Rolling Stone Controversy, Tile, Apple iCar? and #THANKYOUBOSTON

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Top Story: Rolling Stone in Bad Taste

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You’ve probably seen it.

Famous rock star magazine Rolling Stone sparked a frenzy when it unveiled its August issue cover featuring Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Social media went into uproar, retailers put their foot down, and officials shook their heads over the glorification of the alleged terrorist.

Over a “selfie” photo of Tsarnaev in an Armani shirt that has drawn comparisons to both Bob Dylan and Jim Morrison, the headline reads, “The Bomber: How a Popular, Promising Student was Failed by His Family, Fell Into Radical Islam and Became a Monster.”

Outrage ignited immediately over the cover with complaints that the image appears to be sending the wrong message by glamorizing the bomber and insulting the Bostonians affected by the tragedy. The story itself did not trigger the uproar but Tsarnaev’s place on the cover did.

Mayor Thomas M. Menino issued a letter to Rolling Stone that included the statement, “Among those we lost, those who survived, and those who help carry them forward, there are artists and musicians and dancers and writers. They have dreams and plans. They struggle and strive. The survivors of the Boston attacks deserve Rolling Stone cover stories, though I no longer feel that Rolling Stone deserves them.”

In defense of its cover decision, Rolling Stone said that “Our hearts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing, and our thoughts are always with them and their families. The cover story we are publishing this week falls within the traditions of journalism and Rolling Stone’s long-standing commitment to serious and thoughtful coverage of the most important political and cultural issues of our day.”

While the story may be good journalism, it’s not the story that’s the problem. As Governor Deval Patrick said, “I haven’t read it, but I understand the substance of the article is not objectionable, it’s apparently pretty good reporting. But the cover is out of taste, I think.”

People across social media went into frenzy over the cover. Twitter trended with “#RollingStone” and comments circulated around the web such as, “Is this for real?! Why don’t the VICTIMS get the cover instead? It’s sick that no one cares that people died, real people with lives and families, they just care about whatever will sell,” and “This cover is beyond horrible. It glorifies a mass murderer—and I’m sure it gives a big jolt to some copycat out there. Whoever approved this cover should be fired.”

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The Facebook page “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine For Their Latest Cover” garnered more than 150K likes in 24 hours.

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“Why couldn’t they do an article and allow Bostonians, heroes, victims, etc. grace the cover?” wrote page creator Chris, “How about bands from Boston? Yes, we are lucky to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press… but with freedom often comes consequences. We cannot allow Rolling Stone magazine to think this is okay. What kind of message does this send? Huge bands never made the cover, but a terrorist did.”

Retailers also took action, as various places refused to sell the issue. CVS said in a statement that “As a company with deep roots in New England and a strong presence in Boston, we believe that this is the right decision out of respect for the victims of the attack and their loved ones.” Other retailers emptying their shelves of Rolling Stone include Walgreens, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop, Roche Bros, Cumberland Farms, and Tedeschi Food Shops.

Rolling Stone’s cover decision went horribly wrong by choosing to showcase a terrorist rather than an influential celebrity or rock band that dreams of gracing the cover. Do you agree?

 

Tool of the Week: Tile

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Tile helps you find things. Anything.” Tile is a matchbook-sized, Bluetooth-enabled device that you attach onto any item you want to be able to locate incase it goes missing. Each tile is linked to an iOS app so that if the item it’s attached to does go missing, you can log into your app to find it. You can add up to 10 Tiles on a single account and access the app on any iOS device to pinpoint the Tile’s location within an advertised range of 50 to 150 feet.

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Of course, this is not a novel idea. Stick-N-Find, a quarter-sized low energy Bluetooth device that you stick onto your belongings, came out earlier this year and also links to your smartphone. Apple’s free Find My iPhone helps you locate your missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock your device, or erase all the data on it and has been in action since 2010. Linquet, a Post-it sized gadget, helps you avoid losing things in the first place. It wirelessly connects to your smartphone and starts ringing whenever it moves out of range of your phone.

What does set Tile apart from the rest of the pack is its crowdsourcing feature. Each Tile app has the ability to pick up the location of any Tile, regardless of its owner. So when a Tile user marks a Tile as lost, the entire Tile network is alerted. If any Tile user comes close to the lost item, the Tile owner is sent a notification of its whereabouts. Essentially, it’s a crowd sourced scavenger hunt that helps owners retrieve their lost items without requiring anything from other participants.

For this feature to make any impact, Tile has to first establish a high-density community of users. But with its self-starter funding campaign raising over $1.3 million, having asked for only $20,000, this may just work out.

For a limited time, you can pre-order a Tile for $18.95 online. They’re expected to ship in winter 2013/2014 in the United States and Canada. Will you order one?

 

Under the Radar: Apple Patents TouchScreen Car Dashboard

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How much more extensive could Apple get as a tech company? Apparently, much more. Apple is now branching out into the car industry. The company was granted a patent last week for a new car dashboard that would digitize most of the manual controls, letting you control everything from the temperature to the radio station using a touchscreen.

Apple announced its intentions to bring iOS to vehicles during its annual developer conference earlier this year. “iOS in the Car” is expected to be released in 2014, and will allow your iPhone 5 to connect to your car’s in-dash system. Phone calls, messaging, music and directions will be streamed to your vehicle through Siri support. Say hello to a hands and eyes free way of using your phone while you drive.

Apple claims that the new system will be supported by a wide range of car manufacturers such as Honda, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari. However, every new product has its obstacles to overcome. For Apple’s “iOS in the Car”, it’s the fact that car manufacturers need their home-built software to distinguish themselves from their competitors. Many manufacturers already offer some sort of dashboard functionality that Apple would need to overthrow. Some skeptics of the touchscreen dashboard argue that touchscreen systems become frustrating and distracting when driving anything but the smoothest of motorways. Apple combats this argument by planning to feature a series of ridges and indents in its touchscreen to help guide drivers’ fingers along the dashboard. Here Apple goes again, fighting functionality criticism with further innovation.

Some big name car companies, including BMW, have declared that they are unsure about participating with the project. Nonetheless, Apple has its eyes on the prize and is moving forward with the project regardless of the lack in support.

Could this turn out to be one of Apple’s biggest tech advances, or one of its biggest flops? For now, the answer to that question doesn’t matter. Apple is succeeding at keeping the digital and tech world buzz zeroed-in on their activity.

 

Around the Hub: Paul Pierce says #THANKYOUBOSTON

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In a supremely cool move after an announcement that left Bostonians feeling devastated and more than a little empty inside, the most iconic Celtics player since the Larry Bird era Paul Pierce took to Instagram to commemorate his favorite moments since joining the team 15 years ago in 1998.

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He may have been officially introduced as a member of the Brooklyn Nets, but Paul Pierce will always be a part of Boston. Nicknamed “The Truth” by Shaquille O’Neal for his extraordinary scoring ability, Pierce has been a starter on the team for every season and led the team to the NBA finals in 2008 and 2010.

Signing each photo with #THANKYOUBOSTON, “The Truth” was getting nostalgic as he looked back on the best moments he had here to say goodbye to the city one last time.

The first was a snapshot that captured what Pierce meant to the Celtics – the link that bridged the gap between Larry Bird and the next Celtics superstar:

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There was that the famous commercial of Pierce sitting in the rafters at TD Garden, yearning for an 18th NBA Championship banner:

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The 2008 Championship, of course:

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The commemoration of his 20,000th point during the 2011 season (making him 1 of only 3 people ever to achieve the same feat in NBA history):

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And some of his charity work around town:

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#THANKYOUBOSTON has been trending ever since. #ThankYouPaulPierce, you will always be a Boston Celtic to us.