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Mobile Technology News, September 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.

  • Life in the slow lane: My 3G summer
    My summer living without broadband
  • VIDEO: Is this the kitchen of the future?
    Belgian designer Xavier Bonte has built a pod that he believes could be the kitchen of the future.
  • Surfers Win Back California's Martin's Beach From Billionaire Vinod Khosla
    Surfers are celebrating a major win after a California court ruled against a Silicon Valley billionaire who had tried to deny public beach access near his private property.

    Judge Barbara Mallach of San Mateo Superior Court ruled Wednesday that Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, violated the California Coastal Act when he closed off a road on his property that area locals have used for decades to access Martin’s Beach, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The lawsuit was filed by environmental nonprofit Surfrider in 2013 after surfers complained that Khosla had padlocked a gate leading to the popular beach spot, covered signs that directed the public to the beach and hired security guards to deter trespassers.

    According to Joe Cotchett, attorney for the Surfrider Foundation, the ruling represents a victory for the 99 percent, saying in a press release that “It affirms that great wealth cannot be used to circumvent and ignore the law. Everyone can again visit Martin’s Beach.”

    The fight over this particular beach access, which is only an hour from Silicon Valley, seems to have added to tensions between locals and the influx of wealthy people who are buying property in the area.

    It’s the issue of the growing gap between the very wealthy versus everyone else, and this sort of captures it in a snapshot,” John Teshy, who teaches at the University of California, Hastings law school, told the Los Angeles Times. “High-tech billionaires are kind of gods in California, and it has that framework to make it all very interesting and newsworthy, but in terms of law, you have to get down to the particular facts.”

    Here are the facts: The gate that Khosla padlocked (which can easily be walked over) is located just off California Highway 1 and is the only way to access the public beach from land. Local surfers and beachgoers prize the beach, which is protected by rocky cliffs on both sides, because of its seclusion. For decades, previous property owners have charged a small parking fee and kept the private road open to the public.

    Khosla bought the 53-acre property for $32.5 million in 2008 and kept the beach open to the public for two years despite the fact that he was paying $500,000 to $600,000 a year in maintenance costs and liability insurance.

    In 2010, after receiving county court orders — which he believed were unfair — to keep the beach access open 24/7 and charge visitors $2 for parking, Khosla ordered his property manager to close the gate permanently.

    Then, in 2012, a group of five local surfers known as “Martin’s 5” were arrested on charges of trespassing after crossing over the gate to go surfing. Despite video footage, the case was eventually dismissed after the District Attorney claimed there was insufficient evidence.

    Now that Khosla has been ordered to open the gate to the public (Mallach ruled that he had no right to deny access without first obtaining a Coastal Development Permit), many locals and even some tourists have flocked to enjoy the beautiful beach.

    “We love the fact that the beaches in California belong to everybody,” Nikki Toth, a visitor from Arkansas who heard of the rulings and brought her kids to the beach, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “This is a great opportunity for them to learn the story of public access firsthand.”

    Martin’s 5: Battle for the Beach from The Inertia on Vimeo.

  • Daily ReHash's iPhone 6 Test Finds Major Weakness
    All eyes have been on how much pressure Apple’s products can handle in the wake of “Bendgate,” which erupted with reports that the new iPhone 6 Plus can be bent by normal usage forces.

    Apple even opened up its testing facilities to CNBC to assure that it continues to demand product excellence in the Tim Cook era.

    But while everyone is focused on whether their new, really expensive, iPhone flexes, there is another potential product weakness that Daily ReHash’s testing found.

    The iPhone 6 passed most of Daily ReHash’s inane tests — including a paternity test, a naturalization test, personality test — it fell short on one that any current or potential owner is going to want to know about.

    Watch the video above, and pity the poor tester.

  • Briefly: MyFitnessPal's HealthKit update, iPhone 6, 6 Plus STM cases
    MyFitnessPal has released an update to its Calorie Counter and Diet Tracker app for iOS 8’s HealthKit. Featuring a food database of over 4 million entries, users can log and track what they eat and how much they exercise as part of maintaining a fitness regimen. MyFitnessPal v.5.6.6 allows users to add meal summaries logged to HealthKit by automatically sharing meal data with HealthKit-connected apps. Similarly, weight data and exercise entries can be synced between HealthKit and MyFitnessPal. Bug fixes regarding login issues have been resolved in the latest update. Free to download, MyFitness

  • The Link Between Multitasking And Brain Size
    Media multitasking (you know, when you watch TV while surfing on your laptop as you scroll through your phone) is linked to to less gray matter in the brain, according to a recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

    But before you start panicking, consider that the study didn’t determine if one caused the other, which means your time-honored tradition of live-tweeting “Scandal” might still be safe — at least for now.

    “The way we are interacting with the media might be affecting how we think, and this link seems to have a biological basis,” wrote lead researcher Kep Kee Loh of Singapore’s Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in an email to The Huffington Post. “Given that this study was cross-sectional in nature … we are unable to say if smaller [brain regions] lead to more media multitasking or more media multitasking is causing smaller [brain regions].”

    Loh recruited 75 healthy adults who were also relatively computer literate and media savvy to participate in the study. They were asked to take a survey to measure how often they spent time multitasking between different kinds of media. Then, they underwent brain scans with an MRI machine. Those who reported heavier media multitasking had less brain matter in the the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) region of the brain, which is believed to play an important role in helping people regulate their emotions — especially negative ones.

    “Reduced ACC gray matter volumes and activations have been implicated in several socio-emotional disorders such as depression, OCD [and] addictive disorders,” explained Loh. “They have also been associated with poorer cognitive abilities.”

    While Loh’s study doesn’t establish whether media multitasking caused diminished brain matter, or if people with smaller ACCs are more prone to multitasking, Loh notes that previous studies have linked media multitasking to a diminished ability to control emotions and thoughts, and smaller ACC regions have also been linked to that same inability. Still, more research is needed to establish clear links between all three things: media multitasking, smaller ACC regions and lack of emotional and cognitive control.

    Loh plans to expand on the findings by conducting a longitudinal study on the relationship between multitasking and brain matter, which would evaluate the association over a longer period of time, but would still not establish cause. Meanwhile, study co-author Ryota Kanai is taking on a research project about how computer exposure might change brain structure.

    While the findings aren’t enough to conclude that media multitasking causes brain shrinkage, there’s plenty of other evidence out there that should make you consider limiting yourself to one screen (or one tab) at a time.

    For one, multitasking doesn’t actually work if you’re trying to be more efficient. Psychologist and author Guy Winch, Ph.D., argues that a more accurate term for multitasking would be “task switching,” because you’re going to and from one action to another instead of truly doing two things at once, which wastes energy on transitions and slows you down.

    And once you’re slowed down, it can be hard to pick back up where you left off. We only spend an average of 75 seconds on a new task before the first interruption comes, according to this infographic, and it takes an average of 25 minutes to resume what we were doing in the first place. The wasted time adds up to an estimated $450 billion loss per year, globally.

    More important than money, though, is the toll multitasking could take on your health and wellness. Loh notes in the study that media multitasking is also linked with poorer health, including depression, social anxiety and negative well-being.

    If you want to finish a list of jobs, some better ways to enhance your efficiency and concentration would be to set goals, establish a routine, block distractions and take regular breaks.

  • Jimmy Fallon Says What We're All Thinking About The 'People You May Know' Facebook Feature
    During his “Thank You Notes” segment on “The Tonight Show” on Friday, Jimmy Fallon paid homage to possibly the most awkward Facebook feature there is.

    “Thank you, ‘People You May Know’ feature on Facebook,” he said, “for being the online equivalent of seeing an old friend in the grocery store and avoiding eye contact.”

    Other thank you note recipients included Dr. Dre, Attorney General Eric Holder, and dumplings, “for tasting way better than they sound.”

    Watch the full clip above.

  • How To Easily Save Money On eBay By Exploiting Spelling Errors
    You may not believe this, but there are a lot of people on the Internet who are terribul spellers! For the nit-picky among us, it can be horribly annoying. But thanks to a web site that we just discovered, their misspellings can actually help save you some cash.

    Say hello to FatFingers.com. The idea behind the website is relatively simple: help users easily search eBay for almost every conceivable misspelling of popular brands.

    How would searching misspelled brand names save you cash? Theoretically, people who know how to spell correctly never see the misspelled items, which therefore receive less attention, fewer bids and perhaps lower final offers.

    So for example, if you search for the brand “Adidas,” the site will auto-generate an eBay search field that includes nearly all the ways someone could spell it wrong: Adidad, Adudas, Ididas, Adidis, Adidaas, Adiddas, Adiidas, Addidas, Adiads, Addias, Adida, Adids, Adias, Addas, Aidas.

    fatfingersThe site has been around for some time, but the savings are timeless.

    We tried it out, and lo and behold, found some pretty good deals.

    ebay resultsThe site works with most name brands.

    Like this bad-ass black “Addidas” T for less than $5:

    adidas tshirt

    If you don’t like that, maybe you’ll like these sweet “Addias” wrestling shoes for, wait, how much? 1 cent.

    wrestlingm shoes

    Warning for the paranoid Facebook users among you: Facebook will find out that you thought those penny wrestling shoes were “sweet” and put them in your news feed almost immediately. If it happened to me, it can happen to you:

    wresting shoes

  • This Slow-Motion Video Of Tattooing Is Painfully Beautiful
    They say “beauty is pain,” and a new video shows that’s definitely true when it comes to tattooing.

    The video, part of the YouTube series Smarter Every Day, uses incredible slow-motion visuals to show the science behind inking.

    (Story continues below)

    As the video shows, the tip of a tattoo machine consists not of a single needle but of multiple needles grouped together.

    “Ink is held in between those multiple needle points using capillary action, and when it punctures the skin it drags the ink down into the dermis,” explains the series’ host, Destin Sandlin.

    Tat’s amazing!

  • Signaling Post-Snowden Era, New iPhone Locks Out N.S.A.
    WASHINGTON — Devoted customers of Apple products these days worry about whether the new iPhone 6 will bend in their jean pockets. The National Security Agency and the nation’s law enforcement agencies have a different concern: that the smartphone is the first of a post-Snowden generation of equipment that will disrupt their investigative abilities.
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