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: Food advergames 'target children'
Children are being targeted by food and drink companies which advertise unhealthy products on internet games according to a new report.
- Apple's iOS 7 hits 90 percent share days ahead of iOS 8 reveal
Just days before its replacement is to be officially revealed for the first time, iOS 7 has achieved an 89.7 percent adoption rate among Internet-active iPhones in North America, an ongoing study by mobile ad marketing and analysis firm Chitika has revealed. The survey also revealed that iPad adoption of iOS 7 has grown rapidly in the last three months, reaching 84.8 percent of US and Canadian web traffic from iPads.
- The Right to Remember, Damnit
A reporter asked me for reaction to news that Google has put up a form to meet a European court’s insane and dangerous ruling and allow people to demand that links to content they don’t like about themselves be taken down. Here’s what I said:
This is a most troubling event for speech, the web and Europe.
The court has trampled the free-speech rights not only of Google but of the sites — and speakers — to which it links.
The court has undertaken to control knowledge — to erase what is already known — which in concept is offensive to an open and modern society and in history is a device used by tyrannies; one would have hoped that European jurists of all people would have recognized the danger of that precedent.
The court has undermined the very structure of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention, the link — the underpinning of the web itself — by making now Google (and next perhaps any of us) liable just for linking to information. Will newspapers be forced to erase what they link to or quote? Will libraries be forced to take metaphoric cards out of their catalogs?
The court has, ironically, made Google only more powerful, making it the adjudicator of what information should and should not be found. The court has also given Google ludicrous parameters — e.g., having to decide what is relevant to what; relevant to whom; relevant in what context?
We don’t know how this order will be implemented by the various search engines. One question is what right of notice and appeal a delinked site will have.
If this process is public, as it should be, then doesn’t that have the potential to bring even more attention to the information in dispute? Another question is whether content will be made invisible in Europe but will still be visible — as I hope it will be — in the rest of the world, where the European court has no authority. Will this then allow others to compare search results and make the banned information only more visible? In the end, has the court assured a Streisand effect — or, as the comedian John Oliver said on his HBO show, the one thing that is known about the Spaniard who brought this case is the thing that he does not want known.
Further, what of search engines and sites that have no European offices and thus the court has no authority over them? If they refuse to delink on demand will the court ban these sites for European view?
Finally, I am concerned about the additive effect of this ruling on Europe’s reputation as technophobic or anti-American. Add to this especially various actions in Germany — government officials demanding a “Verpixelungsrecht” (a right to be pixelated) in Google Street View despite the fact that these are images taken of public views in public places; German publishers ganging up on Google to strongarm politicians into passing a law limiting the quoting of snippets of content and now threatening to break up Google — in addition to similarly head-scratching moves in France, Italy and elsewhere. Is Europe a place where any technology company or investor will choose to work?
You ask about Eric Schmidt and David Drummond cochairing the advisory committee. That is a clear indication of how profound and dangerous this situation is in Google’s view. It so happens I was in Mountain View two weeks ago speaking to the all-hands meeting of Google’s privacy teams and I can tell you they were shocked at the ruling. I also said much of what I’ve said to you there. I am appalled by this ruling.
As a matter of disclosure, Google paid my travel expenses but I have no business relationship with Google.
- Woman With Leukemia Finds Dad Through Facebook, But She May Get More Than Just A Reunion
An Argentine woman with leukemia has been reunited with her father after 18 years, and he may be able to help her out.
Malen Gaynor, 39, turned to Facebook to search for her father after doctors told her she needed to find a bone marrow donor, Spanish news agency EFE reports. Her chemotherapy treatments were proving ineffective, and physicians told her she needed a bone marrow transplant to increase her chances of survival.
On June 4, Gaynor’s father will fly to Buenos Aires to be tested to see if he is a match.
(Story continues below)
It all started last Christmas when Gaynor noticed a rash on her legs. She assumed it was an allergic reaction to a bug bite, according to Argentine newspaper Clarin, but when she went to a doctor, she was diagnosed with a bone marrow disease that later turned into leukemia. Relatives can sometimes be matches for bone marrow donation.
Through a Facebook search, Gaynor — who eventually lost contact with her father after her parents divorced — found out her dad was living in Cordoba, a city roughly 400 miles northwest of her home in Buenos Aires. Through him, she was also reunited with her half-brother, whom she hadn’t seen since he was a baby, according to Clarin.
Gaynor says the reunion with her father has brought closure. “I feel that I’ve reconciled with my past,” she told local news outlets.
She has set up the Facebook page Hoy Dono Vida (Today I Donate Life) to raise awareness about the importance of bone marrow donations in hope that others will sign up as donors.
- The Best Apps For Grocery Shopping
A quick way to have your shopping list easily accessible while at the store.
- John Kitzhaber Seeks Lawsuit Over Health Exchange Debacle
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber said Thursday he’s seeking a lawsuit against Oracle Corp. over Oregon’s online health insurance enrollment system, the failure of which embarrassed the state and resulted in multiple investigations.
In a letter to Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Kitzhaber said he has fired state managers in charge of Cover Oregon, and now it’s time to hold accountable the website’s main technology contractor. “This is a very serious decision taking on a very large corporation — the second-largest software corporation in the world — but I do not believe they’ve delivered for the state of Oregon,” Kitzhaber told The Associated Press during an interview in his state Capitol office.
Kitzhaber said Rosenblum will make the ultimate decision about whether to file a lawsuit, but he believes the state has strong claims. Rosenblum responded in a letter to the governor that her legal team has been reviewing options and developing legal strategies.
“I share your determination to recover every dollar to which Oregon is entitled,” she wrote. Cover Oregon and Oracle have agreed not to initiate legal action before May 31.
Oracle, which is headquartered in Redwood City, California, said in a statement Thursday it was not responsible for the failed launch.
“Contrary to the story the State is promoting, Oracle has never led the Oregon Health Exchange project,” Oracle’s statement said. “OHA (the Oregon Health Authority) and Cover Oregon were in charge and badly mismanaged the project by consistently failing to deliver requirements in a timely manner and failing to staff the project with skilled personnel.”
The governor is trying to shift blame from where it belongs, the company said, adding it is confident an investigation would “completely exonerate Oracle.”
In a letter to Cover Oregon’s temporary leadership last month, Oracle President and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz wrote that the company provided “clear and repeated warnings” to Cover Oregon that the exchange website would not be ready to launch last October.
Oregon paid Oracle $134 million in federal funds to build what turned out to be a glitch-filled Cover Oregon website. Oregon is the only state that still doesn’t have an online portal where the general public can sign up for health insurance in one sitting through a marketplace required under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
The state is still withholding $25.6 million in payments from Oracle. Oregon abandoned plans for fixing the site and is switching to the federal portal used by most states, www.HealthCare.gov.
The website’s failure has been an embarrassment for the Democratic governor, who enthusiastically embraced Obama’s health care law and has for decades been a respected voice on health care policy. Kitzhaber’s Republican rival in the November election, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, has made the Cover Oregon problems a centerpiece of his campaign.
Kitzhaber declined to say how much money he hoped to recover from Oracle, but he said he’s willing to pay for the portions of the website that do work.
A review commissioned by Kitzhaber placed blame on the state’s contract with Oracle, which said the company would be paid based on its time and materials rather than specific content delivered. The review also faulted the state’s decision not to hire a system integrator to oversee the project.
Kitzhaber acknowledged the state’s failings but said Oracle shares the blame.
“I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination Oracle or anyone else could assume that we were paying them to produce a website that didn’t work,” Kitzhaber said.
Kitzhaber also sent a letter to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services urging the federal agency, which supplied the money that paid Oracle’s bills, “to levy the appropriate fines and penalties to hold Oracle accountable.
In 2011, Oracle agreed to pay nearly $200 million to settle charges that it defrauded the U.S. government on a software contract. The Justice Department alleged that Oracle failed to tell the federal government about discounts available to other customers. The allegations initially were raised in a suit against the company under the False Claims Act, which provides financial rewards to private litigants who report alleged fraud against the government.
Kitzhaber urged U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to also use the authority of their offices to investigate Oracle’s culpability. Wyden is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.
Wozniacka reported from Portland.
- Apple's home automation plans just MFI certification, sources say
Apple’s rumored home automation plans really involve Made-for-i certification of related accessories and appliances, sources claim. The most technological focus on Apple’s part is expected to be an emphasis on easy connections via Wi-Fi, and voice control via Bluetooth. There reportedly won’t be a new software layer that supersedes apps.
- Latin America in the Technology Tsunami
A technology tsunami is about to transform our lives and the global economy. It will be the biggest industrial revolution ever. Latin Americans can surf this giant wave to propel the region into an era of prosperity, inclusion and sustainability. But its disruptive power should not be underestimated.
In recent decades we saw the emergence of powerful digital technologies. But this was just the beginning. We are in the early stages of a revolution driven by the confluence of exponential technologies such as ubiquitous computing, robotics, artificial intelligence, advanced genomics, nanotechnology, renewable energies and 3D printers. After decades of unmet promises they will surprise us with the speed and extension of their impact.
The applications that already exist and will propagate in the next decade seem taken from science fiction. Machine learning systems capable of replacing humans in a wide array of activities. Smart robots capable of replacing manufacturing employees even in China. Self-driving and electric cars. 3D printers capable of producing anything from toys to houses. Synthetic biology tools to design and print DNA. Exoskeletons that allow paraplegics to walk. Bioprinters for meat and leather production. Cost-competitive solar panels. The list goes on.
As Peter Diamandis shows in his book Abundance, this revolution will allow us to generate a prosperous future. We will have the tools to overcome hunger, water scarcity and the energy and housing needs of a growing population without destroying the planet.
At the same time, the impact of the tsunami will be huge, fast and difficult to assimilate. Tens of millions of jobs will be destroyed and only partially replaced by others that demand new capabilities and higher education. All industries will undergo radical transformations. Companies that are not future-ready will become irrelevant or extinct. New social, ethical and political dilemmas will demand reinventing institutions and legal frameworks.
We need a human-centered strategic agenda powered by empathy and responsibility and focused on prosperity, inclusion and sustainability. Technology will only redefine possibilities. It will be up to us to design and leverage new tools to build a better future and minimize adaptation costs.
We can achieve prosperity through education, innovation, entrepreneurship and the creative economy. Only education and innovation provide engines strong enough to escape the trap of middle-income economies. We can multiply exports of knowledge intensive services, reindustrialize with cutting-edge automation and nurture our growing technology startup ecosystem. But we need to strengthen the links to the global economy and shift our focus to human capital as a development engine following the examples of Israel, Korea and now China.
Thousands of technology-based companies (Technolatinas) are emerging in the region in everything from consumer Internet, mobile and online games to artificial intelligence, biotechnology and nano-satellites. They are born regional or global and they are redefining business paradigms. Lowering the barriers and risks of creating and running a business, fostering venture capital and stimulating private sector R&D would go a long way towards more thriving ecosystems.
Ensuring decent living conditions for everyone is possible and a precondition for strong democracies, healthy social fabrics and our collective wellbeing. Many will have difficulty keeping up with the pace of change. More than half of our youth doesn’t finish high school. Most will be sitting ducks when faced with fast paced automation and global competition through digital platforms, unless we act. We need to reinvent education, re-engage those left behind and leverage digital technologies to provide everyone the skills they will need for the 21st century.
Poverty, structural unemployment and exclusion are the clearest threats to the security of the region. We should address them with the same resolve that other nations dedicate to their national defense. For example, we could focus innovation on inclusion creating technology development programs for the bottom of the pyramid, replicating the success DARPA had advancing military technology. Strengthening vocational and technical education programs and selectively eliminating job taxes could help to reduce youth and technology-driven unemployment. We should revisit our social safety nets to make them stronger but contingent on work to avoid the corrosive effects of sustained inactivity. We could also build networks of community centers in impoverished neighborhoods (like those built in Medellin) to provide gateways to the knowledge economy.
We should also actively leverage clean technologies to ensure a vital and habitable environment for future generations. Solar energy is expected to become cost-competitive with fossil fuels in a few years and can be produced abundantly in our region. Urban agriculture and bioprinting meat could enable us to stop natural forest destruction. And these are just some of the possibilities.
For the first time in history, Latin America can take part in an industrial revolution and reap its benefits. We are young and we have tremendous creative potential and adaptive capacity. Our economies are healthy, allowing us to tackle large forward-looking challenges. Creating global startups is easier than ever.
It is time to focus on building a better future by surfing the technology tsunami. We only need imagination, determination and a human-centered agenda.
- Dr. Kevin Tracey Explains How A Nerve Stimulator Could Change Arthritis Treatment
A machine the size of pea could be the answer to healing the painful inflammation that comes from arthritis.
Dr. Kevin Tracey joined HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps to discuss a tiny nerve stimulator that can put a stop to the neural transmissions that cause inflammation. As described in The New York Times Magazine, the stimulator is embedded onto a critical nerve within the body to lessen symptoms by directing the nerve to send certain signals to specific organs.
Tracey said the device worked wonders on the first person who was ever treated using the machine: a middle-aged Bosnian man who was unable to work or play with his children because of the severity of his pain.
“He was essentially homebound and disabled by painful rheumatoid arthritis, for which he had exhausted the treatment options in Bosnia. And within weeks of having this device implanted, he was playing with his kids and went out and played tennis and hurt his knee. So a guy that was homebound had to be cautioned against too much exercise,” Tracey said.
So how exactly does the nerve stimulator work? Tracey gives an easy-to-understand explanation of the technology and its benefits in the video above.
- Why These Goalies Are Worried About Unknown Toxins In Artificial Turf
The distinct smell of synthetic turf on a soccer field always brings back good memories for Jordan Swarthout.
“I loved playing the sport so much,” said Swarthout, 22, a former stand-out goalkeeper in Sumner, Washington, and now a graduating senior at Oregon State University.
Swarthout recalls never worrying if the fields’ sometimes “heavy and stifling” smell, which people have compared to burning rubber, represented any kind of health danger — even after her diagnosis with a rare cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, in January 2013. She has been in remission now for nearly a year.
But last week, she received a call from her mom. Suzie Swarthout had just watched a local Seattle news report about a number of former goalkeepers who’ve developed rare lymphomas in recent years, since the introduction and subsequent proliferation of artificial turf fields infilled with recycled rubber tire crumbs.
“My mom said, ‘That sounds just like you,’” Swarthout recalls.
Starting in the late 1990s, a new generation of synthetic turf fields began popping up. Today, nearly 10,000 of them can be found at schools, parks and professional stadiums around the country. The turf is designed to simulate natural grass in look and feel. Green plastic ribbons are suspended in a deep, cushioned layer of ground-up tires, so-called crumb rubber, which looks much like dirt from a distance. A kick of a soccer ball can send the black bits bouncing into the air.
In addition to keeping some 20 million used tires out of landfills every year, noted Rick Doyle, president of the Synthetic Turf Council, use of the turf boasts a number of benefits over natural grass: It requires less water and maintenance, and its superior durability allows for consistent, year-round, all-weather use for more players. Plus, parents need not worry about their children playing on grass sprayed with pesticides or fertilizers.
Doyle maintains that the turf is also safe.
“My heart goes out to anyone who has to fight a disease like this at a young age,” he said, “but I think it is unfair to single out crumb rubber.”
Despite no proof of a cancer link, some people remain suspicious of the synthetic surface — among them, Amy Griffin, associate head coach of the University of Washington women’s soccer team. Not enough research has been done, skeptics say, to assure the safety of players breathing in gases released from a hot field, ingesting the rubber particles or making frequent skin-to-turf contact. Common abrasions from the turf can even leave skin open to particulate from the crumbs.
Bottom line, a group of soccer players, coaches and environmental advocates around the country want to see more serious study. Many are now advocating for an online registry of soccer players with cancer to more accurately determine if they indeed experience higher cancer rates compared to the general population.
“I hope it’s nothing,” said Griffin, who’s coached for 26 years, including 18 years at the UW, and was featured in last week’s KOMO News report. Until a few years ago, she noted, she’d never heard of any players developing lymphoma.
“Now, I’ve heard of multiple people, and a lot are keepers,” she said.
THE KEEPER’S CURSE
Much to her mother’s displeasure, Swarthout would often track rubber-tire bits home from practice and games. The coarse sand-sized pellets would fall out of her equipment, socks and shorts.
“No matter how hard I tried, those little black turf things would be everywhere,” said Swarthout. “They’d end up in my car, in my backpack.”
It was around the eighth grade that Swarthout remembers her teams began to play regularly on artificial turf. She soon became well-acquainted with the plastic-and-rubber surface, arguably more so than her teammates who played field positions.Jordan Swarthout regularly played goalkeeper on synthetic turf fields. (Suzie Swarthout)
“A lot of practice for goalkeepers was spent doing various drills that involved diving and landing on the turf,” she said. “The stuff would go in your mouth and in your gloves. And they would end up in my eyes — that was always the worst.”
Ethan Zohn echoed Swarthout on the intimate relationship between keepers and the turf, and questions whether that frequency of close contact might explain a seemingly disproportional number of cancers in the group.
“Goalkeepers are closer to the ground, more of the time,” said Zohn, 40, a former professional soccer player and winner of the reality-television series “Survivor.” “Your face is in the ground, your knees are in the ground, your elbows are in the ground. Sometimes you get cut, sometimes you’re eating it.”
Dr. Joel Forman, a pediatrician and environmental health expert at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, said that he is not aware of evidence directly connecting cancer to such exposures to turf. He also added that a link would be “very hard to prove,” given the small overall number of cases.
“Thankfully, cancer remains very rare,” he said.
Zohn, like Swarthout, has played goalkeeper since he was a kid. And in 2009, he too was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He has twice fought back the disease, and today is cancer-free.
Also like Griffin, Zohn has accumulated a list of goalkeepers — 50 or so — who’ve battled cancer. Lymphoma, a blood cancer known to preferentially strike young adults, make up the majority of the diagnoses.
While he isn’t blaming turf for his own cancer — and he acknowledges no hard conclusions can be made from his unscientific list — Zohn said he does worry about today’s generation of players, who started playing on the surface at a younger age. Cancer can take years, even decades to develop. So, should synthetic turf prove to be a source of significant toxic exposures, it’s possible that the extent of the effects may not appear for several more years.
The potential for repetitive exposure to toxic chemicals rising as dust or gas from the tiny rubber crumbs is most concerning to Zohn. While playing soccer, he noted, a person is likely to be breathing heavily and taking in large amounts of air.
Many state laws prohibit burning tires, or even disposing them in a landfill, due to potential releases of toxic chemicals. And researchers have found at least small amounts of toxins may be released from crumb rubber, especially on hot days. Whether the potential levels of exposure actually pose health risks is “debatable,” according to Forman.
Griffin recalled one 82-degree day during a UW summer soccer camp, when someone stuck a thermometer into the field turf. Three-quarters of an inch down, she said, it registered over 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
“You can smell it when it’s hot. If it is too toxic to burn,” she said, referring to the state laws against burning tires, “you can’t imagine it’s just fine lying around.”
Forman cautioned that, while high temperatures can put soccer players at risk of heat stroke and dehydration, a bad smell does not necessarily indicate a health hazard. And of course some toxic gases carry no odor at all.
“You can’t go by your nose,” said Forman.
Overall, he said, there’s “not a lot of health information” regarding toxic exposures from crumb rubber — starting with the uncertainty over just what chemicals the pellets contain.
A Swedish report found 60 different substances in automobile tires, including plasticizers, carbon black, polyaromatic hydrocarbons and small amounts of heavy metals, such as lead. But tires vary significantly in their composition, which makes it all the more unclear as to what chemicals may be present in the 40,000 ground-up tires that fill the average synthetic field. Even identifying what risks the known chemicals may pose is difficult due to the U.S. government’s current ‘innocent until proven guilty’ regulatory strategy. More than 80,000 chemicals permitted for use in the country have never been fully tested for toxicity to humans, let alone children or fetuses.
Kids tend to spend more time than adults on the ground, accumulating exposures, noted Forman. And a developing child is also generally more vulnerable to toxic chemicals.
“For adults, the exposure risk is probably quite low, and may be outweighed by the benefits of the reliable and fast surface,” said Forman. He’s not so sure the risks outweigh the benefits for children, however.
Swarthout’s generation began their early soccer careers before the advent of crumb rubber. She recalled starting at the age of 3, playing on grass. But many children of the same age today are running, sliding and diving on artificial turf.
“We’re using these little kids as guinea pigs,” said Zohn, who is among those advocating for an online registry to track soccer players with cancer. He hopes that ultimately researchers can prove the turf is safe.
Doyle, of the industry group, said he’s not opposed to additional research. But he added that he thinks there’s “plenty of research out there to answer most of the skeptics.” Fifteen independent studies, he said, “all validate the human health and environmental safety of synthetic turf and crumb rubber.”
David Brown, director of public health toxicology for Environment and Human Health, Inc., a nonprofit environmental health group, comes to a different conclusion based on the current evidence.
“I wouldn’t put a child on one of these fields,” said Brown, who authored an early crumb rubber report published by the group in 2007, which warned of potential health risks, such as cancer and skin, eye and respiratory irritation.Crumb rubber up close. (Lynne Peeples)
He criticized the industry with overhyping small studies, some of which they funded, and misinterpreting others. Authors of an EPA report, for example, called their own study “very limited” due to a small number of chemicals monitored and field samples taken.
“It’s clear that carcinogens are present,” Brown said, pointing to carbon black and butylated hydroxyanisole, among other known cancer-causing chemicals in crumb rubber.
Despite the lingering uncertainty, Brown suggested enough is known at least to take greater precautions. Goalkeepers should practice on natural grass, even if their games are on an artificial surface, he said. And all players should take off their shoes, in addition to washing their hands, when leaving a turf field.
“How did this happen?” Brown asked. “How did we end up with children playing on fields that we know have carcinogens in them?”
- The Best Apps For Busy Moms
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- You Must Read Stanford's Response To The Snapchat CEO's 'Demeaning' Emails
In an email Friday to the entire Stanford undergraduate community, University Provost John Etchemendy called a series of emails sent by Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel during his days at the college “crude, offensive, and demeaning to women.”
Etchemendy wrote that the problem is not just that Spiegel sent the emails, but that other students read them and said nothing. He then urged students to always stand up against “crude or hateful language, and the attitudes that give rise to it.”
That is the only way, he said, that the community as a whole will learn what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
Spiegel sent the NSFW emails, which were made public by Valleywag’s Sam Biddle this week, to his fraternity brothers between 2009 and 2010. The emails are laced with misogynist language and attitudes. In them, Spiegel refers to women as “soroisluts” and encourages fraternity members to “have some girl put your large kappa sigma dick down her throat” as a reward for a successful weekend of partying.
Shortly after Valleywag published the emails, Spiegel issued a statement saying he was “mortified” by the contents of the emails.”They in no way reflect who I am today or my views towards women,” he added.
Here’s Etchemendy’s wonderful email in its entirety:
I know many of you have seen a story that recently appeared on the Internet focusing on emails sent by a former Stanford student to fellow fraternity members and others while he was attending Stanford several years ago. Like most of you, male and female, I found those messages abhorrent. I am writing now to convey clearly that the sentiments expressed in these emails do not reflect what we, as members of the Stanford community, expect of one another.
I know the vast majority of you agree. In fact, the former student has issued a public statement expressing regret over the emails, calling them “idiotic” and saying that they “in no way reflect who I am today or my views toward women.” I have no reason to doubt his statement or the sincerity of his regret. But that does not change the fact that the emails were sent. And in my mind, that raises a troubling question for the rest of us. Because the emails were also received, and no doubt received by others who found them crude, offensive, and demeaning to women — others who had already matured enough to see them, in fact, as worse than “idiotic.”
This is what concerns me most. We can choose to turn a blind eye to such statements and chalk them up to youthful indiscretion. Or we can be more courageous, and affirmatively reject such behavior whenever and wherever we see it, even — no, especially — if it comes from a friend, a classmate, or a colleague. Only if we choose the latter will we create the kind of university culture we can all be proud of, all of the time.
The author of those emails is not proud he sent them. The members of his fraternity are not proud to be associated with them. And the wider Stanford community is positively ashamed they were sent by one of our members.
But we are a learning community, and so I am writing to ask that we all learn something from this. There will always be members of the Stanford community who arrive here without the maturity to recognize the corrosive effect of crude or hateful language, and the attitudes that give rise to it, on a community like Stanford based on mutual respect.
So I am asking that each of us choose the more difficult path whenever we encounter such attitudes. It does not take many strong and vocal objections to communicate what we consider acceptable and what we do not. Members of our community should learn now, not many years from now, how abhorrent those attitudes are, whether real or feigned.
This is a good time to reflect on our common values and our obligations to one another as members of the Stanford community. As we approach the end of the academic year and, for the senior class, the end of the undergraduate experience, let us celebrate in ways that reflect our best selves. Let us strive to be role models in our interactions with others.
Finally, please know that Stanford resources are available to anyone who has concerns about the conduct of individuals or groups and the effect of that conduct on the rights of others. No student should have any aspect of his or her experience at Stanford compromised by conduct of others that violates university policy. Among the many resources available are the Title IX Coordinator, the Sexual Harassment Policy Office, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education, the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Office, Counseling and Psychological Services, and Residential Education. Never hesitate to contact any of these offices when you need it.
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- The Most Important Insights From Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends Report
A must-read that’s chock full of critical knowledge. Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker’s data dumps have become a highly anticipated event in the tech industry, as her research helps everyone else level up.
- The Amazon Shopping Cart
Amazon Sells Electronics, More Groceries and Clothes, Less Media
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released analysis of buyer shopping patterns for Amazon, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). This analysis indicates that Amazon Prime customers purchase predominantly electronics, with surprising success in grocery and clothing sales.
Based on CIRP survey data, Amazon customers buy electronics more than anything else. Over one-third of Amazon customers bought electronics in their most recent transaction (Chart 1).
Books remains significant, with about one-fifth of customers including books in their most recent purchase. Other media, including video games and movies, are somewhat less popular, and music is currently a small part of the business. Grocery and clothes, two categories that Amazon has been working hard to grow are showing similar strength.
Amazon customers also avoid paying for premium shipping. 93% of customers use standard shipping, free Super Saver shipping, or Prime free 2-day shipping. Among customers that bought media (books, movies, music, and games), most still purchase items for physical delivery rather than for download (Chart 2).
About one-third of book and game buyers downloaded their purchases. Amazon sells a surprising number of physical DVDs, too, as only one-sixth of movie purchases were downloads. Half of customers downloaded a music purchase, yet music represents one of the smallest markets for Amazon.
CIRP bases its findings on surveys of 1,100 US subjects who made a purchase at Amazon.com in the period from August 2013 – March 2014.
For additional information, please contact CIRP.
- 'Halt And Catch Fire' Gives Lee Pace The Starring Role He Deserves
If you’re a fan of Lee Pace or if you enjoy dramas set in the technology world, “Halt and Catch Fire” (10 p.m. ET Sunday, AMC) is worth checking out.
Since AMC made the very strange decision to only send out one episode, it’s hard to make much more of a case for “Halt” than that. Given that the network greenlit the show a year ago and production ended at least a month ago, it’s difficult to believe that there weren’t more episodes available to share with the media, which usually gets at least a few episodes of new cable dramas. Of course, the stinginess with episodes could be a sign of caution stemming from the (deserved) drubbings that “Turn” and “Low Winter Sun” received. Or it could say something about where “Halt” is heading next, which would be a shame — but to be fair to the show, we just don’t know.
In any event, consider this a provisional review, one that makes that case that “Halt” is probably worth watching for at least a few weeks. The pilot features multiple scenes of people hunched over the disassembled innards of an early-’80s personal computer, which is not the most dynamic of scenarios, but the good news is, “Halt” has more promising elements as well.
Chief among them is Pace, who has an uncanny ability to play remote or arrogant characters who are nevertheless fascinating and who even betray hints of vulnerability. Pace’s flashy salesman character, Joe MacMillan, burns with a mysterious intensity and there are indications that something dark lies just below the surface of his slick, practiced charm. Despite the obvious danger, MacMillan’s charisma ends up being a draw for sad-sack engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), who has shelved his dreams of taking the personal computer in exciting new directions.
The first hour, while decently paced, does display some growing pains. If there’s one thing I never need to see again in a cable drama (or any drama), it’s a female character whose main job is to put limits on a man who wants to Take Risks and Do Things (Women! Why don’t they ever get it??). Kerry Bishé is forced into the maddening Complaining Cable Wife role in “Halt,” unfortunately. Donna Clark, Gordon’s spouse, once shared his technology dreams, but not after a big project flamed out on the pair. Donna’s role in the pilot is to remind Gordon that he has a family (you know, that thing that always drags down the big dreamers), and it’s my fond hope that Bishé’s role is expanded well beyond those semi-shrill parameters as the show goes forward.
MacMillan’s boxy, double-breasted suits and his ’80s bravado take up much of the mental and physical space in “Halt,” but Toby Huss is terrific as Joe’s irascible boss, and Mackenzie Davis also makes a strong impression as Cameron Howe, a bored computer major who is unimpressed with the state of the industry’s ambition in the early ’80s. Unlike “Silicon Valley” — which is set several decades later — “Halt” makes it clear that women have always been involved in technology. Don’t get me wrong, I generally like “Silicon Valley” (though the second half of the season took a dismaying turn toward dopiness and crudeness), but its insistence on treating female programmers and engineers as nearly non-existent unicorns is not just lazy and troubling, it’s incorrect.
There’s a tentativeness to “Halt’s” first hour — it doesn’t end especially strongly — but overall, the drama has a mostly credible pilot and lead actors who will probably be able take the show in compelling directions. We’ll just have to see how the program runs from here.
“Halt and Catch Fire” premieres 10 p.m. ET Sunday on AMC.
- Apple reportedly asks Chinese authorities for help on iPhone 6 leaks
Apple is attempting to prevent leaks for the iPhone 6 from slipping out, by allegedly getting help from Chinese authorities. The company is said to be concerned enough about leaks for the smartphone that it is going after accessory manufacturers who are producing items specifically for the iPhone 6, just in case any important details are accidentally made public before Apple’s unveiling.
- Midwest Startups Surprisingly Driving Future of Retail Tech
Saying the manner in which consumers shop has changed over the past 20 years is like saying the educated world is tired of Kim Kardashian – it’s a given. But the retail technology revolution is clearly not done and continues to shape the manner in which we all engage in the shopping process at breakneck speed.
Yet while the assumption is that these innovations can only be born near Silicon Valley under the watchful eye of Bay-area VCs, some are coming from surprising locations not thought of as technology or innovation hubs.
To wit, here’s a look at three technology platforms – all hailing from the Midwest – that have the potential to further reshape the retail landscape moving forward:
Ever walk into a massive store and have absolutely no idea where to find the high quality condoms, Colt 45, or smoked meats that you’re looking for? Yeah, me too. Enter St. Louis-based-aisle411 (the “a” is lowercase), works with major retailers like Home Depot, Walgreens, Shop ‘N Save, and Hy-Vee to create a better in-store shopping experience for consumers. Their technology digitizes product inventory, making it easily searchable for shoppers on mobile applications, and adds location intelligence so shoppers can find what they want, when they want it. The aisle411 tech helps retailers to connect the location of the shopper, the shopper’s intent to purchase, and the location of products — down to the shelf.
Why is this important?
“While we always think e-commerce today, more than 90 percent of retail purchases are still made at a physical store location and more than half of all shoppers are carrying mobile devices with them when shopping,” said aisle411 CEO Nathan Pettyjohn. “But if they can’t find what they want, they leave. Retailers are losing about 20 percent of in-store revenue due to store walkouts over consumer frustrations. So our technology keeps people there, shopping, because they can quickly get what they need and get out. Plus, we’ve seen what we call “basket-lift,” increasing the sum of the average number of products purchased in a visit to a store.”
Mobile influence on in-store sales, which is currently estimated at some $158 billion, is projected to more than triple by 2016, and aisle411 looks positioned to continue its leadership position in the indoor retail mapping space.
Click With Me Now
Does it seem like we’ve become a peer-review economy? You go to sites like Answers.com or GirlsAskGuys.com or Yelp to get suggestions from people you’ve never met, right? Of course you do, because consumers are looking to collaborate and engage with others online and in real-time – from connecting with a friend or loved one to walking through travel plans, to helping a technology-challenged friend navigate the complexities of health insurance, to delivering customer support.
What Click With Me Now does simplifies that peer-to-peer or business-to-consumer support process with a one-click, no-download solution that empowers computer users to simply and safely co-browse web experiences. Hence, if you run an e-commerce platform, you can simply add Click With Me Now’s software to your site, and then a customer support specialist can more easily – and in the eyes of a consumer – more securely, co-browse and assist a consumer in making purchase decisions.
“The application is multifaceted,” said Bud Albers the former Walt Disney Corp. CTO who is now CEO of Click With Me Now, which is also based in St. Louis. “It can substantially improve customer support efforts as well as increase conversion rates by visually enabling the assisted selling experience. This is the next stage in the evolution of customer service tools for large enterprises. It empowers consumers to leverage the technology for themselves and enables them to share, get opinions and to get help from people they personally know and trust.”
While writing about changes technology was having on businesses for Forbes, Chris Steiner noticed grocery stores lagged behind. Consumers were on smartphones and supermarkets were using technology from Gilligan’s Island.
So Steiner got VC funding from YCombinator for a concept he and his co-founder called Aisle50, a Chicago-based portal that links online coupons to stores’ loyalty programs, which gives consumers access to daily deals like Groupon. But instead of 40 percent off a one-time deal like parasailing lessons or fish whispering sessions, Aisle50 users get deals on things like Kellogg’s cereals and Coca-Cola. Stuff they use every day.
Thus far they have agreements in place with Oklahoma City-based Homeland Stores, Sacramento-based Raley’s, North Carolina-based Lowes Foods, Pennsylvania-based Shop ‘n Save, and New York-based D’Agostino.
“By subscribing consumers to products at brick and mortar stores, we’re driving trips and giving our retailers an answer to Amazon,” said Steiner.
They source exclusive content in the world of consumer packaged goods and are working to turn it into a marketing lever that, for CPGs, drives incremental volume and repeat buying. On the retailers’ side, Aisle50 has seen its tech drive new trips, 31 percent bigger basket sizes with offers that are 100 percent funded by CPGs.
That’s a great question. Consumers are always looking for means to more simply and safely shop. The likes of aisle411, Click With Me Now, and Aisle50 are in a very large pack seeking just mild slices of the retail tech pie that continues to see new innovations on seemingly a weekly basis.
Will that next big thing come from a Google, an Apple, or a Samsung? Perhaps. But more than likely it will come from three guys (or gals) in Austin or Charlotte or Champaign-Urbana or Louisville or St. Louis and — with the right push — will continue to change our shopping habits moving forward.
- Bryan Cranston Hints Walter White Is Alive, Twitter Has Emotional Breakdown
Thursday, May 29, Bryan Cranston stopped by CNN and decided to blow up the Internet. When asked point blank if Walter White was dead, Cranston answered, “I don’t know,” and when it came to the possibility of a “Breaking Bad” movie, he replied,” Never say never.”
With that, Twitter went on an emotional roller coaster, which we’ve broken down into 10 stages of acceptance.
Stage 1: Initial Shock
— EnterRashikari (@Rashik_A) May 30, 2014
Is this real life? 0_0 http://t.co/9FacevkUJ2
— Wes Walz (@djweswalz) May 30, 2014
Stage 2: Confusion
Einsenberg is alive !!! http://t.co/NeOLbvwhKr
— jlabbe (@jplabbe) May 30, 2014
Just for clarification, Walter White’s alter ego is Heisenberg, not quirky actor Jesse Eisenberg.
Stage 3: Reasoning
— Junglist (@Loupreme_) May 30, 2014
if walter white ain’t dead, then PROVE TO ME Tony Soprano died. http://t.co/haEAn8eIud
— Stefanie (@stefsaysgovols) May 30, 2014
Stage 4: The Celebrity Endorsement
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) May 30, 2014
Stage 5: Playful Excitement
http://t.co/wXl79QJOvt BRYAN I WILL HIT YOU, STOP IT. STOP TEASING.
— nina (@hihelloitsnina) May 30, 2014
Stage 6: Actual Excitement
WALTER WHITE NOT DEAD?? THIS ISNT THE END??? YES YES YES THANK YOU BRYAN CRANSTON
— Alaina Serno (@lain_serno) May 30, 2014
Stage 7: Denial
I’m hoping Bryan Cranston was just misquoted or winding up the journalists.
— Daniel Burden (@Danburden1138) May 30, 2014
I’m going to assume Cranston was just throwing the reporters a bone, hoping they would stop asking him Breaking Bad questions for a while.
— Andrew Shaw (@androoshaw) May 30, 2014
Stage 8: Anger
NO NO WTF IS THIS!!??YOU BREAK MY HEART BY ENDING THE SHOW AND NO YOU”RE TRYNA SAY “Oh there MIGHT be more?” HELL NAH
— † Helena † (@OtomiruPrincess) May 30, 2014
Bryan Cranston hinted that Walter White might not be dead, and if that’s true I swear I will engineer a virus to wipe out all nerds.
— Mike Zeidler (@Mike_Zeidler) May 30, 2014
— Jeremy Clymer (@JeremyClymer) May 30, 2014
Stage 9: A Religious Awakening
THERE IS A GOD!
— Claire Fearon ✌ (@televisionary_) May 30, 2014
Stage 10: A Final Realization
@OliverFrenchie Bryan Cranston is Justin Bieber o___________o
— Nalbis (@TotallyNalbis) May 30, 2014