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Mobile Technology News, February 23, 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.

  • Samsung Gear 2 smartwatch will check your pulse, wearable heart rate sensor goes mainstream
    Samsung will probably be making the most mass produced wearable heart rate sensor of our time. At World Congress today, Samsung announced they will be adding a heart rate sensor in their new Gear 2 smartwatch.  The original Galaxy Gear was launched just 6 months ago to mostly negative reviews due to poor battery life, a slow user interface, and overall poor functionality.  While the new Gear 2 addresses many of these features, the big change with the Gear 2 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Apple, Samsung mediation talks fail, but both sides to keep talking
    Ahead of the second patent trial between Apple and Samsung scheduled for March 31 — which covers a completely different set of patents and is not an appeal of the first trial, which Apple won last year — the two companies are said to be making efforts at settling their differences rather than going to trial. Thus far — as before, ahead of the first trial — the negotiations have not resulted in an agreement, but in a court filing, both companies said they were willing to keep talking.


  • The movie magic behind the scenes
    Behind the scenes at the special effects firms revolutionising film
  • On the Timing of iOS's SSL Vulnerability and Apple's ‘Addition' to the NSA's PRISM Program
    Sure would be interesting to know who added that spurious line of code to the file. Conspiratorially, one could suppose the NSA planted the bug, through an employee mole, perhaps.
  • UH-OH: WhatsApp, Facebook's New $19 Billion App, Is Down (Update: It's Back)
    This is probably not the best way to start off life under Facebook.

    WhatsApp, the simple messaging app that Facebook bought for an incredible $19 billion on Wednesday, is currently down due to server errors.

    sorry we currently experiencing server issues. we hope to be back up and recovered shortly.

    — WhatsApp Status (@wa_status) February 22, 2014

    When editors at HuffPost tried to get on the service, the app fails to connect:


    The app, which has gained 450 million monthly users by casting itself as a cheap alternative to costly SMS text messaging plans, hasn’t allowed messages to go through since approximately 2 p.m. ET. Based on Twitter chatter and articles in India and Israel, the outage appears to global.

    We reached out to WhatsApp for more details and will update if we get a respond.

    UPDATE: After a few hours down, WhatsApp is working again:

    WhatsApp service has been restored. We are so sorry for the downtime…

    — WhatsApp Status (@wa_status) February 22, 2014

  • Where do Apple rumors come from? Digitimes explains
    Digitimes Research sheds some light on the the Apple supply chain — the source of many a rumor — before the release of the product.
  • Air Force Plans To Launch 'Neighborhood Watch' Spy Satellite Program
    By Irene Klotz
    CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – The United States plans to launch a pair of satellites to keep tabs on spacecraft from other countries orbiting 22,300 miles above the planet, as well as to track space debris, the head of Air Force Space Command said.
    The previously classified Geosynchronous Space Situational Awareness Program (GSSAP) will supplement ground-based radars and optical telescopes in tracking thousands of pieces of debris so orbital collisions can be avoided, General William Shelton said at the Air Force Association meeting in Orlando on Friday.
    He called it a “neighborhood watch program” that will provide a more detailed perspective on space activities. He said the satellites, scheduled to be launched this year, also will be used to ferret out potential threats from other spacecraft.
    The program “will bolster our ability to discern when adversaries attempt to avoid detection and to discover capabilities they may have which might be harmful to our critical assets at these higher altitudes,” Shelton said in the speech, which also was posted on the Air Force Association’s website.
    The two-satellite network, built by Orbital Sciences Corp will drift around the orbital corridor housing much of the world’s communications satellites and other spacecraft.
    The Air Force currently tracks about 23,000 pieces of orbiting debris bigger than about 4 inches. These range from old rocket bodies to the remains of an exploded Chinese satellite.
    The Air Force released a fact sheet emphasizing the program’s debris-monitoring abilities. Brian Weeden, technical advisor with the Washington-based Secure World Foundation, said the U.S. military already has a satellite in a better position to do that job.
    “I think the (Obama) Administration is being more honest when it says that it declassified this program to try and deter attacks on U.S. satellites,” in geostationary, or GEO, orbits located about 23,000 miles above Earth, Weeden wrote in an email to Reuters.
    “The U.S. has a lot of very specialized and important national security satellites in the GEO region and it is very concerned about protecting those satellites … so by telling other countries that it has some ability to closely monitor objects near GEO and their behavior, the U.S. hopes that will deter other countries from attacking its important satellites,” Weedon said.
    The new satellites also will give the U.S. military greater insight into what other countries have in orbit.
    “There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is exactly the sort of thing the U.S. is worried other countries will do to it,” Weedon added.
    Costs and technical details of the program were not released.
    The satellites are scheduled for launch aboard an unmanned Delta 4 rocket, build by United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida during the last quarter of 2014.
    Shelton said two replacement satellites are targeted for launch in 2016.
    (Reporting by Irene Klotz; Editing by David Gregorio)
  • 'Neknominate' Is a Stupid and Potentially Deadly Online Dare Game

    Frame from a YouTube video on ‘neknomination’

    The Irish Mirror calls it “sickening online drinking craze,” and that’s factually correct. “Nekominate,” also known as neck and nominate, is a game that’s growing in popularity in Australia, the UK and parts of Europe where someone posts a video of themselves doing something stupid or dangerous and then “nominates” another person to stick his or her neck out and do likewise. I’m actually taking liberties with the the term. On Facebook it’s defined as “neck your drink, nominate another.” I’m hearing that the game is starting to take up residence in the United States.

    I’ve also seen derivations on the theme with added dangerous or stupid behaviors such as guzzling a beer in a university lecture hall or a crowded intersection while naked.

    Health dangers

    My concern here is not-so-much the exhibitionism but the severe health dangers associated with guzzling alcohol.

    The Mirror, a British tabloid reported about a 29 year-old who died as a result of quickly downing a pint of Vodka. The Mirror isn’t the most credible newspaper in the world, but this is likely a true story. It’s well known in medical circles that guzzling alcohol is dangerous as is binge drinking which is associated with guzzling. The San Francisco Chronicle reported on a case that I’m personally familiar with where a college freshman died while drinking large amounts of blackberry brandy during a fraternity ceremony at Chico State University.

    New twist on a very old theme

    Young people often crave social acceptance and inclusion and sometimes accept dares as a way to “fit in.” When I was a kid, I was dared to walk across the railing over a bridge where — if I slipped — I would likely fall to my death. I never did it, but friends of mine did and I always felt uncomfortable every time I had to “chicken out” and decline the dare. Beer pong, which has been around for a long-time, can also be dangerous.


    For adults, it’s sometimes hard to know how to convince kids to avoid what we consider dangerous behaviors but — when it comes to something this dangerous — we do need to speak out. Despite popular belief, kids do listen to adults, especially their parents. And while they may roll their eyes when you bring it up, it doesn’t mean they’re not listening. BUT — and this is an important but. Don’t make it a lecture. Start by asking your kids if they’ve heard about Neknomination and what they think about it. Chances are if they have, they’ll volunteer that it’s stupid but even if they don’t, it gives you an opportunity to calmly explain the risks.

    “Just say know”

    Dr. Irene Lazarus, a Chapel Hill, NC-based marriage and family therapist recommends “finding a non-threatening way to bring it up so that the kids can think about it before they’re presented with the opportunity.” She added, “Kids who are shy in social relationships may be more vulnerable to taking a dare like that. Peer pressure is strong but if you can have discussions, kids can have time to think through their stance is before they are faced with the situation.”

    Dr. Lazarus recommends the book Buzzed: The Straight Facts About the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy. One chapter title of that book says it all, “Just say know.” As the book points out, “phrases like ‘just say no’ are not sufficient to satisfy many young people.”


    Facebook page for ‘Random Acts of Kindness’

    There is an antidote being promoted on Facebook called RAKNomination with “RAK,” standing for “Random Acts of Kindness.” The page’s tagline is “record yourself carrying out a RAK and nominate your friends to do the same in 24 hours.” The page, which has been “Liked” by 13,690 people as of today, contains stories of great things people are doing for others.

    For more on both Nek and RAK nominations as well as how you can “unnominate” yourself, see Choosing stupidity or kindness: ‘Neknominate’ or ‘RAKnominate’? by Anne Collier, my ConnectSafely.org co-director.

  • Microsoft said to slash Windows 8.1 price on low-cost devices
    Microsoft is cutting the price of Windows 8.1 for devices under $250 in order to be more competitive with low-cost devices that run on rival operating systems.
  • 'Space Elevators' Could Provide Safe & Efficient Cosmic Travel, Researchers Say

    Is it time to push the “up” button on the space elevator?

    A space elevator consisting of an Earth-anchored tether that extends 62,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) into space could eventually provide routine, safe, inexpensive and quiet access to orbit, some researchers say.

    A new assessment of the concept has been pulled together titled “Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward.” The study was conducted by a diverse collection of experts from around the world under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA). [Quiz: Sci-Fi vs. Real Technology]

    The study’s final judgment is twofold: A space elevator appears possible, with the understanding that risks must be mitigated through technological progress…and a space elevator infrastructure could indeed be built via a major international effort.

    The tether serving as a space elevator would be used to economically place payloads and eventually people into space using electric vehicles called climbers that drive up and down the tether at train-like speeds. The rotation of the Earth would keep the tether taut and capable of supporting the climbers.

    Rooted in history

    The notion of a beanstalk-like space elevator is rooted in history.

    Many point to the ahead-of-its-time “thought experiment” published in 1895 by Russian space pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovsky. He suggested creation of a free-standing tower reaching from the surface of Earth to the height of geostationary orbit (GEO; 22,236 miles, or 35,786 km).

    space elevator parts
    Reach for the sky. Image depicts key elements of a space elevator, from top to bottom.

    Over the last century or so, writers, scientists, engineers and others have helped finesse the practicality of the space elevator. And the new study marks a major development in the evolution of the idea, says IAA president Gopalan Madhavan Nair. [10 Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True]

    “No doubt all the space agencies of the world will welcome such a definitive study that investigates new ways of transportation with major changes associated with inexpensive routine access to GEO and beyond,” Nair writes in the new study’s preface.

    “There is no doubt that the Academy, due to this study, will contribute to advancing international consensus and awareness on the need to search and develop new ways of transportation in conducting space exploration while preserving our universe in the same way we are now trying to preserve our planet Earth,” Nair adds.

    Elevator operator

    While it’s always tricky to predict the future study lead editor Peter Swan told Space.com that space elevators are more than just a science-fiction fantasy. “The results of our study are encouraging,” he said.

    Swan’s view is fortified by the late science fact/fiction soothsayer, Arthur C. Clarke, who stated in 2003: “The space elevator will be built ten years after they stop laughing…and they have stopped laughing!”

    Swan is chief engineer at SouthWest Analytic Network, Inc. in Paradise Valley, Ariz., and is focused on developing and teaching innovative approaches to “new space” development. He’s also head elevator operator of the International Space Elevator Consortium (ISEC), which has organizational members in the United States, Europe and Japan and individual members from around the world.

    ISEC’s goal is nothing short of getting a lengthy space elevator built.

    “The question is when, of course,” Swan said. “But the point is that the technologies are progressing in a positive manner, such that we who work in it believe that there will be space elevators.”

    Pacing technologies

    Swan said the giggle factor regarding space elevators is “down significantly” given work carried out over the last decade by a global network of individuals and groups. “Still, there are many, many issues and I certainly would not want to say that it’s not a challenging project.”

    The IAA appraisal delves into a number of issues, such as: Why build a space elevator? Can it be done? How would all the elements fit together to create a system of systems? And what are the technical feasibilities of each major space elevator element?

    space elevator climber
    Climber ascends space elevator, heading spaceward from its aeroshell.

    Two technologies are pacing the development of the space elevator, Swan said.

    Producing an ultra-strong space tether and other space elevator components, Swan said, has been advanced by the invention of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) that are 1,000 times better in strength-to-weight ratio than steel. The good news, he said, is that CNTs are being developed with billions of dollars by nanotechnology, electronics, optics, and materials specialists.

    Similarly, lightweight solar cells “are coming along nicely,” Swan said. “That’s an industry that the space elevator people are watching, too. We’re not going to drive it, but we can certainly watch it and appreciate the advances.”

    Money, motivation and desire

    Regarding who would erect a space elevator, Swan said the study dives into details. A primarily commercial effort with some government support is possible, as is a public-private enterprise, or an entirely governmental project.

    “All three are viable. Any one of them could work. It’s a matter of money, motivation and the desire to do it,” Swan said, though the study centers on commercial development of the space elevator. “It’s conceivable all three could be going on at the same time.”

    The study team was encouraged by the future, though Swan and others acknowledge there are many questions left to be studied. Indeed, another evaluation of the space elevator idea 10 years hence would be worthwhile, Swan said.

    Erasing the rocket equation

    space elevator 3
    Space elevator makes use of an ocean platform to connect Earth with space.

    Are there any technical, political or policy “showstoppers” that could prevent the space elevator from becoming a reality?

    “You’re asking the wrong guy,” Swan responded. “I am an optimist. I have always had the attitude that good people, motivated by good rationale working hard will make it work. My guess is that space elevators are going to work, whether it’s by 2035, 2060 or even 2100.”

    Swan said the rationale is moving beyond the “rocket equation,” which involves tossing away 94 percent of a rocket’s mass sitting on the launch pad.

    “And it still costs a lot of stinking money to get up there,” he said.

    The space elevator opens everything up, Swan said. It’s a soft ride, a week to GEO. There are no restrictions on the size or shape of payloads.

    “People will laugh and ask why did we ever do space rockets…it’s a dumb idea,” Swan said. “Space elevators are the answer if we can make them work. Why would you do anything else?”

    A copy of “Space Elevators: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward” is available through Virginia Edition Publishing Company at: www.virginiaedition.com/sciencedeck

    Leonard David has been reporting on the space industry for more than five decades. He is former director of research for the National Commission on Space and is co-author of Buzz Aldrin’s new book “Mission to Mars – My Vision for Space Exploration” published by National Geographic. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. ]]>

  • These 20 Pokemon Prove Nintendo Is Out Of Ideas
    The release of Pokemon X and Y in October 2013 introduced 70 new Pokemon, bringing the known total of Pokemon in the Pokedex to 719. That’s a lot of cuddly monsters to create.

    Nintendo designers, you work hard. But, we gotta say, it sometimes feels like you phone in your ideas. Sure, you’ve created some beautiful, fearsome Pokemon. (Ninetales? Rapidash? These are gorgeous creatures. And we certainly wouldn’t want to run into Zekrom in a dark alley.) But some of these pocket monsters seem like you randomly decided a bunch of inanimate objects should be alive and have amazing powers.

    We’ve rounded up 20 examples of Pokemon that just don’t seem on par with the rest of their fellow creatures.

    If you’re not familiar with Pokemon, here are a few things to keep in mind as you scroll through the list: Pokemon are captured and trained by characters Ash, Misty, Brock and other humans in the Pokemon universe who fight one another in an attempt to become Pokemon Master. Also, Pokemon can evolve as they train and grow, so Pokemon with similar names (Vanillite, Vanillish and Vanilluxe, for instance) are evolutions of one another.

    Without further ado, here are the 20 weirdest, most random Pokemon:

  • Telecom Giants Paid Millions To 'Honor' Minority Lawmakers Before The Merger
    WASHINGTON — Comcast and Time Warner Cable are heading into the lobbying stage of their proposed merger with a strong hand. They boast large teams of lobbyists, a history of massive campaign contributions to members of both political parties and close ties to the White House.

    Over the last several years, the two telecom giants have also contributed millions of dollars to “honor” members of Congress and congressional caucuses. The biggest recipients of this money have been nonprofits linked to minority lawmakers, traditionally some of the most progressive members of Congress.

    Disclosure of so-called honorary contributions — ostensibly philanthropic gifts that go to organizations tied to congressional lawmakers or events designed to honor politicians — became mandatory starting in 2008. In the years since, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have directed more than $3.7 million to celebrate lawmakers. Nonprofits affiliated with the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus have benefited the most.

    Now Congress is jumping into the debate over the planned Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The Senate Commerce Committee and both Antitrust Subcommittees have said they’ll hold hearings. Public interest watchdogs worry that lawmakers’ oversight could be influenced by all the past largesse.

    “You see their presence is major — the presence of these major corporations,” Joseph Torres, senior external affairs director at the communications public interest group Free Press, said. “It always makes me worried about the influence of all this money and the access that this affords them to lawmakers.”

    The caucus-affiliated nonprofits, however, deny that donors receive any unusual access to members of Congress. They insist they focus on using those contributions to provide scholarships, fellowships and other opportunities to members of the African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American communities.

    “The mission of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc. is to develop leaders, inform policy, and educate the public,” spokeswoman Shrita Sterlin-Hernandez said in an email. “We have been fortunate over the years to earn the support of an array of sponsors who believe in our mission and have partnered with us to achieve it. Any suggestion that our partners seek special access denigrates their contributions — and is patently false.”

    Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute spokesman Scott Gunderson Rosa said that its donors “have as much access as anybody else.” He added, “Our message, in any form, is really just about our students.”

    The Comcast executive in charge of its lobbying office in Washington said that the company has a 20-year history of making contributions to invest in communities where its employees live and called any “cynical” accusation that its donations are in the service of influence-peddling “insulting” and “inaccurate.”

    “We can be criticized for a lot of things,” Comcast’s David Cohen said, “but criticized for investing in quality internship programs and criticized for investing in quality mentoring programs, criticized for investing in programs doing cancer research in a rural state, criticized for investing in programs and getting behind them that are increasing tolerance between African-American and Jewish teenagers — you got to shake your head and say, ‘Why would anyone criticize those types of investments?'”

    Comcast and Time Warner Cable have earmarked past donations to go to internship programs and scholarships. But much of the money given to these caucus-affiliated nonprofits actually ends up paying for lavish conferences and galas that bring together the corporate and political worlds.

    Since 2008, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have contributed more than $990,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, more than $180,000 to the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute, nearly $800,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, $135,000 to the Congressional Black Caucus Policy and Leadership Institute, and $281,000 to the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

    Lobbyists and executives for Comcast and Time Warner Cable also occupy seats on the boards and corporate advisory councils of these organizations.

    Juan Otero, a top Comcast lobbyist, sits on the boards of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute.

    Another Comcast lobbyist, Earl Jones, has a seat on the corporate advisory council at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, as does Gray Global Advisors’ Justin Gray, an outside lobbyist hired by Comcast. Jones is also a “platinum member” of the Congressional Black Caucus Policy and Leadership Institute’s 21st Century Council, while Comcast’s Rudy Brioche and Time Warner Cable’s Howie Hodges both sit on the council’s executive committee.

    Comcast’s Susan Jin Davis chairs the board at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.

    Torres at Free Press suggests that all these corporate connections and contributions from Comcast and Time Warner Cable have encouraged members of the Congressional Black Caucus and Congressional Hispanic Caucus to adopt pro-industry positions, which now could undermine vigorous oversight of the merger.

    “The CBC and CHC have not been the greatest champions on making sure these companies are not getting bigger and in securing the future of an open Internet,” Torres said.

    It’s true that many African-American and Hispanic lawmakers have taken pro-industry stands in the past, siding with more conservative members of the Democratic Party.

    In 2009, 72 House Democrats sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking the agency to tone down its efforts on net neutrality. Of the lawmakers signing the letter, 26 were members of either the Congressional Black Caucus or the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, with the rest coming from the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

    Back in 2004, when Congress discussed the possibility of a la carte pricing for cable subscribers, Congressional Black Caucus members wrote a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee that echoed industry talking points opposing the practice, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity.

    A 2013 report on policy prescriptions produced by the Congressional Black Caucus Policy and Leadership Institute’s 21st Century Council supports numerous pro-industry positions. In particular, it touted a Comcast program providing low-cost Internet to families with children who receive subsidized school lunches. Others, including the Roosevelt Institute and the New America Foundation, have criticized the program as designed less to provide Internet access to the underserved and more to expand the company’s consumer base.

    “Given the dynamic and complex nature of our business, we value our teams around the country who help us work constructively with policymakers at all levels of government,” said Time Warner Cable spokesman Eric Mangan. “Our partnerships also enable us to create internship programs, and support technology centers around the country where people get free access to computers and the Internet, and partake in activities like citizenship classes.”

    Torres argues, however, that lawmakers’ support for big telecom works to the detriment of low-income minority communities, who face difficulty in affording the high cost of cable and broadband Internet services. Torres said these communities would be better served if their representatives focused on increased competition to lower costs and supported net neutrality rules to ensure that people can communicate online without worrying that providers will limit their reach.

    Beyond the major donations to nonprofits linked to the minority congressional caucuses, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have also honored specific minority lawmakers with their contributions.

    Time Warner Cable gave $20,000 in September to the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to honor Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) and $25,000 in June to the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications for an event that honored Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Comcast NBCUniversal. Comcast has donated $170,000 to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials to honor Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (D-Fla.), among others.

    The two companies have also contributed money to nonprofits founded by members of Congress. These include $165,000 to the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel, which is tied to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and $40,000 to the James E. Clyburn Research & Scholarship Foundation, which is affiliated with Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.).

    Cummings, the ranking Democratic member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, voted in favor of net neutrality in 2011, but was also one of the Congressional Black Caucus members signing the anti-net neutrality letter to the FCC in 2010. He told The Huffington Post that he only serves as an honorary board member of the youth nonprofit and that “there is no connection between the organization” and his congressional office.

    “My role as a Member of Congress is to serve my constituents and, more broadly, the American people, and I can say unequivocally that their best interests are my only consideration with every vote I take,” Cummings said in a statement.

    Cohen, the Comcast executive, said that the company’s funding for the youth program was sparked by his personal interest based on his prior work with a similar initiative in Philadelphia and was not driven by the connection to Cummings.

  • The Way We Used To Travel: 12 Ways Travel Has Changed In The Digital Age
    Once upon a time, smartphones and tablets didn’t exist. And travel (well, life, in general) was very different. Technology has revolutionized the way we travel, in ways both good and bad.

    We’re feeling kind of nostalgic for the travel days of yore, so let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember the relics of pre-Digital Age travel…

    1. International Calling Cards were a must when traveling abroad. How else would you stay in touch with your friends and family back home?
    Now, you don’t even need to use a phone to get in touch with your family back home. Skyping over WiFi is way easier.

    2. You didn’t pay baggage fees, which is good because your carry-on was packed with all the books on your vacation “to read” list…
    stack of books
    Imagine packing those in your luggage… E-books make your bag a whole lot lighter.

    3. And all those CDs and your Discman and your Gameboy and your travel journal and your datebook took up some space, too.
    walkman cds
    Tablets for the win.

    4. When you arrived at your destination, you relied on physical maps… not a map app that helps you when you get lost.
    travel map

    5. You had to call your airline to check flights. No internet updates, no emails, no texts. Just phone calls.
    phone call landline

    6. You had to read guidebooks or chat up locals to find out the best places to eat, drink and explore.
    travel guide books
    Yelp, and the Internet in general, makes that a very different experience.

    7. Traveler’s checks. Those things don’t even exist these days.
    travelers check

    8. You lugged around a camera (or a bunch of disposables), rather than snapping thousands of pics on your smartphone.
    kodak disposable

    9. And when you got home, you developed all those rolls of film and were so excited to see your prints!
    old camera film

    10. There was an element of surprise. You didn’t know exactly what your hotel or destination would look like or the menus of the restaurants you’d eat at before you go there.
    surprise traveler

    11. You became pen pals with people you met along the way.
    writing a letter
    Now you just friend new buddies on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

    12. You never had to worry about updating your social media constantly. You didn’t need to worry about unplugging. Traveling meant freedom.

  • Opinion: How will Apple maintain usability on a larger iPhone?
    If the rumor mill is to be given any credence, Apple will be releasing an iPhone with a larger display, possibly between 4.5 and 4.8-inches, along with a larger 5.5-inch or 6-inch ‘phablet’ later this year. Although Apple has been content to run its own race historically, the rise in popularity of large Android smartphones, and the expectations of Wall Street, almost demands that Apple offers an iPhone that appeals to users who prefer larger displays. In fact, it would be more of surprise come the unveiling of the ‘iPhone 6’ if Apple were to release only another 4-inch device. Until now, Apple


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