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Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • Hyperlapse For iPhone Will Revolutionize Wildlife Films
    As a biologist, my first thought after hearing about Hyperlapse – Instagram’s new app for making time-lapse movies – was this: nature videos.
  • Here's How Americans Spend Every Minute Of Their Days
    How many Americans are shopping, watching TV or working at any given moment of the day?

    A new interactive chart, built by e-commerce company Retale using survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, answers that question, depicting what Americans are doing in real time.

    You can also see just how routines shift along age, gender and employment lines.

    Explore the data below:


  • Further Proof 'Game Of Thrones' Is The Most Spectacular Show On TV
    Game of Thrones” may have been snubbed from the major Emmy categories this year, but it did take home one very deserving statue.

    The HBO series won the award for Outstanding Special and Visual Effects, and if you have any doubt over why, this new video will reassure you. From Rodeo FX, this “Game of Thrones” special effects reel shows all the amazing work the company did on the series for Season 4. From revealing how they created Meereen and thousands of Unsullied to the gorgeous shots of Stannis’ army invading Mance Rayder to the baby and the Night’s King. If this doesn’t prove just how visually amazing “Game of Thrones” is, nothing will.

    [h/t EW]

  • Five Essential Travel Tips For Small Business Owners

    If you’re a small business owner, there’s not really the option of closing the office when traveling on business. I know this firsthand. As a speaker and trainer on productivity and attention management, I’m on the road a lot. Here are the tools and strategies I’ve found that keep me calm, comfortable and productive when I’m away from my home base.

    1. Tame e-mail

    E-mail doesn’t stop when you travel, but you can take steps to keep it from using all your energy when you’re on the road. Start by setting your out-of-office message for an extra day before and after your trip, to give yourself a buffer. You’ll find that you’re more likely to be thoughtfully responsive, rather than instinctually reactive, if you know that people will expect your response to be delayed. Turn off push notifications, and decide specific times when you’ll check email (for example, during your afternoon break at a conference). This will allow you to be present at your destination, leveraging your time away. Don’t schedule any meetings or appointments for the day you get back in the office. This will give you an opportunity to catch up and regain control over the backlog. Finally, setting a plan for how you will catch up on email when you return can help ease the compulsion to stay on top of every single message when you’re on the road.

    2. Pack smart

    Overpacking slows you down, but so does forgetting something essential and making a last-minute shopping trip to hunt down your allergy meds or a new pair of dress shoes. I hate packing, so I use an app called Packing Pro to take some of the sting out of the process. You can use Packing Pro to create and store your own customized packing lists. If you’re on the road a lot, keep a toiletry bag packed with all your essentials. This makes for one less packing task.

    Efficiency doesn’t just come down to what you pack; it’s also how you carry it all. One of my absolute favorite travel tools is the EYN Smartphone Case, which keeps my phone, driver’s license, cash and credit cards handy. And, since it has a wrist strap, it also keeps my hands free.

    I have a few other go-tos that make it easier to navigate airports and hotels: The Bag Bungee keeps a laptop or other smaller items secure on top of your wheeled suitcase. A carabiner or S hook enables you to keep your hands free and clip just about anything (a carry-out bag with your lunch, a travel pillow, another bag, your iPhone holder, etc.) to your suitcase or other bag.

    3. Energize your devices

    The high-tech tools that enable us to do work and stay connected anywhere can be a great thing — as long as we keep them all charged up. For those times when you can’t get to an outlet, a backup power source is a lifesaver. A USB battery pack can keep you powered and productive when outlets are scarce or non-existent. They’re so inexpensive now, no one who is frequently away from a power supply should be without one. A travel power strip can also come in handy.

    4. Energize yourself

    These days, it’s hard to keep working when you drain the batteries of your phones, tablets or laptops, and you can’t neglect your own batteries, either. If you have trouble sleeping away from your own bed, give yourself a little help. Noise-canceling headphones or earplugs can make it easier to nod off, especially when combined with an app that plays some white noise that is soothing to you, like crickets or ocean waves. And don’t forget to request a quiet room when you make hotel reservations.

    Unfortunately, a lot of the food that’s most convenient when we travel, from the sugary pastries in the meeting room to the greasy pizza at the airport, aren’t the best fuel for taking care of business. Use an app like Yelp to scout out healthier food options near you, or try GateGuru to find better fare at the airport. Staying hydrated also helps keep you at your best. I always travel with a stainless steel water bottle (and a holder) that’s easy to fill at the airport. Don’t rely on the stingy cup you might be given on board — if the flight is bumpy, the attendants may have to stay seated. Also, save the alcoholic beverages for the ground. The humidity on planes is already extremely low, and alcoholic beverages dehydrate you, exacerbate jet lag and cause other irritations like dry throat and eyes. Physical discomfort impede your productivity at your destination, minimizing whatever benefits you were expecting from the trip (closing the deal with the prospect, providing great service to the client or absorbing all of the wisdom and networking at the conference.)

    And sometimes just the right little luxury gives you a boost. I mix essential oils like lavender (to relax) and peppermint (to energize) with distilled water in travel-sized spritzer bottles.

    5. Be tech-smart

    While part of my job is helping people avoid all the ways our devices zap our productivity (like constant email and social media alerts), I’m all about the ways they can actually help us be more productive and efficient, including when we travel. The TripIt app is my travel essential. Forward your email confirmations from airlines, hotels and rental car companies to TripIt and it will organize all the information into one easily viewable window. The pro version will also keep an eye on your flight status. Then there’s Expensify, the fastest and easiest way to keep track of expenses related to a specific client trip. Need to track your mileage? MileBug creates reports for you with the push of a button.

    Sometimes, though, the most efficient thing you can do when you’re traveling is to put down your phone or tablet. Instead of automatically reaching for a device when you’re in line or waiting for your flight, just let your mind wander. Your brain uses downtime like that to reach insights and epiphanies. Maybe you’ll have a breakthrough that transforms your business. What smarter use of your time could there be?

  • The First Email System — History of Email (Part 3)
    This is the third post in The History of Email series.

    What we know today as “email” is a really a system — a system of interlocking parts, each of which is essential for ordinary people to communicate effectively with one or many others, in an environment where different kinds of information must be shared (memos, documents, files, etc.) i.e. the modern office environment.

    In 1978, I was a colleague of Shiva Ayyadurai’s at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), located in Newark, NJ. Shiva and I worked together in the modern office environment of the 1970s, where information sharing, primarily through the printed-paper medium, was the modus operandi.

    Much of my effort at the time was dedicated to managing database software systems. Though Shiva was nearly 20 years younger than me, neither I nor the other Lab members thought of Shiva as a kid or a student. His professionalism, programming capabilities, attention to detail, and commitment to producing software that was user-friendly and reliable, was extraordinary.

    His supervisor Dr. Leslie P. Michelson challenged Shiva to create an electronic system that would emulate the interoffice mail system, then in use at UMDNJ. My interaction was one of being a sounding board for Shiva, time-to-time, on database functions and operating systems issues such as memory management. I recall, in particular, Shiva’s incredible persistence to face a technical problem head on, and to solve it.

    As a former colleague of Shiva’s, I hope my writing this post, as a part of the Huffington Post’s History of Email Series, provides details on the first email system created at UMDNJ in 1978.

    The Interoffice Mail System

    Many people over the age of 40, myself included, will remember the interoffice paper mail system, which was the basis of how offices around the world operated, from the level of secretaries to CEOs. The interoffice mail system had the following interlocked parts (as detailed in Table 1 below), which are the now-familiar components of email: Inbox, the Memo (“To:,” “From:,” “Date:,” “Subject:,” “Body:,” “Cc:,” “Bcc:”), Forwarding, Composing, Drafts, Edit, Reply, Delete, Priorities, Outbox, Folders, Archive, Attachments, Return Receipt, Carbon Copies (including Blind Carbon Copies), Sorting, Address Book, Groups, Bulk Distribution.

    The interoffice mail system was not only used across offices but also inter-departmentally and inter-organizationally, some referring to it also as the inter-departmental or inter-organizational mail system, respectively. In this article, we consistently refer to the mail system as the interoffice mail system.

    The interoffice mail system at UMDNJ was complicated, consisting of many components. In Table 1, below, is a detailed listing of the parts of the interoffice paper mail system, in use at UMDNJ in 1978, along with their detailed descriptions. If you took away any one component or part, such as the ability to attach other materials (Attachments) or the use of Folders or the ability to send Carbon Copies, your ability to function and communicate with co-workers was greatly impaired in the office environment. This is why it was a “system,” because you needed all the components to work together.

    TABLE 1
    The Parts and Detailed Description of the Interoffice Mail System at UMDNJ (1978).
    This was the physical Inbox where a secretary received incoming documents. It was usually made of wood, metal or plastic. A courier or “office boy” or “mailroom clerk” would deliver postal mail or interoffice memos into this Inbox. Deliveries into the Inbox were done at least twice per day. Sometimes, urgent messages were delivered on an ad hoc basis into the Inbox.
    This was a physical box made of metal, wood, or plastic, where outgoing postal mail or interoffice memos, which were composed, edited, an placed in an envelope, and addressed to the recipient, were made available for pickup and delivery to its recipients. A courier or “office boy” or “mailroom clerk” would come and pick up the items from the Outbox regularly, at least twice per day.
    This was a physical box made of metal, wood, or plastic to hold drafts of memos or letters, which were in the midst of being reviewed and edited. Typically, a secretary would write the memo and put in the Drafts box for review. A superior would then pickup, review and provide “red-line” feedback on the memo or letter, and place back into Drafts box. The secretary would retrieve the edited document, make changes, and place the edited document back in the Drafts box. After the superior gave instructions, the memo or document would be deemed as completed; the secretary would then place the memo in an envelope, and place it in the Outbox for pick up.
    The interoffice envelope was typically a bit larger than an 8 ½ by 11-inch paper, and was normally gray or yellow in color. The envelope had a red string on the outside so it could be secured for ease of opening and reuse. The outside of the envelope provided columns and rows on which the sender and the recipient could be listed. After a recipient received the envelope, they could recycle the envelope by crossing out the previous sender and recipient and using the blank rows to write the new sender and recipient, name and address.
    This was typically a piece of 8 ½ by 11-inch piece of BOND paper. The top of the Memo had the words “++++++ MEMORANDUM ++++++” written on it and centered. Below, there were the following areas: “To:”, “From:”, “Date:”, “Subject:”, “Body:”, “Cc:”, “Bcc:” (only for view in the sender’s original), and another section with “Encl.:”, if Attachment(s) were included. After the “Subject:”, there was typically a horizontal black line, after which the “Body:” of the memo appeared. Below the “Body:” were the names of people on “Cc:” list, and then the “Encl.:” list, listing the various Attachments.
    Composing a Memo was done by the action of taking a blank piece of white Bond paper and placing it in the Typewriter. Sometimes, if errors were made during time, a white liquid substance in a small bottle jar, colloquially called “whiteout” was used to erase mistakes, and then the typing was done over the whited out area.
    A Typewriter was an instrument that allowed a person to create a Memo. It consisted of mechanical components corresponding to all the alphabets in the English language plus the 10 digits of the number system, as well as a number of other special characters. The Typewriter required paper and ink ribbon to convert strokes on the keyboard into letters on the paper. There were many styles of Typewriters, mechanical and later electrical.
    Memo to an individual meant that the “To:” field had only the name of only one recipient.
    Scanning mail was the process of quickly reading the Envelope in the Inbox, opening he Envelope and quickly reading the top portion of a Memo, such as the “From:”, “Subject:”, lines to get a quick idea whether to read the Memo immediately, to put for later review, or discarding it into the Trash Bucket e.g. junk mail.
    A Trash Bucket was typically next to a secretary’s desk on the floor. The bucket was made of either plastic or metal, and was the location of where trash, such as old papers, garbage were deposited.
    A person receiving and reviewing an incoming Memo in the Inbox could Forward or Re-Distribute the Memo to others. Forwarding literally involved adding a list of other recipients to review the Memo. This Forward list was sometimes just paper-clipped on the received Memo, and as the forwarded recipients read the Memo, they checked off their name on the paper-clipped list, and passed it on to the next recipient, who had not yet read the Memo.
    This was an important feature to ensure receipt of a forwarded Memo by the recipient. Sometimes, an important Memo, say from a Director, would be received by a Manager, and that Manager wanted to ensure that certain employees in his group received the Memo. Forwarding with Return Receipt enabled the Manager to know exactly when and who got the Memo and who did not get the Memo. Prior to someone receiving the Memo in their Inbox, the delivery person would not place the Envelope containing the Memo into their Inbox, until the recipient signed the Return Receipt. The Return Receipts from each employee were sent back to the Manager, and thereby the Manager could know how many actually received the Memo.
    A memo sometimes would be edited after it was composed. Editing could be iterative based on the feedback received. Editing typically involved the use of whiteout or sometimes starting with new blank piece of paper and retyping the original Memo with the corrections. Editing relied on the use of the Drafts box, as this box served as the point of interaction between the secretary and her superior.
    Sometimes instead of writing a new Memo, an individual replied to a Memo received in the Inbox. When they replied to the Memo, they could either simply send the response Memo or attach to the response Memo, the original Memo sent from the sender as an Attachment, for the originating sender’s reference.
    Carbon copies were copies of a Memo created by the secretary, who would typically place dark blue carbon paper between two Bond pieces of white paper and roll them into the typewriter, to create the copies. The Bond paper on top was the original, the paper below, was the “Carbon Copy” or “Cc:”. Sometimes, several Carbons were used, and sometimes if the “Cc:” list was too long, the original would be mimeographed on a mimeograph machine. Then, the original “To:” recipient would get the original, the top copy, and each person on the CC list would get copies. This got more complicated if there were multiple recipients in the “To:” field, or a Group in the “To:” field.
    Blind Carbon Copies enabled a secretary to send a Carbon Copy of a Memo to some people, that others on the “To:” and “Cc:” lists were purposely made to be unaware, or “blind” of, except the secretary who authored the Memo. The “Bcc:” list, in the header of the Memo, was kept by the sender/secretary, only, and others who got Carbon copies, those on the “Cc:” list, did not see i.e. they were “blind” to those receiving the Bcc’s. So only the sender knew who was on the Bcc list.
    If you did not know what the interoffice mail system was, before reading this article, I hope Table 1 was educational and provided you a detailed understanding of this paper-based system. Moreover, you will observe a near 1-to-1 correspondence with the parts of the interoffice mail system, itemized in Table 1, and the email system you are using today.
    Sometimes a Memo would need to be broadcasted, or sent, to multiple recipients, sometimes hundreds, not just one individual. This involved listing names of multiple recipients in the “To:” field. The original Memo was created with the listing of all people’s names in the “To:” field. Then that original Memo was copied using the carbon paper to copy, if the list was small, or the original Memo was simply mimeographed. Then each copy was stuffed in an Envelope and placed in the Outbox.
    In a large organization, within and across facilities, as at UMDNJ, there were different faculty departments: Pharmacology, Surgery, etc., and one may want to send a Memo to a department or Group. A Group involved a listing of many recipients. However, in the “To:” field only the name of the Group would appear. The secretary would then have to look up in the Address Book and print mailing labels for each individual in that Group, and send a copy of the Memo to each recipient; alternatively, sometimes only one copy of the Group Memo was sent to one address, and the recipient, the secretary or administrator of the Group, on the other end, would make copies of the Memo, and distribute it to members of the Group.
    Sometimes a memo would be thrown into the Trask Bucket for disposal.
    The contents of Trask Bucket, by request, would be collected and be destroyed.
    Every office had an Address Book, which listed each person’s first and last names, campus location, Group affiliation (e.g. surgery, pharmacology), room number and phone number. The Address Book was the cornerstone of each office’s contact list.
    Address Books were updated as employees came and left UMDNJ. New people were added, and those who had left were removed. Sometimes a circular was sent out which was an update to the existing Address Book, and one would have to manually insert the changes to the existing Address Book.
    When mail was left in the Inbox, it sometimes was sorted based on some priority, and marked, such as High, Medium or Low by the secretary. And some secretaries had file folders for sorting these three categories of Memos.
    Not all Memos were discarded after they were read. Some Memos were kept for storage, and were often put into an archive file cabinet and organized for long-term record keeping.
    A Group was listed next to someone’s name in the Address Book. At UMDNJ, individuals could belong to different Groups. Groups included Surgery, Pharmacology, ICU, IT. One nuance was that the Group names may be the same, but the Group was distinct based on the campus location. For example, the Pharmacology Group at Newark may have different people, than the Pharmacology Group at Piscataway. Each location had different people in different Groups.
    In the office environment of the medical school and hospital at UMDNJ, this was a very important feature, because certain Memos had to be acknowledged as received. A Memo could be flagged as a “Registered Memo”; this would mean that it was treated differently. The delivery person would put it in a different colored envelope and ensure that the recipient signed a Return Receipt, before it was put into the Inbox. This would assure the sender that the recipient got the Memo.
    This was a formal receipt that a delivery person would make sure got signed by the recipient who had been sent a Registered Memo. This Return Receipt would then have to get sent back to the original sender.
    Sometimes a Memo could not be delivered even after many Retries. In this case, the delivery person would take the Memo back to the sender with a note on it saying “Undeliverable”.
    All mail had to be delivered, or a real effort was made to keep trying to deliver it before being deemed Undeliverable. This meant a policy of “retries” as many as 3 to 5 times, before the attempts were stopped. The number of Retries was a policy decision at UMDNJ.
    All mail had to be securely delivered. This meant that only the designated recipient had to receive it. Typically this was ensured, as the delivery person knew who was who and knew the secretaries. Moreover, Memos were put in an individual sealed envelope with a string closing the envelope or it being taped, so they could not be easily opened during transit.
    A memo could have Attachments or enclosures such as another file folder, another document, a drawing or a photograph, or even a parcel.
    All mail needed to be transported. At UMDNJ, there were many ways of transporting. The main form of transport between offices, in the same building, was through pneumatic tubes, in which the Envelope was placed. Mail among different buildings and campuses was transported by cars or trucks. Alternatively, a delivery person could physically pick up the mail and deliver it from local office to office, on foot.
    Different locations had mail Sorting facilities, where the mail would come in, be sorted by groups, departments, locations, zip code, office numbers, so the delivery was easier.

    If you did not know what the interoffice mail system was, before reading this article, I hope Table 1 was educational and provided you a detailed understanding of this paper-based system. Moreover, you will observe a near 1-to-1 correspondence with the parts of the interoffice mail system, itemized in Table 1, and the email system you are using today.

    Email As We Know It Was Invented at UMDNJ
    In 1978, Shiva conceived and developed an electronic system that replicated all the functions of UMDNJ’s entire interoffice paper mail system, as itemized in Table 1 above.

    He called the system “email,” a name that, based on extensive document review, was first introduced and brought into use as his system spread throughout the UMDNJ campuses. This name was assigned to his program for both convenience and out of necessity since the FORTRAN IV programming language, which “email” was written in, required all variables to be in upper case and the RTE-IV operating system had a five-character limit for program names – thus, Shiva concatenated the letters “E,” “M,” “A,” “I,” “L” to name his program.

    In 1978, those five juxtaposed characters had never been used before in the modern English language. While this term may seem obvious to us today, in 1978, it was not.

    First page of the computer program showing Shiva’s naming the program “email,” thus defining email to be the electronic interoffice mail system.

    Table 2 provides a list of all the features that Shiva implemented into the first email system. As you can see, this system was not a “simple” system for just exchanging text messages. It was a full-scale version of the interoffice mail system in an electronic format.

    This was email.

    TABLE 2

    The Parts of Email, the First Email System as Implemented, in the Computer Program Invented by V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai at UMDNJ (1978)

    Interoffice Mail System Parts in the First Email System


    All Fields of Interoffice Memo



    Subject: (70 chars length)





    Sending Memo to Individual

    Saving Memo as a Draft

    Scanning Mail

    Forwarding (or Redistribution)

    Forwarding with RETURN RECEIPT (or registered memo)

    Composing Memo





    Broadcast Memo

    Sending Memo to Group



    Address Book

    Updating Address Book

    Searching the Address Book

    By Group

    By Username (short name)

    By Last Name

    By Zipnode (node or location)



    Carbon Copies

    Blind Carbon Copies


    Registered Memo

    Return Receipt

    Undeliverable Notification


    Secure Delivery–Using username and password


    Attaching to a memo
    Creating Attachments from scratch

    Saving attachments

    Attachment editor

    Transmission of memo

    Multi-level User Access–User, Manager, Postmaster, System Administrator


    Memo Formatting
    –Functions were included to make sure that a memo on the screen when printed looked somewhat like a typewritten memo.


    Print all mail

    Print selected memos

    Print only the “envelopes,” To, From, Subject, Date

    Formatted printing–memo looked like typewritten one

    Exporting of Mail

    Export a single memo to a file

    Export a set of memos to a file

    Group Management–Postmaster/Administrator Level

    Creating Groups

    Deleting Groups

    Placing User in a Group

    Deleting User from a Group

    Displaying Groups

    Restricting Group Access–which users could not send to certain groups. E.g. Only the Postmaster could send to “ALL.”

    Postmaster & Systems Administrator Functions

    Reports on mail usage by user

    Deleting aged mail

    Shutdown of the entire system

    Startup of the entire system

    Deleting Users

    Adding Users

    Adding a “Zipnod,” new network

    Deleting a Zipnode

    Disabling a User from logging in to the user interface

    Direct starting of mail transmission

    Integrated System Components

    Easy-to-use User Interface


    Integrated Attachment Editor

    Relational Database Engine

    Modular Inter-Process Communication Protocol

    Print Manager for Formatted Printing

    Systems Administrator Console

    Post Master Console

    Email was delivered as one holistic platform, that integrated an easy-to-use interface, and a word processor, all built from scratch by Shiva, as well as a relational database (to support folders, archival, sorting and many other features not possible with flat-file based approaches), with a modular intercommunications protocol.

    In 1978, UMDNJ had three campus locations in New Jersey: Newark, Piscataway and New Brunswick. Shiva and I worked out of the Newark campus. Workers on these campuses began usng email as a public and commercially viable system. At that time, any one who used a computer on the network, had to login. They were billed for hours of usage for the applications the chose to use. Email was one of these applications

    Shiva solely built the entire system, nearly 50,000 lines of code, using a high-level programming language (FORTRAN IV) and HP IMAGE/1000 database system. He was the sole author of this email system, designing and writing all the code. Dr. Leslie P. Michelson’s article “The Invention of Email,” which is also part of this Huffington Post Series, provides additional details from Dr. Michelson’s interactions with Shiva at UMDNJ.

    Unlike the developments on the ARPAnet, email was built to address a systems problem in the ordinary office situation using local area and wide area networks (LANs and WANs), where computers across offices and multiple campuses were connected — independent of the ARPAnet. None of us in the Lab at UMDNJ had any contact with the ARPAnet. The first email system was meant to be a widely shared system of ongoing communication by ordinary workers, not computer scientists who knew code.

    Email was developed with a focus on user-friendliness and high-reliability, and deployed as a commercial product, where nearly 500 office workers accessed, and used it. In 1981, Shiva was awarded a Westinghouse Science Talent Search Honors Award for inventing email.

    V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received Westinghouse Science Talent Search Honors Award for invention of email system.

    Since patenting of software was not available in 1978, Shiva had to wait until 1980, when it became possible to protect software inventions by Copyright. In 1981, he applied for protection of his software, and was awarded two US copyrights in 1982.

    Official US Copyright Notice for “Email” Issued on August 30, 1982, now in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH).

    One Copyright was for “Email,” “Computer Program for Electronic Mail System,” and the other Copyright was for the User’s Manual. He wrote the User’s Manual with the idea that anybody in an office setting could learn and adapt to his system. He had customers to serve!

    Email Is Not Simply An Exchange of Messages

    So email as a system is not simply exchanging messages among computers, even if a person at one end types a message to a human recipient. Sending text messages alone is what today we call Texting, SMS, Chat or Twitter.

    Standard histories of the Internet are full of claims that certain individuals (and teams) in the ARPAnet environment in the 1970s and 1980s “invented email.” For example, the “@” sign, early programs for sending and receiving messages, and technical specifications known as RFCs, have been claimed to be “email.” But as some claimants have admitted, none of these innovations were intended as a system of interlocking parts ­ Inbox, Memo, Outbox, Folders, Address Book, etc. ­ the email system used today by billions of people worldwide.

    The standard histories have used the term “email” – which today is understood to be a system of interdependent features – to apply to other forms of electronic communication. Those developments aimed to solve various problems, but were not intended to substitute for the interoffice paper mail system.

    These claims have been compiled in an article called the “The Five Myths About Email” by Deborah H. Nightingale, an eminent enterprise systems architect and former Director of the MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center. Research across hundreds of primary sources concerning these claims shows that each of these innovations – while very important in the evolution of the Internet – were single functions and never a system of interlocked components intended to emulate the interoffice paper mail system.


    Members of our Lab kept in touch with Shiva. His work with email continued over the past thirty-five years, even after he left our Lab. From 1978 to 1984, he continued to enhance and evolve his invention at UMDNJ. In 1993, he went on to invent EchoMail, a platform for intelligent email management, growing out of work with the US White House.

    During 1993 to 2003, EchoMail became one of the leading email management and email marketing companies for Global 2000 organizations. In early 2000, Shiva began the Email Research Institute, which is now known as the Email Lab, a division of the International Center for Integrative Systems, and aims to provide fundamental research about email. EchoMail, as I understand, now makes its technology accessible to small and mid-sized businesses. Today, he serves as Director of the Email Lab as well as a Board member of EchoMail, Inc.

    As to his 1978 invention, on February 16, 2012, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC held a donation ceremony to accept the 50,000 lines of computer code, tapes, papers and other artifacts documenting the invention of email at UMDNJ. All of us, who were colleagues of Shiva, were proud of this event and happy that he received this well-deserved recognition.

    An article about the donation ceremony in the Washington Post led to a series of counterclaims, and personal attacks on him. These events inspired those who had worked with Shiva in 1978 as well as some of his other colleagues to develop the website http://www.inventorofemail.com to share the facts about email’s invention.

    As the website documents, industry insiders, loyal to Raytheon/BBN, a multi-billion dollar defense company, had created their entire brand, bearing the ‘@’ logo, based on claims of having “invented email.” This group unleashed a vicious public relations campaign. This campaign aimed to discredit email’s origins, intimidate journalists who did not parrot their claims, and assassinate Shiva’s character, while defending and promoting Raytheon/BBN’s brand as the “inventor of email” in the lucrative and competitive cyber-security market.

    The leaders of these attacks included David Crocker, a member of the ARPAnet research community starting in 1972, and “historians” and “experts,” either former or current employees of Raytheon/BBN or close associates.

    Mr. Crocker, during his attacks, however, had omitted an important fact, to the press and media. In December of 1977, months before Shiva invented email in 1978, Mr. Crocker had authored a historical document for the eminent RAND Corporation, where he summarized the history of electronic messaging by his colleagues, up until December of 1977. In that document, Mr. Crocker had stated:

    “At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system. The fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs.”

    From the beginning of his joining our research group, Shiva, however, had a singular intention to emulate the full-scale version of the interoffice paper mail system, with the precise goal of addressing the “various organizational contexts,” with “users of differing expertise” such as secretaries, doctors and students at UMDNJ, unlike the ARPAnet researchers.

    He did “attempt” and did do the “impossible” to respond to “all users’ needs” by inventing email – the system of interlocking parts replicating the interoffice mail system – the email we all experience today, which Mr. Crocker and his contemporaries had concluded was “impossible.”

    In spite of the overwhelming facts of email’s invention by Shiva in 1978 at UMDNJ, detractors and “historians,” part of the ARPAnet community as well as supporters of Raytheon/BBN, unleashed a campaign of historical revisionism in journals and other media to attempt to redefine “email” and to state that no one could have “invented email.” Their attempts at such historical revisionism are also documented on InventorOfEmail.com.

    In filing for the Copyright, the United States Copyright Office made Shiva’s work products, such as the User’s Manual and portions of his code, publicly available; anyone in the world could have access to it. Shortly after his invention, from 1982 onwards, other products with the same functions and interlocked components used in Shiva’s program “email” appeared in rapid succession (see the History of Email Infographic).

    Shiva’s distinction as inventor of email is not to suggest that someone else, at some point in history, would not have created a full-scale emulation of the interoffice mail system (and perhaps called it something else), independent of his invention. The advances in computing and networking, and a growing desire to automate paper-based functions, would have eventually led to the creation of such a system. However, Shiva was the first to create such a system, to call it “email,” and, the first, to receive formal recognition by the United States Government for its invention.

    This post, I hope, clarifies what “email” is and what it is not, as well as Shiva’s role as the inventor of email in 1978, while at UMDNJ, and finally, his commitment throughout his career to evolving email to benefit the general public.

  • Teen With Amazingly Long Neck To Undergo Surgery (PHOTO)
    Surgeons are helping a teenager save his neck by shortening it.

    Fu Wengui, 15, of Beijing, is preparing to go under the knife because he’s reportedly caused immense pain by the three extra vertebrae in his neck.

    The teen has 10 vertebrae in his neck while the average person has seven, according to Quirky China, which released photos of him at the hospital. The vertebrae compress his nerves, making it difficult for him to walk.

    giraffe boy

    “When he was six he was diagnosed with congenital scoliosis and abnormal chest frame,” Wengui’s father, Fu Genyou, told agency.

    Congenital scoliosis is a spinal deformity caused by abnormally formed vertebrae, and usually occurs in early development, according to the Scoliosis Research Society. Wengui’s surgery will reduce the size of his neck and hopefully enhance movement and reduce pain.

    A Beijing-based charity will sponsor his surgery at Chaoyang Hospital, which is working on a treatment plan, according to Quirky News’ press release.

    “I just hope I can have a normal neck,” Wengui said.

    (h/t Daily Mail)

  • Iceland's Latest Volcanic Eruption Has Airlines Nervous. Here's Why. (INFOGRAPHIC)
    Iceland, home to one of the largest glaciers in Europe and a multitude of volcanoes, made headlines this week following news of a small eruption in the Bárðarbunga (or Bardarbunga) volcanic system.

    At 118 miles long and 15 miles wide, Bardarbunga is Iceland’s largest volcanic system, so an eruption could have profound implications for air travel in the region, particularly if the volcano emits a large ash cloud.

    The land of fire and ice, it seems, is no place for jet engines.

    For instance, when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted in 2010, the resulting ash plume grounded more than 100,000 flights in what the BBC reports was the largest closure of European airspace since World War II.

    In an email to The Huffington Post on Friday, an FAA spokesperson said there haven’t been any flight diversions as a result of the current eruption. And given the $1.7 billion in revenue carriers lost when the volcano grounded airplanes in 2010, Bloomberg reported, airlines are likely eager to keep it that way.

    So why don’t volcanoes and air travel mix? In two words: engine failure.

    According to the United States Geological Survey, extreme heat — like that emitted from a jet engine — melts ash into a glass. That glass stops up fuel nozzles, the combustor and the turbine, which can quickly lead to a stalled engine.

    In addition, volcanic ash abrades any forward-facing surfaces on an airplane, including the cockpit windows and leading edges of the wings. “Cockpit windows may become so abraded and scratched,” the USGS reported, “that pilots have extreme difficulty seeing the runway on which to land the plane.”

    See the below infographic for more on how volcanic activity affects airplanes and air travel:

    Infographic by Jan Diehm for The Huffington Post.

  • Developer finds evidence supporting 3x resolution coming to iPhone
    It has been speculated for some time that if Apple does decide to make larger iPhone screens as it now appears to be doing, that resolution would have to increase dramatically, which could cause headaches for developers. However, new testing by Dragthing creator James Thompson has revealed that Apple may instead rely on pixel-tripling, asking developers only to provide assets at 1x, 2x, and 3x the logical screen resolution. This could yield Retina-quality images on devices with larger displays.

  • Rock Bands, Startups and Discovering the Next Big Idea
    For the past few years, whenever I meet a new startup, I treat them like a rock band. Not only because I believe startups are rock stars, but because I have learned — from my experience as the owner of an indie record label and as an early-stage investor — that there are a lot of similarities between the two.


    Every band has to have a lead singer and, in my opinion, a drummer. When it comes to lead singers, it doesn’t matter if they can play an instrument, as long as they can sing, be the face of the band, have a stage presence and lead. This is just like a CEO. He or she doesn’t have to be the best developer in the company, but needs to be the face of the company, inspire those around him or her and lead by example.

    And the drummer? The drummer keeps the beat and makes sure everyone is in sync. In startups, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page and have a unified vision for the company. The COO is the natural drummer of the company. In early-stage startups, the drummer is often also a co-founder.

    Discovering Talent

    When it comes to discovering talent, as an early-stage investor, I rely on friends to recommend their friends to me. I also get directly pitched by up-and-coming entrepreneurs who just solicit me. And then there are the times I just stumble across a startup randomly in my daily activities. My personal preference is for startups who are into Internet communications and those explore the edge of qualitifed self technologies.

    When record labels scout talent, they usually send someone to clubs to see up-and-coming bands. While scouting, you learn early on to look for the bands who are unsigned who can attract fans to their shows and whose fans know the words to their original songs. The key to a successful signing with an artist is their fans.

    The same thing goes for a startup. But, instead of spending late nights at rock clubs listening to new acts, I find my way to accelerators, incubators and at times cafes, where the next-generation startups are waiting to get discovered. What I don’t wait for is “graduation day” for the accelerator or incubator, because by then it’s too late for someone who likes to get involved early. What we also get to see by meeting the portfolio of startups in the current class are the current trends of the investment season.

    Signing On

    When I decide to move forward and invest in an early-stage startup, the experience at times feels like when a band gets its first record deal. For the startups, it’s great to have people willing to invest in you, but now you have to work even harder to deliver and make everyone proud.

    Just as bands can introduce new music sounds and be successful, so too can startups who are disruptive. A startup that’s disruptive and successful can change the course of history. (Of course, it may take 99 no’s before someone says yes — the biggest source of failures in startups, and music for that matter, is giving up.)

    The Secret to Success

    Winning startup entrepreneurs need to feel confident enough in their own vision to find and follow their own path. It’s okay to be driven. In my life, I have found success in areas I had no real-life experience in, just passion for something in the space. So I am the last person to think people can’t be successful just because they don’t have any relevant industry experience on their resume.

    It’s hard to get noticed when you sound just like everyone else, look like everyone else and go where everyone else is going. I look for startups that are confident enough to be unique and have their own sounds. I just hope they don’t go off key in the process.

  • Several Ways to Give Mobile Devices the Charge they Need to Survive
    Unfortunately, in this world of mobile devices, we must face one harsh reality — all of them need to be recharged. With that in mind, we took a look at several items that can make that task a bit easier.

    The folks at Belkin have developed a 10-Port USB Charger ($299) that can charge up to 10 devices using a single power outlet.

    Although this may seem a bit excessive, even by super technogeek standards, we often often find ourselves needing to re-energize the batteries in five or six devices at a time.

    • Belkin claims it charges 14 percent faster than traditional 2.1A chargers. We have no way of proving or disproving this.
    • It autosenses the power the battery needs, which means it can handle a large variety of devices, ranging from 1A to 2.4A full-rate charges.
    • It’s backward compatible to USB 2.0
    • It comes with a wall mount

    The new Poweradd 50W Six-Port USB Wall Charger ($65.99) is about a third the size of the Belkin 10-port charger and can provide the needed boost for any mobile device that can be charged using an USB cable. Also, like its bigger competitor, it offers the added convenience of being able to charge multiple devices using one power outlet.

    In addition:

    • It can handle everything from the higher demands of 2.4A batteries to devices that only require 2.1A or 1A compatibility
    • It has a voltage range of 100-to-240 volts
    • Everything is housed in a fire-resistant hard plastic shell.

    But what happens if you can’t get to a charger and your battery is nearing the dreaded one percent level? In these cases portable chargers and power banks may save the day.

    Innovation Technology is one of many fuel cell manufacturers – – – most notably portable power devices from companies such as Mophie or Proporta come to mind — flooding the market these days But the company’s Justin line of chargers offers the most choices in power and capacity.

    We’ve been playing with the Justin 2,200mAh Round Power Stick ($24.99), the Justin 6,000mAh Power Bank with a built-in stand ($39.99) and the Justin 10,000mAh Power Bank ($49.99). All of these devices were created to perform one basic task: to recharge the batteries of mobile devices when power outlets are not available.

    The Justin Power Stick is designed to fit in your pocket, purse or briefcase and can give your phone, tablet or other device adequate power to operate for several additional hours, even if the battery has been fully drained, or can recharge the device once before needing to be recharged (another reason to need a multiport USB charger).

    The 6,000mAh power bank is able to provide two or three charges to a 2.1A device (such as a Samsung Galaxy phone). It’s not as small as the Power Stick, but can still easily fit in a briefcase, laptop case or purse. This power bank also features four LED lights that indicate the level of charge left in its batteries, letting you know when it needs to be recharged.

    The 10,000mAh power bank is one of the most powerful portable chargers we’ve tested. It can charge two 2.1A devices at the same time and also has the LED power indicators found in the 6,000mAh device. We were able to get four single charges for our mobile devices using only one port and it was able to charge two devices twice before needing to be recharged.

    Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page at www.facebook.com/jocgeek, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email at jocgeek@earthlink.net or through his website at www.jocgeek.com.

  • New Leaked 'iPhone 6' Photos? New Leaked 'iPhone 6' Photos!
    Apple’s widely rumored unveiling of the new iPhone on September 9th is still a ways off. Until then we have these leaked photos to sustain us.

    Five photos leaked on the Chinese social network Feng.com show what may be the components for the new iPhone, according to Business Insider. While they may not show the new Apple smartphone fully assembled, they are similar to leaked photos we’ve seen before and give a clear sense of what the so-called iPhone 6 might look like:

    Here’s a photo of the outside of the back of the case:

    iphone 1

    Some have criticized the plastic lines on the phone which according to schematics are believed to house the antenna, BGR reports. Rumors had circulated that the lines would instead be made of glass but they appear to have remained plastic.

    A shot of the casing in profile:

    iphone 2

    Rumors have circulated that the new iPhone will be thinner, as well as bigger with a 4.7 inch screen.

    From the bottom:

    iphone 3

    Based on this photo it appears that the iPhone will feature the headphone jack on the bottom, like on the iPhone 5, as well as a newly designed speaker.

    The front screen:

    iphone 4

    iphone 5

    The new iPhone 6 has long been rumored to feature more sapphire glass, a new material that will be both harder and more scratch resistant than the iPhone’s Gorilla glass. More recently, analyst Matt Margolis has said that all versions of the new 5.5 inch iPhone will feature sapphire glass, while only high-end versions of the 4.7 inch will. If the photos are any indication, the new iPhone will likely come in both black and white.

    (Hat tip: Business Insider)

  • Natural Is The New Airbrush: An Actress Bares All And Starts A #NOFILTER Revolution
    Shelby Bilbruck for GLAM4GOOD


    Ellen Barkin is my new hero! It’s hard these days to know what stars really look like. All the filters and digital retouching that go on top of their pictures make a young woman like me want to retouch my pictures, too. Then along comes 60-year-old Barkin posing for a series of photos in Violet Grey’s online magazine, The Violet Files, and her pictures are not retouched in any way! Barkin makes it cool to show wrinkles, smile lines and imperfect skin. Not just for women her age, but for all young women in the age of filter mania!


    “Those pictures with the dark circles under my eyes are exactly what I look like,” the stunning 60-year-old said in an interview. In the shoot, Barkin shows off her fine lines, under eye circles, and everything else that makes her human — and guess what. She’s still stunningly beautiful.


    Not only did she nix retouching the photos, but she did stuff you do in everyday life in them. Chomping down on bacon cheeseburgers, lounging in a robe with a towel on her head, even having a cup of coffee.


    So many times we’re told that being beautiful means being perfect. You have to have straight, white teeth, lustrous hair, no wrinkles or other imperfections on your face. But who is actually like that? No one!


    So to all the young ladies out their, stop spending 20 minutes making your Instagram selfies unrecognizable from all the touch ups and filters, and take a cue from Barkin. Confidence and being yourself, it’s the new airbrush — and GLAM4GOOD is loving it!


    All photos courtesy of Violet Grey.

  • Leaked iPhone 6 logic board shows NFC chip, 16GB of storage [u]
    (Updated with video showing powered-on device) A new set of photos from Feld & Volk and well-known leak source Sonny Dickson show what appears to be a complete logic board for the iPhone 6. Significantly, the board contains both an NXP-made NFC chip and what’s believed to be 16GB of Toshiba flash memory. Plans for NFC are now widely reported, and the photos may back a claim that Apple will retain 16GB as an option.

  • The Most Cringeworthy Autocorrects Of The Month
    Autocorrect can make texting fast and easy. Or, it can make your mom sound like a total perv.

    In case you haven’t giggled enough this month, check out the funniest autocorrects that August 2014 had to offer, courtesy of Damn You Autocorrect.

    And no, we have never meant to say “ducking”.

  • Family Identity Theft Is Ugly

    Identity theft isn’t just the stuff of exciting movie and TV dramas; this happens in real life—and often. In fact, that Target breach that made headlines, Neiman Marcus, those 1. 2 Billion records the Russian cyber gang hacked: all identity theft.


    In 2012, according to one research firm, 12.6 million people in the U.S. alone were victims of ID fraud. This translates to this crime occurring every three seconds. If that isn’t bad enough, it’s estimated that one-third of ID theft is committed against the thieves’ own family members.

    Sometimes a person learns this when requesting a copy of their credit report. Expecting to see a high score, they instead see pages and pages of fraudulent credit card activity—and a very damaged credit. The thief can even be the victim’s own mother. Or spouse. Or daughter, son, sister, brother.

    As appalling as this is, it’s not the least bit unusual. It’s easy, for instance, for a parent to access their child’s name and Social Security number, then open up a phony account—even if the victim is literally a child. Most companies don’t check the ages, so that’s why this crime can go undetected for years.

    The victim may not even learn of the crime until adulthood when they apply for their first credit card or student loan. Learning that the thief is a family member, particularly a parent, delivers a particularly hard blow, for obvious reasons. At least there’s no emotional impact when the thief is a stranger or even someone outside the family whom you know.

    It can take quite some time to restore damaged credit. The Federal Trade Commission has an online guide that will help victims recover from the crime of identity theft.

    Children can’t protect themselves, so adults need to do it for them. That often requires an investment of time and money.

    Credit freezes or fraud alerts aren’t available to children until their identity is stolen.

    Applying for a fraud alert every quarter to 6 months and being denied means no credit has been established.

    Identity theft protection in many cases will help prevent child identity theft. However not all services offer this option. The good news is that child identity theft protection is generally less than $50.00 a year per child when the parent invests in a family plan.

    Robert Siciliano is an identity theft expert to BestIDTheftCompanys.com discussing  identity theft prevention. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247. Disclosures.

  • Proud Dad Introduces 'New Mini' To The World Via Clever Apple Parody Website
    This is a baby announcement like you’ve never seen it.

    A former Apple employee crafted a clever website to announce the August 22 birth of his son, Jonathan Henry, by fashioning it in the style of an Apple product announcement page. Simple. Sleek. Adorable.

    “Hello, Baby,” the website’s homepage reads. “Introducing Jonathan, the brand new mini.”

    andreas kleinke baby

    The brains behind the “new mini” is Andreas Kleinke of Munich, Germany, who previously worked as a training manager for Apple from 1999 to 2001, according to TODAY Parents. He says the idea for the website came about during a trip to an Apple store last year, when he and his wife bought their baby-to-be a onesie that had the phrase “brand new mini“ written on it.

    “When his due date was approaching, I started to think about how to break the news to friends and family once the big day arrived (and) I remembered the ‘brand new mini’ thing,” Kleinke told TODAY.

    The adorable site is chock-full of Apple-inspired features like built-in apps titled iEat, iPoop, iSleep, That’s it.

    The “new mini’s” product description is also written in Apple lingo: “The brand new Jonathan (Mid-2014) features a 20-inch seamless unibody enclosure made from a single, solid block of beauty. Ten meticulously aligned fingers deliver the perfect multi-touch experience. Plus, he comes fully equipped with not just one but two iSight cameras, each delivering images in stunning Retina resolution. Dual microphones on both sides catch every sound.”

    Not mentioned: the new model’s seriously cool dad.

  • Mother Upset After Daughter Accesses Erotic Stories On School iPad
    One mother is not pleased about the sites her daughter has been able to access on a school-issued iPad.

    An Oregon mother identified as Sarah says she discovered her 12-year-old daughter reading erotica on a school iPad, even though the school blocked inappropriate sites. Students from Neil Armstrong Middle School are only supposed to use the iPads for educational purposes, but they have repeatedly found ways to breach security, according to local outlet KATU-TV.

    Students at Neil Armstrong Middle School in Oregon have been given iPads as part of a multi-year pilot program to enhance digital learning.

    “I was shocked!” Sarah said about the sites her daughter was using to KATU-TV. “It was not something you expect a 12-year-old to look at, or to talk about, or to want to do or anything. She’s still a little girl.”

    Although Sarah reported multiple incidents regarding iPad security to the district, she did not feel as though they responded effectively. School principal Brandon Hundley told the outlet that “Relative to parent concerns, we take them very seriously and have acted on each as soon as reported … We absolutely limit the access students have and continually add websites to our blocked list as we find those that are not supportive of our educational mission.”

    But the school is not alone in facing security problems after providing students with iPads. Last year, Los Angeles Unified School District embarked on a major project to give every student and teacher an iPad. However, just as the program began, about 300 students breached iPad security limits and accessed forbidden sites, reports Reuters.

    Now, the district just announced that it has suspended its contract with Apple Inc., which is seen as the project’s latest setback.

    We remain committed to providing students devices that support their access to a world of learning and discovery so they are better prepared to graduate college and career ready,” district superintendent John Deasy said in a statement, reports the Associated Press.”Not only will this decision enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances, it will also give us time to take into account successes and concerns learned in the initial phases of the (project),” he said.

  • MSN Messenger to end after 15 years
    Microsoft’s MSN Messenger will be switched off in China in October, bringing a final end to the 15-year-old service.
  • Man guilty of Salmond Twitter abuse
    A man has been convicted of behaving in a threatening or abusive manner towards First Minister Alex Salmond on Twitter.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • OneDrive for iOS Update Brings Photo Viewer

    Microsoft continues to show they are serious about being a mobile and cloud centric company through their nearly universally supported OneDrive service.  The OneDrive for iOS app is no exception and yesterday received a healthy update that brings a new photo viewer to the application for your iPhone and iPad.  Now you can have a timeline-like view of all the photos that you have stored in OncDrive in one, easy-to-navigate page. OneDrive for iOS (Universal App) – Free – Download Now The new photo view is very similar to the Collections view that you will find in Photos in iOS,

    The post OneDrive for iOS Update Brings Photo Viewer appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Has the humble password had its day?
    What new techs can reliably establish our identities?
  • Google Building Fleet Of Delivery Drones
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google’s secretive research laboratory is trying to build a fleet of drones designed to bypass earthbound traffic so packages can be delivered to people more quickly.

    The ambitious program announced Thursday escalates Google’s technological arms race with rival Amazon.com Inc., which also is experimenting with self-flying vehicles to carry merchandise bought by customers of its online store. Amazon is mounting its own challenges to Google in online video, digital advertising and mobile computing in a battle that also involves Apple Inc.

    Google Inc. calls its foray into drones “Project Wing.”

    Although Google expects it to take several more years before its fleet of drones is fully operational, the company says test flights in Australia delivered a first aid kit, candy bars, dog treats and water to two farmers after traveling a distance of roughly one kilometer, or just over a half mile, two weeks ago. Google’s video of the test flight, set to the strains of the 1969 song “Spirit In The Sky,” can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRTNvWcx9Oo .

    Besides perfecting their aerial technology, Google and Amazon still need to gain government approval to fly commercial drones in many countries, including the U.S. Amazon last month asked the Federal Aviation Administration for permission to expand its drone testing. The FAA currently allows hobbyists and model aircraft makers to fly drones, but commercial use is mostly banned.

    Project Wing is the latest venture to emerge from Google’s “X” lab, which has also been working on self-driving cars as well as other far-flung innovations that company CEO Larry Page likens to “moonshots” that push the technological envelope. The lab’s other handiwork includes Internet-connected eyewear called Google Glass, Internet-beaming balloons called Project Loon and a high-tech contact lens that monitors glucose levels in diabetics.

    Google says it is striving to improve society through the X’s lab’s research, but the Glass device has faced criticism from privacy watchdogs leery of the product’s ability to secretly record video and take pictures. Investors also have periodically expressed frustration with the amount of money that Google has been pouring into the X lab without any guarantee the products will ever pay off.

    A team led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology aeronautics professor Nick Roy already has been working on Project Wing for two years, according to Google. The Mountain View, California, company didn’t disclose how much the project has cost.

    Drones clearly could help Google expand an existing service that delivers goods purchased online on the day that they were ordered. Google so far is offering the same-day delivery service by automobiles in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York.

    “Self-flying vehicles could open up entirely new approaches to moving goods, including options that are cheaper, faster, less wasteful and more environmentally sensitive than what’s possible today,” Google said in a pamphlet outlining Project Wing.

    Google, though, seems to see its drones as something more than another step in e-commerce delivery. The aerial vehicles also could make it easier for people to share certain items, such as a power drill, that they may only need periodically and carry emergency supplies to areas damaged by earthquakes, hurricanes and other natural catastrophes, according to Google’s Project Wing pamphlet.

  • Live Stream Captures SWAT Team Charging Into Gamer's Office (VIDEO)
    When YouTuber Jordan Mathewson began his live stream Wednesday, playing a first person-shooter video game, he wasn’t expecting to end his session on the floor with real guns trained on him.

    Mathewson and the rest of his gaming collective apparently fell victim to a prank known as “swatting,” where hoaxers force an armed police response by calling in a false report on rival gamers.

    Mathewson was about two hours into a game of “Counter-Strike” at the collective’s office in Littleton, Colorado, when he heard a commotion outside his door. A SWAT team was searching the place, and they were about to charge into his office. As seen in the video, he quickly picked up on what was happening.

    “Uh oh, this isn’t good,” Mathewson said, pausing the game. “They’re clearing rooms. What in the world? I think we’re getting swatted.”

    Things got intense fast. The SWAT team stormed into his room, guns at the ready, shouting at him to get on the ground. When Mathewson did so, slowly, with the movements of someone who still didn’t quite believe what was happening.

    “Don’t you f—–g move,” another said.

    The Littleton Police Department later told media it had received a call regarding a hostage situation in the building. “The caller claimed to have shot two co-workers, held others hostage, and threatened to shoot them. He stated that if the officers entered he would shoot them as well,” the department’s statement said, according to local outlet ABC 7News.

    As Police Chief Doug Stephens told the outlet: “This is not a game. This is not an online game. We have real guns with real bullets and there’s a potential there for some tragedy.”

    Mathewson himself was eventually released by police.

    Dag nabbit that was dern sure an experience. I am all Ok though. Thanks for all the supportive tweets everyone

    — Kootra (@Kootra) August 27, 2014

    Twitter user @ScrewPain has claimed responsibility for the prank, though it’s not clear if the user was actually behind the swatting. In a followup story, ABC 7News said Littleton police brought “someone in for questioning in connection to the incident, but that person was released, pending a further investigation.”

    The incident captured on Mathewson’s live stream was re-uploaded by YouTube user Armund Johansen. Check out that video, above.

  • Are You Driving Your Data? Or Is Your Data Driving You?

    In business, politics and philanthropy, being data-driven has become a point of pride.

    Leaders parade decision-making as rational and strategic because they “have the numbers” to support it. The tech revolution with its miraculous information-processing seems to support the idea of data as king.

    But any software engineer can tell you that information is completely dependent on context. Numbers are meaningless unless there’s a logical narrative frame to make sense of them.

    So is information the “king of kings” or just another useful servant?

    Think about the financial crisis of 2008. The information about mortgages being granted to people who, in all likelihood, could not pay them off was freely available well before the disaster. And the markets knew that financial institutions sold derivatives based on these unsustainable mortgages. But the prevailing story was about phenomenal growth in real estate. We all heard that story – we heard about the great amounts of money being made by people and companies who bought houses only to flip them. The information about the terrible risk involved only became useful once the narrative bubble burst along with the economic one.

    The wonderful Hans Christian Anderson story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, also captures the power of narrative over information. The naked king is only acknowledged as naked when a young boy, unaware of the fictional consensus, blurts out the obvious. Once the story is recast, perceived reality changes, and so does people’s behavior.

    Many businesses and philanthropies see big data as an oracle of understanding and analysis, yet the challenges big data seeks to address (the capture, curation, management and processing of vast amounts of information, Wikipedia) cannot be met without setting parameters. That means the technical wizardry for crunching the numbers depends on creating a narrative about what you might want to discover.

    Science, itself, starts with a hypothesis, a narrative guess at how cause and effect will play out. Scientists then design ways of testing their hypotheses. In this manner, they gather information in an active and critical way.

    We can, too. Even when we research a project at work or learn about something in our personal lives, we can make ourselves the director of a quest for understanding rather than a consumer of facts. We can ask questions as we learn. We can listen to our intuition when it tells us it smells a rat and then ask still more questions. We can grow as we discover. That’s when information becomes transformative.

    Organizations and people go looking for data to solve problems and aid decision-making. That’s good – even if we are just trying to locate the store that stocks local organic eggs from pastured chickens. Information becomes a tool, part of our life story.

    But I believe we should be wary of short-cuts. Already many of us look for data not to learn or to solve problems, but simply to support a conclusion we’ve already reached.

    This can save time in the short term. But it does not lead to transformation because it does not open our minds to other – and possibly dissonant – voices that can grow our approach.

    In a wonderful report on NPR’s TED Radio Hour, “Is Conflict Good for Progress?,” Margaret Heffernan explained her argument that contrasting information, ideas and interpretations can spur our best thinking:

    Openness alone can’t drive change… Open information is fantastic, an open network’s essential. But the truth won’t set us free till we develop the skills and the habit and the talent and the moral courage to use it.

    In other words, we become more creative and potent if we use information to diversify our thinking as well as to focus our actions. Imagine an organization regularly asking not only how it defines and assesses success, but if its gathering the kind – and variety – of information that can lead it to discovery and evolution.

    Imagine asking yourself: what information can I gather that would impact my ongoing happiness by challenging me to change in healthy ways?

    The supply side of information economy is multifarious beyond comprehension. And the data blossoms through a technical prowess that strikes me as magical. Yet, all the numbers and measurements matter little unless they are harnessed to an enlightened demand side of the exchange.

    Data depend on relevance for impact. We give numbers their meaning and their context by the stories we create. Transformation, human improvement, business and social innovation – these all rely on information leavened with an act of imagination.


    Note: Quotes can be found in an extraordinary little book published by friends of mine, Maryellen Kelley and Dr. David Cumes: Messages from the Ancestors, Wisdom for the Way

  • Disney Seeks Drone Patents For Theme Park Entertainment
    Disney theme parks are known for going above and beyond when it comes to the attractions, characters and thrill rides that make for magical memories, and a new toy could soon be added to the Disney experience: drones.

    The entertainment giant recently applied for three drone patents, all for use in aerial light shows. Visitors could see giant illuminated characters above them in the air, or even see floating pixels, or “flixels,” replacing firework shows.

    Washington Post tech policy reporter Andrea Peterson stopped by HuffPost Live on Thursday to chat about the possibility of Disney employing this technology.

    “One of the things really important to think about is that these are three patent applications that were filed last week. Companies patent things that they don’t intend to roll out all the time,” Peterson told host Alyona Minkovski. “They’re a good way to lay claim to an idea, but they aren’t always practical to roll out in this specific time frame that you or I might think of anytime soon.”

    Catch the rest of the clip above, and watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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  • Google trials drone deliveries
    Google reveals it has built and tested its own drones as part of a plan to make automated deliveries to remote homes as well as disaster-hit zones.
  • One Woman's Amazing Response To Sexism In The Tech Industry
    Brianna Wu regularly receives threatening emails, and she’s over it.

    Wu, the Head of Development at Giant Spacekat and host of the Isometric podcast on 5by5, recently wrote an incredible response to one sexist message that has us saying amen.

    I got a harassing email today, and decided to respond with this letter. Feel free to RT. pic.twitter.com/ut96HqxkCJ

    — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) August 27, 2014

    Wu previously wrote about the daily harassment of women in the gaming industry in a July 22 piece for Polygon, revealing that she has been called terrible names, received rape threats, and was once threatened by someone who knew her home address.

    “I haven’t been out to my car at night by myself since January 2nd,” she wrote.

    Wu shared stories of other women who have been harassed similarly, concluding:

    If you are a woman working in the games industry, especially in a public way, you’re going to experience harassment. I imagine telling my 12-year-old self that fulfilling my dream of making games would lead to constant threats. Would she still do it? Would any woman?

    After Wu tweeted her response letter publicly on Tuesday, she continued to receive derogatory and threatening comments. She shared some of the negative feedback she was receiving on Twitter:

    @Spacekatgal women like you are the reason women get harassed at work. You are obviously stupid if you choose the path of more resistance

    — William (@wjphillips1985) August 28, 2014

    I would like to thank the hundreds of men who have written to inform me of my letter typo. I am deeply ashamed. Thank you for correcting me!

    — Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) August 27, 2014

    The way Wu and her contemporaries have been treated in their professional field is truly upsetting, but we love that Wu made her response public. Here’s hoping it will empower other women in a similar position to push back, too.

    The Huffington Post was unable to reach Wu for comment.

    [h/t BoingBoing]

  • The 'Kill Switch': A Win For Privacy Protection and Public Safety
    For an ever-growing number of us, our lives are in our smartphones.

    Whether we realize it or not, our phones contain large amounts of private information — everything from frequent flyer numbers to bank account passwords — that could be damaging if it fell into the wrong hands.

    California took an important step in protecting that private information, and cementing its reputation as a leader in technology consumer protection this week when Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 962. The bill by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) will require smartphones sold in California after July 1, 2015 to be equipped with technology that renders essential features of the devices inoperable if stolen.

    California is not only a leader in developing technology, it is also the largest market for wireless devices in the United States. A recent survey from the Public Policy Institute of California found 92% of Californians say they have a cell phone, and 58 percent of them have a smartphone — up from 39 percent in 2011.

    The requirement of a so-called kill switch that can be activated in the event that a phone is lost or stolen is an important, common sense protection in a world where most of us store much of our most important and private data on our mobile devices. Everything from contact lists to credit card and even Social Security numbers is put into millions of cell phones at one time or another.

    In a sample three-month period, Consumer Reports found 1.8 million mobile-phone owners used their phone to store their passwords to accounts and websites. And only about 20 percent of smartphone owners take the precaution of establishing a personal identification number or password on their phone.

    SB 962 will provide especially important protections for our children, who are among the most avid smartphone users and often do not take steps to protect their private information.

    Teens use smartphones to store troves of personally identifiable information. The numbers are staggering: According to a 2013 Pew Research survey 78% of teenagers have their own cell phone and more than two out of three (74%) access the Internet on a mobile device. More than one in 10 (12%) teens has “checked in” with their location from a mobile device, meaning that advertisers and others on their networks will know where they are. Among those teens who use social networking sites (80%), half (52%) have checked their sites from a mobile device, and 43% do their social networking from a mobile device most or half the time.

    The bill is also an important public safety protection, making cell phones less enticing to criminals at a time when cell phone theft is on the rise. That’s why it was supported by public safety leaders including Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon.

    The new law requires that all mobile phones manufactured after July 1, 2015, and sold in California have anti-theft security features that would render stolen devices inoperable. The “kill switch” technology already exists so there will be no development burden on phone manufacturers or carriers. This bill simply requires it to be standard on all phones, and owners can opt out if they wish.

    Though the bill met some resistance from the cell-phone industry, California lawmakers should be commended for their wide, bipartisan support for the measure. By taking proactive steps to protect consumer and teen privacy, California is providing a roadmap for political leaders across the country to ensure that our private information remains private.

  • Digitizing Democracy: Shifting Power to the People

    It’s common knowledge that getting people to the polls during political primaries in America has become something of a fool’s errand, so headlines like “Major spending on elections met with total apathy by voters” and “Americans hate Congress. They will totally teach it a lesson by not voting” aren’t surprising.

    The numbers supporting such assertions — in this case, research conducted by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate — paint a bleak picture of the current political climate in the United States. As of last month, turnout in 15 of the 25 states that held statewide primaries dipped to historic lows and turnout in both the Democratic and Republican primaries combined was 54 percent lower than age-eligible citizens voting in 1966. More of the same was predicted for primaries during the last few weeks with officials expecting around 25 percent turnout in Connecticut and 15 percent in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Alaska and Wyoming officials reported slightly higher numbers for their primaries last week with 31.5 percent and 46 percent, respectively.

    To pile on, the Pew Research Center’s forecast for November is equally discouraging. Pew’s polling found that 45 percent of voters are less enthusiastic about voting this fall than in previous midterm elections. This percentage is as high as it has been since 1998 (the midterm elections held during President Bill Clinton’s second term on the heels of his tryst with Monica Lewinsky). Against this landscape of voter apathy and dissolution, you might assume that the system is fundamentally broken; that at its most basic level, the great experiment Alexis de Tocqueville once spoke of simply can’t scale in a country that has grown to more than 500,000 elected officials and 180 million registered voters.

    But the reality is that voters today remain deeply invested in issues; they are aware of and care about not only large national topics — like immigration, minimum wage and climate change — but also a host of matters closer to home. And this is represented in how they vote: according to the same Pew study, 34 percent of voters say national issues will make the biggest difference in their vote for Congress but 28 percent additionally name local and state issues as a priority.

    So if voters care about myriad issues, and see elections as an effective forum in which they can act upon those issues, why have they stopped racing to the ballot box? Why, taken as a whole, are people opting out of the system that is designed to serve them?

    I believe the answer is technology, or more specifically, the failure of technology to improve the democratic process. We live in an age when technology has pushed us to expect more from, and be pleasantly surprised by, every other aspect of our lives — how we socialize, how we work, how we consume news and content, how we travel, how we eat and how we shop. We live in an age of constant surprise and delight and yet, as our expectations in these arenas continue to soar, we constantly expect less from and are disappointed by the democratic process and those we elect to represent us.

    Almost every other aspect of our lives has become more social, more transparent, more simple and, ultimately, more gratifying. Democracy has become none of these. At a time when our personal and professional lives have become a largely social and shared experience, why do we vote alone, skip town hall meetings, cancel memberships to community organizations and talk less about politics with those around us? Why have sites like KAYAK transformed the travel industry by making pricing and scheduling totally transparent, but campaign finance complexity makes it next to impossible to know which corporations are funding which politicians? And even though technology has reduced shopping for any good anywhere at anytime to the click of a single button (literally, thanks to Amazon), it has done nothing to help the millions of unregistered voters who need to line up for hours and wade through horribly opaque identification laws to even get on the voter rolls.

    What this all boils down to is power (which is probably unsurprising, given we are talking about politics). Technology is making people feel increasingly powerful, capable of satisfying their needs, wants and whims from their tiny pocket computers, but politics is making us feel increasingly disempowered –disenfranchised, alone, confused and disappointed. Perhaps the right question isn’t why are 75 percent of an electorate not voting; it’s why are 25 percent of people bothering to vote?

    But it’s not all doom and gloom. If technology teaches us one thing, it is how quickly entire industries, entrenched behaviors and power centers can topple. Less than four years ago neither Uber nor Snapchat existed, and now they have become verbs. Solid progress has already been made by organizations like POPVOX, Code for America, the Sunlight Foundation and others, and I think new mobile technologies, networked approaches and connected communities can build on that momentum, and do for democracy what has been done elsewhere. In the not so distant future, citizens will not only see that others share their passions, but will see how together they can make a difference and continue the great experiment that is democracy.

  • V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Inventor Of Email, Fires Back At Critics Who Question His Discovery
    V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai was 14 years old when he developed the technology we now know as email. But despite having received “official recognition” of his creation in the former of a government-issued patent, some still question whether he was the veritable founder.

    Ayyadurai’s former colleague Robert Field explained the discrepancy and defended Ayyadurai in an upcoming blog on The Huffington Post. According to Field, “multi-billion dollar defense company” Raytheon BBN Technologies generated “their entire brand … based on claims of having ‘invented email,'” then unleashed a PR campaign to “discredit email’s origins” as well as Shiva’s claim to having invented it.

    Ayyadurai explained in a HuffPost Live interview on Thursday that he thinks these allegations stem from people who are both economically and racially prejudiced.

    “The reality is this: in 1978, there was a 14-year-old boy and he was the first to create electronic office system. He called it email, a term that had never been used before, and then he went and got official recognition by the U.S. government,” he told host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani, referring to himself.

    Ayyadurai said his modest background prevented him from getting the recognition he deserved.

    “After that took place, you have a sense of disbelief among people that comes from not so much the technology issue, but there’s a lot of economic issues associated here,” he continued. “[The discovery] wasn’t done at MIT; it wasn’t done at the military; it wasn’t done at a big institution. It was done in Newark, NJ, one of the poorest cities in the United States. It was done by a dark-skinned immigrant kid, 14 years old.”

    The creation of email falls under the pretext of the “American dream,” Ayyadurai explained, and he feels that those who challenge him as the inventor are afraid of upward mobility and change.

    “The narrative there is what changes and shocks certain people who want to control the narrative that innovation can only take place under their bastions,” he said. “The truth is that the American dream is really about [the fact that] innovation can take place anytime, by anybody.”

    Visit HuffPost’s ongoing series about the history of email here.

    Watch more of Shiva Ayyadurai’s interview in honor of the 30th anniversary of email here.

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  • 6 Smartphone Features of the Future

    By Anneke Steenkamp

    With the new iPhone release date set for September 9th, the world is anxiously awaiting the latest in mobile development. We all have our own visions and definitions of what an ideal smartphone should look like — some people crave more storage space, while others yearn for more virtual controls or limitless storage. Instead of dreaming about the future, let’s take a look at some of the latest innovations.

    Bigger is Better

    If you take a look at the mobile developments of the past year, you will see a trend in screen size and display features. The latest smartphones all seem to showcase bigger screens such as the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Sony Xperia Z2.

    Even the newest iPhone is rumored to have two versions of the iPhone 6: a o4.7 inch phone and a larger 5.5 inch phone. According to  Android Police, Google may also be working on a larger display for its smartphone, logging in at a whopping 5.9 inches hence the hybrid concept of a phablet.

    Battery Life Immortality

    If you own a smartphone, you know that daunting ‘battery-low’ sound all too well. How many times have you found yourself frantically searching for a charger at a friend’s house or experienced a dead battery while using Google Maps to get to a meeting?

    Undoubtedly, one of the biggest problems with smartphones is their short battery life.

    Luckily, there seem to be many manufacturers looking to solve this energy-problem. Samsung aimed at improving this feature with their latest Samsung S5 by making use of the Ultra Power Saving Mode, a feature that extends standby time for up to 24 hours with just 10% battery.

    Another solution for increasing your phone’s the battery-life is Wysips, a product that turns your phone into a solar panel. Simply apply the thin layer of crystal on your watch, tablet, or smartphone to allow your device to convert sunlight into energy. It’s not visible on the outside of the phone, and it starts charging as soon as it’s exposed to artificial or natural light. At this year’s CES they also announced that Wysips is capable of Light Fidelity Data Transmissions  — a method of transmission data is sent and received via light waves.

    The Rise of Modular Smartphones

    Modular smartphones refer to phones constructed in a similar way to a puzzle. The phone consists of separate pieces that can selectively combined in order to create a smartphone as we know them today.

    The concept behind a modular smartphone  is that it helps reduce e-Waste. Instead of having to replace your phone because it is outdated, you can just replace certain parts within your existing  device to upgrade it.

    Think of it like a high tech legos. Plus, modular smartphone owners  only have to use the features that are relevant to them. For example, if you don’t want a fingerprint scanner or a top range camera, you don’t have to pay for that particular component. It will be cheaper to replace specific parts of a phone rather than buying a new phone and when certain parts break or become outdated.


    Project Ara is Google’s first attempt at creating a modular smartphone. We can just speculate that modular cellphones will become one of the big game changers in the mobile industry, especially if other manufacturers start jumping on-board.

    Smartphone Transformers

    Technology transforms and grows with its users and many users want smartphone usage to be simplified. The Asus Transformer Book V is a laptop, smartphone and tablet in one, that acts as a three in one device with modes switching between Android and Windows platforms. Switch between operating your device on a Android or Windows OS.

    This transformational phenomenon is most definitely not the most aesthetically appealing product to (soon) be launched on the market, but it allows you to use the product as a laptop, tablet and smartphone because of its 3-in-1 design.

    What you can get excited about is more compatibility between platforms and a possible prettier-version of a transforming smartphone/laptop/tablet. All in all, the smartphone might just turn into the PC of the future.

    You Can Hear Me Now!

    If you are a smartphone owner, chances are that you’ve been frustrated with poor signal at one point or another. Wouldn’t it be such a relief to know that you are able to make contact with the outside world even though you don’t have signal? The GoTenna is a product powered by a lithium-ion battery that connects to your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It’s a small radio transceiver that transmits on a very low frequency with a distance of about 50 miles apart.  If you get lost while hiking, you can transmit a message to your fellow GoTenna users to get in touch similarly as you would with a walkie-talkie when there is no possibility of smartphone signal.

    For about $300, the GoTenna is definitely not in everyone’s budget. At this point in time it won’t be as accessible to the majority of smartphone users, but surely in the near future we will see a cheaper version -maybe even built into a phone.

    Print Your Own Smartphone

    If you are into tech news, you’ve most probably realized the tremendous growth in 3D printing possibilities. The ‘future’ of 3D printing is ‘now’ and people are printing anything you can imagine. So, why not a smartphone?

    Forget the imagine of a useless plastic ‘Lego-like’ phone,  Nokia has already released  a CAD file for users to print out the Nokia Lumia 820 casing.

    Imagine a time, in the not too distant future,  when all cellphone parts are available online. You will be able pick and choose the parts, patterns, and colors that you want in a device. Owning a 3D printer is currently pricey, but before we know it we might all boast with one in our 3D printed homes.

    Based on the past decade’s tremendous growth in the mobile industry, we should expect big things in the next ten years. From being able to build your own phone, print your own parts 4 in 1 phablet and everlasting batteries, we cannot wait to see what the future holds. What do you want the smartphones of the future to look like?


  • Executive Director Of DIY Girls Luz Rivas Is Bringing Technology To Thousands Of Latinas
    Luz Rivas graduated from MIT as one of the very few women of Hispanic descent, but now she’s taking the reins to provide other Latinas with experiences in technology.

    Rivas, who is the founder and executive director of DIY Girls, is breaking real boundaries in the arena of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), fields that have historically been dominated by men. While women represent nearly half of the entire workforce, they only represent about a quarter of workers in STEM fields.

    In an interview with HuffPost Live, she shared her experience as a female minority student in a predominantly male institution.

    “When I entered MIT a third of the student were women, so there were very few women, and in my major it was less than 20 percent,” she told host Nancy Redd. “So once I got to classes in my major, there was very few of us. In a section there would maybe be two or three of us in a room of thirty.”

    She explained that with the support of her fellow underrepresented students, she was able to successfully complete her program. Now she’s paying it forward with her own organization.

    “Our plans for the next five years is to serve 3,000 girls in the Los Angeles area and to do that we need to build a strong and sustainable organization,” she said. “One area I’ve been exploring is how to develop this into a social enterprise, so that as a non-profit, we’re not just relying on individual donations, but we’re earning our own revenue [with] workshops or engineering classes at schools.”

    Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

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  • The Coolest Networking App You've Never Heard Of
    There are many, varied, and well-known advantages to networking. But let’s be honest: sometimes it can be a real pain in the a**.

    There should be an app for that.

    Turns out there is. It’s called Coffee, and check this out: It’s LinkedIn meets Tinder.

    I’ll give you a moment to collect yourself from getting your mind blown.

    Yup, it’s one of those ideas that once you hear about, you can’t believe you hadn’t yet. Why didn’t I think of that? It launched in early July of this year, and has had several wins thus far:

    • A startup hired an intern they matched with on Coffee
    • Several students at NYU connected, and are now working on a startup together
    • Another student met a freelance UI/UX Designer, with whom she’s working to design her own app
    • In the coolest meta-move that could possibly have happened, the Coffee team itself connected with an investor through the app

    There are three distinct things that make it useful:

    1. It makes networking not suck

    I usually think of networking as a chore. It’s something I have to ‘do,’ whether seeking out a specific networking event or socializing at one. I always feel like a tool both asking and answering that dreaded question: “So, what do you do?”

    As someone who writes about Millennials (and being one myself), I can also attest to the fact that I live on my phone. It’s the first thing I check when I wake up and the last thing I check at night. So a networking app is baller — I can ‘network’ on my time: while walking to the subway, in line at Starbucks, in an Uber on the way to a meeting, while I’m waiting for my lunch, while I’m watching Netflix, etc. I get to choose when to do it, and who to do it with (#twss). And talk about a dream app for introverts; they don’t even have to leave their house.

    Finally, the format is familiar. As of July 15, 2014, Tinder had 13 million users, 85 percent of whom are 18-34. I mean that app gets around. Whether you’re on Tinder or have friends on it, you know how it works. And the only difference between Tinder and Coffee is that a Coffee date has a different, ahem, ending.

    Seriously, though, the utility of something like Coffee is bringing networking into our lives in a way that actually works for us. Making new professional contacts and/or chatting in realtime with new LinkedIn connections while I wait for my Jamba Juice? #powermove

    2. It forces you to get clear on your professional goals
    If there’s one thing I’m always on my friends about professionally, it’s to identify exactly what they’re looking for professionally and what they have to offer. (I’m also on them about doing this for their personal lives, but that’s a whole different article).

    It’s much easier to activate your network when you’re specific. Consider which of these are more engaging:

    • “Yeah, I’m looking for a job…” vs.
    • “I went to school for graphic design and I’m looking for a fun, dynamic startup where I can be a killer designer and do UI stuff.”

    Something like Coffee forces you to do way more of the latter and way less of the former. You have a limited number of characters to describe what you’re looking for, so there’s no time to mess around. You’ve got to be clear on who you are and who you want to connect with professionally.

    I like that like I like a really good cappuccino (get it? get it?).

    3. It helps employers, too
    In addition to being useful to young professionals, things like Coffee are also useful for employers and others looking to connect with young professionals. As one M&A associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers said, “Coffee dismantles the geographic obstacle that too often exists with in-person networking, and cleverly lowers the level of social awkwardness often associated with reaching out randomly to an industry professional on LinkedIn. It’s as efficient as it is intuitive, and as a result, a potential goldmine for recruiters.” (my emphasis).

    And check this out — he actually helped someone from Coffee land an interview: “Soon after I set my personal tagline to read something like, “Management consultant in a growing M&A Advisory practice,” and made a few swipes left and right, I was matched with a number of young, like-minded professionals. To my surprise, most were relatively forward, and began to chat with me about the industry, my background, and opportunities for employment at my firm. In the end, I was able to direct a very qualified candidate, to the appropriate hiring manager at my firm, after only a few days.”


    Our own team uses Coffee for a variety of purposes. We’re OpiaTalk, a tech startup in the eCommerce space, and we help retailers make the most of their organic traffic. Our social commerce widget turns browsers into buyers, hyper-converting traffic and driving opted-in leads at 4-5x industry average. Our CEO, Tom, uses Coffee as a recruiting tool. It’s an easy way to connect with those who are proactive enough to address him and see what we’re up to. As Director of Communications, I personally use it to connect with other writers and reporters in the tech space, extending my network and also seeing how I can add value to others’ professional goals. And, of course, like any high-powered startup, we’re always happy to connect with investors, of which there are several on Coffee.

    According to ABC News, 80 percent of jobs today are landed through networking. At any age, but especially when you’re young, one of the most important things you can do is take control of your career. Whether you’re still a student, current employed, or looking for a job, networking is one of the most important things (if not the most important) you can do to advance yourself professionally.

    The only danger I see with Coffee is falling into the same trap as Tinder: forgetting about it and/or not following up with contacts. Just like in any other professional setting, if you say you’re going to do something on a networking app (send along a resume, explore someone’s product, email details about your company), you’ve got to follow through.

    For those wise enough to do so, though, Coffee can be a powerful tool. In my opinion the smartest networkers will use it to transition to an in-person meeting, for which there is and will likely never be a substitute.

    After that, who knows? The possibilities are as endless as the swirls in my — you guessed it — coffee.

    Coffee is available in the app store as Coffeetheapp.

  • 'Massive structure' in place at Flint Center ahead of Apple event
    A “massive structure” is being constructed on the campus of the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, the site of Apple’s September 9 press event, witnesses say. The structure is encased in a white barricade, and appears to be about three stories tall. “Scads” of security staff are reportedly protecting it, and administrators will only say that they “are not at liberty to discuss that [structure] due to client wishes.”

  • Why You Should Worry About The Cyber Attack On JPMorgan Chase
    So many companies have been hacked in the past year that news of another major data breach has become almost routine.

    Yet, there may be new reasons to be concerned about JPMorgan Chase announcing Thursday that it is investigating a possible cyberattack.

    The attack, which appears to be a coordinated one against multiple banks, is a sign that hackers have found a way to breach perhaps the most protected computer systems in the American economy.

    While numerous retailers and grocery stores have been attacked by hackers over the past year, experts say the computer security at those places was relatively porous. Successful attacks against banks, however, are unusual because the financial sector has perhaps the strongest security of any industry, said Jacob Olcott, a cybersecurity expert at Good Harbor Security Risk Management.

    “The fact that even these companies can experience a successful attack should definitely raise eyebrows because they spend the most money and have the most sophisticated defenses,” Olcott said.

    JPMorgan said Thursday that it is working with law enforcement to investigate a possible cyberattack against its network. The bank said it is trying to determine how much data was stolen and has not seen any “unusual fraud activity.”

    A JPMorgan spokeswoman said the bank will reach out to any affected customers and encouraged them to contact the bank if they detect suspicious activity on their accounts. Customers won’t be held liable for fraud related to the attack.

    The FBI and Secret Service are also investigating the attacks.

    “Companies of our size unfortunately experience cyberattacks nearly every day,” JPMorgan spokeswoman Trish Wexler said in a statement. “We have multiple layers of defense to counteract any threats and constantly monitor fraud levels.”

    Many details about the attack remain unclear, including the origin of the hackers, their motives, which other banks were involved, and when the breach happened.

    Security experts said the attack could have serious consequences depending on what information was taken. While banks typically reimburse customers for fraud, the hackers could use access to banks’ computer systems to take out loans in customers’ names, commit other kinds of identity theft, or worse, manipulate financial data inside the banks’ computers, said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer at Trend Micro, a computer security firm.

    “The average person should be very concerned,” he said.

    He added: “The question is, did they just steal data or did they also manipulate data? If you alter data, you are changing the value of money. It could undermine the integrity of the institution.”

    The hackers appear to have stolen gigabytes of data, including customer credit and savings account information, from JPMorgan and at least four other banks in a coordinated attack, according to The New York Times. Hackers also took sensitive information from employee computers, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the news.

    At least one of the banks that was attacked believes the hackers were sponsored by the Russian government, and the FBI is investigating whether the attack was in retaliation for U.S.-imposed sanctions on Russia, according to Bloomberg News.

    Russian cybercriminals are considered to be the most sophisticated hackers in the world, even more skilled than Chinese hackers, experts say. While Chinese hackers often try to steal intellectual property from U.S. companies, Russian hackers frequently target banks and are motivated mostly by financial gain, experts say.

    If Russian hackers are retaliating against U.S. sanctions, “it’s a sign of an escalation of geopolitical tension that will directly impact the average American by attacking their finances,” Kellermann said.

    JPMorgan recently said it plans to spend $250 million on cybersecurity this year. But despite spending all that money, the bank may have been undone by the negligence of a single employee. Hackers appear to have found their way into JPMorgan’s network by hacking an employee’s personal computer, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person close to the investigation.

  • Miranda July's New App Will Turn The World Into A Miranda July Film
    Nobody explores the space between intimacy and technology quite like Miranda July.

    The performance artist, writer and filmmaker continually investigates the shapes of interconnectedness in the digital age, through films like “Me and You and Everyone We Know” and art initiatives like “We Think Alone,” in which July’s famous friends forwarded their intimate emails to your inbox.

    Now July has created an app that will blur the line between digital and personal interaction, and it’s called “Somebody.” Basically, instead of texting your friend, lover or desired text recipient, your message will be sent to a “Somebody” user in close proximity of the intended receiver, who will then deliver the message in person. You can attach personal touches to your text message, adding actions like “crying,” “begin air quotes,” “kiss,” or “scream.”

    So instead of reading your texts, the sendee will have the message personally acted out… by a stranger.


    “Texting is tacky. Calling is awkward. Email is old,” the “Somebody” statement explains. But this app is far more than a new mode of communication. It’s an improvised performance between two strangers, an unusual form of puppetry or even possession. “I see this as far-reaching public art project, inciting performance and conversation about the value of inefficiency and risk,” July explains.

    The app, created with support from Miu Miu, launched at the Venice Film Festival, along with an accompanying short film, which you can see below.

    Like most of July’s films, the short above blends the magical and the technologically enhanced, the banal and the uncanny, the awkward and the sentimental. But then again, this isn’t just a short film; it’s a trailer for the app. So, in a potential future where everyone has downloaded “Somebody,” we’ll pretty much be living in a Miranda July film. If that’s not incentive to download the app, we’re not sure what is.

    “Somebody” works best when there is a critical mass of users in the area, like a party, concert or office. July has already set up official “hotspots” for app users at museums around the country, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The New Museum, Yerba Buena Center for The Arts, Portland Institute of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, where it will be part of the exhibition “Conversation Piece,” starting October 10.

    Learn more about “Somebody” here, and make sure to download the app from iTunes — yes, it’s free. Check out an earlier interview with July here.

    The MFA is hosting the lecture “Miranda July: The First Bad Man” with the artist on Wednesday and Thursday, April 15 and 16, 2015 –– part of the MFA’s Ruth and Carl J. Shapiro Celebrity Lectures: Evenings with Creative Minds.

  • Apple officially announces September 9 press event [u]
    [Updated with Bloomberg confirmation of iWatch debut] As anticipated, Apple has formally announced a September 9 press event. Unlike past fall events, however, this one will be held at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts in Cupertino, California, rather than the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. It will begin at 10AM Pacific time, or 1PM Eastern.

  • Will We See The iWatch on 9.9.2014?

    In case you missed it somehow, Apple has sent out the invitations for the next big Apple event.  September 9, 2014, 9 September 2014 or 9.9.2014.  However you want to put it, this could very well be one of the single biggest launch events Apple has had in a long time – perhaps since the original iPhone.  Why?  Two reasons. First, Apple hasn’t had a major product release since October.  That’s a long, long time.  Given that Samsung is seemingly coming out with a new Android device every-other week, Apple’s once a year cycle is making these events bigger and

    The post Will We See The iWatch on 9.9.2014? appeared first on AlliOSNews.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • Millions knocked offline in US
    A fault on Time Warner Cable’s network left its 11.4 million broadband internet subscribers without a connection.
  • Costco phone kiosks will begin selling AppleCare+ tomorrow?
    A leaked internal memo seems to reveal that Costco’s in-store wireless kiosks may begin offering AppleCare+ on iPhones and iPads beginning on Thursday, August 28. The offer applies only to devices activated at the kiosk rather than iPhones or iPads that may be offered on the main sales floor. Costco resumed selling iTunes gift cards after a nearly four-year dispute with Apple ended in early June; iPhone and iPad sales were resumed just before the end of that month.

  • VIDEO: Twitter's map of Mid-East conflict
    How people react to Gaza on social media
  • TV white space could be a lifesaver
    Could unused TV signal improve rural broadband?
  • VIDEO: 'White space' internet developed
    David Grossman reports from the Isle of Wight, on the “white space” which could help remote areas access fast broadband.
  • On August 30th, Celebrate the Anniversary of Email and the Indian-American Boy Who Invented It

    Introducing the the History of Email series

    I am honored to introduce the History of Email series on HuffPost. August 30 is the official Anniversary of Email.

    On August 30,1982, V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received official recognition as the inventor of email from the U.S. government, for the work he had done in 1978.

    Official US Copyright Notice for “Email” Issued on August 30, 1982, now, in the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History (NMAH).

    On August 30, 1982, Shiva was issued the first Copyright for “Email”, “Computer Program for Electronic Mail System.” At that time, Copyright was the equivalent of a patent, as there was no other way to protect software inventions. Only in 1980 was the Copyright Act of 1976 amended to protect software. Patent law had not even caught up to software in 1980.

    To celebrate the Anniversary of Email and the Indian-American boy who invented email, the History of Email Series will include five wonderful articles that will share the facts about email’s invention, personal reflections from myself and his Robert Field, one of Shiva’s colleagues, a detailed analysis of the myths about email and its origins by world-renowned systems scientist Dr. Deborah J. Nightingale, and finally a perspective on the future of email by Shiva. The articles will be as follows:

    The Boy Who Invented Email by Larry Weber
    The Invention of Email by Dr. Leslie P. Michelson, Ph.D.
    – The First Email System by Robert Field
    – The Five Myths About Email by Dr. Deborah J. Nightingale, Ph.D.
    – The Future of Email by Dr. V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai, Ph.D.


    August 30th is an occasion for celebration not only for the day email was invented, but also and more importantly, the day a young 14-year-old, brilliant and determined teenager, working in Newark, NJ, invented email, at a time when experts at the forefront of technology had deemed it “impossible.”

    Shiva neither sought nor received any fame or fortune for his invention. In 2012, over thirty years later, the Smithsonian acquired his computer code, papers and artifacts documenting his invention for the National Museum of American History (NMAH). When news of the acquisition went public, Shiva was viciously attacked, defamed with a clear and malicious intent to destroy his character, career, and reputation as an inventor and scientist.

    Noam Chomsky, reflecting on the events, released the following statement:

    “The efforts to belittle the innovation of a 14-year-old child should lead to reflection on the larger story of how power is gained, maintained, and expanded, and the need to encourage, not undermine, the capacities for creative inquiry that are widely shared and could flourish, if recognized and given the support they deserve. The angry reaction to the news of his invention of EMAIL and the steps taken to belittle the achievement are most unfortunate. They suggest an effort to dismiss the fact that innovation can take place by anyone, in any place, at any time. And they highlight the need to ensure that innovation must not be monopolized by those with power — power which, incidentally, is substantially a public gift.” (Noam Chomsky, inventorofemail.com, April 2012)

    Who were behind these attacks?

    This historical series will reveal that it was a group of industry insiders, former employees, alumni and partners loyal to Raytheon/BBN, MIT, and the ARPANET coterie, publicly led by David Crocker, an ARPANET researcher and veteran of Raytheon/BBN for nearly 30 years, who had created a revisionist history of email’s origin, for nearly three decades to hijack the boy’s invention of email.

    Their motive was to not only to protect Raytheon/BBN’s multi-billion dollar brand as the “inventors of email”, which gave them an unfair advantage in the competitive cyber-security market against Northrup-Grumman and General Dynamics, but also to monopolize and perpetuate a false and deplorable narrative that innovation could only occur within the bastions of big companies like Raytheon, large universities such as MIT and the military such as the ARPANET.

    The documented evidence, now in the Smithsonian, had thrown a big wrench into the false history of email that these insiders had fabricated and perpetuated over the past thirty years.

    Shiva and his colleagues responded by launching the website www.inventorofemail.com to share the facts including primary sources and historical documents. When a “smoking gun” document, authored by David Crocker himself, written in December 1977, which unequivocally stated:

    “At this time, no attempt is being made to emulate a full-scale, inter-organizational mail system. The fact that the system is intended for use in various organizational contexts and by users of differing expertise makes it almost impossible to build a system which responds to all users’ needs.” (D. Crocker, December 1977, RAND Report),

    was released on the site, Shiva’s detractors began to retreat, and to resort to simply calling him self-promotional. This name-calling was ironic as it was Raytheon/BBN who had spent millions on creating their false brand as inventors of email.

    As M.A. Padlipsky, the eminent electronic messaging pioneer, an MIT graduate, a member of the ARPANET team, observed of Raytheon/BNN’s long history of self-promotional activities:

    “[T]he BBN guys – who always seemed to get to write the histories and hence always seemed to have claimed to have invented everything, anyway, perhaps because BBN was the only “for-profit” to furnish key members of the original Network Working Group.”–Padlipsky, M.A., ARPANET contributor and author of more than 20 RFC specifications, (Essay: “And they argued all night….”, http://archive.is/dx2TK)

    In 1978, Shiva had done the “impossible” by emulating the “full-scale, inter-organizational mail system”, which he called “email”, a term never used before, thus defining email, as we all know and use today, and for which he was the first to receive formal recognition by the US Government for its invention.

    However, in the age of Google and Wikipedia, where sensationalism and poor journalism, can obfuscate the truth, the origin of email became confused by the deliberate work of those industry insiders.

    As the Anniversary of Email approaches on August 30, it is time the world knows the real struggle that a 14-year-old boy endured and what he gave to the world. His story is not just about the invention of email, but more about who owns and controls innovation, and what that means for all of us.

    Welcome to the History of Email. Celebrate August 30th, the Anniversary of Email!

  • The Evolution of 4 Iconic Logo Designs

    A strong visual language is the best way to establish brand recognition among your audience, and your logo is the foundation of that visual identity. A well-designed logo complements a brand, oftentimes taking on a life of its own and effectively settling into the cultural consciousness. Not only that, the best logos serve as both a template and a guide as a brand evolves.

    Some of the world’s most iconic logos have been refined — though never redesigned — because their design was such an accurate reflection of the brand. Here are four classic logos that have been successfully updated for the modern era yet pay homage to their original good design.


    Designer: Saul Bass, king of corporate logos (including United Airlines, Quaker Oats, Minolta, United Way and Wienerschnitzel)

    C5 attSource: Brain Pickings

    Bass’ original AT&T logo from 1983 (nicknamed the “Death Star”) has been updated twice. In 1999 it went from its original 12 lines to a shaded version with 8 lines. In 2005 Interbrand reworked those lines into a 3D transparent “marble.” With each incarnation, Bass’ original design has remained solidly intact, while the current aesthetic communicates the company’s notable expansion into modern technologies.

    Takeaway: A successful logo update preserves a brand’s well-established identity while communicating new brand evolutions.

    Girl Scouts

    Designer: Saul Bass

    C5 Girl ScoutsSource: Just Creative

    Bass’ 1978 logo for the Girl Scouts is a brilliant use of negative space. It was reworked in 2010 by Original Champions of Design, receiving a few marked improvements without losing any of the original’s appeal. Most notable: The addition of bangs on the first figure, which creates a sense of age progression as the figures move right, and the refinement of the pointed trefoil shape, which pays homage to the original logo but provides a unified shape for future branding.

    Takeaway: A well-designed logo allows for intentional refinements to increase its meaning and impact.


    Designer: Paul Rand, design legend and creator of logos for IBM, ABC, Enron and NeXT computers.

    C5 upsSource: Logo Design Love

    Rand’s design for UPS was instantly recognizable, even in 1961. His work refined the existing corporate shield for the modern era. The 2003 update by FutureBrand retained the iconic shape of the logo but ditched the bow-tied package to reflect the company’s shift toward new supply chain services.

    Takeaway: An iconic logo can be simplified to streamline a brand’s message.


    Designer: Terry Heckler

    C5 starbucks-logosSource: Starbucks

    The Starbucks logo has seen several iterations since its introduction in 1971. Heckler added the iconic green ring around it in 1987, then an internal team of Starbucks designers created the contemporary mermaid in 1992. In the latest iteration, launched in 2011, the company made a bold move: removing the ring and leaving just the mermaid on her own. With the removal of “coffee,” the logo becomes symbolic of a lifestyle brand.

    Takeaway: A well-designed logo is flexible, able to evolve with a brand’s vision.


    The world’s biggest brands have uniquely recognizable logos. But these logos do share certain similarities. We analyzed the logos of Interbrand’s Top 100 Brands of 2013 to find out what they have in common.

    Most Common Colors Used


    Number of Colors Used


    Company Name Only vs. No Company Name


    Whether you’re redesigning a logo or an internal report, preserving and promoting your brand’s visual language should always be a design priority.

    This article originally written by Benjamin Starr on VisualNews/Visage.co.

  • iMedicalApps is “re-launching”

    iMedicalApps will be announcing a new partnership on Tuesday!

    The post iMedicalApps is “re-launching” appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • MIT To Offer 'Credit For Reddit' Course Next Spring
    These days, it seems like millenial-targeted college courses are springing up on nearly every college campus, from Tuft University’s “Demystifying the Hipster” course to Skidmore College’s “The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender and Media.”

    You can add Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Credit for Reddit” class to the roster. The undergraduate course, which is officially called “CMS.400 Media Systems and Texts” and offered under the comparative media studies discipline, first hit campus last year. It will be offered again next spring, taught by researcher Chris Peterson and his colleague Ed Schiappa.

    It won’t be all Reddit wormholes and imgur photos, though: Peterson says the class will be part psychology, part data analysis, and part social theory.

    “One of the things we try to do in this class is make sure people understand that the technology they use in their daily lives is rooted very deeply in important social issues,” he told the Vice blog Motherboard.

    Despite its nickname, the course won’t be solely fixated on Reddit, either — students will be tasked with comparing the site to various forms of social media. As Peterson puts it on his Linkedin page, the course “[i]ntroduces students to central topics and mixed methods such that they can better investigate and understand emerging web ecologies.”

    In a post on Reddit , Peterson explains the idea was born out of his own research on the website.

    “I’ve been doing (limited) research on Reddit the last few years and had lots of undergraduate interest in my projects; as one student put it, ‘I already Reddit instead of homework, so I might as well Reddit for homework,'” he wrote.

    In the same Reddit thread, Peterson put out a call for submissions to his syllabus. Judging by the interested responses, the course may delve into deciphering Reddit’s hive mentality, its “karma points” ratings system, and some sort of content analysis.

    Perhaps the class will lead to even more studies like Stanford University’s examination of Reddit’s Random Act Of Pizza forum, which taught us all the secret to getting free pizza.

  • Landmark court cases deleted from net
    Numerous records relating to civil rights cases have disappeared from the US government’s online legal archive.
  • $10m Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE: 10 Finalist Teams Selected
    By Jon Sung

    It all began with over 300 pre-registered teams, which led to over 20 competing teams. And then there were 10. That’s right. After considerable evaluation and deliberation, it’s time to reveal the 10 finalists in the running for the $10M Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE. These are the select few advancing in the global competition to create an affordable, portable, wireless, Star Trek-inspired scanning device that will monitor and diagnose medical conditions quickly, easily, and non-intrusively. The winning device will weigh no more than five pounds and will provide user-friendly assessment and monitoring of five vital signs and 15 different medical conditions including diabetes, pneumonia, and the bane of every parent’s existence — an ear infection.

    Congratulations to everyone who made it this far: your creativity and commitment to innovation and inventiveness has been nothing short of inspiring.

    And the 10 finalists from 7 countries are:

    Aezon (Baltimore, MD)

    “We check the news. We check the weather. We check our texts; we check our tweets. Our email. Facebook. Amidst this wealth of information, we don’t check our bodies. With medical providers around the globe taxed for resources, we need to start taking charge of our own health.” So says Team Aezon, founded in 2012 by students at Johns Hopkins University. Under the leadership of biomedical engineering major, Tatiana Rypinski, they’ve put together sensor prototypes and version 1.0 of their smartphone-based UI. Next up will be the addition and integration of more diagnostic systems, and the continued improvement of the user experience.

    Team Aezon

    CloudDX (Mississauga, Canada)

    Attending physician, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, former astronaut candidate and Chief Medical Officer of Biosign Technologies, Dr. Sandeep “Sonny” Kohli certainly didn’t start Team CloudDX out of boredom. A tight-knit group of programmers, software architects, and biomedical engineers, CloudDX is poised to take some of Biosign’s existing solutions, including its Cloud Diagnostics™ tech and Pulsewave™ health monitor, and run with ’em. “Our software can already assist doctors to screen for hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart arrhythmia. So, competing for the XPRIZE takes us further down our technology road map — we hope all the way to victory!”

    CloudDX’s health monitor

    Danvantri (Chennai, India)

    Team Danvantri derives its name from the god of Ayurvedic medicine who also serves as physician to the Hindu divine. Led by Sridharan Mani, Danvantri’s members have over 200,000 man-hours of experience in IT and embedded systems. “We hope to create a platform for transforming healthcare, making health a part of individuals’ daily lives, and helping everyone to stay healthy and fit independent of visits to clinics.” Their current device, which incorporates all-in-one blood pressure, temperature, and pulse oximetry, is awaiting clinical trials; the next phase will see the integration of ECG and blood chemistry analysis, among other things.

    Danvantri’s AMI Vitals Fit

    DMI (Cambridge, MA)

    Though it’s not strictly part of the requirements, Team DMI’s rHEALTH sensor has already been tested in space. Dr. Eugene Chan, founder and president of the DNA Medicine Institute and holder of over 40 patents, may simply be thinking ahead. “We believe that fundamental change in medicine needs to be driven by advances in technology. In particular, we share the vision that consumers are the best advocates for their own health, and when empowered, will be able to take care of themselves in ways that we have yet to imagine. This will ultimately lead to lower healthcare costs, better care, and longer lives.” The current version of the rHEALTH sensor is designed to assess hundreds of clinical tests using a single drop of blood or other bodily fluid.

    DMI’s rHEALTH sensor

    Dynamical Biomarkers Group (Zhongli City, Taiwan)

    The Dynamical Biomarkers Group hails from the Center for Dynamical Biomarkers and Translational Medicine at Taiwan’s National Central University. Their leader, Chung-Kang Peng PhD, happens to be the NCU’s Dean of Health Sciences and Technology, and has been working at the intersection of statistical physics and biology ever since grad school. Over the years, he and his collaborators have developed “several useful concepts and computational techniques, including the theory of physiologic complexity, and proposed the concept of dynamical biomarkers that can be utilized for disease diagnosis. These new approaches have a wide range of applications in multiple disciplines, such as mathematics, physics, economics, biology, and clinical medicine.” Appropriately enough, the Dynamical Biomarkers Group includes a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, medical researchers, physicists, applied mathematicians, computer scientists, and engineers.

    Team Dynamical Biomarkers Group

    Final Frontier Medical Devices (Paoli, PA)

    A surprisingly high percentage of patients in an emergency room aren’t in imminent danger; they’re just looking for a timely diagnosis and advice on what to do next, and they’ve got nowhere else to go. As an ER doc with a PhD in engineering, Dr. Basil Harris and his team, Final Frontier Medical Devices, is ready to do something about that. Their solution is called DxtER (pronounced “Dexter”) and combines a handheld sensor array with a tablet-based user interface and AI diagnostic engine capable of analyzing data, requesting further input, and arriving at a diagnosis. “I’m an ER doc; what I do every day is make diagnoses. That is my job boiled down to its core. I figure out, or at least try my best to figure out, what a patient’s symptoms mean and what has to be done. Our device is smart and simple, giving people the help and answers they need when they need them the most.”

    Final Frontier Medical Devices’ DxtER

    MESI Simplifying Diagnostics (Ljubljana, Slovenia)

    Straight out of Ljubljana, Team MESI Simplifying diagnostics combines members from Gigodesign, DLabs, the Jozef Stefan Institute, the University of Ljubljana, and MESI to form a Slovenian health technology powerhouse. Team leader Jakob Susteric founded MESI two years ago with the goal of creating medical devices that were reliable and easy to use, soon delivering a solution for diagnosing peripheral arterial disease. “We are proud to be one of the most successful startup companies in Slovenia and to be the youngest company in the country that has received ISO9001 and ISO13485 certificates. But we are the most proud of our goal to simplify diagnostics and bring it to a primary healthcare level, when there is enough time to react.”

    MESI Simplifying diagnostics’ prototype

    SCANADU (Moffett Field, CA)

    “Scanadu believes that our generation will be the last to know so little about our own health.” Led by former MIT Media Lab sponsor and One Laptop Per Child exec Walter de Brouwer, Team Scanadu operates out of NASA’s backyard in Moffett Field, nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley. The crowdfunding campaign for the Scanadu Scout broke Indiegogo’s “most funded project” record at the time, and Scanadu has been featured in the New York Times, Wired, Forbes, and Fast Company among others — many, many others. You’ve probably heard of Scanadu. ‘Nuff said.

    Team Scanadu

    SCANurse (London, England)

    Drawing on 20 years of experience working with pharma, biotech, healthcare, and diagnostic companies all around the world, Anil Vaidya founded Team SCANurse with the belief that “the time is right for a change in the way personal medical diagnoses are handled.” Holder of a Master of Biomedical Engineering from Rutgers, Vaidya is current life science advisor to the office of the Mayor of London and has a unique understanding of how global partnerships can help bring his vision of the future of medical diagnostics to life.

    zensor (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

    Team zensor has been developing wireless, wearable, non-intrusive health monitors for a decade. Based at Intelesens in Belfast, Northern Ireland, zensor is led by chief technology officer Jim McLaughlin and has various partners in clinical diagnostics and cardiology. “Consumers have become more and more informed on their own health — wearable fitness technology has established a firm niche — however, to date, technology has not been capable of supporting true consumer healthcare needs. The zensor team is passionate about delivering cutting edge technology tested for both accuracy and safety to support this demand.” Team zensor’s current device incorporates ECG, motion, and respiration algorithms; their next version will measure blood oxygenation.

    Congratulations, finalists! Now the real work begins. We’re expecting the first prototypes by next March at the latest, after which we’ll start the six-month consumer-testing phase. We’ll be checking in from time to time right up until the final judging and validation. Then, just in time for the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, we’ll award the prize in early 2016. See you in sickbay! Remember, that’s deck 12, section 28. Good luck!

    Jon Sung is a contributing writer for XPRIZE and copywriting gun-for-hire to startups and ventures all over the San Francisco Bay area. When not wrangling words for business or pleasure, he serves as the first officer of the USS Loma Prieta, the hardest-partying Star Trek fan club in San Francisco.

    STAR TREK, TRICORDER and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. Used under license.

  • California court denies Apple injunction against Samsung products
    The US District Court for the Northern District of California has again denied Apple a permanent injunction against Samsung products accused of violating three of its patents. Although the court and a jury found that Samsung did indeed infringe Apple IP — including the famous “slide to unlock” patent — the judge in the case, Lucy Koh, explains that Apple couldn’t show that an injunction was warranted. The ruling is related to one of the post-trial motions stemming from the second Apple-Samsung patent trial. Koh also denied any injunctions on products found guilty of infringing from the first

  • 5 Traditionally Male Jobs You Didn't Know Women Pioneered
    Today, women make up nearly half of America’s workforce, and counting. But even as women achieve new levels of success at work, some fields remain heavily male-dominated. Many of these occupations are seen as stereotypically “masculine” work, yet some of the gentleman’s club-type jobs we see today had early female influence.

    These five occupations actually have long, often-forgotten histories of women helping to pioneer their early days:

    1. The first computer programmer ever was a woman.

    computer geekss

    Today’s tech world is notoriously male-dominated, with women holding less than 25 percent of science, technology, engineering and math jobs nationally. And yet, the gentlemen of Silicon Valley owe a lot to the 19th-century founder of scientific computing: Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace, or “Ada Lovelace.”


    Lovelace collaborated with Charles Babbage, the so-called “Father of Computers,” and wrote the world’s first computer coding algorithm. Byron wasn’t the only foremother of computer science, though. During World War II, six women mathematicians, nicknamed the “human computers,” did most of the programming for one of the world’s first all-electronic computers. Women remained prominent in computer programming throughout the ’40s and ’50s, but their numbers decreased as the industry adopted a number of recruiting techniques that favored men in the late 1960s.

    2. For most of human history, women brewed those ever-so-manly barrels of beer.

    man toasting beer

    Today, women make up less than one percent of workers are employed in beer manufacturing. But evidence from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics suggests that women were originally responsible for brewing beer, which was considered a feminine, domestic task for centuries.


    Throughout Europe in the Middle Ages, women were masters of brewing, and many of these so-called “ale-wives” or “brewsters” used their talents to earn pocket money. With the industrialization of the 17th century, beer became a large-scale factory business, and those factory jobs were given to men.

    3. From 1916 to 1923, American women had more power in the world of moviemaking than in any other domestic industry.


    For decades, women have been completely outnumbered in nearly every aspect of the film industry. Yet, in the early days of silent film, moviemaking was one of the most female-friendly fields. Indeed, hundreds of women worked as writers, directors, producers and editors in the early-20th century, and many of their stories were only recently uncovered by Harvard professor Jane Gaines.


    Gaines determined that, from 1916 to 1923, women actually held more power in the film industry than in any other industry in the United States. (Unfortunately, 90 percent of American films made before 1929 were not properly preserved, so much of their work cannot be enjoyed today.) In fact, in 1923, more independent studios were owned by women than by men, a phenomena that Playboy dubbed the “her own company epidemic.” Then, as the industry became centralized, a few powerful, male-owned companies took hold, and women were pushed out of most of the available jobs. Meanwhile, several authors of important important early film history books ignored women’s films and achievements, and many of these influential women were nearly forgotten.

    4. Women were the original drummers.


    Today, percussion instruments are typically seen as “masculine” — associated with military marching bands or rambunctious rock stars. Yet, ancient artifacts and paintings reveal that ancient women were the original drummers.


    According to Layne Redmond, author of When The Drummers Were Women, the first-known drummer in history was Lipushiau, a Mesopotamian priestess. Drums carried connotations of birth and fertility and were sacred to women. Women played drums during religious rituals for about 3,000 years of human history. That all changed when the Christian church banned women from singing or playing instruments. Public performance of music increasingly became the turf of men.

    5. While the medical field excluded women doctors for hundreds of years, women were some of early mankind’s most prominent healers.


    Many women were highly-respected medical experts in ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. Throughout Europe’s early history, nuns frequently worked as healers, and some, like Hildegard of Bingen, wrote influential records of their cures and treatments they used, often in the fields of gynecology and child-birthing practices.


    Then, in the late Middle Ages, the church decreed that all doctors must obtain a university education. At the time, women were banned from attending university, and thus could not practice medicine legally. Those who practiced medicine were frequently prosecuted for witchcraft. After that, the medical establishment often ignored women’s contributions or attributed their achievements to men. For example, historians wrongly assumed that Trotula, a renowned 11th-century female professor of medicine, and author of a classic book on medicine, was a man — simply because they couldn’t believe a woman had written such an influential medical book.

    Even when women faced social and educational barriers to enter the medical field, they continued to heal those who could not afford doctors. In recent decades, women have made incredible progress in the medical field, though sexism still lingers.

  • How Magazines Are Shifting to Digital for Huge Revenue

    For Ed Loh, editor-in-chief of one of the most popular men’s magazine’s in the country, making the switch from being known as Motortrend magazine to just “Motortrend” wasn’t a conscious strategic decision, it just happened. And it happened because their audience asked for it.

    Loh didn’t start his career as a car guy, he was high school science teacher who had a passion for photography. With a little luck and a lot of desire for creating engaging content, Loh landed at a small car magazine until he worked his way up and into his current Motortrend gig.

    Two years ago he (and Motortrend) decided to dip a toe into the original content creator pool on Youtube. With all of their reader analytics and magazine knowledge they knew that cars like the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord were the best selling and most popular consumer cars. Thinking that they could build huge interest and attention around these icons they set out to develop an online web series around the concept. It failed miserably.

    They went back to the laboratory and started creating content experiments that they tested on Youtube and tracked performance. What they discovered was that their fans wanted to see eye candy. In other words, aspirational cars like Lamborghini, Ferrari, Porsche and BMW drag racing against each other.

    The spark of success soon ignited into a bigger flame. Soon original shows like WOT (Wide Open Throttle) were created and Motortrend’s Youtube channel gained thousands, then millions of subscribers in a very short period of time. Their shift from paper to digital was gradual but now that they are in high gear online, there’s no slowing down in sight.

    Motortrend is leveraging their newfound digital presence by partnering with brands to do integrated content and sponsorship, like their series Road Kill with Dickies or Holley brands. There’s a lot more under the hood to discover.

    Get Behind the Brand and watch the entire episode to learn more about building a community, creating awesome content that gets shared and more.

    As usual, Subscribe! to my Youtube channel to ensure that we can continue to bring you inspiring and insightful content for free. Tweet me @BryanElliott or leave a comment below to join the conversation. Thanks for watching!

  • How the Ferguson Protests Convinced Me We Don't Need Cell Phone Kill Switches
    California Governor Jerry Brown just signed a bill that requires all smartphones sold in California to come with mandatory “kill switches.” A few weeks ago, I thought the bill was a seemingly harmless piece of legislation that might decrease the number of smartphones stolen every year. I even wrote a blog post in support of the bill. I’ve since changed my mind.

    The events in Ferguson, Mo. that followed the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown made me rethink my view.

    What’s the connection between Ferguson and kill switches? Let me explain.

    As the executive director of CALinnovates, I advocate for the tech creators and users in California. When there’s legislation that would either help or harm my members, I make our voices heard in Washington and Sacramento. SB 962, the bill that mandates kill switches, seemed like a no-brainer at the time. Introduced by San Francisco-based State Senator Mark Leno, the bill requires smartphone makers to include technology in every phone sold in California that makes it possible to disable the phone remotely. If a thief steals your phone, you’ll be able to easily lock it down and the bad guy won’t gain access to your email, credit cards or passwords. As I wrote at the time, “The California law, while state specific, sends a strong message to would-be thieves… that curtailing smartphone theft is a priority.”

    As California goes, so goes the rest of the country. It’s absurd to think that smartphone makers will only include the technology in phones sold in California — so now, hardware manufacturers will essentially have to make the technology available on all future smartphones. The California bill states that users must be given the option to activate (or not) the kill switch technology. Similar bills in Minnesota, New York, Illinois and Rhode Island don’t offer users an option to make the kill switch inactive.

    There’s no doubt that mandatory kill switches will ease cell phone theft. As stolen phones lose their value on the secondary market and no private information can be gleaned, thieves will cut back on swiping phones. Even companies like Apple and Samsung support (or at least don’t oppose) the new law.

    So why do I now oppose it?


    Like the rest of the nation, I watched in horror over the last two weeks as protestors and police clashed in the St. Louis suburb where an unarmed teen, Michael Brown, was killed by police. Yes, there were some protestors who acted criminally and agitated for violence. But for the most part, the protests were amazingly peaceful. Images of men, women and children walking towards police with their hands up have left a powerful impression on those of us viewing the situation from afar.

    It’s easy to understand why the people of Ferguson – where 63 percent of the community is black but make up 92 percent of all police arrests – are fed up. It’s harder to understand the reaction from law enforcement. Using military tactics including tear gas, armored trucks and assault rifles, police helped turn Ferguson into what looked like a war zone.

    Journalists, who have every right to cover police actions, have been harassed and 11 were arrested. Police demanded reporters turn off their phones when they were lawfully trying to cover events as they unfolded. The situation got so bad that 48 news organizations signed a letter to the local and state police departments demanding they stop harassing journalists who were just doing their jobs. Social media via mobile phones is what pushed Ferguson onto the front page in the first place. CNN was still doing Lauren Bacall tributes when Twitter exploded with #Ferguson as people tweeted from the scene.

    The government’s quick willingness to shut down communications is what got me (and others) thinking about the kill switch. It makes it very easy for police to simply shut down all cell phones using the technology to stifle coverage and communication – basic First Amendment rights – in Ferguson.

    And this isn’t the first time we’ve seen police jump to shutting down communications in the face of lawful protests. In 2011, protestors were planning to stop subway trains in San Francisco after police there shot and killed Charles Blair Hill, a mentally ill homeless man who was armed with a knife. BART officials later admitted that they shut down the train system’s underground cell phone network when the protest was scheduled to take place in order to stop people from organizing.

    In the wake of that incident, Gov. Brown signed a bill last year requiring a court order before the government can shut down communications. The new California bill acknowledges that the law enforcement needs to abide by these rules before using the kill switch. To obtain a court order there has to be probable cause that mobile service is being used for unlawful purposes and that without shutting down communications, there would be an immediate threat to public safety. The communication interruption has to be narrowly tailored and it can’t last longer than necessary.

    But if the police decide that there is a real risk of “death or great bodily injury” and there isn’t time for a court order, then a unilateral communications shutdown is allowed.

    The intention here is clearly to stop communications between terrorists who are plotting an act of violence. But intentions can go wrong. I can see how police in a situation like the one we watched in Ferguson could have argued that there was enough danger to warrant shutting down cell phones.

    It’s too easy for the government to curtail our civil rights using the kill switch, even if that’s not what the state legislature had in mind. Governor Brown now needs to make sure the new law is used only for the right reasons – to deter theft. Hopefully, we’ll never see the police use it to suppress free speech.

  • FBI Said to Be Probing Whether Russia Tied to JPMorgan Hacking
    Russian hackers attacked the U.S. financial system in mid-August, infiltrating and stealing data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and at least one other bank, an incident the FBI is investigating as a possible retaliation for government-sponsored sanctions, according to two people familiar with the probe.
  • Nobody Is Buying Amazon's Fire Phone
    Amazon’s Fire Phone does not appear to be on fire.

    According to an estimate by Charles Arthur, technology editor at The Guardian, the world’s largest online retailer sold fewer than 35,000 of its new smartphones in the first 20 days it was on the market.

    To put that in perspective: Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5C and 5S devices within three days of the phones’ release last September. It’s not an entirely fair comparison, because iPhones are the most popular smartphone in the world and are available in more stores, in more countries and on more carriers.

    But 35,000 is indeed a very small number. Amazon itself has 132,600 employees, according to the company’s latest public filings.

    Amazon’s entry into the smartphone market comes at a time when the company is under intense pressure from shareholders to make a profit. Shares of the company plummeted after Amazon reported a loss of $126 million for the three-month period ending June 30, and the company told investors it could lose as much as $810 million this quarter. Just this week, Amazon said it would buy Twitch, the live-streaming video game network, for about $1 billion.

    Amazon would never actually give figures for how many phones (or tablets, e-readers or streaming media players, for that matter) it has sold. Arthur’s estimate, which he bases on an analysis of the phone’s web traffic from Chitika, an online ad network, and numbers from comScore, the analytics company, should be taken with a grain of salt. As Arthur himself writes, “Lots of caveats apply: this is a calculation based on two non-congruent sets of samples, though both are large enough to be robust.”

    Still, Amazon, which did not respond to an email requesting comment, doesn’t have a lot going for it when it comes to the Fire Phone.

    It got tepid reviews, at best. For starters, it’s just as expensive as a new iPhone or premium Android device, and not nearly as good. Although it’s based on Android, it has its own operating system. Therefore, many apps — such as Google’s popular suite that includes Google Maps, Gmail and YouTube — aren’t available for it. It’s also only available on AT&T, and unlike the iPhone, when it first came out and was only available on AT&T, the Fire Phone is not a product most people would switch carriers for.

    As I wrote in my review, Amazon is asking customers to sacrifice a lot to switch to the Fire Phone.

    Amazon also got into the smartphone game late — the majority of Americans already have smartphones, and 94 percent run on either Android or Apple’s iOS. Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system, which gets good reviews, has just 3.4 percent of the market in the U.S., according to comScore.

    That said, Amazon has put its huge marketing muscle behind the Fire Phone, hawking it on its highly trafficked home page as well as sealing delivery boxes with colorful tape promoting the phone.

    But even the power of the world’s largest online retailer doesn’t seem to be enough to sell the Fire Phone.

    Are you a Fire Phone owner? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Let me know at timothy[dot]stenovec[at]huffingtonpost[dot]com.

  • GoPro Fetch Camera Harness Lets You See From Pooch's Point Of View
    Ever ask your dog how his day went and not get a satisfying answer?

    Now you can know exactly what your pooch has been up to by outfitting it with a GoPro Fetch harness, which enables a camera to be mounted on the dog at two locations.

    The device lets you capture every lick, fetch and sniff from your pet’s perspective. And you thought there were already plenty of dog videos on the Internet. Now we’ll have pups making the clips!

    The harness sells for $59.99 on GoPro’s website. The Hero3 camera attachment will cost you about $200.

    The harness fits dogs from 15 to 120 pounds. Sorry, chihuahua and Yorkie lovers.

    dog dig

    h/t Laughing Squid

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  • Sheepdog Study Yields Simple Explanation For Dogs' Awesome Herding Ability
    When it comes to getting unruly livestock to toe the line, sheepdogs certainly know their stuff. And now scientists know how these incredible canines do it, with new research showing that they follow two surprisingly simple rules when herding animals.

    For the study, Dr. Andrew King, a biosciences professor at Swansea University in the U.K., fastened GPS units to a flock of sheep and a sheepdog. Then data collected by the units were analyzed in order to develop a mathematical model of how the dogs did their herding.

    “We had to think about what the dog could see to develop our model,” King said in a written statement. “It basically sees white, fluffy things in front of it. If the dog sees gaps between the sheep, or the gaps are getting bigger, the dog needs to bring them together.”

    So what exactly are the rules?

    1. The dog tended to gather the sheep when they were dispersed.
    2. The dog directed the sheep forward when they were aggregated.


    And in addition to showing how the dogs did their herding, the model suggests that a single dog can handle a flock of more than 100 sheep.

    “Other models don’t appear to be able to herd really big groups–as soon as the number of individuals gets above 50 you start needing multiple shepherds or sheepdogs,” study co-author Dr. Daniel Strömbom, a mathematician at Uppsala University in Sweden, said in the statement.

    King said the new model may prove useful in fields other than farming. Other applications, he said, include controlling human crowds and guiding groups of robots sent on exploration missions.

    The study was published online in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface on August 27, 2014.

Mobile Technology News, August 27, 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.

  • Lockheed Martin in space junk deal
    US defence giant Lockheed Martin is teaming up with an Australian technology firm to track space debris that can damage multi-billion dollar satellites.
  • Briefly: T-Mobile iPhone sale, Otterbox exploring buyout
    Starting on Wednesday, T-Mobile will offer a discount of up to $50 off the full price of all iPhones, according to a leaked internal memo. The offer will not affect subsidized iPhones, but applies to “device only” (no contract) sales. The discount will vary depending on the model and capacity, notes TmoNews, and is likely a reaction to recent price-cutting of contract phones by retailers like Walmart, which has dropped the price of the iPhone 5c to 97 cents and the iPhone 5s to $79 with a two-year contract.

  • Tunisia's first video games boss
    ‘I want to build something with a global reach’
  • Introducing Hyperlapse, Instagram's Latest Creation
    Instagram announced the launch of a new app on Tuesday that will allow users to easily make time-lapse videos.

    Hyperlapse, which is only available on iPhones for now, uses image stabilization technology to let users make videos that look as polished as their Instagram photos.

    In a post to their website, Instagram said, “Traditionally, time-lapse videos depend on holding your phone or camera still while you film. Hyperlapse from Instagram features built-in stabilization technology that lets you create moving, handheld time lapses that result in a cinematic look, quality and feel — a feat that has previously only been possible with expensive equipment.”

    Here’s an example, via Instagram:

    The app’s creators told Wired that they decided to make it a separate app rather than a built-in Instagram feature because they were worried users might just ignore it.

    Time-lapse has gained enormous popularity around the web in recent years. It works by capturing frames at a much slower rate than normal so that when the video is sped up, movements appear more dramatic and defined.

  • Where Is Josh Harris Now? Catching Up With We Live in Public's Star Prophet 5 Years Later
    Before Mark Zuckerberg ever got his first computer, Josh Harris, founder of Jupiter Communications, had made many millions in the tech world forecasting Internet trends and predicted that we would share everything online. In 1994, Harris founded Pseudo Networks, a website for live audio and video webcasting with shows ranging from space, to hip hop, from fashion to sex. However, this was years before broadband, so the size of the show was no bigger than a postage stamp. In just a few short years, Pseudo would grow to 50 separate channels and generate 200 hours of original programming per month. By January of 1999, Harris had leased two adjacent buildings on Lower Broadway in Manhattan which would become the site of “Quiet: We Live In Public” – named one of the Top 10 Art Installation’s ever by Art Forum – replete with 150 living pods, an 80-foot dining table, and a gun range. There were 110 surveillance cameras through the space, and every “resident” had their own channel through which to watch each other. Harris proclaimed, “Everything is free, except your image. That we own.” Still hundreds lined up for a spot, donning uniforms and answering 500 questions about the most private aspects of their lives. This live-in social experiment was Harris’ way of marking the new era he believed we were entering at the turn of the Millenium which he described as “Man Vs. Machine.” I was there filming it all and recorded data that proved to me more than anything how willingly we trade our privacy and our freedom for the connection and recognition we so dearly crave as humans.

    The resulting film WE LIVE IN PUBLIC chronicles Josh Harris before and for years after this bunker was shut down by the SWAT team on January 1st 2000, who perceived it to be a Millennial cult. The film is culled from 5000 hours of footage and shot over ten years. It won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009 and was acquired for the permanent collection at the MoMA NY.

    Over the last few months, the chinatown gallery Amy Li Projects has curated “A Quiet Summer” – a series of exhibitions by artists and former participants including Alfredo Martinez, Jeff Gompertz, and Donna Ferrato. On Friday, August 28th the exhibition will feature “The Making of Quiet”. This is my rough cut of never-before-seen footage recorded at the multi-level underground bunker as it was built and lived in during December 1999. Culled from hundreds of hours recorded in that bunker, it represents the highlights which were then whittled down to scenes that play in the feature documentary. It is the first time this footage has played publicly.

    But whatever happened to the greatest Internet pioneer you’ve never heard of? Harris had all but disappeared for years before WE LIVE IN PUBLIC came out, until we brought him back to the US for the premiere – he arrived in desert combat attire, eyes darting about in snowy Park City. After receiving the fan fare five years ago, Josh Harris slipped from view yet again…

    We found him recently while filming in Las Vegas for A TOTAL DISRUPTION (with Tech Cocktail and other companies that are part of Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project.) I was compelled to pause on my current ATD action and catch up with Josh at a boxing gym, to discover what he has been up to these many years and why Las Vegas is part of the plan.

    Knowing Josh as I do, I didn’t find it surprising when he told me that his time in Vegas is preparation for his latest project, Net Band Command, which Josh describes as a “Truman Show for everyone.”

    Here’s a short film we put together to bring you up to date.

  • Marijuana and Tech: Colorado is Now Ground Zero
    My oh my, what Colorado has done to turn the tables on America’s “war” on drugs.

    Having approved marijuana for legal sale, distribution, and cultivation, Colorado is leading the way in attracting all kinds of investors and luminaries who seek to cash in on this nascent industry, not just with dollars but also with disruptive technology that’s being developed by professionals of all stripes and colors.

    Think of agricultural engineers, technicians, food and science specialists; the marijuana industry casts a wide net, capturing different types who can contribute their expertise on the growing of a cash crop for which the sky’s the limit. Marijuana remains a Scheduled 1 drug, of course, but that hasn’t stopped the industry from developing in all sorts of new directions thanks to the majority voters who have approved medical and/or recreational pot in their respective states.

    Since retail sales began in January, the Marijuana Industry Group (MIG) estimates about 10,000 people are employed in Colorado’s marijuana industry, with thousands more being added each month. Behind marijuana production lies technology. Companies like Boulder-based Surna, a manufacturer of disruptive equipment for the cannabis industry, are developing patents to facilitate the aggregation of the industry, leading the way with their own proprietary services.

    “The approach is more synchronistic than people would imagine, and, as a result of that, we’ve been able to get some provisional patents filed that we think are incredibly disruptive and will be the technology that drives the growth of this industry,” said Tae Darnell, VP and General Council of Surna.

    Led by CEO Tom Bollich, a robotics engineer and co-founder of online gaming company Zynga, Surna has developed its own patented water-chilled climate control system designed for large marijuana production facilities. Darnell told me that Surna’s ultimate goal is to push the boundaries of the industry itself, maximizing yield and experimenting with different potencies and their health benefits.

    Cultivation of cannabis in the 21st century just might take off the way industrial hemp did before its production was shut down by the federal government. The times are a-changing, indeed. With more states on track to legalize cannabis for medical use, companies like Surna are looking to take advantage of this expansion and set the standard on such key issues as consistency, including food safety and the burgeoning edibles marketplace.

    If the federal government continues to take a hands-off approach towards states that choose to legalize medical and/or recreational marijuana, this could very well go global, creating new business opportunities for U.S. firms. Uruguay stepped up to the plate having recently become the first country to legalize marijuana possession, use, and sales. Canada recently opened up its medical marijuana market to improve upon the production of quality-controlled marijuana.

    “There is no doubt that the international and domestic markets are exploding, ” said Darnell. “Surna plans to do for cannabis what General Electric has done for the medical industry and other sectors.” Colorado wants to serve as a beacon for other states interested in embracing both marijuana regulation and the technology that is being developed to manage it.

    The U.S. is still fragmented in its policies towards marijuana with 23 states now openly challenging federal laws that have approved it for medical use. But the potential remains huge, hence the excitement surrounding this fledgling industry. I have no doubt that if and when the federal government finally comes down on the side of regulating marijuana that we will one day see commercially available cannabis products nationwide.

    Some of these brands will assuredly begin trading on the stock exchange, and before you know it, you’ll be standing in line waiting to order your Blackberry Kush-infused latte, or Purple Urkle smoothie.

  • 3 Best Practices to Drive Mobile Engagement With Push Notifications
    Driving consumer engagement in apps has become a top challenge for mobile marketers and developers. Because it’s so expensive and difficult to get noticed on the App Store in the first place, making sure you engage any consumer who has already downloaded your app is essential. On mobile phones, “push notifications” are one of the best and most cost effective ways to keep your users to keep using your app. Push notifications are alerts sent to a smartphone’s home screen on behalf of an app. You’ve probably noticed them on your own phone – they pop up when you get a new email, a friend makes an update on Facebook or your crops are ready to harvest on Hay Day.

    And while they’re effective at increasing user engagement, you have to be careful not to turn users off by over-communicating or sending notifications for the wrong reasons. To help you get the most out of your push notification program, here are some best practices I’ve learned by managing notifications for many different apps, including during my time at Facebook.

    Best practice #1: set up a baseline & key metrics.

    Push notifications primarily drive user engagement. Send too many and you risk upsetting users and getting them to ignore your most important messages. Send too few and you’re missing out. To find the right balance, it’s important to map out the effectiveness of your notifications.

    – Create an inventory of key consumer events throughout your engagement funnel. Do each event generate a notification?

    – For each notification type, map out how many are sent vs. how many users act on. Is there a positive correlation between volume sent and Click-Through Rate (CTR)?

    – Link push notifications to your topline engagement KPI. How does push notifications affect Daily/Weekly/Monthly Active Users (DAU, WAU, MAU)?

    Best practice #2: personalize by smartly promoting, aggregating and cutting.

    Once you’ve created this baseline, your next step is to work on improving your key metrics. Your most engaged users likely have different needs and expectations when it comes to what notifications they receive.

    – Your most engaged users will need predictability. Unless you notice that sending this group too many notifications negatively affects engagement, you will need to make sure that they receive notifications quickly and reliably. Notifications that are location and/or time sensitive are the ones to prioritize.

    – The bulk of your users will be interested in what is both important and urgent. While you want to make sure to push notifications that are both urgent and important to your users, you might consider aggregating some types of push notifications, and cutting off the one that get less than 5-7% CTR.
    – You may be able to win back lapsed users with the right notifications. They might not be active enough to trigger product-related notifications, so you will want to test some retention notifications that will bring them back.

    Personalizing push notifications is an ongoing effort that requires supporting A/B testing infrastructure. A key element to test is the copy, which should be specific and include a clear call-to-action.

    Best practice #3: maximize push deliverability with a platform approach.

    Your efforts to deliver quality push notifications will be wasted if your users opt out of receiving them, a significant risk especially on iPhones. Here’s how you can maximize push deliverability:

    – Educate users on the benefits of receiving push notifications. Give them opportunities to understand what’s in it for them and to change their mind if they have opted out of receiving them.

    – Leverage the capabilities of new push platform releases, such as embedded pictures, in-line responses, etc. This may mean that you adjust your KPIs because some users will be able to stay engaged without even having to launch your app.

    – Set up a reliable push infrastructure to ensure that push notifications get delivered no matter the platform (iOS, Android, etc.) and the carrier (AT&T, Verizon, etc.)

    Push notifications are powerful drivers of mobile engagement. By setting clear goals and metrics, personalizing and maximizing deliverability, you can make a significant impact.

  • Journalism Uber Alles

    Yesterday it was announced that David Plouffe, former campaign manager for Barack Obama (among other things) was joining Uber, the taxi app, as a “campaign manager” there as well, to build out the potential of the brand.

    It’s a good move for Plouffe. Uber was recently valued at $18 billion. That’s pretty good for a taxi app.

    I have used Uber and I like it. A lot.

    Living in Manhattan, there were times, like at the notorious 4:30 shift change, when it was just about impossible to get a cab. Uber has solved this problem forever. Also, the cars are cleaner, the billing is done behind the scenes and the drivers all remarkably seem to know where they are going — unlike many NYC cab drivers.

    Uber is but the latest success in the use of crowd sourcing married to an iPhone to solve a problem (and create a very valuable company in a very short period of time).

    If you take a look at the most successful companies that are purely derivative of the web (as opposed to old companies that have been jammed into the web), you get an interesting (and very valuable) list:


    The list goes on and on. And so do the zeros attached to the valuations.

    But all of these companies have one thing in common. They are all 100 percent driven by what we might call User Generated Content. That is, all of their “guts” are created not in an office or by employees, but by ‘regular people’ simply putting ‘stuff’ into the iPhones. Uber is no different.

    At the same time as these companies are reaching astronomical valuations (and more are being added all the time), older companies are fast going out of business.

    I am particularly concerned with the journalism business (as a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism). When I graduated, journalism was a hot ticket. There were lots of places to go to work. Today, there are few and even they are evaporating fast. Last week, Clay Shirky published what is pretty much the death knell for newspapers. Television news is probably 10 years behind papers, if not fewer.

    Can we save journalism?

    Most solutions I have read so far come down to the NPR model. Which is not a business, interesting though it is.

    I began to wonder if would be possible to use the UBER model for journalism. After all, if it is good enough to call a taxi, isn’t it good enough to call up information?

    There are an estimated 1.4 billion smart phones in circulation around the world.

    While most major media companies look at smart phones as a place where you can read The NY Times or access Facebook, they are also what I would call “nodes of content creation.” (Where do you think all the Tweets come from? And who do you think is making them?)

    Is it then not possible use these 1.4 billion phones to do more than send out tweets or order up taxis?

    Could we create a reversed kind of news organization — one in which the content flows not to your smart phone, but from it?

    Could we enlist even a small percentage of those 1.4 billion people all over the world to put journalism into the system instead of taking it out?

    Could we create an Uber for news and information? A Facebook for content? An Instagram for photos of more than what we had for lunch?

    I think so.

    A world without journalism would not only be a poorer place, it would be a very dangerous place.

    Clearly, we can’t depend upon newspapers or even television or radio news to keep us informed. Those models can’t turn a profit. They have almost no value.

    But Uber does.

    And if Uber is worth $18 billion, what could an app that gathered and aggregated news and information on a second by second basis from a billion sources all over the world all the time be worth?

    A lot?


  • Apple Said To Prepare New 12.9-Inch IPad For Early 2015 – Bloomberg
    Apple Inc.’s suppliers are preparing to manufacture the company’s largest-ever iPad, with production scheduled to commence by the first quarter of next year, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

  • eBay State Map Reveals All Your Neighbors' Quirky Shopping Habits (And Yours, Too)
    While you’d like to blame that compulsive purchase of rainbow-colored Adirondack chairs on a moment of mid-winter delirium, the state where you live might actually offer more insight on your shopping habits.

    According to an infographic created by eBay, the items people purchased the most over the last year can be categorized by state. Virginians, for example, have purchased their share of patio and gardening supplies, while their neighbors in North Carolina are racking up on baby gear. We’re partial to vintage home decor (though eBay has our home state of New York pegged otherwise) and it appears that Arkansas and Illinois residents are into decorating, too.

    Check out what your neighbors are buying in the infographic below.

    ebay state map

    h/t Mashable

  • Netflix Actually Won Big At Last Night's Emmys
    By one very important measure, Netflix looked like a big loser at Monday night’s Emmy Awards.

    The streaming network had been nominated for 31 Primetime Emmys, but walked away from the most important categories empty-handed. The company reportedly spent more than $100 million to produce its marquee original shows “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black,” which were bested by “Breaking Bad” and “Modern Family” in the Outstanding Drama and Comedy series categories, respectively.

    The New York Times hailed last night’s awards show as “a win for broadcast and cable television,” which is widely considered to be having a sort of new golden age.

    Yet not all is lost for Netflix. The Emmys are basically a huge marketing opportunity for television, prompting people to watch shows they may have missed the first time around. New audiences are likely to watch Emmy winners like “Sherlock,” “Scandal,” “Louie,” “American Horror Story” and, of course, “Breaking Bad,” which scored five Emmys Monday night — so a good night at the Emmys, driving demand for quality programming, could send new customers to Netflix.

    And perhaps even more importantly, Netflix helped to create that good night at the Emmys. The service, which allows people to catch up on past seasons of shows, also helps keep great programming in circulation.

    Netflix doesn’t release viewership data, but third-party researcher SimilarWeb said that “Breaking Bad” was the most popular show on Netflix last year. Vince Gilligan, the show’s creator, has even attributed the success of his show about a high school science teacher-turned-meth dealer to Netflix. “I think Netflix kept us on the air,” he told reporters after last year’s Emmy Awards, according to Variety. “Not only are we standing up here (with the Emmy), I don’t think our show would have even lasted beyond Season 2 … It’s a new era in television, and we’ve been very fortunate to reap the benefits.”

    That new era of television has dawned in part because technology allows consumers to watch — and binge-watch — whenever they want. Consumer time spent watching video on the Internet — through Netflix, YouTube, HBO Go, Amazon Prime Instant Video, and Hulu — is up 54 percent this year, according to Nielsen.

    Many popular new shows, including “House of Cards,” “Mad Men” and “True Detective,” have succeeded in part because viewers can pause, rewind and watch multiple episodes in one sitting from almost anywhere.

    That ubiquitous availability has also helped HBO’s hit shows and movies, including Emmy winners and nominees like “Game of Thrones,” “Silicon Valley,” “Veep” and “The Normal Heart.” HBO Go, HBO’s streaming platform, has grown 40 percent in the last year to 11.3 million registered accounts in the U.S.

    Broadcast networks like NBC and ABC have also joined the trend, making current seasons of their shows available on-demand, according to USA Today. Rentrak, a media measurement company, says that video-on-demand viewership is up 122 percent since 2010.

    Investors didn’t seem to mind that Netflix didn’t win awards in the major categories Monday night (to be fair, the company took home seven awards). The stock closed Tuesday at $479.36, near its all-time high.

  • Geezer Masters Techno-Speak

    Technology, for anyone born after 1980, is part of your language. But the rest of us? It’s like learning to speak in tongues. And learning curves do not always move smoothly upward.

    Suppose you grew up thinking a drop down window simply had a broken sash cord — if you were born after 1980 you probably don’t know what sash cords are anyway — and right click was something you did with castanets? And your brain is wired to hit the return lever at the end of every line, but you’re suddenly supposed to know where the tool bar with the back button is, and you thought a back button was something that fastened to a loop at the top of your blouse? You get the picture.

    Well, no, you don’t get the picture, that’s the problem.

    Getting the picture onto the blog post takes us right back to the language issue: We know those free-use illustrations are out there, but where and how to find them and — more to the point — how to get them from Point A (wherever they are) to Point B (above) is hidden in the mystery language of WordPress and the internet. Friends, some born after 1980, try to help, clicking through drop-down windows and navigating mysterious boxes with astonishing lack of success. This writer’s learning curve, meanwhile, flatlines.

    Enter my techie friend Ryan. He was born before 1980 but not that long. Ryan speaks WordPress.

    All you have to know, he explains, is to Google the topic, click on Images, make the magic Usage Rights appear by clicking on the Search Tools, save to your Desktop (which used to be a flat pine surface.) Then on your WordPress dashboard (which used to be in the car) click Edit on the screen below Title, click once on the photo, which brings up the magic pencil, which will lead you to the boxes, and more pencils and a few more choices. Simple. Of course. (I admit to cheating a little, taking notes on an old-fashioned sheet of paper.)

    Here’s the bottom line: an illustration for this post appears above. Even geezers can learn.

  • Technology and Marketing Battling for C-Suite Supremacy
    For the past 20+ years, there may have been no two positions in an organization more disconnected than marketing and technology.

    Even as companies began to take on marketing automation and tools for email marketing, social media and other marketing activities, it wasn’t at all uncommon for marketing to manage their tools while IT put their focus on other things.

    For the most part IT made sure core business systems were running. From the server to the edge, it was the responsibility of a companies IT to make sure that peoples day-to-day applications like CRM, ERP and their basic email, word processing and phones all were up and running.

    Of course this was at a time when companies owned everything. The software and hardware were company issued, and it was rare that anyone was using their own devices extensively to do their daily work. (See also: Blackberry)

    Today that is all different. No longer are these two positions living in a vacuum only speaking when someone cannot get their email to load. Today the two are working together everyday as the tools and applications that drive marketing are being found in the cloud, on mobile devices and in pockets of an organization where the IT department has little to no awareness of their use.

    Executives Jockey For Position

    As the technology use case evolves, it has become almost impossible for the IT team to control the use of company assets let alone people’s own devices.

    Tools like Yammer evolved out of necessity as teams looked for simpler faster ways to collaborate. With sharing and document management often being a pain on a local device, many people turned to dropbox or other inexpensive free applications to manage their storage. Rarely taking any consideration to whether or not these applications were “IT Approved” or even private for that matter.

    But with earnings and revenue taking precedent it was often that leadership turned a blind eye and responded only to what helps us drive results fastest? And if working off of an ipad on a rogue application made employees more productive then perhaps it isn’t worth the energy to eradicate it?

    The movement has now grown more feverish and with productivity and connectivity applications available widely via the cloud, companies are rethinking who controls technology and this is bringing question to who should have control.

    If IT were to control it then the focus would be on policy, management, and systems, which is good for consistency but often preventative when it comes to expediency. Marketing however may be too likeliy to act with blinders on seeing only the path to faster bottom line results leaving them to break things and potentially create messes that IT will later have to clean up.

    It is because of this that business IT leaders and Marketing leaders are coming to a head about where the future of technology lies. With tech being both critical and operational it would seem more important that the controls are in place, but there is an obvious shift that says control may not be possible if speed of change is a desired outcome?

    The best solution may be collaboration, but with such vastly different views, you wonder if that is even possible. I mean, doesn’t somebody have to have the final say?

    A Trend That Impacts Businesses Large and Small

    For most small companies, there may not be anyone walking around with the title of CMO or CIO. They may be Marketing Director or IT Manager or perhaps VP of Marketing and the Director of IT. Regardless of title, these two positions exists within most companies, but their purpose has changed infinitely form where they started.

    With the role of the CIO today being more about technology enablement as cloud, BYOD and consumerization continue to drive disruption technology, it is more important than ever before that the power suite that drives a companies tech and marketing are working collaboratively.

    Technology is no longer just the hardware and software that empowers a business. It serves as the epicenter of how we connect, communicate and collaborate. Integrated applications and workflow design are going to closely mirror customer acquisition and retention and it is because of this that the person(s) responsible for technology in the organization will need to be tied at the hip with those responsible for brand awareness, business development and of course revenue.

    So will there be a winner in this race or will the intersection of technology and marketing be only as successful as the collaboration that takes place between those responsible for the infrastructure and those driving customer demand?

    One thing is for sure, the silos have come down and in the future the way we use technology will be more impactful than ever before on who makes the decisions about the what, how and when it is adopted within the organization.

  • Facebook to Fix Security Issue in iOS App
    Facebook has announced that it will soon be publishing an update to its iOS app, which will fix a flaw in the program that allows phone calls to be made without the user’s knowledge or consent.

    So, the downloading and use of a Facebook App could create security threats? Who’d have thunk it? Oh, wait…I could, and did right here on Huffington Post.

    Last December I posted an article calling out the Android permission settings on the Facebook Messenger app and others like it. I highlighted the threat that the “without your permission” stipulation, among others, could open the door for malicious third party software or hackers to gain access to your smart phone.

    The article created quite a stir when it went viral last month when Facebook began removing the IM function from within its social networking app. For the most part, readers shared my concern; however, a select group of self-proclaimed tech geeks suggested that I was misinforming people and that I was just paranoid. Others pointed to the fact that the permission settings were specific to Android and that the sandboxing offered on Apple’s iOS would prevent such unauthorized access from occurring.

    Was I really paranoid? Are security issues only possible on Android apps thanks to the manner in which it manages permission settings? Well, earlier this week Andrei Neculaesei, a developer at Copenhagen-based Airtame, discovered a dangerous bug in the Facebook iOS app’s programming that might cause potentially expensive calls to be made with your iPhone, without requesting your permission.

    Neculaesei shares how the bug works on his blog where he explains that there’s a potential for your iPhone’s calling function to be hijacked when you click on a web link. He calls the bug “some sneaky-beaky-like JavaScript,” which makes the links embedded in websites click themselves.

    The threat could be even bigger. Neculaesei predicts that the vulnerability in theses apps could automatically transmit a video feed to attackers when clicking on a link within Facetime, for example. Facebook has announced that it has already developed an update to address the security threat; however, a release date has yet to be listed as of the date of this post.

    Are We Right to be Paranoid?

    My security concerns over our increasing use of mobile apps, for which we rarely read the permission settings or terms of service, were met with harsh criticism by some who said I was wearing a tinfoil hat and breeding paranoia.

    I hate to say “I told you so” but, well, there it is. One of the potential threats I feared has come to life.

    Will there be others? Of course there will.

    Should you delete all your mobile apps? Of course not.

    What we should do is start taking the time to read the fine print before we download apps that request access to our phone’s data and functionality, and really consider if the app’s utility is worth the potential security risks that may come with using it.

    Next, we must put more pressure on app manufacturers to be clearer and more specific about how and why they need to access certain data and functions on our phones, and offer limitations on how that data will used once collected.

    Finally, we must start to insist that they add greater safeguards to protect our data or we’ll stop downloading them.

    What say you? Are you at all concerned about the increased threat posed by the permission settings and/or terms of use we accept when downloading modern apps?

  • This App Could Help Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits
    There are numerous apps out there to help adults track their food consumption and lose weight, but what about an app that helps children develop healthier eating habits?

    Joanna Struber joined HuffPost Life host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss the kid-friendly food tracking app she founded, Kurbo.

    “Food tracking is a great way to pay attention to what you’re eating and to make healthier choices,” said Struber, “but they’re based on calories, and calorie counting is not safe for kids; we don’t want them to focus on calories, we want them to focus on eating healthy foods.”

    While her own son struggled with weight issues, Struber knew it was time to create something to help him, and other kids, develop healthier eating habits.

    “I needed a tool, I needed something he and I could do together that would help us make better choices in our home,” explained Struber. “I also needed to understand better what he was eating, and by the time your child is 13 you don’t actually know what they’re eating when you’re not with them, so this is how he was recording it.”

    Struber’s son was able to reduce his BMI and create a healthier lifestyle thanks to Kurbo’s ability to empower and coach kids to make their own decisions, while holding them accountable.

    “Part of the problem that kids have is they don’t want to do what their parents tell them to do,” noted Struber. “So instead, the phone becomes the coach and we give them feedback and suggestions both live and through texting on how they can make healthier choices and do a better job of managing what they are eating.”

    To hear more of the conversation, watch the full HuffPost Live segment here.

  • This Is Uber's Playbook For Sabotaging Lyft | The Verge
    ‘Brand ambassadors’ with burner phones and credit cards attempt to #shavethestache
  • Virtual Reality Could Help Teach Sustainable Habits, Change Long Term Behavior
    nature virtual reality

    This story originally appeared on Mother Nature Network.

    The New Forest National Park in England recently opened a Tech Creche, a service that allows children and adults to leave their cellphones and tablets behind, and instead immerse themselves in the sights, sounds and smells of nature. On the one hand, it sounds like a great way to combat tech addiction. With so many headlines warning of smartphones turning kids into zombies, and perhaps even increasing risky sexual behavior, the idea of forcing kids and adults alike to take a break from their screens seems like a perfectly healthy thing to do. That’s especially true if it encourages them to appreciate nature more.

    Some educators, researchers and activists, however, are pondering a different approach. Instead of forcing a choice between tech or nature, say these pragmatists, maybe we need to find the right combinations of tech and nature that can help kids get more immersed in their environment, and perhaps even inspire lifestyle changes to protect the world around them. (Even Sir David Attenborough is working on a virtual reality nature documentary.) That’s the focus of a fascinating piece over at the Smithsonian Magazine that looks at the use of virtual and augmented reality as a way to modify attitudes and behaviors in a more sustainable direction. The concept is even winning over skeptics:

    “I was initially not sold on the idea of augmented reality,” said cognitive scientist Tina Grotzer, a professor in Harvard’s graduate school of education and the co-principal investigator for both the EcoMUVE and EcoMobile projects. Grotzer spent several years as a teacher herself before heading to Harvard to research how kids learn, particularly how they learn science. Grotzer said it was the technology’s potential to drive home environmental science lessons that won her over. “With physics, you can do an experiment, and kids can see instantly what you’re talking about. With environmental science, we tried to do a decomposition experiment, but you set the experiment up and then 12 weeks later something happens. By then the kids have completely lost interest.”

    These ideas are of particular value when it comes to teaching about climate change, a problem of such scale and magnitude that it’s hard for any of us to to grasp or act on in our daily lives. Humans, after all, have evolved to deal with what’s in front of us — whether that’s a predatory animal, the need to feed our families or find a mate. Our ancestors might have eventually learned to store food for the winter, and most of us have at least some good intentions to save for our retirement, but ask us to act on threats that seem distant and remote and it is hard to stay motivated — especially if everyone around us continues with life, business-as-usual.

    virtual reality game changes attitudes about climateBy using virtual reality, researchers can immerse their subjects in seemingly realistic environments but tweak them to demonstrate and make tangible the impact of their actions. In one experiment detailed in the Smithsonian piece, for example, participants are asked to chop down trees in a pristine forest with a chainsaw. Researchers then follow how the experience impacts their paper use:

    When she leaves this forest, and re-enters the “real” world, her paper consumption will drop by 20 percent and she will show a measurable preference for recycled paper products. Those effects will continue into the next few weeks and researchers hypothesize it will be a fairly permanent shift. By comparison, students who watch a video about deforestation or read an article on the subject will show heightened awareness of paper waste through that day — but they will return to their baseline behavior by the end of the week.

    Other programs and platforms being developed include an MIT-designed game called Time Lapse 2100 which allow students to set policy parameters effecting the environment, and then watch how those decisions impact the environment over the course of a century. Another, developed by Stanford, allows students to actually “be” a piece of coral in the ocean and watch as the devastating impacts of ocean acidification unfold around them.

    Whether or not virtual and augmented reality applications can help change human behavior remains to be seen. It’s worth noting, however, that almost anything is worth a try at this point. Environmentalists have been preaching the same reduce, reuse, recycle mantras for the last 40 years, accompanied by worthy videos and speeches about the destruction we have wrought. The result, depressingly enough, has been ever-rising greenhouse gas emissions and a refusal in many circles to even accept the basic science of climate change.

    Time to try something different. Pass the sci-fi goggles.

  • A Needed Review
    As previously hinted at, President Obama has ordered a review of a Defense Department program that distributes surplus military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. This review, triggered by the civil disturbances in Missouri, will examine not only whether the equipment distribution was appropriation, but also whether proper training and oversight has concurrently been administered. In all likelihood, the review will expand to examine whether other federal programs, including the $2 to $3 billion in grants handed out annually by the Department of Homeland Security, have resulted in an “over-militarization” of police departments across the country.

    I won’t go into the merits of these programs, and whether the distribution/funding of military-type equipment has led to abuses of civil authority. The only comment I would make here is that it is often useful to remember why these programs came into existence (typically the result of concerns about police capability gaps following a traumatizing event like a terrorist attack or school shooting).

    Regardless of the motivation for the review I do think it is one that is sorely overdue; but not necessarily for the reasons that triggered it. Instead I think the review is necessary to help better clarify funding priorities so that state and local governments are getting the right equipment to confront the most pressing threats.

    One of the greatest challenges with equipping state and local governments is prioritization: are the most right threats being reduced by the equipment dispensed? Conducting such risk based analyses are incredibly difficult, particularly given the ever-changing nature of threats and the inevitable politics involved in who gets what and when.

    In my mind, the review will be successful if it helps distinguish the possible from the probable. There can be a huge gap between the two, and focusing on the 100 year event often leaves local communities vulnerable to everyday pernicious threats.

    Specifically, I am thinking about whether state and local governments are receiving adequate federal support to protect themselves from cyber-attacks. From I can observe, the answer is a flat no.

    We are basically 13 years removed from the horror of 9/11. Tens of billions of dollars have been spent in the interim ensuring that state and local governments have adequate resources available to respond to a variety of threats. Visions of chemical and biological attacks, “dirty bombs”, improvised explosive devices, and “active shooter” events have danced through the head of any number of public safety officials. And the result has been extraordinary amounts of equipment that can be bought using federal dollars or obtained through surplus disposition programs.

    Our law enforcement officers and first responders sorely needed equipment to combat those threats, and they in large part have gotten it. Now though, it is time to take a step back and determine whether the cyber-threat should be a higher funding/outfitting priority.

    Anecdotally speaking, I think the answer is a resounding yes. If you look the scale and scope of cyber-attacks, both actual and possible, the contrast with physical events is astounding. Hundreds of thousands of pieces of malware are being created on a daily basis, and any number of organizations face thousands of attacks per day.

    State and local governments are not immune from these attacks; some of the largest data breaches have occurred at the state level. Many governors have expressed concern about the need to improve their cyber security posture. Such worries make great sense – states hold just as much sensitive data on individuals as any other organization, and deliberate attacks designed to disrupt public utilities or even simple things like traffic lights could cause absolute chaos.

    Thus reviewing how equipment and money is provided to state and local law enforcement agencies and governments is an absolutely vital step as we build additional defenses against the cyber-attack onslaught. There will always be a place for providing police departments with equipment to respond to violent threats, but right now taking a step back to see how more can be done to protect against electronic threats is not only right, it is vital.

    Brian E. Finch (@brianefinch) is a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP.

  • Quick Start guide may show design, announcement date for iPhone 6
    French site Nowhereelse has published a photo of what it claims is the Quick Start guide for the iPhone 6. If authentic, the guide shows the layout of the device, including a sleep/wake button relocated from the top to the side, presumably because of the phone’s larger size. The date on the phone is also set to “Tuesday, September 9,” when Apple is generally expected to announce new iPhones. Past Quick Start guides have also used announcement dates.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • Mozilla launches $33 smartphone
    Mozilla, a company best known for its Firefox browser, launches its first low-cost smartphone in India, retailing for 1,999 rupees ($33; £19.9).
  • Homemade Hovercraft Is The Childhood Fun You Never Had
    OK, dads… the bar for awesome has just been raised. A father who goes by the name of “Papa” on YouTube has made a homemade hovercraft for his kids.

    And it looks every bit as fun as it sounds.

    Papa wrote in the description that he used a polystyrene insulation board, and also posted a clip showing his first effort at a homemade hovercraft.

    He appears to be using a rope to steer the thing. And while he doesn’t mention what the motor, ViralViralVideos says he used one taken from a hand vacuum.

    Papa is the MacGyver of dads.

    (h/t ViralViralVideos.com)

  • RBC: manufacturing cost rise for Apple heralds several new products
    An analyst with RBC Capital Markets has told investors that a strong increase in Apple’s manufacturing costs means that the company is gearing up for more than just refreshes of existing products. Amit Daryanani has noted that Apple’s component and manufacturing costs are up 18.5 percent despite generally-falling component prices, suggesting both Apple’s raised expectations about the success of the iPhone 6 (which may or may not comprised two new models) and the alleged “iWatch.”

  • Australian airlines grant phone use
    Travellers on Qantas and Virgin Australia will be able to use their mobile phones and other electronic devices during flights from Tuesday.
  • What your wi-fi reveals about you
    Wi-fi-reliant smartphones may be leaking information
  • This Is What People's Faces Look Like Immediately After Getting Tased By Their Significant Other
    Cue the Fifty Shades Of Grey references.

    While photographer Patrick Hall is (probably) no Christian Grey, he did recently set up a photoshoot where he asked people to pose for him, semi-topless, while their friends and significant others tased them.

    Hall admitted in a blog post that many people, hearing of the project, thought he might be crazy, or a sadist.

    “What I found most interesting about the reactions people showed while getting [tased] was you never knew how they would react,” Hall wrote. “Some people screamed while others were quiet. A few people looked like they were experiencing pleasure while others had the most painful faces I’ve ever seen.”

    As for the friends and S/Os doing the stun?

    “Most of them were excited to cause pain to their friend and only showed remorse immediately after executing the shock,” he wrote.

    Yup, sounds like humanity.

    Thankfully for everyone involved, the project turned out pretty incredible. This is what people look like in the immediate, split-second aftermath of being stunned.

  • Facial recognition v anonymity
    Will your face be used against you?
  • SpaceX Fail? Great!

    Congratulations are due to Elon Musk and his Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) for generating an amazingly cool explosion over Central Texas Saturday morning when an experimental Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) self-destructed after a launch anomaly. This temporary setback involved no risk to humans and followed an impressive number of successful tests on the path to dramatically lowering space launch costs via the development of a reusable launch vehicle.

    While NASA’s space shuttle demonstrated that an orbital spacecraft can be reused, and at least two other commercial firms are developing exciting new vehicles that can be reflown, these systems dispose of nearly all of the hardware required to put them into space in the first place. By accepting the long-standing assumption of a single-use launcher, they are locked into a cold war paradigm where every orbital launch is a $100 million event. Only SpaceX has been pushing to completely redefine the economics of space by returning the first and possible second stage assemblies and engines safely back to Earth. If perfected, such a system could reduce the cost of launching payloads or astronauts by an order of magnitude.

    Testing a truly new rocket has always involved failure. In fact, the development of any complex and innovative product should feature an iterative development process. By definition such a process is “failure driven.” As with learning to ski, if you’re not falling down you’re just not getting any better.

    However, rocket failures are exciting and highly visible in a way that most other products are not. How many secretly awful prototypes of the iPhone did Steve Jobs privately dismiss as “crap” before his team delivered the beautiful world-shaking final product? There were dozens if not hundreds of silent “explosions” in Apple’s hidden labs. Each time, Apple’s talented engineers analyzed their disasters and returned with a better product, or sometimes not. The agony of this selection process was hidden from view as it is with most great development projects. Launching thousands of pounds of material with explosive fuels and oxidizers affords no such luxury of silence and SpaceX must work in public.

    Risk-taking, failure and iterative development were key to the “Right Stuff” model that made America’s early manned space programs exciting, generally safe and enormously successful. The beloved Mars exploration program at JPL suffered a string of dramatic failures in the 90s before entering the current golden age of robotic exploration. While hindsight tells us how they might have been avoided, each disappointment was viewed as a lesson learned and the programs moved forward to ever-greater achievements.

    So, hats off to the team at SpaceX for taking big chances, something that has been missing from the orbital launch market and the government manned space program for years. I wish them many spectacular, and safe, failures in the years to come. Though not directly related to their manned flight program, NASA would be wise to place this event on the positive side of the ledger as they evaluate funding for the latest round of their Commercial Crew program.

    Greg Autry teaches technology entrepreneurship at The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He recently co-authored a report for the FAA Offices of Commercial Space Transportation entitled An Analysis of the Competitive Advantage of the United States of America in Commercial Human Orbital Spaceflight Markets. You can find him on Facebook.

  • Why Creating Content Trumps Face-to-Face Meetings
    On a recent Halloween, Caitlin Seida dressed up as Lara Croft, one of her favorite video game characters. Later that night, she posted a photo of herself to Facebook (see below). She thought nothing of it.

    Little did she know that while she was asleep the photo was spreading across the Internet.

    When she awoke in the morning, she quickly discovered the surprise. At first she thought it was funny. That was until she saw people’s comments (i.e., ‘Fridge Raider’ ‘What A Waste Of Space’).

    This story represents people’s worst fear on social media; posting something that seemed OK in context, only to later turn into the subject of viral shaming. What makes this story scary is that it could happen to any us.

    Our society is quickly moving from the broadcast era to the social media era and viral shaming is just one of the results.

    However, there’s an even bigger implication. You should be aware of it, because it has a much larger impact on your life than you may realize.

    The Medium Is The Message

    In 1964, famous media critic, Marshall Mcluhan, coined a phrase that is just as relevant today as it was when it was shared 50 years ago: “The Medium Is The Message.”

    What McLuhan meant was that the way content is delivered is actually more impactful than the content itself. However, we generally notice the impact of the content and ignore the impact of the medium.

    Much has been written about social media’s impact on our attention, happiness, and our existing relationships.

    However, all of these articles miss one big thing.

    The broadcast era created celebrities out of musicians, actors, tv and personalities. The social media era turns us all into microcelebrities. Here’s what this means for your life.

    The Surprising Power Of Tribal Ties

    In 1973, Mark Granovetter published a seminal study called The Strength of Weak Ties. Defying conventional logic, his research showed that weak ties are actually more influential in parts of our lives than strong ties (e.g. getting a job).

    Forty-one-plus years later, it’s time for us to consider the surprising strength of an even weaker tie, what I will call the “tribal tie.

    Weak and strong ties are people we personally know through one-on-one interactions. Tribal ties are people we don’t know, but who follow us (fans).

    Tribal ties are built by creating useful content (art, photos, articles, books, music, videos, social media posts, etc.). This includes everything from a photo on Facebook, a podcast on iTunes, a video on Youtube, to a long-form article on Medium. Your tribal ties are your fans who resonate with the content you put into the world.

    The professional implication of tribal ties is a large tribe of people who form the foundation of and receive the benefit of everything we do throughout our career. They help to co-create, fund, and spread what we release into the world.

    The personal implication is a richer life that attracts diverse perspectives and meaningfully impacts many thousands.

    Just as we all invest in our relationships with strong and weak ties throughout our life, we can invest in our tribal ties by creating content.

    Here’s why you should consider making that investment…

    Why Everyone Should Always Invest In Their Tribal Ties

    I know that this is a long shot, but does anybody happen to know a CEO of a NASDAQ or NYSE listed company?

    This was the beginning of a recent request I made to my Facebook network for our upcoming Empact Showcase event. I put it up as a last resort. I figured I wouldn’t get a response. Surprisingly, I got many within a few hours.

    Even more surprisingly, most of the people that offered help, including the person that ultimately helped, were people that I didn’t know or that I met in passing.

    Ultimately, Liana Taylor, who works at NASDAQ and who I met briefly after a speaking engagement in 2005, responded with the winning introduction. When I asked her why she helped, she responded:

    I felt that this is something where I could help. Honestly I didn’t have an end goal in mind. I love to connect people and help when I can.

    As far as why you specifically? I don’t go out of my way helping people who I don’t like or respect although if it’s a life or death situation, I would help anyone. After being Facebook friends with you for many years, I think I’ve gotten a peek at your character (or maybe you just put on a good show), which I like and respect. Given this, if there is something I could help you with, I’ll do it any day and don’t really need anything in return.

    This one example illustrates the power and serendipity of tribal ties when you consistently create and share content that reflects your character and shares your insights.

    The Amazing and Unexpected Scale And Impact Of Creating Content

    Over the past year, I’ve written extensively on the art and science of building authentic relationships. I’ve written about the power of everything from cultivating one-on-one relationships and making introductions to organizing dinners. I’ve interviewed many of the world’s top relationship builders and researchers and then applied what I’ve learned in order to share the most powerful ways to build relationships. Ironically, what I’ve found to be most impactful has been the act of writing itself.

    How could I miss something that was right in front of me for all along?

    The answer is that I never looked at writing as a form of relationship building, and it’s not surprising why. As I write these words, I’m sitting alone in my living room. It feels like the opposite of ‘true’ relationship building that I’ve grown up with; real-time conversation.

    However, I’m not sure that my 5-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son will grow up with this same bias. A lot of the communication in their lifetime will be through social media. Many of the words they write, pictures they share, and videos they upload will not be in real-time, and the recipients will be unknown in advance.

    As I’ve let go of my pre-existing definition of what an authentic relationship is, I’ve learned one important lesson. What creating content lacks in one-on-one connection, it more than makes up for in size, impact, action, and depth:

    • Content Scale Exponentially More Than One-On-One Relationships. There is no more scalable way to share who we are with the world than creating content. Each in-person meeting you have takes time to have and to upkeep afterwards. Content doesn’t. We don’t have to write a new article for each person we meet. Our tribal ties have the potential to be several orders of magnitude larger and more diverse than our weak and strong ties.

      For example, it likely that 10,000 people will eventually read this article. Let’s assume that the average person spends two minutes reading it. Timewise, that’s equivalent to spending over 8 weeks connecting with people one-on-one.

    • Even Though Content Isn’t Personal, It Can Be Life-Changing. Are there any books, articles, interviews, or songs that have changed your life? Sharing your insights and personal experiences can be deeply transformative for someone’s life even if you don’t interact with them personally.

      Because content is asynchronous, it gives us a lot of time to refine what we truly want to say and make sure it has the most impact. It’s taken me over 30 hours to write this article, and it will only take you a few minutes to read it. It is the culmination of many hours of research, interviews, writing, reflection, and feedback. There is no way that I could have spontaneously shared everything in a conversation.

    • Tribal Ties Sometimes Help You More Than You’re Closest Friends. Counterintuitively, sometimes the people who are closest to us, are not our biggest fans. One doesn’t have to to look further than the early stages of a romantic relationship to understand this. Someone in the courtship stage goes out of their way deepen the relationship in a way that the average married couple does not. In the same way, a superfan, someone who doesn’t really know us at all might be the first person in line when we release anything new or publicly ask for help on a project.
    • Content Deepens Relationships With People You Already Know. Writing has not only helped me build tribal ties, it has unexpectedly led to the dramatic deepening of my relationships in two ways. First, my writing has often preceded my first meeting with someone. This means that the meeting starts with trust and respect. Second, it has accelerated my relationships with people I already know. It has done this by helping them learn more about other parts of my journey and the lessons I’ve learned along the way that I might not normally bring up in conversation.

    The Invisible Tie That Can Make Or Break Us

    The increasing importance of tribal ties can be easy to miss. Most social media users are observers, so they’re invisible. However, underestimate these ties at your own peril.

    We often realize the power of our tribal at the extremes; when something we create spreads virally into a virtual shame storm or a positive story that deepens the network as was the case with Caitlin Seda.

    Caitlin’s story has an happy ending. After a period of shock and depression, she decided to write an article for Salon.com that actually became more viral than the original photo of her. In the article, My embarrassing picture went viral, she owns her experience fully, even going so far as to repost the photo. She ends the article with sharing her lessons learned, “But I refuse to disappear. I still go jogging in public. I don’t hide my flabby arms or chubby ankles for fear of offending someone else’s delicate sensibilities. I dress in a way that makes me happy with myself. And this Halloween, I’m thinking of reprising my role as Lara Croft just to give all the haters the middle finger.”

    The content we create will increasingly play a fundamental role in how we build relationships. It is often our first impression for people we’ve never met and our second impression after we’ve met someone for the first time.

    Face-to-face meetings will continue to be the best way to build deep emotional one-on-one relationships. However, creating content trumps face-to-face meetings for building tribal ties. People already understand the power of face-to-face meetings, but they rarely understand the importance consistently creating content. By creating useful content, we all have an opportunity to not only deepen our weak and strong ties, but also to build an entirely new network of tribal ties that play a critical role throughout our entire life.


    This article is the first in a series in how to create content that builds authentic relationships. Upcoming articles will focus on digital storytelling, how to share your unique insights, and how to interact with your tribal ties. To receive those articles, subscribe to Michael Simmons’ newsletter.

  • What does Amazon hope to gain from Twitch?
    Has Amazon overreached?
  • Tech Companies Offer Workers The Most Paid Parental Leave
    Any amount of paid maternity or paternity leave is still a luxury for most American workers. But some companies are doing better than others.
  • What Fitness Trackers Revealed About The South Napa Earthquake
    By Bahar Gholipour, Staff Writer
    Published: 08/25/2014 02:02 PM EDT on LiveScience

    It might be possible to know how many people woke up during the South Napa Earthquake that struck 3:20 a.m. yesterday (Aug. 24) by looking at their fitness trackers.

    The 6.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Northern California was the strongest to strike the region in 25 years. Data scientists at Jawbone, which makes the UP and UP24 fitness trackers, analyzed how the earthquake may have affected thousands of UP wearers in the Bay Area who track their sleep using the fitness devices, according to a statement from the company.

    The results showed that 93 percent of UP wearers who were within 15 miles of the earthquake’s epicenter — in the areas of Napa, Sonoma, Vallejo and Fairfield — suddenly woke up at 3:20 a.m. when the quake struck. [Photos: The Great San Francisco Earthquake]

    Farther out, about 25 to 50 miles from the epicenter in San Francisco and Oakland, only 55 percent of UP wearers woke up, while the rest seem to have slept through the shaking. In Sacramento and San Jose, which are 50 to 75 miles from the epicenter, 25 percent of UP wearers woke up, according to Jawbone.

    Even farther out, in Modesto, Santa Cruz and other places between 75 and 100 miles from the epicenter, almost no UP wearers were awakened by the earthquake, according to their fitness tracker data.

    The Jawbone UP is a wrist-worn device that can track users’ movements during sleep, and provides a record of the time they spent in bed, as well as the time spent in deep and light sleep. These records give users a ballpark estimate of their sleep quality and enable them to track their sleep patterns over time.

    The device also tracks people’s steps when they are walking, and that’s how Jawbone scientists know people actually woke up, and were not simply being shaken during their sleep by the quake. “Steps look a lot different than earthquakes,” Brian Wilt, Jawbone’s senior data scientist, told Live Science in a tweet. “We have to filter [people’s] motion in cars, trains, etc. all the time.”

    The Jawbone data also showed that it took people a long time to go back to sleep, especially in the areas that felt the shaking the strongest. In fact, 45 percent of UP wearers living less than 15 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter stayed up the rest of the night, Eugene Mandel, from Jawbone’s data science team, said.

    Email Bahar Gholipour or follow her @alterwired. Follow Live Science @livescience, Facebook & Google+. Originally published on Live Science.

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

  • Some iOS apps vulnerable to auto-dialing URLs, developer notes
    A number of iOS apps — including Facebook Messenger, Gmail, and Google+ — have a security vulnerability that could allow malicious parties to force an iPhone to auto-dial, observes Romanian developer Andrei Neculaesei. iOS supports a tel:// URI that can make a call automatically, even though developers are allowed to bypass confirmation prompts for the dialer if they want. Through a vulnerable app and the right web code, a person could potentially be tricked into dialing a toll number. A FaceTime variant could let someone capture images of a person before disconnecting.

  • Engineers Don't Make Jobs, Jobs Make Engineers: Politicians Got it Wrong Again
    Our politicians have been saying if we just get better grades in math, America will always be a leader in innovation even though all the things we invent are made in factories in China.

    But now we’re told that the inventors who got straight As want to be in China where all the factories that make the nifty gadgets are.

    This shouldn’t be a surprise. Anyone with first hand knowledge of what it takes to make things knows that innovation is tied to the factory floor, and when factories go overseas so go the workshops of innovation.

    Read the history of Apple and you’ll see how the personal computer industry sprang from defense industry assembly lines. Steve Jobs worked those lines in what is now called Silicon Valley and so did Steve Wozniak. Every capacitor, resistor and computer chip in the radar, missile guidance and avionic systems built in the South Bay was made in America. These components wound up in the electronic surplus stores where Woz scrounged parts for the Apple prototypes he built in the garage. Simple: No assembly lines, no spare parts, no garage inventors.

    The Wall Street Journal tells us now that China has all those factories, it’s in line to become a global leader in innovation (emphasis added).

    “China will be one of the most advanced research-and-development centers for the new convergence between hardware and software, given it’s the world’s factory,” said Annabelle Long, a director of venture capital for Bertelsmann Group.

    A new generation of Chinese inventors is taking advantage of the multitude of companies supplying China’s electronics industry.

    Proximity to that supply chain lets inventors tweak their pet projects at the factory itself, giving them greater control over the finished product.

    Bertelsmann has invested in Zepp Labs, a start-up founded by a Chinese engineer trained by Microsoft (in China). Zepp has offices and “teams” in Silicon Valley and China, but one can guess where the action is.

    “In China, the company has ‘a team on the ground to develop and manufacture its products,’ said Jason Fass, Zepp’s chief executive and a former Apple Inc. product manager. “Having that coverage has been enormously helpful.”

    And Bertelsmann isn’t the only Western venture capital outfit bankrolling China’s great leap forward into innovation. James Krikorian, an investor with venture capital firm DCM, told the Journal that China’s expertise in tech manufacturing gives it an edge.

    “Location is critical,” he said. “That can absolutely serve as a benefit to the market and spur local innovation.”

    Even American inventors are moving to China. Zach Smith, a cofounder of a 3-D printer company — the next big thing! — moved to China to be close to manufacturers like Foxconn, the Apple assembler. He calls it “paradise for a maker/engineer-type geek.”

    Let’s recap: American companies moved factories to China, then all the suppliers followed them, and Western companies moved R & D there as well. Now venture capital firms bankroll startups in China, and even the American inventors of “the next big thing” want to be there, too.

    Meanwhile back at the ranch, our politicians would have us believe Americans are somehow naturally pre-disposed, genetically or otherwise, to be the world’s innovators. If it’s not outright racist, it displays an arrogance based on ignorance of history and facts.

    The much-vaunted Yankee ingenuity that built our country sprang from a mixture of theft, thrift and a burning desire to overtake Britain. New England’s textile industry took off in the 18th Century after American mill owners offered a bounty to anyone who would steal British trade secrets for mechanized textile production and deliver them to our shores. China’s is running the same play, but it doesn’t have to offer a bounty for our trade secrets – they steal what Western companies don’t willingly surrender. And while the geniuses in Washington talk about strategic partnerships and “not falling into the trap of strategic rivalry“, don’t believe for a second that China isn’t as hungry to overtake the West as we were to stick it to Great Britain three centuries ago.

    Our politicians also still seem to believe production follows innovation, rather than the other way around, which is how it really works, as any engineer or even the Wall Street Journal will tell you. Nancy Pelosi and others talk about driving a renaissance of American manufacturing by training more engineers and developing “innovation clusters” around university research centers. Andrew Cuomo is big on innovation clusters as the cure for the decades-long decline of upstate New York following the offshoring of its heavy industry, and has proposed a $50 million state-run venture capital fund to help entrepreneurs commercialize university research. Besides the fact that 50 million is a mere pittance, the whole thing misses the point: entrepreneurial start-ups that commercialize basic research do not produce a lot of jobs. The greatest number of jobs – the source of wealth for most Americans – lies in the mass production phase of a commercialized technology, not in basic or even applied research. And, as we’ve seen, production does not follow innovation. In fact, investors nowadays essentially demand start-ups do production offshore. (It’s not fair to single out Nancy Pelosi and Andrew Cuomo; their views are shared by plenty on both sides of the aisle. Sen. Mitch McConnell even said “it’s not my job” to bring jobs to his home state.)

    Since from a purely profit-driven perspective, it makes sense to move factories, research, development, innovation and investment to China, one might ask: why do we even care if America is the innovation leader of the world?

    It only matters if we care about and believe in something called the United States of America. It matters if we care more about our own people, communities and country than another country, just as a parent cares more about her children than her neighbor’s.

    It’s called patriotism.

    But patriotism not very fashionable among the elites on both the left and right. They identify more with their Ivy League classmates from around the world than with the people in the town where they grew up. Some see patriotism as what bitter people cling to along with God and guns. Others, financial sophisticates and fundamentalist libertarians, can’t find patriotism on a profit and loss statement, so it’s irrelevant in the spreadsheets and theories they use to explain the world and everything in it.

    To sum up: Innovation follows production, not the other way around. Most jobs are in production, not innovation. If politicians truly care about American jobs and innovation, they should craft policies to ensure production stays in America. The rest will take care of itself: Our people will have jobs — and the know-how, tools and resources to invent “the next big thing.”

    But first, politicians have to forget about the “global economy” so beloved by their corporatist campaign contributors and just do what’s right for America.

  • Bill, Melinda Gates Donate $1 Million To Gun Control Campaign

    OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda, have donated $1 million to a Washington state campaign seeking to expand background checks on gun sales, bringing the total amount the campaign has brought in up to nearly $6 million.

    The donation to the Initiative 594 campaign was given Friday, but it was not made public until Monday, when it posted on the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website.

    I-594 would require background checks for all gun sales and transfers in Washington state, including at gun shows and for private sales. Under the measure, exemptions would exist, including gifts within a family and antiques.

    In a joint written statement issued Monday, the couple said that they believe I-594 “will be an effective and balanced approach to improving gun safety in our state by closing existing loopholes for background checks.”

    The large donation comes on the heels of fellow Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s $500,000 donation earlier this month. Also last week, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer donated an additional $1 million, bring his total donation to the campaign to nearly $1.4 million.

    Other prominent figures who have made large donations to the campaign include former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, who have given $580,000.

    A rival campaign, Initiative 591, would prevent the state from adopting background-check laws that go beyond the national standard, which requires the checks for sales by licensed dealers but not for purchases from private sellers. That campaign has raised just over $1 million so far.

  • Amazon buys game site Twitch
    Amazon buys video-game streaming service Twitch for $970m (£585m), surprising many after rumours emerged earlier this year that Google’s YouTube was in final stages to purchase the firm.
  • Ten Steps to Using Twitter in the College Classroom
    Like all college and university faculty, August means finalizing fall syllabi and lesson plans, and pre-reading articles for fall courses. For many professors, this process includes thinking (or rethinking) on how to leverage social media to engage students in the semester’s learning.

    At Rutgers, my fall Understanding and Designing Social Media Course is designed as a hybrid — the best of a well-structured, MOOC-style online learning environment with a robust schedule and structured activates from Tuesday-Thursday of each week, and a weekly, in-person meeting on Wednesdays.

    Having experimented with social media for learning — especially Twitter — across my courses, I am convinced that social media offers powerful opportunities to connect with students, by providing new ways for them to own the learning. But doing it well takes a good deal of planning and structure, especially if social will be part of your graded class activities.

    Below are 10 strategies and tactics for integrating Twitter into your college course.

    1) Assign a course #hashtag. The hashtag is the most basic of Twitter formalities. Assign your course hashtag early, include it on all of your materials, and reference your hashtag consistently to drive the culture of Twitter across your course learning. The tag should be short, catchy and relatable (bad example: #introcommunication101CFU). My fall course at Rutgers will tweet under #rusocial14.

    2) Provide Twitter training(s). One misnomer of the millennial generation is that they come to higher education with high-level social media skills. By and large, they don’t. The digital natives, the Instagram generation, the selfie generation — whatever label we assign — is born texting, tweeting and socializing on digital. But, like all communication skills, strategic use of social media is a learned skill. IF you expect students to live-tweet Ted Talks, learn to follow and engage with issues via Twitter, or even create critical mass around course discussions, trainings must be offered as part of your course. Mid-career students returning to learning, or continuing their education also, are unlikely to have used social media — especially Twitter — in a strategic context. These are important skills to learn in the context of a modern higher education.

    One set of progressive exercise I start my in-person classes off with is the following:

    Step 1: Have all students open the Twitter app on their phones or laptops while projecting Twitter in front of the room, monitoring the class hash tag.
    Step 2: Have everyone tweet one thing they would like to learn this semester, and remember to include the class hashtag. This allows everyone to see the hashtag string unfold in front of them.
    Step 3: Now, Pose a question to the class, via Twitter (again, using the hashtag) — like, “what is important about #Twitter?” Remind everyone to respond by including your twitter handle, and the class hashtag.
    Step 4: Have students find a response they like, and retweet it, first by clicking the retweet button, and then by quote tweet, spelling out, for example: RT: @llorenzesq “Twitter connects ideas” #rusocial14

    3) Demystify Twitter language. Once your students have done some hands-on experimenting, make sure everyone has the language and insight needed to grow their use of the platform. Taking a snapshot of a tweet, highlight the main components in front of your classroom, highlighting the handle(s), hashtags, links (shortened), and how and why each are used. I call this “the anatomy of a tweet.”

    4) Provide a glossary. RT, MT, PT, H/T, and some of the most often-used hash tags, like #ff, #icymi and others, can make a great one-slide glossary of terms to help demystify the platform.

    5) Determine Influencers. The key to the Twitterverse is figuring out how to find and pay attention to what’s important, and minimize distraction from the lunches, daily gripes, and assorted fluff that can flood your Twitter feed. Ask your students to do a web search (off of Twitter) for Twitter influencers + (insert subject of interest). Many bloggers have written about this, or preassembled lists of influencers. Students should return to class with a short list of twitter influencers in any field, and articulate why they are influential on, and off Twitter, and why.

    6) Integrate Twitter in Grading. In my fall hybrid course, students will earn points for participation in Twitter conversations on each unit of assigned reading. Initial tweets, and two replies are due at set times during the week, and students receive points based on quality of engagement. Remember to offer a rubric for your grades, so that everyone is clear on how excellent Twitter engagement is defined for the purposes of your class. Number of tweets alone is not enough. Rather, the engagement should be measured by several factors: tweeting out to others is the minimum expectation; replying to classmates, engaging with ideas, and connecting external resources is higher level engagement, worthy of full credit. Storifying (via www.storify.com) students tweets from a unit, and reviewing those together, in class, is a great way of bringing their ideas and communication skills into the classroom.

    7) Engage Your Guest Speakers on Twitter. Having a guest speaker via Skype, or in person? Provide his or her Twitter handle to your students a day or two before they address the class, and encourage your class to engage with the speaker before their talk, and to live-tweet during the conversation as well.

    8) Live tweet Lectures. I have found even the least talkative students more likely to engage course lectures and ideas on Twitter. Asking students to live-tweet your lectures under the class hashtag — either pulling out important ideas throughout the lecture, or simply tweeting a few of the main ideas after — provides a powerful tool for engagement. You might ask a question during your lecture, or end the lecture by asking students to tweet the one or two of the most important ideas, crowd-sourcing the answer live in front of your audience.

    9) Release course materials and resources on Twitter. The Hootsuite tweet-scheduling feature can allow you to schedule tweets at specific times during your class — so that an essay question, or an activity prompt is tweeted during your class.

    10) Ask what is trending. Whether running a course on K-12 education, modern history, civic engagement and community change, applied science, engineering or, in my case, social media, there is a conversation evolving on Twitter. Asking your students to begin some classes by answering the question, “what is trending?” gives students an opportunity to answer the question with examples, and an evaluation of why that issue or conversation is moving online.

    Higher education teaching must evolve, and we must meet students where they are, and where the future of the economy demands. While the classroom, lecture and podium will have an important role in higher education for the foreseeable future, even the most traditional of courses can benefit from smart integration of Twitter, and other digital tools. Whether integrating one, or all of these ideas, students will benefit from more opportunities to learn, and more opportunities to engage in what is increasingly the medium of choice.

    One caveat on all of this: When teaching millennials, a conversation about expectations for Twitter-worthy conversations, versus what should be kept to email is important. Your younger students, who live on this technology, may not hesitate in asking about grades and other issues in Twitter’s public space. This is all part of the learning.

    Future posts will explore additional aspects of social media and learning.

    Jason Llorenz, JD is a scholar at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, where he teaches courses in technology and social media. His research focuses on universal digital inclusion in the digital economy. Twitter: @llorenzesq

  • Grindr 'Tipster' Warns Users Of Gay Social App's 'Security Flaw'
    An anonymous user has reportedly been sending messages to Grindr users in countries that have anti-gay legislation or are otherwise known to be hostile to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens warning them of a “security flaw” within the popular social app.

    Although Grindr is often used by gay men to meet other men discreetly, the tipster warns users that they could be targeted, persecuted or even murdered as a result of the app’s location data, NDTV is reporting. The message includes links to a Twitter handle, YouTube video (which can be viewed above) and a Pastebin dump, according to the report.

    “Officials at Grindr have been informed several times within the past months about these issues, which would seem to imply that the concept of ‘social responsibility’ is lost upon Grindr,” the tipster, who is identified only as “a guest” on the Pastebin dump, writes. “Knowing that Grindr-Users in countries such as these are being put unnecessarily at a high risk should be reason enough for Grindr to change its system.”

    A Grindr spokesperson told HuffPost Gay Voices that the location data was not a security flaw. In addition, users who were concerned about the app revealing their proximity have the option to remove it.

    “As part of the Grindr service, users rely on sharing location information with other users as core functionality of the application and Grindr users can control how this information is displayed,” the spokesperson wrote. “As always, our user security is our top priority and we do our best to keep our Grindr community secure.”

    LGBT software developer Chris Ward praised Grindr and other geo apps for “revolutionizing” the way people were able to meet, nothing that they have “in many ways helped those in less gay-friendly areas meet those who are like-minded.” Still, he was quick to add that “there is always a risk.”

    “The answer is simple,” Ward wrote in a blog that was re-posted by Pink News. “If you don’t want somebody to know your location, don’t provide your distance or don’t use geo apps at all.”

  • Google Mates With an Emu
    When most of us hear the word “Google” we think search engine. When we hear “Emu” we think a big Australian bird with long legs that doesn’t fly. Put the two together however and you end up with something entirely new and frankly, rather scary. That’s because the Emu in question here is a company just purchased by Google that offers a brand new channel for Google to spy on what you do and sell what it finds, privacy be damned.

    I get that this sounds like a Chicken Little “sky is falling” metaphor, but sadly it is not. In fact, you might want to wear a hard helmet as you read on. Emu is, or I should say was, a startup with a cool mobile messaging app. Part instant messaging client, part Siri-type virtual assistant, the app can monitor everything you are talking about when you chat. Objectively, such an app sounds useful. It could be a great time-saver and a big help by offering useful suggestions. But that’s not the reality here, not when there’s profitability involved based on your private data.

    So what is really happening underneath Emu? The app uses an artificial intelligence engine to snoop through all your messages and then share what it finds to help you act on your messages. Like a well-seasoned stalker, the app does all this behind the scenes, letting you go about your day with no idea what is lurking in the bushes. All you see are the results that pop up as a result of your text. When you describe it that way, it sounds kind of creepy, no?

    Just to be clear here, Emu currently doesn’t use the app this way. But the technology was specifically designed to enable such a scenario. And after all, this is Google; the data hog that was fined $22.5-million for tracking Safari users in “cookiegate.” Clearly Google didn’t buy the company for what it is doing, but rather for what it can do, and that is to fill the “chat” hole in Google’s ad offerings by inserting relevant links and flooding you with targeted ads. In the end, that means a new channel for advertising based on a tried and true methodology of ignoring the privacy of what you share and with whom.

    Google is not alone in this endeavor. Last month, Facebook announced that its mobile app users would be forced to download the separate Facebook Messenger app in order to use the chat function. Foursquare just rolled out a new version that, by default, tracks your movements continuously, negating the need for a “check in” button. The story is the same, with the names, dates, and faces changed to protect the not-so innocent.

    At what point does this all end? Do we need every avenue we use to communicate and search online mined and spied upon? This is but another sign of large service providers seeing how far they can push before people push back.

    I truly feel that a shot heard round the world is on our horizon, one that pushes people over the line to take unanimous action. Companies big and small should reflect which side they are on and which side they want to be on in the aftermath. Those that choose wisely will be the ones who have true privacy and respect for their members integrated with their profitability models. Those that don’t, regardless of the size and space they currently take, will become a footnote in history and a lesson on how not to do business.

    As Emus go, this one won’t fly.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • Sony PlayStation hit by hackers
    Hackers shut down Sony’s PlayStation network and a flight carrying a senior company executive is diverted over security fears.
  • Star Wars Commander for iOS Review

    Star Wars Commander is the latest in the Star Wars franchise of apps from Lucas Arts that brings a tower defence style game to the Rebellion versus Empire universe.  Like many such games, the object is to keep your own base safe and secure while also leading attacks on your enemy bases to collect currency and materials to further upgrade and build your own base. This is where the game takes a twist.  In Star Wars Commander you can choose if you want to fight for the Rebel Alliance or if you want to take up arms for the Galactic

    The post Star Wars Commander for iOS Review appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • VIDEO: Will smartphones change shopping?
    Many people are familiar with buying goods online, but now technology can also play a part when shopping on the High Street.
  • VIDEO: Is video gaming a spectator sport?
    Video game fans descend on Coventry for the UK’s biggest gaming festival but is watching others play really a spectator sport?
  • Cybersecurity Insurance Still Requires Cybersecurity

    OpenSSL vulnerabilities are sticking around for a while. In fact, recently two new ones were announced: One allows criminals to run an arbitrary code on a vulnerable computer/device, and the other allows man-in-the-middle attacks. A more famous openSSL vulnerability that made headlines earlier this year is the Heartbleed bug.


    Might cybersecurity insurance be a viable solution?

    As reported in SC Magazine, Yes, says Hunton & Williams LLP. Cybersecurity insurance fixes the problems that these vulnerabilities cause—that technology alone can’t always mitigate.

    Hunton & Williams LLP reports that GameOver Zeus malware infiltrated half a million to a million computers, resulting in gargantuan losses to businesses and consumers. The firm says that antivirus software just isn’t enough to prevent mass infection. The fact is, advances in malicious code have rendered antivirus software frightfully weak, continues the firm..While not everyone agrees on this point, Hunton & Williams recommends a proactive approach which includes assessment of risk transfer methods, e.g., insurance.

    Laurie Mercer, from the security consulting company Contest Information Security, also believes in cybersecurity insurance. Mercer uses cars as an analogy. A car must stick to safety standards. The car gets serviced every so often. But the car also has various buttons and whatnots inside that can alert the driver of a problem.

    Likewise, with cybersecurity, products can be certified with commercial product assurance accreditation. A website can get a regular security audit every so often. And like the interior buttons of a car, a website can have a response strategy to a cyber incident or some kind of detection for an attack. However, the car should still be insured.

    At a recent SC Congress London, Sarah Stephens from Aon EMEA pointed out that cyber insurance is rising in popularity. But Andrew Rose, a security analyst with Forrester, noted that many threats can be resolved with adequate plans in place.

    Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to AllClearID. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video. Disclosures.

  • PlayStation Network Brought Down By DDoS Attack
    Gamers woke up to an unpleasant surprise on Sunday morning when hackers brought down Sony’s PlayStation Network by way of a distributed denial-of-service (DDos) attack.

    Sony tweeted that the problem was being addressed:

    Network update: our engineers are aware of the issues and are working to resolve them. We’ll keep you posted – sorry for the inconvenience

    — PlayStation (@PlayStation) August 24, 2014

    The company also confirmed the outage in a blog post, saying that there had been “an attempt to overwhelm our network with artificially high traffic.” On the bright side, Sony stated that “no personal information” had been accessed by the attack.

    Per Shacknews.com, Sony Online Entertainment’s servers and Blizzard’s Battle.net servers were also hit.

    A group called Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the attack. As Inquisitr points out, the group then indicated that the action against Sony’s servers wouldn’t stop until the U.S. ceased attacks on the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL):

    Kuffar don’t get to play videogames until bombing of the ISIL stops. #ISIL #PSN #ISIS

    — Lizard Squad (@LizardSquad) August 24, 2014

    Today we planted the ISIS flag on @Sony‘s servers #ISIS #jihad pic.twitter.com/zvqXb2f5XI

    — Lizard Squad (@LizardSquad) August 24, 2014

    Inquisitr also reports that Twitter user @FamedGod took credit for the attack after Lizard Squad initially claimed responsibility:

    Why must someone take credit of ones work? LizardSquad couldnt hurt a fly. Decrypting a memory dump and finding the server was all my work.

    — Fame (@FamedGod) August 24, 2014

    In an alarming twist, Lizard Squad tweeted that explosives were on a plane carrying John Smedley, President of Sony Online Entertainment:

    .@AmericanAir We have been receiving reports that @j_smedley‘s plane #362 from DFW to SAN has explosives on-board, please look into this.

    — Lizard Squad (@LizardSquad) August 24, 2014

    TechCrunch reports that the plane was diverted to Phoenix to have its cargo inspected, presumably due to concern over Lizard Squad’s tweets.

    As of the publication of this article, the PlayStation Network is still down.

  • Tesla Owners' Full-Page Newspaper Ad Gets Elon Musk's Attention
    Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Sunday that he would implement “many of the suggestions” floated by a New York couple who took out a full-page ad in a local Silicon Valley newspaper.

    The letter, signed by “two VERY satisfied Tesla owners” from Southold, New York, asks for the car’s cupholders to be moved forward, its center console to be redesigned, and sensors that beep to alert drivers when objects are close, among other requests. It was printed in the Palo Alto Weekly.

    The couple also thought Musk could do a bit better in the marketing department.

    “People are fascinated by my Tesla, and my wife’s Tesla,” they wrote. “Promotion of your cars to the general public could only have a positive effect, creating many additional enthusiastic Tesla owners.”

    In response to the very public customer feedback, Musk tweeted a photo of the open letter to his nearly 860,000 followers.

    Ad taken out in Palo Alto Daily by two Model S owners is right. Many of the suggestions will be implemented soon. pic.twitter.com/cF43PvJDgQ

    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 23, 2014

    Tesla did not immediately respond to questions from The Huffington Post about which changes it would make or when it plans to implement them.

  • Apple May Give You A New iPhone Battery For Free
    Is your Kim Kardashian game draining your iPhone battery too quickly? You may be eligible for a replacement from Apple.

    In a post on its website, the company announced that it will replace the battery packs for free in some phones sold between September 2012 and January 2013. A flaw in a “very small percentage” of devices sold during that window causes the phones to suddenly lose charge and need to be plugged in frequently. The company started replacing the batteries on Aug. 22.

    To find out if you’re eligible, Apple has a serial number checker here. The company also said it would refund customers who have already paid to replace faulty batteries.

    But, Apple noted, don’t get all crazy and think it’s going to give you a freebie after you accidentally dropped your phone on the dance floor last weekend. Broken screens and other damages can make it difficult to replace the battery, so even if you’re eligible for a replacement, you might be on the hook for other costs, the company said.

    Apple did not immediately respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment on Sunday.

    (Hat tip: 9to5Mac)

  • This Seat Belt Could Stop You From Falling Asleep At The Wheel
    It doesn’t always get as much recognition as drunk driving, but drowsy driving is also worrisome and dangerous behavior. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that tired drivers cause more than 100,000 crashes a year, leading to 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths.

    According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, 45 percent of Americans said that at least once they have felt so tired while driving that they thought they might fall asleep at the wheel.

    But what if your car got that feeling before you did — and alerted you before you dozed off or crashed?

    That’s the idea behind Harken, which is a system of sensors in the driver’s seat and seat belt that measure breathing and heart rate. The system was developed by a number of universities, companies and technology centers working together in a consortium funded by a research branch of the EU, Mashable reported.

    The “intelligent materials” embedded in the seat belt and seat capture both heart rate and respiratory pace, which change when we grow tired. “[T]he variation in heart and respiratory rate are good indicators of the state of the driver as they are related to fatigue,” Harken researcher José Solaz said in a statement. “So when people go into a state of fatigue or drowsiness, modifications appear in their breathing and heart rate; Harken can monitor those variables and therefore warn the driver before the onset of symptoms of fatigue.”

    Some luxury car manufacturers have already begun experimenting with a similar idea, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

    According to the video above, Harken has been tested on closed driving tracks and will have to be tested in real-life traffic as well. Check out the full clip for more on how this smart seat belt works to fight drowsy driving.

    h/t auto123.com

  • Florida Citrus Growers Wage 'War' To Try And Stop Deadly Greening Disease

    LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) — The tourists stream to Florida in their cars, intent on a week at Disney or a sugar-sand seashore or a nonstop party on South Beach. Road weary and thirsty, they pull over at one of the state’s five official welcome centers. They walk inside, and then they look up.

    “The best start under the sun,” reads a big sign. “FLORIDA ORANGE JUICE.”

    Behind a counter, a woman sits with a stack of paper cups. “Welcome to Florida,” she says with a big smile. “Orange or grapefruit?”

    The juice is cold and sweet. It tastes like the Sunshine State.

    Once, emerald green trees bursting with citrus carpeted more than half of the state, from the northern reaches of Jacksonville and the parks of Orlando to the Miami coastline. Oranges, especially, have long been synonymous with the magic of Florida.

    Think back to those old advertisements touting OJ as a vitamin-filled glass of goodness. The dream of Florida as a tropical vacation paradise was cemented in Americans’ minds through such promotions. Today, the orange adorns the state license plate. There is even a county called Citrus.

    The people behind the groves have been among Florida’s most influential. The University of Florida’s famed football stadium was named after an orange magnate, and at least three of the state’s governors were citrus growers.

    Throughout the decades, citrus has stood strong — through freezes, hurricanes and rampant development.

    But now the $9 billion industry is facing its biggest threat yet, putting at risk the state’s economy and very identity. Blame a mottled brown bug no bigger than a pencil eraser and a disease called “the yellow dragon.”


    Have you seen those commercials that begin with a farmer’s leather-gloved hands opening to reveal a blossom that ripens into an orange? The ads are for Florida’s Natural juice, and Ellis Hunt Jr. is the man behind the brand.

    Tall and thin, wearing jeans and a plain white button-down with a Florida-honed tan on his 61-year-old face, Hunt could star in one of those spots. His family owns 5,000-plus acres of groves and is part of the co-op that contributes to Florida’s Natural — the third-largest juice brand in the country, behind Pepsi’s Tropicana and Coca-Cola’s Minute Maid.

    Hunt’s grandfather started the company in 1922, and ever since Hunt could walk, his life was surrounded by oranges. He followed his father into the business, and now serves on the state’s powerful citrus commission. He jokes that the backbreaking task of picking fruit was what inspired him to attend college, so he could take a rest from hard work.

    This summer, Hunt’s has been driving his truck through his groves in Polk County, the state’s top citrus-producing region, and what he sees is uncertainty. Many of his trees look beautiful, acres upon acres of vibrant green. But trouble can be spotted if you look closely.

    Hunt stops his truck, climbs out and points to a tree’s limb. Some leaves have turned yellow, and the hue is spreading in waves. He guesses that 75 percent of his groves are infected.

    In China, where it was first found, the disease is called huanglongbing. Translation: “the yellow dragon.” In Florida, it’s known simply as “greening.”

    It arrived here via a tiny invasive bug called the Asian Citrus Psyllid, which carries bacteria that are left behind when the psyllid feeds on a citrus tree’s leaves. The tree continues to produce useable fruit, but eventually disease clogs the vascular system. Fruit falls, and the tree slowly dies.

    The psyllid isn’t native to Florida but is believed to have arrived from someone who perhaps unknowingly brought a slip of a tree from Asia. The bug was first spotted in the state in 1998, and some think it then spread on the winds of hurricanes. Greening showed up in 2005. There is no cure, and no country has ever successfully eradicated it.

    All of that has Florida’s growers in a frenzy to find a way to stop the disease.

    “It feels like you’re in a war,” Hunt said.

    Hunt estimates he’s spending some $2,000 an acre on production costs, a 100 percent increase from 10 years ago. Much of that goes toward nutrients and spraying to try to control the psyllids. The trees that don’t survive are pulled out of the earth and tossed onto a giant bonfire.

    Nearly all of the state’s citrus groves are affected in varying degrees by greening, and researchers, growers and experts agree that the crisis has already started to compromise Florida’s prominence as a citrus-growing region. Florida is second in the world, behind Brazil, in growing juice oranges, producing about 80 percent of juice in the U.S.

    This past growing season, the state produced 104 million boxes of oranges, which comprise the bulk of Florida’s overall citrus crop. In 2003, two years before greening was discovered and prior to several devastating hurricanes, 243 million boxes were picked.

    “This affects the whole state. The economic impact. The landscape. The iconic image of Florida and how it has drawn people here to smell the orange blossoms in the spring and look forward to that Christmas gift of fresh Florida citrus,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose family has grown oranges in Polk County since the early 1900s. “It will have a ripple effect throughout the economy if we can’t get our arms around this disease.”

    Experts say that if a solution isn’t found, Florida’s entire citrus industry could collapse. Officials worry that some packinghouses and processing plants will have to close because of a lack of fruit. That could send the industry, with its 75,000 jobs, tumbling.

    Compounding the problem is the timing of it: The disease coincides with an increase in foreign competition and a decrease in juice consumption as health-conscious consumers count carbs. In July, U.S. orange juice retail sales fell to the lowest level in 12 years for a second consecutive four-week period.

    “We’re in the fight of our life,” said Michael Sparks, the CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, the marketing and lobbying arm for the state’s citrus growers.

    Already, some are losing.

    In the early 1980s, farmer Richard Skinner and his wife took over a small grove near Tampa planted nearly 100 years ago by his wife’s grandfather. For years they thrived, selling boxes of oranges to large juice companies to augment their roadside business.

    When greening struck his grove in 2011, Skinner realized he couldn’t sustain the cost of chemicals and nutrients needed to keep the trees alive. Within two years, 2,600 trees were cut down — and the century-old grove was gone.

    “We cried,” said Skinner, who is 74 years old and doesn’t look like a man who cries easily.


    The war room in the fight against the yellow dragon is found in Lake Alfred, 30 miles southwest of Walt Disney World, in a nondescript cluster of buildings at the University of Florida’s Citrus Research and Education Center.

    There, some of the world’s top citrus researchers — from the U.S., China, Brazil, India — slouch over microscopes and peer into makeshift greenhouses, hoping to unlock the puzzle that is greening. They talk about nucleotides and genomes like regular folks order a sandwich.

    They understand clearly that there is no magic bullet — an injection or spray, for example — to cure the disease instantly. So they concentrate on two things: a short-term workaround that will allow existing trees to survive, and a long-term solution — possibly three to five years away — to develop a greening resistant tree.

    Experiments study everything from how fast the psyllid flies to how it’s attracted to the odor of an infected tree. One French researcher has tied the bug to a string and a post to measure its flight patterns. Another study, underway at an organic grower’s groves, assesses whether tiny wasps can be released en masse to gobble the bad bugs.

    For three decades, horticulture professors Jude Grosser and Fred Gmitter have worked at the center, mostly studying citrus breeding and genetics. The two men are rock stars in the citrus world because of their vast knowledge. Now, much of their focus is on greening.

    Grosser and Gmitter have discovered that a certain variety of orange trees grafted onto one particular kind of rootstock appears to be more tolerant to greening. Those trees could play a big role in managing the disease down the road.

    “A lot of people are looking for miracle cures, but the answer for greening will be a number of different pieces,” Grosser said.

    The pair want a solution and fast. They’ve spent their careers developing different fruit varieties, such as easy-to-peel and extra-juicy oranges. Some varieties are nearly ready for release and sales, they said, but most growers don’t want to take a chance on anything new until greening is gone.

    “We need to give the tree a chance to beat the disease,” said Grosser. “How can we do that?”

    Since 2008, $90 million has been spent in Florida on greening research, much of that money raised by growers from a tax they pay on every box of citrus that’s picked. And the 2014 federal farm bill included $125 million for greening research.

    Growers are also taking matters into their own hands. Some have tried putting giant tents over their trees and using the sun’s heat in an attempt to kill the greening.

    Rick Kress, president of Southern Gardens Citrus, one of the state’s largest juice suppliers, has hired a private team of researchers to work on genetically engineering a greening resistant tree with the DNA from spinach.

    Kress knows that introducing juice from a genetically modified orange would create another hurdle because of the public’s perception of such foods. But the alternative — no juice at all — is unthinkable.

    “Irrespective of the challenges, Florida orange juice is not going to go away,” he said. “Because Florida had the disease first, we’re on the forefront of dealing with it and finding a solution that will ultimately benefit the entire United States citrus industry.”

    California growers, who raise the majority of the U.S.’s fresh citrus crop, are also petrified of greening. The psyllid has been found in various places around that state, and greening was detected in one residential tree in Los Angeles in 2012. California researchers are doing their own experiments and piggybacking on the Florida research. In Texas, greening has struck fewer than 200 commercial trees, and the disease has not been spotted in Arizona.

    In Polk County, Hunt has been planting new trees to replace the diseased ones. He realizes that this is a gamble; psyllids prefer to munch on young, tender leaves. But if he can keep the bugs away long enough for the new trees to grow and bear fruit, maybe by then researchers will have found a solution to greening.

    “We can’t let this thing go down on our watch,” he said.

    Hunt had always hoped his family’s younger generation would one day take over the business. But now he worries that Florida juice could become a niche product, similar to pomegranate juice. It’s something he’s reluctant to contemplate.

    “You don’t want to put your head in the sand and say everything’s OK. It’s not OK,” he said. “But you have to get up in the morning and go to work believing that we will win the battle.”


    Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush

  • Researchers Develop Transparent Solar Concentrator That Could Cover Windows, Electronics
    Scientists at Michigan State University announced this week the creation of a “transparent luminescent solar concentrator” that could turn windows and even cellphone screens into solar-power generators.

    This technology could mean that one day entire skyscrapers might be able to generate solar power without blocking out light or ruining tenants’ views.

    The material works by absorbing light in the invisible spectrum (ultraviolet and near infrared) and then re-emitting it in the infrared. The infrared light is then channeled to the edge of the clear surface, where thin strips of photovoltaic cells generate the power.

    Yimu Zhao, a doctoral student in chemical engineering and materials science, and Richard Lunt, assistant professor of chemical engineering and materials science, run a test in Lunt’s lab. Lunt and his team have developed a new material that can be placed over windows and create solar energy. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

    Because we cannot see infrared or ultraviolet light, the material remains transparent even while concentrating sunlight. Previous luminescent solar concentrators have been developed, but they emitted light in the visible spectrum, creating a stained-glass effect.

    No one wants to sit behind colored glass,” Richard Lunt, who leads the lab researching this new technology, said in a press release. He likened the experience to “working in a disco.”

    The new technology is promising, but needs to be made more efficient. Researchers say that the solar conversion efficiency is around one percent. Ideally, this could be increased to more than five percent. The researchers note that the highest conversion efficiency achieved by a non-transparent luminescent solar concentrator is about seven percent.

    According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar technologies can have efficiencies ranging from eight percent to almost 45 percent, depending on the particular properties desired. A conventional panel like the kind typically installed on home rooftops has an efficiency of around 15 percent.

    A transparent luminescent solar concentrator waveguide is shown with colorful traditional luminescent solar concentrators in the background. The new LSC can create solar energy but is not visible on windows or other clear surfaces. Photo by G.L. Kohuth

    Luminescent solar concentrators are less efficient than traditional photovoltaics, which absorb a larger range of wavelengths, but they could allow energy harvesting on surfaces that would otherwise never be used to generate power.

    Rumors surfaced earlier this year that Apple’s iPhone 6 will include a different type of solar screen, but you may not want to get your hopes up just yet. Forbes contributor Nigam Arora wrote in January that the technology is not quite ready. A “screen with a laminate of film containing solar cells is likely in iPhone 7 but not in iPhone 6.”

    The transparent technology could be used in a variety of applications, Lunt said, and its affordability means it has the potential for eventual commercial or industrial use. “Ultimately we want to make solar harvesting surfaces that you do not even know are there,” he said. The researchers’ findings were published in the journal Advanced Optical Materials in July.

    Photos and captions courtesy of Michigan State University.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this story attributed the innovation to researchers at the University of Michigan.

  • Neptune's Moon Triton Spotlighted In 'Best-Ever' Map Created From Old Voyager Data

    A scientist has created the best-ever global color map of Neptune’s big moon Triton, using images taken by a NASA spacecraft 25 years ago.

    Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston produced the map after restoring photos snapped by the Voyager 2 probe during its flyby of Neptune and Triton on Aug. 25, 1989. The new map has also been turned into a minute-long movie of Voyager 2’s historic Triton encounter — the first and only time a spacecraft has ever visited the Neptune system.

    The new map, which has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel, may help bring enigmatic Triton back into the spotlight. [Photos of Neptune, The Mysterious Blue Planet]

    titan moon
    Paul Schenk of the Lunar and Planetary Institute used data from NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft, which flew by Neptune and its big moon Triton on Aug. 25, 1989, to create this best-ever global color map of the moon.

    “In the intervening quarter century and its many discoveries, I think we have tended to forget how strange and exotic Triton really is!” Schenk wrote in a blog post Thursday (Aug. 21).

    “Its effective surface age may be a little as 10 million years [old], clearly implying that active geology is going on today,” he added. “The cantaloupe terrain, which I interpreted back in 1993 as due to crustal overturn (diapirism), hasn’t been seen anywhere else. The volcanic region, with its smooth plains and volcanic pits large and small, is the size of Texas. And the southern terrains still defy interpretation.”

    Schenk produced the map using green, blue and orange filters. Colors have been enhanced to accentuate contrast but still show Triton roughly as human eyes would see it, NASA officials said.

    In an interesting twist, NASA’s New Horizons probe is scheduled to cross the orbit of Neptune on Monday (Aug. 25), 25 years to the day after Voyager 2’s encounter. New Horizons is streaking toward a flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015 that should return the first good looks at the distant dwarf planet and its moons.

    The connections between Voyager 2 and New Horizons don’t stop there; Triton and Pluto are very similar to each other in some ways. Both are just slightly smaller than Earth’s moon, possess thin, nitrogen-dominated atmospheres and have various ices (of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen) on their surfaces, Schenk noted.

    “What will we see at Pluto? Guesses have ranged from active geology to cold and cratered, so we are in for a suspenseful summer next year!” he wrote on his blog.

    “Triton is of importance as it offers clues to what geologic features might look like on Pluto, given that the icy crusts of both bodies are probably rather similar and would presumably react in similar ways under internal stress and heat,” he added. “So if there were or are volcanoes on Pluto, they could look similar to those we see on Triton.”

    Voyager 2 launched in August 1977, a few weeks before its twin, Voyager 1. The pair conducted an unprecendented “grand tour” of the outer solar system, returning good looks at the Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune systems.

    Both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 then kept right on flying. Voyager 1 entered interstellar space in August 2012, and Voyager 2 (which took a different route through the solar system) is poised to do so soon.

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

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

  • Steven Nagel, Veteran NASA Space Shuttle Astronaut, Dies at 67

    NASA astronaut Steven Nagel, who flew four space shuttle missions, died Thursday (Aug. 21). He was 67.

    Steven Nagel died after a long battle with cancer, the Association of Space Explorers stated on Facebook. The international organization, to which Nagel belonged, includes more than 350 men and women who have flown in space.

    Nagel joined the astronaut corps in 1978 with NASA’s first group of trainees selected for the space shuttle program. Although he was chosen to pilot the orbiter, his first flight was as a mission specialist, a position generally assigned to scientists and engineers.

    steve nagel
    NASA portrait of STS-55 mission commander Steven Nagel.

    “I really wanted to fly as a pilot, so at the time — because there was no explanation that went with it — I wondered, ‘Are they telling me I’m not good enough to fly as a pilot?'” Nagel told a NASA interviewer about his 1985 assignment to the shuttle Discovery’s STS-51G crew. “Nothing against mission specialists. I would trade my pilot’s slot to go be a mission specialist and do a [spacewalk], certainly, but it’s just that ‘What are they trying to tell me here?'”

    “But I think what it really was, our class was very large, and they’re getting down to the point where I think [they] probably wanted to get us all flown, and this was a way to do it a little quicker,” Nagel recalled. [7 Space Shuttle Astronaut Firsts]

    Nagel’s first week in Earth orbit included helping to deploy three communications satellites for AT&T, Mexico and the Arab Satellite Communications Organization, as well as a free-flying platform devoted to astronomy experiments and an experiment for the Department of Defense’s Strategic Defense Initiative (colloquially known as “Star Wars”).

    In the pilot seat

    Nagel’s turn in the pilot seat came on his second flight.

    Nagel launched in late October 1985 as part of the eight-member STS-61A crew onboard space shuttle Challenger. The week-long flight, which set the still-standing record for the most people to have launched and landed on the same spacecraft, was also the first shuttle mission to be funded and directed by another nation: the former West Germany, overseeing the European-built Spacelab module mounted in Challenger’s payload bay.

    “Not having a U.S. manager made it more complex, but I see that mission was kind of an early lead-in to the space station,” Nagel told a NASA interviewer in 2002. “Maybe in a way a Spacelab is kind of like a mini space station. You are doing scientific work, but your space station is inside the shuttle, and you’re up there, in our case, a week.”

    As the mission’s pilot, Nagel did not have much to do with 75 experiments being conducted inside the Spacelab, but that left time for observing the planet below.

    “Jokingly, I said all I did on the second mission was purge fuel cells, dump water, take pictures, and prepare meals for the crew. I had no responsibility for any experiments in the back, so we were helping them out as much as we could,” Nagel told a NASA interviewer in 2002.

    “The orbiter crew had time to look out the window,” Nagel noted. “So it was just a bonanza of Earth observations. It was great.”

    The worst of times, the best of times

    The STS-61A mission was the last successful flight of the shuttle Challenger before the orbiter and its 51L mission’s crew was lost in flight in January 1986. Nagel watched the ill-fated launch from a conference room at Johnson Space Center in Houston, but he was promptly sent to Florida to assist with the recovery of the shuttle’s debris.

    He then represented the Astronaut Office in NASA’s effort to develop a crew escape system to improve the safety of the orbiters. Initially, the idea was to use a rocket-powered extraction method but ultimately a simpler extendable pole was adopted.

    “This was my best time at NASA, actually,” Nagel stated. “Nothing I ever did was more fulfilling than that two years, to be honest, even flying.”

    “This was better, because everybody was so focused on getting the shuttle flying again,” he remarked.

    The shuttle was returned to flight in 1988, and three years later, Nagel followed as the commander of Atlantis’ STS-37 crew. The six-day mission was charged with deploying the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (GRO), the second of NASA’s “Great Observatories,” which also included the Hubble Space Telescope.

    “The GRO was big,” Nagel said. “It was not physically as long as the Hubble, but it weighed a lot more. It was a lot denser. It was a great big thing, about 35,000 pounds, and it had three appendages that had to unfold once you get it out in the end of the [shuttle’s robotic] arm.”

    The first two of those appendages, the solar array wings, extended slowly one at a time. The third however, failed to move. To fix the problem, crew members Jerry Ross and Jay Apt were sent outside on a spacewalk.

    “That was the first — what would you call it? Unscheduled EVA,” Nagel said. “It was planned as a contingency, but it was certainly not on the schedule. It was successful.”

    Fourth and final flight

    Nagel’s fourth and final launch in April 1993 got off to a late start. Already delayed from February due to technical concerns, the shuttle Columbia’s three main engines shut down at just T-3 seconds prior to liftoff as a result a valve leak on March 22. The abort postponed the flight another month as all three engines were replaced.

    Once in space, Nagel and his STS-55 mission crewmates conducted experiments as part of the second German-led Spacelab flight. They also became on-orbit plumbers.

    “‘You’ve got to stop using the toilet.’ Sounds funny on the ground. For real, this is, there was nothing life-threatening about it, but it could be mission-threatening. If you cannot get this problem resolved, you’re coming home. And what a tragedy that would be for the millions of dollars invested in this mission,” Nagel told a NASA interviewer.

    A nitrogen leak had disabled the system used to flush the waste water from the toilet. So Nagel and his crew had to divert the water from its tank into a contingency bag.

    “Periodically we’d have to empty the bag,” Nagel recalled. “You dump the water overboard out a port on the side of the orbiter … except instead of gas pressure to dump, one of us would have to squeeze the bag to dump the waste water.”

    “It got us through the mission,” Nagel continued. “So who argues with success?”

    Overall, the mission was a success. Over the course of the ten days, the flight logged the 365th day in space for the shuttle fleet and 100th day in orbit for Columbia. With the landing, Nagel had spent a total of 30 days, 1 hour and 34 minutes in space.

    Continue reading at collectSPACE about astronaut Steven Nagel’s life before and after his four space shuttle missions.

    Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2014 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.

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

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • Warning over electrical brain stimulation
    Warning over electrical brain stimulation
  • Vivino Wine Scanner App for iPhone Review

    I love wine but I fully admit that I’m a bit of a neanderthal when it comes to being able to pick a good wine from a not-so-good wine.  As I have discovered, price isn’t necessarily a reflection of a wine that is good and there is certainly an element of personal tastes that come into the picture.  Compounding my problem is when I go to my local grocer or “bottle store” (AKA Liquor Store), there is a dizzying number of wines of all times and all price ranges.  Regardless of your wine selecting skills, there is a great app

    The post Vivino Wine Scanner App for iPhone Review appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Recently Launched Galileo Satellites Enter Wrong Orbits, European Space Agency Says
    PARIS (AP) — European space officials say they’re investigating whether the inaccurate deployment of two satellites will complicate their efforts to develop a new Galileo satellite navigation system that would rival America’s GPS network.

    The European Space Agency and launch company Arianespace say the satellites ended up in off-target orbits after being launched Friday from Kourou, French Guiana, aboard a Soyuz rocket. Saturday’s agency statement did not explain whether their orbital paths could be corrected. Arianespace said the satellites settled into a lower, elliptical orbit instead of the circular one intended, and initial analyses suggested the mishap occurred during the flight phase and involved the Fregat upper stage of Soyuz.

    “Our aim is of course to fully understand this anomaly,” Stephane Israel, Arianespace chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “While it is too early to determine the exact causes, we would like to offer our sincere excuses to ESA and the European Commission for this orbital injection that did not meet expectations.”

    Israel said Arianespace along with customer ESA and the Commission will create an independent panel to investigate what caused the inaccurate deployment and to develop corrective actions so Soyuz launches can resume.

    The European Union hopes to have its 30-satellite Galileo navigation network operating fully by 2020. The Prague-based program oversaw the launch of its first two satellites in 2011, two more in 2012, and two more Friday.

    Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the French space agency CNES, said the investigation still needed to determine precisely how far off course the satellites were. He said European Space Agency experts in Toulouse, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, were calculating whether small motors inside the satellites would be strong enough to push them into the correct orbit.

    Le Gall told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the investigation would take “several days to understand what has happened. And then we’ll see about the possible consequences on the launch calendar,” he said, referring to plans to launch more satellites in coming months.

    He called the Galileo navigation network “a very complex program, and even if we have some failures, that’s unfortunately part of the life of operations.”

    If the two satellites cannot be pushed to the correct altitude above the earth, he said, subsequent satellites launched would have to take up the slack.

    The program has faced other delays and operational hiccups. European Space Agency officials said Wednesday they had to reduce the strength of another Galileo satellite’s signal because of unspecified problems.

    The European agency says it hopes Galileo will provide greater precision for satellite navigation systems than the GPS system already used worldwide to pinpoint locations and plot routes.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • SpaceX Rocket Explodes During Test Flight
    MCGREGOR, Texas (AP) — An unmanned SpaceX rocket exploded shortly after launch on a test flight at the company’s Central Texas development site.

    A SpaceX statement said nobody was injured in the Friday afternoon explosion at its test site in McGregor, Texas, 23 miles southeast of Waco.

    In a statement, SpaceX spokesman John Taylor says the test flight involved a three-engine version of its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. He said an “anomaly” was detected in the rocket and it automatically self-destructed.

    He said the vehicle remained within its designated flight area throughout and a representative of the Federal Aviation Administration was present.

    The company offered no further details on the nature of the “anomaly,” but Taylor said SpaceX will review the flight record to learn more about the rocket’s performance before its next test flight.

    BuzzFeed posted a Vine video from KWTX of the explosion, which can be seen above.

  • Briefly: Kaebo cloth Lightning cable, bike mount case for iPhone
    Portable power solutions company Juno Power has announced its newest line of Lightning adaptor cables, named Kaebo. An Apple certified charge and sync cable, the Kaebo features high strength cloth that is resistant to rips or tears. Its aluminum build is designed to withstand most accidental damage. The cable is equipped with an aluminum connector and USB head for optimal performance, and is available in silver, light gold, and slate gray. Measuring at one meter long, the Kaebo is priced at $22 through Juno Power and Amazon.

  • U.S. Retailers Warned Of Possible Hacking
    WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, the Homeland Security Department said Friday.

    The government urged businesses of all sizes to scan their point-of-sale systems for software known as “Backoff,” discovered last October. It previously explained in detail how the software operates and how retailers could find and remove it. Earlier this month, United Parcel Service said it found infected computers in 51 stores. UPS said it was not aware of any fraud that resulted from the infection but said hackers may have taken customers’ names, addresses, email addresses and payment card information.

    The company apologized to customers and offered free identity protection and credit monitoring services to those who had shopped in those 51 stores.

    Backoff was discovered in October, but according to the Homeland Security Department the software wasn’t flagged by antivirus programs until this month.

    Jerome Segura, a senior security researcher at cybersecurity software firm Malware Bytes, said that the way that Backoff works is not unique. The program gains access to companies’ computers by finding insufficiently protected remote access points and duping computer users to download malware, tricks that have long been in use and are often automated.

    What has changed, Segura said, is that the hackers deploying it have become increasingly sophisticated about identifying high-value computer systems after they’ve broken into them.

    “Once the bad guys realized they were able to penetrate larger networks, they saw the opportunity to develop malware that’s specifically for credit cards and can evade antivirus programs,” he said.

    By using Backoff selectively, rather than distributing it widely on the Internet, the hackers likely managed to escape detection for longer. Following Homeland Security’s warnings in July, however, companies are much better able to probe their own computers for Backoff.

    The battle between retailers and hackers is an ongoing one. Retail giant Target, based in Minneapolis, was targeted by hackers last year and disclosed in December that a data breach compromised 40 million credit and debit card accounts between Nov. 27 and Dec. 15. On Jan. 10, it said hackers stole personal information — including names, phone numbers and email and mailing addresses — from as many as 70 million customers.

    Target, the third-largest retailer, has been overhauling its security department and systems in the wake of the pre-Christmas data breach, which hurt profits, sales and its reputation among shoppers worried about the security of their personal data. Target is now accelerating its $100 million plan to roll out chip-based credit card technology in all of its nearly 1,800 stores.

    So-called chip and pin technology would allow for more secure transactions than the magnetic strip cards that most Americans use now. The technology has already been adopted in Europe and elsewhere.

    Though improving card technology and updating malware detection will help retailers defend themselves, Segura said that the recent profusion of computer breaches should make companies think harder about how they use remote access systems for employees and vendors. By limiting what portions of their systems can be accessed remotely, he said, companies can limit the damage that hackers can do.

    “This past year and a half has been breach after breach,” he said. “It’s incredible.”


    Associated Press writer Anne D’Innocenzio in New York contributed to this report.

  • Here's 'Twin Peaks' Re-Imagined As A Retro Arcade Game
    If you’re a real “Twin Peaks” fanatic, just the initial chimes of its always ominous intro song will cause goosebumps to sprout up all over your arms and legs.

    Now Filthy Frackers has re-imagined Angelo Badalamenti’s epic theme song in NES style, transforming the hazy Washington landscape into pixelated lo-res goodness. It’s nostalgia on nostalgia, people. What’s not to like?

    Thank you, Filthy Frackers, for providing this tempting glimpse at what an ’80s arcade game based on “Twin Peaks” would look like, even though the show wasn’t created until 1990. If only someone would make a game we could actually play, now that would be a dream/nightmare come true.

    For more 8-bit remixes, check out Forrest Gump, Finding Nemo and Elf, all of which are decidedly not as creepy as Lynch’s suburban murder mystery.

    h/t The Creator’s Project

  • The king of the leakers
    The man who exposes the technology industry’s secrets
  • Awful Racism Prompts Organizers To Shut Off Comments On Darren Wilson Fundraising Site
    Shut it down, folks.

    That was the reaction organizers of the fundraising campaign set up to support Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed teen Michael Brown, had toward open comments on the campaign’s GoFundMe Page.

    In the scant week since it was created, the campaign — the funds of which will be used “to cover potential legal fees, relocation and living expenses of both Officer Darren Wilson and his immediate family,” the site notes — has drawn more than $235,000 in donations, along with a barrage of tremendously racist language.

    Commenters referred to the teen as “a common street thug” and black Americans as “aggressive and entitled primitive savages.” One donor, who identified himself as a Chicago police officer, offered $50 for Wilson to use toward “a lap dance to ease the mind of the negativity surrounding the incident and beyond.”

    “Support Officer Darren Wilson” organizers pulled the plug on comments roughly one day into the campaign, according to updates on the campaign page.

    Over $100,000 has been raised for Darren Wilson. But man, why must liberals bring RACE into this?! It’s about…oh. pic.twitter.com/UHagxSTuDL

    — Bastard Keith (@BastardKeith) August 21, 2014

    Some of the racist comments were bad enough that GoFundMe even tweeted about the issue:

    In regard to the ‘Officer Darren Wilson’ campaign, donors’ comments posted in violation of GoFundMe’s terms have been removed.

    — GoFundMe (@gofundme) August 22, 2014

    Gawker reports that many of the inflammatory comments originated from noted troll-bait site 4chan.

    On Friday afternoon, organizers stopped accepting donations for the current campaign so that subsequent donations could go to the authorized charity collecting donations on Wilson’s behalf.

    Despite the majority of Americans feeling Wilson’s actions were unjustified, according to a recent NYT/CBS poll, the minority that supports Wilson has been vocal and active.

    The Maryland FOP Lodge 70 donated more than $1,000 to the GoFundMe campaign, making it among the top supporters. The Miami Fraternal Order of Police union showed symbolic support on its website. Around the St. Louis area and across the country, residents are lighting porch lamps blue in solidarity with Wilson, Yahoo News reports.

  • 3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Be the CEO Of Uber
    Sometimes I wonder why Uber CEO Travis Kalanick gets out of bed in the morning. OK, it’s probably the fact that his company was recently valued at more than $18 billion which, depending on his ownership, makes him at the very least a billionaire. For most business people, that’s motivation enough. But there’s got to be an easier way to make that first billion, isn’t there? I could never do what he does. I think it sucks to be the CEO of Uber. Why?

    You must enjoy fights. Kalanick’s battles with regulatory authorities, competitors and haters around the world are epic. Don’t believe me? Just go ahead and search for news about “Uber.” I just did. And here’s what I found today: the company just won a short reprieve in Berlin from a city ban that had previously ruled that Uber did not comply with passenger safety standards and is now engaged in a war with taxi drivers in India. In Pittsburgh they’ve been required by the courts to provide information about its ridership. The Maryland Public Service Commission recently ruled that Uber is a “common carrier” and should be subject to greater regulation. They are fighting a growing number of ominous reports about people who keep getting into strangers’ cars because they think it’s an Uber vehicle and cab companies in San Diego who are furious with the ride sharing service for not only taking away business, but their drivers too. The company’s rating system recently came under scrutiny and some guy alleging to be a “Boston Uber driver” has attracted attention after making serious allegations about the company’s safety practices. By the way… that’s just today. Which I guess is just another day at the office for Kalanick. If this were me I’d be jumping out the window.

    But it’s not me. Case in point: compare Uber with the once popular MonkeyParking app in San Francisco, a very useful application that allowed users to share and auction off city parking space. The founders of that company came under heat from local officials. So…they retreated. I’m not arguing their rationale and I probably would’ve done the same. Fighting City Hall is time consuming, expensive and intimidating. But would Kalanick have backed away? I seriously doubt it. This guy does not avoid battles. In fact, he seems to gleefully seek them out in order to see his vision accomplished. His advice for others: “Stand by your principles and be comfortable with confrontation. So few people are, so when the people with the red tape come, it becomes a negotiation.” That’s what successful and great entrepreneurs do. Unlike me, they’re not afraid of a fight.

    You have to grow a very thick skin. Recently, Uber and its main rival Lyft had a nasty public battle over Uber’s competitive practices. Lyft accused Uber of having 177 of their employees order and then cancel more than 5,000 rides on Lyft in order to slow down the service. Uber countered with their own allegation that Lyft employees, drivers and one of its founders ordered 12,900 trips on Uber’s app and then canceled them. It’s not a pretty situation. But the media and Twitter-sphere loved it. I would’ve been sick to my stomach.

    And for what it’s worth, Lyft is not the only company who is less than enamored with Uber’s competitive playbook. For example, a taxi association in the Seattle area recently sued Uber for “unlawful and deceptive business practices.” Reports of price gauging have continued to plague the company over the past year, particularly after severe weather and concert events. And just this month, one taxi industry “leader” in New York City claimed that “…only rich Jews could afford the car service’s surge-pricing program.” Super! So along with everything else, the company is now instigating anti-Semitism.

    I have never met the 37 year old Mr. Kalanick. But I can easily guess what he’d say if I asked him what he thought of others’ opinions about him and how he runs his company. This is a guy who doesn’t care what his haters and competitors think. He’s changing the world. Me? I sometimes obsess over a single negative online comment. A complaint from one customer can turn my day upside down. I want everyone to think I’m the greatest. I lack the mojo, bravado and ego that great entrepreneurs have. And, of course, the thick skin.

    Finally, you must not be afraid to fail. Uber may one day go down in flames. The service may eventually meet political, union and regulatory headwinds that are just too strong to overcome. A new competitor, with more resources and better connections may take away market share. An unplanned incident might occur that generates so much bad PR that customers turn away from the service. You never know. But do you think this will be the end of Kalanick? By now this is something you do know.

    The current CEO of Uber is a UCLA drop out. His first company had to file for bankruptcy in order to protect itself from a major lawsuit. He ran out of money several times before founding and then selling another company, all before starting Uber. If Uber tanks you’ll see Kalanick back doing something else. That’s what makes a true entrepreneur. Someone who not only takes calculated risks, but is not afraid to fail. You get that impression when you read about Kalanick. Sure, he’ll fight hard. But if he loses, he’ll be back. My whole life as a business owner is spent protecting what’s mine, saving money, conservatively managing my assets. Kalanick knows that if he loses everything he can just make it back again. He’s not afraid. It’s in his DNA.

    You have to be a certain kind of person to disrupt the world. I am not that person. I think it would suck to be the CEO of Uber. Thankfully, there are others not like me.

    A version of this column previously appeared on Inc.com.

  • A Primer on Educational Technology: 5 Terms Parents Need to Understand
    This back-to-school season, students more than ever are arriving to classrooms equipped with digital devices and learning tools. Apps, videos and other online resources that can be accessed from iPads, Androids devices, Chromebooks and the like are profoundly impacting the learning process.

    While many elementary, middle and high school students are already accustomed to technology-enabled classrooms, educators continue to incorporate digital learning innovations into their teaching styles. Even the most tech-savvy parents can find it difficult to keep up with all of the trends and terminology.

    To that end, it might help to do a little bit of homework and read up on how lessons are delivered and knowledge is exchanged in many classrooms today. Here are five educational technology terms and trends every parent should understand.

    Flipped Classroom

    As we all know, kids with access to tablets, laptops or virtually any connected device understand how to find and watch videos online. Inspired by organizations like Kahn Academy, teachers can easily (and inexpensively) screencast their own videos around lesson plans and topical lectures. These videos typically include audio narration, virtual whiteboards and complementary images and animation.

    Teachers are now assigning their students video lessons via email, storing them in Dropbox or Google Drive, or posting directly to YouTube or Vimeo. This is “flipping” the traditional teaching model, reserving classroom time for facilitated group projects and individualized instruction for students who tend to absorb different concepts at their own pace.

    Which brings us to…

    Personalized Learning

    Not only can technology accommodate more direct interaction between teachers and students, but more quickly and accurately assess if and to what degree a kid is understanding a particular lesson or concept. There are now thousands of apps and digital learning tools designed to assess everything from reading comprehension to calculus to foreign language fluency. Students shown to have difficulty picking up particular topics can spend more time on interactive quizzes and personal tutorials, while others can move on to the next subject or chapter. There are also tools that identify how children best learn, whether visually, auditorily, or perhaps through gamification. Individuals learn differently and at their own pace. Part of teaching moving forward will be to identify the best mix of digital learning tools for each student.


    It’s no secret that the highest paying jobs in the 21st Century typically require a fluency (if not mastery) of science and mathematics. From coding courses in elementary school to high school robotics teams, schools are encouraging and implementing STEM-based programs and extracurricular activities that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Newer variations of STEM that attempt to weave in liberal arts principals include STEAM and STREAM, which emphasize Art and Reading.

    Frances Judd, a long-time kindergarten teacher turned educational app developer and maker culture evangelist, described each new method of science and technology-based learning in a recent interview with ABC News. One component of STEM often overlooked is the multimedia fluency skills involved in knowing how to use and control the apps and devices that deliver all of the important math and science-oriented content. In this respect, it is advantageous for students to learn from the technology that they will eventually reinvent.

    Common Core Standards Alignment

    Parents who send their kids to public schools in most of the country will hear a lot about the Common Core State Standards Initiatives over the next school year and beyond. Like it or not, schools are aligning their math and english language arts curricula around the Common Core, which emphasizes analytical and critical thinking skills to solve problems. There are thousands of apps, videos and digital learning tools (in addition to textbooks) that claim to teach particular Common Core-based lessons.

    One new service, Verizon Educational Tools, identifies and showcases the best apps and videos that teach Common Core standards. Developed by Appolicious, Verizon Educational Tools gives Report Cards to thousands of iOS and Android apps (as well as educational videos), and lets users browse by device, grade level and subject. Parents and teachers can also search for apps and videos based on particular Common Core Standards. I recently demonstrated the service during an interview ABC News.

    Device Agnostic Learning

    Not every school (or household, for that matter) is beholden to one type of Internet-connected device. A high school student, for instance, may carry around an Android phone, use the family Windows-based personal computer at home and access to an iPad in the classroom. While videos and websites are essentially ubiquitous across all devices, many apps are native (and often exclusive) to one device or mobile operating system.

    Increasingly, services like screencasting app Explain Everything are becoming device agnostic and accessible across iOS, Android and Windows devices. However, not every educational app and software developer has the resources or commercial motivation to expand beyond one platform or device. The good news is no matter which one or combination of devices you own, there is an unprecedented wealth of educational resources available.. There are also great services to help you identify which apps, videos and online tools are the best for your kid.

    Download the free appoLearning iPad app and visit us online at www.appoLearning.com.

  • 11 Documentaries You Can Watch Right Now To Understand How ISIS Rose To Power
    Last month, the Islamic State jihadist group, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, declared its sovereignty and promoted one of its leaders, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to the helm. The Islamic State has been calling their newfound Syrian-Iraqi realm a caliphate, or a singular Muslim nation, with al-Baghdadi serving as caliph.

    This particular type of religiously guided state hasn’t been seen in centuries, and they’re not inherently bad. What is inherently bad, however, is the Islamic State and the gruesome and inhumane methods it employs to seize control of Iraq. For the past several weeks, the group has been terrorizing Iraqis, particularly an ethnic minority known as the Yazidis, prompting U.S. airstrikes to halt their progression. Air raids are even now being considered in neighboring Syria, where much of the group resides.

    It’s a complex issue, and much of the current state of affairs is best explained by analyzing the events of the past decade. The documentaries below are all available for free online, and will help you understand what’s going on.

    Inside the Islamic State: “The Islamic State” (via YouTube)

    This timely documentary by Vice News takes a look at the extremist group’s grab for power in Syria and Iraq. Journalist Medyan Dairieh spent three weeks traveling with the Islamic State, from the front lines of battle to a recruitment camp and other establishments, where he witnessed the group’s brutal tactics as they advanced across the region.

    The Rise of the Islamic State: “Losing Iraq” (via PBS)

    losing iraq screenshot

    PBS Frontline released this documentary last month to tell the story of Iraq’s growing unrest. The film charts the growth of the Islamic State, beginning years before U.S. troops withdrew in 2011, as they worked to build a military force. Interviewing journalists and former high-level military officials, including former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “Losing Iraq” also offers a critique of the Bush administration’s military planning, or lack thereof.

    Extremism in Syria: “Syria’s Second Front” (via PBS)

    syrias second front

    While peace talks in Syria’s civil war stalled back in February, PBS Frontline aired this documentary detailing the war-torn country’s new challenge — extremist groups. These groups are tied to al-Qaeda, as the Islamic State was until being disavowed earlier this year after a dispute. The documentary follows the Free Syrian Army as it swings from fighting against jihadist rebels in the north and the regime of president Bashar al-Assad in the south.

    Sectarian Violence: “Iraq in Fragments” (via Veoh)

    iraq in fragments

    Filmmaker James Longley recorded these ordinary Iraqis’ stories on trips to the region between 2003 and 2005. His finished product includes no scripted narration, simply showing interviews with its subjects’ and telling the stories of their everyday lives. Beginning with a young working-class Sunni boy, the film also focuses on two other representatives of the “fragmented” nation — a Shiite cleric and a group of Kurds. At the time of filming, the northern Kurdish region seems the most stable.

    A Critique of U.S. Occupancy: “No End in Sight” (via YouTube)

    Subtitled “Iraq’s Descent Into Chaos,” this 2007 film by Charles Ferguson takes a critical look at the failures of the war in Iraq. More specifically, Ferguson focuses on decisions made by the Bush administration in 2003 that led to harmful long-term effects. Interviews with journalists and many formerly high-ranking officials tell a tale of hardline party ideology and refusal to hear dissenting opinions.

    Syrian Civil War: “Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution” (via Medium)

    This 30-minute documentary released in February tells the story of Syrian rebel fighters, refugees and humanitarians trying to survive the civil war. David Axe, an experienced war reporter, gives a brief history of the deadly conflict as he talks to ordinary Syrians.

    The Kurdish Conflict: “Female Fighters of Kurdistan” (via YouTube)

    Another product of Vice News, this three-part series released in 2012 follows a group of female Peshmerga, part of what is generally regarded as a highly trained army of guerrilla fighters. It explains how the Kurdistan region came to be, more or less, occupying the mountainous part of northern Iraq, Iran and Syria, along with a southern bit of Turkey. Recently, some of this territory — portions in northern Iraq — was seized by the Islamic State. Until then, however, a combination of Peshmerga protection and oil access had allowed Iraq’s Kurdish region to remain relatively stable for decades. The group aims to one day create their own officially recognized nation.

    Post-Occupancy Life: “Iraq After the Occupation” (via YouTube)

    Part of Al Jazeera’s investigative series Fault Lines, this film takes viewers on a tour of major cities to see the damage caused by years of fighting. Several fragmented families are interviewed — according to the documentary, one in 10 women had been widowed by the end of the occupation. Other personal accounts tell the story of a country with a long way to go in rebuilding its cities and industries.

    A Female Iraqi Perspective: “Iraq: The Women’s Story” (via YouTube)

    Feeling that women’s stories were not being told in the media, an Iraqi journalist traveled her country to create this documentary in 2006. She argues, throughout her dangerous journey, how the American invasion is to blame for the rise in religious extremism that has curtailed women’s rights. Under Saddam Hussein’s rein, she explained in an interview with The Guardian, life was hard. “We had no freedom of speech, no freedom of expression,” she said. “But I never imagined the change would be this way, so bad.”

    American Soldiers’ Perspective: “The War Tapes” (via YouTube)

    In 2004, filmmakers gave cameras to 17 members of the National Guard deployed to Iraq. Together, the troops recorded 800 hours of footage. The finished documentary features three of them: Sergeant Stephen Pink, an aspiring writer, Sergeant Zack Bazzi, an Arabic-speaking college student, and Specialist Mike Moriarty, a self-described super-patriot. The film won Best International Documentary at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival for its poignant, yet absorbing, take on the war.

    A Cultural History: “Iraq, the Cradle of Civilization” (via YouTube)

    Michael Wood’s 1991 film on the rise of early civilization in Iraq puts present-day conflict in a much broader context. Touring key landmarks, he walks us through their ancient history and into the rise of Islam. Interestingly, according to Wood, everyday life remained relatively stagnant in the region until the oil industry took hold.

  • Judge: BlackBerry-esque Typo case will face contempt of court charge
    Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo, manufacturer of physical keyboard cases for the iPhone has run into more legal trouble. BlackBerry has been allowed to proceed with contempt of court charges, alleging that Typo has been selling its keyboards which have been ruled to violate BlackBerry intellectual property, contravening a court order to stop doing so.

  • It's Getting Tougher to Quit Social Media
    Let’s face it — we are all on social media, in one form or another. The list is huge: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Four Square, and a myriad of others. Everyone from almost every age group is involved with the social media community, for so many different reasons. Even large corporations Like Coca-Cola and Home Depot are into the social media thing. But as interesting and fantabulous as social media is for us, it also becomes so embedded in our lives that if, God forbid, we ever had to quit social media we would end up like a group of coke addicts who stopped cold turkey. Imagine what quitting would involve.

    First off, everybody loves the Internet. Aside from shopping and email, we love the fact that we can communicate with other human beings. That was our first addiction — connecting to people around us, and not just locally. We loved the fact that we could communicate with people in other countries, other time zones, of other languages. The rise of email and chatting found legs in international communication.

    Next, we saw the evolution of the smart phone. A simple, wireless telephone device that hooked up with the technological equivalent of steroids, became the smart phone. With its PC-like prowess, the smart phone bridged the gap between the Internet and the mobile user. No longer did you have to be at a desk to enjoy all that the internet had to offer. Smartphones were like mobile nirvana.

    The next level of addiction is the “app”… those software-based extensions of the smart phone that enable additional fun things from quirky games to web-based gambling. We can’t get enough of apps, because they are small enough, simple enough, and cheap enough to tinker with harmlessly.

    Do you see the trend? Like drug addicts looking for our next high, technologists and developers are in the game of providing the next big thing. Think “Ecstasy for Android,” and you’ll get where I’m going with this.

    We have unknowingly been trained to want more technology, and in that process we have taught ourselves that it’s okay. The difference is the same as the one between Advil and Heroin; some drugs are okay, some are downright brutal.

    I personally quit Facebook and Twitter, among others, years ago, though I’ll admit I did rejoin Yelp to deal with customer service issues. Me, addicted… naw! What’s a little harmless Yelp here and there, right?

    Consider how deep you are in social media dung right now, and consider how hard it would be if you just let all of it go, today.

    .. Couldn’t do it, could ya?..

  • What Happens When Kids Go Cold Turkey from Their Screens for 5 Days?
    We all stare at screens more than we would like to, and many of us rely on these tools to communicate with others, even during times when we should be spending quality time with our families and friends. So, does all this time staring at screens, which may take time away from looking at faces, change the nature of what we learn about the social world? Our study at the Children’s Digital Media Center@LA, at UCLA, asked this question. We compared two groups of approximately 50 6th grade children each over a period of five days. One group had no access to screens of any kind, while the other did.

    But how does one find young people willing to give up all media for a few hours, let alone five days? We explored the ways we could guarantee that a large enough group of children would stop using media and found a simple solution. An outdoor education camp for public school children, the Pali Institute, came on as our partner. The camp director worked with us to make sure that during the five days of the camp, children had zero access to screens of any kind — no TV, no phones and no computers. This meant that the kids at the camp could only talk to other people using the form of communication our species has used for millions of years — face-to-face interaction.

    Social abilities are quite complex, but an essential underlying skill is understanding emotion; children learn about emotion even before they learn language by first paying attention to a caregiver’s face. Watching faces and paying attention to the interaction of people around them provides children with essential facts for survival: who can I trust, who will love me and whom should I be scared of? We chose emotion understanding as our measure because of these early and important social learning skills.

    Honestly, we were not sure that after only five days of looking at faces versus screens, anything would change. Anecdotal evidence abounds that children who stop using media become magically kind, respectful and patient, but hard data is limited. But there may be some basis for parent intuition, because we found that children’s skills in reading emotion in both faces and videotaped scenes got dramatically better. The time they spent interacting in groups, with their peers and counselors, with no devices in their hands or in front of their faces, made an important difference. The kids at camp improved their emotion understanding, while the kids who were at school did not.

    So, what’s the takeaway? Should kids not look at screens anymore? Unless you want to move to Siberia — and I am only saying that figuratively, because chances are even Siberia has the Internet — I think that ship has sailed. Instead, take heart that it took only five days for kids to improve; in other words, screen time does not create irreversible damage to our children’s social skills. The rules are still the same as they always have been — create balance and device free time in your children’s lives. And when kids are small, make sure to give them many opportunities for rich in-person social interaction.

    Our call to action is we must examine this question further. Before screens become the only thing we ever look at (remember the movie Wall-E?) let’s devote some resources to study the costs and benefits. The stakes are high, and our children are worth it.

  • Meri Woods Downloaded Child Porn To Frame Hubby: Jury
    A Pennsylvania jury convicted a woman on Wednesday of downloading child pornography onto the family computer and trying to blame it on her husband.

  • Here Come the Robots in Retail
    Delivery drones are so 2013. The big news in technology in retail in 2014 and beyond is robots replacing humans. Starting just this week, right across the road from Apple in Cupertino, the Aloft hotel is testing robotic bellhops. As reported in The New York Times, the cute-as-a-button “Botlr” will deliver basic items from the front desk to your room. Best of all, no tips necessary, but positive tweets appreciated (#MeetBotlr).

    In a world where humans are relatively expensive, robots in retail make sense. Particularly when (in gestures and in sounds) they remind us of endearing droids like R2-D2 from Star Wars, or Rosie the Robot from The Jetsons television series, rather than (say) The Terminator. It’s easy to imagine a near future where robots could be store greeters (New York pharmacy Duane Reade had a holographic greeter in its Wall Street flagship when it opened in 2011). Robots too could race items to and from change-rooms in apparel stores.

    Robots are already performing more menial, behind-the-scenes roles in retail, such as inventory checking and shelf replenishment can’t be far behind. And (as with Aloft’s Botlr) robots are starting to pop up in basic service roles too, like the Robot-run restaurant in Harbin, China with Robochefs and Robowaiters.


    But of course, robots don’t have to take human form. Apple’s “Siri” personal assistant is a robot of sorts – not that it works all that well right now. When the technology is perfected though, “The Ultimate Productivity Hack Will Be Robot Assistants” according to HBR.

    Google is spending hundreds of millions of dollars purchasing companies with expertise and IP in robotics and artificial intelligence. The tech giant’s well-publicized experiments with self-driving cars are all about removing people from the picture. When driverless technology is married with Uber, you can see why Google invested US$258 million in the smart-phone driven travel company. Tap the app on your phone and a vehicle will arrive, sans someone at the wheel. As Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick famously stated: “When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking an Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle.”

    So, ready or not, robots are coming. It’s only a matter of time before the “dude is a droid” in your local store, particularly in more value-driven outlets where every dollar in overheads counts. And if service levels go up and costs go down, then that is a good thing for both retailer and shopper.

    Of course, with every trend is a counter-trend. As the robots roll in, living, breathing, smiling human beings will be a differentiator in retail’s future.

  • Time to Rethink Technology at Summer Camp?
    Sitting with my wife by the lake in Northern Michigan at the beginning of the summer I listened as the director of our family camp, Camp Michigania, recited the rules for the week. “One final thing we ask everyone to abide by,” he said to the assembled adults, “please keep your children from using any technology this week and try not to use your own cellphones and computers in public.” I noted the irony that he had just read his annual list of policies and procedures from his iPhone.

    Is it hypocrisy when a camp director asks campers to unplug while being tethered to his own smartphone? I contemplated this from my spot on the beach watching my kids kayak and paddleboard as I tapped away at my notebook computer, enjoying the gorgeous surroundings as I put the finishing touches on a blog entry.

    I am a techie, but I am also an advocate for summer camp. I respect those who believe that our kids should leave anything that requires a rechargeable battery at home before getting on the bus to sleep away camp — hard as that may be. But I also wonder if we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Just how far into the future will we be able to continue banning communication devices from these children of the digital age?

    The argument against allowing these young campers to import their technology to camp is that they need a chance to unplug and to be fully present without any influences from the outside world. But those influences inevitably sneak into summer camps each year. Overnight camp counselors use the Internet after hours and on days off and then keep the campers abreast of what’s happening in the world. Communiques in the form of one-way email messages, faxes and even hand-written letters from family members alert them to the goings on back home. Summer camp for our children is akin to a vacation for us, but aren’t we all guilty of sneaking a peek at our email while on vacation? Is the expectation that our kids shouldn’t have that ability a double standard?

    We would be fooling ourselves to believe that technology can be totally barred from camp. In the second decade of the 21st century, electronic gadgets are everywhere. Camp itself has become reliant on technology as staff members regularly use smartphones to check for impending storms, camp directors send newsletters home via email, digital photos are posted nightly for the eager parents, and the camp social worker is never far from her cellphone to text mom about her homesick daughter. Some camps let the children bring Wi-Fi-enabled devices and even mobile phones to camp, but mandate the appropriate times for usage. “Multimedia” is a daily activity at some camps along with canoeing and crafts. Campers take photos with digital SLR cameras and then use computer applications to edit them, while counselors may be using other computers in the room to post photos to Instagram or browse their Facebook feed.

    So what’s the right answer? Should camp leaders continue to ban campers’ use of technology or begin to embrace policies of acceptable tech use? I asked camp expert Jeremy J. Fingerman, the CEO of the Foundation for Jewish Camp what he thinks.

    “Camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to unplug from technology, providing them the freedom to develop deep relationships and communication skills without distractions,” Fingerman wrote in an email. “I often hear from parents that camp provides a much needed break and a chance for kids to just be kids.”

    That makes sense. Summer camp should be a refuge for the screen zombie kids whose idea of exercise is going to get more snacks while playing Xbox. Tech gadgets would certainly compete with the immersive experience that sleep away camp creates for the young people. But does technology have no place whatsoever in the lives of campers?

    Some obsolete technology has been ruled acceptable at some camps. Before sending my oldest child to Camp Tamarack in Ortonville, Michigan, this summer I was forced into the basement to dig deep into the box where our outdated tech gadgets go to die. Usually one to embrace the latest in technology, I was on a mission to find an old model iPod with no Internet capability and no screen to view videos. That was the only music device he was permitted to take (the Sony Walkman I took to the same camp three decades prior was deemed too archaic).

    Specialty camps like Camp Inc., the new overnight camp in the Rockies for entrepreneurial teens, embraces technology. Campers unplug for a few hours each day to jump in the lake, go boating, play volleyball, and hike in the mountains. But then they plug their camp-issued notebook computers back in as they work with fellow campers on their startup companies. I visited Camp Inc. in July and a summer storm took out the phones and Internet service at the camp one day. Campers and their counselors alike didn’t know what to do without access to the outside world and no electricity to fire up their computers. It was like a traditional sleep away camp from a simpler time before the Internet existed. It could be a nice experience, but not at a camp where the “Shark Tank” format startup pitches serve as the camp’s Color Wars.

    American adolescents spend more than 7.5 hours each day using an electronic device and the proliferation of built-in wireless technology has made it increasingly difficult for summer camps to strike the balance of allowing some electronics instead of others. At B’nai Brith Beber Camp in Wisconsin, executive director Stefan Teodosic is proud of his camp’s “Screen Free Technology Policy,” which he helped craft in 2012 with input from parents and campers. The camp’s director of operations explains the technology policy in a video embedded on the camp’s website. In the video, he admonishes parents to please leave all expensive electronics at home.

    “These devices have a way of getting lost or broken at camp, and sometimes even stolen,” Camp Beber’s policy explains. “The only electronics allowed will be screen-less music players and digital cameras. All other music players, eBook readers, portable game devices, and video players should remain at home. Period. Camp is one of the few places throughout the year where kids can truly unplug.”

    Most overnight summer camps will continue to discourage technology that interferes with their stated mission of promoting socialization between campers and instilling a love of the outdoors. The screen free policies also help remove divisions between the campers who come from families that can afford expensive technology gadgets and those that cannot.

    Technology is all around us, but we can strive to give campers a hiatus during the summer from staring glassy-eyed at screens both big and small. Their much needed break from the world of technology is healthy and they can certainly detox from their cellphones, tablets, iPods, game consoles and laptops for a few weeks. As time goes on, however, a completely screen free summer may be unavoidable. Striking a healthy balance will be a recipe for success.

    Rabbi Jason Miller is an educator, entrepreneur and blogger. He is the president of Access Computer Technology in Michigan.

  • 4.7- or 5.5-inch — Which iPhone 6 Should You Buy?

    In a few weeks, I and millions of other iPhone owners will be facing a vexing purchase dilemma.

    On September 9, Apple will — reportedly — announce not one, but for two new iPhone 6s, a 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and a 5.5-inch iPhone 6/Air phablet.

    Which iPhone 6 do I and millions others choose?

    Moving from a 4-inch iPhone to a 4.7-inch seems like a big enough jump — but that “good enough” rationale is a trap. You should never ever buy a piece of tech by rationalizing “that’s all I need,” because it’s never all you’ll need.

    “Oh, I only need 1 TB of memory,” you rationalize, until your hard drive is suddenly over-flowing with large video, music and photo files. “Oh, I only need a 42-inch TV,” until you discover you can’t see it from across the room. “Oh, I don’t need the fastest router” until Netflix buffers more than it streams. As technology expands, so do your needs and you’re left woefully under-teched in short order.

    So I can’t choose the 4.7 iPhone 6 just because it’s slightly bigger than the iPhone 5s.

    Plus, the 5.5-inch iPhone Air promises to be the more tech-loaded of the two, perhaps with the vaunted invincible sapphire screen, perhaps with 128 GB of on-board memory to hold my entire 12,000-track music library and some movies, which I’ll now be tempted to watch on the bigger screen.

    (Here’s the best roundup of iPhone 6 rumors I’ve found.)

    As you can see from the photo adorning this post, the display on 4.7-inch Moto X is barely more spacious than the iPhone 5s. But the 5-5-inch screen on the LG G3? That’s Madison Square Garden vs. your high school gym. That’s a 5-bed/4-bath penthouse vs. a studio apartment. That’s Bill O’Reilly vs. Jon Stewart (and I’m speaking purely physical size comparisons here).

    But is a 5.5-inch iPhone Air TOO big?

    Fortunately, I have a way of finding out.

    As a smartphone reviewer, I futz with nearly every new flagship Android model, including the aforementioned adorably customizable 4.7-inch Moto X, the drop-dead gorgeous but also fun 5-inch HTC One (M8), the chic mirrored piano-black 5-inch Sony Xperia Z1s, the best-selling blue-collar 5.1-inch Samsung Galaxy S5 and, most recently and most importantly, as noted, the shockingly compact LG G3, which squeezes a 5.5-inch screen into a body barely bigger than the Samsung Galaxy S5.

    So to discover if a 5.5-inch phablet is TOO ponderous, I’ve been toting the LG G3 around for the last few weeks to get used to its girth, and for research for an upcoming everything-about-smartphones piece I’m writing for the November/December issue of Consumers Digest.

    But something funny happened during this “is a 5.5-inch smartphone too big” experiment.

    I’ve fallen in like with the G3.

    How does it feel

    First off, the G3 is not too big. In fact, after handling it for a while, the iPhone 5s and the Moto X seem insignificant in comparison — sort of like swinging a weighted bat then picking up the regular bat and finding it too toothpicky.

    Like previous iterations of LG’s G-series phones, the G3 has installed its sleep and toggle buttons on the rear of the phone, immediately beneath the camera lens. I’m still getting used to this location and I’m still not sold on it, but you can simply tap-tap-tap on the blank screen to wake the G3 up – no sliding locks across the screen necessary.

    While tests indicate the Galaxy S5 takes slightly superior snaps, the G3’s camera is faster, especially in capturing candids in low light.

    The G3 also has a louder and clearer speakerphone than the Galaxy S5 (although nothing beats the HTC One’s stereo front speakers for smartphone aural enjoyment).

    UI-wise, the G3 also is filled with clever software gimmicks, such as true multi-window operation that, among other things, lets you drag an item from one app into another (i.e. a photo into a text message). And LG’s clever add-on Quick Circle charging case ($60) lets you operate apps from within a circular cutout with the case closed, operate the camera with the front flap folded back, and is compatible with the Powermat wireless charging system.

    But these are mere quantifications. How does the 5.5-inch G3 feel?

    G3’s more generous screen real estate keeps e-book reading a more emotional continuum (i.e. fewer flow-interrupting virtual page turns) than any smartphone I’ve used, playing intricate games is less squinty and movie-watching is more immersive than a smaller-screened model.

    And toting a 5.5-inch phone means I’d no longer have to carry both a phone and, for entertainment purposes, a small tablet. So a 5.5-inch model actually would be less bulky in the aggregate.

    And as big as the G3 phone is, I can still operate it with one hand — not nearly as one-handed operable as the iPhone 5s or the Moto X, admittedly, and not to all corners of the display, but still mostly thumb navigable in one hand while gripping a subway poll with another.

    Whether the 5.5-inch iPhone Air will be as space-efficient at the G3, of course, remains to be seen.

    The old switcheroo?

    Now, this all doesn’t mean I’m switching from iPhone, because I’m not. Android is the Swiss cheese of smartphone operating systems. While new security measures have been put in place, Android still has too many malware and spyware holes.

    Plus, I’m trapped in the iOS ecosystem.

    But if I were an Android user on the lookout for a new premium device, I’d chose the LG G3. Too bad its not waterproof like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Sony Xperia Z1s, though.

    So, it seems I’ve talked myself into it. I’ll opt for the 5.5-inch iPhone Air phablet.

    But what if Apple announces only the 4.7-inch iPhone on Sept. 9, and delays the 5.5-inch iPhone Air phablet?

    Well, um — oh, crap.

  • Kenya Recycles E-Waste From Around The World, Keeping Pollutants Out Of Landfills
    MACHAKOS, Kenya (AP) — In an industrial area outside Kenya’s capital city, workers in hard hats and white masks take shiny new power drills to computer parts. This assembly line is not assembling, though. It is dismantling some of the estimated 50 million metric tons of hazardous electronic-waste the world generated last year.

    The clanking is rhythmic as the workers unscrew, detach and toss motherboards onto piles of gleaming circuitry at the East African Compliant Recycling facility. Workers wipe hard drives with magnets, shred small appliances, and bundle old cables like bales of multi-colored hay. Stacks of dingy gray computer towers — some with now-ancient floppy disk drives — cover much of one wall. The cornerstone is a cardboard box labeled “PCs for Africa.”

    The amount of electronic waste generated globally last year is enough to fill 100 Empire State Buildings and represents more than 15 pounds (6.8 kilograms) for every living person, according to the U.N. Environmental Program. Much of that e-waste is exported to developing countries like India and Kenya in the form of used goods, where it ends up in landfills or is burned, putting lead, arsenic and mercury into the environment.

    Kenyan leaders are working on new laws and regulations requiring proper disposal of e-waste, defined as anything with a battery or a cord.

    “A lot of e-waste is shipped to these countries in order to get rid of it,” said Ruediger Kuehr, the executive secretary of Solving the E-Waste Problem, a Germany-based organization coordinated by the U.N.

    Impoverished Nairobi residents collect end-of-life electronics for processing. In Nairobi’s Mukuru slum, women pick through dumpsites or purchase discarded material from electronics repair shops. They earn about $2 for a CRT tube-style television. If dumped, that television would have released 6.5 pounds (3 kilograms) of lead into the environment.

    “I can say we have already done something good,” waste collector Joyce Nyawira said, referring to cleaning the environment.

    Some of this e-waste stems from private Western charities donating products near the end of their life cycles, like the box of “PCs for Africa” sitting in the warehouse. Public initiatives like school computer programs also contribute.

    “You can imagine if you are giving one kid a laptop, it’s very easy for this laptop to die anytime,” said Joshua Patroba, operations manager at East African Compliant Recycling, a company in Machakos, about an hour east of Nairobi, that began business in December and has already collected and sold more than 130,000 pounds of e-waste.

    East African Compliant Recycling funds its operations by selling high-tech waste to countries like the U.K., China and Hong Kong with the machinery to isolate the precious metals and rare minerals from the scrap. High-grade motherboards can contain platinum, gold and silver. New products also pose a growing problem, as cheap gadgets become more widespread. Kuehr said more e-waste is generated in developing and transitioning countries than in the developed world. The U.N. says that while the world’s 7 billion people have 4.5 billion toilets, they also have 6 billion phones.

    “Most people, when their phones are dead, they give them to their children as toys, and then the children break them,” said Margaret Kamar, Kenya’s Minister of Higher Education, Science & Technology. “People get exposed to a lot of dangerous materials that are used when electronic materials are being manufactured.”

    President Uhuru Kenyatta in June signed regulations requiring e-waste be disposed of at government-licensed facilities meeting international standards. More detailed regulations written into an environmental act are pending.

  • The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
    Ice bucket challenge.

    Ice bucket challenge. Ice bucket challenge. Ice bucket challenge.

    Oh we’re sorry, did you say that there was some other news this week besides the ice bucket challenge? Chaos in Ferguson? A Nutella shortage? Nope, we missed all of that because all we heard about was the damn ice bucket challenge.

    Since it doesn’t look like the ubiquitous videos are going to stop invading our news feeds any time soon, we should probably just embrace them. Send an ice bucket challenge Someecard, perhaps?

    We give up. Check out the best, most ice-buckety, cards of the week.

  • Google is trying to map a “normal” patient’s physiology

    Google’s aptly named Baseline Study project will attempt to map the entire physiology of a perfectly “normal” patient.

    The post Google is trying to map a “normal” patient’s physiology appeared first on iMedicalApps.

Mobile Technology News, August 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.

  • OS X Yosemite Public Beta 2 Now Available

    Apple has released the 2.0 version of the OS X Yosemite Public Beta to those who have joined the program.  It appears to mirror the Developer Preview 6 release that was made to the developer community earlier in the week and it is evident that Apple is nearing completion of the OS as it appears to be stable and fully functional.  I’m personally at the point where I have loaded the beta onto one of my Macs which I use heavily to put it through it’s paces and so far, so good. I’ll remind everyone that it is still beta

    The post OS X Yosemite Public Beta 2 Now Available appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Briefly: Otterbox's Alpha Glass protectors, Booq's Cobra Brief
    Rugged accessories producer Otterbox has announced its introduction of a new screen protection product for iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Alpha Glass consists of fortified glass that features reactive touch and anti-shatter properties. Suitable for standalone use as a screen protector, Alpha Glass is installed by lightly coating the protector with its accompanied alcohol wipe, clean with the microfiber cloth and align it against the screen. Gentle pressure secures the protector, pushing out air that can create bubbles. Alpha Glass is removable with no leftover residue. Priced at $30, th

  • The Ever Changing Face of the Music Industry

    The world of music over the last 20 years has greatly changed. Beyond just the format in which it is recorded on from vinyl to 8-track, from cassette to CD and now digital downloads, the music industry as a whole has evolved into something beyond just the concept of selling a song.

    For many years, music was produced by several major record labels; Sony, MCA, Universal, RCA and Warner Bros. They controlled the market and how their music was promoted to listeners. For the most part, we bought records at stores and called the local radio station asking a DJ to play our favorite song.

    Record labels spent millions of dollars producing music videos to play on cable channels promoting their latest act. Those big budgets have been reduced to a fraction of their prior cost, and often musicians find themselves funding music videos at their own expense.

    Today, there are two major record labels and a slew of independents, each vying to promote their artists to a sea of consumers. Gone are the days of the record store, though a few places such as Barnes & Noble and Starbucks still sell CD’s. Most of us download music for our smartphones online or watch music videos for free on YouTube.

    With all the free or almost free avenues to download music from, how does any label survive? According to Opus Label owner Jeremy Wineberg, it often times boils down to how much money you have behind you. The major labels have the money and the marketing machine to get their artists to the marketplace. The independent labels rely heavily on word of mouth via social media outlets.


    Independent artists with smaller budgets have to be very creative in how they make their dollars work for them. One of the best scenarios would be to have a leading DJ to remix your song, which immediately makes it relevant.

    Wineberg also noted “Celebrities have a lot of pull in the music world. Having one tweet their favorite song or band creates an instant fan following.”

    Not only has the format music is presented to the consumer changed, so has the music itself. One of the newest styles of music, EDM has quickly gained a strong following with worldwide sales estimated at $6.2 billion

    “People finally realize that electronic music isn’t a fad- it’s a new epoch that’s here to stay” stated EDM DJ Don Vaughn.

    “Because electronic sounds are becoming more the norm, infusing dance music with live sounds has a more exotic feel than ever. The guitar riff in Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” is so catchy precisely because, now, it stands out. I have a sense success will go to those who best fuse intoxicating electronic with unique live sounds.”

    Writing songs that appeal to more than one style of music greatly increases a fan base. More and more we are seeing Pop artists writing songs for their fans over EDM music. This places their music in front of potential new fans that perhaps were not listeners before.

    With the growing number of outlets offering free music downloads and videos and the challenge of small budgets to get your music in front of the consumer, it’s a wonder anyone stays in the business.

    “It’s an addicting business” according to Wineberg. “The highs are really high and the lows are really low. There are a lot of creative people out there.”

    So where does this place the future of the music industry? It’s hard to say. Many have predicted music will soon be free to everyone (there’s little you can’t find for free already). The fate of the “undiscovered artist” attempting to be “discovered” by the masses will be one to watch.

  • Struggle to keep Tor in the shadows
    The Tor Project’s fight to keep the dark net anonymous
  • NSA and GCHQ agents 'leak Tor bugs'
    The Tor Project says it believes some NSA and GCHQ agents are surreptitiously leaking it information to protect anonymity on the net.
  • VIDEO: Tor Project 'gets cyberspy leaks'
    The executive director of the Tor Project alleges that agents at GCHQ and the NSA are going behind their colleagues’ backs to leak it information.
  • Galileo: We know where you are
    What pinpointing positions on the planet could mean for you
  • Fark Bans Misogyny From Its Online Forums, Proves It's Possible
    The Internet can be a terrible place, but one website is doing their part to create a safer space for women.

    Fark, an online link-aggregation community launched in 1999, announced this week that they would no longer tolerate “highly misogynistic language” on their forums. In an August 18 post outlining the new guidelines, Fark founder and administrator Drew Curtis explained that moderators would consider the use of such language grounds for being banned.

    “We don’t want to be the He Man Woman Hater’s Club,” Curtis wrote. “This represents enough of a departure from pretty much how every other large internet community operates that I figure an announcement is necessary.”

    Per the announcement, the ban includes:

    – Rape jokes

    – Calling women as a group “whores” or “sluts” or similar demeaning terminology

    – Jokes suggesting that a woman who suffered a crime was somehow asking for it

    New York Magazine‘s Jessica Roy called the move a “refreshing departure” and dismisses the idea that the site will be compromised by the new guidelines: “It’s hard to imagine Fark’s community will suffer from the banning of easy rape jokes — if anything, it will make the community a safer space for women and might even elevate the quality of humor.”

    In the announcement, Curtis alluded to the poor treatment of women on other websites, and stressed that the change would make the Fark community a “better place.”

    According to Curtis, the reaction to the changes has been positive overall.

    “The vast majority of Farkers are fine with the changes as it turns out,” he told The Huffington Post in an email. “Additionally there’s been a groundswell of people who stopped reading Fark over the years due to misogyny who have returned as a result, and all in all it’s been a great experience. I feel like a complete jackass for waiting so long to do this, and so will any other site that decides to make the same choice.”

    Twitter users were quick to congratulate Curtis and the rest of the Fark team for their decision:

    Just paid for a year of Total @Fark in support of the new anti-misogyny policy that @DrewCurtis announced: http://t.co/Q1znxbCfj9

    — Ben Cotton (@FunnelFiasco) August 18, 2014

    Bravo! @Fark refuses to put up w/ misogyny on its site! My latest on @CNET http://t.co/OoQjerd2w3 @DrewCurtis @wilw pic.twitter.com/NrvSJyJY2q

    — Bonnie Burton (@bonniegrrl) August 19, 2014

    @DrewCurtis Hi. Great news about Fark’s anti-misogyny rules. Kudos. You’re featured in today’s Guardian diary. Enjoy! http://t.co/LIDruazW1f

    — Erica Buist (@ericabuist) August 21, 2014

    Curtis told HuffPost that users are also pushing for the rules to apply to hate speech towards men.

    “The most common question we’ve received is ‘what about misandry,'” he told HuffPost. “It’s not really a stretch to extend the rules that as well so we’ll probably be doing that in a bit… I don’t think we’ve ever had a misandry complaint.”

    Those unhappy with Fark’s new rules can still frequent plenty of other online spaces where misogyny is allowed or even encouraged. Supporters of such sites commonly argue that banning such language violates freedom of speech or is in fact “bad for women.”

    It’s amazing that Fark is taking a stand against online misogyny — we’d love to see other websites follow suit.

  • Apple searches for engineers to work on VoLTE tech for iPhone
    Apple has posted two job listings asking for people with experience in voice-over-LTE technology, better known as VoLTE. The first asks for a “cellular systems protocol engineer,” while the second asks for a “wireless communication software engineer” familiar with “SIP, RTP, and VoIP related protocols.” Although it’s dependent on carrier support, VoLTE can allow for much better call quality than regular or even 3G voice channels.

  • 'Thigh Bone' On Mars Seen In New Curiosity Photo
    NASA’s Curiosity rover has spotted a “thigh bone” on Mars — or at least that’s what some paranormal types would have you believe.

    The folks at UFO Blogger wrote this week that the rover’s MastCam had captured a photograph of a “fossilized thigh bone” on the red planet on August 14.

    thigh bone mars

    The object certainly resembles a fossilized femur, but the odds that it’s anything other than a weird-looking rock are, well, astronomical.

    Over the years, people eyeing pictures from Mars have claimed to have seen everything from an iguana to a finger to weird faces.

    But NASA hasn’t been too impressed.

    “On Mars, as on Earth, sometimes things can take on an unusual appearance,” NASA wrote on its website last year after a strange, “shiny” object was spotted on the Martian surface.

    NASA said at the time that while the “shiny-looking rock” resembled a car door handle or another metallic object, its actual identity was probably a bit more prosaic. As Ron Sletten, a scientist on the Curiosity team, indicated on the agency’s site, “the object is an interesting study in how wind and the natural elements cause erosion and other effects on various types of rocks.”

    The Huffington Post reached out to NASA for comment about the “bone.” This post will be updated with any new developments.

  • NFL CIO: Quarterbacking A Digital Revolution
    As Senior Vice President and CIO of the most popular U.S. sports league, Michelle McKenna-Doyle is transforming the National Football League (NFL) to bring technology out of the data center and onto the field and into the locker rooms and hands of millions of fans across its 32 franchises. The fans have helped grow the NFL, founded in the 1920’s, to what it is today – a huge part of American culture: Last year, Super Bowl XLVIII had over 200 million viewers making it the most watched television program in U.S. history. Super Bowl Sunday is the top at-home party to have ranking ahead of New Year’s Eve and more food is consumed on Super Bowl Sunday in people’s homes, second only to Thanksgiving!

    Michelle McKenna-Doyle (Twitter: @nflcio) – CIO of NFL

    With such amazing stats, it comes as no surprise that fan experience is the central focus of the NFL and as the steward of that fan relationship; McKenna-Doyle is looking at how to apply technology to deepen it. To compete with the awesome at-home fan experience, McKenna-Doyle is working with partners, like Extreme Networks, to bring that same mobile technology that people experience at home to the unmatched in-stadium experience.

    In a live interview at Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, McKenna-Doyle shares her advice to CIOs in any industry for tackling change the right way – collaboratively and from the point-of-view of the customer. It’s interesting how whether we are talking about the fan experience or about internal IT, the common thread for success is putting the customer right at the center.

    4 Ways to Tackle Change from your Customer’s Point-of-View:

    1.Know your customer – By understanding the demographics of the customer at different degrees, whether it be gender, age or industry, CIOs can understand how best to connect with them. McKenna-Doyle has used the data to learn more about their 188 million fans in the U.S., over three quarters of which are avid fans. In doing so, she learned that the NFL fan base encompasses a lot more than what you typically think of as your male 25 to 34 year old avid fan. In fact, a surprising 46% of NFL fans are female, 78% are kids aged 12 to 17 and 65% are U.S. Hispanics. By seeing that their fan base is a diverse group that covers all demographic areas means they have to have a diverse way of communicating to them and connecting with them.

    Understanding customer behavior is also important. In order to provide an environment where fans can always be connected, the NFL did some analytics at this year’s Super Bowl, in partnership with Extreme Networks, to learn what fans were doing in the stadium, how they were doing it and how they could continue to tweak the infrastructure environment. NFL teams like the New England Patriots are using data analytics to improve the fan experience.

    2. Listen to your customer – In order to use technology to improve the customer experience, McKenna-Doyle says you have to listen to them first and then develop the technology to deliver a better experience. The NFL has introduced new products and new ways to connect to fans based on simply listening. For example, at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots have an amazing app that they have deployed based on the feedback of their fans. The app has everything in it from telling fans where the shortest line to buy a beer is, to where they can find the bathroom with the shortest line. McKenna-Doyle says that you would not necessarily think to offer these types of convenience-based things unless you listen to your fans: “We have to be flexible so that our fans can consume our content how they wish.”

    3. Personalize mobile content – The better the at-home experience gets, with more data and video analysis, the more fans expect the bar to be raised when they are in the stadium, which has led the NFL to a digital transformation around making content mobile. The NFL is first working on making sure that connectivity is a given. “It cannot be optional, you have to have it, so all of our clubs are undertaking syndicate investments,” says McKenna-Doyle.

    After that it’s about building on that core infrastructure to personalize the in-stadium fan experience. Just last week they launched NFL Now, which is an on demand, personalized video service where fans can personalize all things NFL and watch content anytime, anywhere, on any device. “You have got to make a connection. Even though we make millions of connections, those one-to-one connections of that special moment or experience are what live on in your memory. So we recognize that technology is not a necessary evil, it’s a way to connect to your fan and the customer,” says McKenna-Doyle.

    4. Enable progress – McKenna-Doyle advises CIOs faced with the challenge of transforming the business to first realize that they are not in control. CIOs have to learn how to enable, and not be a barrier, to progress and then they have to be willing to innovate and fail. She recommends shorter iteration cycles and to embrace shadow IT. “There are not enough IT people in this world to roll out the technology that your customers demand, so you had better find some shadow IT,” says McKenna-Doyle, which is right in line with the thinking of the CIOs of Intel, McAfee and IBM. She says it is more about managing the risks than locking down assets: “If a project is low risk to the overall enterprise and helps speed along the business process, as long as I give them the tools and there is a process to check it, then I embrace it. My success is only a reflection of the success of my customers,” remarks McKenna-Doyle.

    You can watch the full interview with Michelle McKenna-Doyle here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3PM EST as we host CXOTalk – connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

  • Robots Are People, Too
    “This is an economic revolution,” a new online video says about automation. The premise of “Humans Need Not Apply” is that human work will soon be all but obsolete.

    “You may think we’ve been here before, but we haven’t,” says CGP Grey, the video’s creator. “This time is different.”

    The video has gone viral, with nearly 2 million YouTube views in one week. But is it true?

    Joshua Gans of “Digitopoly” is skeptical and offers some cautionary thoughts. So does the Econospeak blog, which addresses the issue of economic agency and observes that

    “… the alleged automaton, is an illusion — at worst a hoax — that distracts from the scale of human intervention required make the automaton’s motion appear autonomous. The more remotely human intervention can take place, the more effective is the illusion.”

    By contrast, David Atkins gave the video two thumbs up in a post whose title flatly proclaimed that “This is the future. It doesn’t include jobs for humans.” Wrote Atkins:

    “This is real, and it is happening. A lot of people on both sides of the aisle don’t want to believe it’s true, for their own ideological reasons.”

    But is it true? There’s a simple answer to that question: We don’t know.

    A Change Is Coming

    It seems unlikely that there will be no jobs at all. But the world will certainly change.

    The Grey video appears to draw heavily on the work of Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne, with Oxford University’s Programme on the Impacts of Future Technology and Department of Engineering Science. Frey and Osborne concluded last year that 47 percent of current US jobs were vulnerable to automation.

    As we noted at the time, Frey and Osborne noted surprisingly rapid developments in automation, then assessed jobs based on the level of “creative intelligence,” “social intelligence,” dexterity, and other skills in which humans currently have the advantage.

    Frey and Osborne conclude that, in the first wave of automation, “most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labour in production occupations, are likely to be substituted by computer capital.”

    The authors add that, “more surprisingly,” service, sales, and construction jobs will be increasingly vulnerable to automation. They concluded that “generalist occupations requiring knowledge of human heuristics, and specialist occupations involving the development of novel ideas and artifacts, are the least susceptible to computerisation.” That heterodox category includes CEOs, mathematicians, and poets.

    In other words: Yes, a lot of people will lose their jobs. But it’s wrong to say “we’ve never been here before.” The Industrial Revolution led to a wrenching transformation of the workforce. The de-agriculturalization of the United States changed us from a rural society of independent farmers to an urban society of workers and job-seekers. Earlier periods saw us transition from hunter-gatherers to farmers, and from nomads to settlement dwellers.

    Who Decides?

    The right question is not, “Will transformation happen?” The right question is, “Will we manage transformation wisely and fairly?”

    While the nature of that transformation is still unknown, here’s what we do know: Atkins writes that “The future will belong to the political faction that can anticipate and deal with the inevitability of this transition.”

    If you substitute the word “economic” for “political,” you’re left with a statement that’s almost certainly true. The fight for the future is well underway, and the majority is losing. For evidence, you need look no further than CGP Grey’s list of reference books, which includes three works: “Race Against the Machine,” a summary of studies like Frey’s and Osborne’s; a book which tells its readers “how to survive the coming economic collapse and be happy”; and, tellingly, “Average Is Over” by economist Tyler Cowen.

    We’ve dealt with Cowen and his work before. Whether intentionally or not, Cowen is an aggressive propagandist for a brutal libertarian future in which the brilliant and self-motivated (as he sees them) will become wealthier and more powerful than ever, while the rest of society (which Cowen pegs at 85 percent of the population) becomes a permanent underclass, dwelling in shantytowns and struggling to survive.

    Cowen argues that “the wealthy class will … be larger over time” and “will have increasing influence. It is their values that will shape public discourse.”

    CGP Grey’s video demonstrates that the wealthy class is already shaping public discourse. Grey may be completely unaware of this influence, but it’s there nonetheless, and it is that influence which we must consciously change and resist.

    A Democratic Future

    How should we deal with change? First, we must democratize the planning process. Last year the White House announced the formation of “the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee ‘2.0,’” which it describes as “part of a continuing effort to maintain U.S. leadership in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance America’s global competitiveness.”

    There is only one labor representative on the committee, as compared to eleven corporate CEOs. That needs to change. Student and community leaders must also be added to the list of “industry, academia, and government” which the President said “must work in partnership to revitalize our manufacturing sector.”

    A rational and democratized planning process would look something like this:

    1. Include all segments of society in the conversation, not just corporate interests or those who reflect elite values.
    2. Avoid becoming so engaged in hypothetical future events that we ignore the crisis right in front of us. Today’s unemployment emergency involves cyclical, not structural, unemployment. We need to have one debate about our current dilemma, and another about the needs of the future. Let’s not confuse the two, as the “structural employment” conservatives would have us do.
    3. Act, not as Luddites or technophobes, but as wise stewards of our own future – a future which must include a healthy middle class, as well as corporate executives and social or digital engineers.
    4. Target government resources toward technology that is job-producing, as well as wealth-producing. Clean-energy technology is an excellent example of that. The President’s first manufacturing committee had excellent ideas for “green tech,” which produces well-paying and hard-to-automate jobs retrofitting homes and commercial buildings across the country.
    5. Explore income alternatives to ensure that every working American can earn a living wage during this period of displacement. This includes a higher minimum wage, as well as more innovative ideas like a guaranteed minimum income.
    6. Learn from the errors of globalization. This time we should remember to distinguish the inevitable from the merely possible, and to consider all the alternatives before embarking on a course of action.

    Robots: They’re Only Human

    As we wrote in response to Frey and Osborne: Automation is not a tidal wave, sweeping everything in its path. It’s a process which we can shape and direct toward the best possible outcome for all the affected parties. That includes all of us, so we all deserve a place at the table.

    Every revolution — whether technological, political, or economic — is a moment when human values are either reaffirmed or denied. “This time is different,” says CGP Grey. But here’s the thing: It’s always different. Humanity has always faced an uncertain future, and we’ve lived through periods of wrenching transformation before.

    So far the automation process has been guided almost exclusively by corporate interests. Deliberate choices have been masked by the false and ideological assertion that technological development is guided by implacable, invisible forces. That’s not true. For the moment, at least, robots are a human artifact. We may not be able to stop the automation wave, but we can help guide it — and we can respond to it in wise, humane ways.

    Technology is not an alien force. It’s the product of human action, human culture, and human choices. When we create our future, we recreate ourselves. That’s the real task before us now. As social critic John Ruskin said during the Industrial Revolution: “You can either make a tool of the creature, or a man. You cannot do both.”

    Portions of this commentary were adapted from “The Robots are Coming – Now What?

  • Introducing The Chairless Chair You Can Wear, So You Can Sit Anywhere
    Those with desk jobs may be constantly looking for innovative ways to sit less, but Zurich-based startup noonee has configured a wearable technology that would allow workers who are constantly on their feet to sit more.

    The “Chairless Chair” attaches to users’ legs like an exoskeleton. When it’s not being used as a seat, the device allows wearers to run and walk like normal.

    Here’s how it works: When the user is ready to take a seat, he or she just activates the chair and squats into a desired sitting position; the chair then locks in place. The battery-operated device, which straps around the wearer’s hips and thighs, redirects the user’s body weight to the heels.

    “The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a UK packaging factory when I was 17,” Keith Gunura, the 29-year old CEO and co-founder of noonee, told CNN. “Standing for hours on end causes a lot of distress to lower limbs, but most workers get very few breaks and chairs are rarely provided, because they take up too much space.”

    On its website, noonee says the technology can boost worker productivity, especially in factory settings, by alleviating fatigue and muscle strains related to standing for long periods of time. (According to robotics research site Robohub, “a staggering 85 million [out of 215 million industry workers in the EU] are reported to suffer from muscle-related disorders.”)

    “By making the process of work more comfortable and by reducing the risk of exposure to muscle related disorders, employees will also work more efficiently and effectively. As a result, production levels will increase,” noonee’s website notes.

    The chair isn’t available to the public just yet. A trial phase is set to begin with BMW production line workers in Germany in September, and another trial is set to hit Audi later this year, according to CNN.

  • 3 Reasons iPhone 6 Sales Will Be Absolutely Bonkers
    Each iPhone launch sets new sales records. So it’s hardly a reach to predict that the launch of the next iPhone, expected in September, will be big.

    Wall Street and Apple fans are starting to salivate over the idea.

    “I’m expecting it to be huge with a capital ‘H,'” Avi Greengart, a research director at Current Analysis, said of the new phone, which will likely be called the iPhone 6 and be available in two larger screen sizes.

    Apple’s stock reached a record intraday high of $101.77 on Wednesday, as investors psyched themselves up for the phone, which is rumored to come with screens that are 4.7 and 5.5 inches, significantly larger than the current iPhone’s 4-inch screen. They’re also hopeful that Apple will soon release a so-called wearable device, unofficially dubbed the “iWatch.”

    But it’s smartphone sales that really have everyone buzzing. Here’s why:

    1. Upgrades:

    Millions of iPhone owners are eager to upgrade their phones.

    More than a third of all iPhone owners in the U.S. say they plan to upgrade their phones by the end of the year, according to a recent report from comScore. And 40 percent of Americans who own an iPhone 4S — the iPhone that more Americans use than any other iPhone — say they’ll upgrade.

    Even those who just bought an iPhone want to upgrade: Nearly a quarter of people with the iPhone 5S, the fingerprint-sensor-equipped phone that came out last September — indicate they’ll buy a new phone before the end of the year, according to comScore.

    iphone upgrades

    iPhone owners are incredibly loyal, so the vast majority of these people will likely spring for the new phone. From October to December, the quarter after the iPhone 5S and 5C went on sale, 85 percent of iPhone owners who bought another phone bought an iPhone, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a Chicago-based research firm.

    CIRP’s Mike Levin says he expects “a similar rate of loyalty for the next iPhone launch.”

    2. Bigger Screen:

    Samsung recently released an ad called “screen envy” that depicts an iPhone owner jealous of the bigger screen on his friend’s Galaxy S5 phone.

    It’s a sentiment that rings true — iPhone owners who have wanted a phone with a screen bigger than a measly 4 inches have had no choice but to ditch Apple for a phone from a company such as Samsung, LG, Motorola or HTC.

    Morgan Stanley’s Katy L. Huberty, who wrote in a research note on Tuesday that “We expect larger screen iPhones to drive a meaningful upgrade cycle,” thinks an iPhone with a larger screen could increase Apple’s marketshare by a whopping 11 points.

    3. Global Rollout:

    Apple is increasingly relying on iPhone sales outside the U.S. to drive business.

    When the first iPhone was released in June 2007, it was available only in the U.S. It became available in a few more European countries later in the year, though the rollout was very limited.

    Last year, however, Apple released the iPhone 5S and 5C in a dozen regions, including the U.S., China, Japan, Singapore and Germany, on the same day.

    This launch will be the first since Apple reached a deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile carrier, to sell the iPhone. Huberty wrote that this could move sales “much like iPhone 4S drove demand at Verizon early in that carrier relationship.”

    “In all likelihood it’s going to be a global launch — or a much faster rollout globally — than we’ve seen in the past,” said Greengart of Current Analysis.

    Apple is certainly confident that sales will be big. The company reportedly requested from suppliers 70 million to 80 million iPhones to be ready by the end of the year, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    The most iPhones Apple has ever sold in a single quarter is 51 million.

    iphone sales

  • VIDEO: Google boss on taking down videos
    Eileen Naughton, the new managing director of Google in the UK, tells the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed at the Guardian Edinburgh International Television Festival how YouTube has responded to extremist content.
  • More than half of businesses still without BYOD plan
    Over 60% of organisations are unable to adopt a BYOD policy due to business risk and compliance rules, according to research
  • 4PM (ET) – Shazam CEO Live Stream on #AOLBUILD

    Yesterday, Shazam made history. The app that made your music search, and your life, so much easier has hit 100M monthly active users and shows no sign of stopping. In fact, Shazamers shazam 20M times a day.

    So if these mind-blowing numbers are not enough to turn you into a Shazamer, we know what will, catching Shazam CEO, Rich Riley on AOL BUILD.

    4PM, today Live Stream HERE on AOLBUILD.COM. Be there or be square!

    Shazam CEO Rich Riley shares his experience at the helm of one of the most recognizable names in the industry, moderated by Endgadget’s @DanaWollman.

    Tune in at 4PM (EST) for the #AOLBUILD Live Stream.

  • Schematics suggest iPhone 6 may come in 16, 64, and 128GB models
    Another new schematics leak from Chinese repair firm GeekBar suggests that the iPhone 6 may come in 16, 64, and 128GB capacities. Modules from suppliers Toshiba and Hynix are listed, notably excluding 32GB. If the schematics are indeed representative of planned iPhone models, it may hint that Apple is doing a significant shakeup of its usual 16/32/64GB tiers.

  • Aircraft to have 'human-like skin'
    A British defence firm is working on technology that will give aircraft a “skin” of sensors, allowing it to feel in a similar way to humans.

Mobile Technology News, August 20, 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: New Nook e-reader due for launch
    Samsung and Barnes & Noble are due to launch the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK in New York on Wednesday
  • AAPL closes at 52-week high, approaches all-time record
    Apple’s stock closed on Tuesday with a new 52-week high, and at one point in the day threatened to top its all-time highest stock price (based on straight split-adjustment). It officially closed at $100.53, not far from its all-time split-adjusted high of $100.72, though it hit $100.68 in intra-day trading. The company’s valuation also rose to a market cap of $602 billion.

  • Mongolia: A Land of Strong Women

    “My name is Nomin, and I am forty-two years old …” Nomin is the thirty-fifth woman our team has interviewed on a five-week journey across the Gobi Desert to research women’s and girls’ uses of digital technologies. When we enter her ger she sits stirring a cauldron of milk tea. She tells us that she is the mother of three, and that she splits her time between a summer camp outside of Dalanzadgad, the aimag center of Omnogovi Province, and an apartment in Ulaanbaatar, where her children attend school during the winter. As she speaks, her two daughters sit against the wall of the ger, playing games on their Smartphones; occasionally they stop to listen. Nomin is proud of her nomadic heritage. Even though she is college-educated and has access to urban comforts in the winter, she is happiest when she is working in the countryside, tending to her family’s livestock. During the summer her life is rich and productive.


    In Mongolia, women are the primary providers and caretakers, especially among rural herder populations. They are also statistically more educated and better off financially than their male counterparts, although gender equality poses an issue in a mostly-patriarchal culture. The women we meet are hospitable and generous: we learn the landscape of the Gobi in stories told over warm bowls of milk tea. Those stories inspire us to listen more closely, to follow an underlying thread of resilience. They remind us that we are on this journey because we fundamentally believe in the powerful combination of women and knowledge; and we know that Mongolia is a land of exceptionally strong women.

    This strength is something I have come to admire in our translator, Gundegmaa. Several months earlier, when, Lara, the team’s Canadian researcher, and I pieced together our research project we interviewed several potential female translators. In the end, we found Gundegmaa, or Gundii, through a lead in Canada. After an in-depth Skype interview, we knew that we would be hard-pressed to find another candidate with comparable English skills, and we offered her the job almost immediately.

    Now, I know how lucky we are to have Gundii’s combined compass of intellect and wisdom guiding us. Whenever we stop for an interview she talks to the women we meet, laughing and paving the way for our conversations. She navigates the language barrier, molding our questions appropriately and catering them to each interviewee. Gundii is more than a guide; she is a teacher. I wonder if this is because she understands first-hand what many of the women and girls we meet are facing, She, too, grew up in a small village three hundred kilometers outside of Ulaanbaatar where she dreamed of a brighter future. Under the guidance and encouragement of her father she worked hard and excelled in school, especially in English class. Eager to hone her English skills she moved to UB when she was sixteen to live in a small two-room apartment with her two older sisters. She studied late into the night, memorizing English vocab and practicing her grammar. At eighteen her hard work paid off, and she won a year-long Soros Scholarship to study English at the University of Montana. Gundii threw herself into seminars on political science and gender studies. After twelve months she returned to Mongolia determined to take her education further– to do something to empower and elevate women in her own country. She worked as the project leader on a youth project involving fifteen aimags and 15,000 adolescents. Together with the help of two prominent NGOs, Globe International and Mercy Corps, Gundii promoted digital activism across rural Mongolia by creating a 90-page guide to social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Now, her intention to promote positive change carries her across the desert; and when Nomin points to her eldest daughter and tells us that she hopes to one day work in nanotechnology Gundii’s eyes light up. They talk and later trade email addresses: one woman’s determination to succeed ignites and fuels another’s.

    The more we travel the more I see how women bind Mongolian society and families together. I see how women like Gundegmaa inspire other women to reach their full potential. And I see how that deep commitment to positive action is not only something valuable for Mongolians, but for women across the world. Mongolia’s digital landscape is developing at an accelerated pace. In response to a recent boom in mobile technologies and especially Smartphones, information access is changing the nature of nomadic society and arguably, traditional values and priorities. Social media has taken Mongolia by storm. Although Internet has yet to reach most areas of the Gobi Desert it is likely that the next few years will change that. Already, mobile feature phones have become the primary means of communication for nomadic pastoralists. Nomads no longer visit each other to share tea and chat about livestock; they call each other. With increased access to information there is a heightened need for information management. As technological tools reach Mongolians from diverse sectors and communities, it is clear that there will need to be some way of educating and training youth about the power and implications of the digital world. I cannot help thinking that women like Gundegmaa should lead that movement.

    After an hour inside Nomin’s ger it is time to move on. I stoop down and step over the threshold, into the sun. Before opening the car of the jeep I turn back for one last look inside the ger. Once again, Nomin’s daughters sit near the wall, tapping away and playing games on their Smartphones. Gundegmaa meets my gaze, “I hope that they will study abroad and achieve their dreams,” she says, “I hope that inspiration can be used to guide Mongolia’s future.” I look at her and nod. As Nomin stirs her cauldron of tea the steam rises.

  • On the Edge: A Tijuana Tech Tour
    It was raw and I had heard murmurings of innovation stirring south of the border. My interest was piqued when I was invited by Angel Ventures Mexico to participate in the Tijuana Tech Tour. Admittedly, I was skeptical about this emerging tech scene in a border town perhaps better known for discos, mezcal and strip clubs.

    Uber had just launched in Tijuana. An abandoned bus station on the Tijuana strip, Avenida Revolucion, had been converted into the Hub Stn, a co-working facility for tech companies. And one of the biggest drone companies, 3D Robotics, had set up shop to take advantage of the inexpensive labor and operating costs.

    I had to see for myself.

    My decision to travel to Tijuana with 19 other investors, leaders and entrepreneurs from Mexico and the United States on the #TJTechTour was met by my friends and family with bewilderment and concern.


    “Tijuana? Be careful!” was just one of the many comments posted on Facebook by a friend looking out for my safety.

    The biggest problem in Tijuana or “TJ” as it is often called is not violence or drugs — it is branding. Today, Tijuana represents a gateway to Latin America and a real opportunity for those who can see through its gritty image.

    The Mexican border town just south of San Diego has over two million inhabitants. The two cities represent a binational region with over 40 million people crossing the border each year. Their economies, cultures, people and environments are so intertwined, it’s more like one state: the “CaliBaja Mega-Region.”

    “Tijuana is just like the state of California, but a little dirtier and less expensive,” said Marcus Dantus, a Mexican entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of Startup Mexico and Founder of Wayra Mexico who joined us on the trip.

    Jorge Astiazaran, the mayor of Tijuana, kicked off our three day Tech Tour at Hub Stn to an audience of civic leaders, investors, and entrepreneurs. We were there to carry on the conversation as technology transcends borders.

    Tijuana may never be the epicenter of software and technology innovation that Silicon Valley is, nor does it purport to be. Instead, it is positioning itself as the bridge between the United States and Latin America using technology as a platform to drive innovation in its manufacturing businesses and as a hub for entrepreneurship in the binational region.

    The border town has highly skilled engineering talent with an international mindset and is in close proximity to the United States, ideal for nearshoring. With manufacturing moving from China to Mexico, and American trade with Mexico having grown 30 percent since 2010, Tijuana has a real opportunity to drive innovation in manufacturing through technology.

    Case in point — the first stop on our Tech Tour was at the manufacturing facility for 3D Robotics, a state of the art drone business. The VC backed company is based in Berkeley, has engineering facilities in San Diego, and manufacturing in Tijuana — an increasingly common post-NAFTA model.

    Home to the Tijuana University of Technology, the city’s local engineering talent source has also spawned several tech accelerators and nearshoring companies that we visited including Sonata and MindHub. These companies work with both American and Mexican companies to provide engineering needs with skilled talent at a lower cost and close to home. For earlier stage companies, co-working facilities like the BitCenter and HubStn are popping up as affordable places for visionaries and engineers to build their dreams in Tijuana.

    And the bridge goes ways. American companies looking to enter markets in Latin America often seek market validation in Tijuana, given its binational culture, before moving into the rest of Latin America. While Uber already has a presence in Mexico City, the company just launched this past month in Tijuana.

    The international community also has its eyes on the region. In 2016, Tijuana and San Diego will host the World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment, which will be the forum’s first binational location.

    Our savvy local guides, also helping to lead the Tijuana Tech movement, were keen to introduce us to the fusion cuisine, art galleries and budding cultural scene emerging in Tijuana — all instrumental in reshaping the city’s brand. The Culinary Art School in Tijuana requires that its students spend time abroad to learn to appreciate and incorporate new flavors into their cuisine. The food was exquisite and stimulated conversations among our group and dreams of building new bridges.

    Just as Silicon Valley has Napa, the Baja Peninsula boasts its own Wine Country and Ruta del Vino (wine route) in the Valle de Guadalupe region — an hour and a half south of Tijuana near Ensenada. On Saturday, we wound along the unpaved roads through the beautiful valleys, visiting local wineries and stopping to dine at Finca Altozano, a rustic al fresco restaurant with an open kitchen that overlooks the vineyards. Javier Plascencia, the owner and chef, is a well-known Tijuana restaurateur known for his Baja Med cooking style and for revitalizing the culinary scene in the region.

    While there’s rich conversation and real energy around technology and change in Tijuana, the border town can’t do it all alone. There must be an ecosystem built to support it, throughout Mexico and with its neighbors. I’m hopeful that with the right investment and entrepreneurial mentality, new creative solutions will emerge to address some of the other issues in the region from banking to logistics and help to rebuild the region’s image.

  • VIDEO: Hacker conference – behind the scenes
    The man who can create traffic jams and other cyber-warriors
  • The man 'behind a million babies'
    The man who says he’s responsible for a million kids
  • My Twitter Impostor Got More Followers Than The Real Me
    JoBeth McDaniel was up for a “fairly large media job” when she noticed something alarming. When potential employers searched for her online, they found a Twitter account that was not her own, but a fake one run by an impersonator who used her name to tweet about smoking pot and eating pizza.

    Not only were the embarrassing dispatches going out using McDaniel’s likeness, but the impostor had also amassed more followers than McDaniel had on her legitimate account, meaning this faux digital identity was eclipsing who she really was. McDaniel joined HuffPost Live’s Nancy Redd on Tuesday to describe the unfortunate and perplexing experience of losing her grip on her online presence.

    Watch McDaniel share her story in the clip above, and click here to see the full HuffPost Live conversation about stolen Twitter identities.

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

  • Latest Xcode 6 SDKs hint at possible iPhone 6 resolutions
    A PLIST file in the past two Xcode 6 beta SDKs may point at more possible resolutions for the iPhone 6. Specifically the file is connected to the iOS 8 homescreen, and refers to a 16:9 resolution of 414×736. Because the iPhone SDK handles hardware resolutions through point values, actual Retina resolutions should be two to three times greater. That suggests that 828×1472 and 1242×2208 are possibilities, both of which would have enough pixel density on 4.7- and 5.5-inch screens to maintain Retina status.

  • The Reasons The Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral
    Take one part challenge, one part charity, sprinkle in some celebrity and cook on high with Facebook. Voilà: You have the Ice Bucket Challenge — the viral phenomenon that’s likely taking your Facebook feed by storm.

    The concept — which you know by now consists of people dumping a bucket of ice water on their heads and challenging others to do the same — has spurred millions of dollars in donations for the ALS Association, and is among the biggest viral hits in Facebook’s history: The company said on Monday that 2.4 million videos “related to the ice bucket challenge have been shared” on the social network, and more than 28 million people have posted, commented or liked a post relating to the challenge.

    “Marrying the Internet’s love of challenges with donation and charity is a stroke of genius,” Neetzan Zimmerman, a former editor at Gawker who’s widely considered an expert in viral phenomena, told The Huffington Post. “There’s no other way to say this — it’s absolutely pure brilliance.”

    Justin Timberlake completes the challenge.

    The nature of the Ice Bucket Challenge is, in itself, inherently spreadable — it’s easy to do, you’re being called out in a public forum, and there’s a chain letter-like “pass it on” nature in tagging other people.

    “People want to look good to others, so it’s hard to turn down a prosocial cause,” Jonah Berger, the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On, wrote in an email to The Huffington Post. “ALS is a great cause, so when someone asks you directly to do this, it’s hard to turn them down without seeming like a bad person.”

    The Internet, after all, “revolves around” challenges, Zimmerman said, referring to the “cinnamon challenge,” where people would upload videos of themselves attempting to gulp down a spoonful of cinnamon, and planking, where people would lay down in ridiculous places for the sake of showing they completed the challenge.

    The Ice Bucket Challenge also has an element of hashtag activism, or slacktivism, said Zimmerman, who’s now the editor in chief of Whisper, an app that allows people to share secrets anonymously. You can do something from your computer — or from your yard — that makes you feel good, but doesn’t actually do anything. (In a versions of the challenge, you can get out of the donation if you douse yourself, which is something the campaign has been criticized for.)

    Who can forget Kony 2012 — and its hashtag #stopKony? — the short video about the African warlord that spread on Facebook and Twitter, but was also criticized for, among other reasons, not actually doing anything other than “raising awareness”? This was also a criticism of the LGBT marriage equality movement last year, when 3 million people changed their Facebook profile pics to equal signs.

    The Ice Bucket Challenge campaign has been great for the ALS Association, a nonprofit organization that does research and provides help for those with the debilitating neurological disorder, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The organization said Tuesday morning that it’s received $22.9 million since July 29 — up from $1.9 million over the same period last year. And the donations are coming not only from existing donors, but from nearly half a million new donors, the group said.

    Celebrities have latched on to the cause, which has undoubtedly hastened the spread. At this point, it’s almost difficult to find a celebrity who hasn’t had ice water dumped on his or her head. Gayle poured water on Oprah’s head. Jimmy Fallon and some celebrity friends did it. Kobe and LeBron have done it. Bieber’s done it — twice.

    “If you’re doing the same thing they’re doing, it’s as if you can stand in for them,” said Jennifer Cool, an anthropologist at USC who studies Internet culture and history. “You too can be in the shoes of Lady Gaga or Bill Gates.”

    And, of course, there’s the showing off factor. Facebook is, at its core, a place to show off and promote yourself, filled with incredible vacation photos, reminders to all that you’re in love and musings about challenges overcome (ideally while on vacation, like hiking in South America). You may have some friends who’ve seemed eager to show off their bikini or swim trunk bodies in their Ice Bucket Challenge videos.

    At this point, some celebrities seem to be trying to one-up each other. Bill Gates released a highly produced (yet charming) video of himself designing an intricate method of dumping water on himself. Hockey player Paul Bissonnette, for some reason, had a helicopter drop glacier water on him. And Tyler Perry’s video seems to have an element of “check out this ridiculous pool I’m standing in.”

    Celebrities also seem eager to name drop in their nominations. “I know where you live,” Oprah says to Steven Spielberg as she nominates him to take the challenge.

    Like all viral phenomenon, the Ice Bucket Challenge may fade away just as quickly as it blew up.

    “It’s practically on the way out,” said Zimmerman, who’s critical of the celebrities and billionaires “co opting” the challenge for possible PR purposes. “Someone pushes it over the edge then it spends two weeks, three weeks in the news cycle and then fades.”

  • Apple Stock Closes At New Record High
    Apple’s stock soared to a new record high on Tuesday, closing at $100.53.

    That’s the highest the stock has ever closed at, adjusting for a stock split that happened in June.


    The stock price climbed even higher in after-hours trading.

    The jump comes after Morgan Stanley analysts sent a note to investors on Tuesday saying Apple’s stock was undervalued and setting a new target price of $110.

    The tech giant completed a 7-for-1 stock split back in June — effectively dividing each Apple share into seven. Before the split, Apple stock closed at an all-time high of $702.10 in September 2012. Adjusting for the stock split, that’d be worth about $100.30 today, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Investors are getting super excited about the expected launch of the iPhone 6 in September.

    Legendary investor Carl Icahn, who bought shares of Apple last October and boosted his stake in the company in January, boasted about the move on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon:

    About 1 yr ago we tweeted to our followers about our investment in $AAPL and that stock was “extremely undervalued” https://t.co/JUrfmWEHLx

    — Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 19, 2014

    Believed $AAPL to be one of my “no-brainers”. Anyone that invested at that time would be up 53% (including dividends)

    — Carl Icahn (@Carl_C_Icahn) August 19, 2014

    Apple did not immediately respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment.

  • Sam Smith Says Grindr, Tinder Are 'Ruining Romance'
    Newly out singer-songwriter Sam Smith may be single and looking to mingle, but don’t expect him to rely on technology when it comes to finding a boyfriend.

    The 22-year-old British crooner tells Metro that social apps like Tinder and Grindr are “ruining romance,” noting, “We’re losing the art of conversation and being able to go and speak to people.”

    The star says he hasn’t found lasting love just yet, noting, “There is one particular guy that I’ve been on a few dates with. I like him but who knows?”

    Still, he’s learned to look beyond the superficial when it comes to dating, adding, “From my experience the most beautiful people I’ve been on dates with are the dumbest, so why would I swipe people who are ‘unattractive’ when I could potentially fall in love with them? Stop Tinder and Grindr!”

    Earlier this year, Smith revealed that his acclaimed debut album, “In the Lonely Hour,” was inspired by “a guy that I fell in love with last year, and he didn’t love me back.”

    “I think I’m over it now, but I was in a very dark place,” he told The FADER. “I kept feeling lonely in the fact that I hadn’t felt love before. I’ve felt the bad things. And what’s a more powerful emotion: pain or happiness?”

  • 'Unhashtagable?'
    Hashtag activism draws on the logic that outrage or heightened audience reaction caused by iconic images can sway public opinion and eventually effect changes in policy, an argument that in its modern context has been documented since at least the Vietnam War era. With the advent of immediate and pervasive circulation through social media, the growing influence of images and short-form collective communication as persuasive media in policy decisions and social impact is undeniable.

    But if hashtag activism builds on and replicate this assumed association between moral outrage and social justice through images and short communication, does it further offer the possibility of a more informed and effective strategy for social impact?

    In other words, can hashtag activism lead to any kind of real change — or are atrocities the world over, in their essence, unhashtagable?

    Hashtags as Slacktivism

    There is a strong argument that much of hashtag activism is ineffective, or is merely passive action that substitutes for real change. Take the case of one of the one of the most recent and famous hashtag campaigns, #BringBackOurGirls. On April 14, 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from their school in Nigeria’s Borno State. Outraged Nigerian activists and those affected directly called on the government to take action to both recover the girls and to combat the historic impunity of the alleged kidnappers, Boko Haram. Eight days after the kidnapping, Ibrahim Abdullahi, a lawyer living in Abuja, created the now infamous hashtag. The day after the leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, took responsibility for the kidnapping in a video on May 5, Michelle Obama tweeted a picture of herself with a sign reading #BringBackOurGirls — and the day after that, the hashtag spawned 1 million tweets.

    It was nearly a month after the abduction itself that the news went viral on Twitter. With Michelle Obama’s May 6 tweet paving the way, political figures and celebrities came out in support of the hashtag and #BringBackOurGirls became an outlet for individuals to express their own outrage over the kidnapping. While capitalizing on the emotion of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, however, individual tweets began to shift the focus away from the actual girls, or even larger issues of violence, and onto the tweeters themselves. Model Irina Shayk’s apparently topless Instagram photograph where she holds a #BringBackOurGirls sign, for example, generated a mixed response. Some argued it was empowering while others slammed the picture for being culturally insensitive and inconsiderate to the actual issues at stake. In two tweets from the days after the media explosion around #BringBackOurGirls, Ugandan-American writer Teju Cole wrote that Boko Haram’s sustained and escalating violence was “horrifying and unhashtagable” — conveying his thoughts that the #BringBackOurGirls movement was an excuse for patronizing and sentimentalizing an issue that African and African-allied activists have been fighting for years.

    Along similar lines, ownership of the hashtag and the entire social media movement around the school kidnapping came into question. Organizations Girl Rising and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls joined forces to organize a Google Hangout on May 6, which focused on the importance of “social media marches” to raise awareness and maintain visibility. Their call to action hinged on the belief that individuals can combat injustice by leveraging social media through a “common voice.” One recommended technique for asserting a “common voice” across social media was for individuals to change their profile pictures to an image of the words “Bring Back Our Girls” in white on a red background. This campaign, which disappeared as quickly as it started, was called out by some as a self-serving promotion aimed at hijacking the excitement around #BringBackOurGirls. Nigerian organizations called out Girl Rising’s drive for $10 donations for a #BringBackOurGirls emergency project as having no established relationship to the original, local campaign. Controversy about ownership of the campaign intensified when one of the director’s of Girl Rising’s 2013 film, Ramaa Mosely, seemed to take the credit for the creation of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag and its subsequent movement in a series of interviews on USA news networks.

    Because of its brief yet intense popularity on Twitter, accusations of co-option and questions about the effectiveness of “raising awareness,” #BringBackOurGirls has been likened to the media campaign Kony 2012 (#StopKony). While both campaigns gained a tremendous amount of attention, they both failed at engaging sustained activism around their respective causes and at achieving actual success on the ground. Both campaigns were also criticized for encouraging a U.S. military agenda on the African continent when they provoked an international military response.

    In an article for Slate, Joshua Keating highlights that media campaigns like Kony 2012 and #BringBackOurGirls are popular because they cause a sense of moral outrage via an easily-identifiable villain while glossing over the complexities of the causes they represent. The kidnapped girls and Kony himself became iconic images, but the vast majority of the public consuming these images remains ignorant of the dynamics of the issues at stake, for example, that the girls’ abduction is part of a wider terror program that has seen thousands of people murdered in Nigeria by Boko Haram in the past four years. Against defenders of social media campaigns who claim them as “gateways” for raising deeper awareness for global injustice, Keating argues that more often than not these campaigns lead nowhere because they cannot sustain interest on a personal level:

    Viewers get interested when they hear about evil monsters like the Lord’s Resistance Army or Boko Haram who just need to be stopped. When they learn more about the issue and find out that, lo and behold, the world is a complicated place, that killing the monster won’t be so easy and that there are larger issues in play beyond the monster itself, they lose interest.

    The co-option of #BringBackOurGirls presents the further question of whether hashtag activism, through its saturation of both formal and social media networks, has the potential to harm the causes it sets out to champion in the first place. Web searches about the kidnapped girls reached their peak from the May 8-10, a total of two days after the hashtag went viral, and interest has dramatically declined since. Between May 2014 and the present, the story of the kidnapped girls evolved for a brief time into a celebrity cause. But a scan of media from May 29 to date indicates a sharp decline in media interest in #BringBackOurGirls, despite the Nigerian government admitting that they know where the girls are yet fear that it is too dangerous for them to retrieve the girls by force. Continued Boko Haram attacks and other on-going atrocities fail to remain hot issues in the crowded information environment of the mass media. Excitement and attention around #BringBackOurGirls has died down, but the girls are still not found. The world’s attention has moved on, despite the fact that nothing has changed vis a vis Boko Haram’s activities in Nigeria or the persistent systemic factors leading to the vulnerability of populations like the 276 girls.

    Hashtags as Tools for Activism

    There are ways in which hashtag activism can be a useful tool. When used with sensitivity and a clear understanding of its limited reach and impact, it can be a flexible medium for social networking and raising awareness within broader and more sustained advocacy and action.

    Localized, community-driven hashtags, such as #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and #RIPEricGarner, as well as the appropriation of #MyNYPD to cite examples of police misconduct and brutality, for example, have served as creative vehicles for sharing information, mobilizing opinion, focusing community anger on justice, and sustaining commentary over a defined period of time or over a set of shared goals. In these cases, the hashtags arose specifically from and in support of the African-American community, which is reeling from yet another round of sustained brutality, with four recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police across the U.S.

    The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has been met with citizen action on Twitter, driven first through Black Twitter, then more broadly, using the hashtags #Ferguson — through which news and information was gathered and disseminated on the unfolding police reaction and discussions around peaceful protest and the militarization of civilian law enforcement; #MikeBrown — which served as an act of protest and of empathy, to name the victim and remind us of him as a person inherently deserving of justice; and #IfTheyGunnedMeDown — which called out a prejudicial photograph of Mike Brown circulated after his killing and created a call to action around the power of visual culture and our larger perceptions of African-Americans.

    As of this writing, the crisis in Ferguson is still unfolding. What appears the case is that the heightened attention on social media, particularly on Twitter, has led to a deeper national discussion of police militarization and law enforcement’s treatment of young black men, though there is still a fight for media attention. Ultimately the question of whether these hashtag movements will have contributed to any effects on the ground or in long-term perception shifts remains open.

    So Which Is It?

    Is hashtag activism effective or not? To have comprehensive understanding of this kind of activism, a range of questions needs to be explored: What is the value of imagery in today’s social media networks where a glut of images exists? What is the role of social media in addressing injustice on a global scale? Whose participation is important, or determinative? What standards can we use to gauge the success of a social media hashtag campaign?

    Many social media commentators claim that the mere occurrence of heightened awareness in the perceiving and communicating audience is sufficient to count as “impact.” And in the cases where hashtags created a community-driven critique, as in #IfTheyGunnedMeDown or #MyNYPD, the very engagement toward collective identity and organized participation represents a shift that will have ripple effects in similar ways that media and policy critiques do. In contrast, #BringBackOurGirls (like KONY2012 before it), appears to be a classic example of facile and self-validating activism, where people have jumped on the bandwagon for a moment and then quickly lost interest.

    Ultimately, until the questions are answered around whose interests are served by hashtag activism and what it actually accomplishes for those directly affected, in both the short- and long-terms, most atrocities will indeed remain “unhashtagable.”

    This post was written with support from Regarding Humanity co-founder Linda Raftree, and Regarding Humanity research consultants Winter Schneider and Alex Lee.

  • Uber Hires Former Obama Adviser David Plouffe To Take On The 'Taxi Industry Cartel'
    David Plouffe, one of the key players in President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, is headed to on-demand car service Uber to help with the startup’s political strategy

    Plouffe, who was Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and later served as a senior adviser in the White House, will join the popular app-based service as a senior vice president of policy and strategy, CEO Travis Kalanick announced in a Tuesday statement.

    “Starting in late September, David will be managing all global policy and political activities, communications, and Uber branding efforts,” Kalanick said. “I will look to him as a strategic partner on all matters as Uber grows around the world.”

    In a statement accompanying Kalanick’s announcement, Plouffe welcomed the opportunity to take on the “taxi industry cartel” with the San Francisco-based company.

    “Uber has the chance to be a once in a decade if not a once in a generation company,” Plouffe said. “Of course, that poses a threat to some, and I’ve watched as the taxi industry cartel has tried to stand in the way of technology and big change. Ultimately, that approach is unwinnable. But I look forward to doing what I can right now to ensure drivers and riders are not denied their opportunity for choice in transportation due to those who want to maintain a monopoly and play the inside game to deny opportunity to those on the outside.”

    Uber, which is available in 170 cities across the world, has had its share of political battles since launching in 2009. In competing directly with traditional livery services, Uber has drawn the ire of taxi regulators who have attempted to shut the service down. And the company and other ride-sharing apps have repeatedly faced regulatory hurdles in cities where local officials have voted against such services.

    Earlier this month, the Republican National Committee took aim at those troubles by launching a petition in support of Uber in an apparent appeal to young, urban voters.

    “We must stand up for our free market principles, entrepreneurial spirit and economic freedom,” the petition read.

    As the New York Times notes, Uber has also hired former New York Taxi and Limousine Commission official Ashwini Chhabra to lead the company’s policy development and community engagement.

  • Every Robin Williams Movie You Can Stream On Netflix Right Now
    It’s been a week since the death of Robin Williams, and the world has been busy honoring the life and work of the beloved actor and comedian. His friends have been reminiscing about his kindness and hilarity, fans are paying their respects at memorial sites everywhere and tribute videos have been popping up all over the place.

    In between all of this, we’ve been revisiting his genius by rewatching his standup, TV shows and movies. Several of his films have made it to the Top Movies list on iTunes, and even better, nine of them are available to stream on Netflix.

    Here’s what you can catch on the streaming service right now:

    “Popeye” (1980)

    Sure, “Popeye” didn’t see a huge amount of critical success, but there’s no doubt that Williams gave an outstanding performance. He pulled off a spot-on, hilarious impersonation of the sailor — pipe and all.

    “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” (1989)
    the adventures of baron

    Who could help tell the tall tales of German aristocrat Baron Munchausen better than Williams? He played The King Of The Moon, and he was fantastic.

    “The Fisher King” (1991)
    the fisher king

    In “The Fisher King,” Williams plays a homeless guy on a mission to find the Holy Grail. Along the way, he forms an unlikely relationship with Jack Lucas (Jeff Bridges), whose on-air radio commentary causes a caller to commit a mass murder. It led to Williams’ third Oscar nomination and is certainly worth a watch.

    “Hook” (1991)
    Robin Williams as Peter Pan, the boy (well, man) who can fly and never wants to grow up. Need we say more?

    “Jumanji” (1995)
    In “Jumanji,” Williams plays Alan Parrish, a man who had been trapped in the board game of the same name for 26 years. Alan’s adventures are hilarious, intense, a little dangerous and wonderful.

    “The Birdcage” (1996)
    the birdcage

    Who can forget Williams as Armand Goldman, a man attempting to pass as “normal” while living a happy life with his gay lover Albert (Nathan Lane)?

    “Get Bruce!” (1999)
    get bruce
    “Get Bruce” is a documentary that zooms in on the life of comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, so it only makes sense that Williams would have quite a bit to say about him.

    “Who Is Harry Nilsson?” (2006)

    This documentary closely examines the life of musician Harry Nilsson through interviews with famous faces like John Lennon, Randy Newman and Williams as they discuss how Nilsson’s work touched them.

    “World’s Greatest Dad” (2009)
    worlds greatest dad

    This one hits a little too close to home. Although “World’s Greatest Dad” is a comedy, the premise follows Lance, an aspiring writer who finds his son dead due to an “autoerotic asphyxiation” accident. He attempts to cover it up by composing a suicide note supposedly written by his son, which ends up bringing a great deal of attention to Lance’s writing.

    “The Big Wedding” (2013)
    the big wedding

    Williams isn’t the center of attention in “The Big Wedding,” which boasts names like Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton and more. But like the rest of his work, he makes everyone laugh with his performance as Father Moinighan.

  • Former Microsoft boss leaves firm
    Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer announces he is stepping down from the board with immediate effect.
  • Bringing psychotherapy to the masses, ThriveOn

    A program that disseminates prevention and mental healthcare using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    The post Bringing psychotherapy to the masses, ThriveOn appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Passport Officers Aren't Nearly As Good At Spotting Fake IDs As You Might Hope
    Anyone who flies even occasionally knows the drill: You present your boarding pass and photo ID to airport security, and the agent eyes your photo to make sure you are who you claim to be.

    Seems like a pretty reliable system right? Actually, a rather scary new study suggests that even specially trained officers are no better than the rest of us at spotting a fake ID — and that finding doesn’t augur too well for efforts to keep planes safe and prevent bad guys from crossing our borders.

    “At Heathrow Airport alone, millions of people attempt to enter the U.K. every year,” study co-author Dr. Rob Jenkins, a psychologist at the University of York in England, said in a written statement. “At this scale, an error rate of 15 percent would correspond to the admittance of several thousand travelers bearing fake passports.


    For the study, 49 staff members from the Australian Passport office and 38 university students were asked to complete face-matching tasks. In one task, people posing as passport applicants presented their IDs to the officers and students, who were asked to determine whether the ID matched the person standing in front of them. In a separate task, the officers and students looked at sets of photos and determined whether the photos were of the same person.

    Just how hard is it to make the correct determination? See for yourself: is the young man shown on the left (see below) the same as the man on the right? And what about the young woman?

    passport identification

    If you guessed that the photos showed different people in both cases, congratulations. You got it right.

    The passport officers in the study didn’t do so well despite the fact that they had been given special training in facial recognition. They performed at the same level as the untrained university students. The officers missed the “fake IDs” about 15 percent of the time, and in the photo matching task, they erred about 20 percent of the time.

    So what can be done to boost the chances that fraudulent documents will be spotted? The researchers said it might help to redesign the format of IDs to include multiple photos taken from different angles. Other possible solutions, they said, include incorporating computer technology into the security process, and making sure that only individuals with a natural aptitude for facial recognition get hired as officers.

    “We should be looking at the selection process and potentially employing tests such as the ones we conducted in the study to help us recruit people who are innately better at this process,” study co-author Dr. Mike Burton, a psychologist at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, said in the statement.

    The research was published online August 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Ex-CEO Steve Ballmer Leaves Microsoft Board So He Can Yell About The L.A. Clippers Full-Time

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is stepping down from the company’s board, bringing to a close 34 years with the software giant.

    Ballmer says he plans to devote more time to his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, civic contributions, teaching and study.

    Microsoft published Ballmer’s resignation letter on its website Tuesday along with a response from current CEO Satya Nadella thanking him and wishing him well.

    The 58-year-old says he plans to hold on to his Microsoft stock and will continue to offer feedback on products and strategy. With 333.3 million shares worth $15 billion, Ballmer’s 4 percent stake in the company makes him the largest individual holder of Microsoft shares. A few institutional investors hold slightly more.

    “I bleed Microsoft — have for 34 years and I always will,” Ballmer wrote. “I will be proud, and I will benefit through my share ownership. I promise to support and encourage boldness by management in my role as a shareholder in any way I can.”

    Ballmer stepped down as chief executive in February, and since then Microsoft shares have risen about 24 percent. He says his resignation from the board is timely as the company prepares for its next shareholder meeting set for sometime this fall.

    Nadella thanked Ballmer for his support during the transition period and used the opportunity to reiterate the company’s new focus on mobile devices and cloud computing. “Under your leadership, we created an incredible foundation that we continue to build on — and Microsoft will thrive in the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” Nadella said.

    Ballmer’s departure leaves the board with 10 members. It has no immediate plans to replace him. The company adds a new board member about once every year or so. The most recent addition was John Stanton, chairman of wireless technology investment fund Trilogy Equity Partners, in July.

    The Clippers got a taste of Ballmer’s infamous exuberance at the new owner’s first press conference on Monday. Fast-forward to minute 9:00 to hear Ballmer scream “hardcore” and “boom” repeatedly, give out his email address and generally just kill it as a hype man.



    Ballmer letter: http://bit.ly/YvzjH7

  • LG Display picked as main display supplier for iPhone 6
    Apple has picked LG Display as its primary supplier of display panels for the iPhone 6, according to supply chain sources cited by Feng.com. The firm is said to have beat out Samsung, Sharp, and Japan Display for the bulk of orders. Otherwise, however, it’s not specified what the balance will be. The implication is also that Sharp is indeed in the supply chain, despite a May report claiming it had been dropped in favor of Innolux due to quality control problems.

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