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Mobile Technology News, March 30, 2014

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

  • Health Care Law Changes Are Challenging The Obamacare Legacy
    WASHINGTON (AP) — As a roller-coaster sign-up season winds down, President Barack Obama’s health care law has indeed managed to change the country.

    Americans are unlikely to go back to a time when people with medical problems could be denied coverage. But Obama’s overhaul needs major work of its own if it is to go down in history as a legacy achievement like Medicare or Social Security.

    Major elements of the Affordable Care Act face an uncertain future:

    —As a 6-month-long sign-up season comes to an end Monday the administration’s next big challenge is to make 2015 open enrollment more manageable for consumers unaccustomed to dealing with insurance jargon. There’s also concern premiums will rise next year.

    —The new insurance markets created by the law are anything but customer friendly. After the HealthCare.gov website finally got fixed, more than 6 million people have managed to sign up, allowing the exchanges to stay afloat economically. But many consumers have bought policies with restricted access to top-tier hospitals and the latest medications. The website is seeing heavy traffic this weekend, and consumers may encounter a wait or last-minute glitches.

    —Nearly half the states are still opposed to or undecided about the law’s expansion of Medicaid, the government’s health insurance program for the poor. As a result, millions of low-income people who otherwise would have been covered remain uninsured.

    —This year’s pitch has been about the “carrots” in the law: subsidies and guaranteed coverage. But the “sticks” are just over the horizon: collecting penalties from individuals who remain uninsured and enforcing requirements that medium- to large-sized employers provide affordable coverage.

    Many basic facts about the ultimate effects of the health insurance program remain unclear. It’s not known how many of those who have gotten coverage were previously uninsured — the ultimate test of the law. Independent measurements by Gallup do show fewer uninsured Americans, but such progress hasn’t won hearts and minds. The public remains deeply divided, with opponents of the law outnumbering supporters.

    At a recent insurance industry conference, a top administration official acknowledged the huge job still ahead.

    “The No. 1 thing that probably we’ve all learned from 2014 is that this is hard work,” said Gary Cohen, outgoing director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the agency created to carry out the health care law. “It’s not a one-year project; it’s a multiyear project … we’re asking a lot, frankly, of consumers,” he added. “This is new for them.”

    Among those consumers is Dan Luke of St. Paul, Minn., the owner of a small video production company who had been uninsured since he was turned down for coverage last year due to a pre-existing condition. The condition? Luke was born with one eye due to a birth defect, and he uses a glass eye.

    “For 63 years I’ve had one eye,” said Luke. “They had to dig deep to find that.”

    He’s happy with the coverage he and his wife have bought; they’re saving $300 a month on premiums compared with the last time they had insurance. But he said he had to endure weeks of website run-arounds.

    “There is a lot of bureaucracy involved,” said Luke. “It’s sort of like taxes, filled with loopholes and pitfalls. They should make it easier for people to get insurance and pay for insurance, rather than have to prove so many things and jump through so many hoops.”

    Those comments echo sentiments broadly reflected in national opinion polls. Most Americans want lawmakers to fix the problems with the health care law, rather than scrapping it. A new AP-Gfk poll finds that only 13 percent expect the law will be completely repealed. Seventy-two percent say it will be implemented with changes, whether major or minor.

    Republicans have again made repeal of “Obamacare” their official battle cry this election season. But even if the GOP wins control of the Senate and Congress were to repeal the law next year, the president would veto it. Opponents would then need a difficult two-thirds majority in both chambers to override Obama’s veto.

    “It’s going to depend on the next couple of elections whether we stick with the current ACA models,” said Brookings Institution health policy expert Mark McClellan, who oversaw the rollout of the last major federal coverage expansion, the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

    “We are still a long way from a stable market and from completing implementation,” he said. But “we’re not going back to people with pre-existing conditions having no good options.”

    The administration will have to get to work quickly on a plan for next year. It is still struggling with such basics as providing consumers with clear information about the process and their options.

    Until now, those signing up have skewed toward an older crowd. That could lead to higher premiums next year, making the program a harder sell for younger people.

    Some Democratic lawmakers who voted for the law are frustrated.

    “Instead of just circling the wagons against all the political arrows that are shot against this plan, we need a little more accountability, and we need to ensure the next enrollment period is not handled as poorly as the last one,” said Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas.

    DeAnn Friedholm, health reform team leader for Consumers Union, said her group still supports Obama’s overhaul, but with concerns.

    “The jury is out in terms of its long-term success,” she said. “We still think it’s better than the old way, which left a lot of people out because they were sick.”

  • GCHQ And NSA Targeted Private German Companies
    The headquarters of Stellar, a company based in the town of Hürth near Cologne, are visible from a distance. Seventy-five white antennas dominate the landscape. The biggest are 16 meters (52 feet) tall and kept in place by steel anchors. It is an impressive sight and serves as a popular backdrop for scenes in TV shows, including the German action series “Cobra 11.”
  • Judge bars sale of Ryan Seacrest's BlackBerry-esque Typo keyboard
    In a victory for Canadian cellphone manufacturer BlackBerry, US District Judge William Orrick in San Francisco ruled that the Ryan Seacrest-backed Typo Products iPhone keyboard case has been barred from sale. Judge Orrick ruled that BlackBerry is “likely to prevail” over the imitator in issuing his ruling blocking the Typo keyboard.
        



  • Teen's Science Fair Font Project Could Save Government Millions
    What began as a middle-school student’s science fair project could save the federal government millions of dollars — and all it would require is a switch to a different font.

    Fourteen-year-old Suvir Mirchandani has adapted his sixth-grader science fair project from Dorseyville Middle School in Pittsburgh — a study of the cost savings incurred by switching the font in his school’s paper handouts — to show exactly how much money the bigwigs in Washington, D.C., could save if they followed suit.

    Spoiler alert: It’s a lot.

    His project showed that switching the school’s paper font from Times New Roman to Garamond would save his school about $21,000 a year in ink costs. Spurred on by a teacher, Mirchandani submitted his research to the Journal of Emerging Investigators, which publishes the work of high school and middle-school students, CNN reported.

    The journal’s editors encouraged Suvir to see if the font switch would result in similar savings for the U.S. government, which according to the Office of Management and Budget has an estimated $1.8 billion printing budget for 2014.

    “We were so impressed,” Dr. Sarah Fankhauser, the journal’s founder, told Forbes. “We really could see the real-word application in Suvir’s paper.”

    Suvir tested his font theory with five documents from the Government Printing Office (GPO) and concluded that switching the government documents’ fonts from Times New Roman and Century Gothic (used on all government documents) exclusively to the more space-efficient Garamond would greatly cut costs in ink expenditure for both state and federal governments. The font point size remained the same in the study. He predicts the federal government would save roughly $136 million a year, and state agencies could collectively save up to $234 million annually.

    suvir mirchandani font project

    The GPO in recent years has reduced its reliance on printed documents and is working to continue the switch to digital, Suvir told CNN he’s confident his proposal is still relevant.

    “They can’t convert everything to a digital format,” he said. “Not everyone is able to access information online. Some things still have to be printed.”

  • After Sandy, Feds Consider Building Fake Islands Off The Coast

    SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Superstorm Sandy, according to a proposal vying for attention and funding as the region continues its recovery.

    It’s a big proposal that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion. But it’s also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated region from future storms.

    “We’ve discussed this with the governor’s office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, ‘Whoa! This is a big deal!” said Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. “Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property.”

    The “Blue Dunes” proposal is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with novel ways to protect against the next big storm. It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on next week, but there’s no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves.

    The artificial islands plan was created by Stevens Institute, along with the WXY architectural firm and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. It is designed to blunt the worst effect of Sandy: the storm surge that pounded the coast. From Maryland to New Hampshire, the storm was blamed for 159 deaths, and New Jersey and New York alone claimed a total of nearly $79 billion in damage.

    “How do you protect New Jersey and New York at the same time from the storm of the future?” Blumberg asked. “Our idea is to build a chain of islands, like a long slender banana. The wave action and storm surge will reflect off these islands and go back out to sea rather than hitting the coast. Barnegat Bay would not be pounded, nor would lower Manhattan or Hoboken.”

    The islands 10 to 12 miles off the coast would be uninhabited, though day trips for surfing or fishing might be allowed, Blumberg said. They would be built by pumping sand atop some hard base made of rock, concrete or other material, he said.

    Steve Sandberg, a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said funding for at least some of the proposals is already available as part of the $60 billion in Sandy aid that Congress passed last year. Other money could come from disaster recovery grants as well as public and private-sector funding, according to the Rebuild by Design website.

    A gap would be left between the New York and New Jersey island groups, mainly to allow water from the Hudson River to flow out into the ocean.

    Blumberg also said computer modeling has shown such islands would have produced vastly lesser damage during Sandy, Hurricane Donna in 1962 and the destructive December 1992 nor’easter.

    Aside from the formidable cost, many other obstacles remain. Stewart Farrell, head of Stockton College’s Coastal Research Center, said numerous government agencies would have to cooperate.

    “The sand borrow sites always run into strong objections from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: ‘Something MIGHT live there,’” he said. “Next in line would be the historical preservationists: You can’t cover up Captain Kidd’s treasure ships, no way! And every 19th-century coal barge is an historical treasure. Then there are abundant submarine cables, lines, pipes and rights of way.”

    Surfers aren’t stoked by the idea.

    “This would forever change the Jersey shore,” said John Weber of the Surfrider Foundation. “Bayfronts are very different from oceanfronts, and this would change oceanfronts into bayfronts. People that spent all that money to live on the ocean would be facing something very different. And this does nothing to address rising sea levels; we’ll still have homes that will still get flooded due to rising sea levels.”

    George Kasimos founded the Stop Fema Now grassroots campaign against higher flood insurance rates after his Toms River home was flooded during Sandy. He welcomed the attention on coastal prevention but said the money would be better spent on building or strengthening dunes along the existing shoreline.

    “Anything to help protect our coast,” he said. “All we need to do is build a proper dunes system, sea gates and sea walls. It seems like $10 billion to build something 12 miles out is overkill. Typical government overkill.”

    Blumberg acknowledged the obstacles but added that Sandy showed the need for new approaches to protection.

    “This is innovative thinking,” he said. “It’s 2014; it’s time to think differently.”

    ___

    Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

    Part of a periodic series about the New Jersey shore’s efforts to rebuild and return to normalcy the second summer after Superstorm Sandy ravaged many coastal communities.

  • This Chain Reaction Of 150 Mousetraps Is A Lesson In Pain (VIDEO)
    Every good experiment starts with a question and a hypohethesis. That’s the scientific method! So here’s to The Slow Mo Guys for posing this important question:

    Question: On a scale of “ow” to “OWWWWWW,” just how painful would it be for a human arm to come into contact with a chain reaction of 150 mousetraps?

    Hypothesis: It would be pretty painful.

    Results:

    Just check out the video above (top) to see the whole procedure in super slow-motion.

    And if you’d like to know more about the physics of mousetraps, see Drexel University’s helpful mousetrap page.

  • 10 Things Most Exceptional CIOs Never Do
    2014-03-28-ExceptionalCIO.png

    The list below is from over two decades of observations in first, second and third person. Before publishing I asked over 50 Fortune 1000 CIOs and CTOs to review and comment; their feedback is included.

    At the core of everything below is going against the grain and the herd, and embracing counter intuition. Whether you embrace counter intuition systematically, or selectively, most of the items below are suggesting in their cognitive DNA counter-intuitive thinking.

    1. They do not try to define innovation – It’s difficult to define innovation, and if you do define innovation it means that you will set up a single process to do or capture it the way you define it. Wrong — most exceptional technology leaders learn that innovation comes in many flavors, inside-out, outside-in, evolutionary and revolutionary. If you define it you have one process, if you do not, you learn there are many processes needed to do or capture the many types of innovation.
    2. They never have secret projects – The knee-jerk reaction is to have little secret projects, or “black ops” type projects. Exceptional technology leaders will tell you that you need to do innovative projects in the open, allow folks to see, smell and marvel in its artistry. What you want is for everyone to copy the behavior of the few innovating. If you lock them in a secret room, no one knows, and no innovative behavior gets copied.
    3. They are never surprised by failure – Certain percentage of technology projects fail, it is the nature of the beast. Exceptional technology leaders set these expectations for failure with their operating committees, and investment governance stewards early in the process. When failure happens, it is never a surprise; it is usually “well that one falls in our failure bucket we prepared for“.
    4. They never start projects themselves – Folks that want/try to build a prototype usually struggle to wow business stakeholders. This is because you have to get the business stakeholders involved before you can build anything. Some leaders I know do not even draw a project in PowerPoint before engaging the customer. Every project is started by the customer, whether on the customer’s own conscious accord, or the customer unconsciously prompted (but technology leadership) to do so.
    5. They resist the need for PMO – Certain processes in large organizations do not thrive with the presence of the project police, while others do. Most exceptional leaders I consulted agreed that a PMO in the wrong place at the wrong time can be catastrophic. Some processes need low rigor, some mild, and only some the high rigor that comes with a PMO presence.
    6. They do not break projects into phases – Large phases (one, two and three) are logical “kill points” for projects. Most projects get killed after phase one, and very frequently this is because phase one is a minimally viable product that does the least that can be done, but does it well. Two things happen, the business stakeholders see no reason to fund phase two and/or three (I mean they already saw something that kind of works), and the technology leader never gets to build phase two which would deliver efficiency; and phase three, which would create business value. So large phases leave you always delivering phase one only which unfortunately only kinda works. Have 24 phases, not three.
    7. They never worry about a target state – We can barely predict what our families will do in a year, yet we try to predict what companies of thousands of employees should be like three to five years out with a target state. Worst once there is a targets state, the “target state police” start invalidate changes to the market place and new innovations by activating the “well it does not fit into the target state” card essentially locking the company away from the world for three to five years at a time. Exceptional technology leaders create a governance culture to enable an evolving model, not a target state.
    8. They do not try to build hero products – Very rarely can you build a single product that solves all of your customers ailments in a vacuum. You cannot build standalone solutions; you have to build a product that works with others. The days of platforms with stocks of information are over; exceptional technology leaders build ecosystems with flows of information. Most folks suggested that they build as little as possible, instead they orchestrate like a maestro of other products instead of a builder of a hero product.
    9. They never wait on innovation – Exceptional technology leaders do not wait to see what happens to new innovations, they disdain being a fast follower, they are habitually enterprise early adopters. They buy innovation commercially (and many times invest in the startups) early in the innovation cycle and way left of the theory of diffusion of innovation bell curve. Waiting to see what happens to an innovation means paying more for it, and being late to the party.
    10. They do not read leadership books – There are almost a million books on leadership available for purchase on Amazon.com. All noise, an echo chamber if I may. Exceptional leaders systematically and pragmatically go against the status quo. They thrive in counter intuition. As technology commoditizes, the herd gets larger and larger, go in the opposite direction.

    Do you have others to add?

    What are some of the traits you see in exceptional technology leaders?

  • Candy Crush Brings Inflated IPO Market Back To Earth
    By Nicola Leske
    NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the weeks leading up to the IPO of King Digital Entertainment, the company’s bankers scrambled to persuade investors that the maker of popular online game “Candy Crush Saga” was more than a one-trick pony, according to a source familiar with the situation.
    As the debut approached this week, the bankers’ job only got harder. On Tuesday, Facebook Inc said it would pay $2 billion for Oculus VR, a two-year-old virtual reality startup that has yet to put a product on the market. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the deal as the social media giant’s desire to bet on “the platforms of tomorrow.”
    But for some investors, the deal brought back memories of the Internet boom and bust in 1998-2001, where profitability and other financial fundamentals of companies took the back seat to a raging fad about anything with a dotcom identity, according to the source.
    Bankers underwriting King Digital’s offering had to call in favors with investors who had received large allocations in previous successful IPOs, the source said. As a result, King Digital priced the offering at the mid-point of its range of $21 to $24. But its shares tanked in Wednesday’s debut, falling 16 percent and fell further on Thursday and Friday. King Digital could not be reached immediately for comment.
    Wall Street bankers are now looking at the disappointing opening as a sign that investors are getting more cautious about the IPO market, especially when it comes to technology and biotechnology stocks. Although bankers said companies waiting in the wings so far seemed to want to forge ahead with their IPO plans, the realization is likely to moderate expectations on the size of offerings and valuations.
    “You realize that people are going to be a little bit more cautious. You realize that the valuation needs to be reflective of that cautiousness,” said Sam Kendall, global head of equity capital markets at UBS AG.
    That would mark a sharp turning point for the IPO market, in which investors have been fed a steady diet of new public offerings this year from companies yet to turn a profit. More than 50 IPOs have priced in 2014, and two-thirds of those are unprofitable, according to Renaissance Capital, an IPO investment advisor.
    Still, companies that have gone public this year have seen their shares rise 33 percent on average from their offer prices, according to Dealogic.
    NEXT TEST
    “The market has gotten ahead of itself, and you’re seeing a pause in speculation, especially for biotech and some of these new tech names,” said Eric Green, senior portfolio manager and director of research at Penn Capital Management in Philadelphia, which oversees $7.5 billion.
    “Other issues, like Ukraine or whatever, end up being an excuse to take money off the table, but the fundamentals behind these companies haven’t changed, just the valuations over them. Those are coming back to earth,” he added.
    The next test for the market could come as early as next week, when a series of technology companies are due to list, including online food delivery service Grubhub.com, healthcare IT company IMS health, and software maker Five9.
    Bankers said the investor caution is more of a correction rather than a sign that the market was shutting down for new offerings.
    While investor worries about frothy valuations is giving pause to some companies in the technology and biotech sectors, companies in other industries are still forging ahead, betting that there will be enough demand for their stock.
    In financial services, for example, the U.S. Treasury announced plans to sell nearly 23 percent of Ally Financial Inc through an initial public offering to raise as much as $2.66 billion.
    One source familiar with the situation said by buying Ally investors would pay for “a value story,” unlike “the growth story” sold in technology and biotech IPOs.
    Still, both the Treasury and Ally would have liked to be able to sell the entire government stake in the bank in one go, sources have previously said. The Treasury will still be left with a stake in the bailed-out bank after the IPO.
    A spokesman for the U.S. Treasury and a spokeswoman for Ally declined to comment.
    Separately, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday that aircraft lessor Avolon was preparing for an IPO this year as it looked to take advantage of a recent boom in aircraft finance, driven by an expectation that air travel will continue to grow.
    Even in the technology sector, bankers said companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Chinese e-commerce company, are likely to find sufficient demand when they come to market.
    Alibaba is expected to file for a listing in the United States as early as April with IPO proceeds that could exceed $15 billion.
    “All kinds of industries have been represented in IPOs, but it’s the splashy Internet ones that have been in the news,” said John Carey, portfolio manager at Pioneer Investment Management in Boston, which has about $220 billion in assets under management.
    “People are exercising caution, and I’d be more concerned if they were willing to pay anything at all,” Carey added. “If demand was robust for anything that came down the pike, that would trouble me.”
    (Additional reporting by Peter Rudegeair and Ryan Vlastelica; Editing by Paritosh Bansal, Martin Howell)
  • Mozilla Hires Anti-Gay CEO
    Earlier this week Brendan Eich, the co-founder of the Mozilla Foundation and creator of the JavaScript language, was named the new CEO of the company. Back in 2008, Eich personally donated $1,000 in support of California’s Prop 8, which sought to ban same-sex marriage in the state.

    So now the question becomes: Should a man who openly opposes gay marriage — and even donates money in an attempt to deny basic human rights — be the face of an entire corporation that, among other things, provides Internet service to more than a billion people?

    Two Mozilla developers say no. They have chosen to boycott Mozilla upon hearing the news that Eich would be CEO. They are taking the apps they have built off the market, will not develop any more, and refuse to update existing apps.

    “As a gay couple who were unable to get married in California until recently, we morally cannot support a Foundation that would not only leave someone with hateful views in power, but will give them a promotion and put them in charge of the entire organization,” says Hampton Catlin on his blog.

    My opposition to the hiring of Eich comes down to the fact that as CEO, he represents the people and policies of Mozilla. Even though opposing gay marriage is a personal view politically, actively promoting the idea that two people who love each other cannot marry does not sound like equality. His actions and beliefs shape the company and its image. To me, Eich isn’t only bigoted but a man who feels it is his right to dictate how others should live their lives. And a person like that should never be in charge. Never.

  • VIDEO: Can UK's 'Silicon Roundabout' deliver?
    Newsnight’s David Grossman takes a look at the home of the Tech City initiative in east London.
  • 3 Psychological Theories to Help You Communicate Better with Anyone
    Psychological theories often feel a bit too complicated for me (I’m sure there’s a theory that explains why that is) but I’ve come across a few that are simple enough to understand and that I think of often, particularly when dealing with other people.

    I thought it might be fun to take a brief look at a few psychological theories that are especially relevant for business, marketing, leadership and overall communication skills. Keep in mind I’m no professional psychologist, so if you’re keen to find out more about these, definitely dig deeper into the research about each one.

    Dunbar’s Number

    Professor Robin Dunbar is an evolutionary psychologist who developed a model for predicting social factors about primates, based on brain size. Working from the brain expansion over time in primates (including humans), Dunbar was able to match brain size to social behaviors:

    Robin Dunbar used the volume of the neocortex — the “thinking” part of the brain — as his measure of brain size, because this accounts for most of the brain’s expansion within primates.

    In particular, he looked at the size of social groups, and the number of more intimate grooming partners for different primate species:

    For instance, chimps belong to social groups comprising about 50 individuals, but they have only two or three grooming partners.

    dunbar diagram

    Based on the size of neocortex, Dunbar was able to very accurately predict the size of a social group and the number of grooming partners of various primate species.

    neocortex

    When he applied this to humans, Dunbar found that most human social groups are made up of around 150 people:

    … the literature suggests that 150 is roughly to the number of people you could ask for a favor and expect to have it granted.

    Our more intimate clique size usually includes around 12 people. That 150 number is the important one, though. It’s (roughly) the maximum number of people that most of us can manage a social connection with. Anything above this is a struggle for our brains, so people drop off the bottom of our list as we add more to the top of it. Here’s another way Dunbar describes it:

    Putting it another way, it’s the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar.

    Writer Rick Lax actually took up Dunbar’s number as a challenge and tried to prove it wrong. In his piece for Wired, Lax explains what he learned from the attempt:

    In trying to disprove Dunbar’s number, I actually proved it. I proved that even if you’re aware of Dunbar’s number, and even if you set aside a chunk of your life specifically to broaden your social capital, you can only maintain so many friendships. And “so many” is fewer than 200.

    The experiment also encouraged Lax to pay more attention to those few, close connections he has:

    I walk away from this experiment with a newfound respect for 1) British anthropology and 2) My real friends. There aren’t too many of them, I now see. So I better treat them well.

    Dunbar’s number is particularly interesting in terms of marketing, brand-building and social media. If you keep in mind that each person you interact with only places around 150 people total in their “emotional connection” bucket, it can make interactions much easier. Rather than being frustrated or surprised that your customers don’t “connect” with your brand, think about this: each emotional connection they offer to your company is one they can’t offer to a true friend or family member. So when they do, that’s a big deal.

    You might think that Dunbar’s number is in direct opposition to the idea of social media. In fact, the number is the whole reason that the social network Path limits its users to 150 connections. However, social media also takes advantage of weak ties — the friend-of-a-friend or six-degrees-of-separation way that you might have come to know new friends on Twitter or Facebook.

    strong and weak ties

    In Morten Hansen’s book Collaboration, he describes how both weak ties and strong ties are crucial — but that the weak ties created through networking and social media were often the key to new opportunities.

    Research shows that it is not the size – the sheer number of contacts maintained by a person – that counts. Rather, it’s the diversity of connections – the number of different types of people, units, expertise, technologies and viewpoints – that people can access through their networks.

    Weak ties help here because they “form bridges to worlds we do not walk within,” whereas strong ties are most likely people in worlds we already know.

    Hanlon’s Razor

    Hanlon’s Razor is an adage that goes like this:

    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    If you’ve ever heard of Ockham’s Razor (or Occam’s Razor), you might know that a razor in philosophy is designed to help us strip away unlikely explanations for a phenomenon. So, essentially, something happens (a phenomenon) and we try to explain it with a hypothesis (possible explanation). A razor helps us to eliminate the unlikely hypotheses until we’re left with the most probable explanation of the phenomenon.

    Although Hanlon’s Razor is quoted using the word “stupidity,” I prefer to use “ignorance,” since not having all the information can often be the issue where we might assume it’s stupidity (i.e. lack of good judgement).

    So let’s explore how Hanlon’s Razor works.

    The idea is that when someone appears to be treating you with malice, you should always dig deeper to see if ignorance could be the cause, instead.

    Have you ever received an email from a coworker or colleague that seemed to critique you or attack your idea? Your first reaction was probably to attribute it to malice — but if you look more closely, you might find it’s simply a misunderstanding.

    If I can’t think of at least three different interpretations of what I received, I haven’t thought enough about what it might mean. — Jerry Weinberg

    An example that illustrates this well is looking at the movie Finding Nemo: If you remember, Nemo is kept in a fish tank by a dentist, separating him from his father and resulting in a movie-length search to save him. The dentist, however, isn’t acting with malice: He actually thinks he’s doing Nemo a favor by keeping him “safe” in the tank.

    Likewise, the dentist’s niece tends to be rough with fish, misunderstanding how her actions are dangerous. Although it seems like malice to the fish, she’s actually just ignorant of the consequences of shaking a fish around roughly in a plastic bag.

    The next time you’re not quite sure how to interpret that ambiguous tweet or email, remember Hanlon’s Razor and consider giving the sender the benefit of the doubt.

    Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory

    This last theory can be useful for interacting with anyone about their job: colleagues, employees, or even a friend or spouse. The theory, published by psychologist Frederick Herzberg in 1959, suggests that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are actually measured in different ways, rather than being two ends of the same scale.

    The theory says that job dissatisfaction comes from “hygiene” factors such as the physical work environment, job security and salary. Job satisfaction, however, comes from “motivating” factors like enjoying the work itself, feeling a sense of achievement and having responsibility.

    herzberg diagram

    Herzberg spent five years conducting research into job satisfaction, due to the increase of indications of job dissatisfaction, like strikes and employees filing grievances.

    What we can learn from his research is that mitigating factors that lead to job dissatisfaction won’t necessarily lead us to job satisfaction. So, a high-paying job that offers great benefits and a comfortable working environment could still make us feel lousy if we don’t have any responsibility at work, and we never feel a sense of achievement.

    Conversely, feeling great about the work you do and being recognized for it won’t offset the issues of being paid poorly, or feeling uncomfortable about your working environment.

    This theory gives us a lot to think about in terms of understanding why certain companies are perceived as good places to work and investigating how best to motivate a team or individual at work. I think this theory also can be really powerful for those times when we listen to a friend, colleague or employee’s complaints about work. I’ll never again say something like, “but you get paid so well!” expecting them to be happy about their job.

    There are loads of theories and concepts like these which are useful to know. Do you know a good one? Let us know in the comments.

    If you liked this post, you might also like The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust and The Science of Failure: Why Highly Successful People Crave Mistakes.

    Image credits: illuminaut, Bloomberg Businesweek, MIT Technology Review, Danger and Play, Wikimedia Commons, softducks

  • Time to Change the 'Save' Paradigm
    2014-03-28-14328saveparadigmtransporter.jpg
    The two Transporter options; the bring-your-own hard drive Transporter Sync, left, and the hard drive-included Transporter tower.

    Mud slides, fires, hurricanes, building collapses, theft, floods, sink holes, and especially hard disk drive crashes happen and usually take irreplaceable objects and files, especially photos, both physical and digital, with them.

    How do you avoid a catastrophic digital file loss from one of these or other natural or unnatural disasters?

    Simple. Back up your computer, your smartphone and your tablet.

    Or, perhaps not so simply since a World Back Up Day — observed each year on March 31 — had to be created to nag, goad or convince us. Suggested on the World Backup Day Website are a fraction of today’s myriad backup solutions.

    For instance, you can burn files to a CD or DVD — just be sure to store these discs in a safe, secure location.

    You can copy files onto an external hard drive; I recommend a fire- , crush- and flood-proof model from ioSafe, which I own.

    You can subscribe to a backup cloud service a la Dropbox, SugarSync, Carbonite, Google Drive, Microsoft’s OneDrive (nee SkyDrive), PogoPlug Cloud or CrashPlan (or, for Mac users, iCloud), all of which include mobile apps for remote access to your files and charge a monthly or annual fee. You can read the most current comparative reviews of many of these from CNET here, from PC Advisor here and from About.com here.

    You can DIY your own cloud via a so-called Network Attached Storage (NAS) system — you connect your own hard drive to the Internet for remote access — such as Western Digital’s My Cloud, Seagate Central or, my new favorite, Transporter, which I’ll discuss more in a minute.

    Or, you can employ several of these backup methodologies, which is what I do — I’m a belt-and-suspenders pack rat kinda guy, paranoid about losing anything.

    While we have plenty of backup options to choose from, unfortunately software makers have not awoken to our need to save files to multiple locations.

    But first, a bit about available backup options and Transporter.

    Current solution issues

    Local hard drive storage, NAS and off-site subscription cloud storage backups each present their own shortcomings and drawbacks.

    Local hard drive storage leaves your backup as vulnerable as your main storage, doesn’t keep your files automatically synced and doesn’t provide remote access.

    I’ve found NAS systems expensive, difficult to work with, and many lack drag-and-drop file copy convenience.

    Remote cloud services come complete with nagging (if oft illogical) distrust — despite assurances, you have no idea how secure from hackers your files are, how safe they are from disaster, or the viability of the company.

    And then there’s that annoying monthly or annual service fee.

    Transporter attempts to solve all these problems.

    Not a full review

    Transporter combines many of the attributes of a local hard drive backup, a cloud-based backup service and an NAS, solving many of the aforementioned problems posed by each.

    And, with no monthly service fee, Transporter is cheaper than most of these other solutions.

    I only received my Transporter about 10 days ago so I’m still putting it through its paces, but here’s a brief outline of what is and does.

    There are two Transporter versions: a neo-modern tower, only 6-inches tall, that includes an internal hard drive, either 500 GB ($199), 1 TB ($249) or 2 TB ($349), or, a hockey puck-like version, the Transporter Sync ($99) to which you attach your own external hard drive. All get connected via Ethernet cable to your home network, and you can download iOS or Android apps to gain remote access to your Transporter files.

    By doubling up, getting two Transporters, you can create both local storage and your own remote/cloud service — just keep the second Transporter at an off-site location, such as your office. Should disaster strike one Transporter, your files are still safe on the other.

    Any changes made to files stored on the Transporter network are automatically synced throughout your Transporter network.

    You can choose to have files copied and synced to remote devices, as if the Transporter was connected directly to other PCs, or just access all the Transporter files via an Internet connection as if they were in the cloud.

    You can also share files, and each family member or workgroup member can get their own private Transporter library.

    And moving files to/from the Transporter is simple drag-and-drop, just as if it were a regular hard drive hard-wired to your PC via USB.

    In my limited time with it, I have yet to find a copy, backup, remote access, sync or share option Transporter doesn’t address. As with all systems, there’s a learning curve before you’ll grok Transporter’s internal logic and oodles of options. But at first blush, though, Transporter seems to solve all my document file organizational needs.

    But even Transporter doesn’t fix a frustrating software issue — the now antiquated single Save option.

    Twice Saved

    Through the years, document, presentation and photo software has adapted and changed with the time, offering greater range and increasingly sophisticated methods of editing, formatting, file type and organizational options.

    But document, presentation and photo software remains mummified in how files are Saved.

    Despite the plethora of devices we now own and multitude of backup options, most software only lets you Save to one location.

    I don’t know about you, but backing up would be a whole lot easier if I could designate a second or even a third place to Save a particular file. One file could then be Saved to all designated locations with a single click, eliminating extra backup steps.

    So you World Backup Day organizers: in addition to exhorting us to backup, how about nudging software programmers to provide us with multiple Save options?

  • See The Small Towns That Made It To The Big Screen
    Hollywood might seem like the perfect vacation destination for a movie-lover, but there’s so much more to film than the bright lights and big cities. Anyone who lives in a small town knows just how exciting it is when a film chooses your community either for its production location or setting. Avoid the crowds on your next vacation and visit one of America’s small towns that made it to the big screen.

    Click on the map’s pins to see which movies were filmed in or based on these small(er) communities.

  • Kathleen Sebelius Points Finger At Texas On Obamacare
    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Political opposition in Texas to the federal health care overhaul hasn’t helped enrollment numbers that lag behind expectations as next week’s deadline to sign up looms, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday.

    Texas has the highest rate of uninsured residents in the nation. As of March 1, about 295,000 people in Texas had signed up for coverage — less than half of the target of 629,000 enrollees originally set by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Gov. Rick Perry and Republican leaders have consistently slammed the health overhaul while simultaneously refusing Medicaid expansion in a state where nearly 1 out of every 4 residents is uninsured.

    Millions of uninsured nationwide have until Monday to pick a plan or face penalties. More than 6 million Americans have signed up so far.

    “I don’t think it’s been a help when you have government officials trying to block navigators from getting information to the people. And you have everything from legal challenges to a constant barrage of misinformation,” Sebelius said. “That isn’t terribly hopeful to folks trying to figure out what the law means and whether or not the law applies to them, or whether it’s even in place in Texas.”

    Making a final push, Sebelius visited a United Way center in Austin where about a dozen navigators manned a call center for coverage-seekers.

    Texas is hostile territory. State regulators in January mandated that “navigators” who help Texas residents enroll under the Affordable Care Act undergo an additional 20 hours of training — half what Perry originally sought, but still enough to rankle nonprofits receiving federal funds to implement navigator programs.

    Perry shot back at Sebelius’ remarks, saying that the more people learn about the federal health law the less they like it.

    “Yet again, the Obama administration would rather point fingers at other people than accept any of the responsibility for Obamacare’s failure,” Perry said in a statement.

    Sebelius said sign-ups in Texas are on the upswing but didn’t offer more recent enrollment data. She also said HealthCare.gov is up to the task of handling a last-minute surge of visitors before the deadline.

    Sebelius said the site handled 90,000 simultaneous visitors at times Thursday, but cautioned that wait times on the phone are getting longer.

    “As this volume increases, we are going into sort of new territory,” Sebelius said.

    Binta Jalloh, a quality manager in the United Way office, said phone traffic is at peaks not seen since enrollment began in October. Her office had received nearly 200 calls by lunchtime Friday, including more than 50 Spanish-speaking callers.

    “The amount of calls we’re getting this week is definitely more so than we’ve gotten previously,” she said.

    __

    Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pauljweber

  • Joe Budden, Hip Hop Artist, Posts Anti-Sikh Photo On Instagram, Twitter Reacts
    Joe Budden, an American rapper and member of the hip hop group Slaughterhouse, is receiving some social media attention, and it’s not because of his music.

    On Friday, Twitter user Fateh Singh (@FatedDOE) posted a photo he came across on Budden’s Instagram account depicting a man wearing a turban and standing in an airport security line. Budden’s accompanying caption read, “Not on my watch Homeboy!”

    Racism and ignorance at its finest @JoeBudden pic.twitter.com/LgDwfBbY9l

    — Fateh Singh (@FatehDOE) March 28, 2014

    Many Twitter users joined in the dialogue, expressing their anger over Budden’s photo.

    .@JoeBudden fails to understand that “stereotypical terrorist” jokes have gotten innocent sikhs killed, post 9/11, purely off of ignorance

    — Raginder ‘Violinder’ (@Violinder) March 28, 2014

    PLEASE RETWEET: Tell Rapper @JoeBudden: Posting a picture of Indian Sikh man insinuating he’s a terroist is not cool! pic.twitter.com/tNzdne3tMA

    — Arsalan Iftikhar™ (@TheMuslimGuy) March 28, 2014

    One user addressed Budden directly, challenging him to take a serious look at his actions.

    @JoeBudden you are a human just like everyone else. Same blood runs in our veins. Your ancestors know about racism. Shouldn’t I know better?

    — Jaskaran Dhanoa (@JaskaranDhanoa) March 28, 2014

    Budden and Dhanoa subsequently entered into a Twitter discussion.

    @JoeBudden lighten up to a racist joke? Would you lighten up if I dropped the “N” word to you? Think about it, seriously. Read ur comments b

    — Jaskaran Dhanoa (@JaskaranDhanoa) March 28, 2014

    @JoeBudden So that makes it OKAY to make racist jokes? Two wrongs don’t make a right Joe. C’mon man, you’re still defending your pic/cmnt?

    — Jaskaran Dhanoa (@JaskaranDhanoa) March 28, 2014

    @JaskaranDhanoa I’m taking off, i’ll erase it cuz I like u, ok ?! Great. ✌️

    — Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 28, 2014

    Budden’s response may fall short of what Reddit user “european_douchebag” did after posting a mocking photo of Ohio State student and observant Sikh Balpreet Kaur. The Redditor offered an apology, saying, “Making fun of people is funny to some but incredibly degrading to the people you’re making fun of. It was an incredibly rude, judgmental, and ignorant thing to post.”

    Budden did, however, remove the post from his Instagram account, though the rapper’s publicist did not respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

    The photo may be gone, but it appears the damage has been done.

  • My Life as a 'Highly Skilled' Immigrant
    One August morning many years ago, I found myself starry eyed and jet lagged at the Los Angeles International airport. In search of the American Dream, I had come halfway around the planet to pursue graduate studies in computer science at the University of Southern California.

    My earliest memories of the United States are of newfound friends asking me about the movie Slumdog Millionaire and arousing laughter when I referred to an eraser as a ‘rubber.’ In about a year, America was no longer a foreign place but the country I call home, the nation I want to contribute to.

    Little did I then know that the green pastures are not so green, at least not without a green card. I would soon be on a work visa (H1), joining hands with over a million engineers, scientists and doctors living as second class citizens, thanks to our broken immigration system.

    I soon graduated with flying colors and applied for jobs across the country. After a rigorous interview process, I was offered a spot at a search engine company with an acceptance rate of less than 0.5%. Excited about working with the best engineers I accepted the offer, and over the years have built a career as a software developer.

    On the surface, I’ve created a good life and lived the American dream. But in reality, thanks to the immigration limbo and the endless wait for green cards, I live a different kind of life — the life of an indentured servant. I cannot change employers or quit my job (to start a startup or go back to school). And if I ever get fired, guess what? Leaving family, friends and everything else behind, I would be tossed out of the country, like an empty beer bottle tossed into the trash can, that very day. Spouses of skilled immigrants face an even tougher life — despite being well qualified, they cannot work or even have a credit card in their names. Denied every opportunity to be productive citizens and virtually confined within the four walls of their house, they lose their self esteem and end up in a state of depression.

    Like any other patriotic American, I take great pride in serving my country. A few months after graduating from grad school, I had a chat with a local Army recruiter about volunteering in the Reserves. The recruiter was very excited about my skills — foreign languages and engineering prowess. When asked about my green card, I said I was on a work-visa and was waiting “in line” for a green card.

    I vividly remember the instantaneous change on his face, from excitement to disappointment, as if our conversation took place yesterday. It turned out that as an ALIEN (Yes, that is exactly what I am called as though I am from Mars) I cannot serve my country. Even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

    In the age of globalization, we need to attract and retain the best and brightest to remain competitive. A Duke university study found that foreign born inventors have been credited to about 75 percent of patent applications filed by the top research universities, and another study by Kauffman foundation found that about 25 percent of engineering and technology firms have a foreign born founder. In the US, almost half of STEM graduate students are foreign born, but dejected at their lives as second class citizens during the decades long wait for green card and the plethora of problems the H1b’s face in their day to day life (from renewing a drivers license to buying a house), many of these American trained engineers and scientists return to their native countries and end up competing against the American economy — a phenomena named as ‘reverse brain drain’ by Duke University researcher, Vivek Wadhwa.

    The effects of the reverse brain drain are significant. A 2009 study by Technology Policy Institute found that in the absence of reverse brain drain and other barriers against retaining brainpower, the annual GDP will be raised by 13 billion.

    Both Democrats and Republicans agree on the need for immigration reform, and its imperativeness to our economic health. Yet, immigration reform has been stalled in the House of Representatives. Why does Speaker Boehner think that maintaining status quo — millions contributing to an underground economy, while we train the best and brightest to work for our competitors — is good policy? It is time for our politicians to put aside petty politics and come together to act on immigration reform. Til then, I will serve my country by advocating for immigration reform.

  • 9 Ideas That Can Change Everything We Think About Cities
    By 2050, a staggering 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. (Right now it’s 51 percent.) That will be about 6.72 billion humans putting pressure on a lot of aging infrastructure.

    The race is on for cities around the globe to meet the needs of a rising population amid a changing climate and a shifting technological landscape. The cities of the future will have to balance high-tech advances with sustainable living. Here are nine ways they can do that:

    1. Making Parks More Functional

    fasttrack2
    Photo Credit: Salto.

    Grass, playgrounds and jogging paths are great, but future parks will have to be more. Salto, an architecture firm based in Estonia, has designed “Fast Track,” a 167-foot-long trampoline path that challenges the very notion of what a park can be.

    fasttrack1
    Photo Credit: Salto.

    Installed in Russia, “Fast Track is a integral part of park infrastructure, it is a road and an installation at the same time,” says Salto’s design team. “It challenges the concept of infrastructure that only focuses on technical and functional aspects and tends to be ignorant to its surroundings. Fast Track is an attempt to create intelligent infrastructure that is emotional and corresponds to the local context. It gives the user a different experience of moving and perceiving the environment.”

    fasttrack3
    Photo Credit: Salto.

    Fast Track is just one example of how cities around the world are re-imagining parks and public spaces. Manhattan’s renowned High Line park was built on a series of long-abandoned elevated railroad tracks.

    the high line park new york
    Photo Credit: Getty.

    By repurposing the 1.45 miles of train tracks for a public park, the neighborhood successfully created a cultural landmark. The High Line has brought about an economic boom in the area, spurring other cities to consider how they can play with their former railroad infrastructure.

    2. Writing On The Walls

    Street art isn’t all that new, but its as a means of sparking social change and spurring urban engagement, it’s only just getting started.

    flix street art
    Photo Credit: Flickr: MSNina.

    “The street is the stage of our daily life, a place where people from different social strata coexist,” South American street artist Flix told This Big City. “And street art touches all its residents. My intention is to break paradigms, to send out a concise message that somehow wakes the psyche of each individual. I just want to dissolve the constant monotony of walking through the streets.”

    street art jr
    Photo Credit: Getty Images.

    3. Repurposing Abandoned Structures

    Old railroad tracks aren’t the only abandoned spaces getting makeovers. With the help of design firm MRS Architecture, Texas turned an abandoned Walmart into an amazing library.

    Photo Credit: Flickr, macarignan

    Photo Credit: Flickr, financeandcommerce

    With more and more big-box stores and malls standing empty around the country, ideas like this can capitalize on existing architecture in transformative ways.

    Photo Credit: Flickr, financeandcommerce

    4. Changing The Way You Think Of Bright Lights In Big Cities

    Last year, Buenos Aires partnered with Philips to convert 100,000 of its streetlights to LED technology, cutting the city’s electrical costs by 50 percent, according to a Philips press release. In addition to being the more environmentally friendly option, LED bulbs have also shown themselves to be better for safety, shedding considerably more light on their surroundings than conventional bulbs.

    beforeafter1
    On the left is a street before LED installation. On the right is the same street with working LEDs.
    Photo Credit: Philips.

    beforeafter2
    Before: left. After: right.
    Photo Credit: Philips.

    5. Growing Gardens Out Of Pavement

    Transporting food hundreds or thousands of miles isn’t just costly — it has a real impact on the environment, too. Future population centers may be able to grow much of their own food locally, creating new urban jobs while reducing the environmental impact.

    urban farming
    Photo credit: Getty Images.

    Vertical farms would contain complete ecosystems within their walls. Growing upward will require less land, an important consideration as urban populations continue to increase, says Dickson Despommier, a professor of public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia University and a champion of vertical farms.

    Flickr: Except Integrated Sustainability

    In cities like Tokyo and Lyon, France, urban gardens built atop railway stations already provide respite and beauty for weary travelers. The East Japan Railway Company even offers five rooftop Soradofarms in Tokyo, where commuters can sign up for their own farming plots.

    Flickr: eccaplan1

    6. Supporting Co-Working And Cooperative Maker Spaces

    Cubicles are so last century. Co-working spaces allow small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs, remote workers and creatives the opportunity to enjoy the perks of an office without adhering to the structure of one. The trend reportedly began in San Francisco and has become a global movement. Co-working gives self-employed ventures a low-cost opportunity to engage and refine their ideas within a local community of seasoned, often supportive, entrepreneurs. Some speculate that cities may eventually sponsor their own public co-working spaces to encourage innovation and social entrepreneurship and avoid “brain drain” to other cities with established tech industries.

    The iHub co-working space in Nairobi is one of many emerging hubs for aspiring startups in Africa. Flickr: NetHope, Inc.

    The future of co-working is already happening. More than just workers with laptops sitting at communal tables, niche industry co-working habitats allow members to collaborate on projects and learn communally, as seen in San Francisco’s Writer’s Grotto or Detroit’s Ponyride, a hub for makers and socially conscious entrepreneurs.

    ponyride
    Order & Other photo courtesy of Ponyride.

    In the future, hubs built around 3-D printers will facilitate the sharing of blueprints, know-how and access, allowing anyone to design and produce their own product.

    3d printer
    A Makerbot Industries LLC Replicator Mini 3-D printer sits on display during the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    7. Bringing Broadband Power To The People

    We live in the digital age, yet 30 percent of American homes still don’t have Internet access, the Pew Internet Project reports.

    Free public access to the Internet could be the future. Chattanooga, Tenn. has the fastest Internet service of any city in America, via a community-owned fiber-optic network that delivers free access to every business and resident. The city is already attracting new high-tech companies, and it’s been selected as the location for Volkswagen’s North American headquarters and a new distribution center for Amazon Marketplace.

    internet access
    Photo via Getty Images.

    8. Open Cities, Smarter Cities
    Forty-two percent of all the electricity used around the globe goes toward powering buildings. The next wave of development will involves making buildings smarter, greener and able to “talk” to the city around them. Smart buildings can automatically control their own temperatures, lighting and other mechanisms.

    Flickr: vwmang

    New mobile applications that allow citizens to submit online requests for urban maintenance — directing authorities’ attention to potholes, burned-out streetlights and flooding water mains — are already being tested through programs like SeeClickFix.com and PublicStuff.com. Future cities may be able to collect and share countless points of data to develop smarter solutions. This is already happening in Seattle — North America’s smartest city, according to FastCoExist — which currently makes over 1,000 data sets available to the public.

    9. Shipping Containers Get Second Lives

    Shipping containers have proven themselves to be endlessly useful — good thing, then, that the clever folks repurposing them are endlessly creative. Shipping containers are cheap, adaptable and readily available.

    Photo Credit: Flickr, teflon.

    From apartment buildings to shopping malls…

    Photo Credit: Flickr, orodreth_99

    The possibilities are endless.

  • Stitcher overhauls iOS app with new interface, function improvements
    Podcast streaming service Stitcher has released major update of its iOS app, v6.0.0. The app’s interface has been redesigned not only to match iOS 7, but to streamline navigation. The front page, for example, now highlights new episodes from favorites, as well as headlines and other news stories. A new Mini Player provides constant access to what’s playing, and the Now Playing screen has gained quick access to car mode and the sleep timer. Playlists can be accessed from anywhere in the app via a swipe gesture.
        



  • Blackberry posts $5.9bn annual loss
    Smartphone maker Blackberry reports a loss of $5.9bn for its latest financial year, but says it is on “a path to returning to growth and profitability”.

Related posts:

  1. Mobile Technology News, March 9, 2014
  2. Mobile Technology News, March 21, 2014
  3. Mobile Technology News, March 2, 2014
  4. Mobile Technology News, March 14, 2014
  5. Mobile Technology News, March 17, 2014
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