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When Will The Internet Get A Private Mode?

When I politely asked for a universal Internet privacy button — a button that every web app/service would (could? should?) use to indicate that whatever it is you’re doing while it’s on is not being logged or recorded in your personal history or shared with all of your friends, a la Google Chrome’s incognito mode or Spotfiy’s private listening – three apps in particular came to mind: Netflix, Rdio, and Pinterest.

While perhaps we need a new way to talk about privacy — the traditional way we think about it is perhaps less and less suited to the way we use the internet — the drive to share more and do less “alone” isn’t problematic as long as we have granular controls to manage the extent and flow of what we’re sharing, either with companies or other people. That is, as long as we have the ability to make actual choices about how and when we’re sharing things we’ve never shared before, on levels that we’ve never shared them before. The choice to not share sometimes. And those three apps, right now, don’t provide those kinds of choices. You cannot listen to an album privately with Rdio. All your Rdio friends will see it. You cannot make private pin boards in Pinterest, or even semi-private boards for a handful of people. Every board is public. And Netflix does not allow you to delete movies from your history or watch movies without being logged in your viewing history (which is slightly different but still relevant). These three companies are also poster children of the way we’re consuming more and more of our media: via the cloud, accessing the things we love not from our own hard drive, but from a server rack owned by a media company thousands of miles away.

So I asked each of those companies why things were the way they were, and if that was going to change. Pinterest was the only company that provided a really substantial answer, as it’d previously announced a change in its Terms of Service that would “pave the way for new features” like “Private Pinboards.” A spokesperson added:

We are currently working on integrating new privacy options that will give people greater control over what they choose to share publically on the site. We are exploring the possibility of offering private boards but we want to do so in a way that makes privacy terms as simple and clear as possible for our pinners.

Rdio provided a non-statement statement:

Rdio is committed to protecting the privacy of its users. This response only pertains to how listening behavior (i.e. songs played) is shared with other users both in Rdio and outside of Rdio. To read more about our complete policies please click here (

Rdio is about music discovery through people, not machines. A big reason people love Rdio is because they can see and hear what other music fans, critics, labels, artists and influencers like Team Coco or Jake Shears of Scissors Sisters are listening to.

Currently, Rdio offers users the ability to create private playlists as well as opt out of automatically sharing the music they play publicly on Facebook or You’ll continue to see more updates around privacy and your listening habits as we constantly add new features to the service in the future.

And Netflix, in its statements, essentially chose to not answer the question I was asking — why can’t you delete titles from your (viewable) history, like you can with a browser, or watch movies in a way that doesn’t show up in your viewable history? I variously was told by a spokesperson that “the only place you can go see your full viewing history is on the Web site” and “it is good feedback and I will take that to the product team for sure!”

In other words, except for maybe Pinterest, I would not really hold your breath for private modes in these apps anytime soon.

The non-answer answers are in part a function of the way tech companies are forced to talk about themselves, how they’re thinking and what they’re planning: Any substantive answers or real discussion about a product, its shortcomings or future iterations could spiral into a thousand blog posts, maybe a TechMeme headline or two. And they’d rather not be in the news cycle except when they choose to be, like when they’re launching a brand new product that needs attention. Which is unfortunate when there are real issues to talk about, like the true philosophical underpinnings of how these companies think about privacy and sharing.

The other aspect at work here, which I think Nick Bilton scratched the surface of during the uproar over Path collecting its users’ address books, is that Silicon Valley companies fundamentally do not think about privacy in the ways that the rest of us do. While Path did the right thing and deleted the data it collected, its thought process was simply that it was following the “industry best practice” — not that snagging and storing your entire address book without your explicit permission wasn’t something most people wouldn’t be comfortable with. Maybe more to the point, for all of the explicit permissions Apple built into iOS when it comes to allowing apps access to your location, it didn’t build in similar protections to protect your address book (nor has Google with Android). It simply wasn’t a thing they thought about. And it’s not even limited to Silicon Valley companies, per se — a rep for New York-based Foursquare told a crowd at SXSW, “Privacy is a modern invention.” Um, so are civil rights. What’s your point?

And as we’re marched along the road to share more and hide less, we’re also creating discrete footprints of everything we do in a way that we did not — I don’t remember when I read Huck Finn or how many times I played “The Fragile” in high school, but I can tell you how many times I’ve played Polica or exactly when I watched season 3 episode 2 of Mad Men. Perhaps some of these footprints are better left uncrecorded for posterity — we need to able to forget, to be able to make that choice. “This is a thing not worth remembering or sharing.” Because some things really aren’t.

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Then And Now – How Things Have Changed Over The Last Fifty Years

Things have changed loads since the ’60s, we all know that. But by how much? Some things are almost unrecognisable, but others… well, they’ve stayed more or less the same. Let’s take a look!

1. Films Then

Films Then

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One of the most popular films of the ’60s was the lovely Mary Poppins. Still incredibly popular today, it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year!

2. Films Now

Films Now

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Marvel is currently dominating the movie landscape, releasing a few big films each year. So far in 2014, we’ve had Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Guardians of the Galaxy has performed incredibly over its opening weekend.

3. Video Games Then

Video Games Then

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This is Table Tennis, on the Magnavox Odyssey. Most of what you’re seeing isn’t actually the game – the court, the stick figure players, even the green… all of that is on a cutout that you stuck on the TV screen. Without it, it was entirely black and white and looked like this.

4. Video Games Now

Video Games Now

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This badass little thing is the Oculus Rift, and it promises to revolutionise video games as we know them. Other virtual reality sets are in development as well, such as Sony’s Project Morpheus.

5. Toys Then

Toys Then

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This early Barbie is the kind of thing nightmares are made of.

6. Toys Now

Toys Now

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Whereas this one looks like a rainbow has vomited all over it. But at least it’s “Hair-Tastic”!

7. Sports Then

Sports Then

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In 1966, Bobbies Moore and Charlton led the England squad to victory in the World Cup, beating West Germany 4–2 in the final.

8. Sports Now

Sports Now

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48 years of hurt later, England are knocked out at the group stages. Germany destroy the competition, and win the title for the first time as a single, united nation.

9. TV Then

TV Then

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First broadcast the day after JFK was assassinated, “An Unearthly Child” was the name of the first Doctor Who story, with William Hartnell as the First Doctor.

10. TV Now

TV Now

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Oh. Well, I guess not everything has changed a great deal. This year sees Peter Capaldi taking the helm, as Doctor Who celebrates its 51st anniversary.

11. Boybands Then

Boybands Then

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The Beatles. Need we say more?

12. Boybands Now

Boybands Now

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Just because something is different, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better. Case in point: One Direction.

13. Shopping Then

Shopping Then

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Well okay, that looks pretty pleasant, I have to admit… but there’s not much variety, is there? Where’s the kale? How on earth am I going to get my organic quinoa?!

14. Shopping Now

Shopping Now

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Nowadays, we don’t even have to leave the house to get the food in – we can do it all online. But if we do feel like going out, interactive kiosks have helped to speed things up a bit at the checkout.

Don’t upset the Tesco ones though, or you will face the wrath of “UNEXPECTED ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.”

15. Chores Then

Chores Then

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Er… The less said about that advert, the better. But look at that old Hoover – a thing of utilitarian beauty, no?

16. Chores Now

Chores Now

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Who needs to break their back vacuuming when a Roomba can do it for you? There’s no chance that could ever go wrong. No way.

17. Phones Then

Phones Then

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As nice as this shiny little number is, I can’t see how it would fit in your pocket. And how do you play Angry Birds?

18. Phones Now

Phones Now

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With way more processing power than the most powerful computers of the ’60s, today’s smartphones are incredible little things. And you can still call people, believe it or not!

19. Space Travel Then

Space Travel Then

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The ’60s saw a few huge steps in terms of space travel. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first person to orbit the Earth in 1961, and in ‘69 Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took humanity’s first steps on the Moon.

20. Space Travel Now

Space Travel Now

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Though it’s still being argued about, it’s generally accepted that Voyager 1 – which launched just eight years after the Moon landing – finally left our solar system last year. It’s currently about 12 billion miles away. Incredible.

21. Holidays Then

Holidays Then

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Though that might look like a tropical get away, it’s actually the sleepy seaside town of Newquay, in Cornwall. Dig those funky swimming caps.

22. Holidays Now

Holidays Now

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It’s so easy to travel abroad nowadays. Get onto Google, search for where in the world you want to go, and get on a plane. You can go anywhere, from Stockholm to Sri Lanka. Pass the suncream!

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Sound-isolating headphones let you really hear your own voice


Image: Mashable, Pete Pachal

LAS VEGAS — Have you ever worn noise-canceling headphones and wished they were, you know, not so noise-canceling?

That’s the idea behind OnVocal Mix360, a pair of behind-the-neck headphones that let you adjust exactly what you hear.

The headphones themselves are sound-isolating, passively blocking out most ambient noise. But the magic happens when you pair your Mix360 with the accompanying app (iOS and Android), which lets you adjust the levels of the three sounds you’re experiencing: the music you’re listening to, the ambient noise and your own voice.

OnVocal Mix360 app
The Mix360 app has sliders for adjusting exactly how much ambient noise you want to hear.

Image: Mashable, Pete Pachal

You control all three inputs with sliders on the app. When you make an adjustment, the Mix360’s three microphones go to work, bringing in the sounds you want to hear — similar to Bose’s noise-canceling earbuds.

You might want to go completely music-only for the duration of a subway ride, for example, but then turn up the ambient noise when you get to where you’re going — to avoid any unfortunate collisions.

Trying out the Mix360 at CES 2105, I came away impressed with how well it did its job. It did take a second for the adjustments to kick in — but when they did, a noise-filled ballroom went from muffled to crystal clear. There is a bit of artificiality to the sound at first, but that sensation quickly goes away.

When you turn up your own voice, you’re in for a surprise. The headphones render it in the way that others hear it, not you. “Do I really sound like that?” will likely be your first question.

The Bluetooth device is rated at 9 hours of battery life for music listening. The Mix360 will be available in May, but you might not like the sound of the price tag: $299.

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53 Things That’ve Changed Since The iPhone Came Out

1. Apple is the most valuable company in the world

2. Which made a lot of rich people much richer

Chris Hondros / Getty Images

3. AT&T has so many customers that its network doesn’t work

4. But T-Mobile is nearly bankrupt

5. The Blackberry is dead


6. And Nokia is in huge trouble. When’s the last time you saw one of these?

7. These events are the biggest news of the day

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

8. And we all listen to this guy now

9. Because he basically made a huge iPod touch and it still turned out great

10. Gadgets got weirdly political, so everyone’s a fanboy

11. Touchscreens are everywhere

12. And everybody understands what this stuff means

13. Browsing the internet on a phone is a completely normal thing

14. And every company has an app

15. Other phones got app stores too

16. Just the word “app.” How often did people say that before 2008?

17. We’ve stopped carrying separate media players

18. And nobody needs these things

19. You can’t see the band when you go to a concert (but you can watch them on YouTube later)

20. The company that makes these came into existence AND got shut down

21. Nobody likes Flash anymore (and it’s dying)

22. We’ve seen a bunch of famous peoples’ junk


23. We don’t look where we’re walking

24. And text messages are organized like emails, instead of in one big list

25. But we write them in inscrutable symbols, so it doesn’t really matter

26. Oh god, A U T O C O R R E C T

27. Which means these are the only humans that can still spell

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

28. We treat our phones like babies, because they’re ridiculously delicate and require constant attention + feeding

29. And we even talk to them, like actual insane people

30. But we never make phone calls, because why would we do that?

31. We’re starting to pay attention to where our gadgets come from

BOBBY YIP / Reuters

32. And even though we don’t have one of these anymore…

33. We never get lost

34. Waiting in line is much easier

35. And we don’t argue for hours about dumb trivia anymore

36. But we can never escape Twitter and Facebook and it’s great but its also it’s ruining all of our lives (HELP)

37. Anyway, nobody does crosswords

38. Because we’re too busy hooking up with anonymous strangers

39. Or because we’re all playing this dumb game

40. But seriously, everyone is a gamer now, and simple casual games have gotten awesome

41. And it’s much easier to keep kids occupied (and all our kids’ brains have been permanently rewired)

42. People pay for software again (just, not very much)

43. But every big box store is basically just a showroom for Amazon

44. Every fight gets posted on the internet

45. All news is instant, no matter where we are

46. And we always know what song is playing in the bar

47. Smartphones all look kind of the same

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17 Apps That Will Make You Fall Back In Love With London

Treasure (m)apps.

Chelsey Pippin / BuzzFeed / Getty Images/iStockphoto pkruger

1. The London Bookshop Map

This glorious and simple app is your guide to every independent bookshop in the city. Search by area, speciality, or collection to find the perfect spot to cosy up with a good book.

Get it for iOS.

2. Hidden London

Get the full-on secret London experience with the helpful Hidden London app, which highlights underrated and less-crowded attractions, parks, eateries, and more.

Get it for iOS.

3. Geocaching


Paramount Pictures

Join in the Geocaching game and discover hidden treasures throughout London. Like a digital treasure map, Geocaching leads you to tucked away points throughout the city, through back streets and park corners on a mission to discover things that have been left by other adventurers. You’ll never look at London the same way again!

Get free intros for iOS , Android, and Windows.
Purchase the full version for iOS and Android.

4. StrollOn London



Use StrollOn to accompany you on walks throughout London. The app will guide you through the city and give you history and interesting tidbits about every area, so you’re bound to find a lovely spot you’d never noticed before.

Get it for iOS.

5. London Parks and Gardens



Escape to a quite green corner of your own with this useful app. London Parks and Gardens features information and maps for London’s biggest parks as well as directions so secret gardens and courtyards throughout the city.

Get it for iOS and Android.

6. Dojo


Universal Studios

This clever app will bend London to your will, and help you keep up with and make use of your area. Dojo put its feelers out into the nightlife and social trends in your area and curates a list of events and places you might be interested in.

Get it for iOS.

7. London Coffee Network

Forget Starbucks, Costa, and Nero – London Coffee Network helps you find cosy, independent coffee shops just off your beaten path. The app functions as a locator and a rewards program – use it to find an artisan coffee shop nearby, then use your app account to collect free coffee points.

Get it for iOS and Android.

8. Feast


20th Century Fox

To find the cosiest spot for breakfast and brunch, download the Feast app. Featuring the top 50 new restaurants of the year, you can search by cuisine or location, and even make a reservation directly from the app interface.

Get it for iOS.

9. Drink – London’s Hidden Bar Guide

Discover London’s underground bars for a cosy and secret spot to enjoy a drink. The app is simple, featuring pictures and descriptions so you can choose the right dive near you.

Get it for iOS.

10. London Market Guide


Touchstone Pictures

The London Market Guide includes details on over 80 markets across the city, so when you’re bored of Borough and Portobello, you can find a cosier, more affordable place to browse close to home.

Get it for iOS.

11. MyTime London

For the latest on popups, streetfood, gigs, art, and events, MyTime is your new best friend. You’ll get the lowdown on upcoming events and popups, plus tips on upcoming trends before the break the mass market.

Get it for iOS.

12. My Real London

This user curated guide system is brilliant for discovering hidden gems and proven experience provided by other Londoners. If you’ve moved to a new area or just visiting, it’s ideal for finding local haunts and favourites and skipping the crowded tourist spots.

Browse guides here.

13. Blue Plaques


Warner Bros

You’ve surely seen blue plaques monumenting notable Londoners and events on your way to the shops or work, but following their trail all over the city will give you a unique historical view of the city. This helpful app will help you locate plaques nearby and plan routes through over 1700 plaque sites.

Get it for iOS, or check out the similar Blue Plaques of London for Android.

14. Hype

With Hype, you’re always the first in the know on upcoming events and trendy spots in your area. You can plug your preferences into the app, as well as skim other areas of you’re out for the night, and receive exclusive invites and tips on where to go.

Get it for iOS.

15. New Gourmet London

New Gourmet curates the top 50 start-up restaurants in London every year to keep you hip on fresh eats and tasty new trends.

Get it for iOS.

16. Street Stories


Warner Bros

The Guardian’s fascinating Kings Cross Street Stories app guides you through a historical tour of the Kings Cross and Angel areas, including audio and interactive maps.

Get it for iOS and Android.

17. Horrible London

Discover the dark underbelly of London’s creepier side with Horrible London. The app will guide you through London’s most haunted areas and grisliest histories.

Get it for iOS.

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Microsoft: Yes, We’re Bringing Back the Start Menu


Image: Mashable, Pete Pachal

In a surprise announcement, Microsoft said it would bring back the Start Menu to the Windows desktop. It’s not a part of the coming Windows 8.1 Update, but will come in a future upgrade.

Microsoft’s Terry Myerson showed off the new version of the Start Menu to an audience of developers at Build 2014 as he explained that users would be able to find apps via the menu. Users would also be able to run Modern (aka “Metro”) apps within windows on the desktop.

In a demo, Myerson showed that the new Start Menu looks similar to as it did in Windows 7, but it includes a minimized version of the Start screen right beside it.

The Start Menu’s return follows Microsoft’s announcement that apps across all its consumer platforms can now be “universal,” meaning they will run across phones, tablets and PCs with little to no re-coding.

For developers, universal Windows apps have clear benefits. It means a developer needs only create a Windows app once, then make minimal adjustments to them to optimize the experience for devices with different screens and capabilities, since the platforms share APIs, security and other resources.

For users, the benefit is a consistent experience across every device they have running Windows software. Another plus: You won’t have to buy the app again and again if you want it on both your phone and tablet.

Microsoft said the Xbox One would also be able to run universal Windows apps, although it didn’t give a timeframe.

Microsoft also announced new tools for to help develop apps across other platforms, introducing WinJS, or Windows library for javascript, an open-source resource that will help developers make Windows apps that work on the web, iOS and Android, too.

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Selfie Overload: The iPhone 6 ‘Burst Mode’ Can Take Up To 10 Photos Per Second


Once more, Apple has anticipated the needs of Millenials and teenagers alike.

The newly-introduced iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus phones include, among a plethora of new features, one of the first cameras to be redesigned with selfies in mind.

The phone includes a tool called “burst” mode, which means that the camera shoots 10 photos in a row with only one button push. For selfies, burst mode is the difference between a genuine laugh and that gross, one-eye-shut face we all make from time to time.

With the extra mode, users can move between the versions of the photo to choose the one that’s best.

In addition to burst photography, the new iSight camera also has improved facial recognition software that works to capture eyes and smiles at their best.

That’s a selfie we can all get behind.


Photo Courtesy: Apple

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RIP YouTube iPhone App, 2007-2012 — Why You Won’t Be Missed


Mashable OP-ED: This post reflects the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Mashable as a publication.

Back when the iPhone first launched, there was a joke about the YouTube app on it. One nerd, or tech reviewer, would describe it as a “dumbed-down YouTube experience.” To which another would shoot back: “is that even possible?”

Well, here we are, five years later. YouTube the service has gotten a whole lot stronger and smarter in so many ways (as well as a whole lot dumber in some of its corners — something which turns out to be exceedingly and eternally possible).

But the iPhone app, even transplanted to the iPad, has stayed exactly as dumb as it always was. It’ll find the YouTube content you want a third of the time, if you’re lucky. They should call it YouRoulette, because you never know what a search might bring.

No wonder iPhone users in the know long ago switched to simply going to on Safari, where a lot more stuff is available. When I heard about that fix, I was mad as hell at myself for all the wasted time on the app.

And from whom did I hear it? From YouTube staffers themselves. Even they didn’t believe in the thing.

So it’s really not such a bummer to hear Monday’s news — Apple has dumped the YouTube app from the next iPhone/iPad operating system, iOS 6. It’s ostensibly because “our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended,” according to an Apple spokesperson.

I’m sure it has, but I’m also sure Apple couldn’t be more relieved about that. This is a company that cares about great design, about stuff that just works, and the YouTube app was never that. It was so hobbled, it reminded me of the awful old WAP mobile web browsers that Apple effectively destroyed with the iPhone.

I’m also sure it’s just a coincidence that Apple is distancing itself from Google in general, for example replacing the Google Maps app in iOS6 with its own (called, confusingly enough, Maps). If you want the Google Maps iPhone app, chances are you’ll have to download it again — though what we don’t know is whether you’ll be able to make it the default for maps.

We do know that Google is working on a new YouTube app, according to the same Apple source. We’re still waiting for confirmation from YouTube.

Regardless, we’ll soon see the end of an app experience so poor, it couldn’t have made the iPhone look worse if the Android team had planted it there.

You’ll notice it’s one of the few original apps you can’t actually delete on your iPhone? Consider it deleted now, and good riddance.

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Community Post: The 8 Most Amazing Pop And Lock Dance Videos Of All Time

1. Marquese Scott

Song: ‘Need Your Heart’ by Adventure Club

2. Les Twins

Song: Omen (Mt. Eden Dubstep Remix: The Prodigy)

3. Hurrikane & Android

Music “Clutter” by Ronald Jenkees

4. Bruce Blanchard

Song: “DaVoyce” by Tismé


Song “Mechanical” by Onra

6. Havoc

Song: “Tlālōc” by Thriftworks

7. Popping John & Jon Boogz

Song: “Cool Blue” by Traxamillion

8. Dreal

Song “Acura Legend (Special Mix)” by THURZ

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