http://blog.seaofinfo.com/tables-tablets-data-and-eating/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/shutterstock_93996670.jpg?w=738Editor’s note: Vladimir Edelman is the chief development officer of NTN Buzztime, a bar and restaurant social entertainment and integrated marketing platform.
Restaurants as we know them have remained the same for over 200 years, and fables about amazing restaurant tech have inevitably leapt to futuristic ideas: robot waiters, food printers, talking refrigerators. Today’s reality is far more interesting and complex than those sweeping visions. A tsunami of technology, both from established industry providers such as POS and IT companies, as well as nimble startups such as olo and NoWait, are changing the way the hospitality industry functions and what consumers will grow to expect.
This new tech creates the “Dorothy Effect”: We are all at once enthralled by the “magic” we now experience on a daily basis, while also being forced to face and fight the lions and tigers and “bugs” that come with it. The role of the restaurateur now involves embracing technology while making sure customers don’t feel like they are overwhelmed or inconvenienced. It’s honestly a very tough job – but here are some insights I have gleaned from my years in the business.
Don’t Fear Big Bad Data
Small and medium businesses are increasingly relying on data to better understand their customers. Innovation in data analytics and business intelligence enable businesses to collect more information than ever before about their customers’ preferences and values. But the trick is not in the collecting data – it’s in how you use it.
Take Pizza Hut, for example. In 2013, the international franchise enjoyed a 12x return on ROI thanks to its partnership with customer analytics company Capillary Technologies. Capillary helped capture, structure and leverage large quantities of customer data, but more importantly, they helped Pizza Hut take its massive customer base and segment it based on expressed characteristics, purchase tendencies and behavioral indicators to better engage each consumer.
By implementing data analytics into their everyday marketing endeavors, Pizza Hut has created 6,000+ customer behavioral groups, empowering the brand to predict future purchases and execute campaigns at preferred times via customers’ preferred engagement channels (direct mail, email, text message and more). Investing in such analysis has shown widespread sales growth across its restaurants and delivery business. Pizza Hut has seen a 38 percent improvement in its customer retention rate.
Customers respond well when their favorite eateries take the time to understand their likes and dislikes. And if you’re not in a position to work with an analytics firm or technology provider that includes data analysis as part of their product, there are alternatives. Whether investing in tabletop tablets, ordering kiosks, mobile apps for food ordering, reservations, or waitlist management, or any of the other myriad solutions – always ask vendors to supply the data generated by customers.
There are plenty of online tools you can feed that data into, such MixPanel or Google Analytics, as these tools provide similar insight into your guests’ dining habits and desires. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to start exploring your options and turn thoughts of “big bad data” into “big beautiful data” that can help boost your sales.
Stop wishing for a brain – buy one instead
Americans spend thousands of dollars a year eating out: Restaurants account for one of the largest parts of discretionary spending, with sales expected to hit a record $683.4 billion in 2014. It is a fiercely competitive industry, and yet restaurant owners and managers have been remarkably slow to adopt new forms of technology that could make their business more efficient and attuned to the desires of diners. They spend a lot of time fighting trends instead of exploiting them.
Take mobile devices, for example. Every day there is a new story about how people use phones or tablets at restaurants – whether to play games, text with friends or document a meal. Many restaurants bemoan the days of the somber, quiet meal, wringing their hands about how to engage these consumers, or at very least how to get their patrons to put their devices down.
These devices aren’t going away – not if Apple or Google have anything to say about it, anyways. Since your customers are already tapping away on their smartphones, tablets and computers, why not make these technologies an integral part of each patron’s dining experience, and learn a thing or two?
Major food chains have already recognized this potential, with tablets that allow customers to order food, customize their entertainment, and even pay the bill. By implementing this technology, restaurants can use this established behavior in their interactive environment, complete with brand messaging.
For example, Buffalo Wild Wings is bringing Buzztime’s BEOND tablet-based entertainment platform to all of their North America restaurant locations by the end of 2015. The BEOND tablets let Buffalo Wild Wings Guests order food, request songs and television programming, play games (both multi-player and arcade-style), and, pay the bill. Initial research has shown customers arestaying 75 minutes, compared to the industry average of 50 minutes, and they’re returning at least twice a month compared to other restaurants where guests may visit once a month or less.
Other national chains that have embraced tabletop tech have seen similar success. In the past year, Chili’s Grill and Bar installed 7-inch Android Ziosk tablets at all of their locations; the devices,allow patrons to interactively peruse menu items, order beverages and desserts, play games together, share real-time feedback with the brand, and pay the check at the table. In a six-month trial period, Chili’s saw an increase in per-person spend per check, translating to higher income for both the restaurant and wait staff. Servers also reported seeing more tips, as the system increases the spending on their shift.
These results show that tabletop technology can be beneficial to servers, not a replacement for them. Additionally, these types of tablets can make it very easy for people to join loyalty clubs: “We saw improvements in guest satisfaction and engagement from many different touch points within the restaurant, including Chili’s guest feedback surveys and Email Club,” said Wyman Roberts, CEO and president of Brinker International and president of Chili’s Grill & Bar.
Applebee’s has also rolled out 100,000+ E la Carte Presto tablets in its U.S. restaurants, with emphasis on ease of payments. Customers can use the tablets to view menu items, browse and add items to a cart, (a la online shopping), play some games, and pay the bill. Applebee’s has seen similar positive results, as TechCrunch reported in 2013: “(In) a two-year pilot program where Applebee’s tested the tablets across 30 restaurants around the U.S. During these trials, the company found that having tablets available tableside allowed them to reduce the overall table turn time and transaction time for their guests, and guests who were surveyed about the tablets reported a better overall experience.”
While tabletop tablets are the latest innovation, the customer’s own phone remains an incredibly powerful tool. Countless companies can help restaurants harness social activity, monitor online reviews, create lightweight loyalty programs, help customers check out, and even create in-store games (through augmented reality) to make sure that the restaurant becomes part of their mobile experience – and not just a place to fire up a phone and read some blogs.
Technology can make customers and staff feel warm and fuzzy…
Restaurants have been reluctant to jump on the tech-driven dining experience for a number of reasons. Maybe tablet tech isn’t suitable for a fine dining atmosphere, or the futuristic feel clashes with a retro-themed aesthetic. However, the opportunities to implement technology extend beyond consumer-facing, front-of-house operations. They can also streamline food buying, order taking, and even cooking.
“Many brands and operators are thinking even further outside the box, adding innovative technologies in the kitchen and at the front counter,” QSR’s Keith Loria explained in his article ‘Beyond the Tablet. Panera, having invested in kitchen technology with color-coded screens that deliver orders to the kitchen staff, is one example of such outside the box thinking: A red stripe over an ingredient means leave it off, a green stripe indicates an addition. Other colors signify takeout.
Similarly, in an attempt to keep its kitchen staff from having to memorize recipes and food preparation policies, Tex-Mex style fast food chain Taco Bueno added tablets managed by mobile device management company AirWatch to push recipes to its line cooks.
Put simply, if your staff is happy, customers will (usually) be happy too. Kitchen technology like Panera’s and Taco Bueno’s can help cut down on stress and provide happy meals all around. Companies worried about technology pushing humans out of jobs and making employees more stressed out should instead educate their staff about how it is making their jobs easier, letting them focus on being the heart of the dining experience  – not just a set of arms and legs rushing from table to table.
It’s not just a dream, Dorothy. This is real.
As the New York Times’ Stephanie Strom put it, “Restaurants have been late to the tech party, and many are now scrambling to incorporate tablets, apps, computerized kitchen equipment and data analysis capabilities.” When proper strategy and implementation applied, technology solves problems that are fundamental to how restaurants operate and compete. And late is a lot better than never. A whopping 51 percent of restaurant operators said they will devote more resources to technology this year alone. As this trend continues to gain momentum, technology will become increasingly critical for any restaurant’s success.
At the rate we’re going, tables and tablets will soon share more than a common etymology – both derived from the Latin “tabula,” meaning plank, tablet, list. One will be incomplete without the other, with technology inextricably linked and indispensable to the casual-dining experience. It may be only a matter of time before your tablet is your table (check out this video of Pizza Hut again pioneering the modern dining experience).
While this may seem like a dream scene from a movie, this type of tech is very real and holds great potential for both businesses and customers in streamlining the dining experience and making it more fun. Now is the time for bar and restaurant owners and managers to research and try new technologies, and make the most of the vast trove of data that falls into their laps every day.
IMAGE BY Shutterstock USER Pavel L Photo and Video (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/tables-tablets-data-and-eating/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/shutterstock_93996670.jpg?w=738

Editor’s note: Vladimir Edelman is the chief development officer of NTN Buzztime, a bar and restaurant social entertainment and integrated marketing platform.

Restaurants as we know them have remained the same for over 200 years, and fables about amazing restaurant tech have inevitably leapt to futuristic ideas: robot waiters, food printers, talking refrigerators. Today’s reality is far more interesting and complex than those sweeping visions. A tsunami of technology, both from established industry providers such as POS and IT companies, as well as nimble startups such as olo and NoWait, are changing the way the hospitality industry functions and what consumers will grow to expect.

This new tech creates the “Dorothy Effect”: We are all at once enthralled by the “magic” we now experience on a daily basis, while also being forced to face and fight the lions and tigers and “bugs” that come with it. The role of the restaurateur now involves embracing technology while making sure customers don’t feel like they are overwhelmed or inconvenienced. It’s honestly a very tough job – but here are some insights I have gleaned from my years in the business.

Don’t Fear Big Bad Data

Small and medium businesses are increasingly relying on data to better understand their customers. Innovation in data analytics and business intelligence enable businesses to collect more information than ever before about their customers’ preferences and values. But the trick is not in the collecting data – it’s in how you use it.

Take Pizza Hut, for example. In 2013, the international franchise enjoyed a 12x return on ROI thanks to its partnership with customer analytics company Capillary Technologies. Capillary helped capture, structure and leverage large quantities of customer data, but more importantly, they helped Pizza Hut take its massive customer base and segment it based on expressed characteristics, purchase tendencies and behavioral indicators to better engage each consumer.

By implementing data analytics into their everyday marketing endeavors, Pizza Hut has created 6,000+ customer behavioral groups, empowering the brand to predict future purchases and execute campaigns at preferred times via customers’ preferred engagement channels (direct mail, email, text message and more). Investing in such analysis has shown widespread sales growth across its restaurants and delivery business. Pizza Hut has seen a 38 percent improvement in its customer retention rate.

Customers respond well when their favorite eateries take the time to understand their likes and dislikes. And if you’re not in a position to work with an analytics firm or technology provider that includes data analysis as part of their product, there are alternatives. Whether investing in tabletop tablets, ordering kiosks, mobile apps for food ordering, reservations, or waitlist management, or any of the other myriad solutions – always ask vendors to supply the data generated by customers.

There are plenty of online tools you can feed that data into, such MixPanel or Google Analytics, as these tools provide similar insight into your guests’ dining habits and desires. If you want to stay ahead of the curve, it’s time to start exploring your options and turn thoughts of “big bad data” into “big beautiful data” that can help boost your sales.

Stop wishing for a brain – buy one instead

Americans spend thousands of dollars a year eating out: Restaurants account for one of the largest parts of discretionary spending, with sales expected to hit a record $683.4 billion in 2014. It is a fiercely competitive industry, and yet restaurant owners and managers have been remarkably slow to adopt new forms of technology that could make their business more efficient and attuned to the desires of diners. They spend a lot of time fighting trends instead of exploiting them.

Take mobile devices, for example. Every day there is a new story about how people use phones or tablets at restaurants – whether to play games, text with friends or document a meal. Many restaurants bemoan the days of the somber, quiet meal, wringing their hands about how to engage these consumers, or at very least how to get their patrons to put their devices down.

These devices aren’t going away – not if Apple or Google have anything to say about it, anyways. Since your customers are already tapping away on their smartphones, tablets and computers, why not make these technologies an integral part of each patron’s dining experience, and learn a thing or two?

Major food chains have already recognized this potential, with tablets that allow customers to order food, customize their entertainment, and even pay the bill. By implementing this technology, restaurants can use this established behavior in their interactive environment, complete with brand messaging.

For example, Buffalo Wild Wings is bringing Buzztime’s BEOND tablet-based entertainment platform to all of their North America restaurant locations by the end of 2015. The BEOND tablets let Buffalo Wild Wings Guests order food, request songs and television programming, play games (both multi-player and arcade-style), and, pay the bill. Initial research has shown customers arestaying 75 minutes, compared to the industry average of 50 minutes, and they’re returning at least twice a month compared to other restaurants where guests may visit once a month or less.

Other national chains that have embraced tabletop tech have seen similar success. In the past year, Chili’s Grill and Bar installed 7-inch Android Ziosk tablets at all of their locations; the devices,allow patrons to interactively peruse menu items, order beverages and desserts, play games together, share real-time feedback with the brand, and pay the check at the table. In a six-month trial period, Chili’s saw an increase in per-person spend per check, translating to higher income for both the restaurant and wait staff. Servers also reported seeing more tips, as the system increases the spending on their shift.

These results show that tabletop technology can be beneficial to servers, not a replacement for them. Additionally, these types of tablets can make it very easy for people to join loyalty clubs: “We saw improvements in guest satisfaction and engagement from many different touch points within the restaurant, including Chili’s guest feedback surveys and Email Club,” said Wyman Roberts, CEO and president of Brinker International and president of Chili’s Grill & Bar.

Applebee’s has also rolled out 100,000+ E la Carte Presto tablets in its U.S. restaurants, with emphasis on ease of payments. Customers can use the tablets to view menu items, browse and add items to a cart, (a la online shopping), play some games, and pay the bill. Applebee’s has seen similar positive results, as TechCrunch reported in 2013: “(In) a two-year pilot program where Applebee’s tested the tablets across 30 restaurants around the U.S. During these trials, the company found that having tablets available tableside allowed them to reduce the overall table turn time and transaction time for their guests, and guests who were surveyed about the tablets reported a better overall experience.”

While tabletop tablets are the latest innovation, the customer’s own phone remains an incredibly powerful tool. Countless companies can help restaurants harness social activity, monitor online reviews, create lightweight loyalty programs, help customers check out, and even create in-store games (through augmented reality) to make sure that the restaurant becomes part of their mobile experience – and not just a place to fire up a phone and read some blogs.

Technology can make customers and staff feel warm and fuzzy…

Restaurants have been reluctant to jump on the tech-driven dining experience for a number of reasons. Maybe tablet tech isn’t suitable for a fine dining atmosphere, or the futuristic feel clashes with a retro-themed aesthetic. However, the opportunities to implement technology extend beyond consumer-facing, front-of-house operations. They can also streamline food buying, order taking, and even cooking.

“Many brands and operators are thinking even further outside the box, adding innovative technologies in the kitchen and at the front counter,” QSR’s Keith Loria explained in his article ‘Beyond the Tablet. Panera, having invested in kitchen technology with color-coded screens that deliver orders to the kitchen staff, is one example of such outside the box thinking: A red stripe over an ingredient means leave it off, a green stripe indicates an addition. Other colors signify takeout.

Similarly, in an attempt to keep its kitchen staff from having to memorize recipes and food preparation policies, Tex-Mex style fast food chain Taco Bueno added tablets managed by mobile device management company AirWatch to push recipes to its line cooks.

Put simply, if your staff is happy, customers will (usually) be happy too. Kitchen technology like Panera’s and Taco Bueno’s can help cut down on stress and provide happy meals all around. Companies worried about technology pushing humans out of jobs and making employees more stressed out should instead educate their staff about how it is making their jobs easier, letting them focus on being the heart of the dining experience – not just a set of arms and legs rushing from table to table.

It’s not just a dream, Dorothy. This is real.

As the New York Times’ Stephanie Strom put it, “Restaurants have been late to the tech party, and many are now scrambling to incorporate tablets, apps, computerized kitchen equipment and data analysis capabilities.” When proper strategy and implementation applied, technology solves problems that are fundamental to how restaurants operate and compete. And late is a lot better than never. A whopping 51 percent of restaurant operators said they will devote more resources to technology this year alone. As this trend continues to gain momentum, technology will become increasingly critical for any restaurant’s success.

At the rate we’re going, tables and tablets will soon share more than a common etymology – both derived from the Latin “tabula,” meaning plank, tablet, list. One will be incomplete without the other, with technology inextricably linked and indispensable to the casual-dining experience. It may be only a matter of time before your tablet is your table (check out this video of Pizza Hut again pioneering the modern dining experience).

While this may seem like a dream scene from a movie, this type of tech is very real and holds great potential for both businesses and customers in streamlining the dining experience and making it more fun. Now is the time for bar and restaurant owners and managers to research and try new technologies, and make the most of the vast trove of data that falls into their laps every day.

IMAGE BY Shutterstock USER Pavel L Photo and Video (IMAGE HAS BEEN MODIFIED)

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/derek-carr-not-matt-schaub-to-start-week-1-for-oakland-raiders/
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-89EKCgBk8MZdE.gif
The Oakland Raiders reportedly have switched gears at quarterback for Week 1 against the New York Jets.
Second-round pick Derek Carr will start, per Fox’s Jay Glazer, confirming what many had suspected when Matt Schaub suffered by elbow tendonitis and Carr lit it up in the Raiders’ preseason finale.
[ Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football!]
Carr had been having a terrific training camp and start to the preseason but was set back in the second exhibition game when he suffered a rib injury and was tested for a concussion. The Raiders held Carr out of the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, a game in which Schaub and the offense struggled mightily.
Schaub came out of that game with elbow pain, and when Carr was cleared to play against the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason finale, he made the most of it. Carr was exceptional in leading four touchdown drives in his four posssessions — including two with the Seahawks’ starters in the game — with three touchdown passes.
Head coach Dennis Allen pulled Carr in the first half of the game, as if he’d seen enough to know that Carr could start if needed. Schaub’s elbow was tested Monday, and it’s believed that he wasn’t healthy enough to go Sunday against the Jets.
Frankly, Schaub’s health might not have mattered too much. Carr clearly was the better performer in the preseason, and the Raiders need not delay the future if Schaub or No. 3 QB Matt McGloin can’t get it done.
The Jets likely will be shorthanded in the secondary, with top corner Dee Milliner (high ankle sprain) in serioud doubt for the opener. It’s likely that the Jets will have to have Antonio Allen, a converted safety, and Darrin Walls as their starting corners outside, with Kyle Wilson in the slot.
- – - – - – -
Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! 
Sports & Recreation
American Football
Matt Schaub
Oakland Raiders
Derek Carr
New York Jets
Jay Glazer
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/derek-carr-not-matt-schaub-to-start-week-1-for-oakland-raiders/
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-89EKCgBk8MZdE.gif

The Oakland Raiders reportedly have switched gears at quarterback for Week 1 against the New York Jets.

Second-round pick Derek Carr will start, per Fox’s Jay Glazer, confirming what many had suspected when Matt Schaub suffered by elbow tendonitis and Carr lit it up in the Raiders’ preseason finale.

[ Smack talk season is back at Yahoo Sports: Sign up and play free Fantasy Football!]

Carr had been having a terrific training camp and start to the preseason but was set back in the second exhibition game when he suffered a rib injury and was tested for a concussion. The Raiders held Carr out of the third preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, a game in which Schaub and the offense struggled mightily.

Schaub came out of that game with elbow pain, and when Carr was cleared to play against the Seattle Seahawks in the preseason finale, he made the most of it. Carr was exceptional in leading four touchdown drives in his four posssessions — including two with the Seahawks’ starters in the game — with three touchdown passes.

Head coach Dennis Allen pulled Carr in the first half of the game, as if he’d seen enough to know that Carr could start if needed. Schaub’s elbow was tested Monday, and it’s believed that he wasn’t healthy enough to go Sunday against the Jets.

Frankly, Schaub’s health might not have mattered too much. Carr clearly was the better performer in the preseason, and the Raiders need not delay the future if Schaub or No. 3 QB Matt McGloin can’t get it done.

The Jets likely will be shorthanded in the secondary, with top corner Dee Milliner (high ankle sprain) in serioud doubt for the opener. It’s likely that the Jets will have to have Antonio Allen, a converted safety, and Darrin Walls as their starting corners outside, with Kyle Wilson in the slot.

- – - – - – -

Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/browser-extension-tells-you-wi-fi-speed-at-hotels-before-you-book/
http://rack.0.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxL2Y0L2hvdGVsd2lmaS5kM2UwZi5qcGcKcAl0aHVtYgk5NTB4NTM0IwplCWpwZw/c84006b3/a4e/hotel-wifi.jpg
What’s This?
Image: Flickr, Mihai Dragomirescu

By Jessica Plautz2014-09-01 22:02:58 UTC

If getting online while you’re on the road is important to you, slow Wi-Fi at hotels can be a pain.
A browser extension launched Monday wants to help travelers avoid the hassle of bad Internet connections by adding information about hotel Wi-Fi speeds and quality, on top of what is already available on popular booking sites.

See also: 14 Unique Hotels for an Extraordinary Vacation

In July, Hotel Wi-Fi Test announced its rankings of hotels according to Wi-Fi speed and quality. Now, it’s integrated that information into popular booking and travel sites through an extension that works on Chrome and Firefox browsers, showing Wi-Fi information on Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Booking.com and TripAdvisor.
“The Wi-Fi information block respects the style of each site, so it feels like a native element on the page,” Hotel Wi-Fi Test said in a release.

The browser extension displays the Wi-Fi-speed information on Hotels.com.
“The browser extension also provides a quick way to compare the Wi-Fi speed of tested hotels within a particular city,” the company added. “With almost 200 hotels tested in New York alone, this is a powerful tool for travelers who value fast and reliable Wi-Fi.”
According to a survey by Hotels.com, Internet is the most important in-room amenity for travelers.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: hotels, Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure, wi-fi, Work & Play
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/browser-extension-tells-you-wi-fi-speed-at-hotels-before-you-book/
http://rack.0.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxL2Y0L2hvdGVsd2lmaS5kM2UwZi5qcGcKcAl0aHVtYgk5NTB4NTM0IwplCWpwZw/c84006b3/a4e/hotel-wifi.jpg

What’s This?

Hotel-wifi

Image: Flickr, Mihai Dragomirescu

If getting online while you’re on the road is important to you, slow Wi-Fi at hotels can be a pain.

A browser extension launched Monday wants to help travelers avoid the hassle of bad Internet connections by adding information about hotel Wi-Fi speeds and quality, on top of what is already available on popular booking sites.

In July, Hotel Wi-Fi Test announced its rankings of hotels according to Wi-Fi speed and quality. Now, it’s integrated that information into popular booking and travel sites through an extension that works on Chrome and Firefox browsers, showing Wi-Fi information on Hotels.com, Expedia.com, Booking.com and TripAdvisor.

“The Wi-Fi information block respects the style of each site, so it feels like a native element on the page,” Hotel Wi-Fi Test said in a release.

Hotel WiFi Test browser extension screenshot

The browser extension displays the Wi-Fi-speed information on Hotels.com.

“The browser extension also provides a quick way to compare the Wi-Fi speed of tested hotels within a particular city,” the company added. “With almost 200 hotels tested in New York alone, this is a powerful tool for travelers who value fast and reliable Wi-Fi.”

According to a survey by Hotels.com, Internet is the most important in-room amenity for travelers.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Topics: hotels, Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure, wi-fi, Work & Play

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/apple-publishes-the-top-10-reasons-they-reject-apps/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/rejected.png?w=637&h=221

Whether you’ve ever built an iOS app or not, you’ve probably heard tales of how frustrating it can be to get Apple’s stamp of approval.
But why does Apple reject apps? What are the big mistakes that most developers make?
In the first release of what looks to be something Apple intends to update regularly, the company has published a running Top 10 list of the most common reasons apps get rejected.
Here’s the list as published when the page first launched:

Alas, two of the biggest “reasons” seem like fuzzy catch-alls: number one is “More information needed”. Maybe your app’s description is weak. Maybe you forgot to include a link for a support page. Whatever the case, Apple expects some information that you didn’t provide.
Number three, “Did not comply with terms in the Developer Program License Agreement”, is equally broad.
The other 8, though, are pretty specific. The biggest, specificly-defined issue? Bugs.
At the time of publishing, the top 10 reasons account for nearly 60% of app rejections.
[Via CultOfMac; photo via Sean M. on Flickr, used under CreativeCommons]
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/apple-publishes-the-top-10-reasons-they-reject-apps/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/rejected.png?w=637&h=221

rejected

Whether you’ve ever built an iOS app or not, you’ve probably heard tales of how frustrating it can be to get Apple’s stamp of approval.

But why does Apple reject apps? What are the big mistakes that most developers make?

In the first release of what looks to be something Apple intends to update regularly, the company has published a running Top 10 list of the most common reasons apps get rejected.

Here’s the list as published when the page first launched:

top 10

Alas, two of the biggest “reasons” seem like fuzzy catch-alls: number one is “More information needed”. Maybe your app’s description is weak. Maybe you forgot to include a link for a support page. Whatever the case, Apple expects some information that you didn’t provide.

Number three, “Did not comply with terms in the Developer Program License Agreement”, is equally broad.

The other 8, though, are pretty specific. The biggest, specificly-defined issue? Bugs.

At the time of publishing, the top 10 reasons account for nearly 60% of app rejections.

[Via CultOfMac; photo via Sean M. on Flickr, used under CreativeCommons]

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/report-baylor-qb-bryce-petty-has-two-cracked-bones-in-his-back-listed-day-to-day/
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-89EKCgBk8MZdE.gif
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has two cracks in his back stemming from an injury he suffered against SMU on Sunday, according to CBSSports.com.
An MRI on Monday morning revealed that Petty had two bones sticking out from his spine that were cracked. Petty is listed as day-to-day, but expects to play in Saturday’s game against Northwestern State.
Why? We have no idea.
Petty was injured during the first half of the 45-0 win against SMU and the injury was made worse when he was hit while diving into the end zone. Cameras caught Petty wincing as teammates had to help their starting quarterback off the turf. Despite the obvious discomfort, Petty played the entire first half. He was held out of the second half with what Baylor called a lower back bruise.
Everyone who was watching the game and even the commentators wondered why Petty was still playing when he was noticeably hobbled and the game was never in doubt.
Coach Art Briles was asked why Petty stayed in the game despite the injury and Briles said: “He needed the reps.”
What Petty needs to do now is sit out the gimme game against Northwestern State, the game against Buffalo, embrace the bye week and get healed for games that Baylor actually needs him to win. Petty’s injury will heal on its own, but not if he continues to aggravate it and that’s exactly what will happen if he plays.
Yes, Petty is a Heisman contender, but padding his stats against weak opponents isn’t going to win him the award; it’s the games against Big 12 Conference foes such as Oklahoma and Texas that will be the deciding factors. If Petty isn’t 100 percent in those games because machismo is forcing him to play games the Bears could win with 10 players then Baylor has no one but itself to blame.
For more Baylor news, visit SicEmSports.com.
- – - – - – -
Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter! 
And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook
Sports & Recreation
American Football
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/report-baylor-qb-bryce-petty-has-two-cracked-bones-in-his-back-listed-day-to-day/
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-89EKCgBk8MZdE.gif

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty has two cracks in his back stemming from an injury he suffered against SMU on Sunday, according to CBSSports.com.

An MRI on Monday morning revealed that Petty had two bones sticking out from his spine that were cracked. Petty is listed as day-to-day, but expects to play in Saturday’s game against Northwestern State.

Why? We have no idea.

Petty was injured during the first half of the 45-0 win against SMU and the injury was made worse when he was hit while diving into the end zone. Cameras caught Petty wincing as teammates had to help their starting quarterback off the turf. Despite the obvious discomfort, Petty played the entire first half. He was held out of the second half with what Baylor called a lower back bruise.

Everyone who was watching the game and even the commentators wondered why Petty was still playing when he was noticeably hobbled and the game was never in doubt.

Coach Art Briles was asked why Petty stayed in the game despite the injury and Briles said: “He needed the reps.”

What Petty needs to do now is sit out the gimme game against Northwestern State, the game against Buffalo, embrace the bye week and get healed for games that Baylor actually needs him to win. Petty’s injury will heal on its own, but not if he continues to aggravate it and that’s exactly what will happen if he plays.

Yes, Petty is a Heisman contender, but padding his stats against weak opponents isn’t going to win him the award; it’s the games against Big 12 Conference foes such as Oklahoma and Texas that will be the deciding factors. If Petty isn’t 100 percent in those games because machismo is forcing him to play games the Bears could win with 10 players then Baylor has no one but itself to blame.

For more Baylor news, visit SicEmSports.com.

- – - – - – -

Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

And don’t forget to keep up with all of Graham’s thoughts, witty comments and college football discussions on Facebook

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/alabama-db-jarrick-williams-played-wvu-game-with-broken-bone-in-foot-will-miss-four-weeks/
http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/dFEibJGdcwgfgJfSMgHPxA—/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7Zmk9ZmlsbDtoPTQyMTtweG9mZj01MDtweW9mZj0wO3E9NzU7dz03NDk-/http://l.yimg.com/os/publish-images/sports/2014-09-01/4c485780-321c-11e4-a689-b74e1c7d235d_USATSI_7589936.jpg

Auburn Tigers running back Tre Mason (21) runs against Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Jarrick Williams (20) during the first quarter at Jordan Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/runscribe-is-a-wearable-for-granular-gait-analysis/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/screen-shot-2014-09-01-at-8-31-24-pm.png?w=620Do you heel strike or are you a forefoot runner? If you have no idea what that question means this wearable probably isn’t for you. RunScribe is aiming for serious running geeks who want to nerd out over exactly how, where and when their feet connect with the ground — and use that data to improve their running technique and (hopefully) avoid injury.
Running has been a popular target for fitness focused wearables up to now, with fitness bands and running-focused smartwatches mushrooming forth as forerunners of the nascent wearables category. But as more and more generic fitness bands crop up, an appetite for greater specialism is likely to gather momentum.  So enter RunScribe: a device that attaches to the back of your running shoe in order to be well-placed to figure out exactly how you are running.
The data its motion sensors capture is stored locally on flash memory during each run and synced to a cloud service after — visualised via various granular charts and graphs — allowing the athlete to do a deep data dive analysis of their gait. (A top tier of the service — called runScribe Science — will even give the user access to the raw sensor data captured by the device.)

Last summer’s Sensoria smart socks blasted off crowdfunding blocks with a similar idea, although runScribe involves a bit less faff, given it consists of just the one wearable device that clips to your shoe, rather than a pair of socks and an ankle clip. (Super serious runners can opt to use one RunScribes per foot per run but that level of detail is not required to power its gait analysis).
What exactly does runScribe measure? A full 13 kinematic metrics (with its Pro pack) captured via the 9-axis sensor within the device, including stride length, pronation, contact time, swing excursion and stance excursion. It uses these metrics to create a runScore so the user can easily compare one run with another, i.e. without having to drill down into all the individual metrics every time — although that remains entirely possible with the full service. And desirable if you are, for instance, trying out a new pair of kicks to decide whether they are appropriate for your running style.
Figuring out which shoes best suit your running style can be a tricky problem, which is why some dedicated running stores offer an in-house gait analysis service where staff watch you run on a treadmill and suggest shoes that might be suitable. The problem there is these staff aren’t impartial, given they are trying to sell you the shoes in their shop.
RunScribe aims to provide enough granular data to allow the runner to determine which shoes suit them best — and do that by collectively analyzing the running data of scores of users. If its makers can get their wearable onto the shoes of enough runners they can start building the big data cache they need to power that expertise and pull a community of runners into orbit around pack-leading gait specialism.
That’s the vision. For now runScribe is still a prototype. So far they’ve more than tripled their original $50,000 Kickstarter funding target, and still have 17 days of their campaign to run. (No pun intended.)  The crowdfunding route offers a chance for this specialized wearable maker to drive enough early users to hit a critical mass of data quicker. To hit the ground running, you could say.
The runScribe wearable starts at $99 to Kickstarter backers with access to limited metrics, or from $139 with full access to metrics. It’s not yet clear whether the metrics service will end up requiring a subscription. Kickstarter backers get one year free access guaranteed. After that the device’s makers say it’s tbc whether there will be a recurring charge to use the service, or whether they will offer a freemium model — likely gating the really granular gait analysis behind a fee.
The runScribe wearable itself is scheduled to be shipped to backers by this December.
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/runscribe-is-a-wearable-for-granular-gait-analysis/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/screen-shot-2014-09-01-at-8-31-24-pm.png?w=620

Do you heel strike or are you a forefoot runner? If you have no idea what that question means this wearable probably isn’t for you. RunScribe is aiming for serious running geeks who want to nerd out over exactly how, where and when their feet connect with the ground — and use that data to improve their running technique and (hopefully) avoid injury.

Running has been a popular target for fitness focused wearables up to now, with fitness bands and running-focused smartwatches mushrooming forth as forerunners of the nascent wearables category. But as more and more generic fitness bands crop up, an appetite for greater specialism is likely to gather momentum.  So enter RunScribe: a device that attaches to the back of your running shoe in order to be well-placed to figure out exactly how you are running.

The data its motion sensors capture is stored locally on flash memory during each run and synced to a cloud service after — visualised via various granular charts and graphs — allowing the athlete to do a deep data dive analysis of their gait. (A top tier of the service — called runScribe Science — will even give the user access to the raw sensor data captured by the device.)

runScribe

Last summer’s Sensoria smart socks blasted off crowdfunding blocks with a similar idea, although runScribe involves a bit less faff, given it consists of just the one wearable device that clips to your shoe, rather than a pair of socks and an ankle clip. (Super serious runners can opt to use one RunScribes per foot per run but that level of detail is not required to power its gait analysis).

What exactly does runScribe measure? A full 13 kinematic metrics (with its Pro pack) captured via the 9-axis sensor within the device, including stride length, pronation, contact time, swing excursion and stance excursion. It uses these metrics to create a runScore so the user can easily compare one run with another, i.e. without having to drill down into all the individual metrics every time — although that remains entirely possible with the full service. And desirable if you are, for instance, trying out a new pair of kicks to decide whether they are appropriate for your running style.

Figuring out which shoes best suit your running style can be a tricky problem, which is why some dedicated running stores offer an in-house gait analysis service where staff watch you run on a treadmill and suggest shoes that might be suitable. The problem there is these staff aren’t impartial, given they are trying to sell you the shoes in their shop.

RunScribe aims to provide enough granular data to allow the runner to determine which shoes suit them best — and do that by collectively analyzing the running data of scores of users. If its makers can get their wearable onto the shoes of enough runners they can start building the big data cache they need to power that expertise and pull a community of runners into orbit around pack-leading gait specialism.

That’s the vision. For now runScribe is still a prototype. So far they’ve more than tripled their original $50,000 Kickstarter funding target, and still have 17 days of their campaign to run. (No pun intended.)  The crowdfunding route offers a chance for this specialized wearable maker to drive enough early users to hit a critical mass of data quicker. To hit the ground running, you could say.

The runScribe wearable starts at $99 to Kickstarter backers with access to limited metrics, or from $139 with full access to metrics. It’s not yet clear whether the metrics service will end up requiring a subscription. Kickstarter backers get one year free access guaranteed. After that the device’s makers say it’s tbc whether there will be a recurring charge to use the service, or whether they will offer a freemium model — likely gating the really granular gait analysis behind a fee.

The runScribe wearable itself is scheduled to be shipped to backers by this December.

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/cry-for-help-from-americans-detained-in-north-korea/
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http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzMxL0plbm5pZmVyTGF3LmNkNzJkLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/2ed26b2a/f1e/JenniferLawrence.jpg
What’s This?
Jennifer Lawrence seen at the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 party at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
Image: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/Associated Press
By Lance Ulanoff and Pete Pachal2014-09-01 19:56:01 UTC
As dozens of celebrities dismiss, deny, explain or fire back over the leak of an untold number of nude or compromising photos reportedly stolen from their Apple iCloud accounts, some security experts think they know how the leak started.

See also: The 25 Worst Passwords of 2013

According to a report in TheNextWeb, a hack called iBrute was posted Saturday on GitHub by mobile security firm HackApp. Though technically a mere proof of concept, it showed hackers how to exploit an apparent “brute force” vulnerability in the Find My iPhone API.
Find My iPhone is part of a trio of services connected to iCloud, including Photo Stream and Apple’s password manager, iCloud Keychain. A brute-force security attack is essentially a trial-and-error-way of breaking through security, and it usually only works if there is a weakness in the security of a system that allows an unlimited number (or a very high number) of login attempts.
Most systems you log into protect from brute-force attacks by locking up the system or the account, usually temporarily, after a certain number of failed login attempts. The iPhone itself, for instance, will lock you out for a few minutes if you try the wrong security passcode too many times in a row.
But apparently Find My iPhone did not have any such limits — until just now. Early Monday, HackApp reported that Apple had patched the vulnerability.
Apple has not confirmed or denied the existence of any such vulnerability or patch.
Unleash the brutes
According to Andrey Belenko, senior security engineer for mobile security firm viaForensics, iBrute was posted roughly 36 hours before the first photos leaked, which may not have been enough time for such a brute force attack to work.
Belenko should know. On August 30, he and Alexey Troshichev of HackApp presented at Defcon in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, a fascinating report on iOS 7 and iCloud security. A deck from the presentation is below:
It’s dense reading, but the thrust of it is that iCloud security has two potential weak spots.

Find My iPhone may be only half of the weakest link. It does not have the same level of password protection — no lock out mechanism for too many incorrect password attempts or user alerts — as other components.


A user’s iCloud security code — which is separate from the user’s iCloud password — is the second half of the issue. The code defaults to just four digits (although it can be more complex if the user chooses) and may also be vulnerable to a brute force attack.

According to Apple iCloud support, “If you enter an incorrect iCloud Security Code too many times when using iCloud Keychain, your iCloud Keychain is disabled on that device [and] your keychain in the cloud is deleted.” You then have to access your account from another device.
This hardware-based security would seem to be a pretty significant roadblock for hackers, who likely don’t have access to any of the victim’s devices.
However, viaForensics’ presentation indicates hackers found a weaker security point. According to their analysis, a hacker has (or had, until the apparent patch) the ability to guess a user’s iCloud Security Code offline, which would theoretically not trigger any lockout due to failed logins.
That meant the hacker could easily apply brute force (an extremely quick exercise for just a four-digit code) to get access to a user’s iCloud keychain. Whether or not they had the actual iCloud password at the outset, they’ll probably have enough access at this point to get whatever they want.
Why so many?
Even if all this is true, why were so many accounts apparently hacked? A leading theory is that there were a handful of accounts that were used to find contact details, including email addresses, for the others. With those IDs in hand, the hackers simply continued to apply the brute-force attack (probably starting with the same list of potential passwords that was posted along with iBrute) until they had access to other accounts’ iCloud data — including, crucially, Photo Stream (iOS photos stored in iCloud).
There’s also the possibility that the photos, some of which are confirmed as authentic, may have come from a different source. Belenko, for one, is not so sure there’s a cause and effect here. When asked if he or HackApp felt at all responsible and if they had given Apple a chance to patch the alleged hole before presenting iBrute, he replied on Twitter: “Don’t know if it was disclosed (it should’ve been). I don’t think that tool and the leak are connected though.”
Mashable has contacted Apple for comment and will update this story with its response.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
 Topics: apple, celebrity pictures, hacking, iCloud, iCloud keychain, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Photo Stream, security, Tech
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/celebrity-photo-leak-is-poor-icloud-security-to-blame/
http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzMxL0plbm5pZmVyTGF3LmNkNzJkLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/2ed26b2a/f1e/JenniferLawrence.jpg

What’s This?

JenniferlawrenceJennifer Lawrence seen at the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 party at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

Image: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/Associated Press

2014-09-01 19:56:01 UTC

As dozens of celebrities dismiss, deny, explain or fire back over the leak of an untold number of nude or compromising photos reportedly stolen from their Apple iCloud accounts, some security experts think they know how the leak started.

According to a report in TheNextWeb, a hack called iBrute was posted Saturday on GitHub by mobile security firm HackApp. Though technically a mere proof of concept, it showed hackers how to exploit an apparent “brute force” vulnerability in the Find My iPhone API.

Find My iPhone is part of a trio of services connected to iCloud, including Photo Stream and Apple’s password manager, iCloud Keychain. A brute-force security attack is essentially a trial-and-error-way of breaking through security, and it usually only works if there is a weakness in the security of a system that allows an unlimited number (or a very high number) of login attempts.

Most systems you log into protect from brute-force attacks by locking up the system or the account, usually temporarily, after a certain number of failed login attempts. The iPhone itself, for instance, will lock you out for a few minutes if you try the wrong security passcode too many times in a row.

But apparently Find My iPhone did not have any such limits — until just now. Early Monday, HackApp reported that Apple had patched the vulnerability.

Apple has not confirmed or denied the existence of any such vulnerability or patch.

Unleash the brutes

According to Andrey Belenko, senior security engineer for mobile security firm viaForensics, iBrute was posted roughly 36 hours before the first photos leaked, which may not have been enough time for such a brute force attack to work.

Belenko should know. On August 30, he and Alexey Troshichev of HackApp presented at Defcon in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, a fascinating report on iOS 7 and iCloud security. A deck from the presentation is below:

It’s dense reading, but the thrust of it is that iCloud security has two potential weak spots.

  1. Find My iPhone may be only half of the weakest link. It does not have the same level of password protection — no lock out mechanism for too many incorrect password attempts or user alerts — as other components.

  2. A user’s iCloud security code — which is separate from the user’s iCloud password — is the second half of the issue. The code defaults to just four digits (although it can be more complex if the user chooses) and may also be vulnerable to a brute force attack.

According to Apple iCloud support, “If you enter an incorrect iCloud Security Code too many times when using iCloud Keychain, your iCloud Keychain is disabled on that device [and] your keychain in the cloud is deleted.” You then have to access your account from another device.

This hardware-based security would seem to be a pretty significant roadblock for hackers, who likely don’t have access to any of the victim’s devices.

However, viaForensics’ presentation indicates hackers found a weaker security point. According to their analysis, a hacker has (or had, until the apparent patch) the ability to guess a user’s iCloud Security Code offline, which would theoretically not trigger any lockout due to failed logins.

That meant the hacker could easily apply brute force (an extremely quick exercise for just a four-digit code) to get access to a user’s iCloud keychain. Whether or not they had the actual iCloud password at the outset, they’ll probably have enough access at this point to get whatever they want.

Why so many?

Even if all this is true, why were so many accounts apparently hacked? A leading theory is that there were a handful of accounts that were used to find contact details, including email addresses, for the others. With those IDs in hand, the hackers simply continued to apply the brute-force attack (probably starting with the same list of potential passwords that was posted along with iBrute) until they had access to other accounts’ iCloud data — including, crucially, Photo Stream (iOS photos stored in iCloud).

There’s also the possibility that the photos, some of which are confirmed as authentic, may have come from a different source. Belenko, for one, is not so sure there’s a cause and effect here. When asked if he or HackApp felt at all responsible and if they had given Apple a chance to patch the alleged hole before presenting iBrute, he replied on Twitter: “Don’t know if it was disclosed (it should’ve been). I don’t think that tool and the leak are connected though.”

Mashable has contacted Apple for comment and will update this story with its response.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Topics: apple, celebrity pictures, hacking, iCloud, iCloud keychain, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Photo Stream, security, Tech

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/celebrity-photo-leak-is-poor-icloud-security-to-blame-2/
http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzMxL0plbm5pZmVyTGF3LmNkNzJkLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/2ed26b2a/f1e/JenniferLawrence.jpg
What’s This?
Jennifer Lawrence seen at the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 party at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)
Image: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/Associated Press
By Lance Ulanoff and Pete Pachal2014-09-01 19:56:01 UTC
As dozens of celebrities dismiss, deny, explain or fire back over the leak of an untold number of nude or compromising photos reportedly stolen from their Apple iCloud accounts, some security experts think they know how the leak started.

See also: The 25 Worst Passwords of 2013

According to a report in TheNextWeb, a hack called iBrute was posted Saturday on GitHub by mobile security firm HackApp. Though technically a mere proof of concept, it showed hackers how to exploit an apparent “brute force” vulnerability in the Find My iPhone API.
Find My iPhone is part of a trio of services connected to iCloud, including Photo Stream and Apple’s password manager, iCloud Keychain. A brute-force security attack is essentially a trial-and-error-way of breaking through security, and it usually only works if there is a weakness in the security of a system that allows an unlimited number (or a very high number) of login attempts.
Most systems you log into protect from brute-force attacks by locking up the system or the account, usually temporarily, after a certain number of failed login attempts. The iPhone itself, for instance, will lock you out for a few minutes if you try the wrong security passcode too many times in a row.
But apparently Find My iPhone did not have any such limits — until just now. Early Monday, HackApp reported that Apple had patched the vulnerability.
Apple has not confirmed or denied the existence of any such vulnerability or patch.
Unleash the brutes
According to Andrey Belenko, senior security engineer for mobile security firm viaForensics, iBrute was posted roughly 36 hours before the first photos leaked, which may not have been enough time for such a brute force attack to work.
Belenko should know. On August 30, he and Alexey Troshichev of HackApp presented at Defcon in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, a fascinating report on iOS 7 and iCloud security. A deck from the presentation is below:
It’s dense reading, but the thrust of it is that iCloud security has two potential weak spots.

Find My iPhone may be only half of the weakest link. It does not have the same level of password protection — no lock out mechanism for too many incorrect password attempts or user alerts — as other components.


A user’s iCloud security code — which is separate from the user’s iCloud password — is the second half of the issue. The code defaults to just four digits (although it can be more complex if the user chooses) and may also be vulnerable to a brute force attack.

According to Apple iCloud support, “If you enter an incorrect iCloud Security Code too many times when using iCloud Keychain, your iCloud Keychain is disabled on that device [and] your keychain in the cloud is deleted.” You then have to access your account from another device.
This hardware-based security would seem to be a pretty significant roadblock for hackers, who likely don’t have access to any of the victim’s devices.
However, viaForensics’ presentation indicates hackers found a weaker security point. According to their analysis, a hacker has (or had, until the apparent patch) the ability to guess a user’s iCloud Security Code offline, which would theoretically not trigger any lockout due to failed logins.
That meant the hacker could easily apply brute force (an extremely quick exercise for just a four-digit code) to get access to a user’s iCloud keychain. Whether or not they had the actual iCloud password at the outset, they’ll probably have enough access at this point to get whatever they want.
Why so many?
Even if all this is true, why were so many accounts apparently hacked? A leading theory is that there were a handful of accounts that were used to find contact details, including email addresses, for the others. With those IDs in hand, the hackers simply continued to apply the brute-force attack (probably starting with the same list of potential passwords that was posted along with iBrute) until they had access to other accounts’ iCloud data — including, crucially, Photo Stream (iOS photos stored in iCloud).
There’s also the possibility that the photos, some of which are confirmed as authentic, may have come from a different source. Belenko, for one, is not so sure there’s a cause and effect here. When asked if he or HackApp felt at all responsible and if they had given Apple a chance to patch the alleged hole before presenting iBrute, he replied on Twitter: “Don’t know if it was disclosed (it should’ve been). I don’t think that tool and the leak are connected though.”
Mashable has contacted Apple for comment and will update this story with its response.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
 Topics: apple, celebrity pictures, hacking, iCloud, iCloud keychain, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Photo Stream, security, Tech
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/celebrity-photo-leak-is-poor-icloud-security-to-blame-2/
http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzMxL0plbm5pZmVyTGF3LmNkNzJkLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/2ed26b2a/f1e/JenniferLawrence.jpg

What’s This?

JenniferlawrenceJennifer Lawrence seen at the Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 party at the 67th international film festival, Cannes, southern France, Saturday, May 17, 2014. (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

Image: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP/Associated Press

2014-09-01 19:56:01 UTC

As dozens of celebrities dismiss, deny, explain or fire back over the leak of an untold number of nude or compromising photos reportedly stolen from their Apple iCloud accounts, some security experts think they know how the leak started.

According to a report in TheNextWeb, a hack called iBrute was posted Saturday on GitHub by mobile security firm HackApp. Though technically a mere proof of concept, it showed hackers how to exploit an apparent “brute force” vulnerability in the Find My iPhone API.

Find My iPhone is part of a trio of services connected to iCloud, including Photo Stream and Apple’s password manager, iCloud Keychain. A brute-force security attack is essentially a trial-and-error-way of breaking through security, and it usually only works if there is a weakness in the security of a system that allows an unlimited number (or a very high number) of login attempts.

Most systems you log into protect from brute-force attacks by locking up the system or the account, usually temporarily, after a certain number of failed login attempts. The iPhone itself, for instance, will lock you out for a few minutes if you try the wrong security passcode too many times in a row.

But apparently Find My iPhone did not have any such limits — until just now. Early Monday, HackApp reported that Apple had patched the vulnerability.

Apple has not confirmed or denied the existence of any such vulnerability or patch.

Unleash the brutes

According to Andrey Belenko, senior security engineer for mobile security firm viaForensics, iBrute was posted roughly 36 hours before the first photos leaked, which may not have been enough time for such a brute force attack to work.

Belenko should know. On August 30, he and Alexey Troshichev of HackApp presented at Defcon in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, a fascinating report on iOS 7 and iCloud security. A deck from the presentation is below:

It’s dense reading, but the thrust of it is that iCloud security has two potential weak spots.

  1. Find My iPhone may be only half of the weakest link. It does not have the same level of password protection — no lock out mechanism for too many incorrect password attempts or user alerts — as other components.

  2. A user’s iCloud security code — which is separate from the user’s iCloud password — is the second half of the issue. The code defaults to just four digits (although it can be more complex if the user chooses) and may also be vulnerable to a brute force attack.

According to Apple iCloud support, “If you enter an incorrect iCloud Security Code too many times when using iCloud Keychain, your iCloud Keychain is disabled on that device [and] your keychain in the cloud is deleted.” You then have to access your account from another device.

This hardware-based security would seem to be a pretty significant roadblock for hackers, who likely don’t have access to any of the victim’s devices.

However, viaForensics’ presentation indicates hackers found a weaker security point. According to their analysis, a hacker has (or had, until the apparent patch) the ability to guess a user’s iCloud Security Code offline, which would theoretically not trigger any lockout due to failed logins.

That meant the hacker could easily apply brute force (an extremely quick exercise for just a four-digit code) to get access to a user’s iCloud keychain. Whether or not they had the actual iCloud password at the outset, they’ll probably have enough access at this point to get whatever they want.

Why so many?

Even if all this is true, why were so many accounts apparently hacked? A leading theory is that there were a handful of accounts that were used to find contact details, including email addresses, for the others. With those IDs in hand, the hackers simply continued to apply the brute-force attack (probably starting with the same list of potential passwords that was posted along with iBrute) until they had access to other accounts’ iCloud data — including, crucially, Photo Stream (iOS photos stored in iCloud).

There’s also the possibility that the photos, some of which are confirmed as authentic, may have come from a different source. Belenko, for one, is not so sure there’s a cause and effect here. When asked if he or HackApp felt at all responsible and if they had given Apple a chance to patch the alleged hole before presenting iBrute, he replied on Twitter: “Don’t know if it was disclosed (it should’ve been). I don’t think that tool and the leak are connected though.”

Mashable has contacted Apple for comment and will update this story with its response.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Topics: apple, celebrity pictures, hacking, iCloud, iCloud keychain, iOS, iPhone, Mobile, Photo Stream, security, Tech

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/7-standout-moments-from-made-in-america-music-festival-in-philly/
http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzc1L3BoYXJyZWxsc2hvLjZlN2NiLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/128681f6/842/pharrell-shoes-made-in-america.jpg
What’s This?
Pharrell Williams performs Aug. 31 at Made In America at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

By Brian Anthony Hernandez2014-09-01 19:36:21 UTC

PHILADELPHIA — Through rain and shine, the east coast segment of the bi-coastal Made in America music festival delivered many memorable moments over Labor Day weekend.
Some moments left attendees spellbound in dance fervor, inspired by monologues from artists and surprisingly silent during poignant artistry that broached hot topics such as Ferguson, celebrity culture and female empowerment.

See also: For Early Made in America Acts, Cover Songs Get the Rowdiest Responses

In chronological order of the major nighttime acts, here are our seven standouts:
1. J. Cole opens with police-brutality videos
Rapper J. Cole started his show with a video montage of police-brutality clips set to “Be Free,” the song he recorded after the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The tribute was a somber yet timely opening that hushed the usually rowdy Made in America crowd. It served as a reminder that music at fun events like festivals can keep important conversations going amid the good times.

See also: ‘Don’t Shoot’ Song Keeps Mike Brown’s Memory Alive

2. Steve Aoki hurls cake, ignites champagne showers

Steve Aoki performs at the Made in America festival Grand Park on Aug. 31 in Los Angeles.

Image: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images

Electronic house musician Steve Aoki had the messiest show by far, rallying festival-goers by hurling sheets of bakery-style cakes at them and then showering them with bottles of champagne. He began the delicious mayhem in Philly on Saturday before doing it all over again Sunday in Los Angeles for the west coast part of bi-coastal festival.

A fan reacts after Steve Aoki hurled at cake at her face at Made in America on Aug. 30 in Philadelphia.
3. Jay Z makes it rain $2 bills

Jay Z and Beyonce attend Made in America at Grand Park on Aug. 31 in Los Angeles.

Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Jay Z threw a stack of $2 bills into the air and watched as it rained down on the audience at Steve Aoki’s Philly show. The $2 bills have a history in the music industry. Sightings of the uncommon paper money can be attributed to one wealthy lawyer: Mr. Steven Reisman, a human $2 bill dispensary for the stars in the hip-hop and rap world.
Nicknamed “The Two Dollar Bill Man,” Reisman and his bills are now connected to such celebs as Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Michael Strahan, Justin Bieber and Big Sean.
4. Kanye lectures about love, hate and Kimye

Kanye West serves as headliner at Made in America on Aug. 30 in Philadelphia.

Image: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Kanye West offered several thought-provoking monologues during his headlining set. The 37-year-old rapper gave a rousing 5-minute autotuned speech midway through “Runaway” that touched on many subjects such as hateful criticism from media, his vision of love as well as his marriage to Kim Kardashian.
“For me to be in a very publicized interracial relationship is not a joke,” Kanye said. “It’s something that should be treated with respect because we’re all in this together.”
5. Spoon survived a mid-set weather delay

Britt Daniel of Spoon performs during a rainstorm at Made In America on Aug. 31 in Philadelphia.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

A rainstorm, accompanied by dangerous lightning, disrupted Spoon’s set Sunday night. Fans were forced to evacuate the premises as organizers feared for their safety. An hour later, Spoon re-emerged onstage to finish as the rain continued to pour sans the lightning.
The heavy rain seemed to awaken the crowd, with some fans dancing wilding while others closed their eyes, tilted their heads back and listened to the music with the added beat of raindrops.
6. Pharrell urges more women to shine

Pharrell Williams speaks at Made In America on Aug. 31 in Philadelphia.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

As the festival wound down, with Pharrell Williams as the night’s third to last performer, the “Happy” singer incited loud cheers with a speech about female empowerment. He closed the message thus: “I want to see some more female world leaders, I want to see some more female co-writers, I want to see some more female doctors, I want to see some more female artists. Let’s do the anthem for the girls.” This segued into “Hollaback Girl.”
7. Kings of Leon’s drummer closes with broken ribs

Brothers Caleb Followill and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon perform at Made in America on Aug. 31.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

“Sex on Fire” rockers Kings of Leon made their triumphant return to the stage after canceling tour dates for the past three weeks due to drummer Nathan Followill’s broken ribs, which he cracked in a tour-bus accident.
Though a still sore Followill warned Mashable prior to his set that he may cry at Made in America, he instead winked at the cameras and soldiered through, captivating the crowd with “Use Somebody” and other hits. The Kings’ red, white and blue lighting also evoked a perfectly patriotic Labor Day vibe.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: Entertainment, jay-z, kanye west, Kings of Leon, made in america, Music, pharrell
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/7-standout-moments-from-made-in-america-music-festival-in-philly/
http://rack.2.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDE0LzA5LzAxLzc1L3BoYXJyZWxsc2hvLjZlN2NiLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTk1MHg1MzQjCmUJanBn/128681f6/842/pharrell-shoes-made-in-america.jpg

What’s This?

Pharrell-shoes-made-in-americaPharrell Williams performs Aug. 31 at Made In America at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

PHILADELPHIA — Through rain and shine, the east coast segment of the bi-coastal Made in America music festival delivered many memorable moments over Labor Day weekend.

Some moments left attendees spellbound in dance fervor, inspired by monologues from artists and surprisingly silent during poignant artistry that broached hot topics such as Ferguson, celebrity culture and female empowerment.

In chronological order of the major nighttime acts, here are our seven standouts:

1. J. Cole opens with police-brutality videos

Rapper J. Cole started his show with a video montage of police-brutality clips set to “Be Free,” the song he recorded after the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The tribute was a somber yet timely opening that hushed the usually rowdy Made in America crowd. It served as a reminder that music at fun events like festivals can keep important conversations going amid the good times.

2. Steve Aoki hurls cake, ignites champagne showers

steve-aoki-champagne

Steve Aoki performs at the Made in America festival Grand Park on Aug. 31 in Los Angeles.

Image: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage/Getty Images

Electronic house musician Steve Aoki had the messiest show by far, rallying festival-goers by hurling sheets of bakery-style cakes at them and then showering them with bottles of champagne. He began the delicious mayhem in Philly on Saturday before doing it all over again Sunday in Los Angeles for the west coast part of bi-coastal festival.

steve-aoki-cake-fan

A fan reacts after Steve Aoki hurled at cake at her face at Made in America on Aug. 30 in Philadelphia.

3. Jay Z makes it rain $2 bills

jay-z-mia

Jay Z and Beyonce attend Made in America at Grand Park on Aug. 31 in Los Angeles.

Image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Jay Z threw a stack of $2 bills into the air and watched as it rained down on the audience at Steve Aoki’s Philly show. The $2 bills have a history in the music industry. Sightings of the uncommon paper money can be attributed to one wealthy lawyer: Mr. Steven Reisman, a human $2 bill dispensary for the stars in the hip-hop and rap world.

Nicknamed “The Two Dollar Bill Man,” Reisman and his bills are now connected to such celebs as Jay Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Michael Strahan, Justin Bieber and Big Sean.

4. Kanye lectures about love, hate and Kimye

kanye-west-philly

Kanye West serves as headliner at Made in America on Aug. 30 in Philadelphia.

Image: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Kanye West offered several thought-provoking monologues during his headlining set. The 37-year-old rapper gave a rousing 5-minute autotuned speech midway through “Runaway” that touched on many subjects such as hateful criticism from media, his vision of love as well as his marriage to Kim Kardashian.

“For me to be in a very publicized interracial relationship is not a joke,” Kanye said. “It’s something that should be treated with respect because we’re all in this together.”

5. Spoon survived a mid-set weather delay

spoon-mia

Britt Daniel of Spoon performs during a rainstorm at Made In America on Aug. 31 in Philadelphia.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

A rainstorm, accompanied by dangerous lightning, disrupted Spoon’s set Sunday night. Fans were forced to evacuate the premises as organizers feared for their safety. An hour later, Spoon re-emerged onstage to finish as the rain continued to pour sans the lightning.

The heavy rain seemed to awaken the crowd, with some fans dancing wilding while others closed their eyes, tilted their heads back and listened to the music with the added beat of raindrops.

6. Pharrell urges more women to shine

pharrell-mia

Pharrell Williams speaks at Made In America on Aug. 31 in Philadelphia.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

As the festival wound down, with Pharrell Williams as the night’s third to last performer, the “Happy” singer incited loud cheers with a speech about female empowerment. He closed the message thus: “I want to see some more female world leaders, I want to see some more female co-writers, I want to see some more female doctors, I want to see some more female artists. Let’s do the anthem for the girls.” This segued into “Hollaback Girl.”

7. Kings of Leon’s drummer closes with broken ribs

kings-of-leon-mia

Brothers Caleb Followill and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon perform at Made in America on Aug. 31.

Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

“Sex on Fire” rockers Kings of Leon made their triumphant return to the stage after canceling tour dates for the past three weeks due to drummer Nathan Followill’s broken ribs, which he cracked in a tour-bus accident.

Though a still sore Followill warned Mashable prior to his set that he may cry at Made in America, he instead winked at the cameras and soldiered through, captivating the crowd with “Use Somebody” and other hits. The Kings’ red, white and blue lighting also evoked a perfectly patriotic Labor Day vibe.

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.

Topics: Entertainment, jay-z, kanye west, Kings of Leon, made in america, Music, pharrell

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/if-apple-makes-a-move-into-mobile-payments-it-could-not-come-at-a-better-time/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/img_9900.jpg?w=738As Apple inches closer to its news event on September 9, there has been growing speculation that mobile payments will be a part of the action. Apple, the reports say, will add NFC technology to the iPhone 6, and it will debut a mobile wallet-style service that could include integrations with American Express, Visa and MasterCard and possibly PayPal to enable physical, in-store payments using the smartphone.
The reports of Apple finally making the mobile payments jump seem to have redoubled this year, boosted by positive payment comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook himself.
If the reports are accurate, a mobile payments service from Apple would have been a long time in the making, coming after years of speculation involving potential acquisitions; lots of patents; a steadily growing pile of consumer credit card data from its (likely over) 800 million iTunes accounts; and as a counterbalance to moves from would-be competitors.
It also could not come at a better time, considering how many other mobile payments promises have fumbled or failed, so far, to live up to the promise.
Carriers have failed to get the ball rolling fast enough. Mobile operators used to be seen as an essential lynchpin in how a mobile payments service could work. That was partly because of their position in the mobile ecosystem — holders of payment details, bank licenses, handset deals, and customer relationships. All this has combined to paint carriers as a likely source from which mobile payment services could flow. It it’s partly because telcos are always on the hunt for more services to complement their stale bread and butter of voice and text revenues. Sure, there have been some successful services in some markets, like Japan. But independent and consortium-based efforts in countries like the U.S. (such as the soon-to-rebrand Isis) and Europe (such as the many years-old Weve in the UK) have been slow to take off.
Interestingly, from what we have heard, Apple may focus on point-of-sale technology initially rather than the wider applications of mobile payments that might involve services like carrier billing. But from what we understand this is also something that Apple is continuing to focus on as well.
Startups that could have been mobile payment leaders appear to have lost their way. For a while, it looked like Square would be the standard bearer of the mobile payments space, riding into the market on the top of Apple’s iPhone. There was a lot of hope and promise around Square’s dongle-based system, a format replicated by competitors near and further afield. Initially catering to small businesses by letting them take card payments easily using smartphones and tablets, Square then started to look much more ambitious after a deal with and investment from cafe chain Starbucks, and then a number of other services subsequently developed around and beyond that basic offering. But something didn’t seem to click, it seems. Now, with a new funding round at a $6 billion valuation on the cards, it seems people are wondering if the margins on these services are just too thin, if growth has simply not come fast enough to make a decent return, and if Square’s other lines of business are going to work out longer term.
And while companies like Square and PayPal have made a lot of inroads with retailers, they are not the only ones. Apple, with its own successful chain of stores and resellers, has a lot of insight into how to build out a retail-based payments service that I suspect gives it a lot of credibility with businesses. Apple’s relationship with IBM could also potentially come into play here as well, especially in relation to integrating systems for larger retailers.
NFC has long been an object of ridicule. As Natasha once pointed out, NFC — the acryonym for near-field communication, or the technology that allows a handset to effectively be transformed into your credit card at a point of sale — actually stands for “Nobody F****** Cares.” But while the technology has long been a niche idea, it appears that we may finally be approaching some kind of critical mass: While there were only some 275 million NFC-equipped phones shipped in 2013, IHS researches predict that by 2018 that number will be 1.8 billion, representing penetration of 64%.  That kind of critical mass will see more services and acceptance come in its wake.
For a company like Apple, what’s interesting is not just the prospect of the company supporting and enabling NFC on the iPhone, but how Apple may choose to link this up with other new technology, from iBeacons for in-store alerts for shoppers, to fingerprint sensors for extra authentication, and its Passbook as a way of aggregating orders and storing receipts, linked up, of course, with Apple’s existing billing information by way of iTunes. Given that so much of this has been put in place already over the the years, the prospect is for a fully-developed product right at launch.
Like it did with the iPhone amidst a range of other existing smartphones, Apple will not the first mover in mobile payments. Just the one that brings everything together the best.
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/if-apple-makes-a-move-into-mobile-payments-it-could-not-come-at-a-better-time/
http://tctechcrunch2011.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/img_9900.jpg?w=738

As Apple inches closer to its news event on September 9, there has been growing speculation that mobile payments will be a part of the action. Apple, the reports say, will add NFC technology to the iPhone 6, and it will debut a mobile wallet-style service that could include integrations with American Express, Visa and MasterCard and possibly PayPal to enable physical, in-store payments using the smartphone.

The reports of Apple finally making the mobile payments jump seem to have redoubled this year, boosted by positive payment comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook himself.

If the reports are accurate, a mobile payments service from Apple would have been a long time in the making, coming after years of speculation involving potential acquisitions; lots of patents; a steadily growing pile of consumer credit card data from its (likely over) 800 million iTunes accounts; and as a counterbalance to moves from would-be competitors.

It also could not come at a better time, considering how many other mobile payments promises have fumbled or failed, so far, to live up to the promise.

Carriers have failed to get the ball rolling fast enough. Mobile operators used to be seen as an essential lynchpin in how a mobile payments service could work. That was partly because of their position in the mobile ecosystem — holders of payment details, bank licenses, handset deals, and customer relationships. All this has combined to paint carriers as a likely source from which mobile payment services could flow. It it’s partly because telcos are always on the hunt for more services to complement their stale bread and butter of voice and text revenues. Sure, there have been some successful services in some markets, like Japan. But independent and consortium-based efforts in countries like the U.S. (such as the soon-to-rebrand Isis) and Europe (such as the many years-old Weve in the UK) have been slow to take off.

Interestingly, from what we have heard, Apple may focus on point-of-sale technology initially rather than the wider applications of mobile payments that might involve services like carrier billing. But from what we understand this is also something that Apple is continuing to focus on as well.

Startups that could have been mobile payment leaders appear to have lost their way. For a while, it looked like Square would be the standard bearer of the mobile payments space, riding into the market on the top of Apple’s iPhone. There was a lot of hope and promise around Square’s dongle-based system, a format replicated by competitors near and further afield. Initially catering to small businesses by letting them take card payments easily using smartphones and tablets, Square then started to look much more ambitious after a deal with and investment from cafe chain Starbucks, and then a number of other services subsequently developed around and beyond that basic offering. But something didn’t seem to click, it seems. Now, with a new funding round at a $6 billion valuation on the cards, it seems people are wondering if the margins on these services are just too thin, if growth has simply not come fast enough to make a decent return, and if Square’s other lines of business are going to work out longer term.

And while companies like Square and PayPal have made a lot of inroads with retailers, they are not the only ones. Apple, with its own successful chain of stores and resellers, has a lot of insight into how to build out a retail-based payments service that I suspect gives it a lot of credibility with businesses. Apple’s relationship with IBM could also potentially come into play here as well, especially in relation to integrating systems for larger retailers.

NFC has long been an object of ridicule. As Natasha once pointed out, NFC — the acryonym for near-field communication, or the technology that allows a handset to effectively be transformed into your credit card at a point of sale — actually stands for “Nobody F****** Cares.” But while the technology has long been a niche idea, it appears that we may finally be approaching some kind of critical mass: While there were only some 275 million NFC-equipped phones shipped in 2013, IHS researches predict that by 2018 that number will be 1.8 billion, representing penetration of 64%.  That kind of critical mass will see more services and acceptance come in its wake.

For a company like Apple, what’s interesting is not just the prospect of the company supporting and enabling NFC on the iPhone, but how Apple may choose to link this up with other new technology, from iBeacons for in-store alerts for shoppers, to fingerprint sensors for extra authentication, and its Passbook as a way of aggregating orders and storing receipts, linked up, of course, with Apple’s existing billing information by way of iTunes. Given that so much of this has been put in place already over the the years, the prospect is for a fully-developed product right at launch.

Like it did with the iPhone amidst a range of other existing smartphones, Apple will not the first mover in mobile payments. Just the one that brings everything together the best.

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/nfl-preview-week-which-teams-have-the-toughest-first-four-games/
http://l2.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/ehy9W1JsjnfCitlOCqPNmA—/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTMxMA—/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/gettyimages.com/denver-broncos-v-dallas-cowboys-20140829-000304-728.jpg
The NFL regular season officially kicks off on Thursday when Green Bay travels to Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Shutdown Corner will be previewing everything to come all week, capped off by our awards and Super Bowl predictions on Thursday.
You can’t earn or lose a playoff spot in the first month, but you don’t want to dig a deep hole you’ll spend the last three months trying to get out of.
Ask the Steelers and Giants. Both teams were popular playoff picks last year, but Pittsburgh started 0-4 and the Giants started 0-6. It didn’t matter that Pittsburgh won six of its last eight or New York won seven of its last 10. Neither one made the playoffs because of the slow starts.
Remember, all 16 games count the same, so the ones starting this week have the same weight in the standings as the ones in the final weeks. These teams have the toughest (and easiest) first four game stretches to start the season:


(Getty Images)

Denver Broncos
First four: Indianapolis, Kansas City, at Seattle, Arizona
The Broncos were a good team last year, but they were a good team with a very favorable schedule. Not so this year. Denver starts the season with four games against teams that all had 10 or more wins last season. The good news is three of the four games are at home. The bad news is the road game is at Seattle, and we all know how that last meeting turned out. The Indianapolis game is huge for a Week 1 game, considering that each team is favored to win its division and the Colts have a far easier schedule.
Baltimore Ravens
First four: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, at Cleveland, Carolina
Hope the Ravens are storing up on aspirin. They’ll face four of the toughest defenses in the NFL before the first month is over. The Browns might not be the best team, but it’s on the road and they’ll play strong D. If we could include the first six, Baltimore has road games at Indianapolis and at Tampa Bay to start October. Yikes.
Cleveland Browns
First four: at Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, at Tennessee
Want a reason the Browns were reluctant to start rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel right away? The schedule might have been a small factor. An opening game at Pittsburgh is just tough, and New Orleans and Baltimore are pretty good too. All those defenses are pretty creative and will send a lot of heat at the opposing quarterback. A road game at Tennessee, following a Week 4 bye, is no joke, but we’ll see who starts that one at quarterback.
Tennessee Titans
First four: at Kansas City, Dallas, at Cincinnati, at Indianapolis
New coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t catch any breaks. He has three games against 2013 playoff teams in the first month. Oh, and all are on the road, including back-to-back matchups against reigning division winners. Getting Dallas at home might be a break, but even the Cowboys are coming off an 8-8 season.


(AP)

Dallas Cowboys
First four: San Francisco, at Tennessee, at St. Louis, New Orleans
Tennessee and St. Louis are coming off losing seasons, but aren’t that bad and won’t be easy outs on the road. Then for the home slate in September, Dallas hosts two of the best teams in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers
First four: at Seattle, N.Y. Jets, at Detroit, at Chicago
Nothing like starting the season at Seattle, where the defending champs are just about unbeatable. A home game against the Jets looks winnable, but then it’s back on the road for divisional games against the Lions and Bears, a tough stretch of three road games in September.
[ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ]
And now two teams that had to feel good about their schedule over the first four games …
Houston Texans
First four: Washington, at Oakland, at N.Y. Giants, Buffalo
The worst team in the league has the type of schedule that could result in a confidence-building start. Houston gets three teams who are predicted to be near the bottom of the NFL in Washington, Oakland and Buffalo, and a game against the Giants, who have struggled this preseason. They won two games all last season, but have a good chance to at least match that before September is done.
New Orleans Saints
First four: at Atlanta, at Cleveland, Minnesota, at Dallas
The Saints should get off to a heck of a start. A road game against Atlanta isn’t really easy, but they’re coming off a bad season. Then it looks like you can count on wins against Cleveland, Minnesota and Dallas. How many yards and points are the Saints going to hang on that Cowboys defense?
- – - – - – -
Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! 
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Pittsburgh
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http://blog.seaofinfo.com/nfl-preview-week-which-teams-have-the-toughest-first-four-games/
http://l2.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/ehy9W1JsjnfCitlOCqPNmA—/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTMxMA—/http://media.zenfs.com/en_us/News/gettyimages.com/denver-broncos-v-dallas-cowboys-20140829-000304-728.jpg

The NFL regular season officially kicks off on Thursday when Green Bay travels to Seattle to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Shutdown Corner will be previewing everything to come all week, capped off by our awards and Super Bowl predictions on Thursday.

You can’t earn or lose a playoff spot in the first month, but you don’t want to dig a deep hole you’ll spend the last three months trying to get out of.

Ask the Steelers and Giants. Both teams were popular playoff picks last year, but Pittsburgh started 0-4 and the Giants started 0-6. It didn’t matter that Pittsburgh won six of its last eight or New York won seven of its last 10. Neither one made the playoffs because of the slow starts.

Remember, all 16 games count the same, so the ones starting this week have the same weight in the standings as the ones in the final weeks. These teams have the toughest (and easiest) first four game stretches to start the season:

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Denver Broncos

First four: Indianapolis, Kansas City, at Seattle, Arizona

The Broncos were a good team last year, but they were a good team with a very favorable schedule. Not so this year. Denver starts the season with four games against teams that all had 10 or more wins last season. The good news is three of the four games are at home. The bad news is the road game is at Seattle, and we all know how that last meeting turned out. The Indianapolis game is huge for a Week 1 game, considering that each team is favored to win its division and the Colts have a far easier schedule.

Baltimore Ravens

First four: Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, at Cleveland, Carolina

Hope the Ravens are storing up on aspirin. They’ll face four of the toughest defenses in the NFL before the first month is over. The Browns might not be the best team, but it’s on the road and they’ll play strong D. If we could include the first six, Baltimore has road games at Indianapolis and at Tampa Bay to start October. Yikes.

Cleveland Browns

First four: at Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Baltimore, at Tennessee

Want a reason the Browns were reluctant to start rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel right away? The schedule might have been a small factor. An opening game at Pittsburgh is just tough, and New Orleans and Baltimore are pretty good too. All those defenses are pretty creative and will send a lot of heat at the opposing quarterback. A road game at Tennessee, following a Week 4 bye, is no joke, but we’ll see who starts that one at quarterback.

Tennessee Titans

First four: at Kansas City, Dallas, at Cincinnati, at Indianapolis

New coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t catch any breaks. He has three games against 2013 playoff teams in the first month. Oh, and all are on the road, including back-to-back matchups against reigning division winners. Getting Dallas at home might be a break, but even the Cowboys are coming off an 8-8 season.

(AP)

(AP)

Dallas Cowboys

First four: San Francisco, at Tennessee, at St. Louis, New Orleans

Tennessee and St. Louis are coming off losing seasons, but aren’t that bad and won’t be easy outs on the road. Then for the home slate in September, Dallas hosts two of the best teams in the NFL.

Green Bay Packers

First four: at Seattle, N.Y. Jets, at Detroit, at Chicago

Nothing like starting the season at Seattle, where the defending champs are just about unbeatable. A home game against the Jets looks winnable, but then it’s back on the road for divisional games against the Lions and Bears, a tough stretch of three road games in September.

[ Yahoo Sports Fantasy Football: Sign up and join a league today! ]

And now two teams that had to feel good about their schedule over the first four games …

Houston Texans

First four: Washington, at Oakland, at N.Y. Giants, Buffalo

The worst team in the league has the type of schedule that could result in a confidence-building start. Houston gets three teams who are predicted to be near the bottom of the NFL in Washington, Oakland and Buffalo, and a game against the Giants, who have struggled this preseason. They won two games all last season, but have a good chance to at least match that before September is done.

New Orleans Saints

First four: at Atlanta, at Cleveland, Minnesota, at Dallas

The Saints should get off to a heck of a start. A road game against Atlanta isn’t really easy, but they’re coming off a bad season. Then it looks like you can count on wins against Cleveland, Minnesota and Dallas. How many yards and points are the Saints going to hang on that Cowboys defense?

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

http://blog.seaofinfo.com/cubas-new-crackdown-takes-effect/
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Washed Out – Don’t Give Up – Tune in on Sept 1 for the LIVE concert! #YahooLive
3:56
The music recorded by Ernest Greene as Washed Out has been nothing if not dreamy, but for his second full-length, he’s taken the idea of letting your mind wander to another state a huge leap further. On Paracosm, due out Aug. 13 on Sub Pop, the Georgia-based musician explores the album’s namesake phenomenon, where people create detailed imaginary worlds. The concept has been used to describe fantasy lands like Tolkien’s Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, and it’s at the heart of the 2004 documentary In The Realms Of The Unreal about outsider artist Henry Darger. The idea of escaping is all over Paracosm’s lyrics, and it’s also the main thrust behind the music, which finds Greene distancing himself from the modes and methods that informed Washed Out’s previous recordings. No, he hasn’t thrown away his computer or synths, but Greene made a conscious decision to expand his sonic palette, which resulted in the employment of more than 50 different instruments, the most significant of which turned out to be old keyboards like the Mellotron, Chamberlin, Novatron, and Optigan. Designed during the middle of last century and made up of prerecorded sounds with individual notes sampled for each key of the chromatic scale (the flute sound in The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” is a well-known example of the Mellotron in action), these relics allowed Greene to use his sampling expertise while also offering the flexibility to explore new creative avenues. “I’ve grown as a songwriter to the point where I want to have more involved arrangements, and that’s really hard to do with sampling,” says Greene. “These machines were kind of a happy medium: The sounds have a very worn, distressed quality about them, much like an old sample. But they also offer much more flexibility because they’re playable. Pretty much all the keyboard sounds, and strings and harps and vibraphones—all of that comes from these old machines.” Following two years on the road in support of the critically acclaimed Within And Without—which itself followed the lauded Life Of Leisure EP, led by the otherworldly magic of “Feel It All Around,” which can still be heard during Portlandia’s opening credits—he and his wife, Blair (who plays in the Washed Out live band), decided to relocate from the big-city hubbub of Atlanta to a house on the outskirts of Athens. Working daily for nearly six months, it was easy for Greene to begin shutting out the real world in favor of an alternate universe of his own making, with the rural setting acting as a prime catalyst. “Subconsciously that’s a big inspiration for some of the sounds,” says Greene, who completed about two-thirds of the record in Athens before finishing up in Atlanta with Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Gnarls Barkley), who also worked on Within And Without. “While the last record was very minimal, very monochromatic in a way, I knew from the beginning I wanted this record to be optimistic, very much a daytime-sounding album. I think the last record felt more nocturnal in some ways. This one I just imagined being outside, surrounded by a beautiful, natural environment.” Listeners will be immediately struck by Paracosm’s seamless melding of organic and synthetic sounds, which are related to Washed Out’s past but also find Greene redefining his trademark dreaminess. (The songs themselves are also seamless, connected in such a way that they tell a linear sonic story.) The live drums, bass, and guitar recorded at Allen’s Maze Studios help take the new material to another level—specifically a place where, despite the vintage instruments and Greene’s throwback tendencies, everything feels like it was made right here and now. It also has a more human quality to it than most people are probably used to hearing on an electronic album. Take, for instance, the sunny, laid-back groove of the appropriately titled “Great Escape” (“All I need is the simple life / make believe the world has vanished around us”) and first single “It All Feels Right,” which is as wonderfully hypnotic as anything in Washed Out’s discography yet uses an almost tropical feel to get there. “‘It All Feels Right’ was one of the first songs that I started for Paracosm,” says Greene. “It’s my favorite song on the album because it’s the closest to the vision I had when I started. Paracosm is the first work I’ve done where I knew from the beginning what I wanted it to sound like.” Elsewhere, amidst the sound of kids playing and birds chirping, Paracosm offers plenty of opportunities to sing along, including with the beautifully bent “Don’t Give Up,” the jangle-squiggle jam “All I Know” (which sounds like Smiths-era Johnny Marr collaborating with Passion Pit), and the romantic-pop tune “Falling Back.” Regardless of where you turn, the album is packed with beautiful moments, the most moving of which can be heard while Greene gets his shoegaze on during the Cocteau Twins-esque “Weightless” and album closer “All Over Now.” With its gorgeous execution and uplifting attitude, Paracosm is primed to be this year’s summer record that gets you through the winter. And it promises to do what its name suggests: Take listeners to another, better, world.
http://blog.seaofinfo.com/cubas-new-crackdown-takes-effect/
http://pixel.quantserve.com/pixel/p-89EKCgBk8MZdE.gif

Washed Out – Don’t Give Up – Tune in on Sept 1 for the LIVE concert! #YahooLive

3:56

The music recorded by Ernest Greene as Washed Out has been nothing if not dreamy, but for his second full-length, he’s taken the idea of letting your mind wander to another state a huge leap further. On Paracosm, due out Aug. 13 on Sub Pop, the Georgia-based musician explores the album’s namesake phenomenon, where people create detailed imaginary worlds. The concept has been used to describe fantasy lands like Tolkien’s Middle Earth and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, and it’s at the heart of the 2004 documentary In The Realms Of The Unreal about outsider artist Henry Darger. The idea of escaping is all over Paracosm’s lyrics, and it’s also the main thrust behind the music, which finds Greene distancing himself from the modes and methods that informed Washed Out’s previous recordings. No, he hasn’t thrown away his computer or synths, but Greene made a conscious decision to expand his sonic palette, which resulted in the employment of more than 50 different instruments, the most significant of which turned out to be old keyboards like the Mellotron, Chamberlin, Novatron, and Optigan. Designed during the middle of last century and made up of prerecorded sounds with individual notes sampled for each key of the chromatic scale (the flute sound in The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” is a well-known example of the Mellotron in action), these relics allowed Greene to use his sampling expertise while also offering the flexibility to explore new creative avenues. “I’ve grown as a songwriter to the point where I want to have more involved arrangements, and that’s really hard to do with sampling,” says Greene. “These machines were kind of a happy medium: The sounds have a very worn, distressed quality about them, much like an old sample. But they also offer much more flexibility because they’re playable. Pretty much all the keyboard sounds, and strings and harps and vibraphones—all of that comes from these old machines.” Following two years on the road in support of the critically acclaimed Within And Without—which itself followed the lauded Life Of Leisure EP, led by the otherworldly magic of “Feel It All Around,” which can still be heard during Portlandia’s opening credits—he and his wife, Blair (who plays in the Washed Out live band), decided to relocate from the big-city hubbub of Atlanta to a house on the outskirts of Athens. Working daily for nearly six months, it was easy for Greene to begin shutting out the real world in favor of an alternate universe of his own making, with the rural setting acting as a prime catalyst. “Subconsciously that’s a big inspiration for some of the sounds,” says Greene, who completed about two-thirds of the record in Athens before finishing up in Atlanta with Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter, Gnarls Barkley), who also worked on Within And Without. “While the last record was very minimal, very monochromatic in a way, I knew from the beginning I wanted this record to be optimistic, very much a daytime-sounding album. I think the last record felt more nocturnal in some ways. This one I just imagined being outside, surrounded by a beautiful, natural environment.” Listeners will be immediately struck by Paracosm’s seamless melding of organic and synthetic sounds, which are related to Washed Out’s past but also find Greene redefining his trademark dreaminess. (The songs themselves are also seamless, connected in such a way that they tell a linear sonic story.) The live drums, bass, and guitar recorded at Allen’s Maze Studios help take the new material to another level—specifically a place where, despite the vintage instruments and Greene’s throwback tendencies, everything feels like it was made right here and now. It also has a more human quality to it than most people are probably used to hearing on an electronic album. Take, for instance, the sunny, laid-back groove of the appropriately titled “Great Escape” (“All I need is the simple life / make believe the world has vanished around us”) and first single “It All Feels Right,” which is as wonderfully hypnotic as anything in Washed Out’s discography yet uses an almost tropical feel to get there. “‘It All Feels Right’ was one of the first songs that I started for Paracosm,” says Greene. “It’s my favorite song on the album because it’s the closest to the vision I had when I started. Paracosm is the first work I’ve done where I knew from the beginning what I wanted it to sound like.” Elsewhere, amidst the sound of kids playing and birds chirping, Paracosm offers plenty of opportunities to sing along, including with the beautifully bent “Don’t Give Up,” the jangle-squiggle jam “All I Know” (which sounds like Smiths-era Johnny Marr collaborating with Passion Pit), and the romantic-pop tune “Falling Back.” Regardless of where you turn, the album is packed with beautiful moments, the most moving of which can be heard while Greene gets his shoegaze on during the Cocteau Twins-esque “Weightless” and album closer “All Over Now.” With its gorgeous execution and uplifting attitude, Paracosm is primed to be this year’s summer record that gets you through the winter. And it promises to do what its name suggests: Take listeners to another, better, world.