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Mobile Technology News, December 12, 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.

  • Iranian Hackers Hit Sheldon Adelson's Sands Casino In Las Vegas
    Most gamblers were still asleep, and the gondoliers had yet to pole their way down the ersatz canal in front of the Venetian casino on the Las Vegas Strip. But early on the chilly morning of Feb. 10, just above the casino floor, the offices of the world’s largest gaming company were gripped by chaos.
  • GCHQ app targets budding sleuths
    The government’s electronic monitoring agency GCHQ hopes to target future cyber sleuths as it launches its first app for computer tablets.
  • Retail robots: The droid at till no 7
    The robots taking over the shop floor
  • VIDEO: Palm-sized drone follows you round
    A team of researchers at University of Delft are developing pocket drones, designed to help you get around the city.
  • 15 Teens To Watch Out For In 2015
    2014 was a great year for teens, with young people creating new social media trends, starting innovative businesses and making incredible art — all while balancing the everyday stresses of being a teen.

    As we head into 2015, plenty of up-and-comers are poised to surprise, entertain and inspire the world with their voices and their creativity. Here are 15 of our favorites:

    1. The teen activists who have been protesting the Eric Garner and Michael Brown decisions

    new york student protest

    Teens have been on the front lines of protests against grand jury decisions on the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases. From New York to Colorado, hundreds of high school students have marched for justice. Expect them to stay vocal as we move into 2015.

    2. Hailee Steinfeld, 18

    hailee steinfeld

    This teen got her impressive start as the world’s toughest girl in the Coen brothers’ “True Grit,” but we suspect 2015 just might be her year. She’s starring alongside Anna Kendrick and Rebel Wilson in the much-anticipated “Pitch Perfect 2,” which will be out in May. She has several other films in the works, and recently nabbed a role in upcoming YA film, “The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight.”

    3. Alexey, 17


    Alexey was a nominee for the 2014 International Children’s Peace Prize for his amazing work on the front lines of the crusade for justice for LGBTIQ rights in Russia. He is one of the most important voices on “Children-404,” an online community for Russian queer teens to share support and solidarity. When the founder of Children-404 came under attack for spreading “gay propaganda,” Alexey formed a protest movement in response, and the case was closed after just a few days. Though he’s been attacked twice during his activism, he continues to fight bravely.

    4. Shawn Mendes, 16

    shawn mendes

    After rising to fame on YouTube, this musician’s hit single “Life of the Party” debuted on the top 40 and with an upcoming tour with T-Swift, this 16-year old is set to take off into 2015 at lightning speed. Right now, he’s hard at work on his debut album, due out sometime next year.

    5. Brendan Jordan, 15

    queen l

    The charming teen caught everybody’s attention when he vogued behind newscasters reporting on the opening of a mall. The Internet went wild for him, appearances on the talk show circuit followed, and American Apparel just cast in him their latest ad. Of his newfound fame, he told The Huffington Post: “The biggest change, though, is that I can finally be heard. I strongly throw a message out there of equality, freedom, love, self-acceptance and absolutely no judgment.”

    6. “Unlocking The Truth” bandmates, Malcolm Brickhouse, 13, Jarad Dawkins, 12, Alec Atkins, 13

    First discovered in 2012, the Brooklyn metal band is taking off at lightning speed, playing in huge national festivals like 2014’s Warped Tour. Unlocking the Truth also became the youngest band to ever play at Coachella this year. After opening for bands like the Guns & Roses, the teens signed a 1.7 million dollar multi-album contract with Sony this past July.

    7. Willow, 14, and Jaden Smith, 16

    willow and jaden

    The Smith kids have been in the public eye for quite some time, but this year they really started to stump/intrigue us with their kind of amazingly-weird interview with The New York Times. They got some Internet flack for it, but when Vice asked a bonafide philosopher to explain their comments, he called the Smiths “well-educated, if a little New Agey.”

    They’re giving us plenty to talk about, but they’re also making some great art: each recently dropped a new album. Jaden won some cred for his album, ‘Cool Tapes Vol. 2,’ and Willow’s three-song EP, “3,” has generated some incredible feedback. Jaden claims he’s got more music on deck, and we’re pretty stoked to see what both Smiths have in store.

    8. The teens of “The Arts Effect NYC”

    the arts effect

    The teen girl theater troupe uses the power of theater to make change through projects like their play, “Slut.” They’ve taken their work around the globe and designed a workshop for sexually exploited youth. Even with so much on their plate, they somehow found the time to respond awesomely to TIME’s proposed feminist ban.

    9. Zendaya, 18


    The singer and actress first rose to fame with a role on the Disney show “Shake It Up,” and 2015 just might be her biggest year yet. She’s returning to the small screen with upcoming TV show, “Undercover,” which premiers in January and will also be releasing her second album.

    10. Jules Spector, 14

    The young feminist has been vocal about the potential of teens to change the world in the Internet age. She started the blog Teen Feminist, where she writes about a wide rane of feminist issues. She was also a featured speaker at the 2014 Women Moving Millions summit, and was one of the featured “loud women” role models, alongside Kim Gordon and Natasha Lyonne, honored by the feminist Internet learning startup, “School for Doodles.”

    11. Suman Mulumudi, 15


    The teen made waves in 2014 for his invention of the game-changing smartphone app, Steth IO, that turns your phone into a stethoscope and heart rate monitor. Now, he’s working on improving Steth IO, developing new medical technology and acting as CEO of his startup, StratoScientific.

    12. Becky G, 17

    becky g

    It’s been a big year for the YouTuber-turned-pop-star, with a popular music video, an AMA performance and a opening gig on Katy Perry’s tour. She’ll kick off 2015 with a performance on “Pitbull’s New Year Revolution” broadcast, followed up by her eagerly-awaited debut album release early in the year.

    13. Elle Fanning, 16

    elle fanning

    It’s been awhile since Elle Fanning was known as merely “Dakota’s younger sister.” This past year, Elle was nominated for a Teen Choice Award for her role in the hit, “Maleficent.” Now, she’s gearing up for an even busier 2015, with upcoming film releases for “Trumbo,” costarring Breaking Bad’s Brian Cranston and “Three Generations,” in which she’ll portray a transgender teen.

    14. Zoey, 12

    TK gifs
    Source:Logo TV

    Not yet a teen, but she will be in 2015! Zoey was one of four stars of Laverne Cox’s recent documentary “Trans Teen,” where she bravely put her life on screen to show America the strife that trans teens face. In the after-show, Zoey and her mom talked to Laverne Cox about the difficult Zoey’s had in school, and what it’s like to be young in a trans-phobic world.

    15. Erik Finman, 16


    The Internet boy wonder turned a $1,000 check from his grandma into a $100,000 fortune by investing in Bitcoin back in 2012. He used the profits to fund his career as an entrepreneur and started Botangle, an online video tutoring service. Erik dropped out of high school and is now hard at work expanding his empire. He gave an epically inspirational speech at the 2014 TEDXTeen event in London, which you can check out below.

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

  • Apple institutes new rules for iPhone cases, CarPlay head units
    Apple has instituted a new rule for Made for iPhone (MFi) licensing, requiring all cases to protect against drops of at least 1m (3.2 feet) over hard surfaces, sources say. That also includes any orientation, even in the direction of the display. Similarly, cases for all iOS devices must now offer a buffer of at least 1mm between the display and a flat surface when the device is upside-down. To achieve that, they can either cover the display glass completely or use a lip around the edge.

  • You Can't Have These Tech Gadgets for Christmas
    2014 has been a great year for tech products — heck, every year since 2000 has. Plenty of electronics, including smartphones and entertainment systems, will be right at home under the tree. There are lots of gadgets that you can have this Xmas, but what about the ones you can’t have?

    1. The iWatch

    A photo posted by Kiki Sidiek (@kiki_kuki) on Dec 12, 2014 at 10:47pm PST

    One of the most anticipated gadgets ever won’t be out in time for the holidays. You will have to wait until next year to gift the iWatch, which can cost as high as $5,000. It looks like the Apple smartwatch will go on sale in Spring 2015.

    2. Prynt Smartphone Case

    A photo posted by kenjibeef (@kenjibeef) on Nov 11, 2014 at 5:01am PST

    Prynt has made headlines for it’s intuitive design and reasonable $99 price. A must-have for Polaroid nostalgists, this gadget breathes new life into the realm of instant photography. The release date hasn’t been specified, but the CEO has announced Prynt will be “made available via a Kickstarter early next year.”

    3. Navdy

    Navdy has created a buzz by describing itself as safer than checking your phone (when driving). The device creates a dash-display which shows you (amongst other things) directions or text-messages sent from your smartphone. However, the device will only be compatible in states where “hands-free texting” is permitted. Navdy also touts an early 2015 release date.

    4. Google Glass

    @evelinabarry headed out to #nyfw in #googleglass #curve #frames

    A photo posted by Google Glass (@googleglass) on Feb 2, 2014 at 2:33pm PST

    Social media is amuck with people wearing Google Glass. But the much hyped product will not go on sale for the general public until next year.

    5. Google Smartwatch

    A photo posted by @google_life on Mar 3, 2014 at 4:33am PST

    Although the Moto 360 smartwatch (running Google’s Android Wear) will be here for Xmas, the much-rumored Google Smartwatch will not. Google filed a patent in 2013 for a smartwatch, but the earliest we can expect the device would be 2015.

    Have a techie Christmas!

  • Watch Shaquille O'Neal Use An Easy-Bake Oven Like An All-Star
    An Easy-Bake Oven is about nine inches tall and Shaquille O’Neal wears a size 22 shoe. None of this matters. The retired athlete, talented actor and beloved tall guy knows how to work the itty-bitty baking device I always wanted for Hanukkah.

    While cutely sporting a singing santa hat, Shaq whips up two holiday recipes in the Easy-Bake Oven. To make bread pudding, one of Shaq’s “favorite recipes,” Big Shamrock says you must “stir it up homeboy style” with a whisk.

    The Watercooler

    Next, Shaq says he likes to prepare tea cakes when he invites his bros to come over to lounge and watch TV. Though he gets a little stage fright and ends up dropping this dish inside the oven, he promises the cakes are absolutely delicious. How could you not believe him?

    The Watercooler

    At the end of the video, Shaq asks viewers to donate to the 14.7 million children who will wake up on Christmas without a gift. You can make a difference by visiting Toysrus.com/ToysForTots here.

    H/t: Eater

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  • Venture Capital Takes a Step in the Right Direction on Diversity

    The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) announced Monday the formation of a task force to help its members increase opportunities for women and minorities. On the surface, this looks like just another news release by an industry under fire; but I think there is much more to it. The NVCA is providing true leadership and challenging its members to clean up their act.

    I have long been critical of the venture-capital community for encouraging frat-boy behavior and tolerating the exclusionary hiring practices of companies that they have invested in. I have called out the CEOs of prominent venture-backed companies such as Twitter and Dropbox and said that a skill that VCs commonly tout, “pattern recognition,” is a code name for sexism and racism.

    So when I received an invitation, in May 2014, to speak on the main stage at NVCA’s marquee conference, Venturescape, and to be part of a discussion group on sexism in venture capital, I was dubious. I asked Venky Ganesan, who was the chair of this event and who had invited me, whether I was walking into some kind of an ambush. I joked on Twitter that I felt like a hen going into the foxhouse.

    I was surprised when, after I criticized their system for being male dominated and demanded that it be changed, the audience of 700 VCs cheered. They didn’t deny the problem or attack me for speaking up, as a few prominent VCs have done in the past. NVCA chief executive Bobby Franklin said improving diversity in gender and race was a personal mission for him because it would improve the innovation, productivity, and performance of the companies that the venture community invested in — and better the overall economy. He agreed that VC firms should be proactive in correcting their gender imbalance and disclosing diversity data, and promised to work towards making this happen.

    So the intentions seem to be good. But the challenges are greater than the NVCA imagines they are. The 2011 survey that they cite, which was conducted by Dow Jones VentureSource, reported that 89 percent of venture capital investors were male and 11 percent were female, and that, of these, 2 percent were African American or Latino. These self-reported data are inaccurate.

    A study by Babson College found that in U.S. venture-capital firms the proportion of women partners was only 6 percent in 2014 — having fallen from 10 percent in 1999. An analysis by Dan Primack, of Fortunemagazine, of the top 92 venture-capital firms revealed that, of the 542 partner-level VCs in these firms, only 23, or a paltry 4.2 percent, are female. VCs tend to fund people who are like them — typically, nerdy males. This entrenches discrimination against women and minorities. The Babson research revealed that only 2.7 percent of the 6,517 companies that had received venture funding from 2011 to 2013 had women CEOs. The proportions of black and Hispanic CEOs were surely much lower.

    VC firms simply won’t release data on the diversity of the leaders of companies they invest in. For many years, technology companies too refused to release their data because they knew it would cause them public embarrassment. But, one after another, led by Google, they started releasing the data. Though not nearly as bad as the VCs’ numbers, the numbers were low. But the revelations have led the tech companies’ CEOs to recognize the problems and commit their companies to addressing the issues that have led to excluding women and minorities. They have acknowledged that it was harming their companies’ competitiveness and performance. The venture-capital system needs to do the same now.

    The majority of venture funds have produced lower returns than the public markets have and thus have shortchanged the individuals, the state pension funds, endowments, and foundations investing in them. In doing the right thing and addressing diversity, the NVCA is ensuring its own survival. And, as Menlo Ventures partner Venky Ganesan said to me, it is about making a difference. He wants to make sure that his three daughters see a venture-capital system different from the one he has been a part of.

    Vivek Wadhwa is a fellow at Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University, director of research at Center for Entrepreneurship and Research Commercialization at Duke, and distinguished fellow at Singularity University. His past appointments include Harvard Law School, University of California Berkeley, and Emory University.

  • A Healthcare Guardian Angel
    As an undergraduate economics and health policy major at Harvard, Dr. Connie Chen traveled to Kenya, Cambodia, and Botswana to do field research, and work with local public health systems. While abroad, she noticed that where few people owned a computer, most everyone had access to a cell phone which they used not just to communicate or access information but for mobile payments and public health communication. Furthermore where few physicians were available, trained lay persons often served as a community health workers, playing significant roles in the care of patients.

    Once back in America, after winning a grant from the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship (Connie’s parents are immigrants from Taiwan), she was able to move to San Francisco to get her M.D. at the University of California, where she discovered a community of makers that shared her passion for engineering solutions to complex challenges. In tandem with her clinical training, Connie began to advise a number of Silicon Valley companies that were just starting to use smart phones to improve health care–reminiscent of what had already been in place for years in Africa. Following the intuitions she had abroad, she partnered with several serial entrepreneurs including Stephanie Tilenius, an ex-Google and eBay executive to start a new company, Vida, that–you guessed it–puts the cellphone and non-physican providers at the center of an individual’s healthcare. Last month the company announced it has raised $5 million in Series A venture capital.

    The service provides continuous support for patients so they can easily take care of their health not just during visits to a doctor’s office, but also in between. For the price of a typical insurance co-pay at $15 per week, the patient is matched with a health coach for video consultations, chat sessions, texting, and the old standby, the phone call.Vida is a matchmaker of sorts–its algorithm links you to the best expert coach for your health goals and personality who then provides daily support and guidance through the Vida app. As Connie put it during a phone call with us:

    There’s no substitute for a longitudinal relationship with a kind human expert. The physicians we work with see patients come back (after using the service) and they’ve lost twenty pounds, made significant lifestyle changes, are consistently taking their medications, and for the first time are seeing an improvement in their blood pressure, blood sugar and other key clinical indicators. As a physician who has seen the patient in a clinic, your ability to help the patient is limited once they get home. I remember discharging a patient with congestive heart failure from the hospital only to have him come back with volume overload as he had eaten a tub of salted butter which I hadn’t specifically mentioned in my list of common salty foods to avoid. With Vida, patients will send pictures of what they’re eating to their coach for specific feedback. Clients will even hold their phone up to their refrigerator (in a video call) and let the coach review the contents of their pantry and refrigerator. Not that. Not that. That’s OK. Not that brand.

    It’s virtually the same as having a guardian angel perched on your shoulder. Hundreds of coaches over twenty specialties currently work with Vida patients located around the world, Vida has also built its own patent-pending enterprise care management platform that enables each coach to work with hundreds of patients simultaneously while delivering a highly personalized touch, much the way a support technician or salesperson leverages CRM software to maintain parallel ongoing conversations at the same time with various customers. Coaches are also armed with an extensive library of evidence-based clinical programs across a myriad of disease conditions. As with other services marketplaces, such as Uber, Airbnb, and oDesk, these coaches are paid to be on call for patients, but can do it without any constraints–from their own homes or offices.

    Like most Soros Fellows, Connie is remarkable in her ability to see how to merge her experiences in clinical medicine, technology, and business to improve life in America and elsewhere. The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship program, with an endowment of more than $90 million, selects applicants to cover education costs and expenses over two years. Winners of the fellowships show the promise of achieving remarkable things yet must come from a family of immigrants, or be immigrants themselves, with a devotion to core American values. Generations of immigrants helped build this country of ours. They and their children are this connecting tissue of this country. Connie is just one example of how this tradition moves forward. And the Soros Fellowship helps make their dreams come true.

    Do you know anyone like Connie who might make a good future fellow? I’d love to hear about him or her.

    Peter Georgescu is the author of The Constant Choice. He can be found at Good Reads.

  • Guy In Jetpack Flies In Formation With Airplane, Performs Jaw-Dropping Stunts Over Dubai
    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s — Jetman!

    Yves Rossy, known as “Jetman” for his death-defying jetpack stunts, recently took to the skies in Dubai to perform some jaw-dropping stunts in formation with an actual airplane. Yes, an airplane. This is crazy.

    With a jetpack (more accurately, a jet-propelled wing) attached to his body, Rossy zoomed and careened in the air, performing a sky-high dance with a plane driven by aerobatics expert Veres Zoltan.

    Mind. Blown.

    Courtesy of XDubai/YouTube

    A former fighter pilot and airline pilot, Rossy is said to be the first person in the world to have taken flight with a jet-propelled wing. The Swiss daredevil is also known for his daring flights across the English Channel, the Grand Canyon and Mount Fuji. In 2011, he also made headlines when he raced two fighter jets over the Swiss Alps.

    Speaking to MapQuest earlier this year, Rossy explained just how he controls his movement when he’s zipping around with the wing on his back.

    “There are no handles or pedals. There is nothing between me and air,” he said. “The moves I do with my body are followed by the wings. If I arch, I go up. If I want to go down, I bend my upper body. … It’s like when you’re skiing. When you ski you look inside the turn and your body follows. It’s like that.”

    Here, Rossi and Zoltan are pictured flying together with jet-propelled wings:

    Courtesy of XDubai/YouTube

    Guys, do you hear those wings roaring? It’s the future calling.

    H/T Reddit

  • Apple backs down, allows 'Send To' options in Transmit
    Apple has quickly reversed course on a policy that broke “Send To” commands in Transmit for iOS, app developer Panic now says. The company writes that it got a “nice call from Apple” on Wednesday, and it has resubmitted Transmit to the App Store with Send To restored. This includes the “Send to iCloud Drive” command that formed the basis of Apple’s complaint.

  • Even Facebook Thinks You Should Block Your Ex After A Breakup (And Here's How)
    The last thing you want to see on Facebook after a split are constant updates from your ex. (Oh, look, he “likes” “Deadliest Catch” now. Who cares.)

    Facebook feels your pain. In a new how-to video, the social network coaches users on how to block an ex — or any other person you may need a little distance from — on the site.

    The clip opens with a recently dumped woman attempting to block her ex on one very awkward ride home.

    “If you just went through a breakup, you probably need a little space right now,” a calm voiceover suggests. “Even though it may sound extreme, you might want to block them on Facebook, just to give yourself a little extra room to breathe.”

    Oh, and don’t worry, your ex won’t be notified.

    The quirky clip is part of Facebook’s new “Just In Case Studies” ad campaign. Each video uses storytelling to to walk users through different technical features on the site, from untagging pics to editing a post. See the rest of the videos here.

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our newsletter here.

  • Half Of All Adult Americans Now Admit To Binge-Watching TV
    We are becoming a nation of blue-faced zombies, hunkered down in front of our screens and watching our stories.

    Fifty-percent of adults now identify as binge-viewers, meaning they’re watching multiple episodes of a TV show back-to-back, according to a new study of 1,000 adults with pay TV subscriptions released by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. The percentage was even higher for those under 35.

    More than half of survey respondents admitted they binged more frequently in 2014 than they did last year, and 60 percent said they string three or more episodes together at least once a month. More than half of millennials say they do so daily or weekly.

    Netflix popularized binge watching, a fact the company is proud of, but it’s not just Netflix fueling this trend. The survey notes that an explosion of quality drama on cable, Netflix and other streaming sites is driving more viewership.

    Sixty-one percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “there are too many shows to watch, and not enough time to watch them.”

    “They are binge-viewing just to keep up,” Matt Lieberman, director of PwC’s entertainment, media and communications practice, told The Huffington Post in an emailed statement.

    Binge watchers are also big proponents of the second-screen: Sixty-two percent of the people surveyed use their mobile phones while they’re watching TV.

    Viewers are also turning to multiple outlets just to access the shows they want, according to Lieberman. If you want to power through “The Good Wife,” for instance, you might need a Hulu Plus subscription because it’s not available on Netflix. If you’re looking for “Orange is the New Black,” on the other hand, you need Netflix. In other words, people are willing to pay extra to access as many shows as possible, even if they’re overwhelmed by the choices.

    “We heard stories of consumers filling up their DVRs with their favorite series and also starting/stopping online subscription services just to get to their favorite content,” Lieberman said.

    percentage of pay tv subscribers with netflix
    Responses to PwC’s recent survey indicate that more and more cable subscribers are also signing up for Netflix subscriptions.

    As Netflix subscriptions rise — the service saw a 20 percent increase in paid U.S. subscriptions this year — pay TV’s subscriptions are falling. PwC notes that there was a 6 percent drop in cable subscriptions in 2014 for those under the age of 35. Middle-aged folks, 35-49 years-old, didn’t cut the cord, though. And there was about a 1 percent uptick in subscriptions for those between 50 and 59 years old.

    Though they’re not rapidly cutting the cord now, respondents to the PwC survey indicated they’re interested in jumping ship down the line: Only 42 percent expect that they’ll have cable TV service in 10 years.

    cable forecast
    The future of cable according to the PwC survey.

  • How to Manage a Tech-Team + Project When you Don't Know Anything About Tech
    I’m not particularly tech-savvy. My phone isn’t filled with apps (I don’t have a smart phone), I’m not adept at @mentions, and to be honest, I don’t really think in 140 characters comments.

    Be that as it may, last month I launched my site, an undertaking that required me to interview and hire a designer and web developer,… without really ‘speaking tech’ myself.

    I shared my tips on hiring people outside of your skillset but how do you manage a tech team or a big, months-long tech project when you don’t entirely understand what’s going on?

    Good question. Here are four things I did to keep my tech project clicking along while googling every third word in our email exchanges.

    1. Be honest about your skillset + don’t be afraid to ask for patience and clarification
    When you were interviewing applicants, I’m sure you were open about your lack of tech-savvy and hired someone who could meet you where you are. They might need the occasional reminder that you don’t speak tech and you need a second, plain-English explanation.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or ask your team to explain something to you in a way you’d better understand – metaphor, etc. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself. You’re an expert at what you do, it just so happens that your skillset doesn’t include coding or Twitter. Spending time to negative feelings and self doubt serves no one. As Einstein famously said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

    2. Make peace with misunderstandings
    Mistakes and misunderstandings are bound to happen during a long term project with lots of moving parts and multiple team members – particularly when communication is taking place over email. It’s hard to read a person’s tone without constant emoticon use!

    Don’t dwell on these misunderstandings, instead identify the loophole that allowed them to happen and improve it.

    3. Get off Email
    Email communication is both exhausting and confusing. Enough said. Using a project management platform rather than email allows everyone can set due dates, be transparent about expectations and keep on the same page about workflow.

    4. Give time and money to review BEFORE coding begins!
    When you’ve never launched a website before you don’t know what to expect, what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not so it’s particularly important to include ‘review’ funds in your budget and build “review time” into the project timeline. When the moment between mock-up and coding is rushed – mistakes are made that will cost you extra time and money.
    Everyone is going to try to rush this moment and it is your job to slow this moment down to:

    Reflect about the website mock-up and do research on website best practices
    Talk with an “outsider” (a tech professional, trusted friend, etc) and get objective feedback
    Follow-up methodically with tech team on necessary changes BEFORE coding


    Of course there will be some charged moments when working with a team of people who know more about a given topic than you.

    Staying true to these tips and a bit of googling made working with a tech team 100% possible and an incredible learning experience.

    Have you ever managed a tech team while not being particularly tech savvy? Share your best tips below!

  • Five Tips for Mastering Google's New Inbox
    With all of the buzz around Google’s new Inbox, many marketers are running scared and intimidated by what this may mean for their 2015 email marketing strategies, viewing it as yet another obstacle to overcome. And Inbox is not the only one; other apps are already on the market, like Mailbox, aiming to disrupt the way users interact with their emails and inboxes as a whole. However, this new generation of email apps actually presents a novel opportunity for email marketers to create a competitive advantage and increase interaction with their target audiences. It pays to adapt to technology advancements — the hidden opportunities that apps like Inbox present for email marketers will bust the fears and myths around being locked in the “Promo” tab.

    By leveraging its new infrastructure, marketers can embrace Inbox and use it to their benefit in order to rise above the speculative worries while the rest flounder. Here are five tips for how to take advantage of Inbox’s huge opportunity:

    Hit the Highlights with Transactional Email
    Tap into transactional emails, which notoriously show the largest rate of interaction with users to achieve an early advantage with Inbox. Transactional emails contain valuable information like tracking numbers, order confirmations, etc. and are guaranteed to make it into the golden “Highlights” tab. Incorporating marketing messages within these emails is a sure fire way to drive engagement — enabling you to ensure your brand and content is being seen where it matters. To illustrate how important it is to leverage these kinds of emails, a report by Experian revealed that transactional emails were opened nearly 100 percent of the time by recipients and resulted in higher engagement than other promotional emails. This still holds true today as shown by a report by Silverpop, which found that transactional messages were opened more frequently and scored much higher median click-through rates (CTR) and click-to-open rates (CTOR) when compared to the median CTRs and CTORs for all other messages.

    Get Your Google Game In Order
    Inbox has a unique feature that pulls information from a sender’s Google Plus profile and will actually include the profile picture or logo next to the subject line of your email. Make sure your Google Plus profile is up to par and your company’s logo is uploaded properly. While it may not be a top priority now, it should be — your logo could be the deciding factor for whether or not your emails are read or snoozed. This can be especially important in maintaining your current user relationships. As users transition to a new email platform, it is imperative that you do not get lost amongst competitors as new Inbox categories are assessed and built out.

    To Open or Not To Open… It Doesn’t Matter
    Because Inbox provides small snippets of your email as opposed to the actual full message upfront, your open rates will likely decrease — but don’t fret. If you’re taking the proper steps to provide the right imagery, headers and calls to action, you’ll be sure to achieve increased click-through rates, despite an initial drop in opens. As early adopters continue to test the new app, take advantage and run your own tests for optimized email content. You can do this through basic A/B split testing. Gain insights by running experiments that grant you a feel for how your audience will respond to your subject lines, content, frequency and other campaign elements. It can be one of the best ways to assure that your campaign is streamlined and Inbox ready.

    Optimize for a Mobile Platform
    Mobile is the ever-growing platform that is taking marketing and commerce by storm. Inbox and other similar apps are a testament to an era where nearly all consumers have a smartphone and reflect new consumer expectations. In turn, it is up to marketers to take up this new call to action to ensure that their testing, strategy and content are not lost in translation from desktop to mobile.

    Inbox’s mobile-first platform demonstrates the need for marketers to create email marketing that uses imagery and click-through size and buttons that cater to mobile users’ needs. If you do not take this step, your content may not make it to your users’ favorite bundles or, even worse, you may send emails that cannot be successfully opened and read on mobile devices. Remember, no one wants emails that are hard to digest — with Inbox, users will easily recognize emails that are not meant for mobile consumption.

    I’m a Promotion, Say It Loud and Say It Proud
    Many marketers are likely to worry that their emails will now get sorted into the ‘Promotional’ tab to be lost forever, but don’t confuse ‘Spam’ with ‘Promotional.’ The promotion tab is not always a bad thing, and the label does not equate to “never being read.” Understand that users are aware that they can get marketing email every day, weekly, monthly, etc. The promotion tab was created to funnel all marketing material so that users can organize their product news and offers in one place. Actually, the only mistake marketers can make in regards to the promotion tab is to try to subvert it in order to make it onto another tab. For example, if users see something about new jeans in their list for ‘Travel,’ they’ll surely be annoyed and this will grant you a one-way ticket to the spam tab – the last place you wanted to be. Embrace the promotion tab and deliver the daily deals users are expecting, not the spam they aim to avoid.

    Google Inbox is the perfect example of technology that will change the way that marketers strategize. Contrary to popular belief, Inbox won’t be a detriment to campaigns with its partitioned email, but rather a benefit. With 2015 just around the corner, marketers should be ready to adapt to new technologies like Inbox and not falter in their resolutions. Plan early, leverage data, and keep attuned to industry changes to guarantee the success of marketing campaigns for this upcoming year.

    Follow Seamas Egan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SeamasEgan

  • Canadian Competition Bureau probes Apple deals with carriers
    The Canadian government’s Competition Bureau is investigating complaints that Apple used anti-competitive clauses in the contracts it signed with phone carriers, Reuters reports. Although the Bureau stresses that it has yet to uncover any wrongdoing, it has only this week asked for a court order that would force Apple to turn over necessary documents. The organization hasn’t said if it’s pursuing similar orders for the carriers, which include Bell, Rogers, and Telus.

  • Review of the Toshiba Encore 2 Windows Tablet

    A couple of weeks ago, on Black Friday, I picked up the Toshiba Encore 2 Windows 8.1 tablet.  Having recently left the iOS wilderness, a tablet was the one thing that I was sorely missing in my day-to-day work and life.  I loved my iPad Air.  However, as I stated in my first impressions of the Toshiba Encore 2 post, I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a Windows tablet s I was unsure of how well I would like the platform.  So I went cheap.  But I didn’t go wrong. The $129 Encore 2 has been

    The post Review of the Toshiba Encore 2 Windows Tablet appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • From Intention to Action: Five Ways to Build Diverse Leadership Teams

    Across industries, diverse leadership teams drive high performance. They make better decisions, improve financial outcomes, create a competitive edge, compete more effectively for talent, and reduce employee turnover.

    But not every industry successfully attracts, develops, and retains talented leaders of color. As Fast Company recently reported, tech has a lot further to go. So does education.

    To provide practical guidance for education organizations and others to build more racially and ethnically diverse leadership teams, Education Pioneers and Koya Leadership Partners have co-authored a report, “From Intention to Action: Building Diverse, Inclusive Leadership Teams in Education to Deepen Impact.”

    In the report, we share five key ways that organizations can build high-functioning, diverse leadership teams, based on results from a quantitative survey and accompanying interviews with educational leaders:

    #1 Customize your vision and strategy. Defining diversity and why it matters establishes the foundation for building more diverse, inclusive teams.

    What you can do: Establish a diversity vision, definition, and rationale to fit your organization’s unique culture and needs. Ensure that the message that diversity matters comes your board and executive leaders, and weave your vision and priorities into your mission and culture.

    #2 Focus on impact and metrics. Organizations that track performance metrics can strategically deploy resources and continue or halt initiatives based on what the data says about their effectiveness.

    What you can do: Use the report’s Organizational Audit Checklist to assess your organization’s current diversity and inclusion practices and set a baseline. Then, identify a set of key performance metrics based on your customized vision and strategy, assign accountability to an individual or individuals, and share results across the organization regularly.

    #3 Focus on recruiting and selection practices. There are a number of steps organizations can take to strengthen performance and outcomes in recruiting and selection practices.

    What you can do: Establish strategic partnerships that connect your organization with diverse talent pipelines, and ensure that internal recruiters and hiring managers know good sources for candidates of color. Train your staff on unbiased interviewing and selection processes.

    #4 Invest in leadership development to retain high performers. Leadership development is vital to ensure that all team members, particularly employees of color, remain engaged and advanced in their careers.

    What you can do: Implement a process for identifying high-potential employees. Offer a range of informal and formal professional development tools, such as buddies, mentoring, and coaching. Regularly evaluate internal talent to ensure employees of color are in your leadership development pipeline.

    #5 Ensure ongoing discussion. Best practice organizations regularly engage in meaningful dialogue at different levels, from one-on-one talks to company-wide discussions. They talk about diversity and what it means to the organization, why it is important, and what the organization is doing to achieve it.

    What you can do: Start a dialogue at your organization and keep it going.

    In education, the children and communities we serve need and deserve the most effective leadership teams that we can assemble. To get there, it’s time to move from good intentions to meaningful action by building and empowering diverse, inclusive leadership teams.

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