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Mobile Technology News, January 31, 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.

  • Uber Probed By Judge On Driver Benefits
    By Dan Levine
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A U.S. judge appeared skeptical on Friday about Uber’s bid for a quick pretrial ruling that its drivers are contractors and not employees, a critical question facing Silicon Valley’s sharing economy.
    App-based ride service Uber, and smaller rival Lyft, face separate lawsuits seeking class action status in San Francisco federal court, brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses, including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.
    A ruling against either company could significantly raise their costs beyond the lawsuit’s scope and force them to pay social security, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. That could affect the valuations for other startups that rely on large networks of individuals to provide rides, clean houses and other services.
    At a court hearing on Friday, U.S. District Judge Edward Chen said Uber’s bid for a pretrial ruling its drivers are contractors is a “tough argument” to make, given that the drivers serve Uber’s business goals.
    “The idea that Uber is simply a software platform, a service provider and nothing else, I don’t find that a very persuasive argument,” Chen said.
    Ultimately, a jury might have to decide the issue, he added.
    The hearing came a day after a similar one involving Lyft. In that case, U.S. District Judge Vincent Chhabria said whether drivers are employees or contractors is “very difficult” to decide, but that California law appears to favor the drivers. Chhabria has not yet ruled.
    Uber has raised more than $4 billion from prominent venture capital firms such as Benchmark and Google Ventures, valuing the company at $40 billion and making it the most valuable U.S. startup. Lyft has raised $331 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and other investors.
    The drivers have not yet specified how much money they are seeking in damages.
    Drivers argue they should be considered employees because Uber and Lyft can hire and fire them and require them to accept a certain percentage of rides, and to pass background checks.
    Uber and Lyft counter that drivers control their own schedules, are not assigned a territory, and are not supplied with any equipment apart from an iPhone and a sign.

    (Reporting by Dan Levine. Editing by Andre Grenon)

  • Insanely Intricate Hand-Cut Paper Artworks View The Internet As Modern-Day Religion
    For many people who identify as religious, praying is the first activity upon waking up and the last before going to bed. For many in the social media generation, this pious ritual has been replaced with a morning Instagram scroll, a mid-day Tweet and a goodnight Facebook scan.

    Artist Carlo Fantin explores the relation between religious observance and social media obsession through a series of wildly detailed hand-cut paper artworks. Made with only construction paper and a craft knife, the black-and-white images echo the ornate stained glass tableaux that often adorn church windows, with added touches particular to the contemporary age. Images of prayer, all clasped hands and covered heads, are interspersed with internet savvy symbols we recognize all too well — the Facebook “like,” the Twitter bird, the perfectly square Instagram cam. The images, both viscerally stunning and thought-provoking, raise questions about what we value and revere in this bizarre internet age.


    “Growing up in Italy, and having a devoutly Catholic mother, I spent many Sunday mornings in the Basilica di San Marco in Venice, which was our local church,” Fantin explained to The Huffington Post. “It is there that I first experienced art through the icons of various saints and the Virgin Mary displayed throughout the cathedral. I have always been fascinated with the iconographic style and with the relationship between religious worship and contemporary obsessions. Often these two worlds collide, and the result is a society that displays religious devotion for modern fixations.”

    “Italians venerate an endless numbers of saints and pay special reverence to the Virgin Mary,” added the artist. “The devotion to each saint is specific to the type of preoccupation you are afflicted with. In my art, I attempt to capture the similarity between Catholic worship and veneration of religious figures with obsession with social networking and the idolatry of internet popularity. In a way, theorizing that the internet has become our modern-day religion; social networks are our contemporary churches; and internet celebrities have becomes the saints and Virgin Mary of today.”

    Take a look at Fantin’s dizzying commentaries below.

  • A Homeless Man Read His Only Book Over And Over, So A Compassionate Stranger Gave Him A Kindle
    A homeless man is pursuing his love of reading thanks to a good Samaritan.

    Last week, a San Diego man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on a business trip in Las Vegas when he frequently passed a homeless man named Paul on the street. The man noticed that Paul had been reading an old, worn book every time he walked by, and decided to go up and talk to him.

    “I just asked him if he liked to read,” the man told The Huffington Post in an email. “He said he loved to but that he had been reading that one book over and over for a while now.”


    The man remembered he was carrying his Kindle, and decided to give it to Paul and teach him how to use it. In the following days, the man witnessed firsthand how much Paul enjoyed the device. He took a picture of Paul and his new Kindle, and shared it on Reddit on Thursday under the username, mjuad.

    The moving photo has already gone viral with nearly 2 million views on Imgur.

    “It brought me a lot of joy to see someone getting so much from something that I gave them,” he told HuffPost. “It feels so good to see someone get so much for something I took for granted.”

    The Kindle is already stocked with around 300 books, but, before he left Las Vegas, the man gave Paul an address where he could send the device, cash on delivery, should he need more reading material.

    The gesture was a beautiful one, and the anonymous man hopes that by sharing it, he can inspire others.

    “If I can keep someone from going hungry for a day or brighten their day/life up in any way, I always try to do my best,” he told HuffPost. “I’m also hoping that by sharing this, I will encourage others to do something kind as well.”

    H/T Reddit

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  • Saving Net Neutrality
    Co-authored by Theodore Andrew Lee

    We live in an age where we have become dependent on the Internet. Most people check the Internet before going to bed and in the morning. Whether it is to see their emails, check the weather, read the news or just search for their latest interest, we have come to rely on the Internet and to have the same expectations of reliable service as they do for our gas, water, and electricity.

    How did we come to this point and what are the challenges that exist because of this reliance on the Internet, which has replaced our newspapers, bookstores, our telephones, and has almost come to replace our television? At this point of high dependency, there is much debate about net neutrality and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

    If we think back to the beginning, the Internet was founded on the principle of non-discrimination – that all content would be accessible despite the source or ownership and that every Internet service should do its best to satisfy its customers.

    This principle, known as net neutrality, allows everyone to go anywhere they want on the Internet without being inhibited (e.g. blocked from accessing certain websites). Net neutrality preserves a free and open Internet; it also allows small companies to compete for Internet users on the same terms as larger companies. The freedom of Internet companies to compete has boosted America’s economy and led to technological advancements.

    In today’s broadband market there often isn’t any true competition between the large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and as a result consumers and innovators cannot choose between these ISPs. Many of these large corporations are trying to get rid of net neutrality: they wish to operate as monopolies and control all the pricing power over the Internet and cable services that they offer to their customers. Should that happen, not only could these ISPs control the market prices, they could collectively lower their Internet quality with consumers forced to stay with them. In the absence of net neutrality, these companies could operate their networks in ways that would leave customers unsatisfied and undermine online innovation. To preserve the equality of the Internet and to satisfy its users, net neutrality must be defended.

    Major ISPs want to replace the traditional Internet “open lane” system with a “two lane” system that scans data content and allocates the traffic to its designated lanes. This “two lane treatment” offers users a “fast lane” and “slow lane”. Because the “fast lane” will cost more; only wealthy companies and individuals would have access to the higher speeds while companies and people with less disposable income would be restricted to the slower speeds. This new system will inhibit smaller companies (both ISPs and internet reliant companies) to start up and violates the foundations on which the Internet was created. For example, Netflix or Amazon could pay extra money to allow their customers a faster Internet than any other video browsing site. At the same time, smaller ISPs will not be able to offer this “two lane” system that many large companies want and so these smaller ISPs will slowly lose customers. Thus only large companies will increase market share.

    Comcast, America’s biggest Internet service provider, is also the country’s largest cable company. There is talk that Time Warner Cable, the country’s second largest cable company, will merge with Comcast. This combined corporation would then provide Internet and cable to 40% of American homes. These powerful ISPs, along with one or two others, such as Verizon and RCN, will essentially control the Internet and everything that uses it. Without any competition between ISPs, companies can control the prices and quality of the Internet they provide. Some ISPs already have a monopoly in some specific markets areas. They control the entire market and instead of spending money to generate faster speeds they can simply keep the speeds the same and increase the prices. This is statistically shown in that the U.S ranks 31 in the top Internet download speeds of the world with 20.77 mBps (mega-bytes per second). Even worse, it ranks 41 in the upload speed with 6.31 Mbps.

    As a global superpower in the information age, it is surprising to note that the United States barely manages to compete with other countries in terms of Internet speeds. The leader in connection speed is South Korea, which has Internet speeds 50 times faster than the American average of 8.7 mBps. J.C. Kessels, “Download Time Calculator” says on average, in Korea it would take 2 hours to download 1 Gb while in the U.S it would take about 9 hours. Korea recently hit a milestone where they introduced 10 Gbps speeds; with this speed a 1 Gb file would be downloaded in 0.8 seconds.

    Korean Internet speeds are significantly faster than the American speeds because there is more competition in the Korean broadband market place. The Korean government views connectivity as one of its top priorities. It encourages citizens to use the Internet and establishes regulations to defend net neutrality and maintain a highly competitive market. As a result, Internet speeds increase and the prices decrease in South Korea.

    Conversely, there are several countries, such as China, where the government restricts and regulates. Some of the limitations include blocked access to a list of sites banned by the government, specific search terms will cause you to be blocked from the search engine for 90 seconds, and lists of words and topics given to Chinese ISPs with the order to take down pages that include those words. The government also pays people to post pro-government messages on social networks and blogs and to defend their superiority. The Chinese government employs thousands of people to police the Internet. If net neutrality were to be disbanded in the United Sates, the Internet will not be restricted in such a drastic way, but we will likely experience the blocking of certain sites and ISPs being in the control of, and in collaboration with, the government.

    Those who are aware of potential perils of net neutrality are actively protesting. During April 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website allowed users to debate about net neutrality. After the thread closed, the number of comments was more than 4 million, a new record for the site.

    Additionally, on September 10th 2014, several Internet companies participated in an Internet Slow-Down Day. This Slow-Down Day simulated the Internet quality if this “two lane” system were to be enacted. Websites such as Reddit, Google, WordPress, Vimeo, and many others participated in this event. The poor quality of Internet caused havoc: over 1,000 calls were made per minute and over 2 million emails were sent to Congress complaining about these Internet speeds.

    The Internet was founded on the principle of net neutrality – that all content is accessible at the same rate, despite the source or ownership, and that every Internet service should do its best to satisfy its customers. With net neutrality enacted, competition between small and large companies should be close, however in today’s broadband market there isn’t any true competition between Internet service providers (ISPs). Many ISPs operate as monopolies and control all the pricing power over the Internet and cable services that they offer to their customers. In order to preserve the equality of the Internet and to satisfy its users, net neutrality must be defended.

    Theodore Andrew Lee is a junior at Liberty High School, Bethlehem Pa. Theo is the captain of the Junior Varsity Soccer Team and co-founder of the Robotics Club. He is interested in Robotics, Science and Writing.

    Follow Theodore Andrew Lee on twitter https://twitter.com/theohj826

  • This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Quest To Have An Orgasm While On Antidepressants
    Crista Anne Orenda is a blogger, mother of four and sex educator. She also describes herself as a “sex pleasurist,” and she was far from pleased when she found herself unable to reach orgasm after switching to a new antidepressant.

    I came out of the womb depressed, as most of the people in my family have,” the writer, who just goes by Crista Anne, told Refinery29. “Looking back, I cannot think of a time that I didn’t use masturbation as a tool to fight my depression or anxiety.”

    In order to get back what once brought her so much relief, Crista Anne started #OrgasmQuest on Dec. 19 to document her journey to orgasm through masturbation. Friends at sexual aid companies Good Vibrations, SheVibe and Tantus offered to sponsor her by sending products they hoped would help her out.

    So far, #OrgasmQuest has been successful social media-wise, with thousands of people following the #OrgasmQuest hashtag.

    (Story continues below)

    Really stressed, so I worked on #OrgasmQuest with the Magic Wand. Got thereish..and hit the switch so it turned off. pic.twitter.com/519fr8PnSp

    — Crista Anne (@pinkness) January 21, 2015

    Woah. #OrgasmQuest semi success? That almost felt like an orgasm!

    — Crista Anne (@pinkness) January 26, 2015

    She’s also been somewhat successful orgasm-wise.

    “I went from simply feeling pleasurable sensations but not much else, to now having the vaginal contractions and wobbly legs that I associate with an orgasm,” she told The Huffington Post. “My brain still does not recognize or experience the intense pleasure spikes I am used to, but that is massive progress!”

    Crista Anne’s inability to reach orgasm while on antidepressants isn’t uncommon.

    “You need neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin [to have an orgasm],” Lauren F. Streicher, M.D., author of Sex Rx , told HuffPost. “What happens is that the same neurotransmitters impact depression. So if you look at the most common antidepressants, what they’re doing is altering your body’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, which has an impact on libido and the ability to orgasm.”

    Crista Anne has been on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) almost her entire life. She said she started on Prozac at age 9 and has been on a new antidepressant for about three months now. While this is the only medication she’s had difficulty achieving orgasm with, she says she’s never been happier.

    “I enjoy being alive for the first time in my life, and I’m 32. I’m happy to get out of bed, I look forward to my day, look forward to the rest of my life,” she said. “Those are feelings that I’ve never experienced before. I love this medication, I’m staying on it as long as it keeps working.”

    Streicher told HuffPost that orgasm comes back for 30 percent of people after about three or four months on antidepressants, and if it doesn’t, she suggests talking to a doctor about switching to a different drug or lowering the dose.

    Crista Anne hopes her quest leads to some important conversations.

    “I want to shine light on these experiences. Tell the world that talking about sexuality, mental illness, side effects of medication and how all of those things impact a persons life is a valid and worthy discussion,” she told BuzzFeed. “I’m seeing that happen every day and I am so proud.”

  • 'Star Wars' Volkswagon Super Bowl Ad Will Always Be Our Favorite
    And now for a quick replay of the best Super Bowl commercial of all time.

    In this 2011 Volkswagon ad above, a young boy decked out in Darth Vader gear tries to use “The Force” to start household appliances and wake the family dog — all to no avail. Finally, the boy succeeds in magically starting the car, though there happens to be a secret power at play: dad.

    The ad gained traction in 2011 after it was released online before the Super Bowl, which was a new strategy at the time. And it’s legacy has left a lasting dent.

    The ad’s runaway success changed how advertisers approach Super Bowl Sunday ever since,” Time noted.

    The spot has been watched more than 61 million times on YouTube as of Jan. 30.

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  • Bitcoin Belongs to the People, Not the 1% Super Rich
    Bitcoin is without a doubt the best economic invention of my lifetime. Created six years ago by a person (or persons) identified as Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is a game changer for two important reasons. The first is its practical use. Using Bitcoin, it is possible to send and receive payments anonymously and instantly without any intermediation charges, such as storage and transaction fees by the financiers. Second, and perhaps most crucial of all, Bitcoin operates outside the interest-based financial system.

    In order to understand why charging interest is so injurious to society it is fundamental that we recognize its extreme power. In 1836, an American lawyer named John Whipple, made this stunning observation: “If 5 English pennies… had been… at 5 percent compounded interest from the beginning of the Christian era until [his] time, it would amount in gold of standard fineness to 32,366,648,157 spheres of gold, each eight thousand miles in diameter, or as large as the earth.” For more than three millennia, the Torah, the Bible and Koran forbade charging or paying interest on money. Our spiritual traditions knew of its destructive potential for society. Only since Jeremy Bentham and Adam Smith advocated it in the late 1700’s has charging interest gradually become acceptable. And we have all seen the effects of that bumpy ride of bust and boom, including the Great Depression and the severe economic inequality of our present time.

    Though the financial sector, whose affluent members thrive on profits received from interest, will tell us that interest and transaction fees are a necessary lubricant of business, the fact is they have become a major parasitic burden on society. A recent study by economists, Adam Cole, Jon Bakija and Bradley Heim, found that the top financial professionals account for 60 percent of the top 0.1 percent of income earners in recent years. According to a recent Credit Suisse Report, the top ten richest percent own 87 percent of the world’s wealth and at the very top, the one percent of the world hold nearly half at 48.2 percent. Just four years ago, research by Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, confirmed that the top 1 percent of Americans owned 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. In fact, the world’s financial elite, those who earn their income not by producing anything, but by living off their interest-accruing investments, have so skillfully rigged the financial rules in their favor that just 85 of the richest people on earth are worth nearly as much as half of the people of the globe. Obviously, they didn’t earn all this money by doing hard work.

    The invention of Bitcoin flew in the face of all that maddening inequality by establishing a novel means of credit exchange that rejected the harmful practice of money being made on money. Though based on groundbreaking computing technology, it was actually a throwback to the traditional clay and metal coin systems that first arose with the dawn of Mesopotamian agriculture about 11,000 years ago. Instead of using physical objects for trade purposes, however, Bitcoin fostered trustworthy encrypted electronic bits as currency. Like the ancient modalities of trade, it carried no interest, storage or transaction costs. Once again, the people had a truly free medium of exchange for goods and services. Its use grew like wildfire by young and old Internet users.

    But all of that is now in danger of being destroyed by the machinations of the financial elite who see a way to cash in on Bitcoin’s popularity. Under the pretense of protecting the digital currency from nefarious purposes such as drug dealing and the funding of terrorist activities, twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are trying to gather support for the first regulated Bitcoin exchange. The wealthy Winklevoss twins are best known for their successful $65 Million lawsuit against Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. It is their contention that Bitcoin’s democratic and open-source technology is a hindrance to its true potential. As evidence, they point to Bitcoin’s tumbling value and to recent highly publicized thefts through hacking. Yet they are firmly behind the buying and selling of Bitcoin with interest-bearing money. The result will be to absorb an independent exchange medium into yet another mechanism for amassing more wealth for a small group of rich people. Following the Winklevoss twins’ advice will essentially destroy this equalizing, interest-free transactional system.

    Converting Bitcoins to “real money” may seem innocuous but it belies a more insidious threat, the silencing of the populace. In our lifetime we have seen our already weakened democracy receive its final deathblow with the 2010 landmark Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs FEC. The ruling made it clear that Americans are living in an oligarchy in which corporations are considered individuals and can vote with their deep pockets for the people they choose to serve them.

    Bitcoin matters so much because it dispenses with that cynical approach to human value. By operating outside the purview of a government rendered suspect by its close ties to Wall Street, Bitcoin had remained independent and empowering. It had no trademark. Its intellectual property belonged to no corporation or individual. Instead, through the collective efforts of courageous, decentralized developers and users, it had wrought a truly emergent, equalizing counter-balance to a deeply un-equalizing monetary system.

    It is crucial to our economic and political freedom that we expose and resist the intrusions of the Winklevosses of the world into the interest and transaction-free domain of Bitcoin and its iterations. Let Bitcoin be free from government regulation so that it remains a bastion of democratic participation. And if the financial class is successful in shackling the invention by its convertibility to “real money”, do not give up hope. It merely means we must move on to the next software-based currency on the open-sourced model. Now may be the time for a new iteration of the encrypted digital currency. We could call it “Freecoin” and it would operate under the same principles of crowd-sourced independence and private trading as the original Bitcoin.

    We must not allow this new “Freecoin” to be owned or bought and sold with real money. For the moment that a currency becomes interest-bearing and is subject to transaction and storage charges, it becomes a tradable commodity itself and it loses its equalizing value. It becomes simply another tool for the super rich to dominate the masses. Hallelujah for the perhaps unwittingly ingenious, freethinking young people and developers who are the scourge of fat cats the world over. The Bitcoin model is not just a sophisticated electronic exchange. It is part of a great bottom-up evolution that empowers people to trade the fruits of their labor, free from the yoke of financial and political tyranny. Bitcoin or its child, “Freecoin”, and the progressive humanistic ideology they represent are our best chance to finally win back economic freedom and with it, true democracy.

  • Nash Grier, Ansel Elgort Show Off Their 'Bad Sides' With #UglySelfieChallenge
    The newest Instagram trend is taking on a different side of the selfie.

    The #UglySelfieChallenge started when Vine star Jerome Jarre posted an unflattering selfie on Instagram along with a caption explaining how “we all care way too much about our look.” His followers uploaded their own selfies, prompting Jerome to create the challenge and nominate Martin Garrix, Nash Grier and Ansel Elgort.

    Fanks @nashgrier #UglySelfieChallenge i nominate @geoff_warburton , @scottharris123 and @sammywilk

    A photo posted by Shawn Mendes (@shawnmendes) on Jan 26, 2015 at 1:39pm PST

    Ansel accepted and posted a hilarious photo that was already in his camera roll. He supported Jerome’s focus on inner beauty adding that “society is becoming this place where people judge each other on followers and likes.”

    While the posts are definitely giggle-worthy, the challenge reveals something deeper. The tag is worth browsing to see a different side of Instagram beyond its likes and filters.

    But first, let me take an ugly selfie.

    Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |

  • 9 Funny Someecards To End The Week On A High Note
    Andddd that’s a wrap. We’ve officially made it through the first month of 2015.

    In four short weeks, we’ve experienced the State of the Union, Deflategate, “The Nightly Show” premiere, and, of course, Snowmaggedon. Up next, we’ve got a Super Bowl, the Oscars, and — dun, dun, dun — Valentine’s Day. Before we move on, let’s pay homage to the last week of January by checking out the week’s funniest, snarkiest Someecards.

    Bring it, February. We’re ready for you.

  • Putting Together Ikea Furniture Sucks So Much, These Guys Made A Video Game About It
    Another day, another round of complaints about the FML experience that is assembling IKEA furniture.

    Luckily, our frustration is understood far and wide, including Atlanta where four developers recently made a video game called Höme Improvisåtion that recreates just how difficult it is to assemble furniture, even in a virtual reality.

    Spoiler alert: everything ends in a heap of random looking objects surrounded by neon “instructional” arrows.

    And yet, despite the headache, we can’t tear ourselves away from the Swedish superstore (damn you, meatballs!). Thankfully, IKEA’s furniture assembly service is there to help. Or, you can always put in an order for this furniture that will assemble itself.

    (H/T Curbed)

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


    Are you an architect, designer or blogger and would like to get your work seen on HuffPost Home? Reach out to us at homesubmissions@huffingtonpost.com with the subject line “Project submission.” (All PR pitches sent to this address will be ignored.)

  • The Importance of Mobile Crowdsourcing in 2015

    By Owen Andrew

    Big brands have been executing creative campaigns through crowdsourcing for years. For example, General Mills has used what it calls its “Worldwide Innovation Network” (G-WIN) in order to incorporate consumer feedback for everything from ingredients to packaging, with the end goal of creating innovative products.

    Individuals and smaller businesses have been using popular crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Now, new mobile apps have opened the floodgates to a new paradigm of crowdsourcing. Due to the collaborative and user-driven nature of a crowd-based model, mobile platforms are ideal for managing and connecting users.

    Why Mobile Platforms Are Perfect For Crowdsourcing

    The ubiquity of smart phones and the relative ease with which apps can be created and shared makes mobile a natural platform for crowdsourcing. When the end goal is ultimately pooling together small, individual contributions into something greater, a mobile device – with the potential for location-tracking – is the obvious choice through which to facilitate those small contributions.

    Text, images and video can be shared instantly and on-the-go. The increasing ease-of-use of QR codes and augmented reality are even providing businesses with creative new sources with which to gather crowdsourced data, in which real-life, mundane objects can be tied into web-based networks. All of this amounts to a network of users providing content instantly and accurately, which a number of apps are taking advantage of, creating platforms capable of services not feasible through laptops or desktop computers.

    Successful Examples

    Some of the most successful crowdsourcing apps are related to travel and transportation–AirBnB (short term rental accommodations), Waze (traffic navigation), and Unbabel (translation). These all essentially offer ways for users to share their own insider info, knowledge, and even their homes via social media networks, each offering an easy-to-use platform on which to do it.

    Waze, for example, lets users know things like upcoming hazards or even police cars, and asks users if these objects are still present in order to keep data updated to location and in real-time. While sometimes criticized for distracting advertisements or notifications, Waze is able to calculate quick routes and arrival times more precisely than other navigation apps due to both the high amount of input from users and accuracy-gathering features.

    On the other hand, crowdsourcing can be more complex than it seems on the surface, especially when services leave the digital realm and enter the real world. For instance, ride-sharing companies like Uber, Hailo, and Lyft have all faced complications related to both legal issues and quality control. These sites essentially source taxiing to those opting into providing their own vehicle, saving the company itself a significant cost.

    This model has been successful due to its easier and ultimately more casual method of getting anyone with a need for short-distance travel from point A to point B. However, business laws regarding taxi companies and questionable individuals contributing to this crowdsourced workforce have led to some problems that currently have not been fully addressed.

    That said, it appears that the concept of ride sharing or crowdsourcing transportation is here to stay. Crowdsourcing apps are still in their infancy, and unfortunately will have their share of growing pains. However, whether at the hands of Uber or Lyft or a new, up-and-coming company utilizing this same model, ride-sharing is popular and only getting more so, and likely to succeed as a new paradigm.

    Crowdsourcing Apps In 2015 And Beyond

    Crrowdsourcing has been accepted as normal activity, rather than just something for the cutting edge or early adopters. An increasing number of companies, nonprofits, and individuals have been integrating crowdsourcing platforms into daily life and business models alike.

    Therefore, growth in crowdsourcing is something that can only expected to improve in years to come, and in more niche industries, as a more common tactic for small business as well as larger brands. This stems from the idea of “unbundling” or single use apps, referring to the idea that people don’t want one hub for everything, but individual apps that do one thing and do it well.

    Mobile crowdsourcing is a trend that shows no sign of waning soon; furthermore, it makes your audience even more engaged with your brand or app simply by participating. After all, if you’ve contributed content to an app, you’re not just making a purchase or playing a game; rather, you are part of the process and its overall success.

    This is what makes crowdsourcing so effective, it requires people to not only invest in and trust a brand but more importantly, people become invested in their fellow users and their services, content, or ideas. At the end of the day, people want to do business with people, not big businesses.

  • What Time Is The Super Bowl?
    It’s on Sunday, Feb. 1, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and it’s on NBC. The New England Patriots are playing the Seattle Seahawks. That’s all you need to know.


  • (VIDEO) Full Ad Viewability Comes With A Price: Google's Hong
    FORT LAUDERDALE — So you’re an advertiser and you only want to pay for ads that humans can actually see? Be careful what you wish for – today, that may be like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    “They believe they should have always been paying for the viewable impression,” Jane Hong, Google DoubleClick’s head of industry for CPG advertisers, tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “So a lot of advertisers want to jump to that immediately and are asking for 100% viewability.”

    Despite recent standardization of what “viewability” means and new ad tech platform capabilities to ensure it, we’re not there yet, Hong says: “I think we’ll eventually get there – viewability should be currency. We’re in that transition period right now – there’s a bit of education (to do) in terms of setting expectations.”

    So what are the present pitfalls in giving advertisers what they want? “There are some limitations today as far as potential scale loss if you do that,” Hong says. “Technically, if an advertiser wants to push for 100% viewability, you can get fairly close – the question is, at what price of inventory does that make sense? How much inventory is there really at that point?

    “A little over 50% of inventory that Google sees holistically across all our publishers is viewable. What does that mean for the economics of our industry if we just suddenly said, ‘That’s it’?.”

    DoubleClick introduced viewability monitoring for display ads last year and for video ads this year.

    Hong was interviewed at Beet.TV’s Beet Retreat annual get-together in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

    The Beet Retreat ’15 was sponsored by AOL and VideologyPlease find additional videos from the event here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • 'Mr. Selfie' Shows How Insanely Obsessed We Are With Our Smartphones
    If only this cartoon about smartphone obsession weren’t so real.

    Mr. Selfie” is here to show us that life is passing us by as we fixate on our little screens. We can’t even see what’s right in front of us, unless it’s a cell phone.

    The short animation’s hooked-up, tuned-out hero misses beauty, danger and human connection as he walks through his day, but he never misses a “like” or a “favorite.”

    Weareseventeen, the London-based motion graphics and design studio that made the film, writes on Vimeo that “Mr. Selfie” is a “playful tale of this modern phenomenon.”

    Warning: It might make you a little sad, too.

  • MacNN Forums: wireless docking is the future
    This week, the MacNN forums have been abuzz with talk of everything from wireless docking to favorite apps. Yesterday, Moderator “P” shared an article about Broadwell vPro processors and wireless docking, then goes on to explain how he thinks Apple will use this technology. Yesterday, “jeff k” was trying to figure out a problem he was having with Sophos security software and Time Machine, so far a solution hasn’t been found.

  • 20 Banned Super Bowl Commercials That Never Made It To, Well, The Super Bowl
    What’s the one thing people like more than Super Bowl ads? Sex. Oh, and family. Oh, and ice cream. Oh, and commercials that have been banned from the Super Bowl!

    So since that is the unquestionable case — do not question it — we have decided to round up some of the most famous banned Super Bowl commercial from years past:

  • Microsoft Updates Extras +Info Windows Phone app

    Microsoft has just released a new update to the Extras+Info for Windows Phone app.  The new update, version 3.14.16 for those keeping score at home, brings… well, actually I have absolutely no clue what this release brings because there are absolutely no release notes.    So what was changed, what was fixed or what was added is a mystery to everyone in the world other than those at Microsoft.  There is of course the generic “general fixes and improvements” noted so my guess is that this is a bug fix for the app on certain devices. It could also be

    The post Microsoft Updates Extras +Info Windows Phone app appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Twitter launches Vine Kids app for iPhone
    Twitter has released a new iPhone app linked to its Vine video-sharing network, Vine Kids. The app offers a curated selection of videos “appropriate for a young audience,” and further removes the core client’s ability to record new material. Animated characters guide kids through clips.

  • Modified AliveCor Heart Monitor used in study to diagnose ST-elevation heart attacks

    A proof-of-concept study that hints at plans to take the smartphone EKG from 1 to 12 leads

    The post Modified AliveCor Heart Monitor used in study to diagnose ST-elevation heart attacks appeared first on iMedicalApps.

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