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.

Steve Ballmer Goes Nuts, Dancing Wildly As Fergie Performs At Clippers Game

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer brought his usual low-key style to the game on Wednesday night, politely clapping along during the halftime performance.

Who are we kidding? Ballmer went nuts as Fergie sang “L.A. Love (La La),” and it was awesome. Be sure to hit the audio button on this Vine — the only thing better than the dancing is the primal cry he lets out:

Here he is from another angle:

And this Instagram, taken from someone at the game:

Steve Ballmer dancing to Fergie. Enjoy, Internet.

A video posted by @danwoikesports on Jan 1, 2015 at 8:10pm PST

Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014, bought the Clippers last year for $2 billion when the NBA forced previous owner Donald Sterling to sell the team over a leaked recording in which he made racist comments.

After purchasing the team, Ballmer held a press conference with his usual display of energy, which you can see here. And, of course, he already had a reputation at Microsoft for getting just a little bit carried away:

Samsung forecasts 37% profit fall

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics has forecast a 37.4% fall in quarterly operating profit from a year earlier.

The robots moving in to your home

The hardware helpers invading your home

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler Wants Faster Speeds For Internet Broadband

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. FCC on Wednesday proposed raising the definition of the high-speed Internet to downloads at 25 megabits per second (Mbps), a more than a six-fold increase from the current standard.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would also require a minimum 3 Mbps upload speed to qualify as broadband, according to a fact sheet shared with Reuters.
U.S. telecommunications law gives the FCC the authority to regulate Internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon Communications Inc, Comcast Corp and AT&T Inc as the agency oversees the roll-out of broadband services to all Americans “in a reasonable and timely fashion.”
If the proposed changes are taken into account, the current access to broadband is not meeting that standard, the document showed, opening the door to potential FCC intervention.
Wheeler on Wednesday also circulated to fellow commissioners a so-called “notice of inquiry” asking what actions the FCC could take to accelerate broadband deployment.
The FCC currently defines broadband, or high-speed Internet, as 4 Mbps download speed and 1 Mbps upload speed, which Wheeler has decried as too slow for the modern needs of U.S. consumers.
Consumers are increasingly using the Internet to stream music and videos, make calls or use other services that demand faster speeds. For instance, Netflix recommends a 5 Mbps Internet connection speed to stream video in high definition.

(Reporting by Alina Selyukh. Editing by Andre Grenon)

Apple: iOS 8 hits 68 percent adoption across iPhones, iPads

Apple updated its developer portal on Wednesday with new statistics on its current mobile operating system, iOS 8. Adoption for the system is up to 68 percent across both iPhones and iPads, up eight percent from approximately six weeks ago. As would be expected, older versions thus continue a decline in popularity, with iOS 7 losing six percentage points and dropping to 29 percent, while iOS 6 and all earlier versions are essentially down to just devices that can not be upgraded beyond that point, holding around four percent share (a drop of one percent from the last report).

If in 2014 Content Was King, Where Will 2015 Take Us?

Readers of this blog will be aware of the macro trends we see as we move into 2015; mobile first, identified and measurable distribution channels and the need to change behaviours both internally and externally in order to execute. Detailing out these trends, I have created a list of 15 predictions that need to form a key part of any strategy and plan for organisations as they look to lead and face an increasingly dynamic ecosystem of content creators, providers, publishers and consumers.


The desktop is dead. Between 2010 and 2013, time spent on Desktop increased by 7 percent. Mobile grew by 237 percent. Multi-device [Source: Comscore], multi-format storytelling will be essential in 2015 as 50 percent of content consumed is now mobile and half all content shared is in a peer-to-peer environment. Clever commerce will merge the creation of content with an interactive ability to purchase in a native mobile environment.

The ‘publishing’ in brand publisher will finally make sense. Overall 2015 will be a key penny-drop moment for world’s finest marketers who will realize that instead of mere jargon it is a clear description of a process that has been adopted by newspapers, magazines and broadcasters for decades for the perpetual creation and distribution of relevant and exciting consumer content. A brand’s publishing model will rapidly become as significant as its business model. Considerable time and revenue will be invested in process and planning for requisite organizational structures, new and more appropriate skills, global and local creative decision-making, distribution and measurement.

As organizations increasingly realize, with content they need to think culture first before they can bridge back to commerce. We are increasingly seeing that brands have a knowledge gap in terms of how people are consuming, shaping, or even creating culture. The brands that work to understand this insight area will steal a march over their rivals as they will have a better understanding of how to build true connection with their audience, by being what people are interested in as opposed to interrupting what they are interested in.

Partnerships and new ways of working will produce industry leaders. Collaboration will be key in 2015 — brands will continue to cross traditional value chain and industry boundaries to partner with tech companies, publishers and other organizations to innovatively reach more of their potential audience, more consistently, more of the time. Tone of Voice, reach and relevancy will seldom be achieved in isolation in todays landscape of multi-device, multi-format, multi-platform consumption. Relevancy will become the key focus.

Consumers will find less distinction in the approach leading brands take from entertainment providers. Production houses, media capabilities and the heart of storytelling will finally converge in earnest to deliver short films, feature films, soap operas, sitcoms, recording artists to compete with the best traditional broadcast, film and online formats.


Wear-ables and connected devices will change the landscape of mobile applications. With devices becoming more discrete, how we interact with them (and them with us) will change rapidly. A new type of device interaction (driven by the Google ‘Physical Web’ project) will provide a platform to deliver contextually relevant, personalized content to their audience. Brands who don’t embrace this methodology will fall by the wayside in the increasingly important mobile space.

Data will get real. After an eternity of measuring success (or not) by views and impressions, brands will finally be able to get a more wholesome view of their audience thanks to the growing use of single sign-ons across device and platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Google login etc.) The catch? Most of this data will lie in the hands of the tech giants of this world and it won’t come cheap!

2015 will be the year that brands embrace “big data” to further their storytelling goals. Brands such as Spotify and Airbnb are already utilising customer data to create compelling and valuable narratives, focused on their customers, for their customers.


Walking the walk. With so much content control in consumer’s hands, brands cannot hide from the fact that the culture of the entire organization must act in a way consistent to the stories they tell. If not, the resulting negative sentiment could kill your content marketing stone dead. What consumers tell each other about your products, your values and your customer service are the most avidly consumed and trusted content types of all.

Brands will begin to understand the power of subculture influencers. These micro-celebrities will continue to produce regular content for their highly engaged niche audiences, and brands will finally realise the extent of their influence and seek to pursue endorsement deals with them.

Brands will learn how to adopt altruism. With user generated content and social impact campaigns ruling the roost in 2014, the public have shown mixed views on how they feel about been involved with brands teaming up with charities to promote their products. Is it possible for a brand to have a pure selfless attitude in their charity work; can they support causes without the rewards and public showcasing for their support? I’d like to think they can…


Brands will create Bespoke Social Content for each social platform. You may be thinking this is something that’s already being done, and it is, but only by the game changers, and the brands who understand the purpose of Social Media and brand storytelling. For too many, social platforms have become dumping grounds for brands above the line comms including TV ads and print. For a user to go to the effort of following you as a brand, they want added value and a story into your brand so they know what you are about and feel a part of your brand. Recycling content for social media is just not going to cut it. More brands are waking up to creating bespoke content for each social channel, and they will be the future game changers of 2015 and beyond.

Content with Context. As audiences continue to become more sophisticated and their attention is increasingly fought over, brand campaigns that connect online content with a tangible event or community activity will be most successful at building lasting engagement and loyalty.

Ideally, 2015 would be the year that we finally manage to explain the difference between creating content and putting useful information online. True content has the power to empower, entertain, liberate and change cultures but needs dedicated vision. Attempting to marry both in a single ‘ad’ execution is like hooking up a caravan to an F1 car and still expecting to win the race.

The Rise and Rise of Video. The old adage ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ has never been truer. Instagram now has 200 million daily users worldwide who share 60 million pictures. Emojis continue on their quest for world domination as their use now outranks that of hyphens or the number 5 on Twitter. Side-stepping the impatience of the TLDR sentiment, video delivers information quickly, without demanding too much of the viewer. It cuts through online noise, is more engaging than written content or still images and it’s the perfect medium to tell a brand story.

I would like to thank my colleagues at Adjust Your Set for their invaluable opinions in supporting in the collation of this list.

Lucy Cooper is Corporate Development Director at Adjust Your Set, A Digital Content Agency

Lose Five Pounds in Less Than a Minute With This Simple Trick

I had grand plans to stay on track over the holiday season, but people kept FORCING me to eat and drink and be merry. It’s rude to turn down a glass of champagne. And a cookie. And then another cookie. It is.

As I was trying to figure out my 2015 resolutions while sweating it out on the elliptical, I had an epiphany. I — anyone really — can lose five pounds immediately by doing one simple thing: putting down the devices.

By ridding ourselves of the laptop, and smartphone, and e-reader, and tablet, and ear buds, and Go Pro camera, and selfie stick and charger (and backup charger and solar charger) and whatever else may qualify we can experience instant weight loss. Like magic. Try it:

Hold all your devices and get on the scale.

Toss all your devices and get on the scale.

See? It works.

But we all know that when it comes to these hand-held handcuffs it’s really not about the physical weight, is it? It’s about how being constantly connected, in-touch, and interrupted can take a toll.

I talked to a handful of mothers who were in a quandary about gifting their children with smartphones or tablets. Why? Because they were afraid of losing their children to the ever-addictive world of electronics. One parent sighed, “I’m afraid I won’t see him after 9AM Christmas morning if I give him the iPhone 6 he’s been asking for since August.”

But electronic addiction doesn’t just affect the under-20 crowd. My friend’s father-in-law received a Fit Bit and was so enthralled by the constant feedback he actually fell off the curb while trying to amass his 10,000 steps. So much for a peaceful walk on a chilly morning. He’s currently chilling his swollen ankle with an ice pack.

By now we know that technology is not going away. And technology is not a bad thing. Just like cookies and champagne aren’t bad things (the exact opposite in my opinion, but I digress) especially if enjoyed responsibly. It’s just about a bit of moderation and employing some boundaries or, if that’s too strong a word for you, some flexible agreements.

Maybe 2015 COULD be about losing the weight of technology. Maybe it’s time to sit down as a family and determine when using devices is ok and when it is not. Not ok might be in the early morning hours before the first — or second or third — cup of coffee. Or at night in bed, considering that blue light is apparently Mr. Sandman’s archenemy. Perhaps dinner and the hour after school is tech-free, ensuring that you actually have a shot of seeing your child’s face instead of the top of his head. Together, create a framework for when it is ok — the hour before dinner or the 15 minutes before school as long as other tasks have been completed.

And how about workplace situations? Is it really necessary to place the smartphone on the conference room table? Probably not. The office is tech-heavy as it is so an hour without being attached to a device is like vacation! If you’re running the meeting, offer an empty basket at the entrance to the meeting with a note that simply states: Please silence phones and leave in this basket until the meeting adjourns. You will get some huffs and eye-rolls (after all, we are all a little childish when it comes to putting down a toy/gadget of any sort), but your colleagues might just thank you later for the free weight loss.

I recently came across this very same topic in a magazine article about graciously managing technology when entertaining guests. It was in a below-the-Mason-Dixon-Line publication I was leafing through while sitting in a lobby NOT on my phone (full disclosure: that’s because I had inadvertently left in the car — oh the horror!). But — and forgive me here for such an obnoxious blanket statement — many Southerners appreciate the finer points of entertaining, and the article made it clear that playing a video from YouTube while the Shrimp and Grits are being served is not considered a finer point.

So I am dedicating myself to some easy weight loss goals this year. I am limiting the times I am tethered to technology. After all, I wrote the book (for real) on The Fine Art of Small Talk. I am spending more time listening and less time scrolling because face-to-face time is more fulfilling than any face-to-screen time. If you look down too long, you’re likely to miss out on the good things – like friends and family and colleagues. And the curb. And cookies. And champagne. And maybe another cookie.

Are you attempting a tech diet? Tell me about it. And cheers to a happy, healthy 2015.

In-Car Tech: Why You're the Problem

As the International Consumer Electronics Show kicks off this week in Vegas, new automotive tech advancements are making headlines from coast to coast. But when it comes to in-car technology, such as navigation, Bluetooth and in-car apps, there’s some healthy debate about whether or not these upgrades are making our lives better. Some say we’re trying to do too much from behind the wheel and that in-car systems are actually dangerous. However, this kind of argument assumes that all tech is the same. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Technology Matters

Recently, AutoTrader.com conducted a technology survey where 48 percent of those surveyed said they would walk away from a car they liked if the technology was too difficult to use.

That result lines-up with what Ford also found. It states that, “43% of our owners tell us that SYNC was a critical/important part of their vehicle purchase decision.”

Obviously, technology in new and used cars is very important to the average shopper. But why would shoppers flock to features that make life more dangerous? Is there a way to make sure the technology features that come in your next car are exactly what you want?

The short answer is: yes. But the burden to find good in-car technology is on you. Once you get the car home, if you find that your vehicle’s infotainment system isn’t what you expected, you only have yourself to blame. You need to test out the technology the same way you would test drive the car. If you don’t do that, you’ll find out too late if a certain system or function isn’t what you expected.

Start Online

Before you visit a dealership, look up some informational articles or review videos to see which cars have easy-to-understand technology and which ones are highly rated by sites like AutoTrader, Gear Patrol or Wired. Your local dealer can help, too.

Sid Barron with Lexus of South Atlanta says, “We have a delivery specialist who can go into as much or little detail as a customer requires on features like Enform. Some people insist on going into every detail of every technological feature, but it’s rare.” Barron says they even have an aftercare program in which a specialist helps the purchaser with in-car technology even after they’ve bought the car. Many automakers and dealerships offer the same assistance.

When it comes to distractions, the Lexus Enform system is not one of the problems. In fact, brands such as Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Nissan and Toyota have systems that get it mostly right — they may not be as robust as the in-car technology from other brands, but the simplicity of Entune or Uconnect really minimizes distraction.

Test Drive the Technology

Either way, you should be familiar with, and understand, each and every connection and technological feature before you decide to buy a car. Here are a few key steps you should take before buying:

Pair your phone. Try to do it without the owner’s manual, as it should be pretty obvious how to connect a phone to another Bluetooth device, including a car.

Install and access your favorite apps. If you’re a Pandora listener, try using it. Make sure you can create a new station and thumbs up a song. The process should be no more distracting that changing tracks on a CD. If it is, that’s a problem.

Use the voice commands. This can be a real stumbling block. Good voice commands won’t require you to repeat yourself or use multiple commands. A single phrase such as, “find nearest gas” should do it.

Program a nearby destination into the navigation system and follow the directions. The steps should be straightforward and easy follow. Also, try searching for destinations by name like “Sears” or “Austin Hilton.”

Switch between audio sources. Changing between your portable device, satellite radio and Bluetooth audio should be no more difficult than pressing a simple button.

Speed Matters

In-car systems can often be slow to respond and confusing at times. This is a problem with Chevrolet’s MyLink and Cadillac CUE. These two systems have many great features such as large icons, easy-to-navigate screens, good maps and a single “favorites” list that can incorporate songs, radio stations, satellite channels, destinations and phone contacts — it’s brilliant, really. But the system is slow, so it’s easy to assume you pressed the wrong button.

Again, pressing a button on the dash of a car should take no more time or attention than turning on headlights, using a turn signal or changing a radio station. If it doesn’t do what you want right away, your attention will be diverted from driving and focused on solving a problem you shouldn’t have in the first place.

Ford knows this, as it recently updated its SYNC system, which is now called SYNC 3. The updates include several improvements that should minimize distraction. Ford says SYNC 3 is, “…faster, more intuitive and easier to use, and offers more conversational voice recognition that minimizes the number of steps needed to complete a command.” Ford also notes that the new system has a “quicker response to touch.” These points will help with the exact issues that lead many to use in-car technology in an unsafe manner. I haven’t used the SYNC 3 in a real car or on the road, but having a “quicker response” and being “more intuitive” will certainly reduce its level of distraction relative to other systems.

With cars becoming more and more technologically sophisticated, it’s wrong to assume that all tech features work the same. In the same way you would test drive a new or used car, take the technology that a car offers for a test drive too. It could help reduce distraction and make you happier with your car in the long run.

Comedians React To Charlie Hebdo Shooting With Shock, Sympathy And Support For Satire

“For those who would trivialize the idea, this was what an actual attack on freedom looks like.”

Those are the words of former editor of the The Onion, Joe Randazzo, in reaction to the horrific shooting of a dozen people, which included satirists, cartoonists and innocent bystanders, at French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday.

Randazzo penned a response for MSNBC in which he reflected on casual jokes his staff used to make about a similar situation happening at one of America’s most established satirical newspapers, one that has made light of threats of terrorism against comedians in the past.

“Our joke at The Onion was, like most of our jokes, borne out of some reality. We received hateful letters and emails on a semi-regular basis. I’ve personally spoken on the phone with at least two individuals who threatened to rape me and kill my family. At one point, we even had to call the police. But I never could have imagined anything like this,” he wrote.

The current staff of The Onion commented on the shooting with a new article posted Wednesday afternoon:

It Sadly Unclear Whether This Article Will Put Lives At Risk http://t.co/RZgoCOpNiL pic.twitter.com/ZCrj2Wp3rJ

— The Onion (@TheOnion) January 7, 2015

Charlie Hebdo paid dearly for its daring political cartoons that often satirized Jihadists and Islamic extremism, but the worldwide comedy community stands by them in protecting the right to free speech. Scroll down for some of the most poignant reactions on Twitter so far.

Entertainment Industry Caves to Hackers and Refuses to Stand Up for America's Kids

I watched the hacking of Sony Pictures play out with a mixture of sadness and bewilderment, as studio executives fell victim to a coordinated cyber attack and pulled The Interview from theaters before eventually releasing it days later.

What began with a round of salacious stories from leaked private emails involving celebrity gossip and dirty laundry quickly turned into a story of international cyberterrorism and a fundamental discussion of the First Amendment and American Values in the digital age.

I agree with many, including President Obama, who have pointed out, it was a mistake not to distribute the movie as planned, and was glad to see Sony Pictures finally agree to do the right thing by going ahead and releasing it. It just doesn’t feel right to allow a radical group of hackers, allegedly backed by a rogue island nation, to dictate what Americans can and cannot see — even if it is something as silly as a Seth Rogen movie.

“That’s not who we are,” the president said. “That’s not what America’s about.”

The efforts from the hackers to influence a major multinational corporation like Sony Pictures raises a host of thorny and troubling issues for all of us trying to find our way in this brave new world. But it also served as a sad reminder of the kinds of pressures some studios and theater owners feel the need to bow to, and what kinds of criticism they feel free to ignore.

As a children and families advocate, I can speak from experience, as I’ve had many discussions and debates with industry executives about their marketing of violent content to kids. Movie makers and video game companies love to point to the First Amendment as they defend their right to make violent content (something we fully support their right to do) — and they also use it as a reason why they market those movies towards children.

The entertainment industry constantly leans on the First Amendment to push back against families who don’t want their kids exposed to violent media. Yet in the case of Sony, the company initially wilted to hackers allegedly from a foreign country led by a rogue dictator, essentially throwing the First Amendment out the window.

Yes, the film was ultimately released in some theaters. But the entire sordid tale is still a victory for the hackers using cyberterrorism to influence corporate behavior.

Meanwhile, theater owners, who helped force Sony’s hand by refusing to show The Interview amid threats of violence, have continuously ignored pleas to ensure that trailers and other content shown before feature films is age appropriate.

For years, concerns raised by child advocates about studios targeting kids in their marketing of violent movies have fallen on deaf ears. Major studios and video game companies continue to target kids with advertising for movies and games that ratings agencies have deemed inappropriate for younger audiences.

The Federal Trade Commission has documented how movie studios have been intentionally marketing PG-13 movies to children under 13. Studios routinely use toys, fast-food restaurants and other marketing tie-ins to attract children under 13 to PG-13 films.

It’s a sad commentary that entertainment companies and theater chains find it so easy to ignore the concerns raised by child advocates, and even reports from the United States government. It seems as though Hollywood is compelled by illegal activity and violent threats instead of rational concerns voiced on behalf of American families. It will be interesting to see if the lasting legacy of The Interview may be in how the industry responds to future calls for common sense marketing of violent content to the public.

Sony Pictures hackers 'got sloppy'

The US is confident that North Korea was behind the Sony Pictures cyber-attack because the hackers were “sloppy” enough to leave a trail, says the FBI.

In pictures: On the floor at CES

A look at some of the sights of the show

What Will Ever Be Enough?

Enough may never be enough.

As human beings, it seems that once we attain what we think will make us whole, we grow bored quickly and need something new in order to feel satisfied. We are addicted to what we don’t have.

You could sit down at this very moment and list out all the reasons why you’re fortunate, and while you’re writing that list you would want nothing more. You could get together with a group of people that you care about and discuss rational ideas within this irrational society, and in that moment and the hours after, you would feel comfortable with what you have and who you are; contentment feels like a legitimate possibility. It’s when you turn on your television and the talking heads tell you that you need to be rich, famous, and flawless; that your thirst for more becomes unquenchable. You forget that you are enough. You find yourself making comparisons between your life and the life of someone you assume has it all figured out, and all of your accomplishments are never enough to satisfy you.

The issue with this “never enough” mentality is that we all have it to some degree. We collectively fail to realize that even the people who have “figured it out” are on some level still as lost and broken as everyone else. That’s the drawback of being a member of the generation more interested in documenting life-like activities, rather than creating a life. If we always seem confident in the pictures and words that we post, then maybe we will start to feel that way in real life. Everyone is constantly looking for validation in the form of likes and comments to give meaning to our twisted sense of self. We honestly believe that as long as people buy into the illusion that we are happy and everything is going great, that we won’t have to face reality.

Reality is that we want all the material bullshit, social media fame, and worthless validation in order to feel accepted by others. The reason all of those things bring only temporary satisfaction is that they aren’t the answer. We all keep looking for other people to accept us in order to feel whole, when all that’s truly necessary is that we accept ourselves. We are in a universal competition for acceptance that no one wants a part of, but so few have the courage to stop competing.

What will ever be enough?

Top Gaming Trends from CES 2015

E3 is where it’s at for gaming these days, but Marty Sliva from IGN says there’s still a lot to see at CES this year.

The televisions, he says, are really going to make the games of the future come to life. “I sit at home and I think, ‘I don’t need my TV to look any better than this,’ and then I walk by some of the TVs here and just see the vibrant colors, and I’m like ‘What am I doing with this garbage TV in my house?”

He also discussed some of the games he’s excited about for 2015, including Batman: Arkham Knight, which will be out in June.

SHAQ Crushes CES 2015

Shaquille O’Neal was our very first guest from the Samsung Smart Lounge at CES 2015. He once again labeled himself the “Black Geek” next to co-host Andre “Black Nerd” Meadows, and it shows. Shaq has to be the first to have every new product — from phones to tablets to wireless speakers.

What’s his favorite app, you ask? Shazam. He says it’s extremely helpful when he’s in the club.”I swear to you, as soon as I hit the button it went to Shazam headquarters and came back.”

Make sure you stay tuned to the end — Shaq also lifts me over his head.

24 Powerful Reactions to Leelah Alcorn's Death

Co-authored by Jillian Kinder

Seventeen-year-old Leelah Alcorn committed suicide early Sunday morning in Warren County, Ohio. In her suicide note, she illustrated her struggle when coming to terms with her gender identity. Once she finally discovered that she was not alone in her struggle, she was ecstatic. Trying to reveal her identity to her friends and family was another story.

In an effort to provide a stepping stone for coming out as transgender, Alcorn came out as gay at 16. In response, her parents pulled her out of school and cut off from the outside world for five months. According to her suicide note, she asked her parents for help medically transitioning and received Christian therapy instead. The therapists told her that “[she] was selfish and wrong, and that [she] should look to God for help.”

After five months of being cut off from society, she was allowed to receive her electronics. Leelah quickly realized that her friends were in fact, not friends at all, just people that “only liked me because they saw me five times a week.”

After summing up her history and reasons for making this decision, Leelah pleaded with readers of the note to take action after her death. “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.”

Many teens and young adults took to Twitter to express their reactions.

Several tweets mourned for Leelah:

I’m so heartbroken for #LeelahAlcorn . This is why I campaign for not just trans* rights, but LGBT+ rights.

— Jillian K. (@JillGeeRAWRd) December 31, 2014

I am absolutely sick to my stomach with tears in my eyes reading about #LeelahAlcorn. I am utterly speechless.

— yung muddie (@woahmaddie) December 30, 2014

Breaks my heart 2 know #LeelahAlcorn will be buried in a suit with the wrong name on her headstone because her parents put their beliefs 1st

— Saraaaaaa I I I (@sarac93) December 31, 2014

The majority of reactions included not only sadness for Leelah’s suicide, but also anger for the reaction of her mother and school district after her death. Both her mother and the school district referred to her as Joshua, her birth name. Her mother went as far as denying the fact that it was suicide; rather, it was an accident that Leelah was hit by a truck.

Several tweets condemned Leelah’s parents:

don’t say #LeelahAlcorn‘s suicide was selfish. selfish = driving your kid to suicide because you’re scared of a “bad image”. that’s selfish

— ☆ (@bluemeths) December 30, 2014

I find it sadder that a group of teenagers that don’t even know her can sympathise more than what her parents ever did #LeelahAlcorn

— Shannon♊ (@D0nt_P4nic) December 30, 2014

Please do not have children if you are not prepared to love them for whoever they may end up being. #LeelahAlcorn

— Rebecca ~* (@RebeccaBMusic) December 31, 2014

Some tweets called for change:

The discussion about transgender rights doesn’t end until people stop treating being transgender as an enigma. #LeelahAlcorn

— Morgan Levy (@morganslevy) December 31, 2014

Transphobia is an epidemic– it’s literally killing people.

Get educated. Educate others. Spread awareness.

— Leo Sheng (@iLeoSheng) December 30, 2014

It doesn’t matter what fiction you believe in. Respect your child. Don’t use religion as an excuse to be an asshole. #LeelahAlcorn

— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakIcy) December 31, 2014

I ask any parents browsing #LeelahAlcorn to ask themselves whats more difficult. Accepting your trans child or burying them.

— Mike (@EatSleepGrier) December 30, 2014

“It gets better.” No. It should be better right now. We don’t have time to wait for it to “get better.” RIP #LeelahAlcorn

— James Wilson (@JaySonOfWil) December 31, 2014

Do not let anymore parents do to their kids what Leelah’s parents did to her. #LeelahAlcorn

— coders (@zeroiero) December 30, 2014

Some offered help to LGBTQ teens:

You deserve to live. I don’t care what your labels or pronouns or orientations or identities are: YOU DESERVE TO LIVE. I promise.

— Mark O’Brien (@mobrienbooks) December 30, 2014

Many adults shared personal stories through the #RealLiveTransAdult hashtag:

I was a lonely kid, but now I’m a #RealLiveTransAdult w/ amazing trans friends who love me even when I don’t love me. We’re waiting for you.

— Riley MacLeod (@rcmacleod) December 30, 2014

Trans life may seem impossible, but I’m 31, a software engineer at Tumblr, a marathon runner, married, and totally a #RealLiveTransAdult

— Amelia Gapin (@EntirelyAmelia) December 30, 2014

I still struggle with body image. I still struggle with my gender. But I deserve to be here. So do you. #RealLiveTransAdult

— i am kortney✊ (@fakerapper) December 30, 2014

I’m 30. At 16 I NEVER thought I’d live to see this age but I’m still here. It’s a daily struggle to be sure but I’m here #RealLiveTransAdult

— J. Skyler (@jskylerinc) December 30, 2014

still figuring it out every day, but i’m 24, people dig my writing, & i live in nyc w lots of great trans friends. i’m a #RealLiveTransAdult

— Tyler Ford ✨ (@tywrent) December 30, 2014

Didn’t start transitioning until my 30s.

Now: Wife, theater actress, arm-wrestler.

#RealLiveTransAdult There are a lot of us.

— Marian Gonzalez (@TheGonzalez) December 30, 2014

Happy to be here & in the world as a #RealLiveTransAdult — if you’re a trans/GNC kid I’m damn glad you’re here & around if you need me.

— Raƒe ℙosey (@ponyonabalcony) December 30, 2014

And some hoped for the future:

our generation will be the generation to change it all, but that can only start with us being accepting of others for everything they are.

— anthony spears (@LOHANTHONY) December 30, 2014

I relate very strongly to #LeelahAlcorn and it feels good to know I can actually raise awareness of trans struggles

— Cuck Mangione (@AtlasSmugged) December 30, 2014

#LeelahAlcorn is trending, maybe everyone will hear the truth and learn

— brenna |-/ (@Iron_Trees) December 31, 2014

in leelah alcorn’s suicide note, she told us to fix society. let’s fulfill her wish. #leelahalcorn #translivesmatter

— rt links in bio ?? (@calumandhoran) December 31, 2014

“My death needs to mean something.”

We will make sure that it does.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

FBI Director Releases New Info To Show North Korea Hacked Sony

NEW YORK — FBI Director James Comey unveiled information on Wednesday that he said provides a “very clear indication” that North Korea perpetrated the massive cyberattack against Sony that began in November.

Comey also shot back against prominent cybersecurity experts who have questioned whether the hermit state was really behind the massive hack, stating, “They don’t have the facts that I have.” One previously undisclosed piece of information, Comey said, was that the the FBI has traced the origin of threats against Sony back to North Korean Internet addresses because the hackers “got sloppy.”

“There is not much in this life that I have high confidence about. I have very high confidence about this attribution, as does the entire intelligence community,” said Comey.

One of the few pieces of information about the attacks that seems clear is that the shadowy Guardians of Peace group was somehow involved. The group sent Sony employees threats and posted online boasts after the attacks.

Most of the time, Comey said, the Guardians of Peace used proxy addresses to hide their true location. “But several times they got sloppy,” said Comey. “They connected directly, and we could see that the [Internet Protocol] addresses to post and send the emails were coming from [Internet Protocol addresses] that were exclusively used by the North Koreans.”

Comey said that “mistake” provided the FBI with “a very clear indication of who’s doing this. They would shut it off very quickly once they realized their mistake.”

Comey also said the FBI believes the hackers likely gained access to Sony’s internal files via a so-called spearfishing attack, a kind of cyber-attack in which a hacker seeks to gain unauthorized entry through a spoof email. Spearfishing messages were sent to Sony as late as September, Comey said.

The bureau’s Behavioral Analysis Unit — the profilers made famous in The Silence of the Lambs — was also tasked to compare statements made by the Sony hackers with statements linked to previous North Korean hacks. The profilers concluded that the statements came from the same actors.

The FBI publicly announced last month that North Korea was the sole actor responsible for hacking Sony in November. President Barack Obama was confident enough in the FBI’s conclusion to impose sanctions on North Korean companies and officials last week.

The information provided by Comey on Wednesday is unlikely to appease cybersecurity researchers, who have remained skeptical about the attribution of the hack, given what little evidence has been released by the FBI.

On Tuesday, Norse, a Silicon Valley cybersecurity firm that has met briefly with the FBI, doubled down on its claim that at least one former Sony employee was involved in the hack. Marc Rogers, head of security at the hacker conference DefCon, told HuffPost that Comey’s new evidence “just raises more questions” for him, such as how the FBI knows the emails are “genuine.” “

“It’s very easy to bounce emails through other networks, or even forge their origin,” he said in an email. “Spammers have been doing this for decades.”

Before the new evidence was released, he told HuffPost he thought the FBI “is in a really tough position.”

“I think they are under immense political pressure to close this one down, and that now they have named North Korea and the administration has come out with sanctions, a U-Turn is unlikely,” Rogers said. He added, “For me it’s a shame, because I think we should be considering the more likely scenarios before settling on the exotic ones.”

Comey said that the FBI brought in a “red team” from the rest of the intelligence community to try to ask what might be missing from the agency’s investigation, but, “We end up in the same place.”

“Some serious folks have suggested that we have it wrong. I would suggest — I’m not suggesting but I’m saying — they don’t have the facts that I have,” he added.

This story has been updated with additional comment from Rogers.

3 Ways to Use IFTTT to Automate Twitter Growth

If This Then That (IFTTT) is a great website to automate simple recurring processes. Through IFTTT.com you can set up triggers that cause actions to automatically happen. For example, you can automatically tweet a picture you posted on Instagram, or get an email every time a product you are looking for on Ebay is posted. With its nearly 160 integrations, I would guess that any entrepreneur could find a use for an IFTTT recipe. At SocialProvidence, we use IFTTT for Twitter marketing. Specifically, we use IFTT automations for three main purposes:

Create lists of leads:

A relatively new feature, Twitter Lists, give you one more touch point with your target audience that you can use to group people with common interests. We created an IFTT that adds people that have Tweeted about social media ROI to our “Social Media ROI Forum.” So far, it has shown early signs of success: The list now has over 600 members, and this past week we have seen the highest engagement on our content ever. Our daily growth is also consistently higher than average.

This tactic is particularly useful because it brings people with common interests together in an unobtrusive way. We have actually had people thank us for adding them, and a few have signed up to subscribe to the list. At the very least these lists will help you understand what your audience is talking about and sharing on Twitter.

Collect data:

IFTT is integrated with Google Drive, which means you can populate a drive spreadsheet with Tweets that contain certain key words. We have used it to determine how people were talking about specific products and subjects. You may even choose to collect the same Tweets you are using to find people to add to lists in order to better understand your list members. This is a powerful way of fine-tuning your content strategy. You can also search for Tweets in a specific area and understand what people are saying in certain target markets.

Improve retention:

Finally, you can use the Google Drive + Twitter combo to create a list of your new followers. Twitter terms and conditions don’t allow IFTT to automate follow back, thank you Tweets or DMs, so engaging with new followers must be done manually or through some other script. There are tools that send DM’s for you, such as Justunfollow, but they also include a “via @justunfollow” language that seems too impersonal to us and may defeat the purpose.

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Netflix Announces Premiere Dates For Your New Favorite Shows

Time to clear your schedules. In addition to revealing its hit adventure show “Marco Polo” would come back for 10 more episodes, Netflix made waves on Wednesday by announcing premiere dates for many of its new series, according to a company press release.

Here are the dates you need to look out for:

Tina Fey’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – Friday, March 6, 2015

“Bloodline” – Friday, March 20, 2015

Marvel’’s “Daredevil” – Friday, April 10, 2015

“Grace and Frankie” – Friday, May 8, 2015

Netflix previously announced that fan favorite “House of Cards” will return for Season 3 on Friday, Feb. 27, and “Orange is the New Black” is expected to come back for its third season sometime this summer.

Family titles coming to the streaming service include DreamWorks Animation’s “The Adventures of Puss in Boots,” which is slated for Friday, Jan. 16, “Ever After High: Spring Unsprung,” which premieres globally on Friday, Feb. 6, and the second season of “Mako Mermaids” will arrive Friday, Feb 13.

Let the binge-watching begin!

Image: Giphy

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