Second Life obsessed parents starve two-year-old child



Online gaming Is fun and an escape from reality, but when it becomes your reality at the expense of you family Its an issue that needs to be dealt with. When it becomes life threatening then its a crime. No child should be neglected because you cant drag yourself away from the computer to see to their basic needs.

US couple obsessed with a video game have allegedly let daughter starve


A Couple have been accused of starving their two-year-old daughter after becoming obsessed with the online video game Second Life.

Mark Knapp, 48, and wife, Elizabeth Pester, 33, from Tulsa, USA, were charged with child neglect and abuse after the girl was rushed to hospital weighing just 5.8 kilograms. The average two-year-old should weigh between ten and fifteen kilograms, depending on their height.

The girl was admitted to St Francis Hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday, with detective Denielle Bishop telling Newson6 that on top of being severely underweight, she could not walk, move or talk.

“My gut feeling is the child probably never left the apartment” she said.

“She can’t walk, they claim that she can crawl, the back of her head is completely flat.”

Hospital staff alerted authorities after Knapp and Pester told them they would be back on Thursday to check on the girl, despite living just around the corner. When local police arrived at the house, Knapp reportedly asked them if they were there because their daughter died. They were found playing Second Life.

The couple are previously known to authorities, having had their daughter taken from them in June 2012 for being underweight. She was returned to them in July 2012 on the condition that she would attend weekly weigh-ins, which did not happen.

Pester, whose avatar is a blonde DJ, allegedly rescheduled her daughter’s appointments around her performances as a virtual DJ in Second Life.

The couple are being held in Tulsa county jail on a US$50,000 bond each. The little girl is still in hospital in a critical condition.

The case is eerily similar to the 2010 case involving Korean couple Kim Yoo-chul and Choi Mi-sun, who raised an avatar baby through their profiles on a Second Life-style game called PRIUS. They were both charged with child abuse and neglect when their obsession with another world lead to their real daughter dying at three months of age.

Facebook removes search restriction


FACEBOOK is changing again. This time it is getting rid of a privacy feature that lets users limit who can find them on the social network.

Facebook Inc said on Thursday it is removing a setting that controls whether users could be found when people type their name into the website’s search bar.

Facebook says only a single-digit percentage of the nearly 1.2 billion people on its network were using the setting.

The change comes as Facebook is building out its search feature, which people often use to find people they know – or want to know – on the site.

Facebook says users can protect their privacy by limiting the audience for each thing they post about themselves.

Meet the American ‘Siri’

She helps you get to meetings on time, tells you what the weather is like outside, and the best restaurant to go to for dinner.

And until now, her identity has remained a mystery. But the voice behind the American Siri, Apple’s first voice-activated “virtual assistant”, has finally been revealed, reports CNN.

Her name is Susan Bennett. She’s a voiceover artist from suburban Atlanta who’s been working in the industry since the 1970s.

Bennett (who refuses to name her age) fell into voice work by accident, but is now heard all over the world. She speaks in countless commercials and on phone systems. She spells out directions from GPS devices and addresses travellers in Delta airport terminals.

In July 2005, she spent four hours every day laying down audio for a client in her home recording booth. She read out hundreds of nonsensical phrases, words and sentences for the mysterious “ubergeeks”. Back then, this was just another recording job. Siri was six years away from being invented so she had no clue about how the words would be used. Little did she know they would be spoken to over 100 million people through a yet-to-be-invented phone.

Siri debuted in October 2011, when Apple released the iPhone 4S. Bennett hadn’t purchased the phone, but those close to her did.

“A colleague e-mailed me [about Siri] and said, ‘Hey, we’ve been playing around with this new Apple phone. Isn’t this you?'”

Bennett went to Apple’s website and listened to video clips announcing Siri. The voice was unmistakably hers.

Siri’s identity has remained unknown up until now. Apple is notoriously secretive about its inner workings but the veil was lifted after tech news site The Verge recently posted a video How Siri found its voice , igniting speculation about the real person behind the voice of Siri.

Apple wouldn’t confirm reports Siri was Bennett, so CNN hired an audio forensics expert to verify the claim. He says he is “100 per cent” certain the two are the same.

Bennett has also been tight-lipped about her secret fame. So what made her change her mind and go public?

“I really had to weigh the importance of it for me personally. I wasn’t sure that I wanted that notoriety, and I also wasn’t sure where I stood legally. And so, consequently, I was very conservative about it for a long time,”

Sometimes it’s a good idea to dump someone by text message.

Sometimes, it’s OK to dump someone by text message. We think this is one of those moments.

Quin Woodward Pu, 26, a blogger and “memoirist”, met a guy during a big drunken night out. He was a “rando” but they had drinks later that weekend and things seemed pretty good.

They had dinner the following weekend and even planned another date — a day trip to a wine region a short drive away.

Until he had second thoughts. And gently let her know he just wasn’t feeling it in this text message:



Ms Woodward Pu was mortified. So she blew up, posting his text message — and her brutal response — on her well-read Washington DC blog, Little Black Blog.

“I was stunned into paralysis. I had no words … and I just felt short of breath,” she said. “I was still so agitated 10 hours later that I had to leave opera rehearsal early. This is a serious no-no, given that opening night is Saturday at the Organisation of American States.”

“Then I realised: I am on the eve of my 26th birthday. Why am I stewing instead of just expressing what I really feel? There is practically nothing to lose from just telling the truth.”581634-7ac276d4-2649-11e3-abe3-b1f1d77b1129

Can’t see why he would be too scared to talk to her in person.

Despite posting her fire-breathing take-down for the world to see while she was consumed with rage, Ms Woodward Pu also assured readers the relationship was never that serious.

“(After dinner with him the second time) I actually headed out to a bar to meet up with a former lover from 2012, with whom I may or may not entertain a few exchanges here and there.”



Apple’s new operating system for the iPhone 5S.

Sales of the iPhone 5S have soared, but consumers’ moods over iOS 7 has soured. Apple users are panicking over iOS7.

Some have had their data wiped, others’ devices were caught in limbo after iOS 7 crashed their phones or iPads, apps disappeared, for some iTunes didn’t work properly.

It’s clear that iOS 7 is probably the weakest of all of Apple’s operating systems by virtue of the sheer volume of bugs discovered since it launched a week ago.

iOS 7 is more sophisticated than past Apple operating systems but that doesn’t mean people are ready for it. The virtue of Apple devices is they’re so simple even a three-year-old can use them.
Though the same can not be said of iOS 7.

I believe Apple is massively over-estimating the capacity of its customers to keep up.

iPhones and iPads are not just devices used by “cool, tech savvy” types, They’re used by almost everyone. And that includes mums and dads, grandparents and 30-somethings.

People over the last week expressed a sense of isolation from the world of Apple. Technology should be inclusive, not exclusive. Apple needs to be doing more to create a positive experience for its customers.

Not all Apple users will ever need to realise their device’s full potential but at the bare minimum they should be able to send text messages, make calls, use Facetime, take pictures and email them to their loved ones, post them on Facebook, download songs onto iTunes and buy things from the app store without breaking into a cold sweat.
But even these tasks are difficult for the vast majority of users.

It’s commendable that Apple wants to challenge its users but if that is the case it needs to make itself more available to people when they need help.

That means employing more people. Customers shouldn’t have to make an appointment a week in advance and inevitably wait in line for another hour for the Genius staff at the Apple store,without being patronised by the Apple “Geniuses”

Installing a new operating system should not wipe your data but it has been known to happen. iOS 7 is really buggy. This is stating the obvious but why was iOS 7 was released in its current form. All software is buggy, particularly during its first release, but iOS 7 is really taking things to a whole new level.

When adding an image from your photo roll to your phone’s wallpaper it seems impossible to scale it so it fits the screen. You end up with either a massively stretched and pixelated image or one that’s too small to fit. So far no fix hs been found for this issue and not a single person who has figured out how to get around it. (This is just one example).

Using the music controls which are available on lock screen also doesn’t seem to work.

The Find My Friend feature doesn’t seem to work at all since the iOS 7 update.

The touchscreen is plagued by delays and screen freezes are far too frequent.

This may be torturing a cliche but I wonder what Steve Jobs would have made of iOS 7.

A sucker for perfection I’m pretty confident he would never have approved its launch in its current form.

Customers have been forced to choose between saving their device from failure and saving their photos.Why? Because iOS 7 requires you to set up a passcode when you first set up iOS 7 but unfortunately some people are getting locked out of their devices because the passcode they used to set up the device isn’t accepted.

Two couples who had both returned from holidays overseas and were faced with losing all of their holiday photos on their devices because of this passcode error.

If the iPad or iPhone were a PC they would have a lot more options at their disposal. Data recovery services could more easily access the device and obtain the photos and extract them so they could install a new operating system without fear of losing their photos.
The same cannot be said of Apple devices.

Both couples went to the Apple store and were told by Apple Genuises there was nothing they could do to save their photos and they would have to reinstall iOS 7 which would likely wipe the device of its pictures and videos.

Perhaps Apple should stop focusing on phones and iPads for a while.
Another year, another phone, another operating system. The world is waiting for Apple to reinvent something the way it did with the iPod and iPhone. These days it’s just tweaking its existing model and re-releasing it.

Apple Could take a few years off and only release a new phone once every two years, giving it time to find a completely new technology to revolutionise.

The company’s upcoming music streaming service for example is an area it should focus its energies on.

Apple has worked hard to pretty up its design, finally giving its monotone devices a splash of colour and sophistication; the idea being that consumers will have more power to customise their devices, further adding to their sense of identity.
This is a really clever move but again I feel Apple has skipped over some important steps.

Why for example is the search for tweets feature in Safari hidden in the Bookmarks menu?

And why is Apple continuing to speak in double negatives when it comes to privacy settings?

If you want to limit ad tracking you have to toggle the button to on. Surely if you want to stop Apple tracking your browsing habits you’d switch that button to off? This would be the logical thing that everyone would understand. That is exactly why Apple designed the feature to reflect the opposite. People will turn Limit Ad Tracking off thinking that they’re protecting their privacy when really they’re giving Apple carte blanche to spy on their internet habits.

Apple has gotten carried away with design and has forgotten about its customer base. If design isn’t educational and instructional it’s not doing its job.

Facebook kidnap gang busted in Pakistan



A Gang which lured youngsters through Facebook and telephone calls before kidnapping them for ransom has been busted in Pakistan.

The gang, which included a lawyer, his wife, the son of a policeman and four others, was active in the industrial town of Gujranwala in central Punjab province and was traced by tracking phone calls.

“This gang of friends was using their female member to trap youngsters on Facebook and through phone calls,” Shoaib Khurram, a senior police official, said.

“The girl was assigned to trap targeted young boys in fake love on Facebook and phone and then invite them for dates.”

He said the other members would kidnap the boys when they came to meet her.

“So far, we have got verification about two boys who were trapped in fake love of this lady and were then kidnapped by this gang. Their families later paid ransom amounts worth millions of rupees to get them free,” Khurram said.

Pakistan earlier this month cracked down on ‘immoral’ love chat services offered by mobile phone companies, stifling hopes of illicit romance in the conservative Muslim country, where dating is frowned upon.

In 2010, Pakistan shut down Facebook for nearly two weeks over blasphemy and continues to restrict hundreds of online links.

Global stempede for iPhone 5S, 5C turns to chaos and more…

Campout’s for the new iPhone turned into chaos on Friday morning when two men were arrested for fighting outside an Apple Store and a man’s plan to hire homeless people to wait in line for the devices backfired.

Dozens of people recruited at a Los Angeles homeless shelter to buy iPhones in bulk at a Pasadena store were left unpaid, so they mobbed the man who had hired them. One of the homeless men was placed on a 72-hour mental health hold after running into the street in an enraged state.

Dominoe Moody, 43, said he was driven the 10 miles or so to Pasadena from Los Angeles with several vanloads of people to wait in line. He was promised $40 but said he wasn’t paid because after handing the man an iPhone, the man was escorted away by police when people became angry with him.

Moody said, “It didn’t go right. I stood out here all night,that he has no way to get back to Los Angeles.”

The would-be entrepreneur, whose name was not released, was clutching a single bag stuffed with iPhones when he was escorted into a police cruiser and driven away at around 9.30am local time. The man was not cited because he did nothing illegal.

In a separate incident hours earlier at the same store, two men were arrested after getting into a fistfight while in line along Colorado Boulevard.

George Westbrook, 23, of Compton, and Lamar Mitchell, 43, of Pasadena, were cited for fighting in public.No significant injuries were reported.

Customers clamoring for the new devices shrugged off the notion that Apple, which has been losing market share to rivals, had lost its edge in innovation. But some complained about the high price. David Kaminsky, first in line at the Apple store in Bethesda, Maryland, said he had waited more than 12 hours for the 8am opening, to ensure he got one of the gold-colored iPhones. “It’s not just the technology – it’s the experience, the simplicity,” he said.

In New York, 19-year-old musician Brian Ceballo said he waited for 15 days outside the Fifth Avenue store to get the 5S model, and was impressed by the phone’s new fingerprint identity system and slow-motion camera. “Every time it surprises people,” he said.

In Tokyo, a lucrative new deal with Japan’s biggest mobile carrier lent some celebrity glitz to the opening in the nation of gadget-lovers. Diehard fans began lining up last week and even sat through a weekend storm to keep their spot in a queue that grew to around a kilometre in length by opening time, police estimated.

Media helicopters hovered over Tokyo, where a man dressed as Batman waited outside the Apple store in upmarket Ginza next to a woman with a shock of pink hair and a life-size Steve Jobs pillow. Actor Ken Watanabe, star of Inception and Letters From Iwo Jima, was on hand to welcome buyers with a handshake and a broad smile at Docomo’s main Tokyo shop, marking the new alliance between Apple and the country’s biggest carrier.

The firm, the mobile unit of NTT, which has about 42 percent of the Japanese market, has shed more than 3.5 million subscribers to rivals since 2008, when SoftBank first rolled out the iPhone in Japan, local media have reported. Hisako Nagashima, a 34-year-old manicurist who was waiting to snap up an iPhone 5S in gold, said it had been make-or-break time for her relationship with the company.”If NTT Docomo had not released iPhone this time, I would have changed carriers,” she said.

There was no crush in China, where Apple had a pre-booking system to avoid a repeat of the near-riot in Beijing at the 2011 release of the iPad 2 that left four people in hospital. Those prepared to shell out a minimum 4488 yuan ($730) for the pared-down iPhone 5C, or at least 5288 yuan for the iPhone 5S, said they didn’t mind the cost. “It’s not about the price, it’s about the brand, I think Apple is the best,” said Chang Yi, a 29-year-old real-estate salesman.

Others milling around outside the store had a different opinion. “It’s too expensive… it’s a luxury item,” said 19-year-old student Meng Jia. “If the price was around 2,000 yuan, I would buy one.”

Singapore’s biggest carrier Singtel said it expected 10,000 people to pick up their new iPhones at its launch event, and that there had been a rush on the gold model. “Our gold-color iPhones were completely sold out within four minutes when we opened online reservations on 18 September,” said a Singtel spokesman.

In Australia, the sticker price shocked some consumers. “Incredible – Apple charging $99 for iPhone 5C in the USA (with a contract) but $740 in Australia and its $1200 for 5S – no wonder Android phones are popular,” tweeted David Smith.

The polycarbonate-bodied 5C, supposedly aimed at budget-conscious shoppers, was widely flagged as Apple’s answer to the onslaught of cheaper, Android-powered models, led by Samsung. Apple has not revealed what the ‘C’ stands for, but did not knock down months of media speculation that it was intended to signify “cheap” or “China”.

In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published on Thursday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook said quality had always been the driving force. “We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone,” Mr Cook told the magazine. “Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost.”

The new phones were on sale Friday in the US, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore and Britain, with other rollouts due.

In Maryland, an Israeli who identified himself only as Idan BT, said he wanted one “because it won’t be available in my country for another four months, and at double the price.” Despite their simultaneous availability in China – the first time Apple has brought the country online in the initial wave – Hong Kong’s resellers were pouncing, hoping to flip the phones for as much as double what they paid. “Handsome boy, are you selling your phones?” a reseller was heard discreetly saying, before leading new iPhone 5S owners to the back stairs of the shopping mall to carry out the transaction.

And if all that wasn’t enough, iPhone 5S is being offered for sale on eBay in the UK for as much as STG2000 ($A3418) by those anticipating enthusiastic fans will pay over the odds to get their hands on the device.

The wait for the new handset finally ended on Friday as thousands of people streamed through the doors of Apple stores around the country, many of them having camped out for days. The 5S device, said to be twice as fast as its predecessor, is available in the UK through EE, O2, Three, Carphone Warehouse and Phones4u priced at STG549 (16GB), STG629 (32GB) and STG709 (64GB).

But with hundreds of listings on eBay for the device with fixed prices running into the thousands, it appears that those who have already bought it are hoping to cash in and make a hefty profit.
Some tech fans began queuing outside Apple’s flagship store in London’s Regent Street as early as Monday afternoon to buy Apple’s latest model, which is equipped with a fingerprint scanner.

Noah Green, 17, was the first in the queue, and said he turned down offers of up to STG5000 ($A8547) for his prime spot but would have only considered giving up his place for STG10,000. Emerging from the store 20 minutes after the doors opened to rapturous applause, the teen, clutching a limited edition gold device, said: “It’s the best feeling in the world”.He said had only left his vigil to shower at a nearby gym since setting up camp outside the store.