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Mobile Technology News, May 31, 2015

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

  • Rand Paul Vows To Block Patriot Act Extension
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on Saturday that he would block the Senate from passing an extension of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

    “Forcing us to choose between our rights and our safety is a false choice and we are better than that as a nation and as a people,” Paul said in a statement Saturday that was first reported by Politico. “So tomorrow, I will force the expiration of the NSA illegal spy program.”

    Paul also opposes the USA Freedom Act, a bipartisan bill that passed the House. The legislation would reauthorize key provisions in the Patriot Act, but require the government to stop collecting and storing the bulk metadata from phone records of Americans, and transition over six months to a system in which it must ask telecommunications companies for that data instead. The bill did not earn enough votes in the Senate to move to a final vote last week.

    Politico reported that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was likely to move to another vote on the bill on Sunday.

    If the Patriot Act expires, the government will no longer be able to force telecommunication companies to hand over bulk call records with little cause. It’s unclear what will happen to all of the information that has already been collected.

    — 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 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week
    The ladies of Twitter never fail to brighten our days with their brilliant — but succinct — wisdom. Each week, HuffPost Women rounds up hilarious 140-character musings. For this week’s great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

    I miss drinking soda more than I miss any of my exes.

    — Gaby Dunn (@gabydunn) May 26, 2015

    I find a dick pic about as erotic as a photograph of a sump pump.

    — Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) May 26, 2015

    i started a google doc to make a list of animals that do have souls and animals that dont

    — Tracy LaFway Clayton (@brokeymcpoverty) May 26, 2015

    I love hockey bc one second it’s elegant ice dancing and the next it’s dudes beating the shit out of each other

    — Jessica Roy (@JessicaKRoy) May 27, 2015

    There is a couple in KMart fervently arguing over which discount microwave to buy, just like Andy Warhol dreamed. NEW YORK IS SO ALIVE!!!!!!

    — Jazmine Hughes (@jazzedloon) May 27, 2015

    I wanna be cool enough to wear my headphones around my neck while not using them.

    — erin mallory long (@erinmallorylong) May 27, 2015

    Apple Watch reminded me it was time to stand. So, I stood up, got Cool Ranch Doritos from kitchen, and crawled back in bed.

    Feel healthier!

    — Imperator Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) May 27, 2015

    Sorry I can’t make it to your wedding, but it’s just not an Instagrammable enough location.

    — Gennefer Gross (@Gennefer) May 27, 2015

    The correct spelling is w-e-n-s-d-a-y. Next question.

    — Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) May 29, 2015

    My siblings and I all suffer from a condition called “we just can’t” referring to mostly every social interaction or any other interaction

    — Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) May 29, 2015

    Oh God. I just realized I’m stuck with me my whole life.

    — Anna Kendrick (@AnnaKendrick47) May 26, 2015

    Why are you smiling at me, are you lying

    — audrey farnsworth (@audipenny) May 22, 2015

    Boxing would be so great if it was your worst enemy against the world heavyweight boxing champion. I’m looking at you, Kevin from 2nd grade.

    — bourgeois beth (@bourgeoisalien) May 29, 2015

    I wonder what my 2,570 emails are about.

    — Scorpicpanda (@scorpicpanda) May 28, 2015

    Calculating how many pockets full of playground wood chips I’ll need to carry home in order to mulch all my flower beds.

    — Kate Hall (@KateWhineHall) May 29, 2015

    My groans after the first sip of coffee are a little sexual in nature.

    — Valerie (@ValeeGrrl) May 29, 2015

    Morning affirmation: Shia Labeouf was actually really good on Even Stevens.

    — Zeba Blay (@zblay) May 28, 2015

    Why sleep when you can Google things like “death rattle” and “am I dying?”

    — Swishergirl (@Swishergirl24) May 28, 2015

    uhhhh where can i file an appeal? pic.twitter.com/WW7jb2SdAd

    — Alexandria Symonds (@a_symonds) May 28, 2015

    — 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.

  • Tim O'Reilly: Changing the World by Spreading the Knowledge of Innovators
    The combination of innovative technology and new business models underlie the most exciting developments coming out of start-ups and large organizations, and the innovators creating these disruptions have influence that extends into the global economy.

    Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media, runs conferences, invests in early-stage startups, urges companies to create more value than they capture and tries to change the world by spreading and amplifying the knowledge of innovators. All the things that O’Reilly Media does are tied together by their original mission when the company was founded in 2002 of “changing the world by spreading the knowledge of innovators.”

    Says O’Reilly:

    We find interesting people who are doing stuff that other people want to do and then we try to figure out the best way to spread that knowledge for the future to make it faster and better.

    Tim O’Reilly, CEO of O’Reilly Media

    Drawing on the great innovators of the past and present, O’Reilly shares with us some of the knowledge of innovators:

    Have a mission — O’Reilly feels that there are far too many VC’s and entrepreneurs who have bought into the “big flip” and are obsessed with their next round of financing and thinking about the exit instead of being interested in building a company for the long term. When looking for an entrepreneur to invest in, he looks for one who is obsessed with their mission, because he says that the really big and successful ones have a mission and know they are building a business for the long term.

    We’re not interested in the people who from the get-go are gunning for the exits. I started my company with no venture capital, just with the idea that we would find customers and we funded the business ever since by finding people who are willing to pay us for what we do.

    There are certainly times when venture capital is the right way to grow a business, but there’s also a whole class of entrepreneurs who are often overlooked.

    Making reference to Larry Page and Sergey Brin who started Google, O’Reilly says:

    They were not sitting there looking for the flip. They had an engine that they had their teeth into and they had an interesting problem and then some people came along and said okay, we’ll help you become a business, and then they got some real coaching and some help and they built a big world changing business.

    O’Reilly feels that it should be the ambition of every VC and entrepreneur to have a mission of building a world changing business, and you don’t need to be the size of Google to do it.

    Don’t disrupt for the sake of disruption — O’Reilly finds the “religion of disruption” to be somewhat offensive. He is all about creating things and says that creative disruption is part of a process as opposed to just disrupting for the sake of disruption which he calls “cheap thinking”.

    When Logan Green started what became Lyft, he wasn’t into disrupting transportation, he was into creating a better transportation system; he was a transportation geek.

    Then Uber came in with a really wonderful one point vision and now these two companies are playing leapfrog in terms of innovation.

    When you look back, Henry Ford wasn’t saying ‘I want to disrupt the horse and buggy market’. He had a forward looking vision of a kind of society that he wanted to create.

    I think that positive way of framing it is so much more powerful and important than just going to break up an old market without knowing what you’re going to replace it with.

    This doesn’t mean that we don’t disrupt. Looking at the current disruptive darlings, Uber and AirBnB, O’Reilly says they are disruptive to the taxi and hotel industry the same way that Amazon was disruptive to retailers or Google was disruptive to all kinds of content providers. But they’re driven fundamentally by a positive vision of, “wouldn’t this be great for people if the world worked this way.” O’Reilly feels we need to celebrate — not the disruption, but the creation.

    Have fun and create value — According to O’Reilly, no matter the size of the company, as long as organizations have the right core values and mission, they can be having fun and creating value. In his career he has found that many of the most interesting movements actually start, not with entrepreneurs wanting to make money, but with people who just want to make something cool and are having fun doing it.

    Although the fun stage of companies doesn’t always last forever — when companies get to a certain size the logic of the machine takes over — the commitment and values driven mentality does. “I think the Google of 10 or 15 years ago was having a lot more fun than the Google of today, even though Larry and Sergey really are deeply committed and values driven,” says O’Reilly.

    O’Reilly sums it up with a line from Paul Hawken‘s book Growing a Business which says, “Every business has problems. The difference between a good business and a bad business is that a good business has interesting problems.”

    Create your customers — The e-book by Michael Schrage out of MIT, Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become, makes the case that great entrepreneurs actually create their customers by making the world a place where a different kind of person exists who wants their product.

    O’Reilly points to Henry Ford as a great example of this:

    He invented the idea that people would take these excursions in their cars on the weekend. The leisure to travel industry, which formerly belonged to only rich people, was suddenly something that everybody could do in their car, and he sort of invented a different kind of world.

    Then you look at what Google did by inventing a world where we think that we should have access to all of the world’s information at our fingertips and the smart phone is taking that even further.

    We’ve all been changed in a profound way by these technologies and we see that right now, with companies like Uber and Lyft, with the expectations of on demand transportation.

    It’s a profound shift and it’s going to ripple all the way through our society, so a big part of the design of creative disruption and innovation is thinking about the fact that the world could be different and then making it so.

    You can watch the full interview with Tim O’Reilly here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3pm as we host CXOTalk – connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

    — 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.

  • Silk Road drug site founder jailed
    Ross Ulbricht, the founder of online illegal drug marketplace the Silk Road, is sentenced to life in prison.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Silk Road drug site founder jailed
    Ross Ulbricht, the founder of online illegal drug marketplace the Silk Road, is sentenced to life in prison.
  • Man Replaces Pet Store Signs With What We're All Really Thinking
    If more ads were brutally honest like these, we’d all be better for it.

    The awesome Internet guy behind Pleated Jeans, Jeff Wysaski — and one of HuffPost’s Funniest Tumblr Bloggers — plays one of our new favorite games: He replaces normal products and signage with items that only folks like us who spend way too much time on the Internet understand and appreciate.

    In the latest antic featured on his Tumblr page, Obvious Plant, Wysaski replaces his local pet shop’s signs with new, knee-slappin’ descriptions.

    Looking to buy a turtle? Wysaski calls it a “Regular Boring Normal Turtle” that is “not teenaged, not mutant, not ninja.” Can you not see any fish in the shop’s tank? That’s because it’s inhabited by an “Invisible Jenny” that could use a few “tiny sweaters.”

    Look at some of Wysaski’s best below, and make sure to check out all of his work.

    — 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.

  • Here's How That One Weird Text Message Crashes Your iPhone (Probably)
    All it takes to crash an iPhone is one text message, because of a small set of Arabic characters that grow longer when you delete them. Probably.

    So says Tom Scott, a British engineer and TV personality known for his explanatory YouTube clips. He tackled the interesting bug in a video published Friday.

    In the video, Scott speculates the bug is triggered by a string of Arabic in the middle of the text message, and the iPhone’s confusion in trying to shorten it.

    When the phone receives a message, says Scott, it shortens it to a length suitable to be displayed as a notification. In English, this can be achieved by simply cutting off words and characters. In Arabic, however, characters sometimes shrink when they become part of a word. This means that when characters are deleted, the word can split into its more space-consuming characters and become physically longer, despite having fewer letters in it.

    This linguistic oddity can trip up an iPhone, which unexpectedly sees words grow in length as it attempts to shorten them. The phone’s response, Scott theorizes, is to either lock the Messages app, or to reset itself.

    To see these words in action, head over to Google Translate, plug in these words, and then delete them one character at a time. As you do so, pay close attention to the total length of the words themselves, which grow ever so slightly in size: انا ,ضا ,لا ,ثم. And while you’re at it, press delete on this string of nonsensical letters, which feature in the text message that started the whole mess to begin with: لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً

    Of course, Scott notes, this is all just a theory, and will remain so unless Apple decides to confirm or deny it. The company told The Huffington Post on Wednesday it is aware of the bug and it will be fixed in an upcoming software update. Until then, Apple has released a simple set of instructions to help iOS users who have been locked out of Messages.

    H/T Digg

    — 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.

  • Cup Final instant replay app tests
    Mobile operator EE and the BBC will test a mobile app at the FA Cup final which uses 4G Broadcast technology to offer instant replays to fans in the stadium.
  • Do Your Kids Need to Learn to Code? Yes! But Not for the Reasons You Think

    Grant Hosford

    Coding is having its 15 minutes of fame. Journalists regularly quote facts about the shortage of computer programmers in the U.S., entrepreneurs fund coding camps for low opportunity kids and even the President has given learning to code a thumbs up.

    For many parents and teachers this new focus on learning to code feels like an overhyped fad that will be replaced any day now by “learning particle physics” or “learning solar energy storage.” And does anyone really believe that turning a whole generation of kids into programmers would be a good outcome for society? What about artists, doctors, musicians and mechanics? What about chefs, writers, electricians and plumbers? Why exactly do kids need to learn to code?

    Why is coding so darn important!?

    The answer starts with the fact that, love it or hate it, we live in an increasingly digital world. Education is no longer about learning facts. Facts are at our fingertips at all times. Learning is now about quickly sourcing reliable information, creative problem solving, logical thinking, self-management and mental flexibility. The jobs of tomorrow demand this and I’m obsessed with preparing my three kids, ages 6, 8 and 13, for “real life.”

    So, when my daughter Naomi begged to take a LEGO robotics class at her elementary school two years ago I said yes because it sounded like a door to the future. She loved it and asked me to come check it out. I was surprised to find that in a class of 25 kids she was the only girl and the youngest student by two years. That week I researched options for teaching young kids about computer science and was even more surprised to find there were very few resources for young kids and no real concept of an “ABCs” of computer science.

    For more than 40 years computer science has been taught in roughly the same way. It’s been reserved primarily for gifted older kids and was introduced in a very dry way. Only a handful would stick with it and discover that making things on computers is fun, rewarding and easier than you might think. I became a little obsessed with the topic and researched two things: how young is too young to teach computer science? And, what are the benefits of studying it?

    Fortunately, there is great research from MIT and Tufts showing how kids as young as 4 years old can learn very sophisticated computer science concepts if you get the mouse, keyboard and syntax (meaning “how code is written”) out of the way (for example). In addition, related research shows that young kids who study computer science improve transferrable skills like sequencing, which has a direct positive correlation with improved reading comprehension.

    The more research I did, the more computer science looked like the perfect gateway to 21st century skills. The logical problem solving and algorithmic thinking at the core of computer science force kids to think about thinking – a process referred to as meta-cognition that has proven benefits related to self-monitoring and independent learning.

    But aren’t there many other ways to teach concepts like creative problem solving beyond computer science and programming? Yes, absolutely. However, as I’ve come to appreciate deeply, the study of computer science elegantly teaches ALL of the concepts I’ve outlined above and has the huge added benefit of transforming children from consumers of technology to creators of technology. This means that no matter what a child’s core skills are, an understanding of computer science allows them to leverage those skills beyond what they could achieve on their own.

    Imagine a ballerina who creates an app that “watches” her form with a smartphone camera and can provide feedback on a routine. Or the doctor who creates software to analyze patient data and finds a new correlation between regular exercise and immune system function. Or the stay at home parent who creates an app that helps organize neighborhood car pools for sporting events and after school activities.

    So, do I want my kids to learn about computer science and programming? Absolutely. We spend a few hours a week on different programs, including the game my company makes called The Foos. However, it’s much more important to me that they learn how to think and how to be lifelong learners. Ultimately these skills will give them a real advantage in a hyper competitive world… and they just might make something really cool along the way.

    This blog is part of our Smart Parents series in partnership with the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. For more information about the project, see Parents, Tell Your Story: How You Empower Student Learning as well as other blogs:

    Grant Hosford is CEO at codeSpark. Follow him on Twitter, @codesparkceo.

    — 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.

  • Emails Show How Quickly The Oklahoma SAE Scandal Unfolded
    The Greek letters had barely been off the former Sigma Alpha Epsilon house at the University of Oklahoma for 24 hours before people started asking if they could take over the property.

    In March, SAE national headquarters shut down its OU chapter after members were caught on video singing a racist song. A day later, OU President David Boren told SAE members they had two days to vacate the property, since it was owned by the university.

    Former brothers were still hauling their belongings out of the house when people started writing in to ask about using the building, according to 662 pages of emails The Huffington Post obtained through an open-records request. The university withheld an unspecified number of emails due to attorney-client privilege and federal student privacy laws.

    The house should be turned into a resource center for veterans, one person suggested. The Alpha Gamma Delta women’s fraternity could use the space for recruitment, one email said. The Air Force ROTC could use the space, another note proposed.

    The university told HuffPost it still hasn’t decided what to do with the former SAE house.

    The emails reveal how quickly the university and the national fraternity headquarters acted after learning about SAE members’ racist behavior, and how the OU community responded in the aftermath.

    oklahoma sae
    Marks are left above a door on the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house, where the Greek letters for ‘SAE’ used to hang.

    It all started on Saturday, March 7, when Assistant Director of Student Life Brandon Oldham received an anonymous email that included a copy of the video and the following message:

    …I’m sending you this video due to blatant racism. I came across this on snapchat. I dont think this kind of behavior should be tolerated at the University of Oklahoma. I believe there should be repercussions for this video.

    Oldham responded at 12:11 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, saying he would look into it Monday. He also forwarded the anonymous tip to Assistant Dean of Students Kristen Partridge.

    At 10:39 a.m., Partridge emailed other senior administrators asking them to watch a video that was “apparently posted to Snapchat,” and notifying them that she planned to look into the situation immediately. A few minutes earlier, she had sent another official an email saying she’d like to issue a suspension once they could determine the video did in fact show the OU chapter of SAE.

    Throughout the day on March 8, various students emailed administrators with a link to the video on YouTube. Reporters from The Oklahoma Daily, the student newspaper, sent multiple emails looking for answers about what was going on with SAE.

    Campus security told senior administrators around 7 p.m. that they were increasing patrols of the SAE house after noticing that “Yik Yak is going crazy” and “Twitter is blowing up” over the video.

    At 7:40 p.m., national SAE officials sent a notice to the OU chapter, giving the members 24 hours to respond:

    In addition to providing specific details on the video itself, please provide a detailed account of any associated event that took place either before or after this video occurred – including information pertaining to who was present from the chapter and guests, what social event protocols were in implemented, and how and what types of alcohol were present.

    Thirty minutes later, the university’s Interfraternity Council put SAE under investigation.

    Boren learned of the situation while he was hosting a dinner on Sunday night, the university said, and issued a brief statement on Twitter.

    “He made an immediate decision about the actions he would take subject to confirmation that OU students were involved and that OU SAE chapter members were on the video,” Corbin Wallace, special assistant to Boren, told HuffPost. “The immediate decision included closing the SAE chapter and throwing it off campus and expulsion to those who were most actively leading the chant on the bus.”

    By 10 p.m., SAE headquarters had contacted OU administrators to let them know the chapter had been suspended. As Partridge put it, in an email to colleagues, “They are suspending the chapter before OU can kick them off.”

    The national board, which is headquartered in Illinois, learned of the video around 6 p.m. Central Standard Time on March 8 — about the same time it was first uploaded to YouTube — and convened a meeting to address it three hours later, according to an email SAE national president Brad Cohen sent Boren on Tuesday, March 10. At 9:15 p.m., the board voted unanimously to close the OU chapter.

    In the email, Cohen explained that the national board had elected to expel the entire chapter because its members had declined to identify which individual students had been involved in the racist incident.

    oklahoma sae
    Graffiti was sprayed on the wall of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house after it was shuttered at the University of Oklahoma on March 11, 2015, in Norman, Oklahoma.

    As the week wore on, praise for Boren trickled in, with people noting how quickly the president had acted to shut down the fraternity, remove the former members from their house and make moves toward expelling two SAE brothers.

    Among those who sent their kudos to Boren: former Oklahoma governor and current American Bankers Association CEO Frank Keating, Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett, a 1964 registration volunteer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a local NAACP leader and OU alumni who described themselves as “former frat boys.”

    “I am embarrassed to say that I’m a fellow SAE brother,” one person wrote. “It is absolutely disgusting that a handful of guys can ruin it for the rest of them.”

    Later in the week, State Rep. James Lockhart (D-Heavener) sent a note to colleagues and Boren. He had learned that the fraternity had talked about suing OU and said that “SAE needs to shut up and take their medicine.” He called for a legislative resolution supporting Boren’s handling of the situation.

    But parents of some SAE members were upset, insisting their innocent sons were being punished.

    One mother wrote to the university administration on March 11:

    Your words, President Boren, have created an unsafe environment for any student that’s involved in Greek life at OU. Dorm doors have been pounded upon late at night, tires have been slashed, people spit upon, and some sororities and fraternities have been warned against wearing their letters. It’s become a witch hunt, and those students, being hunted, in most cases may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing.

    Another mom said on March 10:

    My son WAS NOT on the “offending” bus. Regardless, he along with 100 others are paying the price for one 9 second drunken chant sung by someone raised in Texas who was intoxicated.

    Some hate mail was apparently misdirected.

    The Beta Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s house mom received angry notes that were seemingly intended for the SAE house mom, who had been captured on a separate video saying “n***a” several times as hip-hop music played in the background.


    — 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.

  • 7 Steps To Get Targeted Leads From LinkedIn for Small Businesses
    According to Digital Marketing Stats, as of November 2014, there were 107 million LinkedIn users in the U.S. alone, and approximately 40 percent of those users check LinkedIn on a daily basis. Since the LinkedIn universe is so vast, as a business owner, you would be wise to utilize this social tool as a way to produce targeted leads. The seven tips listed below will reveal how you can use LinkedIn do just that:

    Link to Your Business’ Site And Add Contact Info:
    The first step to generating leads using LinkedIn involves adding a link to your business’ site. You can add up to three links to your profile, so take advantage of this and hyperlink your business’s website. In addition, make sure your contact information is displayed predominately on your profile. After all, if a potential client desires your product or service, you most certainly want them to have all your contact information.

    Post Regularly, Especially in the Morning:
    It is important to regularly post updates on your LinkedIn profile. Although posting at anytime during the day can be worthwhile, Lana Khavinson, the senior product marketing manager at LinkedIn, said that morning posts get the best engagement.

    Send Personalized Messages:
    LinkedIn Sponsored Inmail campaign is like email, but even better. This is a service offered by LinkedIn that is worthwhile, although not free. The Inmail tool allows you to target specific people in various organizations. After you construct a message to send out, the recipient is informed they have a message in their inbox. Therefore, there is no way that someone will miss your important message.

    Differentiate Your Profile:
    Be creative. To separate your LinkedIn profile from millions of others, you must make it stand out. You can accomplish this by adding photos or videos that will automatically play when users land on your profile.

    Don’t Be Afraid to Ask:
    Be sure to include a clear call to action. Explain what your business is about and how your product or service can make life easier for potential clients. Be sure to include this call to action predominately on your profile.

    Utilize Groups:
    Participation in groups is an oft-overlooked element to utilize on LinkedIn. However, statistics show that groups multiply your reach, increase your opportunity for new leads and improve your overall targeting success. Therefore, it is wise to join as many active groups as possible.

    Contribute to Popular Ongoing Discussions:
    Participate in LinkedIn discussions to broaden your reach. To achieve the most success, identify a discussion that is already popular and jump on board by commenting about this topic. To find out what the popular discussions are at any given time, go to your groups, and then scroll down to look for the discussions with the most comments and likes. This will indicate a popular, thriving topic.

    Marketing has changed vastly thanks to social media and various other technological advances. No longer do you as a business owner have to be limited by your physical location or your marketing budget. Today, thanks to tools like LinkedIn, you can garner your own leads and successfully grow your business.

    — 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 This Badass Yogi Is Teaching Women To Love Their Bodies
    On her Instagram page, 27-year-old Jessamyn Stanley describes herself as a “yoga enthusiast and fat femme.” She has over 500 photos of herself doing every type of yoga pose — she’s in downward dog, she’s in a forearm stand, she’s using a strap to deepen her dancer pose.

    But it’s clear that Stanley is so much more than just a “yoga enthusiast.” She’s also a yoga teacher, and the captions on her colorful photos are all about her love for her students as well as inspirational messages. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down, she tells her followers. It’s also okay not to know everything, but to learn and “celebrate the small victories.”

    A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on May 28, 2015 at 8:07pm PDT

    Stanley said she first discovered yoga through Bikram classes in 2011. Eventually the classes became too pricy, so she started practicing at home using online resources like Yoga Journal’s Pose Index, which is how she got comfortable with a Vinyasa flow practice.

    “I really think my transition to different types of yoga studios was eased by the fact that I had already established a strong home practice,” she told The Huffington Post. “It’s difficult for new yoga practitioners to venture out of their comfort zone — hell, it’s hard for long-term practitioners to venture out of their comfort zones!”

    A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on Apr 26, 2015 at 3:36pm PDT

    Four years later, Stanley has over 40,000 Instagram followers. In addition to teaching, she’s working hard to help women become comfortable in their own skin, no matter what shape or size they are.

    “Our society throws crazy shade at anyone whose body differs from the models featured in Western media. I always tell people (especially women) to stop sending negative energy into their bodies and thoughts,” she said. “That negative energy is responsible for all body unhappiness. The only person in control of your life experience is you. Find the space and love to believe in yourself if only for your own overall well-being.”

    A photo posted by Jessamyn (@mynameisjessamyn) on Dec 2, 2014 at 7:21am PST

    Although Stanley is based in Durham, North Carolina, she hopes to eventually teach classes all over the world.

    “I receive messages from people all over the world who are voraciously hungry for yoga teachers with whom they can relate, and I want to reach as many of these people as humanly possible,” she said.

    We’d take a class from her in a heartbeat.

    — 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.

  • When the Heck Did Learning to Code Become Cool?
    And why it sucks to be a beginner today…

    If you — like me — became a software engineer before the Internet was at scale, back in the good-old-days when AOL was spamming our physical mailboxes with CDs — you may not appreciate how drastically becoming a software developer has changed.

    Although the Internet has made our lives collectively easier, the dynamic of learning to program totally different from when I was starting out.

    When the heck did learning to code become cool?

    When I was teaching myself to program in high school, the attitude people had was “that’s just because Ken sucks at football” — not that I was some kind of glamorous rock star.

    With the prevalence of social media, and the epic rise of companies like Instagram and “tech celebrities” like Zuckerburg, it has never been cooler to be a software developer.

    How the world views developers in the ’90s and today:


    If you’re reading this, you may still not believe me when I say in certain circles it’s very cool to say you can code. If you don’t believe me, there are a bunch of talks on YouTube, where you can watch people brag about how awesome they are because they can code to an audience that actually is listening and impressed.

    While the image of developers has changed from some members of the general public — and I don’t have to feel embarrassed telling people I program computers for a living anymore — beginners that are looking to become software developers face a whole slew of problems that I never had to face.

    Problem #1: You need to learn HTML9 Responsive BoilerStrap JS (or whatever JS Framework is trending today on HackerNews).

    There’s a lot of hype out there about the next latest and greatest programming fad.

    A lot of progress is being made in the programming world, but in general there’s not a silver-bullet single technology someone can learn that will immediately cure all their problems.

    Beginners are often encouraged to start digging into solutions for problems they don’t understand yet.

    The hype can cause someone to try to learn about things like the Virtual DOM, or Shadow DOM, before they even understand what the regular DOM is. When beginners are starting out there isn’t a lot of talk about “learning to crawl before you learn to walk”, instead there is a lot more about the latest and greatest fad.

    As a seasoned web developer, I love playing with these new technologies as they come out, but I know that it’s important to use the right tool for the job. Beginners often feel like learning how to fit a square-peg through a round-hole is the fastest way to level up their coding skills.

    In the grand scheme of things learning the latest trend isn’t important. Nobody is really saying this explicitly to the community.

    Problem #2: Fundamentals aren’t sexy.

    Here’s a list of things that you probably will never see trend on HackerNews and seldom put in most job postings:

    Data Structures, Linked Lists, Trees, Depth First Search, Floyd’s Cycle Detection Algorithm.

    However it’s also a list of some stuff that comes up incredibly frequently on technical interviews.

    The disconnect between “UnderbackJS” or whatever is listed on job postings today leave beginners thinking they need to chase and catch up with the latest trend to get the job, not get a solid foundation in what really matters.

    The “Learn to Code Community” is very much an echo-chamber, that can confuse beginners. Unfortunately people with years of experience communicating with other seasoned developers don’t realize what they say will likely be taken out of context by beginners.

    As experienced developers, most of the time we care more about a solid foundation and analytical skills rather than experience with the specific tools of the trade. Having hired many solid engineers who learned the specific technologies on the job, knowing specific stuff is generally overrated.

    Problem #3: People (kind of) know what they are doing now.

    I wrote some seriously bad code on my first jobs as a web developer.

    Frameworks were just coming out and everyone had been developing in either PHP or CGI. This whole framework thing was relatively new, so I started on relatively equal footing as everyone else.

    I made every mistake in the book and my second job in web development had me asking questions like “what the heck is a unit test?”. Live and learn. The developer in me is a little bit afraid to know that a lot of the code I wrote long ago, when I was starting out, is still alive in the wild.

    But now, people have been writing web applications for many years, and have developed a lot of best practices. On the one hand this means that with code reviews and communicating about code people can get up to speed. It’s possible for people to learn what we as a community took a decade to figure-out in a short period of time in comparison.

    On the flip side it’s a bit overwhelming to try to fully grok some of the nuances that the community currently talks about. Things like:

    • Monoliths are great!
    • Microservices are where it’s at my friend!
    • Microservices are overrated. Monoliths are back in vogue!
    • Turbolinks?

    As a community we have 10-plus years of baggage we’re lugging around. It makes it easy for us to have context about how the world has been in the past. But hopefully the beginners of today will never have to muck-through a big shitty monolith similar to what I was building in 2008.

    Problem #4: People still have no idea what they’re doing (and that’s ok).

    When starting out, it’s normal to compare yourself to other people, but in general doing so is a bad idea.

    It’s hard to compare yourself with someone who has much more experience than you. This causes beginners often think to themselves:

    When am I going to learn everything I need to know? I still feel like there’s a lot out there that I need to learn.

    The answer of course is a hard one for them to fully appreciate. It’s nobody ever learns everything that they ever need to, and if that ever happens that you’re not learning something new every day, it’s time to look for a new and more challenging set of problems to tackle.


    Watching talks by Aaron Patterson where he dives into Ruby’s C source code, or using RubyVM::InstructionSequence to figure out what happens under the hood, or how journey implements routing in rails with finite automata instead of regexes still melts my face. Watching those talks is a good reminder of how clueless I am about the inner workings of a lot of things…

    Problem #5: Some of the most important lessons about programming you need to learn by messing things up big time.


    If you’ve never made a mistake that brought some mission-critical software component screech to a halt, you’ve never really been under the gun to fix things. If that’s the case there are still lessons to learn.

    Non-technical people walking to your desk to tell you about some problem you already know about, teaches you a lot. Especially if you are busy desperately trying it. Books can’t teach these kinds of lessons.

    Problem #6: Systems have gotten complex.

    Here’s an example of how things have gotten more complex with Ruby on Rails:

    In 2008: In order to have your site live on the Internet you needed to spin up a server yourself and configure all the components: apache and mongrel.

    But today:

    Today: git push heroku master. Boom. Good to go.

    While this sounds like things are easier than ever, side effects of the complexity of the systems that is abstracted away quickly come up.

    Take this example back in 2008:

    In 2008: To get image uploading working in a project, you needed around 5 lines of code in a model, which on a request would copy the multi-part form data into a file on the system’s hard-drive. This worked like charm, even on production if apache was setup properly.
    or today

    Today: It takes one line of code in your model, after integrating with something like carrierwave/paperclip, which does all the stuff you need to get file uploading working. This one line is kind of magic, but it gets the job done.

    Unless you’re on heroku  –  heroku is nice and scales horizontally easily for us, but this causes using the filesystem for image uploading to fail in this case.

    That means if you’re on heroku, you should probably use AWS as a storage layer. It’s pretty easy to setup AWS, all you need to do is click around the UI. When you sign up you need to enter a credit card and they’ll verify your phone number by calling you, but they won’t bill you for your first gigabyte. Promise.

    After you create a user group, and a policy and roles by clicking around 10 or so pages on the Amazon site, you can create a bucket and get your Amazon API credentials.

    Oh yeah. Your app is probably on GitHub as a public repo too. That means those API keys you don’t want to check-in. You should checkout the figaro gem. It’s a real great way to store things in your computer’s environment variables. What are environment variables you ask? Let me tell you…

    Each of the incremental steps in the right direction has made things a bit tricky to get a handle on. Rails is optimized for usability, not learnablilty, because building real apps in the real world is complicated. This is a great thing, but feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the stuff out there is just part of the learning process these days.

    In retrospect, when I was starting out, my biggest problem was that I had too much bravado and a lack of self-awareness about how much maturity actually mattered.

    Today, the opposite is true for people starting out. They often view people with years of experience like people who have mastered arcane black magic. They see senior developers similar to how I viewed my parent when I was 5 year old: adults with super-powers that I’d never get.

    But in other ways, the path to becoming a solid software engineer is the same. People starting out just need a little light illuminating the right path and keeping them on track.

    I’m lucky to be able to help people looking to enter the world of software engineering find the right path, and go from being super proud of solving problems like FizzBuzz to leveling up to solve traditional CS challenges like Depth First Search, Algorithms Reversing Linked Lists, and complicated Rails Apps, like this chess app, as a team.

    I’m a code mentor at theFirehoseProject, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience to take aspiring web developers under my wing, and to help beginners transition to a new career in web development.

    Even though the situation beginners face when breaking into the world of development is radically different than the situation I faced when I was learning, the process is the same: Don’t be afraid to break stuff.


    This post originally appeared on Medium.

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  • Silk Road Creator Ross Ulbricht Sentenced To Life In Prison For Drug Plot
    NEW YORK, May 29 (Reuters) – The accused mastermind behind the underground website Silk Road was sentenced on Friday to life in prison for orchestrating a scheme that enabled more than $200 million of anonymous online drug sales using the digital currency bitcoin.

    Ross Ulbricht, 31, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan, three months after a federal jury found him guilty of charges including conspiracy to commit drug trafficking, money laundering and computer hacking.

    Forrest also ordered Ulbricht to forfeit $183.9 million.

    (Reporting by Nate Raymond; Editing by Andre Grenon)

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  • Why Some People Hate Having Full Inboxes
    For some, it’s a spider. For others, it’s an unexpected run-in with an ex. But for me, discomfort is a dot with a number in it: 1,328 unread-message notifications? I just can’t fathom how anyone lives like that.

    How is it that some people remain calm as unread messages trickle into their inboxes and then roost there unattended, while others can’t sit still knowing that there are bolded-black emails and red-dotted Slack messages?

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  • Vanity Credit Cards Are The Dodo Birds of Credit
    Back in the 1990s, vanity credit cards were all the rage. These cards, with their “personalized” look; color schemes denoting your financial status; or designs meant to showcase your love of team, alma mater, or Disney character, are still around and relatively popular today. How many of us have signed up for a new card and say “oooh,” checking the box for one of the vanity designs offered?

    A new era of credit cards is coming, though, and those vanity cards will soon die out like the Dodo bird. They’ll become a rarity, an unusual sighting, something to be photographed, before finally disappearing altogether. What’s this new era?

    All-in-one cards and services like Google Wallet, Apple Pay, and more are becoming popular options. Even PayPal is in on the act, with a sort of “pay anywhere” solution similar to those offered by the tech giants. Microsoft might be launching one too, if they can keep it from crashing. (Had to say it.)

    Other services, though, might even eclipse those from the big boys. Like Coin. Coin is a credit card-like device that allows you to load all of your other credit, debit, loyalty, etc. cards onto one card-like device and use it to use any of them from one card. So instead of carrying two credit cards, a debit card, five store loyalty cards, and an ID, you can instead carry Coin and your ID. And maybe some cash if you’re still that last century.

    Coin recently began shipping after a very successful crowd funding campaign and two years of hard development. It launched to over 350,000 people who’d signed up with enough funding donation to get one when they came out. Those deliveries are going on now. Other cards in this space include Plastc and Wocket.

    With services like Wallet, Pay and Coin, why would people continue to carry around a wallet stuffed with cards begging to be pilfered and misaligning their spine when they sit? Instead, just carry around a smart phone (which we already do) or a Coin and use some passwords and tap phrases (or any of a myriad of inventive security schemes) to pay for your stuff. Who knows? Maybe you’ll even, eventually, get to pay bills without writing checks. We all have that one holdout utility that doesn’t accept auto-draft. Sigh. Maybe they’ll take Apple Pay instead. At least you can finally get rid of that Disney Princess credit card you accidentally chose thinking it was the Darth Vader offer in the catalog. Stupid form. How was I supposed to know that F was a P?

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  • Meet The Woman In Charge Of Making The U.S. Health Department Smarter
    Susannah Fox, an expert on how the Internet affects Americans’ health, is now in charge of improving how the United States government uses technology to deliver and improve health care.

    On Thursday, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell named Susannah Fox, an entrepreneur-in-residence at at the Robert Johnson Wood Foundation, as the health department’s new chief technology officer. Fox is the first woman to hold the position.

    Fox plans to liberate more health data for the public good, nurture entrepreneurial spirit within the immense HHS bureaucracy and highlight how citizens are improving their own health and well-being — all themes that she’s been passionate about for years.

    “The most exciting innovation is not just access to information but access to each other,” Fox told me last June.

    Digital health care entrepreneurs, academics and patient advocates are thrilled that one of their own will be taking on the role pioneered by former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and extended by Bryan Sivak, who departed from the HHS CTO role last month. So is Fox’s new boss.

    “As the CTO, Susannah will bring her commitment to promoting the effective and responsible use of technology throughout the health care sector to improve health outcomes and the patient experience around the country,” Burwell said in a statement.

    Fox has been an advocate for patients, caregivers and the thoughtful integration of technology into how we learn and deliver healing to one another. Her entrance into public service is good news for Americans and the HSS.

    In the video below, recorded last year, Fox talks with me about health care and the Internet:

    In this next video, also recorded last year, Fox talks with me about how the data generated by wearable computing devices like the Fitbit or Apple Watch will be relevant to patient health and clinical decisions:

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  • Google Commits $20 Million To Make The World More Accessible For People With Disabilities
    The technology that enables people with disabilities to lead independent and fulfilling lives is rapidly improving, but not quite fast enough, according to Google.

    That’s why the global tech giant is investing $20 million in grants for nonprofits that are working on groundbreaking solutions.

    The company on Tuesday introduced the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities, a competition that invites innovators to pitch their ideas on how to make the world more accessible for people with disabilities. That could involve a system that helps people with mobility issues get from place-to-place more seamlessly, or developing an app that lists the closest accessible restrooms, according to the site.

    It will then choose the best concepts and help bring them to scale.

    A winning innovation could be something a simple as Liftware, a stabilizing handle that attaches to utensils so that people with hand tremors can eat with ease, according to the Google blog post.

    To start, Google has already committed to supporting two cutting edge nonprofits, the Enable Community and World Wide Hearing.

    Enable Community matches people who need prosthetics with volunteers who use 3-D printers to develop the artificial limbs for free. It’s getting a $600,000 grant to improve design, distribution and delivery.

    With a $500,000 grant, World Wide Hearing will work on developing a prototype for a low-cost tool kit — which uses smartphone technology — to test hearing loss, a process that typically requires pricey and cumbersome equipment.

    Google has also committed to investing in improving its own products and services to make them more accessible for people with disabilities.

    “Historically, people living with disabilities have relied on technologies that were often bulky, expensive, and limited to assisting with one or two specific tasks. But that’s beginning to change,” Jaqueline Fuller, director of Google.org, wrote in a blog post. “But we’ll all get there sooner if we make it a team effort.”

    CLARIFICATION: This post was updated to clarify the details of the Google challenge

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  • Improved Customer Experience With Strong Social Media Strategy
    Jeff Winton, of Sendero Consulting, shares a social media strategy that improves customer experience for a large utility client and believes it can improve customer experience for any business where negative feedback on a social channel has a direct impact to bottom lines.


    SDM: What can you tell us about your work at Sendero?

    JW: I’m part of a team at Sendero, a management consulting firm that focuses on strategy, business management, human performance and technology across multiple industries. We have a team of “athletes” that understand the fact that most business ideas and problems include an element of all four.”

    SDM: Do you have a favorite customer experience story at Sendero?

    JW: Yes, a large Southern utility company had a goal to become the trusted advisor of their customer. Our project was to develop a strategy for a simple premise: “This is where we want to be, so help us get there.” With a small consulting team, we started by creating a profile of their customers: How do they interact with customers? What works and what doesn’t work? What are the company’s strengths? What do their customers say they do well versus what they think they do well? How does that definition change depending on who you talk to? What are other utilities doing with their customers? What are non-utilities doing with theirs?

    We conducted focus groups across the customer base in Texas. We conducted stakeholder and customer interviews and round-table strategy sessions with representation from all levels of the company. We conducted external research, looked at businesses that are the best of breed when it comes to customer service to see what they do and how they enhance customer experience.

    SDM: What was the original problem?

    JW: This client had a customer base they didn’t often connect with and wanted to change that.

    SDM: Where were they with customer satisfaction at that time?

    JW: They conducted customer surveys on an annual basis and had direct interaction with customers to a large degree. They had an idea how their customers felt about them and how satisfied they were, but they knew that they needed to do more — something more robust.

    SDM: What did you learn in the focus groups?

    JW: Customers want to communicate with you in a manner of their choosing, not yours. Some customers get everything they need from TV and they don’t offer feedback. Some use social media exclusively. Others want to text you and receive info and others want to call you on the phone. The challenges of the omni-channel concept apply because customers have a multitude of tools they can use to get info and they expect you to be on the one they choose.

    SDM: What does that mean?

    JW: A lot of the biggest pain points are related to outages. Customers need to be able to tell you about it and they want to know when the issue will be resolved. They want to do that through the web, over the phone, using a mobile device, text message, etc. They want to see how it is affecting their area.

    SDM: Was this a challenge for your client – was it new information?

    JW: Yes it was a challenge. Customer interaction involves large amounts of information — a lot of data and there is a lot of process behind that data. It comes down to individual men and women in the field. How do you take that information and make it available to customers, while ensuring its integrity? In the field, these people are working around the clock and the systems are depending on the data that must be entered during their process. How do you get the data from the ops team to the customers about when their issue will be resolved? How do you present the data in a way that it is concise and understandable, and also accurate?

    SDM: What where the results?

    JW: We helped the company redesign its website – made it friendly for PCs, tablets and mobile devices. With our support, they implemented text messaging for outage reporting and information as well as service order information; redesigned the IVR that allows customers to report outages; implemented an online outage reporting solution and outage map that displays information about the outage event — location, number of customers affected, estimated time of restoration, etc.; implemented a live chat tool for specific groups of customers to utilize to communicate directly with their employees over the web. And other initiatives as well.

    SDM: How did your customer feel the impact?

    JW: In this case of customer experience, customers don’t have an alternative; if they live within the service area, their only option is to take service from the utility. So public perception of this company and whether or not they are getting positive feedback became even more important due to social media. Our client wanted to decrease the negatives. The negatives will never all go away, but at the minimum you can make customer experience better by becoming more transparent.

    SDM: What did you take away from this experience?

    JW: Customers use many tools for communication and it is critical that companies recognize this and respond to it. In addition, this space is changing rapidly. The challenge is keeping up with it. You have to, or you will be left behind. The number one thing I learned working in customer experience is how broad it is, how much broader it will be, how demanding it is to keep up with the technology, and how it follows the needs and wants of customer.

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  • U.S. Tried Stuxnet-Like Campaign Against North Korea's Nuclear Program: Report
    By Joseph Menn

    SAN FRANCISCO, May 29 (Reuters) – The United States tried to deploy a version of the Stuxnet computer virus to attack North Korea’s nuclear weapons program five years ago but ultimately failed, according to people familiar with the covert campaign.

    The operation began in tandem with the now-famous Stuxnet attack that sabotaged Iran’s nuclear program in 2009 and 2010 by destroying a thousand or more centrifuges that were enriching uranium. Reuters and others have reported that the Iran attack was a joint effort by U.S. and Israeli forces.

    According to one U.S. intelligence source, Stuxnet’s developers produced a related virus that would be activated when it encountered Korean-language settings on an infected machine.

    But U.S. agents could not access the core machines that ran Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program, said another source, a former high-ranking intelligence official who was briefed on the program.

    The official said the National Security Agency-led campaign was stymied by North Korea’s utter secrecy, as well as the extreme isolation of its communications systems. A third source, also previously with U.S. intelligence, said he had heard about the failed cyber attack but did not know details.

    North Korea has some of the most isolated communications networks in the world. Just owning a computer requires police permission, and the open Internet is unknown except to a tiny elite. The country has one main conduit for Internet connections to the outside world, through China.

    In contrast, Iranians surfed the Net broadly and had interactions with companies from around the globe.

    A spokeswoman for the NSA declined to comment for this story. The spy agency has previously declined to comment on the Stuxnet attack against Iran.

    The United States has launched many cyber espionage campaigns, but North Korea is only the second country, after Iran, that the NSA is now known to have targeted with software designed to destroy equipment.

    Washington has long expressed concerns about Pyongyang’s nuclear program, which it says breaches international agreements. North Korea has been hit with sanctions because of its nuclear and missile tests, moves that Pyongyang sees as an attack on its sovereign right to defend itself.

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said last week that Washington and Beijing were discussing imposing further sanctions on North Korea, which he said was “not even close” to taking steps to end its nuclear program.

    north korea rocket
    People watch a TV news program showing rockets launched by North Korea, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, March 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)


    Experts in nuclear programs said there are similarities between North Korea and Iran’s operations, and the two countries continue to collaborate on military technology.

    Both countries use a system with P-2 centrifuges, obtained by Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan, who is regarded as the father of Islamabad’s nuclear bomb, they said.

    Like Iran, North Korea probably directs its centrifuges with control software developed by Siemens AG that runs on Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system, the experts said. Stuxnet took advantage of vulnerabilities in both the Siemens and Microsoft programs.

    Because of the overlap between North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs, the NSA would not have had to tinker much with Stuxnet to make it capable of destroying centrifuges in North Korea, if it could be deployed there.

    Despite modest differences between the programs, “Stuxnet can deal with both of them. But you still need to get it in,” said Olli Heinonen, senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    NSA Director Keith Alexander said North Korea’s strict limitations on Internet access and human travel make it one of a few nations “who can race out and do damage with relative impunity” since reprisals in cyberspace are so challenging.

    When asked about Stuxnet, Alexander said he could not comment on any offensive actions taken during his time at the spy agency.

    David Albright, founder of the Institute for Science and International Security and an authority on North Korea’s nuclear program, said U.S. cyber agents probably tried to get to North Korea by compromising technology suppliers from Iran, Pakistan or China.

    “There was likely an attempt” to sabotage the North Korean program with software, said Albright, who has frequently written and testified on the country’s nuclear ambitions.

    north korea rocket
    North Korean missiles are displayed during a military parade past Kim Il-Sung square marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean war armistice in Pyongyang on July 27, 2013. (Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)


    The Stuxnet campaign against Iran, code-named Olympic Games, was discovered in 2010. It remains unclear how the virus was introduced to the Iranian nuclear facility in Natanz, which was not connected to the Internet.

    According to cybersecurity experts, Stuxnet was found inside industrial companies in Iran that were tied to the nuclear effort. As for how Stuxnet got there, a leading theory is that it was deposited by a sophisticated espionage program developed by a team closely allied to Stuxnet’s authors, dubbed the Equation Group by researchers at Kaspersky Lab.

    The U.S. effort got that far in North Korea as well. Though no versions of Stuxnet have been reported as being discovered in local computers, Kaspersky Lab analyst Costin Raiu said that a piece of software related to Stuxnet had turned up in North Korea.

    Kaspersky had previously reported that the software, digitally signed with one of the same stolen certificates that had been used to install Stuxnet, had been submitted to malware analysis site VirusTotal from an electronic address in China. But Raiu told Reuters his contacts had assured him that it originated in North Korea, where it infected a computer in March or April 2010.

    Some experts said that even if a Stuxnet attack against North Korea had succeeded, it might not have had that big an impact on its nuclear weapons program. Iran’s nuclear sites were well known, whereas North Korea probably has at least one other facility beyond the known Yongbyon nuclear complex, former officials and inspectors said.

    In addition, North Korea likely has plutonium, which does not require a cumbersome enrichment process depending on the cascading centrifuges that were a fat target for Stuxnet, they said.

    Jim Lewis, an advisor to the U.S. government on cybersecurity issues and a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said there are limitations to cyber offense.

    A cyber attack “is not something you can release and be sure of the results,” Lewis said. (Editing by Tiffany Wu)

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  • Google Maps Is Going Offline, Will Make Traveling That Much Easier
    Google Maps can take you anywhere. But frustrated travelers sometimes find themselves without Wi-Fi or data coverage, making it impossible to access their routes. Luckily, Google is trying to change that.

    The company announced on Thursday that the company will be making Google Maps search and navigation features available offline. According to a Google spokesperson, the feature will be available to Maps users later this year.

    “This was influenced by a number of scenarios where access to maps would be useful,” said the spokesperson in an email conversation with The Huffington Post. “Some examples might include when someone is in a coverage dead-spot in their town or city — for instance a parking garage. Or if someone is traveling to another country and they don’t have a local data plan.”

    While Maps can already take you all around the world from the seat of your chair, this could be the latest innovation to change the future of travel.

    “Our goal is to make traveling and exploring new places easier for people,” said the spokesperson. Access to Maps while offline will allow people to make last-minute decisions or search for places of interest on the spot without having to pre-plan the day.”

    cell phone

    For even more ways that Google is making travel easier, try some of these hacks:

    • Use the train icon in Google Maps to pull up current (and future!) train schedules for your trips.
    • If you click the “Save the Itinerary” button for a particular flight on Google Flights, the search engine will monitor the price for you and let you know when it changes.

    H/T The Verge

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  • Study finds Eye chart apps not valid substitutes for traditional Snellen chart

    Study shows almost every eye chart app isn’t a valid substitute for traditional Snellen chart.

    The post Study finds Eye chart apps not valid substitutes for traditional Snellen chart appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • MacNN Deals: Protect yourself from losing your smartphone data
    Every day, alongside our regular Daily Deals post, we are showcasing a few of the sales available on our own MacNN Deals page. Today, we’re looking into ways to protect your precious data stored on your smartphone, including backing up your data, recovering it if things get accidentally deleted, and minimizing physical damage to the iPhone while also providing more photography options for the camera.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • 'Kung Fury' Released On YouTube In All Its '80s-Inspired Glory
    “Kung Fury” is finally here, and it’s as ridiculously awesome as you’d expect.

    The crowdfunded short film about a time-traveling cop on a quest to kill Adolf Hitler was released on YouTube on Thursday to the delight of the legions who turned the movie’s 2013 trailer into a viral sensation.

    The result is exactly what that trailer promised: an homage to ’80s cop flicks and martial arts films, right down to a dialogue packed with groan-worthy one-liners.

    Swedish filmmaker David Sandberg, who also wrote the film, stars as the title character. He becomes a kung fu legend after being struck by lightning and bitten by a cobra. On his journey to fight the Kung Führer, he encounters a cop with a triceratops head (aptly named Triceracop), Viking warrior women named Barbarianna and Katana, a laser-raptor, Thor and more.

    And watch for the best fight scene you’ll ever see between a T-Rex and a Nazi robot-eagle.

    The film even features a theme song and music video by 80s icon David Hasselhoff, which you can check out below.

    The viral trailer for “Kung Fury” helped Sandberg raise over $600,000 from more than 17,000 backers on Kickstarter. The final production contains hundreds of wild visual effects created by VFX house Fido using Autodesk Maya 3D animation software.

    Despite its humble origins, the film made its debut earlier this month at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, and production is expected to get under way soon on a feature-length “Kung Fury” film.

    It’s going to be a clean slate, loosely based on the same story,” Sandberg told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month. “But it’s going to have a lot of new elements, and you’ll get to know the characters more and go more in depth and go even more crazy.”

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  • HBO Now Is Coming To Google Play And Chromecast
    LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) – HBO Now, the premium cable programmer’s standalone streaming service, will be available this summer in the Google Play store for a range of Android devices including Chromecast.

    The service — previously available only through Apple TV and Cablevision Systems — will be coming to Google devices in the near future, said Google senior VP Sundar Pichai, who made the announcement at the Google I/O developers conference Thursday in San Francisco. In addition, he said the company will bring HBO Now and HBO Go to the Android TV connected-television platform.

    HBO Now, which is priced at $15 per month and doesn’t require a pay-TV subscription, will come to Android this summer, according to the cable net. That will include support to cast the service to Android and Apple iOS devices, as well as web browsers on desktops and laptop computers.

    “We’re looking forward to expanding our relationship with Google through HBO Now,” Bernadette Aulestia, executive VP of domestic network distribution for HBO, said in a statement. “We have seen through social media that there is great demand for the service among Android and Chromecast users, and we’re excited to deliver HBO Now to them.”

    HBO Now offers access to more than 2,000 of the network’s original titles and specials, including every episode of “Game of Thrones” (pictured above), “True Detective,” “Girls,” “Veep,” “True Blood” and “Sex and the City.” HBO Go, its authenticated service for consumers who subscribe through a pay-TV service, provides the very same content.

    HBO’s push into the over-the-top space — notwithstanding Cablevision’s participation — has ruffled feathers at big cable and satellite TV providers. That’s because they stand to lose TV subscribers if people opt to pay for HBO Now on an a-la-carte basis. But the Time Warner-owned programmer sees the need to forge ahead on OTT as it faces growing competition from Netflix as a value-added video service.

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  • VIDEO: Robotic roach acts as aircraft carrier
    BBC Click’s LJ Rich looks at some of the best of the week’s technology news.
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    Pyongyang’s hackers are capable of attacks that could destroy critical infrastructure and even kill people, a high-profile defector warns.
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  • University Of San Francisco Becomes First College To Adopt Callisto, A New Rape Reporting System
    The University of San Francisco announced today it will become the first higher education institution to implement Callisto, a new online reporting system for campus sexual assaults.

    Callisto, designed by the nonprofit organization Sexual Health Innovations, is a third-party online reporting system designed for colleges using input from rape survivors.

    The system allows an alleged victim to hold back on submitting their report unless someone else reports the same assailant, or to save their file with a timestamp and come back at a later point to turn in their report. Sexual Health Innovations hopes the system can get more victims to come forward, identify serial perpetrators and mitigate responses by school or law enforcement officials that may exacerbate trauma experienced by a victim.

    “Millennials are much more accustomed to finding things online,” said Peter Novak, vice provost of student life at USF. “It doesn’t negate their coming to a real person, but at least it gives them some assistance and help before they do so.”

    Because a report on Callisto can be saved and then returned to, alleged victims will have more time to reflect on questions and answers. They may not remember everything at first, depending on the circumstances and trauma involved, Novak said, so being able to remember things on their own time is a big benefit.

    The announcement that USF is the first school comes just as a task force in Virginia recommended that each college in that state adopt an online reporting system for sexual assaults.

    Callisto has been hailed by some advocates as a “promising” alternative to requiring reporting assaults to police, since the system includes an option for a victim’s report to be submitted automatically either to the school or to police if someone else accuses the same person of assault.

    Novak said he learned of Callisto through Futures Without Violence, a nonprofit in San Francisco. He said he spoke with Jessica Ladd, the CEO of Sexual Health Innovations, and then with U.S. Department of Education to get more feedback about the idea, and believes Callisto has the potential to “really change culture” for reporting sexual assault.

    “Some of the benefits are that hopefully it will help us identify repeat offenders, but also, often times when students report an assault and questions may be asked, and they don’t know why they were being asked … Callisto gives us the ability to explain [the rationale behind the questions],” Novak said.

    He’s also eager to see what sort of data the school receives from Callisto. For instance, the school can monitor when students are looking at the system more, signalling it’s a good time for the school to increase awareness efforts for reporting options.

    “The data we’ll get from Callisto will really help us hone in on our own prevention efforts,” Novak said.

    Callisto will launch at USF in the fall, as will the university’s campus climate survey. USF will still have in-person reporting options and confidential counseling available for campus assault.

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  • FCC Looks Into Subsidizing Broadband Internet Access For Poor
    WASHINGTON, May 28 (Reuters) – The top U.S. communications regulator on Thursday revealed a plan to expand a government phone subsidy program for low-income Americans to begin covering broadband Internet access.

    The Federal Communications Commission is expected to vote on June 18 to begin the process of revamping the $1.7 billion program, called Lifeline, which has helped poorer Americans get access to telecommunications technologies since 1985.

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants to give those receiving the subsidy a choice of using it for phone services, high-speed Internet, or both. The program helps about 12 million U.S. households afford landline and mobile phones, according to agency estimates.

    “As communications technologies and markets evolve, the Lifeline program also has to evolve to remain relevant,” Wheeler said in a blog post. “Broadband is key to Lifeline’s future.”

    The FCC estimates that some 95 percent of U.S. households with incomes of $150,000 have access to high-speed Internet, while less than half of households with incomes lower than $25,000 have Internet access at home.

    The latest changes to Lifeline seek to bridge the digital divide for poorer Americans as companies routinely require basic digital literacy skills and Internet access becomes increasingly important for healthcare, financial planning or education.

    The subsidy is currently available to households with an income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty line, or receive federal assistance through other programs such as food stamps or Medicaid.

    It is funded through fees paid by landline and cellphone users and offers each eligible household $9.25 a month. The new plan does not propose changes to the funding cap.

    Nonetheless, the proposals are likely to spark a new round of political battles of the Lifeline program, which has faced criticisms for its history of fraud and abuse, often by individuals and small telephone companies.

    Republicans, who in recent years have referred to Lifeline as “Obamaphone” program, have fought to shut it down for being too wasteful.

    Wheeler’s proposal aims to address some concerns, seeking comments on how best to ensure that those receiving financial support are the ones who need it most, for instance by putting third parties instead of phone companies in charge of deciding eligibility.

    The proposal also seeks comments on how the FCC can encourage more providers to participate in the program and suggests increasing minimum standards for phone and Internet service that low-income users receive through Lifeline.

    Wheeler’s proposals are a renewed push for reforms of Lifeline, which has gone through several alterations in recent years to accommodate the growing use of wireless phones, cut its spending and crack down on fraud.

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  • Meet The Lovable Couple Who Got Married And Went Viral On The Same Day
    A day before their wedding, an emotional video of Kristie Scherrer and Tavis Doucette aging 70 years in six minutes (thanks to makeup and prosthetics) hit the Internet. The collaboration between YouTube channels Cut Video and Field Day quickly became a viral sensation with more than 14 million views.

    via Tribune Media

    “We realized it was released when we were on our way to our rehearsal,” Scherrer told The Huffington Post. “When we got to the dinner, we told a few of our friends who knew about it that it released and they all admitted that they had seen it. By then the local news had even picked it up. At the wedding everyone had seen it but us. We really wanted to watch it together and there was no time the day of the wedding.”

    So 12 hours after their big day, the newlyweds watched the video for the first time at a screening with family and friends. A crew from Field Day was there to capture their tender reactions.

    Credit: BuzzFeed via Field Day/YouTube

    “Like [Kristie] said in the film, we couldn’t be more sure of the person that we’re with,” a misty-eyed Doucette says after viewing the finished product.

    Although you don’t get to see or hear much from the couple’s family in the reaction video, Scherrer told HuffPost that their entire family was “deeply moved” by it.

    “We don’t live anywhere close to our family and never have as a couple, so I think it showed them a more intimate side of our relationship than they are used to seeing when we visit,” she said. “They laughed and cried and were really proud of us.”

    The adorable couple first met at a cafe on their second day of school at Wagner College back in 2006. They were introduced by a mutual friend and stayed close friends until their senior year, when their friendship blossomed into something more serious.

    Courtesy of the couple

    Courtesy of the couple

    The couple moved from New York City to Los Angeles last year. Scherrer is an account executive at a marketing firm and Doucette is an actor.

    “Which means I am a very experienced bar tender,” he joked.

    Doucette and Scherrer said that neither of them anticipated the massive and overwhelmingly positive reception to the original video, but feel honored to have been part of the experience.

    “Tavis asked if I cared if he submitted us for it and I said sure,” she said. “We went to the audition during my lunch hour and I really didn’t think anything of it. Then we got cast and started to learn more about the project and who was behind it. The director told us we could ‘expect some people to see it.’ But this kind of reaction, the responses and messages we have received, it’s been incredible.”

    Watch their reaction video above. To see more photos from the couple’s wedding and from throughout their relationship, check out the slideshow below.

    H/T BuzzFeed

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  • A Digital Solution to the Overprescription of Medications for Foster Children
    Co-authored by Korey Capozza, Director of the Electronic Care Coordination Initiative at The Children’s Partnership

    For children and youth in foster care, instability and disorder can be one of few constants. First, a troubled home life leads to a sudden break from families and kin. Once in foster care, such kids will likely change homes, schools and care providers several times each year. This instability disrupts crucial relationships and causes essential information to be lost in the shuffle between placements and homes. Gaps in critical information become especially problematic when it comes to health. One particular example is when children and youth in foster care require ongoing medication management and careful handoffs between medical providers — or when past treatments were ineffective or inappropriate. This isn’t just hypothetical: we now know that children and youth in foster care are prescribed powerful mood-changing drugs–including those used to treat ADHD, anxiety, depression, and psychosis — at rates 2.7 to 4.5 times higher than other children in Medicaid. While sometimes appropriate, these high rates suggest widespread overprescribing. Fortunately, a number of technology-enabled information-sharing initiatives may soon address the gaps in information and lapses in oversight that contribute to this problem.

    Indeed, we are heartened by a constellation of policy changes, research developments, and practical demonstration projects that hold the promise of making better use of existing data and rapidly transforming the archaic and disjointed record systems for children and youth in foster care. On the policy front, the Obama Administration has included a demonstration project in its 2016 proposed budget that would incentivize states to implement evidence-based psychosocial interventions for children and youth in foster care and reduce the inappropriate use of psychotropic medications for this population. This funding would help states build screening and assessment tools and coordinate data among providers, so that agencies that serve children in foster care can better track and harmonize prescription medications.

    Further, several bills in the California Legislature attempt to tackle the problem. For example, Senate Bill 238 introduced by Senators Holly Mitchell and Jim Beall proposes a number of strategies aimed at leveraging existing state databases to identify children who may have been inappropriately prescribed psychotropic drugs. These strategies include upgrading the state’s case management system to provide automated alerts when a child’s case record indicates out-of-the-ordinary prescription medication patterns and analyzing Medicaid claims data to zero in cases that require oversight.

    Other notable progress is quietly occurring at the county level where two innovative projects, in Ventura and Sacramento counties, are working through the complex details of creating an “electronic backpack” for foster children and youth. In Sacramento, the pilot is testing a youth-controlled online record system that can be uploaded with key health and other records so that each youth’s medical history is up to date and portable during life disruptions and after the ultimate transition out of foster care. Work in Ventura County has focused on creating an intuitive “electronic passport” for foster parents so that critical information housed in the case management and medical records systems moves seamlessly with the child during new foster placements, preventing the frequent problem of lost or incomplete paper records and missed opportunities for medication management or review.

    Taken together, these advances may soon pave the way for modern, state-of-the-art digital solutions capable of providing complete, timely, and easily accessible information to foster youth and the key individuals and agencies that interact with them in California and nationwide. That’s great news for this population of vulnerable kids whose health deserves the best we have to offer.

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  • How To Cook Perfect, Fluffy Rice Every Single Time
    Rice is trouble.

    Yes, it’s delicious, and rice cookers are an appliance bestowed upon the home cook by the food gods. But it’s far too easy to end up with grains that are globby, mushy and sticky (not in a good way).

    The fine folks over at America’s Test Kitchen have some wizardry for wannabe rice masters, and it’s all about the ratios.

    Conventional rice packaging lists different amounts of water based on the type of rice being cooked: 1 cup of rice to 1 cup of water for short grain white rice; 1.5 cups of water for long grain or medium grain white rice; and a massive 2 cups of liquid per cup of brown rice.

    rice cooking

    ATK tested 17 different types of rice under controlled circumstances — they put each variety in a sealed bag with one cup of water — and found that every single type cooked perfectly with a 1-to-1 ratio of rice to liquid.

    So what’s the deal with the packaging instructions?

    It actually comes down to the vessel used to cook the starch. Different pots with different lids under different heats can cause the water in the pot to evaporate at varying speeds. The rice only needs to absorb one cup of water, but the additional liquid is boiled off, which is why longer-cooking types like brown need more water. If you use too much water, the grains can become mushy, and too little water can re-harden the rice, causing it to stick to the bottom of the pan.

    But there’s a catch to the perfect 1-to-1 ratio: You need to test out your own ratio based on your heat source and intensity, as well as vessel size and shape. The test kitchen used 2.25 cups of water for 1.5 cups of white rice pilaf in a large saucepan with a tight lid to get the perfect fluffy rice. Based on your own schematics, make a few batches until you find the right rice-to-water ratio, and then use the same pot, lid and heat source each time.

    white rice

    If you want to double or triple the batch, however, you can’t do the same to the ratios. The same amount of water will boil off each time, so subtract the amount of rice from the amount of water in your original perfect batch. This will give you the amount of water evaporated off. Then you add this amount (three-quarters of a cup on the example above) to the 1-to-1 ratio.

    Phew. Take a look at the video above for a full explainer, then get to cooking.

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  • Will Putting Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Behind Bars Accomplish Anything?

    Friday Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht will be sentenced. He faces the possibility of between 20 years to life behind bars because drugs were bought and sold on his website. The prosecution is painting him as a major drug dealer and blaming him for the deaths of six people who overdosed (without acknowledging that our current drug policies lead to 35,000 accidental overdose deaths per year).

    On the eve of his sentencing, it’s worth considering: what will we actually accomplish by putting this man away?

    The fact is, the existence of Silk Road proved something we all know to be true: millions of people around the world want to use and buy drugs. As many have argued, including my former colleague Meghan Ralston and Phil Smith on Alternet, Silk Road’s online marketplace actually reduced the harms of drugs in several key ways.

    • Silk Road reduced the potential violence associated with buying drugs. By taking away the need for face-to-face interaction, Silk Road reduced the violence commonly associated with drug purchases. It also took power away from cartels.
    • It allowed for better knowledge about content and purity. One of the greatest dangers of drug use is that it’s very difficult to know if you’re getting what you intend to get, especially with today’s rapidly diversifying synthetic market. Using a review system similar to what you’d see on Yelp or other sites, a seller who was not representing his or her product accurately would not have customers long, and a user could be sure about his or her purchase.
    • It encouraged harm reduction among users. Silk Road had a whole section of its site devoted to safer drug use practices. It’s relevant and important that this kind of content reach people at the very place where they are making purchases.

    Ulbricht’s defense recognized this and included these arguments in their memo to Katherine Forrest, the judge handing down the sentencing. If nothing else, a shorter sentence might help acknowledge the reality that no matter what your opinion about drug sales, Silk Road served as harm reduction for these marketplaces.

    Friday, the path of Ulbricht’s life will be determined. But his sentencing will have little to no impact on those millions of people who will still buy and use drugs. Other online drug marketplaces will arise and the violent, wasteful drug war will carry on unchecked.

    Unless we end 40 years of failure, and consider the lessons from Silk Road, and think about a new approach to drug use and sales.

    Stefanie Jones is the nightlife community engagement manager for the Drug Policy Alliance.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this post incorrectly stated that Ross Ulbricht may be facing 30 years to life in prison.

    This piece first appeared on the Drug Policy Alliance Blog.

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  • VIDEO: Highlights from Google I/O 2015
    Google has shown off some of the functions of the next version of its Android mobile operating system.
  • What Everyone Needs to Know About the IRS Breach

    As a cyber security professional balancing the unique needs of the organization with industry best business practices is always a challenge. Tactics, techniques, and procedures are often a reflection of an organization’s prevailing mindset. People have become accustomed to operating in a particular manner. For the security professional, this can create formidable opposition to any proposed changes.

    The recently reported Internal Revenue Service “breach” is no exception. While it was not (technically speaking) a data breach, tax returns were filed fraudulently after taxpayer accounts were accessed using stolen information. Events at the IRS allow us insight into a battle fought within organizations every day. Increasing technical security measures at the cost of user convenience.

    More importantly, these events cast a deeper light on exactly how entangled the cyber universe has become. Criminals do not need breach a system to steal our identities and squander our livelihoods. The Internet of Things is a tangled web of relationships that can and will work against us. Unless of course we work to change the culture within our personal lives and within our organizations.

    What Everyone Needs to Know

    According to a report by Brian Krebs, systems at the IRS, were not breached. Criminals used data collected elsewhere to assume the identities of taxpayers. Then they used this information to access transcripts of previous tax returns. Take a moment and think about the information contained on your tax return. Now, take another moment and think about what you (or a criminal with that information) could do.

    Once criminals have access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII), they have hit the mother load. Now they can begin gathering answers to your personal identity verification questions. Typically, this only requires a quick perusal of your social media profiles, and they have all the information they need. It might be weeks or months before you even know you’re a victim.


    Another important facet of this incident is how they obtained the PII in the first place. John Valentine of the Utah State Tax Commission believes third party providers (such as Turbo Tax and Intuit) might be to blame. However, I don’t think that we should focus on who was to blame. There is a much more important lesson to learn here.

    Our relationships with people and businesses potentially expose us to all sorts of vulnerabilities. In the current landscape, our refrigerator is connected to Wi-Fi, our home alarm systems operate via the Internet, and our cars are connected to the Internet. In some way, all of these devices share or access information about us.

    Everyone (not just security professionals) needs to understand this one important fact. Today everyone is connected to people and devices they have never met.

    The Twenty Percent Solution

    Since 2014, we have been inundated with story after story of data breaches. Attackers compromised large corporations for extended periods of time. They announced the breach, offered free credit reporting, and focused on mitigating their legal exposure.

    The average everyday person (business person, entrepreneur etc…) was left to figure out how this impacts their life and how they can defend themselves against it; technology is not the answer. If we want to protect our families and our livelihoods, we have to become awarer. Understanding how our lives connect via the Internet is vital.

    Everyone has access to technology. Of all the organizations breached in 2014 all implemented various levels of technology. Clearly technology is not the be all end all solution. According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, non-technical attack methods remain prevalent. Changing the prevailing mindset in our personal and professional lives will yield much greater results.

    The Botton Line Up Front

    My Army training taught me to know myself, know the battlefield, and know my enemy. Times are changing, and now everyone needs to understand these three concepts. The exponential growth of the cyber universe exposed everyone to dangers we have never previously considered.

    Are you prepared? What is the biggest security challenge you face in your life or organizations?

    — 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.

  • Periscope 'changing house viewings'
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  • Facebook Instant Articles and the Future of Content, With Playbuzz CEO Shaul Olmert
    Facebook recently launched a new service called Instant Articles, which allows publishers to create content that stays native to the social media platform, rather than requiring users to click through to the content publisher’s website. Content publishers of all types need to assess what this might represent as a trend: if content is staying walled into social media platforms, how do they adjust their business models? What are the important metrics for success?

    For Shaul Olmert, CEO of social content creation platform PlayBuzz which continues to be the most shared publisher on Facebook, the change is actually natural. It means that rather than focusing on how many people you can get to click on your links, publishers should focus on the quality of their content and having it in a format that users actually enjoy.

    All of this speculation only matters if we think that Instant Articles represents the beginning of a new path in online publishing. It’s easy to imagine it flopping since commonly held beliefs tell us that publishers would never want to lose traffic to their websites. Yet publishers from The New York Times to National Geographic are already using Instant Articles. Olmert warns that they “are starting very cautiously,” but the legitimacy gained from some of the most respectable publishers in the world using the service is not to be underestimated.

    So if the trend is going to stick, how should content publishers adjust? In this new system, getting views on your content is a function of two things according to Olmert: “the quality of content created” and the “level of priority Facebook decides to give Instant Articles in the newsfeed.” Publishers can only control one half of the equation, so they have to focus on creating the best content possible.

    That brings us back to that cheesy mantra Internet publishing gurus have been trying to use for years: Content is King. If you have great content, the viewers will come. It’s turned out that in many ways that did not hold true. Whether due to SEO, advertising, or other intangibles, good content could easily go unnoticed, but Instant Articles may change that, at least a little bit. As Olmert puts it, brands can afford to “no longer focus on where the user consumes their content, but rather on how engaging their content is.”

    If you’re a user, this is all sounding great. Content quality is the key, so it should go up. You never have to leave your Facebook newsfeed to get high quality content. What if you’re the publisher? Your entire online business model has potentially been disrupted. One might think that all online publishers who thrive on social sharing, of which PlayBuzz seems a solid example, would be in the worst position. Yet Olmert actually sees those kinds of companies being able to be at the core of the change. He says the “solution may come in the form of sponsored content.” For him, content creators that can generate creative and innovative forms of native advertising will be in the best place to leverage new opportunities created by content native to social media platforms. Over 40,000 publishers and brands have used PlayBuzz to create and distribute fun content in “snackable formats optimized for maximum vitality and shareability,” and Olmert thinks that model can be extended into the era of Instant Articles.

    That means reevaluating which metrics we value in terms of measuring success for online content. We used to look at how many times users clicked through to publishers’ websites, but Olmert says that “click-through rates are no longer the currency of digital publishing.” Now we have to look at metrics that measure how engaging and interesting content is. Olmert focuses on metrics like item completion rates and attention minutes, others think more about shares and comments, but either way the move is from thinking about click-through to thinking about engagement.

    We may be heralding in a new era of online content publishing. Though it sometimes feels like we say that far too often, content changing from being consumed on proprietary platforms such as the websites of the publishers to being consumed on social media platforms actually is a monumental change. As Olmert put it, “publishers no longer own the means of media distribution.”

    — 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.

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  • Mintigo: Yet Another Israeli Big Data Success-in-the-Making
    201ldn't have 2-06-27-techscapelogocolumn1.jpg

    The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has done it again.

    They’ve given another set of Israelis just doing their compulsory service for the motherland, the practical, entrepreneurial and technical skills to build another high-value, high-expectations tech start-up.

    This one is called Mintigo and its founders come right out of the elite, IDF “Unit 8200” unit and into their own company. Think of the 8200 unit as a more competent, more efficient and more predictive National Security Agency (NSA).

    And increasingly, the IDF is focusing in on with laser-like intensity on the Big Data area. Perhaps this is because more and more, the Israeli state sees itself as vulnerable on the computer side of their security rather than on their borders or in their skies.

    This dynamic of elite training given to young minds and bodies, turning them on to computer science, advanced programming, hacking, network security, signal intelligence, all these and more; then, turning these specially trained computer commandos loose on the entrepreneurial world-at-large, is what Israel’s “Start-Up Nation” moniker is built upon.

    And it could never happen in the USA.

    Imagine what we would do here, with our over-regulating, over-taxing and short-sighted government. We’d kill this incredible tech-entrepreneurial potential with gag orders, NDAs and all forms of entrepreneurial-killing policies.

    But not Israel. Nope.

    Look at their track record compared to America’s. A tiny speck of a nation with about eight million people and no oil in a region besotted with it, produces more tech start-up successes by far, per capita, than the mighty start-up king America. There’s Rony Zarom of Watchitoo, whom I wrote about here. There’s Amnon Mishor of Leadspace, whose story I told here. And those were just the ones I covered and that didn’t keep their IDF background from me.

    Add to this list of Israeli/IDF notables, “Israeli Start-Up Soldiers” if you will: Uri Levine of Waze (acquired by Google for $1.3 billion); Yuval Kuminika and Roey Izkovsky of JoyTunes (I expect to be acquired soon); Roei Duetsch of Veribo (also expect coming acquisition); and finally of course, the irrepressible, impossibly funny, Israeli father of tech entrepreneurship, Yossi Vardi.

    What can I say about Yossi Vardi? Except that his sense of humor is brighter than a thousand suns, truly, I can say that he really did kick-off Start-Up Nation for Israel with his sale of ICQ to AOL for $700 million when that was a very large sum in the Internet World, and then, becoming an omniscient investor in young Israeli companies and a stalwart supporter of Israel’s tech education sector. Other than these things, not much (as he would probably joke). If you haven’t met the man, you should make it your life’s mission.

    With 63 public companies on NASDAQ, Israel is the largest foreign country on that important market.

    But I digress from the real story, Mintigo. Mintigo is a predictive analytics, CRM software that helps Enterprise customers get more helpful information on the decision-makers they need to close.

    Started by Dr. Jacob Shama, Tal Segelov and Ehud Ben-Reuven, Mintigo is based in Ra’Anana, Israel with a US office in San Mateo, Mintigo looks well positioned and manicured for great success.

    What gives me this idea? Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s the blue-chip investors such as Sequoia Capital, Adams Street Partners and Giza Venture Capital. Perhaps it’s that Sequoia and Giza have already re-upped for a second round of financing, for a total according to Crunchbase of $19 million.

    Or, it could be Mintigo’s solid strategic technology partners such as Oracle/Eloqua, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Marketo and IBM/Marketpop.

    All those things are important, to be sure.

    But I think the future success is completely and utterly dependent and the current result of the IDF tech-training, experience and leadership of Dr. Jacob Shama. Let me explain why.

    An old, possibly Sicilian proverb says, “The fish stinks from the head down.” Meaning (some smart person intuited), that if the person at the top of an organization is corrupt, inefficient or inept, the whole organization can be doomed to failure. Well, like any contrarian thinker, I turn that on its head. I take it to mean in Mintigo’s case, that if their leader is brave, fair and a real closer of new business and partnerships, the organization cannot fail. I think Shama is precisely that kind of leader.

    Typical of a true leader, Shama doesn’t megaphone his background and superiority. If you look at his Mintigo’ website bio, it barely references his IDF background. His LinkedIn page refers a bit more to his background in the Israeli military but nowhere really does him justice in this regard.

    Until you go to his BloombergBusiness profile where his background and IDF experience become crystal-clear. For more than 20 years, Shama worked in the IDF’s Communications and Information Technology area, attaining the rank of Colonel. In his last position within the IDF, Shama headed the R&D Technological Center for the IDF.


    So when we make the jump from Shama’s bio on the Mintigo website to his LinkedIn profile to the Bloomberg profile, we get a very different and certainly more compelling picture of Shama’s likelihood of success with Mintigo. In fact, it skyrockets.

    Factor in Shama’s education and three degrees, a B.Sc.and M.Sc. both in Electrical Engineering at Tel Aviv University and a D.Sc. from George Washington University and coupled with his national security background, you have a powder-keg of tech entrepreneurial potential.

    As a Colonel in the IDF, the final piece of the Mintigo/Shama puzzle for success has got to be his leadership skills.

    When I asked him recently how it was that so many quality, high-tech start-ups come out of this IDF petrie dish, Shama told me, “There is the idea of an army, which in Israel includes the Air Force, Navy and Intelligence units. Think of the 8200 unit as the American NSA; they handle Security, Communications and Big Data. These are the types of companies typically come out of the 8200 unit like Checkpoint and Palo Alto Networks both started by Israelis out of the unit.”

    Then Shama bore down on two main reasons why Israelis have 63 companies on NASDAQ, “Two major competencies: Number One: Talent. We get the best of the best of our young people. The best at mathematics. The best at software programming and all the sciences. Number Two: We don’t do any of this for fun. We do it for our survival. To protect our families.Though, the 8200 unit looks more like a Harvard or Stanford labs than a military organization.”

    How then Dr. Shama, did you take what helped you make Mintigo? What were the ingredients? “From 8200, none of the software or any other tangible assets but the contextual idea of being able to find terrorists out of the Big Data before they do bad things. The bad guys are very silent and hide below all the noise. With Mintigo, we find the good guys because they are much easier to identify than terrorists are. We find the customers.”

    What’s it like competing in a CRM world dominated by the Oracles, Salesforces and Siebels? “What is a differentiator for Mintigo is we’re coming from the Data Science side,” Shama pointed out convincingly. “The three founders of Mintigo, Tal Segelov, Ehud Ben-Reuven and myself all have data science in our DNA.”

    Another Mintigo’ founder, Tal Segelov spent more than 12 years in the 8200 unit with Dr. Shama. “I read somewhere that 8200 unit has more tech start-ups than any Ivy League university,” Segelov began, “We were in the midst of building Big Data machines. Some of the guys I worked with had their Ph.D.s by 21; that’s the level of talent I was working with.”


    Segelov was just getting started, “Mintigo isn’t predictive analytics, it’s predictive marketing. Predictive analytics ties into over-analyzing marketing data. Marketers already have lots of scores to look at and don’t need another score of the scores. We’re a SaaS company and don’t send in a team. We prefer Python, which is very popular in the intelligence circuits we come from. Python is easy to program. No SQL database, it wouldn’t be able to hold that amount of data. We use MongoDB.”

    I’ve found there are few better sources for insight into tech start-ups than their investors. Gili Raanan, is a Sequoia Capital’ partner, Mintigo’ investor/board and entreprepreneur himself having sold two of his compaies to Facebook, one in 2011 and one in 2013. Raanan told me, “We at Sequoia, believe there’s going to be a new generation of successful SaaS companies that disrupt the way marketing is done today. Jacob, Tal and their team have built a new software leader in the Predictive Marketing space, which represents an incredibly large market. They possess the background, training and talent to solve some of the most difficult problems facing marketers today.”

    John Bara is the President and CMO of Mintigo. He’s got a top notch pedigree including a Harvard Business School’ MBA and stints at Citibank, Intel, Interwoven, Citrix and other tech companies. “The future of Marketing is data. The current ROI of lead generation is horrible. If you think of any other profession where you got a 2% return, you’d be fired.”


    “Mintigo is solving a top pain for Marketers,” Bara told me, “Data, Workflow, Behavioral Scoring, Predictive Marketing/Predictive Lead Scoring–we do it all. We help our customers predict their customer better and where they are on their journey. Should you reach out to the prospect on LinkedIn, Gmail, text, how?”

    “We’re a true SaaS product,” Bara continued. “The next level: really giving Marketing an actionable task. It’s not about a machine replacing a human in Marketing; it’s about a machine being a tool for Marketers.”


    What lays in the future for Mintigo? “I think Mintigo will replace Marketing Automation,” predicted Dr. Shama, “and provide a better solution than Marketo, Eloqua, etc.” If Shama, Segelov and Bara can accomplish this, their investors, employees and customers will be very satisfied.

    And the IDF will have another legacy start-up company on NASDAQ.

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  • Dropped Phone Records Magical Underwater Journey
    A man on vacation lost his phone while swimming in the ocean and filming a video, but the footage doesn’t end there.

    Gregory Papadin was on vacation with his brother in Menorca, Spain, when the incident occurred, according to BuzzFeed.

    Papadin’s phone, which was in a waterproof case, survived the voyage to the seafloor and captured a visually stunning video. (His phone also seems to have created an accidental homage to a scene from “The Graduate.”)

    The phone appeared to fall in relatively shallow water, but it was still hard to reach. “The underwater pressure was too much for both my brother and I to swim and get it, but the owner of the boat we rented was able to reduce the pressure using a special breathing method meant for diving (equalization),” he wrote in his video description. “He was able to retrieve it, and my phone managed to survive the whole ordeal!”

    — 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.

  • Nope, That's Not Kanye West And North In Kim Kardashian's Game
    Newsflash: Kanye West and North are unrecognizable in the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game because neither one is actually in it.

    Glu Mobile, the company behind Kim Kardashian’s game, shared an image of the newest arrivals to the wildly popular app in a tweet on Thursday. The image shows three digital characters: a man dressed in a black and gold T-shirt standing next to a woman in a pink Kardashian-esque dress holding a baby girl with two buns in her hair.

    Are you ready for the newest arrivals to the #KimKardashianGame? pic.twitter.com/CPjbXl2dVZ

    — Glu Games (@glumobile) May 27, 2015

    Some were quick to point out that the characters, seemingly meant to be West and baby Nori, look nothing like the two. But Glu told The Huffington Post the characters are not West and North at all.

    Kardashian has added multiple members of her family to her famous mobile app, including her sisters and her mom. If West and North are added to the game, fans can rest assured they will look exactly like the real-life versions.

    “The look of the game was really important to me,” Kardashian told AdWeek in March. “I must have pulled thousands of references of all the different ways that characters should have their hair, the outfits and the shoes. One time there was a strap wrong on one of the character’s shoes — her feet weren’t matching. I had to change the programming to fix that. It was important to me that everything is right.”

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Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Dan Savage Wants To Turn 'Duggar' Into The New 'Santorum'
    Dan Savage wants to do to Josh Duggar what he did to Rick Santorum: redefine the man’s last name.

    On Tuesday, the writer and LGBT advocate called on his Twitter followers to help coin the new term based on the “19 Kids And Counting” star who was investigated for allegedly sexually molesting five underage girls, including several of his sisters, when he was a teen.

    Clearly “duggary” needs to be a word. Should it mean sexual hypocrisy? Fundy hypocrisy? Child molestation? #duggary

    — Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) May 26, 2015

    (NOTE: The following contains some NSFW language)

    Some replies harkened back to the definition of “santorum” Savage helped conceive in 2003 after then-Sen. Rick Santorum, the Pennsylvania Republican and future GOP presidential candidate known for making anti-gay comments: “a frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”

    @fakedansavage the frothy mix of sanctimony and sexual hypocrisy

    — Hank Thompson (@Hank_Thompson) May 26, 2015

    @fakedansavage duggary: a frothy mix of molestation, church and bad hairdos

    — hüskermould (@huskermould) May 26, 2015

    Other possible definitions included:

    @fakedansavage #Duggary (n): an intensely hypocritical moral lecture. Example: a mega church leader preaching about humility.

    — Nate Severance (@NateSeverance) May 27, 2015

    However, a number of people protested that re-defining the family’s name would also harm his victims:

    @fakedansavage Why should his innocent sisters have to have their last name mean that? There are already words to describe his actions.

    — Renée Laporte (@BeyondTheCrayon) May 27, 2015

    @fakedansavage that seems like a terrible idea since that’s also the last name of his victims?

    — Muffin MacGuffin (@MuffMacGuff) May 27, 2015

    On Wednesday Savage retweeted one that he liked:

    @fakedansavage Covering up child abuse. Example: The Catholic Church leadership engaged in Duggary for decades.

    — Josh Kelly (@jcoltkelly) May 26, 2015

    Definitions for “duggar” had been spreading online even before Savage’s suggestion. On Sunday, the word “duggary” was added to the crowdsourced Urban Dictionary, where it was defined as “the act of fondling young girls while they sleep. To be a duggar.”

    Urban Dictionary lists as examples: “He was arrested for two counts of duggary. They really should put sick duggars like this on the sex offender registry.”

    Shortly before Savage’s tweet, Atlanta Journal-Constitution cartoonist Mike Luckovich posted his own definition:

    luckovich archive. http://www.ajc.com/gallery/news/opinion/best-luckovich-may-2015/gCSWH/

    Posted by Mike Luckovich AJC on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

    Savage also returned his focus to Santorum, who on Wednesday declared that he would seek the 2016 GOP presidential nomination:

    “Rick” (verb) “to remove with your tongue.”

    Welcome to the race, Rick Santorum.

    — Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) May 27, 2015

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  • Does Alma Mater Really Matter? Where MacArthur 'Genius' Fellows Went to College
    About 1.8 million students will graduate from American colleges and universities this month, but their future trajectories will not be determined by the name of the school printed on their diploma. What also matters is the student’s active engagement in the educational experience. As the title of Frank Bruni’s recent book proclaims, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be.” Bruni’s book offers examples of luminaries, including several MacArthur Fellows, who did not attend the upper echelon of colleges and universities, but who excelled because they fully exploited the opportunities available at the institutions they attended.

    Newly compiled data on the educational background of MacArthur Fellows corroborate Bruni’s basic claim.

    macarthur fellows

    MacArthur Fellows graduated from both private and public universities, from engineering schools, specialized colleges in art and music, and a school of theology. While the largest number of fellows from a single institution graduated from Harvard, others attended less selective institutions. One in five fellows graduated from institutions with acceptance rates of over 50 percent. Fifteen graduated from either historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) or tribal colleges and 44 from women’s colleges. Forty graduated from religiously affiliated institutions. Several fellows, such as organic chemist Phil Baran, began their studies at community colleges. The 918 MacArthur Fellowship recipients attended 315 diverse post-secondary institutions.


    And, there are a few MacArthur Fellows who did not attend college or did not complete an undergraduate degree. Writers Cormac McCarthy and Jonathan Lethem dropped out of college. Community organizer and youth activist Lateefah Simon went to Mills College after receiving the fellowship. Musician Dafnis Prieto and silversmith Ubaldo Vitali did not pursue higher education. While country doctor D. Holmes Morton did earn degrees in higher education, but he was a high school dropout who gained admission to college by taking correspondence courses while serving in the U.S. Merchant Marines and the U.S. Navy.


    Our data provides one clue as to the educational environments most conducive for creative minds to develop: a relatively high number of fellows graduated from liberal arts colleges. Liberal arts colleges are distinctively American institutions, typically small, that focus on undergraduate education. Less than two percent of U.S. college graduates graduated from a liberal arts college, but 14 percent of MacArthur Fellows did. Liberal arts colleges are a diverse group of institutions. Some are highly selective; others are not. The category includes women’s colleges like Barnard College, which has produced ten MacArthur Fellows, including Irene Winter, an art historian who studied anthropology as an undergraduate. The category also includes church-affiliated colleges like Siena College in Albany, New York, where writer William Kennedy graduated, and historically black colleges like Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where physician and scientist Donald Hopkins graduated. Liberal arts colleges share a common emphasis on close faculty-student interaction, quality teaching and a curriculum grounded in the liberal arts. (In our data, we identified liberal arts colleges using the Carnegie classification system.)

    By exploring why liberal arts colleges have produced a disproportionate share of MacArthur Fellows, we might gain insights into how to incubate exceptional creativity more broadly. It seems unlikely that liberal arts colleges admit more creative people than other colleges and universities. They rely on the same admissions criteria as other schools — standardized test scores, grade point average and teacher recommendations — and those traditional metrics probably exclude those with the most creative potential. It is more likely that private liberal arts colleges have produced more than a proportionate share of fellows because of the educational environment at those institutions. Something must be more likely to happen to a student at these institutions than at other institutions that allows creativity to flourish. I argue that something is a true liberal education.

    The prerequisites for the exceptional creativity that characterize MacArthur Fellows align closely with the definition of a liberal education. Creativity requires basic competency in a broad array of disciplines, advanced competency in one or more fields, and the ability to make connections across fields so as to pose new questions or formulate new answers. It requires exposure to diverse perspectives, methodologies, and concepts of evidence. A liberal education equips individuals with the ability to deal with complexity and change. A high priority is placed on the development of critical thinking skills and the abilities to distinguish opinions from facts and to discern good ideas from bad. Ellen Browning Scripps, for whom Scripps College is named, may have best summed up the goals of a liberal education: “The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.”

    Although many institutions espouse the values of a liberal education, liberal arts colleges adhere more closely to those values than other colleges and universities. Some characteristics of liberal arts colleges are unique to those institutions. The high faculty-student ratios support deep interactions between professors and students both inside and outside of the classroom. Small class sizes are conducive to discussion-based rather than lecture-based pedagogy. Tenure decisions are based on a professor’s skill as a teacher as much as on his or her research productivity. Without graduate students, full-time faculty teach introductory courses and undergraduates assist professors on research projects.

    Other practices are not unique to liberal arts colleges but are more prevalent on those campuses. Students at liberal arts colleges are more likely to live all four years in a campus residential hall. Not only do residence halls encourage engagement with other disciplines and fields outside of the formal classroom, they also bring together students from diverse backgrounds. An economics major might join his geology roommate on a weekend hike or have lunch with a faculty member from history. A student from a small midwestern town may live with a student from Beijing, China. These peer-to-peer interactions with persons from different disciplines or different cultural experiences have been found to stimulate creativity.

    At larger universities, it can be tricky to take courses outside one’s college or school and there may be little flexibility in the courses that satisfy general education requirements. Liberal arts colleges actively encourage coursework outside the major, in some instances capping major requirements to ensure that students have the space for interdisciplinary work. Universities tend to segregate students by domain, even in required courses, so that, for example, science majors take a writing class designed for, and only with, other science majors. At liberal arts colleges, by contrast, a physics student is very likely to take a course in Shakespeare or poetry with English majors and an English major would be exposed to biology or chemistry with science majors. Though most colleges and universities impose requirements on the distribution of courses taken, liberal arts colleges offer students considerable leeway in the selection of specific courses and activities. This freedom can help students develop the capacity to recognize and exploit situations in which their content knowledge or cognitive style differs from the norm in a field or discipline. An individual with an unusual skill set for a specific domain might be in the best position to come up with a truly new idea. Psychologist and MacArthur Fellow Howard Gardner and his collaborators have labeled this “fruitful asynchrony” and identify it as a precursor to exceptional creativity. Liberal arts colleges probably tolerate asynchrony more than other institutions.

    Creativity requires giving self-directed original thinkers space for the missteps and dead ends that are often prerequisites for groundbreaking work. That is the philosophy behind the MacArthur Fellows Program and its “no strings attached” grants of $625,000. It is also a value embedded in the curriculum at liberal arts colleges, but these “creativity-promoting” educational values are not unique to liberal arts colleges. Many private universities offer similar opportunities for cross-disciplinary study and engagement. Honors Colleges or Colleges of Arts and Science within public universities encourage both depth and breadth of study. For example, as an undergraduate at SUNY-Albany, MacArthur Fellow Sheila Nirenberg planned to be a writer, but she took a class in human genetics as an elective and that led her to switch to a psychology major. She eventually became a neuroscientist working on prosthetic eye devices. Even if the academic program does not permit taking courses in different fields, an ambitious student will have opportunities for exploration through co-curricular activities, talks and lectures, exhibitions, musical performances, and plays.

    A college education, like a savings bond, is an investment, but unlike other investments, a college education’s value depends on the active participation of the student. A student can construct a liberal education that promotes the development of creativity at almost any institution. It is incumbent on the student to move beyond his or her comfort zone, to make the most of the opportunities available; there will be many, regardless of the institution’s reputation. Undoubtedly, having a diploma from an elite college confers some advantages, but ultimately college is what you make of it. As the hundreds of MacArthur Fellows have shown, creativity flourishes at many types of institutions.

    Cecilia A. Conrad is Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program, at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She previously taught economics at and served as dean of Pomona College.

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  • Yahoo to face class action lawsuit
    Yahoo will face a US class action lawsuit for allegedly accessing the content of emails sent to its mail users from non-Yahoo Mail accounts.
  • Fitness tech firms in legal fight
    Jawbone sues rival California fitness technology firm Fitbit, accusing it of stealing commercially sensitive data.
  • Rick Santorum Uses His 404 Page To Skewer Hillary Clinton
    If you venture onto GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s website and click on a broken link, you’ll find a page that reads: “We’re sorry, but we couldn’t find that page. But we do have this search box, you know, ‘for convenience.’”

    santorum 404 page

    That’s a dig at Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s response when it was revealed that she used a private email server to conduct official government business while she was secretary of state. Clinton tried to shrug off the subsequent criticism, telling reporters that she used her private email because she thought it was more convenient.

    Like many of his fellow Republicans, Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, has seized on Clinton’s email issue to attack her. Last month, Santorum’s super PAC, Patriot Voices, released an ad in which the narrator says Clinton “placed America in even greater peril in an already-dangerous world.”

    The ad goes on to question Clinton’s leadership ability.

    “If Hillary Clinton has created this type of disaster as our secretary of state, how could we ever feel safe with her as our commander-in-chief?” the ad said.

    Santorum, who announced on Wednesday that he’s running for president for a second time, is one of many candidates to develop a creative 404 page for voters navigating campaign websites.

    Clinton herself has one featuring an old picture of her, former President Bill Clinton and their daughter Chelsea posing with Donald Duck. “Oops, that link wasn’t what it was quacked up to be,” the page reads.

    For his 404 page, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warns visitors of a “FUMBLE!” and invites them to watch a video of him coaching his son’s football team.

    And perhaps most memorably, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) filmed a short video that appears on his website, telling lost visitors to “scoot down to the bottom of the page” to see the website menu and “find your way home where you should be.”

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  • Artist Richard Prince Sells Instagram Photos That Aren't His For $90K
    Did you know someone could resell your Instagram pictures for $90,000?

    Richard Prince, an established artist who plays with authorship and appropriation, made waves at the Frieze Art Fair a couple of weeks ago with his Instagram paintings.

    Prince took screenshots of gorgeous Instagram pictures uploaded by models, celebrities and artists, and added creepy comments underneath, like, “Enjoyed the ride today. Let’s do it again. Richard.” Then he printed the images on canvas. Last fall, he exhibited them at the Gagosian Gallery, where they sold for $90,000 each.

    He took photos of Sky Ferreira, Pamela Anderson and porn stars, as well as Doe Deere, the CEO of Lime Crime. Last week, she Instagrammed a picture from the Frieze exhibition.

    You’d think the original Instagrammers could sue Prince for copyright infringement. But because Prince edited the photos to include his own comments, the works count as original pieces of art.

    Not everybody agrees Prince’s appropriation is artistically valid. Los Angeles-based artist Audrey Wollen, whose reinterpretation of Diego Velázquez’s “The Rokeby Venus” was reprinted, told i-D last fall that she was “really angry” he’d taken her work.

    “What Prince is doing is colonising and profiting off a territory of the internet that was created by a community of young girls,” she told the outlet.

    A critic at ArtNet laid into Prince after the Gagosian show too, writing that it had “thin offerings for anyone who is in possession of a brain.”

    Some artists, though, appreciate the exposure. Stacy Leigh, whose photo series of sex dolls was featured on The Huffington Post last week, commented on Instagram that Prince “knows a good thing when he see’s it” [sic].

    Prince had reposted one of her images on his Instagram, which has since been taken down. When another user asked if he printed her image for the exhibition, Leigh replied, “I wish he would!!! I would be honored.”

    Missy Suicide, the founder of pinup girl website Suicide Girls, had a photo taken of the site’s main Instagram account, as well as those of her models.

    “I’m not holding a grudge,” she told The Huffington Post. In fact, she noted that it seemed natural Prince was drawn to the Suicide Girls, which has 3 million Instagram followers. “Our girls’ portraits are the most compelling on Instagram, so of course he found ours,” she said.

    Nor is she critical of his work. “He’s starting a conversation about what we put out there in the public, and it’s definitely an interesting conversation to start having,” she said. Missy’s just surprised people paid $90,000 for the images.

    To bring his work down to a more affordable price point, Suicide Girls is turning the reproduction tables back on Prince by reproducing and selling their own reproductions of his reproductions. The profits will be donated to charity.

    “We’re just happy to make his art accessible to the kinds of people that he’s featuring,” she said. Ironically, the Gagosian press release warns that “All images are subject to copyright.”

    The Gagosian Gallery and Richard Prince did not respond to requests for comment.

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  • VIDEO: Could tech find your lost property?
    Kate Russell tests a tracking device to see if it can find her lost property
  • VIDEO: App gives rewards for snapped brands
    A new app offers rewards to customers who take photos of company brands inside and outside of their home.
  • The NSA's Technotyranny: One Nation Under Surveillance
    We now have a fourth branch of government.

    As I document in my new book “Battlefield America: The War on the American People,” this fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.

    You might know this branch of government as “surveillance”, but I prefer “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.

    Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.

    The police state is about to pass off the baton to the surveillance state.

    Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.

    This is about to be the new face of policing in America.

    The National Security Agency (NSA) has been a perfect red herring, distracting us from the government’s broader, technology-driven campaign to render us helpless in the face of its prying eyes.

    Indeed, just about every branch of the government — from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between — now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. And of course that doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine.

    Despite the fact that its data snooping has been shown to be ineffective at detecting, let alone stopping, any actual terror attacks, the NSA continues to operate largely in secret, carrying out warrantless mass surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans’ phone calls, emails, text messages and the like, beyond the scrutiny of most of Congress and the taxpayers who are forced to fund its multi-billion dollar secret black ops budget.

    Yet how do you reform an agency that operates outside of the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution?

    It’s a divisive issue that forces all of us — cynics, idealists, politicians and realists alike — to grapple with a deeply unsatisfactory and dubious political “solution” to a problem that operates beyond the reach of voters and politicians: how do you trust a government that lies, cheats, steals, sidesteps the law, and then absolves itself of wrongdoing to actually obey the law?

    As long as the government is allowed to make a mockery of the law–be it the Constitution or any other law intended to limit its reach and curtail its activities–and is permitted to operate behind closed doors, relaying on secret courts, secret budgets and secret interpretations of the laws of the land, there will be no reform.

    Presidents, politicians, and court rulings have come and gone over the course of the NSA’s 60-year history, but none of them have done much to put an end to the NSA’s “technotyranny.”

    What we have failed to truly comprehend is that the NSA is merely one small part of a shadowy permanent government comprised of unelected bureaucrats who march in lockstep with profit-driven corporations that actually run Washington, DC, and work to keep us under surveillance and, thus, under control. For example, Google openly works with the NSA, Amazon has built a massive $600 million intelligence database for the CIA and the telecommunications industry is making a fat profit by spying on us for the government.

    In other words, Corporate America is making a hefty profit by aiding and abetting the government in its domestic surveillance efforts. Conveniently, as the Intercept recently revealed, many of the NSA’s loudest defenders have financial ties to NSA contractors.

    Thus, if this secret regime not only exists but thrives, it is because we have allowed it through our ignorance, apathy and naïve trust in politicians who take their orders from Corporate America rather than the Constitution.

    If this shadow government persists, it is because we have yet to get outraged enough to push back against its power grabs and put an end to its high-handed tactics.

    And if this unelected bureaucracy succeeds in trampling underfoot our last vestiges of privacy and freedom, it will be because we let ourselves be fooled into believing that politics matters, that voting makes a difference, that politicians actually represent the citizenry, that the courts care about justice, and that everything that is being done is in our best interests.

    In other words, it doesn’t matter who occupies the White House: the secret government with its secret agencies, secret budgets and secret programs won’t change. It will simply continue to operate in secret until some whistleblower comes along to momentarily pull back the curtain and we dutifully –but fleetingly –play the part of the outraged public, demanding accountability and rattling our cages, all the while bringing about little real reform.

    Thus, the lesson of the NSA and its vast network of domestic spy partners is simply this: once you allow the government to start breaking the law, no matter how seemingly justifiable the reason, you relinquish the contract between you and the government which establishes that the government works for and obeys you, the citizen — the employer — the master.

    Once the government starts operating outside the law, answerable to no one but itself, there’s no way to rein it back in, short of revolution. And by revolution, I mean doing away with the entire structure, because the corruption and lawlessness have become that pervasive.

    — 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.

  • Millennials Are The Least Religious Generation Yet, And Here's The Surprising Reason Why
    A large body of research shows that Millennials are significantly less religious than previous generations of young Americans. But as to whether the lack of religion seen in today’s Gen Y’ers (born between 1980 and the mid-1990’s) is transient or lasting, scientists aren’t sure.

    But now a new review of surveys of more than 11 million adolescents, conducted over the course of almost 50 years, suggests that the religion divide between Millennials and their predecessors is a true generational one. According to the data, Millenials are much less interested in organized religion — and also less interested in spirituality in general.

    “Unlike previous studies, ours is able to show that Millennials’ lower religious involvement is due to cultural change, not to Millennials being young and unsettled,” Dr. Jean Twenge, a psychologist at San Diego State University and of the researchers, said in a written statement.

    Twenge is referring to studies like a 2010 Pew survey — which suggested that people may consider religion to be more important as they get older — and a 2014 survey that suggested Millennials do have a strong sense of faith in God, despite identifying less with organized religion.

    Religion’s decline. For the new study, the researchers reviewed four surveys conducted between 1966 to 2014 and involving 11.2 million American adolescents between the ages of 13 to 18. They found that Millennials were less likely to attend services, less likely to say religion was important in their lives, and less approving of religious organizations than Boomers and Gen X’ers were at the same age.

    Millennials “were also less likely to describe themselves as spiritual, suggesting that religion has not been replaced by spirituality,” Twenge told The Huffington Post in an email.

    The decline in religiosity was found to be greater among young women than young men. The decline was also found to be greater among Whites than Blacks, and among Northeasterners than Southerners.

    A cultural shift. What explains the religious declines? Twenge believes the changes may reflect a growing emphasis on individualism in U.S. culture.

    “We found that religious involvement was low when individualism was high,” she said in the email. “Individualism is a cultural system that places more emphasis on the self and less on social rules. Individualism can conflict with religion, especially as religion usually involves following certain rules and being part of a group.”

    As for whether the decline is a good thing or a bad thing, she said “I’d rather leave it up to others to decide.”

    Whatever the reason, there’s no doubt “this is a time of dramatic change in the religious landscape of the United States,” as the researchers wrote in a paper describing the research, which was published online on May 11 in the journal PLOS ONE.

    — 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.

  • Spies, Lies and Politics in Berlin


    BERLIN — What to do with a party that is anti-American, sympathizes with Vladimir Putin’s Russia, wants Germany out of NATO — and whose present members started their careers in the ruling party of communist East Germany? The German answer: Give it leadership of the Parliamentary Control Committee, which oversees the work of the secret services.

    While the Bundestag is wrestling with the implications of the most recent spy scandal, the ex-Communist Left Party (Die Linke) has access to the secrets of Germany’s three intelligence agencies: the domestic intelligence service (Verfassungsschutz), whose spying on Germans until recently focused also on Left Party parliamentarians; the military counterintelligence service (MAD); and the foreign intelligence agency (BND).

    Now the Left Party’s André Hahn, chair of the PCC, has been indirectly accused of leaking secret documents to the media. In return, he has hinted that the documents were leaked directly by the agencies themselves. Welcome to a country where questions of national security are routinely used as ammunition in political squabbles. Welcome to a political class that still cannot understand why American and British intelligence services might deem it necessary to spy on them now and again, if only to find out who is telling what to whom.

    Scandalous Leaks vs. Scandalous Revelations

    The most disturbing aspect is: the Germans consider NSA spying or the cooperation between it and the BND scandalous, but not the fact that confidential information has been leaked. Nor did anyone cry foul when Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, in fact, used leaked intelligence material to lay a trap for Chancellor Angela Merkel: It appears that back in 2006, America’s National Security Agency asked the BND to check out two European companies, EADS (now Airbus) and its subsidiary Eurocopter.

    Nobody knows what the NSA was looking for — possibly attempts to subvert the sanctions against Iran. But Gabriel — who is also economics minister — lost no time in describing this as “industrial espionage.” He went on went on to say that he had asked her twice if she had evidence of economic espionage, and she said no.

    This seems unlikely. German companies have a sorry record of dealings with unsavory regimes, from the mullahs’ Tehran to Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad to Putin’s Moscow. If any more companies turn up (and, given the porous nature of the spy agencies, that could happen at any time), Merkel will stand accused of lying.

    It was, of course, no accident that Gabriel, a member of the SPD, chose to unleash his revelations a week before elections in Bremen, where his party stood to lose votes to Merkel’s CDU. But German media patted Gabriel on the back for his indiscretion, because he had found a chink in the iron chancellor’s armor.

    Nobody questioned his use of the term “industrial espionage” or the wisdom of using secret intelligence material to score points. Admittedly, Merkel was asking for it. When in the aftermath of Edward Snowden’s revelations it became clear that the NSA and Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters were spying on German politicianseven tapping Merkel’s cell phone — the chancellor publicly declared that “friends don’t spy on friends.” This was a stupid thing to say, as she must have known better. Shortly afterwards it turned out that the BND had tapped U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s cell phone — but only “inadvertently,” according to the official explanation. Yeah, right.

    Meanwhile, Merkel convened a meeting of Germany’s European partners to agree on a “No-Spy Treaty,” under which EU members — “friends” — would not spy on one another. This PR exercise — shortly before the last general election, incidentally — was a dig at the British, who of course were not going to sign any such agreement. All the while, however, the BND was supposedly spying on hundreds, possibly thousands of European Union institutions and officials at the behest of their friends at the NSA.

    A No-Spy Treaty is an inherently absurd proposition, as is the idea of “friendship” between nations. A husband might swear never to read his wife’s diary, but when jealousy strikes, his wife had better be sure her diary is well hidden. In the harsh world of international relations, you want to be sure that what your “friends” are telling you to your face is what they are saying behind closed doors. Trust, but verify.

    Riding the Tiger of German Anger

    Merkel could have said just that. She did not. She could have pointed out that the cooperation between the BND and the NSA is a valued part of our “friendship” with the U.S.. She did not. She could have stated that it is illegal for the BND to spy on German citizens at home, and that there is no evidence that the BND did that — and, in fact, there is a lot of evidence that the BND routinely refused such requests by the NSA. She did not. She could have explained that it is not illegal to spy on European institutions and businesses and why such espionage might be necessary. She did not. Instead, she tried to ride the tiger of German anger at the Americans and the “scandal” of cooperation with them; now, though the tiger will not eat her, it just might bite her. Serves her right.

    In discussions with American and British visitors, Germans like to point to the Nazi or Stasi past to explain their sensitivity when it comes to data collection. Nonsense. Every German regularly surrenders more information to the tax authorities and state registration office than a British or American person would deem acceptable. The Verfassungsschutz is the only spy agency in a Western democracy dedicated not only to tracking down real and present dangers to the state, but also to documenting “dangerous thoughts,” including those of parliamentarians.

    The problem with Germany is that part of its political class is politically immature. There is no discussion of concepts such as the national interest; the idea that there is not only a duty to control the security agencies but also to protect them is alien to most people. This is, potentially, much more dangerous than the possibility that the BND might have overstepped its remit now and 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.

  • CBS 'probably' in Apple TV deal
    The chief executive of CBS says the US TV network will ‘probably’ sign a deal with Apple TV.
  • After Meeting On Twitter, This Couple Is Live-Streaming Their Wedding On Periscope
    Bryanna Mazzella and Kyle Harris met three years ago on Twitter. So it’s only fitting that they’re incorporating relatives and loved ones into their upcoming nuptials through Twitter’s very own live-streaming service, Periscope.

    “We have a bunch of people in different countries and other states who can’t make it to the wedding, and we thought with all the live-streaming technology out now, it’s just a perfect way to let them be with us on our day,” Harris told HuffPost Live on Wednesday. “I just think it’s a great tool to have.”

    Having accumulated an online following, the couple can also use Periscope to invite fans from Twitter and Instagram to witness their vows at no cost.

    “Just to have our family and friends from other places to be able to be with us, at least just in spirit and vibe, is amazing for us,” said Mazzella.

    Watch HuffPost Live’s full conversation with Bryanna and Kyle above.

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

    — 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 Single Text Message Can Crash Your iPhone
    A single line of text, sent via text message, has the power to crash an iPhone.

    The bug, which popped up on Reddit Tuesday afternoon, can force a recipient’s phone to crash and reboot, or lock users out of the Messages app entirely. The string in question features characters in English, Arabic, Marathi and Chinese, leading Redditors to speculate the problem lies in the way iOS processes Unicode text for display in a notification banner.

    Here’s the message in question. Remember, with great power comes great responsibility, so don’t send this to anyone unless you’re willing to accept the consequences:

    effective. Power لُلُصّبُلُلصّبُررً ॣ ॣh ॣ ॣ 冗

    The Huffington Post was able to replicate the bug on Wednesday, successfully crashing an iPhone 6 via a text message sent by an iPhone 5s. Both devices were running iOS 8.3, Apple’s latest version of the software. The message also forced a reboot on an Apple Watch belonging to a HuffPost editor. While it’s unclear exactly what causes the glitch and therefore whether it’s “safe” to use on a friend, it appeared not to cause any lasting issues during these tests.

    iClarified reports the bug affects Jailbroken users as well, who have seen their phones forced into Safe Mode instead of the crash-and-reboot cycle that affects the rest.

    Some users have also reported getting locked out of Messages entirely, for which Cult of Mac suggests several workarounds, including responding to the original text message via Siri, and turning off Message notifications.

    In an email to the Huffington Post, an Apple spokesperson acknowledged the issue and said the company intends to fix it in an update.

    “We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters,” the spokesperson said, “and we will make a fix available in a software update”

    This story has been updated with a statement from Apple.

    — 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.

  • Stalking Your Friends on Facebook Messenger Just Became (Alarmingly) Easier
    Full Disclosure: I will be starting an internship at Facebook on an unrelated team in June of 2015.

    When I came to college Facebook Messenger became an integral part of my digital life. I quickly found that it was the easiest way to keep in touch with old high school friends, contact people I had just met, organize impromptu poker games with people I hardly knew, and everything in between. However, I didn’t realize how much data about me Messenger was revealing to the people I chatted with until last week when I began tinkering with my message history.

    As you may know, when you send a message from the Messenger app there is an option to send your location with it. What I realized was that almost every other message in my chats had a location attached to it, so I decided to have some fun with this data. I wrote a Chrome extension for the Facebook Messenger page that scrapes all this location data and plots it on a map. You can get this extension here and play around with it on your message data.

    A screenshot of the map the extension creates

    What I Found

    You may not believe that there are enough of these location tagged messages to provide truly invasive data on any one person, since they must be on mobile, with GPS on, and choose to share their location for it to be sent… right?

    What you should keep in mind is that the mobile app for Facebook Messenger defaults to sending a location with all messages.

    You can see this location data by clicking on individual messages in the mobile app to reveal a map of where they were sent from.
    You can tell if your location is being shared in a message if the little GPS icon next to the text-box is colored blue.

    Go ahead and see how many messages in your chats have locations attached. I’m guessing it’s a lot of them. And if this isn’t already starting to get a bit weird, the first thing I noticed when I started to write my code was that the latitude and longitude coordinates of the message locations have more than five decimal places of precision, making it possible to pinpoint the sender’s location to less than a meter.

    Coordinates scraped by my code for two of my friends

    Once the extension was written I naturally started seeing what kind of things I could discover about my Facebook friends.

    I am in a pretty active group chat with some of my brother’s friends (who I am friends with on Facebook but don’t know too well). They are all fairly active on the chat, posting once a day or more.

    Let’s pick on the one who goes to Stanford. By simply looking at the cluster of messages sent late at night you can tell exactly where his dorm is, and in fact, approximately where his room is located in that dorm.

    Where my acquaintance who goes to Stanford sleeps

    Furthermore, by gathering a couple weeks’ worth of chat data on the map and looking at the location clusters you can even figure out his weekly schedule. With this you can predict exactly which building he would be in at a given time.

    The location history data over the course of a few weeks for my Stanford acquaintance

    In fact, I found that I could infer a schedule for almost everyone in this chat as well as the other active chats I am in.

    Highlighted the important location clusters for another Facebook friend who is a student at UW

    I found that I could even do this for people who I am not Facebook friends with. I am currently in a large active chat to organize poker games with some fellow students, many of whom I am not Facebook friends with. However, I can still track their locations extremely accurately from the messages they send the group.

    The detailed location history of someone I am not friends with on Facebook

    You can now see the fun (and slightly creepy) things this data allows you to do. But wait there’s more! One day when I was chatting frequently with a friend of mine (@tomasreimers) the map allowed me to track his hour by hour locations. At the end of that day the location history on the map closely matched the location history collected by his phone.

    Additionally, this map aggregates the location data from all the messages that I send. For the days I was frequently on messenger (posting to different conversations every hour or so), my location history on this map lined up very closely with my phone’s location history.

    My scraped messenger location history for a certain active day

    My Android phone’s location history for that same day

    This means that if a few people who I am chatting with separately collude and send each other the locations I share with them, they would be able to track me very accurately without me ever knowing.

    If you want to map your friends’ locations to see for yourself how fun (and creepy) this data is you can download the extension for Chrome here. The code is also available and open source on Github.

    For those of you already wanting out here is a great guide on how to ensure you don’t send your locations from the Messenger app.

    What’s the Problem?

    Let me reiterate that I still find Facebook Messenger extremely useful and use it religiously, albeit with location sharing now turned off. This may lead you to wonder if there really is a problem here, since there is always option to not share your exact coordinates with messages. However, everyone I have shown this extension to has been anywhere from surprised to appalled that this much of their very personal data is online for their friends (and even complete strangers) to access. So it is seems that there is an issue.

    Let’s start at the root of the problem: Why do so many people give up their location data so readily on Messenger?

    The main problem is that every time you open your phone and send a single message it’s so easy to forget about your location data being attached to it. Furthermore, it seems so harmless to attach a location with a single message, but the problem is over time the information from these messages adds up.

    Both of these issues in some way stem from the fact that locations are not only included by default, but also are rather subtly placed in the UI. The power of defaults on human behavior is well documented in psychology and suggests that few people will put in the effort to deviate from the default action of sharing. Furthermore, because there are no readily visible consequences to sharing your location, users are never incentivized to devote attention to what this default of sharing is actually revealing about them.

    I decided to write this extension, because we are constantly being told how we are losing privacy with the increasing digitization of our lives, however the consequences never seem tangible. With this code you can see for yourself the potentially invasive usage of the information you share, and decide for yourself if this is something you should worry about.

    This post originally appeared on Medium.

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  • BMX racers benefit from drone tech
    Great Britain Cycling Team’s BMX squad is being given access to a technology developed by defence firm BAE Systems to aid its Olympics training.
  • Robots adapt to damage in seconds
    Researchers develop robots that adapt to damage in less than a minute, instead of the many hours needed by traditional self-learning systems.
  • The government's data law – an attack on encryption?
    Prepare for another long battle over proposed data monitoring powers
  • Meet 12 Women In STEM Who Just Broke The Glass Ceiling
    Science, technology, engineering and math have long been male-dominated fields. Though barriers still exist, female scientists are making inroads into the old boys’ club more than ever before.

    As more women assume positions of power in the STEM world, scientists hope more women may be encouraged to pursue STEM careers of their own.

    “There were very few senior women ahead on the path, and mentoring opportunities were rare, but just knowing those few women were successes gave me hope,” Dr. C. Megan Urry, professor of physics and astronomy at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., told The Huffington Post about her own experience as a young scientist. “Although people may be tired of the word ‘role model’ the fact is, role models are incredibly important.”

    To acknowledge recent achievements of female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians — and in conjunction with its 10th anniversary — HuffPost has assembled a list of 12 women who were pioneers in their fields in the past decade:

    1. In 2006, Dr. Frances Allen, an American computer scientist, became the first woman to win the A.M. Turing Award, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of computing.”

    frances allen turing

    2. From 2008 to 2010, Irish astrophysicist Dr. Jocelyn Bell Burnell served as the first female president of the Institute of Physics, a non-profit organization with a membership of over 50,000 scientists “working together to advance physics education, research and application.”

    jocelyn bell burnell

    3-6. Women scored big in the Nobel Prizes of 2009 (see slideshow below). With four women taking home prizes in the sciences, it was the first year when more than one woman was selected as a science laureate. Among them, political scientist Dr. Elinor Ostrom became the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.

    7. In 2010, Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi, an American chemist, became the first woman to win the prestigious MIT-Lemelson Prize, a $500,000 award that honors mid-career inventors.

    carolyn bertozzi

    8. In 2012, pilot and astronaut Liu Yang became the first Chinese woman in space.

    liu yang

    9. In 2014, Italian physicist Dr. Fabiola Gianotti was selected as the next (and first female) director-general of CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). She will take up the position in 2016.

    fabiola gianotti

    10. In 2014, Megan Smith, an “entrepreneur, engineer, and tech evangelist,” was named as the first female chief technology officer of the U.S.

    megan smith chief technology officer

    11. In 2014, Iranian mathematicianMaryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal, often referred to as the “Nobel Prize of math.”

    maryam mirzakhani

    12. In 2014, Samantha Cristoforetti, a European Space Agency astronaut, became the first Italian woman in space.

    samantha cristoforetti

    — 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.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Hyundai offers Google Android in cars
    South Korea’s Hyundai becomes the first carmaker to offer Google’s Android Auto system in its Sonata model.
  • Android app age ratings grow up
    Why Google’s revamping its Android ratings
  • Penn State Boots Frat For Nude Facebook Photos Promoting 'Degradation Of Women'
    Penn State University on Tuesday booted the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity from campus for at least three years after an investigation into the distribution of nude photos of unconscious women, hazing and harassment.

    School administrators overruled the student-led Interfraternity Council and imposed the suspension after finding evidence fraternity brothers used drugs, tolerated hazing of new members, posted humiliating photos of members and non-members, shared pornographic pictures of women, and used “demeaning language to describe females.”

    “The investigative report makes clear that some members of the KDR chapter promoted a culture of harassing behavior and degradation of women,” Damon Sims, vice president for student affairs, said in a statement. “These are not acceptable actions within a student organization that is recognized and supported by Penn State. We must respond accordingly, and we hope by doing so it is clearly understood that our University will not tolerate such actions.”

    The frat initially came under scrutiny after a brother tipped police in January to two private Facebook pages, where members for more than a year discussed drug sales and sexual conquests, shared photos of strippers and passed-out naked women, and chatted about hazing. The university’s investigation confirmed members of the fraternity were aware of the Facebook accounts, and uncovered more bad behavior that included public harassment of members and non-members.

    State College Police Lt. Keith Robb told HuffPost on Tuesday that the investigation of the Facebook pages remains unfinished.

    The university announced its decision after the KDR national office erroneously said its Penn State chapter would not be removed from campus on the Intrafraternity Council’s recommendation. The council had recommended allowing the frat to remain on campus with educational programs and new local advisory board members.

    The council said in a May 13 document that brothers “were aware of the expectation that the new members publish, on a regular basis, a document titled ‘Stall Stories’ where active members and, in some instances, unaffiliated students were harassed and degraded in flyers left in public view throughout the chapter house.”

    The university said Tuesday that its probe found that pledges were forced into boxing matches, and had to “plank with bottle caps on their elbows,” pressing the caps into their skin with their body weight. “Pledges also were made to create stories containing pornographic images and a ‘sex position of the day’; members regularly posted embarrassing photos of women; used demeaning language to describe females; and cultivated a persistent climate of humiliation for several females,” Penn State said.

    KDR’s national office said in March that it would expel misbehaving members, implement new education programs and join a consortium of national organizations that maintain a hazing hotline.

    The frat didn’t return request for comment after Penn State announced it was kicking KDR off campus.

    Read the May 13 letter from the Penn State IFC to Kappa Delta Rho:

    KDR IFC Executive Board Decision Letter-2 by Tyler Kingkade

    Read the May 26 letter from Penn State administrators to the IFC:

    KDR Response May 26, 2015 by Tyler Kingkade

    — 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.

  • Hawaii Governor Announces Support For Controversial Telescope
    Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced his support for building the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea on Tuesday, saying the project has the right to proceed.

    “I do not doubt that they did more than any previous telescope project to be a good neighbor,” he said during a press conference at the Capitol.

    Protests against the planned observatory on Mauna Kea, which is considered a sacred mountain by many Native Hawaiians, forced construction to come to a standstill last month after dozens of people were arrested blocking construction vehicles.

    While he said the TMT has the right to proceed, Ige announced that he is asking the University of Hawaii to legally promise that this is the last area on Mauna Kea where a telescope could be built, as well as decommission at least one-fourth of the telescopes on the mountain by the time the TMT is built.

    He will create a new Mauna Kea Cultural Council to advise the state Department of Land and Natural Resources and review all leases and lease renewals. He said support for the TMT will not be a prerequisite for serving on the council.

    Ige also wants UH to return over 10,000 acres to the DLNR that aren’t being used for the observatories, and to substantially reduce its lease extension request.

    “The University of Hawaii must do a better job in its stewardship of the mountain,” he said, adding that the state has in many ways failed Mauna Kea.

    He said the university must be forthright in accepting the need to do a better job, as well as re-starting the environmental impact assessment for its application for a lease extension, including a full cultural impact analysis.

    The governor said that the pursuit of science on the mountain has gotten in the way of the cultural experience, and the state must restore the balance.

    “From my own personal experience on the mountain, with all the noise and crowding, I could not feel the same feeling that I felt on the summit 20 years ago,” Ige said of his recent visit to Mauna Kea.

    — 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.

  • SpaceX cleared for military launches
    The US Air Force clears billionaire Elon Musk’s SpaceX to launch military and spy satellites.
  • Promoting WASH Through Traditional Leaders and Technology

    You always bring a gift when meeting with the traditional leaders or “chiefs” in Zambia. Typically the chiefs request foodstuffs for their people, things like cooking oil or maize. Occasionally a chief may request something different, such as a blanket. Chiefs in rural Zambia distribute these items among the poorer families in their tribes. There is a deep sense of responsibility among the chiefs for their people, and a strong sense of pride that chiefs feel as the quality of life of their people improves.

    When we first started working in the WASH sector in Zambia, we were using mobile phones and cloud-based data aggregation to engage government workers. We worked through community volunteers and district environmental health technicians. Toilets were built and hand-washing stations were added as the technology empowered government employees to better understand and respond to the sanitation needs of the people under their responsibility. Little did we know, we had only scratched the surface.


    “Why don’t we work with traditional leaders in this program?” We don’t remember who on the team asked the question, but it was likely a single voice for an idea that had been growing among the collective group. Rural Zambia is a very hierarchical society, and status matters. To operate in rural Zambia, health programs must get the blessing of the chiefs to operate in communities. We needed to understand how best to engage chiefs in order to achieve better outcomes in sanitation: more toilets being constructed and used in village settings.

    Our first chiefdom orientation was with Chief Mumbwa, a man who had been driving a sanitation agenda among his constituents for years and was known for traveling house-to-house asking to inspect latrines. Chief Mumbwa lives humbly, as do most traditional leaders in Zambia, in a grass and mud hut with a thatched roof without power, but his presence commands attention and respect of the greatest world leaders. In our first chiefdom orientation we brought headmen from each village in the Mumbwa Chiefdom together and shared real-time sanitation data on their villages. They learned how many households each village had, how many of those households had latrines, and how many of those latrines were considered adequate (having a smooth cleanable floor, a lid to cover the hole to prevent flies from getting in and out, and a hand-washing station with soap or ash). The headmen looked at the data, looked each other in the eye, and talked with Chief Mumbwa. Empowered with knowledge of their own villages and those of their peers, a competition to become “open defecation free” was hatched. The village headmen wanted to be the first in Mumbwa Chiefdom to have open defecation free villages. And the chief made it clear that the village headmen would be held accountable if the chiefdom was not open defecation free within the next few months. The social pressure and level of engagement was remarkable.



    The more chiefdom orientations we completed, the more a theme emerged: Chiefs wanted their chiefdoms to be open defecation free, and the data we were providing them was the empowering catalyst they needed to take action. We continued to work with the Government of the Republic of Zambia to put data at the fingertips of the chiefs using automated data feedback to a tablet computer. Now, chiefs throughout rural Zambia can push a button on a tablet and see how well their chiefdom is doing in WASH compared to the previous few months, and also compared to other chiefdoms in the area. Engaging chiefs in WASH activities was facilitated by the use of modern communications and revitalized our WASH efforts. Celebrating with the chiefs when their chiefdoms became open defecation free was just one of the perks of getting them engaged.

    The success has been huge, both for people in rural villages and also in geographic scope. A few weeks ago, we celebrated open defecation free status for Chiengi District, one of the most remote districts in Zambia, tucked up along the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Chiengi District is the first district in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve such a status. And more districts throughout Zambia are following suit, ready to join Chiengi soon in being open defecation free.

    Learn more about Akros at www.akros.com or follow them on Facebook.

    This blog post is part of the “WASH and the MDGs: The Ripple Effect” blog series, in partnership with WASH Advocates, addressing the importance of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to global development. To see all the other posts in the series, click here. To learn more about WASH, visit the WASH Advocates website, and for more information about the Millennium Development Goals, click 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.

  • WTF! Merriam-Webster Adds A Bunch Of Internet Slang To Dictionary
    Emoji (noun):

    Merriam-Webster just added “emoji,” “meme,” “WTF” and “clickbait” to the dictionary among 1,700 new words, meaning that the Internet has succeeded in ruining the English language.

    JK LOL

    In a blog post, Merriam-Webster noted that some of the new words are “kind of goofy” and some come from the “not-so-natural world,” including “net neutrality,” “dark money,” “click fraud,” “photobomb” and “NSFW.” We’ll take just a little credit: The entry for “jegging” includes a citation from a HuffPost article, and another citation for “clickbait” refers to “those seductive Huffington Post-esque headlines.”


    The dictionary site reports that its editors identify new words by spending an hour or two each day reading newly published material, online and otherwise, and checking for new and common word usage.

    You can read more about new words you’ve probably never heard, like “eggcorn,” by clicking here, or check out some of the best additions below, as compiled by Time magazine:

    WTF (abbrev.)
    Definition: what the f—, used especially to express or describe outraged surprise, recklessness, confusion or bemusement.

    eggcorn (n.)
    Definition: a word or phrase that sounds like and is mistakenly used in a seemingly logical or plausible way for another word or phrase either on its own or as part of a set expression.

    colossal squid (n.)
    Definition: an extremely large squid occurring in deep waters of the Southern Ocean that is the largest known living invertebrate.

    sharing economy (n.)
    Definition: economic activity that involves individuals buying or selling usually temporary access to goods or services, especially as arranged through an online company or organization.

    vocal fry (n.)
    Definition: a vocal effect produced by very slow vibration of the vocal cords and characterized by a creaking sound and low pitch.

    — 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.

  • Carly Fiorina Calls The Chinese Unimaginative Idea Thieves
    GOP presidential contender Carly Fiorina tells a reporter in a video that surfaced Tuesday that Americans shouldn’t fear competition with China because its people lack creativity.

    Fiorina, while speaking out against Common Core education standards with the Iowa politics blogger Caffeinated Thoughts in January, said the policy isn’t the answer to concerns that American students are lagging behind China’s.

    “I’ve been doing business in China for decades, and I will tell you that yeah, the Chinese can take a test, but what they can’t do is innovate,” said Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO. “They’re not terribly imaginative. They’re not entrepreneurial. They don’t innovate. That’s why they’re stealing our intellectual property.”

    The video was mostly unnoticed until Tuesday, when Buzzfeed shared it, along with an excerpt from Fiorina’s 2015 book, Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey, in which she makes similar comments about the Chinese.

    Proponents of Common Core argue that we must compete with the Chinese in subjects like math and science. I agree that we must compete, but we will not win by becoming more centralized and standardized in our education methods. Although the Chinese are a gifted people, innovation and entrepreneurship are not their strong suits. Their society, as well as their educational system, is too homogenized and controlled to encourage imagination and risk taking. Americans excel at such things , and we must continue to encourage them. A centralized bureaucracy in Washington shouldn’t be telling teachers how to teach or students how to learn. Our states have been described as “laboratories of democracy.” They are also laboratories of innovation.

    — 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.

  • An Honest Apple-Fanboy Review of the Apple Watch

    I’m a certified Apple Fanboy through and through, but at the same time I’m not afraid to be honest and frank when it comes to the Silicon Valley superpower.

    I recently received my Apple Watch, a purchase I have been anxiously awaiting since fall, and it’s great, but there’s definitely room for improvement. Other than the fact it took so long to get here (I pre-ordered on the first day and received my watch last week), I have had plenty of time to get to know the watch, and it’s time to set the record straight.

    The Facts

    It’s important to point out what I’m working with. I ordered the 42 mm Apple Watch (Stainless Steel) with the Milanese Loop band.

    Also worth noting, this isn’t my first smartwatch. I say that because many of the reviews I’ve seen for the Apple Watch seem to harp on consequences of wearables overall. I won’t be complaining about the number of notifications on my wrist, because that’s something that I realized needed to be adjusted.

    The Good

    There’s a lot of good. The battery life is something worth noting. While I came from a Pebble Steel with around four days battery life, it was obvious this would be different. With estimates of “one day,” I was scared my typical heavy-use wouldn’t match up. Shockingly, I’ve been impressed. Each day, when I get to bed, my watch has around 40 percent battery. It still needs to be charged every night, but I’m not worried about it dying beforehand and I’m certain I could put it in power reserve and have it last for a weekend trip if needed.

    The arm-raising motion to view the watch works effortlessly and with little error, which is a nice added convenience. The notifications aren’t too distracting (like those on the Pebble were), but are visible enough to act as an alert. The haptic notifications (if turned on) are noticeable both by sound and touch, but not distracting in an office setting. Another landmark feature is the call quality. I now answer short-non-professional phone calls exclusively from my watch, and have had no problems with quality of call, and I’ve been told I sound crystal clear. This has probably been the best part.

    The Milanese loop band looks amazing. The magnetic clasp is truly revolutionary and doesn’t pinch skin whatsoever. That’s not to say the band is perfect… (see below)

    And Apple Pay is just as awkward as you would imagine, but it really works and it’s quite convenient.

    The Bad

    Charging is a little awkward. The cord is way too long, which I suppose is better than it being too short. Having a Milanese loop band makes charging annoying, because you know, magnetic charger and lots of metal is always fun. There doesn’t seem to be a good position to charge the watch on either. Either it’s laying on it’s side, the band gets in the way of the charger if it’s laying flat, or it’s on it’s face. I’m gonna have to buy one of those dock’s, but it would have been great if it came with something.

    Speaking of the Milanese loop, it scratches really easily. It looks amazing, but the magnetic clasp had scratches after no noticeable collisions.

    The Activity app. There’s definitely some promise in here, but it’s just not accurate enough to be effective. I really appreciate the ‘stand’ metric and reminders to do so, especially during a long day or work or commute when stretching would certainly help. The ‘move’ metric is extremely flawed, and on three separate occasions I have reached my goal while in the car or on a train. I haven’t seen much difference between ‘move’ and ‘exercise.’ I’ve reached my ‘exercise’ goal each day so far, but haven’t done anything other than a moderate walk to the office.

    The Ugly
    Siri, girl, what’s up? Her and I are pretty good friends and all, but she has me feeling some kind a way on this watch. Her big excuse is that she couldn’t find Internet connection on the Watch or my iPhone, yet whatever command (“Call Dad,” “Directions to Work,” “Bring me to Taco Bell”) works masterfully when dictated to my phone.


    And then there’s Maps. Boy, was I excited about maps. It was one of the main selling points when I bought my watch, that I would have turn-by-turn directions at the level of my steering wheel. In theory it was amazing, in execution it’s sort of terrible. First, the integration with Siri, like I said before is horrible. There’s also this strange thing where the directions just stop out of no where (both on my phone and watch), with no error message or anything. And lastly, there are haptic notifications but there isn’t always a logic to them. Sometimes they happen 2 miles before a turn, sometimes they happen .5 miles before a turn, sometimes they happen after a turn, or not at all. It’s simply not a safe or viable GPS replacement.

    The Bottom Line:
    At the end of the day I love my Apple Watch. It’s already become an integral part of my day. I wouldn’t be so quick to recommend it to those outside of diehard fans, but with some touches it is certainly a force to be reckoned with. I can confidently use it for phone, messaging, Apple Pay, and glances-apps, but Siri and maps are holding it back from being a great product,

    — 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.

  • Hands On: iKlip Grip
    While IK Multimedia is perhaps better known for the audio software it creates, the past few years has seen the company growing more and more into the mobile accessory space. Products like the iRig, iRig Mic HD, and iLoud have given the company a reputation for creating products that are not only well built, but also easy to use. Most recently, the company has announced the launch of the iKlip Grip, a new multifunction product aimed towards mobile photographers.

  • Why I'll Never Feel Ashamed to Be Indian-American
    “Think of the starving children in India before you waste the food on your plate,” my friends’ mothers would say to them. This was in the 1960s in New York City, where I lived as a child. It was really hurtful and made me feel inferior. So did the taunts by the bullies about my being a “Hindoo” and “cow worshiper.” The only people who were treated worse than brown-skinned people were African Americans, who were called “Negros.”

    The United States has changed a lot over the decades. And as I got older, I outgrew this inferiority complex. But I had to work harder than others and think smarter. I had to focus on my strengths and advantages — which included the depth of my culture, strong family values, and understanding of the world. I knew I would not get the same opportunities as my friends did, so I had to be better.

    The taunts and negative attitudes made me stronger. They helped me develop a deeper sense of identity with India, the place of my birth. They brought me closer to my heritage and caused me to take pride in my roots. Most Indians who live abroad are also proud of their heritage; like me, they listen to Indian music, watch Bollywood films, savor Indian food, and maintain strong connections with family and friends back home.

    That’s why I was surprised to learn that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in Shanghai and Seoul that Indian expatriates are ashamed to have been born in India. This doesn’t reflect the reality.

    Modi is usually much more thoughtful and balanced, and I am sure that he knows better. Indeed, many of us of Indian origin see a lot of hope with him as the prime minister of India. After decades of incompetent government, endemic corruption, and being held back by the shackles of socialism and communism, India finally has a chance to reinvent itself. The hope is that he will lead this transformation — without dividing India further along ethnic and religious lines.

    What Indians — everywhere — have been ashamed of is India’s inept government. Its leaders have focused on enriching themselves at the cost of bettering the country. They ruled in the same way as the British did: by dividing and conquering based on region and religion.

    I know there are people who will disagree with me. Some Indian Americans go to extremes to disassociate themselves from their heritage, just as Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal does. Others still feel a sense of inferiority and focus on the negatives. So I don’t speak for everyone.

    I do know that the groups of Indians whom I socialize with and meet during my travels generally share my perspectives. They are usually loyal to the country to which they migrated but maintain their cultural identity. They benefit, even in their adopted homes, from the depth of Indian culture. They teach their heritage and values to their children.

    In many ways it is the second generation of Indian Americans who have the best of both worlds. In the United States we see them flourishing in almost every field, from the executive ranks of leading companies to the pinnacles of academia. You will find Indians in investment banks, at the helm of one in six Silicon Valley start-ups, in top positions in journalism, and in the most senior posts at the White House. We see young Indian-American faces everywhere, and they too carry with them the cultural values from India that they have assimilated and imbibed. You will often find them going back to India for vacation or to volunteer, in an effort to connect with their roots.

    An example is my son, Tarun Wadhwa, an entrepreneur working in the area of clean-water technology. As a second-generation immigrant, he connects deeply with his Indian roots. Despite having achieved success as a writer and researcher and founding a cybersecurity-technology company in Silicon Valley, he gave up all these pursuits to work toward bringing a plasma-based water-sanitization technology that was developed in Chile to India. He believed he could better the lives of hundreds of millions of people by providing them with inexpensive clean water. Growing up, he saw the toll that drinking contaminated water takes on the poor in India. He worked hard to convince industrialists such as India’s Ratan Tata, the United States’ Richard Merkin, and Mexico’s Ricardo Salinas to believe in his vision and invest in the Chilean company, AIC, so that it could get its technology into production.

    As parents, my wife and I are glad that our children are giving back to India and taking our ties forward. But what we are most grateful for is that the United States allows immigrants like us to be loyal Americans yet take great pride in who we are.

    — 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.

  • A New State of Mind in California
    California’s state of mind, as much as its magnificent landscape, has always loomed large in the global imagination. And just when many were beginning to believe that the future of the Golden State had passed it by, California is breaking new ground again on many fronts.

    California has long moved on from its clichés. We’ve gone from the hula hoop to the Hyperloop; from Midwestern migrants looking for opportunity in the sun to Latinos reaching for the middle class; from the military-industrial complex to the planet’s digital network platform. Gov. Jerry Brown, once maligned as Governor Moonbeam, is arguably the most grounded politician in America today, responsibly rising to meet the challenge of expectations diminished by natural and fiscal constraints.

    It is not so much each of these shifts on its own, but in their conjunction, that California is leading the way once again. These conjoined developments will redefine the California Dream and, in turn, widely impact how others approach their future.

    Here are the three areas of transformation that matter most:

    Climate change and governance.

    Brown, an early apostle of ecology whose past administrations have done much to clean up air pollution as well as boost fuel efficiency and energy-saving appliance standards, has his feet firmly planted in the state’s parched earth. Peering down the road with alarm, he sees “the shadow our future throws,” as his friend and mentor Ivan Illich once put it. Brown simply says of drought and climate change that “we have to see it as it is” and adapt accordingly.

    The fullness of time and the scarcity of water have matured Brown and his famous “era of limits” philosophy from the 1970s. By imposing mandatory limits on water use and announcing the most aggressive effort to cut carbon gas emissions in the country, Brown has busted the bubble of collective denial of everyone with a yard, a walnut orchard or an SUV who assumed boundless resources and the limitless capacity of nature to absorb the exhaust of industrialized desire.

    Desiccated reservoirs, frequent and fierce wildfires, defrosted mountain peaks and brown lawns are lodged now in our awareness, a jarring contrast to that iconic image of suburban sprawl with swimming pools Ronald Reagan once so proudly showed Mikhail Gorbachev on a visit to California.

    What is encouraging is that this shift in awareness was brought about by intelligent governance. Brown, the enfant terrible of the 1970s, has turned out to be the grown up in the room. Pronouncing that “fiscal responsibility is the predicate of democracy, not its enemy” he quickly balanced the budget, first through painful cuts and then a temporary tax increase. He further persuaded the public to approve the paradoxically named “Rainy Day Fund” as a reserve for fiscal emergencies. The governor’s hallmark disposition of frugality as the wise use of fiscal and natural resources is — for now — stamped on Sacramento.

    By imposing restraint on water use, greenhouse gas emissions and the budget, Brown has done the hardest — but most essential — thing in democratic political life: He has looked beyond the short-term horizon of immediate constituency pressures and the next election cycle to make tough decisions for the long-term good of the state.

    “Rising to meet diminished expectations checked by natural and fiscal constraints is the mark of responsible leadership.”

    What makes Brown stand out is that he has simply done what is necessary — a rare feat in the dysfunctional politics of today’s democracies where pandering to organized interests and kicking the can down the road is the norm. His tenure stewardship will be the benchmark for future leadership.

    A technological renaissance.

    In California, limits don’t stifle innovation but stimulate it. And California’s hi-tech community is the ready and able incubator and midwife to take up the challenge.

    In the same way Brown has taken on climate change through political regulation, Elon Musk has taken it on with technological innovation. His electric Tesla and ever-more durable batteries for storing energy chart the path toward the renewable energy infrastructure of the future.

    We all know about how Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat have transformed the way we communicate with each other. But what is most promising is the convergence of exponential technologies from artificial intelligence, 3-D manufacturing, infinite networks, the “Internet of things,” regenerative medicine and biogenetics being born and developed in California today.

    In Silicon Valley, Peter Diamandis and Ray Kurzweil have put it all together at their Singularity University. They grasp better than anyone how the convergence of this array of technologies can create entirely new possibilities of health, well-being and abundance.

    Craig Venter, the pioneering cartographer of the human genome, is combining the computing power and falling costs of Big Data analysis with biology at his labs in La Jolla in order to read and write genetic code.

    Fifteen years ago it cost $100 million to map a person’s genome; now it costs $1,500. By learning to read and write genetic code, Venter and his colleagues will one day be able to correct defective genes that cause disease, rapidly decipher viruses, manufacture vaccines and turn carbon emissions into fuel.

    “California has become like a gigantic Renaissance Florence for the knowledge and tech-driven economy shaping the whole world.”

    “Silicon Valley” is often used as the shorthand for labeling innovation in California. In truth, vibrant cross-pollination is happening across the state. California has become like a gigantic Renaissance Florence for the knowledge and tech-driven economy shaping the whole world.

    Tax policy and new constituencies.

    California will soon become the first minority majority state, with non-whites, mainly Latinos and Asians, outnumbering whites. In 2014, Latinos became the largest single ethnic group in the state, comprising 40 percent of the population.

    This new demographic reality will redefine the California Dream no less than the scarcity of water, the lifestyle changes dictated by climate change and the benefits of tech revolution.

    Above all, it will likely be felt in tax and spending policies. The Proposition 13 property tax revolt of 1978 still defines the fiscal framework of California. That revolt was sustained largely by an older, white middle class reasonably, at the time, seeking to protect their assets from a bloating state. The political constituency of California’s future, however — which is largely Latino, Asian and youthful — is seeking to build their assets through upward mobility.

    That changes the equation. For aspirational constituencies striving to reach the middle class the most important thing is an opportunity web and trampoline to boost their chances in life.

    “For aspirational constituencies striving to reach the middle class the most important thing is an opportunity web and trampoline to boost their chances in life.”

    Even though California has one of the most progressive tax structures in the nation, inequality is rising and dashing aspirational hopes. Something more is needed as USC Professor Edward Kleinbard has articulated and former assembly speaker, now senator, Bob Hertzberg, has sponsored in legislation: namely, a new philosophy of governance that focuses on the overall progressive outcome that can be achieved through modernizing the tax code and investing in infrastructure and public higher education — the key means of upward mobility. Such investments are inherently progressive in the distribution of their benefits and in the creation of new well-paying jobs.

    Investment requires adequate resources. California’s $2 trillion economy has shifted from being mainly agricultural and manufacturing in the 1950s and 1960s, when the framework of today’s tax system was set up, to one based on information and services, which now account for 80 percent of all economic activities in the state. Yet, the service economy in California is not taxed at all. If you buy a donut in a coffee shop, you pay a sales tax on goods. But if you buy a legal, financial or entertainment service you are not taxed.

    To achieve a future for the new constituencies as promising as California’s past. A tax system that responds to the aspirations of the new constituencies must sensibly be based on this real economy of the 21st century while ensuring that new revenue is invested in strengthening the ladder of mobility. That means, as Hertzberg has proposed based on the original recommendations of the Think Long Committee for California, rebalancing the fiscal formula by reducing income taxes across the board in a way that favors the middle class and small entrepreneurs while extending a sales tax on services.

    In April, the state’s Board of Equalization issued a report that concluded taxing California’s service sector would generate as much as $122 billion in revenues, an amount greater than the entire general fund budget at present. After exempting sizable key areas such as education, health care and small businesses from any new tax (80 percent of California companies have less than 10 employees), Hertzberg expects to reap $10 billion annually in new revenues.

    For the moment, the lobbyists of the status quo are lining up against Hertzberg’s measure, Senate Bill 8, as would be expected. But sooner or later a policy that is wholly in the interests of the state’s rising new constituencies will win out. Just as with water and climate change, the guardians of the past will have to face reality, “see it as it is” and adapt.

    Together these transformations constitute a new state of mind fully capable of building a future for California as promising as its past.

    This article also appears in the Sacramento Bee.

    — 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 I Learned After 30 Straight Days of Blogging
    I once was lost but now… I’m still lost… And it feels great.

    Thirty days ago, I was creatively stuck. The combination of  —  a) growing bored of writing about my previous vocation and b) being immersed in some deep philosophical and spiritual studies – resulted in a creative upheaval followed by doldrums.

    I felt lost. Like I didn’t have a “thing” to write about. For the longest time, I wrote mostly about copywriting and content marketing.

    And then, 30 days ago, I decided I frankly didn’t want to write about that any longer.

    So, in taking the advice of creative coach Julia Cameron, I started writing morning pages –  a daily three-page stream of consciousness written upon waking.

    As I started writing, I had no idea what would come out. But when I was finished, something had emerged. Every day.

    These entries weren’t pretty. I guess you could say they were beautifully disastrous. Genuinely mangled and messy.

    But I loved this exercise.

    Out of those pages came blog posts (in the form of Medium stories) where I carefully shaped each morning’s ramblings into something comprehensible for public consumption.

    As much as I always write for the reader, I must admit, this exercise was almost entirely selfish. It was my reward after being a writer mercenary for the last three years.

    It felt great to be loose with my subject matter.

    One day, I’d write a photo narrative. The next, a prayer. The next, a stream of consciousness. And on and on for 30 days.

    Well, today is day number 30 in a row. And I wanted to share a couple of the biggest lessons I learned.

    1. Being lost is miserable. Until it isn’t.

    On day one of this exercise, I was incredibly frustrated. I wanted to find my “thing”. I’ve always had a “thing” to write about and now I didn’t.

    I was lost. And I was of the mindset that being lost sucks.

    But now I realize something. On day 30, I’m still lost. But I’m good with it.

    Being lost is actually quite enjoyable if you can just accept it.

    If we always knew the answers, what would be the use? Isn’t life about the hunt? Isn’t it about the adventure?

    Sure, it’s exhausting, but we can sleep when we’re dead.

    “Finding yourself” sounds quite boring when you think of it that way, doesn’t it?

    What I’ve learned is that there’s nothing to be found. Trying to find one “X” on the treasure map is a fool’s journey. Because as soon as you find that “X” an infinite number of other “X’s” pop up.

    Find peace in the fact that the journey is never over. Be forgiving to yourself when you leave the trail of one “X” to find another. The ego will hate you for it. It likes predictability and certainty. Which are illusions in themselves. But that’s for another post.

    2. Creating something every day for public consumption is like mental steroids.

    Seth Godin has been preaching this for the longest time.

    Blog every day. (Or create and share something every day.)

    Blogging every day clarifies my thoughts — it helps me notice things. It’s one of the most important practices of my profession.”  —  Seth Godin

    I’ve actually been writing every day for the last couple years. But I haven’t shared something every day. I’ve gone on these 30-day benders before and they always feel amazing.

    Sharing something daily takes your psyche to whole new levels. Because when you share with others, it has to make (somewhat) sense. Or at least look cool. Like Seth says, it pushes you to get extremely clear on your thoughts.

    Sure, whatever you put out there may suck for awhile. But the worst that can happen is that people will ignore you.

    Big deal. You’d be ignored if you didn’t have this daily ritual in the first place (and you wouldn’t be getting good at something).

    But if you do it every day, soon enough, they’ll become really good. People might not ignore you then.

    3. The mind is bottomless. There’s always more.

    A concern I always have when I go on these runners is — how the heck am I gonna come up with new ideas?

    Here’s the thing. The mind is deeper than you can ever imagine. It’s only when you get it circulating that you start to see its true potential. And for 30 days, I’m merely skimming the top.

    Creativity is infinite possibilities. An infinite number of ideas all playing together in an open field.

    The only one who can put a limit on it… is you. And the best way to do that is by not tapping into it. Our idea muscle atrophies when we don’t use it.

    But when you do use it, stand back. It’s amazing what comes out.

    And never be stingy with your ideas. Don’t say you’ll save them for another post, another story, another day. Put it out there. Circulate your ideas freely so your mind can generate new. Like a broken muscle that grows back stronger or a samurai sword that becomes steeled by every blow by the hammer thingy they use (sorry, it’s late and I don’t feel like looking up the word) and the hot and cold tempering.

    Don’t worry….

    Creativity is inexhaustible if it’s consciously activated.

    Like I said, I’ve done these 30-day stints of daily blogging before. And every time I do them, I experience hyper-growth in both writing and thinking.

    I think I may keep them up this time.

    — 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 CEO Will Send Your Kids To School, If You Work For His Company
    The chief executive of online wholesaler Boxed is offering workers an extremely unusual benefit: full college tuition for their children.

    “If you are the child of someone who works at Boxed, it’s not the lack of money that is going to prevent you from going to college,” CEO Chieh Huang told Forbes writer Miguel Helft. “We’re building a long term business and if you are along for the ride, we are going to invest in you.”

    Headquartered in New York, Boxed is an online wholesale shopping site — basically the Web-only version of Costco. Right now the company has only about 100 employees. It is growing quickly, hiring 20 workers since January, spokesman David Taft told The Huffington Post.

    And these aren’t just high-paid tech workers. Two-thirds of Boxed’s employees work in warehouses in Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Edison, New Jersey. Many of them make between $13-$17 an hour, noted Taft. Some are salaried and earning around $70,000 a year. The rest of Boxed’s workforce is based at the company’s New York headquarters, where they occupy mainly white-collar positions in marketing, legal and tech.

    While some companies offer to pay tuition for workers, funding workers’ kids is pretty rare outside of academia. Starbucks and Chrysler recently announced programs to cover workers’ college tuition bills, but those benefits are far more restrictive, and both companies will only foot the bill at hand-picked schools.

    Boxed’s announcement comes at a time when income inequality in the tech industry is getting a lot of attention. Other companies also have started to address the big disparities between white-collar tech workers and those who support them — warehouse workers, janitors, cooks, etc. Earlier this month Facebook announced it was upping pay and benefits for its contract workers, following on a similar announcement from Microsoft earlier this year. The CEO of a payments processing company just took a huge pay cut so he could pay all his workers a living wage.

    Right now there are 12 kids that would qualify for Boxed’s new benefit — though only one who’s old enough to take advantage of it. The son of the company’s vice president of transportation is now saved from taking out loans for his stint at a state school in Pennsylvania, his father told Forbes.

    Huang had been thinking of offering the benefit for a while, but just pulled the trigger on it about a week and a half ago, according to Taft. The CEO told Forbes that he was inspired to do something for his workers after the company opened a warehouse in Atlanta. At the time, he asked workers to come to a party in the evening, but many couldn’t show up because they didn’t own cars. According to Forbes:

    While the idea of helping them pay for a car crossed his mind, he quickly realized the impact of such a move would be limited. “That wouldn’t solve much,” he says. “The core is education.”

    The benefit is not only great PR for a company you might not have heard of — it’s also a relatively low-cost way to retain employees. It’s unlikely that most workers would take advantage of the benefit, either because they don’t have children or their kids are too young. But it’s the kind of offering worth sticking around for. The average cost of just one year’s tuition at a private school is around $30,000 and rising.

    “Nothing has given me more incentive to stay with the company than knowing that I could have major help in funding my kids’ education,” said Taft, who has an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old. “I’m just blown away by this benefit.”

    The offering is confined to tuition — room and board aren’t included. And Huang hasn’t worked out all the details yet. Boxed is setting up a nonprofit foundation to distribute the money. The company will also seek outside investors to pitch in on costs. The foundation would presumably live on even if the company went under.

    Taft said that there are no limits on the benefit’s size — public or private tuition would be covered.

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  • Students: The One Group Missing From Student Data Privacy Laws and Bills
    The one group missing in the conversation about student privacy rights is the very group the proposed laws are designed to protect. If you read the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) or the proposed bills, including the Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015, proposed by Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Jared Polis (D-CO), they are all about parental rights, but they only empower students once they turn 18.

    I was pleased to see Danah Boyd weigh in (all links below) on this subject, which I’ve been speaking about for several months but hadn’t yet gotten around to writing about.

    Student intellectual property rights.

    As I said at a recent White House meeting with staff from the Office of Science and Technology Policy and at a recent Berkman Center student privacy event, we need to craft legislation that also protects students’ rights to their own data. That not only means that students should have the right to protect their privacy but also the right to retain their data and intellectual property to use as they wish at any time in their lives.

    Most of the existing and proposed legislation gives parents the right to control student data until the student turns 18 and that control could include the ability to order the deletion of that material. But what if the student doesn’t want it deleted? Consider the rights of an LGBT student who writes a school essay on sexual orientation. Could that student’s parent order it be deleted from school servers or the servers of companies contracted by the school? What about a student who is exploring political or religious issues that may disagree with their parents’ views? Does that student have any rights?

    Does student privacy extend to their parents?

    And what about a student’s right to privacy. In most states (and with a few exceptions) what a minor says to a doctor is confidential — even to their parents. But aren’t there circumstances when that ought to apply to what is said to a teacher? Maybe that LGBT student doesn’t want his or her parents to see what they’ve written on a school paper. What about a student who writes about abuse by their own parent? Must that parent have the right to see that essay?

    I’m not suggesting that parents not have rights. I think they should have the right to look at their students’ records but I think that students — even before they turn 18 — should have at least as many rights as parents. It’s about time we start to respect privacy, free speech rights and intellectual property rights of children.

    Boyd points out some other important considerations including the rights of economically disadvantaged children “who are already under constant surveillance.” And she is correct that, most of the issues addressed in proposed legislation “are shaped by the fears of privileged parents.” While it’s great to protect students from marketers, those who might want to seduce them into debt and those who might want to harm them in other ways, it’s also important to protect children from those in law enforcement, education, government and even the student’s family who might seek to violate their privacy. As boyd has pointed out in other writings, for many youth, privacy is not so much a matter of keeping data away from companies and big government, but from parents, educators and law enforcement who have a direct impact over the students’ lives and freedoms.

    Policy recommendations.

    While all of the proposed bills offer some important protections, it’s important to extend those protections so that they empower students themselves, including those under 18, and to avoid unintended consequences such as denying students the right to maintain their records, suppressing the use of innovative services or apps, or violating students’ intellectual property rights over material they have produced that may be stored on school servers or commercial servers affected by existing or proposed laws.

    Lawmakers should also consider protecting the privacy of data on students’ own devices. Whether it’s a vendor or the school itself, students should know their privacy rights when it comes to the devices they carry. There remains a lot of ambiguity regarding students’ fourth amendment rights over warrantless searches of their digital devices.

    As we consider regulations to control services not operated directly by schools, it’s important to realize that some of the most innovative and useful services have yet to be created and are likely to come from entrepreneurs — some who will be students themselves. We don’t want to regulate so tightly that students and teachers are forbidden to use such services, including commercial services that have great educational value even if they aren’t specifically aimed at education.

    It’s also important to recognize that there is no such thing as privacy without adequate security and that securing school servers is an expensive proposition that Congress should consider funding. Congress should also recognize that neither laws nor technologies can protect privacy and security unless the student, teachers, administrators and parents know how to protect their own data and data under their custody. All stakeholders need education on best-practices for privacy and security including creating and managing unique and secure passwords, knowing what is and isn’t appropriate to post or submit and to understand that these laws do not apply to all media, such as social media accounts that students set up on their own, even if they are used at school.


    Which Students Get to Have Privacy? (by danah boyd)

    A Parents’ Guides to Student Data Privacy (ConnectSafely, Future of Privacy Forum & National PTA)

    Bills and laws

    Messer, Polis Introduce Landmark Bill to Protect Student Data Privacy

    Klein and Scott house draft bill to update FERPA

    Markey, Hatch Senate bill to amend FERPA

    Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

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  • Apple Game Roundup: Telltale comes to GOG, Pac-Man turns 35, more
    On Tuesdays and Fridays, MacNN takes a few minutes to round up important goings-on in the Mac and iOS gaming world. In today’s entry we look at the Telltale Games collection coming to GOG, the 35th anniversary update to Pac-Man for iOS, the latest Overwatch character reveal, and Terra Battle’s new update.

  • 'Live From Snack Time!' Instagram Illustrates All The Hilarious Quotes Teachers Hear Their Students Say
    Parents aren’t the only ones who get to hear the hilarious, creative and oddly wise things their children say on a daily basis. Their kids’ teachers also get quite an earful.

    A New York City elementary school teacher is sharing some of her students’ best quotes on an Instagram account called “Live from Snack Time!” She also invites other teachers and parents to submit standout sayings from their own students and children.

    Good to know for parent/teacher conferences (submitted by @ariellem6)

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 18, 2015 at 4:26pm PDT

    Though the teacher behind the account — who prefers to remain anonymous out of respect for her students — currently teaches second graders, she was inspired to launch “Live from Snack Time” on Twitter a year ago while working in a kindergarten classroom. “The way the students were responding to my teaching was too good not to share,” she told The Huffington Post.

    “Their thoughts are genuine and pure. The way they think out loud and try to figure out the world in a creative way makes me love my job so much! They keep me laughing from the second I walk in the door until I leave.”

    With the help of a friend, the self proclaimed “professional educator/eavesdropper” started adding visuals to the quotes and sharing them on Instagram in November. She also shares the quotes on a Tumblr and recently created Facebook account.

    “I hope people realize how funny and curious kids can be,” she said. “I recommend not taking their questions lightly, they are trying to figure out the world… but it doesn’t hurt to laugh about it once in a while.”

    Because a dump truck will never dump you…

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 24, 2015 at 4:29pm PDT

    Tomorrow’s lesson will be about idioms #livefromsnacktime

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Dec 4, 2014 at 5:03pm PST

    Everything’s exciting on a Friday

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 15, 2015 at 1:50pm PDT

    Big bad plot twist

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 22, 2015 at 11:14am PDT

    27 years old and feeling the same ☺️

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 17, 2015 at 1:30pm PDT

    Solid Sunday advice #kidquotes

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 12, 2015 at 3:29pm PDT

    Day dreaming about cupcakes

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 5, 2015 at 9:44am PDT

    Where Mike Tyson went wrong. #kidthoughts

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 9, 2015 at 12:14pm PDT

    Just a question girl .. Livin’ in a lonely world #curiouskids #kiddiequotes

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 20, 2015 at 3:55pm PDT

    Kindergarten divorce rate is increasing. #KeepingUpWithKindergarten #livefromsnacktime

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Nov 5, 2014 at 4:00pm PST

    Just because you just got your allowance doesn’t mean I’ll take a bribe #kidquotes

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 6, 2015 at 7:29pm PDT

    Because there aren’t enough bathrooms!

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on May 25, 2015 at 4:08pm PDT

    Mine too!

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 2, 2015 at 5:41pm PDT

    That is not even remotely true! Well I know what I need to teach tomorrow ….

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Mar 9, 2015 at 3:43pm PDT

    Good one? #AprilFoolsDay #KidQuotes

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 1, 2015 at 6:36pm PDT

    I guess I see the logic here #livefromsnacktime

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Nov 13, 2014 at 7:41am PST

    Well then .. Guess what I’m bringing to recess this week!

    A photo posted by Live from Snack Time! (@livefromsnacktime) on Apr 26, 2015 at 10:54am PDT

    H/T Shuggilippo

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  • The Beautiful Things Music Does To Your Brain
    Few things are better than listening to your favorite songs–no debate there. But what actually happens inside your brain when you tune in to music?

    Zoe Cormier, the author of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Science of Hedonism and the Hedonism of Science, explained to HuffPost Live why music makes you feel so damn good.

    “Every part of your brain gets involved in this neural-symphony,” Cormier said.

    Watch her explanation of your brain on music in the video above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation about the science of summer songs.

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

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  • Tales from Online Reputation Management (ORM)
    The phone rings. The number is unavailable. It is 6am so it must be someone in a different time zone. It gets answered.

    Uh, yeah, so I decided to Google myself yesterday. And uh, how do I say this? You know… some things… from a few years ago… well, uh, I don’t want to bore you, but someone told me to call.”

    How this phone call gets answered is going to determine whether the person gets help… or gets none… or worse yet, gets put in worse shape. Does the caller get their online reputation problem fixed? Ignored? Or driven into a price/buying cycle designed to scare yet does little to help?

    There are many minefields when it comes to online reputation management. The choices made by persons, brands or organizations in this area reveal everything from amazing results and real change to total fakes and pretend changes that last for 25 hours and then are never seen again.

    Hi. So, one of your clients referred me to you. Let me tell you why… there was this nasty litigation, and my name got dragged through the mud. When I checked Yahoo for my name, all this stuff from those cases appeared. Can you hack them and get it to go away?”

    Believe it or not, there are some companies who might even say, “…yes we can do that for you…” and take someone’s money.

    There are many Online Reputation Management (ORM) companies. Some are great. Some are not. There is also a lot of confusion with SEO vendors and especially when compared between ORM vendors; especially with small businesses. Once the size of the business grows, the sophistication in making business choices and understanding how and why to differentiate are important and become ever more so with the size of the organization. The differences between seo and orm become more clear too.

    I am calling because, well, there is this thing. You know, in search. Bing has me all F#*3ed up and it keeps dogging me everywhere. I hired this one company, but they did nothing. Now I am reaching higher out of desperation.”

    Online reputation management is not just about hiring a company to maybe make a few changes. It really is about making long term choices to effect the social media, the search and seo changes you may be looking for.

    But unlike most business decisions, the ones that a person, brand, or organization take to identify, create, maintain and defend their online reputation have ramifications that extend well beyond just the initial decision or the cost level involved. Indeed it will have ramifications on multiple business lines and or channels and can linger for months if not years.

    Individuals, Companies, Governments and Brands also need to pay careful attention to the correlation between search, social media and reputation control and management. If it is left to the Internet, you will not be happy with the results. Take control of your reputation. Take control of your brand reputation management, and start with social media. There are many other steps. But start there.


    My company Digijaks offers boutique solutions for high impact individuals, brands and organizations to deal with the combination of cyber security, social media and online reputation management and control. We see and hear all kinds of stories. Those from people who are completely innocent and just get caught up in something a bad person did. Those from people who admit to making mistakes and now are working to try to fix the damage or prevent it from happening. Then there are those who just think things will never catch up to them. But they do.

    — 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.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Apple design guru Jony Ive promoted
    Apple promotes British designer Jony Ive to chief design officer, according to reports.
  • Will truckers lose out to software?
    Is the lorry driver of the future a piece of software?
  • VIDEO: Solar plane pilot: 'Risk too big'
    The planned flight of the sun powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, has been postponed.
  • The Biggest (And Best) Difference Between Millennials and My Generation
    We’re an enigma, those of us born at the tail end of the ’70s and the start of the ’80s. Some of the “generational” experts lazily glob us on to Generation X, and others just shove us over to the Millennials they love to hate. No one really gets us or knows where we belong.

    We’ve been called “Generation Catalano”, “Xennials”, and “The Lucky Ones”, but no name has really stuck for this strange micro-generation that has both a healthy portion of Gen X grunge cynicism, and a dash of the unbridled optimism of Millennials.

    A big part of what makes us the square peg in the round hole of named generations is our strange relationship with technology and the Internet. We came of age just as the very essence of communication was experiencing a seismic shift, and it’s given us a unique perspective that’s half analog old school and half digital new school.

    You Have Died of Dysentery

    If you can distinctly recall the excitement of walking into your weekly computer lab session and seeing a room full of Apple 2Es displaying the start screen of Oregon Trail, you’re a member of this nameless generation, my friend.

    We were the first group of kids who grew up with household computers, but still novel enough to elicit confusion and wonder. Gen X individuals were already fully-formed teens or young adults when computers became mainstream, and Millennials can’t even remember a time before computers.

    But, when we first placed our sticky little fingers on a primitive Mac, we were elementary school kids whose brains were curious sponges. We learned how to use these impressive machines at a time when average middle class families were just starting to be able to afford to buy their own massive desktops.

    This made us the first children to grow up figuring it out, as opposed to having an innate understanding of new technology the way Millennials did, or feeling slightly alienated from it the way Gen X did.


    An AOL Adolescence

    Did you come home from middle school and head straight to AOL, praying all the time that you’d hear those magic words, “You’ve Got Mail” after waiting for the painfully slow dial-up internet to connect? If so, then yes, you are a member of the Oregon Trail Generation. And you are definitely part of this generation if you hopped in and out of sketchy chat rooms asking others their A/S/L (age/sex/location for the uninitiated).

    Precisely at the time that you were becoming obsessed with celebrities, music and the opposite sex, you magically had access to “the Internet,” a thing that few normal people even partially grasped the power of at the time.

    We were the first group of high school kids to do research for papers both online and in an old-fashioned card catalogue, which many millennials have never even heard of by the way (I know because I asked my 21-year-old intern and he started stuttering about library cards).

    Because we had one foot in the traditional ways of yore and one foot in the digital information age, we appreciate both in a way that other generations don’t. We can quickly turn curmudgeonly in the face of teens who’ve never written a letter, but we’re glued to our smartphones just like they are.

    Those born in the late ’70s and early ’80s were the last group to have a childhood devoid of all the technology that makes childhood and adolescence today pretty much the worst thing imaginable. We were the last gasp of a time before sexting, Facebook-shaming and constant communication.

    We used pay-phones. We showed up at each other’s houses without warning. We often spoke to our friends’ parents before we got to speak to them. And we had to wait at least an hour to see any photos we’d taken. But for the group of kids just a little younger than us, the whole world changed — and that’s not an exaggeration. In fact, it’s possible that you had a completely different childhood experience than a sibling just five years your junior, which is pretty mind-blowing.

    Napster U

    Thanks to the evil genius of Sean Parker, most of us were in college in the heyday of Napster and spent many a night using the university’s communal Ethernet to pillage our friends’ music libraries at breakneck speeds. With mouths agape at having downloaded the entire OAR album in under five seconds, we built our music libraries faster than any other dorm-dwelling generation in history.

    We were the first to experience the beauty of sharing and downloading mass amounts of music faster than you can say, “Third Eye Blind,” which made the adoption of MP3 players and music streaming apps perfectly natural. Yet, we still distinctly remember buying cassette singles, joining those scam-tastic CD clubs and recording songs onto tapes from the radio. The very nature of buying and listening to music changed completely within the first 20 years of our lives.

    A Youth Untouched by Social Media

    The importance of going through some of life’s toughest years without the toxic intrusion of social media really can’t be overstated. MySpace was born in 2003 and Facebook became available to all college students in 2004. So if you were born in 1981-1982, for example, you were literally the last graduating class to finish college without social media being part of the experience.

    When we get together with our fellow Oregon Trail Generation friends, we frequently discuss how insanely glad we are that we escaped the middle school, high school and college years before social media took over and made an already challenging life stage exponentially more hellish.

    We all talked crazy amounts of shit about each other, took pictures of ourselves and our friends doing shockingly inappropriate things and spread rumors like it was our jobs, but we just never had to worry about any of it ending up in a place where everyone and their moms (literally) could see it a hot second after it happened.

    But unlike our older Gen X siblings, we were still young and dumb enough to get really into MySpace and Facebook in its first few years, so we understand what it feels like to overshare on social media and stalk a new crush’s page.

    Time after time, we late ’70s and early ’80s babies were on the cusp of changes that essentially transformed modern life and, for better or worse, it’s shaped who we are and how we relate to the world.

    Anna Garvey is the Director of Content and Social Media for WebRev Marketing & Design, a boutique firm in Chicago. In past lives, she’s also been an ex-pat in Italy and a 6th grade teacher on the Southside of Chicago. When she’s not scouring the internet for social media and blog fodder, she enjoys Netflix binges, soulful music and New Orleans culture.

    This post originally appeared on SocialMediaWeek.org.

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  • 'Sort it' business secretary tells O2
    Business secretary Sajid Javid has told phone provider O2 to “sort it out” after complaints about users losing signals on their mobiles.
  • Is 'Breaking News' the New Normal for ABC?
    You can’t entirely blame ABC News for desperately trying to find a way to remain relevant. After all, they’re hard-wired into a 6:30 p.m. time slot in a world where our connected devices deliver real-time updates.

    Over the past few years, they’ve tried to test varies ways to seem more digital. With Diane Sawyer in the anchor chair some years back, they began the ‘index’ a buzz-feed like snappy segment of YouTube viral videos and snackable bites of celebrity gossip. It certainly wasn’t going to win them any journalistic kudos, but it was harmless enough. At the same time, then reporter David Muir set out to fire up the audience with a series of ‘Made In America’ segments that turned an objective news broadcast into a leader of social activism. Field producers were instructed to gather together families, factory workers, and other pro-American consumers and have them hold up a piece of green fabric and chant in unison “Made In AMERICA!”. As the reports continued and the cost of labor in China rose along with shipping costs, ABC happily reported a resurgence in American manufacturing with a wink and a nod. It was almost as if their campaign had changed the economy of the country. They never came out and said it – but you got the idea. And Muir was rewarded with the anchor chair when Sawyer retired.

    But now ABC has succumbed to the pressures of their landlocked time period and the encroachment of the internet with a new, and particularly craven device.

    They’ve adopted a nightly ritual — starting about three weeks ago — of promising urgency at the top of every broadcast.

    “BREAKING NEWS” — Muir opens the nightly newscast with this headline, day after day. Breaking weather news. Breaking news in the days’ latest police shooting. Breaking news in court verdicts. Breaking news in the Presidential election. With almost breathless exuberance, Muir promises viewers something ‘just in’ — so that there’s no chance viewers will turn the channel or fast-forward through their DVR.


    By adopting the moniker of Breaking News, ABC’s senior management is struggling to remain relevant — offering something urgent, timely, and important with breathless excitement that repackages plain old facts as red-hot infotainment.

    Historically, ‘Breaking News’ had meaning. It had to meet stringent standards to be given bold-type urgency and ‘this just in’ import.

    But ABC, and one suspects some careful focus group testing, has decided that quality journalism isn’t enough to remain relevant. If Facebook and Twitter are now competing for attention, ABC needs to up the ante with a shot of adrenaline and the promise of earth shattering timeliness that will break through the clutter.

    Clearly Muir and ABC News Management know its cynical device. Information that they have in hand at 10am, or 1pm can’t seriously be called ‘breaking news’ at 6:30pm without rendering the phrase meaningless. But it hardly matters since they’re trying to hold back the ocean of irrelevance that’s about to overtake them.

    Certainly they’re not without a plan ‘b’, as ABC has a deal with Yahoo, and Muir now records a quick newscast for Facebook each day.

    But in taking the time-honored tradition of ‘Breaking News’ and turning it into a marketing phrase, ABC risks taking a subtle but unredeemable step down an ever slipperier slope.

    The journey from News to Noise begins with a series of modest little journalistic faux pas. But it is a rubicon, once crossed, for which there is no turning back.

    — 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 Fast Can A Poop-Powered Bus Go?
    Is this bus company full of sh*t, or is this poop-powered vehicle the fastest bus around?

    A vehicle that runs on cow manure has set a “land speed record” for buses, the BBC reported Wednesday. The “Bus Hound,” which is powered by cow manure converted into fuel and normally functions as a public bus around the English town of Reading, clocked in at 76.785 miles per hour doing a lap around a track, the BBC reported.

    However, the numbers don’t seem to add up. It’s unclear whether the speed of the Bus Hound — named after the British Bloodhound supersonic car — is actually a record. A February police chase involving a school bus in Cedar Rapids, Iowa reached speeds up to 100 mph, according to The Gazette.

    Bus and Coach Buyer notes that there is “documented and anecdote evidence for much higher speeds” achieved by buses in the 1960s. Additionally, Guinness World Records officials have stated the Bus Hound’s speed cannot be marked as a world record unless it exceeds 150 miles per hour, Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Reading Buses — which operates the Bus Hound — told the BBC.

    The Bus and Coach Buyer, however, specifies that the record attempt was meant to reflect speeds for “a service bus.” The article also notes that the record was simply a “lighthearted event” meant to help spread the word about biomethane gas as fuel.

    Even if it doesn’t hold a Guinness World Record, though, we think the Bus Hound and its snazzy cow print paint job are pretty cool.

    Reading Buses operates a total 34 buses powered by the cow manure fuel, according to Bus and Coach Buyer. The cow droppings are converted into fuel through anaerobic digestion, which involves microorganisms breaking down the feces in an oxygen-free environment. According to the BBC, this produces biogas, which can then be liquefied and used as fuel.

    The Bus Hound, by the way, is not to be confused with another U.K. “poo bus” that debuted recently: the Bio-Bus, which serves the city of Bristol and runs on human waste.

    H/T Ars Technica

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  • Charter Reportedly Near $55 Billion Deal To Acquire Time Warner Cable
    By Liana B. Baker and Greg Roumeliotis

    May 25 (Reuters) – Time Warner Cable Inc is nearing an agreement to be acquired by smaller peer Charter Communications Inc for about $55 billion, combining the second and third largest U.S. cable operators, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

    A deal would create a major rival to Comcast Corp, the biggest operator in the U.S. cable and broadband market, and marks a triumph for Charter, which was rejected by Time Warner Cable just last year.

    News of another potential merger comes as the traditional pay television industry faces stagnating growth and new competition from over-the-web rivals offering individual services, like Netflix, or packages of channels, such as Sony. A larger company in this sector could achieve greater economies of scale, including in negotiations with programmers.

    The cash-and-stock deal values Time Warner Cable at $195 per share, according to sources, and comes just one month after Comcast dropped its $45.2 billion merger agreement with Time Warner Cable, clinched in February 2014, over antitrust concerns.

    Time Warner Cable shares closed at $171.18 on Friday. That is up substantially from the day before the original Comcast deal was announced last year, when the shares closed at $135.31.

    A merger of Charter and Time Warner Cable, with other related deals, would eliminate one of the country’s top Internet providers and control more than 20 percent of the broadband market, according to data from MoffettNathanson.

    The Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal rejected by regulators would have created a provider with roughly 40 percent of the U.S. high-speed Internet market.

    Charter hopes its deal for Time Warner Cable will be viewed more favorably by regulators. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler reached out to the chief executives of the two companies last week to convey that the agency is not opposed to any and all cable deals, The Wall Street Journal reported. Any deal would be considered on its own merits, the paper quoted Wheeler as saying.

    One of the chief areas of concern for regulators in a merging industry is competition in Internet broadband.

    The deal is expected to be announced on Tuesday.

    Charter will also acquire Bright House Networks, the sixth-largest U.S. cable operator, for $10.4 billion, the sources added. The combined companies could have as many as 23 million total customers, just behind Comcast’s 27.2 million customers.

    Charter and Bright House had extended their merger talks after Comcast’s deal with Time Warner Cable fell through. Charter’s previous agreement with Bright House was contingent on Comcast’s completion of the buyout of Time Warner Cable.

    Media mogul John Malone, whose Liberty Broadband Corp is Charter’s largest shareholder, has advocated strongly for the deal, and Liberty is supporting the deal by acquiring $5 billion in new Charter stock, one of the people said.

    Charter Chief Executive Tom Rutledge is expected to be CEO of the combined entity.

    Charter was competing for Time Warner Cable against French telecommunications group Altice SA, which last week agreed to buy U.S. regional cable company Suddenlink Communications for $9.1 billion from private equity investors, making its first move across the Atlantic.

    The sources asked not to be identified ahead of any official announcement. Time Warner Cable declined to comment, while Charter, Bright House and Altice did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


    Time Warner Cable shareholders will have an option on the amount of the $195 per share acquisition price to be paid in cash – able to take either $100 or $115 in cash and the balance in Charter stock, one of the people said.

    Charter asked for deal negotiations with Time Warner Cable to be speeded up after Altice expressed interest, one of the people said. Altice did not have enough time to address all of Time Warner Cable’s concerns over a merger between the two of them, that person added.

    Altice will not seek to outbid Charter for Time Warner Cable and may now consider other possibilities for acquisitions in the United States, two people said.

    Bloomberg first reported on the deal.

    Charter has agreed to pay Time Warner Cable a $2 billion break-up fee should their deal fall through, one of the sources said. Comcast did not have to pay a breakup fee when it ended its agreement to acquire Time Warner Cable last month.

    Matthew Harrigan, an analyst with Wunderlich Securities, said he believes a Charter-Time Warner tie-up would have “a very high likelihood of passing muster with regulators” because the size of the combined company would not create the same anti-trust concerns regulators had about Comcast buying its smaller rival.

    The questions, said Harrigan, were whether other bidders would emerge and how Charter shareholders will react to the offer price on Monday.

    “You never know with these deals,” he said. “This could morph into something different by (Tuesday) morning.” (Reporting by Liana B. Baker in San Francisco and Greg Roumeliotis in New York; additional reporting by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York and Leila Abboud in Paris; editing by Leslie Adler, G Crosse and Peter Henderson)

    — 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: Jet-powered bike tested in Wales
    A jet-powered bike has been tested at Pendine Sands in Wales in preparation for a land speed world record.
  • 'League Of Legends' Introduces Automated System To Battle Abusive Language
    The world’s most popular computer game is taking a bold new step to counter harassment.

    “League of Legends” publisher Riot Games announced in a blog post last week that North American players now have access to a new “reform system” that works to correct abusive behavior in the competitive online game.

    If you’re playing a game and experience abusive language from a teammate or opponent, you can report that player at the end of the match — as usual. But now, a system is in place to automatically process the content of a player’s chat messages. It will “validate” the report and deliver a “reform card” to the offending player, detailing their negative behavior and the punishment they’re receiving in hopes of improving their interactions moving forward.

    “If a player shows excessive hate speech (homophobia, sexism, racism, death threats, so on) the system might hand out a permanent ban to the player,” Jeffrey Lin, Riot Games’ lead social systems designer, elaborated in a comment on the blog post.

    Punishment is supposedly handed down within 15 minutes after a game concludes. But how accurate can an automated system really be?

    “In terms of false positives, we recently flew in Player Support and Player Behavior team members from all around the world to hand-review thousands of chat logs, and we saw false positive rates in the 1 in 6000 range,” Lin said.

    The reform system is currently in a “testing” period, meaning that actual Riot Games employees will review the first several thousand reports. If all goes well, it’ll be introduced to all other regions that “League of Legends” is available in — Europe, Korea, China and Southeast Asia.

    Ben Kuchera of Polygon noted Monday that it’s already rolling out for European players.

    “League of Legends” has long led the charge in terms of how popular video games deal with online trolls, introducing innovative ways to counter harsh language and improve player behavior. The game is tremendously popular, boasting over 67 million monthly players in 2014. Because it’s typically played competitively with other humans — rather than against computer-controlled players — tensions can sometimes run high during matches.

    Riot Games’ blog post notes that moving forward, the reporting system could also be used to reward players who display good behavior, rather than just punishing those who do not.

    — 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.

  • Meet YouTube's 8-bit movie makers
    A team which recreates popular films as 8-bit video games is attracting millions of views on YouTube.
  • 'Deal to end' Nigeria fuel crisis
    Nigeria’s fuel wholesalers say they have reached a deal with the government that should soon see the end of the crippling fuel crisis.
  • UK premium phone costs 'set to fall'
    Ofcom says that changes to the billing structure of 08, 09 and 118 numbers will lead to cheaper calls for consumers.
  • California Drought Takes Lessons From Australia

    SYDNEY (AP) — California has turned to the world’s driest inhabited continent for solutions to its longest and sharpest drought on record.

    Australia, the land poet Dorothea Mackellar dubbed “a sunburnt country,” suffered a torturous drought from the late 1990s through 2012. Now Californians are facing their own “Big Dry,” and looking Down Under to see how they coped.

    Australia also faced tough water restrictions — along with dying cattle, barren fields and monstrous wildfires that killed 173 people. But when the rains finally returned, Australians had fundamentally changed how they handle this precious resource. They treat water as a commodity to be conserved and traded, and carefully measure what’s available and how it’s being used. Efficiency programs cut their average daily use to 55 gallons, compared with 105 gallons per day for each Californian.

    The lesson: long droughts are here to stay, so societies had better plan ahead, says drought-policy expert Linda Botterill of the University of Canberra.

    “We can expect longer, deeper and more severe droughts in Australia, and I believe the same applies in the U.S.,” Botterill says. “As a result, we need to develop strategies that are not knee-jerk responses, but that are planned risk-management strategies.”

    California water officials now routinely cite Australia’s experience. Felicia Marcus, who runs California’s Water Resources Control Board, can describe the stormwater-capture system watering soccer fields in Perth in minute detail.

    But Californians may find Australia’s medicine tough to swallow.

    Australians are accustomed to living in a dry land, expect government intervention in a crisis and largely support making sacrifices for the common good. For much of their history, many Californians have enjoyed abundant water, or were able to divert enough of it to turn deserts green, and lawyers make sure property rights remain paramount.

    From an Australian perspective, California’s drought response has been “absolutely pathetic,” says Daniel Connell, an environmental policy expert at The Australian National University.

    Australia’s drought response was hardly perfect, and some of its gains might be slipping away, but Americans suffering their own “Big Dry” may benefit from some comparisons:



    AUSTRALIA: Overuse and drought had depleted Australia’s main river system, which winds across four states that produce a third of the nation’s food, and ran so low by 2002 that the Murray River had to be dredged to reach the sea. The government capped entitlements, canceled inactive licenses, bought back hundreds of billions of gallons from irrigators and strictly metered usage to make sure license holders use only their allocation. Availability now affects price as shares are traded on an open market worth $1.2 billion a year in U.S. dollars.

    The water that farms, industries and towns get depends on what’s in the river; in drought, it can dwindle to virtually nothing. But entitlements can be bought and sold, keeping agriculture afloat. A farmer of a thirsty crop like cotton might not profit when both the share of water and the price of cotton are low. But if an orchard grower in desperate need buys that water, the cotton farmer can live off the sale while the orchard owner reaps a profitable harvest.

    CALIFORNIA: Nearly 4,000 so-called senior water rights holders who staked claims before 1914 or own acreage abutting a river or stream get priority. In drought, authorities must completely deny water to most other claimants before they touch the water of these senior water-rights holders. San Francisco has stronger water rights than many other cities because in 1902, Mayor James Phelan hiked up the Sierra Nevada and tacked a water claim to an oak tree along the bank of the Tuolumne River. Gov. Jerry Brown calls the system “somewhat archaic.”

    “Revising the water-rights system is a thermo-nuclear issue in California,” said John Laird, California’s secretary for natural resources, but if water shortages go on, “almost everything has to be on the table.”



    AUSTRALIA: Thousands of gauges across Australia measure rainfall, authorities in each state and territory measure surface water at stream gauging stations, and underground water is monitored through a complex process involving the drilling of bores and controlled pumping tests. Water data collection agencies report to the federal Bureau of Meteorology, which publishes the data online.

    CALIFORNIA: The legislature last year required monitoring to be phased in gradually, eventually showing for the first time how much groundwater is being pumped. But roughly a quarter-million California households and businesses still lack water meters, and aren’t required to until 2025. The state relies on an honor system: Rights holders self-report their use of river and stream water every three years. Gov. Brown’s budget proposed last week would require monitors and annual usage reports.



    AUSTRALIA: All major cities imposed limits or bans on watering lawns and washing cars, and inspectors fined rule-breakers. Public-service campaigns and water-saving appliances also reduced household water use from 85 gallons per person per day in 2000 to 55 gallons per person today.

    CALIFORNIA: After voluntary cutbacks fell short, Brown’s administration mandated a statewide 25 percent cut in water use by cities and towns, and ordered more farmers to stop pumping from rivers and streams. Marcus said the one piece of advice that seemed universal in both Australia and California “was conserve, conserve, conserve, as early as you can, because it’s the cheapest, most economical way to buy time” while tougher water-saving measures are phased in.



    AUSTRALIA: Australians began conserving long before their drought. In 1995, Sydney’s water authority was ordered to slash per-capita demand by 35 percent by 2011, and it met that target by reducing pressure and leaks in pipes, boosting businesses’ water efficiency, and offering low-cost, water-saving technologies in homes, such as dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads and rainwater tanks for gardens, toilets and laundry. With government rebates, these devices became common across Australia.

    Such efficiency measures can be implemented quickly, economically and easily, says Stuart White, an Australian sustainability expert who has advised Californians on drought response. “In some cities, it’s quite possible we would have reached death’s door if it hadn’t been in place.”

    CALIFORNIA: Communities across California offer rebates on drought-friendly plumbing and appliances, and a growing number of local ordinances are being rewritten to allow families to recycle water from rains and from showers. But the rooftop-rain collectors, stormwater cisterns and bathwater-recycling for gardens common in Australia remain rarities.



    AUSTRALIA: Billions were spent on desalination plants in major cities, and many are not operating because cheaper water is now available in Australia, prompting critics to dismiss them as expensive and power-hungry flops that will create greenhouse gases and worsen the continent’s climate-change woes. Supporters say the plants will protect the country from the next inevitable drought.

    CALIFORNIA: Brown has called for conservation while focusing on an ambitious, $17 billion plan, opposed by environmental groups, to build 39 miles of tunnel to take Northern California water to Southern California’s bigger farmers. Desalination plants also are envisioned: San Diego’s would be the biggest in the Western Hemisphere.


    Knickmeyer reported from San Francisco.

    — 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 Chief Digital Officers Transform Businesses
    Healthcare is undergoing a major transformation and IMS Health, a multi-billion supplier of health care and prescription data along with related services, is responding by putting Chief Digital Officer Richie Etwaru at the helm of a digital transformation effort that involves connecting health care strategy with more efficient delivery mechanisms based on aggregating and using the right kind of data.


    Richie Etwaru, chief digital officer IMS Health

    As a Chief Digital Officer, one of the fastest-growing C-Suite roles in the enterprise, and the author of a new book, Corporate Awesome Sauce: Success Rules for Generation Y, Etwaru offers guidance for executives to be able to adapt and deal with this digital transformation that will impact every business of every size.

    Gartner reported that by the end of 2015 one-fourth of all enterprises will have appointed a CDO. According to e-Marketer, the number of chief digital officers will double in 2015 to 2,000 worldwide. In his book, Etwaru explores the necessary leadership traits that are required to drive meaningful change, by staying adaptable, intellectually curious and collaborative. These leadership attributes will ultimately shape a successful business transformation journey that for many companies will be led by the chief digital office.

    Etwaru shares his advice on how the CDO can help guide digital business transformation:

    1. Find the operating corridor – When it comes to undertaking a digital transformation, Etwaru says you need to find the operating corridor and it starts with the CEO who has the foresight that the business model that you have today is not going to withstand the test of time. These CEO’s will be able to push back on a board or stakeholder and are okay with delivering less than amazing results for a few quarters to ensure their company is around for the next 30-60 years.

    “I think when you can find that operating corridor; you’re going to be a CDO that’s going to have fun. If you don’t have that operating corridor you’re going to have a difficult time with the balancing act of achieving quarterly performance from existing revenue streams while putting in place a 20-year strategy,” says Etwaru.

    2. Prevent ‘Kodak Moments’ – The point when you realize that your P&L has completely evaporated because someone has replaced your products or services with something that is coming up from an entirely new set of forces in the marketplace is what Etwaru calls a “Kodak Moment”. He is referring to the fact that Kodak could have figured out digital photography if they weren’t so worried about the revenues that would come from the film business – this was their Kodak Moment says Etwaru.

    Etwaru feels it is the CDOs responsibility to keep companies from having their Kodak Moments. He says that the CDO needs to act as an evangelist in the P&L to ensure that companies are not mistakenly leaving opportunities on the ground within the new economies that are being created by digital opportunities. The second piece is to act as an advisor to customers that are going through their own transformations by helping them figure out how to avoid their own Kodak Moments.

    “The marketplace is changing for our customers and as a result we have to understand how our customers are experiencing that change so that we can build products and services to help them through that change,” says Etwaru.

    3. Obsess about next generation P&L – Etwaru says that the core or the primary goal of a Chief Digital Officer is to think about the next generation P&L, where more of the revenues will be coming from new market opportunities as opposed to market opportunities that would have funded value creation historically. Etwaru thinks that the fundamental difference of a Chief Digital Officer, compared to other C-Suite roles, is that 49% of what you do is the work of a general manager. Because you are essentially starting a new company that has more digitally-influenced products and services that run the P&L, a lot of time goes into looking at bringing new products and services to the marketplace and building profitability. Of the remaining 51%, he thinks 26% of that is somewhere around CIO/CTO responsibilities, and then the remaining 25% is just outright innovating.

    “You have to out-think, outsmart, out-innovate, outplay and out-maneuver the competition to the new marketplace before they can even figure it out,” said Etwaru.

    4. Bring on the coolness factor – Thinking of coolness as an asset that can move through an organization, Etwaru says that part of a CDO’s job is to make companies cool. According to Etwaru, “The bane of my existence is to make sure that we don’t go out of business, so my role as a Chief Digital Officer is to supply these assets – coolness, innovativeness and forward thinking capability – to a set of distributors – product people, marketers, go to market, financial, reengineering of a P&L – to amplify them.”

    5. Think horizontally – “Cool is not the only currency,” admits Etwaru. There is of course other currency that distinguishes the CDO role, one of which is thinking horizontally vs. vertical. While other roles, such as CIO and CMO are sort of horizontal, they are still mostly vertical. Etwaru says the CDO role is really horizontal. With zero staff, he takes staff from various verticals to create new opportunities and fill the operation corridor to make transformation happen. Having an ‘a-ha!’ moment during our interview, Etwaru describes the transformation that has to happen: “It’s really like starting a new company to cannibalize the one that you have.”

    When looking for candidates for the role of CDO, Etwaru recommends looking for people that have done different things, performed different functions and have worked across different industries. He says, “This is not the type of job that has a vertical trajectory. On any given day I am meeting with product, marketing, communications, operations, compliance and legal. It is a very horizontal looking job.”

    6. Eat, breathe, sleep innovation – One of the most important questions within the context of the CDO is ‘can you transform digitally without being innovative?’ In order to find digital revenue streams on top of the analog type streams that you’ve had in the past; Etwaru says you need to be innovating all the time. Can you haphazardly land on some and not necessarily innovate? It’s possible, he says, but innovation is a big part of what he does as well as reflective thinking of the customer’s journey: “I need to be able to study what we sell, why people buy it, what they are buying from our competitors and what would they want to buy tomorrow. Then, based on a set of inventions that are there – mobile, social, Internet of Things, wearables – how can we create the next generation of products for our customers before our competitors.”

    In summary, Etwaru’s final recommendation was that all Chief Digital Officers read Ray Wang’s new book Disrupting Digital Business: Create an Authentic Experience in the Peer-to-Peer Economy, for help with figuring out how to actually do all the things described in this article.

    You can watch the full interview with Richie Etwaru here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3PM EST as we host CXOTalk – connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.

    — 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 We're Using Existing Technology to Save Vets' and Service Members' Lives (and How You Can Help)
    Today we pause to honor those who gave what President Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion” on behalf of our country. But as we recognize the service and sacrifice of those who came before, we must also face a societal failing to those who served, and continue to serve, our country: more men and women in uniform are dying from suicide than from combat and more than 20 veterans commit suicide each day. To neglect this truth, on this day, is a disservice to all those who have served.

    Despite concerted effort by numerous organizations within and without the government, mental health issues continue to plague the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs; these brave men and women are not receiving, and often not seeking, the support they need. Active duty military personnel face a unique set of challenges when seeking mental health support: they have professional concerns regarding exposing potential mental health issues and fear being stigmatized by those within their ranks. Those who are already outside of the military face a different set of challenges — namely the bureaucratic hurdles associated with the VA. The VA is plagued by inefficiency, an inability to hire and retain adequate mental health professionals, and faces geographic challenges associated with a patient population dispersed across the world.

    When President Obama signed the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act — an attempt to address some of the shortcomings within the VA — last February, he said of providing care to our veterans, “this is not just a job for government. Every community, every American, can reach out and do more with and for our veterans. This has to be a national mission.” The American people, to include the American mental health professional community, have spent countless dollars and hours over the past decade of war in service to our men and women in uniform — including attempts to support their mental health. While much good has been done, too often the mechanism by which we attempt to provide support ignores the unique challenges these men and women face. To answers the president’s call, and more importantly to provide the mental health support they need, a new system — a new model — is needed.

    Sound Off is a non-profit IT infrastructure revolutionizing mental health support for service members and veterans alike. Sound Off connects veterans with mental health specialists working pro bono and a peer support network made up of other service members and veterans. By utilizing modern, commercially available technology, and leveraging the prevalence of smartphones, Sound Off allows users to access this support while maintaining their anonymity: no one will know the identity of the user, yet he or she is able to develop a consistent relationship with a therapist or peer. The two may speak as often as they like via our commercially available VOIP technology (also beneficial for those serving abroad). By connecting veterans from across the country with therapists and peers, also across the country, and by removing insurance, the VA and other bureaucratic inefficiency, Sound Off can provide help faster and easier than ever before.

    Sound Off provides service members and veterans a third party system they can trust, and easily connects them with a support network with whom they can develop a relationship, with the anonymity they seek. We are not the answer to all issues veterans face — more research and work is necessary pharmacologically, psychologically, and bureaucratically. However, we can change the way they seek out and speak with those mental health professional and peers standing ready to provide support. Please visit our website to learn more about our ongoing efforts: www.sound-off.com.

    — 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.

  • Poster family warns over stock images
    A family whose image was used in a poster campaign by the group opposing gay marriage in the Republic of Ireland say they were “naive” about stock photography websites.
  • Which patient is the Jawbone Up Move activity tracker useful for?

    A physician review of the Jawbone Up Move and which patients it could be useful for.

    The post Which patient is the Jawbone Up Move activity tracker useful for? appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Hands On: OmniGraffle 2.1.1 (OS X, iOS)
    You’ve got to say this for OmniGraffle: there aren’t many other graffles in the App Store. There also aren’t many tools that do what it does, and we’ve enthused before about OmniGraffle’s ability to let the artistically-challenged among us sketch out plans, designs and notes on OS X. There’s also been an iPad version, but OmniGraffle 2.1.1 is now a universal app, which means it is now on the iPhone for the first time.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Watch Lindsey Graham Roll His Eyes As Rand Paul Speaks About Ending Bulk Collection Of Phone Records
    Not even U.S. senators are exempt from a little eye-rolling.

    That’s exactly what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) did Friday night when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) began speaking as the Senate debated whether to end the government’s bulk collection of phone records.

    The Senate voted on Friday to block legislation that would have ended the bulk collection program, but lawmakers were forced to stay past midnight at the Capitol as Paul objected to multiple short-term extensions of the Patriot Act that would have preserved the bulk collection of phone records. Unable to extend the legislation, lawmakers will have to try again next week before the law expires at midnight on June 1.

    Paul, who is running for president, spoke for 10 ½ hours this week on the Senate floor about his objection to the bulk collection program. Graham, who favors extending the law, is expected to announce on June 1 that he is seeking the Republican nomination.

    Watch the video above.

    H/T Steven Dennis

    — 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.

  • 'Mad Max' Got Mashed Up With 'Mario Kart,' And It Is Perfect In Every Way
    Now this is a lovely day.

    In the parody trailer to end them all, “Mad Max: Fury Road” has been combined with the “Mario Kart” franchise. And if you thought “Max” couldn’t get more awesome, just wait until some green shells are added in. Now, that’s madness.

    Visual effects artist Kris Sundberg is reported to be the mastermind behind the project. With the sequel “Mad Max: The Wasteland” already in the works, we can only hope filmmakers get inspired to include Sundberg and a few Italian plumbers, too.

    — 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.

  • Mind-Controlled Robot Arm Lets Paralyzed Man Drink A Beer On His Own
    A man paralyzed for 13 years can finally have a drink on his own again, thanks to a robotic arm he’s able to control using his brain.

    “I joke around with the guys that I want to be able to drink my own beer — to be able to take a drink at my own pace, when I want to take a sip out of my beer and to not have to ask somebody to give it to me,” Erik Sorto, 34, said in a news release from the California Institute of Technology.

    A gunshot wound when he was 21 left Sorto unable to move his arms or legs, ABC News reported. That has changed after a clinical trial that involved doctors surgically implanting a neuro-prosthetic device into the part of Sorto’s brain that controls his “intent to move,” Engadget explained.

    The results of the trial, which was a collaboration of Caltech, Keck School of Medicine of USC and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, were published in the May 22 edition of Science journal.

    Scientists have outfitted patients with brain-controlled devices in the past. One big difference, though, is that previous devices have worked with the brain’s motor cortex, which “generates the electrical signals that are sent down the spinal cord and control the contractions of every muscular movement,” The Guardian explained.

    Sorto’s device was implanted into his posterior parietal cortex, or PPC, which deals with the “initial intent” to make a movement, rather than the specifics of each muscle group, according to Caltech.

    “When you move your arm, you really don’t think about which muscles to activate and the details of the movement — such as lift the arm, extend the arm, grasp the cup, close the hand around the cup, and so on. Instead, you think about the goal of the movement. For example, ‘I want to pick up that cup of water,'” Dr. Richard Andersen, a Caltech neuroscience professor, said in the institution’s statement. “So in this trial, we were successfully able to decode these actual intents, by asking the subject to simply imagine the movement as a whole, rather than breaking it down into myriad components.”

    This change can result in movements that are more fluid and natural than those created by earlier devices.

    Dr. Mindy Aisen, chief medical officer and principal investigator of the Spinal Cord Injury Model System at Rancho, told ABC News that Sorto has learned to make smoothies and even paint pictures with the device.

    She added that the technology offers a lot of hope for patients who have become “locked in” due to strokes, ALS and other conditions.

    Sorto, who is still working with the technology, said in the Caltech statement that he hopes it allows him to one day be able to take care of his own hygiene needs.

    “Shaving, brushing my own teeth. That would be fantastic,” he said.

    Contact The Author

    — 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.

  • Starbucks gift card hack was 'fraud'
    A hacker reporting a security hole in Starbucks’ website criticises the company’s handling of the matter.

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Hands On: Aftershokz Bluez conduction headphones
    Headphones, the humble hero of every day life. Boring commute on public transportation? Just pop in your headphones and listen to an audio book. Noisy construction outside of your window? Slip your headphones over your ears and have an impromptu Netflix marathon. Avid jogger? A great playlist can help workouts fly by, but in this case, headphones are more of a hindrance than a boon. Cutting out important audio cues, such as sounds of construction, car horns, bike bells, or yelling pedestrians can be dangerous. But there is a solution – headphones that don’t work by closing off your ears. We to

  • AT&T to drop two-year contracts through third-party sellers
    AT&T, one of the US’ largest carriers, has opted to make a significant change to its arrangements with third-party resellers of its services, including franchises and agents such as Apple, Walmart, and others. All non-company stores will be restricted from offering any two-year contracts in the traditional format with an up-front down payment, though AT&T company stores and its own online site will continue to offer contracts. Instead, retailers will have to offer the AT&T Next option, where buyers pay the cost of the phone alongside the monthly service plan fees.
  • Disney's Futuristic 'Tomorrowland' Rejects Dystopian Tropes With An Optimistic Call To Action

    A few minutes into “Tomorrowland,” it becomes clear that Disney’s latest live-action adventure isn’t going to brood over the apocalypse or depict a purely desolate future. Instead, the movie blends sci-fi and fantasy with realism to depict a world where hope is the only antidote to extinction.

    In “Tomorrowland,” directed by Brad Bird and co-written by Bird and Damon Lindelof (with Jeff Jensen earning a story credit), we first meet Frank Walker (George Clooney), a once bright-eyed young boy with innovative dreams, as a now-hardened cynic in the present day. We learn what shattered Frank’s buoyancy when Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) backtracks to tell her story as a teen determined to save the future of a doomed NASA rocket launch site. After finding a mysterious pin secretly given to her by a young British girl, Athena (Raffey Cassidy), Casey is briefly transported to the futuristic world of Tomorrowland. But the real future turns out not to be as bright and shiny: A clock counts down to a predicted apocalypse, prompting Casey, Athena and Frank to try to save the fate of a crumbling planet Earth.

    With the awe of “Alice in Wonderland” and a hint of the futurism of “WALL-E,” Bird’s “Tomorrowland” feels very much like a Disney-fueled vehicle, but one which heavily cashes in on the power of positive thought — think of the best-seller The Secret, which Lindelof named-dropped while discussing “Tomorrowland.” The movie packs on the cheesy believe-and-you-can-achieve Disney mantra quite heavily, but it’s nevertheless refreshing to see a positive spin on the dreary future that fills the big screen today. “Tomorrowland” has already been labeled the anti-“Hunger Games,” a departure from the typical nihilism.

    george clooney

    “The future we’re getting fed a steady diet of is sort of post-apocalyptic,” Lindelof told The Huffington Post. “The idea that something kind of terrible happens and now the dregs of humanity are roving the desert in tricked-out cars or shooting arrows at each other, that’s kind of what the future is.” While Lindelof — who, let’s not forget, is the co-creator of “Lost” and HBO’s ultra-depressing “The Leftovers” — admits he loves those types of stories, he wanted to discover what a different kind of future would look like, and whether or not audiences would even want to see it.

    While this approach is hardly something we see in movies or on television today, it does reflect a mindset of an earlier generation, before hope was vanquished by pessimism. “When both Damon and I were young, the world was still a rough place,” Bird told HuffPost. “There were wars and injustice and pollution, and all the things we have today, but the attitude towards the future was that we were going to solve all these problems and that the future was this bright thing just over the horizon.”

    It was this question of “What happened?” that fascinated Bird and Lindelof, leading them to use Disney’s theme-park land as the inspiration for what the word “Tomorrowland” actually meant to society, then and now. “In a broad sense, it’s about Walt Disney’s view of the future, that it was an exciting thing, that it was a giant opportunity [rather] than this burden we come to think of it as, this coming disaster,” Bird said.

    But “Tomorrowland” doesn’t paint a future that is bright and sunny where all of the world’s problems can be solved by making a wish and dreaming big (despite the film’s hefty serving of goofy sentimentalism). No fairy godmother flashes into existence and no magical wand flickers to save our world. The film asks more of its audience than simply sitting back and enjoying the movie, most directly in a monologue delivered by the villainous scientist Nix (Hugh Laurie), who blames the predicted demise of mankind on mankind itself. It’s a moment where “Tomorrowland” breaks the fourth wall and holds the viewers responsible for the apocalypse that could come if we succumb to resignation.

    “The big cosmic shrug, I don’t get,” Bird said. The director made a point to claim “Tomorrowland” isn’t necessarily a political film, but he does hope that audiences walk away with some sense of desire to contribute to a better future. Robertson echoed that sentiment: “I think it’s important for audiences when they see a movie like this to take that into consideration and maybe work it into their own life in trying to put forth actions that contribute to a more optimistic future.”

    tomorrowland britt

    But Bird knows that the Cinderella model — “a dream is a wish your hearts makes” — isn’t all it takes. “Dreaming is great and crucial, but dreaming is step one,” Bird said. “All the rest of the steps are putting the dream into motion and asking and deciding what future you want and making every decision drive towards that future.”

    Whether or not you walk away from “Tomorrowland” feeling inspired with a sense of hope and activism, or simply dazzled by the visuals, it’s at least reassuring to see a major summer movie evading the usual dystopian cliches. “I don’t want to be holed in a house eating from a tin can of beans as zombies scrape at the door,” Lindof said. “I want to watch it, I don’t want to live it. So why not make one that has a future that I would want to live in?”

    “Tomorrowland” is now playing in theaters.

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  • With Cloud Computing, Feds Should Swing for the Fences
    Bryce Harper is hitting the cover off the ball for the Washington Nationals. He’s already hit more home runs this season than all of last season. For Harper, the sky’s the limit because he finally has reached his potential. But a few blocks away from Nationals Park, Federal IT managers aren’t quite in the swing of things.

    The Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group’s new report on the state of cloud computing in the Federal government, “Don’t Be a Box Hugger,” sees both balls and strikes in Federal efforts to adopt cloud computing.

    Cloud represents “a tremendous opportunity to dramatically transform how the Federal government manages, processes, and shares information,” writes U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) in his foreword of the report, available here.

    Cloud promises financial savings, faster development, perpetual modernization, and more, by getting the government out of the risky business of buying computer technology. Instead, cloud allows it to lease both software and hardware, ensuring perpetual access to the latest program and hardware updates. Cloud allows agencies to tap into the unparalleled scale of huge commercial vendors, like Amazon and Microsoft, firms whose data storage capacity dwarfs that of even Uncle Sam, the world’s biggest IT consumer.

    The Feds aren’t all alone in stepping to the plate on cloud transformation. Cloud represents the fastest-growing segment within the $4 trillion global IT market. Gartner predicts organizations will spend 4 percent of IT budgets on cloud computing, or $176 billion this year. But by 2017, that figure will soar to $240 billion, Gartner predicts.

    Within the Federal government, cloud computing is advancing, but it’s more of curve ball than a fast ball today. The President’s budget request for Fiscal 2016 calls for an IT spending of $86.4 billion, of which an estimated $2.1 billion would pay for cloud computing solutions. That’s a little more than 2 percent of the IT budget.

    Meanwhile, Federal agencies expect to spend nearly $60 billion on life support for legacy systems – the kinds of aging, labor-intensive solutions that cloud promises to make obsolete.

    That, notes the Congressional Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group’s report, is where cloud’s greatest potential lies. It’s why Federal CIO Tony Scott says in the report, “If everyone does it, cloud could be huge.”

    Too many box-huggers – those who don’t want to even look at cloud – and fence sitters – those dipping a toe into the cloud, but not yet ready to make a mainstream cloud transition. What’s needed are more cloud pioneers – those willing to drive to the plate.

    What’s to be done?

    The Cloud Computing Caucus Advisory Group identifies three central solutions in its report:

    • Tell the Truth: The White House should set and enforce deadlines as well as increase transparency on actual cloud spending. Squishy numbers make for squishy standards. But clear numbers will drive change
    • Change the Game: The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) – a government-wide cloud security standards initiative – has made good progress in certifying commercial and government Cloud Service Provider’s (CSP) offerings. But the FedRAMP program office is underfunded and resourced – meaning that a program designed to help cloud adoption may actually be unwittingly holding it back. Increased funding could help streamline cloud adoption, the report says
    • Think Bigger: Uncle Sam has already picked much of the low-hanging cloud fruit, like transitioning email and collaboration software. So now agencies need to identify where cloud solutions can help save money, speed development, improve services, and increase mission effectiveness.

    Like Bryce Harper, who in his fourth Major League season now appears to be his generation’s Babe Ruth, cloud computing also has nearly limitless potential. But it’s up to Federal IT managers, leaders in Congress, and others to make sure they are swinging for the fences by putting cloud in their lineup.

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  • Want to Fend Off Cybercrooks? Wear Protection!
    Every year at this time we anxiously await Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report, hoping that this would be the year that all cybercrooks would disappear. But, as usual, our hopes have been stomped upon by the facts.

    We’re all aware of the large-scale attacks against big companies, which have gotten big play in the media. But, the vulnerability for so-called small businesses is a shocking one in 2.2 chance that they will becomes victims. This, coupled with a slower reaction time of software companies to patch vulnerabilities and the rise in “trojanized software updates,” has made the waters of the Internet hazardous, at best.

    Here are the numbers for 2014, as provided by Symantec:

    • It took software vendors an average of 59 days to create patches compared to four days in 2013
    • One-in-12 computer users were targeted by cybercrooks
    • One in 2.2 small businesses were targeted
    • Infected links were shared WILLINGLY via social media. In fact, 70 percent of all social media scams were unwittingly shared with “friends” on these sites

    The folks at Symantec saw the biggest increase in attacks taking the form of “ransomware.” Simply put, ransomware is when a hacker gains access to files on a computer and encrypts them so they can no longer be read. The attacker then demands money from the computer user to decrypt the files. These attackers have been known to attach trojans to links to software updates or to programs downloaded via trusted websites.

    According to the threat report, ransomware attacks grew by 113 percent in 2014 and 68 percent of the victims of these attacks paid the ransom, with no guarantee that their data would be set free.

    But the real culprit here is the attitude of the average computer user and vendors to these businesses. The report shows that there’s an attitude of “we’re too small for anyone to bother us” that seems to be growing, with the result being that fewer of us are setting up defenses to thwart these attacks. This, of course, makes it easier for a hacker to gain access to email addresses, account numbers and other personal data.

    Of course, there were a few major victims that lead to the theft of personal data for millions of people, Topping the list were healthcare companies and retail outlets.

    According to the report, the healthcare breaches were caused by so-called “innocent” incidents ranging from lost or stolen laptops to the unauthorized downloading of software onto a company’s PC or Mac. But the scale of the attacks pales when compared to those launched against retail companies.

    Retail data was the number one target of cyber crooks in 2014. In fact, 50 percent of all data stolen in 2014 was from retail companies’ computers – – – a whopping 11 percent of all incidents of reported data theft.

    Much of this could have been avoided if the vendors and others had taken a few simple steps to protect their data.

    Businesses need to:

    • Use advanced threat intelligence solutions to detect threats and respond faster to incidents
    • Enlist the help of a third-party security expert to manage crises
    • Establish guidelines for protecting data and regularly train employees on how to deal with cyber attacks

    Consumers need to:

    • Use stronger passwords for accounts and devices without repeating passwords for multiple sites
    • Don’t click on unsolicited email or social media messages from unknown sources
    • Know what data you’re sharing when installing a new device such as a router or thermostat

    Will we ever really be safe from hackers? Probably not. But we can go through an attitude change and realize that we, too, can become victims.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website.

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  • Code as a Second Language
    On appearance, Kaira Villanueva seems to be an average sophomore student at Columbia University tracing her way through New York with a well-worn backpack, scratched-up MetroCard, and a youthful curiosity. Except she’s not typical. As a Latina computer science major, unfortunately, there is nothing common about her career path. And after being selected this year by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) and Google to be part of the Code as a Second Language (CSL) initiative, she’s more of a Tech Action Hero.

    Kaira and about a dozen other Latino programmers were tapped to be CSL Fellows to teach computer programming to Latino youth across the country – Kaira just finished instructing a class of high school girls in New York over an eight-session course using CS First curriculum to ensure there are more Kairas going forward. And more, Dantes. Dante Alvarado-Leon is a student at UC Berkeley that also wrapped up his CSL effort this week but across the country in an underserved school in San Jose. As America scrambles to find more programmers, it will take creative and resourceful approaches like the CSL initiative to empower more Tech Action Heroes like Kaira and Dante who are strategically leveraged to more effectively reach the imaginations of younger Latinos to join them in the dynamic but unfortunately exclusive tech space – a space which is desperate for programmers.

    Yes, it doesn’t make sense to be desperate and exclusive at the same time but that’s exactly what the tech industry is. And the math just doesn’t add up … according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over the next five years, 1.4 million new computer science jobs will need to be filled in the United States but currently in the pipeline are only about 400,000 CS students. At this time, there are over 500,000 vacant tech jobs. What is baffling is that nine out of 10 high schoolsdon’t offer coding classes and in 33 of 50 states, computer science classes aren’t counted as high school math or science graduation requirements (according to Code.org). That’s right, in most states computer science is treated more like a shop class instead of a math or science-based course. CS/technology is only one of the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields to decrease in student participation over the last two decades according to the National Center for Education Statistics. It’s no wonder that we’re so worried as a nation about competing globally.

    And the long-term solution isn’t to search the globe for talent. (In about a week’s time, the H01B visa cap of 65,000 had been maxed out like a data plan on a very social teen’s phone.) Actually, the solution is right there here in the United States – in barrios, rural areas, urban areas, pretty much everywhere. To prove it, HHF hosted a LOFT (Latinos On Fast Track) Coder Summit at Stanford which attracted 500 registrants who were all programmers with half CS students and half professionals (40 percent were female). Participates broke down and cried about how overwhelmed they were to not be on the only Latino or Latina in a room of programmers. Kahttp://zovfreullia.github.io/games/ira and Dante were there and presented their innovative ideas along with about 15 other Latinos. We proved at the summit that a base of Latino programmers does exist and needs to be build upon and mobilized to grow the pool of talent, which is exactly what the CSL program is doing. We need to show Silicon Valley and the private and public sectors that a Latino programmer isn’t a brown unicorn carrying a keyboard!

    However, leveraging the talent means tapping Kaira and Dante, providing them with platforms to inspire, introduce and teach younger Latinos about coding or to simply spark an interest in tech careers, or innovating to make a social impact, or learning a tool to express themselves better and be creative in today’s and tomorrow’s changing environment. This new wave of Latino innovators, tech workforce and entrepreneurs need to be added to the already burgeoning young Latino population to move America forward. America needs us.

    And once again Latinos can fill the jobs our country needs us to fill. Latinos have always done what America has needed. Whether it was to build buildings, pick fruit, serve food or fight wars, we are a noble, hardworking and flexible workforce. And now we need to fill the gap in tech jobs. And as we have throughout history, we will come through.

    But in order to do that we to be more resourceful, creative and actionable through programs like CSL, which just concluded in eight regions with visits to Google offices and the important connectivity to employee volunteers for mentoring and a vision of very cool jobs that they are now on track for (through CS First Curriculum it’s an opportunity for mentors, parents and teachers to also be Tech Action Heroes). It will take a collective effort between the private, public, education and nonprofit sectors to make an impact. This summer, HHF is working with Saber es Poder and the Mexican Government to bring CSL to the Mexican Consulates to provide our new arrivals that are on a pathway to residence and citizenship with a powerful value proposition for America. Immigrants are here to help to pay back the enormous debt we have to live in the United States. That’s the mindset. Our job is to collectively provide them with the tools and knowledge to fulfill that responsibility.

    There needs to be a focus on Latino youth who currently represent nearly 25 percent of the student population. This is our future workforce of which 75 percent of new jobs will be filled by Latinos according to a report by IHS Economics. We need to make sure that a large portion of those new jobs being filled are in the tech industry. In the fall, CSL will start a year-round effort in up to 30 schools in Los Angeles alone through a partnership with community colleges.

    And yes, going forward more Tech Action Heroes like Kaira and Dante will be deputized and empowered to meet our workforce challenges head on.

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  • Holychild Wants 'Brat Pop' To Save The World

    It’s easy to stand out when you’re wearing a leather jacket covered in googly eyes and have jewels glued to your scalp. But Holychild frontwoman Liz Nistico was unbothered by the wandering eyes — googly or otherwise — at a Lower East Side coffee shop. Louie Diller, the other half of Holychild, sat beside her, in an oversized gold jacket affixed with angel wings. They were deep in conversation about lofty plans to move from Los Angeles to Mexico City, where they want to write and record their second album. Never mind that Holychild’s first full LP, “The Shape of Brat Pop To Come,” has yet to debut.

    There’s a whole bunch of other things just about to happen for Nistico and Diller, who met in 2011 while they were students at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and formed Holychild soon after. They’re a few days away from going on tour with Passion Pit, have a couple weeks to go until their first summer festival season — they’ll play Governor’s Ball, Sweetlife and Lollapalooza — and are anticipating the release of a music video for new track “Money All Around.” The fact that their first single, “Running Behind,” was featured in the Apple Watch commercial is already old news.

    Yet, Nistico and Diller are looking beyond all that, talking shop about Mexico City and why it’s the next best place for what they call a “nomadic lifestyle.”

    “I really want to go someplace where I don’t know anybody and can be made uncomfortable,” Nistico said. “I like being made uncomfortable. I think the best art comes from being uncomfortable.”

    Due out June 2, “The Shape of Brat Pop To Come” is Holychild’s shot at introducing the world to Brat Pop, the label they’ve given their music. “Brat Pop is essentially sarcastic pop music,” Nistico explained. “It’s really thick with social commentary. The things we’re talking about are gender roles and expectations.”

    It’s half-performance art, half-saccharine Top 40 drenched in obvious symbols about feminism, class discrepancies and social constructions. “Dye your hair! Tan your skin! Liposuction’s really in! Adderall! Join the fall! Do it to be beautiful!” Nistico chants on the LP’s second track, “Nasty Girls.”

    She writes most of the lyrics, while Diller heads up musical production. But together, they’re trying to say something. “The lyrics are like diary entries,” she said. “Just trying to make sense of this world we’re put in and find some universal truth.”

    “I feel like our first EP, ‘Mindspeak,’ was feminist-driven,” Diller said. “But the album has a broader scope in terms of everything Liz just said.”

    A few weeks later, Holychild took the stage at Brooklyn’s newly renovated Kings Theater. Backed by Diller’s brother on drums, multi-instrumentalist Sam Stewart (son of The Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart) and two back-up singers, Nistico and Diller launched into an hour-long set,”bratty” as hell. But with a cavernous ceiling and seated ticketing, it’s an awkward venue in which to introduce Brat Pop to the masses. Half the seats remained empty and only a small crowd huddled in front of the stage.

    That didn’t stop Holychild from trying to turn the venue into an all-out dance party with heavy percussion and electro-pop crescendos. But the reality was more talent show than warehouse rave. Halfway through the set, Nistico kicked off her shoes, commanded the crowd to clap and went full Gaga in her diva artistry. The thirst for pop stardom is real, and she’s not embarrassed to have it.

    holychildA GIF from the “Money All Around” music video

    The summer of Brat Pop continued when Holychild dropped the surrealist music video for “Money All Around.” “Watch, share, make people uncomfortable, challenge societal norms!” they tweeted.

    In it, Nistico and Diller try to tackle nearly every big issue, mentioning everything from disordered eating to plagiarism. The duo dines at an expensive restaurant in Los Angeles as text reminiscent of VH1’s “Pop Up Video” plays throughout. Things like like “Liz felt ‘fat’ the day of the shoot and was self-conscious to wear the one-piece. She weighed 111 pounds” run across the screen. Rather than let fans figure out what exactly Holychild is trying to say, they hit you over the head with broad messages, leaving nothing open to interpretation.

    “The meat on the table represents humans as lifeless objects,” reads one pop-up. Another says, “Holychild wanted to use older actors doing sexual acts to provoke conversations on ageism.” The video ends like a PSA on capitalism: “85 of the richest people in the world control $110 trillion or have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest. Money is meant to provoke thought on truth.”

    “What we’re trying to do is accessible art that’s also not going to spoon feed you,” Nistico explained. Their message, though, is scattered. Think. Just think about anything, they seem to say. “There’s a really heavy lean in our music towards human equality and trying to figure out if that’s possible, human equality between genders and sexual orientations and classes and ultimately racism.”

    “It’s almost like the way children’s shows are super fun and colorful,” Nistico continued. “They’re like, ‘Today we’re talking about sharing. Isn’t sharing amazing?’ These concepts can be fun. Pop jam 2015! But then it’s also like, ‘Fucking money!’ We’re trying to question the role of money in our culture. I feel like money doesn’t exist. It’s one of these weird ideas of a thing.”

    “It really doesn’t,” Diller added.

    “It’s around and somehow I’m eating food, so that’s cool,” Nistico said.

    Holychild’s “Running Behind” featured in the first Apple Watch commercial

    But, the ironic notion of Holychild’s hit single being used to sell Apple’s latest high-profile product, which is, in a way, the absolute symbol of money and power, is not lost on the band. “I think that a lot of the reason why people are connecting with our music right now is because it says something,” she said. “Apple using the song is a larger indicator of that. They were down with everything from hypocrisy in images to the feminist messages of Brat Pop. We’re in a very precarious place as a culture where indicators like that show that we can move forward.”

    Holychild’s first album, “The Shape of Brat Pop To Come,” is due out June 2 via Glassnote Records.

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  • Damon Dash Responds To Jay Z's 'Stream Of Consciousness' YouTube, Spotify Diss
    Jay Z debuted his latest freestyle last weekend at the Tidal X: B-Sides show. In the freestyle called “Stream of Consciousness,” the business mogul defended his streaming service by flipping the dialogue and questioning consumers’ existing support of YouTube, Apple and Spotify.

    The Grammy Award-winning rapper’s lyrics went on to garner the attention of many fans , including his former business partner, Damon Dash.

    During an interview this week with Dr. Boyce Watkins, Dash –- who has previously expressed his own displeasure over the practices of corporate America taking advantage of artists — shared his thoughts on Jay’s decision to take aim at his new tech rivals.

    “I know Jay, and as my experience with him, whatever’s winning is what he’s going to embrace,” he admitted during the interview. “So if bringing awareness to being robbed as a culture is what’s now in style… that’s what I wanted to happen… Of course, the timing of it may make it look like he’s doing it as a marketing plan, but good. Everything that he does is a marketing plan.”

    “So if being independent is a marketing plan then that’s good,” Dash continued. “And bringing awareness to being robbed so he can make money is a marketing plan, as opposed to bringing awareness to selling drugs and shooting, or ‘I’m better than you because I have more money’… Like when the most commercial person is saying that – even though he’s talking about independence at the most commercial level – I still like that’s the mentality.”

    Check out more of Damon Dash’s interview in the clip above.

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  • Wired Founders Are Still Optimistic About The Future Of Technology
    The founders of Wired magazine — business and life partners Jane Metcalfe and Louis Rossetto — received a lifetime achievement award at the Webbys this week.

    But rather than focus on the past, The Huffington Post caught up with them after the ceremony in New York Monday night to ask about how the world has changed since 1993, when Wired launched, and what they expect from the future.

    How do you think the world has changed in terms of how people interact with technology and how they care about technology?

    Louis Rossetto: It was a small community inventing the future almost in isolation from each other, and Wired helped unify that community. That community has now grown to all the people using this technology, all the ones who care about what’s the next thing. We used to say our mission was to roam across the horizon of time and come back with a fresh kill from the future. And that mission is still valid because everybody wants to know what’s coming next.

    Jane Metcalfe: Well, I think everybody wanting to know what’s coming next is perhaps relatively new. I mean, when we launched back in the early ‘90s there were fewer people who kind of cared about what technology was doing, where it was going, and there was less focus on the future.

    LR: I think everybody is living in the future now.

    JM: Right, I mean, this is the future. When we started, the future was 2000 — the year 2000. [Laughs]

    LR: I feel like all the stuff that we’re doing, things are preoccupying us — whether it’s genetics or whether its drones or whether it’s artificial intelligence or intelligence amplified or 3D printing or biomedicine — all of those things even 25 years ago were still, you know, science fiction.

    wired magazine 1993
    The first issue of Wired, dated March 1993
    So, are you optimistic about where we’re going in technology and how the world is changing?

    JM: I am wildly enthusiastic about what data is teaching us about ourselves as biological creatures. You know, like mapping the genome, mapping the brain, microbiome. It’s just redefining who we are as living beings. It’s not just our human cells, it’s our biome that goes along with it. So, I think it’s an incredibly exciting time to be alive.

    LR: In like a billion-mile-away perspective, it’s neither good nor bad. The universe just is. For humans, for this species at this moment, I think it’s a remarkable time. And personally, I think to be an entrepreneur, to be a participant in trying to shape this, we have to be optimistic. You have to. It’s just required on a CV that that is how you think about the future. That is how you think about the world, and that it’s gonna get better, that you are gonna help make it better.

    I used to go around giving talks, and one of the things I said was, you have to think about owning, being responsible for the future, because if you don’t, if you just think that it’s a bad time and things are going to get worse, then they are. But if you really believe that you can make a difference and you want to make a better world for your children, then you can step up and actually make that happen. That sense of using the tools you have and technology, that sense is what makes the world better.

    This interview has been edited for clarity.

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  • 500 Million Android Devices At Risk Thanks To Factory Reset Glitch
    One of the most important things to do before selling or giving away a used smartphone is to wipe the device clean. After all, the last thing anyone wants is for a complete stranger to have access to all of their personal data. Unfortunately for Android users, researchers from Cambridge University recently discovered that performing a data wipe on Android devices doesn’t clear the device as one would expect.

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  • Hope or Fear? What Guides Your Company's Tech Future?
    Last year at the MIT CIO Symposium, I had the opportunity to participate on a panel regarding the Board / CEO relationship with the CIO. The panel was moderated by the Wall Street Journal’s Michael Hickins. Earlier in the year, Michael and I spoke about the challenges of security and innovation in a post-Snowden / Target era. In the panel I recast this as part of a larger existential question of hope vs. fear. This became a micro theme of the event. This year as I return to the event I wanted to reflect on how preserving security has influenced enterprise innovation this past year and enterprises should move forward.

    After the removal of Target’s CEO, it became a natural reaction for any CEO and Board to slow down new innovations in favor of making sure things are “secure.” However, it’s more than likely this led to an overcorrection – one that puts companies at a comparative disadvantage in addressing the seismic technological disruptions that are sure to come. So how should technology leaders drive innovation for companies in a world that could be dictated by the fear of security issues?

    Fight Fear with Fear
    It is certainly more difficult for a CIO or technology leader to talk to his or her CEO about a new technology initiative while one mistake can cost that chief executive his or her career. It is this kind of scenario that can lead to a myopic focus, one that ignores long-term trends. In today’s world, that ‘other’ fear–disruptions coming from those outside your industry–is likely an even greater threat. After all, it’s seldom 800lb gorillas knock out other 800lb gorillas; more often the knockout blow is delivered by the yet unknown disruptor.

    Self driving cars, 3D printing, robotics, wearables, biotech — these innovations are compounding the already torrid pace of advancement of cloud, social and mobile technologies. We know software is eating the world, but now even the physical world is programmable by software. Disruptors in your space are pushing all their chips to the center of the table to attack your industry and each is doing it from a unique angle. Even with a proactive and well considered approach, you’re facing a market that is investing more in disruption than you are. Retreating from this inevitable battle means handing your destiny over to competitors of whom you have little awareness.

    Always Return to Hope
    While fear can inspire action, it can never inspire. As leaders of organizations, you must show a path forward that excites and invigorates even when navigating through fear. Technology has the ability to raise IT from a business support service to a core part of realizing the vision of the company. With what hope inspires you can better serve your customers, create better experiences for your employees, be a better partner to the communities you operate in, and make your business more secure. In fact, innovation in security can enable the entire business to move faster — like guide rails for a high speed train.

    For a leadership team, fear may motivate you to move beyond the status quo, but to create lasting change you must show the organization a path to a better future.

    Understand “Risk-Adjusted” Actions
    Every financial analyst understands the notion of a risk-adjusted rate of return. For example making ten percent on your public stock portfolio would be considered great in most years, but making the same ten percent on a series of early stage investments in startups would be seen as too low for the level of risk associated with that type of investment. Yet clearly there is a level of return that more than justifies taking the risk to invest in an early stage startup. In IT we too often draw lines in the sand over what we can and cannot do rather than simply applying additional cost or value to action itself.

    Inattentional Blindness is a well-studied phenomenon that shows that people are poor at reacting to unexpected changes if their attention if focused disproportionately on another stimuli. For Target or other retailers, the implication is that innovation is slowed because a disproportionate level of attention is paid to security-related matters. An often stated IT perspective is, “Well, you can’t put a price on what it costs you to compromise customer data.” The financial analyst would say “Oh, but you can.” If Target were told that for $100B, they could be 100% secure, they would still want to understand the risk associated with a $1B or $10M spend– only then can the company make the right decision on security investments.

    In sports, especially in those with playoff series, we often see this overreaction pendulum in effect — you’re as terrible or fantastic as your last game. It is the job of the leader to bring sanity to the fray. He or she must create a rational awareness of risk and an appropriate set of responsive actions — not an unsupported panic. With that measured approach, you may find yourself zigging (continuing to invest in innovation) while others zag (panic and drop innovation for security)…and come out the other side with a structural advantage over your competitors.


    Hope and fear are close cousins. Great leaders balance the two and approach them in a measured way with resolve. Great technology leaders show how innovation can feed into–and balance–the two. The focus on fear in IT must give way to a lens of hope and possibility. John Lennon once said, “When we are afraid, we pull back from life.” We live in an age of endless opportunity; for technology to be transformative, leaders must guide their organizations to think broadly and act bravely in pursuing the future. After all, if you don’t, someone else will.


    — 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.

  • If You're in EdTech, Then Hoping Someone Buys You Is Better Than a Business Model
    For quite some time now, entrepreneurs have been looking to the EdTech market as one where money will be made. The inevitable transformation of the schools model by technology will open up vast possibilities for innovation. Vast fortunes will be created, as these technologies are laid in front of millions and millions of users.

    It’s a dream that Venture capital companies have certainly bought into, with half a billion pumped into EdTech start-ups in the first half of last year alone, although not always successfully.

    Many of those think that, one day, they’ll get a smooth ride, as with the Facebook model. Get to a point where they just grow and grow and grow. Ubiquity is the target. Billions of dollars the result.

    And that won’t happen. If you’re in the US market, for example, then getting your product actually used by actual schools, actual teachers and their pupils, then you’re at the bottom of a very large mountain. Daunting isn’t the word.

    School districts and universities decide on tech purchases and they all already have well-established relationships with large-scale companies and are reluctant to take on newer companies which may not even be there next year. And they might not be there because educational purchases are cyclical, and take place at the beginning of a school year. A start-up has to have a phenomenal selling season to make enough to keep the cashflow going til the next, equally short, hunting season.

    And guess which companies can afford such a long-term outlook? So that’s why Pearson, McGraw-Hill, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt still own around three quarters of the textbook, testing, platform and curriculum market in the US. And they don’t do so badly in higher education either.

    So while the old guard looks like what it is – old, it is also the biggest source of hope for innovators and start-ups, since they are desperate to reinvent themselves with new ideas, new approaches and new people. On that basis, EdTech companies make juicy targets – bringing fresh blood and ideas to companies who can suddenly look themselves in the eye and say words like ‘disruption’ and ‘innovation’.

    There are lots of people and organisations out there making compelling and effective learning technologies that could work well in schools. Often the problem is delivering them in a way that makes enough money to keep them going. Sales, market profile, sustainable cash-flows and scaling up offer huge challenges to start-ups.

    While they may dream of sailing past the monoliths of the old guard, their best response may actually be not to beat them, but to join them. And take their cash to do so.

    — 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.

  • Rouse Social Simplifies 12 Sites in 1 App

    In the ever evolving world of technology, it’s painfully obvious that there is an app for everything. Whether to connect to the bank, pay something on-line or host numerous cyber conversations at once, we are mobile. Whatever you’re doing, there is no doubt you are multitasking. A trendy guilty pleasure these days are social media apps and often enough we spend more than a view minutes, okay, we binge roam throughout our favorite feeds. I often find myself on the check-out line groveling over Beyonce. But who am I kidding, she has 33.4 million followers literally watching her every move, spending an unnatural amount of time obsessing over her new music, hair style or video. Society bounces from app to app not to miss the latest trend…but what if all of our favorite apps combined? A site where all the social feeds met and delivered a simplified version of Beyonce’s day. Alas, allow me to introduce you to Rouse Social. The one app that allows you to follow all certified athletes, musicians, actors and everyone in between.

    The exclusive concept behind mainstreaming network feeds into one uniformed application came from Long Island natives, Daniel Smith and Max Siegelman. The concept was to unite each feed with the hopes of condensing it all into one feed. “The simplicity and user friendly app is customized to avoid using more than one app allowing a longer battery life and less unnecessary roaming.
    When asking Max what exactly is Rouse, he replied, “Rouse Social is a leading mobile application that brings social media, e-commerce and discovery together into one convenient and easy to use application. Rouse Social simplifies social media by providing fans with access to multiple social networks, content sources, products and more from their favorites in sports, entertainment, music, news, museums and brands all in one app. Users can view one wall with all of the social updates from their favorites or go to individual pages for additional content and filters including the ability to view only photos, only videos, only news and/or only bios. Rouse Social enables users to view and buy music, concert tickets, merchandise and even donate to charities on each celebrity Rouse Pages. Rouse is – Social Media Simplified!”

    Highlighting the simple functionality of this particular app, Rouse Social offers a variety of ways to consolidate time and battery life. There are different viewing options and stronger connection with fans, the convenient discovery tabs, privacy factor and mostly, the relief to know all accounts are verified. No more sifting through handles trying to figure out who is who. Another strong feature is how convenient it is for the celebrity or their social media manager to manipulate multiple apps. It is a seamless app allowing fans to connect all in one place.

    Another interesting perk about Rouse Social is the relationship between legendary Hip Hop artist, LL Cool J, who has pioneered the rap, movie and television industies, and continuing to stay relevant on the social scene. LL took an immediate interest to Rouse and has since become a shareholder. The app appeared at the gifting suite at the 2015 Grammy Awards and impressed everyone. Social Media options they can handle themselves. LL Cool J hosted an incredible show and allowed Siegelman the opportunity to interact first hand with the same stars he has listed on the site. Max Siegelman showed stars how to use the app and gained an astronomical response.

    The success of this revolutionary app is just on the brink of an epic breakthrough. New features developing daily have already separated Rouse from other social concepts and have celebrities and fans excited. They expect to continue to grow and branch the concept internationally. Many of the people, teams, and brands fans follow on Rouse are from countries around the world. Rouse just pulls in the content so whatever language the posts are written in is how they are displayed on Rouse. Combing 12 social networks, selling thousands of songs and connecting people globally, Rouse has engineered social exchange conveniently for all.

    For more information, visit http://www.rousesocial.com/
    Download Rouse Social on your Apple, Android or Smartphone today

    — 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.

  • A Former Waiter Remembers the Day He Served Steve Jobs and the Lesson He Learned
    What interaction did waiters who served Steve Jobs have with him when they served him at restaurants in Palo Alto and the rest of the Bay Area?: 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+.

    Answer by Brian Frank, Mobile Entrepreneur, Foodie & Man-About-Town

    I’ve actually had the pleasure to serve Steve at a restaurant in Palo Alto, and here’s the story …

    I took some “time off” from the tech industry in 2000 to learn more about one of my passions, wine. So, on a whim, I walked into Niebaum-Coppola on University St. and applied to be an assistant behind the wine bar.

    After about 3-4 months behind the bar, Steve walked in with one of his children (don’t remember which one) and sat down in front of me and asked for a menu.

    As you could imagine, I was a little surprised, but kept my composure and waited for him to order. He talked with his kid about ordering a pizza and they settled on one together and he gave me the request.

    In the meantime the restaurant manager was standing pensively off to the side of the bar. She clearly wanted to make sure we served Steve well, and ran back to the kitchen to expedite the pizza.

    It was much quicker than normal that the pizza came rushing out, and the manager was intent on delivering it herself. I didn’t get in the way, so she put it down in front of Steve and his kid.

    However, when Steve picked up the first piece, the manager noticed the pizza was burned on the bottom. I can’t imagine how much she was freaking out, but she was really apologetic and said she’d have the kitchen remake it immediately. Steve calmly said “sure, that’s great,” and went back to chatting with his child.

    I offered Steve something to drink and he politely declined.

    When the second pizza came out, Steve and his kid tore into it and everything was all better. The manager sighed and walked away, likely to chastise the kitchen for screwing up on the service of a celeb.

    At this point, not being a career waiter, I tried to strike up a convo with Steve …

    “Hey congrats on Mac OS X, Steve.” I said, as it had just been released a couple weeks earlier.

    “Thanks,” Steve said, “have you tried it yet?” he questioned.

    “Yeah, I’ve been running it.” I said.

    “and….what do you think?” He asked.

    “To be honest, Steve, it’s a work of art.”

    As I said this, Steve started to smile.

    But I continued … “It’s like art because it’s beautiful to look at from a distance, but once you get up close, you can see the brush strokes and cracks in the paint.”

    His smile turned somewhat down. “What do you mean?” Steve said.

    “The performance, Steve, it’s just not there yet. I’m sure you’ll get it humming, but it’s painful to use right now. But I love it. It’s the most beautiful interface ever.”

    Steve rubbed his head and lamented “yeah, we were stressing about the performance. We’ve got a ton of fixes coming to make it better…wait, who are you?!?!”

    Having just come out of a failed startup where I was working with a couple of the early Mac team, I wanted to make a connection with Steve and told him: “I just finished closing up a company with your buddies Andy Hertzfeld, Bud Tribble and Mike Boich.”

    “Oh, you were at Eazel, huh?” Steve said.

    “Yup, loved working with the guys, and would see you wandering around the office once or twice.”

    Steve was now very cordial and made an offer I’d never forget: “why don’t you give me your info, and I’ll see if there’s a place for you at Apple.”

    I ran off to grab a business card and give him my info. I passed by the restaurant manager, and she wasn’t thrilled that I had struck up a conversation with Steve. No matter, it was Steve, one of my heroes, and he wanted to get MY info.

    I gave Steve my card, he put it in his pocket and left (and gave us a decent tip in the process).

    Now, I never heard from Steve, and honestly, I never bothered to try and follow up. But I learned one important lesson …

    Treat the celebrities and tech elite like they’re PEOPLE and not like like they’re “different.”

    My manager tried to go out of her way to fawn over Steve and I’m sure it left no impression.

    Yet when I approached Steve as a calm person that appreciated his work, albeit with a critical eye to what could be fixed, we had an honest polite conversation.

    It was a great moment I’ll always remember. And somewhere in the back of my brain, I always hoped he pulled out my business card and said “hmmm, what an insightful fellow.”

    More than likely, it ended up in the trash, but you can always have your own memories.

    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.

  • Google Maps No Longer Directs Searches For 'N—- House' To The White House
    Google has corrected an issue with its Google Maps search algorithm which had led users who searched for “nigga house” to the White House.

    “This week, we heard about a failure in our system — loud and clear,” Jen Fitzpatrick, Google’s vice president of engineering and product management, wrote in a blog post Thursday.

    The Huffington Post was first to report this week that entering the racist term in Google Maps led some users to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., where the White House is located. In other cases, the map pinpointed the historically black Howard University or a location of the Waffle House.

    The Current World We Live In pic.twitter.com/nszfSmA5Hc

    — Bomani X (@AceBoonCoon) May 19, 2015

    “Certain offensive search terms were triggering unexpected maps results, typically because people had used the offensive term in online discussions of the place,” Fitzpatrick explained. “This surfaced inappropriate results that users likely weren’t looking for.”

    “We sincerely apologize for the offense this has caused, and we will do better in the future,” she added.

    H/T The Hill

    — 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.

  • Starbucks gift card hack was 'fraud'
    A hacker reporting a security hole in Starbucks’ website criticises the company’s handling of the matter.
  • Exclusive Interview with Taylor Reaume, Marketing Coach and Small Business Website Promotion Expert
    Photo: Taylor Reaume
    Courtesy of: Taylor Reaume

    In this, my latest installment of interviews with outstanding marketing professionals, I visit with Taylor Reaume, marketing coach and owner of the Santa Barbara, California-based marketing agency Search Engine Pros, a privately-held international provider of search marketing services. Reaume and his company help businesses and individuals understand online marketing plan components so they can develop a comprehensive, integrated website marketing strategy that builds a strong online presence. Small business website promotion has been his specialty for years, but he also helps clients develop a pricing strategy for marketing their products.

    How did you happen to end up in this line of work?
    Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been fascinated by technology. Web design came naturally to me, it didn’t feel like work, it felt like play to me. I went to college at Humboldt State University, at the very top of California. I started out working on a degree in economics and actually ended up with a double major in marketing as well. While in college, around 1998-2003, I had an on-campus job working as a computer lab monitor for the eight computer labs on Humboldt State University. That’s where my love of the Internet and websites began. That was such a fantastic job because it was right when the Internet was growing in popularity so I had a chance to learn all about the Internet through this job.

    What other jobs have you done?
    My first job in high school was at a little Mexican food place called Taco Bell. While at Taco Bell, I kept applying for better positions until I landed a better job working for the San Luis Obispo Parks and Recreation department. I also worked as an electrician along the Grape Vine in California, traveling from location to location, grounding telephone towers. During college, I worked in the forestry department of Humboldt State University doing data entry work briefly, before finding a computer lab monitor position. After college, I moved from Humboldt down to Seal Beach, CA, where I found a mortgage broker in need of a web site. I built him a high performing lead generation web site. Shortly after, he asked me if I wanted to do mortgage refinances with him. I obtained my real estate license and split my time between refinances and marketing. In the evenings, I was burning the midnight oil working on my online music collaboration web site, which ended up selling for six figures to Jupiter Media in New York, this was back in 2007.

    What was your childhood like?
    Born in San Diego, CA, Our family moved to Arcadia, CA where I spent most of my younger grammar school days attending a Catholic school there called Holy Angels. While in Arcadia I grew up playing just about every sport under the sun, including baseball, soccer, football, tennis and basketball. I had a typical middle class upbringing during my grammar school years, in Arcadia / Pasadena area. My parents are both from very large Catholic / Irish / French families and so we always had large holiday gatherings, lots of love in the air. I have a younger brother, an older brother, and an older sister. When I was 10, my parents moved our family to San Luis Obispo, Ca, specifically, a little ranch town called Santa Margarita, CA. It was quite a change going from a city slicker to a country bumpkin, but I really enjoyed the new experience.

    What did your parents do?
    My father is a lawyer, but he didn’t like the idea of dressing up in suits for the rest of his life, and after a couple years of practicing law, he switched his career to become a general contractor in residential construction. My mother is a Realtor for 35 years now.

    What was high school and college like for you?
    During my high school days my family bought some land in Santa Margarita, CA, which is just outside of San Luis Obispo, where, I attended a Catholic High School called Mission College Preparatory. I played soccer in high school. I spent 5 years attending Humboldt State University and graduated in Economics and Marketing, and a minor in Piano. I was the recipient of a 4 year Real Estate Scholarship from the California Association of Realtors while attending H.S.U. In both high school and college, I had a very diverse group of smart friends. I always made a point to seek out and surround myself with people whom I thought had both books marts and street smarts. Those are always my best teachers. In 1998, the college days, I started designing websites, back when Google was still called “Back Rub”. I became somewhat of a local authority on Search engine optimization because word got around that one of my web sites was getting over 200,000 unique visitors per month …which led to the sale of the site for six figures in 2007. This gave me the undeniable proof that my SEO methods really worked. No black hat SEO methods – just naturally strong rankings as a result of diligence and finding ways to add value to others for no charge.

    What do you like best about your work?
    I like that I can work from anywhere. I feel “in the zone” when I am working on websites — doesn’t feel like work to me. I like that I can barter with people easily without any legal strings attached. It also helps that I don’t have to be much of a salesman, because this line of work is trending upward so fast these days. When I sit down with a client, I love learning about their business. I ask questions, such as “What was your big turning point?” The stories I hear are always different and intriguing.

    About which of your current projects are you most excited?
    http://StandOutComic.com is my newest project which has me very excited these days. Stand Out Comic is a comedy marketing agency that helps comics optimize their web presence and get the RIGHT messages, in front of the RIGHT audiences on the web. We help make their web site STAND OUT. I love working with comedians. Laughter is the best medicine!

    What is most challenging about your work?
    The most challenging part of working as a web strategist is probably deadlines. It’s taken me years to surround myself with a team that enables me to meet deadlines on time.

    What are your future work goals?
    My goal with Stand Out Comic is to build a portfolio of big name comics and manage their marketing goals. It’s going to be a steep mountain to climb, but it will be worth it.

    Why are you headquartered in Santa Barbara?
    Oprah lives here…and Oprah is never wrong…(smile) My philosophy is “Do whatever Oprah does, and you’re life will be right,” Seriously, though, Santa Barbara is a beautiful place to live and work. “Grow where your planted”, yes, but I think one should try to plant in a good area. I am old enough to realize now, your network is your net worth. It takes 10 years to build a strong community.

    Any special hobbies/interests?
    I enjoy playing basketball, soccer, salsa dancing, yoga, hiking, kung fu, tennis and stand up paddle boarding. I am a very sociable person and enjoy all types of activities. I’m very outgoing but I think I’m shy when first meeting people. Love to banter about life experiences, watch comedies and dramas (movies that make me feel deeply). I’m a happy, sensual, sophisticated yet down-to-earth man. I love all types of music, Beatles, Bob Dylan, Velvet Underground, Sublime, Black Eyed Peas, Jason Mraz, world music, meditation music, jazz, country and anything that’s unique and classy. I am very much an independent, spiritual type (raised Catholic, but studied many other religions, accepting of all religions). I am involved in several non-profits in Santa Barbara, and enjoy helping out in the community.

    You appear to be mild-mannered. Do you ever get angry/upset/shout & scream/punch a wall or a person?
    I’ve never been an angry type of person. I’m on the opposite end of that spectrum. Positive things happen to positive people. Have you heard of the Enneagram? It’s a personality test and I am #9, the peacemaker. Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. (That was Buddha, not me.)

    What are your three most important recommendations to business owners to increase the search engine optimization strength of their website?
    There are over 250 factors Google considers when ranking a web site. Search engine optimization is all about doing 100’s of little things right. However, if I had to give you just 3, I would say 1.) Research and discover your top 10 keywords and optimize your title tags with those keywords 2. ) A blog post a day keeps the robots from going away! 3.) Get more “authority” inbound links to your web site.

    What are your three most important recommendations to business owners regarding their use of social media?
    Social Media is the newer, better, faster way to reach customers. Did you know that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is 40-60 years old? In the old days, we used to network in the coffee shops, nowadays, it’s all happening on social media sites. Social media sites are like personal newspapers of people’s lives. Some call it “lifestreaming”. Smart marketers are building massive emotional equity with social media sites. Educational marketing on social sites will double your business this year, if executed properly (value-adds, not pitches). Did you know that Google is now crawling the Facebook Fan pages? Social media marketing also helps your SEO efforts (nice dual benefit). Permission based marketing is more important than ever in 2015 and beyond. Boost your “likes’ and your “followers”, and you’ll boost your sales and profits, and awareness for your cause. You don’t make money from social media sites, you make money from getting people to know, like and trust you. More listening. Less broadcasting. Half the process involves creating remarkable content that will “kick off” the conversation, and the other half is following up with remarkable listening skills. People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you care. If you take an active approach in listening to people, they will tell you what they want and in that, what you can provide to them. The effectiveness of push methods such as television, newspapers, direct mail have been on the decline in recent years. Many business owners today are finding that online marketing is a lower cost alternative for getting the message out. Specifically, pull marketing, also known as ‘listening marketing’. This includes social media, search engine optimization and online forums. Niche forums have emerged as an effective way to grow a business in today’s market. Modern day consumers are demanding that companies listen more and push less. This presents a big problem for business owners that are not savvy with pull marketing. Conversely, it presents a big advantage for business owners that capitalize on the trend. Social media and permission based marketing takes significantly more time, not just to learn, but to get results from, than that command and control advertising methods most of us are familiar with (i.e. post cards, radio ads, newspaper ads). Permission based marketing requires more education of your staff to learn how to efficiently take part in online conversations. Educating your staff on how to do social media marketing may take some time and a concerted effort on your part, but it is proving to be a phenomenal marketing method. For some business owners, it’s a matter of attending marketing “meet-ups” and learning the knowledge. The cost is actually free other than the time investment.

    What are your three most important recommendations to business owners regarding overall marketing strategy?
    A successful overall marketing strategy is largely a matter of knowing how to efficiently add value to strategic centers of influence around you. There are many ways to add value to those around you. For example, business owners can create educational top 10 list articles, sharing remarkable statistics and timesaving resources, and connecting their audience with trusted partners. The R.O.I. is much higher when web marketing activities are synchronized and deployed consistently over a period of six months. We keep our clients ‘top of mind’ every month with a professional web presence, which includes high touch email newsletters, SEO enhanced press releases, educational blog posts and entertaining social media status updates on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The number of people making purchases online continues to increase, and the companies they find on the web are likely to be those with a fine-tuned Internet marketing strategy.

    What are your three most important recommendations to business owners about web design?
    1. Choose WordPress as your CMS 2. K.I.S.S. Design – (Keep it simple sweet heart) 3. Choose remarkable photos

    What are your three most important recommendations to business owners about branding?

    Consumers now co-author the stories brands’ tell. Push is now pull and monologue is now dialogue. Web branding, like newspaper advertising, requires consistency with messaging. The need to stay “top of mind” has not changed. What has changed are the vehicles that drive our brand messages. Modern day branding strategies are focused on building emotional equity through Facebook.com, Twitter.com, Linkedin.com, and other pull-based marketing vehicles. Consistency in branding, both online and offline is a key ingredient to building massive emotional equity with customers, and emotional equity is the stuff that creates a “referral storm”. If you can connect with people on this level the likelihood of them engaging with your brand grows exponentially. If people see their friends recommending you, you will create a storm of referrals. It’s important to remember that marketing and branding is a battle of perception, not products. It is really important that people see you adding value in a remarkable way. When people see you as a helpful resource, they will be more likely to recommend you, and when you get recommended, your network will grow. Your network is your net worth, and growing your network is priority #1 in business. In order to grow your network, you need to find ways to efficiently add value to strategic partners, so they’ll recommend you to their network.

    What’s all this talk about a whitepaper strategy?
    A white paper strategy works particularly well for the B2B industry and for larger ticket, emotionally charged transactions. The idea with a white paper strategy is to create a whitepaper and advertise it on Google Adwords to collect emails and send people valuable information every month. What’s a whitepaper? -it’s like a “suit and tie” version of a free report. It’s literature – marketing material – that sits on a decision maker’s desk. This is a unique web marketing strategy for building an email list (and thus your bottom line). You will need to create 3 things: 1. an email opt in form on your web site 2. a PDF whitepaper with useful information 3. Google Adwords Ad saying: Download Free 3 Page Guide. Complex Terms. Simple Definitions. etc. The email opt in can occur on your web site. The Google Ad draws the visitor to your email opt in page. The email opt in should offer a download of a whitepaper. Inside the white paper – smart marketers will consider addressing specific “points of resistance” in the sales process, thereby accomplishing two goals at once; 1.) lowering your prospect’s sales resistance 2.) a customer you can market to for life by email. The idea is first to get your prospect to opt into the newsletter (so you can provide them ongoing information about your company.)

    What is a PPC campaign and why is it important?
    PPC stands for “Pay Per Click”. Many people try to go it alone with a PPC strategy. In most cases, a novice approach just isn’t going to cut it when you are swimming with the sharks on Google Adwords, you’ll lose your shirt quickly. An official fully optimized setup takes focused time and energy. A successful PPC campaign requires an experienced hand each month fine tuning to increase clicks to your site and decrease the costs of those clicks by optimizing your ad positions (more traffic for less cost). It’s important to spend time researching competitors strengths and capitalizing on the best keywords in their campaigns. A PPC consultant will help you discover the best keywords to target, find the low cost high traffic keywords with high commercial intent, create new ad copy, split test ads, adjust keyword bids to ensure maximum ROI, add negative keywords and optimize the account for conversions. Landing pages are another big part of the puzzle with PPC campaigns. A dynamic landing page will greatly increase your click through rates. To win the Google Adwords war, you must increase your CTR (Click through rates). The big mistake every makes with PPC is they send everyone to the homepage, rather than to a specific landing page. That’s the main reason why most people fail at PPC is because they don’t understand why Google is charging them so much money per click (it’s because secretly Google would rather not have them on the network). Google wants to send its visitors to highly targeted landing pages (creating a good experience for Google users). Imagine if all of the ads took you to a page which was not relevant to what you clicked on? You would be pretty upset right? Creating targeted landing pages is one of the big keys to success with a PPC campaign.

    Describe SEO copywriting, how to do it and how it works.
    Great SEO copywriting makes it easier for customers to find you on the web. SEO copyrighting is essentially writing content with “smart” keywords and adding visually appealing graphics to get the message across easier to your readers. When you write your content with high traffic “smart” keywords, you will get more first page listings on Google and other major search engines. Did you know that more than 80% of consumers are making buying decisions based off of web-based advertising? This begs the question; “How do I get my business to be #1 on Google?” Google’s ranking algorithm gives priority rankings to fresh content. “A blog post a day keeps the robots from going away…” To be a superstar on Google and dominate the first page of their search engine listings, you must publish remarkable content. Links and content are important vehicles, but what matters most is that you are remarkable in some way with your approach and delivery. Since fresh, remarkable content is king, today’s companies that pre-plan content are winning at the search engine wars and moving closer to the throne.

    Describe a link manager and why it’s so important.
    A link manager will help you develop a strategy to get more links to your web site. More links = More traffic = More Sales. Earlier I spoke about the importance of adding value to people around you. When your web strategy is focused on adding value to people, you will naturally increase the number of hyperlinks, or “votes,” for the website. If the business owner can successfully increase the number of hyperlinks pointing into his or her website each month, the owner will see a direct correlation with the increase in search engine rankings.

    What is Marketing Automation and why is it important?
    Robots haven’t taken over the world yet, but they certainly have taken over the marketing industry. It’s time to embrace them and use them as a tool for connecting with people. While robots can never replace humans, they can help us increase the number of opportunities we to get in front of humans to build emotional equity. By automating our processes of following up with clients and adding value we will increase the numbers of customers in the marketplace that are willing to listen to us. Note that I am not suggesting we automate the process of blasting offers to customers, but rather automating the process of adding value and striking the healthy balance of offers and value-adds. Tell them what you have and then tell them how having it will add value to their lives. In every industry there are certain documents which have a sense of ‘universal appeal’ and add a remarkable level of value to a wide demographic. It’s important to locate those documents and start streaming them out to your customer base (adding value). It is important to develop a content publishing plan to connect your customer base with your brand emotionally. Start organizing all of the remarkable content in your industry, and schedule the content to go out to your customer base in smart, targeted intervals and you’ll begin to increase the emotional equity with your customers. Emotional equity takes time. It’s difficult to automate emotional equity. Time is money. Robots are your friend here. Marketing automation facilitates the process of getting in front of people more often. When you get in front of people (with remarkable content), you’ll increase the numbers of people that know, like and trust you. Most importantly, when you do this successfully, you get more people to recommend you. Your network is your net worth. By automating the tedious tasks required to get in front of customers, you’ll be able to focus more on delivering excellent products or services to your customers.

    How important is it to send out a monthly newsletter?
    Email opens on smartphones and tablets have increased 80 percent over the last six months, according to a study done by Litmus. Email marketing remains the lowest cost return on investment marketing available to business owners today. Average return on email marketing investment: $44.25 for every dollar spent (Source: iContact) Internet marketing conferences typically have the same mantra over and over, COLLECT EMAIL ADDRESSES. The whole reason you have a web site, is to collect email addresses. Email marketing, across all industries, is the most effective weapon that business owners have in their marketing arsenal. Email marketing managers will show you the best and worst open rates for subject lines, according to recent studies. If you have been in business for a while, you know that email marketing is complex and take a specialist to really excel at this marketing platform. Some email marketing mistakes I see being made all the time include spam compliance issues, dull subject lines, emails not being compelling or too wordy, sending to your list too often, not collecting the right email addresses, not know list building techniques and how to get the right people to opt into your newsletter, not taking the time to create massive value in the newsletters you send out. Autoresponders are automated educational emails that go out after a prospect opts into your database. They help educate the client, and help reduce phone questions. Autoresponders are especially effective (and in our opinion, essential) for companies with large ticket transactions. You may heard the phrase “You don’t want to ask her to marry you on the first date…” This notion is true in the business world when it comes to large ticket transactions, such as real estate, mortgages, computer support, etc. These industries especially must start refining their email marketing strategies if they are to succeed in the coming decade. Email marketing is no different than any other type of marketing, the same rules apply. Your goal is to get as many prospects on your monthly newsletter as possible, that is, if you’re into that recurring income thing. Permission based marketing is the key to success. When you start collecting email addresses from visitors that come to your website you will see a definite increase in the success of your marketing efforts. To increase the number of people that you can market to every month, you might consider to offer them a free gift, report or subscription to your newsletter. With a newsletter you will have an excellent opportunity to build up a loyal readership. Then you can send a message to them every so often and remind them that you are still around. People are smart. Make sure you provide them with good information that is related to your product so that they will keep on reading. Be sure not to bombard them with just sales messages. Remember you want them to trust you!

    What does an SEO manager do and why is it important to have one?
    In 2015, SEO (search engine optimization) has a broader definition than it did five years ago. Generally, SEO encompasses web design, graphic design, press releases, blog posts, e-newsletters, list building and, in general, polishing a company’s web presence. Marketing methods today are shifting from offline to online, from push to pull, and from traditional to digital. This has created a ‘digital divide’ – a chasm as it were, separating digitally savvy marketers from traditional marketers. The good news is that the only thing that has changed is the methods in which basic marketing is done have evolved with the continued technological advances we continue to see. The basic principles of a successful marketing campaign have remained the same. Keeping the message out in front of people is still the main objective for most businesses looking to successfully market their brand. In the past 12 years I’ve worked on over 600 web projects, and the black swan of many web designs and marketing projects is the complexity of the strategies. The strategies have to be simple and easy to follow. If they are not, most business owners will not set aside time to execute them. There are many different marketing strategies to follow, but I believe most are ineffective due to the sheer complexity and time requirements to properly execute them. While the learning curves might be steep, internet marketing has dramatically decreased marketing costs in general. What used to cost $10,000 in the form of direct mail campaigns is in some cases, now free in the form of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook and email marketing. I help business owners follow a simple and easy to implement plan to keep their brands top of mind, nurture their networks, and increase their bottom line.

    — 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.

  • Denmark legislation another step towards a cashless Nordic region
    Selected types of Danish retailer could soon be permitted to turn away customers who can’t pay electronically
  • EE and O2 go head-to-head to provide ESN mobile network
    Home Office names EE and O2 among the preferred bidders to build the new Emergency Services Network

Mobile Technology News, May 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.

  • Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too

    If you have followed my site for the last few weeks you will have noticed a lot more Android updates.  It’s partly because I have to use an Android device for my day job but also it is good to expand horizons.  I’ve never been a big fan of Android.  I don’t really like the UI although it is certainly better than the last time I really tried to use one, circa Ice Cream Sandwich.  But it’s still not may favorite.  That’s Windows Phone.  I love the personal experience of Windows Phone that despite Google’s best efforts – and Apple’s

    The post Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Skype for Android Updated With Several User Friendly Improvements

    The Skype for Android app has received an update today that brings several new user friendly features to it.  While none of the new features are overwhelming and indeed are present in many other Instant Messaging and video apps, this update bring Skype on par with them with simple things like an indicator when the other person is typing.  The update, version, also brings the ability to send feedback on the app directly from within it amongst several other improvements and fixes. Skype for Android – Free – Download Now The first big change in this update to Skype

    The post Skype for Android Updated With Several User Friendly Improvements appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: The camera developed for your dog
    BBC Click’s Jen Copestake looks at some of the best of the week’s technology news
  • Why measure feet with iPads?
    Why a shoe company measures kids’ feet with iPads
  • Adult website hack compromises users
    Adult Friend Finder, a casual dating website, has called in police and hacking investigators after a suspected leak of client information.
  • American Airlines App for Android Update Brings Android Wear Support

    The American Airlines app for Android has received a nice update today that brings support for Android Wear devices.  Now once you have viewed your boarding pass within the app on your phone, you will have it available on your watch for quicker boarding of your flight.  It’s one of the latest apps to support Android Wear and one that busy travelers who have Wear devices will likely find quite, erm, handy.  For those keeping score at home, the updated version is 4.0.1 and it is available now in the Google Play Store. American Airlines for Android – Free –

    The post American Airlines App for Android Update Brings Android Wear Support appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need
    Showing off your bare feet might not be the most glamorous trend on Instagram, but you might be able to argue it’s the most impactful.

    Hundreds of thousands of social media users have been providing shoes to those in need around the world this month by tagging barefoot photos with the #WithoutShoes hashtag.

    The eighth annual One Day Without Shoes campaign — launched by Toms Shoes and running from May 5 through May 21 — gives a new pair to an impoverished child in the developing world for every posted photo accompanied with the hashtag, up to one million.

    As of Thursday afternoon, more than 265,000 children will benefit from the campaign, according to Toms Shoes’ website. A handful of celebrities and media personalities have been part of the effort as well.

    (Story continues below.)

    Getting ready for a day #withoutshoes #TOMS pic.twitter.com/spYxucqLdY

    — P!nk (@Pink) May 18, 2015

    1 barefoot insta post=1pair of shoes for a child in need! Instagram #WITHOUTSHOES @toms on/before 5/21 Please help! pic.twitter.com/QNHDb2HdVE

    — Alison Brie (@alisonbrie) May 17, 2015

    Go #withoutshoes and a child will receive shoes to keep them healthy, educated and give them a better future. @TOMS pic.twitter.com/2Yvsy21AQ2

    — James McVey (@TheVampsJames) May 20, 2015

    Post a barefoot photo today and tag it #withoutshoes & @TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need! pic.twitter.com/C8yErhAdVk

    — Laura Dern (@LauraDern) May 20, 2015

    .@ThomasARoberts & @FrancesRivera put #withoutshoes pics on Instagram for @TOMS kids campaign-http://t.co/RuVZK8Yybi pic.twitter.com/Mmk7BJBVXT

    — MSNBC Live (@robertsmsnbc) May 21, 2015

    Join me! All you have to do is take off your shoes, take a photo on #Instagram and TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. #withoutshoes

    Posted by Jeff Bridges on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    #WITHOUTSHOES every time you post this hashtag with a picture of bare feet @toms will donate shoes to a child in…

    Posted by Jena Malone on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    “By leveraging Instagram, we can really make this a participatory event globally,” Toms founder Blake Mycoskie told USA Today. “This isn’t just about advocacy and giving based on your buying. It’s about real giving for giving’s sake.”

    According to nonprofit Soles 4 Souls, more than 300 million children around the world do not have shoes to wear. And as Toms Shoes points out on its website, giving shoes to those children goes further than simply providing comfort — it can increase access to education, treat debilitating diseases that affect the feet and legs and help curb water and soil-borne illnesses.

    To learn more about how you can provide shoes to children in need around the world, visit TOMS Shoes website.

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

    Like Us On Facebook
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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.

  • 5 Behind-The-Scenes Stories You've Never Heard About 'Star Wars,' According To Boba Fett
    May 21 marks the 35th anniversary of the second “Star Wars” movie, “The Empire Strikes Back.” Perpetually curious about the series, The Huffington Post reached out to actor Jeremy Bulloch for stories. Notably, Bulloch played ruthless bounty-hunter Boba Fett and made his iconic debut in this installment of Lucas’ original trilogy.

    boba fett

    1. Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” was the inspiration for Boba Fett’s personality.

    boba fett
    Image Left: “A Fistful of Dollars.” Image Right: “Star Wars.”

    Bulloch said he’s a big Western fan, and at the time of shooting he noticed that Clint Eastwood’s cloak from “A Fistful of Dollars” looked “exactly like Boba Fett’s,” especially in color. Watching Eastwood’s character go about his motions slowly and carefully, “just waiting and watching,” Bulloch thought it was what Fett should mimic. Bulloch said he “didn’t make a big thing” of the connection, but kept thinking, “Yes, it is very much like Clint Eastwood.”

    Similarly, Bulloch thought of the character Citizen Kane when crafting Fett, although he doesn’t consider that a direct inspiration. “If you can imagine this in your mind: Citizen Kane and Clint Eastwood [from “A Fistful of Dollars”]. Those were the two characters that I would have [in my mind] doing Boba Fett,” Bulloch explained.

    Under the mask, he would often talk to himself to get into character, sometimes even saying, “Come on, you’re Citizen Kane this morning.”

    “If I had a bad cold one day, I’d ask Clint Eastwood to stand in for me first, and then Citizen Kane.”

    2. George Lucas initially envisioned Boba Fett as “not a big role.”

    boba fett

    The role of Fett was initially offered to Bulloch through his half-brother. At the time, Bulloch was acting in theater and his half-brother was an associate producer on the film. Then his half-brother mentioned that he could set something up if Bulloch wanted a small role. Bulloch initially balked, since he had a previous engagement, but eventually agreed to try out for Fett on the side.

    When he first met George Lucas, the creator said, “Welcome aboard,” and then explained, “Well, it’s not a big role, but welcome.”

    Luckily, Bulloch’s theater obligations didn’t overlap and he was able to play Fett — along with a small role as a character named Lieutenant Sheckil — through the rest of the shooting.

    3. The actors who played Darth Vader and Boba Fett stumbled onto each other during the carbon-freezing chamber scene, so two galactic villains were left floundering on the ground.

    boba fett
    Image: “Star Wars”

    While rehearsing for the iconic carbon-freezing scene, Fett and Darth Vader’s boots “clinked,” Bulloch “trodded” on Vader’s cloak and the villains went straight to the ground. “I think my funny boots with the spikes caused it,” said Bulloch.

    Bulloch felt as if he had to immediately pull himself together “because it looked ridiculous.”

    “Two bad guys falling over? We can’t have that,” Bulloch joked. “I didn’t want to look an idiot. I don’t mind about Darth Vader.”

    4. When Bulloch first put the Boba Fett costume on, it fit him perfectly.

    boba fett

    Although his half-brother helped arrange the possibility of playing Fett, the agreement was nearly sealed by the fact that Bulloch fit exactly into the costume. The boots were size 10 — and he was a size 10 himself.

    “The suit fit perfectly,” said Bulloch.

    In fact, during the aforementioned interaction with Lucas, Bulloch was already in the suit. He recalls crew members’ eyes being particularly drawn to Fett even in this early debut. “There must have been something about the character.”

    But that doesn’t mean that Bulloch’s Cinderella moment was seamless …

    5. He could not see through the Boba Fett mask. Bulloch had to count steps to make sure he stopped in front of Darth Vader.

    boba fett
    Image: “Star Wars”

    “Imagine a pair of sunglasses covering the whole of your face, but a deep sort of color,” explained Bulloch, who had quite a bit of trouble even successfully walking from place to place while in the suit. “You’d count steps,” said Bulloch. “I would go, one, two, three, four and I’d land right in front of Darth Vader, so I know it’s four steps. So a lot of the time, you have to count, one, two, three, four and stop, and then I’m about to say a line to Darth Vader. So you rehearse just walking and making sure you don’t fall over.”

    Any sort of talking would cause the mask to mist, which made things even trickier.

    The set was also extremely hot while filming — especially during scenes at Jabba’s Palace. Partly due to the lack of vision in the costume and thankfully, considering the heat, Fett stands still and silent in many scenes. “There were times where you would stand still for a long time, but it made the character look good if you didn’t move,” said Bulloch. “But it was extremely hot. I’ve never been so hot.”

    BONUS: Bulloch believes Fett would destroy Harry Potter in a fight.

    boba fett

    Bulloch’s grandchildren have now started to get into the “Star Wars” universe and love that he got to play Fett. But the youngest of his grandchildren once told him, “Granddad, I really like you in the ‘Star Wars,’ but I prefer Harry Potter.” He responded, “Well, thank you very much indeed.” The grandchild thought Potter was nicer than Fett.

    When asked who Bulloch thought would win in a fight — Fett or Potter — Bulloch said, without hesitation, “Boba Fett would blast him out of the sky.”

    All images from Jeremy Bulloch unless otherwise noted.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that this was the 25th anniversary, while it is actually the 35th.

    — 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.

  • Memorizing medical content using Apple Watch and spaced repetition app

    You can now do spaced repetition learning on your Apple Watch.

    The post Memorizing medical content using Apple Watch and spaced repetition app appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • These Are The Cities Where You Can Now Request A Spanish-Speaking Uber Driver
    “Tu Uber está llegando.”

    This is the phrase that will notify users of the new UberESPAÑOL that their ride is arriving, in lieu of the app’s emblematic “Your Uber is arriving now” notification. The private car and rideshare company launched the new program on Tuesday, allowing users in six U.S. locations to request Spanish-speaking drivers.

    In a blog post, Uber said the service is now available in Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson.

    “We are always looking at ways to make the app more seamless and user-friendly,” Uber spokesperson Tatiana Winograd told NBC News. “And for those in our community who speak Spanish, UberESPAÑOL allows them to connect to drivers who speak Spanish so they can get to where they need to go in the language of their choice.”

    A company spokesperson told Fusion that Uber created the Spanish-language service after receiving requests for it from both users and drivers. UberESPAÑOL is currently only available with UberX, the service’s low-cost option.

    As of 2013, there were over 54 million Hispanics in the U.S., about 17 percent of the country’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Hispanics have an overwhelming presence in southern California, specifically in the Los Angeles county area, where they made up 48.3 percent of the population in 2013.

    Uber has not made any announcements about rolling out the program in New York City, where Hispanics make up over 28.6 percent of the population. The company launched in New York City in 2011. Uber cars officially outnumbered the city’s iconic yellow taxis as of March, according to The Associated Press. But because yellow cabs tend to have more than one driver and are on the road for longer periods of time, taxi rides continue to outnumber Uber rides in the Big Apple.

    — 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.

  • Watchdog Finds Huge Failure In Surveillance Oversight Ahead Of Patriot Act Deadline
    WASHINGTON — In a declassified and heavily redacted report on a controversial Patriot Act provision, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the government had failed to implement guidelines limiting the amount of data collected on Americans for seven years.

    Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire June 1 unless Congress reauthorizes it, has been the legal basis for the intelligence community’s bulk metadata collection. As a condition for reauthorization back in 2005, the Justice Department was required to minimize the amount of nonpublic information that the program gathered on U.S. persons. According to the inspector general, the department did not adopt sufficient guidelines until 2013. It was not until August of that year — two months after the bombshell National Security Agency disclosures by Edward Snowden — that Justice began applying those guidelines in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, the secretive body that approves government surveillance requests.

    “It’s an indictment of the system of oversight that we’ve relied upon to check abuses of surveillance powers. The report makes clear that, for years, the FBI failed to comply with its basic legal requirements in using Section 215, and that should trouble anyone who thinks that secret oversight is enough for surveillance capabilities that are this powerful,” Alex Abdo, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, told HuffPost.

    “The report confirms that the government has been using Section 215 to collect an ever-expanding universe of records. Given the timing, it’s particularly significant,” he continued referring to the looming expiration date.

    At times during that seven-year period, the report noted, the government blocked the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General from determining whether the minimization guidelines had been implemented:

    The FBI in the past has taken the position, over the OIG’s objections, that it was prohibited from disclosing FISA-acquired information to the OIG for oversight purposes because the Attorney General had not designated anyone in the OIG as having access to the information for minimization reviews of other lawful purposes, and because there were no specific provisions in the procedures authorizing such access.

    Declassification of the inspector general’s findings comes at a critical juncture for the future of NSA spying. A federal appellate court recently held that the bulk metadata collection program is not authorized by the Patriot Act. A large majority of congressional lawmakers favor replacing the existing legislation with a reform bill that at least curbs the government’s authority to collect information on Americans. There is, however, a small group in Congress who insist that a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act is necessary to protect the country from terrorist attacks.

    The reform bill, called the USA Freedom Act, passed overwhelmingly in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on either that bill or a two-month reauthorization of the Patriot Act later this week. The House, which is scheduled to go into recess Thursday for a week, has indicated it will not extend its session to vote on a Patriot Act extension. That move is essentially an ultimatum to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): pass the USA Freedom Act or let the existing surveillance law expire with no replacement.

    As it stands, the Senate may or may not be able to pass the USA Freedom Act. McConnell and several members of his party oppose any move to rein in the NSA’s surveillance authority. Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposes the reform bill on the grounds that it does not go far enough in limiting the government’s ability to spy on Americans.

    During his 10-and-a-half hour speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Paul outlined several amendments that he and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) hoped to add to the bill. With the upper chamber scheduled to recess on Friday, McConnell is unlikely to allow for a lengthy amendment process — particularly to debate changes that would further constrain the intelligence community.

    Though publicly released Thursday, the Justice Department’s report had been made available to lawmakers in February. Several of its findings echo key concerns raised by members of Congress throughout the NSA debate.

    “For years, any American’s communication data could have been tracked and collected by the government, whether or not they were suspected of a crime,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Wednesday, when he briefly joined Paul on floor. “That program has been carried out under Section 215 of the Patriot Act based on flimsy or mistaken interpretations of the original law, all in the name of our national security.”

    “There is not one clear, publicly confirmed instance of a plot being foiled because of this Section 215 program,” Coons added.

    The inspector general found that data collected under Section 215 increased over the years and was not limited to phone records. At times, the government requested copies of business ledgers, receipts, and medical and educational records.

    “The type of information that is categorized as metadata will likely continue to evolve and expand,” the report said. “The [National Security Division] and [National Security Law Branch] attorneys told us that other terms used to define metadata themselves lack standardized definitions and that applying them to rapidly changing technology can be difficult.”

    The government’s requests were also not limited to material about individuals involved in an FBI investigation. And while defendants of the program insist that information on Americans is gathered as an incidental byproduct rather than a targeted effort, Abdo noted that the definition of a “U.S. person” is still classified in the recently released report:

    The FBI has a classified understanding of “U.S. persons” . . . pic.twitter.com/7RA5qN4eKr

    — Alex Abdo (@AlexanderAbdo) May 21, 2015

    The inspector general’s report focused on the government’s use of Section 215 between 2007 and 2009. In that two-year period, every Justice Department request to the FISA court for spying authority was granted — a fact that would seem to bolster critics’ argument that the secret court’s process needs a permanent privacy advocate.

    “Without an adversarial process, you really can’t even have a judicial process,” Paul said Wednesday evening. “The FISA court only hears from one side — the government.”

    While the reform bill that passed the House would add a slot for a privacy advocate, Paul and the ACLU have both noted that the legislation still gives the court the authority to decide if and when to appoint someone to the job.

    — 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.

  • Congress to Vote on Surveillance Reforms After Misuse
    Several key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in the wake of 9/11, have afforded the government considerable access to electronic communications records. Some of them expire at the end of May, and their future is mired in uncertainty. It remains to be seen whether the Senate and the Congress will reauthorize them, allow those provisions to lapse, or seek reform.

    The USA PATRIOT Act has sailed through previous renewals with comparatively little trouble. What has changed since passage of the earlier authorizing legislation is a significant increase in public awareness and understanding of the true scope of the intelligence community’s surveillance authorities. Section 215 and related provisions were sunsetted, and will expire at the end of May if not authorized in some fashion. This will thus be the first real test of the level of Congressional support for the PATRIOT Act since the Snowden revelations two years ago. This test also comes after a U.S. Appeals Court ruled a few weeks ago that the government’s interpretation of the law, which permitted the collection of bulk phone and electronic records, was illegal.

    In the many months since the first Snowden revelations, much ink has been spilled on the significant privacy and civil liberties implications of the government’s mass surveillance programs for people around the world, including U.S. citizens. In the American context, mass collection of electronic metadata in NSA databases clearly has harmful privacy and speech implications. It should not be as simple as querying a database for the government to peruse our communications or to build mosaics out of the most intimate details of our lives — regardless of the stated motivation.

    Economically, we have seen significant adverse consequences for American technology companies compelled to supply the NSA with user data. There have been widespread international calls for burdensome data localization legislation, boycotting of U.S. firms at both consumer and enterprise levels, and efforts to increase foreign control of backbone Internet services and policy — all the result of a perception that the American companies are willingly complicit in the NSA’s dragnet programs. The damage wrought by the government’s overreach to the fundamental trust between tech companies and their users will be difficult to reverse, but it must start with reform of the mass surveillance programs and improved transparency and oversight.

    Fortunately, the Senate now has an opportunity to speak definitively on the future of the NSA’s mass collection of metadata. A broad coalition of civil liberties groups, technology companies, and trade associations, including my own, have publicly agreed the USA FREEDOM Act is the right first step on the path towards reforming the U.S. government’s surveillance practices.

    The USA FREEDOM Act ends the government’s bulk collection of call records and includes substantial oversight and transparency mechanisms designed to ensure that domestic surveillance agencies and programs are held accountable. At its core, the bill requires government access to call data for intelligence purposes to be targeted and limited, rather than all-encompassing. USA FREEDOM also provides for a civil liberties advocate to appear before the secret FISA courts that authorize surveillance programs. Lastly, the bill allows companies that receive data requests from the NSA to combat misperceptions by reporting the kind and quantity of those requests with more detail, while respecting national security concerns over excessive disclosure.

    When dealing with secret law and intelligence authorities, there are inherent risks for overreach, as recognized in the recent appellate court decision regarding the bulk call records collection program. Pressure for, perhaps well-intentioned, but expansive interpretations of limited authorities are inevitable when law is made in the shadows. As such, there can never be enough light shed on such processes. While the USA FREEDOM Act does much to improve public oversight over the government’s surveillance authorities, we would welcome further legislative efforts to strengthen the bill’s transparency provisions and collection limitations.

    Notably, because the USA FREEDOM Act’s primary goal is to provide reform and address privacy and civil liberties concerns, it explicitly does not include a mandate that companies retain user data for surveillance purposes. Such a requirement, if included by amendment or otherwise, would necessarily undermine the bill’s reforms and pose further privacy and security risks to the public given the considerable secrecy surrounding surveillance practices.

    The United States must set an example in reforming its mass surveillance programs. The longer they remain intact, the greater the opportunity for other governments to cite them as justification for even more invasive programs with fewer checks and balances. Every day we wait leads to further erosions of civil liberties worldwide, and deepens the gulf between the tech industry and its users — with serious economic consequences.

    The Senate should pass the USA FREEDOM Act and take a critical first step toward preserving the public’s civil liberties and restoring trust in both the tech sector and the U.S. government. That trust is necessary for both innovation and the sustained health of the Internet and all it offers citizens and businesses around the world.

    — 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.

  • There's More To The Disruption Brewing In The Tech Industry Than On-Demand Startups
    Even if we’re living in an increasingly on-demand world, you still have to be able to pay to play. On Thursday, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo questioned whether a new crop of startups providing on-demand services are ever going to make their products affordable enough to appeal to consumers outside of the top tax bracket.

    It’s a worthy question. But in poking the tech industry for narrowly targeting the rich, Manjoo sets up a straw man.

    “Whatever happened to the tech industry’s grand, democratic visions of the future?” Manjoo asked. “We are once again living in a go-go time for tech, but there are few signs that the most consequential fruits of the boom have reached the masses.”

    That’s not quite right. In fact, one of the most consequential products to come out of the tech boom has already reached the masses: Nearly two-thirds of American adults now own smartphones, according to a 2015 Pew survey. (Unfortunately, the affordable data plans, opportunity and digital literacy needed to make full use of them have not.)

    And when venture capitalists fund entrepreneurs who want to change the world, instead of simply backing lifestyle apps, blowback follows. The same day Manjoo published a column in which he wondered where Silicon Valley’s big visions for changing the world had gone, his colleague Nick Bilton published a piece asking whether “technology companies are running too fast into the future and creating things that could potentially wreak havoc on humankind.”

    Readers might be left wondering whether tech startups are trying to change too little or too much.

    I’m seeing billions of dollars moving behind startups aimed at government, the energy sector, education and health care, from Tesla to Castlight Health to the investments of venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz.

    Some startups are pursuing breakthroughs in genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, connected homes and self-driving vehicles — all of which could pose difficult ethical questions for society. Humanity is now closer than ever to being able to engineer the perfect baby, which means that researchers, doctors and governments will need to think through how the underlying technologies should be overseen.

    Manjoo may be well right that the hottest buzz in San Francisco’s tech scene is about on-demand startups. I doubt, however, that the category is reflective of the broader changes brewing in the Valley, Stanford or around the country, from Austin to Seattle to the 1776 incubator in DC. What do you think?

    — 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.

  • Russia Warns Google, Twitter, Facebook Of Possible Block
    By Maria Tsvetkova and Eric Auchard
    MOSCOW/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Russia’s media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules.
    Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship. 
        “In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation,” said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky.
        He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.
    To comply with the law, the three firms must hand over data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day, and take down websites that Roskomnadzor sees as containing calls for “unsanctioned protests and unrest”, Ampelonsky said.
        Putin, a former KGB spy, once described the Internet as a project of the CIA, highlighting deep distrust between Moscow and Washington, whose ties are now badly strained.
        He promised late last year not to put the Internet under full government control, but Kremlin critics see the Internet laws as part of a crackdown on freedom of speech since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.
        A law passed last year gives Russian prosecutors the right to block without a court decision websites with information about protests that have not been sanctioned by authorities.
    Under other legislation, bloggers with large followings must go through an official registration procedure and have their identities confirmed by a government agency.
        Facebook says it responds to government data requests about its users that comply with company policies and local laws and meet international standards of legal process.
        A company website that publishes statistics on how Facebook handles data requests shows it rejected both of two Russian government requests for information on its users last year. In contrast, it produced some data in response to nearly 80 percent of over 14,000 requests made by U.S. courts, police and government agencies in the second six months of 2014.
    Twitter had a similar response rate in the United States but rejected 108 Russian government requests in the second half of last year, according to data on the company’s government Transparency Report site.
        In its semi-annual Transparency Report, Google said it provided some information on users in response to 5 percent of 134 Russian government requests made in the second half of 2014 — again far less than in the United States. The company says it complies with requests that follow accepted legal procedures and Google policies.
        “We realize they are registered under U.S. jurisdiction. But I think in this case they should demonstrate equal respect to national legislation,” Ampelonsky said.
    If the companies do not pay more attention to Russian government requests for data, he added, “we will need to apply sanctions”.

    (Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Catherine Evans)

    — 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 Green Is Your Cloud? Why Providers Should Lead on Transparency
    After joining The Huffington Post Ops team, I’m finally in a position to speak openly about what I do at work. This is an empowering change after working for a company that is very bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements. That company is doing great things that I STILL can’t talk about and it’s just the nature of the business they do, not some kind of nefarious secrecy. It’s becoming a pretty widely accepted concept that Transparency is essential to doing business ethically. It was the topic of my first Business Practices training as a new employee. How fitting that it is also the topic of my first blog post for HuffPost! I’m fortunate to work for a top-ranked news site and staying in line with my core values, I am encouraged to share information freely.

    The Huffington Post exists solely on the Internet and the Internet is a Big Bad source of pollution and environmental destruction.1 There, I said it. The truth is that a pattern of infinite growth is unsustainable on a planet with finite resources. While greenwashing puts a trendy spin on small changes we can make as individuals, “green capitalism” doesn’t have a lot of room for holding large corporations accountable for the role they play in depleting resources and causing irreparable damage. The only way to do this is to make transparency regarding environmental impact a requirement for companies to stay competitive. HuffPost has a responsibility to be transparent about our efforts and we, as a media company, can (and do) bring public attention to these issues and highlight available solutions.

    In keeping with the spirit of transparency, I looked forward to publishing any data I received regarding the energy consumption and carbon footprint of Huffington Post’s infrastructure. To a certain extent, we can only be as transparent as our vendors. Our infrastructure is 100% cloud-based (as of last year) and we use two main cloud providers, Akamai and Amazon Web Services (AWS). While both companies have recently made moves towards running a cleaner cloud2, there is still a long way to go towards true sustainability and transparency about their efforts.

    I was unable to get access to any quantitative data due to the policies of our cloud providers. Although Akamai provides a certain level of transparency3, they did not answer my repeated requests for carbon footprint data. My inquiry to Amazon Web Services was met with the following response:

    “Unfortunately we do not release this information to our customers. We are unable to provide any statistics on energy consumption for our Datacenters.”

    AWS is much more transparent in their cost reporting, tracking every transaction of data as a line item. Why not take it a step further and report energy usage with similar detail?

    HuffPost has improved our energy footprint by moving out of dedicated corporate data centers that have massive waste in energy and equipment overhead. Energy savings are built into the way cloud services and their data centers are designed. In a typical data center, there are rows of racks with varying equipment running continuously. This requires cooling the entire facility to meet the needs of the most sensitive hardware. The equipment and cooling needs in a cloud data center are constant and can be precisely engineered, down to known airflow patterns to optimize energy usage. In this way, companies like Akamai and AWS have already done the hard work of setting the bar for efficiency.

    The Huffington Post is committed to reducing our environmental impact and carbon footprint. We are actively moving towards using AWS’s carbon neutral regions as much as possible. By the end of the month, we will have migrated 5 more of our systems to carbon neutral regions and plan to add others over the next year. By the end of 2016, our goal is to have 50% of our AWS infrastructure in carbon neutral regions. Since cloud servers are virtual and share physical hardware, they can be created and destroyed in minutes according to demand. Our systems are architected to take advantage of this flexibility. Because our infrastructure provisioning and application deployment are automated, we can easily scale from 3 or 4 servers to 3 or 4 hundred in minutes if necessary. This allows us to reduce our use of energy hogging resources to what is needed to handle our traffic at any given time. We are constantly fine tuning our infrastructure to improve efficiency and will increase our use of dynamic scaling technologies over the next year.

    Once we, as a society, become aware of the consequences of funding corporations operating on non-renewable resources, there is only one intelligent choice: to take action. Corporations are the largest consumers of cloud services so companies like AWS are often sheltered from the demands of the individual consumer. That’s why it is critical that we, as individuals within corporations, use our decision making power to require true transparency. It’s not enough for providers like Akamai and AWS to be the best solutions for our technical needs. It is time for them to prove themselves as leaders in reducing the environmental impact of big business. So Akamai, I challenge you to provide HuffPost with the data you claim to share openly. AWS, I insist you set a new industry standard by publishing detailed data with regard to energy usage. We’ve done our part by using solutions we know to be more efficient; now do your part by providing the data necessary to track and report our progress.

    1. Data centers currently use 3% of global electricity and produce 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
    Source: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2014/12/17/undertaking-challenge-reduce-data-center-carbon-footprint

    2. Amazon recently joined the American Council on Renewable Energy and is a partner in the creation of a 150 MW wind farm which will support current and future cloud infrastructure. Their statement regarding sustainability is publicly available here. Akamai has signed the Climate Declaration and has taken action to move some of their facilities in order to increase the percentage of renewable energy they use. Their full policy is available here.
    3. “Akamai continues to provide detailed submissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project, and is now reporting its network’s use of renewable energy by region of operation. Akamai will also provide to its customers a monthly carbon footprint associated with content delivery through the Akamai network servers. Akamai provides the results of its annual sustainability survey back to its vendor network, providing a benchmark to assist data center operators to understand how well they are performing in relationship both to their customers’ expectations, and to the competition.”
    Source: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global/usa/planet3/pdfs/clickingclean.pdf

    — 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.

  • Folly Is Joy

    Click here for the previous part of this series and here for part one.

    The near future
    A man and a woman stand in a kitchen prepping food and watching a pot boil.

    M: Come on babe, that’s too much salt.
    W: What? I barely put any in.
    M: Barely? I wouldn’t call that barely.
    W: What do you mean?
    M: I’m just saying you can be a little heavy with the salt sometimes.
    W: It’s just a little salt so the food will actually be edible.
    M: Well maybe you should use the iPhone scale. That’s what it’s there for.
    W: I added in half what the recipe called for!
    M: Yeah but we could’ve just added it after it’s cooked–
    W: –After!? Didn’t you hear Cook App? It needs to soak in for exactly 63 minutes BEFORE we cook.
    M: Well Med App said I can’t have more than another 32 mg of salt today or my blood pressure–
    W: –Your blood pressure? Your–Look at what you’re doing to my blood pressure! [She quickly swipes and taps at her iPhone as she talks and then holds it up.]
    M: Oh you know I peeked your Genie app–you’re not at risk for blood pressure issues.
    W: You wha–
    M: –Your blood pressure is 5-Apple strong–God my heart is racing! [He is looking at his iPhone. From here on out they are each always tapping away at or referring to their iPhones, especially when the other is speaking.] It’s way past the pace car.
    W: Good. I hope your little heart icon explodes.
    M: Look at my heart rate! Jesus, my heart rate is going up just looking at what you’re doing to my heart rate!
    W: Enough about your heart rate! Look at my elevated stress levels!!
    M: Ha! Your app doesn’t measure stress properly. Stress Factor has to be calibrated by an Apple technician.
    W: Well it’s going up. The little green froggy thing is practically out of the pond. Its eyes are all buggy. Fuck! Cortisol! Epinephrine is being released. Oh my god my kaleidoscope of hormonal flies is strangling my frog!
    M: Ohhhh…this live EKG stream…listen! It’s a Kanye song…Ahhhhh–
    W: –SHUT UP about your heart already! If you did all the exercises Siri told you to do it wouldn’t be so damn vulnerable.
    M: Wow, I do not have enough B12 in my system to deal with this right now.
    W: What’s B12 got to do with it? My hydration levels are only 83% optimal. You know I’m not supposed to have any confrontation unless I’m at at least 88%.
    M: Well–
    W: –AT LEAST. God, now I have a Sahara badge.
    M: WELL apparently I’m going to have to increase my caloric intake by 1.5% today to account for this argument. And, judging by my hormone levels, I’ve just lost my appetite.
    W: You know, I can’t deal with this right now, I need to stabilize my prostaglandins if I’m gonna Siri-cise my abs. I hope you’re happy. Oh, that’s right, somebody’s too cheap to buy Happy Appy.
    [The next two lines overlap completely and then lines overlap where and to the degree appropriate thereafter.]
    W: You wouldn’t know.
    M: Well according TO THIS
    M: you’ve taken away 26 minutes from my sleep tonight. Ahhhh, you know I wanted to finally watch Mad Men tomorrow.
    W: Well according to this–
    M: –Now Deep Sheep says I won’t stay awake past season two.
    W: Wait, how do I get out of celebrity mode?
    M: Selfish.
    W: I don’t want to know Beyonce’s–Actually what are her serotonin levels like anyway today?
    M: Hold On.
    W: Oh wow. She probably just worked out.
    M: I can’t figure–Where? How do I get out of this graph?!
    W: Yep. Ashtanga kick-boxing. Oh! Oh! Wait how do I do this? Oh! What? Oh!
    M: I said HOLD ON! AHHHHHH Why Aren’t The Bears Holding Numbers?? They’re dancing. They’re topless. But no numbers!!
    W: According to this you’re a fucking asshole!
    M: WHAT?? Your phone can tell you that?!


    -Yes. But so can a watch. And with revolutionary ease.
    -Arguments are hard. Get to the data you need, with the Apple Watch.
    -Sport, Watch, or Edition; Apple Watches. Do you?

    Check here for the next part of this series

    — 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.

  • Lena Dunham Offers Support To Emma Sulkowicz After Posters Attacking Both Women Appeared In NYC
    Actress Lena Dunham took to Twitter to show support for sexual assault activist Emma Sulkowicz after posters accusing both women of lying about being raped appeared Wednesday around New York City.

    When Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University this week, she also concluded an art project — in which she carried a mattress around campus for nine months — that protested how the school had handled her sexual assault report. Some posters showed Sulkowicz standing with her mattress and called her a “pretty little liar,” presumably due to the student she accused of assault going public in recent months to refute her claims.

    Other posters targeted Dunham, who wrote about her experience with sexual assault in her 2014 memoir, Not That Kind of Girl. Although the man she said assaulted her was never named, a former Oberlin College student claimed Dunham’s depiction unfairly raised suspicion that he was the culprit. Her publisher said it would alter some details in future editions to make the alleged assailant less identifiable.

    Wednesday night, Dunham tweeted:

    Dear Emma, anyone who wants can call us anything they want, but you helped me to stand in my skin & I am so grateful: http://t.co/2H6dBzN6BX

    — Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 21, 2015

    Sulkowicz declined to comment on the posters.

    In December, Dunham wrote a BuzzFeed essay saying others who had publicly discussed their assaults had inspired her to share her story. She also wrote about the negative responses she’d received since coming forward:

    I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information. My work has been torn apart in an attempt to prove I am a liar, or worse, a deviant myself. My friends and family have been contacted.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what is written about me individually. I accept the realities of being in the public eye. But I simply cannot allow my story to be used to cast doubt on other women who have been sexually assaulted.

    — 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.

  • Review of NEJM Internal Medicine Knowledge+ Board Review

    Find out if this is a useful app for your internal medicine board prep

    The post Review of NEJM Internal Medicine Knowledge+ Board Review appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Apple to change its iPhone font?
    Apple is rumoured to be ditching the font you see on its mobile and tablet screens.
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