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Mobile Technology News, April 27, 2014

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

  • Review of 2048 – Highly Addictive and Challenging Maths Puzzle Game

    There are puzzle games.  There are maths games.  There are puzzle maths games.  Then there is 2048.  2048 is a relative new game to the App Store and it already has a cult-like following.  The premise is simple:  Move tiles on the play board to add them up until you reach the magical 2048 tile. […]

    The post Review of 2048 – Highly Addictive and Challenging Maths Puzzle Game appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • TechCrunch Drops RadiumOne From Disrupt Conference Over CEO's Domestic Violence [UPDATE]
    TechCrunch is dropping online ad network RadiumOne as a sponsor of the popular Disrupt NY technology conference over charges that its CEO beat his girlfriend during a horrific episode of domestic violence.

    In an open letter to RadiumOne’s board members that was posted online Saturday, Leena Rao, a senior editor at TechCrunch, explained that the behavior of RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal had become impossible to ignore.

    “You see, I am afraid that this world is at risk of being a place where people are known to sacrifice ethics, and values, and sometimes genuine human decency in exchange for making money. This scares me, as does the fact that a violent, angry man is being left to prosper without full responsibility and retribution for his crimes.”

    Chahal was arrested and charged with hitting his girlfriend a staggering 117 times over a half-hour last August. The incident was caught on video, but the footage was ruled inadmissible in court because the police had seized it without a warrant. This, combined with the victim’s resistance to cooperating, allowed Chahal to plead guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence and battery charges, and escape the situation with only three years of probation and some community service requirements.

    RadiumOne is one of the largest online advertising platforms in the world. The company had been in the final stages of preparing for an IPO and expected to generate more than $100 million in revenue this year, according to anonymous sources cited by Bloomberg.

    RadiumOne was set to sponsor the “Hackathon” portion of the three-day Disrupt technology and startup conference taking place in New York City next week.

    But after the news broke last week that Chahal would serve no time behind bars, people took to social media to express their outrage.

    Unbelievable! RadiumOne should ask him to step down, he is a criminal! All this on video! http://t.co/ZC3UqE5txq

    — Eliane Fiolet (@ElianeFiolet) April 26, 2014

    Its a strong statement & i fully agree, until RadiumOne gets rid of that arrogant scumbag Gurbaksh Chahal. http://t.co/sdBRCIPCa3

    — Marvin Liao (@marvinliao) April 26, 2014

    @gchahal you’re a coward. violence against women is not ok. resign and seek help. do us and @RadiumOne a favor. stop denying and deleting.

    — Dora Fang (@dorafang) April 26, 2014

    In a separate post on its website Saturday, TechCrunch said that “we simply couldn’t sleep at night knowing that we were supporting and promoting a company led by someone who does not share our values on the issue of domestic abuse.”

    Full disclosure: TechCrunch and The Huffington Post are both owned by AOL.

    UPDATE: The board of RadiumOne is considering removing CEO Gurbaskh Chahal from his job, Re/code reported Saturday. According to sources close to the company, the all-male board has “been discussing the issue and will come to some decision or make a public statement within days.”

  • 21st Century Breakups
    If we’re being honest with ourselves, breakups are never in any way enjoyable. Whether you are on the receiving or giving end, whether it’s a monthlong or decadelong romance, whether in hindsight it was the best relationship of your life or the worst, breaking up sucks. There’s really no way to make it suck less, and there’s unfortunately no way to avoid it. Unless you’re a Duggar, maybe.

    But with the constant flow of communication resulting from the ever-growing use and presence of devices, it seems that breaking up is getting harder and harder to do, and sucking more and more.

    From having Facebook not-so-subtly shove it in your face that your ex is (already?!) in a new relationship, to checking obsessively to see if they’ve viewed your Snapchat story, to making sure your life appears more fun than theirs via Instagram, to god forbid stalking them on Find My Friends. Social media simultaneously makes it easier to stalk your ex, harder to hide if you’re struggling post-breakup, and more competitive than ever when it comes to playing the who-got-over-who-quicker game. Yes, that’s a thing.

    And it’s not just social media — it’s the ability to text, call or (desperate times call for desperate measures) email to contact an ex within 10 seconds. I would really like to see a study on how many texts sent past 11 pm involve former flings, and how many texts sent past 11 pm are regretted by 11 am the next morning.

    Technology has changed a lot of things — job searches, college applications, travel, doctor’s appointments — you name it. But I would argue that technology’s impact on the relationships we form, and break, with each other is perhaps its most critical consequence. What do breakups look like in the 21st century? They look like the face of your ex in front of your face 24/7.

    For a long time, I thought it was ridiculous when people removed ex’s from their social media. Does it seem absolutely embarrassing and immature to de-friend an ex on Facebook, unfollow them on Instagram or block their texts and calls? Yes. But if you’re struggling to get over a breakup, taking these measures is almost guaranteed to help. Growing up, we’re told to take ‘space’ in situations like these — but with instantaneous contact always looming, it’s impossible to truly take the space we need. The extent to which technology bridges the gaps between people is a bit of a catch 22 — it helps us connect with people whether we want to or not.

    In navigating the emerging technological society, it is most important to remember that we are not passive participants — we have the power, and the right, to opt-out of technology when we wish. It’s not ridiculous, embarrassing or immature; it is in fact one of the most mature and empowering things we can do in a society filled with and often run by technological interconnectivity. We need to remind ourselves that technology does not control us, but that technology is there for us to choose to — or choose not to — use in the ways that will best serve us and our relationships with others.

  • We Are Dropping RadiumOne As A NY Disrupt Sponsor
    TechCrunch will be dropping RadiumOne as a Disrupt New York hackathon sponsor. As Leena Rao writes, we simply couldn’t sleep at night knowing that we are supporting and promoting a company led by someone who does not share our values on the issue of domestic abuse.
  • Future of TV Snaps Into Focus – With 500 Million Dollar Fund
    Today Peter Chernin, the former president of News Corp and AT&TT announced a half-a-billon dollar fund to invest and acquire new web video properties. It’s a critical moment in the TV to the Web transition — but one that makes perfect sense.

    Here’s the backstory:
    Television, that big box that filled living rooms with a blue glow through two generations — is gone. The era of three networks, TV dinners and the dull thud of the ‘boob tube’ has all but vanished. Good riddance!

    But what you may not have noticed as you checked your email, read your Twitter stream, posted on Facebook or shared on Instagram — is that TV is at the edge of a new horizon. About to be reborn.

    TV’s future is now in sight. Networked, social, interactive and focused on the things that matter to you. Passion-powered TV, nichified and valuable.

    At the center of the change is the blurring line between TV and the Internet.

    Broadcast TV is transformed from a one way experience with towers and transmitters into a narrowcast experience where we can can receive what we want, in our own timeframe.

    Fixed televisions are replaced by moving mobile devices, smart phones and tablets, with mobile broadband LTE connections.

    Devices like Google Glass, Facebook’s Oculus VR and other motion control and voice control innovations shift the TV interface from a handheld channel changer into a fully immersive experience.

    The old world of programmed TV — with schedules and prime-time shows is being replaced by social recommendations and curated niche program offerings.

    But perhaps most importantly — TV is expanding beyond its narrow confines of entertainment. Television is increasingly playing a critical role in live events, shopping, gaming and even education.

    What does the future of TV look like?

    There are 3 trends that matter — and are no longer the stuff of sci-fi futurists:

    TV – Smart TVs – Connected and Social.
    TV – The Shift To Mobile Media.
    TV – Personal and Curated.

    In-Stat reports that 500 million TV sets worldwide will be web enabled by 2015. Companies are driving hard to be the critical connection between the web and your flat screen. Amazon’s new FireTV puts a new box in the mix, along with Apple, Roku, Google TV, Tivo and Samsung’s Boxee. And don’t forget Xbox and the other gaming boxes — all vying to be your entry into video.

    Already TV has broken beyond the bounds of proximity — and big event television like the Superbowl and the Academy Awards have developed social experiences via Twitter and Facebook that rival the events themselves. And social TV is just the beginning. Around the bend, the emergence of participatory TV promises to turn audiences into active creators — both on screen and off.

    Trend # 1 – Smart Televisions

    Thanks to devices, Netflix, Apple TV and Roku — TV users have started to get a taste of what it feels like to enjoy a truly a la carte experience. But that’s just the beginning.

    Television manufactures are now building devices that are internet ready — and the data is clear here. At the rate we’re going we’ll have our TVs connected to the internet at a dramatic rate. New high speed wireless technology coming to smart TVs is known as 802.11ac. 802.11ac, which will grow to 185 million new TV and display connections by 2015, will allow easy distribution of video within the home, including between tablet and TVs. Technologies like Miracast and DIAL will allow consumers to interact with their TVs from a mobile device.

    Here’s the Growth Track of Miracast and DIAL-enabled display device shipments (Millions)
    Source: NextMarket Insights

    With HTML5 looming large as the new platform for the connected web, TV manufacturers are completing with Google and Apple, who are competing with cable companies and app makers. It’s a free-for-all, with consumers poised to win in a big way.

    Trend # 2 – Mobile

    Mobile is one of the terms that’s outgrown its actually application. Really mobile now means “everything but the desktop computer.” iPad, Kindle Fire, Android tablets, Samsung and Apple smart phones — anything connected to wifi or mobile broadband is now a TV set in your pocket.

    Data via Ooyala

    As Ava Seave Reports in Forbes:

    “The share of total video plays by mobile and tablet platforms continues to take away playing time from other devices, Ooyala reports today, as part of itsGlobal Video Index for Q4, 2013. The mobile + tablet share of video plays reached almost 18 percent — an increase of a more than ten points over the 7 percent reported a year earlier. The report predicts that mobile video “could make up to half of all online video consumption by 2016.”

    Cross-platform viewing is on the rise — as consumers start a program on a tabled to smart phone, and then pick up viewing on home internet-enabled smart TV.

    Connected TVs are on pace to take over the television viewing experience. There will be more than 759 million televisions connected to the Internet worldwide by 2018, more than double 2013′s number, according to Digital TV Research.

    Trend # 3 – Personal and Curated

    The barrier to entry in the content creation space have fallen away. Handheld video recorders including the iPhone and GoPro are turning consumers into creators. And audiences are increasingly seeking authenticity and content depth over slick production values. This is a watershed moment in the powerful new role that video will play in the evolution of the web, and in the very nature of knowledge creation and transfer. The early promise of cable TV was that it would replace mass-media and low brow entertainment with quality, compelling, niche content. The concept was right for audiences, but too early to meet the economic demands of brand advertisers.

    Today — the demand for video in contextual and curated networks is evident and growing. Audiences want their information relevant, timely and ready for them on whatever device is in their hand.

    Using emerging crowd-discovery tools and niche network platforms — it’s not hard to foresee a day where the noisy abundance of web video is curated into remarkably engaging and useful networks that meet your needs, embrace a community and provide advertisers with a trusted and safe environment for them to deliver relevant messages.

    Today the light at the end of the tunnel can be seen in the almost 2 billion video views of TED, or the large and growing educational audience on Khan Academy. In the next three to five years, each and every personal hobby, interest, passion and educational category will have a curated video channel waiting for you to tune in, share and interact with. TV’s future is bright — and the next phase is already underway.

  • These Kids Thought Their School Lacked A Place Of Discovery. So They're Building One
    The students of REALM charter school in Berkeley, Calif., are putting their creativity to the test.

    In the past, the eighth-graders have had the opportunity to create laser-etched skateboards and build classrooms out of shipping containers, but this year they’ve decided to build their school’s first library, Berkeleyside reported.

    against wall

    “There were some students who said, ‘We don’t have a library period,'” Emily Pilloton, REALM’s creativity director, told Yahoo’s Good News blog. “But there were others who said, ‘We don’t have a place to explore. We don’t have a place to relax. We don’t have a place of discovery.'”

    So now the students are building that place — their dream library — through a program called Studio H. The program is an offshoot of Project H, a design education nonprofit that Pilloton founded in 2008, according to Berkeleyside. They’re calling the library “X-Space.” “X” represents the unknown, which is a concept the students recently studied in their algebra class.

    The students conducted their research by going on field trips to several libraries and considering their design. They also drew up a budget and launched a Kickstarter. In just one month, they raised almost $79,000 — which was more than their goal of $75,000.

    close up creating

    They’re hoping that the library will be unveiled this fall.

    “It’s not going to be the same as the other libraries I’ve seen, like the Berkeley library, because we’re trying to make it unique,” Leilani Gil, an eighth-grader involved in the project, told Berkeleyside. “We made a library so people can chill and learn and work on their homework, or just hang out.”


    We are a school of kids who are curious and young and have crazy stuff going on in our lives, and we want a place to explore the things we don’t know,” Pilloton told Yahoo.

    classroom filter
    finished project

    We can’t wait to see the finished product!

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  • This Is What Heartbreak Looks Like In The Digital Age
    It’s often difficult to articulate the real pain and anguish involved in heartbreak. But artist Victoria Siemer seems to do it better than most, with her series “Human Error.” Overlaying intimate Polaroids with computerized error messages, she cleverly connects the futility of dwelling on a broken heart with the uselessness of channeling frustration towards your tech devices.


    The series was inspired by an unfortunate Photoshop experience. “I lost everything I was working on,” Siemer, also known as Witchoria, explained to HuffPost. “An error message popped up that said, ‘Photoshop has crashed unexpectedly’ — you know, stating the obvious. In my frustration I took a screenshot of that message to make a joke about how photoshop broke my heart.”

    “As I was manipulating the image, I realized how many error messages could be applied to things that happen in day-to-day life,” Siemer added. “The options that error messages offer are limited; by putting their prompts in conversation with images that evoke heartbreak or discontent, I’m emphasizing the sense of futility you feel in both contexts.”

    The resulting series pairs dreamy portraits of beaches, tangled hair and crumpled bedsheets with stomach-churning error messages familiar to anyone who’s operated modern technology. Gazing at the series, the viewer conflates feelings of ill will, realizing praying for a rainbow wheel to cease spinning — and impatiently waiting for a heart to heal — are not so far from each other.

    Check out a preview of Siemer’s series below, and head over to her tumblr for more of her photography.

  • Here's How 'Big Data' Can Really Hurt The Poor

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A White House review of how the government and private sector use large sets of data has found that such information could be used to discriminate against Americans on issues such as housing and employment even as it makes their lives easier in many ways.

    “Big data” is everywhere.

    It allows mapping apps to ping cellphones anonymously and determine, in real time, what roads are the most congested. But it also can be used to target economically vulnerable people.

    The issue came up during a 90-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, White House counselor John Podesta said in an interview with The Associate Press. Podesta did not discuss all the findings, but said the potential for discrimination is an issue that warrants a closer look.

    Federal laws have not kept up with the rapid development of technology in a way that would shield people from discrimination.

    The review, expected to be released within the next week, is the Obama administration’s first attempt at addressing the vast landscape of challenges, beyond national security and consumer privacy, posed by technological advancements.

    President Barack Obama requested the review in January, when he called for changes to some of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs that amass large amounts of data belonging to Americans and foreigners.

    The technology that enabled those programs also enables others used in the government and the private sector. The White House separately has reviewed the NSA programs and proposed changes to rein in the massive collection of Americans’ phone records and emails.

    “It was a moment to step back and say, ‘Does this change our basic framework or our look at the way we’re dealing with records and privacy,'” Podesta said in the interview.

    “With the rapidity of the way technology changes, it’s going to be hard to imagine what it’s going to look like a generation from now. But at least we can look out over the horizon and say, ‘Here are the trends. What do we anticipate the likely policy issues that it raises?'”

    Podesta led the review, along with some of Obama’s economic and science advisers. The goal, Podesta said, was to assess whether current laws and policies about privacy are sufficient.

    Podesta would not discuss the specific recommendations he will make to Obama. He did mention an unexpected concern that emerged during White House officials’ meetings with business leaders and privacy advocates, and merits further examination: how big data could be used to target consumers and lead to discriminatory practices.

    Civil rights leaders, for example, raised in discussions with the White House the issue of employers who use data to map where job applicants live and then rate them based on that, particularly in low-paying service jobs.

    “While big data is revolutionizing commerce and government for the better, it is also supercharging the potential for discrimination,” said Wade Henderson, president and chief executive officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.

    Some employers might worry that if an applicant lives far enough away from a job, he or she may not stay in the position for long. As more jobs move out of the city and into the suburbs, this could create a hiring system based on class.

    “You’re essentially being dinged for a job for really arbitrary characteristics,” said Chris Calabrese, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union. “Use of this data has a real impact on peoples’ lives.”

    The civil rights advocates could not offer specific examples of such injustices, but instead talked about how the data could be used in a discriminatory way.

    Federal employment laws don’t address this nuanced tactic, Calabrese said. Similarly, anti-discrimination laws for housing make it illegal to target customers based on credit reports. But the laws don’t address the use of other data points that could group people into clusters based on information gleaned from social media.

    For instance, companies sell data amassed from social media sites that clumps people into clusters, such as the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category. A bank could target people who posted something on social media about losing a job as a likely candidate for a high-interest loan. The idea is that a person who lost a job may be behind on mortgage payments and might be open to a high-interest loan to help get out of a bind, Calabrese said.

    “You are individually targeted for a loan based on inclusion on one of these lists and get a high interest rate. That is in spite of the fact that if you walked in off the street you might qualify for a lower rate. You never know that you are being targeted individually since you just click on an ad on the side of a website,” Calabrese explained. “That is the discrimination.”

    Jennifer Barrett Glasglow, chief privacy officer for data broker Acxiom, said her company in Little Rock, Ark., screens clients before selling them data to help ensure that the data will be used appropriately and not for discriminatory reasons.

    She also said a discriminatory offer can be made without Acxiom data.

    “We’ve got to be careful that we don’t go after the data itself,” she said.

    Glasglow said the “Ethnic Second-City Struggler” category can be very effective for reaching communities in need, such as for advertising a sale or an offer that provides more affordable services. Glasglow said consumers can report what they believe to be unfair practices to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    “Let’s go after the people engaged in bad practices,” she said.

    The concept of putting people into categories, or “segmenting,” for marketing purposes is not new, said Eric Siegel, an expert in predictive analytics, which is the art of determining what to do with data on behaviors ranging from shopping habits to criminal activity.

    Few dispute that there are lots of good reasons to use big data.

    “There’s been a push by the administration to say that these are important tools, and the ability to apply analytics to that data is important for a whole range of issues from health care to education to public safety,” Podesta said.

    It can help communities be more efficient.

    A New York data-analysis operation under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg allowed the city to pinpoint properties with a higher risk of deadly fires by analyzing fire department data in conjunction with data on illegal housing complaints and foreclosures.

    The federal government recently announced an initiative to provide private companies and local governments with better access to climate data. This data could help communities and developers decide where not to build based on predictions about sea levels.

    Political campaigns, particularly the 2012 presidential campaign, rely on large data sets to target specific donors who might be able to deliver the most cash. Those kinds of analyses led to a multibillion-dollar haul in contributions, the most expensive White House run in history.

    Nuala O’Connor, president of the Center for Democracy and Technology, said there needs to be more transparency in how companies are using this data, and that means updating some laws.

    One is the Electronic Communications and Privacy Act of 1986. Podesta said he will recommend an update to that law, which governs how the government can access private communications for law enforcement purposes. This is something privacy advocates and some members of Congress have long sought.

    “There are certainly gaps in the law,” O’Connor said, speaking broadly. “The technology is outpacing regulatory and legislative change.”


    Associated Press writer Jack Gillum contributed to this report.


    Follow Eileen Sullivan on Twitter at www.twitter.com/esullivanap

  • AUDIO: The end of the plastic water bottle?
    A team based at the Royal College of Art in London has developed a new kind of water container, one which is edible.
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