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Mobile Technology News, April 1, 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.

  • Ukiyo-e app brings Japanese Wallpapers to your iPhone

    Dolice has announced an updated Ukiyo-e – Japanese Wallpapers HD Free for iOS 7. Dolice have compiled a collection of 300 carefully selected Ukiyo-e wallpapers. Only the masterpieces of artists like Hokusai Katsushika, Hiroshige Ando, Sharaku Toshusai have been vividly recreated using exclusive […]

    The post Ukiyo-e app brings Japanese Wallpapers to your iPhone appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Japan to relax arms export ban
    Japan is to ease its self-imposed arms export ban for the first time in almost 50 years, in a move likely to worry China.
  • VIDEO: BBC poll considers web freedoms
    People in countries traditionally considered ‘free’ feel under more online surveillance, according to a BBC Survey.
  • Zuckerberg reaps $3.3bn through shares
    Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made $3.3bn on the sale of stock options in 2013, a new regulatory filing reveals.
  • OKCupid asks users to avoid Firefox
    Dating website OKCupid asks users to avoid browser Mozilla Firefox in response to new Firefox boss Brian Eich’s previous opposition to gay marriage.
  • VIDEO: Cybervictim Rehtaeh Parsons' legacy
    Glen Canning, the father of cyberbully victim Rehtaeh Parsons, speaks to the BBC about his grief a year after her death – and his campaign to change the law as well as attitudes.
  • OKCupid Publicly Rips Mozilla: 'We Wish Them Nothing But Failure'
    OKCupid may be in the business of love, but the online dating site has anything but tender feelings for Mozilla and its newly-appointed CEO.

    In a letter published Monday on OKCupid.com but viewable only to those who try to enter the site using a Mozilla Firefox Internet browser, the company called out CEO Brendan Eich’s past support of Proposition 8, a 2008 ballot initiative that aimed to ban same-sex marriage in California.

    “Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies,” the letter reads in part. “[W]e wish them nothing but failure.”

    You can see a screengrab of OKCupid’s message if you click here, but we’ve also reproduced it in its entire below:

    “Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience.

    Mozilla’s new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

    Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there’s a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we’re asserting ourselves today. This is why: we’ve devoted the last ten years to bringing people—all people—together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we’ve worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it’s professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.”

    OKCupid does provide Firefox users with a link through to the actual site at the bottom of the page, but nevertheless urges people to use alternate browsers:

    okc thanks

    In an statement emailed to The Huffington Post late Monday, Mozilla asserted that it is no way an anti-gay institution.

    “Mozilla supports equality for all, including marriage equality for LGBT couples. No matter who you are or who you love, everyone deserves the same rights and to be treated equally,” a Mozilla spokesperson wrote. “OkCupid never reached out to us to let us know of their intentions, nor to confirm facts.”

    Eich’s appointment as Mozilla’s new CEO last week led to an outcry among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates. At the heart of the criticism against Eich is a $1,000 donation the Mozilla co-founder and JavaScript inventor made in support of Proposition 8 six years ago.

    In its letter to Firefox users, OKCupid wrote that while Eich’s contribution is six years in the past, “Mr. Eich’s boilerplate statements in the time since make it seem like he has the same views now as he did then.”

    Eich himself last week addressed concerns about his “commitment to fostering equality and welcome for LGBT individuals at Mozilla” on his personal blog.

    In it, he said:

    “I am committed to ensuring that Mozilla is, and will remain, a place that includes and supports everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, economic status, or religion.”

    Harry Bradford contributed to this report.

  • Jury picked in Apple vs. Samsung trial, Schiller to testify [U]
    [Update: jury finalized, Phil Schiller to be first witness] Jury selection is now in progress as part of the second Apple versus Samsung patent trial, this one covering a different set of patents than were covered in the first trial in 2012. Juror candidates — some of them clearly eager to avoid serving — are being questioned about any stock holdings in either company, whether they know anyone who works for Apple or Samsung (or their respective attorney’s firms) and of course what brand of tablets, smartphones, computers and televisions they own.


  • VIDEO: Telepresence your way into work
    Teleconferencing robots aim to shake up the workplace
  • BT criticised over rural broadband
    A committee of MPs complains details of BT’s planned rural broadband rollout are often insufficient making it hard for rivals to plan their own services.
  • Government failed at promoting competition over BDUK, say MPs
    The Public Accounts Committee has determined that the government has continued to fail at promoting competition during the roll-out of rural broadband across the UK
  • Gmail's 'Shelfie' Prank Mocks Selfie-Obsessed Culture
    It’s not even April Fools’ Day yet, and already Google has released multiple pranks.

    In addition to a Google Maps-based Pokémon challenge, the company also posted Wednesday about a new Gmail feature on the Gmail blog: the Gmail Shelfie.

    What exactly is the Gmail Shelfie? It makes your Gmail background, technically known as your custom theme, shareable with others. Google claims that so many people have selfies as their custom theme that the company decided to make them shareable with others. Get it? Share. Selfie. Shelfie.

    “As the pioneering platform for selfies, Gmail is committed to being at the forefront of innovation in the selfie space,” Google Software Engineer Greg Bullock writes in the post. “And we think it’s a tragedy that your handsome hair, luscious lashes and beautiful brows have been trapped in your own inbox.”

    Here’s an example Shelfie provided by Google. Kind of looks like Katy Perry?

    gmail shelfie

    So how do you get this new feature on your Gmail? It’s simple. Open or refresh your Gmail, and the option will appear at the bottom of your screen. This wasn’t working for all of us around the time of publication, so be patient.

    For inspiration, you can also check out Gmail’s top trending shelfies.

  • 'How I Met Your Mother' Theme Song Gets An 8-Bit Makeover
    “How I Met Your Mother” has finally come to an end, but we’re not ready to let go! Chances are you’ll have the theme song stuck in your head for days after the closing credits run, so we’ve got an alternative tune for you to (sort of) mix it up.

    SoundCloud user MattLewisMedia has given the show’s theme song an 8-bit makeover and it’s making us want to see Mario and Luigi join Ted and the crew for a beer.

    Pop culture only gets more infectious when combined with old-school video games, and this theme song is proof. Listen for yourself below.

    This is pretty great, and we can think of another “HIMYM” song that would sound awesome in 8-bit …

    tv show gifs

  • What I Told the NSA
    Because of my service on the President’s Review Group last fall, which made recommendations to the president about NSA surveillance and related issues, the NSA invited me to speak today to the NSA staff at the NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, about my work on the Review Group and my perceptions of the NSA. Here, in brief, is what I told them:

    From the outset, I approached my responsibilities as a member of the Review Group with great skepticism about the NSA. I am a long-time civil libertarian, a member of the National Advisory Council of the ACLU, and a former Chair of the Board of the American Constitution Society. To say I was skeptical about the NSA is, in truth, an understatement.

    I came away from my work on the Review Group with a view of the NSA that I found quite surprising. Not only did I find that the NSA had helped to thwart numerous terrorist plots against the United States and its allies in the years since 9/11, but I also found that it is an organization that operates with a high degree of integrity and a deep commitment to the rule of law.

    Like any organization dealing with extremely complex issues, the NSA on occasion made mistakes in the implementation of its authorities, but it invariably reported those mistakes upon discovering them and worked conscientiously to correct its errors. The Review Group found no evidence that the NSA had knowingly or intentionally engaged in unlawful or unauthorized activity. To the contrary, it has put in place carefully-crafted internal proceduresto ensure that it operates within the bounds of its lawful authority.

    This is not to say that the NSA should have had all of the authorities it was given. The Review Group found that many of the programs undertaken by the NSA were highly problematic and much in need of reform. But the responsibility for directing the NSA to carry out those programs rests not with the NSA, but with the Executive Branch, the Congress, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which authorized those programs — sometimes without sufficient attention to the dangers they posed to privacy and civil liberties. The NSA did its job — it implemented the authorities it was given.

    It gradually became apparent to me that in the months after Edward Snowden began releasing information about the government’s foreign intelligence surveillance activities, the NSA was being severely — and unfairly — demonized by its critics. Rather than being a rogue agency that was running amok in disregard of the Constitution and laws of the United States, the NSA was doing its job.

    It pained me to realize that the hard-working, dedicated, patriotic employees of the NSA, who were often working for far less pay than they could have earned in the private sector because they were determined to help protect their nation from attack, were being castigated in the press for the serious mistakes made, not by them, but by Presidents, the Congress, and the courts.

    Of course, “I was only following orders” is not always an excuse. But in no instance was the NSA implementing a program that was so clearly illegal or unconstitutional that it would have been justified in refusing to perform the functions assigned to it by Congress, the President, and the Judiciary. Although the Review Group found that many of those programs need serious re-examination and reform, none of them was so clearly unlawful that it would have been appropriate for the NSA to refuse to fulfill its responsibilities.

    Moreover, to the NSA’s credit, it was always willing to engage the Review Group in serious and candid discussions about the merits of its programs, their deficiencies, and the ways in which those programs could be improved. Unlike some other entities in the intelligence community and in Congress, the leaders of the NSA were not reflexively defensive, but were forthright, engaged, and open to often sharp questions about the nature and implementation of its programs.

    To be clear, I am not saying that citizens should trust the NSA. They should not. Distrust is essential to effective democratic governance. The NSA should be subject to constant and rigorous review, oversight, scrutiny, and checks and balances. The work it does, however important to the safety of the nation, necessarily poses grave dangers to fundamental American values, particularly if its work is abused by persons in positions of authority. If anything, oversight of the NSA — especially by Congress — should be strengthened. The future of our nation depends not only on the NSA doing its job, but also on the existence of clear, definitive, and carefully enforced rules and restrictions governing its activities.

    In short, I found, to my surprise, that the NSA deserves the respect and appreciation of the American people. But it should never, ever, be trusted.

  • Florida Man Arrested After 'Instant Karma' Road Rage Video Goes Viral
    It seems the world wasn’t quite done delivering just deserts to the man primarily responsible for the road rage internet video du jour, ‘Instant Karma.’

    A woman filmed a man apparently tailgating her on a road in Tampa, Fla. last week.

    Shortly after he’s seen flipping her off (in video above) he loses control of his truck, spins across a median and through oncoming traffic. He comes to a rest only after taking out a light pole.

    “That’s what you get,” the woman says, laughing loudly. “All on video, buddy.”

    The YouTube video has garnered millions of views since it was posted March 26 and now, WTSP reports, the man in the video, who police said is 33-year-old Jeffrey White, was arrested.

    Cops said they used footage to get White’s license plate number. He was charged with reckless driving, leaving the scene, and failure to wear a seatbelt.

    Authorities didn’t reprimand her for filming the incident instead of keeping all her attention on the road. Instead, she said to WTSP, they were thankful that the footage helped them collar the culprit.

  • Enough of the Cloud Already, What Is Next for Enterprise Technology?
    Business leaders interested in the future of enterprise technology should stop thinking of “the cloud” as a noun and start thinking about “clouding” as a verb.

    When we talk about cloud computing in general, we’re describing a set of efficiency principles only applied to once stateful compute and storage resources that are now stateless and liquid. We do not automatically think about resources other than storage, compute (and recently network) being stateless as well.

    Clouding is not new, and compute, storage and network are not the only things that can be clouded.

    Although the cloud concept has taken hold in enterprise technology, it’s not entirely new to other parts of life. One could argue, for example, that condominiums and hotels were early multitenant housing clouds. Airbnb are modern versions of housing clouds delivering housing as a service, and similarly, Zipcar and Uber are car clouds, offering consumers transportation as a service.

    Anything can be clouded, if we put our minds to it. The clouding of compute resources gave rise to infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service (SaaS). To make clouding meaningful, we can’t stop there, and we have not, we are clouding storage quickly and successfully. This explains the success of Box, DropBox, Apple’s iCloud, Google Drive and others.

    There are other, unconventional opportunities for clouding to drive innovation, and advanced thinkers are gravitating to the notion of anything as a service, or heck everything as a service (EvaaS).

    A modern enterprise with everything as a service.


    In the new world of leading enterprises leveraging EvaaS, workspace can be a service (WsaaS); expertise can be a service (ExaaS); and business processes can be services (BPaaS). We can roll all three into an overarching industry as a service (InaaS) capability eventually delivering on the age old promise of standing up “XYZ in a Box” type businesses. When everything is a stateless and a liquid service, entire environments can be orchestrated for specific jobs, demands, roles or expertise, creating the opportunity to eventually leverage humans as a service (HuaaS). HuaaS would be game changing to how companies procure, leverage, and strategically execute on their most valuable and expensive resource, human capacity.

    Think about this as TaskRabbit, meet eLance, meet TopCoder, meet your human resources department.

    Employees working in enterprises are currently stateful reservations of human capacity, assigned to tasks needing their primary expertise and controlled by a single manager. Many times if an employee possess expertise outside her primary area of business, she is unable to contribute in other areas where that expertise may be needed shackled by a stateful role, manager, and job description. Today’s employment model only takes into account the primary talents of an individual and ignores the reality that humans are generally multidimensional and useful outside the scope of their stateful roles.

    This means valuable human capacity is often wasted corollary to historic pre-cloud wasting of valuable compute and storage resources before clouding was introduced. If human capacity were aggregated into a liquid pool of stateless supply as enterprise TaskRabbits, or eLances, or TopCoders, it would allow companies to spin up and tear down human capacity to meet the human resource demand of projects all on the fly. Much like enterprises now spin up and tear down compute and storage resources needed.

    We may not move clouding all the way up the enterprise resource stack right away to humans as a service, but companies that move furthest and fastest into clouding up the stack will engineer the agility and on-demand operating models they need to win. In other words if you aim for human as a service and a cloud of human talent, you will find it easy to think past only compute and storage clouds.

    To get started, simply replace cloud as a noun and use clouding as a verb to drive discussions around everything as a service, both inside and outside of technology.

    Consider this scenario: My connected car needs a new alternator, but instead of my car accessing my calendar and making an appointment with the service center (which would be cool), it broadcasts its alternator replacement demand to a supply of local clouded mechanics possessing the necessary expertise (ExaaS) to change said alternator on said model of car. Those with the ability to accept my warranty (BPaaS) would bid on the demand/job, and then work with a supply of mechanic shops to find an available automotive hydraulic bay (WsaaS) and tools to work on my car on a time we agree on. What would this scenario mean to an automobile manufacturer’s need to have stateful/dedicated service centers and dedicated/fulltime auto technicians on staff?

    When everything is a service, it’s easy for enterprises to achieve efficiencies that we now only dream of. Imagining an EvaaS future is thrilling. I predict that by 2020, global enterprises with large allocations of knowledge workers will have commercial grade, human-capacity clouds leveraging ExaaS, WsaaS and BPaaS.

    To do so, we have to collectively get over the hoopla of only the compute and storage clouds, and starting thinking about clouding everything else.

  • 'Vote For The Pimp' Hashtag Prompts Twitter Battle In Egypt
    While presidential frontrunner Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi may pride himself on having the support of millions of Egyptians, a hashtag mocking the military chief once again exposed the country’s fraught divisions.

    The Arabic-language hashtag, which roughly translates as “vote for the pimp,” has been tweeted hundreds of thousands of times, and the slogan has been repeated at anti-Sissi rallies and in graffiti on the Egyptian streets.

    Al Jazeera notes that the word “pimp” is regarded as particularly offensive in Egyptian culture.


    في حلوان والدول المتقدمة .. جرافيتي #انتخبوا_العرص يزين الحوائط و الطرقات ..


    — السيسي خرب البلد (@Nader__elmasry) March 30, 2014

    This Twitter user posted a photo of what appears to be “vote for the pimp” graffiti in the city of Helwan.

    #السيسي pic.twitter.com/kEtnxit7lD

    — عوووووض و بــس (@Awaaaaaaaaad) March 26, 2014

    One of the memes circulating on Twitter with the offending hashtag.

    #انتخبوا_العرص pic.twitter.com/is2c6finir

    — Ola Moghazy (@OMoghazy) March 27, 2014

    Another of the memes circulating on Twitter with the offending hashtag.

    The “vote for the pimp” campaign quickly prompted a social media battle as Sissi’s supporters rallied behind the general with their own “I will vote for Sissi” hashtag. Al Arabiya reports that influential TV presenters on pro-government media outlets even called on the government to emulate Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ban Twitter in response to the hashtag.

    Sissi announced his candidacy for the presidency last week, stepping down as defense minister and military chief in order to compete in the May vote. His only challenger, leftist Hamdeen Sabahi, is trailing in the polls.

    Since Sissi deposed Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after widespread protests last July, the military general has loomed over Egyptian politics and virulently split public opinion. His supporters regard him as a hero working for stability, while his opponents point to widespread human rights abuses and a brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

    An Egyptian blogger known under the alias “The Big Pharaoh” told the BBC that Sissi’s opponents are forced to resort to campaigns such as the hashtag because Twitter is “the only arena where they can express their opposition.” Human rights groups have warned that Egypt’s recent crackdown on dissent is endangering political activists and human rights defenders, as well as an independent press.

  • BlackBerry Wins Ruling Against Ryan Seacrest's Startup
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Troubled smartphone maker BlackBerry has won an early round in its legal battle against an iPhone keyboard made by a startup co-founded by “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.

    A court order bans Seacrest’s company, Typo Products LLC, from selling its iPhone keyboard in the U.S. while BlackBerry Ltd. proceeds with a patent infringement case against the product. BlackBerry contends Typo Products ripped off the design from the physical keyboards used for typing on BlackBerry’s phones. U.S. District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that BlackBerry is likely to prove its infringement claims against Typo Products and would be damaged if the sales of the $99 iPhone keyboard were allowed to continue.

    The ban could be lifted later in the case if Typo Products prevails in its claims that its iPhone keyboard isn’t based on any of BlackBerry’s patented designs or technology.

    “This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology,” BlackBerry said in a statement.

    Typo Products said it plans to appeal Orrick’s ruling. “Typo will continue to make and sell innovative products that busy people can’t live without,” the Los Angeles company said in a statement.

    In court papers, Typo Products warned that it might go out of business if it was not allowed to keep selling its iPhone keyboard.

    Seacrest started Typo Products with entrepreneur Laurence Hallier last year. The iPhone keyboard went on sale in January as an alternative to typing on a touch screen.

    The physical keyboards on BlackBerry’s phones helped reshape the way that people used mobile devices.

    But those phones have been waning in popularity since Apple Inc. released the first iPhone in 2007, threatening BlackBerry’s survival. As its losses have mounted, BlackBerry’s market value has plummeted from more than $80 billion in 2008 to less than $5 billion today.

    The Canadian company is trying to bounce back by focusing more on its software than its smartphones under CEO John Chen, who took charge last year. BlackBerry lost $5.9 billion in its last fiscal year ending March 1.

  • What I Learned From Teaching
    Teaching was an amazing experience that both excited and scared the hell out of me. It was my first time teaching a course to a room full of strangers and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’m glad I took the opportunity to do so.

    I was teaching at General Assembly, a knowledge sharing organization based in Manhattan, New York. They offer niche subject matters taught by experts on various different subject matters and I played such a role as I gave an introductory course on inbound marketing. An interesting part of giving the course was discovering the unique value that in-person courses provide over online ones.

    I find a tremendous value in online learning. Organizations like Udemy, Learn Dot and GetCourse are growing because there is a clear need for online education and learning management platforms. These services provide an opportunity to learn and teach anything people want from almost anywhere in the world. All you need is a computer and Internet connection. Having given courses, webinars and presentations over the Internet in the past, I do see the value in such tools. However, I do believe that it lacks something crucial that teaching in-person provides – human interaction.

    I started building my deck for this course and ended up with almost 100+ slides. Granted, I was teaching for almost an hour and half, but I forgot to account for the fact that I was also going to be present during the learning process. Teaching in person gave an advantage because of the ability to gauge the level of understanding as the course went on and to adjust the depth of the course. I was able to reduce the deck down to about 70 slides with this in mind, and after the course itself, found that I could have removed an additional 15 slides or so. Because I was able to quickly answer questions and skip over unnecessary course materials, the students in the class were able to get more from the class than just reading a presentation would have provided.

    So what about online education?

    In order to mimic this in online education, you’ll need to offer a pre-assessment that affects the content of the course followed by a post-assessment to determine whether or not people were able to grasp the information. Yet, this is far from the same level of engagement that learning in person provides. To truly mimic in-person classes, you’ll need real-time communication tools, or a course designed in a manner that addresses the needs of every type of learner. This is quite difficult to do without an experienced online educator on staff to help with creating the presentations, assessment questions and other course materials to help with the education process.

    We might one day be able to develop technology that can completely replace the human educator, but we’re far from it. This is why I think it’s necessary to blend both automated teaching platforms with a live instructor to create the complete learning experience. At the very least, we need a strong team of content creators to develop the necessary materials to emulate the best learning experience, followed by a comprehensive post-assessment. Many classrooms around the country are already beginning this process. Who knows what the future will bring next.

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