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Losing your phone or having someone steal it is a nightmare. Fortunately, Google has baked some tools into your Android that could help you find it. Or, at the very least, it'll  help you wipe all your data and content so that whoever took it can't wreak further havoc. 

Here's how to set it up:

First, navigate into your phone's settings. From there, find the "Security" section:


Next, look for a section called "Android Device Manager."

If you're not running the latest version of Android (which I'm not), you might have to first enter a section called "Device Administrators," or something like that:


Make sure that the box for "Android Device Manager" is checked:


Checking this box will let you remotely locate your phone via GPS, force it to ring for five minutes (particularly helpful if it's just lost in your room, or if you left it in the back of a cab and want to get the cabbie's attention), and allow you to remotely lock the phone or erase all your data:



You'll be able to see where your phone is, make it ring, lock it, or erase everything: 



Original author: Jillian D'Onfro
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Google wants its search engine to provide the best answer for every query you make, but it also wants to know which kinds of questions you aren't asking.

To figure it out, the company conducts an annual "Daily Information Needs" study.

Since 2011, the company has selected a group of volunteers to spend three days filling Google in on what they want to know. Eight times a day, at completely random times, Google pings them with the question, "What did you want to know recently?"

Subjects answer instantly, and then at the end of the day they summarize their needs, reporting whether they did anything to get their questions answered and whether they were successful, according to Steven Levy, who wrote about the study on Backchannel

People ask questions that Google can't easily tackle, like "Why won't my husband grow up?" but the company told Levy that it also learns things that help it improve its search functions.

For example, one year's answers prompted Google to focus on making "how-to" videos and instructional articles surface higher in search. Last year's study made it clear the company had to make transit search a top product priority. 

In 2011, Google rounded up 50 people to participate. In 2012, the company jacked the number up to 1,200, where it has hovered ever since. Google now runs the study in a few other countries. 

By conducting this service, Google tries to sniff out our hidden needs, and then figure out how to better serve them. Through last year's data analysis, the company pinpointed 25,000 different needs, which it organized into 21 broad categories. It then ranked those categories to figure out where it should put most of its focus.   

You can read more from Steven Levy about the study and about how Google tackles search here


NOW WATCH: The Secrets Behind Getting Your Profile Viewed On LinkedIn

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Original author: Jillian D'Onfro
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Posted by on in Technology
Original author: Dave Smith
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This video footage shows Empire Robotics' VERSABALL robot playing a game of beer pong.

VERSABALL is a robot that delivers an out-of-the-box, multitask solution that easily adapts to a variety of tasks.

Video courtesy of Empire Robotics.

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Original author: Devan Joseph
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As it turns out, emojis aren't just for communications anymore — they can be used to create works of art.

Rapper Yung Jake created a handful of celebrity portraits using, a website that lets you click and drag emojis to make a picture. When asked why he chose emojis to create his artwork, he said it was because "everyone likes emojis," according to CNET.

Yung Jake's images are incredibly detailed and immediately recognizable.

We discovered this one of Jerry Seinfeld on Instagram after parody account Seinfeld2000 reposted it.

There's also one of Larry David, the creator of "Seinfeld" and the star and writer of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm."

Here's one of Miley Cyrus. You can easily see which emojis he chose for each part of her face.

And here's Kim Kardashian, which Yung Jake shared on Twitter.


— black hoodies (@yungjake) January 9, 2015

You can check out more of his work on his Instagram and Twitter


NOW WATCH: This Video Of The Largest Breakage Of Ice From A Glacier Ever Filmed Is Absolutely Frightening

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Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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The team behind Bloodhound Supersonic Car is aiming to break the world land speed record by traveling 1,000 miles per hour. The vehicle will need 135,000 horsepower to reach those speeds as well as a combination of jet and rocket technology.

In September, the project plans to head to Hakskeen Pan, a desert in the northwestern corner of South Africa, where they'll attempt to break the supersonic barrier.

In 2016, they intend to return to break the world record and travel faster than 1,000 mph.

Produced by Jason Gaines. Video courtesy of Associated Press.

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Original author: Jason Gaines and Associated Press
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Samsung Galaxy S5 setting menuSteve Kovach/Business InsiderThe Galaxy S5Just a few weeks after Samsung started pushing out the Lollipop update to Galaxy S5 owners in Poland and Spain, reports are now indicating the update has gone live in the United Kingdom.

The Lollipop upgrade launched in the United Kingdom earlier this week on Jan. 13, according to reports from Tech Radar, Phone Arena, and a few other tech blogs.

There's still no word on when it will come to the United States, but Samsung seems to be spreading the upgrade rather quickly.

In a reportedly leaked email published in December, Samsung supposedly said it was preparing to launch the Lollipop update for many of its devices in January, meaning it's likely we'll see it come to the US in the near future. 

Android 5.0 Lollipop has been called Google's biggest Android update yet. The company added a new look to the overall interface known as Material Design, which focuses on bright and bold colors, shading, and transition animations. It makes the software feel more lively and smooth.

But Lollipop isn't just about new physical features. There are tons of smaller, more subtle additions that make the software more secure and able to work across different types of devices, like watches and TVs. 

Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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SteveJobsHouse.PNGKPIX 5Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs and co-founder Seve Wozniak brainstormed some of their earliest ideas in the garage of Jobs' childhood home. Now, that garage is being used as a filiming location for Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle's upcoming Steve Jobs biopic.

CNET stopped by the Los Altos, Calif.-based house on Friday morning and saw film crews putting the finishing touches on its garage, which will be used as part of the set.

Here's the photo that's being passed around Twitter.

Steve Jobs’ Movie Finally Starts Filming At Iconic Garage Where Apple Was Started:

— Rick Racela (@ric_rac) January 17, 2015

KPIX5, a local CBS affiliate, also took some photos of the house as the crew prepared it for filming. 

Hollywood gives Steve Jobs bio a re-boot, filming in Los Altos garage where Apple was born.

— KPIX 5 (@CBSSF) January 17, 2015

It's unclear when the movie will actually launch, but it's seen its fair share of setbacks over the past several months. Michael Fassbender was cast as Jobs after Christian Bale turned down the role, and the picture was recently dropped by Sony and picked up by Universal.

The plot is said to focus on three major product launches, including the iPod, the NeXT cube, and the first Mac. 

Check out the full video from KPIX 5 below. 


Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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Homeless people in Sim CityBlondeh/RedditIn SimCity, homeless people are depicted as transient, genderless yellow figures.To most, the homeless people in virtual city manager game SimCity are nothing more than a blemish on their neatly-ordered digital streets.

But to Matteo Bittanti, they're more than that — they're emblematic of the West's neoliberal condition. That's why the Bay Area professor has produced an astonishing 600-page, two-volume epic about virtual homeless people in the game.

It costs $220 to buy the books, and they contain of thousands of online messages about the "plague" of homelessness in Sim City. Brittani trawled Internet forums from between 2012-2013 for people discussing anti-homeless tactics, stripped them of their context, and is now selling them in a limited edition print run.

It appears homelessness is a big problem problem in the city-building simulator. "I have Community College and a University, plenty of police coverage, yet I still have a city with homeless ALL OVER," laments one comment by a SimCity player highlighted by Motherboard, "so what the fix for this or do I just not worry about it?"

Here's a video guide one player made on ridding your city of homelessness:

"Ranging from turning the homeless population into an army of zombies to bulldozing the parks where they congregate," Bittanti's website says, "the solutions suggested by the participants aim at fixing problems that are simultaneously imaginary and tragically real."

To Bittanti, these comments are an indicator of cultural attitudes on how our society operates. The lecturer told Motherboard that "video games are the so called 'real America'... The real America operates according to a video game logic, and that game logic is neo-liberalism, and that absolutely manifests in San Francisco, that to me is the epicenter of inequality. In San Francisco you either have a Tesla and you drink a seven dollar cappuccino or you're homeless in the streets."

"From surprise to despair, from shock to resignation," the book's Amazon description reads, "these posts highlight the pitfalls of simulation, the not-so-subtle effects of ideology on game design, and the interplay between play and society, politics and entertainment. Decontextualized from their original source and reproduced on paper sans the majority of online communication hallmarks (e.g. author's signatures, side banners, avatar pictures etc.), these textual exchanges create a peculiar narrative. Some of the dialogues' absurdist tones evoke Ionesco's plays. Others reveal racist and classist biases, and forcefully introduce - or, rather, reintroduce - a highly political vision that the alleged "neutral" algorithms were supposed to overcome."

Here's a narration of the books' contents pages:

Something about SimCity has always attracted wildly ambitious projects. Just check out this guy's quest for maximum efficiency in SimCity 3000:

Original author: Rob Price
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Elon Musk and SpaceXAP Photo/Jae C. HongElon Musk, CEO and CTO of SpaceX, introduces the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters on Thursday, May 29, 2014, in Hawthorne, Calif.

Elon Musk announced on Friday that he wants to build a second internet in outer space that may be able to stretch all the way to Mars one day, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

This space network would be much faster than the internet we experience today, Musk said to Businessweek as a SpaceX event in Seattle Friday night.

The goal would be to bring low-cost high-speed internet to areas of the world with poor connections and improve global internet speeds in general. 

The task would be costly — Bloomberg Businessweek reports that it could take $10 million to build this space network. It would require hundreds of satellites to orbit 750 miles above the Earth, which is low compared to the 22,000 mile altitudes most satellites achieve. 

This would create internet speeds that are much faster, since Musk says the speed of light is 40% faster in the vacuum of space than it is for fiber.

But Musk isn't just envisioning an improved internet system for Earth. He hopes that this network will eventually be able to extend to Mars to connect future colonies on the planet to the web. 

The project is still unnamed and its unclear exactly how long it would take to build. But Businessweek reports that the effort would be based in Seattle and is starting with 60 employees. That team may grow to 1,000 over the next three to four years.

Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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Google is being sued by a handful of companies who claim that they earned thousands or millions of dollars on their web sites using Google's AdSense advertising tool, but Google then wrongly confiscated the money from their AdSense accounts and returned it to their advertisers.

One company alleges it lost $1 million this way.

Google, of course, has denied the allegations. The company declined to comment specifically on the litigation when contacted by Business Insider. Historically, Google has tried to get bad actors out of its high-quality ad publishing system. Some of these publishers may have used bot traffic or placed ads in a way that "forces" users to click on them. The company has longstanding bans on such publishers. It makes sense for Google to root out websites with poor quality inventory and scraped content, and advertisers like it when Google refunds money that was spent on low-quality clicks.

Google isn't keeping the money — it's returning it to the advertisers who spent it in the first place. So the search giant has no financial incentive in the fight.

Even so, a man whose company has been through the AdSense wringer contacted Business Insider recently to explain why he believes Google does actually have an incentive to reverse payments that publishers believe they have legitimately earned. This man's website earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on AdSense until Google suddenly reversed the payments back to his advertisers, he claims. He asked not to be named because he is in a dispute with Google about these payments, and because he works in the tech industry and doesn't want his criticisms of Google to hurt his career.

The payment reversals perform the same function as "kickbacks" to advertisers, he alleges, which keep advertisers coming back to spend more on Google.

We should caution you that this source is obviously biased against Google. So take this with a fistful of salt.

His theory is worth reading, though, because AdSense payment reversals are clearly a huge issue among Google's publisher partners tools. They may not be able to prove their claims, but this is what they're talking about in the marketplace — and that's a genuine PR issue for Google.

The man's basic case is that when the revenue reversals go back to the advertiser, it functions like a net discount on the advertiser's budget. That discount makes the budget spent on AdSense look more effective — because even when the money is reversed the advertiser still gets all the traffic, users and sales the publisher generated. Any client analysing their ad budget is likely to increase their spending on the network that, net discounts included, is the most effective provider of traffic and clicks. (And the fact that Google filters out as many bot clicks as it can before charging advertisers adds to that argument.)

There is a certain down-the-rabbit-hole aspect to all of this. As we have noted before — Google is the focus of some surreal (and false) conspiracy theories about why it reverses AdSense payments to publishers and bans publishers from its network. What's interesting about this source's theory is that although it is somewhat conspiratorial it nonetheless illustrates the level of anger among some publishers at the way Google does business. Even if you don't believe the theory, the anger is genuine.

Here's his theory:

Returning all the money to the publishers is arguably more beneficial then keeping it. Online advertising is a market, advertisers are allocated budgets and must make choices with which networks to spend that money with. By returning money to advertisers they are making sure their ad network is by far the most competitive on the market.

Here's a simplified example:

Imagine I'm Frank & Oak, and I have an October ad budget of 5k for google ads and 5k for Criteo. From both campaigns I was able to receive the same 100,000 ad impressions with 1,000 people converting at an average purchase valuing at $100. Which means for every dollar I spend, my business generates $20. But now the end of the month comes and I've received a $300 credit back in my google account. I look at the numbers again and real ize on Criteo I made $20 per $1 dollar and on Google I've now made $21.28 per $1. Now I begin deciding on my November ad budget and figure well, I have an extra $300 for my google budget, but since the numbers were also better, let me adjust and do 4k on Criteo and 6.3k on Google.

Now put this into scale and it's pretty clear Google benefits by essentially providing kickbacks to advertisers at the publishers expense. When they suspend an account they withhold the ENTIRE amount, and offer zero visibility on how many clicks were "accidental", "bot traffic", whatever the reason for a particular ban. So even if the advertiser received the money from google, to some extent they still earned free brand marketing from those ad impressions, as well as click throughs, and conversions all at zero cost.

Now one could argue, Google is just creating a competitive advantage over other ad networks by being diligent in weeding out "fraud". However, it gets to a certain point where "weeding out fraud", "accidental clicks", aka with-holding payment becomes a tool to fix the market and ensure that online advertising continues to stay healthy. Now you might ask, "what's wrong with ensuring the online advertising market stays healthy?". Well, "ensuring a market is healthy" is great, except when it's being propped up in a border line fraudulent way at the publishers expense. Let me provide some context and I'll explain:

    •    The internet is a very big place, publishers (especially small blog sites) are a dime a dozen...

    •    But Google does NOT have unlimited ad inventory.

    •    The demand for ad inventory far out weights the supply.

    •    Advertisers will only continue to advertise if it brings net positive results.

    •    Declining conversion rates mean declining cost for that ad space. AKA "If I'm seeing worse returns on my ads, I will spend less on those ads"

These are the basics of online advertising. Now let's for example take the world of stocks. The stock market has market makers, their purpose is to keep the market healthy. Market makers don't care the direction a stock will go, they only care about the market being liquid. Google controls a substantial amount of the online advertising market. In the online advertising world Google is the market maker, except their interest is aligned with ensuring conversion rates stay up. Since they have no shortage of demand, they can easily time and time again burn away that demand (the blog, the new media startup, XYZ site) to adjust the numbers for better conversion rates. Obviously it's a little more complex than a two sided equation. It's really multi faceted since you have to keep a steady number of ad impressions, click through rates, conversions, ect...

But, no matter how you slice it, Google DOES benefit from returning all the money it withholds, arguably more so than keeping it, and it clearly comes at the publishers expense. The thinking that Google can only benefit if it keeps the money is very short sighted. I've read my fair share of Google Adsense stories and I'm actually very surprised that I have yet to see anyone put forward this opinion...

Now, I don't believe for a second Google created the banning system to deliberately increase their profit. I'm sure it came out of necessity when online advertising was in it's infancy and Google had to fight off large number of true "bad actors". But it's not bans themselves that make this practice wrong, it's the reasoning, zero transparency, and the full withholding of all money... It's all these things that open up so many questions like:

    •    What about the rest of the money that was generated not through {accidental clicks, bot traffic, X reason}, how come that wasn't paid?

    •    If google bans you for {accidental clicks, bot traffic, X reason}, then what is that amount they take out of your "estimated earnings" when they transition into "finalised earnings"  I thought that deduction adjusts for things like that?

    •    How much traffic, was bad traffic?

    •    What defines accidental clicks?

The list can go on and most of these questions would probably lead to more questions. It makes it worse when conveniently Google can't tell you any of the answers, because if you knew the answer to those questions you'd be able to "figure out their top secret proprietary traffic analysing algorithm". You can probably tell by my sarcasm, that I don't believe they have a very complex proprietary algorithm.

Google could could easily fix all this by being transparent about the numbers, and withholding only the dollar amount found to be as a result of invalid traffic. Maybe because a portion of the bans are only a result of market fixing. Maybe they don't, because they truly don't know what that number is. Maybe, they just don't want to deal with the administrative process of figuring out that number. Maybe, it's because they know if they were transparent and very clear, at the end of the day the person being banned will just ask for more "proof" or argue their proof is wrong. So the best option is probably to, issue bans, take everything, be as vague as possible, and offer no means of communication. At the end of the day if the disgruntled banned publisher is going to sue he will sue regardless if he was given his fair amount, or nothing at all.

Now suggesting Google bans intentionally to fix the numbers in the market is a serious accusation that obviously I have no idea if it is true or not. But, regardless how intentional or not it is, it is the result when your banning publishers that are not "bad actors" and withholding all of their earnings. Now personally, I don't believe for one second there is no one who doesn't understand this at Google. Google has zero incentive to change their policy, they benefit in each and every way. They are able to increase numbers that give the impression their ad network is more effective and that comes out of the publishers pocket. I'm not even going to go into the fact that Google tends to wait till the end of the month to issue these bans, that's a completely different chapter that will make me another hour late for work...

The next interesting piece of the puzzle is the domino effect this plays on content marketing companies like Outbrain, Taboola,, ect... But I won't get into that.

The last thing I'll leave you with, out of 100 webpages you visit how many ads have you clicked? Out of 200? 500? 1000?

Original author: Jim Edwards
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Posted by on in Technology

Step 1: White Cross
You should be able to complete this step just by playing around with the cube. Make sure that the edges of the cross match the center squares on the adjacent sides. 

Step 2: Finish First Layer

Step 3: Middle Layer
You may need to move some middle-layer edge pieces from the top layer. Follow the patterns below to get these pieces in the right places.  

Rubik's - Middle LayerBusiness Insider

Step 4: Top Corners
To get the corners in the right place, you can use this pattern to swap corners until all four corners are in the right location. At this stage, they do not need to be facing the right way. 

Rubik's Swap CornersBusiness Insider

To orient corners use a combination of the patterns below. The first will turn the faces of three corners clockwise. The next will turn the faces of three faces counter-clockwise. 

Rubik's ClockwiseBusiness Insider

Step 5: Top Layer Edges In The Right Place
Make sure all the edges are in the right location. Do not worry if they are facing the wrong way. Use a combination of the patterns below to move these edge pieces.

Rubik's Permute EdgesBusiness Insider 

Step 6: Top Layer Edges Facing The Right Way
Use either of the patterns below or a combination to orient these edge pieces correctly.

Rubik's Final Layer EdgesBusiness Insider

Original author: Sara Silverstein
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If there's anyone you should trust when it comes to advice on how to build a startup, it's Paul Graham.

He co-founded the renowned Y Combinator startup school that produced successes such as Dropbox and Airbnb, and he has a piece of advice regarding a common mistake among startups.

According to Graham, too many startup founders spend time talking to corporate development executives from larger companies.

That's the department you'll usually hear from if someone is interested in buying your startup.

This is a bad thing, Graham wrote in a recent essay on his website, because many founders talk to corporate development at the wrong time.

You should only talk to corporate development if you're ready to sell your company right now and believe you're going to get a sufficiently high offer, Graham writes.

So, this means you should only engage in these discussions if your startup is doing really poorly or really well, since you'd either have nothing to lose or know that the offer would have to be high.

Graham writes that too many founders talk to corporate development when their company is in that middle stage. This is bad, according to Graham, because it poses a distraction to the founder. Here's what he wrote:

Distractions are the thing you can least afford in a startup. And conversations with corp dev are the worst sort of distraction, because as well as consuming your attention they undermine your morale.

To be clear, Graham isn't saying you should never sell your company — he's just saying you should have a clear idea of whether or not you'd want to sell and avoid being manipulated.

Check out his full essay for more detail. 

Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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English farmers could finally be allowed to commercially grow genetically modified (GM) crops on their own soil following a landmark ruling by the European Parliament, The Telegaph reports. 

Many British scientists, the government, and other groups are behind GM entering the country's agriculture industry. Currently there are no approved commercial commodities produced in Britain. But now, GM crops such as maize could be part of the landscape as soon as spring this year. The foods will probably be initially used as animal feed. 

Once passed, GM crops that have been deemed safe for consumption by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will be open for EU countries to plant. As the British government has been central to the approval, it will almost certainly be behind allowing the introduction of GM into the country's commercial agriculture industry. 

In November 2014 the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) told Business Insider about the discussions. DEFRA said a proposal had been tabled to give member states the choice of whether they want to plant EU-approved GM crops.

DEFRA said: "If the EU does not embrace GM planting it will miss out on the economic and environmental benefits that this is delivering elsewhere in the world. GM is one of the options for making production more efficient and sustainable. All the analysis shows that the world will need 70% more food by 2050".

The environment minister Lord de Mauley last week told MPs that the technology is key for the 21st century. And the Council for Science and Technology (CST) also showed support in the lead up to the decision. The body previously wrote a letter to prime minister David Cameron to warn of food challenges amid climate disruption and an increasing population.

GM crops, simply, have been modified to better suit our needs; adapt to a changing planet and global climate. Some might be more resilient to drought or famine, while others may require fewer pesticides to grow. GM can also boost the size and speed in which plants grow, and even boost the nutritional value of crops.

Professor Joyce Tait of Edinburgh Univerity's Innogen Institute, who researches GM, says: "There is a food crisis. GM food is a vital resource in our global production."

In countries such as the US, Argentina, and Brazil, the technology is widely used to improve efficiency and feed more people using less land. In the UK currently, it's only trialled for investigation: 20:20 Wheat, from Rothamsted Research in England, is the world's longest running agricultural research station. 

Many remain opposed to its use. Some argue that GM can have a negative impact on the environment and can be damaging ecosystems — even human health. The Green Party often stands against GM. 

In addition, because other EU nations — such as Wales, Scotland, France and Germany — remain opposed to GM crops, it's likely the market will be challenging. The Telegraph notes that farmers might be disinclined to grow the crops because there will be too few countries to export to.

Original author: Joshua Barrie
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Developers and software engineers are always in demand. But, if you're looking to make the most in your field, there's a certain trait employers are looking for.

It all boils down to this one idea, according to Vik Nath, recruiting director for digital marketing and technology resourcing firm Mondo.

"The really good people, the ones that are going to be at that high level where they're getting the highest paying jobs...not only understand the technical part but how it relates back to the business," Nath told Business Insider.

Nath says all of his clients have been asking for candidates that not only "talk geek" and understand the company's needs from an IT standpoint, but can also talk about how it will improve the overall business.

Ideally, a developer would be able to talk about how the project he or she would boost the company's sales, for example. 

"A lot more companies are expecting more of candidates," Nath said. "About five or 10 years ago, a developer was a developer. They didn't have to be outgoing. They didn't have to understand the problems of the business." 

Nath estimated salaries for mobile developers as being between $130,000 and $140,000 depending on your location and experience. For Dev Ops engineers — those whose job entails a mix of developer responsibilities and system administration — that range extends a little higher between about $130,000 and $160,000.

To land on the farther end of the spectrum, you'd want to show your employer that you can relate the tech side of the company to the business side.

The easiest way to do that, according to Nath, is by starting to collaborate with other departments more often.

"Candidates are starting to say, 'OK, if I want to get into this company, I really need to understand X,Y, and Z," Nath said. "And, if I want to understand X, Y, and Z, I need to go to and talk to the marketing department...Nowadays it's like most companies are looking for self starters that want to understand the business."

Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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When an app launches, you'll sometimes see it arrive on iPhone before Android. 

That can be frustrating for Android owners, and while more and more apps are releasing simultaneously for both platforms, a staggered launch is still the norm.

London-based developer ustwo, creators of the popular Monument Valley game, recently published an infographic that helps show why this may be. It turns out that in this particular case, ustwo made a majority of their money from iPhone and iPad owners, with over 81% of their total revenue coming from iOS.

Monument Valley revenueustwo

The rest  came from the Google Play store, which accounted for 13.9% , and Amazon’s Android store, which made up the remaining 4.3%.

So why the huge discrepancy?

In Monument Valley’s case, piracy was the biggest factor, with the developer tweeting out that piracy was a much larger problem on Android compared to iOS.


Interesting fact: Only 5% of Monument Valley installs on Android are paid for. 40% on iOS. There’s a sneak peak of data!



It’s also important to remember that Monument Valley is a premium game that costs $3.99, which operates under a very different business model than other free-to-play apps. If Monument Valley were free to download, and monetized through in-game ads or microtransactions, all the developers would care about would be getting their app into the hands of as many people as possible.

But for Monument Valley, that’s not the case, and it’s a timely example that the big money still exists on iOS. As long as that’s still the case, you’re going to continue to see apps launching first on iOS.

Original author: Steven Tweedie
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Tim Cook Apple MacGetty Images/Justin SullivanApple CEO Tim CookThe world's biggest tech companies are preparing to introduce high-resolution audio files that will increase the price of digital music sales and the new devices the files play on.

Apple, Sony, and Pono, a music player project spearheaded by Neil Young, are planning to release new products that play music in high-end formats that will likely command premium prices. Pono was finally released on Monday. 

The prism-shaped device can play music in higher resolutions than iPhones or Android phones. It might seem weird that some people want a portable standalone music player when they can just listen to music on their smartphones but Pono managed to raise over $6 million on crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

Pono claims to make music sound better through the use of high-resolution audio. The Pono music store sells digital audio that has a higher bitrate than music sold through iTunes, meaning that the music technically sounds clearer, without compression or limits on the high-ends.  The bitrate is the number of bits per second, or the density of the encoded information in the music file. The more dense the file, the richer the sound.

Here's a chart from Pono that shows the different kinds of music qualities:

Pono music chartPono

But as Gizmodo reports, it's actually pretty difficult to hear the difference between a normal-resolution track downloaded through iTunes and the kind of file you'll be listening to on Pono. A blind study revealed that listeners couldn't identify when they were hearing a normal track, and when they were hearing a larger high-resolution file.

If you can hear the difference between normal and high-end audio then you're going to have to buy your music again if you want to listen to it on Pono in high-resolution. Here's the problem: Buying high-resolution music is considerably more expensive than buying albums on iTunes.

Let's look at an example. The most recent album from AC/DC costs $9.99 on iTunes, a reasonable price for an album. But on Pono, "Rock or Bust" is priced at $17.99. And it's not even at the full bitrate that Pono supports. The seems to imply that as albums get released in larger formats, the price could increase even more.

AC/DC album on PonoPono

It's not just Neil Young who wants to make you pay out for your music all over again, though. Sony is releasing a new Walkman device that supports the kind of high-resolution audio that Pono sells. 

WalkmanYouTube/The Verge

The new Walkman device highlights another problem with high-end audio: The files are huge, so you need a large amount of storage space. The Pono costs $399 (which isn't too bad), but if you want to store a lot of albums, you'll need to buy memory cards, which sell from $45.

Don't think that the new Sony Walkman is a cheap alternative to the Pono, however. It retails for over $1,100. The price is so high because it comes with 128gb of storage, enough space to store plenty of high-resolution audio albums. As music goes up in size, the devices needed to store and play them are going to become more expensive too.

We also know that Apple is developing a new music format which could see you buying all your albums again. U2 frontman Bono has dropped hints about the technology in a series of interviews, describing it as a format that can't be pirated. The format will apparently "prove so irresistibly exciting to music fans that it will tempt them again into buying music," or at least, that's what Apple is hoping.

The Guardian has collected together reports of Apple's new music format, explaining that it's a different way of packaging music together. That could mean that Apple isn't about to expand into high-resolution audio, instead focusing on a more visual experience.

Original author: James Cook
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ToshibaChromebookOpen.JPGLisa EadiciccoIf you were trying to pick out a new Chromebook two or three years ago, your choices would be much easier and more limited. But now, every major PC manufacturer has started making their own Chromebooks in different sizes and configurations, making the buying decision a lot more difficult. 

A Chromebook is a relatively new type of computer. It doesn't run on Windows or OS X, but rather Google's Chrome operating system. Google's software is very basic, and it's meant to be used while connected to the Internet.

So if you're the type of person that really only uses a laptop for checking email, doing work in Google Drive, and browsing the web, a Chromebook is probably right for you. There are some things you can do offline, but a Chromebook can't be used to its fullest unless you have a solid internet connection.

So which Chromebook should you buy? The best all-around general purpose Chromebook at the moment seems to be the Toshiba Chromebook 2 (starts at $250). We gave it a great review back in November, and other reviews from the tech media seem to be generally positive as well. Here's what we liked the most:

It's super light, which makes it easy to toss in your bag and carry around.  The screen is gorgeous. I'd suggest spending the extra $80 on the full HD version ($330), because it really does look great. It feels sturdy, too. Even though it's pretty cheap, it doesn't feel delicate or breakable. It's well designed, and borrows the teardrop profile of the MacBook Air, but thicker.  The battery life is pretty great, which is one of the most important factors when shopping for a laptop. I was able to get a few days out of it on a single charge when I used it sparingly as my main personal computer. If you use it for long work sessions, you'll probably get about seven hours out of it.

ToshibaChromebookSide.JPGLisa EadiciccoIt's not perfect — the keyboard and speakers could be better — but it's still an excellent device for the price. It's hard to find high-quality keyboards on cheap computers, and most of the Chromebooks I've tested have been about the same as Toshiba's in terms of keyboard quality.

It comes with a 13.3-inch screen, so if you want something in the 11-inch range I'd suggest the Dell Chromebook 11. Reviews of the Dell Chromebook 11 from Engadget, The Verge, and ZDNet have all been positive, all praising the Chromebook's attractive design and long battery life.

Acer's line of C720 Chromebooks are also affordable and compact, and are probably worth looking at if you're looking for something cheap and small. But, we still have yet to see a Chromebook that's impressed us as much as the Toshiba Chromebook 2. 

Original author: Lisa Eadicicco
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bii food bev cagrBI Intelligence

At $600 billion a year in sales, food and beverage is by far the largest retail category in the U.S. by a wide margin. However, it's also the category that has been the least disrupted by e-commerce; less than 1% of food and beverage sales currently occur online, according to BI Intelligence's estimates.

But shopping habits are changing, and niche online grocery services that compete on convenience and selection are gaining traction. Meanwhile tech giants like Amazon are fronting the cost of expensive delivery infrastructure that has so far held back grocery e-commerce. 

In a new in-depth report, BI Intelligence looks at why the grocery business has proved so challenging to e-commerce companies — from consumer reluctance to complicated and expensive logistics — and what new strategies e-commerce startups and big-name tech companies are pursuing to push more grocery sales online. Between 2013 and 2018, online grocery sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.1%, reaching nearly $18 billion by the end of the forecast period. For comparison, offline grocery sales will rise by 3.1% annually during the same period. 

Access The Full Report And Downloadable Charts By Signing Up For A Free Trial>>

Here are some of the key findings explored in the report: 

There are a number of disadvantages to buying groceries online on both the consumer and business side, such as the cost and complexity of logistics, shipping fees, and the quality and freshness of orders. For online grocers to deliver the freshness consumers want, they have to be able to deliver orders fast while maintaining the quality of easily damaged foods like produce. But there are still some advantages to online grocery shopping, in particular convenience and a large selection of products. Only 15% of U.S. adults have purchased general food items online, but 25% said they have bought specialty food and beverages online, which are hard to find elsewhere. New startups that focus on concierge shopping and subscription prepared meals are innovating on the online grocery model and offering services that really are differentiated from traditional supermarket shopping. We believe these services could change the way people shop for food. In addition, established online grocers have an opportunity in enterprise grocery sales, which lowers costs through bulk purchases. Some of the biggest names in tech — Amazon, eBay, and Google — are beginning to offer and promote same-day delivery services. As consumers get used to the convenience of ordering something online and receiving it the same day, grocery e-commerce may benefit too, with people more likely to buy food they know they will get quickly. While same-day delivery comes with a big price tag, 25% of millennials said they would pay a premium for same-day delivery.

To access the E-Commerce Grocery Report and BI Intelligence's ongoing coverage of the future of retail, mobile, and e-commerce — including downloadable charts, data, and analysis — sign up for a free trial. 

bii same day shipping demoBI Intelligence

Original author: Cooper Smith
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