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Mobile Technology News, November 3, 2014

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

  • How To Move Your OneDrive Folder to an External Disk

    OneDrive has been in the news a lot this past week with the expansion to unlimited storage in the service for those who subscribe to Office 365.  That expansion has already started with many users, including me, seeing totals of 10TB of storage available to them now.  With that added storage space, now the question is how to get as much of your content into OneDrive as possible for safe keeping and for easy access, especially photos and videos. One challenge users may encounter however is limited disk space on their PC when it comes to moving all of that

    The post How To Move Your OneDrive Folder to an External Disk appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • VIDEO: Smartphones used as room keys
    The hotel group Starwood is to begin giving hotel guests the option to by-pass check-in and simply use their smartphones to enter their hotel rooms.
  • We Didn't Know We Needed These Gadgets Until Now. Too Bad You Can Only Get Them In Asia.
    If your idea of bleeding-edge tech is the iPhone 6, we’re about to blow your mind. While you can get your ingenious gadgets, electronic wizardry and generally out-there inventions in America, any number of Asian countries will probably have us beat.

    We’ve partnered with the Toyota Prius to highlight Asian gadgets and gizmos that fill us with envy. Check out these innovative products that we wish we could find in the States.

    A Headset That Records And Plays Your ‘Thoughts’

    From Japan comes the Neurocam: a wearable headset that purports to read your emotions and creates a GIF accordingly. In practice, this means that the camera mount employs an EEG (electroencephalograph) reader, which detects mental activity via changes to the electrical impulses that travel across the surface of your brain. While the Neurocam may detect that you’re feeling an emotion — like excitement or heightened interest — it won’t detect that you’re feeling melancholy while, say, gazing at a receding ocean wave. The device responds by “telling” your smartphone to record the moment and create a looping, 5-second GIF.

    Why we want it: This fulfills our millennial urge to both star in a real-life, post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie and find the perfect GIF for our many and varied emotions.

    A Device That Wakes You Up At Your Subway Stop

    The “Noriko-san” LED headset was created by inventor and manga artist Pyocotan, who, like the rest of us, is presumably terrified of falling asleep on the train and waking up in unchartered territory. The device functions both as a sleep mask and a signal to other passengers; the LED screen shows exactly where you’ll be getting off the train so fellow riders can alert you if you’ve nodded off. Of course, the device isn’t perfect: since its success ultimately relies on the kindness of strangers, Pyocotan’s first test failed. (Nobody woke the poor guy up!). Even though there’s definitely an app for this, we truly appreciate the novelty of the headset and the innocent trust it places in humanity.

    Why we want it: For those who want to catch a little more shut-eye on their daily commute … and avoid that moment when they realize they’ve reached the dreaded end of the line.

    A ‘Smart Eye’ For The Blind

    MySmartEye is an app created by Singapore’s Starhub that crowd sources help for the visually impaired in a truly novel way.

    Here’s how it works: First, a visually impaired person takes a photograph. Then, a ‘micro-volunteer,’ or virtual volunteer, receives the image and describes it in detail to the photographer. As of 2013, the blog Tech in Asia reported that a network of 200 micro-volunteers existed on the platform, and 3,000 clients from the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped and the Singapore Association for the Deaf had adopted the technology. According to one user, the app made him feel “more socially connected with the world,” a human contrast to his usual tech-driven apps.

    Why we want it: This is a technology that tangibly helps others, and a way for people to volunteer when they only have a few seconds of time to spare.

    A Sound Blocker For Your More … Private Moments

    The Japanese are no strangers to the avant-garde toilet — in fact, they’ve recently established Toilenniale, a toilet-themed arts festival, to celebrate the majestic throne’s rise from its humble origins. A regular sight in Japan is a “Washlet” that will cleanse your bottom, adjust seat temperature to your comfort, open and close automatically, and block unseemly odors. But if you can’t get your hands on a space toilet, you can at least elevate your restroom experience with a Keitai (“Mobile”) Otohime, a device that mimics the sound of a flushing toilet to mask the sound of nature’s call … without wasting water.

    Why we want it: Doesn’t everyone want to maintain some semblance of privacy in public restrooms?

    A Smart Bike That Will Help You Get Around … AND Get Healthy

    Designed by the Chinese search company Baidu, the DuBike will use sensors, artificial intelligence software and the company’s Internet data to make sure you’re on the right track — both in terms of your health and your location. Baidu claims that the operating system will be able to design a route through crowdsourcing, create custom workout plans for your particular needs and employ theft-prevention technology. A prototype will be released later this year.

    Why we want it: While we enjoy leisurely bike rides, it’s thrilling to act like we’re secretly training for the Tour de France.

    An Umbrella That Will Make Rainy Days A Pleasure

    Pileus Internet Umbrella from Takashi Matsumoto on Vimeo.

    Currently only in prototype, the Pileus umbrella boasts a built-in camera, motion sensor, GPS and a compass. Stuck on a street corner on a rainy day and don’t know where to turn? Turn on the 360-degree map function, and a bird’s-eye-view map will project on the umbrella’s surface. See something cool? Use the camera function to photograph, upload and share the moment online. Waiting for a bus? Explore a photostream on Flickr.

    Why we want it: Because there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the rain while you’re lost and bored.

  • Mostly White, Mostly Male Amazon Publishes Diversity Report
    E-commerce giant Amazon has revealed that the company is a lot like its tech industry peers: mostly male and predominantly white.

    On Friday, Amazon published a long-awaited report on diversity showing that the company’s global workforce is 63 percent male and 37 percent female, while 75 percent of managers are male.

    Domestically, 60 percent of Amazon employees are white, 15 percent are black, 13 percent are Asian and 9 percent are Hispanic, according to the report. Again, 75 percent of Amazon managers are white.

    amazon diversity

    The company has been under pressure from civil rights leaders and organizations. Jessie Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, one of the networks advocating for diversity disclosures, told The Seattle Times last week that Amazon’s all-white senior leadership and board are “skewed toward white-male supremacy.”

    “Their general work force data released by Amazon seems intentionally deceptive, as the company did not include the race or gender breakout of their technical work force,” Rainbow PUSH wrote in a statement to The New York Times published Friday. “The broad assumption is that a high percentage of their black and Latino employees work in their warehouses.”

    Amazon did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment.

    The company’s report is the latest in a series of recent tech-industry diversity disclosures, including ones from Twitter and Apple, both of which also reported an abundance of men and white people.

    However, Amazon has come under particular fire because unlike those other companies, it is not revealing the racial and gender breakdown of its technical employees, instead offering only the numbers for its general workforce.

    Amazon’s report details some of the ways the company is trying to increase diversity among its 150,000 workers, including professional development groups for minorities, investments in STEM education and a program to help employees pay for college.

    “We are working to develop leaders and shape future talent pools to help us meet the needs of our customers around the world,” the report says.

  • 'White Noise' For Your Nose Cancels Out Nasty Odors
    Scientists have high hopes for “white noise” for the nose.

    It turns out that two researchers have found the mathematical formula to create an olfactory equivalent of “white noise,” which they say could be used to cancel out any pungent odors you may want to get rid of.

    “This is different than traditional approaches to odor cancellation,” Dr. Lav R. Varshney, one of the researchers, who is an assistant professor in engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Instead we take advantage of the perceptual properties of human olfaction to ensure what is perceived is this white smell.”

    How does this work exactly?

    Lav and his brother Dr. Kush Varshney, a researcher at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York, found that the chemical compounds in any smell you’re able to detect have an opposing set of odor compounds — such that when the two sets are mixed together, they cancel each other out.

    The Varshneys put together a database of scents, matching odor compounds with ratings of various smell properties. Then they built a model that uses the database to take a scent you want to eliminate, and find its compounds with opposite smell ratings.

    Using this model, the Varshneys showed that a blend of 38 compounds could almost completely cancel out the particularly pungent odors of onion, sauerkraut, Japanese fermented tuna and durian fruit, New Scientist reported.

    “There is a percept called ‘olfactory white,'” Lav said in the email, “which occurs when the odor compounds being perceived are well-distributed across the stimulus space, similar to how mixing light of many colors is perceived as white. If we can sense which malodor compounds are present, we can use mathematical techniques to figure out which other compounds to add, so that the total percept is this ‘olfactory white.'”

    Indeed, researchers discovered the smell dubbed “olfactory white” in 2012. And, as Lav explained, just as white noise is a mixture of many different sound frequencies and white light is a mixture of different wavelengths, olfactory white is a mixture of different smelly compounds.

    Now, the Varshney brothers envision many ways in which their newfound method to hack “olfactory white” may be used in the future.

    “One application of the work is improving the indoor air quality in buildings, cars, planes, etc. by canceling malodors that are present,” Lav said in the email. “Another application is to transform nutritious food that picky eaters find aversive into something they find flavorful, by adding other potentially nutritious additives (since smell is the central contributor to human flavor perception). One can even consider creating ‘smelltracks’ for virtual reality, similar to soundtracks for movies.”

    The list goes on.

    This new research was published online in the arXiv preprint repository.

  • 10 Hottest Technologies in Higher Education

    The annual EDUCAUSE conference is where innovative higher education CIOs go to learn about new industry trends and compare notes on the latest breakthroughs. This year was no exception as 7,300 IT leaders from more than 50 countries gathered in Orlando along with 260 educational technology exhibitors. Discussions took place in session rooms, on the exhibition floor, after the keynotes, and throughout the hallways. These are the common threads that permeated those discussions; the ten hottest topics for CIOs in higher education.

    1. Campus Wi-Fi
    Wireless capacity is a passionate topic for two reasons. It is now universally understood that the quality of the student computing experience has become an important decision factor for students in selecting a college. The challenge is to provide Wi-Fi density and coverage to adequately accommodate the three or more devices, many of them streaming, that each student is bringing on campus. This burgeoning demand for Wi-Fi on campus is severely taxing the IT infrastructure. Residence hall Wi-Fi can get congested quickly, so wired access is often used to provide bandwidth relief for devices like gaming consoles. Many schools have started to charge an extra fee to charge uber users who consume more than 20GB per week. When it comes to guest Wi-Fi access, schools run the gamut of open-connection, charging for use, sponsored guest access, or a combination of these. Here are 50 incredible WiFi market trends and statistics that are truly staggering.

    The Campus Computing Project’s 2014 survey was revealed at the conference and reported that senior higher education IT officers identify “implementing/supporting mobile computing” as a top IT priority, yet only 17% rate mobile services at their institution as “excellent.” One informal poll at the conference showed that about 30% of schools are in the process of migrating to the latest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac.

    Strategic CIOs in higher education are investing in WiFi infrastructure to improve the student, faculty and administration’s overall campus experience.

    2. The Importance Of Being Social


    EDUCAUSE CIO panel – Sound Off: To Be or Not to Be “Social”; with Michael Berman, California State University – Channel Islands; Raechelle Clemmons, St. Norbert College; Jack Seuss, University of Maryland, and Melody Childs University of Alabama Hunstville,

    Social media is a game changer for higher education CIOs. Social media is taking on a growing role at EDUCAUSE and throughout higher education. Here is a list of the top 50 social higher education CIOs on Twitter. There was more live tweeting this year than ever before. The social media feeds enabled attendees and even those unable to attend to have a virtual presence, absorbing content from across the conference. The social media feeds were captured on Storify: #EDU14 Daily Wrap-up day 2 and #EDU14 Daily Wrap-up day 1.

    The session CIOs Sound Off: To Be or Not to Be “Social” provided a point-counterpoint discussion of the pros and cons of social media for university CIOs. The audience actively participated via Twitter (#EDU14socialcio, captured on Storify) and interactive poll questions, and provided crowd-sourced tips for more effective use of social media in higher education.

    Educause in-session poll indicated the attendees are indeed active on social media

    3. Digital Badges
    Digital badges as validated indicators of specific competencies and their connection to competency-based education were heavily discussed at EDUCAUSE 2014. Just before the conference, EDUCAUSE published the 7 Things You Should Know About Badging For Professional Development. As another indicator of the growing significance of digital badges, 60% of the 1,900 people who participated in the Extreme Networks digital badge survey believe that badges will either entirely replace diplomas and course certificates, or be used in combination with them. I recently published a presentation about the use of digital badges to improve employee engagement.


    Sondra Smith of EDUCAUSE talks about the use of digital badges for professional development.

    4. Business Analytics
    The use of analytics as a means to drive critical institutional outcomes has grown rapidly as the associated technology has improved. This year there were no less than seven panels and 26 sessions dealing with learning analytics, data-driven decision making, and predictive analytics at the EDUCAUSE conference. The session, Analytics That Inform: The University Challenge, articulated the different contexts for analytics in education. Two analogies were made: one with business intelligence, now a $15B market, and one with physician diagnostic tools. There is general agreement on the need to present student analytics in the form of a dashboard, for use by both administration and students. Such a dashboard can help improve student outcomes as well as improve student retention.

    In addition to student analytics, another type of campus analytics relates to network infrastructure. Presenters from Fontys Hogescholen described how they use network analytics to track student activities across the campus and are able to correlate demographic data with behavior and even effect change.

    5. Google Glass and Wearables
    The session, Prepare to Wear! Exploring Wearable Technologies in the Learning Environment, generated phenomenal enthusiasm and discussions that carried well past the conference. Many of the 14 Google Glass Innovative Uses In Education that I wrote about with Brian Rellinger earlier this year were in evidence. It is clear that all types of wearable computers including Google Glass, fitness bands, clothing, fashion wearables, and the forthcoming Meta holographic eyewear will have a dramatic impact on higher education.

    6. Drones
    Drones are finding growing usage in education. Colgate University’s poster session, Just Don’t Call It a Drone, showed how to use hobbyist quadcopters and Arduino technology in student research programs to capture photography and other environmental observations. The project had amazing results for both learners and researchers. I predict there will be more sessions on this topic next year, as drones find many new uses within higher education (see my blog, 10 Uses of Drones in Higher Education [Slideshare]).

    7. 3D Printing
    As listed in the description of one of sessions on the topic, “the era of 3D printing has arrived.” For those eager to enter this era, a number of sessions and exhibition demonstrations showed how to integrate 3D printing, and complementary 3D scanning, into the curriculum. Popularity of the printers is highest in art, design and engineering programs. Many schools are acquiring one high-end consumer-grade or low-end enterprise-grade 3D printer per department. Stay tuned as prices of consumer 3D printers are likely to be aggressively driven downward.

    8. Digital Courseware
    The two emerging aspects of digital courseware are Competency-Based Education (CBE) and Adaptive Learning. The concept behind Competency-Based Education (CBE) is to enable students to master skills and knowledge at their own pace, via multiple pathways that generally make better use of technology. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had a hand in elevating the topic this year with a $20M investment in next generation courseware related to adaptive learning and CBE. Last year, a similar grant gave a major boost to Integrated Planning and Advisory Services (IPAS).

    CBE can help meet the needs of all students regardless of their learning abilities, and can lead to more efficient student outcomes. With CBE, students earn competency units rather than credit hours. So far, large community colleges have taken a leadership role in the field.

    Adaptive learning, closely related to CBE, is an educational method that uses computers and electronic text books as interactive teaching devices. The presentation of educational material is dynamically adapted to students’ learning needs, as indicated by their responses to questions and tasks as they progress.

    A number of young CBE and adaptive learning technology vendors demonstrated their wares during EDUCAUSE 2014, including Flat World Education, eLumen (demo), Regent Education (presentation), Pathbrite, Public Agenda, CCKF, and Acrobatiq. Many of these vendors emphasize a mobile-first approach. The feedback from Salt Lake Community College and the University System of Georgia highlighted the need for integration with existing products, comprehensive dashboards, and a mechanism for social interaction. Schools in general are watching to see what kind of results adaptive learning generates.

    9. Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs)
    This is the year that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) lost the limelight. The issue is the extremely low completion rates of students who sign up for MOOCs. A Gartner poster of the education hype cycle that was on display at EDUCAUSE marked MOOC as “obsolete before plateau”. The Campus Survey 2014 noted that less than two-fifths of the survey respondents now agree that MOOCs offer a viable model for the effective delivery of online instruction, down from 53% in the fall of 2013.

    Clayton Christensen did not mention “MOOC” even once during his opening keynote, though the best known MOOCs, EDx and Coursera, had often been considered as disruptive to higher education. It is now realized that MOOCs lack most of the markers for disruptive innovation; they do not target non-consumers and they lack a viable business model. On the other hand, the Christensen Institute does believe that competency-based education may prove to be disruptive.

    Picking up where MOOCs left off is the concept of Small Private Online Courses (SPOCs). These were discussed at the one MOOC conference session. This session also discussed the future of MOOCs – for advanced placement courses, remedial classes, professional development, and to serve the community. More importantly, the technology infrastructure created by the MOOC providers like EDx, Kahn Academy and Coursera will very likely provide the platform for the full range of online courses into the future.

    10. Virtual Reality
    Immersive and augmented reality have the ability to completely re-invent education. When ready for general use, products like Oculus Rift and Magic Leap are capable of transporting the student to almost any learning environment imaginable. As with many emerging educational technologies, virtual reality has application both to higher education and K-12 education. At the ISTE K-12 conference earlier this year, there were no less than 14 sessions discussing how to apply VR in education. The technology enables students to travel with their professors to any virtual learning environment imaginable: far-off lands and planets, inside the atom, ancient civilizations, to the beginning of the universe. On a limited scale, some of these capabilities are already here. At the rate the technology is progressing, VR could be fully integrated into our teaching within five years.

    The Disruption of Higher Education
    The Disruption of Higher Education was perhaps the hottest topic before, during, and after EDUCAUSE. It was the subject of Clayton Christensen’s keynote. Higher education is undeniably at a transition point. With student debt now over $1 trillion and economists like Robert Reich questioning the value of college, industry leaders are searching for a path to maintain higher education’s relevancy. In his talk, Christensen asked the audience to “pray for Harvard”, given the upheavals already underway in higher education.

    Markers of disruption are already appearing in higher education, including new entrants and start-ups selling low feature-set products to previous non-consumers. Examples of this include not just online colleges, but more importantly corporate in-house academies like Perdue University (think chickens not boilermakers), General Assembly, GE Crotonville, and Intel University. A technological core is forming with video courseware, competency-based education and learning analytics, as well as new interactive collaborative capabilities that provide something approaching a classroom experience remotely. Modularity, another important marker of disruption, has emerged in the packaging of courses and the awarding of certificates of completion and digital badges. These aspects represent an overall trend toward the unbundling of higher education.

    A college president had pointed out to Christensen that the most generous alumni at his university felt their lives had been dramatically changed by their college experiences. The lasting impact was due not to the course material, but rather to the motivating performance of a memorable professor; a different professor in each case. In response Christensen asks, are colleges taking this into account as they recruit faculty, or is recruiting based more on academic publishing history?

    This post was co-authored by Robert Nilsson, Director of Marketing, Extreme Networks.

  • Adam Seymour, Artist, Paints Grindr Profiles, Conversations
    Did this man paint your Grindr profile?

    No one can deny that the social networking app has changed the way that queers talk, meet and engage in sex. Now, various Grindr profiles and conversations have become the subject of artist Adam Seymour’s new series of paintings.

    Called “G-Force,” the series takes intriguing and compelling Grindr profiles and conversations that speak to Seymour on some level and and turns them into elaborate paintings. In order to understand “G-Force” better, The Huffington Post chatted with Seymour this week.


    The Huffington Post: Where were you and what were you doing when you had the thought “I should start painting Grindr profiles”?
    Adam Seymour: During my art studies, watching others paint serious conceptual art and still lifes, I looked through the images saved on my phone to find some painting inspiration. I had always sent humorous Grindr screenshots to my mates and thought this would make an interesting, talked about exhibition. Choosing to paint this subject matter reflects my playful artistic style. People tend to take themselves too seriously, both online and in the art world.


    What draws you to a profile and makes you want to paint it?
    I look for peculiar or extreme aspects to the profiles I chose for this project. Humorous tag lines, etc. I was also looking for a diverse collection of people to represent a cross-section of the Grindr-using homo community.

    In the end I even had friends sending me screenshots of interesting profiles and conversations to add to the collection.

    Do your subjects ever learn about your paintings? What have some of the reactions been?
    A few have, yes. I’ve told a few friends I have painted their profiles, and mostly they think its pretty cool.

    I’ve had some negative reactions from people who have been made to feel uncomfortable by seeing their profile in a second context. However, I believe, as my interpretations are highly stylized, that I have been respectful to the privacy of my subjects. It’s interesting that this reaction occurs considering they have willingly uploaded the image themselves to the public realm.

    I am now finding, as the project is gaining more media exposure, that friends are tagging the people whose profiles I’ve painted. I’ve even had people asking to buy their friends profiles as gifts for them.


    What are your thoughts on Grindr as a cultural phenomenon? Is it a “good” thing? A “bad” thing? Somewhere in between?
    I think Grindr is great. It’s the way I see people using it, wasting hours of their time, and projecting their own, sometimes very personal, issues into a public forum that can be counter-productive to healthy social activity between gay men.

    But, If you don’t invest too much of yourself into the app, you can reap great rewards, make new friends, get travel tips, or a quick blow job on your lunch break.

    Do you use Grindr?
    Yes I do. I find it really useful whilst traveling to meet locals and get tips. I’ve even been upgraded in hotel rooms, flights, etc from befriending local homos in the know.

    For more from Seymour head here to visit the artist’s website and his Instagram page, and check out more work in the slideshow below.

  • What is Your Windows Phone App Gap?

    It is a rainy Sunday morning here in London today.  Well, to be fair, it’s pretty much raining everywhere in England today.  So as I sat in my office, catching up on news and other bits-and-bobs, I read an article over at Computing UK where Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore outlines how developers are coming to Windows Phone in larger numbers as the platform starts to gain momentum.  In it he states: “If you’re a super high-end early adopter of apps, it’s probably not the best platform choice for you, but if you’re not … we see tons of people who are

    The post What is Your Windows Phone App Gap? appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

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