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Mobile Technology News, March 10, 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.

  • Is Bitcoin Africa's unlikely saviour?
    Could Bitcoin be Africa’s migrant workers saviour?
  • VIDEO: Will anyone want an Apple Watch?
    The BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones investigates whether smartwatches are really the next big thing.
  • Strangers Learned Sign Language To Give Hearing-Impaired Man A Sense Of Belonging
    A man who has a hearing impairment was able to enjoy a day free from obstacles, in the video above.

    A moving, new advertisement from Samsung features a young man named Muharrem from Istanbul. For one day, Muharrem’s world becomes much more accessible.

    In the video above, people learn sign language and video cameras are placed around the city, in the month leading up to the big day. On Dec. 28, 2014, Muharrem ventures out with his sister. A shop employee tells him about the store’s bagels. Another man offers him an apple. A woman who accidentally bumps into him, apologizes. All of them communicate through sign language.

    After each encounter, Muharrem looks increasingly confused and at the 1:19 mark, he asks his sister, “What is going on?”

    It’s revealed toward the end of the ad by a representative signing on a large video screen that Samsung is promoting its video call center — a feature which allows customers with hearing impairments to use sign language to communicate their questions or concerns. Muharrem realizes that the entire day has been planned around him and, overwhelmed with emotion, begins tearing up at the end of the video.

    While the video may be an ad, the company representative signs a profound message that many would agree with:

    A world without barriers is our dream as well.”

    H/T Digital Synopsis

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  • You Can Explore The Bat Cave In 3D With This New Virtual Reality Project

    fusion

    A new virtual reality project allows users to explore an expanded replica of the Bat Cave as it appeared in the early 1990s Batman animated series you probably grew up watching.

    “You’re going to be able to see [the bat cave] in angles that were never imagined or shown in the original series,” Jules Urbach, CEO and co-founder of OTOY, a cloud rendering company, told us when we caught up with him at The WorldPost Future of Work conference in London.

    “The cave we built… is hundreds of meters in each direction, so it’s just this enormous volume, and you’ll be able to have a story told in that environment.”

    The project, yet unnamed, is produced in partnership with Warner Brothers, which helped bring along the original designer, voice actors, and script writers to make the experience as authentic as possible.

    “From the very first thing you see — and I’m not going to reveal what that is — it should make you feel like you are watching that cartoon back in your living room, back in 1992, except there is no living room,” Urbach said.

    The project is slated to be released sometime soon, possibly later this month.

    It will be made available on the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR, and soon after on Oculus Rift and other virtual reality platforms. Updates will come later down the road, as cell phones are better able to track your head movements, Urbach said.

    “I think in the end when fans of the original series see this, they’re gonna be blown away by how close it looks,” he said. “In some cases we recreated things so closely that you can’t tell if you’re looking at a still image of what we’re rendering in [virtual reality].”

    We tried it, and we can’t say too much, but we will say this: this is Gotham as you have never seen it before.

    Produced in collaboration with The WorldPost.

  • Apple Watch prices and apps revealed
    Apple reveals that its smartwatch collection will range in price from £299 to £13,500 depending on the materials used.
  • Apple Watch launch: internet reacts
    The internet reacts to the Apple Watch event
  • Sarah Palin: Hillary Clinton Should Face The Same Tough Questions I Did Over Emails
    Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) should receive the same scrutiny she did over emails in the aftermath of her 2008 vice presidential campaign.

    In an op-ed for Fox News published Monday, Palin recalled how she released her emails from her time as governor of Alaska after a slew of requests from the media:

    First, some background: I know something about how annoying FOIA requests can be for public officials. After I returned home from the 2008 vice presidential campaign, the state of Alaska was flooded with innumerable FOIA requests to see literally every single email I ever wrote while governor. It was an overwhelming request for a small population state with limited resources. But our system of government relies on transparency, and that means public officials must suck it up and let the public see whatever they want.

    When FOIA requests bombarded us, investigators and our attorney general’s office were given full access to all of my state and private emails. The only emails redacted were the very few that were protected by attorney/client privilege – a determination agreed upon by my lawyers and the Attorney General’s office who reviewed them. In other words, an independent third party reviewed every email. There was no chance for any “smoking gun” to escape detection because nothing was kept secret in any way. Everything was done in the most transparent way possible.

    Palin argued Clinton — who exclusively used a personal email address while working at the State Department — should have been subject to the same scrutiny, but said it may be too late for total transparency, arguing “someone might have already deleted any trace of incriminating emails to and from Secretary Clinton and her aides.”

    According to Politico, Clinton could address the email controversy in a press conference this week. She first addressed the criticism over her email address in a tweet last week, saying she’d asked the State Department to release her emails from her time as secretary of state.

    Several lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Reps. Darrel Issa (R-Calif.) and Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), have called on Clinton to be more transparent about the emails.

    Read Palin’s full op-ed at Fox News.

  • (VIDEO) Gaming Is The New Cinema: AdColony's Barash

    We’ve known for some time that the video games industry is bigger than Hollywood. But the growth of mobile gaming is underlining that position.

    “The phone is your primary device,” says business development mobile ad tech provider AdColony‘s VP Matt Barash.

    “Maybe gaming is the new cinema. It’s where people spend a lot of time.

    “Recently, we had the Super Bowl – we saw a number of different app developers spending between $4m and $9m (on advertising) – that’s validation.”

    AdColony makes HD-quality video play more efficiently on mobile phones, including for in-app ads.

    Barash was interviewed by Beet.TV at the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting.

    Beet.TV coverage of the IAB meeting was sponsored by SpotXchange. Please find Beet.TV’s coverage of the event here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • What's the Most Accurate Lie Detector? It's Not What You Think

    The most well known contender, the polygraph, is an instrument that measures various physiological signals from sensors attached to a person undergoing questioning. The science behind the polygraph is based on the premise that under the stressful affect of questioning about potentially deceptive issues, a person will show changes in emotional arousal and cognitive load.

    A sensor wrapped around the chest monitors respiration. Another on the upper arm checks blood pressure. Two sensors attached to the fingers monitor pulse and skin conductance (sweat). During questioning about issues related to a person’s actions, there can be physiological reactions that indicate deception.

    The polygraph was invented in 1921 by John Larson, a medical student at the University of California at Berkeley and a Berkeley police officer. ( Source.) Ironically, the original purpose of the instrument was to make police officers more law-abiding. (Source.)

    In 1936, the FBI used the polygraph for the first time in a criminal case. (Source.) It was intended to help modernize criminal investigations. It has also been used over the years to screen job candidates for sensitive private or public security positions in federal organizations such as the CIA, FBI and NSA — as well as for municipal police departments.

    Today in the U.S., the polygraph is limited to government and law enforcement applications, as well as others where a person willingly agrees to be tested or in cases involving departments of corrections. In the U.S., the Employee Polygraph Protection Act (EPPA) of 1988 has limited the use of the polygraph used by private companies based on concerns about privacy and potential abuse.

    Unfortunately, the polygraph does not necessarily measure concealed knowledge. And so from the beginning, concerns about the examiner’s reliance on subjective interpretations to determine knowledge have been raised. Its accuracy has been strongly debated for more than 90 years. The issue is quite polarizing.

    Under the right circumstances and with a skilled certified examiner, the polygraph can be very accurate at detecting deception; however, the best use case is for interrogations focused on single events such as a particular crime.

    Polygraph accuracy depends on the skill of the examiner, the subject’s physiology, and the conditions under which it is used–specifically if used for interrogation related to a particular event. If all conditions are prime, results can be fairly accurate.

    In fact, under prime conditions, the American Polygraph Association says the accuracy of a polygraph can be over 90 percent. (Source.) Nevertheless, the challenge is that conditions are not always prime, examiners are not always skilled, and polygraphs are used for circumstances other than single event interrogations. Under those conditions, accuracy can be as accurate as a coin toss.

    Some of the challenges with polygraph examinations include the following:

    • Prior to the test, a tense or strained interaction between the examiner and the subject can affect the outcome.
    • The examiner must rely on subjective interpretations of the measurements.
    • Some guilty individuals have successfully deceived the examiner by controlling their emotions with countermeasures such as biting the cheek or stepping on a tack inserted into the shoe.
    • Innocent people that react poorly to questioning have been labeled deceptive.
    • A polygraph test typically takes 2 to 3 hours and requires a skilled, certified examiner. If a person tires easily or is anxious, this amount of time may be excessive.
    • The test is somewhat invasive–sensors are attached to the fingers and chest–and some individuals feel anxious as a result.

    In 1991, Drs. David Raskin and John Kircher of the University of Utah introduced the computerized polygraph primarily to mitigate concerns about subjective interpretation of data. (I spoke with Dr. Raskin.) In spite of that, the above-mentioned challenges are still in play.

    Today, polygraph tests are not only used around for the world for criminal investigations but also to screen job applicants in all types of organizations. In fact, many more polygraph tests are given in some countries for pre-screening job candidates than for investigations.

    But, if the polygraph is a better measurement of physiological changes and not concealed knowledge, is there a better solution?

    In 2012, a significant study revealed that lying causes subtle changes in the behavior of the human eye because it induces a change in cognitive load. Fortunately, those changes are subconscious and cannot be masked by examinees under most circumstances. This method was shown to detect deception with 85 percent accuracy when used for generalized applications such as screening job candidates and employees. Those conditions are far more common than a criminal investigation.

    The future of polygraph may soon change due to new innovations that prove to be more accurate and less invasive.

    Note: This article and the opinions expressed here are from Russ Warner, VP of Marketing at Converus, makers of EyeDetect.

  • 'Amazon Prime For Women' Parody Has The Perfect Solution To Wage Inequality
    Introducing “Amazon Prime for Women:” A service where women get 78 percent of an item, for 78 percent of the price.

    That’s the premise behind a parody video created by YouTube comedian Paul Gale and starring actress Lauren Ireland. The fake commercial points out that women make 78 cents for each dollar a man makes for the same work (the gap is even larger for women of color), and illustrates just how ridiculous that statistic is.

    Since the wage gap is an unfortunate reality, “Amazon Prime for Women” proposes a fair solution. “From books to umbrellas to sweaters, it’s the Prime service you love at the price you can afford when you’re taking home three-quarters as much as a man would for being equally productive.”

    Gale said that he hopes the video will bring awareness to wage inequality.

    “Regardless of the exact [wage gap] numbers, there’s a systemic inequality embedded in our society, whether it’s regarding gender, race, or sexual orientation,” he told The Huffington Post. “To have a platform to point at it in my own way and say ‘Hey, this! We should talk about this!’ is something I’m grateful to be able to do.”

    Watch the full video above.

  • Is Snapchat Peddling Porn?
    Snapchat, the messaging service that made sexting easier (and supposedly safer) now appears to be doubling down on peddling porn to young people through Snapcash.

    Snapchat’s ephemeral messages have always been used to transmit racy photos. Before Snapchat became popular, sexting was a dangerous game – one could only pray that the user at the other end would not share the images or video with the rest of the internet. Those prayers often went rejected; there are a million horror stories of naked pictures ending up across the web. A blink-and-it’s-gone alternative felt safer and less risky, and it became immediately popular with the college (and high school) crowd.

    The fairly new Snapcash feature allows the same users to instantly send each other money within the app, and naturally, it’s already being used to transmit pay-for-play pornographic imagery and videos. Strippers and porn stars are making money showing off their goods. As you could expect from a company reportedly worth $19 billion, Snapchat vehemently denies any anticipation of this usage, but the facts surrounding the situation suggest they knew exactly what they were getting into.

    Snapcash is designed to transfer money quickly and easily. Users simply put a dollar sign before the amount they wish to send, causing the send button to change to a green money sign button. Then, users swipe to the messenger part of Snapchat, choose who they want to transfer the money to and press send. Users’ debit cards must be linked to Square, a partner, for the process to work.

    The new feature has propelled Snapchat’s entry into the porn industry. The New York Times recently reported that porn stars are using Snapcash to send videos and photos of themselves naked for a small fee. The transactions are inexpensive and can cost anywhere from $1 to $5 for just a few photos. However prices for personalized sex shows can run into the double digits. Strippers are finding Snapcash to be a surprisingly lucrative vehicle for pornographic distribution.

    While Snapchat itself may be feigning shock, is this turn of events all that surprising? The company was already facing media reports that its Snapchat Stories were turning teenagers into amateur porn stars. Did they legitimately think adding a payment feature wouldn’t exacerbate this problem? The object of Snapcash is to allow users to send each other quick, easy, and covert payments for material that disappears shortly after you open it, leaving essentially no trace. That sounds like an invitation for users to pay for sexually explicit content! Moreover, mobile has become a popular platform for pornography. According to a recent study by Juniper Research, porn video chats and subscription services on mobile devices will account for $2.8 billion in revenue this year.

    The most comical part about this entire debacle has been Snapchat’s reaction to it. Not only does the company expect us to believe they had no intention of encouraging pornographic use of the app, but they are also “going parental” on their teenage audience. In addition to making clear that it does not condone or allow the use of Snapcash for transferring pornographic imagery, the company also posted new guidelines for users that read as follows:

    “Don’t use Snapchat for any illegal shenanigans and if you’re under 18 or are Snapping with someone who might be: keep your clothes on!”

    Shenanigans? Is that a legal term? Snapchat is run by a very young group of entrepreneurs, and it’s the app geared towards younger audiences – their primary users are teenagers, so why is the company speaking like a “wholesome” 50’s television parent? This sentiment also seems a bit hypocritical coming from the company whose early success was based on sexting.

    Let’s be honest: Snapchat is no ingénue. This is a company on the verge of a $19 billion dollar valuation that was smart enough, and confident enough to turn down Facebook’s offer to buy them. The idea that Snapchat had no idea that their new feature would propel them into the world of pornography seems to be absolutely ludicrous. Globally porn is a $97 billion dollar industry, with about about 12% of the entire internet dedicated to it.

    Aside from the financial opportunity, what exactly did Snapchat think young adults would pay for using Snapcash? What is worth buying that will disappear seconds after you’ve seen it – meaning overprotective parents won’t be able to find it in your search history? It should be obvious. When it comes to human flesh people have been buying and selling sex since the beginning of time. Now they can do it over the internet, phone to phone.

    And their choice of partner for this venture – Snapchat’s very first partnership – also suggests that very notion. Square is no stranger to the sex industry. The company has served as the payment platform for sex-workers to receive compensation from their loaded Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur clients.

    Pornography has promulgated many tech innovations in the last generation, from VHS tapes to interactive CDs and DVDs, and finally to advance the entire internet. It seems pretty obvious that an audience of hormonally-charged teenagers, when given the opportunity, will pay for sexual content that will discreetly leave nothing in their search history. Snapchat should own up to what they’re trying to do and cease its 50’s style parenting approach. Let everyone know that sex sells – and they’re okay with it. The Snapchat audience, from teenagers to young adults, can and will spend on pornography, as they have proven many times over. Perhaps Snapchat should do themselves a favor and rebrand Snapcash to what it should have been called in the first place: Snapsex.

  • The Chickens You Eat Are Probably Pretty Darn Dirty
    You think you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to buying meat. You choose the organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed, gluten-free chicken breasts at the meat counter and bring them home for dinner. But what does that even mean?

    A new documentary short from PBS Food hopes to shine a light on the hidden underbelly of our meat system, and the factory farms that are feeding the world’s growing demand for protein.

    The segment is part of the network’s exploratory food program, “Original Fare.” During the episode, foodie Kelly Cox interviews outspoken farmer Craig Watts, who made headlines late last year after he filmed the conditions inside his chicken barns to show how a Perdue animal lives.

    The footage is shocking.

    Birds are shown nearly featherless, with red bellies caused by a life lived on top of steaming compost, some unable to stand due to infected legs. Watts says the conditions are strictly mandated by Perdue and he follows them to the letter, but after the company’s chairman released a promotional video espousing how humanely their birds are treated, Watts felt something had to be done.

    “The only chicken that they’re touting in their commercials, [they’re] cage-free… humanely-raised, no steroids or hormones, all-natural,” he says in the episode. “I actually saw a label the other day that said gluten-free. Any trend that they can capitalize on … they’re jumping on it.”

    As expected, both Perdue and the National Chicken Council say the condition of the animals falls on the farmer.

    Take a look at the full segment above, and let us know which birds you’d rather eat: those raised in Watts’ barns or pasture-raised ones like these guys.

  • Toilet Could Turn Urine Into Electricity At Refugee Camps
    An innovative urinal could turn pee into a source of electricity.

    Driven to find a way to protect women and girls in refugee camps who are often assaulted when they go to the bathroom at night, researchers at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have devised a urinal that lights up when a person uses it.

    “They are facing abuse and being molested,” Andy Bastable, Oxfam’s head of water and sanitation, said of the risks female refugees face in the evenings. “If we could light up the area around the toilets, it would make it safer for them.”

    In the Za’atari camp in Jordan, for example, which is home to 120,000 refugees, the women are at such great risk of getting attacked at the communal restrooms that females typically don’t go to the bathroom after 10 p.m., according to Amnesty International USA. But by restricting themselves, the girls and women are developing urinary tract infections, among other health issues.

    With backing from Oxfam and the Gates Foundation, the innovators unveiled a prototype loo on Thursday at UWE Bristol and have asked students to donate their urine to get the program up and running, Oxfam announced in a press release.

    The light is generated by microbial fuel cells (MFCs). Those cells rely on live microbes, which are able to grow by feeding off of urine, according to Oxfam.

    These same scientists were also the brains behind the technology that uses pee to power mobile phones.

    The energy is efficient and cheap.

    One urinal could cost 600 British pounds (about $900) to produce.

    The team is hopeful that the pee-power technology could eventually be scaled to light up other areas of refugee camps and disaster zones.

    “This technology is about as green as it gets,” said Ioannis Ieropoulos, the lead researcher, “as we do not need to utilize fossil fuels and we are effectively using a waste product that will be in plentiful supply.”

    To take action on pressing sanitation issues, check out the Global Citizen’s widget below.

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  • Everything You Need To Know About The Apple Watch
    You can put the Apple Watch on your wrist April 10.

    That’s according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who stepped on stage Monday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco to unveil the final details about the wearable device, which was first announced back in September. April 10 is the preorder date and the first day you’ll be able to try the Watch on in an Apple Store. The product will be available to own April 24.

    apple

    The most basic version of the watch, Apple Watch Sport, will start at $349 for the 38mm watch face. The 42mm face is priced at $399. Upgrading to the stainless steel version takes the starting price to $549. Finally, the 18-karat gold Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000.

    “It’s not just with you, it’s on you,” Cook said of the new gadget.

    The Apple Watch’s basic features haven’t changed since it was first announced in September, but Kevin Lynch, Apple’s vice president of technology, went through highlights Monday. We’ve got the details here.

    Keep in mind that for many of the features to work, the Apple Watch needs to be paired with an iPhone 5 (or later) running the latest version of iOS 8.

    Here’s a recap of the Apple Watch’s features:

    Fitness

    A big draw for the Apple Watch is its suite of health and activity trackers. The built-in Activity app shows you how many calories you’ve burned in a day, how much exercise you’ve gotten, and how much you’ve stood up. It offers goal-tracking for each.


    Credit: Apple

    The device will also show you a weekly summary of your activity every Monday, and it will offer suggestions to improve your fitness in those reports. Its built-in heart sensor helps keep track of your exercise during workouts. It’s water-resistant (not waterproof), so you don’t have to worry about destroying it with all of your technology-enabled sweating.

    Finally, outside of the basic information in the Activity app, there’s a Workout app that will keep tabs on the nitty-gritty: total distance when running, average pace and so on. When you achieve personal milestones, the Fitness app will display an achievement badge on the screen, perhaps in a bid to make rigorous physical activity feel more like an Xbox game.

    Glances

    Important information is just a glance away on the Apple Watch. Use your finger to swipe up from the bottom of the watch face and you can check the weather, look at your calendar, control your music or check your heart rate.

    Apps

    It’s always been clear that Apple Watch would support apps made by third-party developers. On Monday, Apple showcased a few examples and announced that they can be downloaded via a connected iPhone. Apple Watch supports WeChat, a popular Chinese messaging app, and Uber, which now lets you summon a ride straight from your wrist. An app from the W hotel will allow users to unlock their hotel room using the Apple Watch by holding it up to a “lock pad near the door handle.”

    Siri

    Everyone’s favorite digital assistant is on the watch, because of course it is. Apple Watch owners will be able to say, “Hey, Siri” into their devices and then ask for turn-by-turn directions or information about upcoming events. Siri will also allow you to dictate text messages to contacts simply by speaking into your Apple Watch.

    The “Taptic Engine”

    Apple Watch will tap you on the wrist when you receive a notification. Cook said Monday that any notification you get on your iPhone will be viewable on the Apple Watch.

    If you want walking directions, for example, it will tap you when it’s time to turn. Apple says it will provide a different “tactile sensation” depending on the alert.

    It will also allow you to tap other Apple Watch wearers or share your heartbeat with them, which Apple characterizes as “simple and intimate,” rather than a sobering example of mankind’s inexorable march toward technological singularity.


    Credit: Apple

    A Screen You Can Draw On

    Texting is great and all, but Apple Watch owners will be able to communicate with one another by drawing on the device’s screen. The doodles will be animated, illustrating how they were drawn, and then they’ll vanish from the display.

    That may seem a bit inconsequential, but you might have said the same thing about Snapchat’s short, self-destructing messages — and that company is valued at $19 billion now.


    Credit: Apple

    Instant Messages

    When you get a text message on your iPhone, the Apple Watch will be able to display it on your wrist and offer you quick ways to respond based on “the context of your message,” like if someone is asking you to meet for coffee at 2 p.m. Those responses can be along the lines of, “Leaving now,” or they could simply be an animated emoji.

    The Apple Watch also lets you see new email messages, of course.

    Phone Calls On Your Wrist

    Unlike certain competitors — like the Moto 360 smartwatch for Android — Apple Watch allows you to answer incoming calls and have a conversation straight from your wrist, using the device’s speaker and microphone. (The Moto 360 allows you to answer calls with the watch, but you have to speak into your actual phone.)

    Different Watch Faces

    Mickey Mouse watches are classic, and now you can have a modern version on your wrist, thanks to Apple’s different watch faces.

    The wide array of face options includes an astronomy-themed faceh showing the planets, a minimalistic analog display and many more.

    Battery

    The Apple Watch powers up via a magnetic charger on its back, and Cook said it will last for 18 hours.

    ***

    Cook’s announcement capped off weeks of speculation that turned the invitation to the event into a news item itself. Anticipation for the gadget, and its success or failure, reached a fever pitch following a new 12-page advertisement in Vogue, a cover image for Self magazine and rumors about how it could shift the company’s strategy for its Apple Stores.

    The Apple Watch is the company’s first foray into a new product category under Tim Cook, who became Apple’s CEO when Steve Jobs stepped down in 2011. It follows a record-setting, $18 billion quarter for the Cupertino tech giant.

    Apple now faces the challenge of getting people to buy the wearable, which could be perceived as little more than a luxury item complementing the technology one already owns. The $10,000 gold variation of the Apple Watch, also announced Monday, does little to dispel that notion. Industry experts seem split on whether anyone will want it, though some have reminded readers that the iPhone was met with similar skepticism upon its announcement.

    The Consumer Electronics Association has estimated that 10.8 million smartwatches will be sold in 2015 — about 14 percent of the number of iPhones Apple sold in the last three months of 2014 alone.

    apple

  • Gold Apple Watch Will Start At A Mere $10,000
    Want to flaunt your wealth, tell the time and monitor your heart rate? All at once?! You can now throw down some serious cash on a gold Apple Watch, called the Apple Watch Edition.

    The gold watch will start at a whopping $10,000, Apple announced at an event in San Francisco on Monday. The most expensive version of the gold watch The Huffington Post could find on Apple’s website sold for $17,000. The gold watch will be available in limited quantities and in select stores. All Apple Watches will be available for pre-order starting April 10 and for purchase April 24.

    Yes, that’s extremely expensive for something that could be obsolete in the next year, but it’s not absurd in the world of luxury watches. It’s hard to find even a pre-owned Rolex for less than $5,000. But while a traditional watch becomes an heirloom, an expensive piece of technology just loses value over time. In 5 years, people might be donating their old Apple Watches the way we donate our old iPhones.

    If you decide to invest in an Apple Watch, you’ve got a few different options, and only one of them is gold. There are three different styles: the Apple Watch (between $549 and $1,049, depending on size and band choice), the Apple Watch Sport (starting at $349 for 38mm and $399 for 42mm) and the uber-pricey Apple Watch Edition, which starts at $10,000. These aren’t standalone products, however; you’ll need an iPhone to operate any of these Apple Watches.

    gold apple watch price

    The gold Apple Watch comes in two colors — rose gold and yellow gold — and two case sizes: 38mm and 42 mm. All cases are 18-karat gold. You can also choose from different types of watch bands and buckles.

    Here, for example, is a 42mm yellow gold Apple Watch with a rose gray leather band and rose gold Classic Buckle:

    gold apple watch price
    Image credit: Apple

    This is a 42mm yellow gold Apple Watch with a black Sport Band and 18-karat yellow gold pin holding it closed:

    gold apple watch price
    Image credit: Apple

    Here’s a 38mm yellow gold watch with a red leather band and yellow gold Modern Buckle:

    gold apple watch price
    Image credit: Apple

    With the Apple Watch, you’ll be able to communicate with your friends via text, phone calls and email, send little drawings and share your location, heartbeat and other personal info. The Apple Watch also has a built-in fitness tracker.

    Apple’s no stranger to exorbitantly expensive products. The company currently offers a desktop computer for $3,999.

  • Breakthroughs for Women and Minorities in Technology: An Interview With WP Engine CEO Heather Brunner
    At this year’s SXSWedu Conference and SXSW Festival there will be many outstanding companies and several of their CEOs in attendance. But few women and minorities will be represented among this top tech talent. Overall, only a little more than 2 percent of minorities and women work for technology companies, which is reflected in the small amount of women and minorities who run tech companies or hold leading roles.

    Austin-based Heather Brunner is someone who wants to change that. As CEO of WP Engine, incubated initially by Capital Factory also in Austin, Brunner’s company powers more than 250,000 WordPress sites for over 26,000 customers making Brunner a role model to women in technology. The company, now almost five years old, grew last year from 90 employees to 230 people in San Antonio, Austin, San Francisco, and as of this year the company opened its first international location in London’s bustling Tech City area.

    Brunner has high standards of excellence, collaboration, diversity, and service both in and out of WP Engine. Her team is 20 percent female and 20 percent of employees don’t have a college degree but do have experience in WordPress and web technology. With these diverse talents, WP Engine is helping companies of all sizes, from early stage startups like the Shark Tank entrepreneurs all the way to large enterprises like AMD, Uber, and Etsy, leverage the power of WordPress.

    “We are at a tipping point with women in technology,” Brunner states. “Our vision and mission is to represent the people behind these businesses so that their passion and purpose is clear,” says Brunner. “No matter what business you are in, if you are inspired, clear on what you stand for, interested in connecting technology to solve problems, you’ll do well beyond the specifics of the job you are hired for initially.”

    To make their mark, aspiring technology leaders need more than just tech skills. “Financials are the language of business,” says Brunner. “Students, graduates, and employees need versatile financial skills to use business metrics for growth. The sooner a student starts thinking like a business owner, the sooner they will become a valued employee.” These are skills like knowing how to define gross margin, profit and loss, and other key financial terms. Students have to drive their own learning in high school and college through apprenticeships, internships, and mentorships that provide a context to the working world. To improve access, these real world experiences are especially important to women, minorities, and underserved populations that might not be exposed to tech fields in school.

    In addition to her impressive career, Brunner is also adept at the challenge of balancing personal and family life. As a wife and mother of two daughters, ages 8 and 10, she knows first-hand how to juggle competing priorities. However, there are clear advantages to being a female CEO. “The higher you are within an organization, the more flexibility you have to control your destiny.” Brunner says. At the management level, you can do more to stay ahead and disrupt the status quo so that you are not just improving your business but setting a new standard for how your business is done.

    WP Engine is working with middle school and high school-aged students through GENaustin and Breakthrough Austin to get first generation to college students exposed to technological and professional worlds. In this way, Brunner and WP Engine are leading others to create the best talent pipeline they can to fulfill their job needs in the coming decades and strengthen our economy overall, whether these students come to work for Heather at WP Engine, join established companies which need to be re-invented, start a non-profit to solve some of the world’s biggest problems or start their own company where they can create work for themselves and others.

    For those of you who are in Austin for SXSW on Sunday, March 15, you can see Brunner on a panel, “Trilogy: A Killer Network Can Transform Your Town” at the Hilton from 9:30 am -10:30 am.

    Keep an eye out for Heather Brunner and other leading women and minority talent who will lead our EdTech transformation in more complete, collaborative, and diverse ways. Ask how you can be a partner of a technological future where talent comes in many forms of leadership, developing, directing, and delivering the best learning and living experiences for all.

  • Viral Facebook Photo Helps Woman Reunite With Her Long-Lost Mom After More Than 20 Years Apart
    After decades apart, a woman and her mother have been reunited — in part, due to the Internet.

    U.K. native Stacey Lee hadn’t seen her mother, Brenda Drake, since she was sent to live with her father and two brothers when she was 2 years old, according to a press release from Cavendish Press. For years, the now-23-year-old tried to find Drake but had no luck. At her boyfriend’s suggestion, Lee took a picture holding a poster she had made with her mother’s information on it, and shared it on Facebook, in hopes that the online community could help her.

    facebook plea
    The photo that went viral.

    The board read:

    “Looking for my birth mother Brenda Elizabeth Davies. (May have another name) Born in Leyland. Had me in Manchester General 21st Oct. 1991. I also have 2 other brothers from my mum. If you have anything please contact me.”

    The 23-year-old’s post quickly caught the attention of people across Facebook, and was shared more than 100,000 times. Within a day, Kerianne Davies, a woman who claimed to be Lee’s cousin contacted her, and put her in touch with Drake.

    Lee and her mother made plans, and in late February, the pair saw each other for the first time in about 21 years.

    facebook plea
    Stacey Lee with her birth mother, Brenda Drake.

    “I went to meet her in a pub and when I saw her, I just hugged her and we both cried,” Lee said of the reunion, according to the release. “We were in shock. It was very emotional. We look a lot like each other and I am quite shy and quiet like her.”

    Lee started looking for her birth mother as a teenager, but feared her mother had died or moved abroad. After hearing about several reunions that were orchestrated with the help of social media, Lee decided to give her boyfriend’s poster idea a chance. The mother-daughter pair were able to finally catch up on various aspects of their lives. Lee learned that Drake had changed her name from “Davies” after getting married. She also discovered she has four younger siblings.

    The pair said they are overjoyed at their reunion, and Drake said that their newfound relationship has only just begun.

    “I regret losing contact with my three eldest children … I tried looking for them but I always came to a dead end,” she said. “When I received the Facebook message from Stacey I couldn’t believe it … We’re all looking forward to the future and I am going to be reunited with my two [other sons] too.”

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  • Why Do So Many Software Engineers Hate Java?
    Why do many software engineers not like Java?: 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+.

    2015-03-09-1425925315-9118763-MichaelChurch

    Answer by Michael O. Church, functional programmer and machine learning engineer

    Java logo and wordmark.svg

    First, let’s cover the technical issues. It’s verbose, combines the worst of both worlds between static and dynamic typing by having a hobbled but extremely clunky type system, and mandates running on a VM that has a macroscopic startup time (not an issue for long-running servers, but painful for command-line applications). While it performs pretty well nowadays, it still isn’t competitive with C or C++ and, with a little love, Haskell and OCaml can or will eclipse it in that domain. For real-world production servers, it tends to require a fair amount of JVM tuning.

    The VM itself has a lot to recommend it. It offers concurrency and garbage collection at a level of quality that, until recently, wasn’t found anywhere else. Python may have a better user experience, but it also has a GIL, which rules out parallelism. Much important software in the early 2000s was written in Java because, at the time, it was the best choice, even taking the mediocrity of the language itself into account. It had Unicode (albeit, UTF-16) from the start and a strong concurrency story, and it was a notch above C++ in terms of user experience (because, really, who wants to debug template errors deep in someone else’s legacy code?)

    If you put Java on a technical trial, it doesn’t do so bad. The language sucks, the platform is pretty good for most purposes. I do hate the dominant interpretation of “object-oriented programming” with a passion, because it objectively sucks. See: Michael O. Church’s answer to Was object-oriented programming a failure?

    So let’s talk about the political and cultural issues. First, the dominant Java culture is one of mediocrity and bad taste, with MetaModelVibratorVisitorFactory classes dominating. I’ve heard a number of experts on “the Java issue” argue that Java’s biggest problem is the community, and that comes directly from the fact that good programmers don’t want to deal with the bastardization of OOP that has entrenched itself in mainstream corporate development. You have a lot of people who trained up as “Java programmers”, haven’t seen a command line ever, and have no clue how the computer actually works. Most of them have never actually written a program; they just write classes and some Senior Chief Architect (who makes $246,001 per year and hasn’t written a line of code since the 1990s) figures out how to stitch them together, and then tells some other clueless junior how to implement the glue in the gutshot hope that one will actually have the talent to make an actual working program out of the mess.

    This isn’t inherent to the JVM, because Clojure (currently hosted on the JVM, although its endgame seems to be language-agnosticism) has a radically different (and better) community. Scala’s community is more mixed, but the top Scala engineers (the ones making tools like Spark and Kestrel) are really fucking good.

    The root problem, lying under all of this, is that God clearly intended for the programmer-to-program ratio to be one-to-many. It’s much more productive and engaging to work that way. Programs should be small, and when you need a lot of code to solve a large problem, you should create a system and give it the respect that systems deserve. The vision that seems ensconced in the modern Java community is one of Big Programs where the programmer-to-program ratio is many-to-one. I’ve written at length about why this leads inexorably to political behavior and low productivity: Java Shop Politics.

    At the heart of the failed, ugly, corporate bastardization of “object-oriented programming” is an evil vision of the commoditization of programming talent. If you don’t see that as an enemy worth all-out war, you’re either not human or not decent. Of course, none of that is Java’s fault, at all, really. Java was designed for embedded systems in the mid-1990s, and the mediocritization of software came later.

    So, the short answer is: it’s mostly not about the underlying platform (which is generally of high quality) and its only partly about the language (which is mediocre but can’t be blamed directly for community problems). It goes a lot deeper than that, and not all of it is Java’s fault. However, Java takes its share of the blame for its clear favoritism toward large programs (technically, established by its long startup time) and by its support of a very ugly (and counterproductive) variety of object-oriented programming.

    More questions on Quora:

  • Why The Windows 10 Fast Ring Needs To Be Faster

    Microsoft’s Gabe Aul has taken to the Windows Blog site to offer up a great piece on the Windows 10 Technical Preview cadence and why dates are not broadcasted out to the public.  The article can be found here and I’m not going to waste your time by rehashing the entire post which is quite lengthy.  The article lays out in great detail the internal processes and testing schedules, the balance of too fast versus too buggy and why they don’t set dates (HINT: It is beta software so if they run into a showstopper internally, they will postpone a

    The post Why The Windows 10 Fast Ring Needs To Be Faster appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

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