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Google Killing Off Vintage Social Network Orkut

If on the very rare chance you're still using Google's 10-year-old social network Orkut, now would be a good time to migrate over to a more modern platform like Google+. That's because Google on Monday announced that it is shutting down the vintage site on Sept. 30.

'Over the past decade, YouTube, Blogger, and Google+ have taken off, with communities springing up in every corner of the world,' Google Engineering Director Paulo Golgher wrote in a post on the Orkut blog. 'Because the growth of these communities has outpaced Orkut's growth, we've decided to bid Orkut farewell (or, tchau). We'll be focusing our energy and resources on making these other social platforms as amazing as possible for everyone who uses them.'

Launched in early 2004, Orkut was built as a '20 percent' project and represented Google's foray into social networking. At this point, the majority of Orkut users are from Brazil, India, and Japan, and the service is hosted in Google's Brazilian facilities.

Beginning today, it will no longer be possible to create a new Orkut account. Current Orkut users will be able to log in, play games, and use their account like normal until Sept. 30. You have until September 2016 to export your profile data, community posts, and photos using Google Takeout.

'Orkut, the service, may be going away, but all of those incredible communities Orkut users have created will live on,' Golgher wrote.

Google will be preserving an archive of all public communities, which will be available online starting on Sept. 30. If you don't want your posts or name to be included in the archive, you'll need to permanently remove Orkut from your Google account. Head over to Google's Help Center for details.

'It's been a great 10 years, and we apologize to those still actively using the service,' Golgher wrote. 'We hope people will find other online communities to spark more conversations and build even more connections for the next decade and beyond.'

UK cinemas promptly ban Google Glass over 'piracy' fears

AUGMENTED REALITY EYEWEAR Google Glass might have arrived in the country just last week, but it has already been banned in UK cinemas.

Google Glass arrived in the UK last week priced at £1,000, and cinema officials in Britain have been quick to announce that the expensive eyewear will not be welcome in theatres, citing fears that the glasses could be used to make 'pirated' copies of movies. What they perhaps don't realise, however, is that Glass is limited to recording just 45 minutes of video before its battery life runs out.

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association UK, told The Independent, 'Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not,' with the Vue cinema chain adding that it will ask filmgoers to remove the eyewear 'as soon as the lights dim'.

As reported by the Independent, one early Google Glass adopter has already been asked to remove his goggles in a cinema in London's Leicester Square, with staff saying they could not monitor whether it was recording. This follows a similar incident in the US, although it's perhaps not quite as dramatic.

Google said that while it's not happy about cinemas banning Glass altogether, cinemas should treat the eyewear as they do mobile phones.

A Google spokesperson said, 'We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it's best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it.

'The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it's activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.'

The Independent's report added that Glass likely will face a ban in UK hospitals too, but this has yet to be confirmed. It also said that the Transport Department has asked Google to find a way that drivers can use Glass legally. µ

Samsung Galaxy Core Mini 4G G3568V goes official in China

The Galaxy Core Mini 4.3-inch TFT display, 5MP rear camera and Android 4.4 KitKat.

Samsung has introduced a new smartphone - Galaxy Core Mini 4G G3568V - in China. There's no word on the pricing and global availability of the smartphone so far.

The Samsung Galaxy Core Mini runs Android 4.4 KitKat and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core along with 1.5GB of RAM. The smartphone has 4.3-inch TFT display with a WVGA (480x800 pixels) resolution. It sports a 5MP rear camera with auto focus and LED flash. The smartphone supports expandable storage up to 64GB via microSD.

For connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy Core Mini supports 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB 2.0. The smartphone measures 127.8 x 66.2 x 10.6 mm and weighs around 136g. It is available in white colour option currently. You can check out the Galaxy Core Mini 4G G3568V listing here.

As said above, there's no information about the pricing and availability of the smartphone. Looking at the specifications, the Galaxy Core Mini seems to be a budget or mid-range smartphone and likely to be launched in emerging markets such as India.

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Phone Comparisons: Amazon Fire Phone vs Sony Xperia Z2

This comparison looks at the brand new Amazon Fire Phone and the Sony Xperia Z2, a device that has been outed since MWC at the end of February, but still has not made its way into the U.S - we keep hearing sometime in summer it will arrive in the U.S. as an unlocked version...hence Sony's problem with marketing their smartphones and this great device that Tom really liked when he reviewed it the first of June. The only attributes that makes these devices similar are that they are both smartphones, they use the Snapdragon 800 quad-core series processors clocked at 2.2/2.3GHz, although even in that department, the Xperia Z2 uses the newer model with slightly better performance, and both devices offer dual-speaker stereo. The Xperia Z2 is a little taller and wider, but thinner than the Fire Phone and weighing almost the same amount even though it is constructed of glass rather than plastic.

Please look through the specifications listed below and check out how these two devices stack up against one another and then we will discuss a little about each individual device to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie before we pick a winner of this comparison.

The Amazon Fire Phone comes to us after months and months of speculations and silence from Amazon's camp. Now that it has arrived, it is still hard to determine if Amazon has really revolutionized the smartphone display with four cameras to give it a rather 3D or 'Dynamic Perspective' look as they call it, or is it just a gimmick, along with several other features, to simply make it easier and more enjoyable to shop with Amazon. Let's face it, Amazon is not in the hardware business, but the selling business, and it seems as though they developed the Fire Phone to help them sell Amazon products...and we cannot fault them for doing that, however, is the Fire Phone a true flagship device that can hold its own against the competition?

Okay, let's look at the Fire Phone's specs and see how they compare to the Xperia Z2. We will start with the display - at 4.7-inches, it is a half-inch smaller than the Xperia's 5.2-inches, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I personally, like a larger display, but MANY people feel that 4.5-4.7-inches is the 'sweet spot' for display size. What is undeniable is the fact that the Fire Phone's HD display of 720p resolution are 2012 specs and that the Full HD 1080p resolution of the Xperia Z2 is much better in theory. You have 312 pixels-per-inch (ppi) on the Fire Phone versus the 424 ppi of the Xperia Z2. We mentioned earlier that the Snapdragon 800 used in the Fire Phone is slightly slower than the upgraded model in the Xperia Z2, but they also differ in RAM - 2GB in the Fire Phone versus 3GB in the Sony. The Fire Phone does come in either a 32GB or 64GB model, whereas the Xperia Z2 comes with only 16GB for storage, although there is a microSD card slot to add up to an additional 128GB of storage. For a first-time smartphone, Amazon covered the camera area rather nicely using a 13MP, LED Flash and Auto Focus and their software gives you a lot of options and control. It will not outdo the 20.7MP, LED Flash and Auto Focus of the Xperia Z2. In the battery department, Amazon gave the Fire Phone a 2400mAh battery that they claim will allow you 22 hours of talk time, 285 hours in standby and video playback of up to 11 hours. These are pretty impressive numbers on paper, but we will have to wait until we can actually test it and see how it holds up to the excellent life of the 3200mAh battery in the Xperia Z2.

The BIG difference is in the operating system and software - while the Fire Phone uses Android as a 'background' OS, it is heavily covered with Amazon's Fire OS v3.5.0 and this causes a couple of problems. The first is that the device is stripped of all of Google's usual applications - Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, and the second problem being that you cannot directly purchase and download Apps in the Play Store - you must go to the Amazon Appstore to add additional applications. This could be a dealbreaker for many devoted Android users. The Fire Phone also offers Amazon's popular Mayday - a free online 24-7/365 day video help feature to answer your questions about how to use the device. Firefly is another unique feature - with one push of a button, the Fire phone can 'identify' an object, be it a phone number, barcode, address, picture of an item, etc., by comparing it to Amazon's database of over 100 million items. It will then help you locate it in one of their stores to make a purchase.

The Sony Xperia Z2 may be the best smartphone Sony has ever made, but most of the world is still waiting for the answer - why can Sony have distribution channels for its HDTVs, audio equipment, and other electronics and yet fail so miserably when it comes selling smartphones? Sony promises every year that they intend on being a major player in the U.S. smartphone market and every year...nothing. It would be different if they made entry-level devices and were selling to the emerging nations, but with Sony, it is quite the opposite - they make only high-end and expensive devices, but never manage to get their smartphones to one of the major places that can plenty of people can afford to buy them, the U.S.

Okay, I am off the soapbox and now we can get on to the specifications comparison between the Sony Xperia Z2 and the Amazon Fire Phone. The Xperia Z2's 5.2-inch display simply outclasses the Fire Phone's - not because it is larger, but because it is a Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution display with 424 ppi versus the Fire's HD 1280 x 720 resolution with only 312 ppi. The Xperia Z2's processor is the updated Snapdragon 800 used in the Fire Phone with slightly better graphics and speed. The Xperia Z2 is also packing 1GB more RAM at 3GB - as far as internal storage goes, it only comes in a 16GB model, however, it also comes with a microSD card slot that can expand that storage up to an additional 128GB. I am not putting down the Fire Phone's camera; however, the Xperia Z2's 20.7MP main camera surpasses its competition. The 3200mAh battery also outclasses the smaller 2400mAh battery of the Fire Phone - both are non-removable.

Price and availability also play a role in our comparison tests and neither one of these devices is cheap or widely available. The Fire Phone will be exclusively on AT&T - a move we simply do not understand for a company that wants as many people as possible to have access to your device, while the Sony Xperia Z2 is available on Amazon and they claim an unlocked U.S. version will be available 'this summer.' In addition, a picture was released showed the Xperia Z2 with Verizon branding.

We are going with the Sony Xperia Z2 in this round - but not by much - it depends what you want out of your device. The Sony's 'traditional' Full HD display is going to give you a sharper image and text and will offer you a true Android experience, complete with Google's applications and full access to the Play Store for any other applications you love. The Xperia Z2 should be a great device with exceptional build quality, if not always the most comfortable smartphone to hold for long periods of time. If you like the newest gimmicks, like the Fire Phone's 'Dynamic Perspective,' are an avid Amazon shopper and use their Prime program then the Fire Phone should not disappoint. It has an excellent camera, dual stereo speakers (so does the Xperia Z2), a good processor and 2GB of RAM - it's that forked version of Android 4.2, the Fire OS v3.5.0, that will turn most modern day users off. If you want a great Android device that you can use all of the great peripherals with, such as smartwatches, health wearables and fitness bands with, then the Sony Xperia Z2 wins this battle hands down. If you are an Amazon fanatic and are more interested in their features than anything else, then pick yourself up a Fire Phone.

Please hook up with us on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think about these two devices and which one you would pick as the winner in our latest always, we would love to hear from you.

This entry was posted in Android Phone Comparisons.

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Man rides on back of car on North Carolina highway

15 minutes ago

A woman driving down Interstate 77 in North Carolina on Saturday was shocked to witness a man riding on the back of a car speeding in front of her. Brenda Cruz, who was in a vehicle with her family, said she was initially concerned for the man's safety as the car was moving at 50 mph. The video shows a man sitting on the outside of the trunk before he starts manoeuvring his body.The Cruz family say they saw the man then break the back windshield and climb inside. According to the Cruz family the car was being driven by a woman who had a child in a car seat inside.Authorities received several calls about the incident, but troopers say they don't have enough evidence yet to investigate.They believe the driver and person on the back of the car probably know each other and that a domestic incident may have been taking place.If police do track these people down, they said the driver will be culpable.

Apple Launches iPhone Trade

Apple Launches iPhone Trade-In Program In Italy

By Sam Lehman | Jun 30, 2014 04:12 AM EDT

Apple has introduced its popular 'reuse and recycle' iPhone trade-in program in Italy and plans to expand further with an Australian debut sometime next week.

Apple is continuing its iPhone trade-in program in select countries around the world. The Cupertino-based company kicked off the program in Italy and offers as much as €220 (around $300) off on a new iPhone smartphone. The trade-in offer was first spotted by 9to5Mac, indicated by a new panel in the country's Apple Store listing in the official Apple Store app for iOS devices.

Apple's iPhone 'reuse and recycle' program was first launched in the US in August last year, but slowly it expanded to other countries, such as in October. Earlier in March, Apple introduced the program in Canada followed by Germany in April, letting iPhone owners trade-in their old devices for new ones.

Apple is further planning to expand the program to Australia, a source confirmed to . The company has been training employees in Australia on the trade-in program for the past several days with plans to initiate the trade-in process in the country as early as next week, the report adds.

With the iPhone trade-in program in Italy, customers can surrender older iPhone models including 3G, 4, 4S, 5, and even 5S or 5C. The customers will receive a gift card credit that can be applied toward a purchase of a new iPhone 4S, 5C or 5S. The handsets will be verified by Apple technicians and should be in a working condition. Gadgets in pristine condition with all accessories will receive the highest value. Customers can apply the credit of one iPhone for a new one.

Apple currently offers its recycling scheme for MacBooks, iMacs, iPhones, iPads and iPods, but doesn't really give much financial benefit. As App Advice notes in its iPhone Trade-In Guide from last year, third party companies such as Gazelle, Glyde and NextWorth offer better value for older iPhones.

With an expected release of the next iPhone in September, people are going to need the best offers for an upgrade.

Google drops Quickoffice now that its own apps can handle your work

Google bought Quickoffice to boost the productivity of its Apps suite, and it clearly accomplished that mission when it released a slew of mobile editing tools that merge Quickoffice's file tech with Google Drive. Accordingly, the search firm is pulling the plug on the earlier software; it's going to remove Quickoffice from both Apple's App Store and Google Play 'in the coming weeks.' You can still download it after that if you're an existing fan, but newcomers will have no choice but to use either Google's apps or their rough equivalents.

The move isn't surprising, since there's no need for Google to keep a redundant app hanging around. However, it marks the end to a long, long chapter in cellphone history. Quickoffice was a mainstay of mobile workers before smartphones took off, and it has run on most major (and not-so-major) platforms over the span of roughly 12 years -- it's sad to see the name go, even if the technology will live on.

Stressing the importance of radio communication

One local organization put their profession to the test. The Wabash Valley Amateur Radio Association held Field Day on Sunday.

One Wabash Valley man received special recognition today after serving forty years in Clay County.

WTHI Photo, David Essex

WABASH VALLEY, Ind. (WTHI) - One local organization put their profession to the test.

The Wabash Valley Amateur Radio Association held Field Day on Sunday.

It's an annual event that coincides with Amateur Radio Week. Local Ham operators headed to the VFW Post 972 in Terre Haute to demonstrate the new capabilities of Ham Radios.

This is all in an effort to stress the importance of radio communication during disasters.

'There've been several natural disasters where all communications get wiped out: Hurricanes, tornados, large hail, earthquakes... those kind of things,' explained Kevin Berlin, Wabash Valley Amateur Radio. 'That's where we would step in and help bridge the gap.'

Through the Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, Ham volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies.

Panasonic Debuts Education

Panasonic has officially launched it's '3E' tablet, themed for education, at this weekend's International Society for Technology in Education Conference. The hybrid tablet, designed to be used by anyone from kindergarten to high school, comes with a bit more protection than you'd otherwise expect to see in a consumer-grade device. Given the kind of abuse this thing might take in a classroom setting, we'd expect nothing less.

'Built to survive the rough-and-tumble reality of student life, the IP51-certified 3E resists dust, sheds spills and takes drops that would destroy a consumer-grade tablet or laptop. With rugged reliability and stellar academic credentials, the 3E is truly a state-of-the-art learning machine,' reads Panasonic's description.

Of course, the tablet — with snap-on keyboard attachment and stylus — isn't just designed to handle a few hard knocks (even though it's designed to survive a fall of just over two feet or so). It also comes with a few educational-themed add-ons that educators can use in various ways throughout one's classroom activities. That includes a thermometer probe, twin onboard cameras (1.2 megapixels in the front, 5 megapixels in the rear), and an included magnifying lens that can snap on to said rear camera to transform it into a sort-of microscope.

As for the tablet itself, it runs Windows 8.1 for Education (32-bit, not 64-bit). The ten-inch, 1366-by-768 display supports five-point touch and runs integrated Intel HD graphics off its Atom Z3740D processor (a 1.3-GHz, quad-core chip). The Panasonic 3E comes with a single USB 3.0 port on the tablet itself and a second USB 2.0 port on the accompanying dock/keyboard. That's in addition to a micro-SD slot and a micro-HDMI port on the tablet as well. In total, students can expect to enjoy roughly eight hours or so of computing time before they'll need to plug said tablet hybrid into the wall again.

Rounding out the Panasonic 3E's spects includes a total of two gigabytes of DDR3 memory and 32 or 64 gigabytes of total storage space, depending on the particular version of the tablet a school happens to order. The tablet itself will start at $499, but Panasonic plans to offer a discounted version of the device for poorer school districts. Those who don't mind paying a bit more can also pick up tablets with 4G and GPS functionality.

Asus is planning a budget Android Wear smartwatch of its own

David Nield

Asus may not be the first manufacturer to market with an Android Wear smartwatch, but it wants to undercut the competition when its own device finally does arrive. Leaks from the company suggest that an Asus watch is indeed on the way at a wallet-friendly price - the Taiwanese firm was one of those mentioned as a Google hardware partner when Android Wear was first unveiled, along with HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung.

That would mean the rumored Asus Android Wear device would cost less than the $199 Gear Live from Samsung. According to TechCrunch, the smartwatch will arrive in September and cost between $99 and $149. Asus chairman Jonney Shih went on record back in March to say that the company would eventually invest in the world wearables, and at that time the manufacturer was said to be working on advanced voice and gesture controls.

The LG G Watch, Samsung Gear Live and Moto 360 were the smartwatches shown off at the Google I/O Keynote last week, where we also got a sneak preview look at the next version of Android. No mention was made of an equivalent Asus device, but when it does finally arrive it may have to take on the Apple iWatch as well as several Android Wear-toting devices.

TechCrunch's inside source says the Asus smartwatch will have an AMOLED display but otherwise there's little in the way of specs at this stage. It would seem that Asus is taking its time with the launch of its own product to avoid rushing something to market that isn't fully finished - LG has conceded that it dropped the idea of a heart rate monitor for its own G Watch in order to meet the I/O conference deadline set by Google.

When Asus does launch a device of its own, HTC will be the only manufacturer left from Google's initial list of hardware partners without an Android Wear smartwatch, but it's unlikely that this will be the case for long. With the Android Wear SDK now available to developers, apps such as Pinterest, PayPal and Google Maps are being updated to make use of the new generation of wearables, and the hardware manufacturers will be looking to cash in. At the moment, however, it appears that the Nexus 9 will be HTC's next Android device.

New Notification: Facebook's Staff Is Not Very Diverse

Facebook released demographic data on its employees for the first time, and white males make up a majority of the staff.

Sixty-nine percent of Facebook employees are men, 57 percent are white, and 34 percent are Asian, which means only 9 percent of the employee pie is black, Hispanic, or multiracial.

Facebook's data drop follows similar releases by Google and Yahoo this summer. The racial demographics for all three of the tech giants are very similar, almost to the percentage point. Like Facebook, Google is also 91 percent white or Asian, and Yahoo is 89 percent.

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In a Facebook blog post titled 'Building a More Diverse Facebook,' the company's Global Head of Diversity Maxine Williams wrote that diversity is essential to their mission:

Diversity is something that we?re treating as everyone?s responsibility at Facebook, and the challenge of finding qualified but underrepresented candidates is one that we?re addressing as part of a strategic effort across Facebook.

The gender and racial disparities at Facebook are amplified when you isolate senior level employees. 74 percent of senior staff is white, and 77 percent is male.

Facebook has felt pressure to release these numbers in part because its No.2 executive, Sheryl Sandberg, has been an outspoken critic of male-dominated corporate culture. She is the best-selling author of the book , in which she wrote, 'Everyone needs to get more comfortable with female leaders, including female leaders themselves.'

Sandberg and othershave also acknowledged that one of the other main issues with creating a more diverse workforce is the tech pipeline. Because women and underrepresented minorities have had a historical lack of access to resources and opportunities in STEM fields, there are fewer members of these groups in the hiring pool.

Yahoo, headed by President and CEO Marissa Mayer, has the highest percentage of female employees among the three tech companies, with a 37 percent female staff. Facebook's staff is 37 percent female, and Google's is 30 percent.

However, all of these numbers are still considerably lower than the percentage of women in the overall US workforce: 47 percent.

Diversity advocates have hailed the release of these numbers as a small step in the right direction. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who launched a campaign to diversify Silicon Valley earlier this year, has lead delegations to the annual shareholder's meeting at Google, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, eBay, and other major tech firms. After Google released their diversity numbers, he commended the company for acknowledging the need to increase employee diversity:

'Silicon Valley and the tech industry have demonstrated an ability to solve the most challenging and complex problems in the world and inclusion is a complex problem,' Jackson said in a statement.

'Inclusion is a complex problem-if we put our collective minds together, we can solve that too,' he said.

Mikaela can be reached at or via Twitter @mikafrak.

US agency probes Nissan Versa over speed control

Credit: Reuters/James Fassinger

The 2014 Nissan Versa Note is displayed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan January 15, 2013.

According to a document posted online on Saturday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the agency has opened a preliminary investigation into 360,000 Nissan Versa, Versa Sedan and Versa Note from model years 2012-2014.

The NHTSA said it had received four complaints that the tunnel carpet cover trim panel on those vehicles had trapped the edge of the driver's shoe, interfering with the driver's ability to reduce acceleration and to apply the brakes.

'I attempted to remove my foot from the gas pedal, but could not, because my foot was stuck,' said one complaint on the website. 'The plastic piece that covers the center console extends around to just next to the gas pedal... The corner of that plastic panel wedged between the sole and leather upper of my work boots, preventing me from taking my foot off the gas pedal.'

A preliminary investigation is the first step in a process that could lead to a recall if regulators determine that a safety issue needs to be addressed by a manufacturer.

'We've just been made of aware of it and we will be cooperating fully with that investigation,' Nissan spokesman Steve Yaeger said.

(Reporting by Sandra Maler; editing by Gunna Dickson)

Facebook Manipulated 689003 Users' Emotions For Science

On Facebook, you may be a guinea pig and not know it.

Facebook is the best human research lab ever. There's no need to get experiment participants to sign pesky consent forms as they've already agreed to the site's data use policy. The site has a team of data scientists that are constantly coming up with new ways to turn users into guinea pigs. When the team releases papers about what it's learned from us, we often learn surprising things about Facebook - such as the fact that it can keep track of the status updates we never actually post. Facebook has played around with manipulating people before - getting 60,000 to rock the vote in 2012 that otherwise wouldn't have - but a recent study shows Facebook playing a whole new level of mind gamery with its guinea pigs users. As first noted by Animal New York, Facebook's data scientists manipulated the News Feeds of 689,003 users, filling them with either positive posts or negative posts or posts devoid of sentiment in order to see how it affected their moods.

They found that emotions were contagious. 'When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred,' according to the paper published by the Facebook research team in the PNAS. 'These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks.'

The experiment ran for a week - January 11-18, 2012 - during which the hundreds of thousands of Facebook users unknowingly participating may have felt either happier or more depressed than usual, as they saw either more of their friends posting '15 Photos That Restore Our Faith In Humanity' articles or more of their friends' despondent status updates about lost jobs, dead dogs and falling off the New Year's Resolution bandwagon. '*Probably* nobody was driven to suicide,' tweeted one professor linking to the study, adding a '#jokingnotjoking' hashtag.

The researchers - who may not have been thinking about the optics of a 'Facebook emotionally manipulates users' study - jauntily note that the study undermines people who claim that looking at our friends' good lives on Facebook makes us feel depressed. 'The fact that people were more emotionally positive in response to positive emotion updates from their friends stands in contrast to theories that suggest viewing positive posts by friends on Facebook may somehow affect us negatively,' they write.

They also note that when they took all of the emotional posts out of a person's News Feed, that person became 'less expressive,' i.e. wrote less status updates. So prepare to have Facebook curate your feed with the most emotional of your friends' posts if they feel you're not posting often enough.

So is it okay for Facebook to play mind games with us for science? It's a cool finding but unknowingly manipulating users' emotional states to get there puts Facebook's big toe across that creepy line. When universities run studies on people like this, they have to run them by an ethics board first to get approval. At Facebook, not so much. As a 2012 profile of the Facebook data team noted, ' Unlike academic social scientists, Facebook's employees have a short path from an idea to an experiment on hundreds of millions of people.'

Tim Cook Outed on CNBC: Host Claims Apple CEO Is Openly Gay [Video]

First Posted: Jun 28, 2014 12:29 PM EDT

It was an awkward and embarrassing moment for CNBC co-host Simon Hobbs, who accidentally outed Apple CEO Tim Cook as homosexual on live on-air television.

Hobbs was among several co-hosts on CNBC's Friday show of 'Squawk on the Street' where New York Times columnist Jim Stewart appeared as they discussed an article he recently wrote, exploring the absence of openly gay CEOs. He started by talking about the former CEO of BP John Browne who was the first ever person from a Fortune 500 company to acknowledge publicly that he is gay. Stewart added that the corporate culture prevents these powerful gay men from going public about their sexuality.

Stewart went on by saying that CEOs are mostly measured by objective criteria, such as financial performance. He also said that he had reached out to a number of CEOs for their comments on his story and that he received 'an extremely cool reception' and not one of them would all their names to be released. It was at that point when Simon Hobbes made his statement about the Apple CEO.

He said that he thought Cook was fairly open about being gay. After a deafening silence filled the studio, Steward shook his head in disapproval and responded with a quick 'no.' While Hobbs tried to recover, his follow-up was not very helpful, saying he thought Tim Cook was open about it and then asking if that was an error.

After the incident, the panel continued discussing Stewart's article, but Stewart declined to comment on anybody 'who might or might not be' a homosexual. While the Apple chief delivered a public speech on gender discrimination last year and was called the most powerful LGBT person on Out's 2013 power list, Tim Cook has neither confirmed nor denied any speculation regarding his sexual orientation.

Watch the sequence below:

Google I/O 2014: 10 Big Developments

Google unveiled everything from Android to wearable news at its annual developers show. Here are the developments that matter most.

It's A Wearable World In his opening-day presentation at Google I/O 2014, the company's annual developers' conference in San Francisco, Sundar Pichai, Google's senior VP of Android, Chrome, and apps, claimed that more than a million people worldwide were watching the keynote's live stream. Given the global reach of Google, this estimate doesn't sound far-fetched.

In a lengthy keynote that seemed to cover every facet of the company's increasingly diverse interests, one trend shone through: Wearable devices are a big deal. Presentations focused mostly on Android and Chrome, and how Google is evolving its software and services beyond smartphones and tablets. These efforts are designed to accommodate the emerging Internet of Things, a sensor-laden ecosystem of wearables, home automation gadgets, connected cars, and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices for the enterprise.

The inevitable stats were impressive. The number of people around the world who actively use Android devices nearly doubled from 530 million a year ago to more than one billion today. And Android now has 62% of global tablet shipments, up from 46% a year ago.

Getting all of these tablets, phones, and other devices to work together is a key concern for Google and its competitors. After all, recent history shows that mobile platforms that fall behind may never catch up.

'Users increasingly are living in a multi-screen world,' said Pichai. 'You are using other connected devices -- the television in your living room. You're increasingly wearing things on your body. When you get into your car, you expect a connected experience. We want to work to create a seamless experience across all these connected devices.'

One significant challenge in realizing this vision, however, involves developing devices and services that become 'contextually aware,' knowing when users are home and want to be entertained, when they're traveling, and when they're at work.

Voice, arguably the most intuitive means of human interaction, will play a major role in this contextually aware environment. In Google's vision, the smartphone becomes the hub of this personal ecosystem, a logical approach if what the company says is true: Android users check their phones an average of 125 times every day.

One high-profile product that went unmentioned during Wednesday's keynote was Google Glass, perhaps because there's nothing new to announce (unlikely), or because the cutting-edge wearable needs a break from endless public scrutiny and scorn.

This slideshow provides an overview of the major initiatives announced during the I/O conference. Here's the takeaway: Google's focus may be on Android wearables and getting developers to write apps for them, but the search giant is juggling multiple, highly ambitious projects. Some of these may fail, of course, but even the duds are interesting in their own way. Which developments do you like or dislike most? Tell us in the comments section.

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

Google Simplifies Mobile Back

Google Simplifies Mobile Back-End Development

Google Inc. today announced new features to help Android developers connect their mobile apps to a cloud-based back-end platform.

Google Cloud Save will facilitate saving, retrieving and synchronizing user data -- for example, preferences or user state -- without developers needing to code up a back-end themselves.

Cloud Tools for Android Studio makes it easier to add an App Engine back-end to an app, with module templates for back-end services such as endpoint scaffolding or push notifications.

The back-end services are similar to initiatives from other mobile and cloud providers, such as Microsoft Azure Mobile Services, which is designed to provide a framework for saving app data in the cloud, send push notifications and add custom back-end logic for apps.

'Whether it's building basic plumbing, or just trying to load and save data in a network- and battery-efficient way, spending time dealing with the back-end can take precious time away from building an awesome app,' said Jason Polites of the Cloud Platform team in a blog post today.

Polites used the term 'app-nesia' to describe the loss of user data stored only on a device -- such as preferences -- when an app needs to be reinstalled. Saving such data automatically to cloud storage also helps to synchronize user state across multiple devices.

[Click on image for larger view.]Google Cloud Save (source: Google Inc.)

'We handle all the back-end logic, as well as the synchronization services on the client,' Polites said. 'The synchronization services work in the background, providing offline support for the data, and minimizing impact on the battery. All you need to do is tell us when and what to save.'

Developers do that with four methods to provide create, retrieve, update and delete (CRUD) functionality and force data synchronizations. Locally stored data is synchronized automatically in the background, saved on the back-end in Google Cloud Datastore. Any changes to the data on the back-end platform will be automatically synced to devices. 'Importantly, this per-user data belongs to you, the developer, and [is] stored in your own Google Cloud Datastore database,' Polites said.

The data can be accessed from Google App Engine or Google Compute Engine instances.

To make it easier to add an App Engine back-end to an app, the new Cloud Tools for Android Studio come into play, providing three module templates: App Engine Java Servlet Module for a minimal back-end; App Engine Java Endpoints Module for basic endpoint scaffolding; and App Engine with Google Cloud Messaging to wire up push notifications.

Choosing one of these templates automatically updates a project with a new Gradle module containing the back-end. Gradle is a build automation service.

'Once you've added the back-end module to your Android application, you can use Google Cloud Endpoints to streamline the communication between your back-end and your Android app,' Polites said. 'Cloud Endpoints automatically generates strongly typed, mobile-optimized client libraries from simple Java server-side API annotations, automates Java object marshalling to and from JSON, and provides built-in OAuth 2.0 support. On deployment, this annotated Endpoints API definition class generates a RESTful API.'

Google Cloud Save is in private beta, and interested developers can sign up to participate.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for 1105 Media.

Email Shows GM Exec Was Informed of Ignition Defect in 2005

A GM engineer who once reported to CEO Mary Barra and is now a vice president at the company was involved in a debate in 2005 over how to fix the ignition problem that led to the recall of millions of vehicles, company documents show.

While attention has previously focused on Ray DeGiorgio, the engineer who secretly authorized changes to a faulty ignition switch now linked to at least 13 deaths, the internal documents show that Doug Parks, GM's vehicle chief engineer for the Chevy Cobalt at the time, was involved in an email exchange about how to fix inadvertent shut-offs of the vehicles -- caused by the ignition switch being bumped out of the 'run' position.

Parks was later promoted to a vice presidential position, reporting to Mary Barra from September 2012 until January, when she was appointed CEO. A GM official denied that Parks was a confidante of Barra's.

Barra has testified that she and other senior GM executives only learned of a possible safety issue in the Cobalt in December 2013 and did not find out that it was an ignition switch issue until Jan. 31 of this year.

In an email exchange from May 2005, Parks suggested a plug insert for the key as a fix to resolve ignition shut-offs. Parks, who is now vice president of the automaker's global product programs, wrote that a plug seemed to be 'the only real, quick solution.'

Parks was responding to an email from a brand quality manager, Steven Oakley, who was seeking assistance resolving a customer's request that GM buy back a Cobalt because of inadvertent stalling. Oakley's email indicated that other cars at the dealership appeared to also have a similar defect, in which the effort required to turn the key from run to accessory was 'very weak.'

GM declined a request for comment from NBC News on Parks' behalf.

GM's internal investigation into the ignition switch recall, led by former U.S. Attorney Anton Valukas, mentioned that DeGiorgio was copied on this email chain, but it did not mention that Parks was, too.

Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, asked Valukas about why Parks' name was omitted from the report at a June 18 House hearing.

'Why was it more significant that Mr. DeGiorgio was aware of this exchange rather than the vehicle chief engineer?' Johnson asked.

'I don't know that it was more significant,' Valukas replied. 'It was significant because Mr. DeGiorgio ultimately made the decision to change the part. And in our interviews with him, he said that he was not aware of the fact that this was an issue, that he was not aware of the publicity and he was not aware of the email traffic concerning this, while we had information that that was not in fact the case.'

Johnson then turned to Barra.

'The chief engineer has to count on the people doing their job.'

'What knowledge should someone in the chief engineer position have about the vehicle compared to someone such as Mr. DeGiorgio?' he asked. 'I mean, would it be reasonable that the chief -- the vehicle chief engineer would have known about this situation?'

Barra responded, 'There's 30,000 parts on a car. The chief engineer has to count on the people doing their job.'

Valukas' report, released early this month, faulted numerous GM employees for failing to 'understand or solve the problem' and faulted what it called a 'dysfunctional culture' at the company, which led to the recall of some 2.6 million GM vehicles.

But it singled out DeGiorgio for particularly harsh criticism.

It said DeGiorgio approved the part that allowed the ignition switch to be inadvertently turned off - known as a 'detent plunger' -- for production in 2002 despite knowing that it did not meet technical specifications and had failed 'rotational torque' tests. DeGiorgio eventually ordered a design change to the switch in 2006 - the use of a slightly longer version of the detent plunger to alleviate the problem, but he didn't instruct the manufacturer to change the part number, which could have led GM to identify the cause of the stalling issue sooner, according to GM documents.

Related GM's Mary Barra Grilled in Congress Over Car Safety Crisis 'On Deaf Ears': The Crash Report That GM Ignored for 7 Years Families of GM Crash Victims Seek Answers from Automaker

According to GM's internal report, a journalist informed Parks in 'summer or fall' 2004 that he had 'turned off the car by hitting his knew against the key fob or chain.'

Parks then asked Gary Altman, the program engineering manager, to... (try) to replicate the event and to determine a fix.'

Follow NBC News Investigations on Twitter and Facebook.

GM has said it dismissed 15 employees, including DeGiorgio and Altman, and disciplined five others for their role in in the handling of the ignition switch problems.

Barra has said she doesn't anticipate any additional firings.

A GM spokesman confirmed that Parks is still employed at the company but had no further comment. It is unclear whether Parks was among the five additional employees who were disciplined but not fired.

First published June 27 2014, 4:22 PM

Talesha Reynolds

Reynolds is a producer in NBC News’ Washington Bureau, where she has covered the IRS targeting scandal, the impact of sequester and the Affordable Care Act, among other things, since joining the network in May 2012. Prior the joining NBC News, Reynolds was a producer for ABC News “Nightline†and “Good Morning America.â€Over her career, Reynolds has covered everything from politics to pop culture. She produced day in the life pieces with President Barack Obama, covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the Joplin tornado and produced profiles of Perez Hilton and Jay-Z. Reynolds was part of the 'Nightline' team that won a Barone Award for excellence in journalism for a series on The Clinton Years.

Facebook Home's original development team has reportedly disbanded

Facebook may be giving up on its ambitious (and poorly received) plan to take over your smartphone. According to The New York Times' Bits blog, Facebook has disbanded the team responsible for developing Facebook Home, an Android skin that it released last year, which overhauled a phone to display Facebook photos on its lock screen and provide easy access to chat messages and status updates. Bits doesn't say that work on Home has necessarily ended for good, but it suggests the chances of it moving forward aren't very high either.

User reviews remain quite bad

Despite Facebook promising monthly updates for Home, Bits notes that the app hasn't been updated since January. It remains available in the Play Store, however, largely with unfavorable reviews. Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It's no secret that Home hasn't been the success that Facebook was hoping for. The phone it came preinstalled on, the HTC First, saw deep discounts shortly after launch and more or less disappeared shortly thereafter. And while Home itself did a good job transforming an Android phone into one that felt purpose-built for Facebook, there was little compelling reason to do that.

After its release, Facebook Home quickly shot to half a million downloads, but growth stalled from there. To date, Google Play reports that it's been installed between 1 million and 5 million times - a low figure on either end for an app from a prominent company.

Facebook put little muscle behind pushing Home forward, however. Like with its new apps Slingshot and Paper, Facebook largely allowed Home to grow on its own (outside of a launch event, at least). Home eventually expanded to loop in content from Instagram, Tumblr, and other social networks, but that clearly wasn't enough to win it a mass of new users.

Facebook has been more than willing to try out ideas and allow them to fail, but Home is a particularly high-profile example of that and a critical loss. Facebook is reported to have been working on phone projects for years before finally unveiling Home. It's realized that, as users transition to mobile, the best way to take advantage of the change is to put itself front and center on a phone. It's a bold goal, and one that's far from panned out to date.

For now, Facebook's strategy seems to be shifting. Rather than blanketing a phone completely with one app, it's beginning to break its services up into a variety of standalone apps - perhaps allowing it to slowly fill up more and more of your home screen with Facebook products. It's a less dramatic effect, but it might be more achievable.

Apple To Cease Development Of Aperture And Transition Users To Photos For ...

With the release of OS X Yosemite later this year, Apple will cease the development of its 'pro' photo editing app.

'With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture,' an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. 'When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.'

More to follow...

Can't Access Verizon Billing? You're Not Alone

Verizon Wireless, the United States' largest wireless carrier, is having some issues with its billing system, including the My Verizon web and app portal.

That means that if you try to log in to My Verizon online or in an app, you can't get account information, pay your bill, see usage rates or activate new lines of service.

A Verizon Wireless spokesperson tells Mashable that the company is 'unfortunately experiencing issues with our billing system, affecting customer accounts mostly in Northeast, Midwestern and some southern states. We are working on a fix.'

The outage isn't just limited to self-serve systems. Verizon stores in a number of states are also unable to access billing information or activate lines of service.

Affected customers see this image when attempting to login to the My Verizon portal:

Image: Screenshot My Verizon

Right now, Verizon doesn't know how many potential customers are impacted by this issue, but it could be thousands. We're getting Twitter reports from users in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Illinois.

It's important to note that the problem is not impacting wireless voice or data services. Still, for many users, not being able to activate a new line or make a payment on an account can be just as debilitating.

Reports on Twitter suggest that the billing system issues go back more than 24 hours, with some users reporting that they have been unable to activate new lines of service for nearly two days.

@film_girl yes. I've been trying to buy a new phone for 2 days! They can't access my account at all! #VerizonOutage- Kevin Mason (@kevinmason) June 27, 2014

@film_girl Activations not possible from Ohio to Maine. Also confirmed NY and NJ are in the outage area. Can't even connect current subs.- Robert Chute (@robertchute) June 27, 2014

Mashable has been unable to confirm reports that users are being turned away at Verizon stores.

This billing outage comes at a particularly precarious time for the carrier. Not only is it near the end of the month (though we should note that not all billing cycles start on the 1st), it is happening when a number of retailers are putting phones on sale in the lead-up to the Fourth of July holiday.

Walmart, for example, currently has the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S for sale for $29 and $99, respectively, for a 16GB variant. In some cases, users may be able to purchase phones. The problem is actually activating the phone on a new or existing account. The nature of the activation servers, however, is also preventing many phone sales.

We'll update this post with more information as soon as we get it.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Film offers portrait of the 'Internet's Own Boy'

(CNN) -- In life, Aaron Swartz was a force in creating today's Web, helping write game-changing code in his early teens before turning his attentions to Internet activism.

In death, an apparent suicide that came as he faced federal charges that could have sent him to prison for decades, he became a martyr of sorts -- a champion for a new generation of believers that the Web, and the information on it, deserve to be free.

Now, his story is the subject of a documentary film being released Friday.

'The Internet's Own Boy' is a look at Swartz's life and untimely death at age 26.

For director Brian Knappenberger, it's a tale that merges a captivating life story with a look at some of the most important legal, social and ethical issues of the digital age.

'On the one hand, it was a very compelling personal story that was just, by itself, inspirational and interesting but, ultimately tragic,' said Knappenberger. 'Then there's this kind of sharp combination with the issues Aaron was involved in, which are really, really relevant for our time.

'I wanted to tell this personal, ultimately tragic, story that also touches on a broken criminal justice system, outdated computer laws' and other issues, he said in a phone interview.

'Digital savant and wise elder'

Swartz was a digital prodigy who helped craft the Internet we know today. By age 14, he had co-written the specifications for RSS -- a Web-publishing system for delivering content from frequently updated sites like blogs. As a teen, he was one of the architects of Creative Commons, writing code for the nonprofit devoted to letting creators make their works available for others to share and improve upon.

At 19, after a single year at Stanford, he formed his own company, Infogami, which would merge with, and help create, Reddit -- the vast, freewheeling social-sharing site built on the foundation of free-expression and online anonymity.

'World wanderers, we have lost a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down,' said World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee, in a tweet about the death of a man 31 years his junior.

'A legal nightmare'

On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by police officers from MIT and charged with breaking and entering for downloading more than 4 million documents from a campus digital library. Federal prosecutors tacked on wire fraud, computer fraud and other charges. In all, Swartz faced up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine if convicted.

Supporters note that none of the documents he acquired included sensitive personal data or would have netted Swartz any financial gain. JSTOR, the digital library from which the documents came, declined to press charges and asked prosecutors to drop the case.

Two years later Swartz was found hanged to death in his Brooklyn apartment, just two days after prosecutors had turned down his lawyer's second plea-bargain offer.

'He certainly was the kind of person who carried the weight of the world on his shoulders,' Knappenberger said. 'While he was rousing the troops for this political cause, he was also going through this kind of personal hell.'

His film notes that friends described depression-like symptoms in Swartz and that he suffered from ulcerative colitis, a painful intestinal condition similar to the one suffered by Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain, who killed himself in 1994.

But Knappenberger feels it was the legal ordeal that pushed Swartz to his final desperate moments.

'I think it was the two-year legal nightmare that left him exhausted, emotionally and mentally,' he said. 'I don't let the case off that easily. I think that, without this, we'd still have him.'

'A beautifully crafted film'

'The Internet's Own Boy' was funded in part through a Kickstarter campaign and screened earlier this year at the Sundance and South by Southwest film festivals, where it got largely positive reviews.

'While the film borders on hagiography ... the celebration of what Swartz accomplished never feels forced or inauthentic,' wrote Geoff Berkshire in Variety. 'Instead, 'The Internet's Own Boy' is a beautifully crafted film that opens a window on a world not everyone has entered yet, and exposes ways in which both the legal system and the U.S. government is lagging hopelessly behind technology.'

Katherine Kilkenny, writing for IndieWire, said one of the film's running themes is the question of whether 'this generation's programming magicians' will choose to use their power for purpose or profit.

'We often see stories of slight, sloppy-looking young coders like Swartz transformed into national icons by the tech industry, but rarely with such close attention to ethics,' she wrote. 'Knappenberger has delivered a film brimming with outrage.'

It's that sort of outrage that turned Swartz's death into acause celebre among Internet-freedom advocates.

Tributes after death

Multiple memorials were held for Swartz, from his hometown of Highland Park, Illinois, to Cooper Union in Manhattan to Capitol Hill, where attendees included U.S. senators and representatives who spoke out in favor of the freedom of information online.

An online movement tagged #PDFtribute encouraged academics and others in the public sector to make their writings and other documents freely available online, and many did.

Princeton University announced new scholarships in Swartz's name. He was posthumously named to the Internet Hall of Fame, and members of the 'hacktivist' movement Anonymous hacked two MIT websites, posting calls that Swartz's death become a rallying point for the open-access movement.

'That was part of the reason I was so drawn to it,' said Knappenberger, who had previously profiled Anonymous in the documentary 'We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists.'

'There was obviously this big wave of anger and frustration and sympathy that came out of the Internet after he died that was notably not there during his case.

'It wasn't just people who knew him. It was people from far beyond the online world where he was a celebrity. All kinds of people really responded to his story.'

To those closest to him, the film is a bittersweet tribute.

'It's extremely difficult for me to watch,' Aaron's father, Robert Swartz, told CNN. 'I think that Brian has done a wonderful job presenting who Aaron was, where he came from, what he tried to accomplish, and what kind of role model he represents to others who can use those skills rather than simply making money as a means to improve the world and make the world a better place.'

'The Internet's Own Boy' premiered Thursday in Los Angeles and begins rolling out to theaters in more than 25 cities on Friday. It is being released simultaneously in multiple digital formats, including on Creative Commons, where it will be made available for any use that does not involve making a profit from it.

CNN's Laurie Segall and Brandon Griggs contributed to this story.

Google shows prototype of Project Ara phone

Sahil Mohan Gupta New Delhi, June 27, 2014 | UPDATED 14:57 IST

Google has unveiled a working prototype of its 'Project Ara' modular smartphone platform at Google I/O. The device which booted to Android also froze, but the fact that Google was able to show-off a product that was able to boot the Android OS is laud worthy.

Developed by the skunk-works ATAP group headed by former DARPA director Regina Dugan, the project had its origins at Motorola, when it was a Google company. When the Google sold off Motorola to Lenovo, it retained the ATAP group.

The project basically attempts to create a smartphone that has different interchangeable modules that the user can replace or swap out for a customised experience much like one creates assembled PCs.

The technical lead for Project Ara, Paul Eremenko also announced a $100,000 challenge for developers for a working module for the phone that does something the phone has never done.

Eremenko noted that Android will need changes so that it supports the modular nature of the proposed product. He said that his team planned to 'stress test' the operating system so that it could handle the modularity of the device.

A lot of new possibilities have been imagined for Project Ara. For instance, it was claimed modules for a key fob for the car could be created. There could be an expensive camera module so that people share with each other and also a night vision module could be created.

New battery technology is being explored by Google which is more powerful than today's battery tech found in smartphones. However, these batteries would have shorter life spans.

Overall, Google is showing great progress with the proposed product typifying the work ethic of Regina Dugan who introduced the ATAP group at Google I/O as a 'small band of pirates, doing epic sh*t.'

For more news from India Today, follow us on Twitter For news and videos in Hindi, go to @indiatoday and on Facebook at ताज़ातरीन ख़बरों और वीडियो के लिए आजतक.इन पर आएं.


Wal-Mart today drastically slashed the prices of its iPhone 5s and 5c stock, potentially signaling the impending launch of Apple's next-generation smartphone.

Perhaps in an effort to clear its stock and make way for the next batch of iPhones this fall, the big-box retailer is offering in-store discounts starting today.

The 16GB iPhone 5c is available for $29 (down from $49) with a two-year contract from AT&T or Verizon. Its big brother, the iPhone 5s, is also on sale for $99 (down from $149), but you'll need a two-year contract with AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or U.S. Cellular.

It remains unclear whether the 32GB or 64GB versions are also marked down. Wal-Mart did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment.

Costco shoppers, meanwhile, also now have a chance to get a discount Apple product.

Despite a move four years ago to terminate the sale of Apple products, Costco appears to have had a change of heart, this week adding the latest iPhones and iPads to its shelves.

But the spotty selection isn't quite what you'd find at the local Apple Store—or almost any electronics shop. Only a handful of colors are available on each carrier, and don't expect to find any device larger than 16GB.

Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon customers can swing by the store to pick up the iPhone 5s for $77.99. AT&T users can also get a blue iPhone 5c, though it will set you back $99.99.

T-Mobile, meanwhile, is offering the 16GB iPhone 5s, iPad mini with Retina display, and iPad Air only at select Costco Wireless Kiosks.

If you're not sure if you should get the 5c or 5s, meanwhile, check out iPhone 5s vs. 5c: What's the Difference?

Google I/O: Hello Dataflow, Goodbye MapReduce

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Google I/O this year was overwhelmingly dominated by consumer technology, the end user interface, and extension of the Android universe into a new class of mobile devices, the computer you wear on your wrist.

At the same time, there were one or two enterprise-scale data handling and cloud computing gems scattered among all the end user announcements.

One was Cloud Dataflow, introduced at the San Francisco event during a keynote presentation Wednesday. When it comes to handling large amounts of unstructured data, one of Google's original contributions to the field was MapReduce. When combined with a distributed file system, it became a fundamental new type of data sorting, analyzing, and storage mechanism of the era: Hadoop.

[Want to learn more about changes in the Android user interface? See Google I/O: Android Interface, Cloud Advances Star.]

At this year's developer conference, Google executives said MapReduce was so 2004-ish. It's batch oriented, when what you really need is a system that can handle both a large amount of data set aside for a scheduled batch process and one that can handle an ad hoc stream of unsorted data. In producing Dataflow, Google is attempting to steal a march on other public cloud services and provide a two-in-one data sorting and data analysis system.

At Amazon Web Services, for example, you might use Elastic MapReduce for the batch process and Kinesis, introduced last November at Amazon's Re:Invest event, for real-time streaming data. On Google App Engine or Compute Engine, you can use Cloud Dataflow for both tasks.

Urs Holzle, the Swiss native who fills the role of senior VP of engineering at Google, introduced Dataflow, saying it could build parallel pipelines to move data through a transformation and analysis system, regardless of the size of the data stream.

Dataflow is both a software development kit and a managed service that lets customers build the data capture and transformation process that they wish to use. The Dataflow demonstration took a stream of tweets on the World Soccer Cup games and converted the data to JSON object data, then transformed it using a Twitter API that provided the core data extraction, then analyzed it for fan sentiment using Alchemy's third party service.

The system analyzed 5.2 million tweets before the event, then starting adding 402 Twitter records a second to the results. The demonstration showed how in the opening game between Brazil and Croatia, fan sentiment in favor of Brazil dipped after Brazil scored a goal. That was contrary to expectations; the record showed fan sentiment usually went up when a team scored. Further analysis showed fans largely disagreed with a referee's call that allowed Brazil to score.

Holzle said the spotting of anomalies like that in masses of big data can lead to a greater understanding of a customer base or what appeals to the general public. For programmers, the task of creating the transformation points in the pipeline have been simplified by Dataflow, which 'handles the scaling, does the scheduling, deploys the virtual machine, and does the monitoring for you.'

Some enterprises working with big data might try to use MapReduce for the task, but 'MapReduce, which we invented over a decade ago, would be too cumbersome for the task,' he said.

'Information is being generated at an incredible rate. We want you to be able to analyze that information without worrying about scalability,' he said.

Underneath Dataflow is a basic Google innovation, FlumeJava, which has the capability of applying 'a modest number of operations' on parallel streams of data. FlumeJava is able to construct an execution plan, rather than merely try to expand a plan that's proving unequal to an increased data stream, according to its citation by the Association of Computing Machinery's Digital Library.

Holzle also claimed the Google Cloud Platform 'leads in price and performance' among IaaS providers, a claim Amazon might dispute, and has incorporated the progression of Moore's Law into its cloud pricing structure. With the two companies dropping prices as fast as they were earlier this year, and with Microsoft following suit, cloud pricing won't be leveling off anytime soon.

Application storage services have dropped 30% to 53% at Google, permanent storage by 68%, and BigQuery data services by 85%, he said.

In another market sector, Xavier Ducrohet, the Android SDK lead, said it's now possible to import Eclipse projects into the Android Studio integrated development environment, which is better able to stage code according to what Android device it's going to run in.

Once inside Studio, the lengthy lists of file names that make up big projects can be made easier to explore, since the integrated development environment now lists all the elements in a file when it's highlighted. Targeting a device form factor amounts to selecting a check box, with option of selecting as many as needed. Even the Wear form factor -- the new wrist computer, currently only available as a little rectangle -- has the option of checking off a circular Wear device. Wrist computers that look like round white watches are coming later this summer.

The IDE even gives developers the option of looking at their screen layout as a left-to-right presentation or reverse right-to-left one, which might be adopted in some form factors. The IDE also contains a red underlining function that automatically highlights an API name when the version is inconsistent with the needs of the program. It can also identify known problems in the source code.

InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of the Internet of Things. Find out the way in which an aging workforce will drive progress on the Internet of Things, why the IoT isn't as scary as some folks seem to think, how connected machines will change the supply chain, and more. (Free registration required.)

'The next step is building in better stability and performance,' he said.

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek, having joined the publication in 2003. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse ... View Full Bio

Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Customers Speak

Early adopters of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3 say the Windows device is working well as a tablet and an ultra-light laptop.

(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

The Surface Pro 3 has earned better reviews than its predecessors -- but most of the commentary has come from tech journalists, who, let's face it, are an awfully keyboard-dependent, word processing-oriented bunch. What are Microsoft's actual customers saying? We spoke to IT decision-makers at Seattle Children's Hospital and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), two early Surface Pro 3 adopters to find out how and why they've chosen to deploy the device.

The Surface Pro 3 is technically a tablet, and Microsoft still sells its Type Cover keyboard separately. Nevertheless, both organizations were attracted to the device's laptop capabilities.

[On the fence about the Surface Pro 3? Read Microsoft Surface Pro 3: Why To Buy.]

'It's the thinnest Ultrabook ever created,' UPMC VP of Medical Information Technology Rasu Shrestha said of the Pro 3's appeal.

'The mobility of it, the lightness, the kickstand, the screen size,' said Seattle Children's CIO Wes Wright. 'It hits a bunch of our complaints from the originals [and] makes it much more viable in a health care setting.'

Despite a shared enthusiasm for the Pro 3's laptop mode, each organization plans to use the Pro 3 in somewhat different ways. Wright said Seattle Children's plans to deploy around 1,000 devices, 300 of which are destined for clinical use. The rest are pegged for non-medical staff, such as those in the finance and supply chain departments.

The hospital had previously deployed around 150 Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2s, mostly as notebook replacements for execs and administrative departments. Similarly, the majority of the hospital's Pro 3s will serve first and foremost as ultralight laptops. But Wright said the Pro 3's hybrid qualities will play a bigger role among the 300 devices earmarked for doctors.

All of Seattle Children's Surfaces will rely on a Windows 7 virtual desktop for shared resources because 'the fat app changes often, and rather than trying to touch 6,000 devices, it just makes more sense for us to serve up a single virtualized image,' Wright said. But whereas most of the Pro 3s will be managed like typical corporate-issued devices, the clinicians' units will 'probably be issued in more of a personal device mode.

'If I just gave them a laptop, I wouldn't get any innovation out of [the doctors],' Wright said, noting that the Surface Pro Pen opens up new ways for doctors to use tablets.

UPMC plans to deploy most of its 2,000 Surface Pro 3s to physicians. Microsoft touted earlier Surfaces as a way for doctors to access and modify Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems on-demand, enabling them to work more effectively with patients, and avoid running to a computer workstation between appointments. UPMC's deployment taps this vein, but with the added twist that the hospital is developing its own EHR product, Convergence.

A Windows 8.1 app, Convergence pulls information from multiple EHR systems and allows doctors to switch between a visual view of a patient's records, and those underlying systems. UPMC will serve as a 'living lab' as the Convergence team prepares to bring the app to market, Shrestha said. UPMC originally planned to build Convergence on iOS but

Michael Endler joined InformationWeek as an associate editor in 2012. He previously worked in talent representation in the entertainment industry, as a freelance copywriter and photojournalist, and as a teacher. Michael earned a BA in English from Stanford University in 2005 ... View Full Bio

Daimler, Nissan partner up on Mexico vehicle production strategy

Infiniti and Mercedes compact cars will reportedly move between manufacturing facilities held by Renault-Nissan and Daimler in Mexico, now that the two parties have signed a new agreement.

The plan involves the use of Daimler's front-wheel drive designs and the assembly of the vehicles at Nissan's location, though specifics on the agreement were to be released in an upcoming joint press conference. Dieter Zetsche, Daimler CEO, and Carlos Ghos, Renault Nissan CEO, are expected to attend the conference.

This latest deal, to be officially announced on June 27, has been described by Daimler as the biggest venture into worldwide collaboration ever attempted by Daimler and Renault-Nissan.

The newly announced deal between Daimler and Renault-Nissan wasn't the first time the companies have formed an alliance with one another. Mercedes and Nissan have worked with Renault since 2010.

The three companies have reportedly shared in vehicle architecture, engine designs and operating facilities for compact cars and vans since Ghos and Zetsche first came to terms in 2010.

Mercedes gains a North American site where it can construct its modular front architecture, which saves the company on development and deployment of its products. Infiniti gains entries into the lower end of its range, which include new SUVs and compact cars.

While Daimler hasn't revealed which model of Mercedes it will build in Mexico, sources claim the automaker was planning to construct new CLA and A-class sedans 300 miles north of Mexico City at the Aguascalientes factory.

The number of automakers setting up operations in Mexico has continually risen.

Known as the Maquiladora region, Mexico's free-trade zones have long served as fertile soil for manufacturing operations hoping to move goods quickly into the U.S. and looking to do so with the assistance of a low-cost workforce. Along with Infiniti and Mercedes, BMW and Audi were also said to be closing in on developing their own facilities in Mexico.

BMW was expected to make a decision on whether it would build a new plant in Mexico or invest $1 billion in an existing site in Spartanburg, S.C. The move to bolster the Spartanburg plant or build a new on Mexico was said to come in response to high demand for the cars in the United States, accounting for 19 percent of deliveries around the globe.

Audi has already started construction on a $1.3 billion assembly plant, just southeast of Mexico City, which has been expected to produce up to 150,000 automobiles each year. Audi has hinted the capacity could double down the road.

YouTube Announces Translator, Tip Jar and Other Goodies at Vidcon

Image: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced a series of new features for both fans and creators at Vidcon on Thursday, including 'Fan Subtitles,' an automated translator for any video in any language, a virtual tip-jar and a mobile app from which YouTubers can make, manage and monitor videos.

Giving an afternoon keynote at the fifth annual confab here - her first Vidcon since becoming CEO of YouTube more than five months ago - Wojcicki first announced 'Fan Subtitles': 'Our goal is to make it that every video uploaded to YouTube will be available in every language,' she said of the opt-in feature.

SEE ALSO: Vidcon: Where Hollywood Meets the YouTuber Invasion

YouTube will also roll out interactive cards that directly link creators' YouTube campaigns to IndieGogo and Kickstarter fundraising efforts. But in a more direct stragegy, YouTube will soon add its virtual tip-jar 'Fan Funding.'

'To put it really simply, any viewer can show any creator their viewer their love by tipping them any amount between $1 and $500,' Wojcicki said.

Finally, Wojcicki announced an analytics and channel management mobile app - a development that was cheered by the content creators in attendance at the Anaheim Convention Center.

This story is developing ...

Netgear Intros Tri

On Wednesday, Netgear launched a new Wireless AC router that is based on Broadcom's new 5G WiFi XStream platform: the Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router ( R8000). This device packs six high-performance antennas and three radios: one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz. The router can be pre-purchased online on Wednesday for a hefty price of $299.99 here in the United States.

This new router is compatible with Wireless AC adapters and devices, providing up to 1300 Mbps on each 5 GHz band and up to 600 Gbps on the 2.4 GHz band, totaling 3200 Mbps (aka AC3200). The router's Smart Connect feature 'intelligently' places fast devices on one band and slower devices on the other, ensuring that each device connected to the network has the best possible connection.

For example, on a dual-band router, video streaming and online gaming may share the same band, slowing each other down. But with this new AC3200 router, video streaming would be placed on one 5 GHz band and online gaming on the other 5 GHz band. Smaller devices like smartphones and tablets may be pushed to the 2.4 GHz band to receive the best connection.

The R8000 is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and three offload processors. The device also supports Beamforming+, which locks on to a specific device to provide better downloads, clearer VoIP calls, lag-free gaming and so on. There's also a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port for sharing and streaming files across the network, and ReadySHARE Vault, a free application that backs up a PC on the network when incremental changes are made.

The R8000 also provides users with VPN support for secure remote access by using a customized free URL. There's also SPI and NAT firewalls, a separate guest network access, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one Gigabit WAN port, iTunes server support, and Netgear MyMedia, which will stream media files stored on the USB port to DNLA-ready TVs and music systems.

Netgear did not provide a ship date for this router.

Asus revealed something similar during COMPUTEX 2014 earlier this month: the RT-AC3200. This networking solution includes six external antennas linked to two 3×3 802.11ac and one 3×3 802.11n radios, providing up to 1300 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Also included are four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port.

Asus is pushing to get its tri-band router out onto the market in the second half of 2014. With Netgear now taking pre-purchases for its tri-band router, it looks as if Netgear will be the first to offer a tri-band solution for networking. So if you're looking to beef up the local network at home or in a business, one of these routers may be the way to go when they eventually hit the market.

Larry Page Tries His Best To Convince Us That Google+ Isn't Dead

APAfter Google exec Vic Gundotra stepped down from his position running Google+ in April, rumors spread that Google would essentially stop thinking of it as a social network, and consider it more of a platform instead.

In a recent interview with Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, however, Google CEO Larry Page stressed the importance of social and did his best to talk up Google+.

The social network was barely mentioned in Google's keynote address Wednesday at this week's I/O developer conference, and Manjoo asked Page what was going on with it.

'The service has been growing tremendously,' Page insists. 'People are always like, 'Oh, what's going on?' But for us, we're super excited about it because it's a big service, growing continuously, since we launched it, at a high rate, and we're making it better and better every day.'

Page says social is even more important for Google than it was two years ago, and that the Google+ community is very excited and dedicated. He says when people think about Google+, they just think of its home stream, but that it's much more than that. Page mentions Google Play reviews as being a big part of the social network. YouTube comments are another one (though not everyone is happy about that).

He also makes a pitch about why people should use Google+.

'People forget we're able to make our services better by understanding your relationships, making sharing work and understanding identity,' he told Manjoo. 'These are deep and important things for us as a company.'

SEE ALSO: The Story About Amazon's Jeff Bezos Eating Octopus For Breakfast Is Symbolic Of His Business Strategy

Germany gives Verizon the boot over NSA spying scandal

Reuters / Rick Wilking

Citing concerns over the NSA's wiretapping of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other top officials' phones, the German Interior Ministry announced Thursday that it will not renew its contract with Verizon to provide service for government ministries.

As part of an effort to revamp its secure communications networks, the country will instead rely on Germany's Deutsche Telekom, Reuters reported.

Since the beginning of the NSA scandal, US businesses have expressed concern over the potential blowback of the revelations on their bottom lines. Fearing foreign governments and other firms will no longer trust them to provide secure products and services, they've pushed back against the government, demanding more transparency of how the intelligence community operates.

Verizon is one of the first companies that can point to the NSA as a direct cause for a failed business deal. The Interior Ministry released a statement Thursday, saying 'the ties revealed between foreign intelligence agencies and firms in the wake of the U.S. National Security Agency affair show that the German government needs a very high level of security for its critical networks.'

Although it was the first company outed by journalist Glenn Greenwald and British newspaper the Guardian as providing the NSA with millions of instances of metadata on a daily basis, Verizon is not the only - or necessarily the first - to do so.

As far back as 2001, the NSA reportedly collected data from AT&T by re-routing information on its network to government computers. Reporting by Wired revealed documents from AT&T technician Mark Klein showing how the feat was accomplished using hardware in a now famous secret room at the company's San Francisco data center.

Though the US and Germany are allies, documents released over the past year by whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed an American intelligence community with access to a wide variety of German communications. The fallout has been a chilling of relations between the two nations, with the Bundestag (German parliament) especially fierce in its criticisms and demands for answers from the US.

To the consternation of American officials hoping to prosecute Snowden for espionage, the German parliament even invited the leaker to testify about the NSA's practices in a formal hearing.

Chancellor Merkel, however, has a mixed history with demanding answers from the US.

At first reacting with outrage and comparing the NSA to the Stasi - the communist East German secret police - she also demanded the two nations agree to a 'no-spying' pact.

Her attitude changed markedly, however, after meeting with President Barack Obama in May. Stressing the need for unity, Merkel attempted to brush the scandal that has outraged German citizens under the rug. This was not received warmly by opposition parties and many of her constituents, a large number of whom view Snowden as a hero.

A Reach Too Far by Google?

One way to think of Google is as an extremely helpful, all-knowing, hyper-intelligent executive assistant. Already, it can remind you about your flight, open up your boarding pass when you get to the airport and offer you driving directions to your hotel when you land.

If what the company showed off at an event for developers Wednesday is a true vision of our future, Google's software will soon reach ever further into our lives, sitting on just about every other device you encounter. The software will be available to help you look up any bit of idle curiosity or accomplish any task, anytime you desire.

It's an extremely far-reaching agenda - and that may be the company's problem. For a company whose future depends on people voluntarily handing over their information in return for handy online services, Google's very ambitions may now stand as its biggest hurdle. Is Google, in its globe-spanning reach, trying to do so much that it risks becoming creepy instead of helpful - the assistant who got too powerful and knows too much?

'I think technology is changing people's lives a lot, and we're feeling it,' Larry Page, Google's co-founder and chief executive, said in an interview at the event in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Page described Android and Chrome, the company's mobile operating system and Web browser, as a kind of glue that will connect all of the devices we will use in the future. 'We've been talking about a multiscreen world for a long time,' Page said. 'I think you see it culminating in something that's a great experience across lots of different kinds of devices, from the watch to the TV to the laptop to the tablet to the phone.'

But Page conceded that the novelty and scope of these devices might breed worries among users. 'Everyone can tell that their lives are going to be affected, but we don't quite know how yet, because we're not using these things - and because of that there's a lot of uncertainty,' he said.

Google has lately become a punching bag in what looks like an emerging resistance against the tech industry. In San Francisco, where the technology sector is contributing to rising real estate prices and creeping inequality, the Internet-equipped luxury shuttle buses Google uses to transport its employees have become a target for local protesters. The company has also become the face of technology's reckless intrusion into our social lives. Google Glass, its tech-enabled eyeglasses, is a frequent butt of jokes on late-night television. In response to a European court ruling on the so-called right to be forgotten, Google has received a flood of requests from users asking the service to delist them from its index.

Google's keynote event Wednesday, an affair largely geared toward programmers who are fans of Google, was interrupted by protesters. One blamed some of the firm's executives for evicting local tenants, while another claimed that Google's recent robotics acquisitions made it dangerous. 'You all work for a totalitarian company that builds robots that kill people!' he yelled before being escorted out by security.

Page, who was joined in the interview by Sundar Pichai, the executive in charge of Google's Android and Chrome software projects, did not seem overly bothered by the outbursts. 'We're in San Francisco, so we expect that,' Page said of the protests. 'There's a rich history of protest in San Francisco.'

Pichai pointed out that the company had introduced initiatives to improve its relationship with city residents. This year, it gave $600,000 to the city to roll out free Wi-Fi service in San Francisco parks. 'I think in some ways it's good that there's an open debate about it and I think we needed it,' Pichai said. 'There's been a lot of growth and the area is trying to adapt to that growth and that has been a concern.'

More broadly, Page argued that people's instinctive reactions to new technologies were often negative. Once we see the utility in the new stuff, we often realize that it isn't as scary as we once thought - and soon may realize we can't live without it. 'In the early days of Street View, this was a huge issue, but it's not really a huge issue now,' Page said of the company's project to send a fleet of cars across the globe to snap photographs of public roadways. 'People understand it now and it's very useful,' he said. 'And it doesn't really change your privacy that much. A lot of these things are like that.'

Many of Google's new services will improve how our computers work by combining personal data and information gathered from sensors to create what the company called 'context aware' experiences.

'Today, computing mainly automates things for you, but when we connect all these things, you can truly start assisting people in a more meaningful way,' Pichai said. He suggested a way for Android on people's smartphones to interact with Android in their cars. 'If I go and pick up my kids, it would be good for my car to be aware that my kids have entered the car and change the music to something that's appropriate for them,' Pichai said.

'Or look at the unlocking that we showed,' Page said, referring to a system in which your computer detects that your watch is nearby, then lets you start using it without typing in a passcode. 'It just makes a lot of sense,' Page said. 'That's a big hassle today.'

If these features sound small to you, it may be because Google is in the early stages of exploring the benefits we will get from combining many different devices into a single, hyperaware computing system. It is certainly not alone in that effort, either. The 'Internet of Things' has become the latest annoying catchphrase in the industry, and Apple is widely expected to enter the fray soon with a smartwatch.

But Google may be in the best position to make sense of the chaotic, thing-filled Internet. Because Google makes software for a variety of devices, and because it gives that code to third-party manufacturers free, it is well-suited to integrate many different kinds of gadgets made by many different kinds of firms. What is more, for 'context aware' computing to become truly useful, our devices must deeply understand our context - and that necessarily involves collecting, analyzing, and acting on boatloads of information about each of us and the world around us. Google excels at that.

Perhaps more important, only Google has Page - and he is completely undaunted by the pushback these technologies may engender. 'For me, I'm so excited about the possibilities to improve things for people, my worry would be the opposite,' he said. 'We get so worried about these things that we don't get the benefits.'

He pointed to health care, where regulations make collecting and analyzing data very difficult, even if that data is analyzed anonymously. 'Right now we don't data-mine health care data. If we did we'd probably save 100,000 lives next year,' he said, citing a study of the topic he said he began six months ago.

Saving those lives would be a big benefit. But there's no doubt that it would also come at a loss of privacy that some might consider too great.

© 2014 New York Times News Service

VidCon: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki Announces Creator Tip Jar, Analytics ...

At her first VidCon as CEO of YouTube, Susan Wojcicki unveiled a suite of new products and initiatives designed to make the YouTube experience better for creators. Among the announcements that got the most applause from the audience is a tip jar to show support for creators up to $500, fun-sourced subtitles and an app for creators to access analytics and channel management tools on the go.

'I have to say, a lot of people prepared me about what I would see,' Wojcikci opened. 'But nothing really pares you for actually being here in real life.'

She categorized the new features into three bullets: engaging a bigger and global audience, building a successful business and managing creative work.

Wojcicki also announced at the keynote that YouTube's new advertising campaign, featuring beauty blogger Michelle Phan and other creators, has helped more than double the awareness of those creators. It will now be adding Vice News to the campaign.

Meanwhile, the Google Preferred advertising tier announced at Brandcast in New York has already signed Heineken and Johnson and Johnson.

Another YouTube projected announced during the presentation was a Sirius Radio show devoted to hits from emerging and established artists on YouTube. Longtime creator Jenna Marbles will host the show on Sirius XM Hits 1.

Wojcicki's speech capped off VidCon's afternoon keynote session, which also featured vlogger and best-selling author John Green ( The Fault in Our Stars). Together with his brother Hank Green, they are known collectively as the VlogBrothers, he co-founded VidCon, which has grown to about 20,000 attendees in its fifth year.

YouTuber Grace Helbig also took the stage to talk about her decision to leave multichannel network My Damn Channel and go independent with the it'sGrace channel. Helbig described the welcome response she received from other YouTube creators following her move: 'It made me feel like a truly authentic member of this community.'

She also discussed that the move has opened her up to new opportunities, announcing her latest project, a travel series with Mamrie Hart called #HeyUSA that premieres July 1.

The final panel of the day addressed how the independent world of YouTube has converged with mainstream media, topical given Jeffrey Katzenberg's earlier talk about his interest in the online video space and Ynon Kreiz 's discussion about Disney's acquisition of Maker Studios.

The panelists - indlucing Big Frame co-founder Sarah Penna (now owned by DreamWorks Animation), Annoying Orange creator Dane Boedigheimer, Henry Reich of channel MinutePhysics and Endemol COO Ben Samek - concluded that helping make YouTube stars household names will be an important moment for YouTube.

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