IDENTICAL TWINS KELLY McCarthy and Kristen Maurer have shared a lot in their lives so when one was diagnosed with breast cancer, she urged the other to get tested.Maurer was told the bad news that she too had the disease.Now the 34-year-old twins from Chicago are sharing a medical rarity. Maurer donated skin and fat tissue for McCarthy’s breast reconstruction.“It wasn’t a question, she didn’t have to ask me,” said Maurer. “Having a twin is very like having a child. You would do anything for them … in a heartbeat.”TwinsThe first successful organ transplant was between identical twins in Boston in 1954 and involved a kidney.Since then, identical twins have been involved in many other transplant operations, involving kidneys and other organs, bone marrow, and stem cells. But breast reconstruction between identical twins has only been done a handful of times; Maurer and McCarthy, a nurse, are among the youngest patients.Identical twins are ideal donors because their skin, tissue and organs are perfect genetic matches, explained Dr David Song, chief of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Chicago Medical Center. And that eliminates the need for anti-rejection medicine, he said.SurgerySong performed the twins’ surgeries on Tuesday and both fared well.Typically, breast reconstruction surgery involves implants or a woman’s own tissue, sometimes taken from the abdomen, thighs or buttocks. But McCarthy is among women who don’t have enough extra tissue; plus, radiation treatment damaged tissue near her breasts. So Maurer offered to be a donor.McCarthy said her sister’s sacrifice, “just so I can feel better about myself … is really humbling.”Discovering breast cancer in identical twins isn’t unusual because of their exact genetic makeup, Song said. With twins, there’s also often a “mirroring effect,” with breast cancer developing in the opposite breast, he said. That’s what happened with McCarthy and Maurer.While their mother died from colon cancer last year, there was no family history of breast cancer.DiagnosisMcCarthy was diagnosed first, in December 2011, with triple-negative breast cancer, a hard-to-treat form of cancer whose growth is not fueled by hormones. She was nine months pregnant and her son was born a week later. Soon after she started treatment, chemotherapy, surgery to remove her right breast, and radiation.Maurer was diagnosed with a very early-stage cancer in her left breast a few months after her sister.“Kelly was more upset than I was during my diagnosis, and likewise, when she was diagnosed I was a mess,” Maurer said.Maurer had a double mastectomy, recommended because her sister’s cancer was so aggressive, but she didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation. She had reconstruction with implants after the birth of her second child last March.McCarthy’s operation this week involved a second mastectomy, and reconstruction of both breasts. Some of her own tissue was used to fashion one breast. At the same time, surgeons essentially performed a “tummy tuck” on Maurer, removing lower abdominal skin and fat tissue and transplanted it to her sister to create a second new breast.The twins have always been extremely close, sometimes speaking in unison or completing each other’s sentences. But now, McCarthy said, “I feel closer. Her tissue is over my heart.”Kristen Maurer , Finley Maurer, Richard Maurer, Kelly McCarthy, Grey McCarthy, Robert McCarthy (AP Photo)Read: Surprises in hunt for environmental links to breast cancer>Read: Cancer sufferer holds dance party moments before double> mastectomy>
Amid Snap’s struggles as a public company, CEO Evan Spiegel gives this advice to founders: ‘Don’t go public’ (SNAP) Just 13% of Americans would support US military going to war over Saudi oil field attack I’ve only been using the new Apple Watch Series 5 for a few hours, but I can already tell its new display is going to be a game-changer (AAPL) THE WORLD’S LONGEST-DISTANCE commercial flight ended its run after nine years of shuttling passengers from Newark International to Singapore’s Changi Airport.According to the International Business Times, Singapore Airlines Flight SQ21 lasted 19 hours and covered nearly 10,000 miles. It operated on an Airbus A340 with only 100 seats, all of them business class.The airline is cancelling the once daily flight because it’s unprofitable, partly due to rising fuel costs.It’s exchanging those A340 planes for larger A380s, which are not designed to fly as far. Passengers who choose to make the trip with Singapore Airlines will now have a stopover in either London or Frankfurt.In commentary, the Center for Aviation (CAPA) said the cancellation of two nonstop routes — Singapore-Newark and Singapore-Los Angeles in October — will “result in a 26% business class seat reduction for SIA in the US market.”Now that it does not offer the nonstop flights, Singapore will “compete head to head against about 20 carriers offering one-stop products in the Singapore-New York market and about 12 carriers offering one-stop products in the Singapore-Los Angeles market.”CAPA notes that the flights were unprofitable, but “had a high volume of corporate traffic and helped win corporate accounts in the US.”For reference, here’s a map of the Singapore-Newark flight. You can see just how long it is, passing over the Arctic Circle:via FlightAware.com- Alex DaviesVirgin America’s airline safety video is brilliantly fabulous>9 intensely irritating rules you’re forced to follow when travelling by plane> WeWork cofounder Rebekah Neumann, cousin of Gwyneth Paltrow, reportedly demanded employees be fired within minutes of meeting them because she disliked their ‘energy’
Source: PolishedWith all those people and all those cut-price goods, it can get pretty cut-throat. You never know what people will do to get that €150-down-to-€50 coat.You’ll overheat, then freeze Source: PeerfitShops = warm. Outside shops = cold. Scarf on, scarf off. You’re sweating, but the cold air is biting at your hands and neck. What’s going on?You could be at home Source: NingWith the fire on, a fistful of Roses, and something good on the telly. You can always get yourself a few bits online, can’t you?Suspicious item for sale in Dublin Spar shop>11 appalling trends you will DEFINITELY spot in an Irish nightclub> WHILE SOME PEOPLE consider St Stephen’s Day a day of rest and relaxation after the day of strenuous eating and drinking before it, for others it’s a day of action.Yes, St Stephen’s Day marks the beginning of the sales – when thousands of people will make their way into the cities and towns of Ireland in the hope of bagging some seriously reduced items.If you do choose to brave the crowds, we salute you. But there are six very good reasons why you shouldn’t.You have to get up early to make the most of it Source: NocookieBut you probably won’t. And then…The good deals will always be scooped before you can get to them Source: NewgifsNo matter how early you leave the house, there are going to be people who have queued since 6am to be the first in. You want to just wander in at noon and score some bargains? You’ve another thing coming.There are far, far too many people around Source: Daily EdgeGetting in your way, standing in front of the thing you want to look at, walking slowly ahead of you. Grrr.Tensions are high
CONVICTED OLD BAILEY bomber Marian McGlinchey – formerly Marian Price – has been given a 12 month sentence suspended for three years for aiding the Real IRA in an attack on two soldiers in 2009.The soldiers, Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, were shot dead at the Massereene barracks in Antrim when they went to the front to collect a pizza delivery. In November this year, McGlinchey admitted to buying the mobile phone that was used to claim responsibility for the incident.The PSNI said today she was also sentenced for her part in encouraging support for terrorism at an Easter commemoration address in Derry in April 2011.A spokesman for the PSNI Serious Crime Branch said despite today’s sentencing, and previous acquittals, “the investigation remains open. “Police would appeal to anyone with any information about those involved in these murders to contact them,” they said.“The tragic outcome of those events in March 2009 is that the Azimkar and Quinsey families are facing another year without their brothers and son,” they added.File photo of Marian McGinchey, then known as Marian Price, in the 1970s (Image: PA Archive).McGlinchey was previously convicted for her part in the Old Bailey bombings in 1973 but was released after two years due to ongoing health issues. One man was killed in the car bomb attack and over 200 people were injured.Read: Convicted IRA bomber Marian Price released after two years in prison>
Updated, 12:33THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has approved changes to the number of MEPs each country will elect next year – meaning Ireland is set to lose one seat, from 12 to 11.MEPs in Strasbourg for the parliament’s monthly plenary session voted by 536 to 111, with 44 abstentions, to approve the reallocation of seats following the elections next June.The parliament currently has 754 MEPs, distributed between all 27 member states, but the entry of Croatia into the union this year – combined with the implementation of parts of the Lisbon Treaty, which limit the membership to 751 – means some countries must lose seats.11 of Ireland’s 12 current MEPs were among those to vote against the measure. Fianna Fáil’s Brian Crowley was absent.A chart shows the outcome of today’s vote in Strasbourg. A seating plan showing the seat of each MEP can be found here. Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell made a last-ditch attempt to stop the matter from being put to a vote today, saying the Constitutional Affairs Committee – which had formulated the proposals – had not taken any independent input.The Dublin MEP complained that Ireland had already lost one fifth of its representation in the parliament, having been gradually cut from 15 seats to 12, and that a further cut to 11 hit Ireland disproportionately hard.Mitchell was able to force a vote on whether to refer the matter back to that committee, for further input to be sought, but his proposal was comprehensively defeated.Speaking in advance of the vote, Fianna Fáil’s Pat the Cope Gallagher said he was “totally against” the reduction, which left Ireland’s workload “unmanageable”.“We have 11 MEPs to straddle over 20 committees in the parliament, and it’s not possible to do that,” he said.“It doesn’t seem fair for a country for a country like Ireland, with a population of 4.5 million, to have just 11 MEPs when we have countries with more MEPs who have a similar population,” he said.The measures are not guaranteed to take effect, as they must first be approved by the Council of ministers. A decision at that level is expected in the coming weeks.Additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy in StrasbourgAnalysis: How will constituencies change now that Ireland’s losing an MEP?
We were always kept in the dark. If Savita would [have] known her life was at risk, she would have jumped off the bed to seek another hospital. We were never told about it. It is horrendous, it is barbaric and inhumane the way Savita was treated in that hospital.Mr Halappanavar said there were still questions to be answered as to why Savita died.“I am optimistic and hope for the best,” he added. Addressing questions about further legal proceedings, he said he would “sit back and consider” but indicated that he would look at taking additional actions.Listen to Praveen Halappanavar and his solicitor react to the inquest verdict (Click here if viewing on a mobile device): THE HUSBAND OF Savita Halappanavar has said he will continue in his pursuit of the truth as to how and why his wife died.Following the inquest into the 31-year-old’s death, Praveen Halappanavar said he has a responsibility to Savita and her family “to get to the bottom of the truth”.Speaking outside Galway County Hall, he recalled a conversation with Savita’s father who told him that someone must take responsibility for a patient in a hospital.“The care she received was in no way different to staying home,” he told reporters. “So medicine is all about preventing the natural history of the disease and improving patient’s life and health and look what they did. She was just left there to die. Savita Halappanavar died on 28 October of septic shock, E.coli in the bloodstream and a miscarriage at 17 weeks. The inquest today found that there was medical misadventure relating to the management of her treatment. The jury’s verdict was unanimous. It also strongly endorsed the coroner’s nine recommendations, including a recommendation to the Medical Council to “lay out exactly when a doctor can intervene to save the life of the mother in similar circumstances, which will remove doubt and fear from the doctor and also reassure the public”.The coroner and the legal team for Galway University Hospital clarified that the medical misadventure is not cause of death nor a contributory cause of death.“The verdict of misadventure does not mean that system failure or deficiencies contributed to her death,” explained Dr Ciarán McLoughlin.Tony Canavan, spokesperson for the hospital group, expressed his sympathies to Praveen and his family, noting that the nine recommendations of the inquest would be taken on board at the hospital.He said it has been “difficult” for the staff and hospital to be in the spotlight but said public accountability helps provide a better environment for patients. He wanted to reassure the public that a range of improvements had already been implemented at the hospital, including early warning systems about sepsis shock and improved communications.Speaking after the hearing, Mr Halappanavar’s solicitor Gerard O’Donnell said “in his opinion, Savita Halappanavar had been deprived of her constitutional right to life, her right to be treated in a hospital”. “There has been a significant breach of human rights,” he added.He described “an extremely worrying” situation for women in Ireland who “must wait until they are gravely ill” before there can be intervention.He urged the government to review the coroner’s recommendations as a matter of urgency “to ensure this doesn’t happen again”.Over the past two weeks, the inquest heard from 36 witnesses, including hospital staff, medical experts and Praveen Halappanavar himself. Evidence indicated that had a termination been provided to expedite the miscarriage, Savita Halappanavar would probably be alive today.Savita inquest: Jury returns verdict of medical misadventureSavita inquest: The coroner’s nine recommendations endorsed by the jury
THE HEAD OF RTÉ News and Current Affairs has said that he is satisfied with the overall €167,000 cost of covering the resignation of Pope Benedict and election of a new Pope earlier this year.The bill for covering the two events was disclosed by Kevin Bakhurst in a speech to the Public Relations Institute of Ireland conference yesterday. Bakhurst said the cost was €100,000 less than the bill for covering the 2005 change of Pope.The cost takes in the resignation of Pope Benedict on 11 February, the Papal Conclave on 12 and 13 March and the election of Pope Francis on 13 March as well as his inauguration six days later and covers extended news programmes on television and radio as well as online coverage.He said: “There were five days of major events; the coverage of those, and the news stories in between, commanded huge audiences. The costs are not small but, given the level of public interest and the international significance, are justifiable.”The former head of the BBC News Channel said it was “crucial” that RTÉ provided “world-class coverage of major news stories” and particularly of events that have “such a direct impact on Ireland and many of our audience”.Bakhurst said that a third of the figure was used to pay for satellite feeds out of Vatican City and the provision of satellite trucks and engineering.The remainder of the cost was for freelance crewing in Rome, the rental of broadcasting workspace which included live positions for TV and radio as well as flights, hotels and subsistence for RTÉ staff.Bakhurst added: “I’m satisfied that this coverage was achieved at a cost competitive price with the public interest served in tandem on a range of channels and platforms. ”Read: RTÉ contributed €384 million to Irish economy in one yearRead: RTÉ defends coverage of the ‘Lowry Tapes’
England need to wear their red kit, which is statistically more successfulThey need to play a 4-3-3 formationThey need a European referee: “They are more sympathetic to the English game and less sympathetic to ballerinas like Suarez”They have better results when they play closer to home, in temperate climates, at low altitudes, with kick-offs close to 3pm(And for those of you who feel compelled to point out that this is “free publicity” for Paddy Power, yes we know. When you make a World Cup video with Stephen Hawking, we’ll give you some free publicity too.) Source: PaddyPowerVideo/YouTubeGoldman Sachs have crunched the numbers and found a MASSIVE favourite for the World Cup WORLD-RENOWNED PHYSICIST Stephen Hawking has worked out the magic formula needed for England to win the World Cup — and solved the “secret” behind the perfect penalty.Hawking, 72, scrutinised data from the 11 World Cups since England last lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966 and was able to work out the optimal conditions for success.“As a theoretical physicist I’m marginally more qualified to make predictions than Paul the Octopus,” Professor Hawking said.His findings include:
EVERY WEEK, TheJournal.ie offers a selection of statistics and numerical nuggets to help you digest the week that has just passed.€1.06 billion – The size of the fine handed down to computer chip company Intel for abusing its dominant position in the market. Ouch.20,000 – The number of Toyota cars being recalled in Ireland over a possible airbag defect.6,000 – The approximate number of South Korean police who entered a religious compound to find the businessman wanted in connection with April’s ferry disaster.3,679 – The number of women who had abortions in England and Wales last year who gave an Irish address. The figure is down 7.6 per cent on last year.€764 – The average amount of money spent on First Communions for children, according to new research. Recession? What recession?90 – The age that former US president George HW Bush turned on Thursday. He celebrated by doing a parachute jump.70 – The percentage of people who would choose to work, when faced with situation where they would be better off financially by claiming social welfare, according to new ESRI research.50 – The percentage of times that BMI can be wrong when testing whether someone is obese or not, according to research at NUI Maynooth.43 – The percentage of Irish houses which are being bought by investors. The figure has more than tripled since last year.12 – The number of files the Department of Health removed from the National Archives in the days after the revelations about mother and baby homes broke. The Department has now said the files will be returned.4 – The percentage of support that the Labour Party now has, according to the most recent opinion poll.3 – The number of Harley-Davidson motorbikes bought by the HSE for the National Ambulance Service.Want more? Check out our previous ‘In numbers’ pieces >
SCIENTISTS HAVE MADE a ‘major step forward’ in developing a blood test to predict the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.The study, led by King’s College London, analysed more than one thousand people and predicted the start of the illness with 87% accuracy.The researchers identified a set of 10 proteins in the blood which can predict the beginning of the disease, which is one of the most common forms of dementia.The research gives hope for people with the degenerative illness which is often diagnosed late, meaning that treatment and drugs are also given too late.Scientists say that a blood test that could identify patients in the early stages of memory loss could help find drugs to halt the progression of the disease.There is currently no effective long-lasting drug treatment for Alzheimer’s. An estimated 48,000 people in Ireland have some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer Society of Ireland.“Alzheimer’s begins to affect the brain many years before patients are diagnosed with the disease,” said Professor Simon Lovestone from the University of Oxford who led the research.“Many of our drug trials fail because by the time patients are given the drugs, the brain has already been too severely affected.“A simple blood test could help us identify patients at a much earlier stage to take part in new trials and hopefully develop treatments which could prevent the progression of the disease”.MORE IN SCIENCE: Read: Europe wants to spend €1.2 billion on brains (but scientists are angry about it) > Read: An airbag slammed into a 17-year-old’s eye before she had time to blink >
Try as you might, finding Football Special and associated products outside Donegal and parts of the North can prove difficult.Oliver Farry wrote:I imagined [Football Special] was the stuff that victorious football teams drank from the cup but later when I started appearing on such teams myself I was shocked to learn there was no McDaids Football Special outside Donegal. We had to make do with red lemonade, which was tantamount to imposing Babycham on Formula 1 champions.Edward McDaid says that national distribution has always been a problem, with the company dealing directly with smaller independent shops.We did think that we’d be able to build a national distribution network but the recession knocked that on the head, and with so many of the smaller shops shutting down. My Uncle Eamon had been trained in a soft drinks company in Northern Ireland, and learned the discipline of writing down everything that went into every batch. He was very diligent in writing everything down.And so when the Football Special formula was devised – a concoction of syrups and juices and flavours tracked meticulously by Eamon – they knew they were onto a winner.Inextricably linked to local football teams the drink soon grew in popularity, particularly among the seaside towns of the Donegal coast: Portsalon, Falcarragh, Ballyshannon, Bundoran, and into Derry. Source: Kevin Kelly/@kevin7kellyFor a group of lads from Ballyshannon, their McDaids loyalty is unwavering.Michael McGrath says:When Donegal GAA were going strong in the early 90s half-time was marked with a bottle of Football Special and a packet of Tayto.Philip McLoone remembers:It accompanied any under-age sporting medal I got.. any sporting achievement was marked with a medal and a (glass) bottle of Football Special! In later life it became an acceptable mixer!! Source: Sheila’s Portstewart/Twitter Source: FacebookDavid McDyer from Glenties told DailyEdge.ie that his fondest memory was putting “a slice of ice cream in a glass and pouring McDaids football special into it.His cousin Sheloa Nichols said:Everyone used to drink it when I was a kid there (in Glenties). You would get it at the penny sweet shops. Ahhh suddenly overrun with memories of red lemonade and cheese and onion crisps at the local pub after Sunday mass.The mixing of Football Special with ice-cream is a proud tradition in Donegal.Michael McGrath has the technique down:When I say Football Special and ice cream, you put the ice cream in a pint glass and then SLOWLY pour the Football Special on top. F**KIN YUMMY!Edward McDaid says that the formula of Football Special means it mixes well in an ice cream float.Most of the company’s products (including their popular smooth banana soft drink) use “heavy duty syrups” sourced from Dutch fruit essence suppliers who McDaid says “own the banana plantations, so it’s almost like dealing directly with the farmers”.The tendency now is to reproduce those essences artificially, but we stay away from that. Ahhhh McDaids Football Special now in stock#Portstewart pic.twitter.com/vdpBeGy69D— Sheila’s of Portstewart (@sheilasshop) June 30, 2014 Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet Source: FacebookASK ANY SELF-respecting Donegal head about McDaids Football Special and you’re likely to be met with misty eyes and watering taste buds.The soft drink (or ‘mineral’, if we’re going to keep this authentic) has been manufactured in Ramelton in east Donegal since 1949.It’s one of the county’s proud delicacies and its formula is a closely guarded secret.Journalist and Donegal native Oliver Farry remembers Football Special tasting like “no other soft drink”: It made Irn Bru seem as recherché as buttermilk; it turned your mouth pink without tasting like gentian violet. It also had football in its name, which made it the best drink ever.Football Special was developed originally to “help celebrate the numerous successes of local football club Swilly Rovers” and was first called ‘Football Cup’; it was designed to be poured into the cup of a trophy to mark a win. Source: FacebookThe summer months and the sunny weather meant it was tricky to get hold of McDaids CEO Edward McDaid.However, in between deliveries and orders and meetings he told DailyEdge.ie that the company was borne out of his grandfather’s innate knowledge of a good customer base, and his family’s ties to the distribution and pub trades.With the family business graduating from the shop to the van business to a bottling factory with a contract with Guinness, Edward says it was his father and his uncles who came up with the Football Special secret formula.The soft drinks game is a seasonal business. So in the winter time when it was quiet they’d be tinkering with ingredients – that wasn’t unusual. Hi brother Michael recalls that their cousin Ciaran’s house in Dublin was:fully stocked with Football Special for the famous 2012 Donegal All-Ireland winning season.It wasn’t for everyone though. Former Xposé and Phantom 105.2 presenter and Donegal girl Michelle Doherty said:There was a bit of fizz in it but not that much and it was quite sweet. Oh I’ll be disowned now for dissing Football Special. The company is now focusing on building the brand nationally through social media, and selecting one shop in areas around the country to stock Football Special.For now though, most devotees head on home for a glass of their favourite… Thanks to Where’s Grandad for permission to republish an extract of this piece by Oliver Farry.Is there a local delicacy you think we should explore? Let us know. email@example.com Irish snacks we need the world to know about>7 food that simply did not exist in Ireland before the Celtic Tiger>
We are used to seeing games and peripherals released on platforms like the Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360, but on the iPhone it’s not a common event. You usually get a game app and that’s it.Hasbro has other ideas, though and is set to release a peripheral that allows 3D content to be displayed on the iPhone or iPod touch. It’s called the My3D and takes the form of a pair of binoculars developed with the help of Apple. Your Apple device slides into the end of the My3D and then you look through the viewer at 3D content in the form of supporting apps on the iPhone. It also has a “360-degree experience.”Priced at $30 it is going to be within reach of most iPhone or iPod touch owners, but needs strong support from developers in order to make it a must-have item. Apps supporting the attachment are expected to range from virtual travel and entertainment, to gaming and apps directed specifically at children. There’s also expected to be a My3D section on the App Store with apps available in both free and paid-for categories.As well as producing apps itself, Hasbro has content coming from Dreamworks, Sony, Imax, and Discovery, with a strong showing from 3D TV content.Brian Goldner, president and CEO of Hasbro, commented:The idea of being able to be somewhere in Los Angeles, in this 360-degree environment, to be in the shark tank, to be able to swim with the fish and chase after the fish. These are really breakthrough immersive experiences. The Hasbro My3D is expected to launch in Spring next year in Apple Stores.Read more at Associated Press, via MacRumorsMatthew’s Opinion$30 may sound cheap for a peripheral that allows 3D on your iPhone, but I can’t see this becoming that popular among users. For starters it’s quite a bulky device you won’t want to carry around. It’s also going to get a bit tedious holding this up to your eyes to watch TV in 3D.At the moment it looks more of a gimmick than a device a lot of iPhone users would buy and use regularly. Generating sales for the My3D depends on the quality of the 3D image and the supporting apps being there to take advantage of it. Having mutliple TV shows in 3D ready to go helps, as does travel apps, but Hasbro need to keep the apps coming out and build what’s on offer after launch in order to succeed.Will you be investing $30 in a Hasbro My3D?
Research in Motion has outwardly seemed pretty confident that they have an iPad killer in the new BlackBerry PlayBook, but a new rumor suggests that the tablet is not ready for primetime, thanks to its abysmal battery life.Long battery life is obviously important in a tablet, but according to Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu, the BlackBerry PlayBook currently boasts a battery life that lasts “only a few hours.” That’s a far cry from the six hour battery life of the seven-inch Galaxy Tab and the ten hours battery life boasted by Apple’s iPad.The culprit? The new operating system used by the PlayBook, called QNX. Although it seems better suited to the task of touch control than BlackBerry OS, QNX was designed for systems that were always plugging into a larger power source, like an automobile in-dash interface or network equipment. QNX was never built from the ground up to support mobile devices, and that’s a big problem. It is postulated that the battery life considerations are why RIM has delayed the PlayBook until May, 2011… where it’ll be competing directly with the iPad 2. Either way, unless RIM can massively reduce power consumption, the PlayBook is guaranteed to be dead on arrival.Read more at All Things D
According to the latest rumors, Sony is set to release not one, but two new major portable gaming devices in the coming weeks. First up is the long-awaited PSP2, which will apparently be announced on 27th. In February, the company will apparently be following up that major announcement with the unveiling of a hotly anticipated game-centric smartphone.The rumors, which are said to come from “two people with knowledge of the plans,” shed some light on what has seemingly been a bit of conflation amongst rumor generations, combining the PSP sequel and the so-called PlayStation Phone into one gaming playing, call making hyper media device.The phone side is said to fall under the Sony Ericsson side of the business (makes sense). It will apparently be released at Mobile World Congress, which is set for mid-February in Barcelona. According to most rumors, the device will run some form of Android. Sony, naturally, isn’t saying a thing about its plans–or lack thereof–on either front.
Apple has a sneaky to promote the Apple products we all love.The company donated iPads, iPods, iPhones, and, computers to over 30 percent of 2010’s top movies. This comes shortly after it was revealed that Apple used Google Adwords as part of the advertising trick.Product placement has become a popular this past decade. Apple placed products in Toy Story 3 and Kick Ass, along with a number of other films.The company has been doing this for a few years. What movies have you seen Apple products in?Via Gizmodo
At CES in January, Motorola made a point to show off three new devices: the Motorola Atrix for AT&T, the Motorola Xoom tablet running Honeycomb, and the Motorola Droid Bionic: a 4G LTE smartphone destined for Verizon Wireless. The Droid Bionic has appeared on a number of leaked release slates, even though Motorola and Verizon have both declined to say when the phone will be released. Now rumors are popping up that due to issues in testing, the phone may be scrapped altogether.The rumors started over at Howard Forums, and then wound up over at sites like Droid Life and Pocket Now, but for its part Motorola and Verizon Wireless are keeping tight-lipped about them. Some people point out that the Droid Bionic is entirely too late in its development and testing cycle to signal a cancellation. A delay may be possible, but not an outright retreat from the market.AdChoices广告Others point to a litany of rumored issues with battery life, and the fact that Motorola may be releasing a new version of MotoBlur with the Droid Bionic as all signals that all’s not well with the device. It’s also possible that Motorola may be refocusing its efforts on a new handset codenamed Droid Targa, which reportedly looks more like the Droid X with rounded edges and a smoother case design.Still, the Bionic would be Verizon Wireless’ second LTE device (after the HTC Thunderbolt,) and its first dual-core LTE phone. Even though the hardware is very similar to the already-released Motorola Atrix on AT&T, Motorola is still doing a lot of things for the first time with the Bionic, the least of which is putting in an LTE radio.It’s important to point out that all of this is rumor at the moment, and Motorola isn’t about to acknowledge any design or testing difficulty they have or haven’t had with the Droid Bionic by responding to them. Until they or Verizon Wireless pipe up with a release date for the Bionic, the speculation is likely to continue.Read more at Droid Life and Howard Forums
Google announced a new social networking layer that may compete with Facebook but, at the same time, is utterly different. The Google+ project will do some of the same general things as Facebook, such as sending messages to friends, sharing links, chatting, and sharing pictures, but the big difference is that with Google+, you can choose who you want to share these things with. Unlike with Facebook where posting a link will show up on your profile for all of your 500 “friends” to see, Google+ lets you do things a little differently. Here’s how it works:CirclesThe concept of Circles is a major part of Google+. This is where you choose who you want in your contacts. You can have a family Circle, a BFF Circle, a co-workers Circle, and even an “Epic bros” Circle, as Google shows in the demo video below. One of the hardest things about Facebook becoming so popular is that everyone is on it and everyone is friends with you.AdChoices广告Most of us are friends with a lot of family members and colleagues on Facebook, and we enjoy seeing what they’re up to. However, we don’t always want to share everything with them. Google allows you to choose which people you want in what Circle. You then use those Circles for all of your Google+ activity, which we’ll get into more in depth below.SparksSparks is a feature that lets you select certain areas, hobbies, or interests that you particularly like. They’re the things you always ramble on and on about when someone brings it up at a party, like that new album by your favorite musician, or a new comic book. Google wants to keep people searching for content on its site, so Sparks helps by delivering a “field of highly contagious content from across the Internet” on any topic.You can then share it with a particular group of friends who will appreciate the news of a new restaurant opening in your neighborhood, unlike the rest of your 495 friends who live in different neighborhoods and would otherwise be seeing it in your Facebook status.HangoutsHangouts is one of the features I’m not quite sure will catch on, but it’s a cool concept nonetheless. Hangouts aims to bring a group of friends together sporadically by combining casual meetups with live multi-person video. I’m not sure how useful it will be when everyone’s just “hanging out” in different parts of the world, at different time, but the aim is to for people to just stop in when they have the time.MobileIn Q1 of this year, 36 percent of phones being sold were Android devices, so mobile is an important area to Google+, and its mobile features are pretty impressive. First, Google+ allows you to add your location to every post so you can share where you are with your Circles. You also have the option of not sharing, so it’s not a huge privacy issue.The second feature is Instant Upload, which lets you take a photo and instantly upload it to a private album in the cloud. For those of us notorious for snapping photos throughout the day on our phones and then forgetting to upload them by the end of the day, this feature will come in handy. When you get back to your computer, you can simply flip through the photos you uploaded earlier and share them with your Circles.HuddleMaybe one of the best features of Google+ is Huddle, which lets you coordinate with friends and family in real-time. It’s especially useful on your phone when you’re trying to plan something out with a group of people. For example, when you’re trying to pick a place to meet, you don’t have to do the whole “I’ll call Jess and Jim and see if that’s okay and call you back” thing. You can just have a flowing conversation with the people you select in your Circle through text messages.How to get Google+?Google says Google+ is available today on the Android Market, but you actually have to wait for an invite since it’s still in active development. If want to make sure you are on the list, you can sign up here.We’re waiting to get ours, and when we do, we’ll let you know how these features work hands-on. We’ll also let you know when Google+ is out of development and ready to go. Google says “it’s coming soon to the App Store.”What do you think of Google+? Does it look like something you will use, or will you just stick to Facebook and Twitter to relay your updates to all your friends and followers?Read more at Google+ and the Google Blog
Wilson Electronics has released the infographic you see below to illustrate the evolution of the cell phone from a literal brick to the svelte smartphones that we have today.It may be hard to believe, but cell technology has been around since 1973, when the first mobile call was placed by Dr. Martin Cooper. What is interesting is that it took ten more years for commercial production to begin on the unit, due to the high cost of production in such an archaic device. No one had ever seen a phone without wires before, the closest they had come was watching the Beverly Hillbillies who had a phone in their buggy via a spool of cable that they let out as they drove.The cell industry started exploding in the late 80’s and early 90’s as the technology to produce them got cheaper and smaller making it a more viable commercial product. For those of you who have a memory longer than ten years or so, you will remember that the first smartphone to hit the market was not the iPhone, but the IBM Simon in 1993.This rather large handset was a joint venture between then industry behemoth IBM and Bell South. The Simon was remarkably similar to what our smartphones are like today, containing a resistive rather than capacitive touchscreen and the ability to send email, faxes and make calls. It was launched at a price of $899, which was before a carrier subsidy. It was touted as a mobile office for high level execs, and was said to have caused many secretaries a scare when they heard their bosses could keep their own calendars with them at all times.Fast forward six years from ’93 to 1999, when Nokia launches the most successful mobile phone in history. With sales of 160 million units, pretty much everyone who had a cell phone on the planet used a Nokia 3210 at least once. Don’t forget that Nokia used to be the top of the heap when it came to mobile devices, even though they are hardly mentioned now.It would be a mistake to overlook the importance of the launch of the iPhone. It can be argued that the iPhone helped launch a mobile revolution by bringing the smartphone to the masses. Google fanboys would disagree, but it must be a consideration to think that Android might not be as successful without Cupertino softening up the ground.That leads to a glaring omission in the infographic from Wilson, where is the G1? The first ever Android powered device from T-Mobile is also as important as the iPhone as it thrust Google into the mobile fray. Born out of Andy Rubin’s vision for an open mobile platform, Android arrived to much fanfare, and has exploded in the three years it has been around.Also missing is Blackberry, really any conversation about phone evolution must involve the “crackberry”, a must have device for soccer mom’s and businessmen alike for many years. It was really the first device to put instant mobile communication via email and text in people’s hand by way of the full qwerty keyboards that made it possible for anyone to use.Where the mobile industry is now headed is anyone’s guess. We have seen dual core handsets, 3D devices, and phones with projectors built into them. Whatever is next, it is sure to be exciting!via: Wilson Electronics
A startup company headed by a former Microsoft employee wants to bring the autograph industry into the 21st century. The company, Egraphs, has already gotten 130 Major League Baseball players to sign on, giving baseball fans the ability to receive a truly personalized piece of digital memorabilia from anywhere in the world.It’s a really interesting concept. Every one of the baseball players who has signed up with Egraphs has a specially customized iPad app. Whenever someone purchases a digitally autographed photo, the applicable player gets a notification on his iPad.Then, on his own time, he can write a personalized message, sign his name, and even record an audio message. The autographs are available for around $25-75, based on how famous the player is.Obviously, one of the things that makes getting something autographed by someone such a special and treasured memento is that it usually carries a memory of meeting the celebrity in person. Then again, of those 130 baseball players, some of whom are retired, there’s a good chance that even the most die-hard fans might never get that opportunity so this is the next best thing.This opens up a new market and it begs the question if the company will expand beyond sports memorabilia. Perhaps four years from now, this kind of thing will be all the rage in political fundraising. For a $50 donation you’d be able to get a personalized message from the presidential candidate of your choice. Or, integrate it with an ebook platform and you can have digital author signings for everyone. For now, though, it’s just for MLB fans.Egraphs, via Q13
When Valve announced Big Picture for Steam, it felt like the software company might be moving into the console space, as has been rumored with the SteamBox. While there’s still no plans for hardware announced, Steam Big Picture is now out of beta and bringing with it a wealth of games ready to play using the new, TV-friendly interface.The idea behind Big Picture is pretty simple: it’s Steam optimized for game playing on a TV using a controller rather than the PC-staple of a keyboard and mouse. If you throw in some games that have been optimized for a controller, you can move the Steam experience into your living room and enjoy it the same way you would enjoy a console.To make sure the launch goes off without a hitch, the Steam store has 30 games that work with Big Picture on sale to help motivate users to make the switch. When you buy games in the Steam store now, there will be icons to show whether or not the title is completely controller friendly, or only partially so.Big Picture hasn’t changed much since the beta was originally released, and without a dedicated piece of hardware it feels like the adoption rate isn’t going to be great. Casual gamers that also have HTPC’s could see this as a win/win, but hardcore gamers aren’t going to drag their PCs to a television that is undoubtedly lower resolution than their monitors, and most people don’t build HTPC’s with gaming in mind.Big Picture feels like it is waiting for a dedicated piece of hardware, possibly even something running Linux. When Steam for Linux comes out of beta, it seems like it would make all the sense in the world for someone to create a console-shaped HTPC designed to run Steam Big Picture. All the pieces are nearly in place, and if it doesn’t happen officially, then there’s bound to be the equivalent homemade version popping up in a growing number of living rooms.More at the Steam Blog