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Mobile Technology News, February 26, 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.

  • Gaming (As We Know It) Is On the Way Out
    Gaming is heading to the cloud. And that’s a big deal.

    Think about it: Gamers aren’t chained to their Xbox or Playstation consoles anymore. They can play anywhere, on any device — smartphone, tablet, smart TV, you name it. And online games are able to continually evolve over time. They aren’t limited to the code they had at release.


    The cloud provides instant, constant access for gamers and for game developers. Instead of releasing expansion pack-like updates in large chunks, developers are able to iteratively and seamlessly weave new changes into their games.

    With the pervasive availability of stats and analytics about how gamers are engaging with a particular title online, games in the cloud are much smarter. They react to your moves and to the moves of the folks you’re storming a castle with or fighting on some battlefield or competing against to build the strongest city. These games are in constant motion and are evolving based on the actions of the millions of other players who inhabit the same world.

    As a result, developers are taking nuanced approaches to the kinds of titles are being released. Without the console tether, casual gamers have become a huge market, and they aren’t particularly interested in the shoot-em-up games hardcore gamers have been playing online for years. They’re playing Candy Crush and Flappy Bird. Are these are simple games? Absolutely. They are digital parlor games. But I’m convinced that they’ll usher plenty of folks into more sophisticated, networked games. They demonstrate something all gamers know: how steeping yourself in an alternate universe can become very addictive.

    From a practical perspective, the cloud is lowering the barriers to entry for new games. Not only are publishers able to release new titles without waiting for printing and physical distribution, but they’re even starting to release games before they’re even release-ready. Take DayZ for example: The game is buggy, incomplete … and immensely popular. Powered by cloud resources, these types of games can scale up and down to handle real-time demand, whether it be a thousand users or ten million.

    The rise and fall of online games depends on split-second reaction speeds and dependability, so cloud providers are up against a pretty significant challenge. Performance, reliability and latency have to be rock solid, and as developers find ways to push the limits of current technologies, we need to be releasing the next generation of cloud technologies to stay one step ahead.

    The market for online gaming is expected to hit $111 billion next year, and if current momentum is any indication, that figure is just the tip of the iceberg.


  • No Nirvana? Is Asus rethinking Android-Windows 8.1 device?
    Asus is slated to bring out a dual Windows 8.1-Android hybrid in second quarter of this year. But things may not be going swimmingly for the device.
  • Hawaii May Require Warning Labels On All Cell Phones
    Do you love the sleek, simplistic design of your phone? If so, you might want to shop for your next upgrade somewhere other than the Aloha state, where a bill is threatening to require a relatively large warning label be displayed on all cell phones.

    If Senate Bill 2571 SD1 is passed, all new and refurbished cell phones sold for profit in Hawaii would require a non-removable label on their backsides, covering at least 30 percent of the phones’ surfaces. In bold letters, the label would read, “To reduce exposure to radiation that may be hazardous to your health, please follow the enclosed safety guidelines.”

    State Senator Josh Green, chair of the Hawaii Senate Health Committee, hopes that the conspicuous label will help people think more about electromagnetic radiation and change their cell phone habits, according to a report from KITV.

    The original measure called for even more detailed language on the label — “This device emits electromagnetic radiation, exposure to which may cause brain cancer. Users, especially children and pregnant women, should keep this device away from the head and body” — but it has since been amended.

    This is the first generation to have kids from age ten up to adulthood with cell phones right next to their heads and brains,” Green told KITV. “Brains are developing up to age 22 to 25, so I think we have to be safe.”

    The label would direct users to a warning that most cell phone manufacturers already provide. Both the iPhone and Android user manuals contain health and safety sections that provide information on radiofrequency (RF) energy and recommendations to reduce exposure.

    But Green worries that manuals alone will go unread. “If you don’t have a sticker that this is a potential health hazard then no one will ever know,” he said.

    While cell phones do emit RF energy that can be absorbed by tissues closest to where the phone is held, current studies have not shown a consistent link between cell phone use and cancers of the brain, nerves, or other tissues of the head or neck.

    Health risks aside, Communities Digital News recently pointed out why this legislation is aesthetically and economically “problematic”:

    “For phones that do not have removable backs, Hawaii users will either cover them with fashion cases or resort to ordering their cell phones from out-of-state. … Economically, the mandate of non-removable, giant labels on cell phones means manufacturers and distributers will have a higher compliance cost for Hawaii phones. As if shipping phones to the islands wasn’t already a cost factor, now there is the production complexity of adding labels to the phones. The end result? Hawaii phones will be more expensive.”

    Read the full CDN story here.

    The bill, which was recently passed with amendments by the Hawaii Senate committees on Health and Technology and the Arts, has to be cleared by one more committee before advancing to the House.

  • White House Weighs Four Options For Revamping NSA Phone Surveillance
    Administration lawyers have presented the White House with four options for restructuring the National Security Agency’s phone-surveillance program, from ditching the controversial collection altogether to running it through the telephone companies, according to officials familiar with the discussions.
  • Is new tech just a fashion item?
    Are new tech products just unnecessary fashion?
  • Five of the web's oddest communities
    Five of the strangest online communities
  • Briefly: Loop remixing app for iPad, PDFpen now requires iOS 7
    IK Multimedia has announced the release of its mobile loop based music-making app, GrooveMaker 2. Designed for iPad, the app offers users the ability to create professional quality grooves, beats and songs in real time. Its library features over 3,600 available loops and over 60 collections of music genres, including House, DubStep, Hip Hop, Techno, Reggae and more. GrooveMaker 2 can be utilized as a live DJ performance tool as well as a mobile composition app. Users can set the length of individual loops and grooves down to 1/4 of a bar, providing flexibility when building and layering a trac


  • My Digital Detox Experience
    As the founder of a company built on the concept that social media is the predominant — and most significant — communication medium in the world, the experience I had last weekend seems antithetical to everything I believe:

    I unplugged myself from technology. I didn’t look at Facebook, I didn’t Tweet, I didn’t check-in anywhere or share a photo to Instagram. And on Monday, as I drove into the office, I could hardly believe what I was feeling. I was different. I was relaxed and calm. And, perhaps owing to my business as a communicator, I needed to share my revelation with everyone.

    Perhaps it’s not a shocking discovery. Arianna Huffington, who started the website you’re reading, learned much the same thing and offered her thoughts in the book Thrive. The extraordinarily talented and influential Tiffany Shlain made a fantastic short film about taking a “technological Shabbat.”

    All I know is that for the last few months, I’ve been exhausted, physically and especially mentally. My eyes hurt from doing nothing but staring at screen after screen all day — from my laptop to my desktop screen to my iPhone and my iPad, TV screens, movie screens, I realized I was always staring at something other than the world. I’ve been attached to a device that brings in hundreds of other people’s emotions, desires, and demands everyday… From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed — unwillingly setting my phone aside — I was connected to everything and everyone but actual life and the people around me. I had become dependent on one thing: knowing if I was missing something.

    But here’s what I learned from breaking away from all those screens for one full day, from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday: If someone really needs to reach me, they’ll know how. And if I really, desperately need to connect with someone, for 24 hours I can make it the real, live person next to me, not the virtual person who’s also furiously tapping on a little glass screen.

    That doesn’t mean I’m turning into a technophobe or a neo-Luddite. Quite the opposite: Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and on Monday I was curious to know what people had been up to over the weekend, to see who had tried to get in touch with me, and I had more headspace to actually connect with them in return. I now have a new value to add to the equation. The value I place on me.

  • The Internet Is Fucked | The Verge
    Here’s a simple truth: the internet has radically changed the world.
  • Enormous Solar Flare Is Sun's Biggest Of 2014 (VIDEO, PHOTOS)
    Great balls of fire! A ginormous sunspot is acting up again, and this time the region has produced the largest solar flare recorded so far in 2014.

    NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft registered the massive solar flare on Feb. 24, and the activity peaked around 7:49 p.m. EST. The space agency categorized the solar flare as X4.9-class, meaning it was four times more intense than an X1-class flare — and X-class flares are the most powerful.

    Video and still images of the eruption show it bursting from the surface of the sun and out into space, creating a vivid flash.

    (Story continues below.)
    solar flare
    The X-class solar flare seen in a composite image captured at 7:45 p.m. EST. It shows the sun in ultraviolet light. (Image credit: NASA/SDO)

    solar flare
    The first moments of the solar flare are seen in a series of images showing the eruption at different wavelengths of light. (Image credit: NASA/SDO)

    Though this solar flare did not erupt in Earth’s direction, it was powerful enough to produce a radio blackout for a short time Monday night, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center reported.

    The flare followed several smaller coronal mass ejections earlier this month. As Universe Today noted, solar activity has picked up recently, most likely because the sun is in the midst of its period of peak activity for the current solar cycle.

    Solar physicists track the sun’s 11-year cycles by monitoring sunspots and solar flares. For half the cycle, dubbed the solar minimum, sunspots are relatively rare. But during the solar maximum, the sun is in high gear.

  • VIDEO: Bitcoin: MtGox exchange goes offline
    Bitcoin, a virtual currency which only exists on the internet, has become increasingly attractive as it does not involve exchanging currencies.
  • LinkedIn: The Productive Social Network?
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    I like LinkedIn.

    I like that is mostly about Business. I like that there are people working there; getting things done. I like that there are so many entrepreneurs there striving to build something special for their customers, their employees and their families; putting food on their tables. Sure, many of them will fail–repeatedly, only to try, try again. But the ones that succeed, oh my!


    Yes, I like LinkedIn (LI) for all these reasons but I also like it because of the facts I don’t really like Facebook and Twitter for the converse reason: there’s nothing evident being accomplished in those social networks.

    Now whether you’re a full-on Capitalist, Socialist or outright Communist; an anti-Globalization operative or Occupy anarchist, let’s agree on one thing right here, right now: Business allows people to do things, use products and services; and make money to live. No business equals no society, no families and no happy human beings. It’s that simple.

    So if you’re like me, you are absolutely devoted to the pure idea of Business & Entrepreneurship and recognize that generally speaking, for everything you sincerely put into entrepreneurship, something good comes out–like Newton’s Laws of Motion.


    In the Tech Sector, the concept of the ‘first-mover advantage’ is worshiped and lionized. When everyone was so busy posting, ‘liking’ and Tweeting mindlessly, LinkedIn and its founder were head-down, busily building a first-mover in Social Networking for Business. They own this niche.

    I also strongly believe that, as the old Sicilian proverb so accurately states, “The fish stinks from the head down.” To me this means that any terrible organization, necessarily has a terrible founder/leader. And, visa versa that any great business has a great leader: Edison at GE; Watson at IBM; Ford at Ford Motor Car and so on.

    And so, it is in that context that we look at the progenitor of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman. I like Hoffman a lot. Hoffman saw the opportunity to do something completely different in the social network space.

    Superbly well-educated, thoroughly experienced and always looking for the next big thing, Hoffman is no slouch.


    Growing up in the Bay Area, Hoffman studied at Stanford where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Symbolic Systems and Cognitive Science (are those specific enough topics for you?). He won numerous awards and scholarships at Stanford, then moved on to study and obtain his MA in Philosophy at Oxford University. Then, Hoffman might philosophically ponder symbolic systems.

    “When I graduated from Stanford my plan was to become a professor and public intellectual,” Hoffman has said. “That is not about quoting Kant. It’s about holding up a lens to society and asking ‘who are we?’ and ‘who should we be, as individuals and a society?’ But I realized academics write books that 50 or 60 people read and I wanted more impact.”

    Wisely I think, Hoffman chose the business path before him and in 1984 started at Apple. It would be a momentous first job.

    Working on eWorld, Apple’s early online social network attempt, Hoffman found himself right in the thick of things between Apple, Steve Case and the early beginnings of AOL. Funny how the two “walled gardens,” the highly-proprietary, ‘closed platform’ organizations of Apple and AOL were so closely intertwined. But it must have been a frantic, frenetic and opportune time for Hoffman, who apparently even then was soaking up as much as he possibly could from the masters about this ‘social network thing.’


    After eWorld was acquired by AOL in 1996, Reid had a short stint at Fujitsu and then took the plunge. He started SocialNet.com, his first company which ‘tech-stars’ such as Peter Thiel have said was way “ahead of its time.”

    Quietly acquired in early 2001, SocialNet was not such a stunning financial success but brought Hoffman the serious opportunity he must have craved: he was asked to become a “founding board-member” of PayPal. Combined with Apple, SocialNet and now his studying at the board-level knees’ of the “PayPal Mafia” tech icons and billionaires, Theil, Elon Musk and Max Levchin, gave Hoffman an unquestionably priceless education in the nascent Internet and how to build a better network for people.

    Though Hoffman has moved on; he’s currently a Partner at Greylock Partners and presumably more involved in investing in tech companies than building them, Hoffman still sits on the board of directors of his LinkedIn as “Executive Chairman.”

    There’s an important business value proposition to LinkedIn that it first brought to the forefront: helping LI’ users get jobs. This activity, above all other activities, will determine the success or failure of LI over the long-term. If LinkedIn can improve upon the performance and then disintermediate the services of Monster.com and Yahoo! HotJobs out of existence–and I think they’re ready to go–then LI can also begin to eliminate Facebook. But it won’t be easy.


    Facebook (FB) has seemingly ignored the necessity for them to figure out a way to turn their participants, productive. Until FB does this, it will continue to exist at the pleasure and whims of the fickle youth market. What LinkedIn apparently understands very well–that people no matter what age, above 18, need gainful employment instead of false ‘friends,’ ‘likes,’ and utterly unproductive gibberish.

    LinkedIn has the upper-hand here. But it must execute swiftly and efficiently. It’s done a fairly good job of offering career services thus far, but in order to really reign supreme and put the others out of the ‘jobs’ business entirely, it will have to be perceived as the reason people get jobs that without LI, they wouldn’t have otherwise gotten. LinkedIn needs to help people get jobs directly and while inside LI; right now, I’m afraid that LI only stimulates people getting jobs which result from them hearing about them on LI but then, getting them very much outside of LinkedIn’s environment.

    So though LinkedIn has gone public and met a lot of its promised financial metrics, the jury’s still out on its long-term success. Only time will tell now that Hoffman’s not running the show. If LI continues to be a career-path enhancer and eliminates the traditional, early-days Internet job services, then it will be an enduring success.

    Fail … and it will drop off the radar screen into the ‘Internet black-hole of obscurity’ along with Webvan, Myspace and increasingly, Yahoo!

    Even Clark Kent is on LinkedIn

  • Obamacare Enrollment Reaches 4 Million
    WASHINGTON — Approximately 4 million individuals have now signed up for health care plans under the newly created Obamacare insurance exchanges, a senior administration official told The Huffington Post on Tuesday.

    The numbers mean that roughly 700,000 people have signed up for health care plans since the end of January. And with five weeks before the enrollment period deadline at the end of March, they put the administration on pace to come close to the Congressional Budget Office’s initial projection that 7 million individuals would sign up for insurance coverage during the period.

    “With individuals and families enrolling in coverage every day, we continue to see strong demand nationwide from consumers who want access to quality, affordable coverage,” reads a statement from the administration, passed in advance to The Huffington Post. “Consumers are shopping and enrolling in plans on HealthCare.gov every day; system error rates are low and response times are consistently less than half a second. Our call center has handled more than 12 million calls so far and is open 24/7 to assist consumers in English, Spanish and more than 150 languages.”

    But with the good news remain some questions. The number of people who have signed up for plans and paid their first month’s premium remains unknown, though insurers have suggested about 20 percent of individuals have not paid. Moreover, it is unclear how many of those individuals who signed up in February were young and healthy — the population demographic that the administration needs to ensure that the exchanges have a stable balance of healthy and sick consumers. A senior administration official said that a more detailed report about the enrollees would be released in mid-March.

    Nevertheless, supporters of the law will cheer the news that 4 million people have now signed up for the Affordable Care Act, after having watched the botched launch in October in horror. Back then, it was unclear if the enrollment period would have to be delayed in order to accommodate the slow start. There is little such talk today.

    The new enrollment number does not include the millions of individuals who have signed up for Medicaid, though it’s not known how many of those individuals renewed their prior coverage or how many are new Medicaid recipients.

    The news seems likely to get better for supporters of the law in the next month as well. With a looming enrollment deadline, the administration anticipates a rapid increase in people signing up for coverage. They also expect the number of young enrollees to rise rapidly. That was what happened when the state of Massachusetts implemented similar reform in 2007.

    According to Bloomberg News: “By November of that year, the last month to sign up to avoid a penalty, the portion of enrollees age 35 or younger had more than doubled to 36 percent from February, one analysis showed.”

    UPDATE: 6:28 p.m. — This article has been updated to note that the enrollment number does not include people who have signed up for Medicaid.

  • Ed Dept To Schools: Protect Student Data Online
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Education Department on Tuesday encouraged school districts to use more scrutiny to protect student privacy when using online educational services.

    Online companies provide services such as the collection of school lunch money, portals for homework assignments and sites to watch video demonstrations. Concerns have been raised that private information collected by the companies could be shared publicly or used to market products and services to students or their families. Districts often have contracts with companies, but online services also can be provided without a district’s direct knowledge. For example, a teacher could direct students to a website to retrieve homework assignments without notifying school administrators.

    A patchwork of laws spells out how students’ data can be used, but the laws can be difficult for districts to interpret. Some privacy advocates say laws haven’t kept up with evolving technology, and there’s been a flurry of activity at the state and federal level to address the issue.

    In guidance issued Tuesday, the Education Department encouraged districts to look closely at what online services are already in use within their schools. The guidelines suggest that districts develop procedures to evaluate and approve educational services and, when possible, use a written contract or legal agreement. They also spell out applicable federal laws.

    Douglas Levin, executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, said the new guidance doesn’t go far enough in providing applicable advice to districts. He said districts are dealing with complex questions, such as whether to take advantage of free educational programs available online and deciding what programs should be downloaded on tablets and other devices increasingly used in schools.

    “I think if you are a district it is easy to be confused about what your obligations are,” Levin said.

    James Steyer, the chief officer of the advocacy group Common Sense Media, praised the recommendations and said they come at an important time as schools look for ways to expand learning using technology.

    “It’s still the wild, wild west out there, but it can be fixed,” Steyer said.

    The guidance comes one day after Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke at a student privacy data conference and encouraged technology companies to do more to ensure student data is secure.

    “There’s plenty of energy, in this room and around the country, for stronger regulation of your work. Let me say this clearly: It is in your interest to police yourselves before other do,” Duncan said.



    Education Department: http://www.ed.gov


    Follow Kimberly Hefling on Twitter at http://twitter.com/khefling

  • Hey, Mr Gates…How about Some Technology 4 the Rest of Us

    “Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” Albert Einstein

    Ah, progress. Technology races ahead, rapidly improving systems – systems outdated before understood how they work when they were still dated – while attempting to make life a bit better. But are those with brains, much larger than I could lift even before the arthritis kicked in, applying their facilities where aging humankind would benefit the most?

    I don’t think so. There is much more the great minds have ignored. Perhaps a new perspective, not of what the best and brightest think we need, but of what the everyday individual can genuinely use to have a happier and more fulfilling life.

    Mr. Gates, Mr. Zuckerberg, Ms. Grandin, I hope you’re reading this, because the following is what you and your fellow geniuses need to consider to make tomorrow’s world survivable for us of the smaller and senior brain species.

    The needs are in no particular order…

    Anti-Lethologica Chip – A personal implant for anyone over 50 so they are able to replace the simple word we can’t think of though I can’t recall what that word is right now. In addition, there should be another chip to remember “what’s his name.”

    Warning Leg – Cars now have a system that warns a driver of a car stopping short ahead of the car in front of the driver. It’s about time that coffee table legs are manufactured with a sensor that picks up on rapidly oncoming toes. As an alternative, please supply inanimate objects the ability to hear so they can recognize just how angry we are at them.

    Autocorrect Autocorrect – Social media and all related texting communications should have a process by which any autocorrect that corrects a word incorrectly is immediately and correctly autocorrected. #cameltoetea

    Emotional Reply Delay – A time lapse system that postpones delivering the nasty words coming out of your mouth or the vicious message you’re sending in an e-mail but allows you to see ALL the repercussions you will be triggering by opening your mouth or pushing send.

    Telemarketing Redirect dial – Phone device that instantly forwards telemarketers’ calls to the telemarketer’s homes.

    Project Completer – There’s a plethora of half-finished novels, screenplays, porches, college degrees and any one of a gazillion activities that people start and never finish. The reasons for not finishing are far more than the amount of projects left undone so there needs to be an uncomplicated excuse-removing utility synced up with a perseverance-app that allows for project completion. (In the old days this was called a “plan”)

    If the app is unaffordable or unfeasible, design a recycle device where these bits and pieces of dashed hopes and dreams can be dumped to create fertilizer or something that in the least makes room for those boxes you have yet to unpack from your last move.

    Tangled Intolerance – Wires, cords and Christmas lights have a natural inclination to uncontrollably wrap around each other, most often while the family sleeps. The result is a twisted cluster of assorted knots that are impossible to untangle, leaving you exasperated and ready to unplug from the power grid altogether. The solution is a simple case of harnessing the power of prejudice. Developing an imperceptible coating surrounding the wires that creates a bias against cords of different species will dissuade them from wanting to mingle with cables not of their own kind. (Not available in Arizona)

    Anti-Stain Rays -For as long as there has been food and men to consume it, traces of sustenance have found their way onto their clothes. Since it’s been scientifically proven that no amount of careful can protect a man from incidents of splatter the only answer is laser-beam encrusted clothing that reacts to incoming sauces and oil by blasting them into harmless dust molecules that never reach the intended target. Either that or develop a bib.

    Interactive Avatars – “You never call.” Which, of course, is one of the main reasons not to call. Please, come up with androids capable of replicating an adult child’s voice along with appropriate appeasing phrases like, “I know,” “tsk,” and “I think I’ll be able to come over next week.”

    Sandler Correct – An operating system that sends a searing warning siren throughout Hollywood whenever Adam Sandler thinks about producing a film with him or any of his friends appearing in it, automatically cutting off power to all existing film, video and audio equipment.

    Steve Young is an award-winning television writer and author of “Great Failures of the Extremely Successful.” (greatfailure.com)

  • Facebook Rolls the Dice with a Long Play
    As the World noticed last week, Facebook acquired WhatsApp for $16 billion, of which $4 billion is in cash, while $12 billion is in Facebook stock. The totals of this purchase are shocking, as less than two years ago, Facebook acquired Instagram for a measly $1 billion! There are several questions to be explored here, as a $16 billion commitment is neither an impulse buy, nor something to sneeze at:

    What is WhatsApp? WhatsApp is a mobile text-messaging service app, currently downloadable for free on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Androids, Windows Phones, and several others. WhatsApp is quite popular overseas, often downloaded by Americans going abroad, and allows for both individual as well as organized group texts. WhatsApp’s true selling point is that it doesn’t cost users a dime for first download, the connectivity can work across multiple phones and operating systems, and the product is functionally very easy to use. The system currently hosts approximately 450 million users, well over 33 percent more than either of it’s primary competitors – WeChat and Line. While many in the US don’t use it due to existing free text message packages, the app is wildly popular overseas, especially in India. According to OnDevice Research, WhatsApp is the most popular messaging app for smartphones.

    If WhatsApp is free, how will Facebook make money? Yes, WhatsApp is free…at first. WhatsApp is free for use for the first year, then cost 99 cents per year following, quite a bargain compared to traditional text messaging packages. So, doing the math, at a dollar a download following the first year, multiplied by 450 million users, that equals…$450 million, a fraction of what Facebook paid. Now, Mark Zuckerberg did mention in an announcement yesterday that WhatsApp is anticipated to surpass one billion users, but that still does quite recoup what Facebook paid for the platform.

    That means…

    Facebook is in it for the long play. Shocker! Zuckerberg and team made this deal for the same reason they acquired Instagram, it’s all about growth. On a call with investors, Zuckerberg mentioned that he isn’t looking to drive significant revenue from WhatsApp, but looking to gain access to the parts of the world still not using Facebook (yes, they exist). According to a recent Mashable article, “Zuckerberg said buying WhatsApp helps Facebook’s Internet.org project — its mission to provide Internet access to the two-thirds of the world not yet connected. Since most of that growth is expected in the developing markets where WhatsApp is popular, WhatsApp appears to have been suddenly elevated to a key component of that strategy.” As the mobile market in emerging parts of the world grow, Zuckerberg is doubling down and assuming Facebook will be a large part of that growth assisted by leveraging its position with WhatsApp. Facebook has cornered the market on photo sharing and international free text messaging, two assets it didn’t have under management only two years ago.

    What’s Next? Anything is possible. Facebook has seen fantastic growth within their company and recently watch their stock price skyrocket. They are constantly flirting with new technologies, and seem poised to continue with one major acquisition per every year or two. They recently received negative press due to the falling rate of middle and high school demographics joining the platform, in fact, many are leaving it, but otherwise — what can stop the ‘Book? Well, this is technology. Things can change very, very quickly. It should not be a given that WhatsApp will continue to grow at its rapid pace, in fact, Zuckerberg should know better than anyone how another technology can swoop in out of nowhere, disrupt the status quo, and reduce the existing platforms to second or third tier. Just ask MySpace.

    Ronn Torossian is an ongoing contributor for technology related topics.

  • VIDEO: A mobile app that creates 3D images
    The BBC’s Mark Gregory tries out Seene, an app that can create 3D images without the need for a special camera.
  • This Unfortunate Statue Is How Apple Will Remember Steve Jobs Forever
    The statue you see below is not a joke.

    Dragan Radenovic, a famed Serbian sculptor, beat out over 10,000 other artists in a competition to design a statue of the late Steve Jobs to be placed in front of Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. It was revealed for the first time on Netokracija, a news site for Croatian, Serbian and Slovenian tech geeks.

    Anyone who’s ever owned an iPhone or Mac, or who’s even just seen those things, knows that Steve Jobs was into sleek lines and bold colors, when it comes to design. Radenovic’s winning statue is none of those things:

    steve jobs statue

    steve jobs statue

    steve jobs statue

    steve jobs statue

    This miniature statue — the real thing should be 10 – 16 feet tall — was shown off on Monday on what would have been Jobs’ 59th birthday. Radenovic seems to be a well-regarded contemporary artist, according to this Serbian-language biography. And to be sure, great artists are not without critics.

    But still.

    Let’s try to explain this thing the best we can. The bust at the top is of Jobs’ head, obviously. Those protuberances you can’t read are the Latin letter “A,” the old Serbian equivalent for “E” and the Cyrillic letters “Ш,” according to a translation done for Mac Rumors. The other two characters you can read are a “0” and a “1,” because computers, even though any good computer nerd knows Jobs never really did much coding for Apple.

    These letters and numbers are stuck to the column because it is serving as a sort of “magnet,” according to the creator. During his lifetime, colleagues described Jobs as having a “reality-distortion field” that swayed coworkers and audiences to his way of thinking. That’s the best explanation we could come up with for the magnet.

    But we’ll credit Apple with this. Apparently, the Apple executives who signed off on the Radenovic’s statue liked “the imperfections of his work.” (Famed Apple designer Jony Ive even called Radenovic to say he was “very interested” in his work.) As most people have (hopefully) learned since his death, Steve Jobs was not a perfect man.

  • White House Removes Petition Asking Obama To 'Tell Uganda To Go F*ck Themselves'
    Uganda’s anti-gay laws have received harsh criticism from plenty of Americans. But comedian Eugene Mirman wants President Obama to stop beating around the bush and tell the country in no uncertain terms what he thinks of its policies.

    And thanks to We the People, the White House website’s civilian petition system, he attempted to pressure Obama to do just that. On Tuesday, Mirman started a petition encouraging Obama to “tell Uganda to go fuck themselves.” Within hours, the petition was removed because “it is in violation of our Terms of Participation.”

    Here’s what the petition looked like:


    The text read:

    “I would like Barack Obama to go on television and tell Uganda that their new anti-gay law is an outrageous crime against mankind and that they should go fuck themselves. I want him to keep saying “fuck you Uganda” until it is clear he is tired. Them I want him to say it one more time.”

    Ever since the White House instituted a petition system on its website that allows citizens to directly bring attention to pet issues, some less-than-serious topics have received White House attention. Just last month, the White House was forced to address a call to deport Justin Bieber to Canada, which was the site’s second-most popular petition of all time.

    Mirman, a stand-up comedian best known for voicing Gene on the Fox comedy “Bob’s Burgers” and throwing his own annual comedy festival in Brooklyn, was surprised that the petition was approved in the first place.

    I’m somewhat surprised my petition to have Barack Obama tell Uganda to go fuck themselves was approved https://t.co/kSYKlAETlr

    — Eugene Mirman (@EugeneMirman) February 25, 2014

    Uganda’s new anti-gay laws, which would institute extremely harsh punishments on individuals who take part in homosexual acts, have been widely slammed across the world.

    (h/t Splitsider)

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