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Mobile Technology News, July 11, 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.

  • App Of The Week – Assassin’s Creed Pirates

    This week’s App of the Week is the great Assassin’s Creed Pirates from Ubisoft.   The game allows you to fight real-time battles all of the Caribbean as you play the character of Alonzo barilla, a fierce, young and ambitious pirate.  Normally the game is $2.99 but it is free this week only. Assassin’s Creed […]

    The post App Of The Week – Assassin’s Creed Pirates appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Apple Releases iTunes 11.3 with iTunes Extras Support for Mac

    Apple has released iTunes 11.3 for Mac and PC users today, bringing with it iTunes Extras for all of your HD movies.  For those who aren’t familiar with iTunes Extras, they are often things like behind the scenes videos, short films, director’s commentary, delete scenes and short films. To this point you had to pay […]

    The post Apple Releases iTunes 11.3 with iTunes Extras Support for Mac appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • Amazon Drones: Internet Retailer Seeks FAA Permission To Test 'Prime Air' Delivery Service
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc is seeking permission from U.S. regulators to test its delivery drones near Seattle, as part of a rapid expansion of a program that has sparked widespread debate over the safety and privacy implications of drone technology.
    Chief Executive Jeff Bezos wants to use drones – small unmanned aircraft – to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less as part of the program dubbed “Prime Air.” The company is developing drones that can fly at speeds of 50 miles per hour.
    Now Amazon is seeking permission to test drones in outdoor areas near Seattle, where one of its research and development labs is working on the technology, according to a letter posted on the Federal Aviation Administration’s website on Thursday.
    Currently Amazon can test drones indoors and in other countries. But it cannot conduct R&D flight tests in open outdoor space in the state of Washington, where Amazon has its headquarters.
    “Of course, Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States,” the company said in the letter, dated July 9 and signed by Paul Misener, head of global public policy for Amazon.
    In 2012, Congress required the FAA to establish a road map for the broader use of drones. The FAA has allowed limited use of drones in the U.S. for surveillance, law enforcement, atmospheric research and other applications.
    Last year, the U.S. government created six sites for companies, universities and others to test drones for broader commercial use in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas, and Virginia.
    But the area near Seattle, where Amazon wants to conduct its tests, is not among those sites. Amazon plans to use one or more of the six FAA sites, but said in the letter that it would be “impractical” to limit its testing to those areas.
    CEO Bezos, who founded Amazon 20 years ago, disclosed the “Prime Air” drone program on the CBS television program “60 Minutes” late last year. His plan was derided by some as a mere publicity stunt, while others raised privacy concerns and said the technology needed more refinement.
    Despite the controversy, Amazon has rapidly grown the drones team in the last five months. It has hired roboticists, aeronautical engineers and a former NASA astronaut, and recently advertised for a full-time communications manager for the program.
    Delivering packages by drones will one day be “as normal as seeing mail trucks on the road today,” Amazon said in the July 9 letter.
  • How the Human Voice Is Traversing Society's Wellness-Tech Frontier
    Wearables have been spilling into the mainstream consciousness, and are now — some say — geared to take the market by storm. Whether it’s wrist bands such as Jawbone’s UP, Nike+ Fuelband and Fitbit’s Flex, or Google testing and developing smart contact lenses that integrate with mobile devices to measure glucose levels for diabetics, wearable integration is surging.

    Additionally, Apple rumors about the health-oriented iOS8, or companies like HealthWatch, that are developing clothing lined with electrode technology to monitor heart rate, the capacity for tech implementation into everyday wearable items is limitless, and the potential benefits are inspiring. While Siri, Cortana, and Google Now highlight the potential of voice technology within the market, smartphone devices have their boundaries, and while voice integration has evolved over the past decade, it has yet to strike a chord with the general public that makes the masses demand it.


    Looking at the current wearable landscape, it’s evident that fitness bands, glasses, watches and even sweaters are creating the opportunity to combine digital aspects with physical presence. Companies are demonstrating how new technologies cannot only improve the simplicity of our daily lives, but more importantly, our wellness. The applications are endless. They will encourage wearers to be more engaged in their fitness, help modify behavior, help coach their owners into better connecting with their own selves, and provide a platform for patients and physicians to share data. Most importantly, they will educate and empower users to take control of their wellbeing, help physicians and patients monitor medical issues, and ultimately, make better life choices.

    Speak Up to Be Truly Heard

    These days, everybody’s talking about sensors. From, pulse-meters, to spectrographic cameras, a key component to the wearable market, as seen with products like Samsung’s Galaxy Gear, and the upcoming Motorola Moto 360, has been the push to leverage voice recognition technology to harmonize with existing technologies.

    We believe the role of voice could be greatly extended still. As a matter of fact, it’s not at all farfetched to believe that the key sensor for gauging wellness has always been there — the microphone. Every mobile device (current and emerging) that we own has the ability to pick up on our speech, and with it something immeasurably crucial to our wellbeing — our emotions. For our voice carries not only our consciously careful choice of words, it also carries our vocally transmitted emotional constructs — a fact known to anyone who has ever heard the following simple three words — “Have a nice day.” Studies in neuropsychology in the last 50 years have demonstrated that vocal intonation has a bigger impact in communication than your actual choice of words. When this potential is reached on wearables, it will open the technological floodgates to data that until now remained unseen.

    Clearly, voice matters. Voices carry not only our words, but also our feelings, our moods, and indications of our general emotional status. With the growing proliferation of wearable devices, their “always-on” characteristics, and their integration with voice-enabled mobile devices, collecting and analyzing vocally transmitted emotions and tracking our emotional wellbeing over time, is now finally a viable possibility.

    While initial inception of speech technology limited your smartphone to know when you wanted to call someone, that same device can now understand your emotional side. In the hands of professionals, this innovation will allow users to track their states of emotional wellness over a long period of time, and allow professional caregivers and doctors a more transparent glimpse into the evolution of a patient’s wellbeing – adding another layer of information to other sources of data that physicians already use when tracking more physical parameters, such as caloric intake, BMI, blood pressure, etc.

    A recent study by IDC, reveals that in the year 2018, the wearable technology market will see about 111.9 million wearables being used around the globe. The integration of voice will enable the ability to monitor emotional wellbeing over time, especially in correlation to the onset of different activities or events. The resulting analytic data can be assessed in relation to happiness, depression, and overall daily mindsets on various types of application in conjunction to other information reported by the user or collected by personal devices.

    What to Listen For?

    Now that Google Glass is available to the average consumer, and Nike FuelBands (as well as their constituents) are flooding the market, it’s time for wellness applications to emerge. Nike, Apple, Sony and Samsung have positioned themselves as front runners in the space; we’re seeing a lot of the components essential for wellness coming together, especially within the coming months of 2014 and the years beyond.

    From wearable devices to operating systems (i.e. the latest iOS8 health tracking rumors), the ability to use, activate, and monitor these always-on devices is the “perfect storm” for vocally extracted wellness data. Look for wellness apps to pair emotion with additional health data, providing a unique look into the deep inner workings of our bodies and minds. Over the past few decades there have been a large amount of breakthroughs in the market. Now, new platforms need to bring everything together in one centralized space via wearables. With new apps providing large scale data, this type of wellness tracking will also result in medical knowledge being able to advance at breakneck speeds.

    Look for voice to have an integral part within the expansion of health and wellness in the next 12 months.

  • Ivory Coast stallholders turn to digital marketplace
    Ivory Coast stallholders go digital but need more tech to flourish
  • Marty McFly's Hoverboard Is Going Up For Auction
    Marty McFly’s hoverboard from “Back to the Future Part 2” is going up for auction in October.

    Radio Times reports the iconic film prop, which is currently valued between $17,000 and $26,000, is one of many pieces of classic film memorabilia that will be auctioned off at London’s Westfield shopping centre in the fall. The auction is a collaboration between movie prop reseller Prop Store and cinema chain Vue Entertainment.

    For those who aren’t familiar, the hoverboard was used by Michael J. Fox’s character in the 1989 film. According to USA Today, the prop is made of solid wood. Prop Store project manager Sian Anderson told the outlet that the hoverboard also features a “rare ball-bearing spinning footpad.”

    It’s worth mentioning that the hoverboard does not actually hover. Sorry.

    There are 375 props up for auction, including McFly’s board. Radio Times reports that other items include a Golden Ticket from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” ($26,000 – $34,000), Arnold Schwarzenegger’s biker outfit from “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” ($38,000) and Captain Nemo’s Nautilus Car from “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” ($69,000 – $102,000).

    Those are some hefty price tags, but this collection only scratches the surface of what some devout collectors are willing to pay. In November, an anonymous buyer paid $4,085,000 for one of the two title statues featured in “The Maltese Falcon,” per Yahoo Movies.

    Check out Marty McFly’s hoverboard in action.

  • Catch a Rising Star? 3 Things to Know Before Launching That Mobile App
    Three weeks into the experiment of “Rising Star,” ABC-TV execs are counting on the latest brand of live audience integration and mobile apps to pay off in brand awareness and loyalty. And they may be disappointed.

    The debut with 5.1 million viewers saw improvements in the second week as a giant wall of photos of regular folks rose from the floor symbolizing mobile votes for the performer on the talent show. But the second week also saw a drop in ratings of 20 percent.

    Lessons learned from ABC’s launch include the complicated reality of time zones — a California viewer is jumping in on the preferences of East Coast viewers after the fact — as well as system crashes. The show’s execs used the West Coast delay to create drama instead of disappointment this past Sunday as singer Shameia Crawford was “saved” by West Coast voters.

    On the positive side, prior to airing, the free app jumped to number nine among free apps in the iTunes store. The show also scored the highest rating for the network of a summer debut in two years.

    The fate of the show and its app are tied together, and the stakes are high for both. Researchers at Northwestern University’s Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications show that consumer dissatisfaction with a branded app can silently lose customers.

    But there can be good news. In the Spiegel NU study of the Canadian Air Miles program, researchers found that those who used the branded app in the 10 days prior, made 6.17 purchases per month, compared to those who did not use the app in more than five months prior, making 3.5 purchases per month.

    Yet, while the innovation and successes of mobile apps are recognized with the 2014 Global Mobile Awards — that honored apps from ATT& T to a vaccine project in Zimbabwe — branded apps are not universally successful.

    The reach is wider and the stakes are higher than you might think. According to Portio Research, in 2012 there were 1.2 billion app users globally, with 4.4 billion projected app users in 2017. Nearly half of those users are expected in the Asia Pacific. Another recent study shows that consumers spend 89 percent of their media time on mobile apps.

    There is no denying the importance of the mobile marketplace. In 2012, 43 billion mobile apps were downloaded worldwide. That number doubled in 2013, and is projected to double again this year. In three years, the prediction is 200 billion app downloads per year globally.

    Just last week, McDonald’s Corp. launched testing for The McDonald’s Mobile Ordering App, in 22 markets, free to customers who pay by credit card in advance for their fries, shakes and Big Macs.

    Some apps are time-saving solutions from “new brand” providers, such as Flipboard; or games like Angry Birds. But of greatest interest to those in marketing communications are those apps that are increasingly known to be important customer engagement tools that simplify the customer’s ability to do business with them.

    And, ideally, these apps stimulate engagement to grow the value of that customer. Recently
    So, do these apps deliver and if so, by how much? And do the apps come with any real risks to marketers?

    Yes, they deliver — in some cases by quite a lot — yet they also come with risks far greater than the simple feedback, “It didn’t grow a customer’s relationship.”

    But there is also bad news. The recent study from the Medill IMC Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center found that a customer experience with an inferior app can not only result in not using the app, but using the brand less, or even, not at all.

    Research shows access to two sets of data in two entirely different categories. The data includes all customer’s purchases from the company prior to downloading the brand’s app, and then after the app was downloaded. The results were mixed. In some cases, the consumer disengaged.

    No doubt, the consequences of actually losing customers as a result of a bad app — one that is difficult to use, understand or benefit immediately from its use — is sobering. Such a misstep would call for a new strategy. All of this challenges the notion that “early to market” is always the best strategy. To that end, here are three considerations before launching an app for branding:

    1. “It’s the experience, stupid.”

    Recognize that an app is not a communications strategy but actually part of the customer experience. Meet, (and if possible, exceed), the expectations your best customers have for your brand’s experience, and then monitor performance particularly among your best (most valuable) customers.

    2. Model the outcomes.

    Most scenario modeling of marketing initiatives does not plan for actual losses of an unsuccessful campaign. At worst, the scenarios merely consider relative sized gains. Armed with the insights from these studies, plan models that contemplate some customer attrition. The tradeoffs of quality vs. speed-to-market can also now be modeled with greater reliability. What may be lost by not being first in the market can now be assessed in combination with potential customer retention gains from a more universally valued app.

    3. It’s a team, baby!

    Because an app delivers a customer experience, not just a communications, marketing, product development and engineering share the consequences of the outcomes with all departments. This is a good thing.

    The Rising Star outcome may well add support for our research if the app supports the brand as intended. Or it may serve as a cautionary tale. As they say, “stay tuned.”

    Tom Collinger is executive director of the Spiegel Digital & Database Research Center housed in Northwestern University’s Medill School, and associate professor of Integrated Marketing.

  • Briefly: IK Multimedia's iRig MIDI 2, Google AdWords Express for iOS
    IK Multimedia has announced that it is now shipping the iRig MIDI 2, a portable MIDI interface with Lightning and USB connectivity for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Mac and PC. The device is equipped with three standard-sized female MIDI DIN sockets – IN, OUT and THRU – which allow for full MIDI functionality and connectivity with any MIDI-enabled device, such as a keyboard, hardware synthesizer and more. Its two blue LED lights provide monitoring of the MIDI data passing through the In and Out sockets.

  • Prince William, Prince Harry Take Selfie And Inspire Youth In Webcast: 'Believe In Yourself'
    Some very lucky youngsters made history this week when they got to participate in the first royal Google hangout.

    Two of the most recognizable faces of the British monarchy, Prince William and Prince Harry, sat down for the digital question-and-answer session on Wednesday.

    The event took place at Buckingham Palace for the launch of a new program called The Queen’s Young Leaders, according to The Telegraph. The live web chat brought both princes together with several youth leaders from across the globe — including India, South Africa and Australia — to engage in conversation.


    The Queen’s Young Leaders program aims to empower youth leaders and help inspire future generations by awarding 60 individuals a year with special mentoring and networking opportunities, Express reported.

    All I would say is believe in yourself — you’ve got a lot more to say then you think,” said Prince William during the hangout, the outlet reported. “There are plenty people out there who have an open mind and will listen and care.”

    In case a personal web chat with royalty wasn’t enough to inspire the young people, this awesome selfie the princes snapped with British entrepreneur Jamal Edwards aught to do the trick.

    We’re looking for the Queen’s Young Leaders. #TheSearchIsOn

    http://t.co/VXygkYuUkS pic.twitter.com/CRvRDHxwGt

    — Queens Young Leaders (@QueensLeaders) July 9, 2014

    Alright youngsters, you heard the princes, now go forth and change the world!

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  • Jimmy Fallon Spends The Least Time Talking To Guests: Analysis
    It seems someone is forgetting the “talk” part of “talk show” (not that we mind).

    Jimmy Fallon spends the least amount of time talking to guests out of other late night talk show hosts — at least according to Stephen Winzenburg, a communications professor at Grand View University and author of the book TV’s Greatest Talk Shows.

    In a content analysis posted to his website, Winzenburg found that “The Tonight Show” host has reduced the airtime spent talking to celebrity guests from Jay Leno’s 51 percent to 37 percent, the lowest in late night. Fallon devotes a lot of his airtime to comedy sketches, music and monologues.

    By comparison, Craig Ferguson spends 43 percent of airtime on celebrity interviews, and Jimmy Kimmel spends 48 percent. Seth Meyers and David Letterman keep a more traditional late-night talk show ratio, according to Winzenburg, with 51 percent of airtime devoted to guests. Meanwhile, Conan O’Brien comes in at 53 percent.

    Here’s how Winzenburg came up with the numbers:

    Late night segments were times and rounded to half minutes for five airings during May of 2014. Those program segments were then categorized as either “talk,” “monologue,” “comedy/sketch,” “music,” or “in/out/clips” …

    While Winzenburg acknowledges that Fallon’s new format has been a huge ratings success and increased the show’s online following, he is noticeably unfavorable of Fallon’s break from the traditional late-night format.

    “While the program might be able to be categorized as a variety show or a sketch comedy show, it certainly is not a talk show based on the genre’s historic definition,” he wrote in the study.

  • Uber Driver Takes Passengers On Terrifying Car Chase
    When Ryan Simonetti got into an Uber taxi he had no idea his car ride would turn out to be, as he describes, like an “episode of ‘Cops.'”

    On Tuesday, the CEO of conferencing service company Convene got into the cab with a couple of colleagues and promptly became a passenger in a car chase that lasted nearly 10 minutes across the D.C. metro area.

    According to The Washington Post, the driver was speaking with a D.C. taxi inspector when the group entered the vehicle. The driver then sped off, with the inspector trailing closely behind. The car reportedly ran through a red light and “proceeded to race down the highway.” When the driver reportedly refused to slow down to let the passengers out of the car, Simonetti took action.

    “It was insane,” Simonetti told the Post. “I physically tried to force his leg to hit the brake. I ripped off his pant leg… I said, ‘Here’s two options. You take this exit, or I’m going to knock the side of your head in. If we crash, we crash, but you’re gonna kill us anyway.’”

    Uber confirmed the incident happened and said the driver’s account has since been deactivated, the Post reports.

    Upon first hearing of Simonetti’s experience via Twitter, Uber D.C. promptly responded.

    @rwsimonetti Hey, Ryan. We’re here to help. Can you DM us your phone number and let us know you’re ok? A manager will call you right away.

    — Uber DC (@Uber_DC) July 8, 2014

    Simonetti later assured his followers that he and the other passengers were OK.

    Thanks everyone for the concern. We’re safe. @uber and law enforcement are dealing with it now.

    — Ryan W Simonetti (@rwsimonetti) July 8, 2014

    Following the wave of media attention surrounding the chase, Simonetti released a statement that reads, in part:

    “Following this harrowing experience, I used Twitter to communicate the incident to Uber since this was the only way to reach the company. It was not my intention to embarrass or call attention to the company since I am a dedicated Uber user and believe they have a great business model. At the same time, I hope that Uber will learn something from this experience.”

    Visit The Washington Post for more on the story.

  • These Gorgeous Photos Were Taken At 500 MPH
    Sergeant Larry Reid Jr. just might be the flyest photographer you’ll ever encounter. Quite literally.

    A photographer for the United States Air Force, Reid spends his days with the Thunderbirds, an elite group of F-16 demonstration pilots. As part of his job, Reid often flies along with the group, capturing their astounding acrobatics in mid-air.


    This is no cushy assignment: The job requires Reid be able to manipulate his camera in some tricky situations — like holding onto a camera while doing 9 Gs. In an interview with the photo blog Fstoppers, Reid likened his work to shooting aboard “a roller coaster on steroids.”

    “[Y]ou’re going 500+ miles per hour, and … everything happens so fast,” he said, adding that doing more than 9 Gs while holding a 15 to 20-pound camera and lens would bring him close to “absolute muscle failure.”

    For perspective, in April of this year, the Thunderbirds flew a professional photographer by the name of Blair Bunting in one of their F-16s. In a blog after the experience, here’s how Bunting, a civilian, described doing 9 Gs:

    Firstly, in no way is it comfortable, not even close. I began to feel my face melting away as the skin in my cheeks pulled down to my mouth. The color from my vision was the next thing to fade away, first the reds, then the greens. Squeezing like hell, I did everything I could to get air into my lungs as the G-suit wrenched it out. With all the color of a 1950s television set, the next thing I noticed was that waves were starting to develop in my vision and a vignette appeared. All the while I am listening to the pilot’s breathing and trying my hardest to match it.

    See some of Sergeant Reid’s photos, below:

    So, where do we send our job applications?

    h/t PetaPixel

  • Could We One Day Learn A Language By Popping A Pill?
    What if learning Mandarin or Arabic were as simple as popping a pill?

    The idea may sound like a sci-fi movie plot point, but one well-known tech visionary believes we could one day learn a language simply by swallowing a pill.

    In a recent video podcast for TedTalks, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte revisits some of the tech-related predictions he’s made over the past three decades. In the final minute of his talk, Negroponte addresses what may be his most intriguing prediction yet. Check it out above.

    “We have been doing a lot of consuming of information through our eyes. That may be a very inefficient channel. My prediction is that we are going to ingest information,” he says in the video. “You’re going to swallow a pill and know English. You’re going to swallow a pill and know Shakespeare.”

    How exactly would we absorb this new knowledge from the pill? While he’s short on the details, Negroponte said that the pill he has envisioned would follow the bloodstream to the brain, where it would deposit pieces of information in the right places.

    Too hard to swallow?

    Negroponte said that his prediction is not “quite as far-fetched” as you may think. After all, he said, he has discussed the idea with MIT colleagues including a neuroscientist and expert in biomechatronics (the science behind integrating electronics with biological organisms). Unrelated research, revealed earlier this year, suggested that there may be a drug capable of helping people develop perfect vocal pitch.

    But don’t expect a language wonder drug to hit pharmacies anytime soon. Negroponte opines that this prediction is unlikely to come true for about 30 years.

  • MLB launches second iBeacon expansion, updates iOS apps
    Major League Baseball is entering into a second phase of iBeacon deployments at stadiums. Beginning this is project for the 2014 All-Star Game, which is being hosted at Target Field in Minneapolis. People with a supporting iPhone and the latest version of At the Ballpark will get extra content, including interactive material, when visiting nine different exhibits in the stadium. iBeacons are already in use at 28 other ballparks, but mostly for check-ins and discounts.

  • World Cup Sentiment Offers Insight into the Global Consciousness
    Pity poor Brazil. Not only did their team get the thumping of a lifetime on July 8th when Germany beat them 7-1, but football (soccer) fans broke every record in the book by tweeting about it.

    With 36.5 million tweets seen during the match, sentiment monitors were lit up worldwide. As you might expect, the negative value for Brazil was about the same as the positive value for Germany. But what does sentiment analysis tell us?

    Here at Software AG we built a World Cup Sentiment Analysis tool for anyone to enjoy while watching the football. We monitored tweets over a moving window of 30-40 minutes and scored them from positive to neutral to negative.

    Twitter might just be the engine by which the mood of the planet can be measured, but it is by nature a lagging indicator.

    For example, when Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo left training early one day before the team’s June 22 USA match, sentiment plummeted because fans worried about an old knee injury. When the team’s officials said he was fit to play, sentiment around Portugal’s team rebalanced to positive.

    Figuring it takes a person a little while to think of a tweet, type it and post it, we wanted to monitor as many tweets as possible for making the sentiment analysis decision. We grabbed the tweets from Twitter’s public feed and dropped them into our analysis engine. The processing of the tweets is completed in under a millisecond; which means results are posted well within a second of the original tweet making its appearance.

    But they are still after the fact (even if a lot of fun). So how can we use Twitter — or other social media sentiment — for commercial purposes?

    Twitter mining is becoming the next big thing in algorithmic trading; with sentiment analysis being used to try to qualify and quantify the emotional chatter around a particular market. It then gauges whether the feelings for a particular stock or commodity are negative or positive, and uses the information for making trading decisions.

    A study by the University of Manchester and Indiana University in 2010 concluded that the number of ’emotional words’ on Twitter could be used to predict daily moves in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. A change in emotions expressed online would be followed between two and six days later by a move in the index, the researchers said, and this information let them predict its movements with 87.6 percent accuracy.

    Another study, this one at Pace University in 2011, found that social media could predict the ups and downs of stock prices for three global brands, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, and Nike.

    A U.K. hedge fund, Derwent Capital, liked the idea so much it opened an algorithmic hedge fund in 2012 that made trades based on Twitter sentiment. It soon closed, but reportedly returned 1.86 percent, beating the overall market as well as the average hedge fund.

    The question is, can markets be predicted using sentiment algorithms? I think you could use a Twitter algo to get a sentiment reading on particular topics, whether it is revolutions or how people feel about the economy.

    The World Cup, though, may be a different matter. You can get some interesting insights about the global consciousness surrounding a particular match, but sentiment analysis will not predict the outcome of the game. But if you could feed the sentiment analysis into another system that was set up with parameters to predict the outcome, you could be onto a winner.

    Twitter sentiment analysis could be the next Paul — the psychic octopus that made several accurate predictions in the 2010 World Cup. Paul would choose his food from two identical boxes decorated in the team flags of the upcoming matches.

    Sadly, Paul died a few months later. But perhaps his legacy lives on in a real-time predictive sentiment engine somewhere.

  • Twitter Says The National Guard Isn't The Key To #FixingChicago
    Gun violence in Chicago left over a dozen people dead and more than 60 others wounded over the Fourth of July weekend. Amid now-familiar calls to bring in the National Guard to help the city stop the bloodshed, hundreds of others have something else in mind.

    It wasn’t long after Washington, D.C.-based columnist and commentator Roland Martin’s “Send the National Guard to Chicago” piece was published on The Daily Beast before Twitter users took to the hashtag #FixingChicago (and later #FixChicago) to offer their own alternative visions for how to combat the shootings, which have particularly plagued Chicago’s predominantly minority west and south sides. Activist and writer Mikki Kendall initiated the hashtag.

    #FixingChicago looks like keeping schools, clinics, transit and ER’s open.

    — Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago looks like job programs, access to quality low cost grocery options, health and dental care.

    — Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago looks like affordable housing, transit options, & quality educational options for low income families.

    — Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago looks like a minimum wage that is a living wage so low income parents don’t need two jobs just to survive.

    — Mikki Kendall (@Karnythia) July 9, 2014

    Many others quickly followed suit:

    #FixingChicago means looking at citizens of the city as human beings and not just abstract, nameless, faceless figures.

    — Britt Julious (@britticisms) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago means people in Chicago need to stop accepting that certain parts of the city as bad and hopeless.

    — kevin house (@kevin_house) July 10, 2014

    #FixingChicago means offering more affordable decent housing with in-community grocery stores with affordable fresh food

    — JP Fairfield™ (@isitis) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago means building community gardens and teaching people how to grow their own healthy food

    — KeshRue (@KeshRue) July 10, 2014

    #FixingChicago means crime prevention that doesn’t just mean locking up more kids.

    — Kenzo Shibata (@KenzoShibata) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago means “jobs are up” matters as much as “crime is down”

    — Brandon Wall (@Walldo) July 9, 2014

    #fixingchicago redistribute tax $ equally to each school. Build new schools, provide funding to more teachers of color. Reduce cost of needs

    — Ife (@FreedomLVRFilms) July 10, 2014

    #FixingChicago means stop slashing funding towards special education programs and allow mentally challenged individuals to excel.

    — Notorious LIV (@GracingTheWorld) July 10, 2014

    The media can help in #FixingChicago by not glorifying the gun violence to the point that it is synonymous with Chicago.

    — Janel Bailey (@janelatwork) July 9, 2014

    How about any developer who wants to use a downtown TIF has to first build in Englewood, Roseland or Washington Heights? #FixingChicago

    — Scott Smith (@ourmaninchicago) July 10, 2014

    #FixingChicago means investigating the pipeline of illegal guns back to the suppliers. No Black owned firearm manufacturers exists.

    — Jerry G! (@JerryLEADS) July 9, 2014

    #fixingchicago means we stop giving $100,000,000 to private institutions to build sport arenas and give it to students to get an education.

    — Mushroom Man (@AndyNorgate) July 10, 2014

    A new mayor would be only a small part of #FixingChicago, but probably a necessary one.

    — Joe Macaré (@joemacare) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago includes ensuring the integrity of our PD aligns with public safety and not with profiling or harassment.

    — Kyle Urbashich (@kyleurb) July 9, 2014

    #FixingChicago means being our own advocates for social change. Time to put the marching boots back on. More to it than banning guns. #pocbf

    — Black FreeThinkers (@BlkFreeThinkers) July 9, 2014

    #fixingchicago spread resources across all 50 wards. Develop tiny home communities to create affordable housing across city.

    — Windy City Times (@WindyCityTimes1) July 9, 2014

    Go back 2 decades when these kids are are being shot were born, then find out what was missing or different! History lesson 4 #FixingChicago

    — Rookie (@Rookie_Chi) July 10, 2014

    #fixingchicago WON’T happen if they “reopen closed prisons” because structural inequality still isn’t being addressed.

    — Stewart Scott (@godjustchillout) July 10, 2014

    The hashtag campaign recalls the efforts of Chicago hip-hop artist Chance the Rapper, who pushed a #SaveChicago hashtag over Twitter to promote peace over last Memorial Day weekend. The city ended up going a rare 42 hours without any shooting incidents, though the streak ended with a series of shootings that wounded 12 people over a period of 10 hours.

    Twitter activism has had a big impact in the past. Shortly after her racism scandal broke, celebrity chef Paula Deen’s #PaulasBestDishes hashtag was taken over by Twitter users, contributing to her very public downfall. Juror B37 in the George Zimmerman trial also arguably has Black Twitter to thank for losing her book deal with agent Sharlene Martin, who was inundated with angry messages until plans were canceled.

  • Amazon Sued For Making It Way Too Easy For Kids To Spend Money
    A federal agency just filed a lawsuit against Amazon for letting children make purchases too easily on mobile devices without their parents’ approval.

    In a complaint filed Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission alleged that the retailing giant has unlawfully charged customers millions of dollars for kids’ “in-app purchases” — buying digital knickknacks while playing games or using apps on devices like Kindle Fire tablets — that were made without their parents’ or the account holders’ knowledge.

    “In total, parents and other Amazon account holders have suffered significant monetary injury, with thousands of consumers complaining about unauthorized in-app charges by their children, and many consumers reporting up to hundreds of dollars in such charges,” the lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, contends.

    The FTC said that the price of such purchases ranged from 99 cents to $99.99 each.

    According to the complaint, making a purchase while playing a game or using an app was as easy as simply closing a pop-up window that had appeared, which allowed children, sometimes too young to even read, to amass charges on their parents’ accounts.

    “In many instances, parents have complained that their children could not or did not understand that their activities while playing the app could result in charges that cost real money,” the lawsuit says. “Amazon has received thousands of complaints related to unauthorized in-app charges by children in these and other games, amounting to millions of dollars of charges.”

    In January, Apple settled a similar complaint with the FTC, agreeing to refund at least $32.5 million to customers who incurred unauthorized charges.

    The FTC wants Amazon not only to refund parents and other customers who’ve had unauthorized charges made to their accounts, but also to require “informed consent” from parents before kids can make these types of purchases.

    Asked to elaborate on the meaning of “informed consent” during a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, Jessica Rich, consumer protection director at the FTC, said, “You need to do it in a way that a kid couldn’t easily just tap the phone and incur charges.”

    According to the lawsuit, customers started complaining to Amazon only weeks after the company began allowing in-app purchases in November 2011. The FTC contends that Amazon knew this was an issue, with one Amazon employee commenting in December 2011 that permitting these types of charges without a password was “clearly causing problems for a large percentage of our customers.”

    Amazon has since made some changes to in-app purchasing — requiring a person to enter a password for charges over $20 or before some charges kick in — but according to the FTC, it wasn’t until last month that the company began to require “informed consent for in-app charges on its newer mobile devices.”

    According to the lawsuit, Amazon receives 30 percent of the revenue from purchases made within apps.

    The company would not comment on the lawsuit itself and referred to a statement it made in a letter last week to the FTC, in which it called news of the impending complaint “deeply disappointing.”

    “We have continuously improved our experience since launch, but even at launch, when customers told us their kids had made purchases they didn’t want we refunded those purchases,” wrote Andrew DeVore, vice president and associate general counsel at Amazon. “[O]ur experience at launch was responsible, customer-focused, and lawful, including prominent notice of in-app purchasing, effective parental controls, real-time notice of every in-app purchase, and world-class customer service.”

    The FTC lawsuit comes about a week after the agency filed suit against T-Mobile for allegedly placing hidden charges in customers’ bills.

    “Companies need to get consumers’ consent before placing charges on their bills,” Rich said in prepared remarks during the press call. “This principle applies to companies of all types, from brick-and-mortar businesses to mobile app stores. And it applies to charges of all kinds, from purchases of physical goods to charges for the virtual items at issue in today’s action.”

  • More Millennials Use MySpace Than Reddit: Poll
    More millennials are using MySpace than Reddit, according to a new poll from Reason magazine and Rupe.

    Excuse us while we try to process that information.

    In a lengthy survey of 2,000 millennials, mostly about political topics, respondents were asked, “Which, if any, of the following social networking accounts do you currently use?”

    The winner was Facebook, which 75 percent said they used. Slightly more than one-third of students use Twitter, and a little less than a third use Instagram. About 15 percent said they use Snapchat, and 10 percent are on Vine.

    But somehow 8 percent said they use MySpace, while just 6 percent said they’re logging into Reddit. If you think maybe it’s the older millennials remembering they used to be on MySpace several years ago, remember the question was probing whether they currently use it.

    reason rupe myspace

    If you didn’t realize it, MySpace is still up and running. The former social network king, that fell as Facebook and Twitter took over, went through a revamp in 2012 with some help from Justin Timberlake. As of late, it’s become more focused on streaming music and entertainment news.

  • Emotional Ad Reminds Scared New Parents Of The Only Thing Their Babies Really Need
    The message of a new cellphone commercial out of Thailand is clear — technology will never replace love. But the storyline DTAC uses to get there elicits a few very different reactions.

    In the spot, a new dad leans over his crying baby in a crib, looking scared and confused. He calls his wife, and starts a video call so that she can soothe the baby. She sings and coos, but nothing works. Because — lightbulb! — he needs to pick up his baby all on his own.

    To some modern dads, this scenario might seem a little baffling. “The ‘clueless dad’ is becoming as irrelevant as the dodo bird and the Harlem Shake,” says Doyin Richards, who blogs at Daddy Doin’ Work and The Huffington Post. “Dads in 2014 actually pick up babies, soothe babies, and nurture babies when they’re crying without seeking consultation from their spouses,” he continued.

    On the other hand, not all dads — or moms, for that matter — are so confident right off the bat. “If we want honest representations of fathers in commercials, that means we don’t just show the strong, engaged, confident fathers. That means we show the scared ones too. They exist. I was one of them,” John Kinnear of Ask Your Dad Blog admits.

    As far as how the spot portrays the intersection of technology and parenting today, Kinnear, Lance Somerfeld of NYC Dads Group, and perhaps the 7 million + people who have viewed the ad on YouTube agree that it hits the nail on the head. “As parents, we frequently gravitate towards technology and crowdsourcing when faced with challenges, instead of focusing on our tried and true gut instincts,” Somerfeld says. But just like in real life, the dad in the commercial realizes that all his baby really needs is him.

    “Mission accomplished with this ad,” Somerfeld said.

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