Ping, the pseudo-social network once proudly baked into iTunes, will be no more by the end of the month, Apple announced on Thursday. It’s a smart (if overdue) move, but now the company needs to get more serious about integrating established social networks into its products. Amid celebrated hardware launches, anticipated operating system updates, and insane revenue numbers, Ping stood out as the most glaring product-related stain in Apple’s recent history. Nobody liked it, and the word Ping practically became shorthand for what happens when a tech giant launches a new product or feature only to see it fizzle. Apple deserves some credit for recognizing that Ping wasn’t working and deciding to focus elsewhere. After all, it rakes in billions of dollars each quarter, the vast majority of which comes from selling mobile hardware, followed by things like MacBooks and iPods, tied together by a converging pair of operating systems. The company has its hands full with digital media and related initiatives, too. It didn’t need its own social network. That said, this isn’t Apple’s last social hurrah. Social media still has an important role to play in the company’s future, and it needs to forge the right strategy. Rather than rolling its own, the company needs to ensure that existing social platforms are integrated with its products in ways that benefit its customers. The first phase of that strategy is well underway. Once Apple pushes out the next Mountain Lion and iOS 6 update, both of the company’s major operating systems will feature deep integration with Facebook and Twitter. But why stop there? That integration could be even deeper, and more important, it could include other popular social networks.Posting iPhone photos directly to Facebook and Twitter is nice, but the visual nature of Pinterest and Instagram begs for equally easy sharing to those services from within iOS. Tweeting and posting status updates from across the OS is great for users (and the services, at least as far as Twitter was concerned when iOS 5 launched), but there may come a day when the unthinkable becomes unavoidable and we see a Google+ button baked into the operating system. Don’t hold your breath on that one.However Apple’s social strategy shapes up, it will have to – by definition – serve the interests of users. That’s something Ping just wasn’t doing. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#Apple#web A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… john paul titlow 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting
A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Google CEO Larry Page and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have bothposted statements denying knowledge of PRISM, a program reportedly run by the U.S. National Security Agency to gather communications from top Internet companies with their apparent cooperation.Page’s post, written with Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, is headlined “What the …” Zuckerberg’s language is similarly frank, referring to “outrageous press reports.”(See also: Congratulations! You’ve Been Auto-Upgraded To Citizenship 2.0)Page and Zuckerberg both said the government did not have “direct access” to their servers. The Washington Post, which broke news about the PRISM program, reported that government agencies were “tapping directly into the central servers” of Google, Facebook and other companies.But both CEOs’ statements hint that there’s something they’re not saying. Page and Zuckerberg both call on the U.S. government to be more “transparent” about secret requests for user data, requests that the government can legally make under established procedures.Some are suggesting that instead of tapping directly into company servers, the NSA is collecting data from Internet service providers as it flows over the Internet. Such collection has been going on for years—before the reported start of the PRISM program. President Barack Obama said in a press conference Friday that the data collection wasn’t targeted at U.S. citizens and “helped prevent terrorist attacks. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Related Posts Tags:#Civil Liberties#Facebook#Google#Government#Larry Page#Mark Zuckerberg#nsa#Prism#spying owen thomas
By Carol ChurchIn Part 1 of this series, we went over special considerations for military families regarding cell phone service and questions families should ask themselves when considering switching to a less costly option. In this part, we’ll review some of the many budget services out there. Be aware that these deals can and will change.TingTing is a pay-as-you-go model that adjusts to your actual usage. If you are disciplined (or very budget-minded!) you can even pay as little as $12 per month for a line with minimal voice and texting and no data. More typically, an example family with 4 lines using 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 3 GB of data in a month would pay $68. (You can add lines for $6/each to the basic Ting plan.) It’s a good choice for families who are able to be somewhat conservative with their minutes, texts, and especially data, in exchange for the advantage of low cost. You do have to bring your own phone (which you can buy used or new—most, but not all, phones are supported) with this plan. Ting uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks (you choose), so coverage is okay but not the best possible. Ting is known for good customer service.Republic WirelessIf you’re willing to go with a limited stable of 9 (decent quality) Android phones, Republic Wireless offers a very competitive pricing, starting at $20/month for unlimited talk and text plus 1 GB data. You have to get a separate plan for each phone when you use Republic, but this isn’t necessarily a reason for families to avoid the plan. An example family of 4 would have to pay a minimum of $80 month, but for that, they would get unlimited talk and text plus 4 GB of data. You can also upgrade or downgrade your plan by the month to add more or less data as needed. Republic keeps you on Wi-Fi wherever possible for savings, which may result in a slight decrease in call quality. Like Ting, Republic uses the Sprint and T-Mobile networks.US MobileWith a starter plan of 100 minutes/100 texts/100 MB at just $9, this can be a very cheap plan, but this is usage level is likely unrealistic for many. There is also no family plan here either, so each person has to decide on his or her own plan. A more reasonable plan offering 250 minutes, 500 texts, and 1 GB of data per person would ring in at $25 per person. Multiplied by 4, for an example family, this is $100—too much to pay for what you get. This plan would probably mostly be good for people able to maintain low usage who want a very low-cost service. You need to bring your own phone, and US Mobile uses the T Mobile network.Google FiGoogle Fi is another no-contract service with some unique angles. The basic package is $20/month, which gives you unlimited calling and texting. (You can add family members at a cost of $15/month each.) You are then charged $10 per GB of data, with one different feature being that you are refunded (that is, the amount goes back to your account) for every “piece” of a GB you do not use. It’s hard to assign a price to a “example” family of 4 here due to the refund aspect, but for unlimited talk and text and assuming 1GB of data each with no refund, a family of 4 would pay $105 per month. This is a bit high, but the international calling and the improved network coverage may make it worth it for some.Fi’s SIM card allows you to use coverage from Sprint, T-Mobile, and US Cellular, giving better coverage than other resellers that rely on one network. Like Republic, it also relies on Wi-Fi whenever possible, which may result in decreased call quality. A major advantage to GoogleFi for military families is that the service works seamlessly in over 135 different countries (you’ll need to check their website for rates, but they appear reasonable). This alone may make this service the right choice for some.One potential big disadvantage to GoogleFi is that you are very limited on phone type. Right now, there are just 3 choices.Mint SIMMint’s special angle is that it gives you a discount for buying service in advance, allowing them to offer good deals like $12/month for unlimited talk and text plus 2 GB of 4G LTE and unlimited speed-throttled data (if you pay for 3 months upfront). Although they call themselves “no contract,” this does sound a bit like a contract. Mint uses the T-Mobile network and requires you to bring your own unlocked phone. International roaming is also an option with the plan. If you’re willing to take a chance on a newer service and commit, this looks like a good deal, but it might be wise to take a look at its customer service record.CricketCricket uses the AT&T network. Like other budget plans, you bring your own phone, but unlike some of these options, you have many choices, including the iPhone. Plans start at $30 per line for unlimited talk and text and 1 GB of high-speed data. Cricket provides discounts for family plans, so our example family of 4 could get unlimited talk and text and 5 GB of data to share (plus additional slower data that is unlimited) for $80/month: a good deal. This could be an excellent plan for heavy users who want a lot of phone choice but who also want to bring their costs down somewhat.lev dolgachov/PhotospinThe “Big 4”We’re not reviewing the traditional “big 4” (Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) here since most customers are familiar with or will “find” their plans on their own. Their deals also change frequently. In general, you can expect to pay $120-$200 per month for a family of 4 for unlimited talk and text and various larger quantities of data (4 GB-10GB+, to unlimited). These plans, though more expensive than the other options here, will be the best choice for some families.Families should definitely ask about discounts with these major players; at time of writing, all 4 offered 15% discounts to at least some military members on at least some plans. Proof of service (military ID) is necessary. Be aware, however, that this may well not be the best option, and that service members have complained about discounts not applying, applying only on “Cadillac” plans, or not being worth it.This monthly bill is one that can creep up in amount over time without us really focusing on how much it’s costing us. However (along with other recurring costs like cable, utilities, groceries, and so on), it can be an excellent place to find savings—as long families understand the tradeoffs they’re making. These less expensive options will be worth considering for some who want to cut their budgets and increase savings and decrease debt.
Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul A couple of seeded men departed, too: No. 7 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 15 Tomas Berdych, the 2010 Wimbledon runner-up.The No. 3-seeded Federer won five consecutive U.S. Open championships from 2004-08 and also was the runner-up twice, including two years ago. But he missed last year’s tournament while taking off the second half of the season to let his back and surgically repaired left knee fully heal.That back, an off-and-on issue for years, flared up again while Federer was losing in the final of the Montreal Masters in August. He didn’t get to fully work on returns or serves, in particular, as the U.S. Open approached. That lack of training and the resulting lack of timing — rather than pain from his back — is what Federer said caused him problems Tuesday night in the first round against 19-year-old American Frances Tiafoe and again against Youzhny, a former top-10 player who reached the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Open semifinals but is now ranked 101st.“I’m pretty confident that I’m only going to get better from here. That’s a good thing,” Federer said. “Because I’ve played a lot, I definitely found some rhythm now.”He did falter repeatedly Thursday, though.Federer let a lead slip away in the second set and got broken while serving for it at 5-4.“He helped me to come back,” Youzhny said.Federer stumbled again while serving for the fourth set at 5-3, but responded to a break there by breaking right back.Still, Federer’s unforced errors continued to mount in the fifth set — 11 in the first four games alone, including a badly shanked forehand on his first break point at 2-1, a netted backhand on his second, and a long forehand to let Youzhny hold there. Eventually, Federer nosed ahead, aided by the considerable dip in the 35-year-old Youzhny’s level of play.While Federer played his first-round match Tuesday under the roof in Ashe, Youzhny’s opener was postponed until Wednesday because of rain, and he blamed that for his fatigue. His legs started cramping late in the third set Thursday and then reached other parts of his body, even his fingers, by the end. That made it hard to move forward or to jump normally while serving. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “He’s also a real man who plays tennis,” Youzhny noted. “He’s not a god.”Well, OK, that’s true. But remember: Federer did not drop a single set en route to his record eighth Wimbledon championship in July. And that he is 37-3 with five titles, including two at majors to raise his record total to 19.Second on that list, with 15, is No. 1-seeded Rafael Nadal, who trailed by a set and a break before figuring things out and beating 121st-ranked Taro Daniel of Japan 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in Ashe at night. That followed 20th-seeded American CoCo Vandeweghe’s 7-6 (6), 6-2 victory over Ons Jabeur of Tunisia under the lights.What already was a wide-open women’s bracket became more so when 2004 U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova was upset by 116th-ranked Kurumi Nara of Japan 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. The No. 8-seeded Kuznetsova’s exit means five of the top eight women are already gone.Two other seeded women lost to Americans in the afternoon: Shelby Rogers edged No. 25 Daria Gavrilova 7-6 (6), 4-6, 7-6 (5) in a tournament-record 3 hours, 33 minutes, and Jennifer Brady eliminated No. 23 Barbora Strycova 6-1, 6-1.ADVERTISEMENT Promoters: Pacquiao-Horn rematch won’t happen this year Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim LATEST STORIES Rafael Nadal, of Spain, reacts after winning a point against Taro Daniel, of Japan, during the U.S. Open tennis tournament, Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)NEW YORK — A bad back prevented Roger Federer from getting ready for the U.S. Open the way he prefers to prepare for a Grand Slam tournament. And it’s showed so far.Federer blamed a lack of proper practice after making an uncharacteristic 68 unforced errors and being forced to go five sets again before coming back to edge a cramping Mikhail Youzhny 1-6, 7-6 (3), 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Thursday in Arthur Ashe Stadium.ADVERTISEMENT Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side It is the first time the 36-year-old Federer has played five-setters in both the first and second rounds at a major tournament.“I knew I was going to maybe struggle early on. Maybe I struggled more than I would have liked to. But I’m still in the draw, which gives me a chance. I still believe I’m going to pick up my game and become just more consistent because I’m not playing all that bad,” Federer said. “It’s just that I’m going a bit up and down in waves throughout the match.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingGiven that Federer entered the day with a 16-0 career record against Youzhny and a 16-0 mark in the U.S. Open’s second round, one might have thought that their match would be a mismatch.Think again. At 1-all in the deciding set, Youzhny collapsed to the court, grabbing at his right leg after whiffing on an attempted swat at Federer’s lob. Youzhny stayed down for a few moments, then grimaced and limped around for the rest of that game.Afterward, Youzhny chuckled at the mention of having lost all 17 matches against Federer, even leaning back in his chair and joking about how he would have completed the upset if Grand Slam rules were different: “I beat him in three sets now — but we played five sets. But come on, if we played three sets, I already beat him!”Federer, naturally, preferred to look at matters from a different perspective.“I find my way,” he said. “I don’t panic.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ View comments
Share Jeff Grass PhotographyHouston Chamber Choir 00:00 /00:00 Just before Christmas, the Houston Chamber Choir found out that they were selected to perform at the World Symposium on Choral Music – a week-long festival of the world’s best choirs.It’s held only every three years in different cities around the globe, and the 2020 Symposium will take place in Auckland, New Zealand.The Houston Chamber Choir is one of only 24 choirs in the world invited to perform, chosen from a record 179 entries this past year.“The opportunity to represent our city, our state, and our nation at this gathering of the world’s top choirs has long been a dream of mine,” said Robert Simpson, the choir’s founder and artistic director.A kind of musical “Olympics” and “congress” rolled into one, the festival is a public showcase of preeminent international choirs, plus seminars and workshops for leading conductors, composers, singers and administrators in the field.The Houston Chamber Choir is composed of 20 professional singers, selected through auditions from top singers in the region. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: X Listen
<< Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Japan Bathe naked with strangers? Welcome to a Japanese bathhouse By: The Associated Press Share TOKYO — Japan is proud of its bathing traditions. For many Westerners, though, the fact that these traditions involve being naked with strangers is awkward at best, even though men and women bathe separately.On my first trip I tried to wriggle out of a friend’s offer to take me to an onsen, or hot springs resort. I suggested a different town that had an attraction I wanted to see, and thought I was off the hook.I should have done my research better: That town was famous for its onsen as well.It turned out for the best, though, because I’ve become a fan. Nothing is more relaxing after a tiring day of sightseeing than a long soak, and you can reassure yourself that you’re experiencing authentic culture at the same time.Two terms are basic when talking about Japanese baths: onsen and sento. An onsen has natural hot spring water. A sento, usually translated as public bath, typically uses regular water, traditionally heated by burning wood. Tall chimneys for the smoke are one visual symbol of the city sento.The distinction is noted because various spring waters are supposed to have different health benefits. Onsen are commonly found at hotels and resorts outside the city, but there are about 45 sento in Tokyo, for example, that do have natural spring water.For the outsider, though, the facilities will look much the same and more important, so are the traditions and etiquette.Stephanie Crohin is author of a book in Japanese about sento. For the past three years, she has been the official volunteer ambassador for the Tokyo Sento Association. She has visited over 700 sento across Japan and her book and Instagram feed reveal the beauty of their interiors, where photography is usually prohibited, including many traditional painted murals and immaculate tilework.More news: Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backShe reassures first-timers that with everyone else acting like it’s normal, you will quickly get comfortable. “For some people it is a big challenge to be naked in front of others, but genders are separate, and everybody just doesn’t look and doesn’t care,” she says. “It is the ideal place to forget about complexes!”Although you won’t have much trouble finding a sento in a city like Tokyo, their numbers are in fact declining. Last year, she says, 40 sento closed in Tokyo. Fifty years ago, there were around 2,700 sento in the city, but now there are around 560, with 2,500 across the country.One reason sento are closing is that many of their customers are elderly. Now that every home has its own bath, younger people often never cultivated the habit. Some sento are trying new strategies to attract customers, including presenting exhibits and events such as concerts and developing English information to attract tourists.Another innovation: ‘super sento,’ more like day spas with additional facilities and entertainment. One in Tokyo, Oedo Onsen Monogatari, is basically a hot bath theme park with a re-created Edo period townscape.These may be an easy way in for the first-timer, but if you want to experience authentic local culture, make sure you try a sento too. Just follow the rules so you’ll fit in. At a typical bath here’s the routine:Leave your shoes in an outside locker.Pay the fee. If you haven’t brought your own soap and shampoo, you can buy small bottles and rent towels. You’ll be given one large towel and a small one.Go through the entrance for your gender. (You might want to memorize the characters for ‘man’ and ‘woman’ in advance.)In the changing room, undress and put your clothes in a locker. This part should feel familiar to anyone who’s been to a gym.Leave the big towel in the locker but take the small one with you. Use it for washing and/or to dry yourself a bit after your bath so you don’t drip onto the changing room floor.The bathroom has individual washing stations. The station may already have a stool, or you can take one and a wash basin from a stack. The basin is the traditional way to wash and rinse yourself, but now there are also hand sprayers.Wash thoroughly. The bath is just for soaking; since the water there is shared, you’re expected to be clean first. Be careful not to splash your neighbours.Tie up long hair. You don’t want it to dangle into the shared bath.More news: Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedNow you’re ready to soak!At this point you’ll still be carrying your small towel, which brings up another rule: never put your towel into the bath. If you’ve seen Japanese bathing on TV, people will usually be covered with towels, but that is only for filming. The most traditional thing to do with the small towel is fold it and rest it on your head while you’re bathing.Finally, sento and onsen have traditionally prohibited tattoos, which are associated with organized crime. These restrictions are loosening. Sento are usually fine with them, but super sento and onsen resorts may not be, so check in advance. Monday, June 4, 2018
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has placed orders for modernisation and upgrades to its global fibre network from Net Insight – a provider of scalable transport solutions for media, IP and broadcast networks.The EBU’s Eurovision fibre network is based on Net Insight’s Nimbra platform. The EBU said it will upgrade its global network with Nimbra 600 series media switch routers (MSRs).Fredrik Tumegård, CEO of Net Insight, said: “EBU will modernise the network to serve broadcasters with new and additional video and data service. We support the EBU fully in its objective to adapt its network infrastructure to stay cost-efficient and flexible with guaranteed quality of service.”The EBU is an alliance of public service media organisations, with members in 56 countries in Europe and beyond. It operates Eurovision, the distributor and producer of TV Eurovision, and is a distributor and producer of live sport and news, entertainment, culture and music content.