31 Mar

Mobile Boilerplate

Mobile Boilerplate is your trusted template made custom for creating rich and performant mobile web apps. You get cross-browser consistency among A-grade smartphones, and fallback support for legacy Blackberry, Symbian, and IE Mobile. Mobile Boilerplate is not a framework, but works well with projects like jQuery Mobile, Sencha Touch, Phonegap and Appcelerator. You get an offline caching setup for free, fast button clicks, a media query polyfill, and many common mobile WebKit optimizations waiting for you. Use Mobile Boilerplate to start your mobile webapp quickly and immediately benefit from community best practices.

via Mobile Boilerplate. Awesome resource.

30 Mar

BBC News – Google to be audited on privacy after Buzz complaints

Google will be subjected to independent privacy audits for the next 20 years over charges that it "violated its own privacy promises".

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the search giant wrongly used information from Google Mail users last year to create its social network Buzz.

The FTC ruled that "the options for declining or leaving the social network were ineffective".

"Google Buzz fell short of our usual standards," Google said in a blog post.

"While we worked quickly to make improvements, regulators unsurprisingly wanted more detail about what went wrong and how we could prevent it from happening again.

"Today, we’ve reached an agreement with the FTC to address their concerns."

That agreement will require Google to undergo a privacy review once every two years for the next 20 years.

via BBC News – Google to be audited on privacy after Buzz complaints. Google having it’s privacy policies reviewed for the next 20 years is going to be rough on a company who wants to organize the world’s information.

28 Mar

The Firewall – Color App Hack Lets You Spy On Anyone’s Photos Anywhere

When I reached Color spokesman John Kuch, he answered with Color’s usual line on privacy: That it has never claimed to offer any. “It is all public, and we’ve been very clear about that from the very beginning. Within the app, there’s already functionality to look through the entire social graph. Very few people will probably do what you’re saying, but all the pictures, all the comments, all the videos are out there for the public to see.”

(A relevant aside: As my privacy-focused colleague Kashmir Hill points out, that’s me and her in the image used on Color’s homepage and in the app store. No one ever asked our permission to use the photo. Not much of a privacy violation there, given that we were doing an early test of the app with Color’s execs, but a funny example of how Color thinks–or doesn’t–about privacy.)

Color does, of course make everything public. But to access someone’s photos, a user generally has to be in the same geographic vicinity as another user, or cross paths with someone else who is connected to that user. With Wysopal’s trick, we can all start looking at Bill Nguyen’s photos immediately.

via The Firewall – Color App Hack Lets You Spy On Anyone’s Photos Anywhere. Bah privacy, what an overrated concept. Admittedly the process to spy on someone’s photos isn’t the easiest for anyone, using a jailbroken iPhone and faking your geolocation, still it’s an issue. Also the idea of just because you’re near someone doesn’t mean you are part of their social circle in any meaningful way.

27 Mar

NYTimes.com – Radiation + Cable Anchor + Science = ?

Nancy Grace’s behavior on Monday could be seen as simply laughable. But I think it’s far more serious than that, particularly as long as this channel called HLN includes the word news in its description.

She’s smart enough, with a New York University master’s degree in law, to know what she’s doing. I do think she’d benefit, if she wants to keep analyzing news related to science, to spend some time at the university’s great Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting program.

Particularly in situations like this one, where there is an implicit tendency toward emotional reactions and away from rational consideration of hazards, there is a heightened need for the media to remain anchored in reality.Another option for CNN would be to drop the word news from this channel’s description and seek out Charlie Sheen as a co-host.

via NYTimes.com – Radiation + Cable Anchor + Science = ?. Cable news no matter the network typically is a pile of fail when it comes to science.

26 Mar

J-P Teti – The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer

The teenage market is where I like to turn for a prediction of where the general market will be in a few years. Because while teens aren’t nerdy, they tend to be early adopters because it’s cool— taking out my iPad (which I often bring to school in my backpack) is actually considered showing off by a lot of people. Everyone in my class has an Android phone or an iPhone. One of my friends, again, not a tech nerd, had the Droid within 2 months of it being released and had the Verizon iPhone the day after it came out.

And this market thinks the iPad does more.

This is the key to the iPad that nobody has figured out. The iPad does everything that a regular computer user does. Facebook. YouTube. Email. Web browsing. It does all this out of the box.

And it has all the apps.

via J-P Teti – The iPad is 99% more open than any other computer. The iPad does more or at least is perceived as doing more, that’s truly is what matters.

26 Mar

NYTimes.com – Next-Generation Scientists

The research paper they submitted for the school expo was 30 pages of code and 60 pages of writing to explain it. “Emotion is innately meta information,” Matt says, “and that’s why it’s a real challenge. A lot of people base their algorithms off of speech-recognition systems because those have been established. But emotion is a really different task, and it’s a different goal.” For one, in speech recognition, sequence is essential; get the sounds out of order, and you mess up the words. In emotion recognition, the order isn’t nearly as important as various measures of energy and pitch. Determining what information to pay attention to in the audio signal and how to process it involves imagination, some sticky calculus and a lot of trial and error. “We tried to think of something new,” Akash says of the algorithm they built, “instead of using what other people tried to do.” The algorithm they came up with allows them to determine the emotion of a speaker by measuring 57 different features of an audio signal against a prerecorded signal that’s already been defined by a human listener as, say, “happy” or “angry.” Their algorithm doesn’t yet recognize confidence, or sarcasm, but what it does do (imperfectly, but better than the rest of the field) is detect fear, anger, joy and sadness in real time, without eating up so much processing power as to be impractical in a handheld device.

Their project won the team competition at last year’s expo, and they went on to represent O.E.S. at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose, where they received the team award in physical sciences. In the fall, now juniors, they entered the Siemens Competition, one of two premier science competitions in the nation, and made it to the nationals in Washington, where they won the team grand prize. With the honor came $100,000 in scholarship money and two thick glass plaques — one sits above the fireplace in Matt’s house, the other in the dining room of Akash’s. When I met them last month, they had just returned from ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. “Someone gave us his card,” Akash says, “and said, ‘When you make your company, be sure to give us a call.’ ”

via NYTimes.com – Next-Generation Scientists. Impressive work.

26 Mar

Technologizer – Swoopo Quietly Files for Bankruptcy

The site that put the concept of pay-per-bid auctions on the map is now apparently in financial trouble, Technologizer has learned. Although the company’s front page claims “technical issues,” documents from a Munich, Germany bankruptcy court indicate its parent company — Shopping Entertainment AG — filed for bankruptcy protection on Wednesday.

The company is asking for protections from its debtors, and it has named a liquidator to start divesting its assets.

I’ve done a little bit of research across the Web and it seems as if some Swoopo users have been waiting for their items for quite a while, and the site has been down for about a week now. But at least we’re finding out why: Swoopo’s run out of gas — not at all surprising since its business model is built on the willingness of bidders to lose money on lost auctions. If you don’t win, you still paid for every bid you made.

via Technologizer – Swoopo Quietly Files for Bankruptcy. So happy to see this company fail, this was a despicable business model.

26 Mar

The League of Paul – I’m Regretting Going WP7

You could be forgiven for thinking I’m enjoying WP7, given now I have one app on the market, another submitted for certification and working on another two. But at the same time, you could be forgiven for thinking I hate it given the very rocky start the experience has been for me.

In truth, I usually fall somewhere in between – the pros generally outweighing the cons, but as of late Microsoft seems to be going out of their way to make it a miserable experience.

via The League of Paul – I’m Regretting Going WP7. Windows Phone 7 right now looks like a big ball of hurt for app developers.

24 Mar

Bad Astronomy – Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity

Today, House Republicans made it clear just how antiscience they are (as if we didn’t know already): they voted down a simple amendment declaring the reality of climate change. Not that it was human-caused, or dangerous, just that it existed. Which it does.

Y’know, whenever I use the term denier (as in "global warming denier") I get lots of comments accusing me of using a loaded word. But it’s not: it’s precise, and given what we’re seeing in Congress, it’s the exact word to use.

via Bad Astronomy – Next up for Congress: repeal the law of gravity. I’ve been trying thing of something to put here but can’t.

24 Mar

NYTimes.com – The Austerity Delusion

What do these events have in common? They’re all evidence that slashing spending in the face of high unemployment is a mistake. Austerity advocates predicted that spending cuts would bring quick dividends in the form of rising confidence, and that there would be few, if any, adverse effects on growth and jobs; but they were wrong.

It’s too bad, then, that these days you’re not considered serious in Washington unless you profess allegiance to the same doctrine that’s failing so dismally in Europe.

via NYTimes.com – The Austerity Delusion. We have to avoid being like Europe so we’ll do what Europe did but it’ll turn out differently for us.