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Mobile Technology News, May 31, 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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

    Click here to see the full HuffPost Live conversation about bioelectronic medicine.

  • 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.


    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

    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?”

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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:

    Dear Students,

    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.


    John Etchemendy

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  • The Most Important Insights From Mary Meeker's 2014 Internet Trends Report
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  • 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).

    Chart 1: Percent of Subjects Buying in Department at Most Recent Visit

    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).

    Chart 2: Percent Downloaded at Most Recent Visit

    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.

    What’s Next?

    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

    @itvnews: Bryan Cranston suggests there could be more Breaking Bad http://t.co/Qfi1kOOrKO pic.twitter.com/gtHeXngt0n” *dramatically faints*

    — 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

    With him as a zombie? “@ComplexMag: Bryan Cranston said in an interview that there may be more “Breaking Bad” ahead. http://t.co/NdVchRbLCl

    — 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

    ….the lord heard my cry….some more? http://t.co/ECE6Rhhy6S #5SeasonsAndAMovie? #BreakingBad

    — Questlove Gomez (@questlove) May 30, 2014

    Stage 5: Playful Excitement


    — nina (@hihelloitsnina) May 30, 2014

    Stage 6: Actual Excitement


    — 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


    — † 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

    @GemOfAmara @tvdotcom Bryan Cranston just dropped 28 points on the Cool Guy Index.

    — Jeremy Clymer (@JeremyClymer) May 30, 2014

    Stage 9: A Religious Awakening


    — Claire Fearon ✌ (@televisionary_) May 30, 2014

    Stage 10: A Final Realization

    @OliverFrenchie Bryan Cranston is Justin Bieber o___________o

    — Nalbis (@TotallyNalbis) May 30, 2014


Mobile Technology News, May 30, 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.

  • WWDC 2014 – What We Expect To See

    (Editor Note:  This post will remain at the top of AlliOSNews until Monday, 2 June.  Newer news and review articles will appear below it) Next week starts the World Wide Developer Conference for Apple, WWDC 2014.  These event is always greeted with anticipation as it has become the event where we see new announcements around software […]

    The post WWDC 2014 – What We Expect To See appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Google offers 'right to forget' form
    Google launches a service to allow Europeans to ask for personal data to be removed from search results, after a European court ruling.
  • How To Use The Compass App To Mark A Bearing

    One of the built-in apps of iOS is the compass.  It is often overlooked but is actually quite a powerful tool as it is not only a compass but is a level (both horizontal and vertical) as well.  One of the key things you can do with an analog (in-other-words, the old handheld versions) compass […]

    The post How To Use The Compass App To Mark A Bearing appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • "What's Your Network Called?": Young People Are Creating The Wireless Web In Cuba
    They meet on a corner, eyes red from lack of sleep, their pants on the verge of falling down to their knees. They aren’t yet twenty and have spent the night immersed in the plot of a video game. Greeting each other they no longer use the popular “qué volá?*” nor do they mumble a grunt, but they speak to each other in the language they understand best: “What is your network called?” says the tallest to the other. “Bad Team” is the answer that remains floating in the air.

    With this simple exchange, the two young men have introduced themselves and offered the credentials that are most important to them right now. They have shared the essential: the name of where they can meet in the web of wireless connections weaving itself over the city. Despite police raids and the high prices of routers or an APN in the black market, wireless networks multiply. They serve as a substitute for the absent internet. Through them move games, documentaries, OS updates, pirated software, magazines in PDF format, music, video clips, and the nascent private sector publicity.

    “No one can stop it,” says a teenage boy with long and agile fingers, agile perhaps because of so much practice with the mouse and keyboard. He is one of the creators of an extensive network that starts in La Habana del Este, weaves itself through the mazes of Centro Habana, and ends-with its digital tentacles-in the heart of San Miguel del Padrón. When a police offensive falls on a part of it to confiscate antennae and accessories, they immediately notice: “We notice that we lose users, that they disconnect themselves…and that gives us the clue that something is going on.” A virtual complicity unites them.

    The government is right to worry; these youths are already living in the future.

    *Translator’s note: Cuban Spanish equivalent of “What’s up?”

    Translated by Ernesto Suarez

  • Dragon V2 Spacecraft Unveiled By Elon Musk At SpaceX To Ferry Astronauts
    HAWTHORNE, California (AP) — A company that has flown unmanned capsules to the Space Station unveiled a spacecraft Thursday designed to ferry up to seven astronauts to low-Earth orbit that SpaceX founder Elon Musk says will revolutionize access to space.

    The cone-headed craft dubbed Dragon V2 featured landing legs and a propulsion system designed to land the manned craft anywhere on land “with the accuracy of a helicopter,” Musk said at Southern California rocket builder’s headquarters near Los Angeles International Airport. The technology would enable rapid reloading and reusability of the spacecraft, he said, noting that in the past rockets and space craft return to Earth in a fireball, rendering them unusable.

    “This is extremely important for revolutionizing access to space because as long as we continue to throw away rockets and space crafts, we will never truly have access to space it’ll always be incredibly expensive,” Musk said.

    The white capsule also featured a sleek interior with swing-up computer screens at the control station, a two-level seating system to accommodate up to seven astronauts and large windows for them to marvel at Earth’s curvature.

    Since the shuttle fleet retired in 2011, NASA has depended on Russian rockets to transport astronauts to orbit and back, paying nearly $71 million per seat. The space agency has said it wants U.S. companies to fill the void by 2017 and has doled out seed money to spur innovation.

    SpaceX — short for Space Exploration Technologies Corp. — has made four cargo runs to the giant orbiting outpost some 200 miles (320 kilometers) above Earth. Just last month, its Dragon capsule splashed into the Pacific, returning nearly 2 tons of science experiments and old equipment.

    Companies competing for the right to ferry station astronauts need to design a spacecraft that can seat a crew of four or more and be equipped with life support systems and an escape hatch in case of emergency. SpaceX has said it’s designing a seven-seat spacecraft.

    SpaceX and longtime NASA contractor Boeing Co. are “more or less neck and neck” in the competition, but there’s a long way to go before astronauts can rocket out of the atmosphere on private spacecraft, said John Logsdon, professor emeritus of political science and international affairs at George Washington University.

    Logsdon said progress by private companies is slower than anticipated mainly because Congress has not fully funded NASA’s budget request for the effort. He said it’s important for the U.S. to wean its reliance on Russia given the political tension over the annexation of Crimea.

    “It’s essential to have our own capability to transport people to space,” he said. “This is an important step in that direction.”

  • Tech promises sustainable healthcare
    How tele-tech and mobile are providing sustainable healthcare
  • Who Should Know How You Are Feeling?
    Where You Go on the Internet, Where You Travel on City Streets — That and More Is All Up for Grabs

    Google? NSA? Walmart? It soon may be possible for them to track your emotions in addition to your whereabouts without your knowledge or consent. No regulations from the government to prevent massive surveillance are on the horizon. Already companies are selling software that identifies your name just by looking at your face. On Sunday, May 18, The New York Times‘ business section ran a front-page article about the threat of privacy invasion now that software programs not only identify who you are by using hidden cameras to scan your face but then link to your Facebook posts and other sources of information about you that you didn’t know you were providing.

    The Next Step in Privacy Invasion

    The Times article didn’t mention the next step in privacy invasion, just around the corner: new computer programs that can link your identity to how you are feeling at the moment. What was your emotional reaction when you read the latest news about… Edward Snowden, Kim Kardashian, or President Obama? How did you feel about the latest packaging of Tide, or Trojans? Which TV ad for which politician got the biggest emotional kick from you?

    Automated computer recognition of moment-to-moment emotions, even attempts to hide emotions, is nearly here. Crude or incomplete versions are already in use, and better ones will soon be available. I know about all of this, having developed the first comprehensive offline tool for measuring facial expressions, and thanks to my participation in a company that is developing automated emotion recognition based on my work.

    People Wearing Google Glass May Know Not Only Who You Are but How You Are Feeling

    Despite Google’s attempt to prevent this use of their product, something similar will become available from a copycat manufacturer that reveals the same information. The real threat to privacy comes from the surveillance cameras that are nearly everywhere, when they are able to know our most personal feelings about whatever we are looking at, or the emotions that we are feeling as we remember something from our past, recent or distant. These automated “emotion sensors” won’t know what triggered our emotions, just what emotions we are feeling.

    The clever use of this invasive technology will attempt to provoke us by triggering engineered emotional events, without prior consent for having our emotions triggered, or having our emotions read, or having our emotions linked to our identity and everything that is already stored about us (what we buy, where we go, who we live with, and who knows what else).

    Can Our Privacy Be Rescued From Invasion? Can Our Identity Be Hidden, the Emotions Shown on Our Face Not Read?

    Joseph J. Atick, one of the pioneers of identity recognition, was quoted in the Times as saying that companies using face recognition to identify us should post notices that they are doing so, and that they should seek permission from a consumer before identifying them and use that information only for the purposes that the consumer has consented to. Those are very modest protections, in my judgment, but they are still opposed by some of the companies selling the recognition software.

    More Protection Is Needed When It Comes to Reading Our Emotions

    Our consent has to be obtained by more than a public notice that it is being done, and more than clicking on a website’s fine print. A specific, explicit consent to have our emotions monitored by a particular company for a specific purpose, as well as assurance that is time-limited, probably to one- or two-hour period, should be obtained. Reading children’s emotions should require parental consent for each occasion it is done. And when a government agency such as the NSA reads our emotions, some regulations, better than the ones currently in place, need to be established to protect our privacy.

    I am a face scientist, not an attorney, data wonk or legislator. I hope this blog post will alert all those responsible for the protection of the public to the urgent need for establishing privacy guidelines.

  • Quantum Teleportation Feat Brings Ultrafast Computer Networks Step Closer To Reality
    No one’s getting beamed up anytime soon, but teleportation may have taken a big step closer to reality.

    Researchers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands say they have succeeded in accurately transferring information from one quantum bit to another quantum bit located 3 meters away — without the information traveling through the intervening space.

    A quantum bit (qubit) is analogous to a conventional computer bit — though unlike a conventional bit, a qubit can represent more than two possible values.

    The feat is considered a critical step toward the development of a network of so-called quantum computers. These ultrafast computers — still theoretical at this point — would be able to solve problems beyond the reach of even the most powerful computers available today, the New York Times reported.

    In addition, quantum computers would allow data transfer to be completely secure, according to a written statement released by the university. Eavesdropping on data would be virtually impossible.

    To achieve their feat, the researchers exploited quantum entanglement. That’s a bizarre physics phenomenon that Albert Einstein famously argued against because it amounted to “spooky action at a distance” — something he considered impossible.

    Entanglement is arguably the strangest and most intriguing consequence of the laws of quantum mechanics,” Prof. Ronald Hanson, head of the research effort, said in a written statement. “When two particles become entangled, their identities merge: their collective state is precisely determined but the individual identity of each of the particles has disappeared.”

    Hanson’s team isn’t alone in its quest to exploit quantum entanglement.

    “There is a big race going on between five or six groups to prove Einstein wrong,” he told the Times. “There is one very big fish.”

    But what about the idea of teleporting physical objects — even humans — rather than just information?

    “If you believe we are nothing more than a collection of atoms strung together in a particular way, then in principle it should be possible to teleport ourselves from one place to another,” he told The Telegraph. “In practice it’s extremely unlikely, but to say it can never work is very dangerous.”

    If Star Trek-style teleportation does become possible, Hanson said, it will be in the distant future.

    Take a seat, Scotty.

    A paper describing the advance was published online May 29 in the journal Science.

  • Kimye Wedding Photo Sets Instagram Record For Most Likes
    To anyone asking, “Who cares?”: It seems that close to 2 million people actually do, in fact, care about Kimye.

    People magazine reports that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s wedding photo has, as of Thursday, broken an Instagram record, with 1.92 million people (and counting) having clicked that little red heart. The photo of the bride and groom locking lips, posted by Kardashian on May 27, is now the most liked photo in Instagram’s three-year history.

    The photo depicting wedded bliss knocks out an image of another one-time celebrity couple. An image of Selena Gomez embracing Justin Bieber, which Bieber posted back in January, previously held the record with 1.82 million likes.

  • TheSkimm: A Look At How Two Female CEOs Are Changing Up The Media Landscape
    Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin had worked in pretty much every news division at NBC before they decided to walk away and launch their own company.

    Enter theSkimm: a daily email newsletter targeted at millennials to deliver the news in a quick way that fits into their busy schedules. One email sent at 6 AM every morning aims to give subscribers everything they need to know about the latest news in politics, sports, entertainment and more.

    The Huffington Post sat down with Weisberg and Zakin on Thursday to find out more about how these two friends, who met during a study abroad program in college, have now become the co-founders of one of the fastest growing e-newsletters.

    At what point did you decide to leave NBC and start theSkimm, and what was that like?

    Weisberg: It was terrifying. It was the scariest thing I think either of us has ever done because we’re not really risk takers. We grew up being news geeks. I always had my head in a book. I loved just talking about what was going on in the city– I grew up in Chicago– and politics was always part of the dinner conversation. So that was something we bonded over.

    Zakin: It was the most surreal thing. When we talk about it I get very awkward because I’m like, ‘I would never quit my job.’

    Weisberg: We loved our jobs. We grew up wanting to be in the building so we never really thought about leaving. But what we did think about was our own career path and where we were going to be in 5 to 10 years. Seeing the divisions that we thought we would work in or that we wanted to work in not exist in the same way really got us thinking about the longevity of the industry.


    Where did the idea for theSkimm come from:

    Weisberg: We looked at our friends who weren’t connecting with what we were producing and what we were watching– or what we were trying to get them to watch. I think anyone in news kind of has this feeling that all of a sudden their family members and friends start asking them what’s going on in the world and there was really no news source that they loved on a daily basis that they felt fit in with their routines overall.

    How are you bringing something different to the media landscape? What old structures of traditional media do you want to change?

    Zakin: We think of theSkimm as old meets new. Everyone told us morning news was dead, we disagreed. Everyone said email was dead, we disagreed. Obviously, these traditional places have to adapt to get younger readers. For us, the way we differentiate ourselves is that we knew we couldn’t be everything to everyone. We were very clear– we are the demographic.

    Weisberg: I think what differentiates us is that we have a very niche audience.


    How would you describe that audience?

    Weisberg: Women, 22 to 34, female millennials, smart, in a big city, with money to spend. We went after that audience but we went after them at a very specific point in their day. We focus on their morning, which also is a differentiator for us. Most importantly, we don’t worry about being first. We’re really not a place for people to go to see breaking news and that’s been a luxury.

    Zakin: The other thing that differentiates ourself is the passion for the community around us. Our social channels have nothing to do with news for the most part, I mean, we refer to things that we wrote about, but it’s about the lifestyle and about the community and how this audience– these Skimmers– live their “Skimm life” and what does that look like. I think that is so rare for a news organization to have that.


    In an industry that is still so dominated by men, especially in top leadership positions, what has it been like so far to build this company as two female entrepreneurs?

    Weisberg: What we’ve realized after launching something, going through our first fundraising and hiring our first employees is that we’ve definitely run the gamut of these first experiences. What we’ve taken away is that starting a company is really hard. Starting a company as someone in their mid-20s is especially hard. Starting a company without an additional business background or a tech background is exceedingly hard. And doing it all for the first time is just very difficult for anyone.

    Zakin: Doing this for the first time is really hard…. We would walk into meetings and we looked young and we were two bubbly girls and people were like, “Who did you pay to do your business plan? Who writes your sports coverage? Who writes your financial news coverage?” I don’t know if that’s about age or gender, but I think anyone in any industry encounters people who say ignorant things.

    What is “success” for you? What will “success” look like for you at theSkimm?

    Zakin: I think honestly, what we just did is a part of success [referring to the AOL Build event]. When we get to talk about what we’ve built…we created something that means something to [people] and is a part of their day and is making their day better. Seeing those reactions is just such a boost. It’s such an energizer and it’s momentum for us to become better CEOs and to take the company to the next level. Our metric for success for this year is user growth. That’s all we care about.

    Weisberg: On a personal level for us, this was something that we did because we obviously were really passionate about the idea but it was also a way for us to learn a whole new skill set. So, success for us in a lot of ways is becoming business women for the first time and striking out on our own. It’s also about being able to run a company and still be human beings– be sane, see our family and have lives– that is definitely a part of our definition of success.


    Click over to learn more about theSkimm.

  • Cindy McCain: Gwyneth Paltrow Is 'A Joke'
    Cindy and Meghan McCain took to Twitter this week to express their outrage at Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

    Paltrow was speaking at the Code Conference hosted by tech journalism startup Re/code on Tuesday when she compared dealing with her internet trolls to being in war.

    “You come across [online comments] about yourself and about your friends, and it’s a very dehumanizing thing,” Paltrow said. “It’s almost like how, in war, you go through this bloody, dehumanizing thing, and then something is defined out of it. My hope is, as we get out of it, we’ll reach the next level of conscience.”

    Those comments did not sit well with Cindy McCain, and she said as much in her tweets:

    Gweneth Paltrow is a joke. Her life is like taking bullets for a soldier. What a joke! My 2 sons serving in the military should talk to her.

    — Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) May 29, 2014

    Perhaps Gweneth Paltrow should go out on patrol with some soldiers. Kind of like a Red Carpet in her mind I guess!

    — Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) May 29, 2014

    She also spoke with HLN’s Mike Galanos about Paltrow’s comments on Thursday.

    “I think it was, you know, an ignorant thing to say and certainly a very selfish thing to say. I would encourage Gwyneth Paltrow — and I would be happy to go with her to go sit down with some troops who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq and talk to them about what really goes on, and perhaps meet some of the young men and women who have lost limbs from this,” McCain told Galanos. “You know — it’s Hollywood, I don’t know what else to say.”

    Meghan McCain expressed her disgust with Paltrow as well:

    Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow should visit Walter Reed and some of our heroic veterans before comparing her life to theirs. #shesatotalidiot

    — Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) May 29, 2014

    Paltrow also stirred up controversy back in March when she suggested that being a celebrity mom is more difficult than being a mom with “a regular job.”

  • Music Legends Push Respect Act For Unpaid Digital Royalties
    WASHINGTON — The sounds of Motown legend Martha Reeves singing, “Everybody, pass this bill,” could be heard Thursday echoing through the halls of the Rayburn office building on Capitol Hill.

    The bill in question is the Respecting Senior Performers as Essential Cultural Treasures Act, or Respect Act. At a Thursday press conference, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.) and George Holding (R-N.C.) introduced legislation that would require digital radio services such as Sirius and Pandora to pay royalties to classic artists whose music was recorded before 1972.

    “Digital radio stations that earn millions off Motown classics but fail to pay royalties to the artists who recorded them are withholding hard-earned profits from deserving musicians. Refusing retired artists royalties from digital radio stations is particularly unfair,” Conyers said in a statement.

    Reeves was joined by other legendary musicians: Roger McGuinn of The Byrds; Richie Furay of Buffalo Springfield; Gene Chandler, “The Duke of Earl”; and Karla Redding, daughter of the late Otis Redding. They all came in conjunction with the Project 72 campaign , which is pushing for passage of the legislation.

    Watch a clip of their performances above.

    Karla Redding made a personal case about the effects of these unpaid royalties saying, “We’ve seen a 90 percent drop in income as a result of this … it’s not fair, its not fair … My father died at 26 with a huge catalog of music that spans generations today. And it’s only fair that his estate be compensated for his hard work.”

    The distinction between royalties for a song recorded in 1968 and one done in 2014 appears to be in how these digital services interpret a discrepancy in state versus federal copyright law. Sound recordings weren’t brought under the purview of federal copyright law until 1972. Recordings older than Feb. 15, 1972, are protected only by an assortment of state laws that are not all encompassing.

    The nonprofit group SoundExchange estimates that through the loophole, legacy artists and record labels have lost out on $60 million in royalties for play on digital services in the past 12 months alone, despite the fact that these oldies make up 10 to 15 percent of their total airplay.

    Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), who represents the Greenwich Village district of New York City, where the folk music scene boomed in the 1950s and 1960s, agrees that digital music services need to pay up.

    “To think that although we live in a capitalist society, in which people are expected to be paid for their work, where people are expected to be paid for the products of their genius and their originality and their creativity … companies come along who expect to be paid for their work, and say ‘but we’re not gonna pay for the songs that we play, we’re not gonna pay for these artists, because of a quirk in a law, because these songs were written and produced before 1972,’ that is a distortion of every commercial preset that this society operates under,” Nadler said.

    Last September, SoundExchange filed a lawsuit against Sirius for not paying royalties to artists for songs before Feb. 15, 1972. If the Respect Act passes, Pandora and other digital streaming services would have to pay royalties for these recordings in the same manner as they do for recordings after that date, bringing legacy artists and their songs under the protection of federal law.

    The Rayburn press conference was a festive, if unusual, show of support by members of congress, their staff and legends of music’s bygone eras.

    Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) summed up the sentiment in the room. “The fact is, this pre-’72 distinction doesn’t mean anything to the artist, it doesn’t mean anything to music lovers, and it shouldn’t mean anything for digital music services.”

  • Dad 2.0: Father's Day Top Tech Gift Guide
    Give the gift of connection this Father’s Day with stylish, cutting-edge tech gifts to compliment quality time with Dad. Here are 7 Dad 2.0 gift picks for 2014.

    For the Mad Scientist (or Gourmand): Deluxe Molecular Gastronomy Kit

    If Dad fancies himself to be the next Ferran Adrìa, this is the gift to end all gifts. More than a cookbook, this Deluxe Molecular Gastronomy Kit is a laboratory in a box. Containing everything that the adventurous food scientist needs for extraordinary feats of edible science–from calcium lactate to food-grade syringes–the Kit turns meals into a magical adventure. The hardbound recipe book contains instructions for 40 dazzling palate pleasers, from first course to last. This gift would surely be one of shared quality time, while giving Dad a novel new toy. Available on Uncommon Goods, and Amazon, $198.95)

    For the Bookworm: Oyster for Unlimited e-books

    Whether Dad’s tastes are Golding or Grafton, Oyster is the perfect gift for the e-bibliophile. Offering unlimited access to a growing library of 500,000+ books, Oyster’s monthly subscription model, the “Netflix” for books, is a gift that will deliver happiness in perpetuity. Instead of risking single-book-buyer’s remorse, give Dad the gift of intellectual freedom. Bestsellers, award winners, literary feats, classics, and new releases all come to Oyster to roost. With its hi-res photography, handpicked typography, and clean interface, Oyster makes digital reading a delight. Available at Oysterbooks.com and on iOS devices, $9.95/month)

    For the Grillmaster: iGrill Mini

    Ever wish Dad spent more time chatting at summer barbecues instead of hovering over the grill? With the brilliant iGrill Mini thermometer, he will know when the steaks are done from up to 150 feet away. (Touch football, anyone?) This single-probe, wireless Bluetooth Smart thermometer takes the guesswork out of grilling. As soon as the food on the barbecue reaches the optimal temperature, the iGrill Mini sends an alert to Dad’s mobile device telling him it’s go-time. Say goodbye to burnt meat and spend more time with Dad! (Available at Apple stores and directly from iGrill, $39.99)

    For the Inner Boy Scout: In-1 Multi-tool Utility Smartphone Case

    Dad can probably remember the joy of receiving his first Swiss Army knife: every tool he’d ever need, all in one. And when he got his first smartphone, it was the same: a camera, a phone, the Internet, video… Give that joy all over again with the In-1 Multi-tool Utility Case, the Swiss Army knife of phone cases. With a full set of screwdrivers, pens, a nail file, tweezers, scissors, a screen protector, and a kickstand for easy video viewing, he’ll truly be prepared for anything. And it’s TSA-approved. Currently this case is available for the iPhone 5/5S, with other models in the works (Available at In-1 Case, and Amazon, $44.95).

    For the Stylish Technophile: Pebble Steel

    The Pebble Steel digital watch combines modern, cutting-edge design with technical wizardry. The Pebble Steel is the most fashion-forward smart watch on the market — combining the latest in wearable technology — a daylight-readable display, a tricolor status LED, and the ability to receive his text messages, emails and control his music — all from his wrist. With dozens of apps to choose from — Google Maps, remote controls, daily weather and stocks, fitness, games — Dad will never miss a flight, be late to an event, have to get up to adjust the thermostat again (or have to miss a workout, with a virtual coach on his arm) — all while sporting the chicest chronometer on the market (Available at Pebble, $249).

    For Dads on Dawn Patrol: Game Golf

    The best part of golf is the game — not the scorecards and the miniature pencils. Let Dad maximize the time he has to enjoy the game, by adding technology and science to the art of this precision sport. Game Golf chronicles every shot of every round played in a user-friendly app. With the Game Golf system, Dad will never have to guess how far he actually hits his 8-iron. The Game Golf uses a GPS and chip reader to determine which club he used and how far he hit the ball with every swing. When it comes time for the 19th hole? This smart app let’s golfers share and compare their games, and amplifies the enjoyable parts of the game, while leave the onerous details in the sand trap. (Available at Apple stores, and on GameGolf.com, $249)

    For the Dad who also rocks it on the tennis court or the baseball field in addition to golf, the Zepp sensor will help get his swing into shape across activities. (Available at Apple stores or on Zepp.com, $149.99)

    For the Dashing Dad: Mujjo Sleeves Laptop Case

    Gone are the days when laptop cases only came in bulky black neoprene: enter the Mujjo Sleeves Collection, which will guarantee there will never be another dull day at work again…at least style-wise. Made of sturdy felt and gorgeous tanned leather, these handcrafted cases offer protection and security while enhancing appearance. With storage compartments for documents, earplugs, and even built-in leather slots for credit cards and an SD card, Dad will be ready to take on the concrete jungle in style. ( Mujjo.com, $69)

  • Asthma Brought Us Together as Kids. Facebook Reunited Us as Adults
    This story was produced in partnership with Facebook Stories. Submit your own Facebook story here.

    We were part of groundbreaking asthma research in the ’70s. Decades later, Facebook brought us back together.

    When I was a child in the early 1970s, I suffered many bad bouts of asthma-related illness. A case of bronchitis became so severe I needed a tracheotomy to keep from dying. After I recovered from the operation, my doctors felt they couldn’t treat me any longer and recommended that my parents send me to Children’s Asthma Research Institute and Hospital–the most successful research institute in the discovery and implementation of asthma treatment.

    carih 2

    So, at the age of 9, I moved away from my family in North Carolina to my new home in Denver, Colo.

    Children’s Asthma Research Institute and Hospital was only for kids, and all of the kids there were like me: asthma had nearly killed them. When I arrived, there were about 100 patients ages ranging from 5 to 16. The first person I met was Linda Malloy Buonanno. She was my age, but she had already been at CARIH for about a year, so she was assigned to show me around while my parents filled out paperwork.

    I can still picture everything that first day: Linda was in the reception area of the research hospital when we got there. She was wearing a red dress, and was quiet and confident. She showed me the campus, filled me in on the rules and routines, and introduced me to everyone. I really didn’t know what to think about this place so I took my cues from her. She told me about school, the routines, the counselors, the other kids. Then, as it turned out, we were assigned to the same room, which made me feel a lot more comfortable.

    CARIH had strict rules around family contact in order to preserve the integrity of their research. We could only talk to our parents on the phone once a week, and they could only visit us twice per year. This was meant to keep everything clinical and controlled, so whether you came from North Carolina, Colorado, Peru, or England, you had the same amount of contact with your family.

    Because of this, friends at CARIH became more than just a social circle — they were family. Everyone had a lot of friends, and there was a lot of support for the illness and treatments we underwent. We also had “house parents” who helped us with everything from homework and hygiene to coping with missing our families to taking our medications and managing our asthma.

    carih 3

    I stayed at CARIH for almost two years. When I was released and sent home, my friends and I exchanged addresses and promised to write, and we did for a while. But people grew up, moved, married and changed their names, and could be impossible to find. Over the years, I wondered what happened to my old friends.

    I wondered what happened to CARIH, too. I found out that the institute had merged with National Jewish Health, a large research hospital in Denver. National Jewish Health sold off the CARIH campus and integrated the institute’s research into its own operation. I called National Jewish Health to see if they could help me find my friends, but patient confidentiality records prevented this.

    After researching, cold calling, and letter writing, I found some friends, but it wasn’t until I searched on Facebook that I eventually found Linda. After being out of touch for almost 40 years, the appreciation I felt for finding her can only be matched by my gratitude for having her as my guide at CARIH in the first place.

    I realized that other CARIH patients could benefit from this catharsis that came from rekindling a friendship from this unique and profound time in our lives. So in 2009, I started an open Facebook Group for CARIH alumni. I quickly discovered that many former residents shared my curiosity. I started getting notifications in my inbox that people were joining, commenting and posting photos.

    Within a couple of years, we had nearly 100 members whose experience at CARIH spanned the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. We shared memories and filled in the blanks on forgotten information, such as the names and whereabouts of our house parents, doctors, and nurses. We shared updates on our health and were amazed by the innovations that CARIH was responsible for in the treatment of asthma. Nearly all modern treatments are related to the research and discoveries that came from the institute.

    carih 4

    By 2012, many members were asking for a reunion, so we planned one for August in Denver. We went back to the neighborhood where CARIH had stood and peeked in the windows of our old schools, walked around Sloan’s Lake, which we remembered from our childhood, and reconnected with memories and stories. We reached out to National Jewish Health about the reunion and they very graciously took us on a tour of the campus. They showed us how the innovations and research we were a part of have led to a number of other medical discoveries.

    The reunion was important for many of us. It answered questions that have been with us for most of our lives, and it was an opportunity to reconcile emotions, to express gratitude and to reconnect with others who shared this extraordinary experience. We certainly will have more reunions and, hopefully, will undertake a project to formally chronicle our history.

    Our Facebook Group allows us to record our memories and define our role in helping to solve the mysteries of one of the most common and dangerous diseases. We are all grateful for this platform to remember, share, connect, and reflect, and we look forward to continuing to grow.

    Scotty Reiss, co-founder of SheBuysCars, is a writer, consultant, strategist, event developer, jewelry designer and mom in Greenwich, Conn.

  • (VIDEO) Beet Commentary: Big Upside in DirecTV-AT&T Deal Resides in Mobile & Latin America, Ashley J. Swartz
    While programming has been cited as a motivator for the AT&T-DirectTV deal, the biggest benefits may lie in wireless and Latin America, says Ashley J. Swartz, founder and CEO of Furious Minds, in a commentary for Beet.TV. “What does this deal have that Comcast-Time Warner lacks? That’s wireless,” she says. “Think about the opportunity using DirecTV’s negotiating power to get national over-the-top rights and deploy a TV Everywhere authenticated platform…that’s a great incremental lift in revenue if you start to drive data consumption on a highly profitable product, like throughput on wireless networks, that is an incredible profit center that can drive [revenue] across the wireless subscriber base.”

    The other key to the deal is Latin America, which is a sleeping giant, Swartz says. Currently, DirecTV counts about 18 million subscribers in Latin America, and the economic growth rates in that region are about three to five times that of the United States. Add in the 42% of the population having access to broadband, and there is tremendous opportunity to boost broadband penetration in that region, she says.

    For more insight into the potential merger, and the driving factors, check out this commentary.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • The College Search Process, 2.0

    In the media coverage surrounding emerging trends in the college admissions process, what often gets lost in the noise of rising and falling admissions standards and controversial changes to the SAT is an issue that is actually among the most relevant to students and their parents: how to identify the college or university that will be the best fit for the student. Indeed, technology has raised a generation of tech-fluent teens, and the Internet has placed millions of data points at their fingertips, invigorating a streamlined “College Search 2.0.”

    One of the most advantageous elements of the college search process — the fact that students have thousands of schools to choose from — can often be one of the most paralyzing. High school guidance counselors generally advise college-bound students to apply to five to eight different schools. Think about it: five to eight schools, out of thousands. That’s a tall task for anyone, let alone a high school student. Mastering the nuances of the college search process is a daunting task, as by the time most students have figured out how to avoid the pitfalls, perils and common traps, they’re already college freshmen and looking back in hindsight about how they should have done things differently.

    Most often, College Search 2.0 involves an intense bout of online research, starting with ranking websites such as US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, Forbes, and others.

    Considerations at this stage of the search include:

    • Type — Public, private, women’s college, HBCU, faith-based, two- or four-year, etc.
    • Academic programs — Does the school zest technology fields like MIT or Carnegie Mellon, or is it a strong liberal arts institution? Even if you don’t know what you want to study, you probably know what you like, so make conscious decisions about what types of majors you want available to you.
    • Location — Is the campus in a city, suburb or rural area? What else is around the campus?
    • Tuition and cost of living — Take into account public vs. private tuition rates, in-state vs. out of state and so forth. Federal law requires that every school post a net price calculator online, so if you can’t find the data elsewhere, go straight to the school’s website. Don’t forget to factor in housing and incidentals.
    • Financial aid — Some schools are able to offer more financial aid than others. Starting your career with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt may feel worth it if it means having an Ivy League name on your resume, but that’s a decision you and our family can make only after you have all the facts.

    Also worth taking into account: graduation rates, average debt repayment over earnings, post-graduation employment rates, athletics and student life.

    After a rough list is assembled, students can be left with anywhere from 10 to 20 colleges or universities. For some, this means they’re ready to start sending out applications. However, for most, this means more narrowing, either through campus visits, interviews or other means.

    Eighty-three percent of high school students only visit zero to four campuses physically during their college search. Resources and time can be limiting factors, and many students are understandably cautious about applying to colleges they’ve never seen. Until recently, this left students in a tough position. The advent of technological innovations, like YouVisit’s virtual walking tours, are now making it possible for students to walk through and explore college campuses as if they were physically there. The bottom line is that high school students should think twice before making plans to live and study at a campus they have never even seen.

    The arsenal of College Search 2.0 tools should include not only college rankings and virtual tours, but also interacting with schools of interest on social media to get a taste for their values, tone, and culture. It is also very important for prospective students to spend time reading student reviews online and getting first person feedback from current students and alumni.

    The college or university that students choose not only shapes the next four years of their lives, but also the trajectory of their entire career, so it’s time to begin mastering College Search 2.0 and leveraging the new technologies that are available to prospective students and parents. Happy hunting!

  • As Fitbits for Feelings Emerge, Whither Empathy?
    By Eri Gentry

    Search Google for “empathy + technology” and you’ll read that “Studies have shown that increased dependence on technology has resulted in the diminishing of empathy,” and ” The Internet desensitizes us to shocking images, diminishing our empathy.” Meanwhile, narcissism (think selfies) and cyberbullying appear to be at all time highs. And reality television is thriving on voyeuristic depictions of human weakness, competition and cruelty.

    A definition of empathy:

    “The feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” (Merriam-Webster)

    Are we losing touch with one another? Are we sinking towards something like Roman civilization, when bloodthirsty spectators eagerly watched men fight to the death in the name of entertainment, now just on high-def screens?

    Or could empathy in society actually be enhanced by the capabilities of technology? Could machines sense our emotions better than our friends and family can, and broadcast that data to them? It’s not a crazy idea. In fact, wearable technologies are starting to emerge that are specifically designed to give viewers a sense of what’s going on inside another person. They may be crude now, but they will get better.

    Take a look at the Necomimi product from Tokyo’s Neurowear.

    Believe it or not, people really wear Necomimi ears to reflect metabolic excitement in a way they cannot consciously control. (Photo courtesy Neurowear)

    It’s a set of brainwave-reading cat ears that perk up when the user is alert or excited, and lay flat when the user is calm. In its concept video, a boy-meets-girl-with-cat-ears story plays out: Boy approaches; girl’s prosthetic EEG-enabled cat ears stand up; girl blushes; boy gets closer.

    It is simultaneously ridiculous, cute and relatable. Holding in feelings of affection is so utterly human. Necomimi takes reservation out of the equation. The wearer implicitly creates a new social contract when putting on the headset: anything that excites or bores the wearer will be plainly obvious to observers, be it an advertisement or a married man. It may not be for you, but some people in Japan and elsewhere are using it.

    The GER Mood Sweater from the American company Sensoree relies on galvanic skin response and LED-laden fabric to change color with the wearer’s mood. And Heart Spark, a DIY heart-rate monitor necklace made by San Francisco-based Sensebridge, reveals to the world with flashing lights when the wearer’s heart races.

    The Sensory Fiction book-vest takes quite literally the notion that you should “feel” what you are reading. (Photo courtesy MIT Media Lab)

    Generating emotion in a viewer is a goal of other new technology. Sensory Fiction, an interactive and wearable book-vest combo created as a prototype by four MIT students, will swell, squeeze, or vibrate against the user as he or she flips pages. Readers can literally feel the plot thicken, joining the protagonist on ups and downs throughout the story.

    Empathy changes our brains, hence our behavior. Although empathy-enabling technology can provoke solidarity, it may also contribute to manipulating us, or stimulating irrational decision-making. Politicians and advertising agencies have understood this for a long time. Behavioral studies tell us that we are more likely to donate to orphans identified with photos than with silhouettes. We are also far more likely to opt-in to organ donation when asked in-person by a DMV clerk than on a mail-in form. Images, smells, sounds — which can now be conveyed by various wearable technologies — may subtly guide us toward actions that seem to defy logic. When a would-be elected official rouses audiences with stories of “Mary, the retired grandmother of five, who can’t afford her heart medication,” he is playing on voters’ empathy to win votes for a new healthcare policy, regardless of whether Mary is accurately representative of senior citizens.

    The “identifiable victim effect” leads us to become more saddened and outraged by news of the kidnapping and torture of a local girl than we would be by news of thousands dead in a far-off land. Neurally, images of victims activate the nucleus accumbens, an area central to the brain’s reward and pleasure circuit. When we understand the gravity and tragedy of a loss of thousands, it is through reason, not generally because of the effects of images, empathy and nucleus accumbens activation. Brain-imaging technology combined with data analytics is giving researchers more understanding of the neurological and physiological effects of images and stories intended to produce empathy.

    Simultaneously, innovation is exploding in several ways that may add further complexity to the empathy/technology nexus. Advances in wearables as well as smaller and cheaper sensors allow weekend tech-warriors to build their own devices that alter our senses, such as Mitch Altman’s “Brain Machine” glasses that use sound and light to stimulate certain brain activity, or the poking machine armband that delivers a physical poke each time your Facebook friends poke you. These are products made mostly for personal use or demonstration, but they show how easy it is to create devices that shape our experience of the world.

    The growth of the Quantified Self movement has made it acceptable (in some circles) to wear your digital heart on your sleeve and, soon, products like the Scanadu Scout and Apple’s rumored iWatch, will be able to monitor enthusiasts’ biometrics. It’s not a great leap beyond that to interpreting your emotional state, as the Mood Sweater and Heart Spark are already doing.

    The implications of detailed emotional data in business could be far-reaching and extreme. For example, health information coupled with emotional analysis could enable pharmaceutical companies to market drugs in a highly personalized and effective way. Personalized medicine may be beneficial, but imagine ads that can interpret emotions and respond on the fly with targeted messaging. For that matter, any industry with access to such data could fine-tune their advertising accordingly. In mobile gaming, crude emotional targeting is already being attempted, creating personalized and socially networked reward systems. Some argue that games like Candy Crush — today’s top mobile game — are contributing to the demise of gaming by causing millions to spend money on primarily luck-based activities that addict users with the promise of elementary rewards like stars on the screen and social recognition in the game and in social networks. Where will such businesses go as emotional sensing becomes more sophisticated?

    The new millenial generation of digital natives frequently shows a greater sense of social responsibility and desire to be connected to one other than previous generations. Many of us want environments, jobs, and products that provide a sense of empathy and fulfillment. Meanwhile, neuroscience, consumer medical devices, and numerous other tools are giving us a deeper understanding of the roots of human sensibility. We may better understand what it means to be human, but the consequences of using these insights are not yet understood. This generation will determine whether we use or abuse empathy.

    In the 1987 book, Amusing Ourselves to Death, author Neil Postman posited that Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World got it right, not George Orwell’s 1984. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.” More recently, Dave Eggers’s novel The Circle, in a sort of homage to Brave New World, makes a similar point about the potential dangers of services like Facebook and Google.

    Technology and society now intersect at empathy in ways the world has never seen before. To prevent ourselves from fulfilling Huxley’s prophecy, we must be aware of empathy’s side effects. Once technologies that can affect empathy become commonplace, we may need more technology to protect ourselves. If we manipulate empathy, we cannot forget how it works in society — to bring people together.

    Eri Gentry is an economist turned biotech entrepreneur and an advocate for science literacy. She is a science and technology research manager at the Institute for the Future, an independent research organization, and a co-founder of BioCurious, the first hackerspace for biotech.

    This article was originally published in the Techonomy 2014 Report.

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  • Apple Didn't Spend $3 Billion On Beats Just For The Headphones
    If you want to know why Apple just dropped $3 billion — its biggest acquisition by far — on a company that makes overpriced and arguably poor quality headphones, look no further than iTunes.

    Times have changed since Apple first launched the iTunes Store in 2003, which allowed us to skip a trip to the record store and download the latest music for our iPods. Although digital downloads remain the biggest revenue source for the U.S. recording industry, people are increasingly turning to streaming music services like Spotify, Rdio and Google Play Music All Access — and away from downloads — to get their music.

    In 2013, digital downloads of singles — think buying a song from iTunes or Amazon — fell for the first time ever, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

    But subscriptions to streaming music services like Spotify Premium and Google Music All Access — which for a flat monthly fee let you listen to as much ad-free music as you’d like, and choose specific songs to listen to — were up by 79.4 percent last year, according to data from the RIAA.

    This is one of the reasons Apple bought Beats. Although Beats is known for its headphones, it launched a subscription streaming service, Beats Music, earlier this year.

    “The legal music download model has peaked,” Paul Verna, a senior analyst at eMarketer, wrote in an email. “Apple’s acquisition of Beats is a tacit recognition of this inevitable trend.”

    Last year, Apple launched iTunes Radio, a Pandora-like Internet radio service that lets you listen to music for free on Apple devices. But as the WSJ’s Hannah Karp and Alistair Barr wrote on Wednesday, it “has yet to make much of a competitive dent.”

    Beats Music, which is only a few months old, is also a relatively small player; Bloomberg Businessweek reports that it’s estimated to have between 110,000 to 200,000 members. Spotify, which was founded in 2006, recently announced it had reached 10 million paying members.

    Pandora and iTunes Radio, which offer free, ad-supported versions, are different from on-demand streaming services like Beats, Spotify and Google Music All Access because you can’t choose a specific song to listen to.

    “As download revenues decline, Apple has to bring on an on-demand streaming service in order to compete,” said Daniel Matte, an analyst at Canalys. “I don’t think Apple wanted the headphones themselves — they’re just a necessary part of buying the whole company.”

    So yes, as Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with Re/code, “This is all about music.”

  • The Sequel To 'Dots' Will Have You Addicted In No Time
    “TwoDots” is here!

    The sequel to “Dots,” the popular puzzle game app, is now available for free at the Apple App Store. (Don’t worry, Android users, game developer Betaworks says an Android version is coming later this year.)

    The concept of “Dots” — one of the biggest mobile games of 2013 — is simple: Connect two or more of the same color dots at right angles. If you create a square, every dot of that color disappears.

    But “TwoDots” offers a different spin on the game people have grown to love.

    Unlike the previous game, which had users playing the same board again and again, trying to beat their best score, “TwoDots” offers players 85 unique levels with distinct puzzles. (For example, in the photo below, the player is given 15 moves to connect 20 dots of each color.) Players have five lives to complete the puzzles, but these lives regenerate every 20 minutes.


    The game is unique in that it appears to have a fun story arc as well.

    “Join two brave dots as they traverse arctic tundras, navigate fiery jungles, and plunge the ocean depths. Sharpen your skills across 85 challenging levels while uncovering many exciting new features along the way,” the description on the App Store states.


    The duo’s path is laid out in full as soon as users download the game. It leads up to the 85th level, where the game promises the adventure will continue. We’re guessing that leaves the door open for future puzzle levels.

    Here’s what one of the “Dots” creators had to say about the sequel.

    “The TwoDots gameplay looks much more derivative of Dots than it actually is,” Patrick Moberg told Time. “As you dig deeper, you realize TwoDots simply tips their hat to our first game Dots, but quickly takes the player down a very different and fun path.”


    Will you be trying it out?

Mobile Technology News, May 29, 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.

  • Browser The Internet On Your Apple TV with AirBrowser

    IdeaSolutions has announced the release of AirBrowser, a new revolutionary app for iOS devices. AirBrowser completely reinvents the experience of internet browsing on Apple TV, finally offering users a real “desktop mode” internet browsing experience and not a simple mirror of the devices’ screen, with its known limitations. AirBrowser (Universal App) – SALE! $2.99 (Normally $4.99) […]

    The post Browser The Internet On Your Apple TV with AirBrowser appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Apple Releases iTunes 11.2.2 To Fix Podcast Bug

    Apple has released iTunes 11.2.2 today to everyone with the express purpose of fixing a bug that was impacting podcast downloads for users.  The update is available now through the App Store on your Mac or can be downloaded directly from the Apple iTunes website. The iTunes 11.2.2 update states that it is for a […]

    The post Apple Releases iTunes 11.2.2 To Fix Podcast Bug appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • VIDEO: Social network Ask.fm defends site
    The social network ask.fm says it has made changes after claims of bullying on its website.
  • Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 to Developers

    Thirteen days after releasing OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 to developers, Apple has dropped the first beta seed of OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 on the developer community.  Interestingly, nobody seems to know exactly what this update addresses or even what developers are suppose to be testing. The release is available now to those who are members […]

    The post Apple Seeds OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 to Developers appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Apple to Acquire Beats Music & Beats Electronics

    CUPERTINO, California—May 28, 2014—Apple® today announced it has agreed to acquire the critically acclaimed subscription streaming music service Beats Music, and Beats Electronics, which makes the popular Beats headphones, speakers and audio software. As part of the acquisition, Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre will join Apple. Apple is acquiring the two companies for […]

    The post Apple to Acquire Beats Music & Beats Electronics appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Ask.fm defends anonymity for users
    The site’s director of external affairs, Liva Biseniece, says Ask.fm is safe for users and lets them “explore important issues”.
  • The Future of Shopping Looks Like a High-Flying Ride
    I’m thinking the flying car is right around the corner.

    OK, no one at the Gartner Customer 360 Summit 2014 directly predicted an airborne commute anytime soon, but I’m just back from the annual gabfest focused on winning and keeping customers, and from the sounds of things, consumers and those who sell to them are in for quite a ride.

    The rise of smart machines, the power of machine learning, the growth of the Internet of Things (like appliances and cars), the expansion of payment options, the prevalence of the cloud, the insights of big data and the growing sophistication of consumers are combining to create a future of shopping in which people on both sides of the counter are going to have to be more thoughtful about how they go about their business.


    For consumers, the potential for added convenience, greater bargaining power and the ability to find precisely what they want is all on the upside. But just as flying cars will have their drawbacks (crashes will hurt a lot more, insurance premiums will be higher, sticker prices, too), there are potential downsides to consumption super-charged by technology.

    Many of the key innovations count on retailers knowing more about their customers — not necessarily knowing more personal data about specific individuals, but understanding their tastes, price points and fashion sense, even if anonymously.

    A number of surveys have found that shoppers are willing to hand over information in return for something of value — convenience, a better price, a more precise match to their desires. But those participating in the rapidly evolving digital marketplace are going to want to be vigilant; to understand what they’re turning over to whom and what it will be used for.

    For their part, retailers are going to have to understand that they need to continue to innovate while still respecting their customers’ privacy expectations.

    “We’re going to be able to get that much more context and know our customers better,” Gartner analyst Hung LeHong told the crowd of executives and technology managers at the summit. “But at the same time, customers, we believe, are also going to have different demands.”

    In short, LeHong said, customers are going to expect retailers to respond to them, and to some extent know them, no matter how they are shopping and buying — on the Web, with a smartphone in the store, or by using a combination of sales channels.

    He then laid out a not-too-distant future in which the relationship between consumers and those who sell them stuff will be upended by 10 technology trends:

    1. The convergence of big data, the cloud, social networks and mobile devices, which when layered on top of the Internet of Things, will provide merchants with unprecedented information about their customers. Virtual assistants will increasingly step in to take the place of people in some interactions. The growth in the number of ways customers can reach businesses will make it extremely hard to staff up to the need. “You need to scale cost-effectively,” he says. “To do that strictly with the human workforce can be done, but it’s going to be expensive.”
    2. Every interaction with a consumer will be an interaction with his or her entire social network. “You need to employ technology to help you track that,” LeHung says. “How far do they propagate? What do they propagate? How do I influence that?”
    3. Real-time service transparency is a must. LeHong says we have the technology to track almost anything: the length of checkout lines, the exact locations of products we’ve purchased online, the progress of a pizza we’ve ordered. “Customers will get more and more used to it and in the future they will demand it.”
    4. The Internet of Things: Yes, diapers can now send parents a tweet when it’s time for their kids to be changed. “We can Internet-enable diapers, essentially,” LeHong says. But this is going well beyond diapers to household appliances, automobiles, fitness devices and on and on. Each wired device, he says, can become another way for consumers to communicate with companies that sell them goods and services.
    5. The future of personalization is at the intersection of customer transaction history, context and intent. Increasingly it will be necessary for businesses to consider several factors when determining just what it is a consumer wants. Enterprises will want to consider contextual factors, such as the weather and a shopper’s location, all while respecting a consumers’ wishes regarding privacy.
    6. The voice of all customers will not be equal. Some consumer’s voices are simply louder than others. “A guy with 5,000 Facebook friends, if he bad mouths you, that’s damaging,” LeHong says. “If a CNET editor bad mouths you, then obviously that’s a big deal. Put those two guys up against you or your friends. Will you have as much influence as they do?”
    7. Privacy can be purchased. Consumers have shown that they are willing to share personal data in return for a better price, better service, a more convenient shopping experience. (This Cisco data covers that along with a number of LeHong’s other points) Still, it’s important for retailers to be clear about the arrangement and to protect the information they gather. “Trust, on the other hand, you cannot buy,” LeHung says. “You have to earn it.”
    8. Transaction methods are exploding. The days of “cash or credit” will seem more quaint every day as payment methods such as Square, digital wallets, PayPal, loyalty points and more come on the scene. Merchants need to be prepared for payments in all their forms to avoid frustrating and confusing their customers and to take advantage of the increased loyalty and lower costs that alternative payment can bring. (“The New York Times” recently wrote about this very thing.) “In the future,” LeHong says, “payment will become it’s own experience, a customer experience of its own.”
    9. Price visibility will become the norm. Even more so than today, consumers will know what a particular product costs at a range of stores — online and brick and mortar, LeHong says. Merchants will no longer compete on the regular price of an item, but instead on “temporary price reductions,” that might lead to different prices for loyal customers and infrequent customers, for instance.
    10. The nature of loyalty rewards will change. Today, LeHong says, you buy groceries and get loyalty points; you take a flight and get frequent flier miles. But why just make customers happy after they’ve bought something from you? How about winning them over? “We believe it’s going to go from something that is post-transactional to something that actually spans the entire customer engagement cycle,” LeHong says. Why not award a shopper some miles for checking fares on an airline site or why not give a customer some loyalty points just for walking into your store or your restaurant?

    The day, LeHong says, is coming. Makes you wonder what sort of award they’d get for arriving in a flying car.

    Photo by Intel Free Press published under Creative Commons license.

    Mike Cassidy is the storyteller at BloomReach, a Silicon Valley big data marketing application company that does business with e-commerce enterprises. Follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.

  • Review: Waterproof Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet Reminds Us Why the iPad No Longer Is King
    I’ve always been and will always be a technophile. But despite my love affair with the latest smartphones, smart home devices, computers and anything claiming to be artificially intelligent, I’ve never owned a tablet or have needed to. Coming from a longtime tech geek who’s always ahead of the digital curve, it’s quite ironic to only get it now so late in the game.

    I blame it on the right tablet taking its sweet time to finally smack me in my face. That tablet is the high-end Sony Xperia Z2, which is not to be confused with the new Sony Xperia Z2 smartphone of the same name. The tablet is now available in white and black and it went on sale earlier this month.

    I used to review cell phones for About.com when they were clamshells and candy bars. It was all about being smaller and thinner. Before that, I wrote for years as a telecom reporter in Chicago. Way back when, I even was one of the first people to write about the concept of an iPhone before there were whispers of Apple getting into the phone space and the notion of going viral wasn’t even in its infancy.

    Today it’s still about being thinner, but now it’s about being bigger and bolder, too.

    To those who know me, I make no secret about being a Google/Android guy versus a rabid Apple fan. But despite being a techie, I’ve been satisfied my whole post-1989 life since the Internet went public with only a smartphone, a work laptop and a home laptop. I haven’t wanted or seen the need for a tablet. It’d just be a distraction, I thought, that was smaller than my laptop but bigger than my phone.

    The tablet has been the middleman I’ve never needed.

    For me to go the route of a tablet at all, I’d most expect myself first gravitating toward a Samsung Galaxy tablet considering all of my phones in the last few years have been upgrades to the Samsung Galaxy product line. It turns out that Sony is my dark horse. They’re an interesting choice because their sell – and, in fact, what they do deliver – is the ability to pack in the best technology from their BRAVIA TVs and marry it with their well-known expertise in sound.

    Waterproof, Thin & Fast

    The resulting Sony Xperia Z2 will surprise you. From first glance, you’ll notice how thin it is: just a quarter of an inch! Then you’ll notice how light it is: just 15.5 ounces. By comparison, the thinnest iPad – the iPad air – is 0.29 of an inch and is 1 pound (16 ounces) in weight.

    While the Sony Xperia Z2 is just barely thinner and lighter and has a slightly larger display, it ranges from $500 for the 16-gigabyte model to $600 for the 32-gigabyte model. The iPad Air ranges from $500 to $929 with lots of choices. The iPad Air, though, can’t boast that it is waterproof, which is an interesting benefit to seek out in a tablet. It’ll come in handy when you least expect it.

    The Xperia Z2 is rated IP55/58. This means it has been tested and has “protection from the amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment” and also “protection from water projected from a nozzle.” This also means it features a water resistance ability up to a depth of 4.9 feet.

    In testing, the Xperia Z2 warned me when I opened its flappy microSD and charger port protectors because the tablet’s inputs there aren’t waterproof. So, be careful not to put your Xperia Z2 in the shower while you’re charging it. Also, while I haven’t yet broken those flappy port covers, I feel like I could easily snap them off (and then, of course, the tablet will get mad at me because it’s no longer truly waterproofed).

    The 10.1-inch screen (1920×1200 pixels and 224 pixels per inch) is stunning and extremely bright even on a sunny day. Black actually looks black, white is true white, light doesn’t bleed and millions of colors are sharp as nails. The Xperia Z2 brags with lots of trademarks and marketing jargon for its screen – including an HD TRILUMINOS™ display and Live Color LED with X-Reality™ – but that stuff just means it’s like watching a stunning HD TV that’s as good as it gets today.

    The iPad Air has a 9.7-inch, LED-backlit retina display. When you get down to the nitty gritty, the iPad Air has the upper hand from a display perspective with its resolution of 2048×1536 pixels and 264 pixels per inch. Pixilation is mostly unnoticeable in both cases, but technically the iPad Air with retina display can produce a more detailed image and more accurate colors.

    As for sound, we have more trademarks and fancy words: S-Force Front Surround™ audio, Clear Audio+ and digital noise-canceling support. It’s great sound in the real world, but I’ve easily noticed overloaded sound coming from watching music videos and the like. It’s sly to put the speakers on the front versus the back where you can easily muffle the audio when placing it on your lap.

    The Xperia Z2 features a 6,000 mAh battery whereas the iPad Air is approximately equivalent to 8,820 mAh (or 10 hours of surfing the Web on Wi-Fi, watching video or listening to music). To put things in context, the latest Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone has 2,800 mAh (up from 2,600 in the S4 and 2,100 in the S3). While the industry has expressed concerns with the Xperia Z2’s 6,000 mAh battery, it’ll easily last you a full day’s use until it’s time to charge it at night. The Xperia Z2’s Stamina mode noticeably helps keep you juiced longer, too.

    The Xperia Z2 is extremely fast. For the geeks, it features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with a 2.3-gigahertz quad-core Krait CPU, Adreno 330 GPU and 3 gigabytes of RAM. It has up to 16 gigabytes of flash memory and up to 128 gigabytes of expandable memory via a microSD slot. The iPad Air sports the A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and a M7 motion coprocessor. In my testing, the Xperia Z2 runs cool to the touch except for in the upper-left back quadrant where it tends to warm up.

    Both are extremely fast tablets, but the true test is time and how much data you put on it. Tablets and smartphones always seem fast off the shelf. They slow down over time when you clog them with all of your selfies and videos of Aunt May playing bingo.


    We all know technology is never perfect, it’s never the best and tomorrow there’s always something better. The Sony Xperia Z2 has it fair share of mistakes and things that make you go hmmm.

    Let’s start with its camera. There’s no flash! I seriously can’t wrap my brain around this. Even the iPad Air doesn’t have a flash. Sure, the depth of the flash won’t be powerful enough to light a whole room. For objects near to the tablet, though, even a basic LED flash would be an improvement over not having one at all. While the iPad Air has a 5-megapixel camera and a 1080p HD video recorder, the Xperia Z2 has an 8.1-megapixel camera and a 1080p HD video recorder.

    The Xperia Z2’s camera is just fine. It’s nothing to brag to mom about but it’s sufficient for everyday use. While the Xperia Z2 attempts to make up for a decent camera with some fancy app work (including burst mode, scene recognition, panorama, smile and face detection, etc.), its biggest miss is background defocus.

    Background defocus is one of the most important camera features a tablet or smartphone can have. Because it’s not a true digital SLR camera that can take one picture and focus on the foreground while blurring the background, the Xperia Z2 quickly takes two photos and attempts to use software to blur the background.

    The result would be a professional-looking photo, but in my experience, I attempted to accomplish this 50 times and only succeeded twice. Even when I was following directions, in nearly every case the camera couldn’t blur the background. Great thinking, Sony, but fix it or don’t include such a useless tease.

    Also, the Xperia Z2 is the opposite of smudge resistant. It’s a smudge jungle that shows all of the oils on your skin both on the front screen and the back cover. The iPad Air has this better thought out with its fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating.


    I’ve also noticed some mistouches. While I haven’t yet experienced the dreaded lag that will come with any device because of processor and memory issues, I have seen some infrequent issues with the Xperia Z2 responding to my touches the way it should. This usually isn’t a problem, but I have had to swipe a couple times, for example, to unlock it when I should only have to do that once.


    I’m not going to buy Apple because I’m not an iOS guy. But whether you’re an Android or iOS person, your money is better spent on the Sony Xperia Z2. I know that’ll be hard to swallow if you’re an Apple person, but the truth is the iPad was the innovator and is no longer king.

  • VIDEO: Samsung unveils health wristband
    Samsung unveils a prototype wristband that can be fitted with third-party sensors to gather a range of health data about the wearer’s body.
  • The first 'hip-hop billionaire'?
    Could Dr Dre become hip-hop’s first billionaire?
  • Google Diversity Data Shows Company Is Mostly White, Male
    SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — In a groundbreaking disclosure, Google revealed Wednesday how very white and male its workforce is — just 2 percent of its Googlers are black, 3 percent are Hispanic, and 30 percent are women.

    The search giant said the transparency about its workforce — the first disclosure of its kind in the largely white, male tech sector — is an important step toward change. “Simply put, Google is not where we want to be when it comes to diversity,” Google Inc. senior vice president Laszlo Bock wrote in a blog.

    The numbers were compiled as part of a report that major U.S. employers must file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Companies are not required to make the information public.

    The gender divide is based on the roughly 44,000 people Google employed throughout the world at the start of this year. The company didn’t factor about 4,000 workers at its Motorola Mobility division, which is being sold to China’s Lenovo Group for $2.9 billion. The racial data is limited to Google’s roughly 26,600 workers in the U.S as of August 2013.

    Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg recently said the social networking company is headed toward disclosure as well, but it was important to share the data internally first.

    Apple Inc., Twitter, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Microsoft Corp. did not respond immediately to queries about possible plans to disclose data.

    Bock said Google has been working to diversify, not just its offices but in the broader tech sector. Since 2010, the firm has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls, he said.

    The company also is working with historically black colleges and universities to elevate coursework and attendance in computer science, he said.

    “But we’re the first to admit that Google is miles from where we want to be, and that being totally clear about the extent of the problem is a really important part of the solution,” he said.

    Gender and ethnic disparities are reflected throughout the tech industry. About 7 percent of tech workers are black or Latino in Silicon Valley and nationally. Blacks and Hispanics make up 13.1 and 16.9 percent of the U.S. population, respectively, according to the most recent Census data.

    In the coming months, Google said, it will work with the Kapor Center for Social Impact, a group that uses information technology to close gender and ethnic gaps in the Silicon Valley workforce. The center will be organizing a Google-backed conference in California focusing on issues of technology and diversity.

    Co-founder Freada Kapor Klein, who started the Level Playing Field Institute 13 years ago to teach and mentor black and Latino students in science and math, said Google is showing leadership “which has been sorely needed for a long time.”

    “Google is the company known for the moonshot, and applying that part of Google DNA to this problem is a breath of fresh air,” she said.

    Earlier this year, the Rev. Jesse Jackson launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley, asking to meet with leaders of several iconic technology companies about bringing black and Hispanics into their workforce and leadership.

    Since then, he’s been leading delegations to annual shareholder’s meetings at firms including Google, Facebook, eBay Inc. and Hewlett-Packard.

    On Wednesday Jackson said Google is to be commended.

    “It’s a bold step in the right direction. We urge other companies to follow Google’s lead,” he said. “Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world. Inclusion is a complex problem — if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too.”

    Iris Gardner, a manager at nonprofit Code2040, which places high performing black and Latino software engineering students in internships with top tech companies, said Google’s disclosure could mark a pivotal moment in the push to diversify Silicon Valley.

    “It is a big deal for them to be transparent about something that most companies haven’t in the past been willing to share,” she said.


    Follow Martha Mendoza at https://twitter.com/mendozamartha

  • John Kerry To Edward Snowden: 'Man Up' And Come Home
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden a fugitive and challenged him to “man up and come back to the United States.” Snowden says in an interview that he would like to go home.

    The former NSA contract systems analyst is living in Russia on a temporary grant of asylum after leaking a massive volume of NSA documents to the media. He told anchorman Brian Williams of NBC News that he had taken action in the belief that he was serving his country in exposing the surveillance programs of the NSA. “I don’t think there’s ever been any question that I’d like to go home,” Snowden said in a segment of the interview broadcast Wednesday night. “Now, whether amnesty or clemency ever becomes a possibility is not for me to say. That’s a debate for the public and the government to decide. But, if I could go anywhere in the world, that place would be home.”

    Kerry’s comments came before NBC aired that portion of the Snowden interview. On the matter of Snowden returning, Kerry told the “Today” show on NBC: “If Mr. Snowden wants to come back to the United States, we’ll have him on a flight today.” Kerry also said, “A patriot would not run away.”

    Snowden told Williams that he worked undercover and overseas for the CIA and the NSA. He said he had a much larger role in U.S. intelligence than the government has acknowledged.

    “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas,” he said.

    National security adviser Susan Rice said in a CNN interview that Snowden never worked undercover.

    As far as the necessity for the leaks, “let him come back and make his case,” Kerry said. “If he cares so much about America and he believes in America, he should trust the American system of justice.”

    Snowden said he never intended to be holed up in Russia but was forced to go there because Washington decided to “revoke my passport.” In response, Kerry said: “Well, for a supposedly smart guy, that’s a pretty dumb answer, after all.”

    “I think he’s confused,” Kerry said. “I think it’s very sad. But this is a man who has done great damage to his country.”

  • Apple agrees to $3bn Beats deal
    Apple confirms it will buy headphone maker and music-streaming service provider Beats Electronics for $3bn (£1.8bn).
  • Comcast CEO Ignores Reality, Says U.S. Internet Quality Is A-OK
    Eight nations currently have faster Internet connection speeds on average than the U.S., and 30 have faster average download speeds, according to two separate studies.

    But none of that seems to bother Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. On Wednesday, at the tech-centric Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Roberts said he’s just fine with the speed and quality of broadband service in the U.S.

    “I don’t think we should be ashamed of where we are with broadband at all,” Roberts said, responding to a question about why Internet access in the U.S. isn’t better.

    Masayoshi Son, the chairman of Sprint and CEO of SoftBank, a Japanese telecom company, refuted Roberts’ comments on stage, insisting that Americans don’t understand just how bad their Internet is.

    “This is the country that invented internet,” Son said. “How can Americans live like this?”

    Son cited Japan as example of exceptional broadband service, saying that average speeds there are 50-60 MB for $20-30 a month, compared to 6 MB for more money in the U.S.

    Roberts also clarified at the conference that Comcast workers don’t “wake up everyday and go to work and say we want to be hated,” which is good to know. An April survey of 70,000 Americans found that Internet service providers and cable companies are the two most hated sectors in the entire U.S. economy.

    In a sad but admittedly impressive feat, Comcast and Time Warner Cable — with which it might soon merge — scored lowest in both categories. Comcast is the largest broadband provider in the country.

    Even before before the announcement of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable and AT&T-DirecTV deals, people were saying that conjoining these telecom and broadband players could limit the quality of service and choices for American consumers.

    “We deregulated high-speed internet access 10 years ago and since then we’ve seen enormous consolidation and monopolies,” Susan Crawford, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama on science, technology and innovation policy, told the BBC in October. “Left to their own devices, companies that supply Internet access will charge high prices, because they face neither competition nor oversight.”

  • So-Campy-It-Can't-Be-Real Ad For Liquipel IS REAL (VIDEO)
    You have to shake your head at an ad that features not one, but two, jokes with women saying that the thought of Liquipel waterproofing makes them dry.

    Other than that, the hilariously over-the-top infomercial does its job: It grabs your attention until the last of the cheesy shtick has played out.

    And for those on the Internet arguing whether the ad is real, let’s see: It has you talking about it; it promotes a real product that’s supposed to protect your gadgets from moisture; and it leads you to a real website with a real shopping page.

    Yep, it’s real.

    (h/t AdWeek)

  • Valve delays Steam Machine to 2015
    Valve announces it is delaying the release of its Steam Machine video games PC and controller until 2015 at the earliest.
  • Skype Translator Means Never Having To Learn Another Language Again
    Language barriers are about to be broken way down.

    Microsoft showed off its Skype Translator feature at the inaugural Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, on Tuesday.

    Skype Translator allows users speak to into the video chatting service in their language of choice. The words are then translated into the recipient’s preferred language. The system will hear users’ words and do its best to translate them in real time. The display will show a text translation of what was just spoken in case the automated voice isn’t able to handle a pronunciation or moves too fast.

    When Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Skype and Lync, Gurdeep Pall, took to the stage to demonstrate the technology, he was able to have a conversation in English with a woman who only spoke German.

    “Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams,” Pall wrote in a blog post following the demonstration. “Skype Translator is a great example of why Microsoft invests in basic research. We’ve invested in speech recognition, automatic translation and machine learning technologies for more than a decade, and now they’re emerging as important components in this more personal computing era.”

    Pall says Skype Translator will be available as a beta app for Windows 8 users sometime before the end of 2014. Microsoft bought Skype for $8.5 billion in 2011.

    Watch the technology in action in the video below:

  • Alyssa Funke's Mother Insists Cyberbullying Contributed To Suicide
    The mother of Alyssa Funke, a 19-year-old college student who committed suicide last month after her appearance in a porn video, insisted harassment led to her daughter’s death.

    “Alyssa was bullied her whole life,” Melissa Funke told Radar Online. “After all this recent bullying, she couldn’t handle it anymore.”

    Alyssa Funke killed herself in April, weeks after a pornographic film featuring her was posted online. Her family told local news media they believe online harassment from people who saw the video contributed.

    Alyssa Funke had been a straight-A student at University of Wisconsin-River Falls, where she studied biology. She was originally from Stillwater, Minnesota.

    “Alyssa said she was upset about all the bullying, and texted, ‘I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to die,’” Melissa Funke told Radar Online. “I was shopping at Walmart, so I said, ‘I’m going to call you as soon as I get home.’ She said, ‘OK, I’m going to take a shower. I love you!'”

    Shortly after that exchange, Alyssa Funke took her own life, according to Radar Online.

    Melissa Funke told the Daily Mail her daughter had been bullied as a child because she “didn’t have the nice things” her classmates did.

    Police have said they do not believe the online taunts constitute criminal harassment and plan no charges. Melissa Funke said she’s frustrated there will be no punishment for the people who she said bullied her daughter over porn.

    The video was removed from the porn website following the suicide.

    Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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  • Millionaire Walmart CEO Says He's Just Another Associate
    Walmart’s chief executive deflected a question on Wednesday about how to improve his employees’ lives by reportedly proclaiming himself just another “associate.”

    President and CEO Doug McMillon, who made $9.56 million last year, spoke mostly about the future of Walmart’s e-commerce business at the inaugural Code Conference, a tech convention just outside of Los Angeles being hosted by the publication Re/code.

    Business Insider reports that during a Q&A session, Bloomberg Businessweek senior writer Brad Stone asked McMillon what he’s doing to improve life for Walmart’s 1.3 million retail associates. Walmart claims that only 30,000 of those workers work for minimum wage, and that the majority earn more; other reports put the number of minimum-wage workers higher.

    McMillon answered that he was just another “associate.”

    “I’m one of them,” he said, according to the Business Insider report.

    Parroting the usual line Walmart uses to justify its low wages, McMillon said the company provides an “opportunity” for low-level employees to move up. After all, he said, he started by working in a company warehouse.

    Walmart CEO Doug McMillon on stage at #codecon pic.twitter.com/QYkF6X8WUR

    — Nicholas Carlson (@nichcarlson) May 28, 2014

    Walmart associates cost the government about $300 million a year in food stamps, according to the public radio show “Marketplace.”

    A spokesman for Walmart did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s requests for comment.

Mobile Technology News, May 28, 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.

  • Apple devices 'hijacked for ransom'
    Several users of Apple devices in Australia have reported that their phones have been “hijacked” – with a message demanding money.
  • Apple To Stream WWDC 2014 Keynote

    Apple is making sure everyone is a part of WWDC 2014 this year by once again broadcasting in a live stream the keynote message on Monday, 2 June.  The keynote is expected to highlight several “exciting” announcements.  The broadcast starts at 10:00 AM Pacific which is a 1:00 PM Eastern start.  For those in the […]

    The post Apple To Stream WWDC 2014 Keynote appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Skype to get 'real-time' translator
    Microsoft unveils a “real-time” language translation feature for its internet phone service Skype and eyes a test version by end of this year.
  • Google's New Driverless Car Has No Steering Wheel
    The car of the future is here, and it’s adorable.

    This cute little vehicle looks like something out of a cartoon, but it’s actually loaded with some of Google’s most advanced driverless technology yet.

    While the current fleet is primarily made up of tricked-out Lexus SUVs, the new one is ultra-compact, with room for just two passengers. And while the Lexus contains a steering wheel, brakes and everything you’d need to take control if necessary, the new vehicle doesn’t have any of that.

    Google told The New York Times that passengers who may not be paying attention during the ride simply won’t be ready to take over on a moment’s notice. And during tests in which Google employees were driven to work in driverless cars, “we saw stuff that made us a little nervous,” roboticist Christopher Urmson, who directs the Google car project, told the paper.

    So instead of all the driver’s equipment, the new car contains two buttons -– one to start the car on its journey, the other to stop it in an emergency — and cup holders.

    The car, which would be summoned with an app, also has a display that shows your route.

    “Just imagine: You can take a trip downtown at lunchtime without a 20-minute buffer to find parking,” Urmson wrote in a blog post. “Seniors can keep their freedom even if they can’t keep their car keys. And drunk and distracted driving? History.”

    NPR notes that the front of the car is made of soft foam, to do less damage in an accident. More importantly, it has sensors that eliminate blind spots and can detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields away, Urmson wrote.

    Google says it’s planning to built about 100 cars and cap the speed at 25 mph during testing later this summer. But eventually, the cars could go much faster.

    “There is nothing to say that once you demonstrate the safety, why can’t you go 100 miles per hour?” Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the Times.

  • Google to build self-driving cars
    Google has announced that it will start building its own self-driving cars. They will have a stop/go button but no controls, steering wheels or pedals.
  • China to 'clean up' messaging apps
    Chinese authorities launch a campaign to “eliminate” malpractice on instant messaging services which have become hugely popular in the country.
  • Laser drones map Finland's forests
    Unmanned aircraft map Finland’s forests
  • It's Official, This Is The Nerdiest Wedding Ever
    We’ve seen plenty of amazing geek-chic weddings before, but this couple took it one step further and combined their love of video games, movies, TV shows, and super heroes to create the ultimate nerdy nuptials.

    The pictures were posted to Reddit Saturday by the groom himself with the caption, “We wanted our wedding to reflect things we love.”

    Check out all the pop culture references they managed to squeeze in below.

    The invitations were inspired by Nintendo:

    The invitations.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    The bride’s shoes were all about “Mass Effect” (it’s a video game):

    My shoes were Mass Effect related.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    While the groom’s kicks were all about “Doctor Who”:

    His were Doctor Who (had Tardis embroidered on the back).
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    The couple’s tribute to “Spider Man”:

    Our Spidey tribute.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    “Star Wars” guest book:

    Guest book.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    A ninja, because why not?

    Our ninja.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    First kiss:

    First kiss.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Custom cake topper:

    Cake topper.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Pictures from inside the groom’s room:

    Pictures that decorated the groom's room.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    The Lego-inspired groom’s cake:

    Groom's cake.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    “Dr. Who” card box:

    Card box.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Dobby manned the bar and, yes, the signature drink was butterbeer:

    Dobby manned the bar. Our signature drink was butterbeer.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Yoda guarded the favor table:

    Yoda made the scene as our favor table. He is one of my prized possessions.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    More “Dr. Who”:

    Chair signs.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Wedding favors were jars filled with local honey and contained a shout-out to Obi-Wan Kenobi:

    The jars were filled with local honey.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Lego characters served as table numbers:

    The lego characters served as our table numbers. Mario.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    For the win — a little “Princess Bride” reference:

    Had to slip in The Princess Bride.
    Credit: Stone Images Photography

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Sign up for our newsletter here.

  • Edward Snowden: 'I Was Trained As A Spy'
    In an interview with NBC News’ Brian Williams, Edward Snowden stood by his technical expertise and training, brushing off critics who have dismissed him as a hacker.

    In an excerpt of the interview released by NBC on Tuesday, Williams asked Snowden about his training.

    “Were you trained as a spy?” Williams asked. “It seems to me spies probably look a lot more like Ed Snowden and a lot less like James Bond these days.”

    “Well, it’s no secret that the U.S. tends to get more and better intelligence out of computers nowadays than they do out of people,” he said. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas, pretending to work in a job that I’m not, and even being assigned a name that was not mine.”

    He continued, “But I am a technical specialist. I am a technical expert. I don’t work with people. I don’t recruit agents. What I do is I put systems to work for the United States. And I’ve done that at all levels from, from the bottom on the ground all the way to the top. Now, the government might deny these things, they might frame it in certain ways and say, “Oh well, you know, he’s — he’s a low level analyst.”

    Snowden went on to list his experience working for the NSA, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    “When they say I’m a low level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading,” he said.

    Watch a clip of Snowden’s remarks above.

    Snowden, a former government contractor, famously leaked documents detailing the NSA’s surveillance programs last June. The NBC interview marks his first sit-down with a journalist from an American network. The interview was conducted in Russia, where Snowden has been granted temporary asylum.

    The full interview with Snowden will air Wednesday.

  • Remember George Michael's Fakeblock App? Yeah, You Can Download It
    Who doesn’t love apps? They make our lives easier and there’s one for every need. Recognize the tune, but can’t name that catchy commercial jingle? There’s an app for that. Having trouble deciding on a Thai place for dinner? There’s an app for that. Desperate enough to finally end that bad relationship that you’d rather be charged $10 every time you try to text your ex? There’s an app for that. Well, a fictional one at least.

    TV has been jumping on the technological bandwagon when it comes to trendy programs for your smartphone, and now you can own some of the apps from your favorite TV shows.

    In “Arrested Development,” when George Michael heads off to college, he tells everyone he’s working on the latest in anti-piracy software. In actuality, he’s creating one of the dumbest apps known to mankind. Fakeblock let’s you use your phone as a wooden block so you can drum out some major beats. The show created a real-life version of the musical app for your iPhone, allowing anyone to “rock out with their block out.”

    For five more apps straight from the small screen to your smartphone, head over to A.V. Club.

  • Here's What Procrastinators Are Doing Instead Of Schoolwork
    Regardless of gender or age, you probably do your fair share of procrastinating if you’re in school.

    A new study out Tuesday from StudyMode, an international network that provides students with online learning tools, breaks down who procrastinates and why. The study gleaned its results by surveying more than 1,300 of the network’s student members in high school and college.

    Approximately 87 percent of those polled said they procrastinate on school assignments, as shown below.


    Slightly more male and college students reported procrastinating on work, even though 45 percent of those surveyed said they know “procrastination negatively impacts their grades very often or fairly regularly,” according to the study.

    Most students said they procrastinate either because they get distracted by other things, or because they get “overwhelmed and don’t know where to start,” as the graph below displays.


    Lastly, the study broke down what activities students choose over doing work. Unsurprisingly, procrastinating students spend much of their time watching TV or using social media — and only minimal time reading.


  • How To Give The Future A Vote
    Given the ferocity with which he opposed it, the Irish philosopher and statesman Edmund Burke is not often accused of radicalism. Yet here he is, writing in Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790):

    Society is indeed a contract… a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.

  • Spotify Hack Hits One Unlucky User

    Spotify has discovered that a hacker was able to exploit a security vulnerability, which the company says affected only one user. There is no word yet on how the hacker compromised the user’s account, but the music streaming company says it is taking steps to protect the rest of its users from the issue.

    CTO Oskar Stål announced the discovery in a blog post Tuesday, outlining the company’s game plan for the coming days.

    “Our evidence shows that only one Spotify user’s data has been accessed and this did not include any password, financial or payment information. We have contacted this one individual. Based on our findings, we are not aware of any increased risk to users as a result of this incident,” Stål wrote.

    According to his post, Spotify will ensure this security hole is fixed by asking some users to re-enter their username and password information upon log-in during the next few days.

    In addition, the company will guide Android app users to upgrade to the latest version of the company’s app.

    The blog post notes that iOS and Windows Phone users currently don’t have anything to worry about from the security vulnerability.

    The biggest inconvenience will be that, upon upgrading, all offline playlists will need to be re-downloaded into the new version of the app.

  • Harry Reid Speaks Softly On Net Neutrality
    When Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to allow Internet service providers to charge for a “fast lane” to online content was revealed last month, the congressional responses came fast and furious.

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) raised her “serious concerns” that Wheeler was betraying net neutrality — the principle that all web traffic should be treated equally. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) also hated the plan, but for different reasons: They said it went too far in contemplating broadband regulation.

    Only one congressional leader was conspicuous in his silence: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

    Now, during an intense period of lobbying over the FCC’s open Internet plans, the Nevada Democrat’s office has reaffirmed his general support for net neutrality — but it won’t comment on the one step advocates said could actually enforce it.

    “As you know for years, Senator Reid has been a strong supporter of net neutrality,” spokesman Adam Jentleson said in an emailed statement after the FCC’s May 15 vote on an open Internet plan. “He supported the FCC’s efforts to implement strong net neutrality rules in 2010, including by defeating a Republican challenge to those rules, and he continues to encourage the FCC to implement strong net neutrality rules today.”

    Pelosi got specific on Wheeler’s fast lanes. Boehner and McConnell rejected the idea that the FCC might reclassify broadband companies as public utilities.

    But where does Reid stand on Wheeler’s plan? And does he support reclassification, which after a series of adverse court rulings may be the only way to actually get “strong” net neutrality?

    “I don’t have anything to add to the statement I sent you before,” Jentleson wrote in another email, sent last week.

    Like Boehner, Reid has received far more in donations from net neutrality foe Comcast than supporter Google in recent years. Comcast is the No. 2 donor to Reid’s campaign committee and leadership political action committee, to the tune of $116,800 since 2009. Google is way back at No. 63, with $39,100. Reid’s chief of staff, David Krone, is also a former Comcast executive.

    The congressional jockeying is crucial during the 120-day comment period over Wheeler’s plan that extends until Sept. 10. If Wheeler were to endorse reclassification, he would need plenty of congressional cover. Republicans in the House have already made angry noises about opposing FCC regulatory “socialism.”

    Reid is the only Democrat who actually controls a chamber — and thus the only one in place to block House action on net neutrality. But for now, and unlike many of his colleagues, he’s mostly keeping quiet.

  • Saving San Francisco – A Solution To The Housing Crisis
    San Francisco is presently transforming from one of the world’s greatest cities to an uninteresting generic metropolis. There is an alternative to keep San Francisco as the unique, vibrant, fascinating, & interesting city it is today.

    There are a large number of great paying high tech jobs in the area. And the number of jobs keeps increasing. This directly drives a demand for more housing, for the people taking those great jobs. And the people with this demand for more housing can afford to pay well for their housing.

    At present S.F. is looking at two choices. The first is to disallow any expansion of housing, keeping the existing mix of homes and small apartments. This way S.F. will retain its physical structure and will not grow to gargantuan size. But the cost of each unit will increase substantially year over year and S.F. will become a high priced country club where it will lose the economic, cultural, and sociological diversity that makes it so special.

    The other alternative is to re-zone and allow tall apartment buildings. This will keep housing prices under control, but at the cost of dramatically increasing the number of people in the city and turn many streets into deep canyons surrounded by tall buildings. With the increase in people S.F. will turn from special into yet another generic gigantic city that is nothing special.

    There is a Solution

    The root problem is not the limited housing. It’s not the well paid Google employees. The root problem is more jobs than the housing can support. The trick is to move the jobs. And there is a solution. It’s different and as such many people will respond with a NO without truly considering it. But all the standard approaches destroy what makes S.F. special, so we do need to consider a very different approach.

    Detroit at one time was the 4th largest city in the U.S. with a population of 1.8 million. It has character, culture, universities, and a wide variety of interesting venues. It also has room for 1 million new residents without requiring any significant capital expansion (present population is under 700K). Detroit could easily absorb a large number of new jobs.

    Equally important, it’s a city with a personality and lot to offer. No new city can equal the cachet of Detroit. And that matters to potential employees.


    What if Apple, Google, Facebook, HP, etc. went to the City of Detroit and said they would move 50,000 jobs there?

    When they said they had some requirements, I’m guessing the City of Detroit would agree to them before hearing them. I’m guessing the State of Michigan would also sign up for anything requested. 50K high tech jobs would lead to another 250K jobs for the people providing services to those 50K, and to the corporate offices created. For Detroit and Michigan this is a game changer turning them from a symbol of rust-belt decline into a vibrant city centered around high-tech.

    At the same time the high-tech companies gain something incredibly valuable, being able to offer their employees jobs in a vibrant interesting city with a cost of living that they can easily afford. High housing prices in Silicon Valley are pushing a lot of high-tech employees to go find jobs elsewhere. For many couples, even with both working at high-tech companies, owning a house stays out of reach. And when they have children, they want to own a home in a kid friendly environment. In Detroit they can offer that combination.

    And with 50,000 jobs and 10 anchor companies, you will get the supporting companies they all need. The companies that are feeder fish to the biggies will all open offices in Detroit bringing the needed supporting systems (and providing even more jobs).

    Why Not?

    I’m not saying this would be easy. I’m not saying there wouldn’t be problems. But rescuing Detroit and saving San Francisco sure beats degrading San Francisco. If the companies step up and make this happen, imagine how good they would feel in 10 years when they look at what they created.

  • Keyboard Cat Returns After Seven Years With A Splendid Cover Of '96 Tears'
    In an age when almost any pet can become Internet-famous overnight, it’s nice to see that one of YouTube’s first feline celebrities has still got it.

    In case you missed it, Keyboard Cat made a triumphant return to the Interwebs over Memorial Day Weekend, releasing his first keyboard “cover” since his orignal hit in 2007.

    You can thank his human, Charlie Schmidt for both.

    It’s only 30 seconds long, but K.C.’s cover of “96 Tears” by Question Mark & The Mysterians almost made us forget that it’s only Tuesday.

    Watch the new video above, then catch up with the original — which currently has over 35 million views (and counting).

    Play them off, Keyboard Cat!

  • BREAKING: Wikipedia Is NOT A Doctor — And A Study Confirms It
    Your high school teacher said it best: Wikipedia is not a reliable source.

    The online encyclopedia that can be edited by experts and idiots alike is an easy source of information when trying to learn about a new topic. But a new study confirms what we all (hopefully) already know: Many entries — especially medical entries — contain false information, so don’t use Wikipedia in place of a doctor.

    Dr. Robert Hasty of Campbell University in North Carolina, along with a team of researchers, published the study in this month’s issue of the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The study calls the information published in 20,000-plus medical-related Wikipedia entries into question.

    For the study, researchers identified the “10 costliest conditions in terms of public and private expenditure” — which included diabetes, back pain, lung cancer and major depressive disorder — and compared the content of Wikipedia articles about those conditions to peer-reviewed medical literature. Two randomly assigned investigators found that 90 percent of the articles contained false information, which could affect the diagnosis and treatment of diseases.

    Now for those of you who are saying that it’s not the doctors themselves checking Wikipedia, you’d be wrong. According to a pair of studies from 2009 and 2010, “70% of junior physicians use Wikipedia in a given week, while nearly 50% to 70% of practicing physicians use it as an information source in providing medical care.”

    Pew research suggests that 72 percent of Internet users have looked up health information online in the last year. False information on Wikipedia accounts — like a edited information about the side effects of a medication or false information about the benefits of one course of treatment over another — could encourage some patients to push their doctors toward prescribing a certain drug or treatment.

    Moral of the story: Wikipedia can’t tell you if those sniffles are a symptom of the common cold or the West Nile Virus, so consult your doctor if you have health concerns. If you’re a doctor, we don’t know what to tell you, except maybe get off Wikipedia. (Isn’t that what med school was for?)

  • Even Movie Heroes Know There's Never A Bad Time To Take A Selfie
    We get it, movie heroes.

    You’ve reached the climax of your film. The battle’s very nearly won. Just one last charge, one final push. Your blood is rushing, the music is pounding and the lighting is perfect — so obviously, it’s time to take a selfie.

    This stuff needs to be on Instagram.

    Or, at least that’s what we imagine is happening in this ad for Russian television channel TNT, wherein a bunch of movie heroes snap cell phone pics (with a little help from some superimposed hands) at some of their most iconic moments.

    Watch above!

  • 'Frozen' Is On Netflix, But It's Not What You Think
    Netflix is sometimes a land of disappointment. For instance, the “Frozen” available to stream on Netflix is not the Disney movie with an addictive soundtrack. Rather, it’s a 1997 film about “a Chinese performance artist stages a series of ritual suicides, eventually planning to publicly freeze himself to protest a numbing existence.”

    “About 50 minutes in I realized this isn’t the Disney one,” a reviewer noted in the comments section for “Frozen.”

    “Seriously I get exited [sic] because I think that it is the Disney one … it makes me sad,” wrote another.

    Directed by Wang Xiaoshuai, who bills himself as Wu Ming, “Frozen” is a powerful demonstration of what it means to couple performance art with death. The film is supposedly based on a true story and has 2.4 stars on Netflix. There are roughly zero singing snowmen in its 96-minute running time.


Mobile Technology News, May 26, 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.

  • This GoPro Video Of A Baby On A Swing Is Precisely What Elation Looks Like
    A GoPro, a baby and a swing? Now that’s a recipe for viral gold.

    Since being uploaded to YouTube by GoPro earlier this month, a delightful video of a swinging 10-month-old tot — dubbed “the best viral video from this week” by Mashable Saturday — has racked up more than 300,000 views.

    “Cutest thing I’ve seen all month!” gushed one YouTube user after watching the clip.

    “Best video ever,” wrote another.

  • #YesAllWomen Trends On Twitter In Wake Of Isla Vista Shooting
    Beyond the anger, beyond the outpouring of grief for the victims and beyond the calls for something to help stop the madness of mass shootings, Friday’s killing spree in Isla Vista, Calif., has provoked one more reaction.

    It’s a call to end misogyny, inequality and violence against women — and an end to lumping all women together, as suspected gunman Elliot Rodger did in his angry YouTube videos.

    “You girls have never been attracted to me,” Rodger said in one of the rants. “I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you all for it.”

    Under the hashtag #YesAllWomen, women have been sharing stories of what they’ve had to put up with, from discrimination to sexual assault, while pointing out the many ways misogyny has become almost acceptable.

    Here’s one example:

    #YesAllWomen because I was told “don’t wear that, guys will look at you” but my brother wasn’t told “don’t look at girls like that”

    — It’s Working! (@avonsloveaffair) May 26, 2014

    The hashtag plays off the “not all men” argument (and meme) often used to counter some feminist beliefs and accusations. (Time has a deeper look at it here.)

    See more #YesAllWomen tweets below:

  • VIDEO: Would you buy a "virtual" watch?
    A look at how one small retailer has turned to augmented reality in a bid to sell wristwatches.
  • Julianne Moore Launches App for her Best Selling Children's Book Character <i>Freckleface Strawberry</i>
    Julianne Moore’s acting career began with theatre and television roles in the early-mid 1980’s and has since soared to a rarified prominence that very few actors can lay claim to. Moore, who earlier this week was honored with the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for her starring role in David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, can now add that to her multiple SAG Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTA Awards, Emmy Awards, and Academy Awards. She has several feature films in the hopper, among them her much-anticipated role as President Alma Coin in the third and fourth films in The Hunger Games series.

    Besides all of this, which would keep any mere mortal busy enough, Moore is also a New York Times best-selling author of children’s books. Her first book, Freckleface Strawberry, was an immediate best seller upon its release in 2007. Two more successful books have since been published in the series, and she’s recently signed a five-book deal with Random House to launch Freckleface Strawberry as an early reader series.


    In addition to the book series, Moore has developed the character of Freckleface Strawberry into an iTunes app store game for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The new app is titled Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime and was created by Julianne with producer Andrew McLeod and Night & Day Studios. The app is targeted towards ages four and up and allows users to interact with Freckleface Strawberry as she plays both in her dreams and in her imagination. Children learn three key math concepts through using the app.

    Moore named the character for her nickname as a child growing up in Nebraska, when she was teased for her freckles and red hair by other children. During our conversation, it occurred to me that the names we’re called as children can be so powerfully hurtful and it was terrific that she was able to take the name back and make it into that of a hero figure. “Thank you!” laughed Julianne. “When I was writing the book I remembered how much I hated it but of course now I’m like, oh my gosh, that’s adorable — what a great name! So in a way it really ended up being a huge jumping off point for this character.”

    One of the most engaging parts of the Freckleface app is the vivid illustrations that bring one right into her world. I asked Julianne how she discovered the very gifted illustrator, LeUyen Pham, who had worked as an animator at Dreamworks. It turns out that her publisher had pitched Pham along with several other illustrators and Julianne loved her work and reached out to her.

    The app reinforces subliminal ‘good’ messages such as looking upon bedtime as an adventure; eating heads of lettuce as a snack. “Actually I wanted it all to be kind of a positive reinforcement, you know, the entire app, even in the beginning where you have a mini-movie where she talks about the things that she likes to do, what she likes to play, you know,” Julianne told me. “She rides a bike and she gets on the jungle gym and she plays monster games in her imagination and then bedtime: oh I’m excited about bedtime because I can play in my dreams! Because of course kids always hate to go to bed. So we have something that reinforces that and helps you get ready for bed, you know, what do I do? I take my bath, I brush my teeth, I put on my pajamas, all the things that kids do and I’m familiar with. So I kind of wanted the whole thing to be positive and to be real.”

    One of the things I was most curious about was the process of finding the right app developer to make this into a three dimensional experience for children. Moore explained that while on the set of Game Change (for which she won an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and SAG Award), she was speaking to someone on set who ended up connecting her with the app developer she worked with on the first Freckleface Strawberry app. For this new app, the original developer discovered Night & Day Studios, who have a long track record in educational software design, brand development, and developmental psychology.

    The voice of Freckleface Strawberry is that of Moore’s 11 year old daughter, Liv. “She does a great job and it was fun for us to work together too,” said Liv’s proud mom. “I just love listening to her voice and the character sounded so warm and real and adorable, she just does a great job.”

    I mentioned that I found Freckleface evocative of the scrappy and beloved Pippi Longstocking character treasured internationally for several decades. “The character does have that realgirl kind of quality, like Pippi does, you know? Somebody who lives in their own world and cares about imaginary things — someone who was a real girl and not like a princess or a fairy or something,” Julianne agreed.

    What were her favorite books as a child? “Oh my goodness — there were so many — I loved all the Little House books, all of Laura Ingalls Wilder, I read everything that Louisa May Alcott ever wrote. My mother brought us to the library every week and I read everything. I loved Harriet The Spy and The Little Princess and The Secret Garden and oh my gosh, there’s so many!” All of these books, we noted together, have stood the test of time and are beloved by generations of children because they continue to resonate.

    “I think that’s one of the great things about literature. That feeling of interconnectedness you get reading, I don’t know if you get that anywhere else,” Moore mused. “When you’re a kid and you’re reading, you think how did they know this about me? How did this author know this? That idea that we all have similar feelings and experiences — it’s such a great thing for kids to feel.”

    Freckleface Strawberry Dreamtime Playtime is available for $2.99 from the App Store on iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch or at www.appstore.com

    For more about Freckleface Strawberry and Julianne Moore’s best-selling book series, visit www.frecklefacestrawberry.com

  • An Anonymous Rich Person Is Hiding Money All Around San Francisco
    If you live in San Francisco, be on the lookout for some mysterious white envelopes — they may contain $100 bills.

    An anonymous person is going around the city, dropping off sums of money in a project called “Hidden Cash,” and tweeting hints about the locations.

    Could you and 25 of your friends use a @Sightglass Coffee? Look in the abandoned phonebox next door. pic.twitter.com/tzh9Ffk6dt

    — Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 23, 2014

    Why not use this to tip your @YogaToThePeople teacher this morning? (Find it under the key box) pic.twitter.com/0ERUndkajF

    — Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 23, 2014

    The person behind Hidden Cash told The Bold Italic that they are a real estate magnate, and the purpose of this creative scavenger hunt is to give back “to the community that has made me wealthy.”

    “I’ve made millions of dollars the last few years, more than I ever imagined, and yet many friends of mine, and people who work for me, cannot afford to buy a modest home in the Bay Area,” the person said. “This has caused me quite a bit of reflection. I am determined to give away some of the money I make, and in addition to charity, to do it in fun, creative ways like this.”

    After each money drop, a tweet goes out from @HiddenCash with hints about the location of the envelope. @HiddenCash also requests that the lucky recipients tweet photos of their discovery.

    The anonymous donor told the Bold Italic that the cash deposits are a “social experiment,” and said they’re worried about staggering wealth inequality in the city. (San Francisco has the largest wealth gap of any city in the country.) They said said they’ll continue hiding money once or twice per week “with no end in sight,” and that the project may be expanded to Oakland and San Jose.

    It will probably take more than a few cash-stuffed envelopes to address the broader causes of the wealth gap that the person behind @HiddenCash is concerned about. Nevertheless, it’s a clever, generous idea and is definitely brightening the days of some lucky San Francisco residents.

    New Drop: Giving Oakland some ❤️. Lake Merritt BART (storage container, bikerack, tree). SF drop in 15 min pic.twitter.com/CJxCVVLkzo

    — Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 23, 2014

    First name of a composer who lived to be over 100 (last name is a European capital) + square root of 49 pic.twitter.com/YcrriWi6jz

    — Hidden Cash (@HiddenCash) May 25, 2014

    Thanks @HiddenCash and congrats for making bank last year ! Congrats sfsu graduates of 2014! pic.twitter.com/Ywfed1PeaW

    — Brendon Escalona (@iamuser1353) May 25, 2014

    @HiddenCash Big shoutout for this folks!! pic.twitter.com/D8tMnRSddH

    — Sergio Loza (@Big_Serg415) May 25, 2014

  • Star Wars Figurines Make Friends With Small Rodents, The Galaxy Is At Peace
    If you ever wanted to see the dark father himself atop a chipmunk thrice his size, it’s your lucky day. Canadian illustrator Chris McVeigh has tapped into something strangely brilliant with his animal-toy relations. To admittedly adorable results, McVeigh captures rodents engaging in both peaceful and aggressive relations with the iconic citizens of a galaxy far, far away.

    In the series below, feast your eyes on bushy-tailed friends chowing down with Chewbacca, trapping storm troopers, and battling Yoda — then taking the occasional break to snack on some nuts. The surreal scenarios were brought to life with the help of McVeigh’s old toys, and, of course, cameo appearances by the chipmunks hanging around his parents’ yard. The results will tickle the hearts of many a “Star Wars” buff and many a lover of cuddly critters.

    Sadly, the chipmunks will not be appearing in the new Star Wars movie, so enjoy the little guys while you can.

  • Missing Children's Day: Let's Bring Them All Home

    Since it was founded 30 years ago, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has helped reunite thousands of missing kids with their families.

    I have had the privilege of serving on NCMEC’s board for nearly two decades and, since that time, we have seen a dramatic increase in the recovery rate thanks to NCMEC’s dedicated staff along with alert members of the public who report sightings of missing kids. From 1984 through December 2012, NCMEC has assisted law enforcement with more than 195,300 missing-child cases resulting in the recovery of more than 183,100 children, according to the organization. The recovery rate for missing children has grown from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today.

    I became involved with NCMEC in 1993 during the search for Polly Klass, a 12-year-old girl who was abducted from her Northern California home, about 80 miles north of where I live. During the search I helped post Polly’s picture online. When Time magazine wrote about the effort, I was overwhelmed by requests from parents of other missing kids, which led me to contact NCMEC’s then CEO Ernie Allen who quickly realized the potential for using online tools to help find children. Even though we couldn’t save Polly, online tools such as MissingKids.com are now used routinely to help in the recovery of missing children.

    Public-Private Partnership

    NCMEC is a non-profit organization, not a government agency, though it was authorized by Congress to serve as the national clearinghouse for information about missing and exploited children. Congress has also designated NCMEC to run the national, toll-free, 24-hour missing children’s hotline and operate the CyberTipline for online reporting of the sexual victimization of children and inappropriate sexual content.

    NCMEC is a unique public-private partnership which receives funding from both the Federal government and numerous private donors ranging from large companies individual donors from all walks of life — including young children who conduct fund-raisers or donate their pennies to help other kids.

    Key Facts

    As you can see from the key facts below, only a tiny percentage of missing children cases involve “stereotypical’ abductions but even children who are abducted by members of their own family can be in extreme danger and deserve to be protected and returned to their lawful parent or guardian.

    And it’s not just missing children. NCMEC helps prevent and prosecute cases of child exploitation, including sexual exploitation of children as young as infants. The organization also works to rescue underage victims of prostitution, helping them recover from the trauma of what is often forced or coerced and extremely traumatic exploitation by adults who profit through human trafficking.


    NetSmartz Workshop’s “Clicky” teaches young children about Internet safety and digital citizenship.

    NCMEC also operates the NetSmartz Workshop, which provides high-production value materials to help educate young people about how to stay safe on and offline.

    Here are some “key facts” from NCMEC’s website.

    The most recent, comprehensive national study for the number of missing children estimated in 1999: [1]

    • Approximately 800,000 children younger than 18 were reported missing.
    • More than 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
    • More than 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members.
    • An estimated 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. These “stereotypical” kidnappings involved someone the child did not know or was an acquaintance. The child was held overnight, transported 50 miles or more, killed, ransomed or held with the intent to keep the child permanently.
    • To find the number of children missing from a specific state or territory contact the state’s Missing Child Clearinghouses.
    • The first three hours are the most critical when trying to locate a missing child. The murder of an abducted child is rare, and an estimated 100 cases in which an abducted child is murdered occur in the U.S. each year. A 2006 study indicated that 76.2 percent of abducted children who are killed are dead within three hours of the abduction. [2]
    • The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has assisted law enforcement in the recovery of more than 193,705 missing children since it was founded in 1984. Our recovery rate for missing children has grown from 62 percent in 1990 to 97 percent today.
    • The AMBER Alert program was created in 1996 and is operated by the U.S. Department of Justice. As of April 2, 2014, 688 childrenhave been successfully recovered as a result of the program. [3]
    • As of Dec. 2013, NCMEC’s toll free, 24 hour call center has received more than 3,899,964 calls since it was created in 1984. Information about missing or exploited children can be reported to the call center by calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

    [1] Finkelhor D., Hammer H., Schultz D., Sedlak A. National Estimates of Missing Children: An Overview, U.S. Department of Justice, 2002.

    [2] Brown K., Keppel R., McKenna R., Skeen M., Weis J. Case Management for Missing Children Homicides: Report II, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children and U.S. Department of Justice, 2006.

    [3]AMBER Alert, U.S. Department of Justice.

    This post first appeared on SafeKids.com

  • Europe's New Google Rule Has Many Americans Angry And Confused

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (AP) — Europe’s moves to rein in Google — including a court ruling this month ordering the search giant to give people a say in what pops up when someone searches their name — may be seen in Brussels as striking a blow for the little guy.

    But across the Atlantic, the idea that users should be able to edit Google search results in the name of privacy is being slammed as weird and difficult to enforce at best and a crackdown on free speech at worst.

    “Americans will find their searches bowdlerized by prissy European sensibilities,” said Stewart Baker, former assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “We’ll be the big losers. The big winners will be French ministers who want the right to have their last mistress forgotten.”

    Mountain View, California -based Google says it’s still figuring out how to comply with the European Court of Justice’s May 13 ruling, which says the company must respond to complaints about private information that turns up in searches. Google must then decide whether the public’s right to be able to find the information outweighs an individual’s right to control it — with preference given to the individual.

    The judgment applies to all search engines operating within the European Union. But in practice that means Google, given that 90 percent of all online searches there use Google’s search engine.

    “The ruling has significant implications for how we handle takedown requests,” Google spokesman Al Verney said. “This is logistically complicated, not least because of the many languages involved and the need for careful review. As soon as we have thought through exactly how this will work, which may take several weeks, we will let our users know.”

    There will be serious technological challenges, said U.S. privacy attorney David Keating in Atlanta.

    “It seems aspirational, not a reality, to comply with such a standard,” he said. “The reengineering necessary to implement the right to be forgotten is significant.”

    Google may partially automate the process, as it does with copyright-infringement complaints, but ultimately a human will have to decide when results should be sanitized.

    Johannes Caspar, who as Hamburg’s Commissioner for Data Protection acts as Germany’s lead regulator of Google on privacy issues, confirmed the company is already working on an “online tool” to help people file complaints.

    Because the court’s ruling applies only within Europe, it will mean some fragmentation of search results. That is, Europeans and Americans will see slightly different versions of the Internet. A worst-case scenario would be if Google decides it must err on the side of caution and removes links liberally in order to avoid lawsuits, critics of the ruling said.

    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, who has been an outspoken critic of the ruling, summarized it for The Associated Press as a “technologically incompetent violation of human rights.” He said it amounts to censorship, and he predicted it will ultimately be scrapped.

    “The danger is that search engines now are faced with an uncertain legal future which may require them to censor all kinds of things when someone thinks it is ‘irrelevant’,” Wales said.

    In the wake of the decision, some Europeans are already asking to clean up their online history, though there may not yet have been a “flood” of hundreds of requests, including some from pedophiles and politicians, as was reported in the British press shortly after the ruling was handed down.

    In Britain, David Murphy of the Information Commissioner’s Office said “while we’ve had some people get in touch around this issue, we’re simply telling them to speak to Google.”

    Officials in the Netherlands said they haven’t had any new requests since the ruling.

    Caspar, the German official, said his office has received 20 new requests, including some from people who won legal fights with websites to have material taken down — but the sites didn’t comply because they were based abroad.

    Differences between the U.S. and Europe over privacy have never been greater, sparked by recent revelations that the U.S. National Security Agency secretly broke into communications on Yahoo and Google abroad and targeted overseas telecoms, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s own cellphone.

    Joel Reidenberg, visiting professor of information technology policy at Princeton University, said the ruling was not surprising, “given the current tenor of US-European privacy relations as a result of the Snowden revelations.”

    A “fundamental divide” between the European and American worldview is becoming evident, he said.

    “In Europe, there is a sense that privacy and control over personal data are basic human rights,” he said. In America, freedom of speech and free-market solutions tend to prevail, he said.

    Nico Sell, who runs San Francisco-based Wickr, an encrypted messaging service, said it would make more sense to let individuals, not tech giants, control their own online presence.

    “The right to be forgotten is a great idea philosophically, but it is wrong to put the onus on Google or Facebook,” she said. “They have no idea where all your data is, and this is not their job. We need to give consumers tools with the ability to add expiration dates to their personal data.”


    Mendoza reported from Mountain View, California, and Sterling reported from Amsterdam, Netherlands.

  • This Handwritten Note Might Be Worth $10,000
    But is it the genuine article?

    A user’s silly auction of a handwritten note containing only the word, “The” on eBay Australia has attracted at least 44 bids, with the top bid at time of writing a whopping $10,099 AUD (that’s about $9,320 in U.S. dollars).

    According to eBay, the auction began on May 22 with a bid of $0.99. At first users placed bids of a few dollars, but then things heated up. Three days after the auction began, bids in the thousands came rolling in.

    the auction

    The seller, whose user name is “sweatyman,” writes:

    Handwritten with blue ballpoint pen, on a torn piece of Reflex A4 paper, this versatile word can be used in literally thousands of sentences. For example:

    “The dogs have escaped again”
    “I will buy some meat from The local deli”
    “What’s The time?”

    Or, you know: “What’s The point?”

    It’s unclear if the item will actually sell, although it would be mildly amusing to see one of the most commonly used articles in the English language sell for thousands of dollars.

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  • Pedophiles' Brains Show Abnormal Reaction To Kids' Faces In fMRI Scans

    The brain circuits that respond to faces and sex appear to activate abnormally in pedophiles when they look at children’s faces, scientists say.

    These new findings could lead to novel ways to diagnose pedophiles, and could shed light on the evolutionary roots of sex, the researchers added.

    In the animal kingdom, there may be a number of mechanisms preventing adults from attempting sex with children. For example, “pheromones emitted by child mice inhibit sexual behavior of adult male mice,” said lead study author Jorge Ponseti, a sex researcher at Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany. “If scientists inhibited these pheromones in the child mice, adult male mice started to mate with these babies.”

    Roots of a pedophile

    To learn more about the roots of abnormal attraction to children in humans, the researchers scanned the brains of 56 men — 11 heterosexual pedophiles, 13 homosexual pedophiles, 18 nonpedophile heterosexuals and 14 nonpedophile homosexuals — using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). [The Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos and Bizarre Facts]

    The institute where Ponseti and his colleagues work offers pedophilic men free and totally anonymous psychiatric treatment. “We asked some of these men if they were willing to participate in our study,” Ponseti said. “Others came to us because a judge told them to do psychotherapy.”

    As the researchers scanned the brains of the volunteers, they briefly flashed pictures of men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ faces at the volunteers in random order. The researchers asked the men to rate the attractiveness of each face after the brain scans.

    In the men who were attracted to adults, images of adult faces activated a number of brain regions significantly more than child faces did. These areas of the brain, such as occipital areas, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the putamen and nucleus caudatus, are known to help people respond to both faces and sexual behavior. These same regions were significantly more active in pedophiles when they were shown child faces than when they were shown adult faces.

    Testing pedophilia

    These findings could help lead to a reliable test for pedophilia based on brain responses to child faces, Ponseti said.

    “When it comes to psychotherapy of child-sex offenders, it is important to know whether an offender has a pedophilic orientation or not,” Ponseti said. “In half of first-time child-sex offenders, the offenders are not pedophilic — they may have problems with adult females, such as not knowing how to approach them, so they turn to children instead.”

    However, Ponseti noted that more research is needed. “It is important to find out if an adult’s brain shows an increased response to child faces because they are normally constantly exposed to child faces and not because they are pedophiles — for instance, if they are teachers, or someone who works with children,” Ponseti said.

    It remains uncertain why pedophilia happens in humans. Pedophiles may have experienced problems in brain development at a young age. For instance, “there is an increased number of head injuries before 12 years of age in pedophiles,” Ponseti said.

    Future research could shed light on how sexual impulses get disrupted in pedophiles.

    “There is a theory that mating behavior and nurturing behavior have a common evolutionary origin,” Ponseti said. “There are several examples of links between mating and nurturing behavior. For instance, kissing is linked with mating, but there is also kiss-feeding, a nurturing behavior, where mothers feed their babies by passing food using their mouths. Another example is stimulation of female breasts in sexual interactions, and how female breasts are obviously also linked with nurturing behavior.”

    “My idea is that, in pedophiles, brain development problems may lead to abnormal communication in the brain between the nurturing and mating domains,” Ponseti said. “We are currently doing more experiments to show if this is true.”

    The scientists detailed their findings online May 21 the journal Biology Letters.

    Follow us @livescience, Facebook& Google+. Original article on Live Science.

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

  • See The World Without Leaving Wherever It Is You Are Right Now
    Don’t see yourself making it to the Great Wall of China or seeing the Sistine Chapel this year?

    Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered.

    Below are 10 virtual tours of some of the most famous spots around the globe you can now see from the comforts of wherever it is you’re sitting at this moment.

    We’re not saying it’s the same as seeing these incredible destinations in person, but it’s pretty darn close.

    Tour the streets of Marseille at night with your guide Julien…
    marseille streets night

    Gawk at Michelangelo’s masterpieces adorning the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City…
    sistine chapel

    Hover on the edge of the Grand Canyon…
    grand canyon

    Take in the breathtaking views of Thailand’s Koh Phanang beaches…
    thailand phangan

    Avoid the crowds and explore the Taj Mahal in Agra, India…
    taj mahal

    Swim with the fish at Emily’s Pinnacles, Bermuda…
    tropical fish

    Go back in history while exploring the Colosseum in Rome, Italy…
    colosseo night

    Skip the grueling climb to get this amazing view of the Great Wall of China…
    great wall

    No need for a 4-day, 20 mile hike up 13,780ft to Machu Picchu…
    machu picchu

    Soak in the Mediterranean beauty with this view from the hill-side villas of Ikastikies hotel…

    Bon voyage!

Mobile Technology News, May 25, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • What Shopping Will Look Like In The Future
    NEW YORK (AP) — One of America’s favorite pastimes is changing rapidly.

    When it comes to shopping, more Americans are skipping the stores and pulling out their smartphones and tablets. Still, there’s more on the horizon for shopping than just point-and-clicking.

    No one thinks physical stores are going away permanently. But because of the frenetic pace of advances in technology and online shopping, the stores that remain will likely offer amenities and services that are more about experiences and less about selling a product. Think: Apple Inc.’s stores.

    Among the things industry watchers are envisioning are holograms in dressing rooms that will allow shoppers to try on clothes without getting undressed. Their homes will be equipped with smart technology that will order light bulbs before they go dark. And they’ll be able to print out a full version of coffee cups and other products using 3-D technology in stores.

    “Physical shopping will become a lot more fun because it’s going to have to be,” retail futurist Doug Stephens says.


    Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru says stores of the future will be more about services, like day care, veterinary services and beauty services. Services that connect online and offline shopping could increase as well, with more drive-thru pickup and order-online, pick-up-in-store services. Checkout also will be self-service or with cashiers using computer tablets.

    Some stores are taking self-service further: A store in Seattle called Hointer displays clothing not in piles or on racks but as one piece hanging at a time, like a gallery.

    Shoppers just touch their smartphones to a coded tag on the item and then select a color and size on their phone. Technology in the store keeps track of the items, and by the time a shopper is ready to try them on, they’re already at the dressing room.

    If the shopper doesn’t like an item, he tosses it down a chute, which automatically removes the item from the shopper’s online shopping cart. The shopper keeps the items that he or she wants, which are purchased automatically when leaving the store, no checkout involved.

    Nadia Shouraboura, Hointer’s CEO, says once shoppers get used to the process, they’re hooked.

    “They end up buying a lot more, they’re laughing and playing with it,” she says.


    Some stores like British retailer Tesco and drugstore Duane Reade now are testing beacons, Bluetooth-enabled devices that can communicate directly with your cellphone to offer discounts, direct you to a desired product in a store or enable you to pay remotely.

    For example, you can walk into a drugstore where you normally buy face cream. The beacon would recognize your smartphone, connect it with past purchasing history and send you a text or email with a coupon for the cream.

    “The more we know about customers … you can use promotions on not a macro level but a micro level,” says Kasey Lobaugh, chief retail innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting. A store could offer a mother 20 percent off on Mother’s Day, for example, or offer frequent buyers of paper towels a discount on bulk purchases.

    That appeals to Seattle resident Sarah Hamilton, 31, who says discounts definitely draw her into stores.

    “I don’t like the idea of my data grabbed onto by random marketers online, but if it was an actual store I’m interested in, I would be OK with that,” Hamilton says.


    Within 10 years, 3-D printing could make a major disruption in retail, Deloitte’s Lobaugh predicts. Take a simple item like a coffee cup. Instead of producing one in China, transporting it and distributing it to retail stores, you could just download the code for the coffee cup and 3-D print it at a retail outlet or in your own home.

    “That starts a dramatic change in terms of the structure of retail,” Lobaugh said. And while 3-D printing today is primarily plastic, Lobaugh says there are tests at places like MIT Media Lab and elsewhere with other materials, including fabric.

    “The big question is when,” he says. Right now a few stores offer rudimentary 3-D-printing services, but they are very limited. He predicts the shift will come in 10 to 20 years.


    Steve Yankovich, head of innovation for eBay, thinks someday buying household supplies won’t take any effort at all. He says someday a connected home could be able to use previous customer history and real-time data the house records to sense when a light bulb burns out, for example, and order a new one automatically. Or a washing machine will order more detergent when it runs low.

    “A box could show up on porch with this disparate set of 10 things the connected home and eBay determined you needed to keep things running smoothly,” he says. “It’s called zero-effort commerce.”

    Raquel Ribera, 32, in Carpinteria, California, said she cut back on store shopping when she moved to a less urban area, and would appreciate a service like that.

    “Everybody has that nagging to-do list, the random light bulb or batteries to purchase, that’s super easy to forget,” she says. “If it came to my door automatically that would be nice.”


    EBay recently bought PhiSix, a company working on creating life-size 3-D models of clothing that can be used in dressing rooms to instantly try on different colors of clothing or different styles. You can see 30 or 40 items of clothing realistically without physically trying them on.

    EBay’s Yankovich says the technology can be used in a virtual dressing room as well, showing what the clothes look like when you are, say, walking down the street or hitting a golf club.

    Some companies have been testing this already. British digital agency Engage created a Virtual Style Pod that scanned shoppers and created a life-size image onto which luxury clothing from brands like Alexander McQueen and DKNY were projected. The Pod was displayed in shopping centers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.

  • The U.S. Should Immediately Adopt This 'Revenge Porn' Rule
    If you’ve got x-rated photos of your ex stored somewhere on your phone, and your ex is unhappy about it, you might be legally obligated to delete them.

    At least if you’re a German citizen.

    In a verdict published on Tuesday, a German court ruled a local man should have deleted erotic photos of his now-former girlfriend as soon as she asked him to, according to The Guardian.

    In explaining its decision, the court argued that the girlfriend’s personal rights trumped the ownership rights of the boyfriend, according to the The Local, an English-language German newspaper.

    It’s a ground-breaking ruling on “revenge porn” — a type of porn in which people publicly post intimate photos of their exes — as it asks involved parties to delete photos before they’re even public.

    There was a good chance a German court would be the first to rule so strictly on this subject. The country has some of the world’s most intense privacy laws, a product of rules put into place after World War II, according to The New York Times.

    Courts around the world have been grappling for some time with the complicated topic of revenge porn, and current rules over its legality are sparse and vary greatly by region. California last year became the first state in the U.S. to come down hard on revenge porn, and Arizona follow its lead in April, according to Reuters. Dozens of similar measures are being proposed across the nation.

    The laws in both Arizona and California make it possible to punish those who post sexts publicly. But there is nothing akin to this new German decision, which lets exes demand sexts be deleted before they are put out for the world to see.

  • New Meteor Shower Thrills Stargazers Despite Low 'Shooting Star' Count (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

    A new meteor shower sparked some celestial fireworks late Friday and early Saturday (May 23-24), amazing stargazers across North America even though it did not reach the spectacular “meteor storm” levels that some had hoped for.

    The first-ever Camelopardalid meteor shower peaked in the wee hours of Saturday, offering stargazers a rare sight — the debut meteor display from the dusty Comet 209P/LINEAR. Photos of the new meteor shower sent in to Space.com show amazing views of meteors over Toronto, Indiana and even through the northern lights of Canada.

    Early forecasts from NASA, SETI and other meteor tracking groups said the shower had the potential to be truly dazzling, with a forecast of 200 meteors per hour. But the scientists also stressed that, because of the unknown nature of the meteor shower, it could fizzle out. Astronomer Tony Phillips of the skywatching website Spaceweather.com reported Saturday that the new shower peaked at between five and 10 meteors per hour. [Camelopardalid Meteor as Bright as Jupiter Seen by NASA (Video)]

    “Although this is a far cry from predictions, it is hardly a surprise,” Philips wrote in a Spaceweather.com update. “The parent comet, 209P/LINEAR, is faint and currently produces only a small amount of dust. Most forecasters acknowledged that there might be less dust in Earth’s path than the models suggested.”

    Phillips also suggested a tantalizing theory.

    “Another possibility is that the shower is not a dud, just delayed,” Phillips wrote. “If models mis-located the debris zone, an outburst could still occur later on May 24th.”

    The Camelopardalid meteor shower gets its name from the constellation it appears to radiate from — Camelopardalis (The Giraffe) — and was primarily visible from North America. It is made of dust leftover from the relatively dim Comet 209P/LINEAR, which was discovered in 2004 and orbits the sun once every five years.

    Stargazer Gail Lamm captured a stunning meteor photo while watching the Camelopardalids from just a few miles north of Balmoral, Manitoba in Canada.

    “I went out looking for the meteors last night, didn’t see too many, but I did manage to get a picture with a bit of the northern lights, the Milky Way and a small meteor,” Lamm told Space.com in an email, adding that the meteor appeared low on the horizon.

    In Tucson, Arizona, photographer BG Boyd also spent hours watching the meteor display. His photo shows a bright meteor streaking over a dark Arizona landscape.

    camelopardalid meteor
    Photographer BG Boyd captured this photo of a meteor from the Camelopardalid meteor shower over Tucson, Arizona early on May 24, 2014. The meteor display was created by dust from Comet 209P/Linear.

    “I saw about 10 [meteors] for the two hours I was out, and this was the biggest and brightest,” Boyd told Space.com in an email. “Also, the Milky Way can be seen in the right part of the photo.”

    The website Slooh.com, which runs the online Slooh community observatory, captured stunning a video animation of Comet 209P/LINEAR using a remotely operated telescope in the Canary Islands. The comet’s dusty tail is clearly visible in the Slooh animations, Slooh president Patrick Paolucci told Space.com via email.

    Several other observation campaigns tracked the Camelopardalid meteor shower late Friday night and early Sunday.

    The Italy-based Virtual Telescope Project featured a rotating view of photos by astrophotographers, while NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center streamed live views from an all-sky camera. A team of astronomers led by meteor scientist Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute in Calfornia aimed to observe the meteor shower from above the clouds by flying at 20,000 feet aboard a specially chartered jet.

    NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke, head of the Meteoroid Environment Office at the Marshall center in Huntsville, Alabama, said his team captured a stunning video of a Camelopardalid meteor as bright as Jupiter during the night.

    By studying the number of meteors from the Camelopardalid shower, astronomers can learn how active Comet 209P/LINEAR was 200 years ago, Cooke said. The dust emanated from comet two centuries ago is what created the meteors seen early Saturday, he added.

    Editor’s Note: If you caught an amazing photo of the new meteor shower, or any other night sky view, that you’d like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

    Email Tariq Malik at tmalik@space.com or follow him @tariqjmalik and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

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

  • 21 Summer Romantic Comedies To Stream Right Now

Mobile Technology News, May 24, 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.

  • Better Selfies Through Chemistry

    The selfie is here to stay, despite reports of its demise.

    Love it or loathe it, the self-portraits snapped with handheld devices that Ellen DeGeneres and President Obama made famous — and I made temporarily uncool — have shot well past the fad stage. The technology is seeing to that, as there are roughly 160 million smartphone users in the United States. By 2017, that number will grow to nearly 210 million.

    It’s even gotten to the point where there’s even an ABC television show (or Pygmalion rip-off) called “Selfie” coming to set boxes and portable devices later this year.

    So, if we’re stuck with the selfie, then we need to find ways to improve upon it.

    That’s where Exofab comes in. The Greek-founded, Virginia-based, privately held concern produces a gel-based guard for select Apple and Samsung smartphones. The gel, produced by 3M, actually consists of a polyurethane resin sprayed on an adhesive sheet. Once the resin hardens, it becomes a gel that can adhere temporarily to non-porous surfaces, like windows and mirrors, allowing smartphone users to mount their devices for a brief — and I mean very brief — spell in order to take better photos and Vine-length videos.

    Exofab’s product consists of several “pieces” users place on the front, back and sides of their devices to prevent nicks and scratches (here are the instructions for installing). In addition to making the devices easier to grip or mount, the guards — roughly three millimeters thick — can also repair themselves from most scratches and dents.

    Already established in Europe, Exofab has its Odysseus-like sights set on the US. However, Exofab’s leaders didn’t create their product with the selfie in mind. Sure, the stick-to-itiveness was a benefit to customers, but George Boosalis, the company’s U.S. marketing chief, said the initial goal was to find a sleeker way to protect consumers’ smartphone investments.

    “When you put a case on your phone you are basically throwing away what the iPhone is meant to be, which is sleek,” he said during my interview with Exofab founders at a 4As Forum at the groovy Midtown Manhattan headquarters of J. Walter Thompson (the very JWT from which old shoe Freddy Rumsen secured the Pond’s Cold Cream account from an AA buddy in AMC’s Mad Men). “That’s why you buy the iPhone. If you are in the construction industry I get that you need” a bulkier case for protection, “but you can’t put that in your pocket. Ours just slides right in. It doesn’t add any weight or bulk. The fact that it sticks is an added bonus.”

    And what a bonus.

    In the two years since Exofab started testing, the selfie craze started taking off. Symon Whitehorn, who designs cameras for smartphone maker HTC Corp., said in a recent interview that selfies comprise nearly 90 percent of smartphone pictures taken in some markets.

    As Boosalis noted, selfies are becoming a lifestyle now.

    “We are making it more like, ‘This is the next generation of selfies,'” Boosalis told me, referring to the Exofab casing.

    The gel casing isn’t all Exofab has planned. They’re also working on an app that will act as a timer for smartphone users. So they can mount the phone, get set and take a better selfie, one without their arm sticking out.

    “You can set it to three seconds, five seconds, and it will take pictures accordingly,” he added.

    A couple things to keep in mind. First, just because the Exofab gel guard sticks to a surface multiple times that doesn’t mean it will stick for a long time. Factors like a surface’s smoothness and air temperature will affect how long the gel will stick. In my unscientific tests, I found that the gel sticks for a few seconds at best (I’ve watched in horror as my iPhone suddenly dropped to the ground in several tests at longer intervals). The gel may protect against scratches, but it won’t protect against gravity. Also, Exofab makes no promises or guarantees about the gel being waterproof, so I’d refrain against selfies in the pool.

    The Exofab team is fully aware of these limitations. Their ongoing scientific challenge is to make the product stickier, longer, without sacrificing it’s clean, sleek veneer or making it stick to things consumers don’t want it to stick to.

    To help it grow, Exofab has an aggressive marketing strategy planned and hopes to use “celebrities” (that inane notion again) to develop awareness. It’s a strategy that’s already worked in Europe, especially in Greece thanks to the company’s first “celebrity endorser” — and Boosalis’ wife — Greek pop star Kalomira, who won Fame Story — the country’s version of American Idol — and who represented Greece in the Eurovision finals. She’s helped push the product on social media, especially on Twitter, where she has more than 145,000 followers, just a shade above my 1000 followers.

    Nevertheless, while selfies may be past the fad phase, one can argue that they’re creeping close to cliché status. This may not dampen their popularity, but it may deaden their novelty. At the 2014 Webby Awards, an annual awards program honoring Internet excellence held this past week, show producers included a mock “In Memoriam” tribute to the selfie.

    But even if the selfie becomes passé, it probably won’t hurt Exofab. That’s because the market for smartphone and tablet accessories is a strong one, especially for protective cases. Just two years ago, the average smartphone buyer spent more than $56 on accessories – or more than $20 billion in total across all buyers – for their devices. When you add in other mobile devices, such as tablets, experts at ABI Research expect the smart device accessories market to grow to $62 billion by 2017. I saw this phenomenon first-had at this year’s CES, where there was a huge section devoted exclusively to smart device cases and other accessories.

    And the sub-sector could grow even more than that. Market researchers The NPD Group estimates 25 percent of smartphone users still do not use a case to protect their device.

    “The mobile phone protection market now includes a variety of brands, features and price points that appeal to nearly any type of smartphone owner,” NPD Executive Director and Industry Analyst Ben Arnold has said. “However, there is still a good portion of the consumer market not using them and in an effort to appeal to those segments we could begin to see a focus in the market on ultra slim case form factors and materials that both protect and maintain the phone’s design integrity,” he added.

    Good news for Exofab, even if the Selfie craze goes the way of the pet rock.


  • This Vet Is Helping Inmates Stay Connected With Their Families After Being Behind Bars Himself
    You could call Frederick Hutson an overachiever.

    After graduating from high school, Huston served honorably as a F-16 Avionics Electrician in the U.S. Air Force for almost three years. When he was just 19 years old, he launched a window tinting business, and two years after that, a cell phone store, according to ABC News. Both times, he turned a profit.

    But after his early achievements, Huston’s pathway to success hit a major roadblock.

    According to the Tampa Bay Times, he joined his friend’s marijuana trafficking business, and was caught by authorities in 2008. Hutson was sentenced to four years and three months in prison.

    “It is probably one of the most disruptive experiences ever,” he told ABC News of his time spent behind bars. “You go from having control over what time you get up, what time you eat, when you sleep, where you sleep, who you sleep next to and not having control of anything.”

    Throughout his time in prison, Hutson realized how truly difficult and expensive it is to stay in touch with loved ones when behind bars. In a digital, 21st century world, it’s easy to keep in touch — but that’s not an option when an individual is incarcerated.

    “It is easier to send a text message, an email but is very difficult to write a hand letter and print photos and head to the post office to mail it,” he said.

    Hutson told the Tampa Bay Times that when an inmate is locked up, it costs about $70 a month to use 300 phone minutes. Along with that hefty price tag, keeping in touch from behind bars is made even more challenging when inmates are constantly moved to and from various facilities, leaving loved ones on the outside without knowledge of an accurate address where mail can be sent.

    The difficulty to communicate isn’t just an inconvenience to inmates and their loved ones. The Federal Communications Commission noted last year in a statement that inmates who maintain contact with family while in prison are more likely to become productive citizens upon their release.

    Always having an entrepreneurial spirit, Huston’s mind began blossoming with ideas to fix this problem. He left prison in March 2012 and teamed up with former U.S. Air Force veteran Alfonzo Brooks to make his business venture a reality. However he thought his criminal background might be a hindrance to attracting investors who believed in the idea.

    That wasn’t the case.

    “I thought my record would prevent people from doing business with us, but it was just the opposite,” Hutson told the New York Times last November, recalling an interaction he’d had with a potential partner who’d asked Hutson how he knew so much about the experience of an inmate. “I had domain expertise.”

    Hutson hired an engineer to build software that could index all public records related to court or criminal information. At that point, Hutson could organize the data and identify who was currently incarcerated. Using the information he’d gathered with the engineer’s help, Hutson sent marketing materials to 10,000 inmates telling them about his company, Pigeonly.

    Pigeonly offers its users two valuable resources. The first, Fotopigeon, is a service that provides families the ability to easily and affordably deliver hard copies of photos to inmates — even as the inmates are transient. Another service through the platform, Telepigeon, provides families of inmates a low-cost solution to expensive long-distance phone calls. Hutson told the New York Times that Telepigeon can reduce the per-minute rate of an inmate’s phone call from 23 cents to just to 6 cents because of Pigeonly’s partnerships with Internet phone-service providers.

    Today, Pigeonly employs ten people in its Las Vegas-based office.

    “We have people that haven’t seen their kids in years, haven’t seen their mother in years, and then they use our service and can receive photos and make those important phone calls,” Hutson told ABC News. “It gives me a lot of satisfaction that every day we are solving pain points with people.”

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  • Drones Make The Best Modern Dance Partners (VIDEO)
    These dancing drones steal the show.

    In the video above, the Japanese troupe Eleven Play performs with flying robots at Spiral Hall in Tokyo.

    The old show business adage warning people against working with children or animals could apply to machines, too. As you can see, at times the human dancers seem reduced to spectators.

    But maybe that’s the point.

  • Leak shows alleged backlight for iPhone 6 display
    Images of what’s claimed to be a backlighting panel for the iPhone 6 have appeared on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, reports say. The authenticity of the part is unsure, but it does resemble the backlight for the iPhone 5s. One difference is a relocated flex connector with modified pins, but it’s common for Apple to change connectors to fit new circuit designs.

  • Jimmy Fallon Cracks Up Over The Funniest #PromFail Tweets
    For many high schoolers, the prom is one of the most magical nights of their young lives. For others, your date picks you up while wearing a professional wrestling belt.

    Jimmy Fallon’s latest hashtag game called for the most cringeworthy #PromFail tweets, and the Twitterverse did not disappoint when it came to sharing hilarious prom nightmares.

    Some of the best include:

    Place m’date rented his ‘xedo from 4got 2 include a cummberbund so he picked me up wearing a tux with a heavyweight wrstling belt. #PromFail

    — Beth Smith (@smithcommabeth) May 22, 2014

    I got stuck in the middle of a dance circle and didn’t know what to do so I just sat down. #PromFail

    — Hermione Kardashian (@dLISH_) May 21, 2014

    I exchanged every last dollar I had for singles and “made it rain” at prom. I spent $113, and nobody remembers that it happened. #PromFail

    — Chris Konya (@ChrisKonya98) May 21, 2014

    One year, my mom came to take pictures of me. The camera on her phone was turned around. She took about 40 selfies #PromFail

    — Rameez Ansari (@Rameez__Ansari) May 21, 2014

    And, of course, Jimmy’s.

    One year, my date and I rode to prom in the back of a U-Haul truck. #PromFail

    — jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) May 21, 2014

    Check out the video above to see the rest of Fallon’s favorites.

    “The Tonight Show” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Digital Citizenship
    Digital citizenship might seem at times an ephemeral, almost narcissistic, aspect of our life. Too often we neglect the rights and responsibilities that our presence online entails. We forget the key role that the Internet plays in our day-to-day, from emails to social media, from big data to banking, from privacy to politics.

    In every large democracy of our time, little seems to be left to chance, with both national and trans-national laws and policies relating to every aspect of our life. The Internet however, is still much debated and a sort of grey area.

    The Internet and the many challenges and opportunities derived from our digital citizenship were the focus of a round-table organized by the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. on May 20 with Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament, during her visit to the nation’s capital.

    The Italian Embassy and the Ambassador have been playing a central role in the debate around the digital era. Not only has the presence and engagement of Italy’s diplomatic network in the U.S. been growing, but the Embassy’s Digital Diplomacy Series has become one of the primary forums on digital diplomacy and innovation in foreign policy. Among its past panelists, also: Alec Ross, former senior advisor for innovation to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Anne-Marie Slaughter, president of the New America Foundation; David Ignatius, associate editor and columnist for The Washington Post and many others.

    The May 20 debate on digital citizenship, opened by Ambassador Claudio Bisogniero and moderated by Charles Firestone of the Aspen Institute, focused on macro-issues like Internet Freedom, women’s rights in the digital age and cyber-bullying. Those are key issues not only for the U.S. policy agenda, but also in Italy, in Europe and in many other countries.

    “The web now plays an important role in building up democracies and in the information and news cycles,” said President Boldrini in her opening remarks. “This also represents an occasion to talk about the darker side of the digital age,” she said while emphasizing the key role of international collaboration and coordination — in partnership with the major technology giants — in terms of data privacy, citizen dignity, protection of minors, gender equality and minorities.

    According to Robert Atkinson, president and founder of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), one of the main issues surrounding Internet Freedom is the lack of flexibility in the Internet policy debate and the negative effects of national norms and directives on the entire online ecosystem.

    “Privacy and security are very important values for policies to have,” said Atkinson, who underscored how those same values seem to be often used to justify data nationalization.

    “You don’t get anything from keeping data in one country. We should be instead focusing on the absolute harm that comes from the use of data as opposed to the collection of data itself,” he continued.

    In general, the risk of over-regulation of the Internet, while producing few benefits, is significant, he said. He offered the example of a recent decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union on the so-called “right to be forgotten”, or the right to have online records that users find embarrassing to be removed from the net.

    Writer and blogger Soraya Chemaly pointed out the need for a more dynamic relation between governmental policies, the national and international legislations we already have in place, and the policies that large tech corporations, including Facebook, Google and the likes, are pursuing.

    “It’s not sufficient to tackle the problem at the national level,” Chemaly said. “It’s about the global nature of the Internet and the technology we have, and the nature of the culture that we are in,” she highlighted, adding that there’s still no universality of online spaces.

    According to Chemaly, mainstream norms as reflected in online regulations are the result of a dominant white-male culture in Silicon Valley that does not seriously take into consideration gender issues, including misogynistic abuses and harassment, in defining “free” speech. This abuse overlaps with race, sexuality and religious hate. Often — she said — our digital culture and the laws attached to it force women outside of the digital space in order to escape the abuse.

    The same debate affects that of the protection of minors both online and offline, as highlighted by Katie Gorscak of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who chairs the editorial board of stopbullying.gov. The online platform tackles the phenomenon of bullying and helps parents, teachers and those working on those issues to fight and better understand all its declinations, including on the Internet.

    Gorscak stressed the importance of collaboration with tech giants, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. The latter — she explained — has put a system in place when a teenager searches for potentially harmful topics, such as anorexia or self-cutting: a message pops up asking: “Are you alright? Do you need help?” and directs the user to resources that might be of help.

    “It’s a way to redirect the conversation from how to do harmful things to how to get help,” she said.

    Indeed, as Charles Firestone explained while wrapping up the discussion, social awareness and media literacy are now more important than ever. The idea of good digital citizenship — impossible without the coexistence of those elements — starts with early childhood socialization; otherwise the same norms are reproduced over and over again.

    “The Internet represents a unique opportunity for the protection of people’s rights and liberties, for democracy, and for free speech and the free flow of information,” President Boldrini concluded. “But there are still many problems and obstacles and we need to find the courage not to hide them but rather use them to shape the debate,” she said.

    According to Boldrini we need more cooperation on transnational solutions that can tackle the global nature of the web, and at the same time preserve our growing digital citizenship, our rights and responsibilities online and offline, as this is “one of the most challenging issues of our time, but also an ever-changing one, with new frontiers constantly emerging.”

    A version of this article appeared in Italian on the official website President of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Parliament. of Laura Boldrini.

  • This Understanding Girlfriend Is Clearly Marriage Material
    When looking for that special someone to spend the rest of your life with, it’s important to find a partner who cares about you, understands your inner-most desires and, of course, allows you to play as many video games as you want.

    That’s exactly the kind of gal one Redditor found and he proved it by posting this picture Friday with the caption, “Girlfriend made me fortune cookies, this was the first one I opened.”

    Let us break down this awesomeness for you. First, the man gets homemade fortune cookies whenever he wants (yes please!). Second, his lady love clearly understands and accepts his crazy obsession with League Of Legends — an extremely popular online game where players battle each other on teams using badass champions (shout out to Nidalee) until one team finally loses. Then it starts all over again … and again … and again.

    So yes, she’s a keeper.

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • Morgan Freeman's Voice On Helium Is Everything (VIDEO)
    As host of Science Channel’s popular “Through the Wormhole” series, Morgan Freeman has introduced us to some pretty strange things–from the extinction of sex to mind hacking.

    But few things are odder than Morgan’s own iconic voice transformed by helium into what sounds like Donald Duck. It’s pure magic. Just check out the video above.

    Why does helium make voices sound so silly? Helium doesn’t actually change the pitch of your voice. That’s determined by the frequency at which your vocal chords vibrate. Rather, it changes the timbre, the tonal “color” of your voice, which is determined by how the sound produced by your vocal chords travels through your vocal tract.

    Helium is lighter than air, so it transmits sound waves travel faster than air. This amplifies the high-pitch parts of your voice, and attenuates the lower-pitch parts.

    That’s not magic–it’s just science!

  • Harvey Mudd College Makes School History Awarding Majority Of Engineering Degrees To Women
    Harvey Mudd College made school history this week when it awarded more engineering degrees to women than men at its commencement ceremony Sunday.

    Harvey Mudd, a renowned school for engineering Claremont, Calif., said 56 percent of its graduating engineering class were female.

    The percentage of women graduating overall, including all majors, in the class of 2014 was 49 percent.

    Harvey Mudd President Maria Klawe has made a concentrated effort to raise the number of women studying STEM fields since she took over at the school in 2006. Klawe was the first woman to lead the college in its six decade history.

    Elizabeth Orwin, professor of engineering and incoming chair of the engineering department, said she attributes part of the school’s success in this area to having more female faculty.

    “Harvey Mudd has a high percentage of women faculty in the engineering department, so female students have more role models and examples of different pathways through engineering,” Orwin said in a statement. “We also have a significant number of experiential learning opportunities which instill confidence early on in our students, which I think is particularly impactful for our women students.”

    Overall, the college’s gender breakdown is 42 percent women and 58 percent men.

  • Do You Have a Right to Privacy… From Google?
    Recent events, such as the U.S. House bill to restrict NSA data collection, Facebook’s decision to make it easier for users to share less personal information and Europe’s top court ruling that EU citizens have the “right to be forgotten” by online search engines like Google, highlight the question: What exactly is our right to privacy on the Internet?

    The right to privacy is one of the hallmarks of America’s civil liberties, but in today’s increasingly technological age, this right is failing to keep up with a growing number of online threats. From Google Search’s exhaustive indexing of personal information, to revenge porn sites and surveillance cameras, is personal privacy still relevant?

    In the last year, people have become more aware of how they’re being monitored and commoditized by technology companies — and the Edward Snowden revelations last summer also drew attention to the government’s role in this as well. But there are many aspects of our online rights that might still surprise many people.

    Here are six things you may not know about your online rights (or lack thereof):

    • Unflattering Search Results — If you’re a European, you now have the ‘right to be forgotten’ from search engines if you meet certain criteria — but that’s not the case in the U.S. There are no U.S. laws that require Google or any other “data controlling” company (like Yahoo, Bing, etc.) to remove Internet search results about you — with the exception of minors. This is further complicated by the fact that most negative events a person might encounter in his or her life — such as a divorce, home foreclosure, wage garnishment, lawsuits, etc. — are public records, registered by the government, so getting those removed, like the Spanish plaintiff in the Google Search EU lawsuit, is unlikely to happen anytime soon. There are many sites that sell or provide personal information, such as ZabaSearch.com and Spokeo.com.
    • House Hunters — Websites like Trulia.com, Zillow.com and even county tax assessor websites will provide anyone with an Internet connection the value of a home and information on who owns it, and what they paid for it. When used with Google Street View, which takes panoramic photographs of private homes and neighborhoods, you can build an all-too-close view of someone’s home life. The right to make public a person’s home, street and neighborhood has never been successfully challenged. In fact, the only part of Google’s Street View project that has faced significant challenge is its collection of unencrypted WiFi signals from people’s homes. A class action lawsuit claiming Google violated the federal Wiretap Act is currently awaiting review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
    • Revenge Porn — If someone posts or distributes naked images of you without your permission, they will go to jail, right? Nope! In many U.S. states, so-called “revenge porn” is still perfectly legal — as long as the victim is 18 or older and the perpetrator didn’t hack your computer, tablet or smartphone to get it. So far, there are only 10 states that have passed laws against revenge porn: Arizona, Alaska, California, Georgia, Idaho, New Jersey, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. But just because your state has a revenge porn law, doesn’t mean it will always help. There are numerous loopholes in these laws that can make online reputation management hard to enforce — for instance, it may not cover distributors of revenge porn photos/videos, “selfies” might be excluded and it can be hard to prove the perpetrator intended to cause emotional distress, which is key to this being a crime. Additionally, only Arizona and Idaho make revenge porn a felony — in the other states that have laws, it’s just a misdemeanor.
    • Selling Your Personal Information — Everything you do online, with your credit card and your in-store rewards cards is tracked, packaged and sold to marketing agencies by data brokers. There is currently no real federal regulation of this multi-billion dollar industry. When you think of online tracking, you probably think first of companies like Facebook and Google — but actually, the real data brokers are companies you’ve never heard of: Acxiom, Corelogic, Intelius, Datalogix, etc. Credit bureaus like Experian also trade your information. And those in-store rewards cards? They’re now also making deals with Facebook and other online companies to link your online ad viewing to in-store purchase activity. The Federal Trade Commission proposed a Do No Track cookie back in 2010 that would allow consumers to universally opt-out of online tracking — but that has yet to be codified into law. However, most browsers today (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) do offer a do-not-track plugin — the only problem is, there’s no law requiring advertising companies to abide by it. You can also opt-out of targeted ads directly with some providers, like Google and Verizon; and other browser plugins like Disconnect (which blocks some tracking) and Ghostery (which lets you monitor it) can also help.
    • Online Criticism — Is what you write online protected free speech? Not always! Obviously, if you make threats online, that’s not protected — but you might also be surprised to know that writing a bad review of a business can land you in hot legal water. A growing number of consumers are now being sued by businesses because of negative reviews posted on Yelp, Amazon, Angie’s List, RipOffReport and other online forums. In one case, a Virginia woman was found guilty of defaming a contractor who did work on her home — and the only reason she dodged $750,000 in damages is because the jury also found the contractor had defamed her on the same forum. In Arizona, a woman was found liable for $12 million in damages for setting up a website to criticize two surgeons. Yelp is also fighting another case in Virginia in which the plaintiff wants to identify anonymous posters on the site who gave his business negative reviews. While you may think it’s your right to complain about a bad experience online, you have to be careful. Even if you’re found not guilty of defamation, you could still have to pay lawyer’s fees and court costs to win the case. The general rule of thumb is, if you post opinions, it’s not libelous — but if you make factual statements that can be proven to be untrue and harmful, you could be liable.
    • Video Surveillance — Does the government have the right to monitor you whenever you’re outside of your home? Basically, yes. While recording a person’s conversations without permission is regulated under various laws like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), this same protection doesn’t apply to video recordings without sound. In fact, US courts have routinely upheld the right of government video surveillance against claims that it infringes upon the First and Fourth Amendments. Municipalities, law enforcement agencies, and other government agencies are allowed to use video surveillance in any public place where there isn’t an expectation of privacy — such as in a private residence, public bathroom and the like. City surveillance networks have grown considerably over the last 10 years, and received a new sense of urgency after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. According to one report, the U.S. video surveillance market is expected to reach $37.5 billion by 2015 — that’s over three times what it was in 2008. There are also new technologies, such as Google Glass, that allow wearers to surreptitiously record and broadcast private conversations.

    In addition to these six online threats, there are several new risks coming down the line that will soon endanger personal privacy even further. These include the use of big data analytics, artificial intelligence, facial recognition technology, biometrics, drones and the Internet of Things (IoT). As an example, Google has announced it may start tracking and sending ads to Nest thermostats, refrigerators and Android car displays. In the next 10 years, these technologies will become increasingly common and invasive for average people.

    The right to privacy is a fundamental liberty to most Americans — but our legal system hasn’t yet caught up to the revolutionary changes in technology that have imperiled this basic right. At some point, Congress must try to create a modern privacy framework to protect individuals in what is becoming an increasingly surveillance-oriented state.

  • This App Lets You Share Your Life With A Stranger For 20 Days
    Imagine intimately watching the life of a stranger on the other side of the world from the palm of your hand. A new app will soon let people do just that.

    Researchers at MIT have teamed up with The Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values to launch an iPhone app called 20 Day Stranger, which connects two anonymous strangers for 20 days. Though the idea may sound a little stalker-ish, the makers say the intention is to inspire empathy and awareness.

    Using software like Google Maps and Foursquare, the app, which is currently in its testing phase, picks up all of the ambient signals of a user’s daily life. For example, if you were in a taxi driving down Broadway in Manhattan, the app would send your “partner” a Google Streetview of your driving path, as well as images of nearby storefronts, to give the other person a feel for your surroundings.

    “It’s not really about communication; it’s about opening up a window into someone’s else’s life,” Kevin Slavin, director of MIT Media Lab’s Playful Systems research group, told The Huffington Post.

    The app, he says, sends just enough evidence of your life so that your partner can imagine it. Slavin explains the idea for the app was born out of the desire to build something that would encourage mindfulness in our self-involved culture.

    “What would happen if for a couple of times a day you put someone else at the center, somebody that you will never meet, that is just as much a part of this world as you are?” Slavin said.

    The app is completely anonymous, meaning the two strangers will never know each other’s identity throughout the entire 20-day period. Anonymity, though, can have its downfalls: People may showcase a side or — ahem — a part of themselves they normally would never reveal in real life. (We’re lookin’ at you, Chatroulette.)

    “A lot of people, when they have the opportunity to speak perfectly anonymously, they use it to say things they don’t normally say, because there’s no accountability,” Slavin told HuffPost. “It’s not the most beautiful portrait of the human race. What we’re interested in is there a way to allow you to have contact with a stranger that takes all of that away? That removes all of the possibility for a negative inflection.”

    That’s why the app’s creators decided against allowing direct messaging. However, at the end of the 20-day period each person has the opportunity to send one message. It could be a question, contact info to stay in touch, or just a farewell.

    “The main thing is that there’s nothing you can do to communicate with the stranger except live your life,” Slavin said.

    There are a few more kinks to work out before the app goes public, but Slavin anticipates 20 Day Stranger will hit the app store in about two or three months. For now, the curious can sign up for a trial phase on 20daystranger.com.

    Slavin says a mark of the app’s success would ideally be heightened social consciousness and compassion from an array of people.

    “There’s an old idea from David Foster Wallace which is that one of the fundamental mistakes we all make as we move through the day is to mistake ourselves for the protagonist, because we don’t experience anything that isn’t happening with us at the center,” he said. “That’s the nature of the human experience, but it is obviously untrue. The world is made up of all of us sort of connecting together in profound and banal ways. If this works, and if other things like this work, we can start to build the idea that in fact you exist in parallel to at least one other person.”

  • 8GB iPhone 5c arrives in India for 33,500 rupees
    The 8GB iPhone 5c has launched in India earlier than anticipated, according to the Times of India. The official retail price is 37,500 rupees, but Apple is said to be discounting that to 33,500 ($572). On top of this the company is offering a free case, but only as a limited-time bonus.

  • Watch Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explain How Ludicrously Rich Bill Gates Is
    Bill Gates is far, far richer than you. And in case you needed a reminder, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is here to explain.

    During a 2011 speech at the University of Washington that’s caught the attention of the Internet this week, the astrophysicist and “Cosmos” host says that if he sees some loose change on the street, he imagines it would only be worth his while to pick it up if it were 25 cents or more. So Tyson asks: “How much money has to be laying in the street for Bill Gates to be too busy to pick it up?”

    The answer will make you even more depressed about your checking account.

    Even sadder? Gates’ net worth when Tyson spoke three years ago was $50 billion. After regaining the top spot on the world’s rich list from Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim in March, the Microsoft founder was estimated to be worth $76 billion.

    So on second thought, definitely pick up that quarter on the sidewalk.

  • Using Social Media As a Teenager
    We are the generation of social media, and we all look to each other to determine how we should be using it. For some weird reason, we all use it differently.

    Some use it for the occasional selfie, and some are constantly telling the world what they’re having for breakfast, snack number one, lunch, snack number two and dinner. I follow some people who are dedicated to posting their weekly Man Crush Mondays (#MCM), Women Crush Wednesdays (#WCW), Throwback Thursdays (#TBT) and/or Flashback Fridays (#FF).

    I don’t use social media the same way my friends do. I am usually using my Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to promote my business, and the brand that I’ve developed over the years. I have actually used Twitter to reach out to many celebrities, such as Jordin Sparks. Thanks to our engagements on Twitter, I actually work directly with her non-profit, The MAD Girls Inc. as a consultant. So I’m pretty sure that you’re not using social media with the same purpose as myself, right?

    The reason businesses and celebrities use social media is different than the reasons the average teenager uses it. It’s a proven fact that businesses are going for brand identity, customer service, customer acquisition and customer engagement. I have one question thought, what’s your purpose in using social media?

    Many adults and psychologists say that we’re obsessed with ourselves, and feel the need to broadcast it to the world. In the Daily Mail, the Head of King’s College School, commented on this saying, “social media makes teenagers feel like inadequate star of their own second-rate biopic.” He also went on to say that using social media exposes us to bullying and opens up the possibility of teens worrying about their body image.

    Honestly, I don’t see this statement as entirely true. Yes, it may expose us to bullying but I highly doubt that social media makes us more vulnerable to worrying about our body images.

    I don’t think that social media gives a young teenage girl more reason to be worried about her body, any more than a Victoria’s Secret commercial. Nor do I see any more reason for a teenage boy to feel worried about his body image over social media than from entering a Hollister store on Black Friday.

    On Today.com a headline reads, “The selfie syndrome: Why teens use social media for validation and how parents can counteract it.” Do we really use social media to validate our looks? Are we dependent on Instagram likes and Twitter favorites? Are we any more obsessed with ourselves than our parents were as teenagers, 30 years ago (way before social media)?

    Personally, I don’t feel that any psychologist, doctor, parent or teacher can stereotype all teenagers that use social media.

    What are your thoughts on the media’s idea of why we use social media? Why do you use social media? Sound off in the comments below!

    Oh, and speaking of social media, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @jaylenbledsoe.

  • Flashback to Black Monday
    Four years ago, on May 6, 2010, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dove 1,000 points and almost 10 percent of its market value. Twenty-six years and eight months ago the Dow Jones Industrial Average collapsed by over 500 points and wiped nearly 25 percent off equities.

    When pondering the four-year anniversary of the Flash Crash, I couldn’t help but compare it to Black Monday. So what has changed since October 1987? It seems to be that the speed at which a crash, or any market event, can happen has increased exponentially.

    There were similarities between the two crashes. Prior to Black Monday, the DJIA had gained an astonishing 44 percent in just seven months. But global stock markets had begun to wobble just before Black Monday, with tensions high between the U.S. and Iran.

    The U.S.’s Oct. 19 crash — a 508-point drop on the DJIA, to 1738.74 — was the final straw. The crash resonated across global markets, with drops ranging from 22.5 percent in Canada to as much as 60 percent in New Zealand.

    The fallout was intense; regulators and investors scrambled to blame so-called “program trading” — something relatively new to the marketplace. New rules were introduced to prevent it from happening again, including circuit breakers and curbs on positions.

    But the market rebounded quickly, ending the year higher than it had begun and returning to pre-Black Monday highs only two years later.

    The Flash Crash of 2010 wiped $1 trillion of market value off the books. It also happened during a particularly volatile period, as world economies struggled to survive the Great Recession. The DJIA had rallied nearly 7.5 percent since the beginning of the year — not as spectacular as the 44 percent in 1987, but impressive given the dire economic climate.

    And the market recovered quickly. But instead of days and months, it took only minutes. If you had been away from your screen for a half hour, you would not have known it had happened.

    The post-Flash Crash narrative became one of “evil” trading platforms, and there were cries to bring back circuit breakers (which many trading destinations did).

    The meant that program, or automated, trading was blamed for both extreme market events. Automated trading had been accelerated by the new U.S. market structure — the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation New Market Structure (Reg NMS), which was passed in June 2005.

    New exchanges popped up like weeds, creating new trading opportunities for the traders with the fastest technology. High-frequency trading (HFT) soared, and profits were made. But before you could say “HFT,” the Flash Crash called attention to the fact that some trading firms were at a significant speed advantage over others.

    More recently, a book by Michael Lewis, Flash Boys, took some well-publicized pot shots at HFT, saying the stock market is “rigged” by Wall Street insiders using co-located servers at exchanges and sophisticated algorithms to trade.

    So what lessons have we learned from both Black Monday and the Flash Crash?

    There is nothing inherently wrong with speed in trading. Speed is the new trading benchmark — faster is better. But the faster the trading systems get, the harder it is to spot fraud or errors before they move the market. What regulators are discovering is that they also need to have speedy systems in order to catch the wrongdoers.

    The Flash Crash and other HFT concerns have led to several disparate investigations — by the CFTC and SEC to the FBI and the NY Attorney General. These are investigating previous aberrant practices and crashes, which is fine. But what they need to be doing is safeguarding the market from any more untoward events — like Black Monday or the Flash Crash — happening in the first place.

    This is where smart monitoring systems can help. Regulators and other agencies need systems that are not only as fast as HFT trading platforms but are also smarter, sniffing out and alerting the authorities as and when something anomalous is happening rather than after the fact.

    Monitoring technology can spot major price and volume spikes in particular instruments, how often they happen and maybe even why, and whether a pattern in market behavior caused them. And these systems can flag up liquidity concerns by monitoring how liquidity moves across venues. They can tell if potential trader collusion, such as wash trading, is going on. They can spot potential insider trading by correlating unusual trading incidents with news releases and market movements.

    Plus, their algos are being programmed to “learn” from market patterns and to adapt as these patterns change. Faster is meeting smarter, allowing the gamekeepers to block the poachers before they begin the trek to the chicken coop.

  • WLSA Summit showcases innovative employee health, tele-ICU, and patient monitoring platforms
    At the 9th Annual Wireless Life Sciences Alliance (WLSA)’s Convergence Summit 2014 in San Diego, three companies from a pool of finalists emerged as winners of the TripleTree iAward for Connected Health.  On Day 1 of the conference, the twelve finalists took the stage, showcasing a diverse blend of innovative wireless health solutions. The list of finalists included both familiar names and newer startups, and tackled issues all across medicine. Award winners included Advanced ICU Care for their tele-ICU platform, ShapeUp for their highly connected and socially integrated employee wellness programs, and AirStrip for the data aggregation and analysis tools behind their patient monitoring platform.
  • BBC News Gives Its Staffers The Best Advice Ever
    BBC News bosses gave some straightforward advice to staffers when it comes to posting on social media.

    “Don’t do anything stupid,” BBC’s Mary Hockaday wrote in an email to the newsroom Thursday.

    The warning comes just one day after channel editor Jasmine Lawrence was removed from BBC’s election coverage after tweeting a disparaging comment against the UK Independence Party, according to the Guardian. Lawrence– who has now deactivated her Twitter account– wrote, “#WhyImVotingUkip – to stand up for white, middle class, middle aged men w sexist/racist views, totally under represented in politics today.”

    Thus, the head of the newsroom was prompted to give some “very clear social media guidance” to staffers, advising to not “state your political preferences” on such platforms.

    “As a BBC member of staff– and especially as someone who works in News– there are particular considerations to bear in mind,” Hockaday wrote. “They can all be summarised as: ‘Don’t do anything stupid.'”

  • IT fault hits Sainsbury's deliveries
    Some home deliveries of groceries from Sainsbury’s have been delayed after the supermarket giant suffered from computer problems.
  • WATCH: 5 Wildly Viral TED Talks That Will Show You The Power Of Courage
    We’ve pulled together five of the most-watched TED talks from this year as voted by you, our loyal TEDWeekends audience. On the surface, they seem so different. But each speaker is an outsider spreading a common idea — the best way to find courage in this world is to embrace your own, unique voice.

    And for an added bonus, we’ve also included one new, never-before-featured talk that speaks to that same theme. Check out the speakers you haven’t seen or revisit your old favorites and enjoy the chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes for an afternoon.

    Ash Beckham: What happened when a kid asked her, ‘are you a boy or a girl?’

    Maysoon Zayid: This comedian with cerebral palsy will make you think twice about the word ‘disability’

    iO Tillett Wright: Gay or straight? After watching this, it won’t seem so simple

    Sue Austin: It starts with a woman in a wheelchair. By the end, you won’t see her the same way

    Geena Rocera: This fashion model just shared a big secret. Her story will make you stand up and applaud

    (Bonus) Sarah Jones: She has 11 voices that will show you a vision of the future

    We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com.

Mobile Technology News, May 23, 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.

  • MathX for iPhone – An Impressive Graphing Calculator

    With MathX for iPhone, it’s no longer necessary to memorize a formula to solve Cubic Equation, Pythagoras’ Theorem and many others. It solves and shows you how a problem can be solved step by step. MathX for iPhone – .99 Cents – Download Now MathX for iPhone brings Graphical Representation on iPhone. Type a function […]

    The post MathX for iPhone – An Impressive Graphing Calculator appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • 'Magneto Shoes' Let Colin Furze Walk On The Ceiling Just Like The 'X-Men' Villain
    “X-Men” villain Magneto has all kinds of awesome powers, like the ability to control metal and magnetic fields with his mind. He’s also really good at chess.

    So, of all the things he can do, walking on a metal ceiling is probably the least exciting — but plumber/inventor/all-around-madman Colin Furze makes it seem like the coolest power in the world.

    “I can’t move metal with my mind, but I could stick to it,” Furze says in the above video. “So I’ve made magnet shoes!”

    Now he can walk on a metal ceiling. And as the video shows, he’s really… really… really excited about the whole thing.

    He’s so excited, maybe walking on a metal ceiling is a pretty cool power after all.

    Furze, 34, is known for his crazy inventions as well as a Guinness World Record for “fastest mobility scooter,” a five-gear vehicle with a motorbike engine that hit a top speed of 71.59 mph.

    Earlier this week, Furze had another viral video sensation with his invention of “fully automatic” Wolverine claws.

    You can see that clip below.

    (h/t ViralViralVideos.com)

  • The Musk Show In Washington Roils Rivals As Fans Applaud
    It’s been quite a show since Elon Musk arrived in Washington, picking fights with competitors, suing the world’s most expensive military and jumping into a U.S.-Russia dispute that may risk international space cooperation.
  • Smart guns: How smart are they?
    Just how smart are they?
  • Can we 'green' our toxic buildings?
    Can technology ‘green’ our homes and offices?
  • VIDEO: Nature inspires flying robot design
    Engineers and biologists are working together to create the next generation of nature-inspired flying robots.
  • Data Driven Marketing for Books
    When I started my book marketing career, my boss gave me this advice: “Don’t use green covers. Books with green covers don’t sell.” There was no data behind this statement, it was just part of the collective publishing wisdom then.

    Since then the world of book publishing has changed in strange and magical ways. We now have tangible information with which to make better marketing decisions. Data is available everywhere we look and coming at us at an accelerated pace. A few years ago Facebook users would share 684,478 pieces of content. Today that number has shot up to 2,460,000 pieces of content every minute, according to Domo, a software company. Check out Domo’s infographic that gives a snapshot of social media information that is shared in just one minute. As a marketer, I have access to more data than ever before, but how can I cut through all the noise to determine what is useful data and what is not?

    With this concern in mind, I turned to three marketers with very different perspectives. “Find the balance between science and art,” says Kate Rados, director of community development at Crown Publishing at Penguin Random House. “Data will inform strategy, yet it’s not a guarantee of performance. Connecting with your audience requires a marriage of fact (the numbers) and fiction (the story within the data). A lot of companies rely too much on one over the other and are in danger of losing audience in the long-term.” I agree with Kate, successful marketing today is a well-choreographed dance between data and story.

    Marriage of data and an intuitive knowledge of your audience can lead to sales, drive traffic to websites, increase engagement on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, gather reader preferences, and target click-throughs for advertising. With the right data, you can make smarter marketing decisions and maximize your budget, engage readers and drive book sales. Data can indicate reach, reputation, following, influence and brand awareness. And that’s not even scratching the surface of what data can do for all of us in the publishing industry.

    When publishers use data they can create better campaigns and communities. They can be more responsive to the needs of their readers, and can quickly assess which type of marketing produces results and which does not. Publishers can use data to determine the right customized plan for each author. True enough, but how do we trust the data that we have? I put the question to Tom Thompson, Vice President, Group Director of Verso Advertising. “It’s important to work with trusted partners as close to the source of the data as possible. The fewer middlemen the better chance that the data you are collecting is accurate.”

    All of the players in the publishing landscape have access to data, but deciding how to use that data makes all the difference. What is hugely successful for one author and one niche might not work at all for the next author. There is no magic formula to make a book sell or one-size fits all approach. The winning formula for marketing will be different for every author. Which is probably my favorite part about the new world order of publishing. Today at FSB, we assess the data, identify trends and shift marketing/publicity plans in real time.

    Digital marketing only works when there is a customized plan for each author. Data helps every position in publishing, because with data we can all make smarter decisions — whether publisher, agent, marketer, publicist or author. “Data gives us the ability to tell factual stories about our fiction,” said Elizabeth Dimarco, Co-Founder of BooksILove, an app that allows all of us to create and share thoughtful recommendations.

    What I know for sure is that we don’t have to be good with numbers to love Data.

    In today’s publishing world, we all have more information than ever before, which will allow us to make better decisions about where to put our time and our money.

    If you are attending Book Expo American in NYC this year, stop by our panel and continue the discussion: Data Driven Marketing — Engaging Readers and Driving Sales.

    Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

  • Prosecutor Sorry For Facebook Post Telling 'Crack Hoes' To Tie Their Tubes
    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prosecutor apologized Thursday for social media posts that included him referring to drug addicts as “crack hoes” and suggesting that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s appointment was due to affirmative action.

    Kenneth Lewis, an assistant state attorney for Orange and Osceola County, said that he “used a poor choice of words” and apologized to anyone who took offense to his Facebook comments earlier this month. Lewis said he thought that his posts from May 11 and May 6 were only to his friends network on the social website, and not visible to the general public. He said he doesn’t believe his comments affect his ability to be an impartial prosecutor.

    Lewis also touted his perfect record trying homicide cases as proof of his commitment to his job.

    “I have always been 100 percent fair and I challenge any of you to talk to any attorneys that I’ve tried cases against, to talk to any of the judges I’ve appeared before, and to talk to any of the victims and the victims’ families that I’ve worked for in upholding justice,” he said. “My record speaks for itself.”

    Lewis acknowledged writing a Facebook post on May 11 that said: “Happy Mother’s Day to all the crack hoes out there. It’ never too late to turn it around, tie your tubes, clean up your life and make difference to someone out there that deserves a better mother.”

    He also apologized for a May 6 post that accompanied a picture of Sotomayor, saying: “Reason enough why no country should ever engage in the practice of Affirmative Action again. This could be the result. Where would she be if she didn’t hit the quota lottery? Here’s a hint: ‘Would you like to supersize that sir?'”

    Affirmative action is a practice aimed at improving employment opportunities for people of genders or races that have faced discrimination in the past.

    Both posts remain active on Lewis’ Facebook page.

    Lewis’ boss, Ninth Circuit State Attorney Jeff Ashton, said while he thinks Lewis’ choice of words was “offensive and dehumanizing,” he didn’t reprimand Lewis for his comments because his office did not have a social media policy banning them.

    He also said that he doesn’t “police the private thoughts, views or expressions” of his employees.

    “We’ve been researching for the last couple of months social media policies, and we really have some questions about the constitutionality of them, and there have been a number of court decisions that have questioned that,” Ashton said.

    “Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, but it has to be clear those opinions are not the opinions of the state attorney’s office or myself.”

    Ashton said there will be an examination of Lewis’ prosecution file by his supervisor “just to make sure absolutely nothing about Mr. Lewis’ work life has been affected by his personal views.”

    Ashton said that no victims have complained to his office that they have been unfairly treated by Lewis because of their social status.


    Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower

  • Back for a Second Season: Hardwired 2.0

    Hardwired 2.0 is here! Join me for a second season profiling some of the hottest tech trends across the nation. This season I am going beyond wearable technology and showcasing a huge range of new gadgets: everything from beauty tech to 3D printing!

    To kick-off the series, I tried out some new tech products that are shaking up the culinary world in Food Tech. As you may know, I’m not exactly the best cook in the world… So, I visited two of Los Angeles’ culinary hotspots to learn from the best. First, I visited the The Bazaar in West Hollywood to see how the chefs are combining traditional flavors with cutting edge technology to create exciting twists on classic dishes. I also got to try out the flash freezing technology being used to serve fresh, made-to-order ice cream at Ice Cream Lab in Beverly Hills. I was excited to see that technology and cooking have never been more intertwined!

    Head over to on.aol.com/hardwired for new episodes every Wednesday! If you haven’t already, make sure to catch up on Season 1 of Hardwired for a look at some of the coolest and most futuristic wearable tech.

    Join the conversation and let me know what new devices you’re most excited about by tweeting @aoloriginals, @ijustine, #AolHardwired #gethardwired!

  • Briefly: Tim Hortons mobile payments, Griffin's Identity iPhone cases
    Quick-service food chain, Tim Hortons, has announced its launch of a mobile payment service across its locations in Canada and the US. The new barcode technology provides a secure and prompt scan-to-pay option at participating Tim hotrods locations, once a prepaid Tim Card is registered on the company’s TimmyMe app. Other features included on the TimmyMe app include a store locator, product nutritional information, and more. TimmyMe is free to download, and is available through iTunes for iOS devices.

  • T-Mobile launching VoLTE in Seattle to select LG and Samsung models
    Following recent announcements from AT&T and Verizon, the US’ third-largest carrier has jumped on the Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) bandwagon, introducing VoLTE service in Seattle for select Android phone models. The technology allows for both very high-quality voice as well as LTE data speeds simultaneously during a call. Apple’s iPhones already support the technology in hardware, but will need a software update likely coming in iOS 8, expected this fall.
  • Wired Next Fest Milan
    Photo by Bruce Sterling

    The Indro Montanelli park in downtown Milan in three days in May 2014, during WIRED NEXT FEST, was a meeting point of the best of Italian digital culture.  

    Spread within seven dome-shaped tents, from the Museum of Natural History to the playgrounds for children, with free chocolate bars on every stand, the display of the ideas and technologies for future gave me a warm feeling for the prospects of Italian society.  Italy is always on the verge of being too conservative, probably because there is so very much to conserve. 

    Odd conferences, vivid performances, live music and even a loud demonstration of angry cab drivers, which brought the famous Italian street rebels to the venue, along with a crowd of Milanese cops in full riot gear. These cab drivers were opposed to the use of “Uber,” a smartphone application which would disrupt their business model.  Phones and databases are taking away jobs from humans — a kind of networked Napster for cars. 

    An American attendee told me, amazed, “But I just came here from California, there people were delighted to have cheap, fast cabs with just a phone app!  Such an improvement for every passenger and cab user, what do these taxi people want for themselves?”

    A cab driver explained, “We are already overtaxed, underpaid, the state is not taking care of us!”  

    A businesswoman from Uber was at the festival to explain her company’s arrival in Milan.  However, she was shouted down with firecrackers, bullhorns and derisive threats, so she stepped aside so that the show could go on. She was expecting the trouble, I was told.  Sometimes she receives death threats because of her phone application.

    We must find a way to be serious about these new and potent things in the world, the applications, the robots, the Internet mega-companies; they’re not mere technical wonders of pure and painless progress.   

    The Oscar-winning movie director Gabriele Salvatores, director of the cult SF film Nirvana, broke out in indignation when pressed for his reaction to recent Internet developments.  He scolded Facebook for abusing privacy and wondered aloud how Europe could fail to defend elementary civil rights online. It’s no longer the electronic world he knew, said Salvatore, back when he read the first cyberpunk books.

    The Piemontese inventor of MPG standards said that digital music is accessible and fast, which is good — but that technical achievement didn’t have to mean the ruin of the music industry. Instead, he expressed disappointment with a society in which not just music standards, but seemingly every similar invention has been turned into a model for economic crisis, and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of a few.

    Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano, known as @astro_luca to his many social-media admirers, spent six months in orbit in the International Space Station.  He described watching the planet Earth every night through the space station’s glorious European windowpanes.  The explorer told us that there is no better joy in human life than to control the human fear of the unknown and direct that into great discoveries.  Awestruck Italian children demanded his autograph.

    Alex Bellini is a young Italian adventurer set on superhuman endeavors such as living inside a iceberg, or rowing across entire oceans.  Bellini told us that his major interest is exploring the limits of human physical and mental abilities. It was remarkable to see this traditional Italian derring-do turned into a life-story performance project.

    Near Future Design fiction is a new form of creativity where designers, artists and writers think and test their ideas freely by creating on the spot future scenarios.  Salvatore Iaconesi and Oriana Persico led a big workshop, using the topic of telepathy and uploading the results to Facebook. 

    Then came a cavalcade of Internet video celebrity talk shows, musicians, novelists, celebrity chefs, break-dancers, scientists, and raucous comics with politically non correct agendas!  Thirty-thousand everyday people enjoyed the famous Giorgio Moroder DJ concert in the park, where electronic Italo-disco blasted over the happy masses. 

    Wired Italia seems to have found a brilliant combination of the very Italian big-scale piazza show along with hacker, Internet-geek informality. The combo felt awesome, truly vivid, brainy, engaging and emotionally genuine.  The Italian technoculture world seems to be finding its own way of approaching a good life, maybe even creating some brand-new and exciting form of open-source Milanese chic.  As was once said in Lampedusa’s novel “Gattopardo,” probably the most Italian novel ever written:  “Everything must change so that everything can stay the same!”

  • This Is Your Brain on Mobile
    Power down

    When is the last time you powered down. All the way down. Not asleep. Not in airplane mode but ON | OFF. Try it with me now. Take your phone out, if you’re not already futzing with it, and turn it off (note: this is not advised if you are reading this on your mobile. In this case you are probably too far gone). Fair warning, you will experience a short stint of anxiety and emptiness. These mobile withdrawals are unpleasant (and slightly pathetic) but the sobering and liberating experience is worth more than your 25th snapchat today. I promise.

    I was a mobile junkie. The phosphorescent glow left me mesmerized and needing more. Each Snapchat or push notification fueled my need for news, updates, and winning the battle against boredom. At my worst, most conversations with friends and family would start with “do you have a charger?”

    I remember the turning point. I had just returned from a camping trip where I ‘witnessed’ a beautiful sunset. As I was reminiscing over the dozens of photos I took, I barely had any recollection of ACTUALLY being there. I was so focused on eternalizing the moment through my phone, that I hadn’t taken the time to eternalize it in my brain. I accepted my addiction and decided to make a change.

    Full disclosure: I’m a technologist that works almost exclusively on mobile. I’ve had the opportunity to build some really neat things (thing 1 and thing 2) alongside very talented people. So my telling you to put your phone down is a little bit like a girl scout telling you only to buy 2 boxes. We (as app makers) want them to be addicting. Like a potato chip manufacturer, we try to put just the right crunch and the perfect amount of salt so you can’t help but have just one more. We want you to get addicted. It puts the potato chips on our table.

    There have been several great posts and humbling videos about mobile abuse so I hope I’m not beating a dead horse. 2014-05-22-deadhorse.gifI have no doubt that mobile is the future that is already here. Thousands of great apps have enriched and enhanced every aspect of our lives. As a human being, many of these triumphs are trumped by the overwhelming anxiety phones have instilled in us. We’ve trained ourselves to constantly seek refuge from boring, everyday life through our phones. We’ve grown so accustomed to this behavior that we can’t shut it out, even during truly exciting or beautiful times in our lives. We resort to the tapping & pecking muscle memory. The reality is 95% of each day is boring, everyday life. I had to hit rock bottom to realize I didn’t want to spend 95% of my life glued to a screen.

    Rock bottom

    How I interacted with people in real life had fundamentally changed. I couldn’t have one conversation without checking my phone. I needed it.

    **inner-dialogue intensifies** “I wonder what [friend who isn’t present] is doing? I hope the Badgers won (edit: they didn’t)? Did that dude from work ever email me back? How is the INTU stock doing today? Did I get any more Instagram Likes?”

    Having access to this data around the clock while attempting to hold a meaningful conversation with a good friend I hadn’t seen in weeks was impossible. I’m embarrassed I let it get to the point where if I wasn’t tinkering on my phone, I was thinking about it. I bet if you start paying closer attention to your mobile habits, you’ll notice it too.


    I want it here. I want it now. We live in an uber-convenient (hue hue hue) time where ride-sharing, same-day delivery, and instant gratification are the norm. This also means we are doing our nomadic ancestors a serious injustice by not walking anywhere anymore. I live in one of the most walkable cities on the planet, San Francisco. I Lyfted everywhere, got groceries delivered, etc. My phone just made it too convenient to be active. If I was walking, my phone was in my face, and I became a hazard to myself, other pedestrians, and drivers.

    I want the world. I want the whole world. I want to lock it all up in my pocket.“ – Veruca Salt

    Decreased recall & critical thinking. Remember the glory days when you would spend an entire afternoon playfully arguing with a spouse, sibling, or friend about some trivial factual disagreement like which NFL team had the most Super Bowl wins? I do. My brother and I would spend entire afternoons having intense debates about the most Google-able, answerable topics. The truth is the answers never mattered as much as the conversation. It brought us closer. It taught us how to communicate. How to debate. Today that intense argument would have fizzled out in 2 minutes with Google having the final say.

    On the clock. Around the clock. There is no 9-to-5 anymore. I’ve accepted that. What I haven’t accepted is after receiving an email at 10pm I’m expected to respond within 10 minutes. The line between work and home is static. What’s worse is I somehow used tweets and snapchats as a vehicle for validation and self worth. So even those activities felt like chores. Constant push notifications, emails, and messages meant I could never shut down and turn off.

    text with broskiAppointments are moving targets. Let’s take another trip down memory lane, the year: 1992. You call your buddy from the landline and agree to meet at the local park in 30 minutes. Wanting to impress your friends, you get lost in the activity of adding those tinkling gadgets to your bike spokes for almost an hour. As soon as you snap out of your childish trance, you race to the park to try and catch your friend, but he’s nowhere to be found. The next day you have to sit and hear about how they ambushed the neighbor girls with water balloons. You missed it.

    Phones have turned us into inconsiderate and tardy buttholes. I lost respect for my friend’s time and being punctual wasn’t a priority because updating them with an ETA became passive and far too easy.

    I’m bored. Entertain me. Here’s the thing about saying, “I’m bored.” It’s a (boringly) grey area and a slippery slope. What used to be a thrilling experience (like riding the subway for the first time) is now mundane. Why not pass the time with a quick game of Three’s? This time spent crashing a fucking bird into a pipe quickly accumulates where a significant amount of seemingly insignificant yet beautiful moments pass you by whilst staring at a screen. Also…taking a picture of a beautiful moment still doesn’t count if the picture and filtered output is the end goal. Take that moment in. Truly experience it. Not from behind a Sepia filter.

    Be a person

    So I made a change.

    I made a promise to myself and my friends to live a more fulfilling life. I let a 2.3 x 4.5 inch piece of glass, metal, and plastic get in the way of that. I made a few small changes that compounded into a better prescription than any anxiety medication. I started rehabbing slowly by rethinking how, why, and when I used my phone. I became very meticulous about when I could and could not use my phone. I went as far as making it inconvenient to use apps I didn’t actually NEED.

    screen layout

    In addition to this change, I started noticing more and more opportunities to cut the mobile ties. I’ve summarized these tricks into a program I’m calling the mobile cleanse.

    The mobile cleanse

    1. Keep it in your pants. This is an obvious one. It’s rare that you need to use your phone (or genitals for that matter) when in a social setting. There are obvious exceptions like your group needs directions or you want a reasonable amount of photos of a once-in-a-lifetime event (weddings, baby’s first steps). Brunches and sunsets happen every day. No need to miss the actual experience by snapping 5,000 pictures of it. Respecting these limits will enrich every interaction you have with every day objects, people, and life. If you feel the itch to pull out your phone in a break in the conversation…’silence’ it. Undoubtedly your friends will whip theirs out, making the temptation almost unbearable. If you want to truly cleanse, this step is unbreakable. You can also influence your friends’ behaviors by playfully shaming them when they pull out their phones unnecessarily (‘Oh hey Hollywood!’). To get started with this one, I instructed my friends to punch my arm if I broke this rule in their presence. I adapted quickly. The itch soon decreased. Slowly at first, but after a few days of withdrawal it was completely gone. I no longer relied on my phone to solve any anxiety or unnecessary emptiness. I was human again.
    2. Brain first, phone second. Can’t think of the artist for a song you just heard? Siri can’t help you now. Exercise your brain, and try to figure it out for yourself. If you still can’t get it after a few minutes of focus, shift your attention to something else and it will come to you sooner than later. Be sure to carry a notepad (that’s right…actual pen and paper) to jot it down so worst case you can Google it later.
    3. Hide and delete.This is the mobile cleanse mantra. Say it with me now… “Hummmmmmm… hide (inhale)… and delete (exhale)… and hide (inhale)… and delete (exhale).” You don’t need 200 apps. Uninstall the ones you no longer use and tuck the non-essentials into folders a few swipes from your main screen so it’s inconvenient to access them. You’ll soon realize how little you actually need them. My essentials include: phone, text, Spotify (music is my guilty pleasure. I’m not perfect), and Wunderlist.
    4. Never push. Always pull. Unless your wife is expecting a baby at any minute, there’s nothing more important than the people you are with in that moment. Turn ALL notifications & badges off. Set your phone to silent (not VIBRATE). Don’t even allow yourself the temptation to swipe and catch up on the latest insta-snap-vine-whatsapp-videos. Don’t take away from the beautiful, seemingly insignificant, uninstagrammable moment you are having with the people you love. These nasty notifications also distract you from work, hobbies, and passions. Keep your focus. Buzzfeed’s top 25 beach bodies can wait. When mobile browsing is acceptable, PULL the information you seek (manual refresh, etc). Don’t let it come to you. Cold turkey. No exceptions.
    5. Your delivery is free if it’s a mile or less. Never Uber/Lyft/Sidecar if your destination is
    6. Buy a watch. I would often catch myself pulling out my phone to merely check the time (and then check the time again since I never actually remembered it the first time). This frequent ‘time check’ reenforced the habit of constantly pulling out my phone and undoubtedly led to unnecessary browsing if a waiting notification piqued my interest. Buy a watch. Wear it.
    7. No phones in the bedroom or bathroom. Let’s focus on the bathroom first and how much time you save without your phone (see below for a non-scientific study of time spent on the toilet with and without a phone each day). Also the risk of accidentally dropping your iPhone in the toilet shoots dangerously close to zero if toilet tapping isn’t allowed. Now for the bedroom. It’s proven that looking at bright screens just before bed increases the time it takes to fall asleep. Step 1 ABSOLUTELY applies in the bedroom. Imagine two star-crossed lovers staring deeply into eachothers’ phablets. Playfully destroying pigs or experiencing mind-numbing insta-gasms. Yeah you get the point. If there’s one experience I don’t want to miss for a new LinkedIn connection, it’s one where I can truly connect with the person I love.

    Time spent pooping
    Poop graph

    With great power comes great responsibility

    I wish I could have made this lifestyle change a year ago. So many missed or wasted experiences. We have more computing power in our pocket than that necessary to put the first man on the moon. Yet we don’t know how to harness it because it’s advancing faster than our ability to absorb it into our lives in a healthy, constructive way. Remember kiddos…

    An Apple a day keeps the doctor away. An Apple every 20 seconds… well… that’s too many fucking Apples.

    Best of luck with the cleanse. Please share/recommend this article to help friends become human again and tweet me directly (@jgvandehey) to let me know how it goes or if you need a sponsor, support, or tips. It is now safe to use your electronic device (in moderation).

    TL;DR  –  We are on our phones too much. They were built to enhance our lives, not consume them. Be a human.

  • HP Lays Off 16,000 People
    The company just said it expects to lay off more people. Job cuts announced in 2012, which was to top out at 34,000 jobs will be increased by between 11,000 to 16,000 jobs. That will push the upper end of the range of jobs eliminated since Meg Whitman took over as CEO to an even 50,000.
  • 'Minecraft' Is Coming To The New Xbox And Playstation
    Great news “Minecraft” fans, you can finally play the game you love on your next-generation gaming console.

    Mojang, the studio behind “Minecraft,” said Thursday that fans can expect the game on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita in August. The upgraded game promises significantly bigger worlds and a greater draw distance than the previous version. Users who have already downloaded “Minecraft” will be able to upgrade to the new version for a slightly smaller fee than new users.

    “Apologies for the delay, but putting ‘Minecraft’ on new consoles is a serious business,” a statement on Mojang’s website read, in part.

    “Minecraft” for Xbox One will hit the Xbox Live Marketplace for $19.99 sometime in August. If you’ve already bought “Minecraft” for Xbox 360 from the Marketplace, or have played online with a hard disc copy, an upgrade will be $4.99.

    The same rules apply for upgrades from PlayStation 3 to PlayStation 4 once the game hits the PlayStation Network in August. Those who wish to purchase the game for the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita will be charged $19.99. However, if you already own the game for PS3, a Vita copy will be available for free. The Vita version will not be upgraded but will offer the most up-to-date PlayStation 3 version.

    If you’re worried about losing all your fantastic progress from your previous console version, you’re in luck. Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 players will be able to import their saved progress. Many, but not all, of the DLC skins and texture packs from the previous-gen version will transfer over. Unfortunately, Mojang says several are locked in licensing deals, and there’s no word yet on whether or not they’ll be brought over at any point.

    Will you upgrade to the new “Minecraft” when it debuts? Let us know in the comments, or tweet us @HuffPostTech.

  • College Student Alyssa Funke Completes Suicide Following Cyberbullying Over Porn
    Alyssa Funke, a straight-A student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, committed suicide last month after being bullied and harassed online over her choice to appear in pornography. Local police have said they don’t plan to press charges against anyone who taunted Funke.

    Funke, 19, had recently appeared in a porn film at the website CastingCouch-X. According to KMSP, after former classmates from her high school in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, discovered the video, they began sending her abusive messages through Twitter and Facebook.

    Her last tweets before her death were on April 14 and 15, appearing to mock those harassing her online:

    Pornstar Status.

    — alyssa funke (@Funkeetown) April 14, 2014

    FAMOUS for dayzzzzzzz

    — alyssa funke (@Funkeetown) April 15, 2014

    On April 16, Funke completed suicide at a boat landing on Big Carnelia Lake, 26 miles from River Falls and 9 miles from Oak Park Heights.

    KMSP reports Funke’s family did not want to speak on camera, but said they believe the cyberbullying played a significant role in her decision to end her life. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office told the station that it does not think the taunts rise to the level of criminal harassment. The investigation is still ongoing.

    The Daily Dot reports that her family launched The Alyssa Stop Bullying Fund, which raised $165 in the 19 days it was active.

    Funke’s death follows the widely covered harassment of Belle Knox, a Duke University freshman who appeared in pornographic films and was harassed by students on campus after she was publicly identified. Knox had even appeared on the same couch for the same website. But she became very open about her porn career in spite of what Knox has referred to as “a culture of slut-shaming and rape apology.”

    Many porn actresses say they struggle to protect their privacy. One former college student who was outed several years ago on her campus for an amateur porn even asked The Huffington Post not to identify the school she attended, out of concern it would lead to further harassment online.

    Funke was a first-year biology student at UW-River Falls.

    Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

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  • Abundant Living: Free Rides and Phone Service
    In case you were wondering, the best things in life are free. Free things fill us with gratitude, inspire the wonder of infinite possibility, and make us feel cared for and appreciated. So why do we so often feel like we don’t have enough? Have you ever felt like Dave Chapelle in the movie Half Baked when he is on his $8 date with Mary Jane? The scene from the film humorously shows a life lived out of fear of lack, budgeting from a place of Darwinistic thinking that leads Dave Chapelle’s character to steal from a homeless man in order to compensate for an expensive taxi ride and extend his romantic encounter just a little longer. Rather than living our lives in squinty-eyed fear and distrust of others, we can choose to live gratefully and share whatever we have — and expect others to do the same.

    The term “freemium” is used mostly in the digital marketplace referring to when a product or service is provided free of charge, but a premium is added on for access to special features. The explosion of mobile technology has made free stuff more common place in our lives — angry birds doesn’t cost anything to play, but you need an iPhone first. Skype allows you to talk with anyone on our planet with the same software for free, but, again, you need the hardware first.

    Generally, the two most important elements in day-to-day life for most urban Americans are transportation and telecommunication. Not surprisingly then, the two things that we are programmed to become most personally attached to are our cars and phones. Today, we lock our phones just like we lock our cars. Fingerprint swipes on new smartphones are akin to “The Club” for cars. What can make us more open to share what we have rather than keep it to ourselves? There is a phenomenon occurring that is making transportation and telecommunication free for all and two companies are helping to make it happen: Side-car and Freedom Pop.

    We all know that ride-sharing companies are turning us into a more compassionate, connected society. Adding friendly, social engagement as a part of transportation is transforming our cities for the better. While many people know about the disruptive services provided by Uber and Lyft, there is another lesser known company that is more experimental in its approach to free services: Side-car.


    Founded by Sunil Paul, who owns the only U.S. patent for accepting transportation requests through a digital device, Side-car was one of the earliest ride-sharing companies out of the gates and started on donations. Now, after enough growth in the field, Side-car works on a community marketplace model.

    The community model allows for the driver to set their price and for the rider to respond based on price, driver, and amenities. Hypothetically, a driver could choose to offer a ride for $0 and still pick up riders who will give a tip based on the experience they deliver. This easily blossoms into an ecosystem constructed on free thought, free activity, and big rewards for those who curate an excellent experience for the participant.

    And speaking of participation, we all know that participation is way better with the freedom of choice. Customization and diversity are principles embedded into the social DNA of the upcoming generation. So why is it that communication technology, the chief means by which this generation engages with one another today, is so devoid of free-choice? Freedom Pop, a web company that gives users a free alternative to the not-so-free major telecom companies, is changing that. Once you put down a returnable deposit of $99, they send you a device to operate and provide you with half a gig of free data until you don’t want it anymore. Moreover, the company recently received access to support iPhone 4s and 5s in addition to Droids and Galaxies with totally free texting and talk up to 500 combined messages and 200 minutes per month. If you use more than that, they offer unlimited plans for $11 a month or $110 for two years. Having an account also allows you to share your data with friends or borrow some for yourself in case the need arises.


    In an interview on “This Week in Startups“, CEO Stephen Sokols explained that the chief purpose of Freedom Pop is not really to make money, but to disrupt and innovation communication technology and empower the user, “We want to make sure everyone has access to free internet. We have a tag-line, ‘Internet is a right, not a privilege.’ We enable a business model to support that mission.” These freemium models are the future of innovation and collective good. In both the cases of Side-car and Freedom Pop, their activity is benefitting the collective whole by lowering overheads and margins in the fields of transportation and telecommunication for everyone across the board.

    The hawkish mantra, “Freedom isn’t free” is less and less true with each innovation of grace. To enlist in a lifestyle of service and sharing through these types of companies makes life far cheaper and way more vibrant. Rather than fearing lack and stealing from homeless people, we can connect, collaborate, and contribute to the greater good. I just got my free iPhone from Uber in the mail. I’m signed up to ride-share with Side-Car and Lyft, and soon will have a totally free talk, text, and data plan through Freedom Pop with Google Voice as a backup. This is the world I want to live in.

    Don’t you?

  • Photos show alleged aluminum mold for iPhone 6 cases
    New photos show what is claimed to be an aluminum mold manufacturers are using to produce cases for the iPhone 6. Because it’s simply a mold, it lacks many details. It does however appear to have characteristics spotted in other leaks, most notably an iPad-style back with rounded edges.

  • 15-Year-Old Engineer's Incredible Invention Can Help Detect Cancer (VIDEO)
    Fifteen-year-old Nathan Han received the prestigious Gordon E. Moore award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is the largest international pre-college science competition, for his creation of a software tool that can “identify and predict cancer-causing mutations in a person’s DNA.”

    “I did this by minding-mutation data from online public domain databases and then performing statistical analysis on how those mutations changed certain properties of proteins,” explained the teen scientist to HuffPost Live in a recent visit.

    Watch above.

    While Han walked away with the $75,000 prize and the title as winner, he said this is certainly not something he was expecting. In fact, he got quite discouraged along the way as he had difficulties finding a laboratory research mentor because of his young age.

    “I actually got rejected from a bunch of internships for liability reasons since I’m 15 and you have to be 16 apparently for a lot of opportunities like that,” Han said. “But I think the main message is don’t be afraid to follow your dreams even if something unfortunate like that or obstacles happen.”

    Watch the full HuffPost Live segment on the Intel Science Engineering fair below:

Mobile Technology News, May 22, 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.

  • Concern over drivers on social media
    Police have told Newsbeat they are increasingly concerned about people using social media and video apps while driving.
  • China's JD.com to debut on Nasdaq
    Chinese online retailer JD.com raises $1.8bn in its US share sale, valuing the company at more $25bn according to underwriters Bank of America and UBS Investment Bank.
  • Report: 87 percent of Americans now on smartphones
    According to a new report issued by Counterpoint, the US market for smartphones is near the saturation point — with 87 percent of mobile phone owners now using smartphones, as of the end of the first calendar quarter of the year. Overall growth in the US market was pegged at seven percent, with 75 percent of the smartphones sold capable of using LTE high-speed cellular data. Apple remains the top US vendor.

  • 'Killer robots': Are they inevitable?
    Will machines decide when, where and who to kill?
  • 'Insane' DOJ Anti-Recording Policy Has Finally Been Reversed
    WASHINGTON — In a major shift, the Justice Department has done away with a longstanding policy that forbade federal agents from recording statements made by criminal suspects in their custody. The policy gave the Justice Department a massive advantage over criminal defendants, ensuring that the use of coercive tactics or ignored requests for an attorney during an interrogation, for example, would not be preserved for the record.

    But now, starting on July 11, federal agents with the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service will be required — with some exceptions — to record interrogations of criminal suspects in their custody. The policy shift was first reported by The Arizona Republic.

    Monty Wilkinson, director of the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, wrote in a memo on May 12 that the new policy is the result of the “collaborative and lengthy efforts of a working group comprised of several United States Attorneys and representatives from the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, EOUSA, the Criminal Division, and the National Security Division, as well as the General Counsel, or their representatives, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the United States Marshals Service.”

    The new policy, laid out in a memo by Deputy Attorney General James Cole, creates the “presumption that the custodial statement of an individual in a place of detention with suitable recording equipment, following arrest but prior to initial appearance, will be electronically recorded” except under a few special circumstances. The policy “strongly encourages the use of video recording” and does not apply to interviews when suspects are not in custody, though it encourages agents and prosecutors to consider recording those interactions as well.

    Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Mel McDonald, now a defense attorney, told The Arizona Republic that it was “a no-brainer” to reverse what he described as “an insane policy.”

    In a statement, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers President Jerry J. Cox said that recording interrogations “protects the accused against police misconduct, protects law enforcement against false allegations, and protects public safety by ensuring a verbatim record of the interrogation process and any statements.”

    Read the full memo, obtained by The Huffington Post, below.

    DOJ Recording Policy

  • Robert Gates: China, Russia Are Becoming Aggressive As They Perceive U.S. Pulling Back
    Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that China and Russia are becoming more aggressive as they perceive the U.S. pulling back from world affairs.

    “With all the talk of coming home, of nation building at home, the perception has grown increasingly around the world that the U.S. is pulling back from the global responsibilities that it has shouldered for many decades,” Gates told CNN host Fareed Zakaria during a conversation hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. “I believe Russia and China, among others, see that void and are moving to see what advantage they can take of it.

    “They’re not going to challenge us in a way that would produce a conflict, but as they perceive our unwillingness to commit overseas, our unwillingness to make tough decisions, as in Syria, I think they see opportunities to pursue their own nationalist ambitions and to take other actions that are self-aggrandizing,” Gates said.

    He said that in the early 1970s, then-President Richard Nixon and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger dealt with America’s loss in Vietnam by reaching out to the Soviet Union and Maoist China, making it clear that the U.S. was going to remain the “big dog.” “We were going to be in charge because we had better relations with the Soviets and better relations with the Chinese than they had with each other,” Gates said. “There are no such opportunities now.”

    Coincidentally, China on Wednesday signed a landmark deal to buy Russian natural gas worth about $400 billion.

    Gates, now the chancellor at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, directed the Defense Department for 4 1/2 years under both President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush. He served as director of the CIA under President George H.W. Bush.

    Gates said that China has become “significantly more aggressive” over the last two years. He cited China’s declaration of its air defense zone, its recent confrontation with Vietnam ignited by its installation of an oil rig in disputed waters, and its “increasingly aggressive approach” of using both ships and aircraft to challenge the Japanese over the Senkaku Islands.

    “Two years ago, I don’t think the potential for a true military conflict of any size between China and Japan was on anybody’s radar. The fact that it is now is a measure of how far we’ve come,” Gates said. “The area is becoming increasingly dangerous.”

    He said Southeast Asian countries should band together -– along with the U.S. — to speak out against Chinese aggression. He said this happened in 2010, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was at an ASEAN meeting in Hanoi and at least seven or eight Southeast Asian countries denounced China’s aggression. Gates noted that China President Xi Jinping — more than his predecessor, Hu Jintao — is very much in charge of China’s military actions.

    Regarding this week’s U.S. charges that Chinese officials engaged in cyberspying on American businesses, Gates said stealing American secrets and technology is not new and is done by probably a dozen countries. Second to the Chinese, the French may be the most capable in this regard, he said. For years, Gates said, French intelligence agents would break into American businessmen’s hotel rooms and steal information from their laptops.

    Gates said the U.S. is “nearly alone in the world” in not using its intelligence services for commercial purposes. “When I was director of the CIA, the CIA produced an enormous amount of information on infrastructure of other countries … that any company wanting to build a factory in a foreign country would love to have,” he said. “I worked with five or six different secretaries of commerce and never could get one of them interested in … getting that kind of CIA information to American companies.”

    He said another type of cyberattack, which causes denial of service or capability, is being developed by a number of countries and is a worry. However, he said it’s hard to imagine a nation state using it against the U.S. because the origin of the attack can eventually be determined — down to a home address.

    Short of such state-to-state cyberattack, he said, “the biggest threat to infrastructure and to denial of service is global organized crime and terrorists. When it comes to terrorists, we’ve seen they can be pretty sophisticated in their use of computers and who is to say … they can’t cyberattack?”

    Regarding the crisis in Ukraine, Gates said that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to exert control over Ukraine and the Baltic states, but will not annex them. “The last thing Putin wants is to recreate the Soviet Union. He does not want to take on responsibility for so many of those economic basket cases, including Ukraine,” Gates said. Instead, he said, Putin “won’t rest” until the Ukrainian government is more sympathetic to Russia than to the West.

    Gates said Ukraine is “almost wholly” economically dependent on Russia, which is destabilizing for Ukraine. He noted that, before the crisis in Ukraine, Russia staked out about 26,000 square miles for oil and gas exploitation in the northeastern Black Sea. With the recent annexation of Crimea, Russia acquired 36,000 more square miles, Gates said, which made Ukraine even more economically dependent on Russia. He predicted that Putin will continue to economically squeeze the Baltic states.

    Gates said Putin’s pledge to protect Russian minorities abroad is “loose.” “It’s where [Putin] feels like Russians are being persecuted or there is a prejudice against them and or rules that disadvantage them that he will, at a minimum, have his intelligence officers in there working the problem,” he said.

    “I think [Putin’s] playing the long game. Even under the Russian constitution, he can be president until 2024,” Gates said. “He will press forward when he thinks it’s safe to do so, and he’ll pull back when he thinks he need to so.”

  • The Stomach Bacteria That Could Prolong Your Life
    The best predictor of our lifelong health may well be the bacteria that live within us. Specifically, the trillions of microbes that colonize our bodies from childhood on, and outnumber our own cells 10-to-1. Autism, allergies, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and obesity are just a few of the conditions now thought to be at least partly tied to the health of our microbial partners, which are integral to human processes such as digestion, neural and hormonal signaling and guarding against toxic chemicals.

    Researchers warn that this vast ecosystem — our so-called microbiome — has become endangered, due to an excessive use of microbe-killing antibiotics and toxic chemicals. The health consequences, they add, could be profound for our current generation of children, and perhaps for generations to follow.

    “The diversity of these microbes is really beneficial — it’s a preventative tool like no other,” said Rodney Dietert, an expert in children’s health at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “Too narrow a set of microbes could set you on the path for problems.”

    The earliest microbiome communities established in our gut may be particularly pivotal in this programming.

    There’s no denying that children today are facing an unprecedented risk of chronic disease, which may strike at any point in their lives. The number of 8-year-old children diagnosed with autism has surged in just two years from one in 88 to one in 68, according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. And while the cause of the disease remains unclear, new research, including a small study presented this week at a meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, suggests children with autism host a very different array of microbes in their gut. Rates of diabetes in children, too, have jumped by 20 to 30 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to a study published in May. Research has also hinted at the role of the microbiome in development of the disorder.

    Why do today’s children’s microbiomes differ? Several modern practices, already under increased scrutiny due to the proliferation of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, are the likely culprits: cesarean sections, formula feeding, antibiotics taken during pregnancy, antibiotics prescribed to young children, antibiotics fed to the animals we eat, antimicrobial products and the widespread use of industrial chemicals.

    Dr. Martin Blaser, director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University and author of the new book Missing Microbes, described the dynamic and delicate choreography of a child’s bacterial inhabitants during development. Any untimely hit to this bacteria, he said, could permanently alter the maturing microbiome and derail the proper development of everything from the immune system to the brain.

    He drew a parallel to modern practices caring for livestock that are used primarily for human food.

    “Ten years ago, a lightbulb went off,” Blaser told The Huffington Post. “If farmers are purposefully feeding antibiotics to livestock to fatten them up, is it possible that the antibiotics we’re giving to our kids are doing the same thing? It is quite plausible.”


    One in three U.S. babies are born by cesarean section. While many of these surgeries are medically necessary, Blaser and others experts warn that a number are not, and are therefore unnecessarily denying newborns exposure to the rich microbial flora in the vaginal canal. The newly establishing microbiome also misses out when a mother only feeds formula to her baby.

    “Doctors don’t discuss this risk with their patients,” Blaser said.

    Still, even babies that are birthed naturally and breast-fed may be deprived of optimal maternal microbes due to antibiotics commonly prescribed during pregnancy and labor, as well as a woman’s exposure to antibiotic residues in the environment, including milk and meat.

    Contact with antimicrobial products, consumption of antibiotic-contaminated foods and drinks, and yet more antibiotic prescriptions for ear infections and other illnesses, can further degrade a child’s microbiota during the first years of life. By the age of 20, the average American kid has taken about 17 courses of antibiotics. Many of the drugs are broad-spectrum, meaning they kill bacterial friend and foe alike.

    Antibiotics do save lives, of course. Experts are simply urging more judicious use. A study published on Wednesday reports that the rate at which doctors prescribe antibiotics for acute bronchitis, despite clear evidence that it is ineffective, has risen to 70 percent.

    In the last month, the World Health Organization, the U.S. and the European Union released reports underscoring the dire threat of antibiotic resistance. Action is urgently needed to restrict use of the drugs, they say, in order to avoid a post-antibiotic era in which minor infections could once again become deadly.

    But as frightening as that prospect might sound, evidence continues to pile up that the rampant use of antimicrobials may pose an even more pernicious problem.

    Dr. Corinne Keet, a pediatric allergist at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, published a study in May that found children delivered by cesarean section and those given antibiotics as infants were more likely to develop an emerging allergic disease of the esophagus that can persist in adulthood. Earlier work by her team linked greater sensitivity to allergens with higher urine levels of triclosan — an antimicrobial found in many personal-care products.

    “There’s still a lot of research to be done,” Keet said. “But this is another reason to be concerned about our indiscriminate use of antibiotics, and another reason to use them only when necessary.”


    Hundreds of industrial chemicals and heavy metals — bisphenol A, PCBs, flame retardants and the like — have been found to course through a child’s blood, even before the child is born. Studies now show that many of these toxins pose significant harm even at small doses, and particularly during critical windows of a child’s development.

    That’s plenty enough for a parent to worry about. But research on toxic chemicals has generally only looked at effects on mammalian cells, such as the cells of a mouse or rat used as a proxy for a human’s cells. The damage such chemicals inflict on microbial cells, said Cornell’s Dietert, may be even greater.

    Take, for example, pesticides. Researchers have found that low-dose exposures to the insecticide chlorpyrifos can alter the gut microbiome. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in the popular “Roundup” herbicide, has also been shown to disrupt microbes. There are even hints that the pesticide preferentially targets beneficial bacteria.

    “Chemical companies are not going to want to talk about pesticides and the microbiota because bacteria are likely to be more vulnerable,” Dietert said. “That might explain some of the apparent effects even when we don’t see effects in a culture of mammalian cells.”

    Diminished diversity of bacterial flora, in turn, further limits the microbiome’s ability to act as a gatekeeper for environmental toxins, including the degradation of pesticides and the metabolizing of metals.

    What’s more, toxic chemicals may even speed up the emergence of infections that resist multiple antibiotics. “As with antibiotics, things like mercury kill susceptible organisms and select for antibiotic resistance,” said NYU’s Blaser.

    A person with a weakened microbiome, he adds in his book, may be more susceptible to antibiotic-resistant superbugs.


    Gregor Reid, a microbiologist at the University of Western Ontario, acknowledges that exposures to toxic chemicals in our modern world may be unavoidable.

    “It’s really the government and industry that is responsible for monitoring the environment and trying to reduce toxic levels in the environment,” said Reid, also chair of human microbiology and probiotics at the Lawson Health Research Institute. “But I’m not sure we can trust that to happen.”

    He and his team are now on the hunt for a means to bolster gut bacteria against heavy metals and other environmental toxins. Preliminary data from their efforts in Africa, which awaits publication in a scientific journal, Reid said, hints at the possibility of using natural foods to protect people from toxic exposures.

    This same idea of bringing back beneficial bacteria is behind the growing popularity of probiotics, live microorganisms sold as pills and naturally present in fermented foods and yogurt. Despite the gut-churning premise, it is also spurring interest in fecal transplants, swapping the stool in someone’s colon with stool harvested from a donor’s healthy gut.

    But again, knowing how critical microbiome diversity during infancy is to lifelong health, researchers are also looking into ways to specifically manipulate the microbial flora early in infants and pregnant women. This strategy might include transferring a swab from a mother’s vagina to babies born by cesarean section.

    Meanwhile, experts and advocates around the world continue to push for stricter regulations on the use of both antibiotics and toxic chemicals.

    “The incidences of disease in children is so worrisome,” said Reid. “Clearly we’re not doing something right.”

  • The FCC, Net Neutrality, and Corporate Power
    With the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rule changes that could sound the death knell for Net Neutrality, context matters. And the context within which citizens must operate who want to defend a free and open Internet is one of relentless corporate lobbying and political power.

    For years now the corporate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been pushing for a tiered system of Internet delivery. They want the FCC to allow them to construct “fast lanes” and “slow lanes” on the Internet.

    Such a system would enable ISP companies to create false scarcity, roadblocks, and slow-as-molasses Internet service on their basic plans to compel people and businesses to pay tolls, fees, and rents in exchange for access to the faster lanes on the “information superhighway.”

    There’s money to be made by creating cul-de-sacs on the Net for those who refuse to shell out the bucks while getting backdoor payola from connected corporations jockeying for sweet spots on custom-made search engines or special access to broadband streaming.

    If they succeed in pushing through these proposed FCC rule changes, it will not only end Net Neutrality, but also give birth to a new monopolistic system of corporate control over the Internet. Profit-hungry ISPs will reserve the speedier service for those who can afford to pay. They’ll jack consumers and stifle innovation.

    It’s no accident that Tom Wheeler, the “Democratic” chair of the FCC, like Bush-era chair, Michael Powell (son of Colin), was a former lobbyist for Big Media’s corporate trade group.

    Today, just about everybody’s lives are intermediated in some way — for work or play, research or communications — by access to an open and neutral Internet. This is why the simplest solution would be for the FCC to label the Internet a telecommunications system (which it is) as proposed by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. This would allow the FCC to pursue sensible regulations that maintain Net Neutrality and stave off (for now) the corporate vultures.

    The corporate-friendly FCC, like so many other pro-corporate regulatory policies, can be traced back to the Reagan administration. Reagan’s FCC Chairman, Mark Fowler, was a gung-ho proponent of deregulating the industry and saw no downside to the trend toward oligopoly.

    “It’s time to move away from thinking of broadcasters as trustees,” he said, “and time to treat them the way everyone else in this society does, that is, as a business. Television is just another appliance. It’s a toaster with pictures.” (Quoted in Palermo, The Eighties, 2013 p. 74)

    Those lobbying the FCC to torpedo Net Neutrality, along with some of the Commission’s members, share Chairman Fowler’s outlook. They see the Internet as nothing more than “a business.”

    But the business model of Wheeler’s corporate buddies will be a disaster if it is applied in any substantial way to the Internet. The Net is not a “toaster with pictures,” neither is it an entertainment device, but the telecommunications spine of the planet.

    The proposed Comcast-Time Warner and AT&T-DirecTV mergers (nearing $50 billion each) should give us pause in changing the rules of the game at this time to favor such corporate behemoths. And with the Supreme Court’s attacks on laws limiting corporations from making campaign contributions — Citizens United (2010) and McCutcheon (2014) — along with other rulings, an expansive set of legal precedents have come down that have had the effect of handing even more power to corporations in our politics.

    The charge of the FCC since its creation during the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration was to protect the “public interest” from those who would use their power to monopolize the nation’s communications systems to serve their own narrow interests. If the FCC continues down this path where “Democratic” and “Republican” members become servants of corporate power and the five-member board becomes the latest example of “regulatory capture” the Internet as we know it is in big trouble.

    This proposed corporate implementation of “fast lanes” and “dirt roads” on the Internet could be even more costly to our society than we can imagine.

    The Internet has its own ecology; its own epistemology. It not only directs our knowledge of the world, but our knowledge of ways of knowing as well. It has become so deeply embedded in our everyday lives that we’re largely unconscious of its effects. The changes in how humans think and negotiate reality that the Internet has ushered in are as potentially transformative as the creation of the alphabet or the printing press.

    Altering the openness of this miraculous invention that you are using right now to read these words in order to further the narrow pursuit of corporate profits will have a more profound effect on our understanding of the unrealized potential of the Internet than we are now even capable of seeing.

    The Internet is also part of the Commons, and like all other public resources it has come under corporate assault. That’s why the FCC has to do what is right and consistent with its charge: protect the people’s open access by calling it what it is, a telecommunications system, and hold the pack of corporate wolves at bay.

    If corporations gain control of the flow of information in America it will go a long way in consolidating the corporate State that the Roberts Court seems hell bent on giving us. In the current context of runaway corporate power, ending (or even slightly limiting) Net Neutrality could be the pathway to a fully cemented corporate oligarchy.

    This is not your garden variety complaint against the corporate state; any step away from Net Neutrality will reinforce the already out-of-control power of some of the worst corporate players in our politics.

    We don’t need FCC rule changes that benefit giant corporations. We need an FCC that lives up to its original mission of protecting the public interest. We are now in a “public discussion” period until July so ordinary citizens can voice their opinions of the FCC’s proposed corporate-friendly policies regarding Net Neutrality.

    Like so many other pieces of the corporate agenda, the only place where you find supporters is in Washington where corporate money holds sway. On the other side of the “debate” are the vast majority of people, sometimes called “consumers,” who feel it in their bones that they’re about to be fleeced yet again. Public outcry already forced Chairman Wheeler to back off his original plan. Let’s hope he hears us loud in clear between now and July and understands he’s going to be hauled out of town on a rail if he goes through with this unethical corporate give-away.

    Now is the time to make it clear to Wheeler and the FCC that we demand our public servants to quit doing the bidding of giant corporations and do what is right: call the Internet a “telecommunications” asset for the people of the United States and protect its neutrality as a public service and part of the Commons.

  • Twitter: As a Bluebird on Facebook's Shoulder? Satisfactual!
    Eight years old, global brand recognition, 255 million users, ninth most visited website in the world, a $19 billion public market valuation, an annual revenue run rate of $1 billion AND the sky is falling? Nonsense!

    Rather than being lauded for remarkable achievement, Twitter’s management has had to endure Wall Street catcalls over “slow” user growth, a silly article in The Atlantic, entitled, “A Eulogy for Twitter” and a share price plunge from a late-December high of $74 to the low $30’s. A frustrating five months to say the least.

    To the pundits, most all of whom have never built a company, let alone one as successful as Twitter, I would offer that there is nothing wrong with Twitter’s business. In just eight years it has gone from an idea to the definitive, 24/7, global town crier. Its import and opportunity are immense and demonstrable regarding dissemination of news, gossip or instruction, not to mention the chance for us commoners to rub digital shoulders with celebrity.

    The main Twitter “issue” is the runaway timeframe around financial expectation. At present, this unique and fabulous franchise’s shares are likely a good buy in the $20’s. They may hang tough higher than that due to takeover appeal. Points well captured by Andrew Bary in his recent and prescient BARRON’S pieces – “Beaten-Up Twitter Is Still Too Rich,” followed by, “Is Twitter’s Battered Stock Finally Near a Bottom?

    A secondary Twitter issue, somewhat enmeshed in the first, is frequent comparison of its’ large growth runway to Facebook’s. Facebook as the true, in-depth, two-way, social network, connecting people with their family, friends and acquaintances, creates a far wider and deeper engagement, thus has a much larger growth opportunity; kind of ginormous trumps gigantic.

    The better comparisons for Twitter were tipped in Will Oremus’ recent piece in Slate, “Twitter Is Not Dying.” He made two keen observations, “…Twitter is to news as Instagram is to photography…” and “…Don’t be surprised to see Twitter become more YouTube-like…” Right on! Carrying those points a step further, I’d note that Instagram is thriving as part of Facebook, while YouTube has become a huge moneymaker for Google.

    What might those thoughts, combined with Twitter’s still a-tad-lofty stock valuation, suggest?

    · No doubt, Twitter’s user and revenue growth could be turbo-charged as part of either family, Facebook or Google.

    · Shopping Twitter would likely bring immediate and sizeable reward to its’ shareholders. Would Facebook or Google pass up a chance to bid on such a well-positioned, strategic asset? Don’t think so. Also, serious interest would likely arise from other Tech and Internet titans – perhaps Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent, etc. – each for their own strategic reasons.

    Considering all the relevant constituencies (employees, users, advertising clients and shareholders), I believe, the best family for Twitter would be Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg is rapidly collecting a portfolio of dominant, social media properties – each performing nicely on its’ own and become even more powerful if integrated. Twitter sits in that bullseye.

    The, ten years young, Facebook conglomerate is currently hitting on all cylinders (operational, financial and acquisitive). A powerhouse carrying a $150 billion market capitalization and an annual revenue run rate of $10 billion, emanating from a group of truly dominant social media brands each still in very early stages of growth and development:

    · Facebook: The in-depth, two-way, social interaction (active and passive), connecting people with their family and friends, across all geographies, races and age groups – second most-visited website in the world, engrained in the daily lives of 1.3 billion users and climbing.

    · Instagram: The Internet’s dominant photo sharing site, with 200+ million users and rising rapidly.

    · WhatsApp: The leading global, proprietary, cross-platform, instant messaging service, with 500+ million users and ascending apace.

    · Oculus Rift: The forefront virtual reality experience. To quote Mark Zuckerberg, “Imagine enjoying a courtside seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face — just by putting on goggles in your home…sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.” Sounds useful and fun.

    It’s not hard to imagine Twitter and Vine (Twitter’s globally popular six-second video-clip property) fitting in and thriving as part of the social media pantheon Facebook has assembled. It’s equally easy to see how Facebook could benefit from the additions:

    · Introduce Twitter and Vine to all the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp users.

    · Platform leverage and operational synergies galore to exploit (sales and technology, in particular).

    · Strategy sessions on the future of social media that could include a corporate brain trust of Mark Zuckerberg, Jan Koum, Jack Dorsey and Dick Costolo.

    If Mark Zuckerberg thought it worth paying-up for Twitter this long-term Facebook equity holder would get it. I’m in Facebook for the long haul based on his vision, focus, competitiveness and execution. Traits I was fortunate enough to observe, up close, in 2006. [Note: I am not presently an equity holder in Twitter, having sold at $60. I’d consider re-establishing a position below $25.]

    I’m just spitballing but a confluence of events seems to make this an interesting time to consider a bluebird on Facebook’s shoulder. The pairing could be a “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah” moment, for both parties.

    Follow Jim Treacy on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimtreacy

    Jim Treacy Website: www.jimtreacy.com

  • The Allure of Secret


    I have a new way to waste time and it’s called Secret. Like Twitter, Secret is an app on my iPhone. Friends, friends of my friends and strangers post anonymous statements, questions and comments about the minutia of their life. Oftentimes they come off sounding like pretend aphorisms, pithy statements with a veneer of fact. Of course, this is the internet, and that means the majority of posts fall into two categories: Sex and work. Sometimes a blend: Sex with coworkers, or masturbating while on a conference call, which, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done.

    When I read about Secret I immediately downloaded it. There were no instructions, so I sat back and watched. Frequent mistakes in grammar made me groan, and many of the posts were trite, but I stuck with it. Each day that passed where I found myself opening the App to refresh the stream, I asked myself, why does this one compel me to join in and follow it?
    You’re curious, sure you are. Here’s a post:

    My 14-year-old self would high five the shit out of me for how hot my wife is. -Portland.

    Seemed awfully braggy for someone from Portland, I thought.

    I inquired of my tech-savvy friends in New York. “Do you use it?” Most shook their heads no. But with my friends in San Francisco, most of whom work in high tech, like I used to, it was a different story. They knew it and used it. I wondered what they had posted and if I had “liked” any.

    Secret pulls from my iPhone’s contacts to fill my stream. When a secret travels beyond two degrees of separation, it’s marked with a basic location, like “California.” This context, while basic, grounds my Secret world in such a way my mind can ponder how I became connected to a post. The more something is liked (displayed with a number next to a little red heart) the more the Secret is spread–like an updated version of a game of Telephone. While I see occasional posts from cities in in-between states, Milwaukee say, or Austin, most of what I see is from the coasts. This makes sense because I’ve lived in New York for three years and before that I lived in San Francisco for twelve.

    Unlike Twitter, I had yet to be overwhelmed by the amount of content I saw in a given day, so the onus was on me: my Secret circle was too small. Should I evangelize and pull in more friends? Try to spread the gospel of this harmless way to waste time?

    It took me a few tries before I achieved traction in the Secret community. My first and second post faded away without a single comment or heart. It made me sad. My third post received a one like. I felt like a kid in grade school looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria. Reading through posts and comments I tried to game the system, yet still remain true to myself. In my extensive research, the two most adored qualities appeared to be sex and wit.

    One evening, while sitting in my apartment, I read a post that was listed as being a mere 100 meters away from me. I looked around my living room, up at the ceiling and then out the window. I wondered where the anonymous poster was. Across the street? I felt watched. I posted:

    Feeling a bit “Rear Window” when I read a Secret from someone 100 meters away from me. Who’s looking over whose shoulder?

    My post got 20 likes. A small number, but reason to celebrate. Why was I so excited that people liked my post, and why did it equate to their liking me?

    Then it happened again.

    At Equinox eating lunch, I scrolled through Secret. I read a new post:

    When women compliment me on my penis, I want to thank my dad.

    I laughed, and shook my head — what woman would thank mom for her breasts? I looked at where he was located. It read: “> 100 meters.” I almost dropped my phone. And then I nearly raced around looking for a well-endowed man holding a phone, sweating on a Stairmaster.

    I commented: “Feeling tempted to say your whereabouts since Secret says you’re less than 100 meters from me.” Then waited anxiously to see what he would say. It was electric.

    He commented back: Dad?

    What a harmless, fun world it seemed. The spike of illicit energy I felt when I shared or commented on a secret was compelling. It accomplished what Twitter never had — it hooked me. It was as intimate as technology could be, but in a natural way.

    In 2008 I joined Twitter so I could keep tabs on my friends while we were at a wedding in New Orleans. My account was private because that was how we were using it, to register our whereabouts. And I didn’t change that setting until one year ago when I realized I had possibly missed out on something that once may have also been electric. I had the same trepidation with other social media. Reluctantly I joined Facebook, and most of the joy I get now are the updates from my friends from afar. Snapchat? Forget it. I ignored it because it sounded like something used by kids and politicians — selfies and “dick pics.”

    Somewhere in my internet persona a dividing line had been drawn between my real self and my secret, or private self. I regulated closely what I was doing on Twitter and Facebook knowing that it was the purview of Mom, ex-boyfriends, high school classmates, business colleagues and more. Was it the anonymity that tugged me into the game?

    There were no names, no faces, no timestamps and the only way I could go back in time to review my old posts were if they received comments or likes. This transitory nature had to be one of the reasons. Other Secret users seemed younger than me, but I was probably the only one who noticed. Age was a non-issue, which is the exact opposite of what it’s like at most high-tech start ups, full of recent college grads with nary a gray hair. Perhaps this was why I liked it so much? I could finally show off my voice without feeling the O word: Old.

    My hair is going gray and I drink a lot of scotch. If OKCupid let you filter for girls with daddy issues, I’d be set.

    I commented: I drink bourbon and I like men who are going gray. The comment received 8 hearts. Swoon.

    In the real world, friends come to me for advice. I’m that person. Restaurant recommendations, travel questions, gift ideas, relationship advice, as if I was half therapist, half Yelp. I’m good at it, but it’s not a skill I can put on my resume. It takes time to pull together a response, and it hijacks me from my actual work. On Secret, however, I can give my unsolicited advice whenever I have the time or am feeling inspired — a luxury I don’t have with friends.

    I’m finally in the best shape of my life, and yet I don’t have anyone to sleep with right now.

    I commented: Well, let’s assume you got in shape to please yourself. Next up: your mind. This got a sub-optimal two likes. Maybe I was being too highbrow or too Dr. Oz-like?

    This same desire to “help” is thwarted on Secret because I can’t comment on posts beyond my circle. On the other hand, it seemed a wise safety cord, but a tedious one when I am reminded each time I forget. Like how we no longer listen to flight attendants as they show us how to use an air mask. It seemed a smart move by Secret because if everyone could comment, racy posts on Secret would blow up like the worst of internet articles or Lena Dunham’s Instagram account. (Does she have time to read them all?)

    Because of the anonymity, when you post on Secret, in place of your username you get an icon. Comments by the poster get a crown. Comments by everyone else get cute random icons like a bronze rocket, an alien, puzzle piece, or a sailboat, for example. When a post generates a conversation, users call you out by your icon, which means there are also icons that aren’t cute, like poop.

    I’m attracted to smart bookish women. Teachers, librarians, programmers. People who read and think and have breasts and a vagina.

    I HAD to comment: I’m not sure the bookish women you profess to like will fall for you when you write sentences that end in vagina.

    The poster and the Secret audience jumped on me. My icon was a sailboat. We argued over what should be considered vulgar language. A user commented, her icon was a fan: “Oy. Don’t comment on it if it bothers you sailboat.”

    Clearly the “fan” didn’t understand that in the virtual world this is exactly when you add your opinions to the fray. The original poster also didn’t understand what I was trying to say. My point was that on the one hand he was extolling the virtues of smart women, but then he ended his thought by crystalizing women — us, me, my people — to body parts. (My desired icon: shaking fist.)

    Two months in to my Secret trial and it still feels special and small, which is probably how Twitter users felt back in 2007 when it launched at SXSW. Not to mention the other clubs that were once just for a handful of users: Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, etc. Was the thrill I felt in part from being included in a small world that few knew about? Finally, I was in the early-adopter club.

    One of the great joys to living in New York is having random moments with strangers. Conversations, a helping hand, or just a smile on the street and my whole day could be turned around. I might never see them again, the event might not lodge itself into my long-term memory, but for a few minutes I could be transported to a perfect world. Having these fleeting seconds on my slick iPhone certainly wasn’t giving me that same kind of charge, but is it the way our world is going?

    Despite my joy at using Secret, it is just like the rest of social media, lacking in real connection. I can’t meet these people online, learn their names or have a meaningful conversation. I keep circling back to why I like it so much, and then I find myself telling a non-Secret user another story about what I’d read, posted or commented on that day. My story telling taking on an illicit flair. I’m still fascinated with my newfound medium, hoping it continues to engage me and tell me something new about the world or myself. I settle on this for my answer: Secret allows me to be anyone I want. I can leave whenever I feel like it and, if it’s too filthy, I can flag it for removal.

    Knowing my audience better, I post something I think they will like: Why do all my friends of friends have such dirty Secrets? Also, which friend connected me to the underbelly of Secret? It got 5 comments and 21 likes. High fives all around.

  • A Short History of Wearables
    Wearable devices are all the rage today. They range from Bluetooth headsets and health and activity trackers to Google Glass that brings the digital age right before your eyes. FierceMobileIT put together a short history of wearable devices to help you understand where they have come from and where they are going.
  • Startup SEO: How to Get the Ball Rolling on a Limited Budget
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be a complete nightmare if you are a new startup. The majority of new startups know that SEO contributes to online success but many do not fully understand how to develop an effective SEO strategy.

    SEO companies from every corner of the world constantly contact new startups, promising the same outcome: top rankings in the search results. There will be large experienced digital agencies that will quote large five-figure monthly retainers and there will be some overseas companies that will promise the world for a few hundred dollars a month. This confusion can be quite overwhelming for a new startup, especially one that is launching with a very limited budget.

    Paying a premium for service that doesn’t deliver the promised results can quickly deplete a marketing budget and selecting a poor service can get the website penalized, presenting the startup with a major handicap from the start. The worst thing a startup can do is hire a low quality SEO company in an effort to save money. The cost to clean up the mess they create can far outweigh what it would have cost to go with a more expensive and experienced agency from the start.

    If your startup is brand new and you don’t have the budget to hire an experienced SEO agency then take a deep breath and follow the tips below to start your search engine optimization internally until your revenue can support the cost of professional help.

    Get Your On-Page Optimization Perfected First

    Many startups (and SEO companies) forget about one of the most important search engine optimization factors for long-term success, and that is the on-page optimization of the website. Neglecting the on-page optimization is like attempting to run a marathon with one leg. Sure, you might eventually get to the finish line, but it is going to take much longer and you are putting yourself at a severe disadvantage from the start.

    I was recently speaking with Weston Bergmann, lead investor in BetaBlox, which is an equity-based business incubator for startup entrepreneurs in Kansas City, and he also compared SEO to a marathon:

    “The most important thing to note about SEO for early-stage ventures is it’s a marathon, not a sprint. I see too many people getting frustrated by a lack of stellar results in the first couple months, when this just isn’t possible. These fights are long-term ones, so buckle down and stick to the basics. Eventually you’ll look back and see that you’ve built a monster.”

    Want to learn what proper on-page optimization consists of and steps you can take to make sure that your website is ready for SEO? My company used our nonprofit marketing page as an example and created a guide to help you with on-page optimization: The Definitive On-Page Optimization Guide.

    Build a Strong Social Media Presence (Attract Social Signals)

    A startup needs to have a strong social media footprint from the day of birth, and a well thought-out social media effort can help the growth of the startup along with providing a SEO benefit. Every re-tweet, share, like, mention, etc., is referred to as a social signal, and these signals are an important component of a successful SEO plan. A full time social media manager or agency might not be in the budget but that doesn’t mean the startups social presence must be neglected.

    I know of a start-up that would designate one employee as the “social king” for the day and they would be responsible for running all of the social accounts for the day. This included posting the new daily blog posts across the social profiles, interacting with their followers, and handling any customer support inquiries that came over via social media. They were starting out on a shoestring budget but got creative and made it work.

    Launch a Blog & Keep it Updated With Fresh Content

    Every startup should have a blog on their website and it should be updated on a regular basis. A simple way to get good content for the blog is to source it from within the organization. In the beginning have one employee manage the blog and delegate writing assignments throughout the company.

    Employees of a new startup should have no objection to contributing a weekly blog post, as it will help with the growth and success of the startup.

    Assigning blog topics that are based around keywords that the startup is going to target for SEO is a great way to help get some quality content posted that can benefit the search engine optimization effort.

    Guest Blogging is NOT Dead When Done Correctly

    Look for industry blogs that have potential to get provide the startup with exposure and traffic and then pitch them guest posts. Again, this can be spread out through the startup at first. Have a contest that rewards the employee who obtains the most guest posts and reward the employee that creates the guest post that drives the most traffic back to the startups website. This kind of internal competition can produce great results while building work place camaraderie, something that is very important for a new startup.

    When I was speaking with Weston Bergmann of BetaBlox we also discussed guest blogging and he had this to add:

    “Recently I’ve heard a lot of people say that guest blogging is dead. Well it’s not. What’s dead is spammy and manipulative link building techniques. What’s more important than ever is high-quality guest blogging and thought leadership. If you’re sharing high quality and exclusive content you’ll be rewarded, not punished. Also, guest blogging shouldn’t be a one-and-done thing; aim to write for the same publication multiple times.”

    Once a startup experiences some growth it is then possible to hire an agency to handle the search engine optimization. In the meantime, the tips above can be used to kick start a SEO effort with a limited or even non-existent marketing budget.

    Want more free online marketing tips? Sign up for the Market Domination Media newsletter and receive online marketing tips delivered to your email every week. Visit here and enter your name and email to be added to the newsletter list.

  • Net Neutrality Fans Aren't Going To Like This Report
    NEW YORK — When news broke in February that streaming giant Netflix would pay Comcast for direct access to the cable company’s broadband network, some experts said it marked the beginning of the end of net neutrality.

    Yet a new report says that such deals are far more widespread than many realized at the time.

    Many large tech companies — including Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook — have quietly brokered deals with Internet providers to ensure their content is not slowed as it travels through their networks, according to a blog post published Wednesday by telecom analyst Dan Rayburn.

    It’s unclear whether these deals were brokered before or after a federal court in January struck down rules that maintained net neutrality, which is the principle that all Internet traffic should be equally accessible to consumers. But Rayburn, an analyst at the research firm Frost & Sullivan, said such arrangements between web companies and Internet providers are nothing new.

    “There are a lot of these deals in the market and have been for many, many years,” he wrote on his blog.

    Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and Facebook did not return requests for comment.

    Netflix, for example, accounts for roughly 30 percent of all web traffic. Because data-heavy videos can create traffic jams on broadband networks, the company is paying Comcast to ensure its videos are streamed to customers more smoothly.

    Such deals pertain to how Internet traffic flows between your Internet provider and third-party middlemen who operate the backbone of the web.

    Those deals are technically beyond the scope of the Federal Communications Commission’s recent proposal to allow Internet providers to charge web companies more to deliver their content via a “fast lane.” The FCC’s proposed fast lanes only relate to the so-called last mile of online traffic that flows directly to customers’ homes.

    On Tuesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told a congressional panel that the FCC would start looking more closely at the type of deals that Rayburn highlighted.

    In his blog post, Rayburn said the deals are fair. If companies like Netflix didn’t pay extra to ensure their content was delivered smoothly, Internet providers would be forced to raise prices on customers by passing on the extra cost of handling the increased traffic from all of Netflix’s streaming videos.

    This chart from Rayburn’s blog indicates deals between tech companies and Internet providers:

    isp chart

  • Hackers claim to have broken iCloud, iOS Activation Lock
    Two hackers from the Netherlands and Morocco claim to have found a critical vulnerability allowing them to break iCloud and the Activation Lock feature on iOS devices. The project is said to have taken five months, during which time they analyzed the data flowing between iPhones and iCloud. By spoofing iPhones into thinking they’re connecting to Apple servers when they’re really connected to a separate computer, the hackers say they can trick a device into undoing Activation Lock.

  • Facebook Can Now Listen To Everything You Listen To
    Facebook has unveiled a new feature that lets people share what they’re watching or listening to without having to type or speak a single word.

    On Wednesday, May 21, the site announced a new opt-in audio recognition system that will be incorporated into its mobile app in the coming weeks. The function uses a person’s smartphone microphone to listen for what songs, TV shows or movies the user is currently hearing. The feature will listen for familiar audio — kind of like Shazam — and then give users the option to share what it finds as a status update.

    The new feature is an extension of the site’s “feelings and activities” function. If you’ve turned on the feature, a small icon will appear on the screen when you tap to write a update. You can then opt to share or ignore what the feature picks up.

    (Story continues below)

    If you choose to share your music activity, for example, friends will see a 30-second preview of the song with a link to Rdio, Spotify or Deezer, Engadget specifies. For TV shows, the audio recognition system will be able to note the episode and the season of show you’re watching so that friends (hopefully) don’t share any spoilers.

    As The Verge notes, it’s unclear at this time if Facebook’s version of an audio recognition function will surpass Shazam’s ability to recognize songs through background noise.

    Facebook says it will be rolling out the feature — to both Android and iOS devises in the United States — in the coming weeks.

  • James Comey Warns Cyber Crime Is Posing An 'Enormous Challenge'
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Law enforcement faces an “enormous challenge” in preventing state-sponsored cyber crimes, FBI Director James Comey said Wednesday, days after the Justice Department charged five Chinese military officials with hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.

    “There are two kinds of big companies in the United States: those who’ve been hacked by the Chinese and those who don’t yet know that they’ve been hacked by the Chinese,” Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Justice Department on Monday announced a 31-count indictment against Chinese hackers accused of penetrating computer networks of big-name steel companies and makers of solar and nuclear technology to gain a competitive advantage. China denies the allegations.

    Comey said the increased focus on cybersecurity has heightened his agency’s demand for new, tech-savvy experts.

    Describing efforts to beef up the FBI workforce on the cyber front, Comey was quoted this week as saying “some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview.”

    Questioned about the remark Wednesday, he said he has no intention of changing current policy that disqualifies applicants if they’ve used marijuana in the last three years.

    “I am determined not to lose my sense of humor, but unfortunately there, I was trying to be both serious and funny,” Comey said.

    He said someone told him of a “great candidate” for the FBI who had smoked marijuana within the last five years. Comey said the person should nonetheless apply.

    Comey said the FBI was grappling with how to balance its desire to recruit a strong workforce with changing attitudes on marijuana use by states and young adults.

    “I am absolutely dead-set against using marijuana. I don’t want young people to use marijuana,” he said. “It’s against the law. We have a three-year ban on marijuana. I did not say that I am going to change that ban.”

  • Ro Khanna Campaign Files Ethics Charge Against Rep. Mike Honda
    Democrat Ro Khanna, a former Commerce Department official under President Barack Obama who’s looking to unseat incumbent Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), filed a charge with the Office of Congressional Ethics on Tuesday regarding mass mailings from Honda’s office.

    Khanna’s campaign is accusing Honda’s congressional office of sending two taxpayer-funded mailers to constituents that “mirror” campaign mailers and use “campaign and political slogans.”

    The first mailer from Honda’s congressional office is designed similarly to a campaign flier and is headlined “Delivering For Us.” The mailer lists ways in which Honda’s office has served his Silicon Valley-based district, and the Khanna campaign believes it was received by Honda’s constituents in March.

    The second mailer is on letterhead from Honda’s office and tells constituents that Honda’s reaching out to them about his “work on behalf of our nation’s seniors.”

    “My support for critical programs like Medicare and Social Security has been unwavering, and I have always taken the lead to protect, improve, and expand our nation’s safety net,” the mailer states in the first paragraph.

    Khanna’s campaign believes that letter, which was sent in April, was received by over 500 constituents in Honda’s district.

    Khanna’s campaign takes issue with more than just the content of the two mailers in question. They claim the mailers violated a 90-day cutoff that restricts mass mailings to over 500 constituents from candidates on an election ballot. The primary between Khanna and Honda is set to take place June 3.

    This charge is only likely to intensify an already heated Democratic primary in the heart of America’s tech industry.

    Khanna, who’s found allies in Silicon Valley’s business community, has received high-profile endorsements from tech titans like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer. Honda, on the other hand, has garnered most of his support from members of the California Democratic establishment, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

    It should be noted that just because a charge is filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, it doesn’t mean the office will automatically investigate the matter. It could very well decide to not do so if it doesn’t find merit in the accusation.

    Vivek Kembaiyan, communications director for the Honda campaign, told the Huffington Post that all taxpayer-funded congressional mailers, sometimes referred to as “franked mail,” is “approved by the bipartisan Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards, including this piece by the Office of Congressman Honda. This complaint by the Ro Khanna campaign about standard mailings is a desperate and unoriginal political ploy to distract from their inability to gain traction with voters two weeks before the primary, despite spending millions of dollars.”

    UPDATE — 5:49 p.m.: Khanna’s campaign manager Leah Cowan sent the following statement to HuffPost:

    With Congressman Honda’s massive amount of donations from PAC’s and lobbyists, it shouldn’t be necessary for hardworking families to foot the bill for such blatantly political mailers. This misuse of taxpayer dollars to subsidize his campaign is an abuse of the public trust and he should reimburse the taxpayers immediately.

    Further, the Honda campaign’s quick and defensive response causes more concern about the existence of coordination between his campaign and Congressional office, which would be illegal. We await a explanation from Congressman Honda’s official office because they should be the only one’s who know why the mailers were sent out in the first place.

  • Brands: Don't Pay to Be Disliked

    Over the last few weeks, we heard that Facebook organic reach is approaching zero while their paid ad business is booming. On April 23, Facebookreported revenue of $2.5 billion for the first quarter of 2014, up 72% over the previous year. Advertising accounted for $2.27 billion of Q1 revenue. Now, it seems that Instagram and Pinterest want a piece of the paid advertising pie, and they’re not afraid to charge a lot per slice.

    However, social networks like Instagram and Pinterest will not succeed by trying to replicate the broadcasting advertising model. Broadcasting does not work in the Social Era, as numerous studies have shown. In fact, online social media ads are even more ignored than TV ads, according to Harris Interactive.

    So, are Instagram and Pinterest fixed on helping brands become just as ignored on social media as they are on TV? Clearly not, but they are looking for ways to monetize their audience, and with organic reach on social media dropping to zero, many brands will feel compelled to pay. There is, however, another way they can still reach consumers on these social networks.

    Social Networks Now Demand Millions Monthly

    According to Ad Age, Pinterest wants between $1 million and $2 million monthly from prospective advertisers, and aims to price CPMs between $30 and $40. Ad Age also said that Instagram wants to charge somewhere between $500,000 and $1,000,000 for monthly buys, but the ultimate CPMs will be based on targeting, frequency and reach. Instagram recently scored an early win — a year-long, upfront deal with Omnicom for around $100 million — so the move to advertising on more social networks has begun.

    While these fees might sound like big money, the actual spending pales in comparison to TV ads. While digital ads account for 4.5% global spend, according to Nielsen, television still accounts for 57.6%. For some more perspective, in fall 2013, a 30 second ad during “The Big Bang Theory” cost$326,260 — as in six figures per 30 second slot. Each placement during NBC’s “The Voice” cost $264,575. In other words, you could spend more than $1 million in a single night by running four TV ads.

    While you will need to commit similar dollars to advertise on Pinterest and Instagram, that fee is spread out over a month, rather than a single night. However, brand marketers who have already spent millions building their fan and follower base are now being told that they need to pay additional millions to reach the base they built. The marketers who promised their companies big reach at a big discount now look forward to an uncomfortable internal conversation about where paid advertising money will come from.

    So, Instagram and Pinterest aren’t asking for much relative to primetime TV, but they are asking a lot when brands are used to paying nothing.

    Consumers Will Ignore the Million Dollar Ads — On Any Network

    People love TiVo and DVRs because they can skip through commercials (and never miss an episode of “The Big Bang Theory”). In fact, YouGov found in 2010 that 86% of people always fast-forwarded through advertisements while watching time-shifted shows. People pay up for Pandora One for the ad-free listening. The Daily Show and Colbert Report fans are now furious that they have to watch three or four online ads in a row just to find out what’s going on the world.

    In a world overflowing with content, people do not need to endure forced advertising. They can pay for premium ad-free content services (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.), or they can simply get their content somewhere else. If you can turn The Daily Show into a 20 minute ordeal instead of a 30 minute one by using your DVR and skipping the ads, many people feel it’s worth watching a half hour after the original broadcast.

    If people will pay one brand to avoid watching another brand’s commercials, why are Instagram and Pinterest so eager to irritate their users? Because some brands will pay huge amounts to reach their audience, and the social networks will get the revenue they need to fuel their growth.

    What’s Old is New (Again)

    Einstein said the definition of “insanity” is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” By replicating the TV model of broadcasting — specifically, when social networks charge brands to include advertising in people’s feeds — Instagram and Pinterest are forcing consumers to get better at ignoring advertising. This approach will damage user experiences that thrive on user-generated content, all for the sake of growing advertising revenues.

    From the consumer’s point of view, forced ad exposure faces an additional weakness. Consumers do not want to be broadcasted to — they want to be “engaged” on their own terms. And now that consumers increasingly have the ability to block ads or fast forward, they also have the power to demand ad-free entertainment.

    Engagement is not measured in eye balls — it’s measured in action. Engagement occurs when people willingly comment about Instagram and Pinterest photos, share them with friends and post their own images of experiences, places and products that they love. In the Social Era, people are not passive robots in the marketing experience. You must engage with them, not broadcast at them.

    What to Do About Social Media Advertising

    Social media advertising is growing rapidly, but don’t think that’s the only way to get into the consumers’ social media feeds. When you generate genuinely good content that engages with your audiences, you can get into social media streams regularly and reach millions of consumers.

    So how do you get good articles, videos, images and graphics that make your audience feel engaged? You go to the best source — your customers, employees and partners (i.e. your advocates) that already love the products you make and the experiences they create. They are already having conversation around the experiences they love, and your goal as a brand marketer is to make it simple and easy for them to do more of what they already love to do: share their experiences.

    The good news is you have hundreds and thousands of employees and thousands and millions of customers that you can tap into to create and share content on your behalf. You just have to engage them rather than broadcast at them.

    Inevitably, all successful social networks will introduce pay-to-reach to monetize their audiences. However, when the ability to engage advocates is already within your grasp, you don’t have to broadcast at prospective customers.

    Some brands will pay millions for ads baked up by an agency. Others will turn to their advocates as a source of original content. People know the difference between empty advertising promises and posts from friends who are genuinely excited about a product or experience.

    Don’t think they don’t, and don’t feel like you have to pay to be disliked. As marketers, you have other options for getting into social feeds. Social networks are certainly exploring their options, so why shouldn’t you explore yours?

  • Here's How The Way We Read Newspapers Has Changed
    How much has the media landscape really changed in the last 10 years?

    A recent infographic from the Newspaper Association of America will show you exactly that. But we’ll give you a little hint: it’s a lot.

    Newspapers have had to evolve pretty drastically in order to remain top players in the digital age against online outlets like Upworthy and BuzzFeed. As the NAA pointed out, An average of 43 million adults accessed newspaper content on their smart phones and tablets each month during 2013 and online newspaper content brought in more than 145 million unique visitors in January 2014 alone.

    As the infographic below shows, it was only in 2007 that news outlets began to embrace Twitter. Now, 77 percent of American adults access news stories online via links on social media.

    Take a look:

    newspaper evolution

Mobile Technology News, May 21, 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.

  • FIFA 14 for iOS Gains World Cup Matches

    With the World Cup only weeks away, EA Sports has updated the FIFA 14 for iOS app to give you official World Cup matches and all of the national teams with their official kits. In this FIFA 14 update you will have access to World Cup matches through the Match of the Week where you […]

    The post FIFA 14 for iOS Gains World Cup Matches appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Lenovo full year profit jumps 29%
    The world’s biggest personal computer maker posts a 29% jump in full year net profit while at the same time extending its position as market leader in the PC industry.
  • Netflix to expand across Europe
    Netflix announces plans to extend its TV and movie streaming service to Germany, France and four other European countries.
  • Apple Updates iWork Apps for iCloud

    Apple has quietly released an update to their iCloud versions of the iWork apps.  The updates bring improved functionality to the three apps but also a much larger file upload allowance and improved collaboration. When you open any of the iCloud versions of the iWork apps you will be greeted with a flash screen this […]

    The post Apple Updates iWork Apps for iCloud appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • VIDEO: World's first artificial surfing lake
    Britain’s first artificial surfing lake is due to open in Snowdonia next year.
  • Can you keep a Secret?
    Whispers, secrets and the return of web anonymity
  • World's first gaming mag may close
    Computer and Video Games, which in 1981 was the world’s first magazine dedicated to gaming, is facing closure.
  • Why it pays to complain via Twitter
    Why it pays to complain via Twitter
  • Firefighter Posts Selfie After Battling Blaze, Gets Thousands Of Grateful Messages On Viral Pic
    It’s midday. Smoke drifts around you and your exhausted fellow firefighters. You snap a quick picture of yourself to let your wife and three kids know you’re OK.

    More than four days and 35,000 “likes” later, that unassuming photo has become a sounding board for people eager to say “thank you” to the firefighters battling multiple blazes in Southern California.

    The photo, reposted from the original firefighter, identified by ABC News as Tim Bergon, now overflows with more than 1,000 comments — all full of gratitude and messages of support.

    Thank you to each and every one of you brave souls putting YOUR lives on the line to fight for people/property that you’ll never know – YOU are AMAZING!” reads one message.

    Adds another, “Thank you from Colorado – folks like you have saved our homes and families more times than we can count. God bless and kick butt!”

    We were kind of shocked at how people responded honestly but I guess it just really shows you how much that meant to everybody because of what they did,” Monica Calles, the owner of the brewery that reposted the photo, told CBS8 in a segment on the now viral selfie. “I think the word everybody was thinking is, ‘thank you, thank you’, you can’t really say thank you enough.”

    If only all selfies could be this awesome.

    Thanks to the tireless efforts of many firefighters, the Cocos Fire, where this selfie was taken, was 91 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.

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  • How Twitter Is Trying To Close The Gap Between The Haves And Have-Nots
    Twitter is pouring more than $1 million into a family-friendly space that will teach tech skills to homeless and low-income families.

    The microblogging site recently announced the partnership with Compass Family Services, a 100-year-old San Francisco-based group that provides services to 3,500 homeless families and families that are on the brink of homelessness, SF Gate reported.

    The Twitter Neighborhood Nest, which is slated to open in June 2015, will serve as a safe, welcoming tech hub where parents will get access to job-search support, skills training and networking opportunities. Children will also learn age-appropriate computer and tech skills, according to a press release.

    To meet the needs of these struggling families today, we must address the impact of the digital divide,” Erica Kisch, executive director, said in a statement. “This initiative with Twitter will go a long way toward doing just that.”

    Twitter is currently searching for a location that is both close to its Mid Market campus and to Compass’ clients. It has already donated 81 used computers and Twitter employees will volunteer at the center, according to SF Gate.

    Some see Twitter’s generous donation as a peace offering during a period when emotions have been running high among the haves and have-nots.

    The “second tech boom” has driven up housing costs in San Francisco, and forced out low-income residents from areas that weren’t particularly desirable in the past, including the area surrounding the Tenderloin, Al Jazeera reported in February. And advocates say that there’s been a concerted effort to literally drive out the local homeless people.

    The city’s Department of Public Works employees have been caught on camera kicking homeless people and spraying them with hoses while cleaning the streets in the early morning hours, the news outlet reported.

    San Francisco’s homeless population has seen a slight decline recently.

    There were 6,436 people sleeping on the streets on a single night in January last year, the last time San Francisco conducted its biennial homeless count. That’s down from 6,455 in 2011, according to a City and County San Francisco press release.

    Compass remains grateful for the opportunity that Twitter has offered, and says that it will play a critical role in getting their clients back on their feet.

    But the microblogging platform has made it clear that the program will be teaching basic tech skills, and won’t be educating Compass clients in the ways of coding, for example.

    Patrick McConlogue, a 23-year-old software engineer, made waves last summer when he wrote a blog post for Medium about how teaching homeless people how to code could put an end to homelessness.

    He gave a homeless New York City man, named Leo, the option to take $100 cash or a cheap laptop and three Javascript books to learn to code. Leo chose the latter.

    I can go through $100 in a few days. In a week,” Leo told Business Insider. “But he told me I could have a laptop and learn how to do something and I figured it could turn into something more. It’s not like I don’t have the time to learn to do it.”

    Within four weeks, the pair had worked together to start building an app.

    Twitter’s program, however, will focus on giving Compass’ clients a broad range of skills that can be applied to numerous areas of their lives.

    “It’s about providing a skill set to a population that would find such a skill set valuable to many aspects of their lives,” Colin Crowell, Twitter’s vice president of global public policy, told SF Gate.

    h/t Nation Swell

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  • First Camelopardalid Meteor Shower To Debut May 23 (LIVESTREAM VIDEO)
    Skywatchers may be in for an unexpected delight this week.

    On May 23 and 24, the Earth will pass through a stream of debris left behind by a comet called Comet 209P/LINEAR nearly 200 years ago. The event will likely deliver a brilliant display, which will be the first of its kind. Astronomers have preemptively dubbed it the Camelopardalid meteor shower.

    For the first time, the Camelopardalids will radiate a faint constellation in the northern hemisphere called Camelopardalis. Estimates put the shower’s peak in the overnight hours between Friday and Saturday. For observers in the Eastern Time Zone, the prime time to see the shooting stars will be from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. EDT on May 24.

    The possibly new meteor shower could beat out the Perseids for the title of best celestial spectacle of the year. (The annual Perseid meteor shower is widely regarded as one of the brightest displays of shooting stars.) However, since this will be the inaugural Camelopardalid meteor shower, the rate of meteors per hour is difficult to predict.

    “Some forecasters have predicted more than 200 meteors per hour,” Dr. Bill Cooke, head of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office, said in a written statement. But, he added, “[w]e have no idea what the comet was doing in the 1800s.”

    Because of that, the Camelopardalids could either produce a “meteor storm” or make for a disappointing display.

    Either way, scientists expect there will be something to see when the Earth passes through the comet’s debris.

    “Over the past 15 or 20 years, astronomers have done a very good job at figuring out, ‘OK, here’s where the debris streams will lie,'” Rich Talcott, senior editor of Astronomy magazine, told The News-Press. “I’m thinking the odds are pretty good we’ll get something nice May 24.”

    If you can’t go outside to see the meteor shower, the Slooh space camera has got you covered with a live broadcast. Watch the celestial show, starting on Friday at 11 p.m. EDT, in the video above.

  • Next Generation High Tech Fashion
    What do you get when you combine sensors, LEDs, chips and tremendous new design talent? You get a cornucopia of new fashion based on wearable technology. Some of these are one-offs designed for the runway; others are for sale today. All of them signify the new direction in high tech fashion.

    The world of wearable fashion will be on display at the FashionWare exhibition during the Augmented World Expo on Wednesday May 28, 2014 and Thursday May 29, 2014 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. See high tech meet high fashion at Living in Digital Times’ FashionWare show on the evening of May 28, 2014.

    Also, the best, most sophisticated designs in the high tech/ high style industry will be showcased at CE Week in New York City on June 25-26 at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Then, see the latest and greatest in the world of Wearable Technology during the FashionWare live runway show on Wednesday, June 25.

    Robin Raskin is founder of Living in Digital Times (LIDT), a team of technophiles who bring together top experts and the latest innovations that intersect lifestyle and technology. LIDT produces conferences and expos at CES and throughout the year focusing on how technology enhances every aspect of our lives through the eyes of today’s digital consumer.

  • VIDEO: Testing Microsoft's Surface Pro 3
    The BBC’s Michelle Fleury tries out some of the Surface Pro 3 tablet’s features and asks Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella about his hardware strategy.
  • Ukraine's Military Is Raising Money Through Text Donations And It's Going To Need Them
    Ukraine’s government came up with a novel campaign to solicit donations from the general public, and it appears to be paying off.

    The country’s beleaguered military force organized a public donations campaign, including a text donation service in March, one day before Crimea voted to secede from Ukraine. Within the first few days the security forces received around $1 million in support, according to the BBC. On Tuesday, the trouble-stricken country’s defense ministry said that the public fundraising campaign has raised 124.7 million Ukrainian hryvnia (about $10 million) in donations from businesses and individuals, including 29.2 million hryvnia ($2.5 million) through text messages donating 5 hryvnyas (40 cents) each.

    While the donations are just a fraction of Ukraine’s 2013 defense budget of $5 billion, they are being welcomed as a rare piece of good news for the beleaguered force, the Associated Press reported.

    “We’ll use the money to buy the things we lack, like bulletproof helmets and medical supplies,” Bogdan Buta, Ukraine’s deputy defense minister told the news agency.

    And it appears every donation counts, as Ukraine’s military is facing the test of its lifetime.

    As the New Republic explains, since Ukrainian independence in 1991 the military has not been able to update its Soviet-era structure, which is unfit for the formidable challenges facing the country today: a separatist insurgency, Russia’s annexation Crimea and Russian troops massed at the border. Military reform has been hampered by Ukraine’s spiraling debts under ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, as well as rampant corruption, according to the Washington Post.

    By contrast, RFE/RL notes that Russia has an annual defense budget of $78 billion, four times as many troops and six times as many combat aircraft. This imbalance tipped even further when Russia took control of Crimea, a key Ukrainian naval hub. The Associated Press reports that Ukraine’s fleet was reduced from 75 to 28 ships, noting that Russia even returned some vessels it said were too decrepit to use.

    While Russia said this week it was pulling forces from the Ukrainian border, it was unclear how much respite this would give to Ukraine’s depleted forces, who are still battling separatist rebels in the east.

  • FBI Director 'Grappling With The Question' Of How To Fix Hiring Policies Concerning Pot
    James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said Monday the agency is “grappling with the question” of how to amend its hiring policies that exclude anyone who has smoked pot in the previous three years from being considered for a job.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, Comey made the comments while discussing the agencies’ growing battle against cyber criminals.

    “I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey said.

    The Wall Street Journal reports:

    Congress has authorized the FBI to add 2,000 personnel to its rolls this year, and many of those new recruits will be assigned to tackle cyber crimes, a growing priority for the agency. And that’s a problem, Mr. Comey told the White Collar Crime Institute, an annual conference held at the New York City Bar Association in Manhattan. A lot of the nation’s top computer programmers and hacking gurus are also fond of marijuana.

    Mr. Comey said that the agency was “grappling with the question right now” of how to amend the agency’s marijuana policies, which excludes from consideration anyone who has smoked marijuana in the previous three years, according to the FBI’s Web site. One conference goer asked Mr. Comey about a friend who had shied away from applying because of the policy. “He should go ahead and apply,” despite the marijuana use, Mr. Comey said.

    Comey’s remarks on cyber crime came just after Justice Department officials announced the indictment of five members of the Chinese military on federal hacking charges. FBI officials also warned against malicious software called BlackShades on Monday, saying more than a half-million computers in over 100 countries were infected by sophisticated malware that lets cybercriminals remotely hijack a computer and its webcam.

    Read more on Comey at the Wall Street Journal.

  • FCC Chair Offers Glimmer Of Hope For Net Neutrality Fans
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler walked a fine line Tuesday defending his controversial proposal to set up Internet “fast lanes,” saying his agency could block such deals if they slowed down other traffic.

    In an appearance before a Congressional committee, Wheeler acknowledged that a speedier Web highway for some would automatically mean other content was slower by comparison. But he said the FCC could swiftly move to block any arrangement that purposefully slowed down any traffic.

    “That would be commercially unreasonable under our proposal,” Wheeler said.

    Wheeler’s appearance came just days after the commission voted 3 to 2 to move forward with proposed rules that would allow Internet providers to charge Web companies like Netflix for faster access to customers.

    The proposed rules sparked a firestorm of criticism from advocates and tech companies who believe a so-called “two-lane Internet” would violate the popular notion of net neutrality, or the idea that all Web traffic should be treated equally.

    Internet providers aren’t happy about Wheeler’s proposal either because it leaves open the possibility of tighter regulations of their services.

    Wheeler told lawmakers his proposal was necessary because there are currently no rules in place that prevent Internet providers from blocking or slowing certain content. His proposal would prohibit that, he said.

    “When customers buy access to the Internet they are buying access to the full Internet, and that’s what our rules attempt to protect,” Wheeler said.

    Wheeler insisted his proposal would not create a two-tiered Internet with “haves and have nots.”

    “I’ve consistently said there is only one Internet,” Wheeler said, pounding his hand on the table. “There is no ‘fast Internet’ and ‘slow Internet’…There is one Internet.”

    At Tuesday’s hearing, Democrats said they worried Wheeler’s proposal to create an Internet fast lane would put smaller companies that can’t afford to pay for access at a disadvantage.

    “We could inadvertently block the next Google and Amazon from the market without knowing it,” said Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.).

    Matsui called on Wheeler to ban so-called “paid prioritization” — or deals that give Web companies faster access to customers for a fee.

    Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers expressed concerns about part of Wheeler’s proposal that asks whether the FCC should tighten regulations of Internet providers by reclassifying high-speed broadband as a utility.

    “This policy would be an extreme example of government overreach,” Rep. Bob Latta, a Republic from Ohio, said.

    Wheeler largely avoided giving his opinion on questions like whether to increase oversight of Internet providers, saying his proposal asks the public to decide. “That’s exactly the kind of question that we’re asking,” he said.

    Wheeler’s proposal is now subject to a four-month period of public comment.

  • Snorkeling Just Got A Major Makeover Thanks To The Tribord Easybreath
    There’s a beautiful world just waiting to be discovered under the sea. There’s just one problem: It’s under the sea.

    In lieu of the invention of human gills, Tribord, a water sports company based in France, has designed the Easybreath mask, which claims to make it as easy for people to see and breathe underwater as they would on land. And it might just be the coolest development in snorkel tech since the dolphin jet pack.

    Judging by the focus group in Tribord’s video, it seems the snorkel is the main hurdle in traditional snorkeling. “We naturally disassociate mouth from nose,” says Olivier, a diving center manager. “In other words, we breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth, so when we put on a mask, we can only breathe through the mouth.” The Easybreath mask allows you to breathe more naturally through your nose and mouth, without fogging up the goggle, while giving you a bonus 180-degree field of vision. They also fitted the pipe above the head with a bright stopper that prohibits water from entering when submerged and is noticeable to other swimmers and boaters.


    The mask’s groundbreaking features were so impressive, it won first place at the 2014 Oxylane Innovation Awards.

    Though undoubtedly cool, objective reviews are still hard to come by. The masks will hit Decathlon stores in Europe by the end of May, but according to its Twitter account, Tribord doesn’t have the capacity yet to ship worldwide.

  • Gear Up Your Kids
    Summer is around the corner, which means the kids will soon be out of school and ready for the next adventure. Trying to keep your kids entertained while still exercising their brains is always a challenge for busy parents. Luckily, I’ve got a few products that can help! Here’s my list of some must-have gadgets for your little ones this summer. From educational apps and entertaining tech to a safety product, these gadgets will be a hit with you and your kids.

    The FiLip

    This genius device is designed specifically to enhance the connection between you and your kids. FiLip is a smartwatch that uses GPS to track the location of your child, as well as allows parents to set a “SafeZone” that will alert them if their kid has left this set radius. With a FiLip app, you can also pre-program five phone numbers that your kid can easily call with the push of a button, keeping you connected with your little one in all situations. Side Note: Pay attention to the battery!

    Polaroid Kids Tablet

    Looking for an all-in-one device that can help your little one learn and laugh at the same time? The Polaroid Kids Tablet has a durable, 7″ display design that comes full of exciting features with kids in mind. Your kid can practice reading with the 10 interactive e-books included, or flex their creative muscles with the various art tools and games. This tablet even comes with a stand for optimal video viewing — what more could a kid (or parent) ask for?

    Cool Coding Apps for Kids


    Hopscotch HD is an app best suited for children around age 10 who can read independently and follow instructions. The program allows kids to “write” code that will control characters in this fun, game-logic educational app. Kids will learn the logic behind coding in a fun and engaging program.

    Tynker Premium

    This colorful and kid-friendly app teaches children skills and ways to program. With high-quality design elements and an intuitive, adventure story-based format, Tynker Premium will take your little one through exciting puzzles as they learn the fundamentals of programming. This app is ideal for children eight years and above.


    Started by the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is an online community and tools for young people to learn, collaborate, and program their own interactive stories, games and animations which they can share with other users. Let your kids dive into this creative outlet where they have endless possibilities for different projects — if they can dream it, they can create it with Scratch!

    Lego Mindstorm

    Last, but definitely not least… a classic kids toy, revamped. These aren’t the LEGOS of your childhood back in the day! The LEGO Mindstorm series features various buildable projects that combine the traditional LEGO building system with advanced technology allowing kids to create their own robots. Following the step-by-step 3D builder guide, your kids can build and program their robots to take commands instructed by remote control. Your kids will love the online LEGO Mindstorm community, where they can share their creations and adventures with other LEGO fanatics.

    Whether it’s engineering, creativity or safety on your mind for your kids this summer, be sure to keep these great gadgets and apps in mind!

  • How to Write Software That Is Ready for the World
    The conventional wisdom in software development has always been that internationalization (i18n) is a very expensive and time-consuming effort, and that it’s always better to target just one language first, adding support for more languages later, when the market demands it. Because of that perception, multilingual support is not often considered during the early days of new software projects, and many products end up being constructed in such a way that makes localizing them more difficult than it should be.

    In fact, writing software that can easily be localized at a later stage isn’t terribly hard, as long as you start with the end in mind. Use the following techniques to greatly minimize the amount of work required when you eventually take your software product global.

    Maintain user-visible strings separately

    By far the most important (and most often ignored) guideline in i18n preparation is to ensure that all user-visible strings are separated from the code that uses them.

    The typical approach used to achieve this separation is to store the product’s textual content in resource files for that platform or language. For example, Java programmers should maintain their displayable strings inside ResourceBundles.

    Text in applications should never be structurally tied to the application’s logic. User-visible strings should always be modifiable without breaking application flow or other functionality.

    Interestingly, this task is becoming less and less important for web applications, thanks to innovations in technology that can automatically extract text content from web-delivered software, send those strings to humans for translation, and even deliver the finished localized content online – all without requiring a single change be made to the original source application. This approach can significantly reduce the effort and time required to take a web application global.

    Expect user-visible strings to grow or shrink

    English phrases may double in size when translated to other languages, and with other target languages they may also shrink by a sizable amount. It is crucial that product code and graphical interface components must not depend on the length of user-visible strings remaining the same.

    This obviously presents a challenge when presenting graphical representations of text to the user, but there are plenty of ways to do that correctly.

    Keep images free of embedded text

    For everything except company or product logos, images that contain text rendered directly within them should be avoided, because it is more difficult to have that text content translated. Instead of having someone quickly translate the contents of a text file, graphic designers would have to be hired to convert the images and put the translated text on them too, one language at a time.

    Plan for different calendar, time, phone and currency systems

    Developers writing code should always remember that other countries:

    Build a checklist into your existing review process that watches for these kinds of issues in code to prevent any “hard wiring” that will limit your software’s eventual global usage.

    Always use established, globally-focused standards when storing data. For example, use E.164 for phone numbers, ISO-8601 for timestamps, ISO 639.2 for languages, ISO 3166 for countries and the Olson database for time zones.

    Avoid ASCII, use Unicode

    In the past, engineers building software for English-only markets felt safe to do tricks in their code that only worked when the encoding in use was always ASCII. For example, the flip of a single bit of an ASCII-encoded alphabetical character switches it between lowercase and uppercase. However, the world’s needs have long since moved beyond what ASCII provides and has now embraced Unicode as the correct way to encode text data and support international characters.

    Even though Unicode is somewhat compatible with ASCII, the best way to avoid string encoding issues is to:

    • never assume that characters are encoded in ASCII
    • never assume that that one byte equals one character
    • always use Unicode-capable types and libraries

    Thankfully, some of the most popular programming languages like Java, C# and Objective-C have native Unicode support in their string types. Using them can make dealing with international characters a trivial effort.

    Even if an application supports Unicode throughout, it will likely store data in a database, and a bad database schema can easily ruin all of the good work done in the code to make it compatible with international character sets. For example, in a SQL Server database, user-visible strings should be stored within nvarchar types, and in MySQL it would be best to use utf8mb4.

    For more information on Unicode, this introductory article from Joel “On Software” Spolsky is a good introduction.

    Don’t assume that text always flows from left to right

    The most common difference in text layout that may be encountered is a right-to-left flow, such as that used in Arabic and Hebrew.

    In a web application, simply changing the CSS direction property across your entire system would weed out most major layout issues that would be encountered with a future translation into a right-to-left language.

    It is also possible to have text flow from top-to-bottom as well, although that’s far less common.

    Keep all user-visible language plain and simple

    When application messages get localized for other markets, the job of the translators will be much easier if the language used is plain and simple.

    Language that is highly technical and reads like technical jargon will not translate well. Prefer common phrases and terms to niche or less frequently used ones.

    Test for basic multilingual support

    Good developers instinctively write automated tests for product features that they build. The addition of a few more tests to a product verification suite that verify that the product supports international characters would be a hugely valuable task, and not much effort to create.

    For example, imagine a web application that allows people to book concert tickets. Let’s assume that a test already exists that verifies that a fake user called “John Doe” can book a seat at a show and verify that his name shows up correctly on the ticket that he receives after paying. Adding a similar test that changes the user’s name to “John-假会河 Doe-沖鈈批” and verifies that those same characters show up on the ticket received after paying would verify that the application supports international characters all the way through the application and the database. This simple technique (sometimes termed “pseudo-internationalization“) allows developers to verify that their applications support the transmission and storage of international strings but without having to do a full professional translation of the product, or without the developers having to be fluent in a foreign language.

    Automated tests can go even further. Tests can be built to verify that right-to-left fields operate correctly, or that international plurals are supported without having to rework the basis of the product’s code.

    Embrace the global opportunity

    Developing software in such a way that it can be ready for a global release is not as difficult as it may seem, or as it once might have been. By following these simple guidelines and doing a little bit of work up front, you can create software products that can later be made available to a much larger market than you might first address, making your product, and its usefulness, have far greater reach as a result.

    This post originally appeared on Brian’s website, morethancoding.com.

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