Friday, August 29, 2014

Protesters forced Apple to shut down its flagship San Francisco store

Protesters forced Apple to shut down its flagship San Francisco store
Image Credit: Business Insider

A group of about 50 protesters representing service employees who they allege are underpaid successfully shut down Apple’s flagship San Francisco store on Thursday afternoon.

Protesters with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) staged a sit-in for nearly an hour, according to SEIU organizer Jacob Hay.

The SEIU alleges that companies like Apple contract with firms that underpay service employees like security guards.

Hay told Business Insider that these firms also hire employees for part-time jobs to avoid paying them benefits.

“We will not be intimidated,” said one protester.

“Officers have no job protection,” said another protester who claimed to be an Apple security guard. “If they miss a day of work, they don’t know if they’ll have the job the next day.”

Hay said he was surprised protesters were able to sit inside the Apple Store for nearly and hour.

[Tweets from and about the event]

Here are protesters inside the store:

Some protesters were arrested during the sit-in:

Despite the arrests, protesters successfully shut down the Apple store indefinitely, leaving retail employees standing awkwardly inside with nothing to do.

Apple Store Protest San Francisco

Paul Szoldra contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared on Business Insider.

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Angry Birds maker Rovio chooses a new CEO to succeed longtime boss in 2015

Angry Birds maker Rovio chooses a new CEO to succeed longtime boss in 2015

Above: Mikael Hed and new boss Pekka Rantala of Rovio

Image Credit: Rovio

Mikael Hed has passed the hoodie. The chief executive of Rovio Entertainment, the maker of the iconic mobile game Angry Birds, will turn over the top job at the company in 2015 to Pekka Rantala.

Hed has run the Espoo, Finland-based company for the past five years, helping during that time to turn Angry Birds into a global phenomenon. The changeover will happen on Jan. 1, 2015.

Pekka Rantala, who was previously chief executive of Hartwall, has more than 20 years of international leadership experience within branded consumer products in various industries. He was previously managing director at Fazer, and he served 14 years at Nokia in various executive roles.

Rovio’s chairman, Kaj Hed, (who is the father of Mikael) has nominated Mikael Hed for a board seat. In addition, Mikael Hed has also been appointed as chairman of Rovio Animation Studios, where he will oversee Animation and Movies.

“It has been an amazing ride and in the coming months I will be very happy to pass the hoodie to Pekka Rantala, who will take Rovio to the next level,” Mikael Hed said. “Pekka is known to be a great leader with experience building successful global consumer brands. I will continue to play an active role and will support Pekka in any way I can to ensure Rovio’s continued success.”

Angry Birds debuted in 2009, and various versions of the game have been downloaded more than 2 billion times. Angry Birds is now a globally known entertainment brand in publishing, licensing, animations, books and location-based entertainment. Rovio’s animated Angry Birds feature film is slated for July, 2016.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 2.00.11 PMGamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase your ticket now to save $200!

Rovio is an entertainment media company based in Finland, and the creator of the globally successful Angry Birds franchise. Angry Birds, a casual puzzle game, became an international phenomenon within a year of release, and is now the ... read more »

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Adobe releases first major upgrade to Photoshop Mix

Adobe releases first major upgrade to Photoshop Mix

Above: Photoshop Mix 1.1

Image Credit: Adobe

Adobe released its first major update to Photoshop Mix, its image editing app for the iPad.

Mix allows iPad users to do selective edits, basic compositing, and some other basic Photoshop design tasks, Adobe said in a blog post.

The new version, Mix 1.1, adds some handy new features, including the following:

  • Image Swap, enabling users to change the order of layers in a Mix project by dragging and dropping thumbnails
  • More flexible undo and redo functions
  • Full editing capabilities between Photoshop Express and Photoshop Mix
  • Ability to save full resolution files to the user’s local camera roll
  • Support for large panoramic files, as well as PNG file formats

Performance was improved as well. Adobe says Mix now takes better advantage of the tablet GPU and is very fast on recent iPads, especially when loading a project and live previews.

Adobe says the update satisfies the majority of improvement requests it’s heard from in-app feedback, research and reviews.

Photoshop mix was originally released in June 2014 as a free app for the iPad.

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Whether it's a smartphone or tablet app, a game, a video, a digital magazine, a website, or an online experience, chances are that it was touched by Adobe technology. Our tools and services enable our customers to create groundbreaking... read more »

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Vital Connect gets green light from FDA for biosensor patch

Vital Connect gets green light from FDA for biosensor patch
Image Credit: Vital Connect

Connected health devices that help at-risk populations, like senior citizens and the chronically ill, make good sense. They help keep people healthy, and they ultimately save the system money.

A San Jose, Calif.-based company called Vital Connect announced today that it received FDA clearance for use of its HealthPatch MD biosensor for monitoring patients at home.

HealthPatch MD can be used for short-term monitoring of a patient who has just been released from the hospital, or as part of the follow-up care provided after a non-critical emergency room visit. The point is to allow the patient’s caregivers to keep tabs on them from afar 24 hours a day.

The biosensor is a small white plastic device that attaches to the patient’s skin. I has two components — a reusable sensor module and a disposable patch. It monitors heart rate, heart rate variability, skin temperature, body posture, fall detection, steps, and many other things.

The sensor uses Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to a relay or smartphone and the relay transfers information by Wi-Fi to the cloud and then to the caregivers. The data is encrypted to meet HIPPA privacy and security guidelines.

Caregivers can get notifications if of sudden changes in key metrics, or if any vitals metric goes out of the healthy range.

The CDC says more than 1.5 million people in the U.S. get home health services each year, with an average duration of 315 days. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services projects that home health care costs for 2014 will reach $86.8 billion.

HealthBeat — VentureBeat’s breakthrough health tech event — is returning on Oct 27-28 in San Francisco. This year’s theme is “The connected age: Integrating data, big & small.” We’re putting long-established giants of the health care world on stage with CEOs of the nation's most disruptive health tech companies to share insights, analyze trends, and showcase breakthrough products. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!

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Facebook wants to let mobile users run keyword searches on friends’ profiles

Facebook wants to let mobile users run keyword searches on friends’ profiles
Image Credit: Facebook

Facebook has finally realized that you might want to use your mobile device to dig back into content your friends have posted in the past. And it’s working on it.

The social network has rolled out a search feature to some of its mobile users that lets them run keyword searches on friends’ profiles and on pages they follow, Bloomberg reports.

This might be a new test that the company is running. It’s certainly not surprising, nor even completely new for Facebook. While Graph Search, Facebook’s enhanced search engine, was still a desktop-only toddler, the company announced it would support searches of posts and comments.

Then, this past January, the company started to roll out Graph Search on mobile, so this week’s new test is likely simply the latest test from the Graph Search team.

This capability, despite being mobile-only, could add some additional power to advertiser targeting on Facebook. It would give them an additional dimension of a user’s preferences and behavior. For example, if you search for “yoga pants Sally Smith” because you wanted to find the brand your friend Sally recommended last month, it could signal to advertisers that you are interested in yoga pants — cue the Lululemon ads.

Nevertheless, this will likely incite privacy concerns from users, although Facebook will only serve up results that are allowed by the user’s privacy permissions: The drunk picture you’re hiding from your mom won’t show up in her searches.

But just in case you’re worried, consult our handy guide on avoiding those Facebook disasters.

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Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1.15 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 w... read more »

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