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.

VIDEO: Budget PC targets developing world

San Francisco start-up Endless is on course to reach its $100,000 crowdfunding target for its budget desktop PC.

(VIDEO) Dispatch From NAB: Move Over 4K, Ultra High Def (UFD) Will Be the Future of TV

LAS VEGAS – While much has been marketed  around 4K, the much touted format has its limitations, and it is Ultra High Definition (UHD) which will more widely be utilized by the consumers, albeit not for a couple of years, explains Will Law, Chief Media Architect for Akamai, in this interview with Beet.TV

Further, he says that UHD will be embraced first by OTT providers vs. broadcasters who have legacy technology infrastructures.

We spoke with him at the NAB Show.   Our coverage of the show was sponsored by Akamai.

You can find this post on Beet.TV.

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Target Reaches $19 Million Settlement With MasterCard Over Data Breach

(Reuters) – Target Corp said it had agreed to reimburse about $19 million to financial institutions who had issued MasterCard-branded cards that were a part of the massive data breach at the retailer in 2013.
The amount under the settlement with MasterCard Inc covers costs that banks incurred to reissue credit cards and debit cards to customers as a result of the breach, Target said in a statement on Wednesday.
In 2013, Target said at least 40 million credit cards were compromised by the breach during the holiday shopping season, and the attack might have resulted in the theft of personal information, such as email addresses and telephone numbers, from as many as 110 million people.
The payments will be made by the end of the second quarter and is conditioned on issuers of at least 90 percent of eligible account holders accepting the offer by May 20, Target said.
The company added that the estimated costs of the settlement was already reflected in the liabilities established in fiscal 2013 and 2014.
The settlement does not include financial institutions that issue Visa-branded cards. Target is negotiating separately with Visa Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
Target’s shares were up less than a percent at $82.71 in trading after the bell on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Shailaja Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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Google's Rivals Want The Justice Department To Probe Android

By Diane Bartz and Dan Levine

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc competitors are pushing U.S. antitrust enforcers to investigate allegations the Internet services company unfairly uses its Android system to win online advertising, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

A small number of technology companies have complained to the Department of Justice that the Android mobile operating system is anti-competitive, said the sources, who declined to be named to protect business relationships.

Google reached a settlement in 2013 with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over Web search allegations. Any new action by U.S. regulators would be a major risk for the company in its home market.

However, regulators often speak with companies about fairness complaints without the discussions leading to an investigation, and Google has already successfully fought off a U.S. civil suit involving Android.

The meetings between Google critics and regulators predate Wednesday’s announcement by the European Union after a five-year probe that Google distorted Web search results to favor its own shopping service. The EU also opened another antitrust investigation into Android.

Google has been accused anti-competitive conduct in the United States and Europe because of the control it exerts over handset makers who want to use its smartphone operating system. Tech companies have complained about requirements that they give Google search, maps and other products a prominent place on the handsets.

Gary Reback, a Carr Ferrell LLP attorney who battled Microsoft Corp in the 1990s and has spent much of the past decade fighting Google, predicted that more companies would reach out to regulators in coming months.

“Stay tuned on Android. There are going to be more complaints from apps people,” he said at a panel discussion hosted on Wednesday by anti-Google industry coalition Fair Search. The coalition includes Microsoft, Expedia Inc and Nokia Oyj.

However, Google might have some legal ammunition to fight a potential investigation of Android.

Earlier this year, a federal judge in San Jose, California dismissed a consumer class action lawsuit alleging Google requires handset makers to make Google search the default on Android phones, which helps it stay dominant in search.

By forbidding competitors such as Microsoft to pay for prime placement on screens, Google inflated the cost of Android phones for consumers, the lawsuit said.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman ruled that the allegations consumers were harmed were “too speculative” for the lawsuit to proceed. The plaintiffs uncovered no facts to indicate Google’s conduct “prevented consumers from freely choosing among search products or prevented competitors from innovating,” the judge wrote.

The plaintiffs have since withdrawn the case. Steve Berman, an attorney for the consumers, could not immediately be reached for comment about whether they would try to refile the suit in light of the European announcement.

One legal expert said it would be very hard for the U.S. government to win an antitrust lawsuit involving Android. It would have to show, for example, that the agreements with phone makers severely restricted the ability of customers to substitute apps.

“This has been a recurring problem in these Google investigations: that the squawking has come mainly from competitors,” said Herbert Hovenkamp, a law professor at the University of Iowa.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission closed its case in January 2013 after requiring Google to stop “scraping” reviews and other data from rival websites for its own products. The FTC also demanded that advertisers be allowed to export data to evaluate advertising campaigns independently.

Google and the Justice Department declined comment for this story.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington and Dan Levine in San Francisco. Additional reporting by David Ingram. Editing by Soyoung Kim and Andre Grenon)

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Bill Nye Burns Neil DeGrasse Tyson On Twitter Over The Term 'Meteoric Rise'

There are no stupid questions.

Make a less-than-profound observation, however, and Bill Nye might just call you out for it. Even if you’re Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Tyson took to Twitter on Tuesday, arguing that the phrase “meteoric rise” doesn’t make much sense. Hours later, his pal Nye gave him a poke:

@neiltyson Meteors create streaks in skies. From the ground, meteors often look like they’re leaving Earth. “Makes no sense” bit of an exag.

— Bill Nye (@BillNye) April 15, 2015


Inspired by that burn, The Daily Dot reached into the archives in search of other Nye-Tyson disputes and came up with this exchange about the nature of consciousness:

Take the brain out of it, though, and Tyson is pretty sure he has the brawn to take Nye in a cage match.

“I outweigh him by probably 100 pounds,” Tyson explained to Business Insider. “In your classic … cage match, I really don’t think he stands a chance.”

Here’s a picture of what that might look like:

Sometimes you have to get physical with astrophysicists. My dear friend @neiltyson and I at ASU Origins.

A photo posted by Bill Nye (@billnye) on Apr 23, 2013 at 2:31pm PDT

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On This Day — An Open Letter to Facebook

Dear Facebook,

I’m quite certain that when you set out to create the “On This Day” feature for your users, you had only the best intentions in mind. I imagine you thought it would be fun for people to see what they were up to one year ago today and perhaps even insightful to have the chance to reflect on how they have grown or changed over the past year. However, I fear that in the development of this feature you neglected to think about its impact on one particular group of people — those who have experienced significant loss in their lives.

Allow me to elaborate. It was an easy-going Sunday morning; I was perusing my Facebook mobile app while sipping my latte and then, suddenly, something on my newsfeed brought my sunny morning to a screeching halt: A picture of me and my mother from my bridal shower one year ago with the caption “Best mom on earth!” What your super smart algorithms do not know about me (never mind the fact that I have repeatedly posted on Facebook about my loss) is that my mother passed away, rather suddenly, from metastatic breast cancer in September of 2014.

I now live each day engaged in trench warfare with my grief. Some days I manage to function like a normal human, but many days I live in a fog of sadness, longing, heartache, and anger. I lost my mother way too soon.

Grief is a sneaky little bastard. He’s erratic, chaotic, and often blindsides you when you least expect it. One minute you’re laughing and dancing and singing at the top of your lungs; the next minute you’re huddled in a ball of gut wrenching pain bawling your eyes out. I’d appreciate it if my newsfeed didn’t add a layer of complexity to my already unpredictable relationship with Mr. Grief.

Choosing to be informed of one’s activities a year ago to date is a choice that should be left up to each individual, not something that ambushes your newsfeed during an innocent voyeuristic perusal of the day’s social “news.”

“But we have an option in settings to turn off this notification,” I imagine you’d retort. Yes, you do. And on both my web-based and mobile versions of Facebook, this setting was turned to “off.” Yet, this reminder of the past that hijacked my Sunday morning still appeared on my newsfeed.

You state in your newsroom announcement dated March 24, 2015 that if one wants to see his or her “On This Day” page they can “click on the On This Day bookmark, search for ‘On This Day,’ or visit facebook.com/onthisday.” Great. Sounds good. Let those who crave it, go get it.

However, your next sentence states the following: “You might also see a story in your News Feed.” Bam. Morning ruined. Notification settings, smotification smettings. Painful memory sneakily inserted on your newsfeed.

So today, I kindly ask that you change the code for “On This Day” so that the choice of whether or not to receive these notifications really is left in the hands of the user and doesn’t just appear on a newsfeed despite one’s selected settings. I also encourage you to advertise more obviously how people can choose not to receive these notifications so they don’t get an unpleasant surprise one day when they aren’t expecting it.

I wish I could say that I was in a place to be able to receive these reminders lightly, but I’m not and I have no idea how long it will take until I’ll be ready. Until then, I’ll chose when and how I want to look at old pictures or remember days spent with my mom.

My intention with this letter is not to shame you, Facebook. I’m a fan, really (much to my husband’s dismay). I believe you meant no harm whatsoever with this feature. I’m sharing my experience to give voice to the often unspoken nuance of living in a post-loss world — a world that is rarely thought about by those who do not reside there.

With humility,

Daniela Tempesta

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Workplace Self Hacks

In the SXSW Panel “The Productive Workplace — UX, Technology and You” I discussed the power of UX in workplace design. I touched briefly on a term we have come to use a lot, the “perception gap.” Here I would like to explain more about this concept, the impact the gap has on experience, whether any good can come from its existence and how UX can help.


The “perception gap” is that grey area that occurs in design when the people creating the solution believe that they have met their requirements and that everything is perfect (or “green” on their scorecard). However, after implementing the solution they later find out that it is unsatisfactory and doesn’t work well for the people who are actually using it.

Classically, we see this occur in office design where the designers think that everything is fine; the space is cost effective (on budget), it looks good (aesthetics and ambiance) and it meets the requirements (includes everything needed). So why then, if it all looks so good on paper, are people unsatisfied with the space, or not using it?

Simply put, the answer is usually one of two reasons (sometimes both).

The space doesn’t invite the user in and make them feel like they want to be there. For example, a break space might feel sterile, more like a doctor’s waiting room than a place to relax and unwind.

The space doesn’t enable them to do what they actually want to do in there, e.g. a break space that lacks comfy seating so really isn’t enabling them to relax, or a meeting room where the content sharing mechanism is a tiny flat panel so far from the table that no one can see it (yes, this happens more than you think) inhibiting them from holding the meeting they needed to effectively.

How do these scenarios occur? A common cause is “checkboxitis.” The designers check off the list of requirements for the space, but do not necessarily spend the time to piece together how everything will work collectively.

For example — let’s take a collaboration room — you can easily say:

“Yes, there is a whiteboard. Yes, there are some creative looking chairs. Yes, there is a table. Yes, there is access to power, and yes, there is a way to share content.”

Everything is there, right? We can all pat ourselves on the back and go home happy. Wrong. While all these things can be present, what you can end up with is:

A table so low that people cannot actually put their laptops on it. Power sockets located in places that no one can reach. Chairs that look great but are actually super heavy to move around and sit at an odd angle to the screen.

The experience for the user is formed by the way in which the physical and digital components of the space come together, therefore a more holistic design approach would enable the experience to be cohesively designed.


When things do not work for the people using a space, they will more often than not find a way around it. We see examples of these “self-hacks” in offices all the time. Remember when you used to email yourself a website address from your PC so that you could continue looking at it on your phone?

“Well, so what?” you may think. “So what if people ‘piece’ together their own solutions to make something that wasn’t working the way they needed it to work for them?” Well, depending on the type of hack used, there are some knock on effects to both the business and the hacker.

Wasted Money

Businesses care about money (I know, shocker). They have limited money to do everything they need to do, including investments in their employees — be that tools that the employees use, spaces they work in, the list goes on. When the user experience is bad, or things simply do not work for the employee, they will just not use the solution provided, and will find another way to achieve their goal. But this means that the business then loses out on its investment. Unused tools and spaces they have spent money on are simply wasted dollars. One example that springs to mind was an investment in a room booking system. The employees were having a hard time finding and booking conference rooms for meetings so a new system was invested in to make things easier. Even though the system had the supposed requirements (room booking, cancellations, delegates etc…), it was actually quite hard to use and was not really speeding up the process at all so the employees simply reverted to what they knew worked well — a piece of paper and a pen. What a waste. All it would have taken was for the business to investigate how the proposed system would likely fit in with the way the employees worked to avoid the mistake in investment.

Productivity Loss

When employees have to “fix things” the search for a solution takes them time and effort. This then takes them away from the activities they were actually trying to do. For example, in the meeting room previously mentioned, the employees could easily move the chairs closer to the screen or the power sockets, however, now they need to add an extra 10 minutes of set up time before their meeting. Anyone in a meeting heavy environment knows these things usually run back-to-back, not to mention who really wants a physical workout before a meeting?! In this example there was also a lack of understanding; in designing a workspace, you need to think not only about the technology you put in place, but also about the technology that people may bring into the space. How does the fact that we now have new postures in the world due to our use of technology, or the fact that “text-neck” is a word, affect how you think through the physical furniture and the placement of that furniture?


The more “fixes” and hacks employees have to make to fix what should just be working for them, the more annoyed they get. Dissatisfaction in their workplace leads to lower feelings of engagement — and a higher likelihood they will simply choose to work from elsewhere (if the company allows it) where they can be comfortable and able to do their work. This point is really important – research has shown that actively engaged employees can bring much greater profits to the business.


Of course, there are some hacks which are not going to cause too much disruption — sometimes employees fix the situation, then the fix remains in place. If there is not enough power, they can add a power strip (although even that has a slight knock on effect as it looks a mess, and yes, there is even a term for it in industry — cable management).

But, are hacks always so bad? The truth is that paying attention to these hacks can provide great and valuable insight into your employees.

Looking at how people work in their environment will allow you to see the gaps in their experience. You will come to understand how you can truly make their lives better when you go to improve their tools or workplace. Fixing things that employees may have just learnt to live with can have a really big impact on their engagement, enabling them to work much more effectively. One example we found in a video conference room was seeing people move their chairs to almost a semicircle at the top of the table (the table was rectangular). This positioning made the interaction feel much more natural and engaging. When we used a slightly curved table in a new design the users were much more engaged and happy with the experience.

Noticing these hacks can lead to really good ideas and innovations that you hadn’t thought of before. Actually going and seeing may teach you a better way to design.


UX can help you design spaces better by really looking at all the components and the ways in which they all work together in alignment to attain what the user is trying to achieve. Using the experience design thought process you can bring all parties to the table, helping you to understand how a person will “flow” through the space, or tool, from start to finish. This enables those implementing, those designing, user needs and stakeholders to understand how each piece they are responsible for interacts with other parts of the design and allows you to design for the achievement of needs from the start, increasing productivity, reducing wasted investments and stopping “checkboxitis” in its tracks.

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What Are the Five Best Practices for Tweeting From Conferences?

Co-authored by Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, assistant professor at the University of California San Francisco, and Candace W. Burton, PhD, RN, AFN-BC, AGN-BC, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. McLemore’s good friend and colleague, Steph Herold, Deputy Director for The Sea Change Program developed a set of best practices for use of social media at professional meetings and conferences. She shared these with Dr. McLemore, who then shared them with Dr. Burton and me. These practices now guide how we use Twitter during professional conferences.

We are nurse academics and as such, we travel to numerous conferences each year. We believe that nurses, and others, can and should maximize conferences by using social media for three important reasons: knowledge sharing and information exchange for those unable to attend the conference; increased visibility; and mobilizing the next generation of nurses (nursing is a somewhat traditional profession) to develop new uses for social media.

What are the five best practices in Tweeting from the meeting?

1. Determine if a social media policy exists for the conference

Start by determining if a social media policy exists for the meeting and what the social media tags are for that particular meeting. Generally this information is provided at the registration desk or in the conference materials.

Many of the large professional societies provide a Twitter hashtag to follow, and recent examples include: the American Public Health Association’s tag for National Public Health Week: #NPHW; and since no one “owns” hash tags on Twitter, you can also create your own. Dr. Burton recently did this for the 20th Conference of the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International (#NNVAWI20). The purpose of hashtags is to allow participants of the meeting to organize their thoughts, provide immediate and/or direct commentary on the content of the meeting or upload pictures for networking. You can use the #Discover tab in the Twitter toolbar to find if a hashtag exists and is in use.

2. Announce on your feed when you’re Tweeting from the meeting

Several of our followers who can’t attend as many conferences as we do, have commented that they’ve appreciated the information that we Tweet. We generally announce on our feeds when we’re Tweeting from a meeting and what specific hashtag we’re using so that our followers can follow and search for all of the Tweets.

To be sure, Tweeting the meeting could be viewed as distracting or disrespectful to conference speakers and other conference goers. And, for those new to Twitter, there is a bit of a learning curve. However, we believe that the benefits of sharing content, and knowledge, in real time, are important and useful.

3. Announce who is speaking

We tend to announce who is speaking and from what session at the conference, and often provide a brief summary of the presentation.

We Tweet poignant quotes from the presenters that we think are relevant to others following our feeds. For example at a recent regional meeting of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses (@AWHONN), which Dr. McLemore attended, several speakers were present from the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (@cmqcc) and presented cutting edge data on poor birth outcomes in California. As these data were presented, Mr. McLemore tweeted the statistics. When I attended the Faculty Women of Color in the Academy conference (#FWCA2015) recently, I tweeted about discrimination and campus climates for Black women. Dr. Burton, attending the Nursing Network on Violence Against Women International (#NNVAW120), tweeted content, web links, and photos. Video clips can be also be tweeted and all of these tweets can be searched for later use, by ourselves or by our followers. It’s also helpful to tag the institution the speaker comes from, since they may want to retweet or post it on their own social media site.

4. Provide meet-up information and other networking sessions that you plan to attend at the meeting

An additional best practice that we use is to provide meet up information and other networking sessions that we’ll be attending in case other Twitter users in attendance want to get together to discuss some of the conference content or related issues. This has been an invaluable way to coordinate meeting schedules without doodles or having the “personal” contact information for individuals interested in discussing nursing and other related science at conferences.

5. Allows Twitter users to tag where they are

Finally, there is a location feature within Twitter that allows users to tag where they are. This function has also been helpful for us to quickly identify building and room changes at meetings and to be able to determine where meeting essentials such as coffee and bathrooms can be found!

So, we encourage you, the next time you are at a professional meeting or conference, to follow these 5 best practices and Tweet from the meeting! Do you have other best practice ideas? Tweet ‘em to @mclemoremr, @DrCBurton, and @MonaShattell.

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This Controversial Chinese Company Wants To 3-D Print Your Next House

SUZHOU, China — Walking through WinSun’s show lot in the Suzhou Industrial Park, one gets a glimpse of the past and possible future of building construction. Views from the fifth story of a boxy concrete structure reveal a horizon typical of the outskirts of Chinese cities today: Clusters of construction cranes surround high rises sprouting from rice fields.

Streams of trucks flow to and from these construction sites, carrying in the raw ingredients of China’s construction industry — migrant workers, steel and lots of cement — and departing with loads of wood scraps and building waste. It’s a model that has fueled the largest urbanization and housing boom in history, while also helping pollute China’s skies and deplete its natural resources.

WinSun (Chinese name: Yingchuang) says it wants to overturn that model. That boxy concrete structure isn’t made of the usual blend of ingredients. It was 3-D printed inside WinSun’s factory, using a machine that turns construction waste and digital designs into precisely layered walls. That’s a production model that could upend labor markets, housing markets and the entire architectural design process.

Or it could be a gimmick, a publicity ploy based on stolen technology with no real chance of working in the real world. At this point it’s hard to tell for sure, and that’s part of what makes the emerging world of buildings printed in 3-D so fascinating.

WinSun’s 3-D printed structures have attracted equal parts buzz and controversy. The company advertises itself as the breakout innovator in a field that will dramatically reduce building waste and labor inputs. But the academic credited as the founding father of this field says WinSun infringed on his patents, stealing innovative techniques that took him decades to formulate. Developers, architects and researchers remain similarly divided over whether 3-D printed houses are safe, affordable or even desirable.

The company at the center of the controversy got its start as a supplier of construction materials, but made international headlines last year when it unveiled 10 small houses in Shanghai that it had printed in its factory.

In 3-D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) objects are built up layer by layer. A 3-D printer intakes a digital design, and then a moving nozzle deposits successive layers of fast-hardening liquid, with each layer drying before the next layer is set down. 3-D printing allows for greater flexibility in the design and prototyping process, but is usually slower and and more expensive than mass production using molds.

WinSun took the basic concept behind 3-D printing and applied it on a much larger scale, using a cement-like mix of construction waste as the liquid. Structures standing in the WinSun lot bear enlarged hallmarks of 3-D printing — the walls are composed of hundreds of stacked layers, each about an inch thick and rough to the touch. WinSun says it could smooth out the layers but maintains their original outline to demonstrate the technology.

Clusters of empty and roofless structures abut a more polished mansion with some bare bones furnishings inside. WinSun says the mansion’s five-story neighbor is the tallest building ever produced by a 3-D printer, but it has a 100-meter-high tower in the works.

The company says it has already secured orders for its machines from clients in several countries, including a firm that hopes to print out 20,000 affordable houses for the Egyptian government. WinSun won’t divulge the names of its clients, but one employee claimed that the relative of a Saudi prince toured the facilities and was considering ordering a mansion.

In marketing its technology, WinSun emphasizes the environmental benefits of reductions in construction materials (30 to 60 percent, according to some estimates). WinSun CEO Ma Yihe says that in the coming years the company will build “dream factories” around the world, using sand and other construction waste as the main ingredients in its liquid. Ma says WinSun has already begun construction on a handful of factories in China and one in Dubai.

“We’ll use local materials, build locally and sell locally,” Ma told The WorldPost.

Most appealing to Chinese developers is the labor-saving nature of the machines. After three decades in which China’s number of migrant laborers reached into the hundreds of millions, recent labor shortages have led to wage hikes. On a recent Friday, Xu Feng, a real estate developer from a neighboring province, wandered the WinSun lot, asking for cost specifications and taking pictures with his iPad.

“Right now the biggest problem in real estate is migrant workers,” Xu told The WorldPost. “If this can replace migrant workers, then it’ll definitely be the trend of the future. Absolutely.”

According to WinSun, the company’s 3-D printer is 150 meters long, 10 meters wide and 6.6 meters tall. It can allegedly crank out at least one story of a building each day, and these component pieces are then assembled and stacked on site. WinSun doesn’t allow anyone to view its machine or production processes, citing concerns over intellectual property.

Those are precautions Dr. Behrokh Khoshnevis didn’t take. Khoshnevis, a professor at the University of Southern California, pioneered a 3-D printing technique for concrete known as Contour Crafting. That technique recently won a major award from NASA, and based on video recordings, it appears strikingly similar to techniques employed by WinSun. The similarity is no accident, according to Khoshnevis.

“WinSun basically copied my patents, infringed on my patents,” Khoshnevis told The WorldPost.

Khoshnevis says WinSun’s CEO approached him in 2013, offering to act as a materials supplier for Khoshnevis’ project. Ma visited Khoshnevis’ Los Angeles workshop and Khoshnevis saw Ma’s company in China.

“He showed me materials and asked me to show him the consistency and all that,” says Khoshnevis. “I showed him a lot of things thinking he was going to supply material.”

Khoshnevis remains indignant about the incident, but says he isn’t pursuing legal action because he believes his technology is years ahead of his rival’s. He believes his technology holds massive promise for affordable housing, post-disaster relief and even space colonization.

WinSun’s CEO says Khoshnevis isn’t pursuing legal action because he has no basis for his claims. Ma says WinSun developed the crucial liquid entirely on its own, and points out that Khoshnevis and his team have yet to build a complete structure.

“I don’t know what kind of intellectual property he has and I don’t really understand the things he’s done because there isn’t anything there,” Ma told The WorldPost. “What does he have that we could look at? Nothing. What does he have that we could learn from? Nothing. Even if we wanted to learn from his stuff, there’d be no way for us to learn.”

Khoshnevis says he has been working on Contour Crafting for 20 years, and he claims that he could have produced WinSun-like structures as early as 2004. But to-date he hasn’t been able to complete a full structure because of funding limitations and U.S. liability laws.

“We cannot build a structure out in the field without having a permit from authorities,” Khoshnevis explains. “If we build something and some homeless guy goes and lives in there and they have an earthquake, then I would be liable.”

Those concerns haven’t held back WinSun, and the company’s first-mover status has brought huge amounts of publicity. Khoshnevis and some experts in the field maintain that WinSun’s structures aren’t earthquake resistant, but in January the company’s structures received the thumbs-up from the lead engineer at a major state-owned construction company. Ma claims that the companies’ first structures already have people living in them.

Those people are “very brave,” according to Lei Yu a Harvard-educated architect who now conducts research and produces 3-D printers in Beijing. He argues that major problems exist in maintaining stability between printed layers in the event of an earthquake.

Yu has extensive experience in both architecture and cutting-edge 3-D printing, but he says for now the fields are tangentially related at best. While 3-D printing is helping architects build models to better conceptualize organic and non-linear structures, Yu and other architects say we’ll likely see traditional homes put together by robots before we see 3-D printers popping out finished structures.

In the meantime, both Khoshnevis and WinSun are forging ahead. Khoshnevis says he is now forming a company and acquiring the factory space that will allow Contour Crafting to finally produce finished structures. Ma claims he welcomes the competition.

“We hope they’ll produce something and give us an opportunity to learn,” Ma said. “But so far we haven’t seen it and he hasn’t contacted us.”

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Hyundai Helped A Teen Send A Loving Message To Her Astronaut Father — All The Way In Space

It takes more than a pen and paper for 13-year-old Stephanie to send a message to her father who works far away. Eleven Hyundai Genesis cars can help, though.

A recent video from Hyundai shows the process of creating a message large enough for the Houston teen’s astronaut father to see from the International Space Station. According to a press release from the car manufacturer, 11 Hyundai Genesis cars used the Delamar Dry Lake in Nevada as a canvas to recreate a note Stephanie wrote herself.

“It looks just like my handwriting,” she said in the video.

The tire track image — which spelled out “Steph Guinness World Records recognized it as the largest tire track image.

The message’s size paid off, and Stephanie’s father was able to see it as well as capture it with a camera. For Stephanie, the project’s success helped them connect despite the incredible distance between them.

“I’m happy that he could see it and know that we’re thinking about him back home.”

H/T Adweek

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After SaaS: Opportunities for Next-Gen CRM

Over the past 15 years, Salesforce.com has risen to be the undisputed leader in CRM. However, says Gartner, the CRM market overall is showing single digit growth, so companies like Salesforce could be disrupted. A mobile-social offering targeted at sellers of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Etsy and Shopify and priced based on its performance could gain enough momentum to create a new CRM leader. Here’s a playbook for it based on what I’ve learned working at Siebel and Facebook.

How Salesforce disrupted the CRM market a decade ago.

When Salesforce entered the CRM market, it took a disruptive approach by:

Focusing on the SMB market first, which until then didn’t have access to sophisticated CRM capabilities that only large companies with big IT departments could afford to buy and maintain,

Creating a web-based service, which was easy to use and upgraded itself in the cloud, in contrast to the cumbersome “install base” of an Oracle or a Siebel, and,

Inventing the SaaS business model (Software as a Service), which transformed heavy upfront infrastructure investments into monthly recurring budget line items.

For several years, Salesforce was discounted by the market leaders of the time, Siebel, Oracle and SAP, until it was able to sign a marquis account (Merrill Lynch) right on their turf: Fortune 1000 companies. The rest is history and today, about half of CRM software revenue is delivered by SaaS, with Salesforce as the #1 vendor, according to Gartner.

Peer-to-peer marketplaces represents a perfect opportunity to disrupt Salesforce.

Today, Salesforce is struggling to make the transition to the mobile-social era and this creates an opportunity for entrepreneurs. Beside, one key difference in today’s landscape vs. the one Salesforce disrupted, is the fabulous distribution platforms that social networks have created, particularly with the rise of peer-to-peer marketplaces like Etsy, Massdrop and Shopify.

Peer-to-peer marketplaces are companies like Etsy for arts & craft, Shopify for boutiques, MassDrop for consumer electronics. They are disrupting e-commerce players like Craigslist and eBay. One of the reasons sellers move their catalogs to these peer-to-peer marketplaces is that they benefit from a huge social distribution platform, which makes their marketing effort significantly easier. In other words, they have access to multiple, well-targeted communities of millions (sometimes billions) of buyers who have something in common, an interest, a hobby, a passion. Yet often these sellers lack the tools necessary to keep buyers engaged and increase customer lifetime value.

How to create the winning CRM solution of tomorrow.

Going from the same playbook Salesforce used a decade ago, here’s how disrupting CRM today could look like:

Target power sellers first. Unlike hobbyist sellers, power sellers often have the desire to learn how to grow and run a real business on top of these peer-to-peer marketplaces. As they transition from novice to pro, they lack tools such as real-time analytics, a customer database, and pricing optimization.

Build a mobile-social service, which power sellers (and particularly Millennials) want to use and which includes capabilities such as contextual push notifications, social reviews & ratings, simple and smart analytics, easy messaging, etc.

Price based on performance, which clearly links advertising spent to consumer acquisition (with metrics like CPM), retention marketing spent to engagement (with metrics like sales) and offers pricing optimization.

CRM tools would need to be built on top of these peer-to-peer marketplaces, either by the marketplace itself, or by a developer ecosystem. Base is an interesting example of a CRM solution that has been gaining traction with its mobile-centric user experience relying on push notifications, map view of leads and deals, and on-the-go analytics. Tact alleviates the overhead of logging meetings and notes by extracting information from calendars and emails. Refresh (acquired by LinkedIn) is another service that could provide social CRM by expanding its capabilities to establish stronger connections with people during and between meetings. Last but not least, Kit takes CRM to the next level with its SMS-based service that acts as your personal marketing assistant, reminiscent of blockbuster movie Her.

The CRM market is ripe for disruption and the combination of the mobile-social revolution and the demand created by sellers of peer-to-peer marketplaces is creating a perfect storm. For a while, Salesforce would likely ignore the threat of a company providing such service much the way its predecessors ignored Salesforce. This will result in many opportunities for marketplaces and their developers to innovate and create value.

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'RuPaul's Drag Race' And Logo Launch Keyboard App

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” just changed the texting game!

We all already find great pleasure in using “Drag Race” gifs on our friend’s Facebook statuses and other social media platforms. Now, instead of digging through your photo stream to find that perfect gif of Latrice Royale fanning herself and saying “SHAAAADDDE,” you can just go straight to this new tool from Logo — the “RuPaul’s Drag Race” keyboard.

Available on iOS and Android, the free “Drag Race” keyboard includes 20+ RuPaul’s Drag Race emoticons and GIFs and a system integrated keyboard.

Want to check it out for yourself? Head here to download the app for iPhone/iPad or here for Android.

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Grandma and Grandpa Updated Their Status

Worldwide, seniors are largely neglected by brands and marketers. The tendency is to focus on the youthful, impulse spenders, tomorrow’s big wallet owners youth. While this holds some great business sense, especially in the MENA with some 60% of the population being under the age of 30, I don’t think it’s sensible to overlook the segment that has 47 times the net worth of households headed by those younger targets.

Money matters aside, they are also the fastest growing demographic on social media. Emails are so 2008 for the 55-75 grandma and grandpa of 2015, and they are on Facebook, befriending their grandchildren, liking status updates, sharing pictures, sharing thoughts, hearting instagram photos and loving that LO-Fi Effect! connecting with a childhood friend, and they are on 5 WhatsApp groups (minimum) debating life matters. (Tip: show them how to silence the groups so you don’t have to go searching under every pillow and cushion in the house for the phone after they hide it away too annoyed of all the Tin Tin RInG RING of all groups!). The facts below speak for themselves (Source: Google & Ipsos Study), and although they are from the U.S, you can easily find similarities by observing seniors behavior in MENA. Seniors in the Middle East are creating usage habits following the pattern “Offline Traditions Gone Digital”: with WhatsApp “Home” & “Family” groups, cooking groups, Majlis groups, accompanied by heavy use of voice recordings are all signaling the fast shift in behavior (Source: Cheil Human Digital Trends Report)

The Internet is an everyday part of boomers’ and seniors’ lives; it is the top source for gathering information on topics of interest, outpacing TV and print media by a substantial margin.

Social networking sites are used by the majority of seniors daily with more than half following a group or organization on a social platform.

Search is the top online information-gathering resource for seniors, driving a variety of actions.

Seniors access the Internet on their PCs and growing portions are doing so on smartphones and tablets.

Since 2011 the older generation’s interest in Facebook has increased 41% for 35-54-year-olds and 80% for the 55-80 age bracket.

Over half of boomers and seniors watch online video with YouTube reported as the preferred site with 82% of video watchers using it.

If marketing is the art and science of understanding consumer behavior to unlock business opportunities and negate potential threats, I think we are failing to be good marketers for senior consumers, and are using outdated communication language and media when talking to them. It’s like we assume they are old, but in fact, what is really old is our understanding of them and the tactics we use when talking to them.

When it comes to understanding their behavior, it is important to realize that although seniors might be using social media in ways that are similar to younger generations, their motives to go online are different. Parents of millennial enjoyed lesser time on the summit of knowledge than previous generations. Millennials were given the internet, so they were more resourceful at a much younger age and didn’t have to rely on parents for knowledge. Our parents grew up looking up to their parents as being the one and only source of complete and comprehensive knowledge, they expected and wanted to be that for their kids, for us, but that turning point where children grow intellectually independent came earlier to millennials than their parents expected, or liked.

Implication? Part of the parenthood dream our parents had of how much to give for how long was shattered. Their self esteem must have been affected as well. The Invincible Super Parent image they wanted to show off to their kids, couldn’t stay glamorous for long with the Internet being the cool- free- know-it-all- super-fast -secretive uncle.

So this competition was paired with intimidation, they couldn’t figure that Internet thing out, and their children are falling in love with it and everyone seem to admire and talk about it. They didn’t want to ask because they are jealous, intimidated and feeling inferior. Their kids started growing more confident of their arguments and sources of information, they are bolder, and parents thought; “I can’t argue with the internet! The Internet belongs to that complicated, security protect giant computer, specially trained, exceptionally smart prodigy that I had nothing to do with at work. My children know more than I do, and I don’t like it and I won’t admit it.”

Now being online, reverses all of that.

They aren’t intimidated of the internet as they used to be. They concurred one beast. They feel accomplished. They want to be celebrated. They aren’t simply online. They ARE ONLINE! See them!

Remember when you were a kid singing a song which you knew all the lyrics to? and while singing you felt like a hero, you felt like a superstar? like the only person singing in the room? because you knew you had this, you got this, you mastered this! You were a hero and you were sneaking glimpses around looking for that person who is acknowledging your greatness? Acknowledging HOW EXCEPTIONAL you are? so full with victory you were. That’s how Seniors feel when they are online. When they appear on your Facebook chat list, when they update their status and impatiently await for the likes and comments, when they spend half an hour perfecting that caption to that picture, they are THERE and it’s a BIG deal! It’s not casual business, it’s self branding at its finest, most exquisite, artistic yet self conscious form.

When it comes to our tactics and the tools we use to communicate with today’s seniors, we are definitely falling short on their expectations, they have outpaced us. We have a target segment that has gone completely out of its way to adapt, bolted its way to catch up with what the world is doing, to join the digital and mobile conversation, eager to benefit from what brands and marketers have to offer, and what are we giving seniors in return? Ignorance, and non-observance. Their efforts are being ignored, their specific pain points are rarely acknowledged, they are often added to the dreadful mass segment, and nobody seems to care whether seniors are listening and interacting with us or not. What’s worse, is that whenever they are the target audience of a campaign, they are rarely talked to on digital or mobile platforms, it is automatically assumed that a TV commercial or a newspaper ad is PERFECT for them, although Google says their online content consumption is outpacing TV and print media big time.

So, if you live in AdLand, be aware that seniors are there, they are online searching for your brand, liking your Facebook post and probably commenting on it, they are a Whatsapp message and an Instagram picture away, are ready to be talked to, and they have money to spend on your brand and time to listen and interact with your campaign. How much better can it get?

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Building Happier Cities With the Internet of Everything

In a recent meeting with the mayor of a major European city, I asked, “What is the biggest goal driving adoption of the Internet of Everything (IoE) in your city?” Without hesitating, he said, “A happier city.”

When I talk about the benefits of IoE, I almost always start with economic value — improvements in productivity and efficiency, new business models and new revenue streams. However, this mayor thinks first about improving quality of life for all citizens. This helps keep a city vibrant by enriching the lives of people already living in the city and by attracting new talent and new businesses. When you think about it, these outcomes reinforce each other. IoE can deliver both economic value and an improved quality of life.

According to “Building New Cities: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations,” a Cityquest-KAEC report, “Advances in information and communication technology (ICT) are radically changing the way we live in and manage cities . . . cities have the opportunity to imagine user-friendly services that facilitate the development of an identity and a sense of community.” And a sense of community fosters happiness.

Charles Montgomery, author of “Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design,” also points out that, “There is no more crucial ingredient for human happiness than strong, positive social connections. Connected communities are happier, more resilient in hard times and better equipped to handle economic challenges.”

IoE Technology Underpins Happier Cities. It’s no coincidence that Smart Cities such as Copenhagen, Dubai, King Abdullah Economic City, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Sydney, who have embraced the Internet of Everything, always rank

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