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The Lethality of Loneliness

Judith Shulevitz, The New Republic

Psychobiologists can now show that loneliness sends misleading hormonal signals, rejiggers the molecules on genes that govern behavior, and wrenches a slew of other systems out of whack. They have proved that long-lasting loneliness not only makes you sick; it can kill you. Emotional isolation is ranked as high a risk factor for mortality as smoking. A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer—tumors can metastasize faster in lonely people.

Every day our world becomes more connected digitally, yet we seem to be growing apart physically, as we become more consumed by the never-ending social cycle. As we’ve entered this new wave of  social solidarity, we are just now learning of the effects loneliness can have on our bodies, spelled out in an adroit piece by Judith Shulevitz.

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What is Yahoo Trying to Become?

Yahoo is attempting to procure Tumblr for $1.1 billion, and its board will meet on Sunday night to discuss the deal, according to Peter Kafka and Kara Swisher of AllThingsD — who at this point may have a direct line into Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s occipital lobe (Updatethe deal has been approved by Yahoo’s board, says Kara Swisher). With over 100 million visitors per month, according to comScore, and 108 million blogs, according to Tumblr’s homepage, Tumblr could be a great acquisition for just about any major company. But what kind of company is Yahoo trying to become?

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Technological Conservatism

John Siracusa, Hypercritical

…ideas should not be rejected based merely on a lifetime of having lived without them. Today’s “unnecessary” frill is tomorrow’s baseline.

One of my favorite writers and podcasters, John Siracusa, recently published this brilliant article addressing those who are skeptical of modern technology. “Who needs that?” is a phrase I hear far too often when it comes to consumer electronics. The short answer is that sometimes it’s not about need. It’s about want. A desire to make something cool, to push the boundaries, and to advance technology and humankind. Imagine where we would be today without that kind of spirit?

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Apple, Wall Street, America, and Pot-Smoking Lesbians

The end is near

48 million phones sold. Three different iPhones sold 48 million units. 23 million tablets sold. Three different iPads sold 23 million units.

13 million MP3 players sold. 13 million MP3 players sold. 13 million MP3 players sold. 13 million MP3 players sold. 13 million MP3 players sold. Who still buys MP3 players?

$54 billion in revenue. $13 billion in profits. All in 12 weeks. Revenue records broken. Profit records broken. Phone sales records broken. Tablet sales records broken.

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Brewster Release Major Update, Gains Position as Must-Have App

These days, there are only a few ‘must-have’ apps for your iPhone. You have your requisite social network apps, Google Maps,  a choice between Temple Run and Angry Birds, and CNN for breaking news alerts. Today we have a new entry to the list.

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The Decrescendo of CES

CES Decrescendo

CES is changing.

CES 2013 is undoubtedly a success, with a record number of exhibitors, attendees, and press attending the conference. Companies have shown off their newest gadgets, announced milestones, and spoken of their futures, as the mountain of press pore over every detail, while  writing furiously to meet their deadlines, as is usual during the early weeks of January. But for a tech conference like CES, there is a worrisome trend in the industry. The current two-part shift that is occurring in the tech industry — and what could ultimately lead to the decline of the super tech conference brand in general — is the downturn of significant hardware innovation, and the rise of major software and service companies over the last few years.

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iOS SVP Scott Forstall and Retail Head John Browitt out at Apple, Employees are ‘Pleased’ With Browitt’s Departure

iOS VP Scott Forstall and retail head John Browitt are leaving Apple at the end of the year. Forstall leaving isn’t too unexpected — there have been rumors of Forstall clashing with other members of Apple senior leadership.

According to my sources, Apple employees are ‘pleased’ with the news that John Browitt is leaving, stating that ‘the changes he implemented in retail have not been the best choices.’

Eddy Cue has been tasked with bringing Siri — which is still in beta — and Apple Maps up to par with the rest of Apple’s services. Cue has been running iTunes, the App Store, iBookstore, and iCloud with great success.

Craig Federighi will run both OS X and iOS, bringing Apple’s two operating systems closer together, and Bob Mansfield will stay on as head of ‘Technologies,’ which “combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization.” Mansfield’s group includes Apple’s semiconducter teams, who, according to Apple, “have ambitious plans for the future.”

The best news in this whole situation is the promotion of Jony Ive taking over leadership of Human Interface for the entire company. He is the backbone of the Industrial Design that Apple has employed over the past few years, and his touch on the interface level will only increase the quality of all the interfaces Apple customers see on a daily basis.

Press Release:

CUPERTINO, Calif.—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Apple® today announced executive management changes that will encourage even more collaboration between the Company’s world-class hardware, software and services teams. As part of these changes, Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi will add more responsibilities to their roles. Apple also announced that Scott Forstall will be leaving Apple next year and will serve as an advisor to CEO Tim Cook in the interim.

“We are in one of the most prolific periods of innovation and new products in Apple’s history,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The amazing products that we’ve introduced in September and October, iPhone 5, iOS 6, iPad mini, iPad, iMac, MacBook Pro, iPod touch, iPod nano and many of our applications, could only have been created at Apple and are the direct result of our relentless focus on tightly integrating world-class hardware, software and services.”

Jony Ive will provide leadership and direction for Human Interface (HI) across the company in addition to his role as the leader of Industrial Design. His incredible design aesthetic has been the driving force behind the look and feel of Apple’s products for more than a decade.

Eddy Cue will take on the additional responsibility of Siri® and Maps, placing all of our online services in one group. This organization has overseen major successes such as the iTunes Store®, the App Store℠, the iBookstore℠ and iCloud®. This group has an excellent track record of building and strengthening Apple’s online services to meet and exceed the high expectations of our customers.

Craig Federighi will lead both iOS and OS X®. Apple has the most advanced mobile and desktop operating systems, and this move brings together the OS teams to make it even easier to deliver the best technology and user experience innovations to both platforms.

Bob Mansfield will lead a new group, Technologies, which combines all of Apple’s wireless teams across the company in one organization, fostering innovation in this area at an even higher level. This organization will also include the semiconductor teams, who have ambitious plans for the future.

Additionally, John Browett is leaving Apple. A search for a new head of Retail is underway and in the interim, the Retail team will report directly to Tim Cook. Apple’s Retail organization has an incredibly strong network of leaders at the store and regional level who will continue the excellent work that has been done over the past decade to revolutionize retailing with unique, innovative services for customers.

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The Verizon iPhone 5 Can Do Voice and Data Simultaneously With Apple Maps

Verizon may be holding back the iPhone 5. While seeing how lost I could get following directions given by Apple Maps, I got a call on my Verizon iPhone 5, and shockingly, the navigation continued. After just about every publication under the sun declared that simultaneous voice and data on Verizon and Sprint was all but impossible, I expected the turn-by-turn navigation to cut off as soon as I answered the call. To my surprise, a maps notification popped up, and alerted me to turn in 100 feet.

During the call, my location was continually tracked, with Maps alerting me of every change in direction I needed to make in a pop-up notification. When I went into the Maps app, the call continued, as did the turn-by-turn navigation. I did try to do a web search in Safari, and got the familiar “cellular data connections are not available during this call.” The big question is, why is Verizon allowing simultaneous data and voice with Maps, but not anything else?

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