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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have put up a $100,000 of initial funding for someone who designs the "next generation of condoms." The money won't stop there, as the funding will expand up to $1 million for whoever is capable of delivering the next-gen contraception.
Considering that the basic form of contraception hasn't received many changes over the years, it is used by an estimated 750 million people across the world for both reducing unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually-transmitted infections. The Foundation's description of the challenge explains it as: "The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom."
A next-gen condom might give men more sensation, pushing them to use them more often, for the good of global health. When it comes to female condoms, "suffer from some of the same liabilities as male condoms, require proper insertion training and are substantially more expensive than their male counterparts."
Apple is still trying to begin to (because they aren't right now) compete with Google and their far superior mapping service, where the Cupertino-based company have just acquired an indoor GPS tracking startup, WiFiSlam.
The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that Apple have acquired the startup, who specializes in WiFi-assisted indoor GPS functionality for smartphones. What makes this news interesting is that the company was reportedly founded by a few ex-Google staff a couple of years ago, with one of their investors included a Google employee. A stronger confirmation on this is the fact that any WiFiSlam-related apps have been removed from the Google Play Store.
Apple reportedly coughed up $20 million for the startup, but no confirmation on this has materialized. I'm sure we'll see more on this in the future.
Google continues to expand its Transparency Report. This time Google has added a list of recently submitted URLs for takedown that the company declined. This latest update comes on the heels of Google expanding the report to include a statistics on the number of false DMCA takedown requests received.
Besides having the effect of calling out the sheer ignorance (stupidity?) of the rights managements groups, the new section brings attention to these links that the company attempted to have removed. Obviously, some of the requested links that were rejected by Google are more entertaining than others.
For instance, Audiolock issued a takedown request for 25 different URLs. Google denied 84 percent because many of the links were to the band's music on iTunes, Spotify, and eMusic. Go figure.
Check out the newly updated Transparency Report and feel free to send us any especially humorous takedown requests similar to the one above.
Apple obviously felt the sting of a recently settled lawsuit as they have added a warning to free apps that have in-app purchases. This will allow parents to easily identify which free apps offer in-app purchases and hopefully prevent their kids from going crazy with micro-transactions.
The warning doesn't appear to be present on the mobile App Store or on the Apple website. It is confirmed to be showing in the App Store that is contained within iTunes. We do expect it to eventually show up on the mobile version of the App Store.
An interesting idea that could spring from this new warning is the ability to filter apps that allow in-app purchases. Apple has clearly identified free apps that contain in-app purchases. Now all they need to do is implement a parental filter to prevent those apps from being used or downloaded. Apple has not said that this feature will be implemented.
While addressing the House of Representatives committee on IT pricing today, Adobe Australia and New Zealand managing director, Paul Robson, was questioned about the higher prices in Australia for their Creative Suite 6 software.
Considering Adobe charge Australians a not so down under 167% more, the question is a very big one to answer. Australians are paying $3175 compared to their US friends paying just $1899 for CS6. Robson said that consumers in Australia were paying the extra costs because they were automatically redirected to Adobe's Australian website, giving them the ability to access local discounts and community groups.
Robson didn't explain exactly why Australians pay more for Adobe software, saying that Adobe's use of Australian-only pricing or "geoblocking" was a "well established and legal process".
Adding to the growing pile of resignations and upper-echelon members of the technology industry is the rumor that Federal Communications Commission Chairman, Julius Genachowski, will announce he will step down from his position.
The news is coming from an FCC official, who says Genachowski is stepping down from the agency after a four-year term that saw him focus on improving Internet access across the United States. The FCC chairman told FCC staff of his plans earlier today, according to an industry source. His exit from the FCC has been rumored for weeks, with his term set to expire in June.
Possible replacements for Genachowski are Lawrence Strickling, the head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Karen Kornbluh, the recent ambassador for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and finally, Blair Levin, who is a former FCC staff member and now industry analyst.
Samsung may be getting ready to launch their Galaxy S4, but this doesn't stop them from working on a thousand and one other devices, especially in the very lucrative emerging markets.Samsung may be getting ready to launch their Galaxy S4, but this doesn't stop them from working on a thousand and one other devices, especially in the very lucrative emerging markets.
Samsung have plenty of devices in the low- to mid-range market, such as the Galaxy S3 Mini, but they're also wanting to hit the super low-end emerging markets, such as India and Indonesia. These markets are pretty much controlled by feature phones, with Samsung clawing considerable amounts of the market share with devices in the sub-$100 market.
The Wall Street Journal has reported that the South Korean electronics giant has seen their market share in Indonesia rise from just 2% in 2010, to a market-dominating 50% in the last quarter.
One source is reporting that Frommer's will no longer be selling print versions of the book. The brand name was acquired by Google last August for $22 million, though Google declined to comment on the future of the series at the time. Skift is reporting that no future Frommer's books will be printed.
The source says that the last two Frommer's books to be printed were from the Day-by-Day series, specifically the Napa and Sonoma and Banff and the Rockies versions. The source reportedly spoke with authors who were supposed to be having travel books published in the future.
Some of the authors stated that they were informed by editors at Google that the books would not be published, while other authors were told that there would be a delay before new contracts were signed.
Wiley's Unofficial Guide series was sold to Google and this series will continue in print and eBook form. "The Unofficial Guides will continue to be published in print and also be available as eBooks. The creators of the Unofficial Guides, Menasha Ridge Press, will enjoy greater autonomy and editorial control than under Wiley."
J.D. Power and Associates' new study shows that Apple leads the pack when it comes to consumer satisfaction. This is the ninth time in a row that Apple has topped J.D. Power's survey, though not everything remains the same. Second place is in fierce contention by four different manufacturers.
Apple is the only company to be above the study average, coming in with a score of 855. Just one point behind the study average, Nokia comes in at a satisfaction rating of 795. Samsung pulls a close third with a score of 793. Just behind Samsung is Motorola with a score of 792. HTC brings up the rear with a score of 790.
Once you move down the list, the scores drop off. LG received a score of 744 and BlackBerry only scored 732. Interestingly enough, about 17 percent of those surveyed said that they encountered some sort of bug or glitch. Bugs and glitches really detract from the user experience and companies should probably focus heavily in these areas.
Going green is the big push right now and has been for the past several years. Apple releases its "Apple and the Environment" report to show just how Apple's business affects the environment around us. The latest report shows that while Apple is moving towards green energy use, its overall production of CO2 is still increasing.
Apple has started to brag that its data centers are 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources. Even with this change, Apple's overall production has increased by 34 percent. Apple attributes this increase to its overall increase in products sold. It's true that Apple produces less CO2 per dollar revenue.
Since 2008, Apple has reduced its emissions per dollar revenue by 21.5 percent. Apple has also increased renewable energy at its corporate facilities by 114 percent. However, facilities only contribute 2 percent of Apple's emissions. 61 percent, or the large majority, come from the manufacturing of the devices.