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.
Ted Cruz Knows Exactly What To Say To Cause An Obama Internet Freakout
So, that happened: This week, President Barack Obama announced his full-throated support for “net neutrality,” a term that basically means “don’t let Comcast turn the Internet into a dystopian mess” — unless you’re Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and then you think it’s “Obamacare for the Internet.”
Listen to this week’s “So That Happened” below:
Some highlights from this week:
“He is either taking the stupid pills, or more likely knows what to say to get the rubes all freaked out about Obama changing the Internet.” — Jason Linkins
Speaking of, this weekend marks the beginning of another period of Obamacare enrollment. Health care reporter Jeff Young joins the podcast to tell consumers — old and new — what they need to know about buying insurance from the health care exchanges.
“We’re just talking essentially about helping big companies win some more customers and making sure that a few million people don’t have to live in constant fear of being bankrupt if they get sick.” — Zach Carter
Finally, we’ll talk about the latest threat to the Affordable Care Act: a daffy legal case that threatens to end the subsidies that Obamacare customers are using to — you know — continue staying alive.
“It doesn’t help that we’re still politicking and arguing about the merits of something that’s been law for four and a half years.” — Jeff Young
This podcast was edited by Ibrahim Balkhy and sound engineered by Brad Shannon, with assistance from Christine Conetta, Chris Gentilviso and Adriana Usero.
Have a story you’d like to hear discussed on the “So That Happened” podcast? Email us at your convenience!
This App Can Track Your Drunk Night Out And Recover Snapchats
It all started with a drunk dial.
When Joshua Anton was at his first party at the University of Virginia, having recently transferred from Northern Virginia Community College, he received a call from a drunk friend.
This call would eventually lead to the creation of Drunk Mode, an app now available in beta on iTunes and Android.
The app’s main purposes are to stop drunk students from making calls they wish they never made, and to help students look out for themselves and each other. If used correctly, the app is meant to make intoxicated outings safer — both physically and socially.
“Students will party. This will not change,” Anton, 23, told The Huffington Post. “It is the nature of being young in college to want to be a bit ‘rebellious’ and do crazy stuff. All we are trying to do is create an easy button for certain questions.”
Drunk Mode aims to be “your new best friend,” according to an Indiegogo campaign intended to raise funds for further development and marketing of the app. Among other things, you can use Drunk Mode to track your friends, keep yourself from calling certain numbers and create a “breadcrumb” trail showing you where you went during a night out.
One of the current features of the app is “Find My Drunk,” where users can share their location with a friend on the app. The idea for this feature came when one of the app’s co-founders spent over an hour trying to find two intoxicated friends who’d called him and asked for a ride home.
The find-a-friend feature has particular resonance given to the app’s origins at UVA, where student Hannah Graham, 18, disappeared in September after a night out. Graham’s remains were found some weeks later, about 12 miles from campus, and a man has been charged with her abduction. Around the time of Graham’s disappearance, UVA students began an awareness campaign called “Hoos Got Your Back” that urged students to look out for each other. The creators of Drunk Mode say their app is meant to be used in the same spirit.
Drinking is a major problem on college campuses. About half of students who drink alcohol participate in binge drinking, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism — a behavior that can lead to deaths, assaults and injuries. The creators of Drunk Mode say their aim is to make situations involving alcohol become less dangerous. In addition to helping users find parties and retrace their steps the next day, the app is meant to steer users toward food, missing friends and safe rides home.
There are already many apps on the market for keeping young people safe, but they’re usually downloaded by people who have been in dangerous situations at least once before, “or the parents made them download it,” Anton told HuffPost.
On the other hand, he said, Drunk Mode is for people who “believe they are downloading a drunk app, but they are really downloading an app with safety components.” The “Find My Drunk” feature, for example, is not very different from some GPS-based apps that parents use to track their kids.
“I would make the statement that our application makes you more aware of certain behaviors you practice, while not making you feel judged in any way, which is important for many folks,” said Anton.
Though the app is easy enough to use while drunk, the creators say they envision people turning it on before they go out, while they’re still relatively sober. Once activated, the app stays on for three to 12 hours, tracking your location and running its other features.
With funding from the Indiegogo campaign, the team is developing new features for the app. Some possible future additions include a feature for finding a ride home — whether through public transportation or an Uber or Lyft car — and a feature that would inform you of real-time deals from restaurants and bars. Drunk Mode is also working on a feature that would save all the Snapchats you send over the course of a night. No more wondering how embarrassing that 3 a.m. Snap was — you’d be able to see it in all its glory.
Right now, Drunk Mode has 91,000 users, Anton said, and he predicts it will reach 100,000 by the end of next week. The company is marketing the app to the college crowd, with Drunk Mode representatives currently at schools like Ohio University, the University of Alabama, San Diego State University, Syracuse University and the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. UVA and the University of Alabama did not respond to a request for comment for this story. San Diego State declined to comment.
While the other features of the app are for real-time drunk help, the “Breadcrumbs” feature was made for sober reminiscence. The team created this feature because they had one friend in particular who would borrow their dress shirts and, over the course of a night out, mysteriously lose them.
“We won’t know where he put our dress shirt, and we’ve lost a lot of shirts to him,” Anton said. But with Drunk Mode, you can retrace your steps from the night before. More than just a helpful tool, this feature can be used to relive the memories from that night and help you tell the story to your buddies, Anton said.
Snapchat Threatens To Lock Accounts That Use Third-Party Apps
Last month, 200,000 private Snapchat photos were leaked via one of the photo messaging app’s many third-party apps. Now, the company is taking steps to punish individuals who use those apps.
A blog post published earlier this week to the company’s official website said Snapchatters who are caught using third-party apps will be notified, asked to change their password and told to stop using any unauthorized apps. If they don’t, Snapchat can lock their accounts.
These third-party apps operate independently of Snapchat and allow users to save photographs sent using the service. That’s a big no-no, since Snapchat was originally created so people could send photos that would quickly get deleted. (Though there are a couple of ways to use the service, the basic setting sends photos or video that automatically “destroy” themselves after being viewed.)
Reached via email, a Snapchat representative did not say that the new steps were in direct response to recent leaks. “This is just another step in our ongoing efforts to improve the security and reliability of our service,” the representative told The Huffington Post.
Android Central reported Friday that Snapchat users believed to be using third-party apps had started to get emails from Snapchat that read:
“We’ve noticed that you’re using a third-party application to access Snapchat, putting yourself (and possibly your friends) at risk. Please change your password and stop using third-party applications when you access Snapchat.”
A Snapchat representative confirmed to HuffPost that these warnings had started going out to users. According to Android Central, users who receive these warnings are directed to a web page that says their accounts will be locked if they continue to use the unauthorized apps.
The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
That’s it. We’re done. We’ve decided to quit the Internet. Kim Kardashian officially ruined it for us.
Oh, wait. What’s that? We work for the Internet?
Fine, instead we’ll cope by laughing away our troubles with this week’s funniest Someecards:
Reddit's CEO Says He Resigned Because He Was Exhausted
It’s not easy being in charge of “the front page of the Internet.”
When Yishan Wong stepped down as Reddit’s chief executive officer earlier this week, it wasn’t quite clear why. It was suggested that there was a dispute over office space, but details were sketchy. On Thursday, Wong took to Quora, a popular question-and-answer website, to explain: The job had exhausted him.
“After two and a half years, I’m basically completely worn out, and it was having significantly detrimental effects on my personal life,” Wong wrote.
“I probably pushed myself way too far — as a first-time CEO, all I knew was that such jobs are supposed to be stressful, so I never really had a good baseline, i.e. how stressful is too stressful,” he added.
Wong did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.
Wong started as Reddit’s CEO in 2012. During his tenure, Reddit has dealt with several controversies that may have added to his stress, including users’ hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, gun sales on the site, and a “subreddit” users created to post leaked nude photos of celebrities.
Recently, a couple of CEOs have made headlines for stepping down to focus more on having a healthier personal life. Earlier this year, Mohamed El-Erian, CEO of PIMCO, reportedly resigned, at least in part because he had missed significant moments in his daughter’s life and wanted to spend more time with her. Max Schireson wrote in August that he stepped down from his post as CEO of tech company MongoDB to enjoy life with his family.
Stress at the workplace can lead to distraction, anxiety, and a host of physical symptoms including headaches, frequent colds, and teeth-grinding.
Dave Grohl Doesn't 'F–king Care' About Taylor Swift Vs. Spotify
The ever eloquent Dave Grohl has weighed in on Taylor Swift’s decision to pull her music from Spotify. The Foo Fighters frontman explained his position while speaking to Digital Spy.
“Me personally? I don’t fucking care,” he said. “I want people to hear our music, I don’t care if you pay $1 or fucking $20 for it, just listen to the fucking song. But I can understand how other people would object to that.”
After removing all her music from the streaming service last week, Swift told Yahoo! Music it was a financial decision.
“All I can say is that music is changing so quickly, and the landscape of the music industry itself is changing so quickly, that everything new, like Spotify, all feels to me a bit like a grand experiment,” she said. “And I’m not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of this music. And I just don’t agree with perpetuating the perception that music has no value and should be free.”
Music distribution modes have indeed undergone changes in recent years. But for Grohl, the way it worked when he was coming up is still best:
“You want people to fucking listen to your music? Give them your music,” he said. “And then go play a show. They like hearing your music? They’ll go see a show. To me it’s that simple, and I think it used to work that way.”
For more, head over to Digital Spy.
Russia plans 'alternative Wikipedia'
Russia’s presidential library is making a “regional electronic encyclopedia” to rival Wikipedia and portray the country “objectively and accurately”.
Republicans Could Be Gambling Silicon Valley's Support Over Net Neutrality
Republicans are courting Silicon Valley, eager to make inroads with tech companies and the millennials who love them. The Silicon Valley ethos overlaps in tantalizing ways with the GOP agenda: Both are, to some extent, anti-regulation, pro-innovation, anti-union, and anti-tax. Meanwhile, brands like Instagram and Pinterest are deeply popular with a demographic that Republicans want on their side.
But tech insiders say that Republicans’ bombastic opposition to net neutrality is threatening that support, even as it wins the party political favor with the telecom and cable companies bankrolling their campaigns. This week, Republicans went head to head with President Barack Obama over net neutrality, highlighting the difficulties the party is likely to face as it seeks to maintain its existing bases of support while trying to win over traditionally left-leaning Silicon Valley companies.
“Republicans will want both tech and cable, and might have to choose between the two,” said Marvin Ammori, an attorney for the tech industry who backs net neutrality.
At stake in the net neutrality debate is the future of the Internet. Net neutrality refers to the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally and impartially. Everyone claims to want the Internet free and open, but the debate is over how to develop and protect it. Tech entrepreneurs generally favor some regulation to protect their equal access to the web. But Internet service providers argue a free Internet can be attained through a less regulatory regime. Whether or not Republicans decide it’s in their best political interests to go all in with the providers could determine the direction that Internet regulation takes in the months and years to come.
On Monday, Obama asked the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify the Internet as a public utility, like electricity, so that ISPs can’t prioritize certain types of web traffic over others. The announcement was a shrewd political move, given that the president is losing support among millennials and progressives, even while the GOP works to win over Silicon Valley donors.
Republicans were quick to register their opposition to the president’s request. On Wednesday, House and Senate Republicans wrote a letter to the agency arguing that Obama’s plan “is beyond the scope of the FCC’s authority” and “would threaten the jobs and investments made possible by the broadband industry.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) likened the plan to Obamacare.
But this opposition comes at a political cost for the GOP as it seeks to win favor with increasingly powerful tech companies, who generally support net neutrality. “This is a litmus test issue for Silicon Valley,” Ammori noted.
Moreover, congressional Republicans’ position seems to ignore the views of their own constituents. The University of Delaware’s Center for Political Communication found in a poll this week that conservatives overwhelmingly oppose allowing Internet service providers to charge companies for faster service. (This is at the crux of the net neutrality debate, although telecom and cable companies continue to maintain they won’t do this.)
The GOP’s opposition to Obama’s plan isn’t particularly surprising, given Republicans’ longstanding ties with telecom companies. Between January 2011 and June 2014, executives, employees, and political action committees affiliated with nine of the companies that oppose net neutrality, including Verizon, AT&T, and Cisco Systems (and excluding those companies’ subsidiaries), gave $762,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee and $733,915 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The same groups gave less than $500,000 each to the equivalent Democratic committees.
Some of the Republicans who criticized net neutrality most vocally this week have also collected big donations from the telecom industry. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) received $317,825 from these companies, while incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) received $159,925. The five members of Congress who received the biggest donations from this group are all Republicans.
A tech company insider, who asked to remain anonymous because of sensitive political relationships, said that “tea party conservatism is supposedly grounded in free market principles like net neutrality. The problem is that the providers have flipped [those principles] by writing huge checks to their candidates and organizations.”
This of course, raises the question of what kind of free market congressional Republicans want to protect. If the goal is to give ISPs a deregulated free market, then it makes sense to oppose Obama’s plan. But if net neutrality is interpreted as keeping access to the Internet as a whole unfettered, then there’s a case to be made that Republicans are advocating against the free market ideal that they claim to support.
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, which represents the telecom and cable industry, declined to comment on whether Republicans’ opposition to Obama’s plan is because of donations from major telecom companies.
Silicon Valley tech companies, which largely support net neutrality, have historically leaned towards Democrats. From January 2011 to June 2014, executives, employees, and political action committees affiliated with nine tech companies, including Google, Facebook, and Netflix, gave $481,788 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $366,043 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The same group gave less than $324,000 each to the two Republican counterparts. Of the five members of Congress who received the highest contributions from these companies, four are Democrats.
But Republicans, especially potential presidential contenders, have been trying to warm up their relationships with these companies. Last year, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has remained quiet about the president’s plan, visited the headquarters of Google, Facebook, and eBay, and this past summer, he reportedly met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. In September, Paul announced that he was opening up an office in the Bay Area. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, both Republicans, gave taped remarks over the summer at a conference hosted by Lincoln Labs, an organization rallying conservatives in Silicon Valley.
And in an effort to show it was tech-friendly, in August the Republican National Committee touted Uber, the controversial ride-sharing service, for upholding free-market principles.
But net neutrality could hamper this effort, some tech experts claim. “It’s hard for Republicans like Paul and [House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy] to be anti-net neutrality and seen as pro-tech,” said Ammori, the attorney.
Ed Black, president and CEO of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, said of the net neutrality debate, “It is frustrating that at a time when better ties are being created between the Internet industry and members of Congress in both parties, that there is such a disconnect on a issue which is of such importance to a dynamic, marketplace-oriented industry.”
Reed Galen, a Republican political strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), said that in the long run, the Republican position on net neutrality won’t hurt the party. “Republicans aren’t exactly seen as cool,” he said.
“To the extent that they are worried about the Twitters and the Tumblrs of the world, my guess is their concerns probably lie far more with the AT&Ts, Verizons, Comcasts and Googles of the world … where they have a voice and a very popular platform,” Galen continued.
But Julie Samuels, executive director and president of the board at Engine, which advocates for start-ups, said that the dilemma shouldn’t be underestimated. The GOP’s position “won’t help them with a lot of the younger, smaller tech companies,” she said, noting that those companies could be a lot bigger come 2016 and 2018.
She added, “The Republicans’ hard-line stance on net neutrality is dangerous for the party.”
Paul Blumenthal contributed data reporting.
AT&T Stops Using Undeletable Phone Tracking IDs
AT&T says it has stopped its controversial practice of adding a hidden, undeletable tracking number to its mobile customers’ Internet activity.
“It has been phased off our network,” said Emily J. Edmonds, an AT&T spokeswoman.
The move comes after AT&T and Verizon received a slew of critical news coverage for inserting tracking numbers into their subscribers’ Internet activity, even after users opted out. Last month, ProPublica reported that Twitter’s mobile advertising unit was enabling its clients to use the Verizon identifier. The tracking numbers can be used by sites to build a dossier about a person’s behavior on mobile devices – including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long.
The controversial type of tracking is used to monitor users’ behavior on their mobile devices where traditional tracking cookies are not as effective. The way it works is that a telecommunications carrier inserts a uniquely identifying number into all the Web traffic that transmits from a users’ phone.
AT&T said it used the tracking numbers as part of a test, which it has now completed.
Edmonds said AT&T may still launch a program to sell data collected by its tracking number, but that if and when it does, “customers will be able to opt out of the ad program and not have the numeric code inserted on their device.”
A Verizon spokeswoman says its tracking program is still continuing, but added “as with any program, we’re constantly evaluating.”
Verizon offers its customers an opportunity to opt out of the program. But opting out doesn’t remove the tracking ID.
ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.
150,000 Cable Subscribers Cut The Cord Last Quarter
People are moving away from cable TV, but the industry is not going down without a fight.
A report released Friday by the Leichtman Research Group says the 13 largest pay-TV providers — a group that includes companies like Time Warner, Comcast and DirecTV — shed about 150,000 video subscribers in the most recent quarter, compared to just 25,000 in the same period last year.
The Leichtman Research Group said this was a greater net loss of subscribers than in any third quarter going back to at least 2002, when the company was founded. To date, the greatest single-quarter loss the company has seen was a net drop of 350,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2013.
Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst of the group, noted that the most recent numbers don’t necessarily represent a major exodus away from cable providers.
“The major takeaway is the industry has lost 0.1 percent over the last year,” Leichtman told The Huffington Post. “Everyone’s been trying to call the industry dead for five years. The industry is losing a little bit, but it’s not cratering.”
According to Leichtman, subscriber loss is often more pronounced in the second and third quarters of the year, but companies tend to see gains in the first and fourth quarters because that’s when promotions are usually offered. In other words, fluctuations in subscriber numbers have less to do with consumer demand and more to do with providers offering deals, Leichtman said.
But a modest loss of subscribers is still a loss, and consumers today have more options than ever before if they decide to “cut the cord” and get their entertainment somewhere else. Major premium cable players like Showtime and HBO have announced that they will offer standalone streaming services in 2015 for customers without cable subscriptions.
Those new options are coming at a time when cord-cutting is already on the rise. Statistics from earlier this year suggest that Hulu and Netflix may be eating cable providers’ lunch, and a study recently cited by Variety showed that the number of U.S. customers who say they’re planning to cancel their pay-TV plans is up from what it was a year ago — albeit only slightly. Quartz recently cited 2013 data suggesting that pay-TV subscriptions may have peaked in 2012.
Certain companies fared better than others this quarter, according to Leichtman’s new data. Time Warner Cable, the second-largest cable company in the United States, reportedly lost 182,000 customers in the third quarter of 2014, but that compares favorably to the 304,000 it lost during the same period last year — a bleed-out that Leichtman attributed to Time Warner’s protracted dispute with CBS in 2013.
Meanwhile, both Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse — two telephone companies that also provide digital TV service — reportedly added a combined 330,000 video subscribers in the third quarter, a decline from the 400,000 they added during the same period last year.
Naked Kim Kardashian Didn't 'Break The Internet,' But She Did Drive Web Traffic Out The Wazoo
So did Paper Magazine’s nude Kim Kardashian photos really “break the Internet” as promised?
As evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this on the internet, the answer is: Not literally, no. But it did generate an absurd surge of traffic for Papermag.com. According to Adweek, Paper’s website saw 6.6 million page views on Nov. 12, the day after publishing the Kardashian story, 5 million of which were unique views.
On Thursday, reports the Wall Street Journal, Papermag.com’s traffic surged still higher, earning 15.9 million page views, 11 million of which were uniques.
To put that into perspective, the site averages around 25,000 page views per day in October, based on data provided by SimilarWeb.
Unsurprisingly, the traffic bonanza also extended to social media, where a tweet of the magazine cover, sent by Kanye West to his 11 million followers on Nov. 11, racked up more than 88,000 “favorites” and 79,000 retweets:
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) November 12, 2014
A spokesperson for Paper declined to release the magazine’s internal figures to The Huffington Post, but didn’t dispute Adweek’s data, either.
Bay Area's Most Influential Biz-Tech Figure, Clerical Error?
Folks, it seems I’ve won the Bay Area’s Most Influential Biz-Tech Figure… (clerical error?)
(you can see a bigger version of the image here…)
And, on that note…
I thought this photo seemed appropriate. Though, it’s a bit of a joke, I’m in a pedi-cab modeled after the Iron Throne in the Game of Thrones. In the Game of Thrones, you win, or, well, you don’t win.
On the other hand, Mrs. Newmark suggests that in the Turkey chair I look like a Turducken… Yes, the Throne kinda looks like Turkey wings, and I guess that makes it a TurNerden, the tech Turducken. Anyway, Winter is Coming…
Everyone, thanks for the very kind words you’ve sent my way, and please remember my reference to “clerical error.”
Americans Kind Of Support Net Neutrality, But How You Ask The Question Matters
Americans across the political spectrum agree on some of the basic concepts of net neutrality, but their ideas about government regulation to enforce it are considerably more mixed — perhaps understandably, since most still haven’t even heard of it.
President Barack Obama advocated for net neutrality on Monday, calling on the Federal Communications Commission to institute new rules barring Internet service providers from giving some content priority.
“We cannot allow Internet service providers to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas,” he said in a statement.
While the fight over net neutrality has sparked a political battle, most of the public hasn’t been paying close attention, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Back in May, 63 percent of Americans said they’d never even heard the term “net neutrality.” The term has become more familiar since then, but the most recent poll — taken after the president’s speech — finds that a 54 percent majority, including majorities of Republicans and Democrats, still say they haven’t heard of it.
Obama’s statement drew immediate opposition from some conservatives, with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) labeling net neutrality as “Obamacare for the Internet.”
The goals of net neutrality, however, are broadly popular with the public. Fifty-five percent of Americans, including two-thirds of those who’d heard about net neutrality, said they’d oppose allowing Internet service providers to strike deals in which some companies pay to have their online content load faster than other content.
In a rare showing for American politics, there wasn’t much of a divide along partisan lines: 57 percent of Democrats, 51 percent of independents and 59 percent of Republicans were opposed.
More broadly, 77 percent of Americans, including 80 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of Republicans, agreed that all data on the Internet should be treated equally, and that broadband Internet service providers should not be allowed to restrict the speed of certain types of content — results that are basically unchanged since a poll this spring.
The findings line up with another recent poll, sponsored by the pro-net-neutrality Internet Freedom Business Alliance, which found that 83 percent of people who said they were very conservative were concerned about service providers’ ability to “influence content” online, and that the same number supported action by Congress to ensure cable companies don’t “monopolize the Internet.” A third poll, from the University of Delaware, found 81 percent of Americans oppose allowing Internet providers to charge websites or streaming video services extra for faster speeds.
Telecom companies, however, deny that they’re talking about providing faster service to some parties, saying the debate is really about the FCC’s standing to regulate Internet service providers.
And because net neutrality remains a relatively arcane topic, the framing polls use when asking about the concept can have a major effect on how people respond.
In the HuffPost/YouGov poll, the spirit of bipartisanship largely vanishes as soon as the focus moves from Internet service providers’ power to the actual government regulation that could curtail it.
Just 34 percent of Americans support government regulations to achieve net neutrality, with 28 percent opposed and 38 percent unsure. Democrats were more than twice as likely to support regulation as to oppose it, while Republicans were twice as likely to oppose it as to support it.
(Among those in all parties who have heard of net neutrality, 48 percent support government regulations to achieve it, 38 percent don’t, and the remainder are unsure.)
Just 19 percent of Americans said more regulation of Internet service providers is needed, with 33 percent saying the current level is about right, 27 percent that less regulation is needed, and 21 percent unsure.
Thirty-one percent of Democrats, compared with just 6 percent of Republicans, would like to see more regulation.
Some wonder if Obama’s public embrace of the issue could actually backfire, polarizing a relatively nonpartisan issue.
“Many Americans don’t know what net neutrality is or understand the debate over the issue. That’s why polling shows variable support depending on how the questions are framed,” political scientist Brendan Nyhan wrote in The New York Times. “As people get increasingly partisan cues — Mr. Obama is for it, Republicans are against it — they are likely to follow their preferred party, which will further strengthen the partisan divide on the issue.”
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted Nov. 10-12 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.
The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here.
VIDEO: Robots 'help autistic children learn'
A robot is helping Danish children with autism and other developmental disorders to learn and develop communication skills, teachers say.
'No Control' Documentary Explores Layered Absurdity Of The Gun Control Debate
In “No Control,” an arresting documentary debuting at DOC NYC, director Jessica Solce aims her camera at a contentious debate roaring in America. Solce explores the murky waters of gun rights, giving voice to advocates from both sides.
“‘No Control’ is about carving out a moment to listen to all ideas, ideas that we’d never encounter,” Solce explained to The Huffington Post. “It’s about providing a place to step outside our immediate environment and thought circles.”
On one side, Shaina Harrison, director of youth programming for New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, dismantles the argument that gun control laws only serve to inconvenience law-abiding gun owners.
“All illegal guns were once legal,” she said. “We already know that these guns are coming from states where they have very lax gun laws and are coming down this iron pipeline and being littered upon these communities that can’t afford the violence.”
A staunch advocate of background checks, she’s seeking accountability amongst legal firearm owners. “When those guns end up on 125th Street in Harlem, guess what? Now [they] have to explain how those guns got from [them] to Harlem. Somebody’s accountable,” Harrison said.
On another side, Solce’s interviews with Cody Wilson, who is working to make 3D-printed semi-automatic weapons readily available to the general public, provide some of the most provocative footage, punctuated by gunfire on a range in the background. Wilson, director of Defense Distributed and self-described crypto-anarchist, would like you to be able to create guns in your living room with ease.
“Everything has the capacity for abuse,” he said, citing the public’s “massive intolerance” of risk. “If I represent any kind of danger, it’s just in thought practice.”
“What I want is to participate in this ongoing debate by highlighting the grayness of it, by providing fair portraits and therefore showing that this isn’t about a homogenized rant,” said Solce. “Where’s this grayness and what do we need to listen to in order to close the door on this debate, if that’s even possible.”
Threaded neatly throughout the film, the development of graphic artist Greg Boker’s installation “Erase” examines a unique approach to the gun control debate. His 20-foot pencil drawing of an AR-15 rifle gave viewers an opportunity to destroy the work using erasers stamped with the name of a gun-violence victim. “I drew it to be erased,” said Boker. “To me, the finished piece is an erased drawing.”
“Nobody wants death. Nobody,” said Solce, in an attempt to find common ground. “If we’re all fighting against violence, what does that mean? I don’t think the movie is meant to provide an answer, but to ask more questions and create an open framework for debate.”
In an exclusive clip from the documentary, Victor Head, a plumber who helped to spearhead the recall of Colorado Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, explains what he sees as the arbitrary serial number requirements for firearms:
“No Control” premieres Saturday, Nov. 15, at 9:30 p.m. as part of DOC NYC at IFC Center in the West Village. Catch it again Wednesday, Nov. 19, at 12:45 p.m.
From Ebola to Stroke, Timing Is Everything
By Dr. Eric Van Giesen
Dr. Eric Van Giesen was a Nokia Sensing XCHALLENEGE Competition #2 Judge.
It seems ridiculous to ask anyone with a fever to wait in a holding pen full of people who are potentially infected with the Ebola virus for up to 24 hours before receiving a diagnosis. Yet right now, people in West Africa with anything from Lassa fever to Malaria are arriving at Ebola treatment centers to find out if they have the dreaded disease. And since they’ve had to wait a full day for results from a laboratory several miles away, they may have been exposed to Ebola unnecessarily.
Many people assume this absurd situation is due to poverty and the lack of infrastructure in West Africa, yet we tolerate similar situations almost everywhere in the world–including in the United States–every day.
Humans are terrible at timing when it comes to finding out how to effectively treat health problems. And we’re even worse at recognizing our bodies’ subtle cues that something might be wrong in the days, weeks, or even years leading up to a health crisis. Much of this stems from the fact that we normally wait for a problem to occur, and then we make an appointment to see a physician. This ancient paradigm is further complicated by the fact that physicians typically “outsource” diagnoses to analytical laboratories that put your samples in a testing queue. This cycle can take so long that, in many cases, treatment decisions have to be made based on the mere hope they will be effective. For example, doctors often prescribe antibiotics without knowing the underlying causes of infections. If they guess wrong, not only do they fail to cure their patients, they may be contributing to the worldwide crisis of antibiotic resistance.
When I began working in the field of clinical diagnostics back in 2001, the most forward-thinking companies planned to bring molecular tests (DNA or RNA) to the clinic. Many of the available technologies were capable of revolutionizing patient care by giving caregivers and patients the equivalent result of an automobile mechanic’s engine scanner. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and other entities were eager to see these new technologies hit the commercial market, and they invested enormous amounts of money to make it happen. Yet in 2014, we still do not have a molecular test in the U.S. that’s cleared for use in clinics–or at home. They remain relegated to clinical laboratories scattered throughout the country.
It’s important to note that these tests were first developed in 1983, so we have waited more than three decades for them to show up at the bedside. Why have waited so long for such an effective technology to help us in diagnosis? I can tell you that almost all of the delay lies in the fact that we have created a very powerful lab diagnostic services industry (a global market expected to grow to $70 billion in 2017), which would like nothing better than to keep right on collecting reimbursements. Patients, however, must wait anywhere from 4 to 72 hours for results that can dictate the difference between one treatment decision or another — and even life or death.
All of this comes at a time when the ratio of patients to doctors is increasing. As a population, we are experiencing a shortage of care that is leading to unnecessary suffering and death. We only need to look at the recent scandal within the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs to see the impact of an incorrect patient-to-caregiver ratio coupled with incompetent scheduling and prioritization. What if veterans could diagnose problems at home and upload results to the VA? The agency could then prioritize their visits based on those results, rather than some other non-medical criteria.
When the $2.25M Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE was created, it sought to disrupt the status quo of limited access to health sensing, diagnostics, and delayed treatment. The technologies that were entered in the two competitions are capable of performing molecular tests, immunological tests, and monitoring a variety of vital signs. Nearly all have had some level of testing on real clinical samples, and have demonstrated the ability to transform healthcare. One product in the competition is capable of measuring pulmonary blood pressure (something that typically requires a costly catheterization in an advanced clinic or hospital) using an implant and hand-held reader. It allows cardiac patients to self-test at home and transmit their data directly to their healthcare providers on a daily (or more frequent) basis. The applications for this and related technologies go beyond providing a warning of an impending cardiac failure, they can also be used to fine-tune drug treatment regimens or trigger other lifestyle changes so a patient can avoid serious health outcomes.
Making diagnostic products ubiquitous and operating on a continuous basis will not only serve to warn of pending health disasters, it will allow us to fine-tune treatment regimens and lead to the “N of 1″ environment, in which a single patient is the subject of a clinical trial. Having the opportunity to fine-tune individual health pictures and optimize treatments will help minimize hospital visits and relieve the burden on an already-overwhelmed healthcare system. It will also incorporate the technologies and approaches pioneered by thousands of innovators involved in the “quantified self” movement.
What’s been shown repeatedly in other XPRIZE competitions is that success is not reserved only for the Grand Prize winners. InSilixa, a first round competitor and Distinguished Award winner in the Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE, recently received private funding to produce a revolutionary, multi-target analysis that will enable hundreds (even thousands) of tests to be conducted on a patient sample via a proprietary array of sensors created using technology designed for printing integrated microchip circuits. This platform has already generated an impressive amount of clinical data and should be very effective in addressing problems ranging from multi-drug resistance, cancer, and even inherited disease. The potential for this technology to transform diagnosis at the point of care, or even at home, is immense–and will exponentially change the way we live.
Additionally, the winners of the two Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE competitions have brought transformational technologies to the brink of becoming commercial products. The Grand Prize winner of the most-recent competition, Team DMI, developed the Reusable Handheld Electrolyte and Lab Technology for Humans (“rHEALTH”) system, a compact portable device that can run hundreds of clinical lab tests on a single drop of blood with gold standard accuracy, telling the user within minutes if they have a cold, the flu or a more serious ailment such as pneumonia — or even Ebola — that requires more urgent medical care. DMI’s unique ability to perform complete blood counts, as well as dozens of simultaneous assays using nanostrips, has literally brought a room full of lab equipment to the palm of your hand. But DMI didn’t stop there. They also created a continuous physiological monitoring system that, when paired with their sample-based analytical system, provides a highly integrated health picture that no other company has been able to provide. All of this is, of course, compatible with smartphone technologies that enable both doctors and patients to view results instantaneously, yet testing can be performed at home.
This competition has brought a wealth of technologies to the forefront that are not only capable of changing how patients receive care, but have the potential to transform how medications are monitored. The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE and its partner competition, the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE, have coincided with an explosion of new technologies that are poised to re-shape our entire medical experience. With the emergence of Apple’s Health Kit and the dozens of wearable health monitors on the market that have the potential to interface with the major electronic health records companies, the wheels have been set in motion–and the exponential change we are about experience will be analogous to the changes we’ve seen in our society since the advent of the Internet.
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This New Platform Allows You To See Your Doctor Without Leaving Your Couch
Hospital visits are typically marked by the traditional magazine read in the waiting room and face-to-face chats with nurses, but more and more people are turning to their computer screens to find quality care.
In an interview with HuffPost Live on Wednesday, Amwell CEO Roy Schoenberg discussed how the tech industry is redefining traditional health care. With “telehealth” companies like Amwell, users can have their symptoms diagnosed by a primary care physician or specialist from the comfort of their homes.
“You can just use your phone and you will see a physician within 60 seconds, 24 hours a day,” he said. “You can choose the one you want, connect with them, and in most cases your health insurance will pay for it too because it brings healthcare to your home.”
But the telemedicine trend still facing some hurdles. Thus far, regulatory restrictions have proved to be a barrier for 49 million Medicare recipients to receive reimbursements for online health services, which are not covered under their plans.
Although the Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014 looks to remedy this policy issue, others have questioned the logistical effectiveness of this technology. Electronic malfunctions, due to weather, for example, could cause outages and affect the quality of the video chat and overall care. Other issues, like the inability for a doctor to physically touch a patient, may lead to an inadequate diagnosis. Aspects like non-verbal queues could also cause complications if they are not easily translated through the computer screen.
Schoenberg responded to the criticism, assuring that patients can still find a close relationship with their physician online.
“We have actually found that that level of intimacy can actually exceed what happens when you are [meeting a physician] in person,” he said. “I don’t know why that is the case, but there is something about the focus that you have when you’re looking into each other and the world around you disappears.”
Schoenberg also touted the possibilities the technology could bring among the disenfranchised, who have difficulties finding quality health care in their neighborhoods, both abroad and in the United States.
“Even here in New York City, you have health care deserts, where people don’t have the health care that they need,” he said. “So I think that getting people — whether it’s philanthropic based, whether it’s overseas or whether it is in the United States — the ability to project healthcare to where they are is going to dramatically change how we can help those people.”
Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation here.
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iPhone 6 outselling 6 Plus by nearly 3-to-1 margin, data suggests
Within the first 30 days of the phones’ availability, the iPhone 6 outsold the 6 Plus by a margin of almost three to one, according to data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The 6 accounted for 68 percent of all iPhone sales in that window, whereas the 6 Plus took home a little over 23 percent. The 5s and 5c — which are still being manufactured — together accounted for the remaining fraction.