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Mobile Technology News, October 28, 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.

  • Windowless Airplanes Of The Future Look Exciting… And Terrifying
    There’s some new concept art out showing a possible airplane of the not-too-distant future. And depending on how you feel about flying, these images will either be exhilarating or terrifying.

    The new aircraft design concept from the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) does away with tiny airplane windows, thus allowing for a thinner and lighter fuselage. But if you’re afraid of heights, don’t celebrate just yet because the interior walls themselves would become video displays for cameras mounted outside, essentially turning the entire aircraft into one giant window.

    You can see more in the clip above.

    Then again, the displays don’t have to show what’s really outside. Some people are already having fun with the concept on Twitter:

    “Windowless plane” concept: immersive video. Use PSD at bottom of this piece to make your own http://t.co/lHFErYuShy pic.twitter.com/vYNbaoKXOQ

    — Nikhil Sonnad (@nkl) October 27, 2014

    Along with revealing thrilling/frightening views of the world (or the Death Star), the giant displays can highlight landmarks and provide important flight information. Of course, they can also be used to show ads:

    “we’ll be right back after this important message”
    MT @BENT_TALK: @darth @qz I see airlines selling ad space pic.twitter.com/iCtUfwzt5h

    — darth™ (@darth) October 27, 2014

    Besides the wow factor, CPI says the lighter design is more practical since every 1 percent reduction in weight reduces fuel by 0.75 percent, saving money and reducing CO2 emissions.

    Dr. Jon Helliwell, director of printable electronics at CPI, told The Guardian that this concept could become a reality within 10 years.

    (h/t Mashable)

  • Microsoft Throws The Gauntlet On Cloud Storage

    Microsoft’s announcement yesterday of offering unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users is, as it should be, a very big deal.  In effect, they have gone to the market and told everyone that not only can they offer a cloud storage solution, they can do it at a cost that nobody can compete with the possible exception of Apple or Google.  I say this not as a fanboy but as a realist.  Only a company with the experience and shear size of Microsoft could put into play such an audacious plan.  And if you are an executive at Dropbox or

    The post Microsoft Throws The Gauntlet On Cloud Storage appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • OneDrive App for Windows Phone Updated

    It has been a busy 24 hours for the OneDrive team at Microsoft.  After announcing unlimited OneDrive storage for Office 365 users yesterday, they also updated the OneDrive app for Windows Phone.  The update, version 4.4 for those keeping score, brings several new user experience improvements along with support for OneDrive for Business.  Now, like on other platforms, you can sign into both your personal and business OneDrive accounts from the app at the same time. OneDrive for Windows Phone – Free – Download Now The biggest and most notable change to the OneDrive app for Windows Phone is the

    The post OneDrive App for Windows Phone Updated appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • (VIDEO) TouchCast Useful To More Than Just Publishers: Schonfeld
    TouchCast, the interactive video platform co-founded by former TechCrunch editor Erick Schonfeld, wants advertisers to start using its new video format as an engaging new ad format.

    The startup counts broadcasters and newspapers amongst early adopters on the editorial side. “Their people on the advertising side want access to TouchCast as well because they see the engagement rates that we’re getting,” Schonfeld tells Beet.TV in this video interview. “We’re developing an advertising unit that we call a TouchAd.”

    <iframe width=”480″ height=”270″ src=”//www.touchcast.com/e/4562&autoplay=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> </iframe>

    <iframe width=”640″ height=”360″ src=”//www.touchcast.com/e/24986&autoplay=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> </iframe>

    TouchCast lets video producers embed interactive web elements including images, maps, web pages and other videos inside digital video, each expanding when clicked on by viewers, opening up possibilities for immersive storytelling. Schonfeld has told Beet.TV half of users click on elements in TouchCasts – something which may interest advertisers disappointed at traditional video pre-roll performance.

    “People are also using it for corporate training videos – many large corps are interested in TouchCast as an internal communications tools,” Schonfeld added.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • 'Smart cycle lanes' pitched to UK
    A stretch of glow-in-the-dark road markings go into use in the Netherlands as its creators pitch spin-off cycle lanes to UK cities.
  • Can an app cure anxiety and stress?
    Could a simple app banish your stress and anxiety forever?
  • Apple and Google Are Right. The FBI Is Wrong. CHiPs Nude Photo Scandal Shows Why.

    About a month ago, a debate erupted when Apple and Google announced they were going to start providing encryption services for smartphones that could not be cracked by anyone — including the police. James Comey, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, was horrified at this prospect and began a public-relations push to convince the companies (and the public) that this was a terrible idea. He tried to get the companies to change their decision to (as he put it) “market something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.”

    This was a heavy-handed attempt to put forth a novel idea: Law enforcement is entitled to all your data, even if you try to encrypt it. Scary warnings accompanied this reasoning, about murderers and kidnappers (and worse) going free because law enforcement wouldn’t be able to decrypt crucial data in time to foil the bad guys’ plots. My response, at the time, can be summed up as: “Tough.” Tough luck for the cops. In more detail: Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that every citizen’s private papers must be readable by the government. Quite the opposite, in fact. Why would Thomas Jefferson have had (and assumably used) cipher wheels if he thought governments had a right to read everything he wrote?

    Sad to say, the California Highway Patrol just made the most convincing argument to date as to why the F.B.I. is wrong and Apple and Google are right to offer strong encryption to the public. A woman who was pulled over and arrested by a California Highway Patrol officer for drunk driving happened to notice that, after she got out of custody, her smartphone had sent photos to a number she didn’t recognize. She was only able to figure this out because she had a tablet synced to the phone. The record of having sent the photos had been deleted from the phone, but it appeared on her tablet.

    What had apparently happened was that the CHiP officer had trolled her phone for nude or revealing photos, and then when he found some, he forwarded them to his buddies on the force. Then he tried to cover his tracks by deleting the records of the photos having been sent. Thus making the California freeway cops the new poster children for why the public needs to be able to secure their data.

    There is so much wrong with this story, it’s hard to even know where to begin. In the first place, there is simply no reason for the cops to even look at her phone. She was obviously drunk (very drunk — 0.29 blood alcohol content) and she was arrested for driving in that condition. What possible “evidence” did the police think they could find on her phone when they already had an iron-clad case against her? There is simply no valid law enforcement reason for the cop to view anything on her phone. None. But that didn’t stop the guy from scrolling through her photos for his own prurient purposes.

    This wasn’t the first time this officer had done so. In one instance, he sent private nude photos from a woman’s phone while she was being X-rayed in the hospital after an accident. How do we know this? Because the officer pointed it out himself in the accompanying email message to his buddy. Multiple emails had been sent by the officer in question over the past few years, and he reportedly said that he had learned this frat-boy behavior when he was stationed down in Los Angeles (he currently serves in the San Francisco Bay Area). None of the officers he sent the photos to ever reported him, which might lead one to conclude that this is not a problem of one rogue cop, but rather an ingrained culture within the Highway Patrol. Nobody now knows how wide a problem it is and how many cops were involved, but the answer to that question seems likely to be higher than “just one officer.”

    So far, the local prosecutor hasn’t said what is going to happen to the officer. But what really needs to happen is for California’s attorney general to get out in front of this scandal, and announce a state-wide investigation of the Highway Patrol. Start someone sifting through all official email with a CHiP address, and let’s see how pervasive this odious practice really was.

    It’s astounding that, in this day and age, anyone with an official email would use it to send pornography, but it does happen. Pennsylvania is right now in the midst of an enormous porn scandal, which has now reached up to snag a sitting state supreme court justice. Some guys never learn, it seems, no matter how powerful they get. This scandal was brought to light because an investigation which stemmed from the child abuse at Penn State also uncovered a whole lot of casual porn emails from various members of the state’s law enforcement and judiciary. That’s the type of investigation which should be immediately launched in California. And as a result, anyone in any sort of official capacity who is found to have invaded the public’s privacy in this fashion should not only be fired but also immediately brought up on felony charges. Even in Pennsylvania, nobody has yet suggested that the porn being shared consisted of naked photos stolen from a woman’s personal phone. Sharing porn is one thing (even for a judge); but trolling for amateur bedroom shots, stealing them, and then disseminating them to your buddies — all of whom wear badges — is quite another. The solution to this scandal is clear: an aggressive investigation, followed by prosecutions and some jail time. This is a case where “sending a message” to all California police officers is absolutely necessary. The message is: “This Is Unacceptable Behavior, Guys.”

    The technology may be fairly new, but this isn’t a new problem for people in positions of authority. It’s part of the universal human condition, in fact. You can find lots of quotes from famous authors pointing the basic problem out. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” is one good example. My favorite comes from ancient Rome, from the poet Juvenal (who also famously remarked that the common people were happy enough with “bread and circuses” rather than caring about such things as freedom). Juvenal’s original: “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” This is variously translated as: “Who will guard the guardians?” or (for fans of the comic book and movie): “Who will watch the watchmen?” He wrote that nineteen centuries ago. An idea for James Comey to reflect upon, perhaps.

    Apple and Google are offering a service in the marketplace. That service is privacy. The market for such a service now exists not only because celebrities’ own nude photos were hacked by lawbreakers. The market also exists because citizens have every right to privacy even from the police. The CHiP scandal is merely the most recent example of why people might want phones with truly private data. Does this mean some criminals will be able to hide from the cops? Yes. Yes, it will. But it will also mean that cops can’t just root around in your data and trample any citizen’s rights for no reason — which is precisely what the Constitution intended. It will stop any “fishing” in your phone’s data entirely, no matter how noble (or how ignoble) the reason may be for doing so.

    To quote our founding document, a woman driving on California highways should be “secure in [her] papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” This right “shall not be violated.” This includes a police officer scrolling through personal data for absolutely no other reason than sheer curiosity or juvenile lust. “Maybe she’s a drug dealer” might flit through the brain of one officer, while: “Wow, she’s hot, wonder if she’s got any bikini shots or naked photos I can send to my buddies?” might be the motivation for another. Either way, they have no right to conduct such a fishing expedition. By doing so, the officer actually torpedoed his own case against the woman. All charges were dropped — despite the fact her blood measured 0.29, which is over three-and-a-half times the legal limit — because the prosecutor knew he’d be laughed out of court by any competent defense lawyer. That doesn’t help law enforcement. Now, not only will she get away with her crime, she is suing and will likely win a big settlement (of taxpayer money).

    The California Highway Patrol has a long way to go to regain any sort of confidence from the public, but locking your data up before a cop ever picks up your phone is a much simpler solution than trusting in the goodness of all police everywhere. And remember one final thought — if a cop has your phone for any reason at all, you absolutely do not have to provide them your password (even if they ask nicely). As a general rule, never offer your password to the cops until your own lawyer tells you it is OK for you to do so — and not before. If you leave your data locked up, then scandals like this one simply would not be possible. And that’s a fine way to guard the guardians, whether James Comey agrees or not.


    Chris Weigant blogs at:

    Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant
    Become a fan of Chris on The Huffington Post


  • Apple responds to CVS, Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay
    Apple has issued a formal response to CVS and Rite Aid blocking Apple Pay at their stores. “The feedback we are getting from customers and retailers about Apple Pay is overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic,” the company says. “We are working to get as many merchants as possible to support this convenient, secure and private payment option for consumers. Many retailers have already seen the benefits and are delighting their customers at over 220,000 locations.”

  • Twitter grows users but shares slide
    Twitter has reported a doubling in sales and a 23% increase in the number of active users of its micro-blogging site for the third quarter.
  • Wells Fargo offers payouts to customers willing to try Apple Pay
    US bank Wells Fargo is offering one-time payments as an incentive to try Apple Pay. Customers willing to make a first-time credit card transaction through the service are being given $20, while a debit or prepaid transaction is worth $10. Both offers expire after November 30th; the $20 credit should appear on a statement in one or two billing cycles, but the $10 credit should appear in a checking account within 45 days.

  • Bing's Latest Attempt To Get You To Switch From Google? Emoji
    Bing has a new tactic in its effort to catch up with its much more popular search engine rival, Google: tiny smiley faces.

    The Microsoft search engine announced in a blog post Monday that it now supports emoji, so you can incorporate your favorite broken hearts, dancers and smiley faces into your searches. The trick will work in all English markets on desktop and mobile.

    Bing isn’t the first search engine to integrate emoji. Yahoo apparently already offers emoji support, and Yelp introduced support back in April. So when is Google going to catch up? Who knows, but the company did not get back to us when we tried to ask.

    When could emoji searches possibly be useful? Maybe when you’re unclear what a particular emoji means, or if you were just too lazy to type out the actual word.

    bing search easter
    In case you didn’t know what those giant stone head statues were.

    Bing gave a few examples of possible search in a blog post:

    bing search emoji
    Typing the word donut just would have taken too long.

    emoji support search
    Bing and Yahoo support emoji, but Google hasn’t taken the hint, yet.

    Yahoo did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

  • OneDrive Begins Delievering Unlimited Storage Plans

    Earlier today I posted an article bringing to light how serious Microsoft is about cloud computing based on their financials from last quarter.  As if they actually read my post, Microsoft’s OneDrive division has just upped the game for cloud storage in a big way.  If you are an Office 365 subscriber, starting today OneDrive is beginning to roll out unlimited storage for as low as $6.99 per month. Is there really any doubt left on how good of deal this is for you? To get this outstanding deal when it comes you need to do the following: Go to

    The post OneDrive Begins Delievering Unlimited Storage Plans appeared first on Clinton Fitch.

  • This Is What Really Terrifies Millennials On Halloween
    Spending a night in a dark, abandoned mansion? Being lost in the middle of woods? That’s child’s play. How about … NO RECEPTION!

    Comedian Paul Gale, who you might recognize from the popular “Why Starbucks Spells Your Name Wrong” video, brings us another look into our twisted world. This time he, director T.J. Misny and friends beg the question, “What Terrifies Twenty-Somethings On Halloween?”

    Not since that weekend at your grandparents’ house when you had no wi-fi have you experienced terror of this magnitude! Watch the video above.

  • Windows 10 Technical Preview: So Far, So Good
    What comes after eight? Well, it’s the number 10, if you work for Microsoft. That’s what the Boys from Redmond are calling their new version of Windows, apparently wanting to distance themselves from the dreaded Windows 8 syndrome.

    We’ve been playing with the Windows 10 Technical Preview for about a month and, so far, we like what we see.

    The Start Menu has returned with a few enhancements that will satisfy Windows 8 haters and lovers of the much maligned Metro interface that substituted a page full of tiles for the more familiar list of programs. Now we have the best of both worlds – – – a list of programs and apps running down the left side of the menu and a few small tiles on the right. Those users that can’t live without the Metro interface just need to change this option, telling the system to boot to their favorite interface.

    The tiles are customizable and can be reformatted to any size you want. Also, programs and apps can be dragged from the list to the tile section and a new tile will be created.

    Another new feature we really like is the Notifications Tab. All notifications, including error messages and email alerts, are easily accessed by clicking on an icon on the bottom left side of the desktop. There’s also a new Task View Tab that shows you what programs are running.

    Those of us that were frustrated with Win 8 can now run newer applications (which were designated by tiles) in windows that can be reduced in size, taking a step back to the flexibility of Windows 7 and its predecessors.

    It’s also a hair faster than Win 8, but this could be because we have yet to play with the complete operating system. Hopefully it won’t be a memory and resources hog when it’s ready for prime time.

    Other new features include:

    • The Charms Menu is gone for those of us using keyboards and mice
    • Windows 10 will be a universal interface for all Windows devices including phones, tablets, PCs laptops and the Xbox One
    • You can access frequently used files and recently used programs through File Explorer
    • A Battery Saver (for laptop and phone users) and Data Sense App monitor drains on the battery — and help you deal with them — and data usage

    Future builds of the Technical Preview (there have been two since Oct. 1) may include a new two-step verification system to keep cyber thieves from accessing your files and a more robust version of Windows Defender.

    We were told that we might lose some of our files when we installed the upgrade, but — so far — everything is where it’s supposed to be and running without a hitch. This could be due to the fact that we upgraded from Windows 8.1, so it may be a problem for users of older versions of the operating system.

    The folks at Microsoft are warning users not to install the Win 10 Technical Preview on their main computers or computers that they rely on for work. The system, they say, is still a bit “buggy” as they experiment with new features that may or may not work. In fact they often prompt us to see how we feel about certain features and to monitor how well they are working on our PCs.

    This, they hope, will result in a much more stable product when it’s released in mid-2015.

    Attention Facebook users: Check out Michael Berman’s Jocgeek fan page at www.facebook.com/jocgeek, or follow him on Twitter @jocgeek. You can also contact him via email at jocgeek@earthlink.net or through his website at www.jocgeek.com.

  • Here's What Everyone Is Saying About 'Interstellar' So Far
    “Interstellar,” Christopher Nolan’s $165 million space epic, rockets into wide release Nov. 7, but some critics have already filed their reviews. The consensus so far? Most agree the visuals are stunning and that Matthew McConaughey is great as an engineer who ventures to another galaxy to research potential inhabitable worlds. But the first reactions haven’t been as favorable toward the film’s emotional heft and the pacing of its third act.

    Consensus may shift as more reviews pour in before the opening — many critics still haven’t seen the film — but here are a few first reactions to “Interstellar”:

    1. “‘Interstellar’ so bulges with ideas, ambitions, theories, melodrama, technical wizardry, wondrous imagery and core emotions that it was almost inevitable that some of it would stick while other stuff would fall to the floor. Feeling very much like Christopher Nolan’s personal response to his favorite film, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey,’ this grandly conceived and executed epic tries to give equal weight to intimate human emotions and speculation about the cosmos, with mixed results, but is never less than engrossing, and sometimes more than that.” — Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter

    2. As with the twisty chronologies and unreliable narrators of his earlier films, Nolan trusts in the audience’s ability to get the gist and follow along, even if it doesn’t glean every last nuance on a first viewing. It’s hard to think of a mainstream Hollywood film that has so successfully translated complex mathematical and scientific ideas to a lay audience … or done so in more vivid, immediate human terms. — Scott Foundas, Variety

    3. “‘Interstellar’ is about saving humanity, despite humanity. It disguises itself in science, but ‘Interstellar’ isn’t really about science. There’s a lot more Emotion in ‘Interstellar’ than I expected — its core foundation, really — but there’s almost too much going on in ‘Interstellar’ to the point that, at times, in retrospect, nothing is really happening even though it kind of seemed like something was happening.” — Mike Ryan, ScreenCrush

    4. “While the film builds intrigue and tension in terms of establishing the stakes of the outer-space exploration as well as the perilous science behind it, the picture rushes into space only to slow to a relative crawl once it gets there. There are a few dazzling images and at least one solid action sequence late in the game, and it is always fun to see the real-world implications of somewhat abstract scientific theory. Yet the film feels less like a grand original work than it does a buttoned-down and overly ‘realistic’ variation on ‘go into space to save the world’ pictures.” — Scott Mendelson, Forbes

    5. “All the setup is fascinating, as is the space travel, particularly when they journey to planets near a black hole, meaning that for every hour that the landing party spends on the surface, seven years will elapse for the crew member orbiting in the spacecraft. Cliifhanger sequences involving slow, giant tidal waves and docking with an out-of-control ship demonstrate the director’s (and editor Lee Smith’s) proficiency. For much of the film, Nolan (who co-wrote with his brother Jonathan) seems to be unafraid to allow this big-budget extravaganza to tell a story that’s about pain and loss and melancholy and sacrifice. Until it’s not that anymore, and “Interstellar” becomes thuddingly prosaic.” — Alonso Duralde, The Wrap

    6. “Often when we talk about cinema being a ‘ride’, we’re hinting at a lack of substance, an absence of ideas, an opportunity to switch off. Not so here. ‘Interstellar’ is, in large part, a spectacle. But it also asks you to think hard, look hard and urges you to return for more. Why only ask for the stars when you can have moons, distant planets, extra dimensions, lectures on psychics and a sobering shot of terror? ‘Interstellar’ has it all.” — Dave Calhoun, Time Out London

    7. “‘Interstellar,’ a near three-hour whopper of a picture, powers through its plot holes and barrels through the corn. It’s a glorious spectacle, but a slight drama, with few characters and too-rare flashes of humor. It wants to awe us into submission, to concede our insignificance in the face of such grand-scale art. It achieves that with ease. Yet on his way to making an epic, Nolan forgot to let us have fun.” — Henry Barnes, The Guardian

    8. “‘Interstellar’ makes its far-reaching concept utterly believable, right down to an outrageous climax that stretches across time and space with bursts of psychedelic imagery that still winds up making sense. In its final scenes, ‘Interstellar’ struggles to bring every piece in play to a tidy conclusion, but it’s comforting to watch Nolan give it a shot. — Eric Kohn, IndieWire

    9. “The space travel stuff is beautiful and realized though largely physical means. It works both inside the ships and outside, and there’s a lot of “Interstellar,” particularly in 70MM IMAX, that is just jaw-dropping.” — Drew McWeeny, HitFix

    10. “‘Interstellar’ tackles some big ideas along the way. Some are fascinating — fifth-dimensional space represented in three dimensions — and some are cringe-worthy — love as a universal constant — but all of the ideas are approached with honesty and intelligence. That alone makes me like and admire the movie. I just wish I could love it; ‘Inception’ blew me away the first time through and has remained a film that moves me intellectually, cinematically and even emotionally. ‘Interstellar’ stimulates intellectually, is dead on arrival emotionally and works well enough cinematically without truly wowing in the way it should.” — Devin Faraci, Badass Digest

  • Tim Cook Calls Out His Home State Over Lack Of LGBT Rights

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama was too slow to guarantee the rights of minorities during the civil rights era, and now it’s too slow to ensure the rights of people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Monday in challenging his home state to do better.

    Cook’s comments came as he, University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban and six others were inducted into the Alabama Academy of Honor, which recognizes living state natives for their contributions.

    Speaking at the Capitol in the chamber where the state voted to secede from the Union in 1861, Cook said Alabama and the nation “have a long way to go” before realizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of equality.

    Alabama was “too slow” to guarantee rights in the 1960s, Cook said, and it removed a ban on interracial marriage from its Constitution only 14 years ago.

    “And (Alabama is) still too slow on equality for the LGBT community. Under the law, citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation,” said Cook, a native of coastal Baldwin County. “We can’t change the past, but we can learn from it and we can create a different future.”

    Alabama is among the states that do not recognize same-sex marriage, and it also doesn’t offer legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

    Cook also called educational equality “one of the greatest civil rights issues of our times.” Earlier this year, Apple said it would give $100 million for school technology, and Cook announced the money would go for equipment and training at 114 schools in more than 29 states, including five in Alabama.

    “We at Apple view it our responsibility to step up and act,” Cook said. The company is partnering with the White House on the project.

    Cook is a native of Robertsdale who attended Auburn University. He succeeded Apple founder Steve Jobs as chief executive officer in 2011.

    Other honorees included University of Alabama President Judy Bonner; Big Oak Ranch founder John Croyle; biotech leader Jim Hudson Jr. of Huntsville; U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions; former Mountain Brook mayor Margaret Porter; and businessman Edgar Welden.

    The Apple executive spoke on behalf of the group. He visited a Baptist church once pastored by King before the ceremony.

  • You Had Me at Ello! 5 Questions With Todd Berger
    Rarely a week goes by that I don’t encounter someone who is frustrated with social media. I have friends who have taken extended breaks from Facebook, and others who often see it as a platform for people to be nasty in a somewhat anonymous manner. Still others just find Facebook overly commercialized.

    Entrepreneur Paul Budnitz and designer Todd Berger fall into this category. Budnitz, who also sells titanium “city” bikes that can retail for more than $8,000, and Berger are two of the founders of a new social network called Ello.

    You may have heard about Ello, as it is being described by some as the “anti-Facebook.” Ello is an invitation-only social network that drew a lot of attention following an interesting confluence of events. Facebook changed some of its rules, which essentially forced people to use their real names on their profiles — or leave the site. A bunch of folks split FB and ended up at the newer, hipper Ello. As word spread, Ello became the “it” site for several weeks and at one point had 40,000 people per hour asking for invitations to join. According to a story in The New York Times, the site went from 90 initial users in early August to more than a million now, with a waiting list of about three million. The rapid rise drew a ton of attention and even caught the eye of Jimmy Fallon and The Tonight Show.

    The organization has taken a hard line against advertising — it even has a manifesto. (By the way, can a manifesto be anything but intriguing?) And last week, it changed its corporate structure, becoming a public benefit corporation with a charter that forbids the company from using ads or selling user data to make money. There’s all kinds of interesting stuff here, so I decided to take a deeper dive. Take a look at my recent interview with one of the founders, Todd Berger.

    John P. David (JPD): Ello gained a lot of media attention lately and generated a ton of buzz. I would say a mix of positive and skeptical coverage. And The Tonight Show was a major PR coup. Given all that, how’s business?

    Todd Berger (TB): Business is great. We’re working hard and having fun. We’re changing the way the Internet, and everyone connected to it, thinks about social networking. 

    JPD: Why do you think users are flocking to your site in large numbers? Is there a thirst for a cleaner interface, or are people fleeing ads, fleeing less privacy afforded by Facebook?

    TB: We think it’s all those things. A desire for a more pure space, design, aesthetics, simplicity, privacy, a lack of advertising and data sales, trust — there’s all sorts of reasons, and they’re a little different for everyone.

    JPD: Some commentators have said folks are joining your site in a response to requirements by Facebook that users are now required to create accounts under their legal names. Why is it important that people be allowed to use alternate identities if they choose?

    TB: Lots of people enjoy having an alias or pseudonym. This is for all sorts of reasons. It’s so a person can exercise an alternative or nontraditional lifestyle and have some semblance of personal privacy, support, and safety. Let’s say you work from 9 to 5 but after that you’re an artist, or photographer, or a writer and you have a pen name, or you’re a performer and you have a stage name — or who knows what. We support people that think differently, and we want them to have a place to connect, share ideas, and carry on in the manner that’s most fitting to them.

    JPD: Ello doesn’t have advertising, but it is a business — and you have stated that you will charge for some features. What’s the inspiration for the future revenue model? Is it to make it a PBS or, perhaps, HBO of social media? Or is it a brand-new model?

    TB: It’s to offer a new alternative. What we’re doing is most similar to Apple’s App Store paradigm. We’re going to sell features and experiences that enable people to customize Ello to keep making Ello better and better. We have some other revenue streams planned as well.

    JPD: One journalist said the following about Ello: “One of its signature features is that the ‘provenance’ of anything posted to the site can always be followed back to its source, to divide innovators from follow-ons.” What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe that we are searching for authenticity in social networks and our communications?

    TB: We’re all searching for authenticity. We want to live real lives. Honest lives. That’s what feels best. We all know that. Real things are better than fake things. It’s simple. We’re all looking for genuinely meaningful experiences. Ello’s a conduit for these sorts of experiences.

    New social networks seem to come and go, but something about Ello gives me a sense it might stick. If you want to learn more, I suggest you give it a shot. I’m on Ello as johnpdavid (yes, I’m one of the chosen few), and I have some invitations left. I’m curious to know what you think.

    This post originally appeared at DavidPRblog.com.

  • Everything You Need To Know About Lollipop, Android's New Operating System
    Google announced earlier this month that Android’s newest operating system, known as both Android 5.0 and Lollipop, will debut in the first week of November. A supposed leaked email from the tech giant pegged the release to Nov. 3, though Google hasn’t confirmed the exact date.

    Either way, the release is fast approaching, and lots of Android enthusiasts are wondering what the new operating system will be like. Here’s what we know so far:


    Lollipop’s release will be timed with that of Motorola’s Nexus 9 tablet and Nexus 6 smartphone. The operating system will roll out to other models throughout the year.

    Lollipop features a number of design alterations, including more shadows, colors and animations. Android hasn’t released many photos yet, but you can get a sense of the new user interface in this teaser video:


    When taking a look at Lollipop’s new features, one thing stands out: just how many of them are similar to what you get with iOS 8, the iPhone’s newest operating system. These are some of the similarities:

    1. The appearance is flattened out a bit compared to earlier versions, just like in iOS 8.

    2. Lollipop has updated its notifications so you can respond to them or dismiss them from the lockscreen and within other apps, a prominent feature of iOS 8.

    3. As on the iPhone, you can also adjust which apps show these notifications and limit how much information is previewed.

    4. Android’s new “Priority” mode is similar to the iPhone’s “Do Not Disturb” setting, in that it only shows calls and texts from selected contacts.

    android lollipop notificationNotifications can now be dismissed from the phone’s lockscreen.

    5. According to a blog post explaining Android 5.0, transitions between apps will be more animated, with added zooming and fading effects. More actions will also be driven by swipes and fewer by tapping — all improvements that were added to notifications and emails for iOS 8.

    6. Multiple tabs can now appear in a carousel, making going through email and web pages much easier. This feature is also available in iOS 8.

    7. Lollipop includes the ability to monitor individual app’s battery consumption — again, like in iOS 8.


    Lollipop also boasts changes that are incomparable to iOS 8. Performance is expected to be twice as fast as the previous software, and several new features are expected to improve battery life. Those include the aforementioned battery-consumption checker and a saving mode that Google says adds 90 minutes of power.

    Lollipop also will have a guest user mode that limits access to apps and payments. Beyond that, you have more app management functions. Individual apps, for example, can be marked as private and hidden from the screen. You’ll also be able to change default apps for certain functions — so while links in the iPhone all bring you to Safari and all calendar invites go to iCal, Lollipop lets you choose a third-party app as your default.


    Unlike Apple’s new operating systems for the iPhone, Android updates are not available to all devices at the same time. Here’s a roundup of what we know so far:


    If you’re buying the new Nexus 6 phone or Nexus 9 tablet, you’ll be the first to use Lollipop, since the phones will come preinstalled with the new software. The Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10 are expected to receive the update later in November.


    The HTC One M8 and M7 are expected to receive the update within 90 days of its release in November, according to a tweet by Jeff Gordon, the company’s global online communications manager . Other devices are rumored to receive the update later in 2015.


    Motorola revealed in a company blog post that Lollipop will come to first- and second-generation Moto X and Moto G, Moto G LTE, Moto E, Droid Ultra, Droid Maxx and Droid Mini devices. The company didn’t say when the update will be available.


    Samsung hasn’t made any official announcements, but the company hinted on Twitter that the newest Galaxy Note 4 will get the update. And it is likely that the other Galaxy products — the S4, S5 and the Note 3 — will have the update available before 2015.


    LG has not released any exact details related to when the update will come to its devices. But sources told the tech blog PhoneArena.com that they expect Lollipop to be available for LG G2 and G3 phones by 2015.

  • CarPlay-ready Alpine iLX-007 receiver ships with $800 pricetag
    Alpine has begun shipping the previously-announced iLX-007, its first receiver to support Apple’s CarPlay platform. The device has also been given an $800 pricetag. It sports a 7-inch 800×480 touchscreen, three 2V preouts, one aux input, and an input for rear-view camera systems. Like other Alpine receivers, it uses a technology called MediaXpander to try to improve the quality of compressed digital audio.

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