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.

Belle Gibson, 'Whole Pantry' Blogger, Admits Lying About Cancer

A popular blogger and social media star is coming clean about faking terminal brain cancer, telling an Australian magazine it was all a hoax.

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FCC Staff Recommends Hearing On Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

Federal Communications Commission staff recommended that the regulatory agency designate Comcast Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc. for a hearing, according to people familiar with the matter, a significant setback for the companies’ merger plans.

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Facebook: Based on a True Story

The other day, while browsing on Facebook as I normally do in the bathroom — I mean, a few times a day — I came across a picture of a 2-year-old (the son of a friend) on a skateboard. Riding it. I knew it was wrong as I let my brain wander, but I couldn’t help it. My 4-year-old couldn’t do that yet, not even for a fraction of a second. What’s wrong with my kid? I wondered, if this 2-year old can balance, but mine can’t? I was in that dark cloud for about 10 seconds before I snapped out of it, convincing myself that this was just an amazing shot,and that right before, his dad was positioning him on the board, and immediately after, he fell, was crying and needed to be consoled by his mom.

Keeping up with Joneses has been part of our society for some time, but with social networking on the rise with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., the number of “Joneses” we have to compare ourselves to has expanded profusely. When people log onto these sites to post, evidently, they put on their rose-colored glasses as well. Consider the posts, pictures and status updates you’ve seen recently: happy times, parties, new homes, renovations, new car, exotic vacations. The list goes on. Have you come across any posts that tell you how hard it is to make ends meet? The rough patch in a marriage? The new roof that’s needed? The child that needs major surgery?

I started to worry that I was falling victim to this Internet optimism, trying to live up to these amazing lives, achievements and stories of my Facebook friends. As it turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this pressure. According to one statistic I found, one in five Facebook and Twitter users admit they compare themselves to others “based purely on the status updates, pictures and messages from their ‘friends’ on social media sites.” I wonder how many of those 20% were moms, trying to live up to the supermom status that so many of us spend countless hours feeling guilty over never really achieving. Honestly, I felt that way after seeing the skateboarding picture. That wasn’t the first time, and I’m sure won’t be the last, either. It crossed my mind that if I did post things that weren’t as amazing, I would be scrutinized in the opposite way. When someone posts how they’re feeling ill, it’s been called “attention whoring.” It’s a very sharp double-edged sword.

It’s my conclusion then, that pictures can lie. They don’t tell the whole story. And just like movies need to have a disclaimer, perhaps Facebook and sites like it should too: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

For more parenting stories, jokes and tips, visit MrsMuffinTop by clicking here!

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VIDEO: Shakespeare's Globe goes virtual

A new app lets you take a tour of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London – but how close is it to the real thing?

Will the 'Internet of Things' Open Your Home to Hackers?

At this week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco, the world’s leading cyber minds aren’t just focusing on international super-hackers and possible future attacks on the electric grid. Do you know what else they’re worrying about?

Your home.

With the explosion of “Internet of Things” products, devices, appliances and machinery (Gartner predicts 4.9 million “connected things” this year), everything from Amazon’s cute little “Dash” buttons to “smart” toilets, self-diagnosing refrigerators and self-driving cars, there is growing concern that this rush of technological sophistication and convenience could also have dire consequences for personal security.

After all, security often appears to be the last thing manufacturers think about when rushing these tricked-out products to market. In many cases, they lack safeguards to prevent even basic attacks. Take for instance, the baby monitor hacks in Washington, Texas and Minnesota, or the keyless door lock break-ins at Arizona hotels, the key fob car hacks across the U.S. and a variety of other threats demonstrated at hacker conferences, from Barnaby Jack’s insulin pump attack to Charlie Miller’s hijack of a car’s steering and breaking systems.

Of course, many of the most talked about (i.e., hyped) threats are the least likely to affect the average person, but they do raise some serious questions. In the race to win over our living rooms, are businesses leaving the front door open?

Here are six threats people will have to contend with as the home becomes more connected:

Account Hijacking - Forget about pacemaker cyber attacks and remotely hijacked smart toilets. The most likely scenario for consumers, as their homes become inundated with Internet of Things appliances, is the account takeover. After all, for many of these fancy new Internet-connected devices, you’ll likely have to register for support or software updates. That means having a special GE or Bosch or whatever account. Account hijacks will primarily occur in two ways: data breaches at the corporate level that compromise a person’s account details (name, login/password, credit card, etc.) and targeted attacks on the person’s private email.

Worse Phishing Attacks - All of these accounts will also make you more susceptible to phishing emails, which will use fake customer support or warranty expiration notices to trick you into downloading malware. The primary goals will likely be the same as they are today: steal banking credentials, identity information or install remote backdoors on your home network.

Malware in the Home - For every new device that is connected to the web, expect a virus, worm or Trojan to target it. There are a number of reasons why criminals will want to infect your appliances with malware, but the main ones are: to rope your appliances into a “botnet” that can be sold or rented on the black market or steal information stored by the device, if such exists — such as account details or credit card numbers. Additionally, if your appliances are infected by a botnet, it could lead to Internet service providers blacklisting your home’s IP address, which means you could have trouble sending emails or using certain online services. If all of this sounds far-fetched, consider this: last year researchers discovered what is believed to be the first refrigerator botnet; and a top security firm recently released antivirus for the entire home.

Appliance and Device Malfunctioning - There’s also a strong chance that at some point malware that infects your home will cause an appliance to malfunction. This may or may not be the goal of the malware, but either way it could happen. For example, when appliances are infected by botnets, they could slow down the normal performance of the appliance’s operating system. Will a coffee maker suddenly explode because of a virus? Probably not, but is it possible that a malicious hacker could cause a refrigerator to stop cooling to spoil food or raise the temperature on a thermostat or water heater? Each of these attacks would be complicated to perform and there’s no real motive except harassment, but they could be possible.

Harassment - Speaking of harassment, that is another risk that consumers will have to face. This is most likely to be done by teenagers, neighbors and amateurs, so the attacks will be limited and rely heavily upon free hacking tools available on the web. Therefore, don’t worry about the neighborhood teen hijacking your car, but eavesdropping on webcams and microphones embedded in networked devices could be a risk.

Cyber Extortion and Cyber Ransom - Cybercriminals are increasingly using cyber extortion and ransomware to make money off of consumers and small businesses, and this is likely to continue as we move further into the Internet of Things. Today, cyber extortion is typically done through denial-of-service attacks or stolen data, and “ransomware” is a type of computer malware that locks up important files until the victim pays a ransom, typically between $200-500. It won’t be as easy to perform these attacks on other devices, unless they have access to email — such as a smart TV for instance. Therefore, these attacks may be limited, but expect them to happen.

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Medical 3-D Printing Will 'Enable a New Kind of Future'

NEW YORK — Advances in 3-D printing and medical technology will soon make it possible to construct human tissue in a lab, implant it in a patient and watch it grow into the body. Tissue engineering, as it’s called, was just one of the exciting new technological advances researchers and doctors have made in the medical 3-D printing field, a potentially revolutionary industry that was on full display during the Inside 3-D Printing Conference and Expo in New York last week.

Medical 3-D printing, begun with such well-known devices as hearing aids and Invisalign braces, has come a long way. Now we have 3-D-printed implants, 3-D-printed models for surgical practice, 3-D-printed bone replacements, even 3-D-printed human tissue. In 2013, surgeons at the University of Michigan saved the life of a 3-month-old boy who had been born with severely weak tissue in his airway. They designed, 3-D-printed and surgically implanted a scaffold-like tube to hold his airway open. After three years, as the baby’s airway tissue grows over and around the tube, the scaffold will dissolve harmlessly.

That operation made it clear what is becoming possible in this field: saving and improving human lives using personalized medical devices printed by a machine. It was the first time a 3-D-printed medical device had saved a child’s life.

3-D-Printed Organs?

Dr. Scott Hollister, one of the surgeons at the University of Michigan who is pioneering 3-D printing in medicine, said that at present, tissue engineering is primarily used in reconstructing severely damaged bone and tissue structures. In an interview with The WorldPost, he described one case in Germany in which a man’s badly damaged jaw and face were scanned, and then a replica printed in medical-grade titanium. Doctors implanted the replica in his back muscle so that the tissue and bone could start to grow, then removed it a month and a half later and placed it where it belonged on his face.

The jaw implant eventually failed, but Dr. Hollister remains hopeful that this kind of thing will start working after further research and testing. Earlier this year, Israeli doctors successfully 3-D-printed and implanted a replacement jaw for a Syrian man whose face was nearly destroyed in the civil war. Three other patients — survivors of oral cancer — will soon undergo a similar procedure.

The arch of a man’s foot is scanned with a photogrammetric software. The file will be used to make a corrective insole using a 3D printer. (JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP/Getty Images).

Nin Desai, the CEO of NIN Ventures, a “next generation technology venture capital fund,” said her firm is one of the first to make a big push into medical 3-D printing technology.

“The biggest five sectors in the medical space are bracing, hip and knee replacements, hearing aids [and] dental and tissue engineering,” she told The WorldPost. “The most underrated sector currently is tissue engineering. It’s the newest.”

IDTechEx, a research firm, expects the 3-D bioprinting market to reach $6 billion by 2024. Late last month, NIN Ventures brought on Dr. Sunil Patel, a multi-organ transplant surgeon at the University of Buffalo, to spearhead investments in the medical 3-D printing industry. A company called Organovo is already commercially 3-D printing liver tissue for research purposes.

Dr. Hollister said 3-D-printed organs probably won’t happen in the next half-century. A full human organ “printed” and grown in a lab remains too complex, a holy grail, a distant hope.

For now, most researchers and surgeons are focused on what’s achievable in the near term. Jon Schull, who spoke at the conference on Thursday afternoon, founded a nonprofit called e-NABLE that provides young children who — through birth defects or injury — need a new hand. Young children don’t usually qualify for upper limb prosthetics — they simply outgrow them too quickly.

Here is one of e-NABLE’s videos of young children getting new hands:

The genius of e-NABLE is its simplicity. For free, the nonprofit provides a 3-D-printed, basic plastic robotic hand that can make a fist, hold a ball and grasp a bike handle to children all over the world. He reckons e-NABLE has shipped out 1,000 hands.

“We are in the middle of approximately a dozen emerging trends,” Schull said during his speech. “Everything from, obviously, 3-D printing, to the open source movement, the gift economy and transhumanism — the notion that we are entering an era in which we are all remaking ourselves for the better using emerging technologies that are science fiction-like and also available, increasingly. And in the center of it is this cosmic sweet spot of smiling children with newly empowered hands and makers who will testify that being part of this is one of the most rewarding and interesting things they’ve ever done in their lives.”

The hands are not advanced prosthetics; they’re easily and cheaply printed and assembled. But the kids who wear them don’t seem to want something advanced. All they care about is feeling like a normal kid. Plus the hands come in dozens of colors and styles that mimic superheroes like Iron Man and Wolverine. It’s a huge confidence boost, parents have told Schull. Their kids feel normal again, can play again, smile again.

“This is what technology is for,” Schull said. “Many of us are attracted to it because it’s cool. But what turns out to be cool and incredibly meaningful is using it to enable a new kind of future.”

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Beyoncé And Jay Z's Rumored Joint Album Reportedly To Premiere On Tidal

It may be time to actually sign up for Tidal.

The long-rumored Beyoncé and Jay Z joint album will reportedly be released exclusively on Tidal, according to DJ Skee. The host of Skee TV revealed last September that the couple was working on an album together. In his latest segment on Skee TV, the DJ reports that sources have told him the album is “nearing completion.”

Although Bey and Jay have yet to officially confirm the rumors, producer Detail confirmed the album to Billboard in February. “When you think of Jay and Bey together, you think ‘album.’ You should already know,” Detail told Billboard, before adding that he hopes the album will come out this year.

Earlier this month, both Bey and Jay released exclusives on Tidal, including a music video for her new song “Die with You,” and a video for Jay Z’s “Glory.”

Reps for Beyoncé, Jay Z and Tidal were not immediately available for comment.

For more, head to Skee TV.

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FarmersWeb Is Making It Easier For Food To Get From Farm To Table

While it may be overused, the phrase “farm-to-table” is more than just a buzzword — it represents an important cultural shift over the past 10 years in both the food industry and in the dining public’s priorities. But as more farmers, restaurants and food purveyors try to source and serve food grown locally, infrastructure needs have grown.

Enter Farmers Web, an online portal that aims to connect farmers and producers with food buyers, making the farm-to-table process seamless. By removing the middle man, FarmersWeb says it enables farmers to cut down on costs, resulting in more local sourcing activity overall. Cutting out the middle man can also mean fresher food on plates. It’s a win-win for all parties.

On the site, which launched in 2012, farmers create a free online profile whereby buyers browse their inventory. In addition to increased exposure and a direct line of communication, the website also offers subscription tools for marketing and managing orders, deliveries and financials. Farmers are responsible for delivering their products directly to buyers, or they can hire a logistics provider with the help of FarmersWeb.

Growers create their own FarmersWeb profiles to show off their products. (Screenshot/FarmersWeb)

From the buyer’s perspective, FarmersWeb is like an online farmers market, allowing restaurants, hotels and schools to find new producers. Referring to the sprawling food distribution center in the Bronx, Brooklyn Edible likens FarmersWeb to “a virtual Hunt’s Point.” And Eataly’s managing partner and chief operating officer Alex Saper told The New York Times that, “In a way, it’s like outsourcing the research I would otherwise do myself to find local suppliers.”

Jennifer Goggin, one of the FarmersWeb’s three founders, points out that food distribution — which includes managing a warehouse, trucks, labor, marketing and sales — is a costly endeavor. In some cases, she told The Huffington Post, it’s also redundant, because many farmers already have their own trucks and are already doing some delivery.

“What farms and buyers really need,” Goggin said, “is a way to connect and transact with each other directly.”

In creating FarmersWeb, Goggin also recognized an opportunity to free up time for food producers. From monitoring their produce and livestock to complying with federal and state regulations to running a business, farmers are busy, to say the least. FarmersWeb offers a streamlined way for them to manage inventory and expenses, no matter the size of the farm.

“Up until the past few years, it seemed like the business view of farming was either small-scale organic vegetable patches or huge agri-corporations. No company was developing tools for the huge number of mid-sized farms trying to run their farms as businesses,” she said. “Technology can’t help with everything, but it can at least cut down on the amount of hours they need to spend in an office organizing orders, invoices and paperwork, and that’s how we’re trying to help these farms become more efficient and scalable.”

Restaurants and other buyers can search inventory, find sellers, and place orders.(Screenshot/FarmersWeb)

In just a few years, the model has already seen success; Goggin said several hundred businesses have signed up for the service. From initially handling only New York-area farms, the exchange is now available to any producer across the country. Two Wisconsin-based business, Wellspring Organic Farm and the wholesaler Koji’s Produce, just recently signed on, she said.

FarmersWeb is helping farms and food businesses grow, too. When Cascun Farm in upstate New York started working with FarmersWeb, the operators had just purchased a first batch of 100 chicks with the hope of getting into the New York City wholesale market.

“After just a few years, they now process and sell about 18,000 birds a year using just the FarmersWeb software to manage all of their sales, which is pretty amazing,” Goggin said.

Cascun Farms’s owners told HuffPost that FarmersWeb was absolutely crucial for the growth of the business, helping the family-run farm easily set up meetings with restaurants that were four hours away in New York City. Once Cascun Farms started partnering with certain restaurants, they said, the activity spread by word-of-mouth on FarmersWeb, providing even more opportunities.

For Beth Linksey’s Hudson Valley business Beth’s Farm Kitchen, which sells products including jams and frozen local fruits, FarmersWeb works because it can continue to promote her “as a little business that can fill little niche needs for the hotels and restaurants,” she told HuffPost.

“FarmersWeb is good to work with,” she added, “and very responsive when we have new products to offer.”

The site currently works with varied partners including meal delivery services like Munchery, corporate cafeterias including Facebook’s, retail stores like Eataly, culinary schools including Natural Gourmet Institute, and restaurants like Amali, Cafe Luxembourg and The Meat Hook.

But it’s still a relatively new company, and FarmersWeb staff hope to continually improve. Goggin says there’s no typical day for her and her colleagues; one might involve designing and implementing new features for the site, while another could involve a road trip to a farm or restaurant that’s interested in the platform. Lately, Goggin and her team have been working to set up logistics providers for farms that don’t have the means to deliver goods themselves.

FarmersWeb has already updated its revenue model to encourage more farms to use the site. The original model charged a commission to sellers for sales that occurred through the site; the new model, called Pro Accounts, offers a flat monthly fee so that increased sales doesn’t lead to increased expenses. For buyers and sellers, it’s free to set up a profile, and producers can choose from the following plans: $40 a month or three percent of sales for 1-10 products a month, or $75 a month or three percent of sales for unlimited products.

Somewhat ironically, the farm-to-table movement is a return to how the food system used to operate — and FarmersWeb makes that return feasible in the modern world.

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7 Things The Earth Would Tweet If It Could


It’s Earth Day and it’s time for the one day a year when we pretend to care about the planet we’re kinda sorta ruining. And you know Earth obviously isn’t happy about this. Can you imagine if our own world took to social media to vent about planet stuff?

Well, no imagination needed, because this is what the tweets from the Earth would look like if it had a Twitter account. (We’re not talking about this other Twitter account, which also pretty entertaining, but far more educational.)

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Password Breaches: Why Legislation is the Way Forward

In June of 2012, LinkedIn, the largest business-oriented social network, found itself in hot water. Due to allegedly weak security practices on the part of the company, a file containing the encoded passwords of roughly 6.5 million LinkedIn users was posted on a Russian hacker site. While there was no way of proving that the breach led to any direct effect on the users, the customers argued in court that the company had deceived them about the level of its Internet security when they had signed up for the service.

Thus a class-action lawsuit was born, involving 800,000 American LinkedIn users who paid for premium services between March 15, 2006 and June 7, 2012. The lawsuit was settled this past February for $1.25 million.

LinkedIn isn’t the only major company to face scrutiny for its password security, or lack thereof. Though the company denies the breach, mobile transportation app Uber recently came under fire with reports that thousands of customer logins were being sold online over the Dark Web. Uber claims to have investigated and found no evidence of a breach, but one Uber user confirmed to Motherboard that his personal information for sale on the Dark Web included his Uber username and password. What’s particularly alarming in the case of Uber is that the compromised information included GPS information, giving cyber criminals access to records detailing where the user traveled to and from throughout the day.

Enterprise chat platform Slack also suffered a password breach just a few weeks ago. The company revealed that hackers had breached a database that contained usernames, encrypted passwords, and other information. The company has already made an effort to increase security measures as result of the breach, adding two-factor authentication that offers an extra layer of protection to its users.

Password Fatigue: A Domino Effect

As a user, it may not seem like a big deal for one of the platforms you use to suffer a password breach. Most consumers see this as a minor annoyance at having to change their password after a breach. But look at it this way: how often have you created a new social account or email address and found yourself mindlessly typing the same password you use for other sites? This is called password fatigue, and while it’s a security worst practice, it is also human nature. The danger with password fatigue is that if and when one of your many accounts is compromised, this can have a domino effect on all of your other email addresses, applications, and other sites for which that password unlocks access to sensitive data. What may have started as a breach on your social chat platform — where no personal information is stored — may turn into a situation with more dire consequences — a hacker getting into your personal photos, your bank account, and your medical information after trying your recycled password to access a site where valuable personal information is stored.

Legislation: Not There Yet, But Getting There

While there are no laws forcing businesses to notify customers of a password breach yet, there is an ethical responsibility that exists for companies to notify their customers in a timely manner when a breach occurs. The sooner that an individual knows they are at risk for identity theft, the sooner they are able to take the necessary steps to protect their personal information and minimize damage. The way to ensure that companies honor this responsibility is through simple and consistent legislation.

This past January, major strides were made toward federal legislation in Congress to improve cyber security. Of particular importance, one of the goals of the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative includes increasing information sharing between companies and the government. Through better communication between these two parties, the government can be better informed as to how to develop legislation to best protect consumers. This may also enable faster breach notification across industries.

While this is a step in the right direction, the issue that remains is that there is not currently a consensus on when companies need to notify consumers that a breach has occurred. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman proposed a bill this past January that would expand New York’s definition of what constitutes the need for disclosure by including email addresses and passwords (in addition to the already-included Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses or credit card information). It may very well be beneficial to mirror a similar law in the federal government.

What You Can Do

We at CSID would like to see legislation to continue to be developed and strengthened around these issues. That being said, protecting your passwords is not entirely out of your hands. It is your responsibility to ensure you are doing all you can to protect your personal information by using strong, unique passwords. Here’s what you can do:

Use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Create a password that is at least eight characters long. The longer, the better. To put this in perspective, a 10-character password can be cracked using standard tools within a calendar week. A hacker using the same “brute-force” tactics would need 1.49 million centuries to crack a 15-character password.

Don’t use dictionary words, slang, names or email addresses. You can have the longest password in the world, but if it’s an easily recognizable phrase, it won’t do you much good.

For those that don’t want to keep track of long, complex passwords, a password manager can help break natural human tendencies for poor password use.

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Facebook reports strong results

Social networking giant Facebook reports better-than-expected first quarter profits as well as growing monthly active users.

Google Launches U.S. Wireless Service

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Google Inc on Wednesday launched a new U.S. wireless service that switches between Wi-Fi and cellular networks to curb data use and keep phone bills low.

The service, Google’s first entry into the wireless industry, will work only on the company’s Nexus 6 phones and be hosted through Sprint Corp and T-Mobile’s networks, Google said in a statement.

The service, called Project Fi, will automatically switch between the two networks and more than 1 million open, free Wi-Fi spots, depending on which signal is strongest.

The service will cost $20 a month plus $10 per gigabyte of data used. Customers will get money back for unused data.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of products, said at a Barcelona conference last month the company was preparing to experiment with a mobile network, but that it did not intend to disrupt the wireless industry.

The service will be available on only one device and has limited carrier coverage, so it will not make Google a major wireless industry player, said Brian Blau, research director at Gartner.

If successful, however, Google’s service could pressure wireless providers to further lower prices and better adapt to the rise of tablets and wearable devices, Blau added. Though some carriers, such as T-Mobile and AT&T Inc, allow unused data to roll over, most mobile plans require customers to pay for a set amount of data each month.

But Google first has to “test out features they think are going to differentiate themselves,” Blau said, such as being able to transition from network connectivity to Wi-Fi.

If Google is able to provide those features, “it’s very possible they could become a major wireless player in the future,” Blau said.

Phone numbers will live in the cloud so that consumers can talk and text on any connected tablet, Google said.

The company already has a strong presence in the mobile market through its Android operating system, which hosts some of the most popular apps, such as Gmail and Google Maps.

Google shares rose 1.27 percent to $549.81 at mid-afternoon.

(Reporting by Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Managing the Deluge of Data

It’s no secret that the amount of data out there is growing exponentially. A joint study conducted by the research group IDC finds that the digital universe will grow 40% per year for the next decade. Or, to put it another way, it more than doubles every two years. But forget the next decade. How about the next minute? A report by business intelligence firm Domo turns up some eye-opening results – every minute 204 million emails are sent, Google receives over 4 million search queries, Facebook users share 246 million pieces of content, and 277,000 tweets are sent.

Marketers are hard at work trying to make sense of this data deluge. Those that succeed will gain valuable customer insights and a leg up on their competitors. Today we see companies gathering information and delivering targeted marketing via a number of sophisticated methods – they can deliver ads based on your prior searches, serve up content based on your Gmail messages, or offer you discounts for products based on your past purchasing history. Every time you log onto your favorite retailer’s website, the recommendations you see are based on past purchases and searches you have made and also the preferences of people with similar buying histories and profiles. Businesses also use retargeting to continue delivering relevant content to you even after you’ve left one site and gone on to another.

But, as I said, the pace at which the amount of customer data on the web is growing presents a unique challenge for marketers as they weed through the haystack to find that needle of useful information. The IDC report says that only 25% of the data on the web today is being analyzed – with the remaining 75% representing unchartered territory of potentially useful information that could disclose even more distinct patterns and trends.

Marketers are constantly being bombarded with more information about their audiences – through data analytics, persona profiles, behavioral analyses, ever-more focused customer segmentations and which media are more effective for each slice of their audience – but are understandably struggling to process these huge amounts of data into insights and actionable decisions. There’s simply too much to handle. This deluge of data is something that our customers run into frequently as they work to build forward-looking, sophisticated marketing programs. Here are a few tips for managing the reams of customer data flowing your way:

Prioritize your audiences. Don’t try to continually gather more data on all of your potential target audiences – you’ll drown if you do. Instead, pick your top-priority audiences, spend some time developing personas for those core audiences (including what drives and motivates them) and begin gathering more data about them. Then develop ways to identify where they are in the buying cycle and begin to get comfortable adjusting and processing that data in effective ways.

Prioritize data that can be used for lead scoring. Lead scoring – determining who is most likely to make a purchase – is always a great place to start the data mining process, as it will give you and your team actionable data that can directly impact sales. Once you have enough data to accurately score your core audience, you can then broaden your horizons and look into obtaining and analyzing more data to explore other audiences.

Recognize that lead generation is a continuum. Lead management starts with the identification of a prospect. Marketers should look for opportunities to engage with prospects, thus increasing lead generation potential. Ultimately (and hopefully), initial identification and engagement results in a purchase – usually after a lead is qualified, through the use of analytics, and nurtured. Only after a lead is nurtured should it be handed off to sales.

Integrate your marketing data. Make sure that the customer data gathered through marketing activities can be easily fed into your marketing automation tools. For example, a webinar program can support the entire marketing workflow, with the webinar platform integrated with a CRM platform. The better the data and the more efficiently it can be transferred over, the more effective the sales team will ultimately be.

Identify what kind of data will be most useful for sales. Marketing is the tip of the spear when it comes to collecting data on prospects, and once you identify and then hand over qualified leads to your sales team, you will want to give them all of the useful information you have on hand. Just like a relay race, a smooth handoff is key to success. If you have a lot of data that is not useful for them, the good stuff may get lost in the shuffle.

I’d be interested to hear how others are managing customer data. What’s your system? How do you embrace the chaos and manage the data deluge?

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Could We Build a Starship Enterprise in the Next Decade?

Can we build a Starship Enterprise with our current technology in the next 10 years?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Answer by Robert Frost, NASA Engineer with specialization in spacecraft operations, orbital mechanics, and guidance, navigation and control systems.

No. Not only could we not build this in 10 years…

… but we couldn’t even build this in 10 years…

Let’s ignore the technologies that might be impossible (e.g. warp drive, dilithium crystals, and transporters). Let’s ignore the technologies that we have no idea how to reproduce in a similar way (artificial gravity). Let’s just focus on trying to build a space-worthy scale replica of the USS Enterprise that uses existing structural and propulsion capabilities.

The Starship Enterprise is much more massive than the International Space Station. Here’s a comparison of their respective sizes (note: I’ve used the original Enterprise, not the Abrams version, which is considerably larger).

The International Space Station (ISS) is the largest, most complex international scientific project in history. For decades, studies were done that developed the ideas and technologies needed to build it (e.g. the steering law algorithm was written during Apollo). The prime contractor (Boeing) was selected in 1993. The first module launched in 1998. Over the following decade, 15 countries invested their treasure (~$135 billion) to build the ISS. It took 26 Space Shuttle flights to deliver the US segment modules. An additional Russian rocket launch was needed for each Russian module. Over 1000 hours of EVA were needed for the assembly.

It would take hundreds of launches just to get the materials needed for the Enterprise into space.

Now that the Space Shuttle is retired, there is no current capability on Earth to launch and deliver modules that are not self-sufficient. While the ISS assembly was essentially “snap-on” with independent pressurized modules and unpressurized trusses attached with single ring interfaces, building the Enterprise would require real construction – welding and riveting – in space. It would take years to learn how to safely and effectively do that on such a scale.

The structural design would take years to understand. The stresses and strains on the struts that connect the nacelles to the fuselage would be foreboding. Attitude control would require hundreds of thrusters and massive amounts of fuel.

With our current technologies, it takes 38,400 sq ft (3567 m^2) of solar array to provide the electrical power needed to support the crew of 6 and the scientific payloads. The USS Enterprise has a crew of about 430. How would we even begin to attempt to generate and provide the power that size crew and vehicle would need? Some might suggest nuclear reactors, like in submarines, but getting those into space would be both an engineering and political challenge. We would be talking about launching several hundred kilograms of radioactive material, and tons of shielding, into space.

We’re a couple of centuries away from being able to even attempt such an endeavor as building an Enterprise.

More questions on Quora:

Technology: How close are we to a real Iron Man suit?

Future of Warfare: What currently-in-development real world military tech is closest to what is seen in “Edge of Tomorrow”?

Who Will Win?: Star Trek vs. Star Wars ships: Who wins? Looking for technical details, weapon power rating, and ignoring Star Wars super ships.

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Dead Loved Ones May Accidentally Show Up In Facebook's New 'Hello' App

Facebook on Wednesday released a new caller ID app for Android called “Hello.” It lets you see more information about strangers or businesses who are calling you, links your friends’ phone numbers with their Facebook profiles and generally offers a few conveniences beyond the standard caller-ID functions on your phone. It also might tell you you’ve recently had phone calls with dead people.

When I downloaded the “Hello” app to my smartphone, I swiped over to my call history and was startled to find that my friend’s younger brother Oliver was showing up instead of him — even though he passed away two years ago.

Apparently, the problem has to do with how phone numbers can be set up on Facebook. After looking into the issue following an inquiry from The Huffington Post, a spokeswoman for Facebook told me that my friend’s number was registered under Oliver’s account, though it’s not viewable by his friends. In other words, Oliver had two numbers associated with his account: His own cell phone number that was posted on his Facebook profile for others to see, and, for reasons that aren’t clear, my friend’s cell phone number that was kept private but associated with his account.

“Hello” will pull the number that’s primarily associated with your account rather than the phone number you may have set to be viewable by your friends. Keep that in mind if you’re keeping a phone number private for any reason.

This conversation definitely did not happen.

Asked if he had somehow associated his mobile number with Oliver’s page upon his death, my friend told me “not to my knowledge,” but that he doesn’t have access to his brother’s page anyway — after he passed away, my friend was given the option to take the profile down or leave it up, but wasn’t granted further access to it. So he can’t update the profile now to remove his phone number.

It’s unclear how many people have downloaded “Hello” so far or if any of them have experienced similar issues with the app suggesting it can help them commune with planes beyond the mortal realm. But its parent app, Facebook Messenger, has been downloaded by at least 500 million people.

In any event, now might be a good time to get your affairs in order on Facebook and decide who gets control of your page when you eventually shuffle off this mortal coil.

This article has been updated to include information from Facebook about how “Hello” handles phone numbers.

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Amazon Has Gotten Into The Hotel-Booking Business

Amazon already lets you invite strangers into your house — now, it helps you book a getaway of your own.

This week, the company launched Amazon Destinations, which allows users to book hotels in the Pacific Northwest, Southern California and the Northeast.

The site — which has the tagline, “Hit the road: Book local getaways” — emphasizes vacation destinations that users can drive to. Destinations include Cannon Beach, Oregon, and the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest, Santa Barbara and Palm Springs in Southern California and the Pocono and Catskill Mountains in the Northeast.

Amazon spokesman Tom Cook told travel news site Skift why the company thinks America needs another online venue for booking hotels.

“We created Amazon Destinations to solve a problem most travelers face: how to easily plan and book a local getaway trip,” he told the outlet. “Interestingly, more than 40 percent of all U.S. domestic leisure trips are short-term getaways of one to three nights, and many of these trips are to nearby, drivable destinations.”

But it’s not always so easy to book those trips, Cook contends.

“Travelers often have a hard time planning local getaways,” he said. “It’s difficult to know where to go, the process is labor-intensive, and people often miss out on finding great places to stay.”

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Arizona State University researchers develop platform for building safe, secure medical apps

The Health-Dev platform which facilitates the development of safe medical apps.

The post Arizona State University researchers develop platform for building safe, secure medical apps appeared first on iMedicalApps.

Google Now Provides Marketers API for Advanced Browser-Based Content Distribution

As previously predicted, the marriage of responsive websites and push notifications is gaining momentum. Up until recently, brands that wanted to distribute prudent content via push notifications better have an app sitting on the smartphones of its target demographic. Why should marketers care about easy, browser-based push notifications for their content? Because push notifications have a 30x better opt-in rate than email. Google just took browser-based push notifications mainstream.

Here’s a snippet from Google’s press release yesterday morning:

This release of Chrome for Android supports the new emerging web standard for push notifications, enabling users to opt in to allow a specific website to send them push notifications just like an installed native app. Over the coming weeks, mobile web users will be able to opt in to receiving push notifications from early adopters including Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News. Roost and Mobify also provides services that make it easy for developers to integrate web-based push notifications into their site with minimal custom implementation work.

This effort is part of a larger Google project called Service Workers. The aim of Service Workers is to give developers the ability to enable native app functionality on websites. Since many brands build apps simply for the push notification functionality, it’s appropriate that this audience re-engagement mainstay would lead the news in Chrome’s latest release.

Here’s a demo of how the functionality works for content consumers on mobile with a desktop example below:

Chrome isn’t the first browser to provide an API for web-push notifications. Safari provided the ability with its release of OS X Mavericks over a year ago. But since Safari on desktop boasted a mere five percent browser market share, that release went largely unnoticed by web developers and content marketers.

Other Chromium browsers (e.g. Opera) are expected to follow later this year, incrementally increasing audience reach with each release. Firefox will follow late Q2 or early Q3.

The de-coupling of push notifications from mobile apps via Chrome is good news for marketers. Why? Because roughly 50 percent of web users experience the Internet within a Chrome browser.

For Relevance, specifically, 75 percent of our subscribers consume our content from a desktop. Chrome’s new capability coupled with Roost’s technology platform empowers us with the ability to push prudent content, not just to our subscribers’ mobile devices, but directly to most of their desktops as well.

And, as mentioned above, web-push is not simply a new tool for developers. Third party providers such as Roost were launched to make it easier for marketers to enable, optimize and measure this type of content distribution. They’ve even released two guides to help navigate this new Chrome update – Chrome Notification Integration Guide and the Chrome Notification User Guide.

Third party providers like Roost pull in APIs from multiple browsers (i.e. Chrome, Safari, and soon, Firefox) under one user dashboard while providing cross-browser analytics, A/B testing, geo-targeting, audience profiling, scheduling, and campaign setup and tracking.

For marketers and/or customer service folks, web-push capabilities can deliver the following:

Content distribution for content marketers, publishers and media companies

Offer content consumers the ability to opt-in to specific author or topic notifications

Notifications to community members when someone responds to a comment or when engagement milestones (number of likes, comments, etc.) are hit

Product inventory/shipping notifications (product sold out, package shipped, new inventory just arrived, etc.)

Notifications to travelers when their flight arrives at the gate

The month of April has been full of Google mobile-geddon SEO predictions and EU anti-trust news. However, this little gem has been under the radar. Content marketers taking note of the SEO implications of Google’s mobile focus better take equal or greater consideration of its new content distribution capabilities.

For brands, ranking in the search engines is nice, but imagine having content distribution access to an opt-in audience that’s 30 times larger than an existing email database. That would give Relevance access to over 1.65 million subs

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