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Mobile Technology News, January 20, 2015

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.

  • Thieves tunnel into Apple warehouse, abscond with treasure trove
    Last week in Beijing, three men tunneled underground into a warehouse belonging to an Apple distributor and were able to steal 240 of the latest iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models. The incident is just the latest in a series of crimes involving the latest iPhone — resulting in a nickname for the device that translates “Kidney 6,” in reference to a case in 2012 when a 17-year-old allowed one of his kidneys to be removed and sold so he could afford to buy an iPhone and iPad.

  • Poll: Apple best tech place to work, Cook best tech leader
    Financial analyst UBS and its research offshoot UBS Evidence Lab has polled workers at a number of major tech firms, and found Apple and its enterprise partner IBM at opposite ends of queries about the management, values, culture and business outlook for the companies. In the report, Apple was — by a significant margin — the leader in all categories, while IBM came in last in all categories among the seven firms surveyed, said analyst Steven Milunovich.

  • Tinder Conversations In Real Life Will Make You Question The Future Of Dating In General
    Tinder messaging is like the Mad Max wasteland of social media conversation platforms.

    People on Tinder say basically whatever they want, because they can. They have nothing to lose. Is it possible that some Tinder users have genuinely found matches on the app? Sure, but there’s a reason more than 700,000 people subscribe to Tinder Nightmares.

    The good people at Good People Media have started a new series where they take actual Tinder conversations and set them in real life settings. After you watch “Episode 1: The Park” up top, check out “Episode 2: The Gym.”

    [Swipes right.]

  • Google Will Only Remove Search Results From European Websites Under 'Right To Be Forgotten'
    By Julia Fioretti
    BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Google is only removing search results from European websites when individuals invoke their “right to be forgotten”, contrary to regulators’ guidelines, but will review that approach soon, the company’s chief legal officer said on Monday.
    The issue of how far the so-called right to be forgotten should extend has concentrated the minds of Europe’s privacy regulators since the continent’s top court ruled in May that individuals could have “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” information removed from search results.
    Google has consistently argued that it believes the ruling should only apply to its European websites, such as Google.de in Germany or Google.fr in France.
    But the group of privacy watchdogs from EU countries, the Article 29 Working Party, concluded in November that they want search engines to scrub results globally because of the ease of switching from a European domain to Google.com.
    David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer, said the Internet giant’s approach had not changed since November and it would review it when a group of experts publishes a report on last year’s court judgment towards the end of this month.
    “We’ve had a basic approach, we’ve followed it, on this question we’ve made removals Europe-wide but not beyond,” he said at an event in Brussels on Monday.
    Between September and November, an advisory council, including a former German justice minister and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, held public meetings across Europe to debate the balance between privacy and the free flow of information.
    It is expected to publish a report with its conclusions at the end of January to help inform Google on its application of the ruling.
    “We’ll take that (the report), along with the Article 29 input and other input and arrive at an approach,” Drummond said.
    “It’s our strong view that there needs to be some way of limiting the concept, because it is a European concept.”
    Since the ruling in May, Google has received more than 200,000 requests from across Europe affecting over 700,000 URLs, according to its online transparency report.
    The EU’s privacy chiefs adopted a set of non-binding guidelines in November to ensure the ruling is applied consistently across the bloc’s 28 member states.
    Citizens whose removal requests have been refused by a search engine can appeal to their national data protection regulator, who can then take action against the company.
    On Friday, the Article 29 Working Party wrote to Microsoft, Yahoo and French search engine Qwant to remind them of the regulators’ view that results should be scrubbed across all relevant domains.

    (Editing by David Clarke)

  • Artificial Intelligence Super Mario Gets Hungry And Wants To Kill Goombas
    It’s me, Mario!

    Most of us might recognize the catchphrase from Nintendo’s famous video game franchise, but this time, Mario really means it.

    The Cognitive Modelling Group at University of Tübingen in Germany has made a self-aware Mario by creating artificial intelligence that allows the character to think for himself, according to a video created by the researchers. The team created the project, called “Mario Lives!” for an annual video competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, The Verge reports.

    In the video, Mario can be seen performing a variety of tasks and interacting directly with a player using voice commands. Mario also now has the ability to learn, the researchers explain. For example, the video shows someone explaining to Mario that he should jump on a Goomba, a recurring enemy, to kill it. Then, Mario is able to repeat back that if he jumps on a Goomba, “it certainly dies.”

    The AI Mario has even been given “inner emotive states” that allow him to express happiness, fear and even hunger — he eats coins when he’s feeling peckish.

    “As most of you know, this is Mario,” a researcher in the video explains. “But what you do not know is that this Mario has become aware of himself and his environment — at least to a certain extent.”

    “He starts out with knowledge of his body then registers additional context to his knowledge base,” he adds.

    To find out more about the Mario Lives! AI project, watch the video above.

  • Snowden Files Reveal British Spy Agency Saved Journalists' Emails: Guardian

    LONDON (AP) — The Guardian has reported that British spy agency GCHQ saved emails from journalists at BBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major news organizations.

    The newspaper said Monday its information was based on an analysis of documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

    The paper said the journalists’ emails were among 70,000 emails gathered in less than ten minutes in November, 2008. It said the information was gleaned from a GCHQ tap on fiber optic cables used for Internet communications.

    The newspaper said GCHQ also intercepted emails from Reuters, the Sun, NBC and the French newspaper Le Monde, and that the journalists’ emails were available on the spy agency’s intranet site. It did not say if the journalists were specifically targeted.

    The Guardian said some emails included correspondence between editors and reporters discussing stories.

    The newspaper made the disclosures as British editors are challenging the government’s call for increased Internet surveillance in a bid to prevent terrorism. Media companies and their lawyers are seeking more access to information and protection from government snooping.

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Security Services chief Andrew Parker have said in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France that Britain needs to strengthen its monitoring of Internet communications so it can learn of and disrupt terrorist plots.

    They also said encryption technologies are making their task more difficult. Britain’s national terror threat level is set as “severe,” indicating that police and intelligence agencies have evidence that an attack is highly likely.

    The increase in the threat level has been linked to the return to Britain and western Europe of hundreds of battle-hardened jihadis who have traveled to Syria to support Islamic extremists there.

    GCHQ told the newspaper its actions meet strict legal guidelines.

  • Down under hunger for online video
    Over 300,000 Aussies are skirting the law to watch online content
  • US 'tapped N Korea computers in 2010'
    The US began looking into North Korea’s computer network in 2010, reports claim
  • Another reason why physicians should pick iPhone, Medscape’s lack of urgency for Android

    Medscape’s lack of Android development shows why physicians are still better off with iPhone.

    The post Another reason why physicians should pick iPhone, Medscape’s lack of urgency for Android appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Fast and Affordable Broadband for Everyone
    According to a White House fact sheet, President Obama has announced “steps he will discuss in the State of the Union to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband.”

    The fact sheet goes on to say, “High-speed, low-cost broadband is paving the way for economic revitalization not just in Cedar Falls, but in places like Chattanooga, TN, Kansas City, MO, and Lafayette, LA — all of which have Internet speeds nearly 100 times faster than the national average and deliver it at an affordable price.”

    The magic broadband speed in this writing seems to be “1 gigabit per second.” The fact sheet does not say whether or not the connections are symmetrical or, as our friends at Verizon like to say, “half fast.” No matter – this kind of scientific sounding technospeak is pretty irresponsible.

    Not All Homes Are Created Equal

    Saying that every household in America needs a 1 gigabit per second broadband connection is like saying every household in America needs a 1000 Amps of AC power. Some do… some don’t. (In case you’re not an electrical engineer, depending upon when it was built, where it is and how big it is, your house has somewhere between 60 and 120 amps available. 1000 Amps would be like giving each home as much power as an average factory uses.)

    While I vigorously applaud and strongly love the idea of affordable broadband for everyone, a workable national broadband policy has to respect the difference between equality and fairness.

    If you do some email, browse the web, access some files stored in the cloud via the public Internet, stream a little music and watch an occasional video, you don’t need anything like a 1 Gbps broadband connection – and certainly not a symmetrical one.

    On the other hand, if you are running a financial services business, or if you have 2,000 employees online all day, you may need significantly more bandwidth to meet your needs.

    A Matter of Nines

    Then, there’s quality of service (QOS). What is your tolerance for uptime?

    • Three nines = 99.9% = 8 hours 49 minutes of outages per year
    • Four nines = 99.99% = 53 minutes of outages per year
    • Five nines = 99.999% = 5 minutes of outages per year

    Commonly referred to as Three Nines, Four Nines and Five Nines, all telecommunications and electronics manufacturing companies use some version of this benchmark to describe the quality of their services. Most consumers can probably live with three nines of broadband service. Healthcare and financial service firms might strive for better than five nines of service. What is the President’s vision for affordable broadband QOS? While everyone would love five nines of service, is it reasonable to assume that it would cost the same as three nines of service? Do you need five nines of service to watch an occasional video, read emails and browse the web? You might. If so, shouldn’t it cost more?

    What’s a Bit?

    I explored this and other related issues back in August 2009 when the FCC was working on the first National Broadband Plan document. I asked a simple question, “What’s a bit?” It’s an article worth looking over because it asks questions the Administration should have been asking back then. The article asks how a policy maker might determine the difference between how a bit (a unit of digital information) that is used for a phone call, a bit used for video, and a bit used for data transfer, are taxed. To a computer, all bits are the same, but not to the tax collector. This is also not contemplated in the 1 Gbps for everyone scenario.

    Lastly, and maybe most importantly, there are several ways to achieve fair, affordable access to the public Internet that are not on the table. Mesh networks, load balancers, femtocells, wireless repeaters, etc, all could be combined into powerful mashed up access points utilizing wired and wireless technologies. We don’t have to run fiber optic cable to every household in America – it would be nice, but it’s not a requirement for US digital sovereignty.

    The United States of Fiber Optics

    That said, maybe the vision is for a wired America where a fiber optic access point is literally available to every man, woman and child in the USA. I would love to live in that America. While we’re at it, let’s add 1 Gbps wireless connections for every one of the billions of devices that will make up the Internet of Things – including, our automobiles.

    If that is the vision, we’re going to need real investment in infrastructure – where will the money come from? What type of investor will invest in a long-term infrastructure play designed for non-premium, price sensitive consumers? You already know the answer… it’s us, the taxpayers.

    History tells us what we’re up against. If you’re happy with your municipal power company, you’ll probably love your municipal Internet service provider (ISP). And, while it’s true that no one likes their cable bills, phone bills, gas bills, water bills or any other bills for that matter… in the end, I’m not sure Uncle Sam’s bill is going to be that much lower.

  • Skype for Windows Phone Updated With Improved Design for Hi-Res Devices

    The Skype for Windows Phone app has received a minor update that those with higher resolution devices will appreciate.  The update, version for those keeping score at home, brings a new compact design which will have text much cleaner and smaller so you can view more on your display.  This has been one of the big complaints about the Skype for Windows Phone app as it stands today and it appears that they have been listening. Skype for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now At first blush it may sound like this compact design would make Skype for

    The post Skype for Windows Phone Updated With Improved Design for Hi-Res Devices appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • HP pushes commercial mobility focus
    HP is introducing a range of devices as it splits its PC and printing business from the enterprise and services business divisions
  • Barclays accepts photo documents for mortgage applications
    Barclays allows mortgage advisors to submit photos of supporting documents via smartphone or tablet
  • What To Expect at The Microsoft Windows 10 Media Event

    Editor’s Note:  This post will remain at the top of ClintonFitch.com until after the Windows 10 event on Wednesday. Please see newer posts and news just below it on the front page. As I write this we are less than 48 hours from what arguably is one of the biggest events for Microsoft in many years.  I’ve compared the excitement to this event to that of when Windows 95 was being rolled out and I don’t think I’m far off in that statement.  There are a lot of people – Microsoft lovers and haters – who are looking forward to

    The post What To Expect at The Microsoft Windows 10 Media Event appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Bold Reform Needed to Strengthen Our Cybersecurity
    Mr. President, the status quo in cybersecurity is failing this country. It is failing our commercial sector, which is being publicly breached on a weekly basis, and it is failing our government sector as well. It is time to take bold and decisive action to stop these dangerous and embarrassing hacks before they cause further damage and erode the confidence that is vital for this country’s economy to continue on the road to recovery.

    The recent Sony hack was a nightmare — embarrassing for the company, costly for shareholders and challenging for America’s foreign policy. It was only the latest of a series of high profile cyber attacks, but for cybersecurity experts, it was also a big opportunity. It shined a light on the activity that we’re seeing everyday: networks of hackers exploiting our country’s weak and incapable cybersecurity defenses…and doing real economic harm.

    Unfortunately, your proposal comes up short in addressing the deficiency. While bolstering law enforcement capabilities and reporting requirements are good steps that will help us punish offenders and mitigate embarrassing mega-hacks — important elements of reform — they’ll do little to stop data breaches in the first place.

    It’s the equivalent to putting up more security cameras instead of buying a better safe. It’s clear we need to enforce our laws better: less than 2 percent of cyber criminals are ever successfully prosecuted. But even if information-sharing and other resources are freed up, we’ll continue to be plagued by weak, easily-hackable computing devices and networks that rely on dated and vulnerable software-based security. If there is one thing that we’ve learned, just about any software can eventually be hacked if there is enough incentive for groups with the right resources to do so. We need to take advantage of the hardware-based solutions that are ready and available today. Solutions such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip that is already deployed on almost a billion computers and computing devices. These devices are dramatically more difficult to compromise, as proven by their impressive record over the last several years in the field.

    The costs of inaction (or weak action), go beyond flopped movie releases and embarrassing headlines. These hacks erode consumer confidence just as we are looking for greater consumer participation in our recovering economy. They slow innovation as consumers and enterprises hesitate in using new services, devices and platforms. They threaten our national security as our enemies see new pathways to injure our economy and even critical infrastructure such as power grids, pipelines or power plants.

    Now is our opportunity to confront these threats. If we don’t do it now, we will surely be having the same conversation in three months or three years as the consequences of inaction become only more severe — and we will be that much farther behind in addressing them.

    Congress has an opportunity to work across party lines, and with you, to put together forward looking legislative reforms that don’t just regulate the reporting of hacks — but actually mandate minimum requirements for government IT systems and establish National Standards so these hacks don’t happen in the first place. That’s not partisan — it’s common sense.

    Any cybersecurity legislation should require the immediate use of two, simple components that are a fundamental part of any overall solution aimed at stopping data breaches in corporations and government agencies:

    1) Multifactor authentication. Basically, you start with “something you know,” like your user identity (user ID and a password or PIN), and then add “something you have,” like a physical token or a virtual token based on hardware in your computer like the TPM chip. By having multiple identifying factors, it is dramatically harder for a hacker to gain entry to the system. Essentially with this kind of solution in place a hacker would not only have to gain possession of an employee’s valid user credentials but would also need to take physical control of their computer (in a TPM-based solution) or the security token itself. Only then could they gain access to the IT environment and initiate their hack. This effectively eliminates the most common remote hacking attempts and now requires an element of physical presence for a malicious intrusion to succeed.

    2) Security rooted in hardware. Too many corporations rely solely on software-based security solutions that protect sensitive data as long as the integrity of the software itself isn’t tampered with. As we have seen, software remains vulnerable anytime there is sufficient incentive to crack it. Hardware-backed security such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) provides a highly tamper-resistant location to store encryption keys and unique identity credentials.

    Both of these steps can be taken immediately, using technologies that are proven to be effective and have been commercially available for years. It’s not rocket science — it just takes leadership and the will to do what’s sometimes hard: asking corporations and bureaucrats to change.

    The transition costs will be minimal — many companies already take both of these steps and the technology already exists in most machines.

    Mr. President, the long term costs of inaction — to both a company’s bottom line and the future of our country — are high. We are counting on our leaders to have the wisdom and forethought to change the status quo and take bold action to harden our nation’s cybersecurity now — before those who would do us harm find a way to seriously cripple our economy and our government.

  • How To Setup Transparent Live Tiles on Windows Phone

    One of my personal favorite features of Windows Phone is Live Tiles.  App that take advantage of Live Tiles allow you to quickly get information on news, sports, weather and whatever else that app provides.  Take the Kindle app as an example.  It shows me on the Live Tile the book I’m reading and how far along I am in it.  Some Live tiles can be setup as transparent meaning that you can “see” through them to a wallpaper or a photo in the background.  It’s a whole new level of personalization as the Live tiles become a part of

    The post How To Setup Transparent Live Tiles on Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Amazon Will Make Original Movies Now
    Get ready for Amazon-made movies. Amazon Studios, the same division behind shows like “Transparent,” will “begin to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution on Amazon Prime Instant Video,” the company said in a statement on Monday.

    These films will hit theaters first and then become available on Prime Instant Video between four and eight weeks later. “Our goal is to create close to 12 movies a year with production starting later this year,” Vice President of Amazon Studios Roy Price said. “We hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience.”

    Amazon also announced that Ted Hope, who co-founded and ran production company Good Hope, will be the new Head of Production for Amazon Original Movies. Hope’s producing credentials include “Eat Drink Man Woman” and “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” “Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch,” he said in a statement.

  • Toshiba Encore 2 Write Tablet Now At The Microsoft Store

    Earlier this month at CES, Toshiba announced the new Toshiba Encore 2 Write Windows 8.1 tablet.  The new tablet is designed on the popular Encore 2 tablet but now has touch pen for easier navigation, inking and other activities.  The Microsoft store now has both the 8″ and 10″ models in stock and available for $349 and $399 respectively and both include the TruePen Stylus.  You can read my review of the Encore 2 here on the site. Toshiba Encore 2 Write 10″ – $399 – Microsoft Store Both the 8″ and 10″ models are powered by Atom Z3735 processor,

    The post Toshiba Encore 2 Write Tablet Now At The Microsoft Store appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Spotify for Windows Phone Gets New UI in Latest Update

    The music streaming service Spotify has a whole new look and feel this morning for Windows Phone users.  Spotify for Windows Phone has been updated to version 5.0 and it brings with it a virtually brand new look and feel to the app.  The new looks leans heavily on transparency throughout the app, something that you usually find in iOS apps but no Windows Phone. Spotify for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now The notes on the Spotify for Windows Phone page in the Store say that the new look is “bold and beautiful” and to a large extent

    The post Spotify for Windows Phone Gets New UI in Latest Update appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

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