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Mobile Technology News, February 22, 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.

  • The Disappointing Contradictions Of WhatsApp Being Acquired By Facebook
    It’s rare to find a company in Silicon Valley that refuses to turn its users’ information into advertising revenue.

    Google, Microsoft, and Twitter all do it – the last few years have been an arms race to see who can delve deeper into your life to get you to part with your money. But the founders of WhatsApp, a smartphone messaging service that is wildly popular around the world, proudly declared they would never make their users the product. They built their brand off of this guiding philosophy and used it to differentiate themselves in a crowded market.

    It appears these deep moral convictions were short-lived though. WhatsApp has just sold for a massive sum to Facebook, the company that has aggressively turned your social interactions into a revenue source. Whatever promises of autonomy the founders are giving to users right now mean little – the 450 million+ WhatsApp users are now part of the Facebook empire. The same entrepreneur who once said that ads are “insults to your intelligence and the interruption of your train of thought” is now on the board of a company that has built one of the most invasive advertising platforms in history.

    There have been some early assurances that we won’t be seeing ads on WhatsApp. However, there are also ominous warnings of a coming monetization once growth reaches a certain level.

    But ads are just one aspect of not making the user the product – it’s far more complex than what you see on your screen. Like Google, Facebook is becoming a collection of apps and services instead of a single website. Just as Google has used the Google+ social network as a tool for consolidating personal information, Facebook has been singularly focused on becoming your online identity. What you say and do in one place is sure to be analyzed for use in another – and there have been no specific promises made about collecting, sharing, and analyzing the content of messages, relationships, and financial information that WhatsApp holds.

    It’s no surprise that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would act shrewdly in the interest of his company or that a business would try to make the most amount of money it possibly can. The story behind WhatsApp is a remarkable tale of hardship, vision, and perseverance. But once the celebrating and armchair analysis are over, what is left is a cautionary tale for consumers. In the rough, fast-moving world of technology, start-ups simply don’t have the credibility anymore to tell you how your information will be used down the line. So as users, you must act accordingly.

    WhatsApp is hardly alone; throughout the industry there is a focus on short-term gain over long-term impact. Few entrepreneurs want to build brands that last anymore. Silicon Valley looks down upon those who are not trying to sell out to a corporate giant as soon as possible. Just look at the criticism that SnapChat founder Evan Spiegel received for having the “audacity” to turn down an acquisition offer from Facebook. This gets to a greater contradiction at the heart of start-up culture today: the rhetoric is all about being different while the reality is starting to resemble corporate business as usual.

    In a company blog post, WhatsApp has made one final promise: “Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing.” Whether that is actually true or just more marketing and spin is up for the users to decide. All they need to do is look at what happened yesterday to see what lies ahead.

    This article originally appeared on Forbes – Disruption and Democracy. Check out my upcoming book, Identified: How They Are Getting To Know Everything About Us

  • VIDEO: Recreating zero gravity on film
    Gravity’s director Alfonso Cuaron and effects house Framestore on the painstaking process of creating the film’s award-winning special effects.
  • Ukraine Protester Olesya Zhukovska Tweeted After Being Shot In Neck
    KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — “I am dying,” Olesya Zhukovska, a 21-year-old volunteer medic, wrote on Twitter, minutes after she got shot in the neck by a sniper’s bullet as deadly clashes broke out in the center of the Ukrainian capital between protesters and police.

    The tweet, accompanied by a photo of her clutching her bleeding neck and being led away under fire, went viral, as social media users around the world presumed she had died and shared their grief and anger. But Zhukovska survived.

    She has become a symbol of the three-month protest of President Viktor Yanukovych’s government and a movement for closer ties with the West and human rights.

    “We stand for freedom, for our rights, for social independence, for democracy, for freedom of speech, for everything, for a normal life,” she told The Associated Press from her hospital bed in Kiev.

    Zhukovska was injured Thursday morning, when government snipers began firing at protesters on Independence Square, known as Maidan, a bastion of the demonstrations that began in November to protest Yanukovych’s decision to freeze ties with the European Union and seek financial aid from Russia.

    Scores were killed and hundreds injured in clashes this week in the deadliest violence Ukraine has seen in modern history. In the course of the protests, police have deliberately targeted journalists wearing press identification and medics labeled with white crosses, prompting an international outcry.

    Zhukovska, from a small town in western Ukraine, is a jolly paramedic with wavy dark hair and a birth mark on her right cheek. She has been volunteering as a nurse in the opposition’s sprawling tent camp on the Maidan for nearly three months, sleeping in tents, in dormitories set up in several administrative buildings seized by protesters, and in the homes of sympathetic Kiev residents.

    “I am apolitical, I am not member of any party. I am simply with the people,” a weak and pale-looking Zhukovska, her neck bandaged, told the AP. “I couldn’t watch this on TV. I had to be with the people.”

    She said she was shot as she walked around the camp with several friends. She became disoriented and thought that a grenade had exploded near her.

    “And then they told me: ‘Sweetheart, a sniper has shot you,'” Zhukovska recalled. “Then I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood, and I said, that’s it, I am dying.”

    One photo making the rounds on social media shows Zhukovska looking shocked, her eyes closed, clutching her bleeding neck and being led away by activists. As soon as she was taken to an ambulance, she said, she grabbed her phone and with fingers covered with blood, she tapped out “I am dying,” on her Vkontakte account, the local equivalent of Facebook. It is also linked to her Twitter page. Then, a doctor in the ambulance took the phone away.

    Soon, Twitter exploded with expressions of sorrow and rage, as many users feared she was dead. As of Friday night, Zhukovska’s post has generated more than 6,200 retweets. After hours of agonized waiting Thursday night, Oleh Musiy, a top medic for the protesters, told AP that Zhukovska had survived. Mykola Dyomin, head doctor at Hospital No. 17, where Zhukovska was admitted, said she has undergone surgery and should be discharged in about a week.

    “I am alive! Thank you to all those who are praying and supporting me,” she tweeted Friday. “I am in the hospital; my condition is stable for now!”

    Health Minister Raisa Bohatyryova, a top Yanukovych ally, visited the hospital where Zhukovska and scores of other injured activists were being treated Friday. She condemned violence against Zhukovska and said the government was not to blame.

    “Everything should be investigated,” she told reporters. “But if today, we as society, start assigning grades to everyone or passing personal judgments, it would be wrong, it wouldn’t be safe.”

    Bohatyryova’s words fell flat with one protester at the hospital, who shouted at her with his voice trembling with rage: “If only you knew, bitch, what I have lived through! I will never forgive you for what you did.”

    Zhukovska’s spirit was unwavering.

    “As soon as I get better, of course, I will go to the Maidan,” she said.

  • 'We Are All Barbie Girls' Illustrations By Colleen Clark Show What It Would Look Like If Dolls Represented All Women
    How great would it be if Barbie came in all dress sizes, body shapes and ethnicities?

    That’s what student and illustrator Colleen Clark thought when she was approached by Marie Claire South Africa to illustrate what a “feminist” Barbie might look like. For Clark, that meant an inclusive line-up of dolls that could represent every woman.

    “I was very inspired by the idea that feminism is as simple as accepting others and yourself unconditionally,” Clark told The Huffington Post in an email. “I wanted to make the point that ‘Feminist Barbie’ wouldn’t have just one look, style, or culture to her, because feminism should include everyone.”

    Though Barbie is in some ways a good role model for children — as Charlotte Alter at TIME pointed out, she’s had around 150 different careers — the doll’s ridiculous proportions are potentially harmful to girls’ body image.

    “I think that our continuous discussion of Barbie’s influence on girls has made her more diverse than ever, and hopefully it will only get better from here,” Clark told HuffPost.

    Check out her amazing illustrations below.

    barbie girls
    barbie girls
    barbie girls
    barbie girls

  • Mixed ruling for illegal downloaders
    A Canadian court orders a web firm to name customers accused of illegal downloads, but imposes conditions on the movie company that brought the case.
  • Most Air Travelers Support Ban Of Cell Phone Calls On Planes
    WASHINGTON (AP) — It looks like the government is more conflicted about cellphones on planes than most travelers. Even as one federal agency considers allowing the calls, another now wants to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    Passengers — particularly those who fly often — oppose allowing calls in flight, polls show. In line with that sentiment, the Department of Transportation signaled in a 22-page notice posted online Friday that it wants to retain a ban on the calls. But the notice comes just two months after the Federal Communications Commission voted to pursue lifting the ban. Transportation regulates aviation consumer issues. The FCC has responsibility over whether the use of cellphones in flight would interfere with cellular networks on the ground.

    Congress is also getting into the act. Lawmakers are pushing legislation to require transportation regulators to implement a ban on the calls.

    Echoing some travelers’ concerns, the Transportation Department said in its notice on Friday that it believes allowing passengers to make cellphone calls “may be harmful or injurious” to other passengers.

    This is because “people tend to talk louder on cellphones than when they’re having face-to-face conversations,” the department said. “They are also likely to talk more and further increase the noise on a flight, as passengers would not be simply talking to the persons sitting next to them but can call whomever they like.”

    Some planes already have seat-back phones in place, but they are rarely used, it said.

    The “concern is not about individual calls, but rather the cumulative impact of allowing in-flight calls in close quarters,” the department said.

    In an Associated Press-GfK poll three months ago, 48 percent of those surveyed opposed letting cellphones be used for voice calls while planes are in flight, while 19 percent were in favor and 30 percent were neutral. Among those who’d flown four or more times in the previous year, the rate of opposition soared to 78 percent.

    Delta Air Lines told the government last year that 64 percent of its passengers indicated that the ability to make phone calls in flight would have a negative impact on their onboard experience.

    Among the most ardent opponents of lifting the current ban are flight attendants, who worry that phone conversation will spark arguments between passengers and even acts of violence.

    “Allowing passengers to use cellphones during commercial flights will add unacceptable risks to aviation security, compromise a flight attendant’s ability to maintain order in an emergency, increase cabin noise and tension among passengers and interfere with crewmembers in the performance of their duties as first responders in the cabin,” said Corey Caldwell, a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants, which represents nearly 60,000 flight attendants at 19 carriers.

    The current FCC ban was adopted in 1991 based on concern the calls planes might interfere with cellular networks on the ground, but technological advances have resolved those worries. In 2005, the FCC cleared the way for airlines to begin offering Wi-Fi in flight.

    Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates safety, dropped its ban on the use of personal electronic devices such as tablets, music players and smartphones to send email, to text or to surf the Internet during takeoffs and landings. The agency said it is no longer worried the devices will interfere with cockpit electronics. However, phone calls during takeoffs and landings are still prohibited.


    Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy

  • Non-Profits and Social Media: 3 Steps to Defining Your Audience


    I recently wrote about how non-profits and NGOs need a plan to guide their social media efforts. One of the first steps in that plan is determining exactly who you’re trying to reach. An understanding of your audience should drive your entire social strategy. It will help you determine your goals, messaging and tone, and help give a better understanding of social analytics.

    Step One: Determine a Social Media Target Audience

    (Hint: your social media may not always target the same audiences as your website or other marketing channels)

    Choose a group of three to six audience types and create a journey map. Really get into it. Think of the people who make up each type: who they are, what they like to do and what they may want from an organization. From there, define why they’re the target:

    • Why are they important to your social strategy?
    • What actions do you want them to take?

    Step Two: Find Out How the Target Audience Uses Social Media

    Research, research, research… and more research. The information is out there; Pew Research studies, blogs and SlideShares are all good places to start. Questions to keep in mind:

    • What actions do your audiences take?
    • What are they looking for online?
    • What are they talking about?
    • What social platforms do they use the most?
    • What are they engaging with?
    • What time of day are they most active?

    Step Three: Do Some Internal Digging

    Find out more about your current fans and followers. You may be reaching an audience that you hadn’t planned for and that can factor into your strategy. Start by determining who your influential followers are and what they have in common with followers of your peers/competitors. From there you can figure out what content they are engaging with the most. Some great tools to get a better grasp of audience demographics are:
    Twiangulate — to help find connections/overlap in followers with peers and competitors
    FollowerWonk — allows for search of Twitter bios and other graphs and demographic information
    Facebook Insights — it’s vital to keep and eye on insights as well as specific fans of your organization’s page to get an understanding of who is already in the audience
    Statigram — shows most active Instagram followers and posts

    Now What?

    Brainstorm! Consider this research as a significant piece of the overall social media strategy puzzle. Use the information you gather to inform your content strategy — if researchers are looking for facts, incorporate more infographics and stats into your tweets. If donors are seeking a behind the scenes look at your organization or results from fundraisers, make sure to include photos of your next big event or stats about how much was raised on your Facebook page.

    Non-profits and NGOs need to stop thinking like an organization and begin thinking like their constituents. In turn, these social good organizations can enhance the online experience of their constituents and more importantly their lives.

  • An Urban Librarian's Manifesto to SXSW Interactive
    2014-02-20-VectorSilhouette_Cowboy.jpg Hello from the quiet profession. Hello to all you beautiful dreamers, you benders of time and space, you visionaries of the bright technological future. We love your leaps forward, we love the things you have made possible and we love you for the barriers you will lift away in the days to come.

    We welcome you to our journey, the great shift of information and entertainment to people, every people, all the people, everywhere, for free. You create games, design communications interfaces, make work go faster and smarter. You find ways to parse data for the next generation. You make information and entertainment accessible for people.

    Librarians have been doing these same tasks for years. We give people knowledge, entertainment, skills, inspiration. We are both outlet and portal. We are the human interface on the great sum total of (wo)mankind’s knowledge and sometimes we can offer that little bit of knowledge that will save your life. If not your life than that of someone you know or someone they know or somebody nobody knows but they still found their way through our doors.

    While our image may often be dusty and bespectacled there is an innate trust in our brand. If a librarian told it to you then it is probably true. That trust can extend to your idea if you convince us that it works. Everyone can access us and most everyone trusts us. It is an amazing network to use to get the word out, your word, any word whatever word that may be.

    Libraries have always been tech friendly. We created MARC and OPAC and we did it 50 years ago. In the new paradigm, libraries are increasingly active in knowledge acquisition using direct training and resources to grow job readiness, small business growth, and personal development. We don’t just sit there and wait for people to come and pull down the knowledge to their best abilities. No, in the modern library we take an active part in training and the intellectual development of our users.

    Find a librarian at SXSW Interactive — there are going to be a lot us there. Your perceptions and expectations of the profession will be challenged. There is a good chance that the librarian you meet will be much cooler than you expect. Think about how you are going to deal with that. Open your perceptions. Show us your library card and impress us with just how wonderfully beautifully fantastically brilliant you are then let’s use that to make something and to impact our communities for the better.

    This post was originally featured on urbanlibrariansunite.org.

    Urban Librarians Unite will be presenting at SXSW. They will also be out on the streets doing mobile reference and adult storytime, find us, ask us questions, talk to us. You may be surprised by what modern librarianship is like.

  • Fitbit issues recall of popular fitness tracker Force, cites concern about rash, suspends sales
    At iMedicalApps we’ve been covering the issues related to the Fitbit Force causing a rash for a few weeks now. When we published a review comparing the Jawbone UP24 to the Fitbit Force, it was met with several comments from readers stating how they were starting to develop a rash from the Force. We followed it up with an article focusing on the rash, and we wrote how we felt the Fitbit Force’s rash problem was more widespread than people […]
  • The Real Reason Facebook Bought WhatsApp
    Like a line from The Social Network, Facebook is acquiring WhatsApp for $16 billion or so (you wanna know what’s cool?). You may have seen the news bit.

    Let’s put it in some perspective. I’ve analyzed M&A since 1994, every major Internet deal, IPO and more. Some are guppy and some are whale. When whales mate there’s an unmistakeable bumping sound that even the Kazakhstan Navy picks up, a slap of thunder.

    Remember Woodstock? Well, maybe not because most of us were not born or were wee toddlers back then. But you know what it is, right? If not here’s the history: It was the 3-day love fest in upper New York state where throngs gathered to see each other naked while listening to Jimi Hendrix experiment with guitar and chemistry (that’s my edited Wikipedia version of it anyway).

    Well, think of Facebook as the place, the farm near Woodstock. A place. Why go there?


    WhatsApp is a band, like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

    Because Facebook’s biggest hole, biggest weakness (even for a company generating billions in revenue) is a reason to use it.

    Imagine Woodstock without the music. No naked bodies and no dreams of peace and love. Just an echo of farm animals (animal farm?).

    This will continue to be Facebook’s weakness. Why use it? It’s one reason with my new stealth mode venture HAPN (sign up for beta hapn.info) we focus 100% on the “why use it” factor. The core center value proposition has to be there.

    Connecting friends is great but not enough. That idea played well in 2005-2010 or so.

    So Facebook is smart to branch out via these acquisitions, acquire diversity of experience. Especially with its stock trading high, the currency is there to knock down these deals.

    And yes, we’ve seen these movies before. Yahoo made many mistakes along the way but NOT acquiring companies when it traded in the $150 BILLION market capitalization range. Facebook is not making that mistake. So far.

    In terms of valuation, Facebook is paying what looks like 30x revenue for WhatsApp, more like 15x two years out. Three years out looks even better, maybe 8x or so. Everyone laughed when Google bought YouTube in what was then an “absurd” price. But now YouTube is the place where most teens go for video, music, TV and more.

    So Zuckerberg is smart. First Instagram and now WhatsApp. What’s next? I bet more. Lots of acts (small and large) must fill the stage called Facebook for it to be a success longer term. Peace, love, web and roll.

  • 10 Surprisingly Sturdy Items For Your Home Even You Can't Break (PHOTOS)
    We’ve all been there. You’re hosting a dinner party and the gorgeous glass pitcher crashes to the ground. Or your kids bumped into your favorite lamp while playing in the house (which you’ve told them not to do a million times).

    We feel your pain. That’s why we’ve rounded up these 10 items that look every bit the part of their higher-priced, more fragile friends but will survive a lot longer than the average thing you’d pick up as a replacement. Because everyday chaos happens — but that doesn’t mean you have to trade style for practicality.

    The Mushroom Lamp
    As demonstrated at the imm Cologne and Maison & Objet 2014 furniture and trade shows in Paris, the lamp gently rocks from side to side after being knocked over until it comes to rest in a standing position, where it puts “normal” light fixtures everywhere to shame.

    Menu Rubber Vase
    rubber vase

    Acrylic Stemless Wine Glass
    wine glass

    Acrylic Pitcher

    Polycarbonate Rocks Glass
    rocks glass

    Vivaldi Collins Glass

    Pedestal Bowl
    pedestal bowl

    Acrylic Dinnerware

    Outdoor Dish Sets
    more dinnerware

    And, of course, this chair

    Have something to say? Check out HuffPost Home on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.


    Do you have a home story idea or tip? Email us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com. (PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

  • Fitbit Recalls Fitbit Force After Complaints Of Severe Rashes
    Fitbit has recalled its popular activity-tracking wristband, the Fitbit Force, after a number of customers complained of serious skin rashes, blisters and peeling skin after wearing the device.

    Fitbit announced on Friday that it has stopped selling the Force and is recalling all previously sold Fitbit Forces, which have been on the market for just four months. After The Huffington Post and others last month reported customer complaints of severe skin irritation, Fitbit hired independent labs and medical experts to test the devices. They found the device caused skin problems for 1.7 percent of wearers. Fitbit will refund Fitbit Force owners the full retail value of their devices.

    “On behalf of the entire Fitbit team, I want to apologize to anyone affected,” CEO James Park said in an open letter to customers.

    Fitbit has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the public’s growing appetite for “wearable” devices to monitor physical well-being. Startups like Fitbit and Jawbone, along with established players such as Nike and Samsung, have competed to sell wristbands and clip-on devices that can track such data as calories burned and hours slept.

    Fitbit leads the pack in wearable bands, selling more wristbands than any other company during the second half of 2013, according to analysts at Canalys.

    In an email, the company said that skin irritation was likely the result of an allergic reaction to “materials” in the device. After apologizing and offering a refund to affected customers last month, Fitbit said the rashes and peeling skin may have been caused by sensitivity to the device’s elastic band, to nickel in its stainless steel or to bacteria that may accumulate on the band.

  • Comcast, Time Warner Cable To Face 'Monopsony' Claims In Antitrust Case
    By David Ingram
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If U.S. antitrust enforcers decide to challenge the proposed $45 billion merger of Comcast Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc, it may be because of an idea with a funny-sounding name that has been gaining currency in government offices.
    The idea is monopsony power, the mirror image of the better-known monopoly power but a concept that is just as old.
    A monopoly is one seller with many buyers, while a monopsony (pronounced muh-NOP-suh-nee) is one buyer with many sellers. A textbook example is a milk processor that is the only option for dairy farmers to sell to, and that then forces farmers to sell for less.
    The U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is all but certain to examine the potential monopsony power, or buying power, that a combined Comcast and Time Warner Cable would have over media companies that provide TV programming, according to lawyers with expertise in antitrust law.
    The combined company would have a near 30 percent share of the U.S. pay television market, Comcast has said, as well as be a major provider of broadband Internet access.
    “It’s a potential concern,” said Maurice Stucke, a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer who is now a University of Tennessee professor and of counsel at the law firm GeyerGorey.
    “It’s not as much in the limelight as monopoly, but monopsony has always been part of the antitrust laws,” he said.
    Monopsony concerns tend to have a lower profile because they may not directly affect consumers. The harm to the market comes if suppliers go out of business, which reduces society’s overall output, or if suppliers have less money to invest in new technology, equipment and expansion.
    Consumers may even benefit from monopsony if a company cuts its prices, although the savings are not always passed along. In the case of Comcast-Time Warner Cable, it could be argued that a more powerful pay TV operator may be able to lower fees if it can negotiate lower programming costs with the TV studios.
    “It’s a monopsony problem when it threatens to decrease output. If all it does is reduce cost, it’s a good thing,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a University of Iowa law professor.
    He added: “Monopsony is one of those things that is frequently claimed and rarely proven.”
    Princeton University economist Paul Krugman criticized the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in a February 15 post on his New York Times blog titled, “Monopsony Begets Monopoly, And Vice Versa.”
    Comcast “is able to extract far more favorable deals from content providers than smaller rivals,” Krugman wrote. “And if it’s allowed to acquire (Time Warner Cable), it will be even more advantaged.”
    Others say it is hard to see how a media conglomerate like Walt Disney Co, or even smaller content providers, would feel much pain from slightly lower payments or from one fewer way to distribute shows.
    “Given the rapidly increasing number of avenues for distributing content, I think that’s far-fetched,” said Jeffrey Eisenach, an economic consultant who has done work for Comcast in the past but is not working on the merger.
    Asked about the possibility of a monopsony challenge, a spokeswoman for Comcast pointed to a 2009 federal appeals court ruling that said there was “overwhelming evidence” that the communications marketplace was competitive. The ruling threw out a regulation designed to limit market share among companies such as Comcast to 30 percent.
    “Today there are even more types of video competition than when the court threw out the case,” Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice wrote in an email.
    She said TV networks can distribute their programs to consumers in many ways, such as DirecTV’s satellite service or Verizon’s FiOS video service. There are also video streaming sites, such as Netflix and Hulu.
    Antitrust experts said Comcast and Time Warner Cable may be able to address some government concerns by extending the terms of a settlement that Comcast signed with the Justice Department in 2011 to secure approval to buy NBC Universal. For instance, Comcast promised to make programming, such as cable news channel CNBC, available to competing pay-TV companies.
    Review of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal is expected to take several months. Either the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission will examine it for antitrust compliance, while the Federal Communications Commission will rule on whether it is in the public interest.
    The antitrust standard is whether the deal would substantially lessen competition. If government lawyers believe it would, they could sue in federal court. Sometimes even the threat of a suit is enough to scuttle a deal.
    Monopsony has been getting more attention within the Justice Department. A senior staff economist, Gregory Werden, wrote a paper in 2007 arguing that the original U.S. antitrust law, the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, was designed to protect sellers as well as end-user consumers.
    In 2010, the department drew attention to monopsony concerns when it released revised guidelines for corporations considering mergers. The guidelines replaced a document from 1997 and included an expanded discussion of monopsony.
    When suppliers do not have “numerous attractive outlets for their goods or services,” the two agencies “may conclude that the merger of competing buyers is likely to lessen competition in a manner harmful to sellers,” the guidelines said.
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc has routinely faced criticism that it has monopsony power because of its ability to drive down the prices it pays suppliers. But the retail giant’s defenders say there is little evidence that suppliers are hurt, and Wal-Mart’s low prices for customers also make it popular.
    Monopsony is most often an issue in agriculture.
    In 1999, the Justice Department feared that Cargill Inc’s plan to acquire part of Continental Grain Co would concentrate the market for buying corn, soybeans and wheat, and it approved the acquisition only after the global commodities trader agreed to sell off grain elevators.
    The Justice Department sued in 2008 to block the combination of two of the top four U.S. beef packers, JBS SA and National Beef Packing Co, saying it would have hurt both cattle suppliers and consumers. The companies abandoned the deal four months later.
    In the context of the pay TV market, a key question is how a channel would fare if it were not carried by a merged Comcast-Time Warner Cable.
    “If you’re told you can’t reach 30 percent of a potential market, how significant is that for a competitor who wants to produce? That’s a technical question,” said Peter Carstensen, a University of Wisconsin law professor.
    “You’ve got to put the data together. You’ve got to come up with a plausible story, with witnesses, with the econometrics, to make that case,” he said, “and whether that can be done convincingly, I don’t know.”
    (Additional reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Howard Goller and Tiffany Wu)
  • Elders Try Flappy Bird With Hilarious Results (VIDEO)
    Flappy Bird is hard enough for millenials, but imagine if you didn’t grow up with computer games?

    In TheFineBros latest installment of their “Elders React” series, the comedy team sat a group of elders down in front of the latest gaming craze Flappy Bird.

    The game, which made waves for both its simplicity and its difficulty, has recently been taken down. Previously, it was available in Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google play store.

    Apparently, the people downloading the game onto their mobile devices weren’t much different than the elders playing it for TheFineBros — they also found it horribly frustrating.

    “This is torture, you know?” one woman said.

    “I hate this and I hate you guys!” another exclaimed.

    Watch the video to see more!

  • Forums: Larger iPads? Yea or nay?
    This week in the MacNN Forums, members debate the practicality of larger iPads in the thread titled “What would a larger iPad really be good for?” which was started by Mac Elite “PeterParker,” who wondered if iPads portability is actually its best feature. In the thread titled “iMessage black hole” Mac Elite “abbaZaba” was trying to figure out why it was that when people switched from an iPhone to a phone running Android, messages sent from iMessage would seem to get lost — and they wondered if fellow forum-goers had a similar experience.


  • Apps released after publication of 2013 ACC/AHA guidelines offer insights into future opportunities
    Here we look at the apps released around these major guidelines, searching for insights on how apps are being used to implement practice recommendations.
  • 5 Reasons Your Company's Mobile Recruitment Strategy Is Failing
    Mobile technology has completely changed the job search and hiring process. Whereas candidates once sat at a computer to job search, recruiters now have to deal with a slew of candidates who are passively job searching as they browse their iPad or check their smartphone throughout the day.

    Plenty of companies have developed mobile recruitment strategies to adapt to this change in candidate behavior. In fact, 33 percent of Fortune 500 companies have adapted their career sites for mobile devices.

    But optimizing a career site for mobile devices isn’t the only thing companies need to do to drive mobile recruitment. If your company has done this but still isn’t seeing an improvement in hiring volume or quality of candidates, it may be a sign your mobile recruitment strategy has holes.

    Here are five reasons your mobile recruitment strategy be failing, no matter the size of your organization:

    You aren’t focusing on passive candidates. Your mobile recruitment strategy doesn’t just mean optimizing your career site for mobile devices — it means attracting candidates who may not even be on the job search in the first place. Try inbound marketing techniques like adding regular blog content, social media updates and contests, mobile-optimized YouTube videos, or SEO landing pages to draw in potential candidates. These techniques offer a backwards approach to getting candidate eyes on your job openings.

    You haven’t checked the time. On average, people look at their mobile devices in the morning between the time they wake up and when they get to work or class — between 6:30 and 9:15am. They check their devices again during lunch, between 11:45am and 2:20pm, and finally, from 4:30 to 9:45pm. Think of it this way: people used to take smoke breaks during work — now, they take Facebook breaks. Your mobile recruitment strategy should anticipate job candidates will be searching during these times in order to respond to postings in a timely manner.

    You’re silent. Uncertainty can be expected in the job search process, but job candidates don’t like to be ignored — they want to be kept in the loop as to the status of their application or resume. If your mobile recruitment strategy doesn’t include live-manning social media or an online talent network to answer candidate questions, job seekers may come away with a negative perception of your company. Your team should be living in online and mobile channels during the times mentioned above and live-manning social media feeds, email accounts, or incoming messages.

    Your mobile sites are too messy. Perhaps your company has attempted to reach passive candidates with blog posts or webinars. This is a great strategy, but it won’t work if your content isn’t optimized for retargeting or easy bookmarking. Remember, you don’t have a candidate’s full attention on a mobile device — often, they’re checking these devices during a commute, on a bus, or while sitting in front of the TV. They may not have time to watch a webinar or read a lengthy blog post, so make it easy for them to come back to this content on the Web later.

    Your process lags. If your mobile recruitment process relies on asking candidates to complete the next steps of their job search away from your site, like checking LinkedIn for job openings or switching to a new webpage to apply, it’s too complicated and you’ll lose interest. Consider using software to ensure the process is seamless on their mobile devices. Look for social recruiting software that allows companies to mobilize their employees to help with referrals and curate talent networks via automation. Software like this can ensure your recruitment process doesn’t leave any holes.

    Creating a solid mobile recruitment strategy for your company means paying attention to minute details. Follow these tips for fine-tuning your process, and watch your new hires soar.

    Kes Thygesen is the co-founder and head of product at RolePoint, a complete social recruiting suite that provides unrivaled access and reach to quality job candidates. Connect with him and RolePoint on LinkedIn and Twitter.

  • The Story Behind That Insane Shanghai Tower Climb

    The insane YouTube video of Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov swept across the interwebs this week, inducing vertigo everywhere. Not only was a stomach-dropping video produced, but some pretty jaw-dropping point of view photos as well. We corresponded with Vadim Makhorov, one half of Team ‘ontheroofs’.

    Hi Vadim, thanks for taking the time! The video of your climb is crazy, but it’s not the first you’ve ever done. What made you so interested in climbing these landmarks?

    Yes, we do have a lot of videos. We started shooting them ever since we climbed the Moscow Bridge in Kiev. We climbed to the pylon right by the cables that time. The video got more than 1.5 million views.

    We climb to the top of buildings to see the city from an unusual angle. But this is just a small part of what we do.

    Are you particularly proud of this one?

    No. How can you be proud of climbing somewhere high? I think only professional mountaineers can be proud of their ascents.

    What sparked your interest in photography?

    I started taking photos four years ago. It was completely random. I just took a few shots with a camera phone and I liked it, so I bought a camera and off we go.

    Is photography a hobby or a profession?

    There’s a saying that the best hobby is the one that also feeds you. That applies here.

    Do you plan out your climbs and shoots before you do them? What goes into planning it?

    Yes, we do plan them. Every time it’s different. It’s hard to say what goes into planning. We wouldn’t be too happy if other people followed in our footsteps. It’s extremely dangerous.

    What were you feeling during your first climb?

    Unsurprisingly, I felt complete delight. You could see the whole city, and the people below me looked like ants.

    Are you ever afraid of getting caught by the police?

    Nope, we are not afraid. ‘Hunting season’ is open on us. Not because we have broken the law, but because our actions had a public outcry. The police don’t like it when something goes against their rule book.

    What equipment do you take with you on your shoots?

    I’ve been shooting with Canon5D Mark III, Canon 70-200 4L, 17-40 4L. Vitaly shoots with exactly the same lenses, but Canon 6D camera instead.

    Do you do any other type of photography?

    Yes, we not only take photos from the roof tops, but also underground. We do take a lot of photos during our travels, but that’s mostly for ourselves. I also shoot a lot of industrial shoots – factories and such.

    How did you find out about 500px and what do you like about it?

    It was a while ago, when 500px was just getting started. I signed up for an account at the time when you needed a promo code to get access. I wasn’t active in the beginning because I thought that my photos were not worthy of being on the site.

    I like 500px because you can see really great photos there. The same cannot be said about other photo sharing sites, especially Russian ones.

    You guys are heroes now. What are your plans for the future?

    Plans for the future? I’d love to continue to travel, and don’t stop at the current progress. But apart from the travel plans we have lots of ideas. We are keeping them discreet, but you’ll find out about them in the due course.

    Owls. Yay or Nay?

    I wonder why this is a traditional question for you? I’m pretty neutral to owls.

    What are your thoughts on rooftopping? Daring or dangerous?

  • The Egonomics of Clout (Klout): Don't Let Ego Outrank Your Influence in Business
    Before we begin. Yes, I spelt Clout correctly!

    The dictionary definition of ‘clout’ reads: a heavy blow with the hand or a hard object or “a clout round the ear.”

    Else it refers to an influence or power, especially in politics or business such as “I knew she carried a lot of clout.”

    Clout v Klout

    Your initial grammatical skepticism is, however, understood and is symbiotic of the new social language of business and marketing in a digital age powered by social influence.

    Last week news broke that Lithium Technologies was to acquire ‘Klout’, a business that focuses on analyzing who is influential in social media, and a term more synonymous with digital savvy marketers — for a fee reported to be at least $100 million. It is no surprise that technology and vanity = money. Note: I like what Klout is doing, but more on that later.

    Both humans and brands in this day and age are largely vain and egotistical beings, spending considerable amounts of time improving our collective online appearance and worrying about what others think of us. The rampant rise of social media, proliferation of online personas and image crafting has no doubt only fueled these flames. But when does vanity become ego and ego become egotistical? When do brands cross a line? And are new media ‘ego-metrics’ of influence actually useful to your business? The answer, I believe, lies below:

    Vanity Marketing and Ego-metrics

    For years now marketers have used vanity as a brand-building tactic in comparison to traditional product marketing. The focus here was on the individual. Combine this with the aspirational qualities of said brand and this manifests into an altogether more enlightening, experiential brand appeal. You no longer owned a product, you became a brand.

    Nike is a great example of ego focused branding. The product actually comes second as marketing is focused around the user, a user who achieves great things, a user who is on a path to self-betterment and that just so happens to be using Nike products while doing so.

    With Nike, you don’t so much need the product to succeed. The consumer uses the product because they succeed. They “Just do it.”

    Photo courtesy of Nike

    Recently Nike’s vanity marketing came head-to-head with ego defined, a certain Kanye West, culminating in a newsworthy clash of egos. While on stage as part of his latest sellout tour, superstar rapper Kanye West led a six minute long rant about his failed celebrity endorsement with the brand.

    “Even though Nike wouldn’t take his call, other forward-thinking companies will.”

    Taking this well documented fall out between ego (aka Kanye West) and the [was] Nike relationship, it is clear to see how the lines between vanity marketing, influence and endorsement have blurred.

    The Ego v The Egotist

    The line between the ego and the egotist is a fine one. Whilst ego can be viewed as a philosophy of introspection, self-awareness and pride, egotism can be viewed as self centered, arrogant and result in narcissism. It is fine for any business, brand or individual to have ego. We are human and have feeling of pride and self worth. However the fine line between being viewed as ‘proud’ or as ‘boastful and arrogant’ is tight. It’s a well-trodden path, that arguably in recent times many brands have crossed.

    This battle of ego v’s egotist can act in a multitude of ways: both invoking support and developing affinity for a brand or distancing you entirely, whether purposefully or not.

    Grey Poupon’s recent brand overhaul plays on their once strong brand ego in a satirical sense. They purposefully pull no punches, if you don’t know enough about the product you simply don’t cut the mustard.


    Another example is shown by U.S. clothing brand Abercrombie & Fitch. Their policy for actively only hiring good looking people (so it seems) and even making them stand around in their stores topless allows us to question this further.

    Photograph: Richard Young/Rex Features

    Technology, Social and Ego-metrics

    This phenomenon may have been born out of this rise in marketers attempting to grade influence, joining the ever-increasing requirement for brands to define this. To develop and encourage the adoption of these ego-metrics to feed their own ego, and incite headlines that see them included in lists of “most influential brand” or “widest social reach”.

    Many social platforms themselves thrive on ego and vanity, the burning desire for individuals to tell people exactly what they’re doing at this exact moment in time, or posting pictures of their lunch. However when brands replicate this behavior wander too far past the line, it moves them away from proud or self-aware, to downright arrogant and narcissistic.

    This is no less why many ego based technology tools exist in the first place. Through developing a variety of influence-orientated metrics, this ultimately enables brands to position their influence [read: ego] against their competitors. They consider these ‘ego-metrics’ as part of their core marketing KPIs, utilizing vanity based figures to help them thrive on their ego and set them apart from others.

    The Black Market of Influence

    This focus on influence metrics has inevitably caused an increase in attempting to game them. Ego, it seems, also belongs to the stakeholders whose jobs are defined (and appraised) by these influence metrics. The currency of social influence can be seen through multiple companies offering Facebook likes, Twitter followers or YouTube views at a cost, just Google ‘buy Facebook likes’ to see for yourself.

    Not long ago did stories orientated on ‘like’ or ‘click farming’ start hitting the headlines and, reminiscent of the old days of SEO, like ‘exchanges’ are also getting relatively widely discussed. This inevitably caused the major social networks to set out on a mission to protect their own ego, by attempting to uncover false or duplicate accounts and clamp down on this kind of activity. But the process of commoditizing influence had already started, and the demand was very real.

    Suffice to say, partaking in any of these activities ultimately means that you’re diluting your audience in a quest for quantitative, ego-driven influence metrics. You’re not an influencer; you’re a ego-driven fake. And what’s worse is you’re investing in your own ignorance. If there were ever an ROI (in this case Return on Ignorance) you’d be scoring highly indeed.

    Ego and Influence

    The key difference between ego by quantity and ego by quality is that the latter has a focus based on merit. This merit defines your clout, in the very true sense of the word.
    Don’t forget that, much like any form of genuine interaction with your consumers, there is no short cut, no get out of jail free card.

    We should not forget here that that social platforms themselves thrive on ego and vanity, the burning desire for individuals to tell people exactly what they’re doing at this exact moment in time, or posting pictures of their lunch. However when brands replicate this behavior, they wander too far past the line and it moves them away from proud or self-aware, to downright arrogant and narcissistic.

    Real influence has to be earned, and when you consider whether or not you are actively influencing your customer, then think of the end-user and focus on the recipient. If you’re struggling to envision this (because you bought your way to 100,000 Twitter followers) then your question already has an answer.

    This is less of a case of influence and more one of an over inflated ego. To paraphrase John Hall (Influence & Co), the focus should be on being meaningful vs. reaching an audience.

    Content Clout

    Real influence should be directly correlated to pure quality content and not by social votes that can be bought, exchanged or listed subjectively.

    Klout, now matter how imperfect some may say it is, does actually look at influence by value and quality influenced by merit. The future of real qualitative influence will go one step further using quality content as part of the new influencer equation.

    Quality content is a key catalyst in the formation of influence. Klout is now aiming to present content from others that can be shared. This new type of content curation ties into the user’s social graph giving them the ability to view and share content content that resonates/influences them.

    Don’t Let Ego Outrank Influence

    Ultimately the game hasn’t changed here and ego and vanity marketing is here to stay. There is a fine line to tread, but if you create great enough content, marketing then it will do more than just empty your shelves. It will develop your clout as a brand, captivating your customers’ imaginations. It will embody their aspirations and align them alongside you and your brand vision, defining your brand perception. Developing your ego with theirs. Utilizing their influence and social reach to leverage your return on influence.

    However, don’t succumb to the mistakes commonly made by many attempting to grade influence through volume-based, un-scientific and crude measurements such as follower counts. Influence does not equal follower count. Vanity metrics are not always the right metrics and are sometimes dangerously misleading. Use them at your peril.

    End Note

    There exists an entire generation now that are digitally enabled, comfortable and most importantly, vocal. Stay focused, humble, empathetic and understanding when your customers always in sight and earshot when you’re conducting your marketing activity. Focus on quality of content to avoid some of the misleading vanity metrics that people throw your way. Focus on genuine influence. Klout is actually heading in the right direction.

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