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Mobile Technology News, July 19, 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.

  • Analysts find no consensus on expected fiscal Q3 iPhone, iPad sales
    With just a few days to go before the actual sales figures are revealed, analysts are at a loss to come up with a strong consensus on how many iPhones and iPads the company actually sold in the calendar second quarter, which ended June 30 (Apple refers to this as fiscal Q3). The iPad figures are even more befuddled, since last quarter’s drop in iPad sales — 16 percent year-over-year — was explained by CEO Tim Cook as changing inventory numbers rather than an actual drop.

  • The Apple Enterprise Play Taking Shape With IBM Deal

    One of the killer features of OS X Yosemite and iOS 8 that will be coming this fall is the ability to answer a call coming in on your iPhone on your Mac.  I highlighted this in an article I wrote back in June on how Apple may very well move the enterprise telephony goalposts […]

    The post The Apple Enterprise Play Taking Shape With IBM Deal appeared first on AlliOSNews.

  • UK anti-piracy action set to begin
    People in the UK who persistently pirate music and movies will soon start getting emails warning them that their actions are illegal.
  • Weekend Roundup: Double Barrel Game-Changing Events — A Civilian Plane Shot Down Over Ukraine and The BRICS' Alternative to The World Bank and IMF
    As the cyclical violence in the Middle East continued with an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, two game-changing events happened elsewhere. If the suspicions that the Malaysian airliner was shot down over eastern Ukraine by Russian-supplied rebels prove correct, the implications are vast for Russia’s relations with the West, and in particular Europe and NATO. The founding of the new BRICS Development Bank to rival the World Bank and IMF — mostly capitalized by China and based in Shanghai — marks the beginning of a major shift away from Western dominance of the global financial order.

    Writing from Kiev as the world awaits a verdict on who shot down the Malaysian airliner, Ukrainian Parliament Member Olga Belkova charges Vladimir Putin with playing a double game with conciliatory words while he continues to support pro-Russian separatists. Parag Khanna sees the new BRICS bank as the cornerstone of an alternative world order.

    WorldPost Middle East Correspondent Sophia Jones reports from the frontlines in Gaza and Jerusalem on the human impact of that endless conflict. French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy worries about the anti-Semitic tone when opposition to Israel’s action in Gaza conflates Israel and the Jews.

    The rift between the U.S. and Germany over spying has further escalated this week with the exposure of another U.S. double agent. Former German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and his colleague Lothar Determann look at the larger issues of surveillance, sovereignty and privacy in the digital age. Yale Professor Bruce Ackerman warns that the close post-war alliances between the U.S., Germany and Japan are unraveling.

    Young-hie Kim writes from Seoul that the current “honeymoon” between China and South Korea is worrisome if it goes too far and alienates Japan and the United States. The editorial board of the popular Shanghai website, Guancha, mocks the recent intervention of Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, in current Hong Kong affairs.

    On the refugee front, Alex Nowrasteh points out that child migrants are not fleeing to the U.S. from Nicaragua because gangs, drug and violent crime are at very low levels in that country once at war with the U.S. Actress Keira Knightley draws attention to the recurrent plight of refugees in camps in South Sudan.

    Chetan Bhagat, India’s most famous English-language blogger, who is also a screenwriter, writes from Kolkata about his effort to change the country’s course with his columns, novels and screenplays.

    In an interview with The WorldPost, Bill Gates’ “guru” Vaclav Smil — who says he never blogs and doesn’t have a cell phone — argues that more efficient new technologies actually increase, instead of decrease, the consumption of energy and resources.

    Finally, UNICEF’s Olav Kjorven reflects on his recent visit to a Shinto shrine in Japan and the critical importance of “spiritual capital” to development.


    EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Senior Advisor to the Berggruen Institute on Governance and the long-time editor of NPQ and the Global Viewpoint Network of the Los Angeles Times Syndicate/Tribune Media, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Senior Editor of the WorldPost. Alex Gardels is the Associate Editor of The WorldPost. Nicholas Sabloff is the Executive International Editor at the Huffington Post, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s 10 international editions. Eline Gordts is HuffPost’s World Editor.

    CORRESPONDENTS: Sophia Jones in Istanbul; Matt Sheehan in Beijing.

    EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media) Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera), Dileep Padgaonkar (Times of India) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun). Sergio Munoz Bata is Contributing Editor-At-Large.

    CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy) and Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review). Katherine Keating (One-On-One) and Jehangir Pocha (NewsX India) .

    The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

    Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

    ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as the Advisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail, and Zheng Bijian.

    From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.


    The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

    We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.

  • LA Engineers Building Hot Tub Cadillac
    As automotive ideas go, this one’s all wet — and that’s exactly how its inventors want it.

    Two Los Angeles-based engineers are on a race to set the first world record for the fastest hot tub ever, according to Barcroft TV.

    It’s been a dream of Phil Weicker and Duncan Forster since 1996 when both were attending McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

    The two were drinking when they somehow decided turning an old car into the world’s first drivable, fully operational hot tub was a good addition to their bucket list, according to Yahoo! News Canada.

    Eight years ago, they purchased a 1969 Cadillac Coupe DeVille for $800 and turned it into a “Carpool DeVille” by removing the seats, filling the interior with water and installing all the mechanics of a customized hot tub.

    “We just had to do it,” Weicker told CBC News. “We just had to go 100 miles an hour in a hot tub because it’s never been done before, because we think we can.”

    The “Carpool DeVille” seats five people and the V8 engine not only propels the car but it heats the water to over 102 degrees.

    The trunk holds the pump, filter and overflow tank. The twosome has added a marine throttle to control the car’s speed; pushing forward accelerates and pulling back slows down.

    Forster doesn’t recommend slamming on the brakes in this vehicle since water would splash on to the windshield and back into the driver’s face.

    A low-tech solution for that may be in the works.

    “We’re wondering if we should equip a helmet with a snorkel just to be sure,” Forster told CNN.

    Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $11,000, Forster and Weicker are putting the finishing touches on the hot tub Cadillac.

    Now the duo are hoping to race it next month at Speed Week, an event held every August at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah that is open to vehicles of all types.

    “Nobody’s ever gone a hundred miles an hour in an open-air self propelled hot tub while sitting neck deep in soothing warm water,” they wrote on their Kickstarter page. “We aim to correct that mistake of history this August.”

    To be fair: There is no existing speed record for hot tub Cadillacs so even if the car only makes it up to, say, 60 mph, it’s safe to say they’ll still own the record.

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  • This 'Game Of Thrones' Dubstep Remix Means Bass Drops Are Coming
    Hodor isn’t the only DJ in Westeros.

    YouTube star MetroGnome, the guy behind that sick “Breaking Bad” remix, is back again, and this time he’s out to rule the Seven Kingdoms with a dubstep “Game of Thrones” cover.

    This literal “Song of Ice and Fire” comes complete with lines from the HBO show, some mid-performance surprises and a bass drop so low it goes right out the Moon Door.


  • DJ Turns The Sounds Of A Classroom Into The Feel Good Song Of The Summer
    Pencils on desks. High-pitched giggles. Balls launched (briefly) into the air. We bet you’ve never heard the sounds of a school quite like this before.

    Edgar Camago is a San Francisco third grade teacher and also a music producer. For the second time, he’s combined his two livelihoods to create an original song using sounds from the classroom as well as vocals from his students, and instruments played by them.

    It’s a fitting anthem for the rising fourth graders as they tackle new challenges, and a good reminder for the rest of us: “Fight, fight, fight! Fight the good fight!”

  • Is the World Ready for a Video Game About Slavery?

    By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

    Speaking about Miguel Oliveira’s Thralled using the language of video games can be difficult.

    Thralled is an interactive experience about a runaway slave in 18th century Brazil who becomes traumatized over the disappearance of her baby boy,” Oliveira told me as we met in the University of Southern California’s Doheny Memorial Library in the week leading up to this year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. “So the whole experience is about going through a historic representation of her memories and trying to find out what happened to the kid.”

    With Thralled, Oliveira is at the forefront of a growing movement among emerging game designers to create experiences that go far beyond the highly polished shooters and retro classic homages that take up the bulk of gamers’ mindshare. It’s a movement emerging from the recently reorganized USC Games program, which has turned one of the top game design schools in the nation into the cradle of the indie games scene.

    Yet Oliveira said he’s “kind of hesitant to call (Thralled) a game in the first place, because of the stigma that’s attached to the term.”

    The mechanical language of video games is very much present, however. A game controller is used to guide the character Isaura through the Brazilian wilderness. As part of the story she carries her infant son, and a critical part of solving puzzles includes pressing the button that gets her to hold her child closer. This calms his cries, and prevents her from being discovered by a phantom that stalks her.

    “You’re holding the baby yourself, in a way. By interacting with the character in such a way, by guiding and helping the character through those motions you’re really in it in a different way than in a novel or a film.”

    Thralled also differs from game experiences in its intent. Others seek to entertain or educate, while Oliveira chases a different “e” word: empathy.

    “It’s really an exploration of the relationship between mother and son, within this larger context of slavery and an exploration of how slavery–or what the extreme circumstances of slavery put this person through–affects that relationship.”

    Thralled began as Oliveira’s senior thesis project, and was showcased at the annual Demo Day the Interactive Media & Games program puts on at the university. There it was seen by Ouya’s head of developer relations Kellee Santiago, one of the luminaries of the indie game scene. Santiago offered Oliveira a chance to create a fully realized version of the game in exchange for an exclusivity deal with Ouya.

    That’s the business side of the story, but far more interesting is Oliveira’s motivations for making a game about the human impact of slavery. Part of the reason, he offers, is because slavery is something that we still live with.

    “Some estimates point to 27 million people suffering under slavery today. That’s a really high number.”

    Yet the core reason is Oliveira’s desire stems from his childhood in Portugal.

    “Growing up in history class I’d hear these stories: ‘Oh the Portuguese are heroes in history.’ We found out this and we found out that and they really focused on the glories of the Portuguese and the achievements. But what they failed to mention, what was never really talked about was that Portugal was the nation that pioneered the slave trades. The nation under which the majority of Africans were enslaved. It’s estimated that between 30 and 50 percent of all human beings trafficked in the slave trade of the colonial ages were victimized by Portuguese and Brazilian people.”

    Oliveira points to racism as a direct effect of the Atlantic slave trade that we still live with: attitudes that were formed to justify the debasement of other human beings.

    “I feel like this is such a large problem, and a lot of people say that racism doesn’t exist anymore. Which is of course baloney, right? If we are to talk about this issue I really feel like we have to talk about the origin of that issue.

    “That’s really what Thralled‘s about.”

    In spite of its tone Thralled still looks and feels like a puzzle platform video game. That means it has the potential to draw the criticism that it is making light of a heavy issue.

    “We are extremely carful to try and not trivialize the subject matter,” said Oliveira. “So really it will be up to each person. If people say that the subject is trivialized just because it’s being depicted through this medium, I don’t think that would be a valid reason, really.”

    As the medium of gaming matures alongside its earliest adopters we are going to see more attempts to tackle serious subject matter. Thralled is part of a wave of experiences, like the much talked about That Dragon, Cancer which is also set for the Ouya, that are bubbling out of the gaming underground and gaining attention from a more mainstream audience.

    The generation that never knew a world without video games is beginning to find its voice, and how they speak will prove as interesting as what they have to say.

    Public media’s TurnstyleNews.com, covers tech and digital culture from the West Coast.

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  • A Judge Just Gave Prosecutors Access To Someone's Gmail
    By Joseph Ax
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A federal judge in New York has granted prosecutors access to a Gmail user’s emails as part of a criminal probe, a decision that could fan the debate over how aggressively the government may pursue data if doing so may invade people’s privacy.
    U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel Gorenstein said Friday he had authorized a warrant to be served on Google Inc for the emails of an unnamed individual who is the target of a money laundering investigation.
    Gorenstein said his decision ran counter to several other judges’ rulings in similar cases that sweeping warrants give the government improper access to too many emails, not just relevant ones.
    But he said the law lets investigators review broad swaths of documents to decide which are covered by warrants.
    Google did not respond to a request for comment.
    The ruling came three months after U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis in New York said prosecutors can force Microsoft Corp to hand over a customer’s email stored in an Ireland data center.
    Microsoft has appealed, in what is seen as the first challenge by a company to a warrant seeking data stored overseas.
    Companies including Verizon Communications Inc, AT&T Inc, Cisco Systems Inc and Apple Inc have filed briefs in support of Microsoft, as has the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocacy group. A hearing is set for July 31 before U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in New York.
    The government’s ability to seize personal information has grown more contentious since former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents in June 2013 to media outlets outlining the agency’s massive data collection programs.
    In June, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled police generally need a warrant to search an arrested suspect’s cellphone, citing privacy concerns.
    Gorenstein’s ruling joined a public debate playing out among several magistrate judges, who typically handle warrant requests. It is unusual to issue lengthy opinions on such matters particularly when, as in Gorenstein’s case, the judge approves the application.
    In April, John Facciola, a magistrate in Washington, D.C., rejected a warrant for the Apple email account of a defense contractor as part of a kickback investigation, one of several similar opinions he has authored recently.
    Last year, a Kansas magistrate denied warrant applications for emails and records at Google, Verizon, Yahoo! Inc, Microsoft unit Skype and GoDaddy in a stolen computer equipment case.
    Both judges said the warrants were overly broad.
    On the other hand, several U.S. appeals courts have rejected motions to suppress such searches, Gorenstein said.
    Hanni Fakhoury, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, applauded Gorenstein for explaining his reasoning in writing, though he said he disagreed with the analysis.
    “The more voices and opinions we can add to the discussion, the better,” he said in an email.

    (Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Richard Chang)

  • Jimmy Fallon Shares The Most #AwkwardBreakUp Tweets Ever
    Breaking up can sometime be a little awkward, especially if immediately after you get your hair stuck in a tree for 20 minutes.

    In honor of the upcoming “Bachelorette” finale, Jimmy Fallon decided to make this week’s “Hashtag#awkwardbreakup, and some of these are doozies:

    After my bf cheated I broke up w/ him in front of his friends.Walking away I got my hair caught in a tree & was stuck there #awkwardbreakup

    — Sam Kopp (@skopp32) July 17, 2014

    7th grade boyfriend. Our mothers were friends so I asked my mom to break up with him through his mom. #awkwardbreakup

    — Jamie Mank (@JamieMank) July 17, 2014

    At the end of me and my boyfriend’s date night, he gave me a long kiss and then said “you won’t be getting that ever again” #awkwardbreakup

    — Giselle B. Johnston (@GiselleBunchman) July 17, 2014

    Watch the video above to see the rest and start feeling better that at least your ex never announced your breakup on “Kiss Cam.”

    “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

  • Dispatches From a Connected Future

    Unmanned aerial vehicles developed by Yan Wan from the University of North Texas are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access is out. The vehicle was one of the cyber-physical systems showcased at the Smart America Expo.

    Anyone looking for a glimpse into the technologies that will change our lives, businesses and organizations in the coming decades received an eyeful at the Smart America Expo in Washington, D.C. in June. There, scientists showed off cyber-dogs and disaster drones, smart grids and smart healthcare systems, all intended to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time.

    The event brought together leaders from academia, industry and government to showcase the results of six months of rapid team-building and technology development. The Expo demonstrated the ways that smarter cyber-physical systems (CPS) — sometimes called the Internet of Things — can lead to improvements in healthcare, transportation, energy and emergency response, and other critical areas.

    Among the demonstrations at the Expo were the first commercially available autonomous vehicle (Aribo), which the U.S. military is testing on its bases; a number of interconnected home — and hospital-based sensors and software systems designed to create a “closed loop” of healthcare coverage; drones capable of delivering Wi-Fi to disaster areas; and dogs instrumented with sensors, cameras and haptic devices to allow them to glean information from dangerous environments and respond to handlers.


    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy launched the Smart America Challenge in December 2013 as a way of galvanizing the development of the Internet of Things. The Challenge brought together more than 100 researchers, who organized themselves in 24 teams. The June Expo was the culmination of the first phase of the project and gave a sense of the potential of collaborations around cyber-physical systems.

    “So many of the breakthroughs of today and tomorrow are at the intersections of systems coming together to deliver compound awesomeness,” said Todd Park, United States Chief Technology Officer and a keynote speaker at the event. “1+1+1 equals a super cool robots or an exoskeleton.”

    Industry, academia and government are all investing heavily to develop the core technologies that will allow devices to communicate and cooperate with each other far better than they do today. But the scientists doing this research — like the machines they are working on — often are not aware of, or in communication with, each other.

    “Our nation had made significant investments in CPS in various sectors but they weren’t talking to each other,” said Geoff Mulligan, a Presidential Innovation Fellow who, along with Sokwoo Rhee, organized the event. “What if each researcher was to put their piece on the table to see how they fit together?”

    The Smart America challenge sought to de-fragment the research environment and build collaborations that tie disparate pieces of R&D together.

    “Innovation and progress are best done in partnerships where government, academia, and industry work together to promote growth and a safe and secure society,” said Chris Greer, director of the Smart Grid and Cyber-Physical Systems Program Office at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

    The National Science Foundation has been a strong supporter of cyber-physical systems research, investing more than $200 million in the area over the last five years. These investments were noticeable in the researchers represented at the Smart America Expo. Eight of the 24 teams included members of the academic community supported by NSF. Many other projects were built of fundamental, NSF-supported research.

    “Advances in cyber physical systems hold the potential to reshape our world with more responsive, precise, reliable and efficient systems,” said Farnam Jahanian, head of computing at NSF. “NSF investments have supported researchers across the U.S. who have laid the foundation to enable the deep integration of computation, communication, and control into physical systems — to make cyber physical systems a reality today.”

    Below are 6 examples of NSF-supported research from the Smart America Expo:

    1) Cyber-equipped dogs lead the way in search-and-rescue

    Researchers from North Carolina State University (NCSU) showed off pioneering work demonstrating the potential of technologies that allow dogs to gather information, and stay safe, during search and rescue operations.

    “What we’re hoping to do here is to begin the field of canine-computer interaction,” said David Roberts, professor of computer science at NCSU. “When we start to think about canines interacting with computers, the range of possibilities is essentially endless.”

    Among the applications they’re testing are computer-assisted training, remote communication with dogs in the field and tools to help people with guide dogs better understand what their dogs are doing.

    They accomplish these tasks by equipping dogs with video, audio and gas sensors (in the case of emergency response), as well as inertial measurement units that provide information in real time about the dogs posture and physiological monitors. Together, this information provides a detailed picture of what the dog is doing and enables handlers to characterize their emotional state.

    The last type of capabilities that they are working on enables handlers to communicate with dogs from afar. Using audio cues and haptic inputs (like the vibration on a phone), they are training dogs to respond to different commands in the field or around the house.

    2) Tele-robotics puts robot power at your fingertips

    In the aftermath of an earthquake, every second counts. The teams behind the Smart Emergency Response System (SERS) are developing technology to locate people quickly and help first responders save more lives. The SERS demonstrations at the Smart America Expo incorporated several NSF-supported research projects.

    Howard Chizeck, professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington, showed a system he’s helped to develop where one can log in to a Wi-Fi network in order to tele-operate a robot working in a dangerous environment.

    “We’re looking to give a sense of touch to tele-robotic operators, so you can actually feel what the robot end-effector is doing,” Chizeck said. “Maybe you’re in an environment that’s too dangerous for people. It’s too hot, too radioactive, too toxic, too far away, too small, too big, then a robot can let you extend the reach of a human.”

    The device is being used to allow surgeons to perform remote surgeries from thousands of miles away. And through a start-up called BluHaptics – started by Chizeck and Fredrik Ryden and supported by a Small Business Investment Research grant from NSF — researchers are adapting the technology to allow a robot to work underwater and turn off a valve at the base of an off-shore oil rig to prevent a major spill.

    “We’re trying to develop tele-robotics for a wide range of opportunities,” Chizeck said. “This is potentially a new industry, people operating in dangerous environments from a long distance.”

    3) Local 3D printing hubs bring manufacturing back to U.S

    Imaginestics is a start-up out of West Lafayette, Indiana, founded by Nainesh Rathod. At the Smart America Expo, Rathod was part of a team that demonstrated the potential impact of what they are calling “Smart Shape Technology.”

    The system Rathod and his collaborators developed lets you can take a picture of a part of a larger device with a mobile phone, and then identify a local retailer where this part can be found or instantly print it at a local neighborhood 3D printing service provider.

    The demonstration showed how Smart Shape Technology — using novel shape search, active label, smart hubs and 3D printing technologies — can create local jobs and increase local skills.

    “This technology doesn’t have to be locked up in big business,” Rathod said. “To make it available at our fingertips is within reach.”

    Rathod was twice a recipient of NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research grants, which helped to turn his radical idea into a business with several hundred employees.

    “NSF to us has been a big risk-taker,” Rathod said. “When we went to them and said we’re thinking about this, they didn’t throw us out the door. They basically said: great idea, here’s some money, see what you can do. They played, I think, a foundational role for us. Without that kind of a beginning, we wouldn’t be where we are.”

    4) Drones for disaster relief

    At the Smart America Expo, Yan Wan from the University of North Texas exhibited unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) she developed that are capable of providing wireless communications to storm-ravaged areas where telephone access is out.

    Typical wireless communications have a range limit of only a hundred meters. However, using technology developed by Wan and her colleagues, they were able to extend the Wi-Fi reach of drones to five kilometers. The secret is designing directional antennas that can rotate and adjust automatically to assure a strong connection.

    “This technology would be very useful in disaster scenarios when the cell towers are down and there’s no communication infrastructure,” Wan said. “However in order to enable the information dissemination between the rescue teams and control centers, we need to have a structure available to make this happen. And this is what we’re trying to provide.”

    In a grant from NSF, Wan is applying similar technology to next-generation aviation systems. One day, Wan’s research will enable drone-to-drone and flight-to-flight communications, improving air traffic safety, coordination and efficiency.

    5) Healthcare that follows you from home to hospital and back

    Through a decade of research and development, Marjorie Skubic, from the University of Missouri, has created a suite of health care technologies that identify when individuals fall in their homes or when their physical behavior changes over time. These technologies incorporate data from passive sensors, infrared cameras and smart detection algorithms to find signs of degenerative conditions and provide a quick assessment to help avoid further health declines.

    “These technologies help people get the help they need early, so we can treat and address health problems when they’re still small before they become catastrophic,” Skubic said.

    However, how does a physician at a hospital know about and use information gathered by devices like those designed by Skubic for the home? And likewise, how does information about a patient’s condition in the hospital get incorporated into technologies like Skubic’s when they return to their home?

    As part of the Closed Loop Healthcare team, Skubic worked to connect the technologies she’s created with those developed by other teams with similar health care goals. The team’s ultimate aim is to “close the loop” of healthcare coverage so devices, data and doctors’ diagnoses can be integrated for the good of the patient.

    6) Helping healthcare technologies communicate

    Julian Goldman, a physician at Mass General Hospital, knows better than most the frustrations that doctors face when they’re confronted with computer systems and devices that just won’t communicate with each other.

    His lab has been a pioneer in developing open source software and standards designed to integrate the various technologies used in homes and hospitals. Goldman’s lab created a computing platform called Open ICE (Integrated Clinical Environment) to begin to address these problems. The effort, in turn, led to the development of a community of like-minded researchers and manufacturers that would like to break barriers in health care through better information exchange, better communication among medical devices and between medical devices and electronic health records, and ultimately through smart apps designed to improve patient safety and decrease the cost of health care.

    “Our involvement with Smart America has been an exciting, six-month, wild ride,” said Goldman, who co-chaired the Closed Loop Healthcare team with Marge Skubic. “We’ve all learned a lot from each other. Our contact, and our work together, has influenced our perception of our work, including how to make our own work more accessible to collaborators. That is extremely valuable and typically very hard to do.”

  • Regional anesthesia app gives guidelines for anticoagulation therapies

    Regional anesthesia iPhone medical app review on anticoagulation guidelines

    The post Regional anesthesia app gives guidelines for anticoagulation therapies appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • User-Unfriendly Online Ticket Sales
    Co-authored by Alan Daley

    So, you want to attend a concert featuring one of your favorite performers? Why not buy your tickets online and use the convenient venue seating charts? Well, comparing prices between online vendors can be difficult and time-consuming. And, many online vendors like it that way, as we will explain.

    When it comes to buying event tickets online, there is often a lack of upfront transparency that makes comparing vendors a real challenge. Yes, with patience and scrolling through the search results for a venue, you can find tickets for sale by the primary vendor and resellers. However, it is unlikely that you will know the final cost of your tickets at this stage, because few vendors reveal an “all-in” price that includes everything they expect you to pay. It is that lack of transparency that can lead consumers to not having all the information they need to make good buying decisions, and some online vendors have no incentive to make it easier for you to compare these prices.

    Here is what we found in analyzing prices for a recent Beyoncé and JAY-Z concert in New Jersey. After reviewing the primary vendor’s (Ticketmaster’s) offerings, we felt the prices seemed a little high and decided to compare prices for ten popular ticket resellers, like StubHub, Easy Seat, TicketsNow, RazorGator and others. While we considered some different sections and rows, the seats we considered were about equidistant from the stage, had similar elevations, and had similar stage-viewing angles (some slightly right, some slightly left). Overall, the comparisons seemed to be fair. The choices were always good or, at least, so we thought.

    We began comparing prices on reseller websites by selecting similar sections and rows where tickets were still available. We immediately found some vendor prices that were substantially lower than other vendor prices. However, even after selecting seats and putting them in the shopping cart, we still did not know our final costs.

    Only at checkout did we finally discover the price of the tickets often include “service fees” for each seat, as well as “delivery” or “handling” charges for the entire transaction. In fact, the primary seller and eight of the ten resellers that we analyzed charged these service fees later at checkout, whereas TM+ and StubHub included them in the upfront price. In some cases, these late-revealed service charges increased the early-stated seat price by more than 30%.

    What we found was that going through each vendor’s selection and checkout process was tedious and quite time-consuming. In our sample of ticket vendors, we found high-priced vendors sometimes selling tickets at nearly one-third the cost higher than low-priced vendors for the identical section and row. Of course, you will not be alerted to this unless until you work your way through each of the vendors’ tedious selection and checkout process. In the meantime, you feel under pressure to buy your ticket quickly, as a shot clock could expire and force you to start over from the beginning. If price comparisons are important to you, we found the lack of “all-in” pricing to be not consumer friendly.

    In our sample, five of the ten resellers charged extra (usually $7.50 extra) for electronic delivery of the tickets. That seemed excessive, considering that electronic delivery is most efficient and produces little direct cost for the ticket vendor. Parking at the event was priced at $64.95, which also seemed outrageously high.

    In other words, simply comparing upfront ticket prices does not provide consumers enough information on the final costs of the purchase. The reality is that some online vendors offered cheaper ticket prices upfront, but then tacked on higher fees at the end. It worked like a bait-and-switch tactic — where consumers are enticed to buy cheaper items only to be charged more in the end.

    What could the reason be for user-unfriendly online ticket sales? The confusing process gives sellers better information than buyers. That, in turn, means that buyers do not have sufficient information to make informed buying decisions. Confusion favors sellers, and it often leads consumers to pay more for event tickets than they would have if only they had better information been available to them. In other words, many online ticket sales websites are set up to make ticket price comparisons tedious and time-consumers, and they encourage consumers to make snap decisions while facing a shot clock. They are designed to be user-unfriendly and potentially cause consumers to overpay, but it does not have to be that way.

    In the airline industry, there are plenty of intermediaries (Priceline, Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz and Kayak) that search and provide reliable fare information that saves time and money for consumers. Ideally, for online ticket buyers, there should be “all-in” price data too, but industry standards are missing and, therefore, policymakers need to push for more upfront transparency. The online ticket sales business is ripe for an infusion of upfront honesty in its pricing.

    In short, public policy needs to focus on giving consumers better information in order to empower them to make better buying decisions. Requiring online ticket providers to show the all-in price before taxes would provide that information and heighten market competition. That regulation would be virtually costless to the industry and it would have immense benefits to consumers.

    That would be a public policy long overdue.

    Alan Daley and Steve Pociask write for The American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research, a nonprofit educational and research organization. For more information about the Institute, visit www.theamericanconsumer.org.

  • Astronaut Hank Hartsfield, Who Led First Flight Of Space Shuttle Discovery, Dies At 80

    NASA astronaut Henry “Hank” Hartsfield, who in 1984 commanded the maiden mission of the space shuttle Discovery, died on Thursday (July 17). He was 80.

    Hank Hartsfield’s death came as a result of complications from back surgery he had several months ago, according to his fellow astronaut and STS-41D crewmember Mike Mullane.

    “Obviously, I have many, many memories of my time with Hank,” Mullane wrote online on Thursday. “He was a great commander and pilot and I’ll always feel honored to have been a member of his crew.”

    Hartsfield became a NASA astronaut in September 1969, just two months after the first moon landing. He waited 13 years to make his first spaceflight, serving as the pilot on shuttle Columbia’s STS-4 mission, the fourth and final test flight of the winged orbiter program. [7 Notable Space Shuttle Astronauts]

    Launching on Columbia on June 27, 1982, Hartsfield and commander Thomas “Ken” Mattingly circled the Earth 112 times while performing experiments and operating a pair of classified missile launch-detection systems. Returning to Earth a week later on Independence Day, the STS-4 crew was greeted by then-President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

    The STS-4 mission was the last to be flown before NASA declared the space shuttle operational.

    “‘Operational,’ to me, is a tough term to explain,” Hartsfield told collectSPACE.com in a 2006 interview. “In my view, the whole time we were flying [the space shuttle] it was a test vehicle, although we called it operational. We used it and did a lot of great things [but it was not] operational by the way I look at it, having been a test pilot and looking at airplanes.”

    Hartsfield’s second shuttle mission assignment came two years later as the commander Discovery’s first flight, but the STS-41D mission set another first before ever leaving the launch pad.

    Originally scheduled to lift off in June 1984, Hartsfield and his crew of five were just four seconds from launch when a faulty main engine forced the shuttle program’s first-ever abort, followed by a hydrogen fire on the pad. It took two months to recover, but Discovery safely launched on Aug. 30 on a six-day flight to deploy communication satellites and conduct science. [Space Shuttle Discovery: 10 Spaceship Facts]

    During the mission, Hartsfield and his crewmates gained a nickname, the “Icebusters,” after using the shuttle robotic arm to successfully knock off a hazardous ice buildup on the outside of the orbiter.

    “We had to get rid of the icicle because if it stayed on there, the concern was that when we started entry [back into the Earth atmosphere] it was just about the right place to break off and then hit the [Orbital Maneuvering System] pod,” Hartsfield explained in a 2001 NASA interview. “If you hit the OMS pod and broke those tiles… that’s where the propellant is for the OMS engines, you know, and that is not a good thing to have happen.”

    “I operated the arm and broke the icicle off,” he recalled. “We were really relieved to see that go away.”

    Hartsfield returned to orbit for his third and final flight as commander of Challenger’s STS-61A mission in October 1985. In addition to being the first flight to be funded and directed by a foreign country (the former West Germany, overseeing the European-built Spacelab module mounted in Challenger’s payload bay), the eight-member 61A crew set the record for the most astronauts to launch and land on the same spacecraft.

    The seven-day flight conducted more than 75 experiments over the course of 112 orbits, marking the last time space shuttle Challenger would fly in space. The orbiter was lost in flight in January 1986.

    With STS-61A’s landing, Hartsfield had logged a total of 20 days, 2 hours and 50 minutes in space, having circled the Earth 321 times.

    “I flew on Columbia, Challenger and Discovery,” Hartsfield told collectSPACE.com in 2009. “I was fortunate to be the commander of the first flight of Discovery, and [it] turned out to be a pretty doggoned good bird.”

    Henry Warren Hartsfield, Jr. was born on Nov. 21, 1933 in Birmingham, Alabama. He earned his bachelor of science degree in physics at Auburn University in 1954, performed graduate work in physics and astronautics at the Air Force Institute of Technology and Duke University, and received his master of science degree in engineering science from the University of Tennessee in 1971.

    Hartsfield joined the Air Force in 1955 and graduated from the test pilot school at Edwards Air Force Base, where he was serving as an instructor when he was recruited as an astronaut trainee for the Manned Orbital Laboratory. The project would have seen Hartsfield fly to space onboard a Gemini spacecraft to work on a reconnaissance platform, had it not been canceled in 1969.

    With the end of the MOL program, Hartsfield and six other trainees transferred to NASA’s astronaut corps. Before his own three shuttle flights, Hartsfield served on the support crews for the fifth moon landing, Apollo 16 in April 1972, and for all three missions to the United States’ first space station, Skylab, between May 1973 and February 1974.

    Hartsfield retired from the Air Force in 1977 but continued at NASA well beyond his time flying in space. He served as the deputy chief of the astronaut office and the deputy director of flight crew operations at Johnson Space Center in Houston before holding management positions at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. and at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

    Before leaving NASA in 1998 to become an executive at the Raytheon Corp., Hartsfield helped set the ground work for the International Space Station, serving as the deputy manager of the space station projects office, among other positions related to the orbiting laboratory. He retired from Raytheon in 2005.

    hank hartsfield
    Hank Hartsfield thanks the audience for its applause at the 2009 U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

    Awarded Air Force and NASA medals and the recipient of the 1973 Gen. Thomas D. White Space Trophy, Hartsfield was inducted into the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 1983 and U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 2006. Hartsfield was bestowed an honorary doctor of science degree from his alma mater, Auburn University, in 1986.

    Hartsfield is survived by his wife Judy Frances Massey, daughter Judy and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his daughter Keely, who worked as a contractor to the space shuttle program and died in March 2014.

    Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2014 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.

    Copyright 2014 SPACE.com, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Tablets' Coming Dominance Sign of Fast-Twitch Nature of Retail
    Gartner’s recent proclamation that tablets will soon overtake PCs in the global market was hardly shocking.

    Mobile devices have increasingly become the go-to device for the growing number of global citizens who live their lives online. Big PC players, like Intel and Hewlett-Packard, have been bracing for the day for years. And think of your own home? Any chance a tablet — at the kitchen table, on the couch, in bed — has replaced a desktop or laptop in the family room?

    For e-commerce retailers, the fact that manufacturers will ship 320 million tablets and only 316 million PCs in 2015 is an inflection point worth noting — and a reminder that they need to be ever vigilant for changes in consumer behavior.

    It is more important than ever, for instance, that e-tailers make sure their sites are optimized for tablets and that they know how to stay connected with consumers no matter how many different devices a shoppers users — phone to tablet to laptop — during one shopping excursion.


    Sucharita Mulpuru, who follows e-commerce for Forrester, isn’t sure the move to tablets will be a big disruption for most retailers. But she does have some advice.

    “If anything,” she says, “they just need to make sure that their content is optimized and that their sites don’t crash on different tablet browsers.”

    The shift outlined in Gartner’s report is certainly an opportunity for reflection. (Gartner, by the way, could not provide an analyst to comment on the report in a timely fashion.) Think of the tablet’s coming statistical victory over the PC as one of those milestones, like when the Dow breaks 17,000 or McDonald’s sells its 300 billionth burger — an historic moment and a chance to think about where we’re going.

    And for e-commerce enterprises and their customers, where we’re going is mobile. Forrester’s research points to the 200 million smartphone subscribers and 100 million regular tablet users and predicts that by 2018, sales executed on phones and tablets will hit $293 billion, more than half of all U.S. e-commerce. And tablets will be driving that growth, accounting for $219 billion of the 2018 sales total. (Not to mention that a recent study by marketing firm Custora found that tablet shoppers convert at twice the rate of smartphone shoppers.)

    Given those numbers, it would seem that optimizing sites and making sure yours doesn’t crash on tablets’ browsers would seem like a given. But dealing with the differences in the laptop experience and the tablet experience is nothing to grow complacent about.

    In fact, the need to be nimble to make sure that your products can be found, is another reminder that consumers can’t buy online what they can’t find online. I’d argue that consumers’ practice of flitting among phones, tablets and desktops is also an argument for the need for retailers to remember that consumers aren’t hung up on how they’re shopping.


    The Custora study of tablet shoppers found that the percentage of consumers shopping across devices has tripled in less than two years, reaching 12 percent. Those consumers don’t see themselves as shopping on phones or shopping on tablets or shopping on desktops. They are just shopping; and retailers need to be communicating with and recognizing individual customers across all those channels.

    Yes, the statistics on tablet sales vs. PC sales are fluid and fleeting. While the macro-trend is for slower PC sales, they actually saw a sales spike last quarter, owing to businesses’ need to replace old machines and XP users’ need to replace an operating system that Microsoft no longer supports.

    “Business upgrades from Windows XP and the general business replacement cycle will lessen the downward trend, especially in Western Europe,” Gartner Research Director Ranjit Atwal explained in the company’s press release. “This year, we anticipate nearly 60 million professional PC replacements in mature markets.”

    And, ironically, the growth in tablet sales has been sluggish this year, with consumers apparently waiting for larger screens, according to Gartner.

    But the overall long-term trend is undeniable. Consumers are moving to mobile and retailers need to be ready for all that comes with that.

    Cover photo of iPads by Matthew Pearce and photos of tablet user by Juhan Sonin and tablets by Siddartha Thota published under Creative Commons license.

    Mike Cassidy is BloomReach’s storyteller. Reach him at mike.cassidy@bloomreach.com and follow him on Twitter at @mikecassidy.

  • Nelson Mandela Doodle May Just Be Google's Best Yet
    What better way to spend #MandelaDay than reading wise words from the civil rights hero himself?

    Google is celebrating Nelson Mandela’s birthday with what is perhaps their greatest doodle to date. Friday’s homepage featured an interactive slideshow of animated quotes from the late anti-apartheid leader.

    The former president of South Africa, who was born July 18th, 1918, would have been 96 today. Mandela died in December 2013 at age 95.

    See the doodles below.

    nelson mandela google

    nelson mandela gogle

    nelson mandela google

    nelson mandela google

    nelson mandela google

    nelson mandela google

  • Why people play real-life simulators
    Why people play computer games that simulate everyday activities
  • When We Explore The Deep Sea, We Are Exploring For Our Own Survival
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    In 1953, on the heels of a discovery of a second coelacanth specimen in the Comoros Islands off Madagascar’s coast, J.L.B. Smith, the man who described the species, wrote in the Times of London: “We have in the past assumed that we have mastery not only of the land but of the sea… We have not. Life goes on there just as it did from the beginning. Man’s influence is as yet but a passing shadow. This discovery means that we may find other fishlike creatures, supposedly extinct still living in the sea.”

    Unlike the coelacanth, which was thought to have gone extinct, we have known for centuries that giant squid have existed in our oceans’ depths. But unable to observe them alive in their deep sea home, we have understood very little about how they live, where they live and how they behave. That is, until 2012, when Drs. Edith Widder, Steve O’Shea and Tsunemi Kobodera filmed the elusive and mysterious giant in its natural deep-sea habitat for the first time — a landmark moment in ocean exploration and an example of how technology and ingenuity can overcome the monumental challenges we face in exploring the deep. But it is a drop in the vast ocean-sized bucket of amazing discoveries waiting to be found.

    As a scientist, I want to explore the great wonders our ocean has to offer. As a conservationist, I need to explore the vital human-ocean connection: how the ocean can provide for people and how our impacts affect the health of our oceans. This is critically important for us this century. Our population is rapidly growing toward nine billion people and our demand for food, fresh water and energy is predicted to double. Healthy oceans can help ease the increasing burden our population is placing on this planet, but we need to be able to explore, observe and learn about the oceans in their entirety in order to protect and conserve them effectively.

    I am no stranger to deep-sea exploration. In fact, I was on the same research vessel, just before the filming of the squid, making a documentary that would later become the Shark Week program Alien Sharks of the Deep. We sank a whale carcass, which had died from apparently natural causes and washed up on shore, 2,000 feet below the Sea of Japan and then descended in submersibles to observe the ensuing feeding frenzy by an array of creatures.

    Although we did not get to film the giant squid or observe any species new to science, we did manage to film an important and often overlooked part of the ocean life cycle. When animals in the ocean, particularly large ones like whales, die and sink to the bottom, they create their own micro-ecosystem, sort of like an oasis in the desert. Hagfish, deep sea isopods and the large and powerful six-gill shark all showed up to feed on the buffet we had set on the sea floor.

    Making these kinds of observations are incredibly important to understand how the ocean works. Think of it like an antique watch. As long as it keeps ticking, you will know what time it is. What happens if it is not keeping accurate time or it stops? You can’t understand what the problem is by just looking. You have to crack it open and when you do, you find an intricate and complicated system of gears designed to make this machine function. Unfortunately, getting inside every part of the ocean is not as simple as opening a watch.

    The deep sea is the most hostile environment on Earth. Reaching it requires the same kind of methods, technology and expertise required for exploring space. Yet, despite the similarity in how we employ technology to explore both the ocean and space, there is a great disparity between the amount of funding put toward space exploration and ocean exploration. The result? We have better maps of the surface of Mars than we do of our own planet’s sea floor.

    There are no doubt countless discoveries to be made under the surface of the sea, whether they are species we know to exist but have yet to observe in their own habitat, species new to science or those species thought long extinct. All of these types of findings fit together in a jigsaw puzzle that, as it reaches completion, reveals to us how people fit into the picture and how we can best manage, conserve and protect the oceans for our own benefit.

    It is imperative that we keep pushing the limits of our ocean. We will not find megalodon, but we might find the key to our survival on Earth.

    Greg Stone is the Chief Scientist for Conservation International and the executive vice president for CI’s Betty and Gordon Moore Center for Science and Oceans. He will appear on the show ‘Alien Sharks: Return to the Abyss’ which airs during the Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.

    We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com.

  • Apollo 11 Mission's 45th Anniversary Reminds Us To Never Stop Taking Small Steps
    Forty-five years ago, on July 20, 1969, crew members of Apollo 11 made history when they walked on the moon.

    “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind,” U.S. astronaut Neil Armstrong uttered as he became the first human to set foot on the surface of the moon at 10:56 p.m. EDT. Buzz Aldrin followed shortly thereafter and became the second man to walk on the lunar surface.

    The pair, two of the three members of the Apollo 11 crew, spent the next two hours exploring completely uncharted territory.

    Decades later, they are still among only a handful of people who have ever touched down on the moon. Humankind has not visited the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

    (Story continues below.)
    neil armstrong moon 1969
    One of the few photographs of Neil Armstrong on the moon shows him working on his spacecraft on the lunar surface.

    neil armstrong moon
    Astronaut Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. walks on the surface of the moon, with seismographic equipment that he just set up.

    In honor of Apollo 11’s 45th anniversary, the Slooh Space Camera will broadcast live footage from the lunar surface on Sunday, starting at 8:30 p.m. EDT. A panel of experts, including Slooh host Geoff Fox and astronomer Bob Berman, will be online to discuss mission details and share some anecdotes they’ve heard from the crew.

    Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are also toasting Apollo 11 pioneers Armstrong, Aldrin and the third crew member, Michael Collins, for their successful mission.

    [W]e’d like to salute the Apollo 11 crew,” U.S. astronaut Reid Wiseman said in a video produced to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the launch. “Forty-five years ago, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins embarked on humanity’s boldest journey. Apollo 11 not only achieved its mission to perform a manned lunar landing and return safely to Earth, it raised the bar of human potential.”

    Watch Slooh’s live broadcast on July 20 in the video, below.

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