited Space To Rant

    It’s unclear exactly what the character limit is on Google+ — some say it’s 100,000 — but it’s absolutely clear you get a LOT more space than other social networks offer. Facebook only lets you rant for about 60,000 characters, and, of course, Twitter give you only a paltry 140. Neither allow any of the flourishes like bolding or italics that Google encourages. If you’re looking for some free self-expression and have plenty to say, Google+ is the place for you. Have at it, Interwebs!

    4. You Can Find Your Interest Soulmates

    Google+ lets you join or create a “Community” on any topic you are passionate about — immediately connecting with people who also love zombies, or whatever you might be into. The communities can be used as places have passionate discussions, or just for meeting like-minded friends. You can also create a private community and save posts to read later. Do you like travel, sci-fi, or animals? You can find fellow enthusiasts on Google+.

    Right now, Facebook is where your family and friends are. Google+ is where you can discuss your interests and passions with people who like the same things you like.

    google communities

    5. Celebrities Ignore You On Twitter, But They Won’t On Google+

    Celebrities didn’t take to social media in big, genuine ways until Ashton Kutcher blew up on Twitter. Now, instead of just reading their tweets, you can regularly find all kinds of VIPs on Google+ who will give you the time of day, including astronaut Chris Hadfield, actress Jeri Ryan, tech geek Robert Scoble and Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. Even luminaries like President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama might actually give you face time on the social network that Reddit or Twitter can’t emulate.

    Jeri Ryan hanging out in 2012

    6. Did I Mention How Awesome The People On Google+ Are?

    The best part of the entire Google+ experience is meeting other regular people. People have dated, fallen in and out of love, gotten married, made lifelong friendships, formed business relationships, gotten new jobs and found places to crash when traveling abroad — all from hanging out on this network. Anything can happen: One day I was made into a zombie by Canadian artist Byron Rempel. The next day I hung out with Dell founder Michael Dell. Spend enough time on Google+, and you’ll (virtually) run into characters like bodypainter Paul Roustan, toy collector Michael Mozart, news anchor Sarah Hill, radio personality Jane Ellen and chef Larry Fournillier.

    Australian artist Ashlan Nathens displays a love note he made in honor of Google+ community

    7. You Can Start Your Own Hangout On Air Show And Reach The World Through A Live Video Broadcast

    A Hangout On Air is a live HD video event that you can schedule in advance, easily invite people to watch on Google+, and use in a number of awesome ways. People have used them to host their own videocast to talk about Game of Thrones, chat with photographers, hold an “Open Mic,” and even interview Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

    Every week, you can join a FOX-11 Los Angeles Celebrity Interview Hangout to interact LIVE with a mix of cool celebs, meet up in the Virtual Star Party to see views via telescope that are out of this world, join the Collectors Hangout to discover the largest cool collections of anything from Legos to World War II memorabilia, weigh in on how your sports team is doing in the Sportschat.TV, or find out what tech device to purchase in an episode of Google+ Weekly.

    On Google+, there was a Virtual Landing Party for the Curiosity Rover from NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Paul Roustan showed us how he bodypaints a nude model (NSFW), the community got to interact with Vic Gundotra, the head of Google+, the National Finals Rodeo Fanfest in Las Vegas was brought to life in hangouts, and there was even an online music concert festival rocking Google+!

    A Virtual Star Party on Google+

    8. Star Wars Tuesday

    Forget Twitter and its Follow Friday. May the +1 be with you.

    9. Google+ Hangouts Happen In Real Life, Too

    A “hangout in real life,” or HIRL, happens when a bunch of Google+ enthusiasts actually meet in person. I’ve organized three HIRL weekends so far in New York. When you meet people you’ve hung out with on Google+, it can feel like you’ve known them forever. This following HIRL moment is from a concert of Google+ musicians, in which Canadian singer Ryan Van Sickle invited me up on stage for my New York singing debut.

    10. Google+ To Learn About Google Glass

    Unsurprisingly, those who’ve shelled out hundreds of dollars for the privilege of testing a Google product have taken to Google+ in a big way. There are a ton of excellent Google Glass-related photos, videos and other information on the social network for those thinking about buying the face computer when it finally goes on sale at the end of the year.

    If you want to watch people using Google Glass, circle Glass Explorers Brett Lipton, Daniel Fontaine, Bobbie Today, Derek Ross, Robert Warren, Jeris JC Miller, Laurie Des Autels, Mike Elgan, Shaker Cherukuri, Katy Kasmai and Peter McDermott to get a taste.

    11. GIFs!

    With the exception of Tumblr and more recently Pinterest, Google+ is the only major social network to let you share and view GIFs. Posted GIFs animate on both desktops and mobile devices, and you can even choose a GIF as your profile pic or cover photo.

    12. One Last Thing: There Are Currently No Ads On Google+

    And of course, if you do try Google+, don’t forget to circle HuffPost.

  • FantasySCOTUS: The Online Fantasy League For Supreme Court Enthusiasts
    HOUSTON (AP) — In many ways, it’s a fantasy league like any other, with players obsessing over mounds of data and minutia, teams sporting a variety of colorful names like “RISK It for the Biscuit” and projections that are bound to be way off.

    But in this fantasy league, it’s not the NFL’s Calvin Johnson or Peyton Manning who are the stars but a group known for its skills not on the playing field but in the courtroom: the nine justices on the U.S. Supreme Court. In FantasySCOTUS, participants try to predict how the justices will vote in each of the cases that come before the high court during its term, which runs from October to late June or early July.

    Josh Blackman, a Houston law professor who started the online game more than four years ago, said the site is a fun way of understanding an institution that for many people remains mysterious and far removed from daily life.

    “People want to know what are they doing, and this is just one way of kind of peeling back the curtain,” said Blackman, who teaches at South Texas College of Law.

    FantasySCOTUS started “almost like a joke,” said the 29-year-old Blackman.

    The idea came in 2009 when he kidded with a friend about what the betting odds would be in Las Vegas over the then pending ruling from the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case, which lifted many restrictions on corporate spending in political elections.

    Blackman and another person built the site in a month and launched it in November 2009. Within 24 hours, 1,000 people had signed up. Today, the site has more than 20,000 participants.

    While most players tend to be lawyers or law students, the site also has political scientists and engineers as well as other professions.

    Blackman said the site’s best players are 75 to 80 percent accurate.

    A correct guess on a justice’s vote to either affirm or reverse a case earns 10 points. Correctly guessing how all nine justices vote earns a 100 point bonus. The high court votes on about 80 cases per year.

    The winner each season of FantasySCOTUS earns the title of “chief justice” and a golden gavel with their name inscribed on it. While there are no cash prizes, there are “lots of bragging rights,” Blackman said.

    Jacob Berlove, 30, of New York City, has been the holder of those bragging rights for three years running.

    What makes Berlove’s accomplishment more impressive is that he never went to law school. Berlove, who has also never played fantasy football, currently works in medical billing. But he has been interested in the high court since elementary school.

    “I’m certainly never going to sit on the Supreme Court. The best I can do is show that I perhaps understand the way the justices are operating,” he said.

    But Berlove isn’t playing this season, saying the lack of a cash prize has made it difficult to devote so much time to the game.

    Blackman said he is considering adding a cash prize next year.

    Kathleen Arberg, a spokeswoman for the Supreme Court, declined to comment about the fantasy league.

    Blackman said he has heard that the justices are aware of his website.

    FantasySCOTUS has also led to the creation of the Harlan Institute, a nonprofit Blackman started that’s established a version of site that is used as a teaching tool in high schools across the country.

    Anthony Sabino, a law professor at St. John’s University in New York City, said while the idea of the fantasy league might sound silly at first, he believes it can be a good way to educate the public about the high court. A 2012 survey by the FindLaw.com legal information website found that nearly two-thirds of Americans couldn’t name a single member of the Supreme Court.

    “It makes people aware of the court and when you become aware of the Supreme Court, you become aware of your rights as an American and that is very, very important and that is always to the good,” said Sabino, who teaches business and constitutional law.


    Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

  • Electric fish inspire agile robots
    Electric fish from South America are opening up new ideas in underwater robotics, inspiring vehicles that can swim through dark, cluttered environments.
  • Eavesdropping On Law Firm Shared With N.S.A.
    The list of those caught up in the global surveillance net cast by the National Security Agency and its overseas partners, from social media users to foreign heads of state, now includes another entry: American lawyers.
  • Hey Microsoft, Surface 2 is great, but clear up something please
    The Surface 2 and the Nokia tablets are great hardware with a dim future — but Microsoft could fix that.
  • Screen manufacturer Japan Display planning $4 billion IPO
    Japan Display, the company currently responsible for manufacturing some of the screens for Apple’s iPhone 5c and 5s, are readying an IPO offering to raise $4 billion in capital to expand production capacity and aid in development of future technologies. The company, formed of the display units from Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba and Japanese government backing, currently holds a 17 percent share of small and medium-sized displays in the world market.


  • Frank Gehry: What Is The Connection Between The Dancing Shiva And The Disney Hall?
    Frank Gehry is the acclaimed architect of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles — which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. This interview for The WorldPost is adapted from a conversation with The WorldPost editor Nathan Gardels from the current NPQ.

    “When I look outside the door what do I see? An airplane flying over, a car passing by. Everything is moving. That is our environment. Architecture should deal with that.”

    WORLDPOST: You once commented on your fascination with a dancing Shiva sculpture that belonged to the Norton Simon Museum. And you seem to have tried to capture this “frozen motion,” as you put it, in your buildings in Bilbao and at the Disney Hall in Los Angeles.

    Interestingly, your attempts to capture this “frozen motion” in architecture correspond to the scientific pursuits of Ilya Prigogine, the chaos theory physicist who won the Nobel Prize in 1977.

    “If the clock was the symbol of classical science,” Prigogine has said, “sculpture is more the symbol for today. Sculpture is time put into matter. In some of the most beautiful manifestations of sculpture, be it the dancing Shiva or in the miniature temples of Guerrero, there appears very clearly the search for a junction between stillness and motion, time arrested and time passing. It is this confrontation — a hidden unity just like dark and light — that will give our era its uniqueness.” A sculpture like the dancing Shiva is the symbol of the new work being done in physics because it “embodies some elements that conform to given rules and other elements that arise unexpectedly through the process of creation.”

    Though your buildings look as if you’ve throw together disconnected fragments, isn’t there really a synthesis, a hidden unity as Prigogine suggests, in your designs?

    GEHRY: You are absolutely right. I am amazed to hear this quote from Prigogine. That too is what I am seeking, though guided by intuition and not so consciously by intellect. It is all about a sense of movement. When I look outside the door what do I see? An airplane flying over, a car passing by. Everything is moving. That is our environment. Architecture should deal with that.

    For example, the best way to look at the building I did in Bad Oeynhausen, Germany is to go across the road to the bar and just sit there and look out. Big trucks are whooshing by. When they come along the road, they fit into the form of building. The movement of the trucks doesn’t conflict with the motionless building, but integrates with it.

    I didn’t do this on purpose, but intuitively. Such a building strikes me as very much like the dancing Shiva. I used to sit there and just look at Norton Simon’s dancing Shiva. It was a remarkable sculpture. I swear it was moving. How did they do that?

    I had a similar feeling when I saw the Elgin Marbles. The shield of the warriors seemed to be thrusting out. You could just feel the movement. These observations affected my work very much. When I would go out to the suburbs and see these huge tracts of housing under development, I was fascinated. You would see row after row of wood frames going up with piles of wood stacked all around. It was really vibrant. It looked far better than when the houses were actually finished.

    the disney hall

    I used to fantasize: What would it look like if you just threw all those piles of wood into the air and just froze them there in mid-air? It would be magnificent. Indeed, the great organ in the new Disney Hall has some of that sense to it.

    disney hall organ

    WORLDPOST: In Los Angeles there is neither utopia nor ruins — the downtown has been completely eradicated four times in the last 100 years. Creating architecture here is like building in a “pure space.” This corresponds to something the poet Octavio Paz said — that we live in the permanently temporary present of “pure time” without a past, since all utopias have failed, and with an undetermined future.

    One might even say that your Disney Concert Hall is more a perfect symbol of Los Angeles than its sponsors imagined. Pure time meets pure space in the frozen motion of those metallic waves. That is our reality today.

    GEHRY: I suspect there is some truth here, that I have tapped into something that is going on, that my buildings represent a certain way of seeing. At a personal level, though, it is hard to claim such things.

    I’m not a theorist, but a vacuum cleaner. I listen. I look. And then I represent with my tools. As for the pure space of the present, there are a lot of constraints. Why do our leaders, and the public at large, want to live so much in the past? It seems the less faith they have in the future, the more they want to anchor their identity in the past. But the past is gone. It is a fiction of our insecurity. To anchor architecture in the past is to build nostalgic parks. It is to make ersatz out of heritage. And it is denial.

    Authentic Theme Parks

    WORLDPOST: Arata Isozaki, the Japanese architect who built Los Angele’s Museum of Contemporary Art, says he likes to build in America because there is no irony. Relative to old societies like Japan, there is no ancestral territory, and thus little if any distance between the context and whatever new it is you want to create. There is no conflict with history in America which, as (the French philosopher) Jean Baudrillard has put it, is essentially “space plus a spirit of fiction” — in other words, pure space.

    Isozaki contrasted this with his concert hall in Kyoto, where the traditionalists fought against his design as unfitting for Japan’s ancient spiritual center. Isozaki argued back that Kyoto was little more than a theme park where tourist buses unload groups of Japanese looking into a past that has no reality for them today.

    “They might as well be wearing Mickey Mouse ears,” Isozaki told the enraged traditionalists.” With the arrival of pure space, the authentic becomes inauthentic and vice versa.

    GEHRY: As far as it goes, I have to agree. At the same time, though, there is, of course, something that is different. Kyoto grew out of a refined culture over the centuries. It evolved a method of building and an aesthetic that meant something. It was fashioned in a crucible of time, feeling and culture that was related to a spiritual connection with nature. When I took my kids there, it became an important part of their experience.

    Disney World isn’t that. It is a ride. It is a fantasy. It is a built movie. Kyoto wasn’t. It may be abused as a theme park now as Isozaki says. But its origins are real. And it is valuable to see Kyoto just as it is valuable to see a Picasso.

    Asia and the Generic City

    WORLDPOST: Rem Koolhaas, the Dutch architect, has declared that the city as we have known it is gone. We have arrived in the age of “the generic city,” liberated from “the captivity of the center” — and the personality, identity and constraints associated with that. Connected in cyberspace, we will all live in the floating, unanchored periphery. Should we leave our vague regrets behind and just embrace this open future?

    GEHRY: That is freedom. I suppose it is the pure space you’ve been talking about. And Rem is probably right that this form will cover most of the planet.

    WORLDPOST What is your favorite city?

    “I see in Tokyo today what I see in my favorite writer, Salman Rushdie. He’s like James Joyce, his novels are episodic and open-ended — they go all over the place, in seven directions at once. The characters have layers of identity — plural identities .”

    GEHRY: Tokyo is my favorite city visually. It is partly the density that I like, but also the transitional quality. They have the history, but they didn’t stop because of it. On one street you will find a temple next to an eight-story building from the 1950s next to a 30-story building constructed in the 1970s. Then they plastered neon signs all over and stuck a roadway in the middle of it all going off into space. It is dynamic, like those erector sets we used to play with as kids. Along the freeways and down at the Tokyo Bay, they build these Godzilla-size convention centers. But they are tasteful, more invested with architecture than you might find in America. They are clearly plugged in to a style sense.

    Then they will build those wacko indoor ski resorts that look like the Eiffel Tower. It is weird, but beautiful. I see in Tokyo today what I see in my favorite writer, Salman Rushdie. He’s like James Joyce, his novels are episodic and open-ended — they go all over the place, in seven directions at once. The characters have layers of identity — plural identities.

    Now, when they go the next step — as they already are in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo — there are only 50-story buildings and it looks like 6th Avenue in New York. Then they lose it. When they get that big, they need more land. And that is when they overpower everything else.

    tokyo temple skyscrapers

    WORLDPOST: What is your image of the future city? For Koolhaas, the old cities of Asia will give way to the Generic City as they are obliterated with megastructures to accommodate the demographic deluge. That will happen either in an ordered way, as in Singapore, or in a more dystopian way, as in Blade Runner. Simply, as Koolhaas puts it, “the past is too small to inhabit.”

    GEHRY: I don’t know if we’re capable of speculating about the future. We know bits and pieces, but we can’t know what the aggregate is going to look like. I don’t have any hopes that it will be much to be excited about, though. Today, there are pockets of sanity that are of a scale where they are still visible in the chaos. In the future, the pockets of sanity will become tiny. Perhaps then the buildings I’m doing that look like they are moving will ultimately dematerialize into ether. The mega-scale will overpower all else. In rapidly growing Asia, they are interested in building, not architecture. I’ve been invited to China, but I’ve turned them down because I know the people building on large scale there are Donald Trumps. Chinese Donald Trumps. As a friend of mine says, it is already over in China for architecture.

    *This interview for The WorldPost is adapted from the current issue of NPQ.

  • First line-up for iPhone 6 begins in Japan
    A Japanese blogger decided to line up for the iPhone 6, after being spurned of his chance to be the first person in line for an iPhone 5. Apple fan and performance artist Yoppy donned his iPhone cosplay, and started queuing for the new phone outside of the flagship Apple store in Tokyo, Japan, likely to wait for months before an official announcement will be made about its release by the company.


  • Future Particle Colliders May Dwarf CERN's Enormous Large Hadron Collider

    LONDON — So, physicists have found the Higgs boson. What next?

    It took three years for the world’s most powerful particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), to spot the elusive Higgs boson particle, which is thought to explain how other particles get their mass.

    It took the international science lab CERN much longer, though, to build the machine beneath the mountains straddling France and Switzerland — nearly two decades, and at a cost of billions of dollars. There, protons are blasted through the 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) ring, where they crash into each other, and the resulting energy is converted to new and sometimes exotic particles.

    However, if scientists want to look for new physics discoveries beyond the Higgs boson, in the form of new exotic particles and interactions, even the Large Hadron Collider may not be enough, said Terry Wyatt, a physicist at the University of Manchester who works on the LHC’s ATLAS detector, one of seven particle-detector experiments conducted at CERN.

    Speaking at a conference on the Higgs boson here at the Royal Society in January, Wyatt outlined what kind of enormous science experiments would be needed to go beyond the science that the LHC may deliver.

    At first, and perhaps for the next decade, the LHC will have to perform at much higher energies to find new physics. In fact, once it’s restarted in 2015 after a technical upgrade, the collider will be capable of operating at a maximum collision energy of 14 tera-electronvolts (TeV). [Beyond Higgs: 5 Elusive Particles That May Lurk in the Universe]

    Future upgrades, probably sometimes around 2022, will involve the replacement of the collider’s current accelerator-ring magnets with much stronger ones, Wyatt said. This way, the LHC will become a more powerful accelerator in its own right, and it may even get a shiny new name: the High Luminosity LHC.

    That upgrade will not significantly increase the machine’s collision energy, although it will boost its luminosity by about 10 times — in other words, the number of proton-proton collisions it can achieve at a given time will grow tenfold, increasing the volume of data it produces by the same factor.

    lhc magnet
    A powerful new magnet will allow the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest atom smasher, to study two to three times more proton collisions. These collisions create myriad subatomic particles like the Higgs boson.

    If that’s still not enough to spot new particles and confirm any extensions of the Standard Model, or the reigning model explaining the behavior of subatomic particles, a bigger and more powerful replacement may eventually be inevitable, said Wyatt, the former leader of the DZero Experiment, which investigated the fundamental nature of matter at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory’s (Fermilab) Tevatron collider in Illinois.

    Circular or linear

    One idea is to switch to far higher collision energies than the LHC can produce — for example, with a 50-mile-long (80 km) accelerator ring that would be three times larger than the LHC. Just like its predecessor, it would be housed at CERN, and collide protons. The first geological feasibility studies are already being carried out.

    The larger ring and more powerful magnets would yield much higher collision energies of about 80 to 100 TeV, and possibly lead to many more massive new particles. However, said Wyatt, high-energy field magnets for this possible LHC successor would be a big technical challenge, because magnets of the kind used to build the LHC are not able to reach the required field strengths. [Photos: The World’s Largest Atom Smasher (LHC)]

    “The tunnel to house such a machine might possibly be completed by around 2040,” he added. “In addition, such a tunnel could also house an accelerator to collide electrons and positrons at a much lower energy, but nevertheless sufficient to produce and study Higgs bosons.”

    Another suggestion for a next high-energy particle collider is to build a linear machine, provisionally titled the International Linear Collider (ILC). It is not yet clear where it would be housed, but some researchers in Japan have proposed to build it there.

    Instead of moving particles in a circle, the machine would be a straight accelerator some 19 miles (31 km) long. It would no longer be colliding protons but instead lighter-mass particles — electrons and their antimatter partners called positrons — sent from either end of the tunnel.

    It is tricky to accelerate such light particles in a ring collider, because each time they make a loop, they radiate energy, which means the electron doing the rounds would quickly lose most of its energy.

    To smash electrons at very high energy, a linear collider makes more sense. It would be a straight pipe with a particle accelerator at either end, through which electrons and positrons would be sent to smash and annihilate each other. (When matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other.)

    The machine would accelerate the particles to much higher energies of up to 1000 giga-electronvolts. If approved, it might deliver beams sometime in the 2030s, Wyatt said.

    However, a linear collider would produce fewer collisions than a circular one. “This is because the beams of particles pass through one another only once and then are lost, whereas in a circular collider, they pass by one another thousands of times a second,” Wyatt said.

    Even higher-energy linear electron-positron colliders might be achievable if a novel acceleration technique being developed at CERN can be shown to work. This technique uses a very intense but low-energy beam to produce the power to accelerate a low-intensity but very-high-energy second beam.

    Muons, not protons

    Finally, scientists are looking into a possibility of a ring that would smash muons — the heavy cousins of electrons — together. It could potentially be housed at Fermilab, Wyatt said, but it probably wouldn’t be built anytime soon — maybe sometime between 2040 and 2050. [Images: Inside the World’s Top Physics Labs]

    Muons have masses between those of protons and electrons — they’re much heavier than electrons, so they don’t radiate all their energy away as they zip around a circular collider, but they’re not quite as heavy as protons. Protons are made of other particles, and when they collide, some of their energy washes away, as the proton breaks up into more elementary particles.

    The collider would only accelerate muons at around 3 to 6 TeV, according to Wyatt.However, muons are elementary particles; colliding them would mean pretty much all of their energy would go toward creating new particles. This would make the data of a muon collider rival with those of a much-higher-energy proton accelerator — at least for some physics studies and searches for new particles. However, muons are also very unstable; they decay almost immediately when produced in the lab.

    Such technical difficulties must be overcome before it makes sense to build a muon collider.

    Starting now

    There is a reason for all the speculation about more powerful colliders. If scientists want to use a next-generation machine from the moment the LHC is no longer able to meet their needs, then the research and development need to happen how.

    Any decision to start construction of such a machine would have to be made by the end of this decade, as it might take a decade or two to build the structure, Wyatt said.

    The scientists won’t know whether their research into the next generation of particle colliders will ever be used.

    “We have the LHC now because of the foresight and efforts of the leaders of the field in the 1980s, and it’s our responsibility to start planning for a healthy future for elementary-particle physics in decades to come,” Wyatt said.

    Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science. Follow the author on Twitter @SciTech_Cat

    Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Mobile Technology News, February 15, 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.

  • Mars 'Doughnut' Rock Mystery Solved By NASA's 'Opportunity' Rover Team
    Remember that jelly doughnut-shaped rock that mysteriously “appeared” in front of the Mars Opportunity rover? It’s no longer a mystery.

    Researchers responsible for operating the rover figured out that the Mars “doughnut” rock was flicked into view by the rover itself.

    (Story continues below.)
    mystery mars rock

    In a statement released by the Planetary Science Institute, the team explained that they confirmed the cause by using image analysis to narrow down the time frame between when the rock was nowhere to be seen and when it was first spotted. Instead of the 12-day interval that was reported, researchers determined that the rock — dubbed “Pinnacle Island” — came into view between sol 3536 and 3540. (A sol is a Martian day.)

    From there, they were able to retrace the rover’s movements to determine the origin of the rock in panoramic images.

    “Once we moved Opportunity a short distance away after inspecting Pinnacle Island, we could see directly uphill an overturned rock that has the same unusual appearance,” Opportunity deputy principal investigator Ray Arvidson of Washington University in St. Louis said in the statement. “We drove over it. We can see the track. That’s where Pinnacle Island came from.”


    NASA Mars Exploration Rover lead scientist Steve Squyres was the first to announce the discovery of the mysterious rock at an event in mid-January.

    “It was a total surprise, we were like ‘wait a second, that wasn’t there before, it can’t be right. Oh my god! It wasn’t there before!’ We were absolutely startled,” he told Discovery News at the time.

    While rover researchers worked to solve the riddle behind the Mars rock, some questioned whether NASA was sharing all the information — or even failing to investigate alien life. One astrobiologist sued NASA to compel the space agency to take a closer look at the object, which he called a “mushroom-like fungus.”

  • GPS: From launch to everyday life
    How are people using the system, 25 years on?
  • How Innovation Ecosystems Can Help Fix Healthcare
    Healthcare is in a crazy state of flux right now. Collaboration is still a foreign concept to those working in and around the establishment of hospitals, government, insurance and adjacent industries. Collaboration, however, is a keystone in building highly coherent innovation ecosystems.

    As you probably know, health policies directly impact social conditions, both in the US and globally. Ineffective health policies can lead to poor health, which then leads to poor social conditions and ultimately worsening health for the population at large. This cyclical relationship can be seen all over the world.

    Here in the U.S., ever changing mandates in reform, confusion with the public on insurance coverage, a shrinking primary care physician issue, and increasing costs around chronic diseases has many healthcare executives up all night trying to preserve their piece of the pie.

    From an innovation perspective, this chaos is a dream! The perfect storm! A serendipitous blending of the crumbling of old business models combined with simple economic models of supply and demand! What a wonderful opportunity to create new ideas to change the way people consume healthcare in the future and to collaborate to make it happen!

    Technology, especially mobile, will allow people from anywhere in the world to access care, one of the leading determinates in global population health.

    The social impact of health will not be determined exclusively through technology, but also in collaboration around how to make knowledge and action steps easy to access in and around health. Technology has enabled, at internet speed and scale, the ability for an individual to seek and share advice about their health, and the health of loved ones. Helping with health advice is engrained in all cultures and a consumer’s home computer, cell phone and wearable computers will be important data collection tools which can then communicate with clinicians or perhaps an online analytics engine in your own home.

    Consumers are expected to seek out answers independently. Whether being a suburban mom in the states, or a mom in a herding village in Asia–each wants to manage their child’s flu symptoms. Everyone, regardless of culture, age, is looking for simplicity and answers to their problems, immediately, whether it is from a health expert or peer-to-peer network.

    Healthcare might be in a crazy place right now, but it is certain to change into something different than we have today. The Global Innovation Summit, hosted next week in San Jose, will offer the opportunity to engage global innovators on how to build new businesses in this emerging consumer health market. This conference teaches what every health stakeholder needs to know — how to build a solid foundation for collaboration and innovation, especially where trust might be in short supply.

    Innovators, and their wonderful wacky ways of collaborating and re-envisioning the world, offer great hope in forming the ecosystem to transform the way people consume healthcare.

    This post is part of a series produced in partnership by the Global Innovation Summit and The Huffington Post around impact, innovation, and technology. For more information on the Summit, click here.

  • What NASA Is For: Straight From the Panda's Mouth
    A furious panda is a thing to behold.

    Ordinarily, a panda seems to be superlatively peaceful, diffidently munching bamboo. But when it gets angry, it betrays its true nature — it’s fundamentally a carnivore trying to play itself off as a herbivore. And failing.

    Last week, in Slate, I argued that NASA, like a panda, is maladapted and flirting with extinction as a result. (Panda bashing happens to be a proud Slate tradition.) The argument triggered outrage. Within hours, fueled by social media, the defense of NASA echoed around the nation, even reaching the White House. It was the anger of a panda — and contrary to what NASA aficionados believe, their response confirms just how screwed-up the agency really is.

    The fundamental problem isn’t terribly hard to understand. The lion’s share of NASA’s budget — and reputation — is for launching people into space. This was sustainable when we were in a no-holds-barred race with the Soviets, but the moment Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the Moon, that race was over. Any human spaceflight beyond that (including the remaining Apollo missions, which started being scuttled one by one less than a year after the Eagle touched down) is anticlimax. So it will remain until a manned Mars mission becomes technologically and budgetarily feasible.

    This left NASA with a dilemma. What NASA does really well — remote missions — at best attract some passing attention from the public (and from Congress) and quickly fade from public consciousness, even though they’ve resulted in fundamental advances in planetary science, astronomy, cosmology, physics, and Earth science. NASA’s glory and continued success, on the other hand, comes almost entirely from the hurling-people-in-tin-cans-into-the-void trick, which hasn’t had any real purpose since the early 1970s.

    In other words, there’s a gap between perception and reality, between what NASA does that’s really worthwhile and what NASA perceives it must do to maintain its reputation and its budget. The last four decades of NASA’s history are an attempt to bridge that gap with sleight of hand, to draw our attention away from that internal contradiction.

    It does so by pretending that its astronauts are doing crucial scientific experiments while puttering around in low-Earth orbit. Despite NASA’s incessant cooing over its “world-class” scientific work in space, the research on board the shuttle and the International Space Station has almost uniformly been of minimal importance. Science-wise, human spaceflight compares incredibly unfavorably on a dollar-for-dollar basis with even a fiscally bloated and physically crippled unmanned craft. Even a single lean, mean, successful project like Mars Pathfinder, which cost about $200 million (maybe $300 to $350 million in today’s dollars), arguably yielded more for science than the entire multi-hundred-billion-dollar post-Apollo human spaceflight program. (Making matters worse, astronaut-run research has not just come at extraordinary fiscal expense but at grave human expense as well. As I point out in the Slate article, NASA has killed roughly 4 percent of the people it has sent into space — yes, killed, through negligence and mismanagement.)

    NASA also has had a few embarrassing episodes where it hyped bad terrestrial science as, well, ham-handed attempts to fill the gap by inflating the importance of a new field: astrobiology. (The term “astrobiology” is telling. “Astro” and “biology” are, at the moment, mutually exclusive; where you have one, you simply don’t have the other. Hopefully, that will someday change and give the field a reason for its name.)

    This sleight of hand is the core of the problem. Hype doesn’t fill the gap between perception and reality, though, and the mismatch is growing bigger each year as remote technology improves, and as budgets tighten. Unless the agency can either find a human spaceflight mission that’s worth the effort, expense, and danger or, better yet, realign its priorities so that it no longer has to dissemble about the value of more than half of the work that it does, then NASA is in danger. In short, NASA must figure out what it’s really for.

    This argument paints an unflattering picture of NASA, to be sure, and the reaction from NASA fans was as quick and fierce as a mother panda defending her cubs. Within a few hours, a NASA love-fest developed on Twitter, using the hashtag #WhatisNASAfor, to try to answer the question — or at least prove that it’s silly and presumptuous to ask it. Space fans, both civilian and insiders, joined in, and soon so did the government, including NASA itself.

    So what does NASA think it’s for? In 140 characters, how does America’s space agency justify its existence? Here it is, straight from the panda’s mouth:

    #WhatIsNASAFor? Space technologies help you in more ways than you may know. Track space back to you: http://t.co/AHcB6UngRt

    — NASA (@NASA) February 7, 2014

    Spinoffs. Yes, really.

    Any time you give a group of smart people lots of money to work together on technological problems, you’re going to get unexpected discoveries and side benefits. Whether you’re working on military systems, high-energy physics, digital imaging, or any other big high-tech problems, there will be spinoffs. But in all the world, it seems that only NASA thinks that spinoffs are a raison d’être rather than a natural consequence of doing something else well. Spinoffs (and new technology), especially medical spinoffs, figure prominently in the #WhatisNASAfor thread. Of course, if developing new medical technology is what NASA is for, that’s a valid argument, but we should probably incorporate the agency into the Department of Health and Human Services.

    Perhaps someone even higher up in government had a better idea. Luckily, the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy joined in too:

    Part of #WhatIsNASAFor: The President visited a class that had “a lesson plan…around the Curiosity rover on Mars.” http://t.co/5Hb1lkTgCg

    — The White House OSTP (@whitehouseostp) February 7, 2014

    It’s a nice story, and the general theme of inspiring students and creating future STEM majors was also a salient theme in the #WhatisNASAfor thread. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that in no way do the educational benefits justify the $2.5-billion expense of the Curiosity mission. Don’t misunderstand: Curiosity was well worth the money, not because it makes a great story for kids but because it’s producing interesting planetary science. The educational value is a side benefit. In other words, NASA’s educational value is fundamentally another kind of spinoff that follows directly from doing interesting things in space. And the vast majority of interesting things in space are done by robots, not humans. The infinite variations of water floating in space are cute, but it’s a Mars panorama or a view of Saturn or even of the Sun that will trigger real awe — and inspiration.

    A few other NASA-related entities also chimed in; NASA’s Launch Services Program at Cape Kennedy tweeted about “launching across our solar system,” while NASA’s Stennis Space Center used the opportunity to plug NASA’s PR effort.

    Largely missing was NASA’s elephant in the room: its $100 to $200 billion-plus flagship, the International Space Station. As far as I can tell, there were only two governmental or official contributions that even mentioned the ISS. The first was CASIS, the organization that manages the International Space Station’s laboratory facilities. It came out swinging, offering perhaps the only official tweet that attempted directly to refute the argument made in Slate.

    The ISS: An amazing field lab producing good science & just beginning to show its long-term value #WhatIsNASAFor http://t.co/F2wfHH8pqw

    — ISS National Lab (@ISS_CASIS) February 8, 2014

    The other was ISS Research, NASA’s mouthpiece for scientific research aboard the station. How is it contributing to NASA’s purpose?

    #WhatIsNASAFor @ISS_Research Benefits for Humanity video feature and article: http://t.co/Jbutzc65R1 #CleanWater #MedicalTech #Crops #Earth

    — ISS Research (@ISS_Research) February 7, 2014

    Spinoffs. Sigh.

    The civilian contributions to #WhatisNASAfor tended to hit on similar themes. (The word cloud below represents relative frequencies of certain words in the part of the thread I captured, after meaningless phrases had been removed.)


    Inspiration, education, tech spinoffs, and the sheer coolness of some of NASA’s missions? Wonderful, but not ends in themselves. The need to escape the confines of the Earth, and the manifest destiny of colonizing space? After Apollo, this became unattainable in any meaningful way for quite a while to come.

    What’s left is science — and science is where NASA’s greatest achievements lie. NASA spacecraft are helping us answer some of the biggest questions in the universe. (Heck, I wrote an entire book describing a revolution in cosmology sparked, in part, by NASA programs like Hubble, WMAP, and COBE.) But that drive is fundamentally incompatible with the agency’s perceived need to hype bad science and trying to convince the world that its astronautic boondoggles are producing world-class scientific achievements.

    That’s NASA’s dilemma in a nutshell: despite all the agency has done, despite all it has to offer, so long as human spaceflight is at the core of NASA’s existence, it will never evolve beyond a faint echo of its prior self.

  • Facebook Provides Opportunity for Lesson in Gender Identity
    A few months ago I was filling out an online customer survey. Under “gender,” in addition to “male” and “female,” there was a third option: “other.” I thought that was impressive. Then Facebook came along and added 50. Bravo, Facebook, bravo.

    This is huge progress for transgender rights, but it also seems to be a source of confusion for the masses. In the short time since Facebook’s announcement, I’ve had quite a few people say to me, “Jeez, how many types of transgenders are there?” and, “What the hell does ‘cisgender’ mean?”

    While I did transition from female to male, I am by no means an expert on all things transgender.* That said, I thought I’d try to help by clearing up the meanings of some of the terms that, thanks to Facebook, have now gone mainstream.

    “Gender identity” is the internal sense of one’s gender, regardless of anatomy. For most people, their gender identity matches up with the anatomy they’re born with.

    “Transgender” is an umbrella term used to encompass people with various gender identities that do not match what they were labeled with at birth. Those who transition from male to female (“MTF”) or female to male (“FTM”) are included under this umbrella.

    “Cisgender” is a word that describes everyone who is not transgender — that is, people whose gender identity matches up with the sex they were labeled with at birth.

    The “gender binary” is a conception of gender in which there are only two genders that someone could be: male or female.

    People who identify as “genderqueer” reject the gender binary. They might express their identity as being neither female nor male, or as genderfluid, a mix of the two.

    Now, just because all these options are available on Facebook’s drop-down menu doesn’t mean every transgender person is going to change the gender identity listed on their profile page. I know I won’t, because although I did transition from female to male, I don’t identify as transgender — well, not anymore. I did during my transition stage. I remember sitting in my endocrinologist’s office, filling out the paperwork before my first testosterone injection. I stared at the two boxes marked “male” and “female,” not sure which one I was technically supposed to check at this stage in the game. Had there been a box labeled “transgender” or “FTM,” I probably wouldn’t have hesitated. Instead, I looked up at my doctor.

    “Should I put down ‘male’?”

    He smiled. “Isn’t that why we’re here?” he asked.

    Now I don’t even flinch. I consider myself male. That’s it. I’m the man I always knew myself to be. But I certainly don’t speak for everyone. There are lots of people out there who identify as “trans man” or “FTM,” and that’s cool too. To each his (or her, or their) own!

    *For a more thorough understanding of all things transgender, I highly recommend picking up the book Transgender 101: A Simple Guide to a Complex Issue by Nicholas Teich.

  • Tesla Model S Reportedly Catches Fire In Toronto
    The Tesla Model S is safe. So safe, that it achieved a record score on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-Star Safety Rating. Still, though, the Model S isn’t fireproof.

    Business Insider reports that a Tesla Model S suddenly burst into flames in a Toronto garage earlier this month. A source told the site that the car was not plugged into its charger when it caught fire.

    In a statement to Bloomberg, Tesla wrote that it is still investigating the Toronto case:

    [W]e don’t yet know the precise cause [of the fire], but have definitively determined that it did not originate in the battery, the charging system, the adapter or the electrical receptacle, as these components were untouched by the fire.

    The Model S has been in the crosshairs for fire risks in the past. After a November garage fire occurred while a Model S was charging, the company sent owners new charging adapters and implemented a software upgrade to prevent overheating.

    According to the National Fire Protection Agency, there were 172,500 car fires in 2012. Tesla claimed in a November blog post that owners of gasoline vehicles were 4.5 times more likely to experience a fire than a Model S owner.

  • Denied, Deferred, Demented
    I grew up twinned with the space age, entering elementary school just before Sputnik 1 launched and finishing high school as astronauts first walked on the moon.

    Then, in 1972, the year I graduated from college, the space age abandoned me. NASA budgets dried up, human space exploration beyond Earth orbit became null and void, and my number-one career choice paled into a remote fantasy that now seemed hollow and uninviting.

    Not that I’d prepared myself for a career in space. I grew up pre-STEM, when girls my age were routinely denied access to advanced courses in science and tech. I didn’t have the right temperament, my high-school guidance counselor told me when I tried to sign up for trig. Instead he enrolled me in art. Never again did I venture outside the safe orbit of arts/humanities that had so clearly been defined for me.

    But there remained a need to prove myself in some other medium besides that amorphous array of oils, pastels, charcoal and papier-mâché sculpture our pert art teacher insisted we engage with — when she wasn’t busy flirting with the crew-cut chemistry teacher across the hall.

    It’s been 41 years since humans last left Earth orbit. Some would say we’ve been going nowhere ever since. Others maintain that the ISS circling overhead has served its purpose as a working space laboratory by providing valuable fact-finding for future long-term missions to other worlds. Both are true, but even a dramatic space walk in orbit does not pack the same punch as would venturing untethered into untested territory.

    During this extended space-age lull, I entered adulthood, earned a doctorate, pursued multiple careers, married more than once, raised a son, wrote books, made movies, and learned HTML. I’ve been through seven cars, 11 computers, and several hundred houseplants. Then, just as 2013 was ending, I received this email:

    You and only 1057 other aspiring astronauts around the globe have been pre-selected as potential candidates to launch the dawn of a new era — human life on Mars. Congratulations. You have made it to the next round.

    I’d been shortlisted for Mars One.

    Of the 534 humans who have flown in space, 57 have been women. Of the 23 who have left Earth’s orbit and the 12 who have stepped onto another world, none have been women. But our last extraplanetary mission was four decades ago, and during the long hiatus we entered a new stage of space democratization, one that insures a more equitable selection process for future space explorers. In 2013 NASA, for the first time, chose an equal number of women and men as new astronauts. China’s new space program has already established a gender-equal norm, including women on all missions to date, and Russia, after a 13-year drought with no women in space, plans to send a female cosmonaut to the ISS in September 2014. Mars One invited anyone in the world 18 or older to apply for a one-way trip to Mars; more than 202,000 submitted video applications.

    The 472 women, including me, who have advanced to what Mars One calls Round Two have a reasonable expectation of being among the first to colonize Mars. It’s even conceivable that I could be the one to take the sure-to-become-iconic first footstep onto the surface of the red planet.

    What took us so long? Why couldn’t this have happened when I was younger, less entwined with a life I’ve spent decades getting just right? I have tenure. I have cats. I’ll be 75 when the Mars One spaceship launches. If the rumored reality-show coverage results, will anyone want to watch an old lady making her dogged way to Mars?

    On the other hand, if manned — and womanned — Mars missions had come along sooner, no one would have given me a chance to participate. I didn’t have anyone’s version of the right stuff then. I’m not so sure I can get any of it now.

    Mars One has renewed my belief that a dream deferred is not necessarily a dream denied. But at my age I have to ask: Is my dream by now demented?

  • Review: Nokia Lumia Icon For Verizon Wireless With 4G LTE
    Nokia Lumia ICON Verizon Wireless

    Nokia is upping the ante in a big way with its newest Windows Phone, the Lumia Icon. This smartphone is only available on Verizon Wireless for $199.99 with a two-year agreement. It promises to grow even more interest in the Lumia Windows Phone line for Big Red customers.


    The Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone is a dazzling blend of curved Gorilla Glass and top-tier internals that meet or beat everything that’s on the market today. That may seem to be quite a statement, but it’s one I’m happy to make.

    They have clearly done their homework with what people like and have come very close to producing a smartphone that any one of us would want. My review phone came in matte black with a brushed metal frame and a sealed polycarbonate back. It has a natural feeling curve on the back that fits well with its metallic frame. The phone measures in at 5.39H x 2.79W x .39D inches and 5.86 ounces.

    Nokia Lumia ICON Side View

    This leads up to the brilliant five-inch OLED full HD 1080p display topped with extremely tough Gorilla Glass 3. The full HD screen is nice, but its 441 pixels per inch passes up what the Retina display found on the iPhone 5s can muster at 326 ppi. And unlike other mobile operating systems, the version that this Nokia Icon has allows you to fine-tune saturation and color temperature.

    Looking and feeling great are only two aspects of what the Icon has to offer. It’s quite fast with the 2.26GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB of RAM and 4G LTE. This Nokia supports VZW’s LTE at 700/1700MHz, UMTS 850/900, and is Global Ready with GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz and 3G EVDO Rev. A 850/1900MHz. I tested it in Las Vegas about 15 minutes away from the strip in a semi-rural area inside of a building. I received several speed test results of 27Mbps+ down and 13Mbps up. Rounding out the wireless features of the Lumia Icon are GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC and dual-band 802.11 WiFi b, g, n and ac. A 2420 mAh battery kept it going all day even after running various speed and WiFi transfer tests. Calls were even clear when making them in a crowded room.

    A smartphone that comes with 32GB of storage space is needed when taking photos with the Lumia Icon’s 20MP sensor. This camera sensor is the same as what’s found in the Lumia 1520, including the multi-element Zeiss optic, but adds the capability to capture photos in DNG Raw format.

    Overall design details of the Nokia Icon impressed me. For instance, the SIM card tray is removable with a fingernail. A few physical buttons run along the right side for volume, power and camera functionality. The camera shutter button has two levels to it, one to focus and one to take the shot. And last but not least, this Windows Phone has wireless charging. Wireless charging makes sense in 2014 and it’s something that every phone vendor should be including.

    Nokia Lumia Icon Unboxing Video By Chris Rauschnot @24k on Twitter

    Nokia is on a roll, as of late, with better smartphones at each turn. It shows that their product designers get what people want in a phone. Those features are large bright screens, 20MP or more cameras that produce crisp photos, brushed metal touches and polycarbonate cases to reduce weight.


    The Nokia Lumia Icon is currently available for $199 with a two-year contract on Verizon Wireless. Now is the perfect time for Nokia to have released their newest smartphone. Friends that have Verizon Wireless have mentioned that they can’t wait to get their hands on one. Its form factor, high quality construction, great camera and amazing OLED screen have me excited for this phone.

    Rating: 4.5/5


    • More comfortable smartphone to hold in one hand than the Lumia 1520.
    • Quad-core CPU and quad noise-canceling microphones.
    • Bright and clear screen that works well even in direct sun light.
    • Free cloud storage and backup service from Microsoft.


    • A full metal enclosure would have been great, but the polycarbonate back makes sense to reduce weight and increase signal.
    • Somewhat slow auto focus even with the updated Nokia Camera app.
    • No memory slot for expansion.

    Disclosure: I received a Nokia Lumia Icon at no cost for review. I did not receive compensation for this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  • Beth Whaanga's Powerful Breast Cancer Portraits Lost Her 100 Friends, But Could Save Many More Lives
    Beth Whaanga posted images of herself after breast cancer surgery on Facebook, hoping to share her story and urge others to take preventative measures.

    What she didn’t expect was the vitriolic responses from some of her Facebook “friends” — and the subsequent outpourings of support she received when the photographs went viral.

    (Some images below are NSFW and may be considered graphic.)

    Whaanga, a nurse and married mother-of-four from Brisbane, Australia, was diagnosed with breast cancer on her 32nd birthday. After finding out that she carried the BRCA2 gene, a genetic mutation that put her at increased risk for breast and ovarian cancer, Whaanga underwent a double mastectomy last November, as well as a hysterectomy, lymphadenectomy and melanoma lumpectomies. Instead of hiding her scars, she chose to speak out in order to help others affected by cancer.

    “Your scars are a physical or emotional representation of a trial you’ve been through,” Whaanga told The Huffington Post in an email. “They show that you came through the trial and survived.”

    She teamed up with friend and photographer Nadia Masot to photograph her post-surgery body in a series of portraits called “Under The Red Dress.”

    “I really felt during the shoot I wanted to portray [Whaanga’s] strength and resilience, but also have her vulnerability and pain come across,” Masot told The Huffington Post in an email. “She was unafraid of me pointing the camera at her exposed body, scarred as it is. She was confident in sharing it with me, and I think that came across.”

    beth whaanga

    Introducing the photographs on her Facebook page, Whaanga wrote:

    WARNING: these images are confronting and contain topless material. They are not in anyway meant to be sexual. The aim of this project is to raise awareness for breast cancer. If you find these images offensive please hide them from your feed. Each day we walk past people. These individuals appear normal but under their clothing sometimes their bodies tell a different story. Nadia Masot and I aim to find others who are willing to participate in our project so that we might show others that cancer effects everyone. The old and the young, age does not matter, self examination is vital. It can happen to you.

    beth whaanga

    Despite Whaanga’s explanation, some people took issue with the images. Hours after the photographs had been posted, over 100 people had de-friended Whaanga on Facebook, and several reported the album to Facebook for violation of the site’s photo policy. (Facebook has contacted Whaanga to inform her that they will not be removing the images.)

    beth whaanga

    “The feedback that I’ve received was that people felt that the medium was not appropriate for these images,” Whaanga told HuffPost. “They were also concerned about the graphic and confronting content of the images.”

    These objections, however, seem almost petty in light of the project’s goal: raising awareness about cancer and encouraging people to make their health a priority.

    “These photos remind the viewer to be vigilant about checking their bodies and to be more aware that this could and and possibly will happen to you,” Whaanga told HuffPost.

    beth whaanga

    “If the ‘Under The Red Dress’ project helps one man, woman or family deal with their battle with cancer, or helps one person in their preventative journey, than I’m very happy,” Whaanga told HuffPost.

    Learn more about the Under The Red Dress Project here.

  • Toyota Doesn't Want You To Plug In Its Electric Cars
    Interested in an electric or plug-in hybrid car but not so keen on having to make the schlep to actually plug in the car every time it needs a charge?

    Then Toyota’s wireless charging system will probably interest you.

    So how does it work? Basically, the system transmits electricity between a coil on the ground and a coil in the car, the automaker explained in a press release. This allows the vehicle to charge without the need for a cord. Since vehicle position relative to the coil on the ground is important, the system enables a car to automatically park itself so that it can get the best charge.

    Toyota is testing the technology on its Prius Plug-In hybrid-electric vehicle. Three lucky homeowners will get to test the technology for a year so that the company can gather information to better future wireless charging applications, the company said.

    As Automobile Magazine notes, this isn’t the first time the industry is seeing wireless charging technology for electric vehicles. The publication points out “Volvo, Nissan and automotive supplier Delphi are also testing similar systems for electric vehicles.”

    Regardless of which manufacturer comes out with the technology first, it seems that we, the lazy consumers, come out the big winners.

    Check out Toyota’s video (above) to see how the wireless technology works.

  • How to Increase the Number of Women in Tech
    Tech-industry executives say they have an extremely difficult time finding technical talent and that this shortage hurts their company’s performance. They claim to look far and wide, including abroad, yet they overlook the lowest-hanging fruit: women and minorities. The percentage of women in engineering jobs is so embarrassingly low — in the single digits or low teens — that many tech companies refuse to release diversity data. Their excuse is that the pipeline of women studying engineering is shrinking.

    This is a self-perpetuating cycle. Because there are few women in engineering, girls don’t perceive computing to be a friendly profession, so fewer are entering the field. In 1985, 37 percent of Computer and Information Science undergraduate degree recipients were women. By 2011 this proportion had dropped to 18 percent.

    The technology industry is excluding a significant proportion of our population from the growing technology economy and things are only getting worse.

    This problem can be fixed, but we need to start by acknowledging that the fault is with the employer rather than with women. Employers usually have good intentions and do not deliberately discriminate against women and minorities, but there is a hidden bias that needs to be understood and overcome. The diversity data that corporate executives usually look at are at the company level rather than at the departmental level and include lower-level administrative/support roles. If these data were analyzed at the departmental level, particularly in technology, executives would be shocked at what they saw. They would realize that the deck is stacked against women at every stage of the game.

    I talked with some of leading experts on diversity for a book I’m writing about women in innovation. Here are some of their recommendations for understanding the problem and finding solutions:

    Look at how jobs are defined. Lucy Sanders, CEO of The National Center for Women & Information Technology, says that companies need to pay attention to what types of technical jobs are given to women. Are they the low-status technical jobs? Are they high-prestige jobs such as architect and lead designer? How are the jobs defined? Are they written in such a way as to solicit response from males? For example, job descriptions that are overloaded with long lists of required skills (which may or may not be needed on day one, and could be learned on the job) may cause women to not apply if they don’t have each and every skill; men on the other hand will tend to apply if they have only a subset of the skills, Sanders says.

    Broaden the talent pool by looking beyond the usual recruitment grounds. Companies need to build ties to universities where there are high proportions of women and minorities, and to recruit at conferences such as the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and Women 2.0.

    Interview at least one woman and one member of a minority for every open position. Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, says companies should implement a rule such as the Rooney Rule for National Football League teams. This requires all teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching and senior football operation jobs. The key is to make sure that every hiring pool is diverse with respect to gender and race.

    Have at least one woman on the hiring team. Telle Whitney, CEO of the Anita Borg Institute, cites academic research that shows that people tend to hire those who are similar to them. She says that the demographics of the hiring team greatly influence the outcome of hiring. It also makes a difference in offer acceptance. A female candidate will recognize that the business values diversity if the interviewers are men and women, and she is more likely to join the company if offered a job, Whitney says.

    In hiring decisions, the focus should always be on competencies rather than on credentials. Klein says that degrees from a prestigious school usually weigh heavily over the ability to write code or solve problems. Candidate-screening criteria such as unpaid internships, summer international experiences, and gap years also create an unfair advantage because these are signs of a wealthy background and not earned meritocratic achievements. She says that companies should focus on “distance traveled” — such as the demonstrated ability of people who grew up in modest circumstances to overcome adversity, or to be the first in their families to go to college.

    Once we increase the proportion of women in technical roles, the challenge is to retain them and ease the transition to senior positions. In the next installment, I will detail what the experts say on retainment.

    Vivek Wadhwa is Vice President of Research and Innovation at Singularity University. This article first appeared in the Wall Street Journal, where he is a contributor. Wadhwa’s work has also appeared in the Washington Post, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, LinkedIn Influencers blog and other places. Visit his website: wadhwa.com.

  • Court dismisses suit claiming iPhone 4S ads misrepresented Siri
    A judge for the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Claudia Wilken, has dismissed a lawsuit claiming that Apple ads for the iPhone 4S were deceptive about the capabilities of Siri. In her ruling Wilken writes that the plaintiffs’ claims depended on “non-actionable puffery,” and failed to show evidence of fraud. A “reasonable consumer,” she says, would not expect Siri to work perfectly all the time; the plaintiffs charged that Apple gave the impression Siri could handle any request instantly.


  • Instagram Says No To Lovematically, A Web Service That Automatically 'Likes' All Posts
    Everyone wants to feel loved. A new web app aims to help you share the love (and receive some in return) by automatically liking every post on your Instagram. But Instagram doesn’t seem happy about this.

    Developer Rameet Chawla created the web-only Lovematically app to automate the process of satiating friends’ desires for digital affection. On Valentines Day, he opened the service up to the first 5,000 users who wished to sign up. Instagram was quick to begin blocking the app.

    A note on the Lovematically’s website informs users that Instagram is blocking the app for some. .

    Ryan Matzner, the director of Chawla’s development company, had this to say about Instagram’s attempts to shut down Lovematically:

    The service is running for the vast majority of users who’ve already signed up. I can’t get into specifics, but we architected the tool to be robust and we don’t believe it can be shutdown en mass, at least not without significant effort on Instagram’s end. Instagram appears to have made a dent in shutting us down, but they still have a long way to go. And there are numerous countermeasures we are employing. It’s a bit cat-and-mouse right now.

    On Lovematically’s website, Chawla explains his motivation for creating the app. He also describes the satisfaction of getting likes: “It’s our generation’s crack cocaine. People are addicted. We experience withdrawals. We are so driven by this drug, getting just one hit elicits truly peculiar reactions. … They’ve inconspicuously emerged as the first digital drug to dominate our culture.”

    Researchers have found that human beings have a natural tendency toward reciprocation. Lovematically aims to tap directly into that tendency and game Instagram’s system to help grow users’ social media presence. (The more likes you give out, the more you’re likely to receive in return.) Whether those likes are genuine or not seems to be irrelevant.

    Chawla says he gained 30 new followers per day during the three months after he built the app and started using it. “I’ve also noticed the reciprocal love coming in,” he adds on the app’s site. “Pre-Lovematically, my posts would average 35 likes. Now, I routinely hit the triple-digits for likes.”

    But will users care if their followers find out about all this automatic liking? Chawla claims that the possibility doesn’t seem to phase Lovematically users or their friends.

    “The primary caveat is the disappointment people feel when the automation is revealed,” he writes. “But, funnily enough, after a quick phase of disillusionment, that their adulation was automated, people quickly demand access to this magical tool.”

    Instagram did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

  • Chinese Singles' Valentine's Day Prank Will Warm Your Cold, Dead Heart
    There’s being bitter on Valentine’s Day, and then there’s this.

    In what can only be considered a master class in trolling, a group of singles in Shanghai banded together and bought every odd-numbered seat for a Valentine’s Day screening of a rom-com so that couples couldn’t sit together, the Telegraph reports.

    “Want to see a movie on Valentine’s Day?” the organizer of the prank, known only by the initials “UP,” taunted on an online forum. “Sorry, you’ll have to sit separately. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

    A self-described “computer nerd,” UP told a Shanghai newspaper he recently had his heart broken (figures — all evil masterminds have a sad backstory) and that he had first tried to carry out the devious plan alone. When his efforts to purchase every other seat online and at the theater box office failed, he recruited some online accomplices to help him get the job done.

    But don’t hate him because he ruined your Valentine’s Day make-out session, Shanghai cinema-goers. UP was only kidding!

    “I hope all lovers understand this is just a small joke,” the prankster told the Shanghai Morning Post.

    Luckily for UP, he’s not alone in his anti-Valentine’s Day sentiment. Singles in China are so averse to the Hallmark holiday, they consider November 11 Singles’ Day — an unofficial holiday that started in the 1990s as a protest to Valentine’s Day that’s since become the biggest online shopping day of the year worldwide.

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

  • There Should Be an App for That: 10 Apps We Wish Existed

    By Chloe Johns

    What would make your life easier? If only your phone could make you a smoothie, put the kids to bed, or iron your shirt for the morning. One can only dream…

    With something more feasible in mind, here is a list of 10 must-develop apps for 2014.

    Is your mind constantly wandering? Can’t believe where the time has gone? Then download iProcrastinate.

    Use the app to select the 10 distracting websites you visit the most, and simply plug your phone into your computer. Every time you log onto Facebook or browse Buzzfeed, your phone will vibrate loudly to remind you of the task in hand. For the daydreamers amongst us, iProcrastinate also tracks keystrokes.

    So you broke up, and it didn’t end well. You’ve deleted, unfriended and unfollowed, but moving on is hard when their face still finds its way into your news feed. ‘Axe-the-Ex’ scans your social media channels and removes any trace of your Ex’s existence. When activated, your Facebook news feed will remove photos where your Ex is tagged by mutual friends, it won’t count their ‘likes’, and you will never see their re-tweets. Axe-the-Ex – for when ‘unfriending’ isn’t enough.

    Reports show that we are throwing away more un-eaten food than ever before. All this waste is bad for the environment, and bad for our pockets. NotExpired is your go to app for checking whether expiry dates are accurate. Search your food item, enter its packaging, how long it’s been open, where you stored it, and the expiry date. NotExpired will tell you if there is any longevity left in it.


    Does your team spend more time at the kettle then at their desks? Save their time with iKettle. The app chooses a team member at random, and schedules them to make a daily tea round. It will also send an alert letting them know everyone elses sugar/milk ratio. For time efficiency, tea rounds of more than 10 cups will prompt iKettle to schedule an additional team member to help.

    Going My Way?
    London black cabbies are required to learn The Knowledge. This extensive exam details the shortest routes from A to B, at any given time of the day. For when you’re elsewhere in the World, ‘Going My Way?’ can ensure you that you’re being taken the quickest way, and will send you an alert If your driver deviates from the most efficient route.


    If you’ve ever been on a restricted diet, you know how hard it is to control what goes into your food. It can look safe, but somehow a splash of soy sauce has found its way in there. iContainGluten works by docking a gluten detector (yet to be developed) to your phone. Lined with thousands of sensors, the detector can measure gluten levels by simply waving your phone over your dinner. N.B iContainSaturatedFats and iContainDairy will be available as add-ons.

    Auto Un-tag
    It’s been a messy night. You wake up at midday with a thousand push-notifications on your phone. Then the panic sets in – You’ve been tagged. A lot. By granting Auto Un-tag access to your Facebook profile, it will use algorithms from previously untagged Facebook photos to determine the types of pictures that you don’t want to be seen. Fat. Drunk. Lazy-Eyed? Never again, my friend!

    With ‘H2O’, everyone can now measure their hydration levels on the go. By pressing your thumb on a sensor pad plugged into your phone, ‘H2O’ can tell you exactly how hydrated you are from the moisture in your skin. It can also tell you how much water you need to take in to return to normal levels. Bring on the glowing complexions!


    You’re at a party or a conference and someone waves at you from across the room – You have no idea who they are. WTFIT (Who the F*** Is That?) stealthily connects with their phone and scans your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to see if you’re already connected with them. Since access was granted during the initial friend request, your phone will determine if there is a match. Along with a name, it will give you 3 headline facts about that person. Look down. Read quickly. Or better yet have Siri whisper it into your ear. Awkward situation averted.

    We’ve all stayed up long into the night, drink in hand, discussing the problems in our society, and what we can do to fix them. Come morning, all is forgotten. This app will record your evening’s conversations, and pick out the best comments and ideas. This could potentially be the first app to achieve World Peace, or at the very least remind you to go to bed next time.

    Thousands of apps are developed everyday, and while your phone can’t teleport you to a meeting you’re late for (yet!) , none of these 10 apps are unachievable. So, raise that capital and let’s get developing!

  • 25 Funny Tweets To Help You Get Over Valentine's Day
    There are a lot people that can help you cope with your Valentine’s Day misery. You can get sloshed with your buddy Jack Daniels, go on a romantic dinner date with Papa John, or shack up with Ben & Jerry.

    We, however, prefer to spend our day hanging out with the funniest, most cynical comedians in the Twitterverse. And lucky for you, we kept track of the best tweets about love, romance, and our ol’ buddy Cupid. Tweet your heart out, everyone.

  • Should We Blame Russia for the Target Breach?
    Is it time to hold the Russian government responsible for the rise in sophisticated cybercrime attacks on the U.S. economy?

    As Congress recently held hearings on the Target data breach to discuss new ways to protect consumer information and prevent future data breaches, one key issue that should be on the table is how to clamp down on the foreign source of these attacks. The Target breach — possibly the largest hack in U.S. history, affecting over 110 million consumer accounts — used Russian-made malware to pull it off. That should come as no surprise to anyone. After all, some of the most notorious malware that’s targeted U.S. consumers, banks and retailers over the past few years has originated from Russia or former Soviet states: ZeuS, Citadel, SpyEye, CryptoLocker, to name just a few. In fact, roughly 70 percent of “exploit kits” released in the fourth quarter of 2012 came from Russia, according to a study by Solutionary.

    Until we tackle the Russia problem, we won’t make any real progress against cybercrime. In order to stop a leaky boat from sinking, you have to do more than just bail water — you have to plug the actual leak.

    The U.S. has already taken an aggressive stance against the Chinese government for its ongoing cyber-espionage attacks against the private sector. It needs to do the same with Russia. While the Russian government does not appear to be directly behind these cybercrime activities, neither is it doing much to stop them. A report by the Russian cybercrime intelligence firm Group-IB cited a number of reasons for Russia’s failure to thwart the proliferation of this activity inside the country: inadequate laws, weak penalties and legal loopholes for those convicted; a need for more advanced investigative capabilities and better law enforcement training; and improved coordination with other countries. In its defense, Russian authorities did arrest the creator of the BlackHole exploit kit. But they’ve failed to stop the vast majority of high-profile crimeware rings — from ZeuS to CryptoLocker.

    Russia also has another problem: “bulletproof hosting.” What is that? Bulletproof hosting refers to the practice of protecting malware-infected websites from being shut down by their service providers. In the U.S., for instance, when a website is found to contain malware, there are legal recourses to take the site offline and prevent it from being used to infect other websites. That is not always the case in Russia — these infected websites are sometimes protected from takedowns, allowing cybercriminals to thrive by having a safe platform to host their malware for infecting U.S. consumers and businesses.

    It’s estimated that cybercrime (most of it appearing to come out of Russia) costs the global economy $113 billion each year, according to Symantec. Unlike the estimated costs of Chinese cyber-espionage (which are speculative figures based on projected future values), cybercrime is stealing real money from companies and consumers every day.

    Russia’s failure to act against the cybercrime industry operating within its borders poses an advanced persistent threat to the U.S. economy. Our government officials can no longer ignore the consequences of Russia’s inability or unwillingness to act. If we’re going to hold China responsible for the cyber-espionage attacks emanating from its IP addresses, isn’t it time we confront Russia for harboring the vast majority of the world’s cybercrime industry?

  • DealNN: Mac mini, iPhone 5 and more
    Until 2/19/2014 at MegaMacs.com, get a great deal on a bundle that includes a refurbished Mac mini, keyboard, mouse, DVI-HDMI adapter and Adobe Lightroom 5 all for only $239.99, which is $50 off their regular price. That makes this about $85 less than the lowest price we’ve seen for the Mac mini alone anywhere else, and Bitcoin is now accepted as a payment method. The Mac mini features a 1.83GHz Intel core 2 duo processor, 2GB of RAM and 80GB hard drive. Included is a 30 day warranty from MegaMacs.


  • MLB completes outfitting two stadiums with iBeacon technology
    Major League Baseball has completed its first post-test iBeacon deployments at two stadiums, according to an announcement. 65 iBeacons have been put in place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, and Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres. The league says that plans are underway to have over 20 parks outfitted by Opening Day; the main reason for the initial two stadiums is that the Padres are hosting the Dodgers on March 30th.


Mobile Technology News, February 13, 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.

  • Real or not, 'iPhone 6' photos are everywhere
    No telling if this it’s the real iPhone 6, but some design features are certainly plausible.
  • Google's Woodside said to be hired as Dropbox's new COO
    Shortly after Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, the phone-maker’s CEO is reportedly stepping down to become the operating chief of Dropbox.
  • Federal Judge Blocks The Apothecary Shoppe From Selling Execution Drug To Missouri
    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A federal judge late Wednesday temporarily blocked an Oklahoma compounding pharmacy from selling a drug to the Missouri Department of Corrections for use in an upcoming execution.

    The temporary restraining order was issued in a lawsuit filed a day earlier in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by Missouri death row inmate Michael Taylor. His attorneys allege that the department contracts with The Apothecary Shoppe in Tulsa to provide the drug set to be used in Taylor’s Feb. 26 lethal injection. The lawsuit argued that several recent executions involving the drug, compounded pentobarbital, indicate it will likely cause Taylor “severe, unnecessary, lingering and ultimately inhumane pain.”

    The state has not revealed the name of the compounding pharmacy supplying the drug, and The Apothecary Shoppe previously declined to confirm or deny that it was the source of a drug used in an earlier Missouri execution.

    Taylor, 47, pleaded guilty in the 1989 abduction, rape and stabbing death of a 15-year-old Kansas City girl.

    A pharmacy spokeswoman did not return a telephone call seeking comment earlier Wednesday. Phone and email messages were also left with the Missouri Department of Corrections.

    One of Taylor’s attorneys, Matthew Hellman of the Washington, D.C., law firm Jenner & Block, said the lawsuit focuses attention on the drug used in Missouri’s lethal injections and the laws regarding compounding.

    “This is not an acceptable option,” Hellman said.

    Missouri corrections officials turned to The Apothecary Shoppe to supply compounded pentobarbital after manufacturers of the drug refused to provide it for lethal injections, according to the lawsuit.

    In January 2012, a Danish company that had produced pentobarbital under the trade name Nembutal sold the exclusive rights to the drug to an American company, Akorn Inc., on the condition that Akorn not sell the drug for use in executions.

    “Those manufacturers do not want medication to be used for executions,” Hellman said.

    Taylor’s lawsuit questions whether the pharmacy can legally produce and deliver compounded pentobarbital. It says the pharmacy is not registered as a drug manufacturer with the Food & Drug Administration and alleges it violates federal law each time it delivers the drug across state lines to Missouri corrections officials.

    Along with asking for a temporary restraining order, the lawsuit seeks an injunction barring the pharmacy from delivering “this unidentified, unregulated, untested and unsafe pharmaceutical product.” Hellman declined to say whether The Apothecary Shoppe also sells compounded pentobarbital to states other than Missouri.

    Several recent executions that involved compounded pentobarbital indicate use of the drug will subject Taylor to “inhumane pain,” the lawsuit says.

    One such execution was that of Oklahoma death row inmate Michael Lee Wilson, 38. Within 20 seconds of receiving the lethal injection at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary on Jan. 9 Wilson said: “I feel my whole body burning.” The lawsuit alleges the statement describes “a sensation consistent with receipt of contaminated pentobarbital.”

    The lawsuit also sites an Oct. 15, 2012, execution in which South Dakota death row inmate Eric Robert, 50, cleared his throat, gasped for air and then snored after receiving the lethal injection. His skin turned a purplish hue and his heart continued to beat for 10 minutes after he stopped breathing. It took 20 minutes for authorities to finally declare Robert dead.

    “These events are consistent with receipt of a contaminated or sub-potent compounded drug,” the lawsuit says.

    Use of the same drug in Taylor’s execution could result in a similar reaction, Hellman said.

    “It is extremely disturbing,” he said.

    On Monday, Missouri Corrections Department Director George Lombardi told a legislative panel that the agency pays for the drug to be independently tested to make sure it works and is sterile. He also said the agency had found no substantial issues in a background check of its current supplier.

    Lombardi did not release the name of the pharmacy that provides the drug, saying Missouri could not carry out lethal injections if that information were released. He said the state pays $8,000 in cash to the pharmacy for the drug.

  • Comcast To Buy Time Warner Cable: Reports
    Comcast is set to buy Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal, CNBC’s David Faber reported Wednesday night.

    Faber shared the news on Twitter, announcing that the deal would be made on Thursday morning. The reported acquisition will be for about $159 a share.

    The New York Times notes that the expected deal will total more than $44 billion. The companies expect the merger to be completed by the end of the year CNN’S Brian Stelter reports, but will likely draw regulator scrutiny.

    Comcast to buy Time Warner Cable in all stock deal worth $159 per $TWC share- sources. Deal set for tomorrow morning. Ratio is 2.875 $CMCSA.

    DAVID FABER (@davidfaber) February 13, 2014

    Comcast will indicate willingness to divest 3m subs from combination with $TWC– sources.

    DAVID FABER (@davidfaber) February 13, 2014

    Comcast deal for $TWC does not face ownership cap restrictions, but sure to get tough review from FCC.$CMCSA wants to avoid consent decree.

    DAVID FABER (@davidfaber) February 13, 2014

    Bloomberg News corroborated the report, noting that the deal would combine the largest two U.S. cable companies. The resulting company would have over 33 million subscribers, making it by far the largest of any U.S. cable provider as noted by CNBC.

    According to Bloomberg, Charter Communications had also been vying for the cable carrier, offering around $132.50 a share to Time Warner Cable. Charter’s bid was rejected.

    CNN’S Brian Stelter noted on Twitter that “For Comcast, the crown jewel of [Time Warner Cable] is the New York City market. Soon [Comcast] will have its 30 Rock studios AND the cable pipes beneath.”


    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Comcast Corp. has agreed to buy Time Warner Cable Inc. for $45.2 billion in stock, or $158.82 per share, two people familiar with the matter said late Wednesday.

    The deal will combine the nation’s top two cable TV companies and make Comcast, which also owns NBCUniversal, a dominant force in both creating and delivering entertainment to U.S. homes.

    The deal was approved by the boards of both companies and, pending regulatory approval, is expected to close by the end of the year, the people said.

    The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced formally. An announcement is set for Thursday morning, they said.

    The price is about 17 percent above Time Warner Cable shares’ Wednesday closing price of $135.31 and trumps a proposal by Charter Communications Inc. to buy Time Warner for about $132.50 per share, or $38 billion in cash and stock.

    Time Warner Cable shareholders will receive 2.57 Comcast shares for every Time Warner Cable share they own. Once the deal is final, they will end up owning about 23 percent of the combined company, one of the people said.

    Charter had pursued Time Warner Cable for months but Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus had consistently rejected what he called a lowball offer, saying he’d cut a deal for $160 per share in cash and stock.

    For a time, Comcast stayed in the background, waiting to purchase any chunk of subscribers that a combined Charter-Time Warner Cable would sell off. Charter had planned to finance its bid with $25 billion in new debt. As part of a plan to pay off the debt quickly, the company considered selling off some of its territories after a deal had closed. Time Warner Cable’s Marcus had also balked at the huge debt burden the Charter takeover represented.

    Instead, Comcast now plans to divest 3 million pay TV subscribers after the deal closes. With 22 million of its own pay TV customers and Time Warner Cable’s 11.2 million, the combined entity will end up with about 30 million subscribers when the deal is complete, a level believed not to trigger the concern of antitrust authorities. A formal cap was dissolved years ago by regulators, but divesting subscribers could help the deal get approved more quickly.

    Comcast is taking the position that because Comcast and Time Warner Cable don’t serve overlapping markets, their combination won’t reduce competition for consumers, especially in the face of rivals AT&T and Verizon, which compete with the cable operators to provide both pay TV services and Internet hookups. Both AT&T and Verizon are growing quickly. They ended 2013 with 5.5 million and 5.3 million pay TV subscribers, respectively.

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable are expected to save $1.5 billion in annual costs over three years, with half of that realized in the first year, one of the people said.

    Comcast also plans to add an additional $10 billion in share buybacks at the close of the deal, on top of a recent plan to boost its share buyback authority to $7.5 billion from $1 billion, the person said.

    Conceding that it had lost the takeover battle, Charter issued a statement Wednesday saying, “Charter has always maintained that our greatest opportunity to create value for shareholders is by executing our current business plan, and that we will continue to be disciplined in this and any other (merger and acquisition) activity we pursue.”

    Even before the deal had been formally announced, it was being denounced. Public Knowledge, a Washington-based consumer rights group, said in a statement Wednesday that regulators must stop the deal, because it would give Comcast “unprecedented gatekeeper power in several important markets.”

    “An enlarged Comcast would be the bully in the schoolyard,” it said.

  • Lenovo net profit jumps 29 percent in 3Q on PC sales
    Chinese electronics giant reports $265 million in net profit in the third quarter on shipments of 15.3 million PCs.
  • Troubling Number Of Minority And Female Students Took This AP Exam In 2013
    The Advanced Placement Computer Science exam clearly has a problem when it comes to minority and female high school students.

    The College Board — the association responsible for creating and overseeing AP testing — on Tuesday released its annual report on AP exam participation and performance, noting that a vast majority of AP Computer Science test-takers in 2013 were white males. Of the more than 20,000 students to take the exam last year, 81 percent were male and 54 percent were white. Only 9 percent of the test-takers were Latino and 3 percent were African-American.

    The following graphs break it down:


    ap exam

    Senior research scientist Barbara Ericson of Georgia Tech University provided a separate analysis of the test data, painting an even bleaker picture of the situation in some parts of the country. Her analysis reveals no African-American students took the AP Computer Science exam in 11 states, and that not a single female, African-American or Hispanic student took the test in Montana or Mississippi.

    The numbers suggest that the world of technology, which is already dominated by white males, may continue being a white man’s club.

    Deborah Davis, the director of college readiness communications at The College Board, told The Huffington Post in an email that the organization recognizes these problems and has been taking steps to up the number of minority and female test-takers.

    “The College Board is deeply committed to increasing access to rigorous computing courses, particularly for underrepresented female and minority students. In order to address this issue, we have collaborated with national organizations, other nonprofits and the private sector to ensure expanded access,” wrote Davis.

    More than 1 million students took AP exams in 2013, according to The College Board report. Nine percent of these test-takers were African-American, and 19 percent were Hispanic.

  • Why isn't Siri like AI in movies?
    Why the next artificial intelligence apps won’t be as silly as Siri
  • First alleged shots of iPhone 6 casings posted on Twitter
    An anonymous tipster on Twitter has posted a series of images of what is allegedly Apple’s iPhone 6 casing. The tipster has posted a range of new photos to twitter that appear to contain the first shots of a new iPhone. The case components are similar to that of the iPod touch, but have both what appears to be a TouchID home button, as well as the larger flash opening as seen on the iPhone 5S.


  • The Reverse Facebook Detox: Why I Finally Joined
    You might call me a late adopter.

    At a time when many people are taking a break from social media, I have taken a decidedly contrarian view — after years of holding out I have finally joined Facebook.

    I am one of roughly 18 people in the free world who until now refused to establish a status on Facebook. And lest you think I am a recluse, let me assure you, I am not. I shop online, watch Mad Men on airplay, and listen to current music, sometimes on digital radio. Some might even say I am hip and cool. Well, I might say that.

    In any case, Facebook always seemed intrusive, not to mention self-indulgent: new mothers documenting their babies’ every bowel movement, Aunt Jane parading pictures of her eight cats, former schoolmates flaunting fabulous book deals. Did I really want to waste my time posting the trivialities of my life? Or, conversely, poring over the particulars of others’ lives and lamenting the missed opportunities of my own: parties I didn’t attend, vacations I passed up, endeavors I never undertook.

    For 10 years I avoided the siren call of the social networking giant, afraid to be sucked into this unique vortex of narcissism and voyeurism — the same one causing many to now leave the site. Recently, though, a few trends and incidents changed my mind.

    First, I finally realized that the preferred method for social interaction had become Facebook. Exclusively. “Hey are you going to the event at The Mansion Saturday night? Oh that’s right, you’re not on Facebook.” The pretext seems to be that by virtue of “not being on Facebook,” not only am I not privy to these activities, but I am not even invited.

    Second, I was no longer up to speed on important news: government shutdowns, huge fires raging downtown, celebrity breakups. Some studies suggest that 30 percent of people now receive their news through Facebook. Whether what they are reading can legitimately be termed news is up for debate. Nonetheless, individuals who have never picked up a newspaper or browsed a magazine in their life are telling me about current events. And I mean very current. By the time my morning paper arrives the print is old, offering information that is way past its expiration date on the Facebook feed.

    Speaking of expiration dates, apparently even obituaries have gone the way of Facebook. I recently learned of the passing of a friend’s dad through one of my friends, who heard it first… on Facebook.

    However, aside from these recent trends — old trends to you early adopters — it was a final incident over the holidays that sealed my decision. While skiing with my family before New Year’s, I received an interesting email. (Remember email?) It included a picture of the ski patrol at our resort attending to a fallen skier. It seems that a member of the fallen woman’s group caught her on film — I mean digital — and promptly posted the picture (of her lying prone on the stretcher) on Facebook. A close friend of mine discovered it on her Facebook wall and, knowing my technological limitations, emailed me the photo.

    Thankfully, the wounded skier sustained no major injuries. I can’t vouch for the photographer’s well-being, although despite my limited knowledge of Facebook, the term ‘unFriended’ rings a bell.

    Regardless, this paparazzi ski shot and its presumably unwilling subject opened my eyes to the final truth: Facebook is inescapable.

    At its root, my avoidance of Facebook — not to mention Twitter, Instagram and all other assorted social media — has been grounded in the need to shield myself, to remain disconnected, literally, from probing eyes and sharing fingers. What I’ve realized is this: any attempts to maintain privacy and control is futile. My absence doesn’t’ prevent me from being exposed — it just means I don’t know about it. As Joseph Heller pointed out, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”

    Rest assured my life is hardly worth posting about, although my own slip ups could fill quite a few newsfeeds. Despite my reservations I have succumbed. I can no longer deny Facebook’s utility. It is the new landline, the newsfeed, the modern-day rolodex. Not to mention it’s the quickest link to all those Buzzfeed quizzes that tell me what career I am ideally suited for, or which 80s rocker I most resemble.

    With Facebook turning 10, some say I’m so late to the party it’s already over. Indeed, teens have already decided it is no longer cool. (The fact that it is no longer cool goes a long way toward explaining why I am finally joining; as a consequence of being a contrarian, the truth is I am terminally uncool.)

    The question I’ve been wondering is: will it make me happier? I will soon find out.

    What I can say with reasonable certainty is that I will refrain from posting accidents and incidents that befall my friends. If you notice me breaking this promise, feel free to get in touch. You know where to find me.

  • What Shows To Stream On Netflix If You're Single This Valentine's Day
    This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday. While for couples that probably means a romantic night out on the town, the single folks out there may need a little more help avoiding excessive Facebook stalking and 3 a.m. “why am I single?!” meltdowns.

    Luckily, we (and Netflix) are here to make your Valentine’s Day a lot more awesome. Here’s a guide to what TV shows to watch if you happen to be flying solo on Feb. 14.

    If you’re single and loving it …
    olivia pope
    Because nothing screams “independent woman” more than our favorite White House fixer Olivia Pope. When you’re that cool, important and have such great clothes, you don’t really have time for a relationship anyway. Get the hint, Fitz.

    “Orange Is The New Black”
    Prison may not be a walk in the park, but most of the “Orange Is The New Black” ladies are single and they manage to have a blast behind bars. Having great friends is just as good, if not better than having significant other … never mind that a few of them fall in love with each other.

    “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
    Because you’re so great at being by yourself that you don’t even need someone to hold your hand through those creepy rape and murder scenes!

    If you’re heartbroken …
    jess and nick new girl
    “New Girl”
    Not only has every “New Girl” character suffered from extreme heartbreak, but it seems like someone gets rejected or dumped every other episode. See? Everybody hurts, sometimes.

    “Arrested Development”
    Falling in love with your cousin is bad, and being married to a Never Nude is even worse. Love isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be! Plus, you know you need a good laugh.

    “The Walking Dead”
    Because it could always be worse.

    If you’re cynical about love …
    don draper
    “Mad Men”
    In case you need more proof that love doesn’t last, spend a few hours with Don Draper.

    “30 Rock”
    Liz Lemon has dated her fair share of losers (Dennis Duffy, anyone?), and is famous for choosing her couch and night cheese over a date. Can you blame her, cynics?

    “House Of Cards”
    Because Frank Underwood once said that he loved Claire “more than sharks love blood,” which is an interesting way of putting it.

    If you’re still crushing on that guy from high school …
    “Freaks And Geeks”
    No one knows the pain of unrequited love more than Lindsay and Sam Weir. As an added bonus, you get to watch James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel play high schoolers and fall in love all over again.

    “The O.C.”
    Because you know you’re still crushing on all those beautiful people, so why not spend a night staring at them instead of your crush’s high school yearbook photo?

    “One Tree Hill”
    Because Haley and Nathan met in high school, and they got married. So there’s definitely still hope.

    If you’re a true romantic …
    ted mosby
    “How I Met Your Mother”
    Because Ted really, really believes in love. And although his faith in love has gotten a little annoying over the past nine seasons, it’s still very heartwarming.

    “Parks And Recreation”
    Is there any question that Leslie and Ben are the cutest couple on TV these days? Well, at least in Pawnee …

    “The Office”
    We know, we know. The last few seasons of “The Office” got a little ridiculous. But was there anything more romantic than Jim and Pam pining after each other in Seasons 1 through 3? Nope.

    tv show gifs

  • No One Stays King Forever: What Apple Should Learn From Microsoft's Stumble

    John Gruber published a smart essay about Microsoft on his Daring Fireball blog last week, adding perspective to the appointment of Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella. The gist of Gruber’s essay is that Microsoft’s redemption, if there is to be one, will involve its ability to become a leading provider of cloud services. That’s the next big thing, and that’s where Microsoft has advantages, in terms of technology and business experience, over everyone else.

    All fair points, but what Gruber overlooks — and this is ironic given the fact that his blog is mostly devoted to covering Apple — are the lessons that Apple should learn from Microsoft’s stumble.

    Lesson One: No one stays king forever.

    Lesson Two: Lock-in leads to disaster.

    Let’s look at Lesson One. It’s hard to imagine today, but in the 1990s Microsoft wasn’t just a dominant player in tech; it was downright terrifying. Everyone lived in fear. In 1997 I wrote an article for the New York Times Magazine about a little software company in Cambridge, Mass. called Firefly, whose CEO, Max Metral, said something about Microsoft that I will never forget:

    “The reality of the software business today is that if you find something that can make you ridiculously rich, then that’s something Microsoft is going to want to take from you. All we can do is meet with them and try to see what they’re going to do to us when they feel like doing it. If they want to kill you, they’ll kill you.”

    Ten months after that article was published, Firefly was acquired by Micrsosoft, and was never heard from again.

    Apple today doesn’t dominate mobile devices the way Microsoft did the PC market. Microsoft once controlled 95 percent of PCs. Apple’s share in smartphones is around 15 percent, and its share in tablets is around 34 percent.

    But market share figures don’t really paint the full picture. The fact is that Apple got in early and has done a better job than anyone else in this space, and therefore has staked out a strong position. Apple was even, for a time, the biggest company (by market valuation) in the world.

    Though its stock has fallen, Apple’s business remains one that any company would envy. Last quarter Apple generated $58 billion in revenue and kept $13 billion as net profit. That’s a 23 percent net profit margin, meaning out of every four dollars Apple takes in, one dollar goes to the bottom line. That is incredible.

    Nevertheless, history shows: Nobody stays on top. Before Microsoft’s reign of terror, IBM held an even stronger choke-hold on tech customers. Sony was once a powerhouse. So were Digital Equipment Corp. and Sun Microsystems. Sun “put the dot in dotcom” back in the first dotcom bubble, and seemed invincible. Does anyone remember DEC or Sun today?

    Things change. New technologies come along. Leaders fail to adapt, as Clayton Christensen pointed out 17 years ago in The Innovator’s Dilemma.

    That’s a lesson in that for Apple and its fans. But somehow, in their minds, Apple is different. Apple has some magic that prevents it from being susceptible to the same law of gravity that has pulled every other market leader back down to earth.

    Maybe so. We’ll see. But let’s look at Lesson Two.

    As Gruber points out, citing an essay by Brent Simmons, the Microsoft of old was all about creating services that only ran on Microsoft’s operating systems and required Microsoft’s developer tools. That’s changing now, as Microsoft’s cloud business, Azure, has a policy of working with everyone and everything.

    Nadella is the guy who ran that group. Last summer he shocked the tech world when he used a Mac onstage at a Microsoft event. Now he’s running the whole company.

    Smart! Gruber thinks it’s great. Openness is the way to go! It’s important to play well with others in this new post-PC world.

    So where is Apple on that front?

    Apple is all about creating its own little bubble world where it’s all Apple all the time. The advantage to this approach, according to Apple, is that you get a more beautiful, perfect, curated experience. Sure, it’s a trade-off. You’re living in a walled garden. But it’s such a nice garden! Who would want to leave?

    As Apple fans see it, Microsoft ran a closed system out of selfishness. But not Apple. Apple is different. Apple locks you in because it cares so much about its customers.

    The truth is, companies are open when they’re underdogs, because they have no choice. Then when they get on top they’re all about lock-in. This happens over and over again. This was the case with IBM. It was the case with Microsoft. It was the case with Sun and EMC during the dotcom boom, when they could (and did) bully their customers. It’s the case with Apple today.

    Why do companies do this? Because they can’t help themselves. Because “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” as someone, either Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead or English historian Lord Acton, once said.

    Companies can’t resist the urge to squeeze as much money out of customers as they can. To put this in terms of one of the “laws” that the tech industry is so fond of: The openness of any company is inversely proportional to the square of its success. Or something like that.

    The problem is that when powerful companies start trying to lock in their customers, they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

    Microsoft, humbled now, will embrace openness as it tries to claw share away from Amazon and become the dominant provider of cloud services. We’ll see a new Microsoft — a happy, friendly Microsoft. That old bully Microsoft? Oh, he’s long gone, replaced by a kinder, gentler, friendlier Microsoft.

    Of course, if and when Microsoft becomes king again, watch out. We’ll see the old Microsoft back in action. Not because the same cast of characters (Gates, Ballmer, et al) will still be in charge. This will happen no matter who’s in charge. Because it’s human nature.

    As for Apple? My sense is Apple is still rising, and still has big things to come. But Apple should learn from Microsoft what happens when you squeeze your customers too hard. Because someday, history tells us, Apple will be where Microsoft is today — trying to craft a comeback, and promising to play nice with others.

    Dan Lyons is a marketing fellow at HubSpot, a software company in Cambridge, Mass. He was previously the tech editor at Newsweek, a tech columnist at Forbes, and the creator of “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs,” written in the person of “Fake Steve Jobs.”

    This piece first appeared on HubSpot: blog.hubspot.com/opinion/2-lessons-apple-should-learn-from-microsoft

    Visit Dan Lyons’ website at www.realdanlyons.com.

  • Now running on a Chromebook near you: Windows
    Google inks a deal with VMWare to bring legacy Windows applications to its Chrome OS-powered Chromebooks and Chromeboxes.
  • China's Moon Rover May Be Dead
    Poor rabbit.

    China’s lunar rover — known as the “Jade Rabbit” (or “Yutu” in Chinese) — is dead, state media reported Wednesday. The rover experienced mechanical problems late last month and never recovered.

    Though engineers worked to resolve the issues, the rover “could not be restored to full function,” Agence France-Presse reported. And low temperatures on the lunar surface may have had something to do with the rover’s early demise.

    As New Scientist reported, China’s Chang’e-3 lunar lander and the Jade Rabbit successfully “hibernated” for the first lunar night, which is equivalent to half a month on Earth, in order to escape the extreme cold. Surface temperatures on the moon range from extreme hot to bitter cold. Under the worst conditions, temperatures on the moon can plummet to minus 243 degrees Fahrenheit.

    But the rover reportedly failed to enter hibernation on Jan. 25 for the second lunar night. When rover operators attempted to communicate with the Jade Rabbit on Monday, they were unsuccessful. It seems the rover, which touched down on the moon in mid-December, is calling it quits early in the midst of its three-month mission.

    As China’s first lunar rover, the Jade Rabbit was a major asset for the country’s rapidly advancing space program. China is the third nation to send a rover to the moon. The U.S. and the former Soviet Union also achieved the feat.

    China’s space agency has yet to release a statement.

  • U.S. Relaxes Gag Order, Permitting Google, Facebook et al to Disclose Scope of NSA Access — But What if the Firms Don't Know?
    Ever since Edward Snowden began leaking classified documents about NSA surveillance, Google and other tech companies have wanted to reveal the extent of the NSA’s access — pursuant to orders of the secret FISA Court — to their customers’ accounts.

    They have wanted to disclose specifics on NSA access not just because they care about transparency, but because they expected the information to be reassuring: showing the actual incidence of court-sanctioned surveillance to be much lower than customers feared, based on news stories using NSA documents leaked by Snowden.

    Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook (among others) filed motions in the secret FISA Court-with the support, incidentally, of an amicus brief filed by my organization, the First Amendment Coalition-requesting modifications to gag orders that had barred them from virtually all public comment. In January the Justice Department acceded to some of the requests, agreeing to new censorship rules permitting disclosure, albeit on a delayed basis, of NSA requests that resulted in access to companies’ user data, including access to user content (e.g., emails).

    This week the companies made the newly okayed disclosures. They revealed, for the period January to June of 2013, that…

    Google provided content on somewhere between 9,000-9,999 accounts.
    Yahoo provided content on somewhere between 30,000-30,999 accounts.
    Microsoft provided content on somewhere between 15,000-15,999 accounts.
    Facebook provided content on somewhere between 5,000-5,999 accounts.

    The numbers are substantial — some 60,000 accounts for all four firms; half of that for Yahoo alone — but they are, of course, just a fraction of all the companies’ accounts. Facebook by itself has over 200 million users in the U.S., and more than one billion worldwide.

    Does this mean fears about out-of-control NSA surveillance are disconnected from reality? Not necessarily. The tech companies have disclosed information on NSA access for the cases that they know about. Call these the “front door” cases in which NSA, playing by the rules, knocks on the tech firms’ doors, announces itself, and presents its papers from the FISA Court.

    But what of NSA’s secret “back door” access to the companies’ user data and message contents? I’m referring to news accounts, first published in the Washington Post in November, about NSA’s copying of Google user data and content-secretly, without Google’s knowledge-by exploiting unprotected communications links in Europe. The news accounts were based on Snowden documents .

    If NSA does, in fact, have a secret backdoor channel into Google’s user data and communications, it hardly matters how scrupulous the agency is in adhering to applicable legal rules restricting access through Google’s front door.

    Google of course can’t be transparent about the government’s access to customer information when Google itself is aware of only part of that access. And Google’s customers, particularly its customers residing outside the US, will continue to doubt Google’s ability to protect their privacy.
    Peter Scheer, a lawyer, is executive director of the First Amendment Coalition. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the FAC Board of Directors.

  • Twitter Is the 21st Century Newspaper
    Despite being everything from a behind-the-scenes celebrity perspective to a catalyst for world peace, Twitter has long suffered from an identity crisis. As detailed in Nick Bolton’s recent book, Hatching Twitter, even the founders could never fully agree on the purpose.

    In recent years, Twitter has appropriately referred to itself as an information network, a big separation from a social network like Facebook. Like I described in a prior piece, Twitter’s foundation of an interest graph is stronger than Facebook’s reliance on a social graph from a long term perspective.

    As outlined in the book, the original sign of Twitter as a real-time news source was the earliest users reporting (of all things) a San Francisco earthquake. Then again, the moment when Twitter was truly cemented in history occurred five years ago when US Airways Flight 1549 was forced to make an abrupt landing in the Hudson River, and the first news “reporting” came from Jānis Krūms, a rescuer who took a picture of the passengers standing on the wings of the plane and shared on Twitter as fellow rescuers were heading towards the plane. It’ll forever be an iconic image, and an iconic moment in time.


    Photo by Jānis Krūms

    Yet, at the end of the day, what makes Twitter so amazing as a crowdsourced news source is its natural ability to become the ideal newspaper for each and every one of us. We choose our sources. They choose the content.

    One of the best parts of Twitter as the 21st Century newspaper is your news sources can be a wide variety of sources. Whereas traditional newspapers have delivered the news in a second-hand context, Twitter allows you to learn the story from a first-person point of view. Put in other words, rather than hearing about the game from a reporter, you can hear the real story from the athlete who actually played the game. Best of all, if you like both points of view weaved together, you can do just that.

    At the end of the day, we all have interests across multiple categories so the niche sources will often deliver the most appealing content. Following hashtags of interest has become a common practice, but while they may offer a great snapshot into the general sentiment towards a certain topic, they can also be extremely noisy with commentary from people you could care less to hear from.

    If you really want to make the most of Twitter, you should treat it like a typical newspaper: Each subject matter should be split up into a different section. While Twitter has offered the ability to curate Lists around specific topics for a long time, they have struggled to emphasize the best usage.

    While Twitter is currently tinkering with their design, they should strongly consider this notion: If Twitter can truly become our 21st Century newspaper, Twitter Lists are our 21st Century newspaper sections.

  • Unplug With Randi Zuckerberg

    In celebration of the fifth annual National Day of Unplugging (NDU) — from sundown Friday, March 7 to sundown, Saturday, March 8 — the nonprofit Reboot is asking individuals and families to reconnect with each other by putting down their smartphones, tablets and computers for 24 hours.

    The topic of families unplugging is especially close to home for today’s NDU interviewee Randi Zuckerberg, who has joined Reboot’s National Day of Unplugging as an advocate for the annual digital detox.

    Today, she shares how she unplugs and what it means to her family.

    Randi Zuckerberg Talks Unplugging

    1. How did you get involved in unplugging?
    When I had my son almost three years ago, I became much more conscious of how often I was using my devices in his presence. Though he was just a baby, I realized he could tell when I wasn’t giving him my full attention.

    2. What do you do when you unplug?
    Unplugging is my way of becoming present and truly connecting with the people around me. On the weekends, my husband and I take our son out to the park or to dinner “alone” by leaving our phones at home.

    3. What is the most overrated piece of modern technology?
    I think some of the most common apps on smartphones are replacing our dependance on our own memories — maps, notes, calendars and reminders, to name a few. I personally use these tools all the time, but I’m trying to step back and appreciate the power of my own memory once in a while!

    4. Do you make unplugging a regular practice? If so, how?
    In a world where people are expected to be reachable 24/7, it is really hard to make unplugging a regular practice. I used to feel so guilty when I took more than a day or two to answer emails when others were depending on my quick response. But since creating Dot Complicated, I have become much more proactive about creating unplugged moments throughout the week.

    5. Any plans for the next NDU?
    I’ll be at South by Southwest this year during the National Day of Unplugging. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to connect with people in person. Though you’ll see some of the most connected techies and social media influencers at SXSW, it’s great to see how they still value the power of personal, one-on-one interaction.

    6. If you could unplug and spend time with one person for an hour, who would it be and what would you do?
    I would unplug and spend that hour at the park with my son, Asher. He loves trains, and there’s this cute little park near our home where he would ride the choo-choo train all day long if he could. Or Beyoncé — but don’t tell Asher!

    Zuckerberg, is CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media, a tech savvy production company, and editor-in-chief of Dot Complicated, a modern lifestyle community and blog. Zuckerberg was an early employee of Facebook where she pioneered live streaming initiatives and struck groundbreaking deals with ABC and CNN. She has been nominated for an Emmy and is ranked among the “50 Digital Power Players” by the Hollywood Reporter. Zuckerberg is the author of Dot., an illustrated children’s book about a spunky little girl obsessed with electronic devices. She lives with her husband, Brent, and son, Asher, in Silicon Valley.

    Join Zuckerberg and the NDU community in taking stock of our digital use. Share what you do when you are unplugged by snapping an “I UNPLUG TO ____” photo. Upload it to www.NationalDayofUnplugging.com or post it to Facebook or Twitter with #unplug.

  • PCs sales may suck, but people still are buying Nvidia GPUs
    The company reported better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter earnings and revenue as graphics chip sales climbed.
  • Soledad O'Brien Teams Up With Google
    Soledad O’Brien’s production company is teaming up with Google as she prepares for her first speaking tour, the former CNN host told the Huffington Post Wednesday.

    Google will expand O’Brien’s Starfish Media Group using Google+’s Hangouts, Google Apps for Business and by creating a YouTube channel to allow the company to reach a broader audience. The search giant will also sponsor the “Soledad O’Brien Presents Black in America” speaking tour beginning February 17th, where she will travel to college campuses and art centers in five cities to engage a larger audience in conversations about social change.

    In an interview, O’Brien said that the partnership, which she stressed was “non-exclusive” —meaning that she is free to make deals with other companies—is part of her goal to make Starfish Media a “multi-platform” company.

    She also said she was looking forward to the speaking tour, explaining that, after years as a news anchor, she has no fears or nerves about taking her series in front of a real life audience.

    “The speaking tour is very different than doing a show, where, you can have momentary jitters about nailing a break, getting to commercial on time, or finishing the interview in four minutes,” she said. “I’m not nervous about anything…. I’m looking forward to things getting challenging.”

    O’Brien added that, compared to hosting a morning show where time is limited, the tour will give her “a lot of freedom” to “have someone’s full story told.”

    Even though she is expanding her profile away from the screen, O’Brien’s schedule is still full of television commitments. It has been nearly a year since O’Brien left as host of CNN’s morning show in February 2013, but she has maintained her ties to the network. As part of her partnership with CNN, O’Brien has been continuing her “In America” series. She has also been making content for other news organizations such as Al Jazeera America, where she is a contributor.

    O’Brien spoke optimistically about AJA, which launched in August 2013 as a channel for “real news,” but has since struggled to reach a strong audience.

    “Growing an audience takes time– I think what they’re doing has been to put high quality pieces on, and that’s the best strategy,” O’Brien said. “Some networks talk about a commitment to good journalism and just do entertainment. But the quality of their reporting has been tremendous.”

    Looking forward, O’Brien told HuffPost Media that she is preparing a number of documentaries to air on CNN and Al Jazeera America. She anticipated that the next installment of the ““Black in America” documentary series will air on CNN sometime this summer. O’Brien is also shooting a piece for HBO’s Real Sports and looking forward to finding new partners for her company.

  • White House Offers Help To Industry On Cyberattack
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Whited House on Wednesday offered to help U.S. businesses protect their computer systems from cyberattacks that President Barack Obama called “one the gravest national security dangers that the United States faces.”

    Administration officials warned during an event at the White House that an attack on critical sectors of the U.S. economy could put the entire country at risk. “It boils down to this — in cybersecurity, the more systems we secure, the more secure we all are,” said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “We are all connected online and a vulnerability in one place can cause a problem in many other places.”

    The administration released a 39-page guide urging vital industries like transportation, financial, health care and energy to assess their risk and take action to close gaps. The Homeland Security Department also launched a voluntary program for businesses to get help at no cost from its cybersecurity experts about ways to counter threats.

    The cyberthreat to the U.S. has been heavily debated since the 1990s, when much of American commerce shifted online and critical systems began to rely increasingly on networked computers. Security experts began to warn of looming disaster, including threats that terrorists could cut off a city’s water supply or shut down electricity.

    But what’s emerged in recent years, according to cyber experts, is the constant pilfering of America’s intellectual property. Administration officials say it’s difficult to put an estimate on the losses, especially since businesses don’t always know or tell the government if they’ve been attacked.

    The guidelines and voluntary program come on the one-year anniversary of Obama signing an executive order calling for their creation. Obama wants Congress to pass legislation that would give the government more power to secure networks and deter attacks, but lawmakers have disagreed over the need for legislation.

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who joined chief executives of electric utility Pepco and defense contractor Lockheed Martin on a panel at the White House event, said he opposed more government regulation and pointed to fear as “the best incentive that I have in this regard.”

    “That’s what motivates on this nonstop,” Stephenson said. “It just scares the living hell out of us.”

    Stephenson said companies must proselytize that fear to their suppliers as well as their employees. Workers need more training to prevent against attacks, he said, and suggested that staff who knowingly or inadvertently violate systems should face stronger penalties, maybe even “go home for a period of time.”

    “It can be fatal if you have an exposure in this area,” Stephenson said.

    Obama did not speak at the event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, but instead issued a written statement. “America’s economic prosperity, national security, and our individual liberties depend on our commitment to securing cyberspace and maintaining an open, interoperable, secure and reliable Internet,” he said.


    Follow Nedra Pickler on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/nedrapickler

Mobile Technology News, February 12, 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.

  • Camera Falls From Plane And Lands In Pigpen (VIDEO)
    We’re always skeptical of videos that appear too good to be true (we’re looking at you, Jimmy Kimmel), and this one has all the makings of a potential viral hoax.

    But it’s still pretty good.

    The video, posted on YouTube by a user with no other history there, appears to show a GoPro camera falling from an airplane and landing in a pigpen. Moments later, a curious pig comes along and tries to figure out if the fallen object is edible.

    Enjoy the ultra-closeup views of the pig’s tongue.

    “Camera falls from a sky diving airplane and lands on my property in my pig pen,” the user, Mia Munselle, writes in the description. “I found the camera 8 months later and viewed this video.”

    She also linked to the video on her Twitter page, mentioning the brand of the camera.

    Several users on reddit speculate that the funky split-frame effect near the end is caused by the frame rate of the camera almost (but not quite) synching up with the speed of the camera’s spin as it fell.

    So, we’ve got to ask…

  • Mozilla gets into content creation with Voices
    As part of Mozilla’s diversification initiative, the maker of Firefox is looking to make news — from the other side of the camera.
  • Bing censors Chinese search results in the US?
    When it comes to sensitive political topics, Microsoft’s search engine allegedly delivers different results for English searches than those in Chinese.
  • The Goat Simulation Video Game You Never Knew You Wanted Is Coming Your Way Super Soon
    Remember that goat simulation video that went viral last week?

    Well, it’s going to be a real game come spring. Yes, really.

    The video that made the rounds on news and gaming websites was actually just developer Coffee Stain Studios “playing around with a bit of programming stuff,” according to the video’s description. But that didn’t stop the Internet from realizing that a goat simulation video game is exactly what everyone has been waiting for.

    Now, Coffee Stain Studios is bringing this braying joy into our lives as an actual game.

    A new video (watch above) with the description “OKAY INTERNET YOU WIN, IT LOOKS LIKE GOAT SIMULATOR IS OUR NEXT IP” has appeared on the developer’s YouTube account. The post includes links for interested parties to preorder the game on Steam for $9.99.

    The developer’s site says the game will be small and polished but that it will contain all the hilarious bugs from the videos. No specific release date has been announced.

    To say we’re excited would be an understatement.

  • How The Meritocracy Myth Affects Women In Technology
    The numbers on women in the tech industry are so out of whack that ladies register in the single digits: Women account for just 6 percent of the chief executives of the top 100 tech companies, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. And a New York Times count found that only 8 percent of venture-backed startups are founded by women.

    As NPR’s Tell Me More host Michel Martin put it in our Facebook chat on this topic Thursday, “You can debate the why but not the what.” The disparity of women in science and technology is real, and among girls in high school or younger, the numbers don’t seem to be improving.

  • Some Things You Might Not Know About Facebook's Look Back Videos
    Last week, hundreds of millions of Facebook users received their very own Look Back videos, featuring images they posted over the years on Facebook edited a sweeping movie montage format. Hundreds of millions have watched these films, some with tears in their eyes.

    The 62-second clips got even more attention when Missouri man John Berlin made a heartfelt plea to Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to unlock his late son’s account so that he and his family could watch the young man’s video. (Berlin’s son was just 21 when he passed away in 2012.) Facebook complied. Berlin received a personal call from Zuckerberg himself and the family shared the video online.

    According to a Facebook representative, the company wanted to make a small gesture to thank the billion-plus Facebook users for posting their great experiences over the years. And what better time to thank users than during the company’s tenth anniversary.

    To learn 7 things you might not know about the Look Back videos, go to the full story at Parade.

  • Mozilla to sell New Tab page ads in Firefox
    Paid advertisements are on their way to Mozilla Firefox’s New Tab page in an attempt to show more sites to first-time browser users.
  • This New Product May Drastically Change The Battlefield For The Better
    U.S. combat troops may soon benefit from faster and more effective relief from gunshot wounds on the battlefield.

    The U.S. Army has requested expedited approval from the FDA for XStat, a new product that has the potential to decrease troop casualties during warfare. The product acts as a modified syringe — injecting specially coated sponges into deep tissue wounds to stop hemorrhaging, Popular Science reports.

    “[Medics] wanted something that was like a ‘fire and forget,’ so they can inject it and move on to treat the next wound,” John Steinbaugh, an Army veteran and former Special Forces medic, told New York Daily News.

    Steinbaugh joined a team of veterans, engineers and scientists at Oregon-based RevMedX in 2012 to develop XStat.

    Compressed sponges injected by XStat to help clot bleeding.

    If a soldier is shot on the battlefield today, the wound is packed with gauze — an exhausting, painful and unreliable method to stop bleeding. Gauze is only FDA-approved for external use, but “everyone knows that if you get shot, you have to pack gauze into the wound,” Steinbaugh told Popular Science.

    After seeing early prototypes of XStat, the U.S. Army agreed to give RevMedX $5 million in funding to complete the product.

    One advantage of XStat is how quickly it works. The sponges expand in the wound to fill the entire cavity in about 15 seconds. And, because they to cling to moist surfaces, they resist extraction from the body — even in cases of severe bleeding, according to Popular Science.

    “By the time you even put a bandage over the wound, the bleeding has already stopped,” Steinbaugh told the outlet.

    Another benefit of the product is its size. Steinbaugh told Medill Reports that each medic could likely carry two-to-three packets of three syringes each, replacing the need to carry five “bulky” rolls of gauze.

    According to the Daily News, XStat is in the final stages of approval with the FDA to make it a reality on the battlefield.

  • Why I Just Quit My Job at Apple


    About a month ago, after years of designing in various industries, making websites for small-time clients, working at failed and debatably successful startups, and fiddling with random side projects, I had been offered an interview at Apple. I couldn’t believe it. I had just totally revamped my portfolio, and I was now actually good enough to be considered as a candidate at Apple. In my eyes, Apple is, hands down, the most highly-regarded company a designer could work for.

    They set an interview date, and I started to brace myself for a bunch of gotcha questions and hard design problems that I would have to whiteboard in front of a design team. I had also assumed such a big company would take many rounds of interviews to make a final decision. I was pleasantly surprised when I only had to interview with three people for less than an hour, and the interview was pretty standard. I drove back to SF from Cupertino, and I replayed the interview in my head. It seemed like it went well, but I didn’t want to get ahead of myself. I didn’t want to be disappointed if they rejected me.

    It turned out it did go well. I received a call the same day, and they told me I knocked it out of the park. They offered me a contract position as a mobile designer. Wow! I was so ecstatic that I had screamed when I got off the phone. My parents and family were super excited when I told them the news. I had posted the news to Facebook, and I had never gotten so many likes and congratulations on anything before. I got more likes when I announced that I got a job at Apple than when my daughter was born. People that I friended years ago and never talked to since were sending me messages. I changed my title on Twitter, and suddenly people started following me that probably never would have a week before. People were so excited for me that I decided to celebrate with drinks one night, and the turnout was amazing. It felt so great to have people want to celebrate this achievement with me.

    I couldn’t sleep the on the nights leading up to my start date. I was nervous and excited. I felt like getting an offer from Apple had validated my talent as a designer. I thought about the long, unorthodox journey that lead me to Apple. I wondered, “What does this mean for my career? What will I be working on? Where will this take me? Will I ever finish the iPhone app I’ve been working on on the side?” I had so many questions.

    Then I started. I immediately was uneasy about the rigid hours and long commute, but at least I could be one of those notorious tech people whizzing to and from San Francisco on a private bus with Wi-Fi. (I’m especially intrigued by the bus thing because I grew up in San Francisco and have seen the cultural and economic shift that’s resulted from this tech boom and the last. Now ironically I was one of the techies who some people think is ruining the city.) I hardly (hardly meaning never) saw my daughter during the week because the hours were so inflexible. I had also taken a substantial pay cut, but I figured I was making a long-term career investment by working for such a prestigious company. On-boarding was super bumpy, and they had so many passwords, accounts, and logins that it took nearly a month just for me to get on the server. There were meetings all the time which were disruptive to everyone’s productivity, but they seemed to be a necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products. It was all a bit bothersome, but nothing that would be a big problem in the long-term I thought.

    Then my immediate boss (known at Apple as a producer), who had a habit of making personal insults shrouded as jokes to anyone below him, started making direct and indirect insults to me. He started reminding me that my contract wouldn’t be renewed if I did or didn’t do certain things. He would hover over my back (literally) like a boss out of Dilbert and press me to finish some mundane design task that he felt urgently needed to be examined. He was democratic about his patronizing and rude comments, but it didn’t make me feel any better when he directed them towards my team members. I felt more like I was a teenager working at a crappy retail job than a professional working at one of the greatest tech companies in the world.

    I tried to tough it out and look at the bright side of things. I was working at Apple with world-class designers on a world-class product. My coworkers had super sharp eyes for design, better than I had ever encountered before. I loved the attention to detail that Apple put into its design process. Every single pixel, screen, feature, and interaction is considered and then reconsidered. The food in the cafe was great, and I liked my new iPad Air. But the jokes, insults, and negativity from my boss started distracting me from getting work done. My coworkers that stood their ground and set boundaries seemed to end up on a shit list of sorts and were out of the inner circle of people that kissed the producer’s ass. I started to become one of those people that desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive, and I dreaded Sunday nights. Few of my friends or family wanted to hear that working at Apple actually wasn’t so great. They loved to say, “Just do it for your resume.” Or “You have to be the bigger man.” Or “You just started. You can’t leave yet.”

    This morning I got up a bit later than usual, and I missed the one Apple bus that stops by my house. I ended up driving to work in slow traffic. I was thankful I didn’t have to drive every day. But I was still thinking that I’d rather be taking my daughter to her preschool like I did on some mornings before I started at Apple. I got into work and immediately had to go to another meeting. It went fine, and then I got back to my desk. Without so much as a hello, my boss hit me with another weird low-blow insult wrapped up nicely as a joke. I tried to ignore it and get back to work, and I realized I just couldn’t focus at all on my job. I was too caught up thinking about how I should deal with the situation. Should I put in my notice? Could I make it to the end of my contract? Could I switch to a different team? How could I find a new job if I was always stuck in Cupertino? Maybe I should bop my punk boss in his nose? No don’t do that, Jordan.

    Then at lunch time I wiped the iPad data clean, put the files I had been working on neatly on the server, left all their belongings on my desk, and I got in my car and drove home. I left a message for my boss and told him he’s the worst boss I had ever encountered in my entire professional career and that I could no longer work under him no matter how good Apple might look on my resume. The third party company that contracted me is furious because I’ve jeopardized their relationship with Apple, and of course they feel that I’ve acted highly unprofessionally by walking out. I’m not really proud of myself for doing that, and I do feel terrible for destroying the long relationship I had with the recruiter who helped me land the interview. This is all an especially difficult pill to swallow because I was so excited to work for Apple. I’m not sure if this will haunt me or not, but all I know is that I wanted to work at Apple really bad — and now not so much.

    p.s. I’m currently looking for a new design job. Please contact me if you have one that’s cool.

  • Who Knew Bill Nye's Takedown Of Creationism Would Sound So Spiritual? (VIDEO)
    When Bill Nye squared off against creationist Ken Ham in last week’s highly anticipated debate, America’s beloved “Science Guy” was concerned mostly with knocking down his opponent’s pseudoscientific arguments.

    But at times his rhetoric took on a surprisingly poetic tone.

    “Where did we come from?” Nye asked the crowd at one point. “What was before the Big Bang? To us this is wonderful and charming and compelling. This is what makes us get up to go to work every day.”

    Nye’s eloquence caught the attention of YouTube user melodysheep, who used Nye’s words and some mesmerizing music to create a surprisingly inspiring video mashup — check it out above.

    The creationism debate itself, which was covered extensively by The Huffington Post, caused quite the stir on Twitter and across the internet. Maybe the video will help create some calm.

  • An Open Education Not Ready to Be Open
    I am a tried-and-true supporter of open coursewares. They enabled the first steps of my becoming a software engineer. So much of my knowledge today is indebted to people who have graciously shared theirs on the internet and a generous ethos of enabling access to worlds you did not previously know.

    But anyone that has actually studied with online open courseware knows it is terribly lonely and difficult, even for very motivated learners. When I was studying from Stanford’s online introductory computer science class in Taiwan, the only thing that alleviated the lack of help resources was the blog of a girl who had also completed one of the classes on her own. When I absolutely needed some hints on how to progress forward, I consulted her blog’s solutions for quick and limited hints. To me, lifting her solutions wholesale (or “cheating”) had no value. If I didn’t do as much of it as possible myself, the knowledge was not mine.

    When I started looking for jobs as a software engineer, I put up completed assignments as part of my portfolio on Github to demonstrate my knowledge. An added benefit of that was other self-learners began to reference the repository. It uplifted me to know that there are people all over the world wanting to learn more of their own volition; I felt connected to them after my own journey.

    My experience is not a rare one. Many aspects of it, especially the knowledge sharing, are common among people who have self-studied their way to life-changing paths.

    This is why I was genuinely surprised when I received an email request from a Stanford CS instructor to remove my solutions from Github, claiming that availability of my solutions could seriously jeopardize the academic futures of the current students. Many of them had no self-control over cheating or willfully cheat because they simply did not care. It was my responsibility to remove this “temptation” out of their way.

    After confirming with him that my sharing of solutions was not in violation of any rules, I declined his request to uphold my principles. Instead, I offered to add some disclaimers to warn Stanford students against referencing the assignments. Unfortunately, this proposal was considered insufficient by him — he deemed that I “could not be reasoned with” and that the availability of my solutions to be against the spirit with which such material are shared.

    This was in spite the fact that the FAQ for this open courseware clearly states that it hopes students can self-form communities online to help each other for assignments without solutions and that such “support should be obtainable via a quick web search”.

    While I still believed in the soundness of my motivations, his insistence got me to reflect on the unspoken paradoxes between a closed, formal education and its simultaneous attempt to be “open.”

    Some things to reflect on, without absolute answers:

    1. How does a school reconcile the consequences of making a course open?
    When the school shared their courses online, did they not predict that solutions would also be shared? Despite the instructor’s claim that he had emailed the handful of people with posted solutions and they had complied, a quick Google search revealed dozens of other solutions still posted. Why did the school continue to use unmodified assignments for its own closed course?

    As generous as it is to post course material, learning on your own could be extremely difficult without a reference to solutions. The articulated hope of self-forming learning communities for online classes is impossible without the allowance of sharing and discussing answers freely. It is not worth much for a school to claim to embrace open education when it cannot fully embrace the consequences of openly shared knowledge.

    While I believe that the effectiveness of open coursewares without TA support would greatly decrease if solution sharing is forbidden, this should be spelt out in the guidelines if its is a legitimate concern.

    2. Should a school rethink its policy on cheating?
    The primary argument that the instructor gave me was that even if a student has “inadvertently” cheated through an initially casual reference, the consequence was large and irrevocable — forming an indelible mark on the academic record.

    It troubles me deeply that a school and its instructor still act more like authoritarian parents even at the university level. What does it say about our education system when young adults could not be trusted to make their own decisions and take advantage of the world-class resources around them, or to rebound from a real inadvertent mistake?

    3. Should a school reflect on the nature of its assignments?
    Of all the troubling implications, the worst was the disconnect between completing an assignment and how work is done in the real world. In the working world, knowledge is constantly augmented through open source sharing, consulting of previous experiences, and working collaboratively. This enables us to advance our collective intelligence as a whole. So little of this is evident in how we expect students to exercise their knowledge.

    In the end, I removed the solutions, because I respected the teacher going out of his way to try to construct an “effective” learning environment for his students, even if that is a bubble. My initial refusal seemed to seriously pain him, and I do not enjoy emotionally traumatizing someone whose heart is in a good place.

    It took me a long time after graduating from an Ivy League school to fully grasp the true value of knowledge without the presence of grades (I had never cheated, but the specter of grades always loomed larger in a school than learning for its own sake). Access to knowledge and the subsequent mastery of it is such a precious and beautiful thing, but it could only be truly appreciated when you are trusted as an individual to utilize it for purposes larger than impressing an artificial system.

    (A longer form of this also appears in Medium).

  • 'TIME' App Predicts Your 'Perfect Marriage Date,' In Case You Were Confused
    According to a new app, I should get married in seven months and 26 days — if I want to keep up with my friends, that is.

    A new web app brought to us by TIME magazine analyzes your Facebook friends’ ages and relationship statuses to determine the median age of your married friends (in my case, 24.3 years old) and suggests that you tie the knot around that same time.

    According to the methodology, the app only counts friend who list their date of birth, including the year. TIME researchers estimate that only 25 percent of users list this information. Furthermore, the app’s calculation only includes people who have their relationship status listed as “married,” “engaged,” “in a domestic partnership,” or “in a civil union.” In other words: a very small selection of the average user’s Facebook friends. In my case, that selection encompasses 10 or so Facebook friends who are already married or engaged and sharing that information on the Internet — all of whom are around my current age — and disregards around 900 people in my social network who might get married later in life.

    The app is mildly amusing, but mostly because it is so pointless. The age at which your friends are getting married should never influence the choices you make in your own personal life — we advocate getting married if and when you are ready to do so. (Never getting married is also a perfectly valid life decision.)

    So thanks, but no thanks, TIME. I’ll probably have other plans on my “perfect” wedding date, but thanks for worrying about me.

  • How to Stop Giving a F@$% What People Think

    We’re all guilty.

    Every day from the moment we wake up, we live our lives caring what other people think of us.

    We accept the status quo for what it is because everyone around us does.

    We tip toe our way through life by doing things in order to please others, not because it’s what we believe in. Eventually our actions, appearances, and lives become molded by how we think other people perceive us.

    How are these pants going to make me look? What will my colleagues think if I spoke out? Are those people talking shit behind my back? If I take this job, what will my friends and family think of me?

    Just writing that paragraph alone gave me a headache…

    It’s exhausting. It’s dreadful. It has to stop.

    Living a life that follows the ideal notions of what other people think is a terrible way to live. It makes you become the spineless spectator who waits for other people to take action first. It makes you become a follower.

    Worst of all, it makes you become someone who doesn’t take a stand for anything.

    Today is the last day we live a life dictated by others. Today, we’re going to get to the bottom of the truth. Today is the day we stop giving a F@$%.


    No one really cares

    Believe it or not, we’re not that special.

    We go through our days thinking about how other people might be judging us. But the truth is — those people are thinking the exact same thing.

    No one in today’s “smartphone crazed” society has time in their schedule to think more than a brief second about us. The fact of the matter is, when we do have time get our thoughts straight, we’re too busy thinking about ourselves and our own shortcomings — not others.

    A study done by the National Science Foundation claims that people have on average 50,000-plus thoughts a day. This means that even if someone thought about us ten times in one day, it’s only 0.02 percent of their overall daily thoughts.

    “You’ll worry less about what people think about you when you realize how seldom they do.” — David Foster Wallace

    It is a sad but simple truth that the average person filters their world through their ego, meaning that they think of most things relating to “me” or “my.” This means that unless you have done something that directly affects another person or their life, they are not going to spend much time thinking about you at all.

    I’ve always enjoyed watching performers trying to hustle some change at the New York City train stations. These guys simply don’t give a F@$%.

    But the more interesting observation I made is how the spectators react. Rather than watching the actual performers, most people are looking around to see how other people are reacting. If people were laughing, they would start laughing too. But if people weren’t paying attention, they would also pay no mind.

    Even when provided the blatantly obvious opportunity to judge someone, people are still thinking about how others may perceive them.

    Once you understand that this is how people’s mind works, it’s a big step towards freedom.

    You can’t please everyone

    It’s impossible to live up to everyone’s expectations.

    There will always be people — no matter what we say or how we treat them — that will judge us. Whether you’re at the gym, at work, taking the train, or even online playing Call of Duty. Even now it’s happening. You will never be able to stop people from judging you, but you can stop it from affecting you.

    Think about the worst thing that could possibly happen when someone is judging you or what you’re doing.

    I guarantee that chances are — nothing will happen. Absolutely nothing. No one is going to go out of their busy lives to confront us, or even react for that matter. Because as I mentioned before, no one actually cares. What will happen, is that these people will actually respect you for claiming your ground. They may disagree with you, but they’ll respect you.

    Start standing up for what you believe in — causes, opinions, anything. You’re going to have people that disagree with you anyways, so why not express how you truly feel?

    “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in life.”– Winston Churchill

    I’ve learned that it’s better to be loved by a few people you care about, than to be liked by everyone. These are family, friends, spouse — the people who love you for who you are, and the people who will be there for you during your worst times. Focus on these people. They’re the only people that matter.

    You reap what you sow

    Worrying too much about what other people think can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because the way we think starts to become the way we behave. These individuals become people-pleasers and overly accommodating to others, thinking it will stop them from being judged.

    In fact, the opposite is true. Most people don’t like push-overs and are turned off by it. The behavior we use in an attempt to please others, can actually cause the opposing effect.

    If how we think affects our behaviors, then how we behave affects who we attract.

    This means that if you’re a push-over, then you’re going to be attracting others in your life who are also push-overs. Vice versa.

    This can be quite a dangerous path to go down if you don’t recognize its consequences.

    It’s been said that we are the average of the five people we hang out with the most. When we start to attract and associate with the same people that share our weaknesses — we’re stuck. We stop growing, because there’s no one to challenge us to be better. We start thinking that this is the norm and we remain comfortable. This is not a place you want to be.

    Now let’s talk about the cure. Here are five ways to stop giving a F@$%.

    Reclaiming your freedom

    1. Know your values

    First and foremost. You need to know what’s important to you in life, what you truly value, and what you’re ultimately aiming for. Once you know who you really are and what matters to you, what other people think of you become significantly less important. When you know your values, you’ll have something to stand up for — something you believe in.

    You’ll stop saying yes to everything. Instead, you’ll learn to say no when friends pressure you to go bar-hopping, or when a tempting business opportunity that distracts you from your business.

    When you have your values straight, you have your shit straight.

    2. Put yourself out there

    Now that you know what your values are, it’s time to put yourself out there.

    This can be done several ways. Here are a few suggestions:

    • Blogging
    • Wearing a polka-dot sweater
    • Public speaking
    • Flirting/asking someone out

    Keep in mind that when you’re doing any of these activities, you have to speak your mind. Be honest with yourself and what you share, because the world doesn’t need another conflict-avoider who does what everyone else does.

    3. Surround yourself with pros

    Surround yourself with people who are self-assured, and live life without comprising their core values. These people will rub off on you quickly.

    One of my best friends, Cody, has been a big influence on me. Having spent the summer with him, I’ve observed countless times where he strongly voiced his opinion on controversial topics. What I learned was that he was simply voicing opinions that people already had in their heads, but were too afraid to voice. People admired him for being so honest and direct, even when they disagreed with his views.

    Thanks for not giving a F@$%, Cody.

    4. Create a “Growth List”

    OK, now we’re getting personal.

    I haven’t told anyone this, but I have this list called the “Growth List.”

    A Growth List is comprised of all the things in life that makes you uncomfortable. These are fears, insecurities — anything that gives you the jitters.


    Here’s how it works.

    You start by writing all the things that make you feel uncomfortable.

    Then one-by-one, you do them. Once you complete the task, you move on to the next. Repeat.

    My first growth task was taking a cold shower (The Flinch). I turned the water as cold as it could get, and I could feel my body shake before I even entered the shower.This was the inner bullshit voice in my head talking.

    It was hard at first. But surprisingly, it got easier the second time. Then even easier the third time. Before I knew it, my body stopped shaking — I was no longer uncomfortable, I’ve conquered my fear.

    This exercise does wonders. I have yet to find a better way to get out of my comfortable zone. You can read all the books in the world about being confident or getting over your fears, but if you don’t take action, you’re just someone who’s read how to ride a bicycle without ever having ridden one.

    5. Travel alone

    If you’re looking for an ultimate transformation that combines all of the points above, you should travel alone. Traveling with other people can be fun, but you won’t get the opportunity to truly get out of your comfort zone.

    You’ll be exposed to different social cultures, break social norms that you didn’t even know existed, and ultimately be forced to burst out of your small bubble.

    Bring as little as possible, and fit everything into one backpack. Plan nothing, except for a one-way flight ticket to your destination — figure everything else out when you’re there. Trust me, you’ll be just fine.

    It won’t be easy initially, but don’t get discouraged. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable will grow with time. I continue to struggle with it everyday, as do many others. But you need to get started today.

    The world is already full of people who obey the status quo.

    But the people who don’t give a F@$% are the ones that change the world.

    Be the latter.

    Start living life the way you want, be fearless like you once were as a child, and always, always stand up for the truth.

    Someone has to.

    This article was inspired by the work of Julien Smith & The Flinch. It first appeared on Medium.

  • 'Science Of Kissing' Video Shows Crazy Effect Smooching Has On Your Body
    Kissing feels good–no doubt about that. But why does it feel good, and what happens inside your body when you lock lips with a loved one?

    The answers to those questions are surprisingly complicated, as Joe Hanson of the YouTube channel It’s Okay To Be Smart explains in a new video. Kissing, he says, involves five of your 12 cranial nerves and more than a dozen facial muscles–and that’s just the beginning.

    “Your first kiss brings on a rush of novelty as a flood of dopamine acts on the same brain reward centers triggered by drugs like cocaine,” Hanson says in the video. “Thanks to epinephrine and norepinephrine, your heart beats faster and you get a wave of oxygenated blood to your brain which makes your pupils dilate. Maybe that’s why we close our eyes when we kiss.”

    Fascinating. Still, researchers claim there’s a lot left to learn about kissing. So, this Valentine’s Day you may want to run some field tests! Science needs you.

  • 'Let It Go' According To Google Translate Is A Hilarious Mess (VIDEO)
    For now, at least, Google Translate isn’t as accurate as a human translator. Words tend to slip and slide as if on ice, and the more translations you pile onto a single phrase, the stranger and more awkward it becomes.

    Vassar College student Malinda Kathleen Reese recently performed a lyrical experiment where she used the site to translate “Let It Go,” the song from Disney’s “Frozen” that has taken over the Internet, one-by-one through a dozen languages.

    The results are hilarious, as expected.

    Reese warns in the description that she “can’t belt like Idina Menzel,” but if we’re being honest, the power of her voice delivering the truly ridiculous lyrics was half the fun.

    Watch the video above and see for yourself.

  • These 100-Year-Old Best Friends Share Their Hilarious Thoughts On Today's Pop Culture (VIDEO)
    When these ladies first met 94 years ago, the world was a completely different place.

    Irene Cook and Alice Jensen were born in Chicago in 1913, ABC7 reported. They met at St. Gregory’s School in first grade and “took to each other almost immediately,” Jensen told the outlet.

    In 1918, the year they met, Woodrow Wilson was president, Congress was grappling with an amendment that would give women the right to vote and World War I was being fought.

    Now, the two 100-year-olds are still best friends, and recently appeared on the “Steve Harvey Show” where they shared their thoughts on today’s pop culture — chatting about everything from selfies and twerking to Justin Bieber and iPhones.

    Between not believing that someone actually named their child North West and referring to Justin Bieber as “Justin Beaver,” these two are nothing short of brilliant.

    Watch the hilarious video above for their full appearance on the show.

  • Goldman Handed Out Cosmetic Mirrors And Nail Files At Women's Coding Event – NYTimes.com
    Goldman Sachs was the biggest sponsor of a Harvard event last weekend aimed at women interested in computer science. But the Wall Street bank’s conference swag at the event was found off-putting by at least one attendee.

    The conference, Women Engineers Code, or WECode, which was organized by an undergraduate student group at Harvard, featured stacks of cosmetic mirrors with the Goldman Sachs logo, a photograph posted to Instagram shows. The Instagram user also said that the bank brought nail files to the event.

  • <i>Huffington</i> Issue 88: Virtual Love, Ty Burrell And More
    In this week’s issue of Huffington magazine, we mark Valentine’s Day with an unconventional kind of love: the virtual kind. Elsewhere in the issue, we discover the staggering amount of sexism in the classical music world, and speak to Americans who are too poor to afford Obamacare. On the lighter side, don’t miss our sit-down with Ty Burrell, a taste test of canned chilis, 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.

  • Nikkei: Sony in negotiations to supply iPhone front camera modules
    Sony is preparing to supply Apple with front image sensors for a future iPhone release, according to a report. While Sony already provides the vast majority of CMOS sensors for the rear cameras of the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, the manufacturer has apparently entered negotiations to offer both the front and back camera modules to Apple for its devices.


Mobile Technology News, February 11, 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.

  • 5 Ways To Spot A Catfish Scam This Valentine's Day
    Regular viewers of MTV’s series “Catfish” (in which online-only, deceptive relationships are pulled into the real world, albeit with cameras running) might think that the show just highlights the extreme cases of a common problem – people who tell lies in search of a personal connection. For instance, studies show that about 81% of people lie in their online dating profiles, and everyone has a story about a deceptive boyfriend or girlfriend who wasn’t everything they initially seemed.

    But lying about who you are – and your affections – solely to get access to someone else’s personally identifying information or money is a more dangerous form of catfishing not often highlighted by the show, and it’s on the rise just in time for Valentine’s Day. In fact, we might as well officially call this version of it “catphishing,” and add it to the growing roster of other notable phishing scams.

    The most famous catfishing victim, Notre Dame football star Manti Te’o, didn’t lose much more than his pride in his ordeal, but other victims haven’t been quite so lucky. Former Denver Nuggets star Chris Anderson faced a criminal investigation after a woman pretended to be him online and scammed and blackmailed more than a dozen victims (including a woman with whom he had a real-life relationship). A mother-daughter team in Colorado peeled more than $1 million out of more than 300 women around the world pretending to be U.S. military men who just needed a little bit of cash to buy a phone or a plane ticket.

    As the Better Business Bureau has noted, these scams are on the rise in part because they don’t cost the scammers very much. Many online dating sites are free to users, fake photos are easy to find and a little investment – like in flower deliveries, which don’t require the person ordering be present – can net more in financial returns from the charmed women or men who fall under a catphisher’s spell.

    So how do you make yourself less vulnerable to catphishing? Psychologist Jack Schafer warns people to be wary of truth bias, or our innate belief that most people are telling us the truth in the absence of evidence to the contrary.

    But there are some more concrete tips you can follow if you want to be safe from catphishers.

    1. Be wary of romantic interest from someone who says they can’t meet.

    He’s really American but lives abroad right now (but is using OKCupid and contacting people in your city). Her phone got shut off. His webcam won’t work. Scammers have 100 arrows in their quiver of reasons you can’t meet in person, talk on the phone or even see each other virtually and they’re almost all disguising the fact that they’re using another person’s picture and a made-up identity to woo you. Before you let yourself get too sucked into a whirlwind romance with a would-be Romeo or Juliet, make sure the person you think you’re falling for is more than just a few ghost-written love letters and a model’s picture.

    2. Be suspicious of someone who always has emergencies.

    Once a catphisher thinks she or he has a live one on the line, they’ll test their mark to see how far they can push the trust they’ve worked to establish. (It doesn’t hurt that this can play into their efforts to avoid actually having to meet, talk or be seen.) But while having emergencies is a fact of life, involving people who don’t really know you in them really isn’t – and asking for money to resolve them is definitely not.

    3. Never turn over personal information or pictures you wouldn’t want widely seen.

    Maybe your new love interest will suddenly ask for a credit card number to buy a plane ticket, or ask where your bank is or request something like your Social Security or passport number. Maybe they’ll ask you for pictures of yourself in compromising situations, or to engage in some NSFW video chats. While giving out your personal information is enough of an identity danger, don’t ignore the increased risk of having your personal pictures or screengrabs used as a form of actual blackmail by a catphisher out for more than just titillation.

    4. Don’t give someone money, or help him or her to access money.

    Given that the whole point for catphishers is to get money out of people, alarm bells should start going off the moment any potential romantic partner asks for even a little financial assistance. The first ask might be small – perhaps something to help take care of the emergency situation – but most catphishers will quickly accelerate their requests or demands for money as quickly as possible. If you don’t help, they might ask you to deposit a check or accept a wire transfer from a friend and pass the money along, but the money you’re supposed to get never really arrives. Don’t do it!

    5. Never click strange links or download files you receive.

    Even the most heartfelt-seeming e-card can mask something more dangerous than an online-only romance: weird links to unfamiliar sites or files you’re asked to download can contain malware or viruses that can do more than just spam your computer with ads. You could end up with a keystroke logger on your system, which would allow the sender to see passwords to everything (including your checking account), or a virus that turns your computer into a botnet to launch attacks against other sites. If you don’t really know the person, don’t trust the file (and, sometimes, even if you do know the person, don’t trust the file).

    Valentine’s Day is a high-pressure holiday for many people, and we’ve all been in situations where our foolish hearts trump our ability to see through a scam. But when that tiny alarm bell starts going off in your head, listen to it – and you will save both your heart and your hard-earned money.

  • Briefly: Shazam adds new quick lyrics access, Path updates for iOS 7
    Shazam has announced and released a re-design for its iPhone app rolling out prior to its larger update release due later this month. Today’s update features a new app aesthetic, with its interface offering easy access to previewing, buying and sharing music. In v7.4, Users can now quickly access lyrics with a preview as soon as a track is matched, as well as have direct access to music video and additional videos related to a song. Shazam for iPhone is available through iTunes, and is free to download.


  • Cyberattacks Not Coordinated, Government Task Force Reports
    WASHINGTON (AP) — A multi-agency government task force looking into cyberattacks against retailers says it has not come across evidence suggesting the attacks are a coordinated campaign to adversely affect the U.S. economy.

    In a two-page report, the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force says the global implications of the retail attacks and the economic impact to private business and individual citizens cannot be overstated. The report obtained by the Associated Press does not identify the retailers by name, but it comes after recent attacks on Target and Neiman Marcus.

    The task force document says it is tracking and coordinating cyber investigative information among government agencies and industry partners concerning the use of Kaptoxa, a type of malware that compromises payment information systems, and other related malware by criminal elements.

    The report is the combined effort of the FBI, Secret Service, intelligence agencies, and the Department of Homeland Security.

    “Bringing all of the government’s knowledge together to date, the report demonstrates there is no evidence of a coordinated effort — whether by criminal groups or nation states — to harm the US economy,” said Steve Chabinsky, a cyber expert with cybersecurity technology firm CrowdStrike who spent 15 years with the FBI. “Plain and simple, whoever did this just wants to make a whole lot of money.”

    Chabinsky said he has an unclassified copy of the report. He said it is an effort by the government to reach out to the entire retail industry expressing the government’s concern that if these intrusions are allowed to continue, the unintended consequences could have global economic impact.

    “The outreach to retail is fairly unique,” said Chabinsky. “They’re encouraging the retail industry to become part of the information sharing process. Retailers are used to standard losses, but this impacts not only a few individual companies, but potentially a wave of organizations getting hit by the same type of exploit: the government is clearly taking it seriously.”

  • Warning over 'casual sex' apps
    The National Crime Agency warns people who use “hook-up” apps to meet for casual sex to ensure their partner is above the age of consent.
  • Would Bill Gates Artificially Prolong His Life? His Surprising (And Inspiring) Answer
    Walt Disney has long been rumored to have preserved his body in a cryogenic chamber for a future revival. Google recently established Calico, a biotech company aimed at extending human life span.

    So during Bill Gates’ Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on Monday, the question that naturally arose was this: Does he want to artificially prolong his life?

    “No,” Gates replied. “I don’t. Other people think about that but I wouldn’t want to extend my last few years unless that is happening for most people.”

    This commitment to others permeated the Reddit AMA, which was scheduled to follow the release of the Gates Foundation’s annual philanthropic letter.

    The questions were rapid-fire.

    How close are we to wiping out polio worldwide?

    “Very close.”

    What’s the biggest obstacle the developed world needs to overcome in order to help the developing world?


    One question even pondered an alternate reality: What would he have done if he didn’t go into computers?

    “I considered law and math. My Dad was a lawyer. I think though I would have ended up in physics if I didn’t end up in computer science.”

    Gates did admit to one guilty pleasure purchase: his private plane. “Owning a plane is a guilty pleasure. Warren Buffett called his the Indefensible. I do get to a lot of places for Foundation work I wouldn’t be able to go to without it,” said the tech legend.

    Oh, well. It seems even if they don’t have cryogenic capsules, billionaires occasionally get to be billionaires.

  • Microsoft adds Bitcoin to Bing's currency converter
    Crypto-currency’s value against more than 50 other currencies can now be found with a simple search query.
  • How To Nail Your Viral Video Wedding Proposal
    In the hierarchy of viral videos, marriage proposals are a sweet, mushy breed unto themselves. Successful viral videos — the ones that reach a million hits on YouTube and bring your workday to a grinding halt — have to surprise the viewer and tug at her heartstrings. Spontaneity and sap: proposals have ’em in spades.
  • Shuttle bus protest hits Microsoft in Seattle
    Following similar protests in San Francisco and Oakland, demonstrators blocked tech shuttle buses in the Great Northwest.
  • How to deal with the cyberbullies
    How to deal with cyber bullies
  • What NASA Is For — Now Shut Up and Listen
    Every few years someone with a loud enough megaphone asks why we are spending so much money putting people into space, or, as in this most recent round of criticism, ask, “What is NASA for?” As usual people on both sides rush into the fray, some defending the proud legacy of NASA’s astronaut corps and making the case for why humans are needed to do better science, and others arguing for how much more science we would get if we simply ended the showboating and risky waste of funds on human spaceflight and put the money into robots.

    They are both right. They are both wrong. And they are engaged in a dead argument.

    This makes it hard for me to weigh in on the debate, as it is like two pre-age of enlightenment courtiers arguing about the best way to measure the sound of the heavenly spheres the day before Copernicus tossed out the whole paradigm. But then, such considerations have never stopped me before.

    Of course we should stop wasting taxpayer funds on ridiculously expensive government missions to nowhere that return little value and blaze no useful trail for others to follow. Of course we should spend much more on science — and yes, use robots to do that science when it makes sense (most of the time, it does). Of course Congress often covers the exposed crotch of our human spaceflight program with the figleaf of science when it’s an obvious lie to justify the pumping of billions of dollars into the belly of an ever voracious aerospace industrial complex. And yes, of course space is dangerous. (This is the “duh” part of the debate to me…)

    On the other hand, our investment in our human spaceflight program has produced an amazing and sometimes nonlinear benefit to our culture and society — in spite of its lack of direction and being whip sawed around by the same clueless political elite who gave us the government shut down, two badly managed wars and healthcare.gov.

    In its early days, the space program cracked the sky of our imaginations and gave us a benchmark for what is possible. Those heroes gave us something that is intangible yet forever — for we live today in a civilization that has walked on other worlds. No matter the sludge-laden whirling mass of other news that bombards us, that spark of possibility each day lights a child’s imagination somewhere on this planet to do better and to dream bigger. They set the tone for the macro conversation of what is to come for our species and this tiny and delicate blue dot — only visible from the windows of those spacecraft. Images made poignant not because of the pictures themselves, but because they were shot by One of Us who was Out There Looking Back.

    And yet, of late the program has been a failure. It is in fact almost impossible to defend, as it is lost, it is bloated and it is, when compared to the alternatives available right now, a dying and driverless vehicle on a dead end road to nowhere.

    I believe both sides — those who are pro-toasters in space and those who are pro-studs to the stars — are lost, losing, and will in the end be seen as engaged in a dated and rhetorical dance that will have no meaning, if the rest of us choose the right path moving forward.

    You see, we are in the middle of a paradigm shift (yes, we in the space field get to use that word in its literal sense — as we are engaged at the level of Copernicus). And the day after such a shift the arguments of the day before will make no sense.

    So both sides need to shut up and listen.

    Here is what NASA is for:

    1. The exploration of space: Be it by humans or robots, based on the best choice for the mission and the most efficient means to return the data and science sought. Most of the time this will mean we send robots, due to cost and danger. But sometimes we will need the irreplaceable judgment and descriptive abilities of a person on the spot.

    2. Supporting the development of space: Both the Lewis and Clark function and what NASA used to do before Apollo, when its job was to push the edges of technology and help American aviation become the best in the world. First, along with science, NASA surveys and reports on what is over the horizon so the rest of us can go there if it looks good. Then, NASA returns the public’s investment by helping us build the right and best rockets and other machines so that as we follow the path they have blazed we can do it faster, better and cheaper.

    3. Enabling the human settlement of space: Forget the debates about humans vs. robots doing better science. We go as humans into space to expand the domain of humanity and life — not robots. And as we do, we will get more science because when you are living somewhere you obviously learn more about it. NASA and the government must first get out of the way, and then support us as we open the frontier. This is their job. Not to do space for us, but to help us do it ourselves. Think of it as payback for the trillion or so we have given them since Apollo.

    The ultimate and clear sign of the success of our space program will be when the places we are going in space, be they for science or life, are generating more value than they cost. And this value means both science and prosperity, and yes, always this value means hope.

    Even as some of limited imagination bemoan the failing light of American industry, the geeks and nerds and others been born in the generations since we began this sometimes awkward and stumbling climb upwards have transformed civilization. They created the Internet, revolutionized medicine and set the stage for a complete change in what it means to be a human in the next decades. And yes, many of them, no longer able to sit back and watch the heroic icon that once inspired them fade into obscurity, are taking the responsibility themselves to do it right. They are building their own private rockets and machines to open the frontier, creating their own plans for new businesses and new ventures and pushing forward so their own children will be able to claim these new places as their new home — and they will not be stopped, no matter what.

    And thus the change begins, the paradigm shifts and the arguments of today become the senseless babblings of a generation at the moment just before everything changes. Yet the right debate is good. We do need to transform what we are dong in space — and why. We must fix our space agency. We must redirect our space agenda. We must do more science for less money.

    And we must open the frontier to humanity, so that we can do all of these things — and more…

  • Multifactor authentication extended to all Office 365 users
    All users will now have the option of using a second layer of log-in verification to reduce vulnerability to online identity theft.
  • Parents unaware of smartphone danger
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  • Snapchat Responds To Security Hack That Can Crash Your IPhone In Seconds
    Snapchat says it has addressed a vulnerability in the popular photo and video sharing app that could allow hackers to render an iPhone or Android device useless by sending users thousands of messages in seconds.

    Jaime Sanchez, a noted cyber-security consultant with major telecommunications company Telefonica, brought the vulnerability to the attention of the Los Angeles Times last week. He demonstrated the security snafu by crashing a reporter’s iPhone by overloading it with about 1,000 messages in just five seconds.

    The exploit also works on Android phones, but PC Mag reports that it is not capable of crashing those devices, although it does make them extremely slow.

    “We believe we have addressed the issue as early as Friday, and we continue to make significant progress in our efforts to secure Snapchat,” a Snapchat representative told The Huffington Post about Sanchez’s discovery. However, the company has yet to detail exactly how it addressed the issue.

    Sanchez told the LA Times he brought the security flaw to the attention of the press before he brought it to the company, arguing that Snapchat “has no respect for the cyber security research community.”

    As TechCrunch notes, Sanchez seems to have a point, considering many still fault Snapchat for an incident that occurred over the holidays in which the data and information of 4.6 million Snapchat users was published to an online database.

    Security researchers who had previously warned the app makers of a security hole were responsible for that attack, and many blamed the company for not responding when it should have. Snapchat came under fire for its flippant response to the incident that didn’t immediately include an apology to its users.

    Sanchez on Saturday tweeted that Snapchat had blocked the two accounts he used to test the recent hack, as well as the Internet protocol address he uses. He tweeted a photo of the error message he received along with the note, “That’s their countermeasure.”

    Snapchat has been able to avoid the public scrutiny on this particular vulnerability since no users were directly affected by the exploit. It’s unclear at this time if the exploit can still be used by hackers.

  • 7 Reasons Why You Will Never Do Anything Amazing With Your Life

    Yeah that’s right, you heard me… I’m talking to you… I’m calling you out.

    I’m looking you in the eyes (OK well, not really since you are probably reading this article, but figuratively, I am burning a cyclops type hole in your face right now) and telling you that you don’t stand a chance.

    I’m telling you that if you can read this article, look through this list and not claim it as your own, then you should be a little worried.

    Actually, you should be very worried. You should drop everything and immediately question your existence on earth. You should find a mirror, look yourself in the eyes, raise your hand and slap yourself in the face.

    Got it? Now repeat that until you come to your senses and continue reading whenever you’re ready.

    I’m Talkin’ Bout Street Skill, Son!

    I’m not talking about the study hard, party light, graduate-top-of-your-class skills.

    I’m not even talking about the slack-off, skip class, smoke weed, drink and party but still graduate skill-set your $50,000+ diploma has lead you to believe you have.

    I’m talking bout step out your door, make some moves, and get-some-shit-done kinds of skills! Some move-out-your-mama’s-house, quit your job, say “fuck the world” and then actually go do it kinds of skills.

    The kinds of skills you develop in the real world, outside the bubble of your parents protection or the ideological indoctrination that has overwhelmed our entire educational system.

    Skills that can be had by anyone willing to pay the price to get them. Skills that are quickly becoming extinct.

    I’m talking bout skills that cannot be taught in a classroom or in a textbook. Skills you can only learn by doing; by learning how to fly after jumping off the cliff.

    Skills that can only be developed when you find your true self. When you put yourself on the line or otherwise expose yourself to the possibility of failure.

    The skills you can only develop when you are willing to risk it all in order to do that one amazing thing.

    Skills that up until now, you thought you had.

    “Basically, what I am trying to tell you is that, in this game called life, you don’t stand a chance…

    1) Because You Have Not Failed Enough

    Because you are comfortable in your mediocrity; because you choose not to try.

    Because it is easier to talk about learning that new (programming?) language as opposed to actually learning it.

    Because you think everything is too hard or too complicated so you will just “sit this one out” or maybe you’ll “do it tomorrow”!

    Because you hate your job but won’t get a new one; because it is easy to reject rejection.

    Because while you’re sitting around failing to try, I am out there trying to fail, challenging myself, learning new things and failing as fast as possible.

    Because as I fail, I learn, and then adjust my course to make sure my path is always forward. Like the process of annealing steel, I’ve been through the fire and pounded into shape. The shape of a sword with polished edges and a razor sharp blade that will cut you in half if you are not equally hardened.

    2) Because You Care What Others Think About You

    Because you have to fit in.

    Because you believe that being different is only cool if you’re different in the same way that other people are different.

    Because you are afraid to embrace your true self for fear of how the world will see you. You think that because you judge others, this means that those people must, in-turn, be judging you.

    Because you care more about the stuff you have as opposed to the things you’ve done.

    Because while you’re out spending your money on new outfits, new cars, overpriced meals or nights at the bar, I’ll be investing in myself. And while you try to fit in with the world I’ll make the world fit in with me.

    Because I will recklessly abandon all insecurities and expose my true self to the world. I will become immune to the impact of your opinion and stand naked in a crowd of ideas; comfortable in knowing that while you married the mundane I explored the exceptional.

    3) Because You Think You Are Smarter Than You Are

    Because you did what everyone else did; you studied what they studied and read what they read.

    Because you learned what you had to learn in order to pass their tests and you think that makes you smart.

    Because you think learning is only something people do in schools.

    Because while you were away at college, I was studying life. Because instead of learning about the world in a classroom I went out and learned it by living.

    Because I know more than any piece of paper you could ever frame from a university. Because smart is not what you learn, it’s how you live.

    Because I might not have a degree but I challenge you to find a topic that I can’t talk to you about cohesively.

    Because I could pass your tests if I had to, but you couldn’t stand for a single second in the face of the tests that life has thrown me. Tests that are not graded on a bell curve or by percentages; tests that are graded by one simple stipulation: survival!

    4) Because You Don’t Read

    Because you read the things you are required to read or nothing at all.

    Because you think history is boring and philosophy is stupid.

    Because you would rather sit and watch E! or MTV instead of exploring something new, instead of diving head first into the brain of another man in an attempt to better understand the world around you.

    Because you refuse to acknowledge that all the power in the world comes from the words of those that lived before us. That anything you desire can be had by searching through the multitude of words that are available to us now more abundantly than ever before.

    Because you are probably not reading this article even though you know you should.

    Because the people that are reading this already know these things.

    Because you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.

    5) Because You Lack Curiosity

    Because you get your news from copy-cat members of the state-controlled media.

    Because you are unwilling to ask this simple question… “What if it’s all a lie?” and accept the possibility that maybe it is; that just maybe, the methods of mass media are under direct orders to: keep you distracted.

    Because you call me a know-it-all but refuse to call yourself a know-nothing-at-all.

    Because I thirst for knowledge, regardless the topic.

    Because while you’re busy playing Candy Crush or Megalopolis, I am reading about string theory and quantum mechanics.

    Because while you waste your time with Tosh.o I am learning how to edit video, build websites and design mobile apps.

    Because if we were to go heads-up in a debate, I would crush you. I would make it a point to defeat my own argument; from every imaginable angle; in order to understand everything you might be able to use against me.

    Because I would dedicate myself to understanding both sides of the argument so thoroughly that I could argue your side for you and win; even after having just handed you a defeat in the same debate.

    6) Because You Don’t Ask Enough Questions

    Because you do not question authority.

    Because you don’t question yourself.

    Because you don’t understand the power of properly placed questioning in life, respectful disagreements and standing up for what you know to be right in the face of someone telling you otherwise. Unable to question reality; stuck in a self imposed survival strategy within a matrix-style monotony.

    Because I know that you will give me all the information I need to destroy you by letting you talk.

    Because I study human behaviors and you ignore everyone but yourself.

    Because I watch how you say the things you say just as closely as I listen to what you say; and you say way too much!

    Because control comes, not from spewing your ignorance like some incurable case of logorrhea, but from properly structuring the context of your questions.

    Because I study the premise of your argument and destroy it from the ground level before you even get a chance to establish your ideas.

    7) Because You Can’t Handle The Truth

    Because you refuse to admit that you don’t even know the things you don’t know.

    Because there isn’t an article online that would make up for all the time you have wasted in life.

    Because even if I told you everything could be different tomorrow you would wait until then to begin doing anything about it.

    Because even when you think I’m not, I’m aware of my surroundings.

    Because you think that since I have not acknowledged you, it means that I have not seen you.

    Because, you walk around with your head up your ass, oblivious to the world around you. Blissfully ignorant of the reality that sits so close to your face that if you stuck your tongue out, just once, you would taste it and realize how delicious the truth actually is.

    Because you would become an instant addict. Unable to pull yourself from the teat of truth. Finally able to understand your lack of understanding, and then you would see; then you would know that the only thing holding you back from doing something truly amazing, is you.

    This article first appeared on Raymmar’s website: raymmar.com

  • Artist Klemens Torggler Reinvents The Door
    Sliding, rotating, automatic, hinged. We thought we had a pretty firm grasp on the types of doors that exist in the world. How wrong we were.

    This past week, a new kind of door, created by Austrian designer Klemens Torggler, has been mesmerizing the Internet — and forever changing the way we look at this everyday structure.

    “I can’t stop watching this door open and close,” wrote i09 Friday. We second that.

    Dubbed the “Evolution Door,” the clever geometric structure made its YouTube debut last June. (Watch the video below.) At the time, Torggler described his invention as a “flip-panel door.” The artist has also said that the door has “soft edges” (for wayward fingers) and is “absolutely safe.”

    The “Evolution Door” is just one of several unorthodox doors designed by Torggler. All his doors are “based on rotating squares,” his website reads, adding: “The special construction makes it possible to move the door sideways without the use of tracks. This technical trick opens up new applications for the door.”

    Watch a video of Torggler’s “Evolution Door” in action here:

  • Why Do We Love Video Games?

    The bastion of video games — the game console — should be dead. Or at least dying.

    Analysts have been saying this for some time. After all, we live in an age in which Netflix is producing the most innovative television shows while traditional networks are waning, print newspapers are closing and grappling with the rapidly decreasing profits of the industry and even radio has had to grapple with the emergence of Pandora.

    Digital, streaming, cross-platform content seems to be the name of the game. But when Microsoft introduced the Xbox One video game console earlier this year and espoused such a digital plan, it led to a tremendous backlash. Microsoft did a complete 180 turn in order to address the desires of their customer base.

    For years, analysts and commentators have remarked that the age of the console may be at an end and rapid growth in mobile gaming seemed to attest to this. Yet in the past few weeks, Sony and Microsoft respectively released their new consoles — the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One — and they have become respectively the fastest and second-fastest selling video game consoles in history. Both consoles sold more than a million units in the 24-hour period following their release and locating the units (particularly the Playstation) was the closest equivalent to last year’s “Tickle Me Elmo” challenge.

    More than 72 percent of households play video games, the average age of a video game player is 35 and 40 percent of players are women, according to the Entertainment Software Association. These numbers represent the incredible penetration of the medium that reaches across the population. In a MacArthur Foundation survey of young adults 12-17, it was found that 99 percent of boys play video games and 94 percent of girls, with little differences across ethnicities. This year, Americans spent an estimated $20.5 billion on games — much of that in digital purchases, according to the Amsterdam-based market research company Newzoo.

    Indeed when you takes into account mobile games like Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies, and social games like Farmville and Words With Friends, suddenly you realize that even your mother-in-law who churns her own ice cream and your technologically challenged uncle are hardcore gamers.

    The fanaticism over these consoles is at an all time high, with passionate arguments being made as to why one console is better than another. Yet beneath the numbers and the gaming partisanship exists a very distinct truth — Americans love video games.

    As someone raised in the 1980s, video games have been a part of my existence and consistent form of entertainment. Now as an academic, I’ve become interested in the cultural narratives underlying gaming. I’ve conducted research in particular on religion in games. But all that research is built on the foundational understanding that video games matter to people. And clearly, as the numbers imply, they do.

    From a first glance, it looks like an awfully significant waste of time. You’d be better off learning a musical instrument or reading a book. Or even playing a sport nobody understands. Like croquet.

    What is the appeal?

    Well, it’s hard to explain to someone who has not played Bioshock Infinite that the violent first-person shooter game has an incredible moving and emotionally driven story. And if you haven’t played to the end it’s hard to explain how string theory, a theory regarding alternate realities, could be used to create a poignant, thought provoking ending. Video games have democratized the nature of storytelling, which allows players to take part in the stories being told. And when the story is interactive, more complex tales can be told.

    The ending of Bioshock Infinite dealt with quantum mechanics. In a movie or television show such an ending would bring out a unanimous “Say what?” But not only did it work in Bioshock Infinite, but the ending brought about a viral conversation as gamers met at digital watering holes to talk through the final plot twist.

    The game’s creator Kevin Levine argued in an interview with Game Informer that it would never have worked so effectively outside of the interactive, video game environment.
    “The whole ending we could have had as a cut scene with people talking to each other,” Levine said, “But we had to make that whole sequence interactive. That was really tricky because it wasn’t just complicated from a development standpoint, but it was also conceptually a complicated notion.” As a result, the player pieces together the ending gradually — it is not revealed in a LOST-esque “ah ha!” moment.

    Similarly, Naughty Dog’s Creative Director Neil Druckmann worked through creating a more interactive ending for The Last of Us, the second largest game launch of 2013. In the ending scenario, the hero Joel is attempting to rescue his companion and surrogate daughter Ellie. Throughout the game, Joel has killed an innumerable number of zombies. But in the last scene you’re faced with unarmed doctors are part of the group that kidnapped Ellie.

    When I played The Last of Us, I realized I didn’t have to kill those doctors. But I did, like many others who played the game. In real life, if I were to imagine myself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse — which is perhaps most like a university during finals week — I’m not sure I would have killed the doctors. But I was part of telling the story and I believe Joel would have killed them. Games also give us the ability to take risks that seem real without real world consequences. Part of the appeal of first-person shooters is that players can shoot a rocket at a building and witness the results, without actually ending up in prison.

    Video game designer Jane McGonigal argues that our workplaces could learn a lesson or two from the consequences/rewards systems in gaming. “The truth is this: in today’s society, computer and video games are fulfilling genuine human needs that the real world is currently unable to satisfy,” said McGonigal, the director of Game Research and Development at the Institute for the Future, in her book Reality Is Broken. “Games are providing rewards that reality is not. They are teaching and inspiring and engaging us in ways that reality is not. They are bringing us together in ways that reality is not.”

    Games such as the blockbuster franchise Mass Effect give players the option of playing as a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” In Mass Effect, this translates into violently coercing potential sources for information instead of gently reasoning with them or killing an enraged character as opposed to talking him down. These choices have effects on the story — some respond more favorably to a coercive villain as opposed to a nice guy, but there are also opportunities lost.

    Granted, in the Mass Effect series, as in many games with a moral element, the story seems to lend itself a bit more toward being a hero as opposed to a villain. In Bioware’s PAX East panel, the team behind Mass Effect reported the majority of players, 65 percent, choose to play as the good guy. While players have the option to take risks see what the consequences are, players — at least in Mass Effect — like to do that as a hero as opposed to a villain. One of the things Mass Effect teaches through its morality system is that there is a considerable amount of gray area between paragon and renegade.

    Video games also have the ability to help us get lost solving seemingly unsolvable problems. We live in a society with increasingly complex problems that don’t always seem to have a solution — our ability to figure out a level of Angry Birds gives us hope about even the most hopeless problems.

    This perhaps has the greatest mainstream appeal. With perhaps first mainstream game of this kind, Tetris, Nintendo executives negotiated with Soviet Union computer programmer in the midst of the Cold War to acquire the copyright for a tile-matching game they would package with the Gameboy. The game went on to sell more 33 million copies, just on the Gameboy. Now of course, the game is available on your iPhone, your Android phone and in an ever-expanding array of formats.

    In his book, All Your Base Are Belong To Us, Harold Goldberg reports on a conversation regarding Tetris. One Nintendo executive questioned the entrepreneur connecting Nintendo with the Soviet programmer why it was worth pursuing the complicated negotiations, and the high cost, to acquire the game. “Why should we do that when we have Mario? All the boys already love Mario.” The entrepreneur responded, “If you want boys to play, include Mario. If you want everyone to play — mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters — include Tetris.”

    The game, a precursor to casual games like Angry Birds and Plants Vs. Zombies, had a gender-balanced and enormous player base. Even as time has passed, Tetris remains of interest, not just to players, but also to researchers. Researchers at the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque found that Tetris actually increases brain efficiency. Trying to fit the T-shape into your Tetris puzzles isn’t just cathartic, but scientists argue, it may actually be good for you.

    When Tetris was first released many remarked about the peaceful, relaxed nature of trying to fit the puzzle together.

    So why do Americans love video games? It’s the new normal. At least for Millennials, it is because they can’t think of their lives any other way. Video games have always been a part of our lives. And while it may have once been a niche activity for pimple-faced teenagers to conduct in their basement, it is no longer.

    It may have been a niche activity, years ago for some of us. But it is a part of the air now. Take a deep breath.

    (Top) Screenshot from the Bioshock Infinite TV Spot./>
    (Second) Photo illustration courtesy of GamePur.
    (Third) Screenshot from Candy Crush Saga.
    (Forth) Screenshot from The Last of Us.
    (Bottom) Screenshot from Mass Effect 3.

  • One Man Took Screenshots Of Every Computer In 'Law & Order'
    We all want to believe that binge-watching is productive, but in reality we’re really just lazily watching TV.

    Jeff Thompson however, an artist and programmer, decided to do something useful with his binge-watching and created a fascinating project that charts the history and of technology in “Law & Order.” Thompson began streaming the detective procedural on Netflix and found himself noticing the computers in the background.

    Thanks to a commission from Rhizome, a nonprofit arts organization, Thompson bought the entire series and set out on a hefty endeavor: watching all 456 “Law & Order” episodes, in order, and screen-capping every single computer in every shot (though he admits he missed a few blurry ones). After a year-and-a-half’s worth of work, he ended up with about 11,000 screenshots and some pretty interesting data.

    Thompson charted the overall increase of computers during the show’s 20-year run, how many appeared in each episode, noted every mention of a computer and gathered every fake website that appears on the show. While that sounds like an insanely daunting task, Thompson told The Atlantic that he watched every episode at 150 percent speed and even invented a special device that captured and categorized multiple screenshots for him.

    His screenshots and all of the fascinating data he collected can be found on the project’s Tumblr, Twitter and in a PDF book. So next time you brag about having seen every “Law & Order” episode, remember Thompson and how your binging didn’t include half the work he did.

    [h/t The Atlantic, Yahoo]

  • Frankenstein Monster 'Amazing Cupid' Is Part 'Flappy Bird,' Part Snapchat, Part Utter Lunacy
    The bird flaps no more, but that doesn’t mean your frustration is over.

    With the blessing of “Flappy Bird” creator Dong Nguyen, one developer is taking “Flappy Bird” gameplay and adding a new twist: Snapchat-like messages from your friends when you beat a high score. You read that correctly: It’s “Flappy Bird” combined with Snapchat. Your life will never be the same again.

    “Amazing Cupid,” the brainchild of Indonesian developer TouchTen, has players fly a blue-haired Cupid through columns, in the exact style of gameplay that “Flappy Bird” made infamous. However, this new game comes with a few twists:

    1. Three levels of difficulty. Players can decide between Normal, Hard or Impossibro. But only Impossibro scores mean anything in real life because … duh.
    2. It’s going to make fun of how pathetic you are. If you played “Portal,” you probably remember GLaDos, the rogue AI who imprisoned you and basically told you how worthless you were every five seconds. Cupid works kind of like that in this game. Should be great for your self-esteem.
    3. Your friends will also be telling you how pathetic you are. In what is perhaps the biggest twist of this new game, you can send your friends personalized messages any time they beat a challenge you set for them (like flying through five columns, for instance). Prepare for some serious smack talk.

    TouchTen CEO Anton Soeharyo says the company was looking for a way to gamify self-destructing Snapchat messages, and that the rise of “Flappy Bird” provided the perfect opportunity.

    “We were working on a publishing platform … and part of that is how to increase user engagement,” he said via email. “We thought one feature would be the secret message ‘chat,’ but we didn’t have the time to think of the perfect gamification of this feature. So when ‘Flappy Bird’ phenomenon came, we found this genius gameplay — easy to learn, hard to win — and we finished up ‘Amazing Cupid’ within one to two weeks.”

    And those weeks coincided perfectly with the “Flappy Bird” fury and subsequent fall. The game rose to the top of the App Store and Google Play last week, only to have its developer remove it, presumably due to the incredible amount of media attention and scrutiny it received.

    TouchTen was accused of copying another developer’s game in early 2011, and Soeharyo said that the company took extra caution in creating “Amazing Cupid” by first reaching out to famously shy “Flappy Bird” developer Dong Nguyen.

    “I believed that by asking for his permission and getting it, I have done it in the most ethical way,” said Soeharyo. However, he insisted that TouchTen wanted to not just take the gameplay, but add value to it, through the secret messages and mean quips from Cupid throughout the game. “I believe ‘Amazing Cupid’ is not innovative or revolutionary at all, but I believe it is well executed. We took the gameplay that the market wants and combined it with the popularity of Snapchat, and our team did their best to finish it in a limited time.”

    Soeharyo has one main hope for the new title: that it makes people happy. Or, at least, as he puts it, “annoyingly entertained.” And if this game is anything like its predecessor, we don’t think he’ll be disappointed.

    “Amazing Cupid” is already available on Google Play. Soeharyo said the game is pending approval from Apple’s App Store and should be available around Valentine’s Day.

Mobile Technology News, February 10, 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.

  • Flappy Bird game pulled by creator
    It’s game over for the many fans of mobile application Flappy Bird after its Vietnamese creator removed it from online stores on Sunday.
  • Israel: Style tips and robot warfare
    The site that knows what you should wear and other fresh Israeli start-ups
  • Millennials In Love Are More Likely To Update Their Facebook Status
    A lot of millennials are in love. At least, according to the Integrated Innovation Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.

    An ongoing study by the institute of Americans 18 to 32 years old finds two-thirds of them are currently in love. According to the institute’s polling of 2,000 millennials, 29 percent are married, 21 percent are “in a relationship,” and five percent are living with their partner.

    The study also found people in love are more likely to update their Facebook status than those not struck by Cupid’s arrow; “41 percent of those in love update their Facebook status at least weekly, compared with 34 percent who are not in love.”

    Check out the infographic below for more of the study’s results.

    millennials in love

  • Google Glass' Potential
    On Friday, October 13th 2006, I suffered a traumatic brain injury in a near fatal car accident as I was traveling home from boarding school. I was placed in a medically induced coma for six days to relieve brain swelling. I was released four days later to return to school. When I awoke, I could not recognize my parents, brother, friends, or even recall my name. In order to discover what happened to me, I had to read an article in the Boston Globe that my parents had saved. I would recover my memory before my release, but the accident taught me about the fragility of life, memory, and identity. As a survivor of head injury, I believe that wearable computers will offer me the most assistance to overcome my injury.

    In 2011, I was fortunate to discover one of the coolest startups for a wonderful storytelling application. Evergram was founded in December 2011, imagined as a powerful new application to collect stories and thoughts to be shared. It can even be used as a personal journal for self-reflection. I recognize the power this application gives to create great moments for genuine communication. I imagine father’s leaving precious wisdom behind, similar to Howard Stark’s recorded remark to Tony in Iron Man 2. In February 2013, Google announced the upcoming beta launch of their newest device, a foray into wearable computers, Google Glass.

    Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that can communicate with the Internet and record video and audio through voice commands. The effortless use of the camera becomes the device’s single greatest triumph as a new technology, and at the same time its biggest impediment to acceptance by the public, due to the possibility for misuse and the invasion of privacy. However, the candid mentality of memory preservation and communication behind Evergram can define and improve the purpose of the platform provided by Google Glass. With its 2014 launch to the public, Glass has tremendous potential to enhance the lives of many, mine included.

    School has simply never been the same. Tasks such as note taking, keeping attentive, and participating in discussions became more difficult than before. I had missed eight days of classes — eight days worth of quizzes, tests, notes, and essays. In order to catch up, my school aided me in getting notes from my classmates and in granting me extensions on any missed homework assignments. As helpful as all these measures were, I noticed that nothing compares to being there in the moment — so much learning is achieved simply by being attentive and participating in class. My school established this idea by enforcing punishments, ranging from stricter weekday and weekend curfews to suspension, for missing more than four classes a semester. On top of catching up in class, I had to pursue outpatient therapy to recover from my injuries. Glass could have tremendously eased my recovery, allowing me not only to review the classes I missed, but also to record future classes for better preparation.

    After missing out on ten days at school and six actual days of consciousness, I became a severe sufferer of FOMO. I gained a new appreciation for life, enjoying and cherishing every second as a momentous occasion, never again taking it for granted. I realized that there are so many things that I had done, joys and pains experienced, a near infinite amount of memories that would never happen again. I dreamed for a long-time of being able to experience those missed events as someone in the moment, that as easily as I could forget everything defining me, that one day I could just as easily recall, even relive the more intimate memories of my life, and I recognize the opportunity that Google Glass provides to realize this dream.

    I introduced Evergram not to suggest some novel, genius way of using Google Glass, but merely point out the way that this revolutionary platform it provides could have and will improve my life. Glass goes far beyond any other device in its ability to capture precious memories whilst avoiding distraction, the loss of attention the user experiences while using technology. Its powerful ability to record from the first-person gives it a distinct advantage for the collection of important memories, reflections, and thoughts. Everyone has a story worth sharing with someone at some time, and everyone deserves the ability to share it. Perhaps, it is the dreamer in me, but I imagine a future where our great defining memories can be shared to achieve the truest sense of genuine communication, an ability to not only tell someone something, but also to show them. I see Google Glass as a critical platform in achieving this bright future of memory preservation. With the development of Glass, Evergram, and many more apps, neither discussed nor created yet, I see the possibility created for the easy collection and transmission of memories and thoughts. Google Glass remains the next major device of wearable technology to empower its users to enjoy, share, improve, and remember their lives.

  • Place your bets: An Apple tablet, laptop — or both?
    Does Apple have designs on a 2-in-1 device, or is it thinking about something more conventional? The odds may favor the former, but it’s long odds right now.
  • 'SNL' Cast Member Brooks Wheelan Records One Second Of His Day For 365 Days
    He may not yet be a household name, but Brooks Wheelan is a “Saturday Night Live” cast member who had one hell of a year. In a video montage that splices together footage from one second of his day for 365 days, Wheelan shows how he went from being a stand-up comedian with an engineering day job in California last year to landing a writing position on “SNL” in New York. He was later added to the cast as a featured player, as well.

    He also traveled all over the Northern Hemisphere, skateboarded in a lot of offices, and hung out with fellow “SNL” cast members in his new city. Set to an Arcade Fire soundtrack, his year looks pretty remarkable. But Wheelan plays that down: “If you only film one second out of your day and put it to music, it looks like your day was much cooler than it actually was.”

    Watch the video above for a year in the life of Wheelan.

  • Death of the PC, Sony style
    Sony’s exit from the PC business may be a lesson for rivals: don’t bet the farm on consumer.
  • 'Guggenheim' Painting Shown To Be Fake With Help Of 'Bomb Peak' Technique

    A painting in the Guggenheim collection initially attributed to French modern artist Fernand Léger has languished out of view for decades after it was suspected to be a fake.

    Now scientists have confirmed that the artwork is a indeed forgery; in a first, they detected faint signatures of Cold War-era nuclear bombs in the canvas that reveal the painting was created after Léger’s death.

    The influential American art patron Peggy Guggenheim bought the painting, believing it to be part of Léger’s “Contraste de Formes” (Contrasts of Forms), an abstract series created between 1913 and 1914 that breaks up figures into schematic units. (Léger was a contemporary of Pablo Picasso.) In the 1970s, Léger scholar Douglas Cooper voiced serious skepticism about its authenticity. Without any consensus from experts, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the current steward of the painting, has never exhibited nor catalogued the artwork. [Faux Real: A Gallery of Forgeries]

    guggenheim fakeOnce attributed to the celebrated French artist Fernand Léger, this painting has been determined to be a fake.

    To solve this art historical enigma, scientists from the Italian Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) took a tiny piece of the canvas from an unpainted edge of the work. The team used a particle accelerator to measure the concentration of carbon 14 (an isotope of carbon that has more neutrons than normal carbon 12) in the fabric, which would in turn allow them to determine when the canvas was produced, or more specifically, when the cotton was cut to make the canvas.

    Carbon 14 is a radioactive variation of carbon, and because plants pick up both types through photosynthesis, all living organisms — cotton plants included — have the same ratio of carbon 14 to stable carbon as the atmosphere. But a series of nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s spiked this normally consistent ratio.

    “After 1955 the level of radiocarbon in the atmosphere, and thus in living organisms, almost doubled in about 10 years,” Pier Andrea Mandò, head of the Florence division of the INFN, explained in a statement.

    elliptical galaxies

    “It is due to this rapid change that works from those years can be dated extremely accurately,” Mandò added. “In this case, it has allowed us to discover that the canvas support could not have been produced before 1959. The work cannot therefore be one of Léger’s original series of Contrastes de forms. Nor is it a later copy by the artist, since Léger died in 1955.”

    Mandò said this is the first time a “bomb peak” comparison has been used to reveal a contemporary art forgery. But other scientists have used the telltale carbon 14 traces of these nuclear tests to date teeth and even determine the age of elephant tusks and ivory.

    “After about forty years of doubt surrounding the authenticity of this painting, I am relieved that thanks to the application of innovative scientific techniques, the cloud of uncertainty has at last been lifted and Douglas Cooper’s connoisseurship vindicated,” Philip Rylands, director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, said in a statement.

    The new study on the Léger fake was detailed in The European Physical Journal Plus.

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

    Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Refuge Restrooms Helps Users Locate Gender Neutral Bathrooms
    Finding a safe bathroom space has always been an issue for transgender, genderqueer, non-binary individuals — people from all over the spectrum of gender identity. Now, a new website called Refuge Restrooms is attempting to help people in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community who don’t feel safe in traditionally gendered restrooms find safe options within close proximity.

    The resource is fully searchable and mappable and users can add new listings and make comments on existing ones about the access, or how safe the restroom is, etc.

    “Bathroom usage is a huge issue for trans people. It’s been well documented over the past few months in the press just how big of an issue it is,” Refuge Restrooms creator Teagan Widmer told The Huffington Post. “California passed a bill that allowed trans students to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify, but Republicans in the state are trying to repeal it… I built the site because I saw a gap that needed to be filled.”

    Widmer noted that a similar resource for individuals seeking gender neutral bathrooms used to exist called Safe2Pee. However, over the course of the past year that site has progressively stopped working.

    Refuge Restrooms is a relatively new endeavor and Widmer noted that team behind the site could use some help. Those who have used github and those who know how to code are more than encouraged to check it out.

    The gender-neutral bathroom locater is available here.

  • There Has Never Been a Better Time for CIOs to Fix IT's Reputation
    A recent Gartner study predicts that by 2015, 25 percent of large global organizations will appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO). In a time where there is a lot of technology analyst talk about the relevance of the CIO and Enterprise IT, Mike Kail, CIO of Netflix offers a refreshing perspective. In his opinion, there has never been a better time for IT to fix its reputation in the industry and move from being the blockers in an organization to being the enablers. IT has an opportunity to show that they can deploy great technology that is accessible anywhere leveraging cloud computing, SaaS and mobility, and providing analytics to the teams that need it.

    Mike Kail, CIO Netflix

    Netflix is an amazing company that is growing rapidly with 1 in 4 Americans subscribing and 33 percent of all home broadband internet traffic in the U.S. generated by Netflix video. But Kail, who embodies pragmatic optimism and a can-do attitude, does not view this rapid growth as a strain but as an opportunity. To deal with the challenges of the transformation IT, Kail advices CIOs to not be driven by fear but rather to embrace this opportunity to create a new reputation for IT.

    8 Ways for IT to Fix Its Reputation:

    1. Focus on cloud wherever possible – Kail feels that IT should be focused on the goals of the core business and at Netflix that means providing entertainment, not procuring hardware and network infrastructure and storage systems when these services are readily available and more agile delivered through SaaS or public cloud. IT needs to look at things differently and ask how they can leverage other resources to bring a different perspective to their organizations. Kail focuses on cloud wherever possible using either best-of-breed SaaS apps or doing their own custom app development and deploying on public cloud. His goal for 2014 is to have 100 percent of corporate IT in the public cloud.

    2. Hire talented people that think differently – At a company where there is a 126-page culture deck — hailed as Silicon Valley’s most important document ever – there is an equal (if not greater) value placed on the cultural fit vs. the technical fit when it comes to recruiting new talent. In the hiring process, Netflix sets the context of culture early on and the deck contains the guiding principles for how all employees should operate every day. The two traits that Kail wants his employees to have are intellectual curiosity and continuous involvement. “While cloud computing is not a huge shift in thinking, you need to having people that want to think differently about infrastructure and architecture to figure out how to secure something or handle resiliency and latency when you don’t have full control over something,” says Kail.

    Netflix is a very dynamic organization where people are not just doing one thing all day. This gives employees the opportunity to continuously expand their skill sets and look at different and new technologies, something Kail calls “Enterprise IT 3.0”. Because Kail has tried to organize his team to contain no silos, employees can work cross-functionally so they are continuously evolving their skills. This means that as they move to being 100 percent cloud-based the make-up of the IT team will not change.

    3. IT’s charter is to improve business efficiency — When moving to cloud or any new technology, setting context for everyone about why you are doing it is the key to success says Kail. Do this early on and have a good clear plan that stems from looking at how to improve business efficiency in conjunction with moving to cloud. The last thing you want to do is to forklift existing apps and put in cloud just to do it. IT needs to look at all the business processes and take a fresh look at different areas, such as the financial system, that people don’t always think about. Things have changed and old systems may not be as efficient as they used to be. According to Kail: “IT’s charter should be to improve business efficiency and move the business forward rather than being trying to ‘protect employees’ or prohibit them from doing something.”

    4. Support “UAD” (Use Any Device) — Kail says that instead of the acronym “BYOD,” we should be using “UAD” (Use Any Device). People expect the same experience wherever they are and for IT to support a bunch of different apps to help them get their job done. Everything is mobile these days, in fact Kail doesn’t have an office at Netflix but instead operates wherever he is via various mobile devices. “People should be able to use best device to get the job done, and IT should support it in a secure manner with great access to apps and data,” says Kail.

    5. Try to remove friction wherever possible — Removing friction is a great opportunity for IT. At Netflix, IT created one login for all SaaS apps to tie everything together in one place. This eliminates the need for employees to have a different password for every app they use and allows them to experience the same secure log-in from any device. In this way IT has served the business by ensuring an optimal user experience from anywhere so that all the business-critical apps are with them everywhere.

    Of course IT is challenged to balance providing a really flexible environment with being secure and knowing what’s going on. Kail said security is always something that is there in the back of his mind — it’s an integral part of everything they do.

    6. Communicate deep context for change — When thinking about how to introduce change and innovation, you have to understand the variable switching costs in technology and then address them head-on with the employee base. Netflix switched from Exchange on-premise to Google Apps last year and in doing so, Kail wrote a long Google doc memo which explained why they were deploying the new technology.

    “When you deploy new technology, you need to communicate to end users otherwise they get frustrated,” says Kail, who thinks poor communication and lack of explanation and support for new technology are the root causes of shadow IT. IT needs to understand the needs of the business in near future or employees will go find their own apps that they understand and that helps them get their job done.

    7. Embrace “shadow IT” — According to CIO Insight shadow IT’s footprint is growing rampantly and recommends “don’t block popular SaaS apps that help employees get their jobs done.” Kail, who is of the mindset of Kim Stevenson and Kristin Russell when it comes to shadow IT, couldn’t agree more. He feels that people should use the apps they need to get their job done and if there is a big need for certain apps then IT should provide access, not block it. He sees shadow IT as an opportunity for IT understand what the user needs are and how they can improve the service they deliver and support them better.

    8. Partner with line-of-business — With a lot of talk about technology thought leadership shifting away from IT and moving into the hands of the CMO or CDO, CIOs should try to put themselves out of their comfort zone and learn something new and see how they can help out. Kail says there are a lot of opportunities for CIOs to try to understand the vast marketing landscape and figure out how to partner with the CMO and provide solutions to them, but it will involve getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    Kail’s parting advice for CIOs who want to fix the reputation of IT: “Do what you think is right and take ownership for it. Execute and if something is not working don’t try to force it, but rapidly change the course. Be self-aware and business-aware.”

    You can watch the full interview with Mike Kail here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3PM as we host CXOTalk — connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

  • Dyson invests £5m in robot lab
    Dyson, the engineering company best known for its bagless vacuum cleaners, is to invest £5m in a robotics lab at Imperial College, London.
  • Exotic Particles & Extra Dimensions May Await Discovery, Physicist Says

    LONDON — Exotic particles never before detected and possibly teensy extra dimensions may be awaiting discovery, says a physicist, adding that those searching for such newbies should keep an open mind and consider all possibilities.

    Such particles are thought to fill gaps in, and extend, the reigning theory of particle physics, the Standard Model, said David Charlton of the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, who is also a spokesperson of the ATLAS experiment at the world’s biggest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and one of the experiments that pinpointed the Higgs boson particle thought to explain why other particles have mass.

    Charlton addressed an audience of researchers last month at a talk titled “Before, behind and beyond the discovery of the Higgs Boson” here at the Royal Society. [Beyond Higgs: 5 Elusive Particles That May Lurk in the Universe]

    “The questions raised by the discovery of the Higgs boson suggest new physics, and new particles, may be near to hand, at the energies now — and soon — being probed at the LHC,” he said. Such questions, he said, include: why is the Higgs boson so light; and why does the Standard Model have such difficulty explaining physics that occurs at masses higher than that of the Higgs boson, to name a couple.

    The LHC, housed in a 17-mile-long (27 kilometers) circular, underground tunnel at CERN near Geneva, Switzerland, smashes protons together at near light speed. The resulting collisions release huge amounts of energy in the form of particles — possibly new, exotic ones.

    At the moment, the particle accelerator is switched off so that an upgrade can be made. However, it will start hunting for new particles again in 2015, smashing protons together at its maximum energy of 14 TeV, or terra electron volts.

    Which theory?

    Before they wake up the LHC from its nap, scientists are busy putting together an extensive program of searches for new particles that could validate one or another extension to the reigning theory of particle physics — the Standard Model.

    Because it is impossible to know for certain what these hypothetical particles would be, researchers will look at many and varied collision types, “hunting in numerous ways for deviations in the data from the background expectations from known processes,” said Charlton. (Physicists know what distributions should result from the formation of various known particles, so if they see a deviation from these expectations, they can hypothesize that a new particle has been detected.)

    An extension to the Standard Model is necessary to shed light on the remaining mysteries of the universe, such as the nature of dark matter, the elusive particles that are thought to account for about 85 percent of all the matter in the universe.

    Many have hailed supersymmetry, a theory that posits every known particle in the universe has a yet-undiscovered and much heavier sister particle, as the main candidate for an extension. However, the LHC’s failure to produce any proof of supersymmetric particles has prompted a number of scientists to look elsewhere for evidence of new physics.

    “Supersymmetry is a great idea, but there’s no experimental evidence for it at this stage,” said Charlton. “It’s just one of the possibilities for physics beyond the Standard Model, and it has some elegant math properties so it tends to be favored. But there’s a range of other models that could also help to explain some of the problems that we see with the Standard Model.”

    One popular alternative to supersymmetry proposes the idea of extra dimensions. [5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse]

    Scientists suspect extra dimensions exist in space and time; these dimensions are microscopic, proponents say, making them tricky for detectors to pick up. “But as we go to very high energies with the LHC, maybe we’ll start to see evidence of extra dimensions,” said Charlton. Such evidence would come in the form new particles, or perhaps missing energy as some particles move off in dimensions other than the ones people can see. Such extra dimensions are needed in string theory, which suggests that tiny strings replace sub-atomic particles.

    Another idea suggests that the particles that have already been found are not actually fundamental, meaning they have a sub-structure composed of even smaller particles. And then there is string theory, which suggests tiny strings replace subatomic particles.

    Searching for ‘something’

    But physicists should not simply be searching for evidence to support one theory or another, Charlton said. Rather, it is important “to look at every rare process we can that might be a signal for some new physics showing up. We have to study each one and see if it’s consistent with our expectations.”

    If LHC fails to detect any signs of new physics, the only way forward is scaling up to higher-energy collisions and more intense beams. “There could be a model that we haven’t thought of yet,” said Charlton.

    And it is this possibility of “something out there that researchers haven’t thought of yet and that would explain all the mysteries” that is the most exciting, said physicist Ben Allanach of the University of Cambridge, adding, “Of course, if I could think of that, I’d be working on that.”

    To spot this “something,” physicists must look for high-energy particles in many different ways and many different configurations, and see whether the data is consistent with the expectations, or if there’s something that perhaps isn’t predicted by any of the existing models, Charlton said.

    “We really have to try to be as open as possible and try to leave no stone unturned in looking at all the possibilities,” said Charlton.

    Follow us @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Original article on LiveScience. Follow the author on Twitter @SciTech_Cat.

    Copyright 2014 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • STEM Selling: Beautiful Women Conquering New Territories and Old Stereotypes


    I have to say that I was incredibly thrilled to see Marissa Mayer’s face at the center of CNBC’s recent broadcast correlating better returns with the hiring of good-looking CEOs, and that’s not because I own stock in Yahoo. I was thrilled because Marissa Mayer represents a changing tide in how women who have chosen STEM-based educations and careers have formerly been perceived. Although slow in the conquering, perception is finally catching up with reality, leaving the mousey, socially inept female scientist, technologist, engineer, or mathematician behind and in the wake of a more suitable, real-life character image demanded by today. Now, if we can only inspire more young girls to take note while realizing the added benefits — both obvious and not-so obvious — of embracing STEM studies and joining the ranks of female STEM leaders, we might begin to see the progress of our needed transformation in ways that, once again, drive us to the forefront of our global competition.

    Beyond all of the biases, misinformation, and failings attributed to the sluggish growth of women in STEM-based educations and careers is the lack of clear understanding as to how incredibly remarkable, liberating and fulfilling involvement in these fields can be for women. Positive role models play a pivotal role in amassing appeal in this regard and gifting young women with those positive role models at the earliest of ages is especially beneficial when fostering confidence and ability and fighting negative stereotypes historically associated with holding girls back from pursuing STEM studies more seriously beyond elementary school.

    Brands such as Zelza Zero — featuring positive female role models supporting STEM learning at the preschool level — are critical to the eventual and permanent closure of the vast gender gap plaguing the STEM job market to date. The incredible women changing the face of technology such as Ursula Burns, Chairman of Xerox; Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo; and Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, further this evolution as they impact our lives on a daily basis while demonstrating a new-found confidence, beauty, intellect and skill previously unexpected of women entering such fields.

    Equally as important to point out are “market changers” who ventured into careers outside of conventional STEM industries, such as Rosalind Brewer, President and CEO of Sam’s Club, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry prior to commencing on the road of becoming one of the first ladies of retail. Arianna Huffington, The Huffington Post’s namesake and current President and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, studied economics on her way to becoming a media mogul. The New Jersey Regional President of PNC Bank, Linda Bowden, might not have begun thinking she would end up being named one of the “25 Women To Watch” by U.S. Banker magazine, but she was, and she even managed to write two math books for elementary school children along the way. And, unlike so many other teenage girls growing up amidst a flurry of glossy fashion magazines, I hardly doubt that Lisa Randall — groundbreaking theoretical physicist and leading expert on particle physics and cosmology and the Frank B. Baird, Jr. Professor of Science on the physics faculty of Harvard University — ever spent a day throughout her youth contemplating her chances of being featured in Vogue as a grown woman, and yet she was, and for the kind of beauty that extends well beyond her pretty face but out into the universe.

    Gone are the days when obtaining STEM educations for women meant being chained to desks or sequestered away in research labs never to be heard from again. Once, the achieving of a STEM degree might have meant working amongst the boys in cold and uninviting environments. Today, doing so just might mean skating your way onto the Olympic committee like Ursula Burns, or sitting on the board of the New York City Ballet like Marissa Mayer.

    These types of studies offer up interesting and exciting lives. They also provide financial independence and security where other careers do not — something to consider when factoring in the harsh reality suffered by the forty percent of all U.S. households that are run by single mothers. Financial security is nothing to sneeze at, at any point in life but especially when one is coping with such fragile conditions as these via a single paycheck. Given that we successfully educate our girls to the ramifications of what going hungry actually means in the face of ensuring our own grandchildren eat, we may help to eradicate world hunger indirectly by increasing the number of young women who choose STEM-based educations and careers.

    Needless to say, the importance we place on providing positive role models for young women currently considering STEM-focused studies cannot be denied. Equally so should be the significance we place on the unique perspectives and critical contributions these women will, unquestionably, bring to the table as a result of gender differences now recognized and integrated into future decision-making and the implementation of solutions of which we will all, ultimately, benefit.

    No doubt, the time is now for young women to heed the call. And with role models like Marissa Mayer, Rosalind Brewer and Lisa Randall lighting the way, the correlation between young women and STEM educations (if not careers) just got a whole lot brighter, not to mention even more exciting and beautiful to boot.

    Correction: This post originally misidentified Sheryl Sandberg as CEO of Facebook. She is Facebook’s COO.

  • How Mentoring May Be the Key to Solving Tech's Women Problem
    Lack of talent. That’s what many people will say is the reason for the lack of women in STEM fields. But it’s more than that.

    It’s true that less than 20 percent of the bachelor’s degrees in computer science go to women, according to federal statistics. And while a number of groups exist that are actively trying to attract females to STEM fields, from coding classes for girls to networking groups for women, retaining women in STEM fields may actually be its biggest problem.

    One of the difficulties with keeping women in technology is that there are few female mentors for them to look to. Why is that? Well, the numbers will tell you. Only eight percent of CIOs in the U.S. are women, according to the latest Harvey Nash survey. Without women to look to at the top, many women in STEM fields get discouraged and leave the workforce. However, one group is changing that.

    ARA, an acronym for Attract, Retain and Advance, launched in 2013 in Chicago but started organically about eight years ago as a quarterly dinner between three IT professionals Megan McCann, Jane Gilligan Hamner and Leslie Vickrey, and friends living in Chicago. Over the years, more friends and colleagues started joining in these dinners, offering insights, tips and career advice. Pretty soon, these “small dinners with friends” blossomed into major events each quarter and the three women founded ARA.

    “We really couldn’t find a program that used mentorship as the cornerstone of the program,” said Megan McCann, President and Founder of McCann Partners. “It became apparent to us that there weren’t enough resources out there for women in technology, and when you marry that with the talent shortage in IT across the board, we felt it was a natural fit to take our women’s networking group to the next level by bringing in the mentorship component.”

    The response has been strong. Women are learning about the group’s “speed mentoring” program and networking panels and are signing up in droves. The group currently has 75 mentor partnerships with 15 mentees waiting to find available mentors. ARA Chicago had to move their latest event to a larger venue because so many women signed up. The success stories are also starting to pour in.

    “At one of our events…a woman stood up and said I am a former Accenture partner and I’ve been out of the technology market for over eight years raising my children, and now I am ready to go back in. Help me to provide the guidance and the value to these hiring people to know that I am ready to go back in market,” said Leslie Vickrey, CEO and Founder of ClearEdge Marketing. “After that event, we reviewed her resume and then positioned her with a CIO for a management level position and through the interview process, she got the position.”

    The mentorship program is not only helping women network with upper-management women in STEM fields and better communicate gaps in their resume, but also providing confidence that may have waned over the years.

    Through the mentoring program, one woman, Preeta Chickermane, was connected with a mentor, Cindy Pogrund, President of Paradigm Pursuits, who encouraged Preeta to ask for a much-deserved promotion. The mentor relationship gave Preeta the confidence she needed to ask for the promotion, which she successfully received.

    “That confidence piece is so critical. Little things can strip it away from us and we don’t realize the long term impact its going to have on your later in life and in your career,” Vickrey said. “It’s giving them a little more confidence to take that step forward, and I think it’s critical and different in the industry.”

    Women in STEM fields are not the only ones who are noticing ARA’s impact. Major companies with senior male executives at the helm, including Orbitz and Salesforce.com, as well as schools and other associations, have also contacted ARA in an effort to add the mentoring component to their programs.

    “I think one of the reasons why senior male executives have been so supportive of what we’re doing, like the CTO of Orbitz is that he, like others, recognize that females bring a perspective to the table and they want those varying perspectives and opinions and insights and it’s our job to help attract people to it, retain them and advance them to doing that,” said McCann.

    In partnership with Harvey Nash, which has a national presence, ARA is expanding to Seattle (with its first event scheduled for March) and New York and is looking to national technology associations to partner with, so they can launch ARA in even more markets.

    “[ARA] is giving people an avenue and venue to actually ask other women in technology personal advice and career advice that will actually encourage them to stay,” said Jane Gilligan Hamner, Managing Director and Vice President of Harvey Nash USA. “A lot of it is just having that access and also knowing how to advance in their career. We want to keep them in the industry because there’s a lack of talent, but we also want them to feel comfortable advancing in an industry that’s traditionally male dominated.”

    By encouraging girls at a young age to explore STEM fields and nurturing women through their careers with groups like ARA, we may actually be able to solve tech’s women problem.

  • AOL CEO Reverses Benefit Cuts, Apologizes For 'Distressed Babies' Comment
    AOL CEO Tim Armstrong announced Saturday that the company will reverse course on a controversial new 401(k) policy, a decision that followed an employee backlash against the change as well as comments he made while defending it.

    AOL is the parent company of The Huffington Post.

    In a letter to staff, Armstrong wrote:

    “The leadership team and I listened to your feedback over the last week. We heard you on this topic. And as we discussed the matter over several days, with management and employees, we have decided to change the policy back to a per-pay-period matching contribution. The Human Resource team will be in contact with all employees over the next week to explain the change and to answer any other benefits related questions you might have.”

    The new 401(k) policy would no longer match contributions on a per-paycheck basis. Instead, matching contributions would be handed out in lump sum at the end of the year. Employees who left the company would not receive matching contributions for the year they departed.

    Armstrong had cited Obamacare and two women who gave birth to “distressed babies” as reasons for the change. In his email to staffers today, Armstrong apologized for the remark about pregnancies.

    “On a personal note, I made a mistake and I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific healthcare examples in trying to explain our decision making process around our employee benefit program.”

    Here’s his full letter:

    AOLers –

    We began our journey together in 2009, and for the last four years have had an employee-first culture. As I have said before, the ability to change is a strategic advantage for us. With benefit costs increasing, we made a strategic, financial decision last year to revise our employee matching 401K program from a per-pay-period contribution to a yearly lump-sum contribution. We then communicated this decision in the fall through multiple channels to every AOL office in the US.

    The leadership team and I listened to your feedback over the last week. We heard you on this topic. And as we discussed the matter over several days, with management and employees, we have decided to change the policy back to a per-pay-period matching contribution. The Human Resource team will be in contact with all employees over the next week to explain the change and to answer any other benefits related questions you might have. We are proud to provide AOLers with a robust benefits offering that spans from exceptional healthcare coverage to 401K’s to AOL fitness programs and beyond. On a personal note, I made a mistake and I apologize for my comments last week at the town hall when I mentioned specific healthcare examples in trying to explain our decision making process around our employee benefit programs.

    Thursday we announced an outstanding Q4 and end to our fiscal year. More importantly, it validated our strategy and the work we have done on it. AOL is positioned for future growth and our long-term strategy to be one of the world’s leading media technology companies.

    Now, as we begin 2014, let’s keep up our momentum. Thank you for the great 2013 year and for your ongoing passion. And know that I am a passionate advocate for the AOL family – TA

  • Secret of Silicon Valley's success
    Why Silicon Valley’s start-ups changed the world
  • AOL Chief Walks Back New 401K Policy
    In a letter to employees, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong reversed the company’s recent decision to change some 401(k) benefits.
  • Kansas City Man Predicts ESurance Super Bowl Commercial Winner Before Announcement
    Esurance, a car insurance provider, stole the thunder of every media giant that ponied up $4 million for a :30 second spot in this year’s Super Bowl by running a brilliant campaign around Twitter. Esurance gave away $1.5 million to a single Twitter user who tweeted the hashtag #EsuranceSave30 between 4 p.m. ET Sunday, February 2nd, and 4 a.m. ET Tuesday, February 4th. In the process they nearly broke Twitter and stole the spotlight from the poor souls who spent $4 million to buy a Super Bowl ad. Esurance spokesman Danny Miller said the contest had received 2 million entries in less than 24 hours.

    John Intrater was announced as the winner of the $1.5 million contest live on the Jimmy Kimmel show on February 5th.

    But now, Esurance has had their thunder stolen by a man who predicted that John Intrater would be the winner of the contest a full 36 hours BEFORE it was announced on Kimmel’s show.

    Below is the prediction that JohnnyOptimist “Mark” made accurately by calling that John Intrater would win the $1.5 million prize on Knoda, a social prediction platform available on iPhone.


    The odds of predicting the winner? Approximately 3,000,000 to 1. Yes, that’s right…3 MILLION to 1. JohnnyOptimist made his prediction at 10:35 am CT on Tuesday, February 4th. So how in the world is it possible that JohnnyOptimist was able to predict this? Did he have or get inside info? Is he truly a psychic? The answer is none of the above.

    Turns out that JohnnyOptimist is Mark Hellevang, a Kansas City native. Below is what he had to say about his incredible prediction.

    I was following the #EsuranceSave30 contest just to see how people were doing Super Bowl marketing campaigns. I was pretty intrigued by it and wanted to see if I could figure out the winner in advance. The contest ended Tuesday morning. That morning, when I woke up, I checked the Esurance Twitter account and noticed they had followed 10 new people that morning. Five of those were verified accounts so I dismissed them. The other five included the winner, John Intrater, and four others. The other four had entered thousands of times whereas John had only entered once. So I suspected John was the winner. John then tweeted out that he had gotten an email from a company called Prizelogic. He immediately deleted the tweet and then went radio silent. So at that moment, I felt like he was probably the winner. I just happened to be on Twitter for a few minutes when he made that tweet and then deleted it. Had I not been, I might not have known.

    So why did Hellevang make the prediction on the tech app Knoda? The real reason was because his friends aren’t always interested in what he says, but others in this community might be. He said, “I keep coming up with random predictions. Some of the predictions I come up with aren’t necessarily interesting to my closest friends, but I can put them on Knoda and there’s going to be people interested. Obviously for this one, I was the only one who thought it would happen. Everyone who voted on my prediction on Knoda, disagreed with me.”

    In this day and age, there are many creative ways for a brand to take the spotlight. Esurance worked up a brilliant campaign during the Super Bowl. Mark’s prediction is now etched in the history books and he has earned bragging rights for life. However, I’m sure Esurance surely didn’t expect a guy from Kansas City to shine the spotlight on him.

  • 'Flappy Bird' Creator Taking App Down: 'I Cannot Take This'
    After soaring into our hearts with equal parts frustration and addiction, it looks like the viral smartphone game “Flappy Bird” is coming in for a landing. For good.

    The Vietnam-based creator of the surprise mobile gaming sensation, Dong Nguyen, tweeted Saturday that he would be taking the game down as soon as Sunday.

    I am sorry ‘Flappy Bird’ users, 22 hours from now, I will take ‘Flappy Bird’ down. I cannot take this anymore.

    — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014

    It is not anything related to legal issues. I just cannot keep it anymore.

    — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014

    Nguyen wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the overwhelming response the app has received since taking off in January. He previously tweeted that the press was “overrating” the game and that he wanted “peace”, according to App Developer Magazine. The success of the game felt like a curse, Nguyen tweeted earlier on Saturday:

    I can call ‘Flappy Bird’ is a success of mine. But it also ruins my simple life. So now I hate it.

    — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014

    While “Flappy Bird” was reportedly bringing in some $50,000 in sales daily, according to The Verge, Nguyen added that he wouldn’t be selling the app:

    I also don’t sell ‘Flappy Bird’, please don’t ask.

    — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014

    An email to Nguyen’s development company .GEARS from The Huffington Post was not immediately returned, and TechCrunch reports that it is still unclear whether or not those who’ve downloaded the addictive game will be able to continue playing it or not. Still, fans of Nguyen’s work shouldn’t lose all hope:

    And I still make games.

    — Dong Nguyen (@dongatory) February 8, 2014

Mobile Technology News, February 8, 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.

  • Firefox's new interface is almost here
    Mozilla gears up for the biggest overhaul to Firefox in more than three years as it prepares Australis for all.
  • Innovation In Financial Services-Oxymoron? Future Tech Lessons Learned From The Asian Financial Forum
    My personal passion for innovation and tech (Geek Girl alert!) has lead me to try and push financial services firms from a stone-age mentality about technology toward the Jetsons-era approach taken by most other industries. I have long held that financial services firms tend to see technology spends as merely “expense items” rather than the “revenue generators” that they can be. In other words, they will only invest in new tech when the old stuff is kaput, rather than imagine how making investments in new technologies early might give them an edge over the competition. It’s an attitude born out of a financial services culture that privileges rigidity and sticking with the status quo.

    But that culture has to change. Today, there is extra urgency behind the need for a shift toward innovation: many new financial services competitors that are small, nimble and on the cutting edge of technology entered the market right after the financial crisis, when established firms were busy licking their wounds. The old guard is going to need to stay on top of innovation just to keep up with the new guard.

    When the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) invited me to attend the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong a few weeks ago, I got a chance to hear first-hand what kind of thinking on financial services innovation is happening in Asia. The HKTDC has more than 40 offices globally to promote offshore and existing business in Hong Kong, mainland China, and all of Asia. The Asian Financial Forum is the largest financial services conference in Asia, boasting over 2000 attendees, over 100 distinguished speakers from the private sector, and public sector–both business people and policy makers. About four out of five of the participants were CEO-level or other C-Suite executives. The conference also drew more than 500 journalists from 39 countries.

    There was one session that caught my eye immediately: Financial Services Innovation Workshop, sponsored by Deloitte. I thought, financial services innovation? Was that an oxymoron? I was eager to hear what fresh ideas the executives on the panel from Deloitte China, AIA Insurance and the Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange, among others, might be able to offer.

    Here are a few key points they made that really had an impact on me and could have a big impact on you and your business:

    Independent Innovation Teams: To foster the conditions in which real innovation will occur, financial services firms must create innovation teams that are independent, made up of industry outsiders, and given room to fail. This also means giving them the resources they need to try things that may fail. “Give an innovation team enough budget, enough autonomy to take some risks, to fail, learn from their failure, and not be punished for their failure, and just try some really new things,” said Simeon Preston, Group Chief Strategy and Operations Officer, AIA Insurance. Preston warned that if the AIA’s innovation incubator were housed within the larger firm of AIA, “antibodies” might destroy the group’s efforts to innovate. Gregory Gibb, Chairman, Shanghai Lujiazui International Financial Asset Exchange Co, said similarly that firms must try and innovate first and push risk/compliance to the end of the process. Otherwise, innovative ideas will never get off the ground.

    Customer-Focused Innovation: Financial services firms are very transaction-focused, but they need to pivot to a customer focus when it comes to innovation, said Preston. Firms must try to generate new ideas that will benefit the customer first, rather than deciding what works best for the institution and “stuffing” customer’s needs into the model after the fact, he said. Some innovations will work great in certain markets, but not others, for example. Customers need to be “served” the way that they want to, whether it be in-person, or digitally–as in over email, mobile or skype, said Tim Pagett of Deloitte China. That means a hybrid approach. Preston agreed. In the past, firms would “demonstrate” their stability and size by the number of branches they had in local markets. Now some see a large branch network as an expense rather than a strength, said Preston.

    Networked vs. Siloed Operations: The “old” financial services business model of siloed teams and “we need to invent it here” mentality does not encourage innovation, said Christopher Harvey, Global Industry Leader of Financial Services–Deloitte. He said that separate yet networked and collaborative units would create more agility to adjust to change when necessary. Further, today’s banks and other financial services firms have grown outward into providing more services rather than teaming with best in class providers to create a kind of innovation “grid,” said Harvey. Financial services firms must decide what their core competencies are, Harvey said, and then create partnerships in areas where they are weaker to achieve this networked world.

    Mobile/Social/Virtual World: Some of greatest innovations down the line will likely occur in mobile payments, crowdfunding/lending, virtual currencies and alternative payment systems like Paypal and Alipay, said Gibb. He argued that even mobile payments were becoming passé and that in the future, cell phones could serve not just as communication devices but as identification and currency. This would cut down the steps between payor and payee. He conjectured that the financial services business model of the future would be a tech firm that offered financial services products.

    Regardless, the future of financial services looks bold and bright-for those firms that can embrace innovation/change to be nimble and agile. This is a sea change that financial services firms need to get comfortable with sooner rather than later.

  • Which Game Should Have Won 'Game Of The Year'? (POLLS)
    The 17th annual D.I.C.E. Awards (that’s Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain to you n00bs), which celebrates outstanding achievements in the world of gaming, took place Feb 6.

    Among the nominees for “Game of the Year” were critically acclaimed fan favorites like “Grand Theft Auto V,” “BioShock Infinite” and “The Last of Us.”

    So which game took home the big honor?

    Don’t worry; we’re going to reveal the winners of each category, including “Game of the Year.” But first we want to give you the opportunity to pull a Kanye and tell us which game you really think should have won.

    Vote in each of the polls below, and then click the link to learn the winner.

    Click here for the winner!

    Winner: BioShock Infinite
    bioshock infinite

    Click here for the winner!

    Winner: The Last of Us
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  • Sochi Olympics Cybersecurity Threats Cited By U.S. In Travel Alert
    By Will Dunham
    WASHINGTON, Feb 7 (Reuters) – The United States on Friday issued a fresh travel alert for Americans attending the Sochi Winter Olympics, citing cybersecurity threats and warning them to have “no expectation of privacy” using Russian communications networks.
    The U.S. State Department’s alert – coming the same day that Turkish security forces in Istanbul seized a Ukrainian man accused of trying to hijack an airliner and redirect it to Sochi – updates one issued two weeks ago.
    “U.S. travelers should be aware of cybersecurity threats and understand that they have no expectation of privacy when sharing sensitive or personal information utilizing Russian electronic communication networks,” the department said.
    The warning comes in the middle of a controversy in which U.S. officials blame Russia for the Internet leak of recordings of a senior State Department official and the U.S. ambassador discussing a possible future government for Ukraine.
    Victoria Nuland, a high-ranking U.S. diplomat, is heard on the recording using an expletive to tell the ambassador it would be better if a new Ukrainian government is backed by the United Nations than the EU.
    The State Department alert also said that “Russian police officers have the authority to stop people and request identity and travel documents at any time and without cause.” The alert strongly advised Americans in Sochi to carry at all times their passports, Russian visas and other important documents.
    Officials said on Thursday that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration was temporarily banning carry-on liquids, aerosols, gels and powders on flights between Russia and the United States.
    The State Department reiterated that U.S. citizens attending the Olympics “should remain attentive regarding their personal security at all times” and that such events represent an “attractive target for terrorists.”
    The Winter Olympics formally opened on Friday. Several U.S. and European security officials have said that last-minute intelligence reports about possible Olympics-related attacks continue to flow into Western agencies.
    (Additional reporting by Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
  • Composing music with your thoughts
    Headset that turns your thoughts into music
  • Cook talks Motorola sale, iPhone's limits in full WSJ interview
    The Wall Street Journal has published the full contents of yesterday’s interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook, in which he announced the company’s expanded share buyback plan. Commenting on Google’s recent sale of Motorola to Lenovo, Cook says that he “wasn’t surprised,” and that it “seems like a logical transaction,” since Motorola is losing money and Google isn’t committed to it. “I think it’s really hard to do hardware, software and services and to link all those things together. That’s what makes Apple so special,” he adds. “It’s really hard, so I’m not surprised that they are not going to d


  • US DOJ ceases investigation of potential Samsung FRAND patent abuse
    Following the ITC-ordered embargo of Apple products and subsequent Presidential veto, the US Justice Department commenced an investigation of Samsung, and its use of standards-essential patents (SEPs) as a legal weapon. Declining any action, the Department of Justice is closing the investigation, but noted that Samsung was guilty of abusing SEPs legally, and that it would keep monitoring patent lawsuits filed by the Korean electronics manufacturer.


  • Millennials In Love: Why They're Not So Different From Their Parents After All
    This is a whole new breed of breeders.

    Except it’s not. The popular trope of the Millennial age is that sex and love might not be any different now from what they’ve always been, but the way they’re practiced and pursued has changed meaningfully, in large part because of the technology that enables it. The school dance gave way to the singles bar which gave way to the personal ad, which gave way to the Internet which gave way to the smartphone—your handheld, in-pocket, 24-hour police scanner for love. OKCupid and Match.com have always-with-you apps; Grinder and a host of other new apps trump that by swapping compatibility for geography: who’s nearby and who’s available—right now? Tinder gamifies it all—dating and mating as a portable match game, with an unending succession of faces appearing on your screen, all dispatched with a swipe one way to pick the winners and a swipe the other to designate losers—and somewhere out there, your face is being swiped too.

  • Facebook Is Down For Some, Don't Freak Out [UPDATE: It's Back Up]
    UPDATE: 6:30 p.m. — Facebook is now back, according to Down Right Now. “Earlier this afternoon, we experienced a load-balancing issue that prevented some people from accessing Facebook for a brief period of time,” Facebook said in a statement to the Huffington Post. “We resolved the issue quickly, and we are now back to 100%. We’re sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused.”

    Earlier …

    Facebook appears to be down for many people on Friday afternoon. Users are getting an error message when they try to navigate to the site.

    Don’t think I’ve ever seen this before on Facebook. pic.twitter.com/v5M3MhAQy3

    — Josh Sternberg (@joshsternberg) February 7, 2014

    FB now down for me. pic.twitter.com/RGpjkS0bn1

    — Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) February 7, 2014

    facebook is down for some. didn’t see that coming mr. prophet hands, did you? pic.twitter.com/7cXQhi7A5W

    — drew olanoff (@drew) February 7, 2014

    Down Right Now says that there is a “likely service disruption” on Facebook as of two hours ago.

    Try not to lose your mind.

  • New Tech Tools for Travel

    By Jessica Hoffman

    When planning a trip across India, expect to be shocked by the number of ways you can go from point A to point B. According to Amit Somani from website MakeMyTrip.com, the country’s 1.2 billion people and its thousands of cities are connected by a staggering 18.5 million routes that involve a transfer (like from a bus to a train).

    “Only two percent of them, just 400,000 routes, are direct connections,” says Soman. Add just one more stop for a “three-hop route between these 4,300 cities,” and Somani says you’re up to an astonishing 27 billion possible routes, a number that can overwhelm even a seasoned commuter.

    India may be the most perfect example of the complicated choices that travelers face, but the problem isn’t unique. Here we present four hot companies that are striving to solve the problem of complicated travel routes:



    In India, and now around the world, the Route Planner (from the aforementioned MakeMyTrip) aims to take the headache out of the equation. Simply enter your departure location and your destination, and in an instant Route Planner displays the best 10 routes between locations, complete with route times, prices and direct booking options. The website covers more than 1 billion multi-modal routes and provides service via Web, mobile apps and even SMS. The company’s technology was well-received when it was showcased at the 2013 PhoCusWright travel technology conference, where the company was recognized as the most innovative new travel service in the business-to-consumer space.



    The CEO of route planning website WanderU was struck with the idea for the service while on a road trip of her own. In 2011, Polina Raygorodskaya and Igor Bratnikov–a WanderU co-founder–were traveling cross-country to promote rideshares when they found themselves stranded after a last-minute cancellation. The struggle to find a ride led them to the idea of “a search to help people find ground transportation between any two points in the country.”

    From that idea grew WanderU. With coverage along the East Coast from Montreal to Miami, users can find and select bus and train routes between any two cities, add stops along the way, and even select amenities like added leg room, Wi-Fi access and more. Polina and Igor themselves used the service from Boston to Austin on “a week-long bus road trip [with stops] in Nashville, Montgomery and New Orleans.”

    While WanderU currently only covers the eastern United States, Polina says the ultimate goal is becoming “the travel search for the next generation.” Watch for more expansions to come as it focuses on widening its coverage to the entire U.S.



    No matter where you are or where you want to be, Rome2Rio can get you there. It has partnered with hundreds of airlines, train and ferry operators and thousands of bus operators to provide you the best possible route from anywhere to anywhere.

    Based in Melbourne, Australia, Rome2Rio is constantly working to expand its global transportation network. Want to go from Charlotte to Granada? Type in the search terms and see all your options, including layovers, alternate routes, accommodations and cost of each leg of the trip.

    Eco-conscious travelers will especially love the site’s “Carbon Footprint” option. Select it when you choose a route to see what you can do to reduce the effect of your trip on the environment.



    We simply can’t leave Google Maps off this list, even though it’s not a dedicated travel company like MakeMyTrip, WanderU or Rome2Rio. The reason we can’t ignore Google is the popularity of the Google Maps application. Roughly 54 percent of all smartphone users accessed its services in 2013, and it was the fifth most downloaded iPhone app of 2013 (only Vine, YouTube and two game apps were more popular). It’s not hard to understand why, either; the app is highly intuitive, accurate–provided you’ve enabled your phone’s GPS–and offers the top three routes to your destination, quickly displaying distance and time for each route. Users can easily alter the route by selecting various modes of transportation, from public transport to personal vehicle and even walking. The only downside is that Google Flights is still not integrated into the Maps tool.

    Find more tips and travel ideas at www.wheretraveler.com.

    More from WhereTraveler.com:

  • British Drone Taranis Completed Secret Test Flight, Officials Confirm (VIDEO)
    In a major boost for the growing spread of drone technology, a British-made fighter drone has successfully completed secret test flights, the British government revealed this week.

    Named after the Celtic god of thunder Taranis, the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was first unveiled to great fanfare by British defense manufacturer BAE Systems in July 2010.

    Details of the British drone program were then classified, until BAE and the government on Wednesday released footage of the maiden flight. A government statement said that Taranis completed a perfect first test flight last August and has made several more since. The location of the tests was not disclosed, but the BBC reports that Taranis is widely believed to be flying in the Australian desert.


    The size of a small fighter jet, Taranis is designed to avoid detection by radar and eventually fly faster than the speed of sound, the BBC reports. Taranis’ chief pilot, Bob Fraser, told the Financial Times that the combat drone can be programmed to fly itself and even make some decisions, although the company stressed that it would be keeping a pilot in charge.


    The British government, which spent £185 million ($300 million) on Taranis, calls it the “most advanced aircraft ever built by British engineers.”

    The Financial Times reports that countries such as Britain and France are working hard to compete with the American drone industry, which is worth billions of dollars. Last month, France and Britain agreed to pool their drone technology to develop a combat UAV to be used in battle, the FT said.


    The specter of an arms race in drone technology may disturb critics of unmanned warfare, who argue that drone operators are too far-removed from the battlefield. America’s secretive drone strike program in countries like Pakistan and Yemen has prompted political backlash at home and abroad.

    The International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British security think tank, said last week that drones are becoming more prevalent across the world as the cost of UAV technology falls, The Telegraph reported.

    BAE systems video about Taranis

  • Northwestern University Alumni May Lose An Email List, And They're So Angry
    Alumni of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism are incensed over the school’s decision to discontinue a widely used group email list and replace it with a new social network the university has created.

    A message sent to the email list at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday from Belinda Clarke, director of communications and alumni relations at Medill, told the former students that the list will be gone on May 30.

    “As I explained briefly in the newsletters that went out last week, the Northwestern Alumni Association has spent the last several years building a new online community for Northwestern alumni, students, faculty and staff called OurNorthwestern,” Clarke wrote. “It’s now live, and each of you has a pre-loaded profile page in it.”

    Pushback came within the hour, with many alumni arguing that the university is trying to fix what isn’t broken. So many emails went out to the group list that it reached its daily limit of 100 emails by 4:30 that afternoon, preventing anyone else from chiming in on the news. The email thread, which an alumnus forwarded to The Huffington Post, was wholly free of any support for the change.

    “I don’t need ANOTHER website to visit, ANOTHER social media profile to manage,” one graduate wrote. “It just ain’t gonna happen.”

    Currently, all Medill graduates are placed into the distribution email network by the university. Many of them use it to find jobs and apartments, solicit advice from fellow alumni and keep in touch with one another.

    Clarke elaborated to the group list that the school’s quarterly newsletters, events, ticketing and emails will soon be managed by the new OurNorthwestern site.

    “The system has a few glitches, but over all, this is a good thing,” Clarke wrote.

    Not everyone thinks so. One graduate sent a sarcastic email blast after trying to use OurNorthwestern, saying: “Awesome. So utility. Much easy. Wowe.”

    Many alumni insisted they would not bother to get involved with yet another social network, especially since they already use email so frequently.

    “Despite the obvious flaws of email, it will for all intents and purposes continue to [be] my PRIMARY way of connecting,” one alumna wrote. “Not Facebook messages, not LinkedIn groups, not even OurNorthwestern posts.”

    Alan Cubbage, vice president for university relations at Northwestern and himself a Medill alum, told HuffPost that school administrators realize it’s “a bit of a change,” but are “confident that our alums will be able to adapt.”

    “We understand that the listserv is popular with a number of Medill alums and serves as a good tool for a variety of purposes,” Cubbage said. “But we also think the new Northwestern alumni site, OurNorthwestern, will meet those needs, as well as provide other info to alums on events, clubs, access to the alumni directory and other services.”

    Cubbage wouldn’t disclose whether OurNorthwestern or the old email list is cheaper for the university, but he said that “cost wasn’t a key factor — it’s just a matter of trying to provide a good hub for all alumni communications.”

    Medill grads, for their part, are already trying to find an alternative way to stay connected via email. One set up a Google Group and reported back to the other alumni that 30 people had signed up within 15 minutes.

  • Top 7 Myths in Small Business Wireless Security

    Being a professional services consultant, I have the pleasure of working with some of the largest organizations in the world — solving their IT security problems. This allows me to see many different of network designs and configurations. Thus, in my time in this field, I have heard many myths that organizations believe to be true when it comes to their WiFi security.

    Is your network safe? The answer might surprise you. Here are seven common myths in WiFi security and some tips on how to properly secure your network.

    1. Our wireless network requires a password: therefore it is safe.

    While requiring a password to access a wireless network is better than leaving it open to unauthenticated users, it may not even prevent even a novice hacker from breaking into the network. Even after all of the warnings over the years about using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) protection, we still see companies use it. We see it used to support hand scanners or other one-off equipment that does not support stronger encryption, however WEP is cryptographically flawed–avoid using it or engage a professional to build a layered defense. Lastly, limit the use of WiFi Protected Access (WPA)-Pre Shared Key (PSK) for user authentication because the key would need to be rotated after every employee departure since it is static and the same for all users.

    2. My Internet Service Provider (ISP) securely set up my wireless network.

    This is an unfortunate myth, as many ISPs and equipment manufacturers still default to WEP protected networks. In fact, even if you are using one of the largest ISPs and they performed your install or you picked up an install kit, your network is most likely using this antiquated wireless protection.

    In addition to equipment defaulting to WEP, the technicians either do not have a standard installation process or it is not always followed. Personal experience indicates that the encryption chosen by the installers depends on their knowledge and personal preference rather than a standard process.

    Fortunately ISPs and hardware manufacturers are slowly changing. The latest wireless gateways and routers are finally shipping with WPA as the default, but if your organization does not have the latest equipment, you may need to change your security manually.

    The bottom line is that hardware and ISPs vary and will need to be investigated on a case-by-case basis. You will have to perform due diligence as this area has been neglected for a very long time.

    3. The hardware required to break into my wireless network is too expensive and hard to obtain.

    While this may have been true 7-10 years ago, it is not true anymore. In fact, ordinary laptops are powerful enough to easily crack keys or brute force passwords — the information needed to access the network. A very capable USB wireless adapter that can be used for wireless hacking is available online for just $16 with free shipping. Lastly, the operating system needed to perform this wireless attack is freely available for download from the Internet.

    4. The time and skills required to break into my wireless network are more than an attacker would invest.

    A well-versed attacker can break into a weak wireless network in just 5-10 minutes. Even a novice Linux user could stumble through it in less than an hour after following any of the numerous tutorials and YouTube videos available on the Internet. Moderately protected networks do not stand a chance over time. Great care must go into design and implementation to prevent a good attacker from breaking in before a network defender is able to detect and stop the attack.

    5. No one wants to break into my wireless network. We share our data anyway.

    Attackers do not necessarily break into networks with malicious intent — sometimes it is just boredom, curiosity or a challenge they are seeking. However, keep in mind that the moral compass is not always functional for all individuals. Plus, even if you aren’t worried about corporate espionage, you most likely deal with employee records or accounting at some point. Thus, everyone has something to lose, whether that is money, privacy, or both.

    6. Our computers are patched and the firewalls are enabled, therefore an attacker on my network cannot harm me.

    Even if your computers are patched and firewalled, an attacker can still perform a man-in-the-middle attack and intercept your communication. This attack involves tricking a victim into routing their traffic through the attacker’s computer. You will most likely not even notice any strange behavior; however, this attack enables invaders to not only to obtain the data sent across the wire, but also your credentials needed to continually authenticate to your critical systems.

    7. I will notice if an attacker is close enough to my work place to be able to access the wireless network.

    Ninety-five percent of the wireless assessments we conduct suffer from wireless signal bleed. This means that the wireless signal is available outside of the building. Sometimes from as far away as the corners of their parking lots and even the next building over. Ideally, the wireless signal strength should be just strong enough to provide a reliable wireless connection without making it available to all of your neighbors. Also remember that if you are in a shared office building, you not only have to worry about horizontal bleed, but also vertical bleed for the floors above and below that are not owned by your organization.

    Lastly, inexpensive antennas can be purchased or easily assembled to increase the wireless gain enough to produce a usable wireless signal from blocks away. You will not even see the attacker or the vehicle they are sitting in while they are breaking into your network. We have seen wireless bleed so extreme that we were able to launch our attacks from a café about 75 yards from the building.

    The hope in writing this article is to raise awareness, which is always the first step in moving toward securing your network. Keeping in mind these myths, work with your trusted IT manager to properly design and implement the most secure wireless architecture for your business.

  • Analyzing Your Media History

    Each spring semester for the past eighteen years, I’ve taught a course at Tufts University called Children and Mass Media. And each January I’ve chosen to begin the class the same way. On the first day of class, I give my students their first assignment: analyze your personal media history.

    Years ago I asked them to write about their personal television history, but with the dominance of the Internet, the growing importance of social media and the multiple uses of different types of mobile platforms in the lives of young people, I’ve had to revise the assignment. Even though the prompt has morphed a bit, I find that the results are always the same: it’s a great way to get students to start thinking about how their media preferences and consumption as children colors their media preferences and consumption as young adults. I don’t grade this assignment, but I do use it to get conversation going. And I learn a lot about my students, because it turns out that media use is intricately and intimately connected to a lot of personal issues.

    Over the years I’ve had students write this paper, I’ve seen some fascinating trends emerge. One pattern is an inverse relationship between the amount of control parents or caregivers exert over a child’s media intake and the amount of media that child — now grown into a young adult — freely admits she or he consumes. When parents greatly limit a child’s media use, the child-cum-adult uses a lot of media; when parents do not set enormous barriers to a child’s media use, she or he tends to view and use media far more moderately as a young adult. There are exceptions to this rule and I have to admit I have not tracked this very systematically, but there’s no doubt the overall pattern exists.

    For instance, one student this year wrote, “Ten or so years of extreme parental control over my media use were followed by a few years of absolute media saturation. I’m sure that my parents’ stringent media rules during my childhood strongly influenced my desire to over-consume media when I first got to college.” And conversely, a student whose parents “truly set no limits as to what my brothers and I could watch or listen to or surf” found that “today I actually spend very little time with media. I watch practically no TV and am a much lighter consumer of most social media than many of my peers. I have to think that because my parents never forbade us from media and had such a laissez-faire attitude about it influenced my siblings and I to have pretty moderate and balanced views and use of media today.”

    Increasing numbers of my students are writing about how they have made very deliberate decisions to take a break from social media. I’ve written a column previously about how students are taking a holiday from Facebook, but this year I’ve found even more students who not only opt out of Facebook, but also are disabling their Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter accounts. “When I realized how much time I was wasting reading everyone’s tweets, I realized it was time to get off that social media merry-go-round” wrote one young man.

    As Tufts has become ever more diverse in terms of the racial, ethnic, global and economic backgrounds of our students, some of these socioeconomic factors have also found their ways into this assignment. This year a student who had grown up in both Seoul and New York wrote about how her confusion over whether she was Korean or Korean American translated into the television shows she selected as a child. A student who hails from Turkey wrote of how she learned to speak English primarily from watching Disney films and how this created a disconnect with her parents, who did not know a word of English. A student who grew up in a single parent household in South Central Los Angeles wrote of how her mom was determined to do what she could “to protect me and my four siblings from the negative influences of the world all around us, and that included prohibiting us from seeing the glitzy world on television and in advertising that was so different from the reality of our lives.” A student who was raised in multicultural Hawaii stated that she “never saw the kind of people I was surrounded with in any of the media I saw as a child.” And a student from Ghana wrote about how the dominance of American media in his life as a child meant “”I often dreamed of spending a whole day just watching American programming.”

    Some students wrote prescient essays about how different forms of media had held social significance for them at different points in their childhood. Writing about his presence on AOL growing up, one young man admitted that, “I could create an AOL profile through which the whole world could see me the way I wanted to be seen, and talk to the girls I was too socially awkward to talk to at school. I literally could not summon the courage to ask a girl for her help on homework at school, but I was flawless in the placement of a coy smiley face and spelling cool ‘kool,’ or ‘kewl’ — whatever the coolest way to spell it was that week.”

    Another student discussed her thoughts on some of the ways in which memories of childhood media use had proved a bonding mechanism, a form of social indoctrination, during her first days at Tufts: “In the confusion and excitement of the first week of college orientation, some particular conversations seem to be repeated constantly with various groups of fellow freshmen. Few topics come up as continuously as television and other media consumption beyond names, dorms and dining hall food. Possibly in a show of solidarity as a generation, reminiscing on children’s television from “the good old-days” of the mid- to late-nineties is a common practice of college students, both in person and on the Internet. Discussing the ninja-turtles’ obsession with pizza or playing the Rugrats theme song on a piano would probably considered valid and relatable conversation-starters for many Tufts students and current undergraduates in general. These types of interactions are representative of the sentiment that certain media consumption is considered ubiquitous for my demographic.”

    Finally, I have found that students often link their media use to other issues that affected them in childhood. Sometimes these issues are intense and profound: The student who wrote about how her parents’ addictions to alcohol and drugs shaped her own “addictive personality, which at times has included an addiction to media.” There are always students who write about how media use figured into figuring out relationships with parents who had split up. This year, I read about one student whose divorced parents had very different rules about media use in their homes which made my student and her siblings acutely conscious of how media use at respective parents’ homes led them to periodically favor one parent over another, and about another student who obsessively watched The Sound of Music because the film was the only positive memory she had to hold onto from the father from whom she’d become estranged.

    There are always stories like the one from the young man who wrote that he loved playing video games as a child because “feelings of triumph, sadness and anxiety got funneled through a fictional world to the point where I realized that I was using all my emotional energies there and had little to spare for the real world in which I sometimes lived.” And then there are the young women who write poignantly and movingly about their obsession with teen magazines or unhealthy and unobtainable body images of television models. “I truly thought that the runway models and the girls in acne commercials were typical. I never saw anyone overweight on TV. I couldn’t change my eyes, my nose or freckles, but the one thing I could change was my weight. Overcoming anorexia recast my relationship with TV.”

    I don’t think I knew when I first came up with this assignment just how revealing it would turn out to be. I asked my students for permission to quote from their papers anonymously in this piece, and without exception, they gave it to me. They realized, as I have, that this assignment says a lot about the relationship between media use and cultural issues. It’s proven to be one of the best assignments I’ve ever given.

  • Aligning Content Marketing Teams and Processes
    As content marketing becomes more commonplace, brands are becoming savvier about creating processes and building teams to support content initiatives. In fact, Curata’s recent survey of 500 marketers found that 71 percent say they plan to boost their investment in content marketing in the areas of people (internal and external) and technology during 2014. Twelve percent say they will make a significant increase in investment.

    Investing in people often means hiring a dedicated content marketing team, including Chief Content Officer, VP, or Director of Content to oversee the team. Forty-three percent of the companies surveyed already have an executive focused on overall content strategy.

    But once they have a content executive in place, how do savvy brands align marketing with broader organizational goals? Here’s a look at four best practices to maximize content marketing success.

    Build a solid content team. The executive in charge of content–sometimes called a Chief Content Officer or VP or Director of Content–needs a team of strong writers to execute on his or her vision. Oftentimes, these writers have a journalism (rather than a traditional marketing) background, ensuring that they know how to source credible information and tell stories in a compelling and authentic manner that isn’t overly salesy. In addition to building an internal team, many brands also outsource part of their content creation to agencies or freelancers. Outsourcing helps them maintain a steady stream of fresh content without exhausting the internal content team. The best marketers avoid “cheap” content and ensure that all the content developed for the brand is high quality and meets company standards.

    Align internally. In addition to building a core content team (perhaps including a blog or content manager, content specialist, and content writers), it’s also smart to identify individuals and teams across the organization to be part of an extended content marketing team. They can contribute content as time allows or if they’re less comfortable writing, help generate brand-appropriate ideas from other corners of the organization. In addition, these members of the extended marketing team can help evangelize support for content marketing by securing executive buy-in.

    Rethink the process. Content marketing succeeds when it’s aligned with global and local marketing strategies. Identify what content you will produce and how that content will flow from creation to distribution to analysis. Establishing metrics to help improve the content marketing creation process is also key. Metrics exploring engagement, ROI, and other areas can help hone the content strategy and justify the brand’s investment in content marketing. For example, when reviewing your company’s blog, how much traffic does it drive to your corporate site? Look at which blog articles produce the most social shares and tweak your editorial calendar to include a similar styles of content.

    Encourage innovation in content marketing. As the pace of publishing content continues to accelerate, the need to create more relevant pieces will only increase in 2014. To keep content fresh and relevant, consider mixing up your content mix by crowdsourcing from readers, curating from third-party sources, or drawing inspiration from customer questions. Continuing to innovate and reinvent the creation process will keep the content from getting stale. For instance, you could repurpose a webinar as a series of blog posts or turn it into an ebook to get more mileage out of every piece you create. The content marketing pyramid offers ideas on creating longer or shorter pieces with existing content.

    Want to read more about content marketing best practices? Download Content Marketing Tactics Planner 2014, Curata’s third annual benchmark study covering the strategies of successful content marketing teams, the role of new technology, and much more.

  • Bill would make antitheft tech mandatory on smartphones in California
    Democratic State Senator Mark Leno of California has introduced a bill that would require any smartphone or tablet sold in the state to include some form of “kill switch” antitheft technology, says the New York Times. The bill is being sponsored by San Francisco district attorney George Gascón, who along with the attorney general for New York has been pressuring cellphone makers to add the technology for some time. Under the proposed law, any unprotected mobile device sold in California on or after January 1st 2015 would net the vendor a fine up to $2,500 per unit.


  • The Issue With Gary Vaynerchuk and Applying the 1947 Newspaper Isolation Effect to Today
    Among other hot images making the rounds lately, an image of suit-clad businessmen and women absorbed in newspapers on a subway is garnering support for the idea that minimizes, diminishes and pooh-poohs the impact of technology on our behavior and thoughts. Gary Vaynerchuk, author of The Thank You Economy and Crush It!, recently wrote a rant on Medium.com entitled “Technology hasn’t changed Us”.

    His basic premise is that people are doing what they have always wanted to do: ignore other people and settle into our natural state of distraction. While I agree with this premise, there’s still something wrong here. Let’s look at this more closely. What is the difference between the subway image of 1947 and today’s image of devices in our faces instead?


    With newspapers, there was nothing but news. You didn’t have a choice of what to view. When we see people on devices today, on the plane, at restaurants, tripping over their shoelaces while walking, it’s important to realize that every person isn’t necessarily doing anything useful on their device. Every single person in the picture on the right is looking at something different. They may not be learning anything new.

    And like anything else, what makes the distinction is self-motivation. What have we learned from marketing and advertising in the last century? People are lazy. People like taking the easy road. So what does the Internet contain? What do devices contain? What products and services do people create that is now marketed on our technology platforms? Games, advertising, self-generated psychobabble and meaningless distraction. Along with useful information that could transform the world and that is transforming the world already.

    What would have been a more meaningful comparison is when TVs entered the media arena, not newspapers. But the thing with TVs is that you couldn’t take them with you… until now.

    Gary’s right: We are doing what comes naturally, what comes easiest to us. But the reality is that what comes easiest, comes easier than ever before. The steepness of the downhill slide just exponentially increased.

    The positive side to technology is huge. I’m not crying, “Doom for the world, technology is here!” What I’m saying is that technology unquestionably has an impact and to deny that is ignorance. If you’re like me (and probably like Gary!), you make the effort to filter all the content that is in your face. You build up motivation to figure out where you want to spend your time. Gary got that right — if a kid today wants to go and play outside, they will get up and go play outside. What he got wrong is that, now, there is a much bigger mental barrier to overcome because of the choice to stay and eat what technology is feeding you.

    The guys with the newspapers? They didn’t have to make that choice. Guess what? You do. And that choice is either made by you or for you. You decide. Welcome to Escaping Digital Comas 101.

  • Knocking Big Data Down to Size
    Building loyalty and engagement with big data and gamification doesn’t mean you have to lasso the moon.

    My Coke Rewards

    Strategic marketers like Coca-Cola‘s Taylor Miffleton talk a lot about brand love. After all, it’s the purest form of loyalty. Brand love emerges only after consumers make a primal connection with a product or service – a bond that’s stronger than the lure of lower prices or snazzy new features.

    Not long ago, cultivating brand love required equal helpings of hard work, patience and luck. But few companies today, no matter how hard they work, can afford to patiently wait for consumers to come around, and counting on a surfeit of good luck isn’t much of a strategy.

    Creating brand love today requires getting out in front of a fast-moving, digitally connected customer base marked by constantly shifting allegiances and an ability to chase the next best deal. In other words, you need all the help you can get.

    Increasingly, that assist is coming from big data. For marketers, this means the swirling cosmos of structured and unstructured information culled from the mobile devices, social networks, enterprise applications, and networked products that mediate virtually everything we do in modern life. Every time we take action online or with a mobile device, we’re revealing what interests and motivates us. With each of us throwing off this kind of data all day, every day, what brand wouldn’t want to take advantage of it?

    Yet while big data is getting plenty of attention in news headlines – thanks, NSA! – its practical uses seem to be eluding most marketers. This is a core thesis in a new book by Lisa Arthur, chief marketing officer for data analytics and warehousing giant Teradata. In Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value, Arthur recounts a Teradata survey of marketers that powerfully illustrates the problem: 45 percent of marketers surveyed feel that data is the most underutilized asset in their organization, and just 10 percent believe they use data in a systematic, strategic way. This isn’t what you want to hear from marketing executives expected to help drive incremental sales, improve customer retention, and generate demand in the marketplace.

    Waders for Your Big Data Pools

    Fortunately, Arthur’s book offers some useful prescriptions for those trying to wade through the vast pools of new data their target users are creating every day. For instance, Step 3 in her five-step plan for big data marketing exhorts marketers to “Untangle the Data Hairball.” By this Arthur means filtering out worthwhile signals from the great volume of data noise that can too often confuse and distract marketers. In other words, it’s about knocking big data down to size so you can make some real use of it.

    To do this, Arthur argues you need to start by defining your vision – what it is you want to accomplish. Only after you define those business goals can you determine which data is useful to your marketing effort and which isn’t.

    I can’t agree more with this approach, and it’s a key best practice of gamification, which essentially is motivating people through data. Take SAP, the enterprise software leader. Its gamified social business network, the SAP Community Network (SCN), has more than 2 million members, including SAP customers, partners and employees. SCN members generate plenty of big data by engaging in thousands of discussions every day, and interacting with hundreds of thousands of pieces of informational content. SAP uses that data to shape the gamification experience in ways that motivate members to participate, engage, and contribute more quality content to the community. But not everything in that stream of big data is useful for achieving those goals, so some hairball untangling is in order. For instance, since a key aim is to encourage more high-quality contributions, the gamified experience rewards contributors not for how often they post (which is determined by simple post volume data), but rather for the quality of their contributions (as determined by how many “helpful” votes their posts receive from other members).

    I’m In the Mood for Brand Love

    One of the by-products of a gamification program is a collection of user activity data that can be used to generate insights, be predictive, and last but not least, cultivate brand love. Which brings me back to Coca-Cola, who recently launched a gamified version of its MyCokeRewards site. The site offers fans of Coke, Coke Zero and other products a way to earn status and accumulate reward points that they can redeem for coupons, tickets and other perks. The gamified site differs from traditional rewards programs because it’s not transaction-based (where you buy a soft drink and enter the code printed under the cap to get free stuff). Instead, Coca-Cola is rewarding consumers for sharing their love on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through posts and photos bearing specific hashtags.

    The campaign gives Coca-Cola a way to observe how consumers share their brand preferences with peers – which is a kind of Holy Grail for marketers, since 90 percent of shoppers surveyed in 2013 said they trust social media word-of-mouth over any other kind of advertising. The data of course feeds and influences the gamification experience, but it will also inform other marketing campaigns. And not incidentally, motivating consumers to engage in these behaviors begets another happy result: more brand ambassadors for Coke.

    No matter how you’re planning to build brand love, take a page from Lisa Arthur’s Big Data Marketing and from the best practices of gamification: Take the time to unravel the data hairball and understand which information will help you reach your business goals. It’ll keep you from feeling that your big data is just too big to be useful.

    Big Data Marketing

  • Walter White's Facebook Look Back Video Is The Perfect Bit Of 'Breaking Bad' Nostalgia
    No one except you really cares about those Facebook Look Back videos you’ve been posting online. But here’s one you’ll actually want to watch. Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues made one for good ol’ Walter White, and it’s pretty spot on.

    From his family vacation to that pizza throw, the would-be Facebook Look Back video for Walter White gives us everything we’ve been missing since the “Breaking Bad” finale.

Mobile Technology News, February 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.

  • Is Sony disowning Microsoft and Windows? Not quite, says CEO
    Sony is leaving open the possibility of products using Microsoft’s mobile operating system.
  • Safer Internet Day Celebration Tues To Feature Senator Chuck Schumer

    Safer Internet Day event to be webcast from 9 AM to noon on Tuesday

    Safer Internet Day (SID) has been celebrated in Europe and around the world since 2004. While a few companies and organizations have sponsored Safer Internet Day programs in the U.S. over the years, there has yet to be an officially sanctioned U.S. event supported by a wide coalition of companies, non-profit organizations and government entities, until now.

    This year ConnectSafely.org, the non-profit Internet safety organization where I serve as co-director, was appointed as the first U.S. host for Safer Internet Day. On Feb. 11, it will host the official U.S. Safer Internet Day 2014 event in Washington, D.C.

    The event, which will feature U.S. Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer, will be a celebration of the positive ways in which we all use the Internet. Young people, educators, representatives from technology companies, youth-serving organizations and government officials will speak along with a panel discussion featuring students from around the country and another panel with leaders from Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Xbox Live and Google/YouTube. European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes will participate via video. In addition, the event will be streamed live on Facebook Live and at SaferInternetDay.us

    Late in 2012, then-U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Vice President Kroes signed a joint declaration. This led to ConnectSafely’s appointment as the U.S. SID host by the European Commission and InSafe, the Brussels-based non-profit that coordinates global SID events.

    The event is supported by Microsoft, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Sprint, Symantec, Trend Micro and Twitter. ConnectSafely.org’s non-profit partners include the National 4-H Council, the National PTA, Committee for Children, Common Sense Media, the Family Online Safety Institute, iKeepSafe, the Internet Education Foundation, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

    A centerpiece of this year’s celebration is ConnectSafely’s “One Good Thing” campaign. People around the U.S. are sharing something they’ve done, benefited from or observed that either helps create a better Internet or uses connected technology to help create a better world. Then, they’re submitting these short (sometimes as little as 20 second) “selfie” videos or very brief written statements about things they’ve done or witnessed – whether big or little – and submitting them at http://OneGoodThing.us or emailing them to SID@ConnectSafely.org. You can also Tweet or post to other social media about your One Good Thing or Safer Internet Day using the hashtags #SID2014, #OneGoodThing and @ConnectSafely. And do check out what people have contributed so far by visiting the SID blog.

    Please join all of us in celebrating Safer Internet Day and each user’s efforts, big and small, to make the Internet a better place and the world a better place using the Internet and connected media!

    Disclosure: Larry Magid is co-director of ConnectSafely.org and co-chair of the U.S. Safer Internet Committee. ConnectSafely receives financial support from some companies mentioned in this article.

  • 3D Printing Has Started A Revolution
    The revolution brewing in electronics is unprecedented — even for an industry that is used to being upended. The rules that defined a century of innovation, design, and production are about to be rewritten. And modern manufacturing will be swept away.

    Few companies grasp the coming upheaval. Perhaps because 3D printing, an innovation that can come across as a curiosity, is propelling this disruption. Yet, these printers, which churn out objects by laying thin layer after thin layer of metal, plastics or other materials on top of each other, won’t tip the scale alone.

    It’s their collision with two other disruptive technologies — intelligent robotics and open source electronics — that will bring an end to the era of big and complex global supply chains. Together, they’re going to usher in the digitalization of manufacturing, by creating flexible, fast, local supply chains underpinned by software.

    The IBM Institute of Business Value recently conducted an in-depth, quantitative research that shows just how dramatically this new approach will drive down production costs, reduce barriers to entering a market, and shift global trade flows over the next decade. The study, The New Software-Defined Supply Chain found that:

    • Within 10 years, the cost of churning out products using these new technologies will be 23 percent cheaper than today’s traditional manufacturing approach. For example, by 2022, making hearing aids by using 3D printers and open source electronics would cost 65 percent as compared with current prices.
    • The minimum volume of production needed to enter a market will drop by 90 percent. Which means that existing manufacturers could face a flood of new competitors setting up in small niche markets.
    • The design cycle will speed up dramatically. Companies will use open source electronics to iterate and experiment more quickly with prototypes and 3D printing. They will then decide on the appropriate design, bypassing the need to build standardized parts, create dedicated molds, or design every piece in house.
    • 3D printing and robotic assembly will upend far-flung manufacturing operations, undercutting the need for large supplier networks and extended supply chains. By 2022, the ideal manufacturing location will be local or regional.

    The challenge is that manufacturing leaders aren’t ready for the disruption they face. Some 70 percent of the supply chain leaders we talked to admitted that they had little or no preparation for this new software driven supply chain. The picture is bleaker when it came to their plans for the rest of the decade, which included more of the same old manufacturing investments.

    If leading companies hope to stay on top in this new era, they’ll need to embrace radical change and master new skills.

    Because customers now dictate product design and retailing, companies will need to adjust their offerings more quickly and learn to do runs of smaller, more personalized batches of products. Rapid production will alter the competitive landscape, which means companies will have to re-evaluate the optimal scale of production and reconsider whether they should have a stronger local presence. Supply chains will become simpler, more flexible and localized so organizations will need to reassess where their competitive advantage lies, whether tech innovation or close ties with customers.

    What does this future look like in practical terms? Consider where one consumer goods company that churns out products in the millions of units is headed. By aggressively adopting robotics, the company slashed European manufacturing costs to levels approaching China’s. Now, the business is prepping for an era when it will produce thousands of units of a product instead of millions, and how it will need to restructure its supply chain, product design and distribution.

    The traditional manufacturing system has a powerful grip because it was successful. But it was tailored to a different time, one of mass markets, top-down design, and supply chains built on low-cost labor. Three innovations — 3D printing, robotics, and open source electronics — are breaking that mold of manufacturing. They’re ushering in a new era based on customization, on demand manufacturing, and regional, even local manufacturing. It’s a revolution in the making.

    Check out the video below to see how IBM used 3D printing to manufacture data-driven souvenirs at Wimbledon last summer:

  • Toshiba's 13-inch Chromebook available now
    The first 13-inch Chromebook is now available from Toshiba. It offers a high-quality build for a low price.
  • Olympic Google Doodle Appears To Hit Russia's Anti-Gay Law As Sochi Games Begin
    It appears Google is not a fan of Russia’s anti-gay law.

    The Google homepage featured a Doodle on Thursday of 6 athletes across a rainbow banner, with the following quote from the Olympic Charter: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”


    The Doodle was visible across international sites, including Russia’s, as the Olympic games began in Sochi.

    Russia’s ban on gay “propaganda” to minors has sparked international outrage as gay activists have been fined across the country since the law’s implementation last year, according to the Associated Press.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suggestion that gays were welcome in Sochi if they “leave the kids alone,” offered little reassurance.

    Recent protests around the world targeted Olympic sponsors, and AT&T was the first sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee to speak out, stating, “Russia’s law is harmful to LGBT individuals and families, and it’s harmful to a diverse society.”

    The Human Rights Campaign offered their support for Google’s logo, with organization president Chad Griffin declaring in a press statement, “Alongside Olympic sponsors like AT&T, Google has made a clear and unequivocal statement that Russia’s anti-LGBT discrimination is indefensible. Now it’s time for each and every remaining Olympic sponsor to follow their lead. The clock is ticking, and the world is watching.”

    Google declined to provide a comment on the logo to HuffPost.

    This would not be the first time Google has come out in support of gay rights. In 2012, Google launched “Legalize Love,” an initiative supporting LGBT rights around the world.

    This story has been updated with responses from Google and the Human Rights Campaign.

  • LinkedIn slumps 15% on weak outlook
    Shares of professional networking service LinkedIn fall by as much as 15% after it posts a weaker-than-expected outlook.
  • Firefox for touch screens goes to beta
    As the stable version of Firefox gets additional social features, the lesser-used Beta finally gets a Windows 8 touch screen-friendly interface and Firefox for Android updates, too.
  • DIY apps and the rise of 'citizen developers'
    Don’t have the right software? Write your own!
  • They'll Sponsor Your American Dream, But It Might Cost You Your Soul
    Gaming the H-1B: A shady network of interconnected tech staffing companies in Virginia is preying on foreign graduates desperate for American work visas.

    Just days after Vishrut Kanoria graduated from a top American university on the East Coast this year, he thought he hit the job jackpot. The 22-year-old economics major, who had moved to the U.S. from India in 2009 on a student visa, knew he had to find a job at a company that would sponsor him for a work visa—or he’d be forced to move back to Bangalore.

    He found Concepts Information Technology Inc., a tech staffing company that provides IT industry professionals to larger businesses, through his school’s on-campus recruitment program. While many of his friends struggled to find employment, Kanoria packed up his stuff and drove four hours to Vienna, Virginia, to start his new life as a “business analyst.” As a consultant for ConceptsIT, he was told his job would be to translate a client’s needs into technical language so that ConceptsIT’s tech department could “implement the solutions more effectively.”

  • Fighting Zombies Just Got Intense With This Virtual Reality System
    One small game hardware startup company has found a way to show off its new technology — and breathe new life into the nation’s slowly dissipating interest in zombies — by allowing gamers to blast their way through a horde of the undead.

    With a new immersive virtual reality experience called “Inversion VR,” Zero Latency can turn any indoor open space into a free-moving, physical game environment. And now, thanks to a new promotional video for “Zombie Fort: Smackdown,” gamers are getting to see how the system works.

    So, how did the idea come about?

    While the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset made a big splash in the gaming world after the E3 gaming conference in June, the folks at Zero Latency found being tethered to a computer or console by cords a bit burdensome. So, as Project Grey notes, they made some minor adjustments.

    Inversion VR involves a room set up with tracking cameras and an Oculus Rift linked to a fully wireless gaming backpack (think: Ghostbusters proton pack). As the video demonstrates, once the Inversion VR rig is set up, gamers can — for the first time ever — navigate the play space by simply walking into it.

    And what better way to demonstrate the new technology than by surrounding users with zombies? The clip shows exactly what happens to those who dare to take up arms and don the Rift in its flagship game “Zombie Fort: Smackdown.” Players begin in a small room that is very poorly lit. If players want to see what’s coming at them, they’ll need to rely on muzzle flare (which is fine because when surrounded by zombies, one really should really never stop shooting).

    Unfortunately the system won’t be available to the general public any time soon. (After all, the Oculus Rift technology it uses is still just a prototype itself.) However, Zero Latency is showing off “Zombie Fort: Smackdown” at Pausefest, a digital innovation conference, in Melbourne, Australia, this month.

  • "Women 3.0," Taking On The Good Ol' Boys in Tech With Style
    For all the talk and bluster about diversity initiatives in Silicon Valley, the results are pitiful. Year after year, women-led technologies companies receive less than 10 percent of venture capital funding. In the first half of 2013, 7 percent of female run companies received VC funding, less than half of those applied. In 2001, the number was 5.72 percent.

    Tech companies employ an average of 12.33 percent women engineers. The numbers for executives are even worse. As Reuters reported, “9 percent of U.S. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) are female, down from 11 percent last year, and 12 percent in 2010.” That same survey revealed that about one third of the organizations had no women at all in their IT departments.

    The irony is however, that on average, women spend more time online per month, 24.8 hours compared to 22.9 hours for men. Not only are they online more, but they spend more time looking for ways to spend their hard earned 71 cents on the dollar: “Men and women visit retail sites in practically equal amounts, but women spend 20 percent more time on those sites.” And perhaps most importantly for companies looking how to finally turn a profit, women engage other users to discuss purchasing and recommendations more than men.

    Considering women spend more actual dollars on gaming consoles, books, music, toys, apparel, home and living and accessories, then perhaps these companies might put women on their staff?

    So what are the hard numbers? Well, they’re a more difficult challenge to procure than one might think. When CNN asked 20 leading companies to share their data on race and gender, 17 of them said absolutely no way. All companies with more than 100 employees are required to file these statistics with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission independent federal agency, (EEOC). Yet, CNN was forced to file a Freedom of Information Act with the EEOC and the Department of Labor. And they were denied. Denied?

    I am a woman director, which is a field that is similarly dominated by men. In researching for this blog post, we had an equally difficult time putting our fingers on the numbers of women in my field. I do know, however, that the percentage of women in the union I call home, The Director’s Guild of America, has never risen above 10 percent during my eight year membership. Discovering the same was true for my fellow female trailblazers in tech has motivated me to kick off a new series on A Total Disruption entitled “Women 3.0.”

    For the premiere episode, we join Sarah and Jinhee, co-founders of a social shopping app called Snapette, as they face this stark reality on the eve of their “demo day,” the culmination of their tenure at Dave McClure’s accelerator program, 500 Startups. It’s during this demo day that they either “make it rain” and find financing for their venture, or part ways, which will mean Sarah returns to her MBA program at Harvard and puts her startup dreams on ice for now.

    These fearless founders know the challenges they face navigating the ol’ boys club of Silicon Valley where money meets tech, but they believed in their vision. Snapette is an app that acts similar to the way YELP catalogs and locates your choice of restaurants, bars and shops in your immediate area. Snapette helps us locate a specific item of clothing in a specific location.

    The concept is sound, based on detailed research of shopping and social habits. As Sarah tells us, 34 percent of all women have taken a photo of a product in a store, 25 percent of women have shared photos with friends to get feedback and an incredible 92 percent of women share deals or offers that they find with other women. While the general concepts of local retail information, a searchable catalog of products and user-generated reviews and photo content all might sound familiar, until the creation of Snapette, there was not a centralized mobile outlet that combined it all together

    While two Harvard students launching a business venture together might not sound out of the ordinary, Jinhee and Sarah’s path is unusual because their respective time at Harvard occurred over 20 years apart. Sarah, is just 27, while Jinhee is 50 and a mother of three. These ladies embraced the fact that they are the minority in this high-tech world, and were determined to turn that to their advantage. Hoping to raise $500,000, they went on to secure $1.5 million in financing. Last year, PriceGrabber acquired Snapette, allowing Sarah and Jinhee to realize their dream of opening an office in New York.

  • GT sapphire plant could help build 100-200M five-inch iPhone displays
    GT Advanced’s sapphire plant in Mesa, Arizona — built to produce goods for Apple — appears poised to produce anywhere between 100 million and 200 million five-inch display covers, a new report suggests. Import records show that in January, the company acquired machines labeled as Intego Sirius Sapphire Display Inspection Tools. The machines are large, and able to process several slabs of screen covers at once.


  • Twitter shares dive as growth slows
    Shares in microblogging site Twitter fell by 21% after it reported slower growth in user numbers, just three months after its flotation on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • Prank Proves 'I Follow You On Instagram' Is The Creepiest Pick-Up Line Ever
    Andrew Hales of LAHWF fame is back with a prank that proves our always online and social world can sometime be a tad bit creepy when it collides with the offline.

    To all you guys and gals out there, one tip: “I follow you on Instagram” is not a pick-up line you should ever say to a stranger, even if you look a bit like Macklemore.

  • Mobile Apps For The Home Obsessed (VIDEO)
    If you find yourself sitting in your living room dreaming of paint cards or wondering how you can fix that chipped molding, you need to get a little app happy. Watch this video for great apps for the home obsessed and find resources for buying or renting a home, decorating ideas and more. Your dream home is just a tap away.

  • 'Tainted Love' Performed By Hard Drives Will Have You Geek Out
    There’s little doubt in our minds that you’re familiar with Ed Cobb’s 1964 song “Tainted Love,” made insanely popular by the 1981 cover by Soft Cell.

    What you’re not likely familiar with, however, is this cover of that cover from Gigawipf done by a series of hard drives. Press “Enter” to let this meta music cover load.

  • Planned Parenthood Welcomes Big Donation From CREDO Mobile
    The wireless carrier CREDO is making major donations to three progressive nonprofits this month to boost their respective efforts against what the company called the attacks of “right-wing” legislatures.

    The company announced Thursday that it will give a combined $206,690 in donations to Planned Parenthood, the international environmental organization 350.org and the Mother Jones Investigative Fund, according to a release obtained by HuffPost. Every month, CREDO members vote to distribute donations, generated by customers, among three progressive nonprofits. The larger share of votes a nonprofit earns, the greater proportion of CREDO’s monthly fund it receives.

    Planned Parenthood got the largest share of votes in January and will receive 39 percent of CREDO’s donations — $80,609 — to aid its battles against numerous defunding efforts put forth by congressional Republicans.

    “Recent efforts to restrict access to safe and legal abortion, as well as preventive care like birth control and cancer screenings, have a very real and devastating impact on women who already have the least access to health care,” Eric Ferrero, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for communications, said in Thursday’s press release. “CREDO’s support makes it possible for Planned Parenthood to fight back against these attacks on every front to protect women’s health and rights.”

    Last year, Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Diane Black (R-Tenn.) were so desperate to strip the nonprofit’s access to Title X family-planning grants that they introduced identical bills on the House floor within the first two days of the 2013 legislative session. Then in April, Ohio Republicans attempted to slash $2 million dollars of Planned Parenthood funding for the third time in one year. Consequently, Planned Parenthood has been forced to dedicate significant resources to fighting these measures in court.

    CREDO also awarded 350.org $66,140 for its active opposition to the implementation of the Keystone XL pipeline. And the Mother Jones Investigative Fund received $59,609 for its “critical force in exposing corporate and political corruption,” according to the press release.

    CREDO has raised more than $76 million for progressive nonprofit groups over the past 29 years, including the Rainforest Action Network, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the American Civil Liberties Union and Jobs with Justice.

    In January, CREDO became the first phone company to release a transparency report shedding light on the federal government’s controversial requests for data on its subscribers’ phone records and text messages.

  • This Is The Only Honest Facebook 'Look Back' Video
    You might not know how to feel about your Facebook “Look Back” video, an individualized montage of your time on Facebook rolled out for the social network’s 10th anniversary. But regardless of how the “Look Back” affects you, it likely isn’t the most honest account of your real life.

    Here’s a more truthful one, from comedians Tripp and Tyler.

  • Email Follies Plague Corporate America
    The modern world of Corporate America runs on email and web-based applications; consequently, employees of Corporate America are continuously sending emails, at all hours of the day and night, using their corporate email accounts. These emails, which must be automatically archived by the corporation in order to remain in compliance with data management regulations, frequently end up creating costly problems. Corporations must avail themselves of behavioral modification tools to break the expensive habits that employees armed with smartphones and mobile work email accounts have formed. Email communications can and have captured dishonest and illegal activities on the part of employees, but that is a larger issue than I can address here today. In this article, I will discuss only the relatively simple case of email “foot-in-mouth” — offhand comments made in the course of a conversation that later could be misinterpreted in a negative way.

    One major problem is an information gap between top executives and mid- or lower-level employees. While IT security personnel may have educated the execs on proper “email hygiene” and the permanence of email, other employees may be quite unaware of that aspect of their communications. The assumption that emails can be deleted by simply moving them to the trash folder is inaccurate and can lead to serious trouble for an organization.

    Take, for example, a case that emerged in the recent banking crisis: mid-level Goldman Sachs trader Fabrice Tourre, known jokingly to his co-workers as “Fabulous Fab,” sent several emails touting the role of the products he was selling in the looming banking catastrophe. “The whole building is about to collapse,” he wrote, “anytime now … Only potential survivor, the fabulous Fab … standing in the middle of all these complex, highly leveraged, exotic trades he created without necessarily understanding all of the implications of those monstruosities [sic]!!!” This email, among others, implicated Goldman Sachs with knowingly misleading investors. While the suit eventually resolved in Fabrice Tourre being found liable for fraud , Goldman Sachs suffered from a major loss of reputation and endured a great deal of media outrage. Ethics and business practices aside, Fabrice Tourre clearly did not understand that anything written via a company email client, to paraphrase the Miranda warning, can and will be used against its author and indeed its host company as well.

    Another example involved the London Interbank Offered Rate, or “Libor,” which is a key interest rate estimated by major London banks in order to determine the rate that a bank would pay if it borrowed money from other banks. This rate is then used throughout all lending that those banks conduct, thereby affecting borrowers throughout the world. In December of 2012, amidst the infamous Libor-rigging scandal, the UK’s Financial Services Authority’s report quoted UBS employee-emails blatantly manipulating and attempting bribes to control the Libor: “If you keep 6s unchanged today … I will f—- do one humongous deal with you … Like a 50,000 buck deal, whatever … I need you to keep it as low as possible … if you do that … I’ll pay you, you know, 50,000 dollars, 100,000 dollars… whatever you want … I’m a man of my word.” The email from which that desperate and unethical request was cited, along with a host of others in a similar vein, are both incriminating and highly embarrassing for UBS.

    Despite the many high-profile cases involving email evidence, employees in corporate America still send these foolish emails. Employees and employers alike must remember that whether or not an employee email actively implicates the employee (and therefore the company, by association) in a very public criminal investigation with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, such emails can still severely damage a company’s business and reputation. In some cases, the loss of reputation can in itself be a killing blow. When it comes to modern court cases, email evidence often comprises the difference between a winning and losing lawsuit.

    It is beyond refute that for every email sent, there’s an excellent chance that someone, or many persons, may have kept a copy: the individual (both the sender and any receivers), the company mail server, the backup provider for either the sender or receiver, or the smart phone from which the email was sent. Regulations require that companies archive emails to some extent, and major companies who are under major scrutiny must store all their data to the furthest possible extent of technology. There are very few cases in which it is impossible for data to be retrieved or restored. How, operating in a world where any unthinking (or unethical) email sent by an employee could mean their employer’s downfall, are companies to protect themselves?

    I will leave the ethics education for companies to handle on their own. As for protecting against email folly, the solution is simple: use a tried and tested behavioral modification approach. Put a program in place that clearly outlines your company email policy (I recommend teaming this with a BYOD policy for the greatest effect), and includes examples of email communications that are prohibited during working hours, from company email clients and via company machines. Let employees know that if they send an email violating any one of those policies, the company will take immediate action against that person. This means that the next time an employee sends out, for benign example, a personal email about an eBay transaction while at work or via a work email account, the company will notify the user that such email communication is prohibited and notate the infraction on their employee file. While this change in policy may be draconian, employees will adapt much faster than one might think, and it will alleviate the worries of countless legal counsels, IT security professionals, and indeed the employees themselves — this policy protects them as well, removing the risk of having their personal communications examined in a court of law.

    Daniel B. Garrie is the executive managing partner at www.lawandforensics.com. For more information, or with questions and comments, please email at Daniel@lawandforensics.com. Daniel would like to thank Kelsey Fredston-Hermann for her editorial assistance on this article.

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