iPhone, iPad & Android App Developers UK with offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham.

0207 993 4594
0161 870 2578
0121 270 7144
iphone, ipad mobile application development android mobile application development

Mobile Technology News, October 4, 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.

  • Readin' Researchin' Writin' and the Tools to Make it Happen
    Last month at the invitation of Nils HauptLufthansa‘s former head of North American PR, I spoke to a small group of aviation and business writers about the book I have been contracted to write about the disappearance of MH 370 and other aviation mysteries. It was thrilling to be questioned about my theories and my experiences covering the story for ABC News from Malaysia, by people who had given the subject a lot of thought. 

    With me that night, was Emily Baker, the acquisitions editor at Penguin who purchased the book and who, to my delight, is a big aviation geek. Don’t ask her about Amelia Earhart unless you have a lot of time on your hands. 

    But the time for salon talks is drawing to an end. This weekend, I will blubber like a baby at the wedding of my daughter, watch her and her new husband Elliot speed head off on their honeymoon, then leave for Australia and the annual seminar of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators.  A number of the people actively involved in the search for the missing airliner will be presenting papers. 

    Yes, the time for talk is over. The reading, researching and yes, even the writing has begun. Because I intend to bring you along during the process, I thought I’d review the tools I’ve acquired and a review of their usefulness. 

    Readin‘ – Samir Kohli, a pilot, air safety investigator and the 2014 recipient of the Flight Safety Foundation’s Cecil A. Brownlow award, has penned Into Oblivion, Understanding MH#370, a comprehensive book explaining the theories, technology and science related to Malaysia Flight 370. He drills deep to explain aspects of the air travel infrastructure allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about the likelihood of certain theories about the mystery. 

    Kohli’s book is too dense to be a hit with the general public and the grammar errors are rampant. I’ve rolled my eyes at editors in the past, but Kohli could have used a more aggressive one, that’s for sure. Nevertheless, this is an excellent resource book. Samir Kohli, Welcome to my bibliography.

    Researchin‘ – I actually read Into Oblivion on my Lenovo Yoga Ultrabook. The latest, slimmest, lightest laptop computer I’ve ever owned, which converts into a large Windows 8 based tablet for reading books like Kohli’s. I’ve owned Lenovos for years because I have found them hard-working, ultra-reliable and user friendly. The Yoga, provided to me by Lenovo this spring, accompanied me on my trip around the world in June, and will be in my backpack for my second global venture beginning later this month.

    Perhaps it is because I am a woman of a certain age, but I
    am feeling simpatico with the benefits and the flaws of my Yoga. 
    It is my only computer. I take it on the road with just one accessory, a Kensington bluetooth mouse. At home, I dock the laptop, hooking it up to
    my Samsung monitor, Dell keyboard and mouse. It is a seamless operation but I am not enthused by all of the personality
    traits that Yoga and I share.


    On the upside, I’m blessed/cursed with an abundant energy supply and so is the Yoga. The battery lasts a good six hours with multiple programs
    running and splendid wifi reception. When the “plug in
    your charger” message appears, don’t mess around; the computer will turn off without a second warning. Yeah, I can be snappish too.

    Having raised 4 children, I know its important to be a multi-functional power
    source for others.  So is the laptop. It can juice any USB powered device even
    when it’s turned off so long as it is plugged into the wall.

    Age and experience have enabled me to make wiser choices. I
    no longer believe I have to be everything to everybody. Likewise, my Lenovo has
    given up on the center crank hinge that turned the laptop into a tablet and now
    does an age-defying 360 degree bend, stopping enroute to become a tabletop
    monitor or a full-sized tablet. Yoga anyone?

    Sometimes, as a reporter, I
    have to attack a problem from multiple directions. The Yoga is equally flexible.
    It has a touch screen which is just so intuitive both in the way it
    harkens back to working with paper and in how it gives the user the ability to push documents and
    photos around to focus on or expand. There is also a trackpad and
    eraser pointer, but I don’t like working with them at all.

    Sure, I too can be reactive, overly
    sensitive and irritable. This is another middle-aged lady quirk. But the track pad is just plain squirrely, not just hard to get accustomed
    to; impossible to figure out.  Sometimes the right click works with a tap on
    the right corner, sometimes it does not. Fifty percent of the time I
    inadvertently call up the windows 8 menu bar and have to backtrack. Other times, it reacts so quickly, entire blocks of text are highlighted and deleted. 

    I’ve spent a lifetime trying to keep my weight down and travel well. My Yoga is just three pounds, making it easy to tote around in a backpack. This is the first version of the laptop that is light enough so that I don’t have to think twice about bringing it with me anywhere if I think I’ll have a few spare moments to work. That’s a weight reduction, worth bragging about. 

    Writin‘ – When I showed up at the physical therapist complaining about pain in my neck, back and arm, the first thing he wanted was a photo of me working at my desk and he was not pleased with what he saw. One cannot spend hours a day twisted like a pretzel over a child’s school desk without repercussions, he told me. Pain being a tremendous motivator, I had a new glass-topped standing desk installed in my office before the week was out.

    I am enormously pleased with my new Rebel Desk. It converts from a 28 inch high conventional desk to a 48 inch high standing work platform with a hand crank. The process of changing the height takes about 30 seconds. A power supply mounted on the side gives me 2 USB and two regular power plugs. 

    Since placing it at the window overlooking my garden last month, I’ve spent about equal amounts of time sitting and standing and both positions are more comfortable so I find I am more productive. 

    This may be a terrible thing for a writer to admit, but I’ve long felt that I am ill-suited to this profession. Its sedentary nature conflicts with ants-in-my-pants me. So I’m excited with the possibilities of the Rebel Desk because it allows me to stand – and wait for it – with the optional treadmill, even gives me the opportunity to burn some of that energy while writing. 


    If ever a tool provided both the reality and the metaphor for moving forward with a project, my new Rebel Desk is it. Emily at Penguin Books, will be glad to hear that.

  • 10 Eerily Adorable GIFs That Will Make You Feel Like A Kid Before Bedtime
    Back when you were ending your long days by being tucked into bed and read a bedtime story, do you remember feeling so moved by the illustrations that graced the pages that they seemed to jump off the page and come to life?

    For kids living in this technologically enhanced age, there’s a GIF for that.


    Serbia-born, Denmark-based artist Vladimir Stankovic crafts enchanting GIFs that don’t just capture entire stories in each frame, but entire worlds. Mushrooms with nine eyes and spindly fingers interact with glowing aliens and woodland critter hybrids. The images, reminiscent of creepy-cute artists like Gary Baseman and Mark Ryden, channel an otherworldly sense of mystery inspired by mother nature and what lies beyond it.


    “In my work I try to combine my love and passion towards illustration and graphic design, with the use of both traditional and digital mediums,” he explains on his website. “My inspiration comes from science and nature on one hand, and fantasy, fairy tales and all sorts of mysteries on the other.”

    Get lost in Stankovic’s fantastical GIFs below and head to his “Between Worlds” page to see more.










    For more of Stankovic’s GIF beauty, check out his mollusk-themed series below.

  • Belgian teenager racks up over $46,000 in in-app purchases
    A 15-year-old from Antwerp, Belgium has managed to accumulate over 37,000 euro ($46,000) in iTunes charges on a credit card through in-app purchases, according to local publication Nieuwsblad. The teenager was reportedly playing a free-to-play iOS game called Game of War: Fire Age; several months in, his mother asked him to buy some e-books using her credit card. The boy then discovered he could buy virtual gold in-game using real money, greatly accelerating his progress. The title even has a casino minigame.

  • GoPro CEO Donates Shares Worth $450 Million To Start New Charity
    Much to the chagrin of investors, GoPro’s CEO announced a donation of 5.8 million company shares to help launch a new charity.

    Nicholas Woodman and his wife, Jill, said in a statement on Wednesday that they’ll make the contribution, worth $450 million, according to CNN Money, to start their eponymous organization, Jill + Nicholas Woodman Foundation. While it was a generous gesture, investors in the company that makes portable camera equipment were dismayed because the move caused shares to plummet 7 percent.

    Thanks to a charity loophole, the billionaire couple was able to make the transaction in advance of a December restriction.

    After the company’s initial public offering in June, insiders and early investors were prohibited from selling their shares for 180 days, according to the Associated Press. The limitation, known as a “lock-up agreement,” ensures that a new stock’s price remains stable before more shares enter the market.

    J.P. Morgan, the company’s underwriter, allowed the couple to break the lock-up agreement and their charity is free to sell the shares starting Friday, according to CNN.

    Woodman hasn’t yet announced the foundation’s mission yet, but said in a statement that the pair will release more information at a “later date.”

    “We wake up every morning grateful for the opportunities life has given us,” Nicholas and Jill Woodman said in a joint statement. “We hope to return the favor as best we can.”

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • Nothing Says 'German Reunification Anniversary' Like Mark Zuckerberg Standing Alone In A Sparsely Populated Room Holding A Single, Sad Balloon
  • VIDEO: Nollywood seeks fortune on the net
    Internet connectivity in Nigeria is improving and the emergence of movie streaming services may help the growth of the local film industry.
  • Social Media: Epic Power, Beauty and Terror
    Social media has taken hold of us. Most of us use it. Many of us are addicted to it. Some of us can’t stop talking about it.

    Social Media. (Note to reader: I’m going to refer to social media, a plural, in the singular.)

    Do you remember the shock wave in January 2009 that shook the media world when a tweet broke the hard news story that a plane had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River? That’s social media in action. There are now so many examples from news events. Twitter and YouTube both play well when it’s about breaking news: the Arab Spring, the Fukushima earthquake, ISIS, Ebola, etc.

    Social media has migrated to smartphones, another milestone in its ever-evolving evolution. The fourth screen is where social media is thriving and where we live most of the time. Social media is always with us. It goes where we go and we share it again and again ad-nauseam. Even if we have a tendency to paint things in a cheery light while people around the world are suffering in extreme conditions we will tweet and post as if all is well.

    Some people seem to hate social media. Recently, Tom Hawking in Flavorwire wrote a piece on Gen X novelist Bret Easton Ellis‘ tendency to conflate millennials (he calls them “Generation Wuss” and social media. It seems Ellis hates both (although last year he did tweet a shout out to Lena Dunham, a millennial icon).

    In truth, there is a beauty, power and terror in social media. It reminds me of something the Roman historian Livy said about history. As it’s best, social media captures “the infinite variety of human experience.”

    The proliferation of social networks has also created a new anxiety among human beings. It’s the “keeping up” syndrome. I remember attending a high-level 3-day Master Class on digital media in New York City last year. It was an exclusive event with about 40 people from all over the world who work on the frontlines of new media. People had flown in from New Zealand, Argentina, Sweden, France, Britain, Japan, etc. simply to be challenged and to stay abreast of all the rapid change in the digital and social media realms.

    Early on the first day we filled out a card saying why we were there. It was fascinating. Most people were there because they were afraid that they weren’t keeping up with everything and were falling behind all the change in the shifting and transformative digital landscape. Basically, most people were there out of fear. They didn’t want the world to pass them by and leave them in the dust.

    There is a lot to take in about social media. Each single platform — whether the big ones like Twitter and Facebook or some of the relatively newer ones such as Instagram, Snapchat and Tinder — require time, thought and if you use them for business, a strategy.

    Let’s take a moment and go to Statistic Brain and look at the numbers. As of this year, 1.4 billion people are on Facebook. 11 percent of the people on Earth. 680 million of those Facebook users are on mobile. Overall, Facebookers spend 640 million minutes per month on the network. Of those users, 48 percent of the 18-34 age group check Facebook as soon as they wake up.

    Let’s see about Twitter. There are nearly 646 million users. Twitter has 2.1 billion search engine queries per day. 135,000 new users open Twitter accounts every day. And, 120 million unique visitors visit Twitter every month.

    In general, the younger you go, the greater the engagement on social networks. 98 percent of 18-24 years olds in the U.S. are on social media. Every month, 490 million unique users go on YouTube.

    I could on and on with the stats but you get the picture. This is epic. It’s growing and there’s an army of young people using social media on their smartphones. Just walk around any major city in the world and see it for yourself. We live in a ever-flowing stream of tweets, posts, search queries, and likes.

    Brian Solis, a guy who thinks a lot about social media, once wrote, “At its very core, social media is not about technology, it’s about people. Connections, emotions, expression become the souls and personalities of online communities. The ties that bind them together are relationships. And it is in the value of relationships that people on either side will find value. Without value, mutual benefits, the quality of a the relationship erodes.”

    People are looking for connections. It could be finding the best product. Or, a mate. Or, simply oneself. It’s ok. It’s an imperfect set of media but it allows for creativity and self-expression as well as hate and idiocy.

    And, Solis is absolutely right: it’s about relationships. And usually there is a value for the person who is on a social media network. There’s something mutually beneficial. Again, this is part of the beauty and addictive attraction of the social media world.

    Relationships matter and they now have an economically quantifiable justification for business. A new study quantifies for the first time that “shared online content, such as recommendations between friends, now influences consumer purchases more than price and brand, carries nearly as much weight as in-person recommendations and can motivate buyers to spend 9.5 percent more for a product.” The “Return on a Share Report” was released a few months ago by ShareThis and quantified the monetary return on online recommendations.

    Kurt Abrahamson, the CEO of ShareThis, had this quote in his post about the new study: “We are seeing a fundamental shift in consumer purchasing behavior,” said Lisa Weinstein, President, Global Digital, Data and Analytics at Starcom MediaVest Group. “The explosion of social content like recommendations is having a real impact in people’s day-to-day lives, including what we buy and how much we are willing to pay. While we’ve known intrinsically that online engagement is important, being able to quantify the monetary value of online recommendations and sharing, as these findings do, is incredibly important for brands.”

    This is a good thing in my view. The positive economic impact of online relationships and social sharing is real and makes a difference.

    However, we also have another variety of human experience in the etheric universe of social media. The trolls. Slate had a story by Chris Mooney about the “the science of Internet trollology.”

    Mooney reported on a scientific study conducted by Erin Buckels and her colleagues at the University of Manitoba. They called their study “Trolls Just Want to Have Fun.” (They were trying to be ironic.) The researchers discovered a clear relationship between “trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism.”

    In other words, Internet trolls are narcissistic sadists. As the researchers put it, “Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others…Sadists just want to have fun … and the Internet is their playground!” We have sadists in everyday life. You don’t need to go online to encounter them. They’re in our offices, in our families, in our politics.

    Social media can tell us when something big happens almost in an instant. If you recommend, like or share something, a friend may buy it. And, as in other areas of life, there are sadists and psychopaths. As Livy said, the “infinite variety of human experience.” The whole living human circus is online. Social media is not just escapism but also a house of mirrors reflecting our images — good, bad and ugly — to each other. It’s a tool but it’s also a distraction within a distraction. It can help somebody make money and it can also terrorize. Welcome to our brave new world.

    I keep in mind two counterpoint quotes about this new world. Kristen Lamb in her book, Rise of the Machines — Human Authors in a Digital World, wrote that in a machine driven world with so many distractions “most of us have the attention span of a meth-addicted squirrel.”

    But there is another quote from Sherry Turkle that I prefer. She wrote in Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other: “Technology proposes itself as the architect of our intimacies.”

    It’s just a proposition but it’s hopeful. We’re the makers of our future and it will be up to us whether we end up dangling from a metaphoric online tree branch like a “meth-addicted squirrel” or if we use technology and social media to design and create our most intimate selves in the new world. You get to choose.

  • What Happens When Everyone's On Their Phone At A Party: The Musical
    It’s a tough world to navigate out there. And millennials have their own unique set of problems. Like when you go to a party and there’s no one to talk to, because everyone is on their f–king phone. Don’t you sometimes just want to chuck that piece of tech against a wall?

    Check out this musical parody from Honora Talbott about the plight of the millennial at a party full of phones.

  • Marriott Illegally Blocked People's Internet Access And Charged Them Up To $1,000 Instead
    Hotels, beware: Blocking guests’ access to Wi-Fi in order to force them to pay for your own costly Internet service is not a very nice thing to do. And, it turns out, it’s not legal either.

    The Federal Communications Commission announced Friday that it was fining Marriott International $600,000 for unlawfully blocking customers’ Wi-Fi access in a conference room at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which is operated by the company.

    According to a statement from the FCC, Marriott workers were using “Wi-Fi blocking technology” called jammers to prevent people at the hotel from using the Internet via their own personal Wi-Fi networks they established with smartphones or mobile Wi-Fi devices. Meanwhile, the hotel was charging $250 to $1,000 per device to connect to its wireless network in its conference facility.

    “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging customers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network,” said FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc in a statement. “This practice puts customers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”

    How does a hotel block Wi-Fi in the first place? The FCC defines Wi-Fi jammers as “illegal radio frequency transmitters that are designed to block, jam, or otherwise interfere with authorized radio communications.” Marriott was using these jammers to block people’s personal Wi-Fi hotspots.

    Though the FCC is telling Marriott to stop the Wi-Fi blocking, the hotel chain maintains that what it was doing wasn’t illegal.

    “Like many other institutions and companies in a wide variety of industries, including hospitals and universities, the Gaylord Opryland protected its Wi-Fi network by using FCC-authorized equipment provided by well-known, reputable manufacturers,” a Marriott spokesperson said in a statement emailed to The Huffington Post. “We believe that the Opryland’s actions were lawful.”

  • 80 Years Fly By In 7 Seconds In This Blink-Of-An-Eye Take On Life
    Ready, set, go!

    This Vine illustrator may have only have seven seconds to depict the whole span of a woman’s life, but Eisaku sure does manage to cover a lot of ground. The first sketch features a baby girl, complete with a round belly and flushed cheeks, but the clip quickly races forward in time.

    Blink and you’ll miss it, but this pencil-and-paper transformation is a pretty incredible one. And because it’s a Vine, no sooner does it reach the end than it starts all over again. (Cue the chorus from “The Circle Of Life.”)

    H/T Digg

  • Incredibly Smart Mirror Gives Spot-On Compliments, Reminds Us We're All Truly Beautiful
    What a sweet talker.

    This mirror on display in an Ikea store in Wembley, London, is telling shoppers how fabulous they are by doling out tailored compliments. And they don’t even have to prod with, “Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?”

    The mirror, featured in the video above, uses Xbox Kinect motion sensor technology, which detects data about shoppers’ facial and body features and then activates a corresponding compliment stored within the system.

    “That’s a magnificent beard.”
    ikea mirror

    “Darling, your dress looks amazing!”
    ikea mirror

    Earlier this year, IKEA’s Life At Home report revealed that a morning self-esteem boost can work wonders on a person’s demeanor for the day. The mirror addresses a deeper truth that the majority of people are critical rather than accepting of their physical appearance, according to the study.

    “I was walking down the aisle, and this amazing mirror just whistled at me,” one of the shoppers in the video above says. “Great for me, I never get compliments. I could have stood there all day to be honest.”

    Now how can we get one of these in our bathroom?

    H/T Buzzfeed

    Like Us On Facebook
    Follow Us On Twitter

  • If You've Ever Received An Unwanted Sext, This Is For You
    Sexting has become a reality of modern dating, whether you like it or not. (Let’s be honest: if you’ve seen one dick pic, you’ve seen ’em all.)

    Don’t just sit there and take it, though. As Distractify’s comedy writer Rob Fee illustrates below, the best way to handle a relentless sexter is to troll them — and troll them hard.

    Godspeed, daters.

    For five more hilarious responses, head over to Distractify.

    Keep in touch! Check out HuffPost Divorce on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for our newsletter here.

  • Under Pressure, Google Gives Security Guards Same Benefits As Other Workers
    A little more than a year after unionized guards protested low wages outside Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., the company is attempting to make its security jobs a bit more secure.

    Google said Thursday it is dropping the outside contractor Security Industry Specialists and would rely solely on in-house security personnel by the beginning of next month. The contractor’s low wages and scarce working hours had made the plight of its workers a poster-child of income inequality in Silicon Valley.

    “Building an in-house security team is something we are excited to do,” a Google spokeswoman said in a statement sent to The Huffington Post on Friday. “A year ago we in-sourced the Google security operations center and we are looking forward to making these valued positions both full- and part-time Google employees.”

    Google’s new security team will have access to the same benefits as the rest of its employees, though it remains unclear if they will be offered to both full- and part-time guards. Google did not respond to questions about how much of the team would be full time.

    According to USA Today, many janitors, security guards and bus drivers in Silicon Valley are employed by contractors. This practice, which lowers costs for the tech companies, ends up hurting wages, benefits and safety conditions for the workers doing such jobs.

    Loren Diers, a spokesman for Security Industry Specialists, did not immediately return a call requesting comment.

    The company’s deal with Security Industry Specialists had been in the spotlight for some time — most prominently last year, when security guards picketed outside Google headquarters to protest the disparity between employees at the tech behemoth and the contractors who protect them.

    Employees at the Los Angeles-based contractor complained last year of erratic shifts and $16-an-hour wages. Manny Cardenas, a security guard stationed at Google, told NPR at the time that he was rarely scheduled for more than 30 hours per week, netting only $1,400 on a good month.

    He received no benefits, unlike the lavish benefits — free laundry service, for instance — allotted to the Google employees he protected.

    “You feel like you’re different,” he said in an interview on NPR’s Morning Edition. “Even though you’re working in the same place, you’re still an outsider.”

  • Here's How The Internet Helped Reunite A Girl With Her Beloved Lost Blankie
    It’s called a security blanket for a reason.

    And when it goes missing, as it did for Hayley, an 8-year-old girl whose cherished pink blankie has comforted her after every seizure she’s had since she was just a few months old, it’s worth asking the Internet’s help to retrieve it.

    According to a Facebook page set up for Hayley, she has Dravet syndrome, “a rare and catastrophic form of intractable epilepsy that begins in infancy,” the Dravet Syndrome Foundation notes. Nurses in the pediatric intensive care unit gave Hayley the blanket nearly a decade ago, Colorado Springs’ 11 News reports.

    After the blanket went missing following church Sunday, Hayley’s aunt, Nichole Montanez, posted a photo of the blanket, named “Kiki,” on 11 News’ Facebook page, hoping someone might help.

    Montanez’s post, which featured a picture of Hayley with the blanket, read:

    MISSING: One pink blanket named Kiki. The blanket on the far right is 8 years old — same age as the girl she belongs to. This is not just any blanket. Kiki came to live with her girl at her very first hospital stay at 4 months old. Kiki has been there for dozens of hospital stays since — not to mention 7 or 8 moves, half a dozen life flights, too many ambulance rides, thousands of seizures, millions of smiles, giggles and memories. … Please share! She will never understand why it’s gone.

    Just hours later, the Facebook post had been shared more than 800 times, reports 11 News, ultimately catching the eye of Kirby Neely, a pastor at the church they’d recently attended. A quick dig through the dumpster produced the irreplaceable blanket, which Neely returned earlier this week.

    In a followup post on the 11 News Facebook page, Montanez thanked the station for its help in finding the blanket. “So very grateful! Thanks for making this happen. We owe ya one — or a hundred,” she wrote.

    It seems the Internet has a soft spot for reuniting children with beloved objects. In September, the community of Frederick, Maryland, shared a Facebook post about a 2-year-old’s lost stuffed animal more than 1,000 times. A stranger happened to notice the stuffed rabbit, named “Monsieur Bun Bun,” lying in the street, picked it up, and returned it to the family.

    WATCH the touching reunion between Hayley and her blanket, above.

  • No One Should Live Outside the Web of Connectivity
    The national health systems of Sierra Leone and Liberia are barely functioning, and increasing pressure on them risks a complete meltdown, according to reports in popular media. Coordination of services to contain the Ebola outbreak remains fragmented and under resourced.

    In an article as tragic as it is frightening, Adam Nossiter of the New York Times details how people are dying from Ebola in Makeni, Sierra Leone. The article reads like the script from a horror movie with no happy ending in sight.

    The story sent shivers down my spine, and it coincided with my return from a meeting near London of IT and communications professionals with major international agencies gearing up to meet this crisis at scale. The fact is, the response is far behind the spreading virus, and while this is belatedly being addressed, it will take long-term, sustained attention to bring the contagion under control. Time is an enemy, and the complications of scaling up are many.

    International agencies are dealing with major crises from Syria to Gaza to the Central African Republic. The World Health Organization currently lists eight Grade 3 emergencies, which are situations that require substantial international response. They are: Central African Republic, Guinea, Iraq, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and The Syrian Arab Republic.

    This means the various agencies designed to deal with such emergencies were already being stretched before Ebola struck. Equally frustrating is the fact that this crisis graphically demonstrates how the lack of reliable communication today is a matter of life and death, but communication infrastructure lags behind human need.

    The Tipping Point

    Nearly every input imaginable is needed for this crisis from skilled personnel, to vehicles to transport the ill and the deceased, to a supply chain for materials, to communications for internal operations and external messaging, to technical personnel to support the technology, to facilities for isolating ill persons and myriad other physical and personnel needs.

    What is called for now is urgent placement of skilled staff in the affected regions, facilities to support isolation and treatment, and material resources such as gloves, disinfectants, medications, body bags, protective suits and equipment.

    But too many leaders, including global leaders and church leaders, have underestimated the significance of communication and the infrastructure necessary for it to work. We have reached a tipping point in our understanding of humanitarian aid. It is no longer limited to food, shelter, clothing, water and medicines. Lack of communications capacity has exacerbated this crisis.

    The ability to communicate and the quality of the information delivered are matters of life and death. Pure and simple, communication is aid.

    And humanitarian aid, like so many other necessary daily functions, is becoming digitized. This means that globally, communication infrastructure, messaging and personal communication devices will become essential for daily affairs, much as they already are in the global North.

    A Paradigm Shift

    In the short-term future, we will see a paradigm shift toward digital humanitarian aid through the use of smart cards and mobile services. And this is changing older methods of providing aid because the new model is faster, more efficient and more economical, and it will reach more people. It also makes aid customizable and personal. And this means it is measurable, and the delivery system can be made more accountable.

    This may seem like a pipe dream, but we are, in fact, already seeing how digital tools are being used in refugee settlements in the Middle East, and this will only grow as the systems become perfected.

    The Ebola crisis is demonstrating that in this new age of pervasive technology, no one on the planet is so isolated that they can exist outside the global web of connectivity that delivers life-enhancing, and life-saving, information. And it is demonstrating that those concerned with humanitarian assistance to people in crisis situations must be at the forefront of this new era of technology for good because to do otherwise is to allow events to spiral out of control, with tragic results.

    Text messages, such as this one from United Methodist Communications, represent the new form of digital aid being used in the international response to the Ebola crisis. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications.

  • Forums: Mac OS X optimization utilities, iPhone 6, iOS 8
    This week has been rather slow in the MacNN forums, however debates rage on about the new iPhone 6. Conversations continue about problems with iOS 8, and of course our helpful forum-goers assist with troubleshooting. One Fresh-Faced Recruit has recommended some good Mac utilities to use for optimizing OS X. In the thread titled “iPhone 6 or iPhone 6+,” members continue to debate the usefulness of each device, and why they would pick one over the other.

  • If You Use Chase Bank, Watch Out For Email Scams Right Now
    After disclosing that an attack on its computer system compromised the accounts of more than half of all U.S. households, the nation’s biggest bank is trying to put customers’ worries at ease.

    No money or Social Security numbers were stolen in the attack, and the bank hasn’t seen “any unusual customer fraud,” JPMorgan said Thursday in a regulatory filing.

    But the information that was compromised — client names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses — could still put customers at risk of identity theft, security experts say.

    Hackers often use such information for so-called phishing attacks, in which fraudulent emails are sent to intended victims that appear to come from bank representatives. JPMorgan customers were targeted by such an attack as recently as August, when hackers sent bogus emails that prompted them to enter their account credentials and attempted to download malicious software onto their computers.

    chase bank

    An email sent to Chase customers in a recent phishing scam. (Photo: Proofpoint Inc.)

    It’s unclear whether that scam is related to the JPMorgan attack, which started in June and was detected in July. But security experts said the information stolen in the breach could be valuable to thieves who want to trick victims into handing over account information.

    The accessed information could allow hackers to tailor their email attacks more precisely. The hackers got ahold of internal bank information about whether customers were clients of Chase’s mortgage, credit card or auto loan divisions, Chase spokeswoman Kristin Lemkau.

    “If hackers know that all of these email addresses belong to Chase customers, they can take advantage of that,” said Chester Wisniewski, a researcher at the security firm Sophos.

    Stolen email addresses, he said, “can and will lead to identity theft.”

    Lemkau said that email phishing attacks are “the biggest risk” for customers affected by the breach, which includes anyone who has used one of Chase’s websites or mobile apps.

    The bank’s website urged customers to be cautious of any communications that ask for their personal information.

    “Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails from unknown senders or other suspicious email,” the bank’s website said. “We will never ask you to enter your personal information in an email or text message.”

    Lemkau said customers don’t need new debit or credit cards and don’t need to change their passwords, because that information was not compromised. The bank said it is continuing to investigate the breach, and that customers should watch their accounts, as customers will not be liable for fraudulent transactions if they alert the bank promptly.

    The JPMorgan breach is just the latest in a string of cyberattacks against major corporations that have exposed the personal information of millions of people. Last month, Home Depot said about 56 million customer debit and credit cards were put at risk after hackers broke into the company’s payment systems. A cyberattack against Target last year compromised the credit card information of 40 million customers.

    But Wisniewski said the JPMorgan attack is still more troubling. That hackers could find a way into Wall Street’s computer networks — which are among the most secure networks in the American economy — shows how sophisticated they have become, he said.

    “The financial sector should be very concerned,” Wisniewski said.

  • Sowing Seeds for Girls in STEM
    When I was in 2nd grade, my aunt asked me if I knew how to spell “engineer”: E-N-G-I-N-E-E-R.

    My aunt is an aerospace engineer, and, not surprisingly, my first STEM role model. As the years went on, she would always have me recite “engineer” back to her whenever she came in town to visit and would share stories about what she was working on with Boeing. My pediatrician was female. My first science and math teachers were female. I almost obsessively watched Bill Nye the Science Guy, a man. Am I an anomaly or is there a reason I fell in love with science? Although women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, they hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs.

    I pursued my childhood dream and became a professional dancer, but once I realized my dancing life had an expiration date, I chose the career that was familiar all my life. When it came time for college, I chose to focus on engineering and when it was time to choose a major, I had discovered the possibilities engineering offers in the fields of aerospace, mechanical, electrical, biomedical, nuclear, chemical and more. Most girls growing up do not realize chemical engineering can range from developing lipstick to the coating on a handbag.

    Today I am a chemical engineer working with FirstBuild, an innovative new microfactory that fosters co-creation and getting products from mind to market in months. FirstBuild was spawned by GE Appliances as a way to develop products that consumers really want.

    I recently had the opportunity to speak to a first grade class where I asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

    “Football player!”

    I accepted these as general kid-friendly answers. But then I decided to run a little experiment, so I asked, “Does anyone know what an engineer does?”

    “Drives trains?”
    “Fix cars?”
    “Make cars?”
    Mostly silence.

    I gleaned two things from this experiment: 1) Children don’t understand the range of career fields in STEM and 2) what they think engineers do sounds very “boy-ish.”

    So is one of the missing links between successfully creating a new generation of rocket scientists, computer programmers and technology geniuses simply that they aren’t exposed to any role models? Are we not lifting up scientists and engineers? Where is the Serena Williams of the STEM world?

    It’s up to us as women in STEM to pass the thirst for knowledge to the younger generation. One positive development is the nascent maker movement which is gaining popularity in communities around the nation. The maker movement enables anyone with an idea to grow it into a useable product, so it is a great way for women and girls to get involved.

    Because of the growing momentum of the maker movement, online co-creation communities like FirstBuild.com are encouraging people to get involved and you don’t need a degree to do so. Those who think they might have a great idea or figured out a better way to do something can get involved today. Who better than young women to let us know what they want in their home appliances of the future? The world needs their ideas, passion and involvement. Online communities like FirstBuild are a great way for those with an interest in math and science to network with likeminded people.

    Another way to get involved in the maker community is with Maker Faire. There were 195,000 attendants at the Maker Faires in New York and San Francisco in 2013, with at least half bringing children. Called “the greatest show and tell on earth,” you can think of Maker Faire as a combination of a science fair, new technology showcase and street fair. With approximately 100 events each year all over the world, it’s easy to find one nearby and stoke your daughter’s intellectual curiosity.

    After attending the New York Maker Faire with FirstBuild, I can attest to seeing the excitement in children’s eyes when they were exposed to new technology and engineering concepts. The special thing about Maker Faire is you will often see the founders and CEOs standing by their booth and talking about their product. Kids have the opportunity to engage with these developers and to interact with their creations like a 3D printed jewelry or a 3D printed car.

    Women can succeed in STEM careers, they just have to know they exist and understand why science and math are important. Maybe you’ll inspire a young girl to become an engineer.

    Can you spell O-P-P-O-R-T-U-N-I-T-Y?

  • Chinese iPhone 6 reservations exceed four million
    Chinese reservations for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are already over the four million mark, reports Tencent. The devices hit the 2 million mark just a few hours after reservations opened and have now doubled after a full day. The new data is said to have been culled directly from companies processing the reservations for carriers and retailers.

iPhone Application Development

iphone/ipad apps

custom iphone / ipad apps development

Android Application Development

android apps

custom android app

Windows Mobile Development

windows apps

windows mobile application development

Blackberry Application development

blackberry apps

Blackberry application development

follow us
follow mobile phone developers Digital Workshed on facebook
follow iPhone, iPad & android app developers Digital Workshed on twitter
connect with iOS & android developers Digital Workshed on LinkedIn