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Mobile Technology News, October 31, 2014

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

  • #BeenRapedNeverReported Trending On Twitter As Women Share Stories Of Sexual Violence
    A powerful hashtag began trending on Twitter on Thursday night as women who had been victims of sexual violence — but never reported it — spoke out against rape.

    The hashtag, #BeenRapedNeverReported, appears to have been started by Antonia Zerbisias, a writer for The Toronto Star who has been tweeting in support of actress Lucy DeCoutere.

    DeCoutere is one of nine women to accuse former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi of sexual violence, and one of two to publicly come forward. Her accusations led to the rise of the #ibelievelucy hashtag. Tweeting in support of DeCoutere and other women who have come forward with stories of their own, Zerbias started the #BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag:

    #ibelievelucy #ibelievewomen And yes, I’ve been raped (more than once) and never reported it. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — Antonia Zerbisias (@AntoniaZ) October 30, 2014

    If all women who’ve been raped stepped out of our shame & shared, we would make the stigma go away! #BeenRaped#NeverReported #ibelievelucy

    — Antonia Zerbisias (@AntoniaZ) October 30, 2014

    Other women quickly joined in and their tweets were both harrowing and heartbreaking:

    Hard to admit this hashtag relates to me. Was so close to getting away; still see my hand on the doorknob sometimes. #beenrapedneverreported

    — Ann Davenport (@ann_davenport_) October 31, 2014

    Being raped was horrible. Trying to report it & then being made to feel it was my fault was worse. #beenrapedneverreported

    — kittypoet (@kittypoet) October 31, 2014

    I had already lost my childhood, my virginity and my self worth I was afraid, and I didn’t want to lose any more. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — Gabrielle Miller (@MillerGabrielle) October 31, 2014

    #beenrapedneverreported a guy tried to rape me at McGill, saved when roommate walked in. Thx for everyone’s honesty here

    — Susan Swan (@swanscribe) October 31, 2014

    Black women rarely report rape because this nation has been taught that we are UnRapeable #BeenRapedNeverReported http://t.co/uFXZ7x1jrY

    — ♿Persephone Jones♿ (@galvezmiro) October 31, 2014

    If you’re nervous to post to #BeenRapedNeverReported, yes it’s terrifying, but equally liberating and powerful. Set the shame free.

    — Nadine Silverthorne (@scarbiedoll) October 31, 2014

    Some men, including author Neil Gaiman, tweeted their words of support and empathy:

    Reading the #BeenRapedNeverReported hashtag. It’s hard reading. Makes me slightly ashamed to be human & much more ashamed to be male.

    — Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) October 31, 2014

    #BeenRapedNeverReported is trending in #SF. Not sure I’ve got the courage & strength to check that hashtag. Need to find them somehow.

    — SF Bud (@SF_Bud) October 31, 2014

    I believe you.
    It’s not your fault.
    You have options.
    I’m here for you.
    I stand with you. #BeenRapedNeverReported

    — tim (@tim2pt0) October 30, 2014

    This is one of the most powerful hashtags i’ve ever read #BeenRapedNeverReported Please read and do all you can to prevent this in future.

    — Josh Elman (@joshelman) October 31, 2014

    Visit Twitter to read more #BeenRapedNeverReported tweets.

  • Swarm for Windows Phone Updated with New Features

    Swarm for Windows Phone has been updated with several new features including the ability to search your check-in history from within the app.  The update, version for those keeping score, is available now in the Windows Phone store online or through the Store app on your phone. If you aren’t familiar with it, Swarm is the check-in and meet up app from Foursquare.  This is the dedicated app for such activities after Foursquare separated it from the original Foursquare app which is more about localized content now.  I’m personally not a big fan of the separated apps but I

    The post Swarm for Windows Phone Updated with New Features appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • OneDrive Storage Increases Rolling Out to Office 365 Users

    Earlier this week Microsoft announced that Office 365 customers would have their current 1TB of OneDrive storage increased to an unlimited amount.  This was big news and I think it is a show of force by Microsoft that they are serious about being the cloud storage leader in the market.  This morning it appears that this massive increase in OneDrive storage is starting to happen for some users. This morning I went to my OneDrive account and noticed in the lower left corner that my 1TB account now stated 10TB.  I checked on my Account settings page and sure enough,

    The post OneDrive Storage Increases Rolling Out to Office 365 Users appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Microsoft and Verizon Working On Lumia Cyan Update

    Months behind their competition, Verizon and Microsoft are finally working on the Lumia Cyan update for customers.  The news comes from Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore via his Twitter account where in two separate Tweets gives everyone an update on the update for Verizon customers. In the first Tweet, Belfiore states that Lumia Cyan is coming to Verizon but it will be “farther off” This isn’t great news for Verizon customers given that AT&T has Lumia Cyan and Windows Phone 8.1 out on their devices and T-Mobile will have it out on all of their devices shortly.    Still, I suppose it is

    The post Microsoft and Verizon Working On Lumia Cyan Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • A WW2 technology 'Plan B' for GPS
    Technology developed during World War Two is to be used as a back-up for GPS in ports across England and Scotland.
  • Fashion challenge for Apple's Ive
    Can Apple design guru Jony Ive turn the smartwatch into a hit?
  • VIDEO: Lab for world’s worst animal viruses
    A look around a new lab at Pirbright Institute in Surrey, where the world’s most contagious livestock viruses will be kept.
  • Super Slow Motion Surfing Video Is Heavy And Beautiful
    No wave will ever look heavier than it does at 1,000 frames per second. That super slow frame rate will also give everyone a whole new appreciation for the athleticism and risks in surfing. Shot with $235,000 worth of Phantom Camera equipment, a video by surf cinematographer Chris Bryan features some of the finest surfers in the world doing what they do best — all in super slow motion.

    It makes for an astonishing 6 minutes.

    The athleticism of surfers is often overlooked (thanks Spicoli stereotypes), but the enormous talent displayed in this video refuses to be ignored. With that many frames per second, every ebb and flow of the water — surfing’s ever-changing playing field — is dramatically jaw-dropping.

    Pro circuit favorites John-John Florence and Kelly Slater make impressive appearances in the video. We just wish we could watch Slater’s now-legendary 540 in slow mo. But that might make our heads explode.

  • Giveaway: Trick or Treat! Win a Kaebo Lightning to USB cable!
    As many observe in this country, tomorrow is Halloween, and as such MacNN has a bag of treats to give away to our readers. We are going to be handing out prizes to lucky little ghosts and ghouls who participate. Keep an eye out for the selection of treats that we have to offer for the rest of today and tomorrow. Beware, some of the items we list will be tricks! First up we have 3 JunoPower Kaebo Lightning cable connectors to give away. Read on to learn more.

  • The metal detectors saving marriages
    The metal detectorists saving marriages
  • Man Indicted For Allegedly Impersonating Winklevoss Twins
    A San Francisco man allegedly infiltrated the rarified world of Wall Street banking by impersonating a pair of famous tech entrepreneurs, according to an indictment announced in Manhattan’s district court this week.

    Arun Ganguly, 37, allegedly sent investors hundreds of emails in which he pretended to be Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the twin brothers and Olympic rowers whose famous feud with Mark Zuckerberg over ownership of Facebook was depicted in the film “The Social Network.”

    Ganguly also impersonated the twins’ father, Howard Winklevoss, and other tech heavyweights, according to the indictment.

    Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said in a statement that “the masquerade has come to an end.”

    “The lengths to which the defendant is alleged to have gone to represent himself as a well-connected power player are truly astounding,” he said.

    Ganguly wasn’t just curious about what life is like for the 1 percent. He adopted the phony personas to make money, according to the indictment.

    The alleged deceptions began in 2012, after Ganguly’s contract as a consultant to a New York investment firm expired. In an attempt to convince the firm to rehire him, Ganguly at first allegedly claimed to be close friends with the Winklevoss brothers and with Divya Narenda, another Harvard graduate associated with the founding of Facebook. He told the managing director of the firm, identified by Reuters as Carl Kleidman, then of Vision Capital, that he could get the brothers to invest millions in Kleidman’s private equity fund.

    Eventually he began sending emails and signing documents as the Winklevoss twins themselves, according to the indictment. The firm paid him more than $25,000 in fees.

    Ganguly has pleaded not guilty to 52 counts of identify theft, among other charges. His lawyer, Vinoo Varghese, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Tyler Meade, a lawyer representing Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, told HuffPost that the twins first discovered evidence of a scam six months ago. “They immediately brought in an investigative team, turned over their findings to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and have worked closely with them ever since,” he said.

    In “The Social Network,” actor Armie Hammer received acclaim for his portrayal of both Winklevoss brothers. He may not have been the last to attempt the feat.

    Correction: An earlier version of the story mistakenly identified Tyler Winklevoss as Travis.

  • Probe Of Possible Ferguson Grand Jury Leak On Twitter Wasn't Exactly In-Depth
    WASHINGTON — St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch stated definitively on Thursday that a Twitter account claiming inside knowledge of the grand jury deliberating whether to charge the police officer who killed Michael Brown “had, indeed, been hacked.” But a spokesman for McCulloch revealed that his conclusion was based solely on an interview with the St. Louis County woman associated with the account and a search of her computer.

    Susan M. Nichols had operated a Twitter account under the name @thesusannichols. In early October, a tweet sent from the account indicated that the user knew “someone sitting on the grand jury of this case” and that there wasn’t enough evidence to charge Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson in Brown’s death. The message was quickly deleted, and Nichols began telling multiple media outlets that her account had been hacked and that she had not used it in months.

    McCulloch said after the possible leak that he would be “shocked if a member of the grand jury said anything.” On Thursday, he announced that his office had concluded that the account was hacked “and the origin/author of the tweet is unknown.”

    McCulloch spokesman Ed Magee told The Huffington Post that Nichols had voluntarily spoken with investigators and never went under oath. While Nichols also allowed investigators to look at her computer, they did not examine her cell phone or any other electronic devices she might own, Magee said.

    “She said she has nothing to do with it, and that’s what we went by and we couldn’t prove otherwise,” Magee said. “She was very cooperative, came in and talked to us.” She didn’t have a lawyer, he said.

    McCulloch’s office subpoenaed Twitter for information about @thesusannichols, but the company said it didn’t have IP logs affiliated with the account, according to Magee. (Twitter’s website says some information like IP logs “may only be stored for a very brief period of time.”) Investigators did not look for information associated with @smde7763, the Twitter handle that @thesusannichols adopted shortly after attention was called to the original username, because Magee said it was “a different account.” (But the two Twitter handles have seemingly identical histories of tweets going back over a year.)

    Magee said the investigation was complicated by the fact that there was “no crime that she committed” and that Nichols was talking to the office voluntarily. McCulloch’s statement on Thursday said that Nichols “has no connection with any member of the grand jury.”

    Before @thesusannichols sent out the tweet claiming insider knowledge about the grand jury, the account was actively discussing what was happening in Ferguson. Whoever was operating the account under Nichols’ name claimed to be wearing a bracelet in support of Officer Wilson in late September. “Here’s a thought. Don’t raise your kids to be thugs. #Ferguson,” the account said in late August. Amid tweets about the 16th season of the reality show “Big Brother” and retweets about #Benghazi, the account also said that protesters “disgrace the STL [St. Louis] name.”

    A woman returning a phone call left for Susan M. Nichols said she had nothing to say. “I’m not interested, no comment,” she said.

  • Pangu iOS 8.1 jailbreak gets Cydia, will get English within 24 hours
    The Pangu iOS 8.1 jailbreak tool is now being bundled with Cydia, and will get an English translation within 24 hours, its developers say. Cydia is commonly used to simplify jailbreaking, partly by offering an easy way to install unapproved apps. When the Pangu code was released earlier this month, it was only in Chinese and in a rudimentary form intended for developers.

  • The Uber for Gentleman Companions
    “ManServants” are not hookers. They are not escorts. They are not gigolos.

    Dalal Khajah and Josephine Wai Lin – the two women behind the freshly launched, completely real San Francisco business that sends attractive men to do the bidding of (mostly) female clients for an hourly rate – would emphatically like you to know this.

    “The Ladies” of ManServants (not my embroidery –“The ladies” is their shared email address) emphatically wanted me to know this when they made nervy, cautious arrangements for me to experience their “signature service” in the American citadel of sex work and absurd technological enterprise.

    Read the full post on Matter, where it first appeared.

    Follow posts like this from Matter on Twitter and Facebook.

    Photo by Peter Bohler.

  • Evidence of Abundance #16: 1,000 Times Cheaper to Launch a Startup

    Today, it’s 1,000 times cheaper to start an Internet company than 14 years ago. That’s amazing!

    Today’s evidence of abundance is about this plummeting cost of launching an Internet startup.

    In 2000, just before the first dot-com bubble burst, it cost a whopping $5 million to launch a tech startup.

    Watch what happened, though, as open source communities, cloud computing, and developer-founded companies came into vogue over the next 11 years:

    As of 2011, it cost about $5,000 to launch a tech startup.

    These days, the barrier of entry to entrepreneurship is even less, thanks to crowd-powered technologies like incentive competitions, crowdfunding and crowd content creation.

    It’s never been easier to share your ideas and passions with the world. And, as you’ve heard me say, it’s only getting better.

    P.S. Please send your friends and family to peterdiamandis.com to sign up for these blogs — this is all about surrounding yourself with abundance-minded thinkers. If you want my personal coaching on these topics, consider joining my Abundance 360 membership program for entrepreneurs.

  • Get Creative with Social Media: Expand your Network and Realize Your Vision Through Online Collaborations
    Have you considered how using social media today can help you realize your vision and accomplish your long-term goals? Whether you are a student contemplating career paths, a young entrepreneur seeking to establish your business, or an experienced professional you can grow through social media by engaging in insightful conversations and supporting the leaders, projects and organizations you care about.

    Allow me to share with you my recent experience using twitter to support the vision of a Latina entrepreneur as one of many examples of social media’s potential to be a tool for growth.

    Deborah Deras, international speaker and Principal of Synergy Unlimited, produced and hosted the Global Latino Summit, the first online conference celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. Through a series of daily conversations with successful entrepreneurs in technology, finance, entertainment, spirituality, health and other fields, Deras created a space for transformational conversations at no cost. Her mission for the conference was to use the power of collaboration to inspire others to take the action and make the decisions necessary to go on their desired professional and personal paths.

    It was through my twitter feed that I discovered the Global Latino Summit official website where I read the impressive and diverse backgrounds of the speakers. I decided to invest my time and skills to contribute to the success of this conference. My first step was to share what seemed to be a thought-provoking conference with people in my network.

    Furthermore, I tweeted the highlights of each day’s conversation to the @GlobalLatinoSum conference handle and to each corresponding speaker. After several days of doing this and interacting with Deras and the speakers I was supporting through my tweets, Deras asked whether I was interested in joining the conference social media team. I gladly accepted the offer and as the official Global Latino Summit Correspondent continued to share the invaluable messages, advice, and resources given by each leader or as Deras calls them, trailblazers.


    My active engagement with the Global Latino Summit team and speakers is enriching my life in unimaginable ways. As a young Latina leader it is inspiring to learn from the experiences of successful Latino trailblazers demonstrating “que si se puede”, yes we can. From their journeys I was reminded that a key to success is owning our voice and embracing our unlimited potential to create products and services that transform our communities and lives. As a nation we are stronger when we are able to find and pursue our calling and it is opportunities like the Global Latino Summit that can be catalysts for us to embark on that journey.

    This online conference exemplifies the power of technology and social media to build connections and create opportunities with immeasurable ripple effects. The conference bridges the gap of the digital divide that precludes brown and black communities from accessing information. It is up to us to take the initiative to reap those benefits and to support the continuous success of these online initiatives. Social media is providing an unprecedented level of access to decision makers, advocates, and experts in all fields but it is up to us to get creative with the online tools at our fingertips.

    A common theme in the conference was the concept of servant leadership as a way of reaching higher success by supporting the growth of others. When we genuinely use the resources and skills we currently have to support others we will naturally benefit from the collaboration in unthinkable ways. “With the power of synergy, anything is possible”, believes Deras.

    Every single one of us has an interest we wish to pursue or vision we would like to make a reality, so why not use social media to take the first step? We need to encourage each other to reflect on the ways in which we can be servant leaders in our online and offline communities. In what small and big ways can we use the tools available to us to collaborate with others on a common goal?

    No matter where we are in our personal or professional path, having the life we want starts with taking action today. If you want some inspiration and resources, consider ordering the audio and transcripts of the month-long dose of inspiration from the Global Latino Summit trailblazers. Together let’s give each other the tools to empower ourselves to become our best selves and to be the change we wish to see in our homes, communities, country and world.

  • Seth Rogen Might Play Steve Wozniak In Steve Jobs Biopic
    According to TheWrap, Sony wants Seth Rogen to play Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak in the studio’s new Steve Jobs biopic. But a source close to production told HuffPost Entertainment that Rogen didn’t even have a formal offer yet. If a deal is worked out, however, Rogen would appear opposite Christian Bale in the film. Bale was cast as Jobs earlier this month after Leonardo DiCaprio bowed out of consideration.

    Wozniak and Jobs founded Apple together in the 1976, though Wozniak left the company in 1987. He is credited as designing both the Apple I and Apple II computers. Josh Gad previously played Wozniak 2013’s “Jobs,” which starred Ashton Kutcher. “I had such high hopes for this movie and, oh, it was so hard to say that it let me down a bit and it fell a bit flat,” Wozniak told ABC News.

    Based on Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, this new film was written by Aaron Sorkin and will be directed by Danny Boyle. Head to TheWrap for more on Rogen’s possible involvement in the film, which also might include Jessica Chastain.

  • The 29 States Where You Can Still Be Fired For Being Gay
    Tim Cook came out as gay in an essay in Businessweek on Thursday. He said that the unequal treatment LGBT employees face all over the country was a critical factor in his decision.

    “I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences,” Cook wrote. “Not everyone is so lucky.”

    Indeed, there is no federal law protecting LGBT workers against discrimination based on their sexual orientation. And while some states and cities have passed their own protections, there are still 29 states where you can actually be fired for being gay, leaving more than half of all total workers vulnerable to employment discrimination.

    Most Americans incorrectly think that this problem has already been solved. A 2013 HuffPost/YouGov poll found that 69 percent of Americans think that firing people for being gay is illegal.

    A proposed federal law called the Employment Non-Discrimination Act would provide protections for all LGBT Americans working for employers with at least 15 employees. It’s been introduced in nearly every Congress since 1994, but has never passed.

    Apple’s home state of California has some of the most robust anti-discrimination laws in the country, and the company itself is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights.

    “If hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy,” Cook wrote in his essay.

  • Guy Gets Haunted By Snapchat Ghost In The Most '2014' Halloween Sketch Ever
    Snapchat can get pretty wild, but this ghost took it to the next level.

    The funny folks at FLAMA put together this sketch about a sensitive guy who gets scared easily — and who really isn’t thrilled when he thinks his friends are sending him creepy Snapchats right in the middle of their argument over the pronunciation of the word “salmon.”

    The truth is scarier than he ever imagined.

Mobile Technology News, October 29, 2014

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

  • R.L. Stine Writes An Entire Short Story On Twitter Called 'What's In My Sandwich?'
    Prolific author R.L. Stine is celebrating Halloween a little early this year by publishing his latest story entirely on Twitter.

    Stine, who has introduced entire generations of children to the horror genre, recently resurrected his “Fear Street” series with the new book “Party Games,” thanks in large part to a Twitter campaign that went viral.

    On Tuesday night, the social network became the home of his latest work, distributed in “chapters” of 140 characters or less:

    I am going to try to write a story live on Twitter now. The story is called “What’s In My Sandwich?”…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    People call me a loser, but that’s going to change. I was in a little diner downtown and I ordered an egg salad sandwich…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..I was about to bite down on it when I noticed something moving in the egg salad. Was I imagining it? No…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..I saw a hairy, three-fingered claw push a clump of egg out of the way. I saw two round black eyes. A fur-covered face…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..The creature poked out of the sandwich, sending egg salad tumbling onto the plate. It was the size of a fat beetle…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..But it wasn’t an insect. It had a furry head and eyes that peered into mine. Before I could react, a second creature poked out…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..And then a third. My sandwich was infested. My stomach lurched. “Is everything okay?” the waitress asked…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..”Yes. Fine,” I said. “Could you wrap this sandwich to go?” Finding hairy things in your sandwich is gross…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..But I knew this sandwich would make me a winner. The sandwich would turn my life around…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..Discovering a new life form had to make me rich. I carried the sandwich home carefully and set it on a table…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..I didn’t hear my son Willy come home. When I finally saw him, he had egg salad on his face…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..Yes, he ate the sandwich. If only I could have stopped him. Now the creatures are biting holes in his stomach…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..They are biting holes in Willy from the inside, poking their furry heads out of his stomach, chewing his flesh…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..Okay. A minor setback. But I’m not giving up. Willy is screaming in agony. The poor guy is terrified…

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    ..I’m so excited. Where is my camera? Willy is going to make me rich. ##

    — R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) October 29, 2014

    There you have it, a mini R.L. Stine masterpiece, delivered in 15 tweets (including the title).

    Stine has had some practice doing this. In February 2012, he tweeted the story of a haunted kitchen. And on Halloween that same year, Stine tweeted a spooky story complete with instructions on how it should be read aloud.

    On Thursday, Stine will be taking over Scholastic’s social media accounts to chat with fans via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more.

  • Need Help? Visit The Windows Phone Community

    Even the most seasoned Windows Phone user from time-to-time needs a little bit of help.  An app is not behaving or there is a strange WiFi issue with the latest update or simply to get a suggestion on how to do something with your phone.  There are plenty of blogs and sites out there to help but sometimes reaching a broader audience – a global audience – is what you need.  That is where Windows Phone Community can be a huge help and frustration saver. The Windows Phone Community is part of the Community pages from Microsoft.  These self-help site

    The post Need Help? Visit The Windows Phone Community appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • British Airways App For Windows Phone Gets A Major Update

    The British Airways app for Windows Phone has received a much needed and impressive update today.  The new app is available now in the Windows Phone Store and is free to download.  The update, version 2.4 for those keeping score, brings enhancements such as live tiles and check-in for your flight via the app. The new user experience of the British Airways app is the most obvious and notable change.  It looks and feels much fresher than the previous release which was little more than a web app in a wrapper.  This new version looks and functions like a modern

    The post British Airways App For Windows Phone Gets A Major Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Apple reveals that iOS 8 has topped 50 percent adoption
    As of October 27, iOS 8 was installed on 52 percent of eligible devices, Apple has announced in a posting on its developer website. While far slower than the take-up rate of iOS 7 last year, the milestone was achieved in a little less than six weeks’ time — still far faster than comparative figures for other mobile and desktop platforms. Early delivery and quality glitches in iOS 8 — most notoriously the short-lived 8.0.1 bugfix release — may have made the public more gun-shy about trusting later updates.

  • White House Hit With What Appears To Be Sustained Cyberattack
    WASHINGTON — The White House computer network has been hit by what appears to be a sustained cyberattack, administration sources told HuffPost.

    The White House — or the Executive Office of the President (EOP) — regularly gets hit with hapless cyberattacks from all corners of the web, but the one revealed Tuesday, said people familiar with the situation, has been much more significant in duration and strength, putting the system on the fritz for nearly two weeks, if not longer.

    A White House official confirmed on Tuesday that the White House had “identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network.” Network outages are not uncommon in the White House, but they typically last no more than a few hours. For the system to be damaged for days on end indicates an attack of significant strength.

    “Certainly a variety of actors find our networks attractive targets and seek access to sensitive government information. We are still assessing the activity of concern, and we are not in a position to provide any additional details at this time,” the White House official said in a statement.

    The network outages have been a defense mechanism, White House staff were told in an internal note obtained by HuffPost. “Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity that users have been experiencing is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks,” the email reads.

    White House press pool reports sent by email Tuesday night were “significantly delayed,” according to pool reporter Steven T. Dennis of CQ Roll Call. “Some people are getting pool reports significantly before other people,” Dennis reported. He said later that the pool report delays “appear to now be resolved.”

    The full White House internal email lays out the situation to staff. (NSC is National Security Council.)

    As you are aware, technical issues have resulted in limited access to some EOP network services. We understand that many users depend on these capabilities, and we apologize for what we know is an inconvenience. Some of these issues have been resolved, and we have also been working with EOP component heads and NSC Senior Directors to put in place a number of interim measures to help employees work on high priority requests as we continue to resolve the remaining issues as soon as possible.

    Some of these issues have been resolved, and we have also been working with EOP component heads and NSC Senior Directors to put in place a number of interim measures to help employees work on high priority requests as we continue to resolve the remaining issues as soon as possible. With those measures in place, we want to share additional information so you are aware of what is causing these technical issues.

    The Executive Office of the President receives alerts concerning numerous possible cyber threats on a daily basis. We take each of these threats very seriously, and we regularly evaluate our security measures and take action to defend our networks and mitigate those threats.

    In the course of assessing recent threats, we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network. Any such activity is something we take very seriously. In this case, we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity. Our actions are ongoing, and some have resulted in temporary outages and loss of connectivity for our users.

    Our computers and systems have not been damaged, though some elements of the unclassified network have been affected. The temporary outages and loss of connectivity that users have been experiencing is solely the result of measures we have taken to defend our networks.

    We appreciate your patience as we continue to work with you to provide you the capabilities you need as soon as possible. If you are contacted on this issue by anyone outside of EOP, to include members of the press, please refer them to the White House press office.

    This article has been updated to include press pool report delays.

  • How Can We Make Computer Science a More Women-Friendly Discipline?
    A lot of attention has been given to increasing the number of women in computer science, but despite numerous efforts the presence of female students in computer science programs is still far below the 50 percent equilibrium.

    In the department where I teach just about 10 percent of the students are women, and things aren’t much better at most other institutes of higher education. In fact, women representation in computer science programs is significantly worse than it was in the 1980’s, when about one third of the students were women.

    One of the reasons is the way academic institutes approach STEM education, and computer science in particular. While using high words about the importance of increasing the number of women in computer science and engineering, especially when preparing application for federal or private financial support, many engineering buildings do not even have women’s restrooms on every floor (for the lack of popularity), sending a subconscious message that the engineering building is not a woman’s natural environment. The content of computer science academic programs is also noticeably male dominated. For instance, many video game development programs include 3D shoot-everything-up games, or other video games of the kind my daughters won’t play.

    Perhaps the most radical example of male dominance in computer science is the field of image processing. For over a decade, image processing methods were tested using a picture of a naked woman, scanned from no other than the magazine “Playboy.” Hundreds of scientific papers used that one picture, which during the 1990’s became a standard. For instance, one could have problems reporting on a new edge detection algorithm without showing how their method processed that picture, featuring Playboy’s playmate of the month.

    When declined requests to discontinue the publication of the picture in scientific papers, the editor of the journal IEEE Transactions on Image Processing explained that the picture is unique for its “nice mixture of detail, flat regions, shading, and texture.” Whatever. He also explained that he consulted with an anonymous feminist, who approved the use of the Playboy picture. The Playboy picture fiasco peaked in 1997, when the model was invited as a keynote speaker and gave a lecture (of questionable academic value) at the Society for Imaging Science and Technology conference.

    Although I do not have scientific evidence to support it, my opinion is that the path to involving more women in image processing probably does not go through analyzing pictures of naked women taken from sleazy magazines, and women might also be less excited about the opportunity for a face-to-face meeting with Playboy’s playmate of the month when they attend a scientific conference. The example of the Playboy picture might be an extreme case, but the fact is that computer science is geared towards solving engineering-oriented problems that are of more interest to men. To open the doors to more women, the variety of topics being studied should become more balanced.

    In the four years I have been teaching computer science I noticed that women undergraduate students prefer different research topics than men, topics such as art and animal science, that attract just little attention within the computer science community. Another relevant field is biology, but while most research in computational biology is focused on data analysis (e.g., DNA sequences), female students are often more interested in working in a “wet” lab environment with living organisms.

    So getting more women involved with computer science requires a substantial shift in computer science as a discipline, allowing stronger presence to the application of computer science to fields such as social science, humanities, and “wet” life sciences, affecting all levels of academic activities, from classroom assignments to scientific journals and conference. These fields clearly offer opportunities for high impact discoveries, but are considered niche sub-fields, and are not nearly as common in computer science as the “traditional” engineering-oriented sub-fields of computer science. Making such topics more dominant in classroom assignments and graduate level research will provide women students with more opportunities to flourish in computer science, and choose computer science as major and career.


    Automatically-generated graph representing art history based on computer analysis of paintings. Final project by computer science student Jane Tarakhovsky.

  • Samaritans app flags worrying tweets
    An app launched by Samaritans notifies Twitter users if people they follow seem to be distressed.
  • Simulator lets you feel gun's kick
    What if you had a killer product on your hands – literally?
  • Facebook Could Soon Be The Biggest 'Nation' On Earth
    Facebook reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday, and they show the world’s largest social network just keeps growing.

    Now, 1.35 billion people use Facebook at least once a month, up 14 percent over the same time last year.

    As USA Today’s Jon Swartz pointed out on Twitter, that nearly equals China, the world’s most populous country:

    Facebook, 1.35 billion members
    China: 1.367 billion people

    — Jon Swartz (@jswartz) October 28, 2014

    And it’s more than four times the population of the United States.

    (Facebook is for the most part blocked in China, though CEO Mark Zuckerberg was there last week and showed off his Mandarin skills.)

    Although Facebook’s stock price dropped 9 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday, it has reached record highs in recent days, pushing the value of the company even higher. As of the market’s close on Tuesday, Facebook’s market capitalization was over $208 billion, more than longer established companies like Walt Disney, Nike, Bank of America and Coca-Cola.

  • VIDEO: Play games with your pet remotely?
    Richard Taylor checks out PetCube, a product that wants to let you interact with your pet while you are away from home, using your phone.
  • A day without data
    Is it possible to not share any information?
  • VIDEO: Can Rory go a day without data?
    Can the BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, go a day without sharing any data?
  • Facebook warns spending to rise
    Facebook has warned that its spending will increase sharply next year and its revenue growth will slow in the fourth quarter.
  • Suspicious Activity Detected On White House Computer Network
    WASHINGTON, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Suspicious cyber activity has been detected on the computer network used by the White House and measures have been taken to address it, a White House official disclosed on Tuesday.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, would not say who might have been responsible for the activity on what was described as an unclassified computer network used by employees of the Executive Office of the President.

    “In the course of assessing recent threats we identified activity of concern on the unclassified EOP network. Any such activity is something that we take very seriously. In this case we took immediate measures to evaluate and mitigate the activity,” the official said.

    It was unclear when the activity took place. The official said the technical measures to address the activity had led to limited access to some EOP network services. Some of the issues have been resolved, but the work continues.

    “Our actions are ongoing and some of our actions have resulted in temporary outages and loss of connectivity for some EOP users,” the official said.

    A second administration official said there were no indications at this time that classified networks had been affected.

    The White House, like many government entities in Washington, frequently faces cyber threats. (Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney)

  • Antares Rocket Explodes Shortly After Lift-Off From Virginia Launch Site
    An unmanned Antares rocket exploded six seconds after liftoff from NASA’s Wallops Island launch facility in Virginia at 6:22 p.m. EDT.

    The cause of the accident wasn’t immediately known, NASA mission commentator Dan Huot told Reuters. NASA said there were no injuries.

    The rocket, made by Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital Sciences, is a two-stage launch vehicle designed to ferry payloads to the International Space Station.

    Maintain your consoles,” ‘Orbital Sciences’ mission control said to the roomful of engineers and technicians, monitoring the launch, AP reported. Data from the launch were being collected for an investigation into the cause of the accident.

    The rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft packed with 5,055 pounds of supplies, science experiments, and equipment, according to Reuters. The rocket also carried a satellite owned by Planetary Resources, Inc. of Redmond, Wash.

    The launch was originally scheduled for yesterday but was postponed after a sailboat ventured into the launch site’s hazard zone—an area of about 1,400 square miles off Wallops Island along Virginia’s eastern shore, NASA said.

    Orbital Sciences is one of two companies hired by NASA to fly cargo to the ISS. The other is SpaceX, of Hawthorne, Calif.

    The Orbital Sciences Corporation (ORB) stock fell after the explosion. As of 6:45 p.m. the share price fell 5.86 points (-19.30%) in after hours trading, after closing at 0.86 (2.91%) higher on the day.

    This is a developing story. Check back for details.

    Before launch @OrbitalSciences team wasn’t tracking any issues. No injuries have been reported & all personnel around launch site accounted.

    — NASA Wallops (@NASA_Wallops) October 28, 2014

    #antares exploded at launch unbelievable scary

    A photo posted by Michael Waller (@michaelwaller77) on Oct 10, 2014 at 3:31pm PDT

    .@OrbitalSciences is currently evaluating the status of its mission. Visit http://t.co/he3w3DDGI3 for the latest information.

    — NASA Wallops (@NASA_Wallops) October 28, 2014

    There has been a vehicle anomaly. We will update as soon as we are able.

    — Orbital Sciences (@OrbitalSciences) October 28, 2014

    Accident 6 seconds after @OrbitalSciences #Cygnus liftoff @NASA_Wallops. pic.twitter.com/2EC9UpH3dy

    — Intl. Space Station (@Space_Station) October 28, 2014

    Photo of #Antares rocket exploding just after launch from @NASA_Wallops on Wallops Island, VA. Rocket unmanned. #nasa pic.twitter.com/3jMSYgp6mc

    — Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) October 28, 2014

    UPDATE [8:01 p.m. ET]: Orbital Sciences Corporation has released the following statement regarding Tuesday’s incident:

    ISS Commercial Resupply Services Mission (Orb-3)


    Orbital Sciences Corporation confirms that today’s Antares rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility was not successful. Shortly after lift-off from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at 6:22 p.m. (EDT), the vehicle suffered a catastrophic failure. According to NASA’s emergency operations officials, there were no casualties and property damage was limited to the south end of Wallops Island. Orbital has formed an anomaly investigation board, which will work in close coordination with all appropriate government agencies, to determine the cause of today’s mishap.

    “It is far too early to know the details of what happened,” said Mr. Frank Culbertson, Orbital’s Executive Vice President and General Manager of its Advanced Programs Group.“As we begin to gather information, our primary concern lies with the ongoing safety and security of those involved in our response and recovery operations. We will conduct a thorough investigation immediately to determine the cause of this failure and what steps can be taken to avoid a repeat of this incident. As soon as we understand the cause we will begin the necessary work to return to flight to support our customers and the nation’s space program.”

    Orbital will provide more information as it becomes available and is verified.

    More from the Associated Press:

    ATLANTIC, Va. (AP) — An unmanned commercial supply rocket bound for the International Space Station exploded moments after liftoff Tuesday evening, with debris falling in flames over the launch site in Virginia. No injuries were reported following the first catastrophic launch in NASA’s commercial spaceflight effort.

    The accident was sure to draw criticism over the space agency’s growing reliance on private U.S. companies in this post-shuttle era. NASA is paying billions of dollars to Orbital Sciences and the SpaceX company to make station deliveries, and it’s counting on SpaceX and Boeing to start flying U.S. astronauts to the orbiting lab as early as 2017. This was the fourth flight by Orbital Sciences to the orbiting lab.

    The Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket blew up over the beachside launch complex at Wallops Island. The company said everyone at the site had been accounted for, and the damage appeared to be limited to the facilities. And nothing on the lost flight was urgently needed by the six people living on the 260-mile-high space station, officials said.

    Flames could be seen shooting into the sky as the sun set.

    Orbital Sciences’ executive vice president Frank Culbertson said things began to go wrong 10 to 12 seconds into the flight and it was all over in 20 seconds when what was left of the rocket came crashing down. He said he believes the range-safety staff sent a destruct signal before it hit the ground.

    Bill Wrobel, director of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, said crews were letting the fires burn out late Tuesday and set up a perimeter to contain them in the darkness.

    This was the second launch attempt for the mission. Monday evening’s try was thwarted by a stray sailboat in the rocket’s danger zone. The restrictions are in case of just such an accident that occurred Tuesday.

    Culbertson said the top priority will be repairing the launch pad “as quickly and safely as possible.”

    He said he could not guess how long it will take to determine the cause of the accident and to make repairs. Culbertson said the company carried insurance on the mission, which he valued at more than $200 million, not counting repair costs.

    He stressed that it was too soon to know whether the Russian-built engines, modified for the Antares and extensively tested, were to blame.

    “We will understand what happened — hopefully soon — and we’ll get things back on track,” Culbertson assured his devastated team. “We’ve all seen this happen in our business before, and we’ve all seen the teams recover from this, and we will do the same.”

    The Wallops facility is small compared to NASA’s major centers like those in Florida, Texas and California, but vaulted into the public spotlight in September 2013 with a NASA moonshot and the first Cygnus launch to the space station.

    Michelle Murphy, an innkeeper at the Garden and Sea Inn, New Church, Virginia, where launches are visible across a bay about 16 miles away, witnessed the explosion.

    “It was scary. Everything rattled,” she said. “There were two explosions. The first one we were ready for. The second one we weren’t. It shook the inn, like an earthquake.”

    Culbertson advised people not to touch any potentially hazardous rocket or spacecraft debris that came down on their property or might wash ashore.

    Immediately after the explosion, the entire launch team was ordered to maintain all computer data for the ensuing investigation. Culbertson advised his staff not to talk to news reporters and to refrain from speculating among themselves.

    “Definitely do not talk outside of our family,” said Culbertson, a former astronaut who once served on the space station.

    This newest Cygnus cargo ship — named for the swan constellation — had held 5,000 pounds of space station experiments and equipment. By coincidence, the Russian Space Agency was proceeding with its own supply run on Wednesday, planned well before the U.S. mishap. And SpaceX is scheduled to launch another Dragon supply ship from Cape Canaveral in December; some items may be changed out to replace what was lost on the Cygnus.

    NASA space station program manager Mike Suffredini told reporters that the station and its crew have plenty of supplies on board — about five months’ worth — even without the upcoming launches.

    Among the science instruments that were lost: a meteor tracker and 32 mini research satellites, along with numerous experiments compiled by schoolchildren. Suffredini promised the experimenters would get a chance to refly their work.

    The two Americans, three Russians and one German aboard the space station were watching a live video feed from Mission Control and saw the whole thing unfold before their eyes.

    Until Tuesday, all of the supply missions by the Virginia-based Orbital Sciences and California-based SpaceX had been near-flawless.

    President Barack Obama has long championed this commercial space effort, well before NASA’s space shuttles were retired in 2011. He’s urged that NASA focus its human spaceflight effort less on nearby orbit and more on destinations like asteroids and Mars. He was informed of the accident while on a campaign trip in Wisconsin.

    SpaceX’s billionaire founder and chief officer Elon Musk — whose company is the face, in many ways, of the commercial effort — said he was sorry to learn about the failure. “Hope they recover soon,” he said in a tweet.

    Support poured in from elsewhere in the space community late Tuesday night.

    “Very sorry to see the Antares rocket launch failure,” said Chris Hadfield, a former Canadian astronaut who served as space station commander last year. “Spaceflight is hard. Very glad that no one was hurt.”

    John Logdson, former space policy director at George Washington University, said it was unlikely to be a major setback to NASA’s commercial space plans. But he noted it could derail Orbital Sciences for a while given the company has just one launch pad and the accident occurred right above it.

    The explosion hit Orbital Science’s stock, which fell more than 15 percent in after-hours trading.


    Dunn reported from Cape Canaveral, Florida. AP Science Writer Seth Borenstein in Washington and Associated Press writer Alex Sanz in Atlanta contributed to this report.

  • Forums: 2011 Core i7 iMac vs Retina i5 iMac
    After having some display backlight and logic board issues with an older iMac, Mac Enthusiast “Boochie” has decided now would be a good time to start thinking about a new iMac. A post they made in the MacNN forums sparked a debate about what would be a better choice, a 2011 iMac with a Core i7 processor, or a new Retina iMac with an i5 processor. Yesterday, one Forum Regular was trying to determine the best cable to use to connect a Mac mini to a Dell UltraSharp monitor, and asked fellow forum members for their thoughts.

  • The Device That Could Help Keep Former Inmates Out Of Jail For Good
    More than 100 inmates in San Francisco’s jail are now in possession of computer tablets as part of a two-year pilot program allowing them to study using the same technology as students’ outside the system, shedding light on the digital divide so many inmates experience when they re-enter the job force.

    The tablets were provided last week by Five Keys Charter School, a high school diploma program started by the San Francisco’s Sheriff’s Department in 2003 that has since spread to Los Angeles. Participating inmates will have the tablets for most of the day, NBC Bay Area reported, but they can be deactivated at any time and will only allow access to four secure websites, including a law library and education program.

    “Tablets are next logical step,” Wendy Still, San Francisco’s chief adult probation officer, told The Huffington Post. “So much of our lives is digital learning.”

    The $275,000 pilot program is funded by the California Wellness Foundation, the city’s Adult Probation Department and Five Keys Charter School, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The money goes toward tablets, digitizing the existing curriculum and teacher training. That spending, Still said, is a win for inmates and everyone whose tax dollars fund it.

    “If we do not make this investment in tablets and tech in rehab programs, then [inmates] are going to continue committing crimes, which is very costly to the taxpayer,” Still said.

    Studies have shown that inmate education programs are cost-effective and significantly reduce recidivism rates. Repeat offenders, according to research, often are unemployed.

    “This is really cutting edge,” San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi told a group of sheriff’s deputies and charter school teachers during a tablet training, according to NBC Bay Area. “Historically, there’s been resistance, if not prohibitions, on allowing technology into the living quarters of inmates.”

    Internet access is mostly banned in federal prisons, but San Francisco’s pilot program is an opportunity to study how making technology part of local jail inmates’ daily lives could be scaled for use in prisons, where inmates usually are serving much longer sentences. Some prisoners have no understanding of what the Internet even is — a major hurdle to finding jobs and services upon reentering society, Mia Bird, a Public Policy Institute of California research fellow, told HuffPost.

    “We’ve been struggling with jail systems being behind and stagnant in their adoption of technology. It keeps accelerating outside the system, and there’s an increasing gap,” Bird said. “ … The idea is move toward trying to recognize what a leap it is to come out of custody and try to bridge that gap as much as possible.”

  • Why There Are No Good Apps for Etiquette and Education
    During a recent family get-together, my sister-in-law who teaches high school chemistry rightly called me out for being digitally distracted. It was a forward head tilt that gave me away.

    Most of us have been on both sides of the forward head tilt (let’s call it FHT), that precise moment in time when we go from a quick and casual glance to check a text, score or headline on our smartphone to all-out engagement where our heads literally move closer to the screen. Suddenly, our brains prioritize that BuzzFeed photo gallery or random status update from the old junior high school friend more than the actual conversation we are involved in at that moment.

    I’m probably on the giving or receiving end of an FHT at least 20 or 30 times per day, and this isn’t even factoring times while on the phone where there is now barely a need to even fake paying attention. As a trained mobile media professional who prides himself on the ability to feign interest in any conversation at any point in time, I thought I was beyond being busted.

    What I didn’t factor in was that my sister-in-law witnesses dozens of FHTs each period several times per day. In fact, she probably sees more neck adjustments in one class than most chiropractors see in a year. While receiving a well-deserved ribbing, I got an education on how smartphones, tablets and other touchscreen devices – while ultimately beneficial – all too often stand in the way of education.

    “It’s like a herd of animals,” she said. “You see one head tilt forward during a lecture, and then the rest follow.”

    Regardless of whether those and other students are following along digitally to what is being presented, something is lost when we lose direct connection between teacher and student in the classroom.

    Only one way to teach eye contact
    Educational technology in the form of apps, videos and other digital tools are having an immediate and profoundly positive impact on learning. It is a professional mission at appoLearning to identify, evaluate, and showcase the best.

    From short standards-aligned math games that 71 percent of recently surveyed K-thru-8 teachers believe improve student performance, to apps like Learn With Homer that can improve foundational reading in toddlers, to TedEd videos that challenge preconceived notions and inspire continued intellectual exploration, there are more educational resources available at our fingertips today than can be found at MIT, the Sorbonne and the Smithsonian combined.

    Too bad none of them can teach manners. Sure, there are thousands of apps, videos and websites that teach etiquette. They mostly provide advice on which piece of silverware to pick up first during a business dinner or how to conduct oneself on Twitter, SnapChat or other digital platforms. What can’t be downloaded or searched for is the ability to maintain eye contact with another human being for an extended period of time. Even if that knowledge could be passed along via a mobile device, there’d be no way to access it in crunch time without breaking the underlying rule.

    There are no signs that FHT culture will slow down anytime soon. Smartphone and tablet screen addiction is so strong that we literally and routinely risk our lives for fixes while behind the wheel. We spend nearly half of our waking time processing information from a screen, and that’s before the Apple Watch and Google Glass (or whatever occupies the space beneath our foreheads) hits critical mass.

    You might say, well, we’ve been watching about that much TV per day over the years, and the content on our mobile devices is probably of higher quality. While that might be the case, we used to at least have a better wall of delineation between the larger screens and the rest of life. Now that the screen is in our pocket, our attention spans become co-mingled between the actual and the virtual, harming our ability to be mindful for any significant period of time.

    So we are left with a conundrum. The very devices and media delivery systems that provide us with unprecedented insight and understanding of the world are also distracting us from what is existing in front of our eyes.

    In a culture where we will increasingly and rightly tap into an app, video or digital tool to learn a skill or collaborate with team members in our class or across the globe, the human race also needs to figure out a way to reconnect with what’s in front of us.

    Thankfully, the combination of technological platforms including vision, taste, touch and the ability to listen and smell provide an immersive experience that enables direct interaction with one or multiple people around us. As we appropriately expand digital learning in the classroom and all walks of life, we need to create boundaries that preserve our organic sensory experiences (and sanity).

    To paraphrase pop culture’s favorite mindful truant Ferris Bueller, “life moves pretty fast. if you don’t” stick your head up from your phone or tablet “every once in a while, you could miss it.”

  • How Googlebot Ticks: Optimizing Your Website Content

    To many, Google is an absolute wonder. They have the infrastructure and the man-power necessary to build a highly advanced algorithm to regularly scour the web, indexing and understanding the content it finds.

    If you’re a website owner, you know that Google comes by your website regularly to inspect your website’s pages, judging and analyzing the quality of everything it finds. This is how Google determines search result relevance when visitors are looking for information on a certain term, so naturally, you want to make a great impression when they see your content.

    There are thousands of ways to improve the onsite optimization of your website, but in this article, I want to dig more into the logic and psychology behind Googlebot; something that isn’t covered very often in the SEO world.

    Let’s dig right in.

    Google knows which pages are seen the most

    Google has a very good understanding of your website’s pages and your site architecture. The pages in your navigation help users navigate throughout your site, and other less visible areas of your site may be clicked less often. Google understands this and is privy to user experience and browsing behavior.

    Lets take a website owner with a blog, for example. He knows his blog is important for SEO, but he doesn’t want it in his main navigation bar, as it isn’t as important as his money pages. He decides to put in his footer instead, as there will still be a link there, and he knows Google will still find it.

    However, this also makes it far less likely that the bulk of his visitors will ever find his blog. As a result, his blog (a very important part of his site) will likely be considered less important than if it was a core part of his website architecture. Can you blame Google?

    It’s important to take user experience into consideration when optimizing your website.

    Don’t try to hide anything

    Sometimes, there’s a good reason for hiding content and code from search engines. More often than not, however, people do it to hide content that Google may not like to see, such as affiliate links or landing pages.

    Certain pages and files, like JavaScript and CSS code on your website, can be easily hidden from search engines by disallowing crawling access in your robots.txt file on your website. However, Google has been known to crawl them anyway; after all, they need to determine that the code and links aren’t hurting user experience. They’re regularly sending their visitors to your website, and they need to be able to trust it.

    So why bother hiding your CSS and JavaScript? Some studies show it can actually hurt your rankings; the more you try to hide or obfuscate your content and code, the less trustworthy your website becomes.

    Thin sites look weak

    Would you buy a book that had 6 pages? Probably not. Would you a buy a book that had over 600 pages? More than likely.

    Google is far less likely to hand out authority to “thin” sites; sites with very little actual content or pages. These sites are very easy to create, and most spam websites are very thin (because little effort was put into the creation of it).

    Having a rich content-filled site shows Google you care about your site and you put effort into it, which can make a world of difference on your site performance.

    Google knows when your backlink isn’t organic

    Googlebot is looking for links that are naturally derived. A website owner linking to your site on their own good will is a good sign that your content is quality and worth sharing, which is a vote of confidence to Google.

    However, this has been heavily abused over the years, and as such, Google is eerily efficient at determining if a link was organic or not.

    Put yourself in a webmaster’s shoes when building links. Would you really link to their homepage with their primary keyword they’re trying to rank for as the anchor text? That’s generous. A little too generous. Actually, that would never happen in the real world.

    Link to pages of high value, and do so in a way that actually adds value to your content. Otherwise, Google is going to spot it from a mile away.

    Final thoughts

    Google’s hardest job is maintaining search relevance, and to do that, they need high quality trustworthy websites packed with solid content that will help their visitors find what they’re looking for.

    This is the reason Wikipedia is on the front page of Google for nearly every search term; it’s trustworthy, regularly updated, full of great content, and linked to from millions of authoritative websites.

    Create a site that is easy to navigate, maintain a link profile of quality natural links, and don’t do anything deceptive with your content and links, and you’ll be on the right path towards improving your website presence.

Mobile Technology News, October 28, 2014

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

  • Windowless Airplanes Of The Future Look Exciting… And Terrifying
    There’s some new concept art out showing a possible airplane of the not-too-distant future. And depending on how you feel about flying, these images will either be exhilarating or terrifying.

    The new aircraft design concept from the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) does away with tiny airplane windows, thus allowing for a thinner and lighter fuselage. But if you’re afraid of heights, don’t celebrate just yet because the interior walls themselves would become video displays for cameras mounted outside, essentially turning the entire aircraft into one giant window.

    You can see more in the clip above.

    Then again, the displays don’t have to show what’s really outside. Some people are already having fun with the concept on Twitter:

    “Windowless plane” concept: immersive video. Use PSD at bottom of this piece to make your own http://t.co/lHFErYuShy pic.twitter.com/vYNbaoKXOQ

    — Nikhil Sonnad (@nkl) October 27, 2014

    Along with revealing thrilling/frightening views of the world (or the Death Star), the giant displays can highlight landmarks and provide important flight information. Of course, they can also be used to show ads:

    “we’ll be right back after this important message”
    MT @BENT_TALK: @darth @qz I see airlines selling ad space pic.twitter.com/iCtUfwzt5h

    — darth™ (@darth) October 27, 2014

    Besides the wow factor, CPI says the lighter design is more practical since every 1 percent reduction in weight reduces fuel by 0.75 percent, saving money and reducing CO2 emissions.

    Dr. Jon Helliwell, director of printable electronics at CPI, told The Guardian that this concept could become a reality within 10 years.

    (h/t Mashable)

  • Microsoft Throws The Gauntlet On Cloud Storage

    Microsoft’s announcement yesterday of offering unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users is, as it should be, a very big deal.  In effect, they have gone to the market and told everyone that not only can they offer a cloud storage solution, they can do it at a cost that nobody can compete with the possible exception of Apple or Google.  I say this not as a fanboy but as a realist.  Only a company with the experience and shear size of Microsoft could put into play such an audacious plan.  And if you are an executive at Dropbox or

    The post Microsoft Throws The Gauntlet On Cloud Storage appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • OneDrive App for Windows Phone Updated

    It has been a busy 24 hours for the OneDrive team at Microsoft.  After announcing unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users yesterday, they also updated the OneDrive app for Windows Phone.  The update, version 4.4 for those keeping score, brings several new user experience improvements along with support for OneDrive for Business.  Now, like on other platforms, you can sign into both your personal and business OneDrive accounts from the app at the same time. OneDrive for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now The biggest and most notable change to the OneDrive app for Windows Phone is the

    The post OneDrive App for Windows Phone Updated appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • (VIDEO) TouchCast Useful To More Than Just Publishers: Schonfeld
    TouchCast, the interactive video platform co-founded by former TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld, wants advertisers to start using its new video format as an engaging new ad format.

    The startup counts broadcasters and newspapers amongst early adopters on the editorial side. “Their people on the advertising side want access to TouchCast as well because they see the engagement rates that we’re getting,” Schonfeld tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “We’re developing an advertising unit that we call a TouchAd.”

    <iframe width=”480″ height=”270″ src=”//www.touchcast.com/e/4562&autoplay=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> </iframe>

    <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.touchcast.com/e/24986&autoplay=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> </iframe>

    TouchCast lets video producers embed interactive web elements including images, maps, web pages and other videos inside digital video, each expanding when clicked on by viewers, opening up possibilities for immersive storytelling. Schonfeld has told Beet.TV half of users click on elements in TouchCasts – something which may interest advertisers disappointed at traditional video pre-roll performance.

    “People are also using it for corporate training videos – many large corps are interested in TouchCast as an internal communications tools,” Schonfeld added.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • 'Smart cycle lanes' pitched to UK
    A stretch of glow-in-the-dark road markings go into use in the Netherlands as its creators pitch spin-off cycle lanes to UK cities.
  • Can an app cure anxiety and stress?
    Could a simple app banish your stress and anxiety forever?
  • Apple and Google Are Right. The FBI Is Wrong. CHiPs Nude Photo Scandal Shows Why.

    About a month ago, a debate erupted when Apple and Google announced they were going to start providing encryption services for smartphones that could not be cracked by anyone — including the police. James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, was horrified at this prospect and began a public-relations push to convince the companies (and the public) that this was a terrible idea. He tried to get the companies to change their decision to (as he put it) “market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

    This was a heavy-handed attempt to put forth a novel idea: Law enforcement is entitled to all your data, even if you try to encrypt it. Scary warnings accompanied this reasoning, about murderers and kidnappers (and worse) going free because law enforcement wouldn’t be able to decrypt crucial data in time to foil the bad guys’ plots. My response, at the time, can be summed up as: “Tough.” Tough luck for the cops. In more detail: Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every citizen’s private papers must be readable by the government. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why would Thomas Jefferson have had (and assumably used) cipher wheels if he thought governments had a right to read everything he wrote?

    Sad to say, the California Highway Patrol just made the most convincing argument to date as to why the F.B.I. is wrong and Apple and Google are right to offer strong encryption to the public. A woman who was pulled over and arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer for drunk driving happened to notice that, after she got out of custody, her smartphone had sent photos to a number she didn’t recognize. She was only able to figure this out because she had a tablet synced to the phone. The record of having sent the photos had been deleted from the phone, but it appeared on her tablet.

    What had apparently happened was that the CHiP officer had trolled her phone for nude or revealing photos, and then when he found some, he forwarded them to his buddies on the force. Then he tried to cover his tracks by deleting the records of the photos having been sent. Thus making the California freeway cops the new poster children for why the public needs to be able to secure their data.

    There is so much wrong with this story, it’s hard to even know where to begin. In the first place, there is simply no reason for the cops to even look at her phone. She was obviously drunk (very drunk — 0.29 blood alcohol content) and she was arrested for driving in that condition. What possible “evidence” did the police think they could find on her phone when they already had an iron-clad case against her? There is simply no valid law enforcement reason for the cop to view anything on her phone. None. But that didn’t stop the guy from scrolling through her photos for his own prurient purposes.

    This wasn’t the first time this officer had done so. In one instance, he sent private nude photos from a woman’s phone while she was being X-rayed in the hospital after an accident. How do we know this? Because the officer pointed it out himself in the accompanying email message to his buddy. Multiple emails had been sent by the officer in question over the past few years, and he reportedly said that he had learned this frat-boy behavior when he was stationed down in Los Angeles (he currently serves in the San Francisco Bay Area). None of the officers he sent the photos to ever reported him, which might lead one to conclude that this is not a problem of one rogue cop, but rather an ingrained culture within the Highway Patrol. Nobody now knows how wide a problem it is and how many cops were involved, but the answer to that question seems likely to be higher than “just one officer.”

    So far, the local prosecutor hasn’t said what is going to happen to the officer. But what really needs to happen is for California’s attorney general to get out in front of this scandal, and announce a state-wide investigation of the Highway Patrol. Start someone sifting through all official email with a CHiP address, and let’s see how pervasive this odious practice really was.

    It’s astounding that, in this day and age, anyone with an official email would use it to send pornography, but it does happen. Pennsylvania is right now in the midst of an enormous porn scandal, which has now reached up to snag a sitting state supreme court justice. Some guys never learn, it seems, no matter how powerful they get. This scandal was brought to light because an investigation which stemmed from the child abuse at Penn State also uncovered a whole lot of casual porn emails from various members of the state’s law enforcement and judiciary. That’s the type of investigation which should be immediately launched in California. And as a result, anyone in any sort of official capacity who is found to have invaded the public’s privacy in this fashion should not only be fired but also immediately brought up on felony charges. Even in Pennsylvania, nobody has yet suggested that the porn being shared consisted of naked photos stolen from a woman’s personal phone. Sharing porn is one thing (even for a judge); but trolling for amateur bedroom shots, stealing them, and then disseminating them to your buddies — all of whom wear badges — is quite another. The solution to this scandal is clear: an aggressive investigation, followed by prosecutions and some jail time. This is a case where “sending a message” to all California police officers is absolutely necessary. The message is: “This Is Unacceptable Behavior, Guys.”

    The technology may be fairly new, but this isn’t a new problem for people in positions of authority. It’s part of the universal human condition, in fact. You can find lots of quotes from famous authors pointing the basic problem out. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is one good example. My favorite comes from ancient Rome, from the poet Juvenal (who also famously remarked that the common people were happy enough with “bread and circuses” rather than caring about such things as freedom). Juvenal’s original: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” This is variously translated as: “Who will guard the guardians?” or (for fans of the comic book and movie): “Who will watch the watchmen?” He wrote that nineteen centuries ago. An idea for James Comey to reflect upon, perhaps.

    Apple and Google are offering a service in the marketplace. That service is privacy. The market for such a service now exists not only because celebrities’ own nude photos were hacked by lawbreakers. The market also exists because citizens have every right to privacy even from the police. The CHiP scandal is merely the most recent example of why people might want phones with truly private data. Does this mean some criminals will be able to hide from the cops? Yes. Yes, it will. But it will also mean that cops can’t just root around in your data and trample any citizen’s rights for no reason — which is precisely what the Constitution intended. It will stop any “fishing” in your phone’s data entirely, no matter how noble (or how ignoble) the reason may be for doing so.

    To quote our founding document, a woman driving on California highways should be “secure in [her] papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This right “shall not be violated.” This includes a police officer scrolling through personal data for absolutely no other reason than sheer curiosity or juvenile lust. “Maybe she’s a drug dealer” might flit through the brain of one officer, while: “Wow, she’s hot, wonder if she’s got any bikini shots or naked photos I can send to my buddies?” might be the motivation for another. Either way, they have no right to conduct such a fishing expedition. By doing so, the officer actually torpedoed his own case against the woman. All charges were dropped — despite the fact her blood measured 0.29, which is over three-and-a-half times the legal limit — because the prosecutor knew he’d be laughed out of court by any competent defense lawyer. That doesn’t help law enforcement. Now, not only will she get away with her crime, she is suing and will likely win a big settlement (of taxpayer money).

    The California Highway Patrol has a long way to go to regain any sort of confidence from the public, but locking your data up before a cop ever picks up your phone is a much simpler solution than trusting in the goodness of all police everywhere. And remember one final thought — if a cop has your phone for any reason at all, you absolutely do not have to provide them your password (even if they ask nicely). As a general rule, never offer your password to the cops until your own lawyer tells you it is OK for you to do so — and not before. If you leave your data locked up, then scandals like this one simply would not be possible. And that’s a fine way to guard the guardians, whether James Comey agrees or not.


    Chris Weigant blogs at:

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant
    Become a fan of Chris on The Huffington Post


  • Apple responds to CVS, Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay
    Apple has issued a formal response to CVS and Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay at their stores. “The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic,” the company says. “We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations.”

  • Twitter grows users but shares slide
    Twitter has reported a doubling in sales and a 23% increase in the number of active users of its micro-blogging site for the third quarter.
  • Wells Fargo offers payouts to customers willing to try Apple Pay
    US bank Wells Fargo is offering one-time payments as an incentive to try Apple Pay. Customers willing to make a first-time credit card transaction through the service are being given $20, while a debit or prepaid transaction is worth $10. Both offers expire after November 30th; the $20 credit should appear on a statement in one or two billing cycles, but the $10 credit should appear in a checking account within 45 days.

  • Bing's Latest Attempt To Get You To Switch From Google? Emoji
    Bing has a new tactic in its effort to catch up with its much more popular search engine rival, Google: tiny smiley faces.

    The Microsoft search engine announced in a blog post Monday that it now supports emoji, so you can incorporate your favorite broken hearts, dancers and smiley faces into your searches. The trick will work in all English markets on desktop and mobile.

    Bing isn’t the first search engine to integrate emoji. Yahoo apparently already offers emoji support, and Yelp introduced support back in April. So when is Google going to catch up? Who knows, but the company did not get back to us when we tried to ask.

    When could emoji searches possibly be useful? Maybe when you’re unclear what a particular emoji means, or if you were just too lazy to type out the actual word.

    bing search easter
    In case you didn’t know what those giant stone head statues were.

    Bing gave a few examples of possible search in a blog post:

    bing search emoji
    Typing the word donut just would have taken too long.

    emoji support search
    Bing and Yahoo support emoji, but Google hasn’t taken the hint, yet.

    Yahoo did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

  • OneDrive Begins Delievering Unlimited Storage Plans

    Earlier today I posted an article bringing to light how serious Microsoft is about cloud computing based on their financials from last quarter.  As if they actually read my post, Microsoft’s OneDrive division has just upped the game for cloud storage in a big way.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber, starting today OneDrive is beginning to roll out unlimited storage for as low as $6.99 per month. Is there really any doubt left on how good of deal this is for you? To get this outstanding deal when it comes you need to do the following: Go to

    The post OneDrive Begins Delievering Unlimited Storage Plans appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • This Is What Really Terrifies Millennials On Halloween
    Spending a night in a dark, abandoned mansion? Being lost in the middle of woods? That’s child’s play. How about … NO RECEPTION!

    Comedian Paul Gale, who you might recognize from the popular “Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong” video, brings us another look into our twisted world. This time he, director T.J. Misny and friends beg the question, “What Terrifies Twenty-Somethings On Halloween?”

    Not since that weekend at your grandparents’ house when you had no wi-fi have you experienced terror of this magnitude! Watch the video above.

  • Windows 10 Technical Preview: So Far, So Good
    What comes after eight? Well, it’s the number 10, if you work for Microsoft. That’s what the Boys from Redmond are calling their new version of Windows, apparently wanting to distance themselves from the dreaded Windows 8 syndrome.

    We’ve been playing with the Windows 10 Technical Preview for about a month and, so far, we like what we see.

    The Start Menu has returned with a few enhancements that will satisfy Windows 8 haters and lovers of the much maligned Metro interface that substituted a page full of tiles for the more familiar list of programs. Now we have the best of both worlds – – – a list of programs and apps running down the left side of the menu and a few small tiles on the right. Those users that can’t live without the Metro interface just need to change this option, telling the system to boot to their favorite interface.

    The tiles are customizable and can be reformatted to any size you want. Also, programs and apps can be dragged from the list to the tile section and a new tile will be created.

    Another new feature we really like is the Notifications Tab. All notifications, including error messages and email alerts, are easily accessed by clicking on an icon on the bottom left side of the desktop. There’s also a new Task View Tab that shows you what programs are running.

    Those of us that were frustrated with Win 8 can now run newer applications (which were designated by tiles) in windows that can be reduced in size, taking a step back to the flexibility of Windows 7 and its predecessors.

    It’s also a hair faster than Win 8, but this could be because we have yet to play with the complete operating system. Hopefully it won’t be a memory and resources hog when it’s ready for prime time.

    Other new features include:

    • The Charms Menu is gone for those of us using keyboards and mice
    • Windows 10 will be a universal interface for all Windows devices including phones, tablets, PCs laptops and the Xbox One
    • You can access frequently used files and recently used programs through File Explorer
    • A Battery Saver (for laptop and phone users) and Data Sense App monitor drains on the battery — and help you deal with them — and data usage

    Future builds of the Technical Preview (there have been two since Oct. 1) may include a new two-step verification system to keep cyber thieves from accessing your files and a more robust version of Windows Defender.

    We were told that we might lose some of our files when we installed the upgrade, but — so far — everything is where it’s supposed to be and running without a hitch. This could be due to the fact that we upgraded from Windows 8.1, so it may be a problem for users of older versions of the operating system.

    The folks at Microsoft are warning users not to install the Win 10 Technical Preview on their main computers or computers that they rely on for work. The system, they say, is still a bit “buggy” as they experiment with new features that may or may not work. In fact they often prompt us to see how we feel about certain features and to monitor how well they are working on our PCs.

    This, they hope, will result in a much more stable product when it’s released in mid-2015.

    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.

  • Here's What Everyone Is Saying About 'Interstellar' So Far
    “Interstellar,” Christopher Nolan’s $165 million space epic, rockets into wide release Nov. 7, but some critics have already filed their reviews. The consensus so far? Most agree the visuals are stunning and that Matthew McConaughey is great as an engineer who ventures to another galaxy to research potential inhabitable worlds. But the first reactions haven’t been as favorable toward the film’s emotional heft and the pacing of its third act.

    Consensus may shift as more reviews pour in before the opening — many critics still haven’t seen the film — but here are a few first reactions to “Interstellar”:

    1. “‘Interstellar’ so bulges with ideas, ambitions, theories, melodrama, technical wizardry, wondrous imagery and core emotions that it was almost inevitable that some of it would stick while other stuff would fall to the floor. Feeling very much like Christopher Nolan’s personal response to his favorite film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ this grandly conceived and executed epic tries to give equal weight to intimate human emotions and speculation about the cosmos, with mixed results, but is never less than engrossing, and sometimes more than that.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

    2. As with the twisty chronologies and unreliable narrators of his earlier films, Nolan trusts in the audience’s ability to get the gist and follow along, even if it doesn’t glean every last nuance on a first viewing. It’s hard to think of a mainstream Hollywood film that has so successfully translated complex mathematical and scientific ideas to a lay audience … or done so in more vivid, immediate human terms. — Scott Foundas, Variety

    3. “‘Interstellar’ is about saving humanity, despite humanity. It disguises itself in science, but ‘Interstellar’ isn’t really about science. There’s a lot more Emotion in ‘Interstellar’ than I expected — its core foundation, really — but there’s almost too much going on in ‘Interstellar’ to the point that, at times, in retrospect, nothing is really happening even though it kind of seemed like something was happening.” — Mike Ryan, ScreenCrush

    4. “While the film builds intrigue and tension in terms of establishing the stakes of the outer-space exploration as well as the perilous science behind it, the picture rushes into space only to slow to a relative crawl once it gets there. There are a few dazzling images and at least one solid action sequence late in the game, and it is always fun to see the real-world implications of somewhat abstract scientific theory. Yet the film feels less like a grand original work than it does a buttoned-down and overly ‘realistic’ variation on ‘go into space to save the world’ pictures.” — Scott Mendelson, Forbes

    5. “All the setup is fascinating, as is the space travel, particularly when they journey to planets near a black hole, meaning that for every hour that the landing party spends on the surface, seven years will elapse for the crew member orbiting in the spacecraft. Cliifhanger sequences involving slow, giant tidal waves and docking with an out-of-control ship demonstrate the director’s (and editor Lee Smith’s) proficiency. For much of the film, Nolan (who co-wrote with his brother Jonathan) seems to be unafraid to allow this big-budget extravaganza to tell a story that’s about pain and loss and melancholy and sacrifice. Until it’s not that anymore, and “Interstellar” becomes thuddingly prosaic.” — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

    6. “Often when we talk about cinema being a ‘ride’, we’re hinting at a lack of substance, an absence of ideas, an opportunity to switch off. Not so here. ‘Interstellar’ is, in large part, a spectacle. But it also asks you to think hard, look hard and urges you to return for more. Why only ask for the stars when you can have moons, distant planets, extra dimensions, lectures on psychics and a sobering shot of terror? ‘Interstellar’ has it all.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

    7. “‘Interstellar,’ a near three-hour whopper of a picture, powers through its plot holes and barrels through the corn. It’s a glorious spectacle, but a slight drama, with few characters and too-rare flashes of humor. It wants to awe us into submission, to concede our insignificance in the face of such grand-scale art. It achieves that with ease. Yet on his way to making an epic, Nolan forgot to let us have fun.” — Henry Barnes, The Guardian

    8. “‘Interstellar’ makes its far-reaching concept utterly believable, right down to an outrageous climax that stretches across time and space with bursts of psychedelic imagery that still winds up making sense. In its final scenes, ‘Interstellar’ struggles to bring every piece in play to a tidy conclusion, but it’s comforting to watch Nolan give it a shot. — Eric Kohn, IndieWire

    9. “The space travel stuff is beautiful and realized though largely physical means. It works both inside the ships and outside, and there’s a lot of “Interstellar,” particularly in 70MM IMAX, that is just jaw-dropping.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix

    10. “‘Interstellar’ tackles some big ideas along the way. Some are fascinating — fifth-dimensional space represented in three dimensions — and some are cringe-worthy — love as a universal constant — but all of the ideas are approached with honesty and intelligence. That alone makes me like and admire the movie. I just wish I could love it; ‘Inception’ blew me away the first time through and has remained a film that moves me intellectually, cinematically and even emotionally. ‘Interstellar’ stimulates intellectually, is dead on arrival emotionally and works well enough cinematically without truly wowing in the way it should.” — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

  • Tim Cook Calls Out His Home State Over Lack Of LGBT Rights

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama was too slow to guarantee the rights of minorities during the civil rights era, and now it’s too slow to ensure the rights of people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday in challenging his home state to do better.

    Cook’s comments came as he, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and six others were inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, which recognizes living state natives for their contributions.

    Speaking at the Capitol in the chamber where the state voted to secede from the Union in 1861, Cook said Alabama and the nation “have a long way to go” before realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality.

    Alabama was “too slow” to guarantee rights in the 1960s, Cook said, and it removed a ban on interracial marriage from its Constitution only 14 years ago.

    “And (Alabama is) still too slow on equality for the LGBT community. Under the law, citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation,” said Cook, a native of coastal Baldwin County. “We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it and we can create a different future.”

    Alabama is among the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it also doesn’t offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Cook also called educational equality “one of the greatest civil rights issues of our times.” Earlier this year, Apple said it would give $100 million for school technology, and Cook announced the money would go for equipment and training at 114 schools in more than 29 states, including five in Alabama.

    “We at Apple view it our responsibility to step up and act,” Cook said. The company is partnering with the White House on the project.

    Cook is a native of Robertsdale who attended Auburn University. He succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs as chief executive officer in 2011.

    Other honorees included University of Alabama President Judy Bonner; Big Oak Ranch founder John Croyle; biotech leader Jim Hudson Jr. of Huntsville; U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions; former Mountain Brook mayor Margaret Porter; and businessman Edgar Welden.

    The Apple executive spoke on behalf of the group. He visited a Baptist church once pastored by King before the ceremony.

  • You Had Me at Ello! 5 Questions With Todd Berger
    Rarely a week goes by that I don’t encounter someone who is frustrated with social media. I have friends who have taken extended breaks from Facebook, and others who often see it as a platform for people to be nasty in a somewhat anonymous manner. Still others just find Facebook overly commercialized.

    Entrepreneur Paul Budnitz and designer Todd Berger fall into this category. Budnitz, who also sells titanium “city” bikes that can retail for more than $8,000, and Berger are two of the founders of a new social network called Ello.

    You may have heard about Ello, as it is being described by some as the “anti-Facebook.” Ello is an invitation-only social network that drew a lot of attention following an interesting confluence of events. Facebook changed some of its rules, which essentially forced people to use their real names on their profiles — or leave the site. A bunch of folks split FB and ended up at the newer, hipper Ello. Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile Technology News, October 26, 2014

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

  • Amazon's Jeff Bezos Is Still The World's Best CEO By One Measure
    Jeff Bezos had a bad week.

    Calls to rein in the ambitious Amazon chief executive grew loud on Thursday after the e-commerce giant reported its biggest quarterly loss in 14 years, driven by the anemic sales of its Fire Phone, the company’s first smartphone. The losses were seen as proof of Bezos’ reckless obsession with prioritizing growth over profitability. The 50-year-old tech mogul was lambasted as a megalomaniacalGrinch” who stole Christmas from a company so bad at making money that it’s “not a real business.”

    Yet, according to the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, Bezos is the best-performing CEO in the world. Despite the latest bad news, the venerable magazine stands by that assessment.

    “People have bet against him over the years, and historically they’ve been wrong,” Daniel McGinn, the senior editor who profiled Bezos, told The Huffington Post on Saturday. “He definitely has a set of shareholders who have faith in him because of his ability to deliver despite a lot of doubt over the last 20 years.”

    The Harvard Business Review compiled its list of top CEOs by comparing shareholder returns for S&P Global 1200 companies from each executive’s first day in office until April 30 of this year. Bezos won by a wide margin. Even if Amazon’s stock price — which plummeted nearly 9 percent to $287.06 on Friday — fell to $250, he still would have beaten runner-up John Martin, the CEO of biotech giant Gilead Sciences.

    “He had quite a bit of leeway,” McGinn said. “He had such a big lead over everyone else.”

    amazon stock
    Amazon’s stock tumbled after a disappointing earnings report on Thursday.

    Profitable quarters are rare for Amazon, but the company generates strong revenues. Bezos’ strategy, which both befuddles and inspires investors, is to reinvest money to continually grow Amazon. A small online bookseller thereby became a video streaming service, a cloud-computing behemoth, a grocer and, most recently, a smartphone maker.

    But the Fire Phone, unveiled in June, has flopped. A study published in August by the ad network Chitika, which measured web traffic from Fire Phones, found a paltry number of the devices were in use. In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Amazon’s chief financial officer, Thomas Szkutak, admitted that the dearth of people buying the phone had cost the company $170 million in losses “primarily related to the Fire Phone inventory evaluation and supply commitment costs.”

    “It’s not unusual for them to lose more money,” McGinn said. “It is unusual for them to miss a growth target.”

    That doesn’t seem to worry Bezos, however.

    “Even though we have significant revenues, we invest in so many new initiatives that in some ways we’re still a startup,” he told McGinn sometime before last week’s earnings report. “Volatility is part of being a startup.”

    Bezos may be alone in thinking of the company as a nascent venture. Since going public in 1997, Amazon has grown so large and powerful that some have called it a monopoly ripe for a regulatory crackdown.

    Still, even as Amazon stock takes a hit, the company is a lucrative investment by the Harvard Business Review’s methodology.

    “If you could go in a time machine and go back to 1997 and you had the chance to buy stock on that day, would you do it?” McGinn asked rhetorically. “In financial terms, you’d still be many thousand percentage points ahead today.”

    Amazon did not return a call requesting comment.

  • Leadership Advice From A Farmer, Emergency Response MD, Harvard Professor And Top Healthcare CIO
    Only a renaissance man can manage a fully functioning farm, practice emergency response, teach at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and also serve as CIO of one of the top hospital in the world. Dr. John Halamka‘s 20-year career as CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and its five hospitals has taken him from writing code and doing the basics to make the plumbing work, to his current day-to-day which entails figuring out how to run an agile enterprise with so many single locations and merger activity while keeping the data secure and private. Viewing the job of CIO as a “lifestyle”, Dr. Halamka also manages to teach at Harvard Medical School, practice as an ER physician and run a family farm.


    Dr. John Halamka (Twitter: @jhalamka), CIO Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

    I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Dr. Halamka was named one of the 50 most influential technologists of the past 50 years and Beth Israel was named the number one technology innovator. In his role as CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess, Dr. Halamka is responsible for all clinical, financial, administrative and academic information technology serving 3,000 doctors, 12,000 employees, one million patients, three petabytes of data, 22,000 simultaneous users, three data centers, clouds and lots of mobile devices.

    Healthcare CIOs who are actively champion digital business transformation must carefully watch the recording of our CXOTalk conversation with Dr. Halamka as he talks about navigating the waters of the Affordable Care Act, Meaningful Use policy and big data. His leadership advice garnered from 20 years of experience as a CIO, summed up here, is a must-read for any technology executive.

    6 Leadership Tips to Increase Your CIO Tenure:

    1. Honesty is the best policy – With CIO tenure being less than five years, it may seem surprising that Dr. Halamka has survived two decades as the CIO for one of the most prestigious healthcare organizations in the world. While most would assume the secret to his longevity must be an error-free IT organization, according to Dr. Halamka that is actually quite the contrary. Make no mistake, he has had his share of mistakes, but instead of trying to cover them up or hide them, he has been uber-honest even to the point of inviting the press in to watch them go through the problem resolution. As a result of his humble and honest transparency, Dr. Halamka feels the industry has been quick to forgive him when he has made a mistake.

    “Mistakes are made every day. Mistakes are learning experiences and I don’t actually say who is at fault, I ask what was wrong about our process, our strategy or structure that enabled that mistake. I never shoot the messenger. So maybe that attitude makes people understand we’re all imperfect and we can learn from each other,” he says.

    2. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you – Infrastructure is something we often forget. Let’s face it, how exciting is the wiring in the walls? People are focused on getting the sexy new MRI machine, the Google Glass, the iPhone and the Apple watch – but in reality, all of those things are only going to be as good as the infrastructure in the walls. Dr. Halamka’s job every year is to advocate to that hidden infrastructure – the storage, the servers, the data centers, the power and the networks that are behind the scenes.

    Dr. Halamka believes that his biggest observation is the blind spots that he has had over the years. “In 2002, did I know how to engineer from scratch a Layer 3 network that was resilient to all the evil actors on the Internet? No. The problem was I didn’t even know what questions to ask. And so I’ve been very careful to surround myself with people smarter than me and to ensure the blind spots that I have are filled by others,” he humbly admits.

    So who are these smart people that Dr. Halamka, an obviously very smart person, surrounds himself with? Other CIO’s that share their experiences and enable peer learning and engineers who have deep knowledge of the issues that surround IT and can make important decisions such as what storage platform they should be on.

    3. Never go live based on a deadline – Dr. Halamka tells his staff that there is no problem that can’t be blamed on IT. Dr. Halamka instructs his staff to under promise and over deliver. He also tells them you should never go live based on a deadline – you go live when the product is ready or the people are ready to use the product because if you go live too early no one will ever forget and if you go live late no one will ever remember. “Having done hundreds of go lives in my life, I know there is no naysayer, there is no pressure, there is no political issue that is important enough to go live too early,” says Dr. Halamka.

    4. Don’t underestimate the importance of data – Data, as with many other industries, is transforming healthcare. What sets Beth Israel Medical Center apart from many other hospitals is, as a learning health care system, they are able to take all the data on all the patients at the Harvard hospitals (three petabytes) and perform queries to find the medication that would be most effective for a particular patient. Using that kind of analytics across multiple institutional data sources enables Beth Israel to treat patients optimally, as opposed to today’s healthcare system where it takes on average 20 years from an innovation from one hospital to defuse throughout the country.

    Dr. Halamka has a whole department that focuses on data analysis. These data scientists are able to look at structured data and understand the prominence, validity, certainty, quality and integrity of that data.

    5.Bust silos and collaborate – Dr. Halamka explains that in the past, in a fee per service world, getting data from hospital to hospital would be like sharing competitive secrets… “Oh my, you’re going to steal my patient. I need my patient because more procedures and more care equal more profitability.” But in this world of the Affordable Care Act hospitals are actually paid for keeping patients healthy. And if they don’t share data and they have silos they’ll all go out of business. “So, the alignment of incentives to share data has finally caused hospitals to break down the walls of the gardens,” says Dr. Halamka.

    As opposed to other industries, healthcare has a unique challenge when it comes to data collaboration because there is not a common language. A doctor might call something high blood pressure, hypertension or elevated blood pressure and it’s all referring to the same thing – the patient’s blood pressure is 150/90. Another issue is ambiguity and the fact that every doctor has been trained to record information differently. “So the challenge is creating a common language, creating a capacity to send it across silos and firewalls and competitive locations and then keep it safe. Because the other problem is that if I send your data to someone, can I trust that they won’t compromise it, because if they do I’ll be held accountable. It’s tough,” says Dr. Halamka.

    6. Being a successful leaders is not a job, it’s a lifestyle – Dr. Halamka says, “Being a CIO in 2014 is not a job it’s a lifestyle. It’s not as if there is any separation from life and work, it’s all just continuous and it goes around the clock and it is 365 days a year no matter where I am in the world, my office is where my laptop is. So, it’s the nature of the game.” Between his full-time job as CIO, practicing medicine and tending to his farm of 100 animals, 100,000 bees and 55 different sub-types of apples,

    You can watch the full interview with Dr. John Halamaka 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.

  • Why Social Media Guidance Is Important
    Social media web sites have become a global information network that undoubtedly has many benefits. However, with this increased exposure, it is vital to make sure our students are wise and remain safe as they post information online. It is best to advise students not to post information about themselves online that they would not want the whole world to know.

    This is especially important when students are applying to college. Negative or inappropriate posts may be seen by admission officers and affect an admissions decision. Students must realize that many people may see their posts including teachers, employers, and college admission officers.

    Some college admission representatives (and employers), will research students online to see if there is data available to help make an admission decision. Once data is online, it stays online. Even when something is deleted, it may stay on another’s computer.

    Colleges post current information and chat with students across social media web sites. Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) as well as parents and school counselors need to stay educated on the best way to use Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, so they can advise their students about potential problems and perhaps increase their chances of admission.

    Chat rooms, blogs, e-mails, and instant messaging are other factors where students need to be aware of appropriate measures. For example, a student’s screen name should be a name that is not their name, which can be used to identify them. However, an e-mail address can reflect a student’s name, as they will be easily identified when communicating with colleges. In addition to being smart online to increase chances of being admitted into colleges and obtaining a job, there are security risks when using the Internet and social media web sites. With escalating viral networking, those guiding students should include information for taking extreme precaution and remaining safe online in their programs for students.

    Here are a few tips:
    • Suggest that students join sites where they can keep their information private and restrict access based on approval.
    • Have students make sure that only information they are comfortable revealing is posted. Have them be extremely careful; about posting personal information such as their full name, address, phone number, social security number or any bank or credit card information.
    • Provide suggestions on appropriate postings and remind them to monitor what they post regarding the name of their school, club, or sports team, as sometimes people can be identified using this information.
    • Suggest that students do not post their photo online. Pictures can be altered and used in unacceptable ways.
    • Reiterate safety and remind students not to make friends with strangers online unless they know the resource. People may not always be honest about who they really are.
    Students should communicate with their parents–ask questions and tell them what they are doing online. Advise on the use of privacy settings, creating strong passwords, and remind your students to be skeptical about things they read online.

    Digital communication continues to escalate. It is the responsibility of those guiding students, to offer the best advice for navigating social media safely and productively.

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  • Vine Star Curtis Lepore Leaves Rainn Wilson Comedy Series After Backlash
    Earlier this week, “The Office” alum Rainn Wilson announced his new scripted comedy series, “Hollywood and Vine,” about the lives of five Vine stars. The cast was set to include Curtis Lepore, Jerry Purpdrank, Lele Pons, Simone Shepherd and Christian DelGrosso, who collectively have 30 million followers on Vine. But backlash soon fired up over the inclusion of Lepore, who was charged with raping his ex-girlfriend in January. The Vine star later pled no contest to felony assault and the rape charges were subsequently dropped.

    On Thursday, Wilson posted on his Facebook that he was aware of the concerns of Lepore’s casting and that his company behind the series, SoulPancake, was evaluating their decision.

    On Friday, however, Wilson announced that Lepore would no longer be involved in “Hollywood and Vine.” Wilson said the decision to part ways with Lepore was a mutual one and was “the best decision for everyone involved.”

    Lepore has yet to make a statement about the news, but he did tweet a photo of himself covered in raffle tickets Friday night. HuffPost Entertainment emailed Lepore to see if he had any further comment; this post will be updated if and when he responds.

    For more, head to Deadline.com.

  • Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
    This week was quite productive for the ladies of Twitter. Not only did Twitter user Mmmkay? do laundry, she achieved the impossible: “Just finished the laundry with no missing socks. // *adds magician to resume*.” Yep, that’s definitely magic.

    Abbi Crutchfield killed two birds with one stone this week when she bought a pumpkin to celebrate Halloween: “Carrying a pumpkin home from the grocery store counts as exercise during the fall.” Seasonal enthusiasm and cardiovascular exercise? This woman is a hero.

    For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

    Gather my strength..

    Hoard a bunch of Hershey miniatures…

    Same thing.

    — Harmony (@HarmonyRambles) October 18, 2014

    Just got “hollered at” while wearing basketball shorts and an oversized, soiled R.E.M. shirt. Still got it*!!!

    * It = Two X chromosomes

    — Megan Beth Koester (@bornferal) October 21, 2014

    Just finished the laundry with no missing socks.

    *adds magician to resume*

    — Mmmkay? (@missekay) October 18, 2014

    One thing Instagram does instantly is reveal who is living on a trust fund

    — Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 21, 2014

    “The best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup” — saddest person alive

    — Maggie Mull (@IAmMaggieMull) October 21, 2014

    Whenever my haters are gettin me down I imagine a wet puppy singing “Shake It Off”

    — Sara Schaefer (@saraschaefer1) October 19, 2014

    T-swift posted a ‘gram of a $4 cookie in her Welcome to New York series and yeah, that seems about right, economically

    — Rachel Syme (@rachsyme) October 21, 2014

    I’m more surprised that the road to hell is paved

    — christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 19, 2014

    Salesgirl: Purse shopping, ma’am?

    Me: Yes can I see that one?

    *hands me purse*

    Me: This’ll fit 8-9 cans of Spaghettios easy. I’ll take 2.

    — Jedi Cheesy Grits (@JediGigi) October 23, 2014

    The biggest appeal of social media is that it limits actual human interaction…..

    I promote that.

    — Not your dream girl (@nettie0918) October 23, 2014

    Can someone please make pumpkin spice Vodka? I’m not feeling white girl enough

    — L O R I (@LoriLuvsShoes) October 22, 2014

    No matter when I hear “Timber” I always assume that I’m drunk

    — Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) October 20, 2014

    Honey, don’t get too excited. Alcohol makes me double take everything these days.

    — Sophia (@StupidSophia_) October 22, 2014

    Thank you to my friends who don’t judge me when I stand on chairs to take aerial food shots for Instagram.

    — Miranda Feneberger (@mirandafen) October 23, 2014

    the fact that i’m legally an adult is hilarious

    — Lane Moore (@hellolanemoore) October 23, 2014

    Keep calm and no.

    — amelia (@notbedelia) October 22, 2014

    Whenever I feel down I think about how many women must be devastated there’s no yoga matt emoji & I feel a lot better.

    — Alley Cat (@deardilettante) October 23, 2014

    i’m awake! please respect my privacy during this very difficult time

    — lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren) October 23, 2014

    Carrying a pumpkin home from the grocery store counts as exercise during the fall.

    — Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) October 21, 2014

    I’m sorry I dug through your scarf display like a squirrel.

    — Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) October 21, 2014

    Forgive and forget?

    Nah. Let’s go with resent and remember.

    — Goddess of Mischief (@ShanaRose21) October 23, 2014

    Relationship Status:

    Short-term hook up with this box of Pirate peanut butter cookies.

    — Ginger (@GingerJ17) October 19, 2014

    “99 bottles of beer of the wall, 99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, you fucking weirdos don’t know how to drink beer.”

    — Liana Maeby (@lianamaeby) October 22, 2014

    I don’t run from my problems. I sit on my couch, play on my phone, & ignore them like all the other adults.

    — ChaoticPerfection (@DaNaLa13) October 22, 2014

    Not having to change the channel between a new episode of Jeopardy! and a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy makes me feel super homely.

    — Natalie Sayth (@natsayth) October 23, 2014

    I don’t need a husband I just need someone to come over and make me coffee in the morning and then leave.

    — Jen Doll (@thisisjendoll) October 24, 2014

  • 6 Reasons Travelers Are Upgrading to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
    My husband just purchased an iPhone 6 Plus in anticipation of a long trip next month, and I’m pondering whether to get that version, or the slightly smaller iPhone 6. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing down questions, and talking with my friendly local geniuses and not-quite-geniuses-but-smarter-about-devices-than-I-am, and they’re helping me understand the best features of this much-lauded Apple device.

    Especially if you’re a frequent traveler, consider these six factors, emphasized by Apple developers as the main improvements in this newest, long-awaited upgrade:

    The iPhone 6 Plus

    Larger Screen: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens are 4.7 inches, and 5.5 inches, matching the screen sizes of rival smartphones. My husband opted for the Plus, mostly because he uses his device as an away-from-home office, and appreciates the biggest screen. The enlarged size took him a bit of getting used to handling, and the iPhone 6 Plus fits in his shirt pocket with just an edge showing, which doesn’t bother him. My iPhone 5s now looks a bit chunky compared to the newer, slimmer versions (clever designers).

    Durable Screen: New iPhone screens have “ion strengthened” glass, so breakage is less likely than before. This is different from waterproofing, which some rival smartphones claim. I once dropped my earlier model iPhone into a toilet and despite burying it in rice and chanting to the techie gods, it never revived. I was hoping I would never have to worry about drowning a phone again, especially when I’m traveling far from an Apple store. Maybe next iteration.

    Improved Camera: Carrying a separate camera on trips is now unnecessary, except maybe for pros who need special lenses and the highest res possible. The new iPhones still have 8 megapixels, but we compared images on old and new smartphones and yes, photos are now noticeably sharper, with faster, more precise autofocus, and better sensors. Blurry photos from unsteady hand-holding, like when you’re sticking out the car window to catch the moose crossing the road, are less of a problem because of greatly improved image stabilization. You now can also take a timed selfie, and shoot creative slow-motion video, wonderful for capturing moments you can share from your travels and for dog-and-pony presentations. Fabulous improvements.

    Travel-Related Features and Apps: The iO8s platform that comes with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (and can be upgraded on earlier models) means many apps have been updated, and are included on the smartphones. You can now go into messages, touch and hold the mic, and record an audio message, especially great when you want to reach family or business in different time zones. You can automatically arrange photo albums, and use many other new editing possibilities.

    Other apps of note for travelers: Snapseed with innovative photo editing; Hipmunk, providing creative travel ideas and highlighting offbeat accommodations; iBooks, offering lots of freebies to read as you travel, in an attempt to overtake Kindle’s popularity with Apple users; HomeKit, allowing you to control connected home security and smart-home devices through Siri, so you can make sure the garage door is closed and the aircon is set at 68 when you’re in Kabul and your home is in Great Neck.

    Longer Battery Life: Travelers count on batteries, especially if we’re lost on a lonely road in Romania or need to cover a meeting. The geniuses claim that the iPhone 6 will last 25 percent longer on 3G browsing than the iPhone 5S, and that the iPhone 6 Plus will last even longer. Batteries aren’t removable, so backup spares aren’t possible, as they are in some rival phones. I don’t like that part, and because the iPhone 6 Plus has a longer battery life, I’ll probably choose it over the 6.

    Mobile Wallets: iPhones 6 and 6 Plus (and the upcoming Apple Watch) are set for making contactless payments, and Apple Pay is now available in the United States, and maybe soon in other areas. Starting this month, you can securely store credit card information in the smartphone and use it as a credit card, using the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor at the few places this new system is accepted. Uber has already announced Apple Pay integration services. Others will follow, and it does seems a long-term terrific system, especially for travelers.

  • AUDIO: Is technology killing old loved books?
    Josh Spero, author of Second Hand Stories and editor of Spear’s Magazine, and the author Erica Wagner, a former literary editor of the Times mull the question of high tech and old books.
  • VIDEO: Using Facebook to get a pay rise
    BBC News speaks to the creators of Smarpshare, who want employees to become brand ambassadors for their firms.
  • Google VP Alan Eustace Leaps From Stratosphere, Beats Felix Baumgartner's Record Jump
    That’s one giant leap!

    Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, set a new world record today by completing the highest-altitude free fall yet–parachuting from 135,908 feet (or 25 miles) above Earth.

    The record was previously held by daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who leaped from 24 miles above Earth in October 2012.

    To put that in perspective, scientists say you officially enter space at 73 miles above Earth’s surface. That’s pretty high up–and Eustace was about a third of the way there.

    (Story continues below)

    Eustace gets lifted to his peak altitude of 135,908 feet via a high-altitude ballooning system.

    Eustace reaches a peak speed of 822 miles per hour during his dive.

    Eustace lands after a 4 1/2-minute free fall, the AP reported.

    “It was amazing,” Eustace told The New York Times. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”

    A high-altitude, helium-filled balloon from Paragon Space Development Corp. and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team lifted Eustace to his peak altitude, according to a written statement from the company. Eustace wore a self-contained spacesuit as he cut himself loose from the balloon with the help of a small explosive device, and dove toward Earth at a peak speed of 822 miles per hour, the Times reported.

    Jim Hayhurst of the U.S. Parachute Association was the jump’s official observer, the Associated Press reported. He told the AP that the team on the ground could hear the sonic boom as Eustace broke through the speed of sound barrier.

    Eustace’s supersonic jump came as a big surprise since he had been secretly planning the dive with Paragon Space Development Corp. and its team. The company, which specializes in extreme environmental control systems, initiated the project with Eustace and worked with him to develop, build and manage the system used during the incredible leap.

    The near-space exploration company World View Enterprises has since acquired this ballooning technology, Wired reported, for future space travel and research flights.

    near space balloon

  • Sprint adds 12-month option to 'iPhone for Life' leasing plan
    Sprint is making changes to its iPhone for Life rental plan, just over a month after launch. The carrier is adjusting the plan to allow customers the ability to lease an iPhone and upgrade it after 12 months, though the existing 24-month period between upgrades will continue to be offered to users at a lower cost compared to the new plan option.

  • How to Overcome Your 6 Biggest Digital Banking Fears
    mobile banking fears

    By Christina Lavingia, Editor

    Cybersecurity — or a lack thereof — has consistently made headlines this year. The news that two-thirds of American households were compromised due to a breach at JPMorgan Chase is just the latest in a long list of security scares, from Target’s Black Friday hacking to Home Depot’s issue with stolen credit card data.

    As security improves, so do the tactics of hackers, it seems. Risk is everywhere — but if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that staying offline won’t necessarily keep you safe. Whether you’re swiping your card at a retail store or entering your pin at an ATM, there’s always the chance that somebody else could be accessing your personal information.

    Even so, security concerns make a significant number of consumers wary of an incredibly beneficial tool: mobile banking.

    GOBankingRates conducted a poll to find out what scares consumers most about banking in the digital age. While 43.7 percent of respondents said they have no major concerns, more than half of those polled are worried — and, for most of them, identity theft is the main concern. In fact, two in five of the mobile banking users we polled — about 37 percent — said this is their biggest fear.

    >>> Click here for the complete poll findings.

    Whether or not digital banking worries you, it’s wise to exercise caution to safeguard yourself and your funds. ComScore reports that 174 million Americans own smartphones as of August 2014, totaling 72 percent of the mobile phone market — meaning a huge number of people could be affected by a mobile data breach.

    That said, banking online or over the phone has numerous benefits, from convenience (a reduction in trips to the bank) to improved account monitoring (real-time notification of activity). And regardless of risk, people like using online and mobile banking, with 51 percent of U.S. adults banking online and 35 percent of cell phone users banking on their phones, according to Pew Research.

    Clearly, you shouldn’t avoid banking in the digital age — but, as with any activity where your personal information is involved, you should be safe about it. Here’s how.

    Protect Yourself From These 6 Digital Banking Fears

    1. Identity Theft

    Any time you have to enter sensitive information in an online form, like your Social Security number, address and phone number, it’s natural to feel a twinge of hesitation. These companies are asking for all the components necessary to steal your identity, and with the prevalence of fraudulent sites and phishing schemes, not even an official-looking site is truly safe. Of those who claimed to have a concern regarding digital banking, more than 37 percent of respondents in our poll identified theft as their biggest concern.

    To protect your identity online, the FTC recommends that consumers:

    • Beware of imposters requesting sensitive information
    • Remove all information from computers before disposing of them using a wipe utility program
    • Extract SIM cards and delete all information permanently, especially pertaining to contact lists, calls made and received, voicemails, emails, and web histories
    • Install encryption software on their devices
    • Maintain unique, strong and varied passwords for different sites that request your personal information
    • Don’t overshare on social media sites, as information could be used to get through verification questions
    • Be wary of public Wi-Fi, as any account activity in that network might not be protected

    Whenever asked to provide your Social Security number via telephone, ask why it’s needed, how it will be used, how it will be protected and if you can verify your identity through other means. You can call a business, as well, to ask these questions if the information is requested on an online form. If you’re ever contacted by someone requesting this information, hang up, look up the institution’s phone number from their official site and call back to confirm what you were told.

    Many companies never initiate a call requesting sensitive information, a good indication that any communication in this vein is a hoax.

    “At Chase, we are dedicated to making the payment experience safe and secure for our customers,” said Scott Rau, director of mobile payments for Chase.

    We use a variety of technology tools to ensure this experience, no matter how the customer chooses to pay, and combined with our best-in-class fraud and analytic tools, we believe we can offer customers payment solutions for ease of use with all the liability, fraud and security protections available.

    Related: What Your iPhone or Android Is Telling ID Thieves

    2. Technical Errors Resulting in Missing Funds

    Of course a technical mistake is a factor consumers must contend with when banking digitally. Unlike visiting a bank branch and meeting with a banker in person, a digital interface might be more prone to errors that result in misappropriated funds and overdrafts. However, knowing your rights when it comes to disputing mistakes is your first step toward peace of mind.

    According to the FTC, consumers have 60 days from the date of a periodic statement containing an error to file a claim. Once notified, financial institutions have 10 days to investigate and three additional days to inform you of their findings. This window can be extended to 45 days so long as the financial institution temporarily reimburses the funds until the investigation is complete.

    Knowing this, keeping a pulse on your account activity is all it takes to get over this digital banking concern.

    Related: Best Way to Work With Your Bank to Correct Mistakes

    3. Misuse of Information by Companies

    Notice how advertisements and Google results reflect your recent online activity? That’s not an accident. Companies track your online behavior to better tailor their marketing efforts to relevant consumers, and many sell your personal information to other companies.

    Yes, privacy policies are long; however you can gain confidence by reading the privacy policies of the sites you’re on. By knowing what agreeing to a site’s terms and conditions really means, you’ll feel more in control of your information and aware of what a company can do with it.

    4. Lack of Documentation

    Paper statements force consumers to take a look at their spending habits and evaluate how well they’re performing financially. But in an increasingly digital world, consumers and financial institutions alike are transitioning to e-statements — some financial institutions actually require that account holders opt in to e-statements to receive the posted interest rate.

    While environmentalists and tech-savvy individuals see this as a blessing, you might still appreciate receiving a paper copy monthly — worrying that a lack of paper statements will cause you to neglect your account balance and activity.

    One way to address this concern is to apply the same due diligence your bank put into mailing you regular paper statements to your personal finances. Set a calendar reminder to log into your account monthly to maintain the same awareness of your account activity — or set up a filter to flag your bank’s emails as “important.”

    “In one key way, online or mobile banking actually reduces the risk of fraud,” said Andy Prescott, CPA, CISA and founder of artofbeingcheap.com. “Because these systems make it super easy to check your balance every day, consumers who frequently use mobile or internet banking will discover unauthorized transactions faster, and be able to alert their bank.”

    Related: 7 Banks and Credit Unions Giving Perks for Going Paperless

    5. Lost or Stolen Phone

    “Thieves know that carrying a smartphone is like carrying $500 in your hands,” Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of mobile security firm Lookout, told The Associated Press. Lookout estimates that lost and stolen cell phones cost Americans $30 billion a year. Understandably, you might be worried about storing sensitive login information in your phone should it land in the wrong hands; however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself before your phone goes missing — and even after the fact.

    According to a poll by Intercede, 63 percent of respondents are worried about the security on their mobile devices, while 84 percent of those respondents worry about data loss and identity theft in the event that their phones are stolen.

    There are different security options available depending on your smartphone. The iPhone, for example, comes with the choice of a simple or complex passcode to unlock your phone, the ability to lock someone out after 10 incorrect passcode attempts, and the option to prevent all access to your phone from the locked screen.

    Once stolen, the Find My iPhone app can track and secure an iPhone remotely. The “lost mode” can be activated to place a passcode on your phone and to send a message to its lock screen requesting its return. The iPhone 5S, 6 and 6+ all come with fingerprint security, as well.

    Android phones are equipped with similar security measures, including a lock code, the ability to control and reset your phone remotely through the Android Device Manager, and the ability to track its location through Google Play, as long as the phone is connected to a network or public Wi-Fi. Windows Phone also sports a Find My Phone app that will help users map their phone’s location on Bing.

    6. Fraudulent Apps

    Of the top 100 paid Android and iPhone apps in 2013, 78 percent were hacked — 100 percent of those on Android’s list and 56 percent of iOS apps, according to an Arxan report. As for free apps, 73 percent of Android apps were hacked last year, while 53 percent of iOS apps were compromised.

    The numbers are a bit lower when it comes to financial apps, but the statistics are still shocking: 53 percent of Android apps related to finance were hacked in 2013, while 23 percent of iOS finance apps were.

    These mobile banking apps can be susceptible to fraud in the form of phishing. According to Yahoo News, Mizrahi Bank, one of the biggest banks in Israel, was the target of a fraudulent app in June. The BankMirage app looked identical to the real app, but would steal customers’ usernames and direct them to redownload the real app, preventing them from being suspicious upon using the app’s functionality.

    To protect yourself from this risk, follow these precautions:

    • Keep an eye out for multiple apps from any one bank and report possible frauds.
    • Ensure you’re using an authentic app by visiting the bank’s official website. Most will have a mobile banking section that explains exactly how to download the appropriate version.
    • Make sure you’re downloading apps from a credible app store.
    • Avoid downloading the app by bookmarking the bank’s mobile portal instead. That way you can access funds through your web browser and not the app itself.

    Related: 12 Highest-Rated Bank and Credit Union Apps


    GOBankingRates.com recently ran a survey of 790 Americans, representative of the U.S. general population (weighted by age, gender and region), asking them what their biggest fear about mobile banking is. Age, gender, income, region and urban density were the demographic attributes recorded for each respondent. Survey respondents were given five options to choose from — identity theft, technical errors resulting in missing funds, misuse of information by companies, lack of documentation with paper statements and no major concerns.

    Photo credit: Jhaymesisviphotography

  • Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion
    First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That’s right, we’re all but officially in the age of streaming services.

    Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the Apple Store’s iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall.

    Meanwhile, Spotify is surging ahead. The music streaming service hit 10 million global paid subscribers in May, up from 6 million paid subscribers in March 2013. Throw in people who use the service but don’t pay, and Spotify’s now lays claim to 40 million active users, up from 24 million in March 2013.

    Then there’s Pandora, the Internet radio service with 80 million users, which dominates the streaming music industry. Those numbers have steadily increased, up from 70 million in May 2013, and listening hours have continued to increase too.

    Of course, there’s a big difference between the Apple Store on the one hand and Spotify and Pandora on the other. Apple’s iTunes makes mountain of money, while Pandora occasionally turns a little profit and Spotify isn’t even profitable yet.

    Nevertheless, Apple apparently sees which way the wind is blowing. As speculated in earlier reports, Apple will be relaunching and rebuilding Beats Music — the existing $10-a-month subscription streaming service — under its own brand.

    You can soon say goodbye to the days when download was king.

  • Separating Fact From Fiction in the Digital World

    We are a society of devices. A world of social networking and social media galore.

    People are sharing and over-sharing captions of their lives in the virtual world that years ago we would never have been invited to see.

    Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites can bring personalities to a whole new level. People of all ages can take on personas that they only dreamed about. Why? Simply because they can.

    We click before we think and post before we consider the lasting consequences, which is how today’s fast-paced social media society works.

    Who are they, really?

    How much do you really know about the people you meet? You’d probably be surprised by what your unassuming waitress or grocery store clerk or even your next-door neighbor writes about on their social media pages. The slow erosion of privacy we’re experiencing in this digital age gives us glimpses into the innermost thoughts and feelings of others, thoughts that we most likely never would have been privy to before Facebook and Twitter made it seem normal for us to broadcast anything and everything to the world at large.

    Last spring we read about the San Francisco high school teacher that took to Twitter just before the end of school. She was obviously anxious for school to be out, like many students are, but she must have been having a bad day when she tweeted the following:

    Y’all think you hate us teachers? Guess what, we feel the same about some of you. We’re just not allowed to show it. #ISecretlyHateYou — Mrs. Hodges April 18, 2014

    This teacher is a great example for reminding us that venting is best kept offline. Don’t leave others to wonder who you really are because of something you posted on social media.

    Deception and fakers.

    It’s true, there have been many studies that showvisiting Facebook regularly and watching all your friends and colleagues have these wonderful lives as you just keep puttering along can cause sadness. (Honestly, do we need a study for that?)

    But are all of your friends really experiencing the time of their lives?

    Are the photos for real?

    How exactly do you separate social media fact from social media fiction? Especially when it comes to a person’s personal life, it is rather difficult to call them out on their own timeline and say: “Hey, Sally (fake name), I know for a fact your husband is having an affair, your son is smoking dope and you pop pills to sleep at night so you can continue to keep up with this false persona you are inventing!”

    Meanwhile, Sally paints the picture of perfection as the family travels to Hawaii, decorates for the holidays and, before we know it, here come those posed family photo shoots.

    Who are we to destroy it all with our keystrokes? Who are they to paint the web with lies and illusions?

    Another example is the deceptive posters who engage in online dating and believe that posting their photos from a decade ago is appropriate. What do they think will happen when they actually meet someone in person? Most of you have heard of Catfish and how deceptive and scary that is online, however, in reality, it isn’t any different than people lying about who they are virtually.

    Who does this hurt?

    In social media, it hurts the people reading it who believe your life is a wonderful Hollywood fairytale while theirs is mediocre.

    In reality, you are only hurting yourself and your family. I am not a psychologist, but it’s common sense to realize that until you start confronting your own issues, lying to the world won’t make anything better. If you are dating online, you are wasting your time, the time of others and it could even lead to hurting other people.

    If you have children, they are also watching you online on your social media sites. If you think for one minute they are not aware of what is really going on inside the walls of their own home, then in reality you are sadly mistaken. Your online behavior is actually teaching them it is okay to pretend to be someone else digitally. Is this what you really want?

    Why does it matter?

    Honesty should always be a priority online and offline. If life isn’t giving you a bowl of cherries, it doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the cyber-living. People don’t seem to understand that it is okay to unplug! Find your friends and family offline and have conversations face-to-face to talk about what is bothering you.

    Honesty is a characteristic that parents and grownups need to model for our youth. Many are guilty of embellishing their lives or careers once in awhile, who hasn’t bragged about their child or grandchild now and then? However, with the world of social media, we need to pause and remember — the Internet isn’t interested in our family affairs.

    Be real.

    Of course that doesn’t mean you have to stop posting what you are proud of, but use your privacy settings and share with care. Share with people that truly care about you, not with people that barely know you.

    The lesson.

    Social media has given people a new avenue for communication. It has opened doors for people that otherwise would have never come out of their shells and given empowered voices to those that would have never been heard. Let’s not abuse it — instead, learn to use it with care and respect.

    With more people being connected to their devices, it is leaving less time for real human connection. In light of this, isn’t it better to present your real self online and develop more genuine connections with those you interact with most?

    Ask yourself: Who are you really outside of the digital world? How different are you from your online image?

  • What Is The Real Price Of Technology?
    I will never forget it.

    The story that my friend told me about her daughter who came to her crying, disappointed after she found out that Santa Claus is not real. She Googled it, she said.

    It’s inevitable, you might say. They’ll find out eventually. That is true. But how about other feelings we, both children and adults, experience because of our introduction to the Internet a bit early, or because of our addiction to it? Anxiety, anger, depression…

    We all, men, women and children, spend huge amounts of time online every day. And if that’s not enough, according to a 2014 study by HR firm Randstad US, 42 percent of adults admit to checking their work emails while on holiday, a time that they should be spending disconnecting and relaxing.

    Why is it so hard to switch off? Is it because it’s addictive? Is it because we don’t want to miss out on anything? Is it because we use social networks as a place to stroke our own egos?

    Whatever the reason is, there are repercussions to be aware of. Smartphone and computer use can cause a number of psychological issues:

    There’s also the risk of a range of physical health issues such as:

    Not to mention the sheer amount of time that could be spent doing something more productive or enjoyable. And the possible future regret and embarrassment of having shared those unflattering photos of yourself while drunk on holiday when, a few years later, you are applying for jobs.

    On our honeymoons and vacations, in an attempt to usurp the random posts of unflattering wedding shots or bragging about our trip to the beach, we spend hours of our precious time away from our spouses and children, choosing and posting our preferred photos into an online album.

    There is a fashionable trend on the rise — to go “offline” altogether. Disconnect. Spend time with nature or in absolute quiet, thinking, creating, exercising.

    Why is that?

    Because we want our lives back. Because relationships need effort and time to make them work. Any relationship. Without exception! Those brought up on social networking can too easily become accustomed to the “disposable” attitudes of online dating and the modern consumer world, with potentially horrific implications for the future of families and partnerships and with terrible implications for the long-term health of our society. Implications to:

    • Creativity and imagination;
    • Productivity;
    • Innovation;
    • Relationships;
    • Mental and physical health of both adults and kids.

    We need to take charge. We need to be present when our families are talking to us. We need to take time to go outside and explore with our children. We need to disconnect so that we could allow for our thoughts to flow freely and creatively, and so that we could come back to work with the renewed vigor and passion rather than indifference.

    Let’s not allow our work to consume us. To do that, we need to become more productive during our work hours and minimize the distractions. There are apps that can help us do just that, such as Anti-Social.

    Let’s keep our children safe. Technology can be a source of great learning, but organizations like SafeSurf and OnGuardOnline provide tools and information to help parents in their quest for their kids’ safety. We ourselves also need to be mindful about what information we post about our kids.

    The FBI has a worrying list of the types of cyber-attacks on users of social networking sites, plus some helpful tips on how to not become a victim.

    I’ll be the first one to admit that I am a technology addict. I am a social media marketer — it kinda comes with territory. I am also a workaholic, because I love what I do. It is a consistent struggle to find the right balance. But over the past five years, while juggling projects, networks, friends and communities, I noticed that I developed a slight ADD. I gained weight. My sleep patterns were off. I somewhat neglected my daughter.

    So I started to make changes, such as:

    • Family dinner together every night with our child (even if one of us is traveling);
    • No tech or toys at the dinner table (if the phone rings during dinner, we don’t pick it up);
    • No work between the hours of 6-8 pm when my daughter is back from school and before her bedtime;
    • Giving my family undivided attention during our family time;
    • On the weekends spend time outside without technology (yes, without even a cell phone);
    • Play more board games;
    • No technology in your bedroom (no cell, laptop, TV, nothing), it vastly improves sleep patterns.

    And that’s just the basics. I am still working on the right amount of time I spend with and without technology. Today, I invite all of you to take the pledge to be mindful. To go screenless every now and then. To reclaim your lives. To keep us all sane and to keep our relationships thriving.

    Because it is worth it!

    Because, when it’s all said and done, none of us will ever say on our deathbeds: “I wish I spent more time with my beloved technology.”

  • Forums: Yosemite is a big win (or fail depending on who you ask)
    With just a little over one week on the Mac App Store under its belt, OS X 10.10 Yosemite has been one of the hottest topics in the MacNN forums, with discussion topics ranging from claimed “unfixed bugs” and battery life issues to beefs with Dark Mode and tips for those who are just upgrading for the first time. Today, one Dedicated MacNNer was looking for help determining the cause of what appears to be USB power failure.

  • Every Time You Walk Your Dog With This App, Your Favorite Animal Shelter Gets A Donation
    You give your dog a treat every time the two of you go on a walk. Why not give the local animal shelter a treat, too?

    That’s the premise of Walk for a Dog, a smartphone app that donates money to an animal shelter of your choosing every time you walk your dog. According to Walk for a Dog’s parent organization, WoofTrax, donations are funded via sponsorship deals and advertising, and generally vary from 11 to 25 cents per mile, depending on the number of people who have signed up to walk in benefit of a particular animal organization.

    In an email to HuffPost, WoofTrax CEO Doug Hexter emphasized the number of people walking in support of an organization, and the number of walks they take, factors more into the donation amount than the distance they might walk.

    “The miles are factored in, but not heavily,” said Hexter, “as Walk for a Dog users are of all ages and abilities. A walk with your dog around the block or a 5-mile hike all count. We simply wanted to encourage people of all ages and abilities to get out there and walk their dog.”

    “It’s hard to get people to do something new,” Hexter added to the San Francisco Chronicle of the app. “But millions of people are already walking their dogs every day. We simply wanted to encourage that activity and add more value to it.”

    In the six months since Walk for a Dog launched, Hexter told HuffPost that it has distributed $10,000 in donations across the nearly 4,000 animal shelters which have signed up. One of those shelters, Pennsylvania’s Delaware County SPCA, told CBS Philadelphia they’re excited about its potential.

    “When a $10 check comes in, be it through an app or personal donation, it really means it’s going toward caring for the animals so we are able to help them until they find their forever homes,” Delco SPCA spokeswoman Justina Calgiano told the station.

    The app is available both in the Apple App Store and Google Play.

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  • The Future of Information Is Here: The Internet of Things

    In early September at the Supermobility/CTIA conferences, I moderated a discussion about the future for the Internet of Things (IoT). The women in technology panel focused on multiple layers of the IOT world. With the world being constantly plugged into different devices, we’re becoming super connected to everything, changing the consumer and business landscape.

    Our discussions covered what some top companies are developing as best practices in IOT — from infrastructure and R&D to market strategy and successes or failures within each structure. We had a very thought-provoking conversation about connected devices, crunching Big Data, and even creating innovative hypotheses to drive businesses. IoT means a paradigm shift in how we perceive technology. So, how do you analyze and segment data to drive business intelligence in an age of IoT? Are there consequences? Our discussion addressed these questions while sharing knowledge from experts in the industry on the hottest trends for staying connected in the future.

    We had a stellar line-up, with names from Intel, Salesforce, Rocketeer, 24Notion and Zappos. What was especially compelling about this line-up was the fact that three-fourths of the panel was women leaders. Women are leading the charge in these companies! Sure, we had Charlie representing the man’s perspective so we could have some balance, but it’s not often that we get to see such a strong female presence among business leaders. It really showed the future not only of information and IoT, but also who will be leading these efforts.

    Susan Hinton is an engineer by day, and at Zappos is a maker by night. Holly Barrett has been with Intel for many years running finance and has also been the controller for IoT development on many projects throughout the years. Heather Wilde made her mark at Evernote with her killer customer relations skills. She has been part of an entrepreneurs incubation project within the Tony Hsieh initiative, and is a big champion for women in technology. Charlie Isaacs runs the customer connection within IoT, primarily being responsible for incubating and supporting customers connecting their products to Salesforce (not to mention that he has a long and impressive list of previous career accolades. He is also an avid supporter of women in the technology industry.

    Our line-up of thought leaders really set the stage. It was a group of diverse backgrounds and skills, but all were tied together with a common thread: their support for women in technology, which helped bring out such rich and deep conversation over IoT.

    This recent Business Insider article states that The IoT will result in $1.7 trillion in value added to the global economy in 2019. This added value will result from the efficiencies of IoT coming out of things like installation costs and management services.

    Further, it’s predicted that The main benefit of growth in the IoT will be increased efficiency and lower costs. Efficiency will be realized everywhere that IoT can take place — in homes, throughout urban metropolises, workplaces and even consumer devices. Many are skeptical of these individual devices because of security problems, but it’s clear that IoT has arrived and it’s here to stay.

    As the future brings more and more IoT, it’s up to innovative thought leaders like our panelists to lead the way for its mass use. The business outcomes with IoT is huge, as our panel showed, but there’s still so much more that can come from this. This is just the beginning of IoT, but it’s already revolutionizing what we know about information.

  • Why Isaacson's Rewrite of Tech History Is So Timely
    By Alison van Diggelen, Host of Fresh Dialogues

    Last Tuesday was the kind of evening when you just want to snuggle up with a good book and a warm mug of Earl Grey. But I rallied and zipped up my winter boots to go to Silicon Valley’s geek mecca, The Computer History Museum. The guest of honor was Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs’ biography and the bible for entrepreneurs around the world.


    Isaacson’s latest book is The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution. I knew that learning more about Silicon Valley’s history would be good for me, but after reading the humdrum Financial Times review, my expectations were low.

    But my fears were unfounded. In the parlance of modern movies, Isaacson had me at “Ada Lovelace.” She’s the woman who outlined the very first computer algorithm, and envisioned computer programs that could make art, even music. All this back in 1843.

    Instead of a discussion about the male-dominated heroes of computing, Isaacson rarely strayed from the topic of women in computing. He chronicled the shocking neglect of the female programming team that completed the Eniac project, the first electronic general-purpose computer, only to be excluded from the high-profile public launch. Many times men got the credit and women were invisible.

    “We have to put women back into the history of computing,” Isaacson said.

    Hear, hear!

    Isaacson also has his finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley. Like automatons who’ve been asleep at the wheel, the tech world — widely considered the ultimate meritocracy — is waking up to the huge gender bias that’s prevalent here.

    With some prodding from influential journalists, companies like Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have recently published their stats. On average, a paltry 15 percent of the tech workforce is female.

    Why does this matter?

    Gender-balanced teams make better products, companies, and communities — and make them more economically valuable.

    A recent study from Dow Jones VentureSource found that companies with the highest representation of women on their top management teams achieved better financial performance than other companies.

    Sadly, despite Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean in” movement and Warren Buffet urging people not to hold women back, least of all themselves, the number of women going into computer science has actually dropped by half in the last 20 years.

    The dearth of prominent geeky role models like Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Kim Polese is part of the problem. Some say there’s still a boy’s club atmosphere in tech and that it’s “hostile to women.”

    Some women, like those involved in the misogynistic “GamerGate” even fear for their lives.

    Isaacson’s book and its rewriting of tech history, with innovating women front and center could not be more timely.

    Everyone needs role models, says Isaacson. Three cheers to that. Ada Lovelace is now mine.

    Meet more inspiring women at Fresh Dialogues

  • Mark Zuckerberg: the Next Great Chinese Rapper?
    So, apparently Mark Zuckerberg can speak some Chinese. I first learned of this a few nights ago when, before I’d even had a chance to seek out evidence of Zuckerberg responding to questions in Mandarin, I found myself on social media flooded by wave after wave of brightly lit noise, all feverishly declaring the Facebook CEO’s brilliant fluency in my mother tongue. By the time I tracked down video of the Q&A session, hosted by Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University, the hype over Zuckerberg’s Chinese language skills had grown so strong that I expected to click ‘play’ and witness him kicking freestyle raps in Mandarin and rhyming clever insults about Jack Ma.

    There was a time, and it was not so long ago, where any white man speaking Mandarin would have been received in China as if he was a mystical figure. It didn’t matter if it only happened to be, say, a chubby kid from Iowa who was drawn to Chinese culture by a disturbingly intense obsession with dumplings — so long as he could form somewhat complete Chinese sentences, the locals would marvel at the existence of this plump magical creature and enshrine him in warm, golden admiration. Let us momentarily juxtapose this with circumstances in America, where in many places even a thin layer of accent upon the surface of your English may cause you to be ridiculed or ostracized.

    In Mandarin Chinese, there is an expression kan de qi (pronounced: kahn duh chee), that roughly translates to “can see value in.” It signifies when one person is able to identify worthiness in another person. In any country of the world, when a foreigner learns your language, it is a foundational gesture that he or she can kan de qi your nation and its culture. When a foreigner learns the Chinese language, it inherently says to the Chinese, “I value your people, your land, your way of life. Enough so that I would work to connect with you in the manner that is most convenient and natural for you.” So when Mark Zuckerberg spoke in Mandarin, no matter how deformed his tones, no matter how American (and non-Chinese) his phrasing of thoughts, no matter how obviously rehearsed the Q&A interactions, the most important communication was embodied in Mr. Zuckerberg’s effort itself: that he, one of America’s most important business and technology figures, can kan de qi the people of China.

    Much of the Western world interprets China through feelings of anxiety or fear as a result of the nation’s recent and historically unprecedented rate of global rise. Ask Americans what they think of China and in their answers you will likely find heavy traces of negativity or paranoia. “The Chinese are taking over.” “The Chinese own us.” “The Chinese made Jay-Z cheat on Beyonce”. But the truth is that the Chinese still very much hunger for validation in the eyes of the West; and of the Western countries, the whole world still cares the most about what America thinks, and what America watches, and what America wears … The American mainstream media uses a rather predictable rotation of storylines to portray China – China’s economy, China’s problems, China’s growth, China’s problems, China’s army, China’s problems … but the often omitted story, one that would be very meaningful for Americans to hear, tells of the great percentage of Chinese who have feelings of high admiration for American people, American culture, and American values. One must first grasp this Chinese respect for America, in order to properly weigh the significance of Zuckerberg’s gesture.

    But it would be irresponsible to not mention the underlying motivations behind Zuckerberg’s actions: that the Facebook CEO’s will to speak Mandarin is most certainly a matter of courting the Chinese in the name of business interests. There are noticeable parallels to the practice of certain Western males who learn Asian languages or study Asian cultures because it is useful to their pursuit of Asian women (this is a very common scenario, and generally a byproduct of an Asian fetish): their cultural education, though genuine in many respects, is ultimately driven by self-interest and a commodification of the target culture. “Yo China. Heyyyy girl. You lookin’ real good tonight — real exotic like. Yeahhh. Guess what? I got a surprise for you, girl. I… have learned your language [wrinkles lips]. Yup, that’s right, girl. Listen to me count to ten real quick and then name some farm animals. Now you know that’s sexy. Yeahhh [rubs hands]. Maybe a little later we could go back to your place and you could let me get a piece of that market share?”

    Nonetheless, Zuckerberg’s gesture is overall a very real source of positive sentiment for Chinese people, and an act that might also inspire even more Americans to study Mandarin. Perhaps one of modern society’s clearest embodiments of Yin and Yang is this relationship found within capitalism that links calculating self-interest and collective cultural progress (i.e. massive corporate machines giving to charity and funding humanitarian efforts, banks sponsoring arts and culture programs… ). In Zuckerberg’s quest to tap China’s market for his own material gain, he also does a substantial service for US-China relations.

    It’s quite unfortunate that media coverage of Zuckerberg’s Q&A at Tsinghua consistently ignored an opportunity to discuss the intricately evolving relationship between the US and China, opting instead to apply its power to wax and shine the CEO’s public image. Especially so because the cultural significance of Zuckerberg’s effort was the only truly valuable part. If we evaluate his performance from a technical perspective alone, all we have is an American who has learned to communicate in Mandarin at a below average level. To put things in perspective, there exist countless junior high students across the world who speak English as a foreign language better than Mark Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin Chinese. There are thousands upon thousands of immigrants in America — working in the kitchens of American restaurants, sweating on American construction sites, serving as caretakers to American children — who must speak English as a foreign language better than Zuckerberg speaks Mandarin simply to keep their families from starving. What does it say about our culture here, that we would glorify someone for the mediocre execution of a task that innumerable people across the world perform, instinctively and proficiently, on a daily basis?

    Here in the United States we love to elevate celebrity individuals above all others and make their personal stories the centerpieces of our greater narrative, but the true significance of Mark Zuckerberg’s Mandarin has little to do with the Facebook CEO’s mental prowess. Rather, the real vision to behold in all of this is the image of a world where other nations are catching up to the United States, and as a result, the United States must now also in its own way catch up to other nations, by learning how to kan de qi the rest of the world. Mark Zuckerberg’s ability to communicate with a foreign people in their own language should not be seen as a remarkable feat deserving of praise, but should instead become as a basic expectation for American citizens in order to build the strongest possible American future: that all Americans should strive for the aptitude and the openness to engage other nations on their own terms, the way that other nations have so unquestioningly and for so many years engaged America on her terms.

Mobile Technology News, October 24, 2014

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

  • Microsoft Earnings A Mixed Bag for Windows Phone

    During the Microsoft earnings call yesterday, it became apparent that for Windows Phone, the earnings were a mixed bag.  However, if you dive in a little deeper it will start to  make sense what is going on with their earnings and why there is no need to jump on the panic button just yet as a Windows Phone user and fan. First, let’s take a look at the good news.  In the last quarter which ended in September, Microsoft globally sold 9.3 million Lumia devices.  This up over 5% from the same quarter last year and clearly indicates things are

    The post Microsoft Earnings A Mixed Bag for Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • AAPL hits all-time high, may close week at record levels
    Apple’s stock on Thursday hit a new all-time closing high, reaching $104.83 per share at the closing bell. While many are waiting to see if the company can close the week at that level or higher, others — including activist investor Carl Icahn and CEO Tim Cook — believe the stock remains undervalued. AAPL also set a new intra-day high of $105.05 during trading, and is up slightly from its close at this writing in after-hours trading. Stronger-than-expected iPhone numbers and the coming holiday season has helped fuel the rise.

  • VIDEO: Scientists create real hoverboard
    BBC Click looks at some of the week’s technology highlights.
  • VIDEO: The smartphone that answers back
    How one manufacturer is making its smartphone really stand out from the crowd.
  • HBO Going Rogue Could Get Us to Net Neutrality
    Recently, a couple of cable content providers have announced that they’re going rogue and are going to start providing content independently of cable companies. That’s good news for consumers who have, until now, been at the mercy of companies such as Comcast and Time Warner. It might also be good news for proponents of Net Neutrality, who have been waging an uphill battle for internet data and traffic equality.

    The rest of this post assumes that the reader is familiar with the finer points of Net Neutrality, if that’s not the case, you can read more about it here and here, but in a nutshell, it’s the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally. The other possible scenario being that ISPs would be allowed to slow down, or “throttle” data transfer from certain sites at their discretion. For example, an ISP could decide they didn’t want their customers visiting sites of a particular political party, movie actor, author, store, etc. and slow down speeds significantly resulting in the site taking too long to come up.

    That said, HBO announced last week that it will be offering its HBO Go service to viewers who don’t have a TV/cable subscription in 2015 — a stand-alone streaming service. HBO CEO Richard Plepler made the announcement recently saying:

    That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO. So, in 2015, we will launch a stand-alone, over-the-top, HBO service in the United States.

    This means that popular shows such as Game Of Thrones, the most pirated TV show in history, will be available to you regardless of your cable plan. HBO’s move makes sense. According to Entertainment Weekly:

    [HBO] officially condemns theft, yet also recognizes that Thrones is an enormous hit, that content leakage is tough to prevent and that the show’s popularity among pirates is inevitable (countries such as Australia, where viewers don’t receive new episodes via pay cable in a timely manner, tend to be among the biggest piracy territories).

    Michael Lombardo, HBO’s programming president also told Entertainment Weekly that the downloading was a “compliment of sorts,” adding, “the demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

    So why not offer a paid subscription service and minimize piracy? Netflix has more than 37 million subscribers in the US who watch and average of 90 minutes of programming every day; 47 percent of American households subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Instant or a combination thereof; nearly 50 percent have a TV connected to the internet; and 34 percent watch online videos every day. That’s a lot of potential customers. Netflix’s model of eight dollars per month has worked so far and frankly, with the exception of Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, the content isn’t that great.

    The day after HBO’s announcement, CBS announced their own “cord cutter” service. For $6 per month, you can live stream CBS programs, get next-day access to current shows on mobile devices, and access an archive of past shows and classics from the network.

    Up until now, the only way to get HBO, has been through a provider such as Comcast or Time Warner. The prices vary by region and it’s difficult to determine an overall or average cost across the country. If you want HBO from Comcast you’ll have to buy a bundle that includes other “premium channels” you probably don’t want.

    According to hbowatch.com, the price of an HBO subscription, averaged over seven providers, runs about $16/month. Feel free to correct me in the comment section below, but even at $10 per month a streaming service from HBO would be a bargain.

    Of the hundreds of channels available to me on my TV I probably only watch a half dozen, of which two are premium and the rest, I could care less. Looking at $60 per month, as opposed to the nearly $150 I spend now is certainly more attractive.

    As for the technology, most laptops and tablets are equipped with a micro USB port to play streaming video on most flat screens; Google Chromecast integrates with Netflix and YouTube so far; and gadgets such as the soon to be released Nexus Player and Apple’s AirPlay are going to make streaming content more accessible and easy to use.

    America lags behind many countries when it comes to the kind of world class network we should have. In terms of speed and access America trails Sweden, Estonia, Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, to name but a few. As for price? According to an article on HuffPost:

    Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, claims it’s capable of providing 3Gbps broadband — but its fastest service currently on the market is $320 a month for 305Mbps. Verizon, meanwhile, has just announced its fastest FiOS ever, 500Mbps for $310 a month. Compare that to Hong Kong, where consumers can get 500Mbps for $25 a month, or Seoul, where the same speed is priced at $30 a month. Only Google Fiber’s broadband plan seems competitive with those of other tech-savvy nations: It offers 1Gbps for $70 a month, which is only outpaced by Japan’s proposed Nuro network with speeds of up to 2Gbps for $51 a month.

    Many countries view internet access as a utility and almost a necessity. In Sweden, for example, people pay about $30 per month for gigabit access as opposed to our ten megabits per second or less. Sweden, Japan, Hong Kong and many European destinations offer connections nearly 100 times faster at lower rates. In America, we’re arguing over Net Neutrality that could allow service providers Comcast, Time Warner and others to “throttle” internet speeds and charge content providers and customers more for “high speed lanes.” Movie watchers, music lovers, gamers, etc. would all be affected if Congress and the FCC allowed what are essentially monopolies to set their own speeds and prices. Want to play a game with your friends? More money. Want to watch a movie without having to watch that little hourglass every five minutes? More money. How about this article? Are you old enough to remember when a page with this much content and images could take 10-15 minutes to load? For those of you too young to have had this experience and the exercise in patience it required, here’s a video.

    In an interview for Vox.com with Ezra Klein, Susan Crawford, former Special Assistant to President Obama on Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, had this to say about how the internet is too important to be left to the private market:

    What happens is that we deregulated this entire sector about 10 years ago and the cable guys already had exclusive franchises across the country. They were able to very inexpensively upgrade those to pretty high-speed internet access connections. Meanwhile the telephone companies have totally withdrawn. They have copper line in the ground and it’s expensive for them to build and replace it with fiber. Because of both deregulation and sweeping consolidation in the cable industry we’ve ended up on this plateau where for about 80 percent of Americans their only choice for a high-capacity internet access connection is their local cable monopoly.

    It wasn’t that long ago (less than 20 years) that a cable bill was under $50 per month. The rates have risen faster than inflation and certainly faster than income.

    Last June, the Supreme Court reversed a lower court decision to allow a startup, Aereo, that was streaming live TV to computers, tablets, and smartphones using tiny antennae that grabbed over-the-air broadcasts. The traditional broadcasters sued Aereo out of existence, because they know that if the startup had actually succeeded, they would have a harder time hitting the cable companies with high retransmission fees — which add to cable bills and help keep the whole industry afloat.

    Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and chief executive, called it a “massive setback” for consumers and “sends a chilling message to the technology industry.”

    What may hopefully end up happening here is that as more content providers like HBO and CBS go rogue and offer their own content to viewers they’ll have a say in what the backbone, i.e. Comcast and Time Warner, can do to that content and the speed at which it arrives to consumers.

    The average Joe doesn’t have much of a voice these days in what lawmakers are deciding. We can’t afford lobbyists to speak on our behalf. HBO, CBS, Showtime, Netflix, Amazon and the rest have more than enough money to lobby for Net Neutrality — it ultimately affects their bottom line. As strange as this may seem, this could end up being a rare case of what passes for Capitalism in this country actually working for average people.

    Read more at NowItCounts

  • Job centres to get digital makeover
    Computer workstations, electronic signature pads and free wi-fi are rolling out across UK job centres.
  • Are robots too cute for comfort?
    Why big-eyed droids are cause for concern
  • Silicon Valley's billion dollar failures
    Silicon valley’s billion dollar start-up failures
  • Why Journalists Should Fear Social Media
    Technology disrupted the media’s monopoly on journalism. The advent of smart phones and social networks reduced the barriers of entry, for digital journalists, to practically nothing.

    Journalist used to be a title reserved for professional writers. But now, any average Joe with a camera phone can capture and share a moment. Any aspiring blogger can publish a story and disseminate it to thousands over her Facebook newsfeed.

    Seemingly overnight, a shift of power occurred. Established media outlets relinquished their control over what content the public could consume. And the laypeople, once considered consumers, were now creating original content at a remarkable rate.

    Not surprisingly, content quickly saturated the Internet. As a result, it grew increasingly difficult for consumers to find context and authenticity among a maze of digital media.

    Today, the majority of content that we consume doesn’t even resemble journalism. Sometimes it’s an Instagram. Sometimes it’s a Tweet. Sometimes it’s an Elite Daily article telling us the 22 things that we don’t know, but ought to know, about string cheese.

    Regardless of its form, the content to which we cling serves a function similar to journalism. It garners our attention, if only for a moment, and informs us to varying degrees.

    The fact is, whether or not you consider BuzzFeed posts journalism (by traditional standards), we, as consumers, continue to digest them. In that regard, they’re directly affecting the things that we do consider journalism.

    Sure, BuzzFeed isn’t rendering the New York Times obsolete. But it is offering readers another (potentially less reliable) place to turn for answers. BuzzFeed is yet another challenger with which traditional journalists must now compete. “The entire point,” according to journalist Stijn Debrouwere, “is that journalism is not being disrupted by better journalism but by things that are hardly recognizable as journalism at all.”

    It’s no surprise that today, we navigate the digital landscape for hours on end before accepting that we’re lost. We compulsively refresh newsfeeds, desperate for news worth celebrating. We click refresh to feel refreshed, scrolling aimlessly until our bony fingers ache.

    Like Christopher Columbus and his motley crew, we travel the socially connected Web in search of answers, but seldom find quite what we’re looking for. Distracted by the black depth of digital content, we drift on, from site to site, neglecting to notice the ceaselessness of our odyssey.

    As Westerners, we customarily relate to our world in linear terms. We anticipate conclusions to voyages. We expect plots to evolve and protagonists to change.

    But when traversing the terrain of digital media, too much happens for one to remember, and so, in a way, nothing happens at all. Events intersect but don’t progress. People connect but don’t make contact.

    Digital media as we know it is proving incompatible with our linear worldview. Our online experience no longer resembles the finite story that drives our lives.

    And that’s okay. Our relationship with digital media is complicated and ever-changing. It’s balanced by contradictions pulling incessantly in opposite directions.

    From a cultural studies perspective, digital media is nothing short of a miracle. It’s opening exciting new windows through which to investigate human interaction. More than that, it’s informing, entertaining and uniting individuals across geographical boundaries. It’s providing a platform on which almost anybody can tell a story and reach their intended audience or beyond.

    However, now more than ever, there’s a new duty associated with journalism. Since digital media is abundant beyond measure, we share the responsibility, as journalists, to promote only the content that we deem worthy of our audience’s attention. It’s our job to produce compelling stories that matter. Otherwise, we’re just rotting our readers’ minds with fleeting facts about string cheese. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  • Romancing The Screen: Why My Husband And I Write Our #Lovestory

    Some people fall in love at first sight. For me, it was first tweet. This wasn’t terribly surprising to my friends, who had been listening to tales of my internet flirtations since I was a pre-teen, but how my husband and I met continues to be something newcomers to our lives gawk over.

    “Wait, you can find love on Twitter?” they’d ask. “I thought that was just for reading news.”

    When I first saw Thomas, he was simply a tiny avatar on my screen. My mouse hovered over his gorgeous eyes, piercing through the pixels, causing my fingers to hesitate so I could linger another second longer. Most say eyes are the windows to the soul, though his Twitter stream is what really wooed me. He was insightful, witty and a little raw. Even though there was a computer screen and a few hundred miles between us, I felt like I got him, this virtual stranger. After retweeting his words to catch his digital eye, I Direct Messaged to ask if he wanted to meet for a drink the next time I was in his city, visiting my family (yes, turns out we grew up two towns away from each other).

    A month later, we started dating exclusively, sneaking mid-week Amtrak trips into our schedules, giggling at each other over the tops of our laptops when it was time to work and ending our short time together with slow dance parties for two in my studio apartment. But we often returned to Twitter to type more characters in our love story.

    @eFlirtExpert: Four years later and I still swoon a little when @URwingman pulls out my chair.

    In a world where technology is often how we disconnect with reality, Thomas pulls out his iPhone from his pocket and I from my purse, and we use tech to share experiences, saving memorable moments in our relationship scrapbook in the cloud. Checking into Foursquare from our Central Park picnic blanket or snapping an Instagram of our date at Fenway wasn’t the result of a habit, something that got in the way of our romance. Instead, this is part of our courtship, a shared experience that brought us closer together because of the emotion behind the seemingly meaningless action of tapping ‘Send.’

    This year, we wed with 4,000 paper Twitter birds flying overhead. An infographic save-the-date announced the timeline of our relationship, from our first kiss in Boston (@minibar) to our Christmas Eve engagement.

    On that snowy day in December when Thomas proposed, we celebrated with our families, called our closest friends and gushed to them over the phone, but stayed silent on social media for a few weeks. We wanted to make sure all the important people in our lives heard from us personally before finding out on Facebook, and it seemed a milestone worthy of a bigger internet proclamation. So we each wrote a blog post from our own perspectives about the engagement and posted at the same moment, reading each reply to our individual tales of love while we snuggled together, in love.

    Having others join in our #lovestory inspired us to invite them to continue to digitally share in our moments on our big day. As the lights twinkled above, guests were welcomed with personalized place cards that resembled Twitter bios, table numbers listed as hashtags from our courtship, like #skypedate. At most weddings today, couples encourage guests to unplug, but our nuptials were live-tweeted by our friends and family, streams of congratulations and photos of dance-floor Instagrams filling the iPad screens around the room, which served as the centerpieces in our magical Twitter forest.


    Many say that meeting through technology isn’t romantic, that social media all too often becomes a barrier in a relationship. But with small adjustments to your approach, the internet can become a magical and dreamy place for a relationship to unfold. For my husband and I, it’s where our #happilyeveredwards will always continue to exist.

  • Young People Use Gorgeous Instagram Pics To Show There's More To Haiti Than Poverty
    If you ask Paola Mathé, Instagram isn’t just for shameless selfies and pics of delicious foods — it’s a great way to change negative perceptions of a country, too.

    With over 8,600 followers, Mathé’s Instagram account is filled with images of pristine beaches, colorful street art and swaying palm trees set against blue skies — photos some wouldn’t associate with Haiti, the country Mathé grew up in and frequently visits.

    Mathé, who owns Fanm Djanm, a headwrap line, is among a number of young entrepreneurs and activists utilizing the power of social media to change how the world sees Haiti, Fusion reported. On Tuesday, HuffPost Live spoke with Mathé about her efforts to shine a light on a side of the Caribbean nation many Americans rarely see.

    “I have the opportunity and the voice to show what Haiti is also about,” Mathé said. “It’s not just about extreme poverty, which we’re also trying to fight and help — but at the same time, it’s a beautiful place.”

    (Story continues below)

    There’s just something about a colorful scenery… #livingcolorfully #Jacmel #haiti

    A photo posted by Paola Mathe (@findingpaola) on Sep 9, 2014 at 5:12pm PDT

    Sunday funday. #haiti

    A photo posted by Paola Mathe (@findingpaola) on Sep 9, 2014 at 2:58pm PDT

    According to BBC News, Haiti was a tourist hotspot in the 1970s. But throughout the past three decades, a handful of misfortunes caused major setbacks in the country’s progress. In 1983, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed Haitian entrants to the U.S. were at an increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, causing a “major blow” to the nation’s tourism industry, AVERT.org pointed out. The devastating 2010 earthquake that left more than 300,000 dead and the ongoing cholera outbreak resulting in its aftermath further damaged Haiti’s global appeal.

    A household survey taken in 2012 found that 59 percent of Haitians lived under the national poverty line.

    “I hope to see this country get back on its feet, because when I was a kid, Haiti used to be the most beautiful country in the whole Caribbean,” one Haitian who immigrated to Canada told BBC News in 2013. “Things deteriorated — just too bad. But Haiti would be the perfect place now for the tourist people to invest and come back, and [help] this nation get back [on] its feet.”

    Lucie Cincinatis is another small business owner in Haiti who spoke with HuffPost Live about her efforts to change the country’s reputation. She first visited the country as part of a program that allowed her to teach in Haitian schools, and — after finding creative inspiration in the local talent — gave up her life as a financial analyst in New York City to build locally sourced handbags in the Caribbean nation.

    “I met so many artists that were just so good at everything, but had no access to bigger markets,” she told the outlet. Now she works with some of those talented artists at her company, Jacmel & Co, and frequently posts photos of Haiti’s natural beauty — as well as her co-workers’ artwork — to more than 2,400 Instagram followers.

    She told Fusion that some of her friends from different countries are shocked to see her photos.

    (Story continues below)

    Don’t we want all our Mondays to look like that? #happymonday #monday #haiti #beauty #Caribbean #turquoise #travels

    A photo posted by Jacmel & Co (@jacmelandco) on Oct 10, 2014 at 5:22am PDT

    Thanks in part to people like Mathé and Cincinatis, Haiti’s outlook is changing for the better. In April, Caribbean News Digital reported Haiti experienced a 20 percent increase in tourist arrivals from the previous year, according to the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

    “Haiti is the only truly emerging tourism destination in the region,” Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, the country’s finance minister, told Fusion.

    Although tourism may be improving in Haiti, the country still faces chronic social and public health challenges. Only one third of 14-year-old students are in the appropriate grade for their age, the World Bank reported, and waterborne diseases remain a leading cause of infant and child mortality.

    Still, significant progress has been made since the 2010 earthquake, including a substantial growth in GDP, a drastic reduction in cholera cases and the opening of dozens of health centers across the county.

    To Mathé, it’s important to focus on how far Haiti has come in order to further improvements.

    I understand everything that is happening,” she told HuffPost Live. “Obviously, I know that there is a lot to be done. But what I’m asking for everyone is — we need to invest in the country, and to see the bright and positive side of it, and to strengthen that side, and then pull all of the negative stuff up with it.”

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  • Amazon Stock Tanks On Massive Loss, Disappointing Forecast

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc’s sales projections for the crucial holiday quarter disappointed, and third-quarter results missed Wall Street’s targets, sending the online retailer’s shares 9 percent lower.

    Some analysts fear that the U.S. holiday shopping season, the biggest quarter for most retailers, might turn out weaker than anticipated. The company projected on Thursday net sales of between $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion for the holiday quarter, lagging the $30.89 billion analysts had expected on average.

    After an unusually busy first half of the year that saw the online retailer spend on developing everything from mobile phones and Hollywood-style production to grocery deliveries, investors were ready to see it curtail its ambitions somewhat and start delivering sustainable profits.

    Instead, its third-quarter net loss widened to $437 million or 95 cents per share in the third quarter, from $41 million a 9 cents a year ago. That came in larger than forecasts for a loss of 74 cents a share.

    Revenue also fell short of expectations, from a company known for consistently chalking up robust top-line growth. Net sales rose to $20.58 billion, but that lagged forecasts for $20.84 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

    Shares in the company slid more than 9 percent to $284 in extended trade.

    (Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Dave Gregorio and Cynthia Osterman)

  • Why Go Outside To See The Solar Eclipse When You Can Watch Our Live Blog Right Here
    Today the moon will “take a bite out of” the sun in a partial solar eclipse, the likes of which won’t recur in the U.S. until 2023.

    But maybe the weather is crummy where you are. Or maybe those warnings about going blind have you too worried to venture outside. In any case, you can sit right where you are and watch the eclipse unfold on our live blog.

    It runs through 7 p.m. EDT.


    Here to guide you are HuffPost Science editors David Freeman, Jacqueline Howard and Macrina Cooper-White. For the duration of our live blog, we’ll be joined by Dr. Federica Bianco, a physicist from New York University.

    We encourage you to leave comments here and tweet your photos of the eclipse with the hashtag #HuffPostEclipse. Or submit them directly to our “Partial Solar Eclipse” slideshow below.

    We’ll be collecting photos from all over, and yours may be featured!

    Caution: If you’re outside enjoying the eclipse, use eye protection.

  • Chainsaw Massacre Prank Goes Too Far
    As prank videos become more and more dangerous, someone is bound to get seriously hurt or worse.

    A terrifying and realistic “chainsaw massacre” prank, uploaded this past Wednesday, has already garnered over 26 million YouTube views. In it, a chainsaw-wielding psychopath drags a bloody, dismembered, corpse in a parking structure as unsuspecting passerbys scream and run from the carnage. Video from behind the scenes shows how the actor playing the victim was born with no legs and just one arm. With fake blood and realistic looking guts, it gives the genuine appearance of a frighteningly limbless body.

    Extreme, senseless, YouTube pranks like this are sweeping the Internet, with dozens of prank-related channels, boasting millions of subscribers. I confess to how entertaining these videos are, but with pranks becoming more and more dangerous someone is bound to get seriously hurt or worse.

    Actors in these videos have already been severely beaten, arrested and almost shot. In the “chainsaw massacre” prank someone could have easily been shot by a concealed carry permit holder, injured in the ensuing chaos or ended up dead from a heart attack.

    Earlier this month, actors in a ‘killer clown in the hood‘ prank video appeared to have a gun pulled out on them, and to be subsequently beaten by fearful bystanders. Thankful, no one was killed.

    Of course not all pranks are harmful. Residents of several California towns and Fishers, Indiana, have recently been gripped with hysteria over creepy clown sightings. These sightings, like virtually all others in the past, have proven, so far, to be fun and harmless pranks.

    Some pranks can even serve as incisive social experiments, cluing us into our biases, human behaviors, such as whether we would take action to stop public violence against women, or recognize a missing child. The ABC News show “What Would You Do?” does exactly that by thrusting people into real-life ethical scenarios to see how they would react. But the gratuitously violent and gory YouTube pranks likes “chainsaw massacre” only serve to terrify.

    These shocking pranks also pose a danger to unsuspecting victims. Doctors say that “in extreme circumstances, you can even be ‘scared to death,'” where “a terrible fright can result in a massive surge of adrenaline that stuns the heart so badly it stops beating.” Scientific America reported how the flight-or-fight response to extreme fear releases chemical toxins, which in large amounts can damage organs “such as the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.”

    Thinking you are about to be eaten by a zombie (29.5 million views), axed to death (4.2 million views), tortured with a drill and chainsaw (4.2 million views), or bludgeoned by a homicidal clown (28.8 million views) (these types of prank videos are all over YouTube) could be extremely traumatizing, lead to injury, in extreme cases death, PTSD and other sorts of trauma, especially in cases where victims never find out it was a prank, and continue to live with that fear.

    There is a strong profit motive to make these videos. On a video with 20 million views, for example, the YouTubers estimated ad revenue could be anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000. With that kind of economic incentive people will continue producing these videos. And absent occasional instances of disorderly conduct or trespassing violations, these stunts are also generally legal.

    Despite the fact that these shock videos are arguably a violation of YouTube’s Community Guidelines since they contain “violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational or disrespectful,” YouTube also makes ad revenue on the videos, so they, too, have an incentive to keep them up.

    But, if enough people stopped watching the dangerous prank videos there would be less economic incentive to create them. If we spoke out against these extreme videos, and YouTube suspended them as legitimate Terms of Service violations, this reckless practice could be curbed.

    Let’s hope it doesn’t take a death for YouTube to start enforcing its guidelines and for people to stop watching these videos.

  • TestFlight beta-testing opens up to general community
    Following a soft rollout to internal testers a few weeks ago, Apple has fully opened its TestFlight beta-testing service. “You can now invite up to 1,000 testers to beta test your iOS apps by simply sending them an email invitation through iTunes Connect,” the company says on its developer portal. “Once they accept your invitation, testers can install your beta app on their iOS devices, get updated builds, and provide feedback, all within the TestFlight app.”

  • Chasing Shadows: &lt;em&gt;Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers&lt;/em&gt; is Updated for 2014

    To be a Gabriel Knight fan, growing up, felt like being in possession of a secret language. People might sometimes share the same favorite books, but games? In the ’90s, to be a computer game fan was even more nerdy than a passion for reading books. And the comparison is apt because Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, released originally by Sierra On-Line in 1992, was as complex and rewarding in its own way as a book. Game designer and writer Jane Jensen has cited inspirations for her trench-coated anti-hero ranging from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to Clive Barker, and a love of literature permeates throughout. (The protagonist owns a rare books store, and one of the pivotal moments of his destiny involves a magnificent library.)

    Now the topic of Gabriel Knight has been wrenched from 90s nostalgia to 2014 with the release of an updated edition of Sins of the Fathers from Jane Jensen’s studio Pinkerton Road, making the game available to a new generation of players. The 20th Anniversary Edition features all-new (and beautiful) graphics, an updated musical score, and even some additional puzzles. (And a new cut-scene so chilling it is reminiscent of a darker Sandman comic.)

    Set in New Orleans, Sins of the Fathers opens with Gabriel investigating a series of mysterious murders as inspiration for his new book. Gabriel lives under a cloud of financial ruin and failure, as did his male forbears, and his writing career is a running joke. He suffers from horrific nightmares. It is only as the game progresses that Gabriel will put the pieces together: his family is under a curse. He comes from a centuries-old line that is destined to fight evil, a Shattenjager (shadow hunter). And he discovers that the key to lifting this curse is connected with the “Voodoo Murders” taking place in present-day New Orleans.

    But Gabriel is hardly a hero. The game opens with his shop assistant Grace on the phone with a female caller: “I’m sorry, but Gabriel is a lout. Oops–I mean, he’s out.” Character development is the heart of this game–Gabriel’s struggle is not only with the curse, but within himself. And despite the game medium, his character develops in a trajectory that is rich with subtlety and subtext (and very funny lines). Beginning as a hilarious jerk, Gabriel faces so many challenges throughout the story that by the end his transformation makes sense–even as he remains, on some level, a hilarious jerk.

    There are layers to what makes Sins of the Fathers (and the series as a whole) so great. There’s the writing, which is of a literary quality and especially shines in the interactions between Gabriel and Grace. There is the atmosphere you can cut with a knife, attributable to the mesmerizing soundtrack by Robert Holmes. And there is the fact that this is one of those stories so rare in any medium: one from which you, along with the protagonist, emerge feeling in some way changed. As Gabriel’s once-friendly home city turns sinister, as he learns the secrets of his heritage and of the dark forces that he’s up against, the player goes through these experiences with him. By the time he returns home, he has been through the fire, and so have you.

  • Ebola.com Sells For More Than $200,000 — Including 19,000 Shares Of Cannabis Sativa Stock
    Two Las Vegas entrepreneurs attempting to sell the rights to Ebola.com succeeded in selling to the highest bidder — literally.

    Chris Hood and Jon Schultz paid $13,500 for the rights to Ebola.com back in 2008 and have just sold it to a company called Weed Growth Fund.

    The terms of sale call for Hood and Schultz to get $50,000 in cash and 19,192 shares of Cannabis Sativa, Inc., a company run by former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson that hopes to market legal cannabis products throughout the world.

    The stock is currently trading under the CBDS ticker symbol at $8.55 share, which means the value of the shares sold to Hood and Schultz is $164,091, DomainInvesting.com reports.

    Hood said he and Schultz have about 5,000 domain names in their portfolio, including Birdflu.com. He admits the Ebola.com sale got the most public attention, but wasn’t the most profitable.

    “We’ve had others like LasVegasRealEstate.com and PaydayLoans.com that sold for more,” he told HuffPost. “People don’t understand what we do. We don’t buy domain names hoping there’s a disaster.”

    As for the future of Ebola.com? It might go to pot, if recent comments made by Johnson on Fox Business are any indication.

    Johnson told host Stuart Varney that “we actually believe we have efficacy with regard to treating Ebola,” and said it could potentially be a cure.

    Johnson subsequently told the Albuquerque Journal, he was not claiming marijuana could cure the Ebola virus, but that more research should be done on whether cannabis compounds might be effective in fighting the disease that has killed nearly 4,500 people, mostly in West Africa.

    “If I were on a bed right now, and I was infected by Ebola, anything that might save my life I would take in a nanosecond,” Johnson told the Journal.

    Weed Growth Fund CEO Eric Miller said when the new Ebola.com website debuts in a few weeks, it will be a “go-to resource” on all aspects of the disease.

    In addition, his company will finance research on cannabis that he says “may or may not prove a connection between cannabis and Ebola prevention.”

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  • Paul Allen Commits $100 Million To Fighting Ebola
    SEATTLE, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Microsoft Corp co-founder Paul Allen said on Thursday he would increase his total donations to organizations tackling Ebola to more than $100 million, making him one of the biggest personal donors in the fight against the virus.
    The Seattle man, who co-founded what became the world’s biggest software company with Bill Gates in 1975, had already donated $9 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fight Ebola in September.
    In a statement released on Thursday, Allen said he was committed to giving “at least $100 million” to the cause through various channels.
    That includes funding medical evacuation containment units for medics who become infected, to be used by the U.S. State Department, and funding the University of Massachusetts Medical School to train medics and provide supplies for relief efforts in Liberia.
    “The Ebola virus is unlike any health crisis we have ever experienced and needs a response unlike anything we have ever seen,” Allen said in his statement. (Reporting by Bill Rigby; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
  • This Is Why You Don't Tag National Parks With Your 'Art' And Post About It On Instagram
    Public service announcement: If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into the wild word of graffiti art, do not turn the country’s most treasured national parks into your experimental canvases. And if you are brazen enough to make such a bizarre misjudgment, do not, we repeat, do not, brag about said endeavors on social media.

    Let an Instagrammer by the name of @Creepytings be your guide.

    The New York-based woman, who Modern Hiker identified as Casey Nocket, is currently in hot water after journeying through ten of the most breathtaking sites of natural beauty in the country — including Yosemite, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Joshua Tree, Zion, Rocky Mountain and Bryce National Parks — and vandalizing them with acrylic paint.

    She then posted pictures of the indiscretions on Instagram and Tumblr — both accounts have since been removed — effectively sharing her illegal activities with the entire internet.

    In a particularly cringeworthy comment exchange, @Creepytings admits to using acrylic paint (not chalk) for her work.

    Another commenter responds with a scathing “:(“
    to which she replies “I know, I’m a bad person.” We can feel the remorse.

    A Yosemite-based investigator took to Reddit to reveal the person behind @Creepytings, creating a thread titled “Graffiti ‘artist’ with no regard for her actions leaves her ‘art’ on the Vernal Falls stock trail.” The National Park Service is currently investigating further into the rogue artist’s identity. “When bad stuff happens, it hurts us because of our personal and professional commitment to America’s story,” spokesman Jeffrey Olson told SF Gate.

    There you have it, people. Keep your amateur street art experiments away from national parks and no one will get hurt. Let us know your thoughts on this egregious creative misstep in the comments.

Mobile Technology News, October 23, 2014

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

  • Age of Empires Castle Siege Gets Stability Updates

    Age of Empires Castle Siege for  Windows and Windows Phone has been updated overnight with a healthy update that brings some functional improvements as well as some stability to the universal Windows Game.  The update, which is free and available now in the Windows Phone Store, brings improved network connectivity for fewer time out issues, fixes some crash issues and a good list of game play improvements. As I put in my review last week of the game, Age of Empires Castle Siege is a fantastically well done game that stays true to the AoE name. Age of Empires: Castle

    The post Age of Empires Castle Siege Gets Stability Updates appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: Can technology plug NHS funding gap?
    The NHS is under pressure to close a huge projected funding gap – Dominic Hughes reports on how the NHS has addressed this in West Yorkshire.
  • Tetra Lockscreen for Windows Phone Launched

    Yesterday there were a slew of Microsoft Garage apps that were launched for Windows Phone that bring new games and utilities to the platform.  If you aren’t familiar with it, Microsoft Garage is an internal program at Microsoft where people can develop apps in their free time and Microsoft will select some of the top apps and put them into the Windows Phone Store.  One of those apps yesterday was Tetra Lockscreen. Tetra Lockscreen for Windows Phone brings a new level of functionality to your Lockscreen and makes it where you can interact with your Lockscreen to get various pieces

    The post Tetra Lockscreen for Windows Phone Launched appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Apple found not guilty of infringing on expired GPNE patents
    Non-practicing entity GPNE, which had tried to sue Apple over alleged infringement of expired pager-related 3G wireless patents, has come away completely empty-handed after a jury exonerated Apple of all charges. The firm, which has attempted to sue or sued most other big-name tech firms over the same or similar patents, had sought $94 million in damages (which Apple had referred to as an “attempt to extort money” from the iPhone maker), but was awarded nothing.

  • Search for world's smartest city
    What technology should cities choose?
  • Muscle Trigger Points app tries to help diagnose etiology of muscle pain

    An app to help doctors identify muscle trigger points on patients.

    The post Muscle Trigger Points app tries to help diagnose etiology of muscle pain appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Five Keys to Entrepreneurial Success
    Forming your first startup is not a task for the faint at heart. You think you have every piece of information and every problem solved, but once you decide to make the jump into entrepreneurship and things go awry, your true drive and ambition will either shine or fade into the background. The decision to step into entrepreneurship should be well calculated. According to The U.S. Small Business Administration, approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month, with a third of those failing in the first two years and 60% finding they’re doomed by their fourth year in business.

    Being an entrepreneur has high risks and high rewards. Stepping out into the world of entrepreneurship is something that can be extremely daunting and risky, so understanding how to be successful is imperative. Whether you’re a founder or co-founder, these five keys to entrepreneurial success will help you launch and grow your new venture.

    Mistakes happen, embrace them.
    Almost every entrepreneur has had their fair share of mistakes when it comes to being at the helm of a company. Whether they drop clients because they’re frustrating, only to later regret it, or try to perfect the process early on within their own organization when they should be focusing on the bigger picture, it’s nearly impossible to get it right every single time. What’s important is that you’re able to learn from mistakes and use them to your advantage when you can. When you embrace missteps, you put yourself in the position to be able to grow and move forward.

    Work with those who will challenge you.
    This is one of the most important mantras an entrepreneur should have, not only in business but also in their personal lives. When you first start your own company, it’s important to surround yourself with people who really push and drive you to step up your game. If you work with those who don’t, it’ll eventually rub off on you. Working with people who are equally as passionate and driven as you will do nothing but set you up for success.

    When choosing business partners and mentors, don’t just pick your best friend, pick someone who is going to push you, challenge you, and make you a better entrepreneur. With a partner like that, you’re less likely to lose the drive and ambition you started with.

    Be smart about where you invest.
    If you gained experience in the corporate world before you took the entrepreneurial leap, you know what it’s like to have access to tools and budgets that you don’t necessarily have when it comes to starting your own company. It can be a big culture shock when you can no longer afford the pricey but effective software programs or outrageous advertising budget you became accustomed to. Instead, you’ll have to get creative, such as using free or budget-friendly software before you’re at a point where you can start scaling your business. Find the tools you simply cannot live without and prioritize them. Invest when you’re financially ready and not a moment sooner.

    Get out of your comfort zone and network
    Getting out of your comfort zone is one of the most important things you can do as an entrepreneur. In fact, when starting your first business, referrals will go a long way. Networking is one of the most important aspects of an entrepreneurship because the connections you make will determine the strength of your network and ultimately could determine the success of your company. Going to events where the only goal in mind is to be pushing cards, shaking hands and making meaningful contacts is now part of your job. Understanding the value behind networking and doing a good job of it will take you far. Think about possible connections you have that need to be fostered and use them to your advantage.

    Have fun, find what you’re passionate about, and don’t settle!
    We’ve probably all seen others who settle because they’re not brave enough to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship. We say they’re playing it safe but really what’s happening is that they are denying their own happiness and giving up the opportunity to have fun and live their passion. In short, they’re settling.

    The amount of fun you have following your passion will be a determining factor in how much you excel at your new venture. Suddenly, working sixty to eighty hours a week isn’t so difficult when you’re doing it while exploring your passion.

    Steve Jobs said it best during a conversation with Pixar CEO John Lassete: “In your life you only get to do so many things and right now we’ve chosen to do this, so let’s make it great.” Settling isn’t something that should even be in your vocabulary as an entrepreneur. We only get one life, so use it, follow your passion and whatever your passion is, go for it.

    ProtoHack, the only code-free hackathon. ProtoHack exists to show non-coders that they too can create something amazing from nothing. ProtoHack aims to empower the non-technical entrepreneur with the tools, knowledge and community to help you bring your idea to life and communicate it visually through prototyping. Learn more about ProtoHack by visiting our website, then sign up for our free event coming to New York City on November 15.

  • Printer Turns Photos Into 3-D Objects So Blind People Can Hold Onto Treasured Memories
    Glance at an old photograph, and all of a sudden the memories come rushing back: The ski trip you took with your family as a child; the first time you rode a bike without training wheels; a beloved grandparent, perhaps.

    Simple, right? Not for the blind, who are unable to “see” the photo in question. That’s the issue Pirate3D, a 3-D printer manufacturing company, aims to address with their “Touchable Memories” experiment.

    In a video released last week, the company explored the power of recreating photos for the blind with a 3-D printer, extruding them in plastic so they, too, could have a tangible means to relive treasured memories. The video follows five seeing-impaired individuals as they recall memories which one woman, Daniela, describes as “almost like dreams, like a gust of wind — there and it’s gone.”

    The emotional impact of the 3-D photographs cannot be overstated, as each of the individuals clearly, vividly relives each particular memory as they explore the plastic models.

    There were very long silences while we saw emotions wash over their faces as if they were being transported in time, but Daniela was perhaps who stands out the most,” project lead Fred Bosch told FastCompany of the experiment. “She chose a memory that not only brought her back to her childhood and the ski holiday she spent with her family, but also reminded her of intimate details that she had forgotten, like the wool cap she was wearing at the time and the crunch of the snow beneath her boots.”

    WATCH the ‘Touchable Memories’ video, above.

    H/T Bored Panda

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  • Utah State University Defends Response To Vile Threat To Feminist Speaker
    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Facing faculty concerns about guns on the campus of Utah State University, the school’s president is responding to accusations that the institution acted irresponsibly after a threat against feminist speaker Anita Sarkeesian.

    President Stan Albrecht said USU immediately started working with police and communicating with Sarkeesian’s staff after receiving the email threatening a mass shooting. In a letter to faculty and students, Albrecht said USU had to follow a state law prohibiting universities from taking away concealed weapons from valid permit holders, but he expressed concern about a new push from state lawmakers to allow open carrying of weapons on campus.

    The president’s statements came in response to a letter signed by about 200 faculty and students saying guns on campus pose a threat to free speech.

    “There are a lot of us that aren’t happy to teach at a university that allows guns on campus,” said English professor Jennifer Sinor, one of two instructors who wrote the letter last week. While Albrecht said he was proud of how the university handled the Sarkeesian threat, Sinor said one other nationally known speaker has expressed security concerns about a speech scheduled for next spring.

    Sarkeesian canceled her talk on women and video games last week, calling it mindboggling that guns would be allowed despite the threat. She did not immediately return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

    The university has said it determined the threat wasn’t credible and called its security measures adequate, but Albrecht said allowing the open carry of guns on campus would be bad.

    “This action would have chilling implications for us, making it more difficult to attract outside speakers to our university, to hire and retain faculty, and to ensure a comfortable academic environment for our students,” Albrecht wrote.

    Utah is one of seven states that allow concealed carry on college campuses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but it is the only state that has a separate law prohibiting universities from not allowing concealed weapons at events. Republican Utah lawmaker Curt Oda of Clearfield said the law also allows people to carry guns openly on campus.

    “There is no restriction on open carry,” Oda said, though “we encourage people to carry it discreetly as much as possible.”

    In the wake of other campus shootings in the U.S., Sinor said Utah’s existing concealed-weapon rule already has a chilling effect on professors who scale back on challenging topics to avoid controversy, which ultimately limits what students learn.

    “They’re the ones that lose,” she said. Sinor said she’s previously had a plainclothes police officer posted outside her classroom after one creative writing student violently threatened another in journal entries.

    She argued Wednesday for what she called a middle path, with some prohibitions on guns in residence halls, in classrooms and at large events.

  • What Minecraft Is Teaching Your Kids About Money

    NEW YORK Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:13pm EDT

    (Reuters) – If your kids are chattering non-stop about things like emeralds, pickaxes and creepers, you may have a unique opportunity to turn a video game addiction into a life lesson about money.

    Minecraft, a video game phenomenon with over 100 million users, is such a hot property that Microsoft Corp recently forked out $2.5 billion for its maker, Mojang AB.

    Players build their own worlds via game systems, smartphones, tablets and computers using virtual Lego-like pieces. And as opposed to the shoot-’em-up video games that kids usually gravitate toward, this game teaches them about money.

    It is “about barter, about value, about how to protect your stuff,” says Hank Mulvihill, a financial adviser in Richardson, Texas.

    “Kids are learning about money on a lot of different levels in Minecraft,” says Joel Levin, co-founder of Manhattan-based TeacherGaming, a firm that works with educators to use video games as teaching tools.

    “There are basic currencies, like emeralds that you dig up and can trade with villagers,” Levin explains. “There are exchange rates, because certain items are worth more than others. Then players have to think about whether to spend money right away, or save it and get something more rewarding later on. These are analogous to the financial decisions people are making in the real world all the time.”

    And that is just if you are playing the game on your own. If you are online with multiple players, the financial issues become much more complex.

    “At that point, players are setting up actual economies,” Levin says. “On a particular server, they may decide that diamonds are the currency of choice. Or some kids start playing the role of a bank, offering loans and charging interest.”

    Levin is aware of instances where teachers introduce a rare item into the game that kids can’t obtain on their own, and then watch them react to the scarcity. “It’s supply and demand in action,” he says.


    Of course, most parents only experience Minecraft by peering over their kids’ shoulders and trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

    So in case you were wondering, here are a few of Minecraft’s key financial lessons:

    When starting out in the world of Minecraft, “nobody tells you anything, no instructions,” says 19-year-old Harvey Mulvihill, son of Hank, who plays along with his two brothers. “You are a stranger in a strange land, and you have to figure out how to gain resources.”

    Indeed, Minecraft is a so-called “sandbox” game, in which players roam a virtual world with very few limitations. In that way, it is a riff on the traditional American archetype of the Horatio Alger story – starting from nothing and somehow making a huge success of yourself.

    Players have to gain skills and then leverage those skills to develop a better world for themselves.


    As in life, very bad things happen all the time in Minecraft – death, robbery, physical attacks and disasters of all stripes. As a result, players have to protect themselves against a number of terrible futures.

    For example: travel light. “It is never a good idea to carry your valuables on your person,” advises 17-year-old Patrick Mulvihill. “Once you die your things are dropped on the spot of death. Valuables should be kept in chests in safe, well-lit places.”

    But it is not just death players have to insure themselves against. That is because some people in this virtual world – known as “griefers,” according to Patrick – go online solely to steal and break other people’s things.


    Life is all about who you know, and Minecraft is no different. Connecting with the right people can make your virtual life a whole lot easier.

    “If I was starting from scratch and didn’t know any coding, I could be digging for emeralds forever,” says Dan Short, associate professor of environmental science at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh, who has written an academic paper on Minecraft.

    “But if you are on a server with other kids, the server owner can basically give you as many emeralds as you need. They’re like little monarchs.”

    The moral of the story? Your network counts, and you should develop it as much as possible.


    Once you become talented at something, you could find yourself in serious demand. Fifteen-year-old Sean Mulvihill plays with his buddies Jackson, Oscar and Wyatt. “Jackson is known for being the best builder, and others pay him to build them a house,” Sean says.

    Meanwhile, Sean is seen as “by far, the best farmer,” he notes modestly. As a result, other players come to him with business propositions, like supplying him with seed, equipment and gold in order to tend their farms and divvy up the profits.

    This principle of monetizing your Minecraft skills applies in the real world, too, notes Short. Some have become so talented at the game and charismatic with their audiences – with handles like TheBajanCanadian, Sky Does Minecraft and Lewis & Simon – that they run their own insanely popular channels on Google Inc’s YouTube.

    “They get followers on YouTube, they host games and then kids sometimes pay a premium for the chance to play with them and be in their videos,” Short says. “They must be making serious bank. That might be the biggest financial lesson of all.”

    (Editing by Lauren Young, Beth Pinsker and G Crosse)

  • This 'Star Wars' Recut Lets You Watch The Prequel Trilogy In Under Three Hours
    “Star Wars VII” isn’t out until December of next year, but you might as well get started on your marathons now. Yet rather than watch the much-derided prequel trilogy, we’ve got a solution: “Star Wars Episode I” through “Episode III” in only two hours and 40 minutes. The recut, “Turn to the Dark Side — Episode 3.1,” includes the most compelling aspects of the three films with plot pieces removed to create a stronger focus on the relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala. Essentially, as the video description says, it’s all the good action with a lot less Jar Jar Binks.

    Double Digit, who created the new video, told HuffPost Entertainment that as a huge “Star Wars” fan, they wanted to find a way to make the films “more of a swashbuckling space opera with less exposition and satellite characters.” The filmmaker, who is a graphic designer by trade, heard about Topher Grace’s famous 85-minute “Star Wars” prequel recut and was inspired to make their own.

    An original version of “Turn to the Dark Side” was posted online back in May, but due to fair use issues, the video was taken down within 48 hours by Vimeo. This ended up proving beneficial, since Double Digit took viewer comments into consideration to re-edit the video. Finally, Double Digit uploaded a new and improved recut, which Vimeo decided not to flag, with even more action and a more coherent plot than the previous version. The creator told us that the most keen viewers will be able to figure out Double Digit’s identity if they watch the video closely. Check out the recut above.

    H/T The Playlist

  • Can Tinder Light A Fire In India?

    The writer, Ankita Rao, is an Indian-American journalist currently based anywhere from the villages of Orissa to the streets of Mumbai.

    There are gods on Tinder.

    Not Adonis-like gym buffs with quotes about success and protein shakes. No, I’m talking profile photos of Hindu deities like Shiva, Vishnu, Buddha — even the avatar Venkateswara, who, to be honest, I would rather associate with my grandparents and not a dating app.

    That was the first thing I reported home to my friends after fiddling around with my iPhone one day in an auto rickshaw this spring, just weeks after moving to India to kick-start a freelance journalism career. Half curious, and half bored, I wanted to check out how the New Delhi scene fared in comparison to Washington, D.C. — and Tinder was an easy window into the madness. Luckily, I didn’t have too much stake in the outcome: I had just moved across the world with little safety net, so finding true love was not top priority. And as a Tinder-match would later say to me, “Let’s be honest, neither of us are using the app to find our soul mate.”

    Guys in India have no problem chatting for weeks about your education, family background and personality quirks.

    As it turns out, India, a mobile-savvy country with the largest growing population of young people in the world, should be a great place for an app like Tinder (a company spokesperson tells me India’s a top “emerging market” priority). In case you don’t know already, Tinder is a departure from the long-winded dating profile questions that pepper Match and OkCupid — and don’t forget Shaadi.com, India’s top matrimonial site. Its ruthless efficiency allows users to choose dates based on a few Facebook photos and a short bio. Doesn’t seem that alien for a country where courtship can start with either arranged marriages or drunken hookups.

    A couple of weekends taught me one single, universal straight-guy truth when it comes to putting your best e-face forward. Pro tip: You either need a photo with a tiger OR of you doing some kind of extreme action adventure sport. You must appear to be as much like a Bollywood hero as possible. (Personally, I really would rather see someone tame real beasts, like Bombay trains during rush hour — talk about hot.)

    But when you look a little closer, and start actually chatting with people, you find a surprising shyness. Unlike in America, guys in India largely have no problem chatting for weeks about your education, family background and personality quirks, or posing multiple questions even if you don’t reply. They don’t always play it cool — relishing philosophical quotes and gooey smiley faces.

    But when they finally do ask to meet up, it’s often in this almost-apologetic way. Like this guy Vikas, who after an entire two months of questioning asked: “I don’t mean to be forward, but would you like to talk on the phone, and if we are compatible, meet up for coffee?” Unfortunately, I was four states away by the time he drummed up that valiant courage.

    I went on my first Tinder date a few months later when I moved to an apartment in one of Mumbai’s hip and wonderful neighborhoods facing the sea. Sahil, a pleasant looking actor-slash-social worker, was heading from Australia to Brazil via his original hometown of Mumbai, and looked normal, adventurous and scruffy. My basic criteria for a good date.

    We met at an outdoor café in the afternoon and nearly melted into our coconut waters while sharing travel stories and life plans. With the oppressive humidity, there was no question of playing posh and dressing up, but it wouldn’t have been necessary — like me, Sahil was capable of moving across the world with just a backpack, and we could’ve easily met at a drum circle in the park. The only drawback was that he was headed to Rio the next day, so we exchanged contact info and went our separate ways.

    Over the next few months, I introduced Tinder to a few of my Indian-born friends, some of whom had heard of the service but didn’t think it was useful in their careful balance of light-hearted dating and matrimonial goals. The women were very hesitant in letting the interactions get to real life — understandable given the harassment and teasing issues — but relented when they saw the pure comedy and drama at my fingertips.

    Before long, all three of the girls — of drastically varied backgrounds and temperaments — staying with me in Mumbai had gone on at least one Tinder date, and almost always had a better time than they thought they would. We all had very different taste in men — from clean-shaven family guys to lost musician types — and Tinder seemed to deliver, as long as we carefully filtered out people saying things like “wru 2nyte” and “wassup, i really like your beautiful curlz.”

    While I quickly tired of persistent, get-no-hint messages, I learned not to generalize men too badly in a country as diverse as India.

    And the anonymity also gave us plenty of creative license of our own.

    “Boy, you put the ‘bomb’ in Bombay,” a male friend wrote to one of my matches, and then proceeded to shamelessly comment on his deltoids on my behalf.

    “Do you like eggplant? Because your body’s baingin (that’s the Hindi word for eggplant),” I wrote to one of his matches in revenge. To our surprise, the previously shy girl actually responded and fueled the conversation.

    In the next few months I went on a couple more dates, with a New Yorker with striking green eyes who I’m still in touch with (yeah, I came all the way to India to meet a New Yorker); another with a consultant-type who talked almost exclusively about the World Cup for the entire span of our three-hour happy hour. I chatted with a musician who gave me the lowdown on all of India’s music festivals and nightlife, and connected with a fellow Indian-American who seemed to be the male version of me.

    And while I quickly tired of persistent, get-no-hint messages, I learned not to generalize men too badly in a country as unimaginably diverse as India. Here you can travel from one state to another and suddenly not be able to speak the language or stomach the spicy food. One city might be full of macho dudes raised on lassi and patriarchy, while the next is full of awesome artists and hippies who will let you split the bill. From the gods to the god-complexes, Tinder here is always a surprise, and once in a while those surprises are good.

    These days — as I board trains and jeeps to work all over the country — the experiment has come mostly to an end, and I’m preferring real life to the app world. Even so, I’ll take Tinder over some aunties hankering to plan my marriage. You can’t swipe left to get rid of them.

  • Six Reasons to Share Your Mobile Location

    As mobile phone usage becomes increasingly prolific, the number of location-based mobile applications has skyrocketed. The Pew Research Center reports that nearly half of adult smartphone owners use location-based services on their mobile devices — not only for getting directions, but also to access a variety of information and stay connected with conversations.

    More and more mobile phone apps leverage your location to deliver personalized information to you in real-time. Here are some general app categories that make it easier for you to go about your daily life by knowing where you are:

    1. Weather
    A leading app in this category, Yahoo!’s weather app is one of the most popular apps to more users than even the iPhone’s native weather app; and Apple gave it a design award. All mobile weather apps base their information on where you are, so that you don’t have to go through the process of typing the location you’re interested in learning about.

    2. Shopping
    Location-based shopping apps are known for delivering timely and hottest sales offers to consumers who are out there shopping. Find&Save, for example, brings you latest sales and promotions based on which shopping mall or retail store you are at. Shopkick and Apple’s iBeacon technology use micro-location signals to track your presence within a store and give you coupons, rewards and credits (or more information) about specific products that you scan. The number of retail outlets who provide real-time information based on user location doubled in just one year and is expected to continue growing.

    3. Maps
    The development of mapping apps has transformed the way we transport from one location to another. It’s now almost impossible to get lost, even if you’re in the middle of a city you’ve never been before (well, unless you are literally in the middle of nowhere with no signal to your phone). Mapping apps like Google Maps, help you plan your trip on vacation and even avoid traffic on your daily commute. Furthermore, you are able to find out where the closest gas station is, or the local favorites on your road trip.

    4. Breaking News
    Apps like Banjo are such valuable resources for finding out what is happening in a particular location that even journalists rely on them. The best thing about these apps is that they are available to everybody. You can see if there’s any breaking news in your neighborhood through geo-tagged posts by the community who has information to share.

    5. Photos
    Most if not all of the photo apps ask for location permission so they can tag locations to your photos and albums. Journaling apps like Day One or Heyday make it almost effortless to create a documentation or diary as they automatically capture all the locations you have been. You will find it incredibly fun to look at where you have been a year from now.

    6. Transit
    When it comes to using public transit, location-based apps have enormous convenience to offer. An example is the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, serving the Boston area. On its app page, MBTA provides a whole set of options you can browse through and download. One allows you to find the subway or train station that’s closest to your current location. Another lets you signal the transit police if you see a suspicious package, and still another will tell you when the next train or bus will depart from where you are.

    The social-mobile-local intersection, or “So-Lo-Mo,” is increasingly integrated into the background of everything we use our mobile devices for. As SocialMediaBiz comments, “Within a couple of years, geo-location capabilities will simply be baked into our everyday on-the-go lives.” Using these apps will only make your life that much easier.

    Photo by lzf, iStock Photo

  • I Tried the Next Level in Wearable Tech
    Wearable Tech is probably one of the hottest phrases out right now. Companies on both the fashion and tech side are racing to get into the game, each entrant hoping that it has the ticket to mass consumer adoption. Microsoft just announced this week that it will introduce a product shortly, and even the mighty LVMH has said that one of its luxury brands will is now planning the release of a wearable tech item. While I definitely know that this phenomenon will somehow deeply penetrate our culture and contribute to an even more disruptive, leaderful era where neo-humans are able to jump talk buildings in a single leap (or at least may answer that darn email more quickly, finally!), I think it’s very early in the process. This means it’s anyone’s game. I think it will mean more than a watch and more than glasses, at least as we first see them now. But it’s also about how individuals will actually feelabout these products and how/if they will truly elevate their lifestyle and at what price point. Recently I was asked to host what might be the first ever Wearable Tech Fashion Event that took place during a hot Wearables & Tech Conference in the Metro DC area. Naturally I got to peep some of the items close up while backstage, test out what even much of what would be seen for the first time by the public, and here’s what I think.

    Without giving props to companies that aren’t yet paying me for endorsement, lol, I won’t mention specific names but here’s the skinny, overall. Yes, most all the biggies were pulled for this show, so you can imagine the companies. All the products work flawlessly; a testament to developers and engineers today. I’m not sure what I would do, say while skiing in Mageve with my bluetooth enabled, slick ski goggles; but it’s nice to know that they exist, right? Off the slopes, some of the competitors to Google Glass seem to be taking a slimmer, darker, hipper vibe; which made me feel less imposing and geeky when trying them on. I have to say that the watches seem almost interchangeable at this point, and I couldn’t help but thinking while I put them on my wrist that they were designed by males with males in mind. More variety, please — oh except for a particular item that had a rubber, curved vibe as its band. Thank goodness for a little more edge. Though I didn’t try them on, there were also actual clothes that had technology built into them and wearable items that monitored one’s sleep patterns and wellness levels.

    But here’s what I think might actually end of being a surprise winner. Wearable tech that you don’t know is wearable tech. I tested out a few necklaces and cuffs that actually have all the biometric fanfare hidden. Though a bit chunky, these items are intriguing. I felt kinda Wonder Woman-ish rockin’ a few of these pieces before they went onto the models. I also think hidden wearable tech is bound to take the TMZ-ification of our culture to the next level.

    Keep your eye on this arena, because it’s one of the most intriguing and sexy around right now. Different demographics will most likely gravitate to different items and, overall, we’ll all see uses and scenarios of which developers never even dreamed. It’s a brave, new, leaderful world. See for yourself…

  • 26 Percent Of Young Women Report That They Have Been Stalked Online
    If you look at mild forms of online harassment these days (like name-calling), you’ll find that young men and women actually suffer at roughly similar rates. But don’t for a second let that fool you into thinking the Internet is an equal playing field for men and women alike.

    Yes, in a survey released Wednesday, the Pew Research Center did find 50 percent of young men and 51 percent of young women — “young” being defined here as aged 18 to 24 — say they have been called offensive names online. And men were more likely to report being “harassed” online than women, by 44 percent to 37 percent.

    But Pew also found that young women face vastly higher rates of online harassment in two of its most intense, dangerous and emotionally disruptive forms: sexual harassment and stalking.

    Twenty-six percent of young women told Pew that they have been stalked online (compared to 7 percent of young men), and 25 percent of women reported that they have been sexually harassed (compared to 13 percent of young men).

    women harassed online
    Both young men and young women deal with vastly higher rates of online harassment than Internet users as a whole. (Source: Pew Research)

    The stalking numbers, at least, are in line with some other statistics about stalking: Just a few years ago, The National Center For Victims Of Crime found that about 25 percent of women become victims of stalking at some point in their lifetime.

    And the survey results might not even tell the full story about just how much worse online harassment is for women than for men. Slate’s Amanda Hess argued that the survey did not do a great job defining words like “harassment” and “stalking.”

    When asked to elaborate on their experiences, poll respondents had widely differing views of what constituted harassment, but all of those responses were given equal weight, Hess noted. For example, one anonymous poll respondent considered being labelled racist a form of harassment, and the survey gave that anecdote the same weight as a rape threat.

    “Is being called a rape apologist the same as being threatened with rape?” Hess asked. “No, but it’s all harassment here.”

    One thing we do know is that women take harassment more seriously than men. Thirty-eight percent of women reported that their harassment was “extremely or very upsetting,” while only 17 percent of harassed men felt the same. This is perhaps another clue that women are facing more extreme harassment than men.

    For the survey, Pew asked 2,849 people over the Internet about their personal experiences with online harassment. The survey was conducted between May 30 and June 30 of this year.

  • Google's New 'Inbox' App Actually Makes Email Fun Again
    Google released a new email app on Wednesday that it hopes will make your mountains of email a bit more manageable — and maybe even fun.

    The app, which Google calls Inbox, supposedly organizes and highlights details of messages. In a blog about the release, Google emphasized that it’s not a Gmail replacement but rather a rethinking of email itself. Here’s the promotional video:

    So what’s different about Inbox? For one, your email is displayed more like a Facebook newsfeed, so that you can easily swipe and scroll your way through dozens of messages quickly. Here’s what it looks like:

    Inbox formats your flight information and reservation confirmations into a scrollable list.

    As you can see, Inbox also pulls out information that it thinks will be relevant to you, so that you can see more about an email without actually clicking and reading.

    Before you’ve even opened an email, Inbox pulls up the email’s photos, as well as other relevant information, like flight times, phone numbers, business hours and event addresses.

    If you want to focus on one type of message, such as recent purchases or reservations, Inbox allows you to do that easily too. Google also has added a snooze button that helps you set a reminder to read a certain email later.

    Inbox works for Android, iPhone and Google Chrome but is only available to a limited number of people for now. The network will expand using an invite system, but you can email Google at inbox@google.com to request access.

  • When All Smartphones Became The Same
    Let’s face it, today’s array of smartphone choices have little to do with variety.

    As the mobile phone platform evolves, we are seeing less and less “new” features, and more of rehashed or Gen 2 add-ons. The smartphone development cycle has for the moment plateaued, and it is evident in the number of phones with overlapping feature sets.

    We have watched as phones got smaller, and then bigger, and them smaller again. Right now with the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy S5, we have once again seen phones grow to the size of a small tablet. Once we got used to phone size, we began to focus on features; functionality that affects how we use our devices. We saw the emergence of “apps”, which were nothing more than a renaming of small utility programs meant to enhance our phone use-ability without sucking up too much space or battery life.

    Physically, we have seen new materials being used, for better (flexible Gorilla Glass to prevent cracked screens) or for worse (thin-walled aluminum for housings, which looks cool, but obviously not meant to handle bending loads). Battery life has increased, but has been countered by software and hardware that require more power.

    As developers come to a point of convergence, all smartphones have begun to look and work the same. The only differences are in minor user interface enhancements, reminiscent of when laptop companies began including their own proprietary user interfaces on top of Windows, just to make their product seem more “custom”.

    A Chevy with a Cadillac emblem is still just a Chevy inside.

    The change in smartphone design and function will come when companies decide how to change the paradigm of smartphone use. The washing machine/dryer industry saw a huge change with the introduction of front-loading designs — designs which had been the staple for industrial machines for years. Will smartphone designers look to alternate or adjacent industries for new ideas? Maybe this will spawn new concepts that are yet to be developed.

    Smartphones in their current embodiment had tapped out the “basic pocket phone” concept to the point where they all look and feel the same, save for a few minor differences. Companies are “stuck” in the current design paradigm, with nothing really new and innovative in sight. Perhaps it will require a new player in the smartphone OS market, aside from Apple or Google, to bring about a changes.

    Maybe a new phone from Maytag might not be such a bad idea? You never know…

  • Apple Pay bugs cause problems with card images, overcharging
    Although the service appears to be working in general, some banks supporting Apple Pay are encountering some early technical problems. One issue is that in some cases, the correct card designs aren’t being displayed in Passbook. Affected cards will show generic logos for their associated institutions, and possibly lack descriptions as well, which can make numbers the only way to distinguish between them when a person has multiple cards from the same firm. Sources claim that a fix for the bug is already underway.

  • Who Continues Your Life Online When You Die?
    If you are reading this on the internet right now, you are also likely documenting your life through accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Your thoughts and pictures and recordings on these platforms create an intimate digital record of who you are, where you have been, who your friends and business associates are, that is far more nuanced and revealing than any diary could ever be. Plus, you are paying bills online, receiving your 401K statements online, trading stocks on ETrade, and using your PayPal account to make purchases.

    Moreover, if you have a blog, domain name or an online store, your livelihood may be locked up in your computer. Have you thought about what you would want to happen to your online accounts and assets when you die? As more of our lives are lived in the virtual world, it is imperative that you make plans for what will happen with your online accounts upon your incapacity or death.

    Planning for digital assets will ensure your privacy is protected, preserve your personal history, and make things easier for your personal representative and family.

    Each online service has its own rules for who can access your accounts. For example, Google services and applications are subject to the Terms of Use agreement between the company and the user and those rights are not extended to family members and heirs. This is perfect planning if you don’t want anyone to read your private emails. But, there is likely valuable information in your Gmail account like billing notices and financial communications that you want your personal representative to be able to access and Google’s policy could pose a problem.

    Some states are addressing these technological issues with legislation that makes it easier to manage accounts after death or incapacity. For example, Delaware recently became the eighth state to pass a law that governs how digital assets are treated when a person dies or becomes incapacitated. In the most comprehensive law of its kind, digital assets in Delaware will be treated the same as personal assets upon a person’s death or incapacity. The companies holding the digital assets are required to grant access and control to the personal representative of the estate. This law will be powerful for those who are settling estates in Delaware, and undoubtedly other states will be passing and updating legislation relating to digital assets in the coming years. However, even without a comprehensive law, there are ways to protect your digital assets in an estate plan.

    If you would like to control who can manage your digital assets after your incapacity or death, you can work with an estate planner to create specific estate planning authorizations. For example, in California where I practice, I have been including in client documents a provision that a trustee is authorized to access digital accounts and digital devices. I also draft an Assignment of Digital Assets to include with their estate planning documents — which assigns digital accounts, domain names, software, computers, tablets, smartphones, into their trust. I advise clients to think about what they want to do with their digital assets and create a separate letter that details how you want each item or account handled.

    It is also wise to keep an updated list of all accounts and passwords so that your personal representative can easily access your accounts. This list should also include passwords for your debit card, house alarm, smartphone, and computer; and answers to security questions (mother’s maiden name, favorite movie, city born). It would be helpful to your personal representative if you included a list of automatic payments and when they are debited to your account. Obviously, this is sensitive information, so you will have to decide what you are most comfortable with. There are online services that allow you to save all of your passwords and name trusted individuals to access them if you are not able. Knowing your passwords will be priceless to someone who has to step into your shoes if you become disabled or when you die.

    The digital world brings with it new considerations and the time to include this into your estate plan is now.

    Alexandra Smyser is an Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer in Pasadena, Ca. She handles all areas of Estate Planning including trusts, wills, probates, general and limited conservatorships, and special needs trusts. For more information on estate planning contact Ms. Smyser at (626) 683-8113 or visit here.

Mobile Technology News, October 22, 2014

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

  • This Free App Will Solve Math Problems For You
    Need more help with math problems than a calculator can provide? There’s now an app for that.

    PhotoMath promises to help solve simple linear equations and other math problems by “reading” questions with the help of your smartphone camera.


    But an answer isn’t all you’ll get from this free app. PhotoMath also provides a step-by-step guide of how each problem is solved, a feature that some consumers have lauded as a potentially useful tool for students, parents and educators.

    “If you can’t figure out the answer and this app can show it to you step-by-step then this is precisely best used by people trying to learn math,” wrote one Redditor on Tuesday.

    Another noted that “if you’re a parent helping with homework, knowing [the correct answer] and how to get there would be sweet.”

    Some netizens, however, have pointed out that the app might prove a little too tempting for students looking to cut corners.

    “Wet dream of high school math students, but perhaps not such a good idea?” Kontra, CounterNotions.com’s blogger, wrote on Twitter.

    “Equation solving is a learned process. Once you short circuit it, it’s problematic,” he said.

    PhotoMath is now available for iOS and Windows mobile devices. An Android version will be available in 2015.

  • How To Remote Desktop To Your PC From Windows Phone

    There are times where you want or need to access your Windows PC from afar.  It isn’t often mind you unless you are doing remote support or the like but sometimes you need to find that file you left on your PC desktop instead of uploading to OneDrive.  After all, if you had it in OneDrive, you could easily access it from your Windows Phone. Microsoft makes a Remote Desktop app for Windows Phone and it works flawlessly for just such a need.  The app is a free download but there is a little bit of configuration you need to

    The post How To Remote Desktop To Your PC From Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Google Street View Takes You To Gombe National Park, Home Of Jane Goodall's Chimpanzees
    In 1960, when famed primatologist Jane Goodall first stepped foot into what is now Gombe National Park in Tanzania, she was immediately awed by the wonder and beauty of the place.

    “I found myself thinking, ‘This is where I belong,’” Goodall said. “Together — the chimpanzees, and the baboons and the monkeys, the birds and insects, the teeming life of the vibrant forest, the stirrings of the never-still waters of the great lake — formed one whole.”

    Thanks to Google Street View, you too can explore the wilderness of Gombe National Park, and even catch a glimpse of some of the chimpanzees that Goodall, together with her eponymous conservation and research institute, have been studying for decades.

    chimpanzee street view
    Chimpanzee in Gombe National Park

    baboons lounging
    Baboons lounging on a beach in Gombe National Park

    In a blog post Tuesday, Google explained that they used Street View Trekkers — backpacks outfitted with a camera system — to collect “thousands of 360 degree images along the narrow paths of the park.”

    Among the many photographs Google captured include ones of Lake Tanganyika and Goodall’s home as well as shots of baboons grooming on a beach and chimpanzees (including one named “Google”) hanging out. Google also managed to document areas near Gombe that have been impacted by deforestation.

    jane goodall house
    Jane Goodall’s home. According to Google, Goodall lived in this house for almost the entire course of her work in Gombe. She is said to still stay in the house when she visits.

    lake gombe
    Lake Tanganyika

    google chimp
    Chimpanzee named “Google” in Gombe National Park. Google was named “after the longstanding partnership between the Jane Goodall Institute and Google,” the tech company said.

    The Jane Goodall Institute and Tanzania’s National Parks partnered with the tech company to make this Street View experience possible. The images will be used in both future research and as a teaching tool.

    Lilian Pintea, the Institute’s vice president of conservation science who helped Google capture images in Gombe, called Street View “a new tool in our toolbox” that enables researchers to “monitor and share with the world what is happening with the chimpanzee habitats” in the forest.

    “It complements high resolution satellite imagery, community forest monitoring using mobile technologies and field researchers’ data by providing a historic record on the ground with which everyone can relate,” Pintea said, per the Institute’s blog.

    Explore Gombe National Park for yourself at Google Street View here.

    (H/T: Mashable)

  • Future of TV: Funding the Future of Networks
    If you have any doubt that video is the biggest untapped next phase of the web, just take a look at the capital that is funding a long list of content-centric startups. The quality of the entrepreneurs, and the size of their ambitions should, at the very least, prove that there’s a big collective bet being made that the future of video is going to be exponentially larger that its current state.

    A prime example is Jason Kilar, the former CEO of Hulu — whose new venture Vessel has raised a rumored 75 million dollars from a group of ‘a’ list investors including Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, Benchmark’s Bill Gurley and Greylock Partners’ David Sze. Kilar partnered with Richard Tom, Hulu’s former CTO to found the venture. It’s not surprising to see Bezos supporting the venture, given his interest in video and the fact that Kilar started his career at Amazon.


    “As a team, we are unusually passionate about the intersection of media and technology; we see an opportunity to improve media, particularly next-generation video,” the founders said, as quoted in Variety.

    So, what is Vessel? According to several individuals with knowledge of the product Kilar is building a subscription service for video — pretend YouTube and Hulu had a baby — as reported by The Wrap.

    The Vessel team is meeting with content creators — both makers for YouTube and other platforms. But clearly they’ll have to provide either rare video (ie: not available on YouTube) or some other exceptional value in order to garner subscription dollars. The rumors suggest the service will be freemium, engaging advertising but also sVoD dollars as well. Much like the combo of Hulu and Hulu Plus offers levels of service with ads riding along even on the paid service. And the service is said to be mobile first, which should be good news for advertisers.

    Kilar isn’t the only one betting that consumers are ready for choice, and ready to pay for it. My friends Jon Klein and Jeff Gaspin have teamed up to launch TAPP, a sVoD service aimed to provide what they call the nation’s top thought leaders in the fields of sports, politics, religion, relationships, entertainment, lifestyle, fashion, fitness and their own channels. The idea is to build channels around personalities with super-fan followings.

    “In addition to great content, TAPP channels will offer a rich layer of consumer engagement for the super fan,” said Gaspin. “We believe subscription services offer a superior business model while complementing current content offerings.”


    Both Gaspin and Klein have a long history in the coming together of TV and tech. Klein was the founder of The FeedRoom in 1999, an early innovator in online video platform space. Before founding The FeedRoom, Klein was an executive vice president at CBS News, where he oversaw prime-time programming including 60 Minutes, and 48 Hours. Klein was named president of CNN/U.S. in 2004. And Gaspin began his career at NBC, and moved to Vh1 to run programming. He returned to NBC in 2001 and was named President of NBC Universal Cable and Digital Content in 2007.

    “There will be long form content for those viewing TAPP on PCs and smart TV’s, and easy to access sharable, snackable content for mobile video users on the go,” said Klein. “And by building in big data capabilities from the ground up, we aim to eliminate much of the guesswork of traditional television programming.”

    TAPP has launched 3 channels so far, and if their early days are any indication — they’ll be taking risks with categories that wouldn’t make their way into todays cable marketplace. The Sarah Palin channel launched on July 27th, 2014. Klein told The Daily Beast: “We’re not out to make a reality show.” We’re out to make a channel that provides you with all the dimensions of her personality. People are nuanced. They have different layers and different levels. Too often people in public life are reduced to easily digestible cartoons… What we’re excited about is giving voice, for literally thousands of people who are out there, to someone who’s got passion and something to say and has a rabid audience that wants to hear it.”

    Palin is a profit participant in the venture, not getting any money up front. If other political channels are any indication, it could be substantial. The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s digital channel, boasts 300,000 subscribers who each pay $10 a month, landing $36 million in in subscription dollars, and that’s before ads are sold.

    Next up for TAPP; the Herman Cain channel. “We’re delighted to expand the TAPP roster with a personality whose following is as passionate as Herman Cain’s,” said Gaspin. “His millions of listeners and social media followers will now be able to get to know and interact with Mr. Cain in a deeper and more meaningful way.”

    TAPP investors include Discovery Communications and Demarest Films, Daniel Leff’s Luminari Capital, and individuals — including Eric Schmidt, Exec Chairman of Google and investment bankers Ken Moelis, Peter Ezersky and Michael Huber. The size of the round was not released.

    Meanwhile, YouTube execs are heading out on their own. Dean Gilbert, who was VP, Global Head of Content and Operations at YouTube is now leading a new venture — Victorious. (www.GetVictorious.com)


    Still it’s a platform that lets online stars create their own personally-branded mobile apps, and at least on the surface seems like it’s not a direct competitor to YouTube. Victorious brings together online feeds from YouTube, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and given them the tools to add advertising, e-commerce and merchandise sales around their content. The company has YouTubers Michelle Phan, Boyce Avenue and Ryan Higa signed up.

    “We can pull in media and centralize assets for a creator’s hub on the star’s own personally branded Victorious-based app”, CEO Rogoway told deadline.com, “They also can publish exclusive content there. I don’t think we’re in a hits-driven business. We’re in an engagement-driven business. It’s not just a place to watch and leave.”

    Meanwhile, there’s tons of funding news on the content front. Culture Machine has raised 3.5 Million led byZodius Capital. Culture Machine is the company of former Disney-UTV exec Sameer Pitalwalla and former YouTube exec Venkat Prasad.

    And Jukin media has just raised 1.2 million in additional capital. Jukin finds trending videos on YouTube, and then acquires and licensees them to networks, individual TV shows and advertisers. While Jukin earns money from videos on YouTube — 700 million views monthly — that’s not their only revenue source. Jukin also distributes and licenses content through partners including ABC, NBC, MTV, Yahoo, AOL and other broadcasters, publishers and platforms. According to comScore, Jukin’s YouTube network reached 18 million unique viewers in the US in August, 2014.

    But the largest single investment in the video space may turn out to be the 1.3 billion dollar deal Yahoo made to acquire Tumblr in the spring of 2013. Business Insider reported that, according to several sources, “Yahoo executives believe Tumblr should become the company’s answer to YouTube. In this vision, Tumblr would become the exclusive distributor of videos from YouTube stars like JC Caylen, JennXPenn, Teala Dunn, Ricky Dillon, Connor Franta, JackJack and Bethany Mota.”

    This after reporter Peter Kafka published a report on recode that suggested Yahoo was working to attract popular YouTube stars to the platform. Clearly Yahoo has the cash to pay up for some of the post popular stars, post the influx of Alibaba cash. The question remains, will YouTube stars take the cash, and the risk that their audience won’t follow them? A short term payout, no matter how large, has to be a risky venture for YouTube’s young and growing star stable.

    No matter how you handicap the companies that are driving exploration in to the video space, the collective consciousness is clear on the outcome. TV is no longer going to be a one-size-fits-all play. The new revenue streams, and new content sources are sure to combined with emerging delivery mechanisms to drive the birth of a new era in TV. And that is sure to be a good thing.

    Other video raises include:

    – Pond5, which raised 61 million.
    – Vidyo raised 20m in a series E, total raised $139 since 2005.
    – Vox 34M
    – SundaySky 20M
    – Wochit 11M
    – Studio Now 5M
    – Vungle 17M
    – MedaiKraft 23M
    – Tastemade 25M
    – MiTu 10M
    – Machinima 18M
    – All Def Digital – Russell Simmons – 5M
    – Kaltura 47M
    – Fuisz 2.1

    Steven Rosenbaum is serial entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. His book Curation Nation, helped set the trend, and CurateThis! comes out Nov 4th. He is the CEO of Waywire.com (enterprise.waywire.com)

  • GT Advanced, Apple strike deal to 'amicably' part ways
    After much bickering in court during bankruptcy proceedings that took Apple and Wall Street by surprise, former sapphire supplier GT Advanced Technologies has worked out an agreement with the iPhone maker that will let it pursue its plan of winding down operations at its Mesa, Arizona plant and laying off nearly 700 employees. Though Apple had initially said it would work to preserve the jobs involved, the deal instead offers incentives to certain employees to help wind down the plant, and provides a way for GT to pay back the money it owes Apple.

  • Concern raised over UK use of drones
    The use of drones in the UK will rise over the next 20 years, raising “significant safety, security, and privacy concerns”, a report says.
  • VIDEO: Creating a $110 earthquake detector
    Creating an earthquake detector out of everyday household parts
  • Can data predict the perfect entrepreneur?
    Why being over 40 makes you the perfect entrepreneur
  • Woman Tricks Men With Misleading Photo (NSFW)
    You guys know there’s actual porn on the Internet, right?

    A woman fooled some Redditors into gratifying themselves to a picture that looks like female cleavage but is in fact … well, click to reveal the truth if you dare (NSFW.)



    The poster then published all of the private messages she received from over-eager dudes who were apparently slobbering all over the picture of her husband’s butt and wrote ““To all of those LOVELY gentlefolk on Gone Wild last night…with love, from ‘Posh’ 😉 .”

    One person even sent her a picture of a panda for some reason. Mostly she just got creepy messages. The Daily Dot has them in all their creepy glory

    Hat tip: Reddit

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  • My STEM Story: Lessons in Denial
    When my family moved to America from British Bermuda, I was still in elementary school, having completed first form, the equivalent of first grade, at the Bermuda High School (BHS) for Girls. Uniform and uniformed, I marched in step with the other girls, just as my mother had done through her entire schooling at BHS. Yes, I did stand out as the only Jewish girl in the school, or anywhere on the island. But generations of my family were well-known on the island, so the singularity was tolerable. Inserted into a New York City suburb, I was delighted to find that this particular oddity was completely irrelevant. Unfortunately, an ongoing confidence crisis took its place.

    Longing to fit in, I embraced America’s freedom of expression, jettisoned my BHS uniform, and begged my parents for every fashion fad I saw. Painfully, I came to understand that my classical education marked me far more than my clothes did. Even at age seven, my British accent, diction, spelling and vocabulary were unmistakable. Ridiculed at recess, misunderstood in class, and assaulted walking home, I went from rage to withdrawn, from arrogance to self pity. I felt alone and timid, marooned on an unforgiving, unrelenting Long Island, as I never was on the island of Bermuda. Yet, this was the ’50s, and I didn’t stand out as odd among the girls in my class for my lack of confidence or my weepy moments. It would be decades before women wrote about the self-assurance gender gap and published articles such as “The Confidence Gap” would be common place (The Atlantic, May 2014).

    While I was confused about America’s mix of freedom and conformity, I was oblivious to America’s confusion about what to do with me. I was placed in second grade, but quickly put into a combination third and fourth grade which I considered another quirky Americanism. I learned decades later that my mother prevented my being put even further ahead so that I wouldn’t be a total oddity. I eventually translated my British English into American, and found nothing odd about studying another foreign language, French, as a preteen. Nor did it seem unusual to study mathematical set theory in elementary school from a text book so experimental that it didn’t yet have a cover. A budding intellect was insignificant compared to matching a pace of life so fast that putting a proper cover on a book was a bother.

    I was unimpressed when a group of us junior high schoolers were sent to the high school to take science. Our advanced science cohort trudged up the hill together, so I thought it was no big deal. The years of advanced math felt like another college requirement gotten out of the way early. Surely, I was no more than an arithmetic plodder sitting next to Judy, my friend the mathematics genius. Unlike me, Judy didn’t need a slide rule for math tests in those days before computers; she could do the math in her head. We both began careers in community organizing after college, but Judy eventually acquired a PhD in mathematics, and now teaches Applied Statistics in academia, having retired from the world of corporate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math).

    My graduate degrees are in religion and urban planning. I ran nonprofits, including Jewish Federations. I later became an award-winning, bestselling author, editor of the American Diversity Report, and cross-cultural consultant. When I started writing a series about women in STEM, Judy was an obvious interview choice. Touching base again was both a pleasure and a revelation.

    When I asked Judy what it was like to be a math genius she laughs, “You should know.” Given my clueless response, she reminds me that I sat next to her in all those math classes through all those years of high school. “So what?” Judy gently reminds me, “Only four girls went through those advanced math courses, and you and I were also in the advanced science classes.”

    Judy and I chose a math elective that included some matrix algebra and basic computer programming when it was first offered in 1966. Her mother, the math teacher, and my mother, the Hebrew teacher, were like-minded in seeing computers as the future. As usual, Judy excelled in the class, while I recall limping along. My inability to embrace a math whiz persona didn’t seem odd as scholarly pursuits in my family centered on history, culture, and languages. The HS counselors never suggested focusing on STEM, although they did inform me that my IQ was higher Einstein’s. I hid that fact, along with my acceptance into Harvard as long as possible because the reaction was usually hostility rather than admiration or congratulation. The response can be summed up as, “Funny, you don’t look a genius,” and from the Ivy-League bound males, “I guess you can go out with me now.”

    My mindset definitely needs adjustment. For many years, I’ve lectured women about valuing their accomplishments. Now, it’s time to take my own advice. Maybe I shouldn’t laugh off the memory of being dragged out of a beginning statistics class in graduate school and deposited in the advanced classroom. Maybe I should stop dismissing as pure chance that I ended up as a webmaster, website creator, and online writer/researcher/editor. Maybe it wasn’t an aberration when I dis-assembled and repaired an office computer. Maybe it’s time, or past time, for a self image do-over.

    Are women in STEM particularly prone to this lack of confidence? Many STEM women appear semi-conscious about their choices as noted in earlier articles in this series. Their career paths often feel random, a matter of luck, or the lack thereof. The confidence deficit is is a popular explanation, but my experience compels me to offer another explanation, or at least a different wording. I see the phenomenon as protection against hostility, discrimination, and harsh, personal criticism. In short, it is not simply an issue of confidence, but of self survival, requiring great courage to confront.

    Judy shares her career choices and is quite analytical about her field and the competition with male co-workers. She talks about getting her PhD at Colorado University, working in the university system, and sharing an office with another nontenured professor. They both received a corporate job offer, but her offer was only 59% of his. Judy says, “At the time, NOW (National Org of Women) had published that on average women were making 59% of what men made. What a coincidence! When I reported this coincidence to the recruiter (accompanied by a pie chart of course), we had a good laugh and he raised the offer.” Doing the math for the recruiter meant an offer of more money and status, but she suspects that her compensation remained less than that of male peers with equal credentials.

    “Women have to be better, but also more careful.” Judy describes how women can get into trouble with supervisors for having too many ideas. The PhD may not have gotten her the money she deserved, but it did act like a coat of armor, there was less conflict, less questioning of her work when she was the only woman in the room. Nodding my head, I express empathy which prompts Judy to points out similar issues in my clashes with Harvard professors, civic leaders, and even male family members. Yes, the consequences of appearing threatening are broad and deep. Apparently, the survival strategies of avoidance and denial are virtually instinctual.

    It’s not surprising that many women steer away from STEM degrees or STEM careers. Or that many women who start STEM degrees drop out. Or that numbers for career women in technology industry are dismal. A good start in addressing the invisible STEM women might be to reject the explanation of lacking confidence. Rather, see their behavior as voting with their feet, intellect and talent. They are doing what is necessary, consciously or unconsciously, to preserve their personal integrity, their family, and their ability to fight another day. The confidence rationale stereotypes women as non-assertive, risk-shy, nurture-oriented personalities. That stereotype isn’t often publicly embraced as it was when Microsoft’s CEO suggested that women shouldn’t ask for raises, but will receive recognition through good karma. Are STEM women truly surprised by this? No wonder young women think twice about a STEM career.

    What personal contributions should we make to the promotion of Women in STEM? My own role to date has been to write about the issues and magnify the voices of these women. It’s time for that role to change and to revitalize my STEM roots. As the new Research Coordinator to the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, I’ll weave my award-winning writing skills into the STEM world. I plan to follow the advice of Mahatma Gandhi and hope others will do the same, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

  • To Siri, With Love
    Just how bad a mother am I? I wondered, as I watched my 13-year-old son deep in conversation with Siri. Gus has autism, and Siri, Apple’s “intelligent personal assistant” on the iPhone, is currently his BFF. Obsessed with weather formations, Gus had spent the hour parsing the difference between isolated and scattered thunderstorms — an hour in which, thank God, I didn’t have to discuss them. After a while I heard this:
  • Glowy Zoey's LED Minnie Mouse Costume Will Light Up Halloween
    Last year, photographer Royce Hutain, who goes by Visual Burrito on YouTube, created an amazing — and adorable — LED suit for his toddler to wear on Halloween. The video of her wearing it went viral.

    Now, dad is back with an even cooler costume — it’s his little girl, who he calls Glowy Zoey, as light-up Minnie Mouse.

    “Zoey was a huge hit when we went to Disneyland,” Dad wrote on YouTube. In the description for the video, he explains how he made her costume, also mentioning that after last year’s success, he “found [himself] in the LED stick figure costume business.” He now sells costumes on his website.

    Hutain’s creation is seriously impressive, but don’t worry parents, you don’t have to be an electrical mastermind for your kid to look cute on Halloween. Here’s proof:

    More Halloween Ideas: See costumes for families, couples, moms-to-be and more.

    More amazing Halloween ideas over on Pinterest!

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  • Group Builds Novel Sexual Assault Reporting System — By Talking To Survivors
    A nonprofit company says it has designed an online system for reporting sexual assaults, for use by colleges and universities. What it has going for it that others don’t: It was created with the input of rape survivors and student activists.

    The third-party sexual assault reporting system is called Callisto, and was designed by nonprofit Sexual Health Innovations for use by higher education institutions. Callisto allows a victim to file an incident report online, to “receive a clear explanation of their reporting options, and then either directly submit the report to their chosen authority or save it as a time-stamped record,” the company said in its description.

    Sexual Health Innovations, whose advisory board includes sexual assault survivors and activists, public health officials and college professors, set up a Crowdrise fundraising page this week to get the Callisto service off the ground. As of Tuesday afternoon, the page had collected $1,250 toward a goal of $10,000, but organizers say they need to raise significantly more — as much as $200,000 — to staff it adequately.

    The Callisto system would allow reporting victims to choose to have their perpetrator reported to authorities immediately if the accused has also been reported as an assailant by another user. The initial victim would also get a notification in the event that an additional report is made. But no other individuals or administrators would have access to the database to see whether any single person is listed as either an assailant or victim. Founder and Executive Director of Sexual Health Innovations Jessica Ladd said this is to maintain privacy and to prevent false reports.

    But what’s unique is that the system itself was developed after more than a year of collecting feedback from sexual assault survivors, including Ladd, who said she experienced sexual violence in college and went through the reporting process.

    “The reporting process was not very empowering, but that’s where the idea came from,” Ladd told The Huffington Post.

    Callisto was developed with input from the anti-sexual assault advocacy and activist groups End Rape On Campus, Futures Without Violence, Know Your IX, Surviving in Numbers, the Clery Center, Faculty Against Rape and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

    Ladd said developers interviewed 43 college sexual assault survivors and more than 100 other individuals, ages 18 to 30. She also suggested that, based on their interviews, had a system like Callisto been in place at the time of their assaults, the rate of reporting among their interviewees would have tripled.

    “We want to be clear: This is by survivors, for survivors,” Ladd said, “and us understanding and having empathy for the trauma that survivors go through after a sexual assault and just how scary the reporting process is.”

    Multiple studies show that between 20 percent and 25 percent of women experience sexual assault by the time they graduate from college, but few report it. Less than 5 percent of completed and attempted rapes of women in college get reported to the criminal justice system, according to one Bureau of Justice Statistics/Department of Justice report, and the number drops still further for other types of sexual assault. Since so few are reported at all, however, experts suggest the small numbers included in annual college crime statistics paint a false picture.

    “We’ll probably have to choose a happy medium between what the schools say they need to accurately understand the problem on the campus, without threatening the anonymity of survivors,” Ladd said, suggesting that Callisto could deliver relevant statistics via an updating dashboard of most recent reports or through annual reports.

    “We want to make it very clear to survivors they control who it’s reported to and when,” Ladd said.

  • Apple Pay loyalty program may be coming in time for holidays
    A loyalty program for Apple Pay may be ready to go in time for the holidays, says Bank Innovation. Some retail sources had previously suggested this was unlikely, in part because of doubt about the prospects of a large shift in customer behavior happening right before the holiday season. Real-world market demand may be pushing up the timetable for a loyalty offering, however.

  • 6 Smartphone Etiquette Fails to Avoid
    Remember that time you were finally in a restaurant enjoying a nice quiet dinner and the woman at the next table started screaming? It took you time to realize, after your heart slowed, that it was just another phone call. An important one, as it turns out, featuring her divorce lawyer. One she should be taking outside.

    It’s not that I can’t empathize. We all have smartphones glued to our bodies like another appendage. It’s probably the most vital device we’ve got and I for one can’t imagine life without it. But how do we learn to use our phones respectfully or at least without offending everyone around us?

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve been on both ends of some really rude smartphone behavior and the emotions it has evoked have ranged from embarrassment to annoyance to rage. Of course we know better, but still, we can all benefit from a reminder lesson in cell phone etiquette now and then.

    So, to check yours, take the user test below to find out if you’re one of these six smartphone offenders. No one needs to learn how you fare. Except, hopefully, you.

    1. You’re the Text Addict

    There you are, out for lunch you can hardly taste, spending your free hour nodding blankly at your companion, constantly asking for a sentence repeat. Now and again, you smile with a Huh? face, and never at quite the appropriate moment. That’s because it’s hard carrying on four other conversations simultaneously — by text. It’s not your fault, either. When someone sends you a message, your fingers seem to have OCD. A will of their own. Despite you, they just have to reply.

    2. You’re the Oversharer

    We get that you can’t use your hands easily while you’re sweating like a champ on the Stair Master. But does the entire gym really need to hear you fight with your sister on speaker? Sounds like a juicy story and I’d be pissed, too, but believe it or not, some of us come here to escape drama. Or we plug into the Y & R right on the treadmill. Besides, chances are, after your workout, we’ll all be treated to the abridged version of this battle on Facebook anyway.

    3. You’re the Anti-Vibrator

    You know there’s a vibrate button on there somewhere darn it, but where is the little sucker? Leave it to you to “forget” to turn your phone off again — in a movie theatre, at a wedding, during a concert. Worse, you don’t have the normal ring that says Oops, sorry! Yours is always some crazy song from the ’80s no one should ever hear again, like “Call Me!,” something that screams HEY, PEOPLE, CHECK ME OUT! I’M STILL ON!

    4. You’re the Cell Yeller

    Whenever you find yourself in a crowded space, like a diner or airport lounge, and the volume is turned up around you, you’re not even one bit daunted. All you do to compete is SHOUT INTO YOUR PHONE. Well, what other choice do you have if you want to be heard? Never mind that you’re murdering the eardrums of every person without a mile radius not to mention that poor sucker on the other end of the call.

    5. You’re the Mood Kill

    Ahhhhh. You’re sitting by the lake, but you can’t hear the crickets — or feel the breeze or feed the ducks (There were ducks?). You need to be connected to your virtual lifeline 24/7 and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a holiday weekend or you’re on the dock to celebrate your brother’s 50th or sitting on the outhouse toilet. If the phone rings, you’re answering it.

    6. You’re the Text Driver

    The light is red, but you’re not budging until the rest of us honk you into action. Heaven forbid you let Instagram happen without you for 60 seconds so you can focus on getting to where you need to go. PS: If you’re texting while the wheels are actually moving, you are basically driving drunk and should surrender your iPhone forever. Full stop.

    Picturing yourself or someone you know? Share with whoever needs your help. It’s never too late, you know.

    Do you have any cell phone pet peeves to add? Now’s your chance!

    Originally published on BrazenWoman.com

    BrazenWoman is the only lifestyle blogazine written for women 35+ by women 35+. Our site is all about you, with stories you’re interested in reading. Hey ditch the hot flash cocktail and get your lipgloss without a side of diapers. Are you ready to be brazen?

    Follow us on Twitter @brazenwoman and join the conversation on Facebook.

  • The Cybersecurity Prescription For Small And Growing Businesses

    It seems that more and more headlines these days are dominated by the latest cybersecurity breach. Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan and others have all been the target of sophisticated hackers and cyber thieves trying to steal customers’ sensitive personal and financial information to exploit or sell on the black market. Yet while attacks on global banks and big retailers grab the world’s attention, small businesses, startups and entrepreneurs are at serious risk as well.

    If you are a small business owner thinking that “these kinds of security breaches could never happen to me,” you are mistaken. According to Symantec’s 2013 Internet Security Threat Report, 31 percent of cyber-attacks committed in 2013 targeted companies with fewer than 250 employees. As the evolution of technology and integrated networks continues at a rapid pace, the interconnected economy that is helping drive growth for so many small businesses is also creating vulnerabilities that threaten to outpace the ability of many entrepreneurs to protect themselves.

    Even so, there is some good news. Just as diet and exercise, regular doctor visits and health insurance are critical elements of a holistic plan to keep your body healthy, there are important steps that small business owners can take to vaccinate their business against infection, strengthen their network’s immune system, and protect their data and that of their customers or clients against invasive, foreign viruses that threaten their enterprises.

    In recognition of October 2014 as the 11th annual National Cyber Security Awareness month, we are prescribing a three step program of best practices that every small business and entrepreneur should follow to improve the cyber health of their company:

    1. The One-Two Combination Punch: Encryption and Tokenization

    Everyone knows that diet or exercise alone is not enough to keep one physically fit, but combining the two is a time-tested way to stay healthy. In the same way, small business owners need to combine the right technologies to create a cost-effective strategy that reduces risk and maximizes return on their cybersecurity investment. The combination of encryption and tokenization is an effective strategy to minimize security weaknesses, address authorization vulnerabilities and protect sensitive stored data.

    Encryption occurs at the point of sale in the credit card terminal, encoding a card’s number when it is received by the merchant, so that even if hackers access the data, their numbers are useless and cannot be used. Tokenization is a technology that protects the cardholder by creating a “token” that replaces the credit or debit card number so the real number and identity is never transferred. Using encryption and tokenization together protects customer data and thwarts even the most sophisticated thieves, minimizing fraud and protecting the cardholder even after the purchase is validated.

    2. Inoculate Against the New Superbug: Updating Your Security Technology

    Just as advances in medicine and technology are necessary to stay ahead of mutating viruses that are adapting to resist today’s drugs, it is important for small business owners to keep their security technology and software systems up-to-date to protect against aggressive criminals. New point of sale systems and devices and EMV technology (which stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, a global standard for inter-operation of integrated circuit or “chip” cards) are critical to protecting cardholders and the business. EMV technology replaces the magnetic strip on credit and debit cards with smart processing chips that enable more robust verification to protect against consumer-level fraud. As EMV becomes more the standard more widely, businesses are upgrading and replacing their point-of-sale card terminals and devices to ensure compatibility with this cybersecurity innovation.

    3. Talk to Your Cyber Health Professional: Consult Your Financial Institution or Processing Partner

    October is not only National Cyber Security Awareness month, but it is also the beginning of flu season. Did you get your flu shot? Maybe it’s also time for your annual physical and check-up. There is no better time for small business owners to reach out to their trusted partners at their preferred financial institutions and processing partners for a check-up on the health and security of their business systems.

    These trusted partners can help small business owners better understand their data security responsibilities, review available solutions and implement a plan to ensure long-term business protection. The partners are responsible for keeping clients informed of potential risks and consequences and arming small businesses with the technologies to keep clients and customers safe and secure. Financial institutions and processors can help implement the necessary measures to deploy a comprehensive security program to ensure small business owners and customers are protected from criminals so merchants can conduct business with confidence.

    Whether or not you have been infected in the past or if you are experiencing symptoms today, now is the time to make sure you, as a small business owner, are immunized and inoculated against looming cyber threats. Utilizing encryption and tokenization, updating to EMV-compatible point-of-sale technology and consulting with your financial institutions and processing partners are the key ingredients necessary to keep your business healthy and growing, today and into the future.

  • Is Online Dating TOO Easy?
    We have all heard of online dating at some point. Whether it’s from a friend who found a significant other through online dating, or a parental figure warning us about the dangers of meeting strangers online, everyone has had some experience with it. Websites and apps like OkCupid, Tinder, Zoosk, Match, eHarmony and countless others set out with the goal to have people with similar interests meet and hopefully be right for each other. There are countless other niche websites like Christianmingle or JDate that focus on matching people with specific beliefs and ways of life, but I’ll be focusing on the main websites and apps.

    Dating websites and apps are meant for people who have tried real world interaction and have had no luck finding their match that way. Online dating can be seen by people as a sad and pathetic fallback, but I strongly disagree. Meeting people, let alone ones that you like, in the real world is difficult, and these devices are just a catalyst for meeting people. My issues lie in how easy online websites and apps make meeting people. The app does the heavy lifting part for you, which is actually finding the person in the first place. Ultimately, people don’t use them for dating all the time. Many people use it as a hook-up device to just meet someone attractive and not be concerned with a connection. There are plenty of apps that have tried this and failed, but, in the end, there is one app that stands out for its outstanding amount of use and stories that come from it.

    Tinder is a mobile device app whose goal is to find matches between people in the same geographic area. The stories I have heard from friends about Tinder are absolutely hilarious sometimes. There are plenty of stories of friends finding each other and joking about going on a date, but one extreme story made my day. I was talking to a friend I had met at camp who informed me that they are stuck in “the worst class in existence.” When I asked what the class was about, she said, “Oh, the class is fascinating! I have an issue with the teacher…” This sounded stranger and stranger, and the reply I got when I asked what her issue with the teacher was had me laugh harder than anything else had in a long time. She said that the day before school, Tinder had some glitch and caused her to get matched with some middle-aged man. She found out the next day that the man she got matched with was none other than her teacher. “We both know what happened, but neither of us have talked about it, and it’s gonna be horrible and really awkward for the rest of the year.”

    I don’t expect Tinder to disappear anytime soon. It has set itself up as a semi-reliable matchmaking device that makes meeting people beyond easy. All you have to do is wait for matches to come up and you can chat with them if you so wish. The only real issue with Tinder, and some other sites, is that it makes dating TOO easy. In the past, you would have to wander up to the person you liked and blurt out some embarrassing sentence that they would laugh at, and then it would take time and patience before something would come to be. Now, with online dating and Tinder, you skip all of the steps of finding and actively pursuing each other. Now it’s simply “Oh! This app said we’re good for each other! Want to meet and talk?” There’s a certain amount of convenience that Tinder supplies that realistically shouldn’t exist in the long run, but to each their own.

  • Review: Kenu Airframe Plus
    Simple, stylish and effective, the Kenu Airframe + portable car mount is the latest addition to Kenu’s lineup. Released earlier this year, the Airframe + takes the same basic design of the Airframe and gives it a little extra stretch in order to hold larger 6-inch phones. In our review we thoroughly put the Airframe + to the test to see what exactly it is that puts the “plus” in this portable car mount.

  • Sasha Grey Reads Filthy Texts, Can't Believe They're For Real
    In her work as a porn star, Sasha Grey presumably heard it all.

    Or maybe not.

    The now-mainstream actress recites unwelcomed sexts for laughs on a new edition of Creepy Text Theatre. While delivering the clueless come-ons, posted on Reddit and elsewhere from dating sites, Grey asks, “This sh–t’s real? Where do you guys find this?”

    Our thoughts exactly.

    H/T Uproxx

Mobile Technology News, October 20, 2014

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

  • Half of Holiday Shoppers Say They'll Avoid Stores That Got Hacked, Survey Finds
    As another holiday shopping frenzy nears, a new survey suggests that many consumers plan to avoid the growing number of retailers that have been hacked.

    Nearly half of people — 45 percent — say they would “definitely not” or “probably not” shop this holiday season at retailers like Target or Home Depot that acknowledged computer breaches exposed customer credit card data, according to a survey released Monday by CreditCards.com.

    In addition, 48 percent said they are more likely to use cash more often this holiday season out of concern over the numerous cyberattacks against retailers, according to the survey of 865 credit and debit card holders.

    “It’s a clear sign that people are at least somewhat concerned about shopping in a place that has had a data breach,” said Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst at Creditcards.com.

    The holiday season is typically the busiest time of the year for retailers, and this season comes amid heightened concern that they are unprepared to fight off hackers who have stolen credit card data from millions of their customers this year.

    At the peak of last season — from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15 — hackers stole credit and debit card data belonging to 40 million Target shoppers. The fallout from the data breach led to a 5.5 percent decline in transactions, the largest quarterly drop for Target in six years, the retailer reported in February.

    Since then, numerous other retailers have been attacked, including Neiman Marcus and Home Depot, which revealed last month that hackers had stolen data on 56 million customer debit and credit cards in the largest retail breach on record.

    A Target spokeswoman said customers view last year’s credit card breach “as old news” and “they have moved on.”

    “As we enter the busy holiday retail season, we are focused on turning the page and delivering an outstanding holiday shopping experience to all Target guests,” Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder told HuffPost.

    The retailer has taken measures to improve security, including hiring new executives to oversee its technology team and introducing machines that read a new type of credit card that uses an embedded microchip and a PIN code to authorize transactions. Such technology is supposed to be more secure by making it difficult for thieves to produce counterfeit credit cards. The more secure credit cards are expected to be issued to most Americans by October 2015.

    Home Depot spokesman Stephen Holmes said the retailer recently introduced new technology that protects payment information through encryption to make credit card numbers unreadable to hackers. The home-improvement store plans to introduce machines that read more secure credit cards in all of its stores by the end of the year.

    Though the number of credit and debit cards stolen from Target and Home Depot equals about one-third of the U.S. population, the repercussions for shoppers have been minimal. For the most part, banks have issued new debit and credit cards to affected customers and reimbursed them for fraudulent charges.

    Some industry experts said Target may see a decline in shoppers this holiday season because of the massive credit card breach, but expressed skepticism with the survey’s findings that 45 percent plan to avoid the retailer.

    “We know that Target’s business was negatively impacted by the breach that occurred there, but nowhere near the level that would be suggested by ‘almost half,’” said David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report, a credit card industry trade publication.

    Target also has an easy way to make wary customers forget about last year’s cyber attack, said Schulz, the Creditcards.com analyst.

    “A really good sale can sometimes trump people’s security concerns,” he said.

  • Gaming final packs Seoul stadium
    On the ground at the League of Legends World Championship’s final
  • VIDEO: 'Magic glass' fixes bad eyesight
    Scientists at MIT work on screen to correct bad eyesight
  • VIDEO: Friendly Dalek teaches kids to code
    How the Time Lord and a Dalek help children learn to program
  • Internet trolls face longer sentences
    People who post abusive messages online could face up to two years in jail under new laws proposed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
  • First Snapchat Ad Ever Gives Users A Fright
    Snapchat jumped into the ad game Saturday with its first-ever piece of sponsored content: a 20-second trailer for the new horror movie “Ouija.”

    It’s unclear how many of the mobile app’s users received the ad that appeared in the “Recent Updates” section normally reserved for friends’ “Stories.” If you received the trailer for the new Universal Studios movie, your Snapchat account looked something like this:

    Snapchat’s first ad is a 20 second movie trailer for “Ouija” http://t.co/zlgP2ysBYE

    — Tim Peterson (@petersontee) October 18, 2014

    Before the ad showed up in Snapchat accounts, the company wrote a blog post informing users it was on its way.

    “We want to see if we can deliver an experience that’s fun and informative, the way ads used to be, before they got creepy and targeted,” Snapchat wrote in the blog post Friday.

    The company assured users the ad would disappear after 24 hours or after it was watched. “No biggie” if users didn’t want to watch the ad at all, the blog post added.

    Still, many users took to Twitter to express their surprise and frustration at the new ads.

    That ouija ad on snapchat just scared the crap outta me

    — Claudia Liu (@claudiatingya) October 19, 2014

    Shoutout to Ouija for the annoying snapchat ad

    — Λndrew (@AndrewSilipo) October 19, 2014

    The ad comes at a trying time for Snapchat. Some 200,000 Snapchat photos were recently leaked after hackers gained access to photos stored via a third-party app, Snapsaved.com. Snapsaved.com, which allows users to save Snapchats without the sender knowing, emphasized that Snapchat itself had not been hacked.

    This is the first attempt Snapchat has made at cashing in on advertising dollars despite a July valuation of $10 billion. The reason for the ads is simple, the company wrote: “We need to make money.”

    If you missed it on Snapchat, here’s a glimpse at what users saw of the movie “Ouija”:

Mobile Technology News, October 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.

  • Tougher sentences for internet trolls
    Internet trolls could face up to two years in jail under new laws proposed by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.
  • Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
    The ladies of Twitter were on their A-game while dating this week. We need to take a page out of Gaby Dunn‘s book of pick up lines after she tweeted, “‘You’re telling me you made it this far in life without knowing your Hogwarts house?!’ – another successful conversation with a man.” Very smooth.

    As the week wound down, the women of twitter were, understandably, a bit tired. Twitter user AnotherBottleofWhine was one of the many exhausted ladies excitedly awaiting for Friday, “I love you. // – a thing I just whispered to my bed.” TGITW (Thank God It’s The Weekend).

    For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

    My four year old telling me “mama I chewed my ice into a potato” is like watching a dna test come back positive

    — kelly jean (@kjmeow) October 14, 2014

    I’m not athletic but if overthinking was an Olympic sport I’d have six gold medals, an endorsement with Subway and my face on a Wheaties box

    — Carly Danger (@carlyken) October 14, 2014

    Just said “you’re not the boss of me” to my mother. Regression complete.

    — Roxane Gayrten (@rgay) October 15, 2014

    “You’re telling me you made it this far in life without knowing your Hogwarts house?!” – another successful conversation with a man

    — Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn) October 15, 2014

    My diet would be going just fine if I didn’t have a mouth.

    — Athena Mystique (@AthenaMystique) October 13, 2014

    I love you.

    – a thing I just whispered to my bed.

    — AnotherBottleofWhine (@KateWhineHall) October 13, 2014

    every time I log on to Tumblr it’s like walking into a room and forgetting why I went there and then watching that room’s TV for 20 minutes.

    — Crissy (@frizzyfilazzo) October 16, 2014

    At the height of sexual passion, yell into his ear, “TEN POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR”

    — Anna Breslaw (@annabreslaw) October 16, 2014

    Just found out my niece thinks the lyrics to “Loyal” are “These girls are lawyers!” She better think that forever.

    — Lauren Williams (@laurenwilliams) October 6, 2014

    We’re all just thinking about @miles_teller all the time, right? Not just me?

    — Emma Straub (@emmastraub) October 14, 2014

    A 15ish year old boy on the train just told his friends the music he liked “trap, big house and Alt J”. Literally what are those things.

    — Sophie Gadd (@sophie_gadd) October 16, 2014

    There’s really no better phrase to describe my existence than “Whatever, I’m getting cheese fries.”

    — Maura Brannigan (@maura_brannigan) October 16, 2014

    Really excited by all the new ways that technology companies are inventing for me to have my identity stolen.

    — Erin Gloria Ryan (@morninggloria) October 16, 2014

    I wonder if birds ever get shit on by their friends and family too.

    — Raspooky Jam (@Jenny4ashley) October 14, 2014

    Just made myself a dinner of cereal and Cheetos so yes I’m interested in hiring a caretaker

    — Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) October 12, 2014

    I bet Beyoncé And Jay Z never have to look around their house for scissors.

    — Jenni Konner (@campsucks) October 13, 2014

    Did Beyonce change her wig yet so ya’ll can stop talking about #thosebangs? #wondering

    — Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) October 16, 2014

    “You know, usually I’d be down to roll all over the floor but I had a gynecological procedure this morning.” –real thing I said today

    — Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) October 14, 2014

    mommy, when i grow up i want to be a person who gets paid to embed a tweetstorm into a blog post

    — Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) October 16, 2014

    Everyone thinks Pinterest is all fun and DIY, but give the wrong people a glue gun and some fruit and that shit gets dark fast.

    — Charlotte Palermino (@charlotteparler) October 16, 2014

    Fuck that first guy ever who opened a pomegranate and was like “This seems like a good ratio of sustenance to labor exerted.”

    — Lauren Morelli (@lomorelli) October 15, 2014

  • Not All Cases Cited By FBI Hinge On Access To Data: Report
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The text messages captured a cover-up of unimaginable abuse: Parents had struck their toddler so often that they ultimately killed her. The child shook badly because we beat her, the father wrote, and the mother complained that their 2-year-old was the devil.

    FBI Director James Comey says encrypting data stored on smartphones and computers could hurt criminal investigations, and evidence reviewed by The Associated Press shows that the child abuse case in Los Angeles from summer 2011 is a powerful, compelling argument. Prosecutors said the texts recovered by investigators prompted the parents to practically beg for a plea deal. But at least three other examples the FBI director has cited are not so cut and dry. They are cases in which the authorities were tipped off — or even solved the crime — through means other than examining data they took from victims or suspects. While digital evidence may have aided those investigations, authorities nonetheless relied upon evidence beyond what was stored on a cell phone to nab a criminal or secure a conviction.

    The struggle to justify the FBI’s complaints about new phone encryption underscores the uphill fight facing the Obama administration in the wake of disclosures by former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden. Those revelations showed the government was collecting phone records and digital communications of millions not suspected of a crime.

    It’s not clear how the FBI hopes to untangle the encryption technology already rolled out to consumers, such as seeking new legislation on Capitol Hill restricting its use. Congress is expected to return to Washington in November to consider the USA Freedom Act, legislation aimed at reining in the NSA’s surveillance capabilities and providing more transparency to secret proceedings in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    The FBI chief on Thursday cited cases involving a sex-offending cab driver in Louisiana, an abusive mother in Los Angeles, a Kansas drug ring and a reckless driver in California, saying each showed the value of law enforcement’s ability to read files on cell phones.

    “Encryption isn’t just a technical feature. It’s a marketing pitch. But it will have very serious consequences for law enforcement and national security agencies at every level,” Comey said, echoing earlier comments after Apple Inc. and Google Inc. said they would encrypt their phones by default.

    The government’s concerns may be directed in part toward Apple’s iMessage platform, which offers end-to-end encrypted text messages, unlike traditional SMS messages. That encryption likely means the only way for police to read those messages is by obtaining a user’s iPhone. Apple has sold hundreds of millions of devices that use iMessage.

    Most examples the FBI director cited showed that evidence extracted from phones was, at best, supplementary.

    Comey pointed to a hit-and-run driver in Sacramento, California, who was convicted of second-degree murder in a 2012 collision that killed a man and four dogs, saying, “GPS data placed the driver at the scene of the accident and revealed that he had fled California shortly thereafter.”

    Defense lawyer Michael Long, however, recalled that a side mirror found at the scene of the crash — taken as evidence to a car dealership — was an initial clue that led investigators to identify the type of vehicle involved. More breaks came with tips from eyewitness accounts and anonymous tips that placed Paul William Walden at the collision scene.

    Walden was arrested coming out of his driveway and admitted being present at the collision, a damning admission presented to the jury. With access to his phone, Long said, investigators subpoenaed records from the cell service provider and used cell tower location data to place him near the scene — records that police can routinely obtain even if they don’t physically possess a person’s phone.

    “They wouldn’t have had his cell phone until they had Paul,” Long said. “The cell phone technology was very helpful for them once they had Paul and they had his phone and his records to be able to piece together his trail across the country.

    “It helped them convict Paul,” he added, “but it didn’t help them capture Paul.” Walden is serving a sentence of 25 years to life.

    Another case involved a heroin trafficking organization in Kansas City, Kansas, whose drug-dealing resulted in multiple drug overdoses.

    Court filings show that while the suspects arranged orders using phones they discarded every few weeks, investigators constructed their prosecutions around months of undercover drug purchases involving confidential informants — a decades-old, more conventional law enforcement strategy.

    Branden Bell, a lawyer for Verdale Handy, of Kansas City, who was convicted of attempted murder of a witness and multiple drug-dealing crimes, said he didn’t recall electronic evidence factoring in the prosecution of his client.

    “The government’s evidence was a number of people who allegedly purchased narcotics from Mr. Handy and an eyewitness account of someone Mr. Handy attempted to murder,” Bell said.

    “I believe they followed a traditional investigative model, identifying lower-level distributors (and getting) their cooperation to identify and supply evidence against the suppliers above that,” he said.

    A fourth case involved a 12-year-old Louisiana boy killed by a sex-offender taxi driver who posed online as a young girl and sent the boy text messages.

    Comey said the phones of the suspect and the victim were “instrumental in showing that the suspect enticed this child into his taxi,” but according to authorities, they first zeroed in on the suspect after finding his cab parked suspiciously on a highway shoulder and determining through a license check that he was a registered sex offender. Physical evidence also connected the two after the driver was arrested, though authorities have said the electronic evidence did wind up being important for conviction.

    In response to concerns Comey expressed earlier about phone encryption, The Associated Press asked the Justice Department more than two weeks ago about specific cases in which encryption might have hindered law enforcement. The FBI ultimately said Comey’s speech this week was intended to provide those examples.

    Police say there is sometimes great evidentiary value in text messages, particularly involving gang-related homicides where eyewitnesses are nearly nonexistent and assailants brag about their misdeeds. In the Los Angeles case, for instance, texts showed a pattern of abuse and cover-up among the girl’s parents — even as their daughter was on life support.

    “They knew those text messages couldn’t have been put in front of a jury,” said Los Angeles sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Biddle, who investigated the case. “It showed how callous they were. They didn’t care about the kid. They only cared about themselves.”


    Follow Jack Gillum on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jackgillum and Eric Tucker at https://twitter.com/etuckerap.

  • Japanese Sex Doll Doubles As Unique Drink Dispenser (NSFW)
    A realistic-looking sex doll that dispenses drink with a squeeze of its breasts is a titillating sight at Japanese bachelor parties.

    The drink-dispensing doll costs $5,000, according to Gizmodo, but presumedly the money spent can be recouped by charging people for the chance to serve themselves.

    In fact, several of the people in the video make a point of massaging the right breast thoroughly before getting refreshments from the left, Geekologie reports.

    No word on when — or if — the drink-dispensing sex doll will make it to America.

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  • Spotify Makes Amazing Story-Telling Playlists For Customers With Questions
    If you’ve got a question for Spotify, not only will it answer you, it will answer you with a song.

    Have a concern? A question? Find a bug? Tweet at the Spotify customer service Twitter handle @SpotifyCares or send the streaming-music company an email, and you’ll likely get a fun personalized playlist in return. Hopefully, you’ll also get your issue resolved.

    “We’ve formed our own culture to use music to make customers happy,” Spotify’s chief business officer Jeff Levick told The Huffington Post by phone on Friday. “We are very heavy in the 18-to-34 demographic. We like to think that we speak their language.”

    Spotify has been creating custom playlists for customers for seven years, Levick said. The playlists always have a specific theme, and sometimes if you read the song titles in the playlist, there’s a message.

    For example, a Reddit user who goes by NoIAmTooSexyForYou recently posted that he had reported an error to Spotify. In response, he wrote, Spotify sent him this playlist (be sure to read the message in the song titles):

    So who do we have to thank for these adorable gems? “There isn’t some script writing this stuff,” Levick said. “It’s actual people making these personalized playlists.” Those people are customer-service reps.

    Check out some more of their work, courtesy of Spotify:


    spotify playlists

    On the floor

    spotify playlist

    spotify playlists

    Happy Birthday

    spotify playlists

    spotify playlists

    spotify playlists

    New hobby

    spotify playlists

    spotify playlists

Mobile Technology News, October 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.

  • Opinion: iPad Air 2 demo highlights power of 64-bit mobile computing
    Apple’s demo for the iPad Air 2 during its latest keynote event was hugely impressive. As the company often does during its live presentations, it invited two developers on stage to highlight not only their apps, but also the power of the new iPad Air 2. Although all the technical details are not yet fully known about the powerful new custom 64-bit A8X chip, Apple did reveal some impressive numbers. But numbers aside, if you ever held any doubts about the benefits of Apple going 64-bit for the iPhone and iPad, the performance capabilities of iPad Air 2 as demonstrated should put them to bed.

  • Facebook Tells DEA To Stop Operating Fake Profile Pages
    ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Facebook wants assurances from the Drug Enforcement Administration that it’s not operating any more fake profile pages as part of ongoing investigations.

    Facebook’s chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, said in a letter Friday to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart that law enforcement agencies need to follow the same rules about being truthful on Facebook as civilian users. Those rules include a ban on lying about who you are.

    Sullivan’s letter was in response to a New York woman’s federal lawsuit claiming that a DEA agent created a fake online persona using her name and photographs stored on her cellphone.

    In court filings, Sondra Arquiett said her pictures were retrieved from her cellphone after she was arrested in July 2010 on drug charges and her cellphone seized. Arquiett said the fake page was being used by DEA agent Timothy Sinnigen to interact with “dangerous individuals he was investigating.” Arquiett is asking for $250,000 in damages.

    “Facebook has long made clear that law enforcement authorities are subject to these policies,” Sullivan wrote. “We regard DEA’s conduct to be a knowing and serious breach of Facebook’s terms and policies.”

    Facebook also wants the DEA to confirm that it has stopped using any other fake profile pages it may have created.

    “The department has launched a review into the incident at issue in this case,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said in response to a request for comment. “That review is ongoing, but to our knowledge, this is not a widespread practice among our federal law enforcement agencies.”

    The Justice Department initially defended the practice, arguing in an August court filing that while Arquiett didn’t directly authorize Sinnigen to create the fake account, she “implicitly consented by granting access to the information stored in her cellphone and by consenting to the use of that information to aid in … ongoing criminal investigations.”

    Last week the agency announced it would review whether the Facebook guise went too far.

    The case was scheduled to go to trial this week, but court records show it has been sent to mediation.


    Follow Alicia A. Caldwell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/acaldwellap

  • Amex web page promotes Apple Pay, adds directions for linking cards
    Financial services and credit card issuer American Express has posted a new web page on its site, extolling the benefits of Apple Pay and instructing users on how to add their cards to the Passbook-based payment system. The mobile payment system is designed for the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus (now expanded to include the latest iPads for online or in-app purchases only) and will be formally rolled out on Monday, alongside the release of iOS 8.1.

  • Verizon Wireless Service Goes Down In Parts Of New York City [UPDATED]
    Some Verizon customers in New York City were involuntarily taken off the grid on Friday night when the wireless giant experienced an outage in the Big Apple.

    Multiple people tweeted about the service interruption:

    It’s not just you — Verizon service is down, at least in Lower Manhattan.

    — Ethan Klapper (@ethanklapper) October 17, 2014

    Verizon Wireless down in New York, USA: Verizon Wireless has gone down today in New York, USA. We have receive… http://t.co/5bslYGzTXV

    — Tech World Tweets (@techworldtweets) October 17, 2014

    Can’t call or text in NYC right now. #Verizon is letting me down

    — Hayley Yudelman (@hyudes) October 17, 2014

    Apparently Verizon service is down in NY metro area because of a tower outage in Mineola. Chat guy says could be one hour, two tops.

    — Christina Crapanzano (@ChrisCrapanzano) October 17, 2014

    Looks like #verizon is down in NYC

    — Sergey Smirnov (@sergeydgr8) October 17, 2014

    Lol Verizon cell service is completely down in NYC. #great

    — Morgan Maguire (@Morgan_Maguire) October 17, 2014

    Verizon wireless down in NYC. Awesome.

    — Brooke Hammerling (@brooke) October 17, 2014

    According to Reuters, the issue hit at least three boroughs, with the company receiving over 700 outage reports as of 5:52pm Eastern Time.

    A Verizon spokesman told HuffPost that the company is aware of issues and is looking into it.

    UPDATE [8:42pm Eastern Time]: Verizon Wireless has provided the following statement to HuffPost:

    At 4:15 p.m. EST this afternoon, we experienced an equipment failure affecting our 1x and 3G voice and data service in parts of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Our 4G LTE data service was fully operational. Service for our customers was restored this evening.

  • A Gravity-Defying Way To Store Even More Beer In Your Fridge
    Finally, finding room in your fridge for both a six-pack of beer and that large pizza won’t be next to impossible.

    A product design engineer living in Charlotte, North Carolina, has figured out a way to easily and securely suspend bottles from the top of a fridge using magnets, freeing up empty space in your fridge for whatever else it is you consume.

    The device is simple enough: an eight-inch plastic strip outfitted with a row of three extremely strong neodymium magnets. Those magnets are encased in steel cups, to focus their magnetic strength. The strip is held to the fridge by a high-grade adhesive tape that works at low temperatures.

    bottleloft strip
    Each bottleLoft strip contains three powerful magnets.

    The product is called bottleLoft, and its creator, Brian Conti, is using Kickstarter to bring his invention from prototype to market. With 23 days to go, he’s more than halfway to meeting his $20,000 goal and plans to ship the products by January 2015.

    Worried something might shake the bottles loose? Conti confronts such concerns head-on in a video on his Kickstarter page that shows him lifting a 10-pound barbell using only a single bottleLoft strip. He claims each magnet can hold up to 4.8 pounds, while the standard 12-ounce beverage only weighs 1.2 pounds.

    bottleloft fridge
    As long as it has a metal cap, you can hang it on bottleLoft.

    Conti is something of a Kickstarter master. He has already successfully funded four other projects and started his own magnet-based company, Strong Like Bull Magnets.

    (h/t Digital Trends)

  • Our Obsessive Relationship With Technology
    I am an inveterate people watcher, which is probably why I started college thinking that I was going to be a math teacher and ended up getting my degrees in psychology. For the past 30+ years, as I have studied the “psychology of technology” I have always taken a strongly positive view about the impact it has on our culture and all of my writing has been in service of seeing how we can make the most of these marvelous inventions. From the beginnings of the Internet, to the rapid rise of the WWW, laptops, smartphones, tablets and more, we now have the world at our fingertips whenever we want and wherever we might find ourselves.

    Lately, however, I have witnessed something that profoundly troubles me. WE CAN’T SEEM TO KEEP OUR FACES OUT OF OUR SMARTPHONES FOR EVEN A MINUTE OR TWO. Some people call it an addiction. Others call it an obsession. But, there is an important difference between the two. Addiction means that you are trying to get your brain to release neurotransmitters that we have learned signal a pleasurable experience. Obsession also involves neurotransmitters but those chemicals are associated with symptoms of stress and anxiety. When we are addicted to something we strive for the pleasure it brings. When we are obsessed with something we strive to reduce the anxiety molecules in our brain. Personally, I think that our constant obsession with technology–obsession being an anxiety-based disorder–is mostly about reducing anxiety and very little about gaining pleasure. Just as Jack Nicholson kept doing repetitive activities in As Good As It Gets, we seem to be doing the same with our smartphones.

    For example, how many times have you seen someone pat their pocket and smile, having been reassured that their phone was still safely nestled close at hand? How often have you experienced “phantom pocket vibrations” where you felt a tingling near your pocket area–or wherever you keep your phone–only to discover that rather than the alert or notification you “thought” you just received what you felt was just some neurons near the surface of your skin randomly firing? A few years ago I would have just reached down and scratched that itch. Now I am supremely disappointed that it is only an itch.

    Walking around Times Square on vacation I could not find one person who was not gazing into a phone, even those who were traveling with others. My friends around the world tell me that they see the same behaviors. The other day in the dining room at my campus I watched a young woman eating lunch with her supervisor pick up her phone while he was talking and check her email. And the more interesting part is that he kept on talking to her and didn’t seem slighted at all.

    Last summer I took a road trip with my youngest daughter and visited some of the most beautiful scenery in the US traversing four western national parks. One day we hiked all the way up to Inspiration Point only to find that since there was a cell tower up there nearly every hiker was looking down rather than out at the magnificent vista. And those who were looking were busily snapping pictures instead of simply looking and experiencing the magnificent views. I doubt whether they can have the same experience of nature through that small lens. Will those who were taking videos get the same enjoyment by reliving the views rather than experiencing them? Will they even watch those videos again?

    Another interesting and somewhat troubling observation is that many young people, and a lot of older ones too, carry their phone in their hand. I often ask them why and the answer is always the same: “So, I know immediately when I get an text or an email or someone posts on social media.” I guess taking a second or two to take that phone out of a pocket or purse is not soon enough in our tech-rich world.

    And I find it amusing (and somewhat disconcerting) that people make excuses to escape whoever they are supposed to be spending time with so that they can check in with other people who may not even be real-life friends. I like going out to dinner with friends and am bewildered at how many people put their phone on the table and if it vibrates they interrupt whatever is going on to tap a few keys and return to the conversation often asking, “What did I miss?” Some people call this FOMO–Fear of Missing Out–but by choosing to not miss out on their virtual social world they are missing out on their real social world right in front of their face.

    Another view of our obsession is evident as bedtime nears. People use their phones right up until they turn out the lights even though all of the research shows that this leads to suppression of melatonin and difficulty sleeping. Three fourths of teens and young adults sleep with their phone next to their bed either with the sound on or on vibrate and awaken several times a night to check incoming alerts. This disrupts our sleep cycle, which then impairs the all-important processes that our brain requires for its nightly housekeeping.

    I am still a believer in the major benefits technology brings to our world but I sincerely hope that what we are seeing is just another pendulum swing where we become so excited about something new that we want to use it obsessively and as time passes we become less captivated and use it less often until the next new thing comes into our world and the pendulum swings again. But the observer in me shakes his head and wonders whether the pendulum has reached its apex yet and, if not, what that will do to our relationship with the world and the “real” people who inhabit it. I remain optimistic.

  • The Digital Divide: Are You Intimate or Inanimate?

    Remember the 1987 PSA about kids and drugs? A father finds drug paraphernalia in his son’s closet and questions him about where he found the drugs, how he even KNEW about drugs. The boy starts in with the standard excuses and finally explodes I learned it from watching you, Dad!

    It was a groundbreaking commercial back in the day when stirrup pants were the rage and Bon Jovi was on the stereo and Dirty Dancing was in the theaters.

    Here we are, a zillion years later, and things have changed. And stayed the same. Thankfully, stirrup pants are considered a no — but Bon Jovi gets better looking every year, and lines from Dirty Dancing are still quoted regularly (right now you are saying to yourself “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” — admit it).

    There is one thing about the drug PSA that hits home in today’s modern world. Actually, it’s a phenomenon that’s always been there. Children learn from their parents. Period. You can tell them what to do over and over and over again, but it’s really by watching that they learn. We’ve all witnessed toddlers ‘cooking’ like mommy or mimicking their father’s voice or copycatting something on television.

    Why, then, are we so surprised that the teens in the world are attached to smartphones? Addicted to their devices? Aren’t we, too, “just checking Facebook” or “sending a quick text” or “making a call” when we are with our children? Aren’t we teaching them by example?

    A recent article by Jane Scott, a pediatrician of 20 years, shines a light. When she entered her exam room, both a father and his 2-year-old son were scrolling through their smartphones (apparently this 2-year-old had his own device which…well…wow) and barely acknowledged the doctor. After her exam, Dr. Scott told the boy that the reason his ears hurt was due to a double whammy of an infection. The child immediately “picked up his phone and pushed a button. ‘Siri,’ he asked carefully. ‘What ear ‘fection?'”

    Dr. Scott was shocked — and sad — that this little person had turned to an operating system disguised as a fictional person instead of his living, breathing father sitting next to him. Why? Dr. Scott has her own thoughts on the subject, although a study by Boston Medical Center seems to support her reasoning. According to the Boston study, 40 out of 55 caregivers at a fast food restaurant used their devices and their “primary engagement was with the device, rather than the child.” I think the word here is distracted.

    Parenthood is not an easy job, and the few minutes parents of young children get to themselves is precious. I know, because I’ve been there. Anyone with small children has been there — that moment when you think if I don’t get 13 seconds to myself I am going to lose my mind. And parents need that. Everyone needs that. Really.

    The bigger issue is how we interact with our children when we are, in fact, trying to interact with them. Are we constantly on our iPhone, checking work email or Facebook or whatever?

    Technology is not going away, so it’s our job to use it wisely, and, by doing so, teach our children how to use it wisely. There is a place for technology — it’s just not at the very tip top of the list. I hate sitting with my son, a smart, attractive, interesting young man who lives way too many miles away, whom I rarely see and happen to think the world of, tapping on his cell phone. I want to say HEY — OVER HERE! I AM YOUR MOTHER. I AM BUYING YOU DINNER! I TAUGHT YOU TO RIDE A BIKE. I THINK YOU ARE, BY FAR, THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON IN THE UNIVERSE AND NOBODY WILL EVER LOVE YOU THE WAY I DO.

    I don’t say that, of course, because he would be horrified and I would be on the first bus to the asylum (or perhaps he would text Uber for me?), but if I am feeling that way about his lack of attention, what would he be feeling about my lack of attention? And, more importantly, what would he be feeling about my lack of attention if he were still three years old and thought I was still magical?

    Along with our many, many other jobs as parents, we have to model a healthy relationship with technology. We want to have a real relationship with our children so they can forge real relationships with others. I don’t know about you, but I am hoping for grandchildren some day. If I don’t teach my children how to connect with the human race, I may miss my chance. Sitting around the Thanksgiving table with a bunch of little iPhones just doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi, does it?

    Here are a few tips on ways to form intimate relationships with people instead of dependent relationships on inanimate objects:

    • When you are with your children, be WITH them. Don’t just put down your smartphone, put it away. Once it is out of site, it’s less likely to distract you and shows your child that he is the priority.
    • Say out loud to your child, “I am going to do some work (schedule a dentist appointment, call a friend, etc.) in a bit on my cellphone, but right now I really want to spend some time with you. Tell me about your day.”
    • Create boundaries around technology and apply the rules to everyone, including you and the other members of the household. If you’ve agreed to a no phones at the table rule or devices off by 9 pm, it should apply to everyone, not just your children. (Revisit the “I learned it from watching you, Dad” commercial when tempted.)
    • Teach your children the art of conversation by practicing with them. Ask open-ended questions of them and answer their questions to you thoughtfully and thoroughly. Skip the one-word answers or the distracted “uh huh” when you are with them.
    • When you do, in fact, call them on their phone, set the expectation that they should answer or call you back. Too often phone calls receive a text in return. Why? Text is easier, safer and less taxing than a phone conversation. But, if your child is taking the easy way out of making a connection with you, imagine how difficult it will be for them to make a conversation with a stranger.
    • Keep private information private. What might seem cute or funny or endearing to you (Your 8-year-old son dressed up in his sister’s dance costume! Your 3-year-old is finally potty trained! Your high-schooler made the chess team!) is not for public consumption. Show your child you respect him by using discretion at all times.

    Most parents are hoping to instill a strong sense of self-esteem in their children. We want them to be capable, responsible, happy, healthy members of society. Sitting with heads buried in laptops or eyes scanning phones tells them that we think very little of them. We devalue them. And someday they will be gone and we will wish for more time with them. And then we’ll be listening to that “Cats in the Cradle” song and just kicking ourselves! Save yourself the pain and be present now. When it counts.

  • The 5 Best Free WordPress Plugins to Promote Your Blog
    The plethora of free WordPress plugins are one of the biggest reasons why WordPress is my favorite blogging platform. WordPress is also very easy to customize to your preferences. Blogging is a great marketing strategy with many additional benefits and the free WordPress plugins below can make it easier to promote your blog.

    1. Mailchimp

    Building a mailing list is a great way to build engagement with readers. Mailchimp is my preferred email marketing product. The Mailchimp WordPress plugin enables you to embed an email sign up form on your WordPress blog. Once you start building your email list, you will have an audience to send your content or products too. A mailing list allows you to retain the audience you acquire. You can learn more about Mailchimp by watching my free video tutorial video here.

    2. Pretty Link

    According to the the plug in’s developer, Pretty Link enables you to “Shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website. Unlike other link shrinking services like tinyurl, budurl, and bit.ly, this plugin allows you to create short links coming from your own domain!” Pretty Link is great for masking affiliate links and for verbally pointing people to a certain page. For example, if you are doing a Podcast or public speaking gig, you wouldn’t want to point people to a really long complicated web address, or even tell them where to search. Make it as easy as possible for people by creating an easy to pronounce and read address.

    3. Google Analytics

    According to it’s developer, “This plugin makes it simple to add Google Analytics to your WordPress blog, adding lots of features, eg. custom variables and automatic clickout and download tracking.” Google Analytics is one of the most essential tools for anyone who is serious about blogging. It enables you to track and analyze all the traffic you get on your site so that you can tailor your future content and promotion strategies. If you use Google Analytics and WordPress, you will need this plugin.

    4. Yoast WordPress SEO

    This plug in makes it easier to search engine optimize each of your blog posts. It’s one of the most popular WordPress plugins and is extremely easy to use. No need to have any programming skills, or even any advanced SEO knowledge, this plugin provides an easy to use interface for entering data that will help you rank higher on Google. This plugin alone is one of the biggest reasons to use WordPress instead of another blogging platform.

    5. SumoMe

    SumoMe is a great tool for marketers that has a variety of valuable applications. The List Builder application allows you to display a customizable pop up window to viewers of your blog. The pop up window is a great way to build your email list and it integrates with Mailchimp and other email marketing products The Share application is similar to Digg Digg, but with a sharper design and you can choose not to display how many times the page has been shared. You might not want to display how many times it has been shared if the number is low (it would make you look unpopular). The Share application is a great way to get more shares and shares are a great way to get more traffic.

    The Smart Bar is similar to another popular blogging tool called HelloBar. It allows you to create a highly attention grabbing graphic bar at the top of your site. You can use the bar to drive email sign ups or traffic to something you want to highlight. SumoMe has a few other great applications and they seem to be constantly adding new ones. SumoMe is a very comprehensive plugin with a ton of value.


    WordPress’ ecosystem of plugins are part of what make it such a valuable blogging platform. The above free WordPress plugins are my personal favorites. They can be used to get more traffic to your site, including: building your mailing list, getting more social shares, and increasing your search ranking. If you want to learn about how to install and use WordPress plugins, check out my video course, here.

  • Sorry, You're Still Stuck With Cable For Now
    There was much celebration earlier this week when HBO said you would soon be able to access the network’s programming without having to pay for a TV subscription. One day later, CBS announced a $6 monthly service that will stream most of its live programming, as well as past and current shows, over the Internet.

    Analysts have called this the beginning of the great unbundling — the dawning of an age where we’ll be able to pick programming a la carte and choose what we want to watch, rather than having to pay each month for hundreds of channels we don’t.

    It’s “the first crack in the dike,” Michael Davies, a co-founder and senior partner at Endeavour Partners, a firm that consults for broadband, media and content companies, told The Huffington Post after HBO’s announcement Wednesday. “If HBO will go, then pretty much everybody else will go in due time.”

    But it will probably be a while yet before people cut the cord en masse so they can hand-pick from the growing number of Internet-delivered offerings. The cable bundle is still tightly bound, and it’s far from coming apart completely. Live sports programming, for one thing, remains a huge draw. CBS’s new service, which for now is only available in 14 cities, won’t offer Thursday and Sunday NFL games.

    And depending on what you subscribe to, an unbundled world could wind up being pretty pricey. HBO hasn’t announced how much its new service will cost, but The Information, a technology news site, has reported it’ll be around $15 a month. Some observers have pointed out that once you add up your Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO and CBS subscriptions, plus whatever additional networks come to offer standalone services (ESPN on its own could cost as much as $30 a month, according to one analysis), you could be paying more per month than it would cost to get a premium cable subscription.

    Bloomberg’s Lucas Shaw, citing data from Hudson Square Research, reports that it would cost over $100 a month to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, HBO, CBS, the Tour de France, WWE wrestling and three of the four major pro sports leagues. And that’s on top of what you’re already paying for Internet.

    “If you want all the sports, you should just get cable TV,” Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research, told Bloomberg.

    But at least you’d have the ability to choose another way to get programming — and choice is not something consumers have had a lot of when it comes to TV subscriptions. Cable bills have jumped a whopping 97 percent over the last 14 years, and that doesn’t include fees, taxes or promotions, according to SNL Kagan, a media researcher.

    Other networks that are said to be considering offering similar streaming products include Univision and Showtime (owned by CBS). You can already get subscriptions to MLB TV (though local games are blacked out), and ESPN and the NBA recently reached a deal to allow out-of-market games to be streamed online.

    Executives at Verizon and Dish Network have also talked about offering Internet-only TV options that could have more flexible packages. These services are all geared toward millennials, who are much less likely than their parents to have cable — one recent report found that nearly a quarter of Americans age 18 to 34 don’t pay for TV.

    These developments are great for consumers. As media companies navigate this changing landscape, customers will have more choice, and that’s never a bad thing. Networks have seen the rise of Netflix — which now boasts over 50 million members worldwide — and to a lesser extent Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu, and they’ve realized they can no longer sit on the sidelines as these services grow and TV subscriptions decline.

    And don’t fret for the Comcasts and Time Warner Cables of the world — you know, those companies that come in last place every year in consumer satisfaction surveys. After all, they’re the ones we pay each month to pipe the Internet into our homes. And we all know which way those prices go.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this post misstated the monthly price of CBS’s new service.

  • The Internet and the End of 'Things'
    The “Internet of Things” is everyone’s new favorite buzzword. This increasing interconnectedness (is that a word?) will lead to the end of various “things” that at one time were commonplace. In the next twenty years we will see the virtual disappearance of many everyday physical items, including books (more ebooks will be sold in the US next year than paper books), paper currency and most single-use consumer electronic (does anyone even need an alarm clock anymore?).

    Like the remote control (yes, there is an app for that) and business cards (how are these still a thing?), there are many physical items in our lives that will disappear in the year to come. The three soon-to-be obsolete things that I want to focus on are the key, the mail, and physical crime.

    The Key: I am an angel investor in KeyMe, a startup that makes digital copies of your keys to help avoid lockout charges. I did this even though I believe the decline of the antiquated pieces of metal we all carry around in our pockets is inevitable. We’ve been using keys for centuries. There are currently 700,000 copies of keys made every day (down from nearly a million a few years ago), but soon biometrics, digital access points or some other technology that no one except Google has thought of yet, will give us entry to places and things.

    The trend began in the automotive market: about 70 percent of the 250 million vehicles in the US now have an electronic entry with a push button start. The average replacement time for a car is four years, which is why the key market for cars has experienced a rapid and significant change. The hotel key card underscores this trend. Hotels made the change due to the cost of key replacements — when was the last time you got a physical key when checking in? Offices have the same dynamic with constantly changing tenants and employees; key cards now dominate office doors.

    The physical key’s last great bastion of strength is the home. Electronic entry points represent less than 0.1 percent of the residential market, but the cycle time for home locks is more than 25 years. As costs of digital access points continue to drop more and more homes will be made and refurbished without metal keys. Once declining revenue force enough locksmiths out of business, how long until the companies making key cutting machines disappear? Once the machine makers go out of business, spare parts for existing machines will become scarce (3D printing of parts will partly offset this effect). This “tipping point” (I tried, I really, really tried not to quote Malcolm Gladwell) will come slowly due to the home replacement cycle, but at some point thereafter the physical key as we know it will be gone. So enjoy your keys while you can and use KeyMe to keep a digital copy and avoid exorbitant lockout fees.

    The Mail: We recently moved into a new office with a spectacular view of the The Farley Post Office in Manhattan. Looking at this magnificent right acre building in midtown Manhattan made me think about the time when this building was the bustling heart of our interconnectedness (yup, I checked, it’s a word). It is now a beautiful museum of an antiquated and eventually dead form of communication.

    The United States Postal Service traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, where Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general (Ben was the Elon Musk of his generation). It has approximately 600,000 employees (3rd largest employer in the US behind the federal government and Wal-Mart), 31,000 locations (post offices) and revenue of about $66 billion… and loses about $6 billion a year. The volume of mail sent has declined by 10 percent over the last three years. While we are sending less mail, it’s the type of mail that we are sending that reinforces the death spiral.

    Letters have become emails. Birthday cards are now Facebook wall posts. Event invitations are Paperless Posts. Bills are increasingly sent electronically. Magazines deliver themselves directly to your tablet. What type of mail are we still getting? Well, two years ago the amount of mail that is “junk” passed the 50 percent mark and is still rising fast. The 10 percent decline of total mail over the last few years will accelerate as all bills and magazines move to electronic distribution. How often will you check your mail when 90 percent of it is junk (sadly no spam filter on your mailbox)?

    Soon the infrastructure to support the delivery of the mail will get too expensive. Given the important role the post office plays in today’s society, it will exist well beyond its economic viability, but at some point in our future, the trends seem to point to the inevitable disappearance of mail.

    Physical Crime: Technology has already had tremendous impacts on crime in society, from increasing the tools that police use to fight crime (watch the first season of The Wire to understand how bad the police technology used to be) to making crime less lucrative. When all devices are connected to the web, their value significantly diminishes in the eyes of a criminal: why would someone steal an iPhone with a kill switch that cannot be used or sold? Why steal a car that shuts itself down and alerts the police to the car, and your, location?

    Cameras are proliferating and increasingly digital (the Big Brother debate notwithstanding). If you’re caught on camera committing a crime, and facial recognition software brings the police right to your door, how long until you stop breaking the law? In twenty years will someone rob a person with no cash and a device that requires two biometric entry points, all while the robbery is caught on six different cameras? Sadly all forms of crime and violence are not subject to technological disruption in the near-term, but most types of personal and property crimes will face this shifting balance of benefit versus cost. Criminals are mostly rational actors (crimes of passion obviously don’t apply), and when the costs are rapidly increasing (likelihood of getting caught) and the benefit (value of selling what you steal) rapidly decreasing, some types of crime will be all but eliminated.

    So while the “Internet of Things” will bring many new things into our lives, this bright new future will force us to say goodbye to some very familiar aspects of our everyday lives. We can debate how long it will take for these items to disappear, but I think we can all agree that at some point, these things will be history.

    What other things do you think future generations will only be able to see in a museum?

  • Oversharing: Are We Relinquishing Our Right to Anonymity?
    A few days ago, I read Jeffrey Toobin’s article “The Solace of Oblivion” in The New Yorker. It revolves around our right to anonymity (in Toobinsian speak, the “right to be forgotten”), if we even have the right to it at all. After reading what Toobin had to say about privacy matters, I began to think about the consequences regarding both the existence and the lack of anonymity. Do we have the right to be anonymous or does it interfere with our country’s commitment to freedom of speech?

    When does our right to privacy become a violation of someone else’s freedom of speech? In the US, we feel a societal obligation to share everything that happens in our personal lives through social media: we share pictures, ideas, music and life events among countless other tidbits of life we feel are necessary to publicize. This idea of over-sharing is not only present within standard social media: news websites will essentially publish anything in our content-obsessed society. BuzzFeed recently came out with “28 Things People Obsessed with Peanut Butter Will Understand,” and “Bruce Jenner Lets His Hair Down.” These become hard-hitting headlines worthy of publication. There is nothing wrong with this, but if we continue to celebrate this type of authorship, isn’t it hypocritical to crave anonymity when we are basically stealing it away from ourselves? We are giving credit to absolutely everything, which makes our right to anonymity something of a ghost.

    In other countries, especially those in Europe, the right to privacy is a strongly upheld institution. Laws are in place to protect people from the common exposure of their private matters through digital platforms. In one instance, the people of Europe filed a lawsuit against Facebook for violating data protection laws. More than 25,000 Europeans came together to support this lawsuit. However, in the US, emphasis put on maintaining privacy is so often ignored because we fervently emphasize freedom of speech. By this, I mean that we have adopted a mindset of “if you put it out there, anyone else has the right to look at, use and share that information.” Is this right? Yes, once information is posted online it becomes visible to the public; however, does that give other people the right to exploit that information? Almost everyone in the US is guilty of this hypocrisy: for example, “I don’t want everyone to see my own naked body but I have no problem Googling the leaked iCloud photos of celebrities.” Did those celebrities give us permission to stare at their naked bodies? Or is it OK to look at them without permission because they were leaked onto a public platform? By violating someone else’s privacy, aren’t we just becoming undeserving of our own?

    Toobin brings up the case of Nikki Catsouras, a girl who was decapitated in a car accident. The pictures of her dead body were leaked by employees of the California coroner’s office and are now circulating around the Internet. Extreme legal measures were taken by the Catsouras family to get these pictures taken down, but were not successful. The California Highway Patrol would not give up the copyright to the photos; therefore, the websites that posted the pictures were not legally required to take them down. Is this a violation of the Catsouras family privacy, or an example of freedom of speech being exercised appropriately?

    The example of Nikki Catsouras’ case is a lapse in the US government’s protection of our privacy, but we cannot blame the government for taking away our anonymity in all cases because we have surrendered our privacy on so many platforms. We have choices. We can choose what to post or publish and this will affect the way the government chooses to handle matters of personal privacy. We can control what we share and how we share it. What we cannot control is how thoroughly our government will protect our right to privacy when it becomes a matter of someone else’s right to freedom of speech. In order to protect the privacy of people like Nikki Catsouras we must rethink our societal devotion to sharing. The photos of Nikki were originally leaked because employees thought it would be a funny Halloween prank to send the gruesome pictures to their friends. The photos were shared and shared until the Catsouras family’s right to anonymity became irrelevant even in the eyes of the US government. It is in our control to emphasize the importance of our right to anonymity and to balance privacy with freedom of speech.

    The plot thickens: let’s say someone is raped but decides they do not want to file a police report because they know that as soon as they do, their situation becomes public information. Instead, the person chooses to maintain their anonymity. While many people might think this is crazy (who wouldn’t want to convict their rapist?) others care more about total personal privacy. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal: there aren’t any consequences for deciding against filing a police report, right? Wrong. Victims of rape in New York City are incentivized to surrender their anonymity: the drugs administered to a person after a rape (antiretroviral drugs intended to reverse the onset of HIV/AIDS) are extremely expensive and are only paid for if a police report is filed. Combivir, one of the antiretroviral drugs prescribed in post-rape scenarios, is currently being sold as a prescription drug for an estimated $752.64. The patient is responsible for paying for this drug unless they choose to file a police report. This means that if you choose to retain your anonymity, you are not eligible to the same rights as someone who chooses to expose their situation. While this is a good proposition in the sense that it increases the chances of arresting and prosecuting the rapist, the government is essentially taking away the right to life from those who choose to hold on to their anonymity. For NYC rape victims, choosing privacy means also possibly choosing a deadly disease unless you can personally afford the medication to prevent it.

    Of course, the government puts in places these rules so that justice can be served and the criminal can be caught. For the victim, it comes down to a choice between punishing the rapist and being rewarded with free treatment, and choosing personal anonymity from the crime. Should the people choosing privacy not get the same treatment? In this case, anonymity is being sacrificed not in the face of freedom of speech, but in order to promote justice and eliminate as much crime as possible. The government has the correct motive: we all want to catch the bad guy. But do we want to catch the bad guy so badly that we are willing to publicize a lot of extremely personal information? The answer is in the eyes of the beholder and neither position is right or wrong. What is wrong is denying rights to someone because they choose to remain anonymous.

    This is the great thing about freedom of speech: aren’t we exercising the right to its full extent when we choose to not say anything?

  • Comcast Sued By Man Who Says He Lost Job After Complaining About Awful Customer Service
    A California man claimed earlier this year that a nightmare customer-service experience with Comcast caused him to lose his job. Now, he is suing the cable and Internet giant for $1 million.

    Conal O’Rourke, 50, filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Jose on Thursday accusing Comcast of, among other things, defamation, breach of contract and illegal disclosure of his personal information to his employer.

    The lawsuit follows a yearlong dispute between O’Rourke and Comcast over bad service. Earlier this year, O’Rourke alleged that Comcast complained about him to his then-employer, leading him to be terminated from his job. Comcast has publicly apologized for the terrible service, but denies that it asked for O’Rourke to be fired.

    majgen gary patton

    Conal O’Rourke says complaining to Comcast cost him his job. (photo by ABC 7 News).

    In 2012, O’Rourke moved from Connecticut to San Jose, California, to take a job with the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. In early 2013, he began subscribing to Comcast to get cable TV and Internet at his condo.

    The problems with his service began almost immediately, according to O’Rourke’s lawsuit. The suit alleges that Comcast overcharged O’Rourke and spelled his last name as “O’Kourke,” causing his bills to arrive late. After a few months of this, O’Rourke claims he discussed the issues with an assistant manager at a local Comcast store. Yet after his meeting, he continued to be overbilled, the lawsuit says.

    Things got worse for O’Rourke in late 2013. “When Mr. O’Rourke was out of town, Comcast shipped him 12 random pieces of Comcast equipment,” according to the suit. The company then “proceeded to charge Mr. O’Rourke almost $2,000 in fees for equipment that he had neither requested nor wanted.”

    The suit says that O’Rourke returned the equipment and received a refund. A Comcast agent and a Comcast manager said at the time that his billing issues would be resolved, the suit claims, yet the overcharging continued.

    In February 2014, O’Rourke decided to step things up after receiving a phone call from Comcast’s collections department saying he was two months late on a payment, a charge O’Rourke denies. At this point, the suit says, “O’Rourke had been a Comcast customer for a year and had not once received a bill in which he was correctly charged.” Fearing that his credit would be damaged, O’Rourke contacted the office of Comcast’s controller, its chief accounting executive.

    What happened during and after O’Rourke’s call to the controller’s office is disputed: According to O’Rourke’s lawsuit, he described the problems he’d had with his bills and complained that no one from Comcast customer service seemed to be able to help him. Less than an hour later, the suit alleges, Comcast Controller Lawrence Salva called a partner at PwC and said that O’Rourke had tried to use his employment with the firm as a negotiating tactic in the dispute with Comcast, which is a client of PwC.

    O’Rourke denies mentioning his employer on the call with Comcast.

    Comcast, for its part, admits only that it contacted PwC about one of the accounting firm’s employees. According to an August 2014 letter that Comcast sent to Maureen Pettibone Ryan, O’Rourke’s lawyer, “Comcast communicated to PWC that a person claiming to be a PWC employee had called our chief accounting executive’s office with complaints … and yelled at our employees who tried to assist him.”

    O’Rourke’s suit claims that immediately after the alleged phone call to PwC from Salva — who is himself a former PwC partner — PwC called O’Rourke and forbade him to talk to Comcast, saying Comcast was “very angry” and a “very valuable” client. The cable and Internet provider pays PwC $30 million a year for consulting services, according to the lawsuit.

    The following day, the suit claims that PwC launched an ethics investigation into O’Rourke, based on O’Rourke’s alleged attempt to use his job with the company as leverage in his fight with Comcast. About ten days later, PwC fired O’Rourke for an ethics violation.

    “Mr. O’Rourke’s claims are without merit,” said Comcast spokesperson Jennifer Khoury in a statement to The Huffington Post. Khoury’s statement acknowledged that there were “clear deficiencies” in the customer service that Comcast provided O’Rourke, but said the company “had nothing to do with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ decision” to fire him.

    “As part of this investigation, we have listened to recorded calls between Mr. O’Rourke and our customer service representatives and his treatment of them and language is totally unspeakable,” the statement said.

    Theodore Barna, a spokesperson for PwC, said in a Friday statement to HuffPost that his firm “terminated [O’Rourke’s] employment after an internal investigation concluded that Mr. O’Rourke violated PwC’s ethical standards and practices, applicable to all of our people.”

    “Mr. O’Rourke’s violation of these policies was the sole reason for his termination,” the statement added.

    According to Ryan, O’Rourke has asked that the recordings of his calls with Comcast be made public, but Comcast has not acquiesced. Presumably, the recordings would settle the question of whether or not O’Rourke name-dropped PwC in conversations with Comcast agents.

    Comcast has a notoriously poor reputation for its customer service. In a survey of 70,000 consumers earlier this year, Internet service providers and cable companies were found to be the two most hated industry sectors in the United States. Comcast ranked as the second most-loathed company in both categories.

    O’Rourke’s lawsuit charges Comcast and Salva (who’s also named as a defendant, but whom Khoury said was declining to comment) with violating the Cable Communications Policy Act, a federal law that prohibits cable companies from disclosing personal information about their customers without the customers’ permission. The suit says that Comcast violated the law by telling PwC about O’Rourke’s complaints.

    In addition, the suit accuses Comcast of defamation based on the allegation that the company told PwC that O’Rourke had tried to use his position as leverage. According to the lawsuit, Comcast either knew that was false or didn’t bother to ascertain whether or not it was true.

    Comcast is also charged in the lawsuit with violating the California Business and Professions Code by, among other things, “unfairly and persistently overcharging [O’Rourke], and retaliating against him.”

    Ryan, O’Rourke’s lawyer, told HuffPost that her client is still unemployed. He now uses DirecTV as his cable provider.

    CORRECTION: This story has been corrected to reflect that Comcast’s collections department contacted O’Rourke in February 2014 through a phone call, not a letter.

  • Facebook Fight Led To Fatal Shooting Of 3-Year-Old Amiracle Williams, Detroit Police Say
    DETROIT — A Detroit Police Academy graduation began on a sorrowful note Friday, as new officers and their families mourned for a toddler killed in an act of “senseless violence” a day earlier.

    The ceremony, held at Greater Grace Temple, included a moment of silence for Amiracle Williams, the 3-year-old killed in a shooting Thursday that officials say was sparked by a fight on social media.

    In his speech to the graduates, now tasked with policing the city, Detroit Police Chief James Craig said he stood in front of them “with a heavy heart.”

    “When we think about the loss of our young angel, Amiracle Williams, the tragedy of someone so young … we fight for all, we fight for our young,” Craig said.

    Four others were wounded in the shooting on Detroit’s east side, Craig said after the ceremony. Amiracle’s mother, 40, father, 47, and sister, 17, were injured in the incident, which took place in front of the Williams’ home on Mogul Street near Hayes. One of the suspects, a 22-year-old black male, was also shot and injured.

    Amiracle’s father is believed to have shot one of the victims, Craig said.

    A dispute on Facebook culminated in a confrontation outside the Williams residence, where several young women had a physical fight Thursday afternoon, police said. The father, observing the fight, “felt his daughters may have been in some sort of danger and responded by shooting one person at the scene,” Craig said.

    After the first shooting, a second individual took out a machine gun and began to fire repeatedly, striking Amiracle and her three family members, he said.

    As of 3 a.m. Friday, police had two suspects under arrest: the alleged second shooter, a 23-year-old black male, and the alleged driver of a getaway vehicle who had been shot in the incident. Craig said the alleged shooter had an outstanding warrant for his arrest for a felony charge in Virginia. At least one of the men has been involved in local gangs, he said.

    A TEC-9 machine gun was recovered as part of the police investigation.

    “[The shooting was] a decision made by a coward, once again, another coward that goes out and engages in senseless violence,” Craig said. “We will continue our focus on eradicating violence, and certainly dismantling these street gangs here in Detroit.”

    The Detroit Police Department is still investigating the incident.

  • Honing in on Innovation in Princeton: Tiger Labs
    Bert Navarrette skydives (regularly), rides mountain bikes, runs companies, and has four children. you might think that keeps him busy enough.

    But you’d be wrong.

    This Harvard-educated entrepreneur grew up in Princeton, where he attended the Boychoir School before prepping at Delbarton School in Morristown. He has also spent considerable time in Silicon Valley on venture capital trips and later walking down Nassau Street, thought there was no reason why it couldn’t be the kind of tech hub that University Avenue in Palo Alto had become.

    He had worked with the Princeton University Entrepreneurship Club and watched it “explode” in popularity in the mid-2000s, so he and business partner Jason Glickman decided to start Tigerlabs in 2012 and secured its first investors that fall.


    A young entrepreneur in Tigerlabs

    Part business accelerator, part venture capital fund, part mentoring center for aspiring entrepreneurs, Tigerlabs, at 252 Nassau Street on the second floor, the old Princeton Review site. Tigerlabs had been at 20 Nassau Street, and even rented space at the Tiger Inn, a Princeton University eating club, before moving to its current location.)

    “We wanted a space that looked and smelled like a Brooklyn loft,” said Navarrette, a boyish, enthusiastic man in his late 30s. He even went to Brooklyn tech startups to take photos in an effort to replicate that feel.

    And they got just that. The large, open space has no walls, no barriers, and as the large dog sitting by the welcome desk would seem to indicate, no rules.


    Tigerlabs’ office mascot

    What they do have are investors–plenty of them who have put up $2 million so far–and businesses they have backed–plenty of those, too.

    But as Tigerlabs says on its website, “Capital is nice, but Tigerlabs is more than that; we’re full service.”

    They have an open door policy for entrepreneurs. Show up, pay a modest fee to occupy the space, and you are now part of a vibrant community of start-ups and mentors in one of the most exciting towns in America.

    “We have removed all the friction of the back office,” Navarrette says of both the physical character of Tigerlabs and its operating philosophy.

    And their range of investments is impressively wide, from health to fitness to apps to local Princeton favorite retailers Cool Vines and the Bent Spoon (which if you know Princeton, is famed for long lines waiting for exotic flavored ice cream) to “8 and Up” an organization that teaches young children about business.


    A Brooklyn-style loft in Princeton

    Though most of the entrepreneurial ventures sharing space at Tigerlabs are homegrown, they have lured at least one–LifeVest–from Denver, and are looking to bring in more businesses from out of the area.

    Tigerlabs offers workshops on a range of business subjects, “meetups” where entrepreneurs get together periodically for pizza and a talk by a local businessperson, and of course, funding.

    But what they offer most is community. A random visit will find a “gray hair” listening to and giving counsel to a couple of young women with an idea for a new app, or one entrepreneur talking to another. There doesn’t seem to be secrecy or unhealthy competitiveness here.

    “Everyone is willing to help others,” Navarrette says.

    For a guy who has done more than 3,300 jumps from planes – he met his wife doing skydiving (her family owns Freefall Adventures, a skydiving company in Williamstown, New Jersey)–Tigerlabs must be a natural: open, cooperative, and maybe just a little risky.

    Special thanks to Joseph Seldner for his work on this article.

  • The CADi2 iPad app is an effective screening tool for dementia

    Study in PLoS One presents validation data for app designed by Japanese researchers.

    The post The CADi2 iPad app is an effective screening tool for dementia appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Woman Tweets Photo Of Alleged Groper
    SEATTLE (AP) — Police say a convicted sex offender is a person of interest in a groping incident involving a Seattle woman who turned to social media when she decided a police officer didn’t seem to care enough.

    Police said late Wednesday on their website that the man is currently in jail for a violation of his state Corrections Department supervision. The Seattle Times reported that Julia Marquand photographed the alleged groper with her cellphone after the incident last Sunday and filed a police report.

    She says a female officer took down details but had to be persuaded to look at the cell phone photo. So Marquand posted the man’s photo on her Twitter and Facebook accounts, saying, “This dude groped me in Seattle yesterday. Cops didn’t want the pic.”

    Within a few hours, Seattle police contacted Marquand and said her case had been assigned to a detective.

    Police spokesman Drew Fowler said earlier that it wasn’t the tweet itself that caused police to re-evaluate Marquand’s case, but it alerted the department to a “deficiency” in the way her case was handled.


    Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com

  • NSA Reviewing Deal Between Official, Ex-Spy Agency Head
    By Warren Strobel and Mark Hosenball
    WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The U.S. National Security Agency has launched an internal review of a senior official’s part-time work for a private venture started by former NSA director Keith Alexander that raises questions over the blurring of lines between government and business.
    Under the arrangement, which was confirmed by Alexander and current intelligence officials, NSA’s Chief Technical Officer, Patrick Dowd, is allowed to work up to 20 hours a week at IronNet Cybersecurity Inc, the private firm led by Alexander, a retired Army general and his former boss.
    The arrangement was approved by top NSA managers, current and former officials said. It does not appear to break any laws and it could not be determined whether Dowd has actually begun working for Alexander, who retired from the NSA in March.
    In a statement in response to inquiries by Reuters, NSA spokeswoman Vanee Vines said, “This matter is under internal review. While NSA does not comment on specific employees, NSA takes seriously ethics laws and regulations at all levels of the organization.”
    Current and former U.S. intelligence officials, some of whom requested anonymity to discuss personnel matters, said they could not recall a previous instance in which a high-ranking U.S. intelligence official was allowed to concurrently work for a private-sector firm.
    They said it risked a conflict of interest between sensitive government work and private business, and could be seen as giving favoritism to Alexander’s venture. IronNet Cybersecurity is developing a new approach to protect computer networks from hackers and is marketing it to financial institutions and other private-sector firms.
    Alexander, who was the eavesdropping and code-breaking agency’s longest-serving director, confirmed the arrangement with Dowd in an interview with Reuters. He said he understood it had been approved by all the necessary government authorities, and that IronNet Cybersecurity, not the government, would pay for Dowd’s time spent with the firm.
    Dowd, he said, wanted to join IronNet, and the deal was devised as a way to keep Dowd’s technological expertise at least partly within the U.S. government, rather than losing him permanently to the private sector.
    “I wanted Pat to stay at NSA. He wanted to come on board,” Alexander said.
    He acknowledged that the hybrid arrangement “is awkward,” but added, “I just felt that his leaving the government was the wrong thing for NSA and our nation.”
    Dowd did not respond to requests for comment.
    Alexander and Dowd have jointly filed patents based on technology they developed while at the NSA. Alexander said the cybersecurity techniques that IronNet is developing are not based on those patents.

    The NSA’s review comes at a sensitive time for the electronic spy agency, which last year went through the worst crisis in its 62-year history following revelations by former contractor Edward Snowden of widespread government electronic surveillance.
    The NSA, whose technological wizardry helped the U.S. government eavesdrop on Soviet leaders during the Cold War and is an important ingredient in the Obama administration’s counter-terrorism efforts, is based in Fort Meade, Maryland, about 25 miles (15 km) from Washington D.C., where IronNet is headquartered.
    In an earlier statement to Reuters, spokeswoman Vines said that “under ethics rules, senior executive employees, among others, are required to obtain written permission through their supervisors if they wish to pursue outside employment with a prohibited source.”
    Stewart Baker, a former NSA general counsel, said that he had never heard of an arrangement under which an NSA executive is allowed to work part time for a private company presumed to be involved in some of the same type of business as the NSA.
    “I agree this is unusual,” Baker said, adding, “It’s complex, but probably manageable.”
    Baker said that there is already a program in place which allows government executives to leave, spend some time in the private sector, and then return to government without giving up seniority or other rights. Such arrangements traditionally require a total break with government service.
    Paul Rothstein, a criminal law and ethics professor at Georgetown University law school, said the arrangement in which NSA is allowing Dowd to work part time for Alexander’s company “seems problematic.”
    “If it isn’t structured very carefully, this runs the risk of conflict of interest and disclosure of national secrets,” Rothstein said. “It is a situation that in the interests of good government should be avoided unless there’s some very strong reason to do it.” (Editing by Jason Szep, Toni Reinhold)

  • How To Watch That 'Once-In-A-Lifetime' Comet Swing By Mars
    A comet will be swinging by Mars this Sunday, and eager astronomers say they’re ready for the “once-in a lifetime event.”

    Comet C/2013 A1, or ‘Siding Spring’ will make its closest approach to Mars at 2:27 p.m. EDT, coming within 87,000 miles of the red planet’s surface . That’s 16 times closer than any comet has ever come near Earth and less than half the distance from Earth to the moon.

    “This is a cosmic science gift that could potentially keep on giving, and the agency’s diverse science missions will be in full receive mode,” John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C., said in a written statement. “This particular comet has never before entered the inner solar system, so it will provide a fresh source of clues to our solar system’s earliest days.”

    NASA will be tracking the spectacular flyby with a massive fleet of spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes.

    How can you get in on the fun? With the help of binoculars and telescopes, skywatchers in the U.S. may be able to spot Mars and the comet by looking west and low to the horizon after sunset.

    The SLOOH Community Observatory will also be broadcasting a live feed of the flyby starting at 2:15 p.m. EDT. Just check it out above.

    “Our focus is science, not mythology,” Slooh astronomer Bob Berman said in a written statement. “But it is hard to ignore the world’s historical legends when a comet — traditionally perceived as a sinister omen — skims past the planet named for war, whose two moons are the Greek words for ‘fear’ and ‘death.’”

    Happy comet spotting!

    Animation of Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring / Mars encounter via Near-Earth Object (NEO) office and NASA JPL.

  • VIDEO: Will thumbprint tech mean end of PIN?
    Credit and debit cards with thumb print sensors built in could one day do away with the need to use codes, PINs and passwords.
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