USA TODAY: TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics


TSA cracks down on ‘dead’ electronics

Don’t bring dead phones or laptops to those overseas airports for flights heading to the USA. Department of Homeland Security officials warned last week that security would tighten at airports where flights head directly to the USA but without providing much detail about how the scrutiny would change. But security officials said Sunday that the attention is focused on explosives that could be disguised as electronic devices. The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement Sunday saying that as part of its routine screening at the overseas airports with direct flights, checkpoint officers may ask owners to turn on devices including cellphones.

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The Relationship Between Pain and Addiction: A Short Essay

Originally posted on Mohadesa Najumi:


Recently I have found myself pondering on the ways in which humans deal with pain. There are many theories and postulations on the way in which we manage, project and repress our trauma, but the statement that rings most true to me is this:

“The attempt to run away from pain creates more pain”

Studies show that when we feel emotional pain, the same areas of the brain are activated as when we feel physical pain. These feelings share much of the same circuitry in our system. Does this mean that a break-up can have similar repercussions on an individual as breaking a bone would for example? Perhaps it is more nuanced than this, but the point is that emotional pain should be not be undervalued in the affects it can have on the Self.

Everybody can relate to the idea of trauma. We have all suffered in our own ways and…

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HTC posts first profit in a year, despite decreased revenue



Originally posted on Gigaom:

HTC is making money again. On Thursday, the Taiwanese smartphone maker reported an unaudited NT$2.26 billion ($75.6 million) profit in the second quarter of 2014, its first since the same quarter last year. However, its NT$65 billion ($2.17 billion) revenue was not only on the low end of company guidance, but was down from the same time last year.

In the past quarter, HTC has released a few phones of note: the flagship HTC One M8, and a lower cost version with a plastic shell aimed at emerging markets, specifically China. It also launched a mini version of its flagship in Europe and Asia. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, HTC’s profit this quarter is due to cost-cutting measures, not increased handset sales. HTC has addressed supply chain issues, and, unusually for the one-time OEM, has started outsourcing some production to reduce costs.

While the HTC One M8 earned rave reviews

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YouTube reportedly in talks with indie labels to avoid blocking videos


This all begs the question, why can’t I just watch an indie artist using the older method? Frankly, I can tell you that if I subscribe to YouTube music videos and I still have to watch ads, I won’t be interested in the service at all.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

YouTube (S GOOG) may not block music videos from some indie labels after all: The video service is currently in talks with the labels in question to strike a deal to include their music in its upcoming subscription service, according to a Financial Times report.

The paper had first reported two weeks ago that YouTube was planning to block the videos of five percent of all of its label partners  if those labels wouldn’t agree to also make their music available through YouTube’s upcoming subscription service.

Some indie labels have been holding out on striking a deal with YouTube because of what they believe to be unfavorable conditions; YouTube declined to comment further on the current state of the negotiations, according to Thursday’s Financial Times report, but told the paper that it has been offering all labels a fair deal consistent with what other streaming music services have to offer.


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Suspected double agent spied on German NSA committee for the US, reports claim


Given how dumb we were to spy on Merkel, this guy is going away for a long time.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

A German intelligence agent has been arrested on suspicion of secretly reporting back to U.S. spies about the activities of politicians who are investigating U.S. espionage in Germany, according to Friday reports by Süddeutsche Zeitung and the broadcasters NDR and WDR, and Der Spiegel.

The targets, apparently, were members of a Bundestag (German parliament) committee that is examining the implications of Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations, taking testimony from the likes of NSA whistleblowers William Binney and Thomas Drake.

The individual arrested on the orders of the attorney general worked for the BND signals intelligence agency, Germany’s equivalent to the NSA, government sources told the news outlets. The 31-year-old was originally arrested on suspicion of having contact with Russian intelligence, but then apparently confessed to having reported back at least once to the Americans on the Bundestag committee’s activities. He reportedly did this for money.

The reports raise the possibility…

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Android this week: Software updates for all; Android Wear apps; Better battery life


I honestly feel that phones and tablets I just are not built with a large enough battery. For iPhone users, this is a major problem. For Android users, especially on cheaper phones, thankfully the screen is larger and so battery size is larger, but they are still sold short by designers who feel a thin phone is a must. Until battery technology improves, we really should just put up with a beefier phone… It may not be as sexy, but it would be functional.

Originally posted on Gigaom:

Google(s goog) hasn’t been sitting idle since its developer event last week. Instead, it has started to push an update to Google Play Services out around the world for all devices running Android 2.3 or better. Aside from a few outliers, that’s the vast majority of phones and tablets running Android; Google’s way of improving Android without actually pushing a new version of Android.

Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

Ellie Powers. Photo by Janko Roettgers/Gigaom

The company did the same last year as it attempted to reduce the version fragmentation issues that have proved troublesome. This time around, devices are getting Google Play Services 5.0, which brings several new things to Android, no matter how old your device is. Included in the update are “Android wearable services APIs, Dynamic Security Provider and App Indexing, whilst also including updates to the Google Play game services, Cast, Drive, Wallet, Analytics, and Mobile Ads,” according to…

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Only Apple

I have yet to dip into the iOS world. I like to tinker with my devices and I am a big fan of Samsung and HTC, not to mention Google. At the end end of the day though, I can’t help but wonder what I’m missing. This article does little to dissuade my fears that I am missing out… Perhaps a 5.5 inch screen is the key? 

Ever Wished That Calvin and Hobbes Creator Bill Watterson Would Return to the Comics Page? Well, He Just Did.


This was rather funny. I didn’t realize cartoonists had a pecking order…

Originally posted on Pearls Before Swine:

Bill Watterson is the Bigfoot of cartooning.

He is legendary. He is reclusive. And like Bigfoot, there is really only one photo of him in existence. 

Few in the cartooning world have ever spoken to him. Even fewer have ever met him.

In fact, legend has it that when Steven Spielberg called to see if he wanted to make a movie, Bill wouldn’t even take the call.

So it was with little hope of success that I set out to try and meet him last April.

I was traveling through Cleveland on a book tour, and I knew that he lived somewhere in the area. I also knew that he was working with Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis on a book about Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson’s art.

So I took a shot and wrote to Nick. And Nick in turn wrote to Watterson.

And the meeting…

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Saving up for a Samsung Note Pro 12.2


The Samsung Note PRO 12.2 is my next big tech purchase, and I am looking forward to having a new piece of equipment to slake my nerd-thirst. I find I am doing most of my computing with my smartphone and tablet, and even the laptop I received at Christmas is not seeing much in the way of use. The desktop has begun to gather dust, and it would not surprise me if I haven’t retired it in the next few months.

The desktop is one of those items that I have a good share of nostalgia for. Waking up first thing in the morning in my old efficiency apartment, the routine was to put on a pot of coffee, satisfy the call of the wild, make a gigantic stein of Java with whole milk, and proceed directly to the desktop. Inevitably I would log on to World of Warcraft and check my auctions, while keeping an eye on the time if I had things to do during the day. At one time I was working in the mail room of the local paper, so there was a check and balance in my computing time, but once my back could no longer support the job, my routine was set in stone. I truly miss the enjoyment of instant gratification I received from the coffee, computer, and cigarette in the first 15 minutes of the day.

After I purchased my first tablet I began to distance myself from the desktop since I am much more comfortable laying down than sitting in a chair, and the smartphone simply amplified the situation. The original tablet I owned was a Galaxy Tab 7 inch: it was too heavy for one handed operation, and provided enough wrist strain that I welcomed the retreat back to the desktop, while the Motorola Triumph smartphone simply did not have enough battery for an extended romp online. So, the desktop still held the crown for reliable computing, as the other two devices were quite finicky, and I knew my way around a Windows PC if I had problems, unlike Android.

Fast forward to 2014, my smartphone and tablet have become my daily drivers. I attribute two main factors to this: ease of use, and a steady decline in my productivity. The first is normal, as the technology improves, Android has become a brilliant platform to work with, but the second factor has more to do with depression, and while I miss the joy of productivity, finding value personally in what I create has become more difficult as my desire to create has been offset by my general discomfort.

To combat my slide into futility, I have decided to purchase a Galaxy Note PRO 12.2, a productivity Android slate with enough staying power to last two or three years while remaining relevant. My hope is to rediscover my old joys of writing and photography while having a device that can serve as a unit I can use well horizontally. On the days where typing is a necessity but my back is aggravated, this Nexus 7 I am using right now seems to be fitting the bill quite nicely. While I worry about the weight and size of the Note 12.2, I have tried it out at Best Buy, and I think I can make it work. The Zagg keyboard is quite expensive, so I may have to save for three months instead of two, but it will be worth it. The weight of the unit is a pressing concern, I will admit, time will tell if this turns out to be a wise purchase…

Ramen noodles and egg,  anyone?

AndroidCommunity: AT&T Galaxy S5 reported to be missing Download Booster feature

AndroidCommunity: AT&T Galaxy S5 reported to be missing Download Booster feature.

Just as well, with a $10 a gigabyte plan, 150 Mbit will render you broke as a joke in hours anyway. I wonder when one of these major carriers will realize that people actually want their home broadband on the go, not an emergency connection? There is something wrong with telcos when everyone I invite over to my place asks for a connection to the WiFi guest network within an hour.


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