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Mobile Technology News, February 24, 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.

  • Why There Will Be Another Major Data Breach (And Another, And Another)
    The storm of consumer-focused data breaches started off as intermittent downpours — Choicepoint, TJ Maxx, SONY, LinkedIn, Twitter, Adobe Systems — and is now a torrent: Target, Neiman Marcus, Kickstarter, White Lodging, the Sands Casino, and now everyone who’s attended or worked at the University of Maryland since 1998. In each case, hackers weren’t after the company’s intellectual property or trade secrets: they were after your information, because it’s the key to your money.

    In fact, though it’s been widely reported that the Target breach cost $240 million so far, that amount doesn’t take into account the fraudulent charges individuals had to fight and is itself split among the many financial institutions whose customers were affected by the breach. Meanwhile, Target said in January that it expected to lose only 2-6% of sales over last year, and only in the first quarter.

    That is why these breaches are just going to keep happening: in the absence of laws or regulations forcing all companies to protect your data (and your money) better, companies simply aren’t going to lose enough money in a data breach to “justify” the costs of better security.

    Meanwhile, all of us will end up paying more to offset the costs of these breaches, in terms of higher account fees, lower service levels and the like. But better laws requiring companies to protect the customer data they use, collect and store do not appear to be coming your way any time soon.

    Deep in the midst of this current and ongoing cyberinsecurity epidemic, the White House issued its long-awaited “guidelines” for cybersecurity and critical infrastructure last week. In the document, its authors wrote:

    Similar to financial and reputational risk, cyber security risk affects a company’s bottom line. It can drive up costs and impact revenue. It can harm an organization’s ability to innovate and to gain and maintain customers.

    Why might a document laying out guidelines and best practices have to remind its readers and target audience that there are serious costs to bad cybersecurity practices? Because the guidelines have no force of law and no incentives to encourage companies to comply — and the Administration says it has no plans to track if or how anyone even bothers to comply with the framework, anyway.

    It’s not like these companies don’t know what best data security practices are – reports indicate that at least one Target employee raised alarms before Black Friday last year — and it’s not like there aren’t a plethora of other companies who would help them if they don’t have the internal resources. But updating systems, doing regular information security checks and focusing on employee training can be time-consuming and expensive.

    But when the costs of any one data breach are shared by so many companies and individuals, the cost of rigorous data security to any one company might well be more than what it stands to lose in a given breach. We see this with the slow roll-out of more secure chip-and-pin cards, which are broadly used elsewhere in the world but won’t be widely available in the U.S. until after 2015: it’s an (increasingly) expensive system to implement, and no one entity pays enough because of the fraud the old system encourages to bother going first.

    Cybersecurity is fast becoming a classic market failure: the costs of protection thus far outweigh the potential costs of a breach. But unlike most other classic examples of market failures — education and environmental protection, to name two — the government seemingly has no appetite to step in and resolve the market problem with laws, regulations or even tax incentives. Instead, they’re stuck reminding companies how costly a breach could eventually be.

    So the next time you hear about a data breach — and with recent history as a guide, that’ll be fairly soon — and you wonder why this keeps happening, just remember that it all comes down to money: yours (that the criminals want), and the cold hard cash that some corporations and institutions haven’t spent to keep your information secure.

  • First of 64-bit Windows 8.1 tablets arrives, this one from HP
    Hewlett-Packard’s latest tablet is described as the new “64-bit ElitePad” — a sign that Windows 8.1 tablets running on Intel’s Bay Trail chip will begin to go 64-bit.
  • Apple's 'Gotofail' Security Mess Extends To Mail, Twitter, iMessage, Facetime And More – Forbes
    First, Apple revealed a critical bug in its implementation of  encryption in iOS, requiring an emergency patch. Then researchers found the same bug is also included in Apple’s desktop OSX operating system, a gaping Web security hole that leaves users of Safari at risk of having their traffic hijacked. Now one researcher has found evidence that the bug extends beyond Apple’s browser to other applications including Mail, Twitter, Facetime, iMessage and even Apple’s software update mechanism.
  • Netflix signs Comcast streaming deal
    Netflix agrees a deal with Comcast, the biggest internet service provider in the US, that will see its videos streamed faster and more smoothly.
  • Estonia: From Skype to scooters
    Estonia start-ups scooting to success
  • Huawei launches 'hybrid' smartband
    Chinese electronics giant Huawei unveiled five new products at Mobile World Congress, including what it called the “world’s first hybrid smart band”.
  • VIDEO: 'More beautiful' selfies feature
    Huawei’s latest smartphone promises better selfies – the BBC’s Mark Gregory tried it out.
  • These Picture-Perfect Couples Found Love On Instagram
    By Kristen Klein for Bridal Guide

    Finding love online certainly isn’t a new concept; dating websites are a dime a dozen these days. But you can also find love where you least expect it — like on your favorite social networking site. Because Instagram is a photo-driven medium, it’s easy to feel like you know someone before you even meet them.

    “Despite the geographical distance between us, meeting Matt on Instagram felt very similar to meeting someone in, say, a bookstore or at a party,” said Robin, who met her husband through a comment he left on one of her photos. “We were following an overlapping group of people with similar interests and a similar aesthetic. Meeting each other felt very organic in that respect.”

    An added benefit: “Our year-long long-distance relationship was of course very difficult… [but] people from all over the world were cheering us on, and they still are. Rough days are so much easier when you feel that sort of positive energy, even from strangers,” she said. “We give people hope, I think, that their perfect partner is out there, and they, in turn, give us hope, with their kind words and thousands of likes.”

    These five love stories prove that a picture really does say a thousand words.

    Beulah & Alex: Fell in Love Through an Instagram Contest

    When Beulah submitted a few of her images to an Instagram photo competition, she never expected to win — or to find the love of her life through the contest! After being named the winner, Beulah gained 200 new followers — one of them being Alex. A comment he left caught her eye, and after taking a look at his account, she learned that he’s a photographer as well. She emailed him to ask about his work and shoots, which turned into an endless email chain that led to talking over FaceTime and, eventually, Alex traveled from Alberta, Canada to meet Beulah in Melbourne, Florida, where she lived. “It was the best week of our lives!” she said. “Head over heels in love. It was comfortable, it was honest, it was right. I couldn’t put it into words if I tried, honestly.”

    Naturally, the two documented their first meeting on Instagram:

    “I still have a photo posted that was taken on my way to pick Alex up from the airport for the first time. Little did I know I was going to pick up my future husband. I’m so thankful for having it all documented.”

    The two embarked on a long-distance relationship, visiting each other as often as they could. In December, Alex proposed to Beulah while she was visiting him in Calgary. After riding a gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain to take in the magical sunset, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. The happy couple is planning a November 2014 wedding in Florida, and they’re working on building a photography business together.

    Jorge & Corinth: Found Each Other Through a Hashtag

    Jorge’s passion on Instagram is sharing photos of the sky. He started using the hashtag #sky on his pictures, and while browsing through others on the hashtag one day, he came across a stunning photo taken by Corinth.

    He clicked over to her profile and was intrigued by her unique name and beautiful photos. He noticed that she’d listed her Kik messaging username on her Instagram profile page, so he decided to send her a message. Because of their age and geographical differences (he was 19 living in Maryland, and she was 22 living in Whitehorse, Canada), he just intended to strike up a friendship. But Corinth’s first thought was, “Wow, what a cute stalker!”

    They soon began talking every day, making a point to always say good morning and good night to each other. After months of this routine, they both realized they were falling in love. One day, Corinth said “I love you,” and Jorge quickly responded the same. “I really loved her, and it was crazy because we had never met in person, but I felt like I knew her so well. She was my best friend!” he recalled.

    After they officially started dating in March, they started their own hashtag #chasingmiamor (chasing my love) to document their relationship. Six months later, they met in person for the first time. “Best day ever!” recalled Corinth. “I was so nervous, and he noticed it. But my gosh, that moment when we first hugged was one of the most memorable moments in my life.”

    They’re still going strong a year later, even though they’ve only spent a total of 25 days together in person. “We don’t always see each other because we are 3,590 miles from each other, so during those days we were actually together, we made lots of memories by capturing them through photos and videos,” said Corinth. “And we’ll always be sharing our stories on Instagram, the app that brought us together.”

    Robin & Matthew: Met Through a Random Comment

    After joining Instagram in 2011, Robin began browsing around to find interesting people to follow. One of Matt’s cycling photos caught her eye, and she left a comment. He then commented on one of her photos of the snow, mentioning how much he missed the snowy Christmas weather he’d grown up with in Wisconsin before moving to California. After some more back and forth, he asked her to email him. She sent him a one-line note: “What’s up?” He responded with an eight-paragraph email all about himself, his childhood, and his trouble adjusting to life in California.

    “He was just so endearing and sincere. I could feel the warmth in his words,” Robin said. “I’d long been struggling to find my place on this earth, and despite the differences in our individual circumstances, I could relate to every single word. I didn’t hesitate to write back.”

    After a year of being email pen pals, Matt gave Robin his number. They immediately hit it off; one of their Skype chats lasted over 13 hours! A few months later, they met in person for the first time.

    “I couldn’t even make eye contact with him. I’m not exaggerating,” Robin said. “For at least an hour, I couldn’t look him in the eyes for more than a second or two. I was a flustered, giddy mess.”

    Luckily, she got over her nerves, and a year later, the couple was married. They even used Instagram to help plan the wedding -— they found their photographer and videographer on Instagram. They now live together in California.

    Brooke & Carter: Planned the Proposal Through Instagram

    Brooke and Carter met in a coffee shop while attending a mutual friend’s show. They hit it off, and when Carter moved from Colorado to Kansas for a job, the couple took advantage of Instagram to keep each other involved in their day-to-day lives. After dating for two years, Carter planned to propose during a trip to Portland. But since he’d never been there before, he relied on a few friends he met on Instagram to help him find the perfect location.

    The new friends even offered the pair a place to stay, paid for their rental car, and surprised them with an engagement party after the proposal! The happy couple tied the knot in December and lives in Colorado Springs, CO.

    CARTER AND BROOKE // THE ENGAGEMENT from Colin Cabalka on Vimeo.

    Jenna & Neil: Popped the Question on Instagram

    Jenna and Neil met through mutual friends at Coachella in 2012 and connected instantly. Since they lived on opposite sides of country, they friended each other on Facebook and followed each other on Instagram to stay in touch, and their friendship quickly turned romantic.

    They started exchanging messages about moving in together when Jenna moved from NYC to Los Angeles (where Neil lived), getting married, and even their future kids’ names.

    After nearly two years together, Neil decided to propose — and since their love story unfolded on social media, Neil knew he wanted to use the medium to propose. He created a new Instagram account, The Story of Jenna and Neil, where he uploaded photos and videos of them together, screen shots from their Facebook conversations, and more to document their love story.

    The final photo:

    She, of course, said yes! They’re planning a November wedding in Palm Springs.

    Tell us: How did you meet your future spouse?

    More from Bridal Guide:
    The Most Heartwarming Proposal Stories
    Avoid the Seven Deadly Bridal Sins
    75+ Gorgeous Ideas for Your Centerpieces
    The Hottest Wedding Trends for 2014
    20 Sexy Wedding-Night Secrets

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Weddings on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

  • VIDEO: First look at Huawei's Talkband
    The BBC’s Mark Gregory has a look at Huawei’s new smartband, unveiled for the first time at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
  • '$25 smartphone' coming from Mozilla
    A prototype smartphone that costs $25 and is designed to appeal to people in developing countries is shown off by Mozilla at the Mobile World Congress.
  • Comcast And Netflix Make A Deal To End Traffic Jam
    (Reuters) – Comcast Corp customers are about to get improved streaming service from Netflix after the two companies announced on Sunday an agreement to give Netflix a direct connection to the broadband provider.
    This agreement means that Netflix will deliver its movies and TV programs to Comcast’s broadband network as opposed through third party providers, giving viewers faster streaming speeds for watching movies and TV programs.
    The deal could also mean that other broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T will have to strike a similar arrangements, known in the industry as interconnect agreements.
    The companies said in a joint statement that they have been “working collaboratively over many months” to strike a multi-year agreement. The terms were not disclosed and Netflix will not receive preferential network treatment, the companies said.
    With more than 44 million subscribers throughout the world, Netflix has been making an effort to connect directly with broadband Internet providers. It has struck similar deals with Cablevision and Cox.
    The announcement comes as Comcast prepares to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal that will draw the scrutiny of U.S. antitrust enforcers.
    The combined company would have a near 30 percent share of the U.S. pay television market, as well as be the major provider of broadband Internet access.
    At the same time, Federal regulators are wrestling with an issue known as “Net neutrality” concerning broadband providers and whether they can slow down traffic to some particular websites or applications, potentially forcing content providers to pay for faster Web service.
    The Federal Communications Commission said last week it plans to rewrite the rules after a U.S. court struck down the commission’s previous version.
    (Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
  • Google Will Soon Know You Better Than Your Spouse Does, Top Exec Says
    Ray Kurzweil, the director of engineering at Google, believes that the tech behemoth will soon know you even better than your spouse does.

    Kurzweil, who Bill Gates has reportedly called “the best person [he knows] at predicting the future of artificial intelligence,” told the Observer in a recent interview that he is working with Google to create a computer system that will be able to intimately understand human beings.

    (Read Kurzweil’s full interview with the Observer here.)

    “I have a one-sentence spec which is to help bring natural language understanding to Google,” the 66-year-old tech whiz told the news outlet of his job. “My project is ultimately to base search on really understanding what the language means.”

    “When you write an article, you’re not creating an interesting collection of words,” he continued. “You have something to say and Google is devoted to intelligently organizing and processing the world’s information. The message in your article is information, and the computers are not picking up on that. So we would want them to read everything on the web and every page of every book, then be able to engage in intelligent dialogue with the user to be able to answer their questions.”

    In short, the Observer writes, Kurzweil believes that Google will soon “know the answer to your question before you have asked it. It will have read every email you’ve ever written, every document, every idle thought you’ve ever tapped into a search-engine box. It will know you better than your intimate partner does. Better, perhaps, than even yourself.”

    As creepy as this may sound to some, Kurzweil — who has long contended that computers will outsmart us by 2029 — believes that the improvement of artificial intelligence is merely the next step in our evolution.

    “[Artificial intelligence] is not an intelligent invasion from Mars,” he told the Montecito Journal in 2012, per a post on his website. “These are brain extenders that we have created to expand our own mental reach. They are part of our civilization. They are part of who we are. So over the next few decades our human-machine civilization will become increasingly dominated by its non-biological component.”

  • FCC Can Free the Cities
    The FCC’s seeming willingness to challenge laws in 20 states that restrict city governments from offering broadband Internet services represents a huge potential opportunity.

    FCC Chairman Wheeler knows well that the established players — mostly the cable and Telco’s — have joined forces to routinely block any attempt any by a city to provide municipal Internet services. State legislators and other politicians have also told them the telecommunications business belongs to the private sector.

    Most cities, therefore, already subsidized in some small way by a cable franchise or largesse of the local telephone monopoly — are afraid to act or simply unaware of the stakes. This new thinking on the part of the FCC could free the cities.

    In every study of importance, broadband Internet services are mentioned prominently. The argument that such infrastructures are the thing most of the nation’s innovation today urgently need is something that all the studies seem to agree on.

    Given the realignment of power in the world — from nations to cities to individuals–what the city does or does not do can determine their community’s success and survival, or its demise; and as such, will determine the nation’s success or failure.

    Some more progressive cities are already working with other nearby cities or their county to do joint governmental planning and development, and provide not only police, fire and safety services but land use, transportation and telecommunications systems as well.

    This clearly makes sense since people already live in one jurisdiction, work in other, and play or dine in a third. More importantly, the new creative economy demands consolidation to save money, and a repositioning of the larger region itself to succeed in the new global economy.

    Broadband, or high speed Internet service is a ripe for such joint planning, and as important as waterways, railways and highways were in an earlier era. Building a regional information infrastructure is vital.

    According to the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., “the top 100 metropolitan areas covers about two thirds of the nation’s population and an even larger share of the nation’s gross domestic product.” It is these “regional economies” that foster quality places, vibrant downtowns, attractive town centers and historic, older suburbs that feed the development and acquisition of human capital, financial capital and contribute to resource efficient, sustainable growth.

    Not merging municipalities or at least jointly providing basic services, starting with broadband, puts the prowess of a region at risk. Cities are more important than ever in our nation’s history as we enter headlong into a new age of creativity and innovation.

    The city is and has been the crucible of civilization; the center of commerce, and in this new age, can and must be the incubator of creativity; the place where people and cultures and ideas wash against one another producing the inventions and innovations the world needs and wants, and the finance and marketing plans to support them.

    The city, of all our geopolitical institutions, needs to reinvent itself for this new global age.

  • Netflix Makes A Deal With Comcast To End Traffic Jam
    (Reuters) – Comcast Corp customers are about to get improved streaming service from Netflix after the two companies announced on Sunday an agreement to give Netflix a direct connection to the broadband provider.
    This agreement means that Netflix will deliver its movies and TV programs to Comcast’s broadband network as opposed through third party providers, giving viewers faster streaming speeds for watching movies and TV programs.
    The deal could also mean that other broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T will have to strike a similar arrangements, known in the industry as interconnect agreements.
    The companies said in a joint statement that they have been “working collaboratively over many months” to strike a multi-year agreement. The terms were not disclosed and Netflix will not receive preferential network treatment, the companies said.
    With more than 44 million subscribers throughout the world, Netflix has been making an effort to connect directly with broadband Internet providers. It has struck similar deals with Cablevision and Cox.
    The announcement comes as Comcast prepares to acquire Time Warner Cable for $45 billion, a deal that will draw the scrutiny of U.S. antitrust enforcers.
    The combined company would have a near 30 percent share of the U.S. pay television market, as well as be the major provider of broadband Internet access.
    At the same time, Federal regulators are wrestling with an issue known as “Net neutrality” concerning broadband providers and whether they can slow down traffic to some particular websites or applications, potentially forcing content providers to pay for faster Web service.
    The Federal Communications Commission said last week it plans to rewrite the rules after a U.S. court struck down the commission’s previous version.
    (Reporting by Jennifer Saba in New York; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
  • Samsung tries again with new watches
    Samsung has shown off the Gear 2, its second attempt at releasing a smartwatch that has mass appeal with consumers.
  • Microsoft's OK with Nokia using Android. Kind of
    Microsoft expressed its support for Nokia’s efforts, although noting it was “less excited” about some projects than others.
  • Bill Nye 'The Science Guy' Answers All Your Questions About Bow Ties (VIDEO)
    What would Bill Nye be without his signature bow tie?

    You’re probably familiar with the “Science Guy” and his trademark fashion accessory — but there’s a lot about Bill Nye’s bow ties you don’t know. Who does he think wears the tie best? And perhaps most importantly, how many of them does he actually own?

    Check out the new YouTube video above from PBS/NOVA’s “The Secret Life of Scientists” to find out.

    And just so you’re not disappointed, there is one answer you won’t get. What’s the weirdest thing Nye has done in a bow tie? “I can’t tell you,” he says in the video, with a smirk.

  • WhatsApp 'sorry' for system crash
    WhatsApp has apologised to users and blamed “server issues” after its system went down for more than two hours.
  • Windows 8.1 update coming in spring, to improve controls, allow lower end hardware
    Microsoft is hoping to address some of the big issues with Windows 8 and improve the customer experience.
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