iPhone, iPad & Android App Developers UK with offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

0207 993 4594
0161 870 2578
0121 270 7144
iphone, ipad mobile application development android mobile application development

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • VIDEO: Artists unite for Tidal re-launch
    Some of the biggest names in entertainment have re-launched the music subscription service Tidal, which they claim will change musical history.
  • What Exactly is Project Spartan – And What is it Not?

    With the release of the Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10049, we get our first public glimpse of Project Spartan, the all new browser that will be coming in Windows 10.  Project Spartan has been talked about and teased since January but it has taken them until now to get a build of it that they felt was stable enough to use.  In the life of the Internet though, two plus months is a long time so I thought I would give everyone a refresher of what Project Spartan is exactly and equally as important, what it is not. The

    The post What Exactly is Project Spartan – And What is it Not? appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: The Outernet connecting Kenya schools
    The system that can provide data and create Wi-Fi hotspots in remote parts of the world
  • Is fibre key to connecting Africa?
    Is fibre key to getting all of Africa online?
  • Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Build 10049 with Project Spartan To Fast Ring Windows Insiders

    It took nearly two months for the Windows 10 Technical Preview to be updated after the initial release but the Fast Ring is apparently very fast right now.  Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring of Windows 10 have now had Build 10049 pushed out to them.  This update has a lot of fixes but it also is the first release with the all new singing-and-dancing Project Spartan web experience.  The update will only be available to those who are on the Fast Ring so if you are wanting to see Project Spartan and are on the Slow Ring, you will

    The post Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Build 10049 with Project Spartan To Fast Ring Windows Insiders appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Hillary Didn't Backup, But You Should

    Wait a minute. Hillary erased all her email? On purpose?

    Forget the logical, legal and/or political implications of her actions. From a purely technological point-of-view, in a world in which we are all deathly afraid of losing our files to some unforeseen digital disaster, who consciously completely clears two years of emails, forever?

    The timing of Hillary’s head-scratching email erasure are alternately apropos and inexplicable since March 31 is World Backup Day, a day dedicated to the promotion of making copies of your documents, photos and email for both safe-keeping and posterity.

    Not only can’t I fathom someone purposely erasing all/ their emails, regardless of what kind of work you do, but she didn’t even back them up while she was in office? That’s not old school. That’s dumb.

    It can’t be a space issue. Her 55,000 emails probably came to around 10 GB, the digital memory equivalent of small change. Hillary, or her IT minions, could have backed up those emails onto a $50 portable hard drive in about the same amount of time it took to delete them — probably less, and still had room to store 4K video copies of all her speeches and campaign videos from 2008 (using the new HEVC compression standard, of course).

    If Hillary used an outside email service that caps storage space, I could understand selectively erasing, say, junk or marketing/sales emails. But all your own email generated in a government job from your own server? Not only is that madness, it’s a giant waste of time and energy.

    Hell, maybe she did back them up. And when Hillary’s lawyer told the House Benghazi committee that the emails had been erased from her server, the committee assumed that meant no digital copies of the emails still exist at all. But maybe someone dragged-and-dropped the emails onto a thumb drive to be squirreled away in some secret safety deposit box. It would have taken maybe the time it takes you to read this rant to do this.

    Backup alternatives

    Again, I got no political dog in this hunt; I’m looking at this merely from an objective, if somewhat cynical, tech perspective. Personally, as far as my own digital files are concerned, I’m as paranoid as Richard Nixon, John Lennon concerning Richard Nixon’s deportation efforts, and Jerry Fletcher, the obsessively suspicious cab driver played by Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory combined. In other words, I am a studious backer-upper.

    All my digital files and photos are automatically backed up as I create and save them. I use Dropbox as my primary work document hard drive; via its desktop app, when you save a file, Dropbox stores and syncs the file on your hard drive and in the cloud — automatic backup, clean and simple.

    I also use Transporter, which I wrote about last World Backup Day, as my own personal cloud service for storing files, photos and movies. Somewhat similar to Dropbox, you can use one Transporter as your everyday hard drive. Any file you save is automatically mirrored/saved to a second Transporter drive connected and kept in a safe off-campus location. And since Transporter is your cloud, there’s no annual subscription, which is always nice.

    I also have a subscription to SugarSync — everything I create on my desktop automatically gets upload to SugarSync for cloud storage. For me, SugarSync is the digital equivalent of throwing boxes up into the attic or into a storage space. One of these years I’m gonna go in there to clean up and organize. One of these years.

    I also have Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Picasa photo accounts.

    Like I said, paranoid.

    Not only am I assured that everything I create on or save to my PC is stored in multiple virtual locations, I can access nearly anything digital of mine on any device from anywhere I am via an Internet connection, which is essentially everywhere in the civilized world (and even some not-so civilized locales).

    Use this World Backup Day to make your own minimal backup effort — even if it’s just to buy a 1 or 2 TB portable hard drive and drag-and-drop the contents of your C drive (if you’re on a Windows PC) on to it, or create an automatic Time Machine backup if you’re on a Mac.

    There is simply no excuse for losing any photo, file or email, accidentally or on even for political purpose.

    If you need backing up advice, here’s a handy instructional infographic from my friends at Cloudwards.net to help you out.

    Cloudwards.net - World Backup Day 2015

    Courtesy of: Cloudwards.net

  • Jay Z, Madonna, Nicki Minaj And Other Artists Announce New Streaming Service, Tidal
    NEW YORK (AP) — Madonna, Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay Z are among the A-List musicians who are co-owners of Tidal, a streaming service being billed as the first artist-owned platform for music and video.

    The membership-based service — similar to subscription service Spotify — will provide music and video content that users can stream on computers, tablets and smartphones or listen to offline. It is being offered at two price points: $10 for standard sound quality and $20 for “lossless high fidelity sound quality.” Few other details were released about the streaming service.

    Kanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Jack White and Nicki Minaj also were among the artists who announced at a New York City event Monday that they are co-owners of the service that quietly launched in October. Keys said the artists hope Tidal will “forever change the course of music history” and ensure the viability of the industry.

    The celebrities — who also included Jason Aldean, Usher, members of Arcade Fire and deadmau5 — stood in a line onstage as Keys spoke to the audience at Skylight at Moynihan Station in Manhattan. Most of them wore black as a sign of solidarity. Keys called the event “a graduation.”

    “So we come together before you on this day, March 30th, 2015, with one voice in unity in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history. For today we announce of Tidal, the first ever artist-owned, global music and entertainment platform,” Keys said.

    The venue for the event was transformed to display a walkway paying tribute to the different decades in music, starting with the 1950s.

    Coldplay’s Chris Martin and Calvin Harris, who both appeared via video, are also co-owners.

    “Our mission goes beyond commerce, it goes beyond technology. Our intent is to preserve music’s importance in our lives,” Keys said. “Music is the language of love, of laughter, of heartbreak, of mystery. It’s the world’s true, true, without question, universal language.”

    Each of the owners signed documents at the event as the audience screamed when they walked to a table in the center of the stage.


    AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen continued to this report.




  • #VeryRealisticYA Hilariously Describes The Harsh Reality Of Growing Up
    A teen in a dystopian world rebels against the tyrannical government. An average high schooler falls for the mysterious new girl at school. A group of friends take the road trip of a lifetime. Sound familiar? That’s because the successful world of YA fiction is full of these kinds of characters and stories. In reality, it’s all a bit different.

    John Hansen noticed this after comparing his typical day to that of a YA protagonist.

    Sometimes I spend all day doing homework and then look at YA characters who save worlds and I’m just like, HOW DO THEY FIND THE TIME???

    — John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015

    The 17-year-old YA writer went on to tweet a few alternative plot ideas for the YA universe. His characters might not defeat evil leaders or save the world, but they definitely have their own problems to face.

    Extremely realistic YA novel: a girl must battle her way through school on 5 hours of sleep before the villain (exhaustion) destroys her.

    — John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015

    Extremely realistic YA novel: a boy must topple an oppressive dystopian regime–his always-on-his-case-about-college-applications parents.

    — John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 28, 2015

    John invited other Twitter users to play along, and #VeryRealisticYA was born. In response, the rest of the Internet traded the usual YA plots we know and love for some more practical stories. From dealing with college debt to never having magic powers, this is what it’s actually like being a young adult in the real world today.

    Girl politely declines to be the face of the revolution because it’s junior year and she has too much homework. #VeryRealisticYA

    — John Hansen (@ABoredAuthor) March 29, 2015

    Girl wakes up one morning with a super ability. She is suddenly able to binge on Netflix, Nutella and tumblr all at once. #VeryRealisticYA

    — E.P. Hahn (@epv_hahn) March 30, 2015

    Misfit girl with glasses takes them off and only like 2 people notice and ask if she got contacts or just forgot them. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Klaus Future (@klausfuture) March 30, 2015

    Nerdy girl is paired in school project with bad boy. She does all the work and they never speak again. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Janine Mimi De Jesus (@LoveJanineMimi) March 29, 2015

    A gifted teen’s world is blown apart when she realizes just how much student debt she’ll have once she’s done with college. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) March 29, 2015

    Girl shocked to discover that she is long lost royalty. Mom gently explains, “Honey, that is just your spam folder.” #VeryRealisticYA

    — Reggie Lutz (@ReggieLutz) March 29, 2015

    One fateful summer, one group deep in the woods learns that nothing can overcome the power of friendship. Except bears. #veryrealisticya

    — Devin Pitts-Rogers (@devinjpr) March 30, 2015

    Jacob arrested at the Canadian border with his 3-year-old “fiancée” Renesmee. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Andrew Shaffer (@andrewtshaffer) March 29, 2015

    Girl moves to NY to be on Broadway. Nobody casts her when she steps off the bus. She even has to go to auditions. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Rachel D’Erminio (@Raetastic) March 30, 2015

    Four friends try on the same pair of pants. It fits one of them. The last one to try them on rips them. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff) March 29, 2015

    Boy gets a letter at age 11. It invites him to take the PSAT #VeryRealisticYA

    — Colin Heasley (@ColiHeasle) March 29, 2015

    In a non-post-apocalyptic world, it’s up to one teenage girl to do some extracurriculars because colleges like that. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) March 30, 2015

    #VeryRealisticYA Teen finds an old book of spells. Tries one on a dare. It doesn’t work. He puts the book back where he found it.

    — Jenn Marie Thorne (@juniperjenny) March 29, 2015

    Teens fall in love and can’t quote any poetry to each other because they didn’t do the readings last year in AP English. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Rachel D’Erminio (@Raetastic) March 30, 2015

    A young girl plays hide & seek in a wardrobe. Her brother finds her immediately. It’s a terrible hiding place. #VeryRealisticYA

    — TheBloggess (@TheBloggess) March 29, 2015

    Teen accidentally uploads embarrassing video to YouTube. The next school day is normal because it only got 2 views. #VeryRealisticYA

    — Brooks Benjamin (@brooksbenjamin) March 29, 2015

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

  • Coachella And Lollapalooza Ban Selfie Sticks
    LOS ANGELES (AP) — You can bring your beach towels and floral headbands, but forget that selfie stick if you’re planning to go to the Coachella or Lollapalooza music festivals.

    The devices, which grasp cellphones to allow people to take pictures of themselves farther away from their faces, are banned at this summer’s festivals in Indio, California, and Chicago. Coachella dismissed them as “narsisstics” on a list of prohibited items. Selfie sticks have become a popular but polemical photo-taking tool: Avid picture takers like snapping their own shots in front of monuments and sunsets, but critics dismiss them as obnoxious and potentially dangerous to others around them.

    A spokeswoman for Coachella would not comment on the restriction. Lollapalooza representatives did not return a request for comment but on the festival’s Twitter account said the decision was being made “for safety, to speed security checks at the gate & to reduce the number of obstructions between the fans and the stage.”

    Coachella and Lollapalooza are among dozens of big events and landmarks taking a stand against the sticks.

    In Europe, the Palace of Versailles outside Paris, Britain’s National Gallery in London and the Colosseum in Rome have all banned selfie sticks, saying they need to protect exhibits on display and ensure the safety of visitors.

    In the U.S., Ultra Music Festival in Miami, one of the world’s largest electronic music festivals, also prohibited selfie sticks at last weekend’s event.

    “They will be turned away and we’ll probably make fun of you,” Ultra said on its Twitter account earlier this month.

    Wayne Fromm, creator of the Quik Pod and the first to patent the selfie stick more than a decade ago, said he understood the decision for museums and festivals to ban the stick and that the intention was never for the device to be fully extended in busy spaces.

    “Intentionally or not, there is a danger to other people in crowded places,” he told The Associated Press.

    He added that he is at work on a new selfie-taking tool that will accomplish the same tasks without so many problems.

    Another selfie-stick entrepreneur, Jacqueline Verdier, CEO of Selfie on a Stick, said the festivals were going too far and that the sticks can be used safely.

    “I think it’s really doing a bit of disservice to the attendees,” Verdier said. “They’re not going to be able to capture the same memories.”

    Some concertgoers praised the decision, saying the sticks promote a culture of narcissism and detract from the festival experience. Others said they enjoy using them and lament there is so much negativity around them.

    Thomas Smith, 31, of Los Angeles, will be going to Coachella this year and said he wasn’t planning to bring it into the venue because of recent backlash against the stick — even though he’s used it on previous occasions and likes the sticks because of the perspective he’s able to get for photos and video.

    “People make fun of the people who use them,” he said. “Taking a selfie is kind of an embarrassing thing but when you see someone who went out of their way to get equipment to take a selfie, there’s an extra level of embarrassment attached.”

    Asked about Coachella and others dubbing the self-stick as a “narsisstic,” Fromm said he found the term offensive. He said people have liked to look at themselves since the beginning of time and that everyone wants to look their best.

    “My intention was to encourage better photos for posterity,” Fromm said. “Is that narcissistic?”

  • All Monetization, No 'Ums' at Orange County's Startup Weekend

    Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event that brings together designers, developers, entrepreneurs, and experts to take ideas from sheer concept to amazing new products.

    Anyone is welcome to attend and pitch their startup business idea. Participants receive feedback from their peers, and teams are formed around the top-voted ideas. These teams of generally three or more people, then embark on a three-day frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekend culminates with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders, competition judges, and peers.

    With over 1,500 events hosted to date, spanning 726 international cities, the program has yielded over 13,000 startups created by over 123,000 entrepreneurs.


    “MVP” in the vernacular of startups stands for minimally viable product. And that’s what each team hopes to build in a given weekend. In each city, the format is the same:

    1. Pitch an idea, vote for your favorites, and form your team (or join someone else’s).
    2. Build: Put your talents to work and build a minimally viable product, team, and brand for execution in the real world or even just your portfolio.
    3. Launch: Put final touches on your presentation and state your case to the Judges.

    Orange County, California

    Five teams competed in Orange County this past weekend. Particularly notable in this Southern California version of a San Francisco hackathon, is a focus on product viability. These teams were here to build a product to sell, not merely to produce an idea without a market.


    The End of Ums

    By the 54th hour, one team walked away with top awards, having built a notification system to help public speakers, orators, and everyday conversationalists recognize and correct verbal pauses.

    Startup, Illuminate, aims to serve as your personal speech coach. Inspired by the CEO’s experience cringing as he reviewed a video introduction of himself and noticed his pronounced speech delays, the system pings the user every time he/she uses verbal pauses (“um”, “ah”, “okay”, and the like). With consistent conditioning via mobile notifications at each offense, user speech patterns can be replaced with more useful communication.

    Illuminate team presenting at #SWOC15 pic.twitter.com/4U89yvZNuh

    — K5 (@k5launch) March 30, 2015

    GeoWoding: Geocaching meets fitness. Imagine picking up and trying a new, professionally developed urban workout at the beach. Trying the regimen, recording your time, leaving your feedback, and having your results listed on a leaderboard. That’s what GeoWoding has built. The concept has a functional web app, with ambitions to launch a Kickstarter campaign and develop the fully functional mobile app and embark on a go-to-market strategy.

    What if you could #geocache a daily workout? love #WOD, take this quick survey for #SWOC15 http://t.co/Cg3TtcoMYP pic.twitter.com/n5pB4nySgp

    — Andre F Bourque ♕ (@SocialMktgFella) March 29, 2015

    Stay @ Home: Pairing flex schedule employers with skilled talent seeking part-time, and telecommuting professionals. There’s an unserviced need here, particularly for men. While similar (although not entirely equivalent) services exist for women (think Mom Corps), they preclude 49 percent of the population. With integrated coaching, professional training, and plans to build a robust social network, Stay @ Home aims to fill this service need.

    @SWOrangeCounty pitch night is on! #startupweekend #SWOC15 pic.twitter.com/af9p6JtOuP

    — LA SW EDU (@LAswedu) March 30, 2015

    Dapper: On demand barbers. Think Uber meets barbers. Again, a concept not entirely foreign to the female population where a variety of mobile hair dresser services exist, a structured network of this for men does not exist. With Dapper, barber profiles are established, Yelp-like rating and feedback mechanisms put in place, and men can summon on-demand hair care.

    Dapper (uber for barbers) getting down to brass tacks at #swoc15 pic.twitter.com/KgwoQ802dh

    — Andy Keil (@alwaysunday) March 28, 2015

    Horizon Dash: Financial planning in five minutes. Somewhere between the financially savvy, and the too young to care is a population of 20-30 somethings seeking financial advice without the high fees, high learning curve, and sophisticated results. That’s the market here: Light on time, heavy on results working professionals, and Horizon Dash aims to service them.

    1st pitch of the night is from #HorizonDash – a free & simple #retirement planning software. #SWOC15 Take a peek: http://t.co/If7oUyhZoU

    — The VineOC (@thevineoc) March 30, 2015

  • Tourists Are Taking Selfies In Front Of New York Explosion Site
    The blast killed two people and injured 22, but that hasn’t stopped tourists from posing for cheerful selfies in front of the site of the East Village explosion in New York City.

    “Self-absorbed jerks are treating the East Village gas explosion site like a tourist attraction,” reports the New York Post.

    Friday night #eastvillage @evgrieve pic.twitter.com/8OpG1d6mPy

    — EventPhotosNYC (@Eventphotosnyc) March 28, 2015

    The paper cites several examples, including Christina Freundlich, a former communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, who posted an Instagram photo of her smiling, making a peace sign in front of the wreckage on Saturday.


    After her post received heavy criticism, Freundlich deleted the picture and issued an apology to the Des Moines Register.

    “It was inconsiderate to those hurt in the crash and to the city of New York,” Freundlich said. “What happened last week in the East Village is not to be taken lightly and I regret my course of action.”

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

    The selfie-taking has not stopped. A HuffPost staffer spotted a group of people holding a selfie stick and smiling for the camera on Monday afternoon.

    Authorities found two bodies amongst the wreckage on Sunday.

    Like Us On Facebook |
    Follow Us On Twitter |
    Contact The Author

  • 8 Contemporary Icons Explain The Relationship Between Artistry And Technology
    It’s difficult, if not entirely impossible, for today’s artists to ignore the growing influence of technology on their respective fields. As tools both digital and physical become more and more sophisticated, from 3D printing to creative robotics, contemporary icons in the worlds of music, film, visual art and literature are forced to watch as their industries change radically. That is, unless they hop aboard an always-shifting train of innovation, and embrace the visionary tactics that can make creativity that much more impactful.

    In a new film from Liberatum titled “Artistry/Industry,” major figures like the iPad-happy painter David Hockney, the app-savvy Miranda July and the Facebook-attuned architect Frank Gehry discuss the ways in which new technologies have changed the ways they create. Directed by Pablo Ganguli and Tomas Auksas, the short gives a glimpse into the minds of artists who see a happy marriage between culture and tech.

    We’ve rounded up our favorite quotes from the film, all of which illuminate a future in which art and science coexist. You can watch the film in full above, chock full of faces like Kehinde Wiley, Susan Sarandon and Simon de Pury.


    “Technology has liberated an entire generation of thinkers, movers, creators. Technology for black and brown people all over this globe has created a state of grace that we have never seen here before. What we have now is a communication ability. We have the ability to see working ideas that are going on in the great cities throughout the world and whether you live in Shanghai or you live in Sao Paulo, you have the ability of seeing and knowing the ideas of some of the greatest minds of our generation.” -Kehinde Wiley


    “I know lots of artists who are totally committed to the smell of oil paint and that’s it for them. They are not interested in anything else. I can identify with that but I also see these other people as using the world to make their statement. Bringing technological advances and fusing them together to make a new picture.” -Ed Ruscha


    “The first technology is brushes, pencils, pens. Things like that, the technology that you draw with. Technology always alters pictures. I got an iPhone and then I found you could draw on it. I made about two hundred drawings on the phone and then I read about the iPad. So I thought the moment the iPad is out I will get that because drawing on a bigger thing would be better.” -David Hockney

    “I don’t make sweetie pie buildings but I want them to be user friendly. I want you to feel comfortable in them. I don’t design every piece of furniture so I am very interested in watching what people do with the spaces and bring their own stuff to make it their own. I love that. That’s why we are having fun with Facebook because you have got two thousand kids with machines and they all have different tastes and we have built a building where we are letting it all hang out.” -Frank Gehry


    “Technology was essential in order for there to be filmmaking. There could be no cinema without recorded images, moving images, recorded sound and as the technology changed, as different elements were added to it such as colour, talking capability then the cinema evolved, and as we go on and as the technology evolves and changes, so will storytelling.” -Francis Ford Coppola


    “If somebody doesn’t have a smartphone and they don’t own a computer, that’s enough art for me. That person is off the grid. Say it’s an eighteen year old or a fifteen year old to exist for ten years on this planet without needing to put yourself out there like that, that takes so much more power, you might as well be a monk in China. It probably is the equivalent. That is going to be what kids get into in 20 years time.” -MIA

    “Young artists from any part of the planet, you could be from Afghanistan and have a camera and have a desire to tell a story and that actual child or kid making a film from the middle of nowhere can actually put something up on YouTube and have the world experience it. That is to me the most exciting time.” -Brett Ratner


    “People don’t actually think about the fact that the modern day music business probably came from Tesla. Tesla created the idea of radio, radio became mainstream amongst us and radio was a passing of music across vast amounts of land. We were able to have mainstream radio and suddenly there was a need for mainstream music business. So technology actually created the music business itself, so it only makes sense that it shapes us over time.” -Scooter Braun

  • Silk Road agents charged with theft
    Two former US agents are charged with stealing digital currency that came into their possession during an investigation into the notorious marketplace.
  • Introducing The HuffPost What's Working Honor Roll: A Daily Roundup Of Solutions-Based Stories
    As journalists, we dutifully report on what’s going wrong, from scandals and corruption to natural disasters and social problems. But far too often the media fails to show the whole picture, neglecting to tell the stories of what is working. From scientific breakthroughs to successful crime-reduction initiatives, the What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges.

    Yahoo! News: Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus Talks Community Policing With Katie Couric

    katie magnus

    The recent shootings of unarmed black men by police officers in Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin have led to violent protests and division between officers and residents nationwide. But the town of Richmond, California seems to have found a solution to reducing crime, while unifying the police department with the community. Many say it’s all thanks to one man: Richmond’s chief of police Chris Magnus. Since Magnus became chief in 2006, the town has seen significant drops in homicides and other violent crimes. One of the ways he’s done it is by engaging in conversation with the community and building stronger relationships. That sense of trust, along with actively hiring a diverse police staff, appears to be a successful recipe for stopping crime, creating peace and working toward a safer tomorrow.

    “I feel like all lives matter,” Magnus said. “That’s really what community policing should be about.”

    Read the full story here.

    The New York Times: Company Thinks It Has Answer for Lower Health Costs: Customer Service

    iora health

    The United States has the most expensive health care system in the world. And yet, a little customer service could go a long way toward changing that. One company in Seattle thinks it has a solution that can keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, while also improving the nation’s health care overall. Iora Primary Care in the Central District of Seattle is a new kind of health care provider with a customer-is-always-right mentality, where the customer is the patient. Iora has patients pay a monthly fee, as opposed to paying doctors by the visit, and offers 24/7, non-billed assistance via phone and email. The company is trying to “transform health care” using health coaches to reach patients at a personal level — all while making a profit at the same time. Iora hopes to one day open hundreds of practices nationwide — “a kind of Starbucks for health care.”

    Read the full story here.


    The New York Times: How Idealism, Expressed in Concrete Steps, Can Fight Climate Change

    The Washington Post: Can rural America be saved? A new national ‘challenge’ tries to see

    The Guardian: How Seville transformed itself into the cycling capital of southern Europe

    Positive News: Survivors of war and torture united by music

    The Atlantic: The Role of Parents in Improving School Diversity

    Good News Network: Painting for Peace in Ferguson

    If you know a story you think should be on our Honor Roll, please send an email to our editor Catherine Taibi via catherine.taibi@huffingtonpost.com.

  • Women give tech sector wake-up call
    Lack of gender diversity and alleged discrimination against women are uncomfortable issues once again in the spotlight for the technology sector.
  • Apple stores in US, Europe now accepting non-iPhone trade-ins
    As reported previously, Apple has now expanded its “reuse and recycling” program in the US and Europe to include now taking selected models of non-iPhone smartphones as trade-in towards a new iPhone. The program is now operating throughout the US, Canada, the UK, France, and Italy, and may be operating in other countries as well. Only specific recent models are eligible, but customers can being the process either online or in person at an Apple Store.

  • Here's How You Can Play 'Super Mario 64' At Your Desk Right Now
    “Super Mario 64” is almost 20 years old. Almost 20! Still, it’s endured as a classic game that millions enjoyed — which is why it’s so exciting that you can play the first level in glorious high-definition in your Web browser right now.

    Mario races through Bob-Omb Battlefield.

    Developer Erik Roystan Ross has released a fully functional version of the “Bob-Omb Battlefield” stage, which you can access simply by clicking here. If you don’t have it already, you’ll be prompted to install the Unity Web Player for it to work. You can also download desktop versions for Windows, Mac and Linux — it works with your keyboard or Xbox One, Xbox 360, DualShock 3 and DualShock 4 controllers.

    Dubbed “Super Mario 64 HD,” the game was built using Ross’ “Super Character Controller” program and features graphics that are smoothed out and overhauled from the jagged edges present in the original Nintendo 64 version. In fact, it looks a bit like something you might see on Nintendo’s Wii U system. We can dream, can’t we?

    A representative for Nintendo did not immediately respond to a request for comment. This doesn’t appear to be an authorized use of the company’s famous mascot, though, so you might try giving it a whirl before any cease and desist letters go out.

  • DEA, Secret Service Agents Accused Of Stealing Bitcoins During Silk Road Investigation
    WASHINGTON — Two former federal law enforcement agents who investigated an online marketplace used to trade drugs have been arrested and charged with stealing bitcoins during the investigation, the Justice Department announced Monday.

    Carl Force, 46, a former special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Shaun Bridges, 32, a former special agent with the Secret Service, participated in the investigation of Silk Road. The creator of that online marketplace, Ross Ulbricht, was convicted of drug trafficking and other crimes earlier this year.

    Now Force has been charged with wire fraud, theft of government property, money laundering and conflict of interest, while Bridges is facing wire fraud and money laundering charges.

    Force, who worked undercover in the case using the identity “Nob,” chatted with Ulbricht, who was using the name “Dread Pirate Roberts,” according to federal authorities. Force allegedly failed to put the private keys and passwords needed to decrypt those conversations into the case file, and failed to provide them to the prosecutor on the Ulbricht case or anyone else in his chain of command, according to an affidavit from another agent in the case.

    While Force was authorized to work under only one undercover identity, he allegedly had another, “French Maid,” and yet another, “Death from Above,” that he used to communicate with Ulbricht and extract money from him. He is accused of seizing funds from a California resident that ended up in his personal bitcoin account, which was then converted into U.S. funds that went into his personal bank account. He also allegedly launched his own limited liability company within days of the seizure of the funds.

    Force was making roughly $150,000 a year as an agent. Yet he allegedly “paid off his mortgage, a government thrift savings plan loan, and wrote several very large checks for tens of thousands of dollars” while also investing in properties and businesses, and wiring money to an overseas account, according to a federal agent’s affidavit.

    Bridges had worked with Force in the Silk Road investigation, according to the affidavit. In particular, he had been part of an effort to provide “proof of death” photos to Ulbricht in order to convince the Silk Road boss that a hit he had allegedly ordered against a former employee had been carried out.

    Bridges and Force allegedly texted back and forth and monitored the price of bitcoins. The former is accused of diverting more than $800,000 in bitcoins to his personal account.

    The affidavit said that Bridges “abruptly resigned” from the Secret Service on March 18, 2015. Force has also resigned from the DEA.

    Force was arrested on Friday and will appear in Maryland federal court on Monday, while Bridges surrendered on Monday and will appear in California federal court.

  • Major Transhumanism Conference Features Both Rising and Seasoned Experts
    Transhumanist Scientist Maria Konovalenko in front of the White House — Photo by Alexey Turchin; Transhumanist Lecturer Riva-Melissa Tez speaking – Photo by Dan Taylor / Heisenberg Media

    On March 21st, nonprofit organization Brighter Brains Institute held the first major US transhumanism conference of the year, located in San Jose, California. Titled Transhuman Strategies, the conference was host to an exciting array of speakers. Notably different from other transhumanist conferences before was the blend of both young and seasoned transhumanists, a sure sign that the science and technology advocating movement is growing among a younger demographic. Vice Motherboard had a 4-person film crew on hand to capture the event, adding to the excitement that transhumanism is continuing to break into the mainstream.

    The conference talks were centered on four key questions:

    What are the Transhuman Goals in the near future?

    How can these Transhuman ideas permeate the mainstream?

    Are there ways Transhumanism can assert itself in the political sphere?

    How can Transhumanist ideas and innovations create a better world now, for billions of people on Earth?

    With nearly 100 people in attendance, speakers attempted to address the questions in their own way while emphasizing their field of expertise. Digital iconoclast RU Sirius and his writing partner, Lifeboat Foundation advisor Jay Cornell, gave talks and signed copies of their new book Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. British philosopher, lecturer, and entrepreneur Riva-Melissa Tez spoke on bettering transhumanist strategies. Russian scientist Maria Konovalenko and businessman Mikhail Batin spoke on transhumanism activism in the field of longevity. Futurist and CEO of The Foresight Company John Smart spoke on foresight development and how to attain the best future. H+ Magazine editor and computer engineer Peter Rothman discussed ways to help get funding for transhumanist projects. Adam Marblestone, “Director of Scientific Architecting” with the Synthetic Neurobiology group at MIT, spoke on new strategies to accelerate brain science. Hank Pellissier, the organizer of the event, spoke on the emerging concept of transhumanitarianism — where transhumanists do humanitarian deeds with an emphasis on using science and technology for the greater good.

    I spoke on how transhumanism has been recently entering the political arena. Increasingly, futurists are hoping that through politics, radical science and technology will gain a better foothold in society. Some of the questions I brought up in my speech apply to all Americans. For example: How will Hillary Clinton address the growing concerns of Designer Babies, now that the technology is just a few years away? What about Jeb Bush (who carries the stem cell research moratorium stigma of his older brother)? Presumably, conservatives like newly announced US Presidential candidate Ted Cruz would seek to limit such advances in technology that could turn future children into potential superhumans, even if it’s in the best interest of the species’ health.

    Of course, not all science and technology are safe. Even amongst the transhumanist community, many aren’t sure what the outcome of creating a superintelligent AI will bring. Will we use its incredible possibilities to transform the species to ever greater heights? Or will an independent AI seek to destroy us in some Terminator scenario?

    Whatever happens, the quickly growing field of transhumanism and its advocates are searching out the answers right now. Some people in America might not be ready yet for some of the progressive ideas transhumanists present, but the growth of radical science and technology in our world seems inevitable. The best way to handle such change in the way humans live and evolve with technology is to make a powerful effort to understand it all far ahead of time. Conferences like Transhuman Strategies — especially when they include a broad swath of age groups, perspectives, and nationalities in their speakers — are a good start in trying to address the issues in our changing world.

Mobile Technology News, March 30, 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.

  • Lumia 1520 No Longer Available At The Microsoft Store

    The Lumia 1520 appears to be gone from the Microsoft Store online.  The last Windows Phone flagship device, which had been offered on AT&T, has been pulled from all pages on the site either under the AT&T section or the overall Windows Phone pages.  I discovered this doing some research for a post that I will be posting tomorrow and was surprised.  As of Friday afternoon the Lumia 1520 was still available directly from Microsoft on a contact from AT&T or without a contract for $549.99.  Now it appears the only flagship device remaining is the Lumia 830 which is

    The post Lumia 1520 No Longer Available At The Microsoft Store appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Apple CEO: Pro-discrimination ‘religious Freedom ’ Laws Are Dangerous – The Washington Post
    There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.

  • Hands On: Clips 1.1.3 (iOS)
    If you don’t happen to know what a clipboard manager is, you need one. If you do and you’ve also tried out a couple, you know why you need it and you know just how hard it will be to make you give them up. Not to rub it in if you haven’t tried one yet but they have been around for a very long time – or at least they have on Macs. With iPhone and iPads, it’s really taken until iOS 8 for them to be possible. Clips is a free clipboard manager for iOS and it is just about as good as Apple allows it to be.

  • What Can You Do with Data?
    I gave a speech about marketing and data science last week. Afterwards, one of the CMOs came up to me with panic in his eyes. He said, and I quote, “Help!”

    I get it. Big Data and Data Science are overused catch phrases that can mean anything anyone wants them to mean. But the hype doesn’t change the facts. We are being overwhelmed with data, and I can assure you that if you don’t know what to do with it, your competition will.

    Data Science Can Help

    The fundamental goal of data science, a mash-up of three foundational skills – domain expertise, mathematics and computer science – is to turn information into action. You can learn about how they work together in my article, Are You Ready for Data Science?

    The truism “If you ask the wrong question, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer” is often tossed about in data science meetings as profound insight. It is not. It is an axiom.

    Importantly, the obverse is almost never true. Asking the right question might be a path to enlightenment, but it certainly does not guarantee finding the right answer. To attempt that, you need the appropriate analytic tools and techniques. This is where mathematics and computer science add value.


    An Overview of Analytic Techniques

    What are the technical members of your data science team going to do with your data? Transform, learn and predict. So, in the interest of searching for the right answers, let’s review a few common classes of analytic techniques and see how you might put them to good use.

    Transformational Analytics

    Aggregation – a class of techniques used to summarize data including basic statistics such as mean and weighted averages, median, Gaussian distribution and standard deviation. Other aggregation techniques include probability distribution fitting (the repeated measurement of variable phenomena – remember “method of moments” and “maximum likelihood” from Stats class?) and good, old-fashioned plotting points on a graph.

    Enrichment – a set of techniques employed to add information to, or fill gaps in, a data set – for example, adding zip + 4 to five-digit zip codes, appending purchase data or credit scores or even simply standardizing prefixes or suffixes.

    Processing – everything from data munging or data wrangling (the cleaning up of data) to entity extraction (identifying key terms in unstructured data that have value) to true feature extraction (building derived values from existing data).

    Learning Analytics

    Regression – a common way to predict the future based on the past by exploring spatial relationships. There are many types of regression techniques, but all share the common goal of predicting the value of a dependent variable where partial related variables are available, or estimating effects of an explanatory variable on the dependent variable.

    Clustering – is just what it sounds like. The goal is to group a set of data points so that the ones with the most in common are closest together. Importantly, clustering is not a specific formula; it is accomplished by using a series of algorithms. And it is almost always an iterative process.

    Classification – algorithms and other techniques used to identify to what category or subpopulation a data point belongs. When speaking about classifications, you must be careful to also identify the discipline you are speaking about. Statisticians use the term differently than practitioners of machine learning do.

    Predictive Analytics

    Simulation – a set of techniques used to create a simulated environment for testing predictive models.

    Optimization – a wide-ranging tool set for making optimal selections from a set of alternatives. Commonly used for pricing and maximizing yield.

    Want Help?

    We have a team ready to help you prepare to work with your data, understand the opportunities afforded by machine learning and pattern matching and even do a data science readiness assessment. Just shoot me an email and I’ll be happy to work with you to help you achieve your business goals.

    I’m the Managing Director of the Digital Media Group at Landmark|ShellyPalmer, a tech-focused investment banking and advisory firm specializing in M&A, financings, and strategic partnerships. You may also know me as Fox 5 New York’s on-air tech expert and host of Shelly Palmer Digital Living, my national daily radio report. Follow me @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com for more info.

  • Here's What Happens When A CD Shatters Into Smithereens In Slow-Motion
    With streaming music and digital downloads taking over, what to do with old CDs? Use them in a science experiment, of course!

    Gavin Free and Dan Gruchy, also known as “The Slow-Mo Guys,” have done just that — spinning CDs at high speeds and capturing in slow-mo the incredible moment when they shattered. Just check out the video above.

    (Story continues below GIF).

    The duo used a vacuum motor to get one of the discs spinning at a speed of 23,000 RPM — and then used an ultra-high-speed camera to film the CD explosion at a rate of 170,000 frames-per-second.

    “That’s the fastest thing we’ve ever filmed,” Gruchy says in the video, “and the fastest frame rate as well.”

    See ya, CDs!

  • 'Smart' Headlights Use Eye-Tracking To Beam Light Where Drivers Look
    From self-driving cars to drunk driver-detecting lasers, researchers are using technology to help make the road much safer.

    And now, engineers at General Motors (GM) are developing “smart” headlights that beam light precisely where a driver is looking — an invention that could improve visibility for drivers at night.

    “We want to actually implement the idea that the human eye is capable of guiding and regulating light,” Ingolf Schneider, director of lighting technology at GM’s subsidiary Opel manufacturer headquartered in Rüsselsheim, Germany, told Opel Post. “The eye tracking principle relies on tracking via camera and intelligent analysis of eye movements using a special algorithm.”

    How it works. The eye-tracking system is made up of a single dashboard camera equipped with infrared sensors. The camera scans the driver’s eyes and other points on the face more than 50 times per second. Based on the scanned data, electronic motors then change the direction of the headlights.

    An algorithm built into the eye-tracker adjusts for quick glances, so that the light doesn’t dart around with every movement of the eye, Discovery News reported. And, no matter where a driver looks, the headlights always illuminate the road in front of the car.

    “Another major benefit is that the eye-tracker doesn’t have to be individually calibrated for a particular driver,” Schneider said in a written statement. “The system works perfectly with anyone behind the wheel, no matter what their size.”

    As the eye-tracking headlights are still in the early stages of development, the concept will likely take several years to be implemented.

  • Watch The Evolution Of The Samsung Galaxy S In 1 Mesmerizing GIF
    Samsung’s latest Galaxy S phone is coming in April, and the flagship device is looking better than ever. It’s got slick curved glass, a metal body and new colors — but the Galaxy hasn’t always been so beautiful.

    The team at gadgetlove.com put together an animated GIF showing the popular smartphone’s evolution since the first device was released in 2010. Folks accustomed to the polished aesthetics of the more recent iterations might be surprised to see the phone’s squat, rectangular origins.

    Take a look:

    Samsung’s phones are incredibly popular. In fact, they’re the most popular in the world, according to the International Data Corporation, closing 2014 with a 19.9 percent marketshare. Even older models do well: A report from mid-2014 showed that a somewhat outdated Samsung Galaxy S III was the most popular Android phone on the market two years after its release.

    That said, Samsung is increasingly threatened by Apple, which enjoyed record sales last year based largely on the new iPhone 6.

  • Before Edward Snowden Leaks, NSA Mulled Ending Phone Program

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Security Agency considered abandoning its secret program to collect and store American calling records in the months before leaker Edward Snowden revealed the practice, current and former intelligence officials say, because some officials believed the costs outweighed the meager counterterrorism benefits.

    After the leak and the collective surprise around the world, NSA leaders strongly defended the phone records program to Congress and the public, but without disclosing the internal debate.

    The proposal to kill the program was circulating among top managers but had not yet reached the desk of Gen. Keith Alexander, then the NSA director, according to current and former intelligence officials who would not be quoted because the details are sensitive. Two former senior NSA officials say they doubt Alexander would have approved it.

    Still, the behind-the-scenes NSA concerns, which have not been reported previously, could be relevant as Congress decides whether to renew or modify the phone records collection when the law authorizing it expires in June.

    The internal critics pointed out that the already high costs of vacuuming up and storing the “to and from” information from nearly every domestic landline call were rising, the system was not capturing most cellphone calls, and program was not central to unraveling terrorist plots, the officials said. They worried about public outrage if the program ever was revealed.

    After the program was disclosed, civil liberties advocates attacked it, saying the records could give a secret intelligence agency a road map to Americans’ private activities. NSA officials presented a forceful rebuttal that helped shaped public opinion.

    Responding to widespread criticism, President Barack Obama in January 2014 proposed that the NSA stop collecting the records, but instead request them when needed in terrorism investigations from telephone companies, which tend to keep them for 18 months.

    Yet the president has insisted that legislation is required to adopt his proposal, and Congress has not acted. So the NSA continues to collect and store records of private U.S. phone calls for use in terrorism investigations under Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Many lawmakers want the program to continue as is.

    Alexander argued that the program was an essential tool because it allows the FBI and the NSA to hunt for domestic plots by searching American calling records against phone numbers associated with international terrorists. He and other NSA officials support Obama’s plan to let the phone companies keep the data, as long as the government quickly can search it.

    Civil liberties activists say it was never a good idea to allow a secret intelligence agency to store records of Americans’ private phone calls, and some are not sure the government should search them in bulk. They say government can point to only a single domestic terrorism defendant who was implicated by a phone records search under the program, a San Diego taxi driver who was convicted of raising $15,000 for a Somali terrorist group.

    Some fault NSA for failing to disclose the internal debate about the program.

    “This is consistent with our experience with the intelligence community,” said Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich. “Even when we have classified briefings, it’s like a game of 20 questions and we can’t get to the bottom of anything.”

    The proposal to halt phone records collection that was circulating in 2013 was separate from a 2009 examination of the program by NSA, sparked by objections from a senior NSA official, reported in November by The Associated Press. In that case, a senior NSA code breaker learned about the program and concluded it was wrong for the agency to collect and store American records. The NSA enlisted the Justice Department in an examination of whether the search function could be preserved with the records stores by the phone companies.

    That would not work without a change in the law, the review concluded. Alexander, who retired in March 2014, opted to continue the program as is.

    But the internal debate continued, current and former officials say, and critics within the NSA pressed their case against the program. To them, the program had become an expensive insurance policy with an increasing number of loopholes, given the lack of mobile data. They also knew it would be deeply controversial if made public.

    By 2013, some NSA officials were ready to stop the bulk collection even though they knew they would lose the ability to search a database of U.S. calling records. As always, the FBI still would be able to obtain the phone records of suspects through a court order.

    There was a precedent for ending collection cold turkey. Two years earlier, the NSA cited similar cost-benefit calculations when it stopped another secret program under which it was collecting Americans’ email metadata — information showing who was communicating with whom, but not the content of the messages. That decision was made public via the Snowden leaks.

    Alexander believed that the FBI and the NSA were still getting crucial value out of the phone records program, in contrast to the email records program, former NSA officials say.

    After the Snowden leaks, independent experts who looked at the program didn’t agree. A presidential task force examined NSA surveillance and recommended ending the phone records collection, saying it posed unacceptable privacy risks while doing little if anything to stop terrorism. The task force included Michael Morell, a former deputy CIA director, and Richard Clarke, a former White House counter terrorism adviser.

    “We cannot discount the risk, in light of the lessons of our own history, that at some point in the future, high-level government officials will decide that this massive database of extraordinarily sensitive private information is there for the plucking,” the report said. Times, dates and numbers called can provide a window into a person’s activities and connections.

    A separate inquiry by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board concluded the same thing.

    David Medine, chairman of that board, said the concerns raised internally by NSA officials were the same as theirs, yet when NSA officials came before the privacy board, they “put on a pretty strong defense for the program. Except their success stories didn’t pan out,” he said.

  • Best Buy closes Canada's Future Shop
    US consumer electronics chain Best Buy is closing its Canadian subsidiary, Future Shop, and converting 65 of its 131 stores into Best Buy outlets.

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • Europol chief warns on encryption
    A European police chief says encrypted online communications are the biggest problem faced by security agencies tackling terrorism.
  • 14 Judgmental Notifications Your iPhone Wants To Show You, But Can't
    If you took away Jonathan Ive’s obsession with functional simplicity and replaced it with passive-aggressive snark, there’s a good chance this is what the iPhone’s notifications would look like.

    The new iPhone. Now with judgmentally insightful alerts.

    These brilliant mock-ups come courtesy of Distractify’s Rob Fee.

    (h/t Distractify)

  • Tesla's Self-Driving Feature Leaves Insurers Idling As States Scramble
    Tesla Motors’ plan to roll out a self-driving feature on some cars this summer has regulators, especially in its home state of California, scrambling to write new rules.

    Current California law allows automakers to operate autonomous vehicles — but not regular drivers.

    “We have been trying to get a handle on what they are planning to do,” Bernard Soriano, deputy director of California’s Department of Motor Vehicles, told The Wall Street Journal. “We are knee-deep in it.”

    Auto insurance is regulated on a state level, so any new policies must await a ruling by the states.

    That leaves auto insurers, who represent the next hurdle in the push for driverless cars, idling with the engine on.

    “This is so new, there’s really no track record upon which to assess what’s the likelihood that there will be a crash or lawsuit resulting from a crash,” Michael Barry, vice president of media relations at the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded nonprofit, told The Huffington Post on Saturday. “It’s in its infancy.”

    Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

    On the bright side, the insurance industry has nimbly adjusted to other new technologies in recent years, Barry said.

    He pointed to new programs created for drivers at car-hailing services, allowing them to get a dual policy that separately covers time spent driving for personal and commercial use.

    “The auto insurance industry has adapted to technological changes in the past, and will continue to do so in the future,” Barry said. “Look at what’s going on with Uber and Lyft.”

    Overall, he predicted that driverless cars will eventually lead to fewer crashes. But it’s still far from clear who will actually be responsible if and when a crash does occur.

    “Liability is going to become an issue,” Barry said. “The burden might be on the manufacturer of the driverless vehicle to prove that it is not responsible for what happened in the event of a crash.”

    Tesla’s autopilot feature will only be available on interstate highways, as CEO Elon Musk has said the technology is not yet “safe on suburban streets.”

    Fully automated vehicles are still a ways off from becoming the norm. If a circumstance arises where an accident is unavoidable — say, for instance, a child runs out into the street — the computers that control the car do not yet have the ethical reasoning to deduce whether they should sacrifice the driver by suddenly swerving away, or run down the child. Last September, Ron Medford, Google’s safety chief on its driverless car project, said the company had not yet begun to study that issue.

    Either way, even when self-driving cars do become widely available, the rate of turnover in the U.S. car market will delay their widespread adoption.

    “The average car on the road is about 11 years old, so it takes decades for the U.S. fleet to turn over,” Barry said. “I think we’re far away from seeing a lot of driverless cars on the roadways.”

  • Graphene light bulb set for shops
    A light bulb made with graphene – said by its UK developers to be the first commercially viable consumer product using the super-strong carbon – is to go on sale later this year.
  • Here's How Long It Would Take To Fall Through The Center Of Earth
    Just how long would it take to fall through the center of the Earth, traveling from one side of our planet to the other?

    Physicists have long calculated the answer to that question as being 42 minutes, but now, new calculations show that the theoretical trip would actually take around 38 minutes — and we can blame gravity for the discrepancy.

    The traditional calculation to measure a fall through Earth assumes that our planet has a constant density throughout its many layers. Since the gravitational attraction between two objects is proportional to their masses (or density) and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, if Earth’s density were constant, the only change in gravity we’d experience would be due to how far we were from Earth’s center.

    But as Alexander Klotz, a graduate student at McGill University in Canada, came up with the new calculations, he took into consideration how Earth’s density changes layer by layer. And as a result, the gravitational speed at which we would fall through each layer changed too.

    Klotz measured the different densities found in Earth’s interior using seismic data. Indeed, our planet has a less dense crust and mantle and a more dense core, Science magazine reported.

    A paper describing the new thought experiment results was published in the March 2015 issue of the American Journal of Physics.

    “This is the kind of paper we love,” Dr. David Jackson, editor of the journal and a physicist at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, told Science magazine. “This is a nice addition to the classic problem.”

    Want to learn more about our planet’s internal layers? Take a journey to the center of the Earth in the “Talk Nerdy To Me” video below.

  • Hilarious iPhone Wallpapers Remind You To Look At Your Screen Less
    Artist Molly McLeod would like you to please calm down about your phone. (That is, unless you’ve got to text your mother. By all means, text the woman who gave you life.)

    McLeod, a designer living in Oakland, California, created a collection of wallpapers inspired by the unhealthy compulsion many of us feel to pick up our phones. She made them for herself after analyzing her own cellphone habits, but they’re free for anyone to download and use.


    “I found myself sort of using [my phone] a little bit too much, you know, whenever I had a few idle seconds,” McLeod told The Huffington Post. “If I was waiting in line or waiting for a train, I would habitually take it out of my pocket. And I just didn’t like that feeling.”

    Science and philosophy say boredom can actually be good for you, and that we should embrace the thoughts we have when we let ourselves unfocus.

    “I find I come up with my most creative ideas when I’m not looking at a screen,” the designer explained.


    McLeod has been challenging herself to use her phone less, particularly on the train to and from work. She’s made a game, too, out of trying to figure out what other train passengers — who are all, of course, on their phones — are doing based on their finger movements, be it texting, reading an article or playing “Candy Crush.”

    A self-professed Instagram lover, McLeod is also trying not to photograph every pretty thing she sees.

    “It’s sort of like a dopamine hit — it feels good when people like or share something,” she stated, an observation that’s backed up by research. But it can also give us an uncomfortable feeling of dependence on our devices.


    McLeod, for her part, has been making progress.

    “Yesterday, I was biking in Oakland around the lake at sunset, and it was just really picturesque. And there were people walking their dogs, and playing in the park, and the sun was setting, and it was just so beautiful. But then I was like, ‘No, I’m just going to enjoy it and move on. I don’t need to take a picture of everything.'”


    Click each wallpaper image for a downloadable version.

  • Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
    Each week HuffPost Women rounds up the most hilarious 140-character jokes from women on Twitter we could find to brighten your day. We’ve got to hand it you ladies, these keep us laughing every single week. For this week’s great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

    I hate when chocolate kisses melt in my gym bag and ruin my unused work out clothes.

    — Paula Pell (@perlapell) March 24, 2015

    When God closes a window, he opens a tab

    — Jazmine Hughes (@jazzedloon) March 27, 2015

    Gonna start calling all these sexist trolls him- orrhoids

    — Lizz Winstead (@lizzwinstead) March 27, 2015

    “jade” is such a ‘90s word for “teal”

    — Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) March 23, 2015

    I’m just not cut out to be a person.

    — June O’Hara (@juneohara65) March 24, 2015

    Hub: What’s this?

    Me: A divorce jar. Every time we fight you put a dollar in & I’m a little closer to freedom.

    Hub: *puts $100 in*


    — Saucy Kensington (@Book_Krazy) March 22, 2015

    Kinda wanna eat a jar of peanut butter, kinda wanna nap, kinda wanna punch a stranger. Being a woman is hard.

    — heather lou* (@heatherlou_) March 22, 2015

    If you don’t like dogs.. I don’t like you.

    — CoCo Nutz (@in_cognico) March 24, 2015

    I think “uggggh carry meeee” way too much for an adult.

    — bananafanafofisa (@lisaxy424) March 24, 2015

    i think we all know whose feelings have been hurt the most by one direction and that’s north west

    — lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren) March 25, 2015

    I stuck my hand into a coin-filled fountain and used $3.99 of other people’s wishes to buy a burrito.

    — Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) March 25, 2015

    if you wanna get your period just wear your nicest, fanciest underwear and let karma do the rest

    — Sandy Honig (@sandyhonig) March 24, 2015

    feeling really betrayed by my face’s decision to start exhibiting glare wrinkles before laugh lines

    — Alexandria Symonds (@a_symonds) March 23, 2015

    A teen movie where in order to look good at the dance the girl is encouraged to wear glasses and pull her hair back.

    — Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) March 27, 2015

    So Zayn was Ginger Spice all along?

    — Hillary Busis (@hillibusterr) March 25, 2015

    a fun thing to do when you leave a room is to loudly announce where you’re going and tell a random stranger to hold your calls

    — Alexis Wilkinson (@OhGodItsAlexis) March 23, 2015

    There comes a time in a lady’s life when she has more hair knotted around her elastic than her male suitors have covering their heads

    — Colette McIntyre (@calledcolette) March 26, 2015

    I love to travel!
    from my bed to my couch to my office chair to the subway to my bed to my couch to my office chair to the bathroom to

    — Lynn Bixenspan (@lynnbixenspan) March 27, 2015

    i live every day in fear my gchat records will somehow be used against me in a court of law

    — Kasia Galazka (@supergalaxy) March 27, 2015

    good lesbian porn title = “L Word Scissorhands”

    — Megan Amram (@meganamram) March 26, 2015

    Receiving people’s resumes really makes you realize how many people have last names that sound like body parts

    — Michelle Markowitz (@michmarkowitz) March 27, 2015

  • Is Kailua Hawaii's Next Waikiki?
    Uh oh, it looks like there’s a fight brewing in Hawaii.

    Kailua, a small, beachside town on the island’s windward side, is increasingly becoming popular with tourists, much to the chagrin of many local residents.

    Kailua is best known for its gorgeous white sand beaches and quaint charm. President Barack Obama and his family have rented a home there for the past seven Christmases, further publicizing the locale’s appeal.

    But while there are a few inns and B&B’s, there aren’t enough to keep up with demand — so most visitors are illegally renting homes on sites like Airbnb.

    Local residents are divided. Some, like local business-owner Steven Parker, welcome the increase in tourism. As he told Pacific Business News, ““There is a lot to share here. When the tourists come here, they are so polite, and this disdain toward them is not fair.” Others, local resident Lisa Marten, think the illegal rentals are hurting the neighborhood. She told KITV, “They’re not real neighbors… Those people will not coach little league; they will not volunteer at the library; they will not be your friend.”

    While current legislation looks at how to better enforce restrictions on illegal short term rentals, we wanted to see what all the fuss is about.

    Let’s take a tour of all Kailua has to offer, shall we?

    Here’s why demand is so high:
    Pretty, right?

    The white-sand beaches are world-class.

    Lanikai and Kailua beaches are reef-protected bays and are consistently ranked on top ten lists for the most beautiful beaches worldwide.

    With the beaches’ white-powder sand, calm, sapphirine water, purple sunrises and cooling trade winds, it’s easy to understand why many people have started to covet the Kailua lifestyle.

    lanikai beach oahu

    lanikai beach oahu

    The Mokes don’t hurt either.
    Because the bay is protected from a far-flung outer reef, Kailua bay is great for paddle boarding, kite surfing, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming, and three nearby offshore islands — Moku Nui and Moku Iki (the Mokes) and Flat Island — make great destination points.

    People fall in love with the small-town atmosphere.
    With its massive hotels and famed shopping, Waikiki is not only overrun with tourists, its straight up frenetic. Kailua offers a slower island pace that many visitors are looking for.

    The area’s main allure, according to tourists, is a small-town vibe and town center that gives them a “more authentic” Hawaiian experience.

    “Fell in love with this beach the first time in Oahu and have made a point to come over to this sweet quiet town every time since,” a visitor from Seattle wrote on Yelp.

    It’s also home to some of the island’s best hikes…
    The Lanikai Pillbox hike is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, as it offers incredible views of windward Oahu with Lanikai and Kailua beaches below. It’s not strenuous; it’s just about a mile to the pillboxes, where hikers can sit and enjoy the view. Many head up for a great view of the sunrise.

    …As well as a POTUS-approved shave ice spot.
    There’s a reason Obama takes his family to get shave ice every time he’s in town for the holidays. The shave ice at Island Snow is a popular spot for cooling down after sitting in the sun all day. “I think this place is probably underrated for its shave ice. We stopped because we heard this was Obama’s favorite,” wrote Brent W. on Yelp. “Obama’s no fool.”

    obama island snow

    So what do you think? Is Kailua the next Waikiki?

  • Apple boss 'to donate $800m fortune'
    Apple CEO Tim Cook says he will give away most of his $800m (£537m) fortune to good causes before he dies.
  • Ellen Pao Gender Bias Case Will Embolden Women Despite Verdict

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Observers say a long legal battle over accusations that a prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm demeaned women and held them to a different standard than their male colleagues will embolden women in the industry and lead firms to examine their practices and cultures for gender bias.

    Though Ellen Pao lost her lawsuit against Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, it became a flashpoint in the ongoing discussion about gender inequity at elite technology and venture capital firms.

    “This case has been a real wake-up call for the technology industry in general and the venture capital community in particular,” said Deborah Rhode, a law professor at Stanford University who teaches gender equity law.

    The jury of six men and six women rejected all of Pao’s claims against Kleiner Perkins on Friday, determining the firm did not discriminate against her because she is a woman and did not retaliate against her by failing to promote her and firing her after she filed a sex discrimination complaint.

    Pao’s attorneys had presented a long list of alleged indignities to which their client was subjected: a book of erotic poetry from a partner; being asked to take notes like a secretary at a meeting; being cut out of emails and meetings by a male colleague with whom she broke off an affair; and talk about pornography aboard a private plane.

    Kleiner Perkins’ attorney, Lynne Hermle, countered that Pao failed as an investor at the company and sued to get a big payout as she was being shown the door.

    Rhode and other experts say Kleiner Perkins and the venture capital industry in general did not come out looking good, even though they won the case.

    “Venture capital firms recognize it’s not appropriate to be out in the streets celebrating,” said Freada Kapor Klein, founder of the Level Playing Field Institute, a nonprofit that aims to boost minority representation in science, technology, engineering and math fields.

    Women hold just 15 percent to 20 percent of the technology jobs at Google, Apple, Facebook and Yahoo, according to company disclosures. The data were embarrassing for an industry that has positioned itself as a meritocracy where intelligence and ingenuity are supposed to be more important than appearances or connections.

    The venture capital industry is even more male-dominated, with a study released last year by Babson College in Massachusetts finding that women filled just 6 percent of partner-level positions at 139 venture capital firms in 2013, down from 10 percent in 1999.

    Klein said before the verdict she was contacted by more than a dozen venture capital and technology companies asking how they could improve the environment as a result of the Pao case.

    The attention surrounding the case makes it more likely other women who believe they have been discriminated against will go to court, said David Lewis, CEO of OperationsInc., a human resources consulting and contracting firm. Two women who formerly worked at Facebook and Twitter filed gender discrimination cases against the companies during the Pao trial. One of Pao’s attorneys, Therese Lawless, is representing the plaintiff in the Facebook lawsuit.

    At the very least, Pao’s suit will prompt more women to open up about their experiences in the workplace, said Nicole Sanchez, founder of Vaya Consulting, which tries to help Silicon Valley companies increase diversity.


    Associated Press writers Michael Liedtke and Olga Rodriguez contributed to this report.

  • Ellen Pao Disrupts How Silicon Valley Does Business
    Silicon Valley is enamored of “disrupters,” those shrewd, brave men — it is almost always men — who are hailed for enduring years of ridicule and risking everything to shake up the conventional order.

    Now, in Ellen Pao, the Valley has found its newest disrupter.

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • VIDEO: 1980s games reviewed by six-year-olds
    Children try out some 1980s games at the new National Videogame Arcade in Nottingham and see how they compare to their modern equivalents.
  • Crossing the Chasm to Coding: Three Career Backgrounds That Might Help You Convert

    Marc Andreessen declared famously in 2011 that “Software is eating the World.” With smart phone proliferation, the explosion of cloud services and disruptive innovation running rampant everywhere, his words ring truer today than ever. Companies like Uber and AirBnB are able launch full frontal assaults on the established market leaders because of the computing power we all carry with us all day, everyday.

    At the heart of our interconnected emerging reality are billions of lines of code which direct computers of all shapes and sizes to perform their functions and enable our interactions. Like the scribes and the clergy and aristocracy of the medieval times who held the power because of their ability to communicate through the written word, a new literacy is emerging in the form of computer code and those who have the literacy, have the keys to a new kind of power.

    Efforts are being made across the educational spectrum to spread the new literacy, from coding in kindergarten to “teaching grandma to code.” While some future generation of children can look forward to a gaining a solid foundation in coding, the rest of us who have already passed through the system have to fend for ourselves when it comes to acquiring these key skills for the modern era.

    To tackle the challenge, disruptive models of education are emerging; at one end of the spectrum exist free, self-help resources like CodeAcademy and Udacity, and on the other end, coding bootcamps like the Software Craftsmanship Guild , Dev Bootcamp, and Hack Reactor have emerged. With recent endorsements from the White House, these new modes have quickly begun to move into the mainstream as a solution to the projected shortage of 1M developers by 2020.

    At the Software Craftsmanship Guild, with a nice track record of operations under our belt, we’ve begun to see some interesting leading indicators emerge in our applicant pool, further validated by our proprietary aptitude test, and ultimately confirmed by those who have successfully graduated from the program and are engaged in fulfilling new careers as software developers. In our quest to make coding more accessible, here are three examples of skills and backgrounds that may make a career in coding a great direction for you to explore:

    1) Mastering Code and Making Music

    As it turns out musicality is a powerful predictor of coding success.”There’s no strange coincidence here” says Jennie Zamberlan, Guild co-founder and CEO of software consultancy Avantia,”we’ve got enough musicians on our development team to have a battle of the bands!”

    Tad Melton always loved making music, so much so that he made a career out of it. He rose to the top of a music instruction business and became their director of operations overseeing a team of music instructors and teaching thousands of guitar lessons to fledgling performers. As a guitarist, Tad also played in a band, they gigged at events and weddings, whatever paid. The glamour of achieving rockstar status eluded him though, and he began to ask himself”what’s next?” On learning about coding botcamps he decided to apply to the Guild. He recently finished the intensive 12 week program and even better with a job offer in hand to work as a Junior Developer at a Cleveland- based insurance company.

    “It was hard at but I loved it,” said Tad.”Composing and coding, rely on many of the same fundamental principles so it felt like I had a headstart entering into the program. Now software development becomes my career, and music, which I’ll always love, becomes my hobby.”

    2) From Cooking to Coding

    A good cook recognizes that they are a problem solver, and problem solvers make good coders. Where others might see and pile of raw ingredients, they can see a delicious meal.
    The inherent abilities that allow someone to be successful as a chef lend themselves well to creating great code. In an excellent article posted on Mother Jones titled “Is coding the new literacy?“, author Tasneem Raja writes “seeing the culinary potential in raw ingredients is like computational thinking, you might think of a software algorithm as a kind of recipe: a step-by-step guide on how to take a bunch of random ingredients and start layering them together in certain quantities, for certain amounts of time, until they produce the outcome you had in mind.”

    Rob Helvey came to the Software Craftsmanship Guild most recently from South Carolina. With 20 years of working in the restaurant industry, he had held the full range of roles from executive chef to operations manager, and with a brother in the software field, couldn’t ignore the parallels he kept observing when the two talked careers. “The pace, pressure, and time constraints under which I typically worked have helped me manage my time and adapt to challenges as necessary” said Rob about adjusting to a new discipline. And he’s excited to embark on his new career, “I look forward to having a “normal” life, that life of working weekdays, actually getting health benefits…. all of those things that people who have never endured the hospitality business take for granted.”

    3) Parlez vous Java? Language Learning and Coding Competency

    The rise in the popularity in computer coding in our education systems has lead politicians to promote the idea that foreign language credits be given students who take courses in computer programming. However, while the Spanish that you learnt in college is largely relevant today, and still might help you navigate the streets of Madrid, anyone who was taught FORTRAN will tell you that the same doesn’t hold true in today’s world of software development. That said, there’s evidence that mastering a foreign language does have a significant impact on an individual’s cognitive ability.

    In his published paper on bilingualism in Canada, Wally Lazuk states,”Cognitive research associates bilingualism with heightened mental flexibility and creative thinking skills, enhanced metalinguistic awareness, and greater communicative sensitivity.”

    While the nuances of foreign language communication don’t always directly correlate with the precise communication required of crisp and concise code writing, the mental flexibility to master syntax and translate intent into meaning suggest that language mastery is a good indicator of a more friction-less pathway to learning to code.

    Christopher Becker gained a PHD in Linguistics and mastered one of the hardest languages, Russian. His career in academics saw him developing curriculum, lecturing and working in Michigan, Ohio, and California. He began to become increasingly interested in learning code and took the initiative on his own to teach himself the basics of Python through books and online resources.”Many of the same principles used in coding are used in linguistics: variables, scope domains, functions, recursion, nested relationships, hierarchies, set relations, etc.” said Christopher,”but I recognized that in the same way that I had to move to Russia to master that language, I needed to take an immersive approach to learning to code. It wasn’t easy, but I know my background accelerated my understanding.” Christopher entered into our Java cohort in January and returns now to opportunities in Michigan with a new and valuable skill set.

    Language skills, musicality and cooking each lend themselves well to learning to code. At the Software Craftsmanship Guild we recognize that at a high level good coders tend to be natural problem solvers, they have attention to detail and they relish the opportunity to develop themselves and master new concepts. We are continually surprised by the wide variety of backgrounds of our students and thrilled to see them successfully make a fulfilling career change.

    If you’re curious to know if your natural aptitude lends itself to this exciting and rapidly growing career field, take a few minutes and try our mini aptitude test to quickly uncover if this is the path for you!

    Good luck!

  • Next Windows 10 for Phone Build Covers The Entire Range of Lumia Devices

    According to a blog post by Gabe Aul, if you own a Lumia device you will likely have the next Windows 10 for Phone preview available on your device.  The news is certainly welcome to everyone who was disappointed by the limited number of devices the original preview was available for in January.  That seems to be resolved thanks to the partition stitching process that had to be resolved on many devices and within the next couple of weeks we should see a new build. Shortly after the original Windows 10 for Phone preview, Gabe Aul blogged that the main

    The post Next Windows 10 for Phone Build Covers The Entire Range of Lumia Devices appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Silicon Valley firm wins bias case
    A California jury has found that a venture capital firm did not discriminate against a female employee in a closely watched case in Silicon Valley.
  • Ellen Pao Loses Gender Discrimination Suit Against Kleiner Perkins
    By Sarah McBride and Dan Levine

    SAN FRANCISCO, March 27 (Reuters) – Silicon Valley powerhouse venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers was cleared on Friday of claims it short-circuited the career of a former partner because she is a woman, in a gender discrimination trial that shook the tech world.

    A California jury also rejected a claim that Kleiner, the firm that backed Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc , had retaliated against its former partner, Ellen Pao, by firing her after she sued in 2012.

    Despite days of courtroom drama about affairs, books of erotic poetry and office flirting, juror Steve Sammut, who mostly voted for Kleiner, said the decision came down to Pao’s effectiveness at her job.

    “We were focused on the performance,” he said.

    The verdict dashed Pao’s hopes for personal vindication, but the trial revealed embarrassing disclosures about how Pao and other women were treated at Kleiner and Silicon Valley’s corporate culture and its lack of diversity.

    “Ellen Pao’s loss is anything but a win for Silicon Valley’s status quo. The challenges she raised about the male-dominated culture that controls the heart of the innovation economy can’t be dismissed,” the San Francisco Chronicle wrote in an editorial after the verdict. It described tech firms “huddling” to review promotion plans.

    In a statement, Kleiner thanked the jury and said it was committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology. “There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue,” it said.

    Supporters of Pao sent Twitter messages tagged #ThankYouEllenPao immediately after the final verdict. Pao shone a light on the “toxic culture” of Silicon Valley and “empowered other women in tech,” some tweets said.

    Pao remained composed as the decision on each claim was delivered. As the crucial decisions on gender bias were read, her two lawyers gently patted her on the back.

    After the jury was dismissed, Pao told reporters in the courthouse that people around the world had reached out to her and told her that they had stories similar to her own.

    “If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it,” she said.

    The California Superior Court case laid bare the personnel matters of the firm, with Pao’s lawyers painting Kleiner as a quarrelsome pressure cooker where a former male partner used business trips as opportunities to make advances to female colleagues.


    Pao, now interim chief executive at social-news service Reddit, claimed her standing at Kleiner crumbled after she ended a brief affair with partner Ajit Nazre. Her career deteriorated after he and Kleiner started retaliating against her, amid a climate that was overall unfriendly toward women, her lawyers argued.

    The firm disputed those charges, presenting evidence that Kleiner went out of its way to hire women.

    Pao sought to illustrate her point with testimony during the five-week-long trial from former Kleiner partner, Trae Vassallo, who said Nazre appeared at her hotel room on a business trip, wearing a bathrobe and carrying a glass of wine.

    Kleiner countered that it investigated Nazre after Vassallo complained, after which he quickly left the firm.

    Some witnesses, including Pao’s onetime mentor John Doerr, testified that Pao’s lack of advancement stemmed from subpar performance, not discrimination or retaliation.

    Juror Sammut said jurors believed the firm was ready to let Pao go years before her lawsuit but that Doerr intervened. “Doerr was definitely in her corner,” Sammut said.

    Pao’s attorneys had argued she laid the groundwork for the firm’s highly successful investment in RPX, the patent company, and suggesting an investment in Twitter, an idea more senior partners rejected at the time.

    Pao herself testified for five days and faced tough questions both from Kleiner’s legal team and from jurors. One juror asked if it was “professional to enter into an affair with a married partner?”

    “Going back I would not have done it again, but I didn’t think it was inappropriate at the time,” Pao said, emphasizing that Nazre had told her he was separated.

    The case is Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC, CGC-12-520719, in California Superior Court, in the County of San Francisco. (Additional reporting by Noel Randewich and Jim ChristieEditing by Peter Henderson and Grant McCool)

  • Digital Trust Foundation Seeking Proposals on Digital Abuse Programs
    The Digital Trust Foundation is seeking grant proposals around digital abuse. As the Request for Proposals (RFP) states, “The Foundation has found several gaps in digital abuse research and action” and is addressing that concern by seeking to fund “empirical research to understand the prevalence of various forms of digital abuse,” as well as “implementation and evaluation of digital abuse prevention strategies.”

    The Foundation will also fund organizations that provide direct services to victims and projects that contribute to the digital abuse policy debate. The RFP and other supporting materials are available on the Foundation’s website. The deadline for submitting a proposal is 11:59 PM PT on May 7, 2015.

    Grants will range from between $50,000 and $200,000, although exceptional projects outside that range will be considered. Non-profits, universities, private companies, and individuals are eligible to apply.

    There are three funding categories: research, prevention and support. Here is a brief summary, but please see the RFP for more detail.


    The grant program is quite timely considering what is going on today. The recent conviction of Kevin Bollart for operating two “revenge porn” sites is but one of many recent examples of how some have used digital technology to abuse others. There are also numerous cases of online harassment on Twitter and other social networks. Young women are particularly vulnerable, but men and women of all ages have been affected. Even domestic violence and dating abuse now have their digital components. And, while most online young people are respectful of others, there are certainly cases of cyberbullying.

    What is needed are prevention and support strategies that are based on the latest and most credible research that address the emerging problems. We also need more research to better understand the prevalence and impact of different types of digital abuse and how to address the problems effectively. The last things I think we need is exaggeration, “moral panics” and overly restrictive policies, nor do we need to violate Internet users’ right to free expression. We do need to develop some rational and research-based understanding and responses to the real issues that confront online

    Research projects:

    The Foundation is interested in projects that examine the prevalence of cyberbullying, cyberstalking, or digital domestic violence and is especially interested in those that compare digital abuse prevalence across age groups, including both youth and adults. Proposals that fill a research gap may be prioritized, which is especially important regarding cyberbullying of youth, as a lot of research on that topic has already been conducted.

    Prevention projects:

    The Foundation expects to fund several projects with diverse budgets up to $100,000 that will both implement and evaluate an “evidence-based digital abuse prevention program.” The projects can test new prevention strategies, but proposals must include a theory of change or evidence base to support the proposed strategies.

    Support projects:

    The Foundation is looking for “Supporting Digital Abuse Victims” proposals that provide information and or support to digital abuse victims, as well as projects that provide digital abuse training or educational materials to stakeholders, including those within the criminal justice system. Proposals should include information on how the project will serve digital abuse victims, why your approach is important, and a brief summary of the evidence base for this approach and/or past program evaluation results.

    Where the money comes from & my role as a Foundation board member

    Do you remember Facebook’s Beacon program? Back in 2007, Facebook came up with a plan for users to share purchases and other web activities on their Facebook newsfeed. It didn’t go over well with privacy advocates and was eventually scrapped. But, in the interim, there was a class action lawsuit that resulted in Facebook agreeing to fund a Foundation to spend about $6.7 million to fund projects that advance the cause of privacy, safety and security.

    I am one of three members of the Foundation board of directors along with U.C. Berkeley Law Professor Chris Hoofnagle and Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan.

    If you have any questions, please contact the Foundation staff. I am not in a position to discuss or respond to emails about the RFP or the proposals.

  • Ellen Pao Jury Didn't Have Enough Votes For A Verdict And Will Resume Deliberations [UPDATED]
    SAN FRANCISCO, March 27 (Reuters) – A California jury ruled Friday to clear venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers of gender discrimination in a lawsuit brought by a former woman partner, but the judge ordered jurors to resume deliberations on a claim of retaliation.

    The jury in California Superior Court decided that gender was not the reason Kleiner did not promote the partner, Ellen Pao. The jury cleared Kleiner on three claims and voted eight to four in favor of Kleiner on a fourth claim by Pao that the firm retaliated against her after she sued in 2012.

    To deliver a verdict, at least nine jurors must agree and the judge ordered jurors to resume deliberations.

    The case laid bare the personnel matters of the firm that backed Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc, with Pao’s attorneys painting Kleiner as a quarrelsome pressure cooker where a former male partner used business trips as opportunities to make advances to female colleagues.

    Pao, now interim chief executive at social-news service Reddit, claimed her standing at Kleiner crumbled after she ended a brief affair with partner Ajit Nazre. Her career deteriorated after he and Kleiner started retaliating against her, amid a climate that was overall unfriendly toward women, her lawyers argued.

    The firm disputed those charges, presenting evidence that Kleiner went out of its way to hire women.

    Pao sought to illustrate her point with testimony from former Kleiner partner, Trae Vassallo, who said Nazre appeared at her hotel room on a business trip. He wore a bathrobe and carried a glass of wine, according to testimony.

    Kleiner countered that it investigated Nazre after Vassallo complained, after which he quickly left the firm.

    Some witnesses, including Pao’s onetime mentor John Doerr, have testified that Pao’s lack of advancement stemmed from subpar performance, not discrimination or retaliation. [ID: nL1N0W51M6]

    But Pao’s attorneys argued she laid the groundwork for the firm’s highly successful investment in RPX, the patent company, and suggesting an investment in Twitter, an idea more senior partners rejected at the time.

    Pao herself testified for five days and faced tough questions both from Kleiner’s legal team and from jurors. One juror asked if it was “professional to enter into an affair with a married partner?”

    “Going back I would not have done it again, but I didn’t think it was inappropriate at the time,” Pao said, emphasizing that Nazre had told her he was separated.

    The case is Pao v. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers LLC, CGC-12-520719, in California Superior Court, in the County of San Francisco. (Editing by Peter Henderson and Grant McCool)

  • The Funniest Autocorrect Fails Of March 2015 (NSFW)
    What the duck?

    The invention of autocorrect (and its evil twin sibling, “Voice to Text”) has provided us with month after month of ridiculous texting mishaps. Luckily, Damn You Autocorrect corrals them all so you can relish in other people’s phone-based fails from the comfort of your own device.

  • New WiFi Threat for Hotels – Security Tips for Travelers
    It’s never a good idea to connect to the public WiFi network at a hotel (or anywhere else for that matter), but here’s yet another reason why travelers should be careful — a new report found that the WiFi router used by most hotels is vulnerable to hackers.

    Typically, hotel patrons who use a public WiFi connection are at risk of getting snooped on, because criminals could set up a fake network, call it “Hotel Guest WiFi,” and wait for suckers to connect. Once they do, the criminal could read everything that person does online, unless it’s encrypted.

    But with this new threat, guests who use the real hotel WiFi network can also fall victim to very serious attacks. This can include snooping on your online activity, stealing passwords and logins, reading emails, etc. Even worse, hackers could infect your laptop or mobile device with malware just by connecting to the network. And a really good hacker could go even further by using this security flaw to burrow more deeply into the hotel’s business systems, potentially stealing guests’ credit card information.

    The problem in this case is with a specific piece of networking equipment (ANTlabs’ InGate device) that’s widely used in the hotel industry to set up a guest WiFi network. In fact, it’s found in 277 hotels worldwide, including many of the top 10 hotel chains. Unfortunately for travelers, it turns out this device is vulnerable to hackers. The manufacturer has since fixed the problem, but hotels will have to install the security patch or else they — and their guests — will remain vulnerable.

    So what can you do?

    First of all, it’s important for travelers to stop using public WiFi altogether — unless they are using a virtual private network (VPN) tool, like OpenDNS. A VPN encrypts your online traffic, so that even if an attacker is able to spy on you, all they’ll see is a bunch of gobbledygook.

    However, if you don’t have a VPN, which most don’t as they’re not that easy to use, then revert to a cellular signal whenever you’re out of your home or office — and tether that to any other devices you’re trying to connect to the web. Admittedly, it’s not an ideal solution and you will run up your data usage — but this is the best way to protect your data without using a VPN.

    Next, never pay at a hotel with a debit card. Use credit cards only, since they come with greater protections. Even prior to this security warning, hotels have been leaky ships when it comes to customer credit card data. According to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, the accommodation industry (which includes hotels, casinos and restaurants) had the highest rate of point-of-sale breaches of any industry — 75 percent of all security incidents in 2013 were due to this. The next closest was retail at just 31 percent.

    Change your online banking password. We’re not sure how long this vulnerability has been around, but it’s possible some cyber-criminals already knew about it. If you’ve traveled in the past 12 months, it’s a good idea to change your banking password — and be sure to make it 10+ characters long, using both upper and lower case letters, as well as numbers and special symbols.

    However, even without this latest threat, traveling and staying in hotels does increase a person’s chances of getting hacked. Here are a few more steps people should take to protect themselves:

    • Don’t do online banking while on the road. Any computer or tablet that’s used to surf the web, check emails and especially log into public WiFi at hotels, airports and coffee shops is likely to have some type of malware on it. That means it can’t be trusted to perform sensitive tasks like logging into a bank account. For travelers who must do online banking, a better option is to use a mobile banking app — but, again, only use the cellular signal, not WiFi hotspots. Ideally, consumers should have a dedicated laptop at home that they only use to log into their bank account, and nothing else. Sounds paranoid perhaps, but in today’s growing cyber-crime climate, it’s essential.
    • Protect your devices against theft. Every device taken on the road should have two things: a lock-out password that you’re required to enter to access the device itself, and a remote wiping or disabling capability so if the device is stolen the personal data it contains won’t be accessible.
    • Use a password manager. Most people have 12 or more online accounts they access on a regular basis. It’s essential to use strong unique passwords for every one of them, and to change those passwords regularly, and the best way to ensure this actually happens is to use a password manager tool. This provides safe online storage of all your passwords so that you don’t have to remember them — you simply login to the password manager and it takes care of the rest.
    • Set up two-factor authentication. Whenever you have the option of adding two-factor authentication (or 2FA) to an online account, do it. 2FA makes it a lot harder to hack a person’s account, as the attacker will have to get the password and the temporary code sent to that person’s mobile phone. For travelers who are checking their online accounts from all types of vulnerable access points, this is one important way to raise your security level.
    • Foreign travel risks. For those who travel to Asia (particularly China), as well as Eastern Europe and Russia, it’s strongly advised that you bring temporary devices with you as the chances of a malware infection are greater. In spy lingo, these are known as “burner” phones, but you don’t have to be carrying state secrets to want to be safe. Temporary phones, tablets or laptops are recommended, that way you don’t bring an infected device back into your work or home.
  • Five Things I Love About Research
    I know just enough about research to be dangerous. That’s mostly a joke, but not entirely. As an undergraduate, graciously allowed to take Ed School graduate courses (thank you, Gerry Lesser!), I learned how to read and interpret research, and some rudimentary study design. But, that was so long ago that we gathered and processed data on punchcards, and our math capabilities were limited because we hadn’t yet evolved opposable thumbs. You wouldn’t want me writing the questions or moderating the interviews.


    At this week’s Sandbox Summit, we released a PlayScience study of parents, platforms and preferences, with just a teaser for another study we’ve fielded, on the children’s VOD market, that will be issued quite soon. Here are the slides we presented.

    More than much of the client-based work we do, I’ve had a chance to be involved in this from start to finish, and it’s reminded me that one of the great pleasures and privileges of my job is to listen to our research team as they develop, execute, analyze and report studies. Here are five reasons I love collaborating on research.

    It’s never finished.

    Every study not only provides insights, it poses new questions. As soon as our report was shared, in the hallways at Sandbox and on social media, many other researchers came to us with questions and suggestions for deeper dives into the existing data, follow-up or ongoing tracking studies. Given how quickly the family technology environment is changing, PlayScience could track this study every six months for the foreseeable future and get useful longitudinal insights. Our forthcoming VOD study was conducted just weeks before YouTube Kids was launched. That makes it a unique and valuable snapshot of a moment, and a baseline for change in a shifting field.

    It’s coding.

    With all the attention right now to teaching young people how to code, my feeling is that what we really mean by this is that they should learn how to think logically and analytically, and to review a sequence of steps or events to find and correct flaws.

    A good research designer does just the same. At the data gathering stage, that involves identifying what questions need to be asked and in what sequence, establishing a narrative to help those being surveyed to respond with clarity and get meaningful results. When it comes to analysis, there has to be a consistent and logical structure to the presentation. If some findings are among all families and some just among those who fit a particular condition, this has to be clearly delineated and honestly revealing of the information being sought. As when writing code, if there’s an inconsistency that affects clarity, it has to be traced back to the source and addressed up and down the line.

    It’s connective and collaborative.

    Studies can mesh to reveal even more. Just shortly after we posted our “platforms and preferences” study, other researchers – both academic and from industry, began commenting on research they’d done or data they held that might pair with ours. For example, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski, a leading academic researcher based in the Netherlands, posted to Facebook of a study she and her Ph.D. student had just finished, with 600 Dutch parents, “to identify what they consider the main ‘needs’ they (and their children) have when it comes to apps, and what specific ‘features’ of apps can meet these needs. We are analyzing this based on both demographic characteristics as well as parenting style.” This will add multiple dimensions to the PlayScience report, such as an international perspective as well as a drill down into specific content for the devices we explored.

    It’s additive – one work inspires others.

    The research world is a Tetris game where every new study fits into a history, both of findings and methods. A project may begin with a review of past literature on the subject, building a framework from what we already know, the strengths and weaknesses of that knowledge base, what’s changed since the previous studies. Children and media research rests on studies done over 50 years, but primarily on television. Today, without abandoning that history, we’re asking new questions and forging new methodologies in order to understand the unique new world of digital, interactive, mobile devices and their particular affordances.

    It’s creative.

    As families’ lives get more complex, so too do the challenges of understanding them. In recent years, PlayScience has generated all sorts of innovative methods for specific times, places and questions, like getting families to install time-lapse programmed digital cameras on top of their TV sets to capture the who, how, when and where of family viewing. Every new study begins with a brainstorm of best practices for getting the needed information in ways that are accurate, timely, non-intrusive and – especially in the case of research with kids – fun and engaging.


    Whether inside PlayScience, in academic settings worldwide, at conferences, or on the Children and Media Professionals group on Facebook, researchers are naturally curious people, ever asking “what if…” questions and proposing “yes and…” studies. They’re improvisers, innovators, inquirers and inspirers, and I love the chance to work with them.

    A version of this post first appeared in Kidscreen.

  • The Price That You Pay for Rocking the Boat
    Last month, I gave this tribute to Aaron Swartz, an internet activist, when I hosted a special Capitol Hill showing of the documentary Killswitch. Aaron was targeted for prosecution for his political views and, facing decades in prison, he killed himself. The documentary not only demonstrates how modern technology threatens our privacy and freedom, but it also recognizes the sacrifices that Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden made on behalf of those fundamental principles. Aaron used to work for me. So when I introduced the film, I had a few personal things to say:

    I’d like to begin by sharing my war experience with you. I remember when I was under fire … Confederate fire. And Oliver Wendell Homes turned to me, and he said to me, “Get down, you fool.”

    I’m sorry, no, that wasn’t me; that was actually Abraham Lincoln. I’ll confess: I’m not Abraham Lincoln, nor am I Bill O’Reilly. But the nice thing about living at this point in time, in the early 21st century, is that you can actually check my story, right? You can go on the Internet, and find out whether Oliver Wendell Holmes actually ever said that to me. (By the way, he did say it to Lincoln.)

    We need to do what we can to preserve that freedom, the freedom to find things out. The freedom to have that magical machine that people started to write about in the mid-20th century, that magical computer where you could ask any question you wanted, and out came the answer.

    That’s a magnificent accomplishment for humanity. But there is another even more important, magnificent accomplishment, which is that the Internet lets us find each other. Not just find out facts, not just find out numbers, but find other spirits, other souls who, in some way that matters to us, are like us. Kindred spirits. That’s a space humanity has created for itself now, that never existed before. It lets you connect with somebody in Bombay, or Tokyo, on very deep levels, when just a short time ago, they were not even a part of your imagination. And that’s something that we have to work hard to protect, because it will always be the case that selfish interests — whether it’s multinational corporations, the military-industrial complex, the spying-industrial complex, whoever it might be — they will try to take that freedom away from us. It’s happening right now. That’s what you’re about to see [in this documentary].

    Now, we’re going to hear about two people. I never met Edward Snowden, but I did know quite a bit about Aaron Swartz. In fact, he worked for me, for a period of time, a few years ago. And he was brilliant, as you’ll see for yourself. I’m sure that whatever this film may say about him, it can barely do justice to what a special human being he was.

    There were a couple of things about Aaron that, I have to tell you honestly, I found disconcerting. One was that Aaron would always come up with better assignments than any assignments that I could come up with. I’d tell Aaron, “Would you please do this?” And Aaron would say, “Well, sure, but do you mind if I also do that?” And always, ‘that’ turned out to be much more important than ‘this.’ Every single time.

    Another interesting thing that disturbed me about Aaron was that he really got things done. Now here, in Washington D.C., that’s a lost art. People really don’t know how to do that anymore. Time after time, after time, we wait ’til the very last minute, and we somehow manage, often but not always, to somehow get through it, without actually accomplishing anything, but actually just barely avoiding disaster. Aaron wasn’t like that at all. Aaron would think of this amazing thing — I was stunned by his audacity that he’d even think of it — and then a few weeks later, it’d be done. He was magnificent that way.

    And over time I realized that my reluctance that I had, my frustration that I couldn’t give him assignments that were better than what he’d come up himself, it really reflected more on me than on him. So I stopped thinking about it, entirely.

    Now he had a very special quality, which some of you may have, yourselves. Aaron liked to rock the boat. He didn’t mind rocking the boat. And that’s a unique quality in human beings. All over the world, I think, you’ll find that there’s a deep resistance and hesitation to rocking the boat. I’ve said that there are roughly 2,000 human languages on this planet, and I would venture to say that in every single one of those languages, there’s an idiom for the phrase: “Don’t rock the boat.” Well, he rocked the boat. Not only by creating Reddit at the age of 19, something which by itself would have given him the freedom to stay in bed for the rest of his life, and order in pizzas, to be delivered, never having to move beyond the bathroom. He could have had that life. But instead he wanted more. He wanted to go out and, as you’ll see, he wanted to imprint on the world his own sense of freedom — the freedom I just talked to you about — the freedom to be able to connect with other people.

    Now, here’s the funny thing about what happens when you rock the boat. Sometimes when you rock the boat, the boat rocks you. It rocks back. And Aaron actually understood that, and he took it in good spirits. You have to pay a price for orienting your life in that manner. For some of us who try to rock the boat, we lose our family. For some of us who try to rock the boat, we lose our property. Some of us go to prison. In Aaron’s case, he lost his life. But he always understood that that’s the price that sometimes you must pay if you were that kind of person; if you have the impulse to go ahead and make a difference.

    He was a person of enormous talent. And sometimes we are very hard on people with enormous talent. At a memorial service for Aaron, I mentioned Alan Turing, whose story since has become famous in a Hollywood movie. I think that there is a very deep and important point in talking about Aaron, in talking about Alan Turing, in talking about Oscar Wilde, who suffered for his greatness, too. In talking [about such people] all the way back to Socrates. These are people whom we made to pay a price because they were so good at what they did that it disturbed us, it got under our skin. We look at them with some degree of, I don’t know, maybe you could call it guilt. Maybe you’d call it jealousy. But we took their lives, and we crushed them. They became human sacrifices, as you are about to see [in the documentary].

    And that’s a pity, because people of talent make our lives better. And although we may think that we have to protect ourselves from them, in reality, it’s they who need protection from us, as we’ll see in this movie. And far from our needing protection from them, they’re the ones who make our lives better. If Alan Turing had lived, he would have won two or three Nobel Prizes after cracking the Nazi codes, and inventing the Turing machine, which is the basis for all of modern computing. If Oscar Wilde had lived, we’d not be enjoying only three or four major plays, we would be enjoying ten, or twelve or fifteen of them. And of course if Socrates had lived, then Plato wouldn’t have been such a bad guy after all.

    So we have to learn to cherish those people who stand out; not to hate them, not to be jealous of them, not to punish them, not to ridicule them; and for sure, not to kill them. But rather to understand that the things that make us special are in fact the things that make us different, not the things that make us the same. And that any well-organized society takes advantage of our differences; doesn’t try to undermine them or hide them; doesn’t try to get over them, or overcome them; but rather seeks to cherish them. And make sure, in any event, that the prosecution that Aaron faced doesn’t become a persecution for the way he was.

    Because, as Margaret Meade said, it’s people like that, those few people who can organize, who can assert themselves, who actually achieve advancement for all us, the entire human race. It’s the only thing that ever has.

    So with that, I’d like to turn you over to the film. I would like to mention that you’ll be enjoying a Q&A after the film with Professor Lessig. Professor Lessig actually joined me in that memoriam for Aaron Swartz a few years ago. Here’s a couple things you may not know about Prof. Lessig. Unaccountably, Christopher Lloyd once depicted him in a film, but not me. I don’t know why. It seems that he’d be a natural to [portray] me, but that’s never happened yet. Professor Lessig is also the sixth most famous former University of Chicago law school professor. Who can name some of the others? Anybody? Barack Obama, yes. Barack Obama, three Supreme Court justices and Judge Douglas Ginsburg — my thesis advisor at Harvard — who somehow neglected to invite me to any of his pot parties. I feel very bitter about that to this day, obviously.

    Anyway, understand that the film that you are about to see, which focuses on two incredible people, focuses not only on their personal bravery and the sacrifices they made, but also is a hallmark for our time. It is a landmark, on the road to either heaven or hell. And that decision is ours. Thank you very much.

    Rep. Alan Grayson

    Killswitch – Documentary Trailer (Official) from Akorn Entertainment on Vimeo.

  • Best Teen Tweets Of The Week! (3/27/15)
    Every week, we round up the best 140-character quips and insights from our esteemed blogging team — and other equally awesome teen tweeters. Scroll down to read the latest batch and share your own suggestions by following @HuffPostTeen!

    pisses me off when I type “tru” and it autocorrects to “try” like can you not just let me be 2 Chainz

    — 2 Langz (@_tiffanylang_) March 23, 2015

    I have a real big fear over hurdles but I’m proud to say I got over it

    — Luke Brooks (@luke_brooks) March 23, 2015

    I think I spend more time with my friends animals then actually with them

    — Katie Gaskill (@katie_gaskill98) March 22, 2015

    my grandma is telling me how zayn isn’t that attractive i don’t care if you’re my grandmother i will actually fight you

    — ⠀ (@SEMlPROBLEMATIC) March 26, 2015

    All I want is a 4.0 GPA, a perfect body, $100,000 in my bank account, and an unlimited supply of burritos.

    — kassi (@kassidy_langham) March 26, 2015

    i’ve got 99 problems and summer would solve all of them.

    — Eva Willming (@ew212021) March 24, 2015

    Am I getting sick or is this spring allergies: an ongoing internal struggle

    — KAMI BAKER (@Peeta_is_aBAKER) March 23, 2015

    i’m selling my brother for $200 he can cook grilled cheese feel free to dm me for details k thx

    — not karina (@karininanana) March 24, 2015

    All these super cute promposals, but I can barely get 2 bucks for an ice cream cone from chickfila.

    — Chloe Aiken (@AikenChloe) March 24, 2015

    wow spring break 2k15 so crazy all this Netflix and layin in bed by myself is wild yo!!!!!!!!!!!

    — Taylor Roberts (@tayroberts_) March 22, 2015

    I take my horoscope so seriously like if that thing told me I need to eat nachos in order to be happy I’m gonna go eat some nachos

    — chloe (@chloestigen) March 24, 2015

    I’m fourfiveseconds from being done with school

    — Andy Liang (@andyliang97) March 27, 2015

    On this episode of True Life.. pic.twitter.com/ClWXcGlwpW

    — Swain (@brody_ivins) March 24, 2015

    Followed P Diddy on Instagram for about 15 seconds before my dog grabbed my phone from me, unfollowed him and put me back in my cage

    — Celeste Yim (@celesteyim) March 22, 2015

    im a lot nicer than my “walking to class” face i promise

    — Sammi (@sammilandsman) March 26, 2015

    can they make a zayn hologram like they did at Coachella with tupac that’s all I need right now

    — I love you z (@astralstyles) March 27, 2015

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

  • The Stats On Women In Tech Are Actually Getting Worse
    Google just hired Ruth Porat, a former Morgan Stanley executive, to be its chief financial officer, and is paying her a reported $70 million. You’d think that’s a sign that things are looking up for women in the tech industry.

    Not quite.

    The percentage of computing jobs held by women has actually fallen over the past 23 years, according to a new study.

    In 2013, just 26 percent of computing jobs in the U.S. were held by women, down from 35 percent in 1990, according to the study released Thursday by the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit that promotes gender equality. During that same period, the number of women earning computing degrees also declined.

    tech women

    The decline is striking but not entirely surprising. A recent flurry of reports from some of the most prominent tech companies, ones that did not exist in 1990, offer some depressing numbers.

    At Google, women make up 30 percent of the company’s overall workforce, but hold only 17 percent of the company’s tech jobs. At Facebook, 15 percent of tech roles are staffed by women. At Twitter, it’s a laughable 10 percent. For non-technical jobs at Twitter (think marketing, HR, sales), the gender split is 50-50.

    It’s not like this in other parts of the so-called STEM professions (that’s science, tech, engineering and math). In 2013, more than half of the biological scientists in the U.S. were women, compared to 42 percent in 1990, according to the AAUW’s report. That’s because women tend to gravitate to biology and because the stereotype of men being superior to women in life sciences is going away, report co-author Christianne Corbett told The Huffington Post.

    In computing, the stereotype of male superiority has proved more stubborn. “The number one thing holding women back is stereotypes,” Corbett said. “The stereotype is that girls and women are not as good at math and science as boys and men are.”

    “There’s evidence that by first grade, most kids already associate math with boys,” she said. “This is just a belief most of us have. It’s a reflection more of our culture than anything individual.”

    Those prejudices tend to make their way into the hiring process. Both male and female hiring managers often view women as less competent in math or tech.

    Men are twice as likely as women to be hired for a job in mathematics when the only difference between candidates is gender, according to a study published in a recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    For women who do choose computing, and who wind up in technical jobs, companies need to make a “welcoming environment” for them, said Corbett. Part of that is setting up a process that deliberately encourages diversity in hiring and retention.

    Some companies are trying. Google is devoting resources to workshops on unconscious bias. Recently, Judith Williams, Google’s diversity manager, called out company Chairman Eric Schmidt for behavior that seemed biased.

    But experts argue that workshops aren’t enough. Rather, they say, diversity needs to be made a clear priority at companies. That happens when diversity moves out of workshops and becomes factored into the hiring managers’ bottom lines.

    Managers at Chevron, for example, are rated in their performance evaluations on their ability to reach diversity goals, said Executive Vice President Michael Wirth at a Thursday conference in New York focused on diversity in the workforce. At Procter & Gamble, managers’ stock options are tied to diversity goals, according to the company’s chief diversity officer, William Gipson. P&G does robust hiring for tech and engineering positions, and more than half the people it now hires are women, according to the company.

    “Women are underrepresented,” said Corbett. “But it doesn’t have to be that way.”

    Unfortunately, many prominent firms in the tech industry aren’t there yet. Indeed, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the most high-profile venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, is currently awaiting a decision in a major gender discrimination case filed by a former female partner.

    There’s a pressing need for talent in computing and engineering. Such positions represent 80 percent of available STEM jobs and are a hugely growing area, according to the AAUW report.

    “There will be a war for technical talent,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told attendees at Thursday’s conference. Barra said it is crucially important to get more women into tech roles, and suggested that parents and teachers start encouraging girls early on to stick with math and science.

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook 'Deeply Disappointed' In Indiana's New Anti-Gay Law
    Apple CEO Tim Cook is the latest tech exec to take a stand against Indiana’s new anti-gay law.

    Cook took to Twitter Friday to criticize the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law in Indiana on Thursday and will allow business owners to refuse to serve LGBT customers on the grounds of religion.

    Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law and calling on Arkansas Gov. to veto the similar #HB1228.

    — Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 27, 2015

    Arkansas is considering a similar bill that would protect individuals and corporations from denying service to members of the LGBT community.

    Tim Cook came out as gay in October. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Following news of the Indiana law on Thursday, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff canceled all of the company’s events in the state.

    “Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination,” Benioff tweeted.

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association also expressed concern over the law on Thursday.

  • 4 Steps for Etsy to Keep Sellers Happy in a Post-IPO World
    Etsy’s path to its IPO has been about tremendous user growth. Etsy currently has 20 million active buyers and 1.4 million active sellers, from which it pulled in close to $200 million in revenue last year.

    But for Etsy to succeed as a public platform company it will need to get more creative about how it generates revenue.

    There are really two ways for Etsy to make more money:
    1. Increase the number of users
    2. Increase average order size and/or sell more value-added services to sellers

    Users will likely continue to increase as the company plans to spend more on marketing in 2015. More buyers will increase revenue and build investor trust. But given the company’s niche market, its ability to attract more and more users long term is still uncertain.

    The economics are not in Etsy’s favor.

    As a platform, Etsy makes money when its sellers make money. However, the most successful sellers often “graduate” from the Etsy platform and open up their own independent shop.

    Moreover, the company’s culture and value proposition places a natural limit on its growth. There are only but so many hands to make and sell handmade goods.

    Currently there is one active seller for every 20 active buyers on the Etsy platform. This ratio has increased over the last few years, as the increase in buyers has outpaced seller growth, which has mostly stagnated. Etsy has limited options for increasing supply to match this increased demand.

    Etsy mentions sellers 474 times and buyers 202 times in its SEC S1 filing. It’s clear where the company’s priorities lie. But sellers are also its largest problem area.

    In the past, Etsy has allowed for manufactured goods to be sold on its marketplace, which was met with resistance. The company’s culture is built around enabling cottage industries to thrive, not allowing larger companies to destroy them. As one angry seller put it, Etsy had lost its soul.

    With these limitations in mind, what can Etsy do to grow its revenue while also keeping its sellers happy? How can Etsy create the supply to match increasing demand moving forward?

    Step 1: Develop a more complete suite of business management tools for sellers
    Etsy sellers, like most mom-and-pop companies, will need business management tools as they grow, including CRM, shipping, marketing, production, pricing, inventory management, customer service, accounting and analytics services. Etsy should incorporate more of these services into its platform and sell them to its sellers.

    Etsy already has traction in selling business services (45 percent of total revenue in 2014) in areas like shipping and marketing. These seller services will improve the potential value Etsy can provide to sellers and make its platform stickier.

    Step 2: Take a page out of the Shopify book

    Shopify is an ecommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods, and it’s a serious competitive threat to Etsy.

    Shopify’s gross merchandize volume (GMV), a common KPI for product marketplaces, outgrew Etsy’s GMV in 2013 – $1.6 billion compared to Etsy’s $1.3 billion. Etsy annual GMV growth has slowed 50% while Shopify has managed to maintain 100%+ YOY GMV growth.

    So how can Etsy respond?

    As a public company, Etsy will need to expand its scope. One way to achieve this is by relinquishing some control to its top sellers. A white label/microsite option could be made available to sellers who hit a certain revenue threshold in order to keep them on the platform.

    Etsy already encourages its sellers to user their Etsy storefronts as their website, so providing a more complete solution here is a natural fit. The most successful sellers could create their own “powered by Etsy” sites, which would increase the platform’s reach beyond its own website and prevent seller churn.

    Step 3: Better leverage data to empower sellers

    Etsy needs to better leverage data on behalf of its sellers.

    One way is to use available data to identify credit-worthy sellers. Etsy could extend microloans to these sellers for them to grow their business. Alibaba has a similar and hugely successful program for sellers on its Taobao marketplace.

    Another potential application of data would be to provide sellers with actionable insights on what items are in high demand, both now and in the future.

    Step 4: Reward Etsypreneurs financially for keeping their business on Etsy

    Etsy must experiment with retention bonuses for their top sellers. Youtube has a similar program. Etsy Wholesale is an example of financial motivation geared towards sellers. This type of subsidization is critical because sellers will be the lifeblood of the Etsy platform as a public company.

  • Where To Place Your Router To Get The Absolute Best WiFi Connection
    We’ve all felt that agonizing moment of WiFi-lessness when the connection drops out unexpectedly. Turns out, there’s a right and wrong way to set up a WiFi router, and the wrong way can leave you waiting longer for pages to load or Netflix to buffer.

    Jason Cole, a PhD student in physics at Imperial College London, used math to figure out the best spot to place a wireless router. Cole solved the Helmholtz equation — which is used to map electromagnetic fields like the ones your router emits — for his apartment. What he discovered was that tucking a router away in an inconspicuous corner is not ideal for a good connection, even though that’s the way most of us do it.

    Speaking with The Huffington Post, Cole offered a number of tips to help your WiFi router send a strong signal all over your home or apartment and reduce the amount of Netflix buffering you have to sit through.

    1. Place the router in a central location.

    We know the wires you plug into the router are probably set up in the corner of the room, but it’s better to run them over to a more central spot. Ideally, it’ll be within sight of wherever you sit and use the Internet most.

    Here’s what your WiFi setup is probably like right now:

    In this illustration, the WiFi signals are actually traveling from the router throughout the entire apartment in about one ten-millionth of a second. You can see how the signal bounces off walls to fill a room with delicious Internet. Dead zones, where the signal doesn’t quite reach, are also visible and become more common further from the source, as walls and other obstacles absorb more signal energy.

    2. Avoid surrounding it with metal objects.

    “Metal dissipates electromagnetic energy quite efficiently,” Cole told HuffPost in an email. So the kitchen is not the best place for your router to live.

    3. Concrete or brick walls are the enemy, too.

    “All materials reflect a portion of radiation. Some absorb it quite strongly, especially concrete,” Cole said. Enclosing the router with concrete or brick on a couple sides won’t help your signal reach the furthest corners of your home.

    Additionally, floors and ceilings tend to be more transmissive than walls, Cole noted.

    4. Don’t keep the router near a microwave.

    If you’ve noticed the Internet slowing down whenever you’re heating something up in the microwave, it’s not just you. Microwaves operate around the same frequency as wireless routers, and even the tiny bit of radiation that escapes the microwave can disrupt your signal.

    5. Set it up high.

    WiFi routers emit radio waves, which spread out and down from their source. Mounting the router to a wall or setting it on a high shelf can give you a better signal, especially if you live in a two-story house and want a good connection on both floors.

    6. Position the antenna upward for a better horizontal reach, or sideways for vertical reach.

    In a multi-story home, positioning a router’s antenna sideways can help you get a better signal upstairs. Pointing an antenna up helps the router reach farther laterally.

    If your router has two antennas, though, take care of all possibilities by pointing one antenna up and the other to the side. And if you’ve got a router without any antennas, make sure you stand it the way it’s made to go. That is, don’t lay a vertical router on its side.

    7. Think twice about putting a router somewhere with a lot of people.

    Water inhibits WiFi signals. Since humans are mostly water, a bunch of us hanging out in a room together can interfere with the signal. You may have noticed getting worse Internet connections in crowded spaces. And yes, you probably want a good WiFi signal in the room where people like to gather, but all those bodies might slow it down in other parts of the house.

    BONUS: Use Cole’s app, which lets you visualize the WiFi connection in your own house.

    If you’re so inclined, Cole created an app for Android phones that lets you upload a floorplan to see how electromagnetic waves propagate throughout your own home. (Some math required. Sorry.)

  • Smart meter 'IT disaster' warning
    The government’s £11bn scheme to roll out energy saving smart meters could be an “IT disaster”, the Institute of Directors warns.
  • OneDrive for Windows Phone Sees a Minor Update

    The OneDrive for Windows Phone app has seen another small update with the focus on the vague “bug fixes and performance improvements” category.  The update, version for those keeping score at home, does not list any other updates or changes as part of the update.  I appreciate these types of updates are not super exciting but it is good to see developers, particularly Microsoft, continue to improve and tweak their apps. If you have auto updates enabled on your Windows Phone then you have likely already had this update pushed to your phone.  If not, go to the Store,

    The post OneDrive for Windows Phone Sees a Minor Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Check Out These 4 Must-See YouTube Channels For Gay And Lesbian Parents
    By Alexandra Temblador | The Next Family

    Every minute, 300 hours of video are uploaded to this site by more than one billion users: YouTube. YouTube was a new innovation when it hit the web in 2005, and it has grown exponentially every year. As a video sharing site, YouTube allows individuals from all over the world to create a channel and upload their own videos. With this ability has come many great things, such as YouTube personalities.

    YouTube personalities, celebrities of the online self-produced and self-created video world, are men and women of all ages and types who share videos, usually on a specific subject. Some are beauty enthusiasts, personal trainers, comedians, or activists. So it’s no surprise that over the years some of these YouTube personalities just happen to be gay parents that focus on parenting. Take a look at the channels of these awesome men and women and the amazing parenting advice they have to offer.


    OliviaHas2Moms features Ebony and Denise and their beautiful daughter, Olivia. Ebony and Denis have been married for three years. They started their YouTube channel in 2011 and since then it has grown to 64,637 subscribers and has had 3,462,468 views.

    Their channel features a variety of things such as “MoMday Tips” which gives such tips as how to get toddlers in bed, how to make family time come before technology, and how to maintain natural hair for children with naturally curly hair. This channel also features personal video confessions and explanations by the mothers that all parents can relate to such as being stressed when your child is sick. OliviaHas2Moms is a great YouTube channel for parents looking for advice or needing assurance on all aspects of parenting.

    Gay Family Values

    Gay Family Values began in 2006 and currently has 35,705 subscribers and has had 6,959,204 views. Jay and Bryan, a gay couple, are the adoptive fathers of Daniel and Selena and are based out of California. Their YouTube channel is separated into a few categories. “Ask A Gay Family” began as a response to Prop 8. In these videos the entire family responds to personal questions, sent in by viewers, about their family, their personal views, or what it means to be a part of a gay family. Such questions have ranged from Daniel, the son, and his disabilities, to God & religion.

    “Gay Adoption Story” is another section of the YouTube channel where Bryan and Jay discuss the adoption process of their own children to help parents-to-be. In addition to these two main sections, Gay Family Values also features videos about the family’s everyday lives. This YouTube Channel has amazing information for any parent-to-be on adoption or parents looking for guidance. More importantly, it beautifully depicts an average American family.


    JiMONiC19 is an interesting YouTube channel because it features Jing and Monica, a lesbian couple, who have vlogged (video blogged) the entire process of making their family which came to be in 2014 when their daughter Estelle was born. Jing and Monica chose insemination as a means to start their family and explain the entire process of how they did a home insemination in a couple of blog videos. This can be very helpful for gay and lesbian couples who are looking to do the same thing.

    Most of the videos feature Jing and Monica documenting their lives as they went through pregnancy and how they parent their daughter, however, they also provide some Q&A videos. With 7,913 subscribers and 964,919 views, Jing and Monica and their daughter Estelle will most likely rise even farther into YouTube stardom in the coming years.

    Michael and Luigi

    Michael and Luigi is a YouTube channel that documents the life of Michael and Luigi, gay fathers to Logan, their son. They currently have 2,993 subscribers and 132,249 views. For the most part, this YouTube channel has videos that show the lives of the family from their vacation to Disneyland to what the family did on Father’s Day.

    Michael and Luigi does have a video in which the fathers share their adoption story. If you are looking to be inspired by a documentary type YouTube channel of a gay family, check out Michael and Luigi and this family’s everyday adventures.

    Perhaps what makes these YouTube channels so amazing is that they not only depict gay and lesbian parents and give advice on parenting but they also depict how diverse the modern family is today. So if you are looking for inspiration, are looking for information on how to create your family, or want to see a family like your own, look no further than these four YouTube channels and be inspired by the love that these YouTube personalities have for their families. The Next Family was inspired by these couples and we started a channel of our own featuring two moms, gay dads and featured interviews in the LGBT community.

    Thank you for being an inspiration to so many!

    More on The Next Family:

    Same-Sex Military Spouses Refused Benefits in Texas

    In Response To Dolce & Gabbana: All Families Have The Right To BE

    Lesbian Moms and Their Getaway Without The Kids

    Alexandra Temblador is a writer and celebrity correspondent for The Next Family.

Mobile Technology News, March 27, 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: Ghana’s burgeoning tech start-ups
    Inside the Ghanaian school for tech start-ups with big ambitions.
  • VIDEO: Mars rover completes marathon
    BBC Click’s Spencer Kelly looks at some of the best of the week’s technology news
  • Tech to barter your way to the good life
    Can you save your pennies and barter your way to the good life?
  • Apple's Tim Cook To Donate All His Money, Magazine Says
    (Adds details on Cook’s growing public presence, background)
    March 26 (Reuters) – Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook is joining the roster of the very rich who are giving away their wealth.
    Fortune magazine cited the head of the world’s largest technology corporation as saying he planned to donate his estimated $785 million fortune to charity – after paying for his 10-year-old nephew’s college education.
    “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripples for change,” Cook told the magazine.
    Fortune estimated Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, at about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested.
    The 54-year-old CEO’s revelation in Fortune’s lengthy profile of him is an example of the increasingly public philanthropy of the world’s richest people.
    Billionaire financier Warren Buffett is encouraging the very wealthy to give away at least half their worth in their lifetimes through the “Giving Pledge,” whose website lists such luminaries as Microsoft Corp’s Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook Inc and Oracle Corp’s Larry Ellison.
    While Cook’s largesse could not begin to approach the scale of a Gates or Zuckerberg, both worth billions of dollars, the Apple CEO told Fortune he hopes to make a difference.
    Cook, who is not listed on the website, is known as an intensely private person who shuns the spotlight on philanthropy.
    In recent years, however, he has begun speaking out more openly about issues ranging from the environment to civil rights. Cook, who recently revealed he was gay, spoke out against discrimination of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual communities during his induction into the Alabama Academy of Honor last year.
    He told Fortune he has started donating money to unspecified causes quietly and is trying to develop a more “systematic approach” to philanthropy that goes beyond writing checks. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Edwin Chan in San Francisco; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Andre Grenon)
  • This Tinder Hack Reportedly Had Dudes Talking Dudes When They Thought They Were Talking To Women
    A Tinder hack reportedly had men flirting with other men. Here’s the thing, though: All the dudes thought they were chatting with women.

    The Verge reports that an anonymous California-based programmer devised the Tinder hack after seeing the outrageous messages his female friends received on the dating app.

    The hacker essentially paired male users who swiped right on two fake female Tinder profiles he set up, the outlet notes. Though he intervened before the users met in real life, he said he was surprised by the hastiness of the guys he pranked.

    “They ignore all the signs, they ignore all the weird things,” he said. “When someone is so quick to meet up without any detail or know anything about the person at all — maybe it’s deserved.”

    Reading the conversations, it’s quite amazing how many clues these guys miss.

    Photo Credit: The Verge

    Photo Credit: The Verge

    Photo Credit: The Verge

    However, online dating consultant Steve Dean, who runs DatingWorks, told The Huffington Post he isn’t surprised the guys didn’t realize they were talking to men.

    “If you have no reason to believe that people aren’t who they say they are, guys are more likely to strategically and selectively believe what they think is true,” he said.

    HuffPost reached out to Tinder to confirm the hack but did not receive an immediate response. Still, this wouldn’t be the first time Tinder’s API was compromised. As the Verge notes, safety concerns were sparked in 2013 after it was discovered that a quick hack could trick the app into revealing users’ exact locations.

    With any luck, the prank — and those glorious screengrabs — will at least prompt the Tinder Brotherhood to consider how it feels to be on the other end of those “flirtatious” lines.

  • Google CFO Porat To Get $70 Million In 2 Years
    (Adds details, updates shares)
    March 26 (Reuters) – Google Inc said it would pay its new Chief Financial Officer, Ruth Porat, more than $70 million in the next two years through a combination of restricted stock units and a biennial grant.
    The company hired Morgan Stanley CFO Porat as its finance chief earlier this week, a sign it is aiming to rein in costs as it invests in new businesses such as self-driving cars and Internet-connected eyeglasses.
    Porat’s compensation package includes a grant of $25 million through restricted stock units, a $40 million biennial grant in 2016 and a special one-time $5 million sign-on bonus, Google said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. (http://1.usa.gov/1byDpVm)
    Porat, who will join Google on May 26, will also get an annual base salary of $650,000. She earned a base salary of $1 million at Morgan Stanley for 2013, according to the bank’s proxy filing. Her pay last year will be disclosed once the bank files its latest proxy.
    Porat is the latest among a string of Wall Street executives to leave an industry that is increasingly regulated to move into the more free-wheeling technology sector, where fortunes can be built fast but businesses can also become irrelevant overnight.

    Google paid its outgoing CFO Patrick Pichette, who announced his retirement earlier this month, $62.2 million for the three years through 2013, more than twice the $29.6 million Porat earned at Morgan Stanley, according to regulatory filings.
    Mountain View, California-based Google said it would stop annual cash bonuses for senior vice presidents from next year and shift to a system that includes annual base salary and biennial equity grants.
    Shares of Google closed at $563.64 on Thursday on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Avik Das in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)

  • Why You Should Care About Periscope, Twitter's New Live-Streaming App
    Live-streaming video apps are having a moment.

    On Thursday, Twitter unveiled Periscope, a new app that lets people live-stream from their phones to anyone who wants to watch.

    The app, which Twitter reportedly acquired for around $100 million earlier this year, was immediately put to use Thursday afternoon, following the collapse of a building in New York City’s East Village, as bystanders streamed live videos of first responders on the scene. At one point, one stream showed more than 600 people tuning in to watch.

    You can watch Periscope videos through the app on your iPhone or on your desktop browser. (There isn’t an Android app yet, but it’s in development.) People viewing the broadcast can instantly send comments, and you can tap the screen — the way you would when you “like” a photo on Instagram — to send a heart to the person broadcasting. These hearts float up on the right side of the broadcast.

    east village scene periscopeScreengrab from a popular Periscope stream of the building collapse in New York.

    Periscope’s launch comes shortly after Meerkat, an app that also streams live video, exploded in popularity this month.

    After Meerkat gained 120,000 users in just two weeks, Twitter revoked the app’s access to its social graph. The move blocked people from bringing their followers and people they were following on Twitter into Meerkat, thereby limiting the app’s ability to grow. Nevertheless, Meerkat announced Thursday that it had raised $14 million in venture capital funding.

    When you compare both apps, it’s clear that Periscope is much more refined and intuitive than Meerkat. This is likely due to the amount of development time that went into each: Twitter says developers worked on Periscope for a year, whereas Meerkat founder Ben Rubin has said he built Meerkat in only eight weeks.

    Unlike Meerkat, Periscope records the live streams, allowing you to watch older videos. This is an especially important feature, given that more people will be able to watch a replay than drop whatever they’re doing to view a live video.

    But video archiving may be coming to Meerkat, too. Rubin recently said his company is working to add that feature.

    Services that stream live video are nothing new. As The New York Times notes, other companies have tried to succeed in this space before. So the big question is whether this moment will be different, and if Twitter’s global brand can drive mass adoption and give Periscope staying power, beyond the tech and media press.

    Apart from the backing of Twitter, Periscope does have some things going for it that older services didn’t: More people have smartphones than ever before — 1.3 billion smartphones were shipped last year, according to IDC, a technology research firm — and wireless networks continue to become faster and more reliable.

    Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Obama, recently wrote that live-streaming video services like Meerkat and Persicope will have the ability to change the next presidential election. The services, he wrote on Medium, “could do to television what blogs did to newspapers by removing many of the financial and structural advantages of legacy media institutions.”

    So, will the revolution will be Periscoped or Meerkatted? We’ll have to wait and see.

  • Jason Biggs Explains Why He Won't Appear On This Season Of 'OITNB'
    Jason Biggs will be watching wistfully from afar when Season 3 of “Orange Is The New Black” premieres on June 12. But Biggs, who’s starring in the Broadway play “The Heidi Chronicles,” told HuffPost Live on Thursday that his character Larry could return in future seasons.

    “It’s not a Larry season,” he told host Josh Zepps. “They have a lot of characters to service on that show and, at the end of the day, it’s a women’s prison show. Larry is not a woman or in prison. But the good news is with a show like that, there’s always the possibility that he could come back. And I would go back in a heartbeat.”

    The show has been devoured by fans since premiering on Netflix in 2013. It made news recently when the Emmys deemed the show a drama for awards purposes, going against Netflix’s wishes to put it in the comedy category. Netflix’s other smash hit, “House of Cards,” is also a drama, and the two will compete against each if nominated for Best Drama.

    No matter the classification, Biggs has faith the show will still be great.

    “I’m actually really excited to see Season 3, and talking to a bunch of people over there, I think it’s going to be pretty awesome,” he said.

    Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

  • The Best Instagram Filters, According To Your Favorite Pop Stars
    Based on their millions of followers, the most popular celebs have perfected their Instagram filter game — and sometimes it doesn’t include a filter at all.

    A new report from Noisey reveals how the biggest pop stars are using Instagram. Based on the last 250 posts from the 15 most followed musicians, the information breaks down the most popular filters these celebs use.

    celeb instagram filters

    According to the graphic, Beyoncé has the biggest following on Instagram when it comes to musicians and uses a filter less than 25 percent of the time. Ariana Grande is also a fan of that #nofilter life, and it seems to be working since she comes in right behind Queen Bey with 26.4 million followers.

    Besties Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez are a little more active with filters. T. Swift uses them on more than half her posts and prefers Mayfair, while SelGo is more into the Slumber filter. Rounding out the top five musicians on Instagram is Justin Bieber, who slaps a filter on about half his posts.

    When these pop stars do use Instagram filters, Mayfair is the most popular. Amaro and X-Pro II are also used a lot followed by Beyoncé’s most used filter, Valencia. Filters that hardly get any love from celebs include 1977, Brooklyn and (of course) Kelvin.

    Other photo filter apps might be used before posting, but as far as Instagram filters go, less is sometimes more. So next time you’re looking for that double tap on a photo, you might take a tip from these celebs and reconsider letting Instagram touch it up for you.

    H/T Noisey

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

  • NASA One-Year Mission Astronauts Get Set For 350 Days In Space
    How does the human body respond to long-duration spaceflight? Does radiation present a problem? How about long periods of weightlessness? And what about the isolation?

    We’re about to find out.

    NASA’s “One-Year Mission” launches at 3:42 p.m. EDT tomorrow, when American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko blast off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazahkstan for the International Space Station.

    A new perspective. The pair will spend the next 350 days in orbit, helping the space agency gain a better understanding of the biomedical aspects of long-duration spaceflight as it gears up for a manned mission to Mars.

    This won’t be the longest anyone has spent in space. That record belongs to Valery Polyakov, a Russian cosmonaut who orbited the Earth from January 1994 to March 1995–almost 438 consecutive days.

    But with typical ISS missions lasting four to six months, the One-Year Mission is giving these astronauts a new perspective on their time in orbit.

    “On a six-month flight, your mindset is you’re going to go up there, and you’re going to be up there for a period of time, and you’re going to come home,” Kelly said at a press conference last January, according to Space.com. “When it’s a whole year, I don’t have that same perspective. It’s almost like I feel like I’m just moving there and I’m not coming back. Or, it’s going to be so long that when I come back, it’s almost like I never lived here.”

    (Story continues below.)

    I’m thinking this is about to get real. #YearInSpace pic.twitter.com/UzRtdxig6B

    — Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) March 6, 2015

    So far, scientists know that long exposure to a zero-gravity environment can affect eyesight and the immune system, and can even lead to muscle atrophy or bone loss.

    It takes two. As part of the research program, researchers on the ground will compare Kelly’s health to that of his identical twin, retired astronaut Mark Kelly.

    “We realized this is a unique opportunity to perform a class of novel studies because we had one twin flying aboard the International Space Station and one twin on the ground,” Dr. Craig Kundrot, deputy chief scientist of NASA’s Human Research Program, said in a written statement. “We can study two individuals who have the same genetics, but are in different environments for one year.”

    scott and mark kelly
    Astronauts and twin brothers Mark Kelly (right) and Scott Kelly (left) are pictured in the check-out facility at Ellington Field near NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.

    The researchers will compare the brothers’ blood samples as well as how they perform on psychological and physical tests — comparisons that will take place before, during, and after the mission. But according to the Associated Press, the brothers won’t follow the same diet or exercise regimen. Mark Kelly said he had no desire to eat ISS food or run two hours a day on a treadmill, as his brother will be doing.

    “If a mission to Mars is going to take a three-year round trip, we need to know better how our body and our physiology performs over durations longer than what we’ve previously on the space station investigated, which is six months. Perhaps there’s a cliff out there with regards to some of these issues that we experience and perhaps there aren’t,” Scott Kelly told CBS News. “But we won’t know unless we investigate it.”

  • Grace Helbig's Mom Dealt With Her Temper Tantrums In The Best Way Possible
    In her viral videos, Grace Helbig comes across as that cool friend with the best one-liners and silly attitude. As a kid, she wasn’t always so chill.

    The YouTube star recently sat down with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” and revealed what she was like as a child.

    “I threw temper tantrums a lot, which I think is just being creative with your emotions,” she joked.

    One such creative moment for little Grace included a temper tantrum as a result of her mom telling her she couldn’t have the cookies she wanted. According to the YouTuber, things got pretty aggressive.

    “I think I was like 6 years old, and I grabbed her hair and ripped a chunk of her hair out,” she said.

    To teach her a lesson, Grace’s mom drove her and her brothers to show them the place they would end up if they misbehaved — the police station. A little girl happened to be walking into the station at the same time, which definitely worked in her mother’s favor. The experience, or what Grace called “an abbreviated ‘Scared Straight’ program,” was successful, and she vowed to never be a bad kid again.

    Take it from Grace, kids. Don’t mess with your mother.

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

  • This Tortoise Will Have A Happier Life, Thanks To Her New 3D-Printed Shell
    Things are looking up for Cleopatra: The leopard tortoise now has a 3D-printed prosthesis to protect her deformed shell from further injury by other tortoises.

    (Photo: Gary Stefanski)

    Cleopatra suffers from what is known as “pyramiding” or “peaking.” That means that rather than growing smoothly, her shell has developed raised sections.

    Tortoises climb on each other when they play and mate, and their weight is normally distributed evenly. But interacting with other tortoises left Cleopatra’s deformed shell worn through in spots, leaving her susceptible to bacteria and infections.

    “I knew something had to be done,” Nico Novelli, the owner of Canyon Critters Reptile Rescue in Golden, Colorado, told The Huffington Post.

    Her prosthetic shell was designed by Roger Henry, a Colorado Technical University student and U.S. Air Force veteran. The 3D Printing Store in Denver assisted with scanning and building the shell.

    “This is a very good feeling,” Henry told The Denver Post. He spent hundreds of hours perfecting the design so it would fit exactly on Cleopatra’s shell.

    (Photo: RJ Sangosti via Getty Images)

    Novelli said they can’t be certain, but they believe the herbivorous tortoise was likely fed a diet too high in protein before she arrived at Canyon Critters. “I wish people would educate themselves more” before acquiring tortoises as pets, he said.

    Sadly, improper diets and care are common among pet turtles and tortoises. Cleopatra was “not an exception to the rule,” Novelli said. “It’s almost standard.”

    Canyon Critters Reptile Rescue owner Nico Novelli holds Cleopatra the tortoise. (Photo: RJ Sangosti via Getty Images)

    Right now, Cleopatra only needs her special shell when she’s among other tortoises. Novelli said he plans to use velcro to keep it secured.

    Fortunately, the 3D-printed creation won’t be permanent. The worn-through parts of Cleopatra’s shell are expected to heal in the next few years, and with proper diet and temperature conditions, her shell will grow normally and reduce the pyramiding.

    (Photo: RJ Sangosti via Getty Images)

    After Cleopatra’s story appeared on local news in Denver earlier this week, Novelli said he’s received at least six calls from people asking for his rescue to take in their turtles or tortoises.

    Several species are native to Colorado, and Novelli says people often spot them in the wild and take them home. They’re often hand-fed the wrong diet and have trouble re-adjusting to life in the wild after owners grow tired of them. He said pet stores often fail to disclose the true costs of ownership, which can range up to several hundred dollars per month.

    “When people find out real facts about the care for them, they quickly change their minds,” he told HuffPost.

    Nico Novelli and Roger Henry with Cleopatra. (Photo: RJ Sangosti via Getty Images)

    (Photo: Gary Stefanski)

  • How The Internet Made Me
    An hour ago I was in the lab of a Brazilian pathologist discussing the results of his most recent experiment. Before that I was speaking with a Saudi Arabian student as he lounged on an upholstered cushion placed on the living room floor. Later tonight, I’ll be in an office overlooking the most popular street in Gangnam, as I chat with a South Korean software engineer as he begins his day — 14 hours ahead of me. In just one day I’ll have traveled to three countries, all without leaving my chair.

    Two years ago I launched teacherdiane.com, my own website teaching English on Skype, and since that time, my life has undergone a dramatic change. My classroom has been replaced by a computer and my home, a backpack.

    As I write this, I am in a small cottage in Maine, just 10 minutes from a ski resort. This afternoon I’ll go skiing before I return to work. Over the past two years I’ve learned Spanish in South America, eaten my way through Asia and spent some time housesitting in Europe, all while working full-time. Working online has enabled me to be completely location independent and to continually satisfy my lifelong love of travel.

    The Internet has become so ingrained into my life that it’s hard to remember a time when it didn’t exist. What did I do first thing in the morning if it wasn’t checking my email? How did I communicate with people located in different countries before communication tools like Skype?

    Initially I was hesitant to try teaching online. One of the reasons I chose education as a profession is the meaningful connection forged between teachers and students, a connection that I assumed could only come from a classroom setting.

    Persuaded by a former student to give it a try, I soon realized the possibilities of teaching online. I could use a graphics tablet and screen-sharing technology to mimic a classroom white board. I could quickly share images, files and links to informative websites. Together, my students and I could watch videos, read and discuss articles, and even play games. I could record lessons and send them to students to review afterwards. I could correct students immediately using the Skype chat feature and review our chat history at the end of each lesson or the beginning of our next one. Not to mention I could do all of this from the comfort of my own home.

    In a short time, I found teaching English on Skype became even better than teaching in person. Students who had struggled in the past to find locals to practice their English with also quickly fell in love with the concept: Within a year, I had so much demand for lessons that I had to bring on other teachers to assist me.

    Now I am able to reach students not just in my 20-mile radius, but almost everywhere in the world with an Internet connection. Over the past two years, I have taught students from over 20 different countries and reached students in many more. With the help of video sharing platforms and social networks, I can reach students in a matter of minutes and create resources that will be forever available online.

    Years ago, the idea of communicating directly with people all over the world while sitting behind a computer screen was confined to our imagination. The thought of having a job that was not limited by location was unfathomable. But now, when people ask me where I see myself in the future, I tell them, quite literally, anywhere and everywhere. My options are endless.

    Collaboration and technology are at the core of creativity. With Skype, you can call, see, message and share with those who inspire you. Skype can be used for so much more than the occasional long-distance call. Click here to download the Skype app now and explore all the amazing things you can do with Skype, every single day.

  • Will 2015 Be the Year of the Healthcare Hack?
    It’s only spring and already this year hackers have pulled off two massive healthcare breaches, in what appear to be sophisticated attacks. But are the Premera Blue Cross and Anthem breaches just a coincidence, or are they part of a larger trend that could affect other healthcare companies this year?

    There’s no denying that the healthcare sector has long been a target of hackers. Identity theft is a lucrative black market business and these companies are repositories for some of the most sought-after data by cyber-criminals. But until recently, most of these incidents were due to physical security mistakes like lost or stolen laptops – not sophisticated cyber attacks on the network. They were also more likely to happen to local or regional healthcare groups, instead of national organizations. According to Verizon’s 2014 Data Breach Investigations Report, less than 1% of healthcare security incidents in 2013 were due to cyber-espionage.

    But the exposure of 11 million personal records at Premera, and another roughly 80 million at Anthem, signifies a dramatic shift in the cyber threats faced by this industry. Far from an anomaly, it appears to be the start of a more sophisticated hacking campaign on healthcare companies across the U.S.

    There are three key reasons why the threat environment is changing for healthcare companies: the rise of electronic health records, reduced potential for payment card fraud and the expansion of state-sponsored hacking.

    Beginning this year, medical practices will be penalized 1% of Medicare reimbursements if they fail to meet federal requirements for digitizing patient medical records. The move to electronic health records (EHR) has been underway for several years now, and received its first major boost in 2009 with the federal stimulus bill, but 2015 is the first year that financial penalties kick in. As a result, we can expect to see more healthcare organizations increasing their use of EHRs, which are rife with software and storage bugs, and weak security.

    At the same time, cyber-criminals are about to see their cash cow, the magnetic-stripe payment card, fade into the sunset. This October is the official deadline set by credit card companies for U.S. retailers to adopt chip-and-PIN compatible payment terminals or else assume liability for fraudulent charges. Once this happens, we should see the start of a significant long-term decline in US credit card fraud, which currently makes up 51% of the $14 billion criminals cost the global economy each year. That is going to have a significant impact on their operations, and organized crime groups will have to adapt. And it appears they’re already doing so.

    Researchers are now seeing a new focus by cyber-criminals on long-term identity theft fraud through stolen Social Security numbers, rather than payment card fraud. A recent report by Gemalto found that identity theft now makes up 54% of all data breaches. Social Security numbers have also become more valuable on the black market, selling for as much as 10 times the value of stolen credit cards. The permanence of Social Security numbers is what makes them such an attractive alternative to stolen credit cards – criminals can use them indefinitely for financial fraud. And one of the biggest repositories of Social Security numbers, as well as other valuable identifiers like insurance accounts, is the healthcare sector.

    Additionally, governments around the world are trying to boost their cyber capabilities – and in most cases, that means increased budgets for cyber espionage. The rise of state-sponsored cyber attacks is particularly worrying for U.S. companies, since many of these attacks are done in order to steal intellectual property and research/development secrets. The most heavily targeted U.S. sectors are defense, energy, transportation, technology, finance and government. So why is this a problem for the healthcare sector? The primary method for hacking into a company is by sending phishing emails to its employees. To make the phishing emails more compelling, sophisticated hackers will use personal information in the message to get the target to open it and click on the link or download the attachment. The personal information stored by healthcare companies is a goldmine for this sort of activity, which is why we’re beginning to see highly sophisticated attacks against major healthcare groups – like the Premera breach disclosed earlier this month, as well as Anthem and Community Health Systems last year.

    On their own, each of these developments would pose enormous challenges to healthcare institutions, but when taken as a whole, the threat level increases exponentially. The healthcare industry already struggles with basic security challenges; it’s not prepared to deal with a rise in sophisticated attacks from state-sponsored hackers and organized crime. For example, it’s the worst U.S. economic sector when it comes to data breaches caused by lost or stolen devices. As much as 46% of the industry’s breaches in 2013 were caused by this easily avoidable problem, according to Verizon’s report. The second worst industry was government, at 19%. A 2012 study by the Ponemon Institute also found that 94% of polled healthcare institutions admitted patient records had been exposed by data breaches.

    While last year was most notable for the string of high-profile retail breaches, 2015 is poised to become the year of the healthcare hack. Unless healthcare executives begin making significant changes now to their security setups, we could see many more breaches hit this industry.

  • Websites Can Now Embed Reddit Comments Directly Into Their Entries
    Websites that frequently mine Reddit for viral content can now embed comment threads into their posts, the site announced on its blog Monday.

    The new feature will in many ways make life easier for news organizations and bloggers, allowing them to forgo messy-looking screenshots and the cumbersome task of pasting large blocks of text in favor of a simple one or two click embed system.

    Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have long allowed public posts from users to be embedded on websites, but with Reddit’s feature, embedded comments will reflect any edits made by the author and include a link back to the initial thread and subreddit.

    The site hopes its new feature will help drive conversation online.

    “[R]eddit isn’t just a source for news or adorable cat pictures; it’s also home to some of the most vibrant discussions happening on the Internet,” the blog post read.

    To prove its point, Reddit embedded a number of comments to the bottom of the announcement, including a few words of wisdom from an AMA with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web:

    “We couldn’t agree more,” the post continued, “and hope that embedded comments spread that spirit of global collaboration a little further.”

  • Young Men Read Mean Tweets Sent To Women
    It ain’t easy being a lady on the Internet.

    Blogger Chelsea Woolley created a video, posted on her Tumblr page, that features six men between the ages of 18 and 25 reading increasingly disturbing tweets directed at women. At first the men laugh at the ridiculous tweets, but as they continue to read the vulgar and sometimes violent messages about women their reactions become increasingly somber.

    The tweets include messages of fat-shaming, slut-shaming and violence. “This chubby girl sent me a Snapchat of her ass and said ‘Squats are a girl’s best friend.’ Bitch, you know pizza and Netflix are your best friends,” one young man in the video reads. Another tweet reads: “I just found out that a girl I know gets passed around at parties like a hacky sack #whore.”

    This type of online harassment has made headlines a lot this past year with feminist video gamer Anita Sarkeesian receiving rape threats, death threats and even bomb threats for speaking out about sexism in the gaming industry.

    Actress Ashley Judd also recently faced online misogyny after tweeting about March Madness. In an essay for Mic, Judd summed up how widespread an issue online sexism is: “What happened to me is the devastating social norm experienced by millions of girls and women on the Internet,” she wrote. “Online harassers use the slightest excuse (or no excuse at all) to dismember our personhood. My tweet was simply the convenient delivery system for a rage toward women that lurks perpetually.”

    Women can use every ally we can get. So men, please take note.

    Watch the full video above.

  • The Internet is an Angry Beehive, and It's Messed Up
    Equality. That’s what we’re about these days. We’re about equal rights for women, for gay people, for transgender, for black people, for everyone under the sun who might (and rightfully) be considered oppressed.

    I love that. I love that we’re so quick to help each other out now, that we can finally stand up for humanism, for rights across the vast spectrum that America’s population is comprised of. We are varying. We are unique and we are all deserving of the same things. This is not to be contested.

    However, what I don’t love is the swarming vehicle that is the Internet.

    What I mean by this is simple. Somebody has an opinion that may not fit perfectly within the confines of today’s norm. The person may post something about it on Facebook, Twitter or the like. The Internet will then turn on said person, like a pack of wolves circling around a raw steak, snapping their teeth and dripping saliva. It’s messed up, frankly.

    This sentiment is brought on by something that happened earlier this week regarding J.K. Rowling and a fan on Twitter. This fan tweeted at Rowling that she couldn’t see Dumbledore as gay. Rowling, in turn, tweeted: “Maybe because gay people just look like…people.”

    And the Internet went into a frenzy.

    I think Rowling is a great person with a big heart. She’s an activist, philanthropist, and charitable to the core. She believes in equal rights across the board, and I think it’s awesome. But this incident made me lose a little respect for her. While I understand and agree with Rowling, did she stop to think that she could very well ruin this girl’s life with an insulting response tweet?

    Seriously, the girl had to delete her Twitter. I was on the site when it happened (I’m pretty obsessed with Twitter), and I viewed her profile before she got rid of her account. She was maybe 15.

    Why is our culture, especially the Internet, so paradoxically hateful? Someone says one thing that might be considered out of line — to be honest, I don’t think this girl is homophobic, nor do I think she meant anything spiteful by her tweet — and the Internet goes ape shit on the person.

    Remember Justine Sacco? Yeah, the lady who made the awful AIDS joke a few years back. Her life, post tweet, is basically in shambles, as an informative New York Times article reveals. The phenomenon of Internet users surrounding and attacking a fellow social networker is not, by any standards, new.

    But should it be stopped? Yes. And right away.

    Justine Sacco made a really stupid joke. It was racist, and it wasn’t funny. But is she truly deserving of a life ruined? Sacco is forever branded by the AIDS tweet, a burning mark on her forehead that cannot be ignored by future potential jobs, relationships and connections. She will carry this burden for the rest of her life.

    Who knows who @anakocovic21 really is? Chances are, she’s a young girl who tweeted before thinking. She most likely didn’t understand or perceive the underlying discrimination of her tweet. But my guess is she’s a perfectly nice kid.

    And who knows what’s happening to her at school now. Maybe her classmates found out and ostracized her, teased her or made hurtful jabs. Maybe none of those things happened and life went on as normal. We just don’t know. But it’s safe to assume she’s humiliated, because she deleted her Twitter.

    I wish we wouldn’t sic each other on fellow humans like digital dogs. It’s cold, it’s wrong, and it’s inhumane.

  • Briefly: iPhone trade-ins coming to China, Apple TV adds CNNgo
    According to reports, Apple is set to launch an iPhone trade-in program in China on March 31, joining several existing programs in other countries around the world, including the US, Canada, the Netherlands, and a number of European countries, among others. Users will be able to bring in older iPhone and trade it in for store credit towards a newer model. The program has been shown to boost sales.

  • Why Microsoft May Actually Have It Right With Windows Apps

    Throughout the lifecycle of the product we call Windows, the programs or applications we run on them gone through far more naming conventions.  When I started with Windows 3 back-in-the-day, we call them programs and really, up until Windows 7 that name pretty much stuck.  You would occasionally see “Application” but generally we call them “Programs”.  Enter in the iPhone, the App Store, the Google Play Store and yes, even the Windows Phone store and we have shrunk it all down to “Apps”.  But with Windows 8, we decided to throw in some confusion for the fun of it.  We

    The post Why Microsoft May Actually Have It Right With Windows Apps appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Kevin McCarthy & Bernie Sanders Read 'Mean Tweets'
    What does Speaker of the House John Boehner have to promise his constituents to keep getting reelected? What new job should House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi try? Who does Sen. Bernie Sanders most resemble? And what does Rep. Kevin McCarthy really need to do?

    In the spirit of late night host Jimmy Kimmel’s recurring “Mean Tweets” segment, some of the nation’s top lawmakers read mean tweets about themselves for the 2015 Radio & Television Correspondents Association Dinner, held Wednesday night — and the results are priceless.

    Check it out in the clip above.

  • VIDEO: Systrom: Instagram's ambitions to grow
    Instagram’s co-founder, Kevin Systrom, discusses the company’s ambitions for photo-sharing service.
  • Why are people so mean online?
    Why are people so mean online?
  • This Group Gives Refugees Toilets, Then Turns The Waste Into Charcoal For Cooking
    This inventive solution is no load of crap.

    Across the globe, 1.8 billion people use a drinking water source that is contaminated with fecal matter, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). To make sure the waste produced by refugees and low-income households in Kenya doesn’t infiltrate their water systems, a group founded by U.S. university grads is turning poop into charcoal for cooking.

    Established in 2011 based off of research conducted at Emory and Georgia Tech, Sanivation provides toilets to people in need, collects the waste and then treats it with solar energy. The final byproduct are low-cost briquettes that can be safely used for cooking and heating homes.

    Sanivation co-founder Emily Woods said in a video interview that the briquettes are particularly “fantastic” because it burns longer than standard coal and emits less carbon monoxide and particulate emissions.

    Less pollution means significantly fewer deaths.

    According to WHO, more than half of premature deaths that occur among children under 5 are due to pneumonia caused by household air pollution.

    The process also drastically cuts down on deforestation, since the coal supplants firewood.

    It takes about five tons of trees to produce just one ton of charcoal, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

    While the group is concerned that people might be reluctant to use coal that was once feces, satisfied customers say there’s no odor and they don’t give a sh*t about the association.

    “‘Go and [light them] and smell that smoke and see how it feels,” Nancy Wambui, a Kenyan who has used the source, told TakePart. “They see it’s not smelling, it’s cooking good.”

    Last April, with funding and support from the CDC and a number of other organizations, Sanivation launched a three-month pilot program at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where 170,000 people live.

    The group installed more than 30 toilets for nearly 300 people and collects the waste every three days. The poop is converted at a local treatment center, Woods said.

    In Naivasha, Kenya, customers pay 600 Kenyan shillings per month (about $6.50) to get access to an in-home toilet and for their waste to be collected twice a week. Sanivation expects to reach 300,000 people over the next three years.

    There, the group partnered with the Lake Naivasha Disabled Environmental Group and makes briquettes with a hand press.

    Due to increased demand, Sanivation is seeking funds to develop a mechanized press, which could produce 1 ton of briquettes an hour.

    Sanivation has already received a number of accolades of its work, including the InVenture Prize at Georgia Tech last year. The award included $20,000 and a free U.S. patent filing.

    “We are exposing an issue that is considered taboo,” Erin Cobb, a member of the team, said in a statement, “and we are excited to give this important issue more attention.”

    Learn more about Sanivation and how you can support its mission to purchase a new briquetting machine here.

    To take action on pressing water issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • In Disaster Relief, Information Is Life & Death

    Ben Krause of J/P Haitian Relief Organization describes how failures of communication, coordination, and collaboration make disaster relief so much harder. XPRIZE Insights is a video series that highlights the leading thinkers of our time. Watch More Here>>

    Visit XPRIZE at xprize.org, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and get our Newsletter to stay informed.

  • Uber Adds New Incident Response Teams Following Safety Concerns
    (Reuters) – Ride-sharing company Uber said it has formed response teams to address safety issues across the world, amid increasing concerns about the security of its passengers and drivers.
    The company, whose mobile app lets users hail taxis, has been dogged by controversies surrounding its business practices and safety policies, as it has grown rapidly around the world in recent months.
    Uber will form a safety advisory board comprising independent experts to review its practices and advise on adding safety features to its platform, the company’s global safety head Phillip Cardenas said in blog post on Wednesday.
    Uber was also elevating its standards of background checks on drivers and has established a new code of conduct, Cardenas said.
    The round-the-clock response teams consist of specially trained groups to investigate safety concerns.
    The measures come in the wake of Brussels police arresting a taxi driver who confessed to taking part in several incidents of intimidation against drivers using Uber’s ride-sharing app.
    Some users have also alleged that the California-based company’s practices violated their privacy.
    Authorities in New Delhi on Wednesday asked India’s federal information technology ministry to block the apps of Uber and local rival Ola to enforce a ban on the companies’ services.
    (Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Joyjeet Das)
  • Don't Settle for Lousy Home Wi-Fi

    My brother-in-law was conversing with my wife and myself via FaceTime on his iPhone when he complained that his signal kept breaking up. I knew the problem couldn’t be at my end — I subscribe to Time Warner Cable’s top 300 Mbps broadband service, and my wife’s iPhone 6 was connected to our home Wi-Fi hotspot supplied by a state-of-the-art 802.11ac Wi-Fi router.

    After some investigation, we discovered my b-i-l’s video burping problem: his Wi-Fi was supplied by a AT&T U-verse cable modem/router supplying an embarrassingly paltry 18 Mbps (megabits per second). Embarrassingly because AT&T’s U-verse 18 Mbps service and Time Warner Cable’s Ultimate 100 Mbps service cost exactly the same — $45/month. (Further embarrassing comparisons: “Performance” 25 Mbps Comcast Xfinity service is $30/month, while 50 Mbps service via Cablevision’s Optimum Online is $45/month).

    But I digress.

    This fractured FaceTime episode exposes three disturbing problems in our increasingly Wi-Fi dependent lives: our underwhelming and non-competitive national broadband infrastructure controlled by local monopolistic cable companies, none of which we can do much about, and the lies your Wi-Fi router tells you, which you can certainly do something about.

    Let’s talk some Internet connection basics first.

    Our Internet Kinda Sucks

    Internet connections, wired and wireless, are like water pressure. The greater the water pressure, the faster and the more effectively the job gets done. If your pressure is low, your morning shower annoyingly takes forever. Low water pressure from a hydrant and forget about dousing a home fire.

    Same with broadband and Wi-Fi. The faster your speeds, the faster your email comes in, the faster email attachments download, the faster Web pages fill, the less music streaming buffers and the fewer breakups there are in video calls. High-definition video streamed via Netflix, Hulu and other services to your TV, requires the highest pressure/speed to ensure burp-free viewing.

    The greatest need for speed will be for 4K streaming. Netflix and Amazon have already begun pumping out 4K programming for streaming to the 4 million 4K UHD TVs expected to be sold this year. How much speed? Netflix requires connection speeds of at least 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.

    Unfortunately, most of the U.S. broadband infrastructure is incapable of delivering these minimum 4K streaming speeds. According to the most recent “State of the Internet Report” from Akamai, the average U.S. broadband speed is merely 11.1 Mbps, which ranks 16th in the world, half the average of perennial broadband leader South Korea at 22.2 Mbps. Although we’re getting 1.5 Mbps faster speeds than our average speed of a year ago, Norway, Romania and Lithuania have all shot passed the U.S.

    That’s just embarrassing.

    If your broadband and Wi-Fi connections from your cable ISP (Internet Service Provider) are lacking, there are alternatives. Your cable ISP may offer faster speeds than you’re subscribed to. If not, check to see if there’s a local DSL (Digital Service Line) supplier, which you can find here.

    Wi-Fi Varieties

    Piping decent wired broadband connectivity into your home is step one. Step two is spreading Wi-Fi around your abode and its surroundings.

    There are several varieties of Wi-Fi, each version providing progressively faster speeds than the previous version. 802.11 is the technical designation for the Wi-Fi standard established by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) in 1997. The most prominent versions are 802.11b (2000, 11 Mbps), 802.11g (2003, 54 Mbps), 802.11n (2009, 600 Mbps) and, most recently, 802.11ac, with top speeds of 1300 Mbps, or 1.3 gigabits per second (Gbps).

    By way of comparison, your LTE smartphone’s theoretical speed is around 12 Mbps; T-Mobile’s LTE Wideband service, available in a growing number of U.S. cities, boosts speeds to around 100 Mbps.

    Both 802.11n and 802.11ac (or just N and AC) Wi-Fi are delivered over both 2.4 GHz and new-ish 5 GHz frequency bands that deliver higher performance at greater range; so-called “tri-band” AC routers broadcast Wi-Fi over 2.4 GHz and separate high and low 5 GHz bands.

    These 5 GHz bands are practically empty compared to crowded 2.4 MHz bands in which most neighborhood Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and many cordless phones live, along with interference from other electrical devices such as your microwave oven. The experience difference between 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz is the difference between driving on a empty multi-lane freeway vs. a two-lane highway at rush hour.

    You should always use the 5 GHz network for video streaming. I use 2.4 GHz for wireless peripheral connections, such as to my Wi-Fi printer. Check your N or AC router’s instruction manual to set up a 5 GHz network, if you haven’t already done so.

    Lies Your Router Tells You

    You may have noticed a weird discrepancy in the speeds I rattled off above. I mentioned I get up to 300 Mbps from Time Warner Cable, but AC Wi-Fi is capable of delivering up to 1.3 Gbps.

    So why aren’t I or anyone else getting 1.3 Gbps wireless connectivity from their AC router?

    All AC routers are marketed to reflect their theoretical top speeds. For instance, the sales copy for the Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350 router ($280) I’ve been testing (pictured above, left) says it’s capable of “up to 1.73Gbps, and a combined speed of 2.33Gbps,” hence its AC2350 sobriquet. Other AC routers similarly brand themselves to reflect their top theoretical speeds — the Asus RT-AC3200, the Belkin AC 1750, the Buffalo AirStation Extreme AC 1900, the D-Link AC3200, the Linksys EA9200 AC3200, the TP-LINK Archer CP AC1900, the TRENDnet TEW-828DRU AC3200, to name a few.

    But Wi-Fi hotspots can’t deliver wireless connection speeds any faster than the incoming wired connection from your cable or other ISP (Internet service provider); top theoretical AC router speeds are only available in a direct computer-to-computer wireless connections, which you’ll never do.

    Hence the router lie.

    So, if AT&T U-verse only delivers 18 Mbps to my brother-in-law’s home, his router (or, in his case, his AT&T U-verse-supplied Arris NVG589 combined modem/N router) can only deliver Wi-Fi up to 18 Mbps, usually less. And if multiple devices are drawing from that 18 Mbps, everyone’s connections will slow down.

    And an AC router can only deliver peak performance to gear capable of receiving AC signals, regardless of what speeds are touted on the box or the sales copy.

    For instance, my older MacBook Air laptop is not AC capable. As a result, I only get top speeds of “only” around 70 Mbps over 5 GHz from the Netgear Nighthawk (tests conducted using Ookla’s Speedtest.net site) and around 85 Mbps from my go-to Asus RT-AC68U AC router (pictured above, right), but only around 55 Mbps from the Arris Touchstone TG1672 modem/N router supplied by Time Warner Cable.

    On my AC-compatible iPad Air 2, however, I’m getting around a robust 225 Mbps over AC Wi-Fi from both the Netgear and the Asus (tested via the free Cloudcheck app) routers, but “only” around 85 Mbps from my Arris N modem/router.

    Still way better than 18 Mbps, eh?

    Expanding Limited Wi-Fi Range

    The other problem with home Wi-Fi is getting it where you need it.

    Wi-Fi normally transmits out to around 150 feet, but this is range assumes line-of-sight between the router and the receiving device.

    In the real world, walls and ceilings can limit Wi-Fi reception to a few yards, which is where an AC router comes in handy. Instead of just transmitting indiscriminately in all directions, AC routers use “beamforming” — transmissions are concentrated to where the router senses AC devices are located.

    But that doesn’t mean every corner of your abode will be covered. If centrally located, an AC router should be able to douse a 3,500 square foot house with Wi-Fi. If you live in a multi-level dwelling, or you want coverage on your patio or out by the pool, and your AC router is located anywhere other than the center of the house, you’ll need a Wi-Fi extender or repeater.

    The most comprehensive and effective Wi-Fi expansion/repeater solution I’ve run across is the ActionTec WCB3000N ($150), but setting it up is not for the technically faint of heart.

    Easier is a plug-in expander/repeater such as the palm-sized 2.4 GHz/5 GHz Amped Wireless REC15A ($90). You just plug it into an AC outlet where you get at least 70 percent Wi-Fi reception and run through a quick online set-up to add around 6,500 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage. Easy peasy.

    Then there’s the just-announced Sengled Boost ($50), an app-controllable LED light bulb with a built-in Wi-Fi repeater. I’m getting one this week so will let you know after I’ve had a chance to figuratively and literally light it up.

    Bottom line: If your current ISP or router doesn’t supply the Internet connections you need, you don’t have to settle. There are ways of getting faster and wider connections either via setting up a 5 GHz network on your current N or AC router, buying a new AC router, extending your Wi-Fi’s reach via an extender/repeater, or hooking up with a new ISP and getting more megabit bang for your buck.

  • Naspa's Annual Conference Was Going Well. Then Yik Yak Showed Up.
    Student-affairs professionals flocked to New Orleans this week for the annual meeting of Naspa — Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. It’s one of the few times of the year they can get away from students and their annoying habits like, say, their use of the anonymous messaging app (and frequent powder keg of vulgarity) Yik Yak. Sounds like a great getaway, right?

    Foolish student-affairs professionals. When will they learn? Yik Yak knows no borders.

    The conference — which, again, is attended by people who have spent time mopping up Yik Yak messes — has been at least partially derailed by some colorful posts on the app. The activity was so pronounced that the association had to put out a statement responding to the posts.

  • 'If The Internet Was A High School' Shows Why The Whole Web Needs Detention
    Facebook and BuzzFeed are dating. The Huffington Post has a fight behind the gym after school.

    And if that’s not enough drama for you, then you’ll want to catch all of Cracked’s “If The Internet Was A High School.”

    But as you watch the digital-yet-human teen angst unfold, Cracked would like to point out: “We’ll never graduate and be able to move far away. The Internet is forever.”

    See you at homecoming, Twitter.

    H/T Viral Viral Videos

  • Checking Intention: How We Can Promote Constructive Online Dialogue
    This morning, I realized that I live in an era in which silencing others’ opinions online means psychologically shutting people up, or making people feel uncomfortable to the point where they don’t see benefit in sharing their own thoughts. The danger about this phenomenon is that it’s polarizing communities, and most people don’t even know they’re doing it.

    My Facebook news feed blew up yesterday in response to Judith Shulevitz’s New York Times article critiquing “safe spaces” on college campuses. Not long after I shared the article, I stumbled upon a friend’s status that claimed that progressive issues like these are “only discussed by and between white people.”

    As a Hispanic woman who agrees with the article and who wants to discuss campus group-think a whole lot more, this claim made my voice feel silenced, and, as a result, I felt the need to debunk this obviously false claim that only white people have an opinion about this issue. In less than 40 words, I quickly stated that I am Hispanic and that I agree with Shulevitz. In turn, I falsified the claim that was made.

    Not surprisingly, I was quickly notified of defensive responses that did nothing but tell me various reasons why I was misunderstanding the article. I felt that these responses were odd, because all I was doing was explaining why the claim that only white people discuss this issue is false. And though I commented a little more, after a while, I just posted this:


    Nobody told me to shut up outright, but the disproportionate number of likes on each person’s comments, the sarcasm and shaming directed toward me, and the lack of empathy people had for my own personal experiences made me feel really uncomfortable sharing my opinions. Not once did someone ask me why I agreed with Shulevitz. So I asked myself a question instead:

    Why did I feel silenced?

    I realized that the reason I felt silenced by my peers was because there were no questions involved in our conversation. There was only telling. And defending. No one asked each other a question. Even I was guilty of that. All I did was state why someone’s claim was wrong. And though it was blatantly wrong, I am still guilty of not having asked a question.

    The funny thing is that right before I engaged in this conversation with friends, I engaged in another conversation on one Washington Post comment section regarding the late Kara Trippets, may she rest in peace. I’m still smiling as I write this, because this Post conversation was the best online discussion I have ever participated in or read. Here are some of the comments people left about it:




    What made this conversation that I had with total strangers different from the conversation I had with the people I go to school with and see on a regular basis?

    The answer is that with this one, my intention was different. After a while, I started intending to learn why these people believed what they believed. My intention wasn’t to defend my own belief or to make them understand my viewpoint. I felt myself truly wanting to learn from them. And though I didn’t change my mind about physician-assisted suicide, I learned about people. I read their stories. I felt their pain. It was a moment I was connected to total strangers.

    It. Was. Awesome.

    And all it took were some thought-provoking questions. All it took was dialogue. All it took was an intention to learn and to care.

    Not everybody asked questions in return, but I think we all knew that we were genuinely interested in what each other had to say. Sure, there were people who tried to take a jab at my confidence, but these comments were meaningless in a thread that people felt comfortable and safe sharing their opinions on. The dialogue we engaged in proved to me that we don’t need to silence others to get our point across and that by doing so we rob ourselves of the opportunity to connect with people on a deeper level.

    This is how we should be communicating with each other on online forums. This is what I want to see more of. This can be our future. Asking questions is an act that stems from genuine interest and that shows people how much others care about what someone has to say. They do what statements can’t do: They give an opportunity for others to have a voice. One thing we should all do to help ensure that our online communities are constructive and compassionate is to check our intention and ask to each other some really good questions.

  • You're About To Start Seeing 360-Degree Videos On Facebook
    A new type of video is coming to your News Feed.

    Facebook announced Wednesday that the News Feed will support 360-degree videos, which let you move your viewpoint up, down, left or right to see different areas in frame.

    “This is a new and much more immersive type of content,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, said during a keynote address at the company’s annual developer conference in San Francisco. “You’re actually interacting with it, and you feel like you’re there.”

    Here’s a sample of what the experience will look like:

    Think of these spherical videos like a live-action version of Google’s Street View, which lets you virtually visit a point on a map and look 360 degrees around by dragging your cursor or finger across a screen.

    google street view camera
    A Google Street View camera.

    Spherical videos are filmed with special cameras that record a 360-degree view. Although they provide a unique experience when viewed on a computer screen, their real potential lies in virtual reality. To that end, Facebook said that 360-degree videos will be viewable using products from Oculus VR, the virtual reality company that Facebook bought last year for $2 billion.

    “You’re going to be able to put on your headset and feel like you’re really there,” Zuckerberg said.

    Facebook’s announcement comes fewer than two weeks after YouTube started supporting 360-degree videos. YouTube’s videos can only be viewed in the Chrome browser on a desktop or in an Android app.

    It’s unclear when Facebook’s new feature will roll out, if it will be available on both mobile and desktop, and which types of cameras will be supported.

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

  • Adorable Girl Scouts Ask Obama 'What Have You Come Up With?' And Then They Hug It Out
    A team of Girl Scout Daisies showed some super flower power at the White House on Monday.

    The Supergirls,” aka Troop 411 — a team of five 6-year-olds from Tulsa, Oklahoma, represented Girl Scouts of America at the 2015 White House Science Fair with a page-turning robot. Wearing superhero red capes over their blue, badged uniforms, the team proudly presented their invention to President Obama himself. “It’s a prototype,” one of the (yes, 6-year-old) girls told him.

    After walking him through their invention, the girls explain to the president that they came up with their idea through a “brainstorm session,” and one of the Girl Scouts asks Obama if he’s ever had one himself.

    “I have had a couple brainstorming sessions, but I didn’t come up with anything this good!” the president told the troop. “So you guys are already better brainstormers than I am.”

    Before Obama can finish his thought, another one of the other girls chimes in and asks him, “What did you come up with?”

    “I came up with things like, you know, health care. It turned out OK, but it started out with some prototypes,” the president told the girls. He then tells them they did a good job and they all go in for a big group hug — just a regular old Monday for the “Supergirls” of Troop 411.

    Group hug with the president! #Troop411 @girlscouts #supergirls #WHScienceFair pic.twitter.com/x0AwcGEgEU

    — Girl Scouts East OK (@newsGSEOK) March 23, 2015

    The battery-powered device, built from Legos, was created after the girls spoke with a librarian who told them some people have difficulty turning the pages of books, Tulsa World reported. The troop, who were the youngest inventors at the fair, then thought of people with arthritis or who are paralyzed and wanted to create an invention that would help them.

    Their invention supports the Girl Scout Research Institute study Generation STEM: What Girls Say About Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

    “It really is a problem with girls, when they get to middle school, they lose confidence in their own ability to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” troop leader Suzanne Dodson said. “Having this experience at young age really gives them a confidence boost.”

    Girls change the world: http://t.co/h8h3EKxzIS #WHScienceFair pic.twitter.com/9Lfjfo7xPB

    — The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 23, 2015

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • Apple Store Employees Are Giving Fashion Advice Now
    Apple store employees, those people who magically lay on iPhone screen protectors for you, are getting tasked with doling out fashion advice now, too.

    It’s all thanks to the soon-to-debut Apple Watch. According to 9To5Mac, the company is pushing its staff to “build relationships with customers to understand their purchase plans, stylistic wants, and fashion needs,” which means doling out tips according to customers’ aesthetics when shopping.

    As guides, employees will reportedly have sheets with examples of various personalities and looks that different Apple Watch options could possibly accommodate. Look at the guiding tool, below.

    apple watch scenario
    Photo courtesy of 9To5Mac.com; see more examples here

    Apple’s venture into sartorial choices isn’t surprising. Last year, big names, such as Patrick Pruniaux, Tag Heuer‘s former vice president of sales, were tapped to likely consult on the Apple watch’s overall look. Vogue China was the first glossy magazine to feature the high-tech accessory on its November 2014 cover.

    The Apple Watch is available for sale on April 24th.

    The Huffington Post reached out to Apple for comment and has yet to receive a response.

  • Innovation at Its Finest
    When we think about innovation, we try really hard to see into the future. What could we invent? What could make a difference in the world? Sometimes, innovation is about new ideas and products. Other times, however, innovation is about reinvention (what could we be doing differently?). Some of the best innovation is a fusion — taking new ideas or products and applying them to existing methods and processes.

    Take a popular buzz word — digital marketing, for example. It has been around since the dot-com bubble era. While I was working with the rising digital firms in the dot-com bubble, we would build digital businesses completely from the ground up. Fast forward 15 years, and there’s still buzz around the digital experience… yet most people think that it’s a new thing and see “digital experience” as a new phenomenon. Is it a new thing? I think it’s more of a revolution, that this buzzword is being reinvented for today’s generation.

    Developing a solid strategy is one thing, but execution is what sets apart the ‘okay’ companies from the ‘great’ ones. The Palm Pilot PDA was a game-changer for corporate business people in 1997. But then Blackberry began monopolizing the mobile industry in 1999 with mobile phones that operated like PDA’s, striking a blow to Palm. Yet, Blackberry lost its place as a market leader almost immediately once Apple’s iPhone gathered a following after 2007. Looking at the smartphones we use today, however, we see that the basic idea is having a personal assistant in a portable device, which his exactly the idea Palm had pioneered so many years ago. They had the answer right out of the gate. If they would’ve taken their strategy and capitalized on the mobile phone PDA concept sooner, then who knows? Palm Pilots could have been the mobile device of the 21st century.

    I gave a keynote late last year at Concordia University on Innovations, Startups and Entrepreneurship. What struck a chord with my audience during my talk was not about innovation per se; it was about inspiration. How do we inspire the next generation of leaders? Is it even possible to cultivate genius innovation, or does it need to grow naturally? For that matter, how do you solve the problem to begin with? How do we make the world a better place? All of these questions are the starting base of innovation.

    Sony has always been one of the top innovators for decades – electronics, quality, premium products and style. Think about it: it really has been decades. Anyone remember the Walkman you used to carry around and rock out with? Sony was also the first leader to grace the world with the 4K TV ten years ago. These television sets have ultra HD resolution of 3840 x 2160, four times the number of pixels in normal HD TVs! Companies like Samsung and Panasonic soon caught up with their technology, but Sony has set the example. Further, Sony reinvented the Walkman to be all about high resolution in sound quality. If you think about it, they have really been leaders in reinventing the category of the Walkman. It was the precursor to the next generation of high resolution sound: the MP3. This is the direction that all audio has moved to, and other companies like one I came across, AfterMaster, as well as Sony continue to reinvent technologies and work on the next stage of high resolution audio. But, what’s next? Companies should take the next step of integrating technologies so they can incorporate into other channels like mobile, auto, or even our homes.

    People often ask me to weigh in on the PC vs Mac debate. I don’t think the PC market is dying just yet…However, I do think the market is going to go more mobile, shifting the categories within Apple iOS and Android. So, I would say the future will bring answers to how the gap between these operating systems and devices will be bridged. It may only be a matter of time! Take big data and IoT – these alone are going to become a $50B industry by 2020 (MWC Brian K from Intel shared in his keynote this month). Integration is inevitable, and what we’ve seen so far is just the beginning.

    I was getting on the plane last month and a woman asked me what type of smartwatch I’ve got. As I showed it off, I told her that I don’t really use it to text or make calls. It’s just not functional enough. But, for me, it’s worth it because of the tracking technologies for my health. I can see how many steps I’ve taken throughout the day, how many hours of sleep I’m getting (or not getting), and this is extremely helpful. The woman then told me that she has an implanted heart detection device that automatically will connect with her buzzer that she carries in her purse – talk about technology integration! The healthcare IoT is booming and that will continue to be a huge trend in the coming years. It’s amazing to think what else will come out of the innovation put into IoT.

    With all of these thoughts, I’m left with more questions. Is it an evolution or revolution that we live in? It seems like technology is outpacing society sometimes. I’m so glad that mobile is on the forefront. Again, mobile isn’t something brand new – it has been around for a while, from the StarTAC to pagers, to the first iPhone. Technology is everywhere today. We hope to see people and businesses continue to invent and reinvent technology because this innovation is what will lead our future.

  • Farm Groups Fight For Drone Freedom
    By David Morgan
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – American farmers want the Federal Aviation Administration to relax proposed regulations on commercial drones so the unmanned aircraft can be used over longer distances at any time of day or night, farm group representatives said on Wednesday.
    Representatives for wheat, corn, and other farmers told a Capitol Hill forum that they will submit written comments to the FAA calling for final regulations to accommodate emerging drone technology for a range of agricultural applications.
    They also want to make sure farmers can register drones and qualify to fly them easily, quickly and safely.
    “Flexibility is a key term, and access,” said R.J. Karney, a lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation.
    Agriculture is seen as a major beneficiary of commercial drones, which could help farmers tend to crops more effectively and economically. But proposed FAA rules would allow drones weighing less than 55 pounds at altitudes of no more than 500 feet, in daylight hours and within an operator’s line of sight.
    The FAA is expected to produce final regulations in late 2016 or early 2017. Farm group representatives said they expect to raise their concerns by an April 24 deadline for public comment.
    Wheat growers want a mechanism allowing drones to fly beyond the operator’s line of sight assuming technology emerges that would safely allow it, said John Dillard, an attorney representing their interests at the forum.
    Farm representatives said they also would call on FAA to allow drone flights at night, so farmers can treat crops at optimal hours after sunset. Karney said flights should be allowed above the 500-foot ceiling, too.
    Paul Delaney, a spokesman for the American Soybean Growers Association, expressed concern about the potential for cumbersome paper registrations and requirements for aviation markings that could make it difficult to use very small drones.
    “Those little piecemeal elements of the process – the ones that potentially stand in the way of a farmer being able to buy something, outfit it and have it integrated as soon as possible, those are the ones we really want to make sure are flushed out,” he said.
    The forum took place a day after e-commerce giant Amazon.com blasted FAA for its slow pace on commercial drones and called on the regulatory agency to begin planning for more sophisticated operations.

    (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Christian Plumb)

  • Steve Jobs Became A Better Boss When He Curbed His Narcissism
    It takes a certain amount of narcissism to claw your way up the ranks of a company. But it takes as much humility to be successful once you’re there.

    Executives who curb their confidence in their vision by admitting mistakes and limitations and acknowledging the contributions of others tend to command the most respect and loyalty from their teams, who thereby deliver results, according to a new study from Brigham Young University’s Marriott School of Management. However, humility, like meditation or golf, may take some practice.

    And even so, narcissism is often a necessary tool for success — as it was for the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, whose obsessive commitment to his vision for the iPhone maker helped shape it into the world’s most valuable company.

    “Humility is not meant to replace some of the quintessential aspects of leaders,” Bradley P. Owens, assistant professor of business ethics at the university, told The Huffington Post. “It’s meant to supplement and buffer them from the extremes of narcissism.”

    The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, surveyed 876 employees at a large Fortune 100 health insurance company and asked them to rate 138 leaders in the company on their humility and effectiveness, and how motivated the employees were by their supervisors.

    Researchers measured the narcissism of the leaders by asking them to describe themselves by choosing between statements such as “I am an extraordinary person,” or “I am much like everybody else.”

    “The leaders that performed the best were those who had high narcissism and high humility,” Owens, the lead study author, said.

    As a real-life example of how narcissism and humility can mix successfully, Owens pointed to the portrayal of Steve Jobs in the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs, penned by journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli.

    The book, released Tuesday, chronicles the tech titan’s humbling years after his first run at Apple, which ended with the board firing him. Roughly a decade later, Jobs returned to the company and led it in a stunning turnaround. Paired with the findings from Owens’ study, this telling appears to link the softening of Jobs’ initial hotheaded abrasiveness with Apple’s rise to global dominance.

    Until he was fired in 1985, Jobs was known for being extremely demanding on people around him, including then-CEO John Sculley.

    “That was part of his greatness,” William Simon, co-author of iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business, told ABC News in 2011. “But he drove people too hard. … Being gentle was not part of his demeanor.”

    By the time Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he had learned to balance his leadership style.

    “When he came back in his second stint, people described him as someone who was still narcissistic, but had learned to temper his narcissism in important ways,” Owens said. “That’s why Steve Jobs was really a great example of what we were looking for.”

    That means, too, that humility can be a learned skill.

    “Even if you have a narcissistic leader, and in a sense it’s causing them to be less effective in certain ways, people can proactively practice virtues like humility and develop their character,” Owens said. “Over time, it will begin to stick and enhance their leadership effectiveness.

  • 6Tag for Windows Phone Gets Another Update And Remains THE Instagram Client for Windows Phone

    The go-to client in my opinion for Instagram for Windows Phone is 6Tag, one of the many apps that developer Rudy Huyn has developed for the platform.  6Tag over the course of the last few months has received numerous updates as it is continually improved – a far cry from the year old Instagram official app that sits stale in the Windows Phone Store.  This latest update to 6Tag, version for those keeping score at home, brings two new features an improvements to the Live Tile. 6Tag for Windows Phone – Free (In-App Purchases) – Download Now The two new

    The post 6Tag for Windows Phone Gets Another Update And Remains THE Instagram Client for Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • 'Her | Self' Photos Reveal What Women Really See When They Look At Themselves
    Women should be seen and heard — and a new portrait series uses women’s words and faces to make sure they are.

    Created by Jennifer Bermon, the “Her | Self” series is a gallery of 28 black-and-white portraits of women from all walks of life, taken over the past 20 years. Bermon, a professional photographer and network TV producer, asked each of her subjects to write down what she saw in the image of herself and included each woman’s response underneath her picture. The results are undeniably powerful.

    “What better way to explore the source of women’s body image issues than to see, and hear, from women themselves?” Bermon told The Huffington Post. “The photos give people insight into who the women really are and what story they want to tell about themselves.”

    The women featured in the photo series include an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, an NYC firefighter, a 74-year-old rabbi, a NASA scientist and a high school varsity rower. “I wanted to reveal their inner thoughts — those words that they shared with other women in private conversation,” Bermon wrote in her artist statement.

    (Story continues below.)
    herself 1
    “The one word that comes to mind is satisfaction. This is the face and posture of someone who is comfortable and satisfied with her position in life. I am a NYC firefighter in Engine 58 — the best firehouse in the world. I am the result of many hands molding me into the firefighter I am — especially Lt. Robert Nagel –- my hero, my role model. A man who looked life and death straight in the face, walked the walk and talked the talk. To have the best job in the best house in the best city in the world — this explains the smile captured here. It may not always be on my face, but it is always in my heart.”

    Bermon started the project 20 years ago when she was a student at Mills College. She described an epiphany she had one day while listening to her friends talk about what they didn’t like about themselves. “They looked perfect to me. I realized, this was a part of normal, day-to-day conversation,” she said. “Did they really hear what they were saying about themselves? Do we, as women, hear what we say to ourselves? There’s something about a photograph that freezes things and gives us time to really see something. Having the women write their words, gave them a voice of their own.”

    Instead of simply seeing the women in these portraits, the series allows viewers to learn what these women see in themselves. “The woman’s photo and her words become one piece that stands on its own, with no editing and filtering,” Bermon wrote. “The viewer, first attracted to the photo, is then further drawn in by the emotions revealed by the words.”

    Bermon said that many of the women she photographed told her the process was therapeutic. Talking about what we see in ourselves feels good, she said. “When I take photos of the women, I hope to capture them in a simple, straightforward way — what I see. So it’s almost objective,” Bermon told HuffPost. “The photos are a jumping off point for them to write about what they are thinking, it’s all about hearing from the women.”

    “The project has been a labor of love,” Bermon said. “The best part is that the other women get it and want to do something to open up the discussion about it.”

    “Her | Self” is currently on display at the dnj Gallery in Santa Monica, California until April 4.

    Check out more of the images and transcripts from “Her | Self” below.
    herself 3
    I see a woman with questions. Is it okay to be as strong as I am? As smart as I am? It is okay to know what I know? To become a woman? It is okay to be short, ethnic and over 40 in Hollywood? My belly in this photo grounds me, I appear centered. And yet I wonder. Will my baby be healthy? Will I ruin him/her with all the mistakes I will make? I see a woman who is about to laugh or cry, could go either way. I see a girl ever hopeful, who misses her father.”

    “It’s difficult for me to identify with my image in photos. I attribute that to a life-long habit of observation, rather than participation. This photo was taken in 2007. I was happy then, the happiest I’d been since the births of my children: I had managed after eight years of relentlessness to get our screenplay of Brokeback Mountain made into a fine film. Oliver and Amanda were my sole companions and had brought life into my home, my first dogs in nearly a decade, and a great comfort to me when in the following year, Heath tragically passed away, then my beloved older brother/best friend ended his long battle with cancer. Since this photo, Ollie and Mandy have been joined by five more orphan dogs; my foster child and young niece Ashley; and Larry and Faye McMurtry. My home today is very, very ‘alive.’ And I realize, looking at this photo, that this all began in 2007. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…”

    “At 35 I feel my place is becoming clearer, and easier. I try to be practical and realistic. I feel stronger than the 21 year old I was, who thoughts she knew everything. My body is decorated to celebrate my life. The life of my daughter who grew inside of me, the lives of my favorite people who have shaped me into who I am. I will dye my hair blue or wear glitter lipstick because why not? If I can be an example, to anyone, to do what makes you happy then that makes me happy. I am a 5’3” multi-racial, daughter, wife, mother, photographer, crochet enthusiast, dancer, coffee-lover.”

    “You know, what resides within is what’s important. I’ve relied on myself and the resources of my women shipmates to sail around the world twice. We have only ourselves to love in the face of storms and offshore emergencies — and so far we’ve looked pretty good. I’ve been essentially living on the ocean for the past 12 years and my 38 fort sailboat Tertulis has been home to many (67) women on our passages. I hold my head up and have a steady gaze — which shows in this photo. I’m self-referenced. I’m happy. I’m thinking you’re looking right back at me ready to voyage into your future as captain of your life.”

    nasa scientist
    “This photo shows that I’m a happy person. I have been incredibly lucky to be able to work at something I’m passionate about, combining nature and space missions, studying volcanoes on far-off moons, how the geology of distant worlds was shaped, seeing alien landscapes for the first time… is there anything more exciting? Perhaps being at the edge of a lava lake here on Earth, feeling the almost unbearable heat… Getting where I am in my career was not easy, but it was so much fun. I feel very lucky and content. I think success is not define by where on the ‘success ladder’ you are, but by how far you have come. I grew up in Brazil, where little girls at that time were not supposed to grow up to become volcano explorers or NASA scientists. I persevered and never let go of my dream. I may not fit people’s stereotype of a female scientist. I love architecture, art, and fashion. I can say I feel as comfortable in hiking boots as I feel wearing a ballgown. We should be faithful to ourselves and respect our own individuality and that of others.”

    “I can remember being 5 yrs. old at an audition overhearing the casting director say to my mom ‘Bring her back after she’s lost 5 pounds.’ And by no means was I a total chubster, I just wasn’t boney like some of the other little girls there. Regardless I was rejected because I didn’t meet up to their standards. I felt I wasn’t good enough. That’s pretty fucking heavy considering I was in kindergarden. I guess that’s when it started. So for the next 15 years I lived with the idea that since I was overweight, I was worthless, I was not good enough, boys could never like me because I didn’t look like that girl… etc. That’s such bullshit! This society is killing any inkling of a positive self image for children. Girls aren’t taught to love themselves for who they are, instead they are bombarded with images of 98 lb. girls with ridiculous D-cups instilling that is normal, and that’s how they should look if someone is ever going to love them. It’s sad. At this point in my life I can say that I’m the BOMB, not just because I am, but simply accepting my greatness without worrying what anyone else has to say about it is the shit. Love yourself for who you are. Work hard to live up to your own dreams, rather than an MTV video.”

    “I like the photo of me very much. I think it shows someone with a good spirit and vitality. One of the advantages of growing older is that I have let go of vanity about my physical self. The external and superficial have become less compelling as life nears its end. My self image was 74 years in the making. I was a much loved child who was fortunate enough to be successful in school and with friends. The directions to which I have put that self-confidence and energy have changed, of course, through the years. Becoming a mother has given me greater insight into myself and others. It has taught me to how to love another more than myself. Becoming a teacher, a political activist and a rabbi have given me expression to the values I espouse. Having confidence to ‘go forth and do’ comes from a very basic sense of oneself. I would like to think that the experiences of my life have helped me to become a gentler, more generous person.”

    “I see a girl who is always striving to improve. Who is always striving for acceptance. When I look at this picture I immediately criticize my look, my thighs, my face. I always have the mindset of ‘This could be better.’ I am very hard on myself in every aspect of life. Looking at this picture I see many flaws. I also see a girl who has accomplished many things in her life, but will never be satisfied. Knowing this, I’ve learned how to cope with my feelings of self image.”

    woman with scarf
    “I know this woman, but I almost never take time to just look at her, let alone just appreciate her. When I saw this picture, I initially felt good like I was seeing an old friend, but once I became conscious that I was looking at myself, I immediately felt disappointed with my hair, blemishes on my skin, my weight. Perhaps I rarely look at myself because I don’t like the way I look. It makes me sad that I’m so judgemental of myself, because I’m really not that bad. I’m special. There’s something special about me, and I can see it in my own eyes. I can see my confidence, my warmth, that comes from the fighting, loving spirit deep within me. I want that energy to shine first (perhaps it does?). I wonder what others see when they look at me — what do they see first? But that’s not the right question, is it? The question is ‘what can I do so that I see the good in myself first?'”

    short hair white woman
    “Umm… beauty is intertwined with the self and beyond that… this is me. My perspective is that my eyes look uneven, my nose looks wide, my hair is messy, my cheeks are chubby. I have cleavage! Yikes. I always think I look fat anyway. But why point out all my negative details and tell you what I would change about myself? There’s only so much I can hide from you.”

    lawyer mom
    “So in love. Ecstatic. At peace. Ursula is unbelievably gorgeous. I wish my son and husband were in this photo as well. This also describes how I feel with them. This doesn’t sound very empowered, but I never truly felt beautiful, and have never been as kind to myself as I have since I met my husband, and when I became a mother. The unconditional love they show me — the first time I’ve ever felt unconditional love — teaches me to learn to love myself unconditionally too. Though of course I still struggle. Some days I feel fit and beautiful. Other days, I think I’m fat and unattractive. And then I remember Ursula, and how I was her to love herself as a woman, however she is, always, and I try to love myself again.

    “‘500 meters left and we are two seats down ladies, let’s empty the tanks.’ The thrill I receive when these commands are screamed at me is undescribable. It is the moments like these that define us as a person. Whether you give into that dark place, or forget about the pain and continue, the choice is yours. When I first started rowing, I called it a sport. However, it is so much more, it has become my life. I find myself constantly talking about it, thinking about it, craving it. Some may view this picture as a blonde girl smiling, but I see a girl who will stop at nothing until her goals are achieved. I will forever be thankful for the lessons that it has taught me, and the person that I call myself today.”

    H/T Bitch Media

  • Facebook Messenger lets apps plug in
    Facebook opens up its Messenger app to accept posts from other photo, video, audio and Gif-based social networks.

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • Top 15 Internal Medicine apps for iPhone and Android

    The best internal medicine medical apps for physicians and health professionals.

    The post Top 15 Internal Medicine apps for iPhone and Android appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • An SAT Prep Book Misquoted A Taylor Swift Lyric To Demonstrate Bad Grammar In Pop
    If the overlords responsible for dreaded standardized tests want to challenge Taylor Swift’s grammar, at least quote her properly.

    An SAT prep book included Swift among a list of pop lyrics with improper English, and a photo of the evidence is making the Tumblr rounds. High school test-takers were asked to correct mistakes in song excerpts by the likes of Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake, but the lyric quoted for Swift’s “Fifteen” wasn’t accurate. Instead of “Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe ’em,” the book should say, “Somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them” — which, somewhat ironically, adds another grammatical error by using “gonna.” Still, let’s fact-check these pop songs, Princeton Review test-prep wizards! Kids’ college admissions depend on it.

    “Not the right lyrics at all,” Swift said when she reposted the photo on Tumblr. “You had one job, test people. One job.”

  • This Time Is Different: How Big Data Has Left the Middle Class Behind
    What if innovation is driving economic stagnation and inequality? That’s the question Charles Leadbetter analyzes in “The Whirlpool Economy” over at the UK Innovation Foundation’s Long+Short site. He makes key points about the current relationships between innovation and the economy but misses partly what may make the new technology of big data a particularly toxic driver of current economic inequality. That stagnation haunts the U.S. and especially Europe is a common observation, but as Leadbetter notes, it’s a “a very strange one, for it comes at time when our lives are in the midst of incessant change, much of it brought on by what claim to be radical innovations.”

    In past periods of stagnation, he argues, “the economy stagnated because there was little underlying dynamism, few new ideas and limited opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He nods in the direction of basic Keynesian analyses of the problem, such as from Larry Summers, who sees a deficit in demand driven by lower wages and austerity public policy.

    But Leadbetter argues that current innovation itself is a key driver of stagnation since so much new innovation “is aimed at eliminating jobs and lowering costs”:

    The economy is creating jobs but many of them are low-productivity, low-pay service jobs. The result is that many young people find themselves doing work for which they are over-qualified: a quarter of all “entry level” jobs in London are filled by someone with a degree, quite possibly one they have paid for themselves with debts they may never pay off.

    He argues that this problem of the automation of jobs and deskilling of middle-class households needs to be addressed by policy that raises wages and kickstarts the virtuous cycle of higher incomes, higher demand and higher production. And we need less “disruptive” innovation and more innovation that “generates new jobs and augments existing ones; while addressing the spiralling costs of things like energy, health and social care that matter to median-income households.”

    Leadbetter’s argument is very on point as far as it goes, but what he doesn’t fully address is why automation now is so different from past cycles of boom-and-bust. Analysts have been worrying about mass unemployment and impoverishment of the working classes at least since the Luddites in the early 19th century saw new textile technology endangering skilled textile jobs. The rise of mass production and the assembly line were seen as replacing skilled craft workers with only semi-skilled automatons working at the behest of the production line machinery. Yes, robotics threatens to add to the cycle of displacement, but new jobs not even imagined before were created in the past and will likely be created in the future; heck, IBM just announced that they intend to train 10,000 engineers in analyzing Twitter data as part of their business services division, a kind of job that didn’t even exist in the past.

    But the kind of “big data” jobs IBM is developing as part of this cycle of job destruction/creation may highlight what is different about this technological cycle and why new innovation is not being channeled into new income for middle-income families. In past rounds of technological job destruction, after the initial pain of unemployment and skills redeployment, workers would organize to demand a share of the new wealth created by the new machines, and consumers would benefit from lower prices.

    However, with new “disruptive” technology today, designed to help corporate America profile workers and consumers to better increase corporate profits, the “wealth” being created is by its nature more of a zero-sum game. The industrial age created at least some degree of shared wealth where Henry Ford could argue that paying higher wages for workers would in turn create demand for his cars, but subprime mortgage companies profiling consumers to sell them bad loans depend on the immiseration of working families as their profit source.

    What we have seen over the last 50 years is that as every recession disrupts and rearranges the economy, when growth does return, less and less of the income generated goes to middle-class families. This following chart by Levy Institute economist Pavlina R. Tcherneva highlights how where most increased wealth during economic recoveries went to the bottom 90 percent of the population immediately after World War II, each successive recovery has seen more and more going to the wealthiest 10 percent, to the point where the current recovery has seen the lower 90 percent actually losing income during a recovery — an unprecedented event — even as the income of the wealthiest Americas has soared.

    There are no doubt a number of factors contributing to this dynamic, but as we argued in our initial report at Data Justice, “Taking on Big Data as an Economic Justice Issue, ” big data technology means that corporations know so much about every person that during every hiring decision, every sale to a consumer, and every loan to a family, they can increasingly extract the maximum profit from each of those transactions. This big data dynamic seems like a key story in the current rise in economic inequality.

    More and more companies scan social media and administer personality tests before hiring anyone, and not only does this hurt many individual people, but it allows companies to use algorithms to decide how to systematically weed out people who might agitate on behalf of all employees for higher wages. With big data, the best way to defeat a drive to organize a union in a company’s workplace is to never hire people willing to stand up to their boss in the first place.

    At the time, data analysis allows companies to decentralize their operations around the globe and within the United States into far-flung locations and even spinning off most workers to be on their own as “independent contractors.” As a New York Times writer described:

    Just as Uber is doing for taxis, new technologies have the potential to chop up a broad array of traditional jobs into discrete tasks that can be assigned to people just when they’re needed, with wages set by a dynamic measurement of supply and demand, and every worker’s performance constantly tracked, reviewed and subject to the sometimes harsh light of customer satisfaction.

    The result is a data-driven pressure to push down wages with workers so fragmented that they have less and less ability to act collectively to demand higher pay.

    On the consumer side, companies like Google and Facebook collect ever-increasing reams of personal data. Companies then can place ads or target consumers with offers not just based on what those consumers may be interested in but using the profile and algorithms to estimate the maximum price the consumer is likely to pay. Offering different prices to different people for the same product or service — what economists call price discrimination — allows companies to maximizing their profit on each transaction. Researchers Rosa-Branc Esteves and Joana Resende found that average prices under the traditional regime of mass advertising were lower than with targeted online advertising. Similarly, researcher Benjamin Reed Shiller found that where advertisers know consumers’ willingness to pay different prices, economic models show companies can use price discrimination to increase profits and raise prices overall, with many consumers paying twice as much as others for the same product.

    Subprime mortgages were the extreme example of this, where predatory companies used algorithms to identify the most likely victims and offered them worse deals than they offered people with the exact same credit ratings who just knew enough to refuse the bad deals. Similarly, payday lending and other exploitive financial companies use big data profiling to extract the most profit possible from economically struggling families.

    What is different, then, in this round of technology is not so much that it’s changing our physical processes of production, although that is happening as well, but that it’s changing the informational relationship between companies and the population. Big data converts increasing information inequality into economic inequality.

    Taking on that big data power is therefore a key step in taking on the broader economic stagnation and inequality that has left the middle class behind in the current recovery.

  • Bees get wearable tech trackers
    A tiny new tracker designed to monitor bee behaviour is being tested by ecologists at London’s Kew Gardens.
  • Windows 10 for Phone to Support WPS Authentication

    The amount of content and information about Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone from last week’s WinHEC event in China has been impressive.  Some of it has been reaffirmation of things that we already knew (like further explanation of the Universal App development) while other news has been fresh like the Windows 10 for Phone hardware requirements.  This latest tidbit likely will fall in the “About Time” category for many who have been using Windows Phone for some time.  When we see Windows 10 for Phone roll out later this year it will natively support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or

    The post Windows 10 for Phone to Support WPS Authentication appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Net neutrality legal contest begins
    Legal action against planned US rules on net neutrality begins in the District of Columbia and Louisiana.
  • Geologists May Have Just Discovered A New Layer Of Earth's Mantle
    Have geologists just discovered a new layer of Earth’s interior?

    A new study suggests that a previously unknown rocky layer may be lurking about 930 miles beneath our feet — and evidence suggests that it’s significantly stiffer than similar layers, which could help explain earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

    “The Earth has many layers, like an onion,” study co-author Dr. Lowell Miyagi, an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, said in a written statement. “Most layers are defined by the minerals that are present. Essentially, we have discovered a new layer in the Earth. This layer isn’t defined by the minerals present, but by the strength of these minerals.”

    The pressure is on. For the study, the researchers used a device known as a diamond anvil to simulate how the mineral ferropericlase reacts to high pressure. Ferropericlase is abundant in the Earth’s mantle, the layer that’s sandwiched between our planet’s core and the thin crust on which we live.

    (Story continues below image.)
    earth mantle
    Miyagi holding a press that houses the diamond anvil, in which minerals can be squeezed at pressures akin to those deep within the Earth.

    What did the researchers find? The stiffness, or viscosity, of the mineral increased threefold by the time it was subjected to pressure equal to what’s found in the lower mantle (930 miles below Earth’s surface) compared to the pressure at the boundary of the upper and lower mantle (410 miles beneath the surface). When the researchers mixed ferropericlase with bridgmanite (another mineral found in the lower mantle), the simulation showed that its stiffness at 930 miles was 300 times greater than at 410 miles.

    The viscosity increase came as a surprise, since it was previously thought that viscosity varied only slightly at different pressures and temperatures in the planet’s interior.

    The earthquake connection. The new finding may help explain why many slabs of rock that move and shift beneath Earth’s surface stall or temporarily get stuck at around 930 miles underground — a phenomenon thought to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

    “The result was exciting,” Miyagi said in the statement. “In fact, previous seismic images show that many slabs appear to ‘pool’ around 930 miles, including under Indonesia and South America’s Pacific coast. This observation has puzzled seismologists for quite some time, but in the last year, there is new consensus from seismologists that most slabs pool.”

    earth mantle
    An illustration of a slab of rock sinking through the upper mantle above, through the boundary between the upper and lower mantle at 410 miles depth, then stalling and pooling at a depth of 930 miles.

    The finding also suggests that the Earth’s interior is hotter than previously believed at that depth below the planet’s surface. Miyagi said in the statement that he had calculated that the average temperature at the boundary of the upper and lower mantle is about 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit — and a scorching 3,900 degrees F at the deeper, more viscous layer.

    “If you decrease the ability of the rock in the mantle to mix, it’s also harder for heat to get out of the Earth, which could mean Earth’s interior is hotter than we think,” he said.

    The study was published online in the journal Nature Geoscience on March 23, 2015.

    What else lurks below our feet in Earth’s interior? Check out the “Talk Nerdy To Me” video below.

  • Nextgen Reader for Windows Phone Update Brings Further Enhancements

    Nextgen Reader, the Feedly driven news and RSS app, has received a minor update today, bringing stability improvements along with a handful of new features.  I’ve been using Nextgen Reader since 2011 (Yes, it has been around that long) and I recently wrote a review of it outlining why I think it is the best Feedly/RSS reader available for Windows Phone.  At $2.99 for this universal app for Windows and Windows Phone, it’s well worth the price of admission.  This latest update, version for those keeping score at home, brings mostly stability improvements but also a new personalization features as

    The post Nextgen Reader for Windows Phone Update Brings Further Enhancements appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Twitch May Have Been Hacked
    NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon.com’s game streaming platform Twitch informed users that their accounts may have been hacked.

    Twitch told users that it had taken steps to accelerate the expiration of their passwords and stream keys as a precaution, while disconnecting accounts from Twitter and YouTube.

    It also recommended that users change their passwords at other sites where similar passwords are used.

    Twitch is a multi-channel online network built for people who not only enjoy playing video games, but find it entertaining to watch others who might impart tricks and tips for excelling at their favorite games.

    E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. bought Twitch for $970 million in 2014 as part of a move to take part in video gaming’s growth as an online spectator sport.

    Twitch said it will communicate directly with affected users, according to the message sent Monday.

    Figures from July 2014, just before the Amazon buyout, show that Twitch users viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, ranging from individual gamers, pro players, video game publishers, developers and others.

  • Glittering spires and silicon roundabouts
    Two video-game related start-ups with links to Cambridge attract attention
  • Ordnance Survey releases map tool
    A mapping tool that gives a detailed picture of local information in almost every corner of the UK has been released by Ordnance Survey (OS).
  • Dog-Walking On Demand? Zingy And Other Apps Make Life Easier For Pet Owners
    Many dog owners feel like Fido is part of the family. The downside? Like with your own kids, you can’t just leave them alone for days while traveling or keep them cooped up in the house while you stay late at the office.

  • India court scraps online arrest law
    India’s Supreme Court strikes down a controversial law which allows police to arrest people for comments made online and on social media.
  • Facebook May Host News Sites' Content
    Nothing attracts news organizations like Facebook. And nothing makes them more nervous.

  • Big rise in solar energy use predicted
    Solar energy could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government forecasts.
  • Windows Phone Doesn’t Have An App Gap – It Has An App Update Gap

    When I returned to Windows Phone in August of last year, I penned an article in November where I discussed the app gap for the platform when compared to iOS and Android.  The basis of that article was that when I left the platform in 2011 for iOS, the gulf of an app gap was so huge that it couldn’t be ignored and it eventually became too much for me to handle. For those who stuck it out, I applaud you.  You are better than me. But over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize that I was at a basic

    The post Windows Phone Doesn’t Have An App Gap – It Has An App Update Gap appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: Nurturing tech connections at SXSW
    Highlights from 2015’s SXSW festival
  • VIDEO: Robots make space station companions
    A Japan-made robot is heading to the International Space Stations to act as a companion to astronauts on board.
  • Money makes the world go round
    The tech firms offering cheaper cross-border money transfers

Mobile Technology News, March 23, 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.

  • BBC News switches users to new site
    The desktop version of the BBC News website will be switched off on Monday and all visitors will be directed to a newer “responsive” design.
  • This Lego Remake Of 'The Matrix' Lobby Scene Changes The Entire Trilogy
    The lobby shootout scene in “The Matrix” is one of the most iconic sequences in the Wachowskis’ 1999 film. There are endless guns, one-armed handstands and Trinity crawling up walls like a boss. YouTube user Snooperking decided to create a shot-for-shot Lego remake of the entire scene, and the results are nothing short of awesome.

    Snooperking, who also did a Lego remake of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” trailer last November, said on Reddit that the entire “Matrix” project took about 160 hours total over three months. He also made two behind-the-scenes videos, revealing that one six-second shot took him “over an hour and a half to film and [edit in] Photoshop.”

    The Lego remake is spot-on, but Snooperking throws in a huge surprise at the end. We’ll just say that it changes everything about “The Matrix” franchise (for the better?). Watch Neo and Trinity shoot up the lobby Lego-style above and the original scene below.

  • Big Dating: It's a (Data) Science

    A generation ago, most young men would have considered happy hour at the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon a target-rich environment. The drinks were cheap and the place was packed. Most importantly, while the odds of “getting lucky” were low, they were nonzero. So even if she said, “You’re more likely to get struck by lightning than to go home with me,” he could answer, “Awesome! You’re saying I have a chance to go home with you?”

    Millennials empirically know that bar crawling is for recreation — not for archaic, time-wasting, low-percentage mating rituals. If you want to meet someone, there are any number of big dating sites and apps available.

    The Space Is Crowded

    For romance, the major big dating players include Match.com, Chemistry.com and eHarmony — all promise long-lasting relationships. Niche sites like OurTime.com (for serious daters over 50), ChristianMingle.com (for Christians seeking singles with similar values), BlackPeopleMeet.com (for African American people to connect) and JDate.com (for Jewish singles) offer eponymous consumer value propositions.

    In the mobile first arena, Tinder is the undisputed leader. No other app comes close to its market share, but there are plenty of other offerings. Hinge, OKCupid and Zoosk are all players, and niche apps such as JSwipe (Jewish Tinder), Happn (location-based dating), Bumble (women have to be the ones who initiate the conversation) and The League (“curated” members have to be selected to join) have all found an audience.

    The Numbers Are Compelling

    According to an infographic entitled Big Data Seeks Online Love by the Berkeley School of Information, one in 10 Americans has used a dating site or mobile app, and 23 percent have met a spouse or long-term partner through these sites. In fact, 11 percent of American couples who have been together for 10 years or less met online.

    The matching has improved. In 2005, 47% of people agreed that online dating allows you to find a better match; in 2013, that number went up to 53%. Is online dating a good way to meet people? Forty-four percent said yes in 2005, while 59% said yes in 2013.

    Does Data Science + Big Data = Love?

    Not according to experts cited in a recent article entitled Critics Challenge The ‘Science’ Behind Online Dating by Kristen V. Brown. She reports:

    “There is no evidence that dating sites do anything much more than increase the pool of potential partners,” said Eli Finkel, a psychologist at Northwestern University who studies relationships. Or, as Stanford sociologist Michael Rosenfeld put it, “The algorithms for matching at dating sites are mostly smoke and mirrors.”San Francisco Chronicle

    Thinking Things Are Not Reliably Predictable

    I have heard many different data scientists describe their strategic approaches to big dating algorithms. Thod Nguyen, CTO of eHarmony, describes its approach as a compatibility matching system consisting of a “very sophisticated three tier process.” A compatibility matching model identifies potential matches based on a proprietary 29-dimensional array. eHarmony’s affinity matching model predicts the probability of communication between two people, and finally, the match distribution model helps ensure that eHarmony delivers “the right matches to the right user at the right time and to deliver as many matches as possible across our entire active network.”

    While this sounds interesting and may actually work as a matching strategy, the inherent problem is bi-directionality. When Amazon recommends a camera for you, the camera has no say in the matter. This is not true with human beings. Someone may be your perfect match, but there are any number of reasons the feeling might not be mutual.

    That said, there is an axiom working in favor of all big dating algorithms: boys and girls are genetically predisposed to be attracted to one another and attempt to reproduce (otherwise none of us would be here).

    Some Number of Nos Equal a Yes

    The problem at the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon was not the very low odds; it was the extended investment of time required to achieve success. If you had a one-in-100 chance (1/100) to take someone home, you’d need 100 trips to the bar, on average, to accomplish your mission. This adds a bit of a twist to big data’s role in big dating. Sure, you can answer the 150 questions on Match.com and hope to be matched to your soul mate, or you can just play the numbers.

    Data Science + Big Data = Exponential Increase in Deal Flow

    Tinder saves time. It offers an exponential increase in opportunities over bar crawling. Even so, motivated programmers have created dozens of Tinderbots to increase their efficacy. Some Tinderbots use game theory and others use brute force, but my favorite uses data science to achieve its goal.

    Eigenface example

    Eigenface example

    Source: Justin Long’s blog post, Automating Tinder with Eigenfaces

    Using Data Science to Date the Perfect Model

    On his blog, crockpotveggies.com, Justin Long provides the code for “Tinderbox,” a Tinderbot that taps into Tinder’s APIs and uses Eigenfaces to build an invariant model of the face you’re most likely to “swipe right.” You can think of it as your “perfect model.” A model with all of the characteristics you love most. He also uses Stanford NLP to help the bot analyze the sentiment of chat responses. After about 60 manual swipes, the program has learned enough to start making choices for you — at a speed you could not possibly replicate. Read his blog post — it will make you smile. If you have the time (and inclination), go ahead and build a Tinderbox for yourself. You may never visit the Chainsaw Sisters Saloon again.

    I’m the Managing Director of the Digital Media Group at Landmark|ShellyPalmer, a tech-focused investment banking and advisory firm specializing in M&A, financings, and strategic partnerships. You may also know me as Fox 5 New York’s on-air tech expert. Follow me @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com for more info.

  • 7 Data-Driven Ways to Improve the User Experience
    With four math and computer science degrees from MIT, including a PhD, under his belt, Chief Technology Officer of KAYAK, Giorgos Zacharia is a leading expert at applying the hot topics of data, analytics and machine learning to the real world of travel. As one of the world’s top travel sites, KAYAK‘s objective is to build the best app for the user to search and find the travel product that they’re looking for and then manage that travel even after the booking experience.


    Giorgos Zacharia, Chief Technology Officer — KAYAK

    In the name of building a better user experience by learning from data, Giorgos spends most of his day working with the product people, the mobile team and the UI development team performing experiments, monitoring the performance and brainstorming on how to improve the user experience. Giorgos has said that user experience even trumps monetization, “At the end of the day KAYAK choses the best user experience that has the highest monetization for our partners and for us.”

    With the two key priorities of speed and personalization, KAYAK is a prime example of using data, analytics, machine learning and predictive analysis to provide timely, relevant, personalized and valuable information for users that keeps them coming back for more.

    7 Ways to leverage data for a better user experience

    1. Put machine learning into action

    Machine learning plays an important role in the work and the data science at KAYAK. Giorgos describes machine learning, the computer learning patterns from data, as basically computational statistics: “You can have a statistician have hypotheses and test them one at a time, or you can have a computer testing millions of hypotheses in very little time and tell you which pattern has the most predictive value.”

    Practical applications for leveraging machine learning at KAYAK include learning how to better query their partners to find users the most competitive flight prices or how to better personalize when they present it to users by learning their preferences and showing them the hotels they are most likely to book higher than three or four pages after the first page of results.

    Giorgos says, “We aggregate the information and try to present it in the most usable way. User experience counts for almost every decision that we make at KAYAK, so we try to show our users the most comprehensive results as possible for their travel search query in the most usable way, whether that’s a mobile device or desktop.”

    TRAVEL TIP! Save $$$ on booking hotels:
    $ Book, cancel, rebook: Because most hotel rates are actually fully refundable if you cancel them, if you see a price that you like go ahead and book it and then if it’s cheaper you can cancel and rebook.
    $ Register for private rates: A lot of KAYAK’s partners are increasingly adding private rates, and KAYAK is using these rates for their registered users.

    2. Optimization matters – The role of KAYAK and their mission is to produce the most competency and accurate data. If they don’t, they lose credibility and the user won’t come back. They also want to present results as fast as possible. For example, it makes no sense to have a very complex set of results that might be saving the user a couple of dollars when we know we can get the traveler there with a better flight. “We capture every single click that happens from KAYAK and every single tap that happens in our mobile apps. We see what gets used in what sequence and optimize it over time to save the user time,” says Giorgos.

    “These optimizations matter because you don’t want to make the user wait unnecessarily for a result that they will never book. On the hotel side, we don’t want to be querying our partners for every single query and make the user wait for 30- 40 seconds depending on the slowest system that we actually have to query. So we have a predictive cache mechanism that anticipates what our users are likely to search every day. We proactively query all our partners, gather that data locally and send those results as fast as possible from our own cache,” explains Giorgos.

    By maintaining in constant direct contact with the customer and by constantly monitoring the usage of the website and pruning all the features that are not valuable ensures that there is that optimization, keeping them focused on customer experience innovation.

    3. Personalize for the user – Aside from the ongoing challenge of performance and always striving to make the system faster, another challenge KAYAK is focused on is personalization. According to Giorgos, “If we know the user prefers non-stop flights for shorter flights from Boston to New York, we don’t need to preselect the one stop and two stop flights for the user, especially if they are only modifying the dates. We know the context of that search. If the user has shown preference to particular brands or types of hotels, it’s important that we actually personalize for that user, so personalization in the way that we chose to present the results matters both on mobile and desktop, so that is also an ongoing focus.” Similarly, the results they show to the stranded traveler may be different than the aspirational searches. Speed and personalization never end; it is ongoing work that KAYAK is always focused on.

    4. User experience rules – Any idea they have at KAYAK, from minor things like changing the color or size of the platform, or deciding how much information will show in the results page versus when the user clicks to see the different data, to a major website re-design – it is all done through the lens of the user experience and the presentation of the data matters.

    TRAVEL TIP! Save $$$ on booking flights:

    $ Be flexible: If you can depart a day earlier or later or you are willing to use any airport you can save significantly on the ticket price.
    $ Monitor prices: KAYAK provides tools like price alerts, where if you are flexible on the time of year you want to fly to a specific tourist destination for example, you can have KAYAK monitor the prices for you.
    $ Book early: Look early and when you see a price that you are willing to pay, then you should book it, don’t wait.

    KAYAK measures the user engagement with each part of the website – how fast they can find what they are looking for. Secondary to user experience is how much money they make. “At the end of the day, we chose the best user experience that has the highest monetization for our partners and for us,” says Giorgos.

    5. Use predictive analytics to ensure accuracy – KAYAK relies on predictive analytics for personalization, price forecasting, hacker fares and building new products. One product is a flight price predictor where they give users a forecast of whether the cheapest price that they see on their flight results page is likely to go up or down in the next seven days. They also give the user a confidence metric based on how accurate their machine learning has been in making a call in similar patterns.

    In observing the data they can see how in some cases the user can save money or even travel time by combining non-aligning airlines, so they show the users this result that they call “hacker fares”. It requires two separate bookings but it can save the user significant money or time or both. KAYAK also actually removes results that they think are no longer available and when the user clicks through to end up on a partner’s website, they rely on predictive analytics for personalization.

    6. Capture the right data and measure it correctly – “The big challenge is to capture the right data and make sure you actually measure it correctly,” advises Giorgos who says that they have spent a lot of time at KAYAK optimizing their platform to actually do the right types of segmentation and give them statistically reliable data. “Occasionally we might do an experiment that doesn’t capture the right type of data, so it requires constant attention and diligence in asking the right questions when you see data that doesn’t make any sense,” he shares.

    7. Build for mobile first – Aside from searches for same day or next day flights which signals a travel problem where users are stranded and they need a car or hotel right away, the mobile patterns are actually identical to the desktop which means that people are using it as a desktop replacement. With more than half of their users on mobile devices, KAYAK strives to make sure that in that small screen they provide as much functionality as possible.

    “Our design is already mobile first, so we have the mobile design team coming up with the next iteration of the redesign of KAYAK and then the desktop expands for the whole of KAYAK. We make sure that increasingly our desktop experience is touch optimized, so mobile is truly driving the identity of KAYAK on all the devices,” says Giorgos. The transition to a multi-device world, as users start their searches on mobile and then end up booking on a desktop or the other way around is what keeps this CTO up at night: “We need to make sure that we support that use case as well as possible, but I don’t think we have cracked it well yet and I don’t think anybody else has either.”

    You can watch the full interview with Giorgos Zacharia here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3PM EST as we host CXOTalk – connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

  • Spies in the Sky — Is Your Privacy at Risk?
    Imagine yourself and your companion basking in the sun at the local park, sipping on chilled fume blanc and nibbling petit fours when you hear a whirring sound approaching. Looking up you see a miniature version of an alien spaceship slowly cruise then hover about 50 feet above your picnic. It pauses, then flies back from whence it came.

    “What in the world was that? A UFO?” asks your companion.

    “That was a UAV — Unmanned Aerial Vehicle — a drone.” You turn to your companion, cocking an eyebrow. “Didn’t you say your Dad bought one recently?”


    Sound far-fetched? Not even. The uproar over the prying eyes in the skies has been sparking legal debate over the past year, and is reaching a fever pitch. Just recently sunbathers and picnickers at a public park in Tiburon, Calif. called for a ban on drone use. The drone, as reported by the Pacific Sun, “Loudly moved several feet above the fields and walking path. It hovered for minutes over three women at the water fountain.”

    Are the three women victims of an illegal invasion of privacy? That all depends on where you are. And by whose rules you abide.

    In general, the three women could take the drone operator to court if they could prove that their “reasonable expectation of privacy” had been violated. If the drone operator were saving images for his own use without permission, they would have a stronger case. If the drone operator were selling the pictures, the FAA would be able to impose fines.

    As of today (and it could change tomorrow), commercial drone use — that is, using drones for profit — is prohibited by the FAA. But the distinction between what constitutes “private” or “hobby” drone usage and “commercial” usage has many scratching their heads. Techdirt writes: “Lots of people are pointing out that the FAA’s claims are likely to ground the high profile plans by Amazon to deliver packages by drone, but it’s some of the other things that are on the prohibited list that strike me as even more ridiculous.”

    One rule in particular has prompted some scathing criticism. According to the FAA, it’s okay to use a drone in your garden to determine which areas need watering, but it’s not okay to do the same on a commercial farm. As one comment to the Techdirt article asks: “Who plants enough crops that they need a drone to be able to tell what sections need more water, but aren’t involved in a ‘commercial farming operation?”

    Landscape and nature photography, where allowed, is permissible by the FAA so long as the photographs can be viewed by the public at no charge. Despite the FAA guideline, several national parks have outlawed drone use, for both personal and commercial use, but not without objection. Artist Jim Bowers, who has been photographing park lands from the air, said “I’m creating artwork and trying to document the beauty and majesty of that nature for people around the world who might not ever get to see it,” said Bowers. “They’re obviously using this rule to keep us grounded.”

    When it comes to photographing real estate from the air for the purposes of buying or selling a property, the FAA says no. In some cases photographing real estate from the air can constitute an invasion of privacy. For example, last June Business Insider reported an incident where a woman was in various stages of undress when a drone appeared outside her 26nd floor Seattle apartment window. Upon investigation, it turned out that the building was being photographed by a commercial real estate agency. No charges were filed.

    Emerging state regulations governing drone use, which can vary dramatically from state-to-state, further muddy the waters. According to The Washington Post, Oregon, Idaho and Tennessee make it illegal to fly a drone over private property without the express written consent of the property owner. In contrast, Texas allows drones for “scholarly research” and for photography of people on public property with the “consent of the individual who… lawfully occupies the real property captured in the image.” In Nevada and Mississippi drone operators are only bound by FAA regulations, though a recreational flight over Area 51 is probably not a good idea.

    It’s not uncommon for federal laws to be in conflict with state laws (e.g. marijuana laws) so it behooves both hobbyists and commercial drone operators to be familiar with the regulations in the area where they intend to fly. According to the FAA-sponsored site, Know Before You Fly, “The use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial or business purposes is authorized on a case-by-case basis. You may not fly your UAS for commercial purpose without the express permission from the FAA. You should check with the FAA for further determination as to what constitutes a commercial or business use of small UAS.” Recreational use of drones does not require FAA clearance, however local laws may prohibit even recreational use.

    There may come a time when you’ll be able to hang out with a companion in a public park, order a burrito from Burrito Bomber on your smartphone and have it delivered by drone. Of course if everybody in the park orders burritos at the same time, there may be a bit of aerial chaos. Suffice to say the devil is in the details. But whether you’re a drone operator, a citizen with privacy concerns or both, it may be a while before clear, consistent, enforceable laws governing drone use are on the books.

  • Twitter Faces Gender Bias Lawsuit
    Another Silicon Valley tech giant faces accusations of gender bias.

    A former female software engineer at Twitter is suing the microblogging service for allegedly using a secretive promotion process that favors men.

  • SPARK And Google Created An App That Highlights The History Women Made Right Beneath Your Feet
    With some help from Google, a group of women are changing history by spotlighting herstory.

    The SPARK Movement has partnered with Google to create a smartphone app called “Women On The Map” that alerts users when they’re near places where women made history. SPARK, which stands for Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, Knowledge, is an organization that encourages healthy sexuality and promotes gender equality in all areas.

    The idea for the app first started a year ago when SPARK noticed there were very few women featured in “Google Doodles,” the design featured on Google’s homepage during certain holidays. So they did their own research and found that only 17 percent of Google Doodles between 2010 and 2013 featured women. The non-profit decided to try to change those numbers. “We like Google Doodles a lot, but we couldn’t help but notice that, like a lot of other places where we learn history, they felt a little…male. And white,” a SPARK blog reads.

    As it turns out, Google had already initiated a plan to diversify Google Doodles, but the two groups discussed a more general concern for the disregard of women’s contributions throughout history. Thus “Women On The Map” was created using Google’s existing “Field Trip” mapping app, which alerts users about information related to the locations they are near.

    The app was created collaboratively with Google, SPARK and the SPARKteam, which includes young women between the ages of eight and 22. The girls researched the women they wanted people to learn about which included the stories of 119 women from 28 countries with more than 60 percent being women of color, Executive Director of SPARK Dana Edell told The Huffington Post.

    “The purpose of Women On The Map is to show the world that there were (and are) so many women whose accomplishments have been seemingly invisible to us,” Ajaita Saini, a member of the SPARKteam told The Huffington Post. “We need girls to know that they can be whatever they want, and their contributions are as equal as if a guy did it instead. Likewise, we need guys to know that not everything done in the past was the work of men.”

    The Women On The Map app will alert users to a major historical event that occurred at that location and the important roles women played in it. To use the app, iPhone users need to download the Field Trip app and can find the Spark: Women On The Map installment in the “Historic Places & Events” tab.

    field trip

    field trip 2

    “This project allows us to bring women — and especially women of color — to the forefront of history, where their achievements can be recognized more widely,” SPARK’s website reads.

    The app highlights the achievements of a long list of women such as Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Japanese-American female lawyer to practice law in Hawaii, and Christine Jorgensen, the first person to undergo a sex change operation in the U.S. While the app also includes more recognizable figures like Rosa Parks, the goal of the app is to shine a light on women we don’t always hear about in history class.

    “Working with SPARK is hugely exciting for us because both companies were working towards the same thing — raising awareness about the history around us through storytelling and community engagement,” Yennie Solheim, Senior Marketing Lead at Niantic Lab (the Google start-up that created Field Trip), told The Huffington Post.

    “The whole point of this app collaboration is to inspire girls (and boys too actually), to be what they want, and acknowledge that girls do make a significant impact on the world,” Saini said. “We’re giving kids new and different role models, so they can say to themselves ‘Yes. I can be like HER.'”

  • Taylor Swift Reportedly Bought A Porn Site Domain So You Couldn't
    We know the dot-coms and the dot-nets of the World Wide Web, but starting on June 1, anyone will be able to purchase domains ending in .sucks, .adult and even .porn, to name just some of the 547 options.

    But not everyone, like Taylor Swift, for instance, wants his or her name or brand attached to a domain with a porn-related suffix.

    The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the nonprofit group behind this expansion of generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, is allowing public figures and companies to get ahead of the game and buy out any domains before the rest of us can.

    CNN spoke with Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, which manages the .porn and .adult domains. Lawley said Swift’s team has already purchased TaylorSwift.porn and TaylorSwift.adult (smart move). The Huffington Post has reached out to Swift’s reps for confirmation of the domain purchases.

    Microsoft has also bought Office.porn and Office.adult, according to Lawley.

    But another company, Vox Populi Registry, operates the .sucks domains, AdWeek reported. Some of those domains will cost up to $2,500 to buy out. Get ready for the Internet to explode when trolls try to tarnish the names of your favorite celebrities and sports teams with a .sucks website.

    Let’s just hope Swift gets on that suffix too, because we know the haters gonna hate, hate, hate. But as she would say:

    For more, head to CNN.

  • These Brilliant Innovations Are Bringing Clean Water To People Worldwide
    A little thinking outside the box can go a long way in helping bring clean H2O to those who need it most.

    About 89 percent of the globe had access to improved sources of drinking water in 2012 — up significantly from 76 percent in 1990, according to a report released last year by the World Health Organization (WHO).

    Although there’s still significant progress to be had (roughly 748 million people still lack access, the United Nations notes), inventive thinking is in part to credit for helping more communities connect to the crucial resource.

    In honor of World Water Day on Sunday, here are a few recent innovative solutions that have brought safe drinking water to more people around the globe.

    This Billboard Makes Drinking Water Out Of Thin Air — (Almost) Like Magic

    A billboard in Lima, Peru, took a new approach to an old problem.

    Ad agency Mayo DraftFCB partnered with the University of Engineering and Technology of Peru in 2013 to create a billboard that captured air humidity and turned it into potable drinking water. The innovation helped area residents make ends meet in a country that gets less than two inches of rain a year, according to a video produced by the school.

    The state of water insecurity led to many Peruvians having to rely on unsafe drinking water from polluted wells. But, according to one local resident, the billboard could serve as a viable problem-solver.

    They could put this in different places if possible in each village, in each town,” Francisco Quilca told the university.

    The Drinkable Book Filters Contaminated H2O While Educating People On Unsafe Water

    The Drinkable Book is as clever as its name.

    Functioning similarly to a coffee filter, pages in the book — created by nonprofit WaterIsLife last year — filters polluted and unsafe drinking water, and costs just pennies to produce.

    As the video above notes, people in many underserved regions of the world don’t realize contaminated water can be harmful to ingest. This Drinkable Book not only acts as a filtering system — killing diseases like cholera and E. coli — but its pages feature content that educates people on drinking water safety.

    WATERisLIFE partnered with researchers at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Virginia to create the book.

    This Map Proves Clean Water Solutions Are Happening All Around The World

    UNICEF created an interactive map that pinpoints where innovative clean water projects are taking place around the globe.

    In Chad, for example, the organization has supported solar-powered water pumps that have helped bring clean water to underserved communities while also fighting off disease. Since the pumps have been installed, cholera cases in the country have dropped dramatically, according to UNICEF.

    In Liberia — a country still overcoming the recent Ebola outbreak — the humanitarian organization has played a vital role in ensuring sick patients get enough water to survive.

    “For each Ebola patient to be fully cared for, we need at least 150 liters of water,” Michael Forson, water and sanitation specialist for UNICEF, said in a video produced by the organization. “That is 10 times what a normal Liberian gets as of now.”

    In a new treatment center, UNICEF provides water that’s used in a variety of ways — for cleaning clothes, for drinking and disinfecting the facility — to help patients overcome the illness.

    The Omniprocessor Turns Human Waste Into Water.

    Bill Gates isn’t afraid to lay it all on the line if it means promoting a good cause.

    In January, the billionaire philanthropist drank water that was once human feces from the Omniprocessor — a machine built by Seattle engineering firm Janicki Bioenergy — to prove science can be a great ally in improving clean water access around the world.

    The machine uses a steam engine to burn waste, producing water and electricity.

    “The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle,” Gates wrote in a blog post. “And having studied the engineering behind it, I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.”

    As bringing Western toilets to underserved communities can be expensive, Gates believes forward-thinking projects like the Omniprocessor can play a role in connecting more people with drinking water.

    Cow Poop Can Also Play A Role Making Clean Water A Reality.

    Bill Gates isn’t the only one who gets the benefits of waste.

    After developing for about 10 years, engineers at Michigan State University (MSU) created the McLanahan Nutrient Separation System — a technology that extracts nutrients and pollutants from cow waste to produce water clean enough for the cows to drink. The system could help farmers’ manage waste produced on their land, as well as lessen their livestock’s environmental impact.

    “Here in Michigan, we have a tendency to take water for granted,” MSU’s Steve Safferman said in a statement. “But out west, for example, where drought remains an issue, the accessibility of clean water could make the difference between a farm remaining viable or going out of business.”

    The system uses air stripping, ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis to remove pollutants from the manure and produce clean water.

    An Inventive Water Purifier Brought Clean Water Relief To Haitians In Need.

    clean water haiti
    School children drink clean water from a fountain provided by Rotary International at an elementary school in Les Cayes, Haiti. (Photo by Alyce Henson/Rotary International/Getty Images)

    Graduate students from Seattle University developed a water purification system that’s improving lives thousands of miles away.

    Plumbers Without Borders — an organization that allows volunteer plumbers the opportunity to help with international clean water and sanitation efforts — utilized the students’ creation to further its mission in the wake of the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

    In the two years following the quake, the organization helped install 15 of the purifiers, which can produce 10,000 gallons of clean water every day. Fred Schilling of Plumbers Without Borders told The Huffington Post that the purifiers have been like “winning the lottery” to Haitians who’ve benefitted.

    To take action on pressing water issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • The Water Crisis Creates A Gender Rights Problem. Here's Who's Solving It
    Globally, women and girls in developing countries spend an estimated 200 million hours every single day just collecting water in areas where potable water isn’t available locally.

    It’s an arduous task that leads to debilitating injuries, yet the chore falls on the heads of women and children in 76 percent of households surveyed, according to UNICEF.

    The errand not only causes physical pain, but also cuts into opportunities to learn and work.

    With increasing advancements, women can spend less time gathering water and more time getting an education, earning money and more. Here’s who’s helping solve the problem.

    Increasing Water Access Gives Women More Time to Go to School

    africa girls school

    Though it’s backbreaking work that often requires meandering through dimly lit areas, girls are twice as likely as boys to be tasked with fetching water in homes in developing countries where children are responsible for the chore, according to UNICEF. Shouldering this time-consuming effort leads girls to come late to school, or to miss out on classes entirely.

    Who’s helping: Girls’ enrollment rates have been shown to improve by more than 15 percent when they are provided with clean water and a toilet facility, according to UNICEF. The Water Project works to give girls in sub-Saharan Africa the freedom to go to school by working with local communities on constructing an optimal water source, whether it be a well or a surface dam, that suits their specific needs. Find out more about the Water Project and how you can get involved here.

    Increasing Water Access Gives Women More Time to Spend with Family

    haiti mom kids

    Fetching water is such a lengthy process, it’s often the only errand women are able to accomplish in a day. For example, Mnguswn, a 37-year-old Nigerian mom, would walk more than 2 miles round trip every day to get water and wait on line for about two to three hours. When she finally got home, her four kids were just getting back from school and there was often nothing for them to eat, nor did she even have enough water to complete her household chores.

    Who’s helping: To cut down on wait times, NextDrop, a social enterprise established in 2011, collects information about water services in India and sends out text alerts to locals about when they’ll receive water, when there’s a delay and when they’ll likely be affected by pipe damage.

    Increasing Water Access Gives Women Time To Earn A Living

    india woman working

    Across India alone, it’s estimated that the time women spend fetching water costs the country the equivalent of 10 billion rupees ($160 million). But when given the opportunity to work, women reinvest up to 90 percent of their income back into improving their families’ health, nutrition and education prospects.

    Who’s helping: Unilever’s Sunshine group partnered with Oxfam to build water centers in the heart of two Nigerian communities, which provides women with both a local water source and jobs. Justina Onyene is employed by one of the centers, and the steady income has enabled her to support her family. When her father’s job was affected by a strike, she stepped in to pay her younger siblings’ school fees and buy them books.

    Increasing Water Access Gives Women Time to Heal

    women water heads africa
    It often isn’t their preferred method of transport, but women and girls carry water on their heads because it’s easier to navigate rough, rural terrain that way than by carting heavy loads on their back, Slate reported in 2010. But the slight convenience comes at a heavy cost. They’re more likely to develop musculoskeletal disorders and related disabilities and spinal and neck pain, a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information concluded.

    Though they travel far distances, the water they bring home is often contaminated, which can lead to contracting waterborne illnesses.

    Who’s helping: For women and girls who don’t have access to a local water source, PackH20 ships low-cost, efficient backpacks to Haiti, Guatemala, Mexico, Kenya and Niger so that they can perform the task without injuring their heads and necks. The foldable pack evenly distributes the weight on a person’s back, allowing the carrier to still have use of her hands, and the removable liners are easily sanitized through exposure to sunlight. Find out more about PackH20 and how you can get involved here.

    To take action on pressing poverty issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • 500,000-Year-Old 'Swiss Army Knife' Sheds New Light On Ancient Animal Butchering
    A set of half-a-million-year-old stone tools — including what’s being called a prehistoric “swiss army knife” — have scientists going gaga.

    The tools were found alongside the remains of butchered animals, such as an elephant rib bone bearing cut marks (see photo above), at a dig site in Revadimin, Israel in 2004.

    Now, researchers who recently analyzed the finds have discovered the tools are covered in animal fat, and are calling them the first direct evidence of the use of stone tools by ancient human ancestors for animal butchery.

    “Archaeologists have until now only been able to suggest scenarios about the use and function of such tools. We don’t have a time machine,” Prof. Ran Barkai, an archaeologist at Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures and one of the researchers, said in a written statement. “It makes sense that these tools would be used to break down carcasses, but until evidence was uncovered to prove this, it remained just a theory.”

    After examining the wear on the surface of the tools, and conducting experiments with replicas modeled after them, the researchers believe one of the tools was a hand axe, a sort of prehistoric “Swiss army knife” that could cut and break down bone and tissue.

    Another tool, called a scraper, was likely used to separate animal fat and fur from muscle.

    prehistoric stone tool
    The hand axe, bearing signs of use (small red dots) and residue of animal fat (blue dots).

    The ancient discovery helps shed new light on “a major breakthrough in human evolution,” Barkai said in the statement.

    How so? As prehistoric hominins such as Homo erectus developed bigger brains, they required a higher caloric intake, which resulted in a shift from a plant-based diet to a meat-based one, Live Science reported. That required the development of more advanced technology that could extract fat and muscle from animal carcasses.

    “To be able to use animal resources, they needed to have tools in order to cut and butcher,” Barkai told Live Science. “They fit the needs of these hominins.”

    The research was published online on Mar. 18 in the journal PLOS ONE.

  • Top Lesbian Dating App Dattch Rebrands Itself As Her
    Lesbians, bisexuals and female queers alike, the women-seeking-women dating app you love to hate, Dattch, has now rebranded itself with a new name: HER.

    “People didn’t really know what [Dattch] meant,” HER founder Robyn Nexton told HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps on Thursday. “So HER is kind of our chance to launch a new product, and it kind of represents the community that we’ve grown to become. Dattch stemmed from a word that was about dating, and the way the product has evolved is much more social in its nature.”

    With the help of $1 million in funding from business leaders including Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, the app changed its entire interface and added a section for local events in your area, amongst other developments.

    But there’s still the issue of more men using dating apps than women, which Nexton says has to do with the tech industry’s male-dominated climate.

    “A lot of these businesses and organizations are set up by men, and so it’s inherently a little bit better suited to the way men behave and targeted more to a male user,” she said, adding that recently there’s been “great surge” in the number of women leading these businesses.

    Nexton calls her product “the largest community of women interested in women,” and she touts a simple selling point: “If you want to meet another woman, we are the platform that has been built for women.”

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

  • Watch Obama's Interview With The Huffington Post
    President Barack Obama sat down for an interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, covering such topics as pardons, sequestration and pay for college athletes, among other things.

    Watch the full interview with Obama above, and see a list of all the stories from the interview below:

    Obama Details His Disappointment With Netanyahu In First Post-Election Comments

    Obama Says Workers Are Being ‘Cheated’ Out Of Overtime Pay

    Obama Vows Not To Sign A Budget Bill That Doesn’t Fix Sequestration

    Obama: I’ll Use Clemency Power ‘More Aggressively’

    Obama Applauds ‘Quick Reaction’ Against Racist Fraternity Video

    Obama: I’m Hoping For A ‘Post-Administration Glow’ After I Leave Office And Can Get More Sleep

    Obama On Loretta Lynch: ‘You Don’t Hold Attorney General Nominees Hostage’

    Obama Calls On NCAA To Rethink The Way It Protects And Punishes Athletes

    Here’s The Full Transcript Of Obama’s Interview With HuffPost

  • 7 More Netflix Hacks Every Binge-Watcher Needs To Know
    Leaving the house is about to get a little harder.

    Netflix is well on its way to turning everybody in the world into binge-watching homebodies. But really, who cares? Life is just all that inconvenient stuff that happens in between “Breaking Bad” marathons.

    With the announcement of the premiere dates for “Orange is the New Black” and “Wet Hot American Summer,” it’s clear the indent you’re making in the couch is about to get a little more permanent. So if the first set of Netflix hacks wasn’t enough for you, here are some more to hold you over:

    1. Watch Earlier In The Day For Better Quality

    Image: Giphy

    Knowing how to stream movies in HD only matters if you’re actually getting HD. According to Digital Trends, one factor influences video quality above all others:

    As we experimented with Netflix quality, we discovered that the biggest factor influencing stream quality is time of day, and whether that time falls under typical peak hours for watching. Getting HD at 9 in the evening, for example is next to impossible, let alone 1080p Super HD.

    Reports indicate the difference in quality could be as drastic as 1080p during rush-hour traffic and 480p during primetime hours in the evening, so it’s something to keep in mind. You know, not that you were really going to leave your seat anyway.

    2. Use “My List” To Keep Track Of What’s Expiring

    Image: Giphy

    Netflix releases a list of the titles expiring every month, but it can be hard to keep track of everything you need to watch before it’s gone. Like, what’s with all the responsibility, Netflix? We have Cheetos to eat.

    An easy way to keep track of everything is by adding those expiring titles on your “My List.” Once in “My List,” the expiration date of the movie will show up underneath. Additionally, there are a variety of sources that keep a full list of what’s leaving the site and when.

    3. Binge Like A God By Eliminating Horizontal Scrolling


    The Netflix “God Mode” is about to make you see the light … or at least see more movies that you want to watch. Though it’s not affiliated with Netflix, according to The Hollywood Reporter, this is a bookmarklet that eliminates the sideways scrolling.

    After dragging the button to your bookmarks bar, you can use it to see a bunch of movies at once, rather than scrolling through them a few dozen times and just re-watching “OITNB,” which, really, you’ll probably do anyway.

    4. Change Subtitles To Actually See What People Are Saying

    Image: Reddit

    Subtitles are an integral and underrated aspect of the viewing experience. But if you can’t understand them, there’s really no point. Rather than suffer in silence not knowing the exact manner in which Benedict Cumberbatch is eating his breakfast, Netflix allows you to adjust your subtitles and captions.

    To make changes, head to your account and click on “Subtitle Appearance” in the “My Profile” section. Once in there, you can change font size, style and even color. Netflix’s help page covers other settings you can change as well.

    5. Find The Top Movies


    Sometimes after a few hours on Netflix, you start to think to yourself, “Hmm, I should really watch something soon.” Rather than mindlessly scrolling, a variety of resources make it easy to find the best stuff on Netflix. One in particular with a lot of features is WhatIsOnNetflix.com. This lists the streamable titles’ ratings on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic; lets you see what’s new; and will even randomly pick out a movie for you.

    In addition, Rotten Tomatoes allows you to browse titles available through Netflix, HBO Go and a variety of other resources. Some may only be available on DVD, however … if anyone still remembers what that is.

    6. Or Watch Something That’s More Specific To You

    Image: Giphy

    Netflix does its best to find the right listings for you, but let’s face it: sometimes you’re just in the mood for some great Korean TV shows. And there’s really no way for the streaming service to know that. In fact, there’s no way for anyone to know that. If you want to look up specific types of genres on Netflix, WhatsOnNetflix has a solution. Just search by the category ID numbers:

    How this works is you grab the url from the Netflix search page:


    Simply insert the number of the specific category you want to view.

    The WhatsOnNetflix website lists the codes for the different categories you can browse, which include Cult TV Shows (74652), Romantic Independent Movies (9916) and even Deep Sea Horror Movies (45028). Korean TV Shows is 67879, by the way.

    7. Clearing Your History Finally Got Easier

    Image: Giphy

    Tired of people being shocked by your Netflix history? Previously, the streaming service made you create and delete extra accounts or even start your account over to clear your viewing history. Now, you never have to worry about people judging you for watching “Ancient Aliens” again.

    In order to erase those embarrassing titles from your history, just navigate to your account and go to the “Viewing Activity” section. Click the X by the titles you want to remove and it’s, “Adios, ‘Aliens.'”

    Image: PandaWhale

  • Judge Rules Ellen Pao Can Sue For Punitive Damages In Gender Discrimination Case

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A California trial judge ruled Saturday that a woman suing a Silicon Valley venture capital firm in a high-profile gender bias case may seek punitive damages that could add tens of millions of dollars to the $16 million in lost wages and bonuses she is pursuing.

    San Francisco Superior Court Judge Harold Kahn denied a request by lawyers for Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to have Ellen Pao’s demand for unspecified punitive damages thrown out. Pao, the interim CEO of the news and social networking site Reddit, claims she was passed over for a promotion at the firm because she is a woman and then fired in 2012 after she complained.

    Kahn said there was enough evidence for the jury considering Pao’s lawsuit to conclude that Kleiner Perkins acted with malice, oppression or fraud, which in California is the legal threshold for awarding damages that are designed to punish and deter particularly bad behavior.

    “Per this standard, there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that Kleiner Perkins engaged in intentional gender discrimination by failing to promote Ms. Pao and terminating her employment,” the judge said in the one-paragraph decision.

    Kleiner Perkins has denied wrongdoing and says Pao didn’t get along with her colleagues and performed poorly after she became a junior partner around 2010.

    Jurors are expected to hear closing arguments in the case on Tuesday. Kahn’s decision means he will instruct them before they start deliberating that they will need to decide, along with the validity of Pao’s underlying sex discrimination claim, is whether she is entitled to punitive damages and if so, how much. Punitive damages often run much higher than the awards designed to compensate plaintiffs for financial losses.

    The four-week trial on Pao’s lawsuit has spotlighted gender imbalance at elite Silicon Valley investment companies that are stacked with some of the nation’s most accomplished graduates who compete aggressively to back the next Google or Amazon.

  • ISIS Urges Supporters To Kill 100 U.S. Military Personnel On 'Hacked' Hit List
    WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – Islamic State has posted online what it says are the names, U.S. addresses and photos of 100 American military service members, and called upon its “brothers residing in America” to kill them.

    The Pentagon said after the information was posted on the Internet that it was investigating the matter. “I can’t confirm the validity of the information, but we are looking into it,” a U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday.

    “We always encourage our personnel to exercise appropriate OPSEC (operations security) and force protection procedures,” the official added.

    In the posting, a group referring to itself as the “Islamic State Hacking Division” wrote in English that it had hacked several military servers, databases and emails and made public the information on 100 members of the U.S. military so that “lone wolf” attackers can kill them.

    The New York Times reported that it did not look like the information had been hacked from U.S. government servers and quoted an unnamed Defense Department official as saying most of the information could be found in public records, residential address search sites and social media.

    The Times quoted officials as saying the list appeared to have been drawn from personnel mentioned in news articles about air strikes on Islamic State. The group’s forces control parts of Syria and Iraq and have been targeted in U.S.-led air strikes.

    The posting, addressed to disbelievers, Christians and “crusaders” in America, included what the group said were the names, military service branch, photos and street addresses of the individuals. The posting includes the military rank of some but not all of those named. (Reporting by Will Dunham and Eric Beech; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Mobile Technology News, March 21, 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.

  • Jailed Hacker Guccifer Boasts, 'I Used To Read [Clinton's] Memos… And Then Do The Gardening'
    December 2013 in the village of Sâmbăteni, Romania. The air is dull and frosty as Marcel Lazăr Lehel walks out of his mud-brick house, carrying a cheap brand laptop and a mobile phone, and goes to the back garden. Exhaling steam, he places the devices on the ground, picks up his axe and begins to chop with hard, steady blows. Thunk-crunch, thunk-crunch, thunk-crunch.
  • VIDEO: Sims cards registered to combat terror
    Pakistan has ordered mobile phone users to verify their identities by getting their fingers printed for a national database.
  • Best Spring Cleaning Apps

    I have to admit, this is my favorite time of year. I love nothing more than digging in deep and giving my home a good spring clean. But, not everyone is as crazy about spring cleaning as I am and while I don’t necessarily understand what there is you could possibly not love about this annual ritual, I wanted to share some apps (for both iPhone and Android) that will not only make spring cleaning easier, but fun (yes, fun!).


    Cleaning Checklist

    This app helps you organize and manage household cleaning tasks and activities. Pick a room (i.e. bedroom), select the tasks you want to complete (i.e. make bed, dust, clean closet) and check-off when tasks are completed. One thing I love about this app is that it shows you what percentage of the room is clean — so you can quickly see which rooms may still need some attention. You can also set personal task reminders such as “Cleaning Supplies” that will remind you what to pick up at the store.

    Chore Bank

    Want the kids to help with your spring cleaning chores? Chore Bank allows you to set up a chore list, assign a monetary value to each chore, know when a chore has been completed and make deposits into your child’s account. You can even download a chore calendar and text reminders to your kids!



    FlyHelper not only helps you keep your home clean and your life up to date, but you have access to great reminders from the FlyLady herself such as “take a few minutes for yourself” or “check your calendar for tomorrow’s events.” Track everyday/weekly repeating tasks, control how you clean your home by creating “zones,” plan a menu for the week and consult with “FlyLady” to know which “zone” you should work on each day.

    Spring Cleaning Checklist

    Warning — this app could make you fall in love with spring cleaning. In addition to helping you create checklists for every room of your house, Spring Cleaning Checklist gives you tips for organizing family spring cleaning days, includes video tips and tricks and has music you can listen to while cleaning your home. You will want to use this beyond the spring cleaning season.

    There are also a handful of websites that help you keep things clean, organized and beautiful all year long. Checkout RealSimple.com for quick-read stories and cleaning checklists, HGTV.com for DIY decorating tips and my website, GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning, for advice on how to have — and maintain — an eco-friendly home and lifestyle.

    Talk to us: What app or website helps you with your spring cleaning tasks?

  • Technology and Grief
    Of course it’s a cliché to say, but I’ll say it anyhow: technology changes everything, even such fundamental things as how we define, make and keep friends as well as how we come together when we lose them. When we asked for and were reluctantly granted “friend” status, Facebook gave us an intimate look into a whole dimension of our 19-year-old daughter Emma. We saw a side of her that was quite different from the daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece that we knew up close and personal. Sometimes it made us smile, sometimes it made us cringe, but we tried to be respectful of her one condition in opening this window — please don’t judge me!

    The Facebook window stayed open after she died, and we were surprised and comforted at the ways entries honored her life and her death and the poignant ways friends, teachers and even strangers articulated the impact of knowing her. In a funny way, the anonymity usually associated with technology was completely reversed during the grieving process. Face to face, people didn’t seem to know what to say. On Facebook, friends, family, friends of friends, even people we had never known shared their deepest feelings of loss and pain with Emma, on her page, in the same way they had shared their happiness — out loud, in writing, without a care who was reading over their shoulders.

    I read over their shoulders and it was the only thing that brought me comfort during my darkest days. It seemed everyone missed my child. It seemed everyone was dumbstruck with grief. Friends changed their Facebook pictures to ones in which Emma was featured, smiling, happy, radiant. All kinds of memories were shared from starting kindergarten together to the most recent of Emma at a party two nights before she died. Songs and poems and links were shared and I gobbled them all up. When I slept, it was with my iPad in my arms so I’d be sure to hear the ding of a new lifeline.

    Over time, of course, others have drifted away. I no longer sleep with my iPad in my arms because it no longer dings to signal the arrival of new wisps of my child. Still, I can count on friends checking in with Emma on her birthday, Halloween (her favorite) and the day she died. Once in a while, a friend of mine with whom I’ve lost touch reaches out because of Emma. My college roommate “friended” me, for example, because she somehow learned of Emma’s death online. I responded and learned that her only child had committed suicide 13 years ago. We have become friends once again.

    And Emma is still there, alive in her Facebook page. There are thousands of pictures of her doing all of the things that made her happiest. There are pictures with her family, with her cat, with her friends. There are pictures of her as a baby and pictures of her dressed for Halloween and pictures of her throughout her first year of college. There are even pictures of her first apartment, a place she didn’t get to live, but the very idea of which brought her such joy. I visit her often and remain grateful that she was not only my daughter, she was my Facebook friend.

    Donna Mebane is the author of the fact-based-fiction novel, Tomorrow Comes–a daring coming-of-age book in which an ordinary teenager must come to terms with her own mortality, the loss of all she once knew, and an other-worldly set of rules.

  • How Humor Can Help Boost Causes We Should All Give A Sh*t About
    When it comes to the dark arts of moving people from apathy to action, here’s who’s cracked the code and discovered the most effective solution just might be laughter.

    At a South by Southwest panel Tuesday, comedy experts took to the stage to discuss how being funny can be useful in propelling a cause. The panel, “The Hidden Power Of Humor: Creating Content With Purpose,” included participants from The Huffington Post and fundraising platforms Crowdrise and Purpose.

    With no shortage of laughter and expletives, the panelists discussed how humor can boost editorial coverage of social causes. Applied correctly, a funny approach can entertain readers, reframe an issue for better understanding, challenge assumptions and call people to action, the panelists pointed out.

    “By presenting themselves as self-deprecating instead of self righteous, it’s really relatable,” David Chernicoff, senior strategist at Purpose, said during the discussion.

    The panelists discussed examples including President Obama’s Healthcare.gov video on BuzzFeed, the “Fitch the Homeless” campaign — which raised awareness and funds for people in need — and the humorous ACLU NSA campaign that featured everyone’s worst nightmare — a creepy Santa.

    Chernicoff pointed out that “meeting people where they are” can be one of the most powerful tactics.

    “The result can be lots of new people who you might not have been able to reach with your message or cause.”

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • Penn State Students Protest School's Handling Of Fraternity's Nude Photos Page
    STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — More than 100 Penn State University students and other supporters demonstrated Friday against a fraternity accused of posting photos of nude or partly nude women, some asleep or passed out, on an invitation-only Facebook page, urging the administration to take stronger action against those involved.

    The protest took place during a snowstorm in front of the main administration building. About 100 miles away, a university official told trustees at a board meeting that the scandal provided fresh evidence that more needs to be done about sexual misconduct on campus.

    Protest organizers asked the university to put Kappa Delta Rho members involved with the Facebook page on interim suspension. They also want the school to sever ties with the now-suspended fraternity chapter.

    Student Peri Kahraman of Columbus, Ohio, said women cannot feel safe at fraternities and that she took part in the rally to help change that culture.

    “I’m here because this is a problem at Penn State, this is a problem in this country,” she said.

    A sign made out of a bed sheet read, “Rape culture lives there.”

    A cardboard sign read, “Boys will be boys,” with the second “boys” crossed out and followed by, “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

    Student Ryan Adam Myers, a resident assistant from State College, said he found it disturbing that some fraternity members feel “such privilege and such entitlement.”

    He said what he found most offensive was that some students “thought it was acceptable to treat another human being with disrespect.”

    “The fact that they’re remaining part of the community right now is ridiculous,” he said.

    The State College chapter of Kappa Delta Rho has been suspended for a year by its national organization while a review is underway. A student newspaper reported that the words “Tear It Down” were spray-painted on a brick wall outside the fraternity. A police official confirmed that KDR had reported an act of criminal mischief but didn’t have details.

    According to police, the Facebook page operated at the fraternity had 144 active members, including students and alumni. The fraternity’s members and leaders in State College have not made any public comments on the scandal.

    Penn State President Eric Barron has said the university is working with the fraternity’s national leadership to see if it will continue having a presence on campus, and may also review the entire fraternity system, where he said hazing, excessive drinking and sexual misconduct have been issues.

    Penn State is also aiding the investigation by police, who have said at least two of the photos uncovered could result in criminal charges.

    The rally Friday was organized by Josie Rose, a 37-year-old Penn State graduate and English teacher from Philipsburg, and Penn State journalism student Lauren Lewis, 20, of Tyrone. They planned to give the administration a letter spelling out their request for sanctions, which they read during the protest.

    The university’s vice president for student affairs, Damon Simons, told trustees meeting in Hershey that the allegations against the fraternity show the school needs to do more to address sexual assault and misconduct.

    Simons led a task force that earlier this year proposed new ways to deal with sexual assaults on campus.

    He said the “very human cost” of sexual misconduct “should compel all of us to do better than we have in response to this vexing issue.”

    Asked about the problem of alcohol abuse, he said the evidence shows a large percentage of victims and assailants in campus sexual assaults had been using alcohol.

    He said the school has had some success combatting alcohol abuse, but said, “the truth is we’ve been engaged in the alcohol problem around here since the beginning of time. It comes with the territory.”

  • Best Teen Tweets Of The Week! (3/20/15)
    Every week, we round up the best 140-character quips and insights from our esteemed blogging team — and other equally awesome teen tweeters. Scroll down to read the latest batch and share your own suggestions by following @HuffPostTeen!

    am I in the process of getting attractive or am I stuck like this forever

    — ♛qυєєи нαяℓєу♛ (@harleyxoxo15) March 20, 2015

    OMG i love thinking about what i’ll say through a ouija board after I die

    — Nathan (@luvyoulikexo) March 19, 2015



    — Jordan Nicole (@ThatDancer_JoJo) March 20, 2015

    I’m so ready for summer but my body isn’t

    — Hannah (@Hannah_kate24) March 19, 2015

    I was going to go workout but I must have made a wrong turn somewhere because I somehow ended up at Chipotle

    — Hannah (@hannahrec) March 20, 2015

    MY DAD JUST OFGIMCRYING pic.twitter.com/a5JuhTBogg

    — ♡ angelina ♡ (@G0LDENGRIER) March 19, 2015

    Went driving for the first time and hit a fence, ran over 2 shrubs, and almost hit a cat. #JesusTakeTheWheel

    — Leanna Naji (@LeannaNaji) March 19, 2015

    Me: “I’m finally fully embracing myself as goth!”
    Mom: “Don’t.”

    — Bizzy Emerson (@bizzyems) March 19, 2015

    “Have you ever been personally victimized by Justin Bieber saying he was going to release new music and he didn’t?” pic.twitter.com/WEbCTl4AMz

    — Heather (@jxstinsdiamond) March 20, 2015

    I looked at my ACT book then started crying so I guess you could say I’m prepared.

    — Chelsey (@Chelsey_Pullin) March 17, 2015

    I come in late and go to the attendance office and the lady says “wow you look as bad as I do are you sick too?” Actually Im fine but thanks

    — T-TRAP (@Tyler_Trap) March 19, 2015

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

  • U.N. Women Cancels Uber Partnership
    (Reuters) – A United Nations organization for gender equality and empowerment of women said it would not collaborate with online taxi service Uber Technologies Inc.
    Uber said last week that it would partner with UN Women to create 1 million jobs for women as Uber drivers by 2020. (http://bit.ly/1AdC7DQ)
    “UN Women will not accept an offer to collaborate in job creation with Uber”, Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said in a YouTube video uploaded by trade union federation Public Services International on Wednesday. (http://bit.ly/1MVu9Gg)
    Uber was not immediately available to comment.

    (Reporting by Anya George Tharakan and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru)

  • Why People Are Angry
    Tinder is one of the most popular dating apps out there. Launched in 2012, the matchmaking app now has more than 50 million users. As of today, more than half of Tinder’s membership is in the highly desired (from an online dating perspective) 18-24 age demographic. And it appears the app’s developers desperately want to maintain their status as the young people’s way to date.

    Typically companies are eager to expand their demographic. After all, the more people who use your product or service, the more profit there is for you. But Tinder is taking the opposite approach, seeking to preserve and protect its youthful demographic with a “30-and-over” surcharge on its “Tinder Plus” premium service, which lets users manually change their locations and undo regrettable “swipes” of other people’s profiles. Tinder users 30 and under pay $9.99 per month for these privileges; those over 30 pay $19.99.

    You might be asking why users wouldn’t just lie about their age to get the premium service for less — after all, people lie about their age all the time on dating sites and apps. With Tinder, however, this is not so easy. You see, when you sign up for Tinder it pulls information from your Facebook profile to create a “social graph” for you. Then it recommends matches based on commonalities like mutual friends, shared interests and location. It’s actually an awesome approach to dating — sort of a digital age slant to the social networking of yesteryear, when we asked our friends to introduce us to people we might like. The only real difference is that these days our friend is Tinder, and Tinder, thanks to Facebook, knows a heckuva lot of people. Anyway, the good folks at Facebook know exactly how old you are, so unless you want to go to the trouble of creating a fake Facebook page with a younger age, Tinder is going to charge you based on your real age.

    That said, the basic version of Tinder is free, and only folks who want the upgrade are charged. So why bother with premium when regular will do just fine? Well, the simple truth is that the upgrades are actually quite useful. The ability to change your location increases your odds of hooking up when you go out of town, and it also lets you expand your dating pond, so to speak, by giving you new potential matches. (Remember, your suggested matches are based in part on your location.) As for erasing regrettable swipes, the desire to do so is easily understood when you realize that if you swipe someone’s profile, the service automatically alerts that person, which makes it difficult to surreptitiously keep tabs on your boss or your sister or your ex — not to mention wanting to occasionally check out potential matches without them suddenly stalking you afterward. So yeah, a few bucks a month might be worthwhile.

    New Take on “Ladies Drink Free”?

    Have you ever been to a bar or club that lets women in without a cover charge or offers them free drinks? If so, it’s because the club knows that if there are women inside, the men will follow. Maybe that’s what Tinder has in mind. Except it isn’t. Tinder’s play isn’t to invite the young people in, hoping that the older people (and their wallets) will follow. It’s to keep the older people out. They’re saying, “You’re not wanted. We can’t keep you out completely, but we can charge you more to be here.”

    The real question that must be asked — and I am not sure there is a clear-cut answer — is whether Tinder is doing anything wrong by persevering and protecting its demographic. On the one hand, it’s easy to say that Tinder is ageist and we should all boycott in protest. On the other hand, Grindr is an app designed for gay and bisexual men hoping to meet other men. Similarly, JDate is designed for Jewish people hoping to meet other Jewish people. BlackPeopleMeet is the same, but for African Americans. Nobody is caterwauling about these apps’ focus on sexual orientation, religion and/or race. So why are we so upset about the blatant ageism of Tinder?

    Maybe what people are upset about is the inevitability of getting older. I’m in my early 50s, and although I have no interest in returning to the mental and emotional anguish of my early 20s, I wouldn’t mind looking like I did back then. And I’m fairly certain that a lot more people would want to date me if I did. Thankfully I’m married, so I don’t have to worry about that sort of thing, but if I were dating, I would absolutely want to look and seem younger. And I know that I’m not alone in this.

    To be honest, if I found myself in the dating pool again, I would only be interested in people 35 or so and over. It’s not that I don’t find people in their 20s attractive — it’s that for me, there is more to a relationship, and I know I’m more likely to find that extra element with someone who possesses more life experience. If I found myself for some inexplicable reason on Tinder, I would likely be an unhappy customer — not because of its pricing, but because I wouldn’t be finding many potential matches. If I were 21, however, I would probably think that Tinder was great, and I wouldn’t care that some folks find their policies ageist.

    Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. A licensed UCLA MSW graduate and trainee of Dr. Patrick Carnes, he founded The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles in 1995. He is author of numerous books, most recently Always Turned On: Sex Addiction in the Digital Age, coauthored with Dr. Jennifer Schneider. For more information you can visit his website, www.robertweissmsw.com. Weiss is also an expert blogger on addiction.com.

  • 'Magical' Duvet Cover Promises To Make Monsters Under The Bed 'Glow Away'
    One of the most common childhood phobias is fear of the dark. A pair of U.K.-based entrepreneurs are hoping their “magical” duvet cover will eradicate that fear once and for all.

    Davide Russo and Charlotte Cramer are the creators of Glow Away, a duvet cover and bedtime storybook that “harness the power of children’s imaginations” to help them overcome their fear of the dark, their Kickstarter page states. The book tells the story of a little boy name Sam who is afraid of the dark — until he meets “the yellow fellow” Boo. After Boo teaches Sam a magical spell to protect him from monsters at night, the little boy is no longer afraid. The Glow Away duvet features a picture of Boo, and when you turn off the lights, the words of Boo’s spell illuminate on the bed.

    glow away

    Russo and Cramer came up with the idea for Glow Away while on vacation, they told The Huffington Post. In the middle of the night, Russo received a frantic phone call from his sister, who was crying because her young son had been unable to sleep through the night for weeks due to his fear of “monsters under his bed.” The phone call reminded Russo of his own childhood fear of the dark. “Every night my Mum had to tuck in my covers tightly under my feet and around my shoulders or I was convinced that some scary monster would come and grab me!” he recalled.

    Looking into the issue, Russo and Cramer spoke to a number of psychologists and pediatricians to learn more about why so many children are afraid of the dark. “They taught us that the reason kids are so scared of the dark is because of their incredible imaginations combined with an inability to rationalize their fears,” Cramer said. The pair decided to redirect children’s vivid imaginations toward a solution.

    glow away

    Pairing this idea with their finding that “most children feel the only thing that can protect them at night is their blanket,” Russo and Cramer developed their magical duvet. After pitching the product and receiving funding from Virgin Startups, they fleshed out the design and production model, but they’ve since run out of money and turned to Kickstarter to raise the additional funds they need.

    “Our $20k funding goal on Kickstarter will enable us to finance the down payment for our first large volume order so that we can bring Glow Away to the general public and help kids all around the world overcome their fears,” the pair explained. To date, they’ve raised almost $9,000 and are working tirelessly to raise awareness of Glow Away’s message about the importance of sleep, especially in children and their parents.

    The founders of Glow Away describe the response to the product so far as “humbling.” Cramer told The Huffington Post that they received a handwritten letter from a woman whose son slept soundly through the night for the first time in months after he received Glow Away.

    “The humbling impact that sales of the product have had on children’s and families’ lives has made us confident that our novel approach to problem-solving will eventually help thousands of families around the world,” Russo added.

    To learn more about Glow Away or donate to the company, visit the Kickstarter campaign page.

    Like Us On Facebook |
    Follow Us On Twitter |
    Contact HuffPost Parents

  • Using Technology to Improve Mathematical Intelligence
    Co-authored by Lakshmi, a Mobicip blogger who is just as passionately opinionated about the juxtaposition of technology, parenting and education.

    Logical mathematical intelligence may be formally defined as the capacity to reason, calculate, apply logic, think critically and sometimes abstractly, all of which draw their basic principles from mathematics. Educational communities around the world recognize logical and mathematical reasoning to be essential parts not only of education, but of literacy itself. The American National Literacy Act of 1991 defines literacy as “an individual’s ability to read, write and speak in English, and compute and solve problems at levels of proficiency necessary to function on the job and in society to achieve one’s goals, and develop one’s knowledge and potential.”

    The role of technology in fostering mathematical and logical intelligence is obvious in that technology is built on the same mathematical principles and logic that drive life itself. The ancestors of modern digital gadgets — Pascal’s and Leibniz’s mechanical calculating machines, Napier’s logarithms, Babbage’s difference engine, Newman’s Colossus and Turing’s Bombe — have all been built on principles of logic and mathematics and in turn support mathematical developments. Jeanette Wing, in a seminal article, states that solving problems, designing systems, and understanding human behavior in real life can be closely related to the concepts fundamental to computer science and technology and coined the term “computational thinking,” which must, in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, be added to every child’s education.

    Technology can support mathematics education through dynamic software, anchored instruction, networked devices, participatory simulations, games and construction kits. The challenge lies in developing technology that engages students with interesting and stimulating applications of mathematics that are relevant to the real world.

    Concrete manipulatives — objects such as the Abacus, Cuisenaire Rods, Base 10 Blocks and Fraction Circles — that have traditionally been used in teaching mathematics, can potentially be replaced by virtual manipulatives that are dynamic virtual representations of the concrete manipulatives, but with the added advantage that they can go beyond the capabilities of physical objects. The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives (NLVM) for example, offers interactive, web-based virtual manipulatives and concept tutorials for mathematics instruction. A comprehensive study by researchers at the Clayton State University on the use of concrete and virtual manipulatives in math education showed that while pre-service teachers found concrete manipulatives to be easier to use, students found both types of manipulatives useful to understand mathematical concepts. This is to be expected, as the teachers typically belong to the digital immigrant generation with a steep learning curve, while the students, in all likelihood, are digital natives, at home with technology. The study concluded that incorporating both types of manipulatives into the instruction of mathematics helps build better conceptual understanding and provides sound pedagogical strategies for use with future students.

    Gaming offers a rich ground for mathematical and logical training. However, the use of games and simulations to teach and train in mathematics and logistics cannot follow the carrot-in-stick routine, such as the technique proposed by Michael Grove, the education secretary to the UK Government, where equations are solved “in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens.” Mary Matthews of Blitz Games Studio, UK, aptly responds as “Using games for motivation is only one facet, […] exploration, experimentation, team building, problem-solving and independent, personalized, differentiated experiences [will tap into] the full potential games can offer for learning.”

    The NRICH Project, perhaps meets the goals of Matthews. It aims at enriching the mathematical experiences among learners and focuses on strategy games to develop essential problem-solving skills in a stimulating environment. NRICH’s strategy games are defined as being low-threshold, high-ceiling tasks where the child can easily access the game at its basic level and play ‘randomly’ while developing a winning strategy.

    A simple search for online math tools produces hundreds of sites that offer various kinds of math training and education. Sites like A+ Click Math, Math Worksheets Lands, NumberBender , Get the Math and Math Worksheet Generator are some of many that offer supplementary practice problems in primary and secondary level mathematics. Math Pickle, featuring mathematics videos for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, approaches mathematics from the standpoint of a problem solver instead of from the standpoint of a rules follower. These sites are but tip of the iceberg.

    The current barriers to the use of technology in furthering mathematical and logical thinking include the general mindset that digital technologies are an add-on to learning mathematics and inadequate guidance on the use of technological tools in both statutory and non-statutory curriculum. According to a recent report by UK’s National Centre for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics, the main concerns among teachers of mathematics on the use of digital technologies are:

    • lack of confidence with digital technologies;
    • fears about resolving problems with technology;
    • insecurity of knowing less than their learners who are digital natives;
    • access to digital technologies;
    • inappropriate training;
    • lack of time for preparation;
    • lack of awareness of how technology might support learning;
    • not having technology use clearly embedded into schemes of work.

    John Seely Brown, cofounder of the Institute for Research on Learning , and an expert in digital youth culture, digital media, and the application of technology to enable deep learning, states that the Web may be the first medium that honors the notion of multiple intelligences. Among the different types of intelligences classified by Gardner, Brown’s notion is best suited for mathematical and logical intelligence. But the sheer volume of “help” available online for mathematical and logical training could potentially render the effort futile. It is up to the instructor and user to use their judgement to choose tools that are relevant to their needs and development.

  • Monica Lewinksy Took Back Her Narrative In A Powerful TED Talk
    “At the age of 22, I fell in love with my boss. At the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.”

    That’s how Monica Lewinsky began her much-anticipated TED Talk on March 19, according to TED Blog.

    “Like me, at 22, a few of you may also have taken wrong turns by falling in love with the wrong person. Maybe even your boss,” she continued, according to The New York Times. “Unlike me, though, your boss probably wasn’t the President of the United States of America.”

    Since becoming a household name in 1998 for having an affair with former president Bill Clinton, Lewinsky has kept a relatively low profile for the past decade. Yesterday, Lewinsky delivered a talk at TED2015 in Vancouver titled “The Price Of Shame.”

    Now 41, Lewinsky described the impact the Internet had on her story. “This scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution,” she said. “It was the first time traditional news was usurped by the Internet, a click that reverberated around the whole world… Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one worldwide.”

    “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously,” she continued. “I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, ‘that woman.’ I was known by many, but actually known by few. I get it. It was easy to forget ‘that woman’ was dimensional and had a soul.”

    As the subject of one of the first major “scandals” to play out over the Internet, Lewinsky discussed the powerful effects of online harassment. “When this happened to me, 17 years ago, there was no name for it,” she told the crowd. “Now we call it cyber-bullying.”

    Lewinsky cited Tyler Clementi, a New Jersey college student who committed suicide in 2010 after being cyber-bullied for being gay. “Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me,” Lewinsky said. “It served to re-contextualize my experiences. I began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different… Every day online, people — especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this — are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day.”

    “Public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop,” she continued. “…Just imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline.”

    Towards the end of her talk, Lewinsky answered the question she keeps receiving: Why come into the spotlight now? “The top-note answer was and is: Because it’s time,” she answered. “Time to stop tiptoeing around my past… Time to take back my narrative.”

    Watch Lewinsky’s full speech below.

  • 9 Parenting Responsibilities You Can Start Outsourcing Tomorrow
    My friend Matt recently faced a disconcerting dilemma millions of parents face every day: the need to be in more than one place at one time. His wife was out of town and he had to get his two sons (ages 8 and 14) to school. The older boy usually rides his bike to school, but it was 10 degrees outside. Matt needed to drive his younger son to school, 25 minutes away, which would mean the high school freshman would be on his own in frigid temps. The solution? Outsource it. He had his son use Uber, the app-based ride service, to get to school. And it worked beautifully. “I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner,” he said.

    What a wonderful idea. Brilliant, in fact. But it’s not one I would have thought of on my own, because like most mothers out there, I’m constantly plagued with mommy guilt. “Shouldn’t I be able to figure this out on my own?” “Why can’t I get it all done?” But Matt’s example got me thinking: What’s so wrong with outsourcing? Perhaps it’s the future of parenting. Let go of the guilt and let someone else help.

    Historically, someone in Matt’s very common predicament could have relied on friends or family — a member of their proverbial village — to help, but for many Americans, the village isn’t what it used to be. We don’t live in the 1950s anymore. Seventy-two percent of moms work outside the home, forty-one percent of births are to unmarried women and upwardly mobile professionals regularly move away from their families for job opportunities. In other words, American families are starved for time and starved for help more than ever before. And even if these shifting demographics don’t apply to you, multiple kids with multiple commitments means you often need to be in two (or three or four) places at one time.

    Thanks to the app-driven labor market, outsourcing family logistics is no longer a privilege of the wealthy. Technology is paving the way to match supply (people willing to help) with busy families who need extra arms and legs to get it all done. And perhaps most exciting, technology is making these outsourcing tasks not only more accessible, but also more acceptable. For years, my colleagues and I have been studying the art of motherhood, and for the first time in a decade, we hear moms saying, “I don’t want ‘help’ with dinner. I want to delegate dinner to someone else.” Let freedom ring, I say.

    The message to modern parents seems to be: do what you can and then get help with the rest. Hallelujah. So what is this more creative and less guilt-ridden group of parents doing these days to outsource the things they can’t get done or simply don’t want to do?

    Here are 9 things you can start outsourcing tomorrow!

    1. Household tasks and chores. The beauty of technology is it can match the formerly elusive supply of helpers with pent-up demand. You can use TaskRabbit to outsource errands and chores, everything from assembling those IKEA bunk beds to organizing the linen closet.

    2. Archiving kids’ artwork. Who has the time? Finger-painted works of art come home every week from the kid’s school. Throwing away 80% of them feels logical but who has time to archive the 20% that you actually want to keep? Artkive knows this task is a pill and is willing to do it for you. Please and thank you.

    3. Birthday cards. Who can ever remember to send them? Use Paperwoven to send personalized birthday cards to your countless nieces and nephews. Every. Single. Year.

    4. Kids ski clothes. GetOutfitted delivers gently used ski apparel and accessories directly to you, saving you the trouble of shopping for expensive gear the kids will only wear for one season. Bonus: You return the dirty clothes in a prepaid mailer before you head home. No more parka-stuffed washer dancing across the floor.

    5. Carpooling. Maybe you don’t need after-school help every day, but you do need someone to drive the little ones to soccer on Mondays and Wednesdays when you have to take care of something else. If you live in San Francisco you can use Shuddle, a carpooling service specifically designed for unaccompanied kids. And the best part is the drivers are almost exclusively mothers and nannies that have passed extensive background checks.

    6. Dinner. It’s the number one pain point among mothers in America. Enter Plated and Blue Apron, services that eliminate meal planning and grocery shopping by providing all the ingredients you need to make meals in about 30 minutes.

    7. Homework help. Not up to speed on 6th grade geometry and don’t feel like driving your kids to an after school tutor? Use Kahn Academy for online tutoring services instead of leaving work early to take your son across town for in-person help with homework.

    8. Shoveling the driveway. This on-demand service from Plowz & Mowz is the ultimate example of dividing and conquering. Someone shovels your driveway while you check off the other eighty-seven things on your list.

    The technology-based economy is giving parents more bench strength than ever before. Now it’s just up to us to take advantage of it. And if we do, it’s likely to change the business of parenting altogether.

    In the business world, companies such as Uber are called disrupters. But for the American family, they may end up being the peacemakers and it would behoove the service industry to pay attention. Every quandary that faces a dad trying to drive carpool or a mom who has an important meeting on a snow day is a cry for help. Every time a parent mutters, “I’m just one person,” a business opportunity awaits.

    So as parents let’s agree to keep asking for help and start accepting the helping hands that are coming out of Silicon Valley and beyond.

  • Here's The Diabolical Plot Behind Apple's Ever-Changing MacBook Chargers
    That new Macbook is pretty sweet, huh?

    No, not that one. The new, new Macbook — you know, the one with the radically different charger port for no apparent reason.

    Oh, wait. There is a reason: “Because f**k you, that’s why!” So say the comedians at College Humor, who put together this satirical video explaining Apple’s eagerness to poke you in the eye.

  • McCann 'troll' suicide conclusion
    A coroner concludes McCann Twitter ‘troll’ Brenda Leyland killed herself.
  • The Nerdiest Thing you Can Do With an iPhone
    Apple has been an industry innovator for about as long as the majority of their customer base has been alive. The company’s products have a reputation for including industry-leading capabilities, predicting the twists and turns of consumer trends like a winding road leveled out into one massive superhighway of tech. The heirs to Steve Jobs’ creativity continue to innovate, regularly launching intuitive and customizable products and interfaces. And all over the Interwebs, consumers and tech gurus alike have published countless tips and tricks that help you optimize your iPhone use, but none of them so far have ascended to the level of nerdiness I’m about to bring to the table. Get ready.

    First thing’s first; did you know that you can customize your iPhone’s vibration pattern? From the dull, two-toned hum sounding ’round the world, it seems that this little trick has been overlooked by the vast majority of iPhone users, despite the circulation of guides from a variety of sources online.

    To accomplish this initial step, start by going into your iPhone’s settings, then click “sounds”, then “text tone”, and finally “vibration.” A few pre-programmed choices await the pleasure of tingling your right thigh (I think we’re still talking about mobile tech here), but if you find that you’d really like to create your own vibration tones, you can do that too. Hit “create new vibration” to press a pattern into the touchscreen and create a brand new alert.

    But wait, we aren’t stopping there.

    To awaken your inner nerd and take things a step further, you can create patterns that spell out the names of your contacts in Morse Code. Now, if you’re like most 21st-century global citizens, you probably don’t have a working knowledge of Morse Code, so use this handy chart to get started.

    You’ll have to be quick inputting your pattern, as some of the characters can run a little long. It’s up to your discretion how many contacts you give the cypher treatment. Converting them all might take the better part of 2015. However, if you do it right, and you spice up a few of the usual suspects, you could come away with a totally unique communication experience, reinvigorating the way you interact with the world through mobile technology.

  • New Apple TV Is Coming This Summer: BuzzFeed
    Apple TV, the set-top box that connects to your TV and allows you to stream Netflix and buy movies from iTunes, may finally be getting an upgrade.

    BuzzFeed’s John Paczkowski reported on Friday morning that Apple will unveil the next-generation Apple TV at the company’s annual developers conference in June.

    Citing sources familiar with Apple’s plan, Paczkowski reported that the new Apple TV will be “a significant overhaul of the device” and include a faster processor, increased storage and support for Siri, Apple’s digital assistant found on newer iPhones and iPads. BuzzFeed also reported that the new device will go beyond just streaming video to your TV and could serve as a sort of hub for controlling smart home products such as power outlets, door locks and garage doors.

    It’s unclear how much the new device will cost. Last week, Cook said Apple would drop the price of the current Apple TV from $99 to $69.

    In an email to The Huffington Post, Apple declined to “comment on rumor and speculation.”

    If Apple were to release a new Apple TV in June, it would be the first update to the device in more than three years.

    BuzzFeed’s report about a new Apple TV comes at the end of a week of heavy speculation about Apple’s plans for the biggest screen in your home. Rumors that Apple is developing its own television set have been reported for years.

    The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Apple plans to launch its own Internet TV service with around 25 channels, including CBS, ABC and Fox. But The Information’s Martin Peers wrote Friday that the company “is likely … still assessing which channels to include.”

    And last week Apple said it would sell HBO’s standalone streaming service, HBO Now, when it debuts next month. Apple will be the only non-pay TV provider to offer the service at launch. Customers will be able to subscribe to HBO Now through Apple TV as well as their iPhones and iPads. (Cablevision subscribers will be able to buy HBO’s new service through the cable provider.)

    Steve Jobs described Apple TV as a “hobby,” but CEO Tim Cook told investors in January that the company has sold 25 million of the devices.

  • Scores charged in paedophile inquiry
    More than 260 people are charged with offences following a National Crime Agency operation targeting suspected paedophiles.
  • DWP to direct jobseekers to digital skills-sharing platforms
    Department for Work and Pensions to update guidance to Jobcentre Plus staff to direct jobseekers to digital skills-sharing platforms

Mobile Technology News, March 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.

  • Yahoo pulls the plug on China office
    Internet giant Yahoo is closing its China office and laying off “around 350” employees as part of a worldwide consolidation aimed at cutting costs.
  • Target To Pay $10 Million To Settle Lawsuit From Massive Data Breach
    WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) – Target Corp has agreed to pay $10 million in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit related to a huge 2013 data breach that consumers say compromised their personal financial information, court documents show.
    Under the proposal, which requires federal court approval, Target will deposit the settlement amount into an interest bearing escrow account, to pay individual victims up to $10,000 in damages.
    The claims will be submitted and processed primarily online through a dedicated website, according to the court documents.
    The proposal also requires Target to adopt and implement data security measures such as appointing a chief information security officer and maintaining a written information security program.
    “We are pleased to see the process moving forward and look forward to its resolution,” said Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder.
    CBS News, which earlier reported the settlement, said a court hearing on the proposed settlement was set for Thursday in St. Paul, Minnesota.
    Target has said at least 40 million credit cards were compromised in the breach during the 2013 holiday shopping season and may have resulted in the theft of as many as 110 million people’s personal information, such as email addresses and phone numbers.
    A U.S. judge in December cleared the way for consumers to sue the retailer over the breach, rejecting Target’s argument that the consumers lacked standing to sue because they could not establish any injury.
    The case is In re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, No. 14-md-02522. (Reporting by Peter Cooney in Washington and Supriya Kurane in Bengaluru; Editing by Eric Walsh and Anupama Dwivedi)
  • Will the watch industry get smart?
    Watchmakers face up to Apple and Android
  • Angry Birds Star Wars II Gets a 32 Level Update for Windows Phone

    If you know me, you know I have an Angry Birds addiction problem.  Need proof?   No, I do not have an @AngryBirds addition problem. Leave me alone. pic.twitter.com/lMSTRriCKG — Clinton Fitch (@ClintonFitch) December 10, 2014 Yeah, I know. Intervention time. Anyway, for those of you who share my addition, you will be pleased to hear that there is an update for Angry Birds Star Wars II in the Windows Phone store today.  The update, version 1.8.1 for those keeping score at home, brings 32 new levels to the game and, as always, the update is free. Angry Birds Star

    The post Angry Birds Star Wars II Gets a 32 Level Update for Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Dark web spurs spying 'arms race'
    How the dark web has changed how terrorists talk
  • Windows 10 for Phone To Get Faster Updates in Project Milkyway

    If there is one completely broken and painful process with Windows Phone 8.1 today it is the upgrade process, particularly those locked to carriers.  This is a sore subject for many Windows Phone users because it takes seemingly forever to get updates.  The latest Lumia Denim update is classic example.  AT&T took 10 weeks after it was released finally offered it on the Lumia 1520 while the Lumia 635 still hasn’t seen the update.  Verizon never released Lumia Cyan for the Lumia Icon (Lumia 93) and instead did a rollup with Denim just a few weeks ago.  Countless posts have

    The post Windows 10 for Phone To Get Faster Updates in Project Milkyway appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Why It's A Big Deal That Google's Chairman Was Called Out For Interrupting A Woman
    A powerful male executive reportedly interrupted a powerful female official while she was speaking at a panel discussion at South by Southwest, the tech and culture love-fest currently happening in Austin, Texas.

    That’s not unusual. Women often get interrupted while speaking on panels and in meetings, and studies show that women are interrupted at higher rates than men.

    What’s remarkable in this case is that Google Chairman Eric Schmidt actually got called out for doing it — by an employee of Google, no less.

    Schmidt had reportedly been interrupting and talking over Megan Smith, the United States’ chief technology officer and a former Google executive. Along with writer Walter Isaacson, Schmidt and Smith were speaking at a panel on innovation, and their conversation actually touched on diversity issues in tech, according to reports.

    During a Q&A session after the panel, audience member Judith Williams, Google’s diversity manager, asked Smith how she felt about getting interrupted. Did she feel there was some kind of unconscious gender bias at play?

    In her answer, Smith didn’t directly address what happened, but she did discuss the issue more generally, explaining how she sometimes goes unheard at meetings, The Wall Street Journal reported.

    Schmidt didn’t say anything. Neither Williams nor any of the panel participants responded to The Huffington Post’s requests for additional comment.

    Others, however, had a stronger response. “The crowd cheered at [Williams’] comment,” according to PopSugar, which was one of the first to report on the exchange.

    Thank you to whoever respectfully asked the cut off question! Glad other people have noticed @USCTO #askwalter #SXSW2015

    — Haley van Dyck (@haleyvandyck) March 16, 2015

    @haleyvandyck: @egmorant @judithmwilliams amazing. Well thank you Judith!” You’re welcome!

    — Judith Williams (@judithmwilliams) March 16, 2015

    Williams leads Google’s unconscious bias training (yes, that’s a thing). More than 26,000 Google employees have gone through the training, she wrote in a New York Times op-ed last year. The training, Williams argued, “has created a culture where employees are comfortable with — and held accountable for — calling out prejudice, both blatant and subtle.”

    Clearly, Williams herself is pretty comfortable calling out problems. Still, who knows what all those Google employees do with that training — the company’s numbers on gender diversity aren’t so great. Seventy-nine percent of Google’s leaders are men, according to the company’s most recent diversity report.

    “Google has a very open conversation on unconscious bias,” said Joelle Emerson, co-founder of Paradigm, a strategy firm that helps companies — such as Pinterest — increase diversity and inclusiveness.

    Emerson told HuffPost that Schmidt’s interruption of Smith on the panel wasn’t unusual. She often hears complaints from women in tech about getting interrupted. “It’s a big problem in meetings,” she said. “It’s hard for me to get through a meeting without getting interrupted.”

    “What was an aberration is that someone spoke about it,” Emerson said, noting that Schmidt likely didn’t realize what he was doing. In tests she’s conducted, researchers sat in on meetings and measured the amount of time people spoke and how often they were interrupted. Most people, she found, had no idea they were hogging the floor and not letting their colleagues finish their sentences.

    Emerson works with companies to improve dynamics in situations where gender roles come into play — not just in meetings, but in hiring and performance reviews as well. She said that one solution to the problem is to have a strong meeting leader or panel moderator who can rein in the interrupters and ask the quiet participants to speak up.

    “Diversity trainings aren’t effective,” Emerson said. “You have to change processes.”

    What happened at SXSW is a start. “Call it out when you see it happening. That’s a good first step,” she said.

    Women are more likely to get cut off mid-sentence, according to several studies. Most recently, researchers at George Washington University found that women were “the more interrupted gender” — getting interrupted even by women. When men were talking with women, they interrupted 33 percent more often than when they were talking with men, the study found. Women were even more careless about cutting off women — they interrupted 150 percent more.

    “It’s not so much who’s doing the talking,” said Dr. Adrienne Hancock, who led the research, “just that they’re talking to a woman.”

  • Petting Robots and Connecting Citizens at SXSW
    Dateline: Austin, Texas – The annual shindig that is South By Southwest is never unenjoyable for a media-hound. How could it be — with its abundant, tripartite combination of a Film division, an entire Internet universe (or more officially the ‘Interactive’ division) and the all-pervasive backdrop of a Music festival?

    It’s just that there is so much to enjoy, and so much variety within that extravagant multiplicity.

    It’s consequently become a perpetual, banal complaint that the hard challenge for every attendee at SXSW (to use the trademarked acronym, pronounced, if incompletely, as “South By”) is just how to decide what event or session to attend at any given point in the day-by-day calendar.

    So … despite all the tips issuing from apps, electronic alerts, and good old-fashioned paper flyers constantly thrust into my hand on Austin’s streets, this year I opted for happenstance as my only guide.

    It hasn’t led me wrong.

    I ended up, for instance, taking in a somewhat partial (inevitably) but highly informative briefing on artificial intelligence devices (okay – robots) at a coyly-conceived Petting Zoo for Robots. On entering, past the hardly-needed “Please Do Not Feed The Animals” signboatd, visitors could get up-close-and-personal with various robots designed for highly useful tasks which often are beyond human power (like for instance delivering food and water to isolated hurricane-battered communities). The self-consciously cosy setting of the Zoo is, I suppose, one way to counter fears about AI that have been engendered by Bill Gates, among other science and technology heavyweights, with his now-infamous “I am in the camp that is concerned” warning while on Reddit.

    And on the same day I was even helped, by an enthusiastic panel session, to get my brain around how a metropolis of 8 million-plus souls (my own home-town of New York in fact) is now being digitally reconfigured as a fully “Responsive City” to the needs of its individual residents – one small neighborhood by one small neighborhood.

    The ever-alert trend-watchers of Wunderman Reports LINK (a lively web platform mounted by one of the gargantuan ad agency Young & Rubicam’s branded shops) interviewed me on the doorstep of SXSW’s main venue – where else, in these days of instantaneous comment? – about my take on these developments. Here’s their video:

    For the more detail-oriented, that big New York innovation is coming via the city’s newly-agreed LinkNYC program, effectively replacing the 7,500 well-nigh obsolete pay-phones that still dot our streets. What will take their place is the Qualcomm telecomms company’s new LTE Direct wireless network, which involves many sleek new interactive kiosks (to be called, uninventively, LINKs) – but which also more radically connects individual cellphone users to each other on a peer-to-peer basis, obviating the need for cell-towers or beacons.

    The basic framework for all this is proximity – a favored buzzword at this year’s SXSW – with connections favoring an area within a radius of 500 yards, pretty much the size of what many New Yorkers will regard as their own local ‘hood. It will be brought to users “free” – that hoary old cloak for “paid for by advertising”.

    Oh, and the Zoo? Details of the many self-directing machines hoping to charm us with some cuteness maybe, but also much powerful utility, can be seen here.

    * * * *

    Read more of David Tereshchuk‘s media industry insights at his regular online column, The Media Beat at its new site. The Media Beat Podcasts are always available on demand from Connecticut’s NPR station WHDD, and at iTunes.

  • OneDrive Integration Comes to Xbox Music

    A feature that many of us have wanted has finally arrived.  Microsoft today has flipped the switch and you can now store your music within OneDrive and stream that music directly from any device.  The update means that you can have Xbox Music look in the new Music folder that is now in your OneDrive account and you can upload your music to that folder.  Once you do that and everything is synchronized, you can stream your music straight from OneDrive, eliminating the need for storing it locally. The process for doing this is pretty straight forward.  First, you need

    The post OneDrive Integration Comes to Xbox Music appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Briefly: 77 percent on iOS 8, cracking box for older iOS versions
    A new device on the market costing $300 could be used by attackers to crack the PIN codes on iOS devices running system versions older than iOS 8.1.1. While the chances of it being used on someone’s personal device are extremely low — since it requires both physical access to the device as well as a great deal of time — users can protect their devices and foil the so-called “IP Box” attack by moving to a more complex passcode.

  • Be Careful What You Wish for (Part II)
    Many months ago, on this very blog, I wrote about how Verizon, in suing the FCC to block the 2010 Open Internet (“Net Neutrality”) rules, might rue the day it actually won in court (“Verizon, Be Careful What You Wish For”).

    I said that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in remanding the FCC’s rules, basically told the agency to make up its mind: you can’t say that broadband is like a computer attached to a phone line, subject to the lightest form of regulation, and then turn around and regulate it like a utility, prohibiting unreasonable discrimination, said the court. Instead, you either have to decide not to impose utility-style regulation at all, or decide that broadband is, in fact, a utility requiring strict non-discrimination limits in order to protect consumers and the open Internet.

    I said months ago that if forced to make such a choice, the FCC very well could say, OK, we change our characterization of broadband. We’ll say it’s a utility. Here are the Open Internet rules you must live by, broadband providers, complete with a ban on unreasonable discrimination against different types of content.

    As we all know by now, the FCC did just that.

    Republicans are screaming like someone stole the champagne from the RNC refrigerator, hauling FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler before a litany of Republican-run Congressional committees. Verizon and its fellow broadband providers, like Comcast, are screaming, too. They threaten to sue the FCC… again.

    But as I wrote here many months ago, such threats ring empty.

    Since the D.C. Circuit’s decision to remand the rules back to the FCC for revisions, something has changed. New judges, nominated by President Obama, are on the court. They all were confirmed over loud Republican objections. Then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid used the “nuclear option” to change Senate rules and allow a simple majority, rather than 60 votes, to confirm these judges, who even look different from many of the D.C. Circuit judges, being women, or African American, or even–dare I say– young.

    The same judges to hear the first challenge to the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules might very well uphold the FCC this time around, reasoning that the FCC did exactly what the court told it to do. It made up its mind, changed the legal characterization of broadband, and promulgated revised rules accordingly.

    If those judges rule against the FCC, though, the fans and supporters of the Net Neutrality rules can pull a procedural maneuver and call for an “en banc” review before all the judges of the D.C. Circuit. What was once a reliable bastion of Republican appointees is now essentially split, with nine Republican and eight Democratic appointees. Four of those Democrats were appointed by President Obama and confirmed between 2013 and 2014. Such a panel hardly represents a slam-dunk for Republican opponents of the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules.

    Moreover, the four Obama appointees no doubt would notice that a fellow Obama appointee, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, came around to the view that designating broadband as a utility was the right answer. They no doubt would notice that President Obama himself, in public statements and in documents carefully cataloged on the FCC record, in accordance with FCC notice-and-comment procedures, supported designating broadband as a utility in order to best protect an open Internet.

    In fact, the hysteria expressed by Republicans about the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules sounds a lot like the hysteria expressed by Republicans over President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit. Could it be that Republicans knew then that such nominees would be more likely than not to support the same philosophy of effective government and consumer protection espoused by the President himself?

    So once again, I say to Verizon and its fellow broadband providers: be careful what you wish for.

    If you sue the FCC, you probably will lose. Even if you win the first round, you probably will lose en banc. Once you lose in court, you will have strengthened the hand of Senate Democrats, who currently are able to block passage of any law seeking to overturn the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules. Senate Democrats will point to the D.C. Circuit and say, the second-highest court in the land just upheld the FCC. This matter is decided. It’s over. We shouldn’t overturn the decisions of the court and the FCC.

    And then, maybe, just maybe, someone will say… I think I read about this a while back in HuffingtonPost.com.

    David Goodfriend is a Washington, D.C. lawyer whose clients include eBay, DISH Network, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and independent programmers like beIN SPORTS. He is Chairman of Sports Fans Coalition and teaches telecommunications policy at the Georgetown University Law Center and the George Washington University Law School.

  • The MOOC Experiment
    New York Times declared 2012 as the year of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). It was the year when Udacity, Coursera and edX, the three leading MOOC companies, took the education world by storm and promised a lot.

    Sebastian Thrun, co-founder of Udacity, proclaimed that in 10 years, job applicants will tout their Udacity degrees. In 50 years, he estimated that there would be about 10 educational institutions in the world providing higher education and Udacity has a shot at being one of them. Last year he threw in the towel because “the basic MOOC is a great thing for the top 5 percent of the student body, but not a great thing for the bottom 95 percent.” Udacity changed its course, from trying to become one of the top 10 institutions in the world, to focusing on corporate and vocational training. Today, Udacity strives to become the online version of DeVry University.

    Ananth Agrawal, CEO of edX, predicted that in less than a year one of edX’s partner universities would offer a purely online degree. Three years have passed since then and there is no sign of purely online degree from any of its partner institutions. Coursera, founded by two Stanford professors, is by far the largest in terms of the number of courses offered and students enrolled. However just like Udacity and edX, Coursera does not have much to show off in terms of student success rates.

    So what is going on? What is the future of MOOC?
    Well, MOOCs are going through a maturing process like any other business. Despite all the hype, there is no question that MOOCs are here to stay. MOOCs will transform higher education NOT for the reason that they were originally touted for vis-à-vis the massive number of students enrolling in the class.

    What advocates of MOOC have failed to see is that it is not about reaching hundreds of thousands of people. Educating mass numbers of people in higher education quickly and for free is a pipedream. That will never happen for the same reason why most people never achieve their New Year resolutions. According to the University of Scranton research, just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals. This data is consistent with the completion rate of MOOC data. In many ways low completion rates can also be compared to window shopping. Lot of people will like to look at things in the mall but not everyone is willing to pay for it.

    When MOOC pioneers declared that they would educate masses from all over the world in very quickly and for free, they were just being academic idealists. It requires time, effort, and lots of dedication and resources to successfully complete a course. Unless there is a compelling reason, no one will follow through homework assignments, quizzes and final exams.

    So what is exciting and promising about MOOC?

    1. A 10 percent completion rate still translates into thousands of students, much larger than a regular class.
    2. Even those, who have gone through the course half way through the course, stand to benefit from what they have learned.
    3. There is no substitute for a great teacher who can inspire students but there are not many of them. MOOC provides a platform to offer courses by great teachers.
    4. Anyone can enroll with a simple click of a button in MOOC. No admission process. No fees. This is one of the main reasons for high attrition rates at MOOC but this does democratize education. Anyone with an Internet connection from anywhere in the world can learn almost about anything from an expert in the field, and this is big! MOOC creates a level playing field providing opportunities for those who want to learn.
    5. MOOC is now in the transformation phase, from a large social experiment to becoming a standard. Universities that have been reluctant to do any online courses just a few years ago are now slowly adopting, or even developing their own MOOCs. MOOC is no longer a bad word in the academic circle.
    6. Thousands of students around the world are referring to at least some parts of MOOC during their academic study.
    7. While no one expects universities to go out of business as Sebastian Thrun predicated, MOOCs have forced traditional universities and colleges to rethink their current practices.
    8. New generations of students are using mobile devices for learning, something even early MOOC proponents did not foresee. This new generation of students are not willing to put up with long, boring lectures and lifeless PowerPoint presentations. MOOCs give them choices. Plus they can now hit the pause button.

    So what are the challenges MOOCS face today?
    Design and development of online courses require careful planning and a lot more efforts than teaching a traditional course. MOOCs must be developed in a way that integrates technology and sound pedagogy. Mere use of technology does not engage students, and most MOOCs are just as boring for this reason.

    The biggest challenge for MOOC is the assessment. Conducting proctored exam does not fit the online MOOC model and as of now there is no viable approach to conduct verified online exams. With video streaming and other technology including biometric identification becoming popular, it is only a question of time when students will be able complete all exams online leading to certifications.

    Another challenge is engineering and science courses that require conducting experiments and hands-on projects. Virtual experiment are a real possibility but there is no conclusive data if that can replace actual physical experiment.

    Finally, learning is not just about pure academics alone. Interacting with other students with diverse cultural backgrounds, club activities, working in group projects and having discussions with a teacher are important part of campus life and it cannot be done effectively online.

    What is going to happen in the near future?
    Nobody knows what will happen to the three leading contenders today. Enrollments and attrition remain flat. Interestingly, according a Harvard study, people who are benefitting from these courses already have a degree and actually do not need these classes. So current MOOCs are not reaching the people who it is originally supposed to reach.

    The immediate beneficiaries of the MOOC experiment, ironically, are those that did not want anything to do with online learning in the first place – universities. With assessment issues unresolved, universities are well positioned to offer a blended learning model, which takes advantage of their traditional classroom sessions for discussion (“flipped classrooms“) and assessment while delivering most content online. In addition universities offer all the advantages of a campus experience.

    MOOCs have played an important role. They promised a lot and did not deliver much. At the same time, MOOCs have unleashed a force that they cannot control or monetize. The MOOC movement has opened the door for affordable and just-in-time education.

  • Gumroad Turns Social Media Into The New Video Shop
    By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

    The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.

    Once upon a time film distribution seemed to be the most staid and stable of things: there were the studios, there were the exhibitors, and there was home video. If you wanted to get a film made and out into the world, you either had to know someone or take your chances in the volatile film markets.

    Everybody–and I think at this point that its safe to say “everybody” without it being hyperbole–knows that the Internet has changed the way that people consume film. This is an ongoing process, with a seemingly endless number of new paths being cut into the dark forrest that is Hollywood.

    This week another path opened up, this time from the social media commerce company Gumroad: video rentals.

    Here’s Gumroad in a nutshell, for those of you who don’t know: the company was founded by Sahil Lavingia, one of the first designers at Pinterest, who wanted an easier way of selling digital assets other than setting up an eBay or an Etsy account. Lavingia designed Gumroad so that instead of driving a creative’s customers to a marketplace website, they could start the transaction right in social media.

    The creator doesn’t hand off the relationship with their patron to Gumroad, but the site takes care of fulfillment. Even hosting video files for digital distribution. All for just 5 percent plus 25 cents per transaction.

    “Which I know sounds crazy now,” said K. Tighe of Gumroad’s communication team when I met with her last week in LA. “We’re a start-up, we have room to come up with what we think is the perfect product, so we have a little bit of time to grow.”

    That “perfect product” got a little more perfect this week with the Rentals feature. Filmmakers have already had the option of selling film and video content on Gumroad, but at launch the site says that nearly 28,000 products “will be rentals-capable.” Over 2,000 of that stock are feature-length films.

    Let’s cut to Gumroad’s own fact sheet on the features.

    Any creator selling a film or video product (from feature length films to web series, instructional videos to comedy shorts) will now have the option to make the product available for rent as well as sale – at a price of their choosing.

    Consumers will now have the option to rent instead of buy. They’ll have 30 days from the time of renting to begin viewing, and 72 hours of all-you-can watch after the first view.

    Consumers can stream rented videos online or on a mobile device via their Gumroad app (available on iOS and Android).

    In other words: makers can set up rentals that look like the kinds of rentals that consumers expect to find out in the rest of the world. No weird hybrids. Delivering a rentals option puts Gumroad into an ever more crowded online video space, but low fees and a lack of exclusivity requirements are powerful tools to wield in the marketplace.

    Marketplace is the tricky word here, however. Most of the players in the online video space–be it Apple, Amazon, or Vimeo–are built around the idea of building a marketplace where consumers come to discover what’s available. It’s a replication of the multiplex experience. Gumroad’s tack bets on the idea that the network will replace the marketplace–and idea championed by economist and social theorist Jeremy Rifkin–that the relationship between artist and patron will be more powerful in the long run than that between consumer and market brand.

    Given the experiences of the music industry in the past two decades, Gumroad isn’t betting blind.

    For her part, Tighe came to the company with a background in the music press, and music has been a big part of the company’s business so far. They’ve attracted acts like Girl Talk, Amanda Palmer and Eminem to the service–which aims to be as transparent as you can be.

    For artists with a large following the Gumroad experience is kind of a no-brainer: it’s a direct-to-fan tool that exists in the spaces like where the fan/artist relationship already takes place: like Twitter or an artist’s own website. There’s not much value in having middlemen take 30 percent on each sale when the network is already in place, waiting for you to drop your next piece of work.

    “What’s exciting to me is that the independent guys are using Gumroad as well and they get the same experience,” said Tighe. “Eminem isn’t getting a deal, they pay the same amount.”

    Conventional wisdom says that there’s still a place for markets to play a role in artist discovery and artist development. Yet we know from how connected we all are to social media that the networks do a fair amount of that heavy lifting these days. Not that every filmmaker is–or wants to be–marketing savvy. Towards that end Gumroad has been developing educational material that helps creatives understand just what to do with things like e-mail lists, explaining why they are so valuable.

    There’s a few other features to the way that Gumroad does business that will be of interest for filmmakers.

    1) Pre-orders. Gumroad has them. So if you want to get your opening day–especially a day and date theatrical/VOD opening day–numbers looking good you can stack the deck ahead of time.

    2) Bundles. Feel like putting a bunch of work together, or offering discount codes? Done.

    3) Plus-pricing. Creators can set “$5 plus” style prices, letting their patrons leave a little extra if they’re feeling generous. (This actually works, which seems crazy if you’re as cheap as I can be.)

    Maybe the most compelling feature of Gumroad is the scrappy “change the world” vibe that comes from the people and the product. The service occupies a place on the landscape that might be distinct from crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Patreon, but the emphasis on the direct relationship of fans to creators is part of the same movement those companies are the vanguard of.

    In my lengthy conversation with Tighe, I got the sense that what was powering Gumroad is an ideology that these tools enable.

    “What I think the future looks like if Gumroad succeeds and companies like Patreon succeed along with us.” said Tighe, “[Is that] it will be a viable thing to become a filmmaker or a musician or an author. It won’t be a thing that horrifies your parents. It won’t be a thing that requires you working as a barista during the day or having a terrible nine to five that you hate. You’re actually going to be able to make a living at it.”

    Public media’s TurnstyleNews.com, covers tech and digital culture from the West Coast.

    Go to Turnstylenews.com | Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Tumblr

  • Windows 10 for Phone to Support USB Mass Storage and USB Type-C

    When it comes to Windows 10 for Phone, we are going to see a whole lot of improvements around USB support in the release coming this summer.  At the WinHEC event in China, the company outlined how they are going to be changing the way USB works on the platform and they are all positives.  First and perhaps most importantly is the support for USB Type-C, the new standard in USB connectors.  Apple as you may know recently announced a new MacBook that only has a USB Type-C connector for everything: Power, Display, etc.  Some didn’t take kindly to it

    The post Windows 10 for Phone to Support USB Mass Storage and USB Type-C appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • New Jersey Finally Lifts Ban On Tesla Sales
    New Jersey gave Tesla Motors the green light on Wednesday to start selling its cars again.

    Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill allowing the Palo Alto-based electric carmaker to open four dealerships in the state, which last year banned the company from selling its cars directly to consumers.

    “I said last year that if the Legislature changed the law, I would sign new legislation put on my desk and that is exactly what I’m doing today,” Christie said in a statement. “We’re pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations for consumers in a manner lawfully in New Jersey.”

    Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, but posted a tweet recognizing the new law.

    A huge victory in New Jersey for consumer choice: We are open for business! @GovChristie

    — Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2015

    Unlike other car companies, Tesla sells its cars directly to buyers and does not use franchised dealerships. This has prompted a state-by-state fight with dealership associations, which have lobbied states to enforce laws that prevent car manufacturers from selling directly to customers. As a result, Tesla is barred from selling its Model S sedan — for now, its sole offering — in Texas, Arizona, Michigan and Maryland, all states where it previously operated before the bans were in place.

    tesla new jersey
    This map shows every current Tesla store throughout North America.

    New Jersey’s new law allows any automaker that only produces zero-emissions vehicles to operate no more than four dealerships in the state. A similar agreement in New York last year limited Tesla to five dealerships there.

    If the company is successful in expanding its business, as it plans to do, the cap on the number of stores in these two states could become a problem.

    Earlier this year, CEO Elon Musk vowed to aggressively spend money over the next few years to grow the company. The Model X, its highly anticipated sports utility vehicle, is due out later this year after several delays. Tesla plans to unveil the Model 3 — which, tentatively priced at $35,000, would be its most affordable vehicle yet — sometime next year. The company is building a $5 billion “gigafactory” in Nevada to mass-produce the lithium-ion batteries that power its cars.

    “This issue is not solved, it’s delayed,” Karl Brauer, senior analyst at the automotive research firm Kelley Blue Book, told The Huffington Post of New Jersey’s new law. “They’ve basically delayed the longer-term, larger issue.”

    Still, it’s progress.

    New Jersey’s Tesla ban was mocked last month with a Luddite Award, a prize bestowed by a Washington, D.C., think tank. The term Luddite, which describes a person who opposes new technologies, derives its origins from bands of early 19th-century English textile workers who destroyed new automated milling machinery out of fear that it endangered their jobs.

    “This gets them off the Luddite list,” Rob Atkinson — president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, which invented the award — told HuffPost. Noting the four-store quota, he added, “But it doesn’t get them on any pro-innovation list.”

    tesla stock

    Tesla stock rose nearly 3 percent to $200.05 after Christie’s office announced the law’s passage.

    For Tesla’s core of devoted fans, who laud the company and its mission to rid the world of carbon-emitting vehicles, the new law is welcome news, said Andrea Giangone, 48, a member of the 50-person fan group Tesla Owners of New Jersey.

    “It allows Tesla to expand its sales,” Giangone, who owns a blue 2013 Model S, told HuffPost. “It’s so exciting, we’re all happy.”

  • Windows 10 to Support More Multi-Touch Gestures

    There has been a lot of news about Windows 10 today from the WinHEC event in Shenzhen, China and this tidbit is really exciting for those of us who use touchpads and Windows tablets.  In Windows 10, Microsoft is concentrating efforts on improving the array of multi-touch gestures that you can use on touchpads and touchscreens to improve the user experience but also to give more controls at the touch of a finger – or set of fingers –  as the case may be.  This includes a relaxation of the requirements on how the touchpad and touchscreen digitizers should perform

    The post Windows 10 to Support More Multi-Touch Gestures appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10041 to Windows Insiders

    Microsoft has announced that a new build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview is coming to Windows Insiders on the Fast Ring today.  The new Build 10041 comes 54 days after the first preview release and is being welcomed with glee as it addresses a lot of bugs and brings improved features and functionality over the original build, Build 9926.  Only those in the Windows Insider program will have access to it and only those in the Fast Ring will see it.  As a reminder, this is a beta of Windows 10 so it is far from complete despite Microsoft’s

    The post Microsoft Releases Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 10041 to Windows Insiders appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Apple's Tim Cook interviewed: talks products, collaboration, Jobs
    Following an excerpt from the forthcoming biography called Becoming Steve Jobs about the mercurial co-founder and former CEO of Apple, the company’s current leader Tim Cook was interviewed by Fast Company about what has changed — and what has stayed the same — since Jobs’ untimely death in 2011. In the wide-ranging conversation, Cook owns up to some growing pains, but says the spirit of Jobs lives on.

  • This Public Bus Runs Entirely On Human Poop Converted Into Fuel
    These British passengers can confidently assert that their sh*t don’t stink.

    The city of Bristol is prepared to roll out a vehicle on March 25 that’s powered entirely by locals’ poop as part of an ambitious environmental campaign. The Bio-Bus, which will aptly run on Bristol’s Service 2 route, plans to fuel up at a sewage treatment where human waste and inedible food is converted into biomethane, according to GENeco, which is overseeing the recycling process.

    The 40-seater will operate four days a week with the help of more than 32,000 households whose waste gets processed at the Bristol sewage plant, according to First Group.

    The bus will help improve air quality, will actually be quieter than other public vehicles and won’t exude any odors, the Telegraph reported.

    It will also encourage British people to start calling their toilets a throne, instead of a loo.

    “It’s very hard to get people to believe in the whole recycling ethic,” Colin Field, who works at the Bath Bus company, told the Telegraph in November. “When they can actually see that the waste they put in their little bin … is powering this vehicle, it makes people look at it in a slightly different light.”

    To make sure the riders don’t raise a stink about the partnership, First West of England, which is operating the bus, is giving a free ticket to residents who live near the service line.

    It’s a fair deal considering that when the Bio-Bus’ driver steps on the gas, he’ll be able to cover 2.5 million miles over the course of a year with the waste produced by the households along the route.

    The bus first came up roses last year when it made its debut running between Bath city center and Bristol Airport, according to GENeco.

    If the bus proves to be successful, First West will consider introducing an entire fleet of “poo buses.”

    “The very fact that it’s up and running in the city should help to open up a serious debate about how buses are best fuelled, and what is good for the environment,” said James Freeman, managing director at First West of England.

    H/T CityLab

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

iPhone Application Development

iphone/ipad apps

custom iphone / ipad apps development

Android Application Development

android apps

custom android app

Windows Mobile Development

windows apps

windows mobile application development

Blackberry Application development

blackberry apps

Blackberry application development

follow us
follow mobile phone developers Digital Workshed on facebook
follow iPhone, iPad & android app developers Digital Workshed on twitter
connect with iOS & android developers Digital Workshed on LinkedIn