Browsing articles from "November, 2011"

Smartphone app ratings coming soon

Nov 29, 2011   //   by admin   //   Blog, Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Mobile applications may soon be given ratings such as E (for “everyone”) and AO (for “adults only”) if groups such as the CTIA and ESRB have their way.

The wireless association and the Entertainment Software Rating Board revealed their ratings system recently, as TechCrunch reports. Chris Velazco explains, “Once the review is completed and the app earns a rating (think classic ESRB: E for Everyone, T for Teen, etc.), developers will be given a unique identifier code that allows them to submit that same app to other participating app stores without having to go through the review process again.”

This rating process would only apply to new apps.

Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. applauds the move and said in a statement that “it’s a win-win when industry takes proactive, responsible steps to protect children from inappropriate content.”

“It’s an important milestone in our effort to make information available for parents and their kids,” said David Diggs, a CTIA vice president, in a press release.

Microsoft will adopt the ratings but it’s unclear if Google or Apple approve the proposal. Participating carriers in the U.S. include AT&T Wireless, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.

Now, outlets such as Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market set their own unique ratings, such as age appropriateness or maturity level.

WikiLeaks wins ‘outstanding contribution to journalism’ award

Nov 28, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

Julian Assangeby Lynn Herrmann (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

WikiLeaks was awarded a Walkley Sunday night for its outstanding contribution to journalism, commended by judges for its revelations in the war on terror to “diplomatic bastardry” and noted the “site’s commitment to the finest traditions of journalism.”

The prestigious Walkley Foundation has awarded whistle-blower Wikileaks its Most Outstanding Contribution to Journalism award, stating: “WikiLeaks applied new technology to penetrate the inner workings of government to reveal an avalanche of inconvenient truths in a global publishing coup.”

Were it not for WikiLeaks, according to Walkley Trustees, many of the world’s major publishers were able to take advantage of the secret cables released by Wikileaks, giving them “more scoops in a year than most journalists could imagine in a lifetime.”

On Monday in Hong Kong, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange addressed journalists via videolink from England, where he remains under house arrest. Speaking to the News World Summit, he called the Internet “the most significant surveillance machine that we have ever seen,” noting the tremendous amount of information people are willing to give up about themselves online, Agence France Presse reports.

During his 40-minute address, Assange criticized mainstream media, the Washington political machine and the banking industry.Regarding the US Department of Justice’s whistle-blower investigation into WikiLeaks for releasing sensitive and embarrassing document, including the now-famous and equally disturbing Collateral Murder video, Assange noted “The United States government does not want legal protection for us,” according to AFP.

Assange punctuated his address when the conference moderator asked if the WikiLeaks founder was a member of the journalism profession. “Of course I’m a goddamn journalist,” Assange responded, in what AFP called “affected frustration.”The Walkey Foundation’s broad aims “are to support and encourage professional and ethical journalism and promote and reward excellence in the Australian media,” according to its website.

TV startup BeeTV shuts down

Nov 28, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by David Silverberg

Social TV service BeeTV has closed shop, selling off its assets, it’s been reported. The Italian start-up originally began as a way to to create personalized TV recommendations for their subscribers, but then it spun off to become an iPad app.

As an app, “once a user has logged in with Facebook and chosen his TV provider, BeeTV makes recommendations based on his or her favorites, also providing a list of live and upcoming shows that a user might be interested in,” GigaOM reported in May.

Now, BeeTV has fallen on hard times. CEO Yaniv Solnik told TechCrunch they’ve failed to gain significant traction with the new strategy, and that they’ve subsequently ran out of cash. They plan on ceasing all operations soon.

The company has secured just under $10 million in funding in its four years of existence.

TechCrunch also writes BeeTV’s assets are up for sale, including “a patented recommendation engine for TV and a consumer-focused social TV service that encompasses iPad, iPhone and Web clients.”

Wearable computers on eyeballs a reality?

Nov 24, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Elizabeth Cunningham Perkins (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

University of Washington engineers have developed a wirelessly-powered single-pixel contact lens display that transmits data by mini-radio as a step toward inventing wearable, bionic computers with smartphone capabilities, the UW news service reported.

The recent UWToday story about progress on the College of Engineering’s years-long computerized contact lens “wearable computing“ project (also worked on by researchers from Aalto University, Finland) describes how the lenses have been made safer and tested in rabbits, achievements detailed in a paper published in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering.

While they envision developing smart contact lenses into a new means of managing and streaming real-time information from a wearer’s field of vision (while correcting vision problems as needed), the researchers stressed the contact lens they tested is a simple prototype, providing proof this wearable computing concept can be engineered out of the realms of science fiction — away from The Terminator and the Borg — into everyday reality, though now the test device can hold only one pixel of information and cannot sharpen eyesight.

The contact lens includes a power-harvesting antenna and integrated circuit that stores and transmits energy to a transparent silicon on sapphire (SOS) chip with one blue light-emitting diode (LED).

Co-author UW electrical engineer Babak Parviz explained in a 2008 announcement of the team’s success using microscopic-scale manufacturing to produce the lens,

Looking through a completed lens, you would see what the display is generating superimposed on the world outside.

Last week, considering the new tests of the device’s display controls and wireless power in a live eye, he described the next research steps:

We need to improve the antenna design and the associated matching network and optimize the transmission frequency to achieve an overall improvement in the range of wireless power transmission. Our next goal, however, is to incorporate some predetermined text in the contact lens.

Smart, bionic contact lenses could be used in navigation, gaming and simulation systems, and be used to send medical information to hospitals from biosensors embedded in patients, according to the team.

To overcome the major challenge that the human eye’s minimum focal distance is several centimeters, most likely making images projected onto the lens appear blurry, the researchers incorporated a set of flatter, thinner Fresnel lenses into the device to project the images onto to the retina.The researchers tested the smart contact lens prototype in free space, then fitted it into to a rabbit’s eye to evaluate how wearing it affected the animal’s cornea and physical health, using florescent dye to test for thermal burning or abrasion.

Though their new testing succeeded in demonstrated the safe operation of the lens, the researchers emphasized that significant improvements must be developed before they can produce a fully functioning, remotely powered, high-resolution display.

This article was originally published on Digital Journal [Link]

Photo courtesy of University of Washington

Fox News leaves viewers knowing less, new survey shows

Nov 23, 2011   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Lynn Herrmann (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

The latest results from a new Fairleigh Dickinson University survey show some news sources, such as Fox News, leave their viewers less informed than those who watch no news at all.

The latest PublicMind Poll reveals some news sources leave us less likely to stay on top of current events than people who watch no news at all. According to the study, some news outlets, especially Fox News, lead people to be even less informed than those who say they don’t watch any news at all.

Dan Cassino, political science professor at Fairleigh Dickinson and an analyst for the PublicMind Poll, said: “Because of the controls for partisanship, we know these results are not just driven by Republicans or other groups being more likely to watch Fox News,” in a news release. “Rather, the results show us that there is something about watching Fox News that leads people to do worse on these questions than those who don’t watch any news at all,” he added.

Fox News is the most popular 24-hour cable news network in the U.S., but its viewers are 18-points less likely to know that demonstrators in Egypt overthrew their government than those watching no news at all, according to the survey. Those same viewers are also six points less likely to know Syrians have yet to overthrow their government than those who do not watch news.

The poll concerns how New Jersey residents conduct new viewing habits and found 53 percent know about the successfully overthrown government in Egypt. However, 21 percent said the uprisings were unsuccessful while 26 percent admitted they don’t know.

The PublicMind poll went on to note viewers of any “ideological media” didn’t fare as well as NPR listeners, New York Times or USA Today readers, or Sunday morning news show viewers did. Even those obtaining their news from Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show fared better than Fox News viewers.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]