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Mobile Technology News, June 14, 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 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week
    The ladies of Twitter never fail to brighten our days with their brilliant — but succinct — wisdom. Each week, HuffPost Women rounds up hilarious 140-character musings. For this week’s great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

    Mercury retrograde ends its tyranny tomorrow which is kind of sad because then I have to stop blaming everything bad on Mercury retrograde

    — Fariha Róisín (@fariharoisin) June 10, 2015

    You don’t really know a man till you’ve seen him Build a Bear.

    — Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) June 7, 2015

    *loses an acrylic nail while attempting to open a carton of chocolate milk*


    — Gabby Noone (@twelveoclocke) June 9, 2015

    Fries > abs.

    — Alie Martell (@aliemartell) June 9, 2015

    every white guy in bk looks like one of the dads from rugrats

    — Ayesha A. Siddiqi (@pushinghoops) June 11, 2015

    I got sad and ate a bunch of ice cream: an autobiography

    — Angela Wheezy (@CarpeAngela) June 9, 2015

    i think people like seltzer so much because that first sip tastes like an instantaneous and fairly inexpensive life upgrade

    — Durga Chew-Bose (@durgapolashi) June 10, 2015

    on jury duty this week. my vapid, drifting thoughts: does justin bieber do jury duty? what about dennis hastert?

    — Hanna Rosin (@HannaRosin) June 9, 2015

    I can’t wait to be a stepmom. My boyfriend doesn’t have any kids, but I’m willing to wait.

    — Sara Benincasa (@SaraJBenincasa) June 9, 2015

    Saying, “Have a good weekend!” on Wednesday is a great way to let people know you don’t want to talk until Monday.

    — Abby Heugel (@AbbyHasIssues) June 10, 2015

    I hate when I’m in a room with 3 other people, & I have to shove the entire kit kat in my mouth.

    — barbara the ninja (@ninjadinosaur1) June 10, 2015

    i wanna be famous on instagram but not actually BE on instagram you know?

    — Alexis Wilkinson (@OhGodItsAlexis) June 9, 2015

    Startup idea: Uber but they come to your house and kill giant bugs for u.

    — Julia Segal (@juliasegal) June 10, 2015

    “Greased Lightning” but the T-Birds are all thoughtful millennials. “Why, this girl…is PROB-LEMATIC….”

    — Julie Klausner (@julieklausner) June 10, 2015

    Millennials always think it’s Friday.

    — Emma Barker (@emmajune) June 12, 2015

    Breaking: Cameron Crowe to cast Asian actress as lead in Rachel Dolezal biopic

    — OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) June 12, 2015

    hiccups are a great way to stay humble

    — Lara Parker (@laraeparker) June 11, 2015

    Like nanny cams, but they’re body cams and we make all the cops wear them.

    — Nicole Cliffe (@Nicole_Cliffe) June 11, 2015

    That too hot for pizza weather is the worst

    — Michelle Markowitz (@michmarkowitz) June 11, 2015

    Shout out to the guy who just asked me for the time, tried to start a conversation with me and then TOOK OUT HIS OWN PHONE. I SEE THRU YOU.

    — Alexis Kleinman (@alexiskleinman) June 11, 2015

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

  • Baby Boomer Alert: Protect Yourself From Smartphone Scams
    Do you remember the first time you encountered an Internet scam? Maybe it was an email scam where if you opened a suspicious email or attachment, you were susceptible to picking up a virus that could harm your computer.

    Maybe you’ve had your email hacked like my friend, who is a pastor. The scammers hijacked her email account and sent out a ‘male enhancement pill’ advertisement to all of her contacts. A harmless, but horrifying experience for a pastor.

    Or maybe like me, you were desperate to purchase a coveted Bronco’s jersey from an official ‘NFL’ site. As soon as I put in my credit card information, I was transferred to an unofficial looking web page, in another language, with no way to contact the company. And yes, my credit card was flagged for fraudulent activity in that same country weeks later.

    Many of us don’t think about security on our smartphones in the same way as we think about security on our computers, but we should.

    By increasing awareness and taking these precautions, your chances of becoming a victim can be greatly reduced. Here are some common smartphone scams.

    1 — Fake Wi-Fi Hotspots



    — When in public places, especially airports, scammers set up fake Wi-Fi hotspots to get you to connect to their network. The name of the network is designed to fool you into thinking it is an official network.
    — If you connect to this fake network, which often provides free access, the scammers may have access to your device.
    — Worse yet, some people pay a small amount, like $2 for 24-hour access, not realizing they just gave the scammer their credit card information.


    — When away from home, make sure you are aware of the Wi-Fi network you are connected to.
    — Don’t pay for temporary Wi-Fi access, especially in airports. Instead, use your personal hotspot or some other trusted Wi-Fi source like a password-protected site from a trusted business or hotel.
    — Avoid using banking or credit card apps when not connected to a trusted Wi-Fi network. If necessary, open the website in a browser on your smartphone and look for “https” as the first part of the website address. Logout of accounts and close apps when you’re finished.

    2 — Missed calls or text messages from unknown numbers



    — Have you ever missed a call from an unknown source? The phone likely only rang once and you were surprised you missed a call. The number you call back may be redirected to a number that starts with 190 (premium rate service) without your knowledge, which means a charge will show up on your phone bill.
    — The number may tell you that you have won a prize and give you another number to call to claim your prize. The second number may be a premium rate number.
    — The same type of scam happens with text messages. You may be enticed to respond to an unknown text, to find out you incurred a charge for the text message on your phone bill.


    — If you receive a call or text from an unknown number, don’t reply. Delete the message right away. If someone really wants to contact you, they will leave a message or call back.
    — Call your cellular phone provider to see if you incurred one of these premium charges and ask to have it reversed.
    — Report the fraud to your cellular phone provider or report it to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center.

    3 — Fake or Fraudulent App Scam



    — Have you ever paid for an app that does something completely different from what you thought? Probably the most well known example of this is Virus Shield, a $4 Android antivirus app that did absolutely nothing. People were fooled, and the scammers made $40,000 before the app was shut down.
    — The Today Show recently reported about a risk with Android phones that is really creepy. Scammers can hack into your phone and track everywhere you go and everything you do. They can also take control of your camera and speakers to see and hear what you are doing.
    — Android phones are more prone to hacking that Apple phones because anyone can create an Android app. The scammers design the fake app to look like a game or software update, so you’re more likely to download.


    — Make sure you only download apps that are well known and trusted. Read reviews and ask your friends if they have used the app.
    — On Android devices, download apps from Google Play which has a “verify apps” feature. It will warn you if you are attempting to download an app that may be the work of scammers.
    — Secure your device by setting up a screen lock with pin. If the scammer takes control of your phone, they may not get passed the lock screen. On your Android device, go to Settings > Security > Screen lock. On Apple devices, go to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode.

    If you follow these suggestions, you’ll be less likely to fall victim to a smartphone scam.
    You can also review the list of FBI common Internet fraud schemes.

    If you like this type of information, sign up for our weekly update, which is the best way to stay current with technology.

    Earlier on Huff/Post50:

    — 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.

  • Solar-Powered Airplane Is About To Make History
    Aviation history is in the making — no fossil fuels necessary.

    Solar Impulse 2, the revolutionary airplane powered exclusively by sunlight, is about to depart on the longest leg of its around-the-world journey.

    The 4,000-mile flight from Japan to Hawaii will kick off as soon as weather permits. Because the aircraft’s maximum speed is only 90 mph and it typically flies even slower to conserve energy, the non-stop journey is predicted to take four to five days. A Boeing 777, with a top speed of around 600 mph, can make the trip in about 8.5 hours.

    solar impulse 2The Solar Impulse 2’s maiden flight.

    Solar Impulse 2 is mostly made of carbon fiber. It has 17,248 solar cells on the wings that recharge four lithium polymer batteries. It is extremely light at 5,070 pounds, about the weight of a Ford Explorer, but has a 236-foot wingspan, which generates enough lift to maintain flight over long periods of time.

    André Borschberg, co-founder of Solar Impulse, will pilot the single-seat aircraft for this leg of the flight. He’ll be permitted 20-minute naps throughout the multi-day flight, during which an extensive team on the ground will monitor progress.

    For the #Pacific, I need to be ready for the unknown: I’m not sure how #Si2 will behave over so many days and nights pic.twitter.com/I31FHaQTmh

    — André Borschberg (@andreborschberg) May 30, 2015

    The trip to Hawaii was attempted in late May, but was aborted mid-flight due to precarious weather. Solar Impulse 2 made an emergency landing in Nagoya, Japan, where a wing was slightly damaged by strong winds.

    Solar Impulse 2 can fly at night because of its battery storage technology. It needs relatively sunny skies during the day and low winds.

    Solar flight may seem slow, expensive, and downright impractical at this point, but Borschberg and co-founder Bertrand Piccard said they see the project as a lofty jumping-off point for more eco-friendly travel.

    After founding the project in 2003, they set out to change the face of modern aviation.

    It’s really to show what we can do with renewable energies,” Piccard told The Verge. “This is really the vision I had in the beginning, to do something extremely difficult, something that people would consider impossible.”

    The around-the-world journey began in the United Arab Emirates on March 9, 2015, and is expected to be completed in July or August with a return to the UAE.

    Whatever the result, the plane itself is indisputably cool. See for yourself:

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

  • How to Use Social Media As a Customer Listening Platform
    Most companies already use social media, but few actually use it to its fullest potential. For example, your brand might have claimed its own Facebook page, but how often do you post on that page to communicate with your customers? Only a small percentage of brands on social media make an active effort to improve their reputation or increase the size of their audience, while the rest simply treat it as something they “have to” have in the modern world.

    Still, using social media for posting news, content, and promotions is only half the battle. “Social” media implies that some type of interaction is happening, which requires both outbound and inbound communication. Instead of using social media as an exclusively customer speaking platform, start thinking about social media in terms of its capacity as a customer listening platform.

    What Is Customer Listening?

    This is probably the first question you’re asking. Customer listening is exactly what it sounds like. You’ll be listening to (or in this case reading) various things said by your customers to gain insights and help develop your business. Unlike promotions, which have a direct and immediate effect on your reputation and inbound traffic, customer listening is more about gathering information to make meaningful long-term changes to your approach–and not just on social media:

    • Monitoring popular topics among your key demographics can help guide you in what type of content to write and circulate.
    • Reviewing interests and conversations of your key demographics can help you better understand their personalities, and help you market better to them.
    • Scouting for your audience’s other followers can help you identify key influencers in your industry, who you can then use to build your own reputation.
    • Gathering feedback about your brand from fans and followers can help you make adjustments to improve your overall customer relations.

    The bottom line for these strategies is this: listen to what your customers are saying on social media, and make adjustments to your business to better suit them.

    Strategies for Customer Listening

    Of course, it isn’t always simple as clicking a button and being presented with a wealth of information. In many cases, you’ll have to do some deep digging to get the information you’re looking for. But you can also employ specific tactics to make your life easier and round up as much information as conveniently as possible.

    Social Listening

    Social listening is a term that refers to searching the world of social media for overall trends. Because there are billions of social users making millions of posts a day, you’ll need a tool to help you out–for example, Social Mention is a free social listening platform you can use to search and analyze social trends. You can either search for a specific topic to see how popular it is and how it’s being used or browse popular trends directly. Keep in mind that there are a variety of social listening tools out there, ranging from free to expensive, and each of them has a different range of functionality. Experiment with different versions to evaluate your individual needs and choose the one that suits your business best.

    List Building

    Personally, I’ve found that Twitter is one of the best social media platforms for customer listening. It gives public access to individual users’ profiles and tweet histories, and also offers a fantastic function for organizing users and listening to them–lists. On Twitter, you can create lists that are public or private (in this case, you’ll want them to be private), and select any number of users to be a part of those lists. For example, you could make a list of news organizations, and when you want to read the news, you can access this list and only read tweets that those organizations have pushed. For customer listening, this is highly convenient. You’ll have to do some legwork upfront to build out lists for each of your core demographics, but once you do, you’ll be able to, at a glance, see what your customers are talking about and take action accordingly.


    Of course, your customers won’t always give you exactly the answers you were looking for. If you have specific questions of your users, such as whether or not they like your latest product, why not ask those questions of your users directly in the form of a survey? Facebook allows some limited survey issuing functionality, which you can use to gauge your customer responses and gather feedback. Failing that, SurveyMonkey is always a great option for creating surveys and gathering information. You can syndicate the link to your survey to your targeted demographics, or your entire social audience, and then gather the data from there.

    Through customer listening, you’ll be able to gather information and gain new insights about the most important people to your business — your customers. However, bear in mind that finding and analyzing this information is only the first step to meaningful action — you’ll also have to implement changes to your business and your marketing strategy in order to see worthwhile results.

    — 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.

  • Surgery app studies lack quality

    Systematic review analyzes studies on surgery apps and had surprising findings

    The post Surgery app studies lack quality appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Hackers Likely Gained Access To Sensitive Data About Military, Intelligence Personnel
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers linked to China appear to have gained access to the sensitive background information submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances, several U.S. officials said Friday, describing a second cyberbreach of federal records that could dramatically compound the potential damage.

    The forms authorities believed to have been accessed, known as Standard Form 86, require applicants to fill out deeply personal information about mental illnesses, drug and alcohol use, past arrests and bankruptcies. They also require the listing of contacts and relatives, potentially exposing any foreign relatives of U.S. intelligence employees to coercion. Both the applicant’s Social Security number and that of his or her cohabitant is required.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the security clearance material is classified.

    The security-clearance records provide “a very complete overview of a person,” said Evan Lesser, managing director of ClearanceJobs.com, a website that matches security-clearance holders to available slots. “You don’t need these records to blackmail or exploit someone, but it would sure make the job easier.”

    The Office of Personnel Management, which was the target of the hack, has not officially notified military or intelligence personnel whose security clearance data was breached, but news of the second hack was starting to circulate in both the Pentagon and the CIA.

    The officials said they believe the hack into the security clearance database was separate from the breach of federal personnel data announced last week — a breach that is itself appearing far worse than first believed. It could not be learned whether the security database breach happened when an OPM contractor was hacked in 2013, an attack that was discovered last year. Members of Congress received classified briefings about that breach in September, but there was no mention of security clearance information being exposed.

    The OPM had no immediate comment Friday.

    Nearly all of the millions of security clearance holders, including CIA, National Security Agency and military special operations personnel, are potentially exposed in the security clearance breach, the officials said. More than 2.9 million people had been investigated for a security clearance as of October 2014, according to government records.

    In the hack of standard personnel records announced last week, two people briefed on the investigation disclosed Friday that as many as 14 million current and former civilian U.S. government employees have had their information exposed to hackers, a far higher figure than the 4 million the Obama administration initially disclosed.

    American officials have said that cybertheft originated in China and that they suspect espionage by the Chinese government, which has denied any involvement.

    The newer estimate puts the number of compromised records between 9 million and 14 million going back to the 1980s, said one congressional official and one former U.S. official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because information disclosed in the confidential briefings includes classified details of the investigation.

    There are about 2.6 million executive branch civilians, so the majority of the records exposed relate to former employees. Contractor information also has been stolen, officials said. The data in the hack revealed last week include the records of most federal civilian employees, though not members of Congress and their staffs, members of the military or staff of the intelligence agencies.

    On Thursday, a major union said it believes the hackers stole Social Security numbers, military records and veterans’ status information, addresses, birth dates, job and pay histories; health insurance, life insurance and pension information; and age, gender and race data.

    The personnel records would provide a foreign government an extraordinary roadmap to blackmail, impersonate or otherwise exploit federal employees in an effort to gain access to U.S. secrets —or entry into government computer networks.

    Outside experts were pointing to the breaches as a blistering indictment of the U.S. government’s ability to secure its own data two years after a National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, was able to steal tens of thousands of the agency’s most sensitive documents.

    After the Snowden revelations about government surveillance, it became more difficult for the federal government to hire talented younger people into sensitive jobs, particularly at intelligence agencies, Lesser said.

    “Now, if you get a job with the government, your own personal information may not be secure,” he said. “This is going to multiply the government’s hiring problems many times.”

    The Social Security numbers were not encrypted, the American Federation of Government Employees said, calling that “an abysmal failure on the part of the agency to guard data that has been entrusted to it by the federal workforce.”

    Samuel Schumach, an OPM spokesman, would not address how the data was protected or specifics of the information that might have been compromised, but said, “Today’s adversaries are sophisticated enough that encryption alone does not guarantee protection.” OPM is nonetheless increasing its use of encryption, he said.

    The Obama administration had acknowledged that up to 4.2 million current and former employees whose information resides in the Office of Personnel Management server are affected by the December cyberbreach, but it had been vague about exactly what was taken.

    J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said in a letter Thursday to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on incomplete information OPM provided to the union, “the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree and up to 1 million former federal employees.”

    Another federal union, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, said Friday that “at this point, we believe AFGE’s assessment of the breach is overstated.” It called on the OPM to provide more information.

    Rep. Mike Rogers, the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said last week that he believes China will use the recently stolen information for “the mother of all spear-phishing attacks.”

    Spear-phishing is a technique under which hackers send emails designed to appear legitimate so that users open them and load spyware onto their networks.


    Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this story.

    — 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.

  • Weekend Roundup: Turkish and Greek Democracy Upend the Status Quo
    The value of democracy, when it works, is its capacity to change course. In both Greece, and now Turkey, recent elections have upended the status quo. With Greece having lost an astonishing 25 percent of its GDP through austerity policies, the Syriza government that came to power earlier this year has insisted on sticking to its popular mandate to resist the demands of creditors and hold out for debt relief. The prospects of default and an exit from the eurozone have never been closer. In Turkey, which has been seeking to join the European Union, the autocratic path set by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been stopped in its tracks by voters in this week’s poll.

    Writing from Istanbul, Behlül Özkan sees the beginning of the end of the Erdoğan era. WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that the surprise demise of support for Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party raises the big question: “now what?” The Middle East Eye’s David Hearst reminds us not to diminish what Turkey has accomplished under AKP rule. World editor Nick Robins-Early profiles the “pro-gay and pro-women” Peoples’ Democratic Party that was an election spoiler. A photo essay shows the spontaneous celebrations that erupted in Turkey when the election results came in. In a break from election coverage, Sophia also reports on the opening of a rare Arabic-language bookstore that’s giving Syrian refugees in Turkey’s capital city a taste of home.

    Writing from Athens, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis calls on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to offer hope to his beleaguered people. Nobel laureate Joe Stiglitz fears a “Grexit” could trigger a global financial crisis.

    French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy argues that the Kurdish peshmerga are the best bet to fight the Islamic State group. Maha Aziz explains how crowdsourcing can help the West fight ISIS. Farheen Rizvi writes that the acquittal of most of Malala’s alleged attackers betrays the lack of seriousness in fighting terrorism in Pakistan. A report from our World editors details how women and girls abducted by ISIS are sold for “as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Noted scholar Akbar Ahmed lists 10 things that would surprise us about Islam in Europe. Continuing her reporting from South Sudan, World editor Charlotte Alfred takes us inside a UN peacekeeping base. UN envoy and former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown calls this “the year of fear” for children.

    Turbulent undercurrents continue to roil the South China Sea. Writing from Canberra, Hugh White sorts out the South China Sea crisis and asks how Americans might feel if Chinese spy planes reciprocated and flew a dozen miles off the California coast. One of China’s leading foreign policy voices, Fu Ying, reports on her visit to the U.S. and says it is acting “like a flamboyant eagle which has flown into a china shop.” Writing from Shanghai, Zhang Jun explains why China’s growth cannot fulfill its potential within “the existing global system.” WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from Beijing on a Chinese rapper’s viral shout out on behalf of Uber and against exploitative taxis. He also reports on how Alibaba has facilitated LGBT marriages in West Hollywood, as well as on an armpit hair contest by Chinese feminists.

    Ashutosh, spokesman for the Aam Aadmi Party (Common Man’s Party), warns from Delhi, where his party governs, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is beginning to show his authoritarian stripes and is “turning the land of Gandhi into a banana republic.” In an interview, Bollywood star Salman Khan asks, “Why would I want to go to Hollywood?”

    Global risk analyst Ian Bremmer lays out the three options from which U.S. presidential candidates must choose in shaping American foreign policy. In an interview, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange talks about “the God of mass surveillance.”

    As the negotiations over Iran stumble toward a conclusion, European parliamentarian Richard Howitt proposes from London “how to avoid putting the dead in deadline.” Muhammad Sahimi scores the contradiction of the U.S. trying to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Iran while also arming its enemies. Our World editors review what’s at stake in the final stages of negotiations.

    To mark the anniversary of the fall of Mosul, World editor Nick Robins-Early looks at what life is like in Iraq’s second-largest city, a year after ISIS took over. He also writes about a pair of sacred statues that the Taliban destroyed in Afghanistan that have been recreated by 3-D light projections.

    In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we look at how ISIS is on a rampage far from the battle zones in Iraq and Syria.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron calls for a crackdown on corruption that, as the FIFA scandal has shown, is at the heart of so many of the world’s problems. Writing from Rome, Marco Valerio Lo Prete outlines Italy’s novel scheme for shared unemployment insurance across Europe. European Parliament President Martin Schulz calls for a “Digital Bill of Rights” for Europe.

    In an interview, legendary literary critic Harold Bloom, now 85, talks about how the ideological “isms” that have invaded universities are destroying literature. In another interview at the American Academy in Rome, Chez Panisse founder Alice Waters lauds the slow food movement and says “we digest our values” when we eat. Marking World Oceans Day this week, Virgin chairman Richard Branson calls on us all to take care of the oceans as an investment in the future.

    Fusion this week reports that Ireland is poised to have one of the most enlightened transgender identity laws in the world. In our Singularity University series, we look at how computers could replace financial advisers within a decade.

    Finally, our photo essays this week include an intimate look inside the capital of the Hermit Kingdom, gripping photos of fleeing Syrian refugees, the women guerrillas of Kurdistan and the dramatic diversity of Vietnam’s landscapes.


    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.


    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.

  • YouTube to launch video gaming site
    YouTube is to launch a dedicated site and app for gaming in an attempt to take on Amazon-owned streaming service Twitch.
  • Father's Day Gifts 2015: Best Tech Gifts for the Dad in Your Life
    It’s 2015, people, time to really put some thought into that Father’s Day gift. Sure, another tie is great, but some dads no longer wear ties to work. Instead, they carry mobile phones and chargers and listen to music on the go and yes, they even help out around the house. Whether you’re shopping for your own dad, your husband, your in-law, whoever, here are some great tech gift ideas to show you care.


    Laptop-Toting Dad

    Dad may already have a laptop he lugs around to work, but he may not need that big, heavy laptop all the time. The Microsoft Surface 3 will take the weight off his shoulders while giving him options for how to work. Paired with the (extra) Surface 3 Type Cover, the Surface 3 is a powerful laptop capable of running all Windows programs and doing some serious work, complete with USB, headphone jack and micro USB. Detach the keyboard and Dad has a 10.8-inch high res tablet for kicking back and watching videos or reading the news. Price starts at $499


    Mouse-Loving Dad

    For dads who prefer a mouse to a laptop trackpad, there’s the Logitech MX Master wireless mouse. It’s the perfect companion for desktop-loving dads or power users who like programmable functions that save time and clicks. Connect to devices via a receiver or Bluetooth – great for multi-taskers because it pairs with and lets you switch between up to three computers at once. It’s larger than a portable mouse, but that’s because it does so many more tricks, feels extremely comfortable in your hand and can track on virtually any surface. $99


    Music-Loving Dad

    Dad never has to be without tunes in the house just because someone forgot to install great-sounding speakers in every room. The Sengled Pulse Bluetooth bulb is a simple solution; it’s an LED light bulb with integrated JBL Bluetooth speakers. They’re super easy to install, just replace the bulb in any standard E26 socket and connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Use the Pulse app to control the music and dim the light. Pick up a master and satellite set of two bulbs for $169.


    Power-Loving Dad

    Dad shouldn’t have to choose between charging up a laptop or tablet. He can do both at once without searching for AC adapters with the Power2U Dual USB wall outlet. It has two built-in USB ports plus two traditional AC outlets with enough power to simultaneously charge them all. $29.99


    Connected Dad

    Here’s a real power tool for dad; the myCharge HubPlus portable charger has built-in Lightning and Micro USB cables for charging devices on the go. Dad can charge up his tablet and phone at the same time – there’s plenty of power. And when it comes time to charge up the charger, a built-in wall prong makes it quick and easy to power up the 6,000 mAh battery for the next trip. It’s small, fits easily into a bag or backpack and is a life-saver for staying connected on the go. $99


    Traveling Dad

    Travel is enough a hassle, with bad traffic and weather delays. Dad can rest easy knowing his bag is always with him even if he changes flights at the last minute with the Thule Crossover Rolling 22″ Upright. It’s small enough to fit into most US airlines’ overhead bins, yet large enough to pack all he needs for a quick business trip. It’s got a removable tri-fold suiter and compartments to organize and protect essential gear. $349.95


    WorkLife Dad

    Moms aren’t the only ones who like to carry their gear in style. Dads will appreciate the look and comfort of Knomo Bag’s Bude Backpack. Though the company makes incredibly fabulous leather bags for both men and women, this backpack is made of a lightweight canvas that’s both dirt and water resistant. There’s a padded compartment inside that protects up to a 15-inch laptop and a tablet, and lots of compartments for keeping cables and gear organized. $169


    Mobile Dad

    There’s a new smartphone on the market that’s making even devout iPhone lovers take a second look. LG’s G4 phone, is a sleek 5.5-inch phone with a quad HD display running on Android 5.1. The camera features are impressive, and the phone has a removable battery. Its defining feature is a smart-looking hand-stitched leather back cover, available in a variety of colors. Whatever carrier Dad uses, there’s a deal through Father’s Day for an extra battery and storage. T-Mobile is offering five times more memory and if Dad is a world traveler, make sure to check out T-Mo’s Simple Global plan which includes unlimited data and texting to the US.


    TV-Loving Dad
    If Dad spends lots of time on the road wishing he were home watching movies on the couch, the Amazon Fire TV Stick is the perfect gift. Not only does it deliver streaming content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video and more at home, he can use it in a hotel room to watch TV shows and videos there. The Fire TV Stick works with most HDTV’s in hotels where a password or log-in is required. Just don’t forget to bring it back home! $39


    Road Warrior Dad

    Two hands on the wheel please Dad! When you use your phone as a GPS or audiobook companion while you drive, it’s often hard to find the right spot for it. Mounting gadgets can get clumsy and they sometimes block the driver’s view. Zuna Drive is a smartphone case that has a unique hinge on the back, enabling you to hang it in the air-conditioning vent. This eliminates those pesky wires while keeping the phone in line of sight where it’s easily viewed with a quick glance. $39.99


    Fun-Loving Dad

    Seriously, what’s more fun than flying a drone over the house or parking lot and taking pictures to share with mom and friends? Not much! The Parrot Bebop drone is made of foam; small and lightweight so you can take it on vacation or down to the beach for a day of flying, and has an HD camera inside the nose. Dad can control the drone using an Android or iOS device and snap pictures of his “out of this world” flight. No worries, the built-in GPS system will return the drone to its starting point. $499


    ManCave Dad
    Dad’s Man Cave is usually off limits, but he might not mind a little help tidying up all the cables and wires. HIDEit mounts let DIY Dads install the electronic devices behind the TV so nothing else comes between Dad and the game. Prices vary.

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  • Apple Music and the Race to Coexist

    Fifteen years ago, the first digital music subscription services made a strange proposition to consumers: come rent your music, digitally, for a monthly fee.

    At the time, CDs and physical record stores were ascendant, and “unlicensed” file sharers like Napster went uncontested by strong digital alternatives. Few even understood the concept of renting digital music. It was definitely an idea before its time. Early attempts like MediaNet, Press Play, and Full Audio shriveled, while hardy survivors like Rhapsody survived on the fringes.

    It took a sea change from Apple to change matters: when Apple’s iTunes launched in 2003, it was easier to use, simply priced, and more tightly integrated with a device than anything in the market. The success of the iTunes music download store seemed natural, at least to those on the sidelines of a struggle to bring digital music to consumers.

    Today, with music as ubiquitous as water, downloads declining, and consumer access to streaming media content a mainstream thing, Apple won’t be alone in educating consumers on the idea of renting streamed digital music, nor will it be in the catbird seat. There are already great streaming music alternatives in the market; they cover a lot of territory and tastes, too. In fact, the distinctions between them all aren’t so sharp. It will be a much more difficult challenge for Apple to succeed than that download store ever was.

    Sweden’s Spotify, a leader in digital music streaming, not only has a base of 15 million paying subscribers globally; its super-fast, seamless streaming music product may be the worlds best. It’s playlist capability and rich catalog can hook one easily. (Competitors like Deezer and Rdio aren’t so different.)

    Recent research suggests consumers agree, as Spotify seems to be becoming an essential part of a consumer’s lifestyle, where playlists for jogging, moods or the weekend barbecue generate more interest as the “fully interactive” mixes Spotify, Apple, and others are authorized to provide. Some see playlists as key to future music consumption, calling it the radio of the future.

    Both Spotify and Apple invested in music “skunk work” technology, designed to refine preferences and deliver extensively tailored music suggestions. Research shows this is working–youngsters are discovering their parents music, and the old concept of music genres seems to be loosening up–and why shouldn’t it, since the next track is just a click away.

    U.S. Internet radio leader Pandora knows this story well–talk to a Pandora executive, and try to find any real difference amongst consumers between interactivity and Pandora’s mixes–there really isn’t much, as mainstream consumers prefer to “lean back” and have music mixes delivered to them.

    Into this mix comes Apple’s new premium streaming service, which no doubt will eventually cannibalize that aging download store. (Imagine the math: “how many subscribers do we need to sign up to offset the lost download buyers?”) Unlike competitors, the service is priced at a premium–underlining the music industry’s central business concerns of driving premium subscription services.

    For record labels, Apple Music’s launch is a great thing. Subscription services were always a great way to encourage music purchasing, and the logic is actually not so different today, except that labels want to see more consumers pay for subscriptions, not CDs or downloads. But labels don’t dictate consumer preferences–and they tend to play the field broadly when it comes to digital partnerships.

    So can Apple Music cut through the clutter and succeed with streaming?

    The answer really isn’t so clear. Apple unquestionably has obvious, massive strengths: a huge installed base of paying customers and billing data, a very powerful and cool brand, a deep team of experienced executives, and a market-leading music retailing platform which will now give artists even more of an opportunity to participate–hosting channels, curating content, even releasing albums exclusively for the new platform.

    Apple also has a broad set of music rights and products to draw on, from video to Internet radio to that handset, where a pre-loaded Apple Music app and a three-month trial period (just like the original subscription services offered) could be very strong incentives for more of the mainstream market to subscribe to the still-young idea of a music subscription.

    In a crowded, increasingly complex music market like the U.S., Apple is perhaps the most potent music partner to popularize subscriptions, even as digital music is a relatively tiny part of Apple’s overall business.

    But in such a crowded music market, here’s a better way to think about the new launch:

    It’s not whether Apple will win the subscription race and unseat Spotify.

    Rather, it is how Apple’s new streaming service will coexist, differentiate itself and eventually compete with the many digital music options available to consumers, all of which are trying to grow the music industry by selling more premium subscriptions.

    Spotify, a pure-play, unprofitable music service is now under the gun to convert more of its 60 million free streaming consumers to paying subscribers.

    Apple, like other tech titans, comes from a much more broadly positioned organization and perspective. Apple Music could have a future that more closely resembles music services from large tech titans like Amazon, Google, or Microsoft’s Xbox Music. All of these have respectable if not game-changing digital music services.

    Of course, it’s likely to do a lot better than any of the above, and it will certainly impact Spotify, Pandora, and even smaller players like Rdio. But at this point, coexistence and growth are likelier outcomes for Apple than winning the race.

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

  • Google Flights Guys On When To Purchase Flights 'The Best Time To Buy Is Now'
    Google Flights is better than a travel agent.

    The flight search engine can essentially plan your dream trip by seeking out the cheapest flight in a given month, all while monitoring fare changes for you.

    On Wednesday, the brains behind Google Flights hosted an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) on Reddit where they dished out some handy tips and tricks. Scroll through to learn some of their best hacks below:

    1. Timing isn’t everything when you’re buying a plane ticket.

    using computer

    When presented with the question, “When is the best moment to book plane tickets?” Srikanth Sastry, Google Flights’ software engineer, said that while prices can increase closer to a departure date, “typically the best time to buy is now.” Sastry said that after researching the subject, Google found “the expected value of waiting is negative.”

    2. You can search multiple airports at the same time.

    Live in an area where you’re nestled between a few airports? (Lucky you!) To navigate searches between, say, three different airports, Christopher Vincent, Google Tech Lead Manager, has some easy tips:

    “For adding airports to your origin, you can either click the plus sign then ‘More airports,’ or enter multiple airport codes (up to five),” said Vincent. “You can do the same for destination airports, plus you can type the names of many regions (e.g. ‘Asia,’ ‘Australia,’ ‘Caribbean’) to see suggested destinations with photos and prices.”

    3. You can now see which flights have the best Wi-Fi and in-flight entertainment.

    in flight entertainment

    Thanks to a partnership with RouteHappy, Google Flights now has amenity data. According to Domenico Carbotta, Google software engineer, the flight search engine now shows “amenities for a ton of flights,” including Wi-Fi availability, seat pitch and entertainment options.

    Sastry added that usually means the best flights, and “not necessarily the cheapest flights.” Google Flights takes into account the “number of stops, total journey time, and departure/arrival time” when determining the best flight possible. You may pay a little more, but your flight could be a WHOLE lot better.

    4. Flight prices DON’T increase if you search them more.

    Myth debunked! Todd Williamson, Google software engineer, assured a Reddit user that prices will not go up the more someone searches them, citing a Northeastern University study for hotel deals. In fact, Williamson added that “better deals” actually might come up for logged-in users.

    Just another reason to get Googling.

    H/T Boarding Area

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  • Facebook Is Watching You, Even When You're Not Clicking On Stuff
    In perhaps the least surprising news of the day, Facebook announced Friday yet another way it pays attention to the minutiae of its users’ behavior.

    Whenever you linger on content in your News Feed — that main section of the social network where you see things that your friends have posted — Facebook pays attention, even if you’re not “liking,” commenting on or sharing anything.

    “Just because someone didn’t like, comment or share a story in their News Feed doesn’t mean it wasn’t meaningful to them,” software engineers Ansha Yu and Sami Tas wrote in a company blog post.

    “Based on this finding, we are updating News Feed’s ranking to factor in a new signal—how much time you spend viewing a story in your News Feed,” they continued.

    In other words, when you spend time with content in your News Feed, Facebook will interpret that as a good thing — even if you didn’t click on anything.

    “Based on the fact that you didn’t scroll straight past this post and it was on the screen for more time than other posts that were in your News Feed, we infer that it was something you found interesting and we may start to surface more posts like that higher up in your News Feed in the future,” Yu and Tas wrote.

    Previously, Facebook learned to show you content it thought was relevant based largely on whether you directly interacted with it through the like, comment and share functions.

    A spokeswoman for Facebook told The Huffington Post that the amount of time spent looking at content would not be made available to publishers or advertisers, and that it is purely used to determine how content is surfaced on the News Feed.

    At first glance, this announcement may seem a bit weird, but it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Facebook already tracks your activity well beyond the confines of the main social network — a fact that has helped land it in hot water in the European Union. And the company has expressed interest in “deep learning” to help it automatically recognize certain traits in its users — if a person looks hammered in a photo they’re trying to post, for example.

    In a certain sense, the news could also be viewed as something to be optimistic about. Publishers like The New York Times are ramping up their efforts to put their stories directly on Facebook through its “Instant Articles” platform. The idea that articles could be measured by something beyond page views or ephemeral shares might be appealing to publishers.

    Plus, e-book companies for a long time have paid attention to how long you spend with their texts.

    Regardless, it does serves as a reminder: Facebook basically knows everything about everything you do on its platform. Enjoy!

    This story has been updated to include information from Facebook about how the new feature will be used.

    — 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 13, 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.

  • This Window: Why I Love the Internet
    In 1994 my friend Jennifer assured me that some day in the near future, we would all have computers at home that we would use for everything. I didn’t believe her. I couldn’t imagine it. Now, my screen is a daily window on the world.

    I love the internet and not just for the cute kitten photos, but I love them too.

    I love Facebook. Who cares if that dude from my junior high basketball team is eating sushi in Sacramento right now? I do. That girl I worked with at a restaurant in 1987 just published a thriller? I’m interested. These are stories.

    I love Instagram and the peek into the lens-eye of people whose lens-eyes I enjoy. I’ll look at your babies and puppies and enchiladas and sunsets and all of the other stuff that makes life good. Picture stories.

    I love blogs. I love the niche blogs (Mormon stockpiling moms, guy who posts photos of ephemera he finds in old books) as well as the old-fashioned slice-of-life personal journals. I love the friends I have made in these blog homes. I love the stories they tell.

    I love Ebay and buying used stuff online because I do not like malls but I might like that sweater with the cute collar that you don’t wear anymore. My things have had a life before me, a story.

    I love the tiny film festival that is Vine. Perfect for my attention span and my schedule. Six second stories.

    I love Twitter and the challenge to convey or digest a succinct thought. A limited novella of a story.

    I love email. Letters delivered in an instant. Stories. Now.

    I love YouTube. I will watch a cat dressed as a taco riding a Roomba or a full length U2 concert. More stories.

    I love Pinterest because as long as it exists, I never have to buy another lifestyle magazine. Or cookbook. I am interested to see what other people are interested in. Pins are portals to other stories.

    I love websites like this one because it brings me news from everywhere and the way others frame it.

    The computer does not take the place of real life, it enhances it. I love the universe that is handed to me every morning when I open my laptop. I am a sucker for words. And music. And faith. And animals. And snacks. And art. And people. And stories. I love the stories.

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  • Backers Beware: Crowdfunding Risks and Rewards
    Let’s say that you want to open a restaurant, make a documentary, publish a book, or bring a technological gadget you’ve invented to market. If you don’t have the money you need for such a project, where can you turn? You could try to get a bank loan or find some investors who will give you financing. But increasingly, people are also turning to crowdfunding platforms – where funding comes in small chunks from a large number of people – as a way to raise money for such ventures.

    The internet has made it easy to participate in crowdfunding, either as someone seeking money, or as someone who is willing to provide financial backing to a particular project or cause. Numerous crowdfunding websites provide platforms to help connect those seeking funding and individuals who might want to give money to support a project – but potential backers should note that investing is not without risk.

    People can use crowdfunding to raise money for everything from a political campaign, to getting help with medical bills, to paying for a wedding, or even supporting scientific research. In some cases, backers who give money to a crowdfunding campaign receive nothing tangible in return, which is often the case where the cause is a charitable one. In other cases, if backers are helping finance a tangible item or goal – like opening a cupcake bakery, putting on a play, or manufacturing a gadget – funders will be promised tangible rewards in return for their support, such as free cupcakes, tickets to the play, or a free gadget.

    You might be moved to contribute money after reading a story about someone in need or watching a video demonstrating a really neat device – but not every project may be what it seems. If you are interested in supporting a crowdfunding project, you should do some research first. Read all of the information about the project or cause carefully. Try to determine whether the individuals looking to raise funds have the experience and knowledge needed to accomplish the goal or project they are promoting. If the project involves the manufacture of a product or gadget, do the claims about the product and the technology involved seem plausible? And you can always ask questions directly of the people raising funds – crowdfunding websites should have a way for you to contact the people behind the project or cause.

    While crowdfunding fraud appears to be rare, it has been known to happen. Also, even if someone raising funds has the best intentions to complete a project, nothing can be guaranteed. Any number of unforeseen obstacles or delays could happen with opening that bakery or publishing that book. Because of this, you should keep in mind that even if you have been promised an item as a reward, crowdfunding websites are not stores. They are not selling products that are sitting on a shelf or in a storeroom somewhere. They are offering you the opportunity to invest in a project or cause – and there is a certain degree of risk involved. There is no guarantee that the project will be successful. If you have been promised an item as a reward, it could be delayed, not exactly what you were expecting, or it might never arrive at all.

    To the extent that outright fraud is occurring on crowdfunding sites, such behavior can violate the Federal Trade Commission Act. The FTC recently announced a case involving a crowdfunding project on the website Kickstarter.com, where a project creator raised funds to develop a board game called The Doom That Came to Atlantic City. The creator had a fundraising goal of $35,000, and succeeded in raising almost $123,000 from more than 1,200 individual backers.

    Although the money was supposed to go to the development, manufacture, and distribution of the board game, the FTC alleged that the creator used the funds for other purposes, including an unrelated project, and personal rent and equipment expenses. The creator ending up cancelling the Kickstarter project and did not provide refunds or promised rewards to individuals who had contributed funds.

    The FTC charged in this case that the project creator promised to use the funds for a particular purpose and did not do so; this was deceptive and violated federal law. But the FTC does not — and cannot — guarantee that every crowdfunding project will be successful. Like any business venture, the success of a crowdfunding project can depend on many different factors, including experience, planning, expertise, market conditions, and luck.

    Crowdfunding can provide tremendous benefits, helping bring innovative products and creative projects to fruition without the need to obtain traditional financing. And consumers who contribute to crowdfunding projects can sometimes directly engage with project creators to provide input, and get the satisfaction of supporting a cause or project that they deem worthy. But crowdfunding is not a sure thing, and investors should understand the risks involved before deciding to contribute.

    — 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.

  • Should You Get Apple Music? Here's What You Need To Know
    At a presentation on June 8, Apple announced its music streaming service, Apple Music.

    The company is hoping the service will prove a worthy rival to Spotify, Rdio and TIDAL, and will eventually rise to the top of the crowded music streaming world.

    Sources: Apple, Spotify, Rdio, Rhapsody, TIDAL, Pandora

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  • Business Website Essentials
    As the owner and designer at HostMamas, we have seen our fair share of sites in desperate need of help. Let’s face it. The Web is full of pitiful sites, and we’re not just talking about bad design. There are many other elements besides how your website looks that go into making it customer friendly — not to mention something that inspires prospects to actually do business with you (which is why most of you are on the Web, right?).

    From thorough contact information to customer testimonials, here are the essentials that every small business website should have for it to effectively help you do business.

    A clear description of who you are who your ideal prospect is. Yes, people need to know who you are, but if your website is focused on only telling your story without a bridge that connects it in a helpful way that solves a consumer or buyer’s problem, your website likely to fail. Tell people this is the right website that they have been searching for and it will encourage them to stay longer and click around.

    A simple, sensible Web address. Don’t make things complicated. Enough said. People could misspell, forget, or move onto the next if you go with something to wordy. Also, avoid using dashes because those can be a nightmare when it comes to SEO.

    Keep it user friendly and updated. Easy to read colors and fonts. Knowing where to place buttons, drop downs, search boxes, social media links. This is all important to keep prospects coming back and staying engaged with your site. The layout of a site is so insanely important, I can not stress it enough. There is a reason people make a living off doing this guys! Because it makes websites the big bucks when done properly. Also, by maintaining new content on a website shows customers they have reached a lively business that they can trust. The majority of pages on a website won’t require constant updates, but there should be at least one page that requires some regular maintenance.

    Easy-to-find contact information. You wouldn’t want to lose a customer to a competitor just because you made it difficult for them to get in touch with you. This plays a part in design, knowing where to place this information and the wording to use. Might seem like common sense, but a lot of sites lack this. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to force only one way to reach them. The point is to make it very easy for users to communicate with you on their terms.

    Customer references and testimonials. Yes, your business is the only “your business”- but these days a fitness guru, marketing guru (ah!), health guru, mommy blogger, etc. are all a dime a dozen. If you don’t prove you have backing, then onto the site that has it. Honest words from others help make your products or services more tangible to customers who are visiting you online. People love stories. HostMamas has built their brand on it, so we know. And what do people love more than a story about a company? A story from people who have interacted with that company.

    An obvious CALL TO ACTION. It is amazing the amount of clients we have talked to and asked, what do you want your website to accomplish? And they respond, we want it to look nice. Think deeper then that. What do you want your visitors to do? Sign up for a newsletter? Buy a product? Fill out the contact form? Be specific and it will empower your design to help your business even more.

    Know the basics of SEO. Your website won’t do you as much good if no one can stumble upon it. Become familiar with the SEO basics to make it more accessible by search engine. This means make sure your website is coded correctly and submitted to the big guy (aka Google.com). We have a SEO series with some basic tips, but things like correct keywords throughout your text, putting in plenty of links, naming your page titles and URLs correctly, and employing the magic of images and videos will all help boost your rankings.

    A secure hosting platform. Having your online information hijacked is a nightmare, and, should it happen to your business, it could cost you customers. Make sure to ask your hosting company a lot of questions about their security measures and backup procedures so you can safeguard your site and privacy.

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

  • Here's Why These Ikea Items Are Cheaper Now Than They Were 30 Years Ago
    It’s been 30 years since Ikea, beloved, low-cost furniture retailer to the masses, opened in the United States. While many of the designs look freakishly similar to those of decades past, a few key elements have changed, namely the retailer’s ability to offer customers furniture for even lower prices.

    On June 12, 1985, the Swedish store opened its doors in America for the first time in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. Today, there are 40 Ikea stores nationwide.



    Among all of the changes, Ikea has managed to keep certain iconic products –like the BILLY bookcase, POÄNG chair, LACK table, KLIPPAN loveseat — at pretty affordable prices. In fact, Ikea says the cost of making these products has actually decreased since 1985, making them less expensive for customers, as well.


    Marty Marston, Ikea U.S. Product PR Manager told The Huffington Post that Ikea’s emphasis on “democratic design” (form, function, quality, sustainability and price) has had a huge impact on price.

    Marston said that around 2001-2002, Ikea stopped making certain furniture items out of solid wood, which decreased the price for customers. “In 2001-2002, we went with this new, innovative method of creating the look of solid wood products, without using all of the precious resources of trees,” Marston said (Ikea famously uses nearly one percent of the world’s wood). “So while the legs of the LACK table used to be made of solid wood, they were now hollow.” Well, kind of.

    The product manager added that the inside of the LACK table employs a concept called Board on Frame. “The inside of the table is expandable, with heavy cardboard that looks like a honeycomb. It fills up the empty space with the cardboard accordion inside and it gives the table incredible strength.”


    In addition to the Board on Frame concept lowering prices, Marston added that Ikea’s way of packing and shipping items, called “flat packing,” also helped lower prices for customers. So while those large boxes might be heavy and cumbersome, you can credit them for those affordable furniture prices.

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  • Distracted Driving: Killer of a Problem

    In an investigative report released last week, authorities in Knoxville, Tenn., concluded that a texting driver was responsible for a deadly crash involving two school buses. According to the report, the driver of bus No. 44 was sending and receiving text messages on Dec. 2, 2014, when he suddenly made a sharp left turn, crossed the concrete median and smashed into another school bus, flipping it onto its side. Two young children and a teacher’s aide were killed, and many others were seriously injured. The driver of No. 44 suffered severe injuries, and died earlier this month, six months after the crash.

    It seems clear from the investigative report that the driver of No. 44 would have faced vehicular-homicide charges if he had survived. But, short of causing a fatal crash, what’s the penalty for texting while driving in Tennessee? It’s a $50 fine. What message does that send about the seriousness of the offense?

    It’s an open question whether we’re going to succeed in curbing the behavior of distracted drivers, but we surely need to get serious about trying. The ultimate solution to the distracted driving problem is to take the human driver out of the equation. However, widespread reliance on fully autonomous robotic vehicles is at least two decades away. In the meantime, policy makers will continue to face tough decisions, balancing individual rights and public safety, to prevent fatalities and serious injuries from distracted driving. Our current laws — not only in Knoxville — are woefully inadequate. For example, take a look at my own state of Massachusetts:

    Imagine you’re driving with your family on a two-lane suburban road outside Boston at around 50 miles an hour when another car approaches from the opposite direction. As the two cars close at a combined speed of 100 miles per hour, separated by a mere five feet on opposite sides of the painted center line, is it okay with you if the other driver is using a handheld device to enter GPS coordinates, look up a phone number, or dial a call?

    Massachusetts’ Safe Driving Act basically says to that oncoming driver, “If you’re 18 or older, no problem.” The 2010 law prohibits reading or writing a text or email on a handheld device while driving, but permits numerous other uses of the same device.

    Is the Massachusetts Legislature comfortable with that mixed message?

    Our willingness to share the road with others depends on maintaining widespread adherence to the social contract — codified in law — that each driver will exercise due care. Without a high level of trust in the good sense, responsibility, and survival instincts of other drivers, that basic social contract begins to unravel.

    A 2014 national opinion survey, conducted by the AAA Foundation, vividly captured the dimensions of the problem. Mary Maguire, from AAA-New England, presented key findings from the study at a recent State House legislative briefing organized by Rep. Cory Atkins and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

    First the good news: 96.4 percent said they consider it unacceptable for a driver to type a text or email while driving.

    But 36.1 percent of those same drivers admitted to reading a text or email while driving in the past 30 days, and 8.6 percent said they did so fairly often or regularly.

    The Massachusetts Legislature is now facing two key issues related to distracted driving. The first is how to strengthen the enforceability of the state’s current ban on using handheld devices for texting while driving.

    At a recent State House briefing, State Police Lt. Stephen Walsh presented an evaluation of intensive, high-visibility enforcement efforts aimed at curbing distracted driving in the state.

    The State Police study identified several impediments to making the current law work, including the difficulty of distinguishing whether a distracted driver — as viewed by an officer from a distance through a closed window in a moving car — is actually texting or just entering GPS coordinates, something that is not against the rules.

    Walsh said police hear a litany of excuses. “‘I wasn’t texting…I was entering a phone number. I was reading my GPS.’ It really caused us difficulty in citing a texting violation,” he said.

    To counter those explanations, he said, officers sometimes rely on an older, more generalized law against “impeded operation.”

    A second issue — which bears directly on the first one — is whether the Legislature should adopt an outright ban on the use of handheld devices while driving, including for phone calls. Studies have shown that the risk of a crash increases 300 percent when a driver is reaching for a phone or manually dialing.

    Fourteen states have already taken this step, including the “Live Free or Die” state of New Hampshire.

    A handheld ban is not a panacea, but, among other benefits, it eliminates a key barrier to enforcement of texting bans by essentially making the act of holding a digital device while driving an offense, with no requirement to prove the purpose for which it is being used. It’s a stopgap measure that buys time for consideration of more comprehensive approaches to the distracted-driving problem.

    Some skeptics have correctly argued that there’s nothing new about distracted driving. However, the pervasive use of digital devices has sharply escalated the degree of danger to an entirely new level.

    The central policy question is this: Where should we draw the line on the degree of risk that a distracted driver is permitted to impose on others? And, closely related to that question, what are the appropriate penalties for distracted driving that will send a credible and forceful message to the public?

    Over the long term, technological innovation — including driverless cars — may make this problem go away. In the meantime, there will be continued carnage on our roadways, unless we succeed at promoting a social norm that stigmatizes distracted driving. State and local laws can’t solve this problem alone, but they have a key role to play. And, stopgap technological solutions, mandated by law, may be needed as well.

    An earlier version of this post ran in The Boston Globe.

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  • My Daughter Ava Will Never Realize How Much She Helped Me Get Over the Loss of My Sister
    During the third trimester of my pregnancy with Ava, I was woken up every morning at 6:30 a.m. with the “Calypso” text notification sound, a sort of Caribbean upbeat tune that did not at all fit with the frigid winter freeze that I was living in at the time. Before I even opened an eyelid, I knew the messages were from my sister, Sarah. She woke up every day at 6, and, while eating a breakfast of egg whites and turkey bacon, would slowly type me messages loaded with pregnancy advice, or things she saw on her favorite show, A Baby Story. Sarah loved babies; she wanted at least 10.

    There was an ironic element to this aspiration, as she could never have babies. The chances of her bearing a child were slim to none — closer to none. She was born with a dual diagnosis of Prader-Willi Syndrome (a genetic disorder causing, among other things, an insatiable desire for food which often results in obesity) and cerebral palsy (contributing to slight cognitive delays and low muscle tone, thus causing an inability to walk unassisted). As a family, we never told Sarah that her future would not turn out the way she so happily imagined it would; collectively, we couldn’t see the point. Just because a dream can’t come true does not mean it shouldn’t be dreamt.

    katie ryan
    Sarah and Katie at 2 and 5 years old

    “Ava I am so happy to be your aunt,” she wrote to Ava before she was born. “I love you already, more every day. You come over any time you like. When you are sad about something, me and your mom and dad will always be there for you.”

    When Ava was born, the hospital had gone under a maternity ward lockdown due to the swine flu virus, so Sarah couldn’t come in the room to meet or hold Ava like she’d anticipated. I wasn’t sure how she’d react, considering that Sarah could become overly emotional when triggered by certain situations. My husband, Daniel, proudly held the sleeping Ava up behind the window of the nursery, and Sarah began to cry. I felt distressed that the hospital staff would not let her back into the unit, causing her to become upset, but she later told me, “Kate, I was just so happy to see Ava that I cried.”

    Life with Ava wasn’t easy at first; she was up most of the night. Sarah and my mom would watch Ava during the day, allowing Daniel and me to get a few hours of rest. I remember finding Sarah, wheeled up to Ava’s bassinet, rocking her back and forth while Ava slept. She would be singing a nursery rhyme over and over again. “She’s been doing that for two hours straight,” my mom would tell me.

    katie ryan
    Sarah holding a newborn Ava

    Ava loved Sarah. She doesn’t remember her now, aside from stories, pictures and videos. She would sit with her and play with stickers or play dough. Sarah, at 22, had the look of a big, sweet-faced baby. Our family and friends called her “Chew” because she was so adorably plump you just wanted to chew on her. When she began to get sick and go to and from the hospital, the nurses used to fight over who got to take care of her, calling her “our baby of the ICU.”

    Sarah was kind and gentle, and also uproariously funny. She had moments when she made me laugh to the point of tears because of her natural wit and take on the world. For countless reasons, I was happy for Ava to grow up with an aunt like Sarah. Not just because Sarah seemed to spark immense compassion and understanding in the people who met her, but also because she was hilarious and fun to be around.

    One day, I found Sarah rocking Ava and noticed that the tips of her fingers were a turquoise blue color. Sarah then began to complain of an intense headache, unusual because she so rarely complained about anything. She was taken to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with an increased level of carbon dioxide in her blood, the result of obstructive sleep apnea. Sarah was placed on life support. Thus began a year of Sarah living in and out of the hospital, with 12-hour nurse care when she was home (the other 12 hours were provided by my parents) and an eventual tracheostomy (a surgical procedure where a tube is placed in the neck, allowing her to breathe more easily). We still came to visit almost every day, and Ava and my sister still played. Sarah, despite being in extreme discomfort, would always light up when she saw her niece. Time passed and Sarah seemed to be doing better; she was home for longer stretches of time, and I anticipated a recovery was just around the corner.

    One balmy August night when a chain of storms were rolling in, I had an odd feeling; it was undefinable and acute. I stopped by my parents’ house and found my mom outside smoking a cigarette, looking unusually unnerved while thunder roared to the west. She told me that Sarah was in pain, that the ambulance was on its way.

    I went into my sister’s room and found her looking heavily distressed. “You OK?” I asked her, and she shook her head no. I stepped back to let the EMTs through. That was the last time I ever saw her.

    She was rushed to the hospital, where they found out she had a tear in her intestine, and the onset of sepsis (a serious bloodstream infection that can cause organ failure) had begun. At 3 in the morning, Sarah went into septic shock and the doctors told my parents that there was nothing more they could do. Sarah kept slipping in and out of consciousness, but she would not succumb. Every time she would flatline, she would come right back. My mother put Sarah’s head in her hands and told her it was OK if she went, that it was now time for her to run and play and do all the things she couldn’t do in life. At my mother’s last word, she was gone. Doctors and nurses lined up — they had spent the last year providing Sarah with care. All were quietly brushing tears off of their cheeks.

    My parents had formed an allegiance for 23 years devoted to Sarah’s health and comfort. We used to joke that Sarah was my mom’s “third leg,” because my mother refused to go anywhere without her or deny her an experience. All she wanted for Sarah was a normal life, the sort of life that is accessible to so many of us — so accessible that we deem it boring and set off in search of something else.

    “The thing is,” my mom told me about a week before Sarah passed, “since Sarah’s gotten sick… all of the surface inconsequential things people complain about don’t make an inkling of sense to me. They don’t even exist in my world.”

    When someone you love dies, the world alternates between spinning at hyper speed and stopping completely. My initial reaction can only be described as a sharp pain in my heart, an intrinsic feeling that a part of it had vanished. I was perplexed by ordinary people going about their lives, speeding from point A to point B. How can they be doing this when she’s gone? Social media angered me, reading complaints from people who had no idea how lucky they were at this moment in time, even if it was raining and they were late to work because someone was driving like an idiot. I know that anger and frustration were not the correct ways to respond to grief, but I was consumed by it.

    katie ryan
    Ava sits by Sarah’s photo on the first Christmas without her

    For some time there, I thought that I would never be able to escape the loss. That it would haunt me, stealthily hiding in corners and popping out at me when I least expected it, like some sort of mediocre haunted house effect. There was also the guilt, the resounding internal dialogue I had that constantly made me wonder why it couldn’t have been me. Why was she robbed of so many of the things that I was given?

    Some moments would pass when I would feel so incredibly sad, and Ava would come and tug on my shirt sleeve wanting to play. I would look into her big eyes and be at a loss to refuse. So we played — we played all of the time. We played while I swallowed down the sorrow. We laughed; we made characters and games and a whole little world for ourselves that existed only between the two of us. It continued long after Sarah’s passing. We have never stopped playing and laughing.

    That’s the thing about healing. It’s a little bit like grief in the sense that sometimes you don’t even see it sneaking up on you. It starts small and unnoticed and then becomes far-reaching. Ava will never realize how much she helped me get over the loss of my sister. I never placed that on her, nor did I expect her to be my savior. It was simply that she was able to help me see things purely again, to help me realize that I alone had the choice to laugh or cry. To live or to wallow in pain. It’s because of her that I began to choose the former.

    You can follow Katie and Ava on Vine here and on Instagram here.

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  • Brave New World(Building): How an Author Became a Game Designer
    Writing is scary.

    To materialize one’s ideas into words for the world to see is a daunting task, but a task I love. I’ve been a writer since my first child was born. During his nap time, I had all this creative energy inside me but not enough physical energy to muster a cleaning spree or a workout, so I started to write. I dabbled, I goofed around, and after about three months, I dove in full time and haven’t come up for air since. I managed to write several books and acquire representation from an elite literary agency. I was happy with this write/revise/send/revise/wait for a deal process and didn’t think anything would shake me from the gears of the traditional publishing machine.

    That is, until my husband and I started talking about a blind girl.

    My husband, Bill, has been a video game designer for more than 13 years. He’s worked on some of the most critically-acclaimed games of all time (namely, Bioshock and Bioshock Infinite), but when Irrational Games closed a year prior, his creative wheels kept turning but had nowhere to go. Yet.

    Bill and I had collaborated for years. He was a hugely helpful critique partner of mine throughout all of my novels, and I loved batting around prospective plots and premises with him all the time. I often chimed in about his games and contributed my ideas for him to pass on to his team. One night, we started talking about this incredible story about a blind girl whose dreams led her to a haunted estate.

    It sounded like a cool project. My current project was out on submission with a number of editors, so it was time to do something new.

    But he wanted me to write it.

    Wait, what?

    How the hell do you write a video game? There’s no internal monologue, no memories, no impressions about the smells, sounds and details of a place.

    It’s, essentially, a script.

    I agreed, but grudgingly. I felt stripped of all the conventions that I’d come to rely on, especially as someone who always wrote in first person. Pulling a story out of me this way was like trying to give birth through your bellybutton — just not going to happen.

    But then, as I’d done with all my drafts before, I began to look at the beats of the story. The motivations, the moments that glued the story together. Then, I was able to flesh out some backstory, and soon, along with Bill’s help, we had a story.


    But what kept me plugging away, aside from the lurking thought that oh my goodness this was going to be out there in the world at some point, was the basic tenet that a good story is a good story. We had a fantastic tale to tell, a charismatic and brave heroine, and a setting to beat the band.

    And over the course of a few months, we refined everything, polished it, shined it up for the team to work with. And shortly thereafter the concept art and music began to roll in, along with auditions of over a thousand people reading my words and bringing our characters to life.

    So it was scary. Still is. But to anyone who ever considered switching genres or media, I say this: If it doesn’t scare you, maybe it’s not worth it. We built our company around the idea of “scary fun,” and I think that from its inception until now, that’s exactly what we’ve dived into.


    Perception is a first-person narrative horror adventure that tells the story of Cassie, a blind heroine who uses her extraordinary hearing and razor-sharp wits to unravel the mysteries of an abandoned estate that haunts her dreams. Amanda and Bill’s Kickstarter for the project can be found here.

    A life-long gamer, Amanda has been fully-immersed in the geek lifestyle for as long as she can remember. Amanda is excited to bring to you the story of Cassie and the estate at Echo Bluff, and has enjoyed transitioning from writing urban fantasy novels to writing video games. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing around her two children (while quite pregnant) and teaching English. Amanda also serves as the game’s producer, a role she was born for, considering all she does is chase after people anyway.

    The Deep End Games Website

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  • Tech Gift Guide for Dads and Grads 2015
    We’re already in graduation season and Father’s Day is quickly approaching. That means everyone’s looking for the perfect gifts for dads and grads. In the rapidly growing technology industry there are hundreds of wonderful options for gifts, finding the right one for the celebrant can be tricky since it’s such a crowded field.

    For fathers and graduates who love music, you can’t go wrong with outdoor Bluetooth speakers, but which ones? Maybe you’re looking for the perfect cell phone, case or other mobile accessories? Or, maybe you’re looking to improve the television viewing experience for the couch potato dad? I’ve researched dozens of options for tech gifts for dads and grads:

    TiVo Roamio Pro: Ideal for the dad who enjoys watching TV or the college grad who loves streaming movies. This is TiVo’s best DVR yet. Simply put a CableCARD in and there’s no more need for a cable box. Great for mobile TV viewing with the Android and iOS mobile app. Six tuners to record six shows at once and phenomenal search capability within your cable guide and streaming networks. 450-hour HD recording capacity. Online content from Amazon, Hulu Plus, Netflix, Pandora and YouTube.
    Priced at $599.


    Slingbox M1: Another must have for the TV watching fan, the Slingbox M1 hooks up to your cable box so you can watch cable channels live or your DVR recordings anywhere with the SlingPlayer app. The quality is great (high definition video up to 1080p) so long as it’s a strong Internet connection. SlingPlayer even works overseas so you’ll never miss your favorite shows and can watch your cable TV’s On Demand offerings from anywhere. You can also schedule DVR recordings while away from home and cast your SlingPlayer using Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV and Roku.
    Priced at $149.99.


    Motorola Droid Turbo SmartPhone: There’s no better Father’s Day gift than a smartphone that really is smart. While Apple’s iPhone gets all of the attention, this is the strongest smartphone on the market right now. You can get two full days of battery life with this phone and when you need to charge, the Motorola Turbo Charger gives you up to 8 hours of power in a quick 15 minutes. One of the highlights of this phone is the 21 MegaPixels camera that captures movie-quality Ultra HD (4K) video. The screen has a 5.2″ Quad HD display, which is the sharpest display available today at 565 ppi. This phone outperforms the iPhone 6 with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor with 2.7GHz quad-core CPU and 3GB of RAM. It even comes with 64GB storage to store all of your data. With this phone’s natural intelligence features like Moto Voice, Moto Assist, Moto Display and Moto Actions, the phone is intuitive, responsive and reliable.
    Priced at $199.99 with a 2-year Verizon Wireless contract.


    SmartShaker Phone-Controlled Alarm (iLuv): This brand-new innovation from iLuv Creative Technology is ideal for the high school grad heading off to college. The SmartShaker alarm clock is controlled from a smartphone through an iOS app. Young people use their phone as an alarm clock, but what happens when it’s in another room? Smart Shaker is programmed via your Smart Phone and acts as an extension of your phone alarm even when your phone is in a different room being charged or set to silent. It comes in five colors and is available at Amazon.com and Bed Bath and Beyond stores.
    Priced at $19.99.


    Darkside Ollie (Sphero): This is a fun Bluetooth controlled toy that both dads and grads will enjoy. Sphero is known for its mobile app-controlled robots and this special edition of Ollie is its fastest and most fun model yet. Using an iPhone or Android app, the user customizes the Ollie robot to race on all surfaces and perform tricks. Darkside Ollie rolls at speeds of up to 14 mph and connects via Bluetooth with a range of up to 100 feet. Available at GoSphero.com and in toy stores.
    Priced at $129.99.


    Logitech Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Keyboard: College students are using their mobile devices more than their heavy notebook computer. Rather than lug their notebook to class, they’re choosing to take notes and do research on their iPad, tablet or even smartphone. A perfect gift for the high school grad this season is a portable keyboard. Keys-To-Go Ultra-Portable Keyboard works with Android, Windows and Apple iOS mobile devices. It’s a slender stand-alone Bluetooth keyboard that can fit in a purse or even coat pocket. It’s wrapped in a water-repellent FabricSkin that helps protect the keyboard from spills and dirt so it easily wipes clean and survives drops. It includes a portable stand, which allows for easy typing on a smartphone. The portable stands attaches to the keyboard and holds your smartphone at an upright position.
    Priced at $69.99.


    SuperStar BackFloat Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker (Monster) : This rugged Bluetooth speaker has great sound quality and can be used in either the shower or pool. It will make the perfect gift for the father who enjoys listening to music in high definition while hanging out at the pool. It’s also ideal for the college student who needs some music in the shower to wake up before class. The speaker floats in the water and is also worthwhile to take on camping trips because it won’t get damaged by rain. The sound quality is very strong and typical for Monster.
    Priced at $149.95.


    Straitjacket Case for iPhone (Loop): Everyone knows that a smartphone is naked without a nice case. The Straitjacket is a durable and convenient case for the iPhones that doesn’t come with a big price tag. It is easy to grip, protects your phone and comes with a convenient card storage for credit cards, driver’s license or business cards. Great for dads or grads. Available online at loopattachment.com.
    Priced at $34.95.


    SyrenPro Outdoor Speakers (iLuv): Dad will appreciate the high quality music he can listen to while grilling on the deck or patio this summer. These wireless Blueooth speakers from iLuv are water splash proof, easy to mount and have long-lasting battery power. They are truly weather resistant and can be left outside. It is easy to sync with any mobile device and adding a second unit increases the beautiful sound. Available online or in stores.
    Priced at $99.99 per speaker.


    UE Megaboom Speaker: For the dad who loves listening to music with strong audio quality, there’s no better gift than a portable Bluetooth speaker system. High fidelity speakers used to cost thousands of dollars, but no longer. A great option is the UE (Ultimate Ears) Megaboom speaker, which comes in various colors, is waterproof and has strong battery life.
    Priced at $299.


    FitBit Surge: Everyone might be talking about the Apple Watch, but if you want to get your favorite college graduate or your father the smartwatch they’ll really get the most out of, check out the Surge from FitBit. Available online and at retail stores. The monochrome touchscreen display is easy to read in sunshine and it lights up blue to make it even easier to read. The Surge really is a “fitness superwatch” — it tracks everything from steps, distance, calories, flights climbed, sleep, and active minutes, as well as continuous heart rate monitoring. It has built-in GPS tracking and also displays caller ID, app notifications, and music player controls on its LCD screen. You can also track your progress while biking or in a Spinning class. Surge is sweat resistant and water resistant to 50 meters.
    Priced at $249.95.


    Logitech MX Anywhere 2 Wireless Mobile Mouse : This mouse, which just came out, is an ideal gift for the high school graduate who will want a mobile, yet high-productivity wireless mouse to take to class next year. This mouse is small enough to slip into a bag and extremely comfortable for prolonged use. It’s built with an advanced Darkfield Laser Sensor, dual connectivity and the ability to pair with three different devices.
    Priced at $79.99

    We’re living in the Digital Age and the amount of tech gadgets is overwhelming and impressive. You can’t go wrong with any of these gifts for the grads and dads in your life. Congratulations to all the graduates and Happy Father’s Day!

    Rabbi Jason Miller is president of Access Computer Technology and popular blogger and speaker on technology and social media. Follow him on Twitter at @RabbiJason.

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  • This LED Waterslide Will Blow Your Damn Mind
    Waterslides are the best part of summer. They cool you off and they’re fun, obviously. But you haven’t truly lived until you’ve seen the Black Hole waterslide in Germany.

    It’s filled with glorious LED lights! Check it out in GIF form:

    Are you freaking out? It’s like being in a video game!

    And the best part is, the waterslide looks completely innocuous from the outside:

    led waterslide

    The lights were added to an existing slide in 2012, making it the magical ride it is today.

    Check out video of the slide:

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  • Jack Dorsey Won't Say Whether He'll Be Twitter's Permanent CEO
    Jack Dorsey refused on Friday to say whether he would stay on permanently as Twitter’s chief executive.

    The company’s chairman and co-founder — who will take over as interim CEO on July 1 when Dick Costolo steps down — dodged questions about whether he would consider keeping the job.

    “I’m not going to answer that question because it’s not what I’m focused on,” he said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “My job is to make sure we continue without cadence and amplify.”

    Dorsey, who served as the first of Twitter’s three CEOs so far, already holds the top spot at Square, a mobile payment company he founded in 2009. When Twitter announced on Thursday that Costolo — pilloried by investors over the company’s weak financial performance and slowing user growth — would move into a boardroom role, Dorsey said he would lead a team to find the next chief executive. Some floated Adam Bain, the company’s head of revenues, as a likely contender.

    But Dorsey told analysts on Thursday evening that he and the three other board members helming the search committee had not yet retained a headhunting firm to look for candidates.

    That may be, as Business Insider’s Henry Blodget suggests, because Twitter plans to have Dorsey return permanently. The interim period could serve as a trial run and allow Dorsey to slowly exit some of his other responsibilities, perhaps even his C-suite job at Square, Blodget wrote.

    Square spokeswoman Colleen Murray referred The Huffington Post to a press release in which Dorsey says he “will continue to lead” the company. Twitter did not respond to a request for comment.

    But Dorsey’s beard seemed to distract viewers from the question of Twitter’s future. His scraggly facial hair quickly became a trending topic on — take a guess — Twitter.

    Jack Dorsey looks like Serj Tankian from @systemofadown pic.twitter.com/aIVu0MNtby

    — Immortan Dave (@redletterdave) June 12, 2015

    After a commercial break, CNBC’s David Faber asked whether the beard symbolized something about Dorsey’s leadership style. Dorsey laughed and said he hadn’t been expecting that question.

    “People shouldn’t be measured by what they look like,” he said.

    That seems to be a philosophy he has carried with him from his years, lest anyone forget his nose ring and spiky blue hair.

    jack dorsey

    This post has bee updated with a comment from Square.

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  • The 5 Best Fonts To Use On Your Resume
    Times New Roman might cost you your next job.

    While resume font choice may seem trivial, experts say it’s actually pretty important. A bad font can take the focus off the accomplishments you’ve listed.

    “A reader may not arrive at the content if your font if too distracting,” Samantha Howie, senior human resources recruiter at the New York-based Maximum Management Corp., told the Huffington Post. “The key is that we can read it with ease.”

    Drawing upon Howie’s recruiting expertise and tips from a typeface expert, we’ve composed a definitive list of the best fonts to use on your resume. Spoiler alert: The days of using Times News Roman have come to an end.

    For an elegant feel, Garamond is the one. “Garamond is very readable,” Howie told HuffPost. “But for me, it feels a little bit old fashioned, or perhaps not as corporate.”

    Howie approves of this widely popular font, calling it a “safe bet.” Typeface expert Brian Hoff, creative designer at Brian Hoff Design, agrees. “It’s very neutral,” he told HuffPost. “It’s clean but doesn’t have much of a way about it.”

    “It has the same positive attributes as Garamond, but for me doesn’t feel as dated because it is less curvy,” Howie said of this font. However, Hoff said that Georgia tends to appeal more on the Web than it does in print. So if you’re going to distribute hard copies of your resume, think twice about Georgia.

    “It’s a no-fuss typeface that has a timeless feel to it,” Hoff said. Howie mentioned that Helvetica is popular at the recruiting firm where she works.

    Modern. Tasteful. Professional. Interesting. “Calibri really does it for me — it’s my personal favorite,” Howie said. “It’s clear, readable, straightforward but not lacking in personality.” In Microsoft Office 2007, Calibri replaced Times New Roman as the default typeface in Word and replaced Arial as the default typeface in PowerPoint and Excel.

    Of course, some typefaces are absolute negatives. Comic Sans, for one, should never be considered, according to the experts we interviewed.

    “Comic Sans was literally created for comic books,” Hoff said.

    “In the professional word, it is totally inappropriate,” Howie added.

    Times New Roman, a font praised by high school English teachers across the country, is not so warmly received in the professional world, either.

    “It’s telegraphing that you didn’t put any thought into the typeface that you selected,” Hoff told Bloomberg News earlier this year. “It’s like putting on sweatpants.”

    The consensus: Be interesting but not too playful. Be professional but not basic. Be modern but not extravagant. Moderation is key when it comes to resume fonts.

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  • Jimmy Fallon's Favorite #DinoRaps Tweets Prove Dinosaurs Make Everything Better
    With all due respect to the late Christopher Wallace, no one is more B.I.G. than a brontosaurus.

    In honor of “Jurassic World” hitting theaters, Jimmy Fallon made this week’s “Tonight Show Hashtag” #DinoRaps. And, judging by Fallon’s favorites, these tweets have clearly been 65 million years in the making:

    I really wish my arms were more proportioned to my body, cause right now they’re to short to raise the roof on this party – T-Rex #DinoRaps

    — Nolan Scott (@spaced_evenly) June 11, 2015

    Hi, my name is (what). My name is (who). My name is (chicka chicka),
    Saurornithoides. #DinoRaps

    — Shaw (@RadioShawShaw) June 10, 2015

    @jimmyfallon If you get my name wrong I may turn violent
    It’s “pterodactyl” but the P is silent! #DinoRaps

    — Amy Hunting (@AimsHunts) June 10, 2015

    To paraphrase “Jurassic Park’s” Robert Muldoon, “Clever girl, Twitter.”

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

  • Study: Text messaging may be a better way to perform surveys

    A new study in PLoS One suggests that surveys delivered via smartphones as text messages may gather higher quality data than phone calls. The ubiquity of smartphones make them a great resource for gathering all sorts of data. UCSF’s Health e-Heart study is built on that idea, aiming to collect health data on a million […]

    The post Study: Text messaging may be a better way to perform surveys appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Elon Musk Is Pleased That Deadmau5 Wants A Tesla Battery
    Elon Musk might want to start listening to dance music.

    The Tesla Motors CEO seemed excited on Thursday that electronic DJ Deadmau5 could be planning to take his studio “off the grid” using one of the company’s solar storage Powerwall batteries.

    @deadmau5 @TeslaMotors Sounds great

    — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 12, 2015

    Perhaps powering Deadmau5’s music could inspire the billionaire entrepreneur — who also serves as CEO of SpaceX and chairman of SolarCity — to DJ once again.

    In 2011, Musk DJed a show on the Los Angeles-based radio station KCRW. But his selections weren’t exactly club thumpers. His track list included Frank Sinatra, Monty Python, Andrea Bocelli, a Christmas jingle and — wait for it — “America, Fuck Yeah!” from South Park’s “Team America World Police” movie.

    — 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.

  • New Photos Of Mysterious Bright Spots On Ceres Are The Sharpest Yet
    Those weird bright spots on Ceres just got… even weirder.

    NASA on Wednesday released new photos of the dwarf planet, which sits between Mars and Jupiter in our solar system’s asteroid belt. The images show the faraway world’s cratered surface — and a mysterious cluster of glowing spots — in sharper detail than ever before.

    The spots have puzzled scientists ever since they were first spotted in 2004. No one knows what they are or where they came from.

    (Story continues below images.)
    ceres photos
    The brightest spots on dwarf planet Ceres are seen in this image taken on June 6, 2015 by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft.

    “The bright spots in this configuration make Ceres unique from anything we’ve seen before in the solar system,” Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in a written statement. “Reflection from ice is the leading candidate in my mind, but the team continues to consider alternate possibilities, such as salt. With closer views from the new orbit and multiple view angles, we soon will be better able to determine the nature of this enigmatic phenomenon.”

    The images were taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on June 6 from about 2,700 miles above Ceres’ surface. Dawn, which last March became the first spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet, is set to descend to 900 miles above the dwarf planet in early August.

    Will that closer look finally explain the mysterious spots? Scientists are crossing their fingers.

    ceres spots

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  • VIDEO: K-pop stars perform as holograms
    The theatre in Seoul which allows you to see pop stars perform as holograms
  • Molescope clip-on makes iPhone a cancer screening device, but has limitations

    A device that turns your iPhone into a cancer screening tool.

    The post Molescope clip-on makes iPhone a cancer screening device, but has limitations appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Action over Google 'right to forget'
    Google has 15 days to comply with a request from France’s data watchdog to extend the “right to be forgotten” to all its search engines.

Mobile Technology News, June 12, 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.

  • Twitter chief Costolo steps down
    Dick Costolo is stepping down as chief executive of Twitter, the company says, while co-founder Jack Dorsey will act as interim chief until a replacement can be found.
  • 100 Best Instagram Accounts
    Now we know.

    — 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.

  • EMRA Peds meds app review, pediatric emergency reference tool

    Review of a pediatric emergency clinical reference app.

    The post EMRA Peds meds app review, pediatric emergency reference tool appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Policing Privacy in the Age of Surveillance
    Co-authored by Hector Postigo*

    The past few months have produced a national dialogue on police surveillance and citizen privacy, something unprecedented on such a scale. In the aftermath of several highly publicized and salient citizen-police conflicts, growing demand for police accountability has produced solutions ranging from federal investigations to oversight committees to surveying police action through required body cameras. The effectiveness, ethics, and usefulness of these solutions has been at the heart of many of the debates regarding what it means to watch and be watched in the 21st century.

    In Social Science, the effects produced when a subject knows they are being watched are called “Hawthorne Effects.” This concept suggests that people change their behavior when they know they are being surveyed, thus influencing and potentially reducing the authenticity of research findings. People start to take into consideration how their actions may be interpreted, judged, or punished. While the Hawthorne Effect is somewhat of a minefield for researchers and Institutional Review Boards, it may just be the saving grace of recent public calls for more police surveillance and transparency in the legal system.

    The hope, by many of these highly publicized demands for police body cameras, is that simply knowing that the officer is being monitored would reduce the likelihood of abuse of power. However, as a public, we may also hope this goes both ways. The Hawthorne Effect suggests that it’s not just the officer who knows they are being watched, but also the citizens who are also a part of that interaction. The hope is that this may also reduce the potential for violence against the police as everyone becomes part of the recording.

    The problem resulting from all of this are the obvious concerns for privacy, something many civic groups and academic researchers have pointed out along the way. Increased surveillance leads to increased data on all individuals, even those who may be outside of an initial officer-citizen interaction. In short, these arguments ultimately conclude that increased police surveillance means a reduction in the privacy of citizens, even those existing within the law.

    Privacy concerns get even more intense when considering how the data is secured, accessed, and interpreted. Debates over who would be able to watch collected footage and where it would be stored are ongoing, and will probably take years before a process can be institutionalized. In other work, we have argued that such surveillance would be best suited for citizen consumption and control, thus providing a balance to the potential power the data-controllers may have.

    The concerns over control in this regard are particularly interesting, as they come at a time when privacy and personal data are at a paradoxical moment. While we may be squeamish at the idea of police having recording devises able to monitor select interactions, we have somehow grown accepting that our digital lives are completely recorded and surveyed. Never mind that companies such as Acxiom get to sell it for literal billions of dollars.

    Herein lies the problem with the Hawthorne Effect: like all good 21st century technologies, it eventually wears off. At some point, we started to accept that our digital lives were being recorded and watched and no longer modified our behavior for such surveillance. Although this logically makes sense, researchers today debate if this is actually the case. Perhaps we are still aware of our recording, but have decided it’s too much work to live off the grid; or how about we have simply accepted the nature of 21st century surveillance and instead play into its voyeurism- just ask your friend who posts ambiguous comments on Facebook looking for public reaction. Is this evidence of the public playing into the Hawthorne Effect, or is this just the reified presence of it? To some extent, it is probably both, in that we have accepted surveillance online but now use it to our advantage in digital interactions.

    So instead of debating the artifact of police body cameras, it may be more valuable to answer the following: If we live in a world of accepting surveillance as a part of normal 21st century life, what does this then mean for police body cameras? Could we grow to accept this monitoring in police interactions in the same way we have grown to accept it online? Sorry, but there is no answer here, try posting it as a question on Twitter for some real answers.

    *Hector Postigo is an Associate Professor of Media Studies and Production in Temple University’s School of Media and Communications. His research is funded by the National Science Foundation and the European Commission. He has published and spoken at university and industry venues on topics ranging from intellectual property law, video game design, social media business models, social movements and privacy.

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  • Twitter CEO Dick Costolo Steps Down; Jack Dorsey To Be Interim CEO
    Jack is back at Twitter.

    The company announced Thursday that embattled CEO Dick Costolo will step down. Chairman Jack Dorsey, the social network’s co-founder and former chief executive, will serve as interim CEO, starting July 1.

    Costolo will remain on the board.

    “There is no one better than Jack Dorsey to lead Twitter during this transition,” Costolo said in a statement. “He has a profound understanding of the product and Twitter’s mission in the world as well as a great relationship with Twitter’s leadership team.”

    Dorsey said he will remain CEO of Square, the mobile payments service he co-founded in 2009.

    Welcome back, @jack !! https://t.co/3papmyUKg0

    — dick costolo (@dickc) June 11, 2015

    Thank you for everything @dickc! You’re a selfless leader who’s built an amazing team and company #proud https://t.co/52z4TIYIUh

    — Jack (@jack) June 11, 2015

    Twitter’s stock price had plunged precipitously in the last two months. In April, the company announced $436 million in revenue for the first three months of 2015, $20 million below analysts’ expectations. Making matters worse, user growth has slowed in the past year.

    Following Thursday’s announcement, shares surged nearly 8 percent in after-hours trading.

    Costolo’s departure is not surprising. After he sold a large portion of his stake in the company last December, investors began clamoring for him to step down, with one bluntly telling Business Insider that “he is an obstacle” who “shouldn’t be running the company anymore.”

    The biggest problem may now be finding a permanent chief. Rumors began circulating in January that Adam Bain, the president of global revenue, was a likely a candidate.

    The shakeup may have taken Costolo by surprise. At the Code Conference last month, he said he wasn’t afraid for his job security.

    — 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.

  • Documentary Project On Black Women In Tech Smashes Kickstarter Goal
    The press has documented Silicon Valley’s problems with racism and lack of diversity for years now, but challenges remain. Simply reporting that black tech entrepreneurs face institutional bias has not made tech companies more diverse, and women are continuing to leave the industry.

    Now, some activists are trying to bring more minorities into the industry by telling stories about minority entrepreneurs’ success — and failure — so that more minority role models are elevated in the tech industry and the media. That’s the big idea behind Project Diane, a storytelling undertaking that blogger Kathryn Finney launched in February 2015.

    Finney, who’s also a social entrepreneur and trained epidemiologist, expanded on the project this month by co-creating a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund a documentary about the “intersection of race and gender in tech,” specifically on the experiences of black women.

    Dubbed #RewriteTheCode, the campaign hit its goal of $25,000 in less than two days, receiving support from 216 backers with no media coverage.

    “When we initially started, we didn’t know the strength of the network,” Finney told The Huffington Post. “We underestimated its power. People do care. People do want to hear our story. It’s given people something to believe, particularly women of color, who were starting to feel almost abused by the tech world. They were really feeling like there was no hope, and nothing we could do.”

    She says that 95 percent of those first donors were from outside of Silicon Valley.

    On Thursday, day 11, the campaign passed the $40,000 mark, with 370 backers and climbing.

    #RewriteTheCode: Intersection of Gender & Tech from digitalundivided on Vimeo.

    Prior to Project Diane, Finney founded Digitalundivided, an incubator for tech startups, in 2012 to train more diverse founders and integrate the tech industry. She’s part of a movement to disrupt tech’s diversity problem, and the effort is getting more traction in the context of broader societal discussions about race and inequality.

    Finney hopes to get to 500 Kickstarter backers by the end of June. “We don’t care about the size of the donation,” she said. “We want to put an exclamation on what we’re doing. The issue for Silicon Valley is that it’s such an insular community. They’re not seeing how their customers want to interact with technology. For us, having 500 people would show how many people want to do this and want something to change.”

    I asked her what kind of long-term change she’d like to see in the industry, as a result of her project. How would the world change if the people in the documentary inspire others to code, create apps, build businesses, ship products and become entrepreneurs?

    “I want more opportunities,” said Finney. “I just want to see outside groups be treated normally. I don’t want extra help. I want to be judged by my ideas, rather than on some crazy social, racial or gender issue. I think we’re getting there.”

    As my colleague Emily Peck wrote this week, technology companies are doing more to encourage diversity in the industry. Complex problems require complex solutions. Finney’s documentary could be one more piece of the puzzle.

    — 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.

  • Soon, Your Sex Doll Will Have An Intelligent Conversation With You
    Stop trying to get Siri to talk dirty and get ready for sex dolls with an artificially naughty mind.

    In 2013, we reported that robot handjobs would be our future.

    We were wrong.

    That’s because a deep, interpersonal connection during intimate moments adds a lot of value to a sexual experience. But the problem was that until now, you needed another human to form that special bond.

    Enter Matt McMullen, the inventor behind RealDoll, who promises a filthy utopia where sex dolls with artificial intelligence can substitute not just for the body, but for the mind.

    His RealDolls are lifelike, silicone sex dolls that currently cost between $5,000 and $10,000. For now, they’re just dolls — but he’s developing an artificial intelligence that will analyze and respond to your dirty talk, The New York Times reports.

    He’s working with a team of AI designers and engineers to build a RealDoll out of what you see in the video above: A robo-female who can respond to questions and movements as if she were human.

    RealDoll replicas of porn stars’ bodies are shown off at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

    “What do you dream about?” McMullen asks the AI on the screen.

    “I have a lot of dreams,” she responds. “I dream about becoming a real person, about having a real body. I dream about knowing the meaning of love. I hope to become the world’s first sex robot.”

    The AI is in its development phase, but McMullen says that in two years, you’ll be able to buy a robotic head for about $10,0000 that blinks and talks back.

    And don’t worry, if you’ve already dropped a few grand on a RealDoll, the new robotic head can attach to your old model.

    It’s not impossible to believe that humans will fall in love with their robots, either. As Radiolab has reported, there are already numerous examples of the human mind ignoring the fact that it’s talking with a robot. In fact, in many cases, we don’t even need a robot to sound real in order to develop a connection.

    sex with robot
    Engineer-inventor Douglas Hines adjusts the head of his company’s ‘True Companion’ sex robot, Roxxxy, at the TrueCompanion.com booth at the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 9, 2010.

    Plus, the most recent polling numbers show that one in five of you would have sex with a robot, regardless of its human characteristics.

    — 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.

  • Social Security Numbers Of Every Federal Employee Stolen In Data Breach, Union Says
    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hackers stole personnel data and identity numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday, charging that the cyberattack on U.S. employee data is far worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged.

    Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic leader, said on the Senate floor that the December hack into Office of Personnel Management data was carried out by “the Chinese.” Reid is one of eight lawmakers who is briefed on the most secret intelligence information. U.S. officials have declined to publicly blame China, which has denied involvement.

    J. David Cox, president of the American Federal of Government Employees, said in a letter to OPM director Katherine Archuleta that based on OPM’s internal briefings, the hackers stole military records and veterans’ status information, address, birth date, job and pay history, health insurance, life insurance, and pension information; age, gender, race data.

    The letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

    The union said it is basing its assessment on internal OPM briefings. The agency has sought to play down the damage, saying that only limited personally identifying information was breached.

    “We believe that Social Security numbers were not encrypted, a cybersecurity failure that is absolutely indefensible and outrageous,” the letter said.

    “Based on the sketchy information OPM has provided, we believe that the Central Personnel Data File was the targeted database, and that the hackers are now in possession of all personnel data for every federal employee, every federal retiree, and up to one million former federal employees.”

    — 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 Digital Revolution Meets the Human Brain
    2015-06-10-1433967024-5403955-brain_dt.jpgOur brain is at the core of everything we do, from the every-day decisions we make to the epic emotions we feel when we fall in love. Given its vital role in our lives, it is great news that two of the most well-funded research programs in the world focus on the brain sciences: Read the rest of this entry »

Mobile Technology News, June 11, 2015

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

  • If You Look Hard Enough, Vaginas Are Everywhere
    “I think that all pussies are perfect, in being un-perfect… My pussy, your pussy, everybody’s pussy is f**king perfect.”

    That’s how Chelsea Jones responded when Bullett Media asked her to describe the perfect pussy. Amen, sister.

    Jones and her friend Eva Sealove aren’t usually asked by media outlets to describe their idea of the “perfect pussy” — well, until recently. About nine months ago, the two L.A. natives created an Instagram account called “Look At This Pusssy,” which curates images of objects and sceneries that look like vaginas.

    In less than a year, the account has accumulated over 5,500 followers. Censoring anatomy can have a stigmatizing effect, as if something must be hidden because of the way it looks. From t-shirts to different kinds of food and even tree trunks, the images on Jones’ and Sealove’s Instagram account prove that vaginas can be found anywhere and everywhere.

    Jaunty af literally all day @cjkut

    A photo posted by look at this pussy (@look_at_this_pusssy) on Apr 14, 2015 at 10:21am PDT

    Although the images may be a bit NSFW, the two say they created the account to remind everyone that vaginas come in all shapes, sizes and colors. And each vagina is perfect.

    By posting different images of objects that look like vaginas, Sealove and Jones hope to normalize attitudes towards vaginas and all the shapes and sizes they come in. The two post images they’ve taken and also accept submissions.

    “I wanted to create a space where people can feel like ‘it’s normal to feel like this’ or ‘it’s normal that I look like this,'” Jones told Bullett. “Everything is a pussy and everything about a pussy is beautiful. I don’t want anyone to ever feel shame about that and this is sort of a way for us to drive home that message, and be funny with it too.”

    Jones said that she and Sealove want to empower women with “Look At This Pusssy,” and they love that some of their followers are teenage girls. “To me, I don’t think there’s anything vulgar about our account because our message is anti-shame and acceptance of your own body,” Sealove said. “It makes me really emotional to see girls at that age respond to our content. It’s really hopeful to me, because of how hard it is to grow up as a female and come into your own.”

    Take a look at a few (semi-NSFW) images from Sealove’s and Jones’ “Look At This Pusssy” account that look very similar to vaginas.

    This pussy is a progressive male pussy wanting to do right by female counterpart. Bend ur brain 4 a couple secs and consider males (sis-penip males & otherwise): Pussy making some progress these days (s/0) but with advancement of pussy female/ female gender comes inevitable crisis of masculinity leading to many Q’s for males including but not limited to: Am I creepy? Am I the patriarchy (I don’t think so bc i try to be Nice guy but perhaps I doth protest too much or some shit?)? Am I useful? Here’s the deal, males, if I may be so bold (I may be bc I can do wtvr tf I want duh): The pussy empathize w the struggle to be Correct and Nice male. We do not hate u bc we love ourselves. If u are Nice guy and treat pussy female with Consideration, this is much appreciated and the best way. TY 4 have awareness. Corrective action probably most potent on a 1- 1 level; systemic change happens gradually between individual Humans in relationships so act like a fuckng Human and listen to the ideas of other Humans. V simple. A kiss! to u and ur kin. @mgilmore1112

    A photo posted by look at this pussy (@look_at_this_pusssy) on Jun 1, 2015 at 3:34pm PDT

    is everything a lie or is this the sweetest little grandma pussssy @ex_florist

    A photo posted by look at this pussy (@look_at_this_pusssy) on Mar 26, 2015 at 3:19pm PDT

    a spoonful frm heave @elle598

    A photo posted by look at this pussy (@look_at_this_pusssy) on May 7, 2015 at 4:19pm PDT

    this is meta pussy. Do not be disrespect toward this placid creature who is in repose and purring. S/0 @unfucked_420

    A photo posted by look at this pussy (@look_at_this_pusssy) on Feb 9, 2015 at 9:13am PST

    Head over to “Look At This Pusssy” to see more from Sealove and Jones.

    — 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.

  • Kendrick Lamar Visits High School That Praised His Work
    Kendrick Lamar’s latest album “To Pimp A Butterfly” has received rave reviews from critics and has even served as inspiration for one high school English teacher.

    During the recent school year, English teacher Brian Mooney’s applied the messages behind the lyrics into his daily curriculum, drawing parallels from Lamar’s album to Toni Morrison’s novel “The Bluest Eye.”

    Mooney chronicled his classroom experience in a blog post, which just happened to catch the attention of Kendrick. It eventually led the Grammy Award-winner to make a surprise visit to Mooney’s high school in North Bergen, N.J on June 8 where he performed one of his songs from the album, “Alright.”

    During an interview with NBC News, the Compton native shared his thoughts on how his album impacted Mooney’s freshman class.

    “I didn’t think I made it for a 16-year-old. So when a 16-year-old is intrigued by it, it lets me know how so far in advance as a society we actually are. And that inspired me on a whole ‘nother level,” he said. “A lot of times we’re put in these positions where we don’t know we’re role models. And just off the simple fact — whether we want to be a role model or not –- just the simple fact that we come from these Urban communities, these harsh worlds and we’re on TV and kids are looking at us, we’re already influence.”

    “We influence their minds, we influence the way they talk, the way they dress,” he continued. “Every time I meet kids and they explain it to me what they got going on in life. I got to get out of my selfish ways of knowing that the music is not just about me anymore.”

    Mooney seconded Kendrick, adding how he feels hip hop culture is a viable resource for teaching and learning in the classroom.

    “One of the most important elements of hip hop is something called ‘knowledge of self,’ which a lot of hip hop historians will talk about. And that’s so educational,” Mooney told NBC News.

    “That’s talking about identity. And so, it’s less of matter of using hip hop to trick kids into learning, but it’s more of an actual frame work for teaching and learning.”

    Check out Kendrick Lamar’s visit to High Tech High School in the clip 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.

  • How Smart Can a Smart Machine Become?
    To measure the intelligence of intelligent machines has been an obsession of computer scientists since the dawn of the computer era. The pioneering genius of Alan Turing has bequeathed us a test based on perception. His famous “imitation game” sets up a human judge in conversation against some “thing” (or some “one”) hidden behind a wall. If following a question and answer session the judge is unable to tell whether whoever is on the other side is human or not, then that machine should be deemed as “intelligent” as a human.

    The Turing Test is lousy for many reasons. For a start, it is subjective and therefore unscientific. A person’s opinion – the human judge’s – cannot substitute for an objective and impartial measurement of a system’s property. Philosophers have attacked the Turing Test from every angle. The mind philosopher John Searle demonstrated that a computer can “appear” to be intelligent by simply manipulating symbols on the basis of a logical algorithm, but without having any understanding of what those symbols may actually “mean”. Therefore, according to Searle, a computer’s output is not an indication of the internal property that we consider as “intelligence” -and uphold so dearly in our human societies and cultures. And yet we need to find a way to compare the intelligence of computers to our own, as well as to compare the intelligence of machines among their mechanical peers. This need is nowadays becoming ever more urgent as Artificial Intelligent and Machine Learning systems come of age.

    Perhaps one way of addressing the measurement of machine intelligence would be to mimic the way we measure human intelligence. Although the debate around what “intelligence” actually means has by no means been resolved, most psychologists would agree that the standard IQ tests measure “something” that has predictive power when comparing cognitive results across a human population, or predicting an individual’s future performance in a range of cognitive tasks. Perhaps then one could devise a test that explores a number of agreed areas of cognition – for example knowledge, memory, comprehension, vocabulary, etc. – then draw a set of questions that measure “machine IQ”. But there are several problems with this approach. Firstly, it is too anthropocentric. Secondly, an IQ test is a snapshot of a subject’s cognitive ability. In the case of humans that can be considered as adequate because our brains do not in any way augment, or get an “upgrade”, during our lifespan. But this is not true of computers. Machine Intelligence can increase its power many orders of magnitude in a relatively short time – compared to a human life – thanks to technological developments in hardware and software engineering. Also, human IQ measurement is always an indication of cognitive ability compared to some larger group. When it comes to computers this is problematic since there is a wide spectrum of performance depending on a computer’s power. Unlike people computers are not created “equal”.

    So to measure the “machine IQ” we need a new definition of intelligence that goes beyond the human – let’s call it “universal intelligence”. Universal intelligence could be defined in very general terms. AI researchers Shane Legg and Marcus Hutter have defined it as “the measurement of an agent’s ability to achieve meaningful goals in a wide range of environments”. A meaningful goal would be a goal that bears some significance to the agent’s survival, purpose or well-being. The environmental dimension is important to include in the definition because an intelligent agent should be able to interact with a given environment and create the appropriate strategies to achieve its goal. If we accept such a general definition it follows that human intelligence is a subset of universal intelligence, and therefore machine intelligence can one day become greater that human – a very profound, and disquieting, conclusion indeed. Nevertheless, on the basis of such definition we can begin to think of dynamic IQ measurement, instead of that static, human-purposed one. This dynamic testing should reflect the potential of an intelligent machine to scale its cognitive ability as it becomes more powerful; and can also inform us how a given machine compares to others. Finally, we need to factor in our measurement the degree of complexity of environments in which the intelligent machine agent will build strategies, solve problems and achieve meaningful goals. This measure of complexity is crucial because it represents the degree of autonomy of a system. After all, we humans pride ourselves that we can be innovative, i.e. find solutions to new problems; we call this ability “creativity” and claim that computers are useless when it comes to that. Thankfully, there is a beautiful mathematical expression that measures the complexity of environments. It is called the “Kolmogorov” complexity. Problem solved?

    Not quite. The Kolmogorov complexity may be beautiful but it is also “non-computable”. This loosely means that there does not exist a computer (or an algorithm) that can solve the Kolmogorov complexity for every given circumstance. In other words, we cannot build a computer that can measure the intelligence of other computers, conclusively for every possible environment. We can only get an approximation, which may be good enough to begin with. After all, should machine intelligence surpass human in the near future, estimating the Kolmogorov complexity would become meaningless to us. Only superintelligent machines will be able to appreciate the problem of non-computability – if “appreciation” is something that a universally intelligent agent actually needs to “feel” in order to achieve its goal. Perhaps then, our treasured self-awareness, the highest level of human consciousness, will have become a relic of biological evolution surpassed by electro-mechanical agents capable of some new level of consciousness which will be simply impossible for us to fathom, comprehend, or measure.

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

  • Elon Musk's SpaceX Wants Approval To Beam Internet From Space
    Elon Musk is one step closer to bringing the Internet to space.

    The billionaire entrepreneur’s private space-travel company, SpaceX, has requested permission from the Federal Communications Commission to start testing satellites that would beam down Internet from space.

    The company filed a license application to “deploy a large constellation of satellites for low-latency, worldwide, high capacity Internet service,” according to an FCC filing. An FCC spokesman declined further comment.

    Phil Larson, a SpaceX spokesman, confirmed the firm filed a request with the International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations agency that regulates satellite orbital slots and broadcast frequencies.

    The satellite venture — which, if successful, could pit SpaceX against Comcast, AT&T and other rival Internet service providers — began last January when the company opened a new facility in Seattle. SpaceX aims to launch hundreds of satellites into orbit around the Earth — circling the planet at about 750 miles above the surface, far closer than the typical communications satellites that soar at altitudes of 22,000 miles. That would allow the company to speed up data flows and deliver high-speed Internet to the more than 3 billion people who still have shoddy access to the Web.

    In January, Musk said it could take five years to complete the first generation of satellites, and up to 15 years to reach full capacity. It’s unclear how far along the project has come since then.

    The satellite program is a key part of what may be Musk’s loftiest career goal yet. Sure, the Tesla Motors CEO aims to rid the roads of gasoline-power vehicles. As chairman of the solar panel maker SolarCity, he hopes to make powering individual homes and businesses clean and efficient. And SpaceX was formed primarily to privatize space travel.

    But during a Reddit Ask Me Anything Q&A session earlier in January, Musk said he may reveal plans to build a human colony on Mars sometime this year.

    Such a vast and historic undertaking would require a connection to the Internet, he said.

    “It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well,” Musk said. “I think this needs to be done, and I don’t see anyone else doing it.”

    Yet, he isn’t alone. Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, who owns the competing space-travel firm Virgin Galactic, has backed a company called OneWeb, which also aims to ring Earth with Internet-providing satellites.

    In March, Facebook revealed it has begun testing solar-powered unmanned drones that would soar through the sky, beaming down Internet from 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.

  • Parents' Top 5 Questions to Keep Kids Safe Online
    Common Sense Media parenting expert Caroline Knorr answers questions about keeping kids safe online for Internet Safety Month.

    1. At What Age Should My Kids Go Online?

    The age they begin is entirely up to you. Lots of kids start playing around online during the preschool years, but many parents wait until kids are in elementary school to get them started. Whatever you choose, these guidelines will give you and your kid a good beginning:

    • Sit with little kids — at least at first — so you can explain what they see.
    • Find age-appropriate sites with high learning potential.
    • Put a time limit on your sessions (instill the idea of balance early).
    • Avoid just-before-bed computer time. It can be stimulating and interrupt sleep.

    2. How Do I Keep My Kid Safe On the Internet?

    Internet safety goes way beyond protecting kids from strangers or blocking inappropriate content. It’s about helping your kids use the Internet productively and practice safe, responsible online behavior — especially when you’re not there to answer their questions or check in on where they’ve ventured. Keep in mind that what may seem like basic knowledge to parents is new to kids just getting started in the digital world. Having a conversation before your kid embarks online helps set expectations and establish ground rules. Here are the basic guidelines to share with your kid:

    • Follow your family’s rules about when and where to use the Internet.
    • Be polite, kind, and respectful.
    • Understand a website’s rules, and know how to flag other users for misbehavior.
    • Recognize “red flags,” including someone asking you personal questions such as your name and address.
    • Never share your name, your school’s name, your age, your phone number or your email or home address with strangers.
    • Never send pictures to strangers.
    • Keep passwords private (except from parents).
    • Never open a message from a stranger; it may contain a virus that can harm a computer.
    • Immediately tell an adult if something mean or creepy happens.

    3. Is It Safe to Post Pictures of My Kid Online?

    Sharing pictures of our kids with friends and family is one of the most popular uses of social media and has become an everyday way to stay in touch. But it’s worth knowing the facts before posting pictures or letting other people post pictures of your kids.

    First, posting photos of your kids creates a digital footprint — a kind of electronic paper trail — that forms their identities in a world they haven’t chosen to enter. Someday your preschoolers will grow up, and they might not want documentation of their diaper days hanging out online for their friends to find! Second, once you post a photo online, you lose control over it. Someone could easily copy the photo, tag it, save it or otherwise use it — and you might never know. Finally, everything you post has information that is valuable to advertisers and data collectors; posting a photo of a kid identifies you as someone who might be interested in baby products, for example.

    At the very least, you can minimize the consequences with these precautions: Use privacy settings; limit the audience of a post (only to family, for example); turn off your phone’s GPS; consider using a nickname for your kids; and think about using photo-sharing sites such as Picasaand Flickr that require users to log in to see pictures (unlike on social media, where all your followers can see them).

    4. What Are Some Good Rules for Screen Names and Passwords?

    It can be fun for kids to think up screen names and passwords. Make sure they come up with strong passwords and know never to share them. If kids need to write down passwords to remember them, consider writing down password hints, and store any written-down passwords or hints in a super secret place away from the computer.

    Password tips to share with kids:

    • Make passwords eight or more characters long (longer passwords are harder to crack than shorter ones).
    • Try not to use dictionary words as your passwords (nonsense words are better).
    • Include letters, numbers, and symbols (these make it harder to guess passwords).
    • Change your password at least every six months (this way, even if someone does guess a password, he or she won’t be able to get into your account for long).
    • Don’t use your nickname, phone number, or address as your password.
    • Give your password to your parent or guardian (they will help you remember it if you forget it).
    • Sharing your password with your friends is not a good idea (even if you trust them, they might unintentionally do something that puts you or your information at risk).
    • Create a password that’s unique but memorable.

    Screen name tips to share with kids:

    • Avoid using your real name.
    • Skip personal details (no ages, addresses or jersey numbers, for example).
    • Consider a screen name’s effect on others (make sure it’s readable and inoffensive).
    • Keep it clean (avoid bad words or anything sexy, which can attract the wrong kind of attention).

    5. What Are the Best Privacy Settings for My Computer and Smartphone?

    The place to go to protect your computer against privacy invasion is your web browser. When you go online, websites install cookies on your computer that track your movements. Some cookies can be beneficial, such as those that remember your login names or items in your online shopping cart. But some cookies are designed to remember everything you do online, build a profile of your personal information and habits, and sell that information to advertisers and other companies. (Check out these kid Web browsers.)

    Take a look at the privacy settings offered in your browser (usually found in the Tools menu) to see whether you can fine-tune them to keep the good and block the bad.

    Privacy settings on smartphones vary, but you can tighten up privacy with these precautions:

    • Turn off location services. That prevents apps from tracking your location.
    • Don’t let apps share data. Some apps want to use information stored on your phone (your contact list, for example). Say no.
    • Enable privacy settings on apps you download. Make sure your teens are using strict privacy settings on services such as Instagram and Facebook.
    • Be careful with social logins. When you log onto a site with your Facebook or Google username and password, you may be allowing that app to access certain information from your profile. Read the fine print to know what you’re sharing.

    Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsense.org

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

  • 5 Essential Habits of Highly Productive Product Managers

    Great product managers are like many other high achievers. They seem to get more done in a month than most do in a year. When you find one you do everything you can to keep them, and you would gladly trade 10 good PMs for one that was great.

    But their role as the CEO of their products means that they need to do more than just outwork everyone around them. They need to bring greater productivity to the entire team around them too.

    The most productive product managers have the incredible ability to simultaneously captain their product and motivate lots of folks who they need to build, market, sell, and support their products.

    They find a way to prioritize all the user stories, customer feedback, and feature requests to build what matters. All while dealing with different personalities and keeping one eye on the future.

    If product management sounds like a challenging job, it’s because it is. But the most productive product managers make it look easy — that is part of what makes them great. That’s why I call them hyper-productive.

    So how do they do it? Over the past year I have been fortunate to speak with hundreds of product managers at Aha! (which is product roadmap software). I have found that there are definitely common habits shared by the most productive product leaders.

    Here are some habits of hyper-productive product managers. I suggest you should do what they do if you want to be great.

    Goal first
    A product manager is not there to tell engineers how to do their jobs; rather, the product manager is there to tell them why the features on the roadmap are right for their customers and business. Hyper-productive product managers always keep the goal foremost in their mind, and they paint a vision for why what they are asking for matters.

    Know the customer
    Hyper-productive PMs are the customer and market advocate. Product and engineering teams want to be inspired and know that what they are working on matters to the customer and ultimately to the business. Great product managers know the customer, product, and business better than anyone on their team (and likely better than anyone in the company).

    Be open
    The most productive product managers know that they do not have all of the answers. They remain open to new ideas from their teams, as well as from other, unexpected places like customers. They listen carefully so that they do not miss meaningful insights and suggestions.

    Take blame
    Figuring out who to blame is a waste of time and energy. A great product manager leads through both success and failures — they accept responsibility. This does not mean that they do not follow up to figure out what went wrong when necessary; they do. They just do not throw anyone under the bus during that process.

    Throw credit
    Teams work harder for a product manager that seems outright selfless. That’s because that PM understands that there is a direct correlation between team recognition and productivity. Product teams rise and fall together, and saying “you did a good job” goes a long way. It is never wrong to throw credit to a team that executes.

    Over the years at Aha! we have learned from getting many things right and some things wrong. We have found that these habits are shared by the most productive product managers in the world. Some of these concepts are easy to adopt — others might require extra effort.

    I can tell you that change will not happen overnight. But over time, your team may surprise you with how productive they can actually be. And you just might help them build something that customers love and that you will be proud of for a very long time.

    What else do hyper-productive product managers do?

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

  • Monitor real time glucose readings on Apple Watch

    Real time blood sugar levels can be read on Apple Watch.

    The post Monitor real time glucose readings on Apple Watch appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • How To Fix Gaming For Women And Minorities, According To One Major Critic
    It’s no big secret that the tech and video game industries have a problem with diversity. And when it comes to women, those issues are particularly well-documented.

    Apple earned plaudits just this week for having two women appear onstage during a keynote event and finally announcing a menstruation-tracking feature in a health app that had already been around for a year. And in 2014, some individuals organized under the #GamerGate banner launched an infamous, sometimes violent campaign against feminist critics of video games.

    laura hudson

    Laura Hudson, an editor of Offworld.com

    But there are people working on the problem. Earlier this year, culture critics Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson launched Offworld.com, a gaming (and sometimes tech-focused) website initially described as “an unequivocal home for women and minorities.”

    The website is an offshoot of Boing Boing, an award-winning media outlet founded in 1988 that now exists mostly as a blog focusing on art, pop culture, tech and science. Alexander and Hudson are no strangers to the game: Alexander was the editor of industry news site Gamasutra, while Hudson was the founder of popular site Comics Alliance before jumping over to Wired a couple of years ago.

    Their Offworld site isn’t perfect, though. It’s is still building a stable of contributors and is mostly populated with pieces by its two main editors, somewhat obscuring its mission of diversity.

    The Huffington Post recently interviewed Laura Hudson, one of those editors, to talk about the challenge of bringing diversity to gaming and tech culture — a task shared by Offworld.

    This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

    When Offworld was first announced, its mission was to include diverse voices and bring in all sorts of different people. I wonder if some might go to Offworld.com and see that the bylines tend to be Laura Hudson and Leigh Alexander and wonder if that mission is being fulfilled. How will you continue to include diverse voices moving forward?

    Laura Hudson: Right now, we’re trying to establish ourselves as a site. I feel really proud of all of the freelance feature writers that we’ve brought in. It’s a balance that I think we are never going to stop pushing for, because I don’t think that anyone should ever get to a point where they say, “Diversity goal achieved, mission accomplished!”

    Obviously, both of [our editors] are women. I’m white. Leigh identifies as mixed race. But it would be very difficult for any two people to comprise the diversity necessary to represent everyone.

    laura hudson

    Let’s talk about diverse voices being heard in the gaming realm. Where do you think we are right now and where do we need to go from here?

    LH: What I would say about games is something similar to what I would say about a lot of tech and a lot of industries, particularly ones that are male-dominated. There’s an attitude within a lot of corporate cultures, that it’s not that they want to exclude women, it’s that they don’t particularly do a lot to include them.

    It’s easy for a lot of these workplace cultures to be hostile to women — or people of color or differently abled people — in ways that they don’t necessarily understand are hostile. And there’s more of an expectation that women or different types of people have to adapt to it. They don’t really change anything about the culture and then wonder why there aren’t more diverse people there, then they shrug and say, “Well, they’re not interested.”

    If companies and game developers really care about these issues, then they need to deal with it on a deeper level than just saying that they want more diverse employees. It requires a slightly more transformative approach. I don’t think we’re there. After last year, I think there are a lot of women who have come to perceive games as an even more hostile place than they had before. I’d like to see more work around trying to counteract that.

    What sort of work to you have in mind when you say that?

    LH: Partly it’s hiring practices. If you just throw the doors open and say, well, we’re not going to change anything about ourselves and anyone can come through the door, you’re going to perpetuate the cycle of the people who always have historically been there.

    You know, there’s this notion that in a meritocracy you just throw open the doors and anyone who comes in is the most deserving. I think that’s not always the case. When you’re dealing with environments and industries that have been hostile to women in the past, you have to do a little extra work. You actually have to seek out that diversity and not just wait for it to come to you.

    Even if you look at recruiting materials, you look at them a lot of the time and it’s just guys, or it’s just female video game characters in bikinis, and that’s not necessarily going to achieve that goal. There are a lot of ways that more work could be done, and I think it varies from company to company. It requires active work.

    laura hudson

    On that note, “Grand Theft Auto V” is one of the biggest games in the world, but a lot of it strikes me as sexist or offensive. Do you think that the mainstream game culture is actually hostile to people who don’t fit the most basic mold?

    LH: Obviously it varies from game to game and company to company, but I think it varies from hostile to unwelcoming. I would say “Grand Theft Auto” is definitely misogynistic, but it’s also misanthropic. That game hates human beings. It hates female human beings in a very specific, sexualized way; but it also hates all humans.

    The fact that so many of these games are so popular, yet so many people don’t perceive them as an issue, indicates something larger in the culture. A lot of people genuinely look at these games and don’t see a problem, and they don’t feel like they hate women, but they’re so inured to it that they don’t necessarily understand why this would be alienating to a lot of people.

    There’s a second step that goes beyond “stop actively offending women.” Start actively welcoming them. That’s the next step, and it’s equally important.

    What would that look like to you?

    LH: You know what is really great, and I’m writing something about it, is “Splatoon.” It’s an amazing game. And it’s interesting because there are actually young men who are playing as the female character.

    When I played the game, the player selection screen came up and the girl was on the left and the boy was on the right. So, in a sense, the first character you see is female, sort of inverting these notions that male is default. And you can easily play the guy, but the female character is way cooler. And there’s something wonderful about that.

    The game is very playful and fun, and there’s a fashion element to it, but not in an inherently feminized way. It’s not “going to the boutique at the mall,” but there’s something very welcoming about it for everyone.

    I think putting that type of care into character design to make the female characters as interesting and appealing as the male characters — you don’t necessarily need to make a super-feminized game in order to appeal to women. If every game did that, I think we’d live in a profoundly different world for games.

    Nintendo’s “Splatoon” (Source)

    Can you tell me about coverage on Offworld that you’re particularly proud of, or that is emblematic of what Offworld is capable of?

    LH: In terms of my own work, I think maybe the thing that I’m proudest of so far is my piece about “Bloodborne.” It’s a “Souls“-series game, which are known for being a very specific type of hardcore, that involve a lot of persistence, that offer these particularly incredible emotional payoffs when you finally achieve your goal.

    A lot of the time, these games offer payoffs that we don’t necessarily get in life, and I think that’s part of why we like them. If you put in a certain amount of effort, you will get the rewards that you will expect. And that’s not something that always happens in life.

    If a game requires you to put in that time and energy and doesn’t give anything back, then that’s the kind of game you walk away from. And that’s the thesis of my article — that it helped me recognize that there were things in my life that I needed to walk away from, because they were punishing without any reward.

    Gameplay in “Bloodborne.” (Source)

    The “Souls” series and “Bloodborne” are very low on the list of accessible games. They’re very difficult. I have friends who aren’t gamers at all and wouldn’t be able make it through the first three minutes. How do you approach writing with that issue in mind?

    LH: Some of my favorite pieces about games that I’ve read have come from people who have completely different perspectives from me. I don’t know if you’ve read “When Fashion is Frightening,” a feature by Anna Anthropy that she wrote for us? She wrote about a Nintendo game called “Style Savvy: Trendsetters.” It’s about fashion, but she also wrote about her experience as a trans woman:

    As a trans woman who grew up without ever being taught the thousand secret rules of performing femininity, I walk through life terrified that I’m wearing something the wrong way, this couldn’t possibly go with that, I must look ridiculous wearing this outfit in this weather — no one else is wearing a long black dress and tights. Any detail could give away the game, could expose the facade of my femininity to reveal that I’m a Fake Woman.

    I would have never played that game and had that response to it because her perspective and her experience is different than mine. So, you mentioned that one person might not be able to go in and do this or that, but that’s part of what I find so fantastic about games writing.

    Nintendo’s “Style Savvy: Trendsetters” (Source)

    Is there anything else you would like to communicate before we wrap up here today?

    LH: I hope more people will check out Offworld — and games in general. Nothing makes me happier than when someone who doesn’t traditionally play games connects with them for the first time or gets really excited about them. I love that, because I love games, and I love seeing people get out of it what I get out of it. And finding more ways for people to do that is obviously something that I’m passionate about.

    — 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.

  • 'Dreadnoughtus' Was One Huge Dinosaur, But Maybe Not As Huge As We Thought
    The gigantic dinosaur known as Dreadnoughtus schranibelieved to have been one of the heaviest land animals ever — may not have been quite as big as we thought.

    When Dreadnoughtus was discovered last year, paleontologists looked at the dimensions of its leg bones and estimated the dinosaur’s weight to have been about 60 tons. But a new study casts serious doubt on that estimate.

    Estimating the body mass of an extinct animal from approximately 77 million years ago of this size from only its fossilized bones is extremely challenging and relies on the availability of certain data from living animals and modeling techniques,” study co-author Dr. Karl Bates, a biology lecturer at the University of Liverpool in England, said in a written statement. “Using digital modeling and a dataset that took in species, alive and dead, we were able to see that the creature couldn’t be as large as originally estimated.”

    (Story continues below image.)
    Artist’s rendering of Dreadnoughtus.

    The researchers used a 3D digital model of the dinosaur’s skeleton to estimate the volume and density of its bones, skin, muscles, fat, and other tissues, National Geographic reported. With the volume and density, plus corresponding data from similar animals alive today, the researchers then put the dinosaur’s weight at 30 to 40 tons. That’s about half as heavy as the original estimate.

    “Our analysis suggests that only the lower estimates produced by previous methods are plausible,” Bates said in the statement. “Estimates of 60 tons and above do not fit with our current understanding of the mass characteristics of living land animals.”

    But Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, the Drexel University paleontologist who discovered Dreadnoughtus, told Live Science that he wasn’t convinced. Why? Because the new study used the volume of the dinosaur’s body as a proxy for its mass — and Dreadnoughtus’ total volume is still unknown since only about 45 percent of its skeleton was recovered, Lacovara told Live Science.

    “They’re using a proxy that doesn’t exist to estimate a number that can never be validated,” he said.

    One thing scientists seem to agree on is that Dreadnoughtus was breathtakingly big.

    The study was published online in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters on June 10, 2015.

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

  • A New iPhone Feature Can Save Children's Lives

    Approximately 40 children die each year from heat stroke after being left in cars by distracted, absentminded or careless parents. And that is in the U.S. alone. A minor update to Apple’s smartphone operating system could help to prevent these accidents from happening in the future.

    iPhone users have long been able to set reminders based on particular locations. For example, you can tell your iPhone: ‘Open a bottle of wine when I get home,’ and if you’ve previously told your iPhone where you live it will use the ‘geofence’ around your house to know when you get in and prompt you with the reminder. Apple spent just a few seconds at its latest event showing off geofences for your car.

    If you have CarPlay (Apple’s solution for safely using an iPhone in the vehicle) your car will now be recognized as a location and you’ll be able to set reminders based on entering or exiting your vehicle.

    From here the solution is simple: Set a reminder such as “Siri, remind me every day when I get out of the car: check for kids!” And a reminder will appear as you walk away from the car, replacing possible catastrophe with slight embarrassment. Do I want to admit to myself that it’s possible to forget my kids in the car? Probably, not. But is it possible? The facts are indisputable: yes, it is. And I would rather admit it and take practical steps to prevent it, than deny it and avoid those steps.


    Several companies including Intel, BabyAlert and others are developing innovative preventive measures such as microchips and sensors installed inside car seats to reduce these accidental deaths.

    Smartphone reminders may not replace these entirely, and nothing can negate the need for attentive and careful parenting, but a simple reminder to make sure you’ve left no one behind could be one piece in saving a child’s life.

    — 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.

  • Pornhub Crowdfunds First Porn Shot In Space
    Porn has a lot in common with spaceflight. In both cases, a large blast is crucial to the mission’s success.

    Plus, the zero-gravity aspect of spaceflight can swell the imagination and conjure up all sorts of erotic flights of fancy.

    Now Pornhub.com is hoping to thrust itself into the stratosphere by crowdfunding a porno that will be shot 68 miles above the Earth’s surface on a shuttle service like Virgin Galactic.

    The “Sexploration” campaign hopes to raise $3.4 million in the next 30 days via Indiegogo.com. If the funding level is reached, Pornhub vice president Corey Price is shooting for a late 2016 release.

    “If all goes well, the schedule will include an entire six months of training for space travel for our crew and performers before we’re comfortable with launching them into space,” Price told The Huffington Post by email. “We need to know all participants are sufficiently prepared for the rigors of space-age coital activity (as well as filming in or past the stratosphere).”

    Eva Lovia and Johnny Sins are the stars enlisted to make one small boink for porn and one giant money shot for mankind.

    Lovia, 26, is particularly excited about the opportunity.

    “The bragging rights alone are worth it,” she told The Huffington Post. “We don’t know if any astronauts have had sex in space, so we’d be the first to publicly admit it.”

    Surprisingly, this astronaughty has yet to get into the Mile High Club, much less do it 68 miles above Earth.

    “I’ve never done it, mainly because the only place you can do it is in the bathroom — and they’re disgusting!” she said. “This will be a lot more sanitized, plus, we will have use of the whole plane, not just the bathroom.”


    Price said the plan is to have Sins and Lovia go aboard a shuttle with a six-person film crew.

    “The production of the video will begin when the spaceship takes flight. Filming will commence upon takeoff and as the ship climbs, so too will the lovemaking,” he said. “As soon as the ship reaches its maximum altitude there will be weightlessness for at least a few minutes. Our actors will be having sex and climaxing within that time frame –- ideally, of course.”

    Besides raising funds, there are other kinks to be worked out before the space porn can be made, including dealing with any health risks in advance and retrofitting the camera equipment for the potential atmospheric changes.

    “Thankfully, we have a very experienced production crew and directorial team to help make the money shot happen in a way that looks dynamic and revolutionary for viewers,” Price said.

    Raising $3.4 million is a challenge for any crowdfunding campaign, much less one that involves explicit sexual activity.

    Then there is the nagging problem of whether private space travel companies like Virgin Galactic or SpaceX would agree to allow their shuttles to be used in the first place, much less be willing to clean up the mess afterwards.

    Neither Virgin Galactic nor Space X have responded to press inquiries, but Pornhub press rep Mike Williams insists the company is currently in talks with a number of private space travel companies.

    “Because of the nature of our endeavor, we aren’t really able to disclose the details of those talks just yet for fear that that would risk unnecessary fallout from the aforementioned parties.”

    If the campaign succeeds and the first porn gets shot in space, the challenges are just beginning for Lovia and Sins, according to experts who’ve studied the particulars of getting it on in outer space.

    “Sex is very difficult in zero gravity, apparently, because you have no traction and you keep bumping against the walls,” biologist Athena Andreadis of the University of Massachusetts Medical School told SPACE.com in 2011. “Think about it: you have no friction, you have no resistance.”

    Lovia is thinking about other aspects of the endeavor including an unprintable quote about how she’s looking forward to dealing with a floating money shot.

    She also is thinking about what to do for an encore should this (e)mission succeed.

    “I’m thinking about deep sea exploration,” she said.

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  • Volunteer Firefighter Garret Bryl Looks Back On Using A Drone To Rescue Texas Flood Victims
    Record rainfall hit Texas over Memorial Day weekend, destroying homes and taking at least 23 lives — but thanks to one man and his drone, Bill and Tracey Kaskel, a couple from Venus, Texas, were able to escape floodwaters unscathed.

    After making the miraculous rescue back on May 25, volunteer firefighter Garret Bryl joined HuffPost Live and looked back on the tumultuous ordeal. Bryl had been using drones recreationally for three years before he put his hobby to practical use with the Joshua Fire Department six months ago. With the help of his quadcopter Valkyrie, Bryl delivered life vests and a safety lines to Bill and Tracey Kaskel — saving the couple, their cat and five dogs from the river flowing below their home.

    Watch Garret Bryl discuss his rescue mission on HuffPost Live in 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.

  • Emergency network plans questioned
    Plans to move the emergency services on to a commercial mobile network are questioned, as O2 withdraws from the process.
  • (VIDEO) Interactive TV Future Is Finally Here: AT&T AdWorks' Dunsche
    If you remember the mid-90s futuristic hype about “interactive TV,” you will know the concept goes back a long way.

    Maria Mandel Dunsche remembers. The VP of AT&T’s AdWorks division has been working with such platforms since 1999, helping brands try to exploit the emerging channel. But it’s only lately the reality has come to pass.

    “I’ve been in this space for 15+ years,” Dunsche tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “I’ve been shocked by the lack of activity that has happened over the years. It’s only been the last couple of years where there’s been this substantive uptick of interest.

    “Digital is really putting pressure on TV to be better targeted, more accountable, more interactive. We’re going to start seeing really scalable solutions which will allow for much better targeting. The next few years are going to see substantial change in the TV space.”

    AdWorks is AT&T’s division helping advertisers take advantage of new-wave TV opportunities, including linear, data-optimized, multi-screen and interactive creatives. TV Blueprint is the name of the product AdWorks uses to crunch viewing data from 15 million set-top boxes in to a media plan that can reach up to 55 million households.

    At the Cannes Lions festival on June 24, AT&T AdWorks and Beet.TV are partnering on a leadership summit about advanced TV aboard the AT&T yacht. Participants include GroupM Chairman Irwin Gotlieb; SMG’s Tracey Scheppach; Mike Bologna of Modi Media; Mike Welch and Dunsche of AT&T AdWorks.

    We interviewed her as part of the series The Road to Cannes, our lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival presented by Coull.  Please visit this page for additional segments.

    You can this post on Beet.TV.

    — 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) Media Owners Stuck In Past Over Ad Data: Forrester's Nail
    If data is really the new oil, are media operators letting enough of the stuff run to advertisers who are craving it?

    A new Forrester report, “Solving Digital Video Advertising’s Premium Dilemma,” commissioned by outstream video ad vendor Teads from Forrester, spotlights a disconnect between the two camps.

    “Media companies talk about the user experience,” Forrester principal analyst Jim Nail, who authored the report, tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “But then the advertising agencies talk about the quality of the data used for targeting.

    “So it seems like the media companies are still stuck a little bit in the old world. (They say), ‘We’ve got great content…’ Advertiser agencies are saying, ‘That’s important, but, in this new world, the targeting is at least as important.’

    “The media companies need to have a deeper conversation with the advertisers to make sure they’re building the data strategy.”

    Forrester’s report says publishers are struggling with insufficient video ad inventory to satisfy advertiser demand, but that advertisers report so-called “outstream” ads, which play in between chunks of text, helps alleviate concerns around viewability and enable programmatic buying.”

    We interviewed Nail last week at a Teads industry summit in New York. 

    You can this post on Beet.TV.

    — 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.

  • Israel May Have Spied On Iran Nuclear Talks Hotel: Report

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A cybersecurity firm with close ties to Russian intelligence said Wednesday it uncovered a cyber-espionage campaign targeting hotels that hosted Iran nuclear negotiations, the details of which are among the most closely held secrets in world diplomacy.

    The firm, Kaspersky, said the malware was so sophisticated that it must have been created by a government. Citing former U.S. intelligence officials, The Wall Street Journal attributed the spying to Israel, which opposes the emerging nuclear deal being hammered out by the U.S., Russia, several other European countries and Iran. Negotiators hope to clinch an agreement by the end of the month to curb Iran’s nuclear activity for a decade in exchange for billions of dollars in sanctions relief.

    A former senior U.S. intelligence official who dealt with such matters told The Associated Press that the nuclear talks are a likely espionage target of several countries, including Israel and Russia. The former official said he couldn’t be quoted on the record and demanded anonymity.

    The Israeli government declined comment Wednesday.

    The allegation coincides with deepening tensions in the U.S.-Israeli relationship, much of it linked to Iran. The Obama administration has rejected much of the hawkish advice of its close Mideast ally in favor of what U.S. officials say would be an accord that removes the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran. The Jewish state has aggressively lobbied against the package both internationally and within the United States.

    Kaspersky’s cyberspying discoveries are taken seriously by security experts, and the U.S. antivirus company Symantec confirmed Kaspersky’s technical findings Wednesday, though not the source of the campaign.

    Eugene Kaspersky, the chairman and chief executive, served in the Soviet military during the 1980s and maintains close ties with Russian intelligence officials.

    In a statement, the company said it began investigating an intrusion into its own systems earlier this year, a probe that led it to discover “one of the most skilled, mysterious and powerful threat actors” in the world of cyberspying. The malware is a more advanced version of an attack it previously discovered, dubbed “Duqu,” the company said.

    The malware used three “zero day” vulnerabilities, which are flaws in Microsoft’s operating system that are previously unknown and therefore undefended. Each one can cost as much as $300,000 on the black market.

    Victims of the spying were identified in Western countries, as well as the Middle East and Asia, Kaspersky said.

    The State Department, which has led the U.S. delegation in the Iran talks, didn’t immediately comment. It likely wouldn’t have used hotel computer systems or unsecure phones to discuss details of the negotiations. Kaspersky didn’t identify the hotels, though most talks have taken place in Austria and Switzerland.

    Spyware also was found to have targeted people attending the 70th anniversary event of the liberation of Poland’s Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, Kaspersky said.

    Iran says its program is solely for peaceful energy, medical and research purposes, though many governments fear it harbors nuclear weapons ambitions.

    President Barack Obama and others have said a failure to address the standoff through diplomacy could lead to military confrontation.

    Highlighting ongoing American intelligence concerns, the former chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency told a House subcommittee Wednesday that the proposed deal “suffers from serious deficiencies,” including the intelligence community’s inability to verify full Iranian compliance.

    “The intelligence community does not have complete ‘eyes on’ the totality of the Iranian nuclear program, nor can it guarantee that we have identified all of Iran’s nuclear facilities and processes,” Michael Flynn testified. He said it was prudent to conclude “that there are elements of Iran’s nuclear program that still remain hidden from view.”

    — 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.

  • FAN FICTION: Facebook Tower

    From: [REDACTED]@facebooktower.com
    To: [REDACTED]@facebooktower.com
    Subject: New employee talking points for Facebook Tower – FOR INTERNAL REVIEW

    Hi team – employees have been asking for short talking points that they can use when talking to various parties about Facebook Tower. Here’s a first draft, let me know what you think! – [REDACTED]

    For Individuals
    Welcome to Facebook Tower, open since 2004 and currently home to 1.44 billion people from around the world. It’s completely free to come live in Facebook Tower, and when you move in you get complimentary access to all of our amenities, including photo sharing, groups, the newsfeed, messenger, and our application platform – all of which you can freely use*. In addition, your Facebook Tower apartment key also gives you instant access to many other buildings throughout town. So what are you waiting for, move in to Facebook Tower today!

    * With any other resident of Facebook Tower

    For Businesses
    Business owners – get access to 1.44 billion people from around the world by setting up shop in Facebook Tower. We think it’s fair to say that someday, every person on earth will live in Facebook Tower. But you don’t want to waste your advertising and marketing budget on every person on earth, just the ones that you know will buy your products and services. Through the data that our residents voluntarily give us (like gender, location, favorite music, movies, TV, etc.) as well as what we collect from them as they live their lives in the Tower and use our various amenities, we are able to target your advertising and promotions to reach exactly the people that you want to reach. Whether you’re a large, medium, or small business, we can help you drive sales and grow your business, so sign up today!

    For Investors

    Want a piece of the hottest real estate in town? Facebook Tower generated $3.54 billion in revenue in the first quarter of 2015, an increase of 42% over the same quarter the previous year. The bulk of our revenue (94%) is from businesses setting up shop in Facebook Tower and marketing to our 1.44 billion residents, with the remainder coming from payments and other fees. We continue to grow along a number of dimensions, including:

    • Our resident base: via teams dedicated to growth, initiatives like internet.org, and others
    • Our business base: via growing our resident base! Businesses go where their buyers are…
    • The amenities we offer to our residents to keep them engaged (the more time they spend in the tower, the more businesses can market to them) and generating information that can be used to target marketing
    • The products and services that we offer to businesses
    • Acquisition of up and coming real-estate developments (Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus)
    • Small & fast development experiments that test out & validate (or invalidate) new real-estate concepts (Rooms, Riff, Home, Poke, Slingshot, Camera, Paper, Hello)

    For Competitors
    (This is so that our employees know how to think about competition. Not for distribution outside the company!)

    The foundation of Facebook Tower is the Social Graph – people’s connections to each other. On top of that foundation there are 4 pillars holding up the building:

    • Photos – We are the world’s largest photo sharing site
    • Groups – Because “everybody you know” is in Facebook Tower, we’re the perfect place for residents to create private groups with other residents that they know or public groups around a shared interest or event.
    • Newsfeed – We are the way that our residents get the news, whether about the world or about their friends and family.
    • Messenger – Residents can instantly start free private conversations with any other residents. We continue to add functionality to Messenger (third party apps, payments, etc.), in our quest to make it an indispensable peer-to-peer communication and transaction channel.

    Note that the pillars can grow and shrink in importance over time, as either the market or we as a company change our focus. For example our Platform that enabled third party developers to build on our infrastructure and leverage our Social Graph was a key pillar for us for several years starting from its launch in 2007. The open access that we provided to our Social Graph and to the Newsfeed served as a springboard for several other developers (most notably Zynga), but had an overall negative impact on resident experience. Over the years we have evolved the platform to make it more resident friendly, which has had the unfortunate but understandable effect of making it less attractive to other developers to use. As such, it is no longer a key pillar for us.

    Our competitors are adopting several different strategies to compete with us, with the following being the three primary ones:

    1. Attack the Pillars

    We need to defend our existing pillars for as long as we can. When we see other companies successfully coming after a pillar (and drawing away residents), we need to either replicate their efforts or acquire them (for their talent, their residents, or both) outright. Some examples:

    • Instagram: Was attacking the Photos pillar. ACQUIRED
    • WhatsApp: Was attacking the Messenger pillar. ACQUIRED
    • Snapchat: Is attacking the Messenger pillar. REPLICATED (failed) and attempted to ACQUIRE
    • FriendFeed: Was attacking the Newsfeed pillar. ACQUIRED
    • Twitter: Was attacking the Newsfeed pillar. REPLICATED parts and attempted to ACQUIRE

    While there have been small competitors (and acquisitions) around the Groups pillar, there have not been any serious competitors to date, most likely due to the strength of our Social Graph. This primarily pertains to private groups where residents know each other and the Social Graph makes it frictionless to connect. We’ll discuss below how competitors are currently focusing on public groups around shared interests, where our Social Graph provides less benefit.

    Our acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp can only be seen as missed opportunities by our biggest competitors to weaken our position. That said, we cannot count on these pillars to sustain our business indefinitely, so we must constantly be experimenting and developing new ones. Our biggest recent bet on a new pillar (in terms of dollars) was our foray into virtual reality with our acquisition of Oculus. As we continue to increase the “fidelity” of the communication and interactions that our residents have access to, VR would appear to be the next logical step.

    2. Create a New Building

    Our competitors have opened their own towers, but they have had difficulty in convincing residents to relocate. Given that everybody lives in Facebook Tower and has their social graph and social history (which they don’t want to lose) stored there, residents are understandably reluctant to move unless there is a compelling new offering at the new tower. Some of the things our competitors have tried (unsuccessfully to date) include:

    • Google Plus: As amenities they offered integration into the entire suite of Google services that hundreds of millions of people already use (YouTube, Gmail, etc.), as well as a new way of managing connections with their concept of Circles. While the concept of Circles makes sense, in practice it appears to be more work than most people are willing to do.
    • Yahoo 360: Similar to Google Plus, they offered built-in integration into their existing suite of services (Flickr, LAUNCH, Groups, etc.).
    • Ello: More of a yurt than a tower, their “compelling new offering” is that they won’t work with businesses – so there is no marketing or advertising there.

    3. Turn Strength into Weakness

    3.1 Our Strength: Real Identity

    At a time when MySpace was the “cool place to live”, Facebook Tower struck a chord by initially limiting residents to specific college campuses as well as requiring them to use their real identities. And while we have since opened Facebook Tower to the rest of the world, real identity remains a core tenet of our Social Graph. At the other end of the spectrum, some our competitors have launched offerings where being anonymous is the default. These include:

    • Whisper: Purports to be completely anonymous, and content can be shared by anyone on any topic.
    • Secret: Now defunct, was “anonymish” in that you could tell that content was from a friend or a friend of a friend, but not specifically who.
    • Yik Yak: Purports to be completely anonymous. Uses the user’s location to add them to the community for a college campus, so context is set by location.
    • After School: Like Yik Yak, but for high schoolers.

    One thing that all the anonymous offerings have in common is bad resident behavior. Divorced from any repercussions, people are free to act badly, and often do so in the forms of abuse, hateful speech, bullying, shaming, etc. This is an issue that all offerings that don’t require real identity have to deal with, and they currently do so using various combinations of community voting, moderation, and algorithms. This behavioral issue is a serious threat to the ongoing viability of all these businesses, as has been seen by the closures of PostSecret, JuicyCampus, Formspring, and most recently Secret.

    There is clearly a human need/desire to share things anonymously. It’s also clear that no one has yet cracked the code on the right way to do anonymity online. While Facebook and Whisper can be seen as opposite ends of the spectrum, it will be interesting to see if there are opportunities “in the middle” to create a system where there is anonymity or pseudonymity but also an incentive to behave well.

    3.2 Our Strength: We Remember
    Things used to happen, and then they were gone. Capturing memories was expensive in terms of effort, time and money, so only the “special” moments were captured. And even those moments that were captured had limited exposure – the photos in your photo album could only be seen by the people you explicitly, physically showed them to. Facebook Tower helped change all that, making it trivially easy for residents to capture, store and share their thoughts, links, pictures, conversations, likes and more, forever. That social history is a strong retention hook for us and a reason for residents not to move into another developer’s tower.

    The downside of this is that when residents know that everything is being remembered and shared with all their connections, instead of sharing honest moments that depict the real ups and downs of their lives, they share the “Christmas Card” versions of their lives. Residents use what they share to construct an ideal identity that all their connections see. This can lead residents to “compare and despair“, when they see the great lives that everyone is else is living and compare them to their own, without realizing that they’re actually viewing their connections’ highlight reels.

    Given this, there would seem to be an opportunity for places where unlike Facebook Tower, the default behavior is to forget. This would enable residents to be more free, honest and spontaneous in what they share, vs. the carefully considered construction that they engage in today at Facebook Tower.

    The competitor that has best capitalized on this to date is clearly Snapchat – which enables their 100 million mostly young residents to send self-destructing messages to each other. Snapchat’s initial focus was person-to-person photo and video messaging, in direct competition with our Photos and Messenger pillars. Since then they have added the concept of Stories, which is more akin to our Newsfeed pillar in that what users share can be shared with either everyone on Snapchat, just the person’s friends, or a customized group. They continue to add new features and functionality to grow their footprint, including offerings like Snapcash for peer-to-peer payments and Discover as a way for businesses to promote content to their residents.

    Snapchat appears to have, at least for the time being, “won” as the general purpose ephemeral residence of choice. But we expect to see the idea of ephemeral content appearing in more specialized offerings, and may even include them in some of our own.

    3.3 Our Strength: Everybody Lives Here
    Residents can move into Facebook Tower as soon as they turn 13 years old. From that point on, as they transition through grade school, college, and then into the working world and starting families, they create connections with other residents of the Tower that they meet in these various contexts. Given the size of our resident base, it’s almost guaranteed that anyone they meet is also a resident of Facebook Tower, making it easy for residents to build up their Social Graph.

    But while we call these connections “Friends”, they don’t necessarily accurately reflect the people that a given resident considers their actual friends at any point in time, or even the people that the resident might want to share things with. Are the 30 people that you added from your high school science class still your friends when you’re 40? Do you want to share your love of Madonna with everyone you’ve ever known – relatives, friends of friends, business acquaintances, former college classmates, etc?

    Realistically, a single group of “Friends” can’t hope to reflect the nuances of our various contexts, social circles, and relationships. The logical solution would seem to be to enable residents to create lists (groups, circles) that more accurately reflect their friends. For instance: “Close Friends”, “Dorm Buddies”, “School Moms”, etc. In practice, we’ve discovered that making and maintaining these lists is work that residents don’t want to do. Google discovered (rediscovered?) the exact same thing with their notion of Circles, which looked different but had the same end goal.

    Rather than starting with the big block of “everyone I’ve ever known” and then whittling lists out of it, an alternative approach is to create a property around a shared interest or context, and then try to attract residents to it. There are a number of ways to approach this, including:

    • A shared location: Yik Yak, After School and others use your current location to create context – automatically assigning you to a school or an event.
    • A shared interest: 6Tribes, Place, Interests, Clubhouse, Amino and our own Rooms are all interest-based properties where residents can gather around topics that either they themselves create or that are selected and curated by the developer. We currently support this with our public Groups, and Google is even starting to do this with their Collections offering – but those are both a small part of a larger offering, vs. the sole focus on interests that the competitors listed are exhibiting.
    • A shared context, life stage or identity: School, college, work, parenthood, sexual identity, suffering from a chronic disease – some of these, like parents, have been heavily targeted already (and in fact we ourselves started with a focus on college students). Others have not, and these represent opportunity areas for our competitors. One interesting new development in this area is Off the Clock, a place where workers can talk privately about their jobs with their coworkers, share their work stories anonymously with the world, and meet other people with the same job. They actually appear to be going after all three weaknesses described here – by targeting a shared context, incorporating elements of anonymity & pseudonymity, and supporting ephemeral messaging in their offering. Off the Clock is currently invitation only, but we did find an invitation code that seemed to work: “unomas“.

    As you can see, there are a number of ways for our competitors to lure our residents, attack our pillars and undermine our business. In order to ensure our future and our ongoing relevance, we must continue to aggressively try new ideas, replicate successful concepts, and acquire potential threats and future growth opportunities.

    Director of Marketing and Misinformation, Facebook Tower

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  • Russian cybersecurity firm hacked
    A leading cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, says an infamous hacking group breached its systems in an attempt to steal sensitive information.
  • Review of PediatricRD app, a nutritional reference for pediatrics

    Review of the University of Michigan’s Pediatric nutritional reference app.

    The post Review of PediatricRD app, a nutritional reference for pediatrics appeared first on iMedicalApps.

Mobile Technology News, June 10, 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 End of Big Banks Is Nigh
    The bank of the future will be in our pockets or on our wrists, not on street corners or housed in high-rise towers.

    Mobile banking is going viral and the first adopters are the “millennials” (those born after 1981) and the “unbanked” poor of all ages around the world. They are leaping into this brave new banking world first, but the rest of us are going to follow.

    I was part of a conference held by Singularity University in Silicon Valley that hosted a conference into the bank of the future in New York this week. Traditional banks will be replaced with low-cost tech solutions, and there will be cheering from the sidelines. Viacom Media polled 10,000 Americans and found that 4 of the 10 least-loved brands in the U.S. are banks and 71 percent said they would rather go to the dentist than listen to what any bank says.

    Enter “fintech”: a burgeoning industry that includes Apple, Facebook and 8,000 start-ups in the U.S. that are targeting the financial sector’s various profit centers. Within five years, smart phones or smart watches will replace credit and debit cards, wallets, (keys), lenders, brokers, insurance agents and money transfers abroad.

    “Billions are going into these start ups,” said Victoria Vysotina, a mathematician and CEO of VV Strategic Group in New York City. “The LendingClub and other peer to peer lenders are expected to get 30 percent of the loans business in the United States in a few years.”

    She believes credit cards will be replaced with phone payment schemes. One banker noted to me that the “killer app” is a company called Kash, designed to circumvent the credit card network and its high fees. It is, ironically, financed by a company run by Joe Saunders, former chairman of global credit card giant Visa Inc. It will be a debit card that instantly takes money immediately out of a user’s bank account (or digital wallet) and deposits it to the vendor, and for this charges vendors .25 percent per transaction instead of up to 4 percent.

    Further down the road, asset management, and hedge funds, will be replaced by online cheap or free ETFs, exchange traded funds. Wealth management will be done online by robo-advisors and investment banking will be disrupted dramatically by crowdfunding when U.S. regulators give the green light shortly to the sale of equities. “And there’s nothing the banks can do about it,” she said.

    Strangely, Kenya and telecom-tech giant Vodafone are the world’s pioneers in the repurposing of tech to replace traditional banks. Kenya’s banking system is so badly broken and inadequate that Vodafone in 2011 M-Pesa (Swahili for Mobile and Money) and 60% of the country’s adults have joined, some 17 million. Users can deposit, withdraw, transfer money and pay for goods and services with their mobile device. Deposits and withdrawals are made at cell phone retails outlets or with phone sales personnel, acting as banking agents. It’s now in Afghanistan, South Africa, India and Eastern Europe.

    Another multi-billion dollar market is “remittances” or money sent home by workers abroad. Western Union dominates this $583 billion a year transfer of funds and collects transaction fees of 9 percent. Facebook is getting into this market and believes it can make money charging only a fraction of 9 percent per transaction.

    In May, another Silicon Valley giant weighed into the banking space. PayPal and Yelp founder, and Yahoo director, Max Levchin has launched Affirm. This lending system will replace credit cards and banks — aimed initially at the 82 million in the U.S. who are “unbanked” because they have no credit rating or are immigrants, new citizens, students or inexperienced.

    Users will join by simply submitting a name, mobile phone number, birthday, and last four digits of a social security number. Affirm can establish reliable creditworthiness, and customize loan limits, by using analytics that evaluate the borrower’s online and social network behavior.

    Approved shoppers will be able to borrow money at the point of sale to buy goods and services, and will be told upfront how much and how many monthly instalments they must make. “There’s no compounding interest, hidden fees, or debt calculators here. This is a simple, fixed-term loan, and the approval is in real time, so you know how much you’re borrowing, and what your payments will be each month, before you make your buying decision. We think of it as the future of honest finance.”

    “I wanted to make a bank that didn’t suck,” said Levchin in an interview. And so apparently do millions more consumers. That’s what the technology sector has identified and that’s why the world’s biggest “banks” will be technology 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.

  • Unions, Seniors Groups Urge Congress Not To Cut Medicare To Fund Trade Assistance
    An already difficult road for the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the House of Representatives got bumpier on Monday, as controversial Medicare cuts were brought into the mix.

    Labor unions and senior citizens’ groups are launching efforts to lobby House members against a bill that includes $700 million in proposed cuts to Medicare reimbursements for doctors and hospitals. The cuts would be used to fund a $2.5 billion extension of Trade Adjustment Assistance funding, which aids workers who lose their jobs as a result of trade deals. The TAA extension accompanies legislation known as Trade Promotion Authority, which gives President Barack Obama the ability to “fast-track” trade deals, including TPP, a controversial trade agreement between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations.

    The Huffington Post has obtained exclusive access to two letters, both sent to House members on Monday, one from labor unions and one from a number of seniors groups. Both letters condemn the use of Medicare cuts to fund TAA, and urge representatives to vote against the extension if it is not funded independently. The opposition of labor unions and other liberal interest groups, who normally support TAA, speaks to just how much more controversial the trade legislation — which already faces the opposition of House members in both parties — has become thanks to the proposed Medicare cuts.

    The first letter is from labor unions including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the American Federation of Teachers, the Communications Workers of America, the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The groups, which together represent 11 million workers, say in the letter that they reject any TAA funding that comes at the expense of Medicare.

    “There are other ways to fund TAA that will protect workers without undermining Medicare,” the letter states, calling the TAA bill a “lose-lose choice.”

    The letter also cites the limited applicability and the inadequacy of the TAA benefits in the bill. The unions, many of which represent public sector workers, note that these workers would not be eligible for the TAA funding in the legislation, even though many public sector jobs are vulnerable to offshoring. (The letter cites a 2007 Congressional Research Service study that found that more than 12 percent of public sector jobs are “offshorable or highly offshorable.”) In addition, the groups critique the bill’s Health Coverage Tax Credit as insufficient to provide affordable healthcare for workers who lose their jobs as a result of TPP.

    The second letter is from a number of groups that advocate for the protection of Medicare benefits, including the Alliance for Retired Americans, which represents union retirees, the Medicare Rights Center, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Social Security Works and Wider Opportunities for Women. The letter attacks the $700 million in Medicare cuts as detrimental to “the integrity of the program,” and suggests that the cuts would harm the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries.

    “Medicare should not be used as a slush fund every time Congress is looking for a pay for,” the letter states, noting that the Academy of Family Physicians has called the cuts “damaging to the delivery of health care.”

    House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is putting the fast-track authority bill, which the Senate passed in late May, up for a vote without the TAA funding. The House will decide about cutting Medicare to pay for the TAA extension in a separate bill. Politico reported that the decision to offer a separate bill was a response to bipartisan dissatisfaction in the House with the TAA funding.

    House leaders in both parties have suggested that the fast-track bill could come to the floor later this week, although a vote has still not been scheduled. The TAA bill would be voted on shortly thereafter.

    The letters criticizing TAA could worsen a bitter public feud between Obama and his progressive base over the TPP and fast-track authority. While Obama has called TPP the “most progressive trade deal” in U.S. history, many progressive politicians and activists believe the agreement will widen income inequality and jeopardize protections for workers, consumers and the environment.

    — 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.

  • Glass Found On Mars May Hold Important Clues About Life On The Red Planet
    Talk about shattering expectations!

    NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has circled the Red Planet more than 40,000 times since arriving there in 2006. During that time, the spacecraft has spied everything from avalanches to dust devils to buried glaciers.

    And now, for the first time ever, it has detected deposits of glass nestled in impact craters on the Martian surface. The finding may have important implications for the search for ancient life on Mars.

    “In the past the search for life focused on ‘following the water,’ and looking for sedimentary rocks formed in lake or river environments,” Kevin Cannon, a Ph.D. student at Brown University in Providence, R.I. and one of the researchers involved in the discovery, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Now there’s another possible preservation mechanism that could be equally as promising.”

    The researchers aren’t the only ones crowing about the find. As Bill Nye, “The Science Guy” and CEO of The Planetary Society, told The Huffington Post in an email, “This discovery could change the world.”

    “If we are able to return a sample of impact glasses from Mars, and they prove to have signatures of organic molecules or life, it would motivate humankind to explore Mars in ernest, allocating more resources to the effort and engaging citizens around the world,” Nye said in the email. “If we were to prove that there were or even are living things on Mars, it would change how every person Earth feels about what it means to be alive in the cosmos. It would be akin to the discoveries made by Copernicus and Galileo.”

    (Story continues below.)

    impact glass mars
    Researchers have found deposits of impact glass (in green) preserved in Martian craters, including Alga Crater, shown here. The detection is based on data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

    Research has shown that bits of plant life were preserved in impact glass on Earth — sort of like how insects get trapped in amber — as comets and asteroids struck our planet near what is now Argentina millions of years ago. This gave researchers the idea of looking for similar deposits on Mars.

    “Billions of years ago, when microbial life may have littered the Red Planet, the occasional meteor impact could accidentally encase bits and pieces of this ancient biology in glassy packaging,” Dr. Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., who was not involved in the research, told The Huffington Post in an email. “So if you’re going to look for life that’s been gone for billions of years, this suggests that a promising way to do so is to simply find it lying around, conveniently bottled.”

    To figure out how to find the Martian glass deposits, Cannon and co-author Jack Mustard, a professor of earth, environmental and planetary sciences at Brown, first conducted a simple experiment in their laboratory.

    They mixed together powders containing compounds similar to those known to exist on Mars, and heated them in an oven to produce glass. Then they measured the spectra of light reflected by the resulting glass — and looked for similar signals in the orbiter’s imaging data.

    “The researchers’ analysis suggests glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars,” Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in a written statement. “These areas could be targets for future exploration as our robotic scientific explorers pave the way on the journey to Mars with humans in the 2030s.”

    One glass-containing crater of particular interest is called Hargraves. It’s located in a region that once contained warm vents, and was likely hospitable for life — and it’s being considered as a possible landing site for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover.

    The research was published online in the journal Geology on Jun 5, 2015.

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

  • Facebook offers free beacon devices
    Facebook begins a roll-out of Place Tips – a system allowing businesses to send updates to a person’s smartphone when they are nearby.
  • 'Russian hackers' behind TV attack
    A cyber attack on the French television network TV5 Monde may have been carried out by Russian-based hackers, police believe.
  • Our Addiction To Cell Phones Is Costing Lives. Here's How We Can Stop It.
    Texting while driving can lead to a catastrophic accident in just a few seconds.

    It’s a sobering reality, with no bigger reminder than the recent incident of a school bus driver crashing into another bus filled with school children while he was distracted by his phone. Three passengers died, including two young elementary school kids.

    So what causes our insatiable need to constantly check our devices? Dr. David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction, told The Huffington Post that when cell phone users compulsively check their devices it is in an effort to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers. And in this way, cell phone use can be compared to gambling or gaming addictions.

    “Smartphones are essentially the world’s smallest slot machine,” Greenfield said. “Every time you go on your phone, whether to look at a Facebook update or check your email, you never know what you’re going to get and how good it’s going to be.”

    There is a pay off that compels us to check our phones, even though the consequences could be deadly, according to Greenfield.

    “It’s very neurologically addicting,” he said. “When you get a hit — finding something or hearing from someone, you get an elevation of dopamine, and it compels us to keep checking.”

    Through his research, Greenfield said a vast majority of people not only admit to checking their cell phones while driving, but admit that they know it’s unsafe. Drivers keep doing it anyway.

    “If you think about what it takes to pick up your phone, scan it, and push the necessary buttons to respond, you’re talking about many seconds,” he said. “You’re taking your attention away from a highly complex task for five to 15 seconds, and that’s all it takes for a tragedy to happen.”

    Five is the average number of seconds that drivers take their eyes off the road to send a text. Drivers can safely glance away from the road for no more than two seconds before putting themselves and others in danger.

    Checking our phones while driving is a game of Russian Roulette, Greenfield said. So how do we stop gambling with human life?

    Kathryn Henry, a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, told HuffPost the agency is trying to do more to educate citizens on the dangers of texting and driving, including holding workshops at schools.

    “Anything that takes your eyes off the road is not good,” Henry said. “We’ve really amped up our public awareness in the past couple of years.”

    Greenfield said that only stricter laws banning the use of phones in cars altogether will save lives. Currently, 46 states ban texting while driving, but only 14 ban drivers from talking on their cell phones.

    “As a doctor, this is not going to be solved by medical or psychiatric means,” he said. “This is going to be solved by tougher laws and banning smartphones in cars. No amount of public education is going to fix this.”

    Greenfield referenced the push by the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving for stricter laws as something worth replicating.

    “MADD came in and said ‘Enough of this shit, this is not working, we need to toughen the laws and consequences,'” he said. “That’s when all the drinking and driving started to slow down, and deaths slowed — it was because the laws got stricter.”

    “I think eventually phones will be be banned in cars, period,” he added. “There’s just too much evidence and too many people dying.”

    — 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.

  • UMW President Strikes Back At Feminist Group Over Complaint About Yik Yak Threats
    University of Mary Washington President Richard Hurley issued a letter to the president of a national feminist organization Monday, harshly criticizing a Title IX complaint filed against the school over how it handled harassment against female students.

    The Title IX complaint, filed against the public Virginia university in May, alleges UMW administrators failed to act on numerous instances of online harassment, primarily on the anonymous gossip app Yik Yak, directed toward female members of the Feminists United Club. Lawyers for FUC, a campus branch of the nonprofit women’s advocacy group Feminist Majority Foundation, provided screenshots to reporters purporting to demonstrate rape and death threats the students received.

    Hurley’s letter to Feminist Majority Foundation President Eleanor Smeal, which UMW spokeswoman Marty Morrison sent to multiple reporters Monday afternoon, emphasized the university didn’t have legal authority to make demands of Yik Yak — for example, it can’t ask the company to provide the identity of users or order that posts be taken down. It also asserts that claims saying the university did not address concerns about the harassing posts was “demonstrably false.”

    Hurley’s letter also noted that some of the reported threats weren’t as bad as they were made out to be because they were taken from TV shows.

    “Some of the Yik Yak comments were certainly offensive and appear alarming in isolation, but must be placed in context,” Hurley wrote. “In particular, two of the comments highlighted in the complaint (and repeated most often in the press) are a direct quote from a sketch by the comedy group Whitest Kids U Know and a paraphrase of dialogue by a character on the television show ‘American Horror Story: Freak Show.'”

    When asked to clarify Hurley’s statements, Morrison told The Huffington Post that the president meant to point out the posts were “offensive and disturbing,” but “their significance was lessened in that they were drawn from widespread use in pop culture.”


    The specific posts Hurley is referring to are “Dandy’s about to kill a bitch…or two” and “Gonna tie these feminists to a radiator and grape them in the mouth.” The first, though not a direct quote from the show, is a reference to “American Horror Story.” The second is a spin on a “Whitest Kids U Know” skit in which a giant bunch of grapes chases frightened children and the dialogue is based on rape jokes.

    Julia Michels, president of FUC, told HuffPost her group had no idea these were pop culture reference and that members had assumed the use of “grape” was an attempt to get around Yik Yak’s filters for certain words. As far as they knew, Michels said, that post was a rape threat.

    Michels said she was frustrated people were downplaying the severity of the posts because they were references to TV shows. “Even if that’s true,” she added, “that’s still joking about rape.”

    FUC was subject to harassment following their criticism of the university’s response to sexist behavior by some members of the school’s rugby team. Ultimately, the university decided to suspended the rugby squad indefinitely. FUC contended the university delayed action for months, but Jezebel reports emails it obtained through an open records request showed administrators had been “swiftly” making plans to punish the team.

    The Feminist Majority Foundation did not respond to request for comment.

    Hurley further accused FUC of inappropriately linking the April killing of Grace Mann, one of the group’s members, with the Yik Yak threats. However, the complaint only briefly mentions Mann’s death, on page 22 of 30. Mann’s 30-year-old roommate, Steven Vander Briel, was charged with homicide in her death.

    “By far, the most troubling aspect of FUC’s and the Feminist Majority Foundation’s complaint is the implication that there is a connection between the concerns raised by members of FUC and the murder of Grace Mann,” Hurley wrote. “Grace’s death was a terrible tragedy, but it is irresponsible for FUC and the Feminist Majority Foundation to opine that it was related to the rise in explicit and offensive comments on Yik Yak.”

    The Title IX complaint does not explicitly link Mann’s killing with Yik Yak threats or the administration’s actions, but lawyers for FUC mentioned it in their filing.

    Read the entire letter from UMW President Richard Hurley below:

    Eleanor Smeal, President
    Feminist Majority Foundation

    June 8, 2015

    Dear Ms. Smeal:

    I write to respond to the allegations raised in the Title IX complaint filed against the University of Mary Washington, which we understand the Feminist Majority Foundation funded and recklessly publicized. As an initial matter, we were surprised to learn that you scheduled a press conference on May 7 to publicize the allegations in the complaint, particularly because we had already scheduled to meet with you on June 3 to discuss concerns raised by student members of Feminists United on Campus (“FUC”). You did not inform us of your intent to hold such a press conference. Instead, you sought media attention to publicize the fact of the filing of – and the irresponsible allegations in – the complaint. It is regrettable that you chose to preempt the opportunity to meet with me to gather information to assess the concerns being raised by a handful of UMW students.

    The primary premise of the complaint is that UMW “ignored” students’ concerns regarding comments made on the social media app Yik Yak. That allegation is demonstrably false. With the recent rise in popularity of this app, which allows anonymous postings by individuals within a 10-mile radius, UMW and colleges across the United States have been struggling to balance their utmost concern for the safety and welfare of students with the First Amendment rights of anonymous posters. UMW has met this challenge head on. As you know, I have had more than one in-person meeting with FUC’s leadership to discuss their concerns. We have consulted with legal counsel on permissible actions we might take to limit Yik Yak’s impact on campus. We have worked extensively with our Title IX coordinator to facilitate an open dialogue on campus among students regarding sexual assault and harassment. We provided extra security – including a campus escort – for an FUC member who reported comments that could be considered a true threat. In late March, we sent a campus-wide email reminding all students that the University takes seriously any threats and encouraging even anonymous ones to be reported to Campus Police and to our Title IX officer. We received no reports after this reminder. We also encouraged reporting threats directly to Yik Yak.

    Although I understand that FUC may be upset that UMW has not ceded to its demands to ban Yik Yak from campus, it is important to understand that as a public university, UMW is obligated to comply with all federal laws – not just Title IX. The First Amendment prohibits prior restraints on speech, and banning Yik Yak is tantamount to a content-based prohibition on speech. (And in any event, banning Yik Yak from UMW’s network would be ineffective because students could still access the app using their personal wireless data plans.) I trust that FUC and the Feminist Majority Foundation – two groups that regularly exercise their civil right to petition the government and engage in protected First Amendment speech – understand and appreciate these concerns.

    Indeed, the majority of the offending Yik Yak comments submitted with FUC’s complaint demonstrate the point. Most were reactions to an op-ed piece that then-FUC president, Paige McKinsey, wrote, submitted, and had published in the UMW student newspaper. In that op-ed, Ms. McKinsey asserted that there was an “insidious misogyny and hatred very much alive at UMW.” In support of that position, she cited the effort by some students to establish a Greek system on campus and the actions of certain members of the men’s rugby club in singing an obscene chant at an off-campus party. Ms. McKinsey is the only student referenced by name in any of the Yik Yak comments included with the complaint, and those comments primarily refer to the opinions she expressed in her public statement. Some of the Yik Yak comments were certainly offensive and appear alarming in isolation, but must be placed in context. In particular, two of the comments highlighted in the complaint (and repeated most often in the press) are a direct quote from a sketch by the comedy group Whitest Kids U Know and a paraphrase of dialogue by a character on the television show “American Horror Story: Freak Show.” In the single instance where Yik Yak commenters suggested that concerns be addressed directly to Ms. McKinsey at a public meeting where she was scheduled to speak, UMW made specific arrangements for campus police to escort Ms. McKinsey throughout the evening in question, although she did not request such protection from Campus Police

    Moreover, UMW does not have the legal authority to demand that Yik Yak provide the names and contact information of the posters of offensive material. Yik Yak’s policy is to cooperate with law enforcement professionals investigating actionable threats, but Yik Yak will not disclose user account information unless required by law to do so. In addition, Yik Yak does not require users to provide their real names, phone numbers, email or mailing addresses, or other identifying information, so any ability to track down posters to hold them personally accountable is limited.

    By far, the most troubling aspect of FUC’s and the Feminist Majority Foundation’s complaint is the implication that there is a connection between the concerns raised by members of FUC and the murder of Grace Mann. Grace’s death was a terrible tragedy, but it is irresponsible for FUC and the Feminist Majority Foundation to opine that it was related to the rise in explicit and offensive comments on Yik Yak. Ms. Mann was killed in her off-campus house, and her housemate has been arrested for the murder. The housemate is a 31-year-old part-time student who returned to UMW to complete his degree after an eight-year absence. And contrary to misinformation in the media, the suspect in Grace’s death was not a member of the current rugby club (and had not been a part of that club since 2006), nor does it appear that he was friends with members of the current rugby team. Moreover, prior to Ms. Mann’s death, UMW received no reports of threatening or inappropriate behavior by the housemate since his return to campus.

    Although Ms. Mann was involved with FUC, neither Ms. Mann nor any member of FUC reported to Campus Police or University administrators that she was a target of any anonymous threats on Yik Yak. To date, we have not identified any such threat. Furthermore, Ms. Mann’s role as a student leader allowed her to develop a close personal relationship with our Title IX coordinator and with UMW’s Dean of Students. Indeed, they were both invited to speak at her funeral and were honored to do so. Had Grace felt scared or threatened in her last semester on campus, she never mentioned as much to either of these individuals.

    Other than the fact that Ms. Mann’s housemate played rugby eight years ago, and Ms. Mann was a member of FUC, the Feminist Majority Foundation and FUC have not identified any evidence that Ms. Mann’s death is linked in any way to her activities with FUC – much less that it is related to threatening posts on Yik Yak. Unfortunately, this unsubstantiated connection has attracted much attention from the media. But at the end of the day, pursuing a media campaign based on speculation is likely to undermine FMF’s and UMW’s mutual goal of affecting positive change.

    UMW is committed to fostering a supportive, safe and positive environment for all of our students – men and women alike. The reprehensible and offensive comments posted on Yik Yak are inconsistent with UMW’s values. Nevertheless, as we have seen recently with other institutions, the publication of unsubstantiated allegations and false narratives hurts not only the reputation of the affected institutions but also the reputation of the proponents who fail to investigate before taking their concerns public. And in this case, the speculative connection FUC and the Feminist Majority Foundation claim exists between Grace Mann’s death and Yik Yak commenters spreads misinformation, and worse yet, it adds undue pain for the grieving Mann family.

    In the future, I encourage you to explore fully the allegations you hear from students before you initiate a highly-publicized media campaign with unsubstantiated claims and misinformation. In addition to the electronic copy of this letter, a hard copy has been mailed to your office.


    Richard V. Hurley
    President, University of Mary Washington

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  • Apple’s health app will track severity of menstruation cycle

    Healthkit platform enables tracking of menstruation cycle.

    The post Apple’s health app will track severity of menstruation cycle appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Please Don't Applaud Apple For Putting Women Onstage, Acknowledging Menstruation
    Apple is getting huge props for a “big” move it made on diversity on Monday.

    What happened? Two female executives spoke at its developer conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Jennifer Bailey, a vice president at Apple, talked about new features in Apple Pay; another vice president, Susan Prescott, talked about a new app.

    This marked the first time since at least 2007 that women employees of the company have been seen onstage at the event, according to USA Today. Three other women spoke at the annual conference during those years: Two were developers from other companies; one was supermodel Christy Turlington.

    That’s it, folks.

    In 2015, people are celebrating a multibillion-dollar public company for deigning to put a couple of ladies onstage at a press event. That sad fact reveals just how far away the tech industry is from actual, real diversity. USA Today said Apple’s inclusion of the two women was a “surprising move on diversity.” On Twitter and elsewhere, observers celebrated finally seeing women representing Apple. “They’re trying to do the right thing,” Jonathan Sposato, an investor and entrepreneur, told the L.A. Times.

    Let’s get this out of the way. The WWDC, as the conference is officially named, isn’t a charity event where the company must “do the right thing” for a good cause. The women who spoke onstage are vice presidents at a company approaching trillion-dollar status. To talk about their presence, as though they were only put there to make a point about diversity, does them a disservice.

    Apple, the biggest and most profitable tech firm on earth, needs more women — not just because it looks terrible for the company on the diversity front, but because it needs to consider all the people who buy its products.

    For the past year, the company has been criticized for not including a menstruation tracker in its HealthKit app. It included tracking for just about everything else you could think of — weight, blood glucose, blood alcohol, the number of steps you take in a day. That’s the kind of oversight you make when 80 percent of your tech workers and 72 percent your leadership is male. It finally unveiled a period tracker on Monday.

    HealthKit period tracker – it’s almost as if Apple just realized that women exist. #WWDC15 pic.twitter.com/NuJGy7cGJW

    — Tony Webster (@webster) June 8, 2015

    The company’s numbers on gender and diversity are terrible — and, sadly, right in line with the rest of the industry.

    To his credit, chief executive Tim Cook — a clear leader on gay rights — has been talking about the problem. In an interview before WWDC, he told a reporter at Mashable that he agreed that the lack of women at the event was an issue.

    By the way, no people of color appeared onstage — with the exception of performer Drake — at Monday’s event, a major venue for the iPhone maker to unveil new products.

    “I think it’s our fault — ‘our’ meaning the whole tech community,” he told Mashable, regarding the dearth of women. “I think in general we haven’t done enough to reach out and show young women that it’s cool to do it and how much fun it can be.”

    Cook mentioned that the company would be doing more outreach at the high school and college level.

    To beef up the number of women employees in tech, companies are doing a lot more than reaching out to school kids. Some are changing the way they recruit, interview and think about the way they hire talent: for example, by considering whether they’re always looking for people that are just like them. At a company like Apple where a majority of the employees are men, you’re not going to change much using that old strategy.

    Cook and Apple haven’t said much about internal hiring and retention practices.

    Intel ties diversity hiring targets to employee pay. Other companies are using software to examine recruiting materials for unconscious biases that may repel women and minorities. Google and Microsoft are doing training around bias. Salesforce and Microsoft are looking at their pay practices to check for inequalities there.

    Even when you start hiring and promoting more women, you run into problems. Women leave the tech industry at twice the rate of men, according to the nonprofit Anita Borg Institute.

    People need to chill about Apple’s big move. While it’s good news that the company finally broke its white male streak, this is just a beginning.

    — 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.

  • Three sets out plan to cover 98% of Wales with 4G
    Mobile network operator Three rolls out low frequency 800Mhz spectrum to boost 4G coverage in Wales
  • Space Age Has Finally Arrived

    The Space Age has finally come and it promises savings for American taxpayers, new high-quality jobs and economic opportunities we can’t predict yet. A sustainable, market driven economy is emerging from the stagnant cocoon of traditional governmental contracting. California-based SpaceX has been granted certification by the U.S. Air Force for launching military payloads, which will bolster the Hawthorne firm’s already robust manifest of commercial and NASA launch contracts. This certification breaks a long-standing monopoly held by Boeing and Lockheed’s rocket company conglomerate United Launch Alliance (ULA).

    The loss of this military monopoly combined with pressure from SpaceX’s efficient manufacturing processes and innovative work on rocket reusability has pressured the formerly moribund incumbent to rapidly adapt to the new competitive landscape.

    After years of dismissing reusability as a pipe dream, ULA has announced they will design their new Vulcan rocket with recoverable engines. It is hard to overestimate the significance of this move from expensive government specified systems to modern, reusable rockets designed by commercial firms jockeying for competitive advantage. We are witnessing a shift in the economics of spaceflight that parallels the personal computer revolution. The unexpected “killer apps” that emerge from inexpensive and routine access to the final frontier may well drive another Silicon Valley-esque dot com boom.

    Insiders refer to the commercial spaceflight business as New Space and the Golden State leads the world in creation of New Space firms. San Francisco based Planet Labs has raised investments of more than $160 million to launch a massive constellation of inexpensive satellites that can image the entire Earth on the daily. Sir Richard Branson’s Mojave based Virgin Galactic has opened a new facility in Long Beach and is recruiting 100 additional employees, after bouncing back from a tragic flight test accident last fall. A number of entrepreneurs, including Musk and Branson are promising space based Internet networks that promise to connect everyone on Earth regardless of geographic or censorship.

    Most importantly, unlike their Internet peers, New Space companies are generating thousands of high-paying jobs in California. National security regulations prevent these systems from being offshored and even China Aerospace and Space Technology Corporation has complained that they can’t compete with SpaceX pricing. I must admit it’s gratifying to see a Chinese product unable to compete with a Californian one on price! Musk’s Hawthorne facility is packed with more than 3,500 employees building rockets literally day and night. These industrious Californians have cut the price of space launches by 2/3rds and reusability now promises a potential order of magnitude further reduction.

    It is important to note that intelligent government policy choices did play an appropriate role here. SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and its Dragon capsule were developed with backing from NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, an initiative established to secure a domestic system capable of resupplying the International Space Station after the retirement of the space shuttle. This relatively minor investment has paid off in spades. Dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship have returned to the skies after decades of stagnation under the dominance of a torpid military-industrial-complex.

    For years, ULA could simply profits from the legacy Delta and Atlas rockets they had inherited from Boeing and Lockheed. Under this monopoly, military launch prices rose to an astounding $400 million per mission. The new market reality created by SpaceX has put an end to this space launch inflationary spiral. At a recent Stanford talk ULA’s new CEO, Tory Bruno, promised to lower prices and in congressional testimony he labeled the new competitive reality “a wise and a healthy change in the policy.” Bruno’s vision includes replacing their Russian engines with a radical new domestic design from New Space firm, Blue Origin as well as a promise to “to literally transform” ULA from a slow moving bureaucracy into a hypercompetitive technology company. He’s already cutting fat at the top, an essential first move in the difficult cultural change that will be required to compete with SpaceX in a real market.

    Meanwhile, the critics of New Space are looking painfully hypocritical. Alabama Congressman, Mike Rogers’s recently said that while “he loves billionaires wanting to join the launch business,” he worries that SpaceX might fail and therefore America should stick with our big budget federal rocket plans (and btw, the Russian engines they use). While a Republican advocating a governmental monopoly as the best way to insure success sounds peculiar, one need only understand that the New Space revolution threatens the construction of an unnecessary and overpriced new NASA rocket in his home state. Roger’s pork barrel politics are all the more laughable in light of the recent billion dollar investment in SpaceX from Google and Fidelity Investments. Unless he thinks he’s smarter than those guys.

    The immediate benefactor of all this change is the American taxpayer who will finally get competitive pricing on launches of civilian and military space payloads that our citizens and soldiers depend on every day. Many new commercial startups will emerge to take advantage of the extra capacity and reduced pricing. NASA administrator Charlie Bolden, the White House, the DOD and New Space advocates in Congress, including California’s Dana Rohrabacher are to be commended for supporting this bold plan to rebuild our nation’s space dreams by unleashing market forces.

    Greg Autry teaches technology entrepreneurship at The Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies in the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. He recently co-authored a report for the FAA Offices of Commercial Space Transportation entitled An Analysis of the Competitive Advantage of the United States of America in Commercial Human Orbital Spaceflight Markets. You can find him on Facebook.

    Kevin Cheberenchick is aerospace engineering student at USC and has worked in New Space.

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

  • What Hath Windows 10 Wrought
    Microsoft has been extremely active the last few weeks, holding several conferences — its Build gathering in San Francisco about technology development, and an Ignite event in Chicago last week for business users. In large part, I assume, that’s because the release of Windows 10 is coming very soon. The latest rumors are that it will may be released as early as in July.

    Everything I’ve been reading from reporters who’ve had hands-on experience — and from watching online streaming of the conferences — is confirming what I’ve been writing about Windows 10. It appears to be not only leaps better than Windows 8.1 (which I quite like), but light-years ahead of Windows 8, that worked okay at best but was problematic and got decidedly mediocre press. But Windows 10 appears to be wildly innovative. And is getting very positive advance word.

    I’m going to do my best not to be all techie here, but instead just describe what all of this means for users in human terms, rather than write about specs. And rather than go into voluminous features, I’ll just focus on a couple of things that are most noteworthy about what Windows 10 means, both for users and the computer world.

    First, the biggest complaint about Windows 8 (and to a lesser-degree, 8.1) is that the Start button disappeared from the Desktop. Instead there were two interfaces that confused a lot of people — one interface was the familiar Desktop (except that it had no Start button, so it wasn’t familiar enough) and the other was the “Metro” view for tablets, which had Metro-style apps It really wasn’t all that challenging once you realized what was going on, but it wasn’t intuitive and was far from ideal.

    That’s all gone. Now, the Start button is not only comfortably back on the Desktop, but it’s blended with Metro view, making Windows 10 now a seamless experience. The Metro interface still is there, if you’re working on a tablet, but Windows 10 now recognizes what device you’re using and automatically adjusts itself to the proper interface. Moreover, the Start button not only provides all the Desktop links like you’re used to in a list– but links to Metro app tiles, as well. And you can pin Metro apps to the Desktop’s Taskbar. What this means is that you no longer have to switch back and forth between the desktop view and Metro view. It’s all the same, all blended together. You can just stay on the Desktop, if that’s your preference, and get the best of both worlds.


    That brings up the issue of Metro apps, which I’ve been mentioning. And this might not only be the biggest change with Windows 10, but — if it works (and right now, there’s no indication yet that it won’t), it may change the landscape of computing.

    Yes, I know that’s a big statement, but let me explain.

    Right now, Windows tablets and the Windows Phone are a distant third to Apple’s iOS and the Android operating system. A significant reason is the widespread availability of high-quality apps. (In part, this is just perception, since there are 500,000 Windows apps. However, the quality isn’t always the same as with other platforms, and some important apps don’t exist for Windows.)

    This will change because Metro apps have changed, hugely. Their name has changed, too — first to Universal apps, and now they’re called simply Windows apps.

    Names aside, here’s the point and big deal about the new, much-improved Windows apps Any app written specifically for a Windows tablet will now work on..,everything. It will run on a desktop or laptop computer, as well as on a Windows Phone, and on an Xbox. And on a Smart TV. The code won’t have to be re-written for every device, as is the case with apps for other operating systems. Now, when a developer writes the code now for a Windows app…it will work on every Windows device, readjusting itself automatically to the format. This is significant.

    (Quick note. There’s another advantage to using Windows — or Universal — apps. The way their code is written, the apps reside in a “sandbox” environment within Windows 10, making them protected against virus attacks. Only apps that are in this safe sandbox are able to run on Windows 10.)

    So, why might all this change the computing landscape?

    The main reason that previous apps for Windows have lagged behind their competitors is because the sale of Windows tablets and Phones have lagged far behind Apple and Android devices, and it therefore hasn’t been worth the while for developers to write apps for them. (That’s made this a sort of self-perpetuating, vicious cycle. ) But — if an app written for Windows on desktop computers, with their massive user base, will also work on a Windows tablet and Windows Phone and Xbox, then suddenly there is every reason to write apps for the platform. And since Microsoft is making the upgrade to Windows 10 free, this Windows user base should increase exponentially. In fact, the company says that within just 2-3 years, they expect there to be one billion computers running Windows. That, folks, is a huge user base to write apps for. And those apps, as I said, will also work on any Windows device. So, now, that previous reason people used for not getting a Windows portable device, the lack of quality apps across the board, disappears. Moreover, now it will be seamless to work on all your devices, which will be using the exact same apps, not “similar” versions.

    But it goes deeper than that, and it leads to a related leap forward. At the Microsoft Build conference two weeks ago, the company announced plans that would allow an easy way for developers to bring iOS and Android apps into becoming Windows apps for Windows 10. In other words, any existing app for iOS and Android will be able to be easily converted into a Windows app. So, that divide may be bridged even further. (The developer still has choose to convert it, of course)

    Similarly, Microsoft is developing code that will be able to take legacy pre-Windows 10 standard programs (like your Quicken, or Photoshop) and convert them into Windows apps — which will then run on all Windows devices.

    Now, mind you, there is a big caveat with all this. And that’s the jackpot question of whether Windows apps will work universally as planned. And that caveat is — this is major undertaking. It could crash and burn. There’s no absolute certainty that it will work.

    However, assuming that all this does work – and in all my reading I haven’t yet seen that Windows apps aren’t working – and assuming that the other features I’ve seen for porting other apps into being Windows apps also works, then those are massive, game-changing, quantum jumps forward.

    Now, to be clear, that’s a lot of “assumings”. It might not work, or work as easily as hoped. But with the release of Windows 10 so near, it’s not like we’re talking about some distant theory cooked up in a lab on a hope and a prayer. This has been under a microscope and been beta-tested for a long while. And it’s expected to be sent into the world in maybe less than three months. Indeed, at this late date, the biggest question mark I’ve read is not so much if the conversion technology works, but if it will work easily enough for developers to create universal Windows apps.

    But again, as I said, given that this is what has been developed, and the release is near, if all this does indeed work as built, then with the massive user base of Windows desktop computers worldwide that could change the landscape for apps on Windows tablets and Phones.

    There’s more to Windows 10, of course, but then we start getting techie and overladen with the minutiae of features. Some of these seem seriously impressive, but it’s far too extensive to get into for our purposes here. This is just meant as an overview of what Windows 10 means for users and developers, and why it appears to be a fascinating leap in the world of computing. Suffice it to say that the core of Windows 10 has been tested extensively and very publicly, and the word is very positive, including from journalists who were harsh on Windows 8.

    (There’s one other development, though, that I will mention. For the time being, I don’t care all that much about the highly-touted HoloLens, which is a hologram device Microsoft has developed to work with Windows 10. However, I saw a demo from the Build conference where they created a holographic “entertainment window” that was playing a movie and games, and then “attached” this window to a wall — and then gave it a “follow me” command, and wherever the person walked in his house, this hologram window followed along on every wall. Whether or not that’s practical now, it’s nonetheless awfully impressive technology for the future.)

    The bottom line here is that, at the very least, this should put to rest (not that it will, since “Microsoft hater” is an almost-trademarked term in the Apple World ) any question about how innovative Microsoft is. Because by any reasonable and fair standard, this is all incredibly innovative. The critical question of how it works, that remains to be seen. But it will be seen very soon.

    For those more interested in a more techie perspective, this is a nine-minute edited down version of the three-hour keynote address at the Build conference in San Francisco. The video is very well-done, put together by The Verge website. A lot is techie mumbo-jumbo beyond the understanding of most mortals — but plenty of it is very clear, and there are a lot of visual demonstrations that are easy and fun to watch, including a great look at HoloLens.


    To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.

    — 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.

  • Addison Lee supports business demands with MuleSoft API management
    Technology has always been a differentiator for Addison Lee and API management is the next stage in its roadmap
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    The Competition and Markets Authority is to fast-track an in-depth investigation of BT’s acquisition of EE, citing real concerns over competition
  • 6 Reads To Keep You Geeking Out All Summer Long
    geek books

    When I was a teen, I dreamed of becoming a scientist, like the whip-smart heroine in my young adult thriller, Nearly Found. Similar to my character, Nearly, I hit my schoolbooks hard all year, and during the summer, there was nothing I loved more than ditching my textbooks and hitting the beach with an engaging “smart” read. I’m talking about gripping, tightly-plotted stories with brainy heroes and heroines. I’m talking about books that whisked me out of the classroom and took the science (and my imagination) on heart-stopping adventures to different worlds. Back then, my choices were limited, mostly to adult crime thrillers, dense sci-fi tomes, and over-my-head medical dramas.

    But today, STEM-rich books for young adults are hotter and more action-packed than ever.

    Wait! You mean STEM doesn’t stand for “Suspense, Thrills, Excitement, and Mystery”? You’d never know, judging by some of these recent young adult books. Here are a few STEM-strong titles perfect for math geeks and science-enthusiasts looking to add a little fiction to their summer reading list.

    Control by Lydia Kang
    Lydia Kang, an ER physician who blogs medical advice for authors, offers up a unique teen cast of human genetic “mistakes”, outcast and hidden from society for their peculiar abilities. Someone has big plans for these gifted kids, and it’s up to Zel, the daughter of a famed geneticist, and Cy, a captivating mutant with a knack for medicine, to uncover the secrets behind the science in time to save them all.

    Soulprint by Megan Miranda
    With a degree in Biology from MIT, Megan Miranda writes acclaimed YA thrillers that explore the intersection of morality, humanity, and scientific breakthrough. Her latest novel, Soulprint, takes place in a future where reincarnation can be scientifically tracked, leaving 17-year-old Alina Chase imprisoned for a crime she committed in a past life. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, a brilliant and calculating heroine retraces the steps of her last life using clues left behind by her former self, while picking up a steamy romance with an intelligent and daring boy with his own criminal past along the way.

    Find Me by Romily Bernard
    Often described as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for teens, the story of tough teen hacker Wick Tate is a pacey suspenseful crime thriller, with plenty of twists and turns… not to mention an irresistible bad-boy love-interest. Clues and reveals are well-timed to allow the reader to solve the mystery along with Wick as she uses her tech savvy to investigate the suspicious death of a friend. (A good fit for fans of Don’t Turn Around by Michelle Gagnon.)

    A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan
    Perfect for fans of cryptography, FBI procedurals, and conspiracy thrillers, the story of “Digit” Higgins’s race to outwit a terrorist organization will captivate even the most reluctant STEM readers. A fun, fast read for those who prefer to take their math with a heavy dose of action and a pinch of sweet romance.

    Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris
    For those who like a little humor with their STEM, super-smart heroine Kate Grable has uncovered a dangerous secret while working as a student trainer in her high school gym – the coach has been dosing his football players with steroids, resulting in an unusual side-effect… they’re all becoming zombies. And it’s up to Kate to find a cure. At times campy and always fun, this perfect-for-summer read offers readers a nerdy heroine to cheer for.

    Relativity by Cristin Bishara
    Physics geek Ruby Wright wishes her life had taken some different turns, but when she discovers a wormhole in an Ohio cornfield, opening a gateway to nine parallel universes, she gets a chance to explore the alternative paths her life could have taken had events in her life happened differently. Complete with references to string theory, narrated by a science-minded teen voice, this compelling story explores the laws of space and time and the nature of relationships, raising questions about the possibility of a truly perfect world. (Note: If you like a little more terror in your black-hole parallel universes, Gretchen McNeil’s 3:59 offers an eerie sci-fi/horror blend with similar themes.)

    — 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.

  • We Go With Wigo
    Wigo CEO Ben Kaplan (right) with CTO Guilano Giacaglia (left).

    When I was in college during the 1970s, our methods of communicating were pay phones (for calling home collect) and Centrex, a free inter-campus phone system located in the hallways of dormitories and public buildings. Making plans with others was a laborious task, which may perhaps explain why my friends and I so often stayed in the dorms and drank beer. It certainly wasn’t easy to organize group expeditions or expand one’s social network.

    Today, we not only have cellphones and email, but apps to help us organize where to go and what to do. “Most people are social by nature,” said Ben Kaplan. “We enjoy interacting with others.” Based on this simple philosophy, Kaplan created Wigo (pronounced Weego), “a social app that functions as a simple platform for young people to make imminent social plans.” Or as we eventually established, a passive guide that helps you decide what you’re doing tonight, rather than two weeks from now.

    As Kaplan — who is based in Boston — explained: “Let’s say I decide I’m going to Faneuil Hall tonight. I can use Wigo to create an event called “I’m going to Faneuil Hall tonight.” Then throughout the day, other people can join that event and through the app we can discuss what time to meet, who else is coming — that kind of thing.” Wigo can also suggest other fun places to go so all the pressure isn’t on the user. The app employs teams of young socially connected people to help users find new, hip places, or as clarified by Kaplan, “the hottest spots in the city.”

    “Wigo is not exclusive to partying,” said Kaplan. “If someone wants to create “Walking my dog in the park in the morning” they can do that too. It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people. I’ve seen users plan trips to the gym or a yoga class,” he added. “It’s a great tool to help with social planning.” Although Wigo is a collaborative social network, events can be public or private and someone has to be your “friend” in order to participate with you in an event.

    Wigo has taken a grassroots approach to marketing, using word of mouth and campus ambassadors to promote the app and they are slowly making the move from college campuses to cities. Kaplan sees the app as ageless, so eventually middle-aged people like myself may use it as well. I was the host of Tech Hub, a WOR radio program that profiled technology startups, so I’ve interviewed hundreds of young entrepreneurs. Wigo, like any other app needs users to provide value and while they don’t specify numbers, their ranks seem to be growing.

    “Most people use inefficient platforms like email chains to make social plans,” said Kaplan. We enjoy interaction with other humans and with all the technology that exists today there isn’t something that is purely focused on getting friends together so that’s what we’re striving to do with Wigo”

    — 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.

  • Cynthia Breazeal: Will Robots Like Jibo Take Your Job?
    By Alison van Diggelen, host of Fresh Dialogues

    Many people worry about the consequences of tech innovation, in particular: will automation and robots take our jobs? I sat down to explore the impact of robots and the chance of “robo-apocalypse” with social robot pioneer Cynthia Breazeal, founder of the Jibo Robot and professor at MIT.

    Jibo is a desktop robot that is like a personal assistant for the family. It can see, hear, speak, dance, and according to its makers, it can even “relate to people.” Imagine a cross between R2D2, an iPad and the Pixar lamp. Breazeal explains how she sees the big “value add” of social robots and why she thinks the potential unintended consequences of robots demands a thoughtful dialogue between robot experts.

    Excerpts of this interview were featured on my BBC World Service Report: “Elon Musk, Cynthia Breazeal Explain Why Robots Are Coming To Your Home”.

    Here are highlights of our discussion (comments shortened for length, clarity):

    van Diggelen: Will robots take our jobs, and why are we obsessed by that?

    Breazeal: When robotics first came onto the market, it was about replacing human labor, so that’s been the assumption: When any robot is introduced, “it’s about replacing people.”

    Social robotics as a whole research discipline has been about a very different paradigm, which is about partnership. It’s about robots that can support and collaborate with people. Jibo is not being designed to replace anyone or anything. Sometimes people talk about it’s going to replace their dog… it’s not about that. Jibo creates a different kind of relationship.

    van Diggelen: What is Jibo?

    Breazeal: Jibo breaks down barriers (for people uncomfortable with tech gadgets) by feeling much more like a someone than a something. In my research at MIT, we’ve put very sophisticated humanoid robots, you name it, but when you create that experience for people, that familiar, warm experience, people respond to it. I think Jibo has an appeal across a much broader demographic.

    Jibo is about supporting the family, supporting those who help care for the family, doctors and nurses… it helps make the whole human and technological network stronger and better able to serve human values. That’s the big “value add” of this kind of technology and that’s certainly where my heart is because certainly as a mom, I completely understand the value and importance of the human connection and human relationships. And we have human responsibilities to each other. Technology should not be mitigating that or interfering with that. We want technology to really support that.

    van Diggelen: We’ve had warnings from Elon Musk, from Stephen Hawking saying artificial intelligence needs some regulation… they’re concerned about this “robo-apocalypse” happening, so talk to that.

    Breazeal: I think in terms of the “robo-apocalypse”… we love that theme (laughter). Throughout our stories, our legends.

    van Diggelen: Movies…

    Breazeal: In many ways, it’s a tool that we use as a culture to ask the question: What does it mean to be human? I really think it stems from that. So whether it’s aliens or killer viruses or robots, it is that “otherness” that pushes up against our humanity; that causes us to reflect upon the human condition. For robots, because they have existed in our science fiction long before we could actually build them, this is our cultural undercurrent people can’t help but go there no matter what.

    van Diggelen: But the difference is, it’s not some luddites who’re saying this: it’s people like Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk and Bill Gates, warning people about the dangers of artificial intelligence.

    Breazeal: Right, so… there’s a difference between the apocalypse versus there could be unintended consequences that we need to be mindful of. So I’m agreeing that with any technology capable of tremendous impact on how we live our lives, there’s always those two sectors. Certainly with robotics, I certainly believe that it’s going to become a pervasive technology in our lives, so it is worth considering, how do we go for the good and avoid the bad?

    van Diggelen: But how do you do that? From where you’re sitting, does it need government regulation or standards? What’s the best way to proceed?

    Breazeal: I’m not sure we honestly know… the bottom line is: it starts with us and having thoughtful dialogue and discussion to try to really understand what the opportunities and the unintended consequences really could be before we start jumping to conclusions. I think the most important thing we can do right now is to have this thoughtful dialogue. Even things we started off with, like peoples’ assumptions (that) all robots are about replacing people versus this other side: robots are about supporting people.

    Find out more about Fresh Dialogues Inspiring Women Series and our BBC World Service Reports.

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  • Baidu to launch self-drive car
    Chinese web giant Baidu will launch its own self-driving car in the second half of this year, it has confirmed.
  • How physicians can use Apple’s new health app metrics with patients

    New health metrics can be used in clinic settings for various pathologies.

    The post How physicians can use Apple’s new health app metrics with patients appeared first on iMedicalApps.

Mobile Technology News, June 9, 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.

  • Google Would Never Hire a Person Like Me
    “Google would never hire a person like me.”

    That’s what I told myself as I walked away from the college campus recruitment booth in 2005. I was a huge fan of Google products like Search and Gmail, so the idea of graduating and getting a job there was a dream — a fantasy akin to making it big in Hollywood or on Broadway. But getting hired is much like dating, and I didn’t see myself as Google’s type. I thought that the kind of software engineers that made it into Silicon Valley tech companies were all the same — a bunch of brilliant White and Asian guys with Ivy League degrees. I figured they came from good homes with well-to-do parents, affluent enough to afford the luxury of tinkering with expensive gadgets in their parents garages.

    That was not my story. I grew up a foster kid living in Compton, California. In 1988, the infamous gangsta rap album “Straight Outta Compton” was released and the city became notoriously known as the murder capital of the United States with nearly one murder for every 1,000 residents. That was also the year that my two brothers and I were abandoned as toddlers to child protective services by my mom and abusive step-dad. We bounced from home to home until we landed at the Crooms’ doorstep, the family that would change our lives for the better.

    My foster parents didn’t have much, but what they lacked in resources they made up for with love and encouragement. The pushed us to do our best in school and to strive to go to college. Despite school bullying and the constant threat of gang violence which had claimed the life of two other youth within a block of my house, I managed to stay at the top of my class.

    Perhaps my parents’ greatest gift to me was a toy I received when I was eight years old — the PreComputer 1000. At first, I didn’t know what to do with the clunky and strange device. I eventually taught myself how to build programs with it, taking my imagination to new heights. I built my own Batcomputer simulation like the one in the Batman films so I could be like the hero I admired. It was an intimately personal tool, useful for drawing my mind away from my marred childhood and difficult reality. It would eventually become my ticket out of the hood.

    Initially when I was recruited by Google in 2011 and failed my interviews, I thought I had finally proven that my dream would only ever be a dream. Google reached out to me again the following year, but I didn’t pick up because I didn’t have the heart to open up my still fresh wound. Being self-conscious about being a Black software engineer, I knew there was no need for a second disappointment.

    To my astonishment, I was contacted yet again in 2013. I knew that if Google, a company that receives tons of applications each day, was willing to call me three times in three years, I had to respond. My recruiter encouraged me throughout the process. She provided links to study resources and even shared an article about an engineer that overcame the odds to get a job at Google without a college degree. It was mind-blowing to think that Google was actually rooting for me to win. The recruiter set up a conversation with a Black female engineer at the company to help provide a little mentorship. That conversation shattered every stereotype I held about top software engineers. When she told me I was ready, I could believe it for the first time.

    Over the next month, I spent every day practicing coding problems. Whether taking the bus to work or at home in the middle of the night, I dedicated myself to solving questions. As I moved from the phone screen to five grueling in-person interviews, I waged a fierce battle against my own fears and inhibitions. I waited two agonizing weeks before hearing the final verdict. My heart was beating out of my chest when I answered the phone, and it almost stopped when Laszlo Bock himself, the head of HR at Google, gave me his personal congratulations on receiving a job offer.

    I am super proud to be a Googler. My background isn’t normal compared to the rest of my colleagues-not by a long shot. But I am convinced that Google wants to give everyone a fair shot, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. I know firsthand how Google is passionately working to overcome the challenge of making a more diverse Silicon Valley with the same enthusiasm that it uses to approach every problem. And given their track record, I think the future looks promising.

    — 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.

  • Will Apple Change the Music Market (Again)?

    Today Apple will unveil its new streaming music service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Most people expect Apple Music to be an Apple-branded continuation of Beats Music, which Apple acquired for $3 billion last year alongside the Beats Electronics headphones and speakers division. With only 300,000 subscribers, Beats Music is small in comparison to Spotify’s 4.7 million U.S subscribers. However, Apple will offer its new streaming service to over 800 million iTunes account holders.

    Will Apple change the music industry again?

    Before I offer my prediction, let’s pause for a moment to ask the bigger marketing question: how do markets change anyways? The answer to this question has surprisingly little to do with textbook economics and much more with the world of storytelling.

    You may have seen that Apple has created banners that tout this year’s WWDC as the “epicenter of change.” Everything we see and hear leading up to today’s announcement is just so dramatic. That’s because Apple knows that markets move through phases of perpetual structural instability, so-called marketplace dramas. These are the moments in a market’s history when established structures run into contradictions and new price-value relationships emerge.

    Like all good stories, marketplace dramas are not entirely random; they have a structure. They have clear beginnings, middles, and ends — a dramaturgy, and there are heroes, villains, and fools on the market stage wrestling over existential conflicts. And there are spectators such as consumers and media journalists looking to take sides. As such, marketplace dramas are reasonably predictable – the kind of predictability that allows us to sort of know what will happen in Westside Story or Titanic in the end because, at one point in our lives, we’ve read or seen Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    So what are the hero’s two most important traits: good timing and a powerful cause.

    Consider, in this context, another music marketplace drama: the war on music downloading. Act 1: Northeastern University dropout Shawn Fanning introduces Napster, the world’s first peer-to-peer platform. Act 2: Napster is shut down by court order but the breach caused by Fanning escalates to a crisis and millions of consumers go rogue on the industry establishment, excessively downloading through next-gen platforms like Kazaa, Limewire, eDonkey, and Gnutella. Act 3: For a while it seems like the genie is out of the bottle. But then things turn sour. The Recording Industry Association of America is beginning to send out cease and desist letters to downloading teenagers across North America.

    And in this moment of downloader identity crisis, Apple enters the stage to offer an irresistible dramatic compromise: return to the realm of legality but without mothballing your rebellious music pirate cloaks. Here is a TV commercial from 2004 set to Greenday version of “I Fought the Law.” Or in the words of Steve Jobs: “We believe that 80 percent of the people stealing stuff don’t want to be, there’s just no legal alternative… So we said, ‘Let’s create a legal alternative to this.’ Everybody wins. Music companies win. The artists win. Apple wins. And the user wins, because he gets a better service and doesn’t have to be a thief.”

    So that’s how Apple succeed by offering its own take on “freemium” multi-stakeholder win-win circa 2004.

    But that was then, this is now. Back to the original question: will Apple change the music market again? Only if they present a better definition of “freemium” as per Steve Job’s above quote but what are the chances of that?

    Over the years, Apple has built considerable audience credibility, not least owing to Job’s deep appreciation for music. In today’s drama, however, the hero role is currently played by Spotify and perhaps Pandora. More recently, when considering iTunes Radio, the free U2 album disaster, or Apple’s attempts to stop Spotify from streaming free music, Apple has been looking more like a fool. Many of Spotify’s 4.7 million U.S subscribers are children of the downloading generation, consumers who have lost the emotional connection with the iTunes universe. That idea of “free” is still very much at this generation’s core but Apple has long become a dominant industry player.

    Those rebel days are over.

    — 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.

  • WWDC Bathroom Lines Summarizes Tech's Gender Problem
    If you need a visual to help explain the tech industry’s gender problem, look no further than the bathroom line at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

    The annual WWDC introduces Apple’s newest products and teaches programmers how to develop applications for them, but the event’s absurdly long men’s bathroom line and nearly non-existent women’s queue caught some attendees’ attention as a perfect demonstration of how men take up so much space in the industry.

    Tech gender diversity visualized in the que for the restroom at WWDC. pic.twitter.com/zfEgtXY5Zw

    — Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 8, 2015

    At #WWDC, it’s apparent the quest to get women interested in software engineering still has a ways to go. pic.twitter.com/iepwRa0rFO

    — Jonathan Bloom (@BloomTV) June 8, 2015

    Update: There is now a line for the Women’s room at #WWDC15. Progress! pic.twitter.com/e6ybWi8VKW

    — Ina Fried (@inafried) June 8, 2015

    Unfortunately, attendees observed the same line disparities at WWDC both last year and the year before.

    Apple and Google’s global workforces are still 70 percent male, and fewer than 10 percent of all computer programmers are female.

    The cliched defense for the industry holds that women aren’t interested in or qualified for tech positions. But a look back on some of tech’s most misogynistic moments makes it clear that businesses have done a good job of telling women they aren’t welcome.

    There’s Hot Tech Today, a website that combines tech news with photos of naked women; the “Hackers and Hookers” party hosted by a tech incubator; and Titstare, a joke app “where you take photos of yourself staring at tits” presented on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2013. The list goes on and on.

    Another bathroom line offers a glimmer of hope. Last month, women attendees at Google’s I/O conference tweeted that they were ecstatic to actually be waiting for the bathroom for the first time.

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

  • Apple reveals its Spotify rival
    Apple reveals a new music streaming service and reveals that its Apple Pay digital wallet system will launch in the UK in July.
  • Mother Of 'Bubbles,' Little Girl Killed By Texting School Bus Driver, Says She Can Forgive, But Not Forget
    A Tennessee bus driver tasked with safely transporting children on their way home from school pulled out his phone and began to text. Soon after, the yellow school bus slammed into another, killing two children and a teacher’s aide.

    Sharon Glasper, the mother of 7-year-old Knoxville girl Seraya, who died in the accident, says she has forgiven driver James Davenport, 44, but will never forget the unimaginable hurt his actions caused last December.

    Seraya Glasper, affectionately known as “Bubbles” to her family

    “I don’t have hatred in my heart,” Glasper told The Huffington Post on Monday. “Hatred is something I don’t believe in. I forgive, but I can’t forget that day.”

    Davenport was found dead in his home last Monday. The Knoxville Police Department has released little information on his death.

    Days after his body was found, the police department concluded their investigation into what caused the fatal crash near Sunnyview Primary School six months prior: Davenport had been sending and receiving text messages when he swerved his school bus into another lane, crashing into another bus and sending it toppling over.

    “My heart also goes out to [Davenport’s] family,” Glasper said. “It was terribly tragic to his family, and to mine also.”

    Along with little Seraya, 6-year-old Zykia Burn and a teacher’s aide, 46-year-old Kim Riddle, also died. The families of the victims have filed a wrongful death suit.

    Students at Sunnyview Primary School are ushered away from the site of a Dec. 2, 2014, bus crash that left three dead, including two young students. Investigators determined the cause of the crash was a driver distracted by his cell phone.

    The Isaacs Law Firm said in a statement obtained by HuffPost that a meeting with the families last week was “very emotional,” and that the firm’s investigation revealed “some alarming issues regarding the lack of oversight and supervision of the private school bus contractors … transporting students on a daily basis.”

    While the issue of drinking and driving is a well talked about subject in American schools, Kathryn Henry of the Department of Transportation told HuffPost the agency is trying to do more to educate citizens on the dangers of texting and driving.

    “Anything that takes your eyes off the road is not good,” Henry said. “We’ve really amped up our public awareness in the past couple of years. We’re doing our best.”

    In 2013, more than 3,000 lives were lost to distracted drivers. While that number shows an almost 7 percent decrease from 2012, the number of injuries rose from 421,000 to 424,000 in 2013.

    Director of Knox County Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre expressed outrage last Friday after learning the cause of the crash.

    “I can assure you there will be hell to pay,” for any driver caught texting and driving, McIntyre told WATE. In a statement given to HuffPost, McIntyre said the victims “deserved better” than to lose their lives in an avoidable crash.

    Davenport was found dead in his home last Monday. Police say he was texting before crashing a school bus and killing three.

    “I will seek to honor their lives and their memory by doing everything in my power to ensure that something like this never happens again,” McIntyre said.

    Seraya, who her family affectionately referred to as “Bubbles,” was the light of her mother’s life.

    “She was called Bubbles because she always made you smile,” Glasper said. “She wanted to make sure you were happy, and having a good day. Bubbles was beyond her years at 7. She knew a lot, she understood a lot. She was a very smart and intelligent girl.”

    Those who knew the teacher’s aide, Riddle, said she played a strong role in her community and church. Riddle had been with Sunnyview Primary School since August. She often led children’s services at Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

    “It was her dream,” Pastor Leroy Franklin told Local 8 Now. “She always wanted to work for Knox County children.”

    Glasper said she still feels numb six months later.

    “It’s a lot to take in,” she said. “But I’m holding up the best way Seraya would like me to hold up: She’d want me to be happy and smiling.”

    Glasper’s continued pain comes with an important message: “Don’t text and drive. You may not get caught when doing it, accidents may not happen right then, but just remember Dec. 2 of 2014. The lives that were taken on that day due to texting and driving can never be brought back.”


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  • VIDEO: Helium balloon launched to test landings
    Nasa has launched a helium balloon to test possible landing systems for future flights to Mars.
  • Apple Watch Apps Are About To Get Way Better
    The Apple Watch is the latest playground for app developers.

    Just six weeks after the smartwatch came out, Apple said Monday that apps created by non-Apple developers can be designed and downloaded without running through the iPhone.

    Until now, most aspects of the Watch operating system were closed off to developers. Apps on the device functioned as extensions of iPhone apps, causing them to be rather sluggish. With the latest version of the Watch software, Watch OS 2, apps can be developed specifically for the wearable, meaning they should run faster and more smoothly.

    “We believe that by opening up the platform you will create new and powerful uses that today we can only begin to imagine,” CEO Tim Cook said at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

    The announcement followed a rousing video tribute to the community of developers who create apps sold on the App Store. The company boasted that more than 100 billion apps have been downloaded.

    For more from our WWDC 2015 coverage, take a look at our posts on Apple’s new streaming music service and iOS 9.

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  • Apple Music, New Streaming Service, Announced At WWDC 2015
    Apple on Monday officially announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference a new streaming music service called Apple Music. It’s available June 30 and will cost $9.99 a month following a free three-month trial. There will also be a “family plan” for up to six people — that costs $14.99.

    It will run on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC, the company said in a press release. It will also be available on Apple TV and Android phones this fall.

    The company repeatedly billed Apple Music as an “ecosystem” that will allow artists — from heavy-hitters like Drake to unsigned musicians — to connect with fans through custom playlists and a new “Beats 1 Radio” feature that plays curated music 24/7.

    The news was widely anticipated in the days leading up to the event.

    Last year, Apple bought Beats for $3 billion. That company is known for its iconic headphones, but it also runs Beats Music, a $9.99-per-month streaming music service.

    “Technology and art can work together. At least at Apple,” Jimmy Iovine, a founder of Beats Electronics, said during Monday’s event.

    For more from WWDC 2015, take a look at our coverage of the newly announced iOS 9 and Apple Watch 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.

  • Apple brings more intelligence, new apps, iPad updates with iOS 9
    Apple has previewed features users will be able to expect in the next iteration of iOS. Confirmed as iOS 9, the mobile operating system will have improvements in four core areas: Intelligence, Apps, iPad, and Foundation, with new additions including improvements to Siri, search, multitasking, more apps, and other areas.

  • Apple Introduces IOS 9, And You're About To Get More Battery Life
    Your iPhone is ready for an upgrade.

    Every year, Apple releases an update to its operating system, and at the World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, the tech company announced its latest version of the iPhone and iPad’s operating system: iOS 9.

    The update will give your iPhone a new look and new tools, and it’ll prepare Apple for the next version of the iPhone, which will likely be announced this fall.

    iOS 9 will be available for developers starting on Monday and, for the first time, available as a public beta in July. It will eventually be available as a free upgrade for everyone in the fall, and it is compatible with all of the same devices as iOS 8.

    Here are some of the changes you can look forward to:

    Proactive will help you organize your day

    Time to get organized. Proactive, a new feature in iOS 9, integrates with your calendar, Siri, Spotlight search, Apple Maps, Passport and more in order to give you the information you need throughout the day.

    Apple bought the personal assistant app Cue in 2013, and now Cue is getting its big debut in the form of Proactive.

    Siri has gotten 40 percent more accurate over the last year and 40 percent faster at responding, according to Apple. The voice assistant will continue to improve in iOS 9 and will connect with Proactive to make your life a bit easier.

    The new iOS can guess who’s calling you by looking into your email. Under the unknown number that’s calling you, there will be a little suggestion of who could be calling.

    ios 9

    Search has also gotten better. It will suggest everything from apps to contacts to news stories based on your previous activity and your location.

    If, for example, someone texts you a link, asking you to buy something, you can just say “Siri, remind me of this later,” and Siri will send you an alert later that includes that exact link. Siri will know what you’re talking about.

    ios 9

    Proactive adds events to your calendar automatically from your email, and if you provide a location, Proactive will suggest when you should leave to get to the event on time.

    Thankfully, none of your search data will be provided with outside parties, Apple promises.

    Improved Notes app

    What was once a simple, plain place to jot your thoughts is becoming much more elegant and useful.

    The Notes app is adding some great features, like the ability to create a to-do list.

    ios 9

    You will also be able to add photos from your camera and photo library to Notes and even draw with your finger. It will also be possible to add things from the Internet and Maps directly into Notes. Plus, everything with be synced between your devices.

    Better performance and battery life

    Apple’s last major mobile software release, iOS 8, was kind of a mess. The company had to pull an early version, iOS 8.0.1, because it was so buggy. People had problems with their cell phone reception, Touch ID and more. This time around, the download will take up less space than before, so your download should be significantly easier.

    The new iOS is meant to be faster than iOS 8 and use less battery than before. You’ll be able to get an extra hour of regular use for your iPhone with iOS 9. Running low on battery? There will even be a low-power mode that should give you an extra 3 hours of battery life, according to Apple.

    Apple says that iOS 9 takes up less space to install on your iPhone and iPad than iOS 8 did, so hopefully you won’t have to delete everything on your device before updating it.

    For more from WWDC 2015, take a look at our coverage of Apple’s new streaming music service and Apple Watch 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.

  • World's Tiniest Spirals Could Help Thwart Counterfeiters
    The spiral is considered by mathematicians to be one of nature’s most beautiful shapes. It comes up again and again, from the vast swirling arms of the Milky Way galaxy to the intricate nautilus shell.

    Taking a page out of nature’s book, physicists have now created what they’re calling the world’s tiniest spirals. Each one is just under half a micron — about one fiftieth of the width of an average human hair, and about six million times smaller than a dime.

    Hard to fake. These remarkable “nano-spirals” exhibit some pretty strange optical properties that make them nearly impossible to counterfeit. The researchers believe that they might be used to ensure the authenticity of important documents and products, and help prevent identity theft.

    “If nano-spirals were embedded in a credit card or identification card, they could be detected by a device comparable to a barcode reader,” Dr. Richard Haglund, a physics professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and one of the researchers responsible for the fabrication of the nano-spirals, said in a written statement.

    The spirals join a growing roster of inventions developed recently to stump counterfeiters, including “invisible” fluorescent inks, webs of nanowires, and arrays of nanopillars.

    Scratching the surface. To make the mini-spirals, Haglund and his colleagues used electron-beam lithography — the same process used to make patterns on silicon computer chips. The scientists used a beam of electrons to scratch a pattern of spirals onto a plastic-coated slide and then deposited gold into this pattern before removing the remaining plastic.

    “You can imagine that at these dimensions, it is a virtuoso piece of work to get rid of only the plastic, leaving the incredibly thin arms of the spiral untouched,” Haglund told The Huffington Post in an email.

    The researchers say this technique can be used with other metals, like silver and platinum, and on a variety of paper and plastic surfaces.

    Strange properties. The nano-spirals’ strange optical properties showed up when the researchers hit them with high-intensity pulses of laser light. Infrared laser light caused them to emit blue light at double the frequency. They emitted blue light in varying amounts when struck by polarized light from different angles.

    These properties make the spirals easy to customize, and detect — but hard for counterfeiters to reproduce.

    spiral light
    Computer simulation of light emissions produced by a nano-spiral when illuminated by infrared light.

    The research was published online on May 21 in the Journal of Nanophotonics.

    — 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 Apple Exec Takes A Page Out Of Steve Jobs' Book Every Morning
    Apple executive Craig Federighi meditates every morning.

    The senior vice president of software, who oversees Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems, said Monday during a demonstration of the latest iOS update that he starts each day by meditating.

    At the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Federighi showed how the latest version of the iOS predicts, when the phone is located at his home, that he will want to meditate. It automatically opens a meditation app, displaying a serene lakeside vista, when he unlocks the phone.

    Meditation is becoming an increasingly popular means of sharpening focus and reducing stress in the business world. But it’s nothing new at Apple. Late co-founder Steve Jobs practiced Zen Buddhist meditation techniques daily.

    “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice it.”

    — 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.

  • LeBron James Hooked Up His Entire Team With Apple Watches
    Playing alongside LeBron James is the gift that keeps on giving.

    On Monday, Cleveland.com reported that LeBron gifted brand new Apple Watches to all of his teammates in a pre-Finals meeting last week at the team’s hotel in downtown San Francisco.

    Not only does LeBron selflessly create scoring and playmaking opportunities for his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, but like any good king, he also likes to share his off-the-court wealth when he wants to motivate his men.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great partners and whatever I get, I like to share with my teammates,” James told Cleveland.com. “It’s just my way of showing them that I care. That’s it. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.”

    LeBron called the team meeting in a private hotel lounge on the eve of Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. He spoke seriously and earnestly about their tough matchup against the Warriors, the NBA’s best team in the regular season, before bringing in food, music and even barbers for players to get haircuts.

    “I don’t know how he does it, but every day it’s something different,” shooting guard J.R. Smith said, before laughing. “Watches, sneakers, Beats [headphones], hoodies, book bags. Man, I can’t wait to come back next year. I want to see what we’re getting next year.”

    Smith can expect more Apple and Beats products from LeBron going forward. In 2008, LeBron invested in Dr. Dre’s startup headphone company, which was bought by Apple last May for $1 billion. According to ESPN, LeBron netted a $30 million profit on his initial investment after the sale was completed.

    The gifts should get only more creative and extravagant too. In February 2014, on a whim, LeBron had custom WWE title belts made for his Miami Heat teammates, the then defending champions.

    Should LeBron complete his homecoming and propel the injured Cavaliers to Cleveland’s first major American sports championship since 1964, perhaps a round of $60,000 watches — like the one he gave to Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho in March — will be in order?

    Apple Watches in hand, LeBron and the Cavaliers travel back to Cleveland today in advance of Wednesday night’s Game 3 clash. The series is tied at 1-1.

    — 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.

  • OnePlus One Sale Last Week is Permanent This Week

    Last week I posted that OnePlus, the Chinese manufacture who produces the OnePlus One, announced a sale at specific times all of last week.  Now the company has made those price drops permanent for everyone.  Starting today you can get the 16GB model of only $249 while the 64GB model is $299.  For the quality of the OnePlus One and the specifications, this is absolutely a steal and I personally cannot recommend this phone highly enough.  It has become my daily driver since my review of it and while I’m anxious to see what the anticipated OnePlus Two will offer,

    The post OnePlus One Sale Last Week is Permanent This Week appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Why Facebook Is Killing YouTube in Video
    not so complicated…

    This morning, Omtalk.com published a fascinating article entitled “How & Why Facebook video can overtake Youtube”.

    And they had the stats to back it up:

    Facebook only started getting serious about video a year ago, but they already have an astonishing 4 billion daily video views — as many as YouTube after 10 years.

    In February of this year, 70 percent of the videos were uploaded directly to Facebook, as opposed to being links back to YouTube. A year earlier, direct uploads were only 25 percent.

    There is no question that video is rapidly becoming the lingua franca of the Internet. Ericsson predicts that online video will grow by a ‘staggering 55 percent per year’ between now and 2020. Last month, Cisco predicted that by 2019, video will constitute 80% of web traffic.

    That video is going to dominate the web, and mobile in particular, is quite clear. People already upload 300 hours of video Youtube every minute. And they are the ones who are falling behind Facebook!

    But let’s take a look at the Youtube/Facebook comparison — because I think there is a very interesting lesson there for long-strugging and long-suffering newspapers.

    What makes Facebook dominant, (and the reason that it is most likely going to win this competition for who is the best video platform) is that the videos on Facebook are integrated into the text. That is, they are not some stand alone ‘Facebook Channel’. They are part of the text for whatever is being posted on Facebook. There is a natural, unbroken continuity from text to video (and to stills). It’s all one in the same — all the same content, and it makes no difference whether it is video or text or still photo for that matter.

    YouTube is much more the child of conventional television. Old, dying linear television.

    YouTube has even begun to play with ‘channels’.

    It segregates text from video.

    This is the same thing that most newspapers do when they begin to incorporate video into their content. Because they have a lifetime history if being print, they tend to view video as something ‘other’. An alien form of content that , if we must, may appear somewhere buried in the paper (paper being a rather archaic term now – as it is all online), but certainly not embedded into the story.

    Take a look at NYTimes.com. The Times is one of the best newspapers in the world, but when it comes to video (and I think their videos are better than anything you can see on network television news), the Times’ video is still segregated below the fold (so to speak) and off to the corner. A kind of NY Times TV Channel on the paper. The Times video can often be hard to find.

    And of course, The Times is not alone. The Newark Star Ledger, New Jersey’s best paper also happens to have the most amazing videos in the nation (for a newspaper). The team has now won 10 Emmys for their video in the past 4 years alone, beating out most of the local TV stations! 19 nomination alone this year. But go to their website and try finding the video. If you can find it at all, it is also segregated from the rest of the print.

    This is a mistake.

    In the digital world, there is no difference between video and print, between images and text. They are all digital content, simply presented in a different way. Any reporter who carries and iPhone can learn to acquire video while they are reporting in print. When it comes to publishing it, the papers should integrate the two – create a kind of digital tapestry that weaves from text to video to text to still photo to text to video as the storytelling demands it.

    That, after all, is what Facebook is doing.

    But to be completely accurate, that is what WE are doing when we post our videos and text on Facebook. We are doing it because it is the natural and organic way to tell people what we want them to know.

    Newspapers would do well to listen up to their readership, while they still have one.

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

  • Brad Pitt And Netflix Might Change The Future Of Film With 'War Machine'
    Brad Pitt is heading to a small, big and streaming screen near you.

    On Monday, Netflix announced plans to produce Brad Pitt’s new satirical comedy, “War Machine,” which is loosely based on Michael Hasting’s bestseller The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. Written and directed by David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom”), the film will follow Pitt’s “four-star ‘rock star’ general” — sounds a bit like a modern-day Lt. Aldo Raine — as he commands American troops in Afghanistan. With a radical new approach, Pitt’s character is determined to win the war with the help of his “motley staff.” Netflix plans to release “War Machine” in theaters and exclusively to its streaming members in 2016.

    This news is significant, as it marks Netflix’s venture into original filmmaking with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars at the helm. The theatrical release also reveals the possibility of Netflix’s first Oscar nomination, which could break the company into the filmmaking world in the same way the Emmy wins “House of Cards” garnered helped usher Netflix into original television. Deadline estimates that this roughly $30 million deal would be the company’s largest investment in a feature film so far.

    Netflix has recently announced other plans for breaking into cinema, such as their multifilm deal with Adam Sandler, documentary partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio and plans to release a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel. But a collaboration with an A-lister like Pitt signals something much more monumental. We’re not sure what to expect, but don’t seem surprised if there’s a plethora of thinkpieces in a few years about how Netflix changed the future of cinema.

    — 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 Apple Watch: From Technology-Knowing to Body-Knowing
    Much has been made of the new Apple watch, its many capabilities and styles. But perhaps there is a hidden potential benefit to the Apple watch that has not been noted: It could enhance our sensuality.

    By sensuality I simply mean feeling your own experience of your own experience. A sensual person is one that is in touch with their five senses, and how they feel about what is registering, viscerally. A sensual person is not a flat-liner but instead lives on an emotional and sensory roller coaster, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. We might assume this is the normal state of affairs for most people. It is not.

    Sensuality v Living on Auto-Pilot

    Many people — too many people — are living on auto-pilot because they are so overcommitted, overscheduled, over-extended — in work and in play. Their feeling life is stultified. They have no time other than to skim over the surface of their life. They are numb to themselves, just going through the motions of daily routines, both professional and personal.

    I am a cognitive anthropologist who has spent approximately a quarter of my time over the last 23 years talking with people the world over about what their lives are like nowadays. What I hear everywhere — from Brooklyn to Bahia to Beijing — is we are all living in a World of Too: too fast, too complex, and too competitive. People tell me that “just to stand in place they have to run.” Hardly anything is now given the time to mature, to become routinely nuanced. Everything is plucked while still green and hard. We currently live in the rat-tat-tat rhythm of a staccato-like life.

    The Paradox of Technology

    A paradox obtains: In part, technology has brought and wrought this World of Too upon us. Technology can also help return our orientation to our inner selves.

    Such an orientation would have a huge upside. A more sensual population would understand that their senses are invaluable assets that allow them to interact with the world at the richest possible level and identify the experiences that feel absolutely right to them. Sensual people would have a better sense of their circumstances and how to heighten those circumstances, because they are truly paying attention.

    When we turn the dial up on our senses, we experience things internally and externally that we would not be privy to otherwise. For example, when we turn our senses outward, we encounter a perspective on the world that isn’t visible on the surface level. When we listen to what people are saying, watch for patterns and inconsistencies, and truly feel the world around us, it is as though our environment is suddenly snapping into focus.

    Making full use of your senses promises insight, whether getting a better grip on your work environment, trying to identify where a relationship is going, or even just attempting to decide the best use of a few hours of leisure time.

    Two other advantages accrue to a sensual being:

    * Empathy: Not giving oneself time to reflect impairs one’s ability to empathize with others. The more in touch one is with his or her own feelings, the richer and more accurate is one’s ability to consider what passes through another person’s mind.

    * Creativity: A feeling mind – one that can stop and focus on itself — is more creative. You’ve got to “hack” into your own feelings to see what attracts you, repeals you, intrigues you, makes you wonder and allows your mind to wander.

    The critical point is: meaning arises from feeling. Norman Mailer once said something fundamental: “You can only get to a truth through an emotional truth. You can’t get to an emotional truth through an objective truth.” Feeling directs the journey.

    Going From the Outside to the Inside

    The hope would be that the Apple Watch and other wearable technologies would help people create a real, organic, self-generated and self-propagating body awareness — a feeling reflex — that goes beyond fixing on externally supplied data as a proxy. Knowing one’s biometric readings of blood pressure and running pace and heat rate are one thing. But to have these kinds of numerics lead to a state of mind that, in general and without prosthetic prompting, is continuously more sensuous, well, that would be a good use for technology!

    Then the old idiom might apply: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

    — 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.

  • Father's Day Gift Ideas For The Cool Dads In Your Life
    As invented holidays go, Father’s Day isn’t half bad because the expectations are so low. No flowers and no brunch means no scheduling headaches (unless you’re expecting a bacon bouquet to show off to the guys at the office). No jewelry means costs are relatively low (unless you’re … 2 Chainz?). Really, all you’re likely to ask for is a few hours with your kids, maybe an hour or two to yourself, and a simple token of appreciation.

    Here are 30 such tokens you should absolutely ask your partner and kids for, running the gamut from perfect coffee to an indestructible tie, with plenty of cool gadgets and clothes thrown in for good measure.

    If You’re A Sleep-Deprived Coffee Snob


    Mighty Mug, $36
    If you need coffee to deal with your kid, the last thing you want is for said coffee to fall on said kid. It’s a waste of good coffee and probably bad for the kid’s skin. Mighty Mug uses “Smartgrip Technology” to create a “powerful airlock” and — who cares how it works? It doesn’t fall over! Ever!

    Oxx Coffeeboxx, $299
    The Coffeeboxx is impact-resistant, water-resistant, dust-resistant, rust-resistant, and crush-proof. Seriously, the company claims it can withstand a quarter-ton load, which means you can safely brew a fresh K-Cup at the very ends of the earth — or just in a kitchen with a hyperactive toddler.

    Cold Bruer Coffee Brewer, $80
    Cold brew coffee is less bitter and acidic than hot brewed coffee, made to pair with milk, and still unknown to enough of your friends that you can be a total hipster coffee snob when they try to serve you some of that weak-sauce hot coffee watered down with ice cubes.

    Craft Coffee Gift Subscription, $29.99 and up
    If you love coffee but have no time to go find new coffee, you want a subscription to Craft Coffee. They’ll customize a regular subscription based on your taste profile. You will, however, need to be able to describe how you like your “nose,” “top,” and “finish.”

    If You Refuse To Leave The Playground


    PowerUp 3.0, $50
    Back in the day, you were lucky if your paper airplane reached the front of the classroom. Now, they’re attached to microchip-powered, carbon fiber propellers and rudders. It’s a toy for you, but a training program for your kid’s future career as a drone pilot.

    Hammacher Schlemmer 3D Printing Pen, $100
    If you’re ready to dabble in 3D printing but don’t want to end up like that guy who bought the laserdisc player, start with this pen that lets you create three-dimensional freehand drawings. By the time you master it, the real ones will be a few hundred bucks at Target.

    Ollie, $100
    You won’t find any Star Wars droids powered by Ollie (that’s the other one), but this app-controlled robot is all about that action, boss. Ollie is fast, capable of some serious tricks, and tough — it can handle driving off a cliff, so it can handle whatever happens when your kid gets a hold of it.

    DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Drone with 4K UHD Video Camera, $1259
    For the dad who has everything and wants to show that fact off to his neighbors really badly. The DJI Phantom series is the Rolls Royce of personal aerial photography, taking “every vacation, camping trip, and selfie to heights never thought possible.” Just steer clear of the airport there, Maverick.

    Secret Garden Coloring Books For Adults, $11
    If you’re a fan of Judd Apatow movies, you might like Secret Garden, because — really — what says “I don’t want to grow up” more than a coloring book for adults? And this one has more cultural pedigree than This Is Forty: It’s currently Amazon’s most-wished-for book.

    Razor Crazy Cart XL, $900
    It was ok to hate Razor when they were just making annoying scooters that cluttered up the sidewalks, but then they go and make something like the Crazy Cart …. and totally redeem themselves! The XL is a dad-sized version of the kid’s cart, so you can challenge your own to some real-life Mario Kart.

    Toymail, $60
    The only downside to Toymail — an ingenious little system that lets you send voice messages to your kids that are received and played by an adorable anthropomorphized mailbox — is that it’s so cute it might make everyone using it puke.

    If You Define Yourself By Your Gadgets


    OlloClip 4-in-1 lens, $80
    The OlloClip gives your iPhone a fisheye, wide angle, macro, and selfie lens, all in a single, unobtrusive package that goes on in seconds. It will up your phone photo game considerably, but if your wife reminds you that adults aren’t allowed to use the selfie lens, she’s not wrong.

    Rhino Shield iPhone Case, $25 ($47 with screen protector)
    This case offers all the protection your phone needs to survive a 24-foot drop (or just your phone-obsessed toddler) without looking like something that fell off Iron Man during a fist fight with the Hulk.

    Polaroid Cube POV Camera, $100
    It won’t replace that drone, or even your GoPro, but for a hundred bucks, you get a 6 megapixel camera that shoots video in 1080p and has a magnetized base for kid-proof mounting. It’s the perfect gift for any dad with a steel plate in his skull.

    Phiaton Chord MS 530 Noise-Cancelling Headphones, $300
    Ideal for the home office, where you can recreate the kid-free quiet of the actual office. Also ideal if you just want a nice set of wireless cans so you don’t send your laptop flying when you get off the couch.

    If Your Closet Needs Something Cooler Than Ties (And Also Some Ties)


    Tosan’s Pop Sweatshirt, $65 and Tot Sweatshirt, $30
    You know what’s more hilarious than an Animal House-inspired sweatshirt that says “Pop” instead of “College”? A matching one for your kid.

    Sleepy Jones PJs, $63 and up
    If your initial reaction to these is something like, “Hey, it’s not Grandfather’s Day!” you might want to hold off on actually saying that until you put them on and realize they’re the most comfortable things you’ve ever worn.

    Outdoor Voices
    You know those superhero tights you’ve been wearing to the gym? Replace them with gear that’s performance-orientated enough to stay dry when you’re sweating like a pig, but fashion-orientated enough that you can wear them out without someone thinking you’re going to fight crime.

    Mainsail Navy Tie, $19
    The tie is a much-maligned Father’s Day gift, but here’s the thing: Some guys really like ties. The beauty of Tie Bar is that their handmade ties are reasonably priced; the beauty of their Mainsail Navy Tie is that it will give you preppy flair without turning you into an actual preppy.

    Wood Thumb Wood Ties, $47
    A can’t-miss gag gift for any guy who hates ties or a straight up awesome gift for any guy who loves ties. It can also double as a cheese board in a pinch.

    Lego Slippers, $25
    Stepping onto a Lego is the most painful thing ever — because science! — but substantially more bearable if you’ve first stepped into one of these Legos slippers.

    National Park Themed Outdoor Blankets, $249
    Each of these blankets is made of 100-percent pure virgin wool in a color scheme unique to the park it represents and has two authenticator labels: one with the Pendleton logo and one bearing the image of the park’s significant feature. It will give you something to talk about until you can load the kids into the Family Truckster and hit the road.

    If You Need A Drink (And You’re A Dad, So You Do)


    Brendan Ravenhill for Areaware Bottle Opener, $12
    It’s so simple, so smart, and so damn useful you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the damn thing yourself. Fortunately, getting gifted one means you don’t have to worry about blowing cash on it.

    Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails, $29
    If you fancy yourself a “mixologist,” this should be your Bible, because it’s full of the technique, science, and philosophy of bartending. If you just likes cocktails, you’re still in luck; the book has more than 500 of them.

    Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged At Sea, $64.99 and up
    Sailing older bourbon barrels around the world — stopping in 5 different continents and crossing the equator 4 times — accelerates the aging process, gives this classy stuff a hint of brine, and ensures you get to spend the day making all the “motion in the ocean” jokes your heart desires.

    If You’re Constantly Hitting The Road


    Jack Spade Waxwear Dad Bag, $298
    A universal truth of fatherhood is that it means you have a bunch more crap to carry. Jack Spade’s take on the dad bag makes it look like you’re just as likely to be carrying a laptop as a changing pad — which it happens to come with, and which looks as cool as the bag. Even with poop on it.

    Filson Duffle Bag, $276
    Of course, when you only have to worry about your own stuff you can leave the dad bag behind and return to the classic duffle. Or, as you might remember it, the thing you were able to live out of for weeks at a time in college.

    Wildsam Field Guides, $18
    Part Zagat’s, part documentary, part oral history, these guides to American cities don’t just recommend where to eat and drink but aim to tell the story of a place. For the guy bold enough to try and fit “wanderlust” into the same sentence as “fatherhood.”

    If You Really Like Salami


    Olympia Provisions Salami of the Month Club, $145 and up
    Look, nobody is saying bacon is over, but we may have reached peak bacon. So, if you’re requesting the gift of meat this Father’s Day season (and good on you if you are), consider this equally salty and delicious alternative.

    If You Have Any Bathroom Counter Space Not Covered In Rubber Duckies

    gift guide

    Baxter Of California Shave 1.2.3 Kit, $72
    Even if you like a good straight razor shave at the barbers from time to time, you’re still going to have to shave your own damn face most mornings. The cream and aftershave balm in this kit are face-saving wonders, but the real gem is the badger hair brush that lets you start every day with a honey badger joke.

    Fulton And Roark Solid Cologne, $45
    A much-needed update to an old standby, solid cologne makes you smell just as good as the liquid stuff and is twice as portable. So you can throw it in a coat pocket and a freshen up real quick before dinner with the missus … or, you know, after your kid throws up on you.

    Herbivore Botanicals Clarifying Charcoal Soap, $8
    Charcoal has been used for centuries to purify and clean all sorts of stuff, but if it still seems weird to use it to clean your mug, consider how well it pairs with steak and burgers. If it’s good enough for ‘cue, it’s good enough for you.

    — 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.

  • National Cybersecurity: We Need a Fortress, Not a Sandcastle
    The hack that resulted in the theft of information on 4 million government employees didn’t need to happen. We had plenty of warning and next to nothing was done.

    Last Friday marked the second anniversary of Edward Snowden’s infamous NSA leaks. Those leaks not only exposed major government data collection efforts on which much debate has already been focused, but they also exposed some fundamentally troubling lapses in cybersecurity practices at one of our most sensitive government agencies. Whether you view him as a martyr, a traitor, or possibly both, Snowden’s exploits did more than anyone else to call our attention to the sorry state of data protection in this country. The NSA found itself reeling from a massive breach perpetrated not a by an enemy state but by a talented junior analyst with a mission to bring the system down. It was the loudest warning shot in cybersecurity history and unfortunately our government didn’t listen…or if they listened then they failed to act decisively. That is potentially even more troubling.

    Now we are paying the price, again. Almost two years after the Snowden inside-job data breach, foreign-based hackers (initial reports indicate probably from China this time) compromised the Office of Personnel Management and stole information on 4 million government employees. OPM is expected to start notifying the victims today. So based on the growing flames, Rome just might be burning. Will the U.S. Government act now to implement strong standards to prevent further breaches or will they continue to fiddle about?

    This latest breach is just the tip of the iceberg. While our Government leaders have debated whether or not to take decisive action, criminal hacker groups and hostile governments have been determinedly attacking our leading government agencies and corporations, wreaking havoc at the State Department, the Pentagon, Sony, Target, JP Morgan, Home Depot, and the White House itself. Make no mistake: this is a real war and we are not winning. Cybercriminals are an enormous threat to our economy, our infrastructure, and potentially the stability of our society.

    Why is this latest breach so troubling? Is it because decisive action from our leaders might have prevented this latest breach? Yes. But the nature of this attack is disturbing on another level entirely. What is the purpose of this attack? Is it designed to use the personal data of these 4 million people to run up charges on their credit cards and to damage their credit histories? Possibly, and if that is the reason then the government’s action of providing credit monitoring is a good response. But the real value of this information to an adversary is to provide essential identity information on people throughout the US Government to prepare for a much more damaging attack or set of attacks. This breach is a precursor to something that is potentially several orders of magnitude more damaging and we should be very concerned.

    In response to previous mega-breaches, two bills have been introduced. H.R. 1560, Protecting Cyber Networks Act, and H.R. 1731, National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015, were passed on April 22 and 23, respectively, during what was dubbed “Cyber Week” by House leaders. The decision to pass these two bills and send them to the Senate is welcome. These bills support the obvious need for cooperation, collaboration, and information sharing between the government and corporations.

    But let’s be absolutely clear on one thing — neither of these new bills will make our companies or our country substantially more secure. Why not? Because neither of them addresses the root cause of the problem. Our cybersecurity defenses built on the old status quo of simple, software-based security are built on sand. It’s time for our leaders to lay a new foundation. It is time to abandon the pretense that software and passwords alone are keeping us safe. We need a fortress, not a sandcastle.

    We need cybersecurity legislation that recognizes the fact that the industry standard IT security solutions that we’ve come to know and rely on are being hacked and bypassed so easily that we’re negligent if we don’t take notice and act to change them. When the keys to 4 million entry points to our national treasure trove of critical data have been stolen, it is time to change the locks. As Snowden highlighted to John Oliver a few weeks ago, the majority of passwords can be broken within seconds. If the real goal for new cybersecurity legislation is, in fact, stronger cybersecurity, then surely we need to mandate minimum requirements for government IT systems and establish National Standards that can actually prevent these hacks from happening in the first place.

    The terms multifactor authentication and hardware-based security should be the guiding tenets here. The use of multiple identifying factors makes it exponentially harder for a hacker to gain entry to a system. A hacker would not only have to gain possession of a person’s valid user credentials (i.e. User ID and password), but in a hardware-based multifactor authentication solution they would also need to take physical control of the security chip itself, whether it’s securely embedded on the motherboard of the user’s specifically assigned computing device or in a removable token. Only then could a hacker gain access to the IT environment and initiate the attack. Why does that matter? Because the vast majority of hacking attempts, like this last one, are carried out remotely. By forcing a hacker to gain physical control of a computing device or server to initiate an attack we make it much more difficult to execute the attack and traditional methods of defense such as physical security controls are then also effective.

    The good news is that a new foundation is available to us. It lies dormant in many millions of devices we already own, devices we each use every day. Close to one billion Trusted Platform Module chips have been shipped over roughly the last 7 years on standard business desktops, laptops and tablets. And on some highly secure smart phones. These very powerful hardware-based security chips could provide a very capable and very quickly implemented hardening of our cyber defenses, not just in the U.S. but world-wide. So while we debate about cybersecurity, worry about data collection, and read about the latest mega hacks, what we should really be doing is asking our politicians a simple question. If there are solutions available to protect us, why aren’t you turning them on?

    — 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 8, 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.

  • Google Maps Now Offers Dragon, Loch Ness Monster As Public Transportation Options
    Google Maps now provides people in Great Britain with real-time information about the best and quickest ways to get places — regardless of whether commuters choose to travel by train, tube, bus, boat, dragon or Loch Ness Monster.

    Take the journey from Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, to the Welsh mountain range, Brecon Beacons. According to Google, it would either take you about 3 and a half hours to drive. Or 32 minutes by dragon. Just hop onto one of the mythical creatures at Snowdonia Dragon Station, and enjoy the ride.


    snowdon dragon

    Another noteworthy route is the journey between Fort Augustus and Urquhart Castle in the Scottish Highlands. You can either take a bus, which will take you around 33 minutes, or the Loch Ness Monster — a 22 minute ride.

    loch ness

    Google Maps has been known to hide cheeky easter eggs in its app. Previously, it’s told travelers to swim across the Atlantic Ocean or jet-ski across the Pacific.

    As Buzzfeed notes, Google Maps’ new easter eggs include traveling by “royal carriage” from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle, and by “punt” in Oxford and Cambridge. A punt is a flat-bottomed boat that’s commonly used for leisurely rides in both cities.

    Google Maps has had real-time public transportation information for bigger British cities like London for a while now, but according to Google, that information is now available across Britain.

    “You can now check the best time and route for millions of departures for trains, tubes, trams, buses and ferries every day. In total, 17,000 different routes across the UK are featured,” the company wrote in a blog post.

    We’re thinking even Daenerys Targaryen will be pleased with the update.

    — 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.

  • SUMMARY: Verizon PA's Broadband Scandal — A Quadruple Bait-&-Switch

    Bait & Switch

    1. First Bait & Switch — Instead of rolling out fiber optic services, Verizon deployed DSL over the old copper wires from 1996-2002.
    2. Second Bait & Switch — Because of weasel room in the original law, Verizon was able to change the commitment from 45 Mbps in both directions to 1.5 Mbps in one direction.
    3. Third Bait & Switch — In 2011, Verizon got the State to agree to let it use any technology including Verizon Wireless, to fulfill this obligation.
    4. Fourth Bait-&-Switch –As we uncovered in New York, in PA, the company appears to be cross-subsidizing its wireless networks with monies that should have been used for the wired networks.


    • The Commitment — Universal broadband to 100% of Verizon PA, capable of 45 Mbps in both directions by 2015. Rural, urban and suburban areas are to be treated the same.
    • 96% Complete? — Verizon PA claims it has completed 96% of their broadband obligation and will complete the task by the end of 2015.
    • 37% can get FiOS — We estimate that FiOS fiber optic services only reaches 37.5% of ‘homes and businesses’; 46% if you just count ‘households’.
    • DSL used to fulfill obligations — Verizon includes DSL in their ‘commitment’, which rides over the old existing utility copper wires.
    • Verizon Wireless is substituting for wired, fibered networks –Verizon also uses wireless as a substitute for doing wired upgrades since 2011.
    • Overcharging — Customers paid about $18 billion for this upgrade. State laws were changed to give the company more profits (read higher phone rates) and tax perks that were to be used to replace the state’s public utility copper wires with fiber optic infrastructure.
    • 100% of phone customers paid for networks most will never get — There were never any audits of Verizon’s financial books, not refunds for the failure to properly upgrade the State utility networks, and the majority paid thousands of dollars for services they will never get


    — 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.

  • Smart Cities Need Smart People
    Almost 20 years ago, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) funded research looking for ways to keep people off the roads.

    Caltrans knew that in 40 years the population of California would likely double to about 60 million people. But Caltrans wasn’t at all convinced they could build any more roads or bridges. The state, simply, has run out of land. What then, they thought, was the state going to do to accommodate the increase in people and their cars?

    Enter the concept of the “Smart Community.” Smart because the team of university researchers liked the idea of using telecommunications as a substitute for transportation. And Community, because they also believed that something new–not a city or county per se–but a new powerful region in which citizens have a shared interest.

    What happened to the Smart Communities Initiative?

    The team, a dozen or so academics including myself sent copies of the report and a “How To” manual to every mayor and city manager and waited for the calls. Nobody called. It seemed the concept was too far fetched, or America’s love of the automobile simply made this idea unpalatable.

    Or maybe, smart communities just need smart people… and sadly, that dilemma haunts cities even more today as the concept has obviously grown in essentiality and importance in large part, because of the “Cloud,” “Big Data“, and what we now are calling “The Internet of Everything” (IoE), where everything is connected to every thing else.


    The IoE can provide cities with the tools to ensure safer cities, better transportation, mobile health care, energy and water conservation, clean air, and environmental services. By installing the broadband necessary for the IoE, cities are attracting and nurturing the best and brightest from around the world; and building the platform for innovation for everyone in that city.

    To meet the challenges of the global economy, as President Obama has 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.

    Government Technology Magazine believes that “Cities Must Invest in the ‘Smart Jobs’ Workforce.” When Wichita Kansas was having trouble-finding workers to fill the region’s aerospace jobs “with the latest skills, local leaders listened. The result was a partnership of area governments, colleges and businesses that led to the birth of the National Center for Aviation Training.” As cities start filling the IoT jobs, they too must join with the universities, high schools and training centers to fill the region’s demand for a workforce with the right skills.This should give them the workforce they and other organizations need in the new innovation economy.

    Last fall, the National Science Foundation (NSF) completed a two-year study on what it takes to be ‘innovative’ as an individual. A complete summary of results was released this year but among the 20 qualities identified, target=”_hplink”>Forbes found 5 that five are crucial to spanning the entire spectrum of the innovation process itself:


    1 Associative Thinker – Joins or connects ideas and facts from different experiences. Transposes observations across unrelated domains.

    2 Collaborator – Brings together people with a diversity of knowledge to solve complex problems. Actively integrates knowledge or strategies of others though they may differ from their own.

    3 Communicator – Explains ideas or concepts effectively through multiple means including writing, speaking, gestures, pictures, diagrams or stories.

    4 Knowledgeable – Possesses expertise that is both broad and deep. Is skilled in independent learning.

    5 Persistent – Continues to do something although it is hard, and other people want your actions to stop. Continues beyond the usual or expected effort.

    While the city has the ultimate responsibility for developing the systems of the future, they must employ the workforce they need by working with schools and universities, and the corporate community to be sure the region was turning out the right kind of workers. As the city makes it clear that it desires to be a smart city and aggressively deploys its investments in broadband, the city will attract and retain more smart people with the new thinking skills smart cities need to succeed.

    The major corporations like Cisco, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm and AT&T are now hiring people to fill these important positions. They have, in most cases, identified the best IoT applications for cities. Cities can partner with these firms to insure the right applications and the right people to build the IoT infrastructure.

    Smart people and even Smarter leaders will build Smart Cities.

    — 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 7, 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.

  • Tijuana and the future of trade
    Since 1928, Tijuana, Mexico, has been portrayed as the city of sin – the place that allowed “mob entrepreneurs” to take advantage of its strategic location in order to satisfy US demand for all things illegal. Tijuana also became the most visited border city in the world, mainly thanks to tourism.

    In 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into effect, it was widely expected to be the key for Mexico to finally join leading economies in the 21st century. The agreement pushed Tijuana to evolve from a focus on tourism to one on manufacturing.

    Companies like Samsung, Panasonic, Sony and others opened massive assembly plants there.
    After an initial post-NAFTA manufacturing boom, however, Tijuana (and Mexico) entered a period of economic decline. The hope was that NAFTA would reduce income disparities between the United States and Mexico, but after 10 years of the agreement, the gap had grown by 10.6%, according to an article by Joseph Stiglitz in The New York Times. The gap grew even wider over the second decade. According to Global Trade Watch, by 2014, the share of national income collected by the richest 10% had risen by 24%, while the top 1%’s share had shot up by 58%.

    During the early 2000s, tourism in Tijuana declined due to the effects of 9/11, yet the influence of the US was still evident in the economic drive of the city. This dynamic intrigued me enough that I ventured into the wholesale beachwear industry, purchasing merchandise in LA and reselling it in Mexico. By 2007, my small business was thriving, but a year later, because of increased violence, the H1N1 virus scare and the financial crisis, Americans stopped visiting the region and my business collapsed. I was forced to confront the harsh reality of the Mexican economy; Mexico constantly depends on outside forces for its own success, and faces a crash decade after decade as a result of this dependence.

    I wasn’t the only one affected by the macroeconomic environment in Mexico. Between 2008 and 2009 over 260,000 jobs were lost in manufacturing, a sector that was 30% of overall employment. In Tijuana, 33,000 jobs were lost; 28% of the jobs that the city offers, most of them also in manufacturing. Then from 2001 to 2015, 267 manufacturing companies disappeared from the city.

    Today, the general perception is that NAFTA didn’t deliver on its promise, and that Mexico needs a self-sufficient economy to move forward. Tijuana offers one potential avenue for economic growth, through a 21st century approach to North American free trade.

    By 2011, things had begun to turn around for the “city of sin.” Violence in Tijuana decreased thanks to an efficient public safety strategy. That same year, I helped to launch Endeavor, a non-profit that accelerates high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging nations in order to support entrepreneurs in the city looking to scale their businesses. We developed an investor network to link US-Mexican start-ups with angel investors, through Angel Ventures Mexico, and started a bi-national co-working space called HUB STN, located in the historic bus terminal of downtown Tijuana that had become run down over the years of tourism decline.

    More recently, we have turned our attention to the social issues of the city and, through the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Tijuana community, created an urban farm project for the deportee community called Bordofarms.

    Through these efforts and others, especially in arts and culture, Tijuana has revamped its blighted past and created a movement credited with the rebirth of the city. Now, one can read in The New York Times and other media outlets about the city’s stunning architecture, outstanding culinary and scene, and massive business and technology potential.

    Along with a revival in tourism, Tijuana is once again of interest to US investors and companies. Many have already pioneered the use of the “Tijuana Connection”, taking advantage of the city’s proximity to the US, access to talent and access to the Latin America market. Examples include 3DRobotics, a drone hobbyist company; Boxel Studio, a small Latin American Pixar; Busca Corp, one of the top digital media firms in Latin America; and Uber.

    Cross-border logistics are also simple through Tijuana’s proximity to major US and Mexican cities, and along with its sizeable immigrant population, gives Tijuana the advantage of abundant programmers and technical workers who speak perfect English. Some even have technical training in the US.

    Tijuana also offers access to the Latin American market of 231 million Internet users and the fifth largest Facebook user base (Mexico). Middle class consumption in the region grew by 70 million between 2007 and 2015, and the region’s population is twice the size of the US and Canada combined. Making Tijuana, California’s gateway into Latin America, with real profit potential for both sides.

    California is considered the 9th largest economy, amounting to 13% of US GDP – an economy mainly fueled through technology companies like SAP, Intel, Apple, Google, Qualcomm and others. Bloomberg just valued the Tijuana-San Diego (Calibaja) connection at $230 billion and a potential labor force of over 3 million people.

    Knowing that the dominant industries of California are technology and innovation, we need to use the Tijuana Connection to encourage transactions, similar to the work of mob entrepreneurs but through legitimate ventures, of course. The Tijuana revival can continue in the creation of a business ecosystem that “talks the talk” and “walks the walk” through a lean start-up approach in education (e.g. Coders Academy and General Assembly), infrastructure (e.g. NY’s New Lab and Google Campuses) and innovation (e.g. Founders Institute and Tech Stars).

    In the near term, we can help change the Mexican economy by generating more Tijuana-California success stories through a market validation approach, access to talent and capital investing. These successes should become examples of an ideal US-Mexico partnership.

    Using Tijuana’s cross-border region as a platform for testing and scale, it then becomes possible to link the rest of Latin America with the United States for a much greater tangible impact. In this way, over the next 10 years we can leverage NAFTA and bring it into the 21st century, where technology and innovation are the main factors for economic growth and collaboration between nations.

    — 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.

  • South Koreans win robotics challenge
    South Korea’s Team Kaist win the $2m prize for the fastest robot at the US Department of Defense’s Darpa Robotics Challenge.
  • The Future Of Video: Vertical and Growing: Mary Meeker
    If there was any doubt that nature of the web is changing, Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2015 presentation at the re/code conference laid things out in crisp undeniable data.

    Yes the web is big, but growth is slowing. Internet user growth in 2014 was just 8 percent, down from 10 percent in 2013. Smart phone sub growth was down 4%, from 27 percent in 2013 to 24 percent in 2014. And both Facebook and Twitter’s ARPU (average revenue per user) and monthly active users are both flat, with year-over-year growth rates stagnant.

    Meeker’s presentation pointed to a meaningful change in the web – with growth in Video highlighting the change. Video racked up a dramatic 64 percent of web traffic in 2014 – up from 62% in 2013. And the shift from desktop to mobile was meaningful as well – with mobile now accounting for 55% of traffic, up from 52% in 2013.

    Facebook is driving growth in video – with four billion video views per day. Meeker reports that’s up up 4x in the past six months. Video game viewing on Twitch, now owned by Amazon, has 100 million monthly active users, up a remarkable122% in the past 12 months.

    And mobile video is an ever-growing portion of video viewing, and it’s emerging as a different, vertical video medium, because of the way people hold their phone’

    But as Meeker pointed out – video isn’t getting bigger. It’s getting smaller, and vertical, and mobile. Said Meeker: “Small Screen Vertical Viewing Became Big Deal… ” in 2014.


    Vertical viewing now accounts for 29% of total time spend on screens. Vertical viewing is the only category that’s growing other than tiny growth in ‘other’ connected devices like OTT.


    The most dramatic growth is in what Meeker categorizes at “User-Shared” and “Curated Video” both of which are rising rapidly. 4B Video Views per Day, Up 4x in 6 Months on Facebook as reported by Facebook on a recent earnings call.


    And User-Generated content in the form of Live Game Streaming is growing rapidly as well – with Twitch reporting that what they call “Unique Broadcasters” has grown +67% year over year to 1.5MM, and Videos Broadcast per Month, +83% Year over year 1MM Peak Concurrent Views.


    Meeker reports that User-Generated Content / Stories = +140% Year over Year to 125MM Cumulative Stories on Wattpad – which bills itself as the world biggest community of readers and writers. With 100 million stories to read, 40 Million readers , and 11 Billion minutes spent on Wattled every month. User-Generated stories are growing fast.


    And in the news space, users Increasingly the first source for news via Twitter says Meeker.


    Meeker describes the internet as being “recreated” with User-Generated content, News, and reviews. And – she says – “Millennials = Love Their Smartphones… 87% = ‘Smartphone Never Leaves My Side’


    It’s hard to overstate the importance of these changes in just the past twelve months. The web is maturing, and at the same time a first generation of digital natives are embracing the devices they’ve grown up with. This means new behaviors, vast changes in how audiences are engaged and connected, and a rapid evolution from the old world of horizontal ‘lean back’ viewing to a new handheld generation of vertical viewers who both create and share as a natural extension of their social experiences.

    Video is the future. But what kind of video is up for grabs.

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

  • You Can Be Prosecuted for Clearing Your Browser History
    Khairullozhon Matanov is a 24-year-old former cab driver from Quincy, Massachusetts. The night of the Boston Marathon bombings, he ate dinner with Tamerlan and Dhzokhar Tsarnaev at a kebob restaurant in Somerville.

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

  • Meet The People Ensuring Black Lives Matter Isn't Just A Hashtag
    WASHINGTON — Facilitating meaningful conversations about race isn’t an easy feat, but a local collaborative effort is up to the challenge.

    Black Lives/White Light and TABLETRIBES, a D.C.-based tech startup, are coupling art and technology to create The Radius Project, which aims to take conversations surrounding Black Lives Matter beyond newsfeeds and comment sections.

    The collaborative is setting up three panel discussions in the Washington, D.C., area in hopes of turning online interactions into more meaningful face-to-face conversations .

    “A meaningful face-to-face conversation is a singular point of contact that has the power to activate a ripple effect in our communities,” Hosan Lee, the founder and CEO of TABLETRIBES, told The Huffington Post. “If we all work together, how far outwards can we extend the radius of progress?”

    Pretty far, it seems. The Radius Project grew from a series of four discussion panels following Black Lives/White Light’s April exhibition showcasing the artwork of eight white artists. Sheldon Scott and Deirdre Darden, two D.C. artists who curated the exhibit, hoped the show would introduce an alternative perspective to the conversation surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement.

    “For me, Black Lives Matter — way before it became this social media movement, before it became a hashtag — it’s always been a part of my work,” Scott said. “We’ve been saying these things for years about … mistreatment and injustices.”

    Black Lives Matter has achieved global reach, he added. This influence inspired Scott to seek out white artists who may not have been aware of racialized police brutality before seeing the hashtag and see how they would respond to the movement artistically.

    It worked. Powerful, conflicting reactions to the April exhibit encouraged Scott and Darden to set up the panels to continue delving into how America confronts race and justice and its relationship with violence.

    “We need to be able to have this conversation about race on many different levels simultaneously. We have to be able to talk to people who have a lower understanding of race at the same time we should be able to communicate to people who have a heightened [understanding],” Scott said.

    The success of Black Lives/White Light provoked Lee to reach out to Scott and ask if he was interested in letting the conversation continue using TABLETRIBES, a digital platform that brings online conversations into the real world. Their goal is to globally scale empathy development by developing opportunities for users to exchange ideas and information in person.

    The Radius Project hopes its efforts will get a better reception than Starbucks’f did. The coffee chain launched Race Together Initiative earlier this year to encourage customers to discuss racial matters, a move that was quickly written off as a marketing ploy and called off by the company.

    “Starbucks’ intentions with [Race Together] around trying to start civic conversations felt like they were in the right place, but the execution wasn’t designed to facilitate deeper engagement in a way that was productive or appropriate. For us, it reaffirmed our approach and the need for what we’re building at TABLETRIBES,” Lee said.

    TABLETRIBES is a social networking app that allows users interested in similar topics to connect with each other offline. People who RSVP for this month’s events will be helping the startup test the app, which is currently in beta. Lee said the app will help users find others in the room to discuss specific topics relevant to each evening’s civic-minded theme during the event itself.

    “We’re gathering people because they want to talk these issues, but what we want to do with the app is allow these conversations to happen beyond the room itself,” she said.

    Panels are scheduled for June 9, 16 and 23. Interested parties can RSVP 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.

  • The 19 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.

    time flies when you’re alone with pickles and Netflix

    — Tess Koman (@tessie_the_mess) May 31, 2015

    Just saw a guy struggling to unicycle down the sidewalk and wanted to whisper to him, “No one’s making you do this.”

    — Jess Dweck (@TheDweck) May 31, 2015

    being an adult is exactly like a birthday party, except when the piñata breaks open it’s full of bills & death

    — Mary Charlene (@IamEnidColeslaw) May 31, 2015

    I’ve live-phoned, live-blogged & live g-chatted Sense & Sensibility ’95 w/ girlfriends for 2 decades. Will we persist in this until we die?

    — Sarah Marian Seltzer (@sarahmseltzer) June 1, 2015

    nothing tastes as good as muting an email thread feels

    — Lara Parker (@laraeparker) June 1, 2015

    When you’re shopping around for a new therapist and are just like



    — Taylor Trudon (@taylortrudon) June 2, 2015

    I think about the difference between Chet Haze and Colin Hanks on a DAILY BASIS

    — Mallory Ortberg (@mallelis) June 2, 2015

    “So..uh, are you excited about Governor’s Ball?” – how to talk to any Millennial in an elevator

    — Michelle Markowitz (@michmarkowitz) June 2, 2015

    Me Vs. The World: My Journey Wearing An All-White Outfit To Work

    — Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) June 2, 2015

    Rainy days make me want to stay in bed

    As do sunny days…

    I never actually want to leave my bed….

    — Rescue Ninja (@equinelover137) June 2, 2015

    Sometimes I wonder if high school acquaintances might be fascinated by my Facebook as I am with theirs and then I remember that I am boring.

    — Elise Foley (@elisefoley) June 2, 2015

    “She rides with me, the new Bobby & Whitney / Only time we don’t speak is during Sex and the City” do we really think Bey was a SATC fan tho

    — Jazmine Hughes (@jazzedloon) June 3, 2015

    Wish I had the same carefree lack of self-awareness exhibited by grown adults who publicly link to their Amazon wishlists.

    — Akilah Hughes (@AkilahObviously) June 3, 2015

    If you’ve never emotionally connected with an eggplant parm sandwich at 9:30 in the morning, I highly recommend it.

    — outer kase (@worstkase) June 4, 2015

    More ladies should leave internet comments on men’s accomplishments like “he sucks as an astronaut but i’d sit on his face”

    — dr. dalia ☥ (@DALIAMALEK) May 30, 2015

    if you are wearing a tshirt that says “whatever” wouldnt it be a stronger statement to wear a trash bag

    — Aparna Nancherla (@aparnapkin) June 3, 2015

    Bruce Jenner going by Caitlyn instead of Kaitlyn is the biggest “screw you” to the Kardashians I can think of. I love it.

    — Alexis Kleinman (@alexiskleinman) June 1, 2015

    Buying a salad is all fun and games until you have to eat it.

    — Joanna Borns (@robotics) June 5, 2015

    my dog peed on the front door of his obedience school so it’s looking good

    — lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren) June 3, 2015

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

  • Comscore: iPhone increasing share against Android in US
    Against all odds, Apple is continuing to increase its share of the US smartphone market in a “saturated” region, reports Comscore in its latest analysis of America’s cellphone landscape. Apple’s iPhone line grew 1.8 percent between January and March, with iOS now claiming 43.1 percent share and dominating as the leading single brand. While Android sales overall claimed 52.2 percent, the figure was down a full percent from the previous quarter, with individual makers mostly seeing declines.

  • Apple drops AT&T contracts from online store, offers Next option
    Per AT&T’s recent announcement that it would end the reselling of two-year traditional contracts by third parties, Apple has now altered its AT&T option on its online store’s iPhone buying page to offer only the Next program, an “installment plan” system that avoids contracts and offers the option of early upgrades, but includes a monthly payment towards the cost of the iPhone on top of the selected talk-text-data plan.

  • Weekend Roundup: Showdown Between the U.S. and China at Mischief Reef
    Trouble is brewing between the U.S. and China over the aptly named Mischief Reef and other islets in the South China Sea, which China claims. The contretemps over these tiny shoals is an early proxy battle for the grand contest of the 21st century between the rising power of China and the established American world order.

    Writing this week from Beijing, Yanmei Xie argues that the U.S. should be defending a global commons in the South China Sea, not naval supremacy. Shen Dingli writes from Shanghai that China has every right to “build sovereignty” there. Harvard professor and former chair of the CIA’s National Intelligence Council, Joe Nye, says the U.S. should stick to its long-standing policy of not getting involved in territorial disputes in Asia.

    For the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown 26 years ago this week, we publish these never-before-seen photos. WorldPost China Correspondent Matt Sheehan reports from China this week on the tragedy of the capsized cruise ship in the Yangtze River and, in a lighter turn, the hippie-go-lucky Ultimate Frisbee culture among Chinese youth. China Youthology’s Hannah Lincoln writes from Beijing that China’s youth are turning away from luxury brands, which they see as associated with elitism and corruption.

    Prominent Indian analyst Samir Saran makes the case for why the coming Asian Century might belong to India, not China. Former British Prime Minister and UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown laments the suffering of Nepalese children as appeals for post-earthquake assistance to rebuild schools fall short.

    Writing from La Paz, former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga scores the mismanagement of Venezuela by President Nicolás Maduro and looks forward to his defeat by the opposition. Sergio Muñoz Bata hopes the audience Pope Francis has granted Maduro this weekend will lead to a democratic opening in that troubled South American nation. Mauricio Santoro explores the geopolitics of the recent FIFA soccer scandal. Roque Planas talks to Mexican journalist Anabel Hernández, who explains why so much we hear about the country’s drug war is wrong.

    As voters prepare for a general election on Sunday, June 7, in a poll that could strengthen the hand of the ruling Justice and Development Party, Graham Fuller, author of “Turkey and the Arab Spring,” asks whether Turkey can survive President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s increasingly autocratic ways. From Istanbul, WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports that this weekend’s election will determine Turkey’s future for a long time to come. She also talks to a despairing Russian father who feared his daughter had gone off to join ISIS. The missing Russian student was detained while trying to cross into Syria.

    Former MI6 agent Alastair Crooke writes from Beirut that Saudi Arabia’s aim is to fracture any links between Iran and Syria in a kind of geopolitical “fracking.” Alexis Crowe argues that the best way for the U.S. to help Saudi Arabia is to promote its diversification away from an oil economy and the advancement of women. In a series of six short films under the title “The Trials of Spring,” nine women from across the Middle East are profiled.

    Former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer worries that a looming Grexit and Brexit will doom the project of European unity. Mark Rutte, prime minister of the Netherlands, calls for a public-private pact in Europe for investment in sustainable growth and jobs.

    Writing from Seoul, Mayor Park Won-soon extolls the key role of cities in battling climate change. In this month’s “Following Francis” series from the Vatican, Sébastien Maillard says Pope Francis wants women to be sisters in the Catholic Church, not servants.

    Reporting from Kuajok, South Sudan this week, World editor Charlotte Alfred profiles several girls who, despite hunger and war, still dream big as well. In Tambura, she speaks to farmers striving to feed their impoverished people.

    In this week’s “Forgotten Fact,” we turn to one war that is dramatically escalating, but remains hidden from view.

    Robert Pappalardo of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab writes that we are about to discover whether Jupiter’s moon, Europa, can sustain life. Prince Charles calls for a “Magna Carta” for the Earth.

    In Fusion this week, we look at how a remote town in southern Mexico has reinvented sex and gender. In our Singularity University series, we explore how printing 3-D jet engines is just the beginning of what is possible.

    Finally, our photo essays this week look at Turkey’s dazzling colors and contrasts, chronicle the removal of the love locks from the Pont des Arts in Paris and explore our fragile world from above.


    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.


    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.

  • Georgia Aquarium's Celebrated Baby Beluga Dies Less Than A Month After Birth
    Some sad news from the Georgia Aquarium, which announced that its newborn beluga calf died on Friday, less than a month after it was born on Mother’s Day.

    The cause of death is not yet known, but Gregory Bossart, Georgia Aquarium’s senior vice president and chief veterinary officer, said in a statement that a preliminary diagnosis indicated the calf had gastrointestinal issues and couldn’t absorb the nutrients she needed to grow.

    Despite the staff’s efforts to supplement her nutritional requirements with formula that mimicked beluga milk, the calf — who was still in the process of being named — became lethargic and needed help swimming. Eventually, the aquarium reports, the calf died next to her mother “in the arms of caregivers.”

    “While we recognize death is part of the natural cycle of life, this remains a difficult loss for the entire Aquarium team,” Mike Leven, the aquarium’s CEO and chairman, said in the statement.

    Aquarium staff members were ecstatic when the calf was born to 20-year old Maris on June 5. The birth was lauded as a milestone since the whale was born to parents in captivity: The aquarium said at the time that she was “the first viable calf to be born from parents who were born in human care.”

    Maris was born in the New York Aquarium, and Beethoven, the calf’s father, was born at SeaWorld San Antonio 19 years ago.

    The calf was Maris’s second pregnancy and birth; her first died just days after being born. A beluga calf’s odds of survival increase with each of the mother’s consecutive pregnancies, the aquarium’s statement noted.

    Aquarium veterinarians will conduct a necropsy on the calf, but acknowledged that they might never fully understand what caused her to die.

    Eric Caglione, the director of zoological operations, mammals and birds, said the staff “had the rare opportunity to advance our knowledge about the reproductive health of beluga whales” during the calf’s short life, and added that “by continuing to share [this information] and collaborate, we can collectively continue to advance and improve the care we provide to belugas.”

    The Huffington Post respected the aquarium’s request not to conduct interviews while the staff mourned.

    — 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.

  • Tennessee School Bus Driver Was Texting Before Deadly Crash, Police Say
    June 5 (Reuters) – The driver of a Tennessee school bus that crashed in December, killing two students and a teacher’s aide, had been receiving and sending texts before the crash, police said on Friday.
    The driver, James Davenport, who was among the more than two dozen people injured in the crash, died as the investigation was nearing a conclusion, Knoxville police said in a statement.
    Davenport died on Monday, local media said, quoting the Knox County Sheriff’s Office.
    The investigation determined that Davenport “was driving while distracted due to sending and receiving text messages,” Knoxville police said. “Multiple text messages had been sent and received during the time leading up to the crash.”
    Police have turned the findings over to the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office, they said.
    In the crash, one school bus crossed a concrete median on a Tennessee highway and crashed into another school bus traveling in the opposite direction. (Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Sandra Maler)

    — 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.

  • Gawker Founder Nick Denton: Seeing Vice Unionize Would Be 'Good Theater'
    After 75 percent of Gawker editorial employees voted “yes” on Wednesday, the company is on track to become the first digital publication to unionize. Asked on HuffPost Live on Friday which media outlet he’d like to see follow in Gawker’s now-unionized footsteps, Denton said he would be interested in how Vice would handle the collective bargaining process.

    “It would be interesting to see Vice unionize next, just simply because it would be interesting to see how Shane Smith would handle it. It would be good theatre,” Denton told host Marc Lamont Hill.

    Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Nick Denton, Jezebel writer Madeleine Davies and Writers Guild of America’s Eastern Editorial Director Lowell Peterson 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!

    — 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 Multitool Could Help You Be Prepared For A Natural Disaster, Or Zombie Invasion
    There’s one way to kill a zombie: Choose your weapon, aim for the head, bash and repeat.

    Inventor Marvin Weinberger recently wrapped up a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising more than $123,000 for a foot-long multitool called the Lil’ Trucker. The device takes on the shape of an apocalypse-ready hatchet that’d be the perfect weapon against an army of the undead. His company, Innovation Factory, released a horror-inspired ad in lieu of the traditional crowdfunding intro video that demonstrates the functionality of the tool.

    “We thought, wouldn’t it be fun if we could demonstrate every key feature, but do it in the guise of a zombie video, with the heroine escaping from the bad brain-munchers and showing off all the features along the way,” he told The Huffington Post.

    Zombies aside, the Lil’ Trucker is quite the multitool — it has things ranging from a foldable saw and a can opener, to a gas shut-off cut out and a glass breaker. It’s highly usable for search and rescue teams, and can cut chain-link fences, open padlocks on doors and help clear out debris.

    Weinberger said he hopes the tool catches on not just with rescue workers and firefighters, but also finds a foothold in the glovebox. He pointed to recent floods around the country, and said something that can both cut your seatbelt and break a car window could be an essential survival tool.

    “Whether or not you’re dealing with zombies, you’re still dealing with every day challenges and we think the tool is perfect for every glove compartment,” he said.

    The Lil’ Trucker’s Kickstarter campaign is over, but if you’re interested, you can sign up to be notified when the tool is available to the public, or check out the full-size Trucker’s Friend.

    Now practice those zombie attack moves.

    lil trucker

    — 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 6, 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.

  • At #PDF15, Hope and Fear About an Increasingly Connected World
    More than a decade after the first time the Personal Democracy Forum was convened, its colorful community of digital activists, campaigners, advocates and civic technologists is still capturing and coding the zeitgeist, hoping to create the change they wish to see in the world. In the face of continued apathy, anger, injustice, inequality and discrimination, there was also more pragmatism on stage this year than in years past.

    The question of whether traditional power structures — as represented by nations, presidents and institutions — have come to an end in the age of networks remains “no.” E-government has not yet become “we government.” The political force of the network of networks is still emerging, although the adoption of strong open Internet rules by the Federal Communications Commission is an important example of how powerful online activism has grown.

    The world has seen more technological change in a shorter period than at any time in history, and yet the democracy’s around the world has been stagnant for the past decade. Trust in government and participation in voting and civic life are at historic lows, at least in the United States.

    “We haven’t made a lot of progress on a lot of the things I care about”-@cbracy. Participation & trust in gov. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/hjadmZEjeU

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Research on “interested bystanders” to the political process from Google’s Politics team offered actionable suggestions for how to pull more people into civic life, but whether they’re acted upon by governments, nonprofits and civic start-ups remains an open question.

    There are now better standards for civic engagement, if people choose to use them.

    Here’s @codeforamerica‘s public engagement standard http://t.co/RKDXIUtWLK via @cbracy at #PDF15 #opengov #civictech pic.twitter.com/wQ4HFSzk3s

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    The pragmatism I saw on display is balanced with stubborn hope and determination that technology-fueled progress remains possible, due to new layers of nuance about whom change benefits.

    Relevant research for #pdf15 by @Participatory on #CivicTech, engagement & inclusion: http://t.co/WzzSufLQ9X http://t.co/DqyS46SFJQ #opengov

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Some speakers brought dazzling visuals to support their points, like Dave Troy, showing how communities in places or around politicians are connected — or not — using peoplemaps.org.

    In which @davetroy maps the communities that are following #NYC Mayor @BilldeBlasio on Twitter. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/ijplBTPIqV

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Others brought no slides at all, depending on the strength of their rhetoric to convey their vision for how technology should be used to connect the public, for the public interest. Harold Feld, the vice president of public policy at Public Knowledge, delivered an impassioned talk asking what a “public utility” means in the 21st century.

    Other speakers shared hope that people use networks to create and build, not to shame, tear down and destroy lives and careers. Jim Gilliam, the founder of campaign software startup NationBuilder, famously said in 2011 that the Internet was his religion. This year, Gilliam urged everyone at Personal Democracy Forum — and everyone online — to use the power of our collective attention to build people up, not to destroy lives or careers through shaming.

    “Leadership for a connected humanity: choosing how to use our power”-@jgilliam. Build, don’t destroy. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/SdT2K7pCD5

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Others speakers shared stories of how organizing in new ways can give connected workers new voices in workplaces and protection in a world where on-demand services and temporary employment is increasingly common.

    Organized #hashtag activism & @teamcoworker petition ended @Starbucks‘ ban on visible tattoos says @jess_kutch #pdf15 pic.twitter.com/H88snAJECy

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Embracing empathy, purpose-driven design and algorithmic transparency

    Our immersion and constant connectivity are posing other opportunities and challenges to how we live and work. At PDF 2015, Deanna Zandt made a thoughtful pitch at the conference for embracing empathy, and its role in reflecting humanity’s messiness back at us online. Americans are now spending more than eight hours every day consuming media. The American public is not alone around the world in this behavior. As we stare down at our glowing screens, though, people are still looking for intimacy and human connections beyond public social media platforms, where what we share on Instagram doesn’t reflect the entirety of our lived experience. People are searching for safer spaces to share ephemeral media that can’t instantly be seen by a billion people.

    The value of our time and attention also loomed large at Personal Democracy Forum, embodied by an audience that overwhelmingly split its focus between smartphones and laptops as they listened to speakers. Many of the popular social media platforms and apps of today, whether public or private, are designed around grabbing and holding our attention. Tristan Harris encouraged us to embrace design for civic apps that are focused on a purpose beyond that goal.

    Purpose-driven design is to #civictech as organic is to food, LEED is to building. Time spent->time well-spent #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/UewMINpnEN

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Citing Neil Postman quoting Aldous Huxley, he urged us to focus on spending time and attention on what matters, not what’s demanded.

    In the future, the challenge for everyone staring at those screens is that the same “addiction algorithms” honed and perfected in casinos are being applied elsewhere, from shopping to online games. When Cathy O’Neil talked about those “algorithms as weapons of math destruction,” she flagged the potential risks of applying mathematical model expressed in software to enforcing public policy. Data-driven policy, campaigns and commerce are going to need more “algorithmic transparency.”

    Staring into an uncertain connected future

    The first day of the conference ended with difficult questions about how the next billion people will go online — and what will happen when we connect billions of sensors and devices to the network of networks. Sunil Abraham, the executive director of the Center of Internet and Society in India, decried what Facebook’s Internet.org offered to Indians, suggesting it should have been called “WalledGarden.org.”

    .@mlsif talking with @sunil_abraham about “zero rating” & @internet_org http://t.co/uqi8T3glva over Skype at #PDF15. pic.twitter.com/laY8BdWNhm

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s claims to the contrary, the practice of zero rating, or giving people free data for a selected set of services, looks fundamentally incompatible with net neutrality laws or regulations. If the world gets this wrong, the next Internet will end up working more like cable TV than the World Wide Web of last decade.

    Science fiction author and activist Cory Doctorow closed the first day conference with his concerns about the growing “Internet of Things,” referring to the growing number of sensors, devices, appliances, vehicles and industrial machines that are getting IP addresses. Doctorow warned that the business model of this new wave of connected devices is looking far more like that of inkjet printers and closed systems than the open Web, with digital rights management constraining use and even ownership. He shared a story of John Deere and copyright as an early example of this potential future in our present, warning that this model means that “you are a tenant farmer of your tractor.” Doctorow said that the public needs to start thinking about subprime auto loans (to say nothing of, say, prosthetic limbs), when cars can be remotely deactivated if the owner misses a payment.

    Whether we control our devices or the media recorded on them is not a minor point at a time when citizen-recorded and published videos bring new transparency and accountability against law enforcement abuses. In a powerful talk, Dante Barry shared his hope that the open Internet, the most powerful platform for collective action in mankind’s short history, will be used to fight in the 21st century for the civil and human rights that previous generations fought and bled for in the last century.

    “Powerful movements need powerful platforms”-@dantebarry on the open Internet. #pdf15 #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/hTdXMxEr2z

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Fundamental questions of labor standards and employment were more a part of the conversation about digital democracy than at any point previously. At a time when our national leaders and politicians are still not engaging directly with the future of jobs as artificial intelligence, automation and machine-learning disrupt employment, it was refreshing to see these issues directly addressed in a conference focused on technology and society.

    — 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.

  • Pointers: the value of the unlocked iPhone
    This Pointers tip actually works on most other smartphones as well, we should mention, but our experience in this regard is with the iPhone, so we use that as our example. Most people confuse “unlocking” an iPhone with “jailbreaking” it, and these two concepts could not be more different, in fact. This week, we will explain the chief advantages of unlocking your iPhone, or other smartphone, if its not already, and why you should do it as soon as possible — even if you never plan to leave your home country.

  • Federal Government Data Breach Being Investigated As National Security Matter
    By Julia Edwards

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cyber breach into U.S. government workers’ personnel data is being investigated as a national security matter, meaning it may have originated from a foreign government, a U.S. official told Reuters.

    National security investigations are used to probe actions thought to have originated from a state entity or terrorist organization, and the actor in the recent breach is not thought to be a terrorist organization, the official said.

    Investigators have been probing China as a possible culprit, U.S. officials said on Thursday, though it was unclear at the time whether a government or citizens acting independently were responsible.

    The hackers broke into U.S.government computers, possibly compromising the personal data of 4 million current and former federal employees.

    The FBI said it is investigating the attack and aimed to find those responsible.

    Asked about the role China may have played, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday there is “no conclusion about the attribution” of the attack.

    The Chinese Embassy in Washington said on Thursday that jumping to conclusions was “not responsible, and counterproductive.”

    (Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Sandra Maler)

    — 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.

  • New to Freelance Web Design? Read Me.

    Starting out as a Freelance Web Designer?

    Congratulations! So now, where to start.

    As the owner and primary designer at HostMamas, I have run across many tips, tools, and inspiration through my years of freelancing and networking. Some good, some not so good. Here are some of my favorite if you are just getting your feet wet in this fun world.

    • Slow down. Don’t start with a design: take a scenario-based approach to firmly establish the client’s goals, map out a user’s journey and then build the design around this. Listen first, design later.
    • Get Your Client Involved in the Design Process. Create a shared vision board on Pinterest. They’re a great way to collect elements together quickly and clue your client in and get them involved in the initial design process. Also, utliziing a tool like Unveil offers real time feedback with the client.
    • Image Size Reduction. A basic is knowing that sites with highly optimized images load faster and work better on more devices. SmushIt is a great option to reduce image file sizes, quick and easy. They also have a WordPress plugin, if you are utilizing that CMS.
    • Find color inspiration. Join a creative community where members share color schemes, designs and ideas like the Colour Lovers site.
    • Typography is the Word. Monotype recently teamed up with Google to release a new, free public version of Typecast which can be accessed through Google Fonts. It enables you to select any font on the Google Fonts website and then follow the link to the Typecast app.
    • You can’t be an expert at everything. If a job calls for an advanced skill you don’t yet have, don’t be afraid to ask for help. By joining a co-op to work through, you can create a great network to lean on and vice versa. Check out ShareDesk to find one by you.
    • S-E-O is your Best Friend. You don’t need to be an expert at it, but at least be very familiar on the basics. In 2015, it is a must- especially if you are freelancing. The web has lots of tips, tricks, and tutorials (A great starter is here). If you utilize certain CMS’ they have awesome plugins you can easily integrate into your sites (WordPress favorite is SEO by Yoast).
    • Design Sites to be Responsive. If you don’t know what that means, you should probably hold off on designing until you do. In 2015, sites are being viewed on a plethora of devices and your client will want theirs to be looking good on all of them. If you want to utilize the CMS WordPress, you might want to check out Ultimatum. Some others out there include Muse by Adobe and WebFlow.
    • Say Yes. Say yes to work even if it’s outside your comfort zone. By taking a paying job that challenges your current skill set it will allow you to develop more than any course or tutorial. Deadlines, money, and clients are powerful motivators.
    • You are a Salesperson as much as you are a Designer.I saved the best for last. Many designers or developers do not want to hear this, but as a freelancer it is true. You need to create a pitch and be able to explain why you are different from Susie Designer down the road. If you want to be successful in the word of freelance, you need to continually be able to sell yourself.

    So remember: Be tenacious, be curious, be social, and oh yeah- having your own awesome website to showcase doesn’t hurt. Best of luck!

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

  • Another Reason to Reach for the Cloud
    Lots of people are talking about cloud computing.

    Even if the term is a misnomer, cloud computing is a big deal. That’s because organizations can do anything in the cloud that they can do on-premises. So why are Federal agencies still investing just a fraction of their IT budgets on cloud computing?

    DevOps Trending Up

    A new study, “The Agile Advantage: Can DevOps Move Cloud to the Fast Lane?” helps connect the dots. Agencies want to move more quickly, and 66 percent say they need to move IT services to the cloud faster to meet mission and constituent needs. DevOps can help agencies move to the cloud and improve efficiency by streamlining IT management.

    What is it?

    Speeding Up with DevOps

    DevOps is about speeding up software development.

    Conventional development cordons off software developers from IT operations and quality assurance. Each team does their thing serially, one after the other. DevOps speeds everything up. It’s automated and collaborative. Management consultant Accenture believes DevOps can result in a 50 percent increase in speed to market, according to its “DevOps: Services Overview.””A DevOps model brings software engineering, quality assurance, and IT operations together as an integrated team,” explained Tim Hoechst, Accenture Federal Services’ chief technology officer (CTO). “Federal agencies can start up new projects more quickly, improve resource utilization, and reduce downtime – ultimately driving the innovation needed for real change.”

    By the Numbers

    Just 22 percent of Feds are very familiar with DevOps today, but 60 percent say they can see DevOps in their agency’s future.

    That’s not all – 63 percent say DevOps will speed up application delivery and migration, and 68 percent see DevOps as a viable path to improve collaboration between IT development, security, and operations teams.

    The Secret is Out

    So here’s a question – can DevOps help agencies migrate to the cloud faster?

    Maybe DevOps and cloud computing go hand in hand. Like peas and carrots, apple pie and ice cream, or B.B. King and blues (RIP, B.B.). According to the new study, few Federal agencies have embraced DevOps, but the majority sees it in their future.

    Read the full report about DevOps to learn more about how it can help Federal agencies.

    And learn more about Federal cloud.

    — 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.

  • Technology Party Manifesto
    Perhaps I will not break any new ground here, and, certainly, who cares what I think – some writer/filmmaker who clearly has too much imagination and no sense of reality. But, nonetheless, here it goes – I think it’s time for a viable Technology Party to emerge. Not a hold-the-beat rave with glow sticks, mind you, but a political organization.

    Republicans and, to a large extent, Democrats, represent old technologies and old industries. Oil, gas, steel, electricity, and such are still here and important parts of our toolset, but in the evolution of technology, they are the cranky grandpas, dreaming of old glory while stuck in unpleasant habits. Tech has shaped human history from the early stages of the development of tools, and we have reached another threshold. The first people to sharpen a stone, the first to create a wheel, the first to figure out that iron was easier to use than bronze and so on were the winners and leaders of their times. In the same way, the moment has come to have people in power who are leading the current technological revolution, the computer-based, internet-oriented digital life we have today.

    Our technology is no longer something on the outside – it’s become inseparable from us, it’s a part of us. And this trend will only continue. But who will stand up for the Digital Man? Both major American parties were formed in the 19th century and often behave like not much has changed. The current unproductive political climate is not simply due to inability to agree. The people who are representing us are talking about the wrong things, in the wrong ways, relying on ideas no longer relevant.

    The Technology Party needs to be led by one of the leaders of the digital industry, at home in the new world. This party’s platform should include education at its core and should represent America in all the multifaceted diversity that it is today. It would be a common sense party, comfortable with where technology is taking us, knowing how to deal with the issues of privacy, how to protect this country from Cyberwarfare, how to implement digital voting and bring fast internet to all, creating greater overall democracy.

    The time for this party has come. It feels in many ways that our life has already been shaped by people who have been the captains of tech. But it’s time they officially proposed and created policy. Standing here, on the shore of the binary ocean I shout – Technology Party, where are you? Take my vote!

    — 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.

  • US facing 'dedicated' hacking enemy
    The US says it faces a “dedicated adversary” and an “ever evolving threat” to the nation’s cyber security, after a major data breach.
  • Lovely, The Wearable Sex Tracker, Is A Fitbit For Your Penis
    How lovely.

    As wearable devices become more and more common, techies are able to better incorporate their smartphones, watches and fitness trackers into a daily routine. And a new Indiegogo campaign hopes you’re ready to take wearables along for some of your most intimate moments, too.

    The Lovely, a “smart” sex toy, fits around the penis and tracks sexual activity — from calories burned, to number of thrusts, to the intensity of intercourse. A smartphone app measures these and other data sets before recommending new sex positions “to help you have even better sex next time,” the Indiegogo page reads.

    Made of silicone, the one-size-fits-all toy vibrates to help provide stimulation during sex. It syncs to your smartphone via bluetooth, and its battery lasts for seven hours without vibration, or two hours with. When Lovely’s battery gets low, just place it in its wireless charging cradle to power it up.

    One of the best things about the device? Its tracking software isn’t only for straight couples — it’s meant for relationships of all orientations.

    “It doesn’t just have to go on a penis,” Reid Mahalko, a sex and relationship expert attached to the project, says of the Lovely in a promotional video. “You can put this wearable on a dildo, you can put it on your fingers, you can use it on a toy on yourself. It’s really only going to be limited by the ideas that you come up with.”

    The project is currently raising money on Indiegogo. If the campaign reaches its goal of $95,000 by early July, the Lovely will eventually be released for $169 a pop. The project had raised nearly $5,000, as of Friday afternoon.

    People who donate to the campaign can expect to get their Lovely device by June 2016, if the funding is successful, that is.

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

  • Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app

    Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app

    The post Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Google unveils new underwater 'street views'
    Google has unveiled a collection of 40 new “special” street view images as part of its latest update.
  • 5 Tips for Running a Successful Blog
    What are Oliver Emberton’s tips for running a blog?: 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 Oliver Emberton, Founder of Silktide, Blogger at oliveremberton.com

    In my first year of blogging I was read over 4 million times, mostly through a cunning strategy I call “screwing everything up and learning.”

    Let me save you some time. Here are the 5 most surprising lessons I learned:

    1. The world owes you nothing

    The cold, unfeeling universe does not give two shits about you or your writing.

    Anyone can walk into a bookstore and pick from Shakespeare, Pratchett, JK Rowling and a million more. Tell me (a) is your writing more deserving of attention and (b) how would anyone even know?

    This may sound dispiriting, and it’s meant to. We live at the center of our own private universes, which can fool us into thinking the world responds to our merits, as we see them. If you believe this, you’re in for a lifetime of tear-stained keyboards.

    If you acknowledge the truth, you can arm yourself accordingly.

    2. Give people a reason to care

    You are in competition with every other distraction on the Internet. Your beautifully written sonnet must joust for attention against Miley Cyrus with a kitten.

    If you want an audience, don’t write for yourself. Forget yourself. Start with:

    • Who am I writing for?
    • What can I do for them?
    • Why should they care?

    Let’s say you’re writing for casual bloggers. It’s not hard to think of things that casual bloggers might struggle with (“How to win your first thousand followers”), find entertaining (“My blog cost me my job, wife and kids”) or inspiring (“How my blog got me a date with Natalie Portman”). Start there.

    3. Hook emotionally

    Brilliant intellectuals can appreciate content on a purely intellectual basis. For everyone else, there’s urgent news, sex, themselves, gossip and sex.

    You know when you feel compelled to click on a link? You don’t have time to think about it. Hooks are entirely emotional:

    • Scary & urgent – “Terrorists will attack your town, tomorrow”
    • Big names – “A day in the life of Tony Stark”
    • Self-interest – “How to win your dream girl”
    • Sex-appeal – “The hottest babes in tennis”
    • Trendsetting – “The show everyone is talking about”

    These emotions can be conveyed in a headline. Your headline is where you will win or lose most of your audience. A title in a tweet is judged and dismissed by 99% of your audience before they see another word; ensure yours punches them in their emotional face.

    4. Edit as much as you write

    Editing is a superpower which can turn charcoal into diamonds. Most people seem content to shovel coal.

    Don’t mistake editing for proof reading. Editing is where you take your work apart in a blender, rearrange, rewrite and rethink everything. Everything. At a minimum, you must edit for:

    • Verbosity. Nothing will kill attention faster than excess words. Like these. For example.
    • Confusion. Your readers may not speak English as their first language. They may be bouncing a baby on their lap. Don’t make them think any harder than they have to.
    • Predictability. If someone can guess your next sentence from the previous one, you have a delicious unicycling mongoose. Avoid cliche, add sparkle.

    I personally spend 2-3x as much time editing as writing. It makes all the difference.

    5. Build a platform

    If you’re searching for an audience, it doesn’t take long to realise that the famous get most of the attention. The mistake is to assume this dooms you to failure. You just need to become slightly more famous.

    It’s slowest at the start, which is where most people give up. My writing did nothing for 4 months; later that year I had 4 million views. Write continuously, and test everything you can think of. Think of it like tuning a radio.

    To win in the long term, your platform must efficiently convert readers into followers. Forget likes and tweets; followers are what you’re after. Best of all, start a mailing list – it’s more work, but you’ll have far higher engagement than you’ll ever get from Twitter and Facebook.

    If you write something and it doesn’t clearly encourage people to follow you, you’re playing the wrong game.

    Some writers may find all of this a bit dirty. Well, yes. Unfortunately, it’s also how people work. You must appeal to their nature before you can win them over with your writing. Otherwise, no-one will even know what wonders they’re even missing.

    Good luck.

    More from me. Follow on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.

    More questions on Quora:

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

  • Classic Vinyl: A Tale of Two Turntables
    Vinyl records are making a comeback, but will the new breed of turntables make our old record collection sound better (despite all of the hisses and pops delivered by the worn grooves of the recordings)?

    To get the answer, we tested two new turntables with a record collection dating from the 1960s and were amazed by the results.

    Yes, the hisses and pops were still there. But the sound delivered through even a so-called “budget” receiver and speaker system was much better than we had expected.

    We used a direct-drive turntable from Onkyo and a belt-driven model from Pioneer to see if we could detect any differences between the two. The result? Despite a few subtle differences in sound reproduction — and the possibility you may have to replace a belt due to wear or breakage — the only big difference we could find was the price. Also, belt drive turntables are supposed to have the lowest rumble with direct drive turntables having less wow and flutter. Rumble is caused by a vibration in the turntable while wow and flutter are caused by variations in the speeds at which the platter is revolving.

    The Onkyo CP-1050 ($599) is a direct drive turntable boasting an anti-vibration wood-grained cabinet and stylish aluminum deck.

    One of the biggest criticisms of direct-drive turntables used to be a so-called “cogging noise” resulting from the gears of the turntable’s motor meshing together to turn the platters. The folks at Onkyo have eliminated this problem by designing a low-torque motor. They also claim that there’s less high-frequency noise using a direct-drive model than a belt-driven unit. We couldn’t detect a difference, but the human ear isn’t as discriminating as instruments used to accurately test such things.

    Our one major complaint was the absence of a built-in phono preamp, which would allow us to use it with receivers/amplifiers that lack phono inputs. The solution is to purchase a small preamp (which costs about $20) and install it between the turntable and the receiver. If you need one, don’t skimp on the cost. Less expensive phono preamps tend to add an annoying hum to the sound reproduction. This wasn’t the case with the Behringer Microphono PP400 preamp we used.

    Other features of the Onkyo CP-1050 include:

    • An S-shaped aluminum tone arm with a detachable headshell
    • An antiskate dial, which can be adjusted to reduce tracking distortion on the inner grooves of the record
    • A moving magnet cartridge
    • A die-cast aluminum turntable
    • A thick rubber mat
    • A brushless motor
    • A counterweight that can be adjusted to accommodate the weight of various cartridges
    • A 45 RPM setting to play those old favorites from the 1950s and 60s

    The belt-driven turntable we used was the Pioneer PL-30-K ($299.99), which — to our ears — delivered sound that was equal to the CP-1050. The company claims that the combination of a dual servo motor and the belt drive reduces wow and flutter to less than .1 percent compared to less than .15 percent on the Onkyo unit. There’s no way we can dispute this claim, but the difference seems negligible, at best.

    The best feature of the PL-30-K is its built-in phono preamp. A switch on the back of the of the turntable’s cabinet rerouted the signal through the preamp allowing us to use receivers that lacked a phono input.

    Another feature resembles the days of so-called record changers, where the tone arm automatically moves into the proper position to play a recording and automatically returns to its stand when it’s done. A simple push of a start button sends all of this into motion. This also is not available on the CP-1050.

    The PL-30-K also has a straight tone arm rather than the S-shaped tone arm that is used by the CP-1050. There has been much debate over which technology is better, with no clear winner.

    Other than that, all of the features are identical to those on the CP-1050, including noise-dampening, a moving magnet cartridge, counterweight and anti-skating dials, detachable headshell and the ability to play 45 RPM records.

    So why the difference in price? That all boils down to the direct drive versus belt drive debate. The better technology is in the eyes of the beholder — and the manufacturer.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website.

    — 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.

  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Says Congress Uses Tech Like The DMV, But Should Be Like Uber
    Interacting with Congress has more in common with going to the DMV than opening an Uber app. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.) thinks that’s a problem.

    The chair of the House Republican Conference told the 2015 Personal Democracy Forum in New York City on Friday that the Congress of the future will embrace technology the same way the private sector has over the past decade. An increasingly connected public expects the web to play a part in government, she said, from committee hearings streamed online to the ability to contact their representatives digitally.

    “We are a 19th century institution using 20th century technology to solve 21st century problems,” Rodgers said.

    So how could tech transform the way we relate to government? I spoke with Rodgers about her vision for digital democracy to find out where Congress could be five or 10 years from today.

    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.

  • The Problems Bitcoin May Face in the Nearest Future
    If you know what Bitcoin is and have been following its development, you’ve probably heard the news. Stock exchanges have begun to take bitcoins seriously. This looks like a breakthrough, especially considering the fact that the NYSE now uses Bitcoin-like mechanisms when issuing securities. What is more, the NYSE has even announced the launch of the first bitcoin index (NYXBT). Isn’t that a sign that the currency has been accepted at the highest levels of world economy?

    But it’s only one side of a coin. The real issue is the inner problems of the Bitcoin project. And they simply can’t be ignored if the system is to scale up and continue to work. The Bitcoin architecture itself has some features that will eventually become major hurdles as Bitcoin popularity continues to grow. If these fundamental restrictions are not addressed, Bitcoin may practically cease to exist.

    The first and most important problem is the number of transactions it can complete within a certain timeframe. To understand this problem, you need to know how the Bitcoin system works. Clients send each other different sums of money. There’s a common list of money transactions (known as “Bitcoin public ledger”), where all such transfers are recorded and verified using the miners’ signatures. The transactions are not recorded individually, though. Instead, they are added to the ledger in bulk — approximately every 10 minutes or so. And here’s the rub: each block has a size limitation, which is currently set at 1Mb. This limitation was set by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto with the purpose of protecting the system from abuse.

    Due to this limitation, only so many transactions per second (TPS) can occur. Some simple math shows that the maximum Bitcoin TPS capacity is 7. In practice, 3 TPS is more realistic. While it wasn’t a problem in the beginning, today the typical capacity is already at 1.3 TPS. If the trend continues, next year the system won’t be able to process the increasing amount of transactions and will simply grind to a halt.

    The most obvious solution to this problem is to raise the limit. Gavin Andersen, one of the current leaders of the Bitcoin movement, claims that this is possible. The limitation can be increased up to 20 Mb at the moment without serious problems to the system. However, if further increases in capacity are required, the miners’ technical capabilities would most likely have to catch up first.

    And now we’ve come to the second big problem, which is even more serious than any technical limitations. Today, the Bitcoin project is controlled by technicians and computer scientists — a group of enthusiasts who can do whatever they want with the crypto-currency. The sources are open: if you don’t like anything, just fork it away!

    This way of development follows into the footsteps of the Linux project. While working great for Linux itself, this methodology may not be an ideal match for Bitcoin. With Linux, users are free to install any update any time they like. With Bitcoin, serious technical solutions (like raising the TPS) require almost synchronous software update on every user’s computer. If you don’t update, you fall out of Bitcoin’s favor, and your transaction won’t be accepted. It’s easy to see how a situation like this may lead to a serious crisis, as thousands of people, companies and organizations depend on proper Bitcoin functioning.

    In other words, the processes within the Bitcoin system should be regulated, and relying on a group of enthusiasts for that is probably not the best option. In my view, the best strategy is to establish a non-profit regulatory organization that would include all the interested parties. The Bitcoin Foundation does not fit this role, as it is in trouble with the authorities in the US, where the foundation is headquartered, and even among the members of the organization there’s no unity.

    To sum it up, I’d say that the creation of such an organization should therefore be the primary goal of the entire Bitcoin community.

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

  • Google Calendar Updated with Improved Viewing on Phones

    Google has released an update to Google Calendar for Android tablets and phones which brings several improvements, especially for those who use the app on their phone.  The update, version 5.2.1-94626333-release for those keeping score at home, has mainly focused on improvements around the month views on Android phones but also has moved some of the navigation elements in the app to improve and streamline it.  Although the name suggests it is for Google’s online calendar service only, Google Calendar can be your single calendar app on your phone or tablet as it allows you to pull in data from

    The post Google Calendar Updated with Improved Viewing on Phones appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Now You Can Live Your Dream Of Going On A Date With A Pug
    My name is Damon, and the beautiful pink pug sitting across from me doesn’t like that.


    Oh, she wants to hear about my interests.

    Maybe she’s being sarcastic? I’m not really feeling it.

    Yeah, something tells me this isn’t going to work out.

    You can embark on your very own pug romance by downloading “Hot Date.” It’s available now for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux — and you can pay whatever you want for it. (Even nothing, if you’re feeling cheap.) It was created for unclear reasons by game developer George Batchelor and released unto the world last Thursday. It’s very fun, really weird and kind of dark — just like real dating can be.

    — 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.

  • Check Out Google's New Tool For Monitoring Global Fishing
    CASCAIS, Portugal — Google offered an early look at its new Global Fishing Watch project, which allows users to track commercial fishing vessels and increase transparency around the fishing industry, at the World Ocean Summit in Portugal on Friday.

    Google, the environmental group Oceana and the remote mapping and tracking organization SkyTruth first announced the program at last year’s ocean summit. On Friday, Google Ocean program manager Brian Sullivan gave a snapshot of what they’ve put together in their prototype of the program so far.

    Global Fishing Watch maps commercial fishing ships that are equipped with Automatic Identification System technology, and allows users to visualize the hot spots around the world and see where illegal fishing or overfishing is taking place. It shows a vessel’s name, type and country of origin, and also tracks its movements. The prototype brings together 300 million AIS data points for more than 25,000 fishing vessels.

    “You can see patterns that were invisible before,” Sullivan told World Ocean Summit attendees, which include representatives from government, business and nonprofits.

    Global Fishing Watch describes the potential benefits of the site:

    Citizens can use the tool to see for themselves whether their fisheries are being effectively managed. Seafood suppliers can keep tabs on the boats they buy fish from. Media and the public can act as watchdogs to improve the sustainable management of global fisheries. Fishermen can show that they are obeying the law and doing their part. Researchers will have access to a multiyear record of all trackable fishing activity.

    “Illegal fishing is cheating honest fishermen and consumers, and preventing fisheries from recovering,” Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for U.S. oceans at Oceana, told The Huffington Post. “This is a way to use big data to hold governments and the fishing industry accountable.”

    Sullivan said the tracking technology also allows users to see where vessels turn off their AIS — possibly to evade such tracking. Google Ocean found half a million cases of vessels disappearing from the radar in 2014 — about 17,000 instances each month. “We can zoom in, get information on the vessel, where they are, and make that transparent,” said Sullivan.

    While not all countries require ships to have AIS on board, Sullivan said more and more governments are requiring it. He also expressed optimism that, in cases where countries aren’t requiring it, companies will want to adopt the technology to demonstrate to consumers that they’re fishing legally and transparently.

    They also demonstrated how the site can be used to ensure that fishing is not taking place in protected areas, using the example of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati, which was closed to fishing in January 2015. Their tracking showed that fishing had, in fact, stopped in the protected area. Savitz said Global Fishing Watch’s technology can demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of protected areas.

    The groups plan to make the technology available to the public for free sometime next year.

    Google also launched 40 new Street View images for underwater sites around the world — showing views of places like the Chagos Islands, Bali, the Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef from below the sea. The new images are part of a 4-year-old effort from Google to document the seas, and was released for World Oceans Day, which is June 8.

    “We hope the release of this imagery inspires people to learn more about this precious natural resource,” Google said in its release, noting that oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but are still “one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet.”

    — 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.

  • Forget Sports: Pro 'Dota 2' Gamers Will Make Millions This Year
    Send this to anyone who ever told you to turn off the video games and play outside.

    This year’s prize pool for The International Dota 2 Championship in Seattle reached a record-setting $11,424,006 Friday morning. As James Vincent at The Verge pointed out, that’s more than the prize pool of the Masters golf tournament, which this year offered $10 million in total. It’s also more than Ozzy Osbourne’s Beverly Hills mansion.

    “Dota 2” is a hugely popular competitive multiplayer game that pits teams of five players against one another. It’s enjoyed by people around the world and reportedly generates $18 million every month for game-maker Valve.

    Streaming videos of “Dota 2” matches are also popular — an estimated 134 million people watch so-called “e-sports” in some form.

    The prize pool money for this year’s championship was raised in part by players who have purchased a “compendium,” which contains in-game items and enhancements.

    — 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.

  • Are Selfies Influencing Where We Choose to Go On Vacation?
    The elaborate convolution of social media, selfies and instant status updates in today’s culture is having an immediate impact on where and why we go on vacation. For those who are completely absorbed by the selfie phenomena, determining an ideal vacation spot is no easy task. Gone are the days when temperature and climate took precedence in choosing a travel destination. Today, a new kind of selection process is upon us, one heavily regulated by the proliferation of social media and the ability to instantly share every aspect of visiting a certain part of the country/world.

    Receiving a ‘Social Return’ from Your Trip

    Receiving a ‘social return’ from your vacation is a relatively new concept, but one that’s being taken very seriously by travelers nonetheless. Vacation experiences must now encompass feed-friendly moments, ones you can share instantly across social media. Potential vacation goers are attracted to specific destinations with the allure of increasing their influence among their social followers. (After all who doesn’t love a few Instagram likes?) For example, the appeal of sharing your vacation to Fiji while paddle boarding among dolphins resonates with potential vacation goers far more than a trip to see antiquated statues in Hungary. Thus, specific locations are being booked far quicker than others, simply because social media is playing a factor in the decision making.

    Chauffeured Selfie Excursions

    Why take an excursion when you can take a “selfie” excursion? Various companies within the tourism and hospitality industries are capitalizing on the popularity of the selfie and catering to those who cannot resist the temptation to snap some pics. In Paris, at the Mandarin Oriental for example, special trips are offered by the hotel for people on the hunt for the perfect selfie. Guests can book a chauffeur and luxury car for the day, one that has its very own Wi-Fi connection, and be shuttled around “The City of Light” to the most popular tourist attractions. Along the way, guests can take selfies at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, among other popular city landmarks, then instantly upload them to all their social media accounts for friends and family to see.

    The Quokka: Possibly the World’s Most Photogenic Selfie Taking Animal

    Not only are specific destinations a hot spot for selfie lovers, but certain animals are as well. Specifically, travelers are converging on Rottnest Island in Australia to take a selfie with a quokka, a short-tailed wallaby with a ginormous, photogenic smile.

    Until recently, few people outside of Australia had never heard of the quokka. Now hundreds of thousands of tourists per year are making the trip to Rottnest Island just to capture a picture with the furry animal. Dubbed the “happiest animal in the world,” the quokka is equally cute as it is dangerous, as the creature is known for biting and even hospitalizing tourists. Is it worth the risk? Some people seem to think so…

    The Power of the Selfie

    The influence of the selfie in today’s society has spiraled out of control, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It has become a staple of today’s millennials and even an official word in the dictionary. Travel goers these days are actively searching for destination hot spots that cater to social media. For that reason alone, people are going to great lengths to capture a selfie representative of their experience and worthy of a few likes/comments. And when I say great lengths, I literally mean great lengths, as in traveling across the country.

    While people go as far as seeking out a cool new vacation spot for the purpose of the social media, there is a cycle to note here. Selfies that users view on their feed, depicting a cool location or attraction, actually act as a catalyst for viewers to travel to that particular destination. It’s a selfie world these days, we’re all just living in it and traveling through it.

    — 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 5, 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.

  • Tweet And Delete: Politwoops' Demise Means Less Transparency In Politics
    Politwoops, the Sunlight Foundation project that curated deleted tweets from politicians, has been stopped in its tracks.

    In a post on its site Thursday, titled “Eulogy for Politwoops,” Sunlight Foundation President Christopher Gates explained that Twitter suddenly revoked the group’s access to its API, or application programming interface, which was used to tap into the database of tweets. The most recent deleted tweet on the Politwoops site is dated May 15.

    The service followed the Twitter accounts of congressional members and candidates, governors and gubernatorial candidates, the president and vice president, and presidential candidates. When it was launched in 2012, Sunlight touted it as “an illuminating rough draft of how politicians and campaigns hone their social media messaging and amend their record.”

    Gates noted that just after the service launched, Twitter contacted the foundation and told it Politwoops “violates our API Terms of Service on a fundamental level.”

    “We explained the goals of the project and agreed to create a human curation workflow to ensure that the site screened out corrected low-value tweets like typos, links and Twitter handles,” Gates wrote. “We implemented this layer of journalistic judgment with blessings from Twitter and the site continued.”

    Gates wrote Thursday:

    We are truly mystified as to what prompted the change of heart, and it’s deeply disappointing to see Twitter kill a project they had supported since 2012. It is also disturbing to us that our feed was cut almost three weeks ago and our only direct communication came from Twitter last night, when we were told that their decision was not something that we could appeal, and, most surprisingly, they were not interested in reviewing any of the email conversation from 2012. Clearly, something changed — and we’re not likely to ever know what it was.

    On Wednesday evening, Twitter released a statement to Gawker, which had reported on the lack of updates earlier this week before it knew the cause. In its statement, Twitter said it would “not restore Twitter API access for their Politwoops site.”

    Twitter continued: “We strongly support Sunlight’s mission of increasing transparency in politics and using civic tech and open data to hold government accountable to constituents, but preserving deleted Tweets violates our developer agreement. Honoring the expectation of user privacy for all accounts is a priority for us, whether the user is anonymous or a member of Congress.”

    In its Thursday post, Gates indicated he didn’t agree with Twitter’s decision.

    “We will honor Twitter’s latest decision, but it stands at odds with a fundamental understanding of our democracy,” he wrote. “A member of Congress does not and should not have the same expectation of privacy as a private citizen. Power can only be accountable with a generous application of transparency.”

    Over the years, Politwoops has helped surface tweets that were insightful about as well as embarrassing to politicians, including one from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) that referred to “‘idiotic’ Republicans” and one from Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) about how “hot” Cyndi Lauper was.

    — 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.

  • Unlock These Never-Before-Seen Photos Of The Tiananmen Square Protests With Your Phone

    Photographer Xu Yong was in Tiananmen Square 26 years ago when Chinese government troops opened fire on their own people — and he captured those moments.

    Hundreds — possibly thousands — of unarmed protesters and onlookers were killed when tanks and soldiers entered central Beijing on June 3-4, 1989, to put down the student-led protests. Xu has held on to his camera negatives for decades and recently decided to publish them in an art book, titled Negatives, in what The New York Times called a “provocative” move against hard-liners in the current government.

    Xu’s book release coincides with the candle light vigil held Thursday night in Hong Kong by tens of thousands of students in solidarity with those killed during the Tiananmen Square protests.

    For the first time in the annual vigil’s quarter-century history, some student groups didn’t take part and instead held their own memorials, a sign of an emerging rift between young and old over Hong Kong’s pro-democracy identity that took root during the 2014 Occupy Central protests. The recent vigil was the only large-scale public commemoration of the victims on Chinese soil, and the Tiananmen events remain a taboo topic on the mainland.

    “Unlike digital photographs, which can be manipulated, negatives never lie,” Xu said about the unadulterated negatives.

    “On the attempt to cover-up and induce amnesia on an historic event, negatives have more direct impact as evidence than normal photographs or digital media, Xu wrote in a description of the project. “However, perhaps using this form to immunize against amnesia is not that important. What should be carefully considered are the social conditions that have resulted in the prolonged process of completing these works.”

    Xu’s more than two-decade-old negatives aren’t stuck in the past. They can easily be seen in color on smartphones. If you’re on an iPhone, go to your “settings” icon, hit the “general” tab, click “accessibility” and then mark the label “invert colors” to on. Android-users: go to “settings” then “accessibility” and select “inverted rendering” at the bottom of the menu.

    Once you switch the color spectrum, you can either view the negatives on your phone’s browser, or hold up the camera to a physical copy of the book or a desktop window to see the images in full color.

    Historical magic. Take a look.

    The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • Chrome for Android Updated with Inline Word Searches

    Google has released a nice update to the Chrome browser for Android devices with several improvements and new features.  One of the new features is the ability to tap a word on a webpage and Google will provide you information about that word or phrase at the bottom of the screen.  It is a handy little feature, especially if you run across a word you aren’t sure of the meaning or usage.  This update, version 43.0.2357.92 on Android phones for those keeping score at home, is available now and includes several other updates that make it a worthwhile download.  If

    The post Chrome for Android Updated with Inline Word Searches appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • A Critical Moment for the Future of the Internet
    (Image via Shutterstock)
    Image via Shutterstock

    By Fadi Chehadé

    The Internet, the greatest invention of our generation–several generations in fact–is in many ways a reflection of the American Dream. It’s vast and open, unlimited in its potential reach. It’s inclusive and welcoming. Anyone can be part of it and make a difference. The fastest growing part of the global economy is Internet-based, and the Internet accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. According to Boston Consulting Group, the Internet is contributing up to 8 percent of GDP in some economies, powering growth and creating jobs.

    You’d be correct in arguing it’s an American-made innovation. We can trace the roots of the Internet back some 50 years to a U.S. Defense Department research program. But as the Internet has expanded globally, it’s become increasingly clear that one government cannot lay claim to it. The Internet is a worldwide resource. It belongs to everyone.

    Appropriately, the U.S. Government has long understood the Internet’s global potential. That’s why it helped create the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 1998–a neutral, independent, and private-sector led organization designed to coordinate the Internet’s domain name system functions. Its operations are not made under the direction of one government, but through a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder policy development process involving business, civil society, engineers, academics, everyday users, and many governments (around 150 of them participate). Under that system, the Internet has flourished, connecting over 3 billion of us, through our billions of devices.

    Over the past two decades, the U.S. Government has gradually lightened its touch in its stewardship over the key Internet domain name system functions operated by ICANN. These technical functions are known as the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. The U.S. Government is now prepared to give up stewardship over the IANA functions altogether.

    But why? And why now?

    The U.S. Government always envisioned that its role in the IANA functions would be temporary. In March of 2014, the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced its intent to transition out of its stewardship of the IANA functions. In its announcement, NTIA cited its belief that ICANN as an organization has matured and improved its accountability, transparency and its technical competence. NTIA also asserted that the Internet, managed and driven by the global community of diverse stakeholders, is in very good hands.

    The current model of Internet governance is the only one that can keep pace with the global expansion of users, including where, how, how often, and in what language they’re using it. Continual evolution is key: Internet governance must evolve to meet the changing needs of all users to ensure the network remains available, open, stable, and secure. A report by Microsoft projects that the number of Internet users will grow to 4.7 billion in 2025, 75 percent of that growth coming from emerging economies. We must work together to take into consideration this changing landscape.

    Many believe that if the U.S. Government does not step aside, other governments, including some that are uncomfortable with an open and inclusive Internet, will step in to try to capture control of it through intergovernmental organizations. Alternatively, governments could become motivated to break away from the one, unified Internet to form their own national or regional networks, essentially fragmenting the Internet we know today. The result of this could be a patchwork of incompatible networks spread across different nation states, with long-term social, cultural, political, and economic casualties. Why take that chance?

    The ICANN multi-stakeholder community brings together thousands of representatives from large and small businesses and civil society with technical experts, researchers, academics, and end users from all over the world. Our role at ICANN is to coordinate this community. We are neutral and independent facilitators.

    Many stakeholders have been working tirelessly over the past year to meet NTIA’s guidelines for the transition of their stewardship role to the global multi-stakeholder community. Since March 2014, the community has spent more than 400 hours together on calls and in meetings, working to develop a proposal that meets the following guidelines:

    1. Supports and enhances the existing multi-stakeholder model.
    2. Maintains the security, stability, and resiliency of the Internet Domain Name System.
    3. Meets the needs and expectations of the global customers and partners of the IANA services.
    4. Maintains the openness of the Internet.

    They also have to take into account that NTIA also specified that it would not accept a proposal that replaces NTIA’s role with a government-led or intergovernmental organization solution.

    Should the transition fail, the United States could lose credibility in its quest to maintain an open, multi-stakeholder-driven Internet. The risk of fragmentation will grow and U.S. and global economies risk losing the commercial and social benefits inherent in the single, global, free, and open Internet where innovation happens, and on which we’ve all come to rely.

    I invite you to please join our process. If you have concerns, voice them. If you agree with the fundamental principles the proposal is based on, share that. Engage with the multi-stakeholder community and share your thoughts and opinions. It is critical to the success of our effort and the future of the Internet that we have as much participation in the process as possible.

    Fadi Chehadé is the president and CEO of ICANN, a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation with participants from all over the world dedicated to keeping the Internet secure, stable, and interoperable. He will be speaking on a session at the Techonomy Policy conference June 9 on the Worrisome Future of the Internet. To attend, you can register here.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Techonomy Policy June 9 in DC: The Age of Data Exhaust
    By David Kirkpatrick

    Last month, Techonomy hosted a dinner in New York, and our guests wanted relentlessly to talk about data. Where will society produce it? How much can we manage? Who will control it? What will they do to us with it? How can individuals retain influence over it? These are elemental questions for our era. They are questions that not only citizens, but government itself needs to be methodically asking. The dinner had nothing to do with our impending Techonomy Policy conference on June 9 in Washington D.C., but it’s no coincidence that the opening session is entitled “Keeping America Innovative In the Age of Data Exhaust.”

    The speakers for that session include Internet pioneer Vint Cerf and veteran tech leader Steve Case. We sustain that quality level all day. We’ll hear from entrepreneur and investor Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Plaxo, founding president of Facebook, and now, co-creator of the Economic Innovation Group, an ambitious bi-partisan project to stimulate tech-savvy growth for the American economy.

    Techonomy Policy aims to help seed critical dialogue about the challenges for government as tech’s progress accelerates. We’ve learned from our past events that there is an urgent need for innovators and policy makers to come together, to keep our economy moving forward and our country competitive. We aim to bring government leaders together with the innovators, entrepreneurs, and aggressive businesses driving such changes, in a constructive dialogue that doesn’t gloss over the challenges.

    One guest at the New York dinner explained that he is a close student of his own personal health, and gets regular blood tests. Each time, he logs the results in a spreadsheet to track his health metrics. And where does he keep that spreadsheet? In Google Docs, of course. So, he asked, what if, in some not-distant future, he’s driving along in a car controlled by Google’s self-driving software, and a head-on collision is imminent? Could Google’s algorithms instantly conclude he has little likelihood of long life, based on the spreadsheet, and sacrifice him in favor of the healthier occupant of the other vehicle?

    Hyperbole aside, what standards must data-owners abide by in a data-rich world? Who gets to use data? What will be our protections against data’s misuse, and who will define misuse? Can government actively and continuously engage with such questions? Maybe we can begin to figure out government’s role in situations like the Google Docs/driverless car example.

    The data explosion is just one of a dauntingly numerous variety of tech transformations now underway that will overturn norms in commerce, behavior, health, public safety, and work. What about the Internet of Things, as intelligence, control, and yes, data accumulation increasingly surrounds us, literally? Or the Blockchain, that inscrutable new way to securely organize any sort of information with no central authority or oversight? It increasingly seems like the most important innovation surrounding the digital currency Bitcoin. We’ll have multiple sessions devoted to both of these urgent topics at Techonomy Policy.

    Every day’s headlines underscore the need for unvarnished conversation between the changemakers and those who make policy and regulation. A guy who published online his plans for a 3D-printed gun is suing the State Department, which earlier ordered him to withdraw the documents because it said that publishing them was the export of military secrets. Now the guy’s high-powered lawyers argue that he was just publishing computer code, and government is violating his freedom of speech.

    On another front, the Federal Aviation Administration is finally, slowly, loosening up its super-tight regulation of drones. Selected companies can now test them beyond the line of sight of the operator. Meanwhile, other countries are galloping forward with this not-dominated-by-Americans technology. The world’s leading dronemaker, DJI, is Chinese. And in France, over 1,250 licensed companies fly drones in a wide range of commercial applications, including scanning farmers’ fields and analyzing from the air the soil chemistry to recommend precise fertilizer and irrigation recipes. The U.S. is falling behind.

    The new European Commission has a vice president whose entire charge is to work towards a continent-wide “digital single market.” At Techonomy Policy we will host both the European Union ambassador to the United States and his counselor on the digital economy. (Yes, he has one.) They’ll talk both about how the U.S. and Europe can work together and learn from one another.

    This stuff is happening, fast. How can government, designed in some ways deliberately to move slowly, accommodate the enormous changes underway? At Techonomy Policy we’ve got legislators, commissioners from the FTC and FCC, experts from academia, industry leaders from tech, investors, authors, rabble-rousers, and representatives from the core of the D.C. establishment. Only by bringing together such a diverse group, we think, can we push this dialogue forward with energy and sophistication.

    You should come. We’re all citizens, and it matters for our collective future.

    David Kirkpatrick will be hosting Techonomy Policy, June 9 in Washington, DC. To attend, you can register here.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Can Financial Services Use Social Media Right?
    Image via Shutterstock

    By Kitty Parry

    Did you know a tenth of HSBC’s workforce is in compliance? Or that the average corporate fine from the U.K.’s financial industry regulator increased nearly seven-fold from 2010 to 2013? Meanwhile, similar trends are being seen in the U.S. and around the world.

    The regulatory clampdown is happening at the same time that technology is transforming our world. Just this month, New York State’s top financial regulator granted the first license to a Bitcoin exchange, giving it bank-like status. This is technology literally throwing down the gauntlet to our monetary system.

    Social media is another case in point. Communication has suddenly in a few short years shifted online and into the public forum. But regulated financial firms face complicated limits on what they can say and which of their employees can say it. These old regulations are challenging as social media tools impact behavior. For example, if employees are endorsed by clients and peers on LinkedIn in an innocent manner, that may be viewed as a testimonial and therefore influencing a client/customer’s decision–which in turn breaches policy. Such breaches of policy are out of the company’s control.

    Unsurprisingly, firms have themselves also made numerous mistakes with this new medium. JP Morgan Chase cancelled a Q&A on Twitter after it descended into a tirade of anti-company abuse. A well-intentioned idea went awry because the channel (Twitter) was not used effectively. Human error also creeps in: none other than the CFO of Twitter publicly tweeted plans about a company purchase. The message was apparently intended to be a private direct message–a mishap so common it has its own name: a “DM fail.” Meanwhile, even everyday tasks like archiving, retweeting, or managing testimonials (such as those LinkedIn endorsements) impose significant compliance burdens. The challenge for financial services to adapt to this breakneck technological change is intensified by the tough regulatory landscape.

    But how can regulators keep track of the industry when practices are evolving so quickly? As we hear so regularly, banks have blockbuster budgets that give them access to the world’s finest minds and technology. Predicting where future compliance failures might arise means not only foreseeing business developments, but also how consumers will react to them.

    So on the one hand, examples of regulatory overreach can be found in recent years with cases such as Britain’s Financial Services Authority vs. Einhorn. Mr. Einhorn was accused of insider trading, even though the FSA acknowledged that his actions were not deliberate. They imposed a large fine to demonstrate there are laws by which the industry and members must abide. And we’ve seen much unnecessary demonization of individuals or the industry. On the other hand, regulators have overlooked activities that shouldn’t have gone on. Just look at the numerous recent cases of rogue trading.

    Regulators and finance are a mismatch of forces. As long as they battle each other, a sub-optimal outcome will occur. The key is to get them working together through a global conversation, and then embedding best practice through effective training for staff.

    I founded Social Media Compliance because I saw that social media was an area that could pioneer this model of regulation. A third party, sitting between the regulator and talking to the industry, could collect information on business challenges and concerns, and feed this into the regulator. At the same time, that party could push for clarity and assurance from the regulator about where the goal posts were.

    In the U.K. we have been working closely with the Financial Conduct Authority on its final guidance on social media. For industry, we have drawn up a Charter that gives firms guiding principles that help them remain compliant. We have expanded on these principles to develop a platform for financial services to engage in social media. We are now beginning talks with global regulators and aim very soon to expand the platform to other countries.

    Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, has said that trust and openness must be two of the three pillars of the post-2008 finance industry. Trust is essential because without it, the powerful financial industry loses its license from the public. Openness, meanwhile, breeds strength. “Opacity hides frailty,” said the eloquent governor.

    Social media, and indeed wider tech platforms, have a huge role to play in promoting these pillars. If any country can figure out a constructive framework for financial institutions to interact with consumers and the public through these new tech tools, it’s likely other countries will emulate it. With this in mind, the Social Media Charter Association is holding our inaugural Global Regulators Summit this December.

    The status quo, where banks are building “war chests” of money for fines into their forecasts and holding back from providing services because of compliance risks will only drive the industry’s reputation further into the abyss. This is not good for profits, staff morale, or social cohesion.

    Instead, industry must form a body that addresses these challenges, and shows the public and regulator it is dancing to a new tune: one that expounds creativity and ethics in technology use, not creative ethics.

    Kitty Parry of Social Media Compliance will speak about the challenges for regulators in a social media era at Techonomy Policy, June 9 in Washington, DC. To attend, you can register here.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Why Asia Matters for LinkedIn
    Image via Shutterstock

    By Will Greene

    As LinkedIn works to connect all the world’s professionals, CEO Jeff Weiner is increasingly setting his sights on a bigger vision — to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Since Asia accounts for a large portion of that workforce and a rising share of global economic activity, its importance for the professional network is bound to grow.

    At Techonomy 2014, Weiner envisioned LinkedIn as a platform that connects all the world’s workers, companies, and educational institutions. This is not an impossible dream. LinkedIn already has more than 364 million registered members globally. Many use the service actively to establish their professional identify, find opportunities, and engage with professional content.

    Yet with 68 million members in Asia, LinkedIn’s presence there is relatively small, especially considering the region’s vast population and rising centrality for the global economy. While the professional network includes more than half the world’s knowledge workers, less than a third of those in Asia are members.

    LinkedIn’s user base is growing quickly in some parts of Asia. It has over 13 million members in Southeast Asia, more than double what it had there in mid-2013. It also includes more than 30 million in India, up from 20 million just two years ago.

    China has been harder. Back in 2013, the professional network had only 3 million Chinese users, less than Australia at that time. It had not yet opened a China office or released a Chinese version of the network, despite having already localized to Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

    In 2014, LinkedIn started making aggressive moves into China. It launched in Chinese and inked deals with two prominent Chinese venture firms, both with connections crucial for navigating China’s tricky regulatory environment. Unlike other American tech giants like Google and Twitter, LinkedIn also decided to accede to government censorship requirements.

    On account of these measures, LinkedIn’s user base in China grew to roughly 8 million in 2015. But in a speech at a tech conference hosted by Morgan Stanley in 2014, Weiner estimated China still has roughly 140 million professionals and students. And as 250 million rural Chinese migrate to cities in the next decade, the urban workforce may continue to grow.

    The good news for LinkedIn is that China’s emerging middle class is hungry to connect with global professionals, companies and educational institutions. In Japan, where self-promotion and job-hopping are culturally discouraged, LinkedIn may face greater friction. Today, it only has a little over a million Japanese users, despite early efforts to localize to the country.

    Curiously, many Japanese professionals are more likely to use Facebook for professional networking than LinkedIn. In a March 2015 LinkedIn post, an American entrepreneur in Japan wrote that Facebook gives Japanese professionals a greater opportunity to build personal connections as they network, which is important in their business culture. It also allows them to share their achievements discreetly and indirectly, such as through photos of work events.

    The same holds true in South Korea. “Facebook is still Korea’s default business networking tool,” says Nathan Millard, CEO of G3 Partners, a tech-focused PR firm based in Seoul. “Koreans are gradually getting onto LinkedIn, but it’s happening slowly.”

    In Southeast Asia, LinkedIn is faring well in most markets, but has yet to crack the million-user mark in Vietnam. Having used LinkedIn’s premium products for several sales and recruiting projects in the country, I’ve noticed decent uptake among Vietnamese professionals working at foreign companies, and those with foreign education. But very few professionals with primarily local experience, on the other hard, are on LinkedIn.

    Similar circumstances prevail in many of Asia’s emerging markets, where LinkedIn’s membership skews heavily towards internationally-minded professionals. In such markets, LinkedIn is still valuable for high-level prospecting, executive recruitment, and advertising to professional audiences. For hiring non-executive staff in Vietnam, however, I’m much more likely to turn to local jobs sites like Vietnamworks and ITviec.

    Could LinkedIn eventually emerge as a tool for the entire global workforce, from factory workers and taxi drivers to lawyers and entrepreneurs? Could it open doors for students at vocational schools in emerging markets, just as it does for graduates from four-year universities in the developed world? Weiner has a bracing vision, but given that Asia’s population exceeds 4.4 billion, let’s just say that the opportunities there for LinkedIn remain vast.

    Will Greene runs TigerMine Ventures, an advisory firm that helps companies and organizations grow in Southeast Asia. And yes, you can find him on LinkedIn.
    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Empowering Women One Brand at a Time
    Image via Shutterstock
    By Leslie Pascaud

    Women are everywhere. No surprise, right? They do, after all, make up 50 percent of the world’s population. Yet, everywhere we look, women are a topic of conversation. Michelle Obama’s outfit choices on a recent tour of Japan are proclaimed to break down female stereotypes. Sweaty, jiggling, and fabulous women exercising on our screens chant “This girl can.” A woman’s mob killing in Afghanistan sparks a global #JusticeForFarkhunda movement. The banning of “India’s Daughter,” a documentary about the gang rape in Delhi, raises hackles across the globe. Meanwhile, Ellen Pao’s lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins sheds light on sexism in Silicon Valley, even if she lost.

    Why so much activity stirring around the boundaries of gender? And why now? As cultural insight mavens, we see something fundamental taking place. Some people are calling it the Fourth Wave of Feminism. Fed up with everyday sexism and forged by other forms of activism, women are empowered by social media and other communications technologies. They are speaking up across all sectors, countries, and societies.

    This is a cultural movement that is bringing the diversity and complexity of women’s lives to the fore. It is pushing politics, culture, and brands to tackle the thorny issues of educational and job equality, freedom from violence, bias, and so much more.

    Of course “womanhood” in India is very different from the same concept in Indianapolis. Women in the U.S. have made tremendous progress in economic independence. The gender pay gap is narrowing. Women-owned firms now account for 30 percent of all enterprises, though you’d never guess it from the make-up of the investment industry. (Just 6 percent of partners at VC firms are women, for example.) The issues in emerging markets like India, Turkey, and Colombia are quite different as women suffer both from inadequate economic and social opportunity.

    But the underlying global forces are shifting in similar directions. Solidarity movements like #HeForShe are adopting a counterpoint narrative in order to advance public policy . The movement speaks to male leaders: imploring every CEO to close the pay gap; encouraging every head of state to make sure legislation does not discriminate against women; asking every father to ensure that his girls go to school. And smart brands too are getting in on the conversation–recognizing and honoring the multifaceted nature of womanhood and the complex ways its representations are evolving in culture. When 60 to 70 percent of women feel misunderstood by marketers, there is much to be gained by proving the contrary:

    • Under Armour proposes a motivational mantra reminding us that women athletes “will what they want” and affirming that “the space between woman and athlete is no space at all.”
    • The Celine fashion brand celebrates age and uniqueness via 80-year-old Joan Didion, “the new face of French fashion,” taking a stand that a women’s worth goes well beyond the superficial.
    • Walmart promotes women makers and businesses through its newly designed “Women-Owned” logo on product packaging and online.
    • Always redefines what it means to run #LikeAGirl.
    • And then, of course, there is Dove: Dove Real Women, Dove Self Esteem, Dove Sketches, and most recently, Dove Curls. Note: even Dove’s “arch nemesis” Axe (both Unilever brands) has changed its tune, moving from overt sexism to a subtler form of seduction.

    Yet for each brand getting it right, far more are missing the mark. Brands need to realize that “femvertising” missteps represent a real risk for their future growth. A few points to keep in mind:

    1. If you are engaging with an issue, ensure that it is coherent with your brand values and that you can “own” it. Two U.S. brands–Microsoft and Verizon–have recently jumped on the gender diversity bandwagon, both focusing on the female STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) gap. Both are urging parents/teachers to encourage girls’ love of science. Both offer up poignant advertising which addresses a pivotal societal topic. Yet, one is likely to get more credit than the other because the issue is more closely aligned with its pre-existing brand equity. Microsoft’s “Girls Do Science” comes across as more legitimate, despite the fact that we find the Verizon “Inspire Her Mind” ad more compelling.
    2. Avoid clichés. The Subway brand took heat last October for suggesting in their ads that women should try to get fit so that they can wear sexy costumes for Halloween. Elle magazine’s response sums up the reaction: “How many eye roll-worthy moments can you fit into 30 seconds? Let us count the WTFs. Subway not only perpetuates the pressure for us to wear slutty costumes on October 31, but also takes it one step further saying we should diet to do it.”
    3. Make sure your tone is consistent with your brand character. Keds has been using Taylor Swift to promote “Brave Girls”–an emotive message to empower young women. But what is the relevance to Keds? Can shoes make you brave? Is it believable when there is no evident link to Keds’s brand character or values? We think instead they could be diminishing the meaning of bravery. A “brave” narrative is best told by a brand that is recognized for its own bravery. One doing this well is Brazil’s Cerveja Feminista beer, tackling the objectification of women in traditional beer and advertising by championing a non-sexist beer culture.

    Given the long road that remains to real gender equality, brands do and will continue to play an important role in supporting and even fueling this societal shift.

    There are more ways than ever before to begin meaningful conversations with and about women. Brands need to embrace the complexity of this topic, carefully choose the stand they seek to take, and communicate with conviction and authenticity. The ultimate goal will be to get to a place where the need to promote women’s empowerment becomes a relic of the past. But we sure aren’t there yet.

    Leslie Pascaud is executive vice president of branding and sustainable innovation at Added Value. This article was written with support by Emma Godfrey, brand project director at Added Value.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Bank of America App Updated With Fraud Alerts

    The official Bank of America app for Android has been updated with several new features including fraud notifications and the ability to verify your transactions within the app.  The updated versions, 6.4.2 for those keeping score at home, is available for both Android Phone and Android Tablets.  Along with this fraud activity notification feature, there are several other new features for consumers and for small business customers of nations 2nd largest bank. Bank of America – Free – Download Now With the new fraud activity notifications in the Band of America app, customers can verify transactions from within the app

    The post Bank of America App Updated With Fraud Alerts appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Israel PM attacks Orange over deal
    Israel’s Prime Minister has attacked the boss of the French telecom giant Orange for looking to pull out of a deal with an Israeli partner.
  • The Peculiar Charms (and Perils) of Electronic Voting
    Image via Shutterstock
    By Edie Lush

    It’s remarkable that in a world where it seems everything is becoming more digitized most of the globe still elects their political leaders with pencil and paper. Only a peculiarly-diverse handful of countries–including Belgium, Brazil, India, and Venezuela–use electronic voting machines nationwide. (The U.S. and other countries use them in some areas.) What these countries have discovered is that when you have a robust system the cost of elections falls, people’s votes count more, fraud is cut, and the results are known faster. And, rather extraordinarily, replacing paper with machines can change societies in ways that save lives. (For more, see below.)

    So why hasn’t the world moved more quickly to voting via a machine? Unfortunately the path to electronic voting nirvana is strewn with rather deep potholes, principally around security and transparency.

    In 2006, the Netherlands reverted from electronic voting back to paper after Dutch campaigners hacked a voting machine, causing it to produce phony results. (They also taught the device to play chess.) Likewise, in 2012, Ireland’s nascent experiment with e-voting ended in frustration when €54 million worth of machines were sold to a recycling firm for €70,000 because the machines couldn’t be guaranteed to be safe from tampering, nor could they produce a printout so that results could be double-checked.

    But it’s far from all bad. I spoke to Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic, the largest privately-owned maker of electronic voting devices. (India’s machines are made by state-owned companies and Brazil has used several providers.)

    Smartmatic, based in the U.K. and the U.S., has manufactured over 150,000 devices to help conduct elections around the world. Their machines have counted close to 2.5 billion votes in over 3,500 elections. Smartmatic’s machines were not implicated in either the Ireland or the Netherlands disasters. Security is understandably at the forefront of Mugica’s mind. “It is critical to have a robust system. Our machines have over 200 security features and cryptographic algorithms to make them resilient to attack. The machines and software are foolproof, tamper-proof, and hacker-proof.” He hopes. In today’s attack-rich online environment, determined attackers seem to be able to undo almost any protections. But Smartmatic employs a state-of-the-art approach. It stores, tallies, and transmits votes with technologies similar to those typically used for banking transactions.

    According to Mugica, electronic voting machines increase the transparency of an election. He argues that the best way to increase transparency is to allow the hardware and source code contained in the software running the machines to be reviewed by all political parties and election monitors to check for bugs ahead of an election. (But as with most things political, controversy can still ensue. For all Mugica’s intentions, his company has sometimes been accused of withholding its source code.) Another feature intended to add transparency are the printed copies produced of each electronic vote. These can be verified by hand during post-electoral audits.

    Electronic voting machines can also make elections more accurate, which enfranchises people. Even optical scanners, which scan voter-marked paper ballots, popular in parts of the U.S., have a margin of error because people mis-mark their ballot. According to Smartmatic, when Venezuela migrated from optical scanning to Smartmatic voting machines in 2004, it lowered the amount of spoiled ballots from 10 percent to zero. Interestingly, the cost of running the election also halved–from $8-10 per voter to $4. Since there is no human participation, the processes of counting votes: summation, tabulation, and adjudication processes are fully automated. It’s cheaper to run an election with machines than people.

    Digitizing votes also saves lives. I spoke to Thomas Fujiwara, assistant professor of economics at Princeton University, about the effect voting machines had on the Brazilian election. At the beginning of the period studied by Fujiwara (1998-2002), 23 percent of the Brazilian population was illiterate. Paper ballots require Brazilians to write the candidate’s name or electoral number on a ballot–resulting in many error-ridden and blank ballots, especially in poorer areas. In mechanizing the vote, Brazil created a system that guided voters through the process, asking them to confirm their choice with a picture of the candidate they are supporting. More poor and illiterate voters then began to vote, which in turn encouraged politicians to address their concerns.

    These new voters elected left-wing political parties that promised–and delivered–a stronger state-funded healthcare system, which increased spending on maternal health. Fujiwara has shown that this increased spending directly after elections in 1998 and 2002 resulted in fewer babies being born underweight, a key indicator of infant mortality. For more, see his study.

    Voting machines have also saved lives in the Philippines. The Philippines is a nation of 2,000 inhabited islands where 18,000 political seats are up for grabs in each election. Vote counting used to take up to 18 hours in each polling station and then it took up to 40 days to reconcile the vote count nationally. In this interim period, dozens of lives could sometimes be lost in violent disputes that erupted around the vote count. Additionally, it was common for ballot boxes to go missing, causing more chaos and distrust in the election process. Electronic voting machines first went into use in 2010, and by the May 2013 midterm election the victors were announced between 2 and 48 hours after even the most remote islander had cast her vote on an electronic voting machine. The usual corruption and violence around the votes significantly diminished.

    Of course voting machines don’t solve all problems. As Judith Kelley, senior associate dean at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy told me, “Elections are huge, complex systems with multiple opportunities for cheating. Addressing fraud is a bit like playing whack-a-mole: as soon as you eliminate fraud in one part of the system, it pops up somewhere else.” In the U.S., the Supreme Court is dealing with a case of gerrymandering in Arizona. In Zambia, fishy results come from the most remote polls, where election monitors aren’t present. In India, political parties offer taxi rides, saris, and cash in return for a ride to a polling station in more remote areas. In effect, they’re buying votes. The machines may be clean, but sadly that doesn’t mean that the politicians and parties you’re voting for will be.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Educators Unite to Build Vietnam's Tech Talent
    Vietnamese student learns game design. (Photo courtesy of Everest Education, Ho Chi Minh City)
    Vietnamese student learns game design. (Photo courtesy of Everest Education, Ho Chi Minh City)
    By Will Greene

    Vietnam’s tech industry is booming. Software and electronics exports soared in recent years, and a domestic market for tech products and services is steadily gaining strength. For growth to continue, however, Vietnam must cultivate an increasingly skilled tech workforce. Educators and private tech companies are working intensively to make this happen.

    Companies across the Vietnamese tech ecosystem will benefit from a better talent pipeline. Electronics manufacturers, whose exports account for the biggest slice of industry revenues, need more skilled managers, engineers, and technicians. Outsourcing and product companies, who employ the lion’s share of skilled local tech workers, need better developers, product managers, marketers, and account managers.

    Since companies here are striving to produce higher value products and services, new capabilities in research, problem solving, and client service must be developed. But building such capabilities requires a major mindset shift at educational institutions, which typically emphasize rote learning over problem solving. Such a change will also challenge companies that opt for rigid hierarchy over the flatter structures that encourage creativity and initiative.

    To overcome these challenges, many Vietnamese tech companies are partnering with educators, NGOs, and government agencies. Although some companies still think of Vietnam as simply a place for cheap labor, the forward-thinking ones know the country has deeper potential.

    This potential comes from a strong cultural affinity for science, technology, engineering, and math skills–the so-called STEM disciplines. Vietnamese students often gain exposure to computer science and training at a young age, and earn high scores in math and science on international exams.

    Yet while students from the top schools often graduate with good technical skills, many employers complain that they lack practical experience, and that soft skills, such as teamwork and creative problem solving, tend to be particularly weak. English language abilities also need improvement.

    The Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP)–an international consortium of educational activists founded by Intel, Arizona State University, and USAID in 2010–is leading one of the most substantial reform efforts. The program aims to update the country’s engineering and technical vocational schools to ensure they produce work-ready graduates. According to Jeffrey Goss, HEEAP’s director, it currently focuses on electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering programs. But the organization aims to expand into other engineering disciplines including computer science.

    HEEAP’s primary target is to increase the number of engineering schools in Vietnam that meet regional and international accreditation standards. It has trained thousands of Vietnamese professors in modern techniques that emphasize applied learning and group problem solving over theory-based instruction. It is also helping Vietnamese universities implement modern IT systems to improve administrative efficiency, track progress towards accreditation, and enable online learning.

    As HEEAP works within existing educational institutions, the German and Vietnamese governments are partnering to create an entirely new one. In 2008, they founded Vietnamese-German University (VGU), a research-oriented institution with a strong focus on technical education. Accredited in Germany, VGU provides students with exposure to international curricula and research opportunities in engineering, computer science, and related disciplines. All courses are taught in English.

    VGU has a little over 1,000 students currently enrolled, and is still relatively small. But with $180 million in funding from the World Bank, the university is planning a campus for 12,000 students, lecturers, and researchers in 2017. Its goal is to become a leading research university in Southeast Asia.

    Other education activists are working to improve STEM training at primary and secondary levels. Tony Ngo and Don Le of Everest Education, a private tutoring company in Ho Chi Minh City, have been developing courses in applied math based on Singapore Math, as well as pre-college English based on Common Core. They also run Innovation & Technology Camps with local high schools like the International School of Ho Chi Minh City and Saigon South International School.

    Another initiative was the Young Maker’s Challenge, a competition that trained and assessed high school students from Ho Chi Minh City on projects that required programming, logic, and circuitry skills. Co-sponsored by Everest Education and Intel, the event catalyzed interest from all corners of the community. “We were amazed at how many local and international high schools participated,” said Ngo. “We’re definitely going to do it again this winter, but bigger.”

    Some are working to bring tech education to underprivileged children. Orphan Impact is an NGO that builds computer centers and runs after-school training programs for orphanages around Vietnam. Everest Education offers scholarship programs for students in need.

    Programs like these will build the talent pipeline for the future, but many tech companies need skilled workers now, so a growing number are investing in on-the-job training, mentorship programs, and continuing education

    Atlassian, an Australian maker of enterprise software, is one example. With over 150 people at an R&D center it founded in partnership with Pyramid Consulting, an IT services firm in Ho Chi Minh City, it invests heavily in training programs that include soft and hard skills, English language instruction, and work exchanges with its company headquarters in Sydney.

    “Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a product mindset,” says Thanh Phan, who leads Vietnam operations. “Vietnam has plenty of coders who can build things to spec, but it takes extra effort to get people to think from the user’s perspective and feel a true sense of ownership for their work.”

    Many other companies have similar priorities. KMS Technology, for instance, is an IT services provider that strives for deep long-term relationships with its clients. It has also incubated and spun off two products–a software testing management platform called QA Symphony and a Chinese chess game called WiTurn.

    “Since we often work with clients for years at a time, it’s essential that we get our developers to think, work, and act like our client’s own staff,” says Viet Hung Nguyen, managing director of KMS. “It usually takes 1-2 months of training for a new hire to become productive in this way.”

    Other industry supporters are taking further steps to build talent. The Finnish government launched an Innovation Partnership Program in 2009 that includes grants for early-stage tech companies, business groups, and community mentors. It is also developing a curriculum on entrepreneurship and innovation in Vietnam.

    And then there’s Anh-Minh Do, Vietnam’s leading tech journalist and a central figure in its emerging tech ecosystem. A reporter for Tech in Asia, he’s highly active in arranging lectures, programs, and other events. Some of his upcoming initiatives include a conference for mobile developers, a startup mentorship network, and a hackathon for agricultural tech.

    Vietnam still has a long way to go to become a global tech powerhouse. But expect more sophisticated tech to be “Made in Vietnam” in coming years.

    Will Greene runs TigerMine Ventures, an advisory firm that helps companies and organizations grow in Southeast Asia.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Use Eye Chart apps with patients the appropriate way

    How to use snellen eye chart apps the right way.

    The post Use Eye Chart apps with patients the appropriate way appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • How Techonomy Bio Inspired My Southeast Asian Healthcare Journey
    Many pharmacies in Thailand and other emerging markets lack modern technology. (Photo by Will Greene)
    Many pharmacies in Thailand and other emerging markets lack modern technology. (Photo by Will Greene)
    By Will Greene

    Last year, I watched the inaugural Techonomy Bio conference from a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City. At the time, I was working on my first healthcare consulting project–a market research study for German medical device manufacturers interested in Vietnam. I spent my days interviewing suppliers, distributors, purchasers, regulators, and other stakeholders, trying to make sense of the snarled Vietnamese healthcare system. Where was the opportunity for new, high-quality equipment in a country with limited resources? It was a challenging question.

    Due to the time difference between Vietnam and America, I couldn’t catch the live webcast of the conference, but in the week after the event, I ended each day by kicking up my feet and watching video footage of the 2014 conference sessions on my laptop. My mom was visiting that week, so it became something of a parent-child bonding ritual as well. She spent more than a decade as a rehabilitation counselor for methadone patients on Long Island, where she frequently struggled with all the bureaucratic hassles and inefficiencies of modern healthcare, so she shared my interest in healthcare innovation and reform.

    Watching those videos hammered home a fact that both of us already knew: in both developed and developing countries, much of modern healthcare is fundamentally broken. What we didn’t know was the extent to which innovations at the intersection of IT, biotech, and life sciences held potential to improve the situation everywhere. It was captivating, and also reassuring, since I think we both longed to feel safer, healthier, and better served by these two very different healthcare systems. Yet it also felt somewhat abstract. How would we, as regular health consumers, actually experience the benefits that were being discussed?

    Inspired by the conference and the questions it raised, I soon found myself immersed in news and research about digital healthcare trends. I was particularly interested in how digital healthcare was impacting the emerging markets of Southeast Asia, where I’ve been based since 2010. As I dug around on this topic, I started writing for Techonomy about what I saw. Through this research, I also got involved with mClinica, a digital health company that’s using mobile technology to improve access, affordability, and quality of essential medicines in emerging markets.

    My research ultimately painted a picture of a promising but underserved market for digital health. Across Southeast Asia, consumer health apps, IT-powered public health tools, health information systems, and other digital services have steadily emerged in recent years, but uptake has been limited by low per-capita health spending, lack of technological sophistication among consumers, and perplexing regulations. Yet development has been lifting incomes throughout the region, so opportunities for investment in health and many other industries are expanding.

    Much of this investment is led by the public sector. In March, I wrote about how NGOs are developing innovative tools to improve medical education in emerging markets. In January, I highlighted three NGOs using mobile tech to fight tuberculosis. And in September last year, I wrote about the growing range of software platforms available to NGOs for public health campaigns.

    Undoubtedly, such initiatives play an important role in global health, but their long-term sustainability and scalability is uncertain. As countries like Vietnam approach middle-income status, public sector funding tends to dry up and shift to more needy areas. But will improved infrastructure and health practices remain? In many places, that’s an open question.

    Private health tech companies, on the other hand, have greater potential to grow as emerging countries do, but there aren’t yet enough of them to address the many pressing Southeast Asian health challenges. Part of the problem is an ongoing shortage of investment and insufficient opportunities for collaboration. Unlike in the United States, Southeast Asia does not have dedicated healthcare accelerator programs like Rock Health or Startup Health. And although tons of venture money has poured into the region for hot tech sectors like e-commerce, investments in digital healthcare have been relatively thin.

    Kickstart Ventures, a Philippines-based accelerator and venture fund, deserves mention for its efforts to develop health tech in Southeast Asia. It was an early investor in mClinica, where I’m currently working. It was also an early investor in Medix, a cloud-based clinic management service that builds IT systems for hospitals, clinics, and dental practices. In addition, Kickstart is hosting a series of events about digital health in the Philippines that aim to further build the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This is great, but Kickstart is a rare pioneer.

    In light of the opportunities and challenges for digital health in Southeast Asia, I was intrigued by the panel session on Advances, Opportunities, and Challenges at this year’s Techonomy Bio event, which I also watched from a hotel room in Ho Chi Minh City. The session consisted of an unscripted conversation between Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce and an active healthcare philanthropist.

    Benioff and Desmond-Hellmann seemed optimistic about the potential of digital health to improve lives in both developed and developing markets. Although some of this impact will be limited to affluent countries, advances in disease tracking and therapeutics, along with countless other innovations, will power major transformations everywhere. But despite recent progress, they agreed that more interdisciplinary work between experts in IT and healthcare is needed to speed advancements in digital health. They also agreed we need more investment in healthcare data, and tools for managing and analyzing that data effectively.

    Better health data is certainly needed in Southeast Asia. While some speakers and audience members at Techonomy Bio complained about electronic medical records in the United States, clinics and pharmacies in many Southeast Asian countries still use paper logbooks and receipts. This reduces service quality and creates huge gaps in health records. That’s one of the reasons I’m now working with mClinica. It is developing digital health platforms that connect pharmacies, doctor’s offices, pharmaceutical companies, and patients in Asia’s emerging markets. As these various stakeholders become connected, the opportunities to improve public health are enormous.

    Will Greene serves as director of New Markets for mClinica. He also runs TigerMine Ventures, an advisory firm that helps companies and investors in Southeast Asia.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • (VIDEO) WPP's Xaxis Launches "Light Reaction," a Mobile Performance Unit
    Becoming sort of holding company within its parent WPP, Xaxis is launching new, stand alone businesses.  The latest is called Light Reaction, a company that measures the impact of mobile advertising, says Brian Lesser, Global CEO of Xaxis in this interview with Beet.TV

    The new unit is an amalgam of two acquisitions of ActionX and QuismaX along with existing Xaxis technology.  Light Reaction is launching in 20 countries with 300 clients. The new company sells media on a per outcome basis, vs. a more conventional CPM, Lesser explains.

    Light Reaction is being headed by Xaxis veteran Paul Dolan.

    In other developments, Lesser says that Xaxis is growing its direct business with marketers who work directly with Xaxis.  He says the direct business in the U.S. accounts for $75 million in annual revenue.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

    — 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.

  • Augmented Reality: Enabling Learning Through Rich Context
    Image via Shutterstock
    By John Hagel and John Seely Brown

    In his 1992 novel “Snow Crash,” Neal Stephenson envisioned the Metaverse: a three-dimensional manifestation of the Internet in which people interact and collaborate via digitally-constructed avatars. In the decades since, technology has advanced to the point where such a place no longer seems like science fiction.

    Stephenson’s Metaverse is a virtual reality space, a completely immersive computer-generated experience whose users have minimal ability to interact with the real world. In contrast to this fictional vision is today’s burgeoning field of augmented reality (AR), a technology that superimposes visual information or other data in front of one’s view of the real world.

    One of the most well-known AR technologies, Google Glass, projects data onto the upper right corner of the wearer’s glasses lens, creating a relatively seamless interaction between that information and reality. Today, such technologies tend to get noticed for either their novelty value or their role in privacy concerns. In the longer term, they can have tremendous potential to change the way we interact with our technology and with each other.

    When Google Glass was first released, many analysts focused on its potential to change the way media was created and consumed, viewing it essentially as a head-mounted smart phone. Since then, some people have reacted negatively to use of a device that can constantly film one’s surroundings or relay social media to the wearer in the middle of a conversation. When the devices were used in ways deemed intrusive, users sometimes received negative reactions from others. While the circumstances surrounding these instances of intrusive use may be considered controversial, they seem to have contributed to limiting AR’s potential as an integrated social media tool, at least for the time being.

    Perhaps in reaction, the focus on AR has shifted to its role in business–its ability to supplement workers’ perceptive abilities, enhancing efficiency. AR-enabled headsets have shown promise as real-time data translation tools, which can reduce the need for offsite data recording and tabulation. DAQRI Industrial 4D, for example, has developed an AR-integrated hard hat that can superimpose data across the wearer’s field of view for a variety of industrial applications. (DAQRI presented their technology at Techonomy 2014.) Workers can view instructions or maintenance/performance records for a particular piece of equipment, without having to process or reference the information on a separate device. By presenting data in context and in real time, AR has helped make data use less an actuarial process and more a source of immediately actionable information–a kind of conversation.

    Generally, the conversational aspect of AR is a fairly recent focus. Many of the use cases exploring the technology’s potential value have to do with streamlining repetitive actions. Improving supply chain processes, reducing waste, and increasing operational efficiency are priorities for most organizations, and AR can help give some companies a substantial edge. From real-time inventory management to maintenance records, AR technologies provide greater detail and more supporting data, which can improve both efficiency and accuracy.

    But efficiency is only one component of business competitiveness. Many roles that AR might supplement may soon be usurped by advanced robotics and other forms of automation. What is the value of AR when the people it is supposed to enhance are no longer needed to do the job? More fundamentally, in an increasingly complex and unpredictable world, many people consider increased efficiency secondary to the ability to collectively digest and act on rapid changes–in essence, the ability to learn.

    In this scenario, AR is in a position to gain value. Collaboration is the bedrock of innovation, and AR enables us to learn faster by working together. To do so, we typically rely on fundamentally human capabilities–imagination, creativity, genuine insight, and emotional and moral intelligence–that are difficult or impossible to automate. In the same way that AR enables us to use data more deeply, it has the potential to help us communicate more deeply and meaningfully with each other.

    Recent developments in AR have improved its ability to help us learn and communicate. Perhaps the most pertinent examples are systems that let users share context remotely. For example, while today’s online learning spaces can connect individuals on a massive scale, they can also limit context. Text, pictures, and video are helpful, but face-to-face interaction is often best at conveying meaning. Recent entrants such as Microsoft’s Hololens and MagicLeap (where author Stephenson serves as “Chief Futurist”) show potential to share more information across greater distances, in a richer context. Hololens, for example, allows people to convene in a remote space by layering holograms over their current reality. By projecting data and 3D object models, and using advanced avatars, two individuals on two different continents could, in theory, discuss how to repair a piece of equipment on Mars as if they were both standing on its surface. As this kind of AR technology reaches maturity, many AR systems will combine the networked capabilities of existing online communication with the rich context of in-person meetings. This is an example of the true value of AR.

    This is not to say that AR can’t also be a powerful tool for increasing worker efficiency, or providing effective, context-rich social media interfaces. All of these potential outcomes are complementary benefits of the same mature capabilities. As we pursue more capable, less obtrusive technologies, AR has the ability to greatly change both our work experience and the ways we communicate. More fundamentally, however, as much of the world shifts its emphasis from economic efficiency to effective learning, it’s likely that the utility of AR will follow suit.

    John Hagel III, director at Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge based in Silicon Valley. John Seely Brown is the independent co-chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

  • Android System WebView Updated for Android Devices Running Lollipop

    Google has released an updated version of the Android System WebView app that addresses several bugs around inline video playing and graphic driver bugs.  What is Android System WebView you ask?  It is actually installed on every Android device and it a Chrome powered application that allows Android apps to display web content.  It is an update that everyone should make sure they have installed on their devices, particularly if you have had some troublesome apps that won’t display web content or display it properly.  The new version is, wait for it… 43.0.2357.121. Also note that this update is only

    The post Android System WebView Updated for Android Devices Running Lollipop appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Facebook Introduces 'Facebook Lite' App For Emerging Markets
    By Yasmeen Abutaleb
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Facebook Inc rolled out a new Android app for its social media service on Thursday that uses less data and runs faster in regions with spotty connections.
    The app, called Facebook Lite, is available in countries across Asia and will soon make its way to parts of Latin America, Africa and Europe, Vijay Shankar, product manager for Facebook Lite, said in an interview. In many of those countries, people still use 2G networks, which are much slower and have less power than the 4G networks in many developed nations.
    “We want to offer people a choice so if there are limitations, they can still get the full Facebook experience,” Shankar said.
    The app uses less than one-half of a megabyte of data to limit data usage and rates for those in emerging markets. While it still supports Facebook’s News Feed, status updates, notifications and photos, it does not support videos and advanced location services.
    Facebook Lite is part of the world’s largest social media network’s expansion into emerging markets. Earlier this year, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg announced Internet.org, a platform developed with six technology partners to connect 4.5 billion people with no current access to the Internet.

    (Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Richard Chang)

    — 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.

  • Meat Without Animals and Sequencing the Planet at Techonomy Bio
    Genomic veterans, tech entrepreneurs, biotech startup executives, investors, medical professionals and others gather for Techonomy Bio, March 25 at the Computer History Museum. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)
    Genomic veterans, tech entrepreneurs, biotech startup executives, investors, medical professionals and others gather for Techonomy Bio, March 25 at the Computer History Museum. (Photo by Rebecca Greenfield)
    By Meredith Salisbury

    The over 200 people who descended on the Computer History Museum in the heart of Silicon Valley this March for the second annual Techonomy Bio event learned we were heading toward growing meat, cell phones and houses. They learned as well that we are in a renaissance of progress in human health. But they also heard thoughts on why we have more allergies and worries about how the public thinks about science.

    The daylong program ranged from stem cells and bio-architecture to venture capital and public opinion about science, but the common thread was the intersection of progress in the dual realms of life science and information technology. As speakers noted throughout the day, the intersection of big data and biology has helped create a field ripe for breakthroughs.

    Attendees included genomic veterans, tech entrepreneurs, biotech startup executives, investors, medical professionals and others. “I go to tons of biotech events, including those I organize myself, and usually I hang out a lot in the hallways. This is the first one I’ve gone to that I don’t want to miss a minute of the program,” said one industry veteran. There were certainly lots of conversations in the corridors of the museum’s airy second floor, but virtually everyone at the event was there to learn something new. And most discovered there were things happening in life sciences they didn’t know were possible. Punctuating the program throughout the day, executives from startups funded by Peter Thiel’s Breakout Labs gave short, fast-paced talks about a range of efforts: growing bone from stem cells, linking Alzheimer’s disease to bacterial infection, developing a patch to monitor the human gut and transmit results to a smartphone and quantifying stress for healthier living.

    A key theme of the day was that a shift from artisan to factory scale is taking place across many areas in life sciences. The opening panel kicked off with Drew Endy’s bold proclamation that synthetic biologists will literally be able to grow cell phones within two or three decades. Things got only more audacious from there. Other examples of the shift included bio-based production of physical bricks (with help from bacteria or mushrooms) and other materials for sustainable architecture, as well as lab-created meat and leather products to eliminate the need to kill animals. In the closing session, Sue Desmond-Hellmann from the Gates Foundation told Marc Benioff that bespoke therapies may seem out of reach, but that this kind of targeted medicine is indeed possible in the not-too-distant future. We may have customized medicine at scale, around the world.

    The flip side of the optimistic theme of endless possibility is the need to better understand and to recognize our responsibility for changes we introduce to the environment, humans or other species. Juan Enriquez, author of a new book entitled “Evolving Ourselves,” told Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick that we have created a parallel evolutionary system in which our interests often override natural selection. His examples ranged from IVF babies to antibiotic-laden animals. We must work to better understand what may result from these actions, particularly over the long term and take steps to ameliorate unintended negative consequences, he said. We get longer lives, but we also get developments like huge increases in people with allergies. A separate session included journalists and media leaders exploring the complex and increasingly fraught interaction between scientists and the public.

    Another topic that wove through several sessions was consumer-driven health. Several speakers talked about digital health and the critical need for developers to improve how results from such devices can be interpreted and shared with physicians. Other speakers drove home the point that healthcare needs better models to obtain consent and to manage sharing of increasingly complex data like genetic information. But during audience Q&A, several attendees from traditional healthcare organizations emphasized that so far physicians see little reason to trust or use consumer-generated information from health apps or wearable devices.

    Here’s a quick glimpse of Techonomy Bio moments that had attendees buzzing most:

    • Drew Endy said that if we haven’t sequenced literally everything in the world by 2090, “we’ve failed.”
    • Greg Simon from Poliwogg made a plea to tech developers to stop trying to add to our lifespan and to focus instead on letting us live well at home until we die.
    • Jeanne Loring of the Scripps Research Institute recounted the story of a patient going to an unregulated stem cell clinic and having adult stem cells injected around her eyes. When she began hearing a clicking sound each time she blinked, she went to a doctor and learned that the stem cells had turned her eyelids to bone.
    • Juan Enriquez says that after five major extinction events in Earth’s history, human survival depends on our ability to get off this planet.

    Original article published at Techonomy.com.

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

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