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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 .

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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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