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  • Whisper Responds To Damaging Accusations And Places Employees Involved On Leave

    whisper michael heyward

    Anonymous secret-sharing app Whisper has placed some of its employees on administrative leave following a report that called some of its business practices into question.

    Last week, The Guardian published an exposé on Whisper, alleging that the app tracks some of its users, even when they've opted out of its geolocation tool. It was alarming because Whisper prides itself on being a completely anonymous; a community where it's safe to share any secret, however deep or dark. Further, The Guardian alleged that Whisper sometimes shares user location information with authorities when it deems necessary.

    The Guardian reporters initially traveled to Whisper's Santa Monica headquarters as part of a journalistic partnership. But while they were there, they say they saw and heard things that contradicted Whisper's mission to have a completely anonymous and safe application.

    When The Guardian's report first came out, Whisper's editor-in-chief Neetzan Zimmerman was quick to deflect the story on Twitter as "full of lousy falsehoods." A 5-page email, which Whisper says was sent to The Guardian before it published the expose, denied many of The Guardian's allegations.

    Whisper hasn't said which employees are on leave, however Zimmerman has hardly sent any public messages on Twitter in a week.

    Now, Whisper is being called before the Senate commerce committee to discuss privacy concerns that were reported by The Guardian. The Guardian asked Whisper to answer ten questions for the committee, such as: "How did Whisper obtain the broad location of some users who opted out of geolocation services?"

    "We share the Senator's interest in protecting consumer privacy and will respond shortly," Heyward wrote in a statement given to Business Insider. "We welcome the discussion and opportunity to correct the record."

    Heyward also says Whisper is launching an internal investigation into The Guardian's report. From his statement:

    "I wrote last Saturday that we welcome the current discussion around Whisper, and are grateful to those who have shared thoughtful feedback with us. We care deeply about our users, and will continue to communicate openly about how we operate.

    In that light, it's important that the facts are presented clearly and honestly. An article posted yesterday continues to misrepresent how we operate. Below I have annotated the story, in the interests of getting the facts straight. As I have said, we strive to do right by all our users, and we continue to look into the unattributed quotes in the Guardian's stories. We have placed members of the editorial team involved with the Guardian’s visit on leave, pending the results of our internal review.

    Neetzan’s reaction to the Guardian's allegations has taken away from the substance of the issue, which is that much of the Guardian's reporting on this issue has been highly misleading or just plain wrong.

    Michael Heyward
    Co-Founder and CEO, Whisper

    Here's all of Heyward's answers to The Guardian's questions, below.


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  • 15 Brilliant Quotes That Show The Genius Mind Of Box CEO Aaron Levie

    Box CEO Aaron LevieBox CEO Aaron Levie’s idea to turn an ordinary file-sharing software into the next big collaboration enterprise platform has made him one of the most-watched Valley CEOs in recent years.

    Since its founding in 2005, Box has raised over $564.1 million in funding, which now values the company at roughly $2.4 billion. Box is expected to go public by early next year.

    Although there’s been some concerns around Box’s delayed IPO, there’s no question that Levie’s vision and leadership have made his company one of the hottest startups in the Valley.

    We rounded up some of his best quotes from interviews, tweets, and other sources, which will help you better understand his genius mind.

    On speed and efficiency: "I'm obsessed with speed. I'm always asking myself, 'Why can't we do things faster? Why can't it happen more efficiently? Why is this requiring three meetings instead of one?'"


    On Box’s working culture: "One of our core values is 'Get s*** done.' We have a very execution-oriented culture. … Another one of our values is 'Take risks. Fail fast.' If we fail fast, we can correct mistakes quickly."


    On cloud technology: “There are phases in technology. Mainframe to PC, PC to cloud, to cloud and mobile. These things come around every 10 to 15 years, and we’re in one right now.”


    See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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  • Elon Musk Thinks Sci-Fi Nightmare Scenarios About Artificial Intelligence Could Really Happen

    Elon Musk at MIT

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't the biggest fan of artificial intelligence, an initiative he called "our biggest existential threat" in comments at the MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics department's Centennial Symposium on Friday.

    Musk, who called for some regulatory oversight of AI to ensure "we don't do something very foolish," warned of the dangers.

    "If I were to guess what our biggest existential threat is, it’s probably that. So we need to be very careful with the artificial intelligence," he said. "With artificial intelligence we are summoning the demon."

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is an area of research with the goal of creating intelligent machines which can reason, problem-solve, and think like, or better than, human beings can. While many researchers wish to ensure AI has a positive impact, a nightmare scenario has played out often in science fiction books and movies — from 2001 to Terminator to Blade Runner — where intelligent computers or machines end up turning on their human creators.

    "In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out," Musk said.

    The symposium wasn't the first time Musk raised concerns. In August, Musk tweeted: "We need to be super careful with AI. Potentially more dangerous than nukes."

    (h/t The Washington Post)

    NOW WATCH: 7 Reasons Why The New Tesla Is Such A Big Deal

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  • Here Are Some Of The American Adults Who Started Live-Action Role Playing And Never Stopped

    LarpPort (3 of 6)

    A few weeks ago, I visited Alliance, one of the oldest live-action role-playing (or LARPing) groups in the US, where I met people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who've made LARPing a central part of their lives.

    The LARPers included both diehards and the newbies. Every year, Pennsylvania-based Alliance sees around 50 to 100 new faces. According to Todd, a higher-up in Alliance, new players tend to be college-age or recent graduates. These players usually stick around for three or four years before dropping the hobby, but about 10% become “lifers” — people whose dedication can be measured in decades, not years.

    For the lifers, LARPing becomes their main social outlet. According to Michael Ventrella, a founder of Alliance, dating is common among LARPers and there have been more than a few weddings of people who met there. Some of the veterans have been around for so long their kids sometimes come to events.

    While visiting Alliance, I met players who work in biomedical engineering, tech, insurance, cybersecurity, law, healthcare, and accounting.

    Here are few of the people I met:

    Joe, Technologist

    LarpPort (4 of 6)Joe has played the same character at Alliance for 20 years. He has played in so many different LARP “systems” — from medieval to sci-fi — that “it intimidates other players,” he says. In addition, he participates in Revolutionary War reenactments, playing a drum major in the British Army.

    Joe is a character even without his costume, prone to a mischievous smile, a high-pitched cackle, and a sense of humor that amounts to asking yourself constantly, “Is he messing with me?”

    He’s coy about his profession, though he says he’s a technologist who works on government contracts in the Washington, DC area. When asked if that means cybersecurity, he shrugs and says, “You could call it that.”

    At some LARPs Joe attends, every player is an IT professional with government security clearances. Others are dominated by college students.

    Lauren, Safety Professional

    LarpPort (6 of 6)

    When I introduce myself to a woman named Lauren who works at a major tech company, she tells me, “I wear pretty things and hit my fellow nerds.” 

    Lauren grew up in Pennsylvania and attended nearby Binghamton University. At college, Lauren was heavily involved with Humans vs. Zombies, a popular live-action game played at colleges across the US. Humans vs Zombies is basically a complicated, weeks-long version of tag that spans an entire campus. It's kind of like entry-level LARP, allowing players to act out a zombie takeover using sock balls, marshmallows, and foam-dart guns.

    “Humans vs. Zombies was huge at Binghamton," Lauren says. "Everyone gets involved, even the police. One time, we had a police officer get out of his car and tell us to try to make him a zombie. We were like, 'Should we try? We might get arrested.'”

    After college, Lauren met a few guys who told her about Alliance while attending an anime festival in Baltimore.

    “Grown men and women fighting in a remote woods … what could go wrong?” Lauren jokes.

    In a short time, Lauren was hooked on the game, making fast friends and constructing elaborate characters. She met her boyfriend Colin at Alliance.

    Scott and Tim, Insurance Analyst and Warehouse Supervisor

    LarpPort (1 of 6)Scott (right) is an insurance analyst who has been playing for nearly 20 years, and Tim is a warehouse supervisor who's been playing for about eight.

    Both have arguably nerdy pasts. Scott originally played "Dungeons and Dragons" in high school and college before a cousin introduced him to LARPing. Meanwhile, Tim found out about LARPing from coworkers at a gaming store. He was initially skeptical but quickly got hooked.

    “There’s nothing like being in character the whole time. You get fully immersed,” Tim says.

    Both Scott and Tim have since convinced their wives to join in on the fun, after years of trying to get them to play games like "Dungeons and Dragons."

    “My wife always thought 'Dungeons and Dragons' was really boring," Tim said, "but when she realized what LARPing actually was — playing a part, sneaking around, fighting and trading, having fun — she was like, ‘This is something I could get into.’”

    For Scott, Alliance has helped him learn skills he uses every day.

    “I’ve learned leadership skills, resource management, and public speaking,” Scott says. “Before I started playing, I hated public speaking, but my character was a Duke. I had to make speeches. Public speaking quickly got way more comfortable.”

    Akiva, Graduate Student at Binghamton

    LarpPort (5 of 6)Akiva is a graduate student at Binghamton University, studying Healthcare Systems. He’s been playing since his freshman year of college when he helped start the college’s LARPing club. Before he started the LARPing club, he said, he had “the typical nerd background.”

    “I played 'World of Warcraft,' 'Dungeons and Dragons,' read sci-fi books, but when I heard about LARPing, I knew I wanted to do it. It’s a chance to play the game in real life,” Akiva says.

    Although Akiva has attended Alliance for several years, like many other students, he saves money by being a non-playable character — someone who attends for free in exchange for being a cast member for the game designers.

    “Every time I come, people ask me, ‘When are you going to make a character?’ I give them the same answer every time. When I get a job,” Akiva says.

    It's expensive to create a character, according to Akiva, who says a costume can cost thousands of dollars.

    “You have to buy in-period clothing, armor, nice boots, bracers, greaves, chain mail, weapons, scabbard, belts, pouches. It all adds up.”

    SEE ALSO: We Spent A Weekend Live-Action Role-Playing And It Was A Surreal Experience

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  • Microsoft's PR Boss Had A Funny Response To Google's Big News (MSFT, GOOG)

    Sundar Pichai

    Google dropped some big news to employees Friday.

    Sundar Pichai, the executive in charge of Android and Chrome, got a promotion that makes him the boss of all of Google's core products: search, Google+, apps, advertising, Android, Chrome, and so on.

    The news of Pichai's promotion leaked late in the afternoon when Re/code's Kara Swisher and Liz Gannes obtained an internal memo to Google employees announcing his new role.

    One Google rival, Microsoft's PR boss Frank Shaw, reacted to the news with a subtle jab on Twitter:

    To be fair, Google will probably make a formal, public announcement about Pichai's new job soon. And Microsoft doesn't exactly have the best track record with releasing news when people are around to pay attention. It announced the Nokia acquisition late in the evening at the end of the long Labor Day weekend last year, likely frustrating some reporters who just wanted to go to bed.

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  • Meet The Investor Funding Game-Changing Startups Run From College Dorms

    Peter Boyce II, an associate with General Catalyst Partners, and co-founder of Rough Draft Ventures,  was recently interviewed by OneWire CEO Skiddy von Stade. 

    In the interview, he explained how he got into the startup business by founding Rough Draft, a company that seeds student startups. 

    When he was studying applied math and computer science at Harvard, he noticed his friends struggled to find funding for their great startups.

    They basically had two options. One was to enter a small business competition to win whatever was offered, even as little as $500. The other was to try and raise so much money that it made sense to drop out and run the business full-time.

    There was nothing in-between these two.

    That's why he co-founded Rough Draft, to scout for students running potentially game-changing startups from their dorm rooms, and expose them to the resources they need to grow.

    "There’s the $500 business plan competitions that you can enter into and win, then there’s the 'raise a million dollars and drop out of school,' but there’s really nothing in between and there’s really no network of students that were able to empower other students to pursue creating startups. That’s really what we created with Rough Draft Ventures. We have a team of students that basically helps identify and empower entrepreneurs at the university level, something that we’re insanely excited to do, something that we’re increasingly seeing - folks are going to continue to build amazing companies in their dorm room.  

    Boyce also runs the New York office of General Catalyst Partners and is expanding its footprint here. He's convinced that he's in the right city too. In the raging debate on the better coast for tech startups, he's Silicon Alley all the way.

    "We’ve staked our careers here in New York, voted with our feet in a way. But I think from a diversity perspective of just being able to interface with so many different industries, whether that's banking, marketing, fintech, I think there’s a lot of really great industries and a lot of great entrepreneurs that are going to build companies that [are] technology, that's going to empower and change these existing industries. And New York has been the epicenter for a lot of these industries for a long time ... I’m personally very biased towards this eco-system here in New York."

    Watch the full interview above and subscribe to the Open Door series to receive upcoming interviews.

    SEE ALSO: This Multibillion Dollar Fund Manager Looks For Three Things When He's Hiring Employees

    SEE ALSO: A Wall Street Exec Explains What Instantly Turns Him Off When He Sees A Resume

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  • Larry Page Is Taking A Step Back At Google To See The 'Bigger Picture,' And Sundar Pichai Is Getting A Lot More Responsibility (GOOG)

    Larry Page

    Google is reorganizing its executive structure.

    Former Android and Chrome head Sundar Pichai will lead all of Google's core products.

    CEO Larry Page taking a step back to focus on the "bigger picture," Re/Code's Kara Swisher and Liz Gannes report. Google sent an internal memo to employees this afternoon to explain the changes. 

    Pichai will now head up research, search, maps, Google+, commerce and ads, and infrastructure, in addition to Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. The six executives leading each of those product areas will now report directly to Pichai instead of Page. YouTube, run by Susan Wojcicki, will not be under Pichai's domain.  

    Re/Code's sources say that this switch-up seems to come from Page's concern that Google is becoming less innovative as it gets older.  He wants to focus on the "bigger picture" and didn't feel like he could do that with so many direct reports and duties. 

    This is a big promotion for Pichai, but certainly not his first. He's been a rising star at Google and Page's right-hand man for a while now. Originally, he only managed Chrome, but took over Google Apps in 2012 and Android in March 2013. He first started working at Google in 2004. 

    NOW WATCH: We Put iPhone's Time-Lapse Video To The Test — With A Sleeping Baby

    SEE ALSO: A Google Exec Just Beat The World Record For Highest-Altitude Jump From The Stratosphere

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  • CHART OF THE DAY: Cell Phone Bills Are Up 50% Since The iPhone Was Invented

    Despite some recent company efforts to help pay for customers' phone bills through promotions and subscription programs, the telecommunication industry largely relies on customers using more phone data each year — through new applications and innovations — to keep its sales growing, according to The Wall Street Journal. And this is no more apparent than when you see how cell phone bills have risen since the dawn of the smartphone.

    Based on data from the Labor Department charted for us by BI Intelligence, US households are spending 50% more on their phone bills than they did in 2007, the year the iPhone launched and Google introduced the Android operating system for mobile devices. Households spent an average of $913 on phone bills in 2013 — and a fifth of those households spent more than $1,400 that year. According to Verizon Wireless, the average monthly phone bill is about $161.24, which is a 3.5% rise from last year.

    bii sai cotd household cell spending

    SEE ALSO: CHART OF THE DAY: Amazon's Growth Is Waning

    SEE ALSO: This One Chart Explains Why eBay Is Spinning Off PayPal

    SEE ALSO: CHART OF THE DAY: Half Of All iPad Owners Have A Tablet That's At Least Two Years Old

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  • Sam Biddle Is Leaving Valleywag

    sam biddle

    Sam Biddle, editor of Gawker's technology site, Valleywag, is leaving the publication and transitioning to another role at Gawker Media.

    Biddle will spend November on sabbatical. When he returns in December, he will be named Senior Writer at Gawker, focusing on subjects related to the Internet, including cybersecurity, cryptography, activism and politics. (Gawker employees who have been with the company four years are encouraged to take a one month paid sabbatical.)

    "I expect it will evolve from there, and I fully expect him to write about a wide range of topics that have nothing in particular to do with the Internet," Gawker's Editor-in-Chief Max Read told Business Insider in an email. "Sam is one of the great pure bloggers — fast, sharp, opinionated, funny — and I want to run his work on the front page no matter what it ends up being about."

    Nitasha Tiku, who was named co-editor of Valleywag in December, will be taking over Biddle's responsibilities. She'll continue to build out the team alongside Kevin Montgomery in San Francisco. Biddle is located in New York, where Gawker is headquartered.

    Gawker Media is Nick Denton's network of sites, which include Jezebel, Deadspin, Gizmodo and Lifehacker. It draws about 64 million monthly unique visitors.

    Biddle and Gawker say his transition away from Valleywag has been planned for months. Importantly, they insist the decision preceded Gamergate, a loose online movement that recently targeted Gawker and Biddle specifically, and appears to have damaged the company's relationship with some advertisers. 

    Gamergate, which arose in recent months out of an attempt to challenge what proponents consider the poor ethical standards of videogame journalism, steadily morphed into a digital mob scene marked by misogyny and intimidation. By Gawker's definition, it is "a campaign of dedicated anti-feminist internet trolls using an ill-informed mob of alienated and resentful video game-playing teenagers and young men to harass and intimidate female activists, journalists, and critics."

    Biddle and Gawker became a target for Gamergate protesters when he tweeted a series of statements he insists were sarcastic. One read:

    If we understand it correctly, his point, which was highly nuanced for Twitter, was to voice support for the mostly female targets of Gamergate by suggesting that the hardcore videogame fans attacking them were the sort of people — geeks, basically — who would have themselves been bullied in an earlier era.

    Of course, nobody — feminists, videogamers, or anyone else — deserves to be bullied.

    The Gamergate community responded by posting a list of Gawker's advertisers online, and urging supporters to contact the brands directly to ask if they support bullying too.

    Biddle is known in the technology community for his snark; his writing occasionally puts Silicon Valley on blast. But the Gamergate community clearly didn't appreciate his sense of humor. 

    "I have literally not seen a single person who is not a Gamergate supporter who did not get that I was very obviously joking,” Biddle told Re/code in an email. “Not a single one.”

    A source says Biddle's snark wasn't appreciated by all of Gawker's management team, either, though, which may have added a certain urgency to the editorial shuffle. The response by Adobe, which promptly distanced itself from bullying, and from Gawker, in a tweet, was an ominous sign, which may have made a full-scale advertiser exodus all too easy to imagine. But according to Read, no one at Gawker "encouraged" Biddle to move and his writing is appreciated both internally and externally.

    nitasha tiku

    "I told Max this was what I wanted months ago," Biddle told Business Insider in an email. "That is to say, I am 100% not being 'moved.'"

    In September, Biddle was approached by former Gawker editor A.J. Daulerio to work for his forthcoming site, Ratter, which may also have sparked conversations about his position at Valleywag. 

    "I've been anxious for several months now to make use of Sam's formidable talents as a writer and reporter on Gawker proper — and he's ready to broaden his horizons and expand his scope to non-tech industry subjects," Read added.

    Valleywag is here to stay, Gawker Media insists, although Denton has shut down the publication before. Read says it will continue to operate under Tiku, whom he notes has broken more exclusive stories this year than any other writer at the company. Tiku's reporting was largely responsible for the firing of G Chahal, RadiumOne's founder who allegedly beat a former girlfriend more than 100 times in one evening. She also unearthed leaked revenue figures for $18 billion car company, Uber, and discovered how much money Snapchat's founders pocketed during a massive round of financing.

    "Under Nitasha and Sam, Valleywag became compulsory daily reading for everyone in tech; its reporting and writing has been as strong and smart as ever; its days are not numbered," Read told us. "It will continue to operate similarly (that is to say: excellently!) under Nitasha and Kevin with the significant and exciting difference that both of them are based in San Francisco and can increase the amount of on-the-ground Silicon Valley reporting and writing."

    "Sam is smart, fast, and has a strong voice," Tiku told Business Insider of her Valleywag counterpart. "It will be a huge bummer not to be in a chatroom together all day just shaking our heads at whatever tweetstorms, but he's just a Slack chat away and I'm excited to see him on his new beat."

    Tiku says Valleywag is well positioned to continue driving conversations around key issues in technology, including diversity, brogrammers, and Silicon Valley's "awkward transition from the underdog to power central." 

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  • Apple Made A Move That Could Shake Up The Wireless Industry, But AT&T Is Making That A Little More Difficult (AAPL)


    When Apple unveiled its new iPads last week, it also quietly announced a new technology that will enable you to switch between wireless carriers at your own will. 

    The cellular version of Apple's new tablets will come with the company's own SIM card rather than a pre-programmed carrier SIM card.

    This means you would be able to switch between networks whenever you want without having to commit to a specific carrier. 

    AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile are all on board, but AT&T's offering will work a little differently than the others.

    When you buy a new iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3 from the Apple Store, you will not be able to switch to a different carrier on the same SIM card once you start using the tablet on AT&T's network. MacRumors received this tip in its user forums on Friday, and Business Insider has independently confirmed it with AT&T.

    You'll still be able to switch carriers, but you would need to get a new SIM card. Sprint and T-Mobile, however, allow you to switch between carriers when you're using an Apple SIM card that comes with the tablet.

    There's also another catch that's worth noting: Apple SIM only works this way if you purchase the tablet from an Apple Store. If you were to buy a new iPad Air 2 from T-Mobile, for instance, you wouldn't be able to switch from T-Mobile's network using that same SIM card either.

    AT&T's policy differs in that once you choose AT&T, even if you bought the tablet directly from Apple, you still wouldn't be able to switch without buying a new SIM card.

    It's not too surprising to see that one carrier is already placing restrictions on Apple's universal SIM card. If such a system were to ever roll out to the iPhone, it could create problems for carriers. For example, customers might be inclined to purchase a phone directly from Apple so that they could switch data plans without committing to a specific carrier. Essentially, this would give consumers less motivation to buy phones from carriers and it could make it harder for carriers to keep customers on their networks. 

    On the other hand, it could force carriers to offer better pricing for consumers in order to remain competitive.

    With a device like the iPad, the effect on carriers likely won't be that significant. Many users opt for the Wi-Fi-only version of the iPad, and tablets aren't as heavily subsidized as phones on a two-year contract.

    SEE ALSO: 15 Must-Have Apps For Your New iPad

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  • How Cellphone Data Could Help Fight Ebola

    phone ebola patientMobile-phone records are an invaluable tool to combat Ebola. They should be made available to researchers.

    With at least 4,500 people dead, public-health authorities in west Africa and worldwide are struggling to contain Ebola. Borders have been closed, air passengers screened, schools suspended. But a promising tool for epidemiologists lies unused: mobile-phone data.

    When people make mobile-phone calls, the network generates a call data record (CDR) containing such information as the phone numbers of the caller and receiver, the time of the call and the tower that handled it--which gives a rough indication of the device's location. This information provides researchers with an insight into mobility patterns. Indeed phone companies use these data to decide where to build base stations and thus improve their networks, and city planners use them to identify places to extend public transport.

    But perhaps the most exciting use of CDRs is in the field of epidemiology. Until recently the standard way to model the spread of a disease relied on extrapolating trends from census data and surveys. CDRs, by contrast, are empirical, immediate and updated in real time. You do not have to guess where people will flee to or move.

    Researchers have used them to map malaria outbreaks in Kenya and Namibia and to monitor the public response to government health warnings during Mexico's swine-flu epidemic in 2009. Models of population movements during a cholera outbreak in Haiti following the earthquake in 2010 used CDRs and provided the best estimates of where aid was most needed.

    ebola phone

    Doing the same with Ebola would be hard: in west Africa most people do not own a phone. But CDRs are nevertheless better than simulations based on stale, unreliable statistics. If researchers could track population flows from an area where an outbreak had occurred, they could see where it would be likeliest to break out next--and therefore where they should deploy their limited resources.

    Yet despite months of talks, and the efforts of the mobile-phone operators' trade association and several smaller UN agencies, telecom operators have not let researchers use the data (see "Ebola and big data: Waiting on hold").

    One excuse is privacy, which is certainly a legitimate worry, particularly in countries fresh from civil war, or where tribal tensions exist. But the phone data can be anonymised and aggregated in a way that alleviates these concerns. A bigger problem is institutional inertia. Big data is a new field. The people who grasp the benefits of examining mobile-phone usage tend to be young, and lack the clout to free them for research use.

    It's an old problem

    This needs to change. Governments should require mobile operators to give approved researchers access to their CDRs. The data will obviously not by themselves prevent this outbreak from turning into a disaster. That will take an extraordinary combination of new drugs, careful prevention and patient care, among other things. But the health workers dealing with Ebola on the ground need all the help they can get.

    Click here to subscribe to The Economist.

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  • This Simple iPhone Trick Is Perfect For Reading In The Dark

    iphone bed

    Ever turn down the brightness on your iPhone and wish it could go even darker?

    Well, you're in luck — there's even an easy shortcut so you don't have to poke around in your iPhone's menu the next time you're browsing in bed or in a movie theater.

    Here's how it works, courtesy of Snazzy Labs.

    First, you'll need to head over to your iPhone's Settings. Once there, navigate to General Accessibility Zoom, and toggle Zoom on.

    Next, you'll need to take three fingers and triple tap anywhere on the screen, like so.

    iPhone brightness hack GIF

    Next, tap Full Screen Zoom and then drag a finger on the slider to zoom all the out.

    You'll then need to tap Choose Filter and then tap Low Light, which will darken your screen.

    You've now set up your iPhone so when you have Zoom enabled it acts as a dimmer switch, but now we need to make a shortcut so it's lightning fast to darken your phone.

    To do this, go back to Accessibility and scroll to bottom and tap Accessibility Shortcut. Now, just tap Zoom and you're all set!

    Now, when you triple tap your iPhone's home button, it will act as a dimmer switch and darken your phone. Remember, if you find your screen is too dark to see anything, just triple click the home button to turn the dimmer off.

    If you have any questions, Snazzy Labs offers a full video tutorial below.

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  • Beats Music Will Become Part Of iTunes Next Year (AAPL)

    apple beats

    Apple will shut down Beats Music and relaunch it next year under the iTunes brand, according to The Wall Street Journal's Hannah Karp.

    Last month, Apple denied rumors that it would be shutting down Beats Music, but it was widely understood that the streaming service would somehow be incorporated into iTunes.

    Also related: Apple SVP Eddy Cue has been in talks with record labels to lower the cost of Beats Music, which currently sits at $9.99 per month or  $99.99 per year, according to Peter Kafka of Re/code.

    NOW WATCH: Here's The Ultimate iPhone 6 Camera Review — Shot Entirely With An iPhone 6


    SEE ALSO: iTunes Music Sales Are Plummeting

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  • 10 Awesome Cases For Your New iPad Air 2 (APPL)

    ipad air 2

    Apple may make one of the best tablets in the world, but that doesn't mean it's the most durable.

    If you plan on tossing your new iPad in your bag for your commute, you'll probably want to get a case that's both durable and thin.

    Many accessory makers are still working on new cases and sleeves for the iPad Air 2, but there are already plenty to choose from.

    Here's a look at some of the best iPad Air 2 cases so far.

    Some of them are already available, while others will be up for sale in the coming weeks. 

    Apple Smart Case ($79.99)

    Apple's sleek leather case comes in five different colors and also doubles as a kickstand. The company also says the cover's interior is lined with microfiber to help keep your iPad's display clean. 

    Speck Style Folio ($39.95)

    Speck's new folio style case for the iPad Air 2 is both durable and slim. Not only does it come in a wide variety of colors, but you can also customize it with specific patterns. The kickstand is also adjustable, so you can prop up your iPad at various viewing angles. 

    Belkin Chambray Cover ($39.99)

    If you're looking for something other than leather or silicon for your new iPad, try Belkin's Chambray cover. The material is designed to feel similar to a T-Shirt, and gives your iPad a notebook-style look. Belkin also says the adjustable viewing angles make it easier to type on the iPad's touchscreen. It comes in purple or gray. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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  • A Google Exec Just Beat The World Record For Highest-Altitude Jump From The Stratosphere

    Alan Eustace

    Google senior vice president Alan Eustace just beat the world record for highest-altitude space jump, The New York Times reports.

    A helium-filled balloon carried him 135,908 feet to nearly the top of the stratosphere  — more than 25 miles — above the ground, before he cut himself loose and plunged toward the earth at speeds that peaked at more than 800 miles per hour.

    Observers on the ground heard a small sonic boom, though Eustace says he did not hear or feel it. 

    Eustace did two backflips in the air before his small parachute righted him, The Times reports. After four-and-a-half minutes, he opened his main parachute, eventually landing 70 miles from the launch site. 

    "It was amazing," he told The Times. "It was beautiful. You could see the darkness of space and you could see the layers of atmosphere, which I've never seen before."

    The previous altitude record was set by Austrian Felix Baumgartner, who jumped from 128,100 feet  in 2012 as a stunt for Red Bull.

    Here's Eustace preparing to lift-off:

    Alan Eustace

    Eustace, who is 57 and has been at Google since 2002, had been planning the jump in secret for nearly three years and working with a small group of technologists specializing in spacesuit design, life-support systems, and parachute and balloon technology.

    Eustace's suit didn't have a cooling system, so he barely moved on his ascent to keep from over-heating and had to acknowledge communications from ground controllers by slightly moving one of his legs. 

    Alan Eustace

    “It was a wild, wild ride,” Eustace told The Times. 

    Although Google offered to help fund the jump, Eustace refused because he didn't want it to seem like a marketing stunt. 

    Watch the video:


    SEE ALSO: Google Has A New App To Reinvent Email

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  • THE PROGRAMMATIC ADVERTISING REPORT: Mobile, Video, And Real-Time Bidding Will Catapult Programmatic Ad Spend

    Real TimeBiddingDigitalAdSales

    Programmatic platforms are on pace to fundamentally reshape the entire digital advertising landscape.

    These platforms are automating much of the ad buying and selling process and increasing the accuracy of execution. Programmatic technologies are helping ad buyers find the right audience at the right price at the right time.

    new report from BI Intelligence finds that real-time bidding (RTB), a key piece of the programmatic ecosystem, will account for over $18.2 billion in U.S. digital ad revenues in 2018, up from just $3.1 billion in 2013.

    In the report, BI Intelligence looks at the drivers of programmatic adoption, sizes up the programmatic market, and outlines the barriers that some advertisers and publishers face when adopting programmatic technologies.

    Access The Full Report By Signing Up For A Free Trial

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    The report is full of charts and data that can easily be downloaded and put to use.

    In full, the report: 

    For full access receive to all BI Intelligence's analysis, reporting, and downloadable charts on the digital media industry, sign up for a free trial.

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  • RALPH NADER: Hey Apple, Stop Listening To Carl Icahn And Pay Your Workers Instead (AAPL)

    Ralph Nader

    Ralph Nader has a clear message for Apple: pay your workers more money.

    In a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Nader, a multiple-time Presidential candidate, wrote that Apple should stop catering to the demands of activist investors like Carl Icahn, and use its cash to pay workers more instead of buyback its stock. 

    In his letter, which was first published by The Wall Street Journal, Nader walks through a scenario where Apple halves the hours and doubles the salary of its Foxconn workers, costing the company $5.4 billion annually. 

    "If instead of buying back stock," Nader wrote, "Apple had used its excess $130 billion to endow a foundation to achieve these reforms, it would have paid out ­­ at a conservative five percent interest ­­$6.5 billion annually, enough to double wages and ensure a 40­ hour workweek for hundreds of thousands of iPhone workers, while leaving a $1.1 billion surplus as an annual budget for ensuring top­notch health, safety and environmental standards at Apple factories... Finally, some of Apple’s Chinese factory workers may become able to buy the iPhones they manufacture."

    "'Designed by Apple in California' has a nicer ring to it than 'Assembled by workers paid about a dollar per hour, working 11 ­hour shifts, and sleeping eight to a room in the Jabil Circuit corporate dormitories in Wuxi, China,'" Nader wrote in his letter. "But, no matter how you spin it on the iPhone packaging, you continue to turn away."

    Nader says the "corporatist" argument regarding pay for factory employees is that that's the price of cheaper iPhones. "This could be the case, if Apple was just barely profitable," Nader wrote. "But, as revealed in a recent letter responding to Carl Icahn's call for more stock buyback (you respond to [a] billionaire's pleas much more often than workers' pleas), Apple is planning to have repurchased $130 billion of its own shares by the end of next year. In short, Apple is so profitable that it does not know what to do with $130 billion except buy back stock from its shareholders to maybe boost its share price."

    Now, admittedly, Apple spends like, a lot of money buying back stock, but it's also sort of hard to take Nader's math and implementation at face value and say that it would definitely work. 

    But as we've highlighted before, even some of the big investors that Nader takes aim at know that the aggressive returning of money to shareholders, rather than employees or for investment in their business, is not advisable corporate behavior.

    And as Business Insider's Henry Blodget has written before, there is no "law of capitalism" that says a company must pay its employees as little as possible. 

    In its latest quarter, Apple took in $42 billion in revenue, sold more than 39 million iPhones, and had $155 billion in cash at the end of the quarter.

    Which, at the very least, seems like a lot. 

    You can read Nader's full letter, embedded below. 




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  • Watch This South Korean Robot Fly A Plane


    Okay, it's a South Korean robot flying a plane — on a flight simulator.

    And later, it's a robot flying a ... toy plane.

    However, this Reuters video does show the effect of actually putting a humanoid robot in a cockpit, even if it's a virtual flight deck.

    And it might remind a few folks of Otto Pilot, the inflatable autopilot from "Airplane!" — the disaster movie spoof from the 1980s.

    Actually, it's a bit strange that we would need to see a robot with arms, legs, and head operating the controls of a plane. Robots already routinely fly planes, they just don't look like robots. They look like computers, and they're built into the aircraft's control technology.

    However, the South Korean robot — called "PIBOT" (Get it?) — isn't designed to be a humanoid autopilot. It's intended to fly aircraft, planes and helicopters, that we designed for humans to operate. PIBOT is reverse-engineered from a human aircraft interface, rather than integrated with it.


    As the Reuters report notes, PIBOT's creators hope that a game-time-ready version of the robot will be able to fly planes and helicopters into environments too dangerous for human pilots.

    The idea is that you grab your PIBOT and put him at the controls if your puny human pilots have reservations about flying over a nuclear reactor that's melting down.


    Maybe PIBOT doesn't look all that impressive now. But give him some time. He certainly looks more competent than Otto Pilot.

    Otto Pilot

    Here's the entire Reuters video:

    SEE ALSO: This Is The Amazing 'Titan' Industrial Robot That Elon Musk Used To Reveal The Tesla D

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  • 7 Of The Coolest Secrets In The Game 'Destiny' And How To Find Them

    destiny moon guardian

    "Destiny" has been revered as one of the best video games of the year. 

    It made $325 million in its first five days. The game was an instant hit, even before it was officially released

    Now that it's been out for awhile, people are finding some pretty cool hidden things in the game, called Easter eggs. 

    In fact, Bungie is no stranger to hiding Easter eggs in its games. In its contract with Activision, there's even a stipulation that it must provide Activision with a list of all the Easter eggs

    Bungie pays homage to its roots with a little nod to the man who started it all, Master Chief.

    Go to Mars and do the Garden's Spire mission. When you're done with the mission and get to the Iron Line door, clear all the bad guys, but don't go through the red door. Instead, go to the left and go through a big glowing blue door. Walk down the hall until you reach another door, called Trenchworks. Kill more bad guys and then walk outside. You'll see a command tower. If you walk around to the other side of it and look up, the tower looks like Master Chief's helmet.

    (Via IGN and Redditor SmokingGhost)

    You can play soccer!

    When you're not busy saving the world, go to the Tower hub. On the left side of the map, under some stairs, you'll find a soccer ball that you can kick around

    But a soccer ball isn't the only ball in the game.

    There's also a large purple ball in the Tower hub. This time it's on some crates to the right of Bounty tracker. When you interact with it, it flies up in the air like a balloon.  

    This isn't the first time a ball has been spotted in a Bungie game. A soccer ball was an Easter egg in "Halo 2," and was later seen in other "Halo" titles.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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  • iTunes Music Sales Are Plummeting (AAPL)


    iTunes music sales have fallen 13% since the beginning of the year, The Wall Street Journal's Hannah Karp reports.

    The decline in sales is not a surprise for Apple  sales were down 2.1% in 2013  but the news underscores how consumers have steadily moved away from a-la-carte offerings like iTunes toward streaming services like Pandora and Spotify.

    Apple is believed to have purchased Beats Electronics in part because of its streaming service, Beats Music, to integrate a streaming option into iTunes.

    Apple is reportedly in talks with record labels to lower the cost of Beats Music, which runs users $9.99/month or $99.99/year. 

    Last month, Apple denied rumors it would shut down Beats Music, saying instead that a rebrand was likely.

    As you can see, iTunes music revenue has been bumpy but essentially flat since 2010. Consumers are much more interested in iTunes for its app offerings.


    SEE ALSO: Apple Will Find Jobs For Employees At Its Bankrupt Supplier

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  • Late Telecom Entrepreneur's $35 Million Hamptons Estate Sells After Just 2 Months

    Treibick hamptons house

    The Hamptons home of late cable and telecommunications entrepreneur Richard Treibick has sold after just two months on the market, according to Candace Taylor at The Wall Street Journal. It had been listed for $34.99 million in August.

    The home is located on 31 acres of beachfront property in Sagaponack, in the Hamptons. The buyer remains unknown.

    Treibick, the former chairman of Cable Holdings and Cellular Information Systems, died earlier this year. The Sagaponack property was his summer home, with his primary residence in Greenwich, Conn.

    Gary DePersia of the Corcoran Grouphadhas the listing.

    The estate is made up of two parcels: a 6,000-square foot house and 23 acres of adjacent farmland. Treibick leased part of the land to local farmers, using the rest to grow vegetables and berries. A barn, greenhouse, and shed sit on the property.treibick hamptons houseWith seven bedrooms and multiple decks, the house itself is gorgeous.

    treibick hamptons housetreibick hamptons houseThe pool deck is a great place to relax with family and friends.

    treibick hamptons houseAnd there are plenty of options for dining outside when the weather permits.

    treibick hamptons housetreibick hamptons houseYou're never too far from the beach on this property. A private boardwalk leads down to the sand.

    treibick hamptons housetreibick hamptons houseAnd there are plenty of ways to enjoy the view.

    treibeck hamptons house

    SEE ALSO: The 10 Biggest Tech Billionaire Yachts On The High Seas

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  • Ford CEO: We've Driven The Tesla Model S, Torn It Apart, And Put It Back Together (TSLA)

    saleen tesla model s prototype

    There's no question that Tesla is the most interesting car company in the world.

    Morgan Stanley lead auto analyst Adam Jonas has gone a step further and declared that Tesla is the most important car company in the world.

    So a lively moment was generated on Friday when, after Ford reported its third-quarter earnings, CEO Mark Fields fielded questions from Wall Street. Jonas suggested that Ford had probably obtained a Tesla Model S sedan and ... investigated its secrets.

    Fields was quick to affirm Jonas' suspicions.

    "We have driven the Model S, torn it down, put it back together, and driven it again," said Fields, who moved into the big chair at Ford in July. "We're very familiar with that product."

    "How," you might ask, "could Ford do such a thing?"

    Teardowns in the consumer-electronics realm are pretty routine. Anyone with the right tools can take their iPhone or iMac apart. A key follow-up feature of new product launches from Apple and everyone else is the near-immediate teardowns that happen as soon as the new stuff hits the market.

    Obviously, you need a bit more space, some more tools, and a fair amount of expertise to take apart a $100,000 luxury sedan (And put it back together!).

    But then again, Ford builds cars for a living, so it's safe to assume that its engineers know what they're doing. 

    Tesla CEO Elon Musk isn't going to be terribly shocked to hear Fields acknowledge that Ford is a fan of the Model S, at a deeply gearhead-y level. Every other major carmaker that can get a Model S is going to tear it apart, as well. Teslas surely lie in pieces in the top-secret skunkworks garages of every automaker on earth.

    But what about Tesla? Do Musk & Co. tear apart competing vehicles? 

    They really don't have to. Tesla is the electric car industry at this point. Its startup competition has fallen by the wayside, and the major carmakers have limited their electric-vehicle ambitions. Tesla can simply keep doing more of what it has been doing. Repetition — and continued execution on promises — is its own version of success, as long as the company doesn't forget the scrappy days of the 2008-2009 period, when it almost went under.

    Additionally, beyond its battery technology — which at this point is well understood — Tesla's innovation is more on the software and electric-charging infrastructure side. Big carmakers already know how to build a very expensive car that runs on electricity.

    It's also worth noting that Tesla isn't particularly invested in protecting its intellectual property from potential competitors. Earlier this year, Musk made the very unusual announcement that Tesla would be opening up its patents for all to see.

    Still, it's amazing to hear that a carmaker like Ford, with a history stretching back 100 years, is still intrigued enough by the new kid on the block to get one of that kid's cars and rip it to pieces, just to learn exactly how it works.

    NOW WATCH: 7 Reasons Why The New Tesla Is Such A Big Deal


    SEE ALSO: Morgan Stanley: Tesla Is Bigger Than Electric Cars

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    The age of Internet ubiquity has arrived.

    The world is moving beyond standalone devices into a new era where everything is connected.

    We've created a slideshow highlighting the key trends and forecasts for the entire Internet-connected ecosystem, including connected TVs, connected cars, wearable computing devices, and all of the consumer and business tools that will soon be connected to the "Internet Of Things."

    BI Intelligence is a new research and analysis service focused on mobile computing, digital media, payments, and e-commerce. Only subscribers can download the individual charts and datasets in Excel, along with the PowerPoint and PDF versions of this deck. Please sign up for a free trial here.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider


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  • #GrammarGate Is A Hilarious Take On The Latest Twitter Controversy

    kelsey grammer

    By now you may have heard of an awful controversy sweeping the gaming community known by its Twitter hashtag #GamerGate.

    Now there's a new, nicer, funnier controversy, gathering around the hashtag #GrammarGate.

    #GamerGate, to sum it up, started when some video game fans said journalists and game developers are too close, and called into question the ethics of video game journalists. It quickly devolved into harassment of women in the industry. Supporters of the movement have rallied behind the "GamerGate" hashtag on Twitter and elsewhere.

    Let's just say this is about as ugly as any internet fight has ever been.

    Enter the kinder, nicer #GrammarGate. It began eons ago as a hashtag about funny grammar mistakes but is now being used to express outrage over the mistreatment of commas.

    Here are a few of the people sounding off on #GrammarGate

    By the way, as anyone in the #GrammarGate camp will tell you, this is not the same thing as #GrammerGate, which is a combination of people misspelling "grammar" and a spoof about #GamerGate centered on actor Kelsey Grammer.

    SEE ALSO: HP Exec Warns Men: Google Glass Will Hurt Your Love Life

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  • The Next 'Avengers' Movie Might Demonize Artificial Intelligence All Over Again


    Billionaire investor Peter Thiel recently said progressive technologies like artificial intelligence tend to get vilified in Hollywood.

    "You know, our society, the dominant culture doesn’t like science. It doesn’t like technology. You just look at the science-fiction movies that come out of Hollywood — 'Terminator,' 'Matrix,' 'Avatar,' 'Elysium.' I watched the 'Gravity' movie the other day. It’s like you would never want to go into outer space. You would just want to be back on some muddy island."

    In that case, Thiel probably won’t be thrilled with the next “Avengers” movie.

    For years, there have been dozens of movies warning about an apocalypse brought on by evil robots. But this movie might have a bit more resonance since we’re actually approaching the point where we’ll have AI in our smartphones, and in our homes.

    Earlier this year, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk — two of the greatest minds in science and technology, respectively — warned about what might happen if artificial intelligence systems were somehow programmed to be malicious.

    Musk described a "Terminator" scenario that would be "more dangerous than nukes," while Hawking offered a more nuanced understanding of the impact:

    One can imagine such technology outsmarting financial markets, out-inventing human researchers, out-manipulating human leaders, and developing weapons we cannot even understand. Whereas the short-term impact of AI depends on who controls it, the long-term impact depends on whether it can be controlled at all.

    So basically, unless we're careful about how we program AI, we could have killer robots on our hands. This also happens to be the plot for "Avengers: Age Of Ultron." The trailer for the film was released Wednesday.

    In the film, billionaire playboy genius futurist Tony Stark, a.k.a Iron Man — whose movie character is actually inspired by Musk — "tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program" and inadvertently creates a maniacal AI named "Ultron." In the trailer, you can see what looks to be the first carnation of Ultron, which looks like one of those dilapidated peacekeeping robots (notice the Avengers logo on the chest).



    The rest of the trailer includes lots of explosions and lots of shots of a sad and beaten Bruce Banner. And if the Incredible Hulk is overwhelmed by evil AI, maybe we should be a little skittish, too.


    The potential for AI to be "evil" isn't a new concept — and it's not a crazy prospect, either — but Disney and Marvel are influential enough to bring this topic back into the mainstream, now that AI is finally here.

    Since IBM's Watson supercomputer beat a bunch of Jeopardy! winners at their own game in 2011, big tech companies have begun to bet big on AI: Google purchased DeepMind for hundreds of millions of dollars earlier this year, social networks are using AI for facial recognition, AI is used to regulate traffic and train schedules, and several car companies, including Musk's Tesla Motors, are working on autonomous vehicles. 

    boston dynamics

    Artificial intelligence is all about creating machines that can make decisions by themselves based on logical objectives. There are good intentions, obviously, since smart robots can help us get work done more efficiently. The problem is what happens if we program robots to choose their own objectives, and what happens if humans simply become an "obstacle" between the robot and its objective.

    Hopefully, this movie will inspire companies and governments to be more careful about how we develop artificial intelligence, since so many believe the propensity for AI to go horribly, horribly wrong, is "inevitable." On the bright side, at least there's one scientist who knows how to stop the robot uprising.

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk: I'm Worried About A 'Terminator'-Like Scenario Erupting From Artificial Intelligence

    SEE ALSO: Elon Musk: Artificial Intelligence Is 'Potentially More Dangerous Than Nukes'

    SEE ALSO: There Are Only 3 Ways To Stop The Inevitable Robot Uprising

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