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Mobile Technology News, June 6, 2015

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • At #PDF15, Hope and Fear About an Increasingly Connected World
    More than a decade after the first time the Personal Democracy Forum was convened, its colorful community of digital activists, campaigners, advocates and civic technologists is still capturing and coding the zeitgeist, hoping to create the change they wish to see in the world. In the face of continued apathy, anger, injustice, inequality and discrimination, there was also more pragmatism on stage this year than in years past.

    The question of whether traditional power structures — as represented by nations, presidents and institutions — have come to an end in the age of networks remains “no.” E-government has not yet become “we government.” The political force of the network of networks is still emerging, although the adoption of strong open Internet rules by the Federal Communications Commission is an important example of how powerful online activism has grown.

    The world has seen more technological change in a shorter period than at any time in history, and yet the democracy’s around the world has been stagnant for the past decade. Trust in government and participation in voting and civic life are at historic lows, at least in the United States.

    “We haven’t made a lot of progress on a lot of the things I care about”-@cbracy. Participation & trust in gov. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/hjadmZEjeU

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Research on “interested bystanders” to the political process from Google’s Politics team offered actionable suggestions for how to pull more people into civic life, but whether they’re acted upon by governments, nonprofits and civic start-ups remains an open question.

    There are now better standards for civic engagement, if people choose to use them.

    Here’s @codeforamerica‘s public engagement standard http://t.co/RKDXIUtWLK via @cbracy at #PDF15 #opengov #civictech pic.twitter.com/wQ4HFSzk3s

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    The pragmatism I saw on display is balanced with stubborn hope and determination that technology-fueled progress remains possible, due to new layers of nuance about whom change benefits.

    Relevant research for #pdf15 by @Participatory on #CivicTech, engagement & inclusion: http://t.co/WzzSufLQ9X http://t.co/DqyS46SFJQ #opengov

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Some speakers brought dazzling visuals to support their points, like Dave Troy, showing how communities in places or around politicians are connected — or not — using peoplemaps.org.

    In which @davetroy maps the communities that are following #NYC Mayor @BilldeBlasio on Twitter. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/ijplBTPIqV

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Others brought no slides at all, depending on the strength of their rhetoric to convey their vision for how technology should be used to connect the public, for the public interest. Harold Feld, the vice president of public policy at Public Knowledge, delivered an impassioned talk asking what a “public utility” means in the 21st century.

    Other speakers shared hope that people use networks to create and build, not to shame, tear down and destroy lives and careers. Jim Gilliam, the founder of campaign software startup NationBuilder, famously said in 2011 that the Internet was his religion. This year, Gilliam urged everyone at Personal Democracy Forum — and everyone online — to use the power of our collective attention to build people up, not to destroy lives or careers through shaming.

    “Leadership for a connected humanity: choosing how to use our power”-@jgilliam. Build, don’t destroy. #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/SdT2K7pCD5

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Others speakers shared stories of how organizing in new ways can give connected workers new voices in workplaces and protection in a world where on-demand services and temporary employment is increasingly common.

    Organized #hashtag activism & @teamcoworker petition ended @Starbucks‘ ban on visible tattoos says @jess_kutch #pdf15 pic.twitter.com/H88snAJECy

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Embracing empathy, purpose-driven design and algorithmic transparency

    Our immersion and constant connectivity are posing other opportunities and challenges to how we live and work. At PDF 2015, Deanna Zandt made a thoughtful pitch at the conference for embracing empathy, and its role in reflecting humanity’s messiness back at us online. Americans are now spending more than eight hours every day consuming media. The American public is not alone around the world in this behavior. As we stare down at our glowing screens, though, people are still looking for intimacy and human connections beyond public social media platforms, where what we share on Instagram doesn’t reflect the entirety of our lived experience. People are searching for safer spaces to share ephemeral media that can’t instantly be seen by a billion people.

    The value of our time and attention also loomed large at Personal Democracy Forum, embodied by an audience that overwhelmingly split its focus between smartphones and laptops as they listened to speakers. Many of the popular social media platforms and apps of today, whether public or private, are designed around grabbing and holding our attention. Tristan Harris encouraged us to embrace design for civic apps that are focused on a purpose beyond that goal.

    Purpose-driven design is to #civictech as organic is to food, LEED is to building. Time spent->time well-spent #PDF15 pic.twitter.com/UewMINpnEN

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Citing Neil Postman quoting Aldous Huxley, he urged us to focus on spending time and attention on what matters, not what’s demanded.

    In the future, the challenge for everyone staring at those screens is that the same “addiction algorithms” honed and perfected in casinos are being applied elsewhere, from shopping to online games. When Cathy O’Neil talked about those “algorithms as weapons of math destruction,” she flagged the potential risks of applying mathematical model expressed in software to enforcing public policy. Data-driven policy, campaigns and commerce are going to need more “algorithmic transparency.”

    Staring into an uncertain connected future

    The first day of the conference ended with difficult questions about how the next billion people will go online — and what will happen when we connect billions of sensors and devices to the network of networks. Sunil Abraham, the executive director of the Center of Internet and Society in India, decried what Facebook’s Internet.org offered to Indians, suggesting it should have been called “WalledGarden.org.”

    .@mlsif talking with @sunil_abraham about “zero rating” & @internet_org http://t.co/uqi8T3glva over Skype at #PDF15. pic.twitter.com/laY8BdWNhm

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Despite Mark Zuckerberg’s claims to the contrary, the practice of zero rating, or giving people free data for a selected set of services, looks fundamentally incompatible with net neutrality laws or regulations. If the world gets this wrong, the next Internet will end up working more like cable TV than the World Wide Web of last decade.

    Science fiction author and activist Cory Doctorow closed the first day conference with his concerns about the growing “Internet of Things,” referring to the growing number of sensors, devices, appliances, vehicles and industrial machines that are getting IP addresses. Doctorow warned that the business model of this new wave of connected devices is looking far more like that of inkjet printers and closed systems than the open Web, with digital rights management constraining use and even ownership. He shared a story of John Deere and copyright as an early example of this potential future in our present, warning that this model means that “you are a tenant farmer of your tractor.” Doctorow said that the public needs to start thinking about subprime auto loans (to say nothing of, say, prosthetic limbs), when cars can be remotely deactivated if the owner misses a payment.

    Whether we control our devices or the media recorded on them is not a minor point at a time when citizen-recorded and published videos bring new transparency and accountability against law enforcement abuses. In a powerful talk, Dante Barry shared his hope that the open Internet, the most powerful platform for collective action in mankind’s short history, will be used to fight in the 21st century for the civil and human rights that previous generations fought and bled for in the last century.

    “Powerful movements need powerful platforms”-@dantebarry on the open Internet. #pdf15 #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/hTdXMxEr2z

    — Alex Howard (@digiphile) June 4, 2015

    Fundamental questions of labor standards and employment were more a part of the conversation about digital democracy than at any point previously. At a time when our national leaders and politicians are still not engaging directly with the future of jobs as artificial intelligence, automation and machine-learning disrupt employment, it was refreshing to see these issues directly addressed in a conference focused on technology and society.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Pointers: the value of the unlocked iPhone
    This Pointers tip actually works on most other smartphones as well, we should mention, but our experience in this regard is with the iPhone, so we use that as our example. Most people confuse “unlocking” an iPhone with “jailbreaking” it, and these two concepts could not be more different, in fact. This week, we will explain the chief advantages of unlocking your iPhone, or other smartphone, if its not already, and why you should do it as soon as possible — even if you never plan to leave your home country.

  • Federal Government Data Breach Being Investigated As National Security Matter
    By Julia Edwards

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A cyber breach into U.S. government workers’ personnel data is being investigated as a national security matter, meaning it may have originated from a foreign government, a U.S. official told Reuters.

    National security investigations are used to probe actions thought to have originated from a state entity or terrorist organization, and the actor in the recent breach is not thought to be a terrorist organization, the official said.

    Investigators have been probing China as a possible culprit, U.S. officials said on Thursday, though it was unclear at the time whether a government or citizens acting independently were responsible.

    The hackers broke into U.S.government computers, possibly compromising the personal data of 4 million current and former federal employees.

    The FBI said it is investigating the attack and aimed to find those responsible.

    Asked about the role China may have played, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Friday there is “no conclusion about the attribution” of the attack.

    The Chinese Embassy in Washington said on Thursday that jumping to conclusions was “not responsible, and counterproductive.”

    (Reporting By Julia Edwards; Editing by Sandra Maler)

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • New to Freelance Web Design? Read Me.

    Starting out as a Freelance Web Designer?

    Congratulations! So now, where to start.

    As the owner and primary designer at HostMamas, I have run across many tips, tools, and inspiration through my years of freelancing and networking. Some good, some not so good. Here are some of my favorite if you are just getting your feet wet in this fun world.

    • Slow down. Don’t start with a design: take a scenario-based approach to firmly establish the client’s goals, map out a user’s journey and then build the design around this. Listen first, design later.
    • Get Your Client Involved in the Design Process. Create a shared vision board on Pinterest. They’re a great way to collect elements together quickly and clue your client in and get them involved in the initial design process. Also, utliziing a tool like Unveil offers real time feedback with the client.
    • Image Size Reduction. A basic is knowing that sites with highly optimized images load faster and work better on more devices. SmushIt is a great option to reduce image file sizes, quick and easy. They also have a WordPress plugin, if you are utilizing that CMS.
    • Find color inspiration. Join a creative community where members share color schemes, designs and ideas like the Colour Lovers site.
    • Typography is the Word. Monotype recently teamed up with Google to release a new, free public version of Typecast which can be accessed through Google Fonts. It enables you to select any font on the Google Fonts website and then follow the link to the Typecast app.
    • You can’t be an expert at everything. If a job calls for an advanced skill you don’t yet have, don’t be afraid to ask for help. By joining a co-op to work through, you can create a great network to lean on and vice versa. Check out ShareDesk to find one by you.
    • S-E-O is your Best Friend. You don’t need to be an expert at it, but at least be very familiar on the basics. In 2015, it is a must- especially if you are freelancing. The web has lots of tips, tricks, and tutorials (A great starter is here). If you utilize certain CMS’ they have awesome plugins you can easily integrate into your sites (WordPress favorite is SEO by Yoast).
    • Design Sites to be Responsive. If you don’t know what that means, you should probably hold off on designing until you do. In 2015, sites are being viewed on a plethora of devices and your client will want theirs to be looking good on all of them. If you want to utilize the CMS WordPress, you might want to check out Ultimatum. Some others out there include Muse by Adobe and WebFlow.
    • Say Yes. Say yes to work even if it’s outside your comfort zone. By taking a paying job that challenges your current skill set it will allow you to develop more than any course or tutorial. Deadlines, money, and clients are powerful motivators.
    • You are a Salesperson as much as you are a Designer.I saved the best for last. Many designers or developers do not want to hear this, but as a freelancer it is true. You need to create a pitch and be able to explain why you are different from Susie Designer down the road. If you want to be successful in the word of freelance, you need to continually be able to sell yourself.

    So remember: Be tenacious, be curious, be social, and oh yeah- having your own awesome website to showcase doesn’t hurt. Best of luck!

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Another Reason to Reach for the Cloud
    Lots of people are talking about cloud computing.

    Even if the term is a misnomer, cloud computing is a big deal. That’s because organizations can do anything in the cloud that they can do on-premises. So why are Federal agencies still investing just a fraction of their IT budgets on cloud computing?

    DevOps Trending Up

    A new study, “The Agile Advantage: Can DevOps Move Cloud to the Fast Lane?” helps connect the dots. Agencies want to move more quickly, and 66 percent say they need to move IT services to the cloud faster to meet mission and constituent needs. DevOps can help agencies move to the cloud and improve efficiency by streamlining IT management.

    What is it?

    Speeding Up with DevOps

    DevOps is about speeding up software development.

    Conventional development cordons off software developers from IT operations and quality assurance. Each team does their thing serially, one after the other. DevOps speeds everything up. It’s automated and collaborative. Management consultant Accenture believes DevOps can result in a 50 percent increase in speed to market, according to its “DevOps: Services Overview.””A DevOps model brings software engineering, quality assurance, and IT operations together as an integrated team,” explained Tim Hoechst, Accenture Federal Services’ chief technology officer (CTO). “Federal agencies can start up new projects more quickly, improve resource utilization, and reduce downtime – ultimately driving the innovation needed for real change.”

    By the Numbers

    Just 22 percent of Feds are very familiar with DevOps today, but 60 percent say they can see DevOps in their agency’s future.

    That’s not all – 63 percent say DevOps will speed up application delivery and migration, and 68 percent see DevOps as a viable path to improve collaboration between IT development, security, and operations teams.

    The Secret is Out

    So here’s a question – can DevOps help agencies migrate to the cloud faster?

    Maybe DevOps and cloud computing go hand in hand. Like peas and carrots, apple pie and ice cream, or B.B. King and blues (RIP, B.B.). According to the new study, few Federal agencies have embraced DevOps, but the majority sees it in their future.

    Read the full report about DevOps to learn more about how it can help Federal agencies.

    And learn more about Federal cloud.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Technology Party Manifesto
    Perhaps I will not break any new ground here, and, certainly, who cares what I think – some writer/filmmaker who clearly has too much imagination and no sense of reality. But, nonetheless, here it goes – I think it’s time for a viable Technology Party to emerge. Not a hold-the-beat rave with glow sticks, mind you, but a political organization.

    Republicans and, to a large extent, Democrats, represent old technologies and old industries. Oil, gas, steel, electricity, and such are still here and important parts of our toolset, but in the evolution of technology, they are the cranky grandpas, dreaming of old glory while stuck in unpleasant habits. Tech has shaped human history from the early stages of the development of tools, and we have reached another threshold. The first people to sharpen a stone, the first to create a wheel, the first to figure out that iron was easier to use than bronze and so on were the winners and leaders of their times. In the same way, the moment has come to have people in power who are leading the current technological revolution, the computer-based, internet-oriented digital life we have today.

    Our technology is no longer something on the outside – it’s become inseparable from us, it’s a part of us. And this trend will only continue. But who will stand up for the Digital Man? Both major American parties were formed in the 19th century and often behave like not much has changed. The current unproductive political climate is not simply due to inability to agree. The people who are representing us are talking about the wrong things, in the wrong ways, relying on ideas no longer relevant.

    The Technology Party needs to be led by one of the leaders of the digital industry, at home in the new world. This party’s platform should include education at its core and should represent America in all the multifaceted diversity that it is today. It would be a common sense party, comfortable with where technology is taking us, knowing how to deal with the issues of privacy, how to protect this country from Cyberwarfare, how to implement digital voting and bring fast internet to all, creating greater overall democracy.

    The time for this party has come. It feels in many ways that our life has already been shaped by people who have been the captains of tech. But it’s time they officially proposed and created policy. Standing here, on the shore of the binary ocean I shout – Technology Party, where are you? Take my vote!

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • US facing 'dedicated' hacking enemy
    The US says it faces a “dedicated adversary” and an “ever evolving threat” to the nation’s cyber security, after a major data breach.
  • Lovely, The Wearable Sex Tracker, Is A Fitbit For Your Penis
    How lovely.

    As wearable devices become more and more common, techies are able to better incorporate their smartphones, watches and fitness trackers into a daily routine. And a new Indiegogo campaign hopes you’re ready to take wearables along for some of your most intimate moments, too.

    The Lovely, a “smart” sex toy, fits around the penis and tracks sexual activity — from calories burned, to number of thrusts, to the intensity of intercourse. A smartphone app measures these and other data sets before recommending new sex positions “to help you have even better sex next time,” the Indiegogo page reads.

    Made of silicone, the one-size-fits-all toy vibrates to help provide stimulation during sex. It syncs to your smartphone via bluetooth, and its battery lasts for seven hours without vibration, or two hours with. When Lovely’s battery gets low, just place it in its wireless charging cradle to power it up.

    One of the best things about the device? Its tracking software isn’t only for straight couples — it’s meant for relationships of all orientations.

    “It doesn’t just have to go on a penis,” Reid Mahalko, a sex and relationship expert attached to the project, says of the Lovely in a promotional video. “You can put this wearable on a dildo, you can put it on your fingers, you can use it on a toy on yourself. It’s really only going to be limited by the ideas that you come up with.”

    The project is currently raising money on Indiegogo. If the campaign reaches its goal of $95,000 by early July, the Lovely will eventually be released for $169 a pop. The project had raised nearly $5,000, as of Friday afternoon.

    People who donate to the campaign can expect to get their Lovely device by June 2016, if the funding is successful, that is.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app

    Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app

    The post Review of Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide app appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Google unveils new underwater 'street views'
    Google has unveiled a collection of 40 new “special” street view images as part of its latest update.
  • 5 Tips for Running a Successful Blog
    What are Oliver Emberton’s tips for running a blog?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


    Answer by Oliver Emberton, Founder of Silktide, Blogger at oliveremberton.com

    In my first year of blogging I was read over 4 million times, mostly through a cunning strategy I call “screwing everything up and learning.”

    Let me save you some time. Here are the 5 most surprising lessons I learned:

    1. The world owes you nothing

    The cold, unfeeling universe does not give two shits about you or your writing.

    Anyone can walk into a bookstore and pick from Shakespeare, Pratchett, JK Rowling and a million more. Tell me (a) is your writing more deserving of attention and (b) how would anyone even know?

    This may sound dispiriting, and it’s meant to. We live at the center of our own private universes, which can fool us into thinking the world responds to our merits, as we see them. If you believe this, you’re in for a lifetime of tear-stained keyboards.

    If you acknowledge the truth, you can arm yourself accordingly.

    2. Give people a reason to care

    You are in competition with every other distraction on the Internet. Your beautifully written sonnet must joust for attention against Miley Cyrus with a kitten.

    If you want an audience, don’t write for yourself. Forget yourself. Start with:

    • Who am I writing for?
    • What can I do for them?
    • Why should they care?

    Let’s say you’re writing for casual bloggers. It’s not hard to think of things that casual bloggers might struggle with (“How to win your first thousand followers”), find entertaining (“My blog cost me my job, wife and kids”) or inspiring (“How my blog got me a date with Natalie Portman”). Start there.

    3. Hook emotionally

    Brilliant intellectuals can appreciate content on a purely intellectual basis. For everyone else, there’s urgent news, sex, themselves, gossip and sex.

    You know when you feel compelled to click on a link? You don’t have time to think about it. Hooks are entirely emotional:

    • Scary & urgent – “Terrorists will attack your town, tomorrow”
    • Big names – “A day in the life of Tony Stark”
    • Self-interest – “How to win your dream girl”
    • Sex-appeal – “The hottest babes in tennis”
    • Trendsetting – “The show everyone is talking about”

    These emotions can be conveyed in a headline. Your headline is where you will win or lose most of your audience. A title in a tweet is judged and dismissed by 99% of your audience before they see another word; ensure yours punches them in their emotional face.

    4. Edit as much as you write

    Editing is a superpower which can turn charcoal into diamonds. Most people seem content to shovel coal.

    Don’t mistake editing for proof reading. Editing is where you take your work apart in a blender, rearrange, rewrite and rethink everything. Everything. At a minimum, you must edit for:

    • Verbosity. Nothing will kill attention faster than excess words. Like these. For example.
    • Confusion. Your readers may not speak English as their first language. They may be bouncing a baby on their lap. Don’t make them think any harder than they have to.
    • Predictability. If someone can guess your next sentence from the previous one, you have a delicious unicycling mongoose. Avoid cliche, add sparkle.

    I personally spend 2-3x as much time editing as writing. It makes all the difference.

    5. Build a platform

    If you’re searching for an audience, it doesn’t take long to realise that the famous get most of the attention. The mistake is to assume this dooms you to failure. You just need to become slightly more famous.

    It’s slowest at the start, which is where most people give up. My writing did nothing for 4 months; later that year I had 4 million views. Write continuously, and test everything you can think of. Think of it like tuning a radio.

    To win in the long term, your platform must efficiently convert readers into followers. Forget likes and tweets; followers are what you’re after. Best of all, start a mailing list – it’s more work, but you’ll have far higher engagement than you’ll ever get from Twitter and Facebook.

    If you write something and it doesn’t clearly encourage people to follow you, you’re playing the wrong game.

    Some writers may find all of this a bit dirty. Well, yes. Unfortunately, it’s also how people work. You must appeal to their nature before you can win them over with your writing. Otherwise, no-one will even know what wonders they’re even missing.

    Good luck.

    More from me. Follow on Facebook. Follow on Twitter.

    More questions on Quora:

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Classic Vinyl: A Tale of Two Turntables
    Vinyl records are making a comeback, but will the new breed of turntables make our old record collection sound better (despite all of the hisses and pops delivered by the worn grooves of the recordings)?

    To get the answer, we tested two new turntables with a record collection dating from the 1960s and were amazed by the results.

    Yes, the hisses and pops were still there. But the sound delivered through even a so-called “budget” receiver and speaker system was much better than we had expected.

    We used a direct-drive turntable from Onkyo and a belt-driven model from Pioneer to see if we could detect any differences between the two. The result? Despite a few subtle differences in sound reproduction — and the possibility you may have to replace a belt due to wear or breakage — the only big difference we could find was the price. Also, belt drive turntables are supposed to have the lowest rumble with direct drive turntables having less wow and flutter. Rumble is caused by a vibration in the turntable while wow and flutter are caused by variations in the speeds at which the platter is revolving.

    The Onkyo CP-1050 ($599) is a direct drive turntable boasting an anti-vibration wood-grained cabinet and stylish aluminum deck.

    One of the biggest criticisms of direct-drive turntables used to be a so-called “cogging noise” resulting from the gears of the turntable’s motor meshing together to turn the platters. The folks at Onkyo have eliminated this problem by designing a low-torque motor. They also claim that there’s less high-frequency noise using a direct-drive model than a belt-driven unit. We couldn’t detect a difference, but the human ear isn’t as discriminating as instruments used to accurately test such things.

    Our one major complaint was the absence of a built-in phono preamp, which would allow us to use it with receivers/amplifiers that lack phono inputs. The solution is to purchase a small preamp (which costs about $20) and install it between the turntable and the receiver. If you need one, don’t skimp on the cost. Less expensive phono preamps tend to add an annoying hum to the sound reproduction. This wasn’t the case with the Behringer Microphono PP400 preamp we used.

    Other features of the Onkyo CP-1050 include:

    • An S-shaped aluminum tone arm with a detachable headshell
    • An antiskate dial, which can be adjusted to reduce tracking distortion on the inner grooves of the record
    • A moving magnet cartridge
    • A die-cast aluminum turntable
    • A thick rubber mat
    • A brushless motor
    • A counterweight that can be adjusted to accommodate the weight of various cartridges
    • A 45 RPM setting to play those old favorites from the 1950s and 60s

    The belt-driven turntable we used was the Pioneer PL-30-K ($299.99), which — to our ears — delivered sound that was equal to the CP-1050. The company claims that the combination of a dual servo motor and the belt drive reduces wow and flutter to less than .1 percent compared to less than .15 percent on the Onkyo unit. There’s no way we can dispute this claim, but the difference seems negligible, at best.

    The best feature of the PL-30-K is its built-in phono preamp. A switch on the back of the of the turntable’s cabinet rerouted the signal through the preamp allowing us to use receivers that lacked a phono input.

    Another feature resembles the days of so-called record changers, where the tone arm automatically moves into the proper position to play a recording and automatically returns to its stand when it’s done. A simple push of a start button sends all of this into motion. This also is not available on the CP-1050.

    The PL-30-K also has a straight tone arm rather than the S-shaped tone arm that is used by the CP-1050. There has been much debate over which technology is better, with no clear winner.

    Other than that, all of the features are identical to those on the CP-1050, including noise-dampening, a moving magnet cartridge, counterweight and anti-skating dials, detachable headshell and the ability to play 45 RPM records.

    So why the difference in price? That all boils down to the direct drive versus belt drive debate. The better technology is in the eyes of the beholder — and the manufacturer.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email or through his website.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Says Congress Uses Tech Like The DMV, But Should Be Like Uber
    Interacting with Congress has more in common with going to the DMV than opening an Uber app. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wa.) thinks that’s a problem.

    The chair of the House Republican Conference told the 2015 Personal Democracy Forum in New York City on Friday that the Congress of the future will embrace technology the same way the private sector has over the past decade. An increasingly connected public expects the web to play a part in government, she said, from committee hearings streamed online to the ability to contact their representatives digitally.

    “We are a 19th century institution using 20th century technology to solve 21st century problems,” Rodgers said.

    So how could tech transform the way we relate to government? I spoke with Rodgers about her vision for digital democracy to find out where Congress could be five or 10 years from today.

    Watch the video above.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • The Problems Bitcoin May Face in the Nearest Future
    If you know what Bitcoin is and have been following its development, you’ve probably heard the news. Stock exchanges have begun to take bitcoins seriously. This looks like a breakthrough, especially considering the fact that the NYSE now uses Bitcoin-like mechanisms when issuing securities. What is more, the NYSE has even announced the launch of the first bitcoin index (NYXBT). Isn’t that a sign that the currency has been accepted at the highest levels of world economy?

    But it’s only one side of a coin. The real issue is the inner problems of the Bitcoin project. And they simply can’t be ignored if the system is to scale up and continue to work. The Bitcoin architecture itself has some features that will eventually become major hurdles as Bitcoin popularity continues to grow. If these fundamental restrictions are not addressed, Bitcoin may practically cease to exist.

    The first and most important problem is the number of transactions it can complete within a certain timeframe. To understand this problem, you need to know how the Bitcoin system works. Clients send each other different sums of money. There’s a common list of money transactions (known as “Bitcoin public ledger”), where all such transfers are recorded and verified using the miners’ signatures. The transactions are not recorded individually, though. Instead, they are added to the ledger in bulk — approximately every 10 minutes or so. And here’s the rub: each block has a size limitation, which is currently set at 1Mb. This limitation was set by Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto with the purpose of protecting the system from abuse.

    Due to this limitation, only so many transactions per second (TPS) can occur. Some simple math shows that the maximum Bitcoin TPS capacity is 7. In practice, 3 TPS is more realistic. While it wasn’t a problem in the beginning, today the typical capacity is already at 1.3 TPS. If the trend continues, next year the system won’t be able to process the increasing amount of transactions and will simply grind to a halt.

    The most obvious solution to this problem is to raise the limit. Gavin Andersen, one of the current leaders of the Bitcoin movement, claims that this is possible. The limitation can be increased up to 20 Mb at the moment without serious problems to the system. However, if further increases in capacity are required, the miners’ technical capabilities would most likely have to catch up first.

    And now we’ve come to the second big problem, which is even more serious than any technical limitations. Today, the Bitcoin project is controlled by technicians and computer scientists — a group of enthusiasts who can do whatever they want with the crypto-currency. The sources are open: if you don’t like anything, just fork it away!

    This way of development follows into the footsteps of the Linux project. While working great for Linux itself, this methodology may not be an ideal match for Bitcoin. With Linux, users are free to install any update any time they like. With Bitcoin, serious technical solutions (like raising the TPS) require almost synchronous software update on every user’s computer. If you don’t update, you fall out of Bitcoin’s favor, and your transaction won’t be accepted. It’s easy to see how a situation like this may lead to a serious crisis, as thousands of people, companies and organizations depend on proper Bitcoin functioning.

    In other words, the processes within the Bitcoin system should be regulated, and relying on a group of enthusiasts for that is probably not the best option. In my view, the best strategy is to establish a non-profit regulatory organization that would include all the interested parties. The Bitcoin Foundation does not fit this role, as it is in trouble with the authorities in the US, where the foundation is headquartered, and even among the members of the organization there’s no unity.

    To sum it up, I’d say that the creation of such an organization should therefore be the primary goal of the entire Bitcoin community.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Google Calendar Updated with Improved Viewing on Phones

    Google has released an update to Google Calendar for Android tablets and phones which brings several improvements, especially for those who use the app on their phone.  The update, version 5.2.1-94626333-release for those keeping score at home, has mainly focused on improvements around the month views on Android phones but also has moved some of the navigation elements in the app to improve and streamline it.  Although the name suggests it is for Google’s online calendar service only, Google Calendar can be your single calendar app on your phone or tablet as it allows you to pull in data from

    The post Google Calendar Updated with Improved Viewing on Phones appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Now You Can Live Your Dream Of Going On A Date With A Pug
    My name is Damon, and the beautiful pink pug sitting across from me doesn’t like that.


    Oh, she wants to hear about my interests.

    Maybe she’s being sarcastic? I’m not really feeling it.

    Yeah, something tells me this isn’t going to work out.

    You can embark on your very own pug romance by downloading “Hot Date.” It’s available now for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux — and you can pay whatever you want for it. (Even nothing, if you’re feeling cheap.) It was created for unclear reasons by game developer George Batchelor and released unto the world last Thursday. It’s very fun, really weird and kind of dark — just like real dating can be.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Check Out Google's New Tool For Monitoring Global Fishing
    CASCAIS, Portugal — Google offered an early look at its new Global Fishing Watch project, which allows users to track commercial fishing vessels and increase transparency around the fishing industry, at the World Ocean Summit in Portugal on Friday.

    Google, the environmental group Oceana and the remote mapping and tracking organization SkyTruth first announced the program at last year’s ocean summit. On Friday, Google Ocean program manager Brian Sullivan gave a snapshot of what they’ve put together in their prototype of the program so far.

    Global Fishing Watch maps commercial fishing ships that are equipped with Automatic Identification System technology, and allows users to visualize the hot spots around the world and see where illegal fishing or overfishing is taking place. It shows a vessel’s name, type and country of origin, and also tracks its movements. The prototype brings together 300 million AIS data points for more than 25,000 fishing vessels.

    “You can see patterns that were invisible before,” Sullivan told World Ocean Summit attendees, which include representatives from government, business and nonprofits.

    Global Fishing Watch describes the potential benefits of the site:

    Citizens can use the tool to see for themselves whether their fisheries are being effectively managed. Seafood suppliers can keep tabs on the boats they buy fish from. Media and the public can act as watchdogs to improve the sustainable management of global fisheries. Fishermen can show that they are obeying the law and doing their part. Researchers will have access to a multiyear record of all trackable fishing activity.

    “Illegal fishing is cheating honest fishermen and consumers, and preventing fisheries from recovering,” Jacqueline Savitz, vice president for U.S. oceans at Oceana, told The Huffington Post. “This is a way to use big data to hold governments and the fishing industry accountable.”

    Sullivan said the tracking technology also allows users to see where vessels turn off their AIS — possibly to evade such tracking. Google Ocean found half a million cases of vessels disappearing from the radar in 2014 — about 17,000 instances each month. “We can zoom in, get information on the vessel, where they are, and make that transparent,” said Sullivan.

    While not all countries require ships to have AIS on board, Sullivan said more and more governments are requiring it. He also expressed optimism that, in cases where countries aren’t requiring it, companies will want to adopt the technology to demonstrate to consumers that they’re fishing legally and transparently.

    They also demonstrated how the site can be used to ensure that fishing is not taking place in protected areas, using the example of the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in Kiribati, which was closed to fishing in January 2015. Their tracking showed that fishing had, in fact, stopped in the protected area. Savitz said Global Fishing Watch’s technology can demonstrate the effectiveness, or ineffectiveness, of protected areas.

    The groups plan to make the technology available to the public for free sometime next year.

    Google also launched 40 new Street View images for underwater sites around the world — showing views of places like the Chagos Islands, Bali, the Bahamas and the Great Barrier Reef from below the sea. The new images are part of a 4-year-old effort from Google to document the seas, and was released for World Oceans Day, which is June 8.

    “We hope the release of this imagery inspires people to learn more about this precious natural resource,” Google said in its release, noting that oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, but are still “one of the most uncharted and undiscovered ecosystems on the planet.”

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Forget Sports: Pro 'Dota 2' Gamers Will Make Millions This Year
    Send this to anyone who ever told you to turn off the video games and play outside.

    This year’s prize pool for The International Dota 2 Championship in Seattle reached a record-setting $11,424,006 Friday morning. As James Vincent at The Verge pointed out, that’s more than the prize pool of the Masters golf tournament, which this year offered $10 million in total. It’s also more than Ozzy Osbourne’s Beverly Hills mansion.

    “Dota 2” is a hugely popular competitive multiplayer game that pits teams of five players against one another. It’s enjoyed by people around the world and reportedly generates $18 million every month for game-maker Valve.

    Streaming videos of “Dota 2” matches are also popular — an estimated 134 million people watch so-called “e-sports” in some form.

    The prize pool money for this year’s championship was raised in part by players who have purchased a “compendium,” which contains in-game items and enhancements.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

  • Are Selfies Influencing Where We Choose to Go On Vacation?
    The elaborate convolution of social media, selfies and instant status updates in today’s culture is having an immediate impact on where and why we go on vacation. For those who are completely absorbed by the selfie phenomena, determining an ideal vacation spot is no easy task. Gone are the days when temperature and climate took precedence in choosing a travel destination. Today, a new kind of selection process is upon us, one heavily regulated by the proliferation of social media and the ability to instantly share every aspect of visiting a certain part of the country/world.

    Receiving a ‘Social Return’ from Your Trip

    Receiving a ‘social return’ from your vacation is a relatively new concept, but one that’s being taken very seriously by travelers nonetheless. Vacation experiences must now encompass feed-friendly moments, ones you can share instantly across social media. Potential vacation goers are attracted to specific destinations with the allure of increasing their influence among their social followers. (After all who doesn’t love a few Instagram likes?) For example, the appeal of sharing your vacation to Fiji while paddle boarding among dolphins resonates with potential vacation goers far more than a trip to see antiquated statues in Hungary. Thus, specific locations are being booked far quicker than others, simply because social media is playing a factor in the decision making.

    Chauffeured Selfie Excursions

    Why take an excursion when you can take a “selfie” excursion? Various companies within the tourism and hospitality industries are capitalizing on the popularity of the selfie and catering to those who cannot resist the temptation to snap some pics. In Paris, at the Mandarin Oriental for example, special trips are offered by the hotel for people on the hunt for the perfect selfie. Guests can book a chauffeur and luxury car for the day, one that has its very own Wi-Fi connection, and be shuttled around “The City of Light” to the most popular tourist attractions. Along the way, guests can take selfies at the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre, among other popular city landmarks, then instantly upload them to all their social media accounts for friends and family to see.

    The Quokka: Possibly the World’s Most Photogenic Selfie Taking Animal

    Not only are specific destinations a hot spot for selfie lovers, but certain animals are as well. Specifically, travelers are converging on Rottnest Island in Australia to take a selfie with a quokka, a short-tailed wallaby with a ginormous, photogenic smile.

    Until recently, few people outside of Australia had never heard of the quokka. Now hundreds of thousands of tourists per year are making the trip to Rottnest Island just to capture a picture with the furry animal. Dubbed the “happiest animal in the world,” the quokka is equally cute as it is dangerous, as the creature is known for biting and even hospitalizing tourists. Is it worth the risk? Some people seem to think so…

    The Power of the Selfie

    The influence of the selfie in today’s society has spiraled out of control, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It has become a staple of today’s millennials and even an official word in the dictionary. Travel goers these days are actively searching for destination hot spots that cater to social media. For that reason alone, people are going to great lengths to capture a selfie representative of their experience and worthy of a few likes/comments. And when I say great lengths, I literally mean great lengths, as in traveling across the country.

    While people go as far as seeking out a cool new vacation spot for the purpose of the social media, there is a cycle to note here. Selfies that users view on their feed, depicting a cool location or attraction, actually act as a catalyst for viewers to travel to that particular destination. It’s a selfie world these days, we’re all just living in it and traveling through it.

    — This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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