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Mobile Technology News, November 30, 2014

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

  • The New York Times, Kim Kardashian and the Information Apocalypse
    It all began on Saturday morning.

    The New York Times didn’t come.

    When I wake up each morning, there’s a print copy of the New York Times at my door. Before I dive into the swirling information vortex that is my day, I read the paper. But lately, I find myself asking ‘why?’ I’m not one of these hard-copy romantics. I don’t have any historic love for paper over screens, or the need to hold an object in my hand.

    But the other day, the paper didn’t come.

    And so, I was forced to change my info-rhythm. No big deal, I thought I’d just read the NY Times on my iPad. Now, perhaps it was an unfortunate day to go ‘cold turkey’ on single source, handheld, print, but I took the plunge.

    I opened my iPad before coffee, and found myself staring straight at Kim Kardashian’s naked rear-end. It was everywhere, my Facebook feed, my Twitter follows, even on LinkedIn. Now, maybe that’s your idea of breakfast reading, but it was for me a large distraction. My daily ritual of stepping to the world of ideas was turned upside down.

    It lead me to think about the difference between a single thread information delivery device, like the print edition of the NY Times (or any other print publication, or book for that matter) and the multi-threaded nature of a connected device.

    Perhaps with discipline, I could learn to open the NY Times app, and not Facebook. But then there are IM’s and emails that have come in from the night before, each hopping and flashing demanding attention. All of them urgent. All of them important to their sender, but each of them without context.

    The thing is, patterns matter. The way we shape our days, the rhythm of our lives, the way our brains are trained to gather, organize, and process information. And until the arrival of the information apocalypse – we were almost keeping up.

    But the shear volume of information has swamped our ability to engage it thoughtfully, and the pressure of advertisers to make the web a mass medium has driven information publishers into faster, broader, coarser information outbursts.

    I wonder how Tim Berners-Lee feels about Kim Kardashian’s naked attempt to ‘break the web’. Is the swarm of attention-grabbing info-bites the place he imagined when he thought about what the prefix ‘www’ could bring us?

    The good news is, our current state of raw information delivery won’t be the end of the road for our emerging digital lives. The next step, after information overload, is coherent information organization. An emerging layer above the raw web called Curation. Curation isn’t simply a filter or a category, is a holistic way of thinking about information organization.

    Curated information will meet our needs in new ways, based on a simple principal that in a world of information abundance, people don’t want more, they want less. Human scale information, organized and delivered to meet their needs.

    • Information isn’t all equal, and timing matters.
    • People or organizations that flood my feeds with irrelevant content will be relegated to the ‘black hole’ of isolation, take out of my field of vision.
    • Respecting people’s time and attention earns you points in the new information economy.
    • Junk information, tracking pixels, cookies, and ads that h

    aunt me risk turning loyal customers into users of intelligent ad blockers and filters.

    What it comes down to is I want to be able to fit my content consumption to my needs. Hard news when I want it. Info from friends and family about their adventures, when I’m in a more social frame of mind, and light fluffy news if and when I want that. But the nature of the nitchified web, advertisers can’t continue to expect to operate mass-media principals.

    The drive as advertisers to struggle to reach mass audience as the web becomes more specialized is turning each of my distinct tools and services into content that is trying to be all things to all people all the time. That simply isn’t going to remain a principal that works.

    Yes, Kim Kardashian broke the web. But she did something good as well. She woke up a small but emerging community of information consumers who don’t want her oiled posterior to be the web we leave for our children.

  • Barclays set to offer video banking
    Barclays is set to offer some customers one-to-one video banking from 8 December, before rolling the service out to other customers from next year.
  • Printing 3D Sex Toys At UPS Is Now A Reality
    At UPS, you might be able to pick up a different kind of package.

    The company began offering 3D printing services over the past couple of months, and UPS rules don’t explicitly prohibit customers from using those printers to create sex toys, intrepid reporters at the Daily Dot learned this week.

    A UPS representative told the site they won’t allow patrons to print out items like weapons or anything that’s the intellectual property of someone else. When the Daily Dot asked about sex toys, the rep said there’s no company-wide rule against them, but since each store is individually owned, the owners of a particular store could make their own anti-erotic policy.

    The site also points out there are already websites available that offer free downloadable sex toy patterns for 3D printers.

    Printable sex toys are nothing new, but being able to just pop by a UPS store (assuming you live near one of the 100 locations currently offering 3D printing) certainly adds a level of convenience.

    Pricing for the printing service depends on the size and complexity of whatever you’re printing out. CNN reports that an iPhone case would cost around $60, while a replica femur bone would set you back about $325.

    And hey, if 3D printing isn’t your thing, but you still want something customizable, you can always get a plaster cast of your (or someone else’s!) penis.

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  • Robert Downey Jr. Discovers Gay Fan Fiction Photo After Googling Himself
    Robert Downey Jr. may be a super star but just like us mere mortals, he can’t resist the urge to Google himself once in a while.

    And that’s exactly what the “Iron Man” star recently did… with hilarious (and super hot) results:

    Downey Jr. apparently stumbled across a fan-created photo of his character from “Iron Man,” Tony Stark, in a compromising position with Loki, a villain from the “Thor” movie franchise.

    Fan fiction involves the creation of (often sexual) story lines and art inspired by classic film and comic book characters and is immensely popular on the Internet.

    Downey Jr. isn’t the only actor who seems to be amused by the idea of fans having their way with his character.

    In July, when “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Chris Pratt was asked about fan fiction and told that fans thought his character should be hooking up with other male super heroes, he replied, “Like, me, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr.? I’ll have to say I agree.”

  • Stone Age Axe Discovered Stuck Into The Ground With Handle Still Attached
    Archaeologists have unearthed an incredibly rare flint axe from the Stone Age that just may have been used in an ancient ritual.

    The 5,500-year-old discovery — found jammed into the Earth with its wooden handle still attached — was part of an ongoing excavation on the island of Lolland in Denmark.

    “When we suddenly realized that we had actually found most of a complete hafted [with its handle still attached] axe, stuck 30 centimeters down into the seabed, we knew that this was a very special find,” Søren Anker Sørensen, an archaeologist at the Museum Lolland-Falster involved in the excavation, said in a written statement.

    stone age axe
    Stone Age flint axe discovered in Denmark with its handle still attached.

    A paddle, two bows, and 14 axe shafts were found nearby, all of which were standing upright. The researchers believe these artifacts were lodged into the ground deliberately, perhaps as sacrificial offerings.

    The museum hopes to uncover more artifacts that may hold clues to such ancient rituals by continuing its excavation for another year or so, until construction begins on a new underwater tunnel that will link Lolland to the German island of Fehmarn.

    Earlier this month, a set of ancient human footprints were found as part of the ongoing excavation.

  • All Angry Birds Games for Windows Phone Free This Weekend

    If you are an Angry Birds games fan on Windows Phone, it is a good weekend to be you.  Through this weekend you can get all of the Angry Birds games free for your phone through the Windows Phone Store.  The games, along with Bad Piggies and several other games, are a part of Microsoft’s Deals Hub in the Windows Phone Store app. To make it easy for you, I’ve linked to all of the Angry Birds games for Windows Phone here along with Bad Piggies. Angry Birds Go! Angry Birds – The Original Game Angry Birds Epic Angry Birds

    The post All Angry Birds Games for Windows Phone Free This Weekend appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • How #Christian Hashtags Rally The Faithful And Lure Trolls
    WASHINGTON (RNS) Standing on the sidewalk outside an imposing downtown church, Michael Corral carried a portable loudspeaker and a handmade wooden cross with an old-fashioned message: “REPENT & BELIEVE.”

    “They’re twisting Scripture to see through their sins,” he said, as a group of pro-LGBT evangelicals met inside.

    “They’re twisting Scripture to see thru their sins.” #TRPinDC protester Michael Corral, attends Capitol Hill Baptist pic.twitter.com/4AHzatTO9e

    — Sarah Pulliam Bailey (@spulliam) November 8, 2014

    Meanwhile, halfway across the country, conservative activist Eric Teetsel was monitoring the same conference from his home in Kansas, firing off 140-character tweets using the conference hashtag, #TRPinDC.

    “I have more respect for those who acknowledge what the Bible says and reject it than those who twist it to serve their goals,” tweeted Teetsel, the executive director of the Manhattan Declaration project, which works to preserve traditional marriage.

    I have more respect for those who acknowledge what the Bible says and reject it than those who twist it to serve their goals. #TRPinDC

    — Eric Teetsel (@EricTeetsel) November 7, 2014

    It was essentially the same message, but two different mediums and two different audiences. In 2014, activists like Teetsel can reach a far broader audience — 3,600 followers in his case, not counting retweets — than streetside evangelists like Corral.

    Some leaders use trending topics or hashtags to build momentum around a certain conversation. The idea is that by pointing followers to a catchy hashtag, activists can spark conversation and rally supporters around a cause. On Monday (Nov. 24), for example, Twitter lit up with the hashtag #PrayForFerguson after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot a black teenager.

    One of the earlier noteworthy mobilizing campaigns included #KONY2012, a movement founded by a Christian, who launched a campaign to try to capture African Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. First Lady Michelle Obama famously participated in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign after more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

    But everyone on Twitter is learning that a hashtag cuts both ways — it can be hijacked or lampooned by detractors, and it’s a key way that online activists are pushing back against opposing messages or what some might even call hate speech.

    Last week, embattled comedian Bill Cosby posted a photo of himself and wrote: “Go ahead. Meme me! #cosbymeme.” The idea immediately backfired, as people began making rape allegations against him. The New York Police Department, too, asked followers to send photos of themselves posing with officers and using the hashtag #myNYPD. The effort morphed into a slew of negative tweets about aggressive policing.

    #mynypd finds so many ways to be a racist threat to people’s rights and lives pic.twitter.com/u5Q09Ll9A5

    — Joel Reinstein (@JoelReinstein) April 22, 2014

    The Duggar family of TLC’s “19 Kids And Counting” recently posted about daughter Jessa Duggar’s marriage to Ben Seewald and the criticism they received for posting a photo of the chaste young couple kissing.

    “We challenge all married couples to take a happily married picture and post it here,” they posted. Several same-sex couples gladly took up the challenge, knowing full well that the Duggars have spoken out against homosexuality.

    When more than 1,000 Southern Baptists gathered in Nashville last month for a massive Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission conference on homosexuality, the live stream set off fiery debate. Its official hashtag, #ERLC2014, was quickly hijacked with negative responses.

    Aaron Meares, an evangelical pastor in western Michigan, wasn’t able to access the conference’s live-stream feed, so he followed the #ERLC2014 instead. At a conference that was notable for its kinder, gentler tone toward gays, “seems there’s a vast diff. in tone b/w the presenters and the critics,” he tweeted.

    Am unable to lifestream #ERLC2014 . Following the hashtag instead. Seems there’s a vast diff. in tone b/w the presenters and the critics.

    — Aaron Meares (@aaronmeares) October 27, 2014

    Evangelical author Barnabas Piper saw the hits from the other side coming in live time as Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler gave the opening address. “It’s daylight, trolls,” he tweeted, using the online term for take-no-prisoners critics. “You have to wait until sundown to tweet about #ERLC2014.”

    It’s daylight, trolls. You have to wait until sundown to tweet about #ERLC2014.

    — Barnabas Piper (@BarnabasPiper) October 27, 2014

    Evangelical author Rachel Held Evans did not attend the conference but followed the live stream, offering steady pushback to the conference speakers to her more than 56,000 followers. “You can’t promote a livestream and hashtag and then get annoyed when people use it,” she tweeted.

    You can’t promote a livestream and hashtag and then get annoyed when people use it. #ERLC2014.

    — Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) October 27, 2014

    One of the conference sponsors said his company considered promoting materials through the official conference hashtag but decided against it because he didn’t want his product associated with a feed that was already ripe with conflict.

    Most organizers know online dissent is part of the game.

    “It doesn’t bother me,” said ERLC head Russell Moore. “I think that just goes with the territory of social media right now. I think most people know that and understand that.”

    Most LGBT-focused gatherings don’t receive the same level of online vitriol, said Zach Ford, the editor of ThinkProgress LGBT, a blog hosted by the progressive Center for American Progress. He attended and wrote about the Nashville conference, and many attendees, he said, were surprised that messages of “love your LGBT neighbor” weren’t better received.

    “I think a lot felt taken aback,” Ford said. “There’s a big disconnect between intent of message and reception of message.”

    Ford said there’s also a difference between hate speech — so prevalent on the Web — and speech that is perceived as hateful.

    “When you call something hate speech, you’re assigning intent,” he said. “What I learned from my conversations with people at Nashville is that they don’t intend harm against gay people. They don’t understand that messages that they’re reinforcing are received as hateful.”

    Back in Washington, the Reformation Project’s pro-gay evangelical conference attracted a smaller crowd — about 350 — but also a lot less activity on its #TRPinDC hashtag. One reason? The conference wasn’t live streamed to remote audiences.

    Indeed, Ed Stetzer, a veteran observer of the evangelical scene and a prominent pollster, tweeted that he was “glad to see people are (generally) not trying to troll #TRPinDC. It is a shame that so many use Twitter to twist & distort.”

    @edstetzer @VinesMatthew Trolling happens and is annoying. But you can’t characterize all dissent as such. Most know the difference.

    — Rachel Held Evans (@rachelheldevans) November 7, 2014

    Matthew Vines, the young gay activist who organized the Washington conference and has gained notice for his crusade to change evangelical minds on homosexuality, said the opposition in Nashville was more personal because much of the rhetoric was focused on a person’s sexual identity. His conference, meanwhile, centered more on scriptural arguments.

    “It’s easy for marginalized groups to say it’s OK to be just as vitriolic and as aggressive and uncharitable with people who have been harming them. ‘We’re the unprivileged ones,’ so people can justify things that I think should be considered more carefully,” Vines said. “Even if you are a marginalized group, that doesn’t give you free rein to do whatever you want in terms of how you interact, even if they have more power than you.”

    Either way, he said, Twitter spats can serve to get more people to pay attention to the conversation.

    “Robust criticism … and having a voice is a necessary first step in eventually changing people’s minds,” Vines said. “For the SBC crowd, the dynamic is different. They have never not had a voice in the public square, and their views used to carry more influence in the culture than they do today.”

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