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Mobile Technology News, August 17, 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.

  • OneFootball for iOS Review

    This weekend here in England has been the start of the 2014-2015 football season.  All the leagues, most notably the Premier League and the Champions League, start in earnest as do many of the European leagues across the continent.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been looking for a good app for my iPhone and iPad to follow my favourite teams along with keeping up with news from around the various leagues.  I think I’ve found it in OneFootball for iOS. OneFootball for iOS allows you to select your favourite team and follow them in detail as well as get push notifications during

    The post OneFootball for iOS Review appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Multi-collaborative Virtual Visual Inspiration Boards
    Co-written by Marc Marheineke

    2014-08-16-visualinspirationboards.jpg

    Designers harness inspiration from all sorts of things, including visual images. A designer’s workspace walls are plastered with images of abstract art, photos of fashion models, competitors’ products, as well as, previous and current design projects. Pinned to tack boards, drawn on whiteboards or taped to the walls, this so-called “wallpaper” is, in effect, the visual reference world of designs in progress.

    When designers formally present their design discourse for proposed concepts, internally or for clients, they make use of image-boards to relay the users’ persona, lifestyle, trends and various inspirational sources. As one might imagine, there is a lot of reshuffling and re-use of images going on from presentation to presentation and, I once heard a CEO of an international design consultancy proclaim: “If I see one more iPod on a board, the person responsible will be fired!”

    There is nothing as inspiring, and telling, as walking though a studio and soaking in the creativity. During my time with BMW, Chris Bangle, then head of design, used to roam the studio late in the evening gathering a sense of his team’s progress and posting small yellow stickers with observations, ideas and encouragement. Coming to work in the morning, there was nothing as motivating as finding a note saying: “Like this direction – its cool!”

    When designers are co-located, the traditional “wallpaper” approach works well. However, when teams are globally distributed and engaging with communities of dispersed participants, sharing of visual information needs to be online to be readily available to everyone.

    The previous offline information, consisting of images on tack-boards is now often imbedded in PowerPoint presentations, working their way across continents. The challenge of relying on PowerPoint as a day-to-day reference for use in online meetings, web and video conferencing, is that these tend to be static. Dispersed designers are unable to edit, change or add ideas in a collaborative and simultaneous manner.

    Also, it can be a nightmare keeping track of “which version of the PowerPoint is the latest” in keeping everyone up-to-date. An easily understandable and usable online interactive whiteboard could be one way of making online design teams more productive. This is because we are literally working “together” in order to spark creativity – just as might happen in brainstorming meetings.

    A study of thirty-one design students from Germany and Tunisia revealed that virtual whiteboards contribute to fast idea generation and efficient idea selection within the early phases of an innovation process. First, people perceived the virtual whiteboard as motivating to quickly create new ideas and contribute to the discussion (blue line). Second, ideas are connected into new ideas (orange line). Third, when it comes to the phase of agreement, chatting on selected arguments, in combination with the high velocity of the real-time whiteboard, supported an efficient process of mutual understanding.

    2014-08-16-ideaconnectcomment.jpg

    Hence, Virtual Whiteboards combine the easy transmission of information with the potential to actively and collaboratively discuss problems and find solutions in a timely manner. Reviving the physical whiteboard and making it accessible for colleagues from across the continent creates fun, a common ground, and thus supports the creativity (to solve problems) in the community.

    Designers could apply this information practically by using an online visual discovery tool, such as Pinterest. Communities of designers could then not only be more organized but also have an effective and efficient way of sharing images, making comments and using the number of cross board pins to gauge the “wisdom of the crowd.” Pinterest, along with other sharing-boards, can greatly aid designers when collecting ideas for projects, since users can create and share collections of images, called “boards,” using visual bookmarks, called “Pins.” Chat features also enable the community to exchange points-of-view and ideas, thereby making remote collaboration much more fun and effective.

    Special thanks to Marc Marheineke for researching and co-writing this article.

  • Elon Musk Fulfills Ice Bucket Challenge With A Little Help From His Five Sons
    Tech titan Elon Musk became the latest celebrity to complete the “ice bucket challenge” Saturday, aided by a delightful contraption that allowed his five sons to dump water on him simultaneously.

    The challenge asks participants to either donate money to the ALS Association or film themselves pouring ice water over their head. Those who complete it then ask others to do the same.

    Musk made good on a challenge from Bill Gates, who had himself been challenged by Mark Zuckerberg. In turn, Musk challenged Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson, Johnny Depp and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

    But Musk’s impressive engineering has nothing on Oprah’s scream.

    Watch Musk complete the challenge, above.

  • Mobile Phones Save Lives in Timor-Leste
    A pregnant woman has one foot in the grave. This common saying reflects the reality in many developing countries: bearing a child is one of the main risks to a woman’s life. In the poor countries of the world, giving birth is both one of the most significant days in a woman’s life but also a time when she is closest to losing it.

    2014-08-15-healthpost.jpg

    In Timor-Leste, a tiny country just north of Australia, progress against maternal deaths has been slow. Since independence from Indonesia in 2002, the country has made great efforts to provide trained midwives for pregnant women who seek them, but a wide gap remains. The rural population is widely dispersed in mountainous terrain and often far from health facilities. More than half of all babies in Timor-Leste are born at home with help only from family members. As a result, many women and babies die in those first few hours and days after birth.

    USAID has been working with the Timor-Leste government’s Ministry of Health since 2004 to help find solutions to this terrible problem. In 2011, U.S.-based NGO Health Alliance International (HAI) won a USAID Child Survival and Health Grant to try a new approach.

    “We realized that one basic reason that many women didn’t give birth with professional help was that their contact with midwives was so brief that they weren’t able to develop a sense of trust and confidence,” said Susan Thompson, HAI’s Program Director, based in Seattle. “There also was a lot that women could do to have a healthy baby that they didn’t know about, and it couldn’t be conveyed in the usual two or three short prenatal care visits.”

    How to help the health system to bridge that gap between women and their midwives? Noting the dramatic increases in mobile phone use throughout the country, HAI proposed the first use of this technology as a permanent behavior-change tool. The focus for this mobile phone technology is in Manufahi District, where cell phone ownership was fairly high at nearly 70 percent, but use of midwives or doctors for deliveries at 19 percent was well below the national average. Ministry statistics estimate that the district has about 11,000 women of reproductive age, and expected 2,200 pregnancies the first year of the project.

    2014-08-15-manajusta.jpg

    The project is called “Mobile Moms” or Liga Inan (“connecting mothers”) in the local language of Tetun. The project team matched the technological opportunity to the needs of government health system and developed a dual approach to making use of the widespread availability of mobile phones.

    First, working with Catalpa International, a software development group in Timor-Leste, the project team created an internet-based program to send SMS maternal health messages twice a week to pregnant women in Tetun, the language most widely spoken. The messages detail important actions that the women can take to safeguard their pregnancies, and include advice on postpartum and newborn care for the first six weeks after delivery.

    Second, the project facilitates phone conversations between midwives and the expectant mothers at critical times. Women can send SMS messages very cheaply to ask for information or assistance, and midwives call them back at the project’s expense.

    Health officials in rural Manufahi District have been supportive and intensely involved since the beginning. Director of District Health Services Teofilho Tilman said that they have “seen … a significant increase in the number of women receiving antenatal care and delivering at the health facility” since the project began. Over the first year in Same Subdistrict the number of women using a midwife for their delivery, either at home or in a birthing facility, has doubled.

    In a recent study of the impacts of this project on health professionals, midwives consistently reported that they liked the service because they could better follow the progress of their patients and meet their needs. In her response, one midwife said:

    For me, it helps… because before Liga Inan we didn’t know the condition of the mothers. Through Liga Inan, we have their number and we know their due date. So for example, in November we know which mothers will give birth. We match that info with the data here to check, and if they didn’t come to the health facility, we call to find out how they are.

    Same Subdistrict midwives have now enrolled nearly 1500 women in the project. Close to 800 women have completed their pregnancies and received the special postpartum SMS messages to help them give their babies a healthy start in life. With support from Australian government funding, the mobile phone project has now begun scaling up services to adjoining districts.

    2014-08-15-amalia.jpg

    Women participating in Liga Inan provide the project with valuable input about project impact and success. Amalia Martins Calapes from the town of Same did not participate in the program through her first two pregnancies. During her third, she did. And it helped her stay motivated to adopt healthy behaviors at home and seek care from her midwife.

    Today, Amalia agrees with Timor-Leste’s new saying for mothers:

    “Healthy mothers and healthy babies give us a strong nation.”

  • (VIDEO) Facebook Closes on LiveRail Acquisition, our Interview with CEO Mark Trefgarne
    SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook’s acquisition of LiveRail for a reportedly $400 – $500 million, which was announced on July 2, closed yesterday, reports TechCrunch.

    Last week in San Francisco, we interviewed LiveRail CEO Mark Trefgarne about next steps.  While LiveRail will operate and serve its clients as a stand alone entity, the company moving its headquarters to Facebook offices in Menlo Park, New York and London.

    Explains how the technical infrastructure of Facebook will enhance the LiveRail offering.

    While TechCrunch reported the sale price, it has not been publicly disclosed.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • We May Soon Be Able To Charge Our Phone Using The Sound Of Our Voice
    What if you could charge your phone just by yelling at it?

    That’s the idea behind a recent collaboration between scientists at Queen Mary University of London and Nokia. The team is working to develop a prototype charger that could replenish the battery of a mobile phone using human voices, music or even background noise.

    “Being able to keep mobile devices working for longer, or do away with batteries completely by tapping into the stray energy that is all around us is an exciting concept,” researcher Dr. Joe Briscoe said in a statement released by the university. “We hope that we have brought this technology closer to viability.”

    So how does it work?

    To harvest energy from sound, the team used a type of nanotechnology called nanorods, which are capable of generating electrical energy and responding to vibration in sound. For the prototype, engineers attached electrical contacts on both sides of the rod in order to transform the sound vibrations into energy and capture the charge.

    So far, researchers have been able to generate five volts of electricity with their prototype, which is enough to charge one phone.

    While the hope is that sound-powered devices could replace conventional chargers, Briscoe admits that sound vibrations may not produce quite enough energy to do away with current charging methods entirely.

    “I believe charging phones this way could be a part of the future, but there probably isn’t enough energy in sound to remove the need for conventional charging completely,” Briscoe told Mashable. “It could help to reduce how often we need to charge our phones, though.”

    Transforming sound into battery power is not a novel idea. We first heard of a sound-charging phone that would power itself with the user’s voice when a team of Korean researchers revealed their prototype in 2011.

    However, now that engineers have partnered with a communications technology corporation, it seems much more likely that a sound-powered charger may soon be a reality.

  • QR Codes For Downloads Starting This Week

    Hi everyone!  Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on ClintonFitch.com, my Windows Phone focused site (it’s been dormant a few years).  While most of you don’t really care about that part, some of you do and have provided me a little feedback of what you would like to see here on AlliOSNews.  That is QR Codes. Starting this week QR codes will start appearing here on AlliOSNews on reviews and app announcements.  The links to these will continue to be on the posts as well but for those who want to use a QR scanner on

    The post QR Codes For Downloads Starting This Week appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Anti-Semitic Hate Speech Online Prompts Renewed Efforts To Fight It
    BERLIN (RNS) It’s been 17 years since Suzette Bronkhorst co-founded the Dutch Complaints Bureau for Discrimination on the Internet, but she said she doesn’t remember the level of anti-Semitic speech on social media platforms ever being this high.

    “There are thousands of incidents and we’re getting so many complaints,” she said of her organization, which registers complaints of hate speech online. “There’s been a huge surge since Gaza.”

    The Gaza conflict, which has led to the deaths of 1,900 Palestinians and 68 Israelis, has also sparked a wave of counter speech, with organizations like Bronkhorst’s attempting to tackle hate speech by debunking myths and stereotypes on blogs, forums and social media.

    “There’s a lot of chatter on the Internet that is not based on fact and there are different ways in which you can do counter speech,” said Bronkhorst, whose organization goes by the name MDI. “For instance, if there’s a discussion on Facebook, you join in and you try to give counterpoints to people who are just ill-informed.”

    In one instance, Bronkhorst’s volunteers asked a Twitter user writing “Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the gas” whether he really wanted to murder people by gassing them. The user removed the tweet, apologized and said he didn’t mean it.

    In July, the number of Dutch-language anti-Semitic Facebook pages ran into the hundreds, according to MDI, which cannot keep up with the amount of hate-fueled posts, ranging from statements such as “Jews must die” to those praising Adolf Hitler. On Twitter, the hashtag “Hitler was right” appeared more than 10,000 times in July in connection with Gaza and became a trending topic, says MDI.

    Sergey Lagodinsky, a lawyer and a member of the Jewish community’s representative assembly in Berlin, said comments by friends on Facebook shocked him.

    “It’s hardly tolerable because people are being attacked,” said Lagodinsky. “You have a lot of people who you thought were friends who articulate things in a way which leaves you speechless.”

    Berlin’s Technical University has just started a project analyzing around 100,000 Internet texts to see how anti-Semitism spreads online on social media and in comment sections, chatrooms and forums.

    “The Internet plays an important role here as more drastic use of language can flourish through links between websites as well as user anonymity,” said Matthias Jakob Becker, a member of the research team.

    The team has found that not only Islamist and right-wing circles have resorted to old canards, such as Jewish world-domination conspiracy theories, but so, too, has the educated middle class.

    Anti-Semitism is a particularly sensitive issue in Germany. Special police protection is provided for Jewish buildings, ranging from synagogues to bakeries, and the growing anti-Jewish sentiment even prompted the country’s biggest newspaper, Bild, to wade into the fray.

    On its website, the newspaper created a button depicting a Star of David and the slogan “stimme erheben: nie wieder Judenhass” (raise your voice: never again Jew hatred) that people could share online. It has also added interviews with celebrities, politicians and ordinary people speaking out against anti-Semitism. Bild encouraged readers to tweet against anti-Semitism under the hashtag “stimme erheben.”

    While the campaign ran for just one day, Tobias Froehlich, a representative for Axel Springer, Bild’s owner, said the publication may follow up with similar campaigns.

    “You can still find it online and of course, depending on how the news develops, you could see it again in our newspaper,” said Froehlich. “The voice against anti-Semitism isn’t just for one day.”

    Members of Germany’s Jewish community said the Bild campaign is a reminder that Jews in Europe are generally safe and that while anti-Semitism is a reality, it’s mainly kept in check.

    “The online world is a tool of propaganda for hate speech against everyone,” said 29-year-old Giulia Pines Kersthold, a Jewish New Yorker and author who has lived in Berlin for six years. But she added: “I have never really felt unsafe as a Jew in Germany and I would say that I still don’t.”

    In France, where pro-Palestinian demonstrations in July culminated in attacks on eight synagogues, many Jews are fleeing to Israel.

    Between January and June, 2,830 French Jews emigrated to Israel. That number is expected to exceed 5,000 by the end of 2014 — marking the first time in modern history that a full 1 percent of a western Jewish community will move to Israel in a single year, according to the Jerusalem-based Jewish Agency for Israel. In 2013, 3,288 French Jews left for Israel.

    Yonathan Arfi, vice president of the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions of France, called the anti-Semitic surge a new phenomenon that has intensified thanks to the Internet.

    “It is a space without laws,” he said. “You have many people on the Internet who are Jewish and easily accessible to people who target them.”

    Bronkhorst at MDI acknowledges the difficulties but is optimistic and hopes the project will expand to other organizations in the International Network Against Cyber Hate, of which MDI is a member.

    “It’s a matter of resources right now,” said Bronkhorst. “We’re going to do it and we can only do it if we all work together to change our neighbor and let our neighbor change another one — one drop at a time to make an ocean.”

    (Angela Waters and Jennifer Collins contributed to this report.)

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