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Mobile Technology News, June 9, 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.

  • Google Would Never Hire a Person Like Me
    “Google would never hire a person like me.”

    That’s what I told myself as I walked away from the college campus recruitment booth in 2005. I was a huge fan of Google products like Search and Gmail, so the idea of graduating and getting a job there was a dream — a fantasy akin to making it big in Hollywood or on Broadway. But getting hired is much like dating, and I didn’t see myself as Google’s type. I thought that the kind of software engineers that made it into Silicon Valley tech companies were all the same — a bunch of brilliant White and Asian guys with Ivy League degrees. I figured they came from good homes with well-to-do parents, affluent enough to afford the luxury of tinkering with expensive gadgets in their parents garages.

    That was not my story. I grew up a foster kid living in Compton, California. In 1988, the infamous gangsta rap album “Straight Outta Compton” was released and the city became notoriously known as the murder capital of the United States with nearly one murder for every 1,000 residents. That was also the year that my two brothers and I were abandoned as toddlers to child protective services by my mom and abusive step-dad. We bounced from home to home until we landed at the Crooms’ doorstep, the family that would change our lives for the better.

    My foster parents didn’t have much, but what they lacked in resources they made up for with love and encouragement. The pushed us to do our best in school and to strive to go to college. Despite school bullying and the constant threat of gang violence which had claimed the life of two other youth within a block of my house, I managed to stay at the top of my class.

    Perhaps my parents’ greatest gift to me was a toy I received when I was eight years old — the PreComputer 1000. At first, I didn’t know what to do with the clunky and strange device. I eventually taught myself how to build programs with it, taking my imagination to new heights. I built my own Batcomputer simulation like the one in the Batman films so I could be like the hero I admired. It was an intimately personal tool, useful for drawing my mind away from my marred childhood and difficult reality. It would eventually become my ticket out of the hood.

    Initially when I was recruited by Google in 2011 and failed my interviews, I thought I had finally proven that my dream would only ever be a dream. Google reached out to me again the following year, but I didn’t pick up because I didn’t have the heart to open up my still fresh wound. Being self-conscious about being a Black software engineer, I knew there was no need for a second disappointment.

    To my astonishment, I was contacted yet again in 2013. I knew that if Google, a company that receives tons of applications each day, was willing to call me three times in three years, I had to respond. My recruiter encouraged me throughout the process. She provided links to study resources and even shared an article about an engineer that overcame the odds to get a job at Google without a college degree. It was mind-blowing to think that Google was actually rooting for me to win. The recruiter set up a conversation with a Black female engineer at the company to help provide a little mentorship. That conversation shattered every stereotype I held about top software engineers. When she told me I was ready, I could believe it for the first time.

    Over the next month, I spent every day practicing coding problems. Whether taking the bus to work or at home in the middle of the night, I dedicated myself to solving questions. As I moved from the phone screen to five grueling in-person interviews, I waged a fierce battle against my own fears and inhibitions. I waited two agonizing weeks before hearing the final verdict. My heart was beating out of my chest when I answered the phone, and it almost stopped when Laszlo Bock himself, the head of HR at Google, gave me his personal congratulations on receiving a job offer.

    I am super proud to be a Googler. My background isn’t normal compared to the rest of my colleagues-not by a long shot. But I am convinced that Google wants to give everyone a fair shot, no matter where they’re from or what they look like. I know firsthand how Google is passionately working to overcome the challenge of making a more diverse Silicon Valley with the same enthusiasm that it uses to approach every problem. And given their track record, I think the future looks promising.

    — 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.

  • Will Apple Change the Music Market (Again)?

    Today Apple will unveil its new streaming music service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. Most people expect Apple Music to be an Apple-branded continuation of Beats Music, which Apple acquired for $3 billion last year alongside the Beats Electronics headphones and speakers division. With only 300,000 subscribers, Beats Music is small in comparison to Spotify’s 4.7 million U.S subscribers. However, Apple will offer its new streaming service to over 800 million iTunes account holders.

    Will Apple change the music industry again?

    Before I offer my prediction, let’s pause for a moment to ask the bigger marketing question: how do markets change anyways? The answer to this question has surprisingly little to do with textbook economics and much more with the world of storytelling.

    You may have seen that Apple has created banners that tout this year’s WWDC as the “epicenter of change.” Everything we see and hear leading up to today’s announcement is just so dramatic. That’s because Apple knows that markets move through phases of perpetual structural instability, so-called marketplace dramas. These are the moments in a market’s history when established structures run into contradictions and new price-value relationships emerge.

    Like all good stories, marketplace dramas are not entirely random; they have a structure. They have clear beginnings, middles, and ends — a dramaturgy, and there are heroes, villains, and fools on the market stage wrestling over existential conflicts. And there are spectators such as consumers and media journalists looking to take sides. As such, marketplace dramas are reasonably predictable – the kind of predictability that allows us to sort of know what will happen in Westside Story or Titanic in the end because, at one point in our lives, we’ve read or seen Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

    So what are the hero’s two most important traits: good timing and a powerful cause.

    Consider, in this context, another music marketplace drama: the war on music downloading. Act 1: Northeastern University dropout Shawn Fanning introduces Napster, the world’s first peer-to-peer platform. Act 2: Napster is shut down by court order but the breach caused by Fanning escalates to a crisis and millions of consumers go rogue on the industry establishment, excessively downloading through next-gen platforms like Kazaa, Limewire, eDonkey, and Gnutella. Act 3: For a while it seems like the genie is out of the bottle. But then things turn sour. The Recording Industry Association of America is beginning to send out cease and desist letters to downloading teenagers across North America.

    And in this moment of downloader identity crisis, Apple enters the stage to offer an irresistible dramatic compromise: return to the realm of legality but without mothballing your rebellious music pirate cloaks. Here is a TV commercial from 2004 set to Greenday version of “I Fought the Law.” Or in the words of Steve Jobs: “We believe that 80 percent of the people stealing stuff don’t want to be, there’s just no legal alternative… So we said, ‘Let’s create a legal alternative to this.’ Everybody wins. Music companies win. The artists win. Apple wins. And the user wins, because he gets a better service and doesn’t have to be a thief.”

    So that’s how Apple succeed by offering its own take on “freemium” multi-stakeholder win-win circa 2004.

    But that was then, this is now. Back to the original question: will Apple change the music market again? Only if they present a better definition of “freemium” as per Steve Job’s above quote but what are the chances of that?

    Over the years, Apple has built considerable audience credibility, not least owing to Job’s deep appreciation for music. In today’s drama, however, the hero role is currently played by Spotify and perhaps Pandora. More recently, when considering iTunes Radio, the free U2 album disaster, or Apple’s attempts to stop Spotify from streaming free music, Apple has been looking more like a fool. Many of Spotify’s 4.7 million U.S subscribers are children of the downloading generation, consumers who have lost the emotional connection with the iTunes universe. That idea of “free” is still very much at this generation’s core but Apple has long become a dominant industry player.

    Those rebel days are over.

    — 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.

  • WWDC Bathroom Lines Summarizes Tech's Gender Problem
    If you need a visual to help explain the tech industry’s gender problem, look no further than the bathroom line at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.

    The annual WWDC introduces Apple’s newest products and teaches programmers how to develop applications for them, but the event’s absurdly long men’s bathroom line and nearly non-existent women’s queue caught some attendees’ attention as a perfect demonstration of how men take up so much space in the industry.

    Tech gender diversity visualized in the que for the restroom at WWDC. pic.twitter.com/zfEgtXY5Zw

    — Ben Bajarin (@BenBajarin) June 8, 2015

    At #WWDC, it’s apparent the quest to get women interested in software engineering still has a ways to go. pic.twitter.com/iepwRa0rFO

    — Jonathan Bloom (@BloomTV) June 8, 2015

    Update: There is now a line for the Women’s room at #WWDC15. Progress! pic.twitter.com/e6ybWi8VKW

    — Ina Fried (@inafried) June 8, 2015

    Unfortunately, attendees observed the same line disparities at WWDC both last year and the year before.

    Apple and Google’s global workforces are still 70 percent male, and fewer than 10 percent of all computer programmers are female.

    The cliched defense for the industry holds that women aren’t interested in or qualified for tech positions. But a look back on some of tech’s most misogynistic moments makes it clear that businesses have done a good job of telling women they aren’t welcome.

    There’s Hot Tech Today, a website that combines tech news with photos of naked women; the “Hackers and Hookers” party hosted by a tech incubator; and Titstare, a joke app “where you take photos of yourself staring at tits” presented on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2013. The list goes on and on.

    Another bathroom line offers a glimmer of hope. Last month, women attendees at Google’s I/O conference tweeted that they were ecstatic to actually be waiting for the bathroom for the first time.

    — 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.

  • Apple reveals its Spotify rival
    Apple reveals a new music streaming service and reveals that its Apple Pay digital wallet system will launch in the UK in July.
  • Mother Of 'Bubbles,' Little Girl Killed By Texting School Bus Driver, Says She Can Forgive, But Not Forget
    A Tennessee bus driver tasked with safely transporting children on their way home from school pulled out his phone and began to text. Soon after, the yellow school bus slammed into another, killing two children and a teacher’s aide.

    Sharon Glasper, the mother of 7-year-old Knoxville girl Seraya, who died in the accident, says she has forgiven driver James Davenport, 44, but will never forget the unimaginable hurt his actions caused last December.

    Seraya Glasper, affectionately known as “Bubbles” to her family

    “I don’t have hatred in my heart,” Glasper told The Huffington Post on Monday. “Hatred is something I don’t believe in. I forgive, but I can’t forget that day.”

    Davenport was found dead in his home last Monday. The Knoxville Police Department has released little information on his death.

    Days after his body was found, the police department concluded their investigation into what caused the fatal crash near Sunnyview Primary School six months prior: Davenport had been sending and receiving text messages when he swerved his school bus into another lane, crashing into another bus and sending it toppling over.

    “My heart also goes out to [Davenport’s] family,” Glasper said. “It was terribly tragic to his family, and to mine also.”

    Along with little Seraya, 6-year-old Zykia Burn and a teacher’s aide, 46-year-old Kim Riddle, also died. The families of the victims have filed a wrongful death suit.

    Students at Sunnyview Primary School are ushered away from the site of a Dec. 2, 2014, bus crash that left three dead, including two young students. Investigators determined the cause of the crash was a driver distracted by his cell phone.

    The Isaacs Law Firm said in a statement obtained by HuffPost that a meeting with the families last week was “very emotional,” and that the firm’s investigation revealed “some alarming issues regarding the lack of oversight and supervision of the private school bus contractors … transporting students on a daily basis.”

    While the issue of drinking and driving is a well talked about subject in American schools, Kathryn Henry of the Department of Transportation told HuffPost the agency is trying to do more to educate citizens on the dangers of texting and driving.

    “Anything that takes your eyes off the road is not good,” Henry said. “We’ve really amped up our public awareness in the past couple of years. We’re doing our best.”

    In 2013, more than 3,000 lives were lost to distracted drivers. While that number shows an almost 7 percent decrease from 2012, the number of injuries rose from 421,000 to 424,000 in 2013.

    Director of Knox County Schools Dr. Jim McIntyre expressed outrage last Friday after learning the cause of the crash.

    “I can assure you there will be hell to pay,” for any driver caught texting and driving, McIntyre told WATE. In a statement given to HuffPost, McIntyre said the victims “deserved better” than to lose their lives in an avoidable crash.

    Davenport was found dead in his home last Monday. Police say he was texting before crashing a school bus and killing three.

    “I will seek to honor their lives and their memory by doing everything in my power to ensure that something like this never happens again,” McIntyre said.

    Seraya, who her family affectionately referred to as “Bubbles,” was the light of her mother’s life.

    “She was called Bubbles because she always made you smile,” Glasper said. “She wanted to make sure you were happy, and having a good day. Bubbles was beyond her years at 7. She knew a lot, she understood a lot. She was a very smart and intelligent girl.”

    Those who knew the teacher’s aide, Riddle, said she played a strong role in her community and church. Riddle had been with Sunnyview Primary School since August. She often led children’s services at Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

    “It was her dream,” Pastor Leroy Franklin told Local 8 Now. “She always wanted to work for Knox County children.”

    Glasper said she still feels numb six months later.

    “It’s a lot to take in,” she said. “But I’m holding up the best way Seraya would like me to hold up: She’d want me to be happy and smiling.”

    Glasper’s continued pain comes with an important message: “Don’t text and drive. You may not get caught when doing it, accidents may not happen right then, but just remember Dec. 2 of 2014. The lives that were taken on that day due to texting and driving can never be brought back.”


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    — 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.

  • VIDEO: Helium balloon launched to test landings
    Nasa has launched a helium balloon to test possible landing systems for future flights to Mars.
  • Apple Watch Apps Are About To Get Way Better
    The Apple Watch is the latest playground for app developers.

    Just six weeks after the smartwatch came out, Apple said Monday that apps created by non-Apple developers can be designed and downloaded without running through the iPhone.

    Until now, most aspects of the Watch operating system were closed off to developers. Apps on the device functioned as extensions of iPhone apps, causing them to be rather sluggish. With the latest version of the Watch software, Watch OS 2, apps can be developed specifically for the wearable, meaning they should run faster and more smoothly.

    “We believe that by opening up the platform you will create new and powerful uses that today we can only begin to imagine,” CEO Tim Cook said at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

    The announcement followed a rousing video tribute to the community of developers who create apps sold on the App Store. The company boasted that more than 100 billion apps have been downloaded.

    For more from our WWDC 2015 coverage, take a look at our posts on Apple’s new streaming music service and iOS 9.

    — 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.

  • Apple Music, New Streaming Service, Announced At WWDC 2015
    Apple on Monday officially announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference a new streaming music service called Apple Music. It’s available June 30 and will cost $9.99 a month following a free three-month trial. There will also be a “family plan” for up to six people — that costs $14.99.

    It will run on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC, the company said in a press release. It will also be available on Apple TV and Android phones this fall.

    The company repeatedly billed Apple Music as an “ecosystem” that will allow artists — from heavy-hitters like Drake to unsigned musicians — to connect with fans through custom playlists and a new “Beats 1 Radio” feature that plays curated music 24/7.

    The news was widely anticipated in the days leading up to the event.

    Last year, Apple bought Beats for $3 billion. That company is known for its iconic headphones, but it also runs Beats Music, a $9.99-per-month streaming music service.

    “Technology and art can work together. At least at Apple,” Jimmy Iovine, a founder of Beats Electronics, said during Monday’s event.

    For more from WWDC 2015, take a look at our coverage of the newly announced iOS 9 and Apple Watch updates.

    — 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.

  • Apple brings more intelligence, new apps, iPad updates with iOS 9
    Apple has previewed features users will be able to expect in the next iteration of iOS. Confirmed as iOS 9, the mobile operating system will have improvements in four core areas: Intelligence, Apps, iPad, and Foundation, with new additions including improvements to Siri, search, multitasking, more apps, and other areas.

  • Apple Introduces IOS 9, And You're About To Get More Battery Life
    Your iPhone is ready for an upgrade.

    Every year, Apple releases an update to its operating system, and at the World Wide Developers Conference on Monday, the tech company announced its latest version of the iPhone and iPad’s operating system: iOS 9.

    The update will give your iPhone a new look and new tools, and it’ll prepare Apple for the next version of the iPhone, which will likely be announced this fall.

    iOS 9 will be available for developers starting on Monday and, for the first time, available as a public beta in July. It will eventually be available as a free upgrade for everyone in the fall, and it is compatible with all of the same devices as iOS 8.

    Here are some of the changes you can look forward to:

    Proactive will help you organize your day

    Time to get organized. Proactive, a new feature in iOS 9, integrates with your calendar, Siri, Spotlight search, Apple Maps, Passport and more in order to give you the information you need throughout the day.

    Apple bought the personal assistant app Cue in 2013, and now Cue is getting its big debut in the form of Proactive.

    Siri has gotten 40 percent more accurate over the last year and 40 percent faster at responding, according to Apple. The voice assistant will continue to improve in iOS 9 and will connect with Proactive to make your life a bit easier.

    The new iOS can guess who’s calling you by looking into your email. Under the unknown number that’s calling you, there will be a little suggestion of who could be calling.

    ios 9

    Search has also gotten better. It will suggest everything from apps to contacts to news stories based on your previous activity and your location.

    If, for example, someone texts you a link, asking you to buy something, you can just say “Siri, remind me of this later,” and Siri will send you an alert later that includes that exact link. Siri will know what you’re talking about.

    ios 9

    Proactive adds events to your calendar automatically from your email, and if you provide a location, Proactive will suggest when you should leave to get to the event on time.

    Thankfully, none of your search data will be provided with outside parties, Apple promises.

    Improved Notes app

    What was once a simple, plain place to jot your thoughts is becoming much more elegant and useful.

    The Notes app is adding some great features, like the ability to create a to-do list.

    ios 9

    You will also be able to add photos from your camera and photo library to Notes and even draw with your finger. It will also be possible to add things from the Internet and Maps directly into Notes. Plus, everything with be synced between your devices.

    Better performance and battery life

    Apple’s last major mobile software release, iOS 8, was kind of a mess. The company had to pull an early version, iOS 8.0.1, because it was so buggy. People had problems with their cell phone reception, Touch ID and more. This time around, the download will take up less space than before, so your download should be significantly easier.

    The new iOS is meant to be faster than iOS 8 and use less battery than before. You’ll be able to get an extra hour of regular use for your iPhone with iOS 9. Running low on battery? There will even be a low-power mode that should give you an extra 3 hours of battery life, according to Apple.

    Apple says that iOS 9 takes up less space to install on your iPhone and iPad than iOS 8 did, so hopefully you won’t have to delete everything on your device before updating it.

    For more from WWDC 2015, take a look at our coverage of Apple’s new streaming music service and Apple Watch updates.

    — 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.

  • World's Tiniest Spirals Could Help Thwart Counterfeiters
    The spiral is considered by mathematicians to be one of nature’s most beautiful shapes. It comes up again and again, from the vast swirling arms of the Milky Way galaxy to the intricate nautilus shell.

    Taking a page out of nature’s book, physicists have now created what they’re calling the world’s tiniest spirals. Each one is just under half a micron — about one fiftieth of the width of an average human hair, and about six million times smaller than a dime.

    Hard to fake. These remarkable “nano-spirals” exhibit some pretty strange optical properties that make them nearly impossible to counterfeit. The researchers believe that they might be used to ensure the authenticity of important documents and products, and help prevent identity theft.

    “If nano-spirals were embedded in a credit card or identification card, they could be detected by a device comparable to a barcode reader,” Dr. Richard Haglund, a physics professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. and one of the researchers responsible for the fabrication of the nano-spirals, said in a written statement.

    The spirals join a growing roster of inventions developed recently to stump counterfeiters, including “invisible” fluorescent inks, webs of nanowires, and arrays of nanopillars.

    Scratching the surface. To make the mini-spirals, Haglund and his colleagues used electron-beam lithography — the same process used to make patterns on silicon computer chips. The scientists used a beam of electrons to scratch a pattern of spirals onto a plastic-coated slide and then deposited gold into this pattern before removing the remaining plastic.

    “You can imagine that at these dimensions, it is a virtuoso piece of work to get rid of only the plastic, leaving the incredibly thin arms of the spiral untouched,” Haglund told The Huffington Post in an email.

    The researchers say this technique can be used with other metals, like silver and platinum, and on a variety of paper and plastic surfaces.

    Strange properties. The nano-spirals’ strange optical properties showed up when the researchers hit them with high-intensity pulses of laser light. Infrared laser light caused them to emit blue light at double the frequency. They emitted blue light in varying amounts when struck by polarized light from different angles.

    These properties make the spirals easy to customize, and detect — but hard for counterfeiters to reproduce.

    spiral light
    Computer simulation of light emissions produced by a nano-spiral when illuminated by infrared light.

    The research was published online on May 21 in the Journal of Nanophotonics.

    — 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.

  • This Apple Exec Takes A Page Out Of Steve Jobs' Book Every Morning
    Apple executive Craig Federighi meditates every morning.

    The senior vice president of software, who oversees Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems, said Monday during a demonstration of the latest iOS update that he starts each day by meditating.

    At the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, Federighi showed how the latest version of the iOS predicts, when the phone is located at his home, that he will want to meditate. It automatically opens a meditation app, displaying a serene lakeside vista, when he unlocks the phone.

    Meditation is becoming an increasingly popular means of sharpening focus and reducing stress in the business world. But it’s nothing new at Apple. Late co-founder Steve Jobs practiced Zen Buddhist meditation techniques daily.

    “If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is,” Jobs told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “If you try to calm it, it only makes things worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there’s room to hear more subtle things — that’s when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present. Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment. You see so much more than you could see before. It’s a discipline; you have to practice 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.

  • LeBron James Hooked Up His Entire Team With Apple Watches
    Playing alongside LeBron James is the gift that keeps on giving.

    On Monday, Cleveland.com reported that LeBron gifted brand new Apple Watches to all of his teammates in a pre-Finals meeting last week at the team’s hotel in downtown San Francisco.

    Not only does LeBron selflessly create scoring and playmaking opportunities for his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates, but like any good king, he also likes to share his off-the-court wealth when he wants to motivate his men.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some great partners and whatever I get, I like to share with my teammates,” James told Cleveland.com. “It’s just my way of showing them that I care. That’s it. It’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time.”

    LeBron called the team meeting in a private hotel lounge on the eve of Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland. He spoke seriously and earnestly about their tough matchup against the Warriors, the NBA’s best team in the regular season, before bringing in food, music and even barbers for players to get haircuts.

    “I don’t know how he does it, but every day it’s something different,” shooting guard J.R. Smith said, before laughing. “Watches, sneakers, Beats [headphones], hoodies, book bags. Man, I can’t wait to come back next year. I want to see what we’re getting next year.”

    Smith can expect more Apple and Beats products from LeBron going forward. In 2008, LeBron invested in Dr. Dre’s startup headphone company, which was bought by Apple last May for $1 billion. According to ESPN, LeBron netted a $30 million profit on his initial investment after the sale was completed.

    The gifts should get only more creative and extravagant too. In February 2014, on a whim, LeBron had custom WWE title belts made for his Miami Heat teammates, the then defending champions.

    Should LeBron complete his homecoming and propel the injured Cavaliers to Cleveland’s first major American sports championship since 1964, perhaps a round of $60,000 watches — like the one he gave to Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho in March — will be in order?

    Apple Watches in hand, LeBron and the Cavaliers travel back to Cleveland today in advance of Wednesday night’s Game 3 clash. The series is tied at 1-1.

    — 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.

  • OnePlus One Sale Last Week is Permanent This Week

    Last week I posted that OnePlus, the Chinese manufacture who produces the OnePlus One, announced a sale at specific times all of last week.  Now the company has made those price drops permanent for everyone.  Starting today you can get the 16GB model of only $249 while the 64GB model is $299.  For the quality of the OnePlus One and the specifications, this is absolutely a steal and I personally cannot recommend this phone highly enough.  It has become my daily driver since my review of it and while I’m anxious to see what the anticipated OnePlus Two will offer,

    The post OnePlus One Sale Last Week is Permanent This Week appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Why Facebook Is Killing YouTube in Video
    not so complicated…

    This morning, Omtalk.com published a fascinating article entitled “How & Why Facebook video can overtake Youtube”.

    And they had the stats to back it up:

    Facebook only started getting serious about video a year ago, but they already have an astonishing 4 billion daily video views — as many as YouTube after 10 years.

    In February of this year, 70 percent of the videos were uploaded directly to Facebook, as opposed to being links back to YouTube. A year earlier, direct uploads were only 25 percent.

    There is no question that video is rapidly becoming the lingua franca of the Internet. Ericsson predicts that online video will grow by a ‘staggering 55 percent per year’ between now and 2020. Last month, Cisco predicted that by 2019, video will constitute 80% of web traffic.

    That video is going to dominate the web, and mobile in particular, is quite clear. People already upload 300 hours of video Youtube every minute. And they are the ones who are falling behind Facebook!

    But let’s take a look at the Youtube/Facebook comparison — because I think there is a very interesting lesson there for long-strugging and long-suffering newspapers.

    What makes Facebook dominant, (and the reason that it is most likely going to win this competition for who is the best video platform) is that the videos on Facebook are integrated into the text. That is, they are not some stand alone ‘Facebook Channel’. They are part of the text for whatever is being posted on Facebook. There is a natural, unbroken continuity from text to video (and to stills). It’s all one in the same — all the same content, and it makes no difference whether it is video or text or still photo for that matter.

    YouTube is much more the child of conventional television. Old, dying linear television.

    YouTube has even begun to play with ‘channels’.

    It segregates text from video.

    This is the same thing that most newspapers do when they begin to incorporate video into their content. Because they have a lifetime history if being print, they tend to view video as something ‘other’. An alien form of content that , if we must, may appear somewhere buried in the paper (paper being a rather archaic term now – as it is all online), but certainly not embedded into the story.

    Take a look at NYTimes.com. The Times is one of the best newspapers in the world, but when it comes to video (and I think their videos are better than anything you can see on network television news), the Times’ video is still segregated below the fold (so to speak) and off to the corner. A kind of NY Times TV Channel on the paper. The Times video can often be hard to find.

    And of course, The Times is not alone. The Newark Star Ledger, New Jersey’s best paper also happens to have the most amazing videos in the nation (for a newspaper). The team has now won 10 Emmys for their video in the past 4 years alone, beating out most of the local TV stations! 19 nomination alone this year. But go to their website and try finding the video. If you can find it at all, it is also segregated from the rest of the print.

    This is a mistake.

    In the digital world, there is no difference between video and print, between images and text. They are all digital content, simply presented in a different way. Any reporter who carries and iPhone can learn to acquire video while they are reporting in print. When it comes to publishing it, the papers should integrate the two – create a kind of digital tapestry that weaves from text to video to text to still photo to text to video as the storytelling demands it.

    That, after all, is what Facebook is doing.

    But to be completely accurate, that is what WE are doing when we post our videos and text on Facebook. We are doing it because it is the natural and organic way to tell people what we want them to know.

    Newspapers would do well to listen up to their readership, while they still have one.

    — 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.

  • Brad Pitt And Netflix Might Change The Future Of Film With 'War Machine'
    Brad Pitt is heading to a small, big and streaming screen near you.

    On Monday, Netflix announced plans to produce Brad Pitt’s new satirical comedy, “War Machine,” which is loosely based on Michael Hasting’s bestseller The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan. Written and directed by David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom”), the film will follow Pitt’s “four-star ‘rock star’ general” — sounds a bit like a modern-day Lt. Aldo Raine — as he commands American troops in Afghanistan. With a radical new approach, Pitt’s character is determined to win the war with the help of his “motley staff.” Netflix plans to release “War Machine” in theaters and exclusively to its streaming members in 2016.

    This news is significant, as it marks Netflix’s venture into original filmmaking with one of Hollywood’s biggest stars at the helm. The theatrical release also reveals the possibility of Netflix’s first Oscar nomination, which could break the company into the filmmaking world in the same way the Emmy wins “House of Cards” garnered helped usher Netflix into original television. Deadline estimates that this roughly $30 million deal would be the company’s largest investment in a feature film so far.

    Netflix has recently announced other plans for breaking into cinema, such as their multifilm deal with Adam Sandler, documentary partnership with Leonardo DiCaprio and plans to release a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel. But a collaboration with an A-lister like Pitt signals something much more monumental. We’re not sure what to expect, but don’t seem surprised if there’s a plethora of thinkpieces in a few years about how Netflix changed the future of cinema.

    — 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 Apple Watch: From Technology-Knowing to Body-Knowing
    Much has been made of the new Apple watch, its many capabilities and styles. But perhaps there is a hidden potential benefit to the Apple watch that has not been noted: It could enhance our sensuality.

    By sensuality I simply mean feeling your own experience of your own experience. A sensual person is one that is in touch with their five senses, and how they feel about what is registering, viscerally. A sensual person is not a flat-liner but instead lives on an emotional and sensory roller coaster, and they wouldn’t want it any other way. We might assume this is the normal state of affairs for most people. It is not.

    Sensuality v Living on Auto-Pilot

    Many people — too many people — are living on auto-pilot because they are so overcommitted, overscheduled, over-extended — in work and in play. Their feeling life is stultified. They have no time other than to skim over the surface of their life. They are numb to themselves, just going through the motions of daily routines, both professional and personal.

    I am a cognitive anthropologist who has spent approximately a quarter of my time over the last 23 years talking with people the world over about what their lives are like nowadays. What I hear everywhere — from Brooklyn to Bahia to Beijing — is we are all living in a World of Too: too fast, too complex, and too competitive. People tell me that “just to stand in place they have to run.” Hardly anything is now given the time to mature, to become routinely nuanced. Everything is plucked while still green and hard. We currently live in the rat-tat-tat rhythm of a staccato-like life.

    The Paradox of Technology

    A paradox obtains: In part, technology has brought and wrought this World of Too upon us. Technology can also help return our orientation to our inner selves.

    Such an orientation would have a huge upside. A more sensual population would understand that their senses are invaluable assets that allow them to interact with the world at the richest possible level and identify the experiences that feel absolutely right to them. Sensual people would have a better sense of their circumstances and how to heighten those circumstances, because they are truly paying attention.

    When we turn the dial up on our senses, we experience things internally and externally that we would not be privy to otherwise. For example, when we turn our senses outward, we encounter a perspective on the world that isn’t visible on the surface level. When we listen to what people are saying, watch for patterns and inconsistencies, and truly feel the world around us, it is as though our environment is suddenly snapping into focus.

    Making full use of your senses promises insight, whether getting a better grip on your work environment, trying to identify where a relationship is going, or even just attempting to decide the best use of a few hours of leisure time.

    Two other advantages accrue to a sensual being:

    * Empathy: Not giving oneself time to reflect impairs one’s ability to empathize with others. The more in touch one is with his or her own feelings, the richer and more accurate is one’s ability to consider what passes through another person’s mind.

    * Creativity: A feeling mind – one that can stop and focus on itself — is more creative. You’ve got to “hack” into your own feelings to see what attracts you, repeals you, intrigues you, makes you wonder and allows your mind to wander.

    The critical point is: meaning arises from feeling. Norman Mailer once said something fundamental: “You can only get to a truth through an emotional truth. You can’t get to an emotional truth through an objective truth.” Feeling directs the journey.

    Going From the Outside to the Inside

    The hope would be that the Apple Watch and other wearable technologies would help people create a real, organic, self-generated and self-propagating body awareness — a feeling reflex — that goes beyond fixing on externally supplied data as a proxy. Knowing one’s biometric readings of blood pressure and running pace and heat rate are one thing. But to have these kinds of numerics lead to a state of mind that, in general and without prosthetic prompting, is continuously more sensuous, well, that would be a good use for technology!

    Then the old idiom might apply: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

    — 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.

  • Father's Day Gift Ideas For The Cool Dads In Your Life
    As invented holidays go, Father’s Day isn’t half bad because the expectations are so low. No flowers and no brunch means no scheduling headaches (unless you’re expecting a bacon bouquet to show off to the guys at the office). No jewelry means costs are relatively low (unless you’re … 2 Chainz?). Really, all you’re likely to ask for is a few hours with your kids, maybe an hour or two to yourself, and a simple token of appreciation.

    Here are 30 such tokens you should absolutely ask your partner and kids for, running the gamut from perfect coffee to an indestructible tie, with plenty of cool gadgets and clothes thrown in for good measure.

    If You’re A Sleep-Deprived Coffee Snob


    Mighty Mug, $36
    If you need coffee to deal with your kid, the last thing you want is for said coffee to fall on said kid. It’s a waste of good coffee and probably bad for the kid’s skin. Mighty Mug uses “Smartgrip Technology” to create a “powerful airlock” and — who cares how it works? It doesn’t fall over! Ever!

    Oxx Coffeeboxx, $299
    The Coffeeboxx is impact-resistant, water-resistant, dust-resistant, rust-resistant, and crush-proof. Seriously, the company claims it can withstand a quarter-ton load, which means you can safely brew a fresh K-Cup at the very ends of the earth — or just in a kitchen with a hyperactive toddler.

    Cold Bruer Coffee Brewer, $80
    Cold brew coffee is less bitter and acidic than hot brewed coffee, made to pair with milk, and still unknown to enough of your friends that you can be a total hipster coffee snob when they try to serve you some of that weak-sauce hot coffee watered down with ice cubes.

    Craft Coffee Gift Subscription, $29.99 and up
    If you love coffee but have no time to go find new coffee, you want a subscription to Craft Coffee. They’ll customize a regular subscription based on your taste profile. You will, however, need to be able to describe how you like your “nose,” “top,” and “finish.”

    If You Refuse To Leave The Playground


    PowerUp 3.0, $50
    Back in the day, you were lucky if your paper airplane reached the front of the classroom. Now, they’re attached to microchip-powered, carbon fiber propellers and rudders. It’s a toy for you, but a training program for your kid’s future career as a drone pilot.

    Hammacher Schlemmer 3D Printing Pen, $100
    If you’re ready to dabble in 3D printing but don’t want to end up like that guy who bought the laserdisc player, start with this pen that lets you create three-dimensional freehand drawings. By the time you master it, the real ones will be a few hundred bucks at Target.

    Ollie, $100
    You won’t find any Star Wars droids powered by Ollie (that’s the other one), but this app-controlled robot is all about that action, boss. Ollie is fast, capable of some serious tricks, and tough — it can handle driving off a cliff, so it can handle whatever happens when your kid gets a hold of it.

    DJI Phantom 3 Professional Quadcopter Drone with 4K UHD Video Camera, $1259
    For the dad who has everything and wants to show that fact off to his neighbors really badly. The DJI Phantom series is the Rolls Royce of personal aerial photography, taking “every vacation, camping trip, and selfie to heights never thought possible.” Just steer clear of the airport there, Maverick.

    Secret Garden Coloring Books For Adults, $11
    If you’re a fan of Judd Apatow movies, you might like Secret Garden, because — really — what says “I don’t want to grow up” more than a coloring book for adults? And this one has more cultural pedigree than This Is Forty: It’s currently Amazon’s most-wished-for book.

    Razor Crazy Cart XL, $900
    It was ok to hate Razor when they were just making annoying scooters that cluttered up the sidewalks, but then they go and make something like the Crazy Cart …. and totally redeem themselves! The XL is a dad-sized version of the kid’s cart, so you can challenge your own to some real-life Mario Kart.

    Toymail, $60
    The only downside to Toymail — an ingenious little system that lets you send voice messages to your kids that are received and played by an adorable anthropomorphized mailbox — is that it’s so cute it might make everyone using it puke.

    If You Define Yourself By Your Gadgets


    OlloClip 4-in-1 lens, $80
    The OlloClip gives your iPhone a fisheye, wide angle, macro, and selfie lens, all in a single, unobtrusive package that goes on in seconds. It will up your phone photo game considerably, but if your wife reminds you that adults aren’t allowed to use the selfie lens, she’s not wrong.

    Rhino Shield iPhone Case, $25 ($47 with screen protector)
    This case offers all the protection your phone needs to survive a 24-foot drop (or just your phone-obsessed toddler) without looking like something that fell off Iron Man during a fist fight with the Hulk.

    Polaroid Cube POV Camera, $100
    It won’t replace that drone, or even your GoPro, but for a hundred bucks, you get a 6 megapixel camera that shoots video in 1080p and has a magnetized base for kid-proof mounting. It’s the perfect gift for any dad with a steel plate in his skull.

    Phiaton Chord MS 530 Noise-Cancelling Headphones, $300
    Ideal for the home office, where you can recreate the kid-free quiet of the actual office. Also ideal if you just want a nice set of wireless cans so you don’t send your laptop flying when you get off the couch.

    If Your Closet Needs Something Cooler Than Ties (And Also Some Ties)


    Tosan’s Pop Sweatshirt, $65 and Tot Sweatshirt, $30
    You know what’s more hilarious than an Animal House-inspired sweatshirt that says “Pop” instead of “College”? A matching one for your kid.

    Sleepy Jones PJs, $63 and up
    If your initial reaction to these is something like, “Hey, it’s not Grandfather’s Day!” you might want to hold off on actually saying that until you put them on and realize they’re the most comfortable things you’ve ever worn.

    Outdoor Voices
    You know those superhero tights you’ve been wearing to the gym? Replace them with gear that’s performance-orientated enough to stay dry when you’re sweating like a pig, but fashion-orientated enough that you can wear them out without someone thinking you’re going to fight crime.

    Mainsail Navy Tie, $19
    The tie is a much-maligned Father’s Day gift, but here’s the thing: Some guys really like ties. The beauty of Tie Bar is that their handmade ties are reasonably priced; the beauty of their Mainsail Navy Tie is that it will give you preppy flair without turning you into an actual preppy.

    Wood Thumb Wood Ties, $47
    A can’t-miss gag gift for any guy who hates ties or a straight up awesome gift for any guy who loves ties. It can also double as a cheese board in a pinch.

    Lego Slippers, $25
    Stepping onto a Lego is the most painful thing ever — because science! — but substantially more bearable if you’ve first stepped into one of these Legos slippers.

    National Park Themed Outdoor Blankets, $249
    Each of these blankets is made of 100-percent pure virgin wool in a color scheme unique to the park it represents and has two authenticator labels: one with the Pendleton logo and one bearing the image of the park’s significant feature. It will give you something to talk about until you can load the kids into the Family Truckster and hit the road.

    If You Need A Drink (And You’re A Dad, So You Do)


    Brendan Ravenhill for Areaware Bottle Opener, $12
    It’s so simple, so smart, and so damn useful you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the damn thing yourself. Fortunately, getting gifted one means you don’t have to worry about blowing cash on it.

    Death & Co.: Modern Classic Cocktails, $29
    If you fancy yourself a “mixologist,” this should be your Bible, because it’s full of the technique, science, and philosophy of bartending. If you just likes cocktails, you’re still in luck; the book has more than 500 of them.

    Jefferson’s Ocean: Aged At Sea, $64.99 and up
    Sailing older bourbon barrels around the world — stopping in 5 different continents and crossing the equator 4 times — accelerates the aging process, gives this classy stuff a hint of brine, and ensures you get to spend the day making all the “motion in the ocean” jokes your heart desires.

    If You’re Constantly Hitting The Road


    Jack Spade Waxwear Dad Bag, $298
    A universal truth of fatherhood is that it means you have a bunch more crap to carry. Jack Spade’s take on the dad bag makes it look like you’re just as likely to be carrying a laptop as a changing pad — which it happens to come with, and which looks as cool as the bag. Even with poop on it.

    Filson Duffle Bag, $276
    Of course, when you only have to worry about your own stuff you can leave the dad bag behind and return to the classic duffle. Or, as you might remember it, the thing you were able to live out of for weeks at a time in college.

    Wildsam Field Guides, $18
    Part Zagat’s, part documentary, part oral history, these guides to American cities don’t just recommend where to eat and drink but aim to tell the story of a place. For the guy bold enough to try and fit “wanderlust” into the same sentence as “fatherhood.”

    If You Really Like Salami


    Olympia Provisions Salami of the Month Club, $145 and up
    Look, nobody is saying bacon is over, but we may have reached peak bacon. So, if you’re requesting the gift of meat this Father’s Day season (and good on you if you are), consider this equally salty and delicious alternative.

    If You Have Any Bathroom Counter Space Not Covered In Rubber Duckies

    gift guide

    Baxter Of California Shave 1.2.3 Kit, $72
    Even if you like a good straight razor shave at the barbers from time to time, you’re still going to have to shave your own damn face most mornings. The cream and aftershave balm in this kit are face-saving wonders, but the real gem is the badger hair brush that lets you start every day with a honey badger joke.

    Fulton And Roark Solid Cologne, $45
    A much-needed update to an old standby, solid cologne makes you smell just as good as the liquid stuff and is twice as portable. So you can throw it in a coat pocket and a freshen up real quick before dinner with the missus … or, you know, after your kid throws up on you.

    Herbivore Botanicals Clarifying Charcoal Soap, $8
    Charcoal has been used for centuries to purify and clean all sorts of stuff, but if it still seems weird to use it to clean your mug, consider how well it pairs with steak and burgers. If it’s good enough for ‘cue, it’s good enough for you.

    — 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.

  • National Cybersecurity: We Need a Fortress, Not a Sandcastle
    The hack that resulted in the theft of information on 4 million government employees didn’t need to happen. We had plenty of warning and next to nothing was done.

    Last Friday marked the second anniversary of Edward Snowden’s infamous NSA leaks. Those leaks not only exposed major government data collection efforts on which much debate has already been focused, but they also exposed some fundamentally troubling lapses in cybersecurity practices at one of our most sensitive government agencies. Whether you view him as a martyr, a traitor, or possibly both, Snowden’s exploits did more than anyone else to call our attention to the sorry state of data protection in this country. The NSA found itself reeling from a massive breach perpetrated not a by an enemy state but by a talented junior analyst with a mission to bring the system down. It was the loudest warning shot in cybersecurity history and unfortunately our government didn’t listen…or if they listened then they failed to act decisively. That is potentially even more troubling.

    Now we are paying the price, again. Almost two years after the Snowden inside-job data breach, foreign-based hackers (initial reports indicate probably from China this time) compromised the Office of Personnel Management and stole information on 4 million government employees. OPM is expected to start notifying the victims today. So based on the growing flames, Rome just might be burning. Will the U.S. Government act now to implement strong standards to prevent further breaches or will they continue to fiddle about?

    This latest breach is just the tip of the iceberg. While our Government leaders have debated whether or not to take decisive action, criminal hacker groups and hostile governments have been determinedly attacking our leading government agencies and corporations, wreaking havoc at the State Department, the Pentagon, Sony, Target, JP Morgan, Home Depot, and the White House itself. Make no mistake: this is a real war and we are not winning. Cybercriminals are an enormous threat to our economy, our infrastructure, and potentially the stability of our society.

    Why is this latest breach so troubling? Is it because decisive action from our leaders might have prevented this latest breach? Yes. But the nature of this attack is disturbing on another level entirely. What is the purpose of this attack? Is it designed to use the personal data of these 4 million people to run up charges on their credit cards and to damage their credit histories? Possibly, and if that is the reason then the government’s action of providing credit monitoring is a good response. But the real value of this information to an adversary is to provide essential identity information on people throughout the US Government to prepare for a much more damaging attack or set of attacks. This breach is a precursor to something that is potentially several orders of magnitude more damaging and we should be very concerned.

    In response to previous mega-breaches, two bills have been introduced. H.R. 1560, Protecting Cyber Networks Act, and H.R. 1731, National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015, were passed on April 22 and 23, respectively, during what was dubbed “Cyber Week” by House leaders. The decision to pass these two bills and send them to the Senate is welcome. These bills support the obvious need for cooperation, collaboration, and information sharing between the government and corporations.

    But let’s be absolutely clear on one thing — neither of these new bills will make our companies or our country substantially more secure. Why not? Because neither of them addresses the root cause of the problem. Our cybersecurity defenses built on the old status quo of simple, software-based security are built on sand. It’s time for our leaders to lay a new foundation. It is time to abandon the pretense that software and passwords alone are keeping us safe. We need a fortress, not a sandcastle.

    We need cybersecurity legislation that recognizes the fact that the industry standard IT security solutions that we’ve come to know and rely on are being hacked and bypassed so easily that we’re negligent if we don’t take notice and act to change them. When the keys to 4 million entry points to our national treasure trove of critical data have been stolen, it is time to change the locks. As Snowden highlighted to John Oliver a few weeks ago, the majority of passwords can be broken within seconds. If the real goal for new cybersecurity legislation is, in fact, stronger cybersecurity, then surely we need to mandate minimum requirements for government IT systems and establish National Standards that can actually prevent these hacks from happening in the first place.

    The terms multifactor authentication and hardware-based security should be the guiding tenets here. The use of multiple identifying factors makes it exponentially harder for a hacker to gain entry to a system. A hacker would not only have to gain possession of a person’s valid user credentials (i.e. User ID and password), but in a hardware-based multifactor authentication solution they would also need to take physical control of the security chip itself, whether it’s securely embedded on the motherboard of the user’s specifically assigned computing device or in a removable token. Only then could a hacker gain access to the IT environment and initiate the attack. Why does that matter? Because the vast majority of hacking attempts, like this last one, are carried out remotely. By forcing a hacker to gain physical control of a computing device or server to initiate an attack we make it much more difficult to execute the attack and traditional methods of defense such as physical security controls are then also effective.

    The good news is that a new foundation is available to us. It lies dormant in many millions of devices we already own, devices we each use every day. Close to one billion Trusted Platform Module chips have been shipped over roughly the last 7 years on standard business desktops, laptops and tablets. And on some highly secure smart phones. These very powerful hardware-based security chips could provide a very capable and very quickly implemented hardening of our cyber defenses, not just in the U.S. but world-wide. So while we debate about cybersecurity, worry about data collection, and read about the latest mega hacks, what we should really be doing is asking our politicians a simple question. If there are solutions available to protect us, why aren’t you turning them on?

    — 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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