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Mobile Technology News, June 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.

  • Simplified Cellphones for Seniors With Hearing Problems
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    Dear Savvy Senior,
    Can you recommend some basic simplified cellphones for seniors with hearing loss? My 82-year-old father needs to get a new cellphone for occasional calls or emergencies, but he needs something that’s easy to use and one that he can hear on.

    –Looking Around

    Dear Looking,
    There are several simplified cellphones on the market today that are specifically designed for seniors — including those with hearing loss. These are basic cellphones that come with big buttons, easy to navigate menus, SOS emergency buttons, enhanced sound and are hearing aid compatible too. Here are some top options.

    Senior-Friendly Phones
    If your dad isn’t locked into a cellphone contract, there are three senior-friendly options to consider, all from no-contract cellphone companies.

    One of best is GreatCall’s Jitterbug5. This custom designed Samsung flip-phone offers a backlit keypad with big buttons, large text on a brightly colored screen, and “YES” and “NO” buttons to access the phone’s menu of options versus confusing icons.

    It also offers voice dialing, a powerful speakerphone, a built-in camera, and a variety of optional health and safety features like the “5Star” medical alert button that would let your dad call for help and speak to a certified agent 24/7 that could identify his location and dispatch help as needed. “Urgent Care,” which provides access to registered nurses and doctors for advice and diagnoses. And “GreatCall Link,” which keeps family members informed through your dad’s phone activities.

    The Jitterbug5 sells for $99 with a one-time $35 activation fee, no-contract, and calling plans that start at $15 per month.
    2015-06-28-1435517729-3467823-jitterbug5_01538_newhero_lg_600.jpg
    If you’re looking for something a little less expensive, the Doro PhoneEasy 626 sold through Consumer Cellular is an excellent option.

    This flip phone offers a backlit, separated keypad that can speak the numbers as you push them, which is a nice feature for seniors with vision problems. It also has a big easy to read color display screen that offers large text with different color themes.

    Other handy features include two speed dial buttons, shortcut buttons to texting and the camera, a powerful two-way speakerphone, and a ICE (in case of emergency) button on the back of the phone that will automatically dial one preprogramed number.

    The Doro 626 sells for $50 with service plans starting at $10 per month, and no long-term contract. They even offer discounts to AARP members.
    2015-06-28-1435517800-5031533-0Doro_PhoneEasy_626_black_white_right.png
    Another budget-friendly cellphone you should look into is the Snapfon ezTWO for seniors, which costs under $20, with a $35 activation fee, no-contract, and monthly service plans that start at $10. If you don’t want the Snapfon service plan (you can go through AT&T or T-Mobile), the phone is $80.

    This is a bar-style phone that provides big buttons, a color screen, enhanced volume with a speaker phone, a speaking keypad, and an SOS emergency alert button on the back of the phone that can sound an alert when pushed and held down for five seconds. It then sends a text message to as many as five emergency contacts and calls those contacts in order until the call is answered. Or, for an additional $15 per month you can subscribe to their SOS monitoring service that will dispatch help as needed.
    2015-06-28-1435517861-7661322-snapfoneztwomedicalalertcellphoneforseniors.jpg

    Shared Plan Options
    If you want to get your dad a simple cellphone through your cellphone provider, most carriers – like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile – still offer a few basic cellphones that are inexpensive and hearing aid compatible.

    If you’re an AT&T customer the option is the “LG A380.” For Verizon users, there’s the “Samsung Gusto 3” and “LG Revere 3.” If you’re a Sprint customer there’s the “Kyocera Kona” and “Alcatel OneTouch Retro.” And for T-Mobile users there’s the “LG 450.”

    Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

    – 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.

  • 4 Wishes for the Class of 2015
    The following speech was delivered on June 27, 2015 at the Tsinghua School of Economics & Management commencement in Beijing.

    I am honored to be here today to address Dean Yingyi Qian, Tsinghua School of Economics and Management’s distinguished faculty, proud family members, supportive friends, and most importantly, the class of 2015. Unlike my boss, Mark Zuckerberg, I do not speak Chinese. For that I apologize. But he did ask me to pass along this message — zhuhe. I am thrilled to be here to congratulate this magnificent class on your graduation.

    When Dean Qian invited me to speak today, I thought, come talk to a group of people way younger and cooler than I am? I can do that. I do that every day at Facebook, since Mark is 15 years younger than I am and many of our employees are more his contemporaries than mine. I like being surrounded by young people, except when they say to me, “What was it like being at university without a mobile phone?” or worse, “Sheryl, can you come here? We need to see what old people think of this feature.”

    I graduated from college in 1991 and business school in 1995. This was not that long ago. But I can tell you: the world has changed an awful lot in just 25 years. My business school class tried to have our school’s first online class. We had to pass out a list of screen names because it was unthinkable to put your real name on the Internet. And it did not work because the system kept crashing — it just wasn’t possible for 90 people to communicate at once online.

    But for a few brief moments in between crashes, we glimpsed the future — a future where technology would connect us to our colleagues, our relatives, our friends. The world we live in today is one I could not have imagined when I was sitting where you are. And 25 years from now, you will have helped shape your generation’s world.

    As graduates of Tsinghua, you will be leaders not just in China, but globally. China is a world leader in terms of educational attainment and economic growth. It is not just political and business leaders that recognize the importance of China. Many American parents realize it as well; the hardest schools to get into in the San Francisco Bay area where I live are those that teach Chinese.

    But the fact is countries don’t lead. People lead.

    As you graduate today, you start your path toward leadership. What kind of leader will you be? How much impact on others will you have? What will be your mark on the world?

    At Facebook, we have posters on our walls to remind us to think big — to challenge ourselves to do more each and every day. There are important leadership lessons reflected in these posters — and today, I want to cover four of them that I think can be meaningful for you.

    First, fortune favors the bold.

    Facebook exists because Mark believed that the world would be a better place if people could use technology to connect as individuals. He believed it so much that he dropped out of Harvard College to pursue that mission and he fought to hold onto it over the years. What Mark did was not lucky. It was bold.

    It’s unusual to find your passion as early as Mark. It took me far longer to figure out what I wanted to do. When I was sitting in a graduation robe, I could not have considered a job at Facebook because the Internet did not exist — and Mark was only 11 years old. I thought I would only ever work for the government or a philanthropic organization because I believed these institutions made the world a better place while companies only worked towards profits. But when I was working at the U.S. Treasury Department, I saw from afar how much impact technology companies were having on the world and I changed my mind. So when my government job ended, I decided to move to Silicon Valley.

    In retrospect, this seems like a shrewd move. But in 2001, it was questionable at best. The tech bubble had burst. Large companies were doing massive layoffs and small companies were going out of business. I gave myself four months to find a job. It took almost a year. In one of my first interviews, a tech company CEO said to me, “I took this meeting as a favor to a friend but I would never hire someone like you — people from the government can’t work in technology.”

    Eventually, I persuaded someone to hire me, and 14 years later, I still love working in tech. It was not my original plan, but I got there — eventually.

    I hope if you find yourself on one path but longing for something else, you find a way to get there. And if that isn’t right, try again. Try until you find something that stirs your passion, a job that matters to you and matters to others. It’s a luxury to combine passion and contribution. It’s also a clear path to happiness.

    Second, feedback is a gift.

    At Facebook, I knew that the most important determinant of my performance would be my relationship with Mark. When I joined, I asked Mark for a commitment that he would give me feedback every week so that anything that bothered him would be aired and discussed quickly. Mark not only said yes but immediately added that he wanted it to be reciprocal. For the first few years, we stuck to this routine and met every Friday afternoon to voice concerns big and small. As the years went by, sharing honest reactions became part of our relationship and we now do so in real time rather than waiting for the end of the week.

    Getting feedback from your boss is one thing, but it’s every bit as important to get feedback from those who work for you. This is not an easy thing to do as employees are often eager to please those above them and don’t want to criticize or question their higher-ups.

    One of my favorite examples of this comes from Wall Street. In 1990, Bob Rubin became the CEO of Goldman Sachs. At the end of his first week, he looked at Goldman’s books and noticed large investments in gold. He asked someone why. The answer? “That was you, sir.” “Me?” he replied. Apparently, the day before he had been walking around on the trading floor and he commented to someone that “gold looks interesting.” This got repeated as “Rubin likes gold” and someone spent hundreds of millions of dollars to make the new boss happy.

    On a smaller scale, I have faced a similar challenge. When I joined Facebook, one of my tasks was to build the business side of the company — but without destroying the engineering-driven culture that made Facebook great. So one of the things I tried to do was discourage people from doing formal PowerPoint presentations for meetings with me. At first, I asked nicely. Everyone ignored me and kept doing their presentations. So about two years in, I said, “OK, I usually hate rules but I now have a rule: No more PowerPoint in my meetings.”

    About a month later I was about to address our global sales team, when someone said to me, “Before you get on that stage, you really should know everyone’s pretty upset about the no PowerPoint with clients thing.” I was shocked. I had never banned these presentations for clients! I just did not want them in meetings with me. How could we present to our clients without PowerPoint? So I got on the stage and said, “One, I meant no PowerPoint with me. And two, next time you hear a bad idea — like not doing proper client presentations — speak up. Even if you think it is what I have asked for, tell me I am wrong!”

    A good leader recognizes that most employees won’t feel comfortable challenging authority, so it falls upon authority to solicit feedback. I learned from my PowerPoint mistake. I now ask my colleagues “What could I do better?” And I always thank the person who has the guts to answer me honestly, often by praising them publicly. I firmly believe that you lead best when you walk side-by-side with your colleagues. When you don’t just talk but you also listen.

    Third, nothing is someone’s else’s problem.

    When I started my career, I observed people in leadership roles and thought, “They’re so lucky. They have so much control.” So imagine my surprise when I took a course in business school on leadership and was told that as you get more senior, you are more dependent on other people. At the time, I thought my professors were wrong.

    They were right. I am dependent on my sales team… not the other way around. If they fall short, it is my mistake. As a leader, what I can accomplish is not just what I can do myself but what everyone on my team does.

    Companies in every country operate in ways that are right for their cultures. But I believe that there are some principles of leadership that are universal — and one of those is that it is better to inspire than to direct. Yes, people will do what their bosses tell them to do in most organizations. But great leaders do not just want to secure compliance. They want to elicit genuine enthusiasm, complete trust, and real dedication. They don’t just win the minds of their teams, they win their hearts. If they believe in your organization’s mission and they believe in you, they will not only do their daily tasks well, but they will do them with true passion.

    No one won more hearts than my beloved husband Dave Goldberg who passed away suddenly two months ago. Dave was a truly inspiring leader. He was kind. He was generous. He was thoughtful. He raised the level of performance of everyone around him. He did it as CEO of SurveyMonkey, an amazing company that he helped build. He did it for me and for our children.

    A friend of ours named Bill Gurley, a leading venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, wrote a post where he urged others to “Be Like Dave.” Bill wrote, “Dave showed us all exactly what being a great human being looks like… But it was never frustrating because Dave’s greatness was not competitive or threatening. It was gentle, inspirational and egoless. He was the quintessential standard for the notion of leading by example.”

    Harvard Business School Professor Frances Frei has said “leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” Like Dave, you can do this for others over the course of your career.

    Fourth, lean in.

    As the Chinese proverb holds — “women hold up half the sky.” This is quoted all over the world and women have a special role in China’s history and present.

    When the world has gathered to discuss the status and advancement of women, we’ve done it here in Beijing. In 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action — which called for women’s full and equal participation in life and decision-making — was adopted by 189 governments. Last year, on the 20th anniversary of that historic declaration, leaders again gathered here to mobilize around what has become known as the promise of Beijing: equality for women and men.

    Yet while we all acknowledge the importance and strength of women, when we look at leadership roles in every country, they are overwhelmingly held by men. In almost every country in the world — including the United States and China — less than 6 percent of the top companies are run by women. Women hold fewer leadership roles in every industry. This means that when it comes to making the decisions that affect all us, women’s voices are not heard equally.

    There are many reasons for the gender leadership gap — outright discrimination, greater responsibilities at home, a lack of flexibility in the workplace, and importantly, our stereotypical expectations. While cultures differ all over the globe, our stereotypes of men and women are remarkably similar. Although the status of women is changing and evolving in China and many parts of the world, traditional expectations and stereotypes linger. To this day, in the U.S., in China, and everywhere, men are expected to lead, be assertive, succeed. Women are expected to share, be communal, acquiesce to others. We expect leadership from boys and men. But when a little girl leads, we call her “bossy” in English, or qiang shi in Chinese.

    Other social barriers also hold women back. Women are often excluded from professional networks — like Guanxi — and both formal and informal socializing that is critical for job advancement. This is also true in the United States, where men often chose to mentor other men instead of women.

    I believe that the world would be a better place if men ran half our homes and women ran half our institutions — and the good news is that we can change the stereotypes and get to real equality. We can support women who lead in the workforce. We can find more balance in the home by fathers helping mothers with housekeeping and childrearing; more equal marriages are happier and more active fathers raise more successful children. We can walk up to someone who calls a little girl “bossy,” and say instead, “That little girl is not bossy. That little girl has executive leadership skills.”

    And I want to make this very clear: Equality is not just good for women. It’s good for everyone. Female participation in the workforce is a major driver of economic growth. Companies that recognize the full talents of the entire population outperform those that do not. AliBaba CEO Jack Ma, who stood here last year, has said that “one of the secret sauces for Alibaba’s success is that we have a lot of women… without women, there would be no Alibaba.” Women hold 40 percent of all jobs at Alibaba and 35 percent of senior positions — far more than most companies anywhere in the world.

    Great leaders don’t just develop people like them, they develop everyone. If you want to be a great leader, you will develop the women — as well as the men — at your companies and on your teams.

    Our peers can help us develop, too. When Lean In was published in 2013, we launched LeanIn.org, a nonprofit with a mission to empower all women to achieve their ambitions. LeanIn.Org helps form Lean In Circles, small peer groups who met regularly to share and learn together. There are now over 23,000 circles in more than 100 countries.

    The first international Lean In Circle I ever met with was in Beijing — a group of young professional women who gathered to support each other’s professional ambitions and challenge the idea of “shengnu,” leftover women. In the past two years, they have built a network of Circles throughout China from working professionals to university students — women and men who come together to support equality. One of these Circles is at Tsinghua, and I met with them earlier this morning. I was inspired by their passion for their studies and their careers. As one member told me, “It was when I first joined Lean In Tsinghua that I began to fully understand the Chinese proverb, ‘A just cause enjoys abundant support.’”

    I believe your generation will do a better job than mine at fixing the problem of gender inequality. So we turn to you. You are the promise for a more equal world.

    2015-06-28-1435498115-3977401-sheryl3.jpg

    Today is a day of celebration. A day to celebrate your accomplishments, the hard work that brought you to this moment.

    This is a day of gratitude. A day to thank the people who helped you get here — the people who nurtured you, taught you, cheered you on and dried your tears. Today is a day of reflection. A day to think about what kind of leader you want to be.

    I believe that you are the future leaders, not only of China but of the world. And for each of you, I wish four things:

    1. That you are bold and have good fortune. Fortune favors the bold.

    2. That you give and get the feedback you need. Feedback is a gift.

    3. That you empower everyone. Nothing is somebody else’s problem.

    4. That you support equality. Lean In!

    Congratulations!

    – 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 Rocket Explodes Shortly After Liftoff
    An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station erupted while in flight just a couple of minutes after a successful liftoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 10:21 a.m. EDT on Sunday.

    Pieces of the Falcon 9 rocket could be seen falling into the Atlantic, The Associated Press reported. NASA officials said that they have deployed vehicles to recover debris.

    Among the more than 4,000 pounds of payload in the rocket’s Dragon cargo ship were important research equipment, student experiments that were lost in a previous Orbital rocket explosion, and a docking adapter, or parking place, for future commercial crew capsules.

    About an hour after the accident, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed in a Twitter post that overpressurization in the rocket may have been related to the explosion.

    That’s all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis.

    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015

    This isn’t the first time that an attempt to ship cargo to the International Space Station has failed. In April, a Russian cargo ship malfunctioned on its way to resupply the station.

    “We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement following the explosion. “We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward.”

    He added that while the failed launch is a reminder of the challenges of spaceflight, it will not deter any future launches or plans for the agency’s spaceflight program.

    – 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 Big, Scary Whirlpool Forms In Lake Texoma
    On Lake Texoma along the Texas-Oklahoma border, boaters have to be very careful or they could wind up going down the drain–literally.

    That’s because a giant vortex measuring eight feet across formed recently in the overflowing lake. The swirling waters got going when engineers opened the floodgates of the Denison Dam to drain the lake, which was flooded from four weeks of heavy rain.

    A video of the vortex (above) posted to the YouTube page of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Tulsa District on June 5, 2015 shows just how big the vortex is–and how powerful. Officials warned in the video’s description that it’s capable of sucking in a full-sized boat.

    (Story continues below.)

    The vortex that formed at Lake Texoma.

    “I always compare it to when you fill up your bathtub and then pull the plug. When the water level gets low enough, you’ll see an apparent vortex,” B.J. Parkey, assistant project manager at the lake, told ABC News. “Obviously we don’t have a plug like that in the dam, but the concept is the same.”

    The Weather Channel reported that officials plan to keep the floodgates open for now and the lake should reach normal levels by the end of July.

    – 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, June 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.

  • Big Companies Can Avoid Disruption by Partnering With Startup Accelerators
    David Cohen started as a software programmer at age 13 and since then he has had only one job interview. Cohen started three startups and now is the founder and general manager of Techstars, a mentorship-driven startup accelerator is considered one of the best startup accelerators in the world. Less than 1% of the companies that apply to Techstars are accepted — a lower acceptance rate than getting into MIT, Stanford or Harvard. Techstars a global ecosystem that enable and empowers entrepreneurs to bring technologies to the market.

    2015-06-27-1435412304-5609774-109_david_cohen.png
    David Cohen – Founder and GM of Techstars

    Cohen (Twitter: @davidcohen) describes Techstars as:

    What Techstars is fundamentally a global ecosystem in which entrepreneurs are enabled and empowered to bring new technologies to the market. So we focus on technology companies, primarily Internet companies. We do that through our accelerator programs, which are three-month intensive mentorship programs that operate in cities around the world; 13 different cities.

    We also have about 300 million in venture capital to back companies that are exciting and are emerging from that ecosystem. We recently acquired Upglobal, who are the folks responsible for ‘startup weekend’. If you’ve never experienced a startup weekend, it’s like discovery and inspiration for entrepreneurship, it happens 1000 times a year around the world.

    Cohen started Techstars in Boulder Colorado because he wanted to improve the entrepreneurial community in Boulder. He has his partners Brad Feld, Jared Polis and David Brown took a 20 year view towards this mission of creating a vibrant and active entrepreneurship community. “The four of us wanted to make Boulder better as an ecosystem over a long period of time, and tried a way to do Angel investing that made more sense,” said Cohen.

    To achieve this mission, Cohen and his partners created a mentorship driven accelerator model. Companies apply to Techstars and 10 out of every 1,000 applicants are accepted.

    We spend about three months with each company, three months of intense mentorship and we get the best entrepreneurs in each of the communities that we operate in. We fund them with a little bit of capital, not enough to do any damage. But a little bit to get them going.

    At the end of three month mentorship period, the companies share their ideas with venture capitalists and investors, and hopefully go on to build businesses.

    Techstars started because we wanted the ecosystem to be better. Today, we do that in many communities around the world and we also do it on behalf of major corporations.

    The real power is in the network

    Cohen views the history of venture capital as hierarchical and old school, where entrepreneurs would present their ideas in a boardroom on Sand Hill Road, in front of Silicon Valley investors, being judged and then potentially funded. The network effect of today’s accelerator model takes advantage of the community of mentors and investors around the globe. For example, Techstars has 150 mentors in New York alone. There are 10 companies that Techstars mentors during an intensive period, guided by a network that spans Chicago, Seattle, London, Berlin and many more major cities around the globe.

    Cohen believes that the power is in the network. Techstars wants to see these startups succeed. The Techstars alumni who have already had an exit are coming back to Angel invest. Cohen believes the new flip model for venture capital means that the ecosystem will put network ideas first over the ideas of the old school hierarchy.

    The quality of the network is in the quality of the mentors. The Techstars mentor ecosystem is 2,000 strong and global, consisting of business operators, successful venture capitalists, and Techstars alumni who are there to help, not be in charge. Cohen makes this very important distinction that a good mentor is there to give first, hoping to get back in some unexpected way later. Mentors are not here to tell people what to do, but rather they are here to share their experiences and provide guidance as needed. Cohen provides a checklist to the mentor community, with specific requirements that ensures a quality mentor-mentee relationship.

    We’re working with many innovative corporations like Nike, Ford, Microsoft, Barclay’s, Sprint and many other that have understood the power of this ‘give first’, where you just provide help to entrepreneurs and that’s what these mentors are doing.

    What’s coming back to them is opportunities to invest or perhaps a job as a CEO of an interesting high growth startup. The network is giving back to them in an non-transactional way. In almost a karmic way, and I think this is the nature of entrepreneurship, we are on a mission to help educate people around the world.

    Successful characteristics of entrepreneurs

    Cohen and his team of mentors look for 6 entrepreneur characteristics as part of their selection process:

    1. Team (incredible executors)
    2. Team (technical and business savvy)
    3. More team (capabilities, core values, guiding principles)
    4. Market – what market are they in?
    5. Progress – the ability to do stuff
    6. Idea – ideas do matter

    We have this theory we’re pretty sure it’s correct. We think that entrepreneurs do stuff, they don’t just talk about stuff, and so we look for signs that they actually do stuff.

    We put ideas at number six only to help people understand that it’s last. Ideas do matter. Ideas are bonus points. Good ideas of course matter, but they’re going to change a lot and it’s much more about the team and the market and the ability to get stuff done.

    Cohen’s own experience, which includes more than 600 portfolio companies, is that founders who are really about the mission are the best ones to build great companies. Mission driven founders view the world in a certain way. “When Ryan Graves from Uber were just starting, he viewed the world a certain way and was able to invest until his view came true. They don’t all work out that well but they’re not going to stop until the world works that way,” said Cohen.

    “You want to look at people who are really attached to the problem and not to their solution to the problem. That are willing to throw it all away to get it right to solve the problem and change the world in the way that they envision,” said Cohen.

    The importance of transparency in business

    Coehn and his company are incredibly transparent about their successes and failures. You can go to the Techstars website and see every company that Techstars has ever funded — how much money have they raise, how many employees they have, where are they based and more. You can also find the founder’s email address. Techstars publicly provides a 100% reference able client list.

    Entrepreneurship transparency I think is important because there are so many problems that you just have to be real about them. There are so many way for a startup to die, so the transparency attitude is key.

    The first thing we say in orientation to entrepreneurs is to drop the act. You are already in, we’re on your team, so show us all the problems. The more you’re real with people, and the more you let people help you, the more they get to understand how you operate as an entrepreneur. The stronger that relationship is, then the more likely there’s a future together in that relationship.

    Cohen believes that mentoring and managing startups is really about managing psychology. The mentor network consists of these experienced psychologists around, who are operators who have done it before. They’d help you through the difficult times which are inevitable.

    Techstars has funded 200 companies around the world. With only a 1% acceptance rate, these are all very interesting people and companies. Those companies have raised $1.5 billion in venture capital and employee thousands and thousands of people. The report card is, are we creating a better ecosystem for these companies to be successful every day. The measure of success for Cohen and his team is based on creating meaningful, long-lasting companies. “Ask me then, how many companies did we create that you know became very meaningful, sustainable, and long-lasting companies who have an impact on the world. I feel like there is eight or nine multi-billion-dollar companies in the portfolio. I only know three or four of them, right, but there is probably five more that are given all the promising companies that are out there,” said Cohen.

    Accelerating corporate innovation

    Cohen and the Techstars accelerator programs are demonstrating to big companies that they can augment or replace corporate sponsored innovation programs and/or accelerate technology roadmaps by leveraging startups. Cohen notes that today’s Fortune 500 companies are 50% different than 20 years ago. Cohen sees big companies valuing innovation and yet failing to produce and deliver solutions that fit today’s market needs. Cohen sees very few successful corporate venture capital funds that have sustained – he cites Intel and Qualcomm as exceptions.

    What happened to Techstars is that we got approached early on by Microsoft, and earlier on they were a partner of ours and they said, ‘we want you to run an accelerator that’s just like what you do, but around our technology.’ We did that and we discovered something really interesting.

    By creating the combination, letting Techstars do the same thing we normally do, with our normal mentors, but calling it the Microsoft accelerator, whereby we supplemented the mentors with people from inside the Microsoft organization, something magical happened. The fact that Microsoft employees had to leave the campus and come down to a startup space that has a cool vibe, and then just give first and participate — instead of trying to get anything — we produced amazing companies.

    These amazing companies were born, they got the benefit of Microsoft’s partner network, and the funding around Techstars and Microsoft didn’t take anything. They [Microsoft] didn’t take any equity, they didn’t take any options, they didn’t take the right to buy, the right to do business with — nothing like that.

    What these companies did get is a lot of opportunities to do those things because they gave first. Since then, we’ve rolled that model out, refined it and do it now for many partners like the ones I mentioned earlier. They are focused vertical like Qualcomm, for example, who run an accelerator in the robotic space. Ford in the mobility space in Detroit, Disney in entertainment and so on. To enable that magical combination, we demonstrated to corporations the understanding that by giving first, they actually get more out of it.

    One example of this magical combination was the Disney accelerator and company called Sphero. Sphero makes a robotic ball gaming platform — it’s hard to make robotic balls move because there is no forward or backwards or left or right and control with thumb. Their work inspired the character VB8, which is the new R2D2 in the next Star Wars movie. This was a great innovation and partnership for both companies and it all happened because Disney gave first and they unselfishly partnered with a great young company to build something magical. Disney did not view this as a transaction to get something up front, but rather an opportunity to accelerate innovation through mission driven collaboration.

    Only the most enlightened companies are approaching us early on, but it is getting broader and we have a lot of companies that are interested in this.

    They see what we do, and they see the track record of companies that go through Techstars — on average always two million in venture capital. We’ve had 65 M&A acquisitions. We’ve got many big companies that want to know ‘how do we create that in a space that’s near us, so we can be near it and understand it, and drive some innovation, and perhaps we can acquire’, and we teach them how to do it.

    How do big companies measure success with accelerators? The answer varies based on each company.

    Nike really cares about ‘at that moment in time’ — they have the Nike Fuel API, they make the Fuel Band, and we are trying to create this kind of point system activity, which is obviously taken off hugely.

    Nike had a tech platform and they were going to release their API’s, and rather than release them to the world, they decided to partner with 10 high potential startups and just give them this before anybody else and see what they can do. These startups pushed the envelope on that technology and informed Nike about what they should do to make it better. In Nike’s case success was about learning. Now, they got a lot of PR out of it and it didn’t hurt.

    Large corporations realize that we are going to get disrupted on many levels and technology is moving really fast. To be close to the pace of innovation, and have the opportunity for fist mover advantage, it makes perfect sense to partner with startup accelerators and a highly motivated and experienced mentor ecosystem.

    “Companies like Qualcomm have a venture fund and venture group that is among the top corporate innovation venture funds out there. The group is interested in building future products. Led by their CTI, the purpose is centered on technology and innovation,” said Cohen.

    To learn more about corporation innovation programs and real examples with tech accelerators, the changing role of the CIO and more early stage investment advice for startup CEOs, you can watch the full interview with David Cohen 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.

  • Even Ralph Nader And Grover Norquist Agree That Government Should Be More Open
    By most measures, the 113th Congress of the United States was one of the least productive in history, failing to pass major legislation for most of its two years. One exception was the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, a historic open-government law that passed last year after an arduous three-year process. The DATA Act established government-wide standards and quality requirements for financial data, which will make it far easier for the public to understand how Uncle Sam is spending taxpayer dollars.

    The overwhelming bipartisan support for the DATA Act and the principle behind it — that government spending should be disclosed to the public — reflects a larger truth: People from all directions on America’s political compass want open government. In May of this year, two noted activists from different quadrants — small-government advocate Grover Norquist and consumer advocate Ralph Nader — joined me on stage at the Data Act Summit, a conference to examine the status of the DATA Act one year after its passage.

    “People care deeply, even average citizens,” said Norquist. “If you just ask them whether the government should be transparent, the answer is yes, and they’re serious about that. I think the best ways to get other countries that are not very transparent and that are much more corrupt than the United States government [to act better] is for us to be better at it. This is about reforming other countries by reforming us first and being a good example. We don’t have to go over there and occupy to get someone to behave. It’s a matter of doing it well ourselves.”

    Here are some of the highlights from our wide-ranging conversation on how government data should be published, shared and used — or not — in society:

    Location, location, location

    Many kinds of open data are coming online now, from health to energy to transit to real estate. Technology companies that specialize in real estate, like Zillow and Redfin, are among the leaders here. People are interested in what properties are worth, how that changes and what’s available nearby. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of American adults are comfortable with sharing real estate transaction data.

    Norquist argued that if information is already publicly available on paper, putting it online is just a way to democratize the process.

    “One of the arguments you make is that this is available if you want to get it,” said Norquist. “Someone goes down to the City Hall and gets all the tax data, like the value of the house and when it was sold and so on. … It’s not a secret that’s being exposed. It’s an open secret. It’s information that’s legally available to all citizens, but not able to find easily. You want more people to have more information, quicker.”

    The thing is, people are all for information being publicly available until “openness” comes too close to home. That Pew survey found that 75 percent of Americans are uncomfortable with mortgage data going online. In New York state a few years ago, a local newspaper acquired handgun registration data through the state’s Freedom of Information Law and mapped it. The journalists took it a step too far when they put actual names and addresses on a searchable map. That created a massive scandal, the paper took the map offline, and the New York state legislature changed the law. People still want and need some privacy, which puts a premium on thinking through the ethics of a more transparent age.

    What about our rights?

    Applied to the powerless, openness may be deeply problematic, even immoral. Take the issue of building owners using housing court records in New York City to create tenant blacklists. The city government has tried to crack down, but companies are still paying for those data, correlating cases to names, and selling the results to other companies or landlords.

    At all levels of government, officials are entrusted with confidential data that citizens want to be kept private, from Social Security info to health data to tax records. When governments fail to protect private data from intrusions or leaks, people’s lives may be permanently changed through identity theft or worse.

    “The tragedy is that if we don’t find a better word than privacy, which has a kind of luxurious connotation, like ‘get over it,’ and get to the real gravity of the civil right that’s being protected here, it bores people,” warned Nader. “You can’t get people really upset about it unless they’re burned by it, and a lot of times, they don’t even know they’re being burned by it. You get a credit application denied — you don’t even know you’re being burned by it.”

    Some major differences of opinion divide the Obama administration, the law enforcement community, and privacy and civil liberties advocates as to when and how data and devices should be strongly encrypted. “Strong encryption” refers to security measures that lock access to data or computing devices using a number at least 256 digits long. Law enforcement officials, including the FBI, want to be able to access any data or mobile device through built-in “backdoors” or keys held in escrow. A broad coalition of civil liberties groups, tech companies and security experts wrote a letter in May to President Barack Obama urging him not to allow such backdoor exceptions because they would weaken the U.S. tech industry, harm IT security and undermine human rights.

    “I’m for hard encryption,” said Norquist. “We had this argument a long time ago, when the FBI wanted to ban encryption in American software, even though there are 19 countries that did hard encryption — including countries that aren’t our friends. It’s not like the bad guys couldn’t get it. I testified on the subject.”

    Yelp with government data

    Sunlight on government or corporate corruption can help hold the powerful to account. Sunlight on your local diner can be fundamentally useful. Pew’s research showed that a majority of Americans are extremely comfortable with the idea of putting food safety or restaurant inspection data online. They want to know if the place they’re dining has a history of uncleanliness. So what other kinds of disclosures should be digitized so they can be used at that point of decision-making?

    Norquist suggested that consumer reviews of products, services and providers in two-sided arrangements, such as Uber’s drivers and passengers, can do a better job of informing the public than regulators can.

    “I think it makes the information in the market so much higher quality, both directions, than you’d ever have through the regulatory state,” he said.

    There are many places, however, where government agencies already collect data about goods and services, which they release back into the marketplace. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, for instance, gather information from financial advisers and then disclose it, along with complaints against those professionals. In 2011, BrightScope liberated that material and built a business around it, creating a searchable directory of financial advisers. Agencies collecting consumer reviews could be an essential arbiter of quality and a bulwark against false or defamatory statements.

    Norquist wasn’t sure if he broadly supported government agencies collecting and releasing data in all markets. Where a regulator is already doing so, however, he said he’d “certainly like it to be legal to be released, sold voluntarily, shared, as much data as there is out there. I think government is going to have some data, and that should be public information.”

    The long data shadow of prison

    Today, a growing number of Americans agree on the need for criminal justice reform. One challenge is that convicted criminals moved from prison to parole are likely to be subject to unprecedented data collection. Norquist suggested that managing that kind of surveillance will be part of reform discussions.

    “I work with Right on Crime, which is a group of conservatives who are in the process of rethinking how many people you need in prison for how long to keep crime down rather than up,” he said. “Technology makes a lot of things possible, to not spend as much money incarcerating people and still have crime rates falling.”

    If reform gathers momentum in Congress, we should be discussing whether, when, how much, and by whom former offenders will be tracked. Should all sex offenders be in a database and tracked with GPS devices? How much of that data should be retained or shared, and with whom? What should be held back from publication, blocked from social networks or even removed from search results?

    “There’s an expungement movement,” said Norquist. “At what point does something you did at 15, which went into a file, disappear? Is there something, after X number of years, it shouldn’t be on your record?”

    He noted the long reach of a criminal past when comes to current employment, particularly with the growth of licensing for many jobs. According to The Economist, some 30 percent of U.S. workers now need a license or permit from the government.

    “The people who do your nails, the people who do your hair, the interior decorators, all get a license in some states,” said Norquist. “One of the first things they do is say ‘no criminals.’ You can’t have criminals. And no felons. Somebody can’t be a barber because of X numbers of years ago they committed a crime? I understand no bank tellers if someone has been an embezzler, but there’s a lot of that that can come out.”

    Nader agreed, noting that a felony conviction punishes people in ways that go far beyond prison, from losing the right to vote in some states to difficulties with obtaining public housing, student loans and jobs. Limiting the movement of data about Americans’ criminal histories might be necessary to enable people who have served their time to rebuild their lives.

    “There’s a real movement here, fortunately, to get rid of these laws,” Nader said. “A lot of stuff is going on in legislatures all over the country, in the voting area and other areas. But what’s important is every time you get rid of one of these laws, you get rid of the data that can be requested, that can be used to harm people who are free and paid their debt to society. This business of post-punishing people that have already served their punishment someday I hope will reach the Supreme Court and be invalidated under the equal protection clause of the Constitution.”

    Norquist and Nader had a lot more to say on how a transparent government should work. Watch the video of our full conversation at the Data Transparency Coalition’s conference above.

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

Mobile Technology News, June 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.

  • The Internet of Everything Empowers Cities as Never Before
    As San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said at the City Innovate Summit last week:

    “Cities today are the engines of the greatest surge in innovation, creativity and problem solving in human history … and cities that think of themselves as platforms will become stronger, attract better talent and become smarter from the bottom up.”

    Let’s be frank. The strength of America’s economy and as well as our political prowess in the world are inextricably linked. Cities — not the Federal government — are best positioned to renew and reinvent America for the new, global, knowledge-based economy.

    In this new world economy where every nation, every community, every individual is competing with every other, as President Obama said before a joint session of Congress:

    “We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world…We have to make America the best place on earth to do business.”

    Increasingly, cities across America are starting to change the focus, deploy technology and prepare our citizens to out innovate, out educate and out build every other community and thus every other nation in the world. It is the cities — not Washington, D.C. — that we need to look to for leadership to reinvent America for the new economy.

    Of course, whom we elect as president is important, but whoever emerges in 2016, there role is extremely limited as to what they can accomplish with so many issues outside the domain of the President’s power. Urban scholar and author Neal Pierce observed, that national economies no longer exist; only a global economy and a “constellation of regional economies, with major cities at their core.”

    2015-06-11-1434062148-1125641-AERIAL.jpg

    More recently, Benjamin Barber, author of If Mayors Ruled The World, underscored the notion that cities are critical to almost everything we need as a country, and has written:

    “The nation-state is failing us on the global scale” … “cities and the mayors that run them, offer the best new forces of good governance…They are the primary incubator of the cultural, social, and political innovations which shape our planet.”

    Technology, particularly the “Internet of Everything” (IoE), where everything is connected to almost every other thing, is providing cities and their elected officials with the tools to ensure safer cities, better transportation, health care, energy and water conservation, clean air, and environmental services. By installing the broadband necessary for the IoE, cities are also building the platform for innovation.

    2015-06-11-1434061823-9886428-numberofdevicesintheinternetofeverything.png

    The new broadband infrastructure coupled with Big Data analysis can serve to make the city government more transparent and also encourage individuals and companies to develop innovative products and services; and importantly, engage the general public to help create “efficiencies that save taxpayer money” and “build trust in the public sector.” That is at the heart of The Responsive City: Engaging Communities Through Data Smart Governance, by former Mayor of Indianapolis and Deputy Mayor of New York, Stephen Goldsmith and Susan Crawford, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and special assistant to both President Obama and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    As IBM, which launched a “smart cities initiative” in the last few years put it:

    “As cities grow in both numbers and population, they are taking their place on the world’s center stage, with more economic, political and technological power than ever before. Economically, they are becoming the hubs of a globally integrated, services-based society. Politically, they are in the midst of a realignment of power — with greater influence, but also greater responsibility.”

    Goldman Sachs calls the IoE the 3rd wave, and points out that while, “The 1990′s fixed Internet wave connected 1 billion users … the 2000′s mobile wave connected another 2 billion. The IoE has the potential to connect 10X as many (28 billion) “things” to the Internet by 2020, ranging from bracelets to cars. Gartner research says that this year we already have 4.9 Billion Connected “Things.”

    The payoffs are huge.

    According to Cisco Systems, IoE could generate $4.6 trillion in value for the global public sector by 2022 through cost savings, productivity gains, new revenues and improved citizen experiences… Cities have the potential to claim almost two-thirds of the non-defense (civilian) IoE public sector value. Cities, they believe, will capture much of this value by implementing killer apps in which “$100 billion can be saved in smart buildings alone by “reducing energy consumption.”

    City leaders are awakening to the challengers and the opportunities before them. In just the last few years, over 50 cities have joined forces to create an organization called Next Century Cities. Together they have committed to embracing technology, identifying opportunities to change their current systems of police, fire, safety, transportation, health care, water and energy and more; and finding more ways to collaborate at the state, county and city level, keys to our Nation’s success and survival.

    – 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, June 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.

  • Review: PWR Case by Prong
    Ultimately, there’s one thing we all want from smartphone accessories; we want options. When it comes to keeping our iPhone charged, we don’t always have them. Despite our best efforts, and theirs, not all of our friends have an iPhone like us, nor do we have a smartphone that charges off a micro USB cable as they do; then there’s the issue of if we have something to plug into. The PWR Case by Prong gives us the options we crave when it comes to keeping our phone up and running. We’ll tell you all about it in our review.



  • The Real Cybercrime
    co-authored by Dr. Stephen Bryen, Founder & CTO FortressFone Technologies

    2015-06-25-1435267252-1825304-140915165158computerhackerexlarge169.jpg

    It now seems that the Office of Personnel Management, which had outsourced its data storage to other Federal agencies, has lost an astonishing 18 million personnel records, including most of those involving security clearances. The information is now in the hands of unknown hackers who almost certainly have bartered the stolen information to willing buyers. Most experts think that the buyer is most likely China, with Russia running a close second.

    When a prospective employee applies for a job that requires a security clearance he or she fills out a form called an SF-86 which is called a Questionnaire for National Security Positions. The questionnaire is extensive and demanding, requiring so much information to be handed over to the government that there is virtually nothing left one could dream of adding to it. Your friends, colleagues, bosses, neighbors are all included along with all your personal information. In the wrong hands this document at minimum guarantees easy identity theft. Worse, in the hands of a determined adversary, a person’s vulnerabilities can be exploited including tracking the employee and making sophisticated “phishing” operations possible. Phishing is a technique where a false email or message can be sent to an employee that, when opened, puts spyware on the employee’s computer.

    You would think given the explosive importance of the SF-86 form that the government would take strong steps to protect the information. Perish the thought. Nothing like that has been done: in fact, the government passes around these forms to other agencies (such as the FBI) and gives them to contractors for “processing.”

    Our government has consistently failed at computer security from the beginning. The first Computer Security Act was passed in 1988, and there have been many subsequent legislative initiatives since then along with Executive Orders and pronouncements from agencies including NSA and the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), the latest one just this week.

    None of them understand the problem or demonstrate any real willingness to solve it. All of them have the wrong cart in front of the wrong horse.

    The truth is that unless special steps are taken to protect sensitive unclassified information the game is lost from the start.

    What are those steps? Most fundamentally there are two: compartmenting information and encrypting it. For unclassified information which is what the SF-86 is considered to be, the government neither compartments nor encrypts. NSA won’t let them because the information is not classified: our government security experts keep thinking they can do it another way. They can’t.

    NIST has just put out a new directive for contractors. But it’s worthless because it does not require either compartmentalization or encryption.

    Compartmentalization means that not everyone can access everything. It is as simple as that. It can be made weightier by adding a “need to know” requirement, meaning that you are only entitled to look at what is absolutely necessary for your job. Properly administered need to know and compartmentalization protects any major theft of information particularly if the data itself is stored in an encrypted format.

    The real crime is the failure of both the Administration and the Congress to put in place a higher standard of information protection applying these known and effective tools. While everyone is running around thinking about firing the head of the Office of Personnel Management, perhaps they should think about firing themselves for the crimes against privacy they have perpetrated.

    – 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 Conversation With Peter Diamandis
    2015-06-25-1435272482-6654509-810943630_y2cicL.jpg
    Image Credit: Peter Diamandis

    At this year’s Exponential Finance conference hosted by Singularity University in New York, I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Diamandis, co-founder & Executive Chairman of Singularity University. Diamandis counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.

    Diamandis is also the Chairman and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. He attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D.

    Patrick Daniel: In addition to prizes such as the XPRIZE, what are some incentive systems that can enable innovation for big, capital-intensive companies?

    Peter Diamandis: Another incentive is advance market commitments. If you build a product or service that delivers this quality of service, we will buy a hundred million of them. That is effectively equivalent to incentive completion, but it is an advance purchase order.

    Daniel: What is stopping the next generation of game changing companies from occurring?

    Diamandis: I don’t think there is much or anything that is stopping them. I think the rate of innovation is increasing. I think the number of companies that are trying bigger things is increasing. I don’t think there are any roadblocks per se. There is capital available, technology is available and the number of marketplaces is increasing.

    Daniel: What is the best way to learn first principles thinking?

    Diamandis: I think first principles thinking is really important. I write about that in my last book Bold. I think it comes from the type of training that makes it easiest, being an engineer, being a physicist, really understanding, asking a question the most fundamental level. What are the constraining factors here? What do the laws of physics tell me? Or what does mathematics tell me. We teach exponential thinking at Singularity University in our graduate program and our executive program.

    Daniel: This is a Peter Thiel type of question. What important truth do very few people on Wall Street agree with you?

    Diamandis: That very few things are truly scarce, that we can turn almost anything from scarcity into abundance and that there are great business opportunities by embracing that truth.

    2015-06-25-1435272424-7214978-CGhBMNxUkAInpge.jpg

    Daniel: What are you worried about?

    Diamandis: I think the biggest challenge I see is attempts by governments to regulate too much before the product matures. I think the type of change that is coming is going to threaten a lot of the incumbents and they are going to put up roadblocks.

    Daniel: Within financial technology, what kind of innovation can empower individuals?

    Diamandis: Wouldn’t it be great if there were an AI that understood your desire and wants? Even if you didn’t verbalize it, your ability to have your desires and intentions materialized.

    Daniel: What is a book that you would require the president to read to understand this technology revolution?

    Diamandis: The book that I read that got me really focused was Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near. It did a great job of giving people an overview of the conversion of all these technologies.

    Daniel: How do you know what to incentivize?

    Diamandis: You incentivize your desired outcome. What do you want to see? Do you want to see employment or do you want to see a higher standard of living? Being clear what you desire is the first step.

    Daniel: When you look back at your life, what is the change in your mindset that you think was pivotal for your success?

    Diamandis: That is a good question, I think the notion that hard work could overcome most obstacles.

    Daniel: What habit would you prescribe to guard against your own biases and beliefs?

    Diamandis: When enough people tell you something, it is okay to actually take a moment to evaluate why they are right or why they are wrong. And the beautiful thing about the world we live in today is our ability to constantly pivot. To do experiments, gather the data and then modify based on what you learned. It is a constant iteration. That has driven my life.

    Daniel: If you could give your younger self advice, what kind of advice would you give yourself?

    Diamandis: Great question. I think it has to do something with my passion and not what my parents or my teachers were telling me to do. Follow my heart. I think that is the most important thing, doing something driven by my passion more than anything else.

    – 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 Conversation With Peter Diamandis
    2015-06-25-1435272482-6654509-810943630_y2cicL.jpg
    Image Credit: Peter Diamandis

    At this year’s Exponential Finance conference hosted by Singularity University in New York, I had the opportunity to talk with Peter Diamandis, co-founder & Executive Chairman of Singularity University. Diamandis counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to utilize exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives.

    Diamandis is also the Chairman and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. He attended MIT where he received his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering, as well as Harvard Medical School where he received his M.D.

    Patrick Daniel: In addition to prizes such as the XPRIZE, what are some incentive systems that can enable innovation for big, capital-intensive companies?

    Peter Diamandis: Another incentive is advance market commitments. If you build a product or service that delivers this quality of service, we will buy a hundred million of them. That is effectively equivalent to incentive completion, but it is an advance purchase order.

    Daniel: What is stopping the next generation of game changing companies from occurring?

    Diamandis: I don’t think there is much or anything that is stopping them. I think the rate of innovation is increasing. I think the number of companies that are trying bigger things is increasing. I don’t think there are any roadblocks per se. There is capital available, technology is available and the number of marketplaces is increasing.

    Daniel: What is the best way to learn first principles thinking?

    Diamandis: I think first principles thinking is really important. I write about that in my last book Bold. I think it comes from the type of training that makes it easiest, being an engineer, being a physicist, really understanding, asking a question the most fundamental level. What are the constraining factors here? What do the laws of physics tell me? Or what does mathematics tell me. We teach exponential thinking at Singularity University in our graduate program and our executive program.

    Daniel: This is a Peter Thiel type of question. What important truth do very few people on Wall Street agree with you?

    Diamandis: That very few things are truly scarce, that we can turn almost anything from scarcity into abundance and that there are great business opportunities by embracing that truth.

    2015-06-25-1435272424-7214978-CGhBMNxUkAInpge.jpg

    Daniel: What are you worried about?

    Diamandis: I think the biggest challenge I see is attempts by governments to regulate too much before the product matures. I think the type of change that is coming is going to threaten a lot of the incumbents and they are going to put up roadblocks.

    Daniel: Within financial technology, what kind of innovation can empower individuals?

    Diamandis: Wouldn’t it be great if there were an AI that understood your desire and wants? Even if you didn’t verbalize it, your ability to have your desires and intentions materialized.

    Daniel: What is a book that you would require the president to read to understand this technology revolution?

    Diamandis: The book that I read that got me really focused was Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near. It did a great job of giving people an overview of the conversion of all these technologies.

    Daniel: How do you know what to incentivize?

    Diamandis: You incentivize your desired outcome. What do you want to see? Do you want to see employment or do you want to see a higher standard of living? Being clear what you desire is the first step.

    Daniel: When you look back at your life, what is the change in your mindset that you think was pivotal for your success?

    Diamandis: That is a good question, I think the notion that hard work could overcome most obstacles.

    Daniel: What habit would you prescribe to guard against your own biases and beliefs?

    Diamandis: When enough people tell you something, it is okay to actually take a moment to evaluate why they are right or why they are wrong. And the beautiful thing about the world we live in today is our ability to constantly pivot. To do experiments, gather the data and then modify based on what you learned. It is a constant iteration. That has driven my life.

    Daniel: If you could give your younger self advice, what kind of advice would you give yourself?

    Diamandis: Great question. I think it has to do something with my passion and not what my parents or my teachers were telling me to do. Follow my heart. I think that is the most important thing, doing something driven by my passion more than anything else.

    – 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.

  • Heavy metal moved by software
    The container port at the end of your mouse
  • Julian Assange: Mainstream Media Rife With Censorship
    byline

    Seung-yoon Lee, CEO and co-founder of Byline, recently conducted a rare exclusive three-hour interview with Julian Assange in Embassy of Ecuador, London. The interview has been serialized into three parts.

    In part two of the series, Assange reflects on media — how it works, whether there is hope in new media models and citizen journalism and whether he prefers Rupert Murdoch or Eric Schmidt. Read the original interview here. Read part one here.

    Seung-Yoon Lee (SY): You have worked with the mainstream media throughout the world in releasing documents. How did your experience of cooperating with mainstream media influence your perspective on them? In retrospect, if you could go back, would you still choose to work with them?

    Julian Assange (JA): We have contracts with more than a hundred media organizations around the world, still. But it varies among mainstream press outlets. For example, the one in Pakistan can be great on issues outside of Pakistan. Issues inside Pakistan are different. It’s the same for Russia Today, outside Russia and Ukraine, it can be great, but inside Russia is a different story and through this we need to understand the political and economic dynamics that mean the organization might be trustworthy on one matter and not trustworthy on another matter.

    “In my experience the best journalists are those that predominantly work for one news institution but also have one foot in others, or one foot in academia.”

    If we look at the big players in the Western press, such as the international New York Times or the BBC, they are all highly compromised organizations in terms of geopolitics, and in terms of their relationships with their own countries. It would be nice to live in a world where people didn’t have to deal with an organization that is not compromised in any manner whatsoever, but we don’t live in that world. People have to use cars and they have put to petrol in their cars, and that petrol is made by Shell or BP.

    In order to get things done it is necessary, unfortunately — or perhaps even fortunately — to make compromises. But as long as you understand that you’re making a compromise, and as long as you understand the whole trade-off and exactly what that trade-off is and that you are balancing a number of different players with each other, you are not becoming dependent. And that’s a good rule not just for media startups, but also for journalists themselves. In my experience the best journalists are those that predominantly work for one news institution but also have one foot in others, or one foot in academia. They have a sense that they have another outlet, and that tends to keep their “home” newspaper honest as well.

    For example, look at the James Risen case. James Risen was a New York Times reporter who had information about NSA air surveillance back in 2003. The NYT sat on that for 18 months, intentionally, across the U.S. election. Risen informed the NYT that he was going to publish this book containing that information, and as a result the NYT then published his story.

    SY: How much self-censorship and/or censorship goes on in the mainstream media?

    JA: It’s almost all censorship. The majority of censorship is selectivity, so it is the decision to do one story and not another, to interview one person and not another. That’s the way that the bulk of censorship occurs, and those decisions are made as a result of personal or shared experience. And what happens if you don’t tow the party line? People are compromised, and their employment opportunities or social opportunities…

    It’s obvious if you think about it. Let’s take a society like the United Kingdom — about 70 million people. A study was done on news stories in the U.K., where the majority are generated by newspapers and picked up by TV networks. There are around 70 news stories each day in the U.K., on different subjects. That’s one news story per million people in the U.K., per day. But just consider your own family or your own business, and how many interesting rumors or stories you pick up in your own life. The idea that there is only one interesting story per million people is absurd.

    Take a country like Iceland, with a population of 300,000. That would suggest that the Icelandic press should only publish one story every three days. So that whittling down from where things would be if the U.K. was proportionate to Iceland — throwing out all those stories that would naturally be there — that is done by selectivity, which is performed according to political and psychological biases, and the fears of the journalists and editors concerned.

    Here’s a hard example. In the U.K. they have something called the Defence Advisory Board [The Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee]. It has monthly meetings with the editors of the newspapers, and they have agreements about what should and shouldn’t be published.

    “It would be nice to live in a world where people didn’t have to deal with an organization that is not compromised in any manner whatsoever, but we don’t live in that world.”

    SY: Our previous interviewee Noam Chomsky argued in “Manufacturing Consent” that the primary role of the mass media is to mobilize public support for the elite interests. I asked him if anything has changed since then to the media landscape. He said, “as far as we can see, the basic analysis we made is essentially unchanged,” despite the mainstream perception that the Internet has given rise to citizen journalism and undermined the power of the traditional “manufacturers of consent”. Obviously, WikiLeaks has done a lot on this front, but do you think Chomsky’s view is relevant today?

    JA: It’s still true in so far as how Chomsky was talking about the relationship between successful large organizations and domestic populations. It is no longer true in all respects. National media or established media organizations principally based in one territory are now able to project their view of the world onto other territories. There are examples like Russia Today or CCTV. And many national newspapers that have a large following outside their own territory are gearing their content to maximize the power of national elites. They espouse positions that undermine the power of national elites in other countries. That’s an important development for the mainstream press –internationalization of readership.

    SY: You’re talking about Al Jazeera, CCTV, Russia Today and so on?

    JA: They are the big ones in terms of impact, but national newspapers which are geared toward domestic populations are nonetheless still often read internationally now. So while their content is not pushed on other populations through marketing, nonetheless people are able to read them through Internet recommendations. I’ve seen that phenomenon producing important results. For example, WikiLeaks has an international readership in English. The other way things have changed is — and I don’t mean social media per se here — the increasing ability for individuals to communicate with each other outside their own regions. Information has been obtained and published through small publications, and it has then spread en masse through individual communication networks — and happened rapidly, before censorship could be applied.

    SY: Ferguson was reported through Twitter before being picked up by the press. . .

    JA: You had RT going down there. The combination of social media and individuals talking about what was happening. It was through these individual networks and social networks, and then RT whipped it up and acted as an amplifier, to the point where the mainstream press felt they had to get onto the issue. They got on the issue predominantly to demonize it, and then eventually to co-opt certain elements. So basically like “bankers are bad, but the rest of the system is okay.”

    But it’s also a time of great vibrancy for new publications, and for middle size startups like Vice, for instance. Vice has many problems — Rupert Murdoch has bought a 5 percent stake, and 15 percent has gone off to one of the cable companies — but nonetheless it is basically an organization that is more hungry for growth than it is for careful control of its content, and that’s something that we’re seeing in several hundred different publications around the world. Now, those publications will eventually be consolidated and integrated. Conde Nast has already done that with the previous generation, including Wired magazine, Reddit, the New Yorker online, etc. They have pulled them together and created an increasingly conservative organization. So these consolidations will happen. They will happen reasonably quickly because the Internet encourages economies of scale.

    But each time we have a new technical platform — for example, mobile phones or a change of web standards — it tends to be the case that a new entrant who is not constrained by existing operations grows much faster. The problem is that some of the large organizations realize this as well. So if you look at Google, Google is actually an organization with very little innovation. It depicts itself as an innovative organization; it did improve the algorithmic efficiency of search engines. It was not, by any means the first search engine.

    Nearly all the innovations that people think are Google’s have come from acquisitions. YouTube was acquired, Android was acquired. Most of what people perceive to be Google innovations are actually Google acquisitions. So if you have the largest player gobbling up the new entrants then we aren’t going to see that vibrancy as previously seen. Now, traditionally perhaps we would see antitrust or anti-monopoly laws used to prevent those kinds of acquisitions. However, there is no international antitrust law, because we are dealing with multinational companies that operate at scale across the whole Internet. There is no effective antitrust method to stop monopolization.

    “What matters is whether it is done well. Very often it is not done well. But then, the standards in the mainstream press are appallingly low.”

    SY: What is your perspective on “citizen journalism”?

    JA: The phrase is overplayed. But I think we should separate it into what I call “bystander journalism” and freelance journalism. Bystander journalism is when you happen to be in a place at a certain time and you take a photo of an event and report what you saw. But you usually don’t do that. And the information just happens to be valuable. Especially photos and videos, which are harder to fake and therefore don’t need any more external credibility. In the case of freelance journalism a person makes it their occupation, or part time occupation, to become an expert in some particular area, or an expert journalist in reporting about the world. And they can sell their work to newspapers.

    I don’t think this matters much. What matters is whether it is done well. Very often it is not done well. But then, the standards in the mainstream press are appallingly low.

    SY: There was a comment I saw in your interview with John Pilger that you disclosed some materials to citizen journalists first but they didn’t do anything. Why did you not rely on the so-called “citizen journalists”? Why did you rely on the traditional fourth estate like the Guardian and the New York Times instead of the new media players like bloggers and non-mainstream media outlets like new media and informal media?

    JA: Back in 2007 when WikiLeaks was just starting, I knew from my previous experience that we could get leaks — a lot of them. We could get a quality of information that could eclipse the research capacity of the mainstream press, and anyway the mainstream press had biases. And so we threw our material open to all these citizen journalists and commenters.

    The result was that generally, citizen journalists were completely useless, with some exceptions. The market has improved, to be fair, but I realized that you have to look at the economy of why people do things. Most “citizen journalists” are surviving on surplus labor. They have something else that subsidizes them, whether employment or a pension, or whatnot. And then they engage in this other activity. So you have to question why they do it. A lot of the reason seems to be the desire to build a name for themselves, or to demonstrate their political position to their peers. The easiest way of doing that is to see what’s on the front page of the New York Times and, using more words, essentially say “I agree” or “I disagree.” And because it’s so cost effective in relation to the desired outcome, that’s what is done. If you look at popular blog sites like Tumblr or WordPress, or microblogs like Twitter, you actually see that the overwhelming majority of it is commentary on the mainstream press, and repeating and forwarding those stories from the mainstream press which people feel back up their position. They can position themselves amongst their peers by taking a position.

    We published a fantastic document on the War on Iraq, a classified document from the U.S. Army Ground Intelligence Center on the assault against Fallujah in 2004. Fallujah even at that time was viewed to be the worst example of the U.S. occupation of Iraq. It was an example of the clearest violation of the laws of war, and so it was a hot topic and here was proof of what had happened that day, written up by the U.S. military themselves. It was a document which I did not need to analyze, and that WikiLeaks staff did not need to analyze to great depth. It was easy to read, and it was on a controversial topic that a lot of people said they were interested in. So we thought we could put it out there and inevitably a lot of people would write about it, because many, many people were talking about Fallujah and saying how bad it was. The result was nothing. No one did a thing. It wasn’t until we contacted some professors who were friends of ours, and a friend in one of the news wires, that it got a proper write-up and analysis. That’s because it takes time and effort. And if you can position yourself amongst your peers without taking any time and effort, and that’s what your goal is, then why would you bother?

    “In some sense, it’s not Rupert Murdoch that controls the distribution of news, but Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg.”

    SY: What do you think the potential of crowdfunding to democratize the media landscape? Most recently, investigative journalists like John Pilger have used the method to finance their reporting. By freeing journalists and media organizations from the influence of media moguls and advertisers, do you think it can open the window for independent journalism?

    JA: I hope so! But it hasn’t been determined yet. In the case of WikiLeaks, we have mostly been crowdfunded throughout our whole history. However WikiLeaks has a worldwide base reporting on high-profile conflicts. It’s hard — if we didn’t have that worldwide base and publish in such scale, then we wouldn’t break even through crowdfunding. So we have to say that there are some examples of where it has been done successfully. It may just be a matter of adjusting the parameters to increase the ease with which it can be done.

    SY: This form of media will necessarily get rid of the “middle man” like editors and curators and connect the readers and journalists directly, and this is what Byline is doing. The only criterion for whether a journalistic project will be able to take place is whether readers want it or not. What’s your thought on such form of media that takes out the middlemen like curators and editors?

    JA: The more sources of funding there are for journalism, the better, because journalism is constrained by its funders and their particular political views, their worldview and their business interests. So the more types of funding we can get, be they crowdfunding for individual journalists; or some novel form of stock investment scheme; whether they are mutual societies; whether they are subscription or advertising-based funding models; or public journalism funded from tax revenues spent at the discretion of the government; or whether there is constitutional garnishing of tax funds for independent bodies, spent in accordance with population surveys. We need all these things to gain different perspectives.

    SY: The analysis of Emily Bell, director at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia Journalism School, is that the fourth estate has been killed by a few unaccountable Silicon Valley companies:

    “News spaces are no longer owned by newsmakers. The press is no longer in charge of the free press and has lost control of the main conduits through which stories reach audiences. The public sphere is now operated by a small number of private companies, based in Silicon Valley.”

    In some sense, it’s not Rupert Murdoch that controls the distribution of news, but Eric Schmidt and Mark Zuckerberg. Simply put, do you prefer Eric Schmidt to Rupert Murdoch?

    JA: I would prefer neither. Google collects extensive amounts of information on every single person who uses the Internet. It tracks nearly every single web page you go to. Even if you think you are not using Google, you are, because those websites [you do visit] use Google. It collects information from Android phones in extraordinary detail on people’s movements and interests — and of course, everything they search for, and their emails if they use Gmail, and what videos they watch on YouTube.

    “Google has decided a very important social policy, which is that there was not to be proper reportage of war.”

    Google’s real business is the integration business. It’s not a search business, it’s not an advertising businesses — it’s an integration business. They take hundreds of sources of information across the world, they purchase startups that gained users and they integrate all this information to build up bigger, richer profiles on people, building it into a larger repository of information, which they then use to train their artificial intelligence algorithms. YouTube has become the largest collection of human video footage, which is being used to train Google’s artificial intelligence algorithm, which will go into its drones. It has bought many companies that navigate the world, using material collected by Google maps and Android phones, so it’s a massive integrationist project.

    SY: But there are some people that can ask why this is bad. I mean, doesn’t it help search what we want to?

    JA: Philosophically, this is the tyranny of efficiency — that which is more efficient must be good. But that is not true. If suddenly you go from one person having no weapons, to another person having a stick, to one person having a rifle, to another person having a gun, it’s not necessarily an improvement.

    Put that aside. Look at Google’s increasing monopoly power — Google’s geometrically increasing monopoly power. In terms of media, we’ve seen in the past 10 years a great flourishing as a result of disconnecting distribution from content production. That’s what’s really freed it up. The two things that really freed up the media landscape are the tremendous decrease in cost, and disconnecting distribution from content production. Google and Facebook and Twitter and AT&T and Cable & Wireless had been following that model over the last few years. In the last few years there has been vertical integration and increasing political control in content production and content distribution. For example, Facebook, and all these organizations, are increasingly mandating new sets of rules about what can be published and what cannot be published. And these rules are increasing in number with great rapidity. These form a new system of social laws, created by fiat, not produced by a parliament, not produced by democracy, and with no balancing power or judiciary. They are now applied to essentially everyone who uses the Internet.

    Just two days ago, there was the issue with antiwar.com, a libertarian right-wing anti-war, anti-militarist website in the U.S.. They published many great essays in the past 10 years, including essays on the Abu Ghraib scandal. Google decided that they would not accept its advertising brokering services to appear on any webpage where there were photos of war, because they are gruesome. So Google has decided a very important social policy, which is that there was not to be proper reportage of war. By fiat.

    Please stay tuned for the final part of the series, coming within the next two weeks. Byline thanks Alex Nunns (@alexnunns) for his assistance in editing this interview.

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  • Disney World Has Had Enough Of The Selfie Sticks, May Ban Them Entirely
    It was once “the place where dreams come true.” And it still is, for the most part — unless that dream is to carry around a selfie stick unimpeded.

    Walt Disney World is rumored to be banning the notorious devices from its theme parks, potentially as soon as June 26, an unnamed source told Inquisitr Thursday.

    Walt Disney World News Today, an independent blog about the company’s parks, also reported the rumor, adding that guests found in possession of selfie sticks will have the option of either checking in the contraband and retrieving it later in the day, or leaving the park entirely.

    Disney representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    If true, the selfie stick ban couldn’t come at a more appropriate time. On Wednesday, ride operators at Disney California Adventure Park halted a roller coaster midway through a ride after a guest attempted to take a picture using a selfie stick at the ride’s apex.

    In May, Disney cracked down on selfie sticks on rides, posting signs at various attractions in several of its parks to remind guests the devices weren’t allowed:

    No Selfie Sticks sign outside Big Thunder Mountain! Good call, Disney. pic.twitter.com/OnzNRTT9Uj

    — Inside the Magic (@InsideTheMagic) May 17, 2015

    Disney leads the way…
    #selfie pic.twitter.com/rX5eqhoSqS

    — Peter (@Pietros1) June 24, 2015

    People on Big Thunder extending selfie stick beyond reach envelopes. This HAS to stop!!! #BanSelfieSticks #Dangerous pic.twitter.com/7MOnymAEWN

    — Theme Park Review (@ThemeParkReview) January 10, 2015

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  • Why India Is Now Ready for Its Next Tech Revolution
    India now leads the world in smartphone growth. It saw a 55-percent increase in the number of smartphones, to 140 million, in 2014. The number of Web users increased by 37 percent, to 232 million.

    Smartphones were the source of 65 percent of its Internet traffic and 41 percent of its e-commerce, according to a report by Mary Meeker, titled “Internet Trends 2015.”

    So it is official that India’s Internet boom has started. Within three to four years, almost every adult in India will own a smartphone. Unlike the West, which transitioned from mainframe computers to PCs to tablets and then to smartphones, India is making a leap directly into mobile. It did the same a few years ago when a billion people started using cellphones. But smartphones are going to have an even more profound impact on India.

    The capability of these devices will keep increasing as prices drop. Indians will benefit from the same developments in technology as the West — with smart watches and fitness-tracking wristbands and smart glasses and connected contact lenses.

    Smartphones will be used to order goods, read news, monitor crop growth, access government services, report corruption and crime and manage smart cities and health. Mobile computing will be everywhere.

    Today’s smartphones have greater computing power than the Cray supercomputers of yesteryear — which could not be imported into India because of strict export controls by the U.S. government.

    They also have sensors such as accelerometers and gyroscopes that are more accurate than the intercontinental ballistic missiles in the nuclear warheads of the 1960s, and high-definition cameras of better quality than what Universal Studios had in the 1990s. These are going to make amazing new technology developments possible and will help transform India’s infrastructure and industries.

    Indian adults will be glued to these devices just as young Americans are. Meeker noted in her report that 87 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 34 who own smartphones say they never separate from these: “My smartphone never leaves my side, night or day.” Four out of five say that the first thing they do upon waking “is reach for my smartphone.”

    And three out of five believe that in the next five years “everything will be done on mobile devices.” Tomorrows smartphones will be our assistants, guides, and medical advisors.

    In the business world, the rise of mobile platforms is dramatically transforming many industries all over the world. Consumers everywhere now have access to functionality on their smartphones that makes traditional taxis, bank branches and cameras redundant. This is rapidly changing the competitive landscape in plenty of markets and creating huge headaches for companies that can’t keep up with technology advances. The same will happen in India — even to newspapers.

    What Indian software developers have to do is start thinking about new solutions to old problems using all the features of these new devices. They have to learn how to use sensors, analyze large streams of data with artificial intelligence and build applications with intuitive user interfaces in regional languages. They need to take advantage of the unique properties of smartphones and tablets, such as the ability to gather data via sensors and lightweight user inputs, and hyperpersonalisation of content and operation.

    Uber is an example of an authentically mobile consumer app that they can create. As Indian software developers and entrepreneurs master the smartphone, they will be able to export their solutions to the rest of the world.

    This will make possible a new technology revolution that is greater than what created India’s IT industry in the 1980s and 1990s. We can expect the rapid transformation of India when a billion people become connected and have equal access to information and services.

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  • France cracks down on Uber service
    France’s interior minister orders the closure of the low-cost car-sharing service UberPOP after a day of protests by taxi drivers.
  • Men Totally Overestimate Their Math Skills And It May Explain The STEM Gender Gap
    Men significantly outnumber women in technology and science-related professions — but it’s not because they’re more skilled in those areas.

    New research suggests that the answer may lie not in men’s skills or interests, but rather in the beliefs they hold about their abilities to do the complicated mathematics central to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields.

    Researchers from Washington State University found that men tend to significantly overestimate their math abilities, while women are generally more accurate in their self-assessments.

    For the study, 122 undergraduates at the university were asked to complete a math test and then guess how well they had performed on the test. In one experiment, the students were told their test scores and then were asked again to take a math test and predict their scores. In a second experiment, the students took the test without getting feedback about their scores but were asked whether they planned to pursue a math-related course of study or career.

    The results revealed that the male students tended to overestimate their test scores, while the female students predicted their scores fairly accurately. Men were also more likely to say that they would pursue STEM-related classes or careers, likely attributable in part to their inflated confidence in their math skills, according to the study’s author.

    However, when both men and women were given feedback about their scores and then asked to retake the test, the perception gap all but disappeared.

    “Gender gaps in the science, technology, engineering and maths fields are not necessarily the result of women’s underestimating their abilities, but rather may be due to men’s overestimating their abilities,” Shane Bench, a postgraduate student at the university and the study’s lead author, said in a statement.

    Even with girls across the globe now academically outperforming boys in math and science, there is sizeable gender gap in STEM fields.

    A first step to narrowing the gap may be to ensure that girls and women receive constructive feedback about their math performance and opportunities to enjoy positive STEM experiences. Indeed, the findings revealed that women who had better STEM-related experiences in the past were more likely to overestimate how well they did on the test.

    “Increasing women’s positivity bias in academic domains… could be done by providing positive math experiences at a young age,” Bench said in an email to The Huffington Post. “This could provide women with a more positively biased perception (overestimation) of performance, which could encourage the persistence needed to overcome challenge in the early stages, and persevere into STEM careers.”

    The findings were published this week in the journal Sex Roles.

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  • Your Obnoxious Facebook Statuses, Only In Real-Life Situations
    Further proof that most Facebook statuses are terrible.

    What if, instead of simply writing your next emotion-filled Facebook status for all your friends too see, you say exactly what you were going to write directly to their faces? How freaking awkward would that be? Yeah, because no one talks like that. And yet we all have no problem doing it on our social media pages.

    Whether it’s “Like this status if you like me” or “I’m going off the grid for a little while so just call my phone,” no one is safe from the periodic obnoxious Facebook post.

    But as video creator Jason Horton shows in his video, next time you feel one coming on, say it out loud to yourself and then see just how truly stupid it sounds.

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  • What The World Looks Like From Its Most Beautiful Peaks
    The WorldPost’s “Through Your Lens” series brings you stunning photos taken by social media users in far-flung locations around the world. Tag your Twitter and Instagram photos with #WorldPostGram and we may feature them in our next post.

    From the snowy ridges of the Alps to the vertigo-inducing “hike of death” up Huayna Picchu in Peru, mountaintops have been bestowing travelers with fear and marvel for centuries.

    Let the stunning photos of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring summits below carry you away from your desk and remind you of memories of crisp air and jaw-dropping panoramas.

    A photo posted by donna june (@donnajune06) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:45am PST

    Mount Batulao, Philippines

    Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

    The Matterhorn, seen from Switzerland’s Gornergrat railway

    A photo posted by @craighowes on Jan 25, 2015 at 10:13am PST

    Table Mountain, South Africa

    A photo posted by Erik McRitchie (@erikmcr) on Feb 8, 2015 at 7:11am PST

    Castle Mountain, British Columbia, Canada

    A photo posted by David (@thedoncor1) on Mar 10, 2015 at 5:21am PDT

    Buachaille Etive Beag, Scotland

    A photo posted by Chandra Bintang (@chndrbntng) on Mar 16, 2015 at 10:32pm PDT

    Mount Merbabu, Indonesia

    A photo posted by Jeff (@jc2487) on Apr 17, 2015 at 6:14am PDT

    Tongariro Crossing, New Zealand

    A photo posted by @chfsfr on Apr 17, 2015 at 11:17am PDT

    Grindelwald village in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland

    A photo posted by Monika (@monikangp) on May 8, 2015 at 1:46pm PDT

    Huayna Picchu, Peru

    Check out the WorldPost on Instagram for more vibrant photography from across the globe.

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  • Facebook Is Still Overwhelmingly White, Asian And Male
    If only Facebook the company were as diverse as its social network.

    The tech giant on Thursday released new demographic data about its workforce, and it’s clear the firm has a long way to go.

    Fifty-five percent of all employees are white and 36 percent are Asian — both groups that are wildly over-represented in the tech industry. In addition, 73 percent of the company’s senior leadership is white.

    From there, the percentages of minority groups who are traditionally underrepresented drops off dramatically: Just 4 percent of staffers are Hispanic, 3 percent are mixed-race and only 2 percent are black.

    Despite having Sheryl Sandberg, author of the feminist business book Lean In, overseeing its operations, Facebook’s total workforce is only 32 percent female. Though women slightly edged out men by 4 percent in non-tech positions, 84 percent of Facebook’s tech jobs are occupied by men. Men also make up 77 percent of the Facebook’s senior leadership.

    But Facebook is trying to remedy its diversity problem. The company is providing some college freshmen from minority backgrounds with mentorship through its Facebook University training program. On college campuses, Facebook launched Lean In Circles — meetups of like-minded women and some men — focused on computer science and engineering. The firm also introduced new training courses meant to root out managing biases and unconscious stereotyping.

    “While we have achieved positive movement over the last year, it’s clear to all of us that we still aren’t where we want to be,” Maxine Williams, Facebook’s global director of diversity, wrote in a blog post. “There’s more work to do.”

    facebook

    facebook

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  • Coal Plant That Advocates Worked to Retire Will Become Clean-Powered Google Data Center
    Google announced this week that it will be opening its newest data center — which will be 100 percent powered by renewable energy — at the site of a soon-to-be retired Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) coal plant in Alabama that is being phased out thanks to the advocacy of Sierra Club and many others. It’s one of the most powerful, inspiring examples yet of the energy transformation that we’re driving all across this nation, and if done right, it could also provide an economic boost for Widows Creek workers and the local community.

    “It’s exciting to see Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) working with the state and regional economic agencies to repurpose this old, polluting coal plant in a way that will jumpstart green industry growth, renewable power, and job creation in Alabama,” said Jonathan Levenshus, a senior Beyond Coal campaign representative in the region.

    This is especially timely, as news is just breaking today that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Alabama Power have reached an agreement to phase out coal at several units and crack down on air pollution from the remaining units.

    Sierra Club activists and allies were instrumental in securing retirement of the Widows Creek coal plant, pointing to its serious air, water, and climate pollution and urging the TVA to retire and it create a responsible transition program for its workers. After a decade of advocacy and litigation, the Sierra Club and others reached an agreement with TVA in 2011 that was one of the most sweeping clean air victories in Southeastern history. It required retirement of 18 TVA coal units, including phasing out Widows Creek units 1 – 6 between 2013 and 2015 (most coal plants contain multiple units, or boilers). Then, as part of TVA’s energy planning process, we pushed hard for retirement of all the remaining units at Widows Creek, which TVA’s board voted to do at a meeting this May.

    The Sierra Club had started a conversation with TVA’s board chair and the regional economic development agency in Jackson County earlier this year about a responsible transition. Now that this news has broken, it’s important that Google and TVA ensure this transition provides good, union jobs to workers from Widows Creek and the local community, to ensure the economic benefits of this project go to those who most need them. That includes the many jobs this project promises to create in construction, renewable energy development, and energy efficiency projects.

    The project provides a welcome example of redevelopment with clean energy. As a Google official noted:

    “The idea of repurposing a former coal generating site and powering our new facility with renewable energy – especially reliable, affordable energy that we can count on 24/7 with the existing infrastructure in place – was attractive,” said Gary Demasi, Director of Data Center Energy and Location Strategy for Google.

    Google officials added that they will continue to work with the TVA to develop more clean energy as well. “Thanks to an arrangement with Tennessee Valley Authority, our electric utility, we’ll be able to scout new renewable energy projects and work with TVA to bring the power onto their electrical grid,” said Patrick Gammons, Google’s Senior Manager for Data Center Energy and Location Strategy. “Ultimately, this contributes to our goal of being powered by 100 percent renewable energy.”

    Levenshus said TVA has a great track record of helping its employees when coal plants retire, and this decision is no different. “It’s gratifying that TVA has chosen to work with Google to redevelop the site and bring new construction, renewable energy and high-tech jobs to this rural community, which has relied on the coal plant for the last 60 years. Building this new data center in Jackson County will strengthen the regional economy and will help move Alabama forward.”

    He added that this decision offers a model to other utilities nationwide when exploring how to redevelop coal plant sites. And Google’s clean energy leadership continues to be an inspiration.

    “Google’s commitment to clean energy is good for the environment, business, and our economy,” said Levenshus. “It demonstrates that using renewable power is not merely a goal for big tech companies, but an expectation going forward.”

    I look forward to seeing more economic and clean energy redevelopment at former coal sites across the U.S. – it’s an excellent way to truly move beyond coal to clean energy, bring good jobs to communities, and ensure America remains an innovation leader in the twenty-first century.

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  • Sweden Blood Bank Texts Donors To Notify Them Whenever Their Blood Helps Save A Life
    Though technology may seem like a lifeline for many people today, for Sweden’s blood bank, it is exactly that.

    Sweden’s blood service notifies donors via text message whenever their blood is used, The Independent reports. The initiative aims to raise awareness for the need for blood donation, which has recently been on the decline.

    “We are constantly trying to develop ways to express [donors'] importance,” Karolina Blom Wilberg, a communications manager at the Stockholm blood service, told the news outlet. “We want to give them feedback on their effort, and we find this is a good way to do that.”

    The program started in Stockholm three years ago but has recently gained traction after a positive response, according to the Independent. Donors are also able to share news of their contribution on social media channels.

    “We get a lot of visibility in social media and traditional media thanks to the SMS,” Blom Wilberg said. “But above all we believe it makes our donors come back to us, and donate again.”

    Because of advancements in medicine, fewer blood transfusions have been needed in recent years, the New York Times reported. But blood donations are still in demand, with each pint of blood helping save up to three lives, according to the Red Cross.

    Sweden’s text message initiative may just keep these numbers up. In 2013, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine observed the effects of social media on organ donation with a study: “The Facebook Effect: Social Media Dramatically Boosts Organ Donor Registration.” On the day the study began, 57,451 Facebook users shared their organ donor status on their personal profiles. The first day of the program, there were 13,012 new online donor registrations, the study reported.

    “If we can harness that excitement in the long term, then we can really start to move the needle on the big picture,” said study leader Andrew M. Cameron, an associate professor of surgery at the university. “The need for donor organs vastly outpaces the available supply and this could be a way to change that equation.”

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  • Online Therapy Could Revolutionize Treatment For Mental Health Conditions
    The New York Times: Depressed? Try Therapy Without the Therapist

    Cognitive behavioral therapy has long been considered the most effective treatment for depression and other mental health problems. But what if the best form of therapy didn’t involve a therapist at all?

    “The success of cognitive behavioral therapy is well known; many people consider it the most effective therapy for depression,” Tina Rosenberg writes in The New York Times. “What is not widely known, at least in the United States, is that you don’t need a therapist to do it.”

    A program known as MoodGYM is an online version of CBT, which offers members support through various activites — without a therapist. The online treatment tool was founded in 2001 by a group of Australian psychologists, and today there are multiple similar programs across the web. Studies show that Internet-based treatment is just as effective as in-person therapy.

    Online therapy can be revolutionary for a number of reasons. For one, it can serve a significantly larger number of people — across the globe — particularly in areas where access to mental health treatment is close to nonexistent. Second, it is far less costly than traditional therapy, which can be financially draining for many patients.

    “It can help people who stay sick because there are no therapists nearby, who fear being judged or embarrassed in therapy, who can’t take time off from work, or for whom the cost of treatment is too high. It allows people to carry therapy around in their pockets, use it at 2 a.m., and pay nothing or nearly nothing,” Rosenberg writes.

    And perhaps most importantly, more people are willing to seek help in a private setting — away from the doctor’s office — than they are face-to-face. Why? Because there is a stigma around mental health that makes people uncomfortable about acknowledging and addressing their feelings. Online therapy allows people to get treatment in the comfort of their own homes, which may give millions more people the strength they need to get better.

    MORE:

    Global Voices: Moscow Entrepreneur Crowdfunds Honey Business to Rescue Dying Ural Village

    UpWorthy: Binge drinking in Wisconsin is just their culture, right? Except in one county.

    Medium/Bright: Treating Student Teachers Like Doctors-In-Training

    The What’s Working Honor Roll highlights some of the best reporting and analysis, from a range of media outlets, on all the ways people are working toward solutions to some of our greatest challenges. If you know a story you think should be on our Honor Roll, please send an email to our editor Catherine Taibi via catherine.taibi@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “WHAT’S WORKING.”

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  • Samsung cash for eye-tracking visor
    The world’s first eye-tracking virtual reality headset secures investment from Samsung Ventures.
  • 6 Questions You Must Ask Before Building Your Billion-Dollar App
    2015-06-08-1433796726-1358116-KutyShalev.jpegKuty Shalev is the Founder of Clevertech, a New York City-based firm that designs, develops and deploys strategic software for startups.

    In the movie Baby Mama, Dax Shepard plays Carl, a quirky man who calls himself an “inventor-slash-entrepreneur.” When Carl meets Tina Fey’s character, he laments that he hasn’t yet hit a business home run, ”I mean, when I saw the iPod the first time… I could have kicked myself.”

    The world is full of Carls. They think that billion-dollar ideas come from strokes of genius. But true entrepreneurs understand that the real value of an idea comes from its execution.

    When a great idea strikes, your first impulse is to leap into action. But if you’re thinking of building an app, you need to make sure your concept is sound and that you have the necessary resources to outsource its development or hire an in-house developer.

    Here are six questions you must ask before giving a project the green light:

    What Is Your Vision?

    Before hiring developers, make sure you have a specific vision for your business and concrete goals for the app. According to Richard Branson, experts advised the Virgin Group against expanding into other industries. The behemoth did it anyway, and has since started more than 400 companies. Branson himself is now worth $4.9 billion. How did he succeed? By developing a clear vision that enhanced people’s lives.

    I’ve met founders who want to make the next big something, but they don’t know what or why. That’s a huge red flag. Remember: a development team can bring your idea to life, but the vision must come from you.

    Do You Have the Funding?

    Whether you keep the work internal or outsource, app development is expensive. Developers’ salaries can range from $107,500 to $161,500, and hiring a development firm can be even more costly.

    TechCrunch found that the average iOS app costs $6,453 to build, but more complex or noteworthy apps can cost thousands more. Make sure you have the necessary capital upfront so you don’t run out of funds mid-project. Your funding must match your ambition. If you’re targeting a significant market, you need significant funds. If you don’t have them, focus your ambition on something achievable. Showcase an MVP that solves a real need for a small group. Then, use that to raise the funds for the next level of ambition.

    Who Is Your User Base, and Will They Be Interested?

    It’s critical to know everything about your target demographic before bringing in a development team. You need to understand the user’s journey and where and when he will engage with your app. Most of all, your app needs to enrich lives by solving a problem.

    What Does the Competition Look Like?

    Does your app fill a void, or are you diving into a saturated market? Will you be competing with a host of mediocre apps or dethroning a successful incumbent? Either way, you need to spend time with your competitors’ apps to determine how to differentiate your offering.

    The to-do list app Clear probably would have failed if it had taken the standard approach to design. But by building an innovative user interface, the $4.99 app has displaced the preloaded iPhone Reminders app for more than 2.5 million people.

    What Makes Your App Unique?

    An estimated 80 to 90 percent of apps are used once and deleted. To maintain its precious home screen real estate, your app needs to provide a compelling benefit that will make people return again and again.

    Take Evernote, for instance. People use the note-taking app as a repository for, well, everything. The more people use it, the more dependent they become upon it. This makes the app essential to their lives, motivating them to return.

    Do You Have the Talent to See This Project Through to the End?

    If your staff members don’t have the skills needed to execute your vision, you’ll have to hire an in-house developer or a development firm. As you weigh your options, factor in more than just the hard costs. Full-time employees require time, training and education. This can be especially stressful for a nontechnical founder. You’ll need to conduct interviews, onboard the developer, educate him on your company’s mission, and monitor his work to ensure it’s done to your liking.

    Whether you decide to hire developers or outsource the work, ask developers’ former clients about the quality of their work, as well as their communication skills, punctuality and ability to understand the business.

    When launching a successful app, execution is everything. Before you delve into development, ask yourself whether you’re truly ready to guide developers as they bring your idea to life. It’s your vision — and your business — on the line. You have to know where you’re headed to keep your team from getting lost in the woods.

    – 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.

  • Apple Pulls Civil War Games From App Store Over Confederate Flag
    Retailers like Amazon and Walmart are pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their stores amid an outcry following the mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, last week. And now, Apple appears to be taking its turn.

    Gaming website Touch Arcade reported Thursday that games featuring depictions of the Confederate flag have been removed from the App Store.

    A simple online search suggests that’s true. An iTunes entry for “Ultimate General: Gettysburg,” a Civil War-themed game, still appears in Google search, but the app is gone altogether when you pull it up in iTunes:

    gettsburg

    itunes

    Andrew Mulholland, a representative for HexWar Games, which has produced Civil War-themed titles like “Civil War: 1862,” “Civil War: 1863,” “Civil War: 1864″ and “Civil War: Gettysburg” confirmed to The Huffington Post that the company’s games have been yanked from the App Store.

    In a message Apple sent to Mulholland, the company said it removed “Civil War: 1862 Gold” from the App Store because it “includes images of the Confederate flag used in offensive and mean-spirited ways.”

    Mulholland told HuffPost that his company does not support the flag politically, but simply wanted to use it to be historically accurate.

    Apple did not respond to a request for comment from HuffPost.

    Meanwhile, Nazi imagery remains on display in games like “Auschwitz Liberation,” still available on the App Store. The app pops up when you search “Hitler” in the Store:

    hitler itunes store

    You can also get an app version of “The Birth of a Nation,” an early 1900s film known both for innovative storytelling and its portrayal of Ku Klux Klan members as heroes.

    Many have called for the Confederate flag to be removed from public spaces after a gunman last week killed nine people at a historic black church. Accused shooter Dylan Roof, who is white, is known to hold hateful views toward black people.

    – 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, June 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.

  • Sean Parker Just Gave $600 Million To Help Solve The World's Biggest Problems
    While it’s not unusual for tech billionaires to commit to philanthropic efforts these days, it would be tricky to find an analog for the approach being taken by former Facebook President Sean Parker with his newly announced foundation.

    That’s because Parker is aiming to bring a “go big or go home” Silicon Valley-informed approach to his San Francisco-based Parker Foundation, which has been established through a $600 million gift from the Napster cofounder and Spotify board member.

    The foundation will focus on three core areas where Parker thinks real progress can be made: civic engagement, global public health and life sciences. When the foundation identifies a program that shows promise in one of these areas, rather than waiting for a grant application to roll in, it will dive right in and spend big on that program.

    An example of that approach is a $4.5 million grant that the foundation gave to the Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative at the University of California, San Francisco, in an effort to arrive at effective and innovative approaches against the malaria-transmitting Anopheles mosquito that go beyond current approaches like netting or vaccines. Since roughly 584,000 people worldwide died of malaria in 2013, according to World Health Organization estimates, this could have a big impact.

    The ultimate goal of the program, Parker told the San Francisco Chronicle, is the worldwide eradication of malaria, but he added that a more specific target in the near future would be to eliminate the disease within 20 years within a specific geographic area. Having such a defined goal, he said, avoids what he described as a more wasteful approach by charitable groups taking a more traditional approach to giving.

    “I’m trying to preserve an entrepreneurial approach, which is to only give when I feel that there’s a solution that’s fully complete,” Parker explained to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

    The “going big” doesn’t stop there. In addition, as Parker explained to Katie Couric in a Yahoo video on Wednesday, the Parker Foundation will also be focusing on funding for cancer immunotherapy and allergy research, two areas the venture capitalist has previously made significant donations toward.

    Though TechCrunch noted Parker is only one of a few tech entrepreneurs giving at such a high level, Parker believes his foundation’s model of philanthropy, one more familiar to the startup world, could help attract others like him to follow in his footsteps.

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  • Couples Are Getting Paid To Have Sex To Try And Curb Spread Of HIV
    We’re inching closer to getting a condom that’s actually enjoyable to wear.

    The Guardian reported earlier this month on some of the lucky couples that are being paid by research-and-design teams to take new condom prototypes out for a test drive.

    “It slips in and out,” one tester told the Guardian of an unfortunate romp using a female condom. “It leaves an unsightly baggy ring outside you. There is nothing erotic about it.”

    The testing is connected to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s challenge, announced about a year and a half ago, for scientists and designers to come together to create a “next generation condom.” The hope is that more people would want to wear a new, better condom, which could lead to a reduction in the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    Among the contenders are the yellow latex “Origami Internal Condom” which is currently being tried out by 28 South African couples. Its mastermind, Danny Resnic, told the Guardian the condom industry was long overdue for disruption. On HuffPost Live in April, he made the case for why his design is unique.

    “We’ve changed the mechanical aspect of it, and it is an active condom,” Resnic told HuffPost Live. “It moves with the body’s motion and creates sensation on the inside of the condom instead of trying to transfer sensation from the outside.”

    Another recipient of a $100,000 Gates Foundation grant is a team at the University of Wollongong in Australia, which is using hydrogel as an extra-durable alternative to latex that is “made to act and feel more like real skin,” Dr. Robert Gorkin, a biomedical engineer, explained in a YouTube video released last year. In addition, the material could self-lubricate and deliver Viagra.

    According to a Science Alert story published in April, the University of Wollongong scientists are hoping their design will actually be pleasurable to wear, so that individuals want to put them on, rather than just realizing that they need to.

    (More next-generation condom candidates pictured below.)

    The condom design teams are now able to apply for phase-two funding for their projects, and the winners — of which there are only expected to be a handful — will be announced later this year.

    As the New York Times previously reported, only 5 percent of men around the world wear condoms during sex. Health experts say that number needs to double in order to make a dent in the 2.5 million new HIV infections that happen annually and argue that a new condom design that contributes, rather than detracts, from pleasure would go a long way toward that goal.

    The condom challenge is just one piece of the Gates Foundation’s efforts to address the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. Their other pushes include investments in HIV vaccine research and development, new anti-retroviral prevention methods and improved diagnostic methods.

    According to U.N. AIDS, there are an estimated 35 million people living with HIV worldwide.

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  • Nintendo Will Allow Same-Sex Relationships In New 'Fire Emblem' Game
    At last, the powerful warriors and wizards in Nintendo’s “Fire Emblem” franchise can be gay.

    Gaming site Polygon reported Tuesday that players will be able to have same-sex relationships in the upcoming “Fire Emblem Fates,” a new entry in the strategy role-playing franchise that made its debut on the original Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990. A Nintendo spokesman confirmed this information to The Huffington Post.

    “Fates” will be be released in two separate versions, “Conquest” and “Birthright.” Nintendo told HuffPost that each will feature a different same-sex coupling — male in one game and female in the other.

    “In the Conquest edition of the game, there is a male character that the game’s player may have his/her male main character marry after they bond in battle. Similarly, the Birthright edition features a female character that a female main character may marry after bonding in battle,” a Nintendo spokesman told HuffPost, echoing the statement given to Polygon.

    Having both same-sex relationships in the same game may eventually be possible, since Nintendo says there will be a downloadable component that opens up the content that both versions of the game lack.

    For the uninitiated, relationships often play a central role in “Fire Emblem” games. Your characters can make friends and, in the case of the recent “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” hook up with characters of the opposite gender and make beautiful warrior children who travel through time and space to assist you in battle. (There will be procreation in “Fates,” but it’s unclear how this will pertain to the same-sex couples.)

    In “Awakening,” you completely customize the main character — named Robin by default — by selecting physical build, facial features, hairstyle, hair color, voice and, of course, gender. Because Nintendo specifically references player-created characters in “Fates,” it seems likely that a similar setup will exist in the new game.


    Character creation in “Fire Emblem: Awakening.” (Source)

    That lends a bit more weight to the romantic relationships. If you’re playing as a female character, maybe you end up crushing on the blue-haired Chrom — which might feel a bit more personal than having two non-customizable characters get groovy together:


    A romantic conversation in “Fire Emblem: Awakening” between a player-created character and a default, Nintendo-made one. (Source)

    However, if you’re playing “Awakening” as a female character, you can’t become romantically involved with another female character. Romantic pairings are exclusively heterosexual in releases prior to “Fates.”

    There are many other characters running around in the new “Fire Emblem” who could potentially pair off; but it’s unclear if two of the same gender who are built into the story by Nintendo could get together, or if that’s an option only if one of the characters is the one you create for yourself.

    In recent years, video games have gotten better about depicting characters who don’t fit a heteronormative mold. The “Mass Effect” series, for example, has allowed characters to pursue fairly in-depth same-sex relationships. Nintendo’s “Fire Emblem” series is generally more kid-friendly than that, which suggests that — when “Fates” hits next year — younger people may have access to a video game that understands them just a bit better than before.

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  • Slack Has Doubled Its Daily Users To Over 1 Million
    Slack just hit yet another milestone.

    The 1-year-old chat app said in a press release Wednesday that 1.1 million people now use its service daily, up from 500,000 in February. Of those, 300,000 people use the premium, paid version of the software (including The Huffington Post).

    The company earns $25 million in yearly revenue, and is valued at a jaw-dropping $2.8 billion.

    “Over the last few decades, we’ve seen a fantastic proliferation of new business tools,” CEO Stewart Butterfield said in a statement. “At the same time, the quality of the software has increased and the price has come down. This is a great time to be a business customer.”

    Slack’s meteoric rise to become the workplace chat client du jour is due in large part to its ability to merge with other office tools. Slack can integrate with more than 900,000 programs, including Twitter, GIF database Giphy and Google Drive.

    “The only drawback is the increasing fragmentation as the number of vendors increases,” Butterfield said. “Slack has a critical role to play as the place where everything comes together.”

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  • Radiology Consult app review, order appropriate tests in primary care

    Medical app made by radiologists to help health providers order the correct images.

    The post Radiology Consult app review, order appropriate tests in primary care appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • How to Create the Minimum Lovable Product
    2015-06-24-1435146764-7694757-lovable_bear2.jpg

    A can of cat food is a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) when you are starving, but it’s highly unsatisfying and unlikely to generate a loyal following (of humans).

    And there you have one of the problems of the MVP approach. It strives for “barely enough” and never good. And heaven forbid, the goal is never being great. It results in products that mostly work but never delight.

    No matter your source, the very definition of an MVP is generally similar to the following: the MVP is a new product with just the necessary features to be deployed, but no more.

    The MVP is a curse for ambitious technology companies that want to grow.

    In an increasingly transactional world, growth comes from long-term customer happiness. And long-term customer happiness comes when customers adore your product or service and want you to succeed.

    You should be thinking about what it will take for customers to love you, not tolerate you. Really think about the type of mindset change it would take. What would it take to create a Minimum Lovable Product (MLP)?

    While the true adoption of the MVP is a strategic approach to getting product out the door, when applied it yields unsatisfactory products. You might argue that is is best for prototyping and feedback gathering.

    Yet, my experience is that when it is the dominant product development mindset in an organization, it becomes the overarching goal of every feature you define and release you manage. Even the product managers who are responsible for shepherding the product become intoxicated with mediocrity.

    I have been in multiple larger organizations where the concept dominated executive, product management, and engineering mindshare. Rather than asking what do customers really want, or what would delight them, the conversation from product managers always returned to what’s the minimum viable product and when can we get it to market.

    The problem is that the two major principles driving the MVP are flawed.

    The MVP reduces waste: The MVP never reduces waste because it never delivers what the customer really wants. It presupposes that there will be iteration after iteration before the product truly meets customer requirements. Couple this with the fact that agile engineering environments prioritize “rapid output” and it’s even more likely that what’s delivered will not be tied to the organizational strategies and product vision.

    The MVP accelerates time to market: The MVP may very well get you something to market first but even in an emerging market you will not be a serious contender. Loyal customers who depend on your product are what matter. There were helpdesks before Zendesk, tablets before the iPad, electric cars before Tesla, and CRM tools before Salesforce.

    The MVP is further useless in established markets where major disruption is what’s required. Customers already have tons of viable products and some are probably even pretty good. It’s your insight that matters and only a terrific product can win.

    Ultimately, chasing the MVP forces you to sprint faster and faster chasing fool’s gold. And the more desperate you become to lead, the more you are likely to die from incrementalism. It’s a viscous loop that will gently guide you from market innovator to hopeful fast-follower.

    Now, even if you are convinced that striving for mediocrity is an atrocity, you likely need to convince others. There is no easy way. One approach is to just yell like a crazy guy the next time you are in a strategy meeting and someone starts talking about the MVP. You might just be able to get the group to focus on what’s necessary to create a Minimum Lovable Product.

    Assuming you start thinking about creating love and others are willing to give you a chance, here are a few ways to determine if you have succeeded in identifying a Minimum Lovable Product before spending one minute developing it. Remember that the goal is to find the big idea first. The more of these characteristics you can check off for your idea, the more lovable your product will be.

    • At least one person tells you it’s never been done
    • Customers visibly smile when you describe it to them
    • Someone swears when he hears the idea (in delight or disgust)
    • You dream of using it and all of the features you could add
    • Only your CTO or top architects think it’s possible
    • People start contacting you to learn about what you are building (old school word-of-mouth)
    • The top industry analysts are not writing about it

    I hope that this inspires and excites you. If you are interested in learning more about building great products — you may want to use our interactive tool to discover how lovable your product is.

    We all have the opportunity to do something fantastic and be happy doing it. And I personally guarantee that changing your focus and setting your sights on creating a MLP will bring you great joy and make the world a better place.

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  • Teens Invent Condom That Changes Color When It Detects An STD
    Here’s a condom that will show your partner’s true colors.

    Three students took home first prize in the health category at the U.K.’s TeenTech Awards on Tuesday for inventing a condom that changes colors if it comes into contact with a sexually transmitted infection. A layer of molecules in the condom, dubbed the S.T.Eye, attach to bacteria and viruses associated with common STIs and the reaction then causes the condom to emit one of four colors, MTV reported.

    colored condoms

    The condom can only detect certain strains of infections, according to Buzz60. For example, it turns green if it detects chlamydia and purple for HPV.

    More than 100 innovators presented their ideas at the event in London, which aims to uncover “real opportunities” in the current STEM workplace.

    The three students from Isaac Newton Academy won about $1,500 and a trip to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace, according to The Washington Post.

    “We wanted to make something that made detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the often-scary procedures at the doctors,” Daanyaal Ali, 14, one of the inventors, said in a statement. “We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and let people act even more responsibly than ever before.”

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  • Amazing Human Beats 'Super Mario World' In Just 23 Minutes… Blindfolded
    You may never be as good at anything as this guy is at “Super Mario World.”

    YouTuber PangaeaPanga on Tuesday published a video wherein he clears the entire 1990 video game in what is reportedly a record-setting 23 minutes, all while wearing a blindfold.

    He even beat the optional (and challenging!) “Star World” levels, since you were obviously going to ask.

    PangaeaPanga spoke to The Huffington Post via email and insisted the run is real. He noted that he had only one camera with which to film himself and thought it’d be more useful for viewers to see the blindfold instead of his hands pressing the buttons.

    “I can see where [skeptics] are coming from, considering how high of difficulty [sic] this looks to the average person,” he said. “I did try to authenticate my blindfolded run as best as I could … which is also why I had the input display at the bottom left of the screen, so you could see exactly what buttons I was pressing at any given time.”

    Indeed, if you watch the video, the panel to the left displays which buttons he’s pushing when. Prior to the Tuesday run-through, PangaeaPanga also published videos showing how he learned each level.

    The footage for the blindfolded run was originally captured on PangaeaPanga’s Twitch channel, where he showcases “tool-assisted speedruns,” a popular form of gameplay that involves hacking and exploiting emulated versions of games to clear them as quickly as possible.

    PangeaPanga also claims to be able to run a mile in 4 minutes, 23.13 seconds, and solve a Rubik’s cube in 24.34 seconds, suggesting that he is an all-around impressive human.

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  • Protesters Bracing Themselves 'Mentally, Spiritually' For Battle Atop Hawaii Volcano
    HONOLULU (AP) — A battle is poised to unfold on a sacred Hawaii mountain where plans call for construction of one of the world’s largest telescopes.

    Work is set to resume Wednesday on the Thirty Meter Telescope atop the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, but protesters say it tramples on land sacred to many Native Hawaiians and they will try to stop the construction peacefully.

    “We’re bracing ourselves mentally, spiritually for the battle ahead,” said Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the protesters camped out near the visitor center at 9,200 feet. “I don’t mean a physical battle. It’s brain against brain.”

    The protesters are sleeping in vehicles or on cots under a tent and braving weather that’s chilly for Hawaii standards – about 30 degrees at night. They are making sure they have bail money ready in case they are arrested.

    Work was put on hold for two months after 31 people were arrested for blocking access to the site, but telescope officials said this weekend that construction would start again Wednesday.

    Astronomers revere the site because its summit at 13,796 feet is well above the clouds, and it provides a clear view of the sky for 300 days a year. There’s also very little air and light pollution.

    Opponents say the $1.4 billion project that will be 18 stories high will desecrate land that Native Hawaiians believe to be the home of deities. Some say it’s time to curb development on the mountain, where 13 other telescopes sit.

    Their protests prompted Gov. David Ige to say Hawaii must do a better job of caring for the mountain. But Ige said Thirty Meter Telescope has a right to proceed with construction, which the governor’s office reiterated in a statement released late Tuesday.

    “The state and Hawaii County are working together to uphold the law and ensure safety on roadways and on Mauna Kea, while allowing the people their right to peacefully and lawfully protest,” the statement said.

    The protesters – who call themselves protectors – will be respectful, said Kanuha, who was among those arrested.

    “We’re going to really have to stay dignified, not allowing anything, any word, any action to take us out of that state of being,” Kanuha said.

    Some of them spent Monday building an ahu, or a rock altar, in the road leading to the construction site, but he expects workers to move or destroy it.

    “It’s a symbol to show that the culture is still here, and it’s a cultural site,” Kanuha said. “When the public looks at Mauna Kea, what you see are telescopes. So the assumption is that this mountain belongs to foreign scientists.”

    The nonprofit Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory LLC will build and operate the telescope. Its partners include India, China, Canada, Japan and the Thirty Meter Telescope Observatory Corp., formed by the University of California and the California Institute of Technology.

    Partners would receive a share of observing time, along with University of Hawaii scientists.

    Mauna Kea was selected as the site for the observatory over Chile’s Cerro Armazones mountain in 2009.

    A crew of a few workers and vehicles will go to the site Wednesday for vehicle maintenance and to install safety fencing, Mike Bolte, a Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory board member, said in an email through a public relations firm.

    “I will try my best not to get arrested,” Kanuha said. “But there are two options: You stand and resist, or you move to the side and allow them to desecrate.”

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

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

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  • Launch Your Startup with Livit in Bali, Indonesia
    2015-06-22-1434992172-1684999-7898000874_4a71e298f9_h.jpg

    Are you looking for a supportive environment to build and grow your technology-based startup? The Livit Ecosystem may just be the answer to your startup needs.

    Welcome to Livit, where the mission is simple, yet powerful. Livit’s vision is to inspire and empower entrepreneurs to change the world. Currently located in Indonesia, Denmark, and Hong Kong, Livit’s primary focus is software and online solutions where technology and entrepreneurship are core principles of the businesses who reside at Livit Spaces around the world.

    Imagine having an incubator space (Livit Startup Studio) for your tech startup where you can dedicate at least 8 hours a day to your idea. You also have access to support specialists throughout the many phases of development. Being a part of the Livit Ecosystem means specialists in areas such as productivity and execution, PR, communications, growth hacking, recruiting, programming, online marketing, and software testing are at your fingertips daily. Your startup accelerates and grows dynamically, and you, too, contribute your best practices and support other startups in the Ecosystem.

    Over the past 4 years, Livit has been home to a slew of successful startups. Mailbird, an email client for Windows, allows users to connect email, calendar, tasks, and messaging apps into one user-friendly, beautifully-designed space. This startup has won three notable awards, including the 2015 IT Best Windows Email Client Award. Labster, another successful startup housed at Livit, brings science teaching to life through the use of 3D virtual labs and science-based immersive, game-like experiences. This award-winning educational software is being used in high schools and universities across the world, including Berkeley, Stanford, and Harvard.

    In addition to the Startup Studio, Livit offers an internship program called the Elite Student Program. Interns from around the world live and work at Livit for a six-month period of time. They gain real-life experience by working internally with successful startups, and also earn curriculum points for their time in the Livit Ecosystem.

    Entrepreneurs and digital nomads no longer need to work and travel alone. Through the Livit Spaces Guest Entrepreneur division, entrepreneurs can immerse themselves in a highly-productive environment, and network with like-minded, passionate people, all the while exploring the exotic beauty of Bali. As a guest entrepreneur, you’ve also got access to top-level coders and designers, growth hackers and marketers, founders and investors, and the opportunity to learn from and teach to them in daily conversations. There is also no need to worry about your meals, snacks, laundry, or housekeeping–as all of this is provided to you daily, saving you up to three hours per day to either work, or play.

    The Livit Ecosystem offers everything an entrepreneur and technology startup needs to be successful. And the best news? You get to work and play in paradise every single day!

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  • Given Uber's Past Troubles, This Should Come As No Surprise
    Uber now has more lobbyists than Walmart.

    Across the country, the ride-hailing service employs 250 lobbyists and 29 lobbying firms registered in state capitols, according to a new report by Bloomberg Businessweek. That’s at least a third more than the lobbying fleet of Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer. And we’re not even talking about municipal lobbyists.

    Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The company is valued at $41 billion, making it the second-most valuable private company in the world.

    The sheer volume of Uber’s political force should come as no surprise. The company has faced challenges in almost every major city it has tried to enter. The opposition has been largely fueled by taxi associations fearful of losing business to Uber.

    As of April, the state of Nevada and the city of Eugene, Oregon had fully banned the service. Operations had been suspended in about a half-dozen other cities across the country.

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  • Now You Can Climb El Capitan From Your Couch, With Google Street View
    It’s the largest granite monolith in the world, and now you can climb it from your couch.

    On Wednesday, Google launched its first ever vertical Street View collection, allowing armchair adventurers to join pioneering climbers Lynn Hill, Alex Honnold and Tommy Caldwell on a 3,000-foot ascent up the legendary El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

    “Climbing is all about flirting with the impossible and pushing the boundaries of what you think… can be done,” Caldwell wrote in a Google blog post celebrating the achievement. “Capturing Street View imagery 3,000 feet up El Capitan proved to be an extension of that, especially when you take a camera meant for the inside of a restaurant and mount it thousands of feet up the world’s most iconic rock wall.”

    The team used an elaborate system of ropes, cams and climbing gear to secure the camera, mounted on a tripod, onto the side of El Capitan. They then painstakingly shuffled it up the “Nose” and part of the “Dawn Wall,” pausing every so often to take 360-degree photos.

    If El Capitan doesn’t offer enough adventure, Internet thrill-seekers may also be interested in visiting Everest Base Camp in Nepal or kayaking the Grand Canyon.

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  • Google executive dies in Cannes
    A Google executive has been killed in an accident in Cannes, the search company confirms.
  • Lexus Just Made A Freaking Hoverboard
    Lexus is going back to the future. The luxury automaker unveiled a hoverboard prototype, dubbed Slide, in a video released Tuesday.

    The device, which looks to be the size and shape of a skateboard, appears to float about two inches off the ground as it exhales fog from the liquid nitrogen used to cool its superconductors and magnets, according to a web page Lexus set up to showcase the experimental device.

    The board levitates using the same magnetic technology that moves high-speed trains in Japan, the Toyota-owned company’s home country.

    The technology behind the Lexus Slide — which harkens back to hoverboards that appeared in the 1989 flick “Back to the Future Part II” — could be a first step toward a flying car.

    “We have been studying the flying car in our most advanced R&D area,” Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, a managing officer in Toyota’s Technical Administration Group, said last June, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported on the Slide. “Flying car means the car is just a little bit away from the road, so it doesn’t have any friction or resistance from the road.”

    Lexus said it will begin testing the board in Barcelona this summer.

    The company says this thing is “ridable,” but it should be noted, however, that the teaser video doesn’t actually show anyone standing fully on this thing, or riding it around.

    Engadget got Lexus to elaborate on how functional the prototype is: “We … confirmed that like the other examples we’ve seen, there is a metal surface underneath the skate park shown here — it’s real, but you won’t be riding this thing just anywhere.”

    Watch the full video teaser here:

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  • This App Will Break Up With Someone For You (If You're A Terrible Person)
    Breaking up is hard to do — but is it really so difficult that you need an app to do it for you?

    Styled off Tinder, a new app called Binder will send a snarky text and voicemail to your partner to break the news that you’re officially donezo. It’s like sending an insensitive breakup text on your own… but 100 times lazier.

    To begin, Binder asks you to choose the gender of the dumpee and plug in their name and number. Next, you select your breakup excuse of choice. (“It’s like I’m living in some sort of unwakeable nightmare” is a nice touch.):

    binder

    From there, simply swipe right a la Tinder and your poor, unsuspecting S.O. will receive this text from Binder:

    binder

    The pre-recorded voice message sent doesn’t sugarcoat things, either:

    “Your boyfriend doesn’t love you anymore, he hates your face, he thinks you’re a bore,” a heavily accented Scotsman sings. “In fact he is sick in his mouth whenever he sees you around.” Charming.

    Binder — available now on iOS and Android — was created for Tennent’s Lager, a Scottish beer brand that claims to have promoted the app just “for laughs.”

    In other words, if you actually use this app to dump someone, you’re not just incredibly lazy, you’re also likely a terrible human being.

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  • How Difficult Is It to Become a Game Developer?
    Game Developers, what is getting into the gaming industry really like?: 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 David Mullich, video game designer, producer and instructor.

    2015-06-17-1434512572-6216608-1.jpg

    The game industry is currently growing at a healthy rate that is four times faster than the growth of the overall U.S. economy.  However, there is a lot of chaos associated with this growth as publishers try to figure out appropriate business models that work with free-to-play and games becoming more of a service than a product.  As a result, people are frequently laid off despite the industry’s overall growth.  According to the IGDA’s 2014 Employee Satisfaction Survey, the average game developer has held four jobs in the past five years.

    Getting a game job can be difficult even if you are experienced because, like other creative and “fun-sounding” industries, there are more people applying for jobs than there are jobs available.  But once you are in, the pay can be pretty good (average programmer with less than 3 years experience is about $70K/yr — though you can probably earn more working as a programmer in other industries), but the job itself is not as glamorous as it sounds.  Days are usually spent either in meetings or staring at a computer screen.  The work can sometimes be monotonous.  The stress level can be high as publishers make unrealistic demands in order to get maximum value for their investment and the results are inevitably disappointing.  Although crunch time is not quite as bad as a problem as it used to be (one executive producer at a large publisher once told me that you’re not a “real developer” unless you’re working 60 hours a week even when there is no deadline), it is not unusual for game developers to work 60, 80 or even more hours a week when there is an upcoming deadline.

    Working for an indie is different than working for a AAA publisher in that you are not under the thumb of a publisher, but your game (and salary) may not be as securely funded and you have less of a chance that your game will break even.  You might be working for months and months on a game with other people who aren’t much more experienced then you, at low or no pay, only to find that your game doesn’t get any traction when released.

    I recommend that people get into game development only if they are very passionate about making games and can’t see themselves doing anything else with their careers.  It can be very rewarding to feed that passion, and that makes all the downsides of working in the game industry worthwhile.

    If you are interested in pursuing a career in game industry as a game programmer, I recommend that a bachelors degree in computer science would serve you much better than a game development degree in a community college.  When I hire a programmer, I am looking for good programming skills and knowledge.  Game experience is secondary with a junior programmer, because I will likely be hooking him or her up with an experience member of our team who can teach about our various protocols for doing game development.  But I don’t have the bandwidth teach someone who has made only GameMaker games how to be a more sophisticated programmer.

    Still, having a portfolio of games can help in getting a job.  So, even if you do pursue a computer science degree, you should be making games on the side in addition to your school work.  That’s what I did.

    On the other hand, a game development degree can be worthwhile if the school you are attending does have a lot of programming courses in the program, there are many opportunities to work with other students on teams and produce games, and the school has a record of placing graduates in good entry level game industry positions.  Unfortunately, I doubt that any community college program satisfies that criteria.

    More questions on Quora:

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  • These Emojis Nail Those Feelings You Can't Put Into Words
    If a picture is worth a thousand words, an emoji is worth five thousand. That’s because emojis are meant to replace language! But sometimes, a smile or a smirk just won’t cut it. That’s where illustrator Chris Gerringer comes in.

    Gerringer, whose work can be found on his Tumblr Paper Beats Scissors, created the emojis that can help you express your true feelings — feelings like “remembering the work you put off all week” and “holding in a fart.”

    “I came up with idea just thinking about what it would look like if they had the sort of emojis I would need on a regular basis — something that would maybe reflect more of the ridiculous/mundane things I spend a lot of time doing,” Gerringer told The Huffington Post in an email.

    Now if only Apple would give these emojis the green light, we’d finally be able to express ourselves fully.

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  • Royalty-creating app targets Spotify
    A New York-based electronic pop band creates a web app that artificially generates royalties on Spotify.
  • Box ties up with IBM to boost enterprise credibility and global reach
    IBM and Box have forged a global partnership to integrate their existing products and services, and develop new ones for secure collaboration

Mobile Technology News, June 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.

  • Facebook Now Worth More Than Walmart On Stock Market
    BARBARA ORTUTAY, AP Technology Writer

    NEW YORK (AP) — Facebook is now bigger than Wal-Mart, at least when it comes to its value on the stock market.

    The world’s biggest online social network knocked the world’s largest retailer out of the top 10 list of the highest-valued companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index on Monday and the gap widened on Tuesday.

    While the switch is mostly symbolic — nothing specific happened this week to warrant it, and the difference between the two giants is not that big — it signals investors’ insatiable appetite for successful tech stocks. Apple, Microsoft and Google top the list of the highest-valued companies in the U.S., and Facebook looks to be on its way to joining them.

    A company’s market value is calculated by multiplying the number of shares of stock it has in circulation by the current price of one share.

    Facebook Inc. was valued at $238 billion at the close of trading Tuesday, according to FactSet. Its stock gained $3.14, or 3.7 percent, at $87.88.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was valued at $234 billion. Its stock dipped 22 cents to $72.57.

    Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, has been on a roll this past year, its shares up about 34 percent in the past year compared with just 8.2 percent for the S&P 500 index. Its quarterly results have consistently surpassed expectations.

    Bentonville, Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, meanwhile, asked for investor patience after its most-recent earnings report showed a 7 percent profit decline due to the effects of the strong dollar and higher worker wages and spending on its online operations.

    Comparing the two companies’ financial results, though, shows just how much Wall Street is investing in growth and potential — Facebook — versus existing size and might — Wal-Mart. In the first three months of this year, Facebook’s total revenue of $3.54 billion amounted to just a little more than Wal-Mart’s total profit for its fiscal first quarter of $3.34 billion. But while Facebook saw revenue grow 42 percent in the same period, Wal-Mart’s declined slightly.

    That said, none of the nine companies that follow Apple in the top 10 come even close to the mighty iPhone and Mac maker, whose market capitalization is about $735 billion.

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  • Gmail Officially Lets You 'Unsend' Your Emails
    Our prayers have finally been answered.

    On Tuesday, Google announced an official “Undo Send” feature for all Gmail web accounts and the Inbox by Gmail app. The feature allows users to “take back” their emails within 30 seconds of sending them.

    To activate the function, simply click onto Settings > General, and check the “Enable Undo Send” function. Then, you can choose whether to leave the function on for 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

    After you send an email, a thin yellow strip appears under the search bar in your inbox, announcing that you’ve sent your email and giving you the option to undo or view your message. If you choose to undo the message — within the given time frame of course — your screen will bounce back to the original message, leaving you to delete or edit the message as you wish.

    google undo send 2

    ***

    google undo send 3

    Previously, the feature was available only to Gmail users who decided to enable the Labs function — or, as Google says, “brave the Labs world.” It’s now a permanent Gmail function.

    The feature is available on most accounts that use Google Mail, but not yet all corporate accounts.

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  • Google Is Pulling Confederate Flag From Google Shopping And Ads
    By Mari Saito

    SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 (Reuters) – Google Inc joined Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc on Tuesday in pulling Confederate flag merchandise from their shopping site, following brick and mortar retailers in reacting to last week’s racially motivated mass shooting at a historic black South Carolina church.

    Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Sears Holdings Corp on Monday banned sales of products bearing the image of the Confederate battle flag.

    The “Stars and Bars” has become a lightning rod for outrage over the killing of nine black men and women at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston last Wednesday. Accused gunman Dylann Roof, a 21-year-old white man, is seen posing with the flag in photos posted on a website reported to be his.

    South Carolina lawmakers on Tuesday voted to open debate on removing the flag from the State House grounds, after state Governor Nikki Haley and others called for it to be taken down.

    “We have determined that the Confederate flag violates our ads policies, which don’t allow content that’s generally perceived as expressing hate toward a particular group,” a Google representative said in an emailed statement sent to Reuters.

    A Google search for Confederate flags pulled up several listings and sponsored ads promoting the flags. A similar search on Amazon’s website found tens of thousands of Confederate flags and merchandise such as T-shirts and knives bearing the flag’s image.

    Most of the flags and related products on Amazon, eBay and Google ranged in price from $5 to $50. Clicking on some of the Confederate flags and related items on Amazon’s website took users to an error page.

    “Is this a big sacrifice for retailers? No. But, symbolically, it’s a good step,” said David Satterfield, an executive vice president of G.F. Blunting and Co, a strategic communications firm in California.

    “A significant percentage of your consumer base is completely offended by what the flag stands for, and it doesn’t make sense carrying it,” he said.

    Separately, privately owned Valley Forge Flag, one of the most prominent U.S. flag manufacturers, said on Tuesday it will stop making and selling Confederate flags.

    In announcing its decision to pull Confederate flags on Tuesday, eBay said the banner had become a “contemporary symbol of divisiveness and racism.” The website, which carries thousands of items bearing the flag, including clothing, will immediately ban new listings of merchandise and tell sellers of such merchandise that they have to stop.

    Ebay does not break out sales of individual items sold on its site, but sources said this involves a tiny amount of sales for the company.

    Analysts said it could take some time for online retailers like eBay to remove merchandise posted by third-party sellers, given the sheer volume of products listed. There are around 800 million listings globally on eBay.

    E-commerce website Etsy also said it would remove all flag-related merchandise from its marketplace, which lists handmade and artisanal products.

    Dollar Tree Inc, Family Dollar Stores Inc, Dollar General and Target Corp said they do not carry any Confederate flag-related merchandise.

    Juda Engelmayer, a senior vice president of 5W Public Relations in New York, said retailers’ decisions to pull the Confederate flag could face some pushback from a small group of consumers, and noted this could have been considered years ago.

    “This action is probably long overdue, but the retailers’ actions are probably going to be received positively,” he said. (Additional reporting by Nandita Bose and Nathan Layne in Chicago; Editing by David Gregorio, Alan Crosby, Leslie Adler, Jonathan Oatis and Phil Berlowitz)

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  • 'Batman: Arkham Knight' May Be Game Of The Year — But There's One Big Problem
    arkhamknight
    Batman attempts to deactivate an exploding collar on Catwoman in “Arkham Knight.”

    Months after GamerGate first set video game culture ablaze with unbelievable resistance to the idea of feminist perspectives in the gaming industry, we have a new title that features some of the most compelling female characters in pop culture. “Batman: Arkham Knight,” which came out Tuesday, spotlights Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Oracle and Harley Quinn in major roles. But while these women are often represented as strong, independent and able in other media, their featured roles here often tell a different story: They are damsels in distress.

    Many, many people will play this game, if previous entries are any indication. The last main title in the series, which has a couple of spinoffs, sold over 5 million copies. And that aside, “Arkham Knight” is actually an exceptional game taken on its own merits: It is devoted to a cohesive aesthetic and narrative in a way few other games are, the set pieces are compelling and it’s brimming with things to do. One moment you’ll be studying the microscopic details of a crime scene, and five minutes later you’re dodging drone fire in the middle of a populated city street. It all feels crunchy and good.

    “Arkham Knight” will likely earn accolades as one of the standout titles of the year — it already holds a 91 on Metacritic — and that is precisely why its sins should not be ignored.

    (Note: The text that follows contains some spoilers for the storyline in “Arkham Knight.”)

    poison ivy
    Poison Ivy appears in “Arkham Knight” with a barely-there shirt and a mossy crotch.

    It’s really no big secret that gaming and tech are male-dominated industries, even if consumers are split basically down the middle in terms of gender. Plenty of people will play “Arkham Knight” and probably ignore its oftentimes troubling presentation of women — perhaps that’s simply because the game is exciting, and as soon as you settle into a moment, something explodes and you’re off to something else.

    But others will play the game and feel offended. Or disgusted. Or threatened. Or simply unwelcome. Even if those people were outnumbered 100 to 1 in a population of 5 million customers, it would be worthwhile to examine why and do better next time. Because here’s the trouble with “Arkham Knight”: It is a great game tarnished by its dreadful depictions of certain characters and situations.

    arkham knight
    Poison Ivy is held hostage in “Arkham Knight.”

    The baseline problem with “Arkham Knight” is that instead of taking opportunities to depict strong women, the game makes them weak. For the most part, the female characters suck.

    When you first come upon Poison Ivy early in the story, she has a gun to her head. You rescue her, and then you lock her in the back of the Batmobile and drag her to police headquarters. Later in the game, Batman determines that Ivy can communicate with — literally — a big old tree that could counteract the effects of a chemical weapon that Scarecrow intends to detonate somewhere in Gotham City. So Batman hauls his way back to lockup and drags her back to the Batmobile like she’s a petulant child. Poison Ivy is basically a power-up for the player to collect, like a mushroom in “Super Mario.”

    She is barely wearing clothes throughout the entire ordeal.

    arkham knight
    “Arkham Knight” recreates a troubling scene from “The Killing Joke” in which Barbara Gordon is shot and paralyzed by the Joker.

    Catwoman, often portrayed as Batman’s equal, fares no better. Like Ivy, her storyline begins in custody. Her outfit is unzipped enough to show a massive slice of cleavage. Why? Because Catwoman is “sexy” and it’s apparently hard to portray sexiness without showing boob?

    The Riddler has strapped her to a chair, and Batman is called to rescue her. You arrive on the scene and find that there’s an entire ordeal required to free her: Riddler has fitted her with a choker that will explode unless you deactivate a number of locks. The gameplay sometimes has Batman and Catwoman working together — you can switch between them at points — but the pattern almost invariably requires Batman to complete some feat of cunning, force and reflexes while Catwoman bums around in a locked chamber. Her liberation is essentially a prize for you, the player.

    Things are absolutely worst for Oracle, a hero in a wheelchair who assists Batman remotely. To detail her storyline would reveal much about the largest plot points in “Arkham Knight,” but things do not go well for her. An incredibly problematic storyline from the comic books is retread in vivid detail: She is abducted and maimed and exists almost entirely in this context to stir angst in the featured male characters. Batman, Robin, Commissioner Gordon and Alfred fret over her like a baby missing from the crib.

    harley quinn
    Harley Quinn steps up.

    These are not failures from a gameplay perspective. But they are artistic missteps, awful quirks that will make this game — and perhaps all video games by extension — seem incredibly stupid to any critical thinker who may have thought to give “Arkham Knight” a try.

    This game does not exist in a vacuum. It arrives at a moment when women are still being shut out of the gaming and tech industries to the point where many are even looking for work elsewhere. It is bizarre that “Arkham Knight” both includes many women and diminishes them so plainly.

    All of that said, there are some important caveats. First: Harley Quinn — Joker’s deranged on-again, off-again girlfriend — is actually kind of cool this time around. Her character design in “Arkham City” (NSFW) was incredibly sexualized and seemingly intended purely for the male gaze. (For an interesting discussion of this very topic, listen to episode 58 of the lovely “Isometric” podcast.)

    Here, Harley Quinn’s decked out in a pretty serious tutu and barks orders at a bunch of armed dudes. She’s more covered than not. The whole thing struck me as fairly whimsical and a step in the right direction, even if it’s not a perfect representation.

    And no one can argue that the comic book source material is free from cheesecake. There are, in fact, many comics featuring these characters that are several orders of magnitude more sexist than “Arkham Knight.” Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in particular are often exploited for sexy fluff, as this page from “Harley and Ivy #2″ shows. It’s by the great Paul Dini and Bruce Timm:

    poison ivy

    But there’s a major difference between this comic and something like “Arkham Knight” — something that maybe isn’t so obvious. This Poison Ivy could be appealing to men and women alike. The entire miniseries is devoted to Harley and Ivy wreaking havoc on their own terms — it’s “sexy” more than “sexist.” They actively and successfully strike back against the forces that oppress them. They aren’t seeking the approval of men, and they certainly don’t need a player to rescue them.

    And not that we need an eye for an eye, but the two ladies also take a second to objectify some dudes in the third issue:

    harley and ivy

    It’s ostensibly fun for everyone. And that’s what we could use a little more of in these games.

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  • Facebook – The New Social Contract
    Four years fober*, and I still absent-mindedly type “www.facebook.com” into my address bar when opening my browser. Like any addict attempting to kick an addiction, there are a range of strategies and options to take — I chose cold turkey.

    From my mobile, with the touch of a button, I deleted my social connection with over 1.28 billion people.

    Deleting Facebook seemed to be a way to reclaim some sort of simplicity (as did turning off my phone for a two-week break). I made the decision at a time when life seemed too much — nothing worth going into here, just a story of teenage angst.

    I did turn my phone back on — although Facebook stayed in the black box. But why? I got a lot of unwanted answers from my peers:

    “She is attention seeking.”

    “She wants to be a alternative hipster.”

    “You know how she is a Marxist.”

    “She works in intelligence….”

    These statements also came with longwinded rumors about my family, mental state and relationship status. But what I found more questionable is why people cared. They had my number, my address and my email — multiple ways to contact me. Isn’t this what Facebook was for, social networking?

    Looking back this buzz made me more aware that what I had done was take a position, unknowingly, against my peers. And I liked it. I have since been forced to provide my confused peers with an answer — something more difficult than I thought. Here is my attempt:

    Facebook requests of you a lot more than just its terms and conditions, it asks you to change your perceptions of social constructs. Many absent-mindedly click “accept” and never think twice as to what they gave up.

    1. Simplicity

    Facebook seems to provide you with a clutter free platform, two colors — blue and white — and no coding or personalization requirements like ol’ Myspace; a quick way to keep in touch with friends (no more carrier pigeons); organize events (goodbye invitations); and even keep on top of world news (sorry Fairfax).

    [Click Like]

    But with this “simplicity” comes the downfall of information saturation, inescapable commitments and expectations. I was expected to reply when someone saw that I had “read” their message, to attend countless events when I only knew the host’s fourth cousin twice-removed — all because it was “simple” to contact me. This wasn’t making my life simple, it was complicating it. Gone were the days when I could think about how to respond to a message with care, or only attend events of my closest friends, without being subject to interrogation. Getting rid of Facebook was for me, simple.

    [Click Dislike]

    2. Engagement

    Facebook lets you engage in life, every second — from everywhere. It allows you to post travel photos from rural villages, instantly upload photos of you at dinner and see what all your friends are doing.

    [Click Like]

    It wasn’t unusual for me to post pictorial replies to friends in Europe of my dorm room filled with study notes. I even found myself guilty of accessing “Mooseheads Pub and Night Club Thursday” photos from Angkor Wat at sunrise. I never questioned whether this was the engagement I wanted. Did I really want to subscribe to going out to “be seen” or taking photos for the enjoyment and social capital it will provide me from posting it on Facebook? For me, this was not engagement, but rather the opposite.

    [Click Dislike]

    3. My Digital Footprint

    Facebook’s timeline is ingenious, it provides you in one sleek platform a historical archive of personal information — imagine if Foucault had Facebook or Michael Jackson, how much more would we know about them? With over 300 petabytes of data, this trove of information is instantly more valuable than the national library. This also allowed you to “stalk” others, getting a visual picture of their personal growth or who they “are.”

    [Click Like]

    I call this the “comparison trap,” competition ingrained into us from socialization — why wouldn’t we use this tool to see how many people are doing more, achieving better or looking “hotter”? I am not saying this doesn’t happen in day-to-day life, but we can’t see how many other people like it or comment on it. Nor do we get to actively seek it out so easily. For some this may be positive reinforcement, but those narcissists don’t need Facebook — just a mirror. For the rest of us, it may make us a little more driven to be better, but more likely it will make us feel worse. Interestingly, after two months off Facebook, I did not want to re-enter this virtual world because “people will think I am a loser, who didn’t have friends or go out for two months.” The chorus of “You’re So Vain” never rang so clearly.

    [Click Dislike]

    Since getting rid of Facebook, I have lost over 200 friends, missed over 14 parties, been on the outskirts of every ‘trending’ conversation, confused three boys in attempts to court me, and avoided the publication of countless embarrassing moments. What I realized is — did I want those friends, enjoy those parties, loose out on love or regret the protection to my privacy?

    The likely the answer is no. But I have also read over 42 penguin books, painted over 17 watercolours, watched over 1400 documentaries and even read the newspaper (twice) — for no one but myself.

    You can still access news online, watch Netflix, stumble upon One Direction and 5SOS gossip, get World Cup updates and download Cody Simpson’s new track or follow Taylor Swift without Facebook — yet you do all these things because you chose to, for you and no one else.

    Facebook changes the social constructions we live by, but unlike the options in this article — you can only.

    [Click Like]

    Smart move Zuckerberg.

    Notes:
    *‘Fober’ — Facebook Sober — a term used to describe those who migrate off Facebook, the transition period has been a likened to that of withdrawal from vices such as drug and alcohol.

    Written by Lauren Murphy. As the daughter of a computer troubleshooter, sister of a WOW-er and employee of a tech startup — I seem an unlike candidate of the ‘Facebook Free’ movement (self-coined). I can do simple coding, use torrents, own three mac products and pay for unlimited internet. Typical Gen-I, but with a glitch.

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  • WikiLeaks Says America's NSA Spied On French Presidents
    By James Regan and Mark John

    PARIS, June 23 (Reuters) – The United States National Security Agency spied on French presidents Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande, WikiLeaks said in a press statement published on Tuesday, citing top secret intelligence reports and technical documents.

    The revelations were first reported in French daily Liberation and on news website Mediapart, which said the NSA spied on the presidents during a period of at least 2006 until May 2012, the month Hollande took over from Sarkozy.

    WikiLeaks said the documents derived from directly targeted NSA surveillance of the communications of Hollande (2012-present), Sarkozy (2007-2012) and Chirac (1995-2007), as well as French cabinet ministers and the French ambassador to the U.S.

    According to the documents, Sarkozy is said to have considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without U.S. involvement and Hollande feared a Greek euro zone exit back in 2012.

    These latest revelations regarding spying among allied Western countries come after it emerged that the NSA had spied on Germany and Germany’s own BND intelligence agency had cooperated with the NSA to spy on officials and companies elsewhere in Europe.

    “The French people have a right to know that their elected government is subject to hostile surveillance from a supposed ally,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said in the statement, adding that more “important revelations” would soon follow.

    The documents include summaries of conversations between French government officials on the global financial crisis, the future of the European Union, the relationship between Hollande’s administration and Merkel’s government, French efforts to determine the make-up of the executive staff of the United Nations, and a dispute between the French and U.S. governments over U.S. spying on France.

    The documents also contained the cell phone numbers of numerous officials in the Elysee presidential palace including the direct cell phone of the president, WikiLeaks said.

    Last week, WikiLeaks published more than 60,000 diplomatic cables from Saudi Arabia and said on its website it would release half a million more in the coming weeks.

    SPYING AMONG FRIENDS?

    Former NSA employee Edward Snowden created an uproar in Germany after he revealed that Washington had carried out large-scale electronic espionage in Germany and claimed the NSA had bugged Merkel’s phone.

    “While the German disclosures focused on the isolated fact that senior officials were targeted by U.S. intelligence, WikiLeaks’ publication today provides much greater insight into U.S. spying on its allies,” WikiLeaks said.

    This includes “the actual content of intelligence products deriving from the intercepts, showing how the U.S. spies on the phone calls of French leaders and ministers for political, economic and diplomatic intelligence.”

    WikiLeaks said NSA intercepts showed that French President Francois Hollande called a secret meeting of his cabinet about the potential consequences of a Greek exit from the euro zone as early as May 2012.

    It also said the Socialist Hollande, who at that point had been in power a few days, had been disappointed by a first meeting as president with conservative German Chancellor Angela Merkel and requested talks with leaders of the Social Democratic Party, her center-left junior coalition partner.

    “Hollande stressed that the meeting would be secret,” WikiLeaks quoted an NSA intercept from May 22, 2012 as saying of talks he requested with “appropriate ministers” in his cabinet to discuss possible fall-out on France’s economy and banks if Greece exited the euro zone.

    In another intercept dated June 10, 2011, Sarkozy is said to have considered restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks without U.S. involvement.

    An earlier one from 2008 has Sarkozy, widely considered in France to be pro-American, being critical of the U.S. government’s handling of the financial crisis.

    “The president blamed many of the current economic problems on mistakes made by the U.S. government, but believes that Washington is now heeding some of his advice,” it said.

    The French president’s office was not immediately reachable for comment.

    The French foreign ministry declined to comment on the WikiLeaks statement.

    The U.S. State Department also declined to comment.

    Hollande’s office said on Tuesday the president plans to meet with his defense committee on Wednesday to discuss the WikiLeaks statement.

    Michele Alliot-Marie, former defense and foreign affairs minister under Chirac and Sarkozy, told France’s iTele TV channel that France had long known that the U.S. had the technical means to try to intercept conversations.

    “We are not naive, the conversations that took place between the defense ministry and the president did not happen on the telephone,” she said. “That being said, it does raise the problem of the relationship of trust between allies.” (Additional reporting by Gregory Blachier, Julien Ponthus and John Irish; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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  • Architect Turns Shopping Cart Into Shelter For Homeless People
    Now here’s a wheel-y good solution.

    While homelessness is on the decline in the U.S., a dearth in affordable housing and emergency shelter options often leaves those who are still without permanent shelter with no choice but to sleep on the streets. Recognizing the need to provide homeless people with some sort of protection, Buenos Aires architect Eduardo Lacroze fashioned a portable shelter built around a shopping cart and submitted his design to a competition seeking such solutions for people on the streets.

    shopping cart shelter

    Lacroze’s innovation won the American Institute of Architect’s Small Project Award Program, which sought discreet and efficient shelters for homeless people.

    The shopping cart is the core component of the shelter, which relies on its wheels to move, according to Real Estate Rama.

    When a homeless person is on-the-go, the shelter folds up into a square box that fits on top of the wheels, Fast Company reported.

    Expanding the mobile abode just requires a signature, and no specific trade skills.

    One side folds out into a flatbed and the entire structure is insulated and weatherproofed. The resident secures the shelter the top plank with a padlock and hasp, according to Real Estate Rama.

    It currently costs about $500 to build, but Lacroze hopes to bring those costs down with corporate sponsorships and donated materials.

    He sees it ultimately working within a communal program, where users can take advantage of the shelters when they need them.

    “The way we envision these eventually is to act like a bicycle [share] where you pick up and drop off as need be. But that would require some regulation,” Lacroze told Fast Company.

    Developing shelters out of everyday, unconventional materials has become something of a trend among creative do-gooders.

    Gregory Kloehn, a California-based artist, is one such innovator.

    For the past few years, Kloehn has been building small and colorful residences for homeless people out of gently-used garbage.

    “Our goal is to bring together imaginative people and discarded materials to make sturdy, innovative, mobile shelters for the homeless people,” Kloehn writes on the Homeless Homes Project website. “By sourcing our materials from illegal street dumping, commercial waste and excess household items, we strive to diminish money’s influence over the building process.”

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  • Girls and STEM: How We Can Up the Numbers
    We’ve come a long way since Miss Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, translated Luigi Menabrea’s memoir on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine in 1843, which led to the first algorithm to be processed by a machine, making Ada, the daughter of poet Lord Byron, and Anne Isabelle Milbanke, in effect, the first computer programmer.

    Still, the scarcity of women at the top ranks of Silicon Valley or the exclusion from the Boys Club of science and engineering prompts Charlene Drew Jarvis, a panel participant at the Smithstonian Institution’s National Museum of American History’s Innovation Echo: Tomorrow’s Brightest Days, to focus on encouraging female students to pursue STEM education and careers.

    Drew Jarvis, daughter of 2015 National Hall of Fame Inductee and blood bank pioneer Dr. Charles Drew, shares America needs STEM professionals and that there are plenty of places at the table for women who want to make a difference.

    How do we encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM? Drew Jarvis says,

    First, we need to message parents or guardians and teachers that old message of what’s permissible for girls to do should be avoided. If girls believe they can succeed, they’ll be more interested in pursuing subjects like math and science. Women’s contributions may have been undervalued because for years, we’ve heard the message that girls don’t do well in math. We ought to never say that again. Girls can do math, science, and technology as well as boys and should be encouraged to get involved in those fields.

    When girls do express interest in careers such as electrical engineering, we need to encourage their interest, adds Drew Jarvis. From childhood, girls need to learn to be assertive enough to express their interests and ask for help. “Find adults who believe your goals are doable and pursue mentors,” she advises. “Students can even ask a teacher, “I want to learn more about a career as an aeronautical engineer but I’m not seeing it in our chapters. Can you help me find extra information about that or point me towards someone who could help?”

    Programs like FabFems created by The National Girls Collaborative Project, present an information clearinghouse for women in STEM careers, along with a database of names and contact information for role models and women who would like to share education and STEM career advice. Girls Who Code works to encourage girls to pursue computer science and technology. Women@NASA posts videos and essays from female NASA employees that explain their career paths from STEM to NASA, as well as STEM education programs targeted towards girls and a mentoring program connecting NASA employees with middle school students through Skype or Google Chat. Engineer Girl educates girls on engineering through interviews, as well as background on different fields of engineering and required skills.

    Drew Jarvis shares Camp Invention presents week-long summer day camp experiences, offering 1,200 different programs throughout the US, which serve 100,000 students every year. “The camp encourages kids to explore creative problem solving, tinkering and building. As a first exposure to the STEM field, the program may pique interest and encourages participants to ask questions. We get lots of girls in the program which serves students in grades 1 through 6.”

    The educator, former scientific researcher, politician, and President of Southeastern University says we need to provide historical and current role models for girls in the STEM field, as well as provide access to numerous programs.

    For more information on the above programs:

    http://www.fabfems.org/
    https://girlswhocode.com/
    http://women.nasa.gov/
    http://www.engineergirl.org/
    http://campinvention.org/

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  • Google Scrambles To One-Up Apple Music
    Google announced Tuesday that it is adding a free, ad-supported radio feature to its Google Play Music service in the United States in a push to attract more subscribers.

    In a blog post, Google Play Music product manager Elias Roman announced that the new radio feature would offer curated playlists tailored to a variety of specific factors.

    The rolling out of this feature comes exactly one week before Apple Music’s June 30 launch. But here’s the difference between Google Play Music’s new radio feature and Apple’s Beats 1 Radio: Google Play Music actively targets listeners based on their music preferences, the device they’re using and the time of day they’re listening — rather than having listeners locate radio stations themselves, as they would on Beats 1 Radio.

    Google Play Music is “less about how people find music, and more about music finding people,” Roman told The Huffington Post.

    The customized playlists are also similar to Spotify’s Now start page, which suggests playlists depending on the time of day and adapts to fit the listener’s taste and mood.

    As of Tuesday afternoon, Google Play Music’s new radio feature was available only on the web, but it will be rolling out to Android and iOS later in the week.

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  • Hands On: Satechi Seven-Port Multi Charging Dock
    Whether at home or at work, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to be charged — and sadly there’s only so many outlets to charge them on. Even if the number of outlets isn’t a problem, who wants to always have to answer the question, “have you seen the iPad?” with the answer, “have you checked the bathroom?” The Satechi Seven-Port Multi Charging Dock is a seven-port charging hub that only takes up one outlet, keeps everything together in a single location, and makes an effort towards the Herculean task of making the rat’s nest of cables and devices look nice and neat.



  • Treading Carefully in the 21st Century: The V.P.N.
    2015-06-20-1434775943-7924168-vpn.jpg

    Numerous reports have emerged in the past five years about a decline in petty violent crime such as muggings, pickpocketing, and even good, old-fashioned armed robbery while simultaneously witnessing a rise in cybercrime, or felonies committed over the Internet. As a result of the World Wide Web becoming the 21st century version of Central Park after midnight, increased security protocols have been invented and initiated. One of the most reliable and frequently used is the Virtual Private Network.

    A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a network technology that creates a secure network connection over a public network such as the Internet or a private network owned by a service provider. Large corporations, educational institutions, and government agencies use VPN technology to enable remote users to securely connect to a private network.

    To be granted access to this private network, the user must have authentication granted through the use of a unique personal ID and password. For additional security, an authentication token is frequently used for access to the private network via a personal identification number (or PIN) which is entered by the user. The PIN is a one-time generated code that changes according to a programmed frequency, usually in 30 second intervals.

    There are a number of VPN protocols in use that secure the transport of data traffic over a public network infrastructure. Each protocol varies slightly in the way that data is kept secure.

    VPN technology employs sophisticated encryption to ensure security and prevent any unintentional interception of data between private sites. All traffic over a VPN is encrypted using algorithms to secure data integrity and privacy. VPN architecture is governed by a strict set of rules and standards to ensure a private communication channel between sites. Corporate network administrators are responsible for deciding the scope of a VPN, implementing and deploying a VPN, and ongoing monitoring of network traffic across the network firewall. A VPN requires administrators to be continually aware of the overall architecture and scope of the VPN to ensure communications are kept private.

    A VPN is an inexpensive effective way of building a private network. The use of the Internet as the main communications channel between sites is a cost effective alternative to expensive leased private lines. These costs, to both corporations and individuals, include the network authentication hardware and software used to authenticate users and any additional mechanisms such as authentication tokens or other secure devices. The relative ease, speed, and flexibility of VPN provisioning in comparison to leased lines makes VPNs an ideal choice for businesses or individuals who require flexibility. For example, an individual can adjust the number of sites in the VPN according to changing requirements.

    There are several potential disadvantages with VPN use. The lack of Quality of Service (QoS) management over the Internet can cause packet loss and other performance issues. Adverse network conditions that occur outside of the private network is beyond the control of the VPN administrator. For this reason, many large corporations pay for the use of trusted VPNs that use a private network to guarantee QoS. Vendor interoperability is another potential disadvantage as VPN technologies from one vendor may not be compatible with VPN technologies from another vendor. Neither of these disadvantages has prevented the widespread acceptance and deployment of VPN technology.

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  • The Hottest Baby Names of 2015… So Far
    By now we’ve all heard about which baby names were most popular last year, but what about the names that are attracting the most heat now and into the future?

    Here is Nameberry’s behind-the-scenes look at our 100 hottest baby names of 2015, the secret popularity list of the names gaining the most in views on the site. Our methodology: We looked at the number of times every name in our database was viewed for the first half of this year vs. the same period last year and, controlling for overall traffic increases, which names jumped the highest.

    The hottest names of 2015 and beyond are a mix of fresh favorites and vintage choices enjoying new attention. Some of the names here are already-stylish: Everly and Owen, Ash to Zed.

    But there are a lot of surprising choices among the Hot 100. That said, if you name your baby the still-unusual Tove or Meilani, Leif or Leon today, don’t be surprised to find it a lot more popular tomorrow.

    Without further ado, here are Nameberry’s Top 100 baby names of 2015… so far:

    Girls

    Adalyn
    Ainsley
    Alaia
    Alessia
    Alina
    Alivia
    Amoret
    Asha
    Augusta
    Aveline
    Bea
    Betty
    Brooke
    Bryony
    Camila
    Eira
    Eleanora
    Ellen
    Emerson
    Estelle
    Everly
    Gaia
    Indie
    Ione
    Isobel
    Jocelyn
    Judith
    Kaia
    Kalila
    Liliana
    Lucille
    Marin
    Marley
    Meilani
    Mireille
    Norah
    Orla
    Paloma
    Pandora
    Peyton
    Polly
    Primrose
    Remi
    Ruth
    Sasha
    Tallulah
    Teagan
    Tove
    Vanessa
    Veronica

    Boys

    Adam
    Amias
    Angus
    Arlo
    Asa
    Ash
    Augustine
    Austin
    Booker
    Brecken
    Callen
    Calvin
    Cameron
    Chase
    Chester
    Cohen
    Cole
    Colton
    Cy
    Easton
    Ellis
    Evan
    Grey
    Greyson
    Harlan
    Hudson
    Ignatius
    Jameson
    Kellen
    Killian
    Kingston
    Landry
    Leif
    Leon
    Logan
    Luca
    Lucian
    Marius
    Marshall
    Nathaniel
    Osias
    Owen
    Pax
    Paxton
    Quade
    Quentin
    Reuben
    Rhett
    Warren
    Zed

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  • Amazon Bans Confederate Flag Merchandise: Reports
    Amazon is reportedly pulling the Confederate flag from its online store.

    The e-commerce giant said Tuesday that it plans to remove all flags and related merchandise, according to reports from Reuters and The Washington Post. The move comes nearly a week after the massacre of nine black parishioners by an alleged white supremacist in a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Dylann Roof, the accused shooter, brandished Confederate flags in photos posted on his Facebook page and espoused violent, racist ideas in a manifesto posted online that he is believed to have written.

    Over the past week, protesters have marched in South Carolina demanding that the flag, which flies on the grounds of the state capitol, be removed. Gov. Nikki Haley (R) called on Monday for the flag to be removed.

    By Tuesday afternoon, sales of a 3×5 Confederate flag on Amazon had jumped nearly 4,600 percent, presumably in response to the controversy generated by the shooting and its aftermath. Sales of a similar flag rose nearly 3,300 percent.

    amazon

    But by 3:30 p.m. EST, the URLs for both items led to an error page.

    amazon

    At least one of the top-selling flags was listed by an independent seller on Amazon’s marketplace. The ban appears to affect Confederate flag items listed both by individual sellers and by Amazon itself.

    Amazon joined a growing group of retailers that plan to take Confederate flags off their shelves. On Monday, Walmart and Sears vowed to remove the banners and related items from their stores. Earlier on Tuesday, eBay banned Confederate flag paraphernalia from its website. So, too, did the online marketplace Etsy, known for its homemade crafts, which said it planned to remove all Confederate flag items from its site.

    “Etsy’s policies prohibit items or listings that promote, support or glorify hatred and these items fall squarely into that category,” spokeswoman Sara Cohen said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. “Due to the nature of our platform, it is possible that a prohibited item may appear for sale on the site before our enforcement teams have a chance to remove it.”

    She urged users on the site to report any items bearing the Confederate flag.

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  • Drone Racing From Drone's POV Is One Wild Ride
    You want to be a drone? You want to fly through tight spaces, dipping, darting and turning like crazy alongside other drones?

    Now you can be the drone — or like a teeny-tiny pilot in its cockpit — thanks to first-person-view (FPV) drone racing.

    In a video posted June 11, a race unfolds in a Melbourne, Australia, abandoned warehouse. It makes us a little dizzy but we’re not the best fliers on big aircraft either.

    To steer, operators wear goggles that give them the perspective of their camera-outfitted flying machines.

    And the competition is catching on. “Many of the drones are ‘blinged’ up with LED lights and accessories, making for a race of geeked-out, adrenaline-pumping goodness,” Mashable wrote.

    The multi-rotor gizmos can go faster than 60 kilometers per hour (about 37 miles per hour), and crashes are inevitable, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reports.

    “It’s like playing a video game,” competitor Darren French told the ABC. “It’s fast. The more you do it the more you want to fly.”

    Another racer, Chad Nowak, said to Gizmag, “FPV is such a different, immersive experience, everyone’s wanting to be that ‘Star Wars’ pod racer, going in between the hills.”

    Nowak is headed to the inaugural U.S. National Drone Racing Championships July 15-17 at the California State Fair.

    drones

    For a behind-the-scenes look at the burgeoning sport, check out Gizmag’s video:

    H/T Laughing Squid

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  • Revenge Porn Is More Than a Violation of Privacy It Is Digital Sexual Assault
    Naked photos and sexting are as much a part of sex for our generation as the missionary position was for our grandparents. Telling us not to do it is like preaching abstinence to teenagers. It’s grossly unrealistic and it doesn’t work. It is also beyond outdated and is just plain ignorant to how modern dating works.

    The narratives we’re listening to as revenge porn reaches mainstream news aren’t just about victim blaming, they’re about negotiating a new age of digital interactions and an ugly manifestation of how women are viewed and treated. We’re just looking at it through the brutally honest mirror of social media.

    Social media now, is like the town square in the dark ages. We haven’t yet figured out our laws to govern the way we treat each other. Back then, if suspected women weren’t burnt and boiled to death, their reputation was.

    2015-06-23-1435029257-4013789-JOA.jpg

    Revenge porn now is the public shaming of women, onlookers are the townspeople and some throw stones.

    Sexual assault is legislated for in our societies. It is illegal and it is still largely committed by men to female victims. On the crudest level we think of this as the natural order of things because in the classic sense of rape, men are bigger and stronger and have a penis they can penetrate you with.

    But in the digital world, both men and women are equally capable of posting photos. Strength is a non issue, neither is the ability to penetrate. So if we look at revenge porn as sexual assault, why is it almost exclusively committed by men to women?

    It’s the control group feminists have never had. Remove the physical dominance and all you have left is the misogyny. Revenge porn is a manifestation of how men are taught to think of women and women are taught to behave.

    Without getting carried away, this is still a slim minority. If stats existed for the sheer volume of naked photos sent, the proportion of those that found their way onto social media or revenge porn sites would be miniscule.

    It is however, as horrific as it is criminal and the real issue of our times is we don’t know how to talk about it yet. We are still finding our feet in the negotiation of online harassment.

    The addage that this kind of shaming is a violation of privacy is true but it’s not the conversation we should be having. Revenge porn is digital sexual assault and should be approached with more accurate language.

    The issue is of consent and criminality.

    Sending a naked picture to a lover who then posts that picture to a public forum is like consenting to sex with one person once and getting a gang bang, over and over again.

    When outspoken feminists use language we associate with sexual assault when discussing revenge porn, it is considered novel because we haven’t yet caught up with ourselves.

    If news commentators discussed conventional sexual assault in the same way they discuss revenge porn, they just wouldn’t get away with it.

    Here in Australia, on a national radio program called Hack, Adam Creighton agreed with a caller’s analogy, that you shouldn’t take naked photos as a precaution, in the same way that you should make sure you lock your car. Victim blaming is still alive and well in cases of physical sexual assault but at least the concept is in the lexicon of politeness. He then called those women who send naked photos, stupid and bloody idiots.

    America is just as bad. Watch John Oliver make mince meat of this kind of coverage.

    The thing is, that in the sexually active world of a digital generation, not sharing naked photos is more like ditching the car altogether.

    Besides, women’s bodies are not cars. Having sex is not stupid.

    Revenge porn sites almost exclusively feature women. Because it works. Revenge porn does not stick to men because no one really cares. Your capacity to be shamed is about the distance between how you are represented and how society wants you to be. In the online world, this normative forcing is brutal and anonymous.

    Men are rarely shamed as a result of a consensual sex act. Women and their sexuality are shamed on a regular basis. We are all just as able to post revenge porn. The reason men have more power in this situation is because they have less to lose. Male consent is more respected and male sexuality is less examined.

    2015-06-23-1435029690-3083456-malleus.jpg

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  • Chevy Corvette Z06, Cruz to be first 2016 with CarPlay; others coming
    CarPlay has been a long time coming to cars consumers can actually buy, but the infotainment and mobile app technology has finally started arriving to consumer showrooms. Though it has been promoted in forthcoming vehicles for well over a year, currently the Ferrari FF is the only vehicle at dealers now with Apple’s technology baked in. This month, however, that changes — as General Motors is now producing the Corvette Z06 and the 2016 Cruz.



  • How Hackable Are Cars?
    How hackable are cars?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

    2015-06-17-1434510210-5096884-jasonlancaster.jpg

    Answer by Jason Lancaster, Editor of AccurateAutoAdvice.com

    Like a lot of computer/software security discussions, there’s “the realm of possibility” and then there’s the real world.

    In the realm of possibility, most cars can be hacked because their operational systems (eg the engine computer) and the infotainment systems (eg the part where you can plug in your phone to listen to music) share the same physical wiring and network system. They’re not completely separated physically, so it’s feasible for a team of computer and software experts to exploit these systems.

    What’s more, most automotive systems use a relatively simple network protocol that can be (relatively) easy to “listen” to and possibly override. You can get a basic understanding here: CAN Hacking: Introductions

    But in the real world, the cost/effort involved in figuring out how to hack a car via the USB port in the console or Bluetooth connection seems to have little practical value. Here’s why:

    1. Every automaker has their own proprietary systems for reading and checking data, and they tend to change these systems periodically. You *might* be able to figure out how to spoof the reading on the speedometer on a 2012 Camry, but there’s no guarantee it will work on a 2013 or a 2011, and little chance the same method/code will work on an Accord or F150. Therefore, vehicle hacking is very time intensive, at least if you plan to do it at scale. It’s not like computers, where 80-90% of them use the same exact operating system.
    2. There’s error checking built into the engine and safety systems that would make it hard to – for example – “trick” the fuel injectors into running lean (and thus damaging the engine) because there are multiple data points collected at any given time. If you wanted to trick a vehicle into running lean and destroying itself, you’d have to spoof the signals from half a dozen sensors, and these spoofed signals would have to mesh with other signals in order to fully convince the engine computer that things were normal. It’s not an impossible problem of course, but it’s not an easy one.
    3. Connectors and various software ‘handshakes’ must be determined before you can exert any outside control. You can’t just hook up to the OBDII port and get started. You’ve got to figure out how to ‘connect’ with the system like the tools used by the technicians (which are proprietary and which change regularly).
    4. In most vehicles, there’s a mandatory wait time after connecting. Even if you have an official technician’s computer, you have to wait a few minutes before you can make changes, read signals, etc. This is an anti-theft precaution that would make hacking that much harder, as you’d have to guarantee yourself access to the target vehicle for an extended period (unless you find a way to bypass the wait time, of course, which is probably easier said than done).
    5. What’s the point? Hacking a car to make it easier to steal? There are tricks that don’t require hacking. Hacking a car to make the engine destroy itself? I can destroy any engine with a common chemical and access to your oil filler cap. Hacking a car to make it unsafe to the driver? All it takes to make your car seriously dangerous is a lug wrench, a pair of pliers, and/or a cordless Sawzall and 5 minutes. No keys or vehicle interior access required.

    Basically, hacking isn’t a practical way to accomplish any of the dangerous things security experts are worried about. There are easier ways to destroy engines, endanger drivers, and steal cars, most of which require far less planning, effort, and expertise.

    Hacking cars is a fun topic for a lot people, but I’ve never understood the concern expressed by various experts. If these people are really concerned about a hacker making vehicles unsafe, they should be warning the public about leaving their vehicle unattended. It doesn’t take much to sabotage a car. All it takes are common tools and a tiny bit of know-how.

    More questions on Quora:

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  • MacNN Deals: iPhone 5 on FreedomPop and two Bluetooth speakers
    After a brief technical-issue-related hiatus, MacNN Deals is back, and so is our daily look at three items you can pick up from the store pretty cheaply. For the first featured items to herald its return, we have selected deals involving an iPhone 5 and two Bluetooth speakers: one with classic looks, the other opting for a more unusual appearance.



  • Man builds giant computer at home
    For many tech companies the race is on to build ever smaller computer processors, but one British man has gone in the opposite direction.

Mobile Technology News, June 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.

  • Lush cosmetics in YouTube dispute
    A popular video blogger hits out at cosmetics brand Lush after he loses control of a YouTube address he has been using since 2005.
  • The murky world of online reviews
    Navigating the murky world of online reviews
  • In A World Without Internet, Arianna Delivers The Newspapers
    What would the world be like if the internet didn’t exist? A new short film created by the Founder’s Forum tackles that question with surprising results.

    “What would our tech entrepreneurs be doing with their lives?,” narrator Stephen Fry asks. “We begin with newspaper delivery girl Arianna Huffington doing her usual morning walk.”

    The video, titled ‘The World Wide What?,’ also features AOL co-founder Steve Case delivering mail by hand and Napster co-founder Sean Parker taking a series of selfies.

    ‘The World Wide What?’ was created by the Founder’s Forum’s Poppy Gaye in honor of the tech group’s 10th anniversary.

    WATCH:

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  • Driverless cars will reshape the economy, but these three hurdles will make it a slow process
    In the past decade, the idea of cars driving themselves has quickly gone from sci-fi dream to impending reality. Tesla Motors is planning to include limited driver-assist functions in a software update this summer, the same time Google plans to unleash its prototype pod-like vehicle on public roads (with a steering wheel and backup driver onboard for emergencies). As I wrote last week, once matured, this will revolutionize the transportation industry and replace millions of jobs, from taxi drivers to truckers. Of course, these professions’ looming obsolescence has many people worried, with some warning of a massive spike in unemployment or even a permanent underclass of dislocated drivers unable to find new work. But while they’re legitimate to consider, these fears are overstated. Due to some major technological, legal, and business hurdles, the driverless revolution will not happen overnight. Instead, it will be more of a glacier than a tidal wave: a nearly unstoppable force, but one that replaces jobs gradually and gives drivers ample warning so they can find new work.

    In fact, the driverless revolution has already begun, but has started so incrementally as to go nearly unnoticed. In the mining industry, gargantuan trucks are used to haul ore out of the mines to be refined and processed nearby. Multinational mining company Rio Tinto, as part of its “Mine of the Future” initiative, has completely automated its trucks at a site in Australia, and Canadian oil company Suncor Energy announced this month that it is following suit. It is only possible to implement fully automated vehicles in this sector due to a perfect storm of conditions: these trucks drive very slowly on a fixed route, in a remote environment that does not include any public roads. Hazardous working conditions and the ensuing high salaries for drivers, averaging $200,000 a year, also gives mining outfits a much greater incentive to innovate than taxi companies or others that pay much lower wages and involve less danger.

    Complete automation has only been adopted in a very limited set of applications because, despite all the media attention it’s received, driverless technology is still in its infancy. Google’s vehicles, arguably the most advanced out there, are actually safer than human drivers on city streets — but only in ideal conditions, as these same vehicles flounder in bad weather or when faced with potholes or other obstacles. Tesla and Daimler are testing out systems that can handle themselves on an open stretch of highway, yet both still need a human driver behind the wheel in case anything unexpected happens. Requiring a human operator in case of emergencies will probably be standard procedure for quite some time, making things much easier for drivers without replacing them. If autonomous vehicles remain technologically confined to clear weather days for many years, it may be the case that taxi drivers in places like San Francisco will be made obsolete while their peers in rainy Seattle or snowy Boston hold onto the status quo much longer. People who always work in bad conditions, such as plow drivers who must clear streets of snow while avoiding parked cars and other obstacles, have the most job security and probably won’t be replaced in the foreseeable future.

    Of course, there will almost surely come a time when autonomous vehicles are comparable or better than human drivers in all conditions, and could reliably transport even a drunk or blind passenger who wouldn’t be able to take over in an emergency. But even when all technological barriers are overcome, perhaps even more daunting political obstacles will remain. Regulations on driverless cars are handled primarily at the state level, with states like California and Nevada leading the way on allowing the testing of such vehicles as a first step towards their commercial use. If laws continue to differ substantially from state to state, local services such as taxis or package deliveries will be automated much earlier than interstate ones like trucking or long-distance busing. If an eighteen-wheeler can only drive itself through half of the states on its route and needs a human to control it the rest of the time, it wouldn’t make sense to automate it at all since the driver would need to be on board for the entire duration anyway. If the FAA’s laughable pace in regulating commercial drones is any guide, national standards allowing for driverless cars will likely lag far behind technological progress.

    At both the state and national level, it’s almost certain that unions will fight against driverless vehicles tooth and nail. After all, their core purpose is to protect their members’ jobs, which would clearly be threatened by automation. As is typical of special interest groups resisting change, unions will try to delay adoption by demanding endless studies on various concerns. They and other opponents will also devote resources to highlighting any negative stories about self-driving vehicles while stoking fears over their safety and the economic effects of their legalization. This could slow things down significantly, but as people get more comfortable with the technology in other states and countries, it will only be a matter of time until proponents of progress win out.

    Yet even when all technological and legal barriers are overcome, there still remain many business reasons that people currently employed as drivers will keep their jobs. Some drivers, like truckers or package delivery people, deal almost exclusively with transporting goods and will be the first to be made obsolete. But many others have aspects of their jobs that can only be done by humans, like school bus drivers who chaperone children and must be available to respond to emergencies. They will likely stay employed, with automation allowing them to devote more of their attention to these other duties. And even if a human is not necessarily required, they may still be preferred by some customers, like those who enjoy talking with taxi drivers while they travel to their destination.

    Even when driverless vehicles are technologically advanced and completely legal, there may be a surprising number of people still working as professional drivers. They’ll share the roads with driverless commercial vehicles, privately owned autonomous cars, and people who still drive out of a distrust of technology or the simple enjoyment of it. This early on, it’s impossible to tell exactly how this will play out, but it’s unlikely we’ll see a fully autonomous transportation system — whether it’s purely voluntary or the result of a ban on human drivers — for many decades to come.

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  • This Cat Will NOT Be Ignored Over Video Game
    Either the cat learns to play video games or its owner acknowledges the cat is boss and puts the electronics down.

    As if we have to tell you what happens. In this hilarious montage posted June 16, the cat wins. The cat always wins. Who doesn’t know this?

    Congratulations, Nala, you’re doing an excellent job training your person.

    nala?

    H/T Laughing Squid

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  • Uber Bans Guns In Its Cars
    Uber is cracking down on guns.

    The company announced Friday that drivers and passengers alike are forbidden from carrying firearms while using the popular ride-sharing service. An Uber spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that the policy change actually occurred on June 10, a full week before a gunman fatally shot nine people at a historic South Carolina church.

    Uber, which is expected to make billions in revenue this year and is widely considered one of the leading tech companies today, sent a strong message with its anti-gun policy announcement: If the government won’t pass gun control laws, businesses can take matters into their own hands.

    The timing for Uber’s official ban on firearms is appropriate: The ride-sharing service is just about to be legalized in South Carolina, where gun regulations are notoriously lenient.

    Many other major businesses have issued bans on firearms — Chili’s, Panera and Target among them.

    A poll last year found that the majority of Americans would prefer that restaurants and shops ban patrons from carrying weapons.

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  • We've Come A Long Way Since The '70s, But Not When It Comes To Child Hunger
    The end of the ’70s meant saying goodbye to disco, limited television channels and, to a certain extent, oppressive restrictions on women. But even with advances in music, technology and feminism, there’s been little headway in the issue of child hunger.

    Forty years ago, the U.S. government implemented a special summer meal program for underserved kids who were at risk of going hungry. Today, hunger is still particularly concerning among low-income kids who don’t have access to meals at school during the summer, and only one in six kids in need is reached through the USDA’s program, according to No Kid Hungry, a group that connects kids in need with nutritious food.

    To demonstrate how long overdue summer hunger reform is, No Kid Hungry recently unveiled a campaign that shows how far some advancements have come since 1975, while this devastating issue has seen little progress.

    summer hunger children

    During the 2012-2013 school year, 21.5 million students received free or reduced-priced lunch, according to the Food Research and Action Center. While the need remains the same during summer vacation, government programs aren’t able to effectively reach families due to a host of limitations.

    The summer meals program requires families to congregate at a specific location. But low-income families often don’t have access to transportation to get to the meal site or severe weather could preclude them from traveling, among other issues, according to No Kid Hungry. As a result, only about 15 percent of eligible children are reached through such programming.

    Further compounding the issue is the fact that many kids live in communities that aren’t eligible for such programs. Plus, there’s so much bureaucracy involved in starting a food program, leaving do-gooders unable to help people in need.

    summer hunger

    And while nonprofits and food banks say they also see a “sharp uptick” in clients during the summer, they typically suffer a dearth in inventory. During those months, church groups, scouting groups and clubs typically take off and don’t hold the critical food drives that support the community, Matt Knott, president of Feeding America, said in a press release.

    While the situation remains grim for low-income kids across the country, advocates are hopeful that swift progress can be made.

    summer hunger

    No Kid Hungry is calling on supporters to urge Congress to take action on this issue, specifically through the Child Reauthorization Act.

    That piece of legislation calls for the strengthening and improvement of school, summer and adult care food programs.

    “The current system simply can’t meet the need,” the Rev. Charles Foster Johnson said in a statement. “Our churches are overwhelmed with the number of hungry children during the summer when kids are not getting school meals. Fixing this problem should be a priority for the faithful, for our churches and for our elected leaders.”

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  • Google Is the Man Behind the Curtain
    2015-06-20-1434838660-9902899-bigstockGoogleLogotypeOnAKeyboard76671830.jpg
    In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and friends are shocked and disappointed when they learn that the mighty and terrifying wizard is just a desperate, insecure man hiding behind a curtain, pulling levers to manipulate a monster created to control others through fear. If yesterday’s online search for those water shoes you need for your whitewater rafting trip this summer that then prompted the bevy of advertisements for water shoes from every vendor under the sun in email and social media advertisements aren’t enough to spook you wizard-style, it’s time you educate yourself about the details of everything Google is up to when you use it.

    Former Google CEO turned Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt infamously said, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.” While that may be true morally or ethically, all bets are off the table digitally when it comes to Google, which occupies nearly 70% of the search engine pie. In the words of John Albin of SEMGeeks, “Google owns trillions of bytes of information, and they use this information to sell ads, create their own products and build a better Web experience for users.” Yes, Google has a privacy policy, but it enables them to still do the following:

    While you are using Google, they are busy collecting things like your location, storing that information, ready to use it when needed.

    Whether it’s your phone, computer or tablet, Google knows what device you’re using – the model, operating system, and mobile network.

    Anytime you use or update an app(lication), Google collects and then stores information, from those apps as well as through your browser.

    When you enable location services, Google is able to collect your IP address, details of your searches, your phone log and general browser activity.

    Google uses cookies and anonymous identifiers to interact with services they offer to their partners, including advertising services or Google features.

    So if you were thinking about committing a crime that involved preliminary research, think twice. Because the first witness to have tracked that research and be called to the stand will be Google. So what can you do about it? Don’t commit the crime to begin with, and take these steps in order to limit Google’s invasion of your privacy:

    View your Google Account History and click on the dashboard in order to review and control access to your account.

    View and then edit preferences regarding ads.

    Check out your profile settings to see how they appear to others.

    Set your browser to block cookies connected to any Google services.

    Google once contemplated trying to predict the stock market and then abandoned it, recognizing that was illegal. Schmidt may no longer be at the helm, but he is on the record as saying, “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.

    As with your personal online presence, do what is within your power to control what’s out there and what others are taking from you. Google’s not going anywhere and only growing more powerful. So long as they’re giving you the option to control their influence, take advantage of it. You don’t need to pull the curtain back in order to know what’s behind it. Google is the man; he sees you when you’re sleeping and knows when you’re awake.

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  • Social Media Through the Grapevine
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    Your “Social Media through the Grapevine” weekly recap is here! You don’t have time to keep up with all the changes and craziness on social media so I’m happy to do it for you. This week: Twitter thinks bigger is better, Facebook authorship, Periscope and the law, new Pinterest search features, why Instagram and baseball don’t mix, and I couldn’t possible take the chance that you missed all the fuss about cowboy-boot-flip-flops. Here we go.

    Twitter Direct Message. Will bigger really be better?

    Twitter has announced, starting July 2015, there will no longer be a 140 character limit on direct messages. Recently, Twitter removed a restriction that now allows you to DM anyone even if you aren’t following them. Starting July, you will be able to DM them really long messages; up to 10,000 characters. This will be great for people who really want to connect on Twitter however I feel certain that we are going to see a big jump in scammy unwelcomed messages. I hope I’m wrong.

    Good news for bloggers! Facebook Authorship is here.

    One thing Facebook hates is when people click off of the Facebook site and one thing bloggers hate is writing content that no one reads. Facebook Authorship may help. Mike Allton, author of Facebook Adds Authorship. Bloggers Take Note! shares all the working ins-and-outs from what is “authorship” to how to set it up for your articles.

    Periscope users beware!

    Yes, Periscope is fun and awesome. I’m a fan. But, before you go videoing anywhere and everything, you need to know the law. Did you know that you may be recording copyrighted material and that location, location, location does matter? “Meerkat, Periscope, Privacy and the Law: Is Live-Streaming Video Legal?” breaks it down for you so that you can continue to livestream with a clear conscience.

    Pinterest wants you to get discovered.

    Your business is on Pinterest so you do everything you can think of to get noticed. You’ve set up a business account, verified it, post good content, and write kick-ass descriptions but you still feel like you aren’t being found in the search results. Pinterest to the rescue! Pinterest search just got smarter and hopefully your business with be the beneficiary.

    Get your head in the game Pablo Sandoval!

    You’re losing a game. Your team needs your support. So what do you do? Like pics on Instagram, of course. We can go back and forth on this all day long. Should players be on social media during a game? Probably not. Having a mental presence in the game is key to the moral of your team and to a successful outcome. Are players allowed “potty” breaks during a game? Yes. Do people pop on social media during “potty” breaks? You know you do. So is this a big deal worthy of benching or just doing-what-people-do during potty breaks? I have no clue. I hope that double tapping to “heart” a girls picture was worth it.

    A new fashion trend? Just maybe. Cowboy Boot Flip Flops

    I’m almost at a loss for words. In doing my research it looks like Redneck Boot Sandal, the awesome (?) creation of cobbler Scotty Franklin of Missouri is getting tons of positive attention and not just from the USA. If you pop onto his Facebook page (aptly named Billy Bob Cowboy Boot Sandal) you will see people actually asking if he ships overseas! I love it. 4000-plus people have already “liked” his Facebook page so they can be kept up to date on the product. From Gulf Shores, Alabama to London, England. Impressive. Way to go, Scotty!

    That’s it for this week. Keep doing what you’re doing and I will keep looking for the latest social media news and not-so news. You can find a new Social Media through the Grapevine every Sunday night at MicheleLawson.com

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  • How To Stop Working All The Time And Get More Done
    The always-on, sleep-with-your-smartphone ethic is so pervasive that last week Goldman Sachs actually had to explicitly forbid interns from working all night long. Two years ago it gave its analysts the privilege of taking Saturdays off.

    Surface moves like this, while laudable in intent, will do little to change the culture at elite, high-paying firms where the “best” workers put in absurdly long hours and are always available. Obsessive overachievers who are consistently rewarded for working a lot will just figure out workarounds.

    “The intent is right but it doesn’t work. It’s a bit like saying you want to control the weather by telling the thermometer, ‘don’t go over 80 degrees,’” said Grant Freeland, a partner at Boston Consulting Group, which over the past few years has actually figured out a way for employees to work fewer hours — not by using a blunt hammer like a work ban but by deeply examining how people work and facilitating conversations about how to do it better.

    Before I tell you how the Boston Consulting Group did it, you might be thinking: Who cares? These are the country’s most well-paid workers — total compensation for an entry-level consultant can reach six figures — so why not let them work as much as they want?

    But we can’t just ignore this: Consultants and bankers set cultural norms in the business world. They work with a range of other companies. Their values spread. Recall that hard-charging investment bankers helped create “CrackBerry” culture, fueling the dawn of smartphone addiction for everyone. Basically, investment bankers are part of the reason your boss can email you at midnight.

    The idea of rational work schedules is also of significance to a growing army of hourly workers who don’t have predictable hours and whose managers and managers’ managers don’t seem to care. These people are not well-paid and can’t afford round-the-clock childcare to accommodate their unpredictable schedules. Perhaps if corporate culture were to change at the upper-income levels, that change would spread, as well?

    Boston Consulting started to change its ways more than a decade ago, when it began a research experiment with Harvard Business School professor Leslie Perlow. She was interested in finding out if work-life balance was even possible for the kind of overachievers who go into professions like consulting and investment banking — Type As who need to be told not to work at 3 a.m.

    Perlow and a team of researchers studied the Boston office of Boston Consulting for a year to figure out what kinds of work-life issues were making people miserable. She came back with a theory about how to get consultants to work less: Give them predictable time off. (Banning work in the middle of the night so they can sleep doesn’t count.)

    This was a radical theory to consultants. “They thought we were crazy. It was really hard for them,” said Freeland, who worked with Perlow. “They cheated.”

    But after about five months, the consultants started to like this new world. They actually restructured the way they worked in order to make getting predictable time off possible. And that doesn’t always mean one night off a week — it could be an accommodation for a personal event like a child’s recital.

    They created processes that led to more productivity — sharing responsibilities for certain aspects of a project, for example, so they could cover for each other. They also dropped work that was redundant or unnecessary.

    In order to have a productive team where everyone gets a night off, they had to talk to each other a lot — about how to work smarter and, crucially, about their personal lives.

    “It was helpful to know that the reason the partner missed a meeting was that he was taking his daughter on a college tour,” one consultant said, according to a piece that Perlow wrote in the Harvard Business Review. “I had never heard a partner talk like that before. My work is really important to me, too, but it is not the most important thing in my life. [His openness] made me comfortable to admit that.”

    The group’s experiment was a success. Consultants rated themselves as more productive and they were doing less work. Fewer consultants quit the firm — there was less burnout.

    Boston Consulting has since expanded the project and now just about all of its 6,000 consultants participate in what they call PTO, or Predictability, Teaming and Openness.

    Notably, Boston Consulting ties succeeding in this program to advancing within the firm: “If you want to be promoted, you have to have good upward feedback on this,” Freeland said.

    So far, though, not a lot of other companies have gotten the message on this.

    “Occasionally, I will get calls from other firms to come and talk about this. The problem is: You talk to them and they’re like, ‘we’ll stop working at midnight,’” Freeland said. “So I get kind of frustrated.”

    Goldman Sachs is obviously filled with smart people so it’s certainly possible they’ll figure out how to do more. A spokesman for the firm told The Huffington Post last week that the recent move is part of an ongoing process to improve the work experience of its junior bankers. The firm is also experimenting with new kinds of software to improve productivity, according to The New York Times.

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  • Why the "Dreams" of Google's Neural Nets Are the Closest Thing to Reality
    Last week’s post on Google’s Research Blog has made front-page news with a series of stunning, hallucinatory images produced by artificial neural networks. Were these images our first glimpse into an artificial mind? Were neural networks “dreaming of electric sheep” – as one commentator suggested by making reference to Philip K. Dick’s famous short story?

    Neural networks have a long history. In 1943 two pioneers of cybernetics, the neurophysiologist Warren S. McCulloch and the logician Walter Pitts, demonstrated that neurons could be equivalent to running programs on Turing machines. In other words, they showed that the human brain could be simulated by a computer. Since then one of the most promising approaches to Artificial Intelligence has been the design and development of “artificial neural networks” that try to mimic how the brain functions. We know from brain science that the biological neurons in our brain are organised in hierarchies as well as in groups of various specialisations. When information is fed to our brain via the senses our neurons begin to process this information by first trying to identify its essential characteristics, then gradually building a hypothesis to classify the information and thus make sense of it. Recognition, classification and identification happen in stages, as “lower” neurons pass their outputs to other “higher” neurons to process further, in the brain’s hierarchical way of doing things. Memory plays a very important part in this process: it guides our neurons to quickly respond to new sensory inputs by taking shortcuts. Memory is our built-in information hacker.

    This information-processing idea from biological evolution has been transferred to computers, and has been advanced significantly since the early forties to the point of last week’s publication of how artificial neural networks “see the world”. What Google’s researchers did was to feed the output of their neural networks as inputs back into the system, and observe what happened. But they did more than that: they fed their neural networks with “white noise”, i.e. with “nothing”. And then a very interesting thing happened. The neural networks seemed to “imagine”, or “dream”. They set upon interpreting nothingness as an input. This is analogous to what happens in our brains during our sleep. With our senses turned off our brain has no external informational material to process. And yet our neurons do not cease to work. During so-called REM sleep, information about nothing is processed in our brain, and the output are dreams. Could Google’s neural networks be dreaming too?

    If artificial neural networks are a technological metaphor for biological neural networks then last week’s images are indeed the technological metaphor for dreams. But to what degree does the metaphor match “reality”? This is a very interesting question because neurobiology and cognitive psychology tell us that our brains “construct” reality. We are told that we see, hear, feel is not “really” what is out there, but what our neurons construct. This construction is the result of evolution. Therefore “reality” can only be of the perceived kind, servicing our species’ survival ends and nothing more. The distance between “perceived” reality and “real” reality has been puzzling philosophers and scientists since Plato. It is the fodder of heated debates in today’s consciousness studies, mind philosophy, and neuroscience. But perhaps last week’s images can offer a new, experimental, prespective in the debate.

    Artificial neural networks are not programmed like conventional computers, but they do operate on the basis of mathematical equations that weigh evidence and perform calculations. The mathematical basis of artificial neurons is not merely practical. It takes the neuron-Turing machine equivalence suggested by McCulloch and Pitts to its logical conclusion, i.e. that the nature of perception is mathematical.

    But if we accept this ontological conclusion then we must also accept that, given that mathematics are bereft of subjectivity, there must be a fundamental element of objectivity in our subjective perceptions too. In other words, our brain may “construct” reality but it constructs it mathematically – just like Google’s artificial networks. Continuously feeding the results of outputs from neural network processing as inputs to new processing, mother Nature as well as Google, use “feedback loops” – or “reflexivity” – to abstract mathematical results into “meaning”. The artificial hallucinations published last week are perhaps the first depictions of what reality looks like for a machine that simulates our brains. The fact that we found it interesting and familiar, even artistic, is perhaps the most exciting and fascinating thing that we got from research in Artificial Intelligence so far: the first experimental confirmation that our minds are not the only ones that see the world as we do. That “reality” is probably very close to what we actually perceive. Somewhat ironically, Artificial Intelligence is revealing to us that we do not live in a Matrix 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.

  • People Are Sharing The Positive Impact Of Birth Control On Their Lives
    Women and men on Twitter are sharing how birth control has made their lives better.

    Planned Parenthood started the hashtag #BirthControlHelpedMe on June 18, raising awareness about the difference effective contraception can make in a person’s life. The hashtag is part of a campaign, featuring erected billboards in Times Square.

    Attacks on birth control are heating up, so it’s time to shout our stories from the rooftops. Fill in the tweet: #BirthControlHelpedMe ____!

    — Planned Parenthood (@PPact) June 18, 2015

    Check out our billboards in Times Square today! Use #BirthControlHelpedMe to tell us your birth control story. pic.twitter.com/YLYN8v7cfL

    — Planned Parenthood (@PPFA) June 22, 2015

    Women shared how using birth control allowed them to complete their life goals, advance in their careers and enjoy their sex lives at times without the fear of unintended pregnancy.

    #BirthControlHelpedMe to be able to safely and effectively decide when having children was right for me.

    — Mary Agudelo (@moaphers) June 18, 2015

    My #LARC #BirthControlHelpedMe take control over my reproductive health. I’ll have kids when I want them. Not today.

    — Rose Niz (@Amandahb426) June 22, 2015

    #BirthControlHelpedMe (and still does) take control of my body, my choices, and keep my attention focused on my education and future! @PPFA

    — Rachel (@racheldyer100) June 22, 2015

    An estimated 1.5 million women use hormonal birth control solely for non-contraceptive benefits. Many women shared how birth control helped with various health problems, for example by regulating their periods and clearing up acne.

    #BirthControlHelpedMe manage crazy periods & have positive sexual experiences w/o becoming a parent when I don’t want to be one. #teamiud

    — Kate Bernyk (@kbernyk) June 22, 2015

    #BirthControlHelpedMe get rid of acne, a 5-day amazonian attack on my body, unpredictable periods, and lessened migraines…I could go on

    — Krissy Bryde (@BrydeK18) June 18, 2015

    In my early 20s I suffered from debilitating cramps, mood swings, sickness. It helped me function in normal life. #BirthControlHelpedMe

    — aprilhauck (@aprilhauck) June 19, 2015

    My period was overwhelming as a teen — pain, exhaustion, etc. #BirthControlHelpedMe ease the pain so I didn’t have to miss class.

    — Ponta (@typicalfeminist) June 22, 2015

    Men also weighed in to share how using contraception with their partners allowed them to choose if and when fatherhood was right for them.

    #BirthControlHelpedMe save my wife’s health – I got a vasectomy because pregnancy would’ve endangered it.

    — Dave (@TooOldToBeCool) June 18, 2015

    #BirthControlHelpedMe plan when to become a dad! I’m so grateful to @PPFA and @PPGreaterOH for helping me plan! https://t.co/vPuZYAXmo0

    — Brant Silvers (@brantsilvers) June 22, 2015

    The hashtag reminds us that birth control changes so many lives for the better — and access is worth fighting for.

    Read more #BirthControlHelpedMe tweets 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.

  • Facial Recognition Technology Is Secretly Tracking You, Everywhere
    Facial recognition technology is becoming more and more widely used by social media platforms, advertisers and tech companies. But many of us don’t know that our biological data is being collected, much less what it’s being used for — and there aren’t a lot of guidelines to make sure these companies respect our privacy.

    Advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union have recently tried — and failed — to reach an agreement with trade groups about the use of technology that can recognize your facial features, identify you and sell you products. At stake is consumer privacy: You may unwittingly be marketed to (or tracked by law enforcement) without ever explicitly consenting to having your face used.

    Concerns over such technology recently stopped Facebook’s new “Moments” app from launching in Europe, but Americans are still very much subject to the possibility that companies may be collecting data that links their identity to their face.

    A lot of us already turn this data over without thinking about it. Perhaps you frequently tag photos on Facebook — the platform will come to recognize which of your friends a certain face belongs to. Or maybe you use Google Photos, which can tell when you’re photographing the same person over and over, though it doesn’t assign identifying information to them.

    It may not seem like such a big deal when Facebook is recognizing people based on data they’ve already handed over. But the applications for this technology run a bit deeper. In a new segment on HuffPost Live, Engadgets’s John Colucci says that a restaurant could, in theory, know to offer you booze because of all the online photos of you drinking. Or, a furniture shop might try to sell you a table made out of specific wood because of decisions you’ve made previously.

    This sort of thing has been happening for years. But the concern is that it could be used on a more massive scale, before any baseline consumer protections are put in place.

    For more, watch the video above.

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

  • Instacart To Convert Some Contract Workers To Employee Status
    Instacart, the same-day grocery delivery startup, will allow some of its contractor workers to become part-time employees, as regulators more closely scrutinize the workforce of so-called on-demand companies.

    – 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.

  • Cook: Chinese tastes influence designs, Watch see strong dev interest
    In a new interview given to the Chinese-language version of Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook admits that the company takes Chinese consumer tastes into account in its product designs, along with other factors. Cook specifically pointed to the gold color option — first introduced with 2013′s iPhone 5s and now expanded to the iPad and new 12-inch Retina MacBook line — as reflecting in part “the popularity of that color among Chinese users.”



  • Calvin Harris Is Very Proud Of Taylor Swift For Writing That Open Letter To Apple Music
    Calvin Harris is super proud of Taylor Swift for standing up to Apple Music over the weekend.

    On Sunday, the “Blank Space” singer took to her Tumblr page to share her thoughts about Apple Music‘s new streaming service, condemning the company for not paying artists, writers and producers. Swift wrote that she would not feature her new album on Apple Music, similar to when she pulled all of her music from Spotify. Her letter ended up getting the attention of Apple’s Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, who tweeted on Sunday that the company “will always make sure that artist[s] are paid.” The victory is huge, and also made Swift’s love interest very proud.

    After playing a set at the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas on Saturday, Harris took to Twitter to praise his long-rumored girlfriend‘s bold move. The DJ not only celebrated the “Bad Blood” singer for “chang[ing] the entire music industry,” but pretty much openly admitted to their romance for the first time, calling her his “girl.”

    I just played a gig inside a giant owl and my girl just changed the entire music industry what a day

    — Calvin Harris (@CalvinHarris) June 22, 2015

    Watch out, Swift and Harris are taking over 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.

  • GCHQ 'broke rules' spying on NGOs
    British intelligence agency did not follow proper procedures when collecting information on two international NGOs, it is ruled.
  • 5G networks could hit 20Gbps by 2020
    At a meeting in California, the International Telecommunication Union sets out its vision for the future of 5G networking
  • Amazon Reviews Are About To Get A Major Overhaul
    Amazon’s turning to artificial intelligence to make more sense of human reviews.

    A new update to the company’s customer review system will automatically recognize “helpful” product reviews and give them more weight, an Amazon spokeswoman told The Huffington Post. CNET on Friday was the first to report on this change.

    Under the new system, which is already rolling out, the best reviews are those that are recent, written by people who purchased the product from Amazon and frequently cited as “helpful” by Amazon users. Such posts will now have greater influence over an item’s overall “star” rating, which was previously an average of an item’s starred reviews.

    For example, if you were in the market for the third volume of an old “Justice League” comic book, you might notice its overall rating of 4.2 stars is a perfect average of the stars given by its 13 reviewers. Under the new system, this item might actually display a higher rating, because the lowest review — one star — was not written by someone who actually purchased the book from Amazon.com, and nearly half of the 53 people who interacted with that review said it was not helpful.

    You can see why this would be appealing: If Amazon can give greater weight to “legitimate” reviews, then publishers can worry less about people gaming the system with a flood of junky reviews. Amazon has tried to crack down on such reviews in the past, going so far as to sue a number of websites that allow individuals to purchase positive coverage.

    The new system is also bound to make companies happy because, as The Guardian notes, if one releases a flawed product that’s later updated, reviews focusing on the outdated version will be given less weight than newer reviews.

    Many Amazon users won’t see a major difference right away. The company says that it’s introducing the new feature gradually, and it won’t change which items you see on the Amazon homepage. Company spokeswoman Julie Law told The Huffington Post that the system also doesn’t impact which items come up when you search on Amazon, unless you specifically sort by review scores.

    That said, there are some interesting implications to the new update. Amazon’s dipped its toe into automated product recommendations with “Amazon’s Choice,” a new service that suggests specific brands if a user asks for a general product. (It might sell you Aquafresh if you ask for toothpaste, for example.) Amazon has said that product ratings affect those recommendations, at least in part. If actual, human reviews play a larger role in shaping ratings, Amazon’s Choice could feel a bit less like a faceless corporation arbitrarily peddling wares to the masses.

    As for those humans who write the reviews: They don’t seem worried about the update.

    “It has no effect on how I review products,” Amazon Hall-of-Famer Ali Julia told HuffPost via email. “All I can do is do the best to describe my experience with the products and show videos that illustrate the pluses and minuses of each product that I review.”

    – 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, June 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.

  • Hackers Ground 1,400 Passengers At Warsaw Airport
    WARSAW (Reuters) – Around 1,400 passengers of the Polish airline LOT were grounded at Warsaw’s Chopin airport on Sunday after hackers attacked the airline ground computer systems used to issue flight plans, the company said.
    The computer system was hacked in the afternoon and fixed after around five hours, during which 10 of the state-owned carrier’s national and international flights were canceled and about a dozen more delayed, spokesman Adrian Kubicki said.
    LOT was taking care of the passengers on Sunday evening and some were already able to board flights. LOT said it was providing hotels for those who needed to stay overnight.
    At no point was the safety of ongoing flights compromised, Kubicki said, and flights destined for Warsaw were able to land safely. No other airports were affected, he added.
    “We’re using state-of-the-art computer systems, so this could potentially be a threat to others in the industry,” Kubicki said. The attack in now being investigated by the authorities.
    The airport itself was not affected, its spokesman said.

    (Reporting by Wiktor Szary; Editing by Tom Heneghan)

    – 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.

  • Verizon's Massive East Coast FiOS Scandal: 41 Percent Coverage Using 'Weasel Room' Math
    Summer Reading: “The Book of Broken Promises; $400 Billion Broadband Scandal & Free the Net”

    Definition of “Weasel Room”: Using specific terms, words or phrases with ‘selective’ accounting to distort, puff up or obfuscate the facts.

    Verizon harmed America’s East Coast; not just in one or two states, but from Massachusetts down through Virginia. Using Verizon’s own press releases, combined with U.S. Census and FCC data, here’s the reality:
    2015-06-21-1434902241-3515613-Verizoneastcoastcoverage.png

    Starting in the 1990s, Verizon and its previous incarnations, Bell Atlantic and NYNEX, had made commitments to wire their entire territories, like Pennsylvania and New Jersey, not to mention the wiring of schools and libraries, replacing the aging, legacy copper networks to deliver a fabulous, fiber optic future. And yet, as we sit here in 2015, we find that along the way, Verizon was able to weasel out of these commitments and ended up with an embarrassing, lousy 41% covered — and this is based on ‘weasel room” mathematics, where even the published numbers are suspect.

    And to add insult to injury, as we documented in The Book of Broken Promises, customers paid billions per state for upgrades most will never get.

    And Here’s The Promise:

    2015-06-21-1434902278-6846780-Verizoneastcoastcoveragemap.png

    Click to read the previous story about these commitments.

    First, I should say — FiOS is a real, live, fiber optic service that uses a real fiber optic wire, and even with all the caveats about pricing or deployment issues, unlike AT&T, who used the old, legacy copper wires for U-Verse, if Verizon had actually deployed as was promised and delivered what customers paid for, all of these states, communities and users would have benefited.

    With the recent revelations about Verizon’s deployment of FiOS in New York City, and our previous examination, which included New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s coverage with fiber optics, and I decided to continue and detail the fiber optic deployments along America’s East Coast.

    Unfortunately, after reading a number of Verizon’s state summaries of how great the company is and how well they have been serving each state, I noticed a pattern. First, here’s the hype. This is an excerpt from Verizon Massachusetts’ press release about their wireline networks, for 2014. Sounds great, huh?

    “BOSTON, April 28, 2015 — Massachusetts consumers, businesses and government agencies continued to benefit from Verizon’s 2014 investment of more than $331 million in its industry-leading fiber-optic and wireline networks.

    “As the Bay State’s communications, broadband and video needs grow more sophisticated each day, Verizon’s strong networks and assets are uniquely positioned to meet those needs and enable future growth,” said Allison Cole, region president for consumer and mass business. “Our network technology enables commerce to thrive, businesses to open new markets, students to attain knowledge from anywhere, and all of us to connect to what matters most.”

    “At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 1 million Massachusetts homes and businesses. Verizon has placed more than 18,000 miles of fiber optics in Massachusetts – enough to stretch to the state borders from Boston to Pittsfield 131 times (or stretch from Boston to London six times).”

    Impressive until you realize that the release didn’t reveal the most important question:

    How many housing units and businesses are in the Verizon Massachusetts footprint and can actually get the service?

    NOTE: As we discussed in previous articles, please be advised that the statements by the phone companies, cable companies and regulators can use different wiggle room words, like ‘premises’, ‘locations’, ‘businesses’, ‘small businesses’, ‘homes’, ‘households’, ‘housing ‘units’, “passed”, etc., and each has different meanings, but also different end results.

    NOTE: I didn’t include some of the other territories in California or Florida, which are being sold off, or some states, like Delaware or Rhode Island. Also, AT&T controlled Connecticut until they sold it off.)

    Walk of Shame

    This chart is the reciprocal of the opening chart, and shows how many locations in Verizon’s state territories were not upgraded.

    2015-06-21-1434902485-8278257-Verizoncantget.png
    Let me walk you through how we compiled this information and use Verizon Massachusetts, which has an upsetting and incredible 29% being able to get any upgraded FiOS service.

    1) Coverage

    Verizon claims it has “more than 1 million homes and businesses” covered with FiOS TV and FiOS Internet in Massachusetts.

    “Fiber-optic networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 1 million Massachusetts homes and businesses. Verizon has placed more than 18,000 miles of fiber optics in Massachusetts – enough to stretch to the state borders from Boston to Pittsfield 131 times (or stretch from Boston to London six times).

    2) Next I went to the U.S. Census Quick Facts for Massachusetts.

    There are 3.4 million ‘locations’ or ‘premises’, which is housing units and businesses. I added ‘households’ to demonstrate the differences between ‘housing units’ vs ‘households’.

    2015-06-21-1434902549-1393607-Verizonmahouseholds.png

    3) According to the FCC, Verizon MA Control’s 99.9 percent of the State.

    Next, I needed to find out what percentage of the State Verizon Massachusetts covers. So I go to the FCC. It stopped publishing all basic information in 2007.

    Verizon Massachusetts happens to be part of the original ‘Bell Companies” that were part of the original Bell system, which was part of the original AT&T.

    And I remembered an obscure chart in the “Statistics of Common Carriers”, which gave the percentage of the Bell company lines in a state, by year. So I go back to 1996, before any merger, and do the other years till the last year of 2007.

    Click to see the actual page for the year 2007 from the FCC’s Statistics of Common Carriers.

    According to this, Verizon Massachusetts has 99.9 percent of the lines in the Bay state.

    2015-06-21-1434902728-7073701-Verizonsocc.png

    Verizon New York, by contrast had 89.2 percent of the State in 2007.

    4) Basic Math Then Kicks In:

    a) Verizon MA has 1 million locations covered.
    b) Verizon MA has 99.9% of the State. (We rounded it to 100%.)
    c) There are 3,410,326 ‘Locations’ in the State.
    d) 29.32% of the locations are covered by Verizon MA

    5) Don’t Take My Word for This.

    Here are the actual Verizon quotes for each state. Notice that the wording is almost identical.

    “Fiber-optic networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 1 million Massachusetts homes and businesses. Verizon has placed more than 18,000 miles of fiber optics in Massachusetts – enough to stretch to the state borders from Boston to Pittsfield 131 times (or stretch from Boston to London six times).”

    “Fiber-optic networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 4 million New York and Connecticut homes and businesses. Verizon has placed more than 161 million feet of fiber optic cables in the two states.”

    “By the end of 2014, Verizon said, its FiOS TV and Internet services were available to more than 2.1 million homes and businesses in New Jersey, and it has placed more than 22,000 miles of fiber-optic cables in the state.”

    “Fiber-optic networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 1.3 million Maryland homes and businesses in parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Charles, Harford, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.”

    “Fiber-optic networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued to deploy its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services, in Virginia. At year’s end, FiOS services were available to more than 1.35 million households and businesses in Northern Virginia, Richmond and surrounding areas, and the Hampton Roads region.”

    “Fiber-optic Networks strengthen communities, and last year Verizon continued deployment of its 100 percent fiber-optic network, with its FiOS TV and FiOS Internet services. By the end of 2014, FiOS services were available to nearly 100,000 homes and businesses in the District.”

    Conclusion and a few More Caveats

    How did Verizon get away with this? How can it have failed to even do 50 percent of their territories with FiOS?

    In the previous article I detailed that Verizon’s coverage area, as claimed, may have more holes than Swiss cheese, thus dramatically lowering the information the company supplied about its FiOS coverage. There are, for example, the holes in deployment reported in New York City and other locations; while an area may be listed as completed, this doesn’t mean the service is ‘available’.

    Or take, Verizon PA, is required to have 100 percent of their territory completed by the end of 2015. The company claims it has 96 percent completed, but they are simply making it up as Verizon put in this caveat that ‘deployed’ has nothing to do with a customer being able to get the service.

    Footnote to Verizon Pennsylvania’s calculations of its broadband coverage.

    2015-06-21-1434903263-6790290-PAcaveatt.png

    And the Pennsylvania weasel room extends in all directions. The original commitment was fiber to the home with speeds of 45 Mbps in both directions to 100 percent of the State by 2015. Then, through a sleaze deal, the required speed was reduced to 1.5 Mbps in one direction and the final insult was to allow the company to substitute critical infrastructure for Verizon’s expensive wireless broadband service where 10 Gigs cost $60.00 — about 4 HD movies on Netflix, vs DSL, which is slow but at least not ‘prohibitively’ priced– and as you can see from this quote, Verizon slapped rural customers in the face.

    Verizon can make any excuse it wants, but at the end of the day, they failed every state that they controlled.

    I leave you with a partial collection of quotes compiled for “The Book of Broken Promises” by Bell Atlantic and NYNEX, taken directly from their annual reports, press statements, etc. about the upcoming, fabulous, fiber optic future. This was all hype and was used to change state laws to give the companies more profits as virtually none of this was ever built; FiOS wasn’t deployed until at least 2005-2007, depending on the state.

    NYNEX, 1993 Annual Report

    “We’re prepared to install between 1.5 and 2 million fiber optic lines through 1996 to begin building our portion of the Information Superhighway.”

    Bell Atlantic 1993 Annual Report

    “First, we announced our intention to lead the country in the deployment of the information highway…. We will spend $11 billion over the next five years to rapidly build full-service networks capable of providing these services within the Bell Atlantic Region.”

    And the money would be spent to serve 8.75 million homes by the end of the year 2000.

    “We expect Bell Atlantic’s enhanced network will be ready to serve 8.75 million homes by the end of the year 2000. By the end of 1998, we plan to wire the top 20 markets…. These investments will help establish Bell Atlantic as a world leader….”

    NYNEX Filing with the FCC:

    “On July 8, 1994, NYNEX filed two Section 214 applications for authority to provide video dialtone service in certain areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. NYNEX supplemented each of these applications on July 29, 1994. The application to provide video dialtone service in Massachusetts proposes a system that will pass approximately 334,000 homes and businesses. The application to provide service in Rhode Island proposes a system that will pass about 63,000 homes and businesses.”

    • PA Senate OKs Fiber Optics Bill, Philadelphia Daily News, June 24, 1993
    • PA Legislature Compromises on Fiber Optics Bill. The Measure Calls for the State to Be Wired by 2015. Philadelphia Inquirer, June 25, 1993
    • N.J. Bell Rewiring Approved By State. About 56 Million Miles of Wire Will Be Replaced with Fiber Optic Cable, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 23, 1992
    • Fiber Optic TV Coming to N.J. Philadelphia Daily News, November 17, 1992
    • Bell Clears a Hurdle in Quest to Offer Video. A Judge Overturned Part of a Federal Law. Now Bell Atlantic Will Try Offering Video Services Regionwide. Philadelphia Daily News, July 28, 1993

    Bell posts its itinerary on information highway, Baltimore Sun, December 2, 1993

    “Racing to solidify its competitive position before its telephone monopoly disappears, Bell Atlantic Corp. outlined an ambitious timetable yesterday under which 1.25 million households — some in Baltimore — will be able to order up movies on demand and place video phone calls before the end of 1995… In subsequent years, the regional phone company plans to add 1.5 million homes a year to its fiber-optic network, ensuring that some 8.75 million homes of the 11 million homes in its mid-Atlantic territory will be able to tap into advanced video and electronic services by the end of 2000.”

    – 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.

  • Taylor Swift Denounces Apple Music In Open Letter
    Looks like there will be a blank space where Taylor Swift’s “1989″ album should be on Apple Music’s new streaming service.

    After Apple announced on June 8 that it would roll out its music streaming platform, which will cost $9.99 a month following a free three-month trial, Swift took to her Tumblr page to write an open letter to the company to explain why she will not feature her new album on the service.

    Swift writes that the free trial period, in which artists, writers and producers will go unpaid, is a “shocking, disappointing” move by Apple.

    This is not about me. Thankfully I am on my fifth album and can support myself, my band, crew, and entire management team by playing live shows. This is about the new artist or band that has just released their first single and will not be paid for its success. This is about the young songwriter who just got his or her first cut and thought that the royalties from that would get them out of debt. This is about the producer who works tirelessly to innovate and create, just like the innovators and creators at Apple are pioneering in their field … but will not get paid for a quarter of a year’s worth of plays on his or her songs.

    The “Style” singer’s sentiments on Apple Music echo her decision to pull her songs from Spotify. She told Yahoo Music in November 2014, “I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists, and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”

    In July 2014, the 25-year-old penned an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal about the changing music industry, in which she predicted that artists would have more control over the value of their music. “[I]ndividual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album’s price point is. I hope they don’t underestimate themselves or undervalue their art,” she wrote.

    Head to Swift’s Tumblr page to read her full message to 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.

  • VIDEO: Robot stars on Berlin opera stage
    A small robot, the same size as an 8-year-old child, is the star of an opera performance at Berlin’s Komische Oper.
  • VR 'disappoints' at E3 games show
    Did virtual reality technology make an impact at the E3 show?

Mobile Technology News, June 21, 2015

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

  • Can Curation Save Twitter?
    The thing people forget about Twitter is that is already — by any measure — a massive success. Almost beyond anyones imagination. Celebrities tweet. Grandmas tweet. N.Y.C. tweets out school closings. It’s too successful, it’s too much signal — without a filter.

    2015-06-20-1434817495-2171209-twittercuration1.png

    So, before we go and talk about Twitter’s impending doom, let’s take a look at just how important, engaging and socially relevant it is today.

    Let’s start with celebrities. They’re huge on twitter. You can follow Katy Perry, and seventy million people do. Dang. Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift aren’t far behind. And number four on the list, behind Taylor? Barack Obama. Not bad for the leader of the free world.

    2015-06-20-1434817552-7350004-screenshot_1534.png

    Moving on to Brands. These direct communications between brands and their customers is changing the way Brands tell their stories to consumers. Starbucks has 8 million followers. Playstation and Samsung Mobile come in 2nd and 3rd.

    2015-06-20-1434817574-3455620-screenshot_1535.png

    The challenge for Twitter is that the charm and potential game-changing impact of the service was (and is) that it allows anyone to publish into the network. But, it’s done a terrible job on the discovery front… delivering a big, noisy stream of tweets that are hard to sort out and filter. And it isn’t something that is simply going to float away. Once you get past the Celebrities and the Brands, Twitter is huge in some categories you might not even think about. As the research firm Socialbakers explains –

    Customer Care: Twitter is a huge platform for customer care — in fact, it’s the largest platform on social media for customer care in terms of volume. In Q1 2015, customers asked brands 6.5 million questions on Twitter compared to 1.4 million questions on Facebook. (This is from our Socially Devoted Q1 2015 study.)

    - Twitter video: Social Bakers looked at the top 500 brands on Twitter (based on followers), and already by March 2015, 36% of the videos they posted to the platform were native Twitter videos (as compared to YouTube, Vine, Vimeo, etc videos). Even more impressive, 71% of the interactions (favorites, retweets, replies) on videos posted to the platform occurred on native Twitter videos. (In other words, Twitter video receives more engagement.) This is especially impressive given that Twitter just launched its video service in January.

    - Periscope & Meerkat: Within the month since Periscope launched (March 26 – April 25, 2015), content creators posted over 4,000 Periscope and Meerkat live streams on Twitter. This doesn’t include the live streams posted by normal users — content creators means brands/celebs/media/entertainment companies.

    - Events: Twitter is also huge for events and real-time affairs. During the World Cup for example, you can see here how many mentions we tracked daily of the teams and players.

    Ok, here comes the solution. The word is — Curation. And Twitter needs curation desperately.

    Well-regarded blogger and thinker Bob Lefsetz wrote in his daily newsletter: “Maybe Twitter’s unfixable. Maybe it’s a fad like MySpace. Something gee-whiz, brand new, that is succeeded by a platform with more functionality. Twitter told us we want instant news. But it never turned into a comprehensible service. It’s the internet at its worst.”

    And there’s some truth to what he says, even if it’s a bit harsh. Twitter is hard to navigate, but it’s hardly unfixable. And, more importantly, it’s essential.

    Chris Sacca’s blog post on this topic calls for curation, human editors, and channels — all the things that I’ve been asking for in this, and previous posts. So, if you haven’t already — here’s his post – worth a read for sure.

    So now is not the time to sell, or reduce expectations. It’s time to feed the beast, and create a clean and navigable front end. Mobile first, channelized, and curated. If Twitter can do that, they’ll win the biggest prize that the internet has to offer, relevance and revenue.

    Steven Rosenbaum is serial entrepreneur, author, and filmmaker. His latest book, Curate This! is in print and ebook on Amazon.com. He is the CEO of Waywire.com (enterprise.waywire.com)

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  • WikiLeaks Releases Saudi Diplomatic Cables Revealing Political Intrigue And Lavish Spending
    ISTANBUL (AP) — At the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, diplomats talked about airing the grievances of disenchanted local youth using Facebook and Twitter. At the embassy in Khartoum, they reported anxiously on Iran’s military aid to Sudan.

    Meanwhile, the Saudi mission in Geneva got stuck dealing with a multi-million dollar limo bill racked up by a Saudi princess and her entourage. The incidents are mentioned in diplomatic documents published Friday by WikiLeaks, only the first batch of what the transparency group says will be a much larger release. But they’ve already provided an unusual level of insight into day-to-day Saudi diplomacy — giving a snapshot of the lavish spending habits of senior royals and the political intrigue percolating across the Middle East.

    WikiLeaks so far has published roughly 60,000 documents, of which The Associated Press only has been able to authenticate a handful. But the organization has a long track record of hosting large leaks of government material and in a statement released late Saturday the Saudi government acknowledged its diplomatic servers had been penetrated ahead of the mass disclosure.

    Many of the documents reviewed by the AP appear aimed at tracking Iranian activity across the region or undermining Tehran’s interests. An undated memo apparently sent from the Saudi Embassy in Tehran made note of what it called the “frustration of the Iranian citizen and his strong desire for regime change” and suggested ways to publicly expose Iran’s social grievances through “the Internet, social media like Facebook and Twitter.” It also suggests “hosting opposition figures overseas, coordinating with them and encouraging them to use galleries to show pictures of torture carried by the Iranian regime against people.”

    Saudis also kept a watchful eye on Iran’s friends, real or perceived. One 2012 memo warned that Iran was getting “flirting American messages” suggesting that the U.S. had no objections to a peaceful Iranian nuclear program so long as it had guarantees, “possibly Russian ones.”

    Another memo, dated to 2012, accuses the United Arab Emirates of helping Russia and Iran circumvent international sanctions. A third memo — marked “top secret” — alleges that Iranian fighter jets bombed South Sudanese forces during a 2012 standoff over the oil-rich area of Heglig.

    The Iranian Embassy in London did not immediately answer a request for comment Saturday.

    There are many such hard-to-confirm stories in the Saudi documents.

    One of the most inflammatory memos carries the claim that Gulf countries were prepared to pay $10 billion to secure the freedom of deposed Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The memo, written on a letterhead bearing only a single palm tree and crossed blades above the words “top secret,” quotes an unnamed Egyptian official as saying that the Muslim Brotherhood would agree to release Mubarak in exchange for the cash “since the Egyptian people will not benefit from his imprisonment.”

    Although the document is undated, the political situation it describes suggests it was drafted in 2012, when the Brotherhood appeared poised to take power. Senior Brotherhood official Mohammed Morsi served as Egypt’s first freely elected president from June 2012 to July 2013 before being ousted by the military.

    It’s not clear if the idea of paying the Brotherhood to secure Mubarak’s release ever coalesced into a firm offer. A handwritten note at the top left of the document says the ransom “is not a good idea.”

    “Even if it is paid the Muslim Brotherhood will not be able to do anything regarding releasing Mubarak,” the note’s unknown author writes. “It seems there are no alternatives for the president but to enter prison.”

    Still, the memo’s existence adds credence to the claim made in 2012 by senior Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater that Saudi Arabia had offered billions of dollars in return for Mubarak’s freedom — something Saudi officials hotly denied at the time.

    Amid all the intrigue are other insights into Saudi attitudes abroad — especially their taste for luxury.

    The AP found a 2009 invoice for an unpaid limousine bill racked up by Princess Maha Al Ibrahim, whom Saudi media identify as the wife of senior Saudi royal Abdul-Rahman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The invoice, from Geneva-based Golden Limousine Services and addressed to the Saudi mission there, says the princess skipped town after failing to paying a first installment of 1.5 million Swiss francs ($1.4 million at the time) owed to the company and her hotel. When the bill was brought to her attention, “she declared that the amount was too high” and asked diplomats to handle the negotiations over the payment.

    Louis Roulet, the administrator of the limousine service, confirmed the document’s authenticity when reached by the AP and said he remembers the incident well. The total bill was “far more” than 1.5 million Swiss francs, he said, adding that it was eventually paid in full.

    “We don’t work with this family anymore, for the obvious reasons,” Roulet said.

    Still, the Algerian-born Roulet was unfazed, saying these kinds of disputes were typical of the Arab customers he dealt with.

    “I find this totally normal,” he said.

    ___

    Michael reported from Cairo. Associated Press Bassem Mroue and Hamza Hendawi in Beirut, Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Maamoun Youssef in Cairo contributed to this report.

    ___

    Online:

    WikiLeaks: https://www.wikileaks.org/saudi-cables/

    Raphael Satter can be reached at: http://raphae.li

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  • This Clean Water Device Creates A Tap From A Backpack, And It's Saving Lives
    June 20th is Impact Journalism Day, a global media campaign to spotlight solutions. The Huffington Post is one of more than 45 news organizations committed to publishing solutions-based stories that can inspire change on a global level.

    It weighs no more than 300 grams, fits easily into a backpack and looks like any other plastic bag. But the simple device is a life-saver for people who have no access to clean drinking water.

    The bag, called Fieldtrate Lite, filters dirty water, such as river water, through a membrane and turns it into potable water in the same time it would take to run it from the tap.

    It is the brainchild of Singapore start-up WateROAM, which designs portable water filtration systems for use in disaster relief operations or among rural communities without access to clean water.

    The social enterprise, set up last August, is run by four young people – Mr David Pong, 26, Mr Lim Chong Tee, 24, Mr Vincent Loka, 22, and Mr Pooi Ching Kwek, 27. They were schoolmates at the National University of Singapore (NUS).
    Mr Pong, WateROAM’s chief executive, said: “Our vision is to build a world where no man shall face prolonged thirst.”
    The Singaporean, who has a degree in business administration, added: “In the areas we went to, such as Phnom Penh and Bintan, we saw kids stunted in growth from not having proper nutrients and clean drinking water.

    “They don’t want to go to school because they feel sick all the time, they can’t help out on the farm, they are sidelined in job interviews because of their physical stature.

    “Water affects everything in life.”

    The team hopes that Fieldtrate Lite will be the answer to the problem.

    The filtration system, which costs $35, is easy to operate and does not require electricity. Each bag, made of medical-grade plastic, is fitted with a tube that dispenses filtered water.

    It takes just an hour to filter a full bag of six to 10 litres of water, which can serve a household of five to seven people.
    It can last three to five years because it uses ceramic membranes, which are more durable than the widely-used polymeric membranes which tear more easily.

    The WateRoam team says they are the first to use ceramic membrane technology, which is more commonly used for industrial waste management, in portable water filters.

    fieldtrate lite

    WateROAM’s team brought a 30kg Fieldtrate Plus system to a village of about 300 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in June 2014. The filtration system, which looks like a large suitcase, can produce up to 500 litres of clean water per hour.

    WateRoam also has a more elaborate filtration system, called Fieldtrate Plus, which was invented before Fieldtrate Lite.
    Fieldtrate Plus, which is the size and weight of a large suitcase at 30kg, is sold for $1,500. It can produce up to 500 litres of clean water per hour, enough to cater to the needs of a few hundred people.

    To date, WateROAM’s filtration systems have provided drinkable water for nearly 1,000 people in three countries, including an orphanage in Bintan, Indonesia, a village in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and victims of last December’s floods in Kelantan, Malaysia.

    Mr Lim, who is the chief marketing officer of the start-up, said he got interested in water sanitation after a trip to Phnom Penh during his junior college days.

    There, he saw a young boy drinking dirty water from a flooded well. “The water was very brown, even greenish, but he drank it anyway. When I first saw that, it really affected me.”

    He then decided to study environmental engineering at university, so that he could help tackle water problems. He is now three years into his degree course.

    Mr Loka, who is WateRoam’s financial controller, said clean water can be scarce in his hometown of Medan in Indonesia because of frequent flooding.

    “I took this path because I hope to contribute to my country some day,” said the final-year environmental engineering student.

    WateROAM now sells the filters to non-governmental organisations such as World Vision, Canact and Relief.sg, which bring them to overseas communities.

    The team members also fly in – sometimes paying for flights out of their own pockets – to help install the systems and educate users on water hygiene.

    Mr Pong, who went to Kelantan in March, said: “Three months after the flooding, many people were still relying on relief aid for bottled water. We want to help deploy systems which are more sustainable.”

    WateROAM’s next step is developing Fieldtrate X, a filter which can handle water containing arsenic, which is a major issue for ground water in areas such as Phnom Penh and Bangladesh.

    A prototype is being tested by the Bangladeshi government, and the team expects it to be ready for use in the field in six months’ time.

    Mr Pong graduated from NUS last year; the rest of the team are juggling their WateROAM responsibilities with their studies.

    But Mr Lim said the pressure was “not daunting” and added: “This is my dream job.”

    He returned to Phnom Penh last June, this time with the Fieldtrate Plus in tow. “When I saw the village kids running around the system, finally able to play with clean water, I felt whatever I’m doing is worth it.”

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  • Google cracks down on revenge porn
    The company says it’s going to allow victims to request for certain images to be taken off search results.

Mobile Technology News, June 20, 2015

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

  • Here's How Charleston Is Proving It Won't Be Defined By Tragedy
    After a white gunman opened fire at a historic black church and killed nine people in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday, the city came together to reflect on the tragedy and mourn the victims. From simple gestures of kindness to supporting the victims’ loved ones, Charlestonians mobilized to create an incredible show of solace and strength.

    Local Businesses, From Airlines To Food Trucks, Donate To Victims’ Fund

    A number of local eateries and businesses donated to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund, which was created by Mayor Joe Riley to help support the Emanuel AME church, cover funeral expenses and provide counseling services. Some establishments set aside portions of their sales for the fund, while others came up with creative ways to encourage customers to donate, or made generous contributions themselves.

    Edmunds Oast, a local brewpub, made a $7,813 donation to the fund — the total of its Wednesday night drink sales.

    Owner Scott Shor told The Huffington Post that he and his staff were devastated by the shooting, but wanted to find a way to give back.

    “There’s nothing that we can do that would help lessen the pain the families would be feeling,” Shor said, but, “we wanted to do something tangible that would impact, in some small positive way, the people who are immediately affected by the tragedy.”

    He added, “Charleston is a town that supports one another. People are going to be looking for ways to help.”

    Thank you Charleston for the incredible show of support last night. pic.twitter.com/aEDjHavt8G

    — Edmund’s Oast (@EdmundsOast) June 19, 2015

    On Thursday, aircraft manufacturer Boeing pledged $100,000 to the fund.

    “Our community is experiencing immense grief and mourning as we all try to come to grips with this horrible tragedy. But our community is revealing its strong character as well, which is rooted in courage, hope and resolve,” Beverly Wyse, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager, said in a statement.

    Beverly Wyse, our vice president and general manager, shared this follow-up note with our teammates late this…

    Posted by We Are Boeing SC on Thursday, June 18, 2015

    Other local businesses donated as well.

    This Sat., we’ll donate proceeds from El Sancho sandwich & a portion of @revelrybrewing sales to Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.#CharlestonStrong

    — John Lewis Barbecue (@JohnLewisBBQ) June 18, 2015

    Will have donation jar for #motheremanuelhopefund tonight 630-830pm 1600 Meeting st for Chas Supported Arts community party
    to Our city

    — Auto-Banh FoodTruck (@AutoBanhTruck) June 18, 2015

    Messages of Love and Support Are Being Publicly Displayed

    #prayforcharleston

    A photo posted by They just call me beezy (@beezythegod) on Jun 19, 2015 at 6:25am PDT

    Sending love, peace and prayers. #chslove

    Posted by Java Java Coffee House on Thursday, June 18, 2015


    A Landscaper Etches Sharonda Singleton’s Initials Into The Grass — And Our Hearts

    Just as we arrived – Landscaper drew SS for Sharonda Singleton in field at Goose Creek HS pic.twitter.com/GnQXSsrPRf

    — Scott Eisberg (@SEisbergWCIV) June 18, 2015

    The Faith Community Calls On The City To Ring Bells In Solidarity

    Participating churches in the Charleston area plan to ring their bells at 10 a.m. on Sunday to show that they are standing together, according to Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Facebook page. The event is open to residents, who are invited to stand outside the churches during the event and ring bells of their own.

    #Charleston, South Carolina, is often referred to as the “Holy City,” a place where church steeples—not skyscrapers—dot…

    Posted by Charleston Area Convention & Visitors Bureau on Thursday, June 18, 2015

    A Local Baseball Team Shows That True Sportsmanship Means Supporting Its City

    Hats in honor of the Charleston Nine #CharlestOneLove pic.twitter.com/LqPwcSGwNt

    — Charleston RiverDogs (@ChasRiverDogs) June 18, 2015

    The Charleston RiverDogs, a minor league baseball team, announced that it would donate the proceeds from Thursday night’s ballgame to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.

    “We all personally feel the grief of the horrifying tragedy that struck our community last night,” said RiverDogs General Manager Dave Echols. “Our hearts and prayers are with the families of the victims involved and with the law enforcement agencies working tirelessly in the wake of last night’s appalling and shocking event.”

    Tonight we pray for the 9 victims & those affected by the horrific tragedy here in charleston #PrayForCharleston pic.twitter.com/sPgVCytaug

    — Charleston RiverDogs (@ChasRiverDogs) June 19, 2015

    The entire @ChasRiverDogs stadium is standing for prayer in support the victims of the #CharlestonShooting. pic.twitter.com/EbSNkRfGrg

    — Ryan Johnson (@C_Ryan_Johnson) June 19, 2015

    Even The Youngest Residents Rally For Their Community

    Followed this young boy to the church this morning. #loveisgreaterthanhate #charlestonstrong #CharlestonSticksTogether

    A photo posted by Jessica Hutchinson (@sassijessi) on Jun 19, 2015 at 7:21am PDT

    Hundreds of families gathered this evening at sunset to pay respect for the lost. #charleston #Emanuel #AME #church #prayforcharleston

    A photo posted by robert peltier (@lavacastreetmediahouse) on Jun 18, 2015 at 7:57pm PDT

    The Internet Stands With Charleston

    Social media campaigns like #CharlestonStrong, #StandWithCharleston and #PrayForCharleston began trending following the shooting. Internet users quickly rallied around the city, offering words of empathy and compassion.

    Thoughts and prayers are with their families and friends. May they all rest in peace. #PrayForCharleston pic.twitter.com/y0yrYcdXlD

    — Southern Scenery (@SouthernScenery) June 19, 2015

    Friends And Strangers Lend Shoulders To Victims’ Families

    Line of people waiting to hug Singleton family. @WCBD #CharlestonShooting pic.twitter.com/8yTi23kawG

    — Lainie Fritz (@lainiefritz) June 19, 2015

    A memorial for Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, one of the victims, was held on Thursday in the gymnasium at Goose Creek High School, where she was the head girls track and field coach, the Daily Beast reported. The entire arena held hands and listened to speeches given by students and fellow faculty members. At the service’s conclusion, guests gathered in a long line waiting to give hugs to the Singleton family.

    Kudos to GCHS for a positive celebration of a beautiful life and a rally for change and love. @WCBD pic.twitter.com/Sn1HapU04o

    — Lainie Fritz (@lainiefritz) June 19, 2015

    And Finally, Residents Continue To Find The Beauty In Their City

    #prayforcharleston #charlestonshooting #charlestonstrong #chs

    A photo posted by Asia Batey (@abxcreatives) on Jun 19, 2015 at 9:58am PDT

    Kate Abbey-Lambertz contributed reporting to this story.

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  • The 21 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.

    In order to attract the African American vote, Donald Trump has declared his running mate will be Rachel Dolezal

    — (maura) (@behindyourback) June 16, 2015

    My new moisturizer has a special organic “nutri-soil” complex in it so I can look sexy AND grow heirloom tomatoes on my face if I need to.

    — Mariya Alexander (@MariyaAlexander) June 16, 2015

    Marriage is mostly just attempting to make compromises in which you get the better deal.

    — OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) June 17, 2015

    I miss the days before the internet, when you didn’t know some person’s every awful thought until they died and you cleaned out their attic.

    — Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) June 18, 2015

    male doctor: I’m afraid you have mercury poisoning

    me: *ahem* HERcury poisoning

    md: ok but still you literally have minutes to live

    — Ali Garfinkel (@aligarchy) June 16, 2015

    Fact: Everything is a fact if you don’t know what the word fact means.

    — Jess (@jessokfine) June 15, 2015

    My vocabulary is just varying lengths of sighs.

    — LazorTits (@lorigonzalez28) June 18, 2015

    One time I invited a guy over for dinner but I didn’t feel like cooking so I just poured us each a bowl of cereal really romantically.

    — Baby Swayze (@buhsbaby_baby) June 15, 2015

    Unless my horoscope says “you should absolutely eat 26 chicken nuggets today” I’m not really interested.

    — The Alicianater (@leechee420) June 18, 2015

    911 what is your emer-
    A HOT GUY W/ TATTOOS IS PLAYING W/ A BABY BY THE COFFEE STAND I WORK AT
    Ma’am, that’s no-
    I THINK MY OVARIES EXPLODED

    — Jayne Complains (@jaynecomplains) June 13, 2015

    *dumps a bag of sugar on you* An now you’re my Peep.

    — Kaylee ☂ (@Sinfullee) June 15, 2015

    After spending a day thinking too much and over analyzing, I’m pretty sure I’ve created a portal into another world with no exit

    — Ella Fraser (@ella__fraser) June 15, 2015

    What’s it called when you love animals more than people?

    I’m that.

    — OneFunnyMummy (@OneFunnyMummy) June 13, 2015

    The year is 2075. Gender & race no longer exist. There are just 2 types of people: Vegan or Paleo

    — Randi Lawson (@RandiLawson) June 14, 2015

    It’s a lot harder to find a late night parking spot now that they deliver drugs 24/7

    — Jessica Delfino (@jessicadelfino) June 13, 2015

    Have you ever been unsure whether you’re angry because you’re hungry or you’re angry because it’s Tuesday?

    — Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 16, 2015

    it must be really hard being lebron. i remember doing group projects in school

    — Alexis Wilkinson (@OhGodItsAlexis) June 17, 2015

    Sometimes the conversational utility of “It’s so cold in this office, right?!” is worth it being so cold in this office.

    — Amanda Duberman (@AmandaDuberman) June 16, 2015

    With my massive snack collection and willingness to do the sex, my single status is puzzling.

    — heather lou* (@heatherlou_) June 19, 2015

    Maybe people would be happier if they just spent more time looking at pictures of dogs wearing wigs

    — Pugnado (@LuvPug) June 19, 2015

    Can you imagine the type of monster that eats a suggested serving size?

    — bourgeois beth (@bourgeoisalien) June 16, 2015

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  • Weekend Roundup: Is the West Abandoning Globalization?
    As China establishes a new infrastructure investment bank for Asia and builds out the new Silk Road trading route westward to Turkey, the U.S. Congress is balking at trade agreements and retreating from the very global institutions that have been the pillars of the American-led order. The European project is unraveling as Greece is poised on the brink of default and an exit from the euro.

    No doubt President Obama’s proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership needs some fixing once on the “fast-track,” notably concerning the weight it gives to corporate prerogatives. But something more is going on. In Europe, too, there is mounting opposition to the proposed trans-Atlantic trade pact with the U.S., as well as the rise of anti-foreigner and anti-EU parties.

    Is the West abandoning globalization and the post-war integration of Europe, a mutiny against what has provided its bounty?

    Writing from Paris, Jacques Attali worries that the West has contracted the fatal disease of “dying civilizations” — procrastination and indecision. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich explains why more Americans are turning against free trade. Political analyst Howard Fineman argues that the anti-globalization sentiment we’ve seen in Europe has arrived on American shores. Xenophobia has even spread to South Africa, Desmond Tutu writes. Writing from Istanbul, Kemal Dervis proposes how individuals can thrive under globalization if there is a new social contract.

    As Greece teeters on the edge, IMF economist Olivier Blanchard calls on both creditors and the Greek government to compromise. James Galbraith responds that Greece has already sacrificed beyond its capacity to bear, and now it is the IMF’s turn. Jeffrey Sachs agrees that, at this point, Greeks are only “trying to stay alive.” Writing from Athens, Nicos Devletoglou says other Europeans should stop victimizing and threatening Greeks while Alexandros Klossas looks at how Greek businesses are unable to obtain financing. We also take a look at the crisis in Greece this week from the ground up through the eyes of a taxi driver and a photo essay on graffiti in Athens.

    UN Food and Agricultural Organization head Jose Graziano da Silva hails Pope Francis’ call to action on hunger and climate change. In our “Following Francis” series this week, Sébastien Maillard reports from Rome on the pope’s widely anticipated encyclical on climate change and global poverty. Eco-Catholic Mary Colwell says the pope has brought a scientific abstraction down to earth and given it a spiritual and moral dimension.

    WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones talks to refugees at the Turkish-Syrian border about life under ISIS rule for the past year and reports on how fuel shortages in northern Syria could cause even more people to flee. Writing from Vienna, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt hopes that a new government in Turkey, which will likely include Kurds, can help bring peace to the region.

    Writing from Hong Kong, where local legislators rejected Beijing’s plan for election of the chief executive in 2017, George Chen asks, “has the ‘one country, two systems’ experiment failed?” WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan provides the backstory to the Hong Kong vote and reports that Cirque de Soleil is banking on China’s middle class to build its fortunes in Asia. Tom Nagorski reports from Beijing on a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who told an Asia Society delegation that China’s claims to contested coral reefs in the South China Sea are “lawful, legitimate and reasonable” and that the U.S. should stop its “megaphone diplomacy.” In an excerpt from his new book, “The China Model,” Tsinghua University philosopher Daniel Bell asks whether China’s meritocratic selection process produces more competent leaders than America. GreatFire.org’s Charlie Smith says China’s shutdown of Wikipedia is “the latest nail in the Internet freedom coffin and it certainly will not be the last” under President Xi Jinping.

    Writing from Moscow, Ivan Sukhov scores Vladimir Putin’s “misguided attempt” to bolster Russia’s prestige by adding 40 new intercontinental missiles.

    In a compelling personal tale, Luzer Twersky recounts how he defected from Hasidic Judaism and went from living on the streets to being a Hollywood actor. Imagining the future, astronomer Chris Impey says he believes that the effects of living in space could “create a new human species.”

    In an investigative report in conjunction with the Mexican magazine Proceso, Anabel Hernández and Steve Fisher find a witness who casts serious doubt on the Mexican government’s narrative about what happened to the 43 missing students in Guerrero and who is responsible. In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we remember how, for those 43 families, the missing Mexican students case is not closed. Fusion this week reports — in a photo essay — on the protests of Nicaraguan campesinos against the proposed China-financed canal in that Central American nation.

    Jura Margulis examines the mind mechanisms that enable a pianist to play the 30,000 notes of Rachmaninoff’s Third Piano Concerto from memory. Hip-hop artist Akon explains his philanthropic project to light up Africa.

    In our Singularity University series, we learn how clumsy robots are still nonetheless captivating. Our photo essays this week include a look at Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung volcano, abandoned Soviet space shuttles in a hangar in Kazakhstan and the “forgotten faces of modern China.”

    WHO WE ARE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    MISSION STATEMENT

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

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

    – 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.

  • E3: Eyes on the Horizon Line
    By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

    The thing you have to remember about the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo which takes place in Los Angels every year is that it’s a time machine. Oh, I know that it is set up as a trade show — the main stage for the multi-billion dollar video game industry — where buyers from major retailers go to get a handle on what will be on their store shelves for the next few holiday seasons.

    But that’s not where all the heat gets generated, and it’s far from the messaging that gets blasted out onto every blog, Twitch channel, and mainstream news source.

    No, E3 is all about the future, and an increasingly in-the-future one at that.

    This has almost always been the case with E3.

    The major platform holders — Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo for well over a decade now — have grown adept at spinning visions of distant horizons while trying to distract attention from thin line-ups in the months ahead. The insane costs of development are partly to blame: it takes armies of artists to bring games with the depths of virtual worlds to life.

    Sony, champion of the current console generation, are past masters at the future horizons game. They used that technique long ago to strangle Sega’s Dreamcast before it could become a threat to the Playstation 2. This year the company turned to nostalgia, third-party exclusives, and crowdfunding in order to “win” the PR cycle of the press conferences. Judging from the reaction on social media to the re-announcement of The Last Guardian (first glimpsed in 2009), and the promise of a remake of Final Fantasy VII and Shenmue III were enough to win the heart of gamers.

    Never mind that none of that will see store shelves this year.

    Nintendo, for their part, are treading water and talking up fun. Which has been their role for a few years now. Good thing for them that they remain the game maker most likely to actually capture the spirit of fun.

    That they’ve parlayed their entry into the “toys to life” genre pioneered by Activision’s Skylanders is a testament to their prowess for making beloved characters. Only Disney holds more IP dear to the heart of youngsters and the young at heart. The fact that some of Nintendo’s Amiibos — the figures at the center of their toys-to-life initiative — are going to crossover with Skylanders is a sign that the veteran game maker is becoming more agile as it faces a fragmented game market.

    As certain industry observers like to say: the Nintendo that is backed into a corner is the best Nintendo.

    Microsoft was more focused on the near-term than it’s chief rival. The biggest surprise of the show was that the Redmond giant was enabling backwards compatibility for some titles from the Xbox 360. One gets the sense that the machine that the Xbox One that will be on store shelves this Christmas is the one that should have been there all along. Even then, the buzz about Microsoft was all about the whiz-bang Hololens demo that took place on their press conference stage featuring Minecraft.

    Minecraft is the most valuable Intellectual Property in gaming. Making the pitch for “mixed reality”, as Microsoft likes to call the Hololens technology, using Minecraft is the equivalent of establishing a wire transfer protocol directly with the bank accounts of parents everywhere. The news from back room demos isn’t so great for the tech though: the current Hololens field of view is terrible, and apparently isn’t likely to get better before the consumer version. (Frankly, I can’t believe that.)

    Whether or not Hololens is a hit may not matter, as Microsoft appears to be hedging it’s bets in the Augmented vs. Virtual Reality debate. They’ve announced partnerships with both Oculus — the consumer version of the forthcoming Rift VR headset will come with an Xbox One controller — and Valve to support their head mounted displays with Windows 10. That operating system is being positioned by Redmond as the key to VR, and it’s probably the most brilliant old-school Microsoft move in ages.

    On the show floor you could feel the gravitational attraction of the PC market everywhere. Strangely enough, the clearest place to see that was at the Sony booth. With the exception of first-party exclusives and the console-only Destiny pretty much everything that was in the Sony booth is also available going to be available on PC when it is finally released. That includes the indie game No Man’s Sky that has been a major presence in Sony’s PR messaging.

    Microsoft almost seems more interested in the PC games market, with the Xbox being an extension of the Windows battle plan, at this point. Third party publishers just need strong ecosystems to publish into, and Nintendo’s greatest enemy is the strength of the mobile market.

    Looking across the landscape of the Convention Center the message is clear: this is the twilight of the console era. We’ve reached that point where the life spans of dedicated gaming hardware isn’t long enough to keep up with the technical demands of the high end of the market, and the power of smartphones is enough to keep the less demanding fare running.

    What we’re left with is a series of questions about the future of the electronic entertainment market. Will it be AR or VR gaming that takes off? Will non-gaming applications gain a foothold in either of those platforms? If not dedicated gaming hardware, then what do the platforms look like?

    Like Tomorrowland — both the film and the theme park attraction — by the time we get to the future the visions that led us there are going to seem quaint, a little naïve, and maybe a little too optimistic.

    Public media’s TurnstyleNews.com, covers tech and digital culture from the West Coast.

    Go to Turnstylenews.com | Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Tumblr

    – 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 Solvey Project
    10 years ago when I was 19 my friend Louis removed all the furniture from his box bedroom and filled it with 5000 multicoloured playpen balls because he thought it would be fun!

    I went round and sat in his ball pen as he designed the website for my first online marketing company. I paid him £120 to do the website and I couldn’t afford to pay him in one go so agreed to pay him £20 per month for 6 months.

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    In 10 years, not much has changed, but we have tried a few more things and a few more people are involved. Louis now has 1.5 million people subscribed to his youtube channel Fun For Louis and I run Givey Money Saving Experts number 1 UK fundraising platform.

    I have spent the last few years trying to understand Why we give to others and whether it is an important part of our future society which I pulled together In my recent ‘Why Give?’ talk at Digital Shoreditch Now that I am convinced that giving matters, the question becomes what shall we give to, and in what manner?

    I recently made a bet and promised to hand deliver $100 to the person who can convince me that there is a more effective use of $1 of private capital than tax effective, compassion driven, matched, socially shared micro-donations that are spent on passionate, transparent, high risk, innovative solutions, with smart models that fit within wider strategic picture of the Millenium Development Goals : Part 2 to get to scale, and its effectiveness measured the appropriate framework known as The Social Progress Index

    Sorry – bit of a mouthful, but its all important Trust me!!

    On yet another road trip in Santa Cruz California, between LA & SF where our worlds of media and tech collide, we decided that the best idea we could come up with is to put our platforms behind someone with a big idea that is risky but if it works could change the world! so a couple days ago we started the global search and call it The Solvey Project

    If you have an idea that could make a positive shift for people, planet and animals the please apply by making a video application. The details and requirements are in the description of the youtube video.

    OR if you know someone already running an insane, fresh project that needs a boost then please do share this blog with them and encourage them to apply, we really want to work with an incredible team and help them scale their idea and change the world for the better.

    If it goes well then who knows what The Solvey Project could evolve into next year! Watch this space!!

    PS. Applications close on JUNE 30TH 2015!!! Winner announced shortly after and invited, all expenses paid to California to join Louis, Myself and a bunch of others to figure out a plan at the end of July.

    – 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 Advertising "Ad-Vice" From 10 Prominent Marketers
    If you’ve been following the trends lately, you know how important mobile – specifically mobile advertising – is for your business. It’s vast. It’s growing. And it’s surprisingly underutilized as an ad platform.

    Now I love a good set of facts and figures as well as the next person, and there are plenty of data about mobile advertising.

    But for practical tips and specific action steps, I asked a few colleagues to share their best advice when it comes to starting or expanding a mobile advertising program. Here’s what they had to say:

    Brian Carter, briancartergroup.com, @briancarter
    We recommend combining mobile social advertising with mobile search advertising to get prospects both before they look, and when they are looking. If you reach a prospect earlier, you can get into the consideration set and possibly even get a deal before the prospect looks too deeply at your competitors.

    2015-06-19-1434682920-3665892-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrobrianCarter.jpg

    Ted Rubin, tedrubin.com, @TedRubin
    Advertising is advertising. My advice is to build a mobile community… engage, interact, add value, and show support for what is important to your consumers. In today’s digital world it’s all too easy for us as brands and individuals to let our relationship-building muscles atrophy. It is time to re-build our one-on-one communication skills and muscles that we’ve forgotten in our rush to new technologies.

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    Jason Falls, Elasticity, @JasonFalls
    The key to better conversions is relevancy. Leveraging IP targeting along with mobile advertising means you can dial-in a specific neighborhood, office building, or even single dwelling. Targeting more effectively means a much higher chance the ad will work. So get as granular as you can.

    2015-06-19-1434683052-6951908-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrojasonFalls.jpg

    Joel Comm, joelcomm.com, @joelcomm
    Facebook ads are still one of the best ways to target your customers on mobile. Just make sure you hire an ad professional to do your buys or you can blow through a lot of cash quickly!

    2015-06-19-1434683096-1841089-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrojoelComm.jpg

    Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics, @dennisyu
    Your first foray into mobile ads should be on Facebook, in the same way that your first foray into search should be with Google. You’re doing this not because Facebook has more mobile inventory, but because optimization is easier.

    Over 70% of Facebook’s ads are already mobile placements and they automatically resize your creatives based on the user’s device type – even accounting if they’re on 3G or 4G. If your goal is engagement, expect a cost per engagement of under 15 cents for CPG and about a dollar in “non-sexy” industries. Cost per installs should be under $3, cost per video view under 20 cents, and cost per website click under 50 cents.

    Use your performance (cost by business objective) on Facebook as a benchmark before you head into Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, iAds, and even third party networks.

    2015-06-19-1434683130-8554811-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrodennisYu.jpg

    David Berkowitz, MRY, @dberkowitz
    Don’t treat mobile advertising like advertising. Mobile gets extremely personal for consumers. This is a device that’s always within arm’s reach, and sometimes it’s even physically strapped to their arms. Think about the value you can provide. Can you make sure they know about a time-sensitive offer available nearby that’s targeted to their interests or preferences? Can you give them a few minutes of entertainment while they’re in transit or waiting in line? Can you make it easier for people to get around, find nearby points of interest, or connect with others?

    Mobile can do all of this, while helping you achieve your goals of building your brand, generating foot traffic, racking up leads, or moving products. Focus on the value exchange first, and then see which advertising and marketing offerings can help you achieve it.

    2015-06-19-1434683154-4594981-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrodavidBerkowitz.jpg

    Christopher Penn, shiftcomm.com, @cspenn
    There are three things that are by far the most important:
    1. What audience are you trying to reach? This includes the types of devices, the bandwidth available, and the applications.
    2. What goals are you trying to achieve? This can include brand awareness, audience growth, or calls to action for things like lead generation.
    3. What gross and net margins do you have on your ads? It is very easy for both agencies and brands to get burned when what looks like positive revenue ultimately turns out to be a net loss because the cost of acquisition was too high.

    2015-06-19-1434683184-6651680-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrochristopherPenn.jpg

    David J. Deal, davidjdeal.com, @davidjdeal
    Think of mobile as a behavior, not just a platform for ads. Create content that most effectively connects your brand with the mobile behaviors of your audience. For example, Starwood Hotels built its brands by being useful to consumers who rely on their mobile devices to manage their travel needs. Starwood offers branded smartphone and Apple Watch apps that help travelers do everything from checking in to their hotels to unlocking the doors to their rooms. Taking a different approach, Pep Boys has generated revenue by creating mobile wallet offers for consumers searching and shopping on the go. Both Starwood Hotels and Pep Boys understand how to adapt their brands to mobile lifestyles instead of looking at mobile as another ad distribution channel.

    2015-06-19-1434683210-166717-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrodavidDeal.jpg

    Bryan Kramer, bryankramer.com, @bryankramer
    Networks such as Twitter and Instagram were born on mobile, so your advertising must include a social element. Make sure that you invest the time to put a social strategy around your mobile campaign and integrate it at each appropriate touch point.

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    Jason Miller, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, Twitter: @JasonMillerCA
    75% of engagement with Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn happens on mobile, so make sure your landing page is responsive and looks good on smaller screens. Use bigger text and concise messaging on your finger friendly forms. LinkedIn Autofill can also help boost conversion rates on mobile devices.

    2015-06-19-1434683260-2256571-socialMobileAdvertisingMicrojasonMiller.jpg

    These marketers have shared some simple and actionable steps you can take to get your mobile advertising not only to grow, but to convert. If you are looking to dig deeper into the topic, this Insider’s Guide to Social Mobile Advertising might help.

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  • Google Finally Takes A Stand Against Revenge Porn
    Google wants to help victims of revenge porn.

    Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google Search, announced in a blog post Friday that the company will soon honor requests from victims to remove nude or sexually explicit images from the search engine.

    “Revenge porn” refers to sensitive content distributed without an individual’s permission. It’s become a massive problem in recent years: Kevin Bollaert, a San Diego man who extorted money from victims to remove such images from his website, was recently sentenced to 18 years in prison; and celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence fell victim to a major hacking last year that left their private photos exposed.

    The new decision from Google is in some ways contrary to the company’s mission to put the entire Web at a user’s fingertips. Singhal acknowledges that in his post:

    [R]evenge porn images are intensely personal and emotionally damaging, and serve only to degrade the victims — predominantly women. … This is a narrow and limited policy, similar to how we treat removal requests for other highly sensitive personal information, such as bank account numbers and signatures, that may surface in our search results.

    Google plans to release a Web form for individuals to submit requests for the removal of revenge porn. It is not available yet, and a representative for Google did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

    Of course, this is not a perfect solution. While Google can remove the results from search, it doesn’t have the ability to scrub content from websites. But it’s a big step toward making sure revenge content goes unseen.

    – 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.

  • Begin Your Next Entrepreneurial Project with a Getaway
    2015-06-17-1434514465-1311899-61715ProjectGetaway_Image1.jpeg

    Working and living in Bali may seem like the perfect situation–one that is too good to be true. If you’ve never dreamed about it, dream bigger. If you think it’s not possible, think again.

    Project Getaway is a 30-day experience where twenty entrepreneurs gather to work and live together. While the focus for the participants is to build and expand their businesses, the white beaches, adventurous water sports, top-notch networking events, and cultural experiences can’t be overlooked. In short, Project Getaway is an entrepreneur’s dream come true.

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    There is a huge movement among freelancers, small business owners and entrepreneurs to become location-independent. Another term used to describe this lifestyle is ‘digital nomad’. A digitally nomadic life is characterized by destination-hopping: one may spend a few months in Thailand working remotely, then hop over to the Philippines for a month or so, and eventually end up in South America, working for the remainder of the year. The benefits are obvious: Location-independent business owners are able to experience freedom in their schedules, travel to exotic locations, and see the world in ways that just aren’t possible if they were working in a gloomy, gray office five days a week.

    While working from paradise has numerous perks, one drawback is that digital nomads often experience loneliness from a life on the road, often living far away from friends and family. Project Getaway solves this issue by offering an environment where nomadic entrepreneurs come together and belong to a community of like-minded people who share the same dreams and challenges. It also offers a chance to non-location independent professionals to try out this lifestyle for a month. Project Getaway knows that happiness is the new productivity among millennials, and the daily schedule reflects this core value.

    What does a typical day at Project Getaway look like? All meals are provided, as well as a juice and snacks throughout the day, which are served by the staff or can be ordered via a dedicated “PG Mobile Luxury App”. Participants usually wake up between 8-10 a.m. and leisurely start their days. Following breakfast, they set goals for the day–then it’s time to get to work. Desire to work by the pool? Beachside? With a group of other participants who can help brainstorm next moves in business? Project Getaway offers all of these options, plus meetings with angel investors, coaching sessions, and workshops to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. After a day of work, it’s time for some adventure and fun–perhaps surfing or volcano trekking–or time to relax and unwind. Evenings are filled with delicious dinners and impromptu parties and networking events.

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    Ike Stranathan, founder of Staff Virtual, was a participant in Project Getaway in 2013 and is involved in this year’s event as a sponsor. He says, “I am a big believer that innovation comes from the collision of ideas that can only come from being surrounded by talented and successful people. For me the main added value was making many, many friends for life. I think Project Getaway’s secret sauce is that the experience is 30 days. You literally LIVE with other people, and do fun things together non-stop for 30 days – this naturally causes long-lasting bonds that endure. You do crazy stuff together, help each other, have ideas together, travel together, et cetera. You can’t help but make some incredible friends. To me, traveling the world and meeting new people are the best parts of life, and that’s what Project Getaway is all about.”

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  • Spotify May Have Killed A Part Of Music Culture
    Kids these days have a pretty sweet setup: Almost any song imaginable is baked into Spotify, Rdio, Pandora or any of the other bazillion streaming services that essentially offer the same libraries. Listeners can pivot from Tyler, the Creator, to The Carpenters in two seconds.

    howmusicgotfree

    How Music Got Free, by Stephen Witt

    But — putting aside physical media — a lot of us remember digging through Scour or Limewire or Kazaa or Napster to get the goods. The less fortunate among us might recall the slow drip of a song download on our parents’ 56k dial-up connections.

    If the notion of painstakingly searching for music files sounds like ancient history, it’s because technology has exploded in the past decade, and companies have done a brilliant job capitalizing on it.

    A new book, Stephen Witt’s How Music Got Free, explores the fascinating hidden history of music as a digital product. It tracks the odd-but-true battle between the .mp2 and .mp3, the rise of piracy and plenty more.

    The Huffington Post spoke to Witt about the state of music today and why listeners might consider mourning the end of downloads.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    At the end of the book, you take your hard drives with thousands and thousands of MP3s on them to be destroyed, and I thought that was really sad. You talk throughout the book about how, even if you’re pirating music, you’re building a collection, something that you can claim some sense of ownership over. Have streaming services like Spotify killed that culture, in a way?

    Stephen Witt: It looks that way. Particularly for music. Maybe TV and movies are a little different. When I talk to younger people, they don’t care about ripping files. They just want to stream, and they’re willing to pay for it or listen to advertising. So there is a cultural shift. It’s going out of fashion.

    There was a lot of bad behavior online [in the early stages of the Internet]. There was a lot of fun. You were really allowed to do whatever you wanted. But since about 2007 or 2008, the technologists and the rights-holders have been cooperating to limit the freedom of the average user and direct them less toward owning stuff and more toward licensing it from corporate libraries.

    Are we setting ourselves up for a fall here? Artists don’t make good money from streaming services, the user doesn’t have any sense of ownership over the music they listen to — are these problems we’re going to have to reckon with sooner rather than later?

    SW: Ideologically I have a ton of problems with it. Practically, it’s very convenient. [Laughs.] As the experience with piracy showed, many people with ideological problems with copyright infringement did it anyway because it was so easy. Experience shows that although we may be troubled by turning ourselves into basically corporate media serfs, I think that’s what we’ll do because it’s so easy.

    That’s kind of scary.

    SW: Yeah. What’s really attractive for me is, if you read the book, you’ll see that most of the early stuff that was distributed online was home-built. Kids were rigging it together in their basement. And that upended the entire mode of media distribution for the world. Now, it’s very different. Now we have Google and Universal Music and Sony and Spotify and Apple all cooperating.

    Decisions in the early days of computing gave an enormous amount of power to the end user. The idea was to enable them to facilitate new modes of communication and collaboration. In the modern era, the ethos is totally different. The end user is seen as a person from whom value is to be extracted. And that means taking power away from them.

    Do you have any thoughts about Apple Music and what that company is doing? Is it different at all?

    SW: The short answer is no. This entire industry has copycat economics. For $9.99 a month, you get the same quality access to the same 30 million songs that they all have. The only differences between them are cosmetic for now. That could change if they start going for artist exclusives or offering different services. But me personally, I didn’t find the Apple Music launch very convincing.

    I think the harder part is, if they can’t find a way to generate more cash for musicians from these services, they could face a revolt. The artists might start pulling all their stuff, significantly degrading the value of the service. Or worse, the other thing that could happen is, [these services] start bidding against each other for exclusives with musicians. That would be bad too because it makes each service worth less while spending more. You might subscribe to Spotify or Apple Music, but you don’t want to subscribe to both. And you might have to if the media starts to fragment into different channels.

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  • Pandora Paid Linda Perry A Whopping $300 For Millions Of Plays Of Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful'
    Streaming music services, like Spotify and Pandora, have garnered myriad criticism from artists who argue they take advantage of musicians by failing to properly compensate them. The most recent artist to blast such services is Linda Perry, who provided a telling example to HuffPost Live on Thursday about the lack of royalties she’s received for Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful,” which she wrote.

    In a conversation with host Nancy Redd about her induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Perry described how the music industry is changing because consumers are not seeking “deep” music, and they don’t buy what they’re listening to. In this vein, she vehemently criticized sites like Pandora for “ripping people off left and right.”

    “Pandora played ‘Beautiful’ something like 30 million times. I got paid $300,” Perry said.

    Assuming Perry’s numbers are right, this means she earned $0.00001 per play.

    Watch the video above to hear more from Perry on how technology is changing the music industry, and click here to watch the full segment with Linda Perry here.

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

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  • The LeanChair Lets You Sit, Stand And Work At The Same Time
    There are standing desks, treadmill desks and “breathing” desks, and now there is a leaning desk.

    It’s called the LeanChair, and the inventor, software developer Wayne Yeager, is raising money for it on Kickstarter. The LeanChair had raised more than $29,000 as of Friday afternoon, smashing its goal of $25,000 with 23 days left to go.

    This is what it looks like:

    leanchair
    leanchair

    “While I’d seen all the articles about how bad sitting was for me, I just could not get any real, serious work done at a standing desk,” Yeager says in his fundraising video. He figured out that if he leaned back on an angled platform, standing wasn’t so difficult. He describes it as a middle ground between sitting and standing.

    The LeanChair takes 25 percent of your “perceived body weight” off of your feet, Yeager claims, making your body feel a bit lighter and making standing easier.

    Yeager is right about the problems that sitting too much can cause. Studies have shown that sitting down for long periods of time increases your risk of cancer, heart disease, obesity and more.

    Of course, there haven’t been any studies performed on the LeanChair, so it’s unclear if it’s actually the healthiest alternative to sitting. But it may be the solution some people are looking for.

    – 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 Video Perfectly Captures Your Dating-App Life
    Are you a “grab drinks” person, or a “meet for drinks” person?

    There is a veritable sea of dating apps out there now, and it’s tough to know which one will work the best for you. Do you want to have a casual cup of coffee, or meet someone who just passed you on the street, or perhaps someone who just got out of a relationship, or someone who has a snaggletooth and is currently walking within a one-mile radius? The list is endless for finding your, er, true love.

    This video from web series “Charles, by the Way” will have you nodding your head in recognition.

    – 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.

  • Tyler, The Creator, Is A Huge Fan Of Tesla CEO Elon Musk
    Tyler, The Creator, really admires Elon Musk.

    In an appearance this week on WQHT Hot97, the rapper gushed fawningly over the Tesla Motors CEO’s decision last year to free up the electric automaker’s patents.

    “Instead of holding that patent, he’s sharing it with everyone so car companies can get on that,” the rapper, whose real name is Tyler Okonma, said during a 30-minute interview on the New York radio station. “That is so cool because some people would be selfish and keep that to continue to make money.”

    Skip ahead to 4:20 for the discussion of Elon Musk.

    That isn’t to say Tesla’s move wasn’t a shrewd business decision. By releasing its patents — vowing not to sue anyone who copied them — Tesla encouraged other companies to use its platform. In time this could result in a whole segment of the car industry being compatible with Tesla’s chargers. Not to mention that, as electric vehicles are more widely adopted, Tesla’s customer base grows.

    Moreover, other automakers could build battery-powered cars at a cheaper price than Tesla. Tesla’s Model S sedan starts at about $70,000. A release date for the planned Model 3 line of more affordable vehicles — Musk says the company is hoping for a $35,000 price tag — has yet to be announced.

    “What about people who can’t afford the Tesla?” Tyler said during the radio interview. “They’ll get the Ford one that’s not f—–g up the earth. It’s all relative. It’s sick that he did that.”

    The rapper said he had yet to meet Musk. They planned to cross paths in April at the Coachella music festival, but their schedules didn’t align.

    The billionaire entrepreneur, who serves as CEO of Tesla and SpaceX and as chairman of SolarCity, came up in conversation after Tyler listed him as someone who has achieved an impressive level of success.

    “If you look at Jay, P. Diddy, Elon Musk, I’m nothing,” he said.

    But, as much as musicians may like him, Musk still doesn’t enjoy the same name recognition as Jay Z or Diddy.

    “Elon Musk?” the interviewer, Ebro Darden, asked. “Is that a cologne or something?”

    – 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.

  • Sitting Too Much Could Be Wrecking Your Mental Health
    Here’s a PSA if you’re thinking about lounging around all weekend: Sitting too much may be associated with an increased risk for anxiety, according to new research.

    Researchers in Australia at Deakin University’s Center for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research found that sedentary behavior — think excessive TV watching or working at a computer all day — may have a negative effect on mental health.

    The Background
    There is a well-established body of research that links sedentary activities to an increased risk of physical health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure, but less is known about the mental health repercussions of not being active, the researchers stated. This is the first review to take an extensive look at the relationship between anxiety and inactive behavior, according to the researchers.

    The Setup
    Researchers reviewed nine separate studies that took an in-depth look at anxiety as it related to total sitting time for low-energy activities like watching TV and playing electronic games. Seven of the studies were strictly limited to adult participants, but two of the studies included teens and children.

    The Findings
    The results, which were published in the journal BMC Public Health, found an association between sedentary behavior and increased anxiety in five of the nine studies. The total amount of sitting time also seemed to be a factor in four of the nine studies.

    However, the researchers note that since the studies reviewed were cross-sectional — meaning they were conducted based on interviews rather than using a controlled study environment — more follow-up studies are needed to confirm if anxiety is caused by inactive behavior. Given that millions of people are affected by anxiety disorders, it’s an area the study authors are pushing to explore further.

    It is important that we understand the behavioral factors that may be linked to anxiety in order to be able to develop evidence-based strategies in preventing and managing this illness,” lead researcher Megan Teychenne, a lecturer at the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, said in a statement.

    The Takeaway
    The study joins a host of other research that supports an active lifestyle when it comes to mental health. Studies suggest just walking in nature for a few minutes can boost your mood and physical exercise has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms. Too much tech use may also influence mental health.

    In other words, you may want to forego that Netflix binge — your body and your brain will thank you for it.

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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.

  • #Black9 Is The Powerful Way Twitter Is Honoring The 9 Charleston Victims
    The country is mourning the nine African-Americans murdered Wednesday during bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston: DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Daniel Simmons, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton and Myra Thompson.

    And now, a Twitter hashtag is honoring them.

    The hashtag was started by writer and activist @FeministaJones, who asked her followers to name Black people who have inspired, taught and changed them using the hashtag #Black9.

    Name NINE Black people who have inspired you

    go!

    — FJ (@FeministaJones) June 19, 2015

    Sojourner Truth
    Gabriel Prosser
    Harriet Tubman
    Denmark Vesey
    Marcus Garvey
    Angela Davis
    Ida B Wells
    Fannie Lou Hamer
    Malcolm X
    #Black9

    — FJ (@FeministaJones) June 19, 2015

    The hashtag took off, with hundreds of people sharing their lists. Many named contemporary writers, thinkers and activists alongside notable historic figures.

    #Black9
    Maya Angelou
    Oprah
    Martin Luther King Jr.
    Langston Hughes
    W.E.B Dubois
    Mahalia Jackson
    Barack Obama
    Spike Lee
    Ava DuVernay

    — N.D.L. (@noelledl_) June 19, 2015

    #Black9
    Huey Newton
    Alice Walker
    Jamaica Kincaid
    Langston Hughes
    Mumia Abu Jamal
    Harriet Tubman
    Franz Fanon
    Amiri Baraka
    Phillis Wheatley

    — ★☆Ricki Ryan☆★ (@PrettiiRickii) June 19, 2015

    #Black9

    Malcolm X
    Spike Lee
    Zora Neale Hurston
    Assata Shakur
    Angela Davis
    Maya Angelou
    Marcus Garvey
    Toni Morrison
    Langston Hughes

    — ElleDub (@ElleEWtwo) June 19, 2015

    Audre Lorde
    Essex Hemphill
    Langston Hughes
    Marlon Riggs
    Alice Walker
    Barbara Smith
    Zora Neale Hurston
    James Baldwin
    Jeffrey Woodyard
    #black9

    — Cecily Walker (@skeskali) June 19, 2015

    #Black9

    Alice Walker
    bell hooks
    James Baldwin
    Richard Wright
    Derrick Bell
    Malcolm X
    Gloria Naylor
    Janet Jackson
    Angela Harris

    — Dr. Mama Esq. (@gradmommy) June 19, 2015

    Zora Neale Hurston
    Toni Morrison
    Octavia E. Butler
    Malcolm X
    James Baldwin
    Bayard Rustin
    Walter Mosley
    Nina Simone
    Angela Davis

    #Black9

    — Lisa Bolekaja (@LisaBolekaja) June 19, 2015

    Those listed in #Black9 tweets, like actor Jesse Williams, shared their appreciation for the hashtag and the African-American Twitter community at large.

    Humbled by the #Black9 acknowledgements. Like any list, I could make many, from a variety of angles…

    — jesseWilliams. (@iJesseWilliams) June 19, 2015

    The tweets are a much-needed celebration of black excellence and an affirmation of black community during a tragic, troubling time.

    Check out more #Black9 tweets here.

    The shooting is a developing story. Check back for updates.

    – 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.

  • SwipeSense uses connected devices to bring hand hygiene compliance to 100%

    SwipeSense is a startup that has an interesting and slightly more modern approach to improving hand hygiene.

    The post SwipeSense uses connected devices to bring hand hygiene compliance to 100% appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Facial recognition fears a privacy threat?
    Is facial recognition tech really a threat to privacy?
  • Saucy QR porn code too hot for Heinz
    A QR code on a bottle of Heinz ketchup directed browsers to a site that was hosting porn.
  • Facebook drops photo app in Europe
    Facebook’s photo-synching app Moments will not be launched in Europe because of its use of facial recognition technology.
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