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29 Oct 19:08

→ Apple: Don’t do math in iOS 8’s Notification Center

Jason Snell reporting on PCalc’s after-the-fact rejection for the audacity of making a very nice Notification Center widget, in the fully supported way, that includes a little calculator:

This is an app that was accepted into the App Store, and is even being featured in the App Store as I write this. And now, a few weeks in, someone at Apple has decided that the app is too… what? Too useful?

Like the after-the-fact rejection of Launcher last month, this feels like the worst era of app review returning with a vengeance.

When decisions like this start happening, Apple needs to reevaluate the purpose of app review: to protect itself, its platform, and its customers from spam, fraud, abuse, and malware (and ensuring Apple gets its cut, which is reasonable).

By limiting the usefulness of Notification Center widgets, what is Apple protecting itself or its customers from?

∞ Permalink

29 Oct 20:12

→ More on Apple post-rejecting PCalc’s widget

Josh Centers:

Arbitrary decisions like this harm Apple’s relationship with developers. If Apple wants developers to keep creating innovative Today View widgets, then it needs to publish detailed, specific guidelines of what widgets can and cannot do. When blood, sweat, tears, and livelihoods are on the line, “I’ll know it when I see it,” doesn’t cut it as an App Store approval policy.

Exactly. It’s in both developers’ and Apple’s best interests that Apple not impose many capricious, unnecessary restrictions, especially as Apple increasingly needs developers to push boundaries to revitalize the iPad.

∞ Permalink

29 Oct 19:30

The Observatory | Robert Morris | Socks Studio The Observatory...

The Observatory | Robert Morris | Socks Studio

The Observatory is a land-art piece by Robert Morris located in Flevoland, in the Netherlands. The first version of the project was created by the artist in 1971 for the open air exhibition “Sonsbeek buiten de perken” (“Sonsbeek out of bounds”) and built in the dunes near Velsen. A year later, the artwork was dismantled and then it was rebuilt in 1977 in Flevoland.

The Observatory (here on google maps) consists of two concentric earth mounds (the exterior measuring a diameter of 71 m) crossed by three V-span openings and divided by a ditch. The interior circle is made by a wood structure which supports earth covered in grass and includes four openings, one of them being the entry. Coming through a triangle-shaped tunnel it is possible to get through the exterior circle right through the middle of the land-art work through the East-West axe. The other three openings in the central circle are oriented in order to frame the sunrise in some specific times of the year. The middle steel visor shows the sunrise at the equinoxes. On the northest and southest sides of the circles are two stone wedges, through which the sunrise on the 21 June and on the 21 December are visible.

29 Oct 21:39

fogo-av: mentalalchemy: nezua: fnhfal: Ferguson -2014 I...

Courtney shared this story from Super Opinionated.





Ferguson -2014

I blinked one day and when I opened my eyes, it was normal to have an American army battling Americans on American streets. No one even calls it a war. But it is.

Don’t forget this shit actually happened.

Don’t forget this shit is STILL happening

29 Oct 21:30

Street Style Search App Cloth Launches Updated App With New Chat, Search, and Social Features

by Glen Tickle

never speak to or be around people

Cloth, the street style search app, has launched a new updated version that offers additional chat and search features. Users can now chat with one another about different looks, search for outfit suggestions based on weather, or see what other users are wearing in real time in cities around the world. iPhone users running iOS 8 can also receive morning notifications of the weather with outfit suggestions for the day.

Cloth is a New York City-based startup founded by Seth PorgesWray Serna, and Bradford Stephens.

The new version of Cloth is available on iOS.

Cloth App Cloth AppCloth App  Cloth App

images via iTunes

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips

29 Oct 14:21

Windows 10 Gets a Package Manager For the Command Line

by Soulskill


aojensen writes: ExtremeTech reports that the most recent build of Windows 10 Technical Preview shows that Windows is finally getting a package manager. The package manager is built for the PowerShell command line based on OneGet. OneGet is a command line utility for PowerShell very similar to classic Linux utilities such as apt-get and yum, which enable administrators and power users comfortable with the command line to install software packages without the need for a graphical installer. ExtremeTech emphasizes that "you can open up PowerShell and use OneGet to install thousands of applications with commands such as Find-Package VLC and Install-Package Firefox." It's a missing feature Linux advocates have long used to argue against Windows in terms of automation and scale. The package manage is open to any software repository and is based on the Chocolatey format for defining package repositories."

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Read more of this story at Slashdot.

29 Oct 21:02

Hey, Marvel! Here’s 19 Actors You Should Seriously Consider Casting For Your Captain Marvel Movie | Page 2 | The Mary Sue

by gguillotte
Katee Sackhoff, Dichen Lachman, Natalie Dormer, Nicole Beharie, Katheryn Winnick, Laverne Cox, Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, Anna Torv, Olivia Munn, Heather Doerksen, Eva Mendes, Yvonne Strahovski, Gina Torres, Caity Lotz, Sydney Tamiia Poitier, Gwendoline Christie, Amrita Acharia, Charlize Theron
28 Oct 17:36

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Apple Over 2011 MacBook Pro Graphics Issues

by Eric Slivka

via Albener Pessoa

Back in January, we highlighted graphics issues being experienced by a number of owners of 2011 15-inch and 17-inch MacBook Pro models, with many users needing to pay for (sometimes multiple) expensive logic board replacements due to the issue. The apparent widespread nature of the issue has led to claims that it is a manufacturing defect that should be covered by Apple, with a petition seeking relief from Apple now exceeding 20,000 signatures and affected users organizing in a Facebook group of over 5,000 members.

We noted in August that law firm Whitfield Bryson & Mason LLP had begun researching the issue, soliciting feedback from affected users to determine whether a class action lawsuit against Apple might be warranted. The firm apparently found sufficient reason to proceed as it has announced today that it has indeed filed suit against Apple on behalf of affected consumers.
Our firm recently filed a class-action lawsuit in a California federal court against Apple, Inc. on behalf of residents in the States of California and Florida who purchased 2011 MacBook Pro Laptops with AMD GPUs who experienced graphical distortions and system failures.
The firm is continuing to solicit feedback from affected users and is considering filing actions in other jurisdictions around the country.

The lawsuit lays out the plaintiffs' argument that the issues stem from hardware defects related to the lead-free solder used on the AMD graphics chips in the 2011 MacBook Pro models.
When the lead-free solder cracks it degrades the data flow between the GPU and the logic board. A small crack can cause the laptop’s graphics to become distorted on occasion. But as cracks in the lead-free solder propagate over time, the graphics issues worsen and system stability decreases, until eventually the computer is completely unusable. This defect related to the lead-free solder connecting the GPU to the logic board (the “Graphics Defect”) limits all computers at the point of sale forward from performing as advertised and warranted.
The suit goes on to note that Apple's only solution offered for the issue is complete logic board replacement, but that the remedy is ineffective as replacement parts use the same solder and fail in the same way, sometimes within days. Apple has also in many cases charged consumers for the repairs and has refused requests to reimburse consumers for repairs paid for out of pocket.

Drawing parallels to similar graphics issues in the 2008 MacBook Pro that ultimately resulted in a recall by Apple, the plaintiffs in this case request that Apple acknowledge a defect in the 2011 MacBook Pro models, notify owners of the issue, bear the costs of inspection of affected machines, and pay the full costs of repairs and damages. The suit also requests that users who have paid out of pocket for repairs be reimbursed for their expenses.

28 Oct 04:09

Tim Cook on Apple Watch: 'You're Going to Wind Up Charging It Daily'

by Juli Clover

via Albener Pessoa

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage today at the WSJ.D conference in Laguna Beach, California, where he commented on an array of topics including the Apple Watch, Apple Pay, Apple TV, and more.

Unsurprisingly, Cook said that Apple is "excited" about the upcoming launch of the Apple Watch, and he's impressed that Jony Ive and his team had the foresight to understand that "something you wear has to be personal" and that it can't be "geeky."

Cook divulged some new information on the Apple Watch's battery, which has previously gone unmentioned by Apple. Cook says that people will use it so much that it will need to be charged on a daily basis. "You're going to wind up charging it daily," he said, declining to provide a specific battery life for the device as Apple is still examining how people use it.

Battery life on the Apple Watch has been in question since long before the device launched, with early reports suggesting Apple was having trouble getting the device to last longer than a day. While the company was originally aiming to have the Apple Watch last three to four days, it appears that battery life may be closer to the iPhone's battery life, requiring a charge on a nightly basis. Apple employees have also suggested that the device may only last for a full day of usage, which is why Apple designed an easy charging system.

The Apple Watch connects to a magnetic charger that's much like the MagSafe chargers supplied with the Mac, snapping easily to the back of the device. High-end versions of the Apple Watch even ship in a luxury box that doubles as a charging stand. Apple likely has not commented officially on the Apple Watch battery as it is continuing to finalize the software for the device ahead of its early 2015 launch.

An official rough transcript of Cook's comments during the interview, which also covered the Mac, the iPhone, Apple's taxes in Ireland, plans for a low cost iPhone, and Cook's thoughts on Carl Icahn, can be found over at The Wall Street Journal, and a second comprehensive live blog from Fast Company's Harry McCracken also has details on exactly what Cook shared during the conversation.

29 Oct 15:00

ChronodeVFD, a Watch by @Johngineer #WearableWednesday

by Becky Stern



Lovely VFD wristwatch by John De Cristofaro!

The ChronodeVFD is a personal project I’ve been working on for a couple of months. It’s a wristwatch built around the IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube. I originally purchased a few of these tubes to build a standard desk clock, but after playing around with them, I realized I could probably build a wristwatch too. The tube has a number of features which make it more suited than most Soviet-surplus VFDs for this purpose.

  • nominal 60mA filament current @ 2.4V, but still works with ~35mA @ 1.2V.
  • It’s small — only 1.25 x 2.25″
  • It’s flat, as opposed to the round tubes like the IV-18, which would be much clunkier in a watch design.
  • can operate from a relatively low grid voltage of 12-13V (up to 24V)
  • pulls only about 2.5mA/segment from the grid rail @ 12.5V. (“8″ = 20mA)

One other feature that I like about this device is that unlike nearly every other VFD tube, the IVL2-7/5 has no opaque or diffuse backing behind the digits. It’s completely transparent front to back, which means that if you put it on top of a circuit board, you can (with a bit of backlighting) see the PCB below.

Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

29 Oct 15:15

Comcast agrees to $50M settlement in 11-year-old class action antitrust suit

by Jon Brodkin

all carriers suck forever

Comcast has agreed to pay $16.7 million and provide services worth another $33.3 million to end an 11-year-old class action lawsuit in which Philadelphia residents alleged that the company violated federal antitrust law.

Filed on December 8, 2003, the suit claimed that large cable companies such as Comcast “divided and allocated markets through a series of agreements ‘swapping’ customers and ‘clustering’ cable systems in geographic areas. Such conduct has allowed a cable company, including Defendant, in a particular ‘cluster’ to acquire or maintain monopoly power, raise prices, engage in anticompetitive conduct, and limit choice for cable consumers to effectively the only game in town—the cable services of the 'cluster' monopoly cable company.”

The case went through many twists and turns over the years, including a Supreme Court ruling in favor of Comcast in March 2013. The plaintiffs, who had been seeking $875 million, kept the suit going by moving to re-certify a narrower class of alleged victims. Comcast still denies the allegations but agreed to a proposed settlement.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

29 Oct 17:00



shouldn't be necessary, but hooray


Marksy is a Chrome Extension that converts one markup language to another in your browser.

Marksy supports a slew of popular formats—Markdown, reStructuredText, Textile, MediaWik, &c. As well as the Chrome extension, there’s an easy-to-use API.

Via Brett Terpstra.

29 Oct 17:30

A week with Apple Pay

by Megan Geuss

spoilers: works as well as Google Wallet, except when it doesn't

Apple's relying on someone else's hardware as an integral part of the experience, hardware that we already know is pretty terrible, not maintained (especially outside of places where compatible tech is dense and expertise is readily available), and potentially vulnerable in ways Apple can't anticipate no matter how novel their tokenization system is

Megan Geuss

Back in 2011 when I worked for PC World, Google gave me a Sprint Nexus S 4G review unit with the brand-new Google Wallet app on it. I set up a pre-paid card and took the phone around to a handful of retailers around downtown San Francisco, testing to see how paying with a phone worked in the real world.

Apple's incorporation of contactless EMV standards and tokenization, as well as its apparent business deals with participating banks (all of which are discussed in this companion post), make me a little more confident about security and future support on Apple's platform than I am about Google's, but both solutions seem more secure than simply using a magnetic stripe card at any of the retailers that support NFC. I won't be running out and buying an iPhone 6 just for Apple Pay, but it would definitely add to a list of “pros” if I were considering buying a new phone.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

29 Oct 17:58

This Android smartphone is too thin for a headphone jack

by Vlad Savov

always, eternally mystified about how charging ports never took off as headphone ports

Chinese phone makers have been engaged in a long-running battle to see who can produce the thinnest possible smartphone, and today Oppo has scooped the title with the scarcely believable 4.85mm-thick R5. There is a caveat to that measurement since the camera sticks out from the ultra-slim body of the phone, but this is still the first handset of its kind to fit in under half a centimeter. Oppo has done its best not to compromise a spec sheet that includes a 5.2-inch Super AMOLED display, an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor, and 13-megapixel camera, however the small 2,000mAh battery and the absence of a headphone jack mark significant drawbacks for the R5.

Oppo's no stranger to building peculiar or niche devices — the company today also introduced a new selfie-focused handset in the form of the Oppo N3 — but it just doesn't provide a real reason for why anyone would want a 4.85mm-thick smartphone. Apple's opted for a similar approach with its new slimmed-down iPhones this year, though it too has failed to justify the emphasis on aesthetics over manifestly useful things like a bigger battery. The fact is that most phones today are thin enough, and the single-minded pursuit of making them thinner is now leading us down a path of carrying more equipment, whether it be battery cases or headphone adapters, rather than less.

29 Oct 18:31

SodaStream will move its West Bank factory after controversy

by Colin Lecher

In 2012, the Israeli company SodaStream — producer of a machine that makese seltzer water and soda at home — became an unlikely flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian relations. The company drew criticism for having a factory in an Israeli settlement of the West Bank, an area occupied by Israel but claimed by Palestinians. Next year, the company says, that factory will be gone.

The factory will move by 2015

SodaStream became the target of a boycott organized by activists, which also swept up the company's spokeswoman, Scarlett Johansson. Although a representative for SodaStream said the move will be for "purely commercial" reasons, the company has decided to shut down its current factory and open up shop in northern Israel by 2015, the Associated Press reports. The company told the AP that it received $20 million from the Israeli government for the move, and the new factory will become its "flagship manufacturing site."

Whether it's caused by controversy or commerce, the company needs some kind of new strategy: after some major retailers decided to pull its products from stores, the company's stock has tanked, falling more than 50 percent this year, while its revenue was down 41 percent in the most recent quarter.

29 Oct 19:24

Adobe Book Reader Surveillance

by Bruce Schneier
29 Oct 17:18

Reddit Launched Its Own Crowdfunding Site, Prepare for Infinite Meme T-Shirts - Is this what Snoop Dogg hath wrought?

by Dan Van Winkle



Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 12.49.19 PM

Those investor dollars Reddit took in from the likes of Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto seem to be paying off, as the site has just launched its very own crowdfunding arm: Redditmade.

The crowdfunding site is currently in open beta and functions similarly to Kickstarter with campaign time limits and funding goals that need to be met before campaigns shut up and take anyone’s money. According to Reddit’s announcement, Redditmade will help subreddits produce their own merchandise among other things:

One of the biggest reasons we created redditmade was to allow subreddits an easy way to create official subreddit merch for their communities. Whatever you want to make, we’ll connect you to our network of quality sourcing partners for a variety of products and walk you through every step of the process so your community can celebrate your connection and show off your pride without all the work.

Official subreddit campaigns get additional support

Official subreddit campaigns are distinguished on redditmade as featured campaigns, and they can also receive complimentary ads on reddit for the subreddit they are associated with.

We also allow individuals to create campaigns, and someone in your community may create a product they would like to connect to your subreddit. If this happens, we’ll send you a mod mail asking you to endorse this product as an official subreddit campaign if you think it accurately represents your community.

Well this should get interesting. Reddit has a lot of good things going on, and everything looks very tame and nice so far, but there’s also a good number of subreddits whose merchandise we will be sure to love when it winds up on the front page of Redditmade. Oh, did I say love? I think I meant loathe to our very cores.

Let’s watch what happens, shall we?


(via The Verge, image via screenshot)

Previously in

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24 Oct 18:12

Students at a Nebraska High School Can Now Pose With Guns in Their Senior Portraits | Mother Jones

by hodad

the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun


Seniors at Broken Bow High School in Nebraska have been granted their God-given right to pose with guns for their upcoming senior portraits, just as long as the photos are taken off campus and done "tastefully."

“The board, I believe, felt they wanted to give students who are involved in those kinds of things the opportunity to take a senior picture with their hobby, with their sport, just like anybody with any other hobby or sport,” Superintendent Mark Sievering explained to local paper, the Omaha World-Herald.

One would think such a bizarre proposal would prompt some level of debate, a modicum of sane opposition! After all, we're talking about mere teenagers eerily striking poses with weapons in their adolescent hands. Alas, the idea was met with a unanimous yes by all members of the Broken Bow school board.

“For me as a sportsman, I think the policy’s important because it allows those kids who are doing those things a chance to demonstrate what they’re doing and to celebrate that. I think that’s important and fair in our country," board member Matthew Haumont said.

As for the "tasteful" requirement, that means classy poses only folks: no photos with weapons pointed at the camera, no brandishing of weapons, and no "scantily clad girls."

Original Source

29 Oct 20:15

Newswire: Google Glass officially banned from movie theaters

by Katie Rife

The Motion Picture Association of America and National Association of Theatre Owners have updated their anti-piracy policy to ban the use of Google Glass in movie theaters, saying they have a “zero tolerance policy” towards the wearing of any Internet-enabled device to the multiplex. Unlike most who object to Google Glass, the MPAA and NATO’s objections don’t stem from the fact that wearing one makes you look like a douchebag from the year 2125, but because the devices have the ability to record video without being obvious about it, despite Google’s claims to the contrary.

The ban comes after a Columbus, Ohio man was detained for three and a half hours by the Department of Homeland Security after he was spotted wearing Google Glass to a screening of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit. The man and his wife were released after officials determined that he was merely watching ...

24 Oct 20:19

About That ‘Common Core’ Math Problem Making the Rounds on Facebook…

by hodad

Over the past week, I’ve seen this image multiple times on Facebook and elsewhere, a supposed denunciation of the Common Core version of math that kids are now learning:

That picture is especially popular on conservatives’ Facebook walls… and I’m sure one of your relatives has said something about it, too.

On the surface, it seems ridiculous. The top makes sense; the bottom is silly; screw you, Common Core!

Except that the top doesn’t make sense, the bottom does, and the connection to Common Core is completely misunderstood. (Says this math teacher.)

Here’s what’s going on: The top is how most of us learned subtraction. I’m sure your teachers taught you what was going on mathematically, but do you really remember what they said? Probably not. For us, it’s just an algorithm. You can do it without thinking. You hope there’s no “borrowing” of numbers involved, but if you had to do it by hand, you could probably pull it off.

The problem with that method is that if I ask students to explain why it works, they’d have a really hard time explaining it to me. They might be able to do the computation, but they don’t get the math behind it. For some people, that’s fine. For math teachers, that’s a problem because it means a lot of students won’t be able to grasp other math concepts in the future because they never really developed “number sense.”

That’s where the bottom solution comes into play. I admit it’s totally confusing but here’s what it’s saying:

If you want to subtract 12 from 32, there’s a better way to think about it. Forget the algorithm. Instead, count up from 12 to an “easier” number like 15. (You’ve gone up 3.) Then, go up to 20. (You’ve gone up another 5.) Then jump to 30. (Another 10). Then, finally, to 32. (Another 2.)

I know. That’s still ridiculous. Well, consider this: Suppose you buy coffee and it costs $4.30 but all you have is a $20 bill. How much change should the barista give you back? (Assume for a second the register is broken.)

You sure as hell aren’t going to get out a sheet of paper and do this:

Instead, you’d just figure it out this way: It’d take 70 cents to get to $5… and another $15 to get to $20… so you should get back $15.70.

That’s it. That’s the sort of math most of us do on a regular basis and it’s exactly the sort of thinking the “new” way in the picture is attempting to explain. Granted that was an *awful* example to use, but that’s the idea. If students can get a handle on thinking this way instead of just plugging numbers into a formula, the thinking goes, it’ll make other math skills much easier to understand.

This image from Reddit clarifies the situation even more (click to enlarge):

As that image also points out, Common Core doesn’t say, “Do this.” Rather, it suggests some general standards that students at each grade level should meet and most states have agreed to adopt those standards.

But none of that matters to the people who would rather complain about the “new” math without taking a second to understand what they’re even looking at.

There may be plenty of reasons to criticize Common Core (such as the standardized testing component of it), but this isn’t one of them.

***Update*** (3/9/14): I should point out that the Common Core standards do include teaching students the “old way.” The “new way” is just one suggested method of teaching students how to add/subtract numbers.

Original Source

29 Oct 20:30

How the United States Looked to the Civilized World in 1803

by Annalee Newitz

How the United States Looked to the Civilized World in 1803

In 1803, the United States was still struggling to be taken seriously as a nation. Still, it seemed promising enough that the great civilization known as the Ottoman Empire began to take notice of it. This gorgeous map is one of the earliest and most detailed that Ottoman geographers produced of the region.


27 Oct 18:04

The Cheapest Generation - Atlantic Mobile

by hodad

'The typical new car costs $30,000 and sits in a garage or parking spot for 23 hours a day. Zipcar gives drivers access to cars they don’t have to own. Car ownership, meanwhile, has slipped down the hierarchy of status goods for many young adults. “Zipcar conducted a survey of Millennials,” Mark Norman, the company’s president and chief operating officer, told us. “And this generation said, ‘We don’t care about owning a car.’ Cars used to be what people aspired to own. Now it’s the smartphone.”'

'Education is the “obvious outlet for the money Millennials can spend,” Perry Wong, the director of research at the Milken Institute, told us, noting that if young people invest less in physical things like houses, they’ll have more to invest in themselves. “In the past, housing was the main vehicle for investment, but education is also a vehicle.” In an ideas economy, up-to-date knowledge could be a more nimble and valuable asset than a house.'

Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy

In 2009, Ford brought its new supermini, the Fiesta, over from Europe in a brave attempt to attract the attention of young Americans. It passed out 100 of the cars to influential bloggers for a free six-month test-drive, with just one condition: document your experience online, whether you love the Fiesta or hate it.

Young bloggers loved the car. Young drivers? Not so much. After a brief burst of excitement, in which Ford sold more than 90,000 units over 18 months, Fiesta sales plummeted. As of April 2012, they were down 30 percent from 2011.

Don’t blame Ford. The company is trying to solve a puzzle that’s bewildering every automaker in America: How do you sell cars to Millennials (a k a Generation Y)? The fact is, today’s young people simply don’t drive like their predecessors did. In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985. Miles driven are down, too. Even the proportion of teenagers with a license fell, by 28 percent, between 1998 and 2008.


Adulthood, Delayed
The Great Recession changed young Americans' attitudes about what it means to be an adult.
by Derek Thompson
Why Are Young People Ditching Cars for Smart Phones?
For cash-strapped 20-somethings, staying connected may be worth more than a set of wheels.
by Jordan Weissmann

In a bid to reverse these trends, General Motors has enlisted the youth-brand consultants at MTV Scratch—a corporate cousin of the TV network responsible for Jersey Shore—to give its vehicles some 20-something edge. “I don’t believe that young buyers don’t care about owning a car,” says John McFarland, GM’s 31-year-old manager of global strategic marketing. “We just think nobody truly understands them yet.” Subaru, meanwhile, is betting that it can appeal to the quirky eco-­conscious individualism that supposedly characterizes this generation. “We’re trying to get the emotional connection correct,” says Doug O’Reilly, a publicist for Subaru. Ford, for its part, continues to push heavily into social media, hoping to more closely match its marketing efforts to the channels that Millennials use and trust the most.

All of these strategies share a few key assumptions: that demand for cars within the Millennial generation is just waiting to be unlocked; that as the economy slowly recovers, today’s young people will eventually want to buy cars as much as their parents and grandparents did; that a finer-tuned appeal to Millennial values can coax them into dealerships.

Perhaps. But what if these assumptions are simply wrong? What if Millennials’ aversion to car-buying isn’t a temporary side effect of the recession, but part of a permanent generational shift in tastes and spending habits? It’s a question that applies not only to cars, but to several other traditional categories of big spending—most notably, housing. And its answer has large implications for the future shape of the economy—and for the speed of recovery.

Since World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the economy and propelled recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.

Half of a typical family’s spending today goes to transportation and housing, according to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey, released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the height of the housing bubble, residential construction and related activities accounted for more than a quarter of the economy in metro areas like Las Vegas and Orlando. Nation­wide, new-car and new-truck purchases hovered near historic highs. But Millennials have turned against both cars and houses in dramatic and historic fashion. Just as car sales have plummeted among their age cohort, the share of young people getting their first mortgage between 2009 and 2011 is half what it was just 10 years ago, according to a Federal Reserve study.

Needless to say, the Great Recession is responsible for some of the decline. But it’s highly possible that a perfect storm of economic and demographic factors—from high gas prices, to re-­urbanization, to stagnating wages, to new technologies enabling a different kind of consumption—has fundamentally changed the game for Millennials. The largest generation in American history might never spend as lavishly as its parents did—nor on the same things. Since the end of World War II, new cars and suburban houses have powered the world’s largest economy and propelled our most impressive recoveries. Millennials may have lost interest in both.

When Zipcar was founded, in 2000, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.50, and iPhones didn’t exist. Since then, it has become the world’s largest car-sharing company, with some 700,000 members. Zipcar owes much of its success to two facts. First, gas prices more than doubled, which made car-sharing alluring. Second, smartphones became ubiquitous, which made car-sharing easier.

The emergence of the “sharing economy”—services that use the Web to let companies and families share otherwise idle goods—is headlined by Zipcar, but it also involves companies such as Airbnb, a shared market­place for bedrooms and other accommodations for travelers; and thred­UP, a site where parents can buy and sell kids’ used clothing.

From a distance, the sharing of cars, rooms, and clothes may seem a curiosity, more hippie than revolutionary. But tech­nology is allow­ing these practices to go mainstream, and that represents a big new step for consumers. For decades, inventory manage­ment was largely the province of companies, not individuals, and continual efforts to reduce inventory—the stock of things just sitting around—helped companies improve their bottom line. But today, peer-to-peer software and mobile technology allow us all to have access, just when we need it, to the things we used to have to buy and hold. And the most powerful application is for cars.

The typical new car costs $30,000 and sits in a garage or parking spot for 23 hours a day. Zipcar gives drivers access to cars they don’t have to own. Car ownership, meanwhile, has slipped down the hierarchy of status goods for many young adults. “Zipcar conducted a survey of Millennials,” Mark Norman, the company’s president and chief operating officer, told us. “And this generation said, ‘We don’t care about owning a car.’ Cars used to be what people aspired to own. Now it’s the smartphone.”

Some automakers are slowly coming around to that view. Last year, Ford agreed to become Zipcar’s largest supplier on more than 250 college campuses. Young people prize “access over ownership,” said Sheryl Connelly, head of global consumer trends at Ford. “I don’t think car-buying for Millennials will ever be what it was for Boomers. But we know if they have the opportunity to drive Ford, they’re more likely to choose Ford if they buy a car.”

Subaru’s publicist Doug O’Reilly told us, “The Millennial wants to tell people not just ‘I’ve made it,’ but also ‘I’m a tech person.’ ” Smartphones compete against cars for young people’s big-ticket dollars, since the cost of a good phone and data plan can exceed $1,000 a year. But they also provide some of the same psychic benefits—opening new vistas and carrying us far from the physical space in which we reside. “You no longer need to feel connected to your friends with a car when you have this technology that’s so ubiquitous, it transcends time and space,” Connelly said.

In other words, mobile technology has empowered more than just car-sharing. It has empowered friendships that can be maintained from a distance. The upshot could be a continuing shift from automobiles to mobile technology, and a big reduction in spending.

Millennials, of course, are sharing more than transportation: they’re also sharing living quarters, albeit begrudgingly, and with less gee-whiz technology involved. According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, between 2006 and 2011, the homeownership rate among adults younger than 35 fell by 12 percent, and nearly 2 million more of them—the equivalent of Houston’s population—were living with their parents, as a result of the recession. The ownership society has been overrun by renters and squatters.

Nine out of 10 Millennials say they eventually want a place they own, according to a recent Fannie Mae survey. But this generation’s path to home­ownership is fraught with obstacles: low pay, low savings, tighter lending standards from banks. Student debt—some $1 trillion in total—stalks many potential buyers as they seek a mortgage (or a car loan). At a minimum, homeownership rates are highly unlikely to soon return to the peaks they hit during the housing bubble.

Still, in the next decade, a group of people the size of California’s population—­most of them Millennials—will likely come together to form new households. The question is: Where, and in what manner?

In some respects, Millennials’ residential aspirations appear to be changing just as significantly as their driving habits—indeed, the two may be related. The old cul-de-sacs of Revolutionary Road and Desperate Housewives have fallen out of favor with Generation Y. Rising instead are both city centers and what some developers call “urban light”—denser suburbs that revolve around a walkable town center. “People are very eager to create a life that blends the best features of the American suburb—schools still being the primary, although not the only, draw—and urbanity,” says Adam Ducker, a managing director at the real-estate consultancy RCLCO. These are places like Culver City, California, and Evanston, Illinois, where residents can stroll among shops and restaurants or hop on public transportation. Such small cities and town centers lend themselves to tighter, smaller housing developments, whether apartments in the middle of town, or small houses a five-minute drive away. An RCLCO survey from 2007 found that 43 percent of Gen‑Yers would prefer to live in a close-in suburb, where both the houses and the need for a car are smaller.

Wholly apart from their urban sensibility, townhouses and other small houses are more affordable, all else equal, and developers know that to attract Millennials, they need to cater to tattered bank accounts. “The types of properties young people are buying now are different from what [that age group] bought five years ago,” said Shannon Williams King, the vice chair of strategic planning at the National Association of Realtors. “They are within walking distance of shopping centers. These buyers want bike shares and Zipcar. They like feeling connected.” In short, the future of the house might look a lot like the future of the car: smaller, cheaper, built for a new economy.

If the Millennials are not quite a post-­driving and post-owning generation, they’ll almost certainly be a less-­driving and less-­owning generation. That could mean some tough adjustments for the economy over the next several years. In recent decades, the housing industry has usually led us out of recession. When the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates in the midst of the sharp recession of the early 1980s, for instance, a construction boom helped fuel the “Reagan Recovery.” With the housing market moribund, the Federal Reserve has lost a key means of influencing the economy with lower interest rates. The service-led recovery we’ve gotten instead is not nearly as robust.

“I don’t think car-buying for Millennials will ever be what it was for Boomers,” said Sheryl Connelly, head of global consumer trends at Ford.

Smaller houses built in dense, mixed-use neighborhoods generally take longer to build than McMansions on green-field sites. And of course, because they require fewer fixtures and furnishings, their construction spurs less economic activity.

What’s more, both construction and automaking are solidly blue-­collar sectors. They employ millions of middle-class workers, who could be hurt by a transition away from home construction and auto manufacturing. The tech companies that sell personal electronics and provide high-speed Internet connections don’t need as many workers. And the jobs they do create—domestically at least—skew heavily toward the top of the socioeconomic ladder.

Yet in the long run, there’s good cause for optimism as well. Nobody is suggesting that the American consumer has bought her last house or car—only that houses and cars may lose some of the outsize importance they’ve had to the economy for the past 10 or 20 years or more. “There are a lot of countries, Germany for example, where homeownership rates are a lot lower than ours, and they have healthy incomes,” said Robert Lerman, an Urban Institute fellow in labor and social policy. Simple arithmetic says that if Americans spend less money on cars and houses, they’ll have more money left over to spend or save—and not all of that will go to electronic gadgets.

Education is the “obvious outlet for the money Millennials can spend,” Perry Wong, the director of research at the Milken Institute, told us, noting that if young people invest less in physical things like houses, they’ll have more to invest in themselves. “In the past, housing was the main vehicle for investment, but education is also a vehicle.” In an ideas economy, up-to-date knowledge could be a more nimble and valuable asset than a house.

What’s more, the shift away from traditional suburbs toward denser, urban-light living could have major economic-growth implications on its own. Economic research shows that doubling a community’s population density tends to increase productivity by anywhere between 6 percent and 28 percent. Economists have found that more than half of the variation in output per worker across U.S. states can be explained by density. Our wealth, after all, is determined not only by our own skills and talents, but by our ability to access the ideas of those around us; there’s a lot to be gained by increasing the odds that smart people might bump against each other. Ultimately, if the Millennial generation pushes our society toward more sharing and closer living, it may do more than simply change America’s consumption culture; it may put America on firmer economic footing for decades to come.

Original Source

29 Oct 18:55

An Interactive Ranking of the Most Popular Halloween Costumes in America From 2009 to 2013

by Rollin Bishop

Costume Ranking

NPR’s Planet Money blog has an interactive ranking of the most popular Halloween costumes in America from 2009 to 2013. Users can hover over a specific costume, like zombie, in order to see its rise and fall in popularity over time. Witches, vampires, and pirates seems to be a constant favorite but there are a few interesting additions. The chart — created by Quoctrung Bui and LA Johnson — uses data from the National Retail Federation.

29 Oct 18:59

Pentagon Will Quarantine U.S. Troops Returning From Ebola Mission, Won't Call It A Quarantine

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered Wednesday that all U.S. troops who deploy to West Africa as part of the force assisting in the Ebola virus crisis be put in quarantine-like monitoring for 21 days, even though none are expected to treat patients directly.
29 Oct 19:08

Retailer-Backed ApplePay Rival CurrentC Has Already Been Hacked, So That’s Reassuring - On the bright side: Its app store rating can't get any lower.

by Dan Van Winkle


CurrentC is quickly becoming a cautionary tale about trying to beat Apple and Google. The retailer-backed solution to paying for things with your phone has been practically one star reviewed into oblivion on the App Store and Google Play, and now it’s fallen victim to a hack before it’s even made an official debut.

Unlike ApplePay and Google Wallet, CurrentC makes use of scanning totally cutting edge and not at all outdated QR codes to show cashiers that you’ve paid for something. Doesn’t that sound easier than tapping your NFC-enabled iOS or Android device to the right spot at the cash register? Looks like users on the App store don’t think so:


And it’s still only available by invite.

But at least it’s totally secure, right? MCX (Merchant Customer Exchange), the company behind CurrentC, proudly proclaims, “Security at every level,” on the CurrentC site, but that didn’t stop hackers from stealing email addresses from beta users. Luckily, no other personal data was stolen, so the worst that is likely to happen is that these users will see an increase in the amount of “mail enhancement” emails in their spam folders.

For CurrentC, though, the hack might be more damaging. They’re already facing unfavorable public opinion over the fact that some stores have disabled NFC payments to cut off Google Wallet and ApplePay because they’re among the retailers involved with MCX—which Walgreens is loving, by the way:

Hey, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users! The choice is yours: Use #ApplePay today at any of our stores!

— Walgreens (@Walgreens) October 28, 2014

This email hack certainly isn’t going to make things any better for CurrentC, whether it was a severe breach or not. MCX acknowledged the incident on their blog:

Within the last 36 hours, we learned that unauthorized third parties obtained the e-mail addresses of some of our CurrentC pilot program participants and individuals who had expressed interest in the app. Many of these email addresses are dummy accounts used for testing purposes only. The CurrentC app itself was not affected.

We have notified our merchant partners about this incident and directly communicated with each of the individuals whose email addresses were involved. We take the security of our users’ information extremely seriously. MCX is continuing to investigate this situation and will provide updates as necessary.

I can only assume those updates will include, “Well, I guess that’s that,” and, “Goodbye, cruel world.”

(via TechCrunch, featured image via CurrentC)

Previously in tech company problems

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29 Oct 20:13

Talking French Bulldog Tries to Teach His Brother Frank to Speak the Same Way He Does

by Lori Dorn

Manny the Frenchie, an adorable French Bulldog known for his conversational skills, tries to teach his brother Frank how to speak the same way he does, but to no avail. Manny shouldn’t feel too offended however, as it seems that Frank has a history of losing focus whenever anyone speaks to him.

via Tastefully Offensive

29 Oct 04:36

Jason Bateman slated to direct, play Portland's Mike Merrill, the publicly traded man, in 'IPO Man'


ha, of course that was a portland thing, how did I not guess that

29 Oct 15:31

2 local yoga studios close without warning


'“For well over a year, I’ve lost between $2,000 and $10,000 every month and just kept hoping that things would turn around,” said yoga instructor Andrea Logue reading the email the owner sent her.

Logue worked at the Sellwood location and said once she got the email, she immediately tried to call the owner, but his phone was disconnected.

“There was no mention how he would reimburse or pay us for classes we have taught that month,” said Logue.'

29 Oct 16:58

we-smoke-the-blunts: oh my god


via Toaster Strudel
no saiyan only corg


oh my god

29 Oct 17:12

Anthony Davis' brilliance covers up the Pelicans' flaws

by Kevin Zimmerman

lol OMG

anthony davis is making my unibrow cool

If the season opener was any indication, Davis may actually be good enough to help New Orleans overcome many issues.

By putting together a 26-point, 17-rebound, nine-block, three-steal performance against the depleted Orlando Magic on Tuesday, Pelicans forward Anthony Davis made a statement as the NBA season begins. The myriad of ways he came about those numbers against the Magic and how effective he was without being more than the most freakish athlete on the floor should make the Pelicans hopeful that a near-triple-double is far from Davis' ceiling.

If he's not already the next best thing behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant, then it's not hard to imagine he will be, and soon.

As a team, New Orleans wasn't exactly efficient by shooting 41 percent overall, an abysmal 24 percent from the three-point line and 15-for-31 on threes. But it was all the intangibles, led by Davis, that pushed them forward. Davis' individual performance said as much about the his team's weaknesses as it did about how they can overcome them.

Along with the 17-rebound, five-block debut from New Orleans center Omer Asik, Davis created issues in the paint for the Magic, who shot 38 percent from the field. The third-year forward had a hand in Orlando losing the battles on the break (17-10 in favor of the Pellies), in second-chance points (32-19) and points in the paint (64-48).

Those numbers obviously frustrated Orlando coach Jacque Vaughnper the Times Picayune:

''I glanced at the stat sheet before I walked out here and to see us hold a team to 40 percent," he said. "I think they made four threes throughout the night and for us to lose by double digits, pretty tough to fathom. Give them (Pelicans) a lot of credit for their aggressiveness, their physicality that they play with, their second-chance points and getting to the board, it stares you in the face. That was the difference in the game.''

Davis' nine blocks came in every which way. He swatted putbacks, drives, jumpers and post-up attempts. On a single play following teammate Eric Gordon's own block on a Magic jumper, Davis blocked an Elfrid Payton drive and, once Payton corralled the loose ball, also sent the putback the other way:

Pelicans’ Anthony Davis does everything in season opener: Brow’s block chart for this game:

— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) October 29, 2014

Then there was the rebounding that pretty much led to Davis' offense. His 26 points rarely came in any organized fashion. Two catch-and-shoot jumpers made up the forward's 10 makes, but the rest were easy transition buckets, second-chance points or dunks after Davis was, as always, using his strong nose for the ball.

Other than Davis, few Pelicans impressed. The lack of shooting on the Pelicans' roster reared its head outside of Ryan Anderson, who produced 22 points on 22 shots and in 22 minutes. The now healthy perimeter trio of Jrue HolidayTyreke Evans and Gordon shot a combined 12-for-34 from the field and don't have the greatest expectations in helping space the court, either. This allowed the Magic to successfully keep Davis from getting easy opportunities in the paint. Davis went 10-for-22 from the floor, hitting 2-of-6 attempts outside the paint.

Near the rim, a still-thin Davis struggled to finish on post moves, drives and any shot attempts through contact:


The offensive issues on Tuesday night only spell out how much room for improvement remains in Davis' game. He's just 21 years old and on an off night put up a near-triple-double performance. It was the first time a player has recorded such numbers since 2008, when Dwight Howard rolled up 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks.

And at the team level, from a very, very small sample size -- one game early in the year against a subpar team -- it appears New Orleans needs Davis to be this great every night. Their starting lineup lacks spacing and Gordon and Evans still get in each other's way.

That Davis can impact the game to such a degree despite his room for growth on the offensive end especially bodes well for the Pelicans. They'll need him to be this good every night to make the playoffs in a deep West.