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Mobile Technology News, September 6, 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.

  • Malawi app 'teaches UK pupils a lesson'
    How a Malawi maths app is teaching UK pupils a lesson
  • Nev Schulman Explains How To Avoid Getting Catfished
    As a victim of fraudulent online dating himself, Nev Schulman knows what happens when using modern technology to find love goes wrong.

    At 23, Schulman connected with a woman online. The two exchanged flirty texts for months, then he traveled cross-country to meet her. What he came to find was that he’d actually been communicating with a middle-aged woman who had been masquerading behind pictures she’d lifted from a model. His experiences were chronicled in the documentary “Catfish,” which turned into an MTV series that connects two individuals communicating online. It also spawned the term “catfish,” which denotes the premise of being deceived via online dating.

    “I think any of the dating apps are fine, or dating websites,” he told HuffPost Live’s Josh Zepps in an interview on Friday. “It’s just making sure you set a really strict and realistic guideline or parameter for how long you’ll communicate with someone before you meet them.”

    He recommends keeping the amount of texting time short so as to avoid projecting onto the individual you’re corresponding with.

    “If you’re serious about dating, the intention is to meet in person and feel the chemistry, hopefully, of being with someone, but if you go past … two weeks or a month of talking and chit-chat, or even three days depending on how aggressive you want to be, then you can start to feel things for someone,” he explained.

    Find out more about Nev Schulman and the “catfishing” phenomenon in his newly released memoir “In Real Life: Love, Lies & Identity in the Digital Age.”

    Watch the rest of Nev Schulman’s conversation with HuffPost Live here.

    Sign up here for Live Today, HuffPost Live’s new morning email that will let you know the newsmakers, celebrities and politicians joining us that day and give you the best clips from the day before!

  • Man Dives Into An Active Volcano With A GoPro, Calls It A 'Window Into Hell'
    George Kourounis stood at the edge of a red-hot lava lake, fiery molten rock gurgling just feet away as caustic acid rain splashed his protective suit.

    It was a “window into hell,” he said. “Dramatic and violent.”

    Kourounis is an explorer and documentarian, and last month, he and fellow explorer Sam Cossman dived deep into the Marum crater, located in an active volcano in the archipelago of Vanuatu in the South Pacific — and the fearless duo brought cameras in with them to capture their momentous adventure.

    (Watch the astounding footage, taken with a GoPro, as well as with a Canon 5D Mark III camera and a Sony NX Cam, in the video above.)

    “Going down into the crater of Marum has been a dream of mine for many years,” Kourounis told The Huffington Post via email. “It was exhilarating, to say the least.”

    crater

    Kourounis, Cossman and two guides, Geoff Mackley and Brad Ambrose, spent four days on the volcano and descended twice into the crater. According to Kourounis, the descent was a whopping 1,200 feet. That’s “about as deep as the Empire State Building is tall,” he said.

    A documentarian who specializes in capturing extreme forces of nature, Kourounis — who has chased twisters and even got married at the edge of an exploding volcano — is no stranger to extreme adventure and danger. But the journey into Marum, he said, was one of the most intense experiences he’s ever had.

    “Getting to [Marum] was kind of like a reverse climbing of Everest,” he said. “The volcano fought back at us, and we had to deal with terrible weather, tremendous heat from the lava, descending and ascending 400 meters of near vertical, loose rock face, acid rain so strong that it could have come from a car battery, and a variety of other craziness.”

    Kourounis says he got so close to the lava that splashes of it melted a hole into his rain jacket and also a part of one of his cameras.

    “When you see that shot of me [in the video] looking like a little silver dot, next to what appears to be a waterfall of lava, that was an extremely dangerous spot to be standing,” he said. “It was a bit scary. If something were to have gone wrong. It would’ve happened quickly, and catastrophically.”

    It was, however, an “amazing expedition,” he said.

    We bet it was.

    marum

  • (VIDEO) Agency Trading Desks "Are Going to Have to Change Their Pricing Model," Forrester's Richard Joyce
    With publishers and advertisers embracing increasingly sophisticated software to buy and sell advertising on an automated basis, the advertising agency trading desks “are going to have look at how they provide value to marketers,” says Richard Joyce Senior Analyst at Forrester.   Joyce, who is the primary analyst covering programmatic advertising, joined the big research firm from Accuen, OMG’s agency trading desk.

    He says that the pricing model, based on commission-based percentage of media, needs to to some sort of performance or services basis.

    We spoke with him for “The Road to DMEXCO,” a series of interviews with industry leaders produced in New York, London and San Francisco sponsored by the automatic content recognition (ACR) technology provider Civolution.

    Please find more videos from the series here.  Beet.TV is a media sponsor of DMEXCO and will be covering the conference extensively.

    You can find this post on Beet.TV.

  • Man Who Called And Texted Ex-Girlfriend 21,807 Times Sentenced
    A man in France accused of calling and texting his ex-girlfriend 21,807 times over the course of 10 months has been sentenced to prison.

  • Can Apple Save the Music Business, Again?
    Can Apple and Beats Music make a difference in an industry that has been beaten down by online piracy and now streaming music services that can’t seem to get enough paying subscribers to be profitable?

    Caught in the middle of all this are musicians and songwriters who have seen their careers crater and their paychecks disappear. For many working artists the digital revolution has been a nightmare.

    Speaking out last May, just after the Beats deal was announced, Jimmy Iovine, Co-Founder of Beats Electronics and one of the few remaining music business icons, had this to say:

    We have a lot of dreams for the subscription service, it is very important to every recording engineer, producer, artist, songwriter and the music industry….we have to get this model right, we don’t know the exact model yet, but we need to put steroids into this thing and get it done quickly, Apple is the best company in the world… and 800 million subscribers doesn’t hurt either.

    In an interview at the Code Conference, literally hours after the Apple, Beats Electronics deal was announced. Mr. Iovine and Eddy Cue, long time head of iTunes, spoke in detail about Beats Music; its emphasis on curated playlists and their shared passion and respect for music. For those looking for something positive in an industry hammered by technology, this interview was nothing less than a revelation.

    Mr. Iovine was actually one of the first people from the music business to meet with Steve Jobs and Eddy Cue back in 2003 to see a demonstration of iTunes. Mr. Iovine ‘got it’ and helped Apple convince a doubting music industry to allow iTunes to sell music downloads.

    The sticking point? Jobs insisted that iTunes offer songs and not just albums for sale as digital downloads. Jobs was right. Widespread piracy was making music free for an entire generation and without an inexpensive solution even more people would have felt ‘entitled’ to get their music without paying.

    Now, a decade later, just hours after Mr. Iovine had officially joined Apple, the two men were together, once again, to see what they could do to save what’s left of the music business in 2014. For the first time, since Apple introduced the iTunes store over a decade ago, digital download sales of music were down. The challenge for Apple? How to promote Beats Music without destroying iTunes.

    Their solution may be in building a music streaming service rooted in discovery that transitions the listener to iTunes and creates an opportunity to sell more music to those who prefer to own it, not borrow it. And don’t underestimate Mr. Iovine’s value in putting together exclusive release deals with top artists. He’s not just connected, he has iTunes as part of the deal and in today’s marketplace, even the biggest artists are looking for ways to sell more music.

    Mr. Iovine understands that most people who listen to music don’t want to search for it. They want it simple and they want a human connection with the music they hear. As a music guy, he knows that It takes people who love music, and know music, to create great playlists, not the computer generated playlists that Pandora, Spotify and others use.

    “You need curation, not give me your credit card here’s 20 million songs. Of course you have to have the right curated playlists. Without it you don’t have the emotion.”

    Since those revelations back in May, Apple has been actively evaluating their options and making changes. Quietly eliminating Apps from their App Store that enabled users to download music, movies and e-books from sites like YouTube and even ending their relationship with Google’s YouTube. All moves designed to support the legitimate sale of recorded music.

    Even weeks before the rumors started about the Beats deal, an article ran in Bloomberg about Apple’s plans to incorporate a song identification feature in their next iOS upgrade for the iPhone and iPad. The article indicated that Apple was in talks with Shazam Entertainment to incorporate Shazam’s song recognition software in all their mobile devices.

    Shazam is actually one of the bright spots in today’s music business with over 70 million monthly active users, generating over $300 million in sales in 2013 for iTunes and other paid music download services. Currently, the Shazam App is on about 30 percent of Apple’s iPhones.

    But there’s more. Apple was recently granted a patent for speaker audio technology and is reported to have secured a huge chunk of additional Internet bandwidth, which among other things, can support the streaming of high quality audio files. Which raises the question, will Apple get more entrenched in the home entertainment business?

    Fast forward three months, to now. Some believe Beats Music will play a major role at Tuesday’s announcement, when Apple is expected to introduce the iPhone 6 and the latest IOS upgrade. An upgrade, in all probability, that will include Beats Music with an extended free trial, a voice activated version of Shazam connecting directly to iTunes and 10 million new Beats Music Subscribers within days of the launch of iPhone 6.

    For Apple, Beats Music isn’t simply an acquisition, it is the logical next step in their evolution as a leader in online music distribution.

  • How My Son's Differences Are Extraordinary
    Click here to watch the TEDTalk that inspired this post.

    In the TEDTalk My Autistic Brothers, Faith Jegede shares with us her experiences growing up with two brothers who have autism, one who does not speak with words, but with his heart, and her other brother who has a brilliant memory.

    Faith explains how her brothers’ differences became more apparent as they grew older. However, she has been able to look beyond their growing gap of differences and challenges to see the unique and extraordinary gifts inherent within both of her brothers.

    Just yesterday, I talked to a group of genetic medical students about what it is like to have a child with Down syndrome. I applaud the genetics professor for giving these students an opportunity to look beyond black and white test results, and consider the unique person within.

    I began my portion of the discussion with the students by describing the moment I received my son’s suspected diagnosis of Down syndrome, which was almost immediately after his birth. The results of a genetic test would take 72 hours, but all physical indicators confirmed our suspicions, so that when the test results did come in, they only proved what we already knew.

    I would guess every parent who has a child with special needs remembers that time of the initial diagnosis. It is a life changer for almost every parent, and, for me, it was a time of grief and loss of the expectations of a “normal” son and also ripe with the fear of the unknown.

    The oval shape of my son’s eyes was the first thing that confirmed the truth to me, that my son did in fact have Down syndrome. But, his eyes were a contradiction to me at the time. What confirmed the news of such sadness also revealed such love. I wanted to know him, love him and be the best mother I could be to him. Over seven years later, I am still swept away by the beauty and depth of his eyes.

    It is true that there are many challenges in living with a disability, and the gap between my son and his peers does grow every, single year. My son has hypothyroidism, low muscle tone and cognitive delays. He needs lots of movement and exercise to stay at a healthy weight and build his muscle strength. He also works with therapists on his fine motor skills and his speech.

    The state of his thyroid and the results of his therapeutic work can easily be measured in tests. It gives us a benchmark, a place to work from on setting new goals. Yet, even though this is an important part of our life with my son, it is not the whole of it.

    What can’t be measured in a test is the deep feeling of joy and pride when my son achieves a hard earned milestone. What can’t be measured in a test is how his slower pace and friendly, forgiving attitude has taught me to be a kinder and more compassionate person. What can’t be measured in a test is how he will start singing a song in a store, and all of a sudden people are laughing and smiling with one another. What can’t be measured in a test is how he has an uncontrollable giggle that can brighten the darkest mood. The list goes on. My son is not Down syndrome, he is a boy full of his own unique gifts and talents, who also happens to have Down syndrome.

    I told these students that many parents will be blinded by the test results as I once was. It will be hard for them to look beyond the list of challenges at first, and see the whole of the child within.

    As geneticists, if they truly wish to serve their clients in the best way possible, it will be to always remember the human component. Tests are essential but so are the countless things that can’t be measured.

    What is measurable about all of us is just a small part of our whole being. We all have innate gifts and talents, no matter our challenges and differences. We are all different, and, in so being, we are all extraordinary.

    We want to know what you think. Join the discussion by posting a comment below or tweeting #TEDWeekends. Interested in blogging for a future edition of TED Weekends? Email us at tedweekends@huffingtonpost.com.

  • 3 Awesome Tech Gadgets You Need Now
    I’m a tech geek and nothing gets me as excited as stumbling upon a new gadget. I’m interested in just about anything cool that has an on/off switch, decent battery life and provides a practical utility. If there’s no practical use for it, then it has to at the very least be fun (for me or my kids!).

    To me, finding the latest, greatest tech gadget is almost as big a discovery as finding the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave. The three techie toys that I’ve been playing with lately have led me to question how I ever lived without them. These devices include a pocket LED projector (cool), a portable Bluetooth keyboard for up to three separate devices (practical) and a what is being called “a remote controlled car for the Smartphone Age” (fun). Let’s start with fun!

    OLLIE (Sphero)

    My kids love remote controlled cars, remote controlled boat and remote controlled helicopters and planes, but they really went crazy when they tried out Ollie. Most of the remote controlled toys that can be navigated via a mobile app on a Smartphone tend to get damaged because they are difficult to control and run into walls or just can’t handle the jumps and tricks. Ollie is one tough little robot though.

    Shaped like a small cylinder (about the size of a coffee mug), you can use either an iPhone or Android device to race, spin and tumble Ollie. I tried it out on a golf course because of the varied terrain and it was a lot of fun once I figured out how to unlock the different tricks and moves. The looks on golfers’ faces when they saw this little speed robot racing around the course was pretty funny (I was controlling it from about 30 yards away).

    Ollie has interchangeable tires and hubcaps for different terrain. The body features LED lights with millions of colors, a 30 meter Bluetooth range and the ability to reach speeds of over 14 miles/hour. The feature that teens will really like (it’s recommended for 8+) is the Connected Play capability. Users can race their Ollie against other devices and get points for more intricate maneuvers and tricks. The battery life runs for about an hour and there are automatic firmware updates to keep Ollie from collecting dust in the closet. It will retail for $100 when it begins selling in stores on September 15.

    Pocket Projector Pro–200 Lumens (Brookstone)

    I’ve been a fan of Brookstone’s LED projector for quite some time now and I’m finding myself recommending it to others all the time. It’s light weight but powerful beyond belief. I’ve used it on my travels to show a presentation during a lecture and then brought it back to my hotel to cast a movie on the wall of my room. It’s ideal for watching sporting events in the basement with large groups also because the 200 lumens light produces a great quality picture that only expensive LCD or plasma televisions can replicate.

    The ED lamp project can project images up to 100 feet diagonal and lasts up to 20,000 hours. The device is so small (4.8″ x 4.75″ x 1″) that it’s really easy to just throw in a briefcase or suitcase. Unlike less powerful projectors, Pocket Projector Pro doesn’t require a dark setting. The projector connects with a HDMI cable to most Smartphones, tablets, computers, video players and cameras. It will accept up to 1080p HD input and it will project 60″ images just 6 feet from screen making it perfect for classrooms. It also comes with 2 built-in speakers and an adjustable focus wheel. I’ve impressed guests this summer by showing movies in the backyard at night. The only thing it doesn’t do is make the popcorn. The projector retails for $449.99, but a less powerful 95 lumens versions sells for $313.13.

    Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard k480 (Logitech)

    When I travel I don’t always want to take a heavy laptop and sometimes I don’t feel like taking out my Cromebook just to shoot off a few emails before boarding my flight. So, I’ve been searching for a portable keyboard that will connect to a few of my mobile devices. Before getting the k480 I had to make sure I was grabbing the right portable keyboard for the mobile device I had with me. The k480 keyboard from Logitech lets you switch between three different Bluetooth connected devices. That means I can use this keyboard for my computer, phone and tablet, but I can also have it connected automatically to someone else’s phone or tablet (ideal for when one of my kids is doing homework on an iPad and needs to type).

    The k480 is the first keyboard designed for use with all major operating systems — Windows, Mac or Chrome OS computer, Android or iOS tablet or Smartphone. The idea behind it is simple — “You aren’t limited to a single device so why should your keyboard be?” It’s a simple process to pair the keyboard to the devices using Bluetooth which means that the setup only takes a minute. One of the features I like is the screenshot button on the keyboard which lets you quickly download an image of whatever you see on the screen. It’s easy to grab a screenshot from one device and then quickly move it over to the other connected device. The k480 keyboard comes in both white and black. It sells for $50.

  • 10 Things to Watch From the U.S. Open
    The U.S. Open is the largest annually-attended sporting event, with 700,000 people attending, and millions watching worldwide: a great brand-building opportunity. What are the 10 key things to watch from this year’s event?

    1. Some brands still think of communication as transmission

    Really? Yes. Just take a look at the on-court sponsors: JP Morgan, Citizen and Emirates. There are no visible marketing activities to inject meaning into the bald awareness-build, which means missed opportunities. At least Mercedes-Benz has significant weight of TV advertising and some interesting use of RFID (see below) and Chase has a witty campaign to launch its mobile app using John McEnroe and Andy Roddick. But all these brands need to do more. Read on.

    2. IBM looking to own Big Data

    The USTA has been using mobile, social, analytics and cloud for a while, but the IBM partnership has upped the ante this year to help people understand and engage with the action, with IBM communicating heavily behind the Big Data message. IBM analyzes 41 million data points from 8 years of Slam play, visualizes meaningful patterns and creates engaging apps. Trendcast is the most striking of the new mobile and social apps: it aggregates and filters social media comments, identifies key trends, engages with fans and offers sponsorship opportunities for the USTA. Another new piece of analytics is Keys to the Match, which identifies three actions players can take to increase their chances of winning.

    3. Heineken and branded experiences
    Would you be able to make the hustle and bustle of New York’s Union Square go silent? Heineken’s ‘Quiet Please’ event challenged people to sit in an umpire’s chair and do exactly that. One person managed to do it — take a look on YouTube to see how. Check out the brand’s Crack the U.S. Open Instagram mosaic with embedded codes that Digiday labelled, ” a new kind of scavenger hunt.” And if you get tickets to the Open, you’ll have a choice between the Red Star Café and Heineken House, featuring a culinary partnership with NY eatery No. 7 Sub.

    4. Moet blurring physical and digital

    Event-based digital activations have exploded this year, with everything from robots to world record-breaking challenges. One of the most eye-catching was how Moet has given #MoetMoment physical presence. How it works: you go to the Moet stand and take a photo of yourself in the life-sized Instagram frame in front of your favorite backdrop. Next, upload the picture, tagging it to enter into a draw to win Moet-brand glasses. The brand also buys geo-tagged promotional tweets and Facebook ads to amplify the social push.

    5. Fashion brands crossing over into sport

    Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Lacoste have made the move into fashion apparel for years now. We have also seen a new Stella McCartney range this year in partnership with Adidas, sported by Caroline Wozniacki. But the intriguing clothing trend is in the opposite direction, as high street brands with no sporting credentials start to clothe tennis stars: it started with Uniqlo and Novak Djokovic, and now we have H&M and Tomas Berdych.

    6. Amex and Mercedes flirting with RFID

    Amex is using RFID for its MyOpen Pass program: you are given a wristband with an embedded chip that collects data about your journey around Fan Experience, and later you receive an e-mail detailing your performance. Mercedes has introduced dashboard RFID-based parking tags, containing a scan-able barcode at Mercedes’ Brand Center, where you can win tennis gear and merchandise.

    7. Nike not so hot
    Nike used to be so good at creating wow experiences. Remember when they converted an old factory in a tough area of Paris during the French Open a couple years ago? They laid out tennis courts, hired a world-class local DJ and got Rafael Nadal to turn up and play with the local talent. We’ve seen nothing approaching that at this year’s U.S. Open. The best Nike has come up with is a staged appearance by Michael Jordan at Roger Federer’s first-round match.

    8. E-surance and social roaming

    Players sign autographs at E-surance’s booth. Calls to action are posted on Twitter, giving at-home viewers the chance to talk to players via tweets. The lucky ones get to video chat via webcam. All backed up by the TV campaign using the Bryan brothers and their roaming video-conferencing robots on the streets of New York.

    9. Starwood & Heineken activation

    Looking to ramp up awareness and membership of its Preferred Guest loyalty program, Starwood Hotels is experimenting with an on-line game and microsite. And Heineken, again, is innovating – challenging fans at its Open booth to set tennis-related world records, upload to recordsetter.com and win tickets for the men’s singles final.

    10. Multi-sensory inspiration

    And lastly, Patrick Gunderson — an IBM developer — is collaborating with James Murphy (aka LCD Soundsystem) to create the authentic soundtrack of the U.S. Open. Murphy will use the algorithms developed by Gunderson to encode a match’s action, along with weather data and crowd engagement, and turn these into music by ascribing musical values to each one: “we’re going to generate almost 400 hours’ worth of music.”

  • Rick Perry Lost Big With Tesla Deal
    Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s charms were apparently lost on electric carmaker Tesla.

    Despite Perry’s shoddy record on clean energy, the former Republican presidential candidate desperately wanted Tesla to build its $5 billion battery factory in the Lone Star State. Perry personally led negotiations with Tesla over its so-called Gigafactory, which is expected to create 6,500 jobs. The governor even drove a Tesla Model S through California’s state capital in June, in a public stunt that the Los Angeles Times found surmountable to “stalking.”

    “Tesla’s a big project,” Perry said during an interview with “Opening Bell” on Fox Business News in March. “I think the cachet of being able to say we put that manufacturing facility in our state is hard to pass up.”

    All for naught. On Thursday, Tesla settled on Nevada as the location for its $5 billion ‘Gigafactory,’ ending a monthslong contest with Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Tesla’s home state of California.

    “It’s disappointing; he’s got to face it as a disappointment,” Peter Cowen, the managing director of technology investment banking firm Clear Capital Advisors, told The Huffington Post on Friday. “This one was a high-stakes battle and he lost.”

    Part of the problem for Perry was a Texas law that bans car manufacturers from selling directly to customers. Because Tesla doesn’t franchise its dealerships, it can’t sell cars in the state. Though Perry said in March he wanted to lift the ban, it still proved to be a turn-off for the carmaker.

    The ban “doesn’t make us feel good as we look to build a plant” in Texas, Diarmuid O’Connell, vice president of business development for Tesla, told The Huffington Post in June. O’Connell said economics would ultimately sway the company’s decision.

    A Tesla spokeswoman did not respond to a question about whether the continued sales ban factored into its decision, instead forwarding along quotes from CEO Elon Musk’s press conference in Carson City, Nevada, on Thursday.

    Perry had cause for hope. Earlier this year, he convinced Toyota to move its headquarters from California to suburban Dallas. Texas has a state Enterprise Fund, established by Perry in 2003, to serve as a “deal-closing” coffer from which officials can draw to bolster Texas’s business bids in interstate competitions. To boot, Texas has no corporate income tax.

    Texas residents may have lucked out, as added incentives from the state could have ended up costing taxpayers. As it was, Texas was offering a tax package worth between $800 million and $900 million, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Nevada is coughing up $1.3 billion to seal its deal with the carmaker.

    A spokesman for Perry’s office did not immediately respond to a call requesting comment.

    Why Tesla picked Nevada is not totally clear. Musk said the reasons went beyond money.

    “This was not the biggest incentive package, it wasn’t just about the incentives,” Musk said at the press conference. “What the people of Nevada have created is a state where you can be very agile, where you can move quickly and get things done.”

    That may mean geography worked in Nevada’s favor. The ideal location for the company was probably California: It’s Tesla’s biggest market and fairly close to western Canada, where Tesla may soon begin getting some of its raw materials, according to Carter Driscoll, a senior analyst at the investment bank MLV & Co who covers Tesla.

    The Golden State wasn’t able to come up with an incentives packages on deadline, however. So neighboring Nevada may have proved the next best thing. Plus, there were those massive tax breaks. Perry can’t win ’em all.

  • China Telecom opens iPhone 6 preorders with mocked-up images, specs
    Carrier China Telecom has launched a preorder page for the iPhone 6 despite the device being unannounced, reports note. The page uses rendered mockups of the device, and makes claims about specifications. While three of these generally considered certain — a 4.7-inch screen, an A8 processor, and a Touch ID sensor — Telecom is also asserting that it will have a 416ppi resolution, a 2,100mAh battery, and a 3-megapixel front-facing camera.



  • Massive Chinese Company Files Biggest IPO In US History
    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — China’s Alibaba Group is seeking to raise up to $24.3 billion in its upcoming IPO — an amount that would be the most raised by a company in a stock market debut.

    The e-commerce company and its early investors are hoping to sell up to 368 million shares for $60 to $66 apiece, according to a regulatory filing late Friday that sets the stage for Alibaba Group Ltd. to make its long-awaited debut on the New York Stock Exchange later this month. The documents didn’t spell out when trading would begin. The debut is likely to come somewhere from Sept. 18 through Sept. 26. The timing hinges on how many issues regulators raise with the IPO.

    The company’s management will begin to travel around the world next week to meet with money managers and other investors interested in investing in Alibaba’s IPO. If interest increases, the IPO price could be higher than $66 per share.

    Alibaba has emerged as a hot commodity because of its e-commerce bazaar, a shopping magnet for businesses and consumers alike as China’s economy steadily grows. The company’s network of sites includes Taobao, Tmall, and AliExpress, as well as Alibaba.

    Most of Alibaba’s 279 million active buyers visit the sites at least once a month on smartphones and other mobile devices, making the company attractive to investors as computing shifts away from laptop and desktop machines.

    At $66 per share, Alibaba would debut with a market value of $163 billion. That would be more than all but a handful of technology companies, a testament to Alibaba’s stunning growth since former schoolteacher Jack Ma started the company in his apartment 15 years ago.

    Alibaba plans to sell 123 million of the shares, with the rest being offered by the company’s early investors, including Yahoo Inc., which is parting with some of its 22-percent stake.

    The fundraising target eclipses the $16 billion Facebook raised in 2012, the most for a technology IPO. It also would top the all-time IPO fundraising record of $22.1 billion set by the Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. in 2010, according to the research firm Dealogic.

    Even at $60 per share, Alibaba’s IPO would come close to matching the record set by the Agricultural Bank of China.

    Still, it’s possible investors won’t like what they hear during Alibaba’s upcoming management presentations, dropping the IPO price.

    In its last fiscal year ending March 31, Alibaba earned $3.7 billion, making it more profitable than eBay Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. combined. Amazon ended Friday with a market value of about $160 billion while eBay’s market value stood at $67 billion.

    Like China’s consumer and Internet market, Alibaba is still growing rapidly. The company’s revenue in its latest quarter ending in June surged 46 percent from last year to $2.54 billion while its earnings climbed 60 percent to nearly $1.2 billion, after subtracting a one-time gain and certain other items.

    Yahoo stands to make almost as much money from the IPO as Alibaba does. The U.S. company, which has been struggling to grow for years, is in line for a windfall of $7.3 billion to $8 billion by selling 121.7 million of is Alibaba shares. Yahoo has said it intends to distribute at least one half of its take from the Alibaba IPO to its own shareholders. That leaves open the possibility that Yahoo will use the remaining chunk of money to make acquisitions that could help its own revenue growth.

    Even after the IPO sale, Yahoo will still own nearly 402 million Alibaba shares, or a 16 percent. Yahoo’s stock climbed 81 cents to $40.40 in Friday’s extended trading after Alibaba set its IPO price range.

    Alibaba’s founder will be the biggest individual winner. Ma, 49, will pocket $765 million to $841.5 million by selling 12.75 million of his Alibaba shares. After the IPO, Ma will still retain a nearly 8 percent stake in the company worth $12.8 billion at $66 per share.

  • Internet Governence Forum Attendees Complain About Censorship in Turkey While Some Advocate It for Youth
    Censorship is very much on the minds of attendees at this year’s Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Istanbul. One reason, of course, is because the meeting is being held in a country that has censored the Web. Earlier this year the Turkish government blocked Twitter and YouTube for awhile and continues to block thousands of websites, including some that reportedly have content that goes against government ideology.

    But you don’t have to live in Turkey, Russia, China or Iran to be affected by censorship. Young people in every country — including the United States, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe — face it every day.

    Two hundred and twenty-three years after the U.S. passed the First Amendment to its constitution, kids are being censored online in school, in some libraries and in some homes. The stated reason for this censorship is to protect them from “harmful content,” but it’s not just a matter of blocking porn, hate sites or sites that promote self-harm. Many schools in the U.S., UK and Europe block social media sites, for example, even though Facebook and most other responsible sites have their own policies against so-called harmful content.

    Here at IGF, a number of speakers have advocated protecting children from such content for their own good, yet hardly any kids I’ve spoken with think Internet filtering is either appropriate or effective, except for young children.

    Olivia, a 15-year-old attendee from Denmark, made the point better than I can at a session here in Istanbul:

    “This is our world, the Internet we’re talking about here. You have to be with us in the world. You can’t keep us away from it. You have to talk with us about it…. You have to help your children instead of trying to control them.” (Quote courtesy of NetFamilyNews.org)

    The folks in that workshop applauded that comment but it didn’t stop several adults at various sessions from advocating more controls over the types of materials that young people can access.

    I didn’t get his name, but one attendee from the Turkish government spoke proudly about how his country was blocking “content that is harmful for children,” but he never defined what he meant by harmful content.

  • Facebook Is Just a Place for Narcissists and Neurotics to Show Off
    Everyone hates people who tend to seek attention and show off over-actively. However, I don’t understand why it’s well-tolerated on the Internet and why most of the people don’t realize that social networks, especially Facebook, have become just a place to create a fake self-image, please the ego and desperately seek attention.

    What was the initial purpose of Facebook? As I know, it was just to improve the communication between schoolmates. However, after 10 years we have something a “little bit” more than just a tool to communicate with your colleagues in a school or college. And I don’t see the purpose of today’s Facebook from the mentally-healthy person’s point of view anymore. This is why.

    People use Facebook to show off, not to share their life with you

    Just think about the last 10-15 status updates of your Facebook friends. The majority of them are over-edited photos from fabulous vacations, expensive purchases, brags about insignificant personal achievements, such as hitting the 5-miles milestone on the Endomondo sports tracker or just an attention-seeking selfie with a banal quote that has nothing to do with that “duck face” expression.

    And do you think these status updates are about sharing their life with you? So, let me ask you a question. How many times you saw these people sharing the really embarrassing moments or setbacks of their lives on Facebook? I mean, sincerely, without any intentions to get attention. The answer explains everything.

    Facebook activity is closely related to narcissism and neuroticism

    Recent research shows a link between your activity on Facebook and the degree to which you are a socially-disruptive person. Most of them reveal that the heaviest Facebook users are either neurotics or narcissists.

    Researchers at Western Illinois University found that people who score highly on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory questionnaire had more friends on Facebook and updated their status updates more regularly comparing to the ones who scored fewer. In addition to that, Eliot Panek, a psychologist at University of Michigan, describes Facebook and other social networks as a medium for narcissists to “construct and maintain a carefully considered self-image.”

    However, narcissists aren’t the only heavy users of Facebook. Neurotic folks are pretty active as well. Researchers revealed that neurotics tend to upload more photos per album than anyone else. Azar Eftekhar, a Ph.D. student at the University of Wolverhampton, explains neurotics’ heavy activity on Facebook as a compensation for their offline deficiencies.

    “As socially anxious individuals, they see Facebook [as] a safe place for self-expression and to compensate for their offline deficiencies,” Eftekhar explained in the interview with Live Science.

    Facebook harms people’s perception of reality

    During the Facebook IPO, Mark Zukerberg wrote an open letter describing Facebook’s purpose, value and social mission. In this letter, Mark stated, “People sharing more — even if just with their close friends or families — creates a more open culture and leads to a better understanding of the lives and perspectives of others.” And I completely disagree with this particular statement.

    There are tons of studies that reveal the dark sides of this, as Mark Zukerberg describes, “open culture.” Due to the fact that people tend to use Facebook as a self-expression tool, they usually embellish the truth and hide the unpleasant or embarrassing aspects of their lives. As a result, we see only the bright side of others’ lives. This really harms people’s perception of reality and, sooner or later, it can lead to the jealously and the feelings of inadequacy or resentment.

    Of course, I’m not talking about everyone. Some people use Facebook for really useful purposes such as initiating discussions on various relevant topics, sharing insights or just networking. However, for the majority Facebook is just a place to show off. So maybe we should leave those narcissist and neurotic folks alone there that they could finally choke from each other’s desire to seek attention.

  • That Time Pinterest Congratulated Women On Their Non-Existent Weddings
    Silly, Pinterest. Just because a woman pins a whole lot of wedding gowns, wedding rings and wedding decor doesn’t necessarily mean she’s planning an actual wedding.

    On Wednesday, the company sent out an email blast to some users congratulating them on their upcoming nuptials. Unfortunately, many of the recipients were single women who had just been quietly pinning bridal content for kicks, and not because someone had put a ring on it.

    After the incident, some women who received the email in error sounded off about the humorous mishap and lamented their single statuses on Twitter.

    Too many pins to my “dream wedding” board that Pinterest thinks I’m actually getting married..I can’t even get a bf.. pic.twitter.com/pIZzD1fl2w

    — IlianaBarron (@ilianaashley21) September 4, 2014

    no Pinterest. I just enjoy gathering fun ideas for a wedding that will never happen pic.twitter.com/EHJ1CFiC93

    — Lauren O’Brien (@laurobrizz) September 5, 2014

    I just got an email from Pinterest congratulating me on my upcoming wedding………….. Um, excuse me, Pinterest. I am not engaged.

    — Tay Mau (@taytay_maumau) September 5, 2014

    That’s karma for spending hours working on a non existent wedding board. Shoutout to Pinterest for rubbing in the loneliness.

    — Colleen (@collshmeen23) September 5, 2014

    That awkward moment when I pin so much wedding stuff that Pinterest thinks I’m getting married. pic.twitter.com/FPWDrkc6ZE

    — Kati Martinez (@kati_martinez) September 3, 2014

    i pinned wedding stuff on pinterest bc it was cute, so they sent me an email congratulating me on my upcoming wedding. not yet pinterest.

    — tessa isaac (@tessadanielle11) September 4, 2014

    On Thursday, Pinterest emailed an apologetic and good-humored statement regarding the incident:

    Every week, we email collections of category-specific pins and boards to pinners we hope will be interested in them. Unfortunately, one of these recent emails suggested that pinners were actually getting married, rather than just potentially interested in wedding-related content. We’re sorry we came off like an overbearing mother who is always asking when you’ll find a nice boy or girl.

    We forgive you, Pinterest. Just don’t let it happen again.

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

  • Technology Companies Need To Take Responsibility And Give Us A Better Default
    It’s no longer a surprise when you hear that a major company has the personal information of millions of their customers compromised. Every day identity theft becomes more of a problem, passwords become an even less reliable defense, and the threats you face online become more sophisticated. Yet the vast majority of the time, things still seem fine; your life really isn’t impacted that much. You only become fully aware of how poorly protected you are online when you or someone you know become a target.

    With the recent news that dozens of female celebrities had their property stolen and maliciously released to the public without their consent, people are worried that they might be next – and they are wondering what photos they may have taken in the past. At this moment, the pitfalls of cyber-security feel like an abstract issue and more like a real problem that everyone will have to deal with at some point. Articles explaining how to disable cloud backups are already making the rounds. But the reality is that this type of thing happens all the time online, it just doesn’t make the headlines. There’s an entire sick, seedy subculture devoted to exploiting security loopholes to expose, embarrass, and harass people – especially young women.

    We have all seemed to collectively ignore the advice on how to responsibly use our devices. Technology allows us to do so many things immediately that we don’t really pay attention to the theoretical possibilities involving long-term risks. Instead, it’s far more productive to examine how we can develop a privacy and security situation that works to protect us by reducing our chances of being at risk.

    But that will require a change in thinking. Too often technology companies have put your security second to their priorities, and that has a real cost. Whether it’s Apple promoting iCloud integration, Facebook testing a new feature, or Google mandating sharing on its networks, the burden is passed on to you. You have to figure out what it means, whether you actually want it, and determine if you are even allowed to not participate. That’s been great for business – but users are having to deal with the consequences without adequate preparation or explanation.

    Compare the amount of attention that goes into the magical experience of opening a new iPhone box versus the confusing mess that is your Photo Stream settings.

    Yes, we still need companies to make two-factor authentication mandatory, institute rate limits on passwords, and implement other common sense practices that should been reviewed long ago. Far more research needs to be done on usable and intuitive security practices. Privacy policies need to become readable, supplemented with easy to understand information and defined in overarching philosophies. Alternatives to the password should continue to be developed and tested — but all of these things will eventually become inadequate.

    New technologies and features will come out that will challenge the status quo and require us to revisit the way we configure settings. The pace of technology today makes it quite impossible to stay ahead of the curve. It’s enormously difficult to completely secure something that is constantly changing and growing. The people who work at these companies have good intentions but limited resources, and it’s understandably difficult to align the priorities of everybody involved.

    What’s needed is a serious acknowledgement by the industry that your security and privacy online are directly linked. When a person can’t easily follow how their information is stored, shared, and managed, they are far more likely to be at risk. The only practical solution is to give users default settings that are more in line with human behavior. The more we rely on technology and the deeper it becomes engrained into our everyday activities, the more important that becomes.

    The devices we have are designed to be addictive, personalized – even intimate. The allure of technology is how natural it feels, we learn to coexist with the possibility of massive embarrassment and failure that are constantly looming. Technology companies have done an incredible job of knocking down the barriers between the digital and physical world, especially when it comes to our identity and relationships. Yet they have not held up their end of the bargain in giving us a safe, secure space to be ourselves. We deserve to have an internet that is optimized for our interests.

    This article originally appeared on Forbes – Disruption and Democracy. Check out my upcoming book, Identified: How They Are Getting To Know Everything About Us

  • The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
    This week we lost one of the greats.

    We’re still reeling over the death of comedian and trailblazer, Joan Rivers. But if we learned anything about Rivers during her prolific career, it was that she was the Queen of Snark. So what better way to pay tribute to her comedic genius than by sending some sarcastic, witty Someecards.

    We rounded up the best cards of the week so send away, because we know Joan wanted us all to keep laughing.

  • Friday Deals: iPhone 5s, Xbox One with free game, Intel SSD, More
    It’s that time of the week again! Every Friday afternoon, we’re going to take a look at sales, and bring you what we think are some of the best deals on prime apps, gadgets, and peripherals for you, the discriminating MacNN and Electronista reader. All prices are verified at the time of publication, and any sales may not be valid if you’re reading a few days down the line. Check pricing before you click buy. We do add deals over the weekend, so keep checking!



  • AppleCare+ headed to Australia in 'coming weeks'
    AppleCare+ plans should be on sale in Australia in the next few weeks, a source says. Apple Store workers are expected to start sales training within days. Unlike regular AppleCare plans, AppleCare+ options include reduced fees for fixing accidental damage to iPhones and iPads. It’s not clear what those fees might be in Australia, nor what the overall plans will cost.



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