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Mobile Technology News, May 22, 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.

  • Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too

    If you have followed my site for the last few weeks you will have noticed a lot more Android updates.  It’s partly because I have to use an Android device for my day job but also it is good to expand horizons.  I’ve never been a big fan of Android.  I don’t really like the UI although it is certainly better than the last time I really tried to use one, circa Ice Cream Sandwich.  But it’s still not may favorite.  That’s Windows Phone.  I love the personal experience of Windows Phone that despite Google’s best efforts – and Apple’s

    The post Windows Phone Users, OS Upgrades Are Broken in Android Too appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Skype for Android Updated With Several User Friendly Improvements

    The Skype for Android app has received an update today that brings several new user friendly features to it.  While none of the new features are overwhelming and indeed are present in many other Instant Messaging and video apps, this update bring Skype on par with them with simple things like an indicator when the other person is typing.  The update, version, also brings the ability to send feedback on the app directly from within it amongst several other improvements and fixes. Skype for Android – Free – Download Now The first big change in this update to Skype

    The post Skype for Android Updated With Several User Friendly Improvements appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: The camera developed for your dog
    BBC Click’s Jen Copestake looks at some of the best of the week’s technology news
  • Why measure feet with iPads?
    Why a shoe company measures kids’ feet with iPads
  • Adult website hack compromises users
    Adult Friend Finder, a casual dating website, has called in police and hacking investigators after a suspected leak of client information.
  • American Airlines App for Android Update Brings Android Wear Support

    The American Airlines app for Android has received a nice update today that brings support for Android Wear devices.  Now once you have viewed your boarding pass within the app on your phone, you will have it available on your watch for quicker boarding of your flight.  It’s one of the latest apps to support Android Wear and one that busy travelers who have Wear devices will likely find quite, erm, handy.  For those keeping score at home, the updated version is 4.0.1 and it is available now in the Google Play Store. American Airlines for Android – Free –

    The post American Airlines App for Android Update Brings Android Wear Support appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • Instagram Users Went #WithoutShoes This Month And Gave 265,000 Pairs To Kids In Need
    Showing off your bare feet might not be the most glamorous trend on Instagram, but you might be able to argue it’s the most impactful.

    Hundreds of thousands of social media users have been providing shoes to those in need around the world this month by tagging barefoot photos with the #WithoutShoes hashtag.

    The eighth annual One Day Without Shoes campaign — launched by Toms Shoes and running from May 5 through May 21 — gives a new pair to an impoverished child in the developing world for every posted photo accompanied with the hashtag, up to one million.

    As of Thursday afternoon, more than 265,000 children will benefit from the campaign, according to Toms Shoes’ website. A handful of celebrities and media personalities have been part of the effort as well.

    (Story continues below.)

    Getting ready for a day #withoutshoes #TOMS pic.twitter.com/spYxucqLdY

    — P!nk (@Pink) May 18, 2015

    1 barefoot insta post=1pair of shoes for a child in need! Instagram #WITHOUTSHOES @toms on/before 5/21 Please help! pic.twitter.com/QNHDb2HdVE

    — Alison Brie (@alisonbrie) May 17, 2015

    Go #withoutshoes and a child will receive shoes to keep them healthy, educated and give them a better future. @TOMS pic.twitter.com/2Yvsy21AQ2

    — James McVey (@TheVampsJames) May 20, 2015

    Post a barefoot photo today and tag it #withoutshoes & @TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need! pic.twitter.com/C8yErhAdVk

    — Laura Dern (@LauraDern) May 20, 2015

    .@ThomasARoberts & @FrancesRivera put #withoutshoes pics on Instagram for @TOMS kids campaign-http://t.co/RuVZK8Yybi pic.twitter.com/Mmk7BJBVXT

    — MSNBC Live (@robertsmsnbc) May 21, 2015

    Join me! All you have to do is take off your shoes, take a photo on #Instagram and TOMS will give a new pair of shoes to a child in need. #withoutshoes

    Posted by Jeff Bridges on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

    #WITHOUTSHOES every time you post this hashtag with a picture of bare feet @toms will donate shoes to a child in…

    Posted by Jena Malone on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

    “By leveraging Instagram, we can really make this a participatory event globally,” Toms founder Blake Mycoskie told USA Today. “This isn’t just about advocacy and giving based on your buying. It’s about real giving for giving’s sake.”

    According to nonprofit Soles 4 Souls, more than 300 million children around the world do not have shoes to wear. And as Toms Shoes points out on its website, giving shoes to those children goes further than simply providing comfort — it can increase access to education, treat debilitating diseases that affect the feet and legs and help curb water and soil-borne illnesses.

    To learn more about how you can provide shoes to children in need around the world, visit TOMS Shoes website.

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

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  • 5 Behind-The-Scenes Stories You've Never Heard About 'Star Wars,' According To Boba Fett
    May 21 marks the 35th anniversary of the second “Star Wars” movie, “The Empire Strikes Back.” Perpetually curious about the series, The Huffington Post reached out to actor Jeremy Bulloch for stories. Notably, Bulloch played ruthless bounty-hunter Boba Fett and made his iconic debut in this installment of Lucas’ original trilogy.

    boba fett

    1. Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” was the inspiration for Boba Fett’s personality.

    boba fett
    Image Left: “A Fistful of Dollars.” Image Right: “Star Wars.”

    Bulloch said he’s a big Western fan, and at the time of shooting he noticed that Clint Eastwood’s cloak from “A Fistful of Dollars” looked “exactly like Boba Fett’s,” especially in color. Watching Eastwood’s character go about his motions slowly and carefully, “just waiting and watching,” Bulloch thought it was what Fett should mimic. Bulloch said he “didn’t make a big thing” of the connection, but kept thinking, “Yes, it is very much like Clint Eastwood.”

    Similarly, Bulloch thought of the character Citizen Kane when crafting Fett, although he doesn’t consider that a direct inspiration. “If you can imagine this in your mind: Citizen Kane and Clint Eastwood [from “A Fistful of Dollars”]. Those were the two characters that I would have [in my mind] doing Boba Fett,” Bulloch explained.

    Under the mask, he would often talk to himself to get into character, sometimes even saying, “Come on, you’re Citizen Kane this morning.”

    “If I had a bad cold one day, I’d ask Clint Eastwood to stand in for me first, and then Citizen Kane.”

    2. George Lucas initially envisioned Boba Fett as “not a big role.”

    boba fett

    The role of Fett was initially offered to Bulloch through his half-brother. At the time, Bulloch was acting in theater and his half-brother was an associate producer on the film. Then his half-brother mentioned that he could set something up if Bulloch wanted a small role. Bulloch initially balked, since he had a previous engagement, but eventually agreed to try out for Fett on the side.

    When he first met George Lucas, the creator said, “Welcome aboard,” and then explained, “Well, it’s not a big role, but welcome.”

    Luckily, Bulloch’s theater obligations didn’t overlap and he was able to play Fett — along with a small role as a character named Lieutenant Sheckil — through the rest of the shooting.

    3. The actors who played Darth Vader and Boba Fett stumbled onto each other during the carbon-freezing chamber scene, so two galactic villains were left floundering on the ground.

    boba fett
    Image: “Star Wars”

    While rehearsing for the iconic carbon-freezing scene, Fett and Darth Vader’s boots “clinked,” Bulloch “trodded” on Vader’s cloak and the villains went straight to the ground. “I think my funny boots with the spikes caused it,” said Bulloch.

    Bulloch felt as if he had to immediately pull himself together “because it looked ridiculous.”

    “Two bad guys falling over? We can’t have that,” Bulloch joked. “I didn’t want to look an idiot. I don’t mind about Darth Vader.”

    4. When Bulloch first put the Boba Fett costume on, it fit him perfectly.

    boba fett

    Although his half-brother helped arrange the possibility of playing Fett, the agreement was nearly sealed by the fact that Bulloch fit exactly into the costume. The boots were size 10 — and he was a size 10 himself.

    “The suit fit perfectly,” said Bulloch.

    In fact, during the aforementioned interaction with Lucas, Bulloch was already in the suit. He recalls crew members’ eyes being particularly drawn to Fett even in this early debut. “There must have been something about the character.”

    But that doesn’t mean that Bulloch’s Cinderella moment was seamless …

    5. He could not see through the Boba Fett mask. Bulloch had to count steps to make sure he stopped in front of Darth Vader.

    boba fett
    Image: “Star Wars”

    “Imagine a pair of sunglasses covering the whole of your face, but a deep sort of color,” explained Bulloch, who had quite a bit of trouble even successfully walking from place to place while in the suit. “You’d count steps,” said Bulloch. “I would go, one, two, three, four and I’d land right in front of Darth Vader, so I know it’s four steps. So a lot of the time, you have to count, one, two, three, four and stop, and then I’m about to say a line to Darth Vader. So you rehearse just walking and making sure you don’t fall over.”

    Any sort of talking would cause the mask to mist, which made things even trickier.

    The set was also extremely hot while filming — especially during scenes at Jabba’s Palace. Partly due to the lack of vision in the costume and thankfully, considering the heat, Fett stands still and silent in many scenes. “There were times where you would stand still for a long time, but it made the character look good if you didn’t move,” said Bulloch. “But it was extremely hot. I’ve never been so hot.”

    BONUS: Bulloch believes Fett would destroy Harry Potter in a fight.

    boba fett

    Bulloch’s grandchildren have now started to get into the “Star Wars” universe and love that he got to play Fett. But the youngest of his grandchildren once told him, “Granddad, I really like you in the ‘Star Wars,’ but I prefer Harry Potter.” He responded, “Well, thank you very much indeed.” The grandchild thought Potter was nicer than Fett.

    When asked who Bulloch thought would win in a fight — Fett or Potter — Bulloch said, without hesitation, “Boba Fett would blast him out of the sky.”

    All images from Jeremy Bulloch unless otherwise noted.

    CORRECTION: A previous version of this story stated that this was the 25th anniversary, while it is actually the 35th.

    — 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.

  • Memorizing medical content using Apple Watch and spaced repetition app

    You can now do spaced repetition learning on your Apple Watch.

    The post Memorizing medical content using Apple Watch and spaced repetition app appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • These Are The Cities Where You Can Now Request A Spanish-Speaking Uber Driver
    “Tu Uber está llegando.”

    This is the phrase that will notify users of the new UberESPAÑOL that their ride is arriving, in lieu of the app’s emblematic “Your Uber is arriving now” notification. The private car and rideshare company launched the new program on Tuesday, allowing users in six U.S. locations to request Spanish-speaking drivers.

    In a blog post, Uber said the service is now available in Chicago, Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Phoenix and Tucson.

    “We are always looking at ways to make the app more seamless and user-friendly,” Uber spokesperson Tatiana Winograd told NBC News. “And for those in our community who speak Spanish, UberESPAÑOL allows them to connect to drivers who speak Spanish so they can get to where they need to go in the language of their choice.”

    A company spokesperson told Fusion that Uber created the Spanish-language service after receiving requests for it from both users and drivers. UberESPAÑOL is currently only available with UberX, the service’s low-cost option.

    As of 2013, there were over 54 million Hispanics in the U.S., about 17 percent of the country’s total population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Hispanics have an overwhelming presence in southern California, specifically in the Los Angeles county area, where they made up 48.3 percent of the population in 2013.

    Uber has not made any announcements about rolling out the program in New York City, where Hispanics make up over 28.6 percent of the population. The company launched in New York City in 2011. Uber cars officially outnumbered the city’s iconic yellow taxis as of March, according to The Associated Press. But because yellow cabs tend to have more than one driver and are on the road for longer periods of time, taxi rides continue to outnumber Uber rides in the Big Apple.

    — 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.

  • Watchdog Finds Huge Failure In Surveillance Oversight Ahead Of Patriot Act Deadline
    WASHINGTON — In a declassified and heavily redacted report on a controversial Patriot Act provision, the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the government had failed to implement guidelines limiting the amount of data collected on Americans for seven years.

    Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which is set to expire June 1 unless Congress reauthorizes it, has been the legal basis for the intelligence community’s bulk metadata collection. As a condition for reauthorization back in 2005, the Justice Department was required to minimize the amount of nonpublic information that the program gathered on U.S. persons. According to the inspector general, the department did not adopt sufficient guidelines until 2013. It was not until August of that year — two months after the bombshell National Security Agency disclosures by Edward Snowden — that Justice began applying those guidelines in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court, the secretive body that approves government surveillance requests.

    “It’s an indictment of the system of oversight that we’ve relied upon to check abuses of surveillance powers. The report makes clear that, for years, the FBI failed to comply with its basic legal requirements in using Section 215, and that should trouble anyone who thinks that secret oversight is enough for surveillance capabilities that are this powerful,” Alex Abdo, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, told HuffPost.

    “The report confirms that the government has been using Section 215 to collect an ever-expanding universe of records. Given the timing, it’s particularly significant,” he continued referring to the looming expiration date.

    At times during that seven-year period, the report noted, the government blocked the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General from determining whether the minimization guidelines had been implemented:

    The FBI in the past has taken the position, over the OIG’s objections, that it was prohibited from disclosing FISA-acquired information to the OIG for oversight purposes because the Attorney General had not designated anyone in the OIG as having access to the information for minimization reviews of other lawful purposes, and because there were no specific provisions in the procedures authorizing such access.

    Declassification of the inspector general’s findings comes at a critical juncture for the future of NSA spying. A federal appellate court recently held that the bulk metadata collection program is not authorized by the Patriot Act. A large majority of congressional lawmakers favor replacing the existing legislation with a reform bill that at least curbs the government’s authority to collect information on Americans. There is, however, a small group in Congress who insist that a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act is necessary to protect the country from terrorist attacks.

    The reform bill, called the USA Freedom Act, passed overwhelmingly in the House. The Senate is expected to vote on either that bill or a two-month reauthorization of the Patriot Act later this week. The House, which is scheduled to go into recess Thursday for a week, has indicated it will not extend its session to vote on a Patriot Act extension. That move is essentially an ultimatum to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): pass the USA Freedom Act or let the existing surveillance law expire with no replacement.

    As it stands, the Senate may or may not be able to pass the USA Freedom Act. McConnell and several members of his party oppose any move to rein in the NSA’s surveillance authority. Meanwhile, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) opposes the reform bill on the grounds that it does not go far enough in limiting the government’s ability to spy on Americans.

    During his 10-and-a-half hour speech on the Senate floor Wednesday, Paul outlined several amendments that he and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) hoped to add to the bill. With the upper chamber scheduled to recess on Friday, McConnell is unlikely to allow for a lengthy amendment process — particularly to debate changes that would further constrain the intelligence community.

    Though publicly released Thursday, the Justice Department’s report had been made available to lawmakers in February. Several of its findings echo key concerns raised by members of Congress throughout the NSA debate.

    “For years, any American’s communication data could have been tracked and collected by the government, whether or not they were suspected of a crime,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) on Wednesday, when he briefly joined Paul on floor. “That program has been carried out under Section 215 of the Patriot Act based on flimsy or mistaken interpretations of the original law, all in the name of our national security.”

    “There is not one clear, publicly confirmed instance of a plot being foiled because of this Section 215 program,” Coons added.

    The inspector general found that data collected under Section 215 increased over the years and was not limited to phone records. At times, the government requested copies of business ledgers, receipts, and medical and educational records.

    “The type of information that is categorized as metadata will likely continue to evolve and expand,” the report said. “The [National Security Division] and [National Security Law Branch] attorneys told us that other terms used to define metadata themselves lack standardized definitions and that applying them to rapidly changing technology can be difficult.”

    The government’s requests were also not limited to material about individuals involved in an FBI investigation. And while defendants of the program insist that information on Americans is gathered as an incidental byproduct rather than a targeted effort, Abdo noted that the definition of a “U.S. person” is still classified in the recently released report:

    The FBI has a classified understanding of “U.S. persons” . . . pic.twitter.com/7RA5qN4eKr

    — Alex Abdo (@AlexanderAbdo) May 21, 2015

    The inspector general’s report focused on the government’s use of Section 215 between 2007 and 2009. In that two-year period, every Justice Department request to the FISA court for spying authority was granted — a fact that would seem to bolster critics’ argument that the secret court’s process needs a permanent privacy advocate.

    “Without an adversarial process, you really can’t even have a judicial process,” Paul said Wednesday evening. “The FISA court only hears from one side — the government.”

    While the reform bill that passed the House would add a slot for a privacy advocate, Paul and the ACLU have both noted that the legislation still gives the court the authority to decide if and when to appoint someone to the job.

    — 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.

  • Congress to Vote on Surveillance Reforms After Misuse
    Several key provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act, enacted in the wake of 9/11, have afforded the government considerable access to electronic communications records. Some of them expire at the end of May, and their future is mired in uncertainty. It remains to be seen whether the Senate and the Congress will reauthorize them, allow those provisions to lapse, or seek reform.

    The USA PATRIOT Act has sailed through previous renewals with comparatively little trouble. What has changed since passage of the earlier authorizing legislation is a significant increase in public awareness and understanding of the true scope of the intelligence community’s surveillance authorities. Section 215 and related provisions were sunsetted, and will expire at the end of May if not authorized in some fashion. This will thus be the first real test of the level of Congressional support for the PATRIOT Act since the Snowden revelations two years ago. This test also comes after a U.S. Appeals Court ruled a few weeks ago that the government’s interpretation of the law, which permitted the collection of bulk phone and electronic records, was illegal.

    In the many months since the first Snowden revelations, much ink has been spilled on the significant privacy and civil liberties implications of the government’s mass surveillance programs for people around the world, including U.S. citizens. In the American context, mass collection of electronic metadata in NSA databases clearly has harmful privacy and speech implications. It should not be as simple as querying a database for the government to peruse our communications or to build mosaics out of the most intimate details of our lives — regardless of the stated motivation.

    Economically, we have seen significant adverse consequences for American technology companies compelled to supply the NSA with user data. There have been widespread international calls for burdensome data localization legislation, boycotting of U.S. firms at both consumer and enterprise levels, and efforts to increase foreign control of backbone Internet services and policy — all the result of a perception that the American companies are willingly complicit in the NSA’s dragnet programs. The damage wrought by the government’s overreach to the fundamental trust between tech companies and their users will be difficult to reverse, but it must start with reform of the mass surveillance programs and improved transparency and oversight.

    Fortunately, the Senate now has an opportunity to speak definitively on the future of the NSA’s mass collection of metadata. A broad coalition of civil liberties groups, technology companies, and trade associations, including my own, have publicly agreed the USA FREEDOM Act is the right first step on the path towards reforming the U.S. government’s surveillance practices.

    The USA FREEDOM Act ends the government’s bulk collection of call records and includes substantial oversight and transparency mechanisms designed to ensure that domestic surveillance agencies and programs are held accountable. At its core, the bill requires government access to call data for intelligence purposes to be targeted and limited, rather than all-encompassing. USA FREEDOM also provides for a civil liberties advocate to appear before the secret FISA courts that authorize surveillance programs. Lastly, the bill allows companies that receive data requests from the NSA to combat misperceptions by reporting the kind and quantity of those requests with more detail, while respecting national security concerns over excessive disclosure.

    When dealing with secret law and intelligence authorities, there are inherent risks for overreach, as recognized in the recent appellate court decision regarding the bulk call records collection program. Pressure for, perhaps well-intentioned, but expansive interpretations of limited authorities are inevitable when law is made in the shadows. As such, there can never be enough light shed on such processes. While the USA FREEDOM Act does much to improve public oversight over the government’s surveillance authorities, we would welcome further legislative efforts to strengthen the bill’s transparency provisions and collection limitations.

    Notably, because the USA FREEDOM Act’s primary goal is to provide reform and address privacy and civil liberties concerns, it explicitly does not include a mandate that companies retain user data for surveillance purposes. Such a requirement, if included by amendment or otherwise, would necessarily undermine the bill’s reforms and pose further privacy and security risks to the public given the considerable secrecy surrounding surveillance practices.

    The United States must set an example in reforming its mass surveillance programs. The longer they remain intact, the greater the opportunity for other governments to cite them as justification for even more invasive programs with fewer checks and balances. Every day we wait leads to further erosions of civil liberties worldwide, and deepens the gulf between the tech industry and its users — with serious economic consequences.

    The Senate should pass the USA FREEDOM Act and take a critical first step toward preserving the public’s civil liberties and restoring trust in both the tech sector and the U.S. government. That trust is necessary for both innovation and the sustained health of the Internet and all it offers citizens and businesses around the world.

    — 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.

  • There's More To The Disruption Brewing In The Tech Industry Than On-Demand Startups
    Even if we’re living in an increasingly on-demand world, you still have to be able to pay to play. On Thursday, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo questioned whether a new crop of startups providing on-demand services are ever going to make their products affordable enough to appeal to consumers outside of the top tax bracket.

    It’s a worthy question. But in poking the tech industry for narrowly targeting the rich, Manjoo sets up a straw man.

    “Whatever happened to the tech industry’s grand, democratic visions of the future?” Manjoo asked. “We are once again living in a go-go time for tech, but there are few signs that the most consequential fruits of the boom have reached the masses.”

    That’s not quite right. In fact, one of the most consequential products to come out of the tech boom has already reached the masses: Nearly two-thirds of American adults now own smartphones, according to a 2015 Pew survey. (Unfortunately, the affordable data plans, opportunity and digital literacy needed to make full use of them have not.)

    And when venture capitalists fund entrepreneurs who want to change the world, instead of simply backing lifestyle apps, blowback follows. The same day Manjoo published a column in which he wondered where Silicon Valley’s big visions for changing the world had gone, his colleague Nick Bilton published a piece asking whether “technology companies are running too fast into the future and creating things that could potentially wreak havoc on humankind.”

    Readers might be left wondering whether tech startups are trying to change too little or too much.

    I’m seeing billions of dollars moving behind startups aimed at government, the energy sector, education and health care, from Tesla to Castlight Health to the investments of venture capital firms like Andreessen Horowitz.

    Some startups are pursuing breakthroughs in genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, connected homes and self-driving vehicles — all of which could pose difficult ethical questions for society. Humanity is now closer than ever to being able to engineer the perfect baby, which means that researchers, doctors and governments will need to think through how the underlying technologies should be overseen.

    Manjoo may be well right that the hottest buzz in San Francisco’s tech scene is about on-demand startups. I doubt, however, that the category is reflective of the broader changes brewing in the Valley, Stanford or around the country, from Austin to Seattle to the 1776 incubator in DC. What do you think?

    — 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.

  • Russia Warns Google, Twitter, Facebook Of Possible Block
    By Maria Tsvetkova and Eric Auchard
    MOSCOW/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Russia’s media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules.
    Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship. 
        “In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation,” said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky.
        He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.
    To comply with the law, the three firms must hand over data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day, and take down websites that Roskomnadzor sees as containing calls for “unsanctioned protests and unrest”, Ampelonsky said.
        Putin, a former KGB spy, once described the Internet as a project of the CIA, highlighting deep distrust between Moscow and Washington, whose ties are now badly strained.
        He promised late last year not to put the Internet under full government control, but Kremlin critics see the Internet laws as part of a crackdown on freedom of speech since Putin returned to the Kremlin for a third term in 2012.
        A law passed last year gives Russian prosecutors the right to block without a court decision websites with information about protests that have not been sanctioned by authorities.
    Under other legislation, bloggers with large followings must go through an official registration procedure and have their identities confirmed by a government agency.
        Facebook says it responds to government data requests about its users that comply with company policies and local laws and meet international standards of legal process.
        A company website that publishes statistics on how Facebook handles data requests shows it rejected both of two Russian government requests for information on its users last year. In contrast, it produced some data in response to nearly 80 percent of over 14,000 requests made by U.S. courts, police and government agencies in the second six months of 2014.
    Twitter had a similar response rate in the United States but rejected 108 Russian government requests in the second half of last year, according to data on the company’s government Transparency Report site.
        In its semi-annual Transparency Report, Google said it provided some information on users in response to 5 percent of 134 Russian government requests made in the second half of 2014 — again far less than in the United States. The company says it complies with requests that follow accepted legal procedures and Google policies.
        “We realize they are registered under U.S. jurisdiction. But I think in this case they should demonstrate equal respect to national legislation,” Ampelonsky said.
    If the companies do not pay more attention to Russian government requests for data, he added, “we will need to apply sanctions”.

    (Editing by Gabriela Baczynska and Catherine Evans)

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  • How Green Is Your Cloud? Why Providers Should Lead on Transparency
    After joining The Huffington Post Ops team, I’m finally in a position to speak openly about what I do at work. This is an empowering change after working for a company that is very bound by Non-Disclosure Agreements. That company is doing great things that I STILL can’t talk about and it’s just the nature of the business they do, not some kind of nefarious secrecy. It’s becoming a pretty widely accepted concept that Transparency is essential to doing business ethically. It was the topic of my first Business Practices training as a new employee. How fitting that it is also the topic of my first blog post for HuffPost! I’m fortunate to work for a top-ranked news site and staying in line with my core values, I am encouraged to share information freely.

    The Huffington Post exists solely on the Internet and the Internet is a Big Bad source of pollution and environmental destruction.1 There, I said it. The truth is that a pattern of infinite growth is unsustainable on a planet with finite resources. While greenwashing puts a trendy spin on small changes we can make as individuals, “green capitalism” doesn’t have a lot of room for holding large corporations accountable for the role they play in depleting resources and causing irreparable damage. The only way to do this is to make transparency regarding environmental impact a requirement for companies to stay competitive. HuffPost has a responsibility to be transparent about our efforts and we, as a media company, can (and do) bring public attention to these issues and highlight available solutions.

    In keeping with the spirit of transparency, I looked forward to publishing any data I received regarding the energy consumption and carbon footprint of Huffington Post’s infrastructure. To a certain extent, we can only be as transparent as our vendors. Our infrastructure is 100% cloud-based (as of last year) and we use two main cloud providers, Akamai and Amazon Web Services (AWS). While both companies have recently made moves towards running a cleaner cloud2, there is still a long way to go towards true sustainability and transparency about their efforts.

    I was unable to get access to any quantitative data due to the policies of our cloud providers. Although Akamai provides a certain level of transparency3, they did not answer my repeated requests for carbon footprint data. My inquiry to Amazon Web Services was met with the following response:

    “Unfortunately we do not release this information to our customers. We are unable to provide any statistics on energy consumption for our Datacenters.”

    AWS is much more transparent in their cost reporting, tracking every transaction of data as a line item. Why not take it a step further and report energy usage with similar detail?

    HuffPost has improved our energy footprint by moving out of dedicated corporate data centers that have massive waste in energy and equipment overhead. Energy savings are built into the way cloud services and their data centers are designed. In a typical data center, there are rows of racks with varying equipment running continuously. This requires cooling the entire facility to meet the needs of the most sensitive hardware. The equipment and cooling needs in a cloud data center are constant and can be precisely engineered, down to known airflow patterns to optimize energy usage. In this way, companies like Akamai and AWS have already done the hard work of setting the bar for efficiency.

    The Huffington Post is committed to reducing our environmental impact and carbon footprint. We are actively moving towards using AWS’s carbon neutral regions as much as possible. By the end of the month, we will have migrated 5 more of our systems to carbon neutral regions and plan to add others over the next year. By the end of 2016, our goal is to have 50% of our AWS infrastructure in carbon neutral regions. Since cloud servers are virtual and share physical hardware, they can be created and destroyed in minutes according to demand. Our systems are architected to take advantage of this flexibility. Because our infrastructure provisioning and application deployment are automated, we can easily scale from 3 or 4 servers to 3 or 4 hundred in minutes if necessary. This allows us to reduce our use of energy hogging resources to what is needed to handle our traffic at any given time. We are constantly fine tuning our infrastructure to improve efficiency and will increase our use of dynamic scaling technologies over the next year.

    Once we, as a society, become aware of the consequences of funding corporations operating on non-renewable resources, there is only one intelligent choice: to take action. Corporations are the largest consumers of cloud services so companies like AWS are often sheltered from the demands of the individual consumer. That’s why it is critical that we, as individuals within corporations, use our decision making power to require true transparency. It’s not enough for providers like Akamai and AWS to be the best solutions for our technical needs. It is time for them to prove themselves as leaders in reducing the environmental impact of big business. So Akamai, I challenge you to provide HuffPost with the data you claim to share openly. AWS, I insist you set a new industry standard by publishing detailed data with regard to energy usage. We’ve done our part by using solutions we know to be more efficient; now do your part by providing the data necessary to track and report our progress.

    1. Data centers currently use 3% of global electricity and produce 200 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.
    Source: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2014/12/17/undertaking-challenge-reduce-data-center-carbon-footprint

    2. Amazon recently joined the American Council on Renewable Energy and is a partner in the creation of a 150 MW wind farm which will support current and future cloud infrastructure. Their statement regarding sustainability is publicly available here. Akamai has signed the Climate Declaration and has taken action to move some of their facilities in order to increase the percentage of renewable energy they use. Their full policy is available here.
    3. “Akamai continues to provide detailed submissions through the Carbon Disclosure Project, and is now reporting its network’s use of renewable energy by region of operation. Akamai will also provide to its customers a monthly carbon footprint associated with content delivery through the Akamai network servers. Akamai provides the results of its annual sustainability survey back to its vendor network, providing a benchmark to assist data center operators to understand how well they are performing in relationship both to their customers’ expectations, and to the competition.”
    Source: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global/usa/planet3/pdfs/clickingclean.pdf

    — 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.

  • Folly Is Joy

    Click here for the previous part of this series and here for part one.

    The near future
    A man and a woman stand in a kitchen prepping food and watching a pot boil.

    M: Come on babe, that’s too much salt.
    W: What? I barely put any in.
    M: Barely? I wouldn’t call that barely.
    W: What do you mean?
    M: I’m just saying you can be a little heavy with the salt sometimes.
    W: It’s just a little salt so the food will actually be edible.
    M: Well maybe you should use the iPhone scale. That’s what it’s there for.
    W: I added in half what the recipe called for!
    M: Yeah but we could’ve just added it after it’s cooked–
    W: –After!? Didn’t you hear Cook App? It needs to soak in for exactly 63 minutes BEFORE we cook.
    M: Well Med App said I can’t have more than another 32 mg of salt today or my blood pressure–
    W: –Your blood pressure? Your–Look at what you’re doing to my blood pressure! [She quickly swipes and taps at her iPhone as she talks and then holds it up.]
    M: Oh you know I peeked your Genie app–you’re not at risk for blood pressure issues.
    W: You wha–
    M: –Your blood pressure is 5-Apple strong–God my heart is racing! [He is looking at his iPhone. From here on out they are each always tapping away at or referring to their iPhones, especially when the other is speaking.] It’s way past the pace car.
    W: Good. I hope your little heart icon explodes.
    M: Look at my heart rate! Jesus, my heart rate is going up just looking at what you’re doing to my heart rate!
    W: Enough about your heart rate! Look at my elevated stress levels!!
    M: Ha! Your app doesn’t measure stress properly. Stress Factor has to be calibrated by an Apple technician.
    W: Well it’s going up. The little green froggy thing is practically out of the pond. Its eyes are all buggy. Fuck! Cortisol! Epinephrine is being released. Oh my god my kaleidoscope of hormonal flies is strangling my frog!
    M: Ohhhh…this live EKG stream…listen! It’s a Kanye song…Ahhhhh–
    W: –SHUT UP about your heart already! If you did all the exercises Siri told you to do it wouldn’t be so damn vulnerable.
    M: Wow, I do not have enough B12 in my system to deal with this right now.
    W: What’s B12 got to do with it? My hydration levels are only 83% optimal. You know I’m not supposed to have any confrontation unless I’m at at least 88%.
    M: Well–
    W: –AT LEAST. God, now I have a Sahara badge.
    M: WELL apparently I’m going to have to increase my caloric intake by 1.5% today to account for this argument. And, judging by my hormone levels, I’ve just lost my appetite.
    W: You know, I can’t deal with this right now, I need to stabilize my prostaglandins if I’m gonna Siri-cise my abs. I hope you’re happy. Oh, that’s right, somebody’s too cheap to buy Happy Appy.
    [The next two lines overlap completely and then lines overlap where and to the degree appropriate thereafter.]
    W: You wouldn’t know.
    M: Well according TO THIS
    M: you’ve taken away 26 minutes from my sleep tonight. Ahhhh, you know I wanted to finally watch Mad Men tomorrow.
    W: Well according to this–
    M: –Now Deep Sheep says I won’t stay awake past season two.
    W: Wait, how do I get out of celebrity mode?
    M: Selfish.
    W: I don’t want to know Beyonce’s–Actually what are her serotonin levels like anyway today?
    M: Hold On.
    W: Oh wow. She probably just worked out.
    M: I can’t figure–Where? How do I get out of this graph?!
    W: Yep. Ashtanga kick-boxing. Oh! Oh! Wait how do I do this? Oh! What? Oh!
    M: I said HOLD ON! AHHHHHH Why Aren’t The Bears Holding Numbers?? They’re dancing. They’re topless. But no numbers!!
    W: According to this you’re a fucking asshole!
    M: WHAT?? Your phone can tell you that?!


    -Yes. But so can a watch. And with revolutionary ease.
    -Arguments are hard. Get to the data you need, with the Apple Watch.
    -Sport, Watch, or Edition; Apple Watches. Do you?

    Check here for the next part of this series

    — 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.

  • Lena Dunham Offers Support To Emma Sulkowicz After Posters Attacking Both Women Appeared In NYC
    Actress Lena Dunham took to Twitter to show support for sexual assault activist Emma Sulkowicz after posters accusing both women of lying about being raped appeared Wednesday around New York City.

    When Sulkowicz graduated from Columbia University this week, she also concluded an art project — in which she carried a mattress around campus for nine months — that protested how the school had handled her sexual assault report. Some posters showed Sulkowicz standing with her mattress and called her a “pretty little liar,” presumably due to the student she accused of assault going public in recent months to refute her claims.

    Other posters targeted Dunham, who wrote about her experience with sexual assault in her 2014 memoir, Not That Kind of Girl. Although the man she said assaulted her was never named, a former Oberlin College student claimed Dunham’s depiction unfairly raised suspicion that he was the culprit. Her publisher said it would alter some details in future editions to make the alleged assailant less identifiable.

    Wednesday night, Dunham tweeted:

    Dear Emma, anyone who wants can call us anything they want, but you helped me to stand in my skin & I am so grateful: http://t.co/2H6dBzN6BX

    — Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) May 21, 2015

    Sulkowicz declined to comment on the posters.

    In December, Dunham wrote a BuzzFeed essay saying others who had publicly discussed their assaults had inspired her to share her story. She also wrote about the negative responses she’d received since coming forward:

    I have had my character and credibility questioned at every turn. I have been attacked online with violent and misogynistic language. Reporters have attempted to uncover the identity of my attacker despite my sincerest attempts to protect this information. My work has been torn apart in an attempt to prove I am a liar, or worse, a deviant myself. My friends and family have been contacted.

    At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what is written about me individually. I accept the realities of being in the public eye. But I simply cannot allow my story to be used to cast doubt on other women who have been sexually assaulted.

    — 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.

  • Review of NEJM Internal Medicine Knowledge+ Board Review

    Find out if this is a useful app for your internal medicine board prep

    The post Review of NEJM Internal Medicine Knowledge+ Board Review appeared first on iMedicalApps.

  • Apple to change its iPhone font?
    Apple is rumoured to be ditching the font you see on its mobile and tablet screens.
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