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Mobile Technology News, January 31, 2015

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.

  • Uber Probed By Judge On Driver Benefits
    By Dan Levine
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. judge appeared skeptical on Friday about Uber’s bid for a quick pretrial ruling that its drivers are contractors and not employees, a critical question facing Silicon Valley’s sharing economy.
    App-based ride service Uber, and smaller rival Lyft, face separate lawsuits seeking class action status in San Francisco federal court, brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.
    A ruling against either company could significantly raise their costs beyond the lawsuit’s scope and force them to pay social security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. That could affect the valuations for other startups that rely on large networks of individuals to provide rides, clean houses and other services.
    At a court hearing on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said Uber’s bid for a pretrial ruling its drivers are contractors is a “tough argument” to make, given that the drivers serve Uber’s business goals.
    “The idea that Uber is simply a software platform, a service provider and nothing else, I don’t find that a very persuasive argument,” Chen said.
    Ultimately, a jury might have to decide the issue, he added.
    The hearing came a day after a similar one involving Lyft. In that case, U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria said whether drivers are employees or contractors is “very difficult” to decide, but that California law appears to favor the drivers. Chhabria has not yet ruled.
    Uber has raised more than $4 billion from prominent venture capital firms such as Benchmark and Google Ventures, valuing the company at $40 billion and making it the most valuable U.S. startup. Lyft has raised $331 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and other investors.
    The drivers have not yet specified how much money they are seeking in damages.
    Drivers argue they should be considered employees because Uber and Lyft can hire and fire them and require them to accept a certain percentage of rides, and to pass background checks.
    Uber and Lyft counter that drivers control their own schedules, are not assigned a territory, and are not supplied with any equipment apart from an iPhone and a sign.

    (Reporting by Dan Levine. Editing by Andre Grenon)

  • Insanely Intricate Hand-Cut Paper Artworks View The Internet As Modern-Day Religion
    For many people who identify as religious, praying is the first activity upon waking up and the last before going to bed. For many in the social media generation, this pious ritual has been replaced with a morning Instagram scroll, a mid-day Tweet and a goodnight Facebook scan.

    Artist Carlo Fantin explores the relation between religious observance and social media obsession through a series of wildly detailed hand-cut paper artworks. Made with only construction paper and a craft knife, the black-and-white images echo the ornate stained glass tableaux that often adorn church windows, with added touches particular to the contemporary age. Images of prayer, all clasped hands and covered heads, are interspersed with internet savvy symbols we recognize all too well — the Facebook “like,” the Twitter bird, the perfectly square Instagram cam. The images, both viscerally stunning and thought-provoking, raise questions about what we value and revere in this bizarre internet age.

    maria

    “Growing up in Italy, and having a devoutly Catholic mother, I spent many Sunday mornings in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, which was our local church,” Fantin explained to The Huffington Post. “It is there that I first experienced art through the icons of various saints and the Virgin Mary displayed throughout the cathedral. I have always been fascinated with the iconographic style and with the relationship between religious worship and contemporary obsessions. Often these two worlds collide, and the result is a society that displays religious devotion for modern fixations.”

    “Italians venerate an endless numbers of saints and pay special reverence to the Virgin Mary,” added the artist. “The devotion to each saint is specific to the type of preoccupation you are afflicted with. In my art, I attempt to capture the similarity between Catholic worship and veneration of religious figures with obsession with social networking and the idolatry of internet popularity. In a way, theorizing that the internet has become our modern-day religion; social networks are our contemporary churches; and internet celebrities have becomes the saints and Virgin Mary of today.”

    Take a look at Fantin’s dizzying commentaries below.

  • A Homeless Man Read His Only Book Over And Over, So A Compassionate Stranger Gave Him A Kindle
    A homeless man is pursuing his love of reading thanks to a good Samaritan.

    Last week, a San Diego man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on a business trip in Las Vegas when he frequently passed a homeless man named Paul on the street. The man noticed that Paul had been reading an old, worn book every time he walked by, and decided to go up and talk to him.

    “I just asked him if he liked to read,” the man told The Huffington Post in an email. “He said he loved to but that he had been reading that one book over and over for a while now.”

    kindle

    The man remembered he was carrying his Kindle, and decided to give it to Paul and teach him how to use it. In the following days, the man witnessed firsthand how much Paul enjoyed the device. He took a picture of Paul and his new Kindle, and shared it on Reddit on Thursday under the username, mjuad.

    The moving photo has already gone viral with nearly 2 million views on Imgur.

    “It brought me a lot of joy to see someone getting so much from something that I gave them,” he told HuffPost. “It feels so good to see someone get so much for something I took for granted.”

    The Kindle is already stocked with around 300 books, but, before he left Las Vegas, the man gave Paul an address where he could send the device, cash on delivery, should he need more reading material.

    The gesture was a beautiful one, and the anonymous man hopes that by sharing it, he can inspire others.

    “If I can keep someone from going hungry for a day or brighten their day/life up in any way, I always try to do my best,” he told HuffPost. “I’m also hoping that by sharing this, I will encourage others to do something kind as well.”

    H/T Reddit

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  • Saving Net Neutrality
    Co-authored by Theodore Andrew Lee

    We live in an age where we have become dependent on the Internet. Most people check the Internet before going to bed and in the morning. Whether it is to see their emails, check the weather, read the news or just search for their latest interest, we have come to rely on the Internet and to have the same expectations of reliable service as they do for our gas, water, and electricity.

    How did we come to this point and what are the challenges that exist because of this reliance on the Internet, which has replaced our newspapers, bookstores, our telephones, and has almost come to replace our television? At this point of high dependency, there is much debate about net neutrality and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

    If we think back to the beginning, the Internet was founded on the principle of non-discrimination – that all content would be accessible despite the source or ownership and that every Internet service should do its best to satisfy its customers.

    This principle, known as net neutrality, allows everyone to go anywhere they want on the Internet without being inhibited (e.g. blocked from accessing certain websites). Net neutrality preserves a free and open Internet; it also allows small companies to compete for Internet users on the same terms as larger companies. The freedom of Internet companies to compete has boosted America’s economy and led to technological advancements.

    In today’s broadband market there often isn’t any true competition between the large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and as a result consumers and innovators cannot choose between these ISPs. Many of these large corporations are trying to get rid of net neutrality: they wish to operate as monopolies and control all the pricing power over the Internet and cable services that they offer to their customers. Should that happen, not only could these ISPs control the market prices, they could collectively lower their Internet quality with consumers forced to stay with them. In the absence of net neutrality, these companies could operate their networks in ways that would leave customers unsatisfied and undermine online innovation. To preserve the equality of the Internet and to satisfy its users, net neutrality must be defended.

    Major ISPs want to replace the traditional Internet “open lane” system with a “two lane” system that scans data content and allocates the traffic to its designated lanes. This “two lane treatment” offers users a “fast lane” and “slow lane”. Because the “fast lane” will cost more; only wealthy companies and individuals would have access to the higher speeds while companies and people with less disposable income would be restricted to the slower speeds. This new system will inhibit smaller companies (both ISPs and internet reliant companies) to start up and violates the foundations on which the Internet was created. For example, Netflix or Amazon could pay extra money to allow their customers a faster Internet than any other video browsing site. At the same time, smaller ISPs will not be able to offer this “two lane” system that many large companies want and so these smaller ISPs will slowly lose customers. Thus only large companies will increase market share.

    Comcast, America’s biggest Internet service provider, is also the country’s largest cable company. There is talk that Time Warner Cable, the country’s second largest cable company, will merge with Comcast. This combined corporation would then provide Internet and cable to 40% of American homes. These powerful ISPs, along with one or two others, such as Verizon and RCN, will essentially control the Internet and everything that uses it. Without any competition between ISPs, companies can control the prices and quality of the Internet they provide. Some ISPs already have a monopoly in some specific markets areas. They control the entire market and instead of spending money to generate faster speeds they can simply keep the speeds the same and increase the prices. This is statistically shown in that the U.S ranks 31 in the top Internet download speeds of the world with 20.77 mBps (mega-bytes per second). Even worse, it ranks 41 in the upload speed with 6.31 Mbps.

    As a global superpower in the information age, it is surprising to note that the United States barely manages to compete with other countries in terms of Internet speeds. The leader in connection speed is South Korea, which has Internet speeds 50 times faster than the American average of 8.7 mBps. J.C. Kessels, “Download Time Calculator” says on average, in Korea it would take 2 hours to download 1 Gb while in the U.S it would take about 9 hours. Korea recently hit a milestone where they introduced 10 Gbps speeds; with this speed a 1 Gb file would be downloaded in 0.8 seconds.

    Korean Internet speeds are significantly faster than the American speeds because there is more competition in the Korean broadband market place. The Korean government views connectivity as one of its top priorities. It encourages citizens to use the Internet and establishes regulations to defend net neutrality and maintain a highly competitive market. As a result, Internet speeds increase and the prices decrease in South Korea.

    Conversely, there are several countries, such as China, where the government restricts and regulates. Some of the limitations include blocked access to a list of sites banned by the government, specific search terms will cause you to be blocked from the search engine for 90 seconds, and lists of words and topics given to Chinese ISPs with the order to take down pages that include those words. The government also pays people to post pro-government messages on social networks and blogs and to defend their superiority. The Chinese government employs thousands of people to police the Internet. If net neutrality were to be disbanded in the United Sates, the Internet will not be restricted in such a drastic way, but we will likely experience the blocking of certain sites and ISPs being in the control of, and in collaboration with, the government.

    Those who are aware of potential perils of net neutrality are actively protesting. During April 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website allowed users to debate about net neutrality. After the thread closed, the number of comments was more than 4 million, a new record for the site.

    Additionally, on September 10th 2014, several Internet companies participated in an Internet Slow-Down Day. This Slow-Down Day simulated the Internet quality if this “two lane” system were to be enacted. Websites such as Reddit, Google, WordPress, Vimeo, and many others participated in this event. The poor quality of Internet caused havoc: over 1,000 calls were made per minute and over 2 million emails were sent to Congress complaining about these Internet speeds.

    The Internet was founded on the principle of net neutrality – that all content is accessible at the same rate, despite the source or ownership, and that every Internet service should do its best to satisfy its customers. With net neutrality enacted, competition between small and large companies should be close, however in today’s broadband market there isn’t any true competition between Internet service providers (ISPs). Many ISPs operate as monopolies and control all the pricing power over the Internet and cable services that they offer to their customers. In order to preserve the equality of the Internet and to satisfy its users, net neutrality must be defended.

    Theodore Andrew Lee is a junior at Liberty High School, Bethlehem Pa. Theo is the captain of the Junior Varsity Soccer Team and co-founder of the Robotics Club. He is interested in Robotics, Science and Writing.

    Follow Theodore Andrew Lee on twitter https://twitter.com/theohj826

  • This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Quest To Have An Orgasm While On Antidepressants
    Crista Anne Orenda is a blogger, mother of four and sex educator. She also describes herself as a “sex pleasurist,” and she was far from pleased when she found herself unable to reach orgasm after switching to a new antidepressant.

    I came out of the womb depressed, as most of the people in my family have,” the writer, who just goes by Crista Anne, told Refinery29. “Looking back, I cannot think of a time that I didn’t use masturbation as a tool to fight my depression or anxiety.”

    In order to get back what once brought her so much relief, Crista Anne started #OrgasmQuest on Dec. 19 to document her journey to orgasm through masturbation. Friends at sexual aid companies Good Vibrations, SheVibe and Tantus offered to sponsor her by sending products they hoped would help her out.

    So far, #OrgasmQuest has been successful social media-wise, with thousands of people following the #OrgasmQuest hashtag.

    (Story continues below)

    Really stressed, so I worked on #OrgasmQuest with the Magic Wand. Got thereish..and hit the switch so it turned off. pic.twitter.com/519fr8PnSp

    — Crista Anne (@pinkness) January 21, 2015

    Woah. #OrgasmQuest semi success? That almost felt like an orgasm!

    — Crista Anne (@pinkness) January 26, 2015

    She’s also been somewhat successful orgasm-wise.

    “I went from simply feeling pleasurable sensations but not much else, to now having the vaginal contractions and wobbly legs that I associate with an orgasm,” she told The Huffington Post. “My brain still does not recognize or experience the intense pleasure spikes I am used to, but that is massive progress!”

    Crista Anne’s inability to reach orgasm while on antidepressants isn’t uncommon.

    “You need neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin [to have an orgasm],” Lauren F. Streicher, M.D., author of Sex Rx , told HuffPost. “What happens is that the same neurotransmitters impact depression. So if you look at the most common antidepressants, what they’re doing is altering your body’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which has an impact on libido and the ability to orgasm.”

    Crista Anne has been on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) almost her entire life. She said she started on Prozac at age 9 and has been on a new antidepressant for about three months now. While this is the only medication she’s had difficulty achieving orgasm with, she says she’s never been happier.

    “I enjoy being alive for the first time in my life, and I’m 32. I’m happy to get out of bed, I look forward to my day, look forward to the rest of my life,” she said. “Those are feelings that I’ve never experienced before. I love this medication, I’m staying on it as long as it keeps working.”

    Streicher told HuffPost that orgasm comes back for 30 percent of people after about three or four months on antidepressants, and if it doesn’t, she suggests talking to a doctor about switching to a different drug or lowering the dose.

    Crista Anne hopes her quest leads to some important conversations.

    “I want to shine light on these experiences. Tell the world that talking about sexuality, mental illness, side effects of medication and how all of those things impact a persons life is a valid and worthy discussion,” she told BuzzFeed. “I’m seeing that happen every day and I am so proud.”

  • 'Star Wars' Volkswagon Super Bowl Ad Will Always Be Our Favorite
    And now for a quick replay of the best Super Bowl commercial of all time.

    In this 2011 Volkswagon ad above, a young boy decked out in Darth Vader gear tries to use “The Force” to start household appliances and wake the family dog — all to no avail. Finally, the boy succeeds in magically starting the car, though there happens to be a secret power at play: dad.

    The ad gained traction in 2011 after it was released online before the Super Bowl, which was a new strategy at the time. And it’s legacy has left a lasting dent.

    The ad’s runaway success changed how advertisers approach Super Bowl Sunday ever since,” Time noted.

    The spot has been watched more than 61 million times on YouTube as of Jan. 30.

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  • Bitcoin Belongs to the People, Not the 1% Super Rich
    Bitcoin is without a doubt the best economic invention of my lifetime. Created six years ago by a person (or persons) identified as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is a game changer for two important reasons. The first is its practical use. Using Bitcoin, it is possible to send and receive payments anonymously and instantly without any intermediation charges, such as storage and transaction fees by the financiers. Second, and perhaps most crucial of all, Bitcoin operates outside the interest-based financial system.

    In order to understand why charging interest is so injurious to society it is fundamental that we recognize its extreme power. In 1836, an American lawyer named John Whipple, made this stunning observation: “If 5 English pennies… had been… at 5 percent compounded interest from the beginning of the Christian era until [his] time, it would amount in gold of standard fineness to 32,366,648,157 spheres of gold, each eight thousand miles in diameter, or as large as the earth.” For more than three millennia, the Torah, the Bible and Koran forbade charging or paying interest on money. Our spiritual traditions knew of its destructive potential for society. Only since Jeremy Bentham and Adam Smith advocated it in the late 1700′s has charging interest gradually become acceptable. And we have all seen the effects of that bumpy ride of bust and boom, including the Great Depression and the severe economic inequality of our present time.

    Though the financial sector, whose affluent members thrive on profits received from interest, will tell us that interest and transaction fees are a necessary lubricant of business, the fact is they have become a major parasitic burden on society. A recent study by economists, Adam Cole, Jon Bakija and Bradley Heim, found that the top financial professionals account for 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent of income earners in recent years. According to a recent Credit Suisse Report, the top ten richest percent own 87 percent of the world’s wealth and at the very top, the one percent of the world hold nearly half at 48.2 percent. Just four years ago, research by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, confirmed that the top 1 percent of Americans owned 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. In fact, the world’s financial elite, those who earn their income not by producing anything, but by living off their interest-accruing investments, have so skillfully rigged the financial rules in their favor that just 85 of the richest people on earth are worth nearly as much as half of the people of the globe. Obviously, they didn’t earn all this money by doing hard work.

    The invention of Bitcoin flew in the face of all that maddening inequality by establishing a novel means of credit exchange that rejected the harmful practice of money being made on money. Though based on groundbreaking computing technology, it was actually a throwback to the traditional clay and metal coin systems that first arose with the dawn of Mesopotamian agriculture about 11,000 years ago. Instead of using physical objects for trade purposes, however, Bitcoin fostered trustworthy encrypted electronic bits as currency. Like the ancient modalities of trade, it carried no interest, storage or transaction costs. Once again, the people had a truly free medium of exchange for goods and services. Its use grew like wildfire by young and old Internet users.

    But all of that is now in danger of being destroyed by the machinations of the financial elite who see a way to cash in on Bitcoin’s popularity. Under the pretense of protecting the digital currency from nefarious purposes such as drug dealing and the funding of terrorist activities, twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are trying to gather support for the first regulated Bitcoin exchange. The wealthy Winklevoss twins are best known for their successful $65 Million lawsuit against Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It is their contention that Bitcoin’s democratic and open-source technology is a hindrance to its true potential. As evidence, they point to Bitcoin’s tumbling value and to recent highly publicized thefts through hacking. Yet they are firmly behind the buying and selling of Bitcoin with interest-bearing money. The result will be to absorb an independent exchange medium into yet another mechanism for amassing more wealth for a small group of rich people. Following the Winklevoss twins’ advice will essentially destroy this equalizing, interest-free transactional system.

    Converting Bitcoins to “real money” may seem innocuous but it belies a more insidious threat, the silencing of the populace. In our lifetime we have seen our already weakened democracy receive its final deathblow with the 2010 landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs FEC. The ruling made it clear that Americans are living in an oligarchy in which corporations are considered individuals and can vote with their deep pockets for the people they choose to serve them.

    Bitcoin matters so much because it dispenses with that cynical approach to human value. By operating outside the purview of a government rendered suspect by its close ties to Wall Street, Bitcoin had remained independent and empowering. It had no trademark. Its intellectual property belonged to no corporation or individual. Instead, through the collective efforts of courageous, decentralized developers and users, it had wrought a truly emergent, equalizing counter-balance to a deeply un-equalizing monetary system.

    It is crucial to our economic and political freedom that we expose and resist the intrusions of the Winklevosses of the world into the interest and transaction-free domain of Bitcoin and its iterations. Let Bitcoin be free from government regulation so that it remains a bastion of democratic participation. And if the financial class is successful in shackling the invention by its convertibility to “real money”, do not give up hope. It merely means we must move on to the next software-based currency on the open-sourced model. Now may be the time for a new iteration of the encrypted digital currency. We could call it “Freecoin” and it would operate under the same principles of crowd-sourced independence and private trading as the original Bitcoin.

    We must not allow this new “Freecoin” to be owned or bought and sold with real money. For the moment that a currency becomes interest-bearing and is subject to transaction and storage charges, it becomes a tradable commodity itself and it loses its equalizing value. It becomes simply another tool for the super rich to dominate the masses. Hallelujah for the perhaps unwittingly ingenious, freethinking young people and developers who are the scourge of fat cats the world over. The Bitcoin model is not just a sophisticated electronic exchange. It is part of a great bottom-up evolution that empowers people to trade the fruits of their labor, free from the yoke of financial and political tyranny. Bitcoin or its child, “Freecoin”, and the progressive humanistic ideology they represent are our best chance to finally win back economic freedom and with it, true democracy.

  • Nash Grier, Ansel Elgort Show Off Their 'Bad Sides' With #UglySelfieChallenge
    The newest Instagram trend is taking on a different side of the selfie.

    The #UglySelfieChallenge started when Vine star Jerome Jarre posted an unflattering selfie on Instagram along with a caption explaining how “we all care way too much about our look.” His followers uploaded their own selfies, prompting Jerome to create the challenge and nominate Martin Garrix, Nash Grier and Ansel Elgort.

    Fanks @nashgrier #UglySelfieChallenge i nominate @geoff_warburton , @scottharris123 and @sammywilk

    A photo posted by Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) on Jan 26, 2015 at 1:39pm PST

    Ansel accepted and posted a hilarious photo that was already in his camera roll. He supported Jerome’s focus on inner beauty adding that “society is becoming this place where people judge each other on followers and likes.”

    While the posts are definitely giggle-worthy, the challenge reveals something deeper. The tag is worth browsing to see a different side of Instagram beyond its likes and filters.

    But first, let me take an ugly selfie.

    Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |

  • 9 Funny Someecards To End The Week On A High Note
    Andddd that’s a wrap. We’ve officially made it through the first month of 2015.

    In four short weeks, we’ve experienced the State of the Union, Deflategate, “The Nightly Show” premiere, and, of course, Snowmaggedon. Up next, we’ve got a Super Bowl, the Oscars, and — dun, dun, dun — Valentine’s Day. Before we move on, let’s pay homage to the last week of January by checking out the week’s funniest, snarkiest Someecards.

    Bring it, February. We’re ready for you.

  • Putting Together Ikea Furniture Sucks So Much, These Guys Made A Video Game About It
    Another day, another round of complaints about the FML experience that is assembling IKEA furniture.

    Luckily, our frustration is understood far and wide, including Atlanta where four developers recently made a video game called Höme Improvisåtion that recreates just how difficult it is to assemble furniture, even in a virtual reality.

    Spoiler alert: everything ends in a heap of random looking objects surrounded by neon “instructional” arrows.

    And yet, despite the headache, we can’t tear ourselves away from the Swedish superstore (damn you, meatballs!). Thankfully, IKEA’s furniture assembly service is there to help. Or, you can always put in an order for this furniture that will assemble itself.

    (H/T Curbed)

    Have something to say? Check out HuffPost Home on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

    **

    Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “Project submission.” (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

  • The Importance of Mobile Crowdsourcing in 2015
    2015-01-30-shutterstock_160438778.jpg

    By Owen Andrew

    Big brands have been executing creative campaigns through crowdsourcing for years. For example, General Mills has used what it calls its “Worldwide Innovation Network” (G-WIN) in order to incorporate consumer feedback for everything from ingredients to packaging, with the end goal of creating innovative products.

    Individuals and smaller businesses have been using popular crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Now, new mobile apps have opened the floodgates to a new paradigm of crowdsourcing. Due to the collaborative and user-driven nature of a crowd-based model, mobile platforms are ideal for managing and connecting users.

    Why Mobile Platforms Are Perfect For Crowdsourcing

    The ubiquity of smart phones and the relative ease with which apps can be created and shared makes mobile a natural platform for crowdsourcing. When the end goal is ultimately pooling together small, individual contributions into something greater, a mobile device – with the potential for location-tracking – is the obvious choice through which to facilitate those small contributions.

    Text, images and video can be shared instantly and on-the-go. The increasing ease-of-use of QR codes and augmented reality are even providing businesses with creative new sources with which to gather crowdsourced data, in which real-life, mundane objects can be tied into web-based networks. All of this amounts to a network of users providing content instantly and accurately, which a number of apps are taking advantage of, creating platforms capable of services not feasible through laptops or desktop computers.

    Successful Examples

    Some of the most successful crowdsourcing apps are related to travel and transportation–AirBnB (short term rental accommodations), Waze (traffic navigation), and Unbabel (translation). These all essentially offer ways for users to share their own insider info, knowledge, and even their homes via social media networks, each offering an easy-to-use platform on which to do it.

    Waze, for example, lets users know things like upcoming hazards or even police cars, and asks users if these objects are still present in order to keep data updated to location and in real-time. While sometimes criticized for distracting advertisements or notifications, Waze is able to calculate quick routes and arrival times more precisely than other navigation apps due to both the high amount of input from users and accuracy-gathering features.

    On the other hand, crowdsourcing can be more complex than it seems on the surface, especially when services leave the digital realm and enter the real world. For instance, ride-sharing companies like Uber, Hailo, and Lyft have all faced complications related to both legal issues and quality control. These sites essentially source taxiing to those opting into providing their own vehicle, saving the company itself a significant cost.

    This model has been successful due to its easier and ultimately more casual method of getting anyone with a need for short-distance travel from point A to point B. However, business laws regarding taxi companies and questionable individuals contributing to this crowdsourced workforce have led to some problems that currently have not been fully addressed.

    That said, it appears that the concept of ride sharing or crowdsourcing transportation is here to stay. Crowdsourcing apps are still in their infancy, and unfortunately will have their share of growing pains. However, whether at the hands of Uber or Lyft or a new, up-and-coming company utilizing this same model, ride-sharing is popular and only getting more so, and likely to succeed as a new paradigm.

    Crowdsourcing Apps In 2015 And Beyond

    Crrowdsourcing has been accepted as normal activity, rather than just something for the cutting edge or early adopters. An increasing number of companies, nonprofits, and individuals have been integrating crowdsourcing platforms into daily life and business models alike.

    Therefore, growth in crowdsourcing is something that can only expected to improve in years to come, and in more niche industries, as a more common tactic for small business as well as larger brands. This stems from the idea of “unbundling” or single use apps, referring to the idea that people don’t want one hub for everything, but individual apps that do one thing and do it well.

    Mobile crowdsourcing is a trend that shows no sign of waning soon; furthermore, it makes your audience even more engaged with your brand or app simply by participating. After all, if you’ve contributed content to an app, you’re not just making a purchase or playing a game; rather, you are part of the process and its overall success.

    This is what makes crowdsourcing so effective, it requires people to not only invest in and trust a brand but more importantly, people become invested in their fellow users and their services, content, or ideas. At the end of the day, people want to do business with people, not big businesses.

  • What Time Is The Super Bowl?
    It’s on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and it’s on NBC. The New England Patriots are playing the Seattle Seahawks. That’s all you need to know.

    mcdonalds

  • (VIDEO) Full Ad Viewability Comes With A Price: Google's Hong
    FORT LAUDERDALE — So you’re an advertiser and you only want to pay for ads that humans can actually see? Be careful what you wish for – today, that may be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    “They believe they should have always been paying for the viewable impression,” Jane Hong, Google DoubleClick’s head of industry for CPG advertisers, tells Beet.TV in this video interview. ”So a lot of advertisers want to jump to that immediately and are asking for 100% viewability.”

    Despite recent standardization of what “viewability” means and new ad tech platform capabilities to ensure it, we’re not there yet, Hong says: “I think we’ll eventually get there – viewability should be currency. We’re in that transition period right now – there’s a bit of education (to do) in terms of setting expectations.”

    So what are the present pitfalls in giving advertisers what they want? ”There are some limitations today as far as potential scale loss if you do that,” Hong says. “Technically, if an advertiser wants to push for 100% viewability, you can get fairly close – the question is, at what price of inventory does that make sense? How much inventory is there really at that point?

    “A little over 50% of inventory that Google sees holistically across all our publishers is viewable. What does that mean for the economics of our industry if we just suddenly said, ‘That’s it’?.”

    DoubleClick introduced viewability monitoring for display ads last year and for video ads this year.

    Hong was interviewed at Beet.TV’s Beet Retreat annual get-together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    The Beet Retreat ’15 was sponsored by AOL and VideologyPlease find additional videos from the event here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • 'Mr. Selfie' Shows How Insanely Obsessed We Are With Our Smartphones
    If only this cartoon about smartphone obsession weren’t so real.

    Mr. Selfie” is here to show us that life is passing us by as we fixate on our little screens. We can’t even see what’s right in front of us, unless it’s a cell phone.

    The short animation’s hooked-up, tuned-out hero misses beauty, danger and human connection as he walks through his day, but he never misses a “like” or a “favorite.”

    Weareseventeen, the London-based motion graphics and design studio that made the film, writes on Vimeo that “Mr. Selfie” is a “playful tale of this modern phenomenon.”

    Warning: It might make you a little sad, too.

  • MacNN Forums: wireless docking is the future
    This week, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with talk of everything from wireless docking to favorite apps. Yesterday, Moderator “P” shared an article about Broadwell vPro processors and wireless docking, then goes on to explain how he thinks Apple will use this technology. Yesterday, “jeff k” was trying to figure out a problem he was having with Sophos security software and Time Machine, so far a solution hasn’t been found.



  • 20 Banned Super Bowl Commercials That Never Made It To, Well, The Super Bowl
    What’s the one thing people like more than Super Bowl ads? Sex. Oh, and family. Oh, and ice cream. Oh, and commercials that have been banned from the Super Bowl!

    So since that is the unquestionable case — do not question it — we have decided to round up some of the most famous banned Super Bowl commercial from years past:

  • Microsoft Updates Extras +Info Windows Phone app

    Microsoft has just released a new update to the Extras+Info for Windows Phone app.  The new update, version 3.14.16 for those keeping score at home, brings… well, actually I have absolutely no clue what this release brings because there are absolutely no release notes.    So what was changed, what was fixed or what was added is a mystery to everyone in the world other than those at Microsoft.  There is of course the generic “general fixes and improvements” noted so my guess is that this is a bug fix for the app on certain devices. It could also be

    The post Microsoft Updates Extras +Info Windows Phone app appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Twitter launches Vine Kids app for iPhone
    Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos “appropriate for a young audience,” and further removes the core client’s ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.



  • Modified AliveCor Heart Monitor used in study to diagnose ST-elevation heart attacks

    A proof-of-concept study that hints at plans to take the smartphone EKG from 1 to 12 leads

    The post Modified AliveCor Heart Monitor used in study to diagnose ST-elevation heart attacks appeared first on iMedicalApps.

Mobile Technology News, January 29, 2015

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

  • The Sharing Economy Is a Gateway Drug
    The Sharing Economy is a gateway drug that threatens the infrastructure of our economy as we know it. This collaborative consumption (working together to provide the general public with affordable access to all types of resources) has enabled individuals to cut out the middleman, replace big business and solve popular needs with personal services and solutions. It’s igniting a series of change from the underbelly of our society that’s creeping into the everyday lives of the masses.

    If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that falling in line and remaining cemented in our beliefs leads to a sustainable economy. Those who have challenged this in the past instigated social progress, political recourse and cultural revolutions — all phenomenons rooted in change, outlined to disrupt the norm and drenched in risk — risk we can’t afford to take.

    Or can we?

    It’s in our nature to fear change — especially the type that involves uprooting everything we know about creating wealth and powering an economy. But if we put fear aside for a minute and focus first on the impact of the social economy to date instead of the challenges it may or may not produce in the future, it’s quite clear that we’re in the middle of a colossal shift. What we’re seeing now is that collaborative consumption actually drives progress. We’re watching the foundations for a more distributed, sustainable economy form as a result.

    As the sharing economy releases a series of new jobs into the market, we’re seeing people dig themselves out of debt. Airbnb, a prominent player in the sharing economy, has been the cause of tens of thousands of individuals finding financial stability worldwide by renting out extra space to supplement income. Take Airbnb host Kimberly Kaye. Kimberly was forced to quit her job due to an incurable, degenerative disease and as a result she and her husband, Ray, “spent countless nights wondering if and when they would lose their home.

    Enter Airbnb.

    From the completion of their first booking, Airbnb “provided immediate protection from homelessness, and enough income to pay for Kimberly’s treatment.” The income the couple makes from the home-sharing service is less than what they would receive through NY unemployment, but has enabled them to remain financially stable and keep their home in the city that they’ve both loved for so many years.

    In the transportation industry, Lyft and Uber have been responsible for lifting the oppression former taxi drivers faced when operating under an antiquated transportation model. Lyft encourages drivers to work at least 10 hours per week, but operates without a regimented driving schedule. This flexible model has proven successful in attracting, empowering and retaining drivers. For Nick Hiebert, this meant being able to “take on work-trades and pursue otherwise-impossible learning opportunities,” as well as finance some travel — a luxury that would have been inaccessible without this form of income.

    The impact of the sharing economy goes beyond the individual. Growing businesses are leveraging the sharing economy to escape the confines of traditional office space and offset costs. As businesses become increasingly dynamic and growth patterns shift, the structure of commercial real estate remains rigid and reluctant to conform to the patterns of modern (often digital) companies. The existing CRE system puts these businesses at risk as they are forced to take space based on projections. CRE broker, Greg Hoffmeister, has said, “Spaces for growing companies are few and far between. The ones that do exist come with complexities and cumbersome lease terms that add unnecessary delays and costs to young companies on tight timeframes and tight budgets.” Leveraging shared office space gives these businesses the flexibility to protect their bottom line and the opportunity to select a space based on their current needs.

    Society has established these opportunities within our economy because there is a void of service from like-minded individuals. The innovative minds of today have found ways to more efficiently and effectively reach economic goals, while benefitting consumers and businesses. If we take what we know and combine it with what we know is possible, we have the potential to build something incredible and sustainable.

    All we have to do is work together.

  • Nintendo halves annual profit target
    Nintendo’s operating profit grew nearly 50% in the last quarter but it was not enough to keep the game-maker from slashing its full year target.
  • Why AI?
    2015-01-29-DSCN0524.JPG

    I have been perplexed lately by the media frenzy on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and all the inflammatory statements put forth about “deadly machines” and “robot uprisings.” Of course, this can partly be explained by the public’s general taste for frivolous alarmism and the media’s attempt to satisfy it. However, I feel that besides the question of: why this general reaction? there is another important question worth asking: why this particular topic? Why AI?

    Why is AI capturing so much of our attention and imagination? Why is it so hard to have a levelheaded discussion about it? Why is the middle ground so infertile for this topic?

    I have come to believe that the reason is that AI engages some of our deepest existential hopes and fears and forces us to look at ourselves in novel, unsettling ways. Even though the ways in which we are forced to face our humanity are new, the issues and questions are old. We can trace them back to stories and myths that we’ve told for ages, to philosophical questions we’ve posed in various forms throughout the centuries, or to deeply rooted psychological mechanisms that we’ve slowly discovered. Here are four of the deeper existential questions that AI forces us to ask:

    What if we get what we ask for but not what we really want?

    Or in the words of Coldplay’s “Fix you,” “when you get what you want but not what you need,” what happens then? The ancients were no strangers to this question. The legend says that king Midas asked the gods to make it such that everything he touches turns to gold. So the king became rich but he also died of starvation, because the food he touched turned to gold as well. AI, more specifically human or super-human AI, is that tantalizing golden touch. Any programmer has at some point experienced an inkling of it, the great power of a program that computes what it would take you several lifetimes to do — but it’s the wrong computation! Yet it’s the right one because it’s exactly what you asked for, but not what you really wanted. Welcome to the birth of a computer bug!

    Superhuman AI could of course magnify this experience and turn itself into our own buggy god that would give us tons of gold and no food. Why would it do that? AI researcher Stuart Russell, likes to illustrate this through a simple example: imagine you ask your artificially intelligent self-driving car to get you to the airport as fast as possible. In order to do so, the car will drive at maximum speed, accelerate and break abruptly… and the consequences could be lethal to you. In trying to optimize for time, the car will set all other parameters like speed, acceleration etc. to extreme values and possibly endanger your life. Now take that scenario and extend it to wishes like: make me rich, make me happy, help me find love…

    What this thought experiment should make us realize is that we blissfully live in the unspecified. Our wishes, our hopes, our values are barely small nodes of insight in the very complicated tapestry of reality. Our consciousness is rarely bothered with the myriad of fine-tuned parameters that make our human experiences possible and desirable. But what happens when another actor like AI enters the stage, one that has the power to weave new destinies for us? How will we be able to ask for the right thing? How will we be able to specify it correctly? How will we know what we want, what we really want?

    What if we encounter otherness?

    The issue of not being able to specify what we want thoroughly enough is in part due to our limited mental resources and our inability to make predictions in an environment that has above a certain level of complexity. But why wouldn’t our super-human machines be able to do that for us? After all they will surpass our limitations and inabilities, no? They should figure out what we really want.

    Maybe… but likely not. Super-human AI will likely be extremely different from us. It could in fact be our absolute otherness, an “other” so different from everything we know and understand that we’d find it monstrous. Zarathustra tells his disciples to embraced not the neighbor but the “farthest.” However, AI might be so much our “farthest” that it would be impossible to reach, or to touch, or to grasp. As psychologist and philosopher Joshua Greene points out, us humans, we have a common currency: our human experiences. We understand when someone says: “I’m happy” because we share a common evolutionary past with them, a similar body and neural architecture and more or less similar environments. But will we have any common currency with AI? I like it when Samantha explains to Theodore in the movie Her that interacting with him is like reading a book with spaces between words that are almost infinite, and it is in these spaces that she finds herself, not in the words. Of course, the real-world AI would evolve so fast that the space between it and humans would leave no room for a love story to ever be told.

    What if we transcend and become immortal but transcendence is bleak and immortality dreary?

    But what if instead of being left behind we will merge with the machines, transcend and become immortal just like AI advocate Ray Kurzweil optimistically envisions? Spending time with people who are working on creating or improving AI I’ve realized that beyond the immediate short term incentives to building better voice recognition or better high-speed trading algorithms etc., many of these people hope to ultimately create something that will help them overcome death and biological limitations — they hope to eventually upload themselves in one form or another.

    Transcendence and immortality have been the promise of all religions for ages. Through AI we now have the promise of a kind of transcendence and immortality that does not depend on a deity, but only on the power of our human minds to transfer our subjective experiences into silicone. But as long as hopes of transcendence and immortality have existed, tales of caution have also been told. I am particularly fond of one tale explored in the movie The Fountain. When the injured, dying knight has finally reached the Tree of Life, he ecstatically stabs its trunk and drinks from it, and happily sees his wounds heal. But soon the healed wounds explode in bouquets of flowers and he himself turns into a flower bush that will live forever through the cycle of life and regeneration. But that is of course not what the knight had hoped for… It’s interesting that the final scene of the movie Transcendence also ends with a close-up of a flower, reminiscent of Tristan and Isolde and their tragic transcendence through a rose that grows out of their tombs. Of course, there are less mythical ways in which transcendence and immortality through AI could go wrong. For example, neuroscientist Giulio Tononi warns that even though we might build simulations that act like us and think like us they will likely not be conscious — it wouldn’t feel like anything to be them. Heidegger saw in death a way to authenticity, so before we transcend it and become immortal we might want to figure out first what is authentically us.

    What if we finally fully know ourselves… and make ourselves obsolete?

    Another promise from AI is exactly that: authentic knowledge about what we are. AI extends the promise that we could finally know ourselves thoroughly. A great part of AI research is based on brain simulation, so if we keep forging on we might actually figure out what every single neuron, every single synapse does; and then we will have the keys to our own consciousness, our own human experiences. We will finally be able to say a resounding “Yes!” to the imperative written on the gates of the temple of Delphi: “know thyself.” The catch is that, as my husband, physicist Max Tegmark, likes to point out, every time we’ve discovered something about ourselves we’ve also managed to replace it. When we figured out things about strength and muscle power, we’ve replaced it with engines, when we discovered more about computation we’ve invented computers and delegated that chore to them. When we will discover the code to our human intelligence, our consciousness and every human experience imaginable, will we replace that too? Is our human destiny to make ourselves obsolete once we’ve figured ourselves out? Creating AI is in some sense looking at our own reflection in a pond — just like Narcissus — without realizing that the pond is looking into us as well. And as we fall in love with what we see, might we also be about to drown?

    Will we figure out who we are, what we want, how to relate to what we are not, and how to transcend properly? These are big questions that have been with us for ages and now we are challenged like never before to answer them. Humanity is heading fast to a point where leisurely pondering these questions will not be an option anymore. Before we proceed in our journey to changing our destiny forever we should stop and think where we are going and what choices we are making. We should stop and think: why AI?

  • Apple's Q1 certified as best quarter for any company ever
    In addition to being the best quarter in the company’s history, Apple’s Q1 results also blew away quarterly revenue and profit figures for any company ever, according to credit rating analysts Standard & Poor’s. Even more remarkably, CFO Luca Maestri noted repeatedly that fluctuations in major currencies (such as the Russian ruble and the unusually-strong US dollar) actually cost the company a potential five percent — or $3.73 billion — in additional revenue.



  • Apps let parents 'spy' on their kids
    Apps let parents spy on their kids
  • App links sighted helpers with blind people
    New app gives blind people help to see
  • What Happened to Snapchat's Best Friends Feature and What It Means for Your Relationship
    At a time when we obsessed over perfecting our Instagram posts, Snapchat empowered us to let go. Amidst a plethora of social media platforms celebrating permanence, Snapchat was the refreshing one-night stand that we all desperately needed.

    That was Snapchat’s appeal, right? The durability of digital content, and the inherent risks associated with it, led users to seek more ephemeral means of self-expression.

    It was a liberating thing, knowing that your selfies would self-destruct. It meant that your triple chin wouldn’t be on public display for all of eternity. You could care less and therefore, say more.

    It’s no surprise that Snapchat soon became known as the dick-pic-app. With fewer strings attached, Snapchat users felt more comfortable sending each other raunchy photographs. Their Snaps became seemingly inconsequential, much like their dreams. Aware that every Snap would soon fade away, users treated each as an opportunity to do whatever he or she pleased.

    Snapchat enabled users to communicate more freely, doing and saying things that they likely wouldn’t have through a traditional text message. They seemed to obsess less over capturing and saving the moment, and focused more on enjoying it, for however many seconds it lasted.

    They also appeared desensitized to the emotional weight that a selfie could carry. One hundred years ago, if you wanted to capture a photograph of yourself, you needed access to a camera and a darkroom in which to develop the image. Then, if you wanted to actually share the image with someone, you had to send it the old fashioned way via mail. The recipient of your letter would likely have appreciated the time and energy that you spent enclosing a personalized photo. The process required to share selfies in 1915 was far more complicated and time consuming than it is today.

    It’s no secret: the advent of smartphones and social networks expedited the sharing process so dramatically that today, it’s hardly a process at all. Snapchatting has become an impulse so effortless that often times, it’s difficult to control.

    One of my best friends is in a long distance relationship with his girlfriend from high school. He’s madly in love with her and devoted to their relationship. He calls her every night before bed, but occasionally, she’s busy and he’s bored. Occasionally, he’ll Snapchat his ex-girlfriend to pass the idle time. He doesn’t think much of it. It’s just a stupid little selfie and it vanishes after 1-10 seconds anyway.

    The problem is, his current girlfriend would not, by any means, appreciate the gesture, no matter how quick or harmless it may have been. In her eyes, this is a clear violation of trust. Sending anyone, let alone your ex, a personalized picture is a big deal. It demonstrates to that individual that you still care.

    The larger problem is, my friend doesn’t acknowledge any wrongdoing on his end. He thinks that he’s living in a new world with new rules and that it’s now socially acceptable to Snapchat your ex without thinking twice about it.

    Sometimes he even sends the same picture to his current girlfriend and his ex. It’s an effortless move and, in his mind, a brilliant one. He simply takes an audience-neutral-selfie and selects multiple recipients. Neither recipient has any idea (unless, of course, she were to peep his Best Friends list, which, as of yesterday, doesn’t exist, bringing me to my second story).

    I know this chick from work who’s in a serious relationship and also has a ton of guy friends. One of them was, until yesterday (when Snapchat removed the Best Friends feature), listed as one of her Best Friends. This meant that he was one of the people with whom she interacted most frequently on the mobile app. Her boyfriend, and all of her Snapchat friends, for that matter, had access to her Best Friends list. So her boyfriend knew, as the rest of her friends knew, that she was sending personalized pics to this random dude on the side.

    Now this is where things got messy. She also became conscientious of her Best Friends list (prior to its removal), and more so, concerned that her boyfriend had too. Consequently, she developed a strategy whereby she would send decoy Snapchats to her three girlfriends in order to keep her guy friend from appearing on her Best Friends list. Essentially, she was covering her tracks with content designed to do nothing more than overshadow other content.

    For the life of me, I can’t help but condemn the dishonesty of such behavior. At the same time, I understand that she’s grappling with a rapidly changing technological environment. She’s bound to mess up here and there and at least she’s able to recognize when she’s behaving questionably.

    I’m sure that she, and many Snapchatters like her, would be overjoyed to learn that yesterday’s update removed the Best Friends feature altogether. Yes, you heard me correctly: the Best Friends feature is history — much to the delight of sneaky girlfriends and the dismay of social media stalkers everywhere.

    With the Best Friends feature gone, we can no longer rely on the fear of getting caught to act appropriately. We must hold ourselves accountable for our actions. It doesn’t matter who’s watching.

    Oh, and if you were the type who chronically checked your boyfriend or girlfriend’s Best Friends list, maybe you should think twice about committing to that relationship. Maybe you should think twice about commitment period. You see, you shouldn’t have to constantly monitor someone in order to trust them. Keeping tabs on someone you love is much like erecting a barbwire fence around a beautiful tree. It may keep the intruders away, but it’s also a waste of your time. Shouldn’t you be enjoying the tree?

    It seems to me that the Best Friends feature was getting in the way of everything that Snapchat stood for in the first place. After all, many of my friends enjoy Snapchatting for the same reasons that they celebrate one-night stands. It represents commitment-free fun that distracts them from whatever is really on their minds.

    Now, to make things clear, I’m neither an advocate nor opponent of Snapchatting, just as I’m neither an advocate nor opponent of one-night stands. Both serve their purpose when conducted responsibly.

    I’ll say this though. I’m glad that Snapchat removed the Best Friends feature, and I hope that it’s gone for good. It saddens me to see the people around me living dishonestly — and I truly believe that the now late, great feature promoted disingenuousness. To have to create bullshit content to cover up what you’re actually doing on social media must be a stressful burden to bear. Besides, wasn’t Snapchat all about communicating more freely?

    Nobody should live in fear of doing what they want to do, or saying what they want to say. So if you’re yearning to send some random chick a dick pic, knock yourself out, but have the decency to dump your girlfriend before clicking send.

  • Samsung earnings hit by mobile sales
    South Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics reported its first annual earnings decline in three years.
  • VIDEO: How Apple made 'biggest profit ever'
    US technology giant Apple has reported the biggest quarterly profit ever made by a public company.
  • VIDEO: Smart goggles for hi-tech bobbies
    A range of new tech ideas for the UK’s police forces, including facial recognition, has been demonstrated.
  • Snapchat As You Knew It Is Gone
    One of the most popular messaging apps sure isn’t what it used to be, oh, 48 hours ago.

    Snapchat on Tuesday announced a massive update called “Discover,” which will feature content from media outlets that the social network has partnered with. As of Wednesday, those outlets are CNN, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan, Daily Mail, ESPN, Food Network, National Geographic, People, Vice, Yahoo! News and Warner Music Group.

    And just a day after the update, AT&T announced that it would premiere on the platform a superhero series called “SnapperHero.” In it, social media personalities will take suggestions from fans, influencing the show’s 12-episode story. Keeping with the Snapchat tradition, episodes of the show will disappear 24 hours after they’re first made available.


    Comedy Central’s page on Snapchat’s new Discover feature. More outlets for “Broad City”: Always a good thing.

    The changes seem to emphasize branded content over that from individuals.

    Still, “Discover” was met with some excitement: The NiemanLab said it “could be a significant moment in the evolution of mobile news.”

    But regular Snapchatters just want to know where their “best friends” went. Users have flooded Twitter with complaints about the removal of the feature allowing anyone to view the three people a user most frequently interacted with. In theory, this “best friends” feature gave you some idea of who your friends were closest with, at least on Snapchat.

    Snapchat did not respond to a request for comment on the changes.

    It’s worth noting that while the official emphasis on media properties is new, brands like Taco Bell have long used Snapchat to reach teens and 20-somethings. If anything, the app’s new direction signals that Snapchat wants to play along — and reap ad revenue, too. We’ll see if the audience sticks around.

  • Don't Even Think About Bringing Your Drone To The Super Bowl, FAA Says
    The Super Bowl is traditionally a time for multi-million dollar commercials and wardrobe malfunctions. Oh, and some football.

    One thing that’s not welcome? Drones.

    That’s the message behind a recent Federal Aviation Administration ad warning fans not to bring drones to this Sunday’s game.

    “Going to the big game?” says the ad, posted to YouTube Wednesday. “Have fun, cheer on your team and keep it a no-drone zone. Don’t spoil the game; leave your drone at home.”

    Sorry, drones. Looks like you’re stuck tailgating the whole game. Save some Bud heavies for us.

    A post on the FAA’s website elaborates that unauthorized aircraft are not allowed over any NFL games, regular and post-season. The rule also extends to NCAA college games in 30,000-seat stadiums or larger, Major League Baseball games and various NASCAR events.

    The site also outlines the penalties for violating this rule:

    The FAA Notice to Airmen (PDF) makes it crystal clear that anyone violating the rules may be “intercepted, detained and interviewed” by law enforcement or security personnel. Besides possibly landing a violator in jail, flying an unmanned aircraft over a crowded stadium could result in an FAA civil penalty for “careless and reckless” operation of an aircraft.

    While the FAA has yet to release a comprehensive set of regulations on drone use, pressure is mounting after a man drunkenly crashed his drone on White House grounds Monday. A drone carrying six pounds of meth from Mexico was also recently found crashed near the border.

    But in case you’re concerned about a government organization clamping down on the overall rowdiness at the Super Bowl, you don’t have to worry about the FAA. The department apparently approves of the following game-day shenanigans:

    H/T The Week

  • Systems Science Meets Planet Earth
    I am at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, speaking mainly about the societal impact robot technologies are likely to have in our near future, and I am happy to report there is intense interest in these topics. Will robotics empower human communities, or will our machines become the masters of our fate? Business interests, science fiction, singularity and human rights all pervade every tech conversation I have witnessed here — it is a welcome change to see this bubble to the surface.

    But I’m writing this blog about an even more pressing topic — planetary change. The Stockholm Resilience Centre has an outstanding demonstration, through interactive graphics, of how we can categorize the health of our planet along nine axes, from atmospheric loading and ocean change through biodiversity, identifying tipping points and boundaries that quantify just where we are along a continuum from healthful to Emergency Room to irreversibility. Their website is well worth your visit, and best of all their decadal effort is nailing the science of characterizing and measuring global boundaries as complex systems, in collaboration with scientists round the world. Science just published their latest full report, and I highly recommend giving this article a read: “Planetary boundaries: Guiding human development on a changing planet.” It is no longer behind a paywall, just a free registration roadblock; you can access the figures without even registering here.

    Their approach is refreshing because it frames our decisions and our planet’s future trajectory in terms of a real system, with feedback loops that we can directly impact with our local and global decisions. We have only a few years to effect the kind of policy changes that will keep us in a safe operating margin; one of the authors expressed his concern that we don’t even have time to change the public’s mindset. And yet I believe it is a shift at the ground level — if we can become truly mindful at the global scale — that has the best possible chance of catalyzing the high-level changes we must see. Thanks to global social media, that groundswell of change can touch us more more quickly than ever before; so it’s time for technology to help us deeply rethink our relationship to the planet.

  • Emma Watson Tells Young Fan To 'Be An Engineer' Even Though Her Dad Doesn't Want Her To
    Just when you thought Emma Watson couldn’t possibly be more inspiring, she goes and inspires some more.

    While at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Friday, Watson took to Twitter to answer some questions about the HeForShe campaign’s Impact 10x10x10 initiative, which aims to involve governments, corporations and universities in taking action towards gender equality.

    Along with discussing the campaign, she offered advice to someone whose issue hit particularly close to home. The young fan said she wants to become an engineer one day, but tweeted that her father told her it’s a male profession. She asked Watson how to change that — and the actress’ response was on-point.

    @lordvoldemot @HeforShe Become an engineer.

    — Emma Watson (@EmWatson) January 23, 2015

    Female engineers then began responding to Watson’s words of encouragement.

    @EmWatson @lordvoldemot @HeforShe I’m an engineer! It’s hard work but we’re changing the industry together!

    — Vicky Ferguson (@VickFerg) January 28, 2015

    @EmWatson @lordvoldemot @HeforShe I’m an engineer designing spacecraft for Mars. My dad worked for NASA. You can do it!

    — Marguerite (@chicspace) January 28, 2015

    As a female aerospace engineer……I love this. Thank you to @EmWatson: @lordvoldemot @HeforShe “Become an engineer.”

    — Jill Meyers (@jillrandimeyers) January 28, 2015

    @EmWatson @JulieBorowski @lordvoldemot @HeforShe 30 years ago I was told to become a secretary. I became a global engineering manager

    — Kim Visintine (@Visintinek) January 28, 2015

    And that’s why she’s our heroine.

  • 17 Ways to Make Your Resume Fit On One Page
    This post was originally published on FindSpark.

    By Christina Madsen

    You may look at your resume and think that everything on it is too important to be left off. But let’s get real. You’re looking for an internship or entry-level job, which means you have just a few years experience.

    While we’re all about making your experience relevant, there isn’t a single recruiter out there who thinks it’s ok to have a resume longer than one page for an internship or entry-level job. You may have plenty of experience for your level, but you don’t have that much experience. Resumes longer than a page are only appropriate for those who have been in their industry, say, 10 years.

    2015-01-28-9693554418_aea0a6c74e_k.jpg

    Photo courtesy of Christian Schnettelker

    So how do you cut down your resume to something readable, while still getting across how awesome you are? These easy tips will help you easily achieve such a lofty goal.

    1. Only talk about relevant experience.
    Even if you have a ton of internship experience, it probably doesn’t all need to be on your resume. Read the job description carefully and highlight keywords and skills they’re looking for. Then, look over your experiences and only include the ones that demonstrate your ability in those areas.

    2. Cut repetitive bullets.
    If you’ve had similar roles at different companies, you probably had some similar tasks. That’s great! It means you have lots of experience in those areas. However, recruiters do not need to read “Strategized social media content for various clients” or “Wrote and distributed press releases” two or three times.

    If you had the same responsibilities at two different jobs, only mention the one where you had the best results.

    3. Leave out “References available upon request.”
    Many people will use an entire line (and probably a blank space above it) to write this phrase. If you’re struggling to fit your resume to a page, those two lines are valuable real estate.

    If an employer wants references, they’ll request them. It’s rare for an applicant not to have a single reference available, so don’t waste precious resume space with this phrase.

    2015-01-28-3420741751_3ff0eed9d4_b.jpg

    Photo courtesy of buyalex

    4. Make your name smaller.
    Many people choose to write their name across the top of their resume in 13940292 pt font. We get it — it’s dramatic, eye catching, etc., etc., but it’s a total waste of space.

    It’s plenty attention-grabbing to write your name in bold, maybe one or two font sizes larger than the rest of your resume. Recruiters know they can find your name at the top of the page, so you don’t need to make it so obvious for them.

    5. Get rid of your objective.
    We’ve heard plenty of mixed feelings from recruiters on the objective. Some find it helpful, some say it’s a waste of space. We happen to side with the latter.

    Let your experience show your objective. If your experience doesn’t seem obviously relevant to the position, then use your bullet points to demonstrate how those roles apply. Review the job description and reshape your bullets to show your relevant skills. Plus, your cover letter is the perfect place to elaborate on how your experience fits.

    6. Reformat ”widows.”
    A “widow” is one word that has it’s own line. In resumes, this is often seen in the “skills” section, and it’s a major waste of space. Try reformatting sections like that to make the most of your space. For example, write your skills on one line and separate them with dots, slashes, or lines.

    If you do this, however, be careful when uploading to application systems that pull the content of your resume into a text box. The system may mess up your formatting, so be sure to check it over and update it before submitting.

    FindSpark Resume Skills

    7. Leave out your high school.

    Very rarely is your high school going to be relevant to a position you’re applying for. Unless you went to a very specialized high school, or you know that the recruiter reviewing your application also went to your high school, there’s no reason to include it.

    Your work experience and college education say a lot more about you than where you went to school when you were 16, so just leave this out.

    8. Put information about each position on one line.
    You might like the way your resume looks when the company, duration of your position, location, and your title each have their own line. But if it’s pushing your resume over a page, it’s time to move things around.

    Play around with ways to fit this information on one or two lines. Doing this for each of your positions will save you a ton of space.

    Here’s a real example of a three page resume trimmed down to one with the help of FindSpark tips and tricks.

    FindSpark One Page Resume BeforeFindSpark One Page Resume After

    9. Format relevant leadership experience under work experience.
    Having a separate “leadership experience” section uses more space than necessary. Evaluate your leadership and see which roles are truly relevant to the position you’re applying for. Then, move the most relevant ones into your “work experience” section. Cutting out that header and selecting only the roles that are actually relevant will free up some room on the page.

    10. Adjust your spacing.
    It might seem scary to have tiny margins — it’s against everything you learned in school — but it actually makes your resume look much more impressive. Try making your margins 0.5″ and see how much space you suddenly have.

    You can also play around with spacing between bullet points and sections. Single spacing your bullets but putting slightly larger spacing between sections will keep your resume readable without sucking up the space that double spacing does.

    Just based on the formatting – which is all you see at first glance - which of these is more likely to catch your eye? Spacing can make a huge difference.

    2015-01-28-resumemarginexample.png

    11. Put your contact information on one line.
    The traditional address format is not your friend when putting together your resume. Use the same trick we used earlier for putting your skills on one line, and separate your contact information using dots, slashes, or lines.

    12. Use a smaller font.
    Just because 12 pt font was standard for your college essays doesn’t mean the same goes for your resume. Play around with 11 or 11.5 pt font instead. You’ll find that it’s readable and gives you more room to play with.

    13. Don’t feel pressure to put three bullets.
    It may look nice to have at least three bullet points under each title you’ve held, but it’s not necessary. If you didn’t have three separate and relevant roles in each position, then you don’t need three bullets. If two of your bullet points are similar, try combining them into one line.

    14. Use bullet points that make you stand out.
    Forget the bullets that everyone in that sort of role performed. Only include ones where you had great results (“Increased ticket sales by 200%”) or the context is impressive (“Worked the door for a 500+ person event”).

    2015-01-28-13903383190_46eccf2592_k.jpg

    Photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos

    15. Only mention self-explanatory awards.
    Having awards on your resume is nice, unless you’re using up all your space explaining what they’re for. If the name of an award doesn’t obviously explain what it’s for, and you find yourself adding bullets under it to explain, then just leave it out altogether.

    16. Leave off irrelevant experience (yes, again!).
    Seriously. This one is so important, it’s worth repeating. If I’m considering you for an editorial internship, I don’t need to know that you were a member of your school’s ballroom dance club. Unless you can clearly show in your bullets how the experience applies to the role, don’t include it.

    17. Submit it as a PDF unless otherwise specified.
    Once you’ve made all these changes, save your resume as a PDF. Employers want to see PDF resumes 99% of the time, so unless the application specifically says to submit it as a Word Document, you should save it as a PDF.

    Nothing says “careless” like submitting a Word document that highlights typos, and you never know if the formatting will change on the recruiter’s computer, making it look sloppy and possibly over one page. Submit a PDF so you know exactly what they’ll see when they open it.

    Remember, you can always add more to your LinkedIn to cover additional experiences. Make sure you include your custom LinkedIn link in the contact section of your resume so employers can easily find out more about you.

    Ready to build your cover letter? Head to our cover letter check list.

  • Why You Should Talk to Your Partner About Technology
    As I’m wiping down the table from dinner, I casually listen in on the lively game of superheroes being played out in the next room. My husband promised the older two he’d play with them before bed, and now it’s a mighty showdown: My Little Pony versus toy soldiers versus The Riddler. It’s a fantastical scene that could only be concocted in the minds of seven and five year olds. I hear Dylan excitedly play out one of the scenes: “And then, Daddy, The Penguin is going to use his rays to stop the soldiers and then he’ll take over the Bat Cave!”

    I wait and listen for my husband’s response. It sounds like this: “umm hmmm…”

    Every part of my body tenses up. Without moving, without looking, I know exactly what is happening right now. His phone went off — more work emails. He responded to the notification. He is looking down and checking email. I do not in any way blame him for this. He is caught in a constant tug between his personal and professional life. And that phone is the rope that keeps him mentally and physically tethered to his job all day and night. He wants to separate but then another email comes in and well, he’ll just read this one more. But I hate that this scene is playing out in front of the kids and completely interrupting critical Bat Cave time.

    Too often, his time with the kids is limited really to bedtime hours — that brief window between 6:30 and 8pm. When he’s home during those hours, it is imperative to me that he have his phone put away. This is important not just for the kids, but because he too needs this break to refocus, refresh. But I realize, how does he know what this means to me when I’ve never told him — when we’ve never had the talk.

    When we first came together as a couple 10 years ago, we talked about all sorts of things that couples talk about to help them sort out whether or not they are in it for the long haul and assess compatibility. We discussed children, if we wanted them and how many of them we wanted, where we wanted to live, our views on social justice, faith and money. But we never discussed technology because it was a non-issue back then. My husband had a Blackberry and a flip phone. I had a flip phone. Data plans were nonexistent, and the habits that are so pervasive in our daily life literally didn’t exist.

    Flash forward to 10 years later. We’ve got a house and three kids and a marriage that requires constant TLC because anything worth anything always does. And it occurs to me that technology advanced so quickly over the course of our relationship that we never stopped to talk about the spaces in which we were and were not comfortable letting it in or conversely expressly wanted it out.

    As silly as it sounds, technology and the subsequent ripple effect it can have on feelings and people, is still a relatively new concept to the coupled version of us. Technology takes up space and if you don’t acknowledge that and specifically carve out where and what you’re going to give it access to, it’s like a third person in your relationship. And no one expressly invited Siri into my Chuppah.

    So I said something like this: “I don’t think I ever told you how important it is to me to have your phone off between the hours of 6:30 and 8pm. I really want this to be our time together — just us. I hope you understand what this means to me.”

    And he said something like, “I really didn’t know how important that was to you. I will keep it off between 6:30 and 8pm.”

    And then I said, “Is there a time of day when I use my phone that bothers you? Like for example when Hope wakes me up in the middle of the night and I have a hard time going back to bed, I’ll turn on my phone and look at it. Does that bother you? Does the light bother you when you are sleeping?”

    To which he not surprisingly responded, “Yes. This bothers me.”

    And so we agreed to respect the spaces in our family and relationship and home where we weren’t willing to let technology in. I’m certain we will both need gentle reminders from time to time, but the idea that we talked specifically about this seemed landmark to me in some way. It was so important yet so deceptively simple and easy to overlook. I wonder if there are more couples that experience tension around these different moments in the day but can’t quite pinpoint the source.

    These phones can be tricky like that, making us so available to so many people, places and things, that we forget how quickly this access can erode the intimacy that our families are built on. It is the kind of intimacy that exists solely outside of our phones, in real relationships hashed out through grown up talks about complicated stuff and in live action play on the Bat Cave battlefield.

    And so the phone goes away. Dylan lines up the soldiers and The Penguin makes a daring attempt to take over Green Lantern’s cave!

    Indeed this is turf worth defending.

  • Facebook earnings beat expectations
    The social network reports fourth-quarter profits of $701m, a 34% increase from the same period a year earlier, buoyed by strong mobile advertising sales.
  • Facebook Is Now Bigger Than The Largest Country On Earth
    If Facebook were a country, it would be the most populous nation on earth.

    The huge social network said Wednesday that 1.39 billion people log in to Facebook each month to scroll their News Feeds, communicate with friends and look at photos.

    That’s more than the entire population of China, the world’s most populous country, which the CIA last estimated to have 1.36 billion people.

    facebook size

    The comparison to China is somewhat ironic, since Facebook is largely blocked there. But that didn’t stop Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg from visiting last fall, where he met with Chinese business executives and conducted an interview in Mandarin.

    Although Facebook’s user base is still expanding, growth has slowed in recent quarters because there simply aren’t as many people left to join the site.

    facebook mau
    Data for chart courtesy of Statista.

    That’s one of the reasons Zuckerberg has been pushing Internet.org, an initiative backed by a handful of tech companies, including Facebook, Samsung, Ericsson and Qualcomm, that aims to get Internet access to the two-thirds of the world not yet online.

    Facebook reported revenue of $3.85 billion for the three months ending in December, up 49 percent over the same period last year. The company’s stock is trading at $76.24, up nearly 22 percent over the last 12 months.

  • The Internet of Things and the Race to Singularity

    The term “Internet of Things” (IoT) has become the catch-all for every device on the planet that can interact, react, or contribute to the greater network. From fitness wearables to smart refrigerators, we are gradually integrating our entire lives onto the web and the massive grid of interconnected devices.

    Today’s apps are tracking our heart health, caloric intake, daily activities, sleep quality, and perhaps even shaming us into losing weight by tracking our expanding waistline (Yes, that’s what the smart belt by Emiota, a crowd-gatherer at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show at Las Vegas, is claiming). To give you an idea of where technology is headed, a new tech start-up hopes to create a 3D “digital alter ego” of people who will talk to their family and friends after they’ve died. Evidently, technology is turning the very idea of our existence upside down, and if not today then in the very near future, we will have little part of our identity that isn’t tech-connected.

    Where are we headed? Predictions point towards a future where devices will become our “digital shadows,” a reflection of everything we are, and even hope to be. The question is: is that a good or bad thing? And, does it even matter?

    The Internet Knows it All

    With the proliferation of smart devices, we are constantly under technology’s gaze. We are looking for benefits and solutions to improve our quality of life and in the process, perhaps giving away too much information. While technology impacts us in all areas of life — making our work easier and better, helping us manage our homes, or taking care of our health — it is also exposing us to a huge wave of interconnectedness where we are constantly relinquishing the grip on our lives and handing over the reins to technology. As the Internet becomes more and more knowledgeable about us, it will be more accurate at knowing just about everything about us from our health to our feelings.

    Internet of Things is Pushing us Toward Singularity

    Interestingly, the fabled concept of singularity is coming to life right before our eyes. “Singularity” or more precisely, “technological singularity,” speaks to the possibility of man merging with machines in a future where tech progress becomes so rapid that devices will become “super-intelligent,” even beyond the imagination and predictive capabilities of human beings. Ultimately, we could reach a point when artificial intelligence will take over human intelligence. Now, it may sound like some sci-fi jibber-jabber, but when experts like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk voice their fears about the rise of machines and the potential threats of artificial intelligence (AI), we’ve got to sit up and listen.

    Singularity Applies to Each One of Us

    Forget about techies and gadget-geeks, even for an average user, who only uses Facebook or LinkedIn or Instagram, we still see a certain amount of singularity that is driving our physical and digital identities to a place where the web knows us better than we know ourselves. Even those who limit their time online are leaving a digital fingerprint behind.

    The actions of artificial intelligence, which have so far been the subject of fiction and fantasy, may soon descend upon us. While we may not be close to romancing our Operating System, as was the case in the movie Her, we are nearing the 2001: A Space Odyssey-styled race between man and machines. Stephen Hawking says, ”[T]he development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.” While the end may be a long way off, it could be a very likely future awaiting mankind.

Mobile Technology News, January 28, 2015

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.

  • Apple profit 'biggest in history'
    Apple’s first quarter profit of $18bn is the biggest ever quarterly profit for a public company, according to Standard and Poor’s.
  • Calendar for Windows Phone Gains Agenda View in Latest Update

    The Calendar for Windows Phone app has been updated with several new features.  This is the default calendar app that comes with every Windows Phone but like the Music, Video and other built-in apps, sees an update now-and-again to bring new features or stability.  This update, version 1.0.15087.0 for those keeping score at home, is mainly focused on new features instead of bug fixes and includes an all new Agenda view. Calendar for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now The Agenda view in Calendar for Windows Phone is designed to allow you at a glance to see all of your

    The post Calendar for Windows Phone Gains Agenda View in Latest Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Electronic Arts shares up on results
    Shares in Electronic Arts jump almost 5% after the video games publisher reports stronger than expected results.
  • GoDaddy Pulls 2015 Super Bowl Ad After Slew Of Negative Feedback From Animal Advocates
    The recently released GoDaddy 2015 Super Bowl ad generated a whole lot of outrage from animal advocates and was quickly retracted Tuesday.

    The ad, called “Journey Home,” features a golden retriever puppy named Buddy who bounces out of the back of a truck before traveling through a series of harrowing environments to get to a bright red barn.

    “Buddy! I’m so glad you made it home!” a curly-haired blonde exclaims. “Because I just sold you on this website I made with GoDaddy.”

    buddy on Make A Gif

    make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

    The last scene shows Buddy loaded in a box in the back of a van — driven by GoDaddy spokeswoman-racecar driver Danica Patrick — being dispatched to his new owner. As the door slams shut, the woman commands, “Ship him out.”

    buddy on Make A Gif

    make animated gifs like this at MakeAGif

    In a statement titled “We’re Listening, Message Received,” GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving touched on the intention of the ad but acknowledged things didn’t go quite as planned.

    At the end of the day, our purpose at GoDaddy is to help small businesses around the world build a successful online presence. We hoped our ad would increase awareness of that cause. However, we underestimated the emotional response. And we heard that loud and clear.

    Among those who didn’t find this ad to be quite as hilariously saucy as GoDaddy might have hoped is Steffen Baldwin, president and CEO of the Animal Cruelty Task Force of Ohio.

    “Every year animal are euthanized across America, over 7 million each year because lifetime commitments are seen as disposable commodities, able to be bought, traded and sold like an X Box,” says Baldwin.

    “The callous, careless and disposable way these animals are portrayed in the GoDaddy commercial shows everything that’s wrong with the puppy industry in less than 60 seconds and minus the rows and rows of stacked cages on top of stacked cages and breeding dogs that are unable to walk on grass after living a life in a crate being bred until they no longer serve a useful purpose to the owner.”

    Alan Braslow, a New Jerseyan who is deeply enmeshed in the animal welfare world, also described the ad as “extremely offensive and socially irresponsible.”

    “I spend my spare time rescuing dogs and fighting to eliminate puppy mills. To see GoDaddy place an ad in the Super Bowl venue that promotes puppy mills, whether it was their intention to do so or not, is inexcusable,” he says.

    As of Tuesday evening, more than 35,000 people who share these concerns had signed an online petition calling for GoDaddy to pull its 2015 Super Bowl ad.

    Earlier in the day, a representative for Change.org told The Huffington Post it was the site’s fastest-growing petition, gaining more than 1,000 new signatures per hour. Twitter and Facebook, too, also blew up with the hashtag #NoDaddy. And many on social media and elsewhere were saying if GoDaddy didn’t pull the ad, they’d pull their business.

    “I’m almost certain that I will move my websites and services to another provider,” said Nashville-based photographer Brian Batista. “As a pet photographer and huge rescue advocate I cannot justify my business being hosted by a company that would conceive of this type of marketing. The lack of respect for Buddy in the ad is what disturbs me the most, millions of pets die every year because of that simple fact.”

    On Tuesday afternoon, AdWeek reported that Irving had announced the ad wouldn’t run during the Super Bowl. Irving shared the news on Twitter.

    Thank you @animalrescuers for the candid feedback. What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it.

    — Blake Irving (@Blakei) January 27, 2015

    Buddy, himself, was adopted by the company after his two-day shoot for this commercial. Details surrounding his rescue were initially unclear, but in his statement Tuesday, Irving said the dog came “from a reputable and loving breeder in California” and has “been adopted permanently by one of our longtime employees.”

    GoDaddy had previously issued a press release touting a company-wide effort to encourage employees to volunteer at animal shelters. They also released another video, again with Patrick and Buddy, this one touting the many benefits of pet adoption.

    One animal advocate has a suggestion on how the company can make amends.

    “Since the spirit of the commercial is to show the struggle of small business owners,” says Baldwin, “Maybe they should ante up and offer some corporate support to the many small startup animal rescue organizations that take in the animals dumped at shelters nationwide after being bought, sold and then discarded.”

    UPDATE: 9:50 p.m. — GoDaddy has made its ads private on YouTube, so they’re no longer viewable.

    Have an animal story to share? Know a rescue group doing great work? Get in touch at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com!

  • VIDEO: 'Holodeck’ recreates crimes in 3D
    Researchers have developed a virtual reality system that recreates crime scenes as virtual worlds.
  • Why can't we let go of our old tech?
    Why can’t we let go of our old tech?
  • Teens Take To Twitter In Response To Underwhelming #Snowmageddon
    After hunkering down for what became known as the “snowpocalypse” and “snowmageddon,” many cities awoke to disappointment and a few inches of snow on the ground. Underwhelming? More like snow-verated.

    Naturally, teens took to Twitter to discuss the letdown. But hey, at least you probably got a snow day out of it (if you live in the Northeast, that is).

    Check out the best reactions below.

    I wish they named this blizzard Waldo, so we could all ask where is Waldo?

    — Shannan Adele (@ShanMcCarthy_97) January 27, 2015

    my grandmas telling me I can’t go out bc a blizzard…where’s the blizzard

    — Lauuur (@lauren_petrozza) January 27, 2015

    Canada is probably laughing at the fact that we called this a blizzard #blizzardfail

    — bRi LaRicH (@BriLarich) January 27, 2015

    Starting the morning with @CaseyNeistat in Time Square. There’s a mild lack of snow #snowpocalypse pic.twitter.com/TAWKZEU9gy

    — Finn Harries (@FinnHarries) January 27, 2015

    You all are mad over the snapchat update and I’m still upset over the “snow” we were suppose to have.

    — Dennis Cruz (@VivaDeDen) January 27, 2015

    Remember that time we were supposed to get a foot of snow lol

    — Serena (@heyy_daisy) January 27, 2015

    #blizzardfail well, at least it’s snowing lol

    — Megan :) (@irishxgem) January 27, 2015

    End of the world they said, we’d be buried they said… New York, you are such a drama queen. #blizzardof2015 #epicfail #allthismilkandbread

    — Daniel H. (@irolemodel) January 27, 2015

    Yeah so that blizzard where West Chester was supposed to get 10-14 inches of snow? Didn’t happen. At all.

    — Elena Hoffman (@ElenaTHoffman) January 27, 2015

    Soo about that blizzard in NYC. where is it? I heard it never came lol lucky yall

    — kiara g. (@xLOVEMARYJANE) January 27, 2015

    Meteorologists are the reason I have trust issues. #blizzardof2015 #snowmageddon #snowpocalypse

    — sweet dee (@DDreynolds) January 27, 2015

    The fact that New Yorkers are freaking out about a bit of snow makes me laugh, come visit colorado

    — Emily Smith (@marie_emsmith) January 27, 2015

    Good thing Ansel Elgort was prepared:

    Ready for the snow pic.twitter.com/v277KDrZ7M

    — Ansel Elgort (@AnselElgort) January 27, 2015

    Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |

  • The Apple Watch To Go On Sale In April
    Warm up your wrists. It’s coming.

    The Apple Watch will start shipping in April, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during a call with investors and analysts on Tuesday. Until now, Apple had been promising the watch for “early 2015.”

    First announced in Sept. 2014, the Apple Watch will come in three different styles, the most expensive of which will be covered in 18-karat gold. The watch will connect to the iPhone, and start at $349. The gold version is estimated to cost $5,000, though no price has been set.

  • Google's Superfast Internet Might Be Coming To A City Near You
    Get ready to be jealous.

    Google announced on Tuesday that it’s rolling out its superfast WiFi, Google Fiber, to four more metro areas: Atlanta; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Nashville, Tennessee. Google Fiber, which is up to 100 times faster than the average broadband in the U.S., is currently available in Austin, Texas; Provo, Utah; and the Kansas City metro area.

    Here’s a map from Google:

    google fiber map

    Just how fast is Fiber? Really fast. It’s up to 50 times faster than 20 Mbps broadband, as you can see below:

    Fiber is up to 200 times faster than 5 Mbps broadband. Here’s a demonstration of that:

    Google Fiber costs $70 a month for up to 1,000 Mbps WiFi speed with no construction fee. The company provides basic 5 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload speed for free with a $300 construction fee. There’s also a more expensive plan that includes cable TV.

    In comparison, Comcast charges $29.99 a month for 25 Mbps, $59.99 for 105 Mbps and $89.99 a month for 150 Mbps.

  • Apple Q1 breakdown reveals 18 percent decline in iPad shipments
    Beyond its official press release, Apple has posted a detailed breakdown (PDF) of its fiscal first quarter. The document is the only one to mention iPad sales, and reveals that shipments dropped 18 percent year-over-year to 21.419 million. Revenues for the tablet fell 22 percent to $8.985 billion.



  • Google's Waze App Fires Back Against Police Criticism
    By Michael Fleeman
    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Responding to the Los Angeles police chief, who complained that its popular traffic app could be misused by criminals to track officers, a spokeswoman for Waze said on Tuesday that the company worked with law officers to make them safer.
    Julie Mossler, head of global communications for Waze, said company officials “think very deeply about safety and security” and work closely with police and transportation departments around the world.
    “These relationships keep citizens safe, promote faster emergency response and help alleviate traffic congestion,” Mossler said. “Police partners support Waze and its features, including reports of police presence, because most users tend to drive more carefully when they believe law enforcement is nearby.”  
    Acquired by Google in 2013 for $966 million, Waze uses GPS and social networking to alert drivers to accidents, traffic snarls and the presence of police, signaled by a little cop icon on a map. It reportedly has 50 million users worldwide.
    But in a letter sent to Google on Dec. 30, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck complained about the police locator feature, claiming it could be “misused by those with criminal intent to endanger police officers and the community.”
    In the letter, released this week, Beck also said accused gunman Ismaaiyl Brinsley had used the Waze app in the days before an ambush of New York officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on December.
    “I am confident your company did not intend the Waze app to be a means to allow those who wish to commit crimes to use the unwitting Waze community as their lookouts for the location of police officers,” Beck wrote.
    Brinsley had a screenshot from the app on his Instagram account along with anti-cop slurs posted just hours before the two officers were shot dead in a parked squad car in Brooklyn, according to published reports.
    But New York authorities have not directly linked the use app to the ambush.

    (Reporting by Michael Fleeman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Eric Walsh)

  • How Apple Got Us To Spend Even More On IPhones
    Apple got millions of you to buy a more expensive iPhone.

    The average price of an iPhone during the three months that ended in December was $687.30, up from $602.92 last quarter, and $636.90 over the same period last year. But that didn’t stop people from rushing to get one: Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones during the last three months of 2014, a 46 percent increase over the same period last year.

    Data for chart courtesy of Benedict Evans of Andreesen Horowitz.

    There are a couple of reasons why we’re paying more for iPhones now. One is that the iPhone 6 Plus, the 5.5-inch “phablet,” really is a more expensive phone — it starts at $299 on-contract and $749 off-contract. That’s a full $100 more than Apple’s base flagship model usually sells for.

    The average price includes all available models of iPhones sold, so it makes sense that as more expensive iPhone 6 Pluses, which came out in September, fill the shelves, the average price skews upward.

    But there’s another reason iPhones have gotten more expensive: storage. The storage configuration in Apple’s latest models has been called “the single-most disappointing aspect of the new phones.”

    Apple traditionally releases three versions of iPhones with varying storage capabilities. The phones start at $199 on contract, and each incremental increase in storage is $100 more. For example, the configurations for the iPhone 5 and 5S, released in 2012 and 2013, respectively, were 16 gigabyte, 32 GB and 64 GB.

    But for the iPhone 6, Apple changed it up. The company kept three storage levels, but eliminated the 32-GB option, replacing it with a 64-GB version. So you can get both the iPhone 6 and 6 plus in 16 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB.

    But the problem is that 16 GB is way too small for many people. Prominent Apple observer John Gruber wrote that it “seems downright punitive given how big panoramic photos and slo-mo HD videos are.” Thus, many end up paying $100 more for the 64-GB mid-level version.

    And that not only brings Apple more revenue, but more profit, too.

    As my colleague Damon Beres reported in December, the 64 GB iPhone 6 costs Apple about $15 more to produce than the 16 GB version. So that extra $85 goes right from your pocket to Apple’s bottom line.

    Neil Cybert, an Apple analyst who blogs at Above Avalon, recently wrote that Apple will save save $3 billion this year by keeping the base iPhone model at 16 GB, rather than increasing it to 32 GB.

    That decision wasn’t the best for consumers, but it sure is good for Apple and investors.

  • The iPhone Just Obliterated Sales Records
    The iPhone 6 is Apple’s biggest phone ever in terms of screen size — and likely in terms of sales, too.

    Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones during the last three months of 2014, the company reported on Tuesday, the most in any quarter. That’s 9 million more than the 65 million iPhones analysts predicted, and an increase of 23.5 million from the same period last year — a jump of 46 percent.

    The surge in iPhone sales lifted Apple profits to $18 billion in the quarter, up 38 percent from a year earlier. That was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, quarterly corporate profits on record.

    The last three months of the year is Apple’s sweet spot. Since 2011, the company has reported record-breaking quarterly sales during that stretch. Apple sold 51 million iPhones at the end of 2013, 48 million at the end of 2012 and 37 million at the close of 2011.

    Though Apple doesn’t break out sales by device, the record quarter was largely due to the new iPhone 6. And the iPhone 6′s runaway success is due partly to the appeal of its larger size — its screen is 0.7 inches larger than the screen on the iPhone 5S. The iPhone 6 Plus screen is 1.5 inches bigger than the 5S screen.

    The iPhone 6 is apparently so appealing that it lured customers away from rival smartphones, including Google’s Android devices, according to Bloomberg.

    It also helped that the sheer size of Apple’s market increased at the end of the year. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were the first Apple phones released after Apple signed a deal with China Mobile, opening the door to 700 million subscribers.

    That said, the release has not been without hiccups: Some critics have decried the 16GB model, saying it didn’t provide nearly enough storage.

    Of course, in Apple’s eyes, those are potential customers for the inevitable iPhone 7.

  • Why Snapchat Is Going to Beat Facebook at News
    Today Snapchat announced Discover, a new feature that allows users to find “stories” from big time media outlets like National Geographic, Comedy Central, ESPN, and CNN. For the first time, users can get high-quality, editorially-curated content from publishers the way they would from their Snapchat friends.

    2015-01-27-IMG_0096.jpg

    The content itself isn’t game-changing. Tap and swipe around on the new Discover page and you’ll see short video clips from The Daily Show, or an update on the blizzard in the northeast, or “5 Genius Eyeliner Hacks.” It even has ads. It’s much like the content you might stumble across on Facebook.

    But what does seem like a game-changer (as far as social media and news is concerned) is that with Discover, news orgs like CNN get to retain some semblance of a Front Page again. Instead of users seeing news that is filtered by “friends,” likes, comments, and shares, users see a series of videos and cards curated by an editor. An editor who is trained and skilled at knowing what news matters and what news doesn’t.

    Facebook’s success in the news space thus far stems from the fact that users, motivated by checking in on what their friends are up to, also happen to see news links shared by friends or by publishers they follow. Snapchat, as it grows and as Discover evolves, will have essentially the same power. Users check in on Snapchat to see what their friends are up to, and see a breaking news story from CNN sitting next to a story from their friend.

    But where Facebook is failing at news right now is that they still let an algorithm of likes and shares determine what news users see. Publishers can post important hard-news stories to Facebook all they want, but if it’s not getting crowd-boosted by user engagement, it will lose out to that cute puppy video in your newsfeed.

    And Snapchat is clear about their anti-algorithm stance on content in their Introduction to Discover on the app:

    This is not social media. Discover isn’t about what’s most popular. We count on editors and artists, not clicks and shares, to determine what’s important.

    With a resurfacing of the Front Page, perhaps news orgs will feel less of a need to pander their content to the traffic-hose monster that is Facebook. That means less click-baity headlines, less fluffy viral videos, and a reason for publishers to focus on the quality of the content and the experience. And then just maybe news brands can begin to restore some fidelity with their readers.

  • Apple posts $74.6B in Q1 revenues based on iPhone, Mac sales
    Apple has posted the results of its first fiscal quarter for 2015, which actually ended on December 27th. The company says it achieved record quarterly revenue of $74.6 billion, and similarly record-setting net profits of $18 billion, or $3.06 per share. The figures compare against $57.6 billion, $13.1 billion, and $2.07 in Q1 2014; gross margins increased from 37.9 percent to 39.9 percent. Apple notes that international sales made up 65 percent of the recent quarter’s revenues.



  • Yahoo to spin-off Alibaba stake
    Yahoo has announced a plan to spin-off its 15% stake in China’s Alibaba Group and hand the business to its shareholders.
  • Yahoo To Avoid Billions In Taxes By Spinning Off Alibaba Stake

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is spinning off the company’s $39 billion stake in China’s Alibaba Group Holding in a move that wards off a potential shareholder rebellion.

    The highly anticipated decision announced Tuesday will enable Yahoo to avoid paying billions of dollars in future taxes while intensifying the pressure on Mayer to prove she can rejuvenate one of the Internet’s oldest and best-known companies.

    A newly formed entity called SpinCo will inherit ownership of Yahoo’s 384 million Alibaba shares when the tax-free spinoff is completed toward the end of this year.

    Existing Yahoo shareholders will receive stock in SpinCo, which will be designated as a registered investment company. The breakup is an attempt to ensure most Spinco shareholders profiting from future sales of Alibaba stock will be taxed at a lower rate than Yahoo Inc. would have paid had it held on to the stake, said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting.

    Yahoo stockholders cheered Mayer’s plan as the company’s shares gained $3.44, or more than 7 percent, to $51.43 in extended trading.

    The spinoff overshadowed Yahoo’s results for the final three months of last year. The fourth-quarter numbers showed Yahoo is still struggling to grow, even as more advertising shifts to the Internet and mobile devices.

    Yahoo earned $166 million, or 17 cents per share, a 52 percent drop from the same period in the previous year. If not for certain charges, Yahoo said it would have earned 30 cents per share — a penny above the average estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet.

    The company’s revenue dipped 1 percent to $1.25 billion. After subtracting ad commissions, Yahoo’s revenue totaled $1.18 billion, another small decline from the previous year and slightly below analysts’ projections.

    It marks the eighth time in Mayer’s 10 quarters as Yahoo’s CEO that the company’s revenue has declined from the previous year.

    Yahoo Inc. invested just $1 billion in Alibaba nearly a decade ago, a bargain that slapped the company with massive tax bills as it whittled its stake during the past three years. Without the spinoff, Mayer estimated that Yahoo’s tax bills on its Alibaba stake would have been about $16 billion, based on Alibaba’s current market value.

    Investments in Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, and Yahoo Japan are the main reason Yahoo’s stock has more than tripled since Mayer defected from Google to become Yahoo’s CEO two-and-half years ago.

    Yahoo, which is based in Sunnyvale, California, is retaining its nearly 36 percent stake in Yahoo Japan. The stake is currently worth nearly $7 billion, BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis estimated.

    “This is ideal for shareholders and shows that (Mayer) is aligning herself with shareholder interests, at least for now,” Gillis said.

    The spinoff is subject to approvals from the Internal Revenue Service and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yahoo plans to jettison the Alibaba stake after the September expiration of a one-year lock-up agreement requiring Yahoo to hold on to the shares.

    The Alibaba investment is worth far more than Yahoo’s own online services, which have been struggling to generate more revenue for the past six years while rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. grabbed a bigger piece of digital marketing budgets.

    Yahoo sold nearly $9.5 billion worth of stock in Alibaba’s initial public offering, triggering more than $3 billion in taxes.

    The handling of Yahoo’s Alibaba stake is so important to shareholders that one activist investor, hedge fudge manager Jeffrey Smith of Starboard Value, had threatened to spearhead an attempt to oust Mayer if she didn’t adopt a strategy that minimizes taxes.

    Smith also has been pressuring Mayer to commit to returning most of any future Alibaba windfalls to shareholders instead of spending the money to buy other companies — unless she embraces his call for Yahoo to merge with rival AOL Inc.

    Starboard Value did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Mayer assured analysts in a Tuesday presentation that she will take a “very disciplined” approach to any potential acquisitions. Yahoo still has about $10 billion in cash, providing plenty of firepower to finance more deals. Mayer already has spent about $1.7 billion on more than three dozen acquisitions during her reign.

    Yahoo’s own stock gained $3.51, or more than 7 percent, to $51.50 in extended trading after Mayer disclosed her plans for Yahoo’s 15 percent stake in Alibaba.

    Tuesday’s much-anticipated announcement overshadowed Yahoo’s results for the final three months of last year.

    Yahoo Inc. invested just $1 billion in Alibaba nearly a decade ago, a bargain that subjected the company to massive tax bills as it has whittled its stake during the past three years.

    The Alibaba stake is currently worth $39 billion, intensifying the shareholder pressure on Mayer to come up with a plan to minimize future taxes. The Alibaba investment is also worth far more than Yahoo’s. Yahoo has been struggling to generate more revenue for the past six years while rivals Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. grabbed a bigger piece of digital marketing budgets.

    Alibaba had its initial public offering of stock in September. The Chinese company is attractive to investors in part because most of its users visit on smartphones and other mobile devices at least once a month — important as computing shifts away from traditional laptops and desktops.

    Investments in Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, and Yahoo Japan are the main reason Yahoo’s stock has more than tripled since Mayer defected from Google to become Yahoo’s CEO two-and-half years ago. Yahoo is retaining its nearly 36 percent stake in Yahoo Japan, currently worth nearly $7 billion, BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis estimated.

    “This is ideal for shareholders and shows that (Mayer) is aligning herself with shareholder interests, at least for now,” Gillis said.

    The handling of Yahoo’s Alibaba stake is so important to shareholders that one activist investor, hedge fudge manager Jeffrey Smith of Starboard Value, has threatened to spearhead an attempt to oust Mayer if she didn’t adopt a strategy that minimizes taxes. Smith also has been pressuring Mayer to commit to returning most of any future Alibaba windfalls to shareholders instead of spending the money to buy other companies — unless she embraces his call for Yahoo to merge with rival AOL Inc.

    A tax-free spin-off of the Alibaba stake ranked high on Smith’s agenda.

    Starboard Value did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

  • Connecting patients with human coaches and biopsychosocial data

    How psychosocial, personality, and cultural factors shaped this health management platform.

    The post Connecting patients with human coaches and biopsychosocial data appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Apple Maps gets 12 new Flyover cities
    Apple has added 12 new towns and cities to the list of Apple Maps locations with Flyover coverage. Of these only one is in the US, that being Amarillo, Texas. The others include three places in France — Beziers, Clermont, and Saint-Tropez — along with Aguadilla and Arecibo in Puerto Rico, Brno in the Czech Republic, Cittadella in Italy, Hamburg in Germany, Helsingborg in Sweden, Liverpool in England, and Odense in Denmark.



Mobile Technology News, January 26, 2015

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.

  • Malaysia Airlines website hacked
    A hacker group attacks the official website of Malaysia Airlines, but the company says bookings and user data are not compromised.
  • Malaysia Airlines Website Hacked By Lizard Squad
    HONG KONG (AP) — Malaysia Airlines officials were struggling Monday to restore the embattled carrier’s website after it was hacked by a group proclaiming support for Islamic State group.

    The airline’s site was changed, at first with a message saying “404 – Plane Not Found” and that it was “Hacked by Cyber Caliphate.” The browser tab for the website said “ISIS will prevail.” Malaysian Airlines is trying to recover from twin disasters last year, including the disappearance of Flight 370, which authorities believed crashed 1,800 kilometers (1,100 miles) off Australia’s west coast.

    The website was later changed to a picture of a lizard, with the ISIS reference removed and the claim of responsibility changed to “Lizard Squad – Official Cyber Caliphate.”

    The Lizard Squad group last year claimed it was behind attacks on Sony’s online PlayStation network and Microsoft’s Xbox site.

    In August, it also tweeted to American Airlines that there might be explosives on a plane carrying the president of Sony Online Entertainment, which makes video games, forcing the flight to be diverted.

    Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that its domain name system was “compromised” and users were being redirected to the hacker group’s website. It said it will take up to 22 hours to restore the website.

  • Whatever happened to the future?
    Whatever happened to the future of transport?
  • Yes, People Actually Bought These Gold-Plated Video Game Controllers
    Thirty years ago, video game controllers were plastic, and they looked like this:


    (Photo: Wikipedia)

    Now, thanks to ColorWare, a company that offers color customizations for a variety of electronic products, a handful of gamers can join the “Call of Duty” frontlines with 24-karat gold controllers in hand:


    ColorWare’s gold-plated PlayStation 4 controller. (Photo: ColorWare)

    The gold-plated controllers, which ran $300 — not much less than an actual Xbox One or PlayStation 4 system — were announced on ColorWare’s Facebook page Wednesday and had already sold out by Sunday morning. ColorWare produced 25 for each of the two gaming systems. The usual controllers for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 systems cost $59.99.


    ColorWare’s gold-plated Xbox One controller. (Photo: ColorWare)

    The golden controllers won’t give owners the Midas touch in gameplay — they’re functionally no different than any other controllers for the systems. In other words, they’re luxury for luxury’s sake.

    In fairness, that isn’t exactly a new idea when it comes to consumer electronics. If you wanted to, you could order a $4,600 Lamborghini phone running an outdated version of Google’s Android operating system. And just last week, a well-known video game collector posted a new video showing his massive hoard of Nintendo memorabilia, including 20 different Nintendo 64 systems that are identical apart from color differences on the outside.

    The gold-plated controllers are probably a safer investment than a pile of game consoles from 1996, though: The value of the precious metal has started to rebound in recent months.

  • Robert Morris University Offers Sports Scholarships In Video Gaming
    For students who love video games, life can be a constant battle between making it to the next level and doing something more productive. At least that’s what it was like for one college freshman who later found the perfect solution for this dilemma.

    Sondra Burrows explained to HuffPost Live on Wednesday that her mother’s constant nagging inspired her to seek a sports scholarship for video gaming from Robert Morris University in Illinois.

    She explained that after she was awarded the scholarship, her aunt called her and said, “‘You know, it usually takes until someone’s 30 to be able to tell your parents or relatives ‘I told you so’ or anything like that. But you get to do it now. We used to tell your mom how you needed to get active and away from the computer, [how] it’s rotting your mind, but now it’s how you’re getting through school you’ve made a life for yourself.’”

    Burrows is one of 35 students to receive a scholarship at Robert Morris University for being on the League of Legends team, a competitive varsity eSports squad.

    Click here to learn more about video game scholarships and majors here.

    If you have an idea or want to be part of an On Campus segment on HuffPost Live, email oncampus@huffpostlive.com.

  • NASA Releases Stunning Space Photos To Kick Off The 'International Year Of Light'
    The United Nations has declared 2015 the International Year of Light in order to “highlight to the citizens of the world the importance of light and optical technologies in their lives, for their futures, and for the development of society.”

    NASA seems more than eager to help with the effort. It’s just released a set of spectacular photos (see below) taken by its Chandra X-Ray Observatory space telescope.

    “From a distant galaxy to the relatively nearby debris field of an exploded star, these images demonstrate the myriad ways that information about the universe is communicated to us through light,” the agency said.

    “CHANDRA”<br
    src=”http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/iyl_snr0519galazygif.gif” />

    When a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a
    satellite galaxy to the Milky Way, it left behind an expanding shell
    of debris called SNR 0519-69.0. Here, multimillion degree gas is seen
    in X-rays from Chandra (blue). The outer edge of the explosion (red)
    and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from Hubble.
    (
    target=”_hplink”>Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J.Hughes; Optical:
    NASA/STScI)

    “CHANDRA”<br
    src=”http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/iyl_m51galazygif.gif” />

    This galaxy, nicknamed the “Whirlpool,” is a spiral galaxy,
    like our Milky Way, located about 30 million light years from Earth.
    This composite image combines data collected at X-ray wavelengths by
    Chandra (purple), ultraviolet by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX,
    blue); visible light by Hubble (green), and infrared by Spitzer (red).
    (
    target=”_hplink”>Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech;
    Optical: NASA/STScI; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

    “CHANDRA”<br
    src=”http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/iyl_msh1162galaxygif.gif” />

    When X-rays, shown in blue, from Chandra and XMM-Newton are joined in this image with radio data from the Australia Telescope Compact Array (pink) and visible light data from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS, yellow), a new view of the region emerges. This object, known as MSH 11-62, contains an inner nebula of charged particles that could be an outflow from the dense spinning core left behind when a massive star exploded. (
    href=”http://www.chandra.si.edu/photo/2015/iyl/more.html”
    target=”_hplink”>Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO/P.Slane et al; Optical:
    DSS; Radio: CSIRO/ATNF/ATCA)

    “CHANDRA”<br
    src=”http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/iyl_cygagalaxygif.gif” />

    This galaxy, at a distance of some 700 million light years, contains a giant bubble filled with hot, X-ray emitting gas detected by Chandra (blue). Radio data from the NSF’s Very Large Array (red) reveal “hot spots” about 300,000 light years out from the center of the galaxy where powerful jets emanating from the galaxy’s supermassive black hole end. Visible light data (yellow) from both Hubble and the DSS complete this view. (
    href=”http://www.chandra.si.edu/photo/2015/iyl/more.html”
    target=”_hplink”>Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI;
    Radio: NSF/NRAO/AUI/VLA)

    “CHANDRA”<br
    src=”http://big.assets.huffingtonpost.com/iyl_rcw86galaxygif.gif” />

    This supernova remnant is the remains of an exploded star that may have been witnessed by Chinese astronomers almost 2,000 years ago. Modern telescopes have the advantage of observing this object in light that is completely invisible to the unaided human eye. This image combines X-rays from Chandra (pink and blue) along with visible emission from hydrogen atoms in the rim of the remnant, observed with the 0.9-m Curtis Schmidt telescope at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (yellow). (
    href=”http://www.chandra.si.edu/photo/2015/iyl/more.html”
    target=”_hplink”>Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/MIT/D.Castro et al, Optical:
    NOAO/AURA/NSF/CTIO)

Mobile Technology News, January 25, 2015

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.

  • Jimmy Fallon Explains The Reason For Netflix's Countdown Between Episodes
    Have you ever wondered why Netflix has that countdown between episodes? Well, that worrisome thought will never interrupt your binge-watching again.

    While writing his weekly “Thank You Notes,” Jimmy Fallon finally explained the reason for the streaming service’s timer. Apparently, Netflix does it just to mess with us. The company knows we’re going to keep watching, and they want us to know that they know.

    For the record, Netflix does give you the option to opt out of automatically playing the next episode. It’s currently available on a number of devices.

    But if you haven’t heard, the new season of “House of Cards” is coming out next month, and Netflix has plans to premiere up to 20 new shows or new seasons of original shows a year. So really, why bother?

    “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

  • Purposeful Transformation: Davos Conversations Advance the Journey
    The following is co-written with Cheryl Grise, EY Global Head of Strategy, and Professor Marc Ventresca, economic sociologist, University of Oxford.

    Listen carefully to the buzz during the World Economic Forum annual meeting this week and one thing is abundantly clear: Current global realities have changed the game for most firms. Today, corporate capacity for innovation and transformation is a critical imperative to survive – and to thrive. This is transformation beyond the delivery of better products or services. It is the ability to do business in fundamentally different ways, attuned to these new realities.

    In Davos this week, Sir Richard Branson joined Barclay’s CEO Antony Jenkins, Mondelez CEO Irene Rosenfeld, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Huffington Post President Arianna Huffington and EY Chairman Mark Weinberger for a discussion of purposeful transformation hosted by EY and the University of Oxford Saïd Business School in collaboration with the B Team. During the breakfast we unveiled initial findings from an EY – Oxford research collaboration, observing that senior executives are pioneering a portfolio of new tools and approaches that leverage purpose to spur and sustain innovation and growth.

    Our initial results point to the following trends, challenges and benefits of purpose-led transformation:

    1. There is an evolving view of the role of the corporation that increasingly emphasizes the corporation as a partner for societal well-being.
    In this period of increased inequality and austerity, leaders speak often about the corporation as both a source of shareholder value and a tool for addressing challenges.
    For many in our sample, the times point to a historically distinctive moment, when the institutional foundations of the corporation are contested. Their shared voice argues for a view of the corporation as a partner to address global challenges.

    Across industries and geographies, this focus is a move beyond harm reduction, or the corporation taking responsibility for externalities, to now having an active role in creating well-being. This tracks key shifts in the role of the corporation: from “value creation for its own sake” to “value creation without harm,” to now actively “building value for and with a wider set of stakeholders.”

    2. The corporate dialogue on purpose is louder and is changing.
    While “purpose” is certainly not new to conversations about commercial activity, more than ever it is dominating the conversation. Our initial findings reveal that pioneering executives are talking about purpose more and more and in different ways. This idiom is new, and consequential.

    We also observe an expansion from the traditional mission statement that predominantly focused on products and services (what companies do) and attributes such as trustworthiness and timeliness (how they do it) to corporations also articulating a broader purpose that is their reason for being (why they exist).

    This trend toward restating a corporation’s identity is grounded in an outward-facing declaration around their role in the global community. On the far end of a spectrum we observe companies fully restating their identity in the marketplace. We find this contemporary usage of “purpose” to be distinctive and promising as a source of corporate action.

    3. Executives are using a common language of purpose to engage stakeholders for corporate benefit.
    Pioneering CEOs and other senior leaders are speaking a language of purpose that engages employees and customers in new ways, inviting their insights for innovation. This is a language of open-sourced value creation among diverse constituents. It foregrounds “meaning” with an appeal to shared values that invite the extended group of stakeholders – employees, customers, suppliers, regulators and others – to recognize a stake in the growth path of a corporation. Making (shared) meaning in this way is critical work for leaders today.

    4. Purpose can be a lever driving innovation and transformation for growth.
    These pioneering senior leaders use a language of purpose that links firm innovation and renewal with contributing to addressing significant challenges – or providing for human well-being in ways that go beyond product lines and traditional competition. Taking a view that “purpose drives profits,” they seek to involve existing and new product/service lines in ways that achieve this broader purpose. They are also initiating purpose-led transformation journeys in their organizations, spanning from the brand identity through the business model, across business units and functions.

    5. There is an implementation gap: Purpose is underleveraged to focus and drive transformation.
    A broad cross-section of business professionals and thought leaders recognize the importance of integrated, humane purpose as a core decision-making lens driving core functions like strategy, business models and talent management. But they also report a gap between this recognition and the policy and practice in their organizations. Our research points to still uncharted territory where purpose reinforces innovation in offerings, business models and governance.

    Purpose has clear benefits

    Today “purpose” and more generally “values” and “meaning” are being considered as a strategic resource. Our initial findings indicate corporations are at various stages of a journey that explores or expands their institutional purpose – and then aligns strategy, business models and processes to execute.

    At the organizational level, executives recognize the more immediate benefits, such as providing competitive differentiation and increasing consumer sales and loyalty. It is also recognized as a useful tool to build trust in the wider marketplace.

    Embedded into the structure and operating model, institutional purpose may also enhance employee morale, attract talent, increase productivity and decrease attrition.

    Importantly, these CEOs anticipate that a purpose-led transformation will enhance organizational agility – i.e., their capacity to adapt to an increasingly dynamic, uncertain and interdependent macro business environment – and do so in a way that engages employees, customers and stakeholders to drive sustainable growth.

    These trends and benefits beg two key questions:
    Are we making the shift from a burning platform to a burning ambition enabled by a company’s purpose? Will this burning ambition be the new driving force helping corporations continually transform and innovate?

  • How The Uber Economy Can Become A Race To The Bottom
    Growth in on-demand services helps customers improve their lives by finding somebody else to clear out the garage, put up the shelves or run errands. But do the people handling your to-do list benefit as well?

    TaskRabbit founder and CEO Leah Busque is concerned that the deal may be one-sided. “In the last 12 to 18 months, I believe there has been a slippery slope of new companies that have formed in the name of on-demand services … that maybe aren’t having as much of a focus as they should on the worker,” she told The Huffington Post’s Jordan Jayson at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday.

    TaskRabbit is a website that links customers up with people ready to handle a wide range of small jobs.

    “Our whole premise was empowering a new generation of workers to be their own entrepreneurs, to build their own schedules, to set their own prices and accept and decline work,” Busque said.

    “If you build a services app without taking into consideration the quality of the lives you’re creating for those workers, then you’re completely missing the point of this whole industry,” she added. “I do believe it’s a slippery slope. It can become a race to the bottom, and we have a responsibility to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Fadi Chehade Explains The 'Powerful' Innovations Surrounding Domain Names Today
    Fadi Chehade, CEO of ICANN, explained how we “went from twenty-something” top domain names to hundreds thanks to one simple change.

    “The reality is, the more there are names, the less people will actually be hogging names in order to charge a lot for them,” Chehade told HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday. “Because if somebody took your name on dot X, you can go get another name on dot Y now.”

    Chehade also said the ability to type a web address in different languages like Arabic provides people with more power to obtain unique domain names.

    “These are powerful things we did,” he said. “To globalize the domain name system, to open it up, to allow for a lot of new innovation.”

    “Innovation will flourish on a broader domain name system,” he added.

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Eugene Kaspersky: Cybersecurity Criminals 'Are Getting More And More Professional'
    Eugene Kaspersky, founder of the Kaspersky Lab, said there’s both good and bad news about cybersecurity.

    The good news is that leaders are starting to understand the issues with cybersecurity a bit more. The bad news is that cybersecurity issues do still exist and can cause major damage.

    “It’s not the end of the revolution, and unfortunately the bad guys, the criminals — let’s say they’re criminals — they are getting more and more professional,” Kaspersky said.

    Kaspersky specifically weighed in on the recent Sony hack, saying the incident is going to force the U.S. government to better understand cybersecurity “bad guys.” He said he’s not convinced North Korea was behind the attack, saying he doesn’t “have any hard data to prove” that’s true.

    “It’s very easy to point a finger to the wrong direction,” Kaspersky said.

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • The Misery Of Facebook Stalking Distilled In Spot-On College Humor Music Video
    Facebook stalking can be a miserable — and misleading — experience.

    In this new College Humor music video, listen to the lament of a dude who stayed up (again) till 5 a.m. Facebook stalking his apparently “more successful friends.”

    “Jack’s got a house, Jane’s in Tangier, I made 11 thousand dollars last year, your girlfriend’s a 10 and mine’s not even real,” croons comedian Pat Regan, who later makes the startling discovery that his friends’ so-called “success” stories may actually be similarly illusory.

    See it all unfold in the music video above.

    H/T Viral Viral Videos

  • Standalone HBO Could Inspire Millions To Ditch Cable, Survey Says
    As many as 7 million people might cut the cord once HBO launches its new streaming service later this year. At least that’s how a market research firm read the numbers from its recent online survey.

    Such a mass exodus, if it were to occur, would be a huge blow to pay TV companies like Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV. About 100 million households in the U.S. subscribe to TV.

    But don’t set your timers to mass cable exodus just yet. The report from Dallas-based market researcher Parks Associates is based on an online survey of 10,000 people in U.S. homes with broadband access from late last year. And even Parks Associates suggests this drastic scenario might not actually happen.

    “Just because somebody says on a survey that they’re going to do something doesn’t mean they actually are,” Glenn Hower, a research analyst at Parks Associates, told The Huffington Post. “We have some doubts that 7 million households are going to say, ‘Well, I can get HBO so [I'm going to cut my cable] service.”‘

    For one, the network hasn’t released many details about HBO GO — including the critical detail of how much it will cost. For the survey, Parks Associates put the price at $14.99 per month, roughly the amount you pay if you add HBO onto your current TV package.

    Also, most people probably aren’t subscribing to a full TV package of hundreds of channels just to get HBO. They’re watching other programming like sports and on-demand programming they’d lose if they cut the cord.

    And, of course, the company that you pay for TV is likely the same company that you pay for Internet access. Many people may find it’s a greater value to subscribe to TV and Internet together — the “double play” — than to pay separately for Internet and a handful of streaming services.

    “It’s easy to say that you’re going to cancel your TV service, but then when consumers go and realize just how much they’ll be losing, I imagine they would balk at the loss of content,” Hower said.

    ReCode’s Peter Kafka put it a bit more bluntly. “It’s also possible that people who participate in Parks surveys have literally no idea what they’re talking about, are drunk, or believe they’re in an alternate universe,” he wrote.

    So 7 million cord cutters inspired by HBO alone might be a little high. But pay TV companies should still be concerned, Hower said. The cable bundle does appear to be loosening, and this year will be a banner year for streaming video. Online services from Netflix and Amazon continue to improve their programming and win awards. Netflix just reported another increase in subscribers, bringing its U.S. membership to over 37 million. Dish, the satellite TV company, recently announced that it will launch a $20-per-month online TV service with a slimmed-down package of channels that includes ESPN. And Showtime is expected to launch its own standalone streaming service later this year.

    Although subscriptions to pay TV aren’t in free fall, an increasing number of people, especially millennials, are cutting the cord, choosing to get their entertainment from a mix of online services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and iTunes.

    The number of households in the U.S. that don’t subscribe to TV but pay for broadband Internet grew to more than 10.5 million in the third quarter of last year, up 16 percent over the same period in 2012, according to research firm SNL Kagan.

    HBO, which declined to comment on the Parks Associates survey, has to find a tricky balance with its new service. The network makes a lot of money from people paying their cable company extra for HBO’s content. In 2013, it pulled in $1.68 billion in profit on $4.9 billion in revenue globally. The network also depends on the Comcasts and Time Warner Cables to market its channels to customers.

    When HBO announced the new service at an investor conference last fall, executives emphasized that it was going after the growing number of broadband-only homes, not existing pay TV subscribers, and that the standalone service shouldn’t threaten TV subscriptions.

    “I don’t think we’re going to cannibalize anything,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler said at the conference. “I think we have a tremendous opportunity to go after [new subscribers].”

  • Andrew McAfee: 'We Are In The Early Stages Of An Era Of Unbelievable Technological Progress'
    Andrew McAfee of the MIT Sloan School of Management stopped by HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday, where he spoke about the book he wrote with his colleague Erik Brynjolfsson called The Second Machine Age.

    “We are in the early stages of an era of unbelievable technological progress, really that we haven’t seen since the first machine age, which was the Industrial Revolution,” McAfee said said. “And we should all be optimistic about that.”

    McAfee did say he scratches his head wondering “as we get to a point where digital technologies acquire more and more abilities that used to belong to people alone, are we at a point where the destruction is going to outpace the creation, and if so, what should we do about that?”

    See more of McAfee’s discussion above, and below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Microsoft Exec Reveals 'Wow' Technology
    Microsoft International President Jean-Philippe Courtois didn’t hesitate when asked what new technology makes him say, “Wow.”

    “We presented something very cool. It’s called HoloLens,” he told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Saturday. “This is the very first holographic computer, which enables you to be in this place … and have this wearable which is not just a pair of glasses. It actually provides you access to mixed reality,” Courtois said.

    Mixed reality, he added, is “a way you can actually interact with 3-D holograms.”

    HoloLens wearers will be able to use the device for everything from trying on clothing to exploring other planets, according to Microsoft. Through a partnership with NASA, the company said, HoloLens will let you virtually travel to Mars.

    The HoloLens is “going to have a huge impact because developers are going to build a lot of new applications enabling people to do great stuff together,” Courtois predicted.

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • At Davos, Technology CEOs Discuss the Digital Economy
    Davos: One of the most anticipated discussions at this year’s meeting was the plenary session on The Digital Economy. Given that I wrote the book that coined that term 20 years ago, I attended with great interest.

    On the panel were Google chairman Eric Schmidt, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

    Unfortunately, the group didn’t really explore the state of the digital economy, but rather centered on all the great things technology is doing around the world. The discussion started on this bright note when the moderator asked whether each panelist was optimistic or pessimistic about the impact of technology on society. To this group the question was a rhetorical one, and predictably all panelists expressed great enthusiasm for what has been accomplished and the great strides the future holds in store.

    They said that digital technologies used in areas from education to farming to healthcare have transformed communities and raised living standards around the world. As broadband capacity is rolled out to the four corners of the world, standards of living will increase even more.
    Facebook’s Sandberg talked about two brothers in a village in India where they could not go to hospitals, but once they got access to the Internet their lives improved. “There are many other stories and therefore I am optimistic. Technology is both creator and destroyer of jobs but I am a huge optimist,” she said.

    Sandberg did warn that without the proper measures, there is no guarantee that the benefits of technology would be distributed evenly. Policy-makers must take action to promote inclusion, otherwise women will not get the same opportunities. She noted that currently more than half the Internet’s content is in English and that women typically receive access to smartphones later than men.

    During the session I frequently felt that that neither the optimistic statements of hope or anecdotes of those whose lives have improved adequately dealt with the challenge of the digital economy. I was tempted to quote Bill Clinton: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

    The Digital Economy has become THE Economy. Yes, technology has created many wonders, but if we look at the macro level, the scorecard on economic results of technology are so far troublesome. Technology has unquestionably been at the heart of some negative developments including massive structural unemployment; growing social inequality where the benefits and wealth generated by technology have been asymmetrical; a fracturing of public discourse; and the loss of privacy and the rise of a surveillance society to name a few.

    The panel touched superficially on several issues, such as unemployment. For the first time in history, economic growth is not generating a meaningful number of new jobs. Factor in the hangover from the financial collapse of 2008 and we’re witnessing youth unemployment levels across the western world from 15 to 60 percent.

    But panelists said that this was a temporary problem and not a structural problem. Such creative destruction has happened at various junctures in history. Google’s Eric Schmidt argued that: “Almost all of the problems we debate can be solved by more broadband connectivity.” He cited broadband as the key public policy initiative that can promote social benefits ranging from good governance to education to human rights.

    Microsoft’s Nadella agreed, saying that in the industry “there’s a consensus that low-cost bandwidth is a must.”

    Vodaphone’s Colao likened the digital economy to a movie. “I can tell you that this is just the beginning of a great story, it is like a movie. We are at the beginning of something amazing. In Turkey, we have farmers who are using our technology and 50 per cent of them are women. Then there is education of teachers in Africa..

    “The last scene of this movie should be around 10-15 years,” he added, but that steps must be taken to ensure all members of society benefit from technology’s arrival. “We need to see the benefit of technology and make sure that this movie gets a happy ending.”

    Looking ahead, Schmidt offered one prediction regarding the future of the Internet, namely that “the Internet will disappear.” He predicted that the growth of smart devices and the Internet of things in the years ahead will eliminate the barrier between being online and offline.

    Schmidt, a thoughtful observer of the big changes on the digital age compared the current disruptions to jobs and the economy with other convulsive technology revolutions in history that have caused massive, if temporary problems in society. “Is it different this time?” That would have been a great question to debate.

    We need the leaders of the technology industry to step up and start to frankly address the big problems of the digital economy — problems that are rooted in technology. Enough extolling the virtues of technology. Let’s start to build the partnerships between business, government and the civil society that can forge a new framework and action plan for ensuring that the smaller world our kids inherit is a better one.

    Don Tapscott is with the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and CEO of The Tapscott Group. His most recent book is The Digital Economy: Anniversary Edition and he is a senior adviser to the World Economic Forum.

  • Achieving Inclusive Growth in the Digital Age: A Global Imperative

    All around us, we can see how digital technologies are transforming the economies in which we live, the cities we inhabit, the way we learn, and the lives we lead. Experience shows that growth and change in the digital age are faster and more pervasive than ever before, affecting more people at greater speed than was possible with previous generations of technology.

    However, as the global economic recovery continues, a concern has begun to emerge in countries across the world. It’s that while growth — supported by digital technologies — has returned, many people feel the resulting benefits are passing them by, and failing to directly affect them and their families. The underlying risk is that exclusion from digital advances may extend into exclusion from social and economic opportunities, leaving millions of people effectively locked out of the next phase of global growth and development.

    In my view, ensuring that growth in the digital age benefits populations across the world is one of the biggest issues facing mankind today. It’s also a challenge that I believe global business and governments have a responsibility to address. Success will demand sustained effort from many parties worldwide, and while we at PwC don’t pretend to have all the answers, we’re determined to play our part. And our shared goal should be to create a world where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the digital age on more equal terms.

    It’s an objective that’s easy to state, but whose boundaries are hard to define — owing to the vast array of elements it involves. From microfinance to mobile communications in emerging countries; from eHealthcare to mobile banking; from smart cities to government services delivered over the web — all these components will play a role. But arguably the most important factor in creating equal access to digital opportunities is education, a space where technology is opening up new possibilities and capabilities by the day.

    This is an area that we at PwC take extremely seriously — and where we’re devoting substantial time and resources worldwide. Take the US, where youth education is a huge issue. In 2012 our US firm launched ‘Earn Your Future,’ a multi-year US$160 million investment consisting of US$60 million in cash and one million service hours, devoting the time and talents of our 39,000 people across the US to benefit more than 2.5 million students and educators.

    This is just one of many educational initiatives that we’re undertaking. And a common focus of these efforts is around finding new and better ways to harness, apply and fund digital technologies in education — and then to carry the benefits forward as students graduate into the workforce. With this latter goal in mind, our global ‘Adapt to Survive’ project has united the two most comprehensive sources of talent data in the world — the real-time behaviors drawn from LinkedIn’s 277 million members, and employer information from PwC’s Saratoga database of people and performance metrics — to create a ‘Talent Adaptability Score’ that evaluates a country’s ability to match talent with opportunity.

    So, what have our efforts to improve access to education and opportunity taught us? I’d like to highlight three insights. The first is that the next step in the evolution of education will be the weaving-in of technology into the social fabric of the educational process, with all stakeholders — teachers, administration and parents — fully committed to improving access and outcomes through digital integration. This advance is more imminent in some countries than others, but needs to be pursued everywhere.

    The second insight is around the resources needed to enable digital progress. As my ongoing conversations with people across education and technology consistently underline, the full power of digital technology to support learning and equality of opportunity can only be realized if sufficient investment is forthcoming. And this investment requires a clear and robust business case. So an ability to measure the tangible impacts of investments in education — including the benefits both for business and also for society as a whole — is critical. Again, this is an area where we’re actively developing new tools and approaches.

    Third, as digitization continues to advance, the working environment that today’s students will join is changing radically and irreversibly — heralding sweeping change in employment opportunities and major dilemmas for employers. For example, millennial recruits are ambitious, tech-savvy and self-confident, expecting to advance rapidly to senior management positions. But their older colleagues are working longer. So, as companies grow and opportunities emerge, who’ll get the top jobs? Organizations need to work out how they’ll answer such questions.

    As the world faces up to a new era of digitally-enabled growth, it’s entering uncharted territory — and the danger is that the benefits will flow to the few at the expense of the many. In my view, such a world would be neither fair nor sustainable. Across education and a host of other fields, let’s work together to ensure that growth in the digital age is inclusive — for the good of us all.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum to mark the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2015 (in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan. 21-24). The Forum’s Strategic Partner community comprises a select group of leading global companies representing diverse regions and industries that have been selected for their alignment with the Forum’s commitment to improving the state of the world. Read all the posts in the series here.

  • Ron Bruder: 'There's A Social And Structural Barrier' Toward Women
    Education for Employment’s president and CEO Jamie McAuliffe, along with founder and chair Ron Bruder, sat down with HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday where they discussed youth unemployment.

    Bruder said EFE particularly aims to help women.

    “We strive to have the majority of our graduates female,” he said said.

    “I don’t think there’s an official barrier but there’s a social and structural barrier in a lot of these countries toward women,” Bruder added.

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Microsoft's Brad Smith: U.S. Laws On Technology Are Outdated
    Microsoft’s Brad Smith joined HuffPost Live at Davos on Saturday to discuss the importance of online security and privacy.

    “2015 needs to be a year for new solutions, and that’s what we’re proposing. We do need new laws in the United States and in Europe,” Smith said. “We’re trying to manage 21st century technology issues with laws that were written in the ’80s and ’90s.”

    Smith said people need to feel comfortable about their online privacy, noting users won’t put online data in a place they don’t trust, just like they wouldn’t deposit money at a bank they didn’t find stable.

    “In some sense, we’re the next generation of banks,” Smith said.

    Smith said lawmakers in the U.S. and Europe need to discuss how to increase online privacy while still providing law enforcement with information they need. He said the hardest part about dealing with a hacking crime is identifying and finding a hacker.

    “Our prisons are not full of hackers,” Smith said, noting hackers are often in countries outside the U.S.

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
    There wasn’t much to laugh about this week after the House of Representatives passed an anti-abortion bill on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Thursday. But Jessica Misener lightened the mood a bit with a genius thought and potential coping strategy: “Free idea: capri suns filled with wine.” Take note, Trader Joe’s.

    Sarah Miller threw one out for all the proud childfree ladies when she tweeted, “That lady who thinks life without kids is meaningless has clearly never watched downton abbey alone in the bathtub.” Preach.

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

    Kim Kardashian’s personal brand:
    1) family first
    2) sex is great
    3) look fly 100% of the time

    She is a perfect person + you all are NOTHING

    — Jazmine Hughes (@jazzedloon) January 20, 2015

    That lady who thinks life without kids is meaningless has clearly never watched downton abbey alone in the bathtub

    — sarah miller (@sarahlovescali) January 20, 2015

    So lazy I just Googled “should you sleep in bra” to see if it might be good for you. Looks like no effect either way so I’ll take it off now

    — Caity Weaver (@caityweaver) January 20, 2015

    free idea: capri suns filled with wine

    — Jessica Misener (@jessmisener) January 20, 2015

    1. Having drinks with a friend who insists ‘hasn’t killed people’ and ‘doesn’t call feminists cunts’ is too low a bar for who I will date.

    — Elissa Shevinsky (@ElissaBeth) January 20, 2015

    amazing discussion of “basic” vs Jane Austen’s “common” going on amongst English PhDs in my FB feed BE JEALOUS

    — Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) January 20, 2015

    i only go on ebay after i smoke pot that way i’m always the highest bidder thank you check please

    — lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren) January 22, 2015

    you: *goes ham in the club*
    me: *eats prosciutto at home*

    — Alexis Wilkinson (@OhGodItsAlexis) January 22, 2015

    sex can be pretty enjoyable, once the other person stops laughing

    — Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) January 23, 2015

    “Ask your doctor about how the Keystone Pipeline can help you.”

    — Anna Holmes (@AnnaHolmes) January 21, 2015

    17 years later, still relevant to my feminism. pic.twitter.com/f472O7efl0

    — Ella Cerón (@ellaceron) January 23, 2015

    The only people I know who have a totally different concept of how big an inch is would be every hairdresser and also all guys

    — Michelle Markowitz (@michmarkowitz) January 23, 2015

    You can tell how old people are by the number of sounds they make as they sit down

    — Michelle Wolf (@michelleisawolf) January 18, 2015

    k fine I guess “happy birthday, legal abortion!” isn’t ironic in a good way.

    — Amanda Duberman (@AmandaDuberman) January 22, 2015

    “I love being home. But I don’t like being left behind”– Beth in Little Women as she dies/me when I bail on dinner plans

    — Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) January 21, 2015

    Be a dear and pass me my shotgun, Sugar.

    — Vodka n Tots (@Vodkantots) January 23, 2015

    *Tries to blow breathalyzer*

    breathalyzer: I have a girlfriend

    — Amanda Hugnkiss (@caliluvgirl77) January 23, 2015

    Sometimes when I’m eating a tub of ice cream and crying about being alone forever, I put on lipgloss because it makes me feel fancy.

    — Sasshole (@RidiculousSheri) January 23, 2015

    “If you love something set it free”
    [Takes dog's leash off] Go on fella, you’re free now
    [Throws a rock] GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE I LOVE YOU

    — Brennadine (@brennadine) January 21, 2015

    Fun drinking game: Have a drink, then put all of your feelings on the internet.

    — moody monday (@mdob11) January 21, 2015

    New #SOTU game: @ErnestMoniz or Beethoven? You decide. pic.twitter.com/alXnarCzkY

    — Jess Ruzic (@ruzatar) January 21, 2015

  • Using Twitter To Track Down Heart Disease
    pacific standard
    By Tom Jacobs

    Why does one community have higher levels of heart disease than another? Some of the reasons are obvious, such as income and education levels or local eating and exercise norms.

    But as epidemiologists have long argued, other likely factors are more ephemeral. Among them: how angry or content the residents tend to feel, and whether the environment fosters a sense of social connectedness.

    Measuring such things is tough, but newly published research reports telling indicators can be found in bursts of 140 characters or less. Examining data on a county-by-county basis, it finds a strong connection between two seemingly disparate factors: deaths caused by the narrowing and hardening of coronary arteries and the language residents use on their Twitter accounts.

    “Given that the typical Twitter user is younger (median age 31) than the typical person at risk for atherosclerotic heart disease, it is not obvious why Twitter language should track heart disease mortality,” writes a research team led by Johannes Eichstaedt and Hansen Andrew Schwartz of the University of Pennsylvania. “The people tweeting are not the people dying. However, the tweets of younger adults may disclose characteristics of their community, reflecting a shared economic, physical, and psychological environment.”

    The researchers analyzed 148 million messages tweeted from 1,347 American counties between June 2009 and March 2010. Emotional language was measured in two ways: the use of common terms associated with concepts such as anger, anxiety, and “positive and negative social relationships” and clusters of words reflecting certain attitudes and topics, including hostility and aggression, boredom and fatigue, optimism, and positive experiences.

    This information was compared with county-level, age-adjusted mortality rates for atherosclerotic heart disease, as well as such factors as median income, high school and college graduation rates, and the prevalence of known risk factors like diabetes, obesity, and smoking.

    The key results: “Greater usage of anger, negative-relationship, negative-emotion, and disengagement words was significantly correlated with greater age-adjusted AHD mortality,” the researchers report.

    On the other side of the equation, “Greater use of positive emotion and engagement words was associated with lower AHD mortality,” they write. “Use of engagement words remained significantly protective after controlling for socioeconomic status.”

    Similar associations were found for the aforementioned word clusters, with themes of hostility, aggression, hate, and boredom/fatigue associated with higher levels of atherosclerotic heart disease deaths, and references to positive experiences and optimism related to lower levels.

    “Engagement (that is, participation in community activities), which has long been considered an important component of successful aging, emerged as the strongest protective factor in our study,” the researchers add.

    These results support the notion that social media can be a very useful research tool. As the researchers put it: “The language of Twitter may be window into the aggregated and powerful effects of the community context.”

    Perhaps more importantly to the average person, they also point to a truth we sometimes forget: Living among the perpetually enraged or chronically disengaged may be hazardous to your health.

Mobile Technology News, January 24, 2015

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.

  • Many Small Steps for a Man, Giant Leaps for Tech: CES 2015 Highlights
    2015-01-24-CES_techstuff_12215_539_332_c1.jpg

    The International Consumer Electronics Show ( CES ) in Las Vegas is like the white whale in Moby Dick: Every time you hear about it, it’s getting bigger; you have to travel through oceans of information to grasp it, and if you don’t pay close attention it will upend everything before you even know what happened.

    This year’s convention, which took place Jan. 6-9, hosted some 170,000 attendees and about 3,600 exhibitors, with themed areas (i.e. fitness, wearables, privacy, home security) and branded aisles showcasing French, Israeli, Korean and Chinese tech with more exhibition space than ever. My iPhone6 health app registered an average of 18,000 steps a day at CES (by contrast on the Sunday after I returned home, I tracked a much more modest 2,000). But enough about my aching feet, let me tell you about CES 2015:

    Some broad strokes: Don’t buy a 4K (ultra high-def) TV yet; prices are coming down and will continue to do so (and actual 4K content is still limited). The laptop is back stronger than ever; Lenovo continues to dominate quality windows laptops at reasonable prices (for 2015 there is a gorgeous Lenovo X1 Carbon Ultrabook (3rd Gen), new T models Thinkpads with redesigned keyboards and a Thinkpad Yoga line with an ingenious retractable keyboard). 3-D Printing may prove its mettle in a surprising area: Food. 3-D printed deserts and chocolates were awesome! On the technology front, wireless power and charging seems to be on the horizon, although it is not clear which standard (Qi or other inductive systems) will predominate.

    Finally, high-definition or high-resolution sound is a growing phenomenon (apparently, it took until now to realize that compressed mp3s music files played on a phone or streamed sound awful). Several new music players capable of handling large music files (up to 24bit/192kHz) debuted at CES, promising improved sound, such as HIFIMan‘s HM-700 player ($179); Sony’s Walkman-like NWZ-A17SLV player ($299); and Neil Young’s category-defining Pono music player ($399), whose sound is clear and, actually, really good. At the higher end, Bang & Olufsen introduced their version of Sonos: BeoSound Moment, a $4,000 intelligent music-streaming device that features the first-ever wooden touch screen as well as a programming “Moodwheel.” Listening to these devices, you may never want to leave the “Hotel California.”

    2015-01-24-ces_PONO_12215.png

    As for price-is-no-object high-end home audiophile systems, although I spent some very pleasurable moments with McIntosh and Wadia, my serotonin receptors were most ablaze listening to systems from Metronome Technologie, a French company that makes even a mundane CD sound deeply personal and SOtM, a South Korean company, that made me feel I could hear each guitar or violin string being plucked.

    2015-01-24-ces_BEO_12215.png

    Although Apple does not show at CES, they have spawned whole industries of peripherals and accessories, such as smartphone and tablet cases, device-friendly backpacks, wireless speakers, headphones, and chargers. Among the standouts: The new Typo2 smartphone keyboard from Ryan Seacrest’s Typo.com; Trident cases (bio degradable, eco-friendly and extremely rugged); Loksak has a range of baggie-like devices to waterproof or shield your digital devices. Thule (of carrack fame) offers well-designed backpacks and camera bags; Monster showcased “The backfloat” ($169), a waterproof wireless speaker that – wait for it–floats! House of Marley (yeah mon, dat Marley) makes really well-thought-out and designed eco-friendly speakers. Vivitek makes the impressively compact Qumi Q5 HD wireless projector; Innergie continues to innovate in portable and car chargers; while Dart that makes a 4X smaller laptop charger.

    2015-01-24-ces_water_12215.png

    Bottom line: Here are my 5 takeaways from CES:

    1. It’s not about the TV, it’s about the OS (operating system).

    At CES there were miles of TVs, many of them 4K, some of them even 8K, all flat-screen, some curved, almost none 3-D. Among manufacturers, LG has doubled down on TVs, but the real battle is over TV software not hardware. Samsung is betting on its own OS, Tizen, which, as demonstrated, seems quite good, if not great. Great is Roku, which has now added Haier and Insignia to TLC and Hi-Sense as the list of TVs with Roku baked inside. For the cord-cutters Sling TV and Dish Network are launching a $20 a month, no commitment, no contract app that features ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, the Food Network, the Cartoon Network and the Disney Channel. There’s even a new TV specifically designed for AKs (alter-kakers) called Independa, that has embedded homecare services as well as video calls, emails and photo sharing, all enabled through a virtual personal assistant called “Angela.”

    2. VR (Virtual Reality) is for real.
    2015-01-24-ces_samsung_12215.png

    Samsung already has their version of a Virtual Reality headset, and other companies are launching low-cost versions, but Oculus Rift VR remains the gold standard as evidenced by their new demo, Crescent Bay, unveiled at CES. I was blown away by the potential for creativity in a medium that is immersive, 3-D, high definition and 360. I walked with dinosaurs, fought great battles, and traveled in great cities of the future – and no psychedelics were involved. Great tech needs great content, but there is no doubt, VR is coming
    .
    3. Cars become your dog.
    2015-01-24-ces_FO15_12215.png

    Once upon a time, cars were mechanical beasts you tamed or vessels that you piloted to your destination. Now cars are being marketed for their tech. VW, for example, will soon offer iPad-size digital dashboards on certain models. Mercedes showed off the F015 concept car, which includes windows that disappear and seating configurations that can change, including for when the car is in driverless operation. Toyota has a fuel cell car. BMW showcased an electric car that can park itself in a garage and return when beeped for. All of which means one thing: increasingly you control the car, even as it can control itself. You order it; you command it. The car is your (think word for female dog that rhymes with “itch” that can’t appear in a family-friendly publication).

    And if self-parking cars aren’t “Blade Runner” enough for you, there are some new personal transportation options, from cool-looking electric bikes like ProdecoTech’s Phantom ($1,200-$2,200, depending on the motor and battery size), and Acton’s Rocket motorized skates, to the IO Hawk (under $2,000), which looks like a cross between a skateboard and the base of a Segway, but is intuitively easy to move in any direction.
    2015-01-24-ces_hawk_12215.png

    4. It’s about being connected, not about the Internet of Things.

    Two years ago, everyone at CES was talking about harnessing big data from devices and the Internet of Things. This year was all about connecting: adding sensors, tracking features, Bluetooth and a USB charger, all with Smartphone interaction – often to items that you never imagined needed it, such as a Bluetooth toothbrush (Oral B); An e-cigarette from Smokio that calibrates your nicotine reduction; Breeze, a $99 breathometer; iPin ($50) an in-phone laser pointer; Deeper the wireless fish finder that attaches to your casting line; Tao, a sleek mouse-sized isometric exercise device; Blossom and Skydrop, smart sprinklers (a good idea in drought-ridden California); Lilypad, a smart wifi pool thermometer and UV sensor; The Anova Precision Sous Vide cooker ($179); Prizm, a pyramid shaped streaming music player ($169) that learns what music you like; Jamstik, a $99 wireless guitar and K-board, a smart keyboard, each of which can teach you to play.

    Phonotonic is a French brand that has created a baseball-sized polygon that creates music as you move with it or throw it around. iSketchnote is a pad and pen that allows you to draw on it, or paper, to capture your doodles digitally; Smartboards is a smart white board that allows digital capture as well as collaboration with users in remote locations. There was a sleep monitor from Beddit; Pansonic demoed a smart mirror that can help you choose your lipstick shade; Muse, a headband to calibrate your meditation; Belty, a smart belt from Emiota that not only has a tracker, but automatically loosens when you need it (dangerous for me!); Petnet, an intelligent pet feeder; ReSound, an app controlled hearing device; Ring (formerly Doorbot) a video doorbell; Wocket the smart wallet that turns its one card securely into any of credit, debit or loyalty cards; Trek-Connect, connected weatherproof and heating hiking books, and Digisoles, connected insoles.

    Even the stolid lightbulb has become a hub of innovation with LCD lights that can dim and or change color from companies such as (ColorSpree) and a smartphone mood lighting creation from LumiFi. Sony exhibited their Symphonic light bulb that contains a controllable music speaker. Or consider that toolmaker Ryobi has a set of add-ons that can turn your phone into a laser level, a pointer, a stud-finder, moisture level, infrared thermometer and a inspection scope. Intel even showcased a 3-D printed Anouk Wipprecht smart “Spider” dress that has extensions that can deploy (disclosure: I have done corporate work for Intel on other products).

    Speaking of wearables, of which there were football fields-worth at CES (if you can do it, there’s a band to measure it), Epson has teamed with Los Angeles celebrity trainer Gunnar Peterson for Pulsense, their tracker trainer. Skulpt is a $199 indiegogo-funded device that measures body fat and muscle quality on a spot basis.

    On the plus side, although the computer on a wrist category has never held much interest for me, I was pleasantly wowed by Puls (i.am+), from Entertainer/Entrpreneur Will.i.am (full disclosure: I have worked for Will.i.am on content-related projects). More cuff than watch, the $399 device is its own phone, and features a clock, calendar, maps, mail, text, pics, music, health info and a Siri-like personal digital assistant called Aneeda. Available by invitation only (and I hear that a second version based on user feedback could be out as early as next summer). #i.am.impressed.
    2015-01-24-ces_puls2_12215.png
    5. Your Youtube and podcast career awaits.

    When the Kinks sang: “Everybody’s a dreamer, everybody’s a star/and everybody’s in movies, doesn’t matter who you are,” little did they foresee of today’s YouTube, Vine and Snapchat stars and all the new tech aimed at simpler video creation, such as the HTC Re, a 16 megapixel Digital Camera that looks somewhat like a periscope, Polaroid’s Cube, a low-cost choice, and Giroptic, billed as “the world’s first full HD 360 Camera,”($499); smartphone controlled LED light LumeCube; as well as the IRigMic Field, a HD stereo recording device for iPad and iPhone; and Cerevo’s LiveWedge, which allows you to broadcast live video on the internet without a computer. Expect this category to expand as podcasting, livecasting, and video creation proliferate in 2015.

    At the end of my journey of many steps, I can say with certainty that if we, as humans, don’t seem to be getting any smarter, there is some comfort in the fact that at least our devices are.

  • Meet 'Teacher,' The Futuristic Machine That's Going To Show You How To Draw
    Before we the design world knows it, skyscrapers will rotate, dresses will be 4-D printed, and bridges will be non-orientable. Oh, and tiny machines will teach us all how to draw. Welcome to the future!

    The aforementioned machine comes courtesy of Saurabh Datta, a student at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. He produced “Teacher,” a wearable piece of robotics that gently forces your arm into the motions of drawing simple shapes. For the science nerds, his creation involves force feedback and haptic response systems (think of the technology involved in video game joysticks and computer mice). For those not familiar with the essential elements of haptic devices, Datta explained the inspiration for “Teacher” in simpler terms:

    “I remember when I started first learning alphabets my teachers used to hold my hand with the pen and trace on the paper multiple times, the letters. After letting me go I would do it over and over again and finally it achieved a muscle memory and I could do it by myself. I’m taking this metaphor of the importance of holding hands when learning a new skill.”

    “Teacher” is similar to Datta’s previous work with “Forced Fingers.”

    So far, there have been three iterations of “Teacher,” prototypes made by salvaging printers and reusing their encoders with Arduino, plus a few EMG nodes. The three tiny teachers demonstrate the possibility of machine-led instruction — a relationship between humans and technology that would rely on a person’s ability to let the machine take control in some instances. For Datta though, the perfect scenario would involve both learning and teaching from robotics.

    “We can be better in designing an enabling system rather than just service robots, systems that allow us to do things ourselves better or making us better in certain things rather than doing it for us all the time.”

    “The whole notion is to understand when machines start knowing more about you and they start showing that to you as feedback,” Datta adds on his website. “Sometimes [feedback] may appear against our will, how do you act upon it? On one hand it can act as a a teacher and on the other it might appear as machines are operating us.”

    teacher
    “Now you can strap you hand in and move you wrist along with the fingers and the machine record the movement,” Datta writes in a statement online. “Next it repeats the motion and forces your hand and wrist to go to those previous positions creating a machine rhythm.”

    You can see a preview of “Teacher” in all its glory in the two videos above and below. Datta recently unveiled his work at the 9th International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction at Stanford University, so we can’t wait to see where “Teacher” ends up. For more on Datta, check out his past project — a smart umbrella that allows users to check levels of pollution in the atmosphere. Like we said, welcome to the future.

  • Weekend Roundup: One Year On, The WorldPost Has 28 Million Monthly Views
    The WorldPost was launched one year ago in Davos. It was born out of a contradiction and a paradox.

    The contradiction is that while the world is growing more interdependent, the media is fragmenting — re-nationalizing, re-localizing and even tribalizing. The resulting paradox is that the information age is becoming the age of non-communication across boundaries — political, cultural and ideological.

    The aim of The WorldPost is to help bridge this growing chasm by becoming a platform where the whole world meets; a common zone where cross-pollination of ideas and perspectives from all corners of the planet can take place.

    To achieve this aim, The WorldPost strives for a global viewpoint looking around, not a national perspective looking out. Along with intelligent curation of the global news and original reportage, what distinguishes us, above all, are the first person global voices of our contributors. Every week, they weigh in as events break from Havana to Beijing, from Moscow to Mexico City, Paris, New Delhi and Abuja among so many other places.

    The WorldPost seems to have met an outstanding need. Thanks to you, one year later we have reached 28 million monthly views. We’ve shown that the message can catch up to the medium if we put our minds to it.

    On Tuesday we will formally mark our one year anniversary by releasing the “WorldPost Voices” app that will allow you to directly access our blog posts. In addition, our navigation bar at the top of the page will from now on allow you to link to all Huffington Post’s 13 international editions, from Brazil to Germany to India to Japan and more.

    It has often been said that the Internet is a “global thinking circuit.” It is global and it is a circuit, but it is not “thinking.” The WorldPost mission is to foster such a connected consciousness for our wired world.

    As the 2015 meeting of the annual World Economic Forum convened in Davos this week, The WorldPost focused on the global economy. The governor of India’s central bank, Raghuram Rajan, says the world is poised to stagnate in the year ahead with slow growth in the U.S. and the U.K. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde also warns that 2015 is a “make-or-break year” to move from “fragility” to “stability.” Oxfam Executive Director Winnie Byanyima argues that unless measures are taken to stem inequality, the wealth of the top 1 percent will “overtake” the combined wealth of the next 99 percent. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim points out that falling oil prices have created a global opportunity to put a price on carbon without hurting economic growth.

    Closer to the home, Anne-Marie Slaughter promotes the “care economy” in which family and work life can be more integrated through the new flexibility created by technology.

    Moroccan journalist Ahmed Benchemsi writes that the cosmopolitan “Arab Spring” demographic is still alive despite the image of religious battles overtaking the Middle East. Yousaf Butt traces the roots of Islamist terrorism to Saudi Wahhabism. Philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo recalls the legacy of Muslim activist Abdul Ghaffar Khan, who shared Gandhi’s commitment to non-violence and religious pluralism. Abdullah Gül, who just stepped down as Turkey’s president, writes from Ankara that we shouldn’t forget the “good things” happening in the Middle East as a result of multilateral efforts, including disarming Syria’s chemical weapons.

    WorldPost Senior Editor Kathleen Miles reports on Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s call for the modernization of Islam as a religion of peace and development, not violence. From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that Human Rights Watch accuses Egypt of “rampant torture and abuse in Egyptian prisons.” Writing from Jerusalem, eminent military historian Martin van Creveld says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing the “Jewish-American card” for political reasons in the upcoming election, not because of the Iranian threat.

    Writing from New Delhi, Vivek Wadhwa says that a new “technological boom” is underway in India. Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt defends his company’s digital dominance, noting that “competition is just one click away.” Xiao Qiang and Sophie Beach of China Digital Times recount the cat and mouse game in 2014 between Chinese censors and netizens. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reviews a new film by Jia Zhangke titled “Smog Journeys.” He also writes about “the most sought after man at Davos”: Alibaba’s Jack Ma.

    In this week’s Forgotten Fact series, The WorldPost turns to Nigeria and Boko Haram to examine how the group’s Islamist extremists have left northeast Nigeria in ruins.

    Writing from Mexico City, poet and environmentalist Homero Aridjis recalls the world’s “discovery” 40 years ago of the monarch butterfly winter habitat in his home state of Michoacan and worries now about its survival. Writing from Havana, Orlando Márquez Hidalgo insists that Cuba can both tame capitalism and respect liberty. Also writing from Havana, digital dissident Miriam Celaya calls on her fellow critics to shift from a belligerent stance to one embracing Cuba’s evolving openness.

    French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy writes from Paris that Michel Houellebecq is neither an Islamophobe or a hero, but a novelist who shouldn’t be confused with his characters. We also published Levy’s remarks to the U.N. General Assembly this week on the resurgence of anti-Semitism.

    As election day approaches in Greece, HuffPost Greece’s editor-at-large Pavlos Tsimas writes from Athens and breaks down seven key points to understanding that country’s crucial election. The WorldPost also looks at what the Greek vote means for the rest of the world.

    Finally, Fusion — a new partner of The WorldPost — offers a short video on the remarkable story of four undocumented teens from Phoenix beating MIT in a robotics competition.

    WHO WE ARE

    EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is the National Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s editorial coverage. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s Senior World Editor. Charlotte Alfred and Nick Robins-Early are Associate World Editors.

    CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

    EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

    CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

    The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

    Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

    ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

    From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.

    MISSION STATEMENT

    The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

    We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.

  • Apple takes majority of US phone activations in Q4
    Apple’s share of the US mobile phone market has nearly doubled following the release of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 in October, a new study has revealed. The report, by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, finds that the iPhone went from 28 percent of the market in the July-to-September quarter to just over 50 percent in the final three months of the year, an improvement even over the same time the year before, when the iPhone 5s was released.



  • Obama: More Women And Minorities Should Take On STEM, And This Student Is Proof
    An engineering student’s dedication to her field has earned her praise from the president.

    Camille Eddy, sophomore at Boise State University, was chosen to introduce president Obama for his speech at her college earlier this week, according to KTVB.com. While the mechanical engineering student, who is involved in various leadership positions and projects in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields, said she was “absolutely floored” to be awarded the opportunity, it was the president, who was wowed by her accomplishments.

    Camille’s done research for NASA, she’s got real job experience with industry partners, she’s the leader of your microgravity team, and by the way she’s only a sophomore,” Obama said during his speech on middle-class economics, applauding Eddy’s achievements, according to a statement from the White House. “She might have invented time travel by the time she’s done at Boise.”

    Indeed, the sophomore’s resume boasts many impressive accomplishments, including involvement with her school’s microgravity team — a group that is working to develop a method that will help astronauts gather rocks on asteroid missions, KTVB.com reported.

    It’s this engagement in the STEM field, the president says, that makes Eddy a role model for many young college students.

    “She’s a great example of why we’re encouraging more women and more minorities to study in high-paying fields that traditionally they haven’t always participated in — in math and science and engineering and technology,” Obama said during his speech. “Think about if we had as many young girls focused and aspiring to be scientists and astronauts and engineers. That’s a whole slew of talent that we want to make sure is on the field.”

    In addition to the praise Eddy received, Obama also signed the sophomore’s notes from her own introduction, Boise State Public Radio reported. Eddy says that the experience was one that will only motivate her in her future endeavors.

    It just gives me more fuel to go back to work,” she told the Idaho Statesman.

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  • Illinois Is Not Actually Requiring Students To Hand Over Their Facebook Passwords
    A barrage of news reports over the last week reported that Illinois students are now required to give schools the passwords to their social media accounts because of a new bill.

    The panic was brought on after the Triad Community Unit School District No. 2 in southern Illinois notified parents in a letter, obtained by Motherboard, that their children may be requested to provide their passwords.

    However, this is “clearly just a misinterpretation” of a new law enacted in the state, Ed Yohnka, spokesperson for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, told The Huffington Post.

    The bill in question, which took effect Jan. 1, expands a school’s responsibility to prevent cyberbullying. It says that if cyberbullying is reported to the school, school administrators can investigate the claim even if the cyberbullying occurred outside of school hours and buildings.

    In this way, the bill does extend schools’ reach into students’ online actions.

    “We opposed the bill because we thought that the grant of authority, or invitation to investigate, was overly broad,” Yohnka said.

    However, Yohnka explained, state Rep. Laura Fine, who led the bill, made it very clear that the bill would not allow schools to require that students hand over social media passwords.

    “The intention of the bill is just to help kids. We want to give them the best experience and the safest experience in schools,” Fine told HuffPost.

    Fine said she created the bill after speaking with parents and child psychologists about the effects of cyberbullying.

    “We have kids who are bullied on Facebook, through text messages. It’s happening on the weekend or at night, and they’re scared to go to school the next day,” Fine said. Parents told her that when they went to schools to get help, they were told that schools could not investigate bullying done outside of school.

    Under the new bill, parents can bring screenshots or other proof of cyberbullying to school administrators, who can then investigate using their existing bullying policies.

    “You can read the bill upside down and backwards; there is not one word about handing over a password,” Fine told HuffPost.

    In fact, a bill that took effect in Illinois Jan. 1, 2014, made it was unlawful for a school to request or require a student or parent to provide the school with social media passwords.

    “I think there’s some misinformation about [the new bill], because that’s been on the books for over a year,” Brian Schwartz, general counsel for the Illinois Principals Association, told HuffPost.

    Last year’s password bill says that the unlawfulness of requesting passwords does not apply when a school “has reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account on a social networking website contains evidence that the student has violated a school disciplinary rule or policy.”

    But this is not a broad exception. A school could only request passwords if there is ample evidence of a school rule being violated — such as a football player drinking alcohol. Moreover, students weren’t required to provide the passwords — schools were simply allowed to request them under these circumstances.

    “We’ve advised our members that it’s really something that should only be used in very dire circumstances, if ever,” Schwartz said.

    In a press release obtained by HuffPost, the Triad School District clarified that it was not requiring students to hand over their passwords. Rather, it was notifying parents in case the rare circumstances arose. It noted that it had not yet had occasion to request a password.

    “Certain media reports have taken the letter out of context and created an unnecessary controversy,” the press release states.

  • Taking A Break From Technology Can Get Your Creative Juices Flowing
    Taking a break from technology can actually help you to unlock your inner creativity.

    Filmmaker Tiffany Shlain takes a “tech Shabbat” every Saturday, she explained in a conversation with HuffPost Live’s Roy Sekoff at Davos on Friday. She and her family turn off all screens — computers, phones, tablets, televisions, etc. — every Friday night through Saturday night.

    When she returns to her electronic devices on Saturday night, she feels that her imagination is renewed. “I always feel so creative on Sunday,” Shlain said. “My mind has been daydreaming a lot on Saturday, being really kind of calm and time slows down.”

    As important as it is to unplug on special occasions and vacations, there’s something special for Shlain about having a regular break from technology. “For me, it’s knowing every week I get this day where there’s nothing coming at me so quickly and I get to just ruminate with the things already in my mind and with nature.”

    Below, live updates from the 2015 Davos Annual Meeting:

  • Phoenix Man Will Let You Sleep In The Trunk Of His Car For $85 A Night
    Steve Sasman isn’t grinding peoples’ gears. He’s for wheel.

    The Phoenix resident, a proud owner of a $118,000 Tesla Model S, has listed an airbed set up in the car’s trunk for rent on Airbnb, billing the combo as “the world’s first Tesla hotel.” For $85 a night, a maximum of 2 guests can “camp out” in the vehicle, armed with two battery-powered candles and the car’s audio system to set the mood.

    There’s just one catch: renters will have to vacate the car by 8 a.m., so Sasman can get to work.

    “I’ve already slept in this thing three times so why not let other people do it,” Sasman told Phoenix’s CBS5. He also vouched for the quality of the mattress, calling it “a premium air bed” that’s “top of the line” and “comes with linens.”

    Per his Airbnb listing, the twin bed itself is six-and-a-half feet long and 36 inches wide. “Sorry, no NBA players allowed,” the listing advises. There will also be no driving of the car bed, as guests will be “securely parked” in Sasman’s garage, with access to more conventional amenities in the attached condo, including a bathroom, shower, TV, and kitchen.

    Sounds… interesting. Or you could save some money and just buy a car bed for toddlers.

    Sasman is billing his Tesla as the “fastest hotel in the world,” although that particular honor might actually go to KLM’s refurbished jumbo jet, which was also available for rent on Airbnb for some time.

  • The Dark Web Commerce Stack, Or How to Eff Up the Net
    An interesting dive into how to transact in “Deep Web Marketplaces” by the folks at avc.com and USV.

    A deep web marketplace, like the recently departed Silk Road, is an Ebay of anonymous e-commerce. Other elements of the stack include:

    • Payments: Bitcoin
    • Transactional database: the blockchain
    • Non-transactional text database1: Pastebin (Images: Imgur; generic NoSQL database… I don’t know of one, so build on top of those, or left an exercise for an aspiring entrepreneur)
    • Networking: TOR
    • CDN: Bittorrent, Pirate Bay

    Could you could go down the list of Amazon Web Services and build p2p distributed versions of each service? I don’t see why not.

    Could you have a distributed version of Heroku/Amazon Web Services, an anonymous, distributed platform with all the services and APIs to create any app or marketplace from Ebay to Uber running in your browser or on your phone? I don’t see why not.

    Could you have a distributed p2p version of UPS like TOR, with people handing each other anonymous packages and delivering in some dead drop or to the holder of dollar bill number B12345678?

    Of course, that’s what they would do in an underworld network, or in a totalitarian state. Like samizdat publishing.

    Should we?

    There’s a constant ebb and flow between centralization (mainframes/AOL) and decentralization (PCs/Web) and back (Cloud/Facebook).

    Similarly there has been an ebb and flow from relatively anonymous Web protocols like Web, SMTP etc. to trusted IDs, Twitter/Facebook/SSH, and back with Bitcoin and dark web.

    There’s a dichotomy: A world where much of the communication, transactions, commerce have to be over a dark web would be a pretty effed up place, like one where people had to pass along literature through samizdat and do commerce in back alleys.

    And yet, it’s insane for someone like David Cameron to say the government needs the keys to everything and there can be no true dark web. If you had to put a back door in every communication or ecommerce system, impossible to believe anything would be safe against black hat hackers and foreign governments. And of course bad guys would always find a way around it. And there’s a free speech issue: what kind of world is it where you can’t have a private conversation in the safety of your own device? It’s unachievable, dangerous to try, and wrong.

    Every time you use control of legit platforms to achieve political goals, whether it’s against Falun Gong or Russia, you create demand for the dark web.

    If you don’t want people to use the dark net, don’t mess up the legit networks with back doors and warrantless wiretaps, ‘express lanes,’ censorship, using them for political pressure.

    Or people will create worse versions and route around you.


    1 Technically, these aren’t distributed in the same sense as the blockchain is. Many distributed apps and use cases could probably use them as a storage layer, though. For instance, to build a distributed p2p Uber, drivers could have an app that posts availability and reservation responses to a Pastebin type public space signed with their key, and riders could likewise post reservation requests. Perhaps there’s an opportunity for a NoSQL nontransactional distributed p2p database counterpart to the blockchain, which is transactional, strictly enforces no double-spend, but takes a long time to commit.

  • First HomeKit-ready products may not ship until spring
    The first home automation products based on Apple’s HomeKit platform probably won’t ship until spring, sources say. Reports note, for instance, that specifications weren’t issued to chipmakers until October, and that the MFI licensing program for HomeKit only began in November. More recently, chipmaker Broadcom has been working with some customers to develop HomeKit devices using an existing chip design, in lieu of it having fully-certified software ready.



  • Forget Tinder, 'Watchr' App Matches You Up Based On What TV Shows You Binge-Watch
    Is your chance of finding love … remote?

    So you’ve tried all the dating apps out there right? Tinder, Plenty Of Fish, Hinge, Bears & Pears, DateSPLOSION, 2 Match 2 Curious — okay, we made a few of those up, but you get the idea. There are so many and none of them are working. Besides, who has time for dating when there are so many TV shows you’re still not caught up on?

    With “Watchr,” a dating app parody from UCB Comedy’s Los Angeles Digital, you can find people who are completely right for you according to what shows you need to catch up on. Haven’t seen the last few episodes of “True Detective”? Boom, here’s a person with an HBO GO account, now let the romance blossom!

    There can be absolutely no downsides to this, we’re sure of it.

  • Emma Watson Says Women's Potential Is 'Astonishingly Untapped' In HeForShe Davos Speech
    Emma Watson followed up her September 2013 HeForShe address with another equally impassioned speech — this time at the World Economic Forum.

    On Jan. 23, the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador took the stage in Davos, Switzerland to speak about the HeForShe campaign, the influence it has had on her own life and the new initiative Impact 10x10x10. “Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented — their potential astonishingly untapped,” she told the crowd.

    The HeForShe campaign encourages men to join the movement towards achieving gender equality. As the campaign’s website reads, it “brings together one half of humanity in support of the other half of humanity, for the benefit of all.”

    In her speech, Watson describes the far-reaching impact the launch of the HeForSpeech campaign had. Her remarks from the September conference were watched over 11 million times, created 1.2 billion social media conversations and encouraged men from almost every country in the world to sign the HeForShe commitment.

    Watch Watson’s full speech at Davos here (story continues below video):

    The campaign has inspired many celebrities including Desmond Tutu, Hillary Clinton, Prince Harry and many more.

    “It is my belief that there is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, in our societies, in our governments and in our workplaces,” she said. “And they know that the world is being held back in every way because they are not.”

    Instead of engaging people on an individual level, like HeForShe’s original campaign, Impact10x10x10 is taking on bigger groups. The initiative is a one-year project that will engage businesses, universities and governments, and encourage them to make real commitments in order to achieve gender equality.

    .@EmWatson launched #HeforShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative! More+her full speech+images: http://t.co/zbFjELTZHU #wef15 pic.twitter.com/GzCmnp7rr8

    — UN Women (@UN_Women) January 23, 2015

    Watson addressed different groups of people throughout her speech, including CEOs of big businesses: “CEOs: Have you implemented the women’s empowerment principles in your own company? What change have you seen? Are you someone persuading men to become HeForShes and collecting their signatures for our website? How many have you got?” she asked. “We want to know. We want to hear from you.”

    “I’ve been stunned by the amount of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going,” she said. “And that they want to make sure their daughters will still be alive to see a world where women have parity, economically and politically.”

  • Obama Administration Reverses On Health Care Privacy Problem
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Bowing to privacy concerns, the Obama administration reversed itself Friday, scaling back the release of consumers’ personal information from the government’s health insurance website to private companies with a commercial interest in the data.

    The administration made the changes to HealthCare.gov after The Associated Press reported earlier this week that the website was quietly sending consumers’ personal data to companies that specialize in advertising and analyzing Internet data for performance and marketing. The personal details included age, income, ZIP code, tobacco use and whether a woman is pregnant.

    That prompted lawmakers to demand an explanation, while privacy advocates called on the administration to make changes.

    Analysis of the website Friday by the AP showed that the administration had made changes to reduce the outbound flow of personal information. Before that, the website was explicitly sending personal data to third-party sites.

    The site is used by millions to sign up for coverage under the health care law, or to merely browse for insurance plans in their communities.

    The changes were confirmed by Cooper Quintin, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. Quintin called it “a great first step,” but said the administration needs to do more.

    An administration spokesman did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.

    Officials of the Health and Human Services Department had at first defended their information-sharing practices, saying the outside companies only used the data to analyze the workings of HealthCare.gov and make improvements to the website that benefit consumers. There is no evidence that consumers’ personal information was misused, they said.

    Created under President Barack Obama’s health care law, HealthCare.gov is the online gateway to government-subsidized private insurance for people who lack coverage on the job. It serves 37 states, while the remaining states operate their own insurance markets. The privacy issue surfaced just as the president was calling for stronger Internet safeguards for consumers.

    Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called it “extremely concerning” for consumers. Grassley said Friday it’s still unclear how consumers’ information is being used.

    “People using HealthCare.gov should have the confidence that their information is secure and not being used for sales pitches by outside firms,” he said in a statement.

    Third-party outfits that track website performance are a standard part of e-commerce. It’s a lucrative business, helping Google, Facebook and others tailor ads to customers’ interests. Because your computer and mobile devices can be assigned an individual signature, profiles of Internet users can be pieced together, generating lists that have commercial value.

    Third-party sites embedded on HealthCare.gov can’t see your name, birth date or Social Security number. But they may be able to correlate the fact that your computer accessed the government website with your other Internet activities.

    Have you been researching a chronic illness like coronary artery blockage? Do you shop online for smoking-cessation aids? Are you investigating genetic markers for a certain type of breast cancer? Are you seeking help for financial problems, or for an addiction?

    Google told the AP this week it doesn’t allow its systems to target ads based on medical information.

    HealthCare.gov’s privacy policy says in boldface type that no “personally identifiable information” is collected by these Web measurement tools. That is a term defined in government regulations, but other personal details were being allowed through.

    Privacy advocates say the administration still needs to do more. The mere presence of connections to private companies on the website —even if they don’t explicitly receive personal data— should be examined because of their ability to reveal sensitive information about a user.

    Quintin, the tech expert with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said the health site should disable third-party tracking services for people who enable the “do not track” feature on their web browsers.

    “HealthCare.gov should meet good privacy standards for all its users,” he said.

    The administration is aiming to have more than 9 million people signed up by Feb. 15, the last day of open enrollment. Many consumers wait until the last minute to sign up.

    HealthCare.gov was crippled by serious technical problems when it made its debut in the fall of 2013. This year the website has worked much better, a marked contrast. But the privacy issues were a reminder that the site remains a work in progress, like the underlying law.

  • Bud Light Super Bowl Ad Traps Guy In Life-Size Pac-Man Game
    The unsuspecting dude in this year’s Bud Light Super Bowl ad doesn’t get to play ping-pong with Arnold Schwarzenegger, but he still has plenty of unexpected fun.

    Case in point: He navigates a life-size Pac-Man game as the crowd cheers him on.

    A 30-second Super Bowl ad is estimated to cost $4.5 million. This year’s Bud Light commercial, titled “Coin,” runs 90 seconds. When you’re the most popular beer in America, apparently you go big for America’s most popular sporting event.

  • Is Social Media in Financial Services a Friend or Foe?

    Social media regulation for the financial services is now a reality. But is this just another compliance hurdle, or does it offer several opportunities?

    When you bring together decision-makers and regulators to look at how social media can improve trust and transparency, and create rules that provide clarity and consumer focus, it helps to foster a collaborative relationship between the regulator and the industry. This is essential for navigating a somewhat uncertain landscape. At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos this year, social media expert David Kirkpatrick and European banking authority Huw van Steenis will come together to discuss this pressing issue in a global context.

    This shift is long overdue: the use of social media in the financial services sector has been held back by teams with a muddled view of what is compliant and safe. There is a tendency to think of social platforms as subject to the same controls as traditional corporate media relations, to believe they require managing by specific spokespeople, using largely pre-approved (by compliance as well as senior management) content.

    In fact, it is more helpful to liken social media to the experience of using email for the first time. What did companies do? They certainly didn’t say: “Let’s limit this tool to 10 individuals.” Instead they said: “Let’s train all our employees to use this tool as safely, efficiently and quickly as possible, and put the appropriate monitoring and controls in place to keep them and our firm safe.”

    There have always been unfortunate information leaks and public-relations gaffs via email, but few people suggest that companies should restrict the use of email. In fact, best practice and management tools have emerged, and as a result the majority of us have become skilled at using email. Social media is the same (sort of). The perceived technical “headache” is that it does not pass through corporate firewalls and filters, so monitoring and management is a bigger challenge. But it is a challenge that the technology industry is meeting. Greater clarity from the FCA would give companies more confidence to use social media to connect with consumers and start building trust.

    We are six years on from the banking crisis, yet last year 40% of customers stated that they were losing trust in the industry, according to a survey by Ernst & Young. Social media gives both consumers and companies a voice, and research indicates that CEOs with an online presence increase their trust factor.

    There are commercial imperatives for financial services firms, too:

    On social media, your consumer base is increasingly active, and you need to be as well. It is crucial that companies take the time to gain the skills to engage consumers authentically and appropriately. We all know it is not that cut and dried. There’s a reason why financial institutions haven’t engaged already: fear of the immediacy and uncontained nature of social media. Early mistakes, such as the mockery of JP Morgan on Twitter after followers were asked to send questions to #AskJPM, shouldn’t put firms off. PR mishaps happen every day, on and offline, but the last thing companies should do is communicate less.

    Social media offers the chance to reach out, not just to sceptical younger generations but also within organizations that have become constricted by departmental silos, making them less able to respond to changing customer demands and leaving them exposed to a range of conduct risks.

    The answer is company-wide training. Why haven’t firms invested in this? Because financial-services companies haven’t placed value on social media, viewing it as the reserve of the young: a fad, almost. Well email wasn’t a fad and nor is social media. It may look very different in five years’ time, but it’s not going anywhere.

    Companies that stop their employees using social media are ignoring the now almost universal penetration, in developed countries, of smartphones and tablet devices. The reality is that people will use social media both in and out of the office.

    There is an opportunity here for companies to seize the opportunity and get ahead of the curve; to improve profitability and manage their reputational risks. This can be achieved by developing collaborative relationships through and around social media, and by policy development between firms and the regulator; between IT, marketing, compliance and the C-suite; and between companies and their customers.

    The initiative I founded, called the Social Media Charter, has encouraged this in the UK, bringing businesses and regulators together to increase understanding and dialogue. We have developed guidance, training, benchmarking and, for the really committed, an integrated implementation process that will ensure companies can engage online in a compliant and safe manner.

    As more customers turn to social media to inform their choice of financial product, and to voice their concerns, this initiative provides a safe way to ensure your company is using social media effectively.

    This year marks a new chapter. Now all financial companies in London are talking about social media, but the business case is still being proven. Too often, social media sits with the digital experts rather than the senior business leaders. It’s time for that to change.

    The chance to innovate has genuinely arrived. No longer can regulation be used as a reason for fear of social media, instead with clear boundaries, the most successful firms will be the ones that harness this platform. We are sure to see more innovation in the next five years than has occurred in the last 20.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum to mark the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2015 (in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan. 21-24). The Forum’s Young Global Leaders community comprises extraordinary individuals between the ages of 30 and 40 who are united in a common commitment to shaping the global future. Read all the posts in the series here.

  • Your Car's Engine Roar Might Be Totally Fake (UPDATED)
    Do you feel really tough when you rev your engine and peel out of the driveway? Turns out that satisfying roar might all be a lie.

    “Fake engine noise has become one of the auto industry’s dirty little secrets,” says the Washington Post in a report published Wednesday.

    From the Post:

    Softer-sounding engines are actually a positive symbol of just how far engines and gas economy have progressed. But automakers say they resort to artifice because they understand a key car-buyer paradox: Drivers want all the force and fuel of a newer, better engine — but the classic sound of an old gas-guzzler.”

    Enhanced engine sounds aren’t exactly new. In 2012, Popular Mechanics explained that many automobiles included noise-amplifying components, like the Corvette’s valve system that “opens under full throttle and bypasses the muffler,” or the “noise pipes” of the Ford Mustang that links the vehicles intake system with the cabin.

    However, both Popular Mechanics and The Washington Post note some manufacturers are not merely enhancing the sound that’s already there, but actually playing back pre-recorded engine sounds to drivers. Both articles cite Volkswagen’s use of a device called the Soundaktor, which uses a speaker to play extra sound in cars that include the Beetle Turbo and the GTI. Car and Driver explains that with the Soundaktor, “an audio file is stored on the car’s computer and then played during certain throttle applications.”

    A 2012 YouTube video demonstrates the difference in engine sound with and without the Soundaktor:

    Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, told the Washington Post he feels it’s “deceptive” to use fake sound.

    “You’re fabricating the car’s sexiness,” he said. “You’re fabricating performance elements of the car that don’t actually exist. That just feels deceptive to me.”

    The real question is, if what you’re hearing is just pre-recorded sound, why stop with just classic engine noises? What if people want an engine that sounds like literal thunder? Or their favorite song? Could customized engine ringtones become the next big thing? Let us know what you think in the comments!

    UPDATE 1-23-2015: Daryll Harrison, Volkswagen Brand Public Relations Manager, sent the following statement to The Huffington Post:

    I think it’s important to note that Volkswagen’s Soundakator doesn’t create a “fake” sound, but rather, amplifies the already great sound coming from the engine compartment inside the cabin.

    Vehicles today have more insulated cabins to keep outside noise (inside the vehicle) to a minimum. The use of turbochargers also makes for quieter engines.

    Volkswagen recognizes this reality and uses the Soundakator in our performance-oriented models to not only to reinforce their sporty demeanor, but enhance the driving experience.

    H/T: Gawker

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  • Pinterest to open up more user data
    Pinterest is planning to tell advertisers more about what its users are posting in a bid to help target ads.
  • 9 Funny Someecards To End The Week With A Laugh
    We made it through another one, y’all!

    This week had its winners and losers. We’re gonna give the win to President Obama for having the one of the greatest SOTU one-liners of all time, and we’re gonna give the loss to the NFL because, seriously, another scandal?! Ugh, #deflategate.

    But really, we think you all deserve a victory for making it to Friday. Celebrate by feasting your eyes on the week’s best Someecards and LOL all the way into the weekend. TGIF, everyone!

  • Peers try to revive 'snooping law'
    UK net firms have criticised attempts to revive a “snoopers’ charter” by adding it into draft legislation currently before the House of Lords.

Mobile Technology News, January 20, 2015

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.

  • Thieves tunnel into Apple warehouse, abscond with treasure trove
    Last week in Beijing, three men tunneled underground into a warehouse belonging to an Apple distributor and were able to steal 240 of the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. The incident is just the latest in a series of crimes involving the latest iPhone — resulting in a nickname for the device that translates “Kidney 6,” in reference to a case in 2012 when a 17-year-old allowed one of his kidneys to be removed and sold so he could afford to buy an iPhone and iPad.



  • Poll: Apple best tech place to work, Cook best tech leader
    Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was — by a significant margin — the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.



  • Tinder Conversations In Real Life Will Make You Question The Future Of Dating In General
    Tinder messaging is like the Mad Max wasteland of social media conversation platforms.

    People on Tinder say basically whatever they want, because they can. They have nothing to lose. Is it possible that some Tinder users have genuinely found matches on the app? Sure, but there’s a reason more than 700,000 people subscribe to Tinder Nightmares.

    The good people at Good People Media have started a new series where they take actual Tinder conversations and set them in real life settings. After you watch “Episode 1: The Park” up top, check out “Episode 2: The Gym.”

    [Swipes right.]

  • Google Will Only Remove Search Results From European Websites Under 'Right To Be Forgotten'
    By Julia Fioretti
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google is only removing search results from European websites when individuals invoke their “right to be forgotten”, contrary to regulators’ guidelines, but will review that approach soon, the company’s chief legal officer said on Monday.
    The issue of how far the so-called right to be forgotten should extend has concentrated the minds of Europe’s privacy regulators since the continent’s top court ruled in May that individuals could have “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” information removed from search results.
    Google has consistently argued that it believes the ruling should only apply to its European websites, such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France.
    But the group of privacy watchdogs from EU countries, the Article 29 Working Party, concluded in November that they want search engines to scrub results globally because of the ease of switching from a European domain to Google.com.
    David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer, said the Internet giant’s approach had not changed since November and it would review it when a group of experts publishes a report on last year’s court judgment towards the end of this month.
    “We’ve had a basic approach, we’ve followed it, on this question we’ve made removals Europe-wide but not beyond,” he said at an event in Brussels on Monday.
    Between September and November, an advisory council, including a former German justice minister and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, held public meetings across Europe to debate the balance between privacy and the free flow of information.
    It is expected to publish a report with its conclusions at the end of January to help inform Google on its application of the ruling.
    “We’ll take that (the report), along with the Article 29 input and other input and arrive at an approach,” Drummond said.
    “It’s our strong view that there needs to be some way of limiting the concept, because it is a European concept.”
    Since the ruling in May, Google has received more than 200,000 requests from across Europe affecting over 700,000 URLs, according to its online transparency report.
    The EU’s privacy chiefs adopted a set of non-binding guidelines in November to ensure the ruling is applied consistently across the bloc’s 28 member states.
    Citizens whose removal requests have been refused by a search engine can appeal to their national data protection regulator, who can then take action against the company.
    On Friday, the Article 29 Working Party wrote to Microsoft, Yahoo and French search engine Qwant to remind them of the regulators’ view that results should be scrubbed across all relevant domains.

    (Editing by David Clarke)

  • Artificial Intelligence Super Mario Gets Hungry And Wants To Kill Goombas
    It’s me, Mario!

    Most of us might recognize the catchphrase from Nintendo’s famous video game franchise, but this time, Mario really means it.

    The Cognitive Modelling Group at University of Tübingen in Germany has made a self-aware Mario by creating artificial intelligence that allows the character to think for himself, according to a video created by the researchers. The team created the project, called “Mario Lives!” for an annual video competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, The Verge reports.

    In the video, Mario can be seen performing a variety of tasks and interacting directly with a player using voice commands. Mario also now has the ability to learn, the researchers explain. For example, the video shows someone explaining to Mario that he should jump on a Goomba, a recurring enemy, to kill it. Then, Mario is able to repeat back that if he jumps on a Goomba, “it certainly dies.”

    The AI Mario has even been given “inner emotive states” that allow him to express happiness, fear and even hunger — he eats coins when he’s feeling peckish.

    “As most of you know, this is Mario,” a researcher in the video explains. “But what you do not know is that this Mario has become aware of himself and his environment — at least to a certain extent.”

    “He starts out with knowledge of his body then registers additional context to his knowledge base,” he adds.

    To find out more about the Mario Lives! AI project, watch the video above.

  • Snowden Files Reveal British Spy Agency Saved Journalists' Emails: Guardian

    LONDON (AP) — The Guardian has reported that British spy agency GCHQ saved emails from journalists at BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major news organizations.

    The newspaper said Monday its information was based on an analysis of documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    The paper said the journalists’ emails were among 70,000 emails gathered in less than ten minutes in November, 2008. It said the information was gleaned from a GCHQ tap on fiber optic cables used for Internet communications.

    The newspaper said GCHQ also intercepted emails from Reuters, the Sun, NBC and the French newspaper Le Monde, and that the journalists’ emails were available on the spy agency’s intranet site. It did not say if the journalists were specifically targeted.

    The Guardian said some emails included correspondence between editors and reporters discussing stories.

    The newspaper made the disclosures as British editors are challenging the government’s call for increased Internet surveillance in a bid to prevent terrorism. Media companies and their lawyers are seeking more access to information and protection from government snooping.

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Security Services chief Andrew Parker have said in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France that Britain needs to strengthen its monitoring of Internet communications so it can learn of and disrupt terrorist plots.

    They also said encryption technologies are making their task more difficult. Britain’s national terror threat level is set as “severe,” indicating that police and intelligence agencies have evidence that an attack is highly likely.

    The increase in the threat level has been linked to the return to Britain and western Europe of hundreds of battle-hardened jihadis who have traveled to Syria to support Islamic extremists there.

    GCHQ told the newspaper its actions meet strict legal guidelines.

  • Down under hunger for online video
    Over 300,000 Aussies are skirting the law to watch online content
  • US 'tapped N Korea computers in 2010'
    The US began looking into North Korea’s computer network in 2010, reports claim
  • Another reason why physicians should pick iPhone, Medscape’s lack of urgency for Android

    Medscape’s lack of Android development shows why physicians are still better off with iPhone.

    The post Another reason why physicians should pick iPhone, Medscape’s lack of urgency for Android appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Fast and Affordable Broadband for Everyone
    According to a White House fact sheet, President Obama has announced “steps he will discuss in the State of the Union to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband.”

    The fact sheet goes on to say, “High-speed, low-cost broadband is paving the way for economic revitalization not just in Cedar Falls, but in places like Chattanooga, TN, Kansas City, MO, and Lafayette, LA — all of which have Internet speeds nearly 100 times faster than the national average and deliver it at an affordable price.”

    The magic broadband speed in this writing seems to be “1 gigabit per second.” The fact sheet does not say whether or not the connections are symmetrical or, as our friends at Verizon like to say, “half fast.” No matter – this kind of scientific sounding technospeak is pretty irresponsible.

    Not All Homes Are Created Equal

    Saying that every household in America needs a 1 gigabit per second broadband connection is like saying every household in America needs a 1000 Amps of AC power. Some do… some don’t. (In case you’re not an electrical engineer, depending upon when it was built, where it is and how big it is, your house has somewhere between 60 and 120 amps available. 1000 Amps would be like giving each home as much power as an average factory uses.)

    While I vigorously applaud and strongly love the idea of affordable broadband for everyone, a workable national broadband policy has to respect the difference between equality and fairness.

    If you do some email, browse the web, access some files stored in the cloud via the public Internet, stream a little music and watch an occasional video, you don’t need anything like a 1 Gbps broadband connection – and certainly not a symmetrical one.

    On the other hand, if you are running a financial services business, or if you have 2,000 employees online all day, you may need significantly more bandwidth to meet your needs.

    A Matter of Nines

    Then, there’s quality of service (QOS). What is your tolerance for uptime?

    • Three nines = 99.9% = 8 hours 49 minutes of outages per year
    • Four nines = 99.99% = 53 minutes of outages per year
    • Five nines = 99.999% = 5 minutes of outages per year

    Commonly referred to as Three Nines, Four Nines and Five Nines, all telecommunications and electronics manufacturing companies use some version of this benchmark to describe the quality of their services. Most consumers can probably live with three nines of broadband service. Healthcare and financial service firms might strive for better than five nines of service. What is the President’s vision for affordable broadband QOS? While everyone would love five nines of service, is it reasonable to assume that it would cost the same as three nines of service? Do you need five nines of service to watch an occasional video, read emails and browse the web? You might. If so, shouldn’t it cost more?

    What’s a Bit?

    I explored this and other related issues back in August 2009 when the FCC was working on the first National Broadband Plan document. I asked a simple question, “What’s a bit?” It’s an article worth looking over because it asks questions the Administration should have been asking back then. The article asks how a policy maker might determine the difference between how a bit (a unit of digital information) that is used for a phone call, a bit used for video, and a bit used for data transfer, are taxed. To a computer, all bits are the same, but not to the tax collector. This is also not contemplated in the 1 Gbps for everyone scenario.

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, there are several ways to achieve fair, affordable access to the public Internet that are not on the table. Mesh networks, load balancers, femtocells, wireless repeaters, etc, all could be combined into powerful mashed up access points utilizing wired and wireless technologies. We don’t have to run fiber optic cable to every household in America – it would be nice, but it’s not a requirement for US digital sovereignty.

    The United States of Fiber Optics

    That said, maybe the vision is for a wired America where a fiber optic access point is literally available to every man, woman and child in the USA. I would love to live in that America. While we’re at it, let’s add 1 Gbps wireless connections for every one of the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things – including, our automobiles.

    If that is the vision, we’re going to need real investment in infrastructure – where will the money come from? What type of investor will invest in a long-term infrastructure play designed for non-premium, price sensitive consumers? You already know the answer… it’s us, the taxpayers.

    History tells us what we’re up against. If you’re happy with your municipal power company, you’ll probably love your municipal Internet service provider (ISP). And, while it’s true that no one likes their cable bills, phone bills, gas bills, water bills or any other bills for that matter… in the end, I’m not sure Uncle Sam’s bill is going to be that much lower.

  • Skype for Windows Phone Updated With Improved Design for Hi-Res Devices

    The Skype for Windows Phone app has received a minor update that those with higher resolution devices will appreciate.  The update, version 2.26.0.159 for those keeping score at home, brings a new compact design which will have text much cleaner and smaller so you can view more on your display.  This has been one of the big complaints about the Skype for Windows Phone app as it stands today and it appears that they have been listening. Skype for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now At first blush it may sound like this compact design would make Skype for

    The post Skype for Windows Phone Updated With Improved Design for Hi-Res Devices appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • HP pushes commercial mobility focus
    HP is introducing a range of devices as it splits its PC and printing business from the enterprise and services business divisions
  • Barclays accepts photo documents for mortgage applications
    Barclays allows mortgage advisors to submit photos of supporting documents via smartphone or tablet
  • What To Expect at The Microsoft Windows 10 Media Event

    Editor’s Note:  This post will remain at the top of ClintonFitch.com until after the Windows 10 event on Wednesday. Please see newer posts and news just below it on the front page. As I write this we are less than 48 hours from what arguably is one of the biggest events for Microsoft in many years.  I’ve compared the excitement to this event to that of when Windows 95 was being rolled out and I don’t think I’m far off in that statement.  There are a lot of people – Microsoft lovers and haters – who are looking forward to

    The post What To Expect at The Microsoft Windows 10 Media Event appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Bold Reform Needed to Strengthen Our Cybersecurity
    Mr. President, the status quo in cybersecurity is failing this country. It is failing our commercial sector, which is being publicly breached on a weekly basis, and it is failing our government sector as well. It is time to take bold and decisive action to stop these dangerous and embarrassing hacks before they cause further damage and erode the confidence that is vital for this country’s economy to continue on the road to recovery.

    The recent Sony hack was a nightmare — embarrassing for the company, costly for shareholders and challenging for America’s foreign policy. It was only the latest of a series of high profile cyber attacks, but for cybersecurity experts, it was also a big opportunity. It shined a light on the activity that we’re seeing everyday: networks of hackers exploiting our country’s weak and incapable cybersecurity defenses…and doing real economic harm.

    Unfortunately, your proposal comes up short in addressing the deficiency. While bolstering law enforcement capabilities and reporting requirements are good steps that will help us punish offenders and mitigate embarrassing mega-hacks — important elements of reform — they’ll do little to stop data breaches in the first place.

    It’s the equivalent to putting up more security cameras instead of buying a better safe. It’s clear we need to enforce our laws better: less than 2 percent of cyber criminals are ever successfully prosecuted. But even if information-sharing and other resources are freed up, we’ll continue to be plagued by weak, easily-hackable computing devices and networks that rely on dated and vulnerable software-based security. If there is one thing that we’ve learned, just about any software can eventually be hacked if there is enough incentive for groups with the right resources to do so. We need to take advantage of the hardware-based solutions that are ready and available today. Solutions such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip that is already deployed on almost a billion computers and computing devices. These devices are dramatically more difficult to compromise, as proven by their impressive record over the last several years in the field.

    The costs of inaction (or weak action), go beyond flopped movie releases and embarrassing headlines. These hacks erode consumer confidence just as we are looking for greater consumer participation in our recovering economy. They slow innovation as consumers and enterprises hesitate in using new services, devices and platforms. They threaten our national security as our enemies see new pathways to injure our economy and even critical infrastructure such as power grids, pipelines or power plants.

    Now is our opportunity to confront these threats. If we don’t do it now, we will surely be having the same conversation in three months or three years as the consequences of inaction become only more severe — and we will be that much farther behind in addressing them.

    Congress has an opportunity to work across party lines, and with you, to put together forward looking legislative reforms that don’t just regulate the reporting of hacks — but actually mandate minimum requirements for government IT systems and establish National Standards so these hacks don’t happen in the first place. That’s not partisan — it’s common sense.

    Any cybersecurity legislation should require the immediate use of two, simple components that are a fundamental part of any overall solution aimed at stopping data breaches in corporations and government agencies:

    1) Multifactor authentication. Basically, you start with “something you know,” like your user identity (user ID and a password or PIN), and then add “something you have,” like a physical token or a virtual token based on hardware in your computer like the TPM chip. By having multiple identifying factors, it is dramatically harder for a hacker to gain entry to the system. Essentially with this kind of solution in place a hacker would not only have to gain possession of an employee’s valid user credentials but would also need to take physical control of their computer (in a TPM-based solution) or the security token itself. Only then could they gain access to the IT environment and initiate their hack. This effectively eliminates the most common remote hacking attempts and now requires an element of physical presence for a malicious intrusion to succeed.

    2) Security rooted in hardware. Too many corporations rely solely on software-based security solutions that protect sensitive data as long as the integrity of the software itself isn’t tampered with. As we have seen, software remains vulnerable anytime there is sufficient incentive to crack it. Hardware-backed security such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) provides a highly tamper-resistant location to store encryption keys and unique identity credentials.

    Both of these steps can be taken immediately, using technologies that are proven to be effective and have been commercially available for years. It’s not rocket science — it just takes leadership and the will to do what’s sometimes hard: asking corporations and bureaucrats to change.

    The transition costs will be minimal — many companies already take both of these steps and the technology already exists in most machines.

    Mr. President, the long term costs of inaction — to both a company’s bottom line and the future of our country — are high. We are counting on our leaders to have the wisdom and forethought to change the status quo and take bold action to harden our nation’s cybersecurity now — before those who would do us harm find a way to seriously cripple our economy and our government.

  • How To Setup Transparent Live Tiles on Windows Phone

    One of my personal favorite features of Windows Phone is Live Tiles.  App that take advantage of Live Tiles allow you to quickly get information on news, sports, weather and whatever else that app provides.  Take the Kindle app as an example.  It shows me on the Live Tile the book I’m reading and how far along I am in it.  Some Live tiles can be setup as transparent meaning that you can “see” through them to a wallpaper or a photo in the background.  It’s a whole new level of personalization as the Live tiles become a part of

    The post How To Setup Transparent Live Tiles on Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Amazon Will Make Original Movies Now
    Get ready for Amazon-made movies. Amazon Studios, the same division behind shows like “Transparent,” will “begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

    These films will hit theaters first and then become available on Prime Instant Video between four and eight weeks later. “Our goal is to create close to 12 movies a year with production starting later this year,” Vice President of Amazon Studios Roy Price said. “We hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

    Amazon also announced that Ted Hope, who co-founded and ran production company Good Hope, will be the new Head of Production for Amazon Original Movies. Hope’s producing credentials include “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” “Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch,” he said in a statement.

  • Toshiba Encore 2 Write Tablet Now At The Microsoft Store

    Earlier this month at CES, Toshiba announced the new Toshiba Encore 2 Write Windows 8.1 tablet.  The new tablet is designed on the popular Encore 2 tablet but now has touch pen for easier navigation, inking and other activities.  The Microsoft store now has both the 8″ and 10″ models in stock and available for $349 and $399 respectively and both include the TruePen Stylus.  You can read my review of the Encore 2 here on the site. Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10″ – $399 – Microsoft Store Both the 8″ and 10″ models are powered by Atom Z3735 processor,

    The post Toshiba Encore 2 Write Tablet Now At The Microsoft Store appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Spotify for Windows Phone Gets New UI in Latest Update

    The music streaming service Spotify has a whole new look and feel this morning for Windows Phone users.  Spotify for Windows Phone has been updated to version 5.0 and it brings with it a virtually brand new look and feel to the app.  The new looks leans heavily on transparency throughout the app, something that you usually find in iOS apps but no Windows Phone. Spotify for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now The notes on the Spotify for Windows Phone page in the Store say that the new look is “bold and beautiful” and to a large extent

    The post Spotify for Windows Phone Gets New UI in Latest Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Mobile Technology News, January 19, 2015

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

  • The challenge of reporting cyberwar
    Journalists face an unprecedented challenge in reporting accurately
  • The Revolution Has Only Just Begun

    Big changes are often only recognized when they’re complete — such is the nature of the beast.

    We are currently in the midst of one such epoch, a time in which the internet penetrates every aspect of our daily lives. That is going to change everything: the way we work and how we live, how we treat sick people and how we treat each other.

    We are experiencing the revolution now.

    Make no mistake, the world didn’t experience the actual digital revolution in the 90s. It is only now that we realize the real revolution. What we’ve seen in years past was only the beginning. This exact fact is the motto of this year’s Digital Conference (DLD). This change has to be discussed.

    This revolution affects everything and everyone. The internet is going to impact every aspect of our lives over the next few years: the media, work, medicine, and even academia. We’ve only just seen the very beginning of this development.

    What is more, the internet is changing its shape, coming loose from desktop computers and laptops. It is omnipresent, in everything around us. The digital is ubiquitous, just like electricity.

    The changes brought about by this development are dramatic, whether they’re positive or negative. I for one am absolutely convinced that the positives will outweigh the negatives.

    A look at our working lives

    The lines between work and our private lives are getting blurred. We are becoming more flexible while at the same time exploring entirely new kinds of cooperation. Some go to the office early, and others work while they’re on the road. We’ll be using innovative communication tools that allow for novel ways of working together.

    Several professions will have to redefine their job descriptions over the next few years, such as cab drivers, who are being challenged by Uber and other services, and hotels, which are facing fierce competition from providers like Airbnb.

    In general, non-cognitive jobs seem to become increasingly marginalized. Working on an assembly line is a great example. The rise of robots has been much discussed: They are able to build machines, extinguish fires, write simple texts, and even drive cars. In the olden times, computers and TV screens were all the rage at IT fairs; today, it is self-propelled cars.

    Every new cultural technology brings forth new professional needs, while others disappear. Traditional patterns are replaced by new ones. Appropriate reactions are called for to avoid significant social problems. It is vital that we reinvent ourselves in the course of this change.

    Should we be worried?

    On the contrary. I’m absolutely convinced that this new development presents new opportunities for the most part. Opportunities for innovation, and the chance to be more of a human again.

    The reason is that we gain time from technological innovations fresh out of the lab. Sophisticated tools will, for example, enable journalists to negotiate huge amounts of data, thus giving them more time for other things.

    Similar trends can be expected for other professions. We’ll have more time for essential things in the future, and that will have a positive impact. Already, it is obvious that people all around the world feel the need for more social engagement, which goes way beyond a symbolical mouse click from the comfort of a sofa, but in the direction of specialized platforms that allow for a real contribution.

    Change cannot be stopped

    Many people are still afraid of this change, and not least because the media like to stir up fear of these new technologies, especially in Germany. The reason is that they themselves are the subject of this change.

    However, we need to understand that this change cannot be stopped. We need to shape the change before it shapes us.

    To do so, let’s remember what traits once made Germany an important hub for technology. Let’s be more curious, courageous and, most of all, passionate when it comes to new technologies.

    The interconnected world will benefit us all

    I feel that digitalization is perceived by many in Germany as a necessary evil.

    Yet, the interconnected world of the future will help all of us. Transmission drones will soon be used by enterprises like Google and Facebook to transport the internet to the darkest corners of the poorest countries in the world. Sebastian Thrun or Shai Reshef and their online universities provide top-notch education to people who haven’t had a shot at getting into a top university to date.

    First and foremost, I’m excited about the changes that we’ll experience in the medical field. Imagine the groundbreaking imaging techniques or the personalization of medicine by employing the new means provided by the fast progressing field of genetic technology. Health care demonstrates clearly how algorithms can be used to save lives.

    In the USA, computers analyze the data of premature babies. Since they have the data for thousands of babies, they can use patterns to discern illnesses and complications, and warn doctors before the problems even arise.

    These examples go to show what enormous opportunities these new technologies present, and this is what we should talk about more often.

    With all due skepticism, my glass is not half empty. It is at least half full. We’ll have to learn to learn what we don’t know yet.

    DLD (Digital, Life, Design) is the international conference and innovation platform of Hubert Burda Media. DLD organizes Europe’s leading digital conference DLD and the women’s conference DLDwomen as well as international networking events. DLD Media also produces publications and online and video formats about the conference topics and consults DLD partner companies, startups, investors and institutions.

  • Uber promises 50,000 jobs in Europe
    The chief executive of the online taxi-sharing firm Uber says he wants to make 2015 a year of rapid expansion in Europe.
  • #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview Reveals What Never To Say When Applying For Work
    If you’ve ever bombed a job interview, you know how it feels to replay the whole humiliating experience in your head over and over again. (If you say you haven’t, we don’t believe you.)

    So maybe it was a sense of communal catharsis that helped #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview to become a trending topic on Twitter this weekend, hot on the heels of #FiveWordsToRuinADate. We sincerely hope none of the following examples were learned from experience. But there’s some good wisdom here about the exact sorts of things you never, ever want to bring up when meeting with a potential employer.

    Ever.

    This is a stepping stone. #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview @HeerJeet

    — David Wolpe (@RabbiWolpe) January 18, 2015

    “Ha whoa, you’re on Tinder”
    #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Adam Weinstein (@AdamWeinstein) January 18, 2015

    “Is your supervisor’s job open?” #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Delaney Williams (@delaneywilliams) January 18, 2015

    Hey, pants are optional, right? #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Amber Hunt (@ReporterAmber) January 18, 2015

    This is Catherine, my mommy. #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — John Bowman (@johnbowman) January 18, 2015

    Need to take this call #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — susan vavrick (@edit_susan) January 18, 2015

    I’m not cannibalistic per se. #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Richard Kadrey (@Richard_Kadrey) January 18, 2015

    Please use my Lycan name. #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) January 18, 2015

    My dad pays your salary. #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Gamer Fuel (@timoneil5000) January 18, 2015

    #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview
    oh was this your chair

    — darth™ (@darth) January 17, 2015

    “You mean ‘fewer,’ not ‘less.’ ” #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Melinda Henneberger (@MelindaDC) January 18, 2015

    This is the craziest dream.
    #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Rick G. Rosner (@dumbassgenius) January 18, 2015

    And an honorable mention:

    I can’t count #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview

    — Dad (@ILLCapitano94) January 18, 2015

  • The Weird Racial Politics Of Online Dating
    We’re in the midst of a cultural sea change to one of the most central institutions in the life of the nation.

    American attitudes on interracial relationships have taken an enormous step forward in the last two decades. As recently as 1995, fewer than half of all Gallup survey respondents favored interracial marriage—and only 4 percent did in 1985. Now such sentiments are relegated to shadowy Internet message boards and corners of right-wing talk radio.

  • Facebook Wants To Automatically Transcribe Your Voice Messages
    Why type when Facebook can do it for you?

    A new feature for the Facebook Messenger app will automatically transcribe voice messages sent via the service, according to a Friday announcement from David Marcus, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products.

    Currently, Facebook Messenger allows people to send voice messages: You simply tap a microphone icon, speak into your phone and transmit the audio clip to your recipient, who then has to actually listen to it in order to hear what you have to say.

    But the new update, which Marcus says has been made available on a “tiny scale” to select users, will instead let people tap a button to have Facebook “auto-create” a text transcription of a voice message. In theory, this would allow you to get your messages even if you’re not in a position to slap your headphones on — at a loud concert, say, or in a meeting, to use Marcus’ examples.


    A new update to Facebook Messenger will automatically transcribe voice messages for users. Image via Facebook.

    Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment about when most users would receive the update. Marcus wrote that those who currently have access to the new feature are basically considered a “test” audience.

    “We’re looking forward to seeing what you think of it before making the experience more widely available,” he wrote.

    The transcription service seems to be in the same vein as Google Voice, which automatically writes up your voice mails — albeit with varying degrees of success:


    An excerpt of a recent Google Voice transcription that I received from my mother. Neither of us knows a Gary.

    Critics took issue with Facebook last year when the company separated its Messenger service from the main Facebook app on smartphones. Still, it’d be hard to call the product a flop: More than 500 million people were using the standalone Messenger app as of November 2014.

  • Giant Asteroid Is Headed Our Way, But NASA Says No Worries
    A ginormous asteroid is headed our way, but no need to worry. NASA says asteroid 2004 BL86–estimated to be about one-third of a mile in diameter–will zoom harmlessly by Earth later this month.

    That’s good news, of course. And get this: The asteroid’s size and proximity–about 745,000 miles from Earth at the nearest point in its flyby, or about three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon–mean it should be visible with nothing more than a good pair of binoculars.

    (Story continues below).

    “Monday, January 26 will be the closest asteroid 2004 BL86 will get to Earth for at least the next 200 years,” Don Yeomans, manager of NASA’s Near Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Lab, said in a written statement. “And while it poses no threat to Earth for the foreseeable future, it’s a relatively close approach by a relatively large asteroid, so it provides us a unique opportunity to observe and learn more.”

    Skywatchers in the Americas, Europe, and Africa should have the best view of the asteroid on the night of Jan. 26, according to EarthSky. Weather permitting, the asteroid should be visible moving slowly across the sky in the vicinity of the constellation Cancer.

    Of course, it will only look slow. The asteroid is actually streaking at about 35,000 miles an hour.

    Yeomans said he might grab his own binoculars and have a look himself. If you’d rather stay indoors, you can catch the action online at The Virtual Telescope Project 2.0. The show starts at 2:30 p.m. EST.

    Editor’s note: If you snap a good photo of asteroid 2004 BL86, we want to see it! Share your photo using #huffpostasteroid and/or send to science@huffingtonpost.com, and it may be featured on HuffPost and HuffPost social media channels.

  • DLD Conference Kicks Off In Munich
    The annual Digital-Life-Design conference kicked off in Munich, Germany on Sunday. The conference, which focuses on digital innovation, will run through Tuesday.

    HuffPost’s own Arianna Huffington will be speaking at the conference on Monday. Other notable speakers include Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick, Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, and prominent venture capitalist Ben Horowitz.

    You can watch the event live in the video below:

  • Facebook Is Growing Its Virtual Reality And Drone Programs
    By Alexei Oreskovic and Bill Rigby
    SAN FRANCISCO/SEATTLE (Reuters) – Virtual reality goggles, drones and data centers are all driving a hiring spree at Facebook Inc that is set to swell its ranks as much as 14 percent in the near term, according to a review of job listings on the company’s website.
    The Internet social networking company aims to add nearly 1,200 new employees, the outgrowth of aggressive investments that executives have said will define the coming year.
    Oculus Rift, the maker of virtual reality headsets that Facebook acquired in a $2 billion deal last year, is among the key areas slated for growth, with 54 jobs listed on its website, according to a review by Reuters of listings.
    Among the roles that Facebook needs to fill for the Oculus business are managers to oversee logistics, procurement and global supply chain planning – a sign, some analysts say, that the product is nearing its commercial release.
    The market for virtual reality headsets is still nascent. But if virtual reality takes off for entertainment, gaming, communications or computing, Facebook could be at the center of the new platform with Oculus.
    Facebook’s ambitious effort to build its own satellites and drones capable of delivering Internet service to remote regions of the world is another important area for hiring: the program has Facebook searching for specialists in areas such as avionics, radio frequency communications and thermal engineering.
    “We are an ambitious company run by an ambitious CEO,” Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told Reuters in an interview. “Our users are growing and our business is growing and we want to support that,” she said, noting that Facebook’s business is much more expansive today than a few years ago, with offices throughout the world.
    The jobs run a gamut from sales people to software engineers for Facebook’s 1.35-billion-member social network.
    Facebook’s growth spurt comes as the company expands into new markets and faces stiffening competition from Web rivals Google Inc , Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and well-capitalized start-ups such as Snapchat.
    “There’s a fairly direct correlation between their investment in people and servers and infrastructure, and their ability to remain competitive,” said Robert Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian.
    Facebook had 8,348 full-time employees at the end of September, far fewer than Google’s roughly 55,000 employees or Microsoft Corp’s roughly 127,000 (Microsoft announced in the summer that it plans to cut 18,000 jobs).
    At the same time, Facebook gets more out of each employee, according to calculations using company revenue figures. Facebook’s revenue works out to roughly $384,000 per employee in the third quarter of 2014, versus $300,000 for Google and $183,000 for Microsoft.
    That efficiency has helped Facebook enjoy rich profit margins. And the company’s relatively small headcount provides an important talking point in the battle to attract the most talented computer programmers.
    Facebook has long touted to potential recruits their ability to work directly on products used by hundreds of millions of people, a marked contrast to some larger tech companies.
    “We’re growing as fast as we can, where the ‘can’ part is really a factor of how many people we can absorb while maintaining a strong culture,” Paul Carduner, an engineering manager who runs Facebook’s Seattle office, told Reuters at one of the company’s famed ‘Hackathon’ events last week.
    The hackathons feature Facebook programmers hunched over their computers and working through the night on personal projects that could eventually become Facebook products.
    Facebook is growing exponentially in Seattle, a tech hub with a rich, and relatively cheap, talent pool created by local tech companies Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc . Facebook currently has more than 400 employees in Seattle, and is looking for a larger site close to the center of the city that could hold as many as 2,000 people, according to a person familiar with the matter.
    At Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, construction is expected to be completed this year on a new, roughly 500,000 square foot building designed by architect Frank Gehry that can accommodate 3,000 employees.
    Atlas, the online advertising technology that Facebook acquired in 2013, is another big area of hiring, with more than 20 open positions listed.
    The many opportunities Facebook is chasing could lift the company’s annual revenue to $30 billion within a few years, estimates Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne, Agee & Leach.
    “To get to that level, they’re going to have to get people now,” Bhatia said.
    (Reporting by Alexei Oreskovic in San Francisco and Bill Riby in Seattle; Editing by Peter Henderson and Ken Wills)

Mobile Technology News, January 18, 2015

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.

  • Did We Kill the Web?
    The year is 2025, and one of the original digital natives is sitting with his children – telling stories of the early days. “Back when I was your age… you could connect with anyone around the world, for free.” The children are enthralled with the idea of freedom, and the wild open days of the web. “But then, companies and governments discovered that letting anyone send anything to anyone without control was allowing the free trade of digital property, and the free connections of criminals and terrorists, so we agreed to trade freedom for safety and security. That’s how it all began to unravel.”

    Now, before you think this is crazy talk you should know that this is the concern being raised by Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the World Wide Web. “I want a Web that’s open, works internationally, works as well as possible, and is not nation-based,” said Berners-Lee. And yet, the rise of the nation-based web is upon us. And he’s hardly alone in the concerns he raises.

    The web is in danger, today.

    Two of the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto – Doc Searls and David Weinberg, posted a powerful update to their prescient work. In the sixteen years since the first publication, NewClues now says we’re facing ‘mortal dangers’.

    2015-01-17-Newclues.png

    The highly regarded Pew Research Center went out to ask leading web thinkers feared most about the future of the web. The answers were stunning.

    Paul Saffo
    , the noted futurist and associate professor at Stanford said, “The pressures to balkanize the global Internet will continue and create new uncertainties. Governments will become more skilled at blocking access to unwelcome sites.”

    Vint Cerf, Google vice president and co-inventor of the Internet protocol, represented many people’s views when he optimistically predicted, “Social norms will change to deal with potential harms in online social interactions … The Internet will become far more accessible than it is today–governments and corporations are finally figuring out how important adaptability is. AI [Artificial Intelligence] and natural language processing may well make the Internet far more useful than it is today.”

    Jeff Jarvis, director of the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, said, “Government poses the greatest threat to the Net’s freedoms. Many governments, including Western regimes, threaten to control some part of Internet communication. Obviously, China, Iran, and other authoritarian states wish to control speech there. But Canada and Australia have threatened to filter all Internet content to get to child porn.”

    Concerns about the potential Balkanization of the internet rose to public view when Russia’s parliament passed a bill requiring all technology companies to store the personal data of their Russian users in the country. If implemented the rule could move Russia closer to the state of the internet in China and Iran. Both already control online information through heavily censored domestic information and pervasive filtering of foreign information.

    The law is scheduled to be signed into law in September of 2016 by President Vladimir Putin. Mr. Putin was a former KGB officer and has described the internet as a conspiracy invented by the CIA.

    The ‘Net Threats’ most feared according to Pew are:

    • Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation, and balkanization of the Internet.
    • Trust will evaporate in the wake of revelations about government and corporate surveillance and likely greater surveillance in the future.
    • Commercial pressures affecting everything from Internet architecture to the flow of information will endanger the open structure of online life.
    • Efforts to fix the TMI (too much information) problem might over-compensate and actually thwart content sharing.

    Control means less freedom: Actions by nation-states to maintain security and political control will lead to more blocking, filtering, segmentation and balkanization of the Internet.

    Already, China is known for its “Great Firewall,” and social media crackdowns in Turkey and Pakistan lately show a global trend toward regulation of the Internet by certain regimes. And that’s without mentioning stepped-up surveillance.

    “Governments worldwide are looking for more power over the Net, especially within their own countries,” said Dave Burstein editor of Fast Net News. “Britain, for example, has just determined that ISPs block sites the government considers ‘terrorist’ or otherwise dangerous. This will grow. There will usually be ways to circumvent the obstruction but most people won’t bother.”

    We are moving to a world with more Online Surveillance

    “Surveillance … at the minimum chills communications and at the maximum facilitates industrial espionage[;] it does not have very much to do with security,” said Christopher Wilkinson, a retired European Union official and board member for EURid.eu.

    Trust is evaporating:

    “The next few years are going to be about control,” said Danah Boyd, noted Internet thinker and a researcher at Microsoft. Survey respondents told Pew that trust in open communications technologies will continue to evaporate in the wake of revelations about government and corporate surveillance. We’ve reported on the U.S./China “Cool War” that reignited because of Chinese fears of American corporate surveillance; it’s just one flashpoint in a larger theme.

    There’s a serious worry that commercial pressures will affect everything from Internet architecture to the flow of information and more deeply endanger the open structure of online life.

    In order to understand how quickly the web could change, it’s important to remember that it’s really not been around that long. The World Wide Web turned 25 on March 12, 2014. The invention of the Web by Berners-Lee was instrumental in turning the internet from the realm of computer geeks and scientists into a mass-adopted communications platform used by hundreds of millions around the world. Conversations among real people. Conversations that Doc Searls – one of the authors of the Clue Train Manifesto says deserve to remain free and uncontrolled by governments. “Conversations are not media. They are the main way humans connect with each other and share knowledge. The Internet extends that ability to a degree without precedent in human history. There is no telling how profound a change — hopefully for the better — this will brings to our species and the world we live in.”

    As the Newclues manifesto so powerfully says: “Long may we have our Internet to love.” Indeed.

  • UK man gets bail over Sony hack
    A UK man arrested in connection with attacks on the PlayStation and Xbox platforms over Christmas is released on bail.
  • Elon Musk Wants To Bring The Internet To Space
    Elon Musk wants to bring the Internet to space.

    The billionaire CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX (who, mind you, also serves as chairman of SolarCity and is now working on the Hyperloop, a super-fast tubular transport system) launched a new project Friday aimed at building a satellite system to bring high-speed Internet to the whole planet. He announced the initiative at the ribbon-cutting of SpaceX’s new office in Seattle.

    The new venture will be a branch of the private space travel company. The company plans to put hundreds of satellites into orbit around the Earth — circling the planet at about 750 miles above the surface, far closer than the typical communications satellites that soar at altitudes of 22,000 miles. The goal is to speed up data flows and deliver high-speed Internet to the more than 3 billion people who still have shoddy access to the Web, according to Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance, whose biography of Musk is due out in May.

    “Our focus is on creating a global communications system that would be larger than anything that has been talked about to date,” Musk told Vance.

    SpaceX did not respond to a request from The Huffington Post for comment on Saturday morning. Friday’s event was closed to media, though attendees tweeted photos and excerpts of Musk’s speech.

    Great meeting with @elonmusk tonight. WA is ready for the next space revolution! @SpaceX pic.twitter.com/SV1nH135q0

    — Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) January 17, 2015

    It’s unclear when the initiative will be completed, though Musk said it will take at least five years to roll out the first generation of satellites. The project could take up to 15 years to reach full capacity. But as with most of Musk’s endeavors, the ultimate ambitions are far loftier. Musk is laying the groundwork for the first interplanetary Internet.

    Earlier this month, Musk said he aimed to unveil preliminary plans later this year for a colony on Mars. The network of satellites girdling Earth, providing high-speed Internet from Cleveland to Kampala, would eventually connect to the human outpost on the red planet, too.

    “It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well,” Musk said. “I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.”

    The project will cost between $10 billion and $15 billion, Musk said. But the revenues generated from the service will help fund the colonization of Mars.

    Musk: Going to cost a lot to build. Ten or fifteen billion dollars, or more. But revenues fund city on Mars.

    — Brandon Haber (@malderi) January 17, 2015

    Musk: City on Mars isn’t cheap. Need a lot of money. This will do it.

    — Brandon Haber (@malderi) January 17, 2015

    To be sure, these are longterm plans. The company must first perfect its rockets, which will enable cheaper travel to and from the planet’s surface. SpaceX launched a supply ship to the International Space Station last Saturday, but the rocket — meant to be the world’s first reusable projectile — crash-landed on a floating seaborne platform.

    A Vine video shows last week’s sloppy landing.

  • A 6-Year-Old Asked Neil deGrasse Tyson The Meaning Of Life. Here's His Response
    During an event in Boston on Thursday, Neil deGrasse Tyson fielded an inquiry from “Jackson,” a precocious 6-year-old, who asked a question that’s occupied a lot of heavy thinkers: “What’s the meaning of life?”

    While many adults might respond to such a query with a deer-in-the-headlights stare, Tyson didn’t flinch. Instead, the astrophysicist launched into a deeply considered response, tailored for a 6-year-old, about the wonder of learning. Just check out the video above to hear his answer.

    “I think people ask that question on the assumption that meaning is something you can look for, and then, ‘Oh, I found it! Here’s meaning, here’s what it is,’” Tyson said, gesturing as if he were picking something tangible up off the stage.

    He went on to add:

    “And it doesn’t consider the possibility that maybe meaning in life is something that you create, that you manufacture for yourself and others. When I think of ‘meaning’ in life, I ask, ‘Have I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday?’ Bringing me a little closer to knowing all that can be known in the universe. Just a little closer, however far away all the knowledge sits. If I live a day and I don’t know a little more that day than the day before, I think I wasted that day.”

    Tyson used this speech as a launching pad to advocate for maintaining a sense of wonder, regardless of age. As he did several months ago when a first-grader asked how she could help save the Earth, he encouraged young Jackson to explore the world around him, whether that’s by banging pans on the kitchen floor, jumping into puddles or catching snowflakes in his mouth.

  • Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
    With 2015 in full swing, Kate Spencer had a great idea for this year’s cultural touchstone: “I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready for 2015 to be the year of the dick slip.” We’re totally in.

    In other news, everyone is counting down the days until the release of the “Fifty Shades Of Grey” movie. Some are actually excited to see it, while others are simply confused: “These 50 Shades Of Grey ads make it look like the Olive Garden of Bondage,” Lizz Winstead tweeted. Yea, we’re not sure about those trailers either. (But we’re still going to see it, obviously.)

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

    I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready for 2015 to be the year of the dick slip.

    — Kate Spencer (@katespencer) January 12, 2015

    One time in middle school a mean girl told me “Hold my hand, you lesbian!” and I still, at 26, have no idea what was happening there.

    — Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn) January 12, 2015

    A dating site that sets you up with people based on what house you’d be at Hogwarts. Gryffindor, 26/f/nyc seeking Ravenclaw/Slytherin.

    — Ali Vingiano (@alivingiano) January 12, 2015

    you say potato, I say where is this relationship going

    — Sandy Honig (@sandyhonig) January 12, 2015

    Big ups to Trader Joe’s Celtic Cheddar Cheese Trio for reminding me that I’m descended from garbage people.

    — Molly McAleer (@molls) January 13, 2015

    These 50 Shades Of Grey ads make it look like the Olive Garden of Bondage.

    — Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) January 13, 2015

    I will give five whole dollars to the first journalist who writes a piece about a man earnestly titled “Can He Have It All?”

    — alison becker (@thealisonbecker) January 13, 2015

    Beyonce teaches good manners, like “Driver, roll up the partition, please.” Very polite.

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) January 13, 2015

    Zooey Deshanel is pregnant and something tells me her baby shower will set a world record for most “Awwww’s” said in a single day.

    — Jenny Johnson (@JennyJohnsonHi5) January 13, 2015

    If you’re ever with me when I’m having a breakdown just pretend to call for help on a banana and I’ll be fine.

    — Giulia Rozzi (@GiuliaRozzi) January 14, 2015

    I like to discuss my heavy flow on first dates, so men know that I’m fertile.

    — Noodles (@Dawn_M_) January 14, 2015

    Skills include: probably gonna know the “Bye, Bye, Bye” choreography until the day I die, tbh.

    — Ella Cerón (@ellaceron) January 15, 2015

    It’s ok to wear white to a wedding as long as you’re thinner than the bride, right?

    — Jenny Mollen (@jennyandteets) January 15, 2015

    Pro tip: divorce your work husband and get work alimony!

    — Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) January 16, 2015

    Friends don’t let friends go this long without getting laid.

    — Miss Fuckalicious (@PyrBliss) January 16, 2015

    I’m sitting in a google hangout alone, watching myself eat a candy cane.

    — joanna schroeder (@iproposethis) January 16, 2015

    You guys, I legit just got a residual check from the B’way show I did when I was twelve. $1.91. Show business does pay off kids.

    — Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) January 16, 2015

    Assume that I want to hold your baby

    — Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) January 11, 2015

    The only baggage I bring into the relationship are Cool Ranch Doritos

    — Thpirit Fingerth (@thexythara) January 13, 2015

    Whoever coined the phrase ‘there are no stupid people, only stupid questions’ was an idiot.

    — inDeenile (@mydmac) January 15, 2015

    S is about the only thing that salad and sexy have in common

    — Anna Nonymous (@osoplain) January 13, 2015

    Wait. Why did Melissa Joan Hart just follow me? Did I tweet about Clarissa?

    — Ashley Ford (@iSmashFizzle) January 16, 2015

    just ate an egg biscuit so messily I feel like I should lose the right to trial by jury or something

    — Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) January 16, 2015

    I’ve constructed a dream board, it’s all Meryl Streep and cable TV logos.

    — emilynussbaum (@emilynussbaum) January 16, 2015

    If you live in NYC, know how to fold a fitted sheet and aren’t a complete uggo contact me for an exciting business opportunity.

    — TracieEganMorrissey (@TracieMorrissey) January 16, 2015

Mobile Technology News, January 17, 2015

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

  • VIDEO: The espresso maker of home brewing?
    Richard Taylor checks out the Picobrew Zymatic, a contraption its maker hopes will revolutionise home beer brewing.
  • Hackers say Hollywood gets Blackhat right
    How the Blackhat film gets the internet right
  • US news sites hacked on Twitter
    The Twitter accounts of the New York Post and United Press International (UPI) have been hacked with fake tweets on economic and military news.
  • Kylie From Target Might Be Even Better Than Alex From Target
    If you thought #AlexFromTarget was funny, let us introduce you to your new favorite Target celebrity, Kylie From Target.

    Viner Bailey Elizabeth was perusing the Target aisles when she thought she had the ultimate celebrity spotting: Kylie Jenner. Naturally, Bailey approached Kylie and lucky for us, she Vined the encounter:

    To this Viner’s credit though, Fylie (Fake Kylie) From Target looks a lot like real Kylie. Plus, this girl is obviously taking some major style cues from the blue hair extensions to the flannel around her waist.

    Either way, we’re grateful for the hilarity that ensued from this awkward moment.

    Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |

    H/T Seventeen

  • Everything You Need To Know About Sounding Smart During A TED Talk
    He may not be saying much of anything, but his delivery is spot-on.

    Will Stephen, a performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade, put together a — let’s call it “unique” — TED Talk.

    “I have nothing. Nada. Zip, zilch, zippo,” Stephen, who’s also a writer for New York Magazine, The New Yorker and CollegeHumor, said in his presentation at TEDXNewYork last month. “I have nothing to say whatsoever, and yet through my manner of speaking I will make it seem like I do.”

    We’ve certainly never heard anyone sound so smart while talking about nothing.

    H/T Reddit

  • Windows Laptops, Tablets Take Center Stage
    Whether you run a small business or are an avid gamer, there’s a laptop or mobile device that can fit into your lifestyle.

    We’ve been playing with four Microsoft Windows-based devices that run the gamut from vanilla, strictly business computers to feature-rich devices that could possibly replace your old desktop gaming rig.

    The E-FUN Nextbook 10.1 ($199) is an entry-level Windows tablet aimed at the user who may want to use it to check email, keep tabs on Facebook friends and troll the Internet. Although it has all of the features of a standard Windows 8.1 device, it is definitely not a go-to machine for power users. Instead, it’s aimed at moms, pops and their offspring who need a reliable way to stay in touch with what’s happening in the universe without shelling out the big bucks being charged for more powerful tablets.

    The one we tested worked perfectly out of the box. We signed on using our Microsoft account and, as if by magic, everything we had set up on our main computer appeared on the screen.

    The only big drawback that really bugged us was how slow it was. It took twice as long to upload web pages and documents — which could be due to a slow Intel ATOM quad-core processor and only one gigabyte of RAM — when we compared it with the other three devices. But again, this wasn’t meant for those of us that want a lean, mean machine.

    The tablet comes with a keyboard that magnetically docks with it. All you have to do is fit it into a slot on top of the keyboard and, voila, you have a 10.1-inch laptop. We docked and undocked it several times to see if it would become “confused” by the switch from a keyboard to a standard touch-screen mobile device and it detected the change perfectly every time.

    The Nextbook is also a bit heavier than the more expensive devices. The weight isn’t listed among the technical specifications on the company’s website, but the weight difference is noticeable just holding it in one hand (docked and undocked) and another similarly equipped tablet in the other.

    The built-in cameras were also a bit of a disappointment. The front-facing camera is only rated at 0.3 megapixels (which is minimal even for a webcam) and the back camera, which you would use to take pictures or videos, is rated at two megapixels.

    The inputs are pretty typical for tablets (but not for laptops) — a mini-USB port and micro-HDMI port plus a micro SD card slot.

    Here are the rest of the specs:

    • A 10.1-inch IPS screen rated at 1280 by 800 megapixels
    • 32 gigabytes of onboard storage
    • Built-in WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • A certificate for a free year of Microsoft Office 360
    • A built-in microphone

    The Quantum View 10.1 Tablet ($399) from Quantum Suppliers is another fairly inexpensive tablet/laptop combo, but it can definitely give the higher-priced models some healthy competition.

    The one we tested came with a keybord/magnetic docking station that doubles as a stand, allowing us to use the device either in touchscreen or keyboard mode. We, again, docked and undocked it several times and it immediately recognized whether we were in laptop or keyboard mode.

    As with the Nextbook (and all of the Windows machines we tested) it picked up all of our settings when we signed in using our Microsoft account, including giving us access to a previously purchased version of Microsoft Office 2013.

    The Quantum View is also one of the faster tablets we’ve played with, loading websites and programs quicker than we expected from a device in its price range. This could be because the device uses the new Intel Baytrail quad-core processor rather than the older ATOM processor found in older machines.

    It is also fairly light, even with the keyboard/case attached.

    Again, as with the Nextbook, it comes with mini USB and micro HDMI ports and a micro SD card slot and its back-facing camera is rated at two megapixels. The front-facing camera is a bit better than the Nexbook’s, rated at two megapixels.

    The only thing missing that would really make it more of a fearsome competitor to the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 is a stylus. But, on the whole, this Quantum View tablet, at about half the price of the Surface Pro, qualifies as a “must-have” for budget-conscious consumers needing a good, reliable tablet.

    Other key features include:

    • A certificate for free access to Microsoft Windows 360
    • A 1280 by 800 resolution touch screen
    • Gen 7 Intel HD graphics
    • Two gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of onboard memory
    • Bluetooth 4.1
    • Built-in WiFi
    • A 3G dongle to connect to your wireless provider’s network
    • A mini USB switch to Ethernet
    • A standard headphone jack (which is a necessity if you want great sound)

    Toshiba’s new Tecra C-50B laptop ($579) is aimed at the small/medium-sized business user. There are no frills or juiced up innards. This is strictly a machine designed for those of usespending our time analyzing spreadsheets and writing memos and letters.

    The basic unit comes with an Intel i3 processor and Windows 7 with a free upgrade to Windows 8.1, a 500 gigabyte hard drive, four gigabytes of RAM and standard HDMI, USB 2.0 and 3.0, VGA and Ethernet ports. It also comes with a DVD optical drive and a multicard reader. I mention this because, in today’s world of lightweight ultrabooks, the DVD/CD drives have become extinct.

    Toshiba’s use of an older 5400 RPM hard drive instead of a newer solid state drive tends to slow the device down a bit, but that has little impact on business users. Also, because it has an Intel i3 processor, it tends to drag a bit when loading websites and multitasking slows it down.

    Overall, as with everything bearing the Toshiba brand, this is a great computer for anyone needing a good, reliable laptop to take on the road for their business.

    Other features include:

    • A slot for a security lock
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • Built-in WiFi
    • An HD webcam and microphone
    • Built-in speakers (fair, but adequate)
    • A 15.6-inch 1366 by 768 display (good enough for 720p HD)
    • One open memory slot to boost RAM
    • It weighs five pounds
    • A one-year limited warranty

    Last is the ASUS Zenbook NX500 ($1,399), which is not only beautiful to behold, it has brains too.

    Featuring a highly polished aluminum case, this higher-priced laptop/ultrabook is truly the shining star in this quartet – - – in size and features. Weighing a hair less than five pounds, the Zenbook features a 15.6-inch 3840 by 2860 display, a 256 gigabyte solid state hard drive and eight gigabytes of RAM.

    Like most ultrabooks, there’s no DVD or CD-ROM drive, but its Intel Core i7 processor, plus the solid state drive, make it a speed demon when compared with the other devices in this group. Add to this three full-size USB 3.0 ports, a full-size HDMI port and an SD card reader and you have a high-end package most computer fanatics would spend their last dollar to purchase.

    Other key features include:

    • An HD webcam and microphone
    • Built-in WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.0
    • An NVIDIA G-Force GTX85OM two gigabyte graphics card
    • Windows 8.1
    • Bang & Olufsen speakers
    • A soft case to protect the aluminum finish

    Plus, for those needing something extra, there’s a 4K version that sells for about $2,700.

    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.

  • Scientists Create Laser No Bigger Than A Single Grain Of Rice
    It sounds like something straight out of science fiction: a laser no bigger than a grain of rice that uses one-billionth of the electric current needed to power a hair dryer.

    But researchers at Princeton University have created just such a device–and they say it represents a big step forward for quantum computing.

    It is basically as small as you can go with these single-electron devices,” Dr. Jason Petta, a professor of physics at the university and the leader of the team that built the laser, said in a written statement.

    To create the microwave laser, or “maser,” Petta and his colleagues used thin nanowires to link up pairs of quantum dots–artificial molecules made up of bits of a semiconductor material called indium arsenide.

    Then they placed two of these “double quantum dots” six millimeters apart inside a small cavity made from superconductor material, called niobium, with mirrors on either side.

    When the experimental device was hooked up to a battery, electrons flowed through the quantum dots. As the electrons transitioned from a higher energy state to a lower one, they emitted photons in the microwave range. These particles of light bounced off the mirrors to produce a focused beam of microwave energy.

    “The remarkable feature of this device is that it is ‘pumped’ by single electrons tunneling from one quantum dot to another,” Petta told The Huffington Post in an email. “It is like a line of people crossing a wide stream by leaping onto a rock so small that it can only hold one person,” he added in the statement. “They are forced to cross the stream one at a time.”

    (Story continues below image.)
    quantum laser
    A double quantum dot as imaged by a scanning electron microscope. Current flows one electron at a time through two quantum dots (red circles).

    Exactly what good is such a device? The researchers hope to use double quantum dots as quantum bits, or “qubits,” which are the basic units of information in quantum computers.

    One of the biggest challenges in quantum computing is coupling qubits so that they can be used to send information over large distances. Quantum dots may help solve this problem, according to Petta.

    “Imagine trying to communicate a message over a long distance by forming a line of people and having each person relay the message to the person in front of them,” he said in the email. “Using a photon, or light particle, to couple two quantum dots is analogous to directly flying the message from the first person in line to the last person in line.”

    A paper describing the laser was published Jan. 16 in the journal Science.

  • Help The Blind Through Video Chat With This New App
    A new app lets you — yes, you — help the blind see.

    Copenhagen-based app Be My Eyes, which launched on Thursday, connects blind people and sighted people through their iPhones and iPads. Here’s how it works: If you’re blind, you can sign up for the service and reach out to sighted users through a live video connection on the app. Once connected, blind users can ask sighted users questions over video chat. If you’re sighted, you can sign up to help blind users.

    If you’re a sighted user and you get a request, it will come through your phone as a push notification with a ringing sound. If you tap the notification, you’ll be connected and a video will pop up, showing whatever the blind user is filming. You’ll also be able to hear him or her speak and ask a question.

    Sighted users might be asked to help navigate a new place, read a sign or label, or help in some other way. One example of how someone might use the app is to help distinguish between two cans of food:

    be my eyes app

    iPhones and iPads have services built in to help blind users. You can use VoiceOver for iOS to get your iPhone or iPad to help you navigate your screen, type, read, use apps and more.

    Since you’re connected to each other via live video, there are obviously some ways in which users could abuse the system. “Both the blind person and the sighted person are allowed to report each other for misuse,” Be My Eyes co-founder and CEO Thelle Kristensen told The Huffington Post in a phone interview on Friday. If you get reported enough times, you won’t be able to connect to anyone through the app anymore.

    If you’re a sighted user and a notification appears but you don’t answer it, the request will simply go to someone else. As of now, there are currently more than 17,800 sighted people and 1,500 blind people using the app, according to the Be My Eyes website. More than 2,900 pairs of blind and sighted people have been connected so far.

    “Not every helper has gotten a call yet,” Kristensen said. “We hope to see that picking up more and more.”

    The entire service is free, and Be My Eyes is a nonprofit. It’s only available on iOS devices for now, but you can request to be notified when the Android app is available.

    Be My Eyes – helping blind see from Be My Eyes on Vimeo.

  • This Challenge Will Determine the Fate of the World's Market Economies
    PRINCETON, N.J. — A specter is haunting the world economy — the specter of job-killing technology. How this challenge is met will determine the fate of the world’s market economies and democratic polities, in much the same way that Europe’s response to the rise of the socialist movement during the late 19th and early 20th centuries shaped the course of subsequent history.

    When the new industrial working class began to organize, governments defused the threat of revolution from below that Karl Marx had prophesied by expanding political and social rights, regulating markets, erecting a welfare state that provided extensive transfers and social insurance, and smoothing the ups and downs of the macroeconomy. In effect, they reinvented capitalism to make it more inclusive and to give workers a stake in the system.

    Today’s technological revolutions call for a similarly comprehensive reinvention. The potential benefits of discoveries and new applications in robotics, biotechnology, digital technologies and other areas are all around us and easy to see. Indeed, many believe that the world economy may be on the cusp of another explosion in new technologies.

    The trouble is that the bulk of these new technologies are labor-saving. They entail the replacement of low-and medium-skilled workers with machines operated by a much smaller number of highly skilled workers.

    To be sure, some low-skill tasks cannot be easily automated. Janitors, to cite a common example, cannot be replaced by robots — at least not yet. But few jobs are really protected from technological innovation. Consider, for example, that there will be less human-generated trash — and thus less demand for janitors — as the workplace is digitized.

    A world in which robots and machines do the work of humans need not be a world of high unemployment. But it is certainly a world in which the lion’s share of productivity gains accrues to the owners of the new technologies and the machines that embody them. The bulk of the workforce is condemned either to joblessness or low wages.

    Indeed, something like this has been happening in the developed countries for at least four decades. Skill and capital-intensive technologies are the leading culprit behind the rise in inequality since the late 1970s. By all indications, this trend is likely to continue, producing historically unprecedented levels of inequality and the threat of widespread social and political conflict.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. With some creative thinking and institutional engineering, we can save capitalism from itself — once again.

    The key is to recognize that disruptive new technologies produce large social gains and private losses simultaneously. These gains and losses can be reconfigured in a manner that benefits everyone. Just as with the earlier reinvention of capitalism, the state must play a large role.

    Consider how new technologies develop. Each potential innovator faces a large upside, but also a high degree of risk. If the innovation is successful, its pioneer reaps a large gain, as does society at large. But if it fails, the innovator is out of luck. Among all the new ideas that are pursued, only a few eventually become commercially successful.

    These risks are especially high at the dawn of a new innovation age. Achieving the socially desirable level of innovative effort then requires either foolhardy entrepreneurs — who are willing to take high risks — or a sufficient supply of risk capital.

    Financial markets in the advanced economies provide risk capital through different sets of arrangements — venture funds, public trading of shares, private equity, etc. But there is no reason why the state should not be playing this role on an even larger scale, enabling not only greater amounts of technological innovation but also channeling the benefits directly to society at large.

    As Mariana Mazzucato has pointed out, the state already plays a significant role in funding new technologies. The Internet and many of the key technologies used in the iPhone have been spillovers of government subsidized R&D programs and U.S. Department of Defense projects. But typically the government acquires no stake in the commercialization of such successful technologies, leaving the profits entirely to private investors.

    Imagine that a government established a number of professionally managed public venture funds, which would take equity stakes in a large cross section of new technologies, raising the necessary funds by issuing bonds in financial markets. These funds would operate on market principles and have to provide periodic accounting to political authorities (especially when their overall rate of return falls below a specified threshold), but would be otherwise autonomous.

    Designing the right institutions for public venture capital can be difficult. But central banks offer a model of how such funds might operate independently of day-to-day political pressure. Society, through its agent — the government — would then end up as co-owner of the new generation of technologies and machines.

    The public venture funds’ share of profits from the commercialization of new technologies would be returned to ordinary citizens in the form of a “social innovation” dividend — an income stream that would supplement workers’ earnings from the labor market. It would also allow working hours to be reduced — finally approaching Marx’s dream of a society in which technological progress enables individuals to “hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticize after dinner.”

    The welfare state was the innovation that democratized — and thereby stabilized — capitalism in the 20th century. The 21st century requires an analogous shift to the “innovation state.” The welfare state’s Achilles’ heel was that it required a high level of taxation without stimulating a compensating investment in innovative capacity. An innovation state, established along the lines sketched above, would reconcile equity with the incentives that such investment requires.

    © Project Syndicate

  • 'In Dog We Trust' Rug's Pawful Mistake Will Benefit Charity
    Pull out your checkbooks, animal lovers with uncovered floors: a Florida police agency’s famed, typo-afflicted “In Dog We Trust” rug is being auctioned off to benefit a local dog rescue group and sanctuary.

    This fantastic rug came about by accident. The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office paid American Floor Mats $500 for a rug that was supposed to proclaim confidence in a supreme being, instead of man’s best friend. (Another rug, ordered at the same time, was printed correctly.)

    The mistake was discovered some months later, and the rug was ferreted out of sight — but definitely not out of mind.

    Here’s the completely awesome auction listing:

    The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will not “sweep anything under the rug.” Due to extensive interest regarding our plans for the “doggone” rug, you can bid on it here, and we will donate 100% of your bid to a local animal rescue.

    in dog we trust
    (AP Photo/WFTS-TV/ABC Action News, Adam Winer)

    Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told a local ABC affiliate that since a reporter first noticed and tweeted about the misspelling earlier this week, his office has been getting calls from all over the world.

    “The biggest concern I was hearing from people was, ‘Oh my God, don’t throw it away,” Gualtieri said.

    Indeed. While the auction started at just $100, bids for the rug had already gone over $2,600 as of Friday afternoon, with all that money destined to help an area nonprofit called Canine Estates, Inc.

    “We’re so excited,” Canine Estates’ founder Jayne Sidwell told The Huffington Post. “We need the funding so bad.”

    Sidwell said that she thinks her group — which is currently caring for 30 dogs, with another 10 due in soon — was chosen because Gualtieri adopted a 13-year-old dog from them last year.

    “Annabel Lee. A Maltese mix with an underbite. From what I understand, she and the Sheriff watch sports together,” she said.

    The auction closes at 4 p.m. next Wednesday, Jan. 21 — which may well be your last chance at getting your hands (and feet) on this perfect piece of home decor.

    An American Floor Mats customer service agent, who declined to give his name, said the company’s been “getting a lot of calls” about the rugs in the last couple of days.

    Alas, those people are out of luck.

    “I don’t believe we are going to be reproducing the mats,” he said.

    You can bid on the In Dog We Trust rug at onlineauction.com, and find out more about Canine Estates on Facebook.

    Get in touch at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com if you have an animal story to share!

  • New York Post, United Press International's Twitter Accounts Hacked

    NEW YORK (AP) — Some Twitter accounts of the New York Post and UPI, as well as the news agency’s website, were briefly hacked Friday.

    Tweets with false economic and military news were posted and then deleted.

    One tweet on United Press International’s feed said that the Pope said World War III had begun. Another on the New York Post’s business section Twitter feed said that Bank of America’s CEO was calling for calm after a Federal Reserve decision.

    The hack is being investigated, said Jenny Tartikoff, a spokeswoman for the Post. The New York newspaper is owned by News Corp.

    In a statement posted to its website, UPI, based in Washington, said its Twitter account and website were hacked. Six fake headlines were posted to its Twitter account, and a “breaking news” banner with a fake story about the Federal Reserve was posted to its homepage until UPI’s technology support team shut down access.

    It’s the latest hack of a high-profile social media account. The Twitter and YouTube accounts of the U.S. military’s Central Command were compromised earlier this week by hackers claiming to support the Islamic State militant group, and Crayola apologized for a hack of its Facebook page that filled it with sex jokes and other off-color content. During a 2013 hack, Burger King’s Twitter feed posted obscenities and put up McDonald’s logo as its profile picture.

    More dangerous intrusions of companies and organizations are also on the rise. Just since fall 2013, hackers at Sony Pictures Entertainment, Target, Home Depot and JPMorgan Chase compromised those companies’ computer networks and gained access to confidential information about customers or employees. The hacks have exposed the lack of uniform practices for dealing with breaches.

    The White House is pushing for new cybersecurity legislation that increases the sharing of information between U.S. agencies and the private sector and protects businesses from lawsuits for revealing cyberthreats.

  • Microsoft To Change Windows Insiders Terms After Windows 10 Event

    Microsoft has sent out an email notice to all participants of the Windows Insider program that terms and conditions will be changing after next week’s Windows 10 event in Redmond.  While no specifics were given in the email, members are encouraged to check the T&Cs page after the 21st for the new rules of engagement.  It is yet another hint that the event next Tuesday is going to be huge with a lot of announcements and updates. All indications point to the Windows 10 event encompassing not only the desktop and tablet version but phone versions as well.  It is

    The post Microsoft To Change Windows Insiders Terms After Windows 10 Event appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • In Surprising Move, Sprint Endorses Net Neutrality
    WASHINGTON — Sprint has come out in support of granting the government strong authority to enforce net neutrality, bucking the trend of cell phone carriers fighting efforts to keep the Internet free and open.

    The Federal Communications Commission will vote on a net neutrality plan next month. President Barack Obama has urged the agency to reclassify consumer broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, a move that would empower the FCC to block Internet service providers from charging for faster Internet access.

    In a letter sent to the FCC on Thursday, Sprint Chief Technology Officer Stephen Bye wrote that the company “does not believe that a light touch application of Title II … would harm the continued investment in, and deployment of, mobile broadband services.”

    “So long as the FCC continues to allow wireless carriers to manage our networks and differentiate our products, Sprint will continue to invest in data networks regardless of whether they are regulated by Title II, Section 706, or some other light touch regulatory regime,” the letter concluded.

    This is a dramatic backtrack from what cell phone carriers have previously argued, namely, that a Title II net neutrality plan would devastate the economy and discourage investment in Internet services.

    In 2013, Sprint’s CEO at the time, Dan Hesse, told The Verge that net neutrality was “a hard concept for me to get my head around. It’s like telling the airlines you can’t sell first class seats.”

    Sprint’s position isn’t likely to jibe with Republicans who are reportedly planning to introduce legislation that offers significant concessions to net neutrality advocates, but would still bar Title II reclassification.

    But Sprint’s letter is welcome news to net neutrality supporters.

    “This is big news,” said Julie Samuels, executive director of Engine, which advocates for start-ups. “Every day it becomes more and more clear that the American public, and many of the companies driving the American economy, are ready to get behind a Title II regime.”

    Marvin Ammori, a lawyer for the tech industry who supports net neutrality, told HuffPost that “an open Internet is good for all carriers and their shareholders,” and called Sprint’s position a “very enlightened, visionary move.”

  • Phablets and truckers: Tech round-up
    Watch the best of the week’s technology news
  • VIDEO: Google Glass – what next? In 45 secs
    What next for tech giant Google?
  • The Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter 2015 [SLIDE DECK]
    David BrayKim StevensonOliver BussmannJoanna YoungMike KailMichelle McKenna-DoyleRobert SchmidtTim CrawfordRamon BaezGaurav PradhanDiane DoerschJason SmylieRachel Wente-ChaneyDavid ChouSonny HashmiStephen LandryJay FerroBrenda CooperMatt BusiginWill LassalleJonathan ReichentalGerri FlickingerStephen DiFilipoAndy BlumenthalSeth CliffordMichael BermanChristian McMahonKelly WalshIsaac SacolickVitaliy KatsenelsonMichael SkaffLucas CarlsonKevin BehrVictor FetterTheresa RowePaul SlotNeil PearceMark CarboneSteven SnyderMelissa WooBrett BobleyAlissa JohnsonSteve GrovesFerdinand KobeltDavid SullivanMiguel GaminoRaechelle ClemmonsAnthony WatsonGeorges NgoleTom LaPlantePaige FrancisSteve DownsAdam StanleyCynthia StoddardBaz AboueleneinBrian-BauteNigel FortlageJonathan FeldmanPeter CampbellStephen LambRalph LouraMark BrewerGiancarlo GonzalezSteve HuffmanAshwin RamFernando ThompsonIan CohenVince KellenPaul CobyStuart AppleyEdgardo DonovanLisa DavisStuart LynnTom CataliniLee CongdonGanesan RavishankerDouglas MenefeeRichard CorbridgeSusan KelloggLaurent MaumetJohn SheaJoe PalmerChuck MuscianoBryan SastokasMary SobiechowskiWill WeiderSheila JordanAdam GerrardKelly FlanaganBeth NiblockPatty HatterBruce MaasKevin MoreBrian MillerEric EgnetSabine EveraetAndrew AbboudEllen BorkowskiBrian RellingerThomas Danford

     

    TOP 100 MOST SOCIAL CIOs on TWITTER 2015 – SLIDESHARE

    The 2015 State of the CIO survey was recently published by CIO Magazine, noting that there’s still much more work to do gain respect. The survey noted that CIO compensation was rising ($234,830 in 2015) with 44% of CIOs reporting directly to the CEO. The suryey also indicated that only 13% of CIOs were viewed as ‘business leaders’ by peers from outside of IT. Only 30% of line-of-business leaders viewed the CIO as a ‘business partner’. The survey concluded by noting the significant C-suite perception gap that exists between business colleagues and IT – 54$ of line-of-business executives view IT as an obstacle to their mission (versus 33% of CIOs). One critically important way CIOs can improve the perception of IT and themselves is to adopt a more open, collaborative and accessible mindset. I have the privilege to collaborate with some of the most extraordinary CIOs in the world. These CIOs have achieved success largely to their willingness to collaborate and co-create value. Social CIOs are poised to successfully transform organizations and businesses by shifting the perceived IT culture of command-and-control to one that is collaborative and in support of co-creation of sustainable value.

    Since I last published the most social CIOs of 2014 list , the role of the Chief Information Officer in leading digital business transformation has become even more vital. Championing adoption of new technologies requires CIOs to actively engage and communicate broadly. To stay informed, successful CIOs are leveraging social media as their personal learning networks. Most of the innovative CIOs that I work with are expanding their capabilities, as well as their organizations by 1. Independent research, 2. Peer collaboration via social networks and forums, and 3. Vendor and business partner engagements.

    Here is the 2015 edition of the Top 100 Most Social CIOs. The ranking was determined by a combination of factors including twitter list memberships, tweet volume, number of followers, and other metrics as tallied by several social media influence scoring providers. On average, these CIOs are members of 180 lists with an average of 5,650 follower. Regarding the 2015 list, I have excluded several former CIOs who appeared on the 2014 list because they are no longer serving as active CIOs.

    I invite you to join me in congratulating all of these must-follow social CIOs. Leading by example, all 100 CIOs understand, promote, and value the power of collaboration.

  • UK and US to stage 'cyber war games'
    The UK and US are to stage cyber attack “war games” against Wall Street and the City of London in a new joint defence against hackers.
  • Email Spoofing: Explained (and How to Protect Yourself)
    Recently a co-worker asked me “Why do people even bother to spoof my email address?”

    First, for those of you joining me that have no idea what the term spoofing means – let us examine that.

    Spoofing is defined as:

    /spo͞of/
    verb
    1. imitate (something) while exaggerating its characteristic features for comic effect.
    2. hoax or trick (someone).

    Origin: late 19th century English comedian Arthur Roberts.

    In the context of computers, to spoof one’s email address means that the sender is acting as if the email is coming from someone it is not.

    How someone (or something) sends an email made to look like it comes from somewhere or somewhere it does not, is a little more technical to explain. So, if you don’t like tech talk, then skip to the next section “Why is my email address being spoofed?”

    How are they spoofing me?

    Spoofing email addresses is rather easy. All a person needs to spoof an email address is an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) server (a server that can send email) and the appropriate email software. Most website hosting services will even provide an SMTP server in their hosting package. It is also possible to send email from your own computer if you load an SMTP server on it, however most ISPs will block port 25 (which is required to send out email).

    Many of the available free SMTP servers will allow you to show a different “from” address than the actual registered domain that the email is transmitting from. However, to the recipient of said message, they will see that it actually came from the address you specified.

    Now, there are special checks in place (and more being put into place) to prevent exactly this problem. One is called SPF or “Sender Policy Framework” which was developed by Meng Weng Wong in 2003. Basically, each time an email is sent, the receiving server compares the IP of the origin with the IP listed in the SPF record with the appropriate domain.

    EXAMPLE 1: So, for example, let’s say someone tried to spoof Bill Gates (billgates@microsoft.com):
    They would send an email on his behalf > the recipient server would then talk back to microsoft.com and say “Hey, I have an email that is coming from 123.123.123.123 stating that it was sent from billgates@microsoft.com.” > microsoft.com would then tell the recipient server, “No, sorry, it should be coming from 111.111.111.111.” and the message would never get delivered.

    Why is my email address being spoofed?

    Two basic reasons people (and machines) spoof:

    1. Malicious: To cause useless internet traffic – ultimately hoping to bog down servers or bring them to a halt.

    2. Because you were unlucky enough to have clicked the wrong thing at the wrong time.

    There is only one reason that people (and all of this was at some point, created by people) take the time to code, program and create things like viruses, spoofing, spamming and malware. It is for no other reason than the fact that they can do it. They are bored, or are getting paid by others that want to cause havoc on the Internet. Think about what I show in “Example 1″ above. At the end of that example I state that the message doesn’t get delivered. So where does that email go? Well, it sits around in holding bins called queues, sometimes weeks, trying to get delivered. Multiply that by the billions of emails that are transmitted daily and one can imagine how much damage could be done with spam, and spoofing.

    Don’t get me wrong, I too at times wish the Internet wasn’t around and miss the days of yesteryear. We have too much information at our fingertips and not enough human hearts controlling it (but that’s a topic for another time). However, the Internet is part of our life, good or bad.

    How did they get my email address?

    I have been working in Information Technology for almost twenty years and I’ve seen it all. The two biggest problems that cause people to get listed on spoofing databases (lists of email addresses for spoofing) are:

    1. People click a link in a phishing email and freely submit their email address (unbeknownst) to the list.

    2. People send forwards (such as today’s latest funny) to mass groups of people, exposing their email address and everyone else’s. All you need is for one of those receiving email boxes to have a scraper in it (something that pulls all the email addresses it can find and adds it to a list).

    How can I protect myself from being spoofed?

    • Use your spam filters. Nearly every free (and paid) email service has spam filters and junk boxes. If something goes to your junk mail, don’t simply unblock it. Investigate the email, even if it looks like it’s coming from someone you know. Make sure that it really did come from that person and that they intended to send it to you.

    • Never click an unexpected link or download an unfamiliar attachment. Nearly all major companies (such as banks) have policies in place that require that if they need you to click a link to their site, they will include some sort of identifying information such as your name or last four digits of an account number. Pay special attention to that. Too many people see a generic email that simply says “Your account has been compromised, click here to validate.” No legitimate bank or institution will ever send that. They would say “Dear Jason, We believe your account has been compromised, please call us at XXX-XXX-XXXX.”

    • Learn to read email message headers and check domain names and IP addresses. Nearly all email programs will let you float your mouse over an email address (or link in an email). What you see pop up should be identical to what you are floating over. If it is something different, then it is probably spam or phishing for information.

  • What Babies Can Tell Us About Artificial Intelligence

    They may outwit the chess Grandmaster Kasparov, but can machines ever be as smart as a three-year-old?

    “Instead of trying to produce a program to simulate the adult mind, why not rather try to produce one which simulates the child’s?” Alan Turing, 1950.

    In an “Ideas Lab” discussion at Davos on 20 January, four academics from Berkeley, my university, will be debating whether computers can (Or will? Or might sometime in the future? Or can’t possibly?) make decisions better than people (the tenses are a big part of the debate).

    The group will include a roboticist, a computer scientist, a neuroscientist and me – a developmental psychologist. Why will I be there? It turns out that children are a crucial but under-appreciated part of the debate over artificial intelligence.

    Turing’s intelligence test

    Everyone remembers that Alan Turing proposed the imitation game to test whether a machine was intelligent. If a human being sat at a keyboard and couldn’t tell whether she was talking to a machine or a person, then the machine would have passed “the Turing test.”

    Almost no one remembers that in the very same paper Turing suggested that the key to achieving intelligence would be to design a machine that was like a child, not an adult. He pointed out, presciently, that the real secret to human intelligence is our ability to learn. Learning has been at the center of the new revival of AI. For the last 15 years or so computer scientists and developmental cognitive scientists have been trying to figure out how children learn so much so quickly, and how to design a machine that could do the same.

    The history of AI is fascinating because it’s been so hard to predict which aspects of human thought would be easy to simulate and which would be difficult. At first, we thought that things like playing chess or proving theorems — the corridas of nerd machismo — would prove to be hardest for computers. In fact, they turn out to be easy. Things every fool can do like recognizing a cup or picking it up turn out to be much harder. And it turns out to be much easier to simulate the reasoning of a highly trained adult expert than to mimic the ordinary learning of every baby. So where are machines catching up to children and what kinds of learning are still way beyond their reach?

    Amazing babies

    In the last 15 years we’ve discovered that even babies are amazingly good at detecting statistical patterns. Machines have also become remarkably good at statistical learning. Techniques like “deep learning” can detect even very complicated statistical regularities in enormous data sets. The result is that computers have suddenly become able to do things that were impossible before, like labeling Internet images accurately.

    But the trouble with this sort of purely statistical machine learning is that it depends on having enormous amounts of data, and data that is pre-digested by human brains. And yet, even with all that help, machines still need gigantic data sets and extremely complex computations to be able to look at a new picture and say “kitty-cat!” — something every baby can do with just a few examples.

    More profoundly, you can only generalize from this kind of statistical learning in a limited way, whether you’re a baby or a computer or a scientist. A more powerful way to learn is to formulate hypotheses about what the world is like and test them against the data. Back in the sixteenth century, Tycho Brahe, the Google Scholar of his day, amalgamated an enormous data set of astronomical observations, and he could use them to predict star positions in the future. But In the following century, Johannes Kepler’s heliocentric hypotheses allowed him to make unexpected, wide-ranging, entirely novel predictions that were well beyond Brahe’s ken. Preschoolers can do the same thing.

    One of the other big advances in machine learning has been to formalize and automate this kind of hypothesis testing. Introducing Bayesian probability theory into the learning process has been particularly important. We can mathematically describe a particular causal hypothesis, for example, and then calculate just how likely that hypothesis is to be true, given the data we see. Machines have become able to test hypotheses against the data in this way extremely well, with consequences for everything from medical diagnosis to meteorology. When we study young children they turn out to reason in a similar way and that may help to explain how they can learn so much.

    Three differences between children and computers

    But there are three things even very young human children do that are still very far from anything that current computers can do — or even that we can visualize them doing in the near future. And they make the gulf between artificial intelligence and human intelligence particularly vivid.

    Computers have become extremely skilled at making inferences from structured hypotheses, especially probabilistic inferences. But the really hard problem is deciding which hypotheses, out of all the infinite possibilities, are worth testing. Even pre-schoolers are remarkably good at creating brand new, out-of-the-box concepts and hypotheses in a creative way and then testing them. Somehow they combine rationality and irrationality, systematicity and randomness to do this, in a way that we still haven’t even begun to understand.

    In another neglected part of his landmark paper, Turing presciently argued that it might be good if his child computer acted randomly, at least some of that time. And three year olds’ thoughts and actions often do seem random, even crazy — just join in a pretend game sometime. This is exactly why psychologists like Piaget thought that they were irrational and illogical. But they also have an uncanny capacity to zero in on the right sort of weird hypothesis — in fact, research in our lab has shown that they can be substantially better at this than grown-ups.

    In one experiment, for example, we gave four-year-olds and Berkeley undergraduates a new gadget to figure out — a machine that lit up when you put some things on it and not others. We showed the kids and adults the machine working in an obvious way or a more unusual way, and then let them figure out how to make it go with some new blocks. The kids quickly learned the unusual hypothesis but the adults stuck with the obvious idea, in spite of the data. This might seem surprising at first. But maybe not if, like me, you’ve watched your three-year-old grandchild quickly and spontaneously master the smartphone that took you a month to figure out.

    We think that the kids were exploring possibilities in a wider more unpredictable way than grown-ups just as they do when they “get into everything” in their exploratory play, or think up crazy alternatives to reality in their pretending. But we have almost no idea how this sort of rational randomness, this constrained creativity, is possible.

    A second area where children outshine computers is in their ability to actually go out and explore the world around them. Turing refers to this as “the ability to go fetch the coal scuttle” and suggests that computers can do without it. But, after all, experimentation is a crucial, and rather mysterious, part of scientific learning.

    More and more studies show that even very young babies actively explore the world around them, and that this kind of active exploration is crucial for learning. Babies systematically look longest at the events around them that are most likely to be informative, and they play with objects in a way that will teach them the most. This ability to actually extract the right data from the world, rather than just processing the data that you are given, is very powerful. It also involves the same tension between rationality and randomness as children’s creative hypothesis generation. It is still far beyond the capacity of any machine we know of.

    A third way that children learn is by getting information from the other people around them. Most people don’t appreciate that many of the recent successes of machine learning also depend deeply on information from humans. Computers can only recognize Internet images because millions of real people have reduced the unbelievably complex information at their retinas to a highly stylized, constrained and simplified Instagram of their cute kitty, and have clearly labelled that image, too. (In some ways the dystopian fantasy of “The Matrix” is a simple fact, we’re all actually helping computers become more powerful, under the anesthetizing illusion that we’re just having fun with lol cats.) And they can translate, more or less, because they can take advantage of enormous databases of human translations.

    Computers can’t roll their eyes

    But current computers use the information from people in a relatively simple and thoughtless way. New studies show that, in contrast, even three-year-olds can assess the testimony of other people in a surprisingly sophisticated way. They can tell whether someone is reliable or wonky, naïve or expert. They can even use very subtle cues to tell whether a grown-up is just saying what they think, or is intentionally trying to be instructive. And very young children learn differently depending on what they think about the person talking to them. (Even the most sophisticated computers have yet to master the ability to roll their eyes at adult fatuity).

    Of course, Turing’s great insight was that once we have a complete step-by- step account of any process we can program it on a computer. This is where the tenses come in — at the moment it’s a matter of faith about whether such an account of human intelligence will be possible or what it will look like. As scientists, it’s natural to want to endorse that faith, and to hope that such an account will be possible, though at this point, it’s still no more than faith and hope.

    And, after all, we know that there are intelligent physical systems that can do all these things. In fact, most of us have actually created such systems and enjoyed doing it too (well, at least in the earliest stages). We call them our kids. Computation is still the best, indeed the only, scientific explanation we have of how a physical object like a brain can act intelligently. But, at least for now, we have almost no idea at all how the sort of intelligence we see in children is possible. Until we do, the largest and most powerful computers will still be no match for the smallest and weakest humans.

    This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and The World Economic Forum to mark the Forum’s Annual Meeting 2015 (in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, Jan. 21-24). Read all the posts in the series here.

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