Category Archives: Social

More Americans using smartphones for getting directions, streaming TV

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Just as the internet has changed the way people communicate, work and learn, mobile technology has changed when, where and how consumers access information and entertainment. And smartphone use that goes beyond routine calls and text messages does not appear to be slowing, according to a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults conducted in July 2015.

The percentage of smartphone owners who say they have ever used their phone to watch movies or TV through a paid subscription service like Netflix or Hulu Plus has doubled in recent years – increasing from 15% in 2012 to 33% in 2015.

Among the smartphone activities measured, getting location-based information is the most universal task. Nine-in-ten smartphone owners use their phone to get directions, recommendations or other information related to their location, up from 74% in 2013.

The share of smartphone users who report using their device to listen to online radio or a music service, such as Pandora or Spotify, or participate in video calls or chats has also increased by double digits in recent years. (2015 was the first year in which we surveyed about using a mobile device to buy a product online or get sports scores and analysis.)

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Younger adults are especially likely to reach for their phone for something other than calling and texting. Getting location-based information is the one activity measured that is common across all age groups, however.

Listening to music and shopping on the go are especially popular among smartphone owners ages 18 to 29: 87% have listened to an online radio or music service on their phone, compared with 41% of those 50 and over, and 73% have shopped online through their mobile device, versus 44% of older users.

Activities that are less prevalent but not uncommon among smartphone owners include video calling or chatting; getting sports scores or analysis; and watching movies or TV through a paid subscription service. Again, younger adults are especially likely to use their mobile device for all of these activities. For example, 52% of 18- to 29-year-old smartphone owners have ever used their phone to watch movies or TV shows through a paid subscription service, compared with 36% of 30- to 49-year-olds and only 13% of those 50 and older.

These differences speak to a broader pattern of younger Americans’ adoption of and engagement with technology. Younger adults are more likely than older adults to own a smartphone, to be constantly online and to rely on their smartphone for internet access.

To see more and the original story follow this link to Pew Research.

Americans are wary about IoT privacy

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Americans are in an “it depends” state when it comes to disclosing personal information over internet-connected devices, according to a new Pew Research Center study. The study proposed different scenarios to which 461 Americans expressed whether they believed being monitored by a device was acceptable, not acceptable, or depended on the situation. Pew Research Center found that some scenarios were acceptable to the majority of Americans, but the answers often came with caveats. For example, most consumers find a security camera in the office acceptable, but with restrictions; one person said, “It depends on whether I would be watched and filmed every minute of the day during everything I do.”

Here are the responses to the IoT-related scenarios the study presented:

• Office surveillance cameras: More than half (54%) of Americans believe that it’s acceptable for a surveillance camera in the workplace, making it the most acceptable of the six proposed scenarios. Another 21% answered “it depends,” while 24% said it would not be acceptable.

• Sharing health information with your doctor: 52% of Americans believe it’s acceptable for their doctor to utilize a website to manage patient records and schedule appointments, 20% answered “it depends,” and 26% thought it was not acceptable. This correlates with iTriage survey, which indicated that 76% of consumers feel comfortable transferring wearable health data to their practitioner. 

• Usage-based auto insurance: 37% of respondents answered it was acceptable for auto insurance companies to collect information via a UBI dongle, such as Progressive’s Snapshot, and offer discounts for safe driving. 45% said it was not acceptable, while 16% said “it depends.”

• Smart thermostat: 27% of respondents said it was acceptable for a smart thermostat in the house to track where the occupant is and share that data. More than half of respondents (55%) said it was not acceptable, and 17% answered “it depends.”

Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable: Through focus groups and open-ended answers, Pew narrowed down the top reasons consumers believe sharing information is unacceptable:

1) The threat of scammers and hackers;
2) Being repeatedly marketed from companies collecting data;
3) They do not want to share their location;
4) They think it’s “creepy”;
5) The companies collecting the data have ulterior motives to use it.

Data privacy will continue to be a big trend as the Internet of Things market matures. Device makers should be transparent about the data being collected and what it’s used for. Further, they should ensure the devices and their associated data storage bases are secure.

To read more of this article and the original story follow this link to Business Insider.

For vast majority of seniors who own one, a smartphone equals ‘freedom’

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When it comes to tech adoption, seniors generally lag behind their younger counterparts. But for Americans ages 65 and older who own a smartphone, having one in their pocket is a liberating experience.

Asked if they feel that their phone represents “freedom” or “a leash,” 82% of smartphone-owning seniors described their phone as freeing, compared with 64% of those ages 18 to 29. By contrast, 36% of adult smartphone owners under the age of 30 described their phone as a leash, double the 18% of adults ages 65 and older who chose this term to describe their phone.

Similarly, when asked to describe their smartphone as “connecting” or “distracting,” older users are significantly more likely to choose “connecting” as the best descriptor. On the other hand, younger smartphone users are twice as likely as older adults to view their phone as “distracting” (37% vs. 18%).

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Our survey did not directly ask why users chose the terms that they did, but differences in usage patterns may play a role. Younger adults tend to use their phones for a far wider range of purposes (especially social networking and multimedia content) and are much more likely to turn to their phone as a way to relieve boredom and to avoid others around them.

Older adults, by contrast, tend to use their phones for a narrower range of purposes – especially basic communication functions such as voice calling, texting and email. For young adults, smartphones are often the device through which they filter both the successes and annoyances of daily life – which could help explain why these users are more likely to report feeling emotions about their phone ranging from happy and grateful to frustrated or angry during a weeklong survey.

It is true, overall, that older Americans are less likely to be online, have broadband at home or own a mobile device. The same applies to smartphones: Only a quarter (27%) of adults ages 65 and older own them, compared with 85% of 18- to 29-year-olds, according to a Pew Research Center report released earlier this month.

A previous Pew Research study found that lower adoption rates of new technologies are often related to barriers seniors face when adopting them. These include medical conditions that make it difficult for older Americans to use certain technologies or devices. Skepticism about the benefits of technology and lack of digital literacy are other deterrents cited by older adults.

But that’s not to say older Americans aren’t broadening their digital experiences. In 2014, for the first time, more than half of online seniors indicated that they use Facebook: 56% of online adults ages 65 and older do so, up from 45% a year earlier. Internet use and broadband adoption continue to climb among older adults, and although there remains a wide age gap in smartphone ownership, the proportion of older adults who own a smartphone has increased by 8 percentage points since early 2014. Plus, older Americans who are internet adopters tend to have highly positive attitudes about the impact of online access on their lives, including the access that smartphones give them.

For more information and the original story follow this link to Pew Research Center.

Facebook’s open source library has grown to 9.9M lines of code

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Facebook loves to share how much it likes open source, and the social network has followed through on that note with a status update on its activities this year.

Here’s a rundown, by the numbers:

• Launched 63 new projects since January 2014
Total active Github portfolio stands at exactly 

• 200 for projects spread across Facebook, Instagram and Parse

• Facebook’s open source projects have seen 13,000 total commits, an increase of 45 percent from the second half of 2013.

• Projects collectively have netted 20,000 forks and 95,000 followers.

• Facebook’s total open source library stands at approximately 9.9 million lines of code.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based company highlighted a number of its more popular projects in a blog post on Friday, putting user interface Javascript library React and iOS/OS X animation engine Pop in the spotlight.

The latter has played a large role in a pair of other Facebook projects with which end users might be more familiar.

That would be the first two projects rolled out from Facebook’s Creative Labs department: digital news reader app Paper and Snapchat-competitor Slingshot.

Facebook engineers revealed Pop “spawned a host of extensions and integrations, including the iOS version of our very own Slingshot.” Pop has also grown to become Facebook’s second most popular open source project ever.

Looking forward, Facebook is following through on some of the products it unveiled to developers at F8 in San Francisco back in April. One product making its way out the door today in beta access is Display Node, Facebook’s open source asynchronous UI framework.

Source: ZD Net

BlackBerry’s ultra-secure chat gives each message its own security key

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Chat systems like BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) are typically very secure, since they’re encrypted end-to-end. However, they still have a glaring flaw: if intruders do crack the code, they can see everything you’ve said. That’s where BlackBerry’s soon-to-launch BBM Protected comes in. As the company showed at its BlackBerry Experience Washington event (CrackBerry’s video is below), the new service makes it extremely difficult to spy on an entire conversation. Each message has its own random encryption key; even a very clever data thief would only get one tidbit at a time, so it could take ages to piece together a full chat.

BBM Protected will only be available for corporate-controlled BlackBerry devices when it launches as part of an enterprise suite in June, although that will include anything running the now-ancient BlackBerry OS 6 or higher. The chat client won’t be available for personal phones running BlackBerry Balance until early fall, while Android and iOS users will have to wait until late fall or early winter. All the same, it might be worth holding out if you’re really, truly worried that someone is watching your private discussions.

Source: Engadget

BlackBerry Tumblr app Trapeez available in Beta Zone

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The native Tumblr app Trapeez developed by Kisai Labs has a beta version, version 1.5.0.0 available in BlackBerry Beta Zone.

U.S. Views of Technology and the Future

Science in the next 50 years

Via: Pew Research

Findings

The American public anticipates that the coming half-century will be a period of profound scientific change, as inventions that were once confined to the realm of science fiction come into common usage. This is among the main findings of a new national survey by the Pew Research Center and Smithsonian magazine, which asked Americans about a wide range of potential scientific developments—from near-term advances like robotics and bioengineering, to more “futuristic” possibilities like teleportation or space colonization. In addition to asking them for their predictions about the long-term future of scientific advancement, we also asked them to share their own feelings and attitudes toward some new developments that might become common features of American life in the relatively near future.

Overall, most Americans anticipate that the technological developments of the coming half-century will have a net positive impact on society. Some 59% are optimistic that coming technological and scientific changes will make life in the future better, while 30% think these changes will lead to a future in which people are worse off than they are today.

Many Americans pair their long-term optimism with high expectations for the inventions of the next half century. Fully eight in ten (81%) expect that within the next 50 years people needing new organs will have them custom grown in a lab, and half (51%) expect that computers will be able to create art that is indistinguishable from that produced by humans. On the other hand, the public does see limits to what science can attain in the next 50 years. Fewer than half of Americans—39%—expect that scientists will have developed the technology to teleport objects, and one in three (33%) expect that humans will have colonized planets other than Earth. Certain terrestrial challenges are viewed as even more daunting, as just 19% of Americans expect that humans will be able to control the weather in the foreseeable future.

But at the same time that many expect science to produce great breakthroughs in the coming decades, there are widespread concerns about some controversial technological developments that might occur on a shorter time horizon:

• 66% think it would be a change for the worse if prospective parents could alter the DNA of their children to produce smarter, healthier, or more athletic offspring.

• 65% think it would be a change for the worse if lifelike robots become the primary caregivers for the elderly and people in poor health.

• 63% think it would be a change for the worse if personal and commercial drones are given permission to fly through most U.S. airspace.

• 53% of Americans think it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them. Women are especially wary of a future in which these devices are widespread.

Many Americans are also inclined to let others take the first step when it comes to trying out some potential new technologies that might emerge relatively soon.  The public is evenly divided on whether or not they would like to ride in a driverless car: 48% would be interested, while 50% would not. But significant majorities say that they are not interested in getting a brain implant to improve their memory or mental capacity (26% would, 72% would not) or in eating meat that was grown in a lab (just 20% would like to do this).

Asked to describe in their own words the futuristic inventions they themselves would like to own, the public offered three common themes: 1) travel improvements like flying cars and bikes, or even personal space crafts; 2) time travel; and 3) health improvements that extend human longevity or cure major diseases.

At the same time, many Americans seem to feel happy with the technological inventions available to them in the here and now—11% answered this question by saying that there are no futuristic inventions that they would like to own, or that they are “not interested in futuristic inventions.” And 28% weren’t sure what sort of futuristic invention they might like to own.

These are among the findings of a new survey of Americans’ attitudes and expectations about the future of technological and scientific advancements, conducted by the Pew Research Center in partnership with Smithsonian magazine. The survey, conducted February 13–18, 2014 by landline and cell phones among 1,001 adults, examined a number of potential future developments in the field of science and technology—some just over the horizon, others more speculative in nature. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.

Among the detailed findings of this survey:

A majority of Americans envision a future made better by advancements in technology

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When asked for their general views on technology’s long-term impact on life in the future, technological optimists outnumber pessimists by two-to-one. Six in ten Americans (59%) feel that technological advancements will lead to a future in which people’s lives are mostly better, while 30% believe that life will be mostly worse.

Demographically, these technological optimists are more likely to be men than women, and more likely to be college graduates than to have not completed college. Indeed, men with a college degree have an especially sunny outlook: 79% of this group expects that technology will have a mostly positive impact on life in the future, while just 14% expects that impact to be mostly negative. Despite having much different rates of technology use and ownership, younger and older Americans are equally positive about the long-term impact of technological change on life in the future.

Predictions for the future: eight in ten Americans think that custom organ transplants will be a reality in the next 50 years, but just one in five think that humans will control the weather

Americans envision a range of probable outcomes when asked for their own predictions about whether  or not some “futuristic” inventions might become reality in the next half-century. Eight in ten believe that people needing organ transplants will have new organs custom-built for them in a laboratory, but an equal number believe that control of the weather will remain outside the reach of science. And on other issues—for example, the ability of computers to create art rivaling that produced by humans—the public is much more evenly split.

A substantial majority of Americans (81%) believe that within the next 50 years people needing an organ transplant will have new organs custom made for them in a lab. Belief that this development will occur is especially high among men (86% of whom believe this will happen), those under age 50 (86%), those who have attended college (85%), and those with relatively high household incomes. But although expectations for this development are especially high within these groups, three-quarters or more of every major demographic group feels that custom organs are likely to become a reality in the next half-century.

The public is more evenly split on whether computers will soon match humans when it comes to creating music, novels, paintings, or other important works of art: 51% think that this will happen in the next 50 years, while 45% think that it will not. In contrast to their expectations for custom-built organs, college graduates and those with high incomes are comparatively unlikely to expect that computers will advance to this level of development. Some 59% of college graduates and 57% of Americans earning $75,000 or more per year feel that computers will not be able to produce works of art that are on par with those produced by humans within the next 50 years.

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To continue reading follow the source link below.

Source: Pew Research

Intel To Join The Android Wear Party With New Innovations In Wearables

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Intel and wearables. Two names that you best get used to seeing together, as the aforementioned company is diving into the wearables sector in a major way. As part of the broader Android Wear rollout announced this week, Intel has made a point to emphasize its role in the coming explosion of wearables. The company has stated that it’s “excited to be a part of Android Wear,” which will bring a fork of Android to an entire sector that’s poised for huge growth in the years ahead.

Intel isn’t revealing any products just yet, but it — along with Broadcom, Mediatek, and Qualcomm — are going to be powering some of the products that you see emerge over the next while. Watches, head-worn devices, and items we haven’t yet conceived are likely going to be running atop of Google’s Android Wear platform, and Intel hopes to be the circuitry behind some of it. As desktop and laptop sales slow, Intel has a very real need to replace that revenue with new streams.

Breaking into the tablet, phone, and wearable sectors makes complete sense, but it remains to be seen what kind of margins exist for wearables. At any rate, it’s great to see a name like Intel pushing the sector as a whole forward. For any serious innovation to occur, we’re going to need broad, industry-wide recognition of a movement. With wearables, we’re certainly seeing it.

Intel isn’t revealing any products just yet, but it — along with Broadcom, Mediatek, and Qualcomm — are going to be powering some of the products that you see emerge over the next while. Watches, head-worn devices, and items we haven’t yet conceived are likely going to be running atop of Google’s Android Wear platform, and Intel hopes to be the circuitry behind some of it. As desktop and laptop sales slow, Intel has a very real need to replace that revenue with new streams.

Breaking into the tablet, phone, and wearable sectors makes complete sense, but it remains to be seen what kind of margins exist for wearables. At any rate, it’s great to see a name like Intel pushing the sector as a whole forward. For any serious innovation to occur, we’re going to need broad, industry-wide recognition of a movement. With wearables, we’re certainly seeing it.

Source: Hot Hardware

Millions of accounts compromised in Snapchat hack

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Hackers appear to have posted account info for 4.6 million users of quickie social-sharing app Snapchat, making usernames and at least partial phone numbers available for download.
The data were posted to the website SnapchatDB.info. By late Wednesday morning, that site had been suspended.

The hack was seemingly intended to urge Snapchat to tighten its security measures. The anonymous hackers said they used an exploit created by recent changes to the app, which lets users share photos or short videos that disappear after a few seconds.

“Our motivation behind the release was to raise the public awareness around the issue, and also put public pressure on Snapchat to get this exploit fixed. It is understandable that tech startups have limited resources but security and privacy should not be a secondary goal. Security matters as much as user experience does,” the hackers said in a statement to Techcrunch.

In the statement, the hackers said they blurred the last two digits of the phone numbers they posted but were still considering whether to post more with the full number visible.

By Wednesday afternoon, developers had used the data to set up a whether their accounts had been compromised.

Snapchat did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.
Last week, — a group of “white hat” hackers, meaning they don’t exploit the security gaps they find — published what they said was code that would enable such a hack. The SnapchatDB group said Snapchat implemented “very minor obstacles” after that.

“We know nothing about SnapchatDB, but it was a matter of time til something like that happened,” Gibson Security wrote Wednesday on its Twitter account. “Also the exploit works still with minor fixes.”

Snapchat appeared to minimize the potential damage from such a hack, claiming that it would require a “huge set of phone numbers, like every number in an area code,” to match usernames to numbers.

“Over the past year we’ve implemented various safeguards to make it more difficult to do. We recently added additional counter-measures and continue to make improvements to combat spam and abuse,” the post read. “Happy Snapping!”

Source: CNN

Skype Twitter Account Hacked, Group Posts Anti-Microsoft Sentiments

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It looks like 2014 is off to a series of hacks, with our report earlier claiming that Snapchat was hacked, compromising some 4.6 million user names and phone numbers in the process, and now it looks like Microsoft’s Skype Twitter and Facebook accounts have been hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army, who have in the past successfully hacked Twitter, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post just to name a few. The group took the opportunity to tweet out some anti-Microsoft sentiments, and advised the followers to stop using Microsoft’s services due to monitoring, which we can only assume has to be related to the recent bout of accusations leveled at the NSA.

According to the tweet, “Don’t use Microsoft emails(hotmail,outlook), they are monitoring your accounts and selling the data to the governments. More details soon #SEA.” The tweets have since been deleted which we can only assume means that Microsoft has managed to regain control of their accounts. Thankfully unlike the Snapchat hack, this was only the hack of Microsoft’s Twitter and Facebook pages, meaning that as far as user information is concerned, it appears to be still intact. Microsoft has yet to respond to the hack.

Source: Ubergizmo