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.
Amazon's Jeff Bezos Is Still The World's Best CEO By One Measure
Jeff Bezos had a bad week.
Calls to rein in the ambitious Amazon chief executive grew loud on Thursday after the e-commerce giant reported its biggest quarterly loss in 14 years, driven by the anemic sales of its Fire Phone, the company’s first smartphone. The losses were seen as proof of Bezos’ reckless obsession with prioritizing growth over profitability. The 50-year-old tech mogul was lambasted as a megalomaniacal “Grinch” who stole Christmas from a company so bad at making money that it’s “not a real business.”
Yet, according to the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, Bezos is the best-performing CEO in the world. Despite the latest bad news, the venerable magazine stands by that assessment.
“People have bet against him over the years, and historically they’ve been wrong,” Daniel McGinn, the senior editor who profiled Bezos, told The Huffington Post on Saturday. “He definitely has a set of shareholders who have faith in him because of his ability to deliver despite a lot of doubt over the last 20 years.”
The Harvard Business Review compiled its list of top CEOs by comparing shareholder returns for S&P Global 1200 companies from each executive’s first day in office until April 30 of this year. Bezos won by a wide margin. Even if Amazon’s stock price — which plummeted nearly 9 percent to $287.06 on Friday — fell to $250, he still would have beaten runner-up John Martin, the CEO of biotech giant Gilead Sciences.
“He had quite a bit of leeway,” McGinn said. “He had such a big lead over everyone else.”
Amazon’s stock tumbled after a disappointing earnings report on Thursday.
Profitable quarters are rare for Amazon, but the company generates strong revenues. Bezos’ strategy, which both befuddles and inspires investors, is to reinvest money to continually grow Amazon. A small online bookseller thereby became a video streaming service, a cloud-computing behemoth, a grocer and, most recently, a smartphone maker.
But the Fire Phone, unveiled in June, has flopped. A study published in August by the ad network Chitika, which measured web traffic from Fire Phones, found a paltry number of the devices were in use. In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, Amazon’s chief financial officer, Thomas Szkutak, admitted that the dearth of people buying the phone had cost the company $170 million in losses “primarily related to the Fire Phone inventory evaluation and supply commitment costs.”
“It’s not unusual for them to lose more money,” McGinn said. “It is unusual for them to miss a growth target.”
That doesn’t seem to worry Bezos, however.
“Even though we have significant revenues, we invest in so many new initiatives that in some ways we’re still a startup,” he told McGinn sometime before last week’s earnings report. “Volatility is part of being a startup.”
Bezos may be alone in thinking of the company as a nascent venture. Since going public in 1997, Amazon has grown so large and powerful that some have called it a monopoly ripe for a regulatory crackdown.
Still, even as Amazon stock takes a hit, the company is a lucrative investment by the Harvard Business Review’s methodology.
“If you could go in a time machine and go back to 1997 and you had the chance to buy stock on that day, would you do it?” McGinn asked rhetorically. “In financial terms, you’d still be many thousand percentage points ahead today.”
Amazon did not return a call requesting comment.
Leadership Advice From A Farmer, Emergency Response MD, Harvard Professor And Top Healthcare CIO
Only a renaissance man can manage a fully functioning farm, practice emergency response, teach at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and also serve as CIO of one of the top hospital in the world. Dr. John Halamka‘s 20-year career as CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and its five hospitals has taken him from writing code and doing the basics to make the plumbing work, to his current day-to-day which entails figuring out how to run an agile enterprise with so many single locations and merger activity while keeping the data secure and private. Viewing the job of CIO as a “lifestyle”, Dr. Halamka also manages to teach at Harvard Medical School, practice as an ER physician and run a family farm.
Dr. John Halamka (Twitter: @jhalamka), CIO Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that Dr. Halamka was named one of the 50 most influential technologists of the past 50 years and Beth Israel was named the number one technology innovator. In his role as CIO at Beth Israel Deaconess, Dr. Halamka is responsible for all clinical, financial, administrative and academic information technology serving 3,000 doctors, 12,000 employees, one million patients, three petabytes of data, 22,000 simultaneous users, three data centers, clouds and lots of mobile devices.
Healthcare CIOs who are actively champion digital business transformation must carefully watch the recording of our CXOTalk conversation with Dr. Halamka as he talks about navigating the waters of the Affordable Care Act, Meaningful Use policy and big data. His leadership advice garnered from 20 years of experience as a CIO, summed up here, is a must-read for any technology executive.
6 Leadership Tips to Increase Your CIO Tenure:
1. Honesty is the best policy – With CIO tenure being less than five years, it may seem surprising that Dr. Halamka has survived two decades as the CIO for one of the most prestigious healthcare organizations in the world. While most would assume the secret to his longevity must be an error-free IT organization, according to Dr. Halamka that is actually quite the contrary. Make no mistake, he has had his share of mistakes, but instead of trying to cover them up or hide them, he has been uber-honest even to the point of inviting the press in to watch them go through the problem resolution. As a result of his humble and honest transparency, Dr. Halamka feels the industry has been quick to forgive him when he has made a mistake.
“Mistakes are made every day. Mistakes are learning experiences and I don’t actually say who is at fault, I ask what was wrong about our process, our strategy or structure that enabled that mistake. I never shoot the messenger. So maybe that attitude makes people understand we’re all imperfect and we can learn from each other,” he says.
2. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you - Infrastructure is something we often forget. Let’s face it, how exciting is the wiring in the walls? People are focused on getting the sexy new MRI machine, the Google Glass, the iPhone and the Apple watch – but in reality, all of those things are only going to be as good as the infrastructure in the walls. Dr. Halamka’s job every year is to advocate to that hidden infrastructure – the storage, the servers, the data centers, the power and the networks that are behind the scenes.
Dr. Halamka believes that his biggest observation is the blind spots that he has had over the years. “In 2002, did I know how to engineer from scratch a Layer 3 network that was resilient to all the evil actors on the Internet? No. The problem was I didn’t even know what questions to ask. And so I’ve been very careful to surround myself with people smarter than me and to ensure the blind spots that I have are filled by others,” he humbly admits.
So who are these smart people that Dr. Halamka, an obviously very smart person, surrounds himself with? Other CIO’s that share their experiences and enable peer learning and engineers who have deep knowledge of the issues that surround IT and can make important decisions such as what storage platform they should be on.
3. Never go live based on a deadline – Dr. Halamka tells his staff that there is no problem that can’t be blamed on IT. Dr. Halamka instructs his staff to under promise and over deliver. He also tells them you should never go live based on a deadline – you go live when the product is ready or the people are ready to use the product because if you go live too early no one will ever forget and if you go live late no one will ever remember. “Having done hundreds of go lives in my life, I know there is no naysayer, there is no pressure, there is no political issue that is important enough to go live too early,” says Dr. Halamka.
4. Don’t underestimate the importance of data – Data, as with many other industries, is transforming healthcare. What sets Beth Israel Medical Center apart from many other hospitals is, as a learning health care system, they are able to take all the data on all the patients at the Harvard hospitals (three petabytes) and perform queries to find the medication that would be most effective for a particular patient. Using that kind of analytics across multiple institutional data sources enables Beth Israel to treat patients optimally, as opposed to today’s healthcare system where it takes on average 20 years from an innovation from one hospital to defuse throughout the country.
Dr. Halamka has a whole department that focuses on data analysis. These data scientists are able to look at structured data and understand the prominence, validity, certainty, quality and integrity of that data.
5.Bust silos and collaborate – Dr. Halamka explains that in the past, in a fee per service world, getting data from hospital to hospital would be like sharing competitive secrets… “Oh my, you’re going to steal my patient. I need my patient because more procedures and more care equal more profitability.” But in this world of the Affordable Care Act hospitals are actually paid for keeping patients healthy. And if they don’t share data and they have silos they’ll all go out of business. “So, the alignment of incentives to share data has finally caused hospitals to break down the walls of the gardens,” says Dr. Halamka.
As opposed to other industries, healthcare has a unique challenge when it comes to data collaboration because there is not a common language. A doctor might call something high blood pressure, hypertension or elevated blood pressure and it’s all referring to the same thing – the patient’s blood pressure is 150/90. Another issue is ambiguity and the fact that every doctor has been trained to record information differently. “So the challenge is creating a common language, creating a capacity to send it across silos and firewalls and competitive locations and then keep it safe. Because the other problem is that if I send your data to someone, can I trust that they won’t compromise it, because if they do I’ll be held accountable. It’s tough,” says Dr. Halamka.
6. Being a successful leaders is not a job, it’s a lifestyle - Dr. Halamka says, “Being a CIO in 2014 is not a job it’s a lifestyle. It’s not as if there is any separation from life and work, it’s all just continuous and it goes around the clock and it is 365 days a year no matter where I am in the world, my office is where my laptop is. So, it’s the nature of the game.” Between his full-time job as CIO, practicing medicine and tending to his farm of 100 animals, 100,000 bees and 55 different sub-types of apples,
You can watch the full interview with Dr. John Halamaka here. Please join me and Michael Krigsman every Friday at 3PM EST as we host CXOTalk - connecting with thought leaders and innovative executives who are pushing the boundaries within their companies and their fields.
Why Social Media Guidance Is Important
Social media web sites have become a global information network that undoubtedly has many benefits. However, with this increased exposure, it is vital to make sure our students are wise and remain safe as they post information online. It is best to advise students not to post information about themselves online that they would not want the whole world to know.
This is especially important when students are applying to college. Negative or inappropriate posts may be seen by admission officers and affect an admissions decision. Students must realize that many people may see their posts including teachers, employers, and college admission officers.
Some college admission representatives (and employers), will research students online to see if there is data available to help make an admission decision. Once data is online, it stays online. Even when something is deleted, it may stay on another’s computer.
Colleges post current information and chat with students across social media web sites. Independent Educational Consultants (IECs) as well as parents and school counselors need to stay educated on the best way to use Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr, so they can advise their students about potential problems and perhaps increase their chances of admission.
Chat rooms, blogs, e-mails, and instant messaging are other factors where students need to be aware of appropriate measures. For example, a student’s screen name should be a name that is not their name, which can be used to identify them. However, an e-mail address can reflect a student’s name, as they will be easily identified when communicating with colleges. In addition to being smart online to increase chances of being admitted into colleges and obtaining a job, there are security risks when using the Internet and social media web sites. With escalating viral networking, those guiding students should include information for taking extreme precaution and remaining safe online in their programs for students.
Here are a few tips:
• Suggest that students join sites where they can keep their information private and restrict access based on approval.
• Have students make sure that only information they are comfortable revealing is posted. Have them be extremely careful; about posting personal information such as their full name, address, phone number, social security number or any bank or credit card information.
• Provide suggestions on appropriate postings and remind them to monitor what they post regarding the name of their school, club, or sports team, as sometimes people can be identified using this information.
• Suggest that students do not post their photo online. Pictures can be altered and used in unacceptable ways.
• Reiterate safety and remind students not to make friends with strangers online unless they know the resource. People may not always be honest about who they really are.
Students should communicate with their parents–ask questions and tell them what they are doing online. Advise on the use of privacy settings, creating strong passwords, and remind your students to be skeptical about things they read online.
Digital communication continues to escalate. It is the responsibility of those guiding students, to offer the best advice for navigating social media safely and productively.
Visit us here.
Like us here.
Google +1: here. https://plus.google.com/103970037124326974219/posts
Vine Star Curtis Lepore Leaves Rainn Wilson Comedy Series After Backlash
Earlier this week, “The Office” alum Rainn Wilson announced his new scripted comedy series, “Hollywood and Vine,” about the lives of five Vine stars. The cast was set to include Curtis Lepore, Jerry Purpdrank, Lele Pons, Simone Shepherd and Christian DelGrosso, who collectively have 30 million followers on Vine. But backlash soon fired up over the inclusion of Lepore, who was charged with raping his ex-girlfriend in January. The Vine star later pled no contest to felony assault and the rape charges were subsequently dropped.
On Thursday, Wilson posted on his Facebook that he was aware of the concerns of Lepore’s casting and that his company behind the series, SoulPancake, was evaluating their decision.
Post by Rainn Wilson.
On Friday, however, Wilson announced that Lepore would no longer be involved in “Hollywood and Vine.” Wilson said the decision to part ways with Lepore was a mutual one and was “the best decision for everyone involved.”
Post by Rainn Wilson.
Lepore has yet to make a statement about the news, but he did tweet a photo of himself covered in raffle tickets Friday night. HuffPost Entertainment emailed Lepore to see if he had any further comment; this post will be updated if and when he responds.
For more, head to Deadline.com.
Best Tweets: What Women Said On Twitter This Week
This week was quite productive for the ladies of Twitter. Not only did Twitter user Mmmkay? do laundry, she achieved the impossible: “Just finished the laundry with no missing socks. // *adds magician to resume*.” Yep, that’s definitely magic.
Abbi Crutchfield killed two birds with one stone this week when she bought a pumpkin to celebrate Halloween: “Carrying a pumpkin home from the grocery store counts as exercise during the fall.” Seasonal enthusiasm and cardiovascular exercise? This woman is a hero.
For more great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.
Gather my strength..
Hoard a bunch of Hershey miniatures…
— Harmony (@HarmonyRambles) October 18, 2014
Just got “hollered at” while wearing basketball shorts and an oversized, soiled R.E.M. shirt. Still got it*!!!
* It = Two X chromosomes
— Megan Beth Koester (@bornferal) October 21, 2014
Just finished the laundry with no missing socks.
*adds magician to resume*
— Mmmkay? (@missekay) October 18, 2014
One thing Instagram does instantly is reveal who is living on a trust fund
— Mindy Kaling (@mindykaling) October 21, 2014
“The best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup” — saddest person alive
— Maggie Mull (@IAmMaggieMull) October 21, 2014
Whenever my haters are gettin me down I imagine a wet puppy singing “Shake It Off”
— Sara Schaefer (@saraschaefer1) October 19, 2014
T-swift posted a ‘gram of a $4 cookie in her Welcome to New York series and yeah, that seems about right, economically
— Rachel Syme (@rachsyme) October 21, 2014
I’m more surprised that the road to hell is paved
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) October 19, 2014
Salesgirl: Purse shopping, ma’am?
Me: Yes can I see that one?
*hands me purse*
Me: This’ll fit 8-9 cans of Spaghettios easy. I’ll take 2.
— Jedi Cheesy Grits (@JediGigi) October 23, 2014
The biggest appeal of social media is that it limits actual human interaction…..
I promote that.
— Not your dream girl (@nettie0918) October 23, 2014
Can someone please make pumpkin spice Vodka? I’m not feeling white girl enough
— L O R I (@LoriLuvsShoes) October 22, 2014
No matter when I hear “Timber” I always assume that I’m drunk
— Carly Ledbetter (@ledbettercarly) October 20, 2014
Honey, don’t get too excited. Alcohol makes me double take everything these days.
— Sophia (@StupidSophia_) October 22, 2014
Thank you to my friends who don’t judge me when I stand on chairs to take aerial food shots for Instagram.
— Miranda Feneberger (@mirandafen) October 23, 2014
the fact that i’m legally an adult is hilarious
— Lane Moore (@hellolanemoore) October 23, 2014
Keep calm and no.
— amelia (@notbedelia) October 22, 2014
Whenever I feel down I think about how many women must be devastated there’s no yoga matt emoji & I feel a lot better.
— Alley Cat (@deardilettante) October 23, 2014
i’m awake! please respect my privacy during this very difficult time
— lauren ashley bishop (@sbellelauren) October 23, 2014
Carrying a pumpkin home from the grocery store counts as exercise during the fall.
— Abbi Crutchfield (@curlycomedy) October 21, 2014
I’m sorry I dug through your scarf display like a squirrel.
— Elizabeth Hackett (@LizHackett) October 21, 2014
Forgive and forget?
Nah. Let’s go with resent and remember.
— Goddess of Mischief (@ShanaRose21) October 23, 2014
Short-term hook up with this box of Pirate peanut butter cookies.
— Ginger (@GingerJ17) October 19, 2014
“99 bottles of beer of the wall, 99 bottles of beer. Take one down, pass it around, you fucking weirdos don’t know how to drink beer.”
— Liana Maeby (@lianamaeby) October 22, 2014
I don’t run from my problems. I sit on my couch, play on my phone, & ignore them like all the other adults.
— ChaoticPerfection (@DaNaLa13) October 22, 2014
Not having to change the channel between a new episode of Jeopardy! and a new episode of Grey’s Anatomy makes me feel super homely.
— Natalie Sayth (@natsayth) October 23, 2014
I don’t need a husband I just need someone to come over and make me coffee in the morning and then leave.
— Jen Doll (@thisisjendoll) October 24, 2014
6 Reasons Travelers Are Upgrading to iPhone 6 and 6 Plus
My husband just purchased an iPhone 6 Plus in anticipation of a long trip next month, and I’m pondering whether to get that version, or the slightly smaller iPhone 6. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been writing down questions, and talking with my friendly local geniuses and not-quite-geniuses-but-smarter-about-devices-than-I-am, and they’re helping me understand the best features of this much-lauded Apple device.
Especially if you’re a frequent traveler, consider these six factors, emphasized by Apple developers as the main improvements in this newest, long-awaited upgrade:
The iPhone 6 Plus
Larger Screen: The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens are 4.7 inches, and 5.5 inches, matching the screen sizes of rival smartphones. My husband opted for the Plus, mostly because he uses his device as an away-from-home office, and appreciates the biggest screen. The enlarged size took him a bit of getting used to handling, and the iPhone 6 Plus fits in his shirt pocket with just an edge showing, which doesn’t bother him. My iPhone 5s now looks a bit chunky compared to the newer, slimmer versions (clever designers).
Durable Screen: New iPhone screens have “ion strengthened” glass, so breakage is less likely than before. This is different from waterproofing, which some rival smartphones claim. I once dropped my earlier model iPhone into a toilet and despite burying it in rice and chanting to the techie gods, it never revived. I was hoping I would never have to worry about drowning a phone again, especially when I’m traveling far from an Apple store. Maybe next iteration.
Improved Camera: Carrying a separate camera on trips is now unnecessary, except maybe for pros who need special lenses and the highest res possible. The new iPhones still have 8 megapixels, but we compared images on old and new smartphones and yes, photos are now noticeably sharper, with faster, more precise autofocus, and better sensors. Blurry photos from unsteady hand-holding, like when you’re sticking out the car window to catch the moose crossing the road, are less of a problem because of greatly improved image stabilization. You now can also take a timed selfie, and shoot creative slow-motion video, wonderful for capturing moments you can share from your travels and for dog-and-pony presentations. Fabulous improvements.
Travel-Related Features and Apps: The iO8s platform that comes with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus (and can be upgraded on earlier models) means many apps have been updated, and are included on the smartphones. You can now go into messages, touch and hold the mic, and record an audio message, especially great when you want to reach family or business in different time zones. You can automatically arrange photo albums, and use many other new editing possibilities.
Other apps of note for travelers: Snapseed with innovative photo editing; Hipmunk, providing creative travel ideas and highlighting offbeat accommodations; iBooks, offering lots of freebies to read as you travel, in an attempt to overtake Kindle’s popularity with Apple users; HomeKit, allowing you to control connected home security and smart-home devices through Siri, so you can make sure the garage door is closed and the aircon is set at 68 when you’re in Kabul and your home is in Great Neck.
Longer Battery Life: Travelers count on batteries, especially if we’re lost on a lonely road in Romania or need to cover a meeting. The geniuses claim that the iPhone 6 will last 25 percent longer on 3G browsing than the iPhone 5S, and that the iPhone 6 Plus will last even longer. Batteries aren’t removable, so backup spares aren’t possible, as they are in some rival phones. I don’t like that part, and because the iPhone 6 Plus has a longer battery life, I’ll probably choose it over the 6.
Mobile Wallets: iPhones 6 and 6 Plus (and the upcoming Apple Watch) are set for making contactless payments, and Apple Pay is now available in the United States, and maybe soon in other areas. Starting this month, you can securely store credit card information in the smartphone and use it as a credit card, using the iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor at the few places this new system is accepted. Uber has already announced Apple Pay integration services. Others will follow, and it does seems a long-term terrific system, especially for travelers.
AUDIO: Is technology killing old loved books?
Josh Spero, author of Second Hand Stories and editor of Spear’s Magazine, and the author Erica Wagner, a former literary editor of the Times mull the question of high tech and old books.
VIDEO: Using Facebook to get a pay rise
BBC News speaks to the creators of Smarpshare, who want employees to become brand ambassadors for their firms.
Google VP Alan Eustace Leaps From Stratosphere, Beats Felix Baumgartner's Record Jump
That’s one giant leap!
Alan Eustace, a senior vice president at Google, set a new world record today by completing the highest-altitude free fall yet–parachuting from 135,908 feet (or 25 miles) above Earth.
The record was previously held by daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner, who leaped from 24 miles above Earth in October 2012.
To put that in perspective, scientists say you officially enter space at 73 miles above Earth’s surface. That’s pretty high up–and Eustace was about a third of the way there.
(Story continues below)
Eustace gets lifted to his peak altitude of 135,908 feet via a high-altitude ballooning system.
Eustace reaches a peak speed of 822 miles per hour during his dive.
Eustace lands after a 4 1/2-minute free fall, the AP reported.
“It was amazing,” Eustace told The New York Times. “It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I had never seen before.”
A high-altitude, helium-filled balloon from Paragon Space Development Corp. and its Stratospheric Explorer (StratEx) team lifted Eustace to his peak altitude, according to a written statement from the company. Eustace wore a self-contained spacesuit as he cut himself loose from the balloon with the help of a small explosive device, and dove toward Earth at a peak speed of 822 miles per hour, the Times reported.
Jim Hayhurst of the U.S. Parachute Association was the jump’s official observer, the Associated Press reported. He told the AP that the team on the ground could hear the sonic boom as Eustace broke through the speed of sound barrier.
Eustace’s supersonic jump came as a big surprise since he had been secretly planning the dive with Paragon Space Development Corp. and its team. The company, which specializes in extreme environmental control systems, initiated the project with Eustace and worked with him to develop, build and manage the system used during the incredible leap.
The near-space exploration company World View Enterprises has since acquired this ballooning technology, Wired reported, for future space travel and research flights.
Sprint adds 12-month option to 'iPhone for Life' leasing plan
Sprint is making changes to its iPhone for Life rental plan, just over a month after launch. The carrier is adjusting the plan to allow customers the ability to lease an iPhone and upgrade it after 12 months, though the existing 24-month period between upgrades will continue to be offered to users at a lower cost compared to the new plan option.
How to Overcome Your 6 Biggest Digital Banking Fears
By Christina Lavingia, Editor
Cybersecurity — or a lack thereof — has consistently made headlines this year. The news that two-thirds of American households were compromised due to a breach at JPMorgan Chase is just the latest in a long list of security scares, from Target’s Black Friday hacking to Home Depot’s issue with stolen credit card data.
As security improves, so do the tactics of hackers, it seems. Risk is everywhere — but if the last year has taught us anything, it’s that staying offline won’t necessarily keep you safe. Whether you’re swiping your card at a retail store or entering your pin at an ATM, there’s always the chance that somebody else could be accessing your personal information.
Even so, security concerns make a significant number of consumers wary of an incredibly beneficial tool: mobile banking.
GOBankingRates conducted a poll to find out what scares consumers most about banking in the digital age. While 43.7 percent of respondents said they have no major concerns, more than half of those polled are worried — and, for most of them, identity theft is the main concern. In fact, two in five of the mobile banking users we polled — about 37 percent — said this is their biggest fear.
>>> Click here for the complete poll findings.
Whether or not digital banking worries you, it’s wise to exercise caution to safeguard yourself and your funds. ComScore reports that 174 million Americans own smartphones as of August 2014, totaling 72 percent of the mobile phone market — meaning a huge number of people could be affected by a mobile data breach.
That said, banking online or over the phone has numerous benefits, from convenience (a reduction in trips to the bank) to improved account monitoring (real-time notification of activity). And regardless of risk, people like using online and mobile banking, with 51 percent of U.S. adults banking online and 35 percent of cell phone users banking on their phones, according to Pew Research.
Clearly, you shouldn’t avoid banking in the digital age — but, as with any activity where your personal information is involved, you should be safe about it. Here’s how.
Protect Yourself From These 6 Digital Banking Fears
1. Identity Theft
Any time you have to enter sensitive information in an online form, like your Social Security number, address and phone number, it’s natural to feel a twinge of hesitation. These companies are asking for all the components necessary to steal your identity, and with the prevalence of fraudulent sites and phishing schemes, not even an official-looking site is truly safe. Of those who claimed to have a concern regarding digital banking, more than 37 percent of respondents in our poll identified theft as their biggest concern.
To protect your identity online, the FTC recommends that consumers:
Beware of imposters requesting sensitive information
Remove all information from computers before disposing of them using a wipe utility program
Extract SIM cards and delete all information permanently, especially pertaining to contact lists, calls made and received, voicemails, emails, and web histories
Install encryption software on their devices
Maintain unique, strong and varied passwords for different sites that request your personal information
Don’t overshare on social media sites, as information could be used to get through verification questions
Be wary of public Wi-Fi, as any account activity in that network might not be protected
Whenever asked to provide your Social Security number via telephone, ask why it’s needed, how it will be used, how it will be protected and if you can verify your identity through other means. You can call a business, as well, to ask these questions if the information is requested on an online form. If you’re ever contacted by someone requesting this information, hang up, look up the institution’s phone number from their official site and call back to confirm what you were told.
Many companies never initiate a call requesting sensitive information, a good indication that any communication in this vein is a hoax.
“At Chase, we are dedicated to making the payment experience safe and secure for our customers,” said Scott Rau, director of mobile payments for Chase.
We use a variety of technology tools to ensure this experience, no matter how the customer chooses to pay, and combined with our best-in-class fraud and analytic tools, we believe we can offer customers payment solutions for ease of use with all the liability, fraud and security protections available.
Related: What Your iPhone or Android Is Telling ID Thieves
2. Technical Errors Resulting in Missing Funds
Of course a technical mistake is a factor consumers must contend with when banking digitally. Unlike visiting a bank branch and meeting with a banker in person, a digital interface might be more prone to errors that result in misappropriated funds and overdrafts. However, knowing your rights when it comes to disputing mistakes is your first step toward peace of mind.
According to the FTC, consumers have 60 days from the date of a periodic statement containing an error to file a claim. Once notified, financial institutions have 10 days to investigate and three additional days to inform you of their findings. This window can be extended to 45 days so long as the financial institution temporarily reimburses the funds until the investigation is complete.
Knowing this, keeping a pulse on your account activity is all it takes to get over this digital banking concern.
Related: Best Way to Work With Your Bank to Correct Mistakes
3. Misuse of Information by Companies
Notice how advertisements and Google results reflect your recent online activity? That’s not an accident. Companies track your online behavior to better tailor their marketing efforts to relevant consumers, and many sell your personal information to other companies.
Yes, privacy policies are long; however you can gain confidence by reading the privacy policies of the sites you’re on. By knowing what agreeing to a site’s terms and conditions really means, you’ll feel more in control of your information and aware of what a company can do with it.
4. Lack of Documentation
Paper statements force consumers to take a look at their spending habits and evaluate how well they’re performing financially. But in an increasingly digital world, consumers and financial institutions alike are transitioning to e-statements — some financial institutions actually require that account holders opt in to e-statements to receive the posted interest rate.
While environmentalists and tech-savvy individuals see this as a blessing, you might still appreciate receiving a paper copy monthly — worrying that a lack of paper statements will cause you to neglect your account balance and activity.
One way to address this concern is to apply the same due diligence your bank put into mailing you regular paper statements to your personal finances. Set a calendar reminder to log into your account monthly to maintain the same awareness of your account activity — or set up a filter to flag your bank’s emails as “important.”
“In one key way, online or mobile banking actually reduces the risk of fraud,” said Andy Prescott, CPA, CISA and founder of artofbeingcheap.com. “Because these systems make it super easy to check your balance every day, consumers who frequently use mobile or internet banking will discover unauthorized transactions faster, and be able to alert their bank.”
Related: 7 Banks and Credit Unions Giving Perks for Going Paperless
5. Lost or Stolen Phone
“Thieves know that carrying a smartphone is like carrying $500 in your hands,” Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of mobile security firm Lookout, told The Associated Press. Lookout estimates that lost and stolen cell phones cost Americans $30 billion a year. Understandably, you might be worried about storing sensitive login information in your phone should it land in the wrong hands; however, there are steps you can take to protect yourself before your phone goes missing — and even after the fact.
According to a poll by Intercede, 63 percent of respondents are worried about the security on their mobile devices, while 84 percent of those respondents worry about data loss and identity theft in the event that their phones are stolen.
There are different security options available depending on your smartphone. The iPhone, for example, comes with the choice of a simple or complex passcode to unlock your phone, the ability to lock someone out after 10 incorrect passcode attempts, and the option to prevent all access to your phone from the locked screen.
Once stolen, the Find My iPhone app can track and secure an iPhone remotely. The “lost mode” can be activated to place a passcode on your phone and to send a message to its lock screen requesting its return. The iPhone 5S, 6 and 6+ all come with fingerprint security, as well.
Android phones are equipped with similar security measures, including a lock code, the ability to control and reset your phone remotely through the Android Device Manager, and the ability to track its location through Google Play, as long as the phone is connected to a network or public Wi-Fi. Windows Phone also sports a Find My Phone app that will help users map their phone’s location on Bing.
6. Fraudulent Apps
Of the top 100 paid Android and iPhone apps in 2013, 78 percent were hacked — 100 percent of those on Android’s list and 56 percent of iOS apps, according to an Arxan report. As for free apps, 73 percent of Android apps were hacked last year, while 53 percent of iOS apps were compromised.
The numbers are a bit lower when it comes to financial apps, but the statistics are still shocking: 53 percent of Android apps related to finance were hacked in 2013, while 23 percent of iOS finance apps were.
These mobile banking apps can be susceptible to fraud in the form of phishing. According to Yahoo News, Mizrahi Bank, one of the biggest banks in Israel, was the target of a fraudulent app in June. The BankMirage app looked identical to the real app, but would steal customers’ usernames and direct them to redownload the real app, preventing them from being suspicious upon using the app’s functionality.
To protect yourself from this risk, follow these precautions:
Keep an eye out for multiple apps from any one bank and report possible frauds.
Ensure you’re using an authentic app by visiting the bank’s official website. Most will have a mobile banking section that explains exactly how to download the appropriate version.
Make sure you’re downloading apps from a credible app store.
Avoid downloading the app by bookmarking the bank’s mobile portal instead. That way you can access funds through your web browser and not the app itself.
Related: 12 Highest-Rated Bank and Credit Union Apps
GOBankingRates.com recently ran a survey of 790 Americans, representative of the U.S. general population (weighted by age, gender and region), asking them what their biggest fear about mobile banking is. Age, gender, income, region and urban density were the demographic attributes recorded for each respondent. Survey respondents were given five options to choose from — identity theft, technical errors resulting in missing funds, misuse of information by companies, lack of documentation with paper statements and no major concerns.
Photo credit: Jhaymesisviphotography
Downloading Music Is Quickly Going Out Of Fashion
First records died, then cassette tapes, then CDs and now, downloads. That’s right, we’re all but officially in the age of streaming services.
Apple might operate the largest online music store in the world, but the Apple Store’s iTunes digital music sales have fallen about 13 percent this year, a source familiar with the matter tells the Wall Street Journal. The writing is on the wall.
Meanwhile, Spotify is surging ahead. The music streaming service hit 10 million global paid subscribers in May, up from 6 million paid subscribers in March 2013. Throw in people who use the service but don’t pay, and Spotify’s now lays claim to 40 million active users, up from 24 million in March 2013.
Then there’s Pandora, the Internet radio service with 80 million users, which dominates the streaming music industry. Those numbers have steadily increased, up from 70 million in May 2013, and listening hours have continued to increase too.
Of course, there’s a big difference between the Apple Store on the one hand and Spotify and Pandora on the other. Apple’s iTunes makes mountain of money, while Pandora occasionally turns a little profit and Spotify isn’t even profitable yet.
Nevertheless, Apple apparently sees which way the wind is blowing. As speculated in earlier reports, Apple will be relaunching and rebuilding Beats Music — the existing $10-a-month subscription streaming service — under its own brand.
You can soon say goodbye to the days when download was king.
Separating Fact From Fiction in the Digital World
We are a society of devices. A world of social networking and social media galore.
People are sharing and over-sharing captions of their lives in the virtual world that years ago we would never have been invited to see.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social networking sites can bring personalities to a whole new level. People of all ages can take on personas that they only dreamed about. Why? Simply because they can.
We click before we think and post before we consider the lasting consequences, which is how today’s fast-paced social media society works.
Who are they, really?
How much do you really know about the people you meet? You’d probably be surprised by what your unassuming waitress or grocery store clerk or even your next-door neighbor writes about on their social media pages. The slow erosion of privacy we’re experiencing in this digital age gives us glimpses into the innermost thoughts and feelings of others, thoughts that we most likely never would have been privy to before Facebook and Twitter made it seem normal for us to broadcast anything and everything to the world at large.
Last spring we read about the San Francisco high school teacher that took to Twitter just before the end of school. She was obviously anxious for school to be out, like many students are, but she must have been having a bad day when she tweeted the following:
Y’all think you hate us teachers? Guess what, we feel the same about some of you. We’re just not allowed to show it. #ISecretlyHateYou — Mrs. Hodges April 18, 2014
This teacher is a great example for reminding us that venting is best kept offline. Don’t leave others to wonder who you really are because of something you posted on social media.
Deception and fakers.
It’s true, there have been many studies that showvisiting Facebook regularly and watching all your friends and colleagues have these wonderful lives as you just keep puttering along can cause sadness. (Honestly, do we need a study for that?)
But are all of your friends really experiencing the time of their lives?
Are the photos for real?
How exactly do you separate social media fact from social media fiction? Especially when it comes to a person’s personal life, it is rather difficult to call them out on their own timeline and say: “Hey, Sally (fake name), I know for a fact your husband is having an affair, your son is smoking dope and you pop pills to sleep at night so you can continue to keep up with this false persona you are inventing!”
Meanwhile, Sally paints the picture of perfection as the family travels to Hawaii, decorates for the holidays and, before we know it, here come those posed family photo shoots.
Who are we to destroy it all with our keystrokes? Who are they to paint the web with lies and illusions?
Another example is the deceptive posters who engage in online dating and believe that posting their photos from a decade ago is appropriate. What do they think will happen when they actually meet someone in person? Most of you have heard of Catfish and how deceptive and scary that is online, however, in reality, it isn’t any different than people lying about who they are virtually.
Who does this hurt?
In social media, it hurts the people reading it who believe your life is a wonderful Hollywood fairytale while theirs is mediocre.
In reality, you are only hurting yourself and your family. I am not a psychologist, but it’s common sense to realize that until you start confronting your own issues, lying to the world won’t make anything better. If you are dating online, you are wasting your time, the time of others and it could even lead to hurting other people.
If you have children, they are also watching you online on your social media sites. If you think for one minute they are not aware of what is really going on inside the walls of their own home, then in reality you are sadly mistaken. Your online behavior is actually teaching them it is okay to pretend to be someone else digitally. Is this what you really want?
Why does it matter?
Honesty should always be a priority online and offline. If life isn’t giving you a bowl of cherries, it doesn’t mean you aren’t part of the cyber-living. People don’t seem to understand that it is okay to unplug! Find your friends and family offline and have conversations face-to-face to talk about what is bothering you.
Honesty is a characteristic that parents and grownups need to model for our youth. Many are guilty of embellishing their lives or careers once in awhile, who hasn’t bragged about their child or grandchild now and then? However, with the world of social media, we need to pause and remember — the Internet isn’t interested in our family affairs.
Of course that doesn’t mean you have to stop posting what you are proud of, but use your privacy settings and share with care. Share with people that truly care about you, not with people that barely know you.
Social media has given people a new avenue for communication. It has opened doors for people that otherwise would have never come out of their shells and given empowered voices to those that would have never been heard. Let’s not abuse it — instead, learn to use it with care and respect.
With more people being connected to their devices, it is leaving less time for real human connection. In light of this, isn’t it better to present your real self online and develop more genuine connections with those you interact with most?
Ask yourself: Who are you really outside of the digital world? How different are you from your online image?