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.
iOS 8 Adoption Rate Nears 50%
On the Apple Developer site, the company has published statistics showing that the iOS 8 adoption rate is at 46%, nearly matching the pace of the iOS 7 adoption rate last year. The statistics come to Apple via the App Store where the device’s iOS version is identified upon connection. The iOS 8 adoption rate is critical for Apple as it assures them that the majority of iOS users are running the latest version but also helps developers know that support for iOS 8 is critically important. Just prior to the iOS 8 launch, iOS 7 enjoyed an adoption rate
The post iOS 8 Adoption Rate Nears 50% appeared first on AlliOSNews.
VIDEO: 'Brainwave' headband measures focus
California startup Melon has developed a personal activity monitor in the form of a brainwave headband.
High School Students Show Strong Support For First Amendment
Let me start out by admitting my bias. I’m a strong supporter of the First Amendment. With very few exceptions (like child sex abuse images and yelling “fire” in a crowded theater), I believe that free speech is an absolute right for people of all ages and it makes me feel good when I learn that others, especially young people, tend to agree.
The reason I love it when young people support free speech is because they are our future.
If people grow up believing in something, they’re more likely to continue to hold those beliefs as they get older. So, I’m especially pleased that high school students are even more supportive of free speech than adults, according to a new survey from the Knight Foundation.
The foundation conducted a national survey of 10,463 high school students and 588 teachers to coincide with the celebration of Constitution Day, which took place Wednesday. Several of the questions were identical to those of a Newseum Institute survey of adults, which enabled researchers to compare results across age groups.
What the study found is that students are more supportive of free speech rights than adults, with the heaviest consumers of social media showing the strongest support. The study found that only 24 percent of students agreed that the “First Amendment goes too far” compared to 38 percent of adults who responded to similar questions. This is a major shift from most previous surveys such as in 2006 when 45 percent of students felt that way compared to 23 percent of adults.
The study also found that today’s students are more likely to agree that people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions with 88 percent agreeing this year compared to 76 percent in 2007 and 83 percent in 2004. There is also increased agreement that “newspapers should be allowed to publish freely without government approval of a story,” up from 51 percent in 2004 to 61 percent this year.
I was fascinated by the finding that students who more frequently use social media are more likely to support people’s right to express unpopular opinions. Among those who use social media more than once a day, 62 percent support other people’s rights to express unpopular opinions compared to 54 percent who use it just once a day or several times a week and 49 percent of youth who use social media weekly or less often. More than 7 in 10 students who read news online more than once a day support other people’s right of speech, compared to 53 percent of those who read online news weekly.
Of course, correlations don’t prove causation. There could be other factors at play, but the fact that social media use does correlate to first amendment support is encouraging, considering how many young people are using social media.
The study looked at such issues as free speech, surveillance and privacy. There is also a correlation between studying about First Amendment rights and support for free speech. Since 2004, the percentage of students who say they have taken First Amendment classes increased from 58 percent to 70 percent, according to the report.
In an interview, Eric Newton, senior adviser to the president of the Knight Foundation, said that interviews with journalism faculty confirmed that “what’s really important is news and media digital literacy being taught more significantly in high school. Just mentioning the First Amendment in a social studies class isn’t’ enough.” He said that “the flip side of freedom and responsibility is that you need to not ban digital media but actually teach students all about digital media in school. How to create it, how to navigate it and how to use it.”
When it comes to free speech at and about school, students are more than twice as likely than teachers (61 percent vs. 29 percent) to support the right to “express their opinions about teachers and school administrators on Facebook without worrying about being punished by school authorities for what they post.” The same percentage (61 percent) of students feels that “high school students should be allowed to report on controversial issues in their student newspapers without the approval of school authorities,” compared to 41 percent of teachers.
The survey also had some interesting findings about students’ attitudes toward privacy. On one hand, students are less worried than adults with 28 percent saying they are very concerned about “privacy of information you give out on the Internet” compared to 48 percent of adults.
But, 83 percent of students agree that their electronic communications “should not be subject to government surveillance or tracked by businesses.” The Knight results confirm other studies from Pew Research that, while students may not have the same sensitivity to information being out there as adults, they are far from insensitive to the issue. For youth, it’s less about privacy than it is about control. They’re more willing than adults to share information as long as they get to decide what they’re sharing and who gets to see it.
It’s customary for every generation of adults to worry about the values of those who follow but — based on this study — I’m optimistic.
This post first appeared in the San Jose Mercury News and on LarrysWorld.com
VIDEO: The world's first '3D printed band'
Professor Olaf Diegel claims to have formed the worlds first ’3D printed band’
Minecraft map of UK adds houses
More than 83 billion Minecraft blocks have been used to create a digital version of Britain complete with rivers, roads and railway tracks.
How technology is changing disaster relief
How technology is changing disaster relief
Amazon Review For A Coat Rack Is About Anything But A Coat Rack
If you’ve ever tried to get over a rough breakup, you know that half the struggle is letting go of all the bitterness. You must release your anger toward your ex, so go ahead and rant — even if you have to do so in an Amazon.com review of a coat rack:
(See a larger version here)
You’re the worst, Steve.
The review was posted to Reddit on Monday — but as funny as it is, it’s probably a work of fiction. By the looks of it, the Amazon user in question — one K. Murr Jr. — spent the whole of January 28, 2014 posting equally amazing (and equally off-topic) reviews of assorted furniture, Paul McCartney concert DVDs, and other things. Like this three-piece table set:
Or this “Doctor Who” toy:
Or this other table (the guy clearly has a thing for tables):
As far as we’re concerned, “I hate Steve” will always be K. Murr Jr.’s masterwork.
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Google's top 20 university searches
Google has revealed the most popular searches when people around the world are looking for university information.
Even Big, Brave Cops Can't Resist Posing With Puppies
Fair citizens, have no fear! These quirky cops are here to serve, protect, and definitely delight.
The Reykjavik Metropolitan Police Force in Iceland has an awesome Instagram page, and it’s filled with puppies, cotton candy and everything right with the world. From goofy selfies to fake mustache pics, you’ll find that these officers think that justice is best served with a little silliness.
Check out some of their pics below! We dare you to make it through the photos without smiling.
h/t Bored Panda
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Um, Should The iPhone 6 Plus Be Able To Bend Like This?
We’re no hardware engineers, but this can’t be good.
The new iPhone 6 Plus can be severely bent with nothing more than a couple bare hands, as seen in a new video uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday. And no, it doesn’t automatically spring back into place afterward.
Here’s the full video, created by review channel Unbox Therapy:
Of course, you shouldn’t try to purposefully bend a phone that you just spent hundreds of dollars on. But people have also been reporting that the newest iPhones are bending out of place without much effort at all.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
“Bottom line here is it’s an aluminium phone, it is going to bend if you apply enough pressure,” Unbox Therapy’s Lewis Hilsenteger said in the video after mangling the shiny new device. Later, he claimed on Instagram that he tried to bend the phone back to its normal state. It doesn’t appear to have gone so well. The screen cracked.
Magnetized Iron Dust Dancing To Music Is Weirdly Mesmerizing
This music is so metal — but probably not in the way you’re expecting.
A visitor to innovation-centered Maker Faire in New York City came across this incredible display of iron dust dancing to music on Saturday. Artistically-inclined tech company TechnoFrolics engineered the performance.
TechnoFrolics says the dust’s “dance” is made possible by computer-choreographed electromagnets beneath the display’s platform, and the combined effect of the pulsing techno-art performance is pretty mesmerizing. Just try and look away.
Reconstructing Grandma: How New Technology Can Let Loved Ones Live 'Virtually' Forever
Today, the memories of our loved ones live on longer than ever before. People’s lives aren’t just remembered by stories and a few lines in an obituary; now it’s through a plethora of videos, photos, Facebook pages and even memorial videos on tombstones.
But even with all these options, we still miss our loved ones and often wish, “If only I could bring them back…”
But what if we could bring Grandma or Grandpa back? I’m not talking voodoo or cloning; I’m talking tech.
Technology is advancing so quickly in the areas of video, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and predictive software, that it may be possible in the future to “reconstruct Grandma,” to put together all the personal data we have — videos, photos, the sound of her voice, her Facebook feed, etc. — and create a hologram of her or a virtual world we can visit whenever we want to see and talk to her.
This may sound creepy to some of us. But for others, it may bring comfort, and perhaps be therapeutic, even. We already have programs like Siri that can answer us differently based on what we say — so what if, instead of asking Siri how to make cookies, we could ask Grandma for her homemade peanut butter cookie recipe, and hear it in her voice?
Our digital souls
We think of a soul as intangible, something that needs no physical body to exist. If we transfer this logic to the data we have about ourselves — doctor’s records, work history, interviews, vacation videos, photos, etc. — we can create a “digital soul” of sorts. And in the future, I believe we will have even more outlets to more quickly and efficiently enter our “data” — our thoughts and emotions, our reactions to political trends or big family news — and just as many ways to present and interpret that data. All of this will contribute to our digital souls, creating sort of a “data portrait” of each of us. Already, artists like Laurie Frick are experimenting with the convergence of personal data and art, in works like “30 Days of Chatroom Metadata” and “7 Stages, 6 Categories, 264 ALS Patients”.
Of course, work like Frick’s brings up some important and interesting questions: Who shall have access to your data or Grandma’s data? How shall all this data be curated? Will we need to hire firms to sift through this information in order to find the most relevant, and sift out the most embarrassing or negative memories?
These are all questions we must explore, and discuss together, as we move into a hyper-digital world. At the end of the day, we’re looking at an age-old question:
If you could live forever, would you want to?
While living forever seemed merely a science-fiction plot twist in the past, it’s entirely possible this could happen in the near future, in different permutations.
How close are we?
We are close to passing the Turing Test, a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human.
In fact, you may have already been fooled by a robot telemarketing call before realizing it wasn’t a human; that robot telemarketer passed the Turing Test for that moment. The movie Her shows a man falling in love with his operating system (OS); through artificial intelligence (AI), the OS is able to react in emotional, intellectual ways, reciprocating feelings and seeming human in every way — except without a body. Though this is a Hollywood movie, we are not so far away from technology so similar to people that it can fool us. We have Asimo, developed by Honda and touted as “the world’s most humanoid robot,” and interactive voice response (IVR) solutions for marketing. It’s a matter of time before these types of AI are transferred to real, live people.
Several companies are moving into this space, but even they will admit that the potential is there but the products — and also the public — are not quite ready. This spring, a group of entrepreneurs led by CEO Marius Ursache launched Eterni.me, a startup that wants to help you be remembered forever. The company
collects almost everything that you create during your lifetime, and processes this huge amount of information using complex Artificial Intelligence algorithms. Then it generates a virtual YOU, an avatar that emulates your personality and can interact with, and offer information and advice to your family and friends, even after you pass away.
Ursache said in an interview with Wired magazine that they will start by uploading data from “text-intensive social networks and environments” such as Facebook, Twitter and email and eventually move on to photos, videos, audio and location data from personal devices. He described the process: “People will also be able to fine-tune their avatar, by regularly interacting with it (think of a daily 10-minute chat where you talk and it picks up more information and refines already existing information, by ‘making sense of it.’”
Ursache says they are not yet be ready to add nuance to their product — such as the AI being equipped to talk differently to the deceased’s wife than he would his children — he sees that happening in the future:
Until then, we want to preserve as much as possible from the information someone generates — and if you’re 30 today, it’s likely that by the time you’re 45 or 50, the technology will be there. But you need to start preserving this data as soon as possible.
We have many ways or preserving our data now — Shutterfly, Tumblr, Facebook, a myriad of cloud storage options — but still more technology is emerging that allows us to increase our data output and/or data storage. For example, the Narrative Clip Lifelogging Camera will continuously snap photos of your life and store it in its own memory bank:
The roughly inch and a half square box clips onto your clothes using a stainless steel clip, and shoots one five-megapixel, geotagged photo every 30 seconds, storing it on built-in memory that holds up to 4,000 pictures… when you plug it in all your photos are automatically uploaded and securely stored on Narrative’s cloud servers for viewing via app or browser.
Besides Narrative, smartphone manufacturers and camera-makers are producing increasingly sleeker models with greater resolution and storage. The options for capturing videos, storing them and sharing them are there — now, the challenge lies in putting it all together, and introducing a way to “reconstruct Grandma” in a way that people won’t find creepy.
Human nature, human choice
I think it’s really fundamental human nature to want to pass down our family memories, our legacy. Some scientists even theorize our grandmothers’ knowledge is essential in propagating our genes. Anthropologists postulate that this extended post-childbearing period has been selected because these grandmothers live on to help their offspring reproduce and survive. The importance of grandma’s knowledge being passed on to future generations is what’s referred to as the “Grandmother Hypothesis.”
But what if Grandma died unexpectedly young or lives hundreds of miles away? How do we connect with that lost generation, and ancestors beyond that?
From pictograms in caves to oral history to the first hieroglyphics, recording our lives for ourselves and future generations is nothing new. Today, we can really only go back one or two generations before the fidelity just drops off; images are faded, writing on the back of the print, illegible, or the photo/document trail completely disappears.
As we look forward five or 10 generations from now, imagine how intense the fidelity of our memories will be! I personally think this will bring us closer together. I think it will be much easier to unite people in the future, that this type of technology can comfort us and create a diminished fear of death. Of course, in this future, you must be able to choose for yourself what you want to do with this technology, what state you want to be in, and how you want your data used.
And before you make up your mind that this notion of “reconstructing Grandma” does, in fact, sound like voodoo, remember this: There was a time, not so long ago, when people refused to have their pictures taken, because they believed the camera would “steal their souls.” While some people still believe this, I’m fairly certain most of us have gotten over this fear, as we use our phones more for cameras than for talking. We have to consider that we often fear that which we do not know — and of course, a virtual world with Grandma in it is something none of us have experienced… yet.
Forbes' Hip-Hop Cash Kings 2014 List Rockets Dr. Dre To The Top
In 2013, Diddy topped Forbes’ list of highest paid hip-hop acts with $50 million, leading Dr. Dre, who landed in third, by $10 million. But after Apple dished out $3 billion to purchase Beats, Diddy has been unseated as Dre rocketed to the top of this year’s hip-hop cash kings with an incredible total of $620 million (it will take a little more time for him to hit nine figures). It’s so much money that Dre’s income exceeds the total sum of all earnings for the 24 others on this year’s list.
“It’s safe to say headphones is a good business,” DJ Khaled said in a video announcing the top five on Forbes’ list.
Following Dre is a tie for second place between Diddy and Jay Z, each earning $60 million. In fourth place, Drake raked in $33 million, an impressive leap from his 11th spot in 2013. In fifth place, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis garnered a cool $32 million, jumping ahead 10 spots and more than tripling their earnings since 2013. Here are 2014′s top 10:
1. Dr. Dre – $620 million
2. Jay Z – $60 million
2. Diddy – $60 million
4. Drake – $33 million
5. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – $32 million
6. Kanye West – $30 million
7. Birdman – $24 million
8. Lil Wayne – $23 million
9. Pharrell Williams – $22 million
10. Eminem – $18 million
For the full list and more information about the Hip-Hop Cash Kings of 2014, head over to Forbes.
Virgin's Unlimited Vacation Plan For Workers May Not Be As Good As It Seems
Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson explained in a blog post on Tuesday why he gives salaried workers at his company unlimited vacation days. But the policy may actually do more harm than good for some employees.
“It is left to the employee to decide if and when he or she feels like taking a few hours, a day, a week or a month off, the assumption being that they are only going to do it when they feel a hundred percent comfortable … that their absence will not in any way damage the business — or, for that matter, their careers!” Branson wrote in an excerpt from his new book, The Virgin Way, published on Virgin’s blog.
Branson said he was inspired by Netflix, the another high-profile company that’s done away with vacation days.
In theory, Virgin’s rule, which currently applies U.S. and U.K. employees, should increase productivity and attract talent. Let workers take the time they need for their personal lives, so the thinking goes, and they will devote their work time wholly to their jobs.
But there are downsides. Lotte Bailyn, a professor emeritus at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told The Huffington Post the lack of structure may make workers less comfortable with taking vacations.
“This sounds not well thought-out,” Bailyn said in an interview. “People take less time off because they feel they’re not sure if this is really a commitment to them or that this is more a PR thing.”
She said employees will look to senior staff to set the standards for how much time off is appropriate.
“Typically, without any guidelines or structures, people don’t quite know what to make of this,” Bailyn said. “They tend to fall back on expectations they have formed in previous terms.”
Spokespeople for Branson did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Americans are infamously averse to vacations as it is. About 40 percent of U.S. workers don’t plan to use all their paid vacation time this year, according to a recent survey by the U.S. Travel Association and GfK, a market research firm. In a Daily Telegraph article that Branson cited in his blog post, Daniel H. Pink described the British perspective on vacations, which applies just as well to Americans: “[W]e view them as minor betrayals — of our obligations to customers and clients, of our responsibilities to the colleagues left behind, even of the values we hold most dear.”
In October 2009, two Harvard Business School researchers studied the results of forcing employees at the international management advisory firm Boston Consulting Group to take mandatory time off. Employees initially resisted. (That month, unemployment from the Great Recession peaked at about 10 percent.) But workers eventually embraced the required vacation days, and the policy preserved “a strong, engaged pool of talent,” the researchers wrote in the Harvard Business Review.
Bruce Elliott, the manager of compensation and benefits at the Society for Human Resource Management, told HuffPost that the unlimited vacation policy can be positive at companies where the work is project-oriented.
“They can say, ‘I just finished up a project, now is the perfect time to take a week off before the next one starts.’” Elliott said. But in an office where the work is generally ongoing and day-to-day schedules don’t change as much, it can be harder to get employees to decide on their own how much vacation they deserve.
The policy’s effectiveness at Virgin will depend on the corporate culture, he said. “If Virgin has a culture with regard to transparency about its expectations, it could work,” Elliott said. “Absent that, who can say?”
A Fanboy's Account of the iPhone 6 Launch
Friday was the eighth time I’ve unboxed a new iPhone. It was also the fourth time I’ve stood in line with other equally deranged Apple fans, and waited patiently for the next big thing. It was the first time I was disappointed, and the first time I was frustrated.
A few days later, it still hurts to say: I didn’t buy my iPhone from the Apple Store.
I am a certified Apple fanboy, and in no way is this my way of dissing the company, just an honest account of my experience
My experience may have been characteristic to this one store, this one year
As always, the employees were enthusiastic, friendly, and supportive
The iPhone 6 is a great phone and this is nothing against that phone
It happened like clockwork. The alarm went off at 4:30, and the group message, named “Team iPhone 6″ (thanks iOS 8 for that feature) was already active. By 5:10, the four of us left campus in the quest of 2 iPhone 6′s, and 1 iPhone 6 Plus (one came along for moral support, more about him later).
The year prior we left at the same time, for the same store. This year, we arrived before 5:30, perhaps 30 more people before us than the year prior. The man standing in front of us had just completed a count, and we fell somewhere between 150 and 155 in line. While we thought about waiting outside the Best Buy Mobile, or carrier stores located in the same mall, Apple was still our clear winner, for a few reasons:
Culture. There’s a certain camaraderie when over a hundred Apple fans are waiting in line together for the release of a new product. A diverse demographic discussing everything from the first iPhone to OS X Yosemite. You could call us the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the trouble makers, but it’s a surprisingly fun experience
Food. We were going to be there for a few hours and Apple provides Starbucks Coffee, pastries, fruit, snacks, and bottled water
We didn’t actually all have the same carrier.
Past Experience. Last year, we left the Apple Store before 9:30, which was more than reasonable
The employees. Between doing the wave, being otherwise peppy, and just knowing the products quite well, it makes the entire experience different
So there we waited, and waited.
Our first issue, was the vast number of people…who weren’t buying iPhone’s. While it’s grown in frequency over the years, we estimated between 50-75 “line-sitters.” These people came in sleeping bags and even tents, and switched spots for much more business-formal-dressed people, just before 7:00.
An older woman fainted. This was not at the fault of anyone else, just an interesting precursor to the following events (she was fine, and continued to wait in line, while employees got her water and a chair).
Apple employees began to give out “cards” for phones. This year went digital and you were texted a Passbook card that reserved your phone until close of business that day. The aforementioned older woman and her husband left once they found out that Apple was out of all Plus’s. My friend, who wanted the plus was none too enthused. At that point we had reserved 2 Slate Grey iPhone 6′s, and 1 gold.
Employees helped count down until the store open and a massive cheer erupted.
At this point we had only moved up around 10 spots in line, and learn the employees are taking people into the store one at a time.
Frustrated, two of us check the Best Buy stock downstairs and discover that they have only gold 6′s available, with no line. Two of us were content with that decision, one was not, and we continued to wait in the Apple Store line.
The friend who was coming for moral support was about to miss work, and I let him take my car. At this point I’m considering leaving with him and coming back for my now reserved phone later. We find out my car is dead. A woman jumps it for us.
The woman who jumped our car…has her son’s car die and we jump it to return the favor. This is also the time that we finally convince our friend to go to Best Buy instead.
I miss an exam.
We finally leave Best Buy, with phones in hand and go to Apple to purchase cases and screen protectors.
We leave the Apple Store, to see that the people who were in front of us in line, were still around 15th in the Apple line.
We arrive back on campus, frustrated, annoyed, exhausted, but excited for our new phones.
All in all, the experience was a wild one. Over 10 Million iPhone’s were sold this weekend. Apple was personally selling AT&T Next and Verizon Edge plans, which slowed the process significantly, and may have been part of the reason why our wait was so long as compared to previous years.
We’ve already decided, for the Apple Watch, we’re just going to go the day before. Though, our “Team Apple Watch” has already dwindled down. For those wondering, I was able to reschedule that exam.
5 Unexpected Companies Dominating the App Economy
By Matt Hussey
What do chasing hurricanes, pizza, and Sega Genesis all have in common – apart from being the triumvirate of awesomeness for any male born before 1985? These are all part of the turnaround stories for companies that have harnessed the power of the mobile app economy to grow and even reinvigorate otherwise flailing businesses.
In 2013, the app economy was worth a staggering $25 billion, and the EU forecasts it will balloon to $81 billion by 2018 in the Eurozone alone. But while startups like SnapChat have driven growth in the area (the company was recently tagged with a $10 billion valuation), there are some businesses in non-digital spaces, like pizza delivery and weather forecasting, which have also benefitted from investing mobile applications. While many companies have added mobile apps to their stable of properties, here are five companies making a name for themselves and rebuilding their business as mobile-first.
The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel (TWC) has been a stalwart on cable and hotel TV sets since 1982. Thanks to some shrewd business deals, 100 million households subscribe to The Weather Channel in the US as of August last year. But in the same year, the network also hit a five-year low of 211,000 daily viewers, down from 273,000 in 2012.
The reason? People aren’t watching as much TV through large rectangles in their living rooms as they used to. Today, they look up the weather on smartphones, and The Weather Channel, like the good forecasters they are, saw this change coming.
In 2011, the company began a shift to mobile, using brands to help their users understand the weather. “If it’s raining, we might feature Hunters wellies, or if it were snowing, the advertising would be relevant for severe weather, for instance insurance or car tyres,” Ross Webster, TWC’s Managing Director for Europe & the Middle East told the Guardian.
Today, the app has been downloaded 125 million times globally, dwarfing its domestic user base. There are 10,000 weather apps in the app store and TWC’s has crushed the competition (and their own TV channel), reaching number one in the App Store’s Weather chart in early 2014 and staying in the top five ever since.
SEGA has existed in some form or another since 1940, which makes it downright prehistoric in terms of tech companies. The company didn’t hit its peak until the 1980s, when it created iconic games like as After Burner, Out Run, Altered Beast, Shinobi, and Golden Axe. Sonic the Hedgehog, which formed a cornerstone in many of our childhoods, didn’t appear until 1991. During its golden age, Sega sold 30 million Sega Genesis (Mega Drive outside the US) units worldwide and held a monstrous 55% of the home gaming market.
Since then, however, the company entered a seemingly inexorable decline. Things got so bad that in 1999, SEGA decided to leave the hardware space altogether. Despite the downturn, SEGA shifted its focus to producing games like Super Monkey Ball under its mobile wing, SEGA Alliance, which headed straight to the top of the iOS charts upon release.
“We’ve been working with Apple in handheld gaming before there was an iPhone,” Director of Developer Relations Ethan Einhorn told Edge online. The drip-feeding of its huge library of legacy titles onto iOS, and later, Android, has resuscitated the Japanese game maker.
Nintendo, SEGA’s long standing rival, took a different approach by trying to control all aspects of its business and not relying on third parties to distribute its games. The result was that the company suffered an operating loss of a half a billion dollars last year.
SEGA, on the other hand, jumped out of the hardware business and jumped into bed with the next generation of consoles: smartphones. SEGA works with third-party shops to help develop, distribute and even promote it wares. While profits are down for its heyday, at least it’s alive and profitable!
The renowned American pizza delivery chain has crushed its competitors lately. Since Domino’s CEO went on air to tell consumers he didn’t think their pizzas tasted very good in 2009, shares in the company have grown by 750%, compared to 193% for Papa John’s and a moderate 93% for Pizza Hut’s owner YUM Brands. In 2012, Domino’s opened its 10,000th store and out of the 99 countries the franchise operates in, its pizza-sales dominate 70 of those markets. At the same time, Domino’s has the dominant mobile app in its space.
According to Domino’s British franchises, sales from mobile devices have increased 102% year-over-year. Worldwide, that has amounted to 6 million downloads of its mobile apps and a consistent ranking among the top 15 apps in the lifestyle rankings in the Apple App Store and Google’s Play store. As a result, Domino’s now generates more than $2 billion of its global digital sales through its apps, roughly 35% of the company’s total profits. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut is being warned by its biggest franchisee that its slow march towards digital is damaging sales.
Methods of making a pizza haven’t changed much since the Italians first started spinning dough. But the way they are bought and sold has. Domino’s understands how the smartphone has become the centre of how consumers connect with the world, providing them with the fastest and easiest way of asking for extra olives on their pizza.
Like Sega, American video game developer Electronic Arts (EA) had a golden age in the time before mobile apps. Today, the sun continues to shine on EA, the producer behind hits like Battlefield, Burnout, Command & Conquer, FIFA, Fight Night, Madden NFL, Mass Effect, Medal of Honor, Rock Band and SimCity.
But the eighth largest software company in the world realized that its audience didn’t want to just sit in living rooms or spare bedrooms across the globe playing shoot ‘em ups. They want to play these kind of games while at work, on the train, and spending time with friends.
To date, EA has published more than 1,000 apps across all platforms including Battleship, Boggle, and Bop It!, while slowly condensing and repackaging several of its epic catalogue of console titles that bring with them loyal fan bases. In fact, the company made more money on iOS last year than it did on any other platform.
But that’s not to say EA is waving goodbye to Microsoft and PlayStation and shacking up with Apple and Google. EA continues to make flagship titles such as Titanfall, the Battlefield and FIFA games series, which will be hitting Christmas lists sometime in the next month. However, with some of these games battering EA’s bottom line with $100 million price tags, they can afford to make them only because their app division now rakes in nearly $500 million a year.
Electronic Arts has leveraged the app economy so that it can continue to make rich, immersive gaming platforms for consoles with the necessary processing power. In turn, EA extends the life cycle of said games by creating mobile app versions for an audience that doesn’t use consoles. It’s the circle of life, and EA are the kings of the jungle.
The Naver Corporation is South Korea’s equivalent of Google. Its Naver search engine, which first launched in 1999, enjoys over market share of over 70% in its. Its features include an integrated news service, email, academic thesis engine and even a web portal for kids. More than 25 million Koreans count on it as their default browser.
But in 2011, Naver decided to create Line, an instant messaging service for smartphones. The company didn’t do so because it wanted to build profits; it did so in response to the devastating Tåhoku earthquake that disabled radio-based telecommunications in Japan, knocking out text messaging for most subscribers. Engineers created the app that relied on internet-based communication to circumnavigate the problem. Within 18 months the service had 100 million users.
Less than three years later, the app reached the 400 million user mark worldwide. It has become a company in its own right and even filed for an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange earlier this year. In the first quarter of 2014, the app posted revenues of $144 million. Compared to SnapChat’s total revenue so far (zero), it’s easy to see why investors want a slice of the action.
Line wants to become the gateway to other mobile services, not just messaging. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Line Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Jun Masuda said it wants to make Line the Yahoo! (in the golden days of web portals) for smartphones. The gateway to content that Line can control and take a cut of the profits when users buy anything.
While these five companies have taken on the app economy and won, they haven’t done it by just developing an app, releasing it, and watching the money roll in. Instead, these companies looked at their brand and its core values, and how an app would enhance a consumer’s experience of it. Whether it’s deciding to spend a day inside or in the park, ordering a side of buffalo wings with an American Hot 12-inch, or reliving the button-bashing glory days of your Sega owning youth, each of these apps allows us to make more informed choices about how we spend our time – and in turn, rewarding the companies who make our lives easier.
Civil Rights and Social Media Made Me Resign From My Job
“I wish more of us would decide to stand as you did.”
“You’re a real civil rights leader. The spirit of our ancestors goes with you Misee. We need more of you out there.”
“You’re a true American and I applaud your spirit.”
“I am white and see white privilege all the time and I am frankly embarrassed by it.”
Those were just some of the supportive messages I received upon my September 4, 2014 resignation from my former dental practice as a result of racial discrimination, and my heart was warmed by it. In the wake of the chaos I have experienced over the past couple of weeks, those supportive emails and social media posts kept me buoyed. That, and the fact that dentists from across the country have been offering me jobs, with emails like “We don’t care what you write on your social media pages. We want you to come work with us.”
Bolstered by the support of several journalists I have recently spoken to, and by social media support, I am writing to the public to tell my story about what took place a few weeks back at the office where I practiced pediatric dentistry. I am part of Black America; I was born into it by virtue of the color of my skin. No matter where I am in my life, that part of me will always be my first identifier. I am also a dentist. My former employer gave me the unfortunate ultimatum of having to choose to be one or the other. That choice was presented to me after the partners in my former dental practice spied on my Facebook page, which featured several posts expressing my support of Michael Brown and the issues surrounding Ferguson, Missouri.
On September 4, I was called into an unannounced meeting at the pediatric dental practice where I worked, and where I was being considered for a partnership. I was ambushed and presented with screenshots from my private Facebook page. Since I had blocked work colleagues from accessing my account, it was explained to me that a doctor who is a partner at the office, and who also led the meeting, had been having a friend spy on my Facebook page. Screenshots were taken of my posts and were sent to the doctor who led the meeting. I was informed that some of my recent posts regarding racial issues in America were “unprofessional.” I asked the partners if they had any idea what was going on in Black America and none of them seemed to even know the name Michael Brown. I was told flat out, that I would have to choose between my style of social media communication and my job at the dental practice.
My question then was, “Why can’t I be both a dentist and a concerned civil rights activist at the same time?” At work, I always kept a professional demeanor, but with the state of the country and with cases of fatal acts of racism going on in places such as Ferguson, I have very often taken to Facebook with my concerns. Social media had been a place where I felt I could freely express who I am and how I feel about timely pressing issues that matter to me. What’s more, my Facebook page was set to private status, and my former employer had to use underhanded methods to access my posts.
Why is it that African-Americans today, with a black president and many leading figures in the media being black, continue to feel genuinely voiceless? Do we need a new Civil Rights Leader, a new movement?
Martin Luther King once said, “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” Is all of Black America in the same boat in 2014? It doesn’t seem so, and that concerns me deeply. We are divided into classes. Those on the streets of Ferguson don’t feel that the likes of President Barack Obama or Jesse Jackson have their back; they don’t feel those public leaders can even speak for them.
As a dentist, an entrepreneur and a media personality, in the eyes of many people I don’t appear to be in the same boat as those on the streets of Ferguson either. People assume that I don’t deal with the same discrimination that they do. But to me, we are all the same. That is why, while employed at my former practice, I worked so tirelessly to cater to black patients who couldn’t afford dental care for their kids, and it’s precisely why I feel it is so very urgent to speak up. Racism and discrimination don’t distinguish between income and social status. For example, a black television producer got arrested while checking on his car, at the Emmy Awards, a few weeks back.
After turning to social media and to many news outlets to voice my story, I discovered that I am not alone. I have been getting feedback from many people and hearing of so many stories that break my heart. These stories speak of anger and pain with an all too familiar theme. One person wrote, “I have been suffering from discrimination at my workplace but I don’t have the financial freedom to leave.” Another person wrote, “As a black doctor, I empathize with you. I have been through the exact same abuse.”
I refuse to agree to the rules of a society that believes, as I expressed in a statement after my resignation:
That a black person who has made it to success in a white-dominated field like dentistry is expected to show gratitude and humility, and to water down their beliefs and viewpoints to avoid rocking the boat.
The boat’s been officially rocked, and I have too much to say to even consider stopping now.
LEDs Are An Important Climate Change Solution
The People’s Climate March raised awareness about how important it is to find and use technologies that will help save energy, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and start to reverse climate change. One of the most promising and affordable technologies is LED light bulbs, also known as LEDs.
WHY SHIFT TO LEDS? The Three P’s…
Making the shift to energy-efficient lighting offers big benefits for people, the planet and our pocketbooks.
PEOPLE — LED bulbs help reduce air pollution, making the air healthier to breathe for kids and others who suffer from asthma, heart disease and many respiratory ailments.
Reduce air pollution — Most household energy still comes from coal-burning power plants. About 12 percent of the energy we use at home powers our lighting — from ceiling fixtures and under-counter lights to table and bedside lamps. An LED bulb uses 70-90 percent less energy than a standard bulb, limiting the need to burn that much more coal.
PLANET — Speaking of energy, if every household replaced just one light bulb with one certified by the federal Energy Star program, we would save enough energy to light two million homes for a whole year.
•Reduce climate change — We would also prevent greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to that of 550,000 vehicles. LED bulbs are a terrific way to fight climate change.
POCKETBOOK — Any time we save energy, we save money. Though an LED bulb costs a little more up front, it can save $80 in electricity costs over the lifetime of the product.
PLUS — LED technology is so efficient, one bulb can last as long as 22 years or 25,000 hours. That’s particularly convenient for hard-to-reach places like ceilings and outdoor fixtures.
WHAT LED BULB SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
As with other bulbs, you can get LEDs that provide different amounts of light. LEDs provide light in lumens, while incandescents are sold according to how bright they are in terms of watts. Most LED bulb packages will give you the wattage the LED is replacing. For example, this LED bulb replaces a 60 watt incandescent.
In addition to the light of the bulb, the label makes a difference. Most people who go shopping for an LED bulb probably look for the words “energy-saving,” which any company can slap on any bulb. What they really need to be looking for is the Energy Star label. Bulbs that have earned the Energy Star save significant amounts of energy and money because they are independently certified to use less energy, undergoing extensive testing to ensure high quality and the performance you expect. These three funny videos make clear why certified LED bulbs are more effective than non-certified bulbs.
With 70 percent of U.S. light sockets still containing inefficient bulbs, the potential is huge for American consumers to find lighting options that save them energy, money and help protect the environment from climate change. LED bulbs are quickly gaining steam as the most innovative and long lasting alternative to incandescent bulbs.
Disclosure: I am a long-time advocate of energy efficiency and technology like LED bulbs. I am working as a consultant on this project to help educate the public about the value of Energy Star LED bulbs in the fight to stop climate change.
Smartphone App May Allow Parents To Screen Newborns For Jaundice
BY ROB GOODIER
NEW YORK Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:25pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new smartphone application still in development may someday help parents and health care providers screen for jaundice in newborns.
Early testing found that the application has greater accuracy than visual exams performed by doctors, according to research presented September 16 at the International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing (UbiComp 2014) in Seattle, Washington.
Dr. James Taylor, a pediatrician at the University of Seattle who is helping to develop the technology, told Reuters Health by email that when it’s ready for release, the BiliCam’s performance might compare to that of a much more expensive jaundice diagnostic device, the transcutaneous bilirubinometer.
“We think that BiliCam will be useful by relieving anxiety of parents about jaundice,” Dr. Taylor said. It will also provide an inexpensive, reliable tool to help doctors determine when newborns with jaundice need urgent treatment, he added.
His team believes the BiliCam will reduce healthcare costs by earlier identification of babies who need treatment, when it’s easier and cheaper to deliver it.
The BiliCam is named after bilirubin, a yellowish pigment produced by the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver on its way out of the body. When levels of bilirubin in the blood are high (a condition known as hyperbilirubinemia), it might mean there’s a problem with the liver. When levels become extremely high, patients develop jaundice, with yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes.
The BiliCam could allow parents to monitor their newborns’ health at home simply by taking pictures of the baby with their phone camera’s flash turned on. The parent or clinician first places a “color calibrator,” a sheet the size of a business card printed with eight blocks of different colors, on the baby’s chest. The software processes the images, adjusts color and white balance, accounts for different lighting conditions and skin tones, and then gives a report.
Tests with data from 100 newborns show that the BiliCam closely matches the accuracy of blood tests for babies’ bilirubin levels, which are currently the gold-standard method for diagnosing jaundice.
The BiliCam’s accuracy was better than visual exams, the researche