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.
American Blogger Avijit Roy Killed In Bangladesh; Wife Also Injured In Cleaver Attack
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — A prominent U.S. blogger, known for his writing against religious fundamentalism, has been hacked to death by unidentified attackers in Bangladesh’s capital, police said Friday.
The attack on Avijit Roy, a Bangladesh-born U.S. citizen, took place late Thursday when he and his wife Rafida Ahmed, who was seriously injured in the attack, were returning from a book fair at Dhaka University. It was not known who was behind the attack, but Roy’s family and friends say he was a prominent voice against religious fanatics and received threats in the past. No groups have claimed the responsibility.
The local police chief, Sirajul Islam, told The Associated Press that the assailants used cleavers to attack Roy and his wife, who is also a blogger.
“Several attackers took part in the attack and at least two assailants hit them directly,” Islam said, adding that two blood-stained cleavers were found after the attack.
Roy had founded a popular Bengali-language blog — Mukto-mona, or Free Mind — in which articles on scientific reasoning and religious extremism featured prominently.
Anujit Roy, his younger brother, said Roy had returned to the country earlier this month from the U.S. and was planning to return there next month.
Similar attacks have taken place in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people but ruled by secular laws, in the past. Investigators have said religious fanatics were behind those attacks.
In 2013, another blogger, Ahmed Rajib Haider, who also spoke out against religious fanatics, was killed by unidentified assailants near his home in Dhaka.
And in 2004, Humayun Azad, a prominent writer and a teacher of Dhaka University, was seriously injured in an attack when he was returning from the same book fair, which is an annual event.
Baki Billah, a friend of Roy and a blogger, told Independent TV station that Roy had been threatened earlier by people upset at his writing.
“He was a free thinker. He was a Hindu but he was not only a strong voice against Islamic fanatics but also equally against other religious fanatics,” Billah said.
“We are saddened. We don’t know what the government will do to find the killers. We want justice,” he said.
12 'Office Optional' Industries That You (Yes, You!) Might Be Qualified For
Working a 9-to-5 desk job is not for everyone. Forget the humming of the air conditioner and the gray walls of a cubicle; some people just really don’t work best in an office environment. However, that doesn’t mean you aren’t suited for a fantastic job in a lucrative industry.
According to NBC News, 80 percent of Americans perform little to no physical activity at their jobs, most of which include sitting at a desk with a plant, a corkboard, and a sad-looking break room with fluorescent lighting (if you are reading this in a similar location, apologies for my on-the-money description).
Now’s the time to break out of your rut. We’ve teamed up with Best Buy to present 12 industries that can keep you out of the office and on your own schedule.
Translation services: If you speak more than one language, translation could be the perfect opportunity for you. Organizations like Gengo allow you to do your work through a third party, or you can work on your own to get certified by passing a translation test. Either way, you can operate right out of your home, and make more than $40,000 annually.
Graphic/Web design: With a number of companies looking to hire designers — while they also look to save on desk space — this turns out to be a freelance-friendly field, as well. Sign up for a Web design class and work on your craft, and you could easily make a $65,000 salary right from your couch.
Writing: As with a number of creative jobs, freelance writers often work straight out of their living rooms or nearby coffee shops. Whether you pitch to specific publications and gain steady employment through that, or work with third parties such as Content.ly to contribute articles, writers can set their own hours and location, making it an ideal “office optional” position.
Market Research: For a company to thrive in a competitive environment, it likely will turn to market researchers to analyze data and conduct research on its product and consumers. Whether you are one to actually digest this information, or are looking for opportunities to contribute to market research studies, you can often work with little more than a laptop and some simple software.
Personal Assistance: Thanks to the advent of the Internet, many busy people don’t need someone physically at their side to help them with important tasks. Personal assistants set up appointments, manage schedules, and organize tasks for executives and the average busy mom alike. With no certification required and an average salary of $14 per hour according to PayScale, this can be a pretty cushy job.
Accounting: Believe it or not, many personal accountants don’t work out of a downtown office. A number of people skip the office entirely and set up personal accounting services right out of their homes. (Even some corporate CPAs moonlight on their own.) And while having CPA certification will certainly help your rates, anyone with a client base and accounting background can set up on his or her own.
Transcription services: Have you always prided yourself on speedy typing and exceptional auditory skills? Then becoming an at-home transcriptionist might be right up your alley. While some transcription focuses on specific industries, many people are looking to get interviews and other verbal recordings down on paper. Sign up through a service like Transcription Professionals or venture out on your own!
Public Relations: Since PR is such a communications-driven industry, it might seem counterintuitive to think you could do it from your living room. But thanks to online services and telecommunications, you can do just that. And according to U.S. News, the median salary for PR specialists keeps climbing every year.
Nannying/Childcare: While professional childcare services require licensing, many nannies and babysitters for individual children work out of their own homes. If you are looking after a young child or an infant who needs only minimal entertaining, working from the comfort of your home can be easy, safe and reliable.
Financial planning: Similar to accountants, financial planners don’t need to sit in a corporate office to get the job done. With some easy software, a laptop, and some financial know-how, this can be the ultimate work-from-home gig.
Sales: For a number of companies, especially smaller startups, sales representatives don’t need to work from the office. Many responsibilities include sending emails, making phone calls and setting up meetings with clients — all of which can be performed remotely. While this position can be based on commission, the average rep can make a pretty penny.
Fact-checking: With self-publishing becoming more popular every day, fact-checking has become an integral part of the freelance writing business. Working part-time as an independent fact-checker for an author can be a great way to rake in some extra dough right from your couch.
Get the most out of both work and play time. Visit www.bestbuy.com for the very latest 2-in-1 devices.
13 Things We Wish Were More Flexible
In a country that prides itself on giving every American the right to exercise his or her free will, there are still plenty of limitations and restrictions we wish would, well, just go away.
To highlight how much easier (and delightful) the world would be with more versatility — and, to pour our frustrations out about the things that are not — we’ve partnered with U.S. Cellular to bring you this list of things we wish were more flexible.
Sometimes, we could really use an advance on our next paycheck. Unfortunately, our HR department doesn’t provide any kind of pay-ahead model for a big weekend sale at our favorite department store.
Post Office and Bank Hours
Even if we get out of work on time to mail that important document or open a savings account for our own, hard-earned money, there’s usually a long, twisted line of countless other individuals trying to fit this small window of time into their busy lives. We can’t even make it to happy hour — how are we supposed to finagle our way out of a late work night when the only reward is a lolli-pop?
We almost always end up waiting anyway, yet we still adhere to the, “Please be on time” disclaimer receptionists remind us over the phone. If we’re going to be forced to hurry up and wait, all doctor’s offices should at least have Wi-Fi to accommodate the fact that we’re there during our lunch hour (which is really only 30 minutes).
Concert Ticket Sales
Monday at 10 a.m. is a perfectly appropriate time for company-wide meeting. However, it’s also when tickets go on sale for that sure-to-sell-out show we really, really need to go to. Maybe the boss won’t notice us pressing “refresh” every three seconds as he or she explains the company’s forecasts for next quarter.
Planning to travel for your niece’s wedding, your parent’s anniversary and that relaxing beach getaway this year is quite the challenge when allotted just two weeks of vacation.
Sometimes it feels like police officers are just waiting for the moment our meter expires to slap our car with a ticket. At least we can find some grace in the situation, as we’ve managed to avoid the tow trucks…for now.
Cafés That Only Offer Two Options: Tiny And Super Sized
Unlike our favorite pajama bottoms, coffee cups are NOT one size fits all. We’d love to see “medium” make a comeback.
Apartment Rental Leases
Wouldn’t it be amazing if getting out of your lease a few months months early wasn’t plagued with sacrificing your security deposit?
Working with doctor’s office and bank hours is even more difficult when you’re locked into a 9-to-5 job. It doesn’t make getting the kids to and from school any easier, either.
The whole reason you join a gym is to get in shape for one certain event (right?) — so getting locked into a year-long membership pretty much defeats the purpose. If you’re going to pay for the whole year, get your money’s worth: take full advantage of the water cooler, use all the hot water in the locker room, and heck, even dine in!
Oh, did you want to cancel your flight? Pay no attention to that hefty rebooking fee.
That sweater looked great in the dressing room…but as soon as we got home, it pretty much sprouted devil horns and added ten extra pounds to our reflection. It’s unwearable — but the return policy says, “Tough luck.”
All Pants — But Jeans, Specifically
Can Pajama Jeans just become acceptable to wear in public, already?
Wish a lot of things — like phone plans — were more flexible? U.S. Cellular believes that everyone deserves great prices on their wireless plan and offers that to everyone, not just families of four.
Android loses share to iOS in mobile enterprise arena
The latest Good Technology Mobility Index Report on the mobile enterprise space, based on a survey of Good’s customer base for its own enterprise-level email services, shows iOS gaining ground by taking away share from Android in calendar Q4 2014, with the former growing by four percentage points to hit 73 percent share of global enterprise activations. Android fell by the same amount to 25 percent, while Windows Phone held steady at one percent.
Is Social Media Testing Our Morals?
Every day, I learn so much about the world through the eyes of my children. My boys are 15 and nine and, like so many kids their age; they are significantly more fluent with technology and social media than I ever will be. It seems as much as I try to catch up with social media, such as establishing a Twitter presence, for example, they’ve already moved on to something else. Just a few days ago, my kids and I got talking about someone who was being discussed negatively on social media channels, and my oldest son commented, “He’s going down, man.”
As a psychologist mom, I typically seek to understand before making assumptions or sharing my own opinions. So, I started to inquire about the particular situation and, of more interest to me, what my sons thought about the running commentary. I was surprised by what I learned.
While I am still trying to grasp how easily the most private of matters are now shared publicly, how quickly assumptions about others are made without critical data, and how in a blink of an eye a reputation can seemingly be ruined; I thought my boys would find this new way of engagement normal, and my reaction, old school. Not the case. Both said it was “wrong” for people to comment on others in a “mean” way, and that they would “hate to be him.” When my oldest son said, “he’s going down,” he explained that he realized people his age tend to believe what is shared on social media and how difficult it is to recover your reputation from a social media “blast.”
We all know that social media is a growing force within our society. We have heard horror stories about the consequences of cyber bullying, and we’ve read about how lines have become blurred between what is private and public. What facilitates all this? The constant access to social media, and the speed with which information can now be shared is now very much a way of life. There are a multitude of explanations given for why people — of all ages — are feeling so liberal with their social media posts.
Dr. Aaron Mishara, a professor of Clinical Psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, recently commented about this issue in a KPCC-FM news interview titled: Why does social media so often go from sharing and shaming? Dr. Mishara had this to say: “There is a purpose to this public shaming. We compare ourselves to those who, for the moment, are less fortunate than we are [and] that makes us feel somewhat better. But just as public shaming is “hard-wired” into us, so is empathy, and that can offer a potential solution. Engaging in our empathetic side and taking the time to see things from the other person’s perspective, “sort of balances this sort of other attacking side.”
I couldn’t agree more. I wonder if we have a moral question before us as much as anything else. My sons know people get hurt through social media, and they said they would be devastated if it ever turned on them personally. I bet most young people would say the same. Yet it seems so easy to share opinions about others right now even when we know the information that is put out there will cause pain. Has social media removed the barriers that have long been in place to censor and control hurtful comments and behavior? Does it provide an electronic buffer behind which a protagonist can hide? Will social media make it even easier, in the future, to dissolve the deteriorating barrier between private and public as it continues to evolve? And, of equal importance, where will it end?
Cyber attacks top US threat list
A US intelligence assessment of security threats faced by the country highlights cyber attacks from foreign governments and criminals.
VIDEO: The robots who build furniture
An experiment at MIT’s Distributed Robotics Lab is teaching robots to work collaboratively.
VIDEO: 'Bionic eye' allows man to see wife
An optical implant allows a man to see his wife again for the first time in years, and other technology highlights.
Are tablets falling out of favour?
Are tablets losing their appeal?
Can technology help combat CV fraud?
The tech combating job applicant fraud
What's the Real Value of Twitter?
Twitter o Twitter, what’s a Twitter worth? A tweet or a song? Investors have been debating this the past month and I’m not sure anyone has it right just yet.
Twitter has come a long way in user growth, gone public (NASDAQ:TWTR) and come under fire for growth/lack of growth and revenue numbers.
The stock chart looks like a runaway iceberg ran through the Grand Canyon. Here it is:
Meanwhile, back in startupland, private ventures such as Uber, Snapchat, Airbnb and others are getting valuations that’d make a public market investor blush (or laugh).
Twitter’s market value stood at about $30 billion last I checked. Compared to the lesser-known compadres above something seems amiss. Take Facebook value at $223 billion and the debate extends to another level. Is Facebook really 7x a Twitter?
So what’s holding Twitter value back?
Where Facebook seems to leverage its platform more to sell ads, Twitter doesn’t yet seem to be “fully realized” in terms of what it could be.
To understand this let’s consider the levels of interaction. Facebook revolves around personal or quasi-personal interaction, someone you know sharing a tidbit of info or funny photo. Engagement level is high, “emotional meaning” built in.
Facebook is kind of like a private dining room at a popular restaurant. Stories and moments shared among a circle you know.
In contrast, Twitter’s “conversations” and information flow seem more “corporate,” “branded,” less personal. A lot of media use Twitter as link referrals to stories and companies do the same for announcements.
Twitter is more like a banquet hall, noisy and echoing with a cacophony of voices. Today that is. And that’s why I believe the stock pales compared to Facebook and even the value of some of the private ventures I mentioned.
On the plus side Twitter is a global brand, very difficult to build that. Media the world over use Twitter as their media outlet. Celebs use it. It has changed public relations and marketing.
That said, the “true” value of Twitter lies in what it could be doing. I don’t own the stock. What I’m sharing today has to do with seeing a company and potential, avenues and expansion, to what it could be “grown up.”
As an analogy, as a sophomore in high school Michael Jordan stood 5′ 11″ tall. He didn’t make the varsity squad that year. Of course we all know what happened later.
Unlike Jordan, however, Twitter may or may not grow to it full potential. There is no predetermined DNA here.
The DNA will be choices Twitter makes to grow.
A few of the areas I see with massive potential for Twitter are:
and half a dozen more even more powerful. Many observers show stats that Facebook, Twitter, or ads don’t convert to clicks, etc. This is seen as a negative and it is — if you’re in the ad business. What Twitter has yet to realize is it is a content network, yet lacks a self contained way of benefiting (other than sloppy promoted tweets).
Anyway, the product pipeline at Twitter could be magical if thought of differently.
Back to “worth”…
While many writers will use the word “worth” in a story I don’t. The term ‘value’ is the proper way to address a company valuation.
As someone who’s been in business development since Netscape I can see this flatfooted geeky “teen” called Twitter and wonder if it’ll always lay up or ever get to dunk?
Steve is the founder of hapn.cool, and has been a venture capitalist and executive at public and private companies.
Apple Pay now accepted at more than 860 Firehouse Subs locations in US
In addition to sandwich chain Panera Bread and Subway, and fast food king McDonald’s, some 860 branch locations of sub sandwich chain Firehouse Subs will now officially begin accepting Apple Pay starting today. Apple Pay allows users to pay for food by simply holding the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to a terminal while holding the Touch ID button on the devices. The franchise is hoping to more than double the number of locations it has in the US to over 2,000 by 2020.
Microsoft Update OneDrive for Windows Phone with PIN Locking and A New Photo Album View
OneDrive for Windows Phone has received a significant update today, bringing several new features to the cloud storage app. The new update, version 4.7 for those keeping score at home, is available now in the Windows Phone Store and brings four key updates that continue to level the playing field between the Windows Phone version and iOS or Android versions of OneDrive. The first new feature is PIN lock support. Now in OneDrive for Windows Phone you can setup a 4-digit PIN which will be required to access your files. It is an added layer of security so if your device
The post Microsoft Update OneDrive for Windows Phone with PIN Locking and A New Photo Album View appeared first on Clinton Fitch.
Twelve Ways To Reverse California's Income Inequality
This piece was originally published by Capital & Main.
“The California Chasm” is a challenge that threatens to transform the nation’s most populous state into a shadow of its former self. Once a place where people came together to realize fortunes, remake their lives and attain their piece of the American Dream, California has become a state saddled with sharp differences in social, economic and health outcomes due to race, place and class.
Here is a set of bold recommendations for how California can rebuild its middle class and lay the foundation for a future that reclaims the bright promise of the Golden State.
Raise the Floor
1. Raise the Minimum Wage, Stop Wage Theft and Expand the Right to Sick Days: These measures are not sufficient to rebuild our middle class, but they are absolutely necessary as first steps.
2. Encourage Employment for the Formerly Incarcerated: To reflect our state’s values of opportunity and reinvention, we must ease market reentry for those who have been convicted and served their time.
3. Expand the Rights of Immigrants: We cannot wait for reform from Washington – the health of our economy and communities requires us to act now.
4. Crack Down on the Misclassification of Workers: The law-breaking by employers is undermining our system of justice while also leaving millions of workers behind.
Grow the Economy Together
5. Fight Climate Change With Good Green Jobs: The two greatest challenges of our time – global warming and economic inequality – can and must be addressed together.
6. Close Proposition 13’s Corporate Loopholes: It’s time to ride the third rail of California politics and restore fairness to our tax system.
7. Promote Affordable Housing: California’s rising rents and home prices must be met with rigorous legislation as well as major investment.
8. Invest Big in Public Transit: Large-scale, sustained investment in clean public transit is essential for creating livable communities and can generate a number of high-quality jobs.
Create a Path to the Middle
9. Provide Free Community College Education: California should take a page from President Obama’s playbook and open up our most important higher education institutions to everyone in a way that removes financial barriers.
10. Close the Wealth Gap: It’s not enough to raise wages – we need to enable Californians to build their wealth and their personal safety nets.
11. Strengthen Retirement Benefits: With nearly half of Californians set to retire into economic hardship, we need bold action, including contributions from a much broader set of employers.
12. Renew Our Democracy: We need a thriving democracy to ensure broadly shared economic prosperity, and in California that means fostering civic engagement and finding creative solutions that remove barriers to participating in the political process.
We hope this list is inclusive but we know it is not exhaustive. Every day, the creativity of Californians is demonstrated as they open new businesses, devise new technologies and experiment with new ways to engage the public and shift public policy. And so we see this as an invitation to readers and leaders to comment, discuss and offer new approaches to rebuilding California’s economy.
Such a conversation is essential not only for our future prosperity but also for our democracy. After all, one of the most serious threats inequality poses is to our political system. When wealth rather than voice determines the directions our government will take, when policies tilt the playing field to reproduce disadvantage rather than to spread opportunity, that is a recipe for the erosion not just of the middle class but of our hard-won democratic rights.
And the only antidote is more debate, more organizing and more participation. Indeed, civic engagement is the lifeblood of any effort to restore shared prosperity – and we hope that by raising tough issues, offering compelling stories and proposing real solutions, we can jumpstart the civic conversation and action we need to restore the luster of the Golden State.
Find Out What The No. 1 Song Was On The Day You Were Born
Have you ever wondered what the No. 1 song in the country was on your date of birth? Okay, probably not, but it’s still fun to find out!
For example, the No. 1 song on Kanye West’s birthday back on June 8, 1977 was “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder:
And when Kim Kardashian was a mere newborn child, born on Oct. 21, 1980, the No. 1 song was “Another One Bites the Dust” by Queen.
Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical” was the most popular song when Britney Spears was born on Dec. 2, 1981:
But enough about them. Find out what the No. 1 song was on your birthday over at Playback.Fm, and contemplate if there’s some existential correlation between the song and your life. (At least that’s what we did, anyways.)
h/t Refinery 29
New Facebook Ad Reminds Us How Important Best Friends Really Are
“It started with secret languages, some without words.”
So begins Facebook’s new advertisement that shows the importance of friendship throughout all stages of life. Published on Feb. 13, the ad is one of three 60-second commercials created by Facebook.
The ad shows all different types of best friends from teenage girls laughing to young women dancing. It features the different stages of friendships women go through between learning how to kiss and even the darker, harder times when we need our best friends the most.
“They are the faces in our photos,” the voiceover says. “The handwriting that we know by heart. Silver linings and good luck charms. Fellow life planners and re-planners.” They are our irreplaceable best friends.
Check out the full commercial below.
The Best Time To Do Everything (At Work)
This isn’t the most productive day for you. You sit down at your desk. Get up. Sit down again. Fiddle around with your chair. Open a browser window. Sign into your email. Answer a chat on Google. Answer another.
For the next several hours, you are a permanent resident of your email inbox. On several occasions, a possibly better, possibly more interesting distraction drags you away from your current one. (These distractions are rarely better, or more interesting, but they are different.) Your fingers, seemingly autonomous from your brain, scroll through your social feeds: your gurgling babies of Facebook, your logorrheic celebrities of Twitter, your enviable landscapes of Instagram, your ever-deepening vortex of Mason jars on Pinterest.
What if you did this differently? What if you resolved to be your best self today? With a combination of expert research and anecdotal evidence, we’ve partnered with Best Buy to find the best time for everything.
Welcome to your best day ever!
6 a.m.: Send Emails That Actually Get Read
According to data gathered by online marketing company HubSpot, the click-through rate on emails peaks around this time. Of course, you can’t guarantee an immediate response, but at least you’ll make yourself heard.
6:30 – 8:30 a.m.: Get Stuff Done
Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University, encouraged readers of his Reddit AMA to seize the first two hours of their day. “Generally, people are most productive in the morning,” he wrote. “The two hours after becoming fully awake are likely to be the best.”
8 a.m.: Make A Highly Ethical Decision
This is a big day for you! Start it on a moral high horse. According to research published in Psychological Science, we are inclined to make better moral and ethical decisions in the morning than we do at night. Apparently, it takes a good deal of energy and restraint to avoid becoming your lying, cheating, Worst Self, and that self-control erodes with the “normal, unremarkable” choices you make throughout an average day, the journal notes. This is called the “morning morality effect,” so make all of your tough calls now.
10:30 a.m.: Grab A Cup Of Coffee
Believe it or not, the best time to have a cup of coffee is not first thing in the morning, according to Steven Miller of Neuroscience DC. Between 8 and 9 a.m., your level of cortisol — popularly known as the “stress hormone” — is at a high, meaning you’re already quite alert. Aim to drink your joe between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., when the cortisol concentration in your bloodstream starts to dip.
1 p.m.: Post Something Interesting On Facebook
According to marketing company QuickSprout, this is the time when most people will reshare your posts.
1:30 p.m.: Take A Nap
Go ahead, you’ve earned it. Your optimal naptime will depend on the time you woke up today — a nap starting at 1:30 p.m. assumes that you’ve gotten out of bed around 6 a.m. — you know, when you sent all of those important emails. A catnap that lasts between 10 and 20 minutes is optimal. (Check out this handy tool to guide you to your best siesta.) As far as logistics: if you’re not lucky enough to have designated nap rooms at the office, there’s always your car or a variety of other creative options.
4 p.m.: Let Sparks Fly
How about another break? Based on a small, unscientific survey from dating service Sparkology, users were 40 percent more likely to get a response to an initial message during work hours than after 5 p.m. Alex Furmansky, the company’s founder, posits that evening messages suffer from a few perception problems: (1) a Friday night message means you’re sitting, sad and alone, in front of your computer instead of socializing, (2) it may seem ill-considered, and (3) the recipient is likely not in front of a computer.
5 p.m.: Ask For A Raise
Aside from dawdling on, say, online dating sites instead of working (oops!), you’re a pretty conscientious worker, we’ll assume. You’ve put some real time and energy into this job, and you’re ready to ask your boss about a pay bump. Lynn Ellis, a career coach in Texas, told Real Simple: “The key is finding a moment when your boss is not rushed and has time to truly listen.” Of course, you’ll want to use your best judgment: if you and your boss are morning people, then you’ll want to present your case by the light of day.
6 p.m.: Get Creative
If you are indeed a morning person, it turns out that your creativity peaks in the evening — that is, when you are more distracted and less energetic. In a 2011 study by Mareike B. Wieth and Rose T. Zacks, subjects were assigned “insight” and “analytic” problems at both optimal and non-optimal times of the day. The results indicated that insight problems, or creative pickles that require an “a-ha” moment, are best reserved for when your energy and inhibitions are somewhat lowered.
Want to have the best work days ever? Visit www.bestbuy.com for the very latest 2-in-1 devices.
Explore Nebraska's Carhenge, A Monument to American Ingenuity
Along a lonely stretch of highway in Alliance, Nebraska sits a mysterious monument to America’s rich history of putting the pedal to the metal: Carhenge. We sent our roving photographer, Joel Schat, out to capture the classic roadside wonder on camera, and the video doesn’t disappoint:
Paying homage to Stonehenge, Carhenge has been fascinating people since its installation in the ’80s. Dreamed up by Jim Reinders as a memorial to his father, Carhenge consists of a circle of cars with a heel stone, slaughter stone, and two station stones within the circle. In fact, it’s a near perfect match to its counterpart across a pond, thanks to Reinder’s extensive studies of Stonehenge while living in England.
While it’s certainly the centerpiece, the druidic tribute isn’t the only strange thing on the property. There’s also a “Car Art Preserve” populated with plenty of art projects created with vehicle bits and pieces, and even a little graveyard dedicated to three foreign cars buried on the grounds. A full vehicle serves as their makeshift gravestone, reading: ”Here lie three bones of foreign cars. They served our purpose while Detroit slept. Now Detroit is awake and America’s great!”
Free of admission and open every day, Carhenge welcomes visitors with open arms, but encourages the curious to visit during daylight hours. God only knows what happens there at night. Fun fact: Carhenge is set to line up perfectly with a total solar eclipse in 2017, so now’s the perfect time to start planning your visit if you really want to catch an incredible sight.
Can’t make it to Nebraska? Don’t worry, from Virginia’s “Foamhenge“, to Washington’s Maryhill Stonehenge, to South Carolina’s very own “Phonehenge” at the Freestyle Music Park, there’s no shortage of American tributes to the mysterious Stonehenge.
I Lived for 90 Days in New York City Without Internet, Computer or a Cell Phone
For three months, I collaborated with the Huffington Post France to share with you the highs and lows of this experience. Each hand-written note was sent through the mail, then typed and posted online by the editors. This post contains my impressions of the experience. Happy reading!
From October 15, 2014 to January 11, 2015, I ran a rather peculiar experiment… traveling from Paris to New York, and spending 90 days there without Internet, computer or a cell phone. Why? I needed to disconnect in order to better reconnect in a hyper-connected environment.
The origin of the project
I felt a real need for emancipation, and I was pushed by a quest for authenticity. At 25 years old, the Internet and its related technologies (smartphones, computers, etc.) make up the main part of my daily exchanges: virtual exchanges of information, not to mention virtual exchanges of emotion. Weary of the way technology can distort meaning, I decided to try the opposite. It would be an adventure: connecting to individuals and the world, guided by my intuition rather than a smartphone.
My project wasn’t solely intended to be a “digital detox.” Yes, I sometimes feel dependent on my electronic gadgets, and the decision to put them away for a while certainly feels like “detoxing.” But if distancing myself from technology had been my goal, I would have headed somewhere with wide open spaces, instead of New York, with its skyscrapers. No way was I going to declare a war against Google. It is, after all, thanks to this technology that I am sharing my experience with you now! Millions of people on this planet still don’t have Internet access, and as far as I know, they get by.
What really pushed me to make this apparently contradictory choice was the wish to better understand the ideas of “connection” and “disconnection.” Have they been reduced to just “clicks” online? Convinced that the opposite is true, I decided to experience connection, rather than connectivity.
The rules of the game
No Internet, no computer (or equivalent), no cell phone. To communicate with my family, my friends or anybody I met during the experiment, I used public payphones, the landline in the basement of my building to make local calls, or the New York postal service.
The payphones at Grand Central Station
My precious tools: a paper smartphone…
To guide myself around a very spread out New York, I used a map of the city and a subway map. My paper diary also followed me across the Atlantic, as well as my “homemade” hand-written business cards. Then, in order to make sure I forgot no one and to stay in touch with the people I met along the way, I carefully recorded phone numbers and addresses in a little notebook.
My day-to-day life in New York
It’s hard to summarize three months of living in a few sentences, especially when I was at the center of the adventure! Here, however, are some key episodes I’d like to regale you with.
The first few days following my arrival in New York, I felt very alone. Technologically isolated, surrounded by the silence of my situation, I was drowning in uncertainty: what would I do for the next three months?
First step, find a place to live. Not an easy undertaking when classifieds have become thin on the ground in the New York newspapers. After a few scares and with the support of some French expat friends, I finally found help from the French Consulate. There, I met a really friendly team who run an extremely efficient word-of-mouth system.
A few hours after my visit to the Consulate (5 days after my arrival in New York), I already had a serious offer: a room to rent in an apartment in Harlem, in northern Manhattan. I jumped at the opportunity. My flatmates (Adam and Clara) were French. They have since become my friends.
Apartment hunting…any takers?
Once properly set up, I decided to find something to do. Not only to keep myself busy, but also to give meaning to this experiment. My status as tourist didn’t allow me to work legally in the US, so I decided to get involved with charity work. After gathering a few contact details from the French Consulate during my real estate expeditions there, I volunteered at three charities: Comptoir Pastoral de la Francophonie, New York Common Pantry and Murphy Center. For almost two and a half months, I served a purpose which was decisive in my adventure: resisting isolation. Faced with people who are less fortunate or completely homeless, these charitable organizations offer food, time and a place welcoming to all.
On top of feeling useful, I felt another form of disconnection: the absence of concerns. This marked a fundamental break in the way my experiment was running and made me be more daring, braver when going towards others, going beyond what I had often hidden in electronic communication. I also understand why I feel alone without this technology. Why I abused it in the past. Why some are dependent on it. The internet is a virtual other who “likes” my photos on Facebook, who “follows” me on Twitter or visits my LinkedIn profile. The Internet is the one who offers me consideration, attention, love. In the end, connecting to the Internet is an assurance I will never be disconnected.
To give meaning to my experiment, I volunteered at various organizations, such as New York Common Pantry, which welcomes and feed several hundred people each day.
When I wasn’t volunteering, I was out meeting people. People from here, but mainly from afar. In New York, everyone has a story. People coming from Central and South America, from Africa, from Europe, from Asia become locals who live together and confer the title of world capital on the Big Apple. We met up in the cafes near the Columbia campus, in jazz concerts in Harlem or Brooklyn, in impromptu nights out on the Lower East Side. We cross paths on the street, on the subway. Day or night. People are everywhere, and everywhere there are people I am more attentive. By leaving aside my screens, I rediscovered the pleasure of chance meetings. Who’s to say we will never meet again?
I also rediscovered the pleasure of writing by hand. For seven years (since the end of secondary school), I had only typed on a keyboard. Typed my homework, typed my emails, and type text messages. To “type”– what a barbaric word when we think about it! Since my school days, opportunities to pick up a pen have been rare. In those three months, I rediscovered the dexterity of my wrist, rough drafts and ink stains. I personally find it charming.
I decided to give a sense of identity to my envelopes before they were mailed. They said “Imprint me.”
I also discovered the intensity of corresponding by mail. Outside of a few postcards I had sent my grandparents while on summer holiday, I can’t remember sending a handwritten letter before New York. How deep it is, though! How powerful! I often talk about it, and everyone agrees: they love receiving letters.
Is living without technology easy?
In practice, my New York life wasn’t too different from everyone else’s. I adapted easily to my new condition and kept the bet until the end without too much difficulty. Before setting off, I wondered “will I miss my computer?” In the end the answer is “no,” a genuine “no.” None of the crutches I left in Paris created any temptation once I arrived in New York.
What I did miss was checking my emails. Even though it doesn’t have the same intensity as a letter, I always enjoy finding a personal email. Because if we think about it, checking one’s emails, outside of a professional context, comes back to measuring how much attention others give us. Who has written to me? Who is showing interest in me? Who loves me?” And even more so: How many people love me? How many people like me? In the not-so-distant past, I used to confuse the two. Convinced of the existence of a quantifiable love, my online behaviour, especially on social media, was aimed at collecting “likes.” The more my photo was “liked,” the more I felt I was worthy of attention. By contrast, when it wasn’t, I felt less valued. Realizing this today has helped me understand the causes of this, and adapt my behaviour online to detrimental effects on real life.
Living without this technology wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t always very practical. Especially in a city like New York! Lateness, not enough detail when making an appointment, forgetfulness…all of these situations are easily fixed when our cell phone is close to hand. In my situation, I needed to agree to appointments in advance, be on time, give myself strategic landmarks and come up with a plan B just in case. It was rather restrictive. Restrictive not only for me, but also for those who crossed my path. Thanks to them for playing along! To think that humanity lived this way for centuries, and the Internet and its accessories have revolutionized our interactions in less than a generation, is unbelievable. In any case, I am now a lot more tolerant towards tardiness.
The French Consulate, a vital place for my experiment.
The trials of disconnection: doubts, withdrawal and isolation
No, I didn’t miss either my smartphone or my computer. Not even Facebook or LinkedIn, where I had spent hours. So… should we talk about isolation? Yes indeed. Because I missed human beings. Because I sometimes felt alone and the Internet often filled that emotional hole from in my life. This solitude is the experience of disconnection. This unease? The fear of the ultimate disconnection.
Faced with only myself in certain situations, I became aware that there is a beginning and an end. Without Google to give me answers, I needed to share this discovery, seek attention from others, trust strangers, show a side of myself we often try to hide through fear of being judged, misunderstood or rejected. It was in a moment of absolute doubt that I truly understood the power of human contact. Having the courage to be vulnerable and the luck of being well supported, the trial of “disconnection” left room for the relief of “reconnection.” So, thanks for being there.
Installation by Richard Serra in Dia:Beacon, New York.
Intensity and new flavors off screen
“A wonderfully chaotic adventure” is how I like to describe it. Because before writing about it, you have to live it. I lived a poignant experience, a punch in the stomach of an experience. Away from screens, I rediscovered more intense flavours, deeper, richer. It was as if, from one day to the next, you rediscovered the taste of a tomato. It’s still a tomato in substance, its composition hasn’t changed. What has changed is the perception you have of it, the importance you give it, the eyes with which you look at it. Dear readers, this tomato is you.
New practices and behavioral changes once home
It’s too soon to talk about “new habits” given that I was only reunited with my gadgets a month ago. Obviously, such an experience will modify my relationship to technology, but we will talk about that at a later date. For now, I often forget my cell phone, don’t leave home without a map of Paris and have imposed a single rule on myself: no more emails after 8pm. I had completely lost my awe of my computer and finding it again, turning it on and opening up Google for the first time didn’t move me at all! Having unsubscribed from most social media before leaving, my New York experience immunized me from it. The only one I continue to use for a professional reason is LinkedIn in my new adventure: finding a job!
I wish to thank all those who contributed to the unfolding of this wonderful experience. All of this is thanks to you. Thank you to Bastien, my best friend, and Charlotte, his sweetheart, for their warm welcome and generosity, to Stéphane (Adam) and Sophie (Clara), my two gold-star flatmates, for their open mindedness and their support, to Brené Brown, my source of inspiration. Thank you to Marianne and her far-fetched stories, to Claire, Chris and A. for their commitment, to my family and all those who took the time to write to me. Thank you to Shaï for the magical musical moments. To Sandra, Carolyn, Rachael and Will, for our interesting conversations. I also spare a thought for two Isabelles, who not so long ago, gave me a rung up on the ladder. Yes there are many of you! Thank you to Frédérique, Florent and Jean, who I have met since our epistolary exchanges. Finally, thank you to all those whose paths I crossed for the space of an evening, the time of a trip or on a street corner. That old lady on a bench, her smiling face. If the world is a better place, it’s thanks to you.
Rather than the technology itself, it’s more my own usage of the Internet, computers and cell phones that influence my daily life. I’m no longer a “victim” of their impact on my life, since I have understood the importance of my own “responsibility” in their usage. Once a prisoner of screens looking for recognition (in other words, love), I’ve understood, from taking a step back, that being obsessed by their powerful attraction, I’d forgotten to look around me.
Love is all. Through experiencing more natural, spontaneous exchanges with others