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Nikki Shewmaker

Google Glass bans porn app

Adult content creators bummed

Google, the Internet giant, has decided to crack down on the available uses of its newest item, Google Glass.  The glasses, which have only been distributed through Google’s early adopter’s program, allow wearers to see life through a digital lens. Google Glass, which retails at $1500, is a wearable computer with smart phone capabilities and a camera all built into the lens and the right arm. Many of the functions can be voice activated.

However, Google should have been prepared for what happened this morning. That’s right, a porn app. MiKandi, an adult content web developer, debuted “T*** and Glass” which allowed viewers to browse and vote on explicit content, as well as uploading their own racy media filmed with Google Glass. “We always try to be up to date on the latest technology. We are a mobile-first company,” Jesse Adams, the CEO and co-founder of MiKandi told reporters. “You are literally recording what you see and sharing it. If someone else can see a little taste of what you saw in front of their eyes, that kind of interaction is really fun. It’s that live personalized experience that you can then see on your eyes that’s really interesting.”

Interesting though it may be, Google was having none of it and immediately updated its developer policy, which now states, “We don’t allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts or sexually explicit material.”

This change may quell the fears that many had over rights being violated as Google Glass owners would be able to film them without their knowledge or consent. While people could still film complete strangers, for now it is safe to say that no one would be appearing on any nefarious sites once Google Glass officially launches its app store.

As for Mikandi, the developers and employees are disappointed. They hope Google will loosen up on its policy and for now, the company is changing its plans. “We are going to have to be really creative. There are tasteful and artful things we can do. We still really want to play around the idea of having Glass users share the content, but we need to figure out ways for users to share photos, whether they are just sexy or clothed.”

Target launches beauty concierge counters

Does a big box store need makeup artists?

Target is known for its simplicity. It’s economically friendly and carries every general item a person could need including clothing, household goods, groceries, a photo department as well as hair and makeup supplies. However, in recent years Target has been transitioning many of its stores for the urban market, focusing on the upscale needs of city elites.

Target’s newest endeavor is installing beauty concierges inside the makeup department. Beauty concierges, if you aren’t aware, are those overly-aggressive makeup artists who pounce on you and attempt to glamorize your look if you come within a 15-foot radius of their station. They usually exist in high-end retailers for pricey makeup lines and are the first thing customers encounter when they enter the store, thereby making them unavoidable.

According to Target’s press release, the beauty concierges are “a highly trained, brand agnostic beauty enthusiast” who will be available to aid customers in perfecting their look without an appointment, noting that “In an often crowded and sometimes daunting marketplace, Target’s Beauty Concierge program ensures that guests receive the friendly, personalized assistance and counsel they need, while purchasing their favorite beauty products at affordable prices.”

So far the new campaign has launched in 96 stores throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County area and the corporation has plans to implement the new stations in the Midwest this summer. Based on the success in these markets, Target will decide whether to continue the rollout.

I personally think this is a terrible idea. I shop at Target regularly because it is hassle-free. I know what I want and what I am looking for and if I need help, I’ll ask for it. If I wanted to be hounded by someone working on commission, I’d go to Nordstrom and if I actually need help with my beauty regime, I’d visit Sephora.

Ladies, how do you feel about the changes coming to a Target near you? Are you excited about having your own personal beauty consultant or would you rather be left to shop in peace? Sound off in the comments.

Harry Potter still manages to enchant 16 years later

A signed first-edition conjures up $228,000 at auction

A signed copy of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” sold for $228,000 at a Sotheby’s auction in London. This first-edition copy contained handwritten annotations, illustrations and Rowling’s own ideas on the writing process.  The book was sold to an anonymous phone bidder.

For those of you who’ve somehow been living under a rock for the past 16 years (seriously, if you haven’t read the books, stop what you are doing and make a beeline for the nearest Barnes and Noble), J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series spanned seven novels and became a worldwide sensation, appealing to readers of all ages. The publication of the novels even sparked an increase in childhood readership, in an age where movies and computers take precedence. Along with a movie series, theme park and every tie-in possible, the series has become one of the most successful franchises of all time.

Perhaps even more impressive, J.K. Rowling was near destitute when the first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published. Much like Harry Potter himself, J.K. Rowling struggled and overcame every adversity thrown at her. Her hard work and creativity paid off as she became one of the richest women in the world.

“Harry Potter” editions often sell for high prices, but the bid at Sotheby’s was exorbitant, far surpassing all of the other auction items. Rowling’s edition brought in more than half of all the proceeds, with the second-highest price of $45,000 going to a first-edition of Roald Dahl’s “Matilda”. All of the proceeds at the Sotheby’s auction were donated to the English PEN Writers’ Association.

"Doctor Who" bids Matt Smith adieu

The Tardis will be hosting a new Doctor next season

Doctor Who, everyone’s favorite Time Lord, will be finding itself with the newest incarnation of the doctor after the 50th anniversary episode. Matt Smith, the current Doctor Who, has held the eponymous role for the past three years, but announced that he would be leaving the show at the end of this year.

Matt Smith noted that playing Doctor Who had been an honor, saying, “Doctor Who” has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.”

“Doctor Who” is the world’s longest running science-fiction program and Matt Smith was the eleventh person to play the famed doctor. The series premiered on the BBC in 1963 and ran intermittently throughout the years. “Doctor Who” was revived in 2005 to spectacular acclaim and popularity and despite Matt Smith’s exit, shows no signs of slowing down.

Speculation is running rampant as to who will be the next Doctor Who, but executive producer Steven Moffat is remaining mum for the time being. All sorts of names have been thrown into the ring to take over the role of Doctor Who, including Idris Elba (he’d be the first black incarnation), Rupert Grint (random, just because he was in an insanely successful franchise about a wizard doesn’t mean he is “Doctor Who” material) and even Dame Helen Mirren.

Another “Doctor Who” insider notes that Moffat probably has some tricks up his sleeve. “If you look at the history of the things he’s done, nobody but Moffat would have cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes or Matt Smith as Doctor Who. The only thing you can expect is the unexpected.”

Regardless, whoever is cast as Doctor Who will have some big shoes to fill. It isn’t easy to play a 900-year old time-traveling alien out to save humanity.
 

Tim Tebow: Is it time for retirement?

Tim Tebow is now a free agent, but negotiations seem to have stalled

Tim Tebow was released by the New York Jets over a month ago and little has been heard about him or from him since. The NFL draft is over and there has been no mention of Tim Tebow being tied to another team. Several anonymous sources have come forward to claim that Tim Tebow and his camp know his NFL career is over.

For many, this comes as a surprise as Tim Tebow was a Heisman Trophy winner and a successful quarterback for the Denver Broncos. However, he quickly became a household name not for his skills as a football player, but rather for his personal beliefs. Tim Tebow’s act of kneeling on the field in prayer became known as “Tebowing” and he caught mass media attention for proclaiming to be a virgin.

In fact, this media coverage is partially to blame for Tim Tebow’s dismissal from the New York Jets. One scout noted, “He’s not a quarterback. When you look at his run two years ago, when you watch the tape and break it down, he wasn’t really doing anything that impressive. He’s a tough guy, a great leader, a great person. But he isn’t a good enough quarterback to have all the distractions that come with him.”

Ouch. That has to sting. However, Bob Tebow, father of Tim Tebow, says the reports that his son’s career is over are false, telling reporters, “You are old enough not to believe all you hear.” Regardless, Tim Tebow has yet to make any indication as to his next move and the longer he waits, the less likely he will be to sign with another team. Despite offers from CFL and the Arena League, it seems likely that Tim Tebow will hold out for another NFL deal, or be forced to retire all together.

Kim Kardashian: It's a girl!

Kim Kardashian revealed baby’s gender on season premiere

Kim Kardashian, bombshell reality star, announced that she and Kanye West will be having a baby girl this summer. Kim Kardashian made the long-awaited reveal on the season premiere of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” during which her ultrasound was filmed (because of course it was). Kim Kardashian was surrounded by her mother, Kris and sisters Kourtney and Khloe.

“I’m so excited we’re having a girl,” Kim Kardashian said on the show. “Who doesn’t want a girl? Like, they are the best. I know that’s what Kanye has always wanted, a little girl.”

Kanye West, the notoriously private superstar, was absent from filming. Then again, West has been absent for most of Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy. West has been living in Paris while recording his new album and has only been spotted with Kim Kardashian a handful of times (most of those being when she has made the transatlantic flight to be by his side). Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, lives for the camera and is seemingly always being filmed. The filming of Kim Kardashian’s reality show has long been a point of contention between the couple, as reported by numerous entertainment sites.

Kim Kardashian has not had an easy pregnancy. Amid vicious gossip over her expanding waistline (she’s pregnant guys- you’re supposed to gain weight), a medical scare, an MIA Kanye and legal drama involving her finally-divorced ex-husband, Kris Humphries, the reality starlet has tried to put on a brave face and enjoy the fact that she is about to be a mother.

However, Kim Kardashian and her family are no stranger to scandals (they rose to prominence with the release of a sex tape featuring Kim Kardashian and ex-boyfriend Ray-J), but given the seriousness of the situation, hopefully Kanye West has legitimate reasons for staying away from Kim Kardashian during this delicate time. Either way, baby Kimye is sure to take after her mother in the looks department, but maybe, just maybe, she’ll take after her father and realize that privacy is a valuable commodity.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship catches fire

Passengers return home as investigation is launched

Royal Caribbean joins the ranks of cruise lines meeting unfortunate fates this year. The Royal Caribbean ship caught fire early Monday morning, damaging The Grandeur of the Seas badly enough that the cruise was cancelled and all passengers will be flown home from the Bahamas.

It took two hours for the blaze to be extinguished and no one aboard the Royal Caribbean ship was injured. There is no known cause, but the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. The Royal Caribbean crew immediately sprung into action, giving instructions and directing passengers to safety.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson, Cynthia Martinez, released a statement, “Royal Caribbean is deeply sorry for this unexpected development in our guests’ vacation. We understand that this may have been a very stressful time for them. We appreciate their patience and cooperation in dealing with this unfortunate situation.” Martinez also noted that all 2,224 passengers were returning home via chartered flights as well as receiving full refunds and certificates towards a future cruise.

The Grandeur of the Seas is just one of many cruise ships that have had serious incidents this year, including another fire, loss of plumbing, technical issues and missing passengers. Royal Caribbean says the ship will be out of commission indefinitely for repairs.
 

Amanda Bynes : The saga continues

Recent arrest prompts even more concern for fallen star

Amanda Bynes, we’re seriously worried about you. In her never-ending downward spiral, Amanda Bynes hit a new low over the holiday weekend with another arrest and one of the most unfortunate celebrity mug shots ever. In the newest entry in Amanda Bynes’ big bag of crazy, the trouble began when Bynes attempted to board a private jet without proper identification. When the pilot denied her access, she insisted that the flight crew Google her to prove her identity, but she was ultimately turned away. Amanda Bynes, for the record, denied this ever happened.

Then, on Thursday night, police were called on Amanda Bynes by the doorman of her Manhattan apartment. The doorman claims Amanda Bynes was smoking marijuana in the lobby of the building, but the starlet had retreated to her apartment by the time police arrived. After police entered her unit, Amanda Bynes allegedly flung a bong out the window of her 36th floor apartment and was promptly arrested.

She was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation (which she apparently passed) and then to the local precinct. Two mug shots were taken and Amanda Bynes appears disoriented in both, but fans were shocked by her shaved head as well as the shot in which she was allowed to wear her slovenly-looking wig.

Amanda Bynes appeared before a judge on Friday morning (wig intact) and was released without bail on her own recognizance. Then the fun began. Amanda Bynes took to Twitter, her favorite method of communication, and announced that everything being reported about the arrest was false. Amanda Bynes claimed she had not been smoking pot, that she threw a vase out the window and that members of the NYPD had illegally entered her apartment, as well as sexually assaulted her.

“My lawyer and I are taking this mistake extremely seriously! You cannot illegally enter my apartment then take me to mental hospital without any grounds. I have never been so offended in my life. They found nothing criminal on me or around me, one cop then sexually assaulted me, so I’m suing for all of the above! I’ll be happy when I get money compensation from the cop who assaulted me and NYPD for wrongfully arresting me and having me put into a mental hospital and jail overnight,” was just one of the many missives Amanda Bynes posted to Twitter.

Then, for no apparent reason, Amanda Bynes decided to call out Rihanna on Twitter, claiming that the reason Chris Brown assaulted the Barbadian singer was because Rihanna is so ugly. Amanda Bynes later claimed that someone had doctored the tweet and that she was really a fan of Rihanna, hoping they could one day be in a music video together. Rihanna, who is also known for her Twitter feuds, simply replied, “Ya see what happens when they cancel ‘Intervention’?”

Amid Amanda Bynes complaining of misconduct, the NYPD has launched an investigation into the incident. Despite the continued misconduct of Amanda Bynes, it’s hard to know what to think anymore. Many people believe Amanda Bynes is in serious need of help, yet the judge released her without bail and she was deemed mentally competent by the hospital. Regardless, Amanda Bynes is immensely talented and everyone is hoping for the best for the starlet. No one wants to see her crash and burn and we most definitely don’t want to see her join the 27 Club.

Xbox One preview

Microsoft’s new console promises wild gaming innovation

Xbox fans will be pleased to hear that a new gaming system will be coming their way soon. Microsoft is expected to release details of the new Xbox gaming system today during a presentation at their headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

The Xbox 360 hit the market eight years ago and has remained one of the best-selling consoles ever since, allowing Microsoft to lead the gaming industry. The news that the Xbox One would debut by year’s end sent gamers into a frenzy. Microsoft recognizes that modern gamers want more than just gaming on their consoles and intends to deliver. The new console will feature voice command, universal gestures and cloud integration. Not only that, but players will be able to seamlessly switch between gaming, TV and web browsing with the ability to run multiple programs at once. The Xbox One will also have a Blu-ray drive and the Xbox Live servers will be updated in order to handle the new features.

Don Mattrick, Microsoft’s president of interactive business, told reporters, “Today, we look forward. It’s time for technology to step behind the curtain and for you and entertainment to take center stage.”

A full-scale presentation of the Xbox One is scheduled for E3 in June. Along with the new console, fans will be treated to special content from Activision as well as original video programming for the Xbox One, including a live-action version of “Halo” produced by Hollywood titan Steven Spielberg. With this sort of innovation Microsoft, once again, is ready to take on the world.

Andrea Robello accidentally killed by police officer

Victim honored at Hofstra University graduation ceremony

Andrea Robello had a bright future in front of her. Having just finished her junior year at Hofstra University, Andrea Robello was looking forward to an exciting summer with her twin sister and friends, however, things came to a tragic end on Friday when Andrea Robello was used as a human-shield against police gunfire during a home invasion.

The tragic night began as Andrea Robello, her twin sister, Jessica and two other friends returned home from a night out at a local bar. Unknown to the group, they had been trailed by Dalton Smith, 30, a career criminal with a rap sheet spanning 15  years. Smith burst into the house wearing a ski mask and demanding $10,000 owed to a Russian gangster. He was brandishing a gun and threatened the group. As Andrea Robello and her friends handed over all the cash they had in their possession, Smith proceeded to demand more, telling the group, “I saw you at the bar drinking. I know you have more money than this!”

Amid Andrea Robello handing over electronics to the intruder, one member of the group was released under the pretense that she was going to withdraw money from a nearby ATM. Once outside she immediately called the Nassau County police. In the meantime, Smith demanded other valuables and took Andrea Robello and her twin sister, Jessica, upstairs to retrieve their jewelry collection. When Smith realized cops had arrived, he pulled Andrea Robello into a headlock and threatened to kill her.

There was a brief standoff between the responding officer and Smith, when the officer fired eight shots. Seven shots hit Smith, killing him. The eighth shot struck Andrea Robello in the head. Both Robello and Smith died at the scene. According to authorities, the officer responded swiftly, believing both his and Andrea Robello’s life was in danger. The officer, who is a 12-year veteran of the police force, has been put on mandatory sick leave.

As the graduation ceremony at Hofstra University continued over the weekend, what should have been a celebration turned into a somber affair, with graduates and faculty wearing white ribbons to honor the memory of Andrea Robello.

“It’s not going to ever be the same without her. She was a beautiful girl inside and out, and I know she’s watching down on us,” said Robello’s friend, Talia Sperandio.

Funeral arrangements have been made by the family for Wednesday. Andrea Robello was just 21-years old.