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Mobile Technology News, April 30, 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.

  • 5 Best EMV Chip Cards for Your Summer Travel Plans
    By Jonathan Roisman, NextAdvisor.com

    The weather is getting warmer and summer is approaching. Whether you’re planning a big trip to another country or you just want to get out of town for a few days, it’s a great time for a vacation. While a travel rewards credit card offers big benefits for frequent travelers, some cards also include the more secure way to pay — chip technology. The goal is to reduce fraud, and the EMV chip cards (another name for cards with chip technology) offer an extra layer of consumer protection. Although it’s coming to the U.S. by the end of the year, it has been exclusively accepted — more than magnetic stripe — throughout Europe for years. So whether you’re planning a European vacation this summer or just looking for a great travel card that also has the EMV technology, we’ve detailed five of the best travel rewards credit cards.

    The best EMV chip cards for traveling

    1. Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard

    The Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard is one the top credit cards available, and possibly the ultimate one when it comes to travel cards. It’s one of the only credit cards currently in the U.S. that offers chip and PIN technology (as opposed to chip and signature), making it one of the easiest cards to use anywhere in the world. With this card, you’ll earn two miles on every dollar you spend without any reward limits — that’s $2.20 (including the 10 percent bonus miles you’ll receive when you redeem for travel statement credit) redemption for every $100 spent. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you’ll get 40,000 bonus miles (worth up to $440 in travel when factoring in the 10 percent bonus) after you make $3,000 worth of purchases within three months of opening the account. Although there is an $89 annual fee, it is waived the first year.

    2. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

    The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) was recently upgraded to include chip and signature technology. This makes foreign travel easier, and it will help prepare Americans for domestic purchases when the switch to EMV cards is implemented later this year. With this card, you’ll earn 2 miles on every dollar you spend with no limits, and you’ll get an introductory 40,000 miles (worth $400 in travel) when you spend $3,000 in the first three months of opening an account. There’s no foreign transaction fee, and the $59 annual fee is waived the first year. Unlike the other cards on this list, Capital One Venture is targeted at people with good or excellent credit, not just excellent, so your chances of being approved are better.

    3. Chase Sapphire Preferred

    With chip and signature technology, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card (NextAdvisor advertiser) is a great choice when traveling at home or abroad. You’ll earn two points for each dollar spent on travel and dining purchases and one point for everything else. There are no limits on what you can earn, and you’ll get 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening the account. That’s equal to $500 in travel if you redeem your points with the Chase Ultimate Rewards online portal. You can also transfer your points on a 1:1 ratio to a number of Chase partners, including Southwest Airlines, British Airways and Ritz-Carlton Rewards. To top it off, there are no foreign transaction fees and the $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.

    4. BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card

    The BankAmericard Travel Rewards Credit Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) lets you earn 1.5 points for every dollar you spend on every purchase, and you’ll get an online-exclusive 10,000 bonus points — worth $100 for travel — after you spend $500 in the first 90 days. There’s no annual fee and you get 0% APR on purchases for the first 12 billing cycles, which is a fantastic perk for a travels reward card. You won’t be charged any foreign transaction fees, and Bank of America customers with an active checking or savings account earn an additional 10 percent customer points bonus on every purchase.

    5. Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

    The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card (NextAdvisor advertiser) is a great choice if you’re going to fly a lot this summer because there are absolutely no blackout dates on any Southwest flight when using miles. If a seat is available you can buy it with points. With this card, you’ll earn 25,000 bonus miles when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months, and you’ll earn two miles on every dollar spent on a Southwest purchase, plus one point per $1 spent on everything else. There’s a $99 annual fee, but you’ll get 6,000 bonus miles on your membership anniversary. There are no foreign transaction fees, and the recently added EMV chip makes traveling internationally a little bit easier.

    For more information on the best travel cards with EMV technology, check out our in-depth travel cards reviews.

    This blog post originally appeared on NextAdvisor.com.

    Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This content was accurate at the time of this post, but card terms and conditions may change at any time. NextAdvisor.com may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

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  • Roseanne Barr Is Going Blind. Here's What You Should Know
    In an interview last week with The Daily Beast, actress Roseanne Barr revealed that she is slowly going blind.

    Barr, 62, hasn’t lost her vision yet, but said she suffers from two eye conditions: Macular degeneration and glaucoma. Michigan ophthalmologist Steven A. Shanbom, MD, speaking generally because he has not treated Barr, told CNN why that combination is difficult: “Macular degeneration takes away her central vision, and glaucoma is taking away her peripheral vision,” he explained.

    Barr has age-related macular degeneration, which is a leading cause of vision loss in people over 50, according to the National Eye Institute. It mostly affects the retina, or the central vision that focuses on objects ahead of us. Glaucoma, on the other hand, includes a number of disorders that affect the eye’s optic nerve, and is usually caused by pressure in the eyes and fluid buildup.

    Barr told The Daily Beast that her vision is starting to narrow:

    My vision is closing in now. It’s something weird. But there are other weird things. That one’s harsh, ’cause I read a lot, and then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I could hire somebody to read for me and read to me.’ But I like words and I like looking. You do what you have to do. I just try and enjoy vision as much as possible — y’know, living it up. My dad had it, too.

    Vision loss, especially in people with a family history, is in many cases inevitable as we age. But you can take preventive measures. Dr. Rachel Bishop of the National Eye Institute told The Huffington Post to avoid smoking and remember to wear sunglasses.

    “Smoking seems to affect circulation,” she explained, adding that circulation diminishes as we age. As for sunglasses, they help prevent sun damage, which accumulates with age just as it does on your skin. “Over time these damages accumulate and the body can’t compensate after a certain point. You [then] see damage to the surface structures and the deep structures [of the eye], like your retina,” she said.

    Getting enough exercise can help, according to CNN, as can eating foods rich in eye-protective antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Those include lutein- and zeathan-rich green vegetables, vitamin E-packed almonds and citrus, and also berries, which are high in Vitamin C. And don’t forget about your regular eye exams!

    “Without that eye exam we can’t identify a problem and treat it,” Bishop said. “So much of blindness and vision loss is preventable, but the key is early detection. I have a number of patients with severe vision loss because they had glaucoma that they didn’t get treated sooner.”

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  • The Colleges That Order The Most Food During Finals, According To GrubHub
    The concept of “acceptable” meals is a little shaky in college. Students eat whatever’s in the cafeteria and use limited space, time and resources to attempt cooking. During finals, college students get even more shameless, ordering absurd amounts of delivery for both efficiency and comfort.

    The online food ordering service GrubHub went through their data to find which schools order the most during finals as compared to the rest of the year. They found that, overall, food deliveries to libraries are 154 percent more likely during final exams than the rest of the year. The schools included in this list are the ones that had enough orders to be statistically analyzed, a GrubHub spokesperson said.

    Virginia Tech came out with the biggest spike in finals deliveries — a 46 percent increase as compared to the rest of the term. The University of Virginia came in at No. 8 with a 25 percent order spike.

    The data shows that colleges in New York state are especially keen on finals food deliveries. Three schools in the top 10 are in New York — Ithaca College, Cornell University and Syracuse University. Pennsylvania schools also make a good showing, with the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pennsylvania coming in at Nos. 7 and 10, respectively.

    Here are the official rankings from GrubHub:

    — 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.

  • Blue Man Group Surprises Fan With A 'Pretty Awesome' 3D-Printed Robotic Arm
    Wyatt Falardeau is such a fan of Blue Man Group that he wanted his robotic arm to be themed after the performers. Earlier this month, his wish and more came true.

    Wyatt, a 12-year-old from Vero Beach, Fla., had his forearm and hand amputated shortly after birth, WPTV reports. In a video posted by Blue Man Group, he received a blue 3D-printed robotic arm complete with paint splatters, the group’s signature touch, to remind him of his favorite entertainers.

    The arm was created by Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit organization devoted to providing 3D-printed bionic arms to kids around the world. When Wyatt received the arm, he also had lunch with the cast, got a personal backstage tour and played with the electronics and musical instruments. Of the encounter, the group called Wyatt “our superhero” in a recent Facebook post.

    Happy National Superhero Day from Blue Man Group and our superhero, Wyatt!

    Posted by Blue Man Group on Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    So what did Wyatt think of his new arm? “It’s pretty awesome.”

    H/T A Plus

    Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |

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  • The Average Hipster Employs 27 Slaves Each Day. Here's How To Change That
    Hipsters may value social progress, but their coffee habits say otherwise.

    That’s according to the team at Made in a Free World (MIAFW), a group dedicated to raising awareness on how consumers support illegal slave operations — often without realizing it — with their purchasing power.

    According to a statement provided to The Huffington Post, MIAFW looked at stereotypical purchases made by those associated with the subculture — things like cotton for clothing, coffee beans and tantalum for cell phones — and estimated that the average hipster employs 27 slaves a day through their purchasing power.

    The figure, of course, isn’t exact, MIAFW explained, as purchasing habits vary from person to person. But it does highlight how even those who try to be conscious, smart consumers can support unethical global business practices.

    “Think about how crazy that is,” MIAFW noted in the statement. “This person who values independent thinking, progressive politics, art, music, creativity, intelligence (and tight-fitting jeans) is unknowingly wearing and using products that are creating abusive environments for people globally. But, admittedly, it’s tough to buy ethical because so many of the brands we grow to know, love and trust simply don’t uphold standards that align with our personal ethos.”

    hipster slaves

    Modern-day slavery affects more people now than during any other period in human history. According to the 2014 Global Slavery Index produced by the Walk Free Foundation, there’s an estimated 35.8 million people living in slavery around the globe.

    As The Washington Post reported, the foundation doesn’t follow “some softened, by-modern-standards definition of slavery” — it tracks child soldiers, people who are forced into labor and prostitution, child brides and others who are treated more like property than people.

    Earlier this month, officials rescued more than 300 slaves in Indonesia after a story by the Associated Press exposed the human rights abuse. The slaves had been lured or tricked into leaving their homes behind and then forced to catch fish to supply the global demand for seafood, AP reported. Some of the fish ended up in the U.S.

    But there are ways consumers can get informed on the products they buy, and what role such items play in the global marketplace. Organizations like Free2Work aim to educate people on global brands and how those companies relate to forced and child labor practices around the world.

    MIAFW recently launched Forced Labor Risk Determination and Mitigation (FRDM) — a service for companies to learn more about obtaining their products from ethical sources. The digital service, which MIAFW claims is the first software designed to help companies rid their supply chains from slavery, educates companies on business-to-business commerce and pinpoints high-risk regions where the abuse takes place, helping them avoid supporting such operations.

    To learn more about Made in a Free World and FRDM, click here.

    To take action on pressing poverty issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

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  • Apple Watch Found To Have Defects: WSJ
    April 29 (Reuters) – Apple Inc has found defects with a key component of its Apple Watch, prompting it to limit availability of the product, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

    The component, called the taptic engine, produces the sensation of being tapped on the wrist, the newspaper reported. (http://on.wsj.com/1zekdXI)

    Apple was not immediately available for comment.

    Apple has not given any sales figures for its hotly anticipated Apple Watch since it began taking orders this month. Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Monday that demand continued to outstrip supply.

    Some taptic engines supplied by Shenzhen, China-based AAC Technologies Holdings Inc started to break down over time, the Journal said, citing the people. The company is one of two suppliers of these components to Apple.

    As a result, Apple is now sourcing nearly all of its components from the other supplier, Japan’s Nidec Corp. It may take time for the company to increase production, the people told the Journal.

    The Journal said an AAC spokeswoman declined to comment about the company’s customers. Reuters was unable to reach the company for comment outside of regular business hours in China.

    Nidec was not immediately available for comment. (Reporting By Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Robin Paxton)

    — 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.

  • Uber Driver Entertains Passenger With An Impromptu Opera Performance
    In this car, Pavarotti would play second fiddle to the driver.

    Jeff Sullivan captured this video of his Uber driver beautifully belting out some opera and uploaded it to YouTube.

    “He was playing [opera] on his radio and I told him how much I appreciated it,” Sullivan told The Huffington Post in an email. Sullivan was on his way to a bar in South Boston, and started chatting with his driver.

    “He asked me if I could sing — I can’t, but entertained him with a few weak Andrea Bocelli lyrics,” Sullivan said.

    “He mentioned that he was a student, but I’m not sure if he meant it in the literal sense or that he just enjoys music,” he added. “I then told him that ‘the floor is yours’ and he started [singing]… at first I thought he was kidding, then he started to impress more and more, so I pulled out my camera … no one would believe me when I told them I was just in an Uber with Pavoratti’s muse.”

    “Wow, that’s brilliant,” Sullivan can be heard saying at the end of the song. He then gets back to offering the driver directions.

    “Who needs a radio when you have an awesome uber driver!” Sullivan asked rhetorically in the video description.

    Sullivan is currently trying to track down the driver, he told HuffPost. Uber users can see a history of their trips, but the list does not include drivers’ names or contact information.

    — 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 This Company's Attempt To Buy Time Warner Cable Might Actually Work
    All signs seem to be pointing at a new Time Warner Cable merger. And this one might actually succeed.

    Just last week, a deal between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, the country’s two largest cable providers, fell apart. Charter, another top cable company, is already preparing a proposal to purchase Time Warner Cable, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

    Though Comcast’s deal broke down after regulators said they would block the merger, citing concerns about the impact on customers, Charter’s bid might have a better chance.

    Comcast, with its 22.4 million cable subscribers and 22 million Internet subscribers, would have created a giant conglomerate with its Time Warner Cable deal, and authorities worried that the potential mega-merger posed a threat to competition and net neutrality. Combined, Charter and Time Warner Cable would have 15 million cable and 16.5 million Internet subscribers, a much smaller entity.

    “Regulators are concerned about controlling the end pipe into the home, and I think that wouldn’t be an issue with Charter-Time Warner Cable,” Mike McCormack, managing director of the investment bank Jefferies, told The Huffington Post.

    Charter may have another advantage because it doesn’t own a TV network, while Comcast’s full acquisition of NBCUniversal last year broadened its influence over TV programming and distribution, according to Bloomberg.

    Charter even tried to acquire Time Warner Cable for $37.3 billion last year, before Comcast jumped in with a $45.2 billion offer.

    Time Warner Cable recently indicated that it is open to a merger with Charter. CEO Robert Marcus called his company a “one-of-a-kind” asset in a statement released after the Comcast merger fell through.

    Executives at Liberty Media, which controls Charter, had expressed eagerness at the possibility of pursuing Time Warner Cable again if the Comcast deal didn’t close. “There’d be a ton of reasons” for Charter to make a second bid, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei said last month.

    “Both companies have done a really good job turning around subscriber counts and rolling out higher speed data products,” McCormack told HuffPost. “Both are better positioned today than they were a year ago.”

    Investors seemed to support the dissolution of the Comcast merger. Time Warner Cable shares rose 4 percent shortly after the Comcast deal collapsed last Friday. Charter and Comcast stocks also increased slightly.

    Charter is also in talks to acquire Bright House Networks, a cable provider with 2.5 million subscribers. But if Time Warner Cable strikes a deal with Charter, it has the right to refuse that agreement, a result of its former ownership of Bright House.

    An acquisition of Cablevision may also come into play, McCormack said. Time Warner Cable could seek a bid for Cablevision to use as leverage in a deal with Charter.

    Charter and Time Warner Cable declined to comment.

    — 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 Woman Arrested After Facebook Rant Calls For 'Death To All White Cops Nationwide'
    As police brutality protests turned to riots in Baltimore earlier this week, an Atlanta-area woman was arrested for allegedly inciting violence against cops with a Facebook post.

    Ebony Monique Dickens, of East Point, Georgia, allegedly called for “death to all white cops nationwide” in a Facebook rant that she posted on Monday, East Point police told The Huffington Post. She was arrested Tuesday on charges of terroristic threats after Atlanta police notified the department in East Point. Dickens reportedly deleted her Facebook page hours before her arrest on Tuesday evening.

    The 33-year-old is accused of threatening to murder police officers and writing, “Might kill at least 15 [cops] tomorrow.” She allegedly posted the rant under the name Tiffany Milan.

    tiffany milan

    East Point police declined to comment on the post on Wednesday morning, but a press officer told the New York Daily News on Tuesday, “That’s 15 people that she’s talking about killing within a day or so, so whether she is serious or not that’s something that we have to take seriously.”

    Dickens’ threats came just as Baltimore mobilized National Guard troops after Freddie Gray’s funeral on Monday. Officers and rioters continue to clash in Baltimore as city residents defy a weeklong curfew instituted by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

    Gray died last week after suffering a spinal injury in police custody, and six Baltimore officers were suspended in connection with his death.

    — 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.

  • Planes grounded by iPad app error
    American Airlines delays dozens of flights after an iPad app used by its pilots stops working.
  • 5 Industries the Internet of Things Is Going to Change Radically
    2015-04-28-1430220542-8516741-IoTChifco.jpg
    “What do you know about the Internet of Things?” is the question we asked at the beginning of this week. To put it simply, the idea behind IoT is to be able to connect any kind of every day object, say a thermostat, a car, a coffee maker, or a watch to the internet. Not only is it great to be able to have centralized, remote control over one’s devices but it is also a game changer to be able to collect data about the functioning and interaction of these machines. This ability to collect and process data from connected objects is already changing the face of a few industries.

    1. Your security in the palm of your hand

    The time of trying to remember whether you locked the door, turned off all the lights, when you are half a world away from your house and you have to go back to check, is over. The time of worrying about discovering a break in at your house, as you return from vacation is over. The time when you spent the day worrying about your children because you left them at home with a nanny, or a baby-sitter is also over. A few sensors, detectors, smart plugs, IP cameras, a smart phone or a tablet and you are the master of your home, or office at any time and from anywhere. No more worries, just peace of mind, as you take back control of some of the most important aspects of your life, thanks to home automation.

    2. The service industry will prove that information is power

    A huge variety of Big Data-based services have been emerging and will be emerging soon. On the one hand, some companies are using the data generated by connected objects to enhance their performance and their products. The generated data is key for them to tailor their services to their clients’ specific needs. On the other hand, the data collected has been helping service providers market their products and target more specific audiences like never before. To give a small example, Wi-Fi Hotspots are a service provider’s best friend. All they need is to optimize the use of their offered Wi-Fi connection. It not only puts them more in control of the goings on in their structures but also helps them collect information on their customers either for marketing purposes, or service enhancement purposes, or both.

    3. The automotive industry becomes more efficient

    Fleet management systems, such as GPS tracking solutions have enabled companies to become a lot more efficient and optimize the use of their fleets. Whether it is a car-rental company, any kind of company with a commercial fleet, or a car insurance company, the possibilities of tracking their fleet’s movement, accidents, theft and consumption are just incredible. The costs these companies will be able to cut thanks to how efficient these solutions can make them are huge, not to mention enhanced performance, service, and again security.

    4. The healthcare industry says who is better than you to take care of your own health

    And who is? Democratizing health care and making it accessible at home and understandable will revolutionize the way we treat and prevent chronic diseases, partly because of data collection and centralization as well. Centralizing all of the information about monitoring one’s diabetes, or high blood pressure for example, receiving alerts, and analyzed data about it on one app, will help the patient keep themselves in check and will provide physicians with valuable information on the patient but also on the disease itself. Making people responsible for their own health will be an efficient tool to reduce unpredictable, lethal incidents, as well as a great tool to incentivize people to live better.

    5. Last but not least, finally a way to measure your own carbon footprint, starting with your energy consumption

    Just the potential that big data has in helping us limit our carbon footprint in terms of energy consumption, and eventually pollution alleviation is astounding. Almost all home automation solutions out there have a green edge and why not, when regular people can receive this type of information, which raises awareness of issues we needed to contemplate a long time ago. It might sound cliché, but it is the legacy we leave to our children and the generations afterwards. It is high time someone cared about what we do to the environment on a daily basis, in the name of our modern comforts. Isn’t it even better, though, when we tell you that you can have your modern comforts and a responsible way to enjoy them thanks to IoT? And if not for the environment, do it for the savings. It just makes sense every which way you look at it. It has to please you to know that the future’s technology is a responsible one. We know it pleases us. Moreover, IoT will help do this as much on a personal small scale as it will on a larger scale, simply because it makes studies possible and much easier on how much our machines consume or pollute. This is no mushy, flower-loving hippie, tree-hugger kind of green. We might be on the verge of a real green technology-based revolution. The possibilities are really endless.

    — 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.

  • Secret Shutting Down
    BuzzFeed News has learned that just over a year after it debuted, Secret — the anonymous social app that made headlines around the world as a possible harbinger of truly anonymous social network — is closing shop.

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  • 5 Lessons Government Can Learn from Khan Academy
    Khan Academy is changing how kids (and even adults!) are learning across the globe. With over 2,400 courses from arithmetic to physics and 100,000+ exercises, millions of people across the globe are learning from the world’s top experts at Khan.

    At the same time as this revolutionary change is taking place, it’s worth looking at how government learns – specifically, government employees. There are over 20 million government employees in the U.S. working on issues that range from keeping our country safe to improving our nation’s infrastructure in roles from budget to technology to customer service. If they do their jobs well, we save billions of dollars and improve millions of lives.

    But how do we ensure they learn how to do their jobs well? Currently, here is the plan: cut training budgets, eliminate all travel for training, and, while we’re at it, have three people doing a job where there used to be five.

    But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can leverage the same innovative approach to learning used by Khan Academy in order to help our government employees do their jobs better.

    That’s why we launched GovLoop Academy last week: to provide free, short, impactful learning experiences for public sector professionals. We launched with over 25 courses, online mentoring, digital individual development plans, and badging.

    As we did the research to develop GovLoop Academy, interviewing and surveying hundreds of government employees, five major themes emerged that can dramatically improve the government workforce through online learning:

    1) Short: Everyone is busy. As we met with government employees, nearly all of them mentioned they had limited time. But they had 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there. Learning has to be split into micro-learning experiences and that’s why all of our videos are in the 3-5 minute range in a course.

    2) Practical: Learning has to be useful right away. We found government employees did not want just “theory” on topics like project management. They wanted tactical tips that they could use today in their specific environment. In addition, they wanted hands-on exercises and team-based projects on practical work issues.

    3) Social: The great thing about government is all employees are on the same team. If I’m at EPA and you are at CDC, we want to learn from each other. Our research showed that government employees wanted to learn from people currently in government like them. They also wanted the experience to be social and for there to be discussions with others in government at their training.

    4) Recordable: Many government employees move agencies across their career and it’s tough to keep track of what courses they’ve taken and what they’ve learned. That’s why we’ve made it easy to capture all of an individual’s learning experiences across time, tracking courses taken not only on GovLoop Academy, but also recording any informal learning that’s completed both online and in-person.

    5) Timely: A lot of the classic government topics like mandatory ethics or security training exist in droves. However, a number of folks said they lacked training on timely topics. For example, they mentioned open data and human-centered design as two cutting-edge topics that were making the transition from a small group of early innovators to mainstream adoption. People needed relevant training on an emerging field where there’s little if any current training content.

    It’s still early in the reinvention of online learning, whether it’s the great work at Khan Academy or Skillshare or Udacity. We believe the time is ripe for this innovation to start coming to government. With a retiring workforce, shrinking budgets, and decreasing time, we need to find ways to train current and rising leaders to take on the important tasks ahead.

    — 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.

  • Cell Phones: A Potentially Deadly Addiction
    We can’t help ourselves. We naturally want more of what makes us feel happy, at ease or socially accepted. Because addiction often is born from pleasure and convenience, even the most innocuous things can become addictive.

    Cell phones are the new addiction, and a new public opinion poll from the National Safety Council shows Americans realize it. According to the poll, 82 percent of Americans believe cell phones are addictive. We only need to look around to see that perception materialize. The emergence of smartphones has exacerbated our addiction to connectivity, not to mention pleasure. Scientists have shown our brains get a hit of dopamine – the chemical linked to happiness – when we hear our phones beep or ring.

    Our addiction is relatively harmless when we’re using our phones to talk or surf the web from our couches. But when we’re behind the wheel, our addiction can be lethal.

    Calls can kill. Just as science proved there is no safe way to smoke, science continues to prove there is no safe way to talk on a cell phone and drive – not even hands-free.

    When we are addicted to something, we search for ways to justify our habit. With cell phones, two critical cultural ideals have helped us do so. First, multitasking has long been considered a skill and integral to success. We feel like we can – and should – do everything at once. Second, society tells us that being constantly connected is not only possible, but necessary and beneficial. The proliferation of in-vehicle technology that allows for hands-free calling reinforces this idea.

    We need to dispel the myth of multitasking. Many of us think the key to having it all is doing it all – at the same time, without missing a beat. In reality, when we try to multitask we are virtually assured of missing something. When we ask our brains to focus on two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time, the brain will prioritize one above the other and shift between the two. Our brains do this so quickly that we don’t recognize we are cognitively distracted and not performing either task to the best of our abilities.

    Think about watching TV while listening to a book on tape. It would be impossible to recount the TV show’s plot line or write an informed book report. Yet, we use the same kind of cognitive brain power when we drive or talk on a cell phone. If we wouldn’t do something as inconsequential as watch TV while listening to a book on tape, why would we hold a phone conversation while performing the monumental task of driving?

    Because our addiction tells us we can.

    When we want to have it all and do it all, our brains respond accordingly. We disregard the numerous studies showing the dangers of cell phone conversations while driving. We opt instead to lean on the societal cues. Hands-free phone use is legal, so we believe it must be OK. Car manufacturers are building hands-free calling devices into vehicles, so we believe the systems must be safe to use.

    Smokers did the same thing 40 years ago, relying on skewed studies, faulty logic and societal cues. Tobacco executives swore nicotine wasn’t addictive despite evidence showing otherwise. Industry leaders decried the clear link between cancer and smoking. Magazines and TV stations ran advertisements claiming smoking helped control weight and relieve stress, among other health benefits.

    No smoker today truly can claim ignorance. Laws and regulations have been passed; societal acceptance has waned. We know smoking can kill.

    Overcoming addiction is incredibly difficult. Some smokers kick the habit when they understand the grave consequences. But far too many end up looking back and wishing they’d stopped. After all, they knew their addiction could be lethal.

    Don’t kid yourself. Drivers who use their cell phones assume a potentially life-ending risk, too. When you get behind the wheel, disengage. Turn off your phone. Disable the in-vehicle features that allow for hands-free calling. Don’t let your addiction lead to irrevocable consequences.

    No call, no text, no update is worth a human life, and justifying your addiction with “everyone else does it” or “it won’t happen to me” is unacceptable.

    • Deborah A.P. Hersman is president and CEO of the National Safety Council and the former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board.

    — 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.

  • If Your Android Apps Are Crashing Suddenly, Try This Fix
    A new Android system update may be to blame for frequent app crashes on certain smartphones and tablets.

    Both BGR and Droid Life report that a new version of Android System WebView, a component “that allows Android apps to display web content,” might be leading certain programs — like the popular Textra messaging app — to crash.

    Users on Reddit surmised that the problem could be exclusive to the HTC One M8 phone, though BGR reported that it was also affecting tablets.

    A representative for Google told The Huffington Post that the company is aware of the problem and working on it.

    For now, there’s a fix you can try yourself: Open your system settings, then the application manager and select Android System WebView. From there, tap “uninstall updates” and your apps should begin working normally again.

    It might not be the safest idea to uninstall, though, since this problematic version of WebView also contained a security update. If the problem is not affecting apps you particularly care about, you might want to wait for Google’s official fix.

    — 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 What 'Back To The Future 2' Would Look Like If Doc & Marty Came To The REAL 2015
    “Roads? Where we’re going we … still need roads.”

    Thanks to this sketch made by the good people at The Shorty Awards, we have a pretty good idea of what would have happened if Doc Brown and Marty McFly had made it to the actual 2015 in “Back To The Future 2.”

    Unfortunately, there are no hoverboards, flying cars, self-lacing shoes or holographic billboards. And, even more unfortunately, our most impressive invention — the smartphone — isn’t making us any smarter. But hey! Marty doesn’t even have to change his clothes now that “normcore” is in style. And today’s music does sort of sound like a robot having a stroke. So, we’ve got that going for us.

    — 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.

  • Nasdaq apology for Twitter mistake
    The Nasdaq stock market says its “regrets” an “operational error” which led to Twitter’s results being released early.
  • Mobile, web-based intervention can be effective in back pain management

    Fitback uses a combination of mobile, web-based resources to manage back pain

    The post Mobile, web-based intervention can be effective in back pain management appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Judge objects to Facebook training
    A Texas judge whose Facebook posts led to a mistrial is appealing against a ruling that she take social-media classes.
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