Alzheimer’s insights in single cells

first_imgBuilding on research reported last year, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital have succeeded in identifying the neurons that secrete the substance responsible for the plaques that build up in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients.The work has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.Focusing on the form of the disease found in early onset Alzheimer’s, in the 2 percent of patients who develop the progressive dementia before age 65, Tracy Young-Pearse said she and colleagues now “can examine amyloid beta secretion at the single-cell level, and better understand the responses of individual cells to drugs.”“I think that could be very valuable” in developing treatments, she said.Young-Pearse, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School (HMS), said that her team’s latest work, carried out in collaboration with J. Christopher Love of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an example of the latest advances in, and importance of, the ability to study disease processes on the level of individual cells.“We didn’t have the ability to do this until recently,” Young-Pearse said. “The amount of heterogeneity between two cells that you think are the same can actually be huge. There are incredible differences between cell types. And we finally have the ability to look at those differences on the single cell level.“Chris Love developed this great system for looking at individual immune system cells, such as B cells and T cells,” Young-Pearse said, and “he helped us apply his system to neuroscience. I’m really excited about being able to apply this to neurological disease.”Both the miniaturization and scale of the research system are massive. A single slide has 86,000 wells in it, each of which can hold a single cell for analysis.The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Koch Institute.last_img read more

Composite Sketch Released in Craggy Gardens Assault Case

first_imgWhen a missing hiker turned up tied to a tree near Craggy Gardens on the North Carolina portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway earlier this month, few knew what to make of the limited details released by authorities.The assault victim, a 64-year-old female hiker, was rescued shortly after her disappearance was reported by a hiking partner. She was treated at a local hospital and released that same day.Now there’s a composite sketch of the suspect who allegedly assaulted the woman in an area known as Potato Field Gap.In addition to the sketch authorities have released multiple details about the suspect’s physical appearance. He is said to be a white male around 50 years old with salt and pepper hair and sparsely grown facial hair. He may be wearing a light gray shirt and baggy blue pants with dark tennis shoes, and could give off an off-putting odor due to lack of personal hygiene.People in Asheville and surrounding areas are reacting to the sketch, released on Monday by the National Park Service, and at least one is claiming to have seen a man that fits the description on area trails.“Beware, I just had a very odd encounter with an individual on the MTS (Mountains to Sea) trail off the parkway just South East of where the Arboretum is,” Jim Davis wrote in a post on the Exploring Pisgah National Forest Facebook page. “Upon returning home I stumbled across the sketch they just released of the person that assaulted the lady an(d) tied her to a tree near Craggy last week, and the sketch looked EXACTLY like this guy I encountered.”The National Park Service is asking any individuals with pertinent information about the alleged suspect to contact them via the following channels: phone – 888-653-0009; email – [email protected]; or facebook at @investigativeservicesnps.Related Articles:last_img read more

Harrison to make return to ring

first_imgAudley Harrison is to return to boxing in a 10-rounder against Chelsea’s Ali Adams in Brentwood on 14 April.It will be the Wembley heavyweight’s first fight since losing a one-sided world title clash with David Haye in November 2010.Harrison, 40, was crowned Olympic champion in 2000 but has been much maligned during his professional career, and the third-round stoppage by Haye was his fifth defeat.AdChoices广告“Anyone can lose but I didn’t lose with dignity. I was never going to retire after that performance,” said Harrison.“I’ll have too much for Ali Adams. I intend to show I still have a future in the game.”Adams, who was born in Iraq, is 10 years younger than Harrison and has a record of 13-3-1.Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

The Warriors are one game away from elimination, and their dynasty is one step closer to extinction

first_imgOAKLAND, Calif. — Oracle Arena started to empty earlier than usual.As a surprising number of Raptors fans stuck around to celebrate their team being one win away from the franchise’s first championship, the Warriors faithful left the building with the knowledge that this could have been Golden State’s final game in its home of 48 years. Considering the ramifications, it was telling. MORE: Takeaways from Raptors’ Game 4 win over WarriorsThe Warriors’ Game 3 loss brought about defiance. Draymond Green talked about winning three games in a row as if it was business as usual. (He said there were “fun times ahead.”) The thought of losing two consecutive playoff games at Oracle was laughable. After Friday night’s 105-92 loss to the Raptors, though, laughter had no chance of entering the fray.The postgame comments came as expected. Taking it “one game at a time” was mentioned more than once. But there was a somberness that was palpable, and as the Warriors head back to Toronto down 3-1, you can’t help but think this dynasty is coming to an end.Game 4 had all the makings of a Golden State victory. At home in a soon-to-be vacant arena, key players returning, a history of overcoming 2-1 deficits — it made too much sense. But even the greatest of champions can’t overcome so many obstacles.Without the services of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Kevon Looney in Game 3, Golden State really didn’t stand a chance. Even with a superhuman effort from Stephen Curry, the Warriors simply didn’t have enough bodies to compete with the Raptors.The returns of Thompson and Looney for Game 4 meant the Warriors would get back on track, right? No, their heroic returns — Thompson scored a team-high 28 points in 42 minutes, and Looney added 10 points and six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench — couldn’t erase the physical, mental and emotional fatigue caused by five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.”Klay was amazing,” Steve Kerr said after Game 4. “With a tweaked hamstring to do what he did. Looney as well, coming in and playing 20 minutes given his injury status. So, both these guys — they’re warriors. No pun intended. They just compete, compete, compete. And I’m really proud of both of them. Both played really well.”But again, it just wasn’t enough in terms of our teams’ effort.”The Warriors looked dead tired. Curry’s 43-minute, 47-point performance in Game 3 took its toll. He scored 27 points Friday but shot just 9-of-22 from the field and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc, hitting front rim on multiple deep attempts and missing his usual burst to the rim on drives. The intensity and defensive prowess from Draymond Green was seen but mainly in the first half.”Oh, Draymond played so hard out there tonight,” Kerr said when asked to compare Green’s play in the first half to the final 24 minutes. “The first half, the intensity was incredible. Just to see the athleticism and the defensive energy by both teams. It was amazing. Draymond is always at the center of all that. One of the best defender’s I’ve ever seen. He’s flying around and doing his thing and covering everybody.”And so, Draymond always makes a huge impact on the game. And I thought he did again tonight, but again, it was a group effort. And we didn’t have enough as a group to win the game.”MORE: How will the NBA Finals impact Kevin Durant’s free agency?Kerr and the Warriors have taken a few haymakers from the Raptors, and they don’t seem to have a counter. It’s hard to blame them.Without Durant, with Thompson and Looney hurt, with DeMarcus Cousins playing at half speed, the Warriors don’t have what it takes to beat a hungry and talented Raptors team. Depth will always be sacrificed when you amass the level of talent that Golden State possesses. You just don’t expect the injuries to happen all at once.Most great teams reach this point, and it often arrives without warning.The 1980s Celtics and Lakers were stopped by the “Bad Boys” Pistons, and those Pistons then fell to Michael Jordan’s Bulls. The early 2000s Lakers couldn’t handle a toxic mix of personalities, and the 2004 Pistons outworked them. The Heat’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh wilted because they didn’t have enough juice to run it back for the fourth time, and the 2014 Spurs blew right past them with Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is on his way to the award once again with the Raptors.This year’s Finals series isn’t over yet. Golden State has been here before. Toronto has not. But the end is in sight.”It’s not a good feeling right now, obviously, but like you said, we have been on both sides of it,” Curry said. “And for us, it’s an opportunity for us to just flip this whole series on its head. It sounds cliche, and for us that’s literally the only way we’re going to get back in this series, is give everything we got for 48 minutes, everybody that sets foot on that floor in Game 5. “In our locker room, we’re talking about believing. Everybody out there believes that we can get this done. We got to. We can draw on those experiences that we had back in the day and see what happens.”Players and coaches will always say the right things after a tough loss. It’s what they’ve been taught to do. Still, Friday night had a different feeling to it. The typical swagger of these Warriors was gone. The five-year run seemed to finally be wearing them down.Oracle Arena may have just witnessed its final performance. That crowd walked out knowing Golden State’s dynasty is on its last legs.last_img read more

CROOK FRANCOIS: COMPANY WOUND UP IN SOUTH

first_imgTHE HIGH Court has appointed a provisional liquidator crook Francois de Dietrich’s company in the republic.At a vacation sitting of the High Court on Saturday, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan appointed Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers as provisional liquidator to ETIC Solutions Ltd.The court heard that ETIC, a business and management consultancy with a registered address at Ballybofey, Co Donegal, “operated in a fraudulent manner akin to a Ponzi scheme” that has affected hundreds of investors all over Ireland. ETIC’s directors are Francois, who ran several businesses in Co Donegal, and his wife Severine.The court heard that the company ceased trading late last year and both directors have left Ireland, and are believed to be somewhere in France.They fled after being exposed by a website (donegaldaily.com).The court also heard that police on both sides of the Border are investigating the firm, and authorities in Northern Ireland have issued an arrest warrant for Mr Detrich. The petition to have the company wound up was brought on behalf of Edward Doherty, director of PE Doherty of Duncreggan Road, Derry, who claims that he is owed more than €610,000 by ETIC.On Saturday the judge said he was satisfied to appoint Mr McDonald as provisional liquidator.While he was mindful that the application was made ex-parte, he was satisfied that “the company is insolvent” and that there “are strong grounds to suspect that serious irregularities have taken place within the company”. The court also made an order freezing the assets of both ETIC, its directors and two other companies; Palladium Investments Ltd and XCEL Financial Services Ltd.NI SOLICITOR TOLD TO APPEAR IN COURTCROOK FRANCOIS: JUDGE ORDERS HIS LAWYER TO APPEAR IN COURT!CROOK FRANCOIS: COMPANY WOUND UP IN SOUTH was last modified: June 13th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:crookFrancois de Dietrichgulliblethieflast_img read more

Drake Men’s Soccer Adds Nine Student-Athletes For 2017 Season

first_imgRyan Johnston: “Ryan has all the qualities to be a major success at Drake. His character personifies what is means to be a Bulldog. He has an exceptional work rate, is a relentless competitor and is always in pursuit of excellence both on-and-off the field. Ryan is quick, strong and agile and has a great desire to impact the game both offensively and defensively. His ambition and ability will be a great asset to our team next year.” Erik Sigman: “We are delighted to have Erik join our team as he personifies academic and athletic excellence. He is a gifted attacking left-sided player who will provide us with great balance. He has very good positional sense and demonstrates a tireless work ethic in both attack and defense. Erik has a wonderful combination of athletic ability and technical proficiency and will undoubtedly be a big success at Drake.” Smith Breaks Down Each Member of the 2017 ClassAlex Anderson: “Alex is an exciting, dynamic and versatile player who has the ability to play a number of positions very effectively, which is a rare quality. He has very good pace, technical foundation and is tactically mature, which will make him a success at the Division I level. We are very much looking forward to working with Alex and seeing him leave a lasting impact on our program.” Juan Louis: “Juan is a gifted and versatile attacking player who can play a variety of positions effectively. He is creative and has very good technical ability which makes him effective in the attacking third. His tactical intelligence, ability to find space between the lines and fearlessness when running at defenders makes him a threat to any defense. We are excited to see his impact on our program and team and look forward to watching him grow and develop in our Bulldog family.” Luke Anderson, who hails from Wayzata, Minn., is the lone goalkeeper in the 2017 class. He was a member of the Orono Lake High School team for two seasons, including his freshman year when he was the lone freshman on the team. Anderson is a member of the Minnesota Thunder Academy club and this year his team is on pace to be the first academy club to make the USSDA’s playoffs. DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University men’s soccer program has added nine student-athletes for the 2017 season, head coach Gareth Smith announced. Joining the Bulldogs next season are Alex Andersen (North Liberty, Iowa), Luke Anderson (Wayzata, Minn.), Leroy Enzugusi (Marion, Iowa), Erik Fahner (Omaha, Neb.), Ryan Johnston (West Des Moines, Iowa), Juan Louis (Minneapolis, Minn.), Erik Sigman (Cincinnati, Ohio), Jake Taylor (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) and Ben Vukovich (Brookings, S.D.). Johnston is a local member of the signing class from West Des Moines Valley High School. Heading into his senior season, he has scored 49 career goals and handed out 33 assists. Johnston helped Valley win the Iowa Class 3A State Title in 2016 and was picked to the Elite All-State Team that season. The Tigers have qualified for the state tournament in each of Johnston’s first three seasons. He is a member of Sporting Iowa. Jake Taylor: “Jake is a proven player at the Division I level and we are delighted to have him join our team. He is a very experienced defender who has demonstrated an unrelenting drive to reach his potential. Jake’s physical maturity, experience and leadership will be a key component in our push to compete at the highest level. I look forward to watching Jake excel here at Drake University.” Leroy Enzugusi: “Leroy is a very talented forward with excellent pace, technique and a proven ability to score goals. He is very effective with his back to goal and bringing his teammates into the game well. Leroy will have a high impact due to his intelligent movement off the ball and his exhilarating pace which will cause any defense problems. We anticipate an exciting future for Leroy and eager to see him take the stage in the MVC.” Louis is a forward/striker from Minneapolis, Minn., who played three seasons for Washburn High School. Originally from Haiti, he scored 24 goals and tallied 11 assists as a senior, as Washburn won the Minneapolis City Conference championship. Louis is a member of the Minneapolis City club. Enzugusi, a forward for Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa, is a prolific scorer with 57 career goals along with 39 assists. He is the reigning Gatorade and Iowa Player of the Year, who helped Linn-Mar win the 2015 Iowa 3A State Tournament with his future Drake teammate, Jack Ramsey. Enzugusi is a member of the CRSA club.center_img Rounding out the class is Vukovich who hails from Brookings, S.D. He lettered all four seasons at Brookings High School, where he helped the team qualify for the state tournament twice. Vukovich is a forward who scored 41 career goals and was named first team all-state and all-conference as a junior and senior. He is a member of the Dakota Alliance Soccer Club. The next player in the class is Fahner from Millard West High School in Omaha, Neb. He is a midfielder who has lettered three seasons for Millard West and helped the team win a state championship his sophomore year. Fahner is a member of the Omaha FC 98 club. “We are delighted with our 2017 recruiting class,” Smith said. “We have intentionally searched the country for young men high in character, academic performance and ability because these are the key qualities that will make them successful Bulldogs. We eagerly await their arrival and look forward to welcoming them and their families to the Bulldog family.” Alex Anderson is a midfielder from Iowa City, Iowa, who has played three seasons for Iowa City West. He was selected to the All-Mississippi Valley Conference First Team as a junior after he garnered honorable mention accolades as a sophomore. Anderson was a member of Iowa City West’s 2014 Class 3A State Championship team. He is a two-time captain for his club team, ISC United. Erik Fahner: “Erik has been a pleasure to watch play over the past few years. He is a very creative and technically gifted midfield player who loves to drive out of the midfield into the attacking third. He is tactically very intelligent and will be a key player in attacking strategies to unlocking defenses. We are delighted to have him join our program.” Taylor is a graduate transfer from Marquette University who joins the Bulldogs after lettering three seasons for the Golden Eagles. A defender, he was twice selected to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team. Taylor is from Whitefish Bay, Wis., and lettered four years at Whitefish Bay High School, where he was twice tabbed the North Shore Conference Player of the Year and the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association Player of the Year as a senior. He played for the Bavarian Soccer Club. Sigman, from Cincinnati, Ohio, played three seasons for Summit Country Day School. A three-year starter at the defender position, he helped Summit Country Day win back-to-back Ohio Division III State Titles his junior and senior years as he earned all-conference accolades each season. Sigman is a member of the Cincinnati United Premier (CUP) Gold club. Luke Anderson: “Luke is an exciting young goalkeeper who has all of the tools to flourish at the Division I level. He is an excellent shot stopper and commands his penalty box and defense with great authority. He has a relentless drive to be the best version of himself and will stop at nothing to reach his full potential. We are excited about watching him leave a legacy here at Drake University.” Ben Vukovich: “Ben is a young man with great character and talent. He is a promising left-sided player who has a great combination of athletic and technical ability. He has an unquestionable dedication to his soccer development and has demonstrated he will invest whatever it takes to become the best version of himself both on-and-off the field. He can play a number of roles, both in defense and attack, and we anticipate him having a big impact on our team and program.” Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

Softball Opens Home Schedule with Doubleheader Sweep over Bradley

first_imgStory Links After Drake added another run in the second, Bradley opened the third with back-to-back singles. With one out, the Braves pulled one down the left field line that went under Pena’s legs at third base and allowed two runs. The Valley on ESPN3 Roemmich cut Bradley’s lead by one after reaching base on a hit by pitch in the second. Roemmich stole second before scoring on a single from Frank. Preview DES MOINES, Iowa – The Drake University softball team completed two walkoff victories over Bradley (13-17, 2-4 MVC) Friday afternoon to remain undefeated in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Bulldogs opened the day with a 10-2 five-inning victory before a comeback 9-8 win over the Braves.    PDF Box Score Game 2 Watch Live The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick start in game one as eight Bulldog batters reached in a seven-run first inning. After leadoff batter Mandi Roemmich (West Des Moines, Iowa) struck out, Kennedy Frank (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Macy Johnson (Winterset, Iowa) recorded back-to-back singles. Taryn Pena (Columbia, Ill.) sent a ball deep into center field for an RBI double to put Drake up 2-0. Kailee Smith (Murrieta, Calif.) drew a walk on a full count before Sarah Maddox (Henderson, Nev.) added another hit to score Pena. Three more hits and two walks for Drake helped them close out the inning with a 7-0 lead. Full Schedule Roster Next Game: Pena drew a leadoff walk before pinch runner Libby Ryan (Mount Vernon, Iowa) stole second in the fourth. A single by Smith set up pinch runner Abby Buie (Gardner, Kan.) to steal second base before Ryan scored on an error by Bradley.center_img A pair of hits from Pena and Maddox in the first inning helped Drake jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Bradley took advantage of miscues from pitcher Nicole Timmons (Davenport, Iowa) in the second inning who had two hit by pitches and one walk and allowed three runs before she was pulled for Smith. Bradley 3/31/2018 – 11 AM The Bulldogs began to mount their comeback with two runs in the fifth inning on RBIs from Kelsey Wright (Olathe, Kan.) and Buie. Back-to-back singles from Frank and Johnson opened up the sixth inning before Ryan laid down a sac bunt to advance the pair to second and third. Smith sent a single out to left field that scored Frank before Johnson scored on the play after a throwing error by Bradley’s right fielder allowed her to score. Wright then tied the game at 8-8 with a sharp RBI single to left field.  Newman, who entered the day without a hit on the season, went 3-for-3 in game one with three runs batted in including a walkoff solo homerun to secure the five-inning run-rule victory. Smith (6-3) pitched 5.2 innings in relief of Timmons and allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits with six strikeouts. Timmons allowed six runs on three hits in 1.1 innings pitched.  After going down 7-3 in the second game, the Bulldogs mounted a comeback to tie the game 8-8 before Pena notched a walkoff single that scored Johnson from second. Drake (24-9, 7-0 MVC) was led by Nicole Newman (Madison, Wis.) who continued to show her strength in the circle while also having a career day at the plate. Newman (10-2) pitched a complete five innings in game one of the doubleheader. She gave up four hits with two unearned runs and seven strikeouts. Following Friday’s doubleheader, Bradley and Drake close the series Saturday with a single game at an adjusted start time of 11 a.m. The series finale will be broadcast on The Valley on ESPN3. Print Friendly Version Drake picked up 23 hits on the day and scored 19 runs and nabbed seven stolen bases. PDF Box Score Game 1 last_img read more

Humboldt State running back Ja’Quan Gardner named 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy finalist

first_imgArcata >> Ever since he became Humboldt State’s starting running back three seasons ago, Ja’Quan Gardner has been one of the best in the nation.It’s earned him recognition from virtually everywhere you look over the last three years. And that means as just was the case in 2015, Gardner is still in the running for Division II football’s top individual award.It was announced Wednesday evening that Gardner, Humboldt State’s record-setting running back, was named as one of 10 finalists for the …last_img read more

Warriors, 127, Kings 123: Warriors feature Stephen Curry in entire fourth quarter

first_imgSACRAMENTO — The smile on Stephen Curry’s face revealed two things. He showed satisfaction with the Warriors’ 127-123 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday. Unlike the previous nine games, Warriors coach Steve Kerr also did not stagger Curry’s minutes in the final quarter.“It was nice to play the whole quarter,” Curry said.Curry finished with 42 points while shooting 14-of-26 from the field and 10-of-20 from the perimeter in 38 minutes. The Warriors’ coaching staff normally limit …last_img read more

How One iPhone App Could Save Public Radio

first_imgmarshall kirkpatrick 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market Tags:#NYT#Product Reviews#web Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Some newspapers scrambling to survive the internet condemn websites like Google News and the Huffington Post. Aggregators, they say, need to pay for the right to point to a newspaper’s site. Public radio stations, on the other hand, face competition from the internet as well and are just as competitive between themselves as they are collaborative. Somehow, they’ve responded differently to new media. There may be no better example of that than an iPhone application built by several large public radio organizations and called Public Radio Player. The team behind the app launched a major new release this morning.The application aggregates live streaming and recorded radio broadcasts from across the US, displays their current and planned content schedules and now offers a search function that stretches across all those different types of content: live streams, podcasts and text show descriptions. It’s a free app and the organization that makes it hosts almost nothing on its own servers. The end result is a remarkable user experience that ought to be an inspiration for old media of every kind. It isn’t perfect, but it’s getting better fast. The app was made by a non-profit organization called Public Radio Exchange (PRX). PRX was founded and is run by Jake Shapiro, a man who used to be an associate director at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Shapiro used to produce an NPR radio show with Christopher Lyndon and before that he was one of the first tinkerers with web distribution of music for his band Two Ton Shoe. Two Ton Shoe didn’t find a lot of success in the United States, but thanks to the long tail of the web Shapiro says they somehow found a big fan base in Korea. The band toured there and Korean bands have covered some of their songs. “I’m a Korean rock star,” Shapiro says, “and I believe there’s a ‘Korea’ out there for everybody.”About a year ago Shapiro says he called around all the major players in public radio and argued that they had a unique opportunity in the iPhone platform if they could collaborate and create a really strong offering. An organization called American Public Media decided to contribute the work they had done so far on their own iPhone app to Shapiro’s project and NPR and Public Radio International agreed to lend their support to what would become the Public Radio Tuner, today renamed the Public Radio Player.Funding Local Radio on the iPhone Public Radio Player could facilitate that long tail experience for obscure local public radio content by making it far more available on the iPhone. But PaidContent’s Rafat Ali worries that by freeing radio listeners all the more from their local radio station, the Player could sever the loyalty and fund raising connections that keep public radio alive.To that concern Shapiro has two interesting responses. First, he says that survey data shows most users prefer listening to their local stations on the app, along with a variety of favorites from elsewhere. Even more interesting is the project’s collaboration with Cluetrain Manifesto co-author Doc Searls. Searls is at Harvard’s Berkman Center now, developing a framework for what’s being called Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) – a customer-based response to the business paradigm of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). The VRM project and Shapiro’s PRX are developing ways for Public Radio Player users to track what they listen to on the player and make financial contributions to the radio stations they’ve consumed from the most.Shapiro says that part of the project faces a major roadblock from Apple. Though Apple introduced in-application payments last month, the feature is only available to paid apps (Public Radio Player is free) and charitable contributions through the iPhone are strictly prohibited. They can’t even be talked about, Shapiro says, because Apple doesn’t want to deal with the possibility of charity scams, there’s tax complications, the platform’s standard 30% fee for payments isn’t tenable in a non-profit context and Apple has no financial incentive to solve this sticky complex of problems.For now the app is funded by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. That funding is up for renewal this summer. Shapiro says that a second round of funding would be used to create “showcase apps that would break new ground and create new technology.” He says the company is particularly interested in technologies that represent a hybrid of digital and broadcast. “With radio,” he says, “there is still a tremendous amount of reach that you don’t want to give up on when you move into the digital space.”Fixing the AppThat hybrid paradigm is very well represented by the new version of the Public Radio Player. The previous version, called Public Radio Tuner, was one of the most popular free apps in the iPhone store but it didn’t really work that well. Radio streams got dropped a lot. That’s no longer a big problem with version 2.0.The new version of the app tackles the problem of dropped streams by making the buffering settings much more sophisticated. Remember, the App doesn’t host any of the audio, it just points to the live streams or podcasts stored on public radio stations’ own servers. Project manager Matt MacDonald says the app now determines what kind of bandwidth the receiving phone has, then buffers the inbound stream accordingly before serving it up to listeners. The end result is a radically more usable radio app on wifi, 3G or Edge connections.It’s still not perfect; this like every app is at the mercy of AT&T’s wireless network, but dropped streams appear to be much, much less frequent than they used to be. The interface sometimes hangs when loading menus, but Shapiro says that with the new release today bug fixes are a top priority and though crash reports are appearing infrequently, they are being closely watched. “Just shake the phone,” he jokes. “Then it will work better.”More Than One Kind of Content The new app brings a whole lot more radio to your iPhone. In addition to pointing to hundreds of radio streams, PRX has co-ordinated a number of different sources to pull show schedules down to be stored locally on your phone. “Scheduling data has been a big effort,” Shapiro says. “It never existed in one place and is still a moving target.” A company called Public Interactive (recently acquired by NPR from Public Radio International) has a metadata tool that originally captured music playlists but now publishes radio show schedules as well. NPR and many radio stations also display schedules on their own websites. PRX aggregates all that data, stores it on your phone, syncs it with the radio stream links and then checks for changes each time you launch the Public Radio Player app. Having the particular show that’s playing displayed along with a station name makes a very big difference in the user experience.The 2.0 version of the app also includes support for “on demand” or podcast listening. Hundreds of podcasts are navigable by featured shows, category or alphabetically. Podcasts are integrated into some of the show schedules as well. When listening to a streaming station, you can view the rest of the day’s schedule and see what other shows will be broadcast later. Then you can choose to listen to previous recorded editions of those shows. It’s a pretty seamless experience.Search is No Small MatterThe new search functionality integrates all of the above, letting you search for keywords or topics and finding both recorded and currently live shows that match your search. MacDonald says the company used an open source program called ThinkingSphynx on the back end, worked closely with the NPR API team and is still working on teaching local radio stations about the importance of standards-based content titling. Listening to streams and podcasts on iTunes or an iPod may not have been so difficult with incomplete file names, but show a radio station how broken its content looks in a dynamic iPhone directory and the message comes through loud and clear. There have been other efforts to index all the public radio streams online; Public Radio Fan is the most notable and is more international, but is less sophisticated and is based on the desktop and browser. (After listening to some international broadcasts via Public Radio Fan it’s hard not to be a little disappointed with even Public Radio Player’s extensive but exclusively US menu.)As a media technology, Public Radio Player offers a unique blend of content aggregation, focus on both real time and recorded content and extensive data integration on the back end. All on the iPhone. Its design and performance continue to improve. It’s a very impressive offering in terms of content delivery; if it can find a way to use the new platform it’s on to transcend the public radio paradigm of on-air pledge drives, that would really be remarkable, wouldn’t it?Jake Shapiro says that offering Public Radio Player on other platforms, including a web interface, is a logical next step. You can follow the project’s progress on the Public Radio Player blog and download the application here. Related Posts last_img read more