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Mobile Technology News, April 22, 2015

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

  • Drone With Radiation Sign Lands On Roof Of Japanese Prime Minister's Office
    TOKYO (AP) — Japanese authorities were investigating Wednesday after a small drone landed on the roof of the prime minister’s office.

    No injuries or damage were reported from the incident, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Indonesia to attend an Asia-African conference. Police said it was not immediately known who was responsible for the drone. They were investigating the possibility it had crashed during a flight.

    It was not clear when the drone landed. It was discovered Wednesday by an official who was taking new employees on a tour of the prime minister’s office in central Tokyo, according to media reports.

    Video from public television broadcaster NHK showed dozens of police officers and officials around the drone, which was covered by a blue tarp.

    The drone was about 50 centimeters (1.7 feet) in diameter and had four propellers, carrying a small camera and something that looked like a flare, NHK said. It was also decorated with a symbol that warns of radioactive material.

    Small drones are becoming increasingly popular in Japan and are often used for performances, aerial filming and other purposes. But they have raised safety and privacy concerns.

    Japanese aviation laws have no restrictions for flying unmanned equipment at or below 250 meters (820 feet) above ground except for flight routes.

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

  • What Is "Mobilegeddon" and Should You Be Worried?
    There is nothing like the threat of a change in the Google algorithm to create a firestorm in small business press and spread fear in the hearts of small business owners across the globe! The change (with press adopted moniker of “Mobilegeddon”) taking place right now is no different. If you listen to Business Insider “millions of small business” will be crushed. If you take a look at the Washington Post, they are using the term “apocalypse.” So, what is going on? Is this that big of a deal? Let’s unpack this.

    What is Mobilegeddon?
    Simply put Google is changing its algorithm so that on searches made on mobile devices, “mobile friendly” sites will be elevated over sites that are not mobile friendly. So, a user who is performing a Google search from her phone or tablet will be shown search results for websites that are designed to fit her smaller device. According to Google a mobile-friendly site boils down to the following:

    • Avoids software that doesn’t render well on common mobile devices. (Think Flash)
    • Uses text that is readable without zooming.
    • Sizes content to the screen properly without having to scroll horizontally. (Vertically is fine.)
    • Places links far enough apart so that the correct link can be easily tapped.

    Is my site impacted? If so, how bad will this problem be?
    The easiest way to check if your site is impacted is to take the Google Mobile-Friendly Test. Just enter your website’s domain address in the bar, click “Analyze” and Google will either tell your site is “awesome” and meets their criteria for mobile friendliness. Yay! You can do a happy dance and move on with your day feeling a bit superior to those poor sots this impacts.

    2015-04-20-1429570740-6158454-MobileFriendlyTest.jpg

    But, if you see this image, life isn’t as simple…

    2015-04-20-1429570668-386154-MobileFriendlyTest1.jpg
    How much of an immediate impact this will have on your business comes down to two questions, both of which can be answered using another Google product, Google Analytics.

    Question #1: Do you get much traffic currently from Google via organic (or non-paid) search? Take a look at your analytics to see your traffic sources. For many businesses Google search is critical. For other sites, their website is accessed more from links from elsewhere or direct traffic. If Google isn’t sending you much traffic, you won’t miss the traffic they aren’t sending you because of this change.

    Question #2: What percentage of your current traffic is mobile? Remember, only searches on mobile devices (phones and tablets) are going to be impacted by this change. Someone performing a Google Search from her home won’t have this particular algorithm change applied. One caveat to this question is that as mobile-friendly devices become more ubiquitous, this number will most certainly increase. It just might not be huge for your business right now.

    My site isn’t mobile-friendly! Ack! What do I do?
    First things first, don’t panic. As noted above, this may not have a huge impact on your organization in the short term. The last thing you want to do is to fix this issue in haste because getting a mobile-friendly website is not a quick fix. The answer for most organizations will be responsive design. Responsive design simply is a way that a website is coded that renders it to the proper proportions for the size of the web browser. In other words, when a site is pulled up on a phone, a design that is appropriate for a phone is the one that appears. If a site is pulled up on a website, the design is different.

    Unfortunately, you can’t flip a switch and create a responsive site. A site that doesn’t have responsive technology is most likely a site that needs to be rethought, reconfigured, and redesigned. Think of it as an opportunity to step up your web presence in a huge way! So, walk (don’t run) to someone that can help you figure out a responsive solution for your site.

    _______________
    Erika Dickstein is a Web Strategist located in the DC metro area. She specializes in working with small businesses on creating strategic goal-oriented websites. You can connect with her at www.springinsight.com.

    — 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 Bill Gates Thinks About The Future Of Eating Meat
    Bill Gates says reducing the environmental footprint of meat consumption isn’t just about moderation. It’s also about innovation.

    In a blog post titled “Is There Enough Meat for Everyone?” posted on his website Tuesday, Gates chimed in on a growing conversation surrounding the water-intensive process of raising the world’s meat.

    Since California announced its first statewide mandatory water restrictions this month in response to the relentless drought, some news outlets have highlighted data showing livestock require more water than any other agricultural sector.

    Gates, who starts his post with a tale of his own failed attempt at vegetarianism, is skeptical that the world will ditch meat-heavy diets, pointing to skyrocketing demand in several countries.

    “Brazil’s per-capita consumption has gone up fourfold since 1950. China’s nearly doubled in the 1990s. Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, and Japan have also seen big increases,” he writes. ” … Although it might be possible to get people in richer countries to eat less or shift toward less-intensive meats like chicken, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect large numbers of people to make drastic reductions. Evolution turned us into omnivores.”

    One 2014 study found that 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually go back to eating meat.

    Gates’ sights are set on improving current agriculture practices so that poorer countries can produce their own food and stop relying on rich nations for water-thirsty crops.

    “Innovation will improve our ability to produce meat,” Gates writes. “Cheaper energy and better crop varieties will drive up agricultural productivity, especially in Africa.” Gates has previously pointed out that Africa has lower yields per acre than the United States and spends $50 billion per year importing food from rich countries.

    Gates also is betting people will fulfill their meat cravings with plant-based meat substitutes so advanced that they’re indistinguishable from the real thing.

    “I’m … hopeful about the future of meat substitutes,” he writes. “I have invested in some companies working on this and am impressed with the results so far … I think it has potential.”

    — 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.

  • Jeb Bush's Favorite Part Of Obama's Presidency Is NSA Spying
    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) really likes at least one part of Barack Obama’s presidency: the NSA’s mass collection of Americans’ phone records.

    During an interview on Michael Medved’s radio program on Tuesday, Bush called the program, which was revealed in disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the best part of Obama’s presidency.

    “I would say the best part of the Obama administration has been his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced,” said Bush, who is considering a 2016 presidential run. “Even though he never defends it, even though he never admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation of our national government is to keep us safe.”

    Bush added that there was technology in place that could be used to guard both the United States and the civil liberties of Americans.

    After Snowden’s disclosures, Obama imposed some restrictions on the program, but left the program largely in tact. A bill to curb the NSA’s authority to collect phone records also failed in the Senate last year. That bill had support from some Republicans, highlighting a divide in the party between more libertarian Republicans who supported ending the program and hawkish ones who did not.

    That divide could carry over into the race for the GOP nomination for president in 2016, where some of Bush’s potential rivals have already spoken out against the NSA program. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has already launched his campaign, sued the Obama administration over the NSA’s collection of phone records. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is also running for president, supported the Senate bill to curb the program that failed last year.

    The legal provision in the Patriot Act, passed under President George W. Bush, that allows for bulk collection is set to expire in June, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the program will end.

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

  • The Evolution of the Modern Point of Sale System
    2015-04-22-1429662845-7627222-retailshopping11.jpg

    Every business today is dealing with a world that constantly forces a business to think and act “smarter” in order stay abreast of competition and differentiate products and services.

    Electronic Point of Sale systems are a combination of software, hardware and peripheral devices which can help many of you be more productive and keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

    How a POS Integrates with Your Business

    Typically a POS system will be located wherever a transaction occurs in your place of business and most systems function as an electronic cash register, making and recording sales in retail store, restaurant, hotel, et al.

    A well made POS can do much more for your business. Functioning as a more sophisticated IT system, connected to your back office, inventory systems and even Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.

    • Automates and enables information about stock to be stored securely.
    • Improves overall efficiency and flow of your business (performance).
    • Gives you the ability to store information and retrieve it on the fly.
    • Understand what products are selling (popular) and in demand.
    • Moves digital transaction to paper: printed receipts and transactions.
    • Can be integrated with your business web site or a physical terminal.

    Know Going In Your Layering In Technology With Your Business Rules and Processes

    Start with basics. What are your business needs? What are you trying to accomplish with an EPOS system? Do you want to lower costs? Use new types of applications? Foster collaboration internally and externally or get access to enterprise level apps?

    According to most recent surveys about embracing any technology that’s a combination of hardware and software and/or partially based in the cloud, the greatest barriers to entry for most businesses are security, performance and integration with how they run their company.

    What’s in-house, outsourced, how do we get our staff and management team up to speed, costs savings, etc.

    Yes, a good EPOS will help to add more efficiency to your business but like all technology, there is a burdened cost associated with basic vendor analysis, selection and then back end deployment.

    As a business, you have a tremendous amount of platforms to select from, with virtually unlimited features and functions. But, the greater challenge is time versus ROI for your business and grappling with the Darwinian issues; i.e. which EPOS system vendor will survive and grow along with your business.

    2015-04-22-1429662440-7546165-PhotosandvideosbyBluebirdGlobalbluebirdiPadPOSTwitter20150421172449.jpg

    How Does and EPOS System Function

    The primary components of any EPOS system comprise hardware, software, in most cases some kind of cloud integration for accessing data: terminal, cash drawer, chips and pins, customer displays, keyboards, printers and a scale.

    It’s simply a system that supports data entry via a number of devices including computer keyboards, touchscreens, barcode scanners and even tablets and smartphones.

    As a retailer, a well designed EPOS vendor gives you flexibility on selecting your hardware that will match your business rules. In a high frequency retail environment an EPOS system will work in tandem with barcode scanners, ensuring accurate pricing and imparting more efficiency to your staff.

    Most EPOS Systems are Highly Adaptable

    • Recording Sales and Revenue Generation
    • Maintaining and Updating Stock Levles
    • Enabling Better Customer Service
    • Helping you Keep Tack of Sales and Tax Filing Requirements

    Where The EPOS Industry Is Going

    The restaurant industry is increasingly adopting wireless POS because of the flexibility it offers. Many high end or high volume restaurants are embracing wireless handheld POS devices.

    The wait staff is now using PDA sized POS systems to register orders quickly, send them directly to the kitchen in real time to impart greater efficiency and drive customer service.

    Web or cloud-based POS systems are also on the rise. They are device independent, imparting more flexibility for your business, any user can access the backend with a device (even a smartphone) using a standard web browser.

    And, this type of web based software does not require any software installations or updates, and runs on secure servers in multiple data centers which have real-time backups.

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

  • VIDEO: 3D printer drone aims to make refuges
    A drone which can deliver and 3d printed ‘concrete-like material to provide people with temporary refuge is being developed.
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    The first video was uploaded to YouTube ten years ago this week.
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  • Windows 10 for Phone Build 10052 Available to Windows Insiders

    For those of you in the Windows Insider program who are running Windows 10 for Phone, there is a new build out this afternoon and one that you should most definitely get if you are in the Fast Ring.  It comes just 11 days after 10051 was posted.  Build 10052 doesn’t bring any new features nor does it bring the new Office apps but it does have a huge number of fixes and improvements that will benefit everyone.  If you are a Windows Insider and on the Fast Ring, go to Settings>Phone Update and get the latest build. According to

    The post Windows 10 for Phone Build 10052 Available to Windows Insiders appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • You Wanna Sell Me Something On Facebook? Im Cool With That
    I know I’m a little tardy to the party here, but I just finished reading that viral post about “3-D Lashes, Jamberry and Other Ways To Lose Facebook Friends.” You know, the one by the chick who’s sick of her friends trying to sell her stuff on social media?

    My takeaway?

    Women suck.

    Why? Because I don’t think that post is actually about selling stuff, you guys. I think it’s about women. And about the fact that we are all basically assholes who try to make each other feel bad. And about how no matter how far we’ve come or how much progress we make, we still can’t just sit back and celebrate our successes without trying to kill each other’s vibe. Unless we’re drunk in a restaurant bathroom, in which case all bets are off and we’re total supportive besties.

    I have never been to a 3-D lash party and I have no clue what Jamberry is (though apparently, it’s not jam), so maybe your suburb is cooler than mine. But if you’re my friend and you’re trying to make Jamberry happen, then post it if you got it. Because even if you’re clogging up my newsfeed with weird before and after pics that may or may not be 100 percent legit, it takes serious balls to put yourself out there and I will support that kind of head for business and bod for sin badassery any day of the week.

    If you just rolled your eyes, I don’t blame you. For one thing, I just quoted Working Girl. I also made up the word “badassery.” And if you know me at all, then you know that I am so not the girl who’s gonna waltz into your product party to nonchalantly browse the merch while socializing with the same group of people I just left in pickup line. Unless there’s alcohol. In which case I am like, totally there. I’ll probably also break a wine glass or three, so don’t say I didn’t warn you. But even then, I’m not going go buy some random tube of something to make it seem like I’m supporting you, only to turn around and bitch about you behind your back the minute I leave your house.

    You know that happens, right? I mean, we’ve all done it. And yes, I just said I wouldn’t throw shade, but I also said that women suck and I just had three glasses of wine in this scenario, so try to keep up, mmkay?

    Here’s the thing: I don’t want to buy your $40 facial cleanser. But I think you’re pretty dope for stepping outside your comfort zone to try and sell it to me. Because it takes a hell of a lot of courage and grit to go after a goal in such a public way, and people are always going to find something to say about it. And by “people,” I mean suburban housewives and by “find something to say,” I mean talk shit. But you should never sacrifice who you are just because someone else has a problem with it. (Totally just read that on Instagram!)

    I have so many friends who have re-invented themselves since having kids. And they are all pretty damn amazing. You can call them Momtrepreneuers and you can mean it as an insult. But the truth is — and I’m paraphrasing The Breakfast Club here — that you see them as you want to see them, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. Yes, they are moms. But they are also yoga instructors and photographers and nut-free bakers. Jewelry makers and party planners and dance teachers. I have a friend making headlines this month for the amazing clothing line she designed for kids with disabilities.

    And yes, I also have friends who sell skin care products and 30-day cleanses on facebook. So freaking what? Do we really have to dismiss then as basic? Are we, like, 45 and still in middle school? Where is the love? These are honeys making money, mommas who profit dollas. And we should be supporting them, celebrating them, throwing our hands up at them. Why? Because Beyoncé said so, that’s why. And you’d totally buy a Rodan & Fields face roller from her, admit it.

    Look, does the nonstop posting sometimes make me want to smack myself in the face with a jar of Arbonne Omega 3 Plus? Well, duh. But just to be clear, so do those Adam Levine Proactiv commercials and you don’t see me unfriending him on Facebook, do you? Fine, we’re not actually friends. But still.

    The truth is, we are all annoying to someone on Facebook, whether we are trying to sell something or not. Nobody wants to see a picture every time we drink a bloody mary or get a mani-pedi or fly first class or write a letter to our kid from the tooth fairy. I know, I know. Way harsh, Tai.

    I bet if you’re one of those people who never posts on Facebook or comments on anything you’re probably feeling pretty righteous right about now. Well, guess what? You suck more than anybody. Because we know you are watching. And your silence speaks volumes. You want to judge the players when you’re too scared to get in the game? Nice try, stalker, but you don’t even go here!

    I’ve been blogging since 2009 and I have some friends who’ve been the most amazing supporters. And I also have friends who haven’t. You know who you are. And since someone once told me to pay close attention to the people who don’t clap when you win, I know who you are, too. It’s always been so puzzling to me. But the bottom line is, it really doesn’t matter. Because at the end of the day, none of this is about what other people think. It’s about doing your own thing, feeding your soul or — as one of my more prolific Facebook friends would put it — filling your cup. And if selling Isogenix protein powder is the stuff your dreams are made of, who I am I to judge? I just spent two hours writing this blog post and I won’t make a single dime.

    So screw the haters and keep right on jamming up my newsfeed with those sales pitches, bitches! I got you. Because I will choose someone who is brave enough to put themselves out there over someone who plays it safe any day of the week. Or as Madonna recently posted on the ‘gram: “If you don’t like me and still watch everything I do… bitch, you’re a fan.”

    Guess the joke’s on you, then.

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

  • HeartMob Will Provide Real-Time Support To People Being Harassed Online
    An estimated 40 percent of Internet users have been harassed online, and a new service wants to help victims as it happens.

    The anti-harassment group Hollaback! are currently fundraising for HeartMob, a platform launching in September that will provide real-time support to people being harassed online. HeartMob will also be open to volunteers who will provide support and assistance to people reporting harassment.

    While HeartMob will welcome users of all genders, the platform is especially good news for women. According to Pew, women and young adults are “more likely than others” to experience online harassment, and women are more likely than men to find their experiences of harassment “extremely or very upsetting.” Online, women are more vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.

    heartmob

    “For too long, many people have left online spaces because they feel unsafe or unsupported,” the platform’s Kickstarter page explains. “For too long, many of us have sat back and watched, unsure how to ask for help or how to provide support and resources. With HeartMob, you’ll have a system of supporters beside you, and a user-driven set of actions you can take right now to lend a helping hand.”

    HeartMob users will be able to report online harassment to the platform as it happens, either publicly or privately. If they choose to make the report public, they can select ways that they want HeartMob volunteers to help — such as providing support through an online forum, or helping report their harasser to the relevant social network. Users who log on to volunteer will be able to see who needs their help, and in what way.

    heartmob

    While social networks like Reddit and Twitter have recently pledged to ban revenge porn and take a stand against trolls, HeartMob will provide peer support and a community for victims of harassment.

    “Let’s reimagine an Internet where everyone is free to be their badass selves,” HeartMob’s introductory video concludes.

    Learn more about HeartMob here.

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

  • Enraged US man shoots his computer
    A man in the US city of Colorado Springs faces police action after becoming so frustrated with his computer that he shot it eight times, police say.
  • VIDEO: World's fastest trains – in 45 seconds
    As a Japanese magnetic levitation train breaks the world speed record, the BBC reveals the world’s fastest passenger trains.
  • 'Flash Crash' Trader Charged With Manipulation, Wire Fraud
    LONDON — A futures trader was arrested in Britain over allegations that his manipulation of trades helped prompt the May 2010 “flash crash,” when the Dow Jones industrial average plummeted 600 points and unnerved many investors, even though stocks quickly recovered their losses.

    The trader, Navinder Singh Sarao, 37, was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in London on charges of wire fraud, commodities fraud and manipulation charges, prosecutors in the United States said during a news conference.

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

  • This Pint-Sized Washing Machine Is Perfect For Small Spaces — And Great For The Planet
    For people who don’t have the space for a washer and dryer, or for those who lack access to private laundry facilities, one tiny machine is stepping up in a big way.

    Meet the Drumi, a sustainable, miniature washing machine on the way from household design company Yirego. It’s basically like a salad spinner for your clothes.

    drumi

    The Drumi is foot-powered, and can clean about three days’ worth of personal undergarments and shirts in about 5 minutes. It uses approximately 2 gallons of water per load and only a little soap, which according to Yirego is 80 percent less water and detergent than what’s required by regular washing machines.

    With 40 percent of the Drumi made from recyclable materials, there isn’t a washing machine quite like it on the market. Watch how it works:

    This machine was designed for people who usually go to laundromats, and should come in handy for who live in a compact urban homes or can’t afford a traditional washer and dryer. Though it isn’t intended to entirely eliminate laundromat outings or the use of a regular washing machine, it can replace frequent trips and multiple loads and help reduce a user’s carbon footprint.

    Yirego told The Huffington Post that the Drumi will retail for a promotional price of $129 until April 23, after which it will retail for $169. The product will officially hit the market this summer, but the company is currently accepting pre-orders from Canadian and US residents. Happy pedaling!

    H/T Digital Trends

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    Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “Project submission.” (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

    — 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.

  • 9 Ways My Inbox Is Taunting Me
    My inbox is an archival storage area of all the ridiculous purchases I’ve made in my life.

    I used to order the Sunday paper so I could get my paws on the advertisement section with all the latest crap just waiting for my hard-earned cash. I’m a sucker for coupons promising things like, ‘Buy 27 and GET ONE FREE.’ However, newspapers are now a thing of the past, and I’ve realized that I basically still do the same thing every time I check my email.

    I am taunted with things I want and know I shouldn’t buy:

    1. Expensive Perfume Company: Thank you for sending me an email letting me know that your man perfume now features a ‘woodier fragrance.’ I wish I could hit ‘reply’ to let you know that I’ve made very few purchases from you. Most memorable was the purchase I made while walking off a martini I drank at a restaurant near your cosmetics counter and thought in the moment that $55.00 was suitable to spend on a powder compact. I think it was more the fact that your saleswoman had flawless skin and my intoxicated hopes were verging on psychosis when I believed that if I purchased the compact, my skin would possibly mirror hers. I will hop right on over to buy the new ‘woodier’ cologne…. right after I purchase my Birkin bag.

    2. Discount Travel Company: Listen up! Stop sending me your emails and stop pretending that I am some globe-trotting jet setter. I purchased tickets from your site because I’m broke and you offer the best deals. I don’t need a ‘last minute trip to China.’ Well, let me rephrase that: Yes, I’d love a ‘last minute trip to China.’ No, I cannot afford a ‘last minute trip to China.’

    3. Mini-Me Clothing Store: I am onto you! You’ve got me hooked in this never-ending ‘Rewards Bucks’ program where you make me feel as if I have a bunch of ‘extra cash’ to use in your store at the mall. Really, I’ve noticed that you have a sale every third hour, and the only time you don’t have one is when I am actually able to use those pesky little ‘Reward Bucks.’ While I do adore your selection of children’s clothing, I cannot afford to buy a dress at $24.99 on Tuesday and then the matching shoes on Wednesday because it’s ‘Buy One Shoe, Get the Other Shoe for Free Day.’

    4. Organic Cleaning Supply Company: Honestly, I really think you’re great. Your cleaning supplies are extremely overpriced, but they are also sans chemicals, and I am all about products that don’t slowly poison my family. However, at this juncture, I’ve accumulated about four months’ worth of cleaning supplies. Also noteworthy: you’ve apparently been charging my credit card for these deliveries. The boxes are quickly starting to stack higher in my garage while my bank account dwindles lower.

    5. Discounted Children’s Online Shop: You really do offer some incredible sales. However, your products take about three years to arrive, and by the time I do receive them, my daughter no longer wears that size. I’d really like to be a loyal shopper, but let’s be honest: The winter boots I ordered in October that arrived in July aren’t working out for me or for my kid. She’s the only child at the beach wearing winter boots with her swimsuit.

    6. Toy Store: Every time I see an email from you, smoke begins to steam out my ears. My first thought is how spoiled my child is because she has every Barbie on your site. Furthermore, your emails are a painful reminder of the millions of Barbie shoes I’ve stepped on/vacuumed up. My child is good on the toys… probably for life.

    7. Preppy Mom Catalog: Sorry, in my eyes you only sell school uniforms. I see you trying to lure me with your ‘mom clothes,’ but I just don’t feel I’m at an age nor a point in my life where I’m ready to switch over to a wardrobe that’s only featured in a catalog. Hit me up in a few years when I can no longer squeeze my ass into a ‘Large’ in Target’s Junior’s Department. It should happen sooner rather than later…

    8. Yoga Pants R’ Us: Sorry, I am a sham. I do not participate in yoga, nor Pilates. I am not in the least bit active and really have no use for yoga pants. The things is, your pants give the illusion that I am active while also providing an abundance of comfort. However, I can only afford to purchase your ‘yoga pants’ during your summer sale. No matter the status of my bank account, I will never, ever, spend $98 on a pair of yoga pants. Not even if I became a yoga master that owned a yoga studio, had a yoga body, and who needed yoga pants. It wont happen.

    9. High End Department Stores: Sorry to lump you all in the same category, but I have abused you all equally. I really wanted a pair of Tory Burch flip-flops over the summer and realized that if I signed up for your newsletter, I would receive a 10% off coupon. You three just so happened to be having sales at the same time. Yes, I now own three pairs of the same sandals in different colors. Sorry, I really cannot afford your $400 blouse or anything on your site, really. You do have some nice stuff, though. I promise to think of you in my dreams where I’m a billionaire who shops at your stores with an espresso in one hand and a black AMEX in the other. In other words, I’ll see ya… never.

    I am sorry to all the stores I’ve fooled with the lie that my bank account is large. It’s actually quite the opposite, it’s the smallest thing I’ve got… well, that and my boobs.

    This post originally appeared on BLUNTmoms.com

    Ashley Alteman is the writer behind SmashleyAshley.com where she details her laugh-out-loud parenting and personal fails. Ashley also writes for BLUNTmoms.com and can be found rambling about dinosaurs and her wild child, “Barb Marley”, on Facebook.

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

  • YouTube Star Connor Franta Talks New Memoir, Dealing With Haters And His Dream Vlog Collaboration
    Connor Franta is a mega YouTube star, philanthropist and entrepreneur. As of today, the Internet personality can officially add another accomplishment to his growing resume — a published author.

    HuffPost Teen chatted with Connor and got exclusive details about his new memoir, “A Work in Progress,” what it’s like to be a YouTube star and his heartfelt advice for his fans. Check it out below.

    HuffPost Teen: You’re releasing your first memoir — congratulations! How was your process of writing this memoir different from your routine of creating YouTube vlogs?

    Connor Franta: With YouTube, everything is incredibly quick, so I can write, shoot, edit and produce everything within a day if I want. With a book, it took an entire year — which is quick for a book — but just the process itself is incredibly slow compared to YouTube videos. It was kind of hard to allow myself to sit down and take time on a project!

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    What inspired this memoir?

    Just my life. I felt like I wanted to go beyond the five minutes a week I do with YouTube videos and kind of put more thought and more effort into putting out my message into the world.

    Being on YouTube, your fans know a fair amount about you. Is there anything you discuss in your book that you haven’t really gone into in your videos?

    There’s a million new things that I talk about [in my memoir], but a lot of it is just going more in depth on things, so I talk about coming out in more detail and kind of describe the process that I went through with that, like the ups and downs of it.

    What advice do you have for HuffPost Teen readers about self-esteem and identity?

    I would say just it’s just about finding confidence in yourself. It’s cheesy, but everyone has flaws and everyone has things they don’t like about themselves. But the sooner you can allow yourself to accept those, those imperfections about yourself, the sooner you can be happy and move on. It’s easy to focus on all those “negative” things you see about yourself, but you know, to most people they’re not a big deal. They just seem like they’re a big deal to yourself.

    How, if at all, has being a YouTube megastar changed your day-to-day life?

    I’ve never been this busy and I’ve never been doing this many things. With all of those YouTube videos comes a lot of stuff that I do behind the scenes like writing books. But also it’s made me a lot more fortunate in that I’ve been given lots of opportunities, again, like writing books, that I probably would have never gotten before YouTube. So it’s been truly a blessing and truly amazing.

    Have you dealt at all with “haters?” What has that been like, and how do you bounce back from that kind of feedback?

    Making YouTube videos while I was in school, I was fortunate enough not to really have any negative repercussions from it. I had a lot of positive feedback from my friends who thought they were great and thought they were funny and that what I was doing was really cool. As for online, yeah, I mean I get a couple hate comments now and again, but they’re mixed in with thousands of more positive, supportive comments, so I try to just ignore them and focus on the good things.

    What would you say is the hardest part about being a YouTube star?

    The hardest thing, at least for me, is just being so public about everything ’cause I’m a pretty personal guy. I’m a little bit shy and from the Midwest, so to be so open and honest with millions of people is pretty difficult. To have people constantly having an eye on you and very interested in what you’re doing at all times — it can be a little stressful at times. But that’s also simultaneously the thing I like the most about it. So it’s kind of like a weird love/hate thing.

    Would you say YouTube has been a creative outlet for you?

    Oh, definitely. It started off and it still is today my creative outlet. It’s exactly how I express myself and get my thoughts and opinions out into the world — whether it’s in a silly challenge video, or a well thought-out creative poetic video, it doesn’t really matter… it’s just me expressing myself. I think [a creative outlet] is an important thing for anyone to have — to be encouraged to share their thoughts and be able to just in general, create things. I think it’s great and such a positive thing.

    We hear that you’re really into coffee. Tell us more about your coffee brand!

    Yeah, I am! One of the fun, really cool projects that I’ve done this year is that I launched a coffee line. I’ve always enjoyed coffee and I’ve always wanted to do something with coffee, and I figured why not just make my own? So, I partnered up with this company in LA called LA Coffee Club and essentially, I got to pick my own coffee beans from this farm in Guatemala — not like physically pick them, but look at different ones and say, “I want that one” and I created my packaging and the design for everything. I launched it and did a 48-hour sale and it went incredibly well.

    What is your favorite coffee shop?

    I’m actually like a hole-in-the-wall coffee shop kind of guy. So I love the local shops that are kind of like one-off chains in Los Angeles, and I usually get a soy flat white.

    If you could collaborate with one other YouTube star, who would you pick?

    I haven’t done any collabs in a while. I usually do them with my friends, but I feel it’s only fitting that I would love to collab with the amazing John Green and his brother Hank. The Vlog Brothers would be great. Now that I wrote a book, maybe I can talk to John about books! [laughs]. I’m a huge fan of his work in general. They’re absolutely amazing.

    What is one message you would send to HuffPost Teen readers and your fans?

    Never think you can’t do something. I definitely never thought I could write a book, and even after I started writing it I was like, “Oh my God, how am I gonna write a book?” Just set your sights high and reach for the stars. Go live your dreams, and never think you can’t.

    Check out Connor’s book tour here.

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  • Forums: the new MacBook, disk rattling and more
    With the new MacBook arriving in stores and in peoples homes, MacNN forum goers have been giving their first impressions of this latest addition to the Mac family in the thread titled “MacBook Returns”. Late last week one Fresh-Faced recruit was looking for some help figuring out the cause of rattling noise they hear in their startup disk when they boot up.



  • Robotic Warfare Is No Longer Science Fiction: The Future of "Killer Robots"
    In 1942, Isaac Asimov formulated the Three Laws of Robotics, which would define and unify Asimov’s robotic based-science-fiction. The first and cardinal rule of the Three Laws was that “A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.” Asimov used these guidelines to create complex moral conundrums that drove forward science fiction, and sparked countless imaginations. However, the dreams of Asimov are entering reality, as over the past decade there has been an explosive growth in the use of unmanned armed robotic vehicles to reshape warfare. A number of powerful nations are at the cusp of developing fully autonomous weapons, capable of choosing and firing on targets on their own, without human intervention.

    Unfortunately for us, unlike Asimov’s society, there are no defined rules for our “killer robots.” Some fear for a “robot arms race,” as the high tech militaries of the world abandon policies of restraint and pursue ruthless development. In order to intervene in this field before investments, technological momentum, and new military doctrine make change difficult, the United Nations convened the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW). Held in Geneva this week, the convention played host to the Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and will be a vital influence on the final mandate to be developed later in November.

    The hope of many attending the meeting of experts is that the meetings can be an important pre-emptive step to banning LAWS before they get out of control. Over the course of the week, a clear consensus developed within the delegate body: it is morally and legally unacceptable for robots to kill people without human supervision.

    The CCW was adopted by the UN in 1980, and has been ratified by over one hundred countries. When first penned, the convention had five protocols, banning some of the most egregious aspects of modern warfare. A potential sixth protocol would most like be the crowning achievement of the CCW, and would have a dramatic impact on the future of war.

    The central discussion point at the meetings in Geneva has been defining “meaningful human control.” What is the amount of human involvement that is both legally and morally necessary in targeting and attack decisions? Some nations, like Japan, are explicit about where they draw the line on “meaningful human control” – no robot should have “humans out of the loop.” However, the vast majority of the rest of the world is still hesitant. While still far separated from LAWS, the drone program of the United States has garnered significant criticism over the past decade, and has become a pillar of United States military policy. Very few nations have taken similar positions to Japan, leaving the conversation vague and inconsistent.

    Human Rights Watch released a report just before the CCW meeting, arguing that autonomous weapons would muddle the legal waters of war, making it challenging to attribute legal responsibility for deaths caused by such systems.

    As the report notes: “A variety of legal obstacles make it likely that humans associated with the use or production of these weapons – notably operators and commanders, programmers and manufacturers – would escape liability for the suffering caused by fully autonomous weapons.

    As the debate continues, the desire is that the international security community can come to a formalized treaty within the next two years. Defining the terms has been arduous, but the progress made at the most recent meeting has been great. The path will be set this November, as the CCW will convene for their annual meeting. While it is a topic that may not capture headlines, these discussions at the UN may have enormous ramifications on the future of the global community.

    — 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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