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Mobile Technology News, March 25, 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.

  • Top 15 Internal Medicine apps for iPhone and Android

    The best internal medicine medical apps for physicians and health professionals.

    The post Top 15 Internal Medicine apps for iPhone and Android appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • An SAT Prep Book Misquoted A Taylor Swift Lyric To Demonstrate Bad Grammar In Pop
    If the overlords responsible for dreaded standardized tests want to challenge Taylor Swift’s grammar, at least quote her properly.

    An SAT prep book included Swift among a list of pop lyrics with improper English, and a photo of the evidence is making the Tumblr rounds. High school test-takers were asked to correct mistakes in song excerpts by the likes of Whitney Houston and Justin Timberlake, but the lyric quoted for Swift’s “Fifteen” wasn’t accurate. Instead of “Somebody tells you they love you, you got to believe ’em,” the book should say, “Somebody tells you they love you, you’re gonna believe them” — which, somewhat ironically, adds another grammatical error by using “gonna.” Still, let’s fact-check these pop songs, Princeton Review test-prep wizards! Kids’ college admissions depend on it.

    “Not the right lyrics at all,” Swift said when she reposted the photo on Tumblr. “You had one job, test people. One job.”

  • This Time Is Different: How Big Data Has Left the Middle Class Behind
    What if innovation is driving economic stagnation and inequality? That’s the question Charles Leadbetter analyzes in “The Whirlpool Economy” over at the UK Innovation Foundation’s Long+Short site. He makes key points about the current relationships between innovation and the economy but misses partly what may make the new technology of big data a particularly toxic driver of current economic inequality. That stagnation haunts the U.S. and especially Europe is a common observation, but as Leadbetter notes, it’s a “a very strange one, for it comes at time when our lives are in the midst of incessant change, much of it brought on by what claim to be radical innovations.”

    In past periods of stagnation, he argues, “the economy stagnated because there was little underlying dynamism, few new ideas and limited opportunities for entrepreneurship.” He nods in the direction of basic Keynesian analyses of the problem, such as from Larry Summers, who sees a deficit in demand driven by lower wages and austerity public policy.

    But Leadbetter argues that current innovation itself is a key driver of stagnation since so much new innovation “is aimed at eliminating jobs and lowering costs”:

    The economy is creating jobs but many of them are low-productivity, low-pay service jobs. The result is that many young people find themselves doing work for which they are over-qualified: a quarter of all “entry level” jobs in London are filled by someone with a degree, quite possibly one they have paid for themselves with debts they may never pay off.

    He argues that this problem of the automation of jobs and deskilling of middle-class households needs to be addressed by policy that raises wages and kickstarts the virtuous cycle of higher incomes, higher demand and higher production. And we need less “disruptive” innovation and more innovation that “generates new jobs and augments existing ones; while addressing the spiralling costs of things like energy, health and social care that matter to median-income households.”

    Leadbetter’s argument is very on point as far as it goes, but what he doesn’t fully address is why automation now is so different from past cycles of boom-and-bust. Analysts have been worrying about mass unemployment and impoverishment of the working classes at least since the Luddites in the early 19th century saw new textile technology endangering skilled textile jobs. The rise of mass production and the assembly line were seen as replacing skilled craft workers with only semi-skilled automatons working at the behest of the production line machinery. Yes, robotics threatens to add to the cycle of displacement, but new jobs not even imagined before were created in the past and will likely be created in the future; heck, IBM just announced that they intend to train 10,000 engineers in analyzing Twitter data as part of their business services division, a kind of job that didn’t even exist in the past.

    But the kind of “big data” jobs IBM is developing as part of this cycle of job destruction/creation may highlight what is different about this technological cycle and why new innovation is not being channeled into new income for middle-income families. In past rounds of technological job destruction, after the initial pain of unemployment and skills redeployment, workers would organize to demand a share of the new wealth created by the new machines, and consumers would benefit from lower prices.

    However, with new “disruptive” technology today, designed to help corporate America profile workers and consumers to better increase corporate profits, the “wealth” being created is by its nature more of a zero-sum game. The industrial age created at least some degree of shared wealth where Henry Ford could argue that paying higher wages for workers would in turn create demand for his cars, but subprime mortgage companies profiling consumers to sell them bad loans depend on the immiseration of working families as their profit source.

    What we have seen over the last 50 years is that as every recession disrupts and rearranges the economy, when growth does return, less and less of the income generated goes to middle-class families. This following chart by Levy Institute economist Pavlina R. Tcherneva highlights how where most increased wealth during economic recoveries went to the bottom 90 percent of the population immediately after World War II, each successive recovery has seen more and more going to the wealthiest 10 percent, to the point where the current recovery has seen the lower 90 percent actually losing income during a recovery — an unprecedented event — even as the income of the wealthiest Americas has soared.

    There are no doubt a number of factors contributing to this dynamic, but as we argued in our initial report at Data Justice, “Taking on Big Data as an Economic Justice Issue, ” big data technology means that corporations know so much about every person that during every hiring decision, every sale to a consumer, and every loan to a family, they can increasingly extract the maximum profit from each of those transactions. This big data dynamic seems like a key story in the current rise in economic inequality.

    More and more companies scan social media and administer personality tests before hiring anyone, and not only does this hurt many individual people, but it allows companies to use algorithms to decide how to systematically weed out people who might agitate on behalf of all employees for higher wages. With big data, the best way to defeat a drive to organize a union in a company’s workplace is to never hire people willing to stand up to their boss in the first place.

    At the time, data analysis allows companies to decentralize their operations around the globe and within the United States into far-flung locations and even spinning off most workers to be on their own as “independent contractors.” As a New York Times writer described:

    Just as Uber is doing for taxis, new technologies have the potential to chop up a broad array of traditional jobs into discrete tasks that can be assigned to people just when they’re needed, with wages set by a dynamic measurement of supply and demand, and every worker’s performance constantly tracked, reviewed and subject to the sometimes harsh light of customer satisfaction.

    The result is a data-driven pressure to push down wages with workers so fragmented that they have less and less ability to act collectively to demand higher pay.

    On the consumer side, companies like Google and Facebook collect ever-increasing reams of personal data. Companies then can place ads or target consumers with offers not just based on what those consumers may be interested in but using the profile and algorithms to estimate the maximum price the consumer is likely to pay. Offering different prices to different people for the same product or service — what economists call price discrimination — allows companies to maximizing their profit on each transaction. Researchers Rosa-Branc Esteves and Joana Resende found that average prices under the traditional regime of mass advertising were lower than with targeted online advertising. Similarly, researcher Benjamin Reed Shiller found that where advertisers know consumers’ willingness to pay different prices, economic models show companies can use price discrimination to increase profits and raise prices overall, with many consumers paying twice as much as others for the same product.

    Subprime mortgages were the extreme example of this, where predatory companies used algorithms to identify the most likely victims and offered them worse deals than they offered people with the exact same credit ratings who just knew enough to refuse the bad deals. Similarly, payday lending and other exploitive financial companies use big data profiling to extract the most profit possible from economically struggling families.

    What is different, then, in this round of technology is not so much that it’s changing our physical processes of production, although that is happening as well, but that it’s changing the informational relationship between companies and the population. Big data converts increasing information inequality into economic inequality.

    Taking on that big data power is therefore a key step in taking on the broader economic stagnation and inequality that has left the middle class behind in the current recovery.

  • Bees get wearable tech trackers
    A tiny new tracker designed to monitor bee behaviour is being tested by ecologists at London’s Kew Gardens.
  • Windows 10 for Phone to Support WPS Authentication

    The amount of content and information about Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phone from last week’s WinHEC event in China has been impressive.  Some of it has been reaffirmation of things that we already knew (like further explanation of the Universal App development) while other news has been fresh like the Windows 10 for Phone hardware requirements.  This latest tidbit likely will fall in the “About Time” category for many who have been using Windows Phone for some time.  When we see Windows 10 for Phone roll out later this year it will natively support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or

    The post Windows 10 for Phone to Support WPS Authentication appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Net neutrality legal contest begins
    Legal action against planned US rules on net neutrality begins in the District of Columbia and Louisiana.
  • Geologists May Have Just Discovered A New Layer Of Earth's Mantle
    Have geologists just discovered a new layer of Earth’s interior?

    A new study suggests that a previously unknown rocky layer may be lurking about 930 miles beneath our feet — and evidence suggests that it’s significantly stiffer than similar layers, which could help explain earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

    “The Earth has many layers, like an onion,” study co-author Dr. Lowell Miyagi, an assistant professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, said in a written statement. “Most layers are defined by the minerals that are present. Essentially, we have discovered a new layer in the Earth. This layer isn’t defined by the minerals present, but by the strength of these minerals.”

    The pressure is on. For the study, the researchers used a device known as a diamond anvil to simulate how the mineral ferropericlase reacts to high pressure. Ferropericlase is abundant in the Earth’s mantle, the layer that’s sandwiched between our planet’s core and the thin crust on which we live.

    (Story continues below image.)
    earth mantle
    Miyagi holding a press that houses the diamond anvil, in which minerals can be squeezed at pressures akin to those deep within the Earth.

    What did the researchers find? The stiffness, or viscosity, of the mineral increased threefold by the time it was subjected to pressure equal to what’s found in the lower mantle (930 miles below Earth’s surface) compared to the pressure at the boundary of the upper and lower mantle (410 miles beneath the surface). When the researchers mixed ferropericlase with bridgmanite (another mineral found in the lower mantle), the simulation showed that its stiffness at 930 miles was 300 times greater than at 410 miles.

    The viscosity increase came as a surprise, since it was previously thought that viscosity varied only slightly at different pressures and temperatures in the planet’s interior.

    The earthquake connection. The new finding may help explain why many slabs of rock that move and shift beneath Earth’s surface stall or temporarily get stuck at around 930 miles underground — a phenomenon thought to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

    “The result was exciting,” Miyagi said in the statement. “In fact, previous seismic images show that many slabs appear to ‘pool’ around 930 miles, including under Indonesia and South America’s Pacific coast. This observation has puzzled seismologists for quite some time, but in the last year, there is new consensus from seismologists that most slabs pool.”

    earth mantle
    An illustration of a slab of rock sinking through the upper mantle above, through the boundary between the upper and lower mantle at 410 miles depth, then stalling and pooling at a depth of 930 miles.

    The finding also suggests that the Earth’s interior is hotter than previously believed at that depth below the planet’s surface. Miyagi said in the statement that he had calculated that the average temperature at the boundary of the upper and lower mantle is about 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit — and a scorching 3,900 degrees F at the deeper, more viscous layer.

    “If you decrease the ability of the rock in the mantle to mix, it’s also harder for heat to get out of the Earth, which could mean Earth’s interior is hotter than we think,” he said.

    The study was published online in the journal Nature Geoscience on March 23, 2015.

    What else lurks below our feet in Earth’s interior? Check out the “Talk Nerdy To Me” video below.

  • Nextgen Reader for Windows Phone Update Brings Further Enhancements

    Nextgen Reader, the Feedly driven news and RSS app, has received a minor update today, bringing stability improvements along with a handful of new features.  I’ve been using Nextgen Reader since 2011 (Yes, it has been around that long) and I recently wrote a review of it outlining why I think it is the best Feedly/RSS reader available for Windows Phone.  At $2.99 for this universal app for Windows and Windows Phone, it’s well worth the price of admission.  This latest update, version for those keeping score at home, brings mostly stability improvements but also a new personalization features as

    The post Nextgen Reader for Windows Phone Update Brings Further Enhancements appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Twitch May Have Been Hacked
    NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon.com’s game streaming platform Twitch informed users that their accounts may have been hacked.

    Twitch told users that it had taken steps to accelerate the expiration of their passwords and stream keys as a precaution, while disconnecting accounts from Twitter and YouTube.

    It also recommended that users change their passwords at other sites where similar passwords are used.

    Twitch is a multi-channel online network built for people who not only enjoy playing video games, but find it entertaining to watch others who might impart tricks and tips for excelling at their favorite games.

    E-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc. bought Twitch for $970 million in 2014 as part of a move to take part in video gaming’s growth as an online spectator sport.

    Twitch said it will communicate directly with affected users, according to the message sent Monday.

    Figures from July 2014, just before the Amazon buyout, show that Twitch users viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, ranging from individual gamers, pro players, video game publishers, developers and others.

  • Glittering spires and silicon roundabouts
    Two video-game related start-ups with links to Cambridge attract attention
  • Ordnance Survey releases map tool
    A mapping tool that gives a detailed picture of local information in almost every corner of the UK has been released by Ordnance Survey (OS).
  • Dog-Walking On Demand? Zingy And Other Apps Make Life Easier For Pet Owners
    Many dog owners feel like Fido is part of the family. The downside? Like with your own kids, you can’t just leave them alone for days while traveling or keep them cooped up in the house while you stay late at the office.

  • India court scraps online arrest law
    India’s Supreme Court strikes down a controversial law which allows police to arrest people for comments made online and on social media.
  • Facebook May Host News Sites' Content
    Nothing attracts news organizations like Facebook. And nothing makes them more nervous.

  • Big rise in solar energy use predicted
    Solar energy could provide up to 4% of the UK’s electricity by the end of the decade, the government forecasts.
  • Windows Phone Doesn’t Have An App Gap – It Has An App Update Gap

    When I returned to Windows Phone in August of last year, I penned an article in November where I discussed the app gap for the platform when compared to iOS and Android.  The basis of that article was that when I left the platform in 2011 for iOS, the gulf of an app gap was so huge that it couldn’t be ignored and it eventually became too much for me to handle. For those who stuck it out, I applaud you.  You are better than me. But over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize that I was at a basic

    The post Windows Phone Doesn’t Have An App Gap – It Has An App Update Gap appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: Nurturing tech connections at SXSW
    Highlights from 2015’s SXSW festival
  • VIDEO: Robots make space station companions
    A Japan-made robot is heading to the International Space Stations to act as a companion to astronauts on board.
  • Money makes the world go round
    The tech firms offering cheaper cross-border money transfers
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