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Mobile Technology News, December 2, 2013

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.

  • Dell 24-inch 4K monitor leaks
    Dell is planning to release a 24-inch 4K monitor, according to data on the company’s Web site.
  • Amazon testing drones for deliveries
    Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is testing unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers, according to Chief Executive Jeff Bezos.
  • Kyle Kinane vs. Pace Salsa Was The Other Best Thing On Twitter This Weekend (UPDATE)

    UPDATE: @Pace_Foods announced that they are suspending their Twitter account.

    PREVIOUSLY: Forget about Elan Gale’s livetweet of his altercation with an annoying plane passenger. Comedian Kyle Kinane may have beat him with this Sunday afternoon Twitter conversation with Pace Picante. (Note: This Pace Twitter account is currently unverified by Twitter, and neither Pace nor Campbell’s, which owns Pace, has responded to our request for comment. @Pace_Foods also blocked the editor filing this.)

    It all started when stand-up comedian Kyle Kinane, who counts the likes of Patton Oswalt and Marc Maron as fans, noticed that the Twitter account for Pace favorited a 10-month old tweet insulting their salsa.

    You’re doing it wrong, Pace. pic.twitter.com/Va2FsobaiR

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    So he decided to have some fun with it.

    Let’s try something here…

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    I wouldn’t rub Pace Picante-brand salsa on my asshole if my turds came out on fire.

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Lo and behold, it worked.

    Pace, you might want to pay a human being to run your account. pic.twitter.com/VJro7FRB6L

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    He decided to test it again…

    Pace Picante-brand salsa officially endorses @MrsRenfros salsa as the tastiest super market salsa ever!

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    …and got the same result.

    Sunday morning just got really interesting … pic.twitter.com/WE6xfHIsmH

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    But how far would they go in favoriting negative tweets?

    Pace Picante-brand salsa openly admits its ad campaign is vaguely homophobic and yet its salsa tastes like old cowboy dicks

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Pretty far, apparently.

    WELL BOY-HOWDY!!! pic.twitter.com/ESUcilH0uD

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    .@Pace_Foods only eats Tostitos salsa at the company Xmas party.

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    So it’s just open season then? pic.twitter.com/sMUxooFr1J

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Until they finally caught on.

    We were just experiencing some technical problems with our Twitter account, please accept our apology and Happy Holidays.

    — Pace Picante (@Pace_Foods) December 1, 2013

    I was never part of the 99% movement, but this morning we shut down big salsa! Cheers! pic.twitter.com/3s9RaizGVW

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Pace started direct messaging Kinane with some requests.

    Negotiations have begun. pic.twitter.com/Oiv7S9I0mA

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    My friends are getting book deals from Twitter and I’m slow dancing with a robot for a case of free salsa. Everything’s just fucking grand.

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    pic.twitter.com/kwEAgVtABa

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    But it turns out they wouldn’t bite.

    "Blackmail for salsa is still blackmail." Oh boy. Gonna need some pro bono representation over here. pic.twitter.com/a7CQ1t2dr0

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    The united front at Pace began to shatter.

    CHECK MATE. pic.twitter.com/tllWYQCFyz

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Looks like we really "stirred up" a little controversy! (I love wordplay you can go fuck you if you don’t). pic.twitter.com/YDk9FGPqeI

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    By this point, the interaction was getting increasingly public, so Kinane brought his childhood crush Winnie Cooper into it.

    I’m only fighting with @Pace_Foods in order to gain the attention of @danicamckellar. It’s like a real mellow John Hinckley situation.

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Kyle decided that no harm had been done, so why not get some free salsa out of it?

    Verdict in the @kylekinane bored in bed on a Sunday vs. @Pace_Foods‘s autonomously favoriting robot: pic.twitter.com/2U1xDQBj9h

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Some “pranksters” also dropped this off.

    You may’ve won earlier than you thought, @Pace_Foods. Pranksters just gave you $45. pic.twitter.com/gvtiXklTug

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    All was fun and games… and then it started to get real.

    Well well, @Pace_Foods, is the player becoming the played? I say GAME ON. pic.twitter.com/jzc9xBO1OE

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    After Miles’ outburst, Miles and Eric disappeared.

    ITS A COVER UP!!! pic.twitter.com/cemzvJWIaC

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    ALERT THE AUTHORITIES. pic.twitter.com/qRJ4K6K9ln

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    My nerves are such a mess over the whereabouts of Miles and Eric now I can barely keep down my @Pace_Foods medium spice chunky style salsa.

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    pic.twitter.com/ZWReZBVSuo

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Now it’s just getting sadistic. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME, PACE? AN APOLOGY? OH GOD IM SORRY. PACE FORGIVE ME pic.twitter.com/vdkttwHkA5

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    DRAMA.

    Oh god Miles I am so sorry. And right before Christmas. You can probably use salsa instead of cranberry sauce I guess pic.twitter.com/vp7rKA18ox

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Kyle started to worry that he was responsible for someone getting fired.

    .@Pace_Foods please donate one of my cases of free salsa to the home address of former employee Miles (assuming he can still keep his home).

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 1, 2013

    Let’s make sure Miles has a job tomorrow w/ @Pace_Foods. How about literally the easiest show of support–a hashtag? #BringBackMiles

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 2, 2013

    We won’t know about #BringBackMiles until tmrw when @Pace_Foods corporate hq opens up in Texas. Until then, lets hold a vigil (drink beers).

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 2, 2013

    And Miles went rogue. (This tweet was deleted, but the text is below.)

    THEY CHANGED THE PASSWORD, BUT BACK TO WHAT IT USED TO BE, I WON’T GO QUIETLY. #BringBackMiles #directdeposit #IQUIT

    — Pace Picante (@Pace_Foods) December 2, 2013

    Then, Miles got his @Pace_Foods password taken away and retreated to his own Twitter account. (His account was also suspended.)

    @kylekinane Here you go, I’m done proving myself, direct deposit, none of your business, deleting my twitter pic.twitter.com/ouglN4C0wK

    — Miles Wates (@MilesWates) December 2, 2013

    Kyle started to suspect that something was up.

    The @Pace_Foods debacle has more layers than Syriana right now. @MilesWates may’ve been a fake acct from INSIDE THE COMPANY. #BringBackMiles

    — Kyle Kinane (@kylekinane) December 2, 2013

    The dramatic conclusion. Miles is innocent, and Pace is taking down their Twitter account.

    So what did we learn today? Even if you’re a salsa company, keep an eye on your social media. GET A ROPE.

  • The gentle art of cracking passwords
    Why people are lousy at picking passwords
  • Amazon Reveals It Wants To Deploy Delivery Drones. No Joke.
    Amazon offering delivery on Sunday was only the beginning.

    In an interview with Charlie Rose on Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes,” Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos revealed the giant online store is developing a drone-based delivery service called Prime Air. According to Bezos, Prime Air would be able to get customers their products only a half-hour after they click the “buy” button. His “optimistic” estimate to “60 Minutes” was that Prime Air will be available to customers within 4 to 5 years.

    Prime Air was unveiled to Rose and “60 Minutes” as a surprise, the secret project being part of Amazon’s busy R&D department. The drones will be capable of delivering items up to 5 pounds in weight, which Bezos said account for 86 percent of the items that Amazon delivers. Individual items will be flown from one of the company’s 96 mind-bogglingly massive warehouses, also known as “fulfillment centers.”

    Last minute shoppers or those with itchy mouse trigger fingers — especially with Cyber Monday tomorrow — may want to curb their enthusiasm for Prime Air. Amazon is still working on more safety testing and FAA approvals before the Prime Air fleet will be able take flight.

    “The hard part here is putting in all the redundancy,” Bezos said. “All the reliability to say this can’t land on somebody’s head.”

    Check out Amazon’s video introduction of Prime Air above. You can also watch the full “60 Minutes” segment below. The Prime Air reveal begins at 11:05.

  • Google Glass
    2013-12-01-ScreenShot20131201at9.45.26AM.pngResistance is Futile

    Google Glass.

    I have now been using these for two days.

    It’s a base-line game changer.

    Like iPhones or PCs, Glass is going to change pretty much everything.

    Some people call this ‘wearable’ computing, but after two days, I prefer to think of this as ‘integrated’ computing. You are, in effect, (in reality), integrated into the web — all the time.

    We have been watching a steady march toward greater and greater integration since the introduction of the first computers.

    When I was a student at Williams in the 1970s, there was a Computer Lab with a giant IBM Mainframe. You had to book time. You had to go over with your trays of punchcards. Getting on a computer was difficult, if not impossible.

    The introduction of the first PCs in the late ’70s meant that access to a computer was vastly easier, but still something you had to consciously do. You had to go home, sit in front of it and fire it up.

    Laptops made them portable, but the iPhone made the biggest quantum shift. Now, instead of having to consciously sit down at your computer, you carried it with you all the time. That, and the concurrent rise of interconnectivity that the web brought about, meant that suddenly more than a billion people were online all the time.

    Social networks were one inevitable consequence of this shift, not so much in ability to receive content, as to contribute it (see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, etc etc etc…)

    Now, with Glass (and surely there are other similar pieces of hardware that will follow) even the physical act of taking out your phone and looking at the screen are done away with. Now, you (and soon more than a billion other people) will effectively be online all the time.

    This is a change. A big change.

    A fundamental change.

    We are being integrated into the web at an astonishing pace, and my own limited experience of but two days so far, tells me that most people will actually find this a very attractive and enticing experience.

    Today, according to a Nielsen study, the average American spends an astonishing 8.5 hours a day staring at screens — from smart phones to computers to tablets to TV.

    Now, with the advent of Glass, we are about to enter a world in which the average American (and everyone else I am sure) will spend pretty much all their time in front of a screen — both accessing content, and creating it.

    This is a fundamental change in human behavior — something we as a species have no prior experience with. Nothing like this has ever happened before, but it is going to happen.

    I can’t say how all this will pan out in the end.

    This clearly will bring about great changes in things like the very concept of privacy.

    Jaron Lanier had a fascinating piece about this trade-off between technology and freedom in last week’s New York Times.

    The only way to persuade people to voluntarily accept the loss of freedom is by making it look like a great bargain at first.

    Consumers were offered free stuff (like search and social networking) in exchange for agreeing to be watched.

    Based on my very limited and yet addictive experience (so far), I can only say that I think Glass will become as ubiquitous as iPhones and PCs. Maybe moreso. But they will certainly change the way that we live in a very fundamental way.

    I am reminded here of a quote from the play and movie Inherit The Wind. Henry Drummond (Henry Fonda as the Clarence Darrow character) is making his closing argument in defense of Bert Cates, who has been charged with the crime of teaching evolution:

    Progress has never been a bargain. You have to pay for it.

    Sometimes I think there’s a man who sits behind a counter and says, “All right, you can have a telephone but you lose privacy and the charm of distance.

    Madam, you may vote but at a price. You lose the right to retreat behind the powder puff or your petticoat.

    Mister, you may conquer the air but the birds will lose their wonder and the clouds will smell of gasoline.”

  • The Insidiousness of Facebook Messenger's Mobile App Terms of Service
    How much access to your (and your friends’) personal data are you prepared to share for access to free mobile apps? I suspect the amount is significantly less than that which you actually agreed to share when blindly accepting the Terms of Service.

    Case in point: Facebook’s Messenger App, which boasts over 1,000,000,000 downloads, requires the acceptance of an alarming amount of personal data and, even more startling, direct control over your mobile device. I’m willing to bet that few, if any, of those who downloaded this app read the full Terms of Service before accepting them and downloading the app.

    2013-11-30-Messenger.jpg

    The Facebook Messenger app is a standalone version of the instant chat feature within the social network. You can easily access this within the Facebook app on your mobile device, but opening the full application also requires more memory, bandwidth, and battery life. As a result, Facebook offers this one feature as a standalone app in which you can instantly chat with your Facebook friends without having to launch the full Facebook app.

    If you’re one of those 1,000,000,000 people who have downloaded this app, take a moment to read the following. I’ve posted, word for word, a few of the most aggressive app permission you’ve accepted.

    • Allows the app to change the state of network connectivity
    • Allows the app to call phone numbers without your intervention. This may result in unexpected charges or calls. Malicious apps may cost you money by making calls without your confirmation.
    • Allows the app to send SMS messages. This may result in unexpected charges. Malicious apps may cost you money by sending messages without your confirmation.
    • Allows the app to record audio with microphone. This permission allows the app to record audio at any time without your confirmation.
    • Allows the app to take pictures and videos with the camera. This permission allows the app to use the camera at any time without your confirmation.
    • Allows the app to read you phone’s call log, including data about incoming and outgoing calls. This permission allows apps to save your call log data, and malicious apps may share call log data without your knowledge.
    • Allows the app to read data about your contacts stored on your phone, including the frequency with which you’ve called, emailed, or communicated in other ways with specific individuals.
    • Allows the app to read personal profile information stored on your device, such as your name and contact information. This means the app can identify you and may send your profile information to others.
    • Allows the app to access the phone features of the device. This permission allows the app to determine the phone number and device IDs, whether a call is active, and the remote number connected by a call.
    • Allows the app to get a list of accounts known by the phone. This may include any accounts created by applications you have installed.

    The fact that social media and mobile apps are so insidious is nothing new, we all know (or should know) that no app is truly free. “Free” online apps are paid for by the provision of personal data such as name, location, browsing history, etc. In turn, mobile developers and social networks charge advertisers to serve up highly targeted ads to specific groups of people.

    In a way, it pays to offer some personal information for a better experience with online ads, which we all hate so much. However, Facebook Messenger’s attempt to collect so much information and take control of our devices is unprecedented and, quite frankly, frightening. The fact that over a 1,000,000,000 people have accepted these terms is an alarming insight into the future of mobile apps and personal security.

    If this many people have not read the Messenger Terms of Service (or have read it and don’t care), how emboldened will mobile developers be in the future? I understand the nature of “free” mobile apps. I’m prepared to give up some personal data for the right to access a game, content, or social network for free and to have an improved advertising experience while enjoying that free service. However, Facebook has pushed this too far. It’s time we stood up and said “no!”

    Take the first step by deleting this app. Next, review the Terms of Service agreements you’ve previously accepted without reading, and be sure you’re comfortable with the cost of free. The only way to curb this harmful trend is to take a stand. Read every online and mobile Terms of Service agreement before accepting and, where it goes too far, say no.

    Will you say no?

  • 'Dear Santa' Letter With Full Amazon Link Is So 2013 It Hurts
    Hopefully Santa has an Amazon Prime membership.

    In a “Dear Santa” letter that’s truly worthy of the tech-filled world we live in, Twitter user @Gequeoman tweeted a handwritten note to Saint Nick that featured a full, indecipherable Amazon link.

    Though it’s unclear if the note is actually written by a child, let’s just face that it’s no longer out of the realm of possibility that it could be.

    Some patient Reddit members went through the work of typing out the link, revealing the link leads to the page to buy a $20 whale-themed RC car.

    Check out the letter tweeted by @Gequeoman below.

    Dear Santa pic.twitter.com/715ZYRsr1n

    — Gequeoman (@Gequeoman) November 29, 2013

    UPDATE: This piece has been updated with a link to the actual Amazon product.

  • Intel, HP prepare for the end of days — Windows XP's, that is
    Intel and Hewlett-Packard are giddy about the prospects for the demise of an operating system that won’t die.
  • The Galaxy Quest: Going Into Orbit With the International Space Station [Infographic]
    iss header

    In recent years, there have been few space projects as exciting as the International Space Station, or ISS. Even though it is the 9th space station to take orbit, it is the first to house a full-time crew and a dedicated research laboratory. And, with recent social media exploits – like those of the excellent Commander Chris Hadfield who famously sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity from orbit – space has never looked so near or friendly for the human species.

    The ISS by its very definition is an international project, built with collaborations from programs including NASA, the European Space Agency, Japanese National Space Development Agency, the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency. That’s a good thing because the project has racked up an estimated $150 billion cost – enough to build at least 18 Large Hadron Colliders.

    With such an international audience visiting the space station, it’s also a good thing it has been built as an international space port; accepting a variety of spacecraft from the now retired Space Shuttle, to the highly reliable MIR capsules and most recently a first time docking with SpaceX’s Dragon.

    With an operational lifetime of at least another seven years, we’re expecting to see a lot of discoveries coming out of this exciting project.

    You can learn more fascinating facts about this Great Project by clicking here, or the graphic below for a full-sized view:

    iss

  • Microsoft Accused Of Sending 'Sexist' Letter Advertising Xbox One
    A customizable form letter released by Microsoft to publicize its Xbox One console was decried as sexist and patronizing earlier this week, forcing the company to change the letter and eventually issue an apology.

    Xbox One’s “We got your back” promotion came in the form of a letter designed to help would-be purchasers convince their significant others that the console was versatile and a good investment. The letter could be manipulated to change certain phrases (think Mad Libs), however the company quickly caught flak for certain default phrases that seemed to imply the letter was targeted at men attempting to persuade girlfriends or wives, notes Mashable.

    Here’s one option, which was widely circulated on Twitter.

    “Hey honey, not sure if you’ve heard, but Xbox One is available,” the letter begins. “That means we can start playing games like Dead Rising 3. I know, I know. You’d rather knit than watch me slay zombies, but hear me out on this. Xbox One is actually for both of us…”

    Microsoft’s critics seemed to take special exception to the knitting line, which many felt implied that women didn’t like to play video games.

    Got the letter generator for Xbox One from Microsoft. *open the games list* Nope. Keep "knitting" honey *roll eyes* pic.twitter.com/nDT31tW78x

    — Claudio Medina (@missthetarget) November 27, 2013

    Oh my … "I know you love knitting but hear me out on this xbox thing" << in going back to playstation .. I can't relate to stereotypes :-/

    — AimeeMaree Forsstrom (@aimee_maree) November 29, 2013

    Way to be sexist with that advertising Xbox. I’m a lady who prefers shooting zombies in the face to knitting thanks very much!

    — Kris (@KristyPhill) November 28, 2013

    As anger online intensified, Microsoft attempted to mollify its detractors by changing some of the default phrases, reports CNET. For example, knitting was swapped out with doing your taxes early. But when this failed, the letter was scrapped — the link now redirects to the Xbox One home page.

    Microsoft also offered the following statement, according to the Wall Street Journal:

    The letter is fully customizable and we meant no offense, but understand how the defaults could be perceived. We’re making changes to the letter defaults and apologize for the oversight.

    Indeed, not everyone was convinced that the Xbox letter was that all bad.

    Oh boo who to whoever cried about Microsofts Xbox One advertisement with women knitting. If you don’t like it don’t buy it.

    — projectreality_ (@projectreality_) November 29, 2013

    However, the Guardian notes that that at the very least, the company’s marketing snafu marks “a worrying lack of awareness on the part of Microsoft… By linking the console to poisonous attitudes, these screwups run the risk of making Microsoft a presence you don’t want in your home.”

    Controversy regarding sexism and the gaming industry is nothing new. In June, Feminist Frequency blogger Anita Sarkeesian tweeted about the lack of female protagonists in Xbox One games only to be greeted by a tirade of Twitter trolling.

  • Holiday Swag With Karma points: Ink Dwell and DodoCase Launch Stylish iPad Cases
    2013-11-27-P6EVzxbsfXW4ucSCUABlYxz4tsDy5pRpWRJyheTjac31yZvpXHE4eFmDhbCZjTmM25xMMBWCR48PtogRniyWxxsrTd9nh5rmFoY7ySbP1ktgTnWUNyH755tgw.jpg

    By Julie Solovyeva

    The Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep used to roam the mountain ranges of California by the thousands since pre-historic times. In the second half of the 20th century the sheep population fell drastically due to the diseases from domestic livestock, unregulated hunting, predation, and changes in habitat. Today, only 500 species survive. Fortunately some mindful folks at Ink Dwell Studios and DodoCase are working hard to save the bighorn sheep. InkDwell, a creative studio, and DodoCase, a design company that brings traditional bookbinding craft to tech products like laptops and iPhones have partnered up to produce a limited edition iPad case that will feature beautiful illustrations of the endangered species by artist Jane Kim.

    2013-11-27-hyMSKHymVwKdMqW0HEreW4QR5Y_GqR_SMiWzNQm5cz1zmHImY4D7B9lArcc9k7DlHIJ9RKiAVXykIF7hMsGJ4KgZaAG1DPg6i4SGT6Ps0TYcs0gSwzszkC96Q.jpg

    Kim’s conservation and public art project The Migrating Mural served as the initial inspiration for this collaboration. A science illustrator and a passionate environmental advocate, Kim founded Ink Dwell to help inspire people “to love, appreciate, and protect the Earth, one work of art at a time.” The artist has been traveling and locating exceptional spaces to place her work for maximum visibility.

    Proceeds from the sale of the DodoCases will go to fund The Migrating Mural and the nonprofit Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association, which aid in the recovery of the Sierra Nevada bighorn. Bighorn sheep numbers dropped to just 100 in the early 1990s but have steadily climbed back to 500 not in the least as a result of conservation efforts. The population needs to hit roughly 600 sheep before the removal process from the endangered species list begins. If conservation efforts continue, this could occur within a decade.

    2013-11-27-vR4SUUavDGPIaCMQZNSoIhwbWfZkN703Pf7ZyE6nPHtxt2l7hQD5WJaB8RTdie1SfRu4dkt4wEVxErnFm19fQA6KeWdOWyH0RmZr03McYiri7QQ8lQcV8LwMGA.jpg

    The Migrating Mural began in 2012 as a series of murals depicting endangered animals along the migration corridors they share with humans. Kim raised over $27,000 with a Kickstarter campaign to get the project off the ground and to drive support for the protection of species in peril. The initial subject was the same Sierra Nevada Bighorn sheep that graces the handcrafted iPad Dodocases launched on the 20th of November, just in time for the holidays. The first illustration features “Willie” a majestic, 10-year-old ram.

    With DodoCases, Ink Dwell and Jane Kim move into a new phase of the campaign whereby instilling art and natural preservation into the arms of a forward-thinking generation. These iPad cases are elegant reminders of the bookbinding craft brought into the digital age. Each case features a sustainable, lightweight bamboo tray that securely nests the iPad inside. Small, local, and ethically sourced production is at the core of both Dodocase philosophy and the message it hopes to deliver with the Endangered Species collection – to deliver a conscientious product with nature’s mementos at your fingertips.

    2013-11-27-9Afgqpxcn3MVBulvDyAahbHi3rTUeiH6x6BYv2_QRKauzwO75NfTRQOfL82sZOFQNNpYxqQyRowCqc6_LBO2BqgHFArgQxDKtL9xg4nWE44xwALwD31Jg01jw.jpg

    The Endangered Species collection from DodoCase and Ink Dwell serves as a persistent reminder of the fragile habitat we occupy and how we can help nurture and revive it. You can buy this awesome stocking stuffer here.

  • Obamacare Website Is Making Strides, Officials Say
    BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Visitors to the government’s health care website encounter fewer errors and the system now works most of the time, administration officials said Sunday in a progress report.

    But they also acknowledged the rocky rollout of healthcare.gov included hundreds of software bugs, inadequate equipment and inefficient management.

    The government says more than 50,000 people can log on to the website and more than 800,000 people will be able to shop for insurance coverage each day. It’s a dramatic improvement from the first weeks of the system, which saw frustrated buyers watch their computer screens freeze, website crash and error messages multiply.

    “The bottom line — HealthCare,.gov on December 1st is night and day from where it was on October 1st,” chief White House troubleshooter Jeff Zients told reporters.

    Amid all the problems with HealthCare.gov, President Barack Obama set a deadline for Saturday for several significant problems to be resolved. The administration organized a conference call with reporters Sunday morning to give a status report.

    “There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead,” the Department of Health and Human Services wrote in a memo to reporters.

    The White House is hoping for a fresh start. A wave of bad publicity over the site’s early failures cast a shadow over the president’s chief domestic achievement.

    Even with the repairs in place, the site still won’t be able to do everything the administration wants, and companion sites for small businesses and Spanish speakers have been delayed. Questions remain about the stability of the site and the quality of the data it delivers to insurers.

    Obama promised a few weeks ago that HealthCare.gov “will work much better on Nov. 30, Dec. 1, than it worked certainly on Oct. 1.” But, in trying to lower expectations, he said he could not guarantee that “100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time going on this website will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience.”

    Obama rightly predicted errors would remain. The department reported the website is up and running 95 percent of the time — meaning a 1-in-20 chance of finding a broken website remains. The government also estimated that pages crashed a rate less than once every 100 clicks.

    There is no way to independently verify the administration’s figures.

    The nation’s largest health insurer trade group said significant problems remain.

    Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said insurers have complained that enrollment data sent to them from the website include too much incorrect, duplicative, garbled or missing information. She said the problems must be cleared up to guarantee consumers the coverage they signed up for effective Jan. 1.

    The first big test of the repaired website probably won’t come for a few more weeks, when an enrollment surge is expected as consumers rush to meet a Dec. 23 deadline so their coverage can kick in on the first of the year.

    Avoiding a break in coverage is particularly important for millions of people whose current individual policies were canceled because they don’t meet the standards of the health care law, as well as for a group of about 100,000 in an expiring federal program for high-risk patients.

    ___

    Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

    ___

    Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

  • Michael Goodman, One-Time Mugger, Apologizes To Victim Claude Soffel On Facebook
    A one-time mugger has come forward to apologize to his victim, 35 years later.

    Michael Goodman, 53, told the New York Post that he’s felt guilty since the 1970s, when he mugged Claude Soffel, now 52, for his bus pass. Goodman was arrested at the time and ultimately sentenced , but never saw Soffel again.

    In mid-November, though, Goodman saw the familiar name commenting on a Facebook post lamenting the closure of H&H Bagels in New York City.

    Goodman, who now lives in Hawaii, commented on the post:

    @ Claude soffel, You may not remember this (about ’76 or ’77) but a long long time ago I walked up the steps of The Museum of Natural History one afternoon, trying to look like a tough guy to [somebody] & saw you standing there at the top of the steps, I walked up to you & (mugged) you for your bus pass. . . . Finally I can say ~ I”M VERY SORRY that you had to go through that crap that day long ago, I wish it had never happened but it did. Like I said I was trying to look tough to impress some guy who didn’t believe I was in a gang, pretty frickin’ stupid huh ? So once again I’m truly sorry for taking your bus pass back then – forgive me & thanks for reading this “strange” & very long message! Peace & love to you my brother…!!!

    Within hours, Goodman, who is now a life coach in Sag Harbor, NY, replied:

    Michael A. Goodman, clearly your a “bigger man” today. wow. Memory is a funny thing, I recognize your name now, as well. So, apology accepted. Interestingly, I have dedicated a large portion of my life to helping other men be the man they have always wanted to be, and moments like this one continue to fuel my faith that the battle may be uphill but so rewarding. Any man who draws aline for himself, “Today I step forward for myself, my family, and humanity” is a hero to me. So let us now, jointly, put this in its proper place, behind us.

    Click here to read the full conversation between the two.

    Goodman, who said he mugged Soffel to impress a classmate, said he spent the last 20 years trying to do good deeds to make up for it, and was thrilled to be able to finally say he was sorry. “A very large weight has been lifted off my shoulder,” he told the Post.

    Goodman is one of many small-time criminals who’s made an effort in this year to apologize to a victim.

    In August, a Canadian man failed at an attempt to rob a gas station in Winnipeg, then returned 40 minutes later with a heartfelt apology for his actions.

    And in March, an anonymous thief returned the $800 — plus interest — that he or she stole from a Michigan store in the 1980s.

  • Apple Stores go (RED) to Support World AIDS Day

    Globally today is World AIDS Day, a day set aside to highlight the ongoing struggle against this disease globally, particularly in impoverished parts of the world.  World AIDS Day provides those who help support AIDS causes the opportunity to raise awareness about the disease that has killed […]

    The post Apple Stores go (RED) to Support World AIDS Day appeared first on AlliOSNews.

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