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Mobile Technology News, September 25, 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.

  • New poll suggests iPhone 6, 6 Plus will draw Android switchers
    A new survey suggests that the latest iPhone is attracting a very broad range of customers, with primarily four groups of roughly the same size who say they plan to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. About 26 percent were, as one might expect, current iPhone owners looking to upgrade. About 20 percent said they don’t own a phone. A quarter of the 250 poll respondents indicated they would be switching from a non-Android phone, and other 27 percent say they will dump Android for iOS.



  • Yahoo Parts Ways With ALEC
    Another tech giant is parting ways with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

    Yahoo’s withdrawal from the group was confirmed in a statement to Common Cause late Wednesday.

    “We’ve decided to discontinue our membership in ALEC. We periodically review our membership in organizations and, at this time, we will no longer participate in the ALEC Task Force on Communications and Technology,” the company stated.

    The controversial conservative policy group has come under fire in recent years for promoting pro-business legislation that rolls back protections on civil rights, environmental, labor and public health laws, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. ALEC also generated or disseminated voter suppression legislation and helped craft the “stand your ground” laws that were adopted in 31 states, including Florida, where teenager Trayvon Martin was shot to death.

    Microsoft, Facebook and Google recently distanced themselves from ALEC.

    A Facebook spokesperson said the company was unlikely to renew its membership in 2015 because of disagreements on “some key issues,” National Journal reported.

    Google Chairman Eric Schmidt even went so far as to call its affiliation with ALEC “a mistake.”

    “Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” Schmidt said on Diane Rehm’s syndicated call-in radio show. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”

    ALEC spokesman Bill Meierling disagrees with Schmidt’s assessment.

    We are not climate-change deniers, we’re not anything of the sort,” Meierling said, according to the Washington Post. “We do have serious reservations about how implementation is being done by the government.”

    Earlier on Wednesday, Yelp announced that it parted ways with ALEC several months ago after receiving backlash from the public. Luther Lowe, Yelp’s director of public policy, also cited ALEC’s lack of transparency.

    “We suggested ALEC invite C-SPAN to fully cover their meetings,” Lowe stated. “Such sunlight on the organization would exert important pressure on ALEC to steer clear of controversial issues it has taken up in the past, while revealing to the broader public that providing a forum for policy makers and industry leaders to collaborate can result in consumer benefit (as was our experience).”

    To date, more than 90 companies have left ALEC over its positions and actions. However, AOL (the parent company of The Huffington Post) and eBay are still members.

  • Central Michigan University Launches Beer-Making Program
    DETROIT (AP) — Colleges and beer have a long shared history. A university in Michigan is taking that partnership to a new level with the creation of a program to train and certify experts in “fermentation science.”

    Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant this week announced plans to launch the program in fall 2015, aimed particularly at supporting and boosting the state’s fast-growing craft brewing industry, now a $1 billion-plus annual business.

    “As of 2013, Michigan ranked fifth in the nation in number of breweries, behind only California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington,” said Ian Davison, dean of the College of Science and Technology at the Mount Pleasant school.

    Central Michigan bills its undergraduate program as the first in the state specifically aimed at providing a “hands-on education focused on craft beer.” Similar programs operate at the University of California’s Davis and San Diego campuses and at Oregon State and Central Washington universities.

    Michigan State University has operated an artisan distilling program for 15 years and last year started a beverage specialization program that also includes beer and wine-making.

    The Central Michigan program will include classroom and lab work in biochemistry, chemistry and microbiology, as well as a 200-hour internship in a “production-scale facility.”

    The university, which is about 150 miles northwest of Detroit, said it’s collaborating with the Mountain Town Brewing Co. and Hunter’s Ale House in developing the program.

    Program director Cordell DeMattei said it “will fill a need in the state and across the region for students to learn the science and technology underlying brewing … and provides the training needed by future leaders of the craft brewing industry.”

    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in small-scale, local, high-quality beer-making.

    Rob Sirrine of the Michigan State University Extension said more than 400 acres of hops, beer’s key flavoring ingredient, are under cultivation in Michigan. Growers’ main market is small-sale in-state brewers, he said.

    Behind the growth in demand for high-end beer is a long-running fascination with the brewing process, one of the oldest forms of human food processing.

    “There’s a lot of romantic attachment to beer,” said Scott Graham, executive director of the Michigan Brewers Guild. The Lansing-based group represents the state’s microbreweries, now numbering more than 160, and helped win passage this year of laws allowing them to expand.

    In-state microbrewers currently have 5 percent of Michigan’s beer market, a share that could easily double or triple, Graham said.

    Online:

    Program details: http://bit.ly/1v0aAXG

    Michigan Brewers Guild: http://www.mibeer.com

  • DxO optics: iPhone 6, 6 Plus are best smartphone cameras
    Backing up anecdotal evidence and tests by independent third parties such as the Wall Street Journal, high-end image software and optical lens testing company DxO Optics has issued its DxOMark ranking of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, finding that both models beat the formerly top-rated Samsung Galaxy S5 and Sony Xperia Z3. The company, which also ranks high-end DSLR lenses, proclaimed that the new iPhones “set the gold standard for smartphone image quality.”



  • Norwich University Blocks Yik Yak App On Campus
    NORTHFIELD, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont college president has blocked access to an anonymous social media site because he says it was being used for cyberattacks against some students.

    Norwich University President Richard Schneider says he realized his decision to block access to the Yik Yak application via the school’s computer system is largely symbolic because students can access it elsewhere, but he says he had to do something.

    “I just know that it is hurting my students right now,” he says. “They are feeling awkward, they are feeling hurt, they are feeling threatened.”

    Norwich has launched an internal investigation, but no reports of criminal behavior have been made, the school says in a statement.

    Yik Yak describes itself as an anonymous gossip app that was launched last November.

    In a number of instances elsewhere across the country, people have been charged with crimes for making online threats or harassing someone via Yik Yak.

    Yik Yak says in a statement that like any social media app, it was liable to misuse. It says that it has blocked access nationwide from areas near most middle and high schools and that the app is only intended for use by people 17 or older.

    “Additionally, the app monitors conversations and posts, and any negative or harmful behavior can result in the respective user being blocked, or altogether banned from future use,” the statement says. “Yik Yak also finds that as more users sign up and start using the app, communities begin to self-regulate in a positive way.”

    Yik Yak was one of a number of new anonymous social media apps that have become popular in the last year, says Sameer Hinduja, a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida Atlantic University and the co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center.

    “People were using it to say very cruel and malicious and even threatening and humiliating things,” Hinduja says.

    That’s what prompted Yik Yak to block its use from areas within about 1.5 miles of middle schools and high schools, but not colleges, Hinduja says.

    “The app owners were very clear they did not want to provide the same sort of geo-fencing and blocking around colleges because it’s a little bit less of a vulnerable population, we’re dealing with what we hope would be considered adults,” he says.

  • Why is that lamp-post watching me?
    Why is that lamp-post watching me?
  • Weather report: Forecasts improving
    How weather forecasting is becoming more accurate
  • Indian Orbiter Reaches Mars, Gets Adorable Greeting From NASA's Curiosity Rover
    India’s space program announced Wednesday that it successfully put a spacecraft into orbit around Mars. The feat not only marks one big step for the space program, but also one giant leap for Martian robot friendship.

    After successfully entering Mars’ orbit this week, India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) spacecraft was immediately greeted with a “tweet” around 3 a.m. GMT Wednesday by a fellow Mars explorer, NASA’s Curiosity rover, prompting what may have been the best Twitter exchange ever:

    Namaste, @MarsOrbiter! Congratulations to @ISRO and India’s first interplanetary mission upon achieving Mars orbit.

    — Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) September 24, 2014

    Howdy @MarsCuriosity ? Keep in touch. I’ll be around.

    — ISRO’s Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 24, 2014

    “Brilliant! Mars Orbiter interacting with Mars Curiosity. That’s the beauty of Twitter,” commented Twitter user Jitendra Jain after seeing the friendly exchange between MOM and Curiosity.

    Meanwhile, a Redditor with the username “oldterribleman,” quipped on Wednesday, “This is the kind of thing that unites humanity and for a moment erases borders. Bravo!”

    Within the first four hours of launching its Twitter account, @MarsOrbiter had more than 32,000 followers, BBC News reported. And, the hashtags #IndiaAtMars, #marsorbitormission and #Martian were among the top 10 Twitter trends in India.

    This was India’s first attempt to get the spacecraft — also called Mangalyaan, which means “Mars craft” in Hindi — into the Red Planet’s orbit, making the country the first Asian nation to successfully to do so.

    The orbiter is expected to circle Mars for at least six months, using solar-powered instruments to collect scientific data from the Red Planet’s atmosphere.

  • Video's Popularity Rises and the Screens Converge: Fresh Steps to Fully Capitalize
    As autumn draws near and this year’s final upfront results roll in, we’re seeing a slightly softer TV ad market than in past years. It’s clear from the sheer magnitude of TV spending that the biggest screen is a persistent mainstay and high priority. However, changes playing out this year also hint of desire among marketers to stay more flexible in the way they approach TV.

    The explanation is likely rooted in the continuing growth of TV programs being watched on internet connected devices that suggests “TV” and “Digital” can no longer be viewed as completely separate media investments. The rise in consumption of TV programming across screens, along with the quickening rate of overall connected TV adoption is making a true multi-screen video ad strategy feel more and more important to brands.

    Some developments over the past year are shedding further light on video advertising’s future, and the opportunity connected devices bring marketers to enhance consumers’ experience with their favorite programming and brands. There is strong evidence of a gradual yet steady march in the ad world to a full link up of digital rich video advertising with the new premium content ad opportunity that connected TVs now represents:

    For one, the internet is feeding TV consumption in an increasingly seamless way – 34 percent of U. S. homes already own a smart TV, 20 percent own a streaming device and a whopping 62 percent own a gaming console, all of which are being used, in part, to stream TV from the internet. In addition, according to Parks Associates, 60 percent of connected TV homes are watching TV programs via the Internet, and a recent report from eMarketer states that, in 2015, the majority of US Internet users will be using a connected TV [1].

    On top of the impact that the pure growth in internet video streaming on connected TVs being observed will likely have on the video ad strategy, the relationship between TV and tablet viewing is also getting closer. As of Q1 2014, Parks Associates reports that ownership rates of tablets have quadrupled to 61 percent of broadband homes, with 41 percent making regular use of TV apps1. Together these trends signal an important opportunity for advertisers, networks and TV providers alike, to deliver richer ad experiences to audiences across screens.

    And, in a separate development this summer, NBCUniversal had a relatively strong showing in the upfronts ($6 billion vs. $5.4 billion last year) highlighting the potential impact that changing viewing habits may already be having on future TV spending. NBCU demonstrated the appeal that cross-screen ad opportunities hold for marketers and their brands to reach TV audiences, efficiently and seamlessly across all. We should expect to see more requests for ad inventory that is bundled and delivered across screens in 2015 from brands and agencies seeking to better reach target TV audiences regardless of where they are watching their favorite programming.

    A survey by eMarketer earlier this year reinforces the point, “75 percent of media planners are either planning for connected TV advertising opportunities now or will be this year [2].” Another indication that in all that’s already changed about connected behaviors and adoption, it’s becoming less and less feasible to approach TV and digital as discreet and separate parts of a communication strategy driven by separate investment criteria.

    In short, continued strong adoption of connected TV and the growth in internet streamed video viewed across mobile and online screens looks like a wave just building to full strength, with TV representing the final leg of the digital media stool.

    Not surprisingly, according to the Accenture Interactive CMO Study 2014, 42 percent of executives expect “managing change” to be the biggest barrier to implementing digital business initiatives. “The final piece that will make this transition possible will be the integration of online advertising capabilities that have already created new and innovative avenues for brands to successfully engage with consumers on the other screens [3].”

    Just how popular video has become to us over the past few years is best revealed in this quote from Ron Harevo, president of video, AOL “…we’re getting to a point where screen agnostic is the only way you can approach consumers, because they watch more videos on every platform…mobile and tablets are taking off and connected TV is the next new thing”

    As digital device usage continues to grow, it’s likely to become an important contributor to growth in video ad spending for years to come. OTT streaming will exceed $14 billion in 2018 according to PWC, this compares with $4.6 billion in 2014. It highlights well the strength and vitality of the US digital video ecosystem. “We’re in the midst of perfect storm conditions with audience growth consumer habits, device ad options, content availability and ad opportunities spinning in a virtuous circle,” said Harevo.

    Converging workflows in a time of fundamentally changing behaviors and digital ad possibilities highlights the need for overcoming any limitations that current org structures and/or business processes have on the ability to truly optimize on a cross screen rich video ad strategy.

    1. “The Evolution of Advanced TV Advertising Strategies.” Parks Associates (2014)
    2″Connected TV Ads Important for Future–but Few Know How to Buy Them.” eMarketer. 15 May 2014.
    3 “Content Kings: The Changing Landscape of TV Consumption.” Digital Capital Advisors (2013).

    Jacqueline Corbelli is the Founder, Chairman, CEO BrightLine, and Author of recently released book, REVEALED: Thoughts on the Connected Revolution

    Follow Jacqueline Corbelli on Twitter

  • Racist Posts On Yik Yak Prompt Student Protest At Colgate University
    Students at Colgate University have held a campus sit-in for three straight days, prompted in part by racist messages on the anonymous social media app Yik-Yak.

    The protest started Monday when 300 students filed into the school’s admissions building in Hamilton, New York, to demonstrate against the treatment of minority students on campus and the university’s lack of diversity.

    Inside Higher Ed reports that the protest was not only inspired by messages on Yik Yak, but by messages on other social media sites and comments made in person to students on the campus bus. Bigoted messages on Yik Yak have reportedly increased since the demonstration began (scroll down for examples).

    @colgateuniv @colgateacc #canyouhearusnow pic.twitter.com/rv1VL2iQnh

    — K. Kemp-DeLisser (@doctorkaykaydee) September 23, 2014

    #Studentpower #canyouhearusnow @colgateacc making noise for #justice #inspiring #standup pic.twitter.com/APxNLSqBME

    — The Throwaways (@throwawaysdoc) September 23, 2014

    Leading the protest efforts is the student-run organization Colgate University Association of Critical Collegians (ACC), who are promoting the sit-in on social media with the hashtags #CanYouHearUsNow and #ThisIsColgate. The group is also posting student video testimonials on YouTube, as well as photographs of students sharing their stories with handmade signs on Instagram.

    A statement on the ACC’s Tumblr page explains that the demonstration aims to raise awareness about various microagressions experienced by minority students at Colgate, whose undergraduate student body is approximately 70 percent white.

    Additionally, the ACC published an action plan for administrators to help make Colgate more inclusive; the plan includes suggestions like requiring all faculty and staff to participate in sustained diversity training, making more financial aid available to needy students and hiring more minority faculty members.

    “Until those action plans are met, we will pursue our sit-in here at the Hurwitz Office of Admission building,” Sydni Bond, a student spokesperson for ACC, told Inside Higher Ed.

    School officials responded Wednesday afternoon in writing to ACC’s suggestions, with university president Jeffrey Herbst calling its response “comprehensive and intentional.”

    “We believe our response will be the basis for further discussion,” Herbst said in a statement, adding that “Bias incidents and racism, while not unique to Colgate, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. They have no place on a college campus, and they have no place at Colgate. We have heard you, and we will join you in the common goal of creating a campus environment that is welcoming and supportive of all of our students.”

    The school didn’t publish online the written response it delivered directly to student activists. On the ACC’s Facebook page, several members expressed dismay with the document, with one characterizing it as “severely inadequate.

    The administration gave us a vague response to the action plans,” read a tweet from the group Wednesday night, added that members were taking a dinner break before resuming discussions.

    Note: The following tweets contain offensive language that may be upsetting to some readers.

    Two more examples of the racism at Colgate University #CanYouHearUsNow @colgateacc pic.twitter.com/hzWj6Wtu4j

    — Cece (@CeceSoPretty_) September 23, 2014

    Two insensitive Racist anonymous comments made by Colgate students on Yik Yak #CanYouHearUsNow @colgateacc pic.twitter.com/SJUacqzfkV

    — Cece (@CeceSoPretty_) September 22, 2014

  • New 'Bash' Software Bug May Pose Bigger Threat Than 'Heartbleed'
    (Adds comments from Department of Homeland Security, and comments from corporate security experts)
    By Jim Finkle
    BOSTON, Sept 24 (Reuters) – A newly discovered security bug in a widely used piece of Linux software, known as “Bash,” could pose a bigger threat to computer users than the “Heartbleed” bug that surfaced in April, cyber experts warned on Wednesday.
    Bash is the software used to control the command prompt on many Unix computers. Hackers can exploit a bug in Bash to take complete control of a targeted system, security experts said.
    The Department of Homeland Security’s United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or US-CERT, issued an alert saying the vulnerability affected Unix-based operating systems including Linux and Apple Inc’s Mac OS X.
    The “Heartbleed” bug allowed hackers to spy on computers but not take control of them, according to Dan Guido, chief executive of a cybersecurity firm Trail of Bits.
    “The method of exploiting this issue is also far simpler. You can just cut and paste a line of code and get good results.”
    Tod Beardsley, an engineering manager at cybersecurity firm Rapid7, warned the bug was rated a “10” for severity, meaning it has maximum impact, and rated “low” for complexity of exploitation, meaning it is relatively easy for hackers to launch attacks.
    “Using this vulnerability, attackers can potentially take over the operating system, access confidential information, make changes, et cetera,” Beardsley said. “Anybody with systems using Bash needs to deploy the patch immediately.”
    US-CERT advised computer users to obtain operating systems updates from software makers. It said that Linux providers including Red Hat Inc had already prepared them, but it did not mention an update for OS X. Apple representatives could not be reached.
    Tavis Ormandy, a Google Inc security researcher, said via Twitter that the patches seemed “incomplete.” Ormandy could not be reached to elaborate, but several security experts said a brief technical comment provided on Twitter raised concerns.
    “That means some systems could be exploited even though they are patched,” said Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer with security software maker Veracode.
    He said corporate security teams had spent the day combing their networks to find vulnerable machines and patch them, and they would likely be taking other precautions to mitigate the potential for attacks in case the patches proved ineffective.
    “Everybody is scrambling to patch all of their Internet-facing Linux machines. That is what we did at Veracode today,” he said. “It could take a long time to get that done for very large organizations with complex networks.”
    “Heartbleed,” discovered in April, is a bug in an open-source encryption software called OpenSSL. The bug put the data of millions of people at risk as OpenSSL is used in about two-thirds of all websites. It also forced dozens of technology companies to issue security patches for hundreds of products that use OpenSSL.
    Bash is a shell, or command prompt software, produced by the non-profit Free Software Foundation. Officials with that group could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Jim Finkle; Editing by Tiffany Wu and Ken Wills)
  • Paula Deen Aims For Comeback With 'Uncensored' New Digital Network
    A year ago, Paula Deen’s career was in free fall.

    After the Southern chef revealed her history of racially insensitive comments in a 2013 deposition, her sponsors abandoned her en masse, her publisher refused to publish her latest book and the Food Network cancelled her long-running TV show. Some speculated that Deen would never be able to recuperate from the blows the scandal dealt her.

    But now Deen is trying to prove her critics wrong by staging a daring comeback. On Wednesday, she launched the Paula Deen Network, an online platform for her cooking and lifestyle content, with a heavy focus on video.

    In a phone interview with The Huffington Post, Deen explained that she decided to start the new venture after thousands of fans pledged their support for her online in the wake of the scandal.

    “One of my salvations in that year and three or four months when I was out of the public eye was a website that one of my family members showed me — it was ‘We support Paula Deen.’ And I saw that my website had grown to over four and a half million people,” she said, referring to her popular Facebook page. “That was staggering to me, that my website had actually grown rather than decreasing.”

    Deen said her team polled the most loyal fans about what she should do next, and found that many of them wanted to see her do something digital, rather than return to TV.

    “We listened to them, and we said, ‘Why not?’ It’s been one of the most wonderful business decisions of my life,” Deen said. “Every day that I go to work, I walk in and I ask my team, ‘Are we calling this work again today? Because it’s so much fun.'”

    According to Deen, the key advantage of having her own network — as opposed to starring in a show on someone else’s network — is that she has complete creative control over the content. No network executives are hovering over her shoulder looking to veto risky decisions.

    “When you’re on a major network, they have the control over what you say, what you do, what you air,” she said. “And I think my friends want more than that from me. And this way, we can give it to ’em. We show warts and all. There’s very little editing.

    “When you watch a cooking show — besides the so many competitive shows that are going on — it looks like everything’s perfect, and all that, and that’s just not the case,” she continued. “We show it the way it unrolls. Most of the time it is perfect. But sometimes it’s not. Sometimes I set off the fire alarm. Sometimes my oven doesn’t work!”

    Deen’s network has no sponsors or advertising; instead, its revenue will come entirely from viewers. Subscriptions to the Paula Deen Network cost $9.99 a month, or $7.99 a month if you sign up for an entire year. The strategy is a major gamble. Though a few media personalities, such as Glenn Beck, have made a fortune from online subscriptions, many others have failed to break through and turn a profit. It’s hard to get people to pay for content when so many websites are giving it away for free.

    The Paula Deen Network’s financial backer, Phoenix-based private equity firm Najafi Cos., has staked a great deal on this model, having reportedly invested $100 million to purchase a majority share of the company. The firm recently acquired the rights to all Deen’s old Food Network shows, which will be featured on the “Vintage Paula” section of the website.

    “Thirteen years of footage, everything that had landed on the floor, all the specials: we have it all,” Deen said of her archives.

    While the older material will certainly attract loyal Deen fans, the fate of the new venture will ultimately depend on the strength and popularity of its original programming. The site already features over 100 original clips, organized into several dozen shows, from “Paula’s 5 & Dime,” a showcase for quick recipes with no more than five ingredients, to game shows like “What Did Paula Deen Just Put In My Mouth?” Deen said that her team plans to post at least 20 new clips every week, adding that she wants the network to offer an “uncensored” peek into her life.

    Sure enough, the first batch of videos shows a raunchier, edgier Paula Deen than the Food Network ever did. In “Cheer Up Paula,” Deen’s closest advisers, Brandon Branch and Hollis Johnson, mount a surprise intervention against her slothful ways. Over the course of the 10-minute video, Deen admits to loving Botox, jokingly calls Branch and Johnson “assholes,” threatens to rub a giant bullfrog all over Branch’s face and ogles her well-muscled personal trainer.

    That said, however, Deen is less candid and open when it comes to her history of political incorrectness. Perhaps in an effort to combat her negative public image, Deen’s new videos emphasize her close relationship with Branch and Johnson, who are gay and black respectively. (Deen notoriously compared Johnson’s skin tone to the color of a blackboard in a 2012 interview with New York Times reporter Kim Severson.) In “Meet Team Deen,” Johnson says that Deen has been like a second mother to him, while the chef herself quips that Branch often calls himself “the daughter [she] never had.”

    When asked whether she was interested in exploring the racial aspects of the history of Southern cuisine on any of her new shows, Deen told HuffPost that she didn’t know the history of any of her dishes further back than her grandmother. And when asked directly what the scandal had taught her about the country’s racial dynamics, she sighed, then said, “Um … I just learned that words … they’re powerful. And they can hurt, no matter how old they are.” She said almost the exact same thing on the Today Show the day before.

    But Deen may not need to win over those who were offended by her comments on race in order for her new project to succeed. If just 3 percent of her 4.5 million Facebook fans subscribe to the Paula Deen Network for a year, she’ll net $17 million — the amount she made as a Food Network star the year before the scandal.

    Want to read more from HuffPost Taste? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr.

  • Wu-Tang's Inspectah Deck on Tech, Race and Politics
    It’s been a particularly abundant whirlwind several days as one thinks about recent events within pop culture as they intersect with tech. Whether it’s the social frenzy for and now the latest reports that the iPhone 6 might bend if you sit on it the wrong way, to digital sentiment around Black women like Shonda Rhimes and a controversial article, to cultural discussion at the future global policy scene happening at the United Nations shared in real-time across platforms.

    Given all this activity, I decided to check in with someone who always provokes thought and stirs insight.

    Here’s a peek inside a recent convo I had with the one and only, Inspectah Deck of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan, that just may add a much needed vibe in a storm of breaking events:

    For, me, personally, I’m a closet techie. A friend of mine who is an engineer introduced me to something called a Mac about 10 years ago or more. He ended up turning me into the rap Morpheus. I stay in the Matrix now. (LOL) Right this moment I’m in front a computer, I got a Playstation going, a Macbook, an iPhone and more. When I was younger in the music game, we didn’t have all this. When Steve Rikind wanted to sign us at Loud Records, when had to walk in there and look him in the eye while we played the tracks. It wasn’t about sending a sound file. If we had all this now, we could have been the U2 of rap!! But it’s all good. I get a chance to benefit from it now whether people are booking me through devices or running my business through it.

    But there are pros and cons to the tech game, as we know. I understand the flip side. For example, even though I have the ability to purchase all this stuff right away, I’m the type who might not get an iPhone 6 until a year or so into my contract and get it for $100 or something. (LOL) I’m still frugal. But on the real, I also understand about people starving in the streets too, so a phone $700 phone? A lot of people have no room in their life for that, so I try to keep it all in perspective. I’d also have to say I don’t care how big the screen is or the fingerprint password thing or anything like that, I’d ask them to fix the chargers. I constantly have to buy a new one. I’m on my 4th one now!! They are sitting right in front me now looking mangled. (LOL)

    But of course more that that, I’m always concerned about privacy. I don’t have everything connected to connected with everything else. I feel like they’re trying to merge everything together, and that’s just a field day for hackers. I’m not logging into LinkedIn via Facebook, and Facebook with Instagram and so on.

    In fact now, I’m having those types and conversations with my young daughter, in terms of being careful about tech, strangers, all that and more. She also has to pay maybe more attention when it comes to being a Black woman. I hear you about all the talk about “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes and that article or all this now about who is deciding big booties are in (or out) or certain people deciding whether cornrows are in or out – and that’s all just within a few days – you also have the Ray Rice situation. It’s a lot. For me, this is all about society. We’re talking about tech, but this could also be a little bit of the downside of technology. When I look at social media and this court of public opinion; we are sometimes in a world that enables people to bash you, insult you, demoralize you, harass you; and have never even met you. It can start a tidal wave. Twitter can go berserk. It can sometimes create a crowd mentality, and it gets repeated and go on for so long that it can actually become a little de-sensitized to what is actually a very important topic. The more they show that video or Tweet or GIF or whatever is out there, the more it encourages more and more voices. And for me, then it become like a fast fad. That’s how mostly everything is working now. It’s hot today, then it’s gone tomorrow – without any depth.

    Now more than ever, we need to get a little deeper. I see the Clinton Global Initiative going on, voting coming up, and different people getting into the mix. If you’re someone like me and Wu-Tang, I think that people look at us as the type of people to be in tune with that type and thing and to have some sort of voice. Rza is definitely into these kinds of things, and he incorporates the group into it, which ties me into it. I think that we have sort of a responsibility to be involved somehow. Look, we’re just the voice of the people. So if people are screaming out, “change.” Then I believe we have to scream out, “change”. That’s why the upcoming album is called “A Better Tomorrow.” We’re directly in tune with the way the government is moving, the way the wars are going on. The U.S. just lit the alarm again earlier this week. If enough people make enough noise about things, we can make change. Sometimes I don’t think a lot of celebrities don’t want to be subject themselves to scrutiny, though, or jeopardize their positions by speaking up. But it’s important to stand for something. As a Black person living today, I know my ancestors stood for something and even gave up their lives so I can sit here and use a laptop and more. I’m grateful for that.

    Right now I’m not sure there many people who are really interested from the heart in leading the people or making a big difference. I think people are sometimes more aware that you can get your five minutes of fame (or infamy) by what they say or don’t say. That’s this world right now with technology.

    It makes me think about our upcoming album. It’s like, I have to be honest, I wasn’t feeling how this album was turning out at first. I wasn’t sure it was what the fans wanted. But now, I feel like as I sat down and really listened to it, it just made sense, and it’s kinda about what we’re talking about right now. It’s like “A Better Tomorrow”: the music has to get better, life has to get better, the community has to get better, your etiquette has to get better, your language has to get better, your health has to get better, your mind has to get better, everything has to get better. That’s what we all need to think about now. Like, you have the power to be better. Maybe it’s time to stop settling for what’s just being thrown in front of you. It’s time to pick a side and decide what you want.

  • (VIDEO) Adobe's "Marketing Cloud" Explained
    COLOGNE – Who’d be a marketer these days? With device fragmentation, channel proliferation and the up-ending of the traditional “funnel” comes a whole set of challenges, says Adobe strategy VP Suresh Vittal.

    At the DMEXCO conference, Vittal’s company announced a deal in which all of Publicis’ agencies will have access to a new suite, Always-On platform, that is powered by Adobe Marketing Cloud and offers content creation, audience segmentation, campaign tracking, measurement and more.

    “The marketing transformation that’s happening in the industry because of digital, the disruption of multi-channel and audience fragmentation is going to require a technology and an analytical-driven process,” Vittal told Beet.TV in this panel interview with Ashley J. Swartz, Founder and CEO of Furious Minds at DMEXCO.

    “Marketers have varying levels of confidence when it comes to the technology options.” Vittal said Adobe and Publicis were “coming together to solve marketers problems”.

    Also at DMEXCO, we spoke with Publicis executive Rishad Tobaccowala about the alliance with Adobe and the rise of DMP’s.

    This video is part of series of videos covering DMEXCO.  Please find all of our coverage of the show right here.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • Celebrities Rally Behind Emma Watson's Feminism Speech In Wake Of Nude Photo Threats
    After giving an impassioned, empowering speech at the United Nations about the need for men to take up for the fight for gender equality on Sept. 20, actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson found herself the target of nude photo leak threats.

    Although the threats thankfully turned out to be a hoax by a “social media marketing firm,” they reflect a disturbing notion that violating women’s privacy has the capacity to disarm and intimidate them.

    Not this time. Celebrities have rallied in response to the threats and the misogynist thinking behind them, tweeting in support of Watson and her work on the HeForShe initiative her speech launched. Watson has retweeted many of them in over the past few days.

    “You are impeccable & extraordinary,” wrote “Avengers” actor Tom Hiddleston in his tweet. “I stand with you. I believe in gender equality. #heforshe.”

    Many of the tweets were accompanied by a photo of the celebrities holding a sign reading “#heforshe,” as suggested by Watson. Their response was, in a word, incredible. Enough famous faces offered their support that “Girls” creator Lena Dunham thinks that they should be compiled into a “sexy calendar.” And hey, what’s sexier than supporting equality?

    Check out some of the celebrities’ HeForShe photos below.

    So proud of @EmWatson. From the girl I grew up with to the inspirational woman she is today. I’m with you. #heforshe pic.twitter.com/0j316BBznB

    — Matthew Lewis (@Mattdavelewis) September 24, 2014

    pic.twitter.com/Ai100HhxTT

    — Russell Crowe (@russellcrowe) September 24, 2014

    .@EmWatson you are impeccable & extraordinary. I stand with you. I believe in gender equality. #heforshe pic.twitter.com/xXQsyJ7WfP

    — Tom Hiddleston (@twhiddleston) September 24, 2014

    My friend @EmWatson delivered a powerful speech to the UN http://t.co/yWtW3mjqBh I support equality. #HeForShe pic.twitter.com/gCNTK1BNvx

    — Logan Lerman (@LoganLerman) September 23, 2014

    As a feminist and a human being, I agree with @emwatson (read her speech) @UN_women #heforshe (pic by @amandapalmer) pic.twitter.com/prm1O2LRUg

    — Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) September 23, 2014

    #HeForShe is a great cause to get behind! Please check it out. So proud of @EmWatson! pic.twitter.com/lJrUWcmPEo

    — Chris Colfer (@chriscolfer) September 23, 2014

    Husband to a wife, father to a daughter, son to a mother. You bet I’m on board, @EmWatson! #heforshe pic.twitter.com/5SyIKIbCZo

    — Simon Pegg (@simonpegg) September 23, 2014

    I am a passionate supporter of gender equality. @EmWatson @HeForShe @UN_Women pic.twitter.com/IpudHsNpu3

    — Douglas Booth (@DouglasBooth) September 20, 2014

    Proud to support the #HeForShe campaign of @UN_Women pic.twitter.com/BVMoJ4oJph

    — Forest Whitaker (@ForestWhitaker) September 20, 2014

    h/t Elite Daily

  • Jimmy John's Confirms Credit Card Breach At 216 Stores
    The sandwich chain Jimmy John’s confirmed Wednesday that hackers stole customer debit and credit card data from 216 of its stores, making the company the latest victim in a string of cyber attacks against major retailers and restaurants.

    A hacker stole login credentials from credit card readers at corporate and franchised locations between June 16 and Sept. 5 of this year, the restaurant chain said in a statement on its website. It learned of the breach on July 30 and hired security experts to help with its investigation.

    Jimmy John’s is based in Champaign, Illinois, and has about 1,900 locations. It said the cards impacted were only those swiped at the stores, and not ones entered manually or online. It did not say how many cards were stolen, but said its investigation is still ongoing and it is now safe to use credit and debit cards at its locations.

    On its website, the restaurant posted a listing of stores affected by the breach, spanning from Florida to California.

    Jimmy John’s also said it has taken steps to tighten security by installing machines that encrypt credit card data and is “reviewing its policies and procedures for its third party vendors.”

    While the statement suggested another company may have been the cause of the breach, it did not disclose the company’s name. However, cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs reported nearly two months ago that the theft of cards at Jimmy John’s was caused by a cyberattack on a company called Signature Systems, which makes card readers for restaurants.

    Krebs reported that banks were seeing a pattern of fraud on cards recently used at Jimmy John’s locations around the country.

    Signature Systems did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Jimmy John’s is one of the several stores hacked within the last year, including Home Depot, Target, Neiman Marcus and P. F. Chang’s.

  • Maybe You Should Hold Off On Buying That iPhone 6 Plus
    A colleague of mine already ordered Apple’s new iPhone 6 Plus, but on Tuesday he tried unsuccessfully to cancel his purchase. The reason? He saw photos online of the phone bending out of shape.

    Reports that Apple’s new 5.5-inch “phablet” was prone to bending ricocheted around the tech blogosphere on Tuesday. One person posted in the MacRumors forum that his or her iPhone bent after just a day and an evening of sitting and dancing with the phone in a pocket, and offered a picture of a bent phone as evidence. Lewis Hilsenteger, of the YouTube channel Unbox Therapy, posted a video of himself bending a phone with his hands. He told HuffPost via Twitter that he “used as much force as my thumbs were capable of” to bend the phone, though other phones, like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, didn’t bend under the same pressure.

    My colleague wanted to wait to see if “bendgate,” or “bendghazi,” as the media have dubbed it, is going to be a real issue for Apple, like “antennagate” was in 2010. Four years ago, Steve Jobs held an emergency press conference because customers were complaining that if you held the new iPhone 4 a certain way, it would lose signal strength and drop calls. Apple updated the phone’s software and ended up giving away bumper cases in response.

    It’s too early to tell if this is going to blow up like the antenna issue did in 2010, creating a huge headache for Apple and for its customers. But maybe it’s a good idea to hold off buying the bigger version of Apple’s new phone, which starts at $299 with a contract and $749 without one, until things shake out.

    “It’s possible that this is a real issue. We’ll have to see if it pops up with more consumers,” Avi Greengart, research director at technology market research firm Current Analysis, said in an interview. “One or two instances do not a crisis make.”

    The reports of the bending iPhones came just one day after Apple said it sold more than 10 million iPhone 6 and 6 Pluses in the first three days they were available, setting a new record for the company. Apple did not — and likely will not — break down how many of each iPhone it sold, but analysts expect these phones to be Apple’s most popular ever.

    Apple on Wednesday also pulled a software update to iOS 8, its latest operating system, after customers reported problems with the fingerprint sensor and cellular service.

    Ramon Llamas, a research manager at IDC, another technology research firm, said that if reports continue to surface of the phone bending under normal use, as happened with calls dropped during the antenna debacle, then “bendgate” could become an issue.

    “This is physics at work,” said Llamas. “The bigger that you make something and the thinner you make something, the more apt it is to bend and break.”

    “This is not something you should actively test,” Llamas said of people trying to bend their iPhones.

    Jack Murphy, the vice president of communications at iCracked, a company that fixes and buys back broken and used phones and tablets, attributes the reports to people just getting used to the new size and thinness of the phones. The iPhone 6 Plus is 7.1mm thick. The iPhone 5S, Apple’s flagship phone that came out last year, is 7.6 mm thick.

    “These few highly publicized mishaps are actually an opportunity for [iPhone] 6 and 6 Plus users to educate themselves about the inherent risks that all devices carry,” he said. “OK — now I know not to sit on this device. Or get a rigid case.”

    SquareTrade, a company that sells insurance for phones and tablets, tested the durability of the phones, and said the iPhone 6 is the most durable iPhone yet. A spokesperson told The Huffington Post that the company did not specifically test for for bendability, however.

    Apple did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

    Greengart, of Current Analysis, also said it was possible that the people who reported issues could have received defective phones.

    “If there turns out to be a pervasive problem, then Apple is going to have to deal with it,” he said.

  • Poll Says 64% Of Cheaters Sext While Their Spouse Is In The Room
    Sexting the person you’re having an affair with is bold. Sexting the person you’re having an affair with while in the same room as your spouse is so bold, you have to wonder if the cheater in question wants to get caught.

    Yet, extramarital dating site Victoria Milan recently polled 11,050 of its members and found that a head-scratching 64 percent of them do just that.

    They’re not exactly worried about being caught, either. Of those polled, just 12 percent said they were “very afraid” of being found out. Seventy-five percent said they were “somewhat afraid,” while 13 percent said they were “not afraid at all.”

    These careless cheaters may want to practice a little more discretion. A recent survey from anti-virus software company Avast showed that one in four women in committed relationships snoop through their partner’s smart phones. Nearly one in five men in relationships said they do the same. And 71 percent of women and 53 percent of men said they found evidence of cheating or lying by checking their S.O.’s phone.

    In related news, 100 percent of single people currently reading this have never been happier to be single.

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

  • Tech Executive: Women Are Just 'Like Men, Only Cheaper'
    Tech executive Evan Thornley offered a tepid apology one day after comments he made about the gender pay gap were widely panned as sexist.

    “Yep, stuffed that up,” Thornley wrote on Saturday in a comment under a Startup Daily blog post criticizing his Friday presentation at a Sydney startup conference, in which he displayed a slide that read “WOMEN: Like men, only cheaper.”

    “What I was trying to say folks was ‘gender inequality sucks everywhere but esp. in tech — I do what I can to combat it.’ Sorry it didn’t come out that way,” Thornley wrote.

    Thornley is a former Australian lawmaker who now heads the venture capital firm SBDO. But his comments at the conference came during a discussion of the early days of LookSmart, Australia’s first tech firm to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Thornley co-founded the company, and he said he often hired women for a certain reason.

    “Just call me opportunistic,” he said. “I just thought I could get better people with less competition because we were willing to understand the skills and capabilities that many of these women had.”

    “We would give them more responsibility and a greater share of the rewards than they were likely to get anywhere else,” Thornley said. “And that was still often relatively cheaper to what we would have had to pay someone less good of a different gender.”

    The slide accompanying the comments showed two women in drab 1990’s business attire giving each other high-fives. In addition to the text about women being cheaper, it included small print that read: “If you don’t like it, helps us right it.” Thornley said he wasn’t “advocating inequality,” but rather just pointing out a nifty business proposition for startup owners. He did not immediately respond to The Huffington Post’s request for comment on Wednesday.

    The dearth of women in the lucrative technology industry became a forefront issue last year when Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, published Lean In, a book encouraging women to seize leadership roles in the workplace. While men dominate much of the U.S. tech sector, a recent study by the American Association of University Women found a high level of pay equality between men and women in engineering and other professions involving math or computer science.

    Women have fared somewhat better in Australia, according to the Australian Financial Review. Last March, Karen Stocks, a former Google executive who now heads Twitter Australia, told the magazine that women have found positions of power as that country’s tech industry has expanded in recent years.

    “Because the tech industry is moving at such a rapid pace and there’s no history, it’s a brand new area to create,” she said. “So there’s no history of women not being in leadership positions.”

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