As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.
- Sony's Interview makes $15m online
Controversial Sony film The Interview becomes the studio’s most downloaded film ever, just four days after its release online.
- 'The Interview' Becomes Sony's No. 1 Online Movie Of All Time
By Liana B. Baker
Dec 28 (Reuters) – Sony Pictures said on Sunday that the “The Interview” had been purchased or rented online more than 2 million times, generating more than $15 million in the first four days after the controversial comedy’s wide theatrical release was shelved.
This would rank the film, which angered North Korea and triggered a cyberattack against the studio, as the No. 1 online movie ever released by Sony Pictures, the company said in a statement.
The film has also brought in $2.8 million in the limited theatrical run that began Christmas Day in more than 300 mostly independent theaters, according to tracking firm Rentrak.
Sony is likely to reap larger receipts. The company’s first online revenue figures do not include Apple’s iTunes purchases or rentals after Apple agreed on Sunday to carry the movie on iTunes, the biggest and most-used store of online content.
The $44 million film starring Seth Rogen and James Franco had been expected to gross at least $20 million in its opening holiday weekend if it had gone to wide release, according to Boxoffice.com.
After large movie theater chains refused to screen the comedy following threats of violence from hackers who opposed the film, Sony stitched together a limited release in theaters and a $5.99 video-on-demand (VOD) rental option on YouTube, Google Play and other sites starting Dec. 24. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker and Mary Milliken; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)
- Sony Says PlayStation Still Has Problems, Is Getting Back Online
By Jim Finkle and Liana B. Baker
BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network suffered connection problems for a fourth straight day since hackers attacked the video game network, and the company said on Sunday that service was gradually being restored.
The hacker activist group known as Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for disrupting both the PlayStation Network and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live on Christmas Day. Service was restored to Xbox Live on Friday.
“We are currently experiencing widespread network issues that are being addressed,” Sony said in a statement on PlayStation’s maintenance website.
Hours earlier, Catherine Jensen, vice president of consumer experience at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said on the PlayStation blog that the network was “back online.”
Some gamers said on Twitter that they were able to access the PlayStation Network on Sunday, but others took to the microblogging site to complain about the continuing outage. It was not clear how many of the 56 million video gamers who use PlayStation still suffered problems.
On Sony’s Twitter customer support account, AskPlayStation, a representative wrote, “Network services are gradually coming back online.”
Sony has been the victim of some of the most high-profile security breaches in history.
In late November, Sony Pictures’ computer system was taken down by hackers protesting the film, “The Interview,” which depicted the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed the North Korean government for the attack.
Lizard Squad has claimed responsibility for attacks on the PlayStation Network in early December and August of this year. The August attack coincided with a bomb scare in which Lizard Squad tweeted to American Airlines that it heard explosives were on board a plane carrying an executive with Sony Online Entertainment.
In 2011, hackers stole data belonging to 77 million PlayStation Network users.
(Editing by Tiffany Wu)
- 'The Interview' Is Now Available On iTunes
After being made available on YouTube Movies, Google Play, Microsoft’s Xbox Video and Sony’s own film-dedicated site, “The Interview” is now on iTunes. Apple added the comedy on Sunday, available for rent at $5.99 or purchase at $14.99 in the U.S..
“We’re pleased to offer ‘The Interview’ for rental or purchase on the iTunes Store,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said in a statement.
“The Interview” also opened in 331 theaters across the nation this Christmas weekend, earning $2.8 million from its limited release.
In other news about “The Interview”: Seth Rogen and James Franco and co-director Evan Goldberg will live tweet the film with fans starting at 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) December 28, 2014
- Facebook Apologizes To Bereaved Father For 'Year In Review'
Facebook rolled out a new feature this December called “Year In Review,” a post that showed up on users’ News Feeds highlighting their most popular photos of the year. Users could view their Year In Review and choose to share it with friends with a line reading “It’s been a great year! Thanks for being a part of it.”
For some, however, 2014 was not such a “great year,” and some were upset to see these automatically generated posts appear in their News Feeds. Web design consultant and writer Eric Meyer was disturbed to see that his Year In Review featured photos of his daughter, who died this year.
“For those of us who lived through the death of loved ones, or spent extended time in the hospital, or were hit by divorce or losing a job or any one of a hundred crises, we might not want another look at this past year,” Meyer wrote in a blog post last Wednesday.
“To show me Rebecca’s face and say ‘Here’s what your year looked like!’ is jarring,” Meyer wrote. “It feels wrong, and coming from an actual person, it would be wrong. Coming from code, it’s just unfortunate.” The Washington Post’s Andrea Peterson highlighted Meyer’s blog in a story Friday, bringing it to Facebook’s attention.
Facebook expressed remorse for the accident in its response. “[The app] was awesome for a lot of people, but clearly in this case we brought him grief rather than joy,” Jonathan Gheller, the product manager for Facebook’s Year in Review app told the Post. The team is considering ways to improve the Year In Review, he said. Gheller also personally emailed Meyer an apology.
In a blog posted Saturday called “Well, That Escalated Quickly,” Meyer said he did not expect an apology from Facebook. In fact, he says he didn’t even expect that anyone but his close friends and family would read his blog.
“So the first thing I want to say: I owe the Year in Review team in specific, and Facebook in general, an apology. No, not the other way around,” Meyer wrote. He said that the email from Gheller was “sincerely apologetic,” and Meyer is sorry that he “dropped the Internet on his head for Christmas. He and his team didn’t deserve it.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to request for further comment from The Huffington Post.
- 24 Of The Most Awe-Inspiring Astrophotos Of 2014
Don’t get us wrong. Space-based telescopes like Hubble and Spitzer brought us absolutely stunning images of deep space this year.
But some of the most out-of-this-world images of space taken in 2014 came from star-obsessed photographers right here on Earth.
Your friends at HuffPost Science asked you to share your best astrophotography, and we’ve rounded up the best right here–along with our favorites from around the web.
Just take a look below for 24 photos of auroras, the Milky Way, the Supermoon, and more. Enjoy!
Photos curated by Damon Scheluer and Macrina Cooper-White.
- VIDEO: The most tweeted and posted of 2014
Social media monitoring company Brandwatch has revealed 2014′s most talked about news event.
- Congress Likely To Make Big Decisions On Drones Next Year
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is on the verge of proposing long-awaited rules for commercial drone operations in U.S. skies, but key decisions on how much access to grant drones are likely to come from Congress next year.
Federal Aviation Administration officials have said they want to release proposed rules before the end of this month, but other government and industry officials say they are likely to be delayed until January. Meanwhile, except for a small number of companies that have received FAA exemptions, a ban on commercial drone flights remains in place. Even after rules are proposed, it is likely to be two or three years before regulations become final.
That’s too long to wait, say drone industry officials. Every year the ban remains in place, the United States loses more than $10 billion in potential economic benefits that drones could provide, according to the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade group.
“We need some sort of process that allows some of the low-risk operations,” said Jesse Kallman, the head of regulatory affairs for Airware, a drone technology company backed by Google Ventures. “I think Congress understands that, and hopefully they’ll take steps in the coming year to address that.”
That appears to be what some key lawmakers have in mind. “We in Congress are very interested in UAS,” Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said at a hearing this month, referring to unmanned aerial systems, or drones. “We understand UAS are an exciting technology with the potential to transform parts of our economy. … It is our responsibility to take a close look.”
One of the committee’s first priorities next year is writing legislation to reauthorize FAA programs and overhaul aviation policy. The bill is expected to include directions from lawmakers on how to integrate drones into the nation’s aviation system. The last reauthorization bill, passed in 2012, directed the agency to integrate drones by Sept. 30, 2015, but it’s clear the FAA will miss that deadline.
The FAA is expected to propose restricting drones weighing less than 55 pounds to altitudes below 400 feet, forbid nighttime flights and require drones be kept within sight of their operators. Drone operators may also be required to get pilot’s licenses, a possibility already drawing fire from critics who say the skills needed to fly a manned aircraft are different from those needed to operate a drone.
Shuster indicated he’s concerned that requiring pilot’s licenses might be burdensome and unnecessary. And keeping drones within sight of operators would be too strict and limit their usefulness, he said.
The reason for keeping drones within line of sight is that they don’t yet have the ability to detect and avoid other aircraft.
AUVSI, the drone industry trade group, recently hired Mark Aitken, former legislative director to Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-N.J., as its government relations manager. LoBiondo is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Aviation, which will write the FAA reauthorization bill.
“We’re really looking at an incremental approach still,” Aitken said. “It’s not something that is going to happen overnight.”
FAA officials have been working on drone regulations for nearly a decade. The agency twice drafted regulations that were later rejected by the White House or Transportation Department. The FAA has long maintained that unmanned aircraft must meet the same regulations as manned aircraft unless waiving or adjusting those regulations doesn’t create a safety risk. However, FAA officials more recently have begun talking about “risk-based” regulations, giving industry officials hope the agency might propose a blanket exemption from regulations for the smallest drones — usually defined as weighing under 5 pounds — as long as operators follow a few basic safety rules. Canadian authorities recently approved a blanket exemption for very small drones.
Congress already is getting pushback from private and commercial pilots who worry about possible collisions. The FAA receives reports nearly every day about drones sighted flying near manned aircraft or airports.
“As a (Boeing) 737 captain, I’ll be damned if myself and 178 other people are taken down by a 12-pound or a 50-pound or a 150-pound piece of metal coming through my windshield,” said Ben Berman at a recent forum hosted by the Air Line Pilots Association. “There are too many near misses occurring every day like this.”
Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, which represents private pilots, said online videos show that “operators are flying near airports, in the clouds and in congested airspace.” He called such actions “reckless” and said they will inevitably lead to a collision.
FAA regulations permit recreational users to fly small drones as long as they stay at least 5 miles away from an airport, limit flights to less than 400 feet in altitude, keep the aircraft in line of sight and fly only during the daytime.
Last week, drone industry trade groups teamed up with the FAA and model aircraft hobbyists to launch a safety campaign aimed at amateur drone operations. The campaign includes a website, www.knowbeforeyoufly.com , where operators can find FAA regulations and advice on how to fly safely. The trade groups said they also plan to distribute safety pamphlets at industry events and are working with manufacturers to see that safety information is enclosed inside the package of new drones.
Retailers say small drones, which are indistinguishable from today’s more sophisticated model aircraft, were popular gifts this Christmas.
Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy
Drone safety campaign: http://www.knowbeforeyoufly.com