A national forum set up 15 years ago to involve pe

first_imgA national forum set up 15 years ago to involve people with learning difficulties in developing government policy is set to lose its Department of Health (DH) funding.Inclusion North, the disability organisation that is paid by DH to run the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities (NFPLD), has been told there are “currently no plans to extend, renew or re-tender” its two-year contract when it expires on 31 March.Over the last two years, Inclusion North has received £419,000 to “facilitate and host” NFPLD and the National Valuing Families Forum, whose members are carers of people with learning difficulties and their allies.When it was set up as a result of Labour’s ground-breaking Valuing People learning difficulties white paper in 2001, the government said NFPLD would “involve people with learning disabilities in policy development” and “contribute to monitoring the impact of Valuing People”.But Inclusion North has now been told by DH to come up with an “exit plan”, including new ways of funding the forums.A petition set up to call on ministers to reverse their decision has so far been signed by nearly 1,800 people, while a social media campaign has featured self-advocates pictured with their hands over their mouths to demonstrate the #NoVoice social media hashtag.The petition says: “We work closely with the Government and national organisations at a high level to ensure that the voices of people with learning disabilities are heard when decisions are made that impact upon our lives.“However we have now been informed by the Department of Health that our funding is to be completely cut in March 2017.“We think that this decision is very wrong. It will be another way of taking away our voice.”Ian Davies, a former member of the national forum and currently a coordinator of the East Midlands regional forum – but speaking to Disability News Service as an individual – said he felt “frustrated” by the government’s decision.He said: “It’s a big loss. When you think about Valuing People when it started out in 2001 and what the government was trying to do, to set up a platform where people with learning difficulties could express their feelings to government, that’s going to be all taken away.“They are not going to have that platform. Exactly what we think about what’s going on, that will not be there.“How else are they going to hear those things from people themselves?” He added: “We know it has a lot to do with cuts. It’s cuts here, cuts there, cuts everywhere.“Who gets it first? It’s people with learning difficulties.“I can’t still understand why they want to drag that away from people when there is a lot of really good valuable work done on behalf of it.“It’s done some really good, strong work in the past and now it’s going to end up with no funding.”There are nine regional forums that feed into NFPLD, with two representatives from each of them elected by their own members to sit on the national forum.Two members of the national forum attend the government’s National Learning Disability Programme Board.Among the national forum’s achievements is Staying Strong, a guide it published five years ago to help other self-advocacy groups threatened by government funding cuts. It has also spoken out strongly in the wake of the Winterbourne View abuse scandal, and about the safety of care facilities following the death of Connor Sparrowhawk and subsequent revelations that an NHS trust failed to investigate hundreds of unexpected deaths of people with learning difficulties and mental health problems.A DH spokeswoman said: “The contract included a requirement for Inclusion North to work with the National Forum of People with Learning Disabilities and the National Valuing Families Forum to look at options for both organisations to become self-sustaining from 1 April 2017.“The end of the contract doesn’t prevent the forums from seeking other sources of support.”She added: “We highly value the contributions people with learning difficulties make in informing policy, and the forums are not the only way we currently engage with representatives.“The contract between the Department of Health and Inclusion North was to support people with learning disabilities and family carers to contribute to policy-making, planning and oversight of services on learning disabilities.“The Department of Health wants to ensure that these people, and their family and carers, continue to be closely involved in co-producing and informing policies.“We are considering how best to ensure continued engagement with people with learning disabilities and family carers in the future.”Inclusion North has so far failed to respond to a request to comment on losing the DH funding, and to a request to speak to someone from the forum.last_img read more

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Labour MP Shabana Mahmood has come under fire from

first_imgLabour MP Shabana Mahmood has come under fire from Labour supporters and LGBT campaigners over a speech she made about same-sex relationship lessons in primary schools.In response to a petition signed by over 1,700 of her constituents, the MP for Birmingham Ladywood argued in parliament that the “religious background” of pupils and the “age appropriateness” of conversations should be taken into account when teaching RSE in relation to LGBT issues.Mahmood said all parents should have been consulted before the new RSE curriculum – a programme of lessons called ‘No Outsiders’ – was launched in local schools.It was reported by The Guardian last week that Parkfield community school in Birmingham has stopped lessons aimed at challenging homophobia after parents protested and hundreds of Muslim children were taken out of school for a day.It’s vital that schools follow the guidance for teaching #RSE, with parental engagement and proper consideration for pupils’ religion and background. Yesterday, I made this clear to Education ministers in response to a petition signed by 1,763 #Birmingham #Ladywood constituents. pic.twitter.com/M3Whe4SgDs— Shabana Mahmood (@ShabanaMahmood) February 26, 2019When the tweeted video received attention today, commentators including Owen Jones criticised the speech on Twitter, while LGBT Labour released a statement also recalling the importance of repealing Section 28.“We have written to Shabana Mahmood MP asking to meet with her,” LGBT Labour’s Melantha Chittenden and Robbie Young said. “It is the role of any Labour MP to fight to make legislation more progressive, not to use it to help protect bigotry.”This, from a Labour MP, is absolutely shocking. The parents at this Birmingham school are trying to stop lessons educating pupils about the existence of gay people. To suggest that isn’t “age appropriate” is the same argument used to justify Section 28. You should apologise. https://t.co/90rtE92f6g— Owen Jones🌹 (@OwenJones84) March 5, 2019Mahmood has now written a Medium blogpost explaining her position. “Nowhere have I said that LGBT relationships should not be taught – because that’s not my position,” the post reads. “Nowhere have I called for a return to the days of Section 28 – because that law was a dehumanising stain rightly removed by a Labour government.”She goes on to argue that the parents were “focussed not on prejudice, but on process” as “they had not been engaged with by the school” and “felt that the government guidance in place was not being followed”.Benjamin Butterworth, a journalist and former chair of London Young Labour, tweeted in response: “This is a weak reply by @ShabanaMahmood that has lots about other issues and other people’s work in a Labour govt, but nothing taking back her suggestion it’s not “age appropriate” for kids to know some people are gay. The fact she finds it so hard to say speaks volumes.”Tags:Labour /LGBT Labour /Shabana Mahmood /SRE /last_img read more

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Sweep Report Staying dry on Valencia

first_img“After the 1515 shelter opened, a lot of the tents and encampments were taken out of the Mission because people have an alternative place to go,” said Rachel Gordon, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Works.  But as winter approaches — and, with it, storms like those of the past few weeks — the Mission’s homeless population is still searching for places to stay, and still being told to move elsewhere, wherever that may be.   On Monday, the first warning from police came around 9 a.m., David said. A squad car rolled up, gave a blare from its siren, and a cop on a loudspeaker told David and some six other people camping under the overpass to pack up and move along. After 45 minutes, David said, the police were back, but this time they got out and told the campers they needed to leave. He also said, around that time, Public Works staff came but were very quick. Meanwhile, Jonathan Campbell, 33, had been buying some snacks at the store. When he came back to the overpass, his tent was gone, and his friends told him that a Public Works crew had taken it.He also lost his sleeping bag, mattress, blanket, clothes, and some medication, he said, and that two weeks ago, while staying on Division Street, a Public Works crew had taken another tent.“I’m broke and I have no money to buy another tent,” he said. “The feeling sucks.” Nelson Wison, 36, said he came to the overpass five days ago because of the rain. He said that, generally, overpasses become more crowded on rainy days. “Mostly people like to spread out, but when it’s raining you don’t have much of a choice,” he said. A 39-year-old man who went by E.K.O. was also packing up his belongings, although he said he had nowhere to go. “I spend all day chasing my tail, from one spot to the next,” he said. David G. said he saw the outreach team come on Sunday, although he said he didn’t get a chance to talk to them. “I’d like to check on the Navigation Center,” he said. “It’s a good thing,” said Taylor Heath, David’s friend, who had walked over from the Navigation Center on 1950 Mission St., where he has been staying, to lend David a hand. “I hope they get us into housing and back to work.”David G. said that he’s waiting for a Social Security check, and that hopefully the Navigation Center wouldn’t be necessary. “I’ll hopefully not be on the street anymore,” he said. But “to be honest, I’m gonna keep coming back here.” Tags: homeless • valencia street Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% On Monday morning around 11 a.m., as the sky began to drizzle, David G. was packing bike wheels and baby wipes into cardboard boxes under the overpass at Valencia and Duboce, where he has been camping for the last year or so. “They never used bother us here,” David said, explaining that that police and Department of Public Works crews started coming around more frequently two weeks ago.  He keeps the sidewalk clean and clear of his tent during the day, but he noted that the tents had increased and Public Works noticed. “When we started having more tents, they started coming,” he said, pointing to some other campers across Valencia, some of whom had come because of recent storms.Last month, District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen said that the number of tents in the Mission has decreased 75 percent, from around 200 to 50. The reduction, she said, coincided with the opening of a new Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness Ave in late June. Ronen is working to put two more Navigation Centers in the Mission. center_img 0%last_img read more

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Police union moves to block access to all current police shooting files

first_imgA last-ditch effort by a law enforcement union may block the public from gaining access to records related to police shooting investigations and officer misconduct created before 2019. On Tuesday, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA) filed a petition with the California Supreme Court, asking the court to prevent the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department from releasing records filed before a new law — SB 1421 — takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019.If successful, the San Bernardino case could induce a cascading effect throughout the state. In fact, it already is: As a result of the San Bernardino petition, the San Francisco Police Department is consulting with the City Attorney’s Office on whether it, too, must provide such records dated before Jan. 1, 2019, confirmed police spokesman Sgt. Michael Andraychak. Andraychak added that: “The department does not plan to challenge the legislation” and is “currently working to devise a plan to respond anticipated requests.” SB 1421, penned by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), passed the legislature in October and was subsequently signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. It makes certain records related to officer misconduct and police shooting investigations available to the public. For example, the public can, come January, request certain materials related to any officer’s personnel file — incidents related to the officer that involve the discharge of a firearm, use of force resulting in death or great bodily injury, on-the-job sexual assault, and dishonesty in reporting or investigating a crime.At present, the law’s intent is to grant everyday citizens — as well as prosecutors and defense attorneys — the opportunity to know the backgrounds of the officers patrolling their streets and testifying in criminal cases. The San Bernardino-based union argues that the law does not specifically state that it applies retroactively, and is asking the court to order the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department to restrict requests for records created before Jan. 1, 2019. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department told the Los Angeles Times, however, that it plans to respond to records requests with “all the information it has” — meaning it will comply with the law moving forward.  But the union’s president, Grant Ward, noted: “We believe retroactive application violates our members’ rights and we hope the California Supreme Court will consider the serious issues raised by our legal challenge.”Skinner, who authored the legislation, disagreed with the challenge. She argued that “retroactivity was silent” in the bill because a portion of it modified the California Public Records Act, which already applies to extant records for all public employees in the state. “If the record exists, and it fits the category of records that are being opened under SB 1421, it should be available,” Skinner said.She added that these matters should have been discussed during the legislative session, when various stakeholders had the chance to chime in — not after the law was passed. “Of course I’m going to monitor what the court’s response is,” Skinner said. “Clearly, we’re talking about public employees. We shall see if the court agrees.” San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said during a forum last week that the new law could help solve the lack of transparency around police shootings that can lead to “spin, soundbites innuendo, speculation” in the news media — coverage, he said, that “skewed the issue to an unacceptable level.” “That’s a transparency issue,” Scott said. “In California, the laws will change Jan. 1, and these cases will be open. And through public records requests, people will be able to have access to these investigations.” If the San Bernardino union succeeds, however, any police shooting investigation conducted before the new year could be buried indefinitely. Email Addresscenter_img Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletterlast_img read more

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First Team Match

first_imgJames Roby, Mark Percival, Zeb Taia and Alex Walmsley were all forced to miss out so Justin Holbrook was enforced to make four changes with Aaron Smith, Jack Welsby, James Bentley and Kyle Amor coming in.The changes didn’t seem to make much difference early on mind as Saints got off to a flyer as Dom Peyroux was set loose by Theo Fages and he dropped the shoulder past the full back to give Lachlan Coote the simplest of finishes for the opener. Coote tagging on the extras for an early 6-0 lead!Saints were over again in a matter of minutes. This time after great handling from right to left resulted in Fages providing the cut-out pass for Jack Welsby who went over in the corner for his first senior try on only his second senior appearance.Luke Thompson then made it 16-0 after the England international latched onto an excellent short ball from Morgan Knowles. Coote converted the extras.Theo Fages added to Saints absentees 20 minutes in as he was forced off through injury and Hull KR, to their credit capitalised scoring three tries in 16 minutes. First Kane Linnett went over in the corner, before winger Will Oakes powered over two minutes later and Linnett sent Rovers into the break ahead after Ryan Shaw kicked all three conversions.Within the opening five minutes of the second half Saints won a penalty right in front of the sticks and Coote levelled the game at 18-18.But the dogged Rovers came right back at Saints and after a neat kick through from Josh Drinkwater, Lunt pounced on the ball to give them a shock 18-24 lead.An end to end game saw Saints march up the other end and this time it was Amor who crashed over from close range levelling the score at 24-24. Coote adding the extras.A few big hits from Saints forwards got the Totally Wicked crowd rocking and on the hour mark Saints stepped up the pressure with Coote’s kicking game forcing repeat sets.Our momentum told in the 62nd minute when Smith managed to sneak over from dummy half for his first Saints try of the season and we now lead 30-24.Saints then looked in control and put the game to bed with 10 minutes to go as direct from the scrum, the ball was fed from left to right and Grace went in at the corner for the easiest of finishes.Saints march on!Match Summary:Saints:Tries:  Coote (5), Welsby (14), Thompson (19), Amor (58), Smith (62), Grace (74).Goals: Coote (6 from 8)Starting 13: Lachlan Coote, Tommy Makinson, Kevin Naiqama, Jack Welsby, Regan Grace, Jonny Lomax, Theo Fages, Matthew Lees, Aaron Smith, Luke Thompson, James Bentley, Dom Peyroux, Morgan Knowles.Interchanges: Joseph Paulo, Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Kyle Amor, Jack Ashworth.Hull KR:Tries: Linnett (24,37), Oakes (27), Lunt (50).Goals: Shaw (4 from 4)Starting 13: Craig Hall, Ryan Shaw, Jimmy Keinhorst, Ben Crooks, Will Oakes, Josh Drinkwater, Chris Atkin, Mose Masoe, Tommy Lee, George Lawler, Joel Tomkins , Kane Linnett, Weller Hauraki .Interchanges: Mitch Garbutt , Taioalo Vaivai , Danny Addy, Shaun Lunt.HT: 16-18 FT: 36-24REF: T.GrantATT: 10,003last_img read more

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Two grievously injured in fourcar crash

first_img SharePrint Photo: Archives Photo: Archives A 21-year-old female driver from Swieqi and a 16-year-old Italian female passenger, who resides in San Ġwann and was in a different vehicle, were grievously injured early on Saturday morning when four cars collided, a police spokesperson told Newsbook.com.mt. Ten persons were hospitalised following the incident which took place at around 4am on St Andrew’s Road.Five individuals were found to be suffering from slight injuries. These are 42-year-old male driver from Senglea, a 33-year-old Italian national residing in Paola and his passenger, a 17-year-old Italian female teenager residing in Għargħur and a 23-year-old female driver and her passenger, a 16-year-old Italian male teenager who resides in Birkirkara.Three youths suffered no injuries and have already been discharged from hospital. These are a 17-year-old girl residing in Buġibba, a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old Italian man residing in Mosta.WhatsApp <a href=’http://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/ck.php?n=ab2c8853&amp;cb={random}’ target=’_blank’><img src=’https://revive.newsbook.com.mt/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=97&amp;cb={random}&amp;n=ab2c8853&amp;ct0={clickurl_enc}’ border=’0′ alt=” /></a>last_img read more

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Hidden computer Spy virus found after six years

first_imgAdvertisement Symantec has discovered a hidden virus that has been spying on computers across the globe, including in India, for at least six years.The trojan worm named ‘Backdoor.Regin’ is involved in password and data theft, capturing screenshots from infected computers, network traffic monitoring and analysing email.The security firm says the virus targets computers in 10 countries, a majority in Russia and Saudi Arabia but five percent of the infections have been traced to India.“Regin has targeted mostly private individuals and small businesses, but also telecom, hospitality, energy, airline and research firms,” said Symantec in a statement. – Advertisement – With several stealth features, anti forensics, custom encryption, it is a “highly-complex threat which has been used in systematic data collection or intelligence gathering campaigns”.Regin has two versions, Version 1 which worked from 2008 and was withdrawn in 2011, and the second version that has been silently infecting computers since 2013.Almost 30% of the attacks are on telecom companies and “attacks on telecoms companies appear to be designed to gain access to calls being routed through their infrastructure”, Symantec noted.The country responsible for the worm has not been named until now.Source: Hindustan Timeslast_img read more

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These are the 15 best social media apps ever made for iPhone

first_imgImage Credit: huffpost Advertisement It’s difficult to imagine social media without the iPhone.Though many of today’s best-known social platforms began on the web, the iPhone by putting social media in our pockets is what helped the industry explode.This list is a look at our favorite social apps to ever grace the iPhone, based on our list of the best 100 iPhone apps of all time. As with the rest of the apps on the list, we evaluated social media and messaging apps based on their design, cultural impact and how they resonated with users. The apps below are ranked in the order in which they appeared on the best 100 list. 15. FireChat FireChat cleverly uses Bluetooth to allow its users to communicate with those nearby even when they don’t have a Wi-Fi or data connection. The app has shortcomings off the grid private messaging may not always be instantaneous and massive anonymous group chats can quickly get unruly but the app has proven particularly useful for activists who can stay in touch when other messaging apps can’t be relied upon. The app became massively popular in Hong Kong when pro-democracy protesters turned to FireChat to exchange messages when local networks were overloaded. – Advertisement – 14. Highlight Highlight was that flashpaper kind of app that burns super bright and then disappears in a puff of smoke. Launched at the end of 2011, Highlight was in the vanguard of “near me” apps and also caught the most flack as being the creepiest app idea on the planet. At the time, there were a lot of apps willing to help you find friends nearby. However, none were as polished as Highlight. As for the creep factor… well, that was real.The app used willingly shared location information to let you know when contacts were close, but the definitions of “willingly” and “contact” were fairly loose. The app is still around, sort of, but thanks to Highlight and other location-tracking apps, we now know that we much prefer to connect to people remotely via social apps like Facebook and would rather not be found in person, especially not by surprise.13. Yo The quintessential “dumb” app, Yo briefly captured the collective attention of the Internet when an app that only allowed you to say “yo” topped the App Store charts even if it was for just a few days. The app quickly racked up more than a million users and inspired dozens of copycats (Yo Hodor, anyone?) while helping kick off a new trend of ridiculous and ridiculous-sounding apps.For a minute, it seemed like everyone was trying to recreate Yo’s success with apps like Push for Pizza (a one-button app that delivered you a pizza) and Ethan (a messaging app that let you talk to a guy named Ethan.)Later, Yo’s creators proved the app was much more than a joke when they opened it up to third-party developers who started connecting Yo to other services. Today, you can use Yo to turn on your lights, remember where you parked your car, or follow your favorite sports teams, publishers and Instagrammers. There’s also an Apple Watch app, perhaps one of the few apps that reallymakes sense to have on your wrist. Though the app wasn’t able to sustain its early virality, it proved that “dumb” apps can have brains, too.12. Meerkat It was one of those moments where everyone seemed to be talking about the same thing. Perhaps it was because much of the tech press were all gathered at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, but the impact of Meerkat during that show was real and quite lasting. The app, which actually arrived just weeks before, kicked off the live, social video streaming craze quite a feat since the app was kind of ugly and had an odd name.Even with those handicaps, it became the app of SXSW, with everyone from journalists to CEOs were using it to broadcast their experiences and engage with their audience in real time. Meerkat took citizen journalism to a whole new level as “reporters” were able to respond to viewer comments, some of whom would direct where they wanted the Meerkatters to point their iPhones.No one saw Meerkat coming, especially Twitter. Meerkat was using Twitter’s API to give users instant access to all their followers through the app (Twitter eventually shut down that feature). If you had a lot of Twitter followers, that made Meerkat instantly powerful. You could tell thousands of people that you were going live right now. It was instant gratification, on both sides.No rise was more meteoric and none was shorter-lived. Twitter already had a similar app in the works, and just a few weeks later, it pushed out Periscope. The app looked better than Meerkat, but also felt somewhat incomplete.In the end, though, Meerkat remains, but has lost its footing to Periscope. Will it survive? No one knows, but it will never lose its place as the app that put mobile-to-mobile video broadcasting on the map.11. Periscope Periscope was not that first, and initially it was not the best mobile live streaming service But it may be the social video broadcast platform we remember. Owned by Twitter and rushed out the door in response to upstart Meerkat’s instant rock-star status at South By Southwest 2015, Periscope looked like a better-designed version of its competitor, but with curiously different functionality (comments on Periscope don’t post to Twitter, for instance).However, with Periscope’s good looks, smart interface and heart system (a form of liking the video stream by tapping the screen to add floating hearts, which stood in for Meerkat’s broadcast leaderboard), Periscope immediately put Meerkat on notice. The app has since improved significantly and seems like a somewhat more integrated part of the Twitter universe. It’s also becoming a verb: “Are you “Periscoping” this?”10. GroupMe It can be easy to forget now, but there was a time when group texting wasn’t natively supported in iMessage. Good thing we had GroupMe, which made it possible for groups of friends to seamlessly communicate in one conversation. Better yet, it was cross-platform, so you could message friends whether they were on Android, BlackBerry or who-knows-what. Now group texts are part of iMessage (not to mention every other messaging app) so GroupMe isn’t quite as relevant as it once was. But with advanced notification controls and built-in GIF search, it’s still one of the best ways to keep tabs on giant group message threads.9. Timehop Timehop’s nostalgia-triggering app launched on iOS in 2012 and on Android in 2014. It pulls archives from your accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more to show you what happened on that same day in previous years. Thanks to hashtags like #TBT and #FBF, Timehop had no problem gaining popularity. In fact, it was such a winning concept that Facebook joined in on the blast-from-the-past movement and introduced its “On This Day” feature. Timehop responded with an April Fools’ joke by announcing the fake app Timebook, calling Facebook out for essentially stealing its idea. The app design is relatively simple, but it hasn’t changed much over the years. If Timehop wants to keep up with the times, it’ll have to find new ways to keep users engaged.8. Path Path aimed to capitalize on Facebook backlash by offering a return to the original premise of a social network: Just you and your friends, and that’s it no games, no ads, no losers you met in a bar “poking” you. Path was the private villa to Facebook’s out of control pool party. The idea had merit, but Path was even more notable for its design, brandishing animated action buttons and orderly layering long before the concepts went mainstream with iOS 7 and Google’s Material. Path’s premise was ultimately its undoing, however: By limiting the number of people you could connect with, it never achieved “the network effect” and was ingloriously sold to a South Korean Internet company five years after launch.7. Snapchat An odd little app launched in 2011 with the name Picaboo, and it quickly became known for its signature “ephemeral” messages. A few months later, Picaboo disappeared and was reborn as Snapchat, and its signature ghost was on the way to being a star.Guided by its young cofounder Evan Spiegel, the app quickly took off with college students and teens who helped buoy the app from obscurity to the top of the charts in the span of a year. Its design was confusing and not intuitive at all and offered little guidance for newcomers but all that was intentional, the app equivalent of a “no parents allowed” sign.Though its popularity with tweens is frequently attributed to their affinity for PG-13 activities, the reasons for Snapchat’s popularity are much more complex. (If not, then any one of the myriad of better-designed copycat apps would have unseated it by now.)In a world where Instagram likes can dictate social standing and cyberbullying abounds, Snapchat was able to capitalize on its younger users’ need for authenticity. While Instagram is all about making a moment look perfect, Snapchat is about sharing whatever is happening right now awkward selfies, blurry videos, silly faces and all.It may sound like a small distinction but it’s one that’s helped the app become one of the most-loved apps among notoriously hard-to-impress teens, an area that Facebook for all its social-media might has struggled with.When Snapchat turned down what was reportedly a $3 billion offer from Facebook, many onlookers were, predictably, shocked. But with a new media platform in Snapchat Discover, sponsored stories, geofilters, channels, and selfie lenses, the company has shown it has business smarts, too.Even though Snapchat is now more popular, and more mainstream, than ever, grown ups may never really understand it. But that’s kind of the point.6. Tweetie When the App Store launched in 2008, Twitter apps quickly became a popular app category. The best Twitter client in those early days was Tweetie. How good was Tweetie? So good Twitter straight-up acquired the app in 2010 rather than trying to build its own. Tweetie 2, which launched in 2009, wasn’t just a breakthrough as a Twitter client. It also created the concept of pull to refresh. Today, pull-to-refresh is fundamental to the iPhone’s user experience and has spread to thousands upon thousands of apps, including Apple’s own mail client. Not bad for a measly Twitter client.[related-posts]5. Messenger Facebook launched Messenger in 2011 as its first spin-off app. With group and photo messaging abilities and nearly instant message delivery, it was a welcome, if not immediately significant addition at the time. Three years later, Facebook caught us by surprise when it shifted gears and made the Messenger app mandatory on mobile devices. The backlash was swift and intense at one point the app was ranked No. 1 in the App Store with a one star rating with users complaining about everything from performance to privacy concerns.But it was soon clear Facebook had much bigger plans for the app than messaging. Less than a year after the split, Messenger officially became a platform for other services, and the company is using the app as a launchpad for its new digital assistant “M.” Pretty cool for what was once a one-star app.4. WhatsApp It can be easy for Americans to forget, but SMS is a finite commodity in much of the world, where unlimited texting plans are nonexistent or prohibitively expensive. For people in those areas,WhatsApp which offered a fast and reliable SMS replacement was life changing. It’s no surprise it topped the App Store charts in dozens of countries within in its first year, even after its founders shifted from a free to a paid app. (It eventually became one of the most-downloaded U.S. apps as well.)Nearly six years and a $19 billion Facebook acquisition later, the app really hasn’t changed that much. Its design has always erred on the ugly side of minimalist, and new features are rarities. But all that is quite intentional — it’s not easy to make an app that’s reliably fast on the molasses-slow 2G connections used where WhatsApp is an essential part of daily life.3. WeChat If you still think WeChat is just about messaging, you’re vastly underestimating the platform, which now counts more than 650 million users. Weixin, as it’s known in China, is the most dominant social network in the People’s Republic, where Facebook, Instagram and many other apps are blocked. WeChat is where you go to pay bills, hail rides, play casual games, browse news, send friends money, and much more. Today, there are millions of “official accounts” on the platform which act as mini apps within the app, enabling users to interact with brands, services and even celebrities. Looking at what WeChat is to China, you can’t help but think this is what Facebook wants to be to the world.2. Twitter It took a little too long for Twitter to deliver an iPhone app. In fact, Twitter never really did. Instead, the company bought popular app Tweetie and built upon its platform (though it’s likely that whatever Tweetie code existed is long since gone). Today, the native Twitter client app’s utility and importance is undeniable. Having a dedicated app that Twitter could focus on and promote helped Twitter, for a time, experience almost meteoric growth. With its tabbed interface and sharp aqua design, it’s a rich app that highlights the best Twitter has to offer, while it makes it easy to discover the service’s newest features (hey, look at those Moments!). Twitter is now struggling to grow its user base, but there’s no question that little aqua bird and the iPhone have helped each other fly high.1. Facebook As an iPhone app, Facebook has had its ups and downs, but there’s no questioning its influence in app design. That “hamburger” you see in the top corner of many apps is really just an analogue of the Facebook app’s old tiled navigation. Facebook was one of the first apps to link directly with iOS a huge upgrade that let other apps more easily log in with Facebook credentials, not to mention turbocharged sharing photos and videos directly from your phone.The app used to be notoriously slow (due to a brief and disastrous flirtation with HTML5), but today Facebook provides one of the best mobile experiences you can find, and new features like Instant Articles and 360-degree video promise to take things even further. For many, without that white-on-blue “f” on the home screen, the iPhone feels naked.[Mashable]last_img read more

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Cisco wins US patent dispute over wifi technology

first_imgCISCO Campus in San Jose, California, United States. Image Credit: Cisco Advertisement Cisco Systems Inc did not infringe a patent holding company’s wifi technology, a U.S. appeals court ruled on Monday, reversing a near $64-million judgment against the networking equipment maker in the long-running patent dispute.After eight years of litigation that also included a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, the decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said Cisco was not liable for directly infringing or inducing others to infringe a patent held by Commil USA LLC on a way to help spread wireless signals over a large area, where multiple access points are needed.Cisco General Counsel Mark Chandler said the company was gratified by the ruling. “The patent never had anything to do with our products and the millions of dollars spent defending this unmeritorious suit are a travesty,” he said in an emailed statement. – Advertisement – Representatives for Commil could not be reached on Monday.Texas-based Commil USA sued Cisco in 2007, shortly after buying the patent from an Israeli company, Commil Ltd, according to court documents. Cisco has called it a non-practicing entity, referring to a company that primarily makes money by licensing patents instead of making products.In 2011, a federal jury in Texas found that Cisco induced infringement by encouraging its customers to use Cisco products that infringe Commil’s patent. The jury awarded Commil almost $63.8 million in damages. A judge subsequently added $10.3 million in interest.[related-posts]In 2013, the Washington, D.C.-based Federal Circuit, the nation’s top appeals court specializing in patent issues, ordered a new trial, saying that Cisco should have been able to mount a defense based on its “good faith belief” that Commil’s patent was invalid.The Supreme Court in May said that defense was not legitimate, throwing out the ruling and sending the case back to the Federal Circuit.A three-judge Federal Circuit panel on Monday again ruled in favor of San Jose, California-based Cisco.The panel said that when it last considered the case, it did not consider some of Cisco’s arguments that it did not infringe the patent. In weighing those arguments this time, the panel said that “substantial evidence did not support the jury’s findings.”The case is Commil USA LLC v. Cisco Systems Inc, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, No. 12-1042.[Reuters]last_img read more

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Digital Transformation Congress 2017 to address business transformation in the African context

first_imgCredit: PMA (flickr) Advertisement The Digital Transformation Congress (DTC2017) is expected to take place at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria on 16 November 2017.Under the theme, “Redefining the Future Organisation Through Digital”, the congress will bring together groupings of over 200 industry leaders, experts and professionals from diverse sectors for discussions on how digital transformation is changing business operations as we know them today.This year’s congress will be an interactive experience with world class speakers through provocative presentations and engaging panels will breakdown the key strategies on leading digital transformation in business. – Advertisement – DTC2017 will see business leaders and technology innovators come together to collaborate on the re-invention of products, processes, technologies and cultures through digital transformation. The congress will explore how to increase efficiency and agility with operational excellence.Why attend?Discover how to ensure digital innovation becomes a key process within your organisation as part of your transformation in order to achieve a competitive advantage.Enhance your experience through listening to world class speakers delivering lessons learnt from their digital journey.Through our interactive discussions have your say on the most important transformation considerations.Enable long lasting change and cultural transformation across your organisation.Real world business success stories presented by digital leaders.Discover new products & services.Key Topics to be discussedNavigating Cyber Security in the Digital Age.From finance transformation to business transformation through theMobility and Cloud: increasing accessibility for patients and doctors.Building a Digital-Savvy Workforce to Stay Competitive.Connected Cars, IoT, Analytics…Are you ready for Digital Transformation?Capitalising On The Mobile Space In Insurance Services: Commercialising Mobile Devices.last_img read more

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