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Mobile Technology News, May 20, 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.

  • Sharing #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers On Twitter
    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers caught our eye on Twitter and we just couldn’t suppress a laugh at some of the posts that sure capture what we all mutter under our breath. Here are a few of our favorites:

    How to show your parents love.

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers the best way for you to express love for your parents is to scream “I Hate You!” followed by a slamming door

    — Bill the Butcher (@NotBTB) May 19, 2015

    Why we never comment on their style.

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers Crocs perfect for any social occasions. Especially funerals..

    — BobBPToodles (@thebevelblog) May 19, 2015

    When their smartphone appears glued to their hands.

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers The more time you spend on the internet the more memories you’ll have to look back on when you’re old

    — mc chris (@_mcchris) May 20, 2015

    And of course, there’s this …

    You don’t need school, that’s what Google is for. #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers

    — Angry Duck (@DaveHaase1) May 19, 2015

    And this …

    D’s Are Passing #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers

    — Damian Vanore (@DamianVanore23) May 19, 2015

    Let’s not forget the almighty text.

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers I don’t care if you’re driving or in school, it’s polite to answer texts immediately.

    — TheNoisySongbird (@karyn_d) May 19, 2015

    When they seek career advice, try this.

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers Drop out of high school, sign up for Twitter and become a comedian.

    — MustBeTheMeds (@MustBeTheMeds) May 19, 2015

    Or this:

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers Grifting can be a great career choice pic.twitter.com/QHb7XiMxbx

    — cassandracarolina (@cassandra17lina) May 19, 2015

    Last choice?

    ISIS is always hiring. #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers

    — Angry Duck (@DaveHaase1) May 19, 2015

    Perhaps the truth is best?

    You don’t need talent OR hard work to become rich & famous #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers pic.twitter.com/He1MMBkzmw

    — TrivWorks (@TrivWorks) May 20, 2015

    When they seek relationship advice:

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers Yes honey, all guys are awesome in bed during their teens.

    — Gwendolyn Wise (@niamibunni) May 19, 2015

    And of course, add:

    #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers unprotected sex is the best!

    — Brian Watkins (@OneFootOver) May 19, 2015

    When everyone else is getting tattooed and your teen wants to too.

    A tattoo is something you will never regret. The prominent on your face, the better #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers

    — Bryan Behar (@bryanbehar) May 20, 2015

    Or this ….

    Neck tattoos are the only way to secure a high paying job with no judgement being rendered

    — ⚾️Joey (@sharpestspoon) May 19, 2015

    A few thoughts on social media.

    Post everything to social media, you won’t ever regret it later.


    — Orlando Jones (@OGOrlandoJones) May 19, 2015

    A small comment on their money management skills.

    Remember, as long as you have checks, you have money! #UnlikelyAdviceForTeenagers pic.twitter.com/x3GEaUgXUI

    — K♡R♡I♡S♡S♡Y (@IAmKrissyBrown) May 20, 2015

    Some life wisdom to live by.

    Everything that bothers you now will be better when you’re an adult.

    LOL! Sike, it gets so much worse!

    — WhirledRecord (@WhirledRecord) May 19, 2015

    And what we all really believe:

    Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read.

    — Werner Twertzog (@WernerTwertzog) May 19, 2015

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

  • MLB Ballpark for Android Updated With Performance Improvements

    On the same day that Major League Baseball has released MLB At Bat for Windows Phone, the league has also issued an update to the MLB Ballpark for Android app as well. While there are no new features to the baseball park companion app, there are some general performance improvements that make it worth updating to for anyone who uses the app.  For those keeping score at home (an old term used during the heyday of baseball on radio) the new version is 4.1.0 If you aren’t familiar with it, MLB Ballpark is a companion app that you have on

    The post MLB Ballpark for Android Updated With Performance Improvements appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • A Quick Look at Word for Android Phone

    Earlier today I posted that Microsoft had released a preview of their Office apps for Android Phone today. The new Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are stand alone individual apps that are far superior to the old Office Mobile and are in line with the path that the company is making for Office across all device platforms. I’ve spent a fair amount of time today with each of them and wanted to provide some quick feedback on them to everyone who is on the fence about downloading them. First I’m going to take a look at Word for Android Phone

    The post A Quick Look at Word for Android Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • MLB At Bat Updated For Windows Phone

    This is one that I personally take a lot of satisfaction in seeing. After indicating they were not going to update MLB At Bat for Windows Phone for the 2015 season, Major League Baseball has reversed course and has just released an updated version for the season.  We are 2 months into the season but I’m not going to complain. It is here and it is great. Back in April before the start of the baseball season, MLB said they would not be updating the app for Windows Phone.  I was plenty critical of it as a baseball fan and

    The post MLB At Bat Updated For Windows Phone appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

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  • Now That The President Finally Has A Twitter Account, He Should Delete It Immediately
    Monday morning, this happened on Twitter.

    Hello, Twitter! It’s Barack. Really! Six years in, they’re finally giving me my own account.

    — President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015

    Yes, at long last, the United States has a president on Twitter. Or we do again. Sort of.

    See, there was already a @BarackObama account, but that’s being run by Obama’s campaign spin-off, Organizing for America. And there’s also a separate @WhiteHouse account, but that’s being run by the White House communications team. It’s complicated. Here, let The Washington Post’s Philip Bump explain it to you. The point is, other Twitter accounts associated with Barack Obama weren’t authentically Barack Obama. This new one won’t be either. In fact, this was all a big mistake.

    Twitter, once conceived as an easy means for friends in small networks to exchange SMS messages with one another, has now become a global conveyor belt of never-ending, up-to-the-minute hot garbage, a fate that was sealed the moment I joined Twitter in March of 2008. As near as I can tell, the White House hasn’t offered a pat reason for making the president join Twitter at this new account, @POTUS. But I’m sure they feel that this will allow the president to have a “personal connection on social media,” which he can use to “bypass the gatekeepers” and speak “directly and sincerely to America.” These are all the same reasons that any #brand joins Twitter. It’s also the premier venue for #BENGHAZI acrostics.

    There are a lot of people out there who have good advice on how to use Twitter in an advantageous way to expand your social media reach and to connect with other users far and wide. I’ll spare the president a lengthy discursion on Twitter optimization and distill the best advice I have down to two discrete strategies:

    1. Never tweet.

    2. Delete your account.

    And that’s it. If you’re wondering what to do with Twitter — if you have even a shadow of a doubt on what to do — your best course of action is always to never tweet and then to delete your account. In other words, the thing that President Obama should do now is the one thing that we never, ever let any president do, even though we should let them because it is almost always the best course of action for their mental health and well-being: quit while he is ahead.

    Having the president of the United States on Twitter is a really bad idea. Just think about the high potential for gaffes and mayhem. Twitter is where your anodyne joke about the weather dies on a bonfire of somebody being offended. It’s where you’re no better than every other clown who can string 140 characters together. It’s where thirsty randos (Sen. Chuck Schumer) slide into your mentions, and where you accidentally send that private DM out to the general public.

    For a president, Twitter is just one more avenue in which your every move will become politicized (which is already happening) and where racist trolls lurk around every corner. (Speaking of, think about all the new work the Secret Service is going to have.) Now that Obama is on Twitter, you can rest assured that at least one media critic will produce the next “Obama’s found a new way to bypass the press” article, and at least one dimwit pundit will incorporate it into the next round of Green Lantern mythologizing.

    It’s also completely unnecessary for a president to be on Twitter, because there is a whole media apparatus already assembled that’s ready to broadcast any stray utterance to the masses. Barack Obama could walk into the White House Press Room; say, “Hey, guys, check out this delicious avocado toast I made”; and by nightfall it would be translated into three Politico items, broadcast on every cable news channel, mined for at least two think pieces, and adapted as a metaphor for Maureen Dowd to beat to death over the next four years.

    Anyone who thinks that this new outlet is going to be a venue for the president’s unvarnished, sincere opinion needs to get his head examined. And yes, that cute little exchange between Obama and former President Bill Clinton was absolutely a tidy bit of Oval Office kayfabe. Anything that gets posted to the @POTUS account will be vetted within an inch of its life, and anything remotely interesting will be stripped out and watered down.

    I can basically provide you with a complete taxonomy of everyone who will interact with this account.

    1. Reporters, who will just RT everything that @POTUS tweets.
    2. Trolls.
    3. Racist trolls.
    4. Weird Twitter.
    5. Obama fans who will respond to everything with “praise hands” emoji.
    6. Pretentious crap sacks who start every tweet with the word “actually.”
    7. Those idiots who get you into Twitter canoes seven users deep.
    8. Chrissy Teigen.

    Of these, only Chrissy Teigen makes this social media format worthwhile, especially if she’s trolling Nancy Grace.

    And that’s the best-case scenario. The thing about Twitter is that it sometimes tends to bring out the worst in us — it doesn’t take much to get users spoiling for an undignified fight. Obama’s drama-avoidance tendencies being what they are, this is perhaps not a near-term problem. But sooner or later, that combination of thin skin and egomania that is so de rigueur in our political class is going to get the better of some president. (Probably President Ted Cruz. You just know that guy rises to the bait like a grouper with a death wish.)

    Those are basically the two directions a presidential Twitter account can go: pure-beige, pablum secretions or ignoble, quick-fire, spit-spat sessions.

    According to reports, the @POTUS Twitter account is built to be a legacy account, passed from president to president as the old one leaves and the newly elected chief executive arrives. It wasn’t long ago that President Obama fought the good fight to end deficit-ceiling hostage-taking, recognizing the battle as a necessary step to preserve the dignity, the authority and the sanity of the executive branch for all future presidents. In the same spirit, he should recognize that there are clear actions here that he needs to take for the good of the office. Those are: Never tweet, and delete your account.

    Obviously you should follow me on Twitter, where I prove the necessity of this advice every day.

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

  • Could Your LinkedIn Profile Be Your New Credit Score?
    If you’re a working professional and you’re using social media to connect with friends, colleagues and business opportunities, then you need to be aware that your posts, updates, tweets and pictures can impact your financial future. You probably already know that prospective employers are scrutinizing LinkedIn profiles and Facebook feeds, but you may not know that lenders are also making use of the rich stream of data provided by your social media activity. As online marketplace lenders and startups continue to proliferate, many will use new models to determine the creditworthiness of their borrowers.

    Lending, at its core, is about understanding and managing risk. When you go to a bank or any other lending source seeking to borrow money, whether to buy a car or a house, refinance your student loan debt, or just obtain a credit card, the bank needs to understand how much of a risk it will be taking on by lending you that money. (The financial crisis of 2008 showed painfully what happens when lenders forget this basic principle.) Aside from death and taxes, there are no guarantees in life, so no lender can be completely sure you’re good for that money — but they certainly try to get as close to certainty as possible, which means looking at every available source of data, from every available angle.


    By consulting social media, lenders have a new resource that goes beyond a credit check and FICO score, enabling a more comprehensive picture of the applicant. People eagerly share information through their online presence with Facebook and LinkedIn updates, tweets, and blog posts. Lenders such as Lending Club, and Prosper have built this into the process they use for evaluating loan applications. In particular, given that many millennials have a limited credit history, DRB Student Loan has built a proprietary model that parses metadata from social media channels to build a reliability score, one that can be a useful supplement to your FICO. They’re looking for evidence that borrowers are hard-working, dependable, and likely to have what it takes to honor their financial commitments. Social media can provide a holistic view point of who this person is and what drives them. Meeting commitments is not just a test of financial resources; it’s a test of character.

    This can help applicants: Imagine, for example, if you’re applying to refinance your student loan debt, and your credit score isn’t high, you didn’t attend a “name brand” school, and you might have seem like a risk to a lender only looking at the numbers. But your LinkedIn profile shows an uninterrupted work history from high school to a current position at a top-tier law firm, a rich network of connections, and a commitment to the serious issues in your profession. This would show that you know how to work hard and how to balance commitments to both school and work. Character like this can trump any credit score.


    Because lenders can now build character into their models, they can be more confident in their loans. That in turn allows them to offer lower rates, which saves borrowers money. More and more I expect we’ll see lenders applying this hybrid approach that combines mathematical and holistic analysis to their business. And as they do, they’ll be developing a richer understanding of what markers are meaningful, and building these into their lending platforms.

    This has obvious implications for young people who use social media. By no means do I think they should shy away from using social media because of the risk that it could harm their financial future. Quite the contrary: social media is a very powerful tool for connecting people with other people, with ideas, and with opportunities.

    Here are some final things to remember so you don’t sell yourself short on social media:

    • Approach the digital world as an extension of the physical world, where how you present yourself shows people the kind of person you are. So, don’t hide, and don’t try to pass yourself off as something you’re not.

    • Show potential lenders, potential employers and potential clients your attention to detail, your interest in learning and sharing new insights, your creativity, dedication, compassion or passion.

    • LinkedIn, for example, allows you to describe yourself and the work you do in more dynamic language than the dry constraints of a traditional resume. Take advantage of this.

    • Your LinkedIn profile also displays the health of your professional network – the connections and associations that will help you land jobs and clients as your career progresses. Even your profile picture is a chance to present yourself as a creditworthy professional.

    Aryea Aranoff is the Chief Operating Officer at DRB Student Loan, a marketplace lender and FDIC-insured bank offering low rate student loan refinancing to working professionals and parents with PLUS loans. DRB Student Loan is a leader in this space offering some of the lowest rates in the country on its student loans. As of February 2015, DRB Student Loan expanded its student loan refinancing program to residents and fellows. Arjun Sirrah, Chief Technology Officer of DRB Student Loan, co-wrote this blog post.

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

  • Lack Of Scientific Evidence Doesn't Stop New Law Warning Of Cell Phone Risks
    Last week, the City Council of Berkeley, California, unanimously voted for a new ordinance that would require cell phone retailers to advise customers to keep their handset out of pockets or bras when the device is connected to a wireless network. The rationale for the warning, which is based upon federal guidelines for limiting exposure to radio waves from wireless devices, doesn’t look well-founded.

    Unlike exposure to the X-rays used in a doctor’s office or the gamma rays produced by radioactive elements like uranium or plutonium, which result in negative health consequences as exposure increases, radio transmitters in cell phones do not produce ionizing radiation. Although scientists have recently warned of the long-term risks of cell phone use related to the electromagnetic waves the devices emit, the evidence still is not strong enough to establish causality, only concern.

    While some researchers urge cautious use of wireless devices, the National Institute of Health, Food and Drug Administration, American Cancer Society and Centers for Disease Control have found no evidence of cancer risks from cell phone use to date. Using a cell phone exposes you to no ionizing radiation at all. As far as we know, cell phones do not give you brain cancer. (If you’re still worried, though, there’s no harm in keeping your cell phone in a purse instead of your bra or on your belt instead of a pants pocket.)

    For more context on the danger from different amounts of ionizing radiation, take a look at the following radiation webcomic by Randall Munroe of xkcd. As you can see, being directly exposed to a nuclear power plant meltdown is fatal; flying across North America or getting an X-ray at the dentist’s office, not so much. You’ll notice that cell phones do not appear in the graphic.

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

  • Prostitute Pleads Guilty To Google Executive's Heroin Death
    May 19 (Reuters) – A prostitute charged with killing a Google executive by injecting him with heroin on his yacht off the California coast pleaded guilty on Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter, court officials said.
    Alix Catherine Tichelman, 27, was sentenced to six years in prison by a Santa Cruz Superior Court judge after she accepted a plea deal in which a manslaughter charge was reduced to involuntary manslaughter, a court official said.
    She also pleaded guilty to several other charges, including administering a controlled substance, destroying or concealing evidence and engaging in prostitution, according to the Santa Cruz Superior Court.
    Prosecutors say Tichelman, a high-priced call girl, injected Forrest Hayes, 51, with heroin during a tryst aboard his yacht off Santa Cruz in November 2013.
    Prosecutors said surveillance video from the boat shows Tichelman made no effort to help Hayes, a married father of five who was an executive at the Google X research lab, and instead stepped over his body several times and sipped wine before leaving without calling 911.
    Tichelman’s public defenders, who did not dispute she was a prostitute, said she had no intention of hurting Hayes and maintained the drug use had been consensual.
    “This was an accident and a panic and she is so, so sorry,” Jerry Christensen, one of Tichelman’s attorneys, told reporters after the sentencing, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
    Tichelman was arrested last year after being contacted by a police officer posing as a potential client and agreeing to a price in excess of $1,000 authorities have said.
    Hayes and Tichelman are believed to have met through an online website that pairs young women with older men with money, court documents said.
    Tichelman could have faced 15 years of prison under the original manslaughter charge. (Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Bill Trott)

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

  • The Chokehold of Calendars
    Meetings may be toxic, but calendars are the superfund sites that allow that toxicity to thrive. All calendars suck. And they all suck in the same way. Calendars are a record of interruptions. And quite often they’re a battlefield over who owns whose time.

    In my experience, most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening. In the case of a business like ours, what clients pay us to make and do happens in the cracks between meetings, or worse, after business hours.

    I’ve yet to see a résumé–and I hope I never do– that lists “attends meetings well” as a skill. Yet attending meetings ends up being a key component of many jobs. And it’s stupid.

    The problem here is two-fold. Part of it is software. Part of it is human behavior. You can’t fix the software without adjusting the human behavior. And there is no point to addressing the human behavior if the software won’t support it.

    Let’s start with the premise that you have a 40 hour week. (If you just started crying you need a new job.) That’s 40 hours of time to do your job. Now look at your calendar. If your job is to spend a very large part of those 40 hours in meetings scheduled for you by other people then you’re fine. If your job is to produce things such as code, comps, analyses, flow documents, etc., then why isn’t the time to do that on your calendar?

    People rarely schedule working time. And when they do it’s viewed as second-tier time. It’s interruptible. Meetings trump working time. Why? And why so often are the same people who assign deadlines the same ones reassigning all of your time? Crazymaking. They should be securing work time for you and protecting it fiercely.

    Why are you letting other people put things on your calendar? The idea of a calendar as a public fire hydrant for colleagues to mark is ludicrous. The time displayed on your calendar belongs to you, not to them. It’s been allocated to you to complete tasks. Why are you taking time away from your coding project to go to a meeting that someone you barely know added you to without asking and without the decency to have submitted an agenda?

    Start saying no.

    Why do you feel like others have more of a right to your time than you do? The time is yours.

    The problem with calendars is that they are additive rather than subtractive. They approach your time as something to add to rather than subtract from. Adding a meeting is innocuous. You’re acting on a calendar. A calendar isn’t a person. It isn’t even a thing. It’s an abstraction. But subtracting an hour from the life of another human being isn’t to be taken lightly. It’s almost violent. It’s certainly invasive. Shared calendars are vessels you fill by taking things away from other people.

    “I’m adding a meeting” should really be “I’m subtracting an hour from your life.”

    We need a goal-oriented calendar, but first we need to understand why a goal-oriented calendar is necessary.

    Imagine that rather than scheduling individual points in time, such as meetings, you were instead scheduling a goal. With all its dependencies with it. A simplified model might look like this:

    By handling events as something we work towards and need time to produce things for, rather than as disruptive singularities, and by respecting that work time as something associated with a goal we achieve a calendar that shows both those meetings, now less inane, and the time time necessary to do the work that will make those meetings successful.

    Most of these things currently exist. Across multiple applications. And badly. Now it’s time to fix that.

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

  • Microsoft Releases Office for Android Phone Preview – Here is How To Get It

    Earlier today, Microsoft released the preview for Office for Android phone apps.  The separate Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps are now individual apps and brings in line while the company is doing around the Office apps across all platforms – Windows Phone, Android and iOS.  The goal of course is to have a consistent user experience regardless of the device that you are using.  Today, if you use Office for Android tablet, it is a far different (and superior) experience to the Office Mobile app on Android Phone.  That now has changed with this preview. To get the Office for

    The post Microsoft Releases Office for Android Phone Preview – Here is How To Get It appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • This Is What Happens When Presidential Candidates Tinder With America
    Let’s make sure we swipe right on the best candidate for the job.

    When you think about it, the dynamic between a president and their country is a pretty serious four to eight-year relationship. And America can’t afford to hook up with just anyone. It doesn’t work out well. Sure, Tinder is a visual game, but once somebody swipes right on you, that’s when the test really begins.

    So let’s combine the two grossest things in modern America, Tinder and politics, and imagine exactly what kind of conversation the presidential candidates would have with the nation once they got to the swipe right stage of the process.

    Follow Huffington Post’s board LOL onPinterest.

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

  • Bill To Limit NSA Surveillance Will Get Senate Vote
    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that he will give in to pressure and bring legislation to the floor that would limit the National Security Agency’s surveillance on Americans, as allowed under the Patriot Act.

    “I certainly think we ought to allow a vote on the House-passed bill. If there are not enough votes to pass that, then we need to look at an alternative,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters Tuesday after meeting with the GOP caucus. “So we’ll see where the Senate is. We’ll find out where the votes are,” he continued, not indicating when the vote would take place.

    McConnell, who has floated a bill to extend the NSA’s existing authority to collect bulk metadata from Americans’ phone calls until 2020, has come under increasing pressure from a handful of Republicans to allow the Senate to take up the House bill. Adding to the momentum for reform is a recent Supreme Court decision that found that NSA program was not authorized under the Patriot Act.

    The program, which began after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, is set to expire June 1. Under the House bill, the NSA would retain much of its capabilities, but would no longer have access to the bulk metadata collected by phone companies.

    Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) warned on Tuesday that it would be a “big mistake” if Republican leadership didn’t bring forward the House bill.

    “The thought of starting with something entirely different, after we’ve had something pass with this super-super-majority of 338 votes in the House, would, I think, be a big mistake and a big lost opportunity,” Lee told The Huffington Post.

    A similar bill, authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), died in the Senate late last year. But Lee said bringing up the House bill is the best option, and that the Senate should be able to find “common ground” by debating, discussing and amending it.

    “It would require some type of showing that the data requested has a connection to an actual investigation. I think that’s the kind of reform that we need,” Lee said.

    “The president supports this. The Director of National Intelligence James Clapper supports it,” he continued referring to a letter from Clapper and Attorney General Loretta Lynch that endorsed the legislation.

    McConnell, on the other hand, has argued that the House bill’s constriction of the NSA’s spying abilities would endanger Americans. “What I think is the most important thing is to make sure we still have a program that works and helps protect the American people from attacks,” he said Tuesday, indicating his continued preference for a clean reauthorization of the program passed after Sept. 11.

    The majority leader’s comments came after a lunch briefing by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, who recently called for an appeal of the Supreme Court decision that found the metadata collection program illegal, arguing that the ruling would impede the U.S. fight against terrorism.

    Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) echoed McConnell’s sentiments. “I think we should be more robust in what we’re doing, not less,” he said, indicating that he prefers to see a short-term extension of the existing Patriot Act for now.

    Still, Senate Republicans appear to be split, and a completely clean reauthorization of NSA powers under the Patriot Act isn’t expected to pass. While McConnell is reluctant to see the NSA’s surveillance capability watered down, it would be worse for his party if the NSA’s authorities under the Patriot Act were to expire completely while Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

    Lee said he would “object rather strongly” to the two-month extension McConnell is now floating. Another possibility, Lee said, is a “very short-term extension of maybe a couple or three weeks.”

    But some senators from both sides of the aisle have vowed to block even a temporary extension of the Patriot Act unless significant reforms are made.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), now well-known for his 13-hour filibuster during the confirmation hearing for CIA Director John Brennan, threatened on Monday to filibuster an extension unless there is a robust debate and amendment process. To Paul, even the House’s NSA reform bill doesn’t go far enough to rein in the intelligence community’s surveillance powers.

    And Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is with him, vowing on Tuesday to prevent an extension of the existing program, even with a filibuster. “I would do everything it takes — everything, underline everything — to prevent an extension,” he told reporters.

    Wyden supports the House bill, but wants to push for even stronger reforms to the NSA’s power.

    Jesse Rifkin contributed reporting.

    This is a developing story and will be updated.

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

  • What Does the Future Hold for Media?
    Today, media reaches into every corner of the world and is becoming increasingly important, particularly in the West. Universities, think tanks and research centers are producing a complex body of knowledge about the current news-making process.

    When projecting the future of media, a good starting point is the following quote from Moisés Naim’s 2013 bestseller The End of Power, in which the author highlights three major factors that are changing every field of human endeavor, including the journalist-readership relationship.

    • More revolution: characterized by increases in everything from the number of countries to population size, standards of living, literacy rates and quantity of products on the market.
    • Mobility revolution: has set people, goods, money, ideas and values moving at hitherto unimagined rates towards every corner of the planet (including those that were once remote and inaccessible).
    • Mentality revolution: reflects the major changes in mindsets, expectations, and aspirations that have accompanied these shifts.

    It is widely known that the Internet has been a game-changer in this “mentality revolution”, and even more so in the information field. Today, billions of people are online and mobile devices enable them to record and share news and multimedia content with a global audience. This is especially true for English-speaking outlets.

    This trend towards fast-moving news is partially responsible for the crisis among major printed publications, as recently highlighted by the Newspaper Association of America among other sources. While throughout the 1970s newspaper sales had some ups and downs (but with generally stable figures), since the 1980s the dominant US media companies shrunk in number from about 50 to about five in early 2000s.

    On the other hand, both audiences and revenues are skyrocketing in the digital arena, and more and more readers get their daily news via smartphones and tablets. However, old media is producing mixed signals: some outlets are struggling to keep up with this digital revolution, while others are fully embracing the unexpected shift.

    Obviously the approach chosen by new media and “digital native” outlets is less problematic, given its complete reliance on social-media channels and mobile apps — even if it attracts some criticism for low-quality content and lack of journalism standards.

    Besides a growing generational divide in many U.S. newsrooms, this picture shows the need for quick adjustments to an ever-changing wave of online innovations for both traditional and new media environments. Indeed, in the last few years many old-school reporters have moved their quality and expertise in the digital realm, while traditional enterprises are making room for new jobs: social discovery specialist, data scientist, community manager, social advertising analyst, and many more.

    The result is an eclectic collection of hybrid newsrooms, where 100-year-old newspapers are in direct competition with websites launched just a few years ago. Some outlets were brewed in prestigious university media departments, while others are simply one of the many Silicon Valley achievements.

    Obviously the overall role of journalism is rapidly changing: is it better stick to old news reporting or create click-baits? Should we aim at “former readers” or consumers? The reality is that today’s online business model is largely dependent on advertising and requires huge traffic levels to produce good revenues. Therefore any addition to a “conventional” story – direct comments, social-network discussions, mobile-app presence – becomes a vital part of a larger process aimed at attracting more users.

    Similarly fluid dynamics are at play within the traditional corporate world, where, for instance, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post for $250 million in cash and pushed its gradual redesign towards tablets and mobile devices, rather than to a newspaper “to be read on the web”. And even if the recent acquisition of AOL by telecom heavyweight Verizon (for $4.4 billion) is mostly due to its advertising technology assets, many are expecting big changes for AOL-owned TechCrunch, Patch and especially the many national editions of The Huffington Post.

    Another giant clash underway includes top online actors such as Google and Facebook, both strongly pursuing a variety of agreements with online publishing enterprises. For example, the former has created a fund of $150 million to help traditional EU media to fully jump into the digital domain, while Facebook has set up partnerships with many news outlets – in its new Facebook Instant Articles program we can already count the New York Times and Buzzfeed, among others. As explained by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., publisher and CEO of The New York Times: “We have a long tradition of meeting readers where they are, and that means being available not just on our own sites, but on the social platforms frequented by many current and potential Times users”.

    It is a landscape further complicated by the great success of instant-messaging apps such as WhatsApp, which has more than 800 million users and was bought for $22 billion by Facebook in February 2014, and the arrival of players with very different business models and editorial goals. These include Anthony de Rosa’s Circa, which focused on breaking news and bullet points; Vice News, now expanding its current news offering with high-quality video content; and Medium, a participatory platform established by Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone in August 2012, which has evolved into a hybrid of non-professional contributions and paid professional contributions, and is a successful example of social journalism. Today Medium hosts stories by renowned journalists such as Steven Levy, editor of the BackChannel section, or intriguing sections such as Eidolon, with a fascinating tagline: “A modern way to write about the ancient world.” Also worth a mention is Quartz, a digital native news outlet that relies on veteran and young reporters for economic and world news aimed at mobile devices, with a main office in New York City and correspondents in several cities around the world.

    In addressing this evolving landscape, Gianni Riotta of Princeton University, a big fan of new technologies, had this to say in a recent commentary for Italian newspaper La Stampa:

    “We tend to judge the cultural impact of new tools according to the old paradigm. For instance, Socrates hated writing because it would eliminate the only way to reason he loved: dialogue and conversation. It is true that we lost for ever such noble traditions as oral culture or the epic tales recited by heart to the sound of the zither, but later we realized how much we gained by moving to a writing culture […] The truth is that new tools force us to think, write and create in a very different way. Therefore, we are always facing a cultural revolution, not a technological one. And we must adapt to succeed.”

    To find out what the future holds for the media, we must first understand today’s cultural transformation. As pointed out by the late New York Times columnist David Carr, we should see the inevitable crisis of traditional media as an opportunity for positive change. “I think that being a journalist a few years back was a much easier or comfortable job,” he said, “but we have to deal with our current situation, not with something lost in the past or a wishful thinking. I believe these are truly exciting times for the media world.”

    Our planet is undergoing deep transformations at social, political and cultural levels, and online news reporting does (and must) reflect this. We should embrace and develop the landscape outlined above, with its many different players, models and approaches. After all, change in media is the daily business, not an exception – and talking about it could easily become yesterday’s news.

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

  • Do Kids Need to Digitally Detox?
    My youngest daughter, now 5, first got a hold of my iPhone at an age younger than I am willing to admit. Then she discovered the iPad. And by the time she was old enough to see over my desk onto my computer, she simply called it an “i-Puter.”

    It’s been that way in our house ever since: iPhone, iPad, iPuter. (Take note, Apple!)

    My daughter is a true digital native: She was born into a connected world and will never fully understand life without touch screens and tablets.

    In trying to figure out if her attraction to the smartphone was “normal” (i.e., how bad of a parent am I?), I learned that her generation is one that, on average, spends 168 more hours with digital media each year than they do in school. For 8-18 year olds, their time spent with media is more than twice that spent in school.

    All of this media exposure in my daughter’s life has caused me to question its impact — on her attention span, on her memory, on her motivation.

    My first Google search on the topic showed me some scary implications. The UK Telegraph has called digital natives “The Facebook Generation” and declared a potential “National Attention Deficit Disorder.” A national disorder! Similarly, The New York Times and Harvard University have said that children of this generation may have brains that are “wired differently.” They went on to say that there may be so much stimuli in media today that “reality becomes boring.”

    But is reality becoming boring, or has day-to-day reality always been just a little bit monotonous? Groundhog Day, anyone? What kid (or even adult) for generations hasn’t sought escape in books, plays and even their own daydreams?

    Not All Screens Are Created Equal


    I believe that we can’t lump all real-world experiences into a singularly positive or negative impact on our children, nor can we lump all media together as either singularly good or bad. This is particularly true when considering the impact of interactive media on cognitive development.

    Many people do not know this, but Fred Rogers of the beloved “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” actually went into television because he “hated it so.” He felt that there ought to be some way to make this captivating technology a positive influence in the lives of children.

    Fred Rogers is not alone in this sentiment. I share it too. And similar to Mr. Rogers, I joined an Ed Tech company because I felt there had to be a way to put all of this technology to positive use in the lives of children.

    And there is now a growing body of evidence that suggests media and technology can actually help — not hurt — cognitive ability and rebuild attention span. For example, Nature magazine has a cover article citing research by the University of California San Francisco that shows a video game can decrease the signs of aging.

    The Atlantic commented on the study by adding, “It may be hard to accept the idea that relatively use of an immersive, even fun, video game will help in the war on disruption.”

    Can you imagine that? Being immersed in something we find riveting actually helps us stay on task and focused!

    Another report by doctors in Italy suggests that action video games can help dyslexic children read better. Dyslexia is often thought to be caused by a low working memory, and repetition in an interactive environment can help develop that working memory to allow for greater retention in reading.

    The company I work for, Istation, also has research showing that 1st-5th graders who use the digital interactive reading curriculum experience 60-80 percent greater growth in reading scores compared to students who do not use the program.

    What Media is Good Media?

    What is it about game-based, personalized media that might make it disproportionately productive for our children? As an example, let’s look at interactive media versus a traditional classroom lecture. While potentially an oversimplification, game-based media can hold several advantages:


    Interactive media allows for a personalized experience. If done well, the user can make choices within the program that actually impact what happens next — effectively, choose your own adventure. Good media has an element of “cause and effect” in it, which allows the user to see the consequences of his or her decisions. Ideally, good progress is then rewarded, even if it is as simple as a star shooting across the screen.

    Especially with the summer months approaching, I know my daughter is bound to ask to play on my phone or try to get me to download a particular app. Before I do so, I will ask myself the following questions:

    • Is the experience personalized?
    • Does the program adapt to the choices she makes?
    • Are her choices rewarded if she is right?
    • Does the media help her with cognitive skills, such as in reading or math?

    By rating the media for my daughter based on those questions, and favoring experiences where I can answer “yes” to all of them, I am taking at least a small step toward making better media choices for her and her development.

    If you are wondering whether your child is need of a digital detox, remember that not all screens are created equal. An interactive, game-based environment that is focused on key cognitive skills can actually be a great addition to your kid’s playtime routine.

    So don’t lock up those iPads just yet. They might help keep reading and math skills alive and well during the summer months.

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

  • VIDEO: Timelapse videos from holiday snaps
    Researchers develop a method to sort photographs uploaded onto the website and stitch them together to create time-lapse videos.
  • If You Type 'N—- House' Into Google Maps, It Will Take You To The White House
    President Barack Obama is no stranger to Internet racism, but this is just ridiculous: typing “nigga house” into Google Maps can land you at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    A screenshot of the glitch, confirmed by HuffPost Politics, was posted to Twitter by a user named Bomani Buckhalter.

    The Current World We Live In pic.twitter.com/nszfSmA5Hc

    — Bomani X (@AceBoonCoon) May 19, 2015

    “The screenshot first appeared from a fellow Howard University alum in our alumni GroupMe. I tested it out myself, and it started to spread rapidly in the other Howard University/DMV area GroupMe,” Buckhalter told The Huffington Post.

    “It is location based, so [for] some of the students that are not currently in D.C., the search result was different. However, even if you’re not in D.C., ‘nigga house Washington D.C.’ shows the same result,” he added.

    google maps nword house

    Dropping the “a” and opting for the proper spelling of the slur achieves the same results for users in the D.C. area:

    white house nword er

    As Buckhalter noted, results can vary depending on a user’s location. One Twitter user found that typing the term into Google Maps took her straight to a Waffle House.

    I didn’t believe the “nigga house” so I did it myself. The White House AND Waffle House came up pic.twitter.com/10OTxaE6Zv

    — Noel. (@CaliGood_) May 19, 2015

    It’s unclear exactly what’s happening here, and Google did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

    Google Maps has fallen victim to pranks in the past. Bryan Seely, who has created fake listings for the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI in Google Maps, explained to Search Engineland how hackers typically create such listings:

    You create a business in Google Maps at an address where you can receive mail and with a phone number you can receive calls to. You get Google to send you a verification postcard to the address. Once the business is verified, you delete it from your account. Then you use another Google account to claim this now orphaned business. You gain control over it by doing verification via phone. Once that’s happened, you’re free to move the business to anywhere you want, change the name and alter other details.

    Seely used this scheme to create a fake Google Maps entry last month for Edwards Snow Den, a “snowboard shop” with the same address as the White House. As far as we know, the famed NSA leaker was not anywhere 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at the time.

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

  • 19 Works Of Art That Show Breastfeeding Has Always Been Beautiful
    With the way breastfeeding mothers are often treated in public, one would think that nursing a baby is some sort of taboo, new age practice. But as this empowering Instagram account shows, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The images posted on Breastfeeding Art serve as an important reminder that nursing is a totally normal phenomenon that has been part of motherhood throughout history. From centuries-old paintings, sculptures and tapestries to contemporary photos and even edible art, each image is meant to provide “inspiration and cultural and historical context for breastfeeding moms,” the account description states.

    Artist and mom of three Leigh Pennebaker launched Breastfeeding Art in February and in its 3+ months in the social media sphere, the account has gained over 7,500 Instagram followers.

    “Collecting artistic representations of breastfeeding has long encouraged and inspired me personally as a breastfeeding mom, and sharing these images with the world is my way of standing up for mothers and babies and saying, ‘look, we will not be marginalized in 2015!'” Pennebaker told The Huffington Post. “Women, and lactating women in particular, have been celebrated, honored, and deified in art throughout human history,” she added, noting the abundance of Nursing Madonna iconography and earlier depictions of lactating goddesses like Isis and Hathor.

    “I wanted to create a space online that would highlight the historical/cultural context of breastfeeding and convey the extent to which modern-day mothers fit into a long, powerful lineage.”

    Ultimately, Pennebaker hopes Breastfeeding Art will help moms feel “powerful, beautiful and supported” she said, adding, “I hope people who see it who don’t breastfeed will absorb some of the scope of the work and have a greater understanding of the normalcy of breastfeeding.”

    Keep scrolling and follow the account on Instagram and Facebook for a look at some gorgeous representations of breastfeeding in the art world.

    “Peaceful Snack” by @ivetteivens #breastfeeding #breastfeedingart

    A photo posted by @breastfeedingart on May 17, 2015 at 3:40pm PDT

    Photo dated 1898, found via Pinterest ❤️

    A photo posted by @breastfeedingart on Feb 12, 2015 at 7:26am PST

    “Maternity (Women on the Seashore)” by Paul Gauguin, 1899.

    A photo posted by @breastfeedingart on Feb 13, 2015 at 4:09am PST

    “Mother and Child” by Henri Lebasque. #breastfeeding #breastfeedingart #henrilebasque

    A photo posted by @breastfeedingart on Apr 7, 2015 at 4:33pm PDT

    Detail from “Milk” by Helene Knoop (b. 1979, in Drøbak, Norway). This is a self-portrait, of which the artist has said, “The eternal image of a woman and child has always fascinated me; but not until recent years has it struck me so directly as when I myself transformed into the motif. This is a painting of my first son and me. Actually, I was painting as I was breastfeeding. The color of the background had to be the color of the feeling; a bright greenish white in contrast with the pulsating skin. It is such a bodily condition, this is why there is a lack of other objects in the image.” Read more at http://combustus.com/a-graceful-lingering-interview-with-helene-knoop/#dckM7OMqZ6zzwv0d.99 #breastfeeding #breastfeedingart #heleneknoop #painting #selfportrait #motherandchild

    A photo posted by @breastfeedingart on Apr 6, 2015 at 6:37pm PDT

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

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