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.
Organised crime's cyber-heist spree
How organised crime pulls off giant thefts
Allow This Century Old Selfie To Make You Feel Really, Really Old
Although “selfie” was only added to the dictionary this year, the omnipresent and much reviled photography method has been around for much longer. In fact, the first ever light photograph, taken in 1839, is thought also to have been one of the first selfies, if not the first ever.
On that note, we present to you another retro selfie dug up from the archives, this one a group shot belonging to Joseph Byron and friends at the turn of the 20th century. Byron’s great grandson Tom uploaded the sepia toned images onto Quora during a callout for best selfies. His caption read: “My great grandfather started doing this as early as 1909. (See date on second photo.)”
Needless to say, the internet was impressed.
According to Gizmodo, Byron assisted his father in the studio during his teens and went on to assist a London photographer as an early adult. He worked as a freelance press photographer for clients including the Illustrated American and went on to build a career in stage photography.
This 1909 gem captures Byron and friends in a classic BFF shot, donning what we can only hope were planned matching ensembles. While it’s not the first selfie, it just may be the first “usie,” if you buy into labels like that.
If ICANN Doesn't Keep Registrars Honest, Who Will?
Last week, The Wall Street Journal detailed the challenges that drug safety authorities like the FDA face when tackling the illegal and unsafe distribution of prescription medicines via the Internet. The WSJ analysis discussed role of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) as accreditor of domain name registrars, and noted ICANN’s response, or lack thereof, to registrars who permit the use of their services by rogue Internet pharmacies.
The article was implicitly critical of what was portrayed as ICANN’s anemic response to registrars. One example in the WSJ article was China-based BizCN, which reportedly failed to act on complaints about websites used to illegally sell prescription drugs. The article’s implied conclusion was that ICANN should do more.
In response, a number of blog posts or comments on the article have decried “Internet censorship,” accused the WSJ of having an anti-ICANN bias, or applauded registrars (such as BizCN) for pushing back by insisting on a court order prior to shutting down illegal online pharmacies. Do those criticisms have merit?
Rogue Internet Pharmacies and Domain Name Registrars
Online prescription drug sales are big business: my company, LegitScript, estimates that there are roughly 35,000 online pharmacies at any one time, and IMS Health estimates prescription drug sales overall total nearly one trillion USD worldwide. Nobody knows the size of the online drug market, but estimates range from $10 billion to $100 billion. Either way, it’s a lot.
Unfortunately, the most salient feature of the global Internet pharmacy market is its dirtiness. Both LegitScript and the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy reckon that over 95% of Internet pharmacies operate illegally, by 1) selling substandard prescription drugs 2) without a valid prescription or 3) without a valid pharmacy license. The consequences can be serious: the WSJ cited as an example airmailchemist.com, which was shut down following a customer’s death and the FDA’s subsequent notification to the registrar.
So who is supposed to “do something” about this problem? The FDA? ICANN? Or someone else?
It’s not quite right to say that ICANN “governs” the Internet: after all, it doesn’t turn websites on and off. Think of it this way: in order to get a website name (like “legitscript.com” or “huffingtonpost.com”) you have to go to a domain name registrar, and for most types of website names, like those that end in .COM, the registrar has to be accredited by ICANN.
The most recent accreditation agreement requires a registrar to investigate, and take reasonable action, if a website is allegedly used for illegal purposes. This loose contractual structure is designed to give someone (registrars) the ability to “do something” about child pornography, fake prescription drug sales, and other dangerous and illegal activity. And if registrars don’t investigate and respond appropriately to the complaint, ICANN is supposed to “do something” about those registrars.
In that way, it’s less accurate to think of ICANN as the Internet police, and more accurate to think of it as the body that is supposed to keep domain name registrars honest, if necessary, by holding the registrar in breach or terminating the accreditation.
With that as background, let’s take a look at BizCN, the domain name registrar that was referenced in the WSJ story.
Thinking Like a Criminal: Choose Your Registrar Wisely, Part I
Rogue Internet pharmacy operators are, if nothing else, rational economic actors: knowing that most registrars voluntarily suspend domain names used for illegal prescription drug sales, a rogue Internet pharmacy operator will often choose a registrar who will protect his or her domain name, especially in the face of complaints from anti-abuse advocates or law enforcement.
The WSJ noted that China-based BizCN has been one of a handful of registrars that has consistently ignored complaints from law enforcement and anti-abuse organizations. In fact, since 2010, LegitScript has emailed BizCN over 30 times about rogue Internet pharmacies on its platform, with nearly all of our abuse complaints ignored. According to the WSJ, when the FDA went to BizCN to notify them about rogue Internet pharmacies it was sponsoring, BizCN demanded a court order — a fact that one blog, TechDirt, lauded as an appropriate response.
But did TechDirt have all of the facts? As we explained in more detail in an investigative blog, the head of BizCN’s abuse department (responsible for responding to complaints about illegal online pharmacies) had been running a separate website that marketed BizCN in “black hat” forums as a safe place for illicit Internet pharmacies, all the while claiming that he couldn’t do anything about those very rogue Internet pharmacies he was recruiting.
Thinking Like a Criminal: Choose Your Registrar Wisely, Part II
But, as TechDirt argues, why couldn’t the FDA just get a court order to close the websites registered at BizCN anyway? (TechDirt’s Mike Masnick bylines his blog on the WSJ article the “what’s-wrong-with-a-court-order dept.”) Let’s answer that question in detail, first noting that ICANN disagrees with TechDirt on this.
If you are using a website to illegally sell drugs into one country, it is important to choose a registrar in another country where you aren’t shipping the drugs. Why? Simple: so that the courts in the registrar’s country never have a basis to issue an order and close your website. After all, a registrar in one country doesn’t have to follow a court order issued by a judge in another country. In this way, the rogue Internet pharmacies that were registered with China-based BizCN weren’t selling drugs in China; rather, they were targeting the US, EU and other locations. As a result, it’s not that the online pharmacies were legal in China; rather, Chinese laws simply aren’t relevant to the analysis.
And that’s why the endless braying about “get a court order” is intellectually lazy: tweet-sized solutions to complex problems usually aren’t really a solution at all. Last we checked, the Internet is multi-jurisdictional (or, perhaps, “jurisdiction-less”), and the easiest thing in the world for a rogue Internet pharmacy operator to do is to select a registrar in a jurisdiction where they aren’t shipping drugs to, making a court order from that jurisdiction impossible for anyone to get.
Where ICANN Comes In
The point of the WSJ story, as I read it, was to show how ICANN’s compliance process is, or isn’t, holding rogue registrars accountable. In some cases, the process works: LegitScript submitted over 2,500 rogue Internet pharmacies to TodayNIC, another China-based registrar; the registrar failed to act; ICANN issued a finding of a breach; and most of the websites are now offline. That’s a recent success story, and I think it’s to ICANN’s credit.
In other cases, however, registrars have been allowed by ICANN to leave the rogue Internet pharmacies operating, including in one case where the registrar told us that it would not take action against the illegal websites because “from the business wise, it could be millions of dollar losses (sic).” These were websites selling prescription drugs, including controlled substances and drugs unapproved for sale, without a prescription or valid pharmacy license.
Ultimately, an important reason for ICANN’s existence is to to support the Internet’s stability and security by giving the World Wide Web some sort of contractual structure. One of the ongoing challenges related to cybercrime is the emergence of “safe haven” domain name registrars — the clustering of illegal or fraudulent websites at a small number of registrars who the bad actors know will tolerate, shield and happily profit from such activity. Any response to this problem has to recognize that the notion that court orders can have any effectiveness in a jurisdiction-less Internet is so…well, so 1990′s.
And that, I think, was the point of the WSJ‘s story: if ICANN doesn’t keep its accredited registrars honest, then who will?
Seeing Traces Of Sex Trafficking On Tinder Is A Reminder This Crime Is Happening Everywhere
Tinder users are never certain of what they’ll see before swiping right, but they likely don’t expect to find the face of a sex trafficking victim.
A new campaign created by advertising agency Eighty Twenty is bringing startling images to the dating app in Ireland to raise awareness on the issue. The project, launched on behalf of the Immigrant Council of Ireland, shows photos of models standing in for trafficking victims, as if they were in real profiles of potential matches on Tinder.
Users who browse through the photos — which become increasingly disturbing with each swipe right — end on a message from the campaign about the issue, such as, “The physical scars of sex trafficking eventually fade. The mental scars last a lifetime.”
“This is the first use of Tinder in Ireland for a campaign of this nature and one of the first globally,” Cathal Gillen of Eighty Twenty stated on the agency’s website. “Tinder has become an extremely popular app in Ireland, and it provides us with a unique, innovative and standout way of communicating to men the issues faced by women involved in sex trafficking.”
Roughly 2.4 million people across the globe are victims of human trafficking at any time, according to the United Nations, and the issue disproportionately affects females, as two-thirds of all victims are women. Sex trafficking accounts for 58 percent of all global trafficking cases, and the crime is more common in the Americas, Europe and Central Asia, according to the U.N.’s 2012 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
“Women are lured out of their homes and countries with false promises,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a 2012 press release. “They are stripped of their passports, their dignity and their personal security. To protect people from such exploitation, countries have to coordinate their labor and migration policies.”
The Immigrant Council of Ireland said the campaign is an attempt to engage the public through modern methods of communication, exposing the issue to those who might not see it otherwise.
“It is our policy to constantly explore all forms of media to help us reach new people to raise awareness,” Jerry O’Connor, the Immigrant Council’s communication and advocacy manager, told Mic. “And this particular project is very much in line with that approach.”
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
The Funniest Someecards Of The Week
So, there was an election this week.
Republicans? We’re sure you’re pretttty happy with yourselves. Democrats? We’re just sending you a hug. Or, you could just check out the week’s funniest Someecards. Laughter is the best medicine. Or whatever.
Jimmy Fallon Proves Life Would Be Way Better If You Were In Charge
You had us at Diet Oreos.
Since we just went through Midterm Elections, Jimmy Fallon made this week’s hashtag #IfIWasInCharge to see what you would do if you were elected to office. Fallon read some of his favorites, and they all have us wondering why you didn’t run in the first place.
Regardless, we can all agree that a car called “The Liam Nissan” has to happen.
“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.
Astronauts Put A Camera Inside An Orb Of Water, And Here's What Happened
Maybe you’ve seen videos of astronauts playing with floating blobs of water, but how about a video shot from inside the watery blob? That’s just what we have here in a new video (above) posted on YouTube by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
In the video, shot last summer on ISS expedition #40, NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman and Steve Swanson and European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst gently finagle a GoPro camera inside a softball-sized water blob. The water assumes a roughly spherical shape because the surface tension keeps it from scattering around the space station in tiny droplets.
The astronauts also filmed their little water bubble experiment in three dimension as part of NASA’s experiment in 3D cinematography. If you have a pair of red-blue stereoscopic 3D glasses, you can have a look below.
Facebook Is Giving You More Control Over Your News Feed
Facebook on Friday unveiled new tools to help users control and understand their News Feed.
The switch is part of an effort by Facebook to give its users more control over the site’s mysterious News Feed algorithm. One key new feature: You’ll now be able to easily see who and what most frequently fills up your News Feed.
Under the updated News Feed settings (to be introduced as an added tab called Manage News Feed), you can find out which friends, pages and groups you’ve seen the most over the past week. According to Facebook’s explanation of the algorithm, your feed is based on who and what you interact with when you’re posting, liking and commenting.
We reached out to Facebook to find out if the profiles you browse but don’t interact with (in other words, the people you Facebook-stalk) affect your most-seen list, but have not heard back yet.
Your Facebook week in summary
The update also gives users more control over what content they see in their News Feeds. Previously, you could “unfollow” people and groups or say, “I don’t want to see this,” to hide posts similar to those you truly despise. Now you will have an additional option: to merely “See Less,” limiting the amount of such content you see, but still giving you an occasional taste.
It’s easier to limit what type of content you see
Oh, and if you ever regret unfollowing someone, you can now find and follow them again using the new tool. Just look at your Summary page (viewable above), and you’ll be able to see a list of every user, page and group you have unfollowed.
Adam Mosseri, the Facebook News Feed’s product management director, told the Wall Street Journal that Facebook users can expect more options and customization to the News Feed settings in the future. That may possibly include sorting posts by topic and more easily into friend groups.
How a Prankster Taught Me to Be Positive
Within the last few months, a prankster on YouTube came out with a disgraceful prank involving sexually harassing young women (that video has been taken down). I believe that even though some people do not have good intentions when pulling pranks, there is one YouTube prankster who is making sure he spreads a positive message to his fans of all ages. “Always remember to smile more!” — that is how YouTube prankster Roman Atwood ends his daily vlogs, reminding his viewers to be positive.
Roman Atwood is a prankster on YouTube with over 4.5 million subscribers on his prank channel. Atwood shares his life, along with his family’s, everyday on his vlog channel which has over 1.1 million subscribers. Roman Atwood started out making sketch comedy bits on YouTube with his hometown friends. Eventually, Atwood began pulling pranks on people (and most notably police officers) in his home state of Ohio. These pranks were surprising to the person being pranked but still caused people to laugh all over the world while watching them. Atwood began to become known as the “cop prankster” and his audience grew.
Then, Roman decided to start daily vlogging his life. However, his vlogs did not only include clips from his life but messages of positivity to his fans reminding them everyday to “smile more!” — a slogan for his fans. I started watching RomanAtwoodVlogs this year and I have been hooked ever since. I went through a tough time during 2014 because of my anxiety disorder. Watching YouTube has always been a coping mechanism for me, but once I started watching Atwood, I learned that just coping with what I was going through was not going to make it go away. I had to take proactive steps in helping myself.
I started to make sure I was smiling more and being more positive in my daily life. Thanks to Roman’s vlogs I began to look at my life in a more positive way. I thought if Roman’s positivity can have this much of an impact on me then maybe if I was positive I could help someone else. I am now making sure I enjoy the little things in life, savoring all those moments with family and friends. I, now, make sure I go out and enjoy my life instead of worrying if I am going to have an anxiety attack if I take the chance and go out. I don’t really worry about what people think of me, I just laugh it off.
So, to Roman and his family, thank you! Thank you for helping me and millions of others realize that being more positive is not all that hard, you just have to “smile more!”
When Will Texting And Driving Be As Taboo As Drunken Driving?
When it comes to texting and driving, the problem isn’t a lack of awareness about the risk. Ninety-eight percent of people know that it’s dangerous, yet three in four are offenders, according to a new survey that AT&T designed with Dr. David Greenfield, founder of The Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
Texting while driving has been shown to be more dangerous than drunken driving, and it is the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., according to a 2013 study. Greenfield talked with The Huffington Post about why people continue to text and drive, how they can make themselves stop, and what it will take for it to become as taboo as drinking and driving.
This study showed that nearly everyone knows texting while driving is dangerous, but most people do it anyway. Do people tend to think they are better at multitasking than everyone else?
There are a number of reasons. One of the reasons is that people have the false belief that there is such a thing as multitasking, and they are somehow going to be better at that than other people. That’s a distortion. They’re assuming that because they’re doing it, they must be better at it. But when you roll the dice, the dice have no memory. So each time you get in that car and you text, your chances of having an accident are equal. It’s just a matter of statistical odds that eventually you’re going to run out of room.
When we hear a text come in, what are the psychological and behavioral triggers that make us want to read it, even though we’re aware of the dangers?
People compulsively use their smartphones. Part of it is dopaminergic, meaning there is an elevation of dopamine when there’s either an anticipation of receiving a text or when you have checked one and it’s positive in nature. That elevation of dopamine is experienced as pleasure, and we like pleasurable things. We tend to repeat them. That can develop into a compulsive pattern. There’s the FOMO phenomenon — the fear of missing out — that if they don’t respond or check in, they’re missing out. People also feel like they’re going to disappoint people if they’re not answering right away.
Why do so many people still text and drive, even though it’s been shown to be more dangerous than drunken driving?
If you track the history of drinking and driving, and the drinking and driving movement, there are some very strong analogies. Thirty or 40 years ago, the attitude toward drinking and driving was very much where texting and driving is now. What happened was that Mothers Against Drunk Driving was formed, and some of the mothers of these younger individuals who were killed became very active. There was a multipronged effort aimed at increasing public awareness, public education and some legislative changes, as well as offering medical treatment to people who had problematic drinking. So over time, the consciousness and the norm has shifted drastically around drinking and driving. It’s unacceptable, not just from a legal perspective but from a social perspective. And we’re not there yet with texting. We joke about being addicted to our phones, and we don’t take it seriously that you’re five to six times more likely to be in an accident when you text than when you don’t.
Is that because people have this distortion that texting doesn’t impair their ability to drive?
People completely distort the neurological data that clearly show that it’s impossible to drive safely while you’re texting. It’s not even in the realm of possibility. If you don’t get into an accident or don’t cause an accident, you just have been lucky. But eventually your luck will run out.
It’s not that hard to avoid driving after you’ve been drinking, but most people have their phones on them all the time. How can they ignore their phones in the car when they rely on them for maps and navigation?
There’s no doubt that the integration of the smartphone into our daily lives has been significant. There’s nothing wrong with that, but you have to stop when you bring it into the car. I believe the DriveMode app allows you to use your GPS functions but not your messaging functions. People don’t get addicted to using their GPS, but they are compulsive texters. And with texting you can’t do it without touching the phone, and that’s where people run into problems.
Do you have clients who have actually been helped by this type of app?
Among the people I’m involved with in my practice, people have used them very successfully. We always recommend some sort of external app, or we recommend turning the phone off while they’re driving. Some people will actually put it in their backseat or put it in their trunk. People have come up with various ways to keep it limited, but the app is the most sophisticated way to do it because you can use some of the functions you might want to use.
If you had to make a prediction, when will we get to the point where texting while driving is considered as bad as drinking and driving?
I don’t think it’s going to happen in the next six months. I think we’re talking about many years. But we’ve reached a tipping point where it’s going to become less acceptable to act like it’s no big deal. And as that shifts, people’s consciousness and people’s willingness to go against social norms will change.
The survey was released in conjunction with expanded access to AT&T DriveMode, a free app that is now available for the iPhone and silences texts when a phone is moving faster than 15 miles per hour.
Twitter Teams With Advocacy Group To Fight Harassment Against Women
Twitter has teamed up with a women’s rights advocacy group to launch a new tool aimed at curbing gender harassment and abuse on the social media platform. The tool, launched Thursday, allows victims to report harassment or for individuals to report on behalf of others. Users can describe in detail the date the harassment started, whether or not the victim fears for their personal safety, the exact sort of abuse experienced and whether the abuse is coming from one account or many.
The information is then submitted to Women, Action, & the Media (WAM!), a nonprofit that has sought “gender justice in media” since 2004. WAM! collects the info and works to get a resolution from Twitter.
The joint effort follows months of heated discussion under the #GamerGate hashtag on Twitter that frequently resulted in abuse toward women — sometimes so specific and violent that it drove victims into hiding out of concern for their personal safety.
But Jaclyn Friedman, executive director for WAM!, told The Huffington Post that the tool has been in the works since before the online firestorm surrounding #GamerGate.
“We feel that [Twitter's] current reporting tool doesn’t capture enough of the context of the way different women are targeted on Twitter,” Friedman told HuffPost via email.
A representative for Twitter told HuffPost via email that the WAM Twitter Harassment Reporting Tool is just the latest in a series of partnerships that Twitter has joined to combat different forms of abuse on its platform. The tool is hosted on WAM!’s page, rather than within Twitter itself.
Twitter does currently provide its own form to report abuse. That tool allows people to choose the sort of harassment they’re experiencing from a menu that includes options like “specific violent threats,” but does not offer the same level of detail — “revenge porn,” for example — that WAM! does.
Though WAM! says it will bring reports of abuse to Twitter, the primary focus seems to be on data collection. According to the group’s press release, information collected by the tool will ultimately inform how Twitter deals with harassment of women in the future.
Brianna Wu, a game developer who faced death threats on Twitter after criticizing #GamerGate, spoke to HuffPost via phone about the new tool. Wu said its heart is in the right place, but she’s not certain about the impact it will have.
“It’s very clear to me that they genuinely want to make it better,” Wu said. “That said, from what I’ve read about this so far, there doesn’t seem to be any teeth.”
“I’ll be sold on it when I report something and see action taken,” she added.
Wu also told HuffPost that her opinion about Twitter’s responsibility diverges a bit from that of other tech feminists. The social media platform has come under fire in the past for not doing more to directly combat abuse.
“I’m always a little bit bewildered when the focus of the conversation becomes Twitter. To me, it seems like being angry at the post office for sending you a threatening letter,” Wu said.
So what has worked for Wu? Posting a $11,000 reward for details leading to the prosecution of individuals who sent her death threats.
“Ever since I offered that reward, it stopped completely. It’s stopped completely. Not a single death threat. The tone of my tweets has vastly improved. I’ve been overwhelmed by that response,” Wu said.
At the Intersection of Feminism and Technology
“Think about your favorite childhood technology. In what ways was it created with certain bodies, identities, and genders in mind? How did this dictate its use?”
As I sit in lecture for Screen Arts 368, Dialogues in Feminism, Technology, and Culture, I reflect on the professor’s questions briefly. Honestly, it’s a toss up between a few different game consoles and my Walkman cassette player. I’d even go so far to say that Hit Clips changed my life. It wasn’t until later in the afternoon, sifting through memories and Googling advertisements of 90s-esque electronic technology, that I started to make clearer, more obvious connections between lecture and my own life experiences as a female consumer.
I was about 9 or 10 years old when I received my first gaming device, which happened to be around the same time that my friends were playing with their own new gadgets. It came wrapped in sparkly, purple paper: a gift for my birthday. Unsurprisingly, the Game Boy Color tucked inside matched the hue of the flashy wrapping — light, translucent purple. Along with the GBC, I was given a variety (but not as varied, now that I look back on it) of games and a purse-like contraption. After only a few months, the strap was completely worn out — I carried this thing everywhere. During recess at school, I remember trading with others and stumbling upon, and experimenting with, all sorts of games. I found myself getting bored of Mary Kate and Ashley’s Pocket Planner, and there was only so much of Stuart Little: The Journey Home that I could take.
Looking back, I’m curious as to why my male classmates were playing Donkey Kong and Batman, while I was passing my time with Barbie’s Mall Adventures and Frogger (okay, that game was actually pretty awesome). Why was I automatically handed purple, while my male cousins boasted their bright red and highlighter yellows? These cultural expectations and gender-based assumptions are deeply embedded within our everyday lives, and so it’s commonplace to overlook and ignore the biases we all have, inherently based on gender. It isn’t until we’re reminded of these established norms, perhaps in a class discussion, that their prevalence becomes quite apparent, and that the problematic nature is revealed.
By no means am I upset that I was gifted a purple Game Boy, or angered by the fact that most advertisements (the very few that I could find) marketed to young female gamers showed products related to shopping and party planning. These established assumptions feed into larger societal presumptions of raising children amidst a gender binary system; to produce a child that is distinctly “male” or distinctly “female.” As a sort of rebel, I rocked my purple GBC and Rocket Power: Gettin’ Air. I didn’t mind baking an occasional cake with Mary Kate and Ashley, and sometimes I’d throw down with Harry Potter in the Chamber of Secrets.
The Game Boy may not have been initially marketed to, or practically intended for, young women (take the name Game Boy), but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for females to join in this dominantly male-oriented space. To an extent, the fact that stereotypical, female-inspired games even existed while I was growing up speaks volumes of progress. The gaming sphere is shifting dramatically, but there is still work to be done in order to encourage everyone to engage with similar technologies, or any technology for that matter, in ways that are most comfortable and enjoyable, regardless of gender.
More recently, we are starting to see the rise and popularity of gender-less characters, in which flapping birds, candy crushing, numerical puzzles, and other inanimate object-based obstacles have taken over handheld gaming — thanks to the iPhone and Android. Our phones act as a universal console, allowing users to customize their gaming experience through the plethora of apps available for download. This is not to say that gender is eliminated in these newer games, or in mobile gaming entirely, but as consumers we are given a wider variety of options to chose how we will engage because the amount and variety of applications is ultimately endless. Yes, apps are still designed with a specific audience in mind, but we are seeing the rise in diversity and of selection. Unlike having to drag my mom to the store to pick out Game Boy options, new and free games are a tap away.
Under “Best New Games” on the Apple iTunes store, titles range from Angry Birds Transformers and NBA 2K15 to Fat Princess: Piece of Cake (which has feminists everywhere responding critically) and Bee Brilliant. Personally, I’ll just stick with Candy Crush for the time being. It might seem impossible to draw a clear, immediate connection between feminism and technology, at first glance. In fact, I was extremely interested in taking this class for that very same reason. So much of what we consider technological is simultaneously and fundamentally, hegemonically masculine. That itself speaks volumes. When does feminism come into all of this? How can we use feminism as a lens to critique and analyze our technology consumption, distribution, and interactions? Let’s see where a semester in Screen Arts 368 takes me.
Samaritans pulls 'suicide watch' app
An app supposed to detect when people on Twitter appeared to be suicidal has been suspended due to “serious” concerns.
Rwanda Could Be The Next Silicon Valley: But it Needs Youth to Help it Get There
It only takes one glance around the room to see the role technology plays in Rwandan lives.
Last November I was in Kigali for the Transform Africa Summit. Looking out at the crowd from the panelists’ stage, I saw a sea of iPads and smartphones staring back at me. It was a truly connected room.
In Rwanda, technology isn’t just being adopted — it’s being embraced.
Across Kigali, cranes and construction mark an impressive turn for the country. International companies hoping to snag a piece of the growing African market are paying attention to the country’s progress. Technology is helping Rwanda to compete as a hub against very tough competition, with Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and others all vying for position.
As someone who has been working in Rwanda since 2010 with incredible women, youth, and men, it has been inspiring to see the dedication to technology and connectivity in the country.
One of my most powerful collaborations has been with a woman named Violette Uwamutara, Digital Opportunity Trust Rwanda’s Country Director. She is a tireless advocate and role model for equality of information and communications technology (ICT) adoption in Rwanda, regardless of socio-economic standing and gender. I thrive on learning from the local experts working in the field.
She was telling me the good news that came from a recent ICT study in Rwanda.
Figures released by the country’s Ministry of Youth and ICT in October show the ICT sector has contributed more than two per cent over the last six months to the country’s increasing gross domestic product. To put this into perspective, the average ICT-to-GDP ratio in Africa sits at just over one per cent. This compares to 2012, when Rwanda was below average, with ICT contribution to GDP at less than 0.5 per cent.
This performance reinforces what a recent McKinsey & Company study demonstrated: invest in ICT and a country’s GDP will rise.
There is a massive transformation underway in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies. Much like Silicon Valley has done for America, Kigali is becoming a hub and incubator for brilliant minds in East Africa, and the world.
It starts a the top — Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Jean Philbert Nsengimana, the Minister of Youth and ICT, are relentless promoters of the ICT sector. At the “Smart Rwanda” conference earlier this month, both declared that ICT and broadband Internet access is not a luxury product, but as much a necessity and public utility as water and electricity.
A bold statement in a country of many challenges, but from my experience, Rwanda is walking the talk.
High-level leadership is paying off. Internet usage in the country has nearly tripled to 1.2 million people since 2009. The ICT competition in Africa is fierce, but Rwanda’s relatively small size — both geographically and population-wise — means it can mobilize and digitize quickly.
But as much as ICT needs to be supported by the government, it also needs to be understood and embraced by the people. The fact that the word “youth” is mentioned in the name of the Ministry overseeing the sector is telling. The government “gets” that youth will be the ones driving the charge and change.
So what comes next?
I think the magic happens when you pair ICT and entrepreneurship.
Consider this: despite the increase in Internet use, 90 per cent of the labor force still works in the agriculture sector. Which is to say, it’s not enough to simply introduce people to technology — you need to provide them with the additional skills to identify opportunities and to transform technology into employment for themselves and their communities. Conventional sectors, such as agriculture, and their value chains offer a wealth of opportunities as they innovate to compete. Digitally enabled jobs will abound.
We must support young people with both access to technology, and the modern know-how to use it.
In 2016, Rwanda will enter the fourth and final stage of its National Information Communications Infrastructure (NICI) plan, the 20-year road map to digitize the nation. A goal of this stage is to ensure ICT contributes to community development.
As I saw at the Transform Africa Summit, those next steps start in the classrooms, youth centres and in the minds of the people behind those iPads.
13 Times Bethany Mota Made Us Fall In Love With Her
She’s a YouTube extraordinaire, “Dancing With the Stars” contestant and an iTunes sensation. Basically, Bethany Mota is well on her way to conquering the world — and looking absolutely charming while doing it.
Today, the teen triple threat turns 19 and we’ve rounded up every GIF that sums up why she is, and always will be, the cutest.
1. That time she and Stitch were BFFs.
2. That time she was all patriotic.
3. That time when she was the cutest tiger ever.
4. BRB, crying.
5. That time she made us want to be a cat (and/or a vampire).
6. That time when she acted all super modest.
7. That time when pink and yellow polka dots never looked so good.
8. That time she took car selfies to the next level.
9. That time we were super jealous of her lip shade.
10. That time she was, again, THE CUTEST EVER.
11. That time she was the swaggiest.
12. That time she was just all-around adorable.
13. Happy birthday, Bethany! We
Follow HuffPost Teen on Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | Pheed |
Albany Football Player Charged With Making Threats Over Yik Yak
ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Authorities say a University at Albany football player has been suspended from the team after he was charged with making a threat against the college using the social media application Yik Yak.
Officials at the state college say 18-year-old Jordan Crockett of Fort Washington, Maryland, threatened to blow up the school Tuesday. He was arrested Wednesday. Crockett, a freshman backup wide receiver, was charged with falsely reporting an incident. Police said he was released on an appearance ticket.
Crockett was suspended indefinitely from the team for violation of team rules. No phone number was available for Crockett.
Yik Yak has been used before to make threats against schools and individuals. A 20-year-old student from Brooklyn was charged Last month with making threats that led to the lockdown of a state college in northern New York.
Ofcom to auction tranche of MoD-owned spectrum
190 MHz of spectrum in two bands currently controlled by the Ministry of Defence is to go under the hammer
Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal 3G communities begin to go live
The first communities to receive 3G mobile coverage over femtocells under Vodafone’s Rural Open Sure Signal programme have been announced
How networking brought innovation and automation to Heathrow Terminal 2
Heathrow Airport has put automation and collaboration at the heart of a £34m network deployment in Terminal 2
Thanks for reading our digest. Opinions in the articles above are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Digital Workshed ltd.