As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.
Ditch the Paper and Increase Productivity with These 6 Apps!
This is part of the “Increased Productivity” series where experts in productivity, brain training, and business success share the techniques and tools they couldn’t live without.
Going paperless has probably been an agenda item in most offices for several years now, but somehow it never quite seems to happen. Hand-in-hand with going paperless is the promise of increased productivity gained from not having to file endless paper documents, avoiding mountains of clutter on desks and clearing up office space currently occupied by filing cabinets.
With important documents stored and categorized electronically, searching for a specific document becomes a quick and easy task, as opposed to sifting through cabinets, folders and binders. Printing costs are also reduced, with far less paper and toner needed. If all this isn’t convincing enough, going paperless even reduces stress on the environment, with less landfill waste, and less harvesting of trees for paper.
Here are some of the best web apps that might finally seal the deal on having your office go paperless, and make everyone in the workplace a little more efficient.
Replace your paper forms with web forms or PDF forms. JotForm is a form-builder that is free to users, provided they do not exceed 100 form submissions per month. Creating web forms is a breeze with this software, because it allows you to drag and drop widgets and mini-templates wherever you need them on your form. There are tools for common input data items like email address and phone number, survey tools like rating systems, payment tools like PayPal and Authorize and form-building parts like radio buttons, text boxes and pushbuttons. Once you’ve finished building your form, you simply copy it to your website and wait for contacts to start pouring in.
Share and collaborate your documents instead of printing them. Google Docs is a free document processor that is very intuitive and user-friendly, with all menus and toolbars seemingly placed exactly where you’d expect to find them. One of its best features is that after having saved a document, you can then access it from any other computer at any location, provided you remember your Google password and ID. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 30% of Americans are actually engaged at work, and the kind of sharing and communication brought about by Google Docs can help change all that.
Stop signing papers and sign your documents digitally. With Adobe EchoSign, you can quickly prepare contracts, estimates and legal documents using your normal web browser or favorite business application, and then send them to as many people as necessary to have them legally e-signed. An email can alert signatories, and within a few clicks they can each review, sign and return the document from a browser or mobile device.
Throw away your fax machine and replace it with this app. With eFax, you can send and receive faxes from the Internet, your mobile device or via email. It is distinguished from its competitors by its large file sharing and mobile access, and it integrates nicely with Microsoft Outlook and other email systems so that you can easily send faxes as attachments right from your inbox.
Accounting without paper. Quickbooks Online has evolved over the years from Quicken and other versions of Quickbooks, and the current version is solid accounting software which has an updated and intuitive Dashboard, along with all the accounting features that a professional needs to do the job right.
Replace paper invoices with online invoices. Freshbooks can handle basic accounting needs, but it really excels at generating online invoices to replace your paper ones. It is a cloud-based solution which can be accessed from most current browsers, as well as iPhone and Android mobile devices.
Do yourself and your company a favor as well as the environment by ditching papers in most of your transactions when you can replace them with much more productive apps mentioned. Share with us in the comments what productivity tools and apps has been helpful for you!
Kevin Bollaert, Revenge-Porn Site Operator, Sentenced To 18 Years
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A San Diego man who operated a “revenge porn” website and then charged victims to remove nude images and personal information was sentenced Friday to 18 years in state prison, the attorney general’s office said.
Kevin Bollaert, 28, was convicted in February of 21 counts of identity theft and six counts of extortion in San Diego Superior Court for running a pair of websites that capitalized on the Internet as a forum for public shaming. Jilted lovers and hackers could anonymously post nude photos of people without their consent, along with personal information about them, at a website Bollaert created called ugotposted.com. More than 10,000 images, mainly of women, were posted between December 2012 and September 2013.
People who sought to have the explicit images taken down were directed to changemyreputation.com and charged $250 to $350 to remove the racy content.
Victims included teachers, wives and professionals. The compromising photos cost people jobs, damaged relationships and led to one attempted suicide.
Bollaert earned about $900 a month in website ad revenue and collected about $30,000 from victims.
Bollaert’s lawyer had claimed at trial that the business was gross and offensive, but he didn’t break the law by allowing others to post the explicit material.
Clash Over $1.4 Billion Telescope At Sacred Hawaiian Site Intensifies
HONOLULU (AP) — Scientists hoping to see 13 billion light years away, giving them a look into the early years of the universe, are facing opposition from Native Hawaiian groups who say the construction site of a new telescope is on sacred land.
About 300 protesters gathered at the mountain Thursday, and police arrested 12 people who tried to block a road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island. Eleven more were arrested atop the peak, the highest point in the state.
The dispute has pitted Native Hawaiians, who believe the telescope site is sacred because it is where their creation story begins, against scientists, who believe it’s an ideal location for one of the world’s largest telescopes because of its remote and sheltered position, nestled in the crater of a dormant volcano.
Project opponents question whether land appraisals were done correctly and whether Native Hawaiian groups were consulted, so they have tried to prevent construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope. Project leaders say they regret the arrests but safe access to the site needs to be preserved.
While the Native Hawaiian groups do not oppose the telescope itself, they disagree with constructing it on Mauna Kea.
“It is the burial grounds of some of our most sacred and revered ancestors,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, a project opponent. “It is a place where we go for sanctuary and release from the world around us, and it is also the home of our god.”
All of the highest points in the islands are considered the home of deities, she said.
The people arrested Thursday were trying to block trucks heading to the peak, said Pisciotta, who wasn’t there but said she was in contact with the protesters. After the vehicles were allowed to pass, about 40 to 50 people began following the trucks, which moved slowly because of their heavy loads, she said.
Work got underway after the protesters were arrested and the path to the summit was cleared, Sandra Dawson, a project spokeswoman, said in an email to The Associated Press.
Police said they warned protesters who formed a roadblock Monday that anyone who obstructed the street would be arrested. Those apprehended Thursday were released after each posting bail of $250.
“We regret that police action had to be taken to enable our legal access to the project site,” Thirty Meter Telescope project manager Gary Sanders said in a statement.
University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said in a telephone interview that the university is saddened about the arrests but that access to site must be maintained.
“If the university had a heart, it would be broken right now,” he said. However, “we have to make sure the road is safe for whoever wants to be there.”
Meisenzahl said the university subleases the land atop Mauna Kea for the telescope project and has given protesters free access to the site as long as they were not breaking laws. He said he was not certain why there were arrests.
Protests also disrupted a groundbreaking and Hawaiian blessing ceremony last year, but no one was arrested. In fact, some protesters who yelled during the ceremony later apologized to event organizers and helped put away chairs, Pisciotta said.
“We said aloha to each other, and we hugged,” she said.
The observatory is expected to be operational by 2024, the same year a 39-meter telescope is expected to be completed in Chile.
Follow Caleb Jones on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CalebAP .
The Role of Technology for Safety in Education
By Emily Musil Church, Ph.D.
This week’s horrific attack on students in Kenya is a somber reminder of the risks that many students around the world face simply trying to get an education. Education is a basic human right, and millions of children are being denied that right. According to the Global Coalition to Protect Education From Attack, schools in more than 70 countries were subject to attack between 2009 and 2014. We are all too familiar with the heartbreaking stories — from a school massacre in Pakistan to the kidnapping of students for use as child soldiers in South Sudan to the missing schoolgirls in Nigeria that sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.
Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the UN Special Envoy on Global Education, says there is a war against education, and that attacks on schools are a crime against humanity. He’s calling on governments to support a safe-schools declaration and officially give schools the same protected status under international law as Red Cross hospitals.
At XPRIZE, we fully support the move to provide special protection to teachers, students, and schools around the world — especially as schools are increasingly becoming battlegrounds. But for such a complex problem, we need to apply innovative, multi-pronged solutions. Technology can and must be used to assess risk at schools, but what about for learning? The Global Learning XPRIZE is trying to answer that part of the question. We are asking software developers, educators, and innovators from around the world to create open-source software that will allow children anywhere in the world to have access to education. Technology is not the only solution, but it must be part of the solution. If technology can do what we believe it can with learning, it will allow children in conflict zones and refugee camps to safely begin or continue their education.
It’s no secret that it will take dedication, focus, creativity, and funding to ensure the right of education for the world’s children — or that the need to support that right is now more important than ever. Clearly, people are recognizing this important work and honoring individuals like Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarth with the Nobel Peace Prize for their commitment to protecting the rights of children to education. Initiatives like the Let Girls Learn campaign also show the commitment to making sure girls around the world have access to education. But as the UNESCO Education for All Global Monitoring Report shows, there is still an immense amount of work that needs to be done to achieve quality education for all children.
At XPRIZE, we want to harness technology to empower the 250 million children who lack basic literacy skills, whether it’s due to scarcity of teachers, prejudice, or civil conflict. So let’s take action to support teachers, students, and schools around the world. At the same time, let’s look for creative new ways that technology can help children realize their human right to an education.
Emily Musil Church is the Prize Manager of the Global Learning XPRIZE.
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Google Antitrust Case: Can European Institutions Do Anything Other Than Investigate U.S. Tech Companies?
To the attention of the European Parliament and Margrethe Vestager European commissioner for Competition, Günther H. Oettinger, European Commissioner for Digital Economy Society and Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market.
After investigating Google behavior for several years, the EU’s antitrust commission seems finally ready to file its formal charges. Indeed, a story on the Wall Street Journal –“EU Prepares Google Antitrust Charges” — hints at the possibility that Google manipulated some search results in its favor, thus unleashing the anger of small and large organizations that do business over the Internet.
Actually, this is just the last episode of a war waged many years ago by European authorities against the US high-tech giants. Google has also been subject to hefty restrictions imposed by specific EU national countries, as well described by the New Yorker in 2014 and the Economist in 2013 (“France v. Google”). And last November the European Parliament passed a resolution for its antitrust commission to examine a possible separation of the search engines business from other commercial services provided by Big G and similar companies.
Already in 2011 PC magazine explained that, due to the many issues raised by German authorities, Google Street View had been blocked indefinitely in Germany. Also, many powerful German publishers fear that Google is gaining too much power throughout Europe: its search engine is being used by more than 90 percent of European users, a higher percentage than in the US. To prevent an even broader reliance on Google search and news services, they are asking Google to pay copyright license fees. It seems that now the economic power of German politicians has forced all other EU member states to join this senseless war against the US corporation.
However, so far Google has successfully opposed this high-level pressure. At the end of 2014, an attempt by about 200 German media publishers to prevent Google News from providing a preview of their online content failed, when direct traffic to their own websites collapsed. Same thing in Spain, where online news outlets were quick to re-open their doors to Google News.
In Italy there was a long debate about a possible “Google Tax” law, stating that services and products sold over the Internet can only be purchased by companies with a VAT account registered in Italy. According to MP Francesco Boccia, this new law would have brought more than a billion euros to the state coffers just by targeting Google, but Professor Maffè proposed a more realistic and much lower figure. France and UK embraced a similar proposal on the basis that Google has huge advertising revenues worldwide but pays very small taxes to local governments. But the whole went nowhere. And more importantly, is this actually Google’s fault or that of some European countries that for years have held secret agreements with Google itself?
We should investigate the actual reasons behind such long-term attacks launched by EU authorities against US high-tech giants. It’s truly a matter of justice? Or maybe the real issues at stake here include a lack of innovation by overall European companies and a pure desire to exercise a reckless power by EU institutions?
Probably European bureaucrats should take a closer look to The End of Power, a book published last year by Moisés Naim, former director of the World Bank. Naim explains in clear terms today’s power shifting: our new world needs a globalized and long-term vision to succeed.
We should not forget that EU companies have a know-how and expertise far superior than that of many other countries, and its universities and research centers are still on the cutting edge — like Geneva’s Cern or the European Space Agency. Therefore, EU regulators should help them to become more and more competitive, while also developing a unified strategy among the various Old World actors. However, they seem unable to establish fair regulations for all and are even proposing budget cuts (800 million euros in 2016) for the “Horizon2020″ program aimed at promoting innovation projects developed by European companies and public bodies as well.
In her 2013 book dispelling the private vs. public sector myths, Mariana Mazzucato, Professor of Science and Technology at the University of Sussex, clarifies that while it is true that most of today’s major technologies were born in the Silicon Valley, they were actually developed thanks to public funds directly provided by the US government. Therefore public institutions should always protect and promote innovation, particularly in our borderless high-tech landscape.
Instead EU authorities are planning budget cuts to R&D projects and oppose even a reasonable suggestion to reduce the ebook VAT from 22 percent to 4 percent — as proposed by Italian politicians. Under heavy pressure from France and Luxembourg, recently the European Court declared that ebooks cannot be considered as printed book, and therefore they do not deserve an exception to VAT regulations for electronic devices. And in another example of such ambivalent policies, the EU is very eager to protect online privacy but seems much less interested in providing security and health services for its entire population.
As a true believer in a unified Europe, I dream a continent willing to invest in future generations and ready to support all viewpoints — a diversity that reinforces a common vision and builds fair opportunities for all European citizens. Instead, today European leaders appear disorganized, without a common vision or strategy in many areas and issues, including the defense sector and this on-going antitrust battle against Google.
EU authorities can continue to persecute Google, but they cannot avoid coming to terms with their own future. It is true that some US high-tech companies have a very strong presence in the EU market, and they must be monitored and even sanctioned for any wrongdoing. But such a coalition of powerful and influential countries cannot limit itself to scare tactics and unfair policies.
Given the above picture, it seems very appropriate to end here with an excerpt from the Ventotene Manifesto, co-authored in 1941 by Altiero Spinelli, one of the Founding fathers of the European Union:
The moment has arrived to know how to discard old onerous burdens, how to be ready for the new change that is coming and that will be so different from what we expected; to put aside the inept among the old, and create new energies among the young. Today those who have perceived the reasons for the present crisis in European civilization are seeking each other, and are trying to plan future. In fact they are gathering the inheritance left by all those movements which worked to raise and enlighten humanity, and which failed because of their incapability to understand the purpose to be achieved or the ways how to achieve it.
Top 6 TED 2015 Talks you Don't Want to Miss
This was a great year at TED for all kinds of mind-bending talks — here are six that raised the roof — will update when more TED talks become available. Which talks did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
1. Breakthrough in 3D Printing
3D printing has already made a big impact in prototyping in industries from architecture to autos, but this new breakthrough will take us all way to 3D manuacturing. This is straight out of the movies as you will see.
2. New senses for your brain
Neuroscientist David Eagleman pushes the boundaries of our senses with new peripherals that our brain can use to learn about the world. This technology can be used to give the deaf a new kind of hearing, the blind a new kind of sight, or each of us new capabilities that we did not have before.
3. Dame “Steve” Shirley — an incredible life
Dame Stephanie Shirley is a study in perserverance and triumph over adversity. She tells the incredible story of her life in this TED talk — inspiring and full of specific insight on how we can push through the next barrier — find out why she used the name Steve for a time.
4. A living human sonar
Daniel Kish’s talk is inspiring in many ways. Daniel is blind, but navigates the world with quick taps and clicks that give him a sonar-like picture of the world around him. He can “see” in 360 degrees and has taught this techniques to thousands of others. The next time you down about a roadblock in front of you watch this talk again.
5. How to transform a City — One Block at a Time — Theaster Gates
If you want to see how to build community watch Theaster tell you about his incredible success in Chicago. This potter has sculpted a series of neighborhoods in a way that will open your mind to new possibilities for how we live together.
6. An American Story — Anand Giridharadas
Anand has documented a powerful story in his new book The True American — a tale of the new America. He relates this tale in his moving TED talk.
Mars Rover Sees Strange 'Veins' On Planet's Surface (They Look Like Ice Cream Sandwiches)
The discovery of strange, mineral veins on Mars has planetary scientists buzzing. And no wonder: the find may shed new light on the Red Planet’s watery past and could even help reveal whether Mars was once habitable.
NASA’s Curiosity rover spotted the prominent veins in “Garden City.” That’s the name scientists use for a geologically rich site on towering Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons), a mountain that rises almost 3.5 miles off the Martian surface.
A composite image of the veins was made by combining 28 separate photos taken on March 18, 2015 by the right-eye camera of the rover’s Mastcam instrument.
(Story continues below image.)
This March 18, 2015, view from the Mast Camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows a network of two-tone mineral veins at an area called “Garden City” on lower Mount Sharp.
“Some of them look like ice-cream sandwiches: dark on both edges and white in the middle,” Linda Kah, a member of the Curiosity science team at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, said in a written statement.
According to Kah and her colleagues, the veins — which jut out 2.5 inches above a patch of eroded bedrock — likely formed when fluids moved through cracked rock and deposited minerals. The light veins are made of calcium sulfate, which has been found by the rover in other nearby locations, according to the researchers.
The dark veins? They’re a bit of a mystery.
“There’s something very different of these veins than what we have seen prior [sic],” Kah told the Los Angeles Times.
The researchers hope further analysis will yield new clues about the chemical make-up of the fluids that deposited the veins, as well as the changing environmental conditions on ancient Mars. So far, they believe both types of veins formed after the mud in a lake at Mount Sharp’s base dried up and hardened, Space.com reported, and the dark veins were deposited prior to the light ones.
The finding adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that ancient Mars had key ingredients for life. Just last week, Curiosity discovered a biologically useful form of nitrogen in samples of sand and mudstone.
The rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 and reached the base of Mount Sharp on September 11, 2014.
Connected TVs Alter Face and Path of Addressable Advertising
TV ad addressability has proven elusive over the years, despite its obvious potential to increase TV advertising’s impact, efficiency and effectiveness. Now a 10+ year conversation, addressable ads offer advertisers a way to target households that are theoretically in the market for the products they sell, to fully optimize their TV media spend. It’s been a long and winding road, for sure.
Addressability’s potential lies in the ability to successfully map cable and satellite TV companies’ subscriber household databases to a particular brand’s ideal audience segment. Viewer data is collected from the household’s set top box, and allows advertisers to select homes that match and target them with their brand or product ads (e.g., cars, life insurance, dog food) thereby, eliminating waste. The main challenge has been finding a turnkey approach, that can be delivered on a national scale, across cable and satellite systems.
The technology platforms that have led the way in bringing addressability to brands – i.e., Visible World and Invidi – have worked hard over the years to stitch together a national solution, but they’ve been challenged by the technical complexity of integrating their technologies across cable and satellite systems in order to create a nationwide platform. As such, scalability has been a significant stumbling block, as have limits to the level of audience targeting current platforms can achieve and how far brands can therefore go to optimize TV media spends, even in a single geography.
Major developments in both TV viewing and TV technologies over the past 12 months, though, could change all that. There are strong signs that TV ad targeting is about to really heat up. First, is the heavy adoption and growing use of IP-enabled (READ: “connected”) TVs – like, Samsung, Philips; over-the-top (“OTT”) devices – like, Roku, Amazon FireTV; and gaming consoles – like, PlayStation and Xbox – to watch premium video content on a TV screen. Per eMarketer, 113 million Americans streamed TV shows regularly on a connected TV in 2014, and according to FreeWheel the average broadband home spent 22% of their total hourly viewing per week streaming digital video to a connected TV.
In addition, right alongside the observed change in consumer viewing behavior, premium video channels like HBO, ESPN, CBS and others are leaving the cable “bundle” to strike out on their own, and web TV providers like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon are expanding their video offerings, all to take full advantage of the opportunity that connected TV provides to grow their user/subscriber base.
Put simply, the growing popularity of IP-delivered video content watched on the TV screen, along with growth in the type and amount of video that can be streamed on a connected device, is creating a whole new context for ad targeting, too. Now, in addition to the addressable ad opportunities that traditional cable and satellite TV service providers offer, brands can take advantage of the real-time data collection and matching capabilities that come with other digital platforms – e.g., desktop and mobile – to target TV audiences.
TV as both a medium and a platform for delivering high quality video content will no doubt remain (and perhaps become even more) fragmented. Regardless, the trend toward IP-delivered TV means that a growing portion of viewers can be targeted in a more precise, simple and scalable way, and that bodes well for the future of ad targeting.
Ad serving platforms like FreeWheel are already serving video ads across all screens including TVs. Streamed video viewing on a connected television can be delivered across any IP-enabled platform regardless of the pay TV service, and provides the ability to collect real time behavior, and quickly turn dynamic data into targeted, differentiated messaging across homes. This is in stark contrast with what addressable TV advertising technologies have been able to accomplish thus far – which unfortunately require that a brand strike separate deals with each cable and satellite provider in order to achieve national reach.
An advertising strategy that includes the additional targeting capabilities of connected TV means brands are finally in a position to jump well beyond the benefits of current addressability options, to a new level of optimization and the higher efficiency that they seek. Now, that’s exciting.
9 Things You Can't Remember Anymore Thanks To Technology
If you need more proof that our phones keep getting smarter but our brains keep getting dumber, just try to remember someone’s number other than your own.
And no, your mom doesn’t count.
It’s easy to forget things that our phones do for us everyday, which is just one of the myriad reasons why we have separation anxiety whenever we (God forbid) leave it home. You can’t get anywhere, you can’t reach anyone and now your friend thinks you hate her because you didn’t wish her a happy birthday. It’s a mess.
In the spirt of being self-aware — and hopefully to prevent these things from leaving our minds forever — here’s a look at just nine things you probably forgot how to do. Don’t worry, there’s still time to work on these skills before they implant the smart phone chips directly into our brains.
1. Phone Numbers
The most obvious one. You used to be able to cite all your closest friends’ and family’s phone number by heart. Now you have to look up your own significant other’s number in your phone when asked to write down an emergency contact. Hey, what’s the number for the pizza place we order from every Friday? Oh, that’s right, we order on Seamless.
She’s even more confused because she’s still using a flip phone.
Facebook has taken all the guesswork out of remembering when people are born. Does a generic “Happy birthday” message on someone’s wall really mean anything when a push notification made you do it? Or how about when Facebook tells you it’s like five people’s birthdays and you just wish them all a happy birthday at once. You even use copy/paste because you’re too lazy to write “Happy Birthday” over and over again. Where’s the genuine sentiment in that?
3. Long Division
Remember when your middle school math teacher said you need to learn this stuff because you’re not going to carry a calculator around with you at all times? Well, try remembering how to divide numbers on paper and you’ll be thankful that literally every cell phone comes with a calculator app. Figuring out the tip? There’s an app for that. Dividing bills between roommates? There’s an app for that. Until the day comes when someone threatens to kill you unless you tell them the area of an isosceles right triangle, you’re probably going to be okay.
“Don’t break out the iPhone in front of the class. Don’t break out the iPhone in front of the class…”
4. How To Write A Check
Thanks to Paypal, Apple Pay and apps like Venmo, paper checks are becoming part of the analog past. Do you have to write “and zero cents” on the amount line? What’s the memo space for again? And you’re telling me I have to physically go to the bank? Luckily it’s cool if you forget to sign the back of one when trying to cash it because now you can just take a picture of it on your phone and then rip it up.
5. How To Write In Cursive
You might be able to sign your name all right, but try writing a lowercase, cursive “K” or “Z” and you’ll think it looks all wrong. Kids today don’t even have to learn cursive in some schools, which is a bit sad. We all had to suffer through it so why shouldn’t they? But in all likelihood, texting classes will be the next big thing and we’ll soon evolve to have long, muscular thumbs as our primary communication digit.
6. Literally Just Writing In General
This one is a little embarrassing. Have you noticed what your handwriting looks like lately? If you’ve been spending most of your time using a computer or phone, it’s horrible. That beautiful penmanship of your teens has been replaced with barely legible chicken scratch and your hand hurts from writing after one or two pages. Good grief.
7. Giving Directions
If someone invites you to meet them at a bar or restaurant and the first question you have is, “How do I get there?” you probably won’t like your friend’s response. Okay, a simple “What train is it near?” is acceptable, but you know you’re just going to have to Google it to get the exact directions. The same goes for giving directions to strangers who stop you on the street. Chances are, if they’re asking, they either don’t have their phone on them, it’s dead, or they’re using Apple’s impossible maps application.
“I told you we should have just paid AT&T for the international plan.”
8. How To Wait For Someone In Public
Instead of someone saying, “Meet me by the fountain at 3:00,” and you not hearing from them until you meet them there, you now receive up-to-the-minute updates from the person you’re going to meet and will know their exact location. You can barely remember what it’s like to have to stand around silently, looking at nothing in particular and letting your thoughts wander because you’re too busy listening to a podcast, playing Candy Crush and tracking your friend’s whereabouts. Did that cute stranger just say hi to you? Who cares, you just got a new Tinder match.
9. How To Spell Tricky Words Without Looking Them Up
Spellcheck, predictive text and its quirky sibling “speech to text” make it pretty much impossible to remember how to spell words like “Receipt,” “Pneumonia,” and, ironically, “Misspell” (that second “s” just always looks weird). “I before E” goes out the window when you have squiggly red lines to tell you what’s wrong. Combine this with #5 and the future isn’t looking too hot for the actually written word. Thanks, technology!
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Trulioo, Making Trust Online an Option
Online security is a worry for all of us, but entrepreneurs with the goal of building a strong customer base worries even more, because consumers, rightfully so, have a lot to worry about when it comes to fraud and more.
Companies have to find ways to not only provide their customers with a strong sense security, but to protect themselves as well. Something that is becoming harder and harder to do in this ever evolving age of technology.
The company that aims to be “The Identity Bureau” of the internet, started as a background-check service for dating sites.
Today Trulioo allows businesses to do more than just verify it’s users, but detects spammers, determines legitimate registration, and authenticates users globally. In this age of technology where trust is harder than ever to find, Trulioo is dedicated to ensure that businesses can offer just that with the best privacy practices.
Using their online electronic identity verification service, specifically developed with the international market. Global Gateway was created to help businesses comply with Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer rules.
Able to bypass geography, economic status, age or gender, Trulioo’s technology combines the strengths of your traditional ID verification and the capabilities of online tech today to provide trust and safety online by providing three options for integrating GlobalGateway into your eIDV business processes. GlobalGateway Portal, XML Direct, and XML Frame.
Minimize customer interaction
Mitigate risk from online fraud (identity and age verification)
Regulatory compliance with regional and international Anti Money Laundering regulations
Increase revenue throughput by alleviating manual interaction in identification process
Low touch integration into web applications
Comprehensive match information, not just a score
Flexible pricing options to meet your needs
Trulioo makes it easy for you to apply their software to your business with the three options for integrating GlobalGateway, and great customer support on their website, and with the first 30 days free and affordable packages that allow you to find the perfect fit for you, they are on their way to accomplishing their mission.
Y Combinator's Altman Headlines Startup Voodoo 2015 Lineup
The startups ecosystem in the Midwest continues to grow piece by piece, the latest evidence of which comes as Startup Voodoo – the innovation, startups and entrepreneurism conference founded last year by Aaron Perlut and Edward Domain – today unveiled its impressive 2015 speakers lineup.
The group includes Y Combinator President Sam Altman, Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark, Rackspace Startup Liaison Officer Robert Scoble, and Base Ventures founder Erik Moore, among others.
“I’m excited to come home to St. Louis and speak at Startup Voodoo,” said Altman who leads what is generally regarded as the leading seed-stage accelerator in the world in Y Combinator. “St. Louis will always be home for me, and I’m thrilled to see how much the startup scene is growing.”
Scheduled for June 18 in downtown St. Louis, Startup Voodoo 2015 the conference also features a Q&A with Debbie Barta of Simplify Commerce by MasterCard about emulating the startup mentality and innovating inside large corporations, and panels on startups impacting cyber security among topics.
“As an entrepreneur who’s seen her business grow into a global enterprise, I’m thrilled to participate in Startup Voodoo as it’s so rewarding to see such tremendous interest in entrepreneurism,” said Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark. “But we need to see more women venture out and start businesses, and that takes a collective effort. I continue to mentor aspiring female entrepreneurs to join in growing economy.”
Startup Voodoo also partnered this year with Arch Grants (ArchGrants.org), the St. Louis-based nonprofit that awards $50,000 in equity-free grants to entrepreneurs willing to locate or maintain significant operations in the St. Louis region. Arch Grants will announce its summer recipients at the event.
“We are thrilled to partner with Startup Voodoo to introduce our first cohort of 2015 Arch Grant recipients,” said Ginger Imster, executive director of Arch Grants. “Our partnership with Startup Voodoo reflects a shared vision to make St. Louis the Midwest’s hub of entrepreneurship.”
The conference will wrap with its second “Most Promising” Midwest Startups award, whittling down nominees from a four-pronged criteria of being Midwest-based, fewer than two years in operation, less than $150,000 in capital raised, and operating in digital technology, biosciences, or agricultural technology. In 2014, more than 100 companies were nominated and Chicago-based LearnCore (Learncore.com) ultimately was selected by a three-judge panel as the winner.
“Startup Voodoo was an amazing experience for LearnCore and me personally,” said LearnCore founder Vishal Shah. “We were able to showcase our company, win the award, and meet amazing people. But the best came afterwards, where an attendee became a new customer and are continuing to work on a partnership with a large corporate client there. It has truly made an impact on our business and I am thrilled to have been a part of it.”
This Co-Ed Coding Class For Teens In Ghana Is Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes
Regina Agyare didn’t initially include boys in her computer coding class. But after one male student expressed his discontent at seeing “girls being empowered,” she spotted an opportunity.
Agyare — the brainpower behind Tech Needs Girls, an initiative launched by her software development company, Soronko Solutions — runs a weekly class teaching tech skills to students above a mosque in Accra, Ghana. In a slum area of the city where many girls marry young and are denied an education, the class provides an opportunity for them to better their academic and economic outlooks, CNN reported.
“When the parents are praying [downstairs], we are teaching the girls upstairs,” Agyare explained to the outlet.
Although the class of about 50 is predominantly female, a few boys have trickled in to benefit from the instruction, she said. And the inclusion prompted young people — like boys who believed a girl is “to be their wife” and “needs to be taken care of” — to rethink gender roles that have kept girls from pursuing tech-related futures.
We introduce the girls to mentors who are females in STEM and these mentors teach the girls to code #thisisafrica pic.twitter.com/DDzfmYJjk7
— Regina Agyare (@ragyare) September 24, 2014
Similar ideas on gender roles may be in part to blame for a lack of American women working in computer-related fields, too. A study released last month by the American Association of University Women suggests the U.S. may actually be headed in the wrong direction when it comes to gender equality in tech: In 2013, women held only 26 percent of computing jobs — a significant drop from 35 percent in 1990.
It’s a problem President Obama is taking seriously. His administration has launched initiatives — such as a NASA/Girl Scouts of the USA partnership and the Department of Energy’s Women in STEM program — aimed at getting more girls on the pathway to careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
The tech gender gap isn’t being ignored in Ghana, either, and — thanks to people like Agyare — attitudes are changing.
Agyare partnered with a local nonprofit, Achievers Ghana, to find students for her class. The organization is helping 250 girls continue their education by offering classes like math, poetry, technology and reading.
Conservative members of the community were once opposed to Achievers Ghana’s work, but, after a leader within the mosque advocated on behalf of the nonprofit’s mission, everyone is rooting for the girls to succeed.
“I definitely feel [technology] has given them more of a voice,” Agyare told CNN. “I feel like it’s allowed them to express themselves and interact with others … for them, it’s important to be heard.”
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How to Protect Your Company's Data by Keeping Your Employees Informed
Company data security has been a major issue for years, but recent hacks are making it an even more serious concern among small- and medium-sized business owners alike. One small breach is all it takes, and all the information your company has stored–from employee passwords to sensitive client information–could be in the hands of a hacker. That means your company could be forced to pay a massive ransom, pay advanced security experts to resolve the problem, or bite the bullet and make a public apology that could devastate its reputation.
There are many advanced ways to protect against these types of cyberattacks and infiltrations, including hiring a dedicated cyber security expert, but one of the most effective methods of prevention is also one of the simplest: keep your employees informed.
How Employee Knowledge Can Prevent and React to Threats
When you take a look at the most common ways a company’s database is infiltrated, it’s no wonder why simple employee knowledge and involvement can help prevent the vast majority of incidents.
Password Vulnerability Fixes
One of the most common tactics for hacking into a company’s network involves the use or manipulation of existing passwords. Weak passwords, including those with few characters or those related to an employee’s personal life, are easily guessed or decrypted, and can then be used to gain further access into the system. Passwords that are mistakenly given out make the process even simpler for the hackers. Giving your employees knowledge about the importance of password strength and protection should be able to prevent this possibility altogether–make your employees form strong passwords and protect them at all costs.
Phishing is a technique that involves the acquisition of sensitive information by posing as an authoritative source. In other words, if an employee encounters a form field that appears to be legitimate and enters sensitive company information into it, they could be unwittingly sending that information directly to a hacker or schemer. Letting your employees know that phishing is a real threat can prevent them from falling for such a scheme. Simply being aware of the risks is enough to mitigate most of the potential damage.
Web Download Discouragement
In schemes similar to phishing, some hackers use web downloads to easily get outside information onto company computers. For example, if an employee visits an unscrupulous website and clicks a download button, they could unwittingly install spyware onto their company computer. Within a few days, the hacker who hosted the file would have all the information he/she needs to do some real damage to the company. You can discourage this series of events from ever playing out simply by letting your employees know about it and telling them the potential damage is real.
Manual Device Intervention
In rare cases, a physically exposed company device could be enough for a hacker to infiltrate the system. For example, if a company laptop is left idle in public, a hacker could plug in a USB device and install some sort of virus or spyware that gathers sensitive information. Keeping your employees informed could help them keep better track of the company devices entrusted to them, and allow them to watch for any suspicious activity.
Unsecured Network Mitigation
Some hackers are also able to infiltrate corporate systems through an unsecured network, or through some third-party network connection. For example, if an employee’s smartphone is used to access the company’s wireless network, a hacker could use the device to acquire sensitive information. Discouraging employees from connecting to the company network without authorized devices in the authorized way can prevent this outcome.
Keeping Your Employees Informed
Now that you know increased employee awareness can prevent most preventable security breaches, the trick is to achieve that level of awareness. There are several different ways you can distribute this information and ensure your employees understand it, so choose one or more that best suit your company’s culture.
Your first step should be to make some changes to your company’s Internet and tech device policies. For example, you could explicitly ban employees from opening attachments from unverified sources. You could also limit the use of wifi to only company devices.
Once your company policy is updated, it’s a good idea to send out a handful of briefing emails letting your employees know when the new policies go into place. Sending multiple rounds is advisable just in case some employees miss the first blast of information. You can also send weekly or monthly “best practice” reminder emails that keep data security top-of-mind for your workforce.
In-person meetings can help you confirm that all your employees are receiving your intended information, and that they understand that information. Once a month is more than enough to keep your employees apprised of the latest data security developments, even less frequently for smaller businesses.
Workshops and Seminars
If you want to get really serious about company data security, you could also encourage your workers to attend outside workshops or seminars designed to get your employees up-to-speed on the latest threats. If you have the money to spend on this, it’s incredibly valuable as a data breach prevention tool. As security breaches become more sophisticated, this type of employee education becomes even more valuable.
When your employees are better informed about the nature of cyber security, they’ll be less likely to make mistakes and more likely to take immediate action if they see something amiss in the company’s network. Instead of or in addition to a dedicated staff member to help prevent cyber threats, you’ll have a massive network of individuals all doing their part to keep your company information safe.
UX – Designing for Profit and Happiness in Workplace Experience
At SXSW I spoke about how you could use UX methodology, which has been used in product and application design for years, to design a productive and engaging workplace. In the panel, “The Productive Workplace – UX, Technology and You,” I mentioned how we broke down the factors of workplace experience and described some of the techniques we used to gain deep insights into the people that were using these spaces. After the event I received a lot of questions about what measures we used to analyze the workspace experience. Here, I will outline the steps taken and some of the methods used in the analysis stage of workspace design.
METHODS WE USED TO CAPTURE DATA
Our biggest component was in observation. We spent a lot of time observing employees in various space types to really understand their pain points, the gaps in their experience and how they were using spaces or changing them to make them more useful. Observation is very powerful in identifying things that people do not necessarily verbalize in interviews or indicate in surveys.
In order to even create a measure for employee workplace experience we had to understand what was top of mind for our employees. Here we utilized open discussions about their experience and what space types were more important to them, as well as some workshop sessions. During one particularly valuable session we took carefully selected photos of workspaces and forced selections of what users liked and didn’t like. The photos were carefully selected to make the environment’s good and bad characteristics bubble up to the surface. This allowed us to look for patterns within various demographics, or patterns for employees collectively. The most important data, however, was collected in the discussion that followed the activity. We analyzed the data sets to learn what factors and attributes of space were really important to people. For example, when talking about “focus rooms” the theme of “quietness” came up, telling us that “quietness” was an important attribute to the emp