As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.
- VIDEO: 'But professors have beards!'
Research from a campaign group says breaking down cultural hurdles in the classroom is necessary to get more girls interested in science and technology
- China demand boosts Huawei profits
Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei says strong demand from China helped it to increase annual profits by 34%.
- Office for iPad Apps Soar To The Top of The App Store
Launched only 4 days ago by Microsoft, the Office for iPad suite of apps are dominating the Top Grossing and Top Free apps charts in the iTunes App Store in the Productivity category. This should not come as a surprise to many readers as these apps may very well have been some of the most longed [...]
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- Albuquerque Protesters Backed By Anonymous Decry Deadly Police Shootings
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Hundreds of protesters marched past riot police in Albuquerque on Sunday, blocking traffic, trying to get on freeways and shouting anti-police slogans days after a YouTube video emerged threatening retaliation for a recent deadly police shooting.
The video, which bore the logo of the computer hacking collective Anonymous, warned of a cyberattack on city websites and called for the protest march. Albuquerque police said their site had been breached early Sunday afternoon, but it was visible late in the afternoon after being offline for hours. The department didn’t return multiple phone messages left Sunday evening. Earlier, police spokesman Simon Drobik confirmed the disruption was due to a cyberattack and said investigators had not uncovered the source of the hack.
Meanwhile, the protesters repeatedly marched the 2 miles from downtown Albuquerque to the University of New Mexico, holding signs protesting recent police shootings and often snarling traffic. Motorists honked, and supporters took photos with smartphones. Activists called on various city officials to resign.
Albuquerque police in riot gear and New Mexico State Police followed the marchers, but they had not made any arrests by early evening. Protesters were seen shouting epithets at officers, who announced over a loudspeaker that the protest was an unlawful assembly.
The protest comes as Albuquerque police have been involved in 37 shootings, 23 of them fatal since 2010. Critics say that’s far too many for a department serving a city of about 555,000.
Justin Elder, 24, followed the protest as a passenger in a car and held a sign that read, “APD: Dressed To Kill.”
“That’s what this police force is about,” Elder said.
As the crowds arrived back at the university late Sunday, one protester climbed a tall street sign on the city’s historic Route 66 and unsuccessfully attempted to bring it down.
Erin Thompson, spokeswoman for the mayor, said, “Mayor (Richard) Berry is actively tracking the situation in consultation with Chief (Gorden) Eden and command staff and has been all afternoon and throughout the evening.” The mayor was holding a press conference later Sunday.
Another protester, Alexander Siderits, 23, said he was participating because he was “fed up” with how police treat citizens. “It has reached a boiling point,” he said, “and people just can’t take it anymore.”
The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the department for more than a year, looking into complaints of civil rights violations and allegations of excessive use of force.
Last week, Albuquerque police fatally shot a man at a public housing complex. Authorities said he shot at officers before they returned fire.
In the shooting on March 16 that led to the YouTube posting Tuesday, a homeless man was killed in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains on the east side of Albuquerque. The shooting was captured on video and followed a long standoff.
Anonymous, a loosely organized worldwide hacking group, has been blamed for breaking into confidential information and defacing websites.
The FBI has opened an investigation into the shooting.
- In The Not So Distant Future, Bioluminescent Trees Could Replace Street Lights
According to Daan Roosegaarde, the future of art and design is awash with spectacular innovation.
From giant vacuum cleaning systems aimed at eradicating smog to “smart” apparel that becomes translucent when the wearer is turned on, the Dutch artist/designer/architect has helped imagine some hair-raising projects that could propel us into a new era of aesthetics.
His newest endeavor — a plan to replace light fixtures with bioluminescent plants — is no letdown in comparison.
Roosegaarde is hoping to employ biomimicry to transform your average street-side trees into beacons of light for passersby. Like the luminescent abilities of jellyfish, mushrooms or fireflies, Roosegaarde, scientist Alexander Krichevsky and the State University of New York are all on the case, splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria with the chloroplast of a houseplant.
The smaller-scale, glow-in-the-dark specimens would act as the basis for a project of greater proportions — light-emitting installations that look like trees. “What happens when technology jumps out of the computer screen and becomes part of the things that we wear and the roads that we drive on?” Roosegaarde muses in the video above.
Watch the short clip to hear the artist speak more about his ambitious plans and the reason he’s ventured to the United States to pursue his quest. Let us know your thoughts on the merging of nature and technology in the comments.
- This Eerie Japanese 'Future Restaurant' Has No Employees
Sure, waiters can be distracting. But imagine going to a restaurant and having no need to interact with a single human.
Welcome to the future, as sketched out in a new video by a Tokyo-based tech company. In it, a customer manages to study a menu, order several items, and settle her bill, all without interference from a flesh-and-blood employee:
According to the Recruit Tech website, the technologies on display in the video are all ones that already exist, albeit in early forms: Apple’s new, Minority Report-esque indoor tracking device, iBeacon; the XBox application SmartGlass; Kinect; and the many applications developing within the growing field of augmented reality.
It may be jarring to watch the whole solitary experience unfold, but the vision shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Last fall, a survey by the American trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News made zero waves when it concluded that casual eateries will “continue to push service duties away from people and onto technological platforms such as kiosks, tabletop devices and tablet computers.” Another NRN survey predicted that drive-thru lanes will be staffed by multilingual “Siri-like software” by 2020.
Of course, anyone who’s been to one of Japan’s “mercilessly efficient” automated sushi joints — where a sushi plate can go for as low as $1 due to reduced costs — might tell you it’s all worth it.
- Portraits Of The World's Great Quantum Mechanics Institutions… Their Blackboards, That Is
For three years photographer Alejandro Guijarro traveled from one quantum mechanics institute to another, exploring the scientific havens that serve as home to some of the world’s greatest thinkers. In search of images that would provide a glimpse into the mysterious realm of physics, Guijarro captured portraits of the blackboards proudly displayed in lecture rooms across the globe. The resulting snapshots, titled “Momentum,” appear like windows into the minds of modern day geniuses, towing the line between artifacts of human progress and abstract works of art.
Guijarro’s adventures have taken him to Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, UC Berkeley, Stanford and SLAC (The National Accelerator Laboratory) in America, CERN in Switzerland and the Instituto de Física Corpuscular in Spain. Each visit was a new experience, as he sought to photograph the blackboards without interference, freeing the swirl of numbers and symbols from their frames, and exhibiting the images that remain with very little explanation.
“At this stage they are documents,” Guijarro explained to The Huffingtno Post. “Once removed from their institutional beginnings the meaning evolves. The viewer begins to appreciate the equations for their line and form. Color comes into play and the waves created by the blackboard eraser suggest a vast landscape or galactic setting.”
He draws parallels to Jean-Michel Basquait’s “formulaic language” and Cy Twombly’s later canvases, noting that his particular masterpieces were created by scientists unaware of their artistic merit. What began as precise messages — equations meant to illuminate the very real possibilities of the natural world — end up, in the hands of Guijarro, as objects of contemporary photography. The lines and shapes hold secrets known only to the few who speak the language of quantum mechanics, but simultaneously appeal to the aesthetic-hungry viewers who appreciate the excitement of an objet d’art.
“These are not works that pretend to hold any kind of objective truth. Stripped of their wrapping they are photographs of large drawings! Yet the process of finding, documenting and collecting them has a transmutational effect,” Guijarro added. “‘Momentum’ can be seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between science and art.”
- New Animation Site Lightheartedly Celebrates Cesar Chavez
John Grimes, a San Francisco-based cartoonist, animator, illustrator and moviemaker has recently launched the site Fizzdom.com which he describes as a place for “amusing and provocative quotes, cartoons, videos and backstories.”
Five days a week, Grimes posts a custom-made animated GIF that takes a somewhat irreverent and lighthearted look at an issue or historical figure. But it’s not all fun and games. These posts also have other content, often including embedded video that explains the context of his animated cartoon
One recent example if this animation of a quote from Stephen Colbert. “Why don’t we go to war on women?” Colbert asks and then answers, “They don’t have any oil.”
Just in time for what would have been Chavez’s 87th birthday (he died in 1993), Grimes has created a cartoon that shows the union leader handing a strawberry to characters from Mad Men and then getting a sideways glance from Donton Abbey’s Lady Grantham — a woman who thought that the help should remain invisible. But Chavez made farm workers very visible as he fought to get the growers to recognize their the Unied Farm Workers Union.
Check out the animations and his site and scroll down to listen to my 5 and 3/4 minute interview with Grimes.
- Alibaba invests in Chinese mall firm
Chinese internet giant Alibaba invests $692m in Intime, a Chinese mall operator, as the firm continues its investment spree ahead of its public stock offering.
- Consumers Save $2.5 Billion A Year If A 'Kill Switch' Stops Phone Thefts, Study Finds
Consumers could save an estimated $2.5 billion each year if proposed “kill switch” technology significantly reduced smartphone thefts nationwide, according to a new study.
The analysis by William Duckworth, a statistics professor at Creighton University, estimates that consumers spend about $500 million each year replacing stolen phones and around $2 billion each year buying premium cell phone insurance through wireless carriers.
Introducing a kill switch feature that allowed victims to disable their stolen devices could virtually eliminate phone thefts because criminals would no longer have an incentive to steal them, law enforcement officials say.
If phone thefts were no longer a concern, more than half of smartphone owners say they would buy less expensive phone insurance coverage from third parties like Apple or SquareTrade that doesn’t cover theft or loss, according to a small survey of 1,200 smartphone owners Duckworth conducted along with his analysis.
“If theft becomes a non-issue then only the most paranoid person would pay the extra money for premium insurance to cover theft,” Duckworth said in an interview.
His survey also found that 99 percent of respondents were in favor of having a kill switch feature on their phones.
Duckworth’s analysis comes as the smartphone industry faces increased pressure to reduce the rising number of thefts. About 1.6 million phones were stolen in the United States in 2012, according to Consumer Reports.
Legislation requiring that every phone sold in the United States feature a kill switch has been introduced in both houses of Congress, but no votes have yet taken place.
San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have also pressed manufacturers to introduce stricter anti-theft technology. Phone robberies have become increasingly violent, with several murders taking place across the country.
“In addition to saving lives, the common sense theft deterrent features we have been advocating for will also help save consumers money,” Gascon and Schneiderman said in a joint statement about Duckworth’s study.
“Manufacturers and carriers need to put public safety before corporate profits and stop this violent epidemic, which has put millions of smartphone users at risk,” they said.
The CTIA, the wireless industry trade group, did not respond to a request for comment about the study. The group has opposed a kill switch in the past, arguing that a hacker could exploit the feature to shut down the phones of consumers or law enforcement officials.
Gascon, however, has argued that the industry has opposed a kill switch because reducing phone thefts could hurt their profits from selling phone insurance. The top four carriers earned an estimated $7.8 billion last year in insurance premiums from their customers, according to Warranty Week, an industry trade publication.
The major wireless carriers offer cell phone insurance through a third-party provider called Asurion, which pays them for each policy they sell.
In an emailed statement, Asurion spokesperson Bettie Colombo said company data shows Duckworth’s analysis, which partly relies on statistics from Consumer Reports, underestimates the number of phones stolen each year. [Duckworth says he did not have access to insurance company data.]
Colombo also said about 60 percent of insurance claims are due to lost phones, which can’t be prevented by a kill switch “and still results in tremendous cost for the consumer without appropriate coverage.”
“Asurion has no objection to properly implemented kill switch technology,” Colombo said, but added, “there is no solution that will totally eliminate the theft of smartphones as there are other values in the black-market for the phones, such as parts.”
Phone insurance plans typically cost between $7 and $11 per month, and require consumers to pay deductibles as high as $200 for a replacement phone — which is often refurbished, not new. Asurion also doesn’t guarantee customers will receive the same model as the one they lost.
Last year, Apple responded to the growing pressure from law enforcement by announcing a new security feature that the company said would allow consumers to render their devices useless once stolen. Apple’s new Activation Lock was introduced in September.
Law enforcement officials say it is too soon to determine whether the feature is effective at reducing iPhone thefts. Other smartphone manufacturers have yet to introduce new anti-theft measures.
Meanwhile, thefts of smartphones and other mobile devices increased in several major cities again in 2013, including New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
- Berlin: The next Silicon Valley?
A cartoon character impersonation app and other German start-ups
- VIDEO: Could Berlin be the next Silicon Valley?
Berlin was at one stage famed for its innovation, with electric trams and lifts both originating in the German capital. A hundred years on, a new wave of hi-tech start-ups are helping it to regain its reputation as a hub for new ideas.
- Bid to cut off illegal websites' cash
An initiative that hopes to cut off advertising revenues from websites offering illegal copyrighted material has been launched.
- House Panel: General Motors Documents Related To Recalls 'Paint An Unsettling Picture'
(Corrects attribution, paragraph 3)
WASHINGTON, March 30 (Reuters) – Thousands of documents from General Motors and a federal agency on the automaker’s faulty ignition switches provide an “unsettling picture,” according to a U.S. congressional committee that received the information.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee said GM had submitted more than 200,000 documents on the ignition switches that have led to the recall of 2.6 million autos and are linked to 12 deaths. The panel said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration submitted about 6,000 documents.
The documents, said Republican Representative Tim Murphy, chairman of the panel’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee, “paint an unsettling picture.”
On Tuesday, the committee will hold its first public hearing on the recalls. (Reporting by Richard Cowan; Editing by Jim Loney)
- How Mark Zuckerberg's Control Of Facebook Lets Him Print Money
When Mark Zuckerberg pays astronomical prices for unprofitable start-ups like Oculus ($2 billion) and WhatsApp ($19 billion), the Facebook CEO and founder is paying with a special currency, all his own: Facebook stock.
- Experts Told This Artist Her Dream Was Impossible. It's A Good Thing She Didn't Listen.
British artist Sue Austin continues to push forward in ways even top experts never thought possible.
Austin, who has been using a wheelchair for nearly two decades due to an extended illness, uses an innovative underwater wheelchair to create stunning visual art. She also hopes to challenge us to rethink the way we see people with disabilities.
With photos, videos and performance art pieces involving her unique underwater wheelchair named “Portal,” Austin strives to redefine the way we relate to people in wheelchairs. Austin works to fight back against negative stigma, including such terms as “limited,” “held back” and “immobilized,” she said at a TED conference in 2012. She implores people to instead demonstrate the ways in which we can find the value and joy in being different.
Austin first got involved with diving in 2005, according to the Guardian. She said the sport granted her freedom and renewed access to the rest of the world.
But she faced some backlash when she proposed the idea of diving in a wheelchair.
“When we started talking to people about it, engineers were saying it wouldn’t work, the wheelchair would go into a spin, it was not designed to go through water — but I was sure it would,” Austin told the BBC in 2012. With the help of dive experts, engineers, academics, and funding from places like England’s Arts Council, Austin’s vision was realized.
Her work was brought to a larger audience when she was chosen as one of the featured artists at the Unlimited Festival, a part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in London. The cultural program accompanied the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
Since then, Austin and her nonprofit organization Freewheeling, an integrated arts program, have been gaining more attention, which has been one her main goals.
“People’s reaction completely changed towards me. It was as if they couldn’t see me anymore, as if an invisibility cloak had descended, she said during herTED talk about how people responded when she started using a wheelchair. “As a result, I knew I needed to make my own stories about this experience, new narratives to reclaim my identity.”