iPhoneographers: New Shot on iPhone Challenge

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Apple is holding a new Shot on iPhone challenge that will run from January 22 to February 7. A panel of judges will review worldwide submissions and select 10 winning photos.

Post your best photo taken on iPhone to Instagram or Twitter with the #ShotOniPhone hashtag to participate in the the Shot on iPhone Challenge. Weibo users can participate as well using #ShotOniPhone#. In the image caption, note which model was used. Alternatively, you can also submit the photo in its highest resolution to shotoniphone@apple.com with the file format ‘firstname_lastname_iphonemodel.’

iPhone XS Max DxOMark Score Ranks it Fourth

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The iPhone XS Max DxOMark score causes the iPhone to rank fourth in the list. With a score of 82 it barely edges out the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.

Achieving a DxOMark front camera score of 82, the Apple iPhone XS Max puts in a solid performance for both still and moving images during our tests, and is a nice improvement over its predecessor, the iPhone X. For still photos, the device boasts some great strengths for selfie shooters, including excellent HDR, bokeh shots, and detail at close range, which are among the best results we’ve observed for front cameras.

Raised issues include noise, white balance, and skin rendering.

At&T Return to Advertising on YouTube After 2 Years Away

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At&T, one of the biggest marketers in the U.S., is back advertising on YouTube after a nearly 2-year hiatus. The company removed all its adverts from the video platform in 2017. It said Friday that it was satisfied that YouTube had worked to stop its adverts appearing next to disturbing or extremist content. At&T’s Chief Brand Officer, Fiona Carter, spoke with New York Times and emphasized that her firm demanded “a near-zero chance of our advertising appearing next to objectionable content.” That standard now appears to have been met.

The decision reflects the progress that Google-owned YouTube has made with advertisers in the 22 months since a number of them discovered that some of their ads were appearing during, or before, videos promoting hate speech, terrorism and other disturbing content. AT&T was among the first companies that stopped paying to advertise on YouTube, telling it that they wouldn’t return until it made improvements.

Give the Web Back to the Users

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Global internet

We all know of the web’s many ills, but what are the solutions? Richard Whitt, head of the GLIA Foundation, thinks he has the answer – give the internet back to the users. Writing for Fast Company, Mr. Whitt says that change could be brought about by using existing technologies and business practices to advocate on behalf of the user.

On this better, more user-driven web, each of us would be in control of our digital lives. For example, we could have our personal information (browsing history, past purchases, content preferences) curated and stored, in a localized repository we control. We users then could choose to share or withhold our personal profile, including some or all of that data, as we see fit, in exchange for specific services from internet companies. Moreover, on this new web, users also could dispatch a personal AI avatar to act as a virtual envoy, both online and offline.

Apple and Valencell Settled their Patent Dispute

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watchOS 5 on Apple Watch

Biometric firm Valencell and Apple have settled a long-running patent dispute. MacRumors confirmed that that the lawsuit was settled in September 2018. Valencell provides the optical heart rate monitoring and biometric sensors in a number of devices. It claimed Apple solicited information about its technology on the pretense of a potential licensing agreement in the run-up to launching the Apple Watch.

The biometric company also accused Apple of deciding it was more financially beneficial to risk infringing on Valencell’s patents than to license them, claiming that the practice was “consistent with the statement by Apple CEO Steve Jobs that Apple has ‘always been shameless about stealing great ideas.'” Valencell had requested a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing future acts of infringement, as well as damages and an ongoing royalty rate for licensing purposes should a permanent injunction not be granted.

Google Hopes No One Notices it's a Digital Oil Baron

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A day after the company got fined over privacy and consent practices, Google CFO Ruth Porat says data is more like sunlight than oil.

Most people know the phrase “data is the new oil,” a theory about how the world’s most valuable resource is information rather than petroleum. Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Tuesday morning, Google chief financial officer Ruth Porat said: “Data is more like sunlight than oil … It is like sunshine, we keep using it and it keeps regenerating.”

Google wants to ride the coattails of alternative energy instead of being associated with those nasty old oil barons in the hope that no one will notice similarities. Also the phrase “We keep using it and it keeps regenerating” underscores the belief that data can be collected from people and used for free.

Book Sale: Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians for $1.99

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Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians is a narrative account of Charles Darwin’s four year voyage on the Beagle to South America, Australia and the Pacific in the 1830s that combines the adventure and excitement of Alan Moorehead’s famous (and now out of print) account with an expert assessment of the scientific discoveries of that journey. The author is Charles Darwin’s great-grandson. No biography of Darwin has yet done justice to what the scientific research actually was that occupied Darwin during the voyage. Keynes shows exactly how Darwin’s geological researches and his observations on natural history sowed the seeds of his revolutionary theory of evolution, and led to the writing of his great works on The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man. Apple Books: US$1.99

Book Sale: Fossils, Finches, and Fuegians for $1.99

TMO Background Mode Interview with the CIO of CoSN Susan Bearden

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Susan Bearden on Background Mode.

Susan is the Chief Innovation Officer for the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) in Washington D.C. From 2016 to 2017 she was a Senior Education Pioneers Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education. She also participates in the EdTechChat Radio podcast for the BAM Radio Network.

After a discussion about Susan’s fascinating career progression from musician to IT specialist to Education Technology specialist, we launched into a discussion of “digital citizenship,” also the title of her book. It basically encompasses how to be a smart, informed, ethical user of the internet. The book is aimed a both teachers and parents. Things like cyberbullying and internet safety are covered. Later we got into a discussion of tools for education, including AI. We finish with Susan’s amazing perspective on whether robots will ever replace teachers in the classroom.