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Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • 5 Best EMV Chip Cards for Your Summer Travel Plans
    By Jonathan Roisman, NextAdvisor.com

    The weather is getting warmer and summer is approaching. Whether you’re planning a big trip to another country or you just want to get out of town for a few days, it’s a great time for a vacation. While a travel rewards credit card offers big benefits for frequent travelers, some cards also include the more secure way to pay — chip technology. The goal is to reduce fraud, and the EMV chip cards (another name for cards with chip technology) offer an extra layer of consumer protection. Although it’s coming to the U.S. by the end of the year, it has been exclusively accepted — more than magnetic stripe — throughout Europe for years. So whether you’re planning a European vacation this summer or just looking for a great travel card that also has the EMV technology, we’ve detailed five of the best travel rewards credit cards.

    The best EMV chip cards for traveling

    1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

    The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is one the top credit cards available, and possibly the ultimate one when it comes to travel cards. It’s one of the only credit cards currently in the U.S. that offers chip and PIN technology (as opposed to chip and signature), making it one of the easiest cards to use anywhere in the world. With this card, you’ll earn two miles on every dollar you spend without any reward limits — that’s $2.20 (including the 10 percent bonus miles you’ll receive when you redeem for travel statement credit) redemption for every $100 spent. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you’ll get 40,000 bonus miles (worth up to $440 in travel when factoring in the 10 percent bonus) after you make $3,000 worth of purchases within three months of opening the account. Although there is an $89 annual fee, it is waived the first year.

    2. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) was recently upgraded to include chip and signature technology. This makes foreign travel easier, and it will help prepare Americans for domestic purchases when the switch to EMV cards is implemented later this year. With this card, you’ll earn 2 miles on every dollar you spend with no limits, and you’ll get an introductory 40,000 miles (worth $400 in travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account. There’s no foreign transaction fee, and the $59 annual fee is waived the first year. Unlike the other cards on this list, Capital One Venture is targeted at people with good or excellent credit, not just excellent, so your chances of being approved are better.

    3. Chase Sapphire Preferred

    With chip and signature technology, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (NextAdvisor advertiser) is a great choice when traveling at home or abroad. You’ll earn two points for each dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and one point for everything else. There are no limits on what you can earn, and you’ll get 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account. That’s equal to $500 in travel if you redeem your points with the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. You can also transfer your points on a 1:1 ratio to a number of Chase partners, including Southwest Airlines, British Airways and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. To top it off, there are no foreign transaction fees and the $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.

    4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

    The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) lets you earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on every purchase, and you’ll get an online-exclusive 10,000 bonus points — worth $100 for travel — after you spend $500 in the first 90 days. There’s no annual fee and you get 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles, which is a fantastic perk for a travels reward card. You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees, and Bank of America customers with an active checking or savings account earn an additional 10 percent customer points bonus on every purchase.

    5. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

    The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) is a great choice if you’re going to fly a lot this summer because there are absolutely no blackout dates on any Southwest flight when using miles. If a seat is available you can buy it with points. With this card, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months, and you’ll earn two miles on every dollar spent on a Southwest purchase, plus one point per $1 spent on everything else. There’s a $99 annual fee, but you’ll get 6,000 bonus miles on your membership anniversary. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the recently added EMV chip makes traveling internationally a little bit easier.

    For more information on the best travel cards with EMV technology, check out our in-depth travel cards reviews.

    This blog post originally appeared on NextAdvisor.com.

    Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Roseanne Barr Is Going Blind. Here's What You Should Know
    In an interview last week with The Daily Beast, actress Roseanne Barr revealed that she is slowly going blind.

    Barr, 62, hasn’t lost her vision yet, but said she suffers from two eye conditions: Macular degeneration and glaucoma. Michigan ophthalmologist Steven A. Shanbom, MD, speaking generally because he has not treated Barr, told CNN why that combination is difficult: “Macular degeneration takes away her central vision, and glaucoma is taking away her peripheral vision,” he explained.

    Barr has age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50, according to the National Eye Institute. It mostly affects the retina, or the central vision that focuses on objects ahead of us. Glaucoma, on the other hand, includes a number of disorders that affect the eye’s optic nerve, and is usually caused by pressure in the eyes and fluid buildup.

    Barr told The Daily Beast that her vision is starting to narrow:

    My vision is closing in now. It’s something weird. But there are other weird things. That one’s harsh, ’cause I read a lot, and then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I could hire somebody to read for me and read to me.’ But I like words and I like looking. You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible — y’know, living it up. My dad had it, too.

    Vision loss, especially in people with a family history, is in many cases inevitable as we age. But you can take preventive measures. Dr. Rachel Bishop of the National Eye Institute told The Huffington Post to avoid smoking and remember to wear sunglasses.

    “Smoking seems to affect circulation,” she explained, adding that circulation diminishes as we age. As for sunglasses, they help prevent sun damage, which accumulates with age just as it does on your skin. “Over time these damages accumulate and the body can’t compensate after a certain point. You [then] see damage to the surface structures and the deep structures [of the eye], like your retina,” she said.

    Getting enough exercise can help, according to CNN, as can eating foods rich in eye-protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Those include lutein- and zeathan-rich green vegetables, vitamin E-packed almonds and citrus, and also berries, which are high in Vitamin C. And don’t forget about your regular eye exams!

    “Without that eye exam we can’t identify a problem and treat it,” Bishop said. “So much of blindness and vision loss is preventable, but the key is early detection. I have a number of patients with severe vision loss because they had glaucoma that they didn’t get treated sooner.”

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  • The Colleges That Order The Most Food During Finals, According To GrubHub
    The concept of “acceptable” meals is a little shaky in college. Students eat whatever’s in the cafeteria and use limited space, time and resources to attempt cooking. During finals, college students get even more shameless, ordering absurd amounts of delivery for both efficiency and comfort.

    The online food ordering service GrubHub went through their data to find which schools order the most during finals as compared to the rest of the year. They found that, overall, food deliveries to libraries are 154 percent more likely during final exams than the rest of the year. The schools included in this list are the ones that had enough orders to be statistically analyzed, a GrubHub spokesperson said.

    Virginia Tech came out with the biggest spike in finals deliveries — a 46 percent increase as compared to the rest of the term. The University of Virginia came in at No. 8 with a 25 percent order spike.

    The data shows that colleges in New York state are especially keen on finals food deliveries. Three schools in the top 10 are in New York — Ithaca College, Cornell University and Syracuse University. Pennsylvania schools also make a good showing, with the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania coming in at Nos. 7 and 10, respectively.

    Here are the official rankings from GrubHub:

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Blue Man Group Surprises Fan With A 'Pretty Awesome' 3D-Printed Robotic Arm
    Wyatt Falardeau is such a fan of Blue Man Group that he wanted his robotic arm to be themed after the performers. Earlier this month, his wish and more came true.

    Wyatt, a 12-year-old from Vero Beach, Fla., had his forearm and hand amputated shortly after birth, WPTV reports. In a video posted by Blue Man Group, he received a blue 3D-printed robotic arm complete with paint splatters, the group’s signature touch, to remind him of his favorite entertainers.

    The arm was created by Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing 3D-printed bionic arms to kids around the world. When Wyatt received the arm, he also had lunch with the cast, got a personal backstage tour and played with the electronics and musical instruments. Of the encounter, the group called Wyatt “our superhero” in a recent Facebook post.

    Happy National Superhero Day from Blue Man Group and our superhero, Wyatt!

    Posted by Blue Man Group on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    So what did Wyatt think of his new arm? “It’s pretty awesome.”

    H/T A Plus

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

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  • The Average Hipster Employs 27 Slaves Each Day. Here's How To Change That
    Hipsters may value social progress, but their coffee habits say otherwise.

    That’s according to the team at Made in a Free World (MIAFW), a group dedicated to raising awareness on how consumers support illegal slave operations — often without realizing it — with their purchasing power.

    According to a statement provided to The Huffington Post, MIAFW looked at stereotypical purchases made by those associated with the subculture — things like cotton for clothing, coffee beans and tantalum for cell phones — and estimated that the average hipster employs 27 slaves a day through their purchasing power.

    The figure, of course, isn’t exact, MIAFW explained, as purchasing habits vary from person to person. But it does highlight how even those who try to be conscious, smart consumers can support unethical global business practices.

    “Think about how crazy that is,” MIAFW noted in the statement. “This person who values independent thinking, progressive politics, art, music, creativity, intelligence (and tight-fitting jeans) is unknowingly wearing and using products that are creating abusive environments for people globally. But, admittedly, it’s tough to buy ethical because so many of the brands we grow to know, love and trust simply don’t uphold standards that align with our personal ethos.”

    hipster slaves

    Modern-day slavery affects more people now than during any other period in human history. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index produced by the Walk Free Foundation, there’s an estimated 35.8 million people living in slavery around the globe.

    As The Washington Post reported, the foundation doesn’t follow “some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery” — it tracks child soldiers, people who are forced into labor and prostitution, child brides and others who are treated more like property than people.

    Earlier this month, officials rescued more than 300 slaves in Indonesia after a story by the Associated Press exposed the human rights abuse. The slaves had been lured or tricked into leaving their homes behind and then forced to catch fish to supply the global demand for seafood, AP reported. Some of the fish ended up in the U.S.

    But there are ways consumers can get informed on the products they buy, and what role such items play in the global marketplace. Organizations like Free2Work aim to educate people on global brands and how those companies relate to forced and child labor practices around the world.

    MIAFW recently launched Forced Labor Risk Determination and Mitigation (FRDM) — a service for companies to learn more about obtaining their products from ethical sources. The digital service, which MIAFW claims is the first software designed to help companies rid their supply chains from slavery, educates companies on business-to-business commerce and pinpoints high-risk regions where the abuse takes place, helping them avoid supporting such operations.

    To learn more about Made in a Free World and FRDM, click here.

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

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  • Apple Watch Found To Have Defects: WSJ
    April 29 (Reuters) – Apple Inc has found defects with a key component of its Apple Watch, prompting it to limit availability of the product, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The component, called the taptic engine, produces the sensation of being tapped on the wrist, the newspaper reported. (http://on.wsj.com/1zekdXI)

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    Apple has not given any sales figures for its hotly anticipated Apple Watch since it began taking orders this month. Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Monday that demand continued to outstrip supply.

    Some taptic engines supplied by Shenzhen, China-based AAC Technologies Holdings Inc started to break down over time, the Journal said, citing the people. The company is one of two suppliers of these components to Apple.

    As a result, Apple is now sourcing nearly all of its components from the other supplier, Japan’s Nidec Corp. It may take time for the company to increase production, the people told the Journal.

    The Journal said an AAC spokeswoman declined to comment about the company’s customers. Reuters was unable to reach the company for comment outside of regular business hours in China.

    Nidec was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting By Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Robin Paxton)

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Uber Driver Entertains Passenger With An Impromptu Opera Performance
    In this car, Pavarotti would play second fiddle to the driver.

    Jeff Sullivan captured this video of his Uber driver beautifully belting out some opera and uploaded it to YouTube.

    “He was playing [opera] on his radio and I told him how much I appreciated it,” Sullivan told The Huffington Post in an email. Sullivan was on his way to a bar in South Boston, and started chatting with his driver.

    “He asked me if I could sing — I can’t, but entertained him with a few weak Andrea Bocelli lyrics,” Sullivan said.

    “He mentioned that he was a student, but I’m not sure if he meant it in the literal sense or that he just enjoys music,” he added. “I then told him that ‘the floor is yours’ and he started [singing]… at first I thought he was kidding, then he started to impress more and more, so I pulled out my camera … no one would believe me when I told them I was just in an Uber with Pavoratti’s muse.”

    “Wow, that’s brilliant,” Sullivan can be heard saying at the end of the song. He then gets back to offering the driver directions.

    “Who needs a radio when you have an awesome uber driver!” Sullivan asked rhetorically in the video description.

    Sullivan is currently trying to track down the driver, he told HuffPost. Uber users can see a history of their trips, but the list does not include drivers’ names or contact information.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Why This Company's Attempt To Buy Time Warner Cable Might Actually Work
    All signs seem to be pointing at a new Time Warner Cable merger. And this one might actually succeed.

    Just last week, a deal between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, the country’s two largest cable providers, fell apart. Charter, another top cable company, is already preparing a proposal to purchase Time Warner Cable, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

    Though Comcast’s deal broke down after regulators said they would block the merger, citing concerns about the impact on customers, Charter’s bid might have a better chance.

    Comcast, with its 22.4 million cable subscribers and 22 million Internet subscribers, would have created a giant conglomerate with its Time Warner Cable deal, and authorities worried that the potential mega-merger posed a threat to competition and net neutrality. Combined, Charter and Time Warner Cable would have 15 million cable and 16.5 million Internet subscribers, a much smaller entity.

    “Regulators are concerned about controlling the end pipe into the home, and I think that wouldn’t be an issue with Charter-Time Warner Cable,” Mike McCormack, managing director of the investment bank Jefferies, told The Huffington Post.

    Charter may have another advantage because it doesn’t own a TV network, while Comcast’s full acquisition of NBCUniversal last year broadened its influence over TV programming and distribution, according to Bloomberg.

    Charter even tried to acquire Time Warner Cable for $37.3 billion last year, before Comcast jumped in with a $45.2 billion offer.

    Time Warner Cable recently indicated that it is open to a merger with Charter. CEO Robert Marcus called his company a “one-of-a-kind” asset in a statement released after the Comcast merger fell through.

    Executives at Liberty Media, which controls Charter, had expressed eagerness at the possibility of pursuing Time Warner Cable again if the Comcast deal didn’t close. “There’d be a ton of reasons” for Charter to make a second bid, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei said last month.

    “Both companies have done a really good job turning around subscriber counts and rolling out higher speed data products,” McCormack told HuffPost. “Both are better positioned today than they were a year ago.”

    Investors seemed to support the dissolution of the Comcast merger. Time Warner Cable shares rose 4 percent shortly after the Comcast deal collapsed last Friday. Charter and Comcast stocks also increased slightly.

    Charter is also in talks to acquire Bright House Networks, a cable provider with 2.5 million subscribers. But if Time Warner Cable strikes a deal with Charter, it has the right to refuse that agreement, a result of its former ownership of Bright House.

    An acquisition of Cablevision may also come into play, McCormack said. Time Warner Cable could seek a bid for Cablevision to use as leverage in a deal with Charter.

    Charter and Time Warner Cable declined to comment.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Georgia Woman Arrested After Facebook Rant Calls For 'Death To All White Cops Nationwide'
    As police brutality protests turned to riots in Baltimore earlier this week, an Atlanta-area woman was arrested for allegedly inciting violence against cops with a Facebook post.

    Ebony Monique Dickens, of East Point, Georgia, allegedly called for “death to all white cops nationwide” in a Facebook rant that she posted on Monday, East Point police told The Huffington Post. She was arrested Tuesday on charges of terroristic threats after Atlanta police notified the department in East Point. Dickens reportedly deleted her Facebook page hours before her arrest on Tuesday evening.

    The 33-year-old is accused of threatening to murder police officers and writing, “Might kill at least 15 [cops] tomorrow.” She allegedly posted the rant under the name Tiffany Milan.

    tiffany milan

    East Point police declined to comment on the post on Wednesday morning, but a press officer told the New York Daily News on Tuesday, “That’s 15 people that she’s talking about killing within a day or so, so whether she is serious or not that’s something that we have to take seriously.”

    Dickens’ threats came just as Baltimore mobilized National Guard troops after Freddie Gray’s funeral on Monday. Officers and rioters continue to clash in Baltimore as city residents defy a weeklong curfew instituted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

    Gray died last week after suffering a spinal injury in police custody, and six Baltimore officers were suspended in connection with his death.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Planes grounded by iPad app error
    American Airlines delays dozens of flights after an iPad app used by its pilots stops working.
  • 5 Industries the Internet of Things Is Going to Change Radically
    2015-04-28-1430220542-8516741-IoTChifco.jpg
    “What do you know about the Internet of Things?” is the question we asked at the beginning of this week. To put it simply, the idea behind IoT is to be able to connect any kind of every day object, say a thermostat, a car, a coffee maker, or a watch to the internet. Not only is it great to be able to have centralized, remote control over one’s devices but it is also a game changer to be able to collect data about the functioning and interaction of these machines. This ability to collect and process data from connected objects is already changing the face of a few industries.

    1. Your security in the palm of your hand

    The time of trying to remember whether you locked the door, turned off all the lights, when you are half a world away from your house and you have to go back to check, is over. The time of worrying about discovering a break in at your house, as you return from vacation is over. The time when you spent the day worrying about your children because you left them at home with a nanny, or a baby-sitter is also over. A few sensors, detectors, smart plugs, IP cameras, a smart phone or a tablet and you are the master of your home, or office at any time and from anywhere. No more worries, just peace of mind, as you take back control of some of the most important aspects of your life, thanks to home automation.

    2. The service industry will prove that information is power

    A huge variety of Big Data-based services have been emerging and will be emerging soon. On the one hand, some companies are using the data generated by connected objects to enhance their performance and their products. The generated data is key for them to tailor their services to their clients’ specific needs. On the other hand, the data collected has been helping service providers market their products and target more specific audiences like never before. To give a small example, Wi-Fi Hotspots are a service provider’s best friend. All they need is to optimize the use of their offered Wi-Fi connection. It not only puts them more in control of the goings on in their structures but also helps them collect information on their customers either for marketing purposes, or service enhancement purposes, or both.

    3. The automotive industry becomes more efficient

    Fleet management systems, such as GPS tracking solutions have enabled companies to become a lot more efficient and optimize the use of their fleets. Whether it is a car-rental company, any kind of company with a commercial fleet, or a car insurance company, the possibilities of tracking their fleet’s movement, accidents, theft and consumption are just incredible. The costs these companies will be able to cut thanks to how efficient these solutions can make them are huge, not to mention enhanced performance, service, and again security.

    4. The healthcare industry says who is better than you to take care of your own health

    And who is? Democratizing health care and making it accessible at home and understandable will revolutionize the way we treat and prevent chronic diseases, partly because of data collection and centralization as well. Centralizing all of the information about monitoring one’s diabetes, or high blood pressure for example, receiving alerts, and analyzed data about it on one app, will help the patient keep themselves in check and will provide physicians with valuable information on the patient but also on the disease itself. Making people responsible for their own health will be an efficient tool to reduce unpredictable, lethal incidents, as well as a great tool to incentivize people to live better.

    5. Last but not least, finally a way to measure your own carbon footprint, starting with your energy consumption

    Just the potential that big data has in helping us limit our carbon footprint in terms of energy consumption, and eventually pollution alleviation is astounding. Almost all home automation solutions out there have a green edge and why not, when regular people can receive this type of information, which raises awareness of issues we needed to contemplate a long time ago. It might sound cliché, but it is the legacy we leave to our children and the generations afterwards. It is high time someone cared about what we do to the environment on a daily basis, in the name of our modern comforts. Isn’t it even better, though, when we tell you that you can have your modern comforts and a responsible way to enjoy them thanks to IoT? And if not for the environment, do it for the savings. It just makes sense every which way you look at it. It has to please you to know that the future’s technology is a responsible one. We know it pleases us. Moreover, IoT will help do this as much on a personal small scale as it will on a larger scale, simply because it makes studies possible and much easier on how much our machines consume or pollute. This is no mushy, flower-loving hippie, tree-hugger kind of green. We might be on the verge of a real green technology-based revolution. The possibilities are really endless.

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  • Secret Shutting Down
    BuzzFeed News has learned that just over a year after it debuted, Secret — the anonymous social app that made headlines around the world as a possible harbinger of truly anonymous social network — is closing shop.

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  • 5 Lessons Government Can Learn from Khan Academy
    Khan Academy is changing how kids (and even adults!) are learning across the globe. With over 2,400 courses from arithmetic to physics and 100,000+ exercises, millions of people across the globe are learning from the world’s top experts at Khan.

    At the same time as this revolutionary change is taking place, it’s worth looking at how government learns – specifically, government employees. There are over 20 million government employees in the U.S. working on issues that range from keeping our country safe to improving our nation’s infrastructure in roles from budget to technology to customer service. If they do their jobs well, we save billions of dollars and improve millions of lives.

    But how do we ensure they learn how to do their jobs well? Currently, here is the plan: cut training budgets, eliminate all travel for training, and, while we’re at it, have three people doing a job where there used to be five.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can leverage the same innovative approach to learning used by Khan Academy in order to help our government employees do their jobs better.

    That’s why we launched GovLoop Academy last week: to provide free, short, impactful learning experiences for public sector professionals. We launched with over 25 courses, online mentoring, digital individual development plans, and badging.

    As we did the research to develop GovLoop Academy, interviewing and surveying hundreds of government employees, five major themes emerged that can dramatically improve the government workforce through online learning:

    1) Short: Everyone is busy. As we met with government employees, nearly all of them mentioned they had limited time. But they had 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there. Learning has to be split into micro-learning experiences and that’s why all of our videos are in the 3-5 minute range in a course.

    2) Practical: Learning has to be useful right away. We found government employees did not want just “theory” on topics like project management. They wanted tactical tips that they could use today in their specific environment. In addition, they wanted hands-on exercises and team-based projects on practical work issues.

    3) Social: The great thing about government is all employees are on the same team. If I’m at EPA and you are at CDC, we want to learn from each other. Our research showed that government employees wanted to learn from people currently in government like them. They also wanted the experience to be social and for there to be discussions with others in government at their training.

    4) Recordable: Many government employees move agencies across their career and it’s tough to keep track of what courses they’ve taken and what they’ve learned. That’s why we’ve made it easy to capture all of an individual’s learning experiences across time, tracking courses taken not only on GovLoop Academy, but also recording any informal learning that’s completed both online and in-person.

    5) Timely: A lot of the classic government topics like mandatory ethics or security training exist in droves. However, a number of folks said they lacked training on timely topics. For example, they mentioned open data and human-centered design as two cutting-edge topics that were making the transition from a small group of early innovators to mainstream adoption. People needed relevant training on an emerging field where there’s little if any current training content.

    It’s still early in the reinvention of online learning, whether it’s the great work at Khan Academy or Skillshare or Udacity. We believe the time is ripe for this innovation to start coming to government. With a retiring workforce, shrinking budgets, and decreasing time, we need to find ways to train current and rising leaders to take on the important tasks ahead.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Cell Phones: A Potentially Deadly Addiction
    We can’t help ourselves. We naturally want more of what makes us feel happy, at ease or socially accepted. Because addiction often is born from pleasure and convenience, even the most innocuous things can become addictive.

    Cell phones are the new addiction, and a new public opinion poll from the National Safety Council shows Americans realize it. According to the poll, 82 percent of Americans believe cell phones are addictive. We only need to look around to see that perception materialize. The emergence of smartphones has exacerbated our addiction to connectivity, not to mention pleasure. Scientists have shown our brains get a hit of dopamine – the chemical linked to happiness – when we hear our phones beep or ring.

    Our addiction is relatively harmless when we’re using our phones to talk or surf the web from our couches. But when we’re behind the wheel, our addiction can be lethal.

    Calls can kill. Just as science proved there is no safe way to smoke, science continues to prove there is no safe way to talk on a cell phone and drive – not even hands-free.

    When we are addicted to something, we search for ways to justify our habit. With cell phones, two critical cultural ideals have helped us do so. First, multitasking has long been considered a skill and integral to success. We feel like we can – and should – do everything at once. Second, society tells us that being constantly connected is not only possible, but necessary and beneficial. The proliferation of in-vehicle technology that allows for hands-free calling reinforces this idea.

    We need to dispel the myth of multitasking. Many of us think the key to having it all is doing it all – at the same time, without missing a beat. In reality, when we try to multitask we are virtually assured of missing something. When we ask our brains to focus on two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time, the brain will prioritize one above the other and shift between the two. Our brains do this so quickly that we don’t recognize we are cognitively distracted and not performing either task to the best of our abilities.

    Think about watching TV while listening to a book on tape. It would be impossible to recount the TV show’s plot line or write an informed book report. Yet, we use the same kind of cognitive brain power when we drive or talk on a cell phone. If we wouldn’t do something as inconsequential as watch TV while listening to a book on tape, why would we hold a phone conversation while performing the monumental task of driving?

    Because our addiction tells us we can.

    When we want to have it all and do it all, our brains respond accordingly. We disregard the numerous studies showing the dangers of cell phone conversations while driving. We opt instead to lean on the societal cues. Hands-free phone use is legal, so we believe it must be OK. Car manufacturers are building hands-free calling devices into vehicles, so we believe the systems must be safe to use.

    Smokers did the same thing 40 years ago, relying on skewed studies, faulty logic and societal cues. Tobacco executives swore nicotine wasn’t addictive despite evidence showing otherwise. Industry leaders decried the clear link between cancer and smoking. Magazines and TV stations ran advertisements claiming smoking helped control weight and relieve stress, among other health benefits.

    No smoker today truly can claim ignorance. Laws and regulations have been passed; societal acceptance has waned. We know smoking can kill.

    Overcoming addiction is incredibly difficult. Some smokers kick the habit when they understand the grave consequences. But far too many end up looking back and wishing they’d stopped. After all, they knew their addiction could be lethal.

    Don’t kid yourself. Drivers who use their cell phones assume a potentially life-ending risk, too. When you get behind the wheel, disengage. Turn off your phone. Disable the in-vehicle features that allow for hands-free calling. Don’t let your addiction lead to irrevocable consequences.

    No call, no text, no update is worth a human life, and justifying your addiction with “everyone else does it” or “it won’t happen to me” is unacceptable.

    • Deborah A.P. Hersman is president and CEO of the National Safety Council and the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

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  • If Your Android Apps Are Crashing Suddenly, Try This Fix
    A new Android system update may be to blame for frequent app crashes on certain smartphones and tablets.

    Both BGR and Droid Life report that a new version of Android System WebView, a component “that allows Android apps to display web content,” might be leading certain programs — like the popular Textra messaging app — to crash.

    Users on Reddit surmised that the problem could be exclusive to the HTC One M8 phone, though BGR reported that it was also affecting tablets.

    A representative for Google told The Huffington Post that the company is aware of the problem and working on it.

    For now, there’s a fix you can try yourself: Open your system settings, then the application manager and select Android System WebView. From there, tap “uninstall updates” and your apps should begin working normally again.

    It might not be the safest idea to uninstall, though, since this problematic version of WebView also contained a security update. If the problem is not affecting apps you particularly care about, you might want to wait for Google’s official fix.

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  • Here's What 'Back To The Future 2' Would Look Like If Doc & Marty Came To The REAL 2015
    “Roads? Where we’re going we … still need roads.”

    Thanks to this sketch made by the good people at The Shorty Awards, we have a pretty good idea of what would have happened if Doc Brown and Marty McFly had made it to the actual 2015 in “Back To The Future 2.”

    Unfortunately, there are no hoverboards, flying cars, self-lacing shoes or holographic billboards. And, even more unfortunately, our most impressive invention — the smartphone — isn’t making us any smarter. But hey! Marty doesn’t even have to change his clothes now that “normcore” is in style. And today’s music does sort of sound like a robot having a stroke. So, we’ve got that going for us.

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  • Nasdaq apology for Twitter mistake
    The Nasdaq stock market says its “regrets” an “operational error” which led to Twitter’s results being released early.
  • Mobile, web-based intervention can be effective in back pain management

    Fitback uses a combination of mobile, web-based resources to manage back pain

    The post Mobile, web-based intervention can be effective in back pain management appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Judge objects to Facebook training
    A Texas judge whose Facebook posts led to a mistrial is appealing against a ruling that she take social-media classes.

Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • (VIDEO) Programmatic Video is Center Stage at Yahoo NewFront with Brightroll Integration
    At last night’s Yahoo NewFront event at Lincoln Center, interest in programmatic video advertising and the opportunity to buy highly targeted audiences, was widely talked about by Yahoo executives and several of media agency executives.

    For Yahoo, programmatic video is now a key part of the company’s monetization offering with its BrightRoll unit, which it acquired late last year.

    At the event, we spoke with BrightRoll founder and CEO Tod Sacerdoti about the new programmatic offering with Yahoo and the evolving state of digital video in the advertising marketplace.

    This interview was part of our coverage of the Yahoo NewFront event sponsored by Yahoo.   For more videos from event, please visit this page.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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  • (VIDEO) Adobe Tempts Pros With Cloud And 'Voodoo': Roberts
    Some of the new graphics software technologies coming out of Adobe sound like they will add to the palette of creative professionals in the video and imaging sector.

    Speaking with Beet.TV in this video interview, Adobe product management senior director Bill Roberts says the recently-announced “Project Candy” allows users to capture a color set using their smartphone camera for use in desktop video editing.

    “Quite often, you want to capture the mood of a moment,” Roberts says. “If you’re at the beach at sunset, and you’ve got this glorious orange sky… that would be a great way to warm up a video interview.

    With new Project Candy, I’m able to capture the colour and light, select the elements of the light that I want to exchange and save it. That look is immediately available to me when I jump in to Premier, After Effects of Premier Clip. The cloud should be something that’s seamless that makes your life better.

    Additionally, Adobe Premier Pro CC introduces a new transition, Morph Cut, which lets editors blend moves between jump cuts, effectively eliminating the disparity between separate scenes.

    We interviewed Roberts at the NAB Show. Beet.TV’s coverage of the show was sponsored by Akamai.  Please find more coverage from Las Vegas here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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  • Base Jumpers Free Fall Off Dubai's Tallest Residential Tower In Beautiful Video
    These folks get so terrifyingly high, they might need an intervention.

    Adrenaline-hungry base jumpers spent two weeks flying off of Dubai’s tallest residential building, Princess Tower, and video of the stunt is both dizzying and gorgeous.

    About 600 base jumpers had the option of jumping off a platform hanging out from the 99th floor of the tower, or performing a Dream Jump. It’s a style of base jumping in which those daring enough fly outward on a zip line before free falling downward. The Dream Jump website says it allows for maximum airtime and acrobatics.

    Video of the event — organized by Skydive Dubai – shows dream and base jumpers pushing one another off the platform and spinning in midair as they fly past apartment windows.

    The National reports that Princess Tower residents got a kick out of the display.

    “It is an exciting spectacle to wake up in the morning and see people free fall past your balcony,” resident Saud Al Anazi said.

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  • 4 Super Easy Ways to Keep Cyber Criminals Out of Your Life
    2014 was the year of the breach. AOL, eBay, UPS and J.P. Morgan were just a few of the companies that fell victim to cyber criminals. It became a manner of fact for the media to decry the outrage over yet another breach. While these giants were fighting cyber crimes, many of my family, friends, and acquaintances began asking me questions. They wanted to know how they could protect themselves without spending a fortune.

    Use these tips to begin protecting yourself from cyber criminals.

    1. Awareness.

    Would you walk down a dark street in the worst neighborhood at night alone? What about your sons, daughters, friends or loved ones. Do you encourage them to walk unaware down unfamiliar streets? The answer is most likely no because it puts them at risk to fall victim to criminals. Why would we knowingly expose ourselves and our loved ones to harm if we could prevent it.

    Today we can no longer protect ourselves (keep the bad people out) by locking our doors at night and avoiding bad neighborhoods. The very devices that we love so much can allow miscreants behind closed doors. Do you have a camera on your computer? Using a well know and relatively easy exploit someone could access that camera and watch you 24 hours a day seven days a week. (Don’t believe me. Click this link and read on).

    During my training we routinely used a similar exploit to take pictures of our classmates (unbeknownst to them) when we got bored. The technology that has added so much value to our lives is routinely used by criminals to violate our inner sanctum.

    2. Pay Attention To Detail.

    Do you ever go to Starbucks and use the free Wifi to knock out some homework or pay a bill at the last minute? Did you ever notice you don’t need a password to connect. I understand that is what makes it so comfortable and convenient, but now everyone (potentially) has access to your device as well. Yes, that means someone could steal those crazy pics from the party off your computer. Or they could take that document sitting on your desktop. You know the one I am talking about. It has the usernames and passwords to your online accounts.

    As of 2012, 61 percent of U.S households had WiFi. When you installed the WiFi router in your home, did you change the default username and password? Did you even turn on the security settings? Simply changing these settings will make it significantly harder for the bad guys to get in.

    Regardless of the type of device never use the default security settings!

    3. Trust But Always Verify.

    At least once a week I get an email from a prince who wants to give me money. The faster I send them all of my personal banking information the faster I can get the money. Perhaps the Prince does not like you but you get an email from your bank. It seems their database blew up, and they need your account number, debit card number, and pin. These examples are a form of social engineering called phishing.

    The bad guys send out a whole bunch of emails and hope they can hook one person. According to the 2015 Verizon DBIR, 23 percent of recipients open phishing emails and 11 percent click the links. To make matters worse, 50 percent of recipients open the email and click the phishing links within the first hour.

    We use caller identification to screen our calls. Similarly filter your emails and do not open random email from people you don’t know. Also, if you get emails from vendors such as FedEx, Amazon, or the United States Postal Service take a quick timeout. Ask yourself if you have sent a package or made a purchase on Amazon recently. If not then delete the email. If you’re unsure instead of opening the email and clicking the links call the vendor. (Here are some tips that will help you spot a phishing email.)

    4. Remember Social Media Is Not Always Your Friend.

    MySpace and Facebook reengineered the way we connect with friends, family and acquaintances. It made it more convenient, but at the same time created a barrier. Now we don’t have to give someone our phone number or address to be able to keep in touch. We can connect on Facebook and interact when and if we want to. What about all the people we friend on Facebook that are not our friends but are friends of friends. Great isn’t it. It is great because it allows us to interact on our terms and at our leisure.

    That barrier does not exist though. By perusing the “routine” information, we supply to Facebook. I could locate you and pay you a visit unexpectedly. Now let’s talk about all the pictures you post to Facebook and other social media sites. Digital photographs contain the information called EXIF data. This information could allow me to track your location. (Facebook and Twitter strip this information out of uploaded photos so you don’t have to worry).

    Don’t think this could happen you? That is what the countries leading cyber security strategists thought as well when they befriended Robin Sage. The point is be careful and just don’t friend anyone. Just like you would not allow just anyone into your home.

    Technology is part of our lives. Now criminals no longer have to break in to steal our valuables, violate our privacy or harm our loved ones. They can and do terrorize us remotely from under the cover of darkness afforded them by the Internet of Things.

    Protecting yourself does not have to cost a lot of money or time if you follow these simple steps.

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  • The Space Apps Challenge: A Cosmic Hackathon
    2015-02-04-Joni_Blecher_150x150.jpgBy Joni Blecher
    Joni Blecher is a freelance writer who has spent her career covering tech and a myriad of lifestyle topics. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the food scene in Portland, Oregon.

    What do you get when developers, engineers and space geeks from around the world come together one weekend for a hackathon? Over 900 projects aimed at solving the myriad issues surrounding planetary and space exploration. The International Space Apps Challenge, sponsored by NASA, was held in 135 cities around the globe earlier this month. The event brought together nearly 13,000 scientists, designers, educators, developers, entrepreneurs and students who used publicly available data to create solutions for global challenges.

    The participants were tasked with coming up with solutions to 35 challenges across four categories: Outer Space, Earth, Humans and Robotics. The challenges included such topics as finding ways to show the value of asteroids as an exploration destination; mapping of drinking water resources; the benefits and feasibility of allowing astronauts to print their own food; and designing a drone for moving items around a manned spacecraft or station.

    The challenges were announced a month in advance, so people could start thinking up ideas for the competition. Additionally, NASA provided data and tools that could be used in the projects. This year, the Space Apps Challenge kicked off at the Global Mainstage in New York with a Data Bootcamp focusing on “Women in Data” and featuring NASA Astronaut Cady Coleman and NASA Chief Scientist Ellen Stofan, among other notable speakers.

    Teams from Kathmandu to Kosovo also competed for local prizes awarded at the culmination of the hackathon. Here are a few of the winning projects and the challenges they were looking to solve.

    OUTER SPACE
    The 10 challenges in this category included things as varied as creating an asteroid mission, to finding ways to send messages to astronauts in space, to developing a camera that could orbit in deep space.

    Challenge: Visualize the Asteroid Skies
    Project: Asteroid Movement Simulation
    This team used the data saved in NASA databases to create a visualization tool that allows users to track how each asteroid moves in the solar system. Check out the demo here.

    Challenge: Print Your Own Space Food
    Project: 3D Food Printer in Space
    This team developed a concept for creating food with a 3D printer. Cartridges would contain vitamins, proteins, minerals, color and sweeteners. The printer would include software with a pre-programmed menu that provides astronauts with daily meals consisting of 2,600 calories.

    EARTH
    This theme featured nine challenges covering topics affecting our planet. Some of the topics in this category included clean water, food issues, open-source air traffic tracking, and observing volcanoes and icebergs from space.

    Challenge: Clean Water Mapping
    Project: Whered the Water Go
    An Android app that can be used to access, update and modify data that tracks sources of fresh water on the planet.

    Challenge: Volcanoes, Icebergs, and Cats from Space
    Project: NatEv Explorer
    A Web-based app featuring a 3D globe with the most interesting/dangerous events in a user’s location. The goal is to inspire users to explore additional data from the NASA Earth Observatory system and register new discoveries.

    HUMANS
    In this category, the 11 challenges focused on space and the human experience. For example, some of the options included a game that explores lava tubes on Mars, wearables, and what can be learned from metabolic observations of space explorers.

    Challenge: Survivor: Mars Lava Tubes
    Project: Lavamatic
    An educational game that uses crowd-sourced data to explore lava tubes on Mars.

    Challenge: Space Wearables: Designing for Today’s Launch & Research Stars
    Project: AirOS
    An augmented reality platform that uses gestures and voice to monitor a user’s vital signs and situation, and increases the user’s senses through external sensors.

    ROBOTICS
    This category only had five challenges, but they all included ways in which robotics can help in space. It had everything from building and programming your own robot, to using sensors to monitor for danger, to creating drones for space.

    Challenge: Spacecraft Thermal Power Consumption
    Project: RoboKitty
    Managing a robot through a mobile app that uses heat sensors to evaluate power consumption and lost energy in the environment. (No video is available for this project)

    Challenge: Robotic Observatory
    Project: ScopeNet

    A low-cost solution designed for hobbyist astronomers that provides the ability to automate and share telescopes online.

    At the culmination of the hackathon, venues chose up to three projects (two global nominees and one people’s choice award) for consideration in the global judging process. You can get involved in the award process by taking to social media and voting for your favorite People’s Choice award. Check out the complete list of nominees at Space Apps Challenge Awards to learn more about each project and view the code. Next month, five finalists will be selected to move into the round of judging by NASA executives. Global winners will be eligible to attend a NASA launch event, and NASA will even provide transportation to and from the launch site.

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

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  • Park Ranger Uses Stun Gun On Man Flying Drone Over Lava Lake In Hawaii
    HONOLULU (AP) – A man who had been flying a drone over a lake of lava at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was hit with a Taser by a park ranger, then arrested in front of several hundred people.

    Travis Ray Sanders brought his family to the park on Saturday evening to record the lava with his drone and didn’t realize the man yelling at him to bring it down was a ranger, he told Hawaii News Now. Flying an unmanned aircraft at a national park is prohibited.

    “He sounded very angry, confrontational – like he wanted to fight – and I didn’t really want to stick around for it so I just told him, ‘I don’t have ID and I’m leaving,” Sanders told the Honolulu news station.

    The ranger asked Sanders three times to bring the drone down, and Sanders eventually brought it down, park spokeswoman Jessica Ferracane told The Associated Press Tuesday.

    “The ranger identified himself and approached the individual, who refused to identify himself,” Ferracane sai d.

    Because Sanders fled and was near the edge of the caldera rim – where there’s a 500-foot drop – the ranger deployed a Taser, she said.

    Crowds have been flocking to an overlook area at the park to watch a steadily rising lava lake at the summit of Kilauea volcano.

    Another visitor to the park, Randy Horne, was setting up his camera and tripod at the overlook when he heard a commotion. He heard someone yell stop and when he turned around, he saw the ranger pull out a stun gun. He saw the weapon’s “sparkly, glowing blue” wires attached to a man on the ground.

    “I really didn’t see there was any severe threat going on,” Horne, of Honokaa, Hawaii, told the AP. “In my opinion, I thought it was a severe overreaction.”

    Horne watched as Sanders was handcuffed, checked by paramedics and then put into a police car.

    Sanders, 35, of Pahoa, Hawaii, was arrested and cited with interfering with agency functions and operating an aircraft on undesignated la nd. He was taken to a Hawaii County police cellblock where he spent the night and was released in the morning on $500 bond, Ferracane said. He has a July 22 court date.

    “He was described as being very unpredictable, belligerent,” Ferracane said of Sanders. “The ranger felt he needed to be stopped for the safety of himself and others.”

    Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at http://www.twitter.com/JenHapa .

    © 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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  • Keeping the Lights On, Part 1
    2015-04-28-1430257831-5757790-QERReportcover22.jpg

    An energy revolution clearly is underway in the United States and it could not come at a better time. It is taking place just as we need to make major investments in energy infrastructure. The question is, will we invest hundreds of billions of dollars to support the fossil energy economy of the 20th century, the clean energy economy of the 21st century, or some of both?

    Bad decisions will result either in billions of wasted dollars or substantial carbon emissions for decades to come. Or both.

    The complexity of infrastructure issues on the cusp between the carbon and carbon-constrained economies is described in the Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) published last week by the U.S. Department of Energy. Created in a collaboration between more than 20 federal agencies, it is the first in a series of QERs the Obama Administration has put in motion with the objective of making sure the nation’s energy is affordable, clean and secure.

    The inaugural QER focuses on the condition and future of an energy system that includes 2.6 million miles of oil and gas pipelines, 640,000 miles of electric transmission lines, 140,000 miles of railways and hundreds of ports that move fuels from one place to another.

    The result is a 300-page wake-up call with three principal messages, each reinforced by other recent analyses. First, our energy infrastructure is in poor shape. The basic design of the electric power system hasn’t changed since the time of Thomas Edison. Oil and gas infrastructure are showing their age, too. The Center for Biological Diversity reported last November that during the previous 16 months, there were 372 oil and gas pipeline leaks and other incidents, resulting in 20 deaths, 117 injuries and more than $256 million in damages. Since 1986, significant pipeline incidents involving death, injury and environmental damage averaged more than 300 each year.

    Second, the infrastructure is vulnerable to a new generation of threats ranging from cyber-attack to extreme weather events. Extreme weather is increasing because of climate change; it already is the No. 1 cause of power outages, largely responsible for the fact that electric service is interrupted in the United States more than in any other developed country. The U.S. electric grid goes down more today than it did in 1984, costing American businesses as much as $150 billion a year, according to federal data cited by the International Business Times.

    Third, energy infrastructure must change to accommodate a new world in which we will depend much less on big central power plants and fossil fuels, not because of short supplies but because of the need to cut carbon pollution. The energy economy is moving toward power plants on customer rooftops, community-scale electric systems known as micro-grids, neighborhood-sized solar systems known as solar gardens, wind power, electric vehicles, and advanced batteries to store energy from intermittent resources such as sunlight and wind. DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has concluded that cost-effective technologies are ready today that can provide 80 percent or more of the nation’s electricity by mid-century.

    The investment in the new energy economy already is underway. The Deloitte Center for Energy Solutions reports that clean energy investment rose 12 percent last year to nearly $20 billion, led by private rather than public capital. “Renewable energy is fast becoming a mainstream energy sources as opposed to an alternative one,” Deloitte reports.

    Driven mostly by its need to reduce air pollution, China led the world in renewable energy investments last year at nearly $90 billion. Experts on China’s energy use reported earlier this month that it can obtain the majority of its energy from renewable resources by mid-century, an accomplishment that would singlehandedly drive renewable energy markets around the world.

    Back in the U.S., another study by NREL, published this week, concludes that with the right regulatory policies and government incentives, solar gardens could be a major source of electricity within five years for multi-family housing, commercial buildings and people who can’t afford their own solar systems or don’t have the right conditions for rooftop panels.

    So, back to the question that opened this post: How will we direct the hundreds of billions of dollars we should invest in America’s energy infrastructure? Will utility regulations, many of them lagging far behind technical advances, help or hinder the transition to clean energy? What level of risk will investors accept in building new oil and gas pipelines while scientists warn that to meet the international goal for greenhouse gas reductions, 60-80 percent of the world’s proved reserves of fossil fuels must remain unused? How many thousands of miles of new transmission and distribution lines will we need at a time that decentralized power production is rapidly gaining popularity? What investments will make the nation most secure from modern threats?

    One suggestion that should be taken seriously involves going back to the future. The ease with which OPEC has interrupted America’s oil and gas boom should demonstrate once and for all that fossil fuels, domestic or foreign, do not give us either energy independence or stability. If our objectives are to manage climate risks, guarantee energy supply and price stability, achieve energy independence, get rid of a variety of air pollutants, and minimize the environmental damages associated with fossil fuel production, our investment strategy should start with the best and most reliable power plant we have ever known.

    It’s the one that delivers pollution-free energy all over the world in only eight minutes from 93 million miles away. We have a 7 billion year supply, give or take a millennium. It provides not only electricity, but also many secondary forms of “new” solar energy that can power everything from automobiles to industry. Harvesting that energy has always been a good investment. That’s true today more than ever.

    Part 2 will discuss five phrases that sum up the challenge of choosing the right infrastructure investments today.

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  • Knowing Your Sweetheart's Phone Number Is So 20th Century
    Here’s proof that smartphones are making us dumb.

    Elite Daily asked couples to recite their partner’s phone numbers, and they couldn’t. Maybe all the texting, contact lists and autodial aren’t such advancements, after all.

    Or maybe getting to know your sweetheart’s digits is the 21st century definition of true love.

    Says one: “We haven’t hit that stage in our relationship.”

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  • Twitter Stock Plunges After Earnings Publish Early
    Twitter stock tanked more than 18 percent by market close on Tuesday after the microblogging site’s disappointing earnings hit the Web ahead of schedule.

    The first-quarter results, which were initially published by market data firm Selerity, reported revenue of $436 million, below the $458 million analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected. It was not immediately clear how the information got into Selerity’s hands in the first place.

    twitter stock

    Selerity, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Huffington Post, was blamed in 2011 for leaking Microsoft’s earnings data. In a tweet, the company denied that it leaked Twitter’s data.

    Today’s $TWTR earnings release was sourced from Twitter’s Investor Relations website https://t.co/QD6138euja. No leak. No hack.

    — Selerity (@Selerity) April 28, 2015

    Todd Schoenberger, managing partner of investment firm LandColt Capital, commented on the possibility of a leak, telling Reuters: “[I]t raises a lot of security and privacy questions. If it [Twitter] can’t keep its results safe, can it protect its users?”

    Trading of Twitter stock was temporarily halted on Tuesday after Selerity announced the results. Twitter released its official results after the stock market closed later in the afternoon.

    “Revenue growth fell slightly short of our expectations due to lower-than-expected contribution from some of our newer direct response products,” Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, said in a statement about the official stats.

    Q1’15 revenue: $436M; adj. EBITDA: $104M; non-GAAP net income: $47M. Key info: https://t.co/o3ZZ7Ny5sY #TWTRearnings pic.twitter.com/zPmGPmKgg6

    — TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) April 28, 2015

    Twitter said it was investigating the early release of its earnings.

    We asked @nyse to halt trading once we discovered our Q1 earnings numbers had leaked, and published our results as soon as possible. (1/2)

    — TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) April 28, 2015

    We are investigating the source of the leak. (2/2)

    — TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) April 28, 2015

    Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

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  • The Most-Watched Netflix Show May Surprise You
    While Netflix may never release their ratings, we finally have an idea of what original shows their subscribers are watching.

    Thanks to data acquired by San Diego-based firm Luth Research, Variety reveals some current viewership results that may surprise you. According to their analysis, “Daredevil” was watched by more subscribers on its first day of release than “House of Cards” Season 3, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Marco Polo” and “Bloodline” were on their release days.

    Luth Reasearch analyzed a sample of 2,500 Netflix customers’ viewing habits and found that 10.7 percent of subscribers watched at least one episode of the Marvel series within its first 11 days on Netflix. When it comes to month-long data, 7.3 percent of the sample watched “Kimmy Schmidt” during the month since its premiere compared to 6.5 percent, who watched the third season of “House of Cards” 30 days after it debuted. Check out Variety’s graphic charting the viewership here.

    It’s important to note, however, that Luth Research’s data doesn’t include any Netflix accounts streaming from TVs via an internet connection or gaming console. The company’s viewing behavior tool only tracked subscribers watching from a computer, tablet or smartphone.

    This isn’t the first time a third-party company has provided information about what Netflix shows people are watching, though. Last year after “House of Cards” premiered its second season, Internet traffic management company Procera Networks released data claiming that viewership had increased since the series premiere the previous year. But we’re still likely not going to get official numbers from Netflix any time soon.

    The streaming service has long held the stance of keeping their ratings private. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said last year that ratings are “an irrelevant measure of success for us.” The company has also said that they don’t release figures since they don’t rely on advertising like other television networks. But further insight is on the way. Nielsen plans to use a new technology to measure Netflix and Amazon Prime viewing, the latter of which also keeps figures private, later this year.

    Netflix was not immediately available for comment.

    For the full ratings report, head to Variety.

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  • The Funniest Autocorrect Fails April 2015 Had To Offer (NSFW)
    Another month, another round of cringeworthy texting mishaps.

    Damn You Autocorrect collects the funniest autocorrect FAILS all month to find the most outrageous submissions, and we’ve got April’s top 13 contenders right here.

    This month’s collection has the usual, accidentally sexual slip-ups, including a few involving moms that we’d rather not think about for too long. One person made it seem like they intended to commit murder (and then uploaded it to the Internet — smart!) and another person turned the President of the United States into America’s favorite fast food restaurant. Let’s all be a little more careful next month, shall we?

    Warning, some NSFW language below.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Forums: boot iMac from external HD
    Today in the MacNN Forums, Mac Elite “rotuts” is asking fellow forum goers if it is possible to boot their iMac from an external hard drive. Clinically Insane member of the forums “subego” has invited fellow members to post screenshots of their iPhone home screens.



  • Artie Lange Opens Up About Getting In Trouble On Twitter
    “Thank God I stopped doing coke before Twitter.”

    Comedian Artie Lange has been doing comedy for nearly 30 years and spent almost a decade sitting alongside Howard Stern on a radio show where pretty much anything goes, but it’s his 140-character jokes that get him trouble.

    Lange sat down for an AOL Build interview on Monday to discuss his cameo in the dark new comedy, “Laugh Killer Laugh,” written and directed by his friend (and former “Jerky Boy”) Kamal Ahmed. In addition to explaining the difference between playing a comedian in a movie vs. being one in real life (spoiler alert: it’s always better when the audience is paid to laugh), Lange opened up about his Twitter activity before and after he came under fire for tweeting some shockingly offensive jokes about a female ESPN anchor.

    Lange’s not the only one saying inappropriate things on Twitter. Warning, the above clip includes some strong language.

    You can watch Lange’s full interview below to hear him talk about his “addiction” to doing stand-up, the craziest fan interactions he’s had after shows, and why the slogan “Hugs not drugs” wasn’t very effective on him as a child.

    “I don’t want to lie to the kids: hugs are not better than drugs,” he says. “I’ll put it this way, I never drove to Harlem at 4:00 in the morning to get somebody to hug me.”

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • How to Protect Your Privacy When Dating Online
    “Can’t I date online more privately?” my client Michelle* asked. She’s an executive working in a male-dominated industry and is wary of bumping into people from her boardroom. It happened once on The League, an exclusive, invite-only dating app. Awkward.

    As an online dating coach, I get asked about digital dating privacy often. My client Allie* is the editor of a magazine for a small community, and last week her Match.com date said a few things throughout the evening that raised red flags for her. The details he referenced weren’t in her profile, so it was clear he had Googled her before meeting up. “I was glad I hadn’t given him my number yet,” she said. But after their date, he sent her a thank you … to her work email address. He seems harmless, potentially oblivious to how unsafe this could make a gal feel, but needless to say, she’s making some changes to her online dating approach now.

    The truth? We’re living in a hyper-connected world where the above scenarios could happen to anyone. So frankly, you should be concerned with privacy! The more information that exists about you on the web, the more measures you need to take to keep yourself sane and safe. There’s nothing to be afraid of with online dating — you can still meet fabulous matches in a safe way! — but you need to be intelligent about the information you post and the actions you take. Use my privacy checklist to keep your digital dating domain a little more intimate:

    Know What They Know: You might be surprised what appears in a search engine even without your last name. So once you write your profile, sit down and create a list of the top five terms that someone has access to about you — the words right there in your profile. One which we find commonly pulls up someone’s identity is: your first name + your job description + your alma mater.

    When you get a hit that is, in fact, you, stay calm. Staying under the search radar is often as simple as deleting a few words from your profile. For example, with my client Allie, it was her job that set off the Google search. Even when she simplified the way she described her career, it still resulted in her identity. So she nixed it from her profile entirely, opting only to select an industry drop-down from the dating site instead.

    You might get a lot of hits if your name is unique, so in extreme cases, you may want to consider signing your messages with a different name. I don’t mean lie, but instead protect yourself by using only your first initial (“B”), a different spelling of your name (“Bettie” instead of “Betty”), or a nickname (“Bette” instead of “Bettina”). It’s unlikely a man would fault you for being savvy and safe.

    Go Incognito: For clients concerned with seeing coworkers on a dating app or site, I usually suggest they rethink this worry of theirs. If the other person is a member too, what do you have to be embarrassed about? But for clients like Jennifer who find the concern insurmountable, there are new, special features that allow you to pick and choose who sees your profile.

    Match.com’s “Private Mode” makes your profile invisible to everyone you’re not communicating with — so, essentially, you pick and choose each person that’s able to see you. When someone you message views your profile, it looks just the same as any other — no special call out that you’re keeping things under the radar. OkCupid’s newly-launched “Incognito” feature works the same way. Other sites and apps use Facebook Connect to automatically remove people already in your circle from your view. The idea is that if you already know them, you have other ways to flirt with them — or maybe it hasn’t happened for good reason! This feature is most common on sites where the community is more curated experience, like the dating site Sparkology, and the app The League.

    Create a Digital Bodyguard: Once you’ve made plans to get offline with someone, you need to exchange phone numbers so you can communicate if he is running late or there are other logistics that don’t go according to plan. Or perhaps, most guys want to chat with you before you even plan your date. But a lot of women tell me they just aren’t comfortable giving someone their digits until after they’ve met since… well… they’re still a stranger. Catch 22.

    Google Voice is the best solution -= you can create a new, free phone number that still rings on your cell. Using the app, you can send and receive texts, accept and listen to voicemails, and even block numbers from your matches who get a little unruly. Some dating sites also have their own calling systems, which are available for a fee.

    And if you’re using a dating app, check your Facebook settings! Since apps pull in your Facebook data, that often extends to your phone number if it’s listed in your information section.

    Remember that safety should extend into the real world, too. You’ve heard all the dating safety tips a million times =- meet in a public place, never let someone you’re unsure of into your home and let someone know where you’re going. But to take it up a notch, get some pretty jewelry with a tech touch. My favorite new wearable is Cuff. Among other features, a discreet button on your necklace or bracelet will notify an emergency contact of yours that something isn’t right, and send them your location via GPS. I hope you’ll never have to hit that button, but knowing it’s there should give you peace of mind and keep you focused on flirting.

    * Names have been changed for confidentiality purposes.

    Laurie Davis is the CEO & Founder of eFlirt, a personal branding service that helps singles navigate the online dating world and create lasting relationships. She’s also the author of the best-selling book, Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating. Recently, Laurie wed her tweetheart, who she eFlirted with in 140 characters on Twitter.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Whither Social Media?
    Oh, for the good old days, when a very popular person might count their number of good friends on their fingers and toes.

    Today, if someone does not have a 1,000 friends and followers, they must be exuding either the worst body odors that the Internet can carry or they are virtual hermits.

    It is neither popular, nor a good idea, to rain on the parade of social media because there must be a horse in there somewhere.

    But, may be it is a good idea to stand back, scratch our heads and ask if perhaps too much of a good thing might just turn out to be a bad thing.

    I am not suggesting that we should, or even could, turn back the clock on social media, but rather what we might do is figure out how people can manage their, and all of societies’ digital lives, better.

    Recently, I was killing a bit of time waiting for a ride and had a conversation with a young baby sitter about what bothered her most in her daily life–besides the price of gas, for instance. She immediately said, “Social media- it soaks up far too much of my time because it promises so much and delivers so little.” That said, do the good aspects of social media come close to outweighing the bad, and where are we heading?

    Clearly, to me, she was an unusually perceptive young woman who put her finger squarely on one of today’s most important and growing problems.

    Have you ever wondered what the state of the world was when the giant dinosaurs ruled and dominated the Earth? They were big partly so they could cover a lot territory, providing them with vast quantities of natures’ harvests which they needed to simply survive. But for the vast changes to their habitats caused by a giant asteroid’s collision with Earth, they might still be in charge and we would not have to worry about social media.

    Instead, we may now have something like that galactic collision occurring in full sight, which may be overwhelming the human race with an overload of information as deadly in due course as the atomic atmospheric dust that wiped out the dinosaurs.

    That overload is confusing, distracting and destroying the very sinews of the social fabric of society, which are essential to its proper functioning. It is undermining mutual respect among many people all over the world.

    Ironically, one might have thought that the diffusion of so much information would have tended to bring more people together in harmony. To date, a lot of the evidence suggests that we are headed in the opposite direction.

    Hopefully, it is not too late to address these concerns and set up some counter trends to ward off falling too far in that deep hole.

    What is needed? Until now, most ‘news’ to people has been pretty well filtered by ‘responsible’ editors and journalists. Now, the most unbelievable dumb and wrong-headed stuff gets going in social media and spreads across the Internet and before anyone knows it, it becomes ‘a real thing’ which triggers a significant portion of the world into pursuit of phantoms, basically to everyone’s disadvantage.

    Perhaps we need a new section of the New York Times, called Social Media Accountability, whose slogan and objective could be, “Social media ‘news’ NOT fit to print must be exposed-to daylight.”

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • How Do Blind Computer Programmers Code?
    How does a visually impaired computer programmer do programming?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

    2015-04-28-1430243773-3728436-LucasRadaelli

    Answer by Lucas Radaelli, Google Programmer

    I am totally blind and I work for Google, writing changes to the ranking algorithm. As part of my experience, and I believe from many other blind programmers, the way that we program is not that different from our sighted colleagues. [Most of the time], I use a text editor (which is Emacs and an extension called Emacspeak, which makes Emacs talk), and a browser to look at some internal pages of Google with documentation and stuff.

    The main difference here is that we either hear what is on the screen, or read with the help of a braille display. I cannot comment on using a braille display because I have never had one in my life (too expensive), but I can give some idea on how it is to program by just hearing.

    The biggest challenge of programming just by ear is that you need to memorize a lot of stuff.

    You move line by line, hearing the entire line. You can move word by word and hear them, or character by character. The point is, you see, at a given time, just a small fraction of what is on the screen. You can’t start programming and look up in the function definition what the name of the variable being passed is. You memorize it. If you want to check the function definition, again, I would set a marker, look for the definition, read it, and come back. As you can notice, this may take a few precious seconds, so improving your memory skills is a good thing here.

    I like to program with Emacspeak because it gives me a lot of cool things when programming in c++. For example, in this program there is the notion of voice styles, and it will read variables, functions and different element of the language with a voice with a different pitch. This makes things easier to identify what is what. Consider this as the audio highlighting of code.

    As a last comment, a curiosity:

    Blind programmers do not use indentation. We normally finish the code and indent it later, as it brings no advantage for us.

    Then you might ask:

    What about python?

    I like python a lot, and even the indentation part does not make me think differently. I create some techniques, like, jump a line at the end of each indentation block, so I can know very fast when the block has ended.

    When reading code from others, I can set an option in my screen reader to tell the indentation level, but I find this a little bit annoying, because for each line that you read, it will say the number of spaces present on that line.

    More questions on Quora:

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • 3M App Teaches Operating Room Patient Preparation

    This is an excellent app for learning or teaching about antiseptic options and techniques in the operating room.

    The post 3M App Teaches Operating Room Patient Preparation appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Sweden grants Julian Assange appeal
    Sweden’s supreme court grants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange the right to appeal against an arrest warrant issued over an alleged sexual assault.
  • Facebook for Android Update Brings Offline Likes Feature

    The Facebook for Android app has been updated today, bringing with it several new features including the ability to Like posts, photos and Pages even when you are offline.  The update, version 32.0.0.23.15 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Google Play store and of course is free.  There are several new features in this release so it is certainly one to go get. Facebook for Android – Free – Download Now The big feature in this update to Facebook for Android is the ability to Like things while you are offline.  This is great for

    The post Facebook for Android Update Brings Offline Likes Feature appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • Medical Robots Born of Disruptive Innovation
    Do you trust a robot to diagnose your ailments? You may not have a choice as medicine moves closer to embracing technology as part of the standard practice of medicine.

    But don’t despair. A medical robot could save your life. You can thank disruptive innovation and the development of medical robots, like IBM’s Watson, to find a diagnosis your family physician may miss.

    If Watson sounds familiar, you may remember it is the same computer that went on Jeopardy and beat two previous winners. But Watson’s real mission is designed to help medical professionals with complex diagnosis that take in more data than can be managed in a single test or case. Watson parses the kind of mystery that surrounds oncologists’ every day and points point out clinical nuances that health professionals might miss on their own.

    Just as physicians study and learn as they practice medicine over the years, so it is with cognitive computers performing such human-seeming tasks as parsing different diagnosis. Watson can interact in sympathetic ways and deduce important contextual information from huge amounts of data.

    Watson has the ability to consider optional approaches to a problem, and even doubt the results. It will make a diagnosis, then recommend several possible treatments and offer possibilities.

    In addition to medical diagnosis, robotic surgery has grown exponentially as physicians have discovered the advantages of micro-sized robotic instruments that can reduce the size of an incision. Thus a surgical robot, such as the da Vinci system, enhances and highly increases your surgeon’s degree of capabilities.

    But what about the family doctor you know and trust? He will still be there for you. Think of medical robots as partners in his practice.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Dan Fredinburg's Loved Ones Launch Campaign Dedicated To 'Living Life As An Adventure'
    It’s nearly impossible to find two people involved in a physical fight at Burning Man. When Dan Fredinburg stumbled upon just that, he responded the way only Dan Fredinburg would.

    “He walked right into the middle of it and started dancing with both people,” Fredinburg’s friend, Max Stossel, told The Huffington Post Monday. “The two very angry men were confused at first. But eventually everyone was laughing and no longer fighting.”

    Fredinburg’s free-spirited attitude carried him through a life rich with adventure, one tragically cut short Saturday by an avalanche on Mount Everest after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal. It was Fredinburg’s second attempt to summit the highest peak on earth, having survived a similar disaster nearly a year ago.

    As news of Fredinburg’s death spread, tributes poured in from across the globe. Friends, loved ones and acquaintances shared memories and tributes to the 33-year-old, who ran a privacy team at Google, a climate change nonprofit called Save the Ice and a combination cafe and social impact startup incubator. They hailed him as a warrior poet, a bright burning star, a Viking philanthropist, a swashbuckler of the finest order, a silent force for justice, a hero.

    fredinburn
    Fredinburg at Burning Man.

    “He had this incredible hacker mind, always finding innovative ways to solve problems,” Stossel said. “He used that mind to bring more love into the world, more adventure into the world, and create those kinds of experiences for the people he cared about.”

    Now, the people he cared about want to ensure Fredinburg’s legacy continues well beyond his untimely death. On Monday, a group of his closest friends launched LiveDan, a campaign and website dedicated to the principles that guided Fredinburg’s life.

    “To Live Dan is to live life as an adventure,” Fredinburg’s close friend, Mike North, a co-creator, told HuffPost. “To not be afraid to go out and pursue dreams and crazy ideas. To get yourself out there in the world and do it. Dan was doing so much, and with no hesitation.”

    For now, LiveDan works as a simple tool: Visitors to the site can “pledge to live fearlessly” by sharing plans for their own upcoming adventures. Users are also encouraged to donate to Save the Ice and two Nepalese orphanages that Fredinburg was fundraising for with his Everest climb. A Crowdrise campaign launched in his memory over the weekend has raised nearly $50,000 for the orphanages.

    dan ashley
    Fredinburg and his girlfriend, Ashley Arenson.

    North said he expects the campaign will evolve into something larger, but he’s not sure yet what that will be. “We are doing it exactly how Dan would do it,” he said. “We don’t know exactly where it’s going or what it’s going to be, but instead of sitting around and thinking about it and planning it, we just decided to do it. It’s going to live a life of its own.”

    Ashley Arenson, Fredinburg’s girlfriend of nearly two years, told HuffPost via email that being around Fredinburg made it feel like anything was possible. “Living Dan is living life as you are, who you are, and who you want to be,” she said. “Sometimes that means taking the more difficult, less traveled roads. Dan took the untraveled roads.”

    In addition to his two Everest expeditions, Fredinburg had climbed to the summits of Mount Kilimanjaro and Carstensz Pyramid. To help raise money for Save the Ice, he organized a sailing trip through the Maldives for nearly two dozen of his friends earlier this year, tracing one of the original routes taken by the Swedish Vikings and talking to local residents about climate change.

    North said Fredinburg’s sense of leadership and fearlessness extended to his travels. “There was one point where it was pouring rain so much that the captain couldn’t see out the front of the boat,” North recalled. “So Dan went out to the front of the boat with a squeegee. He just stood out there in the storm for a while, squeegeeing so the captain could see.”

    fredinburg save the ice
    Fredinburg (front) and his friends on an adventure trip he organized.

    Such endurance and determination characterized everything Fredinburg did, especially when it came to planning for an Everest climb. Before his first attempt last year, he walked for 20 straight hours in an effort to mentally prepare himself for the journey, North said. “He walked the whole Bay Area, all the way up to Marin and back down,” he said. “His feet were covered in blisters.”

    Although Fredinburg’s first attempt to summit the mountain ended in an avalanche, North said giving up was never an option. “It was never a question that he wouldn’t do it,” he said. “He was set on going back. He wanted this more than anything. It was his dream.”

    North added that he has managed to find some solace in the idea that Fredinburg died doing what he loved. “For him, that was the thrill of life — pushing things right up to their limits and being there. Being aware and capable and able to handle it,” he said. “I know that’s where he wanted to be. He wanted to be on the edge.”

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • The Coming Problem of Our iPhones Being More Intelligent Than We Are
    Ray Kurzweil made a startling prediction in 1999 that appears to be coming true: that by 2023 a $1,000 laptop would have the computing power and storage capacity of a human brain. He also predicted that Moore’s law, which postulates that the processing capability of a computer doubles every 18 months, would apply for 60 years — until 2025 — giving way then to new paradigms of technological change.

    Kurzweil, a renowned futurist and the director of engineering at Google, now says that the hardware needed to emulate the human brain may be ready even sooner than he predicted — in around 2020 — using technologies such as graphics processing units (GPUs), which are ideal for brain-software algorithms. He predicts that the complete brain software will take a little longer: until about 2029.

    The implications of all this are mind-boggling. Within seven years — about when the iPhone 11 is likely to be released — the smartphones in our pockets will be as computationally intelligent as we are. It doesn’t stop there, though. These devices will continue to advance, exponentially, until they exceed the combined intelligence of the human race. Already our computers have a big advantage over us: They are connected via the Internet and share information with each other billions of times more quickly than we can. It is hard to even imagine what becomes possible with these advances and what the implications are.

    Doubts about the longevity of Moore’s law and the practicability of these advances are understandable. After all, there are limits to how much transistors can be shrunk: Nothing can be smaller than an atom. Even short of this physical limit, there will be many other technological hurdles. Intel acknowledges these limits but suggests that Moore’s law can keep going for another five to 10 years. So the silicon-based computer chips in our laptops will likely sputter their way to match the power of a human brain.

    Kurzweil says Moore’s law isn’t the be-all and end-all of computing, and that the advances will continue regardless of what Intel can do with silicon. Moore’s law itself was just one of five paradigms in computing: electromechanical, relay, vacuum tube, discrete transistor, and integrated circuits. In his 2001 essay “The Law of Accelerating Returns,” Kurzweil explains that technology has been advancing exponentially since the advent of evolution on Earth, and that computing power has been rising exponentially, from the mechanical calculating devices used in the 1890 U.S. Census to the machines that cracked the Nazi enigma code to the CBS vacuum-tube computer to the transistor-based machines used in the first space launches to the integrated-circuit-based personal computer.

    With exponentially advancing technologies, things move very slowly at first and then advance dramatically. Each new technology advances along an S-curve — an exponential beginning, flattening out as the technology reaches its limits. As one technology ends, the next paradigm takes over. That is what has been happening, and why there will be new computing paradigms after Moore’s law.

    Already there are significant advances on the horizon, such as the GPU, which uses parallel computing to create massive increases in performance, not only for graphics but for neural networks, which constitute the architecture of the human brain. There are 3D chips in development that can pack circuits in layers. IBM and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency are developing cognitive-computing chips. New materials, such as gallium arsenide, carbon nanotubes, and graphene, are showing huge promise as replacements for silicon. And then there is the most interesting — and scary — technology of all: quantum computing.

    Instead of encoding information as either a 0 or a 1, as today’s computers do, quantum computers will use quantum bits, or qubits, whose states encode an entire range of possibilities by capitalizing on the quantum phenomena of superposition and entanglement. Computations that would take today’s computers thousands of years will occur in minutes on these.

    Add artificial intelligence to the advances in hardware and you begin to realize why luminaries such as Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates are worried about the creation of a “super intelligence.” Musk fears that “we are summoning the demon.” Hawking says it “could spell the end of the human race.” And Gates wrote, “I don’t understand why some people are not concerned.”

    Kurzweil tells me he is not worried. He believes we will create a benevolent intelligence and use it to enhance ourselves. He sees technology as a double-edged sword, just like fire, which has kept us warm but has also burned down our villages. He believes that technology will enable us to address the problems that have long plagued human civilization — such as disease, hunger, energy, education, and clean water — and that we can use it for good.

    These advances in technology are a near-certainty. The question is whether humanity will rise to the occasion and use them in a beneficial way. We can either build a Star Trek future, in which our civilization rises to new heights, or descend into a Mad Max world. It is up to us.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • What Is Image-based Social Media Doing to the Lives of Teens?
    I hated having photos taken of myself as a teenager; my family photo albums albums are devoid of pictures of me from the age of 10 to 15. And this awkwardness seems fairly universal — when someone digs out an old class photo from school and posts it on Facebook, it is so often greeted with universal groans of embarrassment. Our teen identity changes rapidly and we typically go through stages when we don’t feel comfortable in our own skin. We are self-conscious at the time, and when we look back, it is as often with horror as well as with pleasure.

    But today, the challenge of accepting your teen self is made that much harder because managing the way you appear online, your so-called “social media profile,” is a full-time job. While I would go around to a friend’s house to chat or perhaps use the home phone to natter about nonsense for hours after school, the rise of social media has changed the dynamic of teen interaction. And communication through social networks is largely based on image and appearance. Your profile is a photo, your content videos and your language reduced to acronyms. OMG. Lol. WOM.

    Research shows that large numbers of women are spending three hours or more a day on these platforms, but perhaps the most worrying statistic is that three-quarters of Gen Y/Millenial women edit photos of themselves before posting them. Selfies have come a whole industry, one that has exploded recently thanks to the advent of the selfie stick. And it’s not just the process of taking and editing the photo that counts; it’s the period after posting, waiting for the response of one’s friends to it. If no one ‘likes’ it, teen law dictates it will be taken down and replaced by another. Everything has to pass the scrutiny of friends. Thigh gap too small? There’s an app for slimming. Skin too dark? Download an app to whiten it. There is no perceived flaw that cannot be righted by a filter or photo editing app. Rumor has it that Kim Kardashian has an editor for all her Instagram uploads, with an annual salary of $100,000!

    If you thought that was bad, the launch of Twitter’s new live streaming app, Periscope, has taken self-absorption to the next level. It enables users to live stream video of their lives moment-by-moment to everyone and anyone. I saw one example where an innocent-looking student filmed herself waking up, to which a guy had posted “show us your tits.” Every and any moment of people’s lives are offered up for comment, and the default privacy settings mean that almost anyone can view the content.

    This narcissistic movement exposes already vulnerable teens to even greater pressures to be perfect. It has also given bullying a nasty sting. Commenting from behind a screen is often easier than saying something mean to someone’s face, leading to cyberbullying. One trend is delving into the archives of someone’s photos and reposting one less than glamorous kiddie pic to deliberately humiliate the friend. The other even darker trick is to threaten a friend or girlfriend to post unflattering photos if they don’t submit to their wishes.

    Some attempts have been made to campaigning for natural beauty and body images. The website herself.com proudly displays nude women, comfortable in their skin, for it is that skin that has clothed them and protected them throughout their trials and tribulations. The no makeup selfies for cancer were also a powerful statement for a while, b‎ut sadly, they didn’t change habits. One friend’s daughter told me she puts makeup on not to go out or see a boyfriend, but to do her daily selfie.

    The question is this: What will be the cumulative effect of all this self-scrutiny on this highly-connected generation? A recent study has shown that phones have a dopamine effect, creating highs but lows, with the typical addictive downside of intense withdrawal symptoms. Also, many worry that so much of teen interaction is now online. They can find out details about friends without ever asking them. First dates are now ditched for online chats. Heaven forbid that the guy sees what you ‘really’ look like before a perfector app does its job. How will this impact of their future interpersonal skills? Are they at risk of losing their innate human ability to read social cues and handle conflict?

    It is also understandable why image has become reality. Girls see flawless images online and are seeking offline options. A boob job or lip plumping is now a birthday request for an 18-year-old. Waist too chunky in real life? There’s a belt that sucks it all in. Bum too flabby? Try a pumping party that gives the Nicky Minaj effect with dubious injections. The Internet is awash with new social media crazes. Last week, it was sucking on a shot glass to bruise your lips and give yourself a ‘Kardashian-style super-pout.’

    Some of the answers must lie with the providers. Instagram and Facebook need to set best practices by encouraging images of real, unedited life on social platforms. Brands, celebrities and opinion-formers have a moral responsibility to show the truth — that NO ONE has unblemished skin and that cellulite happens to everyone (even sex symbols!).

    It is high time for Adonis’s mask to fall and for all to be freed to be what they want and let their true personalities shine through the artifice. It is time for everyone to have permission to be their own kind of beautiful.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Realizing Our Sustainable Energy Future: Making the Participatory Grid a Reality

    Chances are you’ve recently come across a story heralding solar panels, wind turbines, or energy storage as the solution to preparing our power grid for a low-carbon future. Each of these technologies will move us toward this goal, and we must utilize every opportunity at our disposal to get there.

    Soon, millions of people will be living in cities that are maintained by renewables and will be charging batteries to both balance those renewables and power activities throughout our everyday lives — including our daily commute. It’s crucial that we start preparing our grid now for what lies ahead, while also fixing some of today’s biggest issues. Finding a truly sustainable solution means looking beyond just one potential “magic bullet” answer to considering the energy landscape from a bird’s eye view.

    Understanding the Grid and Why It Needs to Change

    The grid is constantly being subjected to spikes in energy usage and is structured to accommodate our worst-case maximum demands. This is typically during the hottest days of summer when air conditioners cities-wide go on full blast and energy consumption is at its max. Summer brownouts and blackouts are a significant risk during these high levels of consumption that can push many grids to their limit or beyond.

    Often, renewables such as solar are at their highest output during these times, but this generation isn’t guaranteed due to what is called “intermittency,” whereby generation drops unexpectedly. When this happens, traditional generation would be required to ramp up to compensate and maintain quality of supply. The problem: Carbon-based power plants cannot ramp up quickly enough to cover the shortfall. An extreme example of this is when a renewable generator goes from 100 percent output to 0 percent output in a matter of minutes, but large-scale generators can only change load by a small percentage per hour. This leaves a difficult gap to fill.

    Traditionally, utilities have turned to “peaker plants” to supplement supply at a premium cost since they spend large parts of the year, or even multiple years, in idle. This is a poorly utilized asset that utilities, business owners, tenants, rate payers and consumers are paying for. Chemical battery storage has been seen as the savior to the intermittency problem and an alternative to peaking generators. Battery costs have continued to fall and will no doubt be a critical part of the future smart grid. However, we need to consider a range of other mechanisms that may allow us to speed the transition and reduce costs even further.

    The Energy You Don’t Use

    The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use in the first place. Taking a look around a modern office, we see one of the biggest impacts and contributors to modern energy savings — LEDs. LEDs in our lighting and computer monitors have made a sizable impact on efficiency. The next step is to implement the next level of savings by finding faults, installing efficient appliances and a range of other measures.

    It is interesting that despite our efforts to reduce waste, improve efficiency and introduce more renewables to the grid, the need for energy storage persists.

    Energy Storage by Many Means

    Energy storage has become a hot topic usually mentioned in conjunction with renewables. While batteries are the most discussed type of building-level storage, they are expensive and might not be the right fit for every building or region.

    Chilled and hot water thermal storage tanks, compressed air storage, and ice banks represent viable and affordable alternatives to battery power. These can be installed for significantly less than a battery, cost less per kWh and can easily have more than double the lifespan. Consider that 1,000 liters of water can store around 10kWh of energy at practically no cost, whereas a battery of similar size can cost more than $10,000 once fully installed.

    By storing energy in the medium which it is used, such as ice for cooling, these systems offer better round-trip efficiency — a measure of the amount of energy lost between charge and discharge — than battery storage, which is around 75 percent. However, before buildings start implementing storage, they should be aware of the storage they already have.

    Let Your Building Do the Work

    It may be surprising, but the building itself can be treated as a storage device. When efficiently utilized, a building’s infrastructure — all bricks, concrete, steel and wood — can serve as a resource. A building’s mass can trap cooling and heating, keeping a building comfortable during interruptions to renewable output.

    Intelligent energy management systems can help with this by making automatic adjustments to operations based on a building’s characteristics and other real-time conditions so buildings run at optimal efficiency. These systems take into account typical energy usage patterns and other variables such as signals from the utility, weather forecasts and occupant comfort to make adjustments to heating and cooling operations that generate huge savings. By using artificial intelligence, the software is able to map out a path to savings that would otherwise not be possible.

    This technology is more than just a logic-based, pre-determined-response set up. It is able to understand the situation the building and grid are facing and make changes that are beneficial 10-15 moves into the future instead of making changes for instant gratification that could void a future opportunity.

    Integrating For a Sustainable Future

    It’s this type of intelligence that needs to be in place before adding other systems to a building and the grid to ensure that all platforms work in harmony with each other. Buildings that can control lighting, HVAC and storage through a unified system will benefit the overall grid by making sure that technologies aren’t working against each other.

    What is happening within the building is a microcosm of what should also be happening within the entire grid. Every building will need to work together in the future. What’s efficient for one building in the moment might not be best for the grid in the long-term. With a connected system in place, buildings will be able to see the complete energy landscape in its entirety and make decisions that will benefit itself as well as the greater good of the grid.

    Looking to the Future

    According to IHS Automotive, worldwide production of EVs will increase by 67 percent this year. The charging of these vehicles adds yet another variable to how energy loads should be shaped within buildings. If everyone plans on charging their cars during the work day, this could cause an even higher peak demand. If we all charge in the morning, it could add a new peak to our grid. We need to plan for this eventuality.

    Our energy future is poised to become unprecedentedly complex with this widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), further integration of renewable energy sources and more. Having intelligent software in place that can serve as a central point for all energy decisions within a building will make adaption to future changes easier. EVs will become just another variable. The same principle applies to renewable energy. By looking at weather patterns, it knows when solar will be producing less and can make adjustments before the drop-off in generation happens.

    This complex symphony conducted by artificially intelligent systems will usher in a new era of smart cites. These self-sufficient, grid-responsive networks created within buildings, between buildings and in collaboration with the utility they work with, will ensure consistent energy usage, stable demand, a thriving electric grid, and most importantly, an attainable, sustainable future.

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  • A New Generation of Change-Makers

    Young people are currently living in a world of infinite wonder. With the rapid advancement and proliferation of technology across all sectors of life, from health to productivity, there seems to be no limit to this endless evolution. As the confines of the human mind continue to be tested and stretched into infinity, we seem to have found comfort in our ability to confront and overcome obstacles we face as a species. In this new era of hope and progress, we have found ourselves facing a new and novel challenge that we have not yet experienced: climate change. The question then becomes, how do we fix this?

    The past conversations surrounding climate change have been focused too much on whether it is anthropogenic or natural. While the evidence is clear on its human origin, the reality is that our climate is changing and that we need to act in response to these shifting conditions. Even my own state of Nebraska is not exempt from the impacts of climate change. A report published in 2014 by the University of Nebraska shared that the state experienced an overall warming of about 1 degree Fahrenheit since 1895, and the projected temperature changes will range from an increase of 4-5 degrees or 8-9 degrees, depending on the emission scenarios, by the last quarter of the 21st century. Changes in precipitation from climate change will “impact runoff and groundwater recharge, affect the types of crops that can be grown, influence water pollution, alter the occurrence of flooding and drought, and determine the type and health of ecosystems.” We are also warned that “changes in the observed frequency and intensity of extreme events are of serious concern today and for the future because of the economic, social and environmental costs associated with responding to, recovering from, and preparing for these extreme events in the near and longer term.”

    Here in Nebraska, both the young and older generations are working to promote sustainability in diverse ways. The City of Lincoln has recently received a $600,000 federal grant, through the Nebraska Department of Roads, to start a bike sharing program. This program began as an initiative led by University of Nebraska-Lincoln student, Reed Broderson, before it was handed over to the City. To the northeast corner of the state, the City of Tilden recently received a $3.6 million grant from USDA Rural Development for its water and waste water systems, which will introduce the installation of water meters. These water meters will help users monitor their usage in order to save and conserve. Despite its strong dedication to sustainability, Nebraska has a long way to go. For instance, while Nebraska has the 4th largest wind resources in the country, it does not rank in the top 20 for wind energy production. Nonetheless, Nebraska was expected to triple its wind energy potential in 2015, so slowly but surely, the state will improve.

    As a global collective, young people are placed in a peculiar and difficult position. Young people have both special concerns and responsibilities as it relates to the longevity of this planet, one that is currently being tested by climate change. Like all previous generations, they are going to be tasked with the monumental challenge of overcoming the aftermath of the Industrial Revolution, as well as the current and continuing industrial and land use trends. Climate change is no longer a myth or conspiracy, but a cruel reality which we must now face. My generation and future generations will have to live longer with the consequences of current patterns and be subject to their impacts. Nonetheless, we must never forsake our potential to improve and change the world, and we can do this by first changing ourselves and our habits.

    From my experience, the keys to solving sustainability issues are accountability and ownership. While the depth of the current problem was caused by previous generations, it does not mean that my generation and those of the future are completely free of blame. This new era of instant gratification has led to high consumption patterns, fueled by desire to get the latest brand products or technology. That being said, young people have a two-front battle. They must first work collectively to fix problems of the past, as well as of their own habits. Only by starting early can the youth population create a culture of conscientiousness and respect for the earth. We need a new generation of everyday change-makers, and we need them now.

    This blog post is part of the ‘It’s Our Earth (Day)‘ blog series, curated by the editors of HuffPost Generation Change in recognition of Earth Day 2015. We’ve invited young environmental bloggers to share how climate issues are affecting their lives and futures, and why it’s so important for youth to take climate action. To see all the other posts in the series, click here.

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  • Time Warner Cable Open To Merger Talks With Charter
    By Liana B. Baker

    April 27 (Reuters) – Time Warner Cable Inc is open to merger discussions with Charter Communications Inc following a failed $45 billion bid by Comcast Corp, according to people familiar with the matter.

    Friendly negotiations between the two companies would be in sharp contrast to their acrimonious exchanges in 2013 and early 2014 that ended with Time Warner Cable rejecting unsolicited approaches by Charter and instead finding a white knight in Comcast.

    While Charter has yet to make a formal offer, Time Warner Cable believes its smaller peer may be willing to make a bid that is more attractive compared with its takeover attempt two years ago, the people said.

    Time Warner Cable also views Charter’s stock as a more valuable currency than it did last year given its stock performance since then, the people said. Time Warner Cable also is open to deals with companies other than Charter, the people added.

    The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential. Time Warner Cable declined to comment, while Charter representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reporting by Liana B. Baker in New York; Editing by Ken Wills)

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  • Taming Africa's deadly transport chaos
    The start-ups taming Africa’s deadly transport chaos
  • How To Make Free Calls To And From Nepal
    After the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, tech companies are waiving fees on calls to and from the country in hopes of helping people get in touch with loved ones.

    Skype has made all calls to and from Nepal completely free. (While calls between two Skype users are always free, normally there are fees when using Skype to call a landline or mobile phone.)

    “Since no one knows the full extent of the devastation, we want to help provide people with alternative methods of communication to reach friends and family in the region during this difficult time,” the Microsoft-owned video and voice telecommunications provider said in a statement Monday.

    Viber, an app that provides discounted international calls, has made all calls to Nepal free. Sprint and T-Mobile are both waiving fees to call or text Nepal. And Google, whose executive Dan Fredinburg died after the earthquake triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest, reduced the cost of calls through Google Voice from 19 cents a minute to 1 cent.

    “We chose 1 cent, instead of making calls free, to prevent spammers from abusing our systems and possibly adding more load to the already stretched Nepalese telephone network,” Google said in a blog post Sunday.

    Hundreds of people have been reported as missing on a Red Cross site set up to help victims and their families track each other down. As of Monday afternoon, the death toll associated with the magnitude-7.8 quake had topped 4,200.

    The tech companies’ offers come as people outside Nepal are desperately trying to reach family members there. Bigyan Bhandari, 28, a Nepalese man living in South Korea, told the Associated Press that he was only able to contact his family after dozens of failed attempts.

    “I miss my family members … too much,” he said through tears.

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  • The Future of Music Making?
    Since the dawn of mankind there has been music. Sounds were celebrated during gatherings for their ability to set a specific mood. Drums were most likely the first instruments. Somewhere down the line, strings were plucked and strummed. But since the discovery of sound recording, and especially since its digitalization, concerts have become increasingly more monotonous: it is increasingly rare that musicians can get on the stage and deliver what the legend, or the recording, promises. Many professional performers insist that musicality and digitalization are in direct contradiction. A new discovery, the “LinnStrument,” might change that.

    Instruments are constantly being discovered

    Tinkerers have a history of discovering new instruments to suit their various needs: the Belgian clarinetist Adolphe Sax felt there needed to be deeper but nevertheless melodious woodwinds. So he created the saxophone in 1840.

    Since the sound produced by a guitar is too soft for an orchestra, the now musically independent electric guitar was developed in the 1920s
    Rhythm devices like the Rhythmicon have been making it easier for solo entertainers to bring their audience on tour since the 1930s.

    The rock ‘n’ roll revolution once again made music a very physical experience: electric guitars ruled — and they were supported by bass and drums.

    Digitalization changed music

    Digitalization changed music and how it is performed. Electronic music, like ambient, new age and electronica, produced with sound machines has been around for a while. However, in the 1970s, it was nothing more than niche music. Philistines dismissed the melancholic tones, like those from Tangerine Dream, as “pothead music.”

    The niche also remained small because only professional musicians who were both technically and musically adept were in a position to convert the complex technology into harmonies. Only with the discovery of the PC was the playing field suddenly opened up to everyone. Unknown Hamburg tinkerers set the standards. The consequence: just a few mouse clicks and the right software could make anyone sound pretty good.

    This manipulation of reality didn’t just change entertainment. Concerts also lost their excitement as fewer people were willing to spend years practicing in order to produce a certain sound. And why should they when everything you could imagine, and then some, can be found tucked away in some corner of the Internet. And once you’re on the stage, you just need to play it.

    Digitalization vs. musicality?

    This whole situation got on the nerves of a certain Roger Linn. He couldn’t get rid of the “ghosts” he himself had played. He became world-renowned in the 1980s for his Linn Drum Machine, a drum computer that worked with so-called samples, basically sound recordings from various drums. These little tone samples could be programmed and reproduced. The sound of an entire generation was influenced. Think of George Michael’s 1980s major hit “I Want Your Sex.”

    Thanks to the Linn Drum Machine everyone had the most precise drummer with them on the stage or in the recording studio. But that was it. The stored sounds were great, but stage performances increasingly less so. Apparently Roger Linn was exasperated with the whole phenomenon.

    LinnStrument — the future?

    For a while now, rumblings in the music industry about the grayed technical genius and his latest device, the LinnStrument, have been getting louder.

    The LinnStrument is actually “only” a controller that is attached to a computer to forward commands. Just as you would click on a keyboard to enter letters, the LinnStrument transmits commands for sounds and their modulation. Every imaginable sound is possible, be it solo or polyphonic. Why not recreate a Beatles class with a bunch of cellos?

    Whereas before it was only possible to adjust sounds with on and off switches, computers now apparently make everything possible. Simply put, the musician is guided by a grid-like diagram. The x-axis is the pitch and the y-axis determines the kind of sound/sounds.

    If you’ve stored all the right sounds, everything becomes possible. Like a cowboy on a Hawaiian beach with his pedal steel guitar. Or a breathy saxophone.

    Virtuosity and musicality in harmony with the Digital Age?

    These videos performed by the master himself show that not everything is going to sound good without a certain level of musicality. Maybe it’s too premature, but one might be able to say that music, musicality, music creation and digitalization appear to have finally found a way to work together.

    Roger Linn explained in detail his LinnStrument at the annual Moogfest, a kind of Woodstock for sound tinkerers and electronic fans in Asheville, North Carolina.

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  • 8 Infuriating Problems With The Apple Watch
    Apple trumpets its new Watch as its “most personal device yet.” And sometimes, when things get personal, they get a little messy, too.

    The smartwatch is finally in consumers’ hands — though only for 20 percent of the souls who ordered one — but some people are already having issues with it. A few of those are user-generated, like when a tech reporter demoing the device accidentally ordered an Xbox One via the Amazon app; however, a number of reports indicate that the Apple Watch has other baked-in flaws. For a luxury device that costs anywhere from $349 to $17,000, that’s not exactly comforting.

    Of course, it’s also not surprising for a new product to have problems. In 2010, Apple’s iPhone 4 launch was tarnished by a design glitch that interfered with phone call reception, forcing Apple to give out free rubber cases to solve the issue. The ordeal became known as “antennagate.” Years later, the Internet got all bent out of shape when it was discovered that some iPhone 6 devices could physically change shape under certain conditions.

    While the Apple Watch appears more or less to work as intended, it’s by no means perfect. Here are some of the bigger problems users have noticed so far:

    1. People don’t understand how to buy it.

    CNET reports that customers are totally confused about when they’ll receive their Apple Watch, or even how to order it to begin with. (You pretty much have to do it online, unless you can make it to a handful of luxury shops that stock them.)

    2. Setup is complicated.

    A basic setup guide from The Verge is called “How to set up the Apple Watch in 16 steps.” The first paragraph warns the reader that the how-to “isn’t 100 percent comprehensive.” Get ready for a long afternoon of tinkering.

    3. The sides can get scratched up.

    First things first: The front of the screen appears to be incredibly durable. Consumer Reports gave it a righteous stabbing and found it impervious to damage.


    Don’t try this at home. (Source)

    That said, users with the stainless steel Apple Watch are finding that the sides get scuffed up, according to Raymond Wong at Mashable, who also notes that a similar material was used in the scratch-prone iPod Classic and iPod Touch devices.

    As bad as the old iPods could look after getting banged around for a while, there’s a chance that the Apple Watch will wear even worse with age: You probably didn’t walk around with your iPod Classic on your wrist as a fashion statement, exposing it to every tabletop edge or doorjamb you walked past. The Apple Watch is constantly exposed, by comparison.

    4. It shatters when dropped.

    Even though the Watch’s face is relatively scratch-resistant, this could still happen:

    Splat. (Source)

    A video from TechRax shows the Watch’s screen shattering after a face-first fall onto a sidewalk. Granted, the purpose of the video was to “drop test” the device, but the result makes us want to exercise caution when adjusting the band. (Do it on your bed or over carpeting, perhaps.)

    On the upside, the device is by definition supposed to be strapped onto your wrist. As a lifelong watch-wearer, I can personally attest — Scout’s honor — that I’ve never had one magically unclasp and crash onto the concrete. So the chances of your Apple Watch face shattering are probably slim.

    5. It kills your iPhone’s battery life.

    Noticed my iPhone’s battery was abnormally low, especially for barely having used it today. So now we know why. pic.twitter.com/9sJuPrpH0Q

    — Ryan Block (@ryan) April 26, 2015

    Because the Apple Watch constantly talks to your iPhone, it can have a significant effect on battery performance. Some say the Watch seems to have improved their iPhone’s battery life, presumably because the Watch allows them to use the phone less frequently; but more are complaining that it hurts their iPhone’s battery life significantly.

    6. It won’t charge.

    Other users say the Apple Watch won’t charge when they plug it in. There are workarounds for this, but they’re not what you want to deal with right after unwrapping a shiny new toy.

    7. The app experience leaves something to be desired.

    While there are a lot of Apple Watch-compatible apps available, “there’s a surprising amount of junk,” the Wall Street Journal notes. Plus, most of the Watch apps are adapted from iPhone apps, and they can be uncomfortable to view on the Watch’s tiny screen.

    8. It just plain freaks people out.

    Some people have complained that the Apple Watch’s app screen looks like an object with “an irregular pattern of holes,” sort of resembling a beehive. Focusing on it makes them feel queasy or fearful. This is known as trypophobia, and it may have to do with a part of your brain misidentifying the hole clusters as a “poisonous animal,” according to the Association for Psychological Science. Yikes.

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  • Apple returns more cash to investors
    Technology giant Apple reports profits of $13.6bn for the first three months of 2015, and details plans to return more money to investors.
  • Facebook Is Matching Every Dollar Donated To Nepal Earthquake Relief Through Its Site
    Facebook is helping users connect with loved ones affected by the earthquake in Nepal and stretch their donation dollars.

    The social networking site announced on Monday that it will match every dollar contributed through its donation widget to the International Medical Corps (IMC), up to $2 million. As of Monday afternoon, more than 4,000 people were killed in the magnitude-7.8 earthquake and IMC is working to bring lifesaving medication and other supplies to people in need.

    To prevent waterborne illnesses and other communicable diseases, the aid organization is also distributing hygiene kits and water purification tablets.

    Facebook said 100 percent of donations made through its fundraising feature will go directly to the International Medical Corps. The social networking site also said it will donate its matching funds to a number of local relief organizations.

    Facebook is also capitalizing on its worldwide reach to help users notify one another of their whereabouts in the affected region.

    Inspired by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the “Safety Check” app identifies users based on their location and alerts them if they are in an affected area. Users can then notify their Facebook friends if they are in a secure location.

    “During times of crisis, we have seen people turn to Facebook to learn about what’s happening, share their experiences and support one another,” Facebook said in a statement. “By offering tools to help people donate to support those in the affected areas and check on loved ones, we’re hopeful that together we can promote safety and help urgent resources reach those who need them.”

    The button below indicates how much has been raised on Crowdrise’s “Nepal Earthquake Relief” page. Click to visit the site and donate.

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  • Apple breaks records for fiscal Q2 with strong iPhone, Mac sales
    Unexpected strength in Mac sales along with the previously-predicted strong staying power of the iPhone 6 line has helped Apple see record-breaking performance for a fiscal second quarter this year. The company sold more than 61.17 million iPhones, about 80 percent of the number sold during the holiday quarter, which is usually followed by a drop of about 40 percent. Macs sold 4.56 million units, another record for a fiscal Q2 and up 10 percent year-over-year.



  • The Powerful Letter Dan Fredinburg Carried With Him On Mount Everest
    “We’ll also know that you’ve already lived the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes.”

    Those were the last words Max Stossel wrote to his friend, Dan Fredinburg.

    Fredinburg died in an avalanche while climbing Mount Everest after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal Saturday. Stossel’s words were written in one of a handful of letters that Fredinburg, a Google employee and avid adventurer, carried with him from family and friends, wishing him luck on his journey and telling him how much they love him.

    His girlfriend, Ashley Arenson, had asked those close to Fredinburg to write letters that he could open at different check points and levels along the way. Stossel is not sure which ones he would have opened when. “It’s totally possible, because it’s Dan, that he might have read all of them immediately,” he told The Huffington Post Monday.

    Stossel shared the letter he wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post Sunday:

    Dan, (dan dan dan)

    You must be really high up for this written echo (echo echo). Everyone you know and love is eventually going to die (die die die). When we do, we leave behind our stories. Those stories are told and passed on, impacting the lives of others until they are stories (stories stories stories). Your story has already greatly impacted mine for the better. With each adventure you return with stories that most people wouldn’t dream of experiencing themselves (selves selves selves). Thank you for pushing the human race to be greater, more daring, and to truly live life rather than survive it (it it it). I love you, brother. Please return safely with stories (stories stories). And even if you don’t… We’ll all be horrified, saddened, and heartbroken, that we can’t create new stories with you, but we’ll also know that you’ve already lived the equivalent of at least 100 lifetimes.

    You are a fucking champion.

    Safe, wonderful & breathtaking journey.

    Love,
    Max Stossel (ossel ossel)

    Stossel said he shared the letter as a reminder of how amazing Fredinburg was. “He had this incredible hacker mind, finding innovative ways to solve problems,” he told HuffPost. “He used that mind to bring more love into the world, more adventure into the world, and create those experiences for the people he cared about.”

    Fredinburg, who joined Google in 2007, had gone on multiple Mount Everest expeditions, photographing the region for Google Street View, the New York Times noted. The company released a statement confirming his death and reporting that the three other Google employees who were also on the hike are safe. A Crowdrise campaign honoring his life is raising money for two Nepalese orphanages Fredinburg had been dedicating his climb to.

    Actress Sophia Bush, who dated Fredinburg, posted a touching tribute to him on Instagram Saturday.

    There are no adequate words. Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I’ll likely never find them all. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so. He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man. I’m devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him, and to have counted him as one of my tribe. I was so looking forward to our planned download of “all the things” when he got home. I am crushed that I will never hear that story. I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love. Disasters like this are often unquantifiable, the enormity is too much to understand. Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone’s Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan. His energy is so big and so bright, and it’s all around us, so put some love toward him today. And then hug your loved ones again. #goodbyesweetfriend #savetheice #Nepal #AdventureswithDAN

    A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:07pm PDT

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  • HuffPost Live Wins Its Third Consecutive Webby Award
    The Webby Awards announced its 19th batch of winners on Monday, and among them was HuffPost Live, which took home the award for Best News and Information Channel for the third consecutive year. HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski spoke with Webby Awards president David-Michcel Davies, who brought along viral celebrity Marnie the dog, about the big win and the upcoming award ceremony, scheduled for May 18.

    See the full HuffPost Live conversation about the 19th annual Webby Awards here.

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s 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.

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  • Google offers cash to Europe's media
    Google pledges €150m to support news organisations’ efforts to earn money from their online coverage.
  • 10 Artists, Illustrators And Designers Committed To Keeping Print Alive Around The World
    print

    “Print isn’t dead.”

    So reads a block of text opposite the table of contents in People of Print. The beautifully adorned tome, published by Thames & Hudson earlier this month, explores a world in which GIFs, generative imagery and fractals have become ubiquitous. Digital and algorithmic art is no longer the future; in fact, it’s hardly the present.

    Amidst this sea of screen-based masterpieces, though, authors Marcroy Smith and Andy Cooke are spotlighting the designers, illustrators and collectives who are still embracing the traditional corners of print techniques. From the fanzine masters and self-published bookmakers to the poster artists and comic illustrators that live at the center of vintage fandom to textile artisans and handmade fashionistas, People of Print features profiles on 45 individuals or groups devoted to “tactility, materiality, and the visible craft of print.”

    Smith is the director of the online version of the book, described as a library of illustrators, designers and printers that began back in 2008, as well as the founder and editor of the aptly named magazine, Print Isn’t Dead. Cooke is a British graphic designer with a self-professed “questionable beard,” whose list of clients includes Google, Ikea and Microsoft. Together they’ve pulled together images and interviews from artists like Mike Perry, Dolly Demoratti, Erik Kessels and KeeganMeegan & Co.

    print

    “Print offers a different experience altogether,” writes KK Outlet curator Danielle Pender, in an introductory essay for the book. “It’s sensory, the smell and feel each add something different to the content. Something committed to print holds more weight in the eye of the reader than something online… Rather than our digital lives relegating print to obsolescence, they have cemented it as something more valuable.”

    In the spirit of Pender’s words, we’ve compiled a list of 10 featured printers you should know. Below are the names of a handful of artists, illustrators and designers committed to keeping print alive:

    1. Fatherless

    fatherless
    Fatherless, Untitled, screen print, 2012

    Fatherless is a collective of printmakers, designers, graffiti artists and educators rooted in the American Midwest, consisting of Corey Hagberg, Jarrod Hennis, Javier Jimenez, Greg Lang, and Dave Menard. The name “Fatherless” comes from the collective’s process of creating — every “Rust Belt Power Pop” screen print touches the hands of each artist in the group. “They are not five artists that work ‘under’ the name of Fatherless,” its online description reads. “A Fatherless print is made by five artists.”

    2. Jon Burgerman

    183
    Jon Burgerman, Tricolore (Man, Pizza, Cigarette), screen print, 2012

    London-based illustrator Jon Burgerman‘s murals, toys, prints and apparel showcase the art of doodling at its best. “A doodle isn’t necessarily a drawing on a piece of paper,” he described in an interview with PSFK. “A doodle can be an idea, it can be a melody. It’s just something that you do maybe when you’re meant to be doing something else or when you’re not full concentrated on that one task so you have a slightly absent-minded distraction. You’re traveling or you’re walking around and sketching something, and from the depths of your mind something magical happens.”

    3. Killer Acid

    killer
    Killer Acid, Live and Let Live, screen print, 2010

    Rob Corradetti founded Killer Acid, a print-based art project centered on everything from screen printing to stickers to t-shirts — generally, the ephemera associated with Brooklyn band art. The works cull inspiration from drug culture, American kitsch and surrealism. Appropriately, Killer Acid has designed for bands like the Black Lips, Mac Demarco and The Pizza Underground.

    4. Carnovsky

    carno
    Carnovsky, Landscape No. 1, digital, 2013

    Based in Milan, Italy, the duo of Silvia Quintanilla and Francesco Rugi make up Carnovsky. Together they produce everything from wall paper to garments to furniture, many of which interact with red-green-blue light systems that change the very appearance of their layered imagery. Quintanilla and Rugi are inspired by antique natural history books and engraving techniques, resulting in a color-drenched oeuvre that blends detailed figuration with a hypnotic palette.

    5. Frenchfourch

    baston
    Frenchfourch, Bastonnade, screen print, 2013

    Based in Paris, France, Frenchfourch aims to highlight “the young, flourishing and talented scene of French, European and world graphic artists.” The above image comes from “Bastonnade,” a project that spans seven countries, in which Frenchfourch hosted a new screen printed installation and a new collective in each city it visited.

    6. Age of Reason

    age of reason
    Age of Reason, Lollipop Queen, digital, 2014

    Age of Reason, a Hove, UK-based print label, specializes in natural fiber scarves that blend memories of designer Ali Mapletoft’s childhood in Lesotho, South Africa with the street style of London. Her intricate images seem better suited for a thick piece of pulp rather than a delicate swath of silk, which makes the creations all that more interesting. “I want Age of Reason to be the antidote to cute kitten and chintzy flowers on scarves,” Mapletoft explains in a blurb for her profile.

    7. Le Gun

    legun
    LE GUN, Le Gun Book, Issue 4

    Le Gun, a printmaking collective in London, has one motto: the sum is greater than the parts. Bill Bragg, Chris Bianchi, Neal Fox, Robert Rubbish, Steph von Reiswitz, Alex Wright and Matt Appleton combine bits of punk, pop and occult to create largely monochromatic scenes that span from simple text to chaotic illustration.

    8. Bicicleta Sem Freio

    skate
    Bicicleta Sem Freio, Go Skate, screen print, 2011

    “Art, design and rock ’n’ roll,” begins the online biography of Brazil-based Bicicleta Sem Freio (Bicycle Without Brakes in English). The description should probably include “women,” as the work of Douglas de Castro, Victor Rocha and Renato Reno includes many multi-colored renderings of girls jumping, snarling and screaming.

    9. The Hungry Workshop

    175
    The Hungry Workshop, I Would Blank My Blank For You, letterpress, 2013

    Husband-and-wife duo Simon and Jenna Hipgrave, from Melbourne, Australia, are masters of the letterpress end of printmaking. Together they amount to The Hungry Workshop. “Letterpress has an enhanced physicality,” their description reads. “You can smell, see and touch an idea that has been executed with letterpress.”

    10. And Atelier

    64
    And Atelier, Dédalo #7 magazine, offset, 2010

    The Portugal-based design studio And Atelier, founded by João Araújo and Rita Huet in 2010, focuses on editorial and poster design. “Our work always tries to accomplish a strong conceptual approach,” they write on their website, “Through very clean solutions and with a strong typographic component and respect for letterforms and reading rhythms.”

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  • Mobile Is a Lifestyle, Not a Technology
    With an increasing number of companies investing in deployment and management of enterprise mobility than ever before, it’s no surprise it’s one of the hottest trends in today’s business landscape. Remote work is fast becoming mainstream, as flexible hours and work locations allow employees to work more efficiently and accomplish more. Our teams are accessing data, meeting deadlines, servicing clients, solving problems, and moving business forward, while collaborating with their colleagues from wherever they are located. Powered by the Cloud and devices with super computing power that fit in our pockets, the workforce is more capable than ever of being mobile. But is mobile simply about technology? No. Mobile is a lifestyle. Let me explain why I think so.

    The World is Getting Smarter

    We have entered the era of a new type of workforce. The Millennials, a generation born in the 1980s and the first true natives of our high-tech world, are beginning to make an impact. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Millennials will make up nearly 75 percent of the workforce by 2030. We are witnessing an influx of hyper-connected employees, many who are online for most of their waking hours. In fact, the tech love of this generation and their lofty expectations of connectedness have in part spurred the revolution of “Internet of Things (IoT).” It’s interesting to note that the Millennial’s affinity towards technology isn’t cultivated or acquired; it comes naturally to this generation who grew up immersed in technology.

    These lines from Experian’s Millennials Come of Age report capture the essence of Millennial behavior almost perfectly: “While the rest of adults see smartphones and the Internet as revolutionary, for Millennials, they’re just part of the natural order of things.”

    Innovation is the new Focus

    Business has always been focused on generating revenue, but no longer is making money the only goal. Blindly following successful business models doesn’t cut it anymore. Following the well-beaten path to success is a thing of past, as we see innovation cutting new pathways for us. Businesses that are broadening their focus to maximize their employees’ potential and productivity, as well as building and embracing a culture of innovation and change, will find themselves well-suited to this new work world. Mobility opens doors to flexibility and the freedom to do more. When employees are not tethered to their desks, when they are treated like trusted adults instead of clock punchers, they tend to be more passionate about their work and more dedicated to your brand and business.

    Mobility is Permeating the Workforce             

    The mobility trend isn’t limited to Millennials. While it’s spreading fast as they become a larger part of the workforce, Baby Boomers are working side-by-side with Millennials and either trying to adapt to this new environment, or they are already active tech users themselves, and quietly applauding these Millennials who are pushing for the kinds of workplace change that will benefit them also.

    As mobile becomes a key to defining how we work, it ceases to be just a technology. In fact, it has really become part of a new iteration of work-life balance, one that, because of the mainstreaming of digital technology, actually reduces the stressors of juggling work and family. Mobility can create an almost ideal work environment for all employees, irrespective of their generation. It’s exciting to think that we are rapidly advancing towards this ideal.

    Have you embraced mobility as part of your lifestyle? In what ways has it made work more ideal? Id love to hear about your experience.  

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Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • Does digital mean the end of history?
    Are we in danger of entering a digital dark age?
  • Jay Z Responds To Tidal Criticism On Twitter
    Jay Z’s music- and video-streaming service Tidal has been experiencing a wave of bad press ever since its March launch. Critics have predicted the failure of the subscription-only service, enumerated its problems and declared it already a flop based on its position in Apple’s App Store. Mumford & Sons and Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard have been among the musicians to speak out against it. But Jay Z is standing by his service.

    On Sunday, the rapper and mogul took to Twitter to offer a multi-part defense of Tidal, using the hashtag #TidalFacts. Jay Z assured his followers that “Tidal is doing just fine” with more than 770,000 subscriptions. “Please give us a chance to grow & get better,” he wrote.

    Tidal is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 subs. We have been in business less than one month. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful…

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    There are many big companies that are spending millions on a smear campaign. We are not anti-anyone, we are pro-artist & fan. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    We made Tidal for fans. We have more than just music. We have video, exclusive concerts, tickets for events early, live sports!…

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    ….Tidal is where artists can give their fans more without the middlemen. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    Indie artists who want to work directly w/ us keep 100% of their music. “If you don’t want the CEOs all in the videos” haa #tidalfacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    Tidal pays 75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers – not just the founding members on stage.

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    Rich getting richer? Equity values… YouTube $390 billion. Apple $760 billion. Spotify $8 billion. Tidal $60 million. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    My cousin just moved to Nigeria to discover new talent. Tidal is a global company.

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    We have Tidal X – it supports artists by giving them a platform to connect with their most loyal fans. Tidal is for all. #Tidalfacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    Our actions will speak louder than words. We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences…

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again…

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

    We are human (even Daft Punk ha). We aren’t perfect – but we are determined. #TidalFacts

    — Mr. Carter (@S_C_) April 26, 2015

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  • Sophia Bush Posts Tribute To Ex-Boyfriend Dan Fredinburg, Killed By Everest Avalanche
    Sophia Bush took to Instagram on Saturday to share her shock over the death of ex-boyfriend Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive who was killed following the massive earthquake in Nepal this weekend.

    Bush, who attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last night, posted a photo of Fredinburg in what appears to be the Rain Room exhibit in the Museum of Modern Art.

    In her caption she wrote that Fredinburg was “one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends.”

    The “Chicago P.D.” star went on to encourage her 1.5 million followers to appreciate and hug their friends and family. “Please tell those you love that you do,” she wrote. “Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan.”

    There are no adequate words. Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I’ll likely never find them all. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so. He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man. I’m devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him, and to have counted him as one of my tribe. I was so looking forward to our planned download of “all the things” when he got home. I am crushed that I will never hear that story. I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love. Disasters like this are often unquantifiable, the enormity is too much to understand. Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone’s Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan. His energy is so big and so bright, and it’s all around us, so put some love toward him today. And then hug your loved ones again. #goodbyesweetfriend #savetheice #Nepal

    A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:07pm PDT

    Fredinburg was climbing Mount Everest when the 7.8 magnitude earthquake triggered an avalanche, which killed at least 17 climbers. The Google executive’s sister confirmed his death in an Instagram post on Saturday.

    Fredinburg and Bush split in February 2014, but their breakup wasn’t publicly announced until August.

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  • 15 Crucial Emojis That Are Still Missing
    2015-04-11-1428773543-1670880-emojisnumbered.jpgSo far, I’m giving a bright-yellow thumbs up to the new emoji rollout. Not having to tab through different categories saves time in texting. (I never understood why the bloody syringe and pink clutch were in the same section, for example.) And I won’t complain too much about the missing middle finger Apple promised us because there are other, more creative ways to express ire. (Angry Mexican wrestler mask.) But, if emojis were designed to save time in digital communication, in addition to releasing more diverse options it would have been nice to see 15 still-missing emojis that are part of many females’ regular texting vocabulary.

    1. Green juice. “Tomorrow’s the day I’m FINALLY going to start a cleanse.” Or: “Current mood: Starving.”

    2. Flip-flops. Represents summer, vacation and a pedicure. (We currently have a mani and a hideous polish color, at that.)

    3. Champagne. “My boss is out sick!”

    4. Fingers crossed. “Hope his new girlfriend is a troll.”

    5. Macaron. The official food of fashion bloggers deserves its own emoji. Just think of the play it would get on Instagram!

    6. Yoga. For bragging rights about how one spent their Saturday morning. Or: “Hey friend, you need to zen the eff out.”

    7. TOMS. Emoji speak for “Just kickin’ it.” Or: “Alert: the hipsters have taken over our once-undiscovered wine bar.”

    8. Queso. I live in Texas, where chips and queso are regarded as the cure-all healer for romantic failures, slowdowns in economic growth, loss of a loved one and everything in between.

    9. Hungover. Sometimes a single emoji is all you need to send a friend about the bad decisions you made together last night.

    10. Shopping bag. Because that’s often what I’m doing when someone texts to ask what I’m doing.

    11. Margarita. (See #8.)

    12. Iced coffee. To express the need for a caffeine fix in the summertime.

    13. White wine. Because we don’t all drink all red, all the time.

    14. XO. Love ya! Also: A humble single-emoji comment to thank someone who just commented on Instagram that your selfie is amazing.

    15. Shhh. “DON’T YOU DARE TELL A SOUL THAT THING I TOLD YOU AFTER TOO MUCH 2015-04-11-1428768381-8536129-whitewineemoji.jpg LAST NIGHT!!”

    Illustration: Cali Huffman & Brent Kilgore

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  • Scientists Trick People Into Thinking They're Invisible, And Make Them Feel Less Anxious
    If you want to ease your stage fright, take a few deep breaths and imagine the audience in their underwear. But if that doesn’t work, here’s another trick to try — go invisible.

    That’s right. Neuroscientists at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden gave people the illusion that their entire bodies had disappeared — which in turn dramatically reduced their social anxiety.

    Smoke and mirrors. For the study, the researchers fitted 125 men and women with virtual reality headsets. In the headsets, the participants were shown live video from a pair of cameras pointed at the floor — so that when they looked down, they saw empty space where their bodies should have been.

    Then, the researchers jabbed the participants with a big paintbrush, while poking corresponding spots in the empty space on which the cameras were trained at the same time (see photo above) — giving the that the participants were invisible.

    “Within less than a minute, the majority of the participants started to transfer the sensation of touch to the portion of empty space where they saw the paintbrush move and experienced an invisible body in that position,” Arvid Guterstam, a PhD student at the Institute and the study’s lead author, said in a written statement.

    To confirm that the illusion had worked, the researchers replaced the virtual paintbrush with a knife — and found that the participants got sweaty, which suggested they actually felt threatened.

    Stage fright cure? In the study’s next phase, the researchers made participants stand in front of a “stern-looking crowd” while measuring their heart rates, and asked them how stressed they felt. Half of the participants perceived themselves as having an invisible body in their headsets, and half were shown a mannequin body in their headsets.

    What happened? The “invisible” people had lower heart rates and reported feeling less anxious in comparison to the embodied people.

    Having an invisible body seems to have a stress-reducing effect when experiencing socially challenging situations,” Guterstam told Live Science.

    See no evil… In the future, the researchers plan to use brain imaging to study what’s happening when this illusion occurs, and to see whether it affects a person’s moral compass — which may be important as the military develops “invisibility cloaks” for soldiers, The Washington Post reported.

    After all, in 360 B.C., Plato raised the ethical question over whether humans are innately just, or act morally as a means to an end. In the philosopher’s thought experiment in The Republic, a shepherd named Gyges finds a ring that turns him invisible. Soon after, Gyges sneaks into his kingdom’s royal palace, seduces the queen and murders the king. Plato wrote in The Republic:

    “No man would keep his hands off what was not his own when he could safely take what he liked out of the market, or go into houses and lie with any one at his pleasure, or kill or release from prison whom he would, and in all respects be like a God among men.”

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  • Get Up, Stand Up: Celebrating World IP Day
    Today is World Intellectual Property Day, a day to celebrate the important role that the law plays in promoting innovation and creativity across all countries and cultures. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Get up, stand up. For music,” which is a sentiment I wholeheartedly embrace.

    While my artistic focus is photography, my love of music has been lifelong. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Grateful Dead. I will never forget listening to Sting open for the Dead at a concert years ago when then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher called me and asked me to turn the “radio” down so I could speak with then-President Bill Clinton. I am thrilled that the band is reuniting for a few final shows this summer in Chicago.

    Part of what makes the Grateful Dead so enduring is the sense of community that has developed among fans. That sense of community, of sharing a love of something with other people, is at the core of what it means to be a music fan. All of us, whether we love the Grateful Dead, Emmlyou Harris, Phish, or Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, we are inspired by the music and the people we share it with. And today, music fans enjoy more ways than ever to listen to longtime favorites or discover new artists. We can carry millions of songs on our phones, and access even more through the Internet.

    In many respects, the developments that have made that kind of enjoyment possible have also made it a wonderful time to be a musician. Songwriters and recording artists have ways to reach old fans and make new ones that we could not have dreamed of in the days of 8-tracks and LP records. Digital technology has also made it easier than ever for independent musicians and songwriters to create their works.

    At the same time, these developments have renewed questions about the proper compensation for songwriters and recording artists. Music copyright is complicated. It involves separate legal protections for the underlying composition and the final recording of a work, and a licensing landscape that treats different rights, works and services differently. Like most music fans, when I listen to my favorite songs I’m not generally thinking about how the song was created, how the writers and performers are being paid, whether those payments are sufficient to help them write or record another song, or the efficiency of the process through which the service playing the song licensed the performance. Yet these questions are fundamentally important to the music ecosystem we know today and they are the reason that this year’s World IP Day theme is so timely.

    In the past few years, there have been ongoing conversations about whether and how to fix a music licensing system that virtually all participants believe is broken in some manner.

    Congressional hearings and an in-depth report by Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante make me hopeful that there is renewed interest in comprehensive solutions to improve the music marketplace for all participants. We must ensure that all music creators are fairly compensated for all of their works; that innovative, legitimate delivery methods can continue to benefit consumers and marginalize illegitimate alternatives; and that technology can bring increased transparency to the data that is essential to an efficient licensing system.

    Getting up and standing up for music and the people who make it requires us to do more than think about questions of compensation and creation; it requires us to make sure that broader aspects of our copyright laws reflect our nation’s values. Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans. Even as the Court considers this question of fundamental civil rights, there is work for Congress to do.

    The Copyright Act, which protects our nation’s diverse creative voices, still bears vestiges of discrimination. A provision in the Act protects the surviving spouse of a copyright owner only if the marriage is recognized in the owner’s state of residence at the time he or she dies. This means that a songwriter who lawfully marries his or her partner in Vermont or California is not a “spouse” under the Copyright Act if they move to Michigan, Georgia, or one of the other states that do not recognize their lawful marriage.

    Earlier this year, I introduced the Copyright and Marriage Equality Act to close this discriminatory loophole to ensure our federal statutes live up to our nation’s promise of equality under the law. As the Supreme Court recognized in striking down key portions of the Defense of Marriage Act, it is wrong for the federal government to deny benefits or privileges to couples who have lawfully wed.

    My bill would ensure that the rights attached to the creative works of our nation’s gay and lesbian musicians and songwriters pass to their widows and widowers. Artists are part of the creative lifeblood of our nation, and our laws should protect their families equally. To paraphrase Bob Marley, we need to get up, stand up for your rights. This Vermonter won’t give up the fight.

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Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • If You're Worried About Loved Ones In Nepal, This App Could Help
    In the wake of a devastating earthquake in Nepal, a Facebook app could help people worldwide find out if their loved ones in the affected regions are all right.

    “Safety Check” is a tool launched in October for the purpose of allowing users to easily alert their Facebook friends that they are OK in the case of natural disasters. If you have the app and are in an area affected by a natural disaster, you’ll get an alert asking you if you are safe. The app determines your location based on where you are using the Internet, the city listed in your profile or the last location where you were tagged.

    screengrab

    The app’s creation was inspired by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement when Facebook made the app available worldwide.

    Facebook users with the app can also check to see how many friends are in an affected area and how many of those friends have checked in as safe.

    The app does have some limitations — a person must have a Facebook account, the app downloaded and access to the Internet to “check in.” However, Facebook does allow users to check in on behalf of friends who also have the app.

    The earthquake, the epicenter of which was 50 miles east of Pokhara, was the worst Nepal has seen in over 80 years. “Almost the entire country has been hit,” Krishna Prasad Dhakal, deputy chief of mission of Nepal’s embassy in New Delhi, told Reuters.

    As of Saturday afternoon, at least 1,130 people had been confirmed killed by the quake, which set off a deadly avalanche on Mt. Everest.

    Neighboring countries were hit with deadly tremors, with 34 dead in India, six in Tibet, two in Bangladesh and two on the Nepal-China border.

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  • Dan Fredinburg, Google Executive, Killed On Mount Everest After Nepal Earthquake
    Dan Fredinburg, a Google executive, was killed on Mount Everest in an avalanche triggered by the massive, 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Nepal on Saturday. At least 10 guides and climbers died on the mountain, with the toll expected to rise.

    Fredinburg’s sister confirmed his death in an Instagram post:

    Jagged Globe, the company Fredinburg was hiking with, posted a statement mourning his loss.

    “Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan’s family and friends whilst we pray too for all those who have lost their lives in one of the greatest tragedies ever to hit this Himalayan nation,” it reads in part. The statement also said that two other climbers sustained non-life threatening injuries.

    Tom Briggs, the company’s marketing director, told The Guardian that Fredinburg and the others “saw the avalanche coming and were able to make a run for it but the camp was right in the middle of it.”

    Fredinburg headed up privacy for Google X, the company’s secretive ideas lab, and had worked at the Internet giant since 2007. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was involved with initiatives ranging from Google’s self-driving car to “Project Loon,” which aspires to provide balloon-powered Internet access to remote areas. He also co-founded Google Adventure, which, according to the entrepreneur hub Startup Grind, aims to “translate the Google Street View concept into extreme, exotic locations like the summit of Mount Everest or the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.”

    The Guardian reported in April that he was part of a group of climbers who were preparing to summit the mountain one year after an avalanche killed twelve sherpas, in what had been the deadliest incident on the mountain to date. According to the newspaper, it was “an open secret” that a Street View camera was being carried to the summit.

    Fredinburg posted frequent Instagram updates documenting his journey:

    As news of his death broke, reactions on Twitter and Instagram poured in. Among them was a long remembrance from the actress Sophia Bush, Fredinburg’s ex girlfriend.

    There are no adequate words. Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I’ll likely never find them all. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world. His brain knew how to build it. His heart was constantly evolving to push himself to make it so. He was one of my favorite human beings on Earth. He was one of the great loves of my life. He was one of my truest friends. He was an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man. I’m devastated and simultaneously so deeply grateful to have known and loved him, and to have counted him as one of my tribe. I was so looking forward to our planned download of “all the things” when he got home. I am crushed that I will never hear that story. I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love. Disasters like this are often unquantifiable, the enormity is too much to understand. Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone’s Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do. Right now. This very minute. And please send a kiss to the sky for my friend Dan. His energy is so big and so bright, and it’s all around us, so put some love toward him today. And then hug your loved ones again. #goodbyesweetfriend #savetheice #Nepal

    A photo posted by Sophia Bush (@sophiabush) on Apr 25, 2015 at 2:07pm PDT

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  • Happy Birthday, Hubble: Seeing the Universe in a New Light
    If you are at all interested in astronomy, chances are you’ve already heard that the Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating its 25th anniversary this week. What some people may not know is that Hubble is one of four siblings, so to speak. Back in the 1980s, NASA commissioned the “Great Observatories,” each designed and built to study different wavelengths of light.

    2015-04-24-1429907733-1648583-thrmometer_4_strfld.jpg
    The Electromagnetic Spectrum. NASA’s Great Observatories (Compton, Chandra, Hubble and Spitzer) and the electromagnetic thermometer scale. (Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

    The four Great Observatories, in order of their launches that took place between 1990 and 2003, are Hubble, the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory, the Chandra X-ray Observatory, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

    2015-04-24-1429907859-3022683-Hubble_01.jpg
    A photo of the Hubble Space Telescope, doing its job in space. Credit: NASA

    NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990. Hubble has four main scientific instruments that allow it to observe not only in visible light but also near ultraviolet and near infrared. Hubble helped determine how old our Universe is, what quasars are, and also helped discover “dark energy.”

    2015-04-24-1429907884-1339587-compton_inSpace.jpg
    The space shuttle crew took a photo of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory as the satellite was deployed, with Earth visible beneath it. Credit: NASA/MSFC

    In 1991, NASA launched a satellite into space carrying the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory (CGRO). The goal of Compton was to study gamma rays from objects far out into space. Gamma ray telescopes can study incredibly exotic objects such as blazars, magnetars, cosmic rays, and dark matter. Compton operated in space until when NASA intentionally sent it into the Earth’s ocean in 2000.

    2015-04-24-1429907914-2042524-chandra_4k_V2_Sm.jpg
    An artist’s illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory in space. Credit: NGST

    NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is a telescope specially designed to detect X-ray emission from very hot regions of the Universe such as exploded stars, clusters of galaxies, and matter around black holes. Because X-rays are absorbed by Earth’s atmosphere, Chandra must orbit above it, up to an altitude of 139,000 km (86,500 mi) in space. Chandra was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999 and continues to be in excellent health and deliver incredible science over a decade and half later.

    2015-04-24-1429907953-7789736-spitzer.jpg
    An artist’s illustration of the Spitzer Space Telescope in orbit. Credit: NASA

    The last of the Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope, was launched into orbit in 2003. Spitzer is designed to detect infrared light, which is primarily radiation from heat. This gives Spitzer the ability to study objects like brown dwarfs (failed stars), extrasolar planets, giant clouds of gas and dust, and organic molecules that may hold the key to life in the Universe.

    Over the years, astronomers have used often used data from these telescopes together. Not only does this reap incredible scientific rewards, the combined datasets from the different observatories often make spectacular images that help all viewers get a more complete picture of our fascinating Universe. (Astronomers call images with different types of light “multiwavelength” images because each type of light encompasses different sets of wavelengths.) We think this may be a perfect example of Aristotle’s old adage that the whole is truly greater than the sum of its parts.

    With that, we’ve selected some of our favorite multiwavelength images with Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer data (and listed the colors that each image is shown in). Each type of light brings a new piece of the puzzle in the quest to understand the cosmos we live in. We hope there will be many more years to see our Universe in a whole new light.

    2015-04-24-1429909409-9206334-ngc6388_w11.jpg
    NGC 6388 is a globular cluster about 35,000 light years from Earth. In this image, the Hubble data is colored in red, green and blue, with X-ray data from Chandra in pink.

    2015-04-24-1429909433-536610-dark_macsj0416.jpg
    MACS J0416.1-2403 is a galaxy cluster about 4.29 billion light years from Earth. In the image, Hubble data is colored red, green and blue, with a lensing map in blue, and the Chandra X-ray data is colored pink.

    2015-04-24-1429909458-8027408-ngc6022.jpg
    NGC 602 is a cluster of young stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), one of the closest galaxies to our Milky Way. The Hubble image is shown in red, green and blue with Chandra information colored purple and Spitzer colored red.

    2015-04-24-1429909484-8932493-ngc2392_w11.jpg
    NGC 2392 is a star like our Sun that is in the end phase of its life, situated about 4,200 light years from Earth. The Hubble optical data is shown in red, green and blue with the Chandra X-ray data in pink.

    2015-04-24-1429909512-4476798-ngc922_w11.jpg
    NGC 922 is a ring galaxy about 157 million light years from Earth. In this image, Hubble information is colored red, green and blue with Chandra X-ray information in red.

    2015-04-24-1429909539-4976497-ngc6543.jpg
    NGC 6543 (also known as the Cat’s Eye) is a planetary nebulas located less than 5.000 light years from Earth. The Hubble optical image is shown in red, green and blue, with the Chandra X-ray image overlaid in purple.

    2015-04-24-1429909577-5234120-vv340_w11.jpg
    VV 340 is a pair of galaxies located about 450 million light years from Earth. The Hubble image has been colored red, green and blue, and the Chandra X-ray image is depicted in purple.

    2015-04-24-1429909607-3786391-arp147_w11.jpg
    Arp 147 is a galaxy about 430 million light years from Earth. In this image, the Hubble data has been colored red, green and blue, and the Chandra X-ray data has been colored magenta.

    2015-04-24-1429909627-3807833-snr0509_w11.jpg
    SNR 0509-67.5 is a supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which lies about 160,000 light years from Earth. The Hubble image is depicted in orange, red and violet with the Chandra X-ray image overlaid in green and blue.

    2015-04-24-1429909651-7829950-ngc6240_w11.jpg
    NGC 6240 is a galaxy about 330 million light years from Earth. Hubble data is shown in red, green and blue and is overlaid with Chandra data depicted in orange and cyan.

    2015-04-24-1429909678-1511792-e0102_w11.jpg
    E0102, officially known as 1E0102.2-7219, is a supernova remnant in the Small Magellanic Cloud. Hubble’s image in red, green and blue has been overlaid with Chandra’s image in blue, cyan and orange.

    2015-04-24-1429909712-7545446-macs.jpg
    MACSJ0717.5+3745 is one of the most complex galaxy clusters known, located about 5.4 billion light years from Earth. The Hubble data is colored in cyan and yellow, with the Chandra data in blue and violet.

    2015-04-24-1429909736-544265-orion_420.jpg
    The Orion Nebula is a rich cluster of young stars about 1,500 light years from Earth. Hubble’s image is shown in red and purple, and Chandra’s X-ray image is shown in blue, yellow and orange.

    2015-04-24-1429909764-7540437-1e0657_420.jpg
    1E 0657-56 (also known as the Bullet Cluster) is the site of a collision between two large galaxy clusters about 3.4 billion light years from Earth. Hubble data is shown in white and orange with the lensing map in blue, and Chandra data is shown in pink.

    2015-04-24-1429909791-8542566-n132d_420.jpg
    N132D is a supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud, about 160,000 light years from Earth. Hubble’s image is colored in pink and purple with Chandra’s image in blue.

    Image Credits: NASA

    This post was co-authored by Kimberly Arcand and Megan Watzke.

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  • When You Google 'Why Do Women…' Some Very Interesting Results Come Up
    By 2015, we know not to trust Google.

    Search results are a patchwork quilt shoddily tailored to include our browsing history, physical location and the things an algorithm tells the machine we may be interested in.

    Despite this, Google has become a social appendage. We run to her at the drop of a hat, with even the smallest shred of doubt, imploring her to settle a debate at a birthday party or to help us find the best price for hangers.

    Google is our transitional object, our blankie, our mother or father onto whom we pin the hope that the answer to everything can be found with the punch of a thumb and the tap of a finger.

    After realizing last week that, as a woman, I apologize for nearly everything and to nearly everyone, my first instinct was to ask Google why.

    I typed the words “why do women,” but before I could add “apologize,” I was amazed at what Google suggested I ask instead.

    The top five results were:

    Why do women cheat
    Why do women like 50 shades of grey
    Why do women moan
    Why do women wear thongs
    Why do women wear hijab

    The same exact prompt for men resulted in these autocompletes:

    Why do men cheat
    Why do men watch porn
    Why do men lie
    Why do men pull away
    Why do men go bald

    The UN Women’s ad series from 2013 brilliantly examined the ways that Google autocomplete reflects widespread sexism in the world, but what’s equally interesting about the above is the relationship the female autocompletes have to their male counterparts.

    The top question on all of the Internet — why do men and women cheat — is oddly encouraging. Our basest fear of being cheated on (or cheating ourselves) trumps all barriers of sexism and inequality.

    The next couple of questions, however, betray deeply rooted inquiries into sex and power dynamics.

    “Why do women like 50 shades of grey” and “why do women moan” — versus “why do men watch porn” and “why do men lie.”

    Book one of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy was released in 2012, causing an international sexual flurry, and the film, which came out this past Valentine’s Day, grossed over $568 million worldwide.

    The story’s exploration and fetishizing of sex, bondage and power (I haven’t read it — I couldn’t even make it through the sample on my Kindle) is in some ways paralleled to the male autocomplete “why do men watch porn?”

    “Why do women moan” and “why do men lie” pose further questions about sexuality, shame and expression.

    Do these autocompletes pop up because they are the most unanswered and pondered questions in our society — or is it because they are the things we won’t ask each other out loud?

    Are Google searches really just a road map to our deepest insecurities?

    The next set of questions tie directly into the ones that preceded them. “Why do women moan” is followed by “why do women wear thongs.” Sex Ed 101: We want to better understand female sexuality. And my guess is it’s not just men asking.

    It seems safe to assume that the gender divide on the Internet is pretty equal. In other words, if an equal number of men and women are cruising the slippery slope of the World Wide Web, then we can guess that both men and women are typing the questions “why do women moan” and “why do women wear thongs.”

    Are men asking because they like that some women moan and that some women wear thongs? Are women who neither moan nor thong asking out of an insecurity — wondering if in fact they should moan during sex and should wear a specific type of underwear?

    Are human beings most perplexed — or threatened — by female sexuality, and equally perplexed by the male psyche? Evidence is found in the following questions: “why do men lie” and “why do men pull away.” These are emotional questions, while their female counterparts are sexual and physical. Lying and pulling away both indicate a lack of intimacy, a barrier that the hypothetical man desires. The opposite of closeness and trust — two specific things that most humans desire when engaging in sex.

    The final pair of questions veers into the world of appearances — how we look to others and how we look to ourselves. But they aren’t as basic as they seem.

    “Why do women wear hijab” is a question that combines so many topics at the forefront of our international discussions today: power, religion, femininity, control, culture and conflict.

    “Why do men go bald” reveals concern over changing appearance, fear of a decline in attractiveness or virility and, in some ways, anxiety over the loss of power that occurs as one grows older.

    Many of the questions on both lists are about power and control. But if people are asking them, then we have to assume that they want to know the answers. There is a burning desire for better understanding, a closing of the gap between how we act and who we are.

    I started down this rabbit hole asking why women apologize so much.

    The set of autocompleted questions for women are about sex and sexuality. The questions for men are about failure. What does this reveal about our insecurities? Is our biggest fear that women are uncontrollable sexual beings and that men will disappoint them?

    Google may be our one-stop shop for instant answers: What year did Cruel Intentions come out? 1999. Is Hillary Clinton spelled with one or two L’s? Two. But when it comes to deeper questions about what makes us human, it looks like the only source we can fully trust is — frighteningly — each other.

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  • OpenTable for Android Updated with Improved Google Maps Integration

    OpenTable has updated their app for Android today, bringing significantly improved integration with Google Maps.  The update to OpenTable for Android, version 4.4.2.1170 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Google Play store.  It is designed for both Android phones and tablets. For those not familar with OpenTable, it is a service-meets-app that allows you to find restaurants near you and make bookings at them for that day or in the future.  Each time you dine you get points which can be redeemed for discounts at any restaurant who is in the OpenTable program.  I have

    The post OpenTable for Android Updated with Improved Google Maps Integration appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • 15 New Wallpapers Available for Your Android or Windows Phone

    This morning I have uploaded 15 new wallpapers for you to download (for free) and use on your Android or Windows Phone device.  These wallpapers are not original creations but rather a collection of those I have found across the Web over the past few weeks.  As such it is a bit of what I like and hopefully you will too. To get to the wallpaper page, just use the top navigation of the site or click this link.  There you will find the entire collection.

    The post 15 New Wallpapers Available for Your Android or Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • Growing a Tech Startup: Knowing When and How to Scale
    Starting a company is thrilling and terrifying all at once. I can only describe it as “energizing stress.” I’ve started and helped start five companies in my career, each one having similarities to those before it. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that it’s absolutely vital to know how and when to scale. Scale too early and you will likely fail. Scale too late and you’ll miss an opportunity. Want to learn how to do it well? Read on.

    Start Small – Do Things That Don’t Scale

    Paul Graham of Y Combinator wrote an amazing blog called “Do Things That Don’t Scale.” The idea is that we all want to believe that successful startups like AirBnB and Zappos were high functioning machines from day one. But in fact, these and almost all successful companies started out the hard way by doing things manually.

    The first MVP of Zappos involved a shiny landing page and not much more. Nick Swinmurn, Zappos founder, went to local shoe stores, took pictures of shoes, and put these pictures on a website. When a shoe sold, he walked to the shoe store, bought the shoe, and mailed it himself.

    By doing things that don’t and can’t scale like Zappos did, you learn a lot about your market, what it takes to get customers, and what it takes to delight these customers. And you can learn these critical lessons without breaking the bank or having to raise a Seed round.

    The Aha Moment

    Yet, at some point, every startup founder wakes up and says one of two things:

    1. “Wait a minute, I might be onto something;” or
    2. “This isn’t going to work, I’m throwing in the towel.”

    You see, up until this aha moment, the root mission of the startup is “don’t fail”. Sure, you’re testing a hypothesis and trying to achieve product/market fit. And you’re hopefully doing things manually that don’t scale so that you can conduct experiments quickly and cost effectively.

    If your aha moment is, “Wait a minute, I might be onto something,” you must change your behavior.

    That’s right. You simply cannot “just” put more effort into the things you have done to date. Rather, it’s critical to recognize this period of change and be proactive about materially changing your behavior to reflect this next phase of your startup.

    Why? The Greiner Curve, created decades ago by Larry Greiner, illustrates how all businesses go through six distinct phases of growth and relative calm (evolution/growth) alternating with six distinct phases of chaos (revolution/crisis):

    2015-04-24-1429912087-7094127-GreinerGrowthCurve.png
    (Source: Startup-Book.com)

    It is during these distinct periods of chaos that most businesses fail. Your first aha moment represents the first period of revolution, and a pivotal moment for your business.

    And, yes, it may feel as though your startup is in a constant state of “chaos,” but if you reflect on it, I bet you will discover distinct periods of calm vs. chaos.

    React Correctly

    Once you recognize this period of chaos, reacting correctly is the main task at hand. Do this:

    1. Consider getting outside advice. Periods of chaos are often the best times to bring in a CEO coach or form an Advisory Board.
    2. Start to do things that scale. Draw a mind map of all areas of your business. It might look like this:

      2015-04-24-1429912160-4350791-BusinessAreas.png

      Identify one or two areas where you feel you are drowning in manual process. Maybe your sales or recruiting pipeline is in Excel. Maybe your marketing consists of emails sent one by one. Do these one or two things differently. Maybe you buy a CRM system or an applicant tracking system. Maybe you change the way your team makes decisions so that decisions are decentralized and not all going through you. Start to scale with the areas of business that could benefit from it most.

    And Then… Pause

    After you pick the one or two areas of the business that are most thirsty for change, go back to the “calm”. Give the new state of things time to adjust, to work. Don’t panic. If you do, you’ll wind up changing too many things too quickly. Feel confident in your choice and give it a month. Set yourself a reminder on your calendar for 30 days from now to check in with yourself. The key here is to set the reminder today — don’t wait until a few weeks have passed.

    Also, for extra credit, write down what you expect to happen. For example: “By using a CRM system, I expect to be able to not drop any sales leads through the cracks and I also expect to be able to close X deals per month.”

    Repeat

    Scaling a business is like jumping a series of concentric hurdles, each one bigger and higher than the one before it. When you start, start small. As you grow, you must get bigger, stronger, faster. And yet, the object of the race remains the same: win.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Why This VC Says We're Not In Another Dot-Com Bubble
    The Nasdaq hit at a 15-year high on Thursday, fueling fresh speculation that the stock market is experiencing another dot-com bubble like the one of the 1990s that could burst at any time.

    Not so, says venture capitalist Tony Tjan.

    “You’re definitely in a very significant boom period,” the bespectacled managing director of the Boston-based VC firm Cue Ball Capital told The Huffington Post on Thursday. “But you’re not in a bubble.”

    To be sure, Tjan has skin in the game. Cue Ball Capital’s portfolio is filled with tech companies, including the commenting service Livefyre, legal data firm Lex Machina and the real estate analytics site SmartZip.

    It is tempting for financial pundits to compare today’s market to that of 2000, when the dot-com bubble burst, sending stock prices plummeting and closing down some prominent early Internet companies, such as pet supply site Pets.com, web hosting service GeoCities and plaything retailer eToys.com

    Back then, the ratio of a companies’ stock price to earnings soared on sheer speculation that growth would continue — but investors ignored P/E ratio as a usual metric of a company’s financial health.

    “It’s high, but it’s a fraction of what that [was],” Tjan said of ratios today.

    When it came to initial public offerings back in 2000, Wall Street was so confident in the future success of unproven companies, that 80 percent of firms that went public in 2000 didn’t even turn profits, according to CNN Money. There are companies with frothy valuations, but fewer and fewer are going public. To the extent that there is a new tech boom, it’s among private companies, not those listed on the Nasdaq.

    cb insights

    Today, the global market has more than 20 so-called “unicorns” — venture capital-backed companies valued at over $1 billion — including Uber, Chinese cellphone maker Xiaomi and the ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, according to Cue Ball. But none of these has gone public. And the rate of IPOs is far lower. In 2000, 446 companies went public, compared to 275 last year. So far this year, 45 companies have gone public, according to the market research firm Renaissance Capital.

    Eventually, some of these companies will likely see their values drop as a natural part of the market correction, Tjan said.

    “There are ones that will be significantly corrected or go out of business,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s nearly the same.”

    Perhaps the biggest difference between 2000 and now is that most companies today build business models off actual necessities, not just “bets on novelty,” Tjan said.

    “Back then, you’d have companies trying to do everything as crazy as sell 99-cent pet food in a $20 FedEx box and think that was a good business,” he said with a laugh. “You have a greater rationality and maturation of the business models, and a greater understanding of what’s going on.”

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  • Best Teen Tweets Of The Week! (4/24/15)
    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!

    just told a joke out loud. hope it all wrks out

    — Celine Polenghi (@celinepolenghi) April 19, 2015

    when I see drama on my timeline pic.twitter.com/iSdMqZcwsK

    — Ben J. Pierce (@BenJPierce) April 21, 2015

    someone should just sit and listen to me explain my favorite movie plots to them

    — gnarly carly (@_carlyquinn) April 23, 2015

    I just bought a $9 Lily Pulitzer nail polish at Target so you can say I’m bathing in riches

    — Kami Baker (@Peeta_is_aBAKER) April 22, 2015

    I just made beautiful perfect scrambled eggs + yet my family still out here saying “justina can’t cook”

    I set the stove on fire ONE time

    — Justina Sharp (@bentpieceofwire) April 24, 2015

    Bellela Thorne is here but not Zendaya smh how is she gonna shake it up alone

    — Nathan Zed (@TheThirdPew) April 21, 2015

    “lose the attitude”
    i don’t have one pic.twitter.com/XIFfzZsOtR

    — FREDDY (@FreddyAmazin) April 22, 2015

    Kids are so lucky they get ppl to read them stories at bedtime just bc they’re cute and small. My friends won’t do that for me.

    — Lycia Faith (@lyciafaith) April 22, 2015

    I didn’t write my essay bc I couldn’t stop dancing to old Britney Spears songs from 2006 and I wish I was kidding

    — m brady (@meganbradyyy) April 20, 2015

    The irony level of Waka Flocka actually running for president would only be surpassed by Waka Flocka actually becoming president

    — Matt Morris (@dj_mooselini) April 22, 2015

    Okay yes maybe I favorite all your tweets in a manner very similar to that of a crazy person but I’m not crazy I just super enjoy you

    — Timothy Wilder (@wilder_timothy) April 21, 2015

    ok so my dad just bought a selfie stick and this is the first thing he sends me pic.twitter.com/pZGUCtpITN

    — chloe bada$$ (@angel_emoji) April 19, 2015

    one of the worst things in life is getting really comfortable in bed and then realizing you have to pee

    — bea (@BeaMiller) April 22, 2015

    beyoncé’s in hawaii and there are palm trees there

    i’m in ecuador and there are palm trees here

    basically i’m vacationing with beyoncé

    — ya boy anthony (@LOHANTHONY) April 18, 2015

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

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  • 'Most Likely To Succeed': Schools Should Teach Kids To Think, Not Memorize
    Fourth-grader Scout is struggling to keep her composure during a parent-teacher conference as the teacher expounds upon the character-building aspects of having failed a math quiz. She fixes her tearful gaze in the distance. “I know that face,” says her father, filmmaker Greg Whiteley. “That face is saying, ‘This is bullshit. This whole thing called school is bullshit.’”

    Whiteley’s latest documentary, “Most Likely to Succeed,” delivers a message Americans need to hear, and desperately: our schools are failing our children, leaving them unable to think critically and contribute to an innovation economy.

    The educational system is broken. Or at least outmoded, says Larry Rosenstock, founding principal and CEO of High Tech High, a network of schools upending the current framework in California. “We have a system that was created over 100 years ago and everyone has a mental model that says that’s the way it has to be,” he told The Huffington Post.

    For too long, the primary focus of education has been the acquisition of knowledge, explains Tony Wagner, expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab. “The whole idea is: [if] you know more stuff, you’re going to be better off, for whatever sets of reasons. And the only way to get it is through the teacher,” he says in the film. “You don’t have to do that anymore. Today, content is ubiquitous, it’s free, it’s on every Internet-connected device, and it’s growing exponentially and changing constantly.”

    High Tech High’s methods eschew the traditional instruction of what educators call “content knowledge” — equations, dates, facts. Instead, the schools strive to foster creative problem-solving with a multidisciplinary curriculum. In lieu of tests, students present collaborative projects that require artistic vision, mathematical prowess and historical understanding. As in life, failure is not a letter grade.

    But success is what most students find. Boasting a 98 percent college-matriculation rate among graduates, High Tech High warrants a closer look, and Whiteley’s documentary devotes a full year to examining the project.

    “The film derives its strength from Greg [Whiteley], a caring father who starts on this thinking we should have more testing and longer school days, and he makes the same path and the same journey as he wants our audience to take, ” says executive producer Ted Dintersmith. “I spent 25 years in venture capitalism, and I could see a few things very clearly: one is how quickly routine jobs are going to be replaced by automated solutions.”

    Stressing the urgency of changing the education system amid America’s lousy job market, he added: “The only surviving skills that will save young kids are creative and innovative. As the current school system is now, for 12 of 16 years, you’re not in an environment that brings that out of them.”

    Rosenstock strives to uncover educators who connect student work to the practical world. Mark Aguirre, a humanities teacher at High Tech High since 2001, is a prime example of the type of educator Rosenstock seeks out. “You’ve been trained to raise your hands,” Aguirre tells his students in the film. Out of character for most ninth-grade teachers, Aguirre employs Socratic seminars, instructing his students to imagine a classroom without his presence: “You need to talk to each other and get used to that instead of always looking at me.”

    As often as parents and students embrace Rosenstock’s model, others communicate uncertainty, particularly as High Tech High’s unconventional approach relates to teaching math skills.

    “We’re not for everyone, and parental anxiety about math is most common,” said Rosenstock. “Parents think, ‘If my kid’s good at math, they’re smart; if my kid is bad at math, they’re not.’ We know that’s not true. Anxiety about a child’s math ability slips off around ninth or tenth grade, when the level of math that the child is doing is still what the parent can handle. After that, it’s no longer math that they can do themselves because they don’t use it because they don’t need it.” By focusing on application, High Tech High dispenses with rote memorization.

    During our conversation, Rosenstock stepped into the hall at High Tech High to read aloud from a prominent banner scrawled with Campbell’s law: “The more any quantitative social indicator (or even some qualitative indicator) is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

    “Most Likely to Succeed” implores viewers to consider the human consequences of education. “The question is,” said Rosenstock, “who do you want your child to be?”

    Most Likely to Succeed” is featured at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Sheryl Sandberg: 'As A Woman Gets More Successful.. She Is Less Liked'
    Ellen Pao’s high-profile gender discrimination lawsuit has resonated with women across Silicon Valley and beyond — including Sheryl Sandberg.

    In a recent interview with Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Bloomberg, the Facebook executive said she saw many of her own experiences reflected in Pao’s case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

    “We have systematic stereotypes of women, and systematic biases of women,” said Sandberg, adding that she wrote of similar experiences as a woman in a male-dominated industry in her book Lean In. “For men, likability and success is correlated. As they get more successful, more powerful, they’re better liked. For women, success and likability are negatively correlated. As a woman gets more successful, more powerful, she is less liked.”

    Pao, a former partner at Kleiner Perkins, lost her suit on March 27 after a jury rejected her claims that she was denied promotions and then fired after she complained.

    Women continue to be disproportionately absent from high-level positions in businesses. Though they represent around half of the country’s workforce, women account for just 22 percent of senior managers. The higher they go, the bleaker the statistics: Only 24 of the S&P 500 companies have female CEOs.

    “There is not an industry out there, no matter how many of its workers are women, that has enough women in leadership,” Sandberg told Bloomberg.

    Pao’s lawsuit drew significant attention to an industry long dogged by gender disparity and reports of sexual harassment. Facebook and Twitter, for example, are both currently facing gender discrimination lawsuits from former employees.

    Check out the full interview with Sandberg and Branson at Bloomberg.com.

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  • New LED Lights Could Play Huge Role In Ending Malaria
    Researchers have pinpointed a potentially impactful weapon in the fight against malaria: LED light.

    The deadly disease killed an estimated 584,000 people in 2013, mostly in poor and developing regions of Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). And transmission of the disease by female mosquitoes — deemed the deadliest animals on earth by philanthropist Bill Gates — is to blame.

    A study published in The Royal Society and provided to The Huffington Post found that all arthropods analyzed (including mosquitoes) were significantly less attracted to customized LED lighting than light transmitted by compact fluorescents.

    Research was conducted by researchers from the University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Philips Research, based in the Netherlands.

    “For places in the world where glass windows and screens are uncommon, reducing insect attraction to indoor lights is a big deal,” Travis Longcore, lead author of the study and a professor at USC, told Fast Company. He said the research is proof that customized LED lighting can be beneficial for both people and the environment.

    The study did note, however, that all lamp types used during the research attracted more insects than the no-light control group, so using any form of artificial light will have varying degrees of adverse effects.

    Although there’s much room for improvement, the world has come a long way in combating the disease: Global deaths due to malaria have dropped 47 percent since 2000 because of increased prevention, WHO reports. The study claims its findings could be the catalyst for further progress, should lighting engineers prioritize human health along with other factors, like price, display and durability.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to malaria as a virus. In fact, it is a parasitic infection.

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

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  • Personalizing the In-Store Experience — Will Consumers Give Up Their Privacy?
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    (This post is a summary of an independent project completed at Harvard Business School. Click here for the complete paper. The Burberry example is purely hypothetical.)

    Apple’s iBeacon, a location positioning system based on Bluetooth low energy technology, made the use of consumers’ location in companies’ marketing activities more prevalent. However, most documented uses of iBeacon and other similar systems have been focused on pushing marketing and sales promotions to consumers. Besides this, retailers have otherwise played a passive role, waiting for consumers to act on the promotional offers.

    But imagine the scenario where consumers’ location data is used to notify sales staff instead of pushing potentially annoying and irrelevant promotions to consumers:

    You are on your way to your favorite luxury clothing retailer, Burberry, to buy a gift for your significant other’s birthday. As you enter the Burberry store, your smartphone informs the Burberry sales staff (via their iPads) that you are in the store.

    Upon notification, the sales staff can see your past Burberry purchases online and in-store and your interests based on your activity on Burberry.com (e.g. Burberry items you viewed, items in your online Burberry shopping cart, etc.). From this information, the sales staff noticed that you were viewing products under “Gifts for Him/Her.”

    The sales staff member greets you by name, introduces him/herself, and says that based on the information in your Burberry profile, you’re searching for a gift for someone and asks if s/he can help you with recommendations.

    After selecting the gift for your significant other, the sales staff tells you that the newest version of the scarf you purchased last year just arrived and asks if you want to view it. In addition, the sales staff invites you to an invitational-only Burberry event next Friday.

    In a generalized version of the above scenario, luxury retailers’ sales staff can use the knowledge that a high value customer is in the store, in combination with data on the customer’s historical shopping behavior, to provide an enhanced in-store experience. In turn, this could lead to opportunities to cross-sell, up-sell, or simply increase the size of the customer’s purchase basket. However, can concerns over privacy be a showstopper? Past research have shown that consumers are willing to give up information in return for personalized online services, but few have looked at this topic from an in-store perspective.

    Preliminary data from a survey of ~200 consumers showed that while there are similarities in the results between consumers’ sensitivity towards on- and off-line privacy, there are also differences as well. Like their online counterparts, respondents’ answers showed that past negative experiences led to lower willingness to share and higher concerns about sharing their information. Furthermore, respondents’ frequency of mobile shopping, retailers’ use of trust-building mechanisms (i.e. transparent data collection policies and third party privacy safeguards), and the perceived value of the personalized services all led to increased comfort with sharing information.

    However, unlike in the online realm, traditional trust-building mechanisms were not sufficient to mitigate respondents’ concerns in sharing their personally identifiable information. It appears that only personal experience with the retailer (e.g. having made a previous purchase) decreased respondents’ concerns, and increased their willingness, in sharing their personal information. Male respondents also tended towards having lower concerns and higher willingness to share in return for personalized experiences. Regardless of gender, these results suggest that retailers that require personally identifiable information need to begin by focusing on generating consumers’ trust through first time purchases or other types of trust-building interactions prior to offering any personalization based on other data sources.

    As retailers move towards refreshing their POS systems and unifying their commerce platforms they need to consider the data architecture required to support in-store personalized services and the IT infrastructure needed to ameliorate consumers’ privacy concerns. Not all their customers will share the same level of sensitivity towards their information, and even within an individual that sensitivity will vary across different types of information. Responsive retailers that develop the flexibility to adapt to each customer’s privacy sensitivity will be better situated to capture and deliver value to customers who want the personalized service and avoid the negative PR backlash from those who don’t.

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  • The Grid: Startup Promises AI Webdesign for the Masses
    The Gutenberg Press revolutionized printing in the 15th century, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that the dot matrix printer brought the ability to print into every home.

    Today, the much celebrated power of the Internet to demolish barriers to publishing for the average person still requires the use of cumbersome intermediaries or “walled gardens” like Facebook.

    Enter The Grid, a San Francisco and Berlin based startup founded on a simple truth: everyone wants a website. No one wants to build a website. The Grid promises to fully democratize the promise of the Web for a modest monthly fee ($8 for early adopters who commit to a year, $25 for latecomers).

    Yes, website builders like WordPress have been around for a while. The infamous Geocities websites of the dawn of the web were a type of basic website builder. Allowing website creation with a minimal use of code, drag and drop interfaces like Wix and Squarespace enable creation of presentable websites with a bit of work.

    But according to founder Dan Tocchini IV, The Grid, launching in June, will level the playing field even more. Tocchini points to the words of the great web prophet, Steve Jobs himself.

    In a 1996 Wired magazine interview, Jobs presciently observed that the promise of the web was that “[a]n individual can put up a website that, if they put enough work into it, looks just as impressive as the largest company in the world… It’s a very profound thing, and a very good thing.”

    Tocchini claims “We’re getting the cruft of websites out of the way, this will help level the playing field in the spirit of Steve’s quote, and keep focus on the real, hard work – creating quality content.”

    The Grid looks impressive.

    But how does it work? The Grid is essentially a website builder with a benevolent artificial intelligence behind the scenes. (Really a complex set of algorithms.) You feed the ghost in the machine with content and it builds a design around it. Most attractively, it continues to evolve as you feed it more content.

    Imagine you start with simply a title, some text, and a few pictures. With a traditional website builder, that little content, unaltered and un-prettified, is going to look terrible, incomplete, you might as well put up one of the 1990s construction icons that blighted so many websites in those days. (Millennials, take my word for it. Not only was the web figuratively the wild west, there were actually tumbleweed icons on websites. Cray, huh?)

    But with The Grid, that sparse content will be organized with an artificially intelligent artistic sensibility that makes it look like your meager efforts are intended. Visitors will think that it is all by design. And it kind of is. As you upload more content, your website will continuously update itself and reformat the content so that the initially prominent-by-necessity images recede into the background based on the algorithms’ behind the scenes work.

    There is a growing realization that everyone is a content creator of some kind through social media. But, when a service is free, you are the product. As The Grid asks, cheekily, why build Zuck’s website (Facebook) when, with a radically simplified interface, you can build your own?

    It isn’t difficult to see the promise: flash websites set up to capitalize on a cultural second–like Oreo’s 2013 Superbowl blackout tweet–or just a close to real time updated website for a soccer team, or camping trip, without being mediated by Facebook or Tumblr.

    For time strapped entrepreneurs too, The Grid’s promise is undeniable: you can literally set up a site in minutes and actively curate it with the same ease and less investment than social media. If it all pans out, it will be a true game changer.

    When e-commerce comes online, The Grid will offer an affordable alternative for product sales and fundraising–the company promises to only pass on transaction costs with no additional fees.

    It’s a pretty exciting premise, and one that has convinced 35,000 thousand people and counting to sign up without so much as a beta run in exchange for a permanently discounted rate of $8 a month for the life of their subscription.

    But then there’s the million dollar question: can the Grid deliver?

    Skeptics, among them web designers who claim The Grid’s code is inelegant and will result in “SEO nightmares,” flatly state that it won’t work as promised.

    Founder Tocchini disagrees. In an exclusive demonstration for the Huffington Post, Tocchini made on the fly changes to the main Grid website, and sure enough they just worked. Bolstering Tocchini’s confidence is the impressive pedigree of talented folks working on The Grid–ex-Googlers, a former Medium design guru, and a bunch of great software engineers.

    In a similar presentation to a gathering of startup entrepreneurs, Tocchini wowed the crowd and demonstrated some of The Grid’s promise.

    The Grid Ai website Builder Demo from Clement Farah on Vimeo.

    With a planned roll out in June, soon dreamers will be able to judge for themselves if Tocchini’s dream will be the one that enables their own. It appears to be at worst, a very very slick tool, and at best, a truly transformative tool that will fulfill Steve Jobs’s vision of a level playing field for every Girl Scout troop, small business, theater troupe, struggling artist, or even bigger concern that wants a snap website to exploit a cultural moment.

    The Grid launches in June and offers the ability to create seven different websites, with professional level design sensibilities that evolve and grow as you provide more content. Pre-orders receive a year for $96 with a grandfathered $8 a month price, after launch The Grid will be $25 a month for new subscribers. Users can run up to seven websites through one account. E-commerce will not be available at launch, but is promised by the end of the year. More details about The Grid can be found on the company’s website.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Finding Cheap Flights 101
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    I’ve been traveling pretty intensely for many years. When I had a full time entertainment job with minimal pay, I took at least twice monthly weekend trips and bi-annual overseas trips. When I had a more remote job, I roamed for long periods of time. As a result, when I catch up with friends who have kept up with my travels, they almost always ask me… “How the hell do you afford it?”

    When planning a trip, your main costs are airfare/transportation, accommodation, food, and fees for adventures. Just keeping your flight costs down is half the battle. As daunting as it seems, finding a cheap flight is not impossible and shouldn’t require that much time and effort. I flew to New York on a $296 nonstop flight on Virgin America last week, and I’ve also gone on a three-month trip to South America that required sixteen flights, all for a total $1600 (including travel insurance.) I’ve even done a three-week European tour flying from Chicago to six countries and ten cities for only $1250. Cheap flights are possible, you just need to know where to look.

    First things first.

    Close out all your windows and both 2015-04-23-1429818960-113681-ScreenShot20150423at12.04.22PM.pngyour browsers, now reopen them, and clear your cookies, twice. Yes, twice. If you have Safari, go to Preferences >> Remove all website data >> Wait for it to refresh >> Remove all website data again. If it says you still have cookies, you can go into “Details” and manually remove them. Why be an anti-cookie monster? To ensure that travel sites don’t charge you a higher price for revisiting their site! There have been times when I looked at a site the day after a big search and my flights went up by $1000, then I remembered to clear the cookies and the prices dropped back down to what they were before. This is an important step. Don’t forget to do it.

    Now, for the good stuff.

    When You Know Your Destination

    Three sites to start with:

    Kayak

    I’m sure you all know what Kayak is by now, but start here, as it searches other search engines and gives you a good range of options and prices to start with. More importantly, it gives you a good base for all your other searches. And you should definitely do a few.

    Tips:

    • Utilize the filters for arrival / departure times, nonstop vs 1 stop, sort by trip duration, etc. Set a wide enough range that you see all the options that are ideal – sort of ideal.
    • This will give you an idea of what the ideal – sort of ideal trip time is regardless of price so you know what to look for. You don’t want to be on a trip for fifteen hours with a seven hour layover when the usual trip times would be six-eight hours.
    • Look out for: common stopovers to your destination, price range, regional airlines that go to your destination. Make a note of it so you can make more specific searches on other search engines and specific airline websites. If I see an option on United one way and American another, but not the time combinations I want, I search on those airline’s sites for each leg and come up with not only the times I want but a cheaper deal.
    • Kayak doesn’t include JetBlue or Southwest so make sure to look those flights up separately.
    • If you have flexible dates, make sure to indicate that before starting the search and look at the price grid that Kayak creates for you to get the big picture of prices.

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    Skyscanner

    If you’re going to Europe or Australia, Skyscanner is a search engine much like Kayak. However, I find that their search engine is better for those two continents than elsewhere so it is definitely worth checking them out if you’re headed that way.

    Tip:

    • Don’t know where to go exactly? Type in “Everywhere” in the “To” text field and it will give you all your destination options based on price! Super fun feature I love.

    Hipmunk

    Hipmunk’s algorithm allows you to sort by agony-level (combination of price, duration and number of stops.)

    2015-04-23-1429819190-2266737-ScreenShot20150423at11.42.47AM.png

    A great feature and one that works really well especially if you’re faced with an overwhelming number of options that vary between a wide range of trip durations. The visual presentation of your options make it way less painful to sort through.

    Tip:

    • Once you figure out the flights you want, you can cross check the price by finding that flight directly on the airline’s website or on Kayak.

    Regional Search Engines

    When you’re trying to find flights between countries in a region or within a country, it is helpful to find the local search engines for budget airlines.

    In Southeast Asia for example, the budget carrier AirAsia won multiple “Best Low Cost Airline” awards between 2009 – 2014 and has revolutionized travel in the region. In their case, checking their website directly for both in-country and international flights within Southeast Asia is worth it.

    In Indonesia, Tiket.com and Tiket2.com is great because not only do they search all the low-cost carriers in Indonesia, they let you pay with a credit card (unlike most airline websites there that require an antiquated and unsafe ATM-transfer system.) Plus, their searches generate combinations of different airlines, showing you the best times and prices, regardless of airline.

    Unfortunately, I can’t list every regional search engine and every low cost carrier in the world here, but it’s worth a google search to find out what exists in the region you’re headed to.

    When You Don’t Have a Specific Destination

    Google Flights

    An often overlooked search engine, Google Flights is a fantastic option when you’re looking for a cheap destination within a set time frame. When you plug in your dates, and leave the destination field blank, it shows you a map of the world and all the prices for flights to those destinations! My New York-based friends just spent the weekend in Sweden because they found a flight there for $300. An awesome tool for spontaneous travel!

    2015-04-23-1429819326-8612497-ScreenShot20150423at11.49.38AM.png

    The Flight Deal

    This site is excellent for when you 2015-04-23-1429820543-8056536-ScreenShot20150423at11.53.31AM.pngdon’t have a specific destination or date in mind. The site shows you deals to places that won’t really be listed elsewhere. They give you a time frame for when the deal is valid, step-by-step instructions on how to search for the deal and book the flight, mileage details, and routing options. Serious deals are posted here, like LA – Tangiers, Morocco for $770, LA – Capetown for $1040, NYC – Trinidad & Tobago for $300. Start racking up those vacation days, you’re going to want to go to town — well, out of town — with this site.

    Long Term / Multi-City Itinerary

    AirTreks

    AirTreks specializes in Round The World (RTW) itineraries and they have agents working for them that help you plan super-complicated itineraries. When I planned my three months in South America, my trip initially came out to about $4500. I worked with one of their agents to figure out the perfect route to minimize my cost, and still hit all the places I wanted to during a very specific time frame. Ultimately my trip came out to $1600 for sixteen legs/flights and that cost included travel insurance. Really can’t beat this service for multi-stop itineraries.

    Last Steps

    Skytrax

    With all the airline options out there, I try not to skimp on safety. When I travel to a new region and I’m given flight options from airlines that I am unfamiliar with, I make sure to check Skytrax. There, you can find reviews from passengers, safety ratings, comfort ratings and all that good stuff. I never fly on an airline I’ve never been on without checking this first. Do take the reviews with a grain of salt however, as you know, people exaggerate or have unrealistic expectations on these review sites, so use your own judgement.

    SeatGuru

    When it’s time to book my seats, I use SeatGuru to make sure I’m not in a seat near a bathroom, in a seat that reclines and one with a window. Extra step to your booking, but so worth it.

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    There you go, now you are no longer restricted to the usual methods and same old search engines when it comes to finding flights on the cheap, and I hope you find your next adventure soon! Look out for my next post, all about finding the coolest places to stay!

    Happy hunting!

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • User Experience (UX) Trumps SLAs
    There are numerous articles that talk about the recent changes in the world and what they mean for the workplace; I’ve written some of them myself. Over and over, the same foundational factors get repeated – we are always on and connected (enabled by mobile and cloud), the frequent debate about the “new” multi-tasking norm, that the data is all out there in the info sphere… This repetition is not necessarily a bad thing, (especially as there still seem to be people that think these things are the future), but the upshot is that design and User Experience (UX) are now a fundamental aspect in the delivery of successful products and services.

    I recently read an interesting article on workplace expectations. It seems to me that the expectations that appear ever rising have affected the more traditional expectations of product and service delivery, which used to be managed by Service Level Agreements (or SLA’s – a typical contract between a service provider and receiver, to define what the customer will receive e.g. a cloud service might have a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%).

    This article looked deeper into the impact of design and deployment of Enterprise Solutions as it pertains to the new wave of millennials that are flooding the workplace and bringing a whole new dynamic on how the rest of the workforce interacts, communicates and stays connected in and out of the office. This is becoming more and more poignant because “by 2016, almost 80 percent of PwC’s workforce will be comprised of Millennials!” Just re-read that for a second – within 2 years, approximately 80% of a tier 1 consulting firm’s employees will be under 35!

    Now, I must say that I do not personally like sweeping generalizations across generational differences, but avoiding or simply being slow to adjust to this dramatic change will result in failure. Delivering successful enterprise solutions & products is going to DEPEND on the ability to assimilate the changing expectations and capitalize on the new normal.

    To me, it isn’t necessarily just the age, or the year in which people were born (Millennials are 1980-2005 which, in my opinion, is far too broad in terms of this subject); it is all about when you learnt how to learn. In fact, this is one of the points brought out in the article above – the expectations of millennials are being adopted and inherited by other generations.

    Think back to the time when you were absorbing the world around you at an incredible pace and had a thirst to explore – what was the world like? What interactions were you accustomed to? Were you there with the dial phone (where you tried not to have too many friends with 9′s in their number) was it the party lines or Skype? It was at these times that you started creating your own baseline for expectations and interactions.

    The rate of these changes has also become incredibly fast. What used to be a decade long generational change is now taking place in a matter of a few short years. The chart (click to expand) below illustrates how some of the main changes in computers, telephones and the internet have become increasingly rapid. It also shows the generations, and various “times of learning” (roughly, the first 18 years of life) for each, depending if you were born at the beginning, middle or end.

    2015-04-22-1429716519-5005200-Learning_Chart.png

    Another factor is the shortening cycle of introduction. How long did it take before TV was widely adopted? Versus the computer at home. Versus the internet, cell, smartphone… We seem to be shortening these cycles ever more and more.

    So, why should we care that a “critical mass of the new generation begins to shake up the status quo of the global work culture“. Well, as one demographic group of users of Enterprise Solutions, millennials impact us as employees, who we also want to adopt the products we deploy. They have grown up seeing these changes and becoming accustomed to them at a young age (especially the younger ones). They do not, as users, tolerate a bad experience and will quickly look for a work around. For example, they may have a reputation for being “typically impatient” but really it is that their expectation baseline is fundamentally different. It is just what they are accustomed to. If you grew up with the dial phone, simply clicking a button to talk to someone across the world seems like magic. If you grew up with Hangouts, you more than likely do not have the patience for an audio bridge in the workplace. What do you mean I have to dial a number and a pin?!?! Gah! Imagine organizing an evening out with friends using the postal service – and then waiting for hours as one of them was late.

    More importantly, the oldest of this younger generation are now making their way to leadership positions – roles where they have some element of decision-making power and influence. As a crowd they are slowly changing from a single user adopting change – to being the person shaping the (IT) world to their own expectations – making technical and business decisions that affect themselves and all those around them.

    In fact, this older set (which is why 1980-2005 is much too broad a range), have a unique position. Those born in the earlier part could be called the “Bridge Generation” – the last generation to live through seeing the most drastic changes, given that the latter do not really know of a world without internet or mobile phones. This gives them a unique core understanding of their user base and a translation between the generations before and after them.

    Think of the power this generation has grown up with. For example, Google didn’t exist when they were born. Then it was just a search engine, but now, amongst everything else they are achieving, Google is making waves in education which will quickly compound the disruption to Enterprise IT. Why? Because the youngest of that generation will have grown up with it there, used it during their learning years and have it as a familiar baseline – and they will soon too become the users of Enterprise technology as they move into the world of work. Their expectations will be set before they even have their first job. This, combined with the “Bridge Generation” in decision-making power, will be incredibly powerful in gaining a stronghold in the Enterprise domain.

    While we need to plan and design for this bridge generation, we will still have the “sliding window” of users in enterprise to deal with for some years to come. Another favorite that is heard all over the shop is “my 13yr old son doesn’t use this”. Well, let’s be honest, today in Enterprise we are not designing software and services solely for 13 year olds. However, we do still need to apply thought and process around the constructs and interactions they may use, then balance this with current Enterprise needs and requirements. For example, will all enterprise users post to a wall to communicate instead of email right now? No. But, will they have increased expectations as they get accustomed to these newer experiences? Yes.

    While the sliding window needs to be thought through to increase adoption levels and maximize the chance of success, there is indeed cross pollination. The ways in which these Millennials are bringing in their expectations (and capabilities) and forming the workspace are starting to be adopted by the older generations. Historically, this is unheard of. Think about fashion, for example. While styles may get repeated it never goes backwards – you do not tend to see 55 year olds with the crotch of their jeans around their knees.

    This could be because the way in which the Millennials are working is directly relevant to the older generations who have found themselves living in this “new world”. Learning from the newer generation and adopting their styles is advantageous to them and since the cost-benefit is clear, it is easier for them to adopt the newer behaviors.

    For example, you see older generations on Facebook, online dating, online banking – all these things that once they could not fathom. Simply, they too have seen the value in the more efficient and better experiences that their younger colleagues have exposed them to.

    Now to the point: How does this affect the SLA? That good old service level agreement that a team comes up with, committing to delivery by making somebody else sign on the dotted line. Well, here is where we see this expectation gap come to a head. SLA’s are defined and measured based on what is “acceptable” to a company, or a team, or a leader – rarely the individual. Even when the individual’s input is captured, their expectation or experience of a solution is not taken into account. We see examples of this in Enterprise all the time:

    CIO at Company X: “This account is red for Client C!!! We need to fix it.”
    Account Manager at Company X: “But my score card is green!”
    CIO at Company X : “Well the employees are not satisfied and are not using it. The Client wants to pull out of the contract unless we fix it!!!”

    Expectations and UX are the two core elements defining success in Enterprise today. Together they are changing the way we buy, consume and supply technology. UX can help address both the value and the use of products. In focusing on the strategic thinking of UX, you can understand your users and filter this through to the design, the deployment method, the support, availability and security needs that are all becoming more and more important in the “Millennial” workplace. You can stitch together the pieces into an experience that works for everyone, accounted for in all stages of the lifecycle and bridging that expectation gap.

    It would seem that SLA’s get beaten by Expectations. These are then in turn delivered by UX.

    ********************

    References for timeline information:

    http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0193167.html

    http://bgr.com/2013/12/13/telephone-timeline-a-brief-history-of-the-phone/

    http://www.computerhistory.org/timeline/?category=cmptr

    http://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/feb/13/history-mobile-apps-future-interactive-timeline

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Another Company Already Wants To Buy Time Warner Cable: Report
    Time Warner Cable may already have a new suitor.

    In a widely expected maneuver, cable giant Charter Communications is laying the groundwork for a bid to buy the country’s second-largest cable and broadband provider, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday.

    The move comes hours after Comcast backed out of a controversial deal to buy Time Warner Cable after federal officials opposed the mega-merger.

    The possibility of Charter’s renewed interest in Time Warner Cable should come as no surprise. Charter previously tried to buy the company, but its negotiations were derailed when Comcast, the industry goliath, swooped in with a $45.2 billion offer.

    Last month, Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said “there’d be a ton of reasons” for Charter to pursue Time Warner Cable if the deeper-pocketed Comcast backed out. The statement had weight, considering Liberty is Charter’s dominant shareholder.

    Combined, Charter and Time Warner Cable would have 15 million video customers and 16.5 million Internet subscribers, according to the Associated Press. Comcast alone has 22.4 million video subscribers and 22 million Internet customers.

    In a Friday statement announcing the death of the Comcast merger, Time Warner Cable Chairman and CEO Robert D. Marcus called his company “a one-of-a-kind asset,” hinting that he was still seeking a buyer.

    Time Warner Cable spokesman Bobby Amirshahi declined to comment, as did Charter Communications spokesman Alex Dudley.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Forums: New iMac problem, jpg editing on iPod Touch, more
    Today in the MacNN forums, Forum Regular “Harvey” explained some troubling behavior with their 8-month old iMac and wonders if anyone else has experienced anything else like this on Yosemite. Also today one Mac Elite was trying to figure out how to edit jpg files on his new iPod Touch, and fellow forum-members began suggesting apps to use.



  • THIS Is The Age When People Stop Keeping Up With Popular Music, According To Spotify
    How do you know when you’ve reached middle age? According to an analysis of user data collected by Spotify — loosely speaking — it’s the point at which you say something like, “Music was better back then.”

    Ajay Kalia, Product Owner for Taste Profiles at Spotify, analyzed the music streaming site’s user data. He found that teens tend to listen to whatever is considered popular at the moment. By the time they hit their 20s, though, they are increasingly more interested in exploring the broader music world, hoping to make their own musical discoveries. He told Huff/Post50 that events like having a child — at any age — disrupt one’s music-listening habits, mainly because those with children have less time to listen to music.

    Working with Spotify user data, and allowing for the fact that not everyone uses their real birthdate when registering for the site — and that they did not pull listening-pattern data from anyone 50 or older — Kalia found that people start scratching their heads at the more popular tunes by the time they reach their mid-30s.

    In his analysis, Kalia noted, “Whether the demands of parenthood and careers mean devoting less time to pop culture, or just because they’ve succumbed to good old-fashioned taste freeze, music fans beyond a certain age seem to reach a point where their tastes have ‘matured’.”

    Kalia added, “That’s why the organizers of the Super Bowl — with a median viewer age of 44 — were smart to balance their Katy Perry-headlined halftime show with a showing by Missy Elliott.”

    Paul Lamere, writing on musicmachinery.com, last year compared the musical tastes of 13-year-olds and 64-year-olds, expecting them to be very different. To a large extent they were, with one exception: Bruno Mars ranked #1 for the older group and reappeared as #2 for the 13-year-olds. Go figure.

    As for us, we just blast Bruce.

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    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Inspiring New Blog Is The 'Humans Of New York' For Women In Tech
    A Stanford student is spotlighting the women making waves in tech with her blog Women of Silicon Valley.

    “One of the biggest challenges for women in tech is feeling alone and outnumbered,” Lea Coligado told The Huffington Post. The college junior hails from Dallas, Texas, and she studies computer science with a minor in Italian.

    “I got through some rough patches all because of some great female mentors,” she explained of why she decided to start this project. “I wanted to provide that comfort and inspiration at a larger scale.”

    Coligado took inspiration from the wildly popular blog Humans of New York, which features photos of a wide array of New Yorkers alongside meaningful snippets from their lives.

    “I thought it would be great to transfer that model to an issue I feel really deeply and personally about: the under-representation of women in tech,” she said.

    So she started profiling hardworking women on Medium and Facebook. The result is a collection of richly detailed interviews with accomplished women in technology, complete with shocking anecdotes and inspiring advice:

    “It was always the little things that made me feel I didn’t belong. When I attended industry events and people heard I…

    Posted by Women of Silicon Valley on Sunday, 22 March 2015

    “One of the greatest indicators of maturity is revealed in how you respond to the inexperience and the potentially…

    Posted by Women of Silicon Valley on Monday, 6 April 2015

    “Now that I’m pregnant, I am more driven than ever to make something of myself, if for no other reason than to prove it…

    Posted by Women of Silicon Valley on Monday, 9 February 2015

    “And as I’ve started to understand that there are structural problems within the field and that these external…

    Posted by Women of Silicon Valley on Sunday, 25 January 2015

    Tracy Chou, featured above, told Coligado that she’s experienced both blatant and implicit sexism in the workplace. She said the “subtle, unspoken biases” are the hardest to deal with. “It has helped tremendously to build out a network of women around me,” Chou, a tech lead at Pinterest, added.

    “Technology places an immense amount of power in your hands and in your mind. My advice to girls pursuing a future in…

    Posted by Women of Silicon Valley on Monday, 20 April 2015

    “I’ve experienced sexism to the point of absurdity,” Lindi Emoungu, a software engineer at Google, told Coligado in her interview.

    Hopefully, this treasure trove of stories will help inspire the next generation of women in tech. They’re sorely needed. Women are woefully underrepresented in tech executive suites, and the number of women in computing jobs has fallen over the past 23 years.

    H/T BuzzFeed

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • You Have $8 Billion. You Want To Do As Much Good As Possible. What Do You Do?
    I sat in a San Francisco conference room a few months ago as 14 staffers at the charity recommendation group GiveWell discussed the ways in which artificial intelligence — extreme, world-transforming, human-level artificial intelligence — could destroy the world. Not just as idle chatter, mind you. They were trying to work out whether it’s worthwhile to direct money — lots of it — toward preventing AI from destroying us all, money that otherwise could go to fighting poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Tiny Troopers Comes to Windows on your Tablet or PC

    Tiny Troopers, the top-down army assault game, has migrated from Windows Phone to Windows PC today.  Tiny Troopers features 30 explosive missions spread across three chapters, all tied together into an involving, narrative-driven campaign. Your troops will get stronger and more battle hardened the more missions they survive. Can you keep your squad alive through the whole war?  It’s a fun game and one that I’ve have spent hours playing on my Lumia 1320. Tiny Troopers for Windows – Free – Download Now The object of Tiny Troopers is to navigate your platoon to find the enemy, engage and defeat

    The post Tiny Troopers Comes to Windows on your Tablet or PC appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Sheryl Sandberg Is On Team Hillary
    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has received an endorsement from another prominent champion of women’s rights: Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

    In an interview with Bloomberg Television Thursday, Sandberg threw her support behind Clinton for president.

    “I think politicians are the people that endorse, but I am very supportive of Hillary Clinton. I’ve said before, I’d like to see her as president. And I’d like to see more women presidents all over the world,” Sandberg said.

    Last year, Sandberg told HuffPost Live that she supported a Clinton 2016 presidential bid.

    “I’d love to see Hillary Clinton run for president. I’d love to see Hillary Clinton be president,” she said. “I think she is an outstanding leader, both as a woman and as a leader.”

    Sandberg has heavily promoted gender equality in the workplace and the importance of female leadership and empowerment. Similarly, Clinton has long championed women’s rights. Sandberg’s admiration of Clinton may be mutual: Clinton has frequently referenced Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In when discussing women’s issues.

    When Clinton ran for president in 2008, Sandberg gave the maximum $4,600 to her campaign.

    Watch a clip of Sandberg’s interview above.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Current account switching figures skew reality but could indicate tipping point
    Payment Council figures on the number of consumers that switched accounts could indicate the beginning of a new era in UK retail banking
  • Instagram for Android Updated With New Photo Editing Tools

    The official Instagram for Android app has been updated today, bringing two new editing tools for users to enhance their photos.  The update, version 6.20.1 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Play Store.  it is a small update at 8.14MB and one well worth getting. The first new tool is a Color Tool.  This allows you to add a color overlay to your shadow or highlights.  So you can make the shadows red or blue for example. Instagram for Android – Free – Download Now The second new tool is a Fade Tool.  This one

    The post Instagram for Android Updated With New Photo Editing Tools appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

Mobile Technology News, April 24, 2015

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

  • OneDrive for Windows Phone Update Brings Transparent Live Tile

    The OneDrive team has had a busy day today.  Earlier this morning they released an update to OneDrive for Android with several new features and fixes and tonight we see a new OneDrive for Windows Phone version now available.  The update, version 4.11.0.0 for those keeping score at home, brings mostly bug fixes and improvements but also brings a Transparent Live Tile to the app.  I personally think that transparent Live tiles are one of the things that seperates Windows Phone from a user experience perspective than iOS or Android as it allow you to make your device more personal.

    The post OneDrive for Windows Phone Update Brings Transparent Live Tile appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Twitter Basics: 5 Simple Steps to Get You Started
    Co-authored by Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco, and Candace W. Burton, PhD, RN, AFN-BC, AGN-BC, FNAP assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

    First things first: what’s Twitter? Twitter is a microblogging, content-sharing social media website, which is one of the most visited websites daily. On Twitter, you have only 140 characters to get your point across in what are called “tweets.”

    There are almost 6.5 million registered Twitter users who send nearly 58 million tweets per day. Twitter has been around for almost 10 years. It’s not too late to engage and participate! Do you want to use Twitter but you don’t know where to start? We hope this helps.

    Here are 5 simple steps to get you started:

    1. Choose a “handle”

    Your Twitter handle is how you will be known so choose it wisely. Do you want it to be some version of your name, like ours (@MonaShattell, @mclemoremr, @DrCBurton); or do you want your handle to be “issue based”, about something or some topic that you would like to tweet about (e.g. @NoStigmas, @FeministLady, @MenStopViolence), or are you part of an organization that would like to start a social media presence using Twitter (e.g. @WomenInHigherEd, @TurningPointBHC)? It may also be a nickname or something that has meaning for you personally, such as @barbs73 or @DataSnake.

    2. Sign up for a Twitter account

    Follow these simple steps to sign up for a Twitter account. All you need is your name, cell phone number and a password. The information you enter on the Twitter website will generate a text message with a confirmation code, which you will then enter in the website. If you do not use or like text messaging, you can use an email address for confirmation instead.

    3. Write your profile

    Your profile should describe who you are, if your handle is your name. If your handle is issue-based, it should describe in more detail what the issues are, and if your handle is for an organization, your profile should describe what your organization does. This is Twitter so it has to be concise — you only have 160 characters, but you can direct the reader to another website, to give them more information. There are many free web services to shorten websites, which is important to do when every character counts. We tend to use bitly but there are lots of other options.

    4. Choose and add a profile image

    It’s really important to add a profile image next. Do you have a recent headshot or an image that you are particularly fond of? Or, if you’re setting up a Twitter account for an organization, your organization’s logo works well as a profile image. The worst thing is to leave this empty — the default Twitter image is an egg-shaped icon, and many users ignore any tweet from an egg on the theory that if the account is a real person, they’ll have a picture.

    5. Search, follow, and watch

    Now the fun part. Open your Twitter account profile page and type the names in the search bar of people you know or are interested in following. Try key words for issues of interest. Consider following news (e.g. @nytimes, @HuffingtonPost), television (e.g. @CNN), and radio channels; organizations to which you belong or are interested (e.g., @AAN_Nursing, @ANANursingWorld, @NINR). When you find profiles that you are interested in following, simply click the “follow” tab. It’s that easy. Once you have followed some profiles, you can click on your home tab to view your “feed” or timeline (TL). Your feed is all the latest tweets by persons who you follow. As we’ve said in, “Why Nurses Need Twitter,” don’t let the volume of tweets overwhelm you. You are not expected to keep up. Simply check your feed when you want and scroll through to see what’s happening. You’re on your way! Now go back and read our pieces on “Why Nurses Need Twitter” and “What are the Five Best Practices for Tweeting from Conferences?” to help you benefit from your Twitter account. Happy Tweeting!

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Why There Has Never Been a Better Time to Be an Entrepreneur
    Doctor, engineer, and businessman. These were the top three career choices for the children of middle-class families in India when I was young. Doctors earned the most respect; engineers were second-best; business was something you got into if you didn’t have the chops to complete a degree.

    I chose the engineering route, or the closest thing to it that I liked: computer science. My family had moved to the United States, and I started my career working for big companies such as Xerox and Credit Suisse First Boston. I was pretty good at what I did, and my career advanced to a point at which I could become an entrepreneur. A revolutionary technology that I had built with the help of my team at First Boston was so successful that IBM funded the creation of a start-up company to market it. I took the role of executive vice president and chief technology officer.

    Yes, I know that by the old Indian standards, in moving from a big company to a tiny little one, my career had seemingly moved backwards. But by the ’90s, when I co-founded Seer Technologies, things had changed everywhere, even in India. Entrepreneurship had become a respectable career option.

    A lot more has changed since then.

    The advice I give to today’s graduates is to decline the job offers from big companies and instead join promising start-ups. Better still, if they have the ideas and ability, I encourage graduates to start their own companies and be masters of their own destiny.

    I warn the graduates that they will be earning a lot less than if they worked for big companies, will be taking huge risks and will likely fail, and need to be ready for extremely hard work and endless runs of sleepless nights. But they will learn much more than if they completed an MBA and, most importantly, will have a far greater sense of accomplishment, position themselves for long-term success, and gain a much more realistic view of the world. If they start the right company, they may well make the world a better place. And you never know: The start-up could get really lucky and be worth a fortune.

    It is also possible to be part of a start-up later in life, as was the case for me. But it gets harder, because you have family obligations and feel hesitant to take the crazy risks. The graduates of today can try their hands at entrepreneurship and join a big company a year or two later if things don’t work out. The really smart employers — the companies that are worthy of working for — will value a failed entrepreneur more than someone who took the easy corporate route.

    I didn’t have such options when I graduated in the mid ’70s. You needed big money to start a technology company, and there was no easy path back to the corporate world if you failed.

    Seer Technologies needed $20 million in venture capital to get off the ground. It was building software tools. In those days, to start any company, you needed to have equipment that cost millions of dollars, including desktop computers, server farms, racks of hard disks, and enterprise software. And you needed to hire many people to maintain these. Today you have on-demand computing and cloud storage — and they’re practically free in the start-up stage. A laptop, which is many times more powerful than the Cray supercomputers of yesteryear, costs only a few hundred dollars. All you need with this is a fast Internet connection and maybe some sensors and robotics equipment, and you’re off to the races. Of course, you also need a place to stay in and some food. But family or friends can usually provide a couch and some leftovers.

    The big advantage that entrepreneurs today have is that the world has become connected. They can crowdsource funding, crowd-create products, and market globally. They can collaborate with people anywhere in the world.

    Entrepreneurs can bootstrap hardware companies such as Nest, which Google acquired for $3.2 billion, or Oculus, which Facebook bought for a cool $2 billion. The sensors needed in order to build these technologies, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in the days of my youth, cost practically nothing today. Entrepreneurs on shoestring budgets can build smartphone apps that act as medical assistants to detect disease; body sensors that monitor heart, brain, and body activity; and technologies to measure soil humidity and improve agriculture. They can also design new types of organisms that cure disease, digital tutors that teach almost any subject, and artificial-intelligence-based apps that analyze information and improve business processes. In other words, they can do the stuff that only the big companies could do before.

    Entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk are revolutionizing the automotive industry, making private space travel possible, and building revolutionary energy-storage technologies. They are doing the work that previously only governments could have done.

    So if I was traveling back in time and speaking to my younger self, I would not have had much to offer in the way of career advice. But I do know what to say to the youth of today: Use your intellect and energy to make the world a better place; you surely can.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Rail upgrade 'raises hack risks'
    A government adviser warns that a new hi-tech rail signalling system could be hacked by terrorists to cause train crashes.
  • It's time: Apple delivers the Watch
    The Apple Watch ships, but does it deliver?
  • VIDEO: 'The greatest feeling of freedom'
    Yves Rossy explains what it is like to fly with a jet pack.
  • VIDEO: The robot that makes coffee
    BBC Click’s LJ Rich looks at some of the best of the week’s technology news
  • Bitcoin Island: the currency comes clean
    The small island that’s going big on bitcoin
  • Amazon reports a quarterly loss
    Amazon reports a loss of $57m in the first quarter and also said its web services business generated sales of $1.57bn.
  • Rohit Varma on India's Surge in the Digital Era
    In a country where Cricket and Bollywood are the consistent favorites, a wave of social media titans are pushing their way to the top, one impactful project at a time. One of the hottest and most talked about figures in the digital community is Rohit Varma, founder of the Bangalore-based R. Square Consulting.

    For sometime now, Varma and his staff have put together Social Media Week activities in multiple cities including Mumbai and Bangalore – capturing and showcasing India’s proud history, and giving voice to its economically exciting future. It takes skill skill, relationship building, and a deep knowledge of global trends to weave together an extraordinary portrait of the lives of India’s 1.3 billion people.

    But Varma has the full package, and is consistently rising to the challenge. A former corporate insider, he has transitioned himself into a master promoter and organizer of the ‘live social media event’. If Social Media Week Bangalore’s electrifying performance this past February is any indication, then we can look forward to more from this savvy, digital marketer, who is helping to define India’s influential presence on the world stage.

    2015-04-20-1429514701-8029320-1a1zx.jpg

    You have been one of the most celebrated social entrepreneurs in India. What do attribute to your success?

    I would say my passion and commitment. I came into this concrete jungle from a small town called Balaghat with big dreams, and I have been fortunate to learn a lot from the corporate environment I worked in. When I decided to make a mark for myself, there was no looking back. My family, friends and colleagues have been of immense support in my journey. My belief that “Anything is possible, if one puts in 100%” has never let me down.

    You were one of the organizers of Social Media Week Bangalore back in February. A very successful effort that resonated throughout every corner of social media. What made things happen like that on such a global scale?

    Yes, Social Media Week (SMW) Bangalore was a huge success. We believe community needs a platform to connect, share and create. We have attempted to create a platform for the social community. Social Media is really dynamic, and SMW becomes a perfect forum for sharing knowledge, learning and exploring business opportunities. Content is key. We go back to community, and take their advice to build relevant content. We work on multiple formats and we develop content for different audiences like marketing professionals, social communities, students, entrepreneurs, and so on.

    Right now, you are hard at work with Social Media Week Mumbai, which will take place in September. Your team generated great excitement in Bangalore, so what can the attendees expect from this upcoming event?

    Yes, the team did amazing work in Bangalore and I am sure SMW Mumbai will be bigger than SMW Bangalore from the perspective social engagement, content, involvement of many more organisations and relevancy. The theme for SMW Mumbai is really interesting: ” Upwardly Mobile – the rise of connected world”. Under this theme we will attempt to understand how new ideas, innovation and technology will change our lives. We have received some very interesting feedback from the community on this theme. I am very excited the way this edition is shaping up. I can say audience will love the content.

    Companies are either setting up offices in India or coming to recruit talent for companies headquartered elsewhere. In light of this fact, how do you see India evolving and continuing to push the boundaries of digital innovation?

    Today, the world does not have any boundaries. I think we have broken the cultural and language barriers. India has a very strong culture – the culture of “adapting”. Hence companies are either recruiting from India or opening their offices around the country. I think the talent and business opportunity here is immense. I see India becoming a hub for digital innovation quite soon.

    As a kid, I grew up hearing amazing stories about the Taj Mahal and how beautifully designed it is. 100 years from now, when people talk about India and its place in the world, its culture and impact, what will be the stories that you think people will talk about?

    India will be known as a country of dreams. A world capital of innovation. Innovation which impacts the way we live, work and create.

    2morrowknight is an international keynote speaker and digital strategist. Connect with him at Instagram.com/2morrowknight.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • 11 Aunts Wanted For Crimes Against Facebook
    Aunts: they keep their friends close, and their nieces and nephews closer.

    Do you or someone you know have an aunt friend on Facebook? Of course you do, Facebook is like 75 percent moms and aunts now. There’s no escaping the fact that our mother and father’s sisters are the new queens of the news feed, and if you’ve spent more than 10 minutes on the social network recently, you’ve probably been affected by one of these rogue relatives.

    It’s not too late to do something about the awkward comments, constant game invites and shared links to news stories about a secret the government is hiding. Keep an eye out for these aunt-based crimes against Facebook and speak up so we can all stalk our exes and check up on old high school friends in peace.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Elon Musk Accepted $0 Of His Tesla Salary Last Year
    Tesla Motors’ Elon Musk basically worked for free last year.

    The electric carmaker paid its chief executive $35,360 in 2014 — just over half of what he earned in 2013 — but Musk didn’t accept any of it, according to a Wednesday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. If fact, he has never accepted his full salary, the document noted. Last year, he took home just $1.

    His compensation — which, by law, must be awarded, even if he doesn’t take it — has shrunk since 2012, when the company was in such dire financial straits that Musk reportedly almost sold Tesla to Google.

    A Tesla spokeswoman did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment, and it’s unclear exactly how large the billionaire entrepreneur’s stake in the company currently is. Tesla’s share price closed at nearly $219 on Thursday, giving it a market cap of $27.6 billion.

    The company’s share price has fluctuated in recent months. Investors, spooked by the company’s recent spending spree and estimates that it may take another five years to turn a profit, sobered up on a stock they once bought ravenously. Musk even admitted that the buying frenzy late last summer caused the stock to soar to unrealistic prices.

    Still, Tesla is neither Musk’s sole source of income nor his sole venture. He serves as chief executive of the private space firm SpaceX and as chairman of the green energy company SolarCity, in which he owns a 21 percent stake, according to CNN Money.

    Other Tesla executives, meanwhile, have seen steep increases in their pay, according to Wednesday’s SEC filing. Deepak Ahuja, chief financial officer, earned $3.8 million, up from $338,000 in 2013. Jeffrey B. Straubel, chief technology officer, saw his salary balloon to $17.1 million from $467,603 a year earlier.

    H/T CNN via Fortune

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Top Lobbying Groups Spent $64 Million To Influence Congress, White House
    WASHINGTON — The top 10 lobbying spenders shelled out a combined $64 million in the first three months of this year to influence federal policy, according to first-quarter lobbying reports filed with the Senate this week. The number represents an upswing on K Street, where lobbyists and clients are taking advantage of fresh opportunities afforded by the new Congress.

    First among the spenders was the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which together with its subsidiary, the Institute for Legal Reform, spent $19.5 million to lobby Congress and the White House on topics ranging from free trade agreements to environmental regulation to copyright laws. It appears they were successful, at least in part. On Wednesday, the Senate approved a request by the Obama administration for “fast track” authority in trade deals, paving the way for the Chamber-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to move forward.

    Ranking second behind the Chamber was the National Association of Realtors. The group spent $7.7 million lobbying on issues like flood insurance premiums, which have risen sharply in the past few years. NAR also lobbied for the Mortgage Choice Act, a bill that would weaken regulations on mortgage lenders enacted following the 2007 collapse of the housing market. The Mortgage Choice Act passed in the House of Representatives on April 14.

    Only slightly behind the Realtors was the American Medical Association, which reported spending $6.7 million lobbying during the first quarter of 2015. Like the top two donors, the doctors’ lobby scored a major victory this spring, when both the House and Senate voted to permanently fix a widely acknowledged flaw in the Medicare payment system. The end of the “Doc Fix,” as it is known, gives the AMA’s members something to celebrate and suggests the group’s lobbying money was put to good use.

    While the top lobbying spenders in Washington are typically national trade associations with thousands of dues-paying members, this year a new corporation climbed to the top of the solo rankings: Google spent $5.5 million on lobbyists in the past three months.

    Google is currently engaged in high-stakes antitrust litigation in Europe, so it makes sense that the Internet’s top search site would invest in strengthening its relationships on Capitol Hill and in the White House, lest any U.S. regulators express the same concerns about Google’s competitive practices as their European counterparts. According to its lobbying disclosure forms, Google also lobbied Congress on legislation to thwart so-called “patent trolls,” to help Google hire more skilled workers from overseas and to support the company’s efforts to develop new drones and self-driving cars.

    Google’s major spending is unusual in part because the corporations that typically top the list are those in highly regulated industries, like public utilities. One such company, American Electric Power Co., spent $4.7 million on lobbying this quarter. That’s only slightly less than General Electric Co., one of the nation’s largest energy equipment manufacturers, which spent $4.8 million.

    Utility companies are engaged in a fierce battle to protect their market share from the booming rooftop solar industry, so it’s safe to bet that lobbying expenditures in this sector won’t be dropping anytime soon.

    Rounding out the list of the top 10 spenders are three perennial K Street powerhouses, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the National Association of Broadcasters and the American Hospital Association.

    Overall, nine of the top 15 lobbying groups spent more in the first quarter of 2015 than they did in the last three months of 2014, according to Politico. It’s a shift that’s likely attributable to the new Republican majority in the Senate. With both chambers controlled by the GOP, bills that might never have passed a Democratic-led Senate may now get a second chance.

    Anytime there’s a change in the political landscape, it generally means more work for lobbyists. But a GOP majority bodes especially well for corporate interests, such as those represented by the Chamber of Commerce.

    It remains to be seen whether the rest of the year will be as productive as the first quarter in terms of legislation passed. But if the past three months are any indication, this could be a very busy year on K Street.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Lendit 2015 Recap: Online Lending Innovation Beyond Just Student Loans

    Last week, I had the pleasure of attending LendIt, the largest annual conference about online lending, and participating as the moderator of a panel about the student loan market. During the conference, I saw a lot of great presentations about the industry. The following are just a few of my favorite slides and stories.

    Why the online lending market has emerged

    yields

    Former Secretary of the Treasury Lawrence Summers included this slide that shows the growing spread between short term unsecured loans and treasury yields. This has likely made it possible for online lenders including Lending Club, Prosper and other similar lenders to enter the market with very competitive rates and increase their customer base.

    How online lenders compete in the market

    slide

    Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration Karen Gordon Mills showed the relative strengths and weaknesses of banks vs. online lenders. As the chart exemplifies, banks have significant advantages with respect to low cost of capital and large pools of existing customers, but online lenders have been able to grow as the result of innovations in customer experience, underwriting models and less regulation.

    How far the market has progressed

    superhowfarwevecome

    Ron Suber, President of Prosper, demonstrated how quickly the growth rate of online lending has been in the last two years, outpacing both the S&P and smartphones. As conference founder Peter Renton pointed out, this growth has resulted in U.S. online consumer and small business lenders doing an estimated combined $14 Billion in loan volume in 2014 with projected growth to $32 Billion in 2015.

    What’s to come in the near future

    marketplacelending

    Lending Club CEO Renaud Laplanche showed that despite its growth over the last several years, marketplace lending is still just a drop in the overall U.S. Consumer and Small Business Lending Market bucket.

    The excitement about the evolution of online lending as well as the profound growth and innovation in the space at LendIt was palpable. This trend is broadening consumers’ options and better addressing their needs, which will fuel continued growth in the space.

    To learn more about the student lending industry and how to save thousands by refinancing your student loans, visit Credible.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Microsoft quarterly profit falls
    Microsoft reports a 12% fall in profits to almost $5bn in the first three months of 2015, but sales rise to $21.7bn, cheering investors.
  • Somebody Is Trying To Sell Mayweather-Pacquiao Tickets For $142,000 On StubHub
    Want to see Manny Pacquiao fight Floyd Mayweather in person?

    If initial listing prices on StubHub are to be taken seriously, get ready to crack your piggy bank, your 401K and maybe even your safety deposit box full of jewels.

    Some tickets were selling for as much as $141,575.25 when StubHub posted available tickets Thursday afternoon. And that listing was joined by two others asking for six figures to attend the May 2 welterweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

    tickets
    (Source: StubHub)

    “This is among the lowest ticket allotments for a championship card fight, and StubHub is happy to provide fans access with … tickets to this historic event,” StubHub spokesman Cameron Papp told The Huffington Post. “There’s no question that this will be the most popular fight we’ve ever had on StubHub.”

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  • Google profits please investors
    US technology giant Google reports a 4% increase in profits in the first quarter to $3.59bn helped by strong advertising sales.
  • NASA Celebrates The Hubble Telescope's 25th Birthday With Gorgeous Photos Of Space Fireworks
    Happy birthday, Hubble!

    The celebrated space telescope turns 25 on Friday. To mark the anniversary, NASA set the instrument loose to gaze at some fireworks — that is, space fireworks. Hubble captured the spectacular photos of stars being born in “Westerlund 2,” a cluster of 3,000 stars that is in Gum 29, which NASA describes as a “raucous stellar breeding ground” in the constellation Carina.

    hubble 25th birthday
    Westerlund 2, set in the stellar breeding ground of Gum 29.

    “Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos,” John Grunsfeld, an astronaut and the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a written statement announcing the anniversary. “This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.”

    The Westerlund cluster measures between six and 13 light-years across, NASA says. It’s about 2 million years old, which in astronomical terms is fairly young. The thin pillars that fork out from the nebula are each several light-years tall. They owe their unique shape to the “torrents of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds of charged particles” that bombard them from the nearby stars.

    Since its launch on April 24, 1990, Hubble has orbited the Earth almost 137,000 times and made more than 1.2 million observations of over 38,000 celestial objects, according to the Space Telescope Science Institute. The institute notes that Hubble’s data archive, which grows by an average of 829 gigabytes each month, has so far been cited in more than 12,800 scientific papers.

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  • Why We Need Terrible Female Engineers
    Think of a woman in the tech industry you admire. Describe her. If you’re thinking of someone particularly memorable, you might say, “She’s amazing! She’s an awesome software engineer, always has interesting things to say, and is really pretty.” I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fascinated with these women because they reject all the stereotypes to which I’ve grown accustomed. They’re perfect.

    It’s wonderful and crucial that these bright female role models exist. These women are living proof that women in technology are not just the caricatures that we are so often portrayed as in mainstream media – proof that we can be excellent programmers and normal people (for some definition of normal). We’re so far from achieving this abstract concept of equality in the tech industry, but I appreciate the fact that I can think of several women whom I admire and aspire to be like one day. I’m not against the existence of awesome women in tech. They are not the issue.

    The problem starts when we reject women who don’t fit this mold of excelling in every way. You don’t have to look far to find examples of people advocating for women in tech (and other fields) by claiming that the tech industry isn’t just for socially awkward, unhygienic men – it’s also for women who buck the trends by being charismatic, stylish, talented engineers.

    As an example, if you watch the she++ documentary, you’ll find handfuls of inspirational, multifaceted women who reject the notion of being a stereotypical computer science major in favor of sororities, extroversion, manicures, and Gossip Girl. she++ keeps using the slogan “#goodgirlsgonegeek” to promote their cause, but I can’t get behind the idea that we are looking for good, sweet girls to turn into programmers. You shouldn’t have to be pretty or nice or really anything besides interested in tech to go into this industry. As much as I appreciate and support the work these groups are doing – and to be clear, she++ is not the only group I’m thinking of – I’m left with this nagging feeling that the only women we value are the ones who can be everything at once. That we’re only worthy if we can destroy the curve in the algorithms class and write beautiful lines of code while painting our nails. Otherwise, if we’re just okay programmers, or if we’re socially awkward, we don’t matter.

    I resent that we keep perpetuating this idea that women in tech are good at everything because we shouldn’t have to be any better than anyone else to belong in this field. We belong in this field because we’re people who deserve a shot, not because we are geniuses. Nicki Minaj puts it best:

    When you’re a girl, you have to be everything. You have to be dope at what you do, but you have to be super sweet, and you have to be sexy, and you have to be this and you have to be that and you have to be nice, and you have to  —  it’s like, I can’t be all of those things at once. I’m a human being.

    We put so much pressure on women to be brilliant, attractive, personable, successful, and everything in between. You can be a respected politician and still have journalists ask you where you like to shop, be the highest paid actress in Hollywood and still be known as a bitch just for not smiling all the time, or really be in any field and still considered a social failure if you don’t plan to have kids.

    I don’t want to combat misogyny by showing people who hate women that there is absolutely nothing to hate. That’s not how you garner acceptance for women – that’s how you put some women on a pedestal and put down anyone who isn’t perfect, who doesn’t want to be perfect. This trend of glorifying brilliant women is great for the short-term, but it’s not going to create lasting acceptance for all women. We don’t deserve to be in this industry because we’re all so incredibly exceptional and talented. We deserve equal treatment for no other reason than the fact that we are people.

    It needs to be okay for women to fail. We need flawed women whose mistakes represent just that – their own mistakes. Not reflections upon our entire gender, not held up as reasons for why women aren’t meant to be in tech. We need to accept women in this field who aren’t incredibly talented, who aren’t going to send shockwaves through the industry, who want to be here just because it’s a great place to be.

    If I had started this piece with “Think of a man in the tech industry,” I wouldn’t have been able to predict the responses. When I think of men in tech, I don’t think of one particular skill level or one particular personality. I think of the guy who’s been coding since he was 12, the guy who’s pretty good at front-end development but not so great with functional programming, or the guy who actually kind of sucks at coding. I think of brogrammers, nerds, guys who love ultimate frisbee, and guys who love StarCraft. And they’re all welcome in this field to find their own varying levels of success. If the tech industry were only for geniuses, I would have a different message. I would say sure, only let the brilliant women in (or hey, let the rest of us in, too). But that’s not how it is. There’s room in this industry for everyone. There are plenty of men who are terrible at what they do, and they’re still here.

    More than women who are at the top of their fields, I need women who suck at programming. I need women who are okay at their jobs. I need women who sometimes have to ask questions and admit weakness. I need women who are antisocial, who love video games, who fall right into the stereotypical depictions of a woman in tech. Because no matter who you are, if you want to be in this field, you should be allowed in. And the way we keep promoting only the exceptional isn’t going to create more acceptance for women in tech as a whole. It’s going to reject all the women who don’t meet those impossible standards.

    Note: I am absolutely not saying “hire terrible female engineers.”

    Not at all. Hire the best person for the job. If a woman sucks at software engineering, it is not sexist to acknowledge that. In a perfect world, this would be perfectly fine advice. But we all have our own biases, whether conscious or subconscious, and people do tend to get this idea that women are either incredibly talented programmers or completely useless. People sometimes need to be reminded that one woman’s failures do not reflect the entire gender as a whole. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that people examine their biases and consider whether they’re truly judging men and women’s performances equally.

    Being expected to be either a “perfect super-human” or a “girl who can’t code” puts a huge amount of pressure on women. I’m suggesting that showing women it is okay to not fall into those categories would help the tech industry feel more inclusive as a whole. Women, like men, fall on a spectrum and having a diversity of talent would relieve the pressure for all of us who feel as though we have to be on one of the extreme ends.

    This post originally appeared on Medium.

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Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • Belle Gibson, 'Whole Pantry' Blogger, Admits Lying About Cancer
    A popular blogger and social media star is coming clean about faking terminal brain cancer, telling an Australian magazine it was all a hoax.

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  • FCC Staff Recommends Hearing On Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger
    Federal Communications Commission staff recommended that the regulatory agency designate Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. for a hearing, according to people familiar with the matter, a significant setback for the companies’ merger plans.

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  • Facebook: Based on a True Story
    The other day, while browsing on Facebook as I normally do in the bathroom — I mean, a few times a day — I came across a picture of a 2-year-old (the son of a friend) on a skateboard. Riding it. I knew it was wrong as I let my brain wander, but I couldn’t help it. My 4-year-old couldn’t do that yet, not even for a fraction of a second. What’s wrong with my kid? I wondered, if this 2-year old can balance, but mine can’t? I was in that dark cloud for about 10 seconds before I snapped out of it, convincing myself that this was just an amazing shot,and that right before, his dad was positioning him on the board, and immediately after, he fell, was crying and needed to be consoled by his mom.

    Keeping up with Joneses has been part of our society for some time, but with social networking on the rise with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., the number of “Joneses” we have to compare ourselves to has expanded profusely. When people log onto these sites to post, evidently, they put on their rose-colored glasses as well. Consider the posts, pictures and status updates you’ve seen recently: happy times, parties, new homes, renovations, new car, exotic vacations. The list goes on. Have you come across any posts that tell you how hard it is to make ends meet? The rough patch in a marriage? The new roof that’s needed? The child that needs major surgery?

    I started to worry that I was falling victim to this Internet optimism, trying to live up to these amazing lives, achievements and stories of my Facebook friends. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this pressure. According to one statistic I found, one in five Facebook and Twitter users admit they compare themselves to others “based purely on the status updates, pictures and messages from their ‘friends’ on social media sites.” I wonder how many of those 20% were moms, trying to live up to the supermom status that so many of us spend countless hours feeling guilty over never really achieving. Honestly, I felt that way after seeing the skateboarding picture. That wasn’t the first time, and I’m sure won’t be the last, either. It crossed my mind that if I did post things that weren’t as amazing, I would be scrutinized in the opposite way. When someone posts how they’re feeling ill, it’s been called “attention whoring.” It’s a very sharp double-edged sword.

    It’s my conclusion then, that pictures can lie. They don’t tell the whole story. And just like movies need to have a disclaimer, perhaps Facebook and sites like it should too: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

    For more parenting stories, jokes and tips, visit MrsMuffinTop by clicking here!

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  • VIDEO: Shakespeare's Globe goes virtual
    A new app lets you take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London – but how close is it to the real thing?
  • Will the 'Internet of Things' Open Your Home to Hackers?
    At this week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco, the world’s leading cyber minds aren’t just focusing on international super-hackers and possible future attacks on the electric grid. Do you know what else they’re worrying about?

    Your home.

    With the explosion of “Internet of Things” products, devices, appliances and machinery (Gartner predicts 4.9 million “connected things” this year), everything from Amazon’s cute little “Dash” buttons to “smart” toilets, self-diagnosing refrigerators and self-driving cars, there is growing concern that this rush of technological sophistication and convenience could also have dire consequences for personal security.

    After all, security often appears to be the last thing manufacturers think about when rushing these tricked-out products to market. In many cases, they lack safeguards to prevent even basic attacks. Take for instance, the baby monitor hacks in Washington, Texas and Minnesota, or the keyless door lock break-ins at Arizona hotels, the key fob car hacks across the U.S. and a variety of other threats demonstrated at hacker conferences, from Barnaby Jack’s insulin pump attack to Charlie Miller’s hijack of a car’s steering and breaking systems.

    Of course, many of the most talked about (i.e., hyped) threats are the least likely to affect the average person, but they do raise some serious questions. In the race to win over our living rooms, are businesses leaving the front door open?

    Here are six threats people will have to contend with as the home becomes more connected:

    • Account Hijacking - Forget about pacemaker cyber attacks and remotely hijacked smart toilets. The most likely scenario for consumers, as their homes become inundated with Internet of Things appliances, is the account takeover. After all, for many of these fancy new Internet-connected devices, you’ll likely have to register for support or software updates. That means having a special GE or Bosch or whatever account. Account hijacks will primarily occur in two ways: data breaches at the corporate level that compromise a person’s account details (name, login/password, credit card, etc.) and targeted attacks on the person’s private email.
    • Worse Phishing Attacks - All of these accounts will also make you more susceptible to phishing emails, which will use fake customer support or warranty expiration notices to trick you into downloading malware. The primary goals will likely be the same as they are today: steal banking credentials, identity information or install remote backdoors on your home network.
    • Malware in the Home - For every new device that is connected to the web, expect a virus, worm or Trojan to target it. There are a number of reasons why criminals will want to infect your appliances with malware, but the main ones are: to rope your appliances into a “botnet” that can be sold or rented on the black market or steal information stored by the device, if such exists — such as account details or credit card numbers. Additionally, if your appliances are infected by a botnet, it could lead to Internet service providers blacklisting your home’s IP address, which means you could have trouble sending emails or using certain online services. If all of this sounds far-fetched, consider this: last year researchers discovered what is believed to be the first refrigerator botnet; and a top security firm recently released antivirus for the entire home.
    • Appliance and Device Malfunctioning - There’s also a strong chance that at some point malware that infects your home will cause an appliance to malfunction. This may or may not be the goal of the malware, but either way it could happen. For example, when appliances are infected by botnets, they could slow down the normal performance of the appliance’s operating system. Will a coffee maker suddenly explode because of a virus? Probably not, but is it possible that a malicious hacker could cause a refrigerator to stop cooling to spoil food or raise the temperature on a thermostat or water heater? Each of these attacks would be complicated to perform and there’s no real motive except harassment, but they could be possible.
    • Harassment - Speaking of harassment, that is another risk that consumers will have to face. This is most likely to be done by teenagers, neighbors and amateurs, so the attacks will be limited and rely heavily upon free hacking tools available on the web. Therefore, don’t worry about the neighborhood teen hijacking your car, but eavesdropping on webcams and microphones embedded in networked devices could be a risk.
    • Cyber Extortion and Cyber Ransom - Cybercriminals are increasingly using cyber extortion and ransomware to make money off of consumers and small businesses, and this is likely to continue as we move further into the Internet of Things. Today, cyber extortion is typically done through denial-of-service attacks or stolen data, and “ransomware” is a type of computer malware that locks up important files until the victim pays a ransom, typically between $200-500. It won’t be as easy to perform these attacks on other devices, unless they have access to email — such as a smart TV for instance. Therefore, these attacks may be limited, but expect them to happen.

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  • Medical 3-D Printing Will 'Enable a New Kind of Future'
    NEW YORK — Advances in 3-D printing and medical technology will soon make it possible to construct human tissue in a lab, implant it in a patient and watch it grow into the body. Tissue engineering, as it’s called, was just one of the exciting new technological advances researchers and doctors have made in the medical 3-D printing field, a potentially revolutionary industry that was on full display during the Inside 3-D Printing Conference and Expo in New York last week.

    Medical 3-D printing, begun with such well-known devices as hearing aids and Invisalign braces, has come a long way. Now we have 3-D-printed implants, 3-D-printed models for surgical practice, 3-D-printed bone replacements, even 3-D-printed human tissue. In 2013, surgeons at the University of Michigan saved the life of a 3-month-old boy who had been born with severely weak tissue in his airway. They designed, 3-D-printed and surgically implanted a scaffold-like tube to hold his airway open. After three years, as the baby’s airway tissue grows over and around the tube, the scaffold will dissolve harmlessly.

    That operation made it clear what is becoming possible in this field: saving and improving human lives using personalized medical devices printed by a machine. It was the first time a 3-D-printed medical device had saved a child’s life.

    3-D-Printed Organs?

    Dr. Scott Hollister, one of the surgeons at the University of Michigan who is pioneering 3-D printing in medicine, said that at present, tissue engineering is primarily used in reconstructing severely damaged bone and tissue structures. In an interview with The WorldPost, he described one case in Germany in which a man’s badly damaged jaw and face were scanned, and then a replica printed in medical-grade titanium. Doctors implanted the replica in his back muscle so that the tissue and bone could start to grow, then removed it a month and a half later and placed it where it belonged on his face.

    The jaw implant eventually failed, but Dr. Hollister remains hopeful that this kind of thing will start working after further research and testing. Earlier this year, Israeli doctors successfully 3-D-printed and implanted a replacement jaw for a Syrian man whose face was nearly destroyed in the civil war. Three other patients — survivors of oral cancer — will soon undergo a similar procedure.

    3d printer
    The arch of a man’s foot is scanned with a photogrammetric software. The file will be used to make a corrective insole using a 3D printer. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images).

    Nin Desai, the CEO of NIN Ventures, a “next generation technology venture capital fund,” said her firm is one of the first to make a big push into medical 3-D printing technology.

    “The biggest five sectors in the medical space are bracing, hip and knee replacements, hearing aids [and] dental and tissue engineering,” she told The WorldPost. “The most underrated sector currently is tissue engineering. It’s the newest.”

    IDTechEx, a research firm, expects the 3-D bioprinting market to reach $6 billion by 2024. Late last month, NIN Ventures brought on Dr. Sunil Patel, a multi-organ transplant surgeon at the University of Buffalo, to spearhead investments in the medical 3-D printing industry. A company called Organovo is already commercially 3-D printing liver tissue for research purposes.

    Dr. Hollister said 3-D-printed organs probably won’t happen in the next half-century. A full human organ “printed” and grown in a lab remains too complex, a holy grail, a distant hope.

    For now, most researchers and surgeons are focused on what’s achievable in the near term. Jon Schull, who spoke at the conference on Thursday afternoon, founded a nonprofit called e-NABLE that provides young children who — through birth defects or injury — need a new hand. Young children don’t usually qualify for upper limb prosthetics — they simply outgrow them too quickly.

    Here is one of e-NABLE’s videos of young children getting new hands:

    The genius of e-NABLE is its simplicity. For free, the nonprofit provides a 3-D-printed, basic plastic robotic hand that can make a fist, hold a ball and grasp a bike handle to children all over the world. He reckons e-NABLE has shipped out 1,000 hands.

    “We are in the middle of approximately a dozen emerging trends,” Schull said during his speech. “Everything from, obviously, 3-D printing, to the open source movement, the gift economy and transhumanism — the notion that we are entering an era in which we are all remaking ourselves for the better using emerging technologies that are science fiction-like and also available, increasingly. And in the center of it is this cosmic sweet spot of smiling children with newly empowered hands and makers who will testify that being part of this is one of the most rewarding and interesting things they’ve ever done in their lives.”

    The hands are not advanced prosthetics; they’re easily and cheaply printed and assembled. But the kids who wear them don’t seem to want something advanced. All they care about is feeling like a normal kid. Plus the hands come in dozens of colors and styles that mimic superheroes like Iron Man and Wolverine. It’s a huge confidence boost, parents have told Schull. Their kids feel normal again, can play again, smile again.

    “This is what technology is for,” Schull said. “Many of us are attracted to it because it’s cool. But what turns out to be cool and incredibly meaningful is using it to enable a new kind of future.”

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  • Beyoncé And Jay Z's Rumored Joint Album Reportedly To Premiere On Tidal
    It may be time to actually sign up for Tidal.

    The long-rumored Beyoncé and Jay Z joint album will reportedly be released exclusively on Tidal, according to DJ Skee. The host of Skee TV revealed last September that the couple was working on an album together. In his latest segment on Skee TV, the DJ reports that sources have told him the album is “nearing completion.”

    Although Bey and Jay have yet to officially confirm the rumors, producer Detail confirmed the album to Billboard in February. “When you think of Jay and Bey together, you think ‘album.’ You should already know,” Detail told Billboard, before adding that he hopes the album will come out this year.

    Earlier this month, both Bey and Jay released exclusives on Tidal, including a music video for her new song “Die with You,” and a video for Jay Z’s “Glory.”

    Reps for Beyoncé, Jay Z and Tidal were not immediately available for comment.

    For more, head to Skee TV.

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  • FarmersWeb Is Making It Easier For Food To Get From Farm To Table
    While it may be overused, the phrase “farm-to-table” is more than just a buzzword — it represents an important cultural shift over the past 10 years in both the food industry and in the dining public’s priorities. But as more farmers, restaurants and food purveyors try to source and serve food grown locally, infrastructure needs have grown.

    Enter Farmers Web, an online portal that aims to connect farmers and producers with food buyers, making the farm-to-table process seamless. By removing the middle man, FarmersWeb says it enables farmers to cut down on costs, resulting in more local sourcing activity overall. Cutting out the middle man can also mean fresher food on plates. It’s a win-win for all parties.

    On the site, which launched in 2012, farmers create a free online profile whereby buyers browse their inventory. In addition to increased exposure and a direct line of communication, the website also offers subscription tools for marketing and managing orders, deliveries and financials. Farmers are responsible for delivering their products directly to buyers, or they can hire a logistics provider with the help of FarmersWeb.

    farmers web

    Growers create their own FarmersWeb profiles to show off their products. (Screenshot/FarmersWeb)

    From the buyer’s perspective, FarmersWeb is like an online farmers market, allowing restaurants, hotels and schools to find new producers. Referring to the sprawling food distribution center in the Bronx, Brooklyn Edible likens FarmersWeb to “a virtual Hunt’s Point.” And Eataly’s managing partner and chief operating officer Alex Saper told The New York Times that, “In a way, it’s like outsourcing the research I would otherwise do myself to find local suppliers.”

    Jennifer Goggin, one of the FarmersWeb’s three founders, points out that food distribution — which includes managing a warehouse, trucks, labor, marketing and sales — is a costly endeavor. In some cases, she told The Huffington Post, it’s also redundant, because many farmers already have their own trucks and are already doing some delivery.

    “What farms and buyers really need,” Goggin said, “is a way to connect and transact with each other directly.”

    In creating FarmersWeb, Goggin also recognized an opportunity to free up time for food producers. From monitoring their produce and livestock to complying with federal and state regulations to running a business, farmers are busy, to say the least. FarmersWeb offers a streamlined way for them to manage inventory and expenses, no matter the size of the farm.

    “Up until the past few years, it seemed like the business view of farming was either small-scale organic vegetable patches or huge agri-corporations. No company was developing tools for the huge number of mid-sized farms trying to run their farms as businesses,” she said. “Technology can’t help with everything, but it can at least cut down on the amount of hours they need to spend in an office organizing orders, invoices and paperwork, and that’s how we’re trying to help these farms become more efficient and scalable.”

    farmersweb

    Restaurants and other buyers can search inventory, find sellers, and place orders.(Screenshot/FarmersWeb)

    In just a few years, the model has already seen success; Goggin said several hundred businesses have signed up for the service. From initially handling only New York-area farms, the exchange is now available to any producer across the country. Two Wisconsin-based business, Wellspring Organic Farm and the wholesaler Koji’s Produce, just recently signed on, she said.

    FarmersWeb is helping farms and food businesses grow, too. When Cascun Farm in upstate New York started working with FarmersWeb, the operators had just purchased a first batch of 100 chicks with the hope of getting into the New York City wholesale market.

    “After just a few years, they now process and sell about 18,000 birds a year using just the FarmersWeb software to manage all of their sales, which is pretty amazing,” Goggin said.

    Cascun Farms’s owners told HuffPost that FarmersWeb was absolutely crucial for the growth of the business, helping the family-run farm easily set up meetings with restaurants that were four hours away in New York City. Once Cascun Farms started partnering with certain restaurants, they said, the activity spread by word-of-mouth on FarmersWeb, providing even more opportunities.

    For Beth Linksey’s Hudson Valley business Beth’s Farm Kitchen, which sells products including jams and frozen local fruits, FarmersWeb works because it can continue to promote her “as a little business that can fill little niche needs for the hotels and restaurants,” she told HuffPost.

    “FarmersWeb is good to work with,” she added, “and very responsive when we have new products to offer.”

    The site currently works with varied partners including meal delivery services like Munchery, corporate cafeterias including Facebook’s, retail stores like Eataly, culinary schools including Natural Gourmet Institute, and restaurants like Amali, Cafe Luxembourg and The Meat Hook.

    But it’s still a relatively new company, and FarmersWeb staff hope to continually improve. Goggin says there’s no typical day for her and her colleagues; one might involve designing and implementing new features for the site, while another could involve a road trip to a farm or restaurant that’s interested in the platform. Lately, Goggin and her team have been working to set up logistics providers for farms that don’t have the means to deliver goods themselves.

    FarmersWeb has already updated its revenue model to encourage more farms to use the site. The original model charged a commission to sellers for sales that occurred through the site; the new model, called Pro Accounts, offers a flat monthly fee so that increased sales doesn’t lead to increased expenses. For buyers and sellers, it’s free to set up a profile, and producers can choose from the following plans: $40 a month or three percent of sales for 1-10 products a month, or $75 a month or three percent of sales for unlimited products.

    Somewhat ironically, the farm-to-table movement is a return to how the food system used to operate — and FarmersWeb makes that return feasible in the modern world.

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  • 7 Things The Earth Would Tweet If It Could
    #EarthGonnaEarth

    It’s Earth Day and it’s time for the one day a year when we pretend to care about the planet we’re kinda sorta ruining. And you know Earth obviously isn’t happy about this. Can you imagine if our own world took to social media to vent about planet stuff?

    Well, no imagination needed, because this is what the tweets from the Earth would look like if it had a Twitter account. (We’re not talking about this other Twitter account, which also pretty entertaining, but far more educational.)

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  • Password Breaches: Why Legislation is the Way Forward
    In June of 2012, LinkedIn, the largest business-oriented social network, found itself in hot water. Due to allegedly weak security practices on the part of the company, a file containing the encoded passwords of roughly 6.5 million LinkedIn users was posted on a Russian hacker site. While there was no way of proving that the breach led to any direct effect on the users, the customers argued in court that the company had deceived them about the level of its Internet security when they had signed up for the service.

    Thus a class-action lawsuit was born, involving 800,000 American LinkedIn users who paid for premium services between March 15, 2006 and June 7, 2012. The lawsuit was settled this past February for $1.25 million.

    LinkedIn isn’t the only major company to face scrutiny for its password security, or lack thereof. Though the company denies the breach, mobile transportation app Uber recently came under fire with reports that thousands of customer logins were being sold online over the Dark Web. Uber claims to have investigated and found no evidence of a breach, but one Uber user confirmed to Motherboard that his personal information for sale on the Dark Web included his Uber username and password. What’s particularly alarming in the case of Uber is that the compromised information included GPS information, giving cyber criminals access to records detailing where the user traveled to and from throughout the day.

    Enterprise chat platform Slack also suffered a password breach just a few weeks ago. The company revealed that hackers had breached a database that contained usernames, encrypted passwords, and other information. The company has already made an effort to increase security measures as result of the breach, adding two-factor authentication that offers an extra layer of protection to its users.

    Password Fatigue: A Domino Effect
    As a user, it may not seem like a big deal for one of the platforms you use to suffer a password breach. Most consumers see this as a minor annoyance at having to change their password after a breach. But look at it this way: how often have you created a new social account or email address and found yourself mindlessly typing the same password you use for other sites? This is called password fatigue, and while it’s a security worst practice, it is also human nature. The danger with password fatigue is that if and when one of your many accounts is compromised, this can have a domino effect on all of your other email addresses, applications, and other sites for which that password unlocks access to sensitive data. What may have started as a breach on your social chat platform — where no personal information is stored — may turn into a situation with more dire consequences — a hacker getting into your personal photos, your bank account, and your medical information after trying your recycled password to access a site where valuable personal information is stored.

    Legislation: Not There Yet, But Getting There
    While there are no laws forcing businesses to notify customers of a password breach yet, there is an ethical responsibility that exists for companies to notify their customers in a timely manner when a breach occurs. The sooner that an individual knows they are at risk for identity theft, the sooner they are able to take the necessary steps to protect their personal information and minimize damage. The way to ensure that companies honor this responsibility is through simple and consistent legislation.

    This past January, major strides were made toward federal legislation in Congress to improve cyber security. Of particular importance, one of the goals of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative includes increasing information sharing between companies and the government. Through better communication between these two parties, the government can be better informed as to how to develop legislation to best protect consumers. This may also enable faster breach notification across industries.

    While this is a step in the right direction, the issue that remains is that there is not currently a consensus on when companies need to notify consumers that a breach has occurred. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman proposed a bill this past January that would expand New York’s definition of what constitutes the need for disclosure by including email addresses and passwords (in addition to the already-included Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses or credit card information). It may very well be beneficial to mirror a similar law in the federal government.

    What You Can Do
    We at CSID would like to see legislation to continue to be developed and strengthened around these issues. That being said, protecting your passwords is not entirely out of your hands. It is your responsibility to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your personal information by using strong, unique passwords. Here’s what you can do:

    • Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

    • Create a password that is at least eight characters long. The longer, the better. To put this in perspective, a 10-character password can be cracked using standard tools within a calendar week. A hacker using the same “brute-force” tactics would need 1.49 million centuries to crack a 15-character password.

    • Don’t use dictionary words, slang, names or email addresses. You can have the longest password in the world, but if it’s an easily recognizable phrase, it won’t do you much good.

    • For those that don’t want to keep track of long, complex passwords, a password manager can help break natural human tendencies for poor password use.

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  • Facebook reports strong results
    Social networking giant Facebook reports better-than-expected first quarter profits as well as growing monthly active users.
  • Google Launches U.S. Wireless Service
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Google Inc on Wednesday launched a new U.S. wireless service that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to curb data use and keep phone bills low.

    The service, Google’s first entry into the wireless industry, will work only on the company’s Nexus 6 phones and be hosted through Sprint Corp and T-Mobile’s networks, Google said in a statement.

    The service, called Project Fi, will automatically switch between the two networks and more than 1 million open, free Wi-Fi spots, depending on which signal is strongest.

    The service will cost $20 a month plus $10 per gigabyte of data used. Customers will get money back for unused data.

    Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, said at a Barcelona conference last month the company was preparing to experiment with a mobile network, but that it did not intend to disrupt the wireless industry.

    The service will be available on only one device and has limited carrier coverage, so it will not make Google a major wireless industry player, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

    If successful, however, Google’s service could pressure wireless providers to further lower prices and better adapt to the rise of tablets and wearable devices, Blau added. Though some carriers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T Inc, allow unused data to roll over, most mobile plans require customers to pay for a set amount of data each month.

    But Google first has to “test out features they think are going to differentiate themselves,” Blau said, such as being able to transition from network connectivity to Wi-Fi.

    If Google is able to provide those features, “it’s very possible they could become a major wireless player in the future,” Blau said.

    Phone numbers will live in the cloud so that consumers can talk and text on any connected tablet, Google said.

    The company already has a strong presence in the mobile market through its Android operating system, which hosts some of the most popular apps, such as Gmail and Google Maps.

    Google shares rose 1.27 percent to $549.81 at mid-afternoon.

    (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Richard Chang)

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  • Managing the Deluge of Data
    It’s no secret that the amount of data out there is growing exponentially. A joint study conducted by the research group IDC finds that the digital universe will grow 40% per year for the next decade. Or, to put it another way, it more than doubles every two years. But forget the next decade. How about the next minute? A report by business intelligence firm Domo turns up some eye-opening results – every minute 204 million emails are sent, Google receives over 4 million search queries, Facebook users share 246 million pieces of content, and 277,000 tweets are sent.

    Marketers are hard at work trying to make sense of this data deluge. Those that succeed will gain valuable customer insights and a leg up on their competitors. Today we see companies gathering information and delivering targeted marketing via a number of sophisticated methods – they can deliver ads based on your prior searches, serve up content based on your Gmail messages, or offer you discounts for products based on your past purchasing history. Every time you log onto your favorite retailer’s website, the recommendations you see are based on past purchases and searches you have made and also the preferences of people with similar buying histories and profiles. Businesses also use retargeting to continue delivering relevant content to you even after you’ve left one site and gone on to another.

    But, as I said, the pace at which the amount of customer data on the web is growing presents a unique challenge for marketers as they weed through the haystack to find that needle of useful information. The IDC report says that only 25% of the data on the web today is being analyzed – with the remaining 75% representing unchartered territory of potentially useful information that could disclose even more distinct patterns and trends.

    Marketers are constantly being bombarded with more information about their audiences – through data analytics, persona profiles, behavioral analyses, ever-more focused customer segmentations and which media are more effective for each slice of their audience – but are understandably struggling to process these huge amounts of data into insights and actionable decisions. There’s simply too much to handle. This deluge of data is something that our customers run into frequently as they work to build forward-looking, sophisticated marketing programs. Here are a few tips for managing the reams of customer data flowing your way:

    • Prioritize your audiences. Don’t try to continually gather more data on all of your potential target audiences – you’ll drown if you do. Instead, pick your top-priority audiences, spend some time developing personas for those core audiences (including what drives and motivates them) and begin gathering more data about them. Then develop ways to identify where they are in the buying cycle and begin to get comfortable adjusting and processing that data in effective ways.
    • Prioritize data that can be used for lead scoring. Lead scoring – determining who is most likely to make a purchase – is always a great place to start the data mining process, as it will give you and your team actionable data that can directly impact sales. Once you have enough data to accurately score your core audience, you can then broaden your horizons and look into obtaining and analyzing more data to explore other audiences.
    • Recognize that lead generation is a continuum. Lead management starts with the identification of a prospect. Marketers should look for opportunities to engage with prospects, thus increasing lead generation potential. Ultimately (and hopefully), initial identification and engagement results in a purchase – usually after a lead is qualified, through the use of analytics, and nurtured. Only after a lead is nurtured should it be handed off to sales.
    • Integrate your marketing data. Make sure that the customer data gathered through marketing activities can be easily fed into your marketing automation tools. For example, a webinar program can support the entire marketing workflow, with the webinar platform integrated with a CRM platform. The better the data and the more efficiently it can be transferred over, the more effective the sales team will ultimately be.
    • Identify what kind of data will be most useful for sales. Marketing is the tip of the spear when it comes to collecting data on prospects, and once you identify and then hand over qualified leads to your sales team, you will want to give them all of the useful information you have on hand. Just like a relay race, a smooth handoff is key to success. If you have a lot of data that is not useful for them, the good stuff may get lost in the shuffle.

    I’d be interested to hear how others are managing customer data. What’s your system? How do you embrace the chaos and manage the data deluge?

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Could We Build a Starship Enterprise in the Next Decade?
    Can we build a Starship Enterprise with our current technology in the next 10 years?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

    2015-04-22-1429728922-402431-ROBERTFROST.jpg

    Answer by Robert Frost, NASA Engineer with specialization in spacecraft operations, orbital mechanics, and guidance, navigation and control systems.

    No. Not only could we not build this in 10 years…

    2015-04-22-1429729074-936501-1.jpg

    … but we couldn’t even build this in 10 years…

    2015-04-22-1429729142-4022469-2.jpg

    Let’s ignore the technologies that might be impossible (e.g. warp drive, dilithium crystals, and transporters). Let’s ignore the technologies that we have no idea how to reproduce in a similar way (artificial gravity). Let’s just focus on trying to build a space-worthy scale replica of the USS Enterprise that uses existing structural and propulsion capabilities.

    The Starship Enterprise is much more massive than the International Space Station. Here’s a comparison of their respective sizes (note: I’ve used the original Enterprise, not the Abrams version, which is considerably larger).

    The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest, most complex international scientific project in history. For decades, studies were done that developed the ideas and technologies needed to build it (e.g. the steering law algorithm was written during Apollo). The prime contractor (Boeing) was selected in 1993. The first module launched in 1998. Over the following decade, 15 countries invested their treasure (~$135 billion) to build the ISS. It took 26 Space Shuttle flights to deliver the US segment modules. An additional Russian rocket launch was needed for each Russian module. Over 1000 hours of EVA were needed for the assembly.

    It would take hundreds of launches just to get the materials needed for the Enterprise into space.

    Now that the Space Shuttle is retired, there is no current capability on Earth to launch and deliver modules that are not self-sufficient. While the ISS assembly was essentially “snap-on” with independent pressurized modules and unpressurized trusses attached with single ring interfaces, building the Enterprise would require real construction – welding and riveting – in space. It would take years to learn how to safely and effectively do that on such a scale.

    The structural design would take years to understand. The stresses and strains on the struts that connect the nacelles to the fuselage would be foreboding. Attitude control would require hundreds of thrusters and massive amounts of fuel.

    With our current technologies, it takes 38,400 sq ft (3567 m^2) of solar array to provide the electrical power needed to support the crew of 6 and the scientific payloads. The USS Enterprise has a crew of about 430. How would we even begin to attempt to generate and provide the power that size crew and vehicle would need? Some might suggest nuclear reactors, like in submarines, but getting those into space would be both an engineering and political challenge. We would be talking about launching several hundred kilograms of radioactive material, and tons of shielding, into space.

    We’re a couple of centuries away from being able to even attempt such an endeavor as building an Enterprise.

    More questions on Quora:

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  • Dead Loved Ones May Accidentally Show Up In Facebook's New 'Hello' App
    Facebook on Wednesday released a new caller ID app for Android called “Hello.” It lets you see more information about strangers or businesses who are calling you, links your friends’ phone numbers with their Facebook profiles and generally offers a few conveniences beyond the standard caller-ID functions on your phone. It also might tell you you’ve recently had phone calls with dead people.

    When I downloaded the “Hello” app to my smartphone, I swiped over to my call history and was startled to find that my friend’s younger brother Oliver was showing up instead of him — even though he passed away two years ago.

    Apparently, the problem has to do with how phone numbers can be set up on Facebook. After looking into the issue following an inquiry from The Huffington Post, a spokeswoman for Facebook told me that my friend’s number was registered under Oliver’s account, though it’s not viewable by his friends. In other words, Oliver had two numbers associated with his account: His own cell phone number that was posted on his Facebook profile for others to see, and, for reasons that aren’t clear, my friend’s cell phone number that was kept private but associated with his account.

    “Hello” will pull the number that’s primarily associated with your account rather than the phone number you may have set to be viewable by your friends. Keep that in mind if you’re keeping a phone number private for any reason.

    facebook hello

    This conversation definitely did not happen.

    Asked if he had somehow associated his mobile number with Oliver’s page upon his death, my friend told me “not to my knowledge,” but that he doesn’t have access to his brother’s page anyway — after he passed away, my friend was given the option to take the profile down or leave it up, but wasn’t granted further access to it. So he can’t update the profile now to remove his phone number.

    It’s unclear how many people have downloaded “Hello” so far or if any of them have experienced similar issues with the app suggesting it can help them commune with planes beyond the mortal realm. But its parent app, Facebook Messenger, has been downloaded by at least 500 million people.

    In any event, now might be a good time to get your affairs in order on Facebook and decide who gets control of your page when you eventually shuffle off this mortal coil.

    This article has been updated to include information from Facebook about how “Hello” handles phone numbers.

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  • Amazon Has Gotten Into The Hotel-Booking Business
    Amazon already lets you invite strangers into your house — now, it helps you book a getaway of your own.

    This week, the company launched Amazon Destinations, which allows users to book hotels in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California and the Northeast.

    The site — which has the tagline, “Hit the road: Book local getaways” — emphasizes vacation destinations that users can drive to. Destinations include Cannon Beach, Oregon, and the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, Santa Barbara and Palm Springs in Southern California and the Pocono and Catskill Mountains in the Northeast.

    Amazon spokesman Tom Cook told travel news site Skift why the company thinks America needs another online venue for booking hotels.

    “We created Amazon Destinations to solve a problem most travelers face: how to easily plan and book a local getaway trip,” he told the outlet. “Interestingly, more than 40 percent of all U.S. domestic leisure trips are short-term getaways of one to three nights, and many of these trips are to nearby, drivable destinations.”

    But it’s not always so easy to book those trips, Cook contends.

    “Travelers often have a hard time planning local getaways,” he said. “It’s difficult to know where to go, the process is labor-intensive, and people often miss out on finding great places to stay.”

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  • Arizona State University researchers develop platform for building safe, secure medical apps

    The Health-Dev platform which facilitates the development of safe medical apps.

    The post Arizona State University researchers develop platform for building safe, secure medical apps appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Google Now Provides Marketers API for Advanced Browser-Based Content Distribution
    As previously predicted, the marriage of responsive websites and push notifications is gaining momentum. Up until recently, brands that wanted to distribute prudent content via push notifications better have an app sitting on the smartphones of its target demographic. Why should marketers care about easy, browser-based push notifications for their content? Because push notifications have a 30x better opt-in rate than email. Google just took browser-based push notifications mainstream.

    Here’s a snippet from Google’s press release yesterday morning:

    This release of Chrome for Android supports the new emerging web standard for push notifications, enabling users to opt in to allow a specific website to send them push notifications just like an installed native app. Over the coming weeks, mobile web users will be able to opt in to receiving push notifications from early adopters including Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News. Roost and Mobify also provides services that make it easy for developers to integrate web-based push notifications into their site with minimal custom implementation work.

    This effort is part of a larger Google project called Service Workers. The aim of Service Workers is to give developers the ability to enable native app functionality on websites. Since many brands build apps simply for the push notification functionality, it’s appropriate that this audience re-engagement mainstay would lead the news in Chrome’s latest release.

    Here’s a demo of how the functionality works for content consumers on mobile with a desktop example below:

    2015-04-21-1429627949-1572629-chromee1429497400225.png

    Chrome isn’t the first browser to provide an API for web-push notifications. Safari provided the ability with its release of OS X Mavericks over a year ago. But since Safari on desktop boasted a mere five percent browser market share, that release went largely unnoticed by web developers and content marketers.

    Other Chromium browsers (e.g. Opera) are expected to follow later this year, incrementally increasing audience reach with each release. Firefox will follow late Q2 or early Q3.

    The de-coupling of push notifications from mobile apps via Chrome is good news for marketers. Why? Because roughly 50 percent of web users experience the Internet within a Chrome browser.

    For Relevance, specifically, 75 percent of our subscribers consume our content from a desktop. Chrome’s new capability coupled with Roost’s technology platform empowers us with the ability to push prudent content, not just to our subscribers’ mobile devices, but directly to most of their desktops as well.

    And, as mentioned above, web-push is not simply a new tool for developers. Third party providers such as Roost were launched to make it easier for marketers to enable, optimize and measure this type of content distribution. They’ve even released two guides to help navigate this new Chrome update – Chrome Notification Integration Guide and the Chrome Notification User Guide.

    Third party providers like Roost pull in APIs from multiple browsers (i.e. Chrome, Safari, and soon, Firefox) under one user dashboard while providing cross-browser analytics, A/B testing, geo-targeting, audience profiling, scheduling, and campaign setup and tracking.

    For marketers and/or customer service folks, web-push capabilities can deliver the following:

    • Content distribution for content marketers, publishers and media companies
    • Offer content consumers the ability to opt-in to specific author or topic notifications
    • Notifications to community members when someone responds to a comment or when engagement milestones (number of likes, comments, etc.) are hit
    • Product inventory/shipping notifications (product sold out, package shipped, new inventory just arrived, etc.)
    • Notifications to travelers when their flight arrives at the gate

    The month of April has been full of Google mobile-geddon SEO predictions and EU anti-trust news. However, this little gem has been under the radar. Content marketers taking note of the SEO implications of Google’s mobile focus better take equal or greater consideration of its new content distribution capabilities.

    For brands, ranking in the search engines is nice, but imagine having content distribution access to an opt-in audience that’s 30 times larger than an existing email database. That would give Relevance access to over 1.65 million subscribers with a few strokes of the keyboard. Browser-based push notifications look very promising for content marketers wishing to grow and capitalize on their audiences.

    This article was originally published on Relevance.

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  • Google launches mobile phone network
    Google announces Project Fi, a mobile network that will piggyback existing services in the US but offer different terms.

Mobile Technology News, April 22, 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.

  • Drone With Radiation Sign Lands On Roof Of Japanese Prime Minister's Office
    TOKYO (AP) — Japanese authorities were investigating Wednesday after a small drone landed on the roof of the prime minister’s office.

    No injuries or damage were reported from the incident, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Indonesia to attend an Asia-African conference. Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone. They were investigating the possibility it had crashed during a flight.

    It was not clear when the drone landed. It was discovered Wednesday by an official who was taking new employees on a tour of the prime minister’s office in central Tokyo, according to media reports.

    Video from public television broadcaster NHK showed dozens of police officers and officials around the drone, which was covered by a blue tarp.

    The drone was about 50 centimeters (1.7 feet) in diameter and had four propellers, carrying a small camera and something that looked like a flare, NHK said. It was also decorated with a symbol that warns of radioactive material.

    Small drones are becoming increasingly popular in Japan and are often used for performances, aerial filming and other purposes. But they have raised safety and privacy concerns.

    Japanese aviation laws have no restrictions for flying unmanned equipment at or below 250 meters (820 feet) above ground except for flight routes.

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  • What Is "Mobilegeddon" and Should You Be Worried?
    There is nothing like the threat of a change in the Google algorithm to create a firestorm in small business press and spread fear in the hearts of small business owners across the globe! The change (with press adopted moniker of “Mobilegeddon”) taking place right now is no different. If you listen to Business Insider “millions of small business” will be crushed. If you take a look at the Washington Post, they are using the term “apocalypse.” So, what is going on? Is this that big of a deal? Let’s unpack this.

    What is Mobilegeddon?
    Simply put Google is changing its algorithm so that on searches made on mobile devices, “mobile friendly” sites will be elevated over sites that are not mobile friendly. So, a user who is performing a Google search from her phone or tablet will be shown search results for websites that are designed to fit her smaller device. According to Google a mobile-friendly site boils down to the following:

    • Avoids software that doesn’t render well on common mobile devices. (Think Flash)
    • Uses text that is readable without zooming.
    • Sizes content to the screen properly without having to scroll horizontally. (Vertically is fine.)
    • Places links far enough apart so that the correct link can be easily tapped.

    Is my site impacted? If so, how bad will this problem be?
    The easiest way to check if your site is impacted is to take the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter your website’s domain address in the bar, click “Analyze” and Google will either tell your site is “awesome” and meets their criteria for mobile friendliness. Yay! You can do a happy dance and move on with your day feeling a bit superior to those poor sots this impacts.

    2015-04-20-1429570740-6158454-MobileFriendlyTest.jpg

    But, if you see this image, life isn’t as simple…

    2015-04-20-1429570668-386154-MobileFriendlyTest1.jpg
    How much of an immediate impact this will have on your business comes down to two questions, both of which can be answered using another Google product, Google Analytics.

    Question #1: Do you get much traffic currently from Google via organic (or non-paid) search? Take a look at your analytics to see your traffic sources. For many businesses Google search is critical. For other sites, their website is accessed more from links from elsewhere or direct traffic. If Google isn’t sending you much traffic, you won’t miss the traffic they aren’t sending you because of this change.

    Question #2: What percentage of your current traffic is mobile? Remember, only searches on mobile devices (phones and tablets) are going to be impacted by this change. Someone performing a Google Search from her home won’t have this particular algorithm change applied. One caveat to this question is that as mobile-friendly devices become more ubiquitous, this number will most certainly increase. It just might not be huge for your business right now.

    My site isn’t mobile-friendly! Ack! What do I do?
    First things first, don’t panic. As noted above, this may not have a huge impact on your organization in the short term. The last thing you want to do is to fix this issue in haste because getting a mobile-friendly website is not a quick fix. The answer for most organizations will be responsive design. Responsive design simply is a way that a website is coded that renders it to the proper proportions for the size of the web browser. In other words, when a site is pulled up on a phone, a design that is appropriate for a phone is the one that appears. If a site is pulled up on a website, the design is different.

    Unfortunately, you can’t flip a switch and create a responsive site. A site that doesn’t have responsive technology is most likely a site that needs to be rethought, reconfigured, and redesigned. Think of it as an opportunity to step up your web presence in a huge way! So, walk (don’t run) to someone that can help you figure out a responsive solution for your site.

    _______________
    Erika Dickstein is a Web Strategist located in the DC metro area. She specializes in working with small businesses on creating strategic goal-oriented websites. You can connect with her at www.springinsight.com.

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  • What Bill Gates Thinks About The Future Of Eating Meat
    Bill Gates says reducing the environmental footprint of meat consumption isn’t just about moderation. It’s also about innovation.

    In a blog post titled “Is There Enough Meat for Everyone?” posted on his website Tuesday, Gates chimed in on a growing conversation surrounding the water-intensive process of raising the world’s meat.

    Since California announced its first statewide mandatory water restrictions this month in response to the relentless drought, some news outlets have highlighted data showing livestock require more water than any other agricultural sector.

    Gates, who starts his post with a tale of his own failed attempt at vegetarianism, is skeptical that the world will ditch meat-heavy diets, pointing to skyrocketing demand in several countries.

    “Brazil’s per-capita consumption has gone up fourfold since 1950. China’s nearly doubled in the 1990s. Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan have also seen big increases,” he writes. ” … Although it might be possible to get people in richer countries to eat less or shift toward less-intensive meats like chicken, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect large numbers of people to make drastic reductions. Evolution turned us into omnivores.”

    One 2014 study found that 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually go back to eating meat.

    Gates’ sights are set on improving current agriculture practices so that poorer countries can produce their own food and stop relying on rich nations for water-thirsty crops.

    “Innovation will improve our ability to produce meat,” Gates writes. “Cheaper energy and better crop varieties will drive up agricultural productivity, especially in Africa.” Gates has previously pointed out that Africa has lower yields per acre than the United States and spends $50 billion per year importing food from rich countries.

    Gates also is betting people will fulfill their meat cravings with plant-based meat substitutes so advanced that they’re indistinguishable from the real thing.

    “I’m … hopeful about the future of meat substitutes,” he writes. “I have invested in some companies working on this and am impressed with the results so far … I think it has potential.”

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  • Jeb Bush's Favorite Part Of Obama's Presidency Is NSA Spying
    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) really likes at least one part of Barack Obama’s presidency: the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records.

    During an interview on Michael Medved’s radio program on Tuesday, Bush called the program, which was revealed in disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the best part of Obama’s presidency.

    “I would say the best part of the Obama administration has been his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” said Bush, who is considering a 2016 presidential run. “Even though he never defends it, even though he never admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation of our national government is to keep us safe.”

    Bush added that there was technology in place that could be used to guard both the United States and the civil liberties of Americans.

    After Snowden’s disclosures, Obama imposed some restrictions on the program, but left the program largely in tact. A bill to curb the NSA’s authority to collect phone records also failed in the Senate last year. That bill had support from some Republicans, highlighting a divide in the party between more libertarian Republicans who supported ending the program and hawkish ones who did not.

    That divide could carry over into the race for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, where some of Bush’s potential rivals have already spoken out against the NSA program. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has already launched his campaign, sued the Obama administration over the NSA’s collection of phone records. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president, supported the Senate bill to curb the program that failed last year.

    The legal provision in the Patriot Act, passed under President George W. Bush, that allows for bulk collection is set to expire in June, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the program will end.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • The Evolution of the Modern Point of Sale System
    2015-04-22-1429662845-7627222-retailshopping11.jpg

    Every business today is dealing with a world that constantly forces a business to think and act “smarter” in order stay abreast of competition and differentiate products and services.

    Electronic Point of Sale systems are a combination of software, hardware and peripheral devices which can help many of you be more productive and keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

    How a POS Integrates with Your Business

    Typically a POS system will be located wherever a transaction occurs in your place of business and most systems function as an electronic cash register, making and recording sales in retail store, restaurant, hotel, et al.

    A well made POS can do much more for your business. Functioning as a more sophisticated IT system, connected to your back office, inventory systems and even Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

    • Automates and enables information about stock to be stored securely.
    • Improves overall efficiency and flow of your business (performance).
    • Gives you the ability to store information and retrieve it on the fly.
    • Understand what products are selling (popular) and in demand.
    • Moves digital transaction to paper: printed receipts and transactions.
    • Can be integrated with your business web site or a physical terminal.

    Know Going In Your Layering In Technology With Your Business Rules and Processes

    Start with basics. What are your business needs? What are you trying to accomplish with an EPOS system? Do you want to lower costs? Use new types of applications? Foster collaboration internally and externally or get access to enterprise level apps?

    According to most recent surveys about embracing any technology that’s a combination of hardware and software and/or partially based in the cloud, the greatest barriers to entry for most businesses are security, performance and integration with how they run their company.

    What’s in-house, outsourced, how do we get our staff and management team up to speed, costs savings, etc.

    Yes, a good EPOS will help to add more efficiency to your business but like all technology, there is a burdened cost associated with basic vendor analysis, selection and then back end deployment.

    As a business, you have a tremendous amount of platforms to select from, with virtually unlimited features and functions. But, the greater challenge is time versus ROI for your business and grappling with the Darwinian issues; i.e. which EPOS system vendor will survive and grow along with your business.

    2015-04-22-1429662440-7546165-PhotosandvideosbyBluebirdGlobalbluebirdiPadPOSTwitter20150421172449.jpg

    How Does and EPOS System Function

    The primary components of any EPOS system comprise hardware, software, in most cases some kind of cloud integration for accessing data: terminal, cash drawer, chips and pins, customer displays, keyboards, printers and a scale.

    It’s simply a system that supports data entry via a number of devices including computer keyboards, touchscreens, barcode scanners and even tablets and smartphones.

    As a retailer, a well designed EPOS vendor gives you flexibility on selecting your hardware that will match your business rules. In a high frequency retail environment an EPOS system will work in tandem with barcode scanners, ensuring accurate pricing and imparting more efficiency to your staff.

    Most EPOS Systems are Highly Adaptable

    • Recording Sales and Revenue Generation
    • Maintaining and Updating Stock Levles
    • Enabling Better Customer Service
    • Helping you Keep Tack of Sales and Tax Filing Requirements

    Where The EPOS Industry Is Going

    The restaurant industry is increasingly adopting wireless POS because of the flexibility it offers. Many high end or high volume restaurants are embracing wireless handheld POS devices.

    The wait staff is now using PDA sized POS systems to register orders quickly, send them directly to the kitchen in real time to impart greater efficiency and drive customer service.

    Web or cloud-based POS systems are also on the rise. They are device independent, imparting more flexibility for your business, any user can access the backend with a device (even a smartphone) using a standard web browser.

    And, this type of web based software does not require any software installations or updates, and runs on secure servers in multiple data centers which have real-time backups.

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    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • VIDEO: 3D printer drone aims to make refuges
    A drone which can deliver and 3d printed ‘concrete-like material to provide people with temporary refuge is being developed.
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    The first video was uploaded to YouTube ten years ago this week.
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    Can paper survive the digital age?
  • Windows 10 for Phone Build 10052 Available to Windows Insiders

    For those of you in the Windows Insider program who are running Windows 10 for Phone, there is a new build out this afternoon and one that you should most definitely get if you are in the Fast Ring.  It comes just 11 days after 10051 was posted.  Build 10052 doesn’t bring any new features nor does it bring the new Office apps but it does have a huge number of fixes and improvements that will benefit everyone.  If you are a Windows Insider and on the Fast Ring, go to Settings>Phone Update and get the latest build. According to

    The post Windows 10 for Phone Build 10052 Available to Windows Insiders appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • You Wanna Sell Me Something On Facebook? Im Cool With That
    I know I’m a little tardy to the party here, but I just finished reading that viral post about “3-D Lashes, Jamberry and Other Ways To Lose Facebook Friends.” You know, the one by the chick who’s sick of her friends trying to sell her stuff on social media?

    My takeaway?

    Women suck.

    Why? Because I don’t think that post is actually about selling stuff, you guys. I think it’s about women. And about the fact that we are all basically assholes who try to make each other feel bad. And about how no matter how far we’ve come or how much progress we make, we still can’t just sit back and celebrate our successes without trying to kill each other’s vibe. Unless we’re drunk in a restaurant bathroom, in which case all bets are off and we’re total supportive besties.

    I have never been to a 3-D lash party and I have no clue what Jamberry is (though apparently, it’s not jam), so maybe your suburb is cooler than mine. But if you’re my friend and you’re trying to make Jamberry happen, then post it if you got it. Because even if you’re clogging up my newsfeed with weird before and after pics that may or may not be 100 percent legit, it takes serious balls to put yourself out there and I will support that kind of head for business and bod for sin badassery any day of the week.

    If you just rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. For one thing, I just quoted Working Girl. I also made up the word “badassery.” And if you know me at all, then you know that I am so not the girl who’s gonna waltz into your product party to nonchalantly browse the merch while socializing with the same group of people I just left in pickup line. Unless there’s alcohol. In which case I am like, totally there. I’ll probably also break a wine glass or three, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But even then, I’m not going go buy some random tube of something to make it seem like I’m supporting you, only to turn around and bitch about you behind your back the minute I leave your house.

    You know that happens, right? I mean, we’ve all done it. And yes, I just said I wouldn’t throw shade, but I also said that women suck and I just had three glasses of wine in this scenario, so try to keep up, mmkay?

    Here’s the thing: I don’t want to buy your $40 facial cleanser. But I think you’re pretty dope for stepping outside your comfort zone to try and sell it to me. Because it takes a hell of a lot of courage and grit to go after a goal in such a public way, and people are always going to find something to say about it. And by “people,” I mean suburban housewives and by “find something to say,” I mean talk shit. But you should never sacrifice who you are just because someone else has a problem with it. (Totally just read that on Instagram!)

    I have so many friends who have re-invented themselves since having kids. And they are all pretty damn amazing. You can call them Momtrepreneuers and you can mean it as an insult. But the truth is — and I’m paraphrasing The Breakfast Club here — that you see them as you want to see them, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. Yes, they are moms. But they are also yoga instructors and photographers and nut-free bakers. Jewelry makers and party planners and dance teachers. I have a friend making headlines this month for the amazing clothing line she designed for kids with disabilities.

    And yes, I also have friends who sell skin care products and 30-day cleanses on facebook. So freaking what? Do we really have to dismiss then as basic? Are we, like, 45 and still in middle school? Where is the love? These are honeys making money, mommas who profit dollas. And we should be supporting them, celebrating them, throwing our hands up at them. Why? Because Beyoncé said so, that’s why. And you’d totally buy a Rodan & Fields face roller from her, admit it.

    Look, does the nonstop posting sometimes make me want to smack myself in the face with a jar of Arbonne Omega 3 Plus? Well, duh. But just to be clear, so do those Adam Levine Proactiv commercials and you don’t see me unfriending him on Facebook, do you? Fine, we’re not actually friends. But still.

    The truth is, we are all annoying to someone on Facebook, whether we are trying to sell something or not. Nobody wants to see a picture every time we drink a bloody mary or get a mani-pedi or fly first class or write a letter to our kid from the tooth fairy. I know, I know. Way harsh, Tai.

    I bet if you’re one of those people who never posts on Facebook or comments on anything you’re probably feeling pretty righteous right about now. Well, guess what? You suck more than anybody. Because we know you are watching. And your silence speaks volumes. You want to judge the players when you’re too scared to get in the game? Nice try, stalker, but you don’t even go here!

    I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I have some friends who’ve been the most amazing supporters. And I also have friends who haven’t. You know who you are. And since someone once told me to pay close attention to the people who don’t clap when you win, I know who you are, too. It’s always been so puzzling to me. But the bottom line is, it really doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, none of this is about what other people think. It’s about doing your own thing, feeding your soul or — as one of my more prolific Facebook friends would put it — filling your cup. And if selling Isogenix protein powder is the stuff your dreams are made of, who I am I to judge? I just spent two hours writing this blog post and I won’t make a single dime.

    So screw the haters and keep right on jamming up my newsfeed with those sales pitches, bitches! I got you. Because I will choose someone who is brave enough to put themselves out there over someone who plays it safe any day of the week. Or as Madonna recently posted on the ‘gram: “If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do… bitch, you’re a fan.”

    Guess the joke’s on you, then.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • HeartMob Will Provide Real-Time Support To People Being Harassed Online
    An estimated 40 percent of Internet users have been harassed online, and a new service wants to help victims as it happens.

    The anti-harassment group Hollaback! are currently fundraising for HeartMob, a platform launching in September that will provide real-time support to people being harassed online. HeartMob will also be open to volunteers who will provide support and assistance to people reporting harassment.

    While HeartMob will welcome users of all genders, the platform is especially good news for women. According to Pew, women and young adults are “more likely than others” to experience online harassment, and women are more likely than men to find their experiences of harassment “extremely or very upsetting.” Online, women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.

    heartmob

    “For too long, many people have left online spaces because they feel unsafe or unsupported,” the platform’s Kickstarter page explains. “For too long, many of us have sat back and watched, unsure how to ask for help or how to provide support and resources. With HeartMob, you’ll have a system of supporters beside you, and a user-driven set of actions you can take right now to lend a helping hand.”

    HeartMob users will be able to report online harassment to the platform as it happens, either publicly or privately. If they choose to make the report public, they can select ways that they want HeartMob volunteers to help — such as providing support through an online forum, or helping report their harasser to the relevant social network. Users who log on to volunteer will be able to see who needs their help, and in what way.

    heartmob

    While social networks like Reddit and Twitter have recently pledged to ban revenge porn and take a stand against trolls, HeartMob will provide peer support and a community for victims of harassment.

    “Let’s reimagine an Internet where everyone is free to be their badass selves,” HeartMob’s introductory video concludes.

    Learn more about HeartMob here.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Enraged US man shoots his computer
    A man in the US city of Colorado Springs faces police action after becoming so frustrated with his computer that he shot it eight times, police say.
  • VIDEO: World's fastest trains – in 45 seconds
    As a Japanese magnetic levitation train breaks the world speed record, the BBC reveals the world’s fastest passenger trains.
  • 'Flash Crash' Trader Charged With Manipulation, Wire Fraud
    LONDON — A futures trader was arrested in Britain over allegations that his manipulation of trades helped prompt the May 2010 “flash crash,” when the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 600 points and unnerved many investors, even though stocks quickly recovered their losses.

    The trader, Navinder Singh Sarao, 37, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in London on charges of wire fraud, commodities fraud and manipulation charges, prosecutors in the United States said during a news conference.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • This Pint-Sized Washing Machine Is Perfect For Small Spaces — And Great For The Planet
    For people who don’t have the space for a washer and dryer, or for those who lack access to private laundry facilities, one tiny machine is stepping up in a big way.

    Meet the Drumi, a sustainable, miniature washing machine on the way from household design company Yirego. It’s basically like a salad spinner for your clothes.

    drumi

    The Drumi is foot-powered, and can clean about three days’ worth of personal undergarments and shirts in about 5 minutes. It uses approximately 2 gallons of water per load and only a little soap, which according to Yirego is 80 percent less water and detergent than what’s required by regular washing machines.

    With 40 percent of the Drumi made from recyclable materials, there isn’t a washing machine quite like it on the market. Watch how it works:

    This machine was designed for people who usually go to laundromats, and should come in handy for who live in a compact urban homes or can’t afford a traditional washer and dryer. Though it isn’t intended to entirely eliminate laundromat outings or the use of a regular washing machine, it can replace frequent trips and multiple loads and help reduce a user’s carbon footprint.

    Yirego told The Huffington Post that the Drumi will retail for a promotional price of $129 until April 23, after which it will retail for $169. The product will officially hit the market this summer, but the company is currently accepting pre-orders from Canadian and US residents. Happy pedaling!

    H/T Digital Trends

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    **

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

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  • 9 Ways My Inbox Is Taunting Me
    My inbox is an archival storage area of all the ridiculous purchases I’ve made in my life.

    I used to order the Sunday paper so I could get my paws on the advertisement section with all the latest crap just waiting for my hard-earned cash. I’m a sucker for coupons promising things like, ‘Buy 27 and GET ONE FREE.’ However, newspapers are now a thing of the past, and I’ve realized that I basically still do the same thing every time I check my email.

    I am taunted with things I want and know I shouldn’t buy:

    1. Expensive Perfume Company: Thank you for sending me an email letting me know that your man perfume now features a ‘woodier fragrance.’ I wish I could hit ‘reply’ to let you know that I’ve made very few purchases from you. Most memorable was the purchase I made while walking off a martini I drank at a restaurant near your cosmetics counter and thought in the moment that $55.00 was suitable to spend on a powder compact. I think it was more the fact that your saleswoman had flawless skin and my intoxicated hopes were verging on psychosis when I believed that if I purchased the compact, my skin would possibly mirror hers. I will hop right on over to buy the new ‘woodier’ cologne…. right after I purchase my Birkin bag.

    2. Discount Travel Company: Listen up! Stop sending me your emails and stop pretending that I am some globe-trotting jet setter. I purchased tickets from your site because I’m broke and you offer the best deals. I don’t need a ‘last minute trip to China.’ Well, let me rephrase that: Yes, I’d love a ‘last minute trip to China.’ No, I cannot afford a ‘last minute trip to China.’

    3. Mini-Me Clothing Store: I am onto you! You’ve got me hooked in this never-ending ‘Rewards Bucks’ program where you make me feel as if I have a bunch of ‘extra cash’ to use in your store at the mall. Really, I’ve noticed that you have a sale every third hour, and the only time you don’t have one is when I am actually able to use those pesky little ‘Reward Bucks.’ While I do adore your selection of children’s clothing, I cannot afford to buy a dress at $24.99 on Tuesday and then the matching shoes on Wednesday because it’s ‘Buy One Shoe, Get the Other Shoe for Free Day.’

    4. Organic Cleaning Supply Company: Honestly, I really think you’re great. Your cleaning supplies are extremely overpriced, but they are also sans chemicals, and I am all about products that don’t slowly poison my family. However, at this juncture, I’ve accumulated about four months’ worth of cleaning supplies. Also noteworthy: you’ve apparently been charging my credit card for these deliveries. The boxes are quickly starting to stack higher in my garage while my bank account dwindles lower.

    5. Discounted Children’s Online Shop: You really do offer some incredible sales. However, your products take about three years to arrive, and by the time I do receive them, my daughter no longer wears that size. I’d really like to be a loyal shopper, but let’s be honest: The winter boots I ordered in October that arrived in July aren’t working out for me or for my kid. She’s the only child at the beach wearing winter boots with her swimsuit.

    6. Toy Store: Every time I see an email from you, smoke begins to steam out my ears. My first thought is how spoiled my child is because she has every Barbie on your site. Furthermore, your emails are a painful reminder of the millions of Barbie shoes I’ve stepped on/vacuumed up. My child is good on the toys… probably for life.

    7. Preppy Mom Catalog: Sorry, in my eyes you only sell school uniforms. I see you trying to lure me with your ‘mom clothes,’ but I just don’t feel I’m at an age nor a point in my life where I’m ready to switch over to a wardrobe that’s only featured in a catalog. Hit me up in a few years when I can no longer squeeze my ass into a ‘Large’ in Target’s Junior’s Department. It should happen sooner rather than later…

    8. Yoga Pants R’ Us: Sorry, I am a sham. I do not participate in yoga, nor Pilates. I am not in the least bit active and really have no use for yoga pants. The things is, your pants give the illusion that I am active while also providing an abundance of comfort. However, I can only afford to purchase your ‘yoga pants’ during your summer sale. No matter the status of my bank account, I will never, ever, spend $98 on a pair of yoga pants. Not even if I became a yoga master that owned a yoga studio, had a yoga body, and who needed yoga pants. It wont happen.

    9. High End Department Stores: Sorry to lump you all in the same category, but I have abused you all equally. I really wanted a pair of Tory Burch flip-flops over the summer and realized that if I signed up for your newsletter, I would receive a 10% off coupon. You three just so happened to be having sales at the same time. Yes, I now own three pairs of the same sandals in different colors. Sorry, I really cannot afford your $400 blouse or anything on your site, really. You do have some nice stuff, though. I promise to think of you in my dreams where I’m a billionaire who shops at your stores with an espresso in one hand and a black AMEX in the other. In other words, I’ll see ya… never.

    I am sorry to all the stores I’ve fooled with the lie that my bank account is large. It’s actually quite the opposite, it’s the smallest thing I’ve got… well, that and my boobs.

    This post originally appeared on BLUNTmoms.com

    Ashley Alteman is the writer behind SmashleyAshley.com where she details her laugh-out-loud parenting and personal fails. Ashley also writes for BLUNTmoms.com and can be found rambling about dinosaurs and her wild child, “Barb Marley”, on Facebook.

    – This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • YouTube Star Connor Franta Talks New Memoir, Dealing With Haters And His Dream Vlog Collaboration
    Connor Franta is a mega YouTube star, philanthropist and entrepreneur. As of today, the Internet personality can officially add another accomplishment to his growing resume — a published author.

    HuffPost Teen chatted with Connor and got exclusive details about his new memoir, “A Work in Progress,” what it’s like to be a YouTube star and his heartfelt advice for his fans. Check it out below.

    HuffPost Teen: You’re releasing your first memoir — congratulations! How was your process of writing this memoir different from your routine of creating YouTube vlogs?

    Connor Franta: With YouTube, everything is incredibly quick, so I can write, shoot, edit and produce everything within a day if I want. With a book, it took an entire year — which is quick for a book — but just the process itself is incredibly slow compared to YouTube videos. It was kind of hard to allow myself to sit down and take time on a project!

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    What inspired this memoir?

    Just my life. I felt like I wanted to go beyond the five minutes a week I do with YouTube videos and kind of put more thought and more effort into putting out my message into the world.

    Being on YouTube, your fans know a fair amount about you. Is there anything you discuss in your book that you haven’t really gone into in your videos?

    There’s a million new things that I talk about [in my memoir], but a lot of it is just going more in depth on things, so I talk about coming out in more detail and kind of describe the process that I went through with that, like the ups and downs of it.

    What advice do you have for HuffPost Teen readers about self-esteem and identity?

    I would say just it’s just about finding confidence in yourself. It’s cheesy, but everyone has flaws and everyone has things they don’t like about themselves. But the sooner you can allow yourself to accept those, those imperfections about yourself, the sooner you can be happy and move on. It’s easy to focus on all those “negative” things you see about yourself, but you know, to most people they’re not a big deal. They just seem like they’re a big deal to yourself.

    How, if at all, has being a YouTube megastar changed your day-to-day life?

    I’ve never been this busy and I’ve never been doing this many things. With all of those YouTube videos comes a lot of stuff that I do behind the scenes like writing books. But also it’s made me a lot more fortunate in that I’ve been given lots of opportunities, again, like writing books, that I probably would have never gotten before YouTube. So it’s been truly a blessing and truly amazing.

    Have you dealt at all with “haters?” What has that been like, and how do you bounce back from that kind of feedback?

    Making YouTube videos while I was in school, I was fortunate enough not to really have any negative repercussions from it. I had a lot of positive feedback from my friends who thought they were great and thought they were funny and that what I was doing was really cool. As for online, yeah, I mean I get a couple hate comments now and again, but they’re mixed in with thousands of more positive, supportive comments, so I try to just ignore them and focus on the good things.

    What would you say is the hardest part about being a YouTube star?

    The hardest thing, at least for me, is just being so public about everything ’cause I’m a pretty personal guy. I’m a little bit shy and from the Midwest, so to be so open and honest with millions of people is pretty difficult. To have people constantly having an eye on you and very interested in what you’re doing at all times — it can be a little stressful at times. But that’s also simultaneously the thing I like the most about it. So it’s kind of like a weird love/hate thing.

    Would you say YouTube has been a creative outlet for you?

    Oh, definitely. It started off and it still is today my creative outlet. It’s exactly how I express myself and get my thoughts and opinions out into the world — whether it’s in a silly challenge video, or a well thought-out creative poetic video, it doesn’t really matter… it’s just me expressing myself. I think [a creative outlet] is an important thing for anyone to have — to be encouraged to share their thoughts and be able to just in general, create things. I think it’s great and such a positive thing.

    We hear that you’re really into coffee. Tell us more about your coffee brand!

    Yeah, I am! One of the fun, really cool projects that I’ve done this year is that I launched a coffee line. I’ve always enjoyed coffee and I’ve always wanted to do something with coffee, and I figured why not just make my own? So, I partnered up with this company in LA called LA Coffee Club and essentially, I got to pick my own coffee beans from this farm in Guatemala — not like physically pick them, but look at different ones and say, “I want that one” and I created my packaging and the design for everything. I launched it and did a 48-hour sale and it went incredibly well.

    What is your favorite coffee shop?

    I’m actually like a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop kind of guy. So I love the local shops that are kind of like one-off chains in Los Angeles, and I usually get a soy flat white.

    If you could collaborate with one other YouTube star, who would you pick?

    I haven’t done any collabs in a while. I usually do them with my friends, but I feel it’s only fitting that I would love to collab with the amazing John Green and his brother Hank. The Vlog Brothers would be great. Now that I wrote a book, maybe I can talk to John about books! [laughs]. I’m a huge fan of his work in general. They’re absolutely amazing.

    What is one message you would send to HuffPost Teen readers and your fans?

    Never think you can’t do something. I definitely never thought I could write a book, and even after I started writing it I was like, “Oh my God, how am I gonna write a book?” Just set your sights high and reach for the stars. Go live your dreams, and never think you can’t.

    Check out Connor’s book tour here.

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  • Forums: the new MacBook, disk rattling and more
    With the new MacBook arriving in stores and in peoples homes, MacNN forum goers have been giving their first impressions of this latest addition to the Mac family in the thread titled “MacBook Returns”. Late last week one Fresh-Faced recruit was looking for some help figuring out the cause of rattling noise they hear in their startup disk when they boot up.



  • Robotic Warfare Is No Longer Science Fiction: The Future of "Killer Robots"
    In 1942, Isaac Asimov formulated the Three Laws of Robotics, which would define and unify Asimov’s robotic based-science-fiction. The first and cardinal rule of the Three Laws was that “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” Asimov used these guidelines to create complex moral conundrums that drove forward science fiction, and sparked countless imaginations. However, the dreams of Asimov are entering reality, as over the past decade there has been an explosive growth in the use of unmanned armed robotic vehicles to reshape warfare. A number of powerful nations are at the cusp of developing fully autonomous weapons, capable of choosing and firing on targets on their own, without human intervention.

    Unfortunately for us, unlike Asimov’s society, there are no defined rules for our “killer robots.” Some fear for a “robot arms race,” as the high tech militaries of the world abandon policies of restraint and pursue ruthless development. In order to intervene in this field before investments, technological momentum, and new military doctrine make change difficult, the United Nations convened the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Held in Geneva this week, the convention played host to the Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and will be a vital influence on the final mandate to be developed later in November.

    The hope of many attending the meeting of experts is that the meetings can be an important pre-emptive step to banning LAWS before they get out of control. Over the course of the week, a clear consensus developed within the delegate body: it is morally and legally unacceptable for robots to kill people without human supervision.

    The CCW was adopted by the UN in 1980, and has been ratified by over one hundred countries. When first penned, the convention had five protocols, banning some of the most egregious aspects of modern warfare. A potential sixth protocol would most like be the crowning achievement of the CCW, and would have a dramatic impact on the future of war.

    The central discussion point at the meetings in Geneva has been defining “meaningful human control.” What is the amount of human involvement that is both legally and morally necessary in targeting and attack decisions? Some nations, like Japan, are explicit about where they draw the line on “meaningful human control” – no robot should have “humans out of the loop.” However, the vast majority of the rest of the world is still hesitant. While still far separated from LAWS, the drone program of the United States has garnered significant criticism over the past decade, and has become a pillar of United States military policy. Very few nations have taken similar positions to Japan, leaving the conversation vague and inconsistent.

    Human Rights Watch released a report just before the CCW meeting, arguing that autonomous weapons would muddle the legal waters of war, making it challenging to attribute legal responsibility for deaths caused by such systems.

    As the report notes: “A variety of legal obstacles make it likely that humans associated with the use or production of these weapons – notably operators and commanders, programmers and manufacturers – would escape liability for the suffering caused by fully autonomous weapons.

    As the debate continues, the desire is that the international security community can come to a formalized treaty within the next two years. Defining the terms has been arduous, but the progress made at the most recent meeting has been great. The path will be set this November, as the CCW will convene for their annual meeting. While it is a topic that may not capture headlines, these discussions at the UN may have enormous ramifications on the future of the global community.

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Mobile Technology News, April 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.

  • Scientifically Accurate 'My Little Pony' Is Everypony's Nightmare
    Everypony knows about the magical powers possessed by the four-legged residents of Equestria in “My Little Pony.” But what if those magical little ponies weren’t so magical?

    Animation Domination High-Def has the answer with a video titled “Scientifically Accurate My Little Pony,” and it covers everything from pony poop to pony penis.

    Check it out in the clip above, and prepare to have your childhood shattered.

    The clip is part of ADHD’s ongoing “Scientifically Accurate” series which includes a terrifying take on “Pinky And The Brain” and a totally bizarre version of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”

    (h/t Kotaku)

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  • 10 Totally Rad Retro Looks For Today's Technology
    Enormous mobile phones, Atari and VCRs were all considered on trend or even high tech when they were first introduced to consumers. Today they’re things we all have a good laugh about. They may even cause a sense of nostalgia to bubble within us. For better or worse, trends and designs from previous eras always manage to resurface, like the Volkswagen Beetle, bellbottoms and vinyl. Even as technology speeds forward, today’s innovators frequently find ways to nod to those who came before them.

    We’re jumping into our DeLorean with Energizer® EcoAdvanced and taking a look back at designs for modern tech that look oddly familiar.

    1. ’80s Brick Phone Cell Phone Case
    80s brick iphone case
    We think the present-day Zack Morris and Gordon Gekko would rock this phone case. It’s completely impractical, but let’s be honest: The old brick phone has become a modern-day meme of which we can’t get enough.

    2. The Oregon Trail
    oregon trail
    Remember the days of racing to finish your math assignment first so you could the desktop in the back of the classroom and play this old-school gem? Well, the developers at Gameloft have given this computer-lab classic a new look. This mobile app version — available on both iOS and Android devices — has restored many favorite features (read: hunting and dysentery) and added some new ones (fishing and panning for gold).

    3. Polaroid Socialmatic
    instacam
    Now you can bring back shaking it like a Polaroid picture (warning: apparently Polaroid actually advises against shaking your photos). The company has combined the success of Instagram with its popular instant print cameras. The camera prints and uses Wi-Fi and Android services to allow users to share images on social media directly from the camera.

    4. Nikon DF DSLR
    nikon df
    Nikon takes us back to a time before cameras featured touchscreens and an array of buttons. The new design features retro dials and a metal frame inspired by the look of older 35mm shooters.

    5. Ion Cassette Adapter with Bluetooth
    cassette adapter
    Remember that van you used to drive in high school that only had a tape deck, and you had a cassette adapter plugged into your Discman? The cassette adapter is back but instead of the arduous chord, this new model uses Bluetooth to play music from your handheld device.

    6. Gramophone for the iPhone
    gramaphone speaker
    For the Victorian era fan, there is now a Gramophone speaker for your iPhone. No electricity is required, and unfortunately its not compatible with the iPhone 6 or 6 plus.

    7. Jensen JTA-420 turntable
    usb turntable
    Like a Rubix cube, his suitcase style record player is more complicated than it looks. This turntable actually converts your LPs into digital copies.

    8. Crosley 24-inch Retro HDTV
    vintage tv set
    LED HDTV flat-screen TV in a throwback look.

    9. iCade Arcade Cabinet
    icade use
    For those who downloaded the Pac-Man app looking for but feel like they need a more authentic experience. Just slide in your ipad and let the 8-bit perfection satisfy to your inner 10-year-old.

    10. Native Union POP Phone Handset
    pop phone
    We miss having a phone that can rest comfortably between cheek and shoulder. And cords, remember cords?

    Energizer® EcoAdvanced is the world’s first AA battery made with 4% recycled batteries and is their longest-lasting alkaline battery.

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  • Meet the Entrepreneur Who's Designing Her Company as a Work of Art
    2015-04-21-1429580228-1114163-twsueducationkits.jpg

    Renowned 20th century inventor and designer Buckminster Fuller once famously said: “When I am working on a problem, I never think about beauty. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.” Evoking the same sentiment, iconic pop artist Andy Warhol once declared, “Business is the most fascinating kind of art.”

    In today’s modern entrepreneurial ecosystem where a number of over-worked, hyper-functioning people don’t take time to smell the roses, viewing one’s business as a work of art may be the answer to visionary commitment. This approach is what keeps Bethany Kolby, CEO of the London-based creator of educational DIY kits, Technology Will Save Us (TWSU), happily on point.

    A former designer, Kolby started (TWSU) in her living room two years ago. Since then, the company has gained global appeal. To date, TWSU has sold 28,000 kits in 34 countries. Each kit is designed to encourage kids to make, play, code and invent with technology.

    What’s the team’s secret sauce? Building the ideas for each kit around popular hobbies including music, gardening, cycling and gaming. This cross-pollination aligns with TWSU’s ways of infusing balance and passion into the entire TWSU experience. From company culture to design and execution, it’s the impetus for expansion.

    The Art Of Humanity

    “Starting a business is one of the most creative things I have ever done,” says Kolby.

    Designing and creating the products and experiences for our customers is only the beginning. We are shaping and creating the foundations for a future to thrive in our business. We’re developing rituals we as a team use to stay focused, be inspired and live full lives.

    This involves balancing data with intuition, emergence with structure, and aesthetics with experience. This creative process feels like art making to me.

    Part of this artistic flow is complimented by the company’s focus on human-centered design when conceiving and producing products. The TWSU team designs kits with and for young people and families. In doing this they typically follow two types of design. One of these is iterative user-centered design, which includes users in the design of existing kits and experiences. The intention is to constantly create more delightful, successful and fulfilling making experiences for consumers. Another common design method of TWSU comes into play when the company works with existing and new users to understand bigger, “everyday” themes around making, as well as everyday life activities to inform new kit development.

    The STEAM Renaissance

    Promoting STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills through hands-on educational activities and modern invention has been steadily proliferating the edtech space for the last four years. In 2011, the electronic module making company LittleBits launched with a 10-piece kit allowing anyone to prototype, build and innovate with electronics. Today, the company features more than five kits, including a Synth Kit for music and a Smart Home Kit for tapping into the ubiquitous Internet of Things, as well as 67 interoperable modules with products sold in 70 countries.

    The toy company Goldieblox launched in 2012 to develop early interest in engineering and problem solving among girls. From action figures to games to construction kits, GoldieBlox products combine storytelling and mechanical projects aimed to empower girls to create.

    While TWSU promotes STEAM, it differs from both of the aforementioned businesses in that it provides gadgets that young people can make and code themselves.

    The Power Of Intentional Design

    “When developing the DIY Gamer Kit, we were funded by NESTA, Mozilla and Nominet Trust to gather insights from 300 hundred young people in nine regions around the UK,” says Kolby.

    We spoke to them about what skills they had, what skills they wanted to learn, what they were making in school, and what were their passions and hobbies. We knew that young people enjoyed playing games, but what came out was their passion for making games, so we wanted to create a product that allowed them to not only design and code their own games, but also build the console you could play it on.

    Throughout this process, TWSU revisited the origins of gaming to find an archetype that would inform the gaming kit’s design. Kolby says the desirability and design intention of the kits are as important as the functionality and learning outcomes.

    “We want to design gadgets that feel less homogenous than other consumer technology, but are iconic and functional so they can live in your life alongside your iPhone and laptop,” shares Kolby. “We intentionally design kits to be elegant, gender neutral, and accessible to the everyday person.”

    At the core of TWSU is the quest to get to the heart of what it means to be human and and mindful of nurturing one’s creative powers. And there’s nothing more human than art, or in Kolby’s case, building a company.


    This post was originally published on The Toolbox, an initiative connecting developers and activists to facilitate solutions focused on human-centered design.

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  • VIDEO: Technology brings Golem to life
    The new stage show Golem goes hi-tech to tell an unsettling tale about technology
  • VIDEO: Drawing a true Victorian superhero
    Ada Lovelace, arguably the first computer programmer, is being brought to life in a graphic novel.
  • The tech that rocks the cradle
    The tech that rocks the cradle
  • (VIDEO) Better Video, Audio Coming to MPEG-DASH: Microsoft's Sodagar
    LAS VEGAS — The next-generation format for video compression has grown fast over the last couple of years, with adoption from names including Google’s YouTube, Microsoft’s Azure, Adobe Primetime and Akamai.

    Support for live ad insertion, digital rights management and the HEVC standard was added recently, and European internet TV standard HbbTV just just moved up to version 2.0 on DASH. Iraj Sodagar, president and chairman of the 78-member DASH industry forum, says more is to come.

    “Next year, we’re going to have UHD and HDR, higher resolutions, higher frame rate… and DRM is going to be improved … and more audio codecs, like MPEG-H audio or 3D audio codecs.”

    Why should companies switch to MPEG-DASH? “They can reach more devices, more customers, at lower cost,” Sodagar says. 

    Instead of having different solutions from different companies … now different devices can work with different services. It enables companies to deploy video services over the top in a larger scale.

    Sodagar is the Principal Multimedia Architect at Microsoft.

    We interviewed Sodagar at the NAB Show. Beet.TV’s coverage of the show was sponsored by Akamai.  Please find more coverage from Las Vegas here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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  • (VIDEO) Ooyala Embraces AdTech with Videoplaza Acquisition
    LAS VEGAS — Now owned by Australia’s giant telco Telstra, with a “war chest” for acquisitions, video services company Ooyala has moved into the adtech sector with its acquisition of  Videoplaza last year, explains Andrew Spaulding, Director of Sales Engineering at Ooyala in this interview with Beet.TV

    We spoke with him about evolution of Ooyala.

    We interviewed Spaulding at the Akamai booth at the NAB Show.

    Beet.TV’s coverage of the show was sponsored by Akamai. Please find more coverage from Las Vegas here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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  • (VIDEO) Microsoft Unveils New Video Player, Encoding Solutions
    LAS VEGAS — Microsoft has used the NAB Show to announce it is expanding its video services suite, including a new video player that speaks fluent HTML5 as well as other standards.

    Azure Media Services is getting a new video player and transcoding that will take place in the cloud.

    “(Azure Media Player) does automatic device detection and chooses the right player framework and streaming fallback… to Flash or Silverlight… to ensure that the content is reached across all the devices consumers carry,” Azure Media Services director Sudheer Sirivara tells Beet.TV in this video interview.

    “(Live Encoding Preview) enables a citizen journalist, for example, to broadcast a single camera feed from a phone in to the cloud… we do the transcoding in the cloud… and deliver using Azure Media Player.”

    Azure Media Services is the brand Microsoft uses for its services covering live online broadcast, on-demand distribution, enterprise video and digital marketing video.

    We interviewed Sirivara at the NAB Show. Beet.TV’s coverage of the show was sponsored by Akamai.  Please find more coverage from Las Vegas here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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  • This Drone Video Of Dutch Flower Fields Will Give You The Touch Of Spring You Needed
    There’s nothing better than a bouquet of spring flowers… unless you live near the tulip fields in Holland.

    For a month and a half ever year, millions of brightly colored blooms turn the landscape into a panorama of color. The video above, shot with a DJI Inspire 1 drone, was captured above some epic flower fields in the Netherlands. The fields shown in the video lie near Lisse, home to the world’s second-largest flower garden.

    The tulips, hyacinths, narcissi and daffodils are a highly trafficked tourist destination in spring months and are in bloom from the end of March until the second week of May. Road trippers can take a 25-mile drive through the countryside and see flower-sellers, public gardens and museums all along the highway, according to National Geographic.

    Take a look at the stunning drone footage above, and check out other beautiful images of the flower fields below.

    dutch flower fields

    dutch flower fields

    dutch flower fields

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  • How Facebook Stalking Leads Women To Objectify Their Own Bodies
    Facebook stalking is real, people, and it has real effects on your body image. A new study has found that Facebook usage is positively correlated with a tendency to compare appearances with peers and engage in self-objectification (viewing your body as an object to be gazed upon). Both of these outcomes can lead to body dissatisfaction and disordered eating.

    Researchers in Australia surveyed 150 women between the ages of 17 and 25 to determine what types of media they were consuming and which ones made them feel bad about their own bodies. Unsurprisingly, participants spent roughly 2 hours a day on Facebook. During this time, they would compare their appearance to images of themselves, their close friends and peers (not celebrities or family members, for the most part).

    Participants were also asked about their time on the Internet overall, as well as their television, music video and fashion magazine consumption patterns. The only media that led to body comparisons and self-objectification were Facebook and fashion magazines.

    So why worry about Facebook when fashion mags are touting size zero celebrities and models as the beauty ideal? For one, magazine usage is on the decline while Facebook continues to take up an increasing amount of our screen time — over 10 million new photos are uploaded to Facebook every hour.

    Plus, unlike magazines, Facebook allows users to click between photos of seemingly “perfect” peers and photos of themselves in an instant. Barring a new Facebook algorithm that alerts you when friends go up and down dress sizes, it couldn’t be easier to compare yourself to that friend of yours who’s mastered the strategic hand-on-hip pose.

    Interestingly, the researchers argue that friends may make us feel worse about our own bodies simply because they’re not celebrities or models (well, probably). Most people agree that the stars in magazines are a sample of the population that are either super-human or airbrushed beyond the realm of reality. But binging on photos of a peer can be particularly detrimental to body image since, as the researchers stated, “their appearance might be perceived as attainable enough to serve as relevant targets of comparison but also unattainable enough to still influence how women evaluate their own appearance.”

    Of course, these are all correlational findings. It’s impossible to tell from this research if Facebook scrolling is causing all of this self-objectification or if women who are prone to self-objectify simply spend more time on the social network.

    Either way, it might be a good idea to temper your Facebook stalking habits if you’re feeling a little less-than-perfect. Or at the very least, go into it with the full knowledge of what clicking through hundreds of photos of a high school acquaintance’s honeymoon in Bali will likely do to you.

    This study was published in Psychology of Women Quarterly.

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  • In Parts Of Africa, Cell Phones Are Everywhere And Landlines Barely Exist
    Cell phones are bringing parts of Africa into the digital age, allowing some regions to bypass landline development altogether.

    New surveys from the Pew Research Center show that the majority of people in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa owned cell phones in 2014.

    Though most people surveyed in those sub-Saharan countries still do not own smartphones, Pew says the widespread adoption of basic cell phones provides a “communication lifeline,” connecting people like never before.

    According to Pew’s research, which surveyed about 1,000 people in each nation, 89 percent of people now own a smartphone or basic cell phone in South Africa and Nigeria, 83 percent in Senegal and Ghana, 82 percent in Kenya, 73 percent in Tanzania and 65 percent in Uganda.

    Here’s a map showing the geographical spread of Pew’s data on cell phone use in these seven countries. Click the pins to see stats for each:

    Pew notes huge increases since 2002, when only about 10 percent of people had cell phones in Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. In South Africa, 33 percent owned cell phones in 2002.

    In the United States, 89 percent of people currently own a cell phone, and 64 percent of them own a smartphone.

    Most people surveyed — a median of 80 percent across all seven sub-Saharan African countries — said they use their phones to send text messages. Only about half take pictures or video with their phones, while 30 percent use them to make or receive payments, 21 percent get political news, 19 percent use them to access social networks, 17 percent use them to get health information and 14 percent use them to look for jobs.

    Pew noted that Africans who understand at least some English were more likely to own a cell phone or smartphone.

    As a point of comparison, practically none of the people surveyed have access to landline telephones in their home: Only 2 percent said they did. In the United States, 60 percent of people still have a working landline in their home, according to Pew. That basically lines up with a National Center for Health Statistics study from last year, which found that 41 percent of U.S. homes were “wireless only.”

    Pew has studied cell phone use in Africa for years. It ran surveys in 2002, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014, though data wasn’t consistently available for each country.

    Jacob Poushter, a research associate at Pew, told The Huffington Post that a few factors go into selecting countries: The research group likes to have a geographical spread, meaning that countries aren’t clustered in one area; and they like to poll the same locations over the course of years to see how their data changes.

    Based on the data in Pew’s previous studies, it’s clear that cell phone use has long been on the rise across sub-Saharan Africa. Even in 2012, CNN noted that more people in Africa had a cell phone than access to electricity. And last year, PBS explained how widespread cell phone use was encouraging entrepreneurship in countries like Kenya, where many people use phones to conduct business transactions.

    Of course, while widespread communication could hardly be considered a bad thing, there’s another story about phones in Africa that shouldn’t go ignored: Many of the most important materials in phones and other electronics — gold, tin, tantalum and tungsten — come from mines in Congo. The rush to capitalize on these materials, worth trillions in total, spurred rebels to take control of the mines and perpetuate violence against men, women and children.

    A report from 2014 indicated that many mines are no longer controlled by armed rebel groups, at least in part due to 2010 legislation in the U.S. requiring companies to be transparent about the source of their materials.

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  • Tulsa Man Smashes Roommate With Beer Bottle In iPhone Vs. Android Argument: Police
    Stabbing a guy who doesn’t agree with your choice of smartphone doesn’t seem very smart.

    Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, arrested a man who allegedly did that to his roommate early Friday morning, NewsOn6.com reports.

    Officers said Elias Acevedo, 21, and his roommate, Jiaro Mendez, got “highly intoxicated” in the parking lot of the apartment complex where they lived. At some point, they began arguing over which cellphone, Android or Apple, was better.

    During the argument, Acevedo allegedly struck Mendez in the back of the head with a beer bottle. He then left his roomie on the ground, The Smoking Gun reports.

    Police were called to the scene after getting a report of a bleeding man stumbling around the area, according to KJRH. They found Mendez covered in blood, and he told them about the Apple Vs. Android argument with Acevedo.

    Mendez’s car was found in the parking lot. Acevedo was found in the apartment he shared with the victim. He was covered in blood and had several lacerations on his body, according to a police report obtained by The Smoking Gun.

    Both Mendez and Acevedo were taken to local hospitals and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, Tulsa World reports.

    Acevedo was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Jail records also show he was being held for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the website reports.

    KTUL asked police which phone Acevedo preferred, but received no response.

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  • The Incredible Jun: A Town that Runs on Social Media
    We recently visited a small Spanish town that is using social media in a new way. Our research lab is studying the town to learn how these technologies might help communities around the world become more responsive to their citizens. This is a brief report on what we know so far.

    For the last four years, a town in southern Spain has been conducting a remarkable experiment in civic life. Jun (pronounced “hoon”) has been using Twitter as its principal medium for citizen-government communication. Leading the effort is Jun’s Mayor, José Antonio Rodríguez Salas, a passionate believer in the power of technology to solve problems and move society forward.

    Since launching the initiative in 2011, Rodríguez Salas has been recruiting his 3,500 townspeople to not only join the social network but have their Twitter accounts locally verified at town hall. This extra step isn’t necessary to participate in the conversation – Twitter is open to anyone – but it helps town employees know they’re dealing with actual residents.

    In the most basic scenario, a citizen who has a question, request or complaint tweets it to the mayor or one of his staff, who work to resolve the matter. For instance, in the sequence of tweets shown below (which we pulled from the 2014 Twitter data and translated into English), at 10:48 pm a citizen tells the mayor that a street lamp is out on Maestro Antonio Linares Street. Nine minutes later, the mayor replies that he’ll have the town electrician fix it the next day. The mayor’s tweet includes the Twitter handle of the electrician, who is automatically notified that he’s been mentioned and sees the exchange. That tweet is a public promise that the town will indeed take action, and to underline this it ends with the hashtag #JunGetsMoving. The next day, the electrician tweets a photo of the repaired fixture, thanking the citizen for his help and repeating the hashtag.

    A citizen alerts the mayor to a broken street lamp. Two tweets later, it’s fixed.

    Governments have been responding to citizens for centuries. But digital networks have made it possible to build much faster, more efficient feedback loops. Each of the participants in the above transaction wrote a single text of less than 140 characters, and in less than 24 hours the problem was solved.

    There are numerous cases of public officials responding to tweets. U.S. Senator Cory Booker made headlines several times for doing so when he was mayor of Newark, New Jersey. For a big city U.S. mayor, this was considered unusual behavior and therefore newsworthy. In Jun, however, it has been systematically adopted as the way things get done every day. If Rodriguez Salas didn’t respond to an urgent citizen tweet, it would make headlines.

    Because these communications occur on a public social platform, they can be seen by everyone in the community. This “mutual visibility” (sometimes called “mutual transparency”) serves as both a carrot and a stick. On one hand, the government’s performance comes under greater public scrutiny. If a broken streetlight isn’t fixed, everyone knows it and the slacking employee is more likely to be disciplined or, if it becomes a pattern, fired. That’s the stick.

    But the good work done by public servants is also now visible to all and thus more likely to be recognized and rewarded. The carrots can be as small as a message being favorited or retweeted (the electrician received both), or as great as winning the esteem of one’s neighbors and new status in the community. The operator of the town’s street-sweeping machine, whose entertaining tweets have made him a local celebrity, told us that having his daily work seen and appreciated on the social platform has changed his life.

    According to the mayor, this system is saving the town time and money. Tweeting is quicker than fielding and returning phone calls, which used to consume his day. He says these efficiencies have allowed him to reduce the police force from four employees to just one. Jun’s sole police officer told us he now receives 40 to 60 citizen tweets per day, ranging from the serious (there’s been a bad car accident) to the trivial (my neighbor is singing at all hours, please make him stop). He noted that being accessible to the public on a 24/7 social network has its downsides; to protect his family time, on arriving home in the evening he turns off his phone. But what if there’s an emergency, we asked. Answer: It’s a small town and everyone knows where he lives.

    Jun citizens also use Twitter to voice their views on local issues. At town council meetings, which are streamed live on the web, those not physically present may participate by tweeting questions and comments, which appear on a screen in the council chamber.

    Beyond government, the social network is broadly integrated into the town’s everyday life, used for a wide variety of tasks such as publicizing social and cultural events, booking medical appointments, following youth sports teams, and just keeping up with neighbors. The town employee who tweets the school lunch menu each weekday told us on that on weekends she enjoys sharing some of her family’s home life via tweets. One retiree who learned to use Twitter at a technology education center run by the town said the network has become his principal news source. “It’s just like a newspaper!” he enthused, noting that the mayor tweets so often about national and global events, he’s a one-man media outlet.

    Jun essentially runs on Twitter, a groundbreaking use of social technology that, as far as we know, is unique. All over the world, digital technologies play a growing role in community management. In their book, The Responsive City, Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford write about “the emerging cadre of officials and civic activists who are using the new data tools to transform city government” in Boston, Chicago, New York and elsewhere. The New York City police department recently started using Twitter to connect with citizens. But Jun is the first community to use a social medium comprehensively for all civic communication. And it happened in an entirely home-grown way. For the first couple of years, Twitter the company was not even aware of the experiment.

    Our academic research group at the MIT Media Lab, the Laboratory for Social Machines, was founded last fall with a generous grant from Twitter, and one of us has a work relationship with Twitter. But the company doesn’t select or shape our research projects, and our interest in Jun is ultimately not about one platform: It’s about the future of all social media and their potential to reshape how communities large and small work. For studying these questions, Jun is an ideal laboratory, small enough that you can get a holistic feel for the place in a couple of days, and large enough that over time, through data analysis and on-the-ground research, meaningful lessons can be extracted. That’s our hope, anyway.

    Many of the Jun citizens we interviewed told us that the initiative has had a net positive effect on the town. “Twitter is a plus, it makes the town better,” one said. Another noted that “it’s an easy and fast way to connect” and that “people can build on each others’ comments.”

    But it is not without its critics. One resident said he dislikes the way the mayor uses Twitter for self-promotion, and how town employees tend to parrot everything the boss says. The same person feels public servants shouldn’t use their accounts to tweet about personal matters (“I don’t care that they had paella for dinner.”) Last time Rodríguez Salas ran for reelection, his opponent urged citizens to vote “for a real mayor, not a virtual one.”

    The mayor himself has a few problems with the system. He jokingly calls Twitter “the Society of the Minute” and says it has a way of making citizens more impatient with government. “In the real world, one in every 43 people has a problem with everything. On Twitter, it is one in 27″ – and they always expect an immediate response.

    He notes that complicated public issues are difficult to discuss on Twitter because of its format. He also acknowledges that his ad hoc method for managing the incoming – checking his phone often and responding right away – could probably be improved. Somewhat miraculously, he’s been governing the town with Twitter and virtual duct-tape, and perhaps could use a data-driven dashboard that organizes it all.

    For a clearer perspective, we have begun analyzing Jun’s Twitter data, along with other town records, from the beginning of the initiative to the present. Among the questions we’re seeking to answer: Is public engagement on the rise as result of the experiment, and is the demographic composition of the conversation changing? Do citizens vote and attend town meetings more than they did in the past? Are public issues solved more efficiently? Has the use of this tool simply amplified old ways of governing Jun, or has mutual visibility shifted it in some fundamental way, perhaps towards decentralization?

    We don’t yet have the answers, but an initial mapping of the Twitter data has begun opening a new window on the town. In the screen shots below of a data explorer being developed by Martin Saveski, a graduate student at the Laboratory for Social Machines, each circle represents a Jun citizen or organization. The lines between the circles represent Twitter follower relationships. The larger the circle, the more “important” the position occupied by that person in the network (for this measure of Twitter importance – by no means the only meaningful kind of importance in the community – we used PageRank, Google’s original algorithm for ranking web pages). The four colors denote different sub-networks of people within Jun who are closely tied to each other by their Twitter activity. In each figure, the personal connections of one particular citizen (the white circle) are highlighted, and further details about that person are shown in the box to the right. The first shot focuses on the mayor, the second on the electrician.

    A visualization of the mayor’s connections to the community (he’s the white circle). To the right, more details about his public Twitter activity. (Click to enlarge).

    For electrician Miguel Espigares (the white circle), the picture is different, reflecting his work and unique role in the town. (Visualizations by Martin Saveski.)

    Through such analyses, we hope to gain insights that will help Jun make its system more effective. Our longer-term goal is to determine if it can be replicated at scale in larger communities, perhaps even major cities.

    One key question is the leading role played by the mayor, who has held office for the last eleven years and before that was deputy to his father. Throughout those years, Jun was a trailblazer in applying digital tools to democracy, including electronic voting and live-streamed town meetings.

    Rodríguez Salas, with his relentless belief in innovation, spearheaded all these efforts. Even before the Twitter experiment, a Spanish newspaper called him “El Alcalde Digital” (The Digital Mayor) while a national TV report dubbed the town “El Increíble Jun” (The Incredible Jun). He convinced Junians to adopt a new flag with the town motto – ”Love” – spelled out in binary code. Between his personal and official mayoral accounts, he has about 350,000 Twitter followers – that’s 100 times the population of Jun, and about 100,000 more followers than New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has in his two verified accounts. This is not just any small-town mayor. He also has a warm personality and a common touch. As he walks down the street, a bunch of middle-school-aged boys run up to him shouting, “Mayor! Mayor!” and the first thing he does is make sure they’re on Twitter and he’s following them.

    In short, the mayor has an unusual combination of tech sophistication and personal charisma. Is such a leader required for bringing government into the social age? Could the Jun system work in a metropolis with millions of citizens and a different kind of mayor? Rodríguez Salas thinks so and he has ideas about how.

    José Antonio Rodríguez Salas, Mayor of Jun (photo by Álex Cámara)

    For now, in conversation he returns often to his primary goal: making democracy more transparent and participatory. In his office, where the blue Twitter bird adorns the wall behind his desk (in the spot where a portrait of the Spanish king used to hang), he recently installed glass ceiling panels open to the sky to symbolize the new transparency. The citizens will soon have a chance to pass judgment on his work: In elections next month, they will decide whether to give him another term.

    Meanwhile, we’ll be digging deeper into the data and sharing what we learn from one town’s surprising leap into the socio-political future. Stay tuned.

    Deb Roy is associate professor at the MIT Media Lab where he directs the Laboratory for Social Machines, as well as Chief Media Scientist of Twitter. William Powers is a research scientist at the Laboratory for Social Machines and author of the New York Times bestseller Hamlet’s BlackBerry.

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  • What Your Facebook Use Reveals About Your Personality
    Every day when Facebook asks, “What’s on your mind?” around 400 million people respond with a status message. While some people take the opportunity to share about their latest meal, other people post photos or inspirational messages. Over the past few years, researchers have discovered the way people choose to present themselves on Facebook speaks volumes about their personality and self-esteem.

    Examining your behavior on social media could give you insight into your own personality, as well as how others perceive you. You may think you’re presenting yourself in a certain light only to discover other people view your behavior completely different.

    Here are seven things our Facebook interactions reveal about people:

    1. People with a lot of Facebook friends tend to have low self-esteem. A 2012 study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that people with low self-esteem who worried about their public perception had the most Facebook friends. The researchers concluded that self-conscious people compensate for low self-esteem by trying to appear popular on Facebook.

    2. Extroverts update their status more often than introverts. Just like in real life, extroverts socialize more on social media, according to a 2014 study titled “Personality Traits and Self-Presentation at Facebook .” The study found that extroverts use the like button more often, upload more pictures, and update their status more frequently than introverts.

    3. Conscientious people organize their photos carefully. Conscientious people are self-disciplined hard-workers who spend the least amount of time on Facebook. A 2014 study published in Computers in Human Behavior, reports that when conscientious people do use Facebook, they do so in a very organized manner. For example, they may create neat folders to help share their photos with friends and family in a methodical and convenient way.

    4. Open people fill out their personal profiles most thoroughly. A 2010 study called, “Social Network Use and Personality,” discovered that open people–described as artistic, imaginative, and creative–use the most features on Facebook and are most likely to complete the personal information sections. They also tend to post more “wall messages” when communicating with specific friends.

    5. Narcissists make deeper self-disclosures that contain self-promotional content. Narcissists–people with an inflated self-concept and a strong sense of uniqueness and superiority–seek attention and affirmation on Facebook. A 2014 study published in Computers in Human Behavior found that narcissists posted more frequently about themselves in an attempt to attract likes and comments that fuel their beliefs about self-importance. Other studies have found that narcissistic people love to post selfies and they share the ones where they think they look most attractive in hopes of gaining admiration.

    6. Neurotic people post mostly photos. A 2014 study titled, “Capturing Personality from Facebook Photos and Photo-Related Activity,” found that highly neurotic people — those most prone to stress and anxiety — seek acceptance by publishing photos. Since neurotic people struggle with communication and social skills, researchers believe they use photos on Facebook as a means to express themselves. Also, photos are less controversial than comments — which could lead to a lot of anxiety as they wait for other people’s responses.

    Neurotic people tend to have the most photos per album. Researchers believe this stems from their desire to present themselves positively. They may use photos to try and appear happier and to show they are able to keep up with their friends. Over time, however, the behavior of highly neurotic people tends to change. They’re likely to imitate their friends’ Facebook behavior in an attempt to seek acceptance and decrease feelings of loneliness.

    7. Agreeable people are tagged in other people’s photos most often. A 2012 study titled, “Personality and Patterns of Facebook Usage,” found that the higher a person ranks in personality scales for agreeableness, the more likely that person will be tagged in Facebook photos posted by other people. Since agreeable people tend to behave warm and friendly and less competitive, it’s not surprising that their friends enjoy taking lighthearted pictures with them and sharing them on Facebook.

    Although we may think we’re masking our insecurities or portraying ourselves in the most favorable light, our behavior on social media reveals more than we might think. It’s not just what we post on Facebook that reveals information about our personalities — it’s also what we don’t post that can be quite telling. It’s likely that our personality profiles will continue to play a major role in how advertisers market to us and how companies will choose to hire people in the future.

    Amy Morin is a psychotherapist and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.

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  • I'm Buying a Wristable
    2015-04-20-1429557273-3387377-AppleiPhoneEvent2014AppleWatchIntroduction171280x718850x718.jpg

    Once again Apple has confounded the digibabblists, perplexed their competitors, baffled the analysts, and in general annoyed and irritated all the self-proclaimed digital-first… or is it mobile-first?… or perhaps our proclamation of the day should be wearable-first… experts, pundits and gurus.

    And, once again, we approach a product and category as if ex nihilo we have created something new and unique and even godly, as “In the Beginning…”

    My readers know that I am obsessed with learning from the past — mistakes, success, abject failure and even just plain no big deal can help us understand human behavior and motivation — and that nothing gets my dander up more than the notion of dismissing it all as irrelevant because digital or mobile or now wearable has created never-before-seen, never-before-experienced, never-before-imaginable dynamics.

    Nonsense.

    Not for now, but worth a quick mention — sharing is in our DNA. It’s why we love the applications that make it better and more efficient. Live events have always drawn huge crowds and they have always been the touchstone of interactivity (see: the Roman Colosseum). Amazon did not create shopping or the idea of cheap aggregation (read: the Amazon Manifesto and the Sears and Roebuck statement of purpose from the 1890s, and finally, I highly recommend studying the Paris Exposition of 1900 and the Chicago World’s Fair of 1934 to learn about the possibilities of the IoT). You will be amazed.

    On to watches — my subject at hand — and my admiration for Apple.

    In February of 2007, Apple took a 30-second spot (long-form video content, if you like, digibabble) on the live broadcast of the Academy Awards and launched the iPhone. If you don’t remember it or never saw it — or experienced it (I need to keep my cred) — you must. I have used it as a touchstone to understand Apple, but more so to ground me in better understanding the potential for our world.

    Never do you see a product; not once do they tout the technology; not once do they whack you over the head with the “magic”. They don’t have to. They just told you that Apple was launching a Phone — an iPhone to be exact — and you conjured up way more enchantment in your imagination, knowing that it was Apple, than they ever could have by confusing you with digibabble.

    Now on to the watch.

    While the pundits pundit and the analysts analyze, and we see earnest hand-wringing over whether or not Apple will be successful, they continue to understand people and behavior and have not launched the iWatch or the iWearable or the iWrist or anything close. It’s the plain old Apple Watch — and all that comes with being a plain old Apple anything — and you can check out this piece by Matthew Sparkes, Deputy Head of Technology of The Telegraph.

    I also recommend reading a piece from two years ago by Alexis McCrossen, author of Marking Modern Times: A History of Clocks, Watches, and Other Timekeepers in American Life, called “Why the iWatch Will Likely Fail”…”The history of wearable technology says that timepieces are better in pockets than on wrists.”

    Frankly, history records the opposite in terms of pockets and wrists, and I do give credit for the small i’s as this is about the category and not Apple in specific and as I suggested. The i’s might just be the clue for why this is different.

    Truth is I love watches as much as I love tech. In fact, the best watches are all about brilliant tech, and if you have ever studied a “complication” I’d amend and say beautiful tech.

    In fact, I had an early “digital” watch circa 1976 or so before they became cheap and ubiquitous. They were expensive, clunky but were designed to compete with watch fashion — which by the way had not yet entered the renaissance it’s in today. It was cool. I watched it incessantly — both because the changing numbers were mesmerizing and also because it was hard to read the red readout.

    And beautiful tech has always been the tip of the spear for Apple. While everyone else had boring brown boxes, they broke the mold. While everyone else had a screen that was designed for techies, they made it accessible for all, and in a twist of their famous 1984 Lemmings spot, the rest of the industry followed them — often surpassed them — but always followed.

    And that is why I am not obsessed with the success or failure of the Apple Watch. They will — I’d argue they have — set in motion a chain of partnerships, developments and creative thinking that will enhance our lives and the future.

    “Don’t waste time arguing about whether or not they supplant Switzerland” — as the Wall Street Journal has…read John Biggs’ (@johnbiggs) wonderful piece: “If Switzerland Is Fucked, Then the iWatch Is, Too”

    Best line: “To suggest that the iWatch will influence Swiss watch buyers is like saying the market for a fine Bordeaux is affected by the advent of a new flavor of Vitamin Water.”

    And if you are worried that a whole new slew of behavior — mostly bad, it would seem from the postings — will ensue… never fear!!! Read up on the evolution of the pocket watch into the wristwatch (both wearables BTW) and you will find that people way back when had the same fears and still do today — looking at your watch during a meeting, a personal encounter, social function or the like is considered the height of rudeness. Human behavior marches on….

    Perhaps we should all refer back to a 1913 Hamilton Watch ad that described their new product as a tool for moral improvement because it leads its owners to form desirable habits of promptness and precision.

    Imagine how we can morally improve by adding unfettered access to our wrists… I shudder.

    Or maybe remember that pocket watches made the trains run on time and were the first true democratizers of technology, and that the wrist version was seen as a women’s accoutrement until World War I proved its application in making that tragic endeavor more efficient.

    And then, of course, there is the often referenced role that watches played in “illicit” love affairs for all of the obvious reasons, and for all of the same obvious reasons will continue to do so in its latest form as well.

    Bottom line: Since Walter Dudley gave Queen Elizabeth an “arm-watch” in 1571 (imagine if he had known it was really a wearable), the concept has remained the same… information that adds value to our lives is readily available for us to see.

    And now we have more…

    I will have one — I have a Pebble, too — but I will never ever give up my other watches as well. No doubt I will find a balance and the appropriate place for each and all.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about what we do with it that matters. Our phone behavior is already rude, discourteous and bordering on out-of-control disrespect — mine too, way too often, nothing new there — but here is the clue: Listen.

    Watches are so named as a reminder — if you don’t watch carefully what you do with your time, it will slip away from you.” — Drew Sirtors

    Maybe Apple is trying to tell us something and we should listen.

    What do you think?

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  • The Original Selfie Stick Is Older And Weirder Than You Think
    The selfie stick didn’t always look like this:

    original selfie stick

    The original patent was filed all the way back in 1984, before cell phones were ubiquitous. Before the word “selfie” was even coined, let alone in the dictionary. The first selfie stick was neither as elegant nor as successful as the latest models.

    The first selfie stick was invented by Hiroshi Ueda and Yujiro Mima, was called a “telescopic extender for supporting compact camera,” and looked a little something like this:

    original selfie stick

    Not so elegant. Since there weren’t any cell phones with cameras, let alone smartphones with front-facing digital ones, Ueda’s original product included a mirror so the user could see what they looked like as they took the photo.

    Ueda, who worked for camera company Minolta when he invented the extender, held the patent until it ran out in 2003 according to the BBC.

    “My idea came too early, but that’s just one of those things.” Ueda told the BBC on Sunday. “I patented about 300 ideas, so that was just one of them. We call it a 3am invention – it arrived too early.”

    In 2005 another inventor, Wayne Fromm, brought the selfie stick back with his patent for an “apparatus for supporting a camera and method for using the apparatus.” He called his product Quik Pod.

    Fromm feels similarly to Ueda, in that he believes his product came at the wrong time, before smartphones were everywhere. “The selfie stick today would not exist if it was not for me,” Fromm told ReadWrite. Fromm is currently suing many different selfie stick creators for copyright infringement.

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  • Apple Makes New Commitment To Fight Climate Change, But Has A Long Way To Go
    Apple on Monday released its 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, underscoring its commitment to lessening the environmental impact of its products and operations. “We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it,” the company stated in the report.

    But Apple still has a long way to go when it comes to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, cutting down on paper use and eliminating the amount of toxic substances in its devices.

    The report said Apple’s overall carbon footprint increased between 2013 and 2014, in part because the company is selling more products. It also noted that Apple is working to make products less carbon-intensive to manufacture and use.

    The report went on to say that renewable resources power 100 percent of Apple’s data centers, corporate offices and retail stores in the United States, as well as 87 percent of its global facilities. In addition, all of its U.S. data centers have been powered with 100 percent renewable energy since 2012.

    Yet the report says that the energy used by Apple facilities in the 2014 fiscal year represented only 1 percent of the company’s carbon footprint. By contrast, manufacturing accounted for a whopping 73 percent of the company’s 34.2 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

    While the new report doesn’t address the volume of paper products used for packaging, it does says that during the 2014 fiscal year, “over 80 percent of the paper and corrugated cardboard used in our iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, and Apple TV packaging came from certified sustainably managed forests, controlled wood sources, or recycled materials.”

    Last week, Apple announced it was purchasing 36,000 acres of forest — 3,600 in North Carolina and 32,400 in Maine — to supply paper for its packaging.

    The new report also addresses toxic substances in electronics and Apple’s efforts to reduce or eliminate these materials for the sake of the environment and human health. “Our goal is to make not just the best products in the world, but the best products for the world,” the company wrote.

    A 2014 BBC investigation showed allegedly poor working conditions and exhausted employees in undercover footage from a Chinese factory producing Apple products. Apple’s previous reports on its suppliers show that “30 percent [of them] don’t comply with the company’s own safety standards and 18 percent fail to comply with standards on hazardous chemical exposure,” according to Wired.

    Apple’s environmental efforts are led by Lisa Jackson, who joined the company in May 2013 after serving as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013. Her voice can be heard in the “Better Starts Here” video Apple released alongside the report. The ad touts plans to build a 40-megawatt solar farm in China to offset the electricity used by its offices and stores in that country.

    “We’re directing our innovation into conservation, to get to net zero,” Jackson says in the video. “We are learning more and more about new places where we can be better, with renewable energy, hydropower and forest preservation. New ways in which we can leave the world better than we found it.”

    At last year’s annual shareholder meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook told members of a think tank skeptical of manmade climate change that they should ditch Apple stock if they didn’t agree with the company’s environmental efforts.

    Both Google and Microsoft also have made commitments to improving their sustainability and offsetting their operations with renewable energy.

    Apple declined to comment for this story.

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  • FM radio switch-off looms in Norway
    Norway will become the first country in the world to switch off its FM radio platform in 2017.
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