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Mobile Technology News, September 19, 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.

  • First look: iPhone 6, 6 Plus
    The wait is finally over as the Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus finally start landing in the hands of customers. As has been suggested, the iPhone 6 Plus is indeed in relatively short supply at launch with greater stock availability of the new 4.7-inch model. We have got our hands on a 64GB iPhone 6 in Space Grey and a 16GB iPhone 6 Plus in Silver, and both are stunning devices to behold. So how are they shaping up in our first few hours with them?

  • How To Do Email Handoff in iOS 8

    One of the great new features of iOS 8 is continuity and part of that is handoff.  Handoff allows you to start working on a file, message or email from one device and finish it on another.  Let’s say you are walking to the train station and you start an email on your iPhone.  When you get on the train and you open up your iPad, you can swipe up on the Lock Screen to move that email to your iPad for a more comfortable typing experience. In this How To I will show you how to do email handoff

    The post How To Do Email Handoff in iOS 8 appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Wozniak on the iPhone 6: 'I've gotten rid of my Android phones'
    Approached by a stalking TMZ.com producer fresh off a flight, Apple co-founder and member of the Inventor Hall of Fame Steve Wozniak spoke briefly about his enthusiasm for Apple’s latest products, including the iPhone 6. While he didn’t specify which model he has, he apparently already has at least one of them, as he has “gotten rid of all [his] Androids,” he told the reporter.

  • Apple Releases Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks

    Apple continues to work on OS X Mavericks with the release earlier this week of the 10.9.5 update.  This morning they have release Safari 7.1, the latest update to the Mac browser.  The update brings several new features and enhancements, the biggest of which is search engine DuckDuckGo.  If you aren’t familiar with DuckDuckGo, it is a search engine that does not do any user tracking.  You can now select this as your default search engine inside of Safari’s settings. For Yahoo users, there are new security improvements in Safari 7.1.  Now all Yahoo search fields when using in Safari

    The post Apple Releases Safari 7.1 for OS X Mavericks appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Watch This Guy Get The Store's First iPhone 6, Then Immediately Drop It
    Looks like the iPhone 6 may have gotten its first drop test.

    Jack Cooksey, a young man in Perth, Australia, was the first customer out the door with a brand-new iPhone 6. But when a morning television show asked him to take it out of the box on live television, he got a little nervous.

    Check out the clip above to see what happened.

    Luckily it’s covered in plastic, so it’s fine,” Cooksey told Perth Now.

    Definitely don’t try this outside your own local Apple Store… or anywhere else, for that matter.

  • Teardown of iPhone 6 Plus posted by iFixit, reveals 2915mAh battery
    The Australian branch of repair specialists iFixit has obtained an iPhone 6 Plus, and has naturally opted to risk destroying it in the name of doing a teardown for the benefit of its users and gadget fans. The biggest discovery is the confirmation that the iPhone 6 Plus, a 5.5-inch version of the iPhone 6, uses a 2915mAh battery — twice the capacity of the one found in the iPhone 5s — to power the larger screen and yet provide better runtime life.

  • Australia opens iPhone 6 sales to 'massive' crowds
    While buyers in North America must wait until tomorrow for the launch of Apple’s new iPhone 6 lineup, Australia — by dint of being on the other side of the international date line — becomes the first country in the world to launch the new iPhones. A MacNN staffer visiting the Penrith Apple Store in New South Wales near Sydney has reported a “massive” lineup, consisting of hundreds of buyers outside the store.

  • 'Artificial eye' to detect particles
    The human eye has inspired physicists to create a processor that can analyse particle collisions 400 times faster than currently possible.
  • 2014 Ig Nobel Awards Include Jesus In Toast Researchers
    The 2014 Ig Nobel winners, awarded Thursday at Harvard University by the Annals of Improbable Research magazine:

    ___ PHYSICS: Kiyoshi Mabuchi, Kensei Tanaka, Daichi Uchijima and Rina Sakai for studying the slipperiness of banana peels.

    NEUROSCIENCE: Jiangang Liu, Jun Li, Lu Feng, Ling Li, Jie Tian and Kang Lee, for their study “Seeing Jesus in Toast,” and trying to understand what happens in the brains of people who see human faces in a piece of toast.

    PSYCHOLOGY: Peter K. Jonason, Amy Jones and Minna Lyons, for figuring out that people who habitually stay up late tend to be more self-admiring, more manipulative and more psychopathic than people who habitually arise early.

    PUBLIC HEALTH: Jaroslav Flegr, Jan Havlicek and Jitka Hanusova-Lindova, and to David Hanauer, Naren Ramakrishnan and Lisa Seyfried, for investigating whether it is mentally hazardous to own a cat.

    BIOLOGY: Vlastimil Hart, Petra Novakova, Erich Pascal Malkemper, Sabine Begall, Vladimir Hanzal, Milos Jezek, Tomas Kusta, Veronika Nemcova, Jana Adamkova, Katerina Benediktova, Jaroslav Cerveny and Hynek Burda, for carefully documenting that dogs align themselves with earth’s magnetic field when defecating.

    ART: Marina de Tommaso, Michele Sardaro and Paolo Livrea, for measuring the relative pain people suffer while looking at an ugly painting, rather than a pretty painting, while a laser beam is aimed at their hand.

    ECONOMICS: Italy’s National Institute of Statistics for taking the lead in fulfilling the European Union mandate to increase the official size of its national economy by including revenues from prostitution, illegal drug sales, smuggling, and other unlawful financial transactions.

    MEDICINE: Ian Humphreys, Sonal Saraiya, Walter Belenky and James Dworkin, for treating “uncontrollable” nosebleeds with strips of-cured pork.

    ARCTIC SCIENCE: Eigil Reimers and Sindre Eftestol, for testing how reindeer react to humans disguised as polar bears.

    NUTRITION: Raquel Rubio, Anna Jofra, Belen Martin, Teresa Aymerich and Margarita Garriga, for their study of using infant fecal bacteria as potential probiotic starter cultures for fermented sausages.

  • Oracle boss Larry Ellison steps down
    Multi-billionaire Oracle boss Larry Ellison steps aside to focus on product engineering, as Mark Hurd and Safra Catz are named as co-chief executives.
  • A Billion Websites and Counting
    According to Yahoo News, quoting information from Internet Live Stats, we passed the billion mark for websites, just after the web hit its 25th birthday in April. Across the globe, people have taken their time, energy and creativity to produce over a billion points of connection to other people, and that figure continues to grow. A billion is a number that’s really too big for me to wrap my brain around.

    A couple of years ago, DOMO created an infographic depicting the sheer volume of data coursing through the virtual veins of the Internet. Every minute, “YouTube users upload 48 hours of video, Facebook users share 684,478 pieces of content, Instagram users share 3,600 new photos, and Tumblr sees 27,778 new posts published.” The numbers are higher now; that was two years ago, which, in the virtual world, is ancient history.

    How are we to cope with this flood of information? And, within this flood, which are facts and which are not? Who do you trust when you’ve got a billion choices? How do you filter out what you need to know from all the digital flotsam and jetsam? How do you know what’s real and what’s virtual?

    When I was growing up and needed a pair of shoes, there were three brick-and-mortar stores to choose from. I had a parental cost filter, as well, so my choices were limited. Yet, I always was able to find shoes. Now, on Bing, when I type in “shoes,” I get 156 million websites to choose from. It is not possible for me to visit 156 million websites to search for shoes. I guess I could just hit the first sponsored link (Zappos) and take my chances. Or, I could go down to the local store I’ve shopped at for years, but, if I do, what am I missing out on?

    Have you ever watched an average person at a press conference, caught in some sort of media spotlight? When the forest of hands and cacophony of questions swell in front of them, they can look like a paralyzed deer in the headlights, overwhelmed and unsure of what hand to pick or which question to answer first. In a way, a billion websites is like a billion hands in the air. In a way, a 156 million websites is like a 156 million people telling me what kind of shoes to buy.

    As a kid with three choices, I always had shoes but, sometimes, I was glad when a pair wore out and I got to choose again. Choice is supposed to be about freedom, making a stand with what you choose. But what happens when there are so many choices, you can’t choose? Three choices may not have been much of choice but I’m not so sure a billion choices are any better. The Internet is growing, which means choice is growing. Somehow, we need to find a way to navigate through those upraised hands, clamoring for our attention, because we can’t pay attention to them all.

    If you think you can, try going to the Internet Live Stats website; it’s mind-bending. There are real-time counts for categories like Internet users in the world, Total number of websites, emails sent today, Google searches today, blog posts written today, and a host of others. All with numbers frantically spinning higher and higher so fast they become a dizzying blur.

    The number of options available to me over the Internet is exploding. When confronted with a billion upraised hands, how do I know which ones I should choose and how do I feel good about those choices? When there were three choices, I was confident I chose the best shoes I could. With a billion choices, how can I be so sure?

    In 25 years, we’ve gained choices but we may have lost our confidence we’re making good ones. Happy birthday, Internet.

  • 3 Ways to Plan Digital Afterlife
    Facebook, Google and Twitter all have different policies dealing with your digital afterlife. State laws are emerging in the social media afterlife world. That being said, here are 3 ways to plan your digital afterlife now:

    1. Google/Gmail/Google Plus/You Tube/Blogger:

    Use the tool “inactive account manager.” Your data can be deleted after a certain period of inactivity or you can designate someone to receive the data. Inactive account manager (Your survivor must sign into their google account to access this tool.)

    2. Facebook

    There is no access to accounts of dead people on Facebook. Your survivors can request that the account be “memorialized.” The account then will not appear in the “people you know” section for friendship suggestions.

    The settings remain the same as if you were alive. Memorialized

    3. Twitter

    A death certificate needs to be presented and the account can be deactivated. Since the name on the death certificate might not match the name on the account, your survivors also need to provide a “brief description of the details that evidence this accounts belongs to the deceased,”

    A deactivated account can be deleted after 30 days. Delete account

  • Clemson University Halts Use Of Survey Asking About Students' Sex Lives
    Clemson University suspended a controversial online Title IX training program after students complained the survey wanted to know too much about their sex lives.

    The conservative website Campus Reform reported students at the South Carolina school had to answer questions about how many times they had sex in the past three months and with how many people. Students were also asked about their drinking habits and affiliation with Greek life and athletics. Although students were told their responses would be anonymous, they had to use their university IDs to log into the training. Completion of the entire training was mandatory.

    The training program, which intends to prepare students for college by “focusing on minimizing the risks associated with alcohol, drugs and sexual violence,” was created by CampusClarity. On its blog, the company writes about the importance of training students in sexual assault and substance abuse together, pointing to the high percentage of survivors and assailants who were drinking during assaults.

    In a call with The Huffington Post, CampusClarity said that in its three years of administering the program, complaints about the personal history questions didn’t arise until this year. Three schools have voiced concerns this year out of the 190 using the program, and CampusClarity is working with them to amend the training.

    CampusClarity’s privacy policy notes that while student responses to the behavioral questions are recorded, their names and IDs are not connected to that information. The information is aggregated into a report for school administrators so they can get a sense of behavior on campus and find high-risk groups. CampusClarity told HuffPost it plans to add an option next year for students to decline to answer personal background questions.

    The Obama administration, members of Congress and experts on sexual violence have pressured colleges to conduct climate surveys recently, as they have shined a spotlight on how campus rape cases are handled.

    However, the student backlash to the unexpected survey at Clemson began quickly, as students immediately emailed administrators and talked to professors about their concerns. Students were upset that their personal backgrounds would be recorded on a third-party website and questioned the necessity of providing that information, according to Greenville Online.

    Campus Reform published an initial article about the program on Wednesday, and by late Wednesday night the program had been suspended “until the content is further reviewed and revised,” Clemson announced.

    The CampusClarity program is similar to other online training programs, such as AlcoholEdu, which has faced questions about its long-term effectiveness. However, some smaller-scale experiments on short online intervention programs have shown a positive influence on students’ behaviors in college.

  • We Tasted Surge Soda So You Don't Have To
    Surge soda returned to the e-shelves on Monday and people are reacting as though Coca-Cola brought back their childhood. Which it kind of did.

    Though the ingredients haven’t really changed, we questioned the taste. After a mysterious box of Surge appeared in the HuffPost offices, we decided to conduct a Surge Taste Test.

    Gulping down the green drink, which contains roughly 230 calories and 50 milligrams of sodium per can, wasn’t pretty, but it was definitely worth it just to say we got to sip the 90s again.

    Here are our reactions to Surge:

    “Tastes like 3 am Dungeons & Dragons with a hint of no girlfriend.” -Andy McDonald

    “Subtle hints of citrus and lime, with a nutty finish that doesn’t overwhelm the palate. Just kidding.” -Ben Hart

    “I’m sorry. I can’t try this. It looks like poison.” -Kate Bratskeir.

    “If you melted down green freeze pops, this is what you would be left with.” -Samantha Toscano

    “Surge is like what would happen if Mountain Dew and Sprite had a baby that they didn’t feel like heavily carbonating.” -Jenna Amatulli


    “Nostalgia never tasted so good.” -Marc Janks

    “Tastes like creme de menthe and water. It actually looks less appealing than Mountain Dew.” -Buck Wolf

    “This tastes sort of like sweeter Sprite, and is probably best as cold as humanly possible.” -Hilary Hanson

    “Tastes like Sprite, but less fizzy. The intense green color makes me feel like I’m drinking something from another planet… still waiting for my energy surge.” -Suzy Strutner

    “This didn’t need to be brought back. It’s just not that good and its color is upsetting.” -Simon McCormack

    “The toxic green color tricked my brain into thinking it tastes like green apple, but upon thinking, it actually just tastes like a vague citrusy sugar flavor. It’s not terrible, but I wouldn’t voluntarily drink this again.” -Kristen Aiken

    The one bonus we can think of? It’s kinda low in sodium. Enjoy!

    Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

  • Home Depot Admits 56 Million Payment Cards At Risk After Cyber Attack
    The Home Depot said Thursday that about 56 million customer debit and credit cards were put at risk after hackers broke into the company’s payment systems.

    In a statement, the home improvement retailer said the malicious software used in the attack had been removed from its computer system in the United States and Canada and that the company had enhanced encryption at point-of-sale terminals at its U.S. stores.

    The number of cardholders affected in the Home Depot attack marks what is likely the largest breach ever of a retailer’s computer system, surpassing the 40 million cardholders who were affected when Target was hacked last fall.

    Home Depot’s investigation found the hackers escaped detection by using custom-made malware that had never been seen before. Such malware — which hackers call “zero days” because that’s how long it’s been known — can’t be spotted by traditional anti-virus software.

    Home Depot said the malware that stole the credit card data resided on its computer systems from April until September of this year — far longer than the attack against Target, which went on for about three weeks.

    Home Depot said there was no evidence that debit card PIN numbers were compromised or that the breach impacted stores in Mexico or customers who shopped online.

    The retailer is offering free credit monitoring to customers who used a payment card at a Home Depot store since April. Home Depot has 1,977 stores in the United States and 180 in Canada.

    “We apologize to our customers for the inconvenience and anxiety this has caused, and want to reassure them that they will not be liable for fraudulent charges,” Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said in a statement. “From the time this investigation began, our guiding principle has been to put our customers first, and we will continue to do so.”

    The company said it has finished installing security software that scrambles credit card data to make it unreadable to hackers. The rollout of the software began in January, but it wasn’t completed in Home Depot’s U.S. stores until last Saturday.

    The company also said it will finish setting up more secure credit card readers in all of its U.S. stores by the end of the year. The new technology will be able to read a new type of credit card that uses a combination of an embedded microchip and a code to authorize transactions. “Chip and pin” technology, as it is known, is supposed to make it much more difficult for thieves to use stolen credit card data to make counterfeit cards. All merchants and banks are under an October 2015 deadline to upgrade to the more secure credit cards.

    The Home Depot breach is just the latest in a string of cyber attacks against major retailers this year. Target, Sally Beauty, Neiman Marcus and Michaels have all also been hacked.

    That list is expected to grow even longer. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security warned that more than 1,000 U.S. retailers may have been infected with malware lurking in their payment systems.

    While Home Depot confirmed the size of the breach Thursday, many questions remain unanswered, including how the hackers found their way into the retailer’s computer system — and who they are.

    Investigators believe the thieves may be from Eastern Europe because the malware they used in the attack had links to websites referencing the United States’ role in the conflict in Ukraine, according to The New York Times.

    While the breach affected 56 million cards, it could have been even worse. The hackers installed malware mostly on payment systems in Home Depot’s self-checkout lanes, suggesting they likely stole fewer cards than they could have if they had targeted regular checkout lanes, according to cybersecurity reporter Brian Krebs, who cited sources close to the investigation.

  • Virtually 'no chance' of finding iPhone 6 Plus at retail on Friday
    People trying to buy an iPhone 6 Plus at a third-party retailer tomorrow may be out of luck, sources at carrier stores and Apple’s retail partners say. Although outlets are said to be receiving shipments all day today, only 2 to 3 percent of iPhone 6 units are said to be the Plus, and even then only in one color. There’s almost “no chance” of finding a Plus on Friday, the people claim, adding that the 16GB version will be absent entirely. The regular iPhone 6 should be available in all colors and storage capacities, if in varying degrees.

  • London's 7 Fast-Growing & Disruptive Health Tech Startups

    By Lora Schellenberg

    For a nation whose National Health Service has become a model system for universal healthcare, it is no wonder the UK is an international hub for health technology.

    The health tech movement in the UK is not concerned with creating the next “Yo” app or useless million dollar hype. Rather, it is focused on transforming the face of a distorted, behind-the-times industry.

    A £100 billion industry in the UK alone, the costs of healthcare are only rising. Incorporating technology will be the answer to lowering costs and providing better quality of life for everyone.

    From battling sleep disorders to giving anyone real-time direct access to physicians, here are the fast-growing London startups that are contributing to changing the face of healthcare in the UK and beyond.


    Founded in 2013 by Ali Parsa 

    A relatively new app on the scene, Babylon aims to help patients access a doctor through mobile technology, much like you would order an Uber or Hailo cab. The company officially launched in May 2014 with the vision of offering the public the world’s simplest virtual health service, right from the palm of your hand.

    Currently only available in the UK on iOS and Android, the app offers a range of health-related services, including access to virtual clinicians, prescription retrieval, and symptom monitoring, all for a small monthly fee of £7.99.

    With the app, you can schedule an appointment with a doctor over webcam or even send a quick text with a photo of an infected toenail. Within minutes, a professional responds to the query, and like other novel service-oriented mobile apps, users can then rate the quality of their appointed doctor post-consultation.

    After an impressive debut at WIRED Health 2014, Babylon was widely praised as a game-changer in the developing world of on-demand healthcare.

    Big Health

    Founded in 2010 by Peter Hames and Professor Colin Espie

    According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental health condition, yet so many of them aren’t finding the help they require to live more fulfilling lives. Why is it that pills with endless side effects are pushed at the problem when behavioral solutions can often give a better quality of life?

    Big Health, a company which creates highly personalized behavioral psychotherapy treatment programs for various conditions, emerged in 2010 with its initial product Sleepio. An online sleep improvement program based on cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), the web app has been clinically proven to help people make changes necessary to overcome issues like long term poor sleep, without any medication. On average, Sleepio users fall asleep 54% faster, experience 62% fewer nighttime awakenings, and report a 58% boost in daytime energy and concentration.

    This year, Big Health won the WIRED Health Bupa Startup competition and secured $3.3 million Series A funding from Forward Partners and Index Ventures. Look out for Sleepio on iPhone, the company’s first native iOS app, set to be released soon.



    Founded in 2009 by Pablo Graiver, Dr. Jessica Mann and Dr. Eithan Ephrati 

    If you have a chronic or life-limiting disease, wouldn’t you want to know all your treatment options? TrialReach, a global platform making it easier for patients to find clinical trials, was born out of genuine frustration. How could it be so simple to book a hotel or flight, but impossible to find additional medical trial options for people suffering from serious conditions? Most doctors aren’t even aware of what ongoing trials are out there because information online is scattered, complex and often unreliable.

    TrialReach is addressing a fundamental problem in research: connecting the right people with the right researchers. A surprising 84% of cancer patients aren’t aware that a clinical trial is a possible option. Patients miss out on the opportunity to access potentially innovative treatments, especially seeing as it takes an average of 12 years for a drug to pass through trials and enter the market.

    This year, TrialReach has become the biggest source of clinical trials worldwide due to a partnership with the World Health Organization, giving patients access to over 270,000 clinical trials across the globe. In addition, they’re working closely with Facebook on a project to increase patient awareness of cancer treatment trials. Forbes recently stated about the company that “Democratizing clinical trial information, making it available and understandable, could break down the barriers required to fundamentally change the way patients and researchers work together”.


    Founded in 2012 by Jonathan Gwillim, Kate Eversole, and Theo Fellgett

    CreateHealth.io offers customer insight to healthcare providers through online crowdsourcing of patient opinion. Branded originally as PatientsCreate, the company promotes people having the power to inform and change how they are cared for.

    For healthcare companies, CreateHealth.io’s services will quickly and easily engage thousands of people to discover fresh insight and test new ideas and innovations. Basically, they’ve created a giant online focus group applying itself solely to key topics in healthcare.

    Their first pilot project saw the pharmaceutical company AbbVie host an open online discussion where those living with Parkinson’s disease discussed their definition of “quality of life”. It was the first time a life sciences company used open social media in this way and CreateHealth.io continues to work with global pharmaceuticals and hospitals through this crowdsourcing method.

    In October, the startup is hosting their second annual customer summit, CreateHealth London, which will gather 25 speakers and 250 healthcare executives to focus on creating and validating new healthcare solutions. They’re also currently developing London’s first healthcare co-working space to support digital health innovation and collaboration, an exciting prospect for everyone involved in the London health tech scene.



    Founded in 2012 by Bruce Hellman and Ben James

    15 million adults in the UK have at least one long term health condition, many of which have more than one, and this number continues to rise. Because of this, digital health startup uMotif developed an app that helps strengthen vital relationships between patients and their clinicians and carers, aiming to improve the lives of those suffering from chronic illness.

    The daily tracking app lets patients measure various aspects important to their health condition, from glucose levels for diabetics to blood pressure for heart disease patients. In 2012, the company launched its first app targeting Parkinson’s disease, which has since been further developed to support diabetes, heart failure, types of cancer, renal conditions, rheumatoid arthritis, and adrenal insufficiency.

    The company works with patients, doctors, and academics alike in developing and testing the app. It combines patient-led data inputs, passive sensor data, health open data sets and a range of engaging content to help patients improve how they self-manage their condition.

    Users are currently only able to access the app via personal invitation from a doctor, but uMotif aims to release their product to the general public in the future. The ultimate goal is to help people with long term conditions live more healthy, engaged and independent lives through health self-management.


    Founded in 2010 by Jorge Armanet and Dr. Matt Jameson Evans

    HealthUnlocked is an online social network where patients, caregivers and health advocates around the world can connect safely online within condition-specific communities.

    The digital platform allows patients to share personal stories and information, supporting each other through challenging times in dealing with health conditions like cancer, fibromyalgia, and heart disease. Offering a secure and anonymous online community, 47% of HealthUnlocked users say they access fewer clinical services because they have peer support on tap.

    The intelligence of the system also “reads” which conditions, symptoms, treatments, and services users are discussing online, offering the most relevant content to users based on their profile. Over 3 million experiences have been shared in HealthUnlocked communities, and many more are created every day.

    HealthUnlocked officially launched in the US in July 2014 and continues to expand their existing 2.5 million monthly worldwide visitors.


    Founded in 2012 by Lloyd Price and James Balmain

    Booking appointments online is a luxury that patients in the UK and Europe as a whole still aren’t widely benefitting from. Zesty‘s mission is to make this simple action an everyday reality.

    The Zesty platform allows patients to find local healthcare providers and compare doctors and services using real crowdsourced reviews from its users, as well as book confirmed appointments within minutes. Clinicians can also open up cancelled appointment slots in real time, providing more opportunities for patients to book appointments, all in a sleek, easy-to-use online system.

    Live in London since May 2013 and now with over 1,000 healthcare professionals signed up, Zesty has a Series A funding to look forward to in November 2014. Patients can also expect the launch of a suite of mobile apps for iOS and Android as the company expands to other northern and central European countries.

    The impact these London-based healthcare technology companies aim to create in the next decade, in addition to the numerous innovative efforts around the globe, will change the face of healthcare forever. In the near future, booking an appointment online, accessing the right specialist in minutes, connecting with other patients about similar health conditions and accessing clinical trials will become the norm for patients everywhere.

  • Larry Ellison, Oracle CEO, Is Stepping Down
    Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle, is stepping down as CEO, according to the company. Ellison, who is the fifth-richest man in the world according to Forbes, was appointed the company’s chief technology officer and will also serve as chairman.

    Safra Catz and Mark Hurd are both being promoted to the position of CEO. Before joining Oracle, Hurd was CEO of Hewlett-Packard. He was ousted in 2010 after being investigated over his expense reports and an improper relationship with a contractor.

    Ellison co-founded Oracle in 1977.

    Here’s more from the AP:

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison is ending his 37-year reign as CEO of the business software maker that he co-founded and is handing over the job to his two top lieutenants, Safra Catz and Mark Hurd.

    As part of the changing-of-the-guard announced Thursday, Ellison will become Oracle Corp.’s chairman and chief technology officer. Jeff Henley, the company’s chairman for the past decade, becomes vice chairman.

    Ellison, 70, is likely to continue to play an influential role at Oracle, given his leadership position on the board and his stature as the company’s largest individual shareholder.

    The shake-up nevertheless opens a new phase in Oracle’s history. The Redwood Shores, California, company is trying to adapt to the technological upheaval that is causing more of its corporate customers to lease software applications stored in remote data centers instead of paying licensing fees to install programs on machines kept in their own offices.

    Before their promotions, Catz and Hurd were Oracle’s co-presidents and had been working closely with Ellison for years. Catz is a former investment banker, while Hurd is best known as the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.

    Hurd stepped down from HP four years ago after that company’s board raised questions about his expense report. Ellison ridiculed HP for its treatment of Hurd, a close friend, and hired him at Oracle.

    Ellison, now one of the world’s richest men, founded Oracle Corp. in 1977 with $1,200 of his own money. He was its chairman from May 1995 to January 2004.

  • Reinventing Law School
    Law school was once considered a ticket to prestige, job security, and career satisfaction. Not anymore. According to a new analysis by the National Law Journal, applications to U.S. law schools have declined by more than 37 percent since 2010.

    It’s easy to see why. Today’s law students face a contracting job market, massive student debt, stiff competition from abroad, and low job-satisfaction rates.

    Law schools must rethink their approach. Like medical schools, they should offer specialized, practical training that ensures students are career-ready the day they graduate.

    The nation’s current crop of aspiring attorneys has plenty to worry about. The average student at a private law school will graduate with about $125,000 of debt. The job market for new lawyers is worse than it’s been in two decades, according to a new report from the National Association for Law Placement.

    In fact, the employment rate for recent graduates has fallen for six straight years.

    Making matters worse, most law students leave school ill-prepared for real-world work. For instance, a second-year law student I mentor loved interning at a technology company this summer. Yet she doesn’t think she’ll be able to get a job there, as her school doesn’t offer the specialized education she needs to even apply.

    Her problem is hardly new. When I graduated from Santa Clara Law in 1984, I had no training in areas like intellectual property law, contract negotiation, or SEC filings. And I received no training that would help in the business world, like how to deal with HR disputes or handle basic accounting. I was, however, required to spend countless hours studying the intricacies of community property law, civil procedure, and countless other subjects that had little relevance to my chosen career.

    Fortunately, I was able to learn on the job. But in today’s environment, most companies are reluctant to invest in the extensive training that even the most brilliant new lawyers require.

    Instead, many recent grads end up at established law firms, with the hopes of receiving more specialized training and pursuing their real interests once they’ve paid off their loans. Such transitions, however, are hard to pull off, because attorneys trained at large law firms often require retraining once they come in-house.

    Compared to attorneys at big firms, in-house lawyers need to understand business basics, be comfortable with risk, and have strong communication skills. Elaborately-worded, five-page emails might be fine at a big law firm trying to cover its bases. But when you’re answering a legal question for a time-crunched CEO, brevity and clarity are far more important.

    The Digital Age has also hurt job prospects for recent U.S. law school graduates, as legal work has become increasingly portable. Today, companies are able to move work to more cost-effective locations. Some work can even be handled abroad.

    Fortunately, law schools can address these challenges by adopting a more practical, career-specific approach to training.

    Consider the “ReInvent Law Laboratory” at Michigan State. The program was created, in part, to mix technology into the law school’s curriculum. Today, the Law Lab hosts conferences across the world that have been called “TED for lawyers.” The creators hope that by combining tech and law, lawyers will eventually revolutionize their services to better serve the public.

    At the University of Colorado, the law school offers a four-week Tech Lawyer Accelerator program. After the program ends, students spend a semester working for a startup. As with Northwestern University, the school is working to integrate law with business and technology.

    A revamped American system might take its cue from medical schools. Under this model, second and third-year law students would choose a specialty track focused on classes relevant to working in-house, at a law firm, in the public sector, or at a nonprofit.

    Students would also spend time with a range of practicing lawyers, learning on-the-job in several subspecialties of their chosen field — similar to the rotations of a surgical resident. At the same time, law schools could offer classes in practical business skills like public speaking, corporate management, or even spreadsheet basics.

    None of these proposals will be possible, of course, without dramatic reforms by the nation’s bar associations. Indeed, the bar examination’s emphasis on theoretical issues is a chief reason law schools fail to prepare students for the actual practice of law.

    A legal-education overhaul of this sort would leave law students better equipped to realize their professional goals, while also making them far more attractive to potential employers. Until law schools and bar associations recognize the need for reform, legal education will remain a risky investment.

    Michael Dillon is senior vice president and general counsel for Adobe.

Mobile Technology News, September 18, 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.

  • Today Screen Widgets in iOS 8

    One of the new features that has come in iOS 8 are Today screen widgets.  These widgets allow you to get app information or access the app straight from the Today screen instead of having to find the app on your Home screen and open it.  It is something that I personally welcome.  As I stated in my review of iOS 8, one of the aspects of the Home screen is that it is boring and needs widgets.  Having them on the Today screen certainly is a step in the right direction and may prove to be better from a

    The post Today Screen Widgets in iOS 8 appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • How To Get Past The iCloud Terms & Conditions in iOS 8

    It is being widely reported that some users are experiencing errors with iCloud after upgrading to iOS 8.  The issue has to do with the iCloud Terms & Conditions which were changed with the new version of iOS.    This is very similar if not identical to the issue that plagued users after iOS 7 was released last year.  Basically what happens is after upgrading, users are prompted to accept the new iCloud Terms & Conditions but when they attempt to do so they get a “Unable to connect to server” error.  This then disables iCloud on their device. If

    The post How To Get Past The iCloud Terms & Conditions in iOS 8 appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Twitter CEO Responds To Pot-Smoking Accusation In Best Way Possible
    PayPal and Palatir cofounder Peter Thiel is a legendary entrepreneur with a nose for investment. But when it comes to Twitter, it seems like all he smells is weed.

    “Twitter is hard to evaluate,” Thiel said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. “They have a lot of potential. It’s a horribly mismanaged company, probably a lot of pot-smoking going on there.”

    But if Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was bothered by the potshot, he didn’t let it show. He responded with the following tweet:

    @goldman working my way through a giant bag of Doritos. I’ll catch up with you later.

    — dick costolo (@dickc) September 17, 2014

    Costolo was responding specifically to former Twitter vice president Jason Goldman, who cracked a joke about the floating libertarian sea colony Thiel hopes to create.

    Yo but how high were you when you decided to go live on an ocean platform,” Goldman wrote.

    Thiel also took on Uber and Apple. See his full remarks in the clip above.

    (h/t SFist)

  • Apple Will No Longer Unlock iOS Devices For Police
    Apple unveiled a host of new privacy features Wednesday night and said it would not unlock encrypted iPhones and iPads for law enforcement under most circumstances. The move comes as tech companies struggle to manage public concerns that they have been too obliging to government requests for user data.

    The new measures were announced on the day that Apple rolled out iOS 8, its new mobile operating system. On a new privacy site, Apple outlines the new features, offers tips for users on how to manage their privacy, and explains how Apple will respond to government information requests.

    “On devices running iOS 8, your personal data such as photos, messages (including attachments), email, contacts, call history, iTunes content, notes, and reminders is placed under the protection of your passcode,” the company said. “Unlike our competitors, Apple cannot bypass your passcode and therefore cannot access this data. So it’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data from devices in their possession running iOS 8.”

    This is a great move,” Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist for the ACLU, told the Washington Post. “This seems to be the result of pressure, because of the Snowden revelations. Apple seems to be putting user privacy ahead of many other things… There are going to be a lot of unhappy law enforcement officials.”

    Apple is also touting its record of fighting for user’s privacy, claiming that it has never created a “backdoor” for government agencies to access user data, a growing concern among consumers in the wake of reports on tactics used by the NSA and disclosed by Edward Snowden.

    The company also said that it publishes all requests for data that are permitted by law.

    “In the first six months of 2014, we received 250 or fewer of these requests,” the company said.

    A message from Apple CEO Tim Cook accompanied the site, pledging that the company would strive to be more transparent in how it handles user privacy.

    We’re publishing this website to explain how we handle your personal information, what we do and don’t collect, and why. We’re going to make sure you get updates here about privacy at Apple at least once a year and whenever there are significant changes to our policies.

    A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

    Our business model is very straightforward: We sell great products. We don’t build a profile based on your email content or web browsing habits to sell to advertisers. We don’t “monetize” the information you store on your iPhone or in iCloud. And we don’t read your email or your messages to get information to market to you. Our software and services are designed to make our devices better. Plain and simple.

    Along with announcing the stance Apple is taking with government requests for data, the new site explains the privacy features in new iOS 8 apps and services. Apple also addresses how users can bolster security on their devices, something that has been of especially great concern following the apparent hacking of some celebrity iCloud accounts.

  • VIDEO: Intel's new dual-screen laptop
    Intel says it has several manufacturers building new computers based on the novel dual-screen laptop concept it has just unveiled.
  • Despite Facing Backlash, Facebook Refuses To Change Controversial Policy
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco drag queens are sparring with Facebook over its policy requiring people to use their real names, rather than drag names such as Pollo Del Mar and Heklina. But the world’s biggest social network is not budging from its rules.

    In recent weeks, Facebook has been deleting the profiles of self-described drag queens and other performers who use stage names because they did not comply with the social networking site’s requirement that users go by their “real names” on the site. On Wednesday, Facebook declined to change its policy after meeting with drag queens and a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors. The company said is usually deletes accounts with fake names after investigating user complaints.

    “This policy is wrong and misguided,” said Supervisor David Campos, who was flanked by seven drag queens during a press conference at San Francisco City Hall.

    The drag queens and others in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community say many Facebook account holders fear using their real names for a variety of reasons, including threats to their safety and employment.

    “I have crazy family members who I don’t want contacting me through Facebook,” said a self-described drag queen who calls herself Heklina.

    Facebook said it temporarily restored hundreds of deleted accounts for two weeks. After that they’ll have to either change their name to their real name, or convert their profile to a fan page.

    Campos and the drag queens, led by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence — a San Francisco group of drag performers and activists that’s been around since 1979 — say they plan another meeting with Facebook and are hopeful that the company will ultimately alter its policy.

    If Facebook doesn’t change its policy, the drag queens at San Francisco City Hall Wednesday said they would organize protests and boycotts.

    “Abused women, bullied teens, transgender people… (there are) a million different people with a million different reasons to use fake names,” said Sister Roma, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

    Facebook says it policy “helps prevent bad behavior, while creating a safer and more accountable environment.”

    The company says performers and others have other ways of keeping their stage identities on the site, including creating pages that are meant for businesses and public figures.

    Many in the drag queen community are professional performers who rely on Facebook to publicize gigs. They said a fan page isn’t the same as a regular Facebook page.

    “Your reach is limited, said Rosa Sifuentes, a San Francisco-based burlesque performer who goes by the name Bunny Pistol.

    The company’s policy has been around just about as long as Facebook itself.

    This isn’t the first time users have criticized Facebook’s policy.

    Political activists have complained, especially those living in countries where they could face danger if their real identities are revealed. In 2011, Chinese blogger and activist Michael Anti, whose legal name is Zhao Jing, had his profile deleted because he was not using his given name — even though his professional identity has been established for more than a decade and is better known. Lady Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has “merged” her stage name with her birth name on Facebook in an apparent compromise.

    It’s not always easy to determine which names are inauthentic. Some people whose real names sound fake have had their accounts deleted, too.

    For Facebook, the real names policy is not just meant to keep people accountable. The company and other website operators argue that requiring people to use true identities can reduce online vitriol and bullying. Real names also help Facebook target advertisements to its 1.32 billion users.

    Facebook estimates that 6 to 11 percent of its monthly user accounts were duplicate or fake in 2013.

    “We believe the percentage of accounts that are duplicate or false is meaningfully lower in developed markets such as the United States or United Kingdom and higher in developing markets such as India and Turkey,” Facebook wrote in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “However, these estimates are based on an internal review of a limited sample of accounts and we apply significant judgment in making this determination, such as identifying names that appear to be fake or other behavior that appears inauthentic to the reviewers.”

  • Amazon Admits It Whiffed On Fire Phone Pricing
    Amazon planned to cut the price of its much ballyhooed smartphone at some point, but the retail giant moved faster than anticipated, an Amazon executive admitted Wednesday.

    The Fire Phone, released in late July, was initially priced at $199 with a two-year contract. When it was announced, critics wondered why Amazon would aim so high. The phone didn’t seem better than similarly priced premium phones from Apple and Samsung. Why would those companies’ rabidly loyal fans — Apple and Samsung control over 70 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, according to comScore — make the switch to a new phone and operating system?

    They didn’t. In August, The Guardian’s Charles Arthur estimated that Amazon had sold fewer than 35,000 phones in the first 20 days.

    Less than two weeks later, and the day before Apple announced its new lineup of iPhones, Amazon cut the price drastically to 99 cents.

    The writing was on the wall. “We heard the feedback,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of devices at Amazon, said in an interview with The Huffington Post. “We … heard it from customers that they expected more value. We had had a plan to reduce the price. To be perfectly honest about it, it was going to happen a little later.”

    Limp declined to say when Amazon had initially planned to reduce the price of the Fire Phone. He made his comments after the company unveiled its new lineup of Kindle tablets and eReaders at a small event for journalists in lower Manhattan.

    Amazon deviated from its usual pricing strategy with the Fire Phone, which CEO Jeff Bezos had unveiled with much fanfare at an event in June near the company’s Seattle headquarters. Historically, Amazon has sold hardware — it makes tablets, eReaders and a box that connects to your TV to stream content from the Internet — at break-even prices and makes its money when people use the devices to buy content or things.

    Amazon executives believed that the sensor-packed phone, which the company reportedly spent four years developing, was a premium device. But the gesture control, 3D effects and other bells and whistles haven’t been a hit with consumers.

    “I think we’ve gotten to the right place now,” Limp said in the interview. “It was a bit of a road to get there. But I think that customers are reacting positively to the new pricing. We’ve got a big holiday ahead of us, so we’ll see how it goes from there.”

  • Amazon Fixes The Biggest Problem With Kindle
    Amazon’s goal is to make reading a book on a Kindle better than reading a traditional book.

    But in the seven years the retailing giant has been making Kindles, they’ve fallen short in one huge and annoying way: Without a sneaky (and not recommended) workaround, sharing your collection of eBooks with other people was nearly impossible.

    Until now.

    Amazon said on Wednesday it’s adding the ability to share your eBook collection with your household. The company calls it Family Library, and it will come as part of Amazon’s new lineup of Kindles, unveiled on Wednesday and available next month. Amazon says the new feature will roll out to all Kindle eReaders released since August 2010, from the Kindle Keyboard onward.

    New customers will be able to add another Amazon account when they register their new eReaders, and people who already have Kindles will be able to link another account once the software is updated. (Amazon already allows you to loan certain eBooks to other people, but you can only do it once per book, for two weeks at a time, and you can’t read the book while someone else has it. An Amazon spokesperson said Family Library doesn’t have those restrictions, though many publishers do limit books to six devices in total.)

    “This is something customers have been asking for for a long time,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of devices at Amazon, adding that people can choose to share their entire eBook collections, or just specific titles.

    Amazon’s new lineup of Kindles — and updated Kindle features — comes as the company is engaged in a bitter, public dispute over eBook prices with the publisher Hachette.

    Apart from sharing eBooks, people using Family Library will be able to share games, apps, audiobooks and programming from Prime Instant Video, the Netflix-like streaming video service that comes as part of Amazon Prime, the company’s $99 loyalty program. Amazon said it will add downloaded movies and TV shows to the list next year. And the feature will work across multiple Amazon devices, so if you start reading something on your Kindle Fire tablet, you can pick it up on your Kindle eReader, or, eventually, your iPad.

    kindle family library
    The Family Library screen shown on a new Kindle Voyage

    Apple included a similar feature — it’s called Family Sharing — in iOS 8, the latest version of its mobile operating system, which became available for download on Wednesday. Apple lets you share music, books and other content with up to six people. Amazon’s Family Library only allows for two adults and four kids. (Amazon has kid-specific accounts.)

    Amazon’s not just doing this to be nice. The company wants to keep you in its Kindle-sphere. You may be more likely to buy a Kindle Fire tablet, and download pricey movies and TV shows from Amazon if your partner also has a Fire tablet.

    This article has been updated with new information from an Amazon spokesperson regarding which models can support Family Library. A previous statement that it would not be available on models released before 2013 was incorrect.

  • Glimpse at the high street 2020
    How will we shop in 2020?
  • WSJ: iPhone 6, 6 Plus cameras beat Galaxy S5 handily
    The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler has had a chance to take the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 on a test run from a photographic perspective, comparing the built-in cameras on each. On paper, the iPhone models were at a serious disadvantage: the photo modules are only 8MP, compared to the 16 megapixel units on Samsung’s flagship smartphone. Nevertheless, Fowler’s photos make clear that Apple’s combination of lenses, camera, sensor and post-processing technologies create consistently better pictures.

  • What will Alibaba do with $25bn?
    What will Alibaba do with $25bn?
  • Facebook's Name Policy Won't Accept Chase Nahooikaikakeolamauloaokalani Silva
    Chase Nahooikaikakeolamauloaokalani Silva has a bone to pick with Facebook.

    Last week, the social media platform froze Silva’s account because of a policy that suspends accounts suspected of fake names. Facebook says they want you to “always know who you’re connecting with,” and the policy was enacted to help “keep our community safe.”

    But his 29-letter middle name is real and the site doesn’t make it easy for him to prove it.

    “That’s my name,” Silva wrote in a Facebook post, shortly after he was alerted to make the change. “I am a proud Hawaiian who wants to be able to display my Hawaiian given name.”

    Story continues below…

    The lengthy name, Silva told HuffPost, means “to be strong and draw strength from heaven above.” His great-grandmother who spoke the Native Hawaiian language fluently selected it for him.

    He shortened it on Facebook to just the first letter to appease the policy because he said there was no easy way for him to access his account without first making the change. Then, there’s a series of informational pages and links that lead to a form where users can submit approved documents to confirm their identity.

    “We’ve always required that people use their real identity on their Facebook profiles,” Andrew Souvall, a representative for Facebook told HuffPost in an email, adding that people tend to use “fake names to engage in bad behavior” online. “We also recognize that a person’s real identity is not necessarily the name that appears on their legal documentation,” he said, “and that’s why we accept other forms of identification.”

    Facebook’s recent policy implementation caused an uproar among performers and drag queens in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community who identify with their stage names online and in real life. After a group of LGBT activists threatened to protest outside of Facebook’s San Francisco office, company officials agreed to discuss their concerns.

    Silva, a self-described “proud gay male,” doesn’t plan on contacting Facebook to prove his name, and he says he shouldn’t have to. He believes that Facebook shouldn’t tell its 829 million active users daily what names they can and cannot use.

    “Facebook should not be able to dictate what your name is, what you go by, what you answer to,” he told HuffPost. “Aside from the LGBT community, there are rape victims, abuse victims, even teachers, who use aliases because they don’t want people to contact them. It’s a protection of your identity.”

    For Silva, his full, given name is a “badge of honor.”

    “It’s not a standard name, obviously, in America’s eyes,” Silva, who was born and raised on Oahu before moving to Seattle in 2008, “but that’s the name that I’m proud of.”

  • Skin printer and bee probe win award
    A printer that creates fake skin to help burn victims heal, kit to check the health of bees and a solar-powered portable cooker win 2014’s national Dyson awards.
  • Startups and Relationships: How to Get Them Both Right
    A while ago, I was sitting there in my well-paid executive job running marketing for 62 countries, as you do. I had my apartment and company car, a hot girlfriend and took amazing trips whenever I felt like it.

    Photo: George Diakou

    Fast forward to today. My job now is to try to keep our startup alive; there are no trips and no cars — there are baby puppies though. My girlfriend is now my pregnant wife and we live at her mum’s place. Glamorous, no?

    Life is fast, unpredictable and often served best with a little bit of planning and a big chunk of ‘just dive in, get focused and believe in what you’re doing.

    That’s essentially been the Funifi way so far. When my co-founder Andrew and I left our jobs, apartments and friends behind to move out to Copenhagen for four months last year to take our new startup to Startupbootcamp, people said we were being irrational, impulsive and risky. Truth is, we were probably being only two of those.

    Throughout this whole process, one thing has consistently stood out. The quality of the people around me always helps me to make decisions that seem to work out well in the end!

    So here are three things that I found useful for creating and maintaining healthy personal and professional relationships:

    Tip 1: Know your partner

    For me, this meant my co-founders and my then girlfriend.

    The selection process here is about seeing character traits that you like.

    Andrew and I had worked together for a few years so there was more than enough scope to understand each other’s motivations, values and vision.

    With co-founder number two, Denis, we’d done some work together previously. I knew he was talented and he seemed like a good guy but Andrew had also worked with him more closely before so it became a case of ‘if he likes you then I do too.

    With Anna, we’d already been together for years but it takes a special person to also quit her job and come along for the adventure with a team of crazy guys chasing a dream.

    So we took the plunge and made our way to Copenhagen to build our company, wow what risk takers we were. We assumed that the tough part was over and that, as soon as we got there, everything would be so smooth. It didn’t quite work out that way.

    Five of us living in a small three-bedroom apartment wasn’t easy. Add that to being told that we were selected for the program mainly because of our awesome team and despite our original idea (which we obviously thought was amazing at the time!).

    We had to reshape our plans and pivot and we’d only been there for a week.

    At times of doubt you need the right people around you. It’s important to understand each other and to also be on the same page about where you are going.

    Tip 2: Have common goals

    Many relationships collapse when people seemingly grow apart, one wants one thing out of life and the other wants something else. This doesn’t just happen overnight though, there’s a whole chunk of time in-between where communication is key.

    We started Funifi with a raw objective, to ‘change the world.’ Now I know that sounds cliché but it really was the thought process. An undefined statement like that though can cause havoc if not discussed and made more specific. It’s like saying ‘what do you want from this relationship?’ and your partner saying ‘to be happy.’ Obviously we want to be happy but what does that really mean to each of us?

    Denmark made us stronger as a unit, we homed in on what was really important and that eventually turned our vision statement into ‘to positively impact every family on the planet,’ which we liked.

    Photo: George Vou

    We lost a few people and added others along the way as what we represented became easier to define and relate to. We also welcomed Lach to the team who added experience to our talented young dev lineup with Kyriakos and Chrys.

    With Anna we always talked about what we wanted in both the short and long term. The whole adventure we had begun fitted pretty well into the ‘big picture’ vision that we shared.

    Tip 3: Commitment

    There is no more serious way of showing intent than committing yourself fully to a cause, project or relationship.

    When you know you want something you need to show it. This can come in the form of small steps or one large leap depending on the situation. For me it was the first way on a personal level and the second professionally.

    I’ve heard people say ‘I’m going to try this startup thing and see how it works out.’ For us, that just wasn’t an option. Once focused, we dedicated ourselves one hundred percent. Resignations were written, lives packed into a suitcase and all savings used on getting a good start with our startup.

    With the now wife, It was best to go step-by-step. No need to declare undying love on the first date but you know, call back, tell her you like her, don’t be scared to move in together when the time comes and so on.

    There’s a right time for everything but commitment must be demonstrated with actions.

    It’s been just over a year from when we decided to commit fully and our baby steps are turning into leaps as we now have our app in the App Store. There’s still a lot to be done but our talented team is focused and growing as we recently added Celia, Maria, Lukasz and Stef to the family.

    Some say to focus on the journey and the journey to me is defined by the quality of the relationships we form along the way.

    So be smart, be honest and be selective when choosing the people you will share your valuable time with.

    Find out more about our story so far here.

    You can also download the app here.

  • News For High Schools: Digital Media Plus Teaching Equals Support For Freedom

    Some experts say smart phones make young people stupid. Others say technology makes them smarter. Still others say the tool is not important — it’s how we learn to use it.

    A new survey of more than 10,000 high school students lends support to that last view. Amid an explosion in social and mobile media — their media — high school students are supporting freedom of expression in record numbers, and are even more likely to do so if they also have had a class in the First Amendment.

    During the past 10 years, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation has funded five “Future of the First Amendment” surveys, each probing what American high school students know and think about our most fundamental freedoms.

    This year, for the first time, American high school students show a greater overall appreciation for the First Amendment than do adults.

    More students than ever before say they are thinking about the First Amendment. Nine in 10 say people should be able to express unpopular opinions. Six in 10 say the press should not be censored by the government.

    What happened? One explanation: the digital age. In 2011, Connecticut researcher Ken Dautrich found “a clear, positive relationship” between social media use and support for free expression. He now finds the same link between digital media use and First Amendment support.

    Student news diets are increasingly digital, social and mobile. In 2007, for example, only 8 percent of students surveyed reported consuming news and information daily through mobile devices. This time around, 61 percent do — an all-time high.

    As students add their voices to the never-ending news streams in cyberspace, is it any wonder they seem to know more, to care more, about the freedoms that make this possible?

    That said, teaching still matters. This year’s Future of the First Amendment survey confirmed that students who had a class dealing with the First Amendment — 7 in 10 said they did — also support freedom of expression in greater numbers.

    Indiana’s Jim Streisel, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Journalism Teacher of the Year at Carmel High School, believes digital media and teaching work together. “If you’re a kid who has always used social media, you’re enjoying the freedom you have without thinking much about it,” he said. “When you take a class, especially a media class, you start to understand what that means, how the First Amendment is behind the scenes.”

    Classes help even heavy media users. For example: 65 percent of the students who use digital news daily agreed strongly that people should be able to express unpopular opinions, but if they had a class, that support rose to 69 percent.

    Teacher Streisel says it’s important for classes to teach the both media literacy and the First Amendment. That’s how high school journalism classes work. You create media. You learn about the First Amendment. You emerge a stronger supporter of rights but also responsibilities.

    But many of today’s classes that teach about freedom do it from the view of social studies or history and are not as hands-on. “In driver’s ed,” Streisel says, “we don’t just show pictures of cars and say ‘go drive one yourself.’ We put an adult in there to help students learn. Social media is the same way.”

    Students deserve greater freedom. Most high school students say that First Amendment rights should apply to their school activities. But most teachers disagree — if they can’t Tweet anything they want to about their school, why should students? Understandable, but how can schools teach First Amendment values by censoring students?

    Upon graduation, freedom-loving students may face some rude shocks. In this year’s survey, majorities say they oppose having their online activities monitored by business or spied upon by government. Yet only 20 percent of the students (and 28 percent of the teachers) said they knew “a lot” about revelations that the National Security Agency collects vast amounts of domestic data from phone calls and emails.

    Public opinion about the First Amendment matters. It’s the context within which the U.S. Supreme Court interprets the amendment’s meaning.

    We know too well how volatile public opinion can be. After the 9/11 attacks, for example, adult support for the First Amendment plummeted. The public was willing to give up some freedom in the name of national security. Support bounced back, only to be sunk again after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

    Whether young people will turn their First Amendment support into more resilient social norms is still an open question. But increased education, along with the new generation’s overwhelming use of social and mobile media — forms of media it will shape as students grow older — offers new hope that American values will live on in the 21st Century.

    This column was excerpted from the Future of the First Amendment survey at www.knightfoundation.org

  • How To Download iOS 8 Without Losing Your Mind, In 5 Steps
    Almost as soon as Apple released iOS8 on Wednesday afternoon, iPhone users started to freak out over how much space the new system required, and media outlets started to publish guides on how to best free up that space.

    But there is an easy and quick way to download your iPhone’s new operating system without losing your mind, and it’s simply to do so using iTunes on your computer.

    The new operating system only needs 1.1 GB of space, but when you download it wirelessly, it needs 5.8 GB to install. That huge difference is a result of your iPhone having to store the old operating system while it uncompresses the new file. Using iTunes makes that unnecessary.

    If downloading iOS8 via iTunes sounds scary, have no fear. We’ll walk you through the process step by step.

    1. Connect your device to your computer and open iTunes.

    2. Click on the “iPhone” button.

    ios8 update

    3. You’ll then be brought to a page giving you the option to “Check For Update.”

    ios8 update check

    4a. When it tells you iOS8 is available to download, click “Download and Update.”

    4b. If you still don’t have the 1.1 GB of space, start deleting. On your phone, go to Settings > General > Usage to see what is taking up the most space, most likely your old iMessages and pictures.

    iphone storage

    Save them to your computer if you really need them or do some spring cleaning to your old apps. When you have enough space, attempt step 4a again.

    5. Follow the instructions, and make sure your iPhone stays connected. It should only take about five to 10 minutes to download iOS8 this way, compared to hours, possibly, doing it wirelessly. And then you can start playing with all of iOS 8’s new features.

  • Fighting for Which Future? When Google Met Wikileaks
    In the summer of 2011, in the midst of the Cablegate affair (the leaking of some 250,000 diplomatic cable transmission between the US State Department and American embassies by WikiLeaks), at a time of far-reaching changes in the regimes of Tunisia and Egypt, and while public demonstrations against existing social order swept various places in the world, a meeting was held between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Google CEO Eric Schmidt and his associates (Jared Cohen, Director of Google Ideas and previously a member of the State department’s policy planning staff; Lisa Shields, VP Communications & Marketing at Council on Foreign Relations; and Scott Malcomson, director of communication at International Crisis Group and previously advisor at the US State department).

    The published transcript of their discussion provides a rare glimpse into a clash between conflicting worldviews, a clash which reflects various power and ideological struggles raging over the past twenty years with regard to technology’s role in our society, usually away from public view.

    Derivative Work: Colin Green
    Original Photos by: Cancillería del Ecuador, Guillaume Paumier and Wikimedia (Photos are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license)

    Four such interrelated struggles are particularly worthy of mention. First, what will control of cyberspace look like? Will it be well-organized and centrally controlled by states and corporations, or by the individual users and professional experts? The debate on whether the Internet needs to operate without state regulation has already been decided both normatively and practically. The naive belief expressed in John Perry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, that the web can exist independently, relying on self-regulation only, is no longer tenable. Cyberspace, just like any other human space, is used for both positive and negative activities. The power struggle over the regulation of cyberspace is still ongoing: will it be the crowds whose “collective wisdom” and direct connectivity self-regulate online conduct (relying on professional experts and civil society to establish standards governing the way we communicate with each other), or will control be left to various state or corporate power elites who regulate our behavior by virtue of their control of political and economic resources, including technological platforms? In recent years, we have witnessed a trend of growth in both state and self-regulation of the Internet. However, the question of balancing power foci remains to be seen.

    Second, technology — the web in particular — is it neutral or political? Technocrats tend to argue that because technology is based on algorithms devoid of human interference, makes it possible to construct consistently neutral and non-discriminatory processes. However, by the very fact that it is designed by humans, every technology is inherently political, involving values and interests cast in the image of its developers, and subsequently shaped by its users.

    The third struggle is over the number and identity of mediators. In the information age, the ability to control flows of information is a significant power element. Technological improvements have immensely increased the individual user’s ability both to produce and to disseminate data. Despite this ability, however, true control of information is in the hands of mediators. The huge amount of information produced every second, as well as the need to create, share and read content require the user to rely on mediators. These network gatekeepers help the users in all their activities in cyberspace, from filtering excess information through connectivity with others to producing new content. We rely on Google to find what we search, or on Facebook and Twitter to show us the posts uploaded by our friends. But Facebook does not show us all of our friends’ posts, only those it selects. This is a struggle for controlling the agenda of information conveyed and transferred from one person to another — the essence of power — another aspect of the politics of information if you will.

    Finally, the fourth struggle rages over transparency. Tim Berners-Lee, one of the founding fathers of the World Wide Web, open code developers, and multiple forces in civil society and business sectors all have been working on making information more open and publicly accessible. For some, information openness has become a means to an end. The boundaries of openness have become a critical issue in the struggle for shaping the image of cyberspace and society in general. What are the checks and balances involved? Is the revealing of sensitive information at a security cost justifiable solely based on the freedom of information principle? Does blowing the whistle on systematic surveillance and tracking of civilians and users justify any means? And if limits are drawn, who should determine the boundaries? Information can be open, but its flows will certainly not be equal.

    These power struggles are waged between conflicting sides, but framing them in terms of good against evil, anarchist versus conformist, freedom fighter against the power hungry is simplistic and ignores the complexity of these debates. Google is presented as promoting a model of white, liberal and secular values, while WikiLeaks is presented as promoting various shades of gray. But in fact, the Wikileaks orthodox position against censorship, at all costs, is designed to allow it total control on the freedom of publication, how and as much as it wants. But will this allow other narratives they do not espouse to be freely expressed? It is reasonable to assume that they too, in their capacity as mediators, will become an alternative form of censorship.

    The complexity of power struggles is revealed also when Assange and Schmidt talk about the reduced extent of mediation required in the “new world.” Assange talks about relying on the masses as a way of bypassing intermediators, while Schmidt makes do with believing in the empowering potential of technology as an explanation for the user’s growing power. Both ignore the fact that the degree of mediation has not decreased, but rather increased. Today, Google is the greatest platform mediator in human history — between its clouds, Android operating system, mapping service, search engine, YouTube, chat and telephony in Hangouts, photos on Picasa, or Waze. WikiLeaks, which wants to create “an improved model of journalism,” is also a mediator, whether reluctantly or not. In the diplomatic cables affair, it deliberately chose to release certain materials and exclude others from the public domain. Who can assure us it is an honest mediator? Nobody can answer that question — neither Assange nor Schmidt.

    Despite their conflicting views on various issues, Julian Assange and Eric Schmidt share a blind adoration of technology and the belief that technological solutions will cure society of its ills and woes, of rampant inequality in different contexts and the brutal denial of various rights. Technology has an important role to play, but it is people who turn it into a space for economic growth or into a dangerous space.

  • NewsCorp: Google platform for piracy
    NewsCorp’s chief executive writes strongly worded letter calling for a tougher approach from the EU to search giant Google.
  • The Power of Team Collaboration in the Workplace
    Recent research by Cornerstone On Demand shows 38 percent of workers feel there is not enough collaboration in the workplace. Factors that would encourage collaboration, according to participants of the study, include positive recognition of input shared (50 percent), encouragement from senior staff (41 percent), ability to easily share input with different departments (33 percent), and more.


    Here are some ways to harness the power of team collaboration and get your employees working smarter, harder, and most importantly, together:

    Online Collaboration Tools
    Social media ties us all together in more ways than ever. Tweeting along with your favorite television shows and Instagramming pictures of your lunch aren’t the only ways social media has taken flight. In the enterprise world, for instance, internal social media tools are making it easier for coworkers to connect and collaborate.

    According to a survey, 75 percent of companies were using social collaboration tools in 2013. These tools can make it easier for employees to work remotely, for coworkers to ask quick questions without interrupting their workflow, and for your teams to share projects within the office and with outside contractors. These tools make it easy for even the busiest members of your team to stay in the loop.

    Balance Collaboration and Focus
    In order to get workers collaborating more fully, many companies are embracing the open office floor plan. There are many perks to this style of office, primarily the openness and transparency fostered between co-workers and departments. It’s easier to work together when you have line-of-sight to your other team members and open rooms where collaboration can happen spontaneously.

    A 2013 study by Gensler found 69 percent of workers were dissatisfied with the noise levels of their workplaces. Yet a study by MIT cited in the report claimed researchers were able to predict 35 percent of a team’s performance simply by measuring the number and quality of face-to-face interactions. You need to give your employees room to focus and breathe, while also providing open spaces for collaboration. Make sure the design of your office strikes a balance between working solo and putting your best brains together.

    Encourage Employees to Live the Brand
    It’s easier for teams to throw their all into projects if they understand exactly what they’re working towards. Don’t be shy about communicating with your teams, and they’ll find it easier to communicate with each other.

    Make the mission statement of the company central and make sure all collaboration efforts align with your company’s values. Once employees start living the company brand, they’ll have an easier time collaborating around projects and working toward central goals.

    Foster Creativity
    Your best people are creative problem solvers and big idea dreamers. So help them cut loose and listen to their imagination. Make creativity a focal point of your company culture by encouraging employees to cultivate ideas, especially in a collaborative environment. Set up regular brainstorming sessions and get everyone involved.

    Always leave your door open for great ideas, no matter what section of the company the idea is coming from. Form interdisciplinary teams and allow employees to try completing new tasks to better understand how the company runs. Provide professional development and even plaster your office with whiteboard, so there’s always a writing surface for when inspiration strikes.

    Great companies know the value of collaboration and understand how to foster it within teams and departments. It’s time to harness the power of collaboration and turn your workforce into a team of superhero employees.

Mobile Technology News, September 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.

  • Full Charlie Rose interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook now posted
    A nearly two-hour conversation with Apple CEO Tim Cook covering a wide variety of topics is now available in full from the Charlie Rose show website as well as PBS’ own Hulu channel. Excerpts from the interview are also available on PBS’ iOS app. The sit down discussion with Rose was filmed almost immediately after Cook unveiled the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Apple Watch and the Apple Pay mobile payments system.

  • Chin strap turns chewing into power
    Engineers build a chin strap that harnesses the energy produced by jaw movements, and could one day power hearing aids or bluetooth earpieces.
  • Apple publishes guide for Android data transfer to iOS devices
    With its combination of more and better apps, better security and now large-screen mobile devices, Apple is expecting the new iPhone and iOS 8 to help persuade more Android users to move up to iOS, and to that end has published a document on its website guiding switchers on how to move content from their Android device to the iPhone. The expectation isn’t based on hubris: surveys have shown that at least a third of Android users would consider switching to the iPhone 6 family.

  • VIDEO: Lasers deliver brighter 3D films
    A new laser-based system offers crisper, clearer movies
  • Silicon Valley Should Care About What Wall Street Is Doing in Washington
    Six years ago this week, Wall Street began imploding with the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The biggest banks started falling like dominoes, taking a big portion of our economy down with them. Ultimately, the 2008 financial crash was the worst since 1929 and the economic wreckage and wealth destruction it caused is the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    While the damage was widespread – costing our economy more than $12.8 trillion – Silicon Valley and the innovation economy paid a heavy price.

    Venture capital investments plunged 25% within a year. All told, the crash cost America’s innovation economy $10 billion worth of venture capital in 2009 alone – including a $3 billion hit to Silicon Valley. As a result, investments in biotech companies fell 24%. Electronics fell 37%. Information technology dropped 42%. And investments in software, semiconductors, and telecommunications fell 32%, 49%, and 62% respectively.

    The financial and economic crash also caused tax revenues to plummet and spending on social needs to skyrocket. This in turn resulted in massive federal deficits, which forced federal spending cuts for almost everything else, including causing federal funding of research and development to sink to its lowest level in decades.

    Many of these losses will never be regained. But if you think it can’t happen again, think again.

    Congress did pass a historic Wall Street financial reform law in 2010. But Wall Street’s cash and its army of lawyers and lobbyists have mounted a relentless campaign to block or delay many of the most important provisions. The dangerous too big to fail banks have actually gotten bigger. Not a single Wall Street executive was held accountable for their role in the crash. Wall Street’s profits and bonuses are back, but American families, communities and companies still suffer from the ongoing economic wreckage.

    Remarkably, however, those with the greatest stake in these issues — innovators, entrepreneurs and business people — are almost entirely absent from the New York/Washington debates on these key financial and markets issues. Instead, the handful of self-interested too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks and their lobbyists and lawyers monopolize the political, policy, regulatory, legislative and legal debates on these issues. Frankly, these “debates” are really mostly discussions among likeminded people rather than genuine exchanges with opposing views about the merits and the public interest.

    The sad truth is that we haven’t done nearly enough to reform the financial system to prevent another cataclysmic crash, end rampant predatory behavior, restore investor confidence and protect taxpayers, companies and the federal treasury.

    The financial system and financial markets exist to be the funding mechanism for Silicon Valley innovators and businesses at all stages and of all sizes. Markets are supposed to support the real economy that invents, builds and distributes goods and services which fuel employment, growth and standards of living — improving lives, communities, our country and the world.

    It shouldn’t surprise anyone that a handful of the biggest banks will act in their own narrow interests to block efforts designed to rein in their excessive risk taking, which enriches them while endangering everyone else.

    That means that real reform will not happen until the people and companies with the most at stake in our economy get actively and consistently involved in these debates and the political process. Otherwise, Wall Street’s New York/Washington alliance will continue to monopolize the policy outcomes – producing results that favor them regardless of the threat they pose to Silicon Valley and the rest of the real economy.

    What does that mean? Silicon Valley, at the corporate and executive level, has to commit its influence, credibility and resources to the fight. That can be done individually or, better, by creating or joining alliances and coalitions with others. It means organizing to work the political process in Congress and the White House to reject efforts to weaken the financial reform law. It means pushing back at the derivatives, securities and banking regulators to prevent Wall Street from getting loopholes in the rules they are passing. Importantly, it also means a PR campaign that rebuts the all-too-often one-sided pro-Wall Street reporting on many of these matters.

    Unfortunately, what needs to be done isn’t glamorous. It’s digging into the nuts and bolts of DC policymaking. Wall Street didn’t get its power and influence overnight and it didn’t do it by dipping in and out of Washington as issues occasionally flare up. In fact, Wall Street is most effective when public attention is focused elsewhere and no one is watching as it bends policy in its direction, slowly and mostly unseen. Any effective counterbalance must do the same.

    It’s been said that democracy belongs to those who show up and speak up. Silicon Valley can’t afford to sit this debate out any longer.

    Better Markets is a DC-based, independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes the public interest in the financial markets.

  • Official iPhone 6, 6 Plus cases being delivered for early orders
    Early orders of Apple’s official cases for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are beginning to reach customers, anecdotes indicate. While the company usually gives strict instructions to courier services that prevent them from delivering iPhones and iPads before a launch date, it doesn’t do the same for accessories. The strict timing with hardware is believed to be for the sake of marketing impact as well as deterring scalpers.

  • Yes, Facebook, Drag Queens Are Real!
    As many of you are more than likely aware by now, Facebook, for reasons unknown to anyone, has decided to start enforcing a policy requiring that users use only their legal name on their personal profiles. This decision has affected many entertainers across the country and seems to be targeting drag queens.

    For a drag queen, her drag name is a real name. The majority of drag queens have spent years making their drag name memorable and recognizable. And a drag name is not chosen lightly. There are numerous different reasons one might choose the name she uses. For some drag queens it is because it makes them laugh; for others it is because it has a meaning to them; and for still others it is because it honors the person who helped them get started in the art form. The list of reasons for choosing a name goes on and on.

    The reasons a drag queen might use a separate profile for her drag persona can vary greatly. For some it’s because people close to them — parents, brothers, sisters, etc. — don’t know they do drag. They may fear being kicked out of their home or shunned by family. Or maybe they could be fired from their job if it were learned that they perform in drag.

    There are also some drag queens who use a separate profile for their drag persona because it allows them to really immerse themselves in that character. For many queens their drag persona is nothing like their real personality, and that separation is needed. Others just like keeping the two separate because it allows them a chance to escape from the art form from time to time. Doesn’t everyone deserve a little time out of the spotlight, so to speak?

    So for Facebook to come along and tell these entertainers that their name is not real is offensive.

    The Von Bs were a victim of this new policy over the weekend. Both Vivian’s profile and mine were suspended until we can prove that that is who we are. To me the whole issue is ridiculous. Vivian and I have spent the last five years making the Von Brokenhymen name not just a name but a brand that represents an image in the drag community, and I like to feel that we have achieved that. So for Facebook to now say that that name is not real is wrong and a huge insult. That name has raised tens of thousands of dollars for different charities over the last five years and brought attention to a whole host of different issues. Please explain to me how that is not real, because the money raised certainly was.

    Tell me this isn’t real:


    So yes, Facebook, drag queens are real!

    If you want to stay current with the Von Bs, “like” our new Facebook page, The Von Bs or visit The Diary of a Drag Queen Husband.

  • Forums: Incoming iPhone!
    MacNN forum goers anxiously awaiting the delivery of their latest, greatest iPhones have converged in the thread titled “Incoming iPhone” to discuss just where in the world the tracking numbers state their precious cargo resides. Forum members who are looking for an iPad sleeve with a spot for a power adapter that doesn’t cause a bulge converse about the available options in a thread started by Clinically Insane member “subego” earlier this week.

  • Dad Is Totally Loving This Oculus Rift Roller Coaster 'Ride'
    If you’ve ever experienced the 360-degree virtual world inside the Oculus Rift, then you know it’s hard not to react to its awesomeness.

    Watch to see what happens when the owner of an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset lets his father have a go. It seems no one could be happier about riding a virtual roller coaster through a house.

    There’s no set release date for a consumer-ready version of the highly anticipated gaming technology. For now, all we can really do is watch videos like this on repeat.

    h/t Reddit

  • Waiting for Data Breaches Like Home Depot & Target to Stop? Don't Hold Your Breath.

    “When is this going to end?” you’ve probably asked yourself, after hearing about the Home Depot data breach of up to 60 million consumer credit cards. The breach is the latest–and possibly largest–of a series of massive exposures of sensitive consumer information over the past few months.

    The simple answer to your question: Not anytime soon.
    In the five months since April 16, when I wrote one of my final blogs as Consumer Reports’s Technology Editor, entitled Another breach like Target’s is inevitable, we’ve seen more than just “another” such breach. We’ve seen several:

    • In April, AOL notified millions of users that their user e-mail addresses and passwords may have been compromised.
    • In May, eBay asked millions of its users to change their passwords after a reported 145 million records were exposed.
    • In early August, Hold security (which had reported a massive data breach at Adobe in late 2013) reported that Russian hackers had amassed one billion user names and passwords stolen from 420,000 web sites.
    • In late August, UPS (United Parcel Service) announced that credit card data for customers in 24 states may have been exposed.

    In all, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 200 breaches have been reported so far in 2014, resulting in the exposure of at least 7.5 million records.

    Why the breaches keep coming


    Cybercrime is a massive multinational industry that regularly makes many attempts to breach major institutions. Why so many of those efforts have been succeeding lately, on such a large scale, is due partly to how smart an organization needs to be to defend against them.

    As security expert and author Jim Manico, head of Manicode Security, put it to me a couple of days ago in an e-mail, no silver bullet can prevent these massive breaches. It takes hard work. “Under these circumstances, no product, service or consultant will solve these security problems,” he wrote. “Security is not a product, a process or a person, but the harmony of good engineering that spans all of these things. Target at least did not have this harmony in play and paid the price dearly.”

    But leaving it at “defense is hard” would be to excuse the organizations we entrust with our data for failing to do their job. The fact is, many retailers and website operators–large and small–have yet to earn our trust. In May, for example, I reported on widespread lax security and complacency among small retailers.

    Large organizations like Target and Home Depot, with highly-trained, dedicated IT departments, have less excuse. As security expert Jeff Williams, now the Chief Technology Officer of Contrast Security, told me in April, when we discussed the inevitability of another massive breach like Target’s, “The problem is systemic…the security practices Target used are widespread.” Those included failing to respond to automated warnings about intruders and not isolating the most sensitive network assets.

    Statistics from 2013 support Williams’ assertion. This table from Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigation Report shows how the most serious data breaches in what Verizon called the “year of the retail breach” were widely distributed among organizations of all sizes and industries:


    The chart below from the 2014 TrustWave Global Security Report shows how retailers, food and beverage firms, and hotel/motel outlets tended to suffer the most security breaches in 2013.


    Lessons learned
    I asked Williams to reflect on the accuracy of his prediction last May. “Well, you always feel terrible when a bad prediction comes true,” he told me. “But it’s easy to see when you look at the trends. Enterprises are busy automating their business at a record pace, digitizing more and more critical assets and functions, interconnecting systems like never before, and creating increasingly complex code. It’s the perfect storm for security issues.”

    What have you learned from the latest breach at Home Depot? I asked. “I learned that other companies are not learning from the mistakes of their peers and competitors,” Williams responded. “When Target was breached, and their CEO and CIO fired, I would have expected other large retailers to take a really hard look at their POS [point of sale] systems. But here we are with another potentially gargantuan breach. I wonder if other companies will get the message this time. Of course, it’s easy to focus on the one security problem where someone just got hit. But the forward looking companies will see this trend and up their game across their entire enterprise.”

    How can you protect yourself?
    You can’t prevent a breach by a retailer or web site you patronize. But here are three measures you can take to minimize your own risk should such a breach occur:

    • Use a credit card instead of a debit card. It has stronger legal protections.
    • For the few sites with the greatest potential risk, such as financial institutions or those that store your credit card, use a strong password that you do not use at any other site. Then, if your password at a less important site is exposed, it can’t be used to compromise the important accounts.
    • Regularly monitor your credit card and financial statements for unauthorized transactions. The sooner you spot any, the less damage you’ll suffer.

    Industry’s dirty secret is out. Now what?
    At security conferences over the past few years, I’ve heard security experts regularly lament such widespread lack of security preparedness–even on the part of some very large and respected brands. But until the Target breach, the public remained blissfully unaware of just how vulnerable to hackers some big household names really were. Even now, after all that has happened, few outside the security community and law enforcement appreciate the true size and scope of institutional vulnerability.

    In the wake of this year’s massive breaches, is there any hope for a solution? “The situation is not hopeless,” Jeff Williams told me. “I have huge optimism about the use of automated security sensors in our development and operational environments. These sensors gather security critical data continuously and in real time – making security considerably more effective, complete, and efficient.”

    To find out what the rest of the security industry thinks, I’ll be at AppSecUSA2014, one of the largest national security conferences, on Sept. 18 and 19. From there I’ll report on my blog at StateoftheNet.Net about the latest thinking in the ongoing effort to establish online security.

  • Big Data's Impact On Underserved, Low-Income Consumers On FTC Radar
    The Federal Trade Commission is hosting a workshop this week on the growing use of big data and its impact on underserved and low-income consumers. The Commission’s request for input from a wide variety of stakeholders is responsible and appropriate, given how central data is to the Internet economy, which is projected to be valued at $4.2 trillion in the next few years.

    But big data’s reach stretches far beyond just the Internet economy. I nodded in agreement with many others who attended last the Technology Policy Institute’s Aspen Forum last month, when FTC Chairwoman Ramirez spoke of how “big data is now, or soon will become, a tool available to all sectors of the economy.” Her remarks are in line with a recent McKinsey report‘s conclusion that “it is increasingly the case that much of modern economic activity, innovation, and growth simply couldn’t take place without data.”

    It is precisely because big data is so essential that regulators should thoughtfully pursue policies that allow the global Internet economy to grow responsibly, while taking care not to unnecessarily restrain this growth.

    To that end, the tech industry has demonstrated a willingness to work collaboratively with consumer advocates to develop guidelines on the responsible use of data. In my opinion, maintaining this delicate balance involves letting data-driven companies collect information that users freely provide, so long as these companies avoid using data in ways that harm or unfairly target certain populations or groups of consumers.

    The ready availability of public and consumer data is key to society’s continued ability to enjoy its benefits. Data innovation most often results from unanticipated analyses of unrelated collections of data–serendipitous uses that can lead to new services or positive insights that benefit consumers or society. Big data can be used to combat forms of discrimination. One clear example comes from the New York Police Department’s meticulous demographic data from its so-called “stop and frisk” program. Analysis of the collected data confirmed anecdotal evidence the searches were racially disproportionate.

    Big data is leading to improved outcomes in healthcare, education, and economics, but those benefits will only be available to those communities that leave a data footprint. So while it’s important to ensure low income Americans’ personal information is not being used to target them for high interest, high-risk loans, it is also important these populations don’t end up on the sidelines of data-driven progress.

    For example, a distinct lack of information about LGBT populations has historically made it very difficult to measure and address their health disparities. In response, New York state agencies are now leading an effort to acquire data about the LGBT community to provide them with better tailored public health services. To encourage widespread access to the positive results of big data use, regulators should avoid restricting the collection of data about underserved populations and instead seek to educate consumers about how responsibly used data tools can serve them in the future.

    The FTC has an important role to play in gathering information and encouraging stakeholders like the tech industry and public interest groups to work together to craft a framework that promotes the responsible use of data tools going forward. The Commission’s workshop is a good opportunity to foster consensus on big data’s positive uses–and identify preventable harms–while ultimately ensuring that its benefits are available to traditionally underserved communities.

  • Mobile Payments: Looking for Signs of Life
    The arrival of Apple Pay has been a positive sign for NFC (near-field communication) mobile payments. Nevertheless, many in the industry have still chosen to remain on the sidelines, waiting to see whether the time for NFC has finally arrived. Over the coming months, we will inevitably see many announcements regarding the success of mobile payments – some of which will be more important than others. Here are the most important key leading indicators to look for:

    Consumer Adoption

    1. Consumer wallet provisions – As the iPhone 6 rolls out, we will likely hear about the number of wallets that are being provisioned. This will likely be the first leading indicator. Most marketers will likely be looking for a number in the 10 million range before they really begin to take notice. According to NPD, Apple sold ~50 million phones in the U.S. last year. That would mean a 20% adoption rate would be required to reach scale by the end of next year.

    2. Consumer use in existing, high volume accounts – Once consumers get the wallet, they will be looking for places to use it. Merchants such as McDonald’s, Subway and CVS – high-frequency purchases with many convenient locations – will be among their first stops. While it is unlikely any of these accounts will release actual figures, one can gauge use by interviewing their store associates at checkout.

    3. Number of ratings on the app stores (not necessarily positive) – As people begin to engage with the technology, they will post reviews on the app stores. Inevitably, not all reviews will be positive as there are still several barriers to use including a) an embedded base of non-NFC phones who cannot get the technology, b) lack of acceptance and broken readers and c) user error. However, the mere presence of reviews can serve as evidence that there is a base of enthusiasts.

    4. Consumer requests for NFC – As mobile payments take off, consumers should begin to clamor for more places to use it. Merchants should expect to see consumer requests first in their social channels as well as at checkout.

    Merchant adoption

    5. NFC implementations in key merchant categories – The most important factor in habituating mobile payments will be an increase in merchant acceptance. The number of locations using NFC is much less important than transaction coverage – the percent of a consumer’s transactions where they can use the technology. That will mean enabling large national accounts in high-frequency categories including: grocery, gas/convenience, quick-serve restaurants and coffee, drug, vending and transit.

    6. Increase in terminal sales and upgrades – Broad merchant adoption should also lead to an increase in terminal upgrades and replacements. Consequently, one would expect to see an increase in sales by the key manufacturers including VeriFone, Ingenico and Equinox.

    7. Emergence of a commerce model – Marketers are looking for alternatives to market to consumers via mobile. To date, over 60% of that spend has gone to just two companies – Google and Facebook. If mobile payments takes off, marketers will likely allocate mobile marketing spend to support payments. That could include mobile offers (e.g., via Passport), the mobilization of their loyalty programs and the use of NFC tags throughout retail stores.

    Issuer promotion and adoption

    8. Issuer promotion of NFC wallets – Outside of Apple, partner issuers will have the best data about consumer adoption of mobile wallets. Issuers view mobile payments as an opportunity to gain market share. If they see significant activity, they may seek to take advantage of it by promoting mobile payments themselves.

    9. Increase in the number of partner issuers – Apple’s announcement included an impressive list of issuers accounting for over 80% of transaction. However, there is a long list of smaller issuers that have yet to get onboard. If mobile payments is seen as a competitive threat, the number of issuer partners will grow.

    10. Launch of competing issuer wallets – No issuer wants their product sitting side-by-side with a competing issuer product in a wallet. If they see mobile payments taking hold, larger issuers will launch their own wallets where they can control the user experience. On the Android platform, HCE already makes this a possibility. They will also likely pressure Apple for similar capabilities.

    None of this will happen overnight. We will likely see some light promotion of the wallet during the holiday season, both in Apple ads and in those of key merchant partners. I suspect we will not see real “signs of life” until mid-next year when Apple Pay begins to reach scale (assuming it does) and the EMV regulation, which encourages retailers to adopt contactless, begins to take hold. That said, smart retailers will be reading the tea leaves and looking at these leading indicators for signs of life to inform their own mobile payment strategies.

  • Vikings Fan Shuts Down Popular Message Board Following Adrian Peterson Revelations
    After initially receiving praise for their prompt suspension of Adrian Peterson following allegations of child abuse, the Minnesota Vikings reversed course, reinstated the star running back, and are now the subject of renewed criticism.

    A healthy amount of criticism has come from the Vikings’ own fan base, highlighted by what appears to be the voluntary shutting down of a popular Vikings fan blog. The homepage of Vikingsmessageboard.com was wiped following Peterson’s reinstatement, and replaced with this strongly-worded statement, now available only via a cached copy provided by Google:

    Vikings Message Board has been shut down permanently. It will not return. There are two primary reasons.

    1. The Vikings cowardly decision to reinstate a child abuser and think that an apology will make this blow over. We will not stand for this arrogance and we will no longer be the home of any support of the Vikings. We stand for those who cannot defend themselves.

    2. We will not give a voice to those who think child abuse is “cultural” or worse, openly advocate child abuse as a reasonable method of punishment. This ends here. Yes, a few board members have ruined it for everyone. Congratulations, a****les.

    edit: we have replaced the word “thugs” with “those” to avoid any potential racial connotation. it wasn’t intended and appears to be distracting from the real message that child abuse is never okay.

    Despite the note’s unequivocal and inclusive tone, a moderator of the website, Jim Nelson, told CBS Sports the page’s sudden end and accompanying statement were the work of one person. As such, says Nelson, the decision is not necessarily reflective of the entire community or even other administrators at the site.

    There are now numerous news reports around the web regarding the sudden demise of that community and the statement that accompanied it. Most of those reports understandably make the assumption that a large group of fans chose to make this move in protest. I use the word “understandably” because the administrator who shut the board down used the word “we” in the strongly worded statement he temporarily posted at the board’s address. However, that statement, and the choice to shut down a forum that was over a decade old, was not the decision of a large group of devoted Vikings fans. All indications are that it was the decision of one individual, who closed down a community that had varying views and opinions and then decided to speak for its members without asking for their blessing or permission.

    There was a great deal of outrage in that community over the ongoing Adrian Peterson story but there was no single unified view on it. There were many different views, some extreme, some quite intelligent, insightful and nuanced.

    Peterson is accused of causing numerous bruises and lacerations to his 4-year-old son’s lower body by punishing the boy with a switch. Unless the Vikings reverse their decision, Peterson will be allowed to play in next Sunday’s game against New Orleans.

  • #Existence_Error: How I Refreshed the Page
    I bit hard on the hook of connected life. I am a media professor and started studying smartphones changing business behavior at the onset of personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 2001. I had a continual stream of the latest and greatest smartphones from 2001-2012 and was obsessed with ways of connecting and sharing. Then the epiphany happened: All this connecting and sharing wasn’t propelling me up the satisfying life-o-meter. My eyes were doing my ears’ job too much. And it was costly both cognitively and financially. The congestion of all the data and multiple digital selves to maintain; keeping in touch with fourth grade acquaintances and supposed networking contacts–constantly–coupled with one hour traffic jams in my physical life. I was done. Eject button.

    I uprooted my Detroit urban always-on existence, the only one I had known for my whole life, to move to rural Vermont. I wanted to let some semblances of real, and tangible, seep into my life. If 2.0 brain-based, constant connection living is so good, why is my life so much better without it? Before I plunge deeper into this Henry David Thoreau realm let me clarify: I am not Amish nor reclusive. And although I cancelled my smartphone and have $2,000 in my pocket that could have been paid to Verizon over the last two years, I found out some of the functionality is not contract based. I went for a jog this morning while using Runkeeper. I still utilize my Android phone’s GPS navigation on trips. I have the ability to keep the phone in my pocket around the house as my home network keeps my email and streams at my fingertips–when I want it, which is increasingly diminishing. Mobile connectivity wasn’t the necessity I thought it was.

    “You can be yourself online, but you have to remember you are speaking through a straw,” says media critic Douglas Rushkoff. Following that line of reasoning it didn’t take long to realize the majority of my thinking and available mental resources, prior to cutting my smartphone connection, were diverted through the shallow streams of the digital. And always on, always available, checking my messages 200 times a day wasn’t helping to deepen one iota of my existence: Just keeping my thoughts spread increasingly thin.

    I have assimilated back to the disconnected quiet. When I am in my car, or walking around my home property, I have a deeper calm knowing my pocket will not erupt and break the moment. I have only recently quelled the fear that I forgot to silence my phone in meetings. Beyond that I have grown to enjoy the real moments of brainstorming and pondering without having every answer a fingers length away. It is healthy to ponder questions without answers.

    Stating the prior positives from my disconnection during the era when masses wait for the newest Apple Watch with accelerometer, heart rate sensors, GPS, Wi-Fi and Blutooth creates dissonance. Regardless, my connection downtime and digital distancing has given me more personal depth and clarity. I have been busy writing, creating content and videos and using Salesforce Marketing Cloud to understand consumer sentiment in my media directed research. In other words, dropping the smartphone didn’t make me join a militia or become an anti-technologist.

    The swell of those questioning the connection is growing. Baratunde Thurston, comedian, author and co-founder of Cultivated Wit talks of his need to take an extreme social media hiatus which culminated in a Fast Company cover article entitled, #Unplug. Thurston speaking of the disconnect told me, “it was very healthy and what led to it was a sense of drowning, a sense of the extreme negatives associated with over sharing instead of just living; overreacting instead of just living, over quantifying instead of just living, and feeling this sense of obligation to engage at every moment. I realized it doesn’t always have to be digitized and documented, cataloged, and preserved forever and ever.”

    Tiffany Shlain filmmaker and media theorist, in a similar realm to Thurston, says, “I think people are completely over connected right now.” To combat this in her own life Shlain and her family take part in what they call a technology Shabbat which is a decisive action to completely unplug for one full day a week and have done so for five years. Shlain says this is one of the best moves her and her family have made and they continually look forward to a day without screens.

    As technology has evolved, every iteration has made the data more rich and real-time based. In turn these advancements give more dimensionality to the device in our pocket and make ignoring it a personal affront. The most talkative of teenagers from years past eventually had the opportunity to hang up the hard line phone. It is our right as digital content creators, and leaders in that field, to decide how we navigate the waters of the constant connection. The ultimate choice decides whether our devices serve us, or we serve them.

  • Nasa picks astronaut ship designs
    The US space agency picks the companies it hopes can take the country’s astronauts back into space – a capability lost when the shuttles retired in 2011.
  • NASA Awards Boeing & SpaceX Big Contracts To Build ISS 'Space Taxis'
    NASA has chosen SpaceX and the Boeing Corporation to build spacecraft to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station, the space agency announced in a press conference held today at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The agency will award a combined $6.8 billion to the firms for the first phase of the program.

    “This is the fulfillment of the commitment President Obama made to end our reliance on the Russians,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said during the conference.

    In a blog post published in conjunction with the announcement, he added, “NASA has set the stage for what promises to be the most ambitious and exciting chapter in the history of human space flight.”

    The so-called space taxis are expected to provide an alternative to the Russia’s Soyuz capsules, which since the Space Shuttle program ended in 2011 have been the only ride for astronauts bound to and from the ISS.

    Chicago-based Boeing, a long-term partner of NASA, has designed a seven-passenger spacecraft called the CST-100.

    SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., has been ferrying cargo but no crew members to the ISS since 2012. The firm is expected to produce a seven-passenger version of its Dragon capsule.

    SpaceX is led by CEO Elon Musk, who also owns electric car company Tesla Motors.

    The agency hopes to send the first crews up in 2017, the Associated Press reported.

  • NSA Reform Bill Splits Reformers
    James Clapper became public enemy number one for civil liberties groups in 2013 when Edward Snowden’s leaks revealed that he lied to Congress about the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance.

    One year later, the embattled director of national intelligence is the unlikely bedfellow of the American Civil Liberties Union in backing an NSA reform bill that has divided civil liberties groups. The differing views on the bill reflect a more fundamental disagreement about how best to reform government surveillance practices after a decade of obfuscation.

    The USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), seeks to curb the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program, one of the most controversial programs revealed by Snowden, a former agency contractor. Under Leahy’s legislation, telephone providers, rather than the government, would store records detailing who Americans call and when. The government would only be able to ask phone companies for the data in a narrow set of circumstances.

    “We cannot wait any longer, and we cannot defer action on this important issue until the next Congress,” Leahy said in a Saturday statement. A long list of left- and libertarian-leaning groups ranging from the ACLU to the Council on American Islamic Relations to FreedomWorks, as well as a number of major tech companies, have endorsed the bill.

    But a smaller band of privacy groups came out on Monday against the legislation.

    “This bill is a fraud,” charged whistleblower Mark Klein, who revealed AT&T’s cooperation with the NSA in the early 2000s. “It’s designed to look like things have been fixed when actually it doesn’t do a damn thing.”

    Klein, other NSA whistleblowers, and groups including the Progressive Change Institute released a letter on Monday claiming that Leahy’s legislation is shot through with loopholes.

    While these critics acknowledge that Leahy’s bill imposes stricter limits on the government than the gutted version of NSA reform that the House passed in May, they contend that there are still plenty of ways for the NSA to collect exactly what it wants.

    Harry Pohlman, a professor of political science at Dickinson College, said that “the bill will stop bulk collection as defined by the government, but the government has a crazy definition of bulk collection.”

    Ambiguities in the bill, Pohlman claims, will still allow the government to collect call detail records in bulk, as long as they don’t do so on a daily basis. Independent journalist Marcy Wheeler suspects that the government will still be able to collect equally invasive business records, such as Western Union’s money transfer records, in bulk.

    Yet supporters maintain that the bill is a step forward. “Even given those ambiguities, and given that there are a lot of things that need to be done down the line, on balance the bill still improves the existing state of affairs,” said Neema Singh Guliani, a legislative counsel at the ACLU.

    One crucial step the Leahy bill takes, Guliani said, is toward transparency. For a decade, the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has secretly issued decisions dramatically expanding the scope of the NSA’s domestic surveillance powers. The court’s definition of what was “relevant” to a terrorism investigation, for example, was so elastic that it allowed the spy agency to hoover up nearly every domestic call record under the 2001 Patriot Act — to the professed surprise of the bill’s author.

    Leahy’s bill would force the special court to release summaries or redacted copies of major decisions, and it would also create a special advocate to argue, for the first time, the public’s side of surveillance controversies.

    Transparency, the pro-Leahy groups argue, would serve as a warning if the government once again starts to creatively re-interpret surveillance laws.

    “If there is a misinterpretation, we have a better chance of knowing,” said Guliani.

    But even the ACLU admits there are still major gaps in Leahy’s bill. It would do nothing, for instance, to end “backdoor searches” of foreigners’ messages for Americans’ communications. Nor would it limit the application of a Reagan-era executive order that supposedly concerns itself with surveillance conducted exclusively abroad, which a former State Department official recently claimed is being abused.

    Staunch reform advocates on Capitol Hill are also concerned about these potential problems. For instance, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is holding back support for Leahy’s bill until backdoor searches are addressed. If Leahy does expand his bill, however, he risks losing the Obama administration’s support.

    For the more suspicious civil liberties groups, the mere fact that Clapper and Attorney General Eric Holder support the bill raises alarms.

    “I see nothing good coming out of this Congress,” said Klein. “In the longer run there needs to be a movement of rebellion in the country. That was what you had in the ’70s, which is why Congress made some attempts at reform, and actually attempt to jail some of Nixon’s cronies who had violated the law.”

    But the many civil liberties groups who support Leahy’s bill have more modest aims.

    “We can’t let the distrust of the NSA stand in the way of every single attempt to reform,” said Guliani. “If we took the position that we could just never trust the government, then we would never have a bill.”

  • How Tim Cook Passed the Test With Flying Colors
    A year ago, I worried aloud what kind of leader Apple’s Tim Cook might be. Still emerging from the death of Steve Jobs, there was a great deal of concern whether he could pick up the mantle of “pied piper,” who offered the vision.

    When I talked about last year’s product launches, I said:

    The question remains — and this is something that I’ve discussed before — can Tim Cook help champion transformative products at Apple, or is he merely the executor of Steve Jobs’ corporate last will and testament? After three years on the job, the products released by Apple still appear to have the imprimatur of Steve Jobs on them. There are no “Tim Cook” products from Apple yet.

    What a difference a year makes.
    After last week’s product launches of the iPhone 6 family, the introduction of the Apple Watch, and the roll out of Apple Pay, it’s safe to say that Tim Cook may even surpass the height that Steve Jobs brought back to Apple when he returned from his exile in the wilderness.

    Various Apple product launches have had the flirtatious coyness of a bull charging though a china shop and Apple executives have been called to task when their presentations were merely interesting. The big win for Apple is not the latest iPhones or the watch, but Apply Pay, which will fund Apple’s technological desire to dominate for decades to come.

    In the end, products come and go. A friend of mine still has the original Apple Macintosh he bought in 1985 as a college graduation gift, only two years after it was launched to eager eyes. Today it’s found in his backyard, repurposed as a birdhouse, perhaps the most expensive birdhouse in Northern California.

    Apple Pay will pay dividends for decades.

    Apple Pay makes it easier and safer to use your iPhone to make face to face purchases. If you walk into a Starbucks, with a wave of your phone you can walk away with your latte. Merchants love it because it increases the speed at the point of sale and allows baristas to handle more orders and generate more income.

    Card members and bankcard issuers also like it because instead of using 1960’s technology to fight 21st century cyber crime, Apple replaces the magstripe on the back of your card with Apple’s Touch ID biometric technology, which authenticates the shopper at the point of sale. The merchant has a NFC (Near Field Communication) reader which captures the data coming from your iPhone. The transaction is completed away from the prying eyes of a lot of bad guys.

    That’s not to say that some Russian teenager will figure out how to infiltrate the security apparatus that Apple and a number of other companies have created. The most dangerous place for credit card fraud — until the various data breaches that started with Target — has been at the point of sale. What Apple Pay does is that it reduces the window of vulnerability for Cardmembers, Merchants and Acquirers (the bank whose name is on your bankcard) so that everybody can use 21st century security to fight 21st century fraud.

    Why is Apple able to succeed while others have missed the mark?
    For the past decade, American banks and merchants have been dragging their feet on EMV conversion, where a “chip and pin” approach replaces the good ol’ magstripe with a chip and PIN approach, something that is old hat in Europe. It took the earth-shattering data breaches that began with Target and exploded outward to include Home Depot to get the attention of “foot draggers” everywhere.

    Various other companies like Google have tried to launch their wallets and after a noisy start, they have stumbled and laid off people.

    Apple has succeeded because the brand inspires unquestionable trust in those who are loyal for the past three decades. Apple Pay was not launched in a vacuum, but stood on the shoulder of other game-changing product demonstrations as far back as the original Macintosh launch in 1984. There have been a few missteps, but they were during the non-Jobs years.

    However, Tim Cook brings something new to the table that even Jobs himself lacked. As you read through the Walter Isaacson biography on Steve Jobs, one cannot help but come away with the realization in the later chapters, that Tim Cook cleaned up more than his share of tantrums that emanated from Steve Jobs.

    But Steve Jobs could serve as his own worst enemy. He painted himself into a corner and that diminished the game changing nature of many of his products. The original Macintosh was underpowered and extremely overpriced. At NeXT, factory walls were repainted as Jobs capriciously felt they fell a shade short. His monumental rages unhinged those around him and his inability to “play with others” probably cost him his job during his first tour at Apple.

    With Tim Cook, Apple has discovered that a wiser temperament at the top produces better products for your customers. And that is how you build a company that can inspire for generations. He made Apple his own.

    And that is how Tim Cook passed the test.

  • VirnetX's $368.2M verdict against Apple tossed on procedural grounds
    Last week, the US Federal Court of Appeals in Washington DC threw out a jury award of $368.2 million to patent holder VirnetX. While the court agreed that some patents were infringed, the appeals court ruled that incorrect jury instructions were doled out by the judge, which tainted the jury when it determined the damage award.

Mobile Technology News, September 16, 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.

  • App Updates for iOS 8 – Make Sure You Have Them

    We are just a day away from the release of iOS 8 and the developer community is hard at work in preparation for it.  App Update for iOS 8 are already starting in the App Store and it is a trend that will continue over the next few weeks as developers check and double-check their apps against the latest release.  A PSA for all of you:  Make sure you check the App Store for updates early and often.  Chances are virtually every app on your iPhone or iPad will get some sort of update in the next few weeks. Developers

    The post App Updates for iOS 8 – Make Sure You Have Them appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • T-Mobile confirms it will upgrade 'Test Drive' iPhones to iOS 8
    US carrier T-Mobile is still running its “Test Drive” promotion, which offers to send a no-obligation iPhone 5s and a week’s worth of access to non-customers to help them evaluate if they want to switch networks. On Monday, the carrier acknowledged that it will be upgrading the “test drive” iPhones to iOS 8 beginning just days after its debut on September 17. The company also said it will eventually move to the iPhone 6 as its default model for the “test drive” promotion, pending sufficient availability.

  • UN Bringing Child Rights Into the Digital Age
    2014-09-16-2014091208.49.57.jpg Participants at Day of Discussion consider child rights in the digital age

    In 1989 the United Nations passed an important human rights treaty. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was ratified by all countries in the world except Somalia, Southern Sudan and — believe it or not — the United States.*

    Rights and protections

    And even though this document was written before kids started using the Internet, it spells out protections and rights of freedom of expression and access to media for children around the world. Some have defined the rights as the 3 P’s: protection, provision and participation. But, as several attendees pointed out, the UN has mostly focused on protection (see Anne Collier’s analysis).

    Living document and day of discussion

    In 1989 the United Nations passed an important human rights treaty. The Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was ratified by all countries in the world except Somalia, Southern Sudan and — believe it or not — the United States.*

    Rights and protections

    And even though this document was written before kids started using the Internet, it spells out protections and rights of freedom of expression and access to media for children around the world. Some have defined the rights as the 3 P’s: protection, provision and participation. But, as several attendees pointed out, the UN has mostly focused on protection (see Anne Collier’s analysis).

    Living document and day of discussion

    Just because the UNCRC predates the commercial Internet, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be applied to the digital age, just as the more than 200-year-old American Bill of Rights has been interpreted to guarantee freedom of expression and privacy rights for Internet users in America.

    The UNCRC is a living document, subject to modern interpretation. But, just in case there is any doubt about its application to the digital world, the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child, an 18-member international body that monitors the implementation of the convention, convened a “general day of discussion on digital media and children’s rights” at the UN’s sprawling Palace of Nations complex in Geneva.

    My ConnectSafely.org co-director Anne Collier and I participated in that meeting, along with about 300 other attendees representing governments, non-governmental organizations (non-profits) and human rights groups from around the world.

    After a brief introductory plenary session, attendees divided into two working groups. One focused on children’s equal and safe access to digital media and ICT (information and communication technology) and the other on children’s empowerment and engagement through digital media.

    After several hours of discussion, rapporteurs from both groups summarized the discussions and made some recommendations to be considered by the Committee.

    The recommendations — summarized below — were divided into four categories: empowerment, access, digital literacies and safety.


    • Empowerment of all children should be founded on a balanced approach between protection and participation where children are the drivers of a safe and participatory digital world.
    • Give children digital literacy and promote digital citizenship.
    • All stakeholders need to understand their responsibilities with the respect to the rights of children in digital media.
    • Different stakeholders need to play different roles: States, parents, families, teachers, civil society, NGOs, private and public sectors and children themselves.
    • Any approach to limit the risks of harm that children face in their digital lives should be balanced against the enjoyment of other rights, including the freedom of expression, right to participation and right to association.


    Ensure equal access to digital media and ICT by technology infrastructure ensuring free or low-cost access that is targeted for different groups of children, particularly girls, children with disabilities and other vulnerable groups of children.
    Digital literacy

    • Provide digital education to all children, parents, teachers and all those working with and for children and ensure it’s good quality.
    • Include online education methods in school programs including children with disabilities.
    • Ensure training in social behavior online — social literacy.
    • Safety
    • Ensure awareness-raising for children and adults of all the risks and harms.
    • Provide training for law enforcement and others working with children.
    • Ensure legal and self-regulating mechanisms to guarantee safety on the Internet.
    • Develop technological solutions for prevention and protection.
    • Ensure availability of assistance and support, including child-friendly complaint mechanisms, helplines and compassion for victims.
    • Children should play a key role in protecting themselves and their peers against harm.
    • My takeaways

    I was gratified to see that the Committee and fellow working group members were sensitive to the importance of rights as well as protection and that there was a general agreement that online access and free expression are critical rights. I was also pleased about the recommendation that children be empowered to “play a key role in protecting themselves and their peers” along with the concept that “children are the drivers of a safe and participatory digital world.”

    As other attendees pointed out, the discussions were a bit vague on specifics and how these rights might be implemented and there was no consensus on how the vast cultural, political and legal differences between countries should apply to these rights. For example, there are several countries that filter the Internet for all users — not just children. And even in the United States and Western Europe, it is common for schools to block social media, which I interpret not only as vehicles for free expression, but also freedom of association as guaranteed in the UNCRC. Another limitation of both the UNCRC and the day of discussion was the lack of differentiation by age. The UNCRC defines “child” as people under 18, but as any parent knows, there is a vast difference between toddlers and teenagers and any discussion of rights and protections needs to take these differences into consideration.

    *As per the United States — even though we haven’t ratified the Convention (scroll down in this document from Amnesty International for the why), freedom of speech and assembly are guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution and there is nothing in the Constitution that says these rights are applicable only to adults. Still, the U.S. has a longstanding tradition of giving parents control over their children and giving schools “in loco parentis” controls while children are at school. While no one would question a parent’s right and responsibility to supervise their children and protect them from harm, there are families in the U.S. and elsewhere where parents are interpreting those rights in an arbitrary manner. I worry about LGBT youth whose parents are not supportive of young people who are exploring religious or political views that might differ from their parents’ beliefs.

    Next steps

    The recommendations of these working groups will be studied by the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child and then passed on to member states. Some, I suspect, will embrace them while others are likely to ignore them. Most, I’m pretty sure, will interpret them according to local laws and customs, which means that — even if adopted — not all of these recommendations will be implemented. Still, it’s an important step toward updating the interpretation of the UNCRC so that rights that are guaranteed offline are also applied online.

  • Facebook Forcing Drag Queens Out of the Closet
    Drag queen Sister Roma had been using Facebook for over six years when she was blocked from her account this week until she agreed to change her settings to reflect her legal name, Michael Williams. In a reported effort to enforce safety rules that insist that all users indicate their legal name, Facebook may have put Roma, and potentially thousands of other drag performers, at risk while inadvertently igniting a firestorm that is sweeping across the LGBT community.

    Photo by Jose A. Guzman Colon

    Many performers use fictitious names to develop their identity and brand. Facebook provides these personalities a platform to communicate and share their latest happenings and news. When asked about the matter in an interview, a representative from Facebook indicated that the use of a fan page was one viable manner in which individuals could use their stage name on the platform, but that safety dictated that all people pages be linked to legal names. However, for drag queens, the distinction between the characters we play and the people we are in our daily life can be fluid.

    Such is the case for the feisty Sister Roma, a member of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a nonprofit organization that is known to advocate for and support the LGBT community. While Roma may be Michael by birth, she has developed longstanding friendships through the years that go beyond simply posting events on her Facebook wall. Stripping Roma of her stage name in effect ripped her painted face right off and exposed Michael’s privacy while it devalued Roma’s relationships. Roma’s response to this move was to go on the offensive, whipping up a Twitter hashtag war cry, #MyNameIsRoma, and letting out an impassioned battle call in an interview, declaring, “I detest the idea of having a fan page. I’m not fucking Britney Spears. I have friends, not fans.” Her calls did not go unanswered: Drag queens and members of the LGBT community around the world have begun rallying behind Roma and her sisters, spreading the news of Facebook’s move against drag artists, including through achange.org petition urging the company to do away with the hurtful policy.

    The claim that forcing drag queens to broadcast their true identities to the entire world is somehow a safety measure falls on deaf ears in a community that is made up of individuals from all walks of life who have endured attacks for their mere existence for as long as they can remember. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people — and drag queens can often belong to more than one of these groups — know full well the difficulty that comes with coming out to the people with whom they are closest. For that reason many drag queens, while leading fulfilling lives both on- and offstage, have not let family members or employers in on the news of their alternate personae, as it’s a deeply personal and hard conversation to have — sometimes more difficult than coming out the first time. Coming out as a drag queen has led to more than a few broken families, lost employment, and strained friendships. This is why, while cultivating relationships with individuals online using their stage name, not all queens are fully comfortable with letting certain family and friends into their world of drag. Facebook’s policy forces these queens to either choose between maintaining a social-media presence and risking losing their online support system and carefully balanced identities.

    Only months ago Facebook was applauded for planning to provide non-binary gender options to users. In addition, profiles are awash with fictitious names and identities, which is why many are questioning the motive behind what seems like a targeted and specific attack on drag queens by Facebook. There is some whispering that the move has nothing to do with safety but is merely a means of making more cash, as fan pages are places where personalities can pay great money to advertise and sponsor their posts. Whatever the reason, the practice is coming across as a bigoted attack on a group of passionate users who have made Facebook their social home for years. It smacks of bullying and feels like yet another form of harassment toward the LGBT community.

  • Apple joins data-security industry group ahead of Apple Pay debut
    Apple is now a member of a non-profit trade association made up of mostly financial institutions, cellular carriers and software and hardware developers devoted to improving security in applications, transactions, data and cryptography. The group, GlobalPlatform says its objective is to “create a standardized infrastructure that accelerates the deployment” of secure software and data, “protecting them from physical or software attacks.” Most of Apple’s carrier and financial partners in Apple Pay are also members.

  • Scots vote sparks 10m Facebook hits
    Social media giant Facebook has seen 10 million interactions concerning the Scottish independence referendum in a five-week period.
  • Africa's first education tablet
    How Africa’s first education tablet computer was created
  • Build your Martian dream home
    Is this how the cities of Mars will be built?
  • Tech firms want 'digital ministers'
    An influential group of major technology firms is calling on the UK to appoint “digital ministers” in every government department.
  • Apple likely using six-core GPU in A8 SoC for iPhone 6, reports say
    An analysis of the claims of Apple and leaked benchmarks with regards to the graphics performance and technologies in the new A8 chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus indicates that Apple has likely moved to a new PowerVR GPU. The most likely candidate is the six-core PowerVR Series6XT GX6650 made by Imagination. Apple is also likely using a revised version of the Cyclone architecture, first used in the A7, to manage graphics processing.

  • Alibaba Raises IPO Price Range
    NEW YORK (AP) — Alibaba now plans to raise up to $25.03 billion in its upcoming IPO, making what was expected to be the biggest stock market debut even bigger.

    The Chinese e-commerce company said it still plans to sell 368.1 million shares, but at $66 to $68 apiece, according to a regulatory filing, instead of its previously set range of $60 to $66 apiece. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has emerged as a hot commodity because of its e-commerce bazaar, a shopping magnet for businesses and consumers alike as China’s economy steadily grows. The company’s network of sites includes Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress, as well as Alibaba.

    Most of Alibaba’s 279 million active buyers visit the sites at least once a month on smartphones and other mobile devices, making the company attractive to investors as computing shifts away from laptop and desktop machines.

    Investors have been salivating over the trifecta of growth that Alibaba offers: “There are very few companies that are this big, grow this fast, and are this profitable,” said Wedbush analyst Gil Luria. He initiated coverage on the company with a 12-month price target of $80.

    The company’s revenue in its latest quarter ended June 30 surged 46 percent from last year to $2.54 billion while its earnings climbed 60 percent to nearly $1.2 billion, after subtracting a one-time gain and certain other items.

    Alibaba has been meeting with potential investors over the past week, and demand spurred the increase. Alibaba is expected to be priced late Thursday and start trading Friday under the ticker ‘BABA’ on the NYSE.

    The fundraising target eclipses the $16 billion Facebook raised in 2012, the most for a technology IPO. It also would top the all-time IPO fundraising record of $22.1 billion set by the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in 2010, according to the research firm Dealogic.

  • These Are The Best Universities For Electronic Music
    Each year, we’re bombarded with rankings of schools that are all about the books. But this year, thanks to the folks at Thump, Vice’s online video channel devoted to electronic music and culture, we now have a ranking of schools that are all about that bass.

    That’s right, there’s a list of the best universities for electronic music.

    The list included schools from across the United States, as well as two Canadian universities. In compiling its ranking list, Thump examined factors like local club life, regional festival access, electronic production choices at the schools of music, on-campus activities and dance music-specific course offerings.

    The overall winner, the University of Southern California, combines books and beat-making in its Thornton School of Music course on electronic dance music. “We are constantly reevaluating our classes to keep up with the times,” Thornton’s dean, Robert Cutietta, told campus paper the Daily Trojan when the course was announced in 2013. “I am very excited to be part of a music school that is so nimble and quick to adapt to the times and reinvent itself in response to changes in our art form.”

    For a full explanation of the ranking system — and more information on each school’s electronic music culture — take a look at Thump’s breakdown, here. The highest-ranked schools are listed below.

  • Not-yet-released iPhone 6, 6 Plus spotted in public in China, Vietnam
    Photos from websites in China and Vietnam show what are claimed to be completed iPhone 6 and 6 Plus units, even though the products are only officially shipping on Friday. In Vietnam, the devices are said to have been spotted in a Red River restaurant by an Associated Press reporter. To gauge their authenticity, the reporter tested apps like Messages and Siri. Chinese images of the phones stem from people on MacX’s forums.

  • Adorable Photos Of Dogs Help Animal Rescue Group Recover After Devastating Fire
    These selfies that are helping an animal rescue organization are anything but selfish.

    On Thursday, Manchester Dogs’ Home — an organization in Manchester, England, that rescues and cares for thousands of dogs each year — caught on fire, according to BBC News. While 160 dogs were rescued from the blaze, about 60 were killed, the Manchester Evening News reported.

    Joe Farrar, 25, of Wythenshawe, Manchester, decided to help the organization by launching a social media campaign, called #DogSelfie, in which dog owners share selfies with their dogs, alongside their donation to the animal shelter. The campaign has generated quite a buzz, as thousands of people submitted #DogSelfies and donated to the cause.

    “I saw the news about the fire and my heart sank,” Farrar told HuffPost in an online message. “I thought to myself, ‘How can I get more people to donate?’ #Dogselfie happened and it was amazing.”

    After seeing the success of social media campaigns like the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Farrar said he wanted to summon the generosity of the Internet to help the animal organization.

    “I am always willing to help a worthy cause,” he said.

    To donate to the Manchester Dogs’ Home, click here.

    h/t Buzzfeed

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  • Australian Startup Sets Style Standard for Wearable Tech
    While the wearable tech world has welcomed several watches, bracelets, rings and more – including the latest Apple Watch – the actual wearable-ness of each of these futuristic-looking devices has been questionable – at least for those who are more reserved about showing off their geek side.

    A new Australian tech startup called Linou, however, is aiming to achieve what larger companies have not in making tech fashion both functional and appealing, while also forgoing the use of plastics and other harmful materials.


    Linou introduced its first two natural wearable devices on Kickstarter this week: the Wood Tech Watch and the Notification Necklace. Both pieces feature a sleek organic wooden design with a built-in notification system that connects with the wearer’s iPhone or Android to allow them to set a custom color and vibration alert for app notifications, messages, and phone reminders.

    Linou’s devices are subtle and simplistic, available in black ebony timber, bamboo, sandalwood and walnut. The products’ notification features, however, lend them a distinctive edge that allows users to customize the colors of their updates to reflect their mood or coordinate with their outfit.

    “Linou represents my take on what wearable tech should be,” said founder Christopher Magick.


    With a background as a design creative in both the fashion and tech startup industries for more than 15 years, Magick has long been aware of a shortage of fashionable, sustainable tech pieces on the market and created Linou as a solution. In merging organic materials with a sophisticated design, he believes he has created a product that people will be excited to wear.

    “The term ‘wearable tech’ has been used to describe devices that, for the most part, I would never consider wearing,” he said. “Linou represents . . . a new standard for balancing functionality with beauty as well as sustainability.”


    Both pieces will be sold exclusively on Kickstarter through October 13th. The Wood Tech Watch is available for a discounted price of $199 AUD and the Notification Necklace is being retailed for discounted price of $99 AUD.

  • Facebook 'Name Change' Policy Disproportionately Affecting LGBT Community (UPDATE)
    What happens when a culture interweaves a social media outlet into virtually every part of the human experience — and then that platform makes a dramatic change? That’s one of the questions on many people’s minds with what is being referred to as a “name change” policy on social media giant Facebook.

    Several days ago, a large percentage of individuals operating personal profiles on Facebook under pseudonyms, stage names, or any name not matching their legal name received this message when logging onto their Facebook accounts:


    While this policy implementation, which is reportedly not new but seems to have been rarely enforced before now, is affecting a wide-range of people (both queer and not), a specific portion of the lesbian, gay, biseuxal and transgender (LGBT) community are facing an entirely new set of challenges as a result: performers, entertainers and drag queens. With this policy in effect, it is virtually impossible to find an entertainer — or anyone who self-identifies with a name that isn’t legally documented — on Facebook unless that individual operates a separate fan page.

    “The focus of my work is activism and charity,” prominent Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence member Sister Roma told The Huffington Post. “I share photos and promote my events, but mostly I use my personal profile page to to raise awareness about civil rights issues, especially as they pertain to the LGBT community… I do this work as Sister Roma and that is how the Facebook community knows me and who they look for to get news about these issues and events. If you ask anyone what my name is, in or out of drag, they will tell you it’s Roma. No one knows Michael Williams.”

    Sister Roma is currently working with openly gay San Francisco politician David Campos to organize a face-to-face meeting with Facebook. In the meantime, Roma has scheduled a protest called #MyNameIs at the Facebook headquarters in San Francisco on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 11 a.m.

    “If people want to use an alternative name on Facebook, they have several different options available to them, including providing an alias under their name on their profile, or creating a Page specifically for that alternative persona,” a representative of Facebook told The Huffington Post. “As part of our overall standards, we ask that people who use Facebook provide their real name on their profile.”

    However, queer performers aren’t the only individuals affected by the Facebook “name change” policy. New York drag performer and artist Untitled Queen, who was forced to change her name this week, told The Huffington Post, “I feel this is a larger security issue for transgender people who are often unable to secure legal proof of their name changes, as well as those that need protection from stalkers or other aggressors.” Campos echoed this statement on his Facebook, claiming “…the ability to self-identify is a matter of health and safety. Not allowing drag performers, transgender people and other members of our community to go by their chosen names can result in violence, stalking, violations of privacy and repercussions at work.”

    Additionally, other individuals operating under pseudonyms, like writer James St. James, are also faced with finding a way to navigate this unique set of challenges. “I’m a writer. James St James is the name I am known by,” St. James told The Huffington Post. “I’ve spent the past thirty years building that name as a brand, and they took that away from me just like that?… It’s remarkably tone deaf, especially coming from a company that just recently gave us 58 gender options.”

    With the majority of this forced “name change” occurring over the past week, the end result remains unclear. However, Sister Roma seems hopeful that those affected will be able to achieve a positive outcome.

    “I don’t think Facebook hates drag queens or is targeting gay people,” Sister Roma continued. “I hope that we can meet with Facebook for an open dialogue with the community this affects directly. I’m hopeful this policy will be revisited and a compromise will be found.”

    UPDATE: According to Roma’s Facebook page, after a discussion with Roma and Campos, the social media company has agreed to meet and discuss the “name change” policy on Wednesday, September 17:

  • OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 Released

    OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 has been released by Apple today along with the latest developer version for those in the Developer Program.  The update is available to everyone who is already in the beta program as an update through the App Store. What is exactly addressed in OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 is somewhat of a mystery as these things tend to be will Apple.  I can say in the testing that I’ve been doing with it so far this evening here in London, it feels much faster in Safari and Mail seems a bit more stable.

    The post OS X Yosemite Public Beta 3 Released appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Time's Running Out On The Net Neutrality Comment Period
    Today is the last day to tell regulators how you feel about net neutrality, or the idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.

    The Federal Communications Commission has received 3 million comments since the agency began debating the issue in April, an FCC spokeswoman said Monday. That’s more than double the amount of public input the agency received after Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

    About half of the net neutrality comments have arrived in the past week, following a major online protest Wednesday.

    Protest organizers want the FCC to create strong rules that put greater oversight on Internet providers to ensure they don’t discriminate against certain web content. Several major websites — including Netflix, Reddit, Tumblr, Etsy, The Nation and Boing Boing — showed their support by embedding a special code on their sites to show a “loading” icon.

    Activists said the icon symbolized how Internet traffic could be slowed down if the FCC allows Internet providers such as Verizon to charge companies for access to an Internet “fast lane,” thereby slowing service for companies that don’t pay.

    The code gave visitors a way to submit comments supporting net neutrality to the FCC and to elected officials. Fight for the Future, a nonprofit that helped organize Wednesday’s protest, said in a blog post that the protest generated an additional 777,364 comments to the FCC.

    If Internet providers are allowed to charge web companies for faster service, it would lead to higher costs being passed on to consumers and could prevent startups from competing with larger companies that can afford to pay for faster service, advocates say.

    Internet providers have opposed greater oversight, arguing that it would deter them from further investing in their broadband networks. They’ve been supported by many Republicans in Congress.

    The surge in comments to the FCC was also driven by a viral video on net neutrality this summer by late-night comedian John Oliver, which caused the FCC’s website to briefly crash.

    The FCC is expected to decide on its proposal by the end of the year. A court decision in January threw out the FCC’s previous net neutrality rules, forcing the agency to come up with new ones.

  • Tesla Shareholders Suddenly Realize They May Have Gone Too Far
    Elon Musk tried to warn you.

    Tesla’s share price fell about 9 percent on Monday after Morgan Stanley declared that the recent frenzied lust for the electric-car maker’s stock had gotten juuuuust a bit ridiculous. Musk, Tesla’s founder, made a similar observation a couple of weeks ago that people forgot about almost immediately.

    Since the end of 2012, Tesla’s stock has gone from about $33 to about $290. That’s a gain of 745 percent. Even with today’s drubbing, the stock price is still pretty darn high:

    tesla drop

    Morgan Stanley thinks Tesla will eventually go to $320, notes The Wall Street Journal’s Steve Russolillo. But the bank’s analyst thinks maybe everybody should stop shoveling their faces with it and take some time to digest.

    Musk said basically as much earlier this month, on the occasion of the company announcing a tax-friendly deal to open a battery factory in Nevada. “I think our stock price is kind of high right now to be totally honest,” Musk said.

    CEOs don’t typically talk down their stock price, and Tesla’s fell about 3 percent the next day. But it promptly bounced back to a new high last week. Tesla fans have shrugged off a few pieces of bad news lately, in fact, including mixed reviews of the company’s expensive cars. Investors mostly seem convinced Tesla and Musk can do no wrong. Something tells me one little Morgan Stanley note isn’t going to shake that belief for long.

Mobile Technology News, September 15, 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.

  • Phones 4U shops closing for business
    Retailer Phones 4U has gone into administration putting 5,596 jobs at risk, as network provider EE joins Vodafone in not renewing its contract.
  • iOS 8 Wallpapers to Download

    With the release of iOS 8 coming on Wednesday, there will be a whole new set of wallpapers that Apple includes in the update.  If you don’t want to wait or have no plans to upgrade, we have all of the iOS 8 wallpapers available for you here on AlliOSNews for you to download. All of the wallpapers, which can be found in the Wallpapers section of the site, are available for both iPhone and iPad so you don’t have to do any rescaling or sizing to get them to work on your devices.  I’ve also put all of the

    The post iOS 8 Wallpapers to Download appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Briefly: Q Card Case Wallet, NovaPack battery case for iPhone 6
    Mobile accessories designer CM4 has announced the introduction of its Q Card Case for the iPhone 6. A one piece design, the Q Card case protects the user’s phone in addition to storing credit cards, cash and IDs. Its rubber an fabric composition aims to minimize overall bulk. The Q Card Case for iPhone 6 is now available to order for $40, with shipping beginning next week.

  • iOS 8 Install Guide

    The release of iOS 8 is fast approaching this week.  On Wednesday the 17th of September it will be made available by Apple to install on your existing iPhone and iPad.  To help make the upgrade go smoothly, we’ve put together this iOS 8 Install Guide.  The guide is designed to give you tips and tricks from our years of experiencing in upgrading iOS versions to assure it goes as quickly and as pain-free as possible. To remind everyone, iOS 8 will be available for the following existing iOS devices.  Remember that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will come

    The post iOS 8 Install Guide appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • What exactly is Alibaba?
    Getting the lowdown on China’s internet giant
  • Kutiman's Incredible YouTube Musician Mashup Is Better Than The Sum Of Its Parts
    Israeli mashup master and music producer Kutiman is back with an incredible new video entitled “GIVE IT UP.”

    Kutiman, whose real name is Ophir Kutiel, has layered and edited together several YouTube video recordings from different amateur musicians to create an entirely new song that’s both groovy and awe-inspiring. The mashup takes parts of a 6-year-old girl’s improvised piano piece in the key of G minor, combines them with another woman’s stunning, silky vocals, and mixes in trombone, saxophone, drums, bass, violin, synth, cello, bassoon and guitar.

    The result is a perfect blend of jazz, soul, classical, rock and jam band.

    “GIVE IT UP” is a tease for Kutiman’s upcoming album “Thru-You Too,” out on Oct. 1. The album follows up on his highly acclaimed 2009 project Thru-You, a similar collage of sonic odds and ends that Time magazine included in its list of the year’s 50 best inventions.

    To see more of Kutiman’s mashups, check out his YouTube page and watch “GIVE IT UP” above.

    You won’t be disappointed.

  • Airbnb Under Fire From New 'Share Better' Campaign
    The battle over the so-called sharing economy is heating up as New Yorkers question the impact of home-sharing sites like Airbnb.

    A campaign called “Share Better,” launched Friday by a coalition of elected officials, housing activists and hotel owners, makes the case that Airbnb listings are “illegal hotels” that are “robbing NYC of affordable housing and violating state law.”

    The campaign will focus on advertising and public education, aiming to serve as a counterweight to Airbnb’s extensive ad campaign of recent months, which is partly aimed at bending New York state law in a direction more friendly to the company’s business.

    The Share Better group, for its part, is using Airbnb horror stories and policy arguments alike to turn public opinion against the popular site.

    “Far from being a harmless service where New York City residents can share their homes with guests to the City, Airbnb enables New York City tenants to break the law and potentially violate their leases, it exacerbates the affordable housing crisis in our neighborhoods, and it poses serious public safety concerns for Airbnb guests, hosts and their neighbors,” reads a statement on the organization’s website.

    The Share Better coalition says it has $3 million to spend on its ad campaign. It estimates that Airbnb has spent $25 million on awareness efforts of its own.

    Airbnb, meanwhile, is not sitting idly by. The company argues that the Share Better campaign is really just a veiled attempt by the hotel industry to ward off its major competitor.

    “Some misinformed hotels are willing to spend millions of dollars because they don’t think regular New Yorkers should be able to share the home in which they live,” wrote Max Pomeranc, public policy manager at Airbnb, in a Friday blog post responding to the launch of the campaign.

    Pomeranc wrote that the “Airbnb community will generate an estimated $768 million in economic activity in New York in 2014 and support 6,600 jobs.” He added that earlier this year, Airbnb removed many users who were “abusing our site” by offering large numbers of poorly rated listings.

    However, representatives of Share Better maintain that sites like Airbnb contribute to skyrocketing rents and aggravate the city’s affordable housing crisis.

    “With the rise of illegal hotels and the influence of corporations like AirBNB, affordable housing in our City is in danger,” said New York City public advocate Letitia James in a statement. “A housing model that threatens, instead of supporting affordable housing cannot and will not work for me, or this City.”

    Airbnb declined to comment to The Huffington Post on the Share Better campaign.

    Here’s a video Share Better released with its launch:

  • Facebook Under Fire For Making Drag, Burlesque Performers Use Real Names
    Facebook recently started enforcing an existing policy that requires people to operate under their legal names. That policy has several performers from the drag and burlesque communities up in arms after the social network forced them to change their profile names.
  • Sharing Bikes Can Lead to a Sustainable World
    We’ve asked speakers at our upcoming Techonomy Detroit conference to share perspectives on topics they will discuss at the event relating to U.S. economic growth, jobs, and urban renewal. (To register for the conference, click here.)


    By Jeff Olson

    “Transportation, Recreation, and Innovation” is the tagline of my company, Alta Bicycle Share. We manage bike-sharing systems in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Toronto, Melbourne, and other cities. In five years our bikes have been ridden more than 35 million miles on more than 25 million rides. That’s more than a billion calories burned, and with zero fatalities.

    New York’s CitiBike–a bikeshare program with significant corporate involvement in a global media center–has quickly become something of an icon. The CitiBike has appeared on The Daily Show (including in Robin Williams’s last interview and the classic Full Pedal Racket episode), frequently shows up in the Wall Street Journal–including as the object of its editorial board’s disdain, and had a cameo in “Sharknado 2.” CitiBike blue was even the official color of Fashion Week last September.

    But what seems like a fast-rising trend is really the result of decades of work by many people, communities, and visionaries who believed that the simple bicycle could be an economic, environmental, and quality-of-life panacea for modern society. Considering the convergence of the sharing economy, solar power, and wireless technologies that enable bike-share stations, it’s now possible to imagine living, working, and playing in our cities more sustainably.

    Alta’s multiple offices in great places are populated by young people who are motivated by our mission, who want to spend every day working to make the world a better place. They share the vision I described in my book, “The Third Mode,” that walking, bicycling, and trails are local solutions to the global issues of our time. After 29 years of work that has felt like pushing a rock up a hill, I think we’re finally at the top, ready to enjoy the downhill ride with the wind at our backs.

    Projects that we dreamed about a decade ago are now underway: the Arkansas Razorback Greenway, Jackson Hole’s Pathways system, Dubai’s Bicycle/Pedestrian networks, the innovative new National Association of City Transportation Officials Design Guide, the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail in my hometown, and so many others. We’ve achieved scale and scope that make major changes possible.

    I see the glass half-full now, but still, our work is only half done.

    The Techonomy Detroit conference is a great setting for sharing a vision of how new methods of mobility can move us all forward and for exploring the potential to combine public, private, and non-profit leadership resources to help make people healthier and happier.

    The work of people like those gathering for Techonomy gives me hope for the future. Let’s keep moving towards a green society one day at a time, one project at a time.

    Jeff Olson is an architect, planner, and author who co-founded Alta Bicycle Sharing. He will speak on a panel about responsive transit at the Sept. 16 Techonomy Detroit conference.

  • 5 Must-Have IT Skills For The Future of Work
    The fact that data has the power to change our business and personal lives has put data science and analytics at the center of how marketing is done. Every digital click, swipe, “like”, buy, comment and search produces a unique virtual identity – something that Malcom Frank, EVP of strategy and marketing for Cognizant, calls a Code Halo™, a.k.a. digital exhaust. But in order to use data to drive meaningful results companies need to know what they’re looking for and how to make correlations. Businesses such as Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon have had an unprecedented growth in value based on their ability to perform mass customization – creating new expectations in consumers and causing businesses in every industry to change the way they work. I recently wrote about the 5 trends shaping the future of work – all lines-of-business can be disrupted given the rapidly evolving landscape, including information technology (IT).

    Malcom Frank – EVP Strategy & Marketing, Cognizant

    As a global leader in business and technology services, Cognizant’s 185,000 employees are helping their Fortune 500 clients bring the future of work to life using the SMAC Stack (social, mobile, analytics and cloud). In addition to his role of chief strategy officer and CMO, Malcom also heads a digital consulting group where he helps clients navigate the transition to the digital economy. Malcom offers his insights into how companies can get into the future of work – which is now.

    5 Must-Have IT Skills for the Future of Work

    1. Understand and champion SMAC technologies – Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work has brought together world class analysts and a number of academic institutions to look at how industry and company structures, and very nature of work itself, needs to transform to meet consumer expectations. Driven by the consumer market, together social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies have clearly transformed our personal life and they add a new dimension to company business models. Cognizant’s formula for the Future of Work is called SMAC – social, mobile, analytics and cloud on one integrated stack, where each function enables another to maximize their effect. The SAMC Stack is the new enterprise IT model delivering an organization that is more connective, collaborative, real-time and productive

    2. Build Code Halos around consumers – All of us now live virtual as well as physical lives. Every online action leaves a digital exhaust, which some companies have become very good at seeing, leading to their domination of their markets. In his new book, Code Halos: How the Digital Lives of People, Things and Organizations are Changing the Rules of Business, Malcom talks about how Code Halos are becoming increasingly vital to the success of every business. “By starting to build a code halo around customers the effect of what they do will form the basis for what you provide as a company so you are there and the right place, the right time and with the right product,” says Malcom, who also advises companies who sell products to instrument the machines and put code halos around their actual products as well.

    3. Consumer oriented software design drives user adoption – Most internal IT groups are not known for building beautiful systems, but according to Malcom, design matters and from an IT perspective one of the new skill sets required today is the ability to build beautiful and engaging systems for consumers. He notes that design is more than just a pretty interface, it’s how someone interacts with your product. Companies like Infor have taken the link between design and enterprise software to this next level. Consumer oriented design has to become a core competency of the technology team and they need to not only design the experience but also the business model to deliver them. “The business and technology need to become one in the same and companies need to get these two together as quickly as possible,” says Malcom, who adds that in some companies the role of CDO can fill this void.

    4. Get serious about data science – Relying on the data to lead companies to the right answer verses talking the HPPO (highest paid person’s opinion) is a shift in the culture of many organizations. SAP’s CMO, Jonathan Becher, employs “data scientists” to enable the marketing organization and the rest of the company to make decisions on their own based on a variety of data points. Technology driven marketing gives companies the ability to build 1-to-1 relationships, create individualized experiences and leverage technology in new ways. Malcom says it’s important to find people who understand systems and data infrastructure and who also have a great interest in the business. Using data to refine the experiences you offer down to that segment of one opens up new opportunities for mass customization and influencing the product development life cycle. With this level of data on what customers are actual buying, companies are able to get insight into what consumers will want in their product, allowing them to build the products that consumers actually want to buy.

    5. Be aware of privacy versus customization challenges – Creepiness and security are the roadblocks to 1-to-1 massive customization Malcom warns. For an app like Pandora, the give is not that big. You give your music tastes and you get hours of listening pleasure, however as the ‘give’ gets bigger, such as with financial information or information about family members, the ‘get’ needs to be considered. Companies will need to determine where people will be comfortable or not. As we put more online, the security risks of bad online activity will only increase and people will need to determine what risks they are we willing to incur for the upside of convenience.

    You can watch the full interview with Malcom Frank 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.

  • International Folk Artists Join the Global Internet Economy
    Tomorrow, the Santa Fe International Folk Art Alliance will launch a program called IFAM | Online to train artists as entrepreneurs and accelerate their entry into the Internet economy.


    What makes this effort so unique is it combines yearlong training and mentoring with an online store that “strengthen(s) (developing country artists) capacity to expand their businesses, as well as provide (them) with a new source of year-round income.” In the process, this effort becomes a pivotal effort in creating opportunities for developing nations to become part of the larger creative economy. As such, it represents an auspicious beginning to use the Internet to help transform the economy of more than half the world, and provide access to the growing market for creative goods and services.

    While the non-profit Alliance has provided a critical mass for the sale of the artists’ work for the last decade, it has greatly expanded over the last few years. Now through IFAM|Online they are offering artist training that “provides hands-on experience while guiding artists through the channels of the wholesale marketplace.”

    IFAA will start with 19 artists from 18 countries and will feature jewelry, baskets, textiles and other artifacts most in demand. And according to Hilary Kilpatric, Associate Director of IFAA and responsible for the program, the training program will expand throughout out the year, and every year thereafter. Eventually, if participation in the annual Market is any indication, artists all over the world will be getting online, selling their unique crafts and, because women’s groups exist which are the focal point for producing these products, using the profits to further develop their communities to compete in the new economy.


    Specifically, the goals of the training program says Kilpatric are:

    1) Equip participating folk artists with the skills and knowledge to succeed in an export market focusing on the areas of quality control, order fulfillment, and customer relations. 2) Provide learning opportunities for participating artists relating to marketing and sales, including pricing, branding, and financial resource management. 3) Build merchandising experiences for participating artists, including how to create a collection for sale, label their items and tell their story. 4) Provide participating folk artists with a platform to display and market their products to an international community earning year-round income through their sales. 5) Increase the visibility of IFAA and build awareness of international folk art by making it accessible year round to people around the world. 6) Create intercultural exchange opportunities through the purchase of international folk art that comes with a story. 7) Encourage customers to value the hand-made and engage in socially conscious buying.

    IFAA is very much aware of the concerns of The United Nations, (UN), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Development Program (UNDP), who are all working hard to help even the poorest of nations be participants in the “new economy”, the creative and innovative economy that is fast becoming the benchmark of every nation in the world.


    A 2013 report from UNDP and UNESCO on the Creative Economy said:

    “Culture is a driver of development, led by the growth of the creative economy in general and the cultural and creative industries in particular, recognized not only for their economic value but also increasingly for their role in producing new creative ideas or technologies, and their non-monetized social benefits.”

    While the developed world is earnestly figuring out what makes people creative and how best to spot the most creative worker for the new economy, developing nations are beginning to ask their people to look at their unique culture, their customs and identities, in short, their folk art as a way to open the floodgates to global commerce.

    Many developing countries have unique historical and cultural identities and their folk art represents their best opportunity to leap frog into the new economy. Why? Because folk art is in abundance in the developing world, and opens the doors to creativity and all the creative industries so in demand: fashion, design, sculpture, literature and more. And, it is one of the fastest growing sectors of the world economy.

    IFAA is working with folk artists all year long to address their concerns, help them with marketing issues or support their local communities. In fact, the Alliance pours much of what it earns back into efforts to help these communities around the world fund folk art projects, provide clean drinking water, and even improve health care. Over the next few years the Alliance plans to provide approximately $1.5 million in direct financial support for new artists to attend the annual market and to offer business development training and support for 1,760 artists.

    Folk Art is now finding its way into the virtual world through sites like Ten Thousand Villages, the Maven Collection, the Rising Tide Fair Trade, and Beyond Marrakech to name a few. They don’t necessarily provide the training program that IFAM | Online does which covers topics such as pricing, selecting an export collection, customer relations, order fulfillment, and quality control. Artists will also learn marketing and development of promotional materials in order to effectively convey their story and grow the existing web sites as well as perhaps start even more online programs in their own country.

    According to Shawn McQueen-Ruggeiro, Executive Director of IFAA:

    “Artisan work is the second-largest income-generating sector in the developing world”…”we recognize the incredible power that providing a marketplace and training for folk artists can bring,” she says. ” Folk art has become an engine of enterprise, bringing opportunities to indigenous artisans the world over.”

    As the 2008 Creative Economy Report noted, “many developing countries are not yet able to harness their creative capacities for development” reflecting “domestic policy weaknesses and obstacles at (a) global level”….”obstacles include lack of access to markets and non-competitive business practices.”

    But that is slowly changing.

    Figures published in the 2013 report show that “world trade of creative goods and services totaled a record US$624 billion in 2011 and that it more than doubled from 2002 to 2011; the average annual growth rate during that period was 8.8 per cent.” Importantly, “growth in developing-country exports of creative goods was even stronger, averaging 12.1 per cent annually over the same period.”

    In Rwanda, Hutu and Tutsi, for example, women are coming together to weave and talk about their challenges and find that their lives are not so different from one another. Both are struggling to provide for their families and put their painful pasts behind them. Together they have formed the Rwanda Basket Company, now known as Rwanda Partners, and they too, are coming to Santé Fe and selling baskets there and on the Internet. Even EBay, and other Internet sellers are opening their sites to list folk artists from Africa and other countries.


    There would probably be many more artists taking advantage of the opportunities to get online but the incentives and know how to do so, nor the marketing savvy are not yet there. The skills offered to artists by IFAA will empower the artists as entrepreneurs.

    As the former Secretary General of UNCTAD, Supachai Panitchpakdi, observed:

    “The world economy has seen an extraordinary expansion in the last five years, and the creative industries are in the forefront as a result of the globalization and connectivity that have been reshaping the overall pattern of cultural production, consumption, and trade and transforming lifestyles worldwide.”

    There is however a disconnect between what is happening in the developing world, their participation in the Folk Art Alliance and the U.N. and its sister agencies. Maybe UNCTAD or UNESCO for example, is wary of stepping on its member’s toes. Maybe the IFAA isn’t doing enough to tell the U.N. what its doing.

    Support for empowering the artists and their communities cry out for more encouragement and support. And we are not talking money necessarily although that always helps. One of the founders, Tom Aageson, former Executive Director of the New Mexico Museum Foundation, said that when UNESCO said it was supporting the International Folk Art Market over 10 years ago, business, government and philanthropic institutions fell over themselves wanting to help launch the idea.

    Washington Post writer David Ignatius advocated for a Digital Marshall plan to teach entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation for Iraq. Maybe a plan for the developing world that does the same for folk artists makes sense too. Maybe IFAA and the IFAM|Online program is the start of such an effort.

  • Ancient Flying Beast Named After 'Avatar' Creature
    If those bizarre flying dragons that carried around blue humanoids in the 2009 science fiction film “Avatar” were real, they likely would have been descendants of this ancient flying reptile:

    pterosaur head
    The head reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao.

    After all, this newly discovered species of pterosaur, which sported a strange pouch and blade-like crest along its jaw, was named after the movie: meet “Ikrandraco avatar.”

    “The head structure is similar in this pterosaur to the Ikran in ‘Avatar,'” Xiaolin Wang, a paleontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing and one of the researchers who discovered the species, told Reuters. “Of course, nobody and nothing can ride this pterosaur.”

    Wang and his colleagues unearthed the fossils of two Ikrandraco in the Liaoning province in northeast China. These fossils, which date back 120 million years to the early Cretaceous Period, indicate the pterosaur was likely around 2.3 feet long with a wingspan of around 8 feet.

    Features along the pterosaur’s skull suggest it may have had several small teeth and a throat pouch similar to a pelican, which would have allowed it to catch fish while flying low over the water. The researchers plan to conduct further experiments to investigate how the throat pouch was connected to the skull, LiveScience reported.

    A study describing the findings was published online in the journal Nature on Sept. 11, 2014.

  • Obamacare Face Hurdles Ahead Of Its Second Enrollment Season

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Potential complications await consumers as President Barack Obama’s health care law approaches its second open enrollment season, just two months away.

    Don’t expect a repeat of last year’s website meltdown, but the new sign-up period could expose underlying problems with the law itself that are less easily fixed than a computer system.

    Getting those who signed up this year enrolled again for 2015 won’t be as easy as it might seem. And the law’s interaction between insurance and taxes looks like a sure-fire formula for confusion.

    For example:

    — For the roughly 8 million people who signed up this year, the administration has set up automatic renewal. But consumers who go that route may regret it. They risk sticker shock by missing out on lower-premium options. And they could get stuck with an outdated and possibly incorrect government subsidy. Automatic renewal should be a last resort, consumer advocates say.

    —An additional 5 million people or so will be signing up for the first time on HealthCare.gov and state exchange websites. But the Nov. 15-Feb. 15 open enrollment season will be half as long the 2013-2014 sign-up period, and it overlaps with the holiday season.

    — Of those enrolled this year, the overwhelming majority received tax credits to help pay their premiums. Because those subsidies are tied to income, those 6.7 million consumers will have to file new forms with their 2014 tax returns to prove they got the right amount. Too much subsidy and their tax refunds will be reduced. Too little, and the government owes them.

    —Tens of millions of people who remained uninsured this year face tax penalties for the first time, unless they can secure an exemption.

    “It’s the second open enrollment, but the first renewal and the first tax season where the requirements of the Affordable Care Act are in place,” said Judy Solomon, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which advocates for low-income people, and supports the law.

    “The fact that it is all going to be occurring within an overlapping and relatively short time frame … means that there will be many issues,” she added.

    At Foundation Communities, an Austin, Texas, nonprofit serving low-income people, Elizabeth Colvin says more volunteers will be needed this year to help new customers as well as those re-enrolling. Last time, her organization’s health insurance campaign lined up 100 volunteers. She figures she will need a minimum of 50 more.

    “We have less than half the time than last year, and it’s over the holidays,” she said. “We have a concern about trying to get more people through the system without shortchanging education, so that consumers know how to use the insurance they’re enrolling in,”

    Some congressional supporters of the law are worried about more political fallout, particularly because of the law’s convoluted connections with the tax system.

    “It seems to me there ought to be some way to better educate folks on what they may face in this process,” Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., told Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen at a hearing last week.

    Thompson wasn’t impressed when Koskinen said the IRS has put information on its website and is using social media to get out the word.

    Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said in an interview that he disagrees with making people pay back part of their premium subsidy. That would happen if someone made more money during the year and failed to report it to HealthCare.gov.

    “Why should individuals be punished if they got a bump in salary?” said Pascrell. “To me, this was not the ACA I voted on.”

    Last year the federal website that serves most states crashed the day it went live, and it took the better part of two months to get things working reasonably well. This year, the Obama administration is promising a better consumer experience, but officials have released few details. It’s unclear how well system tests are going.

    “This coming year will be one of visible and continued improvement, but not perfection,” said Andy Slavitt, a tech executive brought in by the Department of Health and Human Services to oversee the operation.

    Insurers say they continue to worry about connections not fully straightened out between their computer systems and the government’s.

    They also are concerned about retaining customers. One quirk troubling the industry is that policyholders who want to update their subsidies and stay in the same plan will have to type in a 14-character plan identifier when they re-enroll online. That’s longer than a phone number or a Social Security number, and customers may not know where to find it.

    Administration spokesman Aaron Albright says consumers will have several ways to do that. The number will be mailed to them by their insurer as part of their renewal notice, they can get it from a HealthCare.gov call center or they can select the same plan while browsing other options online.

    Alex Stevens, a dishwasher at an Austin pizzeria, got covered this year and said he’s planning to re-enroll. A skateboarding enthusiast in his late 20s, Stevens broke a leg skating with friends this summer. It was a bad break and he had major surgery the next day. But his insurance paid most of the $55,000 bill, and he only owed $750.

    “My mom said she was glad that I have insurance,” said Stevens.

    As the share of Americans remaining uninsured declines, it’s clear the health care law has filled a need for millions of people like Stevens, who work but don’t have coverage on the job.

    That demand was strong enough to overcome a dysfunctional website the first year of the coverage expansion. The second year will show whether the full program is workable for the people it was intended to serve, or if major retooling will be needed.

Mobile Technology News, September 14, 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.

  • The Future Of Fashion Is The Selfie Hat
    It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a selfie hat.

    Designed by Christian Cowan-Sanluis and tech product group Acer, the sparkling pink, wide-brim headgear contains a dropdown tablet to snap selfies anywhere on the go.

    The hat can also spin around (don’t all hats?).

    As Acer explains, “The sombrero style hat spins 360-degrees and has an integrated Acer Iconia A1-840 tablet which enables struggling selfie takers to find their best angle.”

    Don’t get too excited just yet. These saucer-like contraptions aren’t hitting retailers anytime soon, but will be on display during London Fashion Week. For those seriously interested in the limited-edition hat, you’ll have to set up a consultation with Cowan-Sanluis first.

    Cowan-Sanluis (pictured above) is also the designer behind many of Lady Gaga’s outfits, which could explain the hat’s more theatrical look.

  • Mobile Phone Etiquette
    Telephone booths are becoming obsolete in the world, and I understand why. Technology now allows us to pretty much make our calls from any place, at any time. There seems to be very little reason to not just dial from where you are, but that is not always right, and it’s completely rude. It’s rude to the person on the other line you are speaking with, and it’s blatantly disrespectful of those around you.

    Multitasking has been taken to new heights with technology, but I’m not sensing that we are making a real connection. Contrary to what you may think, the world is not your personal telephone booth and not everyone is interested in hearing your call. It’s time to make this modern convenience one that is convenient for everyone.

    Try following these suggestions, regardless of the nature of your call. It will take stress off of you, the person on the other end, as well as those within close proximity who don’t need to hear it.

    1. Be mindful of your surroundings and take your business to a private area where you will not be disturbed and won’t disturb others. You will be making a helpful connection on the phone and also with those around you. Why encourage the unpleasant energy directed at you by strangers who are justifiably upset with you for not being thoughtful? You do not own the public space within which you are freely taking up residence for your call.

    2. Save sensitive topics like disease, death and rage for when you are not multitasking! One only has to look at how we “share” on our mobile devices to see that everyone is picking up negative energy from everyone simply by overhearing a conversation. So, if the topic is one of the above, you should try to visit to share real compassion in person rather than raising your voice in the supermarket, parking lot, or nail salon for all to hear. Your caller doesn’t get your true attention and details are missed because everyone and everything around you will distract you.

    3. Dining in a restaurant is not permission to sit in a booth or at a table placing calls. If your phone rings and it’s an emergency, take it outside in private. Better yet, think twice before answering. Respecting your mealtime will be beneficial to your digestion, not to mention that of those unfortunate enough to be within earshot.

    4. Don’t talk while walking, as that is not multitasking. That is what many think it is, but in actuality it sends the message that the call is not important enough to you to give it your full attention. It’s easy to miss words and details on a public street.

    5. Don’t use your speakerphone in public. Period. (I don’t care if you are a Real Housewife, it’s offensive.)

    These simple suggestions can quickly become a healthy habit and you will find yourself in better spirits and more enlightened in your exchanges. You will also be spared anger from people who don’t appreciate your intrusion. Remember, there will come a time when you are on the other end of this experience and are the person forced to eavesdrop and wishing otherwise. By creating a pattern of personal mobile phone etiquette, you will be fully present and save yourself from a great many stressful experiences.

  • What You Really Need To Know About The Apple Watch
    Are you always looking at your wrist and thinking, “Gosh, there are so many pictures I could be looking at or addresses I could be looking up right now”? And you don’t want to have to reach ALL THE WAY DOWN into your pocket to grab your phone, which already has those features. What do you do??

    Well, the Apple Watch has graced us with its presence, or at least news of its presence. We know it exists. And now comedian Jack Douglas shows us exactly what the iWatch — sorry, Apple Watch — is.

  • Verizon To Launch Internet TV Service That Lets You Pay For Only The Channels You Want
    Verizon is finally ready to acknowledge that cable TV just isn’t working for a lot of us anymore.

    The company is planning to launch its Internet-based TV service that can be watched on mobile devices in the “late first half of 2015,” Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s CEO, said at a Goldman Sachs investor conference in New York on Thursday.

    It’s unclear what exactly the service would look like, but McAdam said it would offer “a la carte” options, rather than being bundled like expensive cable packages are now.

    Think Netflix, but with live streaming. McAdam said at the conference that the service would include programming from “the big four” networks — CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox.

    “No one wants to have 300 channels on your wireless device,” he said, according to a transcript of the conference. Greg Ireland, a research manager at IDC, the technology research firm, said Verizon’s offering could borrow ideas from services like Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, which offer interactive menus and will remember where you are in a program, regardless of what device you started watching it on.

    Verizon’s move comes as the TV industry is set to undergo a massive shift. The rise of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu, which for a flat fee offer on-demand viewing of movies, TV shows and original programming, pose a threat to traditional “linear” cable and satellite. An increasing number of people — especially young people, a highly coveted demographic for advertisers — are cutting the pay TV cord and opting for streaming services over expensive cable or satellite packages. According to a report this spring from Experian Marketing Services , nearly a quarter of young adults between 18 and 34 who subscribe to Hulu or Netflix don’t pay for TV.

    Experian also said that the number of cord-cutting homes has increased dramatically in just three years, from 5.1 million homes in 2010 to 7.6 million homes in 2013.

    Pay TV subscriptions have been flat or declining slightly, while Netflix continues to grow at a rapid clip. Netflix ended the June quarter with 36.24 million members in the U.S., up from 29.81 million at the same time last year.

    About 100 million households in the U.S. pay for traditional TV.

    It’s unclear what exactly Verizon’s product would look like. But to get an idea, said IDC’s Ireland, it could be helpful to look to what Dish is working on. The company is developing a service that would allow you to watch live TV on multiple devices, but not require a cable box.

    “[It could be] a service that offers fewer channels at a smaller price point, targeting a piece of the market that may not now be pay TV subscribers,” Ireland said of Verizon’s new product. Such a service would “appeal to those outside of the pay TV universe today and get them back into that universe.”

    Verizon’s Internet TV product will incorporate technology from Intel’s OnCue, which Verizon announced it would buy from the chip maker in January. Intel previously planned to launch its own TV product by the end of last year, but ran into opposition from cable and satellite companies, which make tons of money from expensive bundles.

    Verizon’s McAdam told investors that much of the technology is in place for the network. Now, the company is negotiating with content providers, which in the last two years have become much more receptive to delivering programming in different ways.

  • Which iPhone Deal Is Right For You?
    After several days with only U2’s new album to console them, Apple lovers can finally pre-order the new iPhones. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were available for pre-order starting at midnight on Sept. 12. Incredibly, the iPhone 6 Plus is already backordered.

    Technically, the phones cost a whopping $649 and $749. Almost no one will shell-out that much money upfront. The phone carriers have made things much more complicated. Here’s a basic look at your options.

    The standard deal

    You can pre-order a new iPhone on AT&T, Verizon and Sprint through Apple’s website. This is Apple’s cookie-cutter option: Sign a two-year contract and buy the iPhone 6 for $199 and the iPhone 6 Plus for $299 with 16GB of storage. Each step up in storage wiggle-room — first to 64GB and then to 128GB — costs an additional $100.

    The catch, as you’re probably aware, is that you’re married to your carrier for two years, no matter how bad the service.

    Slightly cheaper than standard

    Once you can buy the new iPhones in store, the beleaguered electronics chain RadioShack will give you a $50 iTunes gift card if you pre-order a new iPhone before Sept. 29, according to GottaBeMobile.

    Walmart has a deal, too, if you pre-order at one of its store: It’ll shave $20 off that $199 or $299 price of either iPhone, if you sign the standard two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon or Sprint, according to CNET. The same $20 discount applies to the iPhone 6 Plus, too. Walmart sweetens the pot with a $15 gift certificate when you pick the phone up.

    If you don’t want a contract

    If two years tied to one carrier seems like hell (it sometimes is), it’s worth considering T-Mobile, which tries very hard to distinguish itself from its rivals offering no-contract plans.

    T-Mobile lets you pay full price for the phone, spread over 24 months — $27 per month for the iPhone 6 and $31 per month for the 6 Plus. If you leave the carrier before the time’s up, you have to pay off the phone but there are no other penalties. Of course, you also have to pay for voice and data.

    T-Mobile also is trying to win over customers by letting them make phone calls and send texts through Wi-Fi networks. None of the other carriers are doing this yet.

    If you don’t want to wait two years to get the next next iPhone.

    AT&T has a plan catering to people who need to upgrade their iPhone every September and just can’t wait out a two-year contract. The company’s “Next 12” and “Next 18” plans spread out the full cost of an iPhone over 12 or 18 months, allowing you to upgrade to the latest iPhone after it’s paid off. To boot, AT&T says it will throw $100 into your account if you register a new iPhone.

    If you don’t want to even own your new iPhone

    Well, you can lease it. Sprint will sell you a plan called “iPhone for Life” that gets you a new base model iPhone 6 with unlimited talk, text and data for $70 per month. Here, you’re leasing the phone instead of buying it, with the option of trading it in two years later for another iPhone. It’s worth pricing out this option if you don’t care about owning your old phone after two years.

  • Solar Storms: What You Need to Ask Your Power Company
    Earlier this week, two solar flares aimed in earth’s direction erupted on the sun. What a spectacular picture from NASA has been making the rounds of the Internet; it’s literally the muzzle flash of a stellar particle beam cannon looking right at us. Angling slightly above our planet’s orbit, a gigantic blast of matter weighing many times our own earth called a coronal mass ejection or CME flies by in a cloud of charged particles. We will catch just the edge of it. It will make pretty aurora, an unhappy satellite or two, maybe a line of airliners following paths along the southern edge of the aurora instead of going the great circle route over the pole and you might even spot a savvy geek sporting a tin foil hat fashion statement this weekend.

    It’s not all fun and games. This particular solar flare was classified X1.6. X means intense but 1.6 is a number ranging from 1 to 9 where each number doubles the intensity. Above X9 are the super X storms; there’s no upper limit number. According to NASA, the largest storm recorded since we’ve had satellites as an X28 in 1976. X1.6 is pretty small in the grand scheme of things, noteworthy but not dangerous. Catastrophic would be something like what’s known as the “Carrington Event” that occurred in 1859, a super massive solar storm that maybe measured in the X40 range. It hit the earth dead center. It was powerful enough to cause telegraph stations to spontaneously catch fire from the excess energy it fed into the transmission lines of the era.

    A direct hit by a little CME can cause temporary power outages. Protecting the grid from even these low level storms involves lowering the amount of power supplied via long distance transmission networks to reduce the load on the lines and transformers then filling in the demand as best as one can with more costly local coal and gas powered generating stations. It works to a certain extent although there are still the odd blackouts here and there.

    A really big X storm hitting the earth head on strikes fear into the hearts of space scientists and U.S. power companies alike. There’s so much energy dumped on the planet that power lines will heat up and sag to the ground starting fires. That energy can saturate the cores of transformers burning out the insulation literally welding the innards of railroad car sized electrical equipment into useless scrap. A Carrington-class CME could fry a large fraction of the power grid in as little as 90 seconds. It takes between six months to a year to make one of these main line transformers. Most of the factories that make them are overseas and in a worldwide emergency the U.S. would likely be wait listed. The sheer number required to repair the grid could mean vast areas would be without power for years.

    Protecting key nodes is actually very doable. It involves installing surge protectors — monster-sized ones — and what’s called a shunt to divert excess power that keeps the transformer cores from melting down. The U.S. military infrastructure — long ago hardened for nuclear war — is fully protected. Countries such as Russia and China have most of their grid protected as do a number of smaller nations. The U.S. commercial power grid is not presently so protected. Vulnerability studies of the U.S. commercial grid indicate that the older Eastern U.S. grid and Pacific Northwest grid are particularly vulnerable to large X-class CME’s. The Texas and Western U.S. grids that use less susceptible direct current (DC) long distance transmission lines are less vulnerable.

    Why hasn’t the U.S. grid been hardened is a good question to consider asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Bypassing the trade associations of the industry that will tell you they cannot get to this because they are too busy dealing with carbon offset quotas and other what not, here’s the one question you need to ask your local power company. “Will my family still have reliable electricity after a Carrington-class CME hits?” Tell them you’d really like it if they’d please report on this at least annually in the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) and Sustainability sections of their financial reports to shareholders. Tell them you want the answer to be “Yes we are confident your family will have power even after a major solar storm.” You know, just like in Russia and China.

    In case you are wondering how remote a possibility this science fiction threat is, NASA’s satellites picked one up on July 23, 2012 that was estimated to be as large or larger than the 1859 Carrington solar storm. A solar storm cleared out a region of space followed a few days later by a second large CME that was able to shoot particles even faster than normal. Fortunately, the sun aimed that blast at a point in space the earth was not in the path of at the time. According to some calculations, there’s a 16 percent chance that a significant CME will hit the earth dead center in the next decade. You might want to tell your power company to think about hurrying up with that surge protector and shunt.

    If you are interested, there’s a website that has more information on this as well as other threats to the U.S. power grid at securethegrid.com

  • H.265 video on iPhone 6 models to improve FaceTime over cellular
    In addition to the more publicly-known features found in the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Apple’s tech specs page for the new models has revealed that they support H.265 video encoding and decoding, otherwise known as High Efficiency Video Coding. It allows the same quality of video as H.264, but using only half as much bandwidth — allowing FaceTime video-conferencing calls to maintain the necessary quality on cellular networks without requiring large amounts of data. It could foreshadow the option of multi-party FaceTime calls on broadband.

  • France Is Leery Of Netflix's Expansion In Europe

    PARIS (AP) — Netflix is tapping into six new markets Monday hoping to gain a big subscriber base around Europe, but is facing a frosty welcome in France. Well-established French competitors are trying to head off a Netflix wave, the government wants oversight and the cinema industry wants Netflix to invest heavily in French productions.

    The video-streaming giant, which has more than 50 million subscribers in 40 countries, this year earmarked $400 million to expand further internationally. It’s launching now in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg, after setting up in Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands in recent years.

    The presence of Netflix, which has headquarters in Los Gatos, California, is welcome in most European countries, but less so in France, where Netflix hopes to reach a third of French homes in the next five to 10 years. Netflix declined to comment on its challenges in France before the official launch Monday.

    The company was a pioneer in the field in the U.S., and enjoyed new success by creating original content such as the series “House of Cards.” But video-on-demand services are now already well-established in many European markets.

    Canal+, France’s main pay-TV operator, has half a million subscribers for its CanalPlay, started in 2011, and moved Wednesday to head off a competitive blow from Netflix. Canal+, which already owns French rights to “House of Cards,” launched a new partnership with HBO as well as the possibility to pre-download series and movies to watch later without an internet connection. It also announced it will create French and American-produced TV series.

    “What is impressive with Netflix is its technological and marketing abilities,” said Frederic Goldsmith, from a French-based group of movie producers, “but its service isn’t new.”

    Patrick Holzman, CanalPlay’s director, is banking on their “French touch” and proximity with customers. “Our strategy is the same, with or without Netflix,” said Holzman.

    Bruno Delecour, head of FilmoTV, one of France’s first video-on-demand companies, said the buzz around Netflix is positive for the French market, because it incites new households to try video-on-demand services. But Delecour remains vigilant. The entrepreneur decided to focus on developing a specialized offer in movies rather than competing with a generalized content provider like Netflix.

    “We’ve been preparing for competitors for years. We made the choice to occupy one segment of the market and invested heavily accordingly.”

    In Germany, experts have said little impact is expected by Netflix’s arrival, as the country already offers a considerable amount of free and pay-TV.

    Another challenge in France is a requirement that 40 percent of content on French radio, TV and movies in theaters must be of French origin.

    Because Netflix’s European headquarters are in Amsterdam, the company does not have to comply with the rule, which is designed to protect domestic creativity.

    But French movie and television industry experts rally around the idea of the “French Exception.” ”Offering only American series will not work,” said Pascal Rogard, director of France’s Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers.

    Aware of this, Netflix has already planned to produce an eight-episode television drama series called “Marseille,” written by French award-winning writer Dan Frank and set to start in late 2015.

    But for some contributors to French cinema, this investment effort falls short.

    “We welcome the competition,” said Rogard, “but only if they’re playing with the same rules.”

    Netflix will have to comply with some French and European regulations. Notably, they will be barred from streaming films under three years old. From January 2015 onwards, Netflix will also have to pay a two percent tax if their annual earnings are more than 10 million euros, following a recent decision by the French Culture Ministry to tax operators based abroad.

    In France many close to the film industry fear Netflix will drag subscribers away from Canal+, which is currently the main financier of French-made films.

    “There is a particularity in France in that television channels finance domestic productions. Their level of investment is calculated according to the number of subscribers,” Florence Gastaud, head of a union of French producers and authors, explained. “Therefore if the number of subscribers goes down (as some move to a Netflix subscription), the investment in domestic production goes down.”

    In another possible hurdle, France’s Council of State, a body that advises the government on legal issues, on Tuesday recommended government oversight over the algorithm that Netflix uses to present series and movies, to make sure French and European content is well positioned.

    Developing domestic production is not such a major concern in other markets.

    In the Netherlands, where Netflix launched last year, on-demand media services aren’t required to adhere to a quota of 50 percent European content for public and commercial television channels, just expected to generally promote the representation and access to European content, according to the Ministry of Education and Culture.

    Netflix offers catalog Dutch films but does not offer popular Dutch TV shows. The two largest Dutch-language programming, SBS and RTL, teamed up to offer a Netflix competitor called NLZiet in July. In its latest report, the new company claims 10,000 customers — a number considerably smaller than the hundreds of thousands of Dutch Netflix subscribers.


    Toby Sterling contributed from Amsterdam and Kirsten Grieshaber contributed from Berlin.

  • JPMorgan Hackers Didn't Steal Any Money: Report
    BOSTON, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Hackers accessed dozens of servers at JPMorgan Chase & Co in a cyberattack launched in June, though no money was taken, the New York Times reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the investigation into the case.
    “We are confident we have closed any known access points and prevented any future access in the same way,” the paper quoted JPMorgan spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau as saying.
    She added that the bank had “not seen any unusual fraud activity” since the intrusion was discovered and said there was no evidence that they have taken any proprietary software or had a blueprint of the bank’s network, according to the Times.
    JPMorgan disclosed late last month that it had been the victim of a cyberattack and was working with U.S. law enforcement authorities to determine its scope.
    The Times said the attack began in June, was detected in July and that the bank last week briefed financial regulators on the extent of the damage.
    The report said that hackers accessed information on about 1 million customer accounts. It cited one source as saying that hackers had not gained access to financial information or Social Security numbers, and may have only been able to review names, addresses and phone numbers.
    Bank spokeswoman Trish Wexler told Reuters she could not elaborate on Lemkau’s statements to the paper or otherwise comment on the report. (Reporting by Jim Finkle in Boston)

Mobile Technology News, September 13, 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.

  • Details on Apple Pay revealed: 'safer' system, Apple gets 0.15 percent
    Some of the details of Apple’s new mobile payment system, Apple Pay, have been revealed in a report by Britain’s The Financial Times. As briefly alluded to by CEO Tim Cook, Apple does get a small commission on sales made using Apple Pay, to the tune of 0.15 percent (15 cents on every $100 spent), though this does not affect the purchase price.

  • VIDEO: Vibrating cane to help blind people
    A team of scientists in Delhi has developed a smart cane for blind people, which uses sensors to give vibration feedback.
  • VIDEO: Alibaba makes waves in California
    Internet retailer Alibaba may have floated on the US stock market, but the China-based company is making waves in Silicon Valley as well as in Wall Street.
  • Apple delays introduction of SMS Continuity, iCloud Photo Library
    Two key iOS 8 features — SMS Continuity and iCloud Photo Library — have been pushed to October. The delay was quietly mentioned in a press release from earlier this week. Even when Photo Library does appear, it will only be in beta form. The feature has meanwhile been removed from Apple’s iCloud marketing page, and it can’t be found in the iOS 8 gold master.

  • ‘Six Californias' Is Officially Dead
    A starry-eyed ballot initiative to split California into six separate states will not appear on the November 2016 ballot because it failed to gather enough qualifying signatures, the state announced Friday.

    Just 66 percent of the signatures on Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper’s petition were valid, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s office tweeted with the release of the measure’s rejection. Petitions require 807,615 valid signatures, but the proposal, dubbed “Six Californias,” fell short, with just 752,685 valid signatures.

    It became clear days before the Friday deadline that making the ballot would be a long shot, as the petition would need an unlikely 207,752 valid signatures from Los Angeles County and three others that had not yet reported their petitions, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

    The initiative reasoned that California was too big to function as one government and should be split up into six autonomous states: Silicon Valley, West California, North California, Central California, Jefferson and South California. Even if the proposal had made it on the ballot and been approved by Californians, the likelihood of Six Californias becoming a reality would remain incredibly far-fetched, as Congress would need to approve the legislation.

  • The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
    This week was quite culty wasn’t it? (Yes, we’re fully aware that “culty” is not a word, just roll with it.)

    We had the cult of Apple’s most recent announcement, complete with bigger iPhones, Apple Watches, and curious scarves. We also saw the cult of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (or the #PSL, for those in the know) go into full swing. Quite the week.

    So, what better way to top it off than by sending your friend a culty (yes, we used it again) Someecard. We found cards for your both the iPhone wielders and pumpkin spice-covered fiends. Check them out below!

  • Owning Up to Online Dating
    “We met online.”

    Was it on Tinder? OKCupid? Match? Droves of millennials across the world are meeting their significant others online — yet some still don’t feel comfortable admitting to it.

    Before I go on, I’ll practice what I preach: I met my girlfriend on OKCupid about a year and a half ago. So, I’m right there with you. When I first explained how we met to friends and family, I felt as if I needed to justify it. I’d say something like, “Well, my roommate tried it out and it seemed to work for him.” That was then. Now, I simply say “online” or “OKCupid.”

    Recently, I was back home for a weekend, where I visited old college friends and introduced my OKCupid girlfriend to my extended family. Being around a group of people who didn’t see meeting online as the “norm,” as I now do, almost made me revert back to giving reasons as to why I joined. Though when we both admitted to how we met, other couples in the group began owning up to meeting online, too.

    I realized that, though it’s common in my current group of friends, it doesn’t mean that the stigma of online dating has completely washed away. Not only that, but there are now certain stigmas associated with each site you could potentially meet Mrs. or Mr. Right on.

    When I mentioned I met my girlfriend on OKCupid, the reaction was something like, “Oh, that’s the free site so it’s not that serious — but enough so that people want a relationship out of it.” Then, I referenced some of my friends who’ve met through Tinder. After the shock of hearing about a lasting relationship as a result of a Tinder match, the reaction was, “Oh, that’s usually just the casual hook-up site.”

    Seeing the lukewarm reaction some people have when you tell them you met your significant other online, I can see why others feel apprehensive to admit to it. At the same token, in my opinion, it’s akin to having a social media account in our generation. I mean it. I was at a wedding recently, where the father of the bride said it best in his speech: “These two didn’t meet online like everyone else. They did it the old fashioned way — at a bar.”

    Aside from the joke being a pretty funny reference to how the couple met, it also rang pretty true to me. I mean, think about it. Despite being out of college for longer than I care to admit, I know current co-eds who have various dating apps or online profiles. I really can’t imagine online dating in college. If someone were to ask me back when I was frequenting bars equipped with the cheapest drinks of my life, I’d say online dating was for people who were desperate to find a wife or husband. Online dating is truly becoming the “norm.”

    Like anything, though, it isn’t going to be the number of Tinder profiles that’s going to completely wipe away the stigma — but, instead, time. The thing is: If everyone would just start owning up and embrace it, the time might be sooner than you’d think.

  • Hey, Which One of You Wise Guys Teleported Me Into the Future?
    The last time I worked in Boston, I worked for a law firm that specialized in high tech and venture capital. This was 30 years ago. The head of the firm insisted, however, that attorneys not have computers in their offices, fearing that we would turn into our own “secretaries” and just fix typos on documents we were typing.

    Fast forward thirty years.

    My family came to Boston for the school year, and I feel like Rip Van Telecommuter. Or something. While I was away, everything changed.

    Here in Boston, I don’t work in a traditional office. I work out of ImpactHub, an entity located in dozens of cities offering shared desk space, conference rooms with smart walls and gigantic Apple TVs, a kitchen with endless coffee, fruit, and peanut M&Ms, free printing, Wi-Fi (of course), weekly lunches, awesome views from the 17th floor, a gym coming soon, and socializing with other entrepreneurs and founders of new and socially conscious ventures… all for $300 a month.

    ImpactHub Boston actually looks out on the two skyscrapers where my old law firm was situated. That firm is long gone, by the way. But what’s remarkable is to work today, you don’t need your own office anymore. You just need the computer we weren’t allowed to have on our desks.

    Getting around? There’s always the T, but how much more convenient is Uber? Two taps on the Uber smartphone app and a nice, clean car arrives right where I’m standing in a couple of minutes, takes me where I want to go, and bills my credit card, including the tip, usually for much less money than cab fare. I can also request a town car or a Suburban if I’m feeling fancy or have a lot of people to move. No money changes hands in the car, no receipts to lose, no chatty (or smelly) cabbies.

    Speaking of transport, we were pricing a new Odyssey, but why surrender a car to Boston winters when there’s ZipCar? A few bucks a month gives you a passcode that gets you into ZipCar’s fleet of rental cars, conveniently parked a couple of blocks from wherever you are on Planet Earth. Jump in when you need it — no standing for 40 minutes in a car rental place with bored, surly car rental agents trying to sell you insurance and gas. When you’re done, drive it back to where you got it and lock the door. Finished. Radically cheaper than buying, insuring, gassing up, registering, and repairing a car of your own.

    New iPhone’s coming out. I could stand in line for hours… or I could go to TaskRabbit.com and hire a Tasker — a person who does errands for me for hourly rates posted on the TaskRabbit website. I could have my Tasker stand outside the Apple Store for as many hours as I choose, and then call me when she’s getting close…at which point I’d go take her place in line and claim my iPhone 6. My Tasker gets paid to hang out with other cool people on the iPhone line and make new friends. I get my phone without spending the night like a homeless person. Payment system same as Uber, above.

    Trip to New York coming up. I could go to Hotwire or Priceline for a boring hotel room… or I could rent all or part of a private home — actually thousands of them in Manhattan — on VRBO.com and stay in the exact neighborhood I desire. Often for far less than the cost of that impersonal hotel.

    Once in Manhattan, when I have some downtime… I could go to a movie by myself, but that’s crazy money for two hours of often lackluster entertainment. Or I could go to Meetup.com and find hundreds of events, mostly free or just a few bucks, with like-minded people who want to have a good time. For example, this Saturday in NYC, one could do a photo shoot of Manhattan at 5 a.m., go for a yoga hike or run or bike in Central Park at 8 a.m., take a history tour of Governor’s Island at 11, go pub crawling in the Village at 1, visit the Guggenheim with 70 (and counting) singles at 4:30, attend Arabic night (yes, there are hookahs and belly dancing) or see the Mayweather fight for free at Scores, both at 8 p.m. and top it off with Sexy Saturday, an Asian-flavored late night meetup in a downtown club.

    All in one day, mind you. Total cost for all, and I mean all, of the above: around $25, plus the cost of beer on the pub crawl.

    The point here is that the Internet offers what economist Joseph Schumpeter decades ago called “creative destruction”… on steroids. The buzzword today is disruption, meaning that an industry is suddenly upended by young techies who come up with a better, faster, cheaper, easier way to do something.

    That something might be renting office space, disrupting the commercial real estate industry; Uber, disrupting the taxi industry; ZipCar, potentially disrupting new and used car sales and also car rentals; TaskRabbit, disrupting, well, something; and Meetup.com, which could disrupt everything from the entertainment industry to the exercise industry (why join a gym when you can work out on MeetUps for free?).

    So here I sit at ImpactHub, surrounded no longer by the four walls of a private office but instead by entrepreneurs looking to create the next hot, disruptive thing, whether it’s for-profit here in America or transforming healthcare in the developing world.

    So which wise guys or wise gals teleported me into the future? All of them.

  • New iPhone 6 preorders affected by infrastructure glitches
    A number of people trying to place early preorders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been met with technical issues. Shoppers are complaining, for instance that they were initially unable to buy unlocked T-Mobile or AT&T models. Apple servers in fact appear to have had problems connecting to carrier servers, forcing the company to issue reservation numbers via email that people could use to complete an order within the next 24 hours.

  • Three Printers That Can Save on Space, Time and Money
    We have found ourselves surrounded by printers. Big and small. Fast and slow. Wireless and tethered. But they all have one thing in common: They get the job done with a minimum of effort on our part.

    Sitting in front of us are three new models of desktop multifunction printers from Epson, Hewlett-Packard and Sharp, all of which can print, scan, fax and copy documents efficiently and at decent speeds, but there are a few differences.

    The new Epson Expression Premium XP-820 Small-in-One Printer ($199.99) Is a small-footprint multifunction device designed to fit into smaller areas, but still deliver everything you would expect from a desktop printer. With this, though come a couple of sacrifices:

    There’s only one paper tray with a capacity of 100 sheets of paper, which could be a problem if you have large print jobs in your future. But, for most of us, it’s more than adequate. Also, those of us with magnifying glasses may notice that the quality of printed text is a bit less than we’ve come to expect from Epson printers, although the quality of its printed graphics are better than most desktop inkjet printers.

    We don’t see either of these “problems” as major, especially for the average user on a limited budget.

    As with the XP-810, which we reviewed earlier this year, the XP-820 has a ton of features that far outweigh its deficiencies, including:

    • A retractable output paper tray that sits inside the printer until you’re ready to print and then glides out of the machine when it detects a print job is pending.
    • It can automatically detect and connect to your wireless network.
    • A large LCD screen so you can select it’s various functions
    • It uses five ink cartridges: photo black, black and the usual magenta, cyan and yellow.
    • It offers two-sided printing
    • It has a second paper tray that can handle 30 sheets of 4×6 photo paper and printable CDs and DVDs.
    • You can edit and crop photos without using a PC by inserting a flash drive or memory cards into the printer’s USB port, memory-card reader or by using PictBridge
    • There’s an app – – – EpsonConnect – – – that lets you print from any mobile device
    • You can scan or share documents and photos on Facebook or use other cloud-based services
    • It boasts a print speed of up to 14 pages per minute (it’s a bit slower for photos and graphics using a lot of color).
    • It scans at up to 4800 DPI

    The HP OfficeJet Pro 8620 ($299.99) was actually sent to us so we sould review a new service that is, for now, unique to HP: This line of printers monitors how much ink you’ve used and “orders” replacement cartridges before you run out.

    The process is fairly simple.

    After setting up the printer, you set up an HP Connected account and sign up for the Instant Ink replacement service. At that point, you’ll be asked to select a “plan” that reflects your ink usage and will charge you a monthly fee:

    • $2.99 per month if you print up to 50 pages per month
    • $4.99 per month if you print up to 100 pages
    • $9.99 per month if you print up to 300 pages

    The billing cycle begins once you’ve installed the first set of cartidges into the printer.

    Now, when you figure the average printer cartridge costs about $11 (and you need four or five for today’s printers), even the $9.99 plan is a pretty good deal for higher-use environments.

    Our first set of replacements arrived a few days before we ran out of black ink, saving us from a trip to our neighborhood office supply store.

    The printer, itself, was released earlier this year and, truthfully, can fill any need you may have for a multifunction home or office machine.

    It’s about twice the size of the Epson we tested, but can still fit in moderately tight spaces. It can also link to your smartphone or tablet using near field communications technology (NFC) eliminating having to use the printer’s USB port. Among its other key features are:

    • You can easily connect it to your wireless network using the setup software
    • You can print using any mobile device or use HP web apps available on the cloud
    • Like the Epson it only has one paper tray, but this one has a 250-sheet capacity. There’s no second tray for smaller paper or CDs
    • It has a 4.3-inch front panel display to access all of its functions
    • The auto document feeder has a capacity of 50 pages and can fax, copy or scan double-sided documents.
    • Ethernet and USB ports to connect to a computer or wired network
    • Print speeds up to 21 pages per minute
    • Image quality up to 1200 by 600 dpi

    The Sharp MX-C301W printer (“available for purchase or lease”) is the big brother of this trio. This hefty, 70-pound multifunction laser printer does everything the other printers do, but is meant for a larger office environment.

    The only problem was probably our fault more than theirs: We weren’t able to connect it to our wireless network. This, we’re told, could have been due to our having numerous devices (wireless and Ethernet) hogging bandwidth. We were, however, pleased with its performance when we used Ethernet and USB cables.

    The first thing we noticed is how fast this printer is. Designed for large print jobs, it hit print speeds of up to 30 pages per minute, which blows away most consumer/SOHO models.

    In addition:

    • It has a 300-sheet paper tray that can be boosted to 800 with an optional tray
    • It’s smaller than most of the standard “biz-hub” type printers and can easily fit on a small table or desk (we used a living room lamp table)
    • It has a seven-inch touch screen to access all of its functions
    • It can scan documents to email, network folders or USB memory devices
    • It automatically deletes everything in its memory when the lease period ends
    • It can be accessed through an app using any smartphone or mobile device
    • It has a built-in 250 GB hard drive
    • 600×600 dpi printing

    The mode you choose, of course, depends on the need of your home or business, but we believe any of these printers are a good fit for almost any environment.

    Attention Facebook users: 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. /.

  • Forum Roundup: Apple Watch…why bother?
    As everyone knows by now, this week Apple took the wraps off their latest creation — the Apple Watch. While there was much hype about this device leading up to its release, some MacNN forum-goers don’t seem to think there is much reason to get this particular device over the competition, as is discussed in the thread titled “Apple watch…why bother.” One Mac Elite wonders if the Apple Watch will be on display in stores before it is available for sale.

  • "I'm Tired of Hating People" — A Growing Movement Based In Love
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    I recently watched Zak Ebrahim’s moving TED Talk. In it, he reveals that his father was a prominent convicted American terrorist who had plotted to bomb tunnels, bridges and even the United Nations headquarters. Zak grew up in what he referred to as a “bigoted household… raised to judge people on arbitrary measures like a person’s race or religion.” As he grew and evolved in his life’s journey, Zak shares how and why he chose a more loving path. Personally experiencing bullying and prejudices growing up and having models who exposed him to higher-minded thinking helped him better understand oppression and gave him a deeper sense of empathy.

    One of the most moving moments in his story came when Zak finally got the courage to share with his mother that he was feeling his world view and values were changing, shifting away from the bigotry and intolerance he’d grown up learning — to which his mother wearily responded: “I’m tired of hating people.”

    Zak’s courage to “come out” as a more loving person and his mother’s response are a testament to what is needed greatly on the planet now, a love revolution of sorts.

    When people ask Zak why he shares his story, at potential risk, he says, “I do it in the hopes that perhaps someone, someday who is compelled to use violence may hear my story and realize there is a better way, that although I had been subjected to the violent, intolerant ideology, I did not become fanaticized. Instead I choose to use my experience to fight back against terrorism, against bigotry… I stand here as proof that violence isn’t inherent in ones religion or race, and the son does not have to follow the ways of his father. I am not my father.”

    This is a beautiful expression and example of one of the most encouraging movements happening around the world right now — one that is moving beyond hatred or even just mere tolerance — to one that is based in love, compassion and empathy. Two recent notable examples are the Jewish and Arab people around the world expressing their love for each other through the #JewsAndArabsRefuseToBeEnemies initiative as well as the Israel loves Iran, Palestine and others initiative.

    In both initiatives, people around the globe are stating their love for one another publicly through the web and social media, tackling head on the dominant “us-against-them” worldview that so heavily permeates much of mainstream thinking. People are literally laying claim to love for one another, upending the notion that we have to be enemies, or really that we are even all that separate to begin with.

    It is encouraging that there are many initiatives and modalities emerging at almost every level of society. There are people and programs who are bringing psychologically healthy tools to bear on the challenges of conflict that we face, helping people better understand and love themselves and others. Tools for teaching people how to better understand and deal with conflict before it turns to violence — whether that violence is verbal, emotional or physical.

    Organizations like Challenge Day, spotlighted by Oprah and the MTV docu-series “If You Really Knew Me,” bring practical tools for love and empathy to schools. They help kids quickly and powerfully see how connected they are and build skills to make love and empathy more of a cultural norm at schools, reducing bullying and violence.

    Restorative Justice is a powerful and quickly growing model and movement, which offers healing-oriented methods as an alternative to current criminal justice approaches. These processes retain accountability while also creating conditions for conflict resolution to occur within and leading up to involvement in the criminal justice system.

    There are many other practices emerging, such as: Social and Emotional Learning and Life Skills in schools, which teach self awareness, empathy, impulse control, motivation and social skills; Conflict Resolution Education and Nonviolent Communications curriculum and practices in schools; programs in prisons that help inmates turn their lives around; parenting classes; mindfulness and mediation; and many others.

    The most exciting news of all is that these kinds of programs and modalities work. The art and science of psychology and human relations have evolved tremendously in the past few decades. Resources are out there to help expand our capacity for empathy and even love for one another. It’s time, though, that we bring these resources to scale. From the personal to the political, we must invest in these solutions and put our personal and collective time, attention and resources towards them. Organizations like Peace Alliance and many others are leading the charge.

    As more and more people around the world of all faiths, cultures and traditions begin to share their stories of love and connection, as Zak so powerfully does, it will help encourage others to do so as well. It can and will be a wave that helps topple hatred, fear and oppression. For every person that turns to terrorism or bullying or violence of any kind, there are millions more who don’t feel the hate or prejudice as deeply, who can be encouraged and uplifted.

    This new love-based movement can go far in changing our world for the better. This is the great work before us, and, thankfully, there are many great champions who are leading the way. Let’s follow course.

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

  • 93 Nuns From 24 Different Countries Join Forces For One Amazing Virtual Choir
    This article first appeared on the Global Sisters Report, a project of National Catholic Reporter.

    Ninety-three Discalced Carmelite nuns in 24 countries have reached out of their cloistered monasteries to sing together in a virtual choir honoring St. Teresa of Avila on the 500th anniversary of her birth. This union of voices came together through the musical vision of a Carmelite Sister in Reno, Nev., and the creative imagination of a technical wizard in the Midwest.

    The result is two 6-minute videos of the sisters singing on a virtual stage, created by Kansas native Scott Haines. In one video they sing Teresa’s famous words “Nada Te Turbe” (“Let Nothing Disturb You”) in an original composition by Sr. Claire Sokol of the Carmelites of Reno. In the other, some of their Carmelite friars and Secular Carmelites join them in the 11th century “Salve Regina” chant with an added descant written by Sokol.

    The music is hauntingly beautiful, but it is the moving collage of the Carmelites’ faces as they sing that lifts the sound to greater heights. “It took me to places within myself I didn’t know existed,” said one Carmelite after viewing “Nada Te Turbe” during its premiere in San Jose, Calif. on Aug. 22 as part of the 500th anniversary celebration by Carmelites of the western U.S. “There are no words to describe how I feel,” said another.

    Virtual choirs are a relatively new phenomenon. At age 22, Haines produced composer Eric Whitacre’s first virtual choir, “Sleep,” in 2009, followed in 2010 by Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque,” which features 185 singers from 12 countries. That piece has had nearly 4.5 million views on YouTube. Haines has formed the Virtual Musicians Group to continue assembling singers from diverse locations into virtual choirs through technology.

    The Carmelite choir began with an email invitation from Sokol to all Carmel monasteries. By logging on to Haines’ website, any Carmelite with computer and Internet access could listen to the music, download her voice part, hear the directions of the conductor, sing and submit the audio/ video recording to Haines at his studio in Kansas City.

    “When I sang in front of the computer, I didn’t feel alone in the room,” wrote Soeur Agnes, a member of Le Havre Carmel in the northwest of France, when she sent in her video. “I was connected with all the members who participated in this adventure. I didn’t see them, but I was sure we were building bonds upon frontiers oriented towards the same marvelous plan.”

    “I think St. Teresa herself would be very enthusiastic about this,” wrote another choir member, Sister Lucia of the Risen Christ from Arnhem, the Netherlands. The choir also includes sisters from Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Croatia, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, Singapore as well as Canada, Europe, and the United States.

    A few Carmelite friars joined in the “Salve Regina” choir as did some Secular Carmelites who submitted recordings made in their homes. James Savage, music director of St. James Cathedral in Seattle, is the choir’s conductor. The cathedral’s 18-member Teresian Orchestra accompanied “Nade Te Turbe.” “Salve Regina” is sung a cappella.

    carmelite nuns virtual choir

    This virtual choir project is the latest in a long musical journey for Sokol, who was born into a musical family, the seventh of 10 children. Her father was the conductor of the Seattle Youth Symphony, and her mother sang with the Roger Wagner Chorale. Classical music filled their home. Seven of her siblings became professional musicians.

    By age 10, Sokol was playing cello in an orchestra, having studied both cello and piano with the Holy Names Sisters in Seattle. Her professional career began while she was still in high school and continued after she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in cello performance from Indiana University. While a member of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, she heard about the Carmelite monastery in Seattle. “I walked in the door and knew I was home.” A year later, in 1982, she entered the community. She was 28.

    “As a nun, my music and spirituality began to come together,” she said. In 1996 she composed “Therese’s Canticle of Love” in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux, the young Carmelite who died in 1897 and was later named a Doctor of the Church. The piece was recorded in Seattle’s St. James Cathedral and published by GIA Publications.

    While Sokol was working on that piece, Leonardo Defilippis asked her to compose the musical score for his film, “Therese: The Story of A Soul.” This meant she needed to quickly learn the Finale music notation software program. With her community’s support, she stepped out of the cloister for the first time in 15 years for a one-month summer course in composition.

    “This was a huge stretch beyond my comfort zone,” she said. But “I took a deep breath and jumped.” Her score can be heard on the film’s soundtrack from Luke Films. Inc., and excerpts are included in her 2008 CD “Therese’s Canticle of Love, A Musical Mosaic.”

    Reflecting on her musical pioneering, Sokol remarked, “In Carmel you are asked to do what you’ve never done before. You see a need, respond and so develop other talents and gifts.”

    Since transferring to the Carmel of Reno in 2001, Sokol has continued to write music. “It takes me deep within” she said. “I have no sense of where it’s going when I begin. I have a text in front of me and something starts to come forth.”

    For “Nada Te Turbe” which she wrote last fall, the two main themes came to her within 20 minutes. Then she went to her computer to complete the music.

    But the virtual choir project was another creative stretch because of its complex logistics. It was Haines who masterfully combined more than 200 video/sound tracks with images of Carmelite saints and the sisters at prayer. The final product is an exquisite gift to St. Teresa and all of us.

    Both videos, Nada Te Turbe and Salve Regina, can be viewed on YouTube. The choral music is available from Oregon Catholic Press. CD’s can be purchased from Carmel of Reno’s website.

    For more stories from the Global Sisters Report, visit the National Catholic Reporter’s site.

  • Bullying and Bigotry: Being Judged For Something Out Of Your Control
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    “I am tired of hating people,” said Zak Ebrahim’s mother after years of fervently defending her religious beliefs.

    Hate is such a powerful word, and when a family is forced to live under the rule of judging others rather than accepting them for who they are, it can be emotionally devastating.

    Ebrahim, in his youth, had to face the reality that his father and uncles were terrorists involved in the World Trade Center attacks. On top of that, his family moved many times, which caused Ebrahim to live with constantly being the new kid. Ebrahim always encountered the same issue in the schools he attended: he was chubby, reserved and socially awkward, which makes him a prime target for bullying.

    Bullying and bigotry are two sides of the same negative coin.

    Ebrahim was living a life that was out of his control. Everywhere he turned, he was judged for things others have done, for his ethnicity or simply because he was fat!

    Peer cruelty is painful for anyone at any age. When it is heaped atop other difficulties, it can be soul crushing.

    Zak Ebrahim’s message is strong and clear after being raised in a bigoted family. He was taught from a young age to judge people for arbitrary reasons such as race, religion and sexual orientation.

    Being bullied as a child created a sense of empathy in Ebrahim. Did bullying open the door to softening his heart and ending the cycle of his family’s intolerance?

    As the son of a terrorist, he could have lived a life of infamy, he could have chosen to bury his identity in the past. As a victim of bullying, he could have simply moved forward from it, keeping his story secret. He could have possibly even turned to a life of terrorism because of it.

    Ending hate can help end bullying.

    Those powerful words spoken by Ebrahim’s mother probably made her feel as though the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders. Being able to accept others without judgment requires so much less energy and effort than hatred does.

    You see, I truly believe that without hate bullying will finally be history.

    Can you imagine if all the online trolls and offline bullies decided to give up hating others? What would the world look like if they practiced tolerance instead? What if kindness could replace cruelty?

    As a victim of cyberbullying and bullying as an adult, I know that it truly does change your attitude and heart towards others. Like Ebrahim, I made the decision to share my story in an effort to help many others that were struggling with online slander and defamation. I was overwhelmed by the response.

    Victims of bullying need to know that they are not alone, they need connection and a sense of community with others who understand what they are going through. Too many lives have already been lost to the suffering caused by bullies. Those of us who have survived the same kinds of trauma need to come forward to help those still in need.

    From bullying to bigotry, never judge someone without taking the time to get to know them.

    There will always be talking heads and people who don’t understand what you have suffered. I am confident Ebrahim still encounters people that blame him for his father’s wrongdoings; however, what I have come to realize is that you can’t control what others choose to believe.

    But you can choose what you believe. Until you are faced with a situation, you truly don’t know how you will respond, but you can do your best to reserve judgment and try to be empathetic. Just keep in mind that no matter what circumstances you have endured, you have the ability to make a difference.

    The voices of Ebrahim and his mother are the reason that parents and children alike should step up and speak out about breaking down those barriers of hate.

    It’s an old cliché: treat others as you want to be treated. You never know what others are going through and how big a difference a small act of kindness can make. A single caring word at the right time could change someone’s life.

    Victims of bullying and bigotry have choices.

    Become an upstander and put kindness and caring first:

    If you see someone being bullied, don’t allow it to continue. Help if you can or tell an adult immediately.

    Welcome new people in your neighborhood.

    Welcome new students in your school.

    Be sure to always speak out against gossip when you hear it.

    Respect the differences of others and learn about those differences.

    Spark kindness in your community. Be a role model for all.

    Random Act of Kindness and Pennies of Time are a great place to start to inspire your family.

    Ebrahim had choices. He was a boy raised in bigotry, schooled with bullies, yet he was able to see through all the hate and turn it into compassion and kindness for others. It was his own suffering that gave him the strength to fight against terrorism, bigotry, and violence — he came to realize that there is a better way and his choice was to share this lesson with the world.

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

  • The Apple Watch Could Be Used As A Surveillance Device, Thanks To This Feature
    There’s a scary feature on the Apple Watch that no one seems to be talking about.

    In its elaborate press conference on Tuesday, complete with an announcement from U2 and a slew of celebrity guests, Apple unveiled its first line of wearable technology. The Apple Watch, which has plenty of apps that can monitor your fitness and even act as a credit card, has one feature that could pose some serious privacy concerns.

    One of the watch’s features allows users to display a live preview of what your iPhone is shooting in real-time. Although the preview could be useful when snapping a posed photo with a friend, it could easily serve as a surveillance device if the subject is unaware of the iPhone filming them.

    Check out the video above to see the spy camera technology in action.

    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!

  • This Kitten Is Determined To Win An Epic Game Of Cat And Mouse
    This kitten is developing a serious case of gamer rage.

    In a video shared by Rumble Viral, a precious little kitten is very appropriately chasing a virtual mouse via a game on its owner’s iPad. Like many of us who get hooked on those super addictive game apps, the kitten gets frustrated at the screen.

    The little fur ball tries every tactic in the book to catch the sly “mouse,” to no avail. Watch as the cat pounces on the screen, even occasionally hiding from its prey, only to jump out and totally fail at catching the pesky “rodent.”

    At the 0:41 mark, the determined feline gets so worked up that it falls completely off the couch it was playing on.

    Keep your chin up, little guy, because no matter how hard you fall, you can always get back up.

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  • WATCH: Meet The Terrorist's Son Who Refused To Follow In His Father's Footsteps
    Zak Ebrahim is not my real name and was changed when my family decided to cut ties with my father, El-Sayed Nosair, the first member of a Bin Laden organization to shed blood on American soil.

    As I share in my TED Talk, I have struggled for years to maintain my anonymity for fear of being judged for my father’s actions, which has been a heavy burden to carry and at times, crippling. Being raised in the shadow of my extremist father, I feared being judged for having his blood run through my veins.

    As I came of age, I began to bend back the bars of bigotry that had imprisoned me for years. It didn’t happen all at once, but little by little, my worldview expanded as I chipped away at every lie my father, and later my abusive stepfather, had instilled in me.

    Oddly enough, it was being the victim of a form of violence myself – bullying – that led me to seek a nonviolent path. When I was eleven, I once tried my hand at bullying another kid at school – but I found I could not do what had been done to me. Being bullied gave me empathy. And I realized, over time, that this empathy was more powerful than bigotry or hatred. It was this realization that helped me break a cycle of violence.

    zak ebrahim
    Zak visiting his father. Attica Correctional Facility, 1994. In the background: The small house where the family stayed together for the weekend. Courtesy Zak Ebrahim

    “Empathy, peace, nonviolence-they may seem like quaint tools in the world that my father helped create. But, as many have written, using nonviolence to resolve conflicts doesn’t mean being passive. It doesn’t mean embracing victimhood, or letting aggressors run riot. It doesn’t even mean giving up the fight, not exactly. What it means is humanizing your opponents, recognizing the needs and fears you share with them, working toward reconciliation rather than revenge. The longer I stare at this famous quote by Gandhi, the more I Iove how steely and hardcore it is: ‘There are many causes I would die for. There is not a single cause I would kill for.’ Escalations cannot be our only response to aggression, no matter how hardwired it is to hit back and hit back harder. The late counterculture historian Theodore Roszak put it this way: ‘People try nonviolence for a week, and when it doesn’t work, they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.'”

    The Terrorist’s Son by Zak Ebrahim is now available in bookstores, or you can get it for the Kindle or Nook, or through the iBookstore.

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

  • Black People And Asian Men Have A Much Harder Time Dating On OKCupid
    If you’re a black man or woman or Asian man, you’re going to have a tougher time getting a date on OKCupid.

    Users of the popular dating site have a clear bias against certain races, according to a new blog post by OKCupid co-founder Christian Rudder.

    Rudder looked at millions of OKCupid interactions between 2009 and 2014, involving more than 25 million people, and charted out the racial and gender preferences he found. To do this, he studied how people rated potential dates in QuickMatch, a feature that shows you profiles one at a time and asks you to rate them on a scale of one to five or skip them.

    Asian men, black men and black women got the worst ratings, while Asian women and Latina women fared the best.

    Here’s the chart of users’ preferences from 2009:

    okcupid race

    And here’s the chart from 2014:

    okcupid race

    As you can see, the biases stayed pretty consistent between 2009 and 2014.

    It’s not just people on OKCupid who feel this way. The results here are pretty much the same as data taken from other dating sites. And no, preferring to date someone of a particular race isn’t in itself racist.

    “Beauty is a cultural idea as much as a physical one, and the standard is of course set by the dominant culture,” Rudder writes. “I believe that’s what you see in the data here.”

    On the other hand, when asked by Salon whether his data suggest that men are sexist and everyone is racist, he responded: “The more you look at the data, the more it does confirm the cynics’ intuition about humanity.”

  • AT&T adding Wi-Fi calling to network in 2015, claims executive
    AT&T will be bringing Wi-Fi calling to its network, though customers will have to wait until 2015. The president and CEO of AT&T’s Mobile and Business Solutions group Ralph de la Vega claimed that the technology will be made available to customers, but not until the carrier has worked to prevent calls from dropping on the service.

Mobile Technology News, September 12, 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.

  • Yahoo News Digest App Goes Universal

    The Yahoo News Digest App has been updated this week and it is now a universal app for both iPhone and iPad.  The news curation app brings you 7 news stories in various categories twice a day to keep you up to date with events in the world.  It is the end product of Summly, the summary artificial intelligence developed by Australian teen Nick D’Aloisio.  D’Aloisio reportedly sold Summly to Yahoo for $30m in March of last year, making him one of the youngest self made millionaires.  The app, which until now has been for iPhone only, has now added

    The post Yahoo News Digest App Goes Universal appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Expedia App Goes Universal

    The popular Expedia Hotels & Flights app for iOS has been updated this week and it now comes in a universal build for both iPhone and a new, beautiful iPad version.  The Expedia app leverages the Expedia service you are likely familiar with and makes finding hotels and flights to destinations around the world quick and easy. The new version has a completely revamped interface for both iPhone and iPad but it is the latter that is really eye popping.  Now you can simply tap and swipe your way to finding hotels and flights and you don’t even necessarily have

    The post Expedia App Goes Universal appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Apple Store online down in preparation for iPhone 6 pre-orders
    The familiar “We’ll be back” sign has appeared on the US and other countries’ online Apple Stores in advance of the expected 12AM PT Friday opening for pre-orders on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Customers in Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Puerto Rico and of course the US can pre-order the devices, which will appear at retail September 19.

  • Philips offers 24-bit D/A Lightning-connected headphones for iOS
    Audio and video equipment maker Philips has debuted a new headphone set for iOS devices that offers a pair of distinct differences: it features 24-bit digital-to-analog conversion and amplification built right within the headphones, and it uses a Lightning connector rather than a standard 3.5mm connector. The Fidelio M2L headphones are said to the first to use the Lightning connector.

  • Yahoo 'threatened' by US government
    Yahoo says the US government “threatened” to fine it $250,000 a day if the search giant failed to hand over user data.
  • Squeezing out water to save the future
    How business is saving water to save all of our futures
  • 'Honey I shrunk the ZX Spectrum'
    Why would you want to shrink a ZX Spectrum computer?
  • Walmart to cut $20 off iPhone 6 price, offers preorder gift card
    Walmart, as is its custom, is planning to offer the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at a slight discount from other merchants. The company is reported to be taking $20 off the standard price, lowering the cost to $179 for a base model iPhone 6, or $279 for a base-model iPhone 6 Plus (both with new two-year contract). Those who pre-order from Walmart starting tomorrow will also get a $15 e-gift card.

  • Why HR, PR, and IT Are Worthy Startup Investments
    Co-authored with Tommy Scholl

    Money is tight, especially as you continue to build your startup. We know as well as the next entrepreneur that the bottom line is always top of mind. However, there are a few particular areas in which you should focus on early to secure future success.

    1. Human Resources To Build A Great Team.

    The most important and continual investment that a CEO will make is his or her employees. Before any company sees success it must ensure that each employee it hires is not only on board with the company’s vision, but also dedicated to seeing it through on a daily basis. This is not a do-it-yourself job, nor a peripheral executive function. Only a human resources specialist or proper HR training can lead to effective staffing assessments and ensure premium stock gets into your company. Your HR director or designee plays an essential role by scouting out the right types of people to share your goals and passion for the mission. This goes above and beyond the simple posting of job listings and advertising, and it means the difference between good employees and great ones.

    As for the breadth of a human resource department’s influence in the company, recruitment only scratches the surface. Once employees have been hired, they obviously aren’t effective unless they stick around. Your HR department works to incentivize, motivate, and compensate your staff to create an environment of stability and productivity. Without competitive wages and a sense of efficacy in the company, even the star employees may hit the road. Forging a culture of positivity and self-improvement is crucial to bringing out the best in your workforce, and your company will suffer if there is not at least one appointed position to foster this notion. To neglect the welfare of your employees is to condemn the company to a low growth potential. When you’re out of options and progress appears stagnant, you will look to your HR pros to provide a solution that goes beyond transactional measures and takes human potential into account.

    2. Public Relations To Offer Cost Effective Ways To Build Awareness.

    Traditionally, budgets put aside for marketing took into account one basic principle: infiltrating the media avenue that results in the largest audience seeing the brand. This usually means expensive TV ads, exhausting branding exercises, or even billboard displays. While mass marketing your brand can increase exposure, that isn’t usually quite what a growing company needs in boosting growth. Thanks to the Internet connecting everyone across the globe, marketing can not only be more targeted and precise, but also focus more on quality publicity for a specific audience. In fact, you may not call it marketing at all, but rather an instrumental use of online media based on merit instead of quantity.

    Save your advertising cash and focus on making an online presence through social media, business review sites, and survey reports. A PR representative can leverage your company’s online media by getting your executives published by major corporate reviews. This is a two-pronged benefit: you are able to target a professional audience with maximum relevance to your business channel, while establishing credibility in the business sector that will ultimately spur interest in your company. PR is crucial to this process because professionals within that realm know what to share, how much to share, and where to get the most attention for your content. Without this expertise, you may struggle to establish the kind of presence on the web that you want, as well as reach your target audience. In the end, the content promoted by a PR professional is free, and the PR service may well be cheaper than a TV ad or banner. PR is subtle and effective, working to earn attention instead of grabbing it.

    3. In-House Information Technology To Support Daily Success And Scalability.

    In a world of ever-increasing technology dependence, the last thing you want to worry about is having dropped or spotty calls, printer problems, Internet outages, etc. As your company grows, so will the number of devices in the office. Nothing breaks down a company’s day-to-day productivity more than technical issues, especially in phone-heavy departments like sales or customer service. You can’t ask your employees to perform for you if you can’t provide them with right tools consistently. Unless you plan to sprout a third arm or clone yourself, you are not going to be able to install, maintain, and repair the technology infrastructure of your company to satisfaction. Someone who knows the programs and devices inside and out will be invaluable to the organization, and it behooves your organization to create a position in the company for this person. In the end, putting an IT guru on the payroll will save you serious cash that you would otherwise be throwing at insolent computers. And computers don’t care about wasting your money.

    IT professionals can also provide insight into the scalability and technological potential of the company. This person is aware of the best methods for sustainable energy consumption, contributing to a more budget-friendly cash burn for your company’s functions. They also know what it takes to maintain a technological edge in the marketplace. In a tumultuous economy, companies that look to increase complexity and scalability should not gamble on the uncertainties that evolving technology warrants. Instead, they should invest in IT to gain a vision of upcoming challenges and obstacles that inevitably arise as a result of growth.

    You may not have previously considered investing in the above listed functions for your startup, but we urge you to examine and measure the possible ROI. It’s critical to foster your team, build awareness of your new solution, and plan for daily success and scalability and, also, to do these things early. Good luck in your new endeavor, entrepreneurs.

    Tommy Scholl is a student in the Public Health Undergraduate Program at the University of Maryland and served recently as an intern project manager at Consero Group, where he supported corporate growth.

  • NASA's Mars Rover 'Curiosity' Finally Reaches Its Prime Target
    The little rover finally made it!

    After driving for more than two years across treacherous terrain, NASA’s Curiosity rover has finally reached its target on Mars: the base of a nearly 3.5-mile-high peak known as Mount Sharp.

    If you’re not wowed by the space agency’s official announcement, have a look at what Curiosity tweeted:

    I’m all about that base. Reached the base layer of Mt Sharp. New science ahead! http://t.co/1saw4eRHK3 pic.twitter.com/lQ7gbXxBPU

    — Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) September 11, 2014

    Sounds like someone’s been listening to Meghan Trainor.

    Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 in Gale Crater. Since then the rover has been slowly motoring along, drilling into rocks and collecting samples on its way to Mount Sharp. So far, the rover’s research has proved Mars was once warmer, wetter, and potentially habitable.

    The rover is set to trek up through Mount Sharp’s foothills, starting in an area called Pahrump Hills. Mission scientists hope the geological history preserved in the mountain’s rocks will help reveal how the planet’s environment changed to create the dusty landscape we see today.

    While the Curiosity mission has recently come under fire for spending too much time on driving and not enough on drilling and collecting samples, the space agency issued a strong defense.

    “We have been driving hard for many months to reach the entry point to Mount Sharp,” Jennifer Trosper, Curiosity Deputy Project Manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a written statement. “Now that we’ve made it, we’ll be adjusting the operations style from a priority on driving to a priority on conducting the investigations needed at each layer of the mountain.”

  • (VIDEO) Google's Ben Barokas: Data Is King In Video Boom
    COLOGNE, Germany — If “data is the new oil” when it comes to advertising, Google is sitting on a geyser – but it’s happy to let customers tap rivals’ supply lines, too.

    Ben Barokas, GM for Marketplace Development,  sees the emerging digital ad landscape this way, he tells Beet.TV in this video interview: “Every advertiser has its own unique data set – that is the advantage that every individual party in the ecosystem must leverage in order to get ahead.

    “Google has a lot of data that comes from search and display, and helps empower publishers and advertisers to use their own individual data with our (advertising technology) stack and with other (companies’) stacks.”

    Barokas hints Google is readying an announcement: “(We are) looking at interesting opportunities in IPTV and set-top box advertisements that I’m sure you’ll hear about in the coming days, weeks and months.”

    We spoke to Barokas at an industry dinner in Cologne on Tuesday evening hosted by Civolution and Beet.TV.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • PSA: Olive Garden Says You Can't Share Or Sell Your Pasta Pass
    Olive Garden’s sold out, seven-week-long unlimited pasta pass promotion just hit its first big hump — if eating Olive Garden for nearly two months wasn’t already considered an obstacle.

    After all 1,000 of the company’s limited edition, $100 “Never Ending Pasta Passes” were sold within hours on Monday, dozens of lucky pass-holders decided to capitalize by turning to eBay.

    There’s just one big problemo: Olive Garden says the passes are “non-transferable and may not be re-sold.”

    As of Thursday afternoon, 48 passes were up for auction on eBay, many listed at prices between $150-500. Fortunately for those who already purchased a pass on the secondary market, Olive Garden says it’s willing to be flexible to ensure pasta-lovers aren’t turned away.

    “The cards are personalized and not transferable; however, hospitality is core to who we are, which is why we’ll work with anyone who’s purchased a card on eBay to ensure they enjoy Never Ending Pasta Bowl,” spokeswoman Tara Gray, of Olive Garden’s parent company Darden Restaurants, told CNBC. “I’d encourage those guests to reach out to us directly via phone or social media.”

    Not one of the few prized passholders? There’s still hope. Olive Garden says it’s planning to distribute even more passes through social media in coming weeks.

  • (VIDEO) Programmatic Video Ad Spending Growing in Europe, Adap.tv Study
    COLOGNE, Germany –  Advertising agencies are spending more and more on digital video channels — and most of the money moving from existing media is being switched from traditional TV.

    According to programmatic video ad tech vendor Adap.tv’s 2014 European State Of The Video Industry survey, 2014 spending on digital video advertising is up 42 percent compared with a year earlier, with a 25 percent increase expected next year in the number of video ad buyers transacting through programmatic private marketplaces.

    But, of the video ad money diverted from other media, broadcast TV was the channel most affected. Still, that figure does not take account of new video ad spending – and it stands to reason that TV is most likely to see transference to digital video, since the underlying spot ad format bears close similarity on both TV and internet.

    “We went from, a year ago, educating the world around what ‘programmatic’ means… fast-forward a year later, people are starting to use the tools,” according to AOL Platforms’ CEO Bob Lord.  AOL acquired the company last year and operates it a as unit within AOL Networks.

    The report was issued today at DMEXCO.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • New Trend: Be Invisible Online
    Businesses spend years and millions of dollars making it easier for customers to find them online, but an emerging trend suggests they also are seeking ways to be invisible.

    A study last year from the Pew Internet Research Project found that most internet users would like to be anonymous online at least occasionally. The report said that 86 percent of users have taken steps to remove or mask their digital footprints — ranging from clearing cookies to encrypting their email, from avoiding using their name to using virtual networks that mask their internet address.

    Technology companies have created ways to use the latest techno trappings — but without leaving a digital paper trail. I have often mused that being “off the grid” and therefore not beholden to technology could become the new status symbol, but in the meantime, some new offerings strive to hide and even erase online activities.

    Most of us are aware that we can turn off web browser settings that track our history. Private browsing makes sense when you are using someone else’s computer, want to view pages without historical cookies influencing performance, or want to keep your web activity private. One survey from a couple of years ago suggests that nearly 20 percent of web surfers have used private browsing.

    Mobile app Snapchat enables users to share photos and short videos via text message, but the catch is that they disappear after 30 seconds. Originally thought of as a clever way to erase a “sexting” trail, the company is popular for sending selfies, funny pics and videos — not just illicit stuff. With the ongoing fear that a foolish text might come back to haunt us, perhaps this is a way to avoid future online reputation management problems. With this in mind, it is not surprising that investors are enthusiastic about its myriad uses: Snapchat recently received another $20 million in venture capital on top of its other investments, bringing its value up to $10 billion.

    The potential to make billions will always inspire competition, and the emergence of Snapchat has drawn the attention of tech billionaire Mark Cuban. The Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star recently launched Cyber Dust, another text messaging app that — you guessed it — enables you to send texts that disappear and can’t be tracked. Cuban says he was inspired by a desire to have online conversations that are more like face-to-face communications. In the offline world, normal one-on-one conversations are not recorded, so after something is said, it’s gone. Cuban says his text messages in the past have been subpoenaed, misinterpreted and manipulated by lawyers after the fact.

    And then there’s GoTenna. This one’s not an app but rather a personalized antenna that enables you to send text messages to another person also equipped with the same device and located within a few miles. Advertising suggests it’s a way to stay in touch when traveling in remote areas — like a group of hikers staying connected in an area without cell service. Marketers also say it’s a way for friends at a crowded outdoor event, like a concert, to communicate even if the mobile grid is overwhelmed. And according to GoTenna’s website, “Messages are end-to-end encrypted and not stored anywhere. They also can be set to self-destruct once the recipient reads it.”

    Maybe I’m a cynic, but I originally thought there was something sneaky going on. Are we clamoring for ways to communicate more privately, or are these products designed to evade some other form of detection? However, the more I talk with people, the more I discover that many are craving online and offline privacy — and worrying that an online misstep will hurt them now or in the future. Plus, a $10 billion valuation of Snapchat says the smart money is on this being more trend than fad. Perhaps this digital version of “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” will become part of how we all communicate online in the future. We say it — and then it’s gone.

    What do you think? Are these new twists on communication based on a desire for simple privacy, or more on a desire to evade detection of untoward activities? Let me know.

    This post originally appeared on DavidPRBlog.com.

  • Planned Parenthood Offers Virtual Visits, Will Deliver Birth Control To Your Door
    A new program offered by Planned Parenthood aims to make the process of obtaining contraceptives easier for women in certain states.

    The reproductive health nonprofit recently launched an online video “visit” service in Minnesota and Washington which allows women and girls to consult with a care provider and receive prescriptions without having to set foot in a doctor’s office.

    The service, called Planned Parenthood Care, works like this: Clients log into the service online or via Planned Parenthood’s new Android or iOS app and connect with a clinician to set up a video chat. Next, the clinician consults with the client on her ideal form of birth control — be it pill, patch or ring. The chosen birth control is then delivered by mail to the client’s doorstep.

    Planned Parenthood says the online chat takes about 15 minutes and comes with a $45 price tag. The service is available daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Minnesota, and Monday through Friday in Washington state.

    A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood said the new service is part of the organization’s attempt to adapt to a younger, more tech-savvy generation.

    “Every generation of women is different from their mothers, and what’s different about the current generation of young women is that they live a whole lot of their lives online,” Sarah Stoesz, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota, told The Huffington Post. “We don’t want to be our mother’s Planned Parenthood, we want to be our daughter’s Planned Parenthood. This is one of the many ways we’re doing just that.”

    The video chat program doesn’t take insurance currently, but Planned Parenthood hopes to work out deals with insurance providers soon. The organization suggests clients send a receipt from their video consultation to their insurance providers for a potential reimbursement.

    Planned Parenthood also aims to extend its new service to other states and add STI consultations.

    “The sky’s the limit in terms of what’s coming next,” Stoesz told HuffPost. “Everywhere young women live they want access to Planned Parenthood, and we’re going to make sure we’re everywhere they are.”

    Outside of Planned Parenthood, patients who are unable to visit a doctor’s office are increasingly turning to apps and services that offer virtual visits. According to predictions from consulting firm Deloitte, 75 million of 600 million appointments with general practitioners will be conducted virtually in the U.S. and Canada in 2014.

  • Panic's Transmit file manager coming to iOS
    Panic will be bringing its Transmit file manager to iOS with the release of iOS 8, according to an announcement. The new app is currently in beta, and will be able to handle both FTP and local files. iOS 8 is essential because the app will make heavy use of Extensions; separate apps will be able to save files to a local Transmit folder, or else use Transmit to upload to FTP/SFTP, WebDAV, and Amazon S3 servers.

  • Say Hello To Spinosaurus, A Huge Alien-Like Dinosaur That Actually Knew How To Swim
    Of the hundreds of types of dinosaurs that have been discovered, none has ever been shown to have been adapted for life in the water. But now an international team of scientists says a species called Spinosaurus aegyptiacus was the first truly semiaquatic dinosaur — and pretty bizarre.

    The huge Cretaceous Era predator had a small crocodile-like snout, and small nostrils in the middle of its skull so that it could breathe easily with its head partially submerged, according to a written statement issued by the National Geographic Society.

    In addition, it had a long neck and trunk that placed the dinosaur’s center of mass so far forward that it would have been almost impossible for the creature to walk on two legs on land.

    The researchers said the adaptations are similar to those seen in early whales and the modern-day hippopotamus, Science magazine reported. They noted that Spinosaurus was the only dinosaur known to swim.

    spinosaurus illustration
    The only known dinosaur adapted to life in water, Spinosaurus swam the rivers of North Africa a hundred million years ago. The massive predator lived in a region mostly devoid of large, terrestrial plant-eaters, subsisting mainly on huge fish.

    One of the scientists involved in the characterization of Spinosaur, University of Chicago paleontologist Dr. Nizar Ibrahim, said the dino was so weird that working on it was like working on an extraterrestrial, the Associated Press reported.

    And Spinosaurus was as big as it was bizarre. Fossil evidence suggests it was about nine feet longer than the biggest T. rex specimen, according to the AP.

    spinosaurus skeleton
    Workers grind the rough edges off an anatomically precise, life-size Spinosaurus skeleton created from digital data.

    The team of researchers–from institutions in Italy and Morocco as well as from the University of Chicago–reached their conclusions about Spinosaurus after examining fossils found in the Moroccan Sahara and other remains held in museum collections around the world, according to the statement.

    A paper describing the discovery was published today in the journal Science.

  • With 1,000 Aboriginal Women Dead Or Missing, Canadians Are Asking #AmINext
    Women in Canada are expressing outrage on social media over missing and murdered aboriginal women in their country by tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming with the hashtag #AmINext.

    Holly Jarrett started the social media campaign earlier this month after her 26-year-old cousin, who was writing her thesis on Canada’s missing and murdered aboriginal women, was killed in February. Jarrett also started a Change.org petition calling for the government to make a public inquiry into the murders. The petition has more than 300,000 signatures so far.

    A government report released in May revealed that there have been 1,017 confirmed homicides of aboriginal women since 1980, with another 164 cases still unresolved. In a nation that prides itself on multiculturalism and a low crime rate, the report has put a spotlight on systemic problems of gender-based violence facing the aboriginal communities.

    But despite calls for government action by rights groups and the United Nations, Canada’s conservative government maintains that it’s an issue for the police force to handle. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said recently that the country “should not view this as a sociological problem.”

    See below for how Jarrett’s social media campaign is spreading throughout Canada:

    Am I Next, Mr. Harper? #AmINext #AIN #MMIW

    #ForLoretta your passion to make a difference has inspired us all pic.twitter.com/nXKhNlwtDg

    — May Eleven (@MayEleven88) September 10, 2014

    #AmINext #MMIW Am I next? Justice for the missing aboriginal woman across canada pic.twitter.com/AYem3apf4r

    — ChezRanti (@ChezRanti) September 8, 2014

    #AmINext #MMIW pic.twitter.com/kbwVuxXjqX

    — Eden Sarah (@22Tyrant) September 11, 2014

    #AmINext #MMIW I got nominated by Marie carter to help raise awareness for our missing and murdered aboriginal women pic.twitter.com/vLwZMKUo2g

    — Shelby Richard (@shelbb_ox) September 11, 2014

    #AmINext Harper ? We need a public inquiry into the many #MMIW in our country ! pic.twitter.com/X3kGgZfUni

    — sandra clinton (@wapos2) September 11, 2014

  • Bikram Yoga Studio's 9/11 'Patriot' Sale Goes About As Badly As You'd Expect

    ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — Less than five miles from the Pentagon, the owners of the Bikram Arlington yoga studio thought they had come up with a clever way to run a promotion in conjunction with the Sept. 11 attacks.

    It backfired. Badly.

    The owners faced a wave of criticism for insensitivity after using Twitter to promote a sale, writing “9 + 11 = 20% OFF! PATRIOT DAY SALE.”

    oh my god pic.twitter.com/z9L0AOXzWK

    — Heather Schmelzlen (@anchorlines) September 11, 2014

    Frank Machnick, the co-owner who wrote the tweet, pulled it down later in the day and apologized. Ultimately, he blamed “yoga brain.”

    In an interview, Machnick acknowledged the tweet was a mistake, but said he does not see it as substantially different from various sales that companies, including his, run during Memorial Day or other holidays.

    His wife and co-owner, Zahra Vaezi, agreed.

    “We do Valentine’s Day promotions. And Valentine’s Day, if you think about it, is connected to a massacre,” Vaezi, said, referring to the 1929 gangland shooting in Chicago that left eight mobsters dead.

    Asked if perhaps the wording of his tweet contributed to the angry response by playing on the numbers to calculate a 20 percent sale, Machnick acknowledged that might be the case. “People don’t like numerology,” he said.

    Before removing the post, Machnick initially defended it on Twitter, in part by making an oblique reference to a Sept. 11 conspiracy theory.

    Asked about his views on Sept. 11 in the interview, Machnick said, “Does anybody really know the whole story? No.”

    Machnick also wrote a tweet saying he suffered from “yoga brain” when sent the original tweet. In the interview, Machnick described yoga brain as a phenomenon when “someone just had a yoga class and isn’t thinking too clearly,” especially after a hot yoga session where the temperature may exceed 100 degrees.

    Vaezi said people were being “ridiculously mean” in their online responses to the couple, wishing them to go out of business or worse.

    They both acknowledged that they didn’t really consider the fact their proximity to the Pentagon might have contributed to people’s reaction to the tweet.

    “Whenever I think of Sept. 11, I think of New York,” Machnick said.

    The studio sits just a few miles from the Pentagon, where 184 people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    Ultimately, the two said they are resigned to the fact that they will continue to face online vitriol until the story subsides.

    “Sorry you guys didn’t like our sale. Don’t buy,” Machnick said. “But don’t flame us. Geez.”

Mobile Technology News, September 7, 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 of functioning 4.7-inch iPhone seen running iOS 8
    A functioning version — perhaps a genuine finished unit, or a cleverly-disguised Goophone — of the allegedly forthcoming 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has been demonstrated in brief video clips. Going beyond any previous demo, the unit appears to function normally, is clearly running iOS 8 and is activated. The home screen shows the Health application (briefly demo’d in a different video) and the modified Passbook app icon, which now has a fourth red “stripe” resembling a payment card, seemingly confirming the idea that a mobile payment system will be introduced at the September 9 event.

  • iPhones 'most likely' to get stolen
    Apple’s latest iPhone models are the smartphones most likely to be stolen, a new list published by the Home Office suggests.
  • Man Jailed After Calling, Texting Ex-Girlfriend 21,807 Times
    A French man is reportedly now behind bars after calling and texting his ex-girlfriend 21,807 times.

    According to the Agence France-Presse, the 33-year-old man, who has not been named, was slapped with a 10-month prison sentence (six of which were suspended) and a $1,300 fine this week after hounding his ex with the deluge of texts and calls over a 10-month period following their breakup in 2011.

    The man reportedly said that he had been trying to get in touch with his ex-girlfriend because he was looking for compensation or acknowledgement for work he had done on their apartment.

    “At the time, my logic was that until she returned the money … or at least said thank you, I would not stop the calls,” he told the court in Lyon Thursday, per France 24.

    He is said to have called his ex, on average, 73 times a day.

    “She tried to block her line, but he phoned her parents instead and at her workplace,” said Manuella Spee, the plaintiff’s lawyer, per Radio France Internationale, adding that the woman “suffered a lot.”

    France 24 reports that the court also ordered the man to undergo psychiatric treatment and to stop all contact with his ex.
    “I tell myself, with hindsight, that it was stupid,” the man, who has reportedly been hospitalized in the past for depression, is said to have told the court this week.

  • 7 Netflix Hacks That Every Binge-Watcher Needs To Know
    Back in olden times before Netflix, you had to wait days, even weeks, between episodes of your favorite show, and it was terrible. Then the streaming service came along and changed everything.

    Today, the time between episodes has been reduced to seconds, the term binge-watch has been added to the Oxford Dictionary and, thanks to Netflix’s seemingly endless options, there’s really not any reason to go outside any more. (Who needs sun when you have self tanner, Vitamin D fortified milk and “Orange is the New Black”?)

    And if you thought Netflix was amazing already, here are some easy tips and tricks to make your viewing experience more impressive than the “Cosmos“:

    1. Watch Titles In HD

    tv show gifs

    Many Netflix users aren’t aware that HD is already available through their subscriptions. They just haven’t been using it. To set up your account for HD, Netflix says to perform the following steps:

    1. Navigate to Your Account.
    2. Select Playback settings.
    3. Under Data Usage, click High.
    4. Click the Save button.

    Just remember that streaming in HD uses up a lot of data, so you’ll probably want to make sure you’re using a Wi-Fi network and not your data plan. After you’ve done that, your picture will be so clear that next time you watch Walter White throw a pizza on his roof, tomato sauce will probably splash in your face.

    2. Access A Hidden Menu To Eliminate Buffering


    As far as first world problems go, it doesn’t get worse than buffering, but now there’s something you can do about it.

    Netflix has a secret menu you can access while watching videos in order to cut down on buffering during playback. To access the menu, perform the following action: Shift+Alt+Left Click (Shift+Option+Click on a Mac).

    After that, select the stream manager and manually match up the playback with the buffering rate. This should cut down on the buffering issues you’re experiencing, and your friends will think you’re the coolest.

    3. Use A Cheat Code To Log In On A Gaming System

    Being stuck in someone else’s Netflix account is the worst. Your preferences are all wrong, the recommendations are atrocious and anyone who stumbles in thinks you were the one who left off halfway through “Justin Bieber: Never Say Never.”

    As Lifehacker explains:

    If you want to log out of your account and login into someone else’s on a Xbox 360 or PS3, you just need to get into the debug menu. From the Netflix app’s main screen, hit the following buttons on your controller:

    Up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, up, up, up, up.

    In addition to logging out of an account, the debug menu can also help improve playback.

    4. Clear Your Netflix History To Stop The Haters

    tv show gifs

    Okay, so you’ve clicked on some embarrassing titles in Netflix. Who hasn’t? Somebody has to watch “Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3: Viva La Fiesta,” right?

    If you’re trying to clear your viewing history, you have a couple different options. The simplest way is through profiles. According to Netflix, you can have up to five different profiles for each account. Once these are created, all the preferences and everything you watch is associated with the profile you’re using. Deleting these profiles will clear all viewing history.

    The only issue is your main profile can’t be deleted. If you’re trying to remove the viewing history from your main profile, you must delete the account and resubscribe to Netflix. This may sound like a hassle, but it’s actually pretty easy and super worth it if you’ve been watching a few too many critically panned movies with George Lopez pretending he’s a Chihuahua. (We’ve all been there.)

    5. Turn Your Phone Into A Personal Netflix Remote


    Besides the debugging menu, another Netflix hack for PS3 is turning your smartphone into a remote. All you need to do is connect your gaming system and your phone to the same Wi-Fi network and log on to the same account in the Netflix app on both devices.

    Speaking of remote controls, there are also tricks you can use with a remote on an Apple TV, according to Tech of the Hub. Just hit the up arrow twice on the remote to display a banner with the thumbnail of the show, its description and a rating. Also, clicking the remote’s down arrow breaks up the program into 20 sections of equal length. By hitting the left or right arrows on the remote, you can jump between the sections.

    6. Use Keyboard Shortcuts To Binge-Watch Like A Pro

    tv show gifs

    Netflix has a variety of keyboard shortcuts you can use to improve your viewing experience. Here is a list via Reddit (for the Silverlight desktop version):

    Space – Toggle Play/Pause
    Enter – Toggle Play/Pause
    PgUp – Play
    PgDn – Pause
    F – Full-screen
    Esc – Exit full-screen
    Shift+Left arrow – Rewind
    Shift+Right arrow – Fast Forward
    Up arrow – Volume Up
    Down arrow – Volume Down
    M – Mute toggle

    Additionally, if you want to scroll through a video by frames, click Ctrl+Space and use the arrows to navigate forward or backward.

    7. Websites And Add-Ons Make Netflix Even Better


    When it comes to Netflix, there’s usually an app for that.

    Using InstantWatcher.com is a user-friendly way to navigate Netflix, allowing you to review titles, check out ratings, see what’s expiring and be connected directly to the video you want to watch by clicking on it.

    There are also a lot of different Chrome extensions, such as Netflix Enhancer, which can let you get more out of your streaming by showing you trailers and ratings.

    Bonus: Never Fall Asleep During Netflix Again

    During Netflix’s 24-hour hack day, the company discovered how to use a Fitbit to tell devices when a Netflix user had fallen asleep. Using this technology, you could doze off during a binge-watching session and start from the same point you left it at the next time you use Netflix, without having to scroll back through episodes.

    Though the technology is not available yet, there is one other guaranteed way to not fall asleep while binge-watching Netflix: Just turn off Netflix!

    tv show gifs

  • People Talk 'Brain-To-Brain' For First Time Ever
    Telepathy is a staple of science fiction–just think of Mr. Spock or the Jedi knights. But new research shows that mind-melds no longer belong only to the world of make-believe.

    An international team of scientists demonstrated what they call the first direct brain-to-brain communication, sending the words “hola” and “ciao” between two people thousands of miles apart.

    “We were able to directly and non-invasively transmit a thought from one person to another, without them having to speak or write,” study co-author Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone, a neurologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and a Harvard Medical School professor, said in a written statement.

    brain to brain communication
    Experimental set-up.

    How did they do it? Pascual-Leone and colleagues attached electrodes to one person’s brain in India and to the brains of three people in France, and then asked the person in India to “send a message” to the others.

    The researchers used an electroencephalogram, which records electrical activity in the brain, to detect the message from the sender’s brain.

    Then a computer translated the message into binary code and emailed it to France, where it was converted back into electric pulses and applied to the “receivers'” brains via a process called transcranial magnetic stimulation. The pulses produced flashes of light in the subjects’ peripheral vision, which they could decode to find the original message.

    brain to brain setup
    Photograph of message sender (left) and receiver during the experiment.

    It’s not the first time scientists have linked humans in a brain-to-brain interface. Last year, a University of Washington scientist successfully sent a brain signal over the internet to control and move the hand of his colleague.

    While current brain-to-brain interfaces are rudimentary, scientists envision a more sophisticated version of the technology that could facilitate communication for people who have problems speaking, such as stroke victims.

    “We hope that in the longer term this could radically change the way we communicate with each other,” Dr. Giulio Ruffini, a theoretical physicist at Starlab in Barcelona and co-author on the study, told AFP.

    The study was published online Aug. 19 in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Two Deer Stop Rush Hour Traffic On The Golden Gate Bridge
    It was rush hour on Friday in San Francisco, and traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge came to a grinding halt — all thanks to two rather unexpected guests.

    According to NBC News, two deer wandered onto the Golden Gate Bridge at around 5.30 p.m. and promptly stopped up the flow of traffic on three northbound lanes. The deer appear to have entered from the southern end of the bridge, the news outlet said, and were running toward Marin County.

    The duo reportedly got off the bridge safely and commuters were soon able to continue their journeys.

    It was Deer on the Golden Gate Bridge! Hope they are safe! Kind of awesome! pic.twitter.com/3TVyQ7RNYv

    — Rydalia (@Rydalia) September 6, 2014

    “You just don’t see this everyday,” wrote one Instagrammer who snapped a photo of the two deer sauntering across the bridge. “#deergate2014”

  • Why Using Your Smartphone At Night Is Destroying Your Sleep
    It’s a common habit most of us fall into. Who doesn’t send a few text messages or check their Facebook feed one last time before they fall asleep?
  • Astronauts Spot Cities From Space For A Geography Lesson That's Out Of This World
    Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are taking sightseeing to new heights.

    In the video above, viewers are invited to join Expedition 38 crew members Mike Hopkins and Rick Mastracchio as they pick out various cities on the planet’s slowly spinning surface.

    The footage was taken from the station’s Cupola, a multi-windowed observation module that’s a favorite spot for astronauts.

    cupola space
    In this image provided by NASA, astronauts Mike Kelly, left, and Ron Garan get their picture taken in the Cupola by astronaut Mike Fincke while he floats outside the International Space Station on Thursday May 26, 2011.

    Can you pick out the cities before the astronauts do? Watch the video to find out — and enjoy a geography lesson that’s literally out of this world.

  • AUDIO: Scientists 'make telepathy breakthrough'
    Research led by experts at Harvard University shows technology can be used to send a simple mental message from one person to another without any contact between the two.

Mobile Technology News, September 6, 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.

  • Malawi app 'teaches UK pupils a lesson'
    How a Malawi maths app is teaching UK pupils a lesson
  • Nev Schulman Explains How To Avoid Getting Catfished
    As a victim of fraudulent online dating himself, Nev Schulman knows what happens when using modern technology to find love goes wrong.

    At 23, Schulman connected with a woman online. The two exchanged flirty texts for months, then he traveled cross-country to meet her. What he came to find was that he’d actually been communicating with a middle-aged woman who had been masquerading behind pictures she’d lifted from a model. His experiences were chronicled in the documentary “Catfish,” which turned into an MTV series that connects two individuals communicating online. It also spawned the term “catfish,” which denotes the premise of being deceived via online dating.

    “I think any of the dating apps are fine, or dating websites,” he told HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps in an interview on Friday. “It’s just making sure you set a really strict and realistic guideline or parameter for how long you’ll communicate with someone before you meet them.”

    He recommends keeping the amount of texting time short so as to avoid projecting onto the individual you’re corresponding with.

    “If you’re serious about dating, the intention is to meet in person and feel the chemistry, hopefully, of being with someone, but if you go past … two weeks or a month of talking and chit-chat, or even three days depending on how aggressive you want to be, then you can start to feel things for someone,” he explained.

    Find out more about Nev Schulman and the “catfishing” phenomenon in his newly released memoir “In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age.”

    Watch the rest of Nev Schulman’s conversation with HuffPost Live here.

    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!

  • Man Dives Into An Active Volcano With A GoPro, Calls It A 'Window Into Hell'
    George Kourounis stood at the edge of a red-hot lava lake, fiery molten rock gurgling just feet away as caustic acid rain splashed his protective suit.

    It was a “window into hell,” he said. “Dramatic and violent.”

    Kourounis is an explorer and documentarian, and last month, he and fellow explorer Sam Cossman dived deep into the Marum crater, located in an active volcano in the archipelago of Vanuatu in the South Pacific — and the fearless duo brought cameras in with them to capture their momentous adventure.

    (Watch the astounding footage, taken with a GoPro, as well as with a Canon 5D Mark III camera and a Sony NX Cam, in the video above.)

    “Going down into the crater of Marum has been a dream of mine for many years,” Kourounis told The Huffington Post via email. “It was exhilarating, to say the least.”


    Kourounis, Cossman and two guides, Geoff Mackley and Brad Ambrose, spent four days on the volcano and descended twice into the crater. According to Kourounis, the descent was a whopping 1,200 feet. That’s “about as deep as the Empire State Building is tall,” he said.

    A documentarian who specializes in capturing extreme forces of nature, Kourounis — who has chased twisters and even got married at the edge of an exploding volcano — is no stranger to extreme adventure and danger. But the journey into Marum, he said, was one of the most intense experiences he’s ever had.

    “Getting to [Marum] was kind of like a reverse climbing of Everest,” he said. “The volcano fought back at us, and we had to deal with terrible weather, tremendous heat from the lava, descending and ascending 400 meters of near vertical, loose rock face, acid rain so strong that it could have come from a car battery, and a variety of other craziness.”

    Kourounis says he got so close to the lava that splashes of it melted a hole into his rain jacket and also a part of one of his cameras.

    “When you see that shot of me [in the video] looking like a little silver dot, next to what appears to be a waterfall of lava, that was an extremely dangerous spot to be standing,” he said. “It was a bit scary. If something were to have gone wrong. It would’ve happened quickly, and catastrophically.”

    It was, however, an “amazing expedition,” he said.

    We bet it was.


  • (VIDEO) Agency Trading Desks "Are Going to Have to Change Their Pricing Model," Forrester's Richard Joyce
    With publishers and advertisers embracing increasingly sophisticated software to buy and sell advertising on an automated basis, the advertising agency trading desks “are going to have look at how they provide value to marketers,” says Richard Joyce Senior Analyst at Forrester.   Joyce, who is the primary analyst covering programmatic advertising, joined the big research firm from Accuen, OMG’s agency trading desk.

    He says that the pricing model, based on commission-based percentage of media, needs to to some sort of performance or services basis.

    We spoke with him for “The Road to DMEXCO,” a series of interviews with industry leaders produced in New York, London and San Francisco sponsored by the automatic content recognition (ACR) technology provider Civolution.

    Please find more videos from the series here.  Beet.TV is a media sponsor of DMEXCO and will be covering the conference extensively.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • Man Who Called And Texted Ex-Girlfriend 21,807 Times Sentenced
    A man in France accused of calling and texting his ex-girlfriend 21,807 times over the course of 10 months has been sentenced to prison.

  • Can Apple Save the Music Business, Again?
    Can Apple and Beats Music make a difference in an industry that has been beaten down by online piracy and now streaming music services that can’t seem to get enough paying subscribers to be profitable?

    Caught in the middle of all this are musicians and songwriters who have seen their careers crater and their paychecks disappear. For many working artists the digital revolution has been a nightmare.

    Speaking out last May, just after the Beats deal was announced, Jimmy Iovine, Co-Founder of Beats Electronics and one of the few remaining music business icons, had this to say:

    We have a lot of dreams for the subscription service, it is very important to every recording engineer, producer, artist, songwriter and the music industry….we have to get this model right, we don’t know the exact model yet, but we need to put steroids into this thing and get it done quickly, Apple is the best company in the world… and 800 million subscribers doesn’t hurt either.

    In an interview at the Code Conference, literally hours after the Apple, Beats Electronics deal was announced. Mr. Iovine and Eddy Cue, long time head of iTunes, spoke in detail about Beats Music; its emphasis on curated playlists and their shared passion and respect for music. For those looking for something positive in an industry hammered by technology, this interview was nothing less than a revelation.

    Mr. Iovine was actually one of the first people from the music business to meet with Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue back in 2003 to see a demonstration of iTunes. Mr. Iovine ‘got it’ and helped Apple convince a doubting music industry to allow iTunes to sell music downloads.

    The sticking point? Jobs insisted that iTunes offer songs and not just albums for sale as digital downloads. Jobs was right. Widespread piracy was making music free for an entire generation and without an inexpensive solution even more people would have felt ‘entitled’ to get their music without paying.

    Now, a decade later, just hours after Mr. Iovine had officially joined Apple, the two men were together, once again, to see what they could do to save what’s left of the music business in 2014. For the first time, since Apple introduced the iTunes store over a decade ago, digital download sales of music were down. The challenge for Apple? How to promote Beats Music without destroying iTunes.

    Their solution may be in building a music streaming service rooted in discovery that transitions the listener to iTunes and creates an opportunity to sell more music to those who prefer to own it, not borrow it. And don’t underestimate Mr. Iovine’s value in putting together exclusive release deals with top artists. He’s not just connected, he has iTunes as part of the deal and in today’s marketplace, even the biggest artists are looking for ways to sell more music.

    Mr. Iovine understands that most people who listen to music don’t want to search for it. They want it simple and they want a human connection with the music they hear. As a music guy, he knows that It takes people who love music, and know music, to create great playlists, not the computer generated playlists that Pandora, Spotify and others use.

    “You need curation, not give me your credit card here’s 20 million songs. Of course you have to have the right curated playlists. Without it you don’t have the emotion.”

    Since those revelations back in May, Apple has been actively evaluating their options and making changes. Quietly eliminating Apps from their App Store that enabled users to download music, movies and e-books from sites like YouTube and even ending their relationship with Google’s YouTube. All moves designed to support the legitimate sale of recorded music.

    Even weeks before the rumors started about the Beats deal, an article ran in Bloomberg about Apple’s plans to incorporate a song identification feature in their next iOS upgrade for the iPhone and iPad. The article indicated that Apple was in talks with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate Shazam’s song recognition software in all their mobile devices.

    Shazam is actually one of the bright spots in today’s music business with over 70 million monthly active users, generating over $300 million in sales in 2013 for iTunes and other paid music download services. Currently, the Shazam App is on about 30 percent of Apple’s iPhones.

    But there’s more. Apple was recently granted a patent for speaker audio technology and is reported to have secured a huge chunk of additional Internet bandwidth, which among other things, can support the streaming of high quality audio files. Which raises the question, will Apple get more entrenched in the home entertainment business?

    Fast forward three months, to now. Some believe Beats Music will play a major role at Tuesday’s announcement, when Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 and the latest IOS upgrade. An upgrade, in all probability, that will include Beats Music with an extended free trial, a voice activated version of Shazam connecting directly to iTunes and 10 million new Beats Music Subscribers within days of the launch of iPhone 6.

    For Apple, Beats Music isn’t simply an acquisition, it is the logical next step in their evolution as a leader in online music distribution.

  • How My Son's Differences Are Extraordinary
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    In the TEDTalk My Autistic Brothers, Faith Jegede shares with us her experiences growing up with two brothers who have autism, one who does not speak with words, but with his heart, and her other brother who has a brilliant memory.

    Faith explains how her brothers’ differences became more apparent as they grew older. However, she has been able to look beyond their growing gap of differences and challenges to see the unique and extraordinary gifts inherent within both of her brothers.

    Just yesterday, I talked to a group of genetic medical students about what it is like to have a child with Down syndrome. I applaud the genetics professor for giving these students an opportunity to look beyond black and white test results, and consider the unique person within.

    I began my portion of the discussion with the students by describing the moment I received my son’s suspected diagnosis of Down syndrome, which was almost immediately after his birth. The results of a genetic test would take 72 hours, but all physical indicators confirmed our suspicions, so that when the test results did come in, they only proved what we already knew.

    I would guess every parent who has a child with special needs remembers that time of the initial diagnosis. It is a life changer for almost every parent, and, for me, it was a time of grief and loss of the expectations of a “normal” son and also ripe with the fear of the unknown.

    The oval shape of my son’s eyes was the first thing that confirmed the truth to me, that my son did in fact have Down syndrome. But, his eyes were a contradiction to me at the time. What confirmed the news of such sadness also revealed such love. I wanted to know him, love him and be the best mother I could be to him. Over seven years later, I am still swept away by the beauty and depth of his eyes.

    It is true that there are many challenges in living with a disability, and the gap between my son and his peers does grow every, single year. My son has hypothyroidism, low muscle tone and cognitive delays. He needs lots of movement and exercise to stay at a healthy weight and build his muscle strength. He also works with therapists on his fine motor skills and his speech.

    The state of his thyroid and the results of his therapeutic work can easily be measured in tests. It gives us a benchmark, a place to work from on setting new goals. Yet, even though this is an important part of our life with my son, it is not the whole of it.

    What can’t be measured in a test is the deep feeling of joy and pride when my son achieves a hard earned milestone. What can’t be measured in a test is how his slower pace and friendly, forgiving attitude has taught me to be a kinder and more compassionate person. What can’t be measured in a test is how he will start singing a song in a store, and all of a sudden people are laughing and smiling with one another. What can’t be measured in a test is how he has an uncontrollable giggle that can brighten the darkest mood. The list goes on. My son is not Down syndrome, he is a boy full of his own unique gifts and talents, who also happens to have Down syndrome.

    I told these students that many parents will be blinded by the test results as I once was. It will be hard for them to look beyond the list of challenges at first, and see the whole of the child within.

    As geneticists, if they truly wish to serve their clients in the best way possible, it will be to always remember the human component. Tests are essential but so are the countless things that can’t be measured.

    What is measurable about all of us is just a small part of our whole being. We all have innate gifts and talents, no matter our challenges and differences. We are all different, and, in so being, we are all extraordinary.

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

  • 3 Awesome Tech Gadgets You Need Now
    I’m a tech geek and nothing gets me as excited as stumbling upon a new gadget. I’m interested in just about anything cool that has an on/off switch, decent battery life and provides a practical utility. If there’s no practical use for it, then it has to at the very least be fun (for me or my kids!).

    To me, finding the latest, greatest tech gadget is almost as big a discovery as finding the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave. The three techie toys that I’ve been playing with lately have led me to question how I ever lived without them. These devices include a pocket LED projector (cool), a portable Bluetooth keyboard for up to three separate devices (practical) and a what is being called “a remote controlled car for the Smartphone Age” (fun). Let’s start with fun!

    OLLIE (Sphero)

    My kids love remote controlled cars, remote controlled boat and remote controlled helicopters and planes, but they really went crazy when they tried out Ollie. Most of the remote controlled toys that can be navigated via a mobile app on a Smartphone tend to get damaged because they are difficult to control and run into walls or just can’t handle the jumps and tricks. Ollie is one tough little robot though.

    Shaped like a small cylinder (about the size of a coffee mug), you can use either an iPhone or Android device to race, spin and tumble Ollie. I tried it out on a golf course because of the varied terrain and it was a lot of fun once I figured out how to unlock the different tricks and moves. The looks on golfers’ faces when they saw this little speed robot racing around the course was pretty funny (I was controlling it from about 30 yards away).

    Ollie has interchangeable tires and hubcaps for different terrain. The body features LED lights with millions of colors, a 30 meter Bluetooth range and the ability to reach speeds of over 14 miles/hour. The feature that teens will really like (it’s recommended for 8+) is the Connected Play capability. Users can race their Ollie against other devices and get points for more intricate maneuvers and tricks. The battery life runs for about an hour and there are automatic firmware updates to keep Ollie from collecting dust in the closet. It will retail for $100 when it begins selling in stores on September 15.

    Pocket Projector Pro–200 Lumens (Brookstone)

    I’ve been a fan of Brookstone’s LED projector for quite some time now and I’m finding myself recommending it to others all the time. It’s light weight but powerful beyond belief. I’ve used it on my travels to show a presentation during a lecture and then brought it back to my hotel to cast a movie on the wall of my room. It’s ideal for watching sporting events in the basement with large groups also because the 200 lumens light produces a great quality picture that only expensive LCD or plasma televisions can replicate.

    The ED lamp project can project images up to 100 feet diagonal and lasts up to 20,000 hours. The device is so small (4.8″ x 4.75″ x 1″) that it’s really easy to just throw in a briefcase or suitcase. Unlike less powerful projectors, Pocket Projector Pro doesn’t require a dark setting. The projector connects with a HDMI cable to most Smartphones, tablets, computers, video players and cameras. It will accept up to 1080p HD input and it will project 60″ images just 6 feet from screen making it perfect for classrooms. It also comes with 2 built-in speakers and an adjustable focus wheel. I’ve impressed guests this summer by showing movies in the backyard at night. The only thing it doesn’t do is make the popcorn. The projector retails for $449.99, but a less powerful 95 lumens versions sells for $313.13.

    Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard k480 (Logitech)

    When I travel I don’t always want to take a heavy laptop and sometimes I don’t feel like taking out my Cromebook just to shoot off a few emails before boarding my flight. So, I’ve been searching for a portable keyboard that will connect to a few of my mobile devices. Before getting the k480 I had to make sure I was grabbing the right portable keyboard for the mobile device I had with me. The k480 keyboard from Logitech lets you switch between three different Bluetooth connected devices. That means I can use this keyboard for my computer, phone and tablet, but I can also have it connected automatically to someone else’s phone or tablet (ideal for when one of my kids is doing homework on an iPad and needs to type).

    The k480 is the first keyboard designed for use with all major operating systems — Windows, Mac or Chrome OS computer, Android or iOS tablet or Smartphone. The idea behind it is simple — “You aren’t limited to a single device so why should your keyboard be?” It’s a simple process to pair the keyboard to the devices using Bluetooth which means that the setup only takes a minute. One of the features I like is the screenshot button on the keyboard which lets you quickly download an image of whatever you see on the screen. It’s easy to grab a screenshot from one device and then quickly move it over to the other connected device. The k480 keyboard comes in both white and black. It sells for $50.

  • 10 Things to Watch From the U.S. Open
    The U.S. Open is the largest annually-attended sporting event, with 700,000 people attending, and millions watching worldwide: a great brand-building opportunity. What are the 10 key things to watch from this year’s event?

    1. Some brands still think of communication as transmission

    Really? Yes. Just take a look at the on-court sponsors: JP Morgan, Citizen and Emirates. There are no visible marketing activities to inject meaning into the bald awareness-build, which means missed opportunities. At least Mercedes-Benz has significant weight of TV advertising and some interesting use of RFID (see below) and Chase has a witty campaign to launch its mobile app using John McEnroe and Andy Roddick. But all these brands need to do more. Read on.

    2. IBM looking to own Big Data

    The USTA has been using mobile, social, analytics and cloud for a while, but the IBM partnership has upped the ante this year to help people understand and engage with the action, with IBM communicating heavily behind the Big Data message. IBM analyzes 41 million data points from 8 years of Slam play, visualizes meaningful patterns and creates engaging apps. Trendcast is the most striking of the new mobile and social apps: it aggregates and filters social media comments, identifies key trends, engages with fans and offers sponsorship opportunities for the USTA. Another new piece of analytics is Keys to the Match, which identifies three actions players can take to increase their chances of winning.

    3. Heineken and branded experiences
    Would you be able to make the hustle and bustle of New York’s Union Square go silent? Heineken’s ‘Quiet Please’ event challenged people to sit in an umpire’s chair and do exactly that. One person managed to do it — take a look on YouTube to see how. Check out the brand’s Crack the U.S. Open Instagram mosaic with embedded codes that Digiday labelled, ” a new kind of scavenger hunt.” And if you get tickets to the Open, you’ll have a choice between the Red Star Café and Heineken House, featuring a culinary partnership with NY eatery No. 7 Sub.

    4. Moet blurring physical and digital

    Event-based digital activations have exploded this year, with everything from robots to world record-breaking challenges. One of the most eye-catching was how Moet has given #MoetMoment physical presence. How it works: you go to the Moet stand and take a photo of yourself in the life-sized Instagram frame in front of your favorite backdrop. Next, upload the picture, tagging it to enter into a draw to win Moet-brand glasses. The brand also buys geo-tagged promotional tweets and Facebook ads to amplify the social push.

    5. Fashion brands crossing over into sport

    Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Lacoste have made the move into fashion apparel for years now. We have also seen a new Stella McCartney range this year in partnership with Adidas, sported by Caroline Wozniacki. But the intriguing clothing trend is in the opposite direction, as high street brands with no sporting credentials start to clothe tennis stars: it started with Uniqlo and Novak Djokovic, and now we have H&M and Tomas Berdych.

    6. Amex and Mercedes flirting with RFID

    Amex is using RFID for its MyOpen Pass program: you are given a wristband with an embedded chip that collects data about your journey around Fan Experience, and later you receive an e-mail detailing your performance. Mercedes has introduced dashboard RFID-based parking tags, containing a scan-able barcode at Mercedes’ Brand Center, where you can win tennis gear and merchandise.

    7. Nike not so hot
    Nike used to be so good at creating wow experiences. Remember when they converted an old factory in a tough area of Paris during the French Open a couple years ago? They laid out tennis courts, hired a world-class local DJ and got Rafael Nadal to turn up and play with the local talent. We’ve seen nothing approaching that at this year’s U.S. Open. The best Nike has come up with is a staged appearance by Michael Jordan at Roger Federer’s first-round match.

    8. E-surance and social roaming

    Players sign autographs at E-surance’s booth. Calls to action are posted on Twitter, giving at-home viewers the chance to talk to players via tweets. The lucky ones get to video chat via webcam. All backed up by the TV campaign using the Bryan brothers and their roaming video-conferencing robots on the streets of New York.

    9. Starwood & Heineken activation

    Looking to ramp up awareness and membership of its Preferred Guest loyalty program, Starwood Hotels is experimenting with an on-line game and microsite. And Heineken, again, is innovating – challenging fans at its Open booth to set tennis-related world records, upload to recordsetter.com and win tickets for the men’s singles final.

    10. Multi-sensory inspiration

    And lastly, Patrick Gunderson — an IBM developer — is collaborating with James Murphy (aka LCD Soundsystem) to create the authentic soundtrack of the U.S. Open. Murphy will use the algorithms developed by Gunderson to encode a match’s action, along with weather data and crowd engagement, and turn these into music by ascribing musical values to each one: “we’re going to generate almost 400 hours’ worth of music.”

  • Rick Perry Lost Big With Tesla Deal
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s charms were apparently lost on electric carmaker Tesla.

    Despite Perry’s shoddy record on clean energy, the former Republican presidential candidate desperately wanted Tesla to build its $5 billion battery factory in the Lone Star State. Perry personally led negotiations with Tesla over its so-called Gigafactory, which is expected to create 6,500 jobs. The governor even drove a Tesla Model S through California’s state capital in June, in a public stunt that the Los Angeles Times found surmountable to “stalking.”

    “Tesla’s a big project,” Perry said during an interview with “Opening Bell” on Fox Business News in March. “I think the cachet of being able to say we put that manufacturing facility in our state is hard to pass up.”

    All for naught. On Thursday, Tesla settled on Nevada as the location for its $5 billion ‘Gigafactory,’ ending a monthslong contest with Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Tesla’s home state of California.

    “It’s disappointing; he’s got to face it as a disappointment,” Peter Cowen, the managing director of technology investment banking firm Clear Capital Advisors, told The Huffington Post on Friday. “This one was a high-stakes battle and he lost.”

    Part of the problem for Perry was a Texas law that bans car manufacturers from selling directly to customers. Because Tesla doesn’t franchise its dealerships, it can’t sell cars in the state. Though Perry said in March he wanted to lift the ban, it still proved to be a turn-off for the carmaker.

    The ban “doesn’t make us feel good as we look to build a plant” in Texas, Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development for Tesla, told The Huffington Post in June. O’Connell said economics would ultimately sway the company’s decision.

    A Tesla spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether the continued sales ban factored into its decision, instead forwarding along quotes from CEO Elon Musk’s press conference in Carson City, Nevada, on Thursday.

    Perry had cause for hope. Earlier this year, he convinced Toyota to move its headquarters from California to suburban Dallas. Texas has a state Enterprise Fund, established by Perry in 2003, to serve as a “deal-closing” coffer from which officials can draw to bolster Texas’s business bids in interstate competitions. To boot, Texas has no corporate income tax.

    Texas residents may have lucked out, as added incentives from the state could have ended up costing taxpayers. As it was, Texas was offering a tax package worth between $800 million and $900 million, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Nevada is coughing up $1.3 billion to seal its deal with the carmaker.

    A spokesman for Perry’s office did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment.

    Why Tesla picked Nevada is not totally clear. Musk said the reasons went beyond money.

    “This was not the biggest incentive package, it wasn’t just about the incentives,” Musk said at the press conference. “What the people of Nevada have created is a state where you can be very agile, where you can move quickly and get things done.”

    That may mean geography worked in Nevada’s favor. The ideal location for the company was probably California: It’s Tesla’s biggest market and fairly close to western Canada, where Tesla may soon begin getting some of its raw materials, according to Carter Driscoll, a senior analyst at the investment bank MLV & Co who covers Tesla.

    The Golden State wasn’t able to come up with an incentives packages on deadline, however. So neighboring Nevada may have proved the next best thing. Plus, there were those massive tax breaks. Perry can’t win ’em all.

  • China Telecom opens iPhone 6 preorders with mocked-up images, specs
    Carrier China Telecom has launched a preorder page for the iPhone 6 despite the device being unannounced, reports note. The page uses rendered mockups of the device, and makes claims about specifications. While three of these generally considered certain — a 4.7-inch screen, an A8 processor, and a Touch ID sensor — Telecom is also asserting that it will have a 416ppi resolution, a 2,100mAh battery, and a 3-megapixel front-facing camera.

  • Massive Chinese Company Files Biggest IPO In US History
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — China’s Alibaba Group is seeking to raise up to $24.3 billion in its upcoming IPO — an amount that would be the most raised by a company in a stock market debut.

    The e-commerce company and its early investors are hoping to sell up to 368 million shares for $60 to $66 apiece, according to a regulatory filing late Friday that sets the stage for Alibaba Group Ltd. to make its long-awaited debut on the New York Stock Exchange later this month. The documents didn’t spell out when trading would begin. The debut is likely to come somewhere from Sept. 18 through Sept. 26. The timing hinges on how many issues regulators raise with the IPO.

    The company’s management will begin to travel around the world next week to meet with money managers and other investors interested in investing in Alibaba’s IPO. If interest increases, the IPO price could be higher than $66 per share.

    Alibaba has emerged as a hot commodity because of its e-commerce bazaar, a shopping magnet for businesses and consumers alike as China’s economy steadily grows. The company’s network of sites includes Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress, as well as Alibaba.

    Most of Alibaba’s 279 million active buyers visit the sites at least once a month on smartphones and other mobile devices, making the company attractive to investors as computing shifts away from laptop and desktop machines.

    At $66 per share, Alibaba would debut with a market value of $163 billion. That would be more than all but a handful of technology companies, a testament to Alibaba’s stunning growth since former schoolteacher Jack Ma started the company in his apartment 15 years ago.

    Alibaba plans to sell 123 million of the shares, with the rest being offered by the company’s early investors, including Yahoo Inc., which is parting with some of its 22-percent stake.

    The fundraising target eclipses the $16 billion Facebook raised in 2012, the most for a technology IPO. It also would top the all-time IPO fundraising record of $22.1 billion set by the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in 2010, according to the research firm Dealogic.

    Even at $60 per share, Alibaba’s IPO would come close to matching the record set by the Agricultural Bank of China.

    Still, it’s possible investors won’t like what they hear during Alibaba’s upcoming management presentations, dropping the IPO price.

    In its last fiscal year ending March 31, Alibaba earned $3.7 billion, making it more profitable than eBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. combined. Amazon ended Friday with a market value of about $160 billion while eBay’s market value stood at $67 billion.

    Like China’s consumer and Internet market, Alibaba is still growing rapidly. The company’s revenue in its latest quarter ending in June surged 46 percent from last year to $2.54 billion while its earnings climbed 60 percent to nearly $1.2 billion, after subtracting a one-time gain and certain other items.

    Yahoo stands to make almost as much money from the IPO as Alibaba does. The U.S. company, which has been struggling to grow for years, is in line for a windfall of $7.3 billion to $8 billion by selling 121.7 million of is Alibaba shares. Yahoo has said it intends to distribute at least one half of its take from the Alibaba IPO to its own shareholders. That leaves open the possibility that Yahoo will use the remaining chunk of money to make acquisitions that could help its own revenue growth.

    Even after the IPO sale, Yahoo will still own nearly 402 million Alibaba shares, or a 16 percent. Yahoo’s stock climbed 81 cents to $40.40 in Friday’s extended trading after Alibaba set its IPO price range.

    Alibaba’s founder will be the biggest individual winner. Ma, 49, will pocket $765 million to $841.5 million by selling 12.75 million of his Alibaba shares. After the IPO, Ma will still retain a nearly 8 percent stake in the company worth $12.8 billion at $66 per share.

  • Internet Governence Forum Attendees Complain About Censorship in Turkey While Some Advocate It for Youth
    Censorship is very much on the minds of attendees at this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul. One reason, of course, is because the meeting is being held in a country that has censored the Web. Earlier this year the Turkish government blocked Twitter and YouTube for awhile and continues to block thousands of websites, including some that reportedly have content that goes against government ideology.

    But you don’t have to live in Turkey, Russia, China or Iran to be affected by censorship. Young people in every country — including the United States, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe — face it every day.

    Two hundred and twenty-three years after the U.S. passed the First Amendment to its constitution, kids are being censored online in school, in some libraries and in some homes. The stated reason for this censorship is to protect them from “harmful content,” but it’s not just a matter of blocking porn, hate sites or sites that promote self-harm. Many schools in the U.S., UK and Europe block social media sites, for example, even though Facebook and most other responsible sites have their own policies against so-called harmful content.

    Here at IGF, a number of speakers have advocated protecting children from such content for their own good, yet hardly any kids I’ve spoken with think Internet filtering is either appropriate or effective, except for young children.

    Olivia, a 15-year-old attendee from Denmark, made the point better than I can at a session here in Istanbul:

    “This is our world, the Internet we’re talking about here. You have to be with us in the world. You can’t keep us away from it. You have to talk with us about it…. You have to help your children instead of trying to control them.” (Quote courtesy of NetFamilyNews.org)

    The folks in that workshop applauded that comment but it didn’t stop several adults at various sessions from advocating more controls over the types of materials that young people can access.

    I didn’t get his name, but one attendee from the Turkish government spoke proudly about how his country was blocking “content that is harmful for children,” but he never defined what he meant by harmful content.

  • Facebook Is Just a Place for Narcissists and Neurotics to Show Off
    Everyone hates people who tend to seek attention and show off over-actively. However, I don’t understand why it’s well-tolerated on the Internet and why most of the people don’t realize that social networks, especially Facebook, have become just a place to create a fake self-image, please the ego and desperately seek attention.

    What was the initial purpose of Facebook? As I know, it was just to improve the communication between schoolmates. However, after 10 years we have something a “little bit” more than just a tool to communicate with your colleagues in a school or college. And I don’t see the purpose of today’s Facebook from the mentally-healthy person’s point of view anymore. This is why.

    People use Facebook to show off, not to share their life with you

    Just think about the last 10-15 status updates of your Facebook friends. The majority of them are over-edited photos from fabulous vacations, expensive purchases, brags about insignificant personal achievements, such as hitting the 5-miles milestone on the Endomondo sports tracker or just an attention-seeking selfie with a banal quote that has nothing to do with that “duck face” expression.

    And do you think these status updates are about sharing their life with you? So, let me ask you a question. How many times you saw these people sharing the really embarrassing moments or setbacks of their lives on Facebook? I mean, sincerely, without any intentions to get attention. The answer explains everything.

    Facebook activity is closely related to narcissism and neuroticism

    Recent research shows a link between your activity on Facebook and the degree to which you are a socially-disruptive person. Most of them reveal that the heaviest Facebook users are either neurotics or narcissists.

    Researchers at Western Illinois University found that people who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook and updated their status updates more regularly comparing to the ones who scored fewer. In addition to that, Eliot Panek, a psychologist at University of Michigan, describes Facebook and other social networks as a medium for narcissists to “construct and maintain a carefully considered self-image.”

    However, narcissists aren’t the only heavy users of Facebook. Neurotic folks are pretty active as well. Researchers revealed that neurotics tend to upload more photos per album than anyone else. Azar Eftekhar, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wolverhampton, explains neurotics’ heavy activity on Facebook as a compensation for their offline deficiencies.

    “As socially anxious individuals, they see Facebook [as] a safe place for self-expression and to compensate for their offline deficiencies,” Eftekhar explained in the interview with Live Science.

    Facebook harms people’s perception of reality

    During the Facebook IPO, Mark Zukerberg wrote an open letter describing Facebook’s purpose, value and social mission. In this letter, Mark stated, “People sharing more — even if just with their close friends or families — creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others.” And I completely disagree with this particular statement.

    There are tons of studies that reveal the dark sides of this, as Mark Zukerberg describes, “open culture.” Due to the fact that people tend to use Facebook as a self-expression tool, they usually embellish the truth and hide the unpleasant or embarrassing aspects of their lives. As a result, we see only the bright side of others’ lives. This really harms people’s perception of reality and, sooner or later, it can lead to the jealously and the feelings of inadequacy or resentment.

    Of course, I’m not talking about everyone. Some people use Facebook for really useful purposes such as initiating discussions on various relevant topics, sharing insights or just networking. However, for the majority Facebook is just a place to show off. So maybe we should leave those narcissist and neurotic folks alone there that they could finally choke from each other’s desire to seek attention.

  • That Time Pinterest Congratulated Women On Their Non-Existent Weddings
    Silly, Pinterest. Just because a woman pins a whole lot of wedding gowns, wedding rings and wedding decor doesn’t necessarily mean she’s planning an actual wedding.

    On Wednesday, the company sent out an email blast to some users congratulating them on their upcoming nuptials. Unfortunately, many of the recipients were single women who had just been quietly pinning bridal content for kicks, and not because someone had put a ring on it.

    After the incident, some women who received the email in error sounded off about the humorous mishap and lamented their single statuses on Twitter.

    Too many pins to my “dream wedding” board that Pinterest thinks I’m actually getting married..I can’t even get a bf.. pic.twitter.com/pIZzD1fl2w

    — IlianaBarron (@ilianaashley21) September 4, 2014

    no Pinterest. I just enjoy gathering fun ideas for a wedding that will never happen pic.twitter.com/EHJ1CFiC93

    — Lauren O’Brien (@laurobrizz) September 5, 2014

    I just got an email from Pinterest congratulating me on my upcoming wedding………….. Um, excuse me, Pinterest. I am not engaged.

    — Tay Mau (@taytay_maumau) September 5, 2014

    That’s karma for spending hours working on a non existent wedding board. Shoutout to Pinterest for rubbing in the loneliness.

    — Colleen (@collshmeen23) September 5, 2014

    That awkward moment when I pin so much wedding stuff that Pinterest thinks I’m getting married. pic.twitter.com/FPWDrkc6ZE

    — Kati Martinez (@kati_martinez) September 3, 2014

    i pinned wedding stuff on pinterest bc it was cute, so they sent me an email congratulating me on my upcoming wedding. not yet pinterest.

    — tessa isaac (@tessadanielle11) September 4, 2014

    On Thursday, Pinterest emailed an apologetic and good-humored statement regarding the incident:

    Every week, we email collections of category-specific pins and boards to pinners we hope will be interested in them. Unfortunately, one of these recent emails suggested that pinners were actually getting married, rather than just potentially interested in wedding-related content. We’re sorry we came off like an overbearing mother who is always asking when you’ll find a nice boy or girl.

    We forgive you, Pinterest. Just don’t let it happen again.

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

  • Technology Companies Need To Take Responsibility And Give Us A Better Default
    It’s no longer a surprise when you hear that a major company has the personal information of millions of their customers compromised. Every day identity theft becomes more of a problem, passwords become an even less reliable defense, and the threats you face online become more sophisticated. Yet the vast majority of the time, things still seem fine; your life really isn’t impacted that much. You only become fully aware of how poorly protected you are online when you or someone you know become a target.

    With the recent news that dozens of female celebrities had their property stolen and maliciously released to the public without their consent, people are worried that they might be next – and they are wondering what photos they may have taken in the past. At this moment, the pitfalls of cyber-security feel like an abstract issue and more like a real problem that everyone will have to deal with at some point. Articles explaining how to disable cloud backups are already making the rounds. But the reality is that this type of thing happens all the time online, it just doesn’t make the headlines. There’s an entire sick, seedy subculture devoted to exploiting security loopholes to expose, embarrass, and harass people – especially young women.

    We have all seemed to collectively ignore the advice on how to responsibly use our devices. Technology allows us to do so many things immediately that we don’t really pay attention to the theoretical possibilities involving long-term risks. Instead, it’s far more productive to examine how we can develop a privacy and security situation that works to protect us by reducing our chances of being at risk.

    But that will require a change in thinking. Too often technology companies have put your security second to their priorities, and that has a real cost. Whether it’s Apple promoting iCloud integration, Facebook testing a new feature, or Google mandating sharing on its networks, the burden is passed on to you. You have to figure out what it means, whether you actually want it, and determine if you are even allowed to not participate. That’s been great for business – but users are having to deal with the consequences without adequate preparation or explanation.

    Compare the amount of attention that goes into the magical experience of opening a new iPhone box versus the confusing mess that is your Photo Stream settings.

    Yes, we still need companies to make two-factor authentication mandatory, institute rate limits on passwords, and implement other common sense practices that should been reviewed long ago. Far more research needs to be done on usable and intuitive security practices. Privacy policies need to become readable, supplemented with easy to understand information and defined in overarching philosophies. Alternatives to the password should continue to be developed and tested — but all of these things will eventually become inadequate.

    New technologies and features will come out that will challenge the status quo and require us to revisit the way we configure settings. The pace of technology today makes it quite impossible to stay ahead of the curve. It’s enormously difficult to completely secure something that is constantly changing and growing. The people who work at these companies have good intentions but limited resources, and it’s understandably difficult to align the priorities of everybody involved.

    What’s needed is a serious acknowledgement by the industry that your security and privacy online are directly linked. When a person can’t easily follow how their information is stored, shared, and managed, they are far more likely to be at risk. The only practical solution is to give users default settings that are more in line with human behavior. The more we rely on technology and the deeper it becomes engrained into our everyday activities, the more important that becomes.

    The devices we have are designed to be addictive, personalized – even intimate. The allure of technology is how natural it feels, we learn to coexist with the possibility of massive embarrassment and failure that are constantly looming. Technology companies have done an incredible job of knocking down the barriers between the digital and physical world, especially when it comes to our identity and relationships. Yet they have not held up their end of the bargain in giving us a safe, secure space to be ourselves. We deserve to have an internet that is optimized for our interests.

    This article originally appeared on Forbes – Disruption and Democracy. Check out my upcoming book, Identified: How They Are Getting To Know Everything About Us

  • The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
    This week we lost one of the greats.

    We’re still reeling over the death of comedian and trailblazer, Joan Rivers. But if we learned anything about Rivers during her prolific career, it was that she was the Queen of Snark. So what better way to pay tribute to her comedic genius than by sending some sarcastic, witty Someecards.

    We rounded up the best cards of the week so send away, because we know Joan wanted us all to keep laughing.

  • Friday Deals: iPhone 5s, Xbox One with free game, Intel SSD, More
    It’s that time of the week again! Every Friday afternoon, we’re going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best deals on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, and any sales may not be valid if you’re reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy. We do add deals over the weekend, so keep checking!

  • AppleCare+ headed to Australia in 'coming weeks'
    AppleCare+ plans should be on sale in Australia in the next few weeks, a source says. Apple Store workers are expected to start sales training within days. Unlike regular AppleCare plans, AppleCare+ options include reduced fees for fixing accidental damage to iPhones and iPads. It’s not clear what those fees might be in Australia, nor what the overall plans will cost.

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