Android 4.4 KitKat Update: AT&T Galaxy S4 Active Receives New OS; Which Other Galaxy Devices Will The Carrier Support?

Samsung devices outside of the flagship models are now receiving the Android 4.4 KitKat update as the latest operating system is now hitting the AT&T Galaxy S4 Active.

Microrobots, Working Together, Build with Metal, Glass, and Electronics

Tiny robots that work together like ants could lead to a new way to manufacture complex structures and electronics. Someone glancing through the door of Annjoe Wong-Foy’s lab at SRI International might think his equipment is infested by ants. Dark shapes about a centimeter across move to and fro over elevated walkways: they weave around obstacles and carry small sticks.

Google Launches Chrome Remote Desktop On Android, Allowing Mobile Access To Your PC


The animated GIF as art: Google puts six loopy images on display

It's easy to sneer at the idea of artists piggybacking on the GIF craze, but Google is taking the whole thing pretty seriously, especially now that Google+ supports the animated file format. The search giant is collaborating with the Saatchi Gallery...

Google Camera App Brings Lens Blur Background Defocus To Any KitKat Android Devices


Floating Nuclear Reactors Might Make More Sense Than You’d Think

Floating Nuclear Reactors Might Make More Sense Than You'd Think

At a symposium held by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers this week, a team of MIT engineers will present an idea that seems to tempt fate: A floating nuclear reactor, anchored out at sea, that would be immune to tsunamis and earthquakes. Is it really that crazy of a plan?


Google’s new camera app brings Photo Sphere and Lens Blur to Android devices

While Google has continued to toss new features into the camera app shipped on its Nexus devices, many Android phones replace it something else. But just as we revealed a few weeks ago, now it's available in the Play Store, ready to run on any phone...

Turnkey Mobile Apps Startup AppsBuilder Raises New Cash From United Ventures


‘Online Photos: Are We All Catfishing’ Is Third Report In Pace University’s Sex And Dating Study

Note: Huffington Post Gay Voices is a media sponsor for Pace University and ProofPilot's study, "How We Date, Have Sex, and Form Relationships Today." The following report focuses on "catfishing" and is from Tyrel Starks, assistant professor of Psychology at Pace University, and Julia Bassiri, a research assistant at Pace University.

Thank you, readers of The Huffington Post for participating in our study with ProofPilot called "How We Date, Have Sex, and Form Relationships Today."

Our main goal of researching this topic is to dispel some of the myths and stereotypes between the dating habits of the LGBTQ community and heterosexuals. The report below comes from data collected from the second week of our six-week study, and is entitled "Online Photos: Are We All Catfishing?"

When it comes to online dating, we seem to have developed a grand fear of being “catfished.” For those not familiar, if you go fishing for bass or walleye and you end up with a catfish, well, it’s a letdown. Thanks to the documentary "Catfish," and a "Catfish"-inspired MTV reality show, the metaphor now rings terrifyingly true in the online dating scene. You find that perfect profile, the message exchanges bite at your line, you think you’re reeling ‘em in, and then—turns out you’ve just courted a scaly, whiskered dud of a person. But the term “catfish” no longer just refers to a person intentionally deceiving a potential date into a relationship, no. The term “catfish” now includes anyone who misrepresents him or herself online, picture or otherwise.

Research suggests that said misrepresentation might manifest itself in our tendency to oversell ourselves online, but that this deception is typically of a subtle and self-enhancing (not malicious or cruel) nature. When truly hoping to meet someone face-to-face, for example, guys are more likely to add a few inches to their height, and women are likely to drop a few pounds in response to that (rather insensitively asked and disclosed) weight question. Most people, however, will not create an online persona that would make for a potentially tragic in-person meet up.

Speaking of self-presentation, if you plan to enter the online dating game, pictures matter. While we may be selfie-obsessed individuals today, these indulgent snapshots are offspring of the profile photo, a once (and still) venerated representation of one’s online identity. But how well do any of these publically posted and shared pictures match up with how we really look? If the how-to-take-the-best-selfie-ever scripts that now exist are any indication of how we like to present our most flattering selves for the fans, it’s no surprise that people are even more serious with this practice when trying to attract a mate online.

So, while most people tend to say that their pictures are accurate representations of themselves, research indicates that independent raters don’t always agree. One study recently found that straight women tend to post less accurate pictures of themselves than straight men; they might dig into the (old) archives for primo pictures, or have chose a professional, retouched stunner from the pile.

We asked our study participants about the pictures they put (or don’t put) online. Perhaps surprisingly, the guys in our sample (most of whom find guys sexually attractive) are the ones more likely to have posted pictures of themselves online, and are more likely to have asked a partner to share a picture. Meanwhile, our data shows that men and women (those who’ve responded thus far) are equally likely to have texted or emailed a picture of themselves to his or her person of interest. Lastly, unlike the other study’s findings that women are more likely to “touch up” their pictures than men, our sample of male responders is actually more likely than the ladies to have digitally enhanced or altered the photos they post.

So, how does all this sit with you? We want to know! While the study is no longer enrolling new participants, we will continue to follow the hundreds of people who’ve already signed up to see what’s happening (or not happening) in their sexual and dating lives. Next week, we’ll ask our participants about “turn-ons” and “turn-offs:” What parts of the body do they find most physically attractive? What are the worst things to say on a first date? Find out next week, right here, on Gay Voices.

Brym, R. J., & Lenton, R. L. (2001). Love Online: A Report on Digital Dating in Canada. Retrieved January 13, 2006, from

Caspie, A. & Gorsky, P. (2006). Online deception: Prevalence, motivation, and emotion.
CyberPsychology & Behavior, 9, 54–59.

Ellison, N., Heino, R., & Gibbs, J. (2006). Managing impressions online: Self-presentation processes in the online dating environment. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 11 article 2.

Gibbs, J. L., Ellison, N. B., & Heino, R. D. (2006). Self-presentation in online personals: The
role of anticipated future interaction, self-disclosure, and perceived success in Internet dating. Communication Research, 33, 1–26.

Hancock, J.T. & Toma, C.T. (2009). Putting your best face forward: the accuracy of online dating photographs. Journal of Communication, 59, 367-386.
Humphreys, L. (2004). Photographs and the presentation of self through online dating services.
Paper presented at the National Communication Association, Chicago, IL. (as cited in Hancock & Toma, 2009)

Toma, C., Hancock, J. T., & Ellison, N. (2008). Separating fact from fiction: An examination of deceptive self-presentation in online dating profiles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1023–1036.

Shh, it’s a Secret: The allure of the anonymous internet

"I'm terrified I might not actually be all that smart." "Made a batch of Jello just to stick my dick in it. No regrets." "I like taking the ferry because I get to drink in public legally." This is just a small sampling of posts I've recently seen...

A Point And Shoot You’ll Actually Want, Roku 2, West Wing Complete Set

A Point And Shoot You'll Actually Want, Roku 2, West Wing Complete Set

If you still have a place in your life for a good point and shoot camera, you won't do much better than the Olympus SH-50. Featuring professional-quality 5 axis stabilization and 24x optical zoom, this is going to take way better shots than your smartphone.


Joe Biden Joins Instagram And It’s A Big F***ing Deal

Vice President Joe Biden is finally getting a filter -- on Instagram, that is.

Biden joined Instagram as "vp" on Wednesday. His first photo was a shot of his iconic aviator sunglasses:

According to the description on the account, which is run by Biden's office, any photos that come directly from the vice president will be signed "-vp."

The White House let followers know about Biden's big move, tweeting the following Wednesday:

The @VP? ✔
Aviators? ✔
On @Instagram? ✔
You're gonna want to follow along →,

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) April 16, 2014

Talkwheel Raises $1.2M To Visualize Customer Conversations Across The Web

talkwheel screenshot

Instagram Just Got A Whole Lot More Biden

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 10.27.36 AM

Ford Celebrates the Old Mustang With a New Pony – New York Times

Ford Celebrates the Old Mustang With a New Pony
New York Times
The people at Ford are all misty eyed about Mustang's 50th anniversary, which falls on media day at the New York auto show. It's an emotional time for them as they celebrate the birthday of the Mustang and a milestone marketing effort in the city where it all

Jaguar Land Rover brings the boardroom to your dashboard with in-car infotainment system

The boundary between your smartphone and your car is growing thinner by the day, and Jaguar Land Rover is the latest in a long line of car companies trying to work out the ideal balance between the two. The company's InControl Apps system has been in...

Self-Stacking Building Blocks Are Nothing Short of Magic

Self-Stacking Building Blocks Are Nothing Short of Magic

Deciding that the lowly building block was due for an upgrade, researchers at MIT have created something amazing. The simple-looking M-Blocks are made from an aluminum frame filled with electronics, an electric motor that can spin up to 20,000 rpm, and a flywheel. And they can perform some amazing feats without any human intervention.


Speedy swarms of tiny robots build things in 'microfactory'

Stop whatever you are doing and watch these microrobots zoom around a "microfactory" like ants. These magnetically controlled construction robots -- developed by SRI International -- work together in swarms to build macro-scale structures. The core innovation has been to develop a magnetic surface that can control individual microrobots without affecting the other robots. SRI has developed a ...

What Google Glass Can’t See

Yesterday was a big day. Americans paid their taxes, but that is old news, and not sexy at all. The truth is, is was a big day for Googlers and tech lovers alike: Most specifically because yesterday was the one-day, hot-off-the-press (conveyor belt) sale of Google Glass!

The deal of the day ($1,500) yielded you a coveted pair of Google Glasses, the space-age eyeglass frame of the future -- or is it?

Some folks will sign up just because they can. Kind of a show-off-y "I can afford it, even if I don't need it" pure acquisition badge. Other folks, like TechnoGeeks, will have to get a pair just to see what it does and how it works!

But like its cousins, Google Plus and Google Hangouts, Google Glass seems destined to be disappointing. Perhaps it is best expressed with the words used by 1950s actress Shelley Winters to describe her occasional lover Marlon Brando: "All promise and no delivery."

Just what does Google Glass promise?

Everything. The hype: "Be Active. Explore Your World. Live Lighter."

Hmm... What exactly does this mean?

"Be Active: Designed for those on the move." The images presented with this declaration are of running, biking, weight-lifting and golf. Aside from the amazingly hot biker in the first pic, the target audience is clear: older, not-so-cool billionaire types. After all, who else golfs? Think Donald Trump.

To lump biking and running in with golf is just plain... how can I say it? Odd.

"Explore your World: Made for the Open Road." This photo collage includes a private jet, mountain hiker, Swiss Alps ski resort, and images of three cities: Paris, New York, San Francisco -- in that order. Target audience? Think Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, sort-of-cool geeky billionaire types.

"Live Lighter: Never Miss a Moment." Here is where the appeal branches out slightly, yet is equally obvious: well-heeled, younger, urban male hipsters. A baby, healthy foodie images, San Francisco rush hour traffic, a reference to Mashable and, for the first time on Glass pages, men of color.

Google Glass target audience in a nutshell? Wall Street and Silicon Valley urban millionaires, billionaires, gazillionaires and wannabes, age 30-70, who like wearing their FitBit/iPhones on their heads.

What does Google Glass deliver?

I am glad you asked! The best features I note from their website is its GPS for bikers (not being a billionaire myself, I don't know firsthand). This could be a very useful tool if you are competing in a 100-plus mile bike race or training for one. Also, the "Improve your golf game" specs seem helpful for the clubby Palm Beach and Boca sets.

Other than that, the "new" Google Glass fails to deliver anything new. Basically, Glass has all the features of a smartphone in an eyeglass frame. I am not sure about this, but it might be somewhat distracting and therefore dangerous when going 30 to 40 miles per hour downhill on your Lynskey Titanium 11-speed to see visual images flashing in front of your eyes.

With the gazillions of cash that Google has, the "smartest" people in the room, and the endless resources to experiment with new technologies, how come the kid down the street is more innovative than this once-awesome tech giant?

Is it because Google has now become the thing it never wanted to be: a typically bloated corporation with more focus on profit than purpose? That would be a far cry from its early IPO days a mere decade ago.

Or perhaps Google no longer hires out-of-the-box thinkers. Hiring Ivy League grads and their college roommates isn't the most effective way to discover new talent. The innovators today are more often found in startup coworking communities from the Bronx to St Louis to Detroit. Some might still be in high school or at a state college, or even college dropouts. They are everywhere that Google isn't looking.

Also, aside from the remarkable lack of innovation that Google Glass reveals, it is clearly a new toy geared to rich male professionals from promotion to product. Unless Glass expands its reach to do something really new and universally useful for all income levels, it will be relegated to the shelves of the Sharper Image Tech museum for the bored executive.

A Harvard cognitive neuroscience abstract proposes that in our current environment of digital innovation including video games, smartphones and tablets: "Events happen faster, objects move more quickly, peripheral processing is placed at a premium, and the number of items that need to be kept track of far exceeds the circumstances experienced in normal life."

The study asks: "Is it possible to extend the normal processing power of the human nervous system?" It further explores what the practical significance of "enhanced perceptual capabilities" might be and whether that could "lead to measurable benefits in day-to-day living."

Here is a thought for Google Glass: What about computerized glasses that record everything around us that we either see or don't see, or simply don't register? What if these eyeglasses could help us process the information we take in visually significantly faster? Instead of registering 30 frames per second (fps), we can process 100fps or more? It could be useful for police work, military personnel, stroke victims, the elderly, vision impaired or to simply train ourselves to be more cognizant of our surroundings. Perhaps it could improve individual driving skills or give athletes opportunities to avoid injuries. Now, that would be interesting!

So the question remains, if you are not an avid golfer or bike racer, is Google Glass at $1,500 a pop a good investment?

You betcha! But not because it adds real value in its current state to anyone's life, but because by this time next week, chances are you will be able to see it on eBay at two or three times that price. Further, in five to 10 years, long after it is recognized as the incredible technical flop and waste of cash that it is for investors, ordinary folks like you and me can auction our April 15, 2014, pairs at Sotheby's to Silicon Valley collectors with a spare $100,000 to add to a long list of once ingenious, now remarkable, Google failures.

Google I/O To Elevate Focus On Design

Glass Design

Google I/O To Elevate Focus On Design

Glass Design

Urban Storage Startup Boxbee Raises $2.3 Million From Floodgate, Google Ventures, And Others

Boxbee image for TC_small

Urban Storage Startup Boxbee Raises $2.3 Million From Floodgate, Google Ventures, And Others

Boxbee image for TC_small

How to Lie With Data Visualization

How to Lie With Data Visualization

Data visualization is one of the most important tools we have to analyze data. But it's just as easy to mislead as it is to educate using charts and graphs. In this article we'll take a look at 3 of the most common ways in which visualizations can be misleading.


HTC allows devs to tap into the power of the One’s Duo Camera

The HTC One (M8) brought with it a load of new camera features, including its unique Duo Camera setup on its back side. Now, the handset maker is opening up the code that powers the pair in a SDK preview for third-party devs. This means that apps can...

The Writers Workbench: The Flashlight Edition

I hadn't really expected to devote much attention to what are basically flashlights. In fact, when I came across the new series of Energizer products, I only contacted the company about reviewing one of them, an item which I thought would be appropriate for using when on the road. But the representative really wanted to send as much of this new line as I'd we willing to look at, so I figured, what the heck, okay, send me the whole thing. (Well, almost the whole thing. One light overlapped another a bit, so I passed on that.) As it turned out, I ended up quite glad I got them all. Though similar, they each serve a unique function, and best of all, I never expected to be so impressed with... flashlights?! But these are really good, each of them. So, I figured I'd devote the whole column to them -- yes, flashlights. Go figure.

The flashlights use what Energizer calls Light Fusion Technology. Honestly, I have no idea what that ultimately means -- companies all have their priority descriptions, and my experience is that sometimes they have meaning, and sometimes they don't. But what matters most is how well they work. Whatever Light Fusion Technology is -- it works well.

These aren't your standard, traditional flashlights. They use LED. My experience in the past has been that LED lights suffice but never much more than that. These are bright and powerful. And they offer additional capabilities that you don't get with a traditional bulb light. In fact, I have a couple of flashlights laying out for easy grabbing when I plan to wander somewhere at home in the dark, and more often than not, I find myself grabbing for the "2 in 1 Light" than my old fave flashlight. More on the "2 in 1" below.

I had one quibble with all the Energizer lights at first. They all have a TryMe test feature, which is certainly nice when sitting on a shelf in a store. But there was no information on how to turn the feature off until you read through the manual and found the explanation in in small print. And honestly when was the last time you thought of reading an instruction manual of a flashlight? The good news is that I've been told that info on turning off the TryMe feature has now been added to the product (or box) with a sticker. So, you should be fine now.

Energizer LED 2 in 1 Light
Energizer LED Pop Up Lantern
Energizer LED Folding Lantern



At its heart, this appears at first glance as a standard flashlight. It has a directional light that delivers a bright 75 lumens and should run for about 10 hours.

Where the "2" part comes in is that it also can serve as an area light. If you hold down the on-off switch, the front light stays off, but the handle brightens up and becomes like a flood light. (It's all in one direction -- only one side of the handle lightens, so it shines in just one direction, not 360 degrees.) The area light provides 100 lumens.


Then another nice feature kicks in. The light is dimmable. By clicking the on-off switch, you can toggle through the settings. And at its lowest output, you can get up to 100 hours.

(Side Note: For all the lights, I had difficulty getting exact information on runtimes. What the box says would sometimes differ with what was on the website, which was different from the information in the manual. And that was occasionally a little different from what the company rep would tell me. I've tried my best to give as accurate details as I can, balancing what I was told with what makes the most sense.)

There is a convenient hanging hook, which particularly comes in handy when using the area light. And the device is water resistant. It comes with four AA batteries included.

At the time of writing, the "2 in 1 Light" retails for $25, but it could be found online for $17.50. Certainly you could fine a cheap, basic flashlight for less (and some for more), but it offers several convenient features that you wouldn't get with a standard flashlights, if such things are valuable to you, notably the area light, and dimming.


My initial reaction when receiving the Pop Up Lantern was that it wasn't something I'd be interested in writing about, but after using it for a while, I came to appreciate it a great deal. Particularly nice is that it's collapsible and can function in either mode, while being very portable. At full use it's seven inches tall, and has a long neck which is illuminated on both sides -- like a lantern -- so you get full, 360-degrees of light. It delivers a powerful 150 lumens and has a 100 hours runtime. (I believe this is likely at the dimmest setting. Again, by clicking the on-off switch, the lantern is dimmable.)


You can lower the neck though and turn the thing into a compact package only four inches high. It still will deliver a bright-enough light to illuminate a room somewhat.

There is a big looping handle that makes this very convenient for hanging almost anywhere, and it's therefore particularly ideal for camping -- like any lantern -- or perhaps outdoor patio use. But what I also found and appreciated is that when collapsed to the compact mode, it made a terrific night light for a bed table. If you have to wander through a dark room at night, the compact light is plenty enough to help, but not overpowering like it might otherwise be at full floodlight height.

It too is water resistant, comes with four AA batteries, and retails for $25, though I found it for $18 online.


I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Folding Lantern when I first got it. It's oddly shaped and seemed to be much more a lantern than flashlight. But then, that's what it says it is. And by the time I got finishing testing it -- especially since I had reason to actually put it to full use (more on that later) -- I came away blown away by how good it was.

The Lantern pivots open and can go from illuminating a 180-degree area when closed and compact, to providing 360-degrees of full floodlight when open. It can deliver a glowing 300 lumens -- or less when dimmed. (So, again, yes, it's dimmable.)


It can run from 40 hours at full power up to 100 hours when using eight AA batteries. However, in an interesting touch, the lantern can also run on just batteries. It will be just as bright, but the runtime is cut by a little more than half, running from 15-40 hours. Using four batteries saves money, but as you see you get more than twice the runtime when it's operating with eight batteries.

When folded closed, it becomes quite compact. There is a big handle, so that when open the lantern can be hung to illuminate a wide area like a floodlight. But you can also pivot the frame and use the base as a stand. It too is water resistant.

The Folding Lantern is intended for camping and outdoor backyard activity, and is wonderfully suited for such activities. But as mentioned above, I came across a firsthand use when testing it, and found another impressive use for the device.

As luck or fate would have it, the night I opened the package to test it -- my neighborhood had a blackout. (I suspect that Energizer arranged this...) Using other lights at hand, I decided to test the Folding Lantern under those conditions, rather than wait until later -- and it was absolutely terrific. The amount of 360-degree light it provided around the room was seriously impressive, and using its stand was very convenient. It really brightened the room significantly -- not like having my lamps on, of course, but it was reasonable comfortable.

(For that matter, I decided to add more light by extending the Pop Up Lantern, and even used the 180-degree area light of the "2 in 1" light. I hardly expect most people to have all three Energizer lights at hand, but I was very glad to have them at that time myself.)

I have one quibble with the Folder Lantern. It appears to have screws on the back for the battery compartment -- but it turns out these are just plastic latches holders. The manual says nothing about this, so for the longest time I was trying to unscrew all four of them to remove the back, and they kept spinning. (I thought I had broken something.) A mere quarter turn was need to remove the pins. They feel a bit fragile compared to the rest of the unit. Also, you have to wedge out the back panel to get to the batteries, it doesn't remove easiest, and I was concerned about breaking it. Though that fear appears unnecessary, since things removed fine.

The Folding Lantern isn't something for everyone -- but if you have need for such a thing, or if you want a back-up light in case of black outs, it was absolutely wonderful, and one of the most unique battery lights I've come across. It retails for $35 and at the time of can be found online for $25.50.

"The Writers Workbench" appears monthly on the website for the Writers Guild of America. To see this entire column, with additional "TWW Notes," please click here.


To read more from Robert J. Elisberg about this or many other matters both large and tidbit small, see Elisberg Industries.

$50 Project Ara Modular Smartphone Coming in January – PC Magazine

Wall Street Journal
$50 Project Ara Modular Smartphone Coming in January
PC Magazine
The first Project Ara device will be a gray phone, designed to be intentionally boring so users will customize it. 0shares. Motorola Project Ara. Google's Project Ara initiative aims to change the future of smartphones, and it just might, when the first modular

The Science Behind Making the Fastest Possible Pinewood Derby Car

You wouldn't think that a four-wheeled car would go faster if one of its wheels didn't touch the ground. Or if its axles were bent. Or if it was designed to grind against a wall. But you'd be wrong, and here's the science to prove it.


First impressions of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1

Earlier this month, Joe Belfiore and the crew at Microsoft took the stage and officially unveiled Windows Phone 8.1. It's been a long time coming, but considering how much Microsoft has packed into the update itself, many believe it was worth the wait. The software upgrade may only come with a .1 delineation, but that doesn't mean it's not big or noteworthy.

A couple of days ago, Microsoft released Windows Phone 8.1 into the wild, but not as a consumer-friendly update. Instead, much like we've seen from other companies, they let developers get their hands on it early, so they can get to testing out there in the real world. In reality, Windows Phone 8.1's SDK has been available for quite some time now, so many individuals out there have been testing out the new features and options in Microsoft's update several weeks before the official software was released for devices.

This is better than an SDK, though. This is the real deal. More than that, though, it finally means I get to play with the newest piece of software.

This isn't a review of Windows Phone 8.1, for two big reasons. The first, is that this isn't final software, but just a developer preview. I imagine things aren't going to work 100-percent of the time (and so far, they haven't), and this isn't meant for consumers, anyway. And second, this developer preview was released on Monday. Just in general, I'd like more time with the new software -- even if, technically speaking, there might not be that many upgrades to inspect.

At face value, you'd probably never know that Windows Phone 8.1 is Windows Phone 8.1, and not Windows Phone 8. That is, until you get into the Settings and turn on Background Images. It's a subtle change in and of itself, but the result is something that makes Windows Phone really stand out all over again. We've had Live Tiles long enough now, with their stark color contrasts to the black (or white) background, that if they started to lose their appeal to some folks, it wouldn't be that big of a shock. Adding these Background Images, which plants a picture behind the Live Tiles but doesn't remove their effectiveness to deliver information (and also keeps the black or white background), seems like a small thing but it's honestly one of my favorite new features.

It makes the Start Screen pop all over again.

Action Center is well implemented. It's simple to look at, but that's the way it should be for Windows Phone. There are a few quick setting options you can change at a the top of the drop-down shade, like turning on/off Wi-Fi or adjusting the brightness. Below that, there's the notifications themselves. You can swipe them away if you want to dismiss them, and the response time is quick. Unfortunately, though, swiping away on a single email notification will remove all of the email notifications, which is something I hope changes for the final release.

And then there's Cortana. This is probably just as important as Action Center, to bring Windows Phone up as a real competitor. People love their digital assistants, after all. The troubling thing, for me, is that I didn't get a chance to use Cortana. Not by the time of this writing, anyway. Even as I type this, I continue to try to set up the new feature, but it just won't work -- as you can see from the image above. Plenty of restarts in between efforts, but Cortana just doesn't want to work for me.

So, hopefully, at a later date I'll be able to really work with the new feature, and give some thoughts on it.

(Good thing this isn't a review of a finalized piece of software.)

There's a laundry list of new features in Windows Phone 8.1, some of them are big while many of the others are things that some folks may never pay attention to again. That's the way it is for every app, but the one question I had to answer when I started looking at Windows Phone 8.1, is whether or not these bigger changes are worthwhile. Can they make it all worth it?

The answer to that is yes. Microsoft isn't taking a big leap forward compared to the other mobile platforms out there -- they're making the leap for themselves, and that just so happens to bring them right in-line with the others. This isn't a bad thing, though. As far as I'm concerned, Windows Phone has never been so "level" with the other mobile operating systems out there. Microsoft really has offered up an amazing update to their platform of choice.

Windows Phone is still just as smooth as it's always been, in terms of responsiveness and transitions. It's still a pleasure to use and interact with. And now that the feature set has been filled out, it's really up to the developers out there to really start supporting Microsoft's mobile OS. And we need some new devices, too. 2014 is looking really promising all over again.

Jobs’ Death “Best Opportunity to Attack iPhone,” Wrote Samsung Exec

Jobs' Death

The longrunning legal battle between Apple and Samsung has certainly had its low points, but an internal email unearthed by CNET sent by a Samsung executive just five days after Steve Jobs' death sheds new light on just how callous the competition got. In this case, the subject was how to leverage the death of Steve Jobs to Samsung's benefit.


Magid: Google Glass: I have better things to do with $1500 – San Jose Mercury News

Techie News
Magid: Google Glass: I have better things to do with $1500
San Jose Mercury News
I didn't apply to be one of the early "explorers" when Google first made its "Glass" wearable computing device available last year, and I didn't opt-in yesterday when they started selling them online to anyone willing to pay $1,500. Although I don't own Google

Ford put a Mustang on top of the Empire State Building, piece by piece

Ford is marking the launch of the 2015 Mustang in the same way it did for the original 50 years ago -- by putting one at the top of the Empire State Building. The company has partnered with auto supplier DST to cut its latest sports car into pieces...

Smartphone Kill Switches Coming, But Critics Cry Foul – InformationWeek

Smartphone Kill Switches Coming, But Critics Cry Foul
Smartphone makers and carriers agree to add optional kill switches to smartphones, but law enforcement officials say the anti-theft effort doesn't go far enough. 10 Ways To Fight Digital Theft & Fraud. (Click image for larger view and slideshow.) After a year of

Bing Home Page Gets Some Of Cortana’s Smarts


“Lebbeus Woods, Architect” opens at New York’s Drawing Center later today, kicking off with a public

"Lebbeus Woods, Architect" opens at New York's Drawing Center later today, kicking off with a public reception at 6pm. Woods was widely celebrated as a fearless designer and incredible draftsman, an architect whose prolific and conceptually relentless work explored unstable and even dangerous conditions, such as war zones, tectonic faults, and geopolitical borders. Woods passed away during Hurricane Sandy; "Lebbeus Woods, Architect" looks back at a lifetime of incredible work. [Drawing Center]


Samsung Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner Hacked – PC Magazine

Samsung Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner Hacked
PC Magazine
SRLabs hacked Touch ID on the iPhone 5s last year, and now they've done it on the S5, too. 0shares. Samsung Galaxy S5

OnePlus One release date announced with sub £290 price

What I Learned in My First Year as a Female Startup CEO

What Is It Like to Be a Female in Tech?

I think the industry is really curious about this topic  --  almost so much so that we appear committed to proving how different (or perhaps difficult) it is to be a female CEO.

If a reporter asks me why it sucks to be a female CEO, I can come up with hundreds of reasons. On the other hand, if I am asked to argue why it's awesome to be a female CEO, I can also do that pretty well. So here is my take on both sides of the issue.

Top 3 Reasons Why It Sucks to Be a Female CEO

If you are aggressive, you are a bitch. If you are emotional, you are PMSing. If you are soft, you are too feminine. Whatever way someone finds you, they can always justify it is because you are female.

You may get more sales meetings because some of the guys that you are pitching to have a different agenda. Since it's difficult to distinguish it early on, you may end up wasting some time. If you turn down their advances (and it gets awkward), doing deals with their companies can become difficult.

Hiring engineers can get tricky. When you reach out to prospective developers, you may get emails like this: "Hey Yunha, I'm pretty happy with my current job, but if you're single I'd like to date you. Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean. ;)"
And the sad news is, this is one of the more professional emails.

Top 3 Reasons It Is Awesome to Be a Female CEO

Sometimes, guys are more willing to help you because you are a girl. On the flip side, girls will help you because you are a "fellow female entrepreneur." This is one of the rarely spoken benefits of being a female CEO, especially when you are trying to get things off the ground.

Fundraising can be easier. For instance, there are female investors whose personal goal is to empower other female entrepreneurs. When Tyra invested in Locket, I felt lucky to be a female CEO.

You might be able to hire more talented female employees. You understand them better so it can be easier to identify a good fit. And if you land on the right ones, they can be really good (e.g., our designer Lisa is the best).

The lesson here is that it is all about how you frame your perspective. If you are committed to believing that it sucks to be a female CEO, you will be right, and it will suck to be you. If you are committed to believing it's awesome to be a female CEO, you will be happier and confident to be you.

After all, it's not like you can choose whether to be a female CEO vs. a male CEO. But you can choose your attitude toward it.

If you want to see what I'm working on now, check out Locket.



Locket is an Android lock screen app company changing based in San Francisco. We check our phone over 110 times per day and we believe there's more to your lock screen than a boring, static picture of a flower. Locket brings stuff you care about to your lock screen based on your interests, swiping habits and time of the day. Locket's Android lock screen app is available now in Google Play store.

A look inside Tango: How Google’s 3D-modeling phone will work – VentureBeat

A look inside Tango: How Google's 3D-modeling phone will work
It's a 3D world out there, and Google's Project Tango intends to model it in real time with a smartphone. Now, a teardown of the prototype development kit gives us some idea how the company will do it. Like its Project Ara to build a modular smartphone,

Hacker ‘Weev’: ‘Come Bring It, Federal Government’

Just days after his conviction and three-year prison sentence were overturned, hacker Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer delivered a bold message on HuffPost Live: "Come bring it, federal government."

A New Jersey jury convicted Auernheimer in 2012 of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after he exposed a security flaw on an AT&T website, giving him access to the personal information of more than 100,000 iPad users. Prosecutors won their case by arguing that Auernheimer is an attention-seeking hacker who broke federal law by disclosing the security hole to a reporter at the gossip site Gawker.

Then last week, a federal appeals court dismissed the conviction, deciding that Auernheimer should not have been tried in New Jersey because the state has no connection to the case. Auernheimer was in Arkansas at the time and AT&T's servers were in Texas and Georgia.

Weev told HuffPost Live's Ricky Camilleri that it's "relatively likely" he'll be tried again in a different jurisdiction, but he refuses to take steps to avoid another trial.

"At this point, I've sacrificed three years of my life to overturn this unjust law, and I didn't do this to get a venue decision," he said. "The government should come litigate again. I'll risk prison again to do this once more. It's a terrible law."


Auernheimer spent about half of his incarceration in solitary confinement, he said. The isolation was partially prompted by him calling a service from the prison's telephones that allowed him to record messages that were uploaded to the audio-sharing site SoundCloud, which he contends was within his free speech rights.

"They want me to sit down and shut up while they seditiously attack my rights and the rights of everybody else by proxy," he said.

The hacker added that the corrections staff made him suffer in other ways, including depriving him of gluten-free meals despite having celiac disease, a digestive disorder.


Auernheimer is presently out on bail, but he said he feels no temptation to flee.

"Indict me. Indict me. I'm not running," he said. "This is my country. I love this place, and if I have to sacrifice personally to maintain the freedoms of Americans, I will."

He added that his ultimate goal is to use his case to prompt a repeal of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Critics say that the outdated legislation criminalizes a wide range of benign online activity, like violating a website's terms of service that few people have the time or expertise to read.

Click here to watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Andrew "Weev" Auernheimer.

Massive Car Orgy Hits New York City

New Yorkers generally spend their time riding the subway or relaxing in a cab, rather than cruising the city streets in their own cars. But that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate a snazzy set of wheels.

From April 18 through April 27, New Yorkers will have the chance to take a whiff of that new car smell as they get to see and touch the latest batch of cars, trucks, SUVs and a few things in between when the New York International Auto Show opens its doors to the public.

The show, which first opened in 1900 and claims to be North America’s “first automotive exhibition,” boasts an annual attendance of more than 1 million people.

And while attendees will have the chance to see many of the sleek and sexy cars that debuted at the recent Detroit and Geneva auto shows, they will also be treated to a number of vehicles making their first-ever public appearance. Volkswagen, BMW, Chevrolet and Land Rover are just a few of the manufacturers to trot out their latest models on the Big Apple's prominent stage.

Take a look at our gallery to see all the cool new cars debuting at New York's Jacob K. Javits Center -- from the 2015 Toyota Camry all the way to the wicked 2015 Corvette Z06 convertible.

Crossed up! Anki Drive unveils new cars and first new tracks – CNET

Crossed up! Anki Drive unveils new cars and first new tracks
The game featuring artificially intelligent cars is expanding, meaning players can buy all-new racing tracks, as well as two new cars. There's also a free software update opening up a set of new racing tools. by Daniel Terdiman

Research and Markets: Global Agricultural Robots 2014-2020 Featuring Market Leaders, Kuka, lely, Yamaha & Yaskawa …

Research and Markets has announced the addition of Wintergreen Research, Inc's new report "Global Agricultural Robo

Download: HoverChat offers SMS multitasking with Facebook-like ‘HoverHeads’

Since Google decided to scrap the SMS app in Android 4.4, developers have scrambled to fill the gap. Apps including Textra, HelloSMS and EvolveSMS have helped raise the bar for SMS apps on the platform, along with HoverChat, an app you might...

Put A Camera On Your Eyeball

Contact Lens On An Eyeball Antonio Calossi via Wikimedia Commons

What's cooler than Google Glass? Almost anything, really, but something that is both cooler and smaller and still eyeball-centric is a patent for a camera-containing contact lens, filed by Google in late 2012. The patent was published March 27. 

Sensors on the contact lens would detect blinks and respond to commands based on those blinks. The camera sits below the pupil on the contact, so it shouldn't obstruct vision. Because the camera is on the eyeball, it follows the wearer's gaze, potentially recording anything he or she sees, as he or she sees it.

One of the uses discussed in Google's patent is giving a sense back to blind people. While a blind person couldn't gain sight from the contact lens, the camera could, for example, detect approaching traffic and then wirelessly communicate with another device the blind person was carrying. When paired with facial recognition software, the contact lens could identify a nearby person and transmit that information to an earpiece.

Right now, the patent is to secure future innovation and is not yet linked to a marketable product. 

This isn't the first time Google has talked about putting a computer on an eyeball. Earlier this year, it announced development of a contact lens that checks tears for blood sugar levels and communicates with insulin pumps. These are just two of Google's contact lens patents; there are at least five more in the works.

[Patent Bolt]

Google’s Cloud Platform Gets Improved Hadoop Support With BigQuery And Cloud Datastore Connectors

Google has long made it possible for its users to run Hadoop -- a framework for storing and processing large amounts of data -- on its Cloud Platform. Until now, however, the only way to get in and out of Hadoop on Cloud Platform was through Google's Cloud Storage service. Starting today, however, Google also makes it possible to run Hadoop jobs against data in its BigQuery SQL and Cloud Datastore… Read More

OnePlus One to launch in 16 countries for less than $400 / €350

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau

We’re just one week away from the official unveiling of the OnePlus One, and today the folks at OnePlus have announced the list of 16 countries in which the One will initially be available in. Included in the launch group is Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

OnePlus also reaffirmed that its smartphone will sell for under $400/€350. In exchange for your hard-earned cash, you’ll get a device with the following specs:

5.5-inch 1080p display Quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor 13-megapixel rear, 5-megapixel front cameras 3GB of RAM 16GB/64GB storage options Global LTE connectivity 3100mAh battery CyanogenMod OS with voice wakeup support

The OnePlus One is shaping up to be an impressive handset spec-wise, especially since it’ll be available for under $400/€350 unlocked. Of course, we still don’t know exactly what the thing looks like, but thankfully that’ll change next week when the teases come to an end and the OnePlus One is finally revealed to the world.

Are you looking forward to the arrival of the OnePlus One?

Via OnePlus

Man Taking Selfie Near Train Tracks Gets Kicked In The Head By Conductor

As the old song goes, ain't that a kick in the head?

An April 15 YouTube entry purports to show a man taking a video selfie near train tracks -- and paying the price.

User Jared Michael posted the video with the description, "I tried to take a selfie while a train passed a 'safe' distance behind. I guess I was still too close and got kicked in the head. I messed up."

Many commenters tell Michael that he got what he deserved and questioned his loco motive. At least one noted the possibility that the footage is fake, wondering why he was taking a video selfie. wrote, "Curiously, it's the only video on Michael's channel -- one of the factors that is leading to speculation that the video might be a hoax." The Daily Dot, meanwhile, broke down the video into several frames to assess whether the clip is real.

But one watcher had a less critical take:

If this train selfie is a hoax I will be fine with it because for 2 minutes I was able to forget that it snowed this morning

— Caroline Moss (@socarolinesays) April 16, 2014

What do you think?

(h/t Gawker)

Oroeco Tracks Spending To Help Reduce Users’ Carbon Footprint


Uber’s Ban Called Crazy by EU Official as Taxi Challenges Mount – Businessweek

Uber's Ban Called Crazy by EU Official as Taxi Challenges Mount
A Brussels court's decision to ban cars using Uber Technologies Inc.'s taxi application is “crazy” and protects a “cartel,” European Union Commissioner Neelie Kroes said, adding to a global debate about the legality of ride-sharing. The comments were a

ShopLocket And PCH Launch Blueprint, A Media And Resource Site For Hardware Startups

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 11.09.40 AM

Anki Drive Expands Its Robotics Expertise With New Cars, Tracks, And AI

Anki DRIVE - Crossroads (3x4 view)

Let the audience decide your fate in new Twitch-backed game

When some 1.1 million people played Pokémon together via Twitch's game-broadcasting service, developer Studio Bean must've gotten inspired. Choice Chamber takes the idea of the audience deciding what happens onscreen to a new level and injects...

Anki Drive levels up with new robotic cars, tracks and a race mode

Arguably the coolest part about Anki Drive's robotic toy cars is that you could upgrade them over time with weapons and points as if they were character vehicles in a video game. Unlike a video game however, Anki's original system only had a single...

How Yesterday’s Drugs Became The Medicines Of Today

How Yesterday's Drugs Became The Medicines Of Today

My sister is a witch. Or, more precisely, a Wiccan astrologer and tarot reader. Growing up as a kid who worshipped Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking, I found it hard to square her worldview with my own.


64 Billion Messages in 24 Hours: Key Takeaways From WhatsApp’s Massively Disruptive Statistics

In February of this year, Facebook's $19 billion acquisition of mobile messaging platform WhatsApp set a record for the largest software acquisition of all time. It set the value of WhatsApp at more than Sony Corporation.

Most recently, the 5-year-old startup broke yet another impressive record -- 64 billion messages processed in 24 hours. To give you some perspective, that is 10 times the amount sent in the entire US text message industry in one day. That is just insane!

I wanted to share this story with you to discuss three key observations:

1) 6 D's Update -- Disruptive and demonetizing the wireless communications industry: WhatsApp is a 99 cents-per-year service with 465 million users. These users are sending 20 billion messages and receiving 44 billion messages every day. WhatsApp is both disrupting and demonetizing the entire wireless industry, and now the Facebook acquisition provides the infrastructure needed for WhatsApp to begin offering voice calls. So instead of people paying on average $80 per month, users only have to pay $0.99 per year for the same services. Wireless carriers, beware. This shift could disrupt more than $100 billion in annual wireless revenues.

2) Great example of an exponential organization: As we learned at Abundance 360, every exponential entrepreneur needs to have a Massively Transformative Purpose (MTP). The founder of WhatsApp, Jan Kou, has one: "Disrupt the wireless industry and stop them from stealing our money." Jan said, "[I'm] interested in disrupting the way cellphone carriers nickeled-and-dimed customers for text messaging, which was especially useful for those looking to connect with loved ones overseas." Not even five years old and with only 55 employees, WhatsApp has done just that. It is hard to comprehend how in such a short time, one company has grown to handling three times more messages than the entire global text message industry. This is exactly the stuff our community is discussing and I'm teaching at Abundance 360. I trust this makes perfect sense and is inspiring instead of terrifying.

3) Why you should care: This kind of technological disruption is happening all around us, all the time. The $100 billion wireless industry was completely taken off guard. If they were able to read a technology roadmap and knew this was going to happen, they might have had enough time to prepare and capitalize on this shift. Learning how to understand how technology evolves, using tools like a Technology Road Map, is what you need more than anything to ride on top of the tsunami instead of being crushed by it. This is exactly what we're going to be focusing on within the Abundance 360 community for the next 25 years.

Quick Stats on WhatsApp:

64 billion messages processed per day - 20B sent and 44B received
465 million users on platform
1 million join platform every day
70 percent of users come back every day
$100 billion mobile communications industry being displaced
$18 billion -- Sony is worth less than WhatsApp
50X ROI - Sequoia made on WhatsApp deal
55 employees when sold to Facebook -- that's a price of $375 million per employee!

Samsung Gear Fit Review: A Beautiful Wristable Gone to Waste

Samsung Gear Fit Review: A Beautiful Wristable Gone to Waste

Samsung's Gear Fit had every chance to be by far the best activity tracker you could own. It isn't. Not by a long shot. And there's nothing sadder than unrealized potential.


Video: MakerBot empowers people to innovate: CEO - Found 2 hours ago
Bre Pettis, MakerBot CEO, shows off 3D printing technology and explains the future of MakerBot in the 3D printing space. (CNBC)

Potential use of Google Glass in surgical settings

A new article shows the potential applications for Google Glass in the surgical setting, particularly in relation to training. Personal portable information technology is advancing at a breathtaking speed. Google has recently introduced Glass, a device that is worn like conventional glasses, but that combines a computerized central processing unit, touchpad, display screen, high-definition ...

Samsung Gear 2 review: much improved, but that doesn’t mean you should buy it

2013 was the year of the smartwatch. In promise, anyway -- maybe not delivery. Of the many, many different, colorful and unusual timepieces that would populate our blogroll, it was perhaps Samsung's Galaxy Gear that made the most headlines. Why?...

Claw Machines Continue to Devour Our Children Whole

Claw Machines Continue to Devour Our Children Whole

Those who thought the world was safe from arcade claw machines gobbling up our youth, take heed. The ravenous mechanical creatures have struck again, this time claiming a three-year-old Nebraskan boy.


Can Technology Save Itself From Itself?

With the 20th anniversary of the birth of Internet just passed, I thought it a good time to step back and reflect on the role of technology in our present lives and the role it may play in the future.

There is no doubt that the technological developments of the past two decades made possible by the Internet, including websites, smartphones, email, texting, and social media, have dramatically changed the way we live, work, communicate, and, more generally, spend our time.

There are many "techno-evangelists" who believe that technology is making the world a better place and improving our lives. At the same time, there are many Chicken Littles who see the growing intrusion of technology in our lives as evils that will mark the end of civilization as we know it (I put myself in the Paul Revere camp, "The techies are coming, the techies are coming!).

The reality inevitably lies somewhere in between these two extremes, with technology providing wonderful benefits while also bringing its share of costs and unintended consequences. As with so many innovations throughout history, how we use technology determines whether it is beneficial or harmful. The technological revolution is now at a critical juncture that may very well determine whether it has a generally positive or negative impact on future generations.

I see technology as I would a developing person who is transitioning from adolescence into adulthood. Much like a person's early life, these first 20 years have been filled with rapid development, exuberance, awkwardness, impulsivity, excess, impatience, a lack of wisdom and perspective, and missteps. I'm not suggesting that this adolescence has been unhealthy; it has simply been the inevitable journey on the road to maturity.

I liken our response to this new technological landscape to children left alone at home who discover a freezer full of ice cream. At first, they gorge on it, savoring every sweet spoonful without concern for how such large amounts of ice cream will affect how they feel or their health. But, no matter how much they love ice cream, they reach a point where it loses its allure and they just can't eat any more. Also, as a sign of impending maturity, they realize that too much of a good thing may not actually be a good thing.

This is the point at which we are now arriving. Both technology and its digital natives are experiencing growing pains. My concern is that technology, both its creators and consumers, is going to get stuck in a perpetual adolescence that prevents it from realizing its potential to truly change the world for the better. The next few years will determine whether technology remains a stunted adolescent or evolves into a mature adult.

There are some early warning signs of this potential crisis of identity. For the technology companies, the arc of innovation appears to be flattening out. The Internet-driven landscape is now well-trodden and it is increasingly difficult to blaze new trails. For example, the last few generations of smartphones haven't offered any truly game-changing developments in either hardware or software. Much of the new technology is really just refinements or extensions of the existing technology, rather than anything truly disruptive. Despite the influx of highly intelligent and well-educated young people into the tech industry, could the intellectual marketplace be running out of ideas?

Moreover, technology seems to be regressing in its moral development. There is no doubt that there are many techies working to develop something of great value to humanity. At the same time, it is equally clear that the center of gravity of the tech community has shifted from social good to financial ROI.

The primary impetus for the current generous of tech geeks seems to be to become the next Sean Parker or Mark Zuckerberg, create the next Facebook or Google, and turn their IPO into billions of dollars before they reach 30. Additionally, so much innovation these days, particularly focused on the massive smartphone market, seems to be aimed at providing conveniences for which there is no demand (think wearable technology) and entertaining a seemingly stupid audience (think Bubble Wrap app).

As for the consumers of all these technological innovations, the number of new users of Facebook, Twitter, and other popular social media sites has leveled off along with these companies' revenues. Fewer people are signing up and increasing numbers are opting out.

I also sense a shift in the relationship that digital natives have with their technology as they mature. The novelty is starting to wear off as that which was once exciting is now mundane. The enthusiasm of the consumer market to buy, download, and use the "next big thing" is waning because the next things aren't really all that big.

Digital adherents are also realizing that the marginal benefits of being connected are declining and the marginal costs are growing as increasingly mature digital natives begin to recognize the unexpected drawbacks of technology on their lives.

Some of these costs arise from "tech fatigue," in which people come to see how exhausting 24/7 connectivity is. Other costs may be the toll that being connected constantly takes on their ability to think and focus, whether in school or at work. More people are also recognizing the immense opportunity costs; time devoted to technology is time not spent on other pursuits.

Perhaps most potently, a distancing from technology may come from the inevitable changes in values, interests, and priorities as the younger generations grow up, establish careers, and begin families. Friends become more important than "friends." Being liked takes precedence over "likes." And quality of relationships gain meaning over quantity of relationships.

So, can technology save itself from itself? Can it remain relevant as both it and its consumers mature? Certainly, technology will continue to play an outsized role in our lives; there is no going back. But there is an enormous difference between being omnipresent and being truly meaningful and impactful. With its smartphones and millions of apps that entertain and fill time in the most trivial ways, technology is at risk of losing its significance as a positive force in our lives. Technology will undoubtedly continue to make money, but will it improve our lives? As more people come to recognize this distinction, the tech industry will be forced to grapple with these questions itself.

AT&T pushing Android 4.4 to Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active, BlackBerry 10.2.1 to Z10 and Q10

Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active AT&T

Looks like AT&T is in an update-y mood. The big blue carrier has announced that, starting today, it’s rolling out major updates to three of its smartphones.

First up is the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active, which is getting a KitKat treat for putting up with all of your abuse. AT&T says that the toughened S 4 Active will begin receiving an update to Android 4.4 that includes restyled status and navigation bars, a lock screen camera shortcut and more. AT&T’s changelog for the update is as follows:

Improved user interface with Android 4.4 KitKat: The latest version of Android includes enhancements such as re-styled status and navigation bars, a new full-screen-immersive mode, color emoji support, improved closed captioning support, stronger security and smarter power use. Enhanced music access: Full screen album art and media controls are available from the lock screen when listening to music. Camera access: The camera can also be accessed directly from the lock screen. Location menu: An integrated location menu enables users to easily activate GPS and share location details. Wireless printing: Integrated support for wireless printing available in enhanced settings. New sound controls: Set sound for specific Samsung applications in enhanced settings.

In order to snag this update, you can grab your Galaxy S 4 Active and head into Settings > More > About Device > Software Update > Check for Updates.

AT&T has also begun pushing BlackBerry 10.2.1 to its versions of the BlackBerry Z10 and Q10. Originally announced back at the end of January, BlackBerry 10.2.1 is a significant update that includes actionable lock screen notifications, a pinch gesture that can be used to filter messages in the BlackBerry Hub and a whole lot more. Here’s AT&T’s changelog for 10.2.1:

Easier to switch to Blackberry 10: the new device switch app allows users to easily migrate their data to a new BlackBerry device. Customize pinch gesture to filter BlackBerry Hub: This new feature allows users to instantly filter the message list in the Hub. Users can also customize the Hub to show only unread messages, flagged messages, draft messages, meeting invites, sent messages, or level one alerts. Once preferences are set, users can activate it with a pinch gestures on the Hub’s message list. BBM inside any app and preview messages anywhere: Users can now preview any message as it arrives in any app they’re using and immediately read it and respond – without leaving the app. BlackBerry Natural Sound enhancements: New sound improvements make BBM Voice and BBM Video chats sound like users are in the same room. Actionable lock screen notifications: “Tap to open” messages will now appear on the lock screen, allowing users to respond to an important message quicker. Picture password for fast unlocking: Unlock the phone with a combination of a picture and a number (0-9), which is placed at a particular point on the image. Battery usage monitoring: A new and improved device monitor provides users with essential details on battery usage, the impact of installed apps on battery life and memory usage and storage, as well as CPU statistics.

If you’ve got an AT&T-branded Z10 or Q10 laying around, snag that sucker and go into Settings > Software Updates > Check for Updates to get your

Why Is There A Mustang On Top Of The Empire State Building?

They say history repeats itself.

In honor of the Ford Mustang’s 50th anniversary, the company is repeating a gimmick it pulled off in 1965: placing a new Mustang convertible on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. During the early morning hours of April 16, the company successfully pulled off its plan, planting a 2015 Ford Mustang convertible where a 1965 Mustang convertible sat nearly 50 years earlier.

(Story continues below.)

According to a statement released by Ford, the only way to get a car to the deck is to use the elevator of the 80-plus-year-old building. “No portable crane can reach the 86th floor observatory, and the spire towering above the relatively narrow deck makes helicopter delivery impossible," the statement says.

Since the building's elevator can't fit an entire Mustang, the car had to be cut into six elevator-friendly pieces. A team of workers then rebuilt the car on the building's observation deck; though, as the video below shows, the team did at least one practice run beforehand.

Road & Track's Chris Cantle was on hand during the rebuild process on the Empire State Building's observation deck and tweeted out images of the late-night reassembly:

3:15 Doors are on, front fascia soon to follow. @RoadandTrack

— Chris Cantle (@ChrisCantle) April 16, 2014

The car will remain atop the Empire State Building April 16 and 17, which marks the car's 50th anniversary since debuting at the 1964 New York World's Fair.

Photo-Sharing App Frontback Comes To Android

Frontback Android

MakerBot empowers people to innovate: CEO

NBC - Found 3 hours ago
Bre Pettis, MakerBot CEO, shows off 3D printing technology and explains the future of MakerBot in the 3D printing space.

Computers Beat Brainpower When It Comes to Counting Stars

A team of University of Sydney astronomers has developed a new way to automatically classify huge numbers of astronomical objects, and to discover new, exotic ones almost as soon as they happen.

The BBC wants you to binge-watch its new BBC Three series on iPlayer

The BBC isn't due to transition BBC Three to an online-only channel until late next year, but that isn't stopping it from testing the waters first. The Beeb confirmed today that for the first time, it will make a complete series available on BBC...

Awesome App Lets Strangers Turn Your Selfies Into Works Of Art

An iOS app is using the "draw me like one of your French girls" meme to hilarious effect by letting users draw portraits of strangers a la Kate and Leo.

The French Girls app has users upload selfies and post them anonymously to the feed. Strangers can then recreate the portraits as rudimentary cell phone drawings. No names are exchanged, there's no interaction between artists and photographers, and there's no way to know with which of the app's 700,000 users you're interacting.

The entire anonymous community is seemingly built around our culture's fascination with self-portraits, but the app's founder, Adam Ceresko, says that was a total fluke.

"When we created the app, the concept of 'selfies' hadn't really taken off yet. We just thought it was something easy to recreate," he told The Huffington Post.

That bet has paid off. Driven by users' vain obsession with taking pictures of themselves, "French Girls" -- which was created in a 48-hour hackathon more than a year ago -- has gained hundreds of thousands of new users in the last month alone, and that growth shows no signs of stopping.


Upon opening the app, users are presented with a feed showing the latest uploads. Users can scroll through and see others' portraits, or start uploading their own by using the in-app camera function. Or they can just get drawing.

The drawing is what truly make the "French Girls" community unique. Whereas those on Twitter and Facebook post updates to rack up meaningless "likes" or to just silently stalk others, "French Girls" is full of members who recognize there's a give and take to social media. To get a portrait back, you have to give one.

The result is a community that's constantly engaging with each other by creating works of selfie art that can be jaw-droppingly good...

french girls



...or, as is the case with these portraits of me, pretty rudimentary:

french girls
To my artists, wherever you are, thanks for doing my unibrow the artistic justice it deserves.

And because you never know if your next selfie is going to be become a cave painting or a Monet, you keep uploading to find out.

So what's next for "French Girls?" According to Ceresko, it's about to get a lot more social. The team is currently working on building a "like" system for the app. Creators are also toying with the idea of giving users Instagram-like usernames and a chat function to interact with the strangers they meet through the app.

"The idea is to make it more like Instagram than Draw Something," Ceresko says. "It's so easy to feel connected with someone through this great icebreaker, and there's no reason it has to stop at selfies."

For now, though, it seems like the app has found it's stride by banking on the selfie addiction. Try the app for free from iOS.

Twitter And Tumblr-Focused Analytics Provider Union Metrics Now Does Instagram, Too

Instagram Brands

Sexters Are Really, Truly Very Dirty… LIARS

A new study from Indiana University-Purdue University reveals that sexting might not be quite as hot as you think. In fact, about half the time, the other person isn't quite as into it as they say they are.

The study reports that 48 percent of those who've sent racy messages have lied to their partner while sexting. While two-thirds have done it to satisfy their partner, one-third of those have done it just because they're bored, the research notes.

The study -- which surveyed 155 college students -- also found that of those polled, women were almost twice as likely as men to lie while sexting, with 45 percent of women and 24 percent of men falsifying their steamy SMS messages.

The study's lead author, Michelle Drouin, told The Huffington Post that she found these results unsurprising.

"Text messaging is an ideal platform for deception, and sexting is likely just one of the many ways that people use this medium to deceive," she said.

Drouin said that texting is bound to change relationships. "The fabric of human life is changing rapidly, and the technological threads that are interwoven throughout are having a profound impact on the way we function, interact, and develop," she said.

Some consider the findings to be evidence that sexting is a negative practice among couples, Reuters reports.

"Sexting is a way to avoid intimacy," said Rob Weisskirch, a professor of human development at California State University Monterey Bay, who was not involved in the study. "These findings reinforce that sexting isn't a behavior that people who want healthy relationships are going to engage in."

However, studies have shown that those who engage in sexting are not necessarily prone to riskier or safer behaviors. In fact, researchers at the University of Michigan found that there sexting had no connection to psychological well-being at all.

Others, like Esther Perel, a therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, have said that sending illicit messages -- both those containing explicit language and those with pictures -- can improve intimacy. This is because couples may be more comfortable expressing themselves in ways they normally wouldn't offline.

But it isn't all winky face emoticons in the sexting world. The harmful consequences of teen sexting have been well documented. Sexting -- like real sex -- should only be attempted by those ready to face the potential consequences.

Texting Driver Who Slammed Cyclist: I, Like, ‘Just Don’t Care’

Poor Kimberley Davis.

The 21-year-old Australian woman was livid when she slammed into a bicyclist while texting late last year, putting dents in her car. The victim suffered a spinal fracture and would spend the next three months in a hospital, but Davis wasn't having any of it, The Standard reports.

"I just don’t care because I’ve already been through a lot of bullshit and my car is, like, pretty expensive and now I have to fix it," she told a responding officer two days after the Sept. 20 collision. "I’m kind of pissed off that the cyclist has hit the side of my car. I don’t agree that people texting and driving could hit a cyclist. I wasn’t on my phone when I hit the cyclist."

Davis, of Port Fairy, pleaded guilty on Monday to dangerous driving and was fined $4,500. Police say she used her phone behind the wheel 44 times before running down the cyclist. She called emergency responders but parked more than 300 feet away from the victim and refused to offer him help.

Davis couldn't contain her sadness after the loss of her license, and she made her woes known on Facebook:




The photo above appears to show that Davis expects to get her license back in May. She won't -- a judge on Monday suspended her license for another nine months.

The wife of the injured cyclist -- who got spinal surgery and was told he could have been a paraplegic -- said she was deeply disappointed that Davis' license wasn't suspended for longer.

(h/t Gawker)

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GOP Candidate ‘Shoots Down’ A Drone In New Ad

Congressional candidate and Montana state Sen. Matt Rosendale (R) makes a point about federal government intrusion by seemingly firing a shot at a drone in a new TV ad released Monday.

Rosendale is one of a handful of Republicans running for Montana's only House seat, which is being vacated by Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) as he runs for the Senate. The Billings Gazette reports that Rosendale's ad will run on statewide television.

The ad begins with a drone's eye view of Rosendale standing in the snow. He "shoots down" the drone, which appears to fall out of the sky as the screen flashes with a message reading "signal lost."

"The federal government is too big and too powerful," Rosendale says, adding "spying on our citizens" is "just wrong."

Rosendale's suspicion of the federal government doesn't just relate to drone surveillance. Mother Jones reported in January that he attended a seminar in December featuring a speaker who argues that environmentalists are "domestic terrorists" and that a small group of international banking families surreptitiously control global politics.

The state senator took out $500,000 in personal loans to run his campaign.

The National Republican Congressional Committee put Rosendale "on the radar" under their "Young Guns" program, which supports and mentors both challengers and open-seat candidates.

Montana's primary is set for June 3.

RealtyShares Raises $1.9 Million From General Catalyst To Crowdfund Real Estate Projects


Microsoft’s new keyboard is meant to be used with Smart TVs

This fall marks 20 years that Microsoft has been making keyboards (make that "computer hardware," as it was quaintly called back in 1994). Ironically, though, as the company approaches this milestone, it's now making accessories not just for PCs,...

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