Category Archives: Technology

How to extend your iPhone battery life

If there is anything that annoys more cell phone users, it is losing battery power while you are on the phone.  This has happened to nearly everybody, and at least once it caught you by complete surprise.  When you are running a cell phone as powerful as the iPhone, it is easy to understand why the battery power begins to drain.  When you are listening to your favorite song, checking your email and text messaging several friends at once, you are requiring a lot of the cell phones’ power.  Thus, you will begin to drain your cell phone of battery life quicker than you thought.

Even though, on the Apple website, they clearly explain the battery life expectations, they only include the information if you are running one application at a time.  However, if iPhone users are known for anything, it is for their ability to multitask.  Yet, multitasking means a shorter battery life.

However, there are several things that you can do to make your iPhone’s battery life even longer.  Of course, the iPhone isn’t known for draining its battery extremely quick, there is always room for a prolonged battery performance.  If you follow these tips, then you will have an iPhone that lasts you longer than you could even imagine.  Perhaps the best tip that anyone with an iPhone can follow is to simply turn off your Bluetooth if you are not using it.  Very little people understand that when you keep your Bluetooth turned on, when you are not using it, you are draining your battery.

This is because there is a set amount of power that is controlled by the Bluetooth section of your iPhone, and the power is draining because the phone is constantly searching for other Bluetooth devices.  If you do not want to pair with a Bluetooth device, then make sure that your Bluetooth is turned off.

Another tip to making your battery life on your iPhone last longer is to always lock your iPhone when you are done using it.  When you are finished talking on the phone with your best friend, checking your e-mail or sending a text message, make sure that you activate the lock button.  Many people wait for the screen to shut down by itself after they are using it, while this may seem like a great idea, you are wasting battery life by doing so.  Also, make sure that you set your auto-lock because this is a great way to ensure your phone will lock itself just in case you forget to.  There are many iPhone owners that set their auto lock for five minutes after use.

However, if you multiply this five minute of power usage by ten times per day, your battery will not last you if you might think.  Therefore, it is always suggested that you set your auto lock for one minute (1) after you have completed using your phone.  This will ensure that the iPhone screen will not stay lit when it is not being used.  If you want to have a hassle-free way to save battery life, then this is the way to do it.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Donates $15 Million To Help US Cities

Access Control: An Introduction To Access Control

Your building is secure at night, but during the day there are several doors that must be open. Anybody could walk in. What can you do?

The Solution

You need an Access Control System.

What is an Access Control System?

Access Control is an electronic security system which permits or restricts access to specific areas of a premises. It not only protects property against unwanted visitors but ensures the safety of both the property and of the people inside.

In simple terms, an Access Control System provides control of entry (or exit) through nominated doors via a control panel and some form of electric locking facility.

An Access Control System can be as simple or as complicated as you wish but, in each case, the solution will always provide an easy passage for permitted persons around the building.

Door Entry or Access Control?

Door entry is commonly associated with a single door or gate, whereas access control is more suited to multiple doors or entry points.

Access Control can also incorporate a host of other features which enhance other areas of the business.

Access Control / Door Entry Technology

There are several ways that a permitted user can open a door that is fitted with a system.

PIN Code Entry

The most common unit is the keypad system. This comprises a control unit with a series of numbered push buttons, or a touch-sensitive pad, connected to the lock release mechanism via a control unit located at the entrance.

Magstripe (also called Swipe Card) Readers

Each entry point has a card reader and the user swipes an encoded card like a credit card to gain entry.

This technology is widely used and there are many choices of manufacturers.

Proximity Readers

Rather than swiping the card or tag, it is simply presented to a reader which typically will see the card at about 100mm. This is a fast, non-contact, method of entry.

Long Range Readers

Long range proximity readers (of approximately a meter or so) automatically unlock or open a door when it detects the card.

This is particularly suitable for compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) as no action is required by the card bearer.

Smartcard Readers

For systems that use cards or tags, these cards can also carry additional information which can be used for other building services for example, time and attendance functions, integration with payroll systems, car park management and even vending machine applications.

Biometric Readers

A Biometric Reader system uses unique human characteristics such as fingerprints or a retina scan to clearly identify those who are permitted access.

As there are no cards or tags which can be stolen or lost, or open to misuse, this type of system significantly increases the level of security.

What about Visitors?

You will want to welcome most of those who visit your premises, so it must be easy for them to let you know they are there.

The three most common means of attracting attention are:

A simple doorbell system which alerts your staff to the fact that there is someone waiting outside.

An audio intercom panel which allows the visitor to have a direct conversation with a member of your staff and, if appropriate, the door can be remotely released.

An audio intercom panel with a camera facility which allows your staff to see who wants to enter the building before permitting access.

Once access has been permitted, the visitor can either be escorted around or issued with a card or pin number for the duration of their visit.

Things to Consider

When planning an access control system, you should consider the following:

How many entry/exit points

Where are these located

Level of security desired

The movement of staff around the building

Method of operation

Future growth of building

Turnover of employees

Disability access

Interface with other systems for example, the fire alarm

As with any type of security system, it is sensible to employ a company that you can trust. Make sure you use an NSI (NACOSS) approved organization; this will ensure that your system will be designed and installed by professionals.

7 Tips for Buying Inexpensive Laptop

Laptops are gaining in popularity these days. Almost everyone is carrying one now either for work or entertainment. Laptops with the latest technology are introduced to the market every day and these new laptops come with a huge price tag. However, that does not mean you cannot get a good and cheap laptop. I have put together a guide that may help you out in your hunt for a cheap and good laptop.

Buy cheap laptop with older technology

Rapid advance in technology makes it meaningless to buy the latest technology at a high price. When laptop with wireless capability first came to the market, a unit with this technology can cost up till US$2500. Now after 2 years, you can get a relatively fast Centrino laptop for less than US$1000

Buy used or refurbished laptop

The depreciation of a laptop value is so high, that after one year in the market, a laptop can easily lose half its value. So, if you are looking for a cheap laptop, look for one which is close to one year old. Not all used laptop is in bad condition. You will be surprised to find that some used laptops are still in good condition because their owners are power users or gamers.

Buy laptop from power users or gamers

I like to buy electronic gadgets including laptops from hard core power users or gamers. Let me share with you why. Gamers or power users usually require the latest and most powerful technology to run their games or power-hungry applications. They often will not settle for second best. They also have the tendency to chase after the latest technology. So, after one year, they will be bored of what they have and will look to sell off their laptops so that they can buy a new one. Now if you are looking to buy cheap laptops with up to date technology and you happen to have friends who are gamers, do ask them if they are looking to sell off their laptops. Who knows, maybe you can buy a good and cheap laptop from them.

Scan through gaming forums and local gaming community

if you do not already have friends who like to play computer games, then scanning through gaming forums on the internet is another way to get good and cheap deals for used laptop. Internet makes it easy for you to do this. Go to and start searching for gaming forums. Visit each one and see if they have a Trading Section. You will find many posts from gamers looking to sell their gaming laptops.

Scan through local bulletin boards

Do scan through local bulletin boards near you for cheap deals on laptop. Especially if there are software companies around the area. Software companies do offer their used computers or laptops for sale when their software projects end. I personally had gotten a few good deals for my family and friends.

Look for cheap laptop with at least 512mb memory

This is especially important for used laptop. If the processor speed is slow, then having more memory can compensate for the lack in speed. In fact, the size of memory plays a big part in determining how fast a laptop runs an application. Just by increasing the memory size, you can see a huge difference in speed. A cheap laptop with at least 512mb memory can run most nongraphic intensive application easily.

Get cheap laptop from reputable manufacturer

This is very important because if you are buying used laptop, then the chances of requiring servicing is higher than a new laptop. So, if you buy from a reputable manufacturer, you will save a lot of trouble and time if your laptop do require servicing.

5 Desktop Computer Hardware Myths Exposed

The big boys in the computer industry want you to continue thinking the way you are. The major desktop computer manufacturers thrive on consumers lack of knowledge and old ideas about desktop computers and computer hardware to drive sales of new desktop computers.

It works in their favor to keep these myths alive, because their business depends on it. So, what are they?

Myth 1: You need top of the line computer hardware

Maybe some years ago this might have been true with older computer hardware, but times have changed. When computers were much slower than they are now, the latest version of any computer hardware increased speeds noticeably and allowed new possibilities from your desktop computer.

Those increases from computer hardware no longer yield such a huge increase in performance. With the basic uses of the desktop computer set and been in place for a while now, speed increases no longer result in real world benefits for most desktop computer users.

What was great computer hardware last year is still good enough now.

Myth 2: Computer hardware is the domain of Geeks

When personal computing was coming into its own, you really did need to be a Geek to know what was happening. For those old enough to remember, imagine life without Windows and hacking away at the command line, as used to be the case. Some still do, but I wouldn’t want to do that again.

Desktop computers are such commonplace that the basics of computer hardware can be understood and researched with the minimum of hassle. The ball is on the consumers side of the court. You no longer need to be a geek, just a little knowledge that is now readily available.

Myth 3: A faster desktop computer will speed up the Internet

Possibly. If you are running 5-year-old computer hardware this might be the case. But the real reason for the increase in speed is usually not the computer.

Internet speed is related to your connection speed. If you have a dial up connection, it’s going to be quite slow. When you upgrade your desktop computer and they throw in a cable internet, or DSL package the improved speed is from the faster connection, not the computer. Both cable and DSL can offer more than 10 times the speed of a dial-up connection. The computer has little to do with it.

Myth 4: To speed your computer up, upgrade!

New computer hardware is an obvious way to speed things up. Even I have gone for new parts purely for this reason.

But it’s not the only way.

Various factors play into overall speed. On a purely physical level, upgrading memory is still a fantastic way to get things to move along a little faster. But apart from this the main things that slows things down on the programs and other stuff you have on the computer.

Over time, as more programs are put on and taken off and changed, things get left behind, and things get forgotten. When your computer starts, many things get loaded into memory and each one of those takes that little bit more of the computer’s resources. When you switch to a new program and don’t remove the old one, the older one will still use resources.

Myth 5: Big brands are the best

Big brands essentially piece together a computer. They pick and choose the pieces to make a computer package. They also choose some software, give a warranty and then sell it to you.

Dell computer company has become well known for its customer service. This is the best part about Dell computers. The downside is there are limited choices. They pick what goes into the computer, which are often quite expensive parts. They are motivated by the suppliers to put more recent parts into their computers, keeping the prices at the same level and maintaining the “to get more, pay more,” mentality.

You don’t have the power of these big guys, but you have something more. Choice.

Your pick of parts for your desktop computer will allow you to put together something completely tailored to your needs. Put the money where you need it most, into the computer hardware that makes the biggest difference to you, and in the end getting a desktop computer you will fall in love with, rather than despise.

7 Great Computer User Tips – For Windows Users

If you’re using the NTFS filing protocol on your system, instead of FAT32, you can get a bit more speed by disabling Windows Indexing. The downside to this is that searching your drive for a specific file might take a moment or two longer, but everything else should run faster.

To disable this feature, open My Computer and then right click on the drive you wish to reset usually C-drive. Now click on Properties and then uncheck Allow Indexing Service. It will take Windows a few moments to accomplish this task, based on your processor speed. If you have other hard drives, perform the same process for them. After this is done, it’s a good idea to empty the Recycle Bin and then Defragment your hard drive(s).

FREE Software

If you have a system and it does not have an office suite, such as Microsoft Office, and you don’t want to pay several hundred dollars to have one, try Open Office. This is a great alternative to other suites, and its free! Simply direct your browser to and follow the instructions for downloading and installation. Make no mistake, this free office suite is an extremely powerful set of software tools easily a match for any competitor.

Internet Explorer (Microsoft Internet browser) is unarguably the standard in computers. Therefore, hackers develop so many malware applications to invade it. If you use a different browser, you have much less chance of an invasion by malicious software. There is a great alternative available, and it’s free. You can download a copy of Firefox at You can even move your Internet Explorer settings into Firefox automatically, so you don’t lose your Favorites, etc.

Laptop Printer Fix

If you’re using a laptop that is running Windows ME, and you’re having trouble printing through the USB, try this simple fix. Go to the website for the company that manufactures your printer. If you use a Hewlett-Packard, for example, go to and download the appropriate drivers and install them. ME has drivers that recognize the USB printer is present and attached, but not the drivers needed to make it print. Which drivers you download, and install will be dependent on your printer. After installing new drivers, update the printer as necessary in the Control Panel.

Save $$$ When Shopping On-line

If you’re making a purchase on-line, and you know the item you want to buy, you can easily compare pricing across the Internet. This can amount to a very substantial savings.

At this writing, I went to and typed in that I wanted to buy a printer: a Canon PIXMA iP4000. The service instantly checked the Internet and returned prices ranging from $62.00 up to $286.00. This kind of price spread is not at all unusual, especially for computers and electronics.

The My Simon website service only checks pricing, it does not provide a platform for purchasing anything, though it does link to such places. It also gives a rating for the sellers and other users input regarding their experiences with the company. You can order the results of the search for your product by price, so that you can quickly find the lowest price from the highest rated dealer.

Windows XP Professional Only

A feature of Windows XP Professional, that is not available in the Home Edition, is the ability to encrypt files. This encryption prevents others from opening the files in the folder you encrypt. To encrypt one or more a folder, follow these easy steps.

Click Start, then My Documents. Now locate the folder you wish to encrypt and right click on it and choose Properties.

On the General tab, click on Advanced. Put a tick mark in the box for Encrypt Contents to Secure Data. Click okay two times and the confirmation dialog box will appear allowing you to select the folder, the folder and all files, and/or the subfolders within it.

Now you’ll be able to place files in this folder (or folders) and since they’re encrypted, others will not be able to access them.

Internet Safety

You should never reveal your username or password to anyone who e-mails you and asks for it. This information is frequently asked for by an Internet scheme called phishing.

In a common phishing scam, you receive an e-mail that looks quite official. It usually appears to come from a bank or credit card company. A common title for these e-mails is We need to verify your account information. Another is Please logon to your account and verify your settings. If you do click where instructed, you’ll end up on a site that appears to be the real one. If you fill in the username and password for of your on-line banking account, you can expect serious problems within twenty-four hours.

If you believe that a company or business that you do on-line business with really does require your information, then simply contact them. This way, you will know where you are sending your information, and what it will be used for.

CD Burning Error Fix

Burning music, video, and data CDs has become quite popular over the past few years, and the evolution of the supporting technology has yielded hardware and software that is better than ever and very reasonably priced. CDs offer a great place to store substantial amounts of data in a small, easily retained format. They also give us new control over aspects of our entertainment.

A relatively common error received during CD burning informs you that the CD cannot be burned, or that there was an error during burning. Of course, you could have a defective CD drive, but this is usually not the case.

If you receive a message indicating that your CD cannot be burned, go to the website of your CD drive manufacturer. Look for the list of CD types (manufacturers/numbers) that are compatible with your device. Most often, you’ll find that your CDs are not listed. The two types that seem to have the least difficulty being burned are manufactured by Sony and TDK. These cost a bit more, but they burn very reliably.

Along the same lines H-P has introduced a new CD burner. This new burner requires the use of special CD blanks, but after you burn your data into the CD, you can flip it over and close the drive again. Then you can use the laser to burn a title for the CD directly onto the CD itself. Its new technology, but perhaps it will catch on and we’ll see newer, better such devices soon.

6 Steps You Can Take To Speed Up Your Computers Performance

We live in a fast paced world and we’re always looking for the fastest way to get things done. We barely have time to wait for our burger at the local fast food restaurant, our coffee to brew, our microwave popcorn to pop, so who has time to wait around for a slow computer?

Barring adding more RAM to your computer, there are 6 steps you can take to speed up your computer’s performance. Most of these steps will allow you to speed up your computer, free of charge since they are applications already installed on your computer.

One of the first steps you should take is to empty the Recycle Bin. It’s easy to do. Just point your cursor to the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, right-click, and choose Empty Recycle Bin.

Next, open your Internet Explorer, go to Tools, Internet Options. Click on Delete Cookies, then on Delete Files. In the window that appears, check Delete all offline content and click OK. Once that’s done, click OK to close the Internet Options window, and close your Internet Explorer.

Those two are steps are the quickest, and simplest ones so that’s why we got them out of the way first. Next, we’ll be conducting a Disk Cleanup. To do this, click on Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Cleanup. The disk cleanup function will now begin calculating how much space you will be able to free up. Once it finishes, it’ll give you a list of files to delete. It should already have some files checked, but you can go through the list and check off all the files you want to delete, then click OK.

Now it’s time to do a disk defragmentation. This can be a long process so you should probably set this up during a time when you’ve got other things going on. For example, set it up, then go watch your favorite TV show, or go mow the lawn, or go workout. You get the idea. To begin go to Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, Disk Defragmenter. Click Analyze. If you’re lucky, you’ll get the You do not need to defragment this volume call-out, but more than likely, you’ll have to click on Defragment. If so, click on it, go do something else and come back in an hour or two.

Once that’s done, it’s time to run a spyware scan. Most people don’t realize how easy it is to get infected with spyware, so running periodic scans is highly recommended. You can use any anti-spyware program you choose. Just be aware that no one program gets rid of everything. To play it safe, you should run at least three different programs. You might be surprised by what they find. You may have had spyware running on your computer and not even know it. Once the scans are complete, and all that spyware is taken care of, it’s time for the last step.

This last step is to run an anti-virus scan. Hopefully you have an anti-virus program installed on your computer. If not, I highly recommend you get one as soon as possible. Once the anti-virus program is set, go ahead and run it. This could take anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple hours depending on how many files you have on your hard drive so once again, set it, and then go do something else. Come back in about an hour.

Once all the steps are complete. Restart your computer and you’ll be surprised at how completely nimble it now feels. It’s a good idea to follow these 6 steps at least once per week (some steps you can even set up to be done automatically). By doing this, you will keep your computer performing almost like it did when you first bought it.

10 Web Site Backup Essentials That You Should Live By

More and more webmasters nowadays do not value the importance of a complete website backup (files and databases). They have left this to chance and good luck which poses a great risk to their online presence.

Can you relate to this? Then read this important article which might save you an arm and a leg later.

Web site backup is the most ignored task of the webmasters simply because it poses no immediate threat to them until something worse happen to their hosting server. Many times, this task is set aside, delayed and even regarded as nuisance to the busy website owner.

They just don’t realize what is at stake here.

So before your website will be wiped out of the internet by unexpected accidents like server breakdowns, hard disk failures, hacking and DDOS attacks among other bad things, let me share with you the 10 Backup E-S-S-E-N-T-I-A-L-S you should not live without online.

EXPECT – Know that your webhosting company (even the biggest and the most boastful out there) may encounter problems and that your diligence to backup up will pay off later. Online computing has never been so unpredictable that the worst of times will happen when you least expect it. With the proper mindset, you are ensuring the continuity of your online endeavor in any eventualities. In short, be ready.

SCHEDULE – Your backup process should not compete with your busy schedules. Create your own backup schedule at the most convenient time for you in the week. If you’re like me, I do this during lunch and dinner times. Sometimes, I must leave my PC overnight working on the backups. If you can make it not to conflict with your busy schedules, you will be able to keep up with the demands of this job. In short, don’t complicate.

STICK with it – Just do it. Patience is key to your backup tasks. Once you have a schedule, stick with it. You must do this diligently every time it should happen. This is a tough challenge especially to busy people working online. But the sooner you discipline yourself and make backing up your files a habit, the more you will benefit from a worry-free online environment. In short, get a good habit.

EVALUATE – After a while, test your backup files. A good backup can be tested by simply restoring it on another system. Evaluating your backup results from time to time is good way to know that you are keeping what you should keep – a good and working backup. In short, be sure.

NO Complacency – After some time, your backup schedule may slip away, and you will tend to forget or intentionally miss it. Don’t succumb to this temptation. Man has never been so busy in his lifetime like it is today in this era of the high-tech trends, new developments and discoveries. In short, don’t be lazy to backup.

TRASH – Know which files to keep and not to keep. You need to do this to keep your backup process as short and as efficient as possible. It also saves you valuable resources like hard disk space and backup mediums. Backup only what you need. Keep out the trash and dump it. In short, don’t sweat with the trash.

INTUITION – Have faith in your backup results. Believe that what you are doing is for your own good later. Like vitamins that keep your body healthy, backups keep your mind away from stress and worries. A good working backup will make you smile even on the worst of times because you are insured by your patience. In short, believe in good results.

AUTOMATE – Look for alternatives to traditional backup process that can make your life simpler. There are several technologies and software’s you can use now to generate the fastest and safest backup files you will need to restore in case of emergency without you lifting a finger. Automation is king in this lazy man’s world. In short, be efficient.

LIBERATE – Free yourself from worries and anxiety of the unexpected. A death sentence that can be prevented will not kill you. So, think about what you can do more (like sleeping more at night) than to think about what harm may come. With your own backup systems established, you can retire at night calmly knowing the next day, if you don’t see your websites as you should, you know you can publish it back within the day even if your webhost cannot recover it for you. In short, relax and enjoy life to the max.

SECURITY – Nothing beats the feeling of being secured. This is the reason why the insurance businesses have flourished over the years. But more importantly, your commitment to back up your files will not only save you from stress, humiliation, frustration, anger and guilt, but also lift your spirit and confidence because you know at the end of the day, your self-reliance is well worth it.

And that, my friend, is a great and wonderful feeling.

10 Reasons to Remove Spyware from Your Computer

Is your computer been running slower than normal? Are you worried someone may be able to access your computer and steal your private information and use it against you? If so, these are feelings I have shared with you in the past.

Some time back, my 3-year old computer was running so slow that I had to buy a new computer. Or at least I thought I needed a new computer. Then within a matter of weeks of surfing on the Internet, my new computer was also running so slowly. In addition, some programs did not run well on my computer, and I did not recognize some of the programs that were running on my computer. That scared me most. Were these programs that were tracking my keystrokes on my computer or programs I just not remember installing? I knew I had to find a answer and solution fast.

The truth is, we can all put up with a slow computer, but very few of us would want others to have access to the information on our computers, but that is exactly what can happen when spyware or malware is loaded on our computers without our knowledge.

According to Spyware Nukes web site, Spyware applications are programs and files that hide on your PC’s hard drive without your direct knowledge. These programs allow hackers and advertising companies to track your every move, both online and even when you work offline. They can track the websites you visit, the items that you buy online, the emails you send and receive, your Instant Message dialog, and worst of all they can even record your credit card number, personal identification numbers, and all of your passwords. If you use dial-up to connect to the Internet, then spyware can be used to bill 900 numbers to your phone bill. This is just a short list of the harm that spyware can cause.  

The web site also provides statistics that show spyware is a huge problem effecting many people. “27.3 million Americans have been victims of identity theft in the last five years, including 9.91 million people or 4.6% of the population in the last year alone.”

In addition, it is very easy for your computer to become infected with spyware as “The majority of all downloadable games, music, screensavers, etc., can infect your computer with Spyware or Adware. Most people do not know that after simply clicking on a random “pop up” ad, their computers may have been infected with Spyware or Adware.”

No matter how we get spyware, here are 10 very real reasons you don’t want spyware on your computer.

1. Your computer may start running slower

2. Some programs on your computer will not run correctly

3. You may not recognize programs that are now on your computer because they may have been installed there by a spyware related web site or program you loaded on your computer.

In addition, you might be worried that:

4. Someone might be able to read your e-mails

5. Someone might be able to access your e-mail list

6. Someone might be able to see you track the keystrokes you type

7. Someone might be able to access your credit card information on your pc

8. Someone might be able to access your passwords list on your computer

9. Someone might be able to steal your social security number

10. Someone might be able to track all the web sites you visit

As I mentioned, most of these programs get on your computer without you even knowing, but another frustrating part is I recognized a few of these programs because I remember installing AND uninstalling them! So now I know that when we install some of these handy little utilities to track passwords online or programs to help with e-mail or keep track of the weather, even if we uninstall them, they may not be gone from our computers. They are still in our computers, waiting to spy on us, at the least.

A great way to find and remove spyware is to run a spyware detector and remover. Most spyware detection and removal software today offer a free scan to verify that you do or do not have spyware on your computer.

The 15 Best Weight Loss Apps for Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is an amazing companion for anyone looking to attain their fitness and weight goals. Here are some of the best weight loss apps to help you with that.

Foodviser – Calorie Counter: Best for Tracking Basic Nutrition

This app is the best nutrition fact finder and calorie counter for just about every meal. Take a photo of your meal using your iPhone for nutrition facts.

When you log your exercise and steps, you will see the calories burned compared to logged meals. 

GPS Running Tracker: Best GPS Running Tracker

Runkeeper by ASICS lets you make a personalized plan, set personal goals, track workouts and much more. This app is unique because you can use your Apple Watch to track stats without your phone.

Zombies, Run: Best for Fun Workouts

This workout tracking app is story-based and keeps you immersed in a zombie apocalypse. Each run is a mission of escape. 

MyFitnessPal: Best for Tracking Weight Loss Success

It is important to track your weight loss progress. MyFitnessPal displays your weight, exercise, daily nutrition intake and much more. 

My Water Balance: Best for Hydration Tracking

Water intake is crucial for any fitness goal. With My Water Balance, you also get to track soft drinks, tea and other beverages. 

Lifesum Diet & Macro Tracker: Best for Tracking Macros

Add Lifesum to your Apple Watch so you can clearly track your macros. Enter your daily water and food intake from your iPhone for nutritional stats. 

7-Minute Workout: Best for Fast Workout

This short high-intensity workout will help with your weight loss efforts. You gain access to a library of fast exercises.

Yummly Recipes + Shopping List: Best for Healthy Recipes

Yummy healthy recipes are not easy to come by. This app will suggest recipes according to your allergies, dislikes and favorites. 

MealPrepPro Meal Prep Planner: Best for Meal Prepping

This complete meal prepping app creates plans for you. You can switch meals around on your iPhone if you don’t like their choice. 

Activity: Best Preinstalled Activity Tracker

Out of the box, your Apple Watch has an Activity app that displays your daily activity. It gives you notifications so you can start moving. 

Lose It! Calorie Counter: Best for Tracking Calories

Lose It is dedicated to calorie counting. It lets you track your protein, macros and calorie intake daily. 

Aaptiv Audio Fitness: Best for Audio Workouts

If you like audio instructions, you will love Aaptiv. There are countless unique workouts and they are accessible on your Apple Watch. 

Carb Manager: Best App for Keto

This app is perfect for those on a keto diet. It counts your daily carbohydrate intake. In addition, you have access to tons of keto-friendly recipes. 

Done: Best for Weight Loss Habits

Losing weight requires that you adopt healthy habits such as avoiding sugary drinks and drinking water. Done helps you with that.

Zero Fasting Tracker: Best for Intermittent Fasting

There are popular fasts to choose from. You can create your own too. 

How Free Apps Make Money

While many people have no idea that free apps can make money, those that do wonder how. Well, you need to know how to capitalize on your new users. Leverage the free downloads and you will make an even better revenue stream than paid apps. 

When you have priced your app, you will make less money compared to a free app with in-app purchases. So, how exactly do free apps make money?

With in-app purchases, users unlock features or buy extra stuff like coins or gold. Among the top ten grossing apps in 2011, 6 of them were free. They drove millions in sales through in-app purchase. 

Your in-app purchases can be one time, where one unlocks a feature or ongoing where a user buys a certain number of coins for a specific amount. You could earn an outstanding amount, but your app should also be incredible to get more users. 

If you are in the news feeds market, you can set up subscriptions, monthly or otherwise. 

Freemium upsell requires you to create two versions of your app; a free one and a paid one. You can pair the Lite and HD/Regular versions together.  Include a link to your paid app in your free app. When users click the link, it will redirect them to the iTunes store.

People download your free app, they get an idea of what you are offering, and if they like it, then they will buy the full version which has more functionality and game play. 

Ads can be quite lucrative but to make them worth your while, you will need a significant amount of traffic. With a lot of traffic, you can have a stable source of revenue. The largest ad networks are Admob and iAds—but iAds pays better. 

You may only get like $2 for every 100 downloads, but it mostly depends on how many users will click on the ad.  Ads may not pay much, but you can get a significant amount if you market your app thoroughly. 

Cost per install is a new marketing strategy, and it works like cost per acquisition (web marketing). As the name suggests, you pay for every install that you get. A good example is Chartboost—a third party with software that you install in your app. When you are playing a game, you will always see a “Get it now” pop up that prompts you to install another game. 

A developer looking to promote their app will pay Chartboost $3 for every user that installs the app through Chartboost. If you can provide that install, Chartboost will pay you, say $1. Incorporating these CPI companies is not difficult, but you need to talk to your developer before you do it.

Finding a sponsor for your free app is a sure way of earning yourself money and gaining brand credibility. If it’s a new app, you can white label it for a certain amount, and if it is an existing app, you can update the graphics to their brand for whatever amount you decide.

How to Use Your Apple Watch

While the Apple Watch is an awesome device, new users may find it intimidating. 

How Does It Work?

You set up your new Apple Watch using the Watch app—installed in your iPhone. The watch communicates with your phone using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Most of the Apple Watch features require the iPhone to be nearby or a data connection. 

Without this connection, you cannot use Siri, text your friends or place calls. The newest Apple Watch model supports cellular data connection without relying on an iPhone. 

Using the Apple Watch Hardware

Some users never notice the button below the digital crown. You may even go for weeks without realizing that it exists. Therefore, you need to learn about the hardware. Digital crown: it does more than take you to the home screen from the watch face. It can be used to scroll up/down when using an app or zooming while in the app screen. 

Side button: this one lets you access three important features. Click it to open the most recent apps—then you can switch back and forth. Hold it down to bring up the Emergency SOS and Power Off screen. Lastly, hold it down for a while and the device will shut down.

As a bonus, you can take a screenshot by holding down the digital crown and the side button simultaneously. Force touch: place your finger on the screen lightly and then press against the display. If you do this on the watch face screen, you will be given the option to customize your watch face. You can also use it on app screens. 

Apple Watch Gestures

Drag and tap: place and drag your finger on the app screen to move the apps.

Swipe down: within an app, this gesture will scroll up a page or list. On the watch face screen, it will bring up the notification center.

Swipe up: within an app, this gesture scrolls down a page. On the watch face, it will open a hidden control panel. 

Swipe right/left: this gesture changes the watch face when you perform it on the watch face screen. Within an app, the functionality will depend on the app. 

Zoom tap: double tap on a screen using two fingers.

Read Emails, Respond to Texts and Place Calls

These three functions work just as they do on your iPhone. Everything is straightforward—you don’t have to jump through special hoops. 

Use Siri

Speak to your phone and give Siri a command. It is as simple as that. If you don’t get an answer, open Settings > General > Siri. Toggle Raise to Speak and Hey Siri. 

Start a Workout

There is a Workout app and an Activity app. The latter monitors daily activity while the former monitors specific workouts. You cannot customize the Activity app. For the Workout app:

Open the app.

Choose a workout.

Tap it to start tracking.

Swipe right and tap End when you are done. 

Customize Your Apple Watch

You can customize the watch on its Settings app or the Watch app on your iPhone. 

Penetration Testing Introduction

A penetration test is sometimes referred to as a pen test. It is a cyberattack that is simulated against your PC system to see if there are any exploitable vulnerabilities. In web application security, a pen test is usually used to increase a WAF (web application firewall).

Penetration testing sometimes involves an attempted breaching of several application systems such as frontend/backend servers and application protocol interfaces (APIs) to check for susceptibilities; for instance, unsensitized inputs which are at risk of code injection attacks. The insights that a penetration test provides can be helpful in patching the detected vulnerabilities and enhancing your WAF security policies.

The process of pen testing can be divided into five stages: Planning and Reconnaissance determines the scope and goals of the test are defined, including the method of testing to be used and the systems that should be addressed. Intelligence is gathered (e.g. domain names, network, mail server) to help understand a target better and any potential vulnerabilities. The second step involves understanding how a target application will behave when different intrusion attempts are made.

This is achieved using: Static analysis: an application’s code is inspected to make a rough guess on its behavior when it is running. The tools can entirely scan a code in one pass. Dynamic analysis: the application’s code is inspected in a running state. This method of scanning is more practical, since it gives a real-time view of how an application performs.

Gaining Access, such as web application attacks such as backdoors, SQL injection and cross-site scripting are used to unravel the vulnerabilities of the target. Testers try exploiting these susceptibilities, usually by stealing data, escalating privileges, intercepting traffic, and other actions to understand how much damage they can cause.

Maintaining access aims at seeing whether the susceptibility can be used to maintain a presence in the target—and maybe give the bad actor enough time to access in-depth data. The idea here is to imitate advanced threats that are persistent; they stay in a system for a long time, so they can access an organization’s sensitive data. The findings of the penetration test are made into a report detailing:

The uncovered vulnerabilities

Any sensitive data that the bad actor accessed

The length of time that the tester managed to remain in the system without being detected.

The security personnel analyse this information to help them configure the WAF settings of an enterprise and apply any other security solutions in order to patch the uncovered susceptibilities and prevent any future attacks. External pen tests are carried out on the company’s assets that can be seen on the internet such as company website, web application, email, etc.

An internal test simulates an attack by a malevolent insider. The only information the tester is given is the enterprise’s name is called Blind Testing. The security personnel will, then, see how an actual attack would play out. Double Blind Testing, the security personnel are not notified of the attack. In Targeted Testing, the security personnel and the tester work together, notifying each other on their movements. 

What Is Social Engineering?

Manipulating someone so they can reveal confidential information is what is referred to as social engineering. The perpetrators could be seeking any kind of information, but they mostly go for login credentials and bank information.

How a Social Engineering Attack Looks Like

Email from a Friend

A criminal can socially engineer or hack one person’s email password and gain access to their contact list and probably their social networking contacts. The attacker then sends out an email to the victim’s contacts or posts a message on their social media page. 

These messages usually:

Contain a link: thinking that the email is coming from a friend, you may not think twice about clicking on it. When you do this, the criminal can gain control of your computer by installing malicious software.

Contain a download: it could be a picture, document or video with a virus embedded. 

Email from Another Trusted Party

A phishing attack is a type of a social engineering attack. It imitates a trusted party and manipulates you with a logical reason to give up sensitive data or your login credentials. These messages use a compelling pretext or story to:

Ask for help urgently: they tell a sob story and ask for some money.

Make a phishing attempt: you may receive an email or message that seems to come from your bank or another legitimate source. Ask for a donation for a charitable fundraiser: they take advantage of your kindness and generosity. Ask you to verify your credentials: they include a link that directs you to a fake site that looks real.

Tell you that you are the winner of some lottery or something similar: they ask for personal financial information so they can “send” you the money. Pose as your coworker or boss: they may ask you to give them an update on some project then ask for confidential information.

Baiting Scenarios

These schemes are aware of the things that people want and they use those as bait. They are packaged as amazing deals (and there is usually a good rating to show you that the seller is trustworthy). Taking this bait may see you lose control over your computer or worse, lose all the money in your bank account.

Response to a Query You Never Asked

The attacker may pretend to have a solution to a question that you asked. They usually pose as companies used by millions of people. They send this message to as many people as possible. Those that do not use the services of that company will ignore the message but those that are customers are likely to take the bait. This type of social engineering attack is carried out by criminals who are out to wreak havoc. They hack the victim’s account (most likely a social media account) and cause drama.

Do Not Be a Victim

Tips to Remember

Slow down even when the message seems urgent.

Research the facts.

Do not follow the link. Use a search engine to look for the real site.

Email hijacking is common.

Avoid suspicious downloads.

Foreigners’ offers are not real.

How to Protect Yourself

Delete requests asking for passwords and financial information.

Ignore requests for help.

Spam filters should be set to high.

Secure your electronic devices.

Introduction to Linux Operating Sysytem

Linux is an operating system that powers systems such as large computer centers, laptops, guns, light bulbs, etc. It can power everything; and when it comes to computing, it can be a great alternative to Windows and other operating systems. Older computers support Linux. Older hardware can still run Windows XP but it is not supported anymore. That means you will not have security updates.

There are so many Linux distributions meant purposely for older hardware. They are updated and maintained on a regular basis. Traditional users find some Linux desktop environments and distributions more familiar and easier to use than Windows 8 and 10. Linux Mint, for instance, will appeal to people who like Windows 7. A Linux distribution download is smaller (a little over 1 GB). A Windows 10 download, on the other hand, is way bigger.

Linux comes with free-to-use software. You can use and change it as you please. Your computer is more secure with Linux than with Windows because there are not many viruses created for Linux as of now.  You are assured of privacy with Linux. Linux is reliable. It is so easy to kill a program when it hangs. Unlike Windows, Linux does not have an intrusive update policy. Linux offers a variety of open source software.

Linux Mint: easy to use and install. Best for Windows 7 users.

Debian: for people who want a free Linux distribution without proprietary software, firmware or drivers.

Ubuntu: this one is modern and easy to install and use. 

openSUSE: not the easiest to install but very powerful and stable. 

Fedora: an up-to-date distribution. New concepts are incorporated as soon as they are available.

Mageia: easy to use and install.

CentOS: similar to Fedora but more stable.

Manjaro: offers a balance between up-to-date software and ease of use.

LXLE: this one gives you a fully featured Linux distribution for your old computer.

Arch: this one updates itself but can be tricky to use for a new user.

Elementary: for users who prefer a Mac-style interface.

The Perfect Linux Distribution for You

Note: you can run a live Linux USB or DVD without installing it (maybe for test driving purposes).

Installing Linux

Every Linux distribution has a different installer. This program guides you through the installation and setup process. You can install Linux alongside Windows or on its own. A desktop environment is basically a window manager that helps you manage core applications, menus, windows, panels and dash interfaces. Common Linux desktop environments include MATE, KDE, XFCE, Unity, LXDE, Enlightenment, GNOME and Cinnamon. 

Connecting to the Internet

This process may be different for each desktop environment but on all of them, there is a network icon somewhere on the panel. Click on it to see the available wireless networks.

Audio, Email and Web Browsers

Linux has a myriad of applications for audio (Banshee, Quod Libet, Rhythmbox), Email (KMail, Geary, Evolution, Thunderbird) and browsers (Chromium, Chrome, Firefox, Midori). 

Office Suites for Linux

You could use LibreOffice and Google Docs. LibreOffice has a word processor, a spreadsheet tool and other tools that are found in Microsoft Office.

Installing Software

To install a package on Linux, you must run a package manager.

YouTube Adsense is Dead

Now that its bottom line is being affected, YouTube says it will begin to take additional steps to protect its advertisers and creators from inappropriate content on its network. In a blog post authored by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on Monday, the company said it will increase its staff to over 10,000 in 2018 to help better moderate video content.The news follows a series of scandals on the video-sharing site related to its lack of policing around content aimed at children, obscene comments on videos of children, horrifying search suggestions, and more.

The company has been suffering from the fallout of accusations that it has for too long allowed bad actors to game its recommendation algorithms to reach children with videos that aren’t meant for younger viewers. At the same time, it has seemingly fostered a community of creators making videos that involve putting kids in concerning, and even exploitive, situations.

One example, the channel ToyFreaks, was recently terminated after concerns were raised about its videos, where a fathers’ young daughters were filmed in odd, upsetting and inappropriate situations, at times.

YouTube had said then the channel’s removal was part of a new tightening of its child endangerment policies. It also last month implemented new policies to flag videos where inappropriate content was aimed at children.

It has since pulled down thousands of videos of children as a result, and removed the advertising from nearly 2 million videos and over 50,000 channels.


YouTube promises to increase content moderation staff to over 10K in 2018

Automation threatens 800 million jobs, but technology could still save us

A new report predicts that by 2030, as many as 800 million jobs could be lost worldwide to automation. The study, compiled by the McKinsey Global Institute, says that advances in AI and robotics will have a drastic effect on everyday working lives, comparable to the shift away from agricultural societies during the Industrial Revolution. In the US alone, between 39 and 73 million jobs stand to be automated — making up around a third of the total workforce.

But, the report also states that as in the past, technology will not be a purely destructive force. New jobs will be created; existing roles will be redefined; and workers will have the opportunity to switch careers. The challenge particular to this generation, say the authors, is managing the transition. Income inequality is likely to grow, possibly leading to political instability; and the individuals who need to retrain for new careers won’t be the young, but middle-aged professionals.

The changes won’t hit everyone equally. Only 5 percent of current occupations stand to be completely automated if today’s cutting-edge technology is widely adopted, while in 60 percent of jobs, one-third of activities will be automated. Quoting a US government commission from the 1960s on the same topic, McKinsey’s researchers summarize: “technology destroys jobs, but not work.” As an example, it examines the effect of the personal computer in the US since 1980, finding that the invention led to the creation of 18.5 million new jobs, even when accounting for jobs lost. (The same might not be true of industrial robots, which earlier reports suggest destroy jobs overall.)

As with previous studies on this topic, there’s much to be said for taking a skeptical view. Economic forecasting is not an exact science, and McKinsey’s researchers are keen to stress that their predictions are just that. The figure of 800 million jobs lost worldwide, for example, is only the most extreme of possible scenarios, and the report also suggests a middle estimate of 400 million jobs.

Nevertheless, this study is one of the most comprehensive in recent years, modeling changes in more than 800 occupations, and taking in some 46 countries, accounting for 90 percent of world GDP. Six nations are also analyzed in detail — the US, China, Germany, Japan, India, and Mexico — with these countries representing a range of economic situations and differently organized workforces.


FDA clears first EKG band for the Apple Watch

The FDA has approved the first medical device accessory for the Apple Watch, made by AliveCor, whose CEO is former Google+ boss Vic Gundotra. The accessory is AliveCor’s KardiaBand electrocardiogram (EKG) reader, a sensor that pairs with an app and can detect abnormal heart rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AFib). The user touches the sensor, which snaps into a slot on the watch’s band, to get an EKG reading in 30 seconds. The recording can then be sent to a doctor.

Using AI, the KardiaBand can predict and analyze someone’s heart rate based on data from both sick and healthy people, Bloomberg notes. “It doesn’t apply a generic range — instead, it determines what’s abnormal for you.” A device like this could play an important role in quickly diagnosing abnormalities and then alerting health-care professionals to life-threatening situations.

“Apple might be able to say ‘oh your heart rate is high’ …but what does that mean? Does that mean you should go to the hospital? And if you go to the hospital what are they going to do? Any doctor will say ‘ok come in, lets get an EKG reading’,” Gundotra told TechCrunch. “It’s not possible to diagnose atrial fibrillation without FDA clearance. That is a big, big play.” Apple has an initiative called the Apple Heart Study and plans to use heart rate data in building further research.

Photo: AliveCor

AliveCor also announced a new feature in its Kardia app called SmartRhythm, that uses AI to analyze data from the watch’s heart rate and activity sensors. The app will evaluate the correlation between heart rate and activity, and if these appear abnormal, will alert the user to capture another EKG reading. A speech recognition function also allows patients to describe their symptoms aloud to the watch. The app will then generate analysis based on the data, which can be emailed to the user’s doctor.


Apple to design its own power chips as early as 2018

Apple Inc is designing its own main power management chips for use in iPhones as early as in 2018, the Nikkei business daily reported on Thursday, triggering slide of over 20 percent in shares of Dialog Semiconductor Plc.

If confirmed, the move would reduce Apple’s dependence on the Anglo-German chipmaker, which itself is heavily reliant on the smartphone industry and has been trying of late to diversify its customer base. Dialog stock was trading down 16 percent in Frankfurt trading at 31.01 at 1420 GMT on Thursday.

Investors are especially jittery after Apple said earlier this year it planned to replace another supplier, Imagination Technologies, a maker of graphics chips, sending the London-listed stock down 70 percent in a single session.


Following the collapse of its share price, Imagination put itself up for sale and it was sold off in two separate deals. In the past dozen years, Apple has dropped several smaller chip suppliers, forcing them to eventually merge with bigger players.

Responding to the Nikkei report, which quoted unnamed sources, a Dialog spokesman said its business situation had not changed.

“The level of visibility into the design cycle of our leading customers remains unchanged and the business relationships are in line with the normal course of business,” the spokesman said.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

“Based on Apple’s current plan, they are set to replace partially, or around half of its power management chips to go into iPhones by itself starting next year,” a source said, according to Nikkei. (

A second person cited by Nikkei said that Apple was indeed developing power management chips for iPhones but that a rollout may be delayed until 2019.

Further, the Apple-designed chips would be solely manufactured by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co , according to industry sources cited by the newspaper.

TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, has been Apple’s sole supplier of core processor chips for iPhones since 2016 and it also makes Dialog’s power management chips.


Elon Musk’s Tweet Gives Creepy Insight Into Future Of Humanoid Robots

Elon Musk’s predictions about robots is the stuff of nightmares. 


Twitter user Alex Medina captioned a promotional video of Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot doing front flips and jumps in an obstacle course with the panicked caption: “We dead.” Musk responded to Medina by essentially telling him to buckle in for a lot more terrifying features to these humanoid robot advancements. 


“This is nothing. In a few years, that bot will move so fast you’ll need a strobe light to see it. Sweet dreams…,” Musk wrote. 



The Atlas robot is marketed as the “world’s most dynamic humanoid,” but even that impressive advancement might soon be eclipsed by artificial intelligence. The Tesla CEO followed up his creepy comment with a warning about the future of leaving such technology unchecked.


“Got to regulate AI/robotics like we do food, drugs, aircraft & cars,” Musk tweeted.

“Public risks require public oversight. Getting rid of the FAA [wouldn’t] make flying safer. They’re there for good reason.”


So Musk is basically backing up every horror movie theory about artificial intelligence and robots ever. And this isn’t the first time the tech mogul has warned about these types of advancements. Musk said in September that artificial intelligence will probably be the spark that ignites a world war. 


“China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science,” Musk wrote on Twitter in September. “Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.” 


Well, hopefully Will Smith can protect humanity in the upcoming robot apocalypse. 


YouTube is back on Amazon’s Echo Show

YouTube has returned to the Amazon Echo Show nearly two months after a Google and Amazon dispute saw the internet search giant pull support for its popular video service from Amazon’s hardware, according to a report from

Along with the return of YouTube, Amazon is also expanding video services on the Echo Show as well, with the company launching support forVimeo and Dailymotion. In a statement to The Verge, an Amazon spokesperson commented that “We’re excited to offer customers the capability to watch even more video content from sources such as Vimeo, YouTube, and Dailymotion on Echo Show. More video sources will be added over time.”

According to Google, Amazon’s original implementation of YouTube on the Echo Show “violates our terms of service, creating a broken user experience.” It seems that Amazon and Google have been able to reconcile that problem, with a new version of YouTube that has a dramatically changed interface that much more closely resembles the desktop version of the site than Amazon’s own Echo-style integration. has posted a video of the updated UI, which is embedded below, but if you’ve ever used YouTube on a computer or tablet, you’ve more or less already know what it’s like.

That updated version of YouTube on the Echo Show also means that features like subscriptions, next video recommendations, and autoplay — which my colleague Dieter Bohn pointed out as missing features in Amazon’s original app that Google might view as important for future growth — are now back in play on the Echo Show. But they come at the cost of the far more user-friendly and voice control-optimized software that Amazon had originally designed.

Based on a tweet from The Verge editor Dan Seifert, it seems that the new YouTube integration only halfheartedly supports voice controls at all, with the device managing to play audio of a video through voice commands, but not actually display the footage on-screen without manual intervention. Once you have video playing, the Echo Show still does support full-screen YouTube video through a separate “Alexa, zoom in” command.


Uber adds live location sharing and more for easier pickups

Uber has added some updates to its rider app designed to make the pickup process easier in time for the busy holiday travel season. The biggest change is probably that you can now do live location sharing within the app, letting you temporarily share with your driver exactly where you are – all within your control from the main Uber screen. This should help avoid those moments when your driver isn’t sure exactly where to meet you to start the ride.

To use this feature, you simply turn on the “live location” feature via the tappable icon in the bottom right corner of the map display. A blue icon indicates it’s active, and the grey version means you’re not sharing this extra-granular info. You can tap the icon at any time to switch between the two modes.

Uber is also broadening its beacon program, which uses a hardware device in the driver’s windshield to display a corresponding door to riders to help them find the car more easily. It’s not rolling out in NYC, SF and Chicago after an initial limited pilot, so it’ll be available to more riders and drivers during the busiest ride hailing time of the year. Uber first started rolling out Beacon last year in December, beginning in Miami, Denver, Nashville and Newcastle.


Other rider changes include a streamlined process for requesting a ride for another rider (it no longer requires you to first specific a different pickup location from your own to request a ride for someone else) and a new in-app gifting flow for easily giving Uber credit to another person directly from the app itself.


Uber adds live location sharing and more for easier pickups

Mashable reportedly selling to Ziff Davis for about $50 million

Tech site Mashable is being sold to publishing giant Ziff Davis, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The website, which focuses on tech and tech-related stories and has been publishing since 2005, will sell to Ziff Davis for around $50 million according to the report, which is far less than its valuation of $250 million, from a funding round it raised in March last year.

The all-out sale of Mashable comes after the publisher tried to secure additional funding throughout this year, according to the WSJ’s sources. After failing to receive adequate interest in a raise, it sought instead an all-out sale starting just a few months ago.

The report also claims that while a push towards video at the site initially resulted in a rosier revenue picture, it’s now on track to post a loss for 2017, despite its millions of monthly visitors.


Mashable reportedly selling to Ziff Davis for about $50 million

Tesla opens two largest Supercharger stations and a customer lounge

Tesla has opened its largest U.S. Superchargers with an integrated and first of-its-kind customer lounge, food services and areas designated for families. The 40-stall Supercharger station in Kettleman City and Baker, CA are strategically located at halfway points between popular travel routes, connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco and Los Angeles with Las Vegas, respectively. Each Supercharger station will include access to food and craft beverages, a kid’s play wall, pet relief area, and outdoor space for families, according a Tesla spokesperson.

In addition to the amenities aimed at providing comfort for drivers, families and their pets while charging, the new Supercharger stations will incorporate a small apparel and accessories section where people can purchase Tesla-branded items, while also learning more about the company’s line of energy products through self-guided kiosks.


The “mega” Supercharger locations follow the installation of the world’s largest Supercharger station that recently came online in Shanghai, and arrives before the busy holiday travel season. Tesla’s high-powered charging stations in Kettleman City and Baker each have a solar canopy and Tesla’s Powerpack battery storage units.

Tesla indicates that the new customer lounges will be accessible 24/7 to Tesla drivers and accessible via a building code that will be displayed on their vehicle’s touchscreen.







































Photos courtesy of @MojaTeslaX via Facebook

The new locations are also adorned with a large overhead sign bearing Tesla’s logo and the word “Supercharger”.

The California-based electric car maker is committed to expanding its network of charging stations in the U.S. and abroad. Tesla has committed to installing 1,000 Superchargers in China by the end of this year, as it looks to expand its footprint in the world’s largest auto market. The company also began to augment its Supercharger network that’s been traditionally aimed at long-distance travel with new urban Superchargers designed for inner city and local travel. Teslarati was able to capture a detailed first look at Tesla’s urban Supercharger at the North Columbus Drive station in Chicago.


Mozilla Brings Competition to Google Chrome With New Firefox Quantum Browser

Mozilla launched Tuesday its new next-generation browser Firefox Quantum for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac, and Windows, in what the company calls the “biggest update” in 13 years.

Firefox Quantum, also called Firefox 57, has a new user interface that gives it a more modern look. More importantly, Firefox Quantum is built to be faster and easier to use, an effort that could help Mozilla scrape back users it lost to rivals Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browser.

Firefox was one of the fastest growing Internet browsers in the late 2000s. But it lost momentum as Google Chrome, which is the leading U.S. browser on desktops, gained new users.

Mozilla released a test version of Firefox Quantum web browser in September in preparation for its upcoming official debut in November. Developers have been tinkering with the test version over the past several weeks to let Mozilla know if there are any bugs or security holes prior to Tuesday’s public release.


Speed is the big message that Mozilla is pushing with Firefox Quantum. The company says it brings massive performance improvements thanks to Project Quantum, the code name Mozilla used while building next-generation architecture for a new Firefox.

“Anyone who downloads this version, which is so advanced we call it “Firefox Quantum,” simply can’t help but notice the speed, performance improvements, and the responsively slick new UI,” wrote David Bryant in a Medium post Tuesday. Bryant is a fellow in Mozilla’s Emerging Technologies organization.

Firefox Quantum is capable of 66 runs per minute, that’s twice as fast as its previous version, according to Speedometer, a browser benchmark that measures the responsiveness of web applications. Mozilla says Firefox Quantum also uses 30% less memory than Google Chrome.


Here are a few details about Firefox Quantum that users might notice:

Google is the new default search provider in the United States and Canada.

The tab you’re on gets prioritized over all others

Private browsing mode

Performance improvements in the browser’s core

A new CSS engine called Stylo. Even if that’s getting too technical for you, this is what matters: Stylo is designed to take better advantage of hardware and for low power consumption.

Mozilla has also integrated the popular app Pocket, lets people save web content for later readings and viewings, into the new Firefox Quantum. Mozilla acquired Read It Later, the startup that made Pocket, back in February. Recommendations from Pocket are now part of the new tab experience in Firefox Quantum. When users open a new tab in Firefox, they’ll now see three recommended stories from Pocket.


AI will obliterate half of all jobs, starting with white collar, says ex-Google China president

The upcoming worldwide workforce reckoning that artificial intelligence is expected to bring will happen much sooner than many experts predict, the former president of Google China told CNBC on Monday.

Kai-Fu Lee, now chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, believes that about half of all jobs will disappear over the next decade and be replaced with AI and the next generation of robots in the fastest period of disruption in history.

“AI, at the same time, will be a replacement for blue collar and white collar jobs,” said Lee, a renowned Chinese technologist and investor who held positions at Apple and Microsoft in addition to Alphabet’s Google. But white collar jobs will go first, he warned.


“The white collar jobs are easier to take because they’re pure a quantitative analytical process. Reporters, traders, telemarketing, telesales, customer service, [and] analysts, there can all be replaced by a software,” he explained on “Squawk Box.” “To do blue collar, some of work requires hand-eye coordination, things that machines are not yet good enough to do.”

“The white collar jobs are easier to take because they’re pure a quantitative analytical process”-Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures

Lee knocked down an argument that the jobs lost will create new ones to service and program AI and robots. “Robots are clearly replacing people jobs. They’re working 24 by 7. They are more efficient. They need some programming. But one programer can program 10,000 robots.”

Besides taking jobs beyond factory floors, robots and AI are already starting to takeover some of the mundane tasks around people’s homes. Lee pointed to the Amazon Echo as an example.

“The robots don’t have to be anthropomorphized. They can just be an appliance,” he said. “The car that has autonomous driving is not going to have a humanoid person [driving]. It’s just going to be without a steering wheel.”

Lee said that while economic growth “will go dramatically up because AI can do so many things so much more faster” than humans, it’ll force everyone to rethink the practical and social impact of fewer jobs. “If a lot of people will find happiness without working, that would be a happy outcome.”

But in a Washington Post op-ed last month, Lee argued against universal basic income, the idea of governments providing a steady stipend to help each citizen make ends meet regardless of need, employment status, or skill level. UBI is being bandied about as a possible solution to an economy that won’t have nearly enough jobs for working-age adults.

“The optimists naively assume that UBI will be a catalyst for people to reinvent themselves professionally,” he wrote. It may work among Silicon Valley and other highly motivated entrepreneurs, he added, “but this most surely will not happen for the masses of displaced workers with obsolete skills, living in regions where job loss is exacerbated by traditional economic downturn.”

Lee sees a different plan of action. “Instead of just redistributing cash and hoping for the best … we need to retrain and adapt so that everyone can find a suitable profession.”

Some of the solutions he offered in his commentary include developing more jobs that require social skills such as social workers, therapists, teachers, and life coaches as well as encouraging people to volunteer and considering paying them.

Lee wrote, “We need to redefine the idea of work ethic for the new workforce paradigm. The importance of a job should not be solely dependent on its economic value but should also be measured by what it adds to society.”

“We should also reassess our notion that longer work hours are the best way to achieve success,” he concluded.


The availability of VR is changing the kinds of sexual and pornographic experiences people are looking for, say creators

People could soon be watching more and more “intimate” pornography through virtual reality headsets, according to experts.

New VR technology could allow for personal experiences of a kind even more real and perfect than the real world, and the consequences are expected to change every form of experience we have with technology today. Inevitably, those advances are also being used in the pornographic industry, to create new kinds of virtual reality videos.

One of the early adopters of virtual reality for pornography claims that the new technology is leading to new trends in the kind of pornography that people are searching for and watching, she told a meeting at Web Summit, according to

““People are asking for more romance, closeness, more talking. This is something you’ll find in a real relationship but not everyone in the world will have access to that kind of relationship,” said Dinorah Hernandez, who runs a studio devoted to such videos. “To be able to have an experience with another woman could give them something that maybe the real world can’t.”

But that kind of perfection, above and beyond the real world, might bring with it problems, according to researchers.

“As a society we are always looking for new and novel experiences but the porn industry brings with it an added risk because of its sexist stance and exploitation of women,” said Dr Madeline Balaam, a Newcastle University researcher who has 

“We are already obsessed with body image and the digital industry is no different, creating the perfect virtual woman from Lara Croft to sex-robots. VR porn has the potential to escalate this.

“Our research highlighted not only a drive for perfection, but also a crossover between reality and fantasy. Some of our findings highlighted the potential for creating 3D models of real life people, raising questions over what consent means in VR experiences. If a user created a VR version of their real life girlfriend, for example, would they do things to her that they knew she would refuse in the real world?”

Research has suggested that VR porn could bring with it a whole host of ethical questions and challenges to relationships. The extra “reality” added by the technology could mean that people believe watching such content to be cheating on their partners, for instance, or it might allow people to act out fantasies that are considered violent or extreme.

“Pornography has played a key role in the development of new and emerging technologies – from the stereoscope in the 1800s through home video and now virtual reality,” said Matthew Wood, who was also involved in the Newcastle research. “But what VR offers for the first time is the opportunity to move from being simply an observer to being a participant and this changes the experience massively.

“One of our findings suggested VR pornography could be something more like cheating on a partner because of the increasing ‘reality’ of the VR experience.

“We found that for most people the potential of a VR porn experience opened the doors to an apparently ‘perfect’ sexual experience – a scenario which in the real world no-one could live up to. For others it meant pushing the boundaries, often with highly explicit and violent imagery, and we know from current research into pornography that exposure to this content has the potential to become addictive and more extreme over time.”


The movie ‘Hidden Figures’ can teach us how to keep jobs in an AI future

This weekend, I finally watched “Hidden Figures.” I took my 9-year-old daughter with me to witness how instrumental women of color were to the success of several NASA missions — something that historically has been associated with white male achievement. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it. The acting is superb, and the story offers so much education, both on race relations and women in the workplace.

What I want to focus on is possibly something the director and the cast never imagined could matter. I do — not because it is the most important aspect but simply because it is very relevant to the tech transition we are experiencing right now.


All the talk surrounding artificial intelligence is as much about the technology itself as it is about the impact its adoption will have on different aspects of our lives. Business models in the automotive industry, insurance business, public transportation, search and advertising, as well as more personal consequences, such as human-to-human interaction, sources of knowledge and education. Change will not come overnight, but we had better be prepared, because it will come.

New tech requires new skills

Change came in 1962 for the segregated West Area Computer Division of Langley Research Center in Virginia, where the three women who are the main protagonists of the story worked. Mathematician Katherine Goble and de facto supervisor Dorothy Vaughan are both directly affected by new tech rolling into the facility in the form of the IBM 7090.

If you are not familiar with the IBM 7090 (I was not before this weekend), it was the third member of the IBM 700/7000 series of computers designed for large-scale scientific and technological applications. In layman’s terms, the 7090 would be able to perform in a blink of an eye all the calculations that took the computer division hours. Dorothy understood the threat and, armed with her wit and a book on programming languages, was able to help program the IBM 7090, taught her team to do the same, shifted their skills and saved their jobs.

I realize that part of this story might be for the benefit of the screenplay, and that the world is much more complicated. However, I do think that what is at the core is very relevant: The creation of new skill sets.

Although AI has the potential to affect not only manual jobs that can be automated but also, theoretically, jobs that require learning and decision making, the immediate threat is certainly on the former.

We focus a lot, and rightly so, on the job loss AI will cause, but we have not yet started to focus on teaching new skills so such losses can be limited. As I said, AI will not magically appear overnight, but we would be fools to think we have plenty of time to create the skills our “augmented” world will require, from new programming languages to new branches of law and insurance, Q&A testing and more. Empowering people with new skills will be key not only to having a job but also to keeping our income at pace with the higher cost these new worlds will entail. Providing a framework for education is a political responsibility as well as a corporate one.

Who will we trust?

The IBM 7090 replaces Katherine when it comes to checking calculations, but just as Friendship 7 is ready to launch, some discrepancies arise in the electronic calculations for the capsule’s recovery coordinates. Astronaut John Glenn asks the director of the Space Task Group to have Katherine recheck the numbers. When Katherine confirms the coordinates, Glenn thanks the director saying: “You know, you cannot trust something you cannot look in the eyes.”


Apple could drop Qualcomm components in next year’s iPhones, iPads – sources

Apple Inc has designed iPhones and iPads that would drop chips supplied by Qualcomm Inc, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The change would affect iPhones released in the fall of 2018, but Apple could still change course before then, these people said. They declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter with the media.

The dispute stems from a change in supply arrangements under which Qualcomm has stopped providing some software for Apple to test its chips in its iPhone designs, one of the people told Reuters.

The two companies are locked in a multinational legal dispute over the Qualcomm’s licensing terms to Apple.

Qualcomm told Reuters it is providing fully tested chips to Apple for iPhones. “We are committed to supporting Apple’s new devices consistent with our support of all others in the industry,” Qualcomm said in a statement.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Apple could drop Qualcomm chips Monday.

Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon said Apple’s move is not totally unexpected.

Though Qualcomm has for several years supplied Apple’s modems – which help Apple’s phones connect to wireless data networks – Intel Corp has provided upward of half of Apple’s modem chips for iPhones in recent years, Rasgon said. Intel in 2015 acquired a firm that would let it replace more of Qualcomm’s chips in iPhones, Rasgon said.

Rasgon said it’s too early to say definitively whether Apple fully intends to drop Qualcomm next year because Apple can likely make multiple contingency plans for different supplier scenarios.

“Apple is big enough that they want to support multiple paths, they can do that,” Rasgon said. “Samsung (Electronics Co) did this too. A couple of years ago, Samsung designed Qualcomm out, but Qualcomm didn’t even know until it was close to time to ship” Samsung’s phones, Rasgon said.


22 Years Ago, Steve Jobs Said 1 Thing Separates People Who Achieve From Those Who Only Dream

Steve Jobs set extremely high expectations. He challenged other people to work harder, work longer, and do more — sometimes more than they thought was possible. 

Jobs was … well, let’s just say that Steve Jobs was demanding. 

But he also believed in the power of asking.

I’ve never found anybody that didn’t want to help me [Jobs says in the video below] if I asked them for help … I called up Bill Hewlett when I was 12 years old. “Hi, I’m Steve Jobs. I’m 12 years old. I’m a student in high school. I want to build a frequency counter, and I was wondering if you have any spare parts I could have.” He laughed, and he gave me the spare parts, and he gave me a job that summer at Hewlett-Packard … and I was in heaven.

I’ve never found anyone who said no or hung up the phone when I called. I just asked. And when people ask me, I try to be responsive, to pay that debt of gratitude back. 

Most people never pick up the phone and call. Most people never ask, and that’s what separates, sometimes, the people who do things from the people who just dream about them.

Granted, it’s often not easy to ask for help. Asking can make you feel insecure. Asking can make you feel vulnerable. 

But oddly enough, that’s a good thing. 

When you ask for help, without adding qualifiers or image enhancers, when you just say, “Can you help me?” several powerful things happen, especially for the other person.

You show respect. Without actually saying it, you’ve said, “You know more than I do.” You’ve said, “You can do what I can’t.” You’ve said, “You have experience [or talents or something] that I don’t have.” You’ve said, “I respect you.” 

You show trust. You show vulnerability, you admit to weakness, and you implicitly show that you trust the other person with that knowledge.

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You show you’re willing to listen. You’ve said, “You don’t have to tell me what you think I want to hear; tell me what you think I should do.” 

By showing you respect and trust other people, and by giving them the latitude to freely share their expertise or knowledge, you don’t just get the help you think you want.

You might also get the help you really need.

You get more — a lot more.

And so do other people, because they gain a true sense of satisfaction and pride that comes from being shown the respect and trust they — and everyone — deserve. Plus, you make it easier for them to ask you for help when they need it. You’ve shown it’s OK to express vulnerability, to admit a weakness, and to know when you need help.

And then, best of all, you get to say two more incredibly powerful words:

“Thank you.”

And you get to truly mean them.

And if that’s not enough to convince you: If a guy like Steve Jobs was willing to ask for help, shouldn’t we?


Tech Giants Are Paying Huge Salaries for Scarce A.I. Talent

Silicon Valley’s start-ups have always had a recruiting advantage over the industry’s giants: Take a chance on us and we’ll give you an ownership stake that could make you rich if the company is successful.

Now the tech industry’s race to embrace artificial intelligence may render that advantage moot — at least for the few prospective employees who know a lot about A.I.

Tech’s biggest companies are placing huge bets on artificial intelligence, banking on things ranging from face-scanning smartphones and conversational coffee-table gadgets to computerized health care and autonomous vehicles. As they chase this future, they are doling out salaries that are startling even in an industry that has never been shy about lavishing a fortune on its top talent.

Typical A.I. specialists, including both Ph.D.s fresh out of school and people with less education and just a few years of experience, can be paid from $300,000 to $500,000 a year or more in salary and company stock, according to nine people who work for major tech companies or have entertained job offers from them. All of them requested anonymity because they did not want to damage their professional prospects.

Well-known names in the A.I. field have received compensation in salary and shares in a company’s stock that total single- or double-digit millions over a four- or five-year period. And at some point they renew or negotiate a new contract, much like a professional athlete.

At the top end are executives with experience managing A.I. projects. In a court filing this year, Google revealed that one of the leaders of its self-driving-car division, Anthony Levandowski, a longtime employee who started with Google in 2007, took home over $120 million in incentives before joining Uber last year through the acquisition of a start-up he had co-founded that drew the two companies into a court fight over intellectual property.

Salaries are spiraling so fast that some joke the tech industry needs a National Football League-style salary cap on A.I. specialists. “That would make things easier,” said Christopher Fernandez, one of Microsoft’s hiring managers. “A lot easier.”

There are a few catalysts for the huge salaries. The auto industry is competing with Silicon Valley for the same experts who can help build self-driving cars. Giant tech companies like Facebook and Google also have plenty of money to throw around and problems that they think A.I. can help solve, like building digital assistants for smartphones and home gadgets and spotting offensive content.

Most of all, there is a shortage of talent, and the big companies are trying to land as much of it as they can. Solving tough A.I. problems is not like building the flavor-of-the-month smartphone app. In the entire world, fewer than 10,000 people have the skills necessary to tackle serious artificial intelligence research, according to Element AI, an independent lab in Montreal.

“What we’re seeing is not necessarily good for society, but it is rational behavior by these companies,” said Andrew Moore, the dean of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, who previously worked at Google. “They are anxious to ensure that they’ve got this small cohort of people” who can work on this technology.

Costs at an A.I. lab called DeepMind, acquired by Google for a reported $650 million in 2014, when it employed about 50 people, illustrate the issue. Last year, according to the company’s recently released annual financial accounts in Britain, the lab’s “staff costs” as it expanded to 400 employees totaled $138 million. That comes out to $345,000 an employee.

“It is hard to compete with that, especially if you are one of the smaller companies,” said Jessica Cataneo, an executive recruiter at the tech recruiting firm CyberCoders.


Facebook tests split News Feed that keeps friends front and center

Facebook is currently testing a new dual-feed setup that separates Page-generated posts from ads and posts from friends, The Guardian reports. The trial is currently underway in six countries — Bolivia, Guatemala, Cambodia, Slovakia, Serbia and Sri Lanka.

Under this arrangement, the main News Feed is still populated by things shared by friends and family as well as advertisements. But posts shared by Pages — like those of publishers, for example — are moved to a secondary feed. The tests began last week and Slovakian journalist Filip Struhárik told The Guardian, “Pages are seeing dramatic drops in organic reach. The reach of several Facebook Pages fell on Thursday and Friday by two-thirds compared to previous days.” And that number was confirmed by analytics service CrowdTangle, stats from which showed that popular Slovakian Facebook Pages saw two-thirds to three-quarters reductions in their Facebook reach.

This could be bad news for outlets that heavily rely on Facebook traffic and it stands to impact their revenue. Matti Littunen, a senior research analyst with analytics company Enders Analysis told The Guardian, “The biggest hits will be to the likes of Buzzfeed, Huffington Post and Business Insider, who create commoditized content aiming for the biggest reach.”

Facebook has been playing around with how it presents content to its users. It recently gave News Feed an overhaul, making it easier to navigate, and brought its Explore Feed to desktop. The company also redesigned its Trending section in order to incorporate different viewpoints on a popular topic, began testing a feature that gives more detailed information about an article’s publisher and has introduced a slew of changes aimed at combatting the spread of fake news.

A Facebook spokesperson told Engadget that as of now though, there are no plans to expand this test further. “With all of the possible stories in each person’s feed, we always work to connect people with the posts they find most meaningful. People have told us they want an easier way to see posts from friends and family, so we are testing two separate feeds, one as a dedicated space with posts from friends and family and another as a dedicated space for posts from Pages,” said the spokesperson. “To understand if people like these two different spaces, we will test a few things, such as how people engage with videos and other types of posts. These tests will start in Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Slovakia, Serbia, Guatemala, and Cambodia. We have no current plans to roll this out globally.”


Garmin Speak lets you bring Alexa along in the car

Amazon and Garmin have teamed up to bring the wisdom and subservient attitude of Alexa to a car near you.

The Garmin Speak is an Echo Dot-like device that sits in the dash of your car and brings the full range of Alexa skills into the car. What’s more, the Garmin Speak integrates Alexa services through the car stereo, meaning you can listen to music, audiobooks, news and weather through a full-fledged sound system (comparatively) instead of tiny speaker.

You can also use Garmin’s turn-by-turn navigation by simply saying “Alexa, ask Garmin.”

What’s more, users will be able to place orders on Amazon and control their smart devices at home through the Garmin Speak. So if, for example, you forgot to turn off the lights or lock the door (and you have the smart home accessories capable of doing that for you), you can simply take care of it from the driver’s seat.


The Garmin Speak will use data from your smartphone, once you download the free Garmin Speak app, through a connection via Bluetooth or AUX cord.

There are plenty of smart assistant services out there for drivers, including CarPlay, Google Android Auto, Alexa herself, and Cortana, some of which are integrated at the OEM level.

Garmin Speak is available now for $150 here.


Garmin Speak lets you bring Alexa along in the car

Facebook is testing a CV feature to take on LinkedIn

It looks like Facebook is considering barging in on LinkedIn’s turf.

Facebook is currently trialling a CV feature, according to screenshots posted on social media — a move that would put it in direct competition with professional social network LinkedIn.

Matt Navarra, director of social media for The Next Web, has shared screenshots of the resume feature sent to him by web developer Jane Manchun Wong, who saw it appear on her Facebook profile.

The feature lets users list their professional experience and education, as well as their contact details, an image, and other information — just like Microsoft-owned LinkedIn does.

Of course, it’s already possible for people to list their job history and education on Facebook. But do you really want prospective employers to see your private Facebook profile? Instead, the new feature appears to combine all the relevant information into a single, professional-looking package — away from personal photos, status updates, and other Facebook posts people might not wish to share with recruiters and the wider world.

It’s not clear how many people currently have access to the resume feature, or what Facebook’s ultimate intentions are here. The social network often tests features on a small number of users before rolling them out more widely (or not), and a spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for more information.

But just the fact that Facebook is experimenting with this is further evidence of how the Californian firm is increasingly trying to transcend its roots as a simple social network and move into the professional sector. In 2016, it launches Facebook At Work — now called Workplace — a modified version of Facebook designed for teams in the office to use.


Steve Wozniak announces tech education platform Woz U

Steve Wozniak, one of Apple’s three original founders, has launched a new training initiative designed to get people ready for “high-paying technology” jobs.

The Woz U digital institute is initially launching as an online-only affair and promises to deliver a “new approach” to education for tech industry jobs. For now, the curriculum focuses on training for computer support specialists and software developers (.Net, JavaScript, Ruby, Java, and Python), but it will later expand into other facets of the STEM realm, including cybersecurity, mobile apps, and data science.

“Our goal is to educate and train people in employable digital skills without putting them into years of debt,” explained Wozniak in a press release. “People often are afraid to choose a technology-based career because they think they can’t do it. I know they can, and I want to show them how.”

Woz U may be confined to the online world for now, but plans are afoot to open brick-and-mortar campuses in more than 30 cities across the U.S. and globally.

Talent shortage

Online education and recruitment platforms have emerged as big business in recent times, with an anticipated “global workforce crisis” looming. According to research from Boston Consulting Group (BCG), which looked at “workforce supply-and-demand dynamics” across 25 major economies through the year 2030, there will be major labor shortages in some regions and surpluses in others. This imbalance has opened the doors to a number of initiatives that seek to plug shortages in the domestic U.S. market by scouting overseas.

Mark Zuckerberg-backed Andela, for example, announced a $40 million raise earlier this week to connect tech firms with Africa’s best software developers.

Woz U is ultimately designed to train people and get them working as quickly as possible, joining the dots between a company’s hiring efforts and people willing to put in the effort to get trained — or retrained — for tech roles. For now, the platform constitutes a mobile app that features an aptitude test and matches people with the technology career “best suited for them,” according to the institute.

The business will expand to multiple platforms over time, including Woz U Enterprise for technology companies seeking to recruit and train directly though a subscription-based curriculum or on-site programs. There will also be a K-12 Woz U Education facet aimed at school districts to encourage young people to pursue a career in the tech industry.

Later, there will be a Woz U Academy that promises one-on-one instruction, and the Woz U Accelerator program scheduled for 2019 will help hone students’ skills.


Mastering Apps: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Apps Free on Amazon

Communication technologies are constantly advancing to keep up with the times. Messaging apps are huge right now. Completely overtaking social media by becoming the primary way we communicate online.

When most entrepreneurs are starting out, they like to read articles on “how to make a killing with your first app,” “building the multi-billion dollar app” and most books related to this topic. They are glued to this side of the story and blinded to the other. To have your own success story you have to find out why other apps fail. The painful truth is there are more failed apps than successful ones.

Google commits $1 billion in grants to train U.S. workers for high-tech jobs

The nature of work is changing on a global level at a rapid pace. Sure, it’s not the first time work has been dramatically impacted by technology, but the growth of automation, robotics, AI and the like have the potential to displace jobs at an unprecedented rate. And Google will almost certainly be one of the driving forces behind that transformation.

The search giant has regularly expressed a desire to help stem some of that negative impact, and now it’s putting its money where its mouth is to the tune of $1 billion. CEO Sundar Pichai announced Grow with Google at an event earlier today in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the next five years, the initiative will commit $1 billion to nonprofits aimed at training American workers and helping build business.

The location of the event will not be lost on anyone who has followed Pittsburgh’s growth over the last few decades. The Steel City has long served as an ideal example of an economy that’s rebounded from the brink of disaster. In Pittsburgh’s case, technology was a primary driver, thanks to Carnegie Mellon, which has helped transform it from post-Rust Belt depression to one of the country’s leading tech hubs. These days, the walls of Pittsburgh’s former factories house cutting-edge innovations in fields like robotics and autonomous driving.

Pichai noted in his address that the city also holds special meaning for him. “It was the first city I saw in America when I came here 24 years ago,” he explained. “I was here before the internet really took off, but the city was already changing. The number of high-tech jobs had doubled.”


The company is committing $10 million to Goodwill as part of the initiative — the largest has committed to one organization. That money will be used to help launch the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator, aimed at preparing the American workforce for high-tech jobs. Grow with Google also will take the form of a national tour hosted by libraries and community organizations aimed at bringing training and career advice directly to local towns and cities. That’s part of the company’s goal of committing one million hours to employee volunteering over the next five years.

“At Google, our mission is to make sure that information serves everyone, not just a few,” Pichai explained in the address. “A child in a school here in Pittsburgh can access the same information on Google as a professor at Carnegie Mellon. In the end, the internet is a powerful equalizer, capable of propelling new ideas and people forward.”


Google commits $1 billion in grants to train U.S. workers for high-tech jobs

Tim Cook says the tech ‘doesn’t exist’ for Apple to make good augmented reality glasses

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been talking up augmented reality for the past year, but don’t take that to mean that Apple will launch a dedicated AR product anytime soon. In an interview with The Independent, Cook said that currently “the technology itself doesn’t exist” to make augmented reality glasses “in a quality way.” And Apple, he said, won’t ship an AR product unless it can deliver “a great experience.”

Cook identified two problems with current AR devices. Their field of view and the quality of their displays, he said, aren’t there yet. “Anything you would see on the market any time soon would not be something any of us would be satisfied with,” Cook told The Independent. “Nor do I think the vast majority of people would be satisfied.”

He’s not wrong. Current augmented reality headsets all leave something to be desired. Microsoft’s HoloLens works, but it has a limited field of view and requires a large headset. Meta’s is less expensive but similarly huge. And Google Glass (which doesn’t even totally count as augmented reality) flopped badly immediately upon release.

But even if Apple doesn’t plan on diving into dedicated AR hardware, it already made an enormous play for the augmented reality market this year — perhaps doing more than any company to date. With the release of iOS 11 last month, recent iPhones were granted the ability to perform all kinds of AR tricks using something Apple calls ARKit. It lets developers make augmented reality games and makes it easy for camera apps to implement augmented reality stickers.

That means Apple is in an early position to be at the center of a possible boom in augmented reality experiences. Cook seems to believe as much. He compared the introduction of AR features to the introduction of the App Store. “Now you couldn’t imagine your life without apps,” he said. “AR is like that. It will be that dramatic.”

Even if it won’t happen right away, there are already signs that Apple is exploring dedicated AR hardware. The company has a patent application that envisions augmented reality glasses, and Apple reportedly has a team of over 1,000 people working on AR. In typical Apple fashion, Cook told The Independent that Apple has no interest in rushing into the market just to get a head start. “We don’t give a rat’s about being first,” he said. “We want to be the best.”


Oculus “Dash” replaces your computer monitor with VR

Dash is reminiscent of a Minority Report-style interface, where windows dangle in the air and can be moved around with the wave of a hand. Dash will let you code inside VR, but also bring along your favorite desktop experiences like Facebook and Messenger, YouTube, and Spotify.

Developers will especially enjoy the ability to debug VR apps while actually running them via Visual Studio, Unity, and Unreal. Screens appear in full-fidelity inside Dash, and you can access the rest of your PC beyond the core apps.

Customizable Home

The revamped Oculus Home lets you make your startup screen for Rift into your fantasy geek palace. You can pick all sorts of sensible or sci-fi furnishings, like art, seating, and toys. You can show off trophies of your in-game achievements, and even play retro video games. Oculus is planning to let you hang out with friends inside Home in the future.


Oculus “Dash” replaces your computer monitor with VR

Virtual Reality Helps Distract Kids from Painful Medical Procedures

Tell a child they need to undergo another painful medical procedure, and you’ll probably have a kid who’s racked with fear and anxiety. Tell that same child they’ll have a chance to zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space while their doctor works on them, and they might feel a little different.

That night-and-day difference in how kids respond to the pricks and prodding of their doctors is the reason for Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford’s groundbreaking use of virtual reality technology. As one of the first hospitals in the country to implement distraction-based VR therapy in every patient unit, Packard Children’s lets kids participate in fun and relaxing immersive experiences that can significantly reduce their anxiety — and even their pain.

Experts have already found virtual reality has a major impact on kids’ stress levels. “VR is often so unfamiliar that it is instantly engaging and incredibly distracting,” Veronica Tuss, a child life specialist with the hospital’s Child Life and Creative Arts Department, told Stanford Medicine News Center. “If I’m preparing a child for their very first IV, and they share with me that they don’t want to see what’s happening procedurally, I know I need a distraction that is visually engaging. With VR, an often-intimidating setting suddenly becomes this really cool thing or place that they get to explore. It can minimize the experience of getting the IV to the point that we may actually turn a negative experience into a positive one.”

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This isn’t the first time Packard Children’s has introduced innovative methods to ease patients’ worries. In 2015, Sam Rodriguez, M.D., and Thomas Caruso, M.D., the co-founders of Packard Children’s Childhood Anxiety Reduction through Innovation and Technology (CHARIOT) program, which is leading the VR rollout, introduced the Bedside Entertainment and Relaxation Theater (BERT). The system projects videos on a large screen attached to patients’ gurneys so they can watch movies and music videos all the way to the operating room. Pretty cool stuff.

And in early 2017, CHARIOT launched an interactive video game called Sevo the Dragon, which projects on the BERT screen and gamifies the administration of anesthesia, so the tiniest patients have something fun to do while breathing medicine through a mask.

Caruso and Rodriguez are currently collaborating with Silicon Valley-based software engineers to create original VR content that’s specifically tailored to pediatric patients. Spaceburgers, the duo’s first game, was developed in collaboration with Juno VR, and it allows the kids to listen to relaxing music as they fly through outer space and zap objects.

Researchers are now investigating how much of an impact VR actually has on pain and anxiety levels during certain procedures, and so far, the results are promising. Kids who are engaged with VR tend to be more cooperative, less fearful and experience less pain during procedures like blood draws.


The UK gets its first ocean-cleaning ‘Seabin

It’s no secret that the world’s oceans are full of floating waste. Things like plastic not only pollute the natural ecosystem, but pose a very real threat to its inhabitants. Back in December 2015, we were first introduced to the concept of the Seabin, a floating natural fiber garbage bin that can suck in pollutants in docks and marinas and leave the water pristine.

Its creators needed help making the concept a reality, taking to Indiegogoto raise enough funds to deploy their marine disposal units all over the world. With over $260,000 in their pocket, two Australian surfers, Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, have today embarked on that journey, installing the world’s first production Seabin in Portsmouth (UK) harbour.

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The Times reports that the Seabin has been installed near the base of the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team. The group is typically known for its attempting to bring sailing’s most prestigious prize — the America’s Cup — back to Britain, but it’s also keen to reduce its environmental impact while doing so. The team has already committed to not eating meat on a Monday, only sources sustainable seafood and will now oversee the Seabin as it filters around the protected cages of over 1,000 oysters located near its pontoon.

The Seabin’s creators say that each unit can collect around 1.5kg of waste a day and hold up to 12kg until it’s full. That amounts to 20,000 plastic bottles or 83,000 plastic bags a year. It houses a large natural fibre net and the dock-based pump only collects debris floating on top of the water, including surface oils, ensuring fish are safe.

Plenty of other places are trialling the Seabin, including Spain’s Port Adriano and the Port of Helsinki (Finland). They will officially go on sale in “early November,” costing around £3,000 ($3,957).


Here’s the crucial lesson Steve Jobs taught Apple’s Jony Ive about focus

Jony Ive, the chief design officer at Apple, is the man Apple CEO Steve Jobs once called his “spiritual partner at Apple,” and on Friday, he talked with The New Yorker‘s David Remnick about the creative process and focus Jobs instilled in him for the magazine’s TechFest.

How to stay focused like Steve Jobs

The partnership between Ive and Jobs famously led to the ubiquitous aesthetically-pleasing designs of Apple products — including the iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, and iPad — that millions of us hold in our hands and use every day. Remnick compared the synergy that led to these innovations as “Lennon-McCartney” breakthroughs. Ive said that when he and Jobs were clicking on all cylinders they were able to communicate their ideas in an “almost pre-verbal way.”

Jobs and Ive were not just business partners, but also close friends who ate lunch and vacationed together. And as friends and business partners, Jobs gave Ive blunt advice: If Ive wanted to work at his best, he would need to stay focused at all costs.

“I remember sort of early on when we were working, and he was saying that, ‘Jony, you have to understand there are measures of focus, and one of them is how often you say no,’” Ive said Jobs told him.

The power of refusal

Jobs believed in the power of refusal so much that he would ask Ive to tell him how many times Ive had said “no” during the day.

It was an “incredibly patronizing deal,” Ive admits, but he also acknowledges that this kind of tunnel-vision focus works.

“The art of focus is even if it is something you care passionately about, focus means ignoring it, putting it to the side. And often, it’s at real cost. And [Jobs] was remarkable at that,” Ive said.  “It takes so much effort and is exhausting to sustain, but all of the good things we’ve done have required that sort of focus.”

Setting your focus

To organize your life, you’ll need to prioritize what matters to you and clear away the clutter.

You may need to make big sacrifices to achieve this level of Steve Jobs-focus, but your reward may be having an idea as a great as an iPhone.



STATISTICALLY SPEAKING, THERE’S a pretty good chance you’re one of the 1.2 billion people who use Facebook Messenger at least once a month. Anecdotally, there’s a decent chance you harbor deep resentments toward its sluggishness, its bloat, and its liberally borrowed Snapchat features. Friends, there’s a better way. It’s called Messenger Lite.

You may have heard of Messenger Lite already, and if you live outside of the US, UK, Canada, or Ireland, you may already be using it. Facebook first launched Lite a year ago, intending it for markets whose fickle or low-bandwidth internet connections would collapse under the weight of the full-fledged Messenger platform. This week, Lite launched for those four more developed markets as well. And guess what? You should switch over to it immediately.

That directive comes with a couple of caveats: If you have an iPhone, this does not apply to you. Sorry! Facebook only released Messenger Lite on Android, with no signs of an iOS version in the offing. Secondly, if you are for some reason heavily invested in the Facebook Messenger games ecosystem, which I know must exist because there is a game controller tab in the Messenger app every time I open it, you should stick with the full-fledged version. Also, Lite doesn’t support Secret Conversations, Facebook’s end-to-end encrypted chat, but hey, that’s what Signal’s for anyway.

And that’s it! Everyone else: Let’s explore why Lite is absolutely right for you.

Lite As a Feather

It’s easier to focus on what Lite does have than what it doesn’t, because the list is so short. When you open Lite up, you get three gloriously straightforward tabs: Home, which shows your existing chats. Contacts, which, you know, and Profile, where you can adjust your notification settings, look at your message requests, switch accounts, report any issues, and that’s pretty much it.


No, really, that’s all! There’s no funhouse mirror room of tabs within tabs like you find in Messenger, in which opening the app presents you with, by my count, 10 tappable options (not including your recent conversations): HomeContactsCameraGames, and Bots tabs, a Compose bubble, a Profileicon, and the option to sort chats by MessagesActiveGroups, and Calls.

I got tired just counting those, much less navigating them. And it never stops. Open a composition window in Messenger and you get options for your camera, for images, for voice dictation, for emoji and GIFs and stickers. You can call or video chat. Press the “plus” sign and you can send money, or your location, or summon a Food Network branded extension for some ungodly reason. You can send a thumbs up. You can also, I’m fairly certain, still type actual words.

Some of those choices persist in Lite, but not nearly enough to cause paralysis. You can still send a sticker, but it doesn’t animate. You can still snap a photo or dictate or call. But Lite does not contain the intricate, endless tunnel system that Messenger employs to squeeze all of its features into one bitty app. You can’t get lost in Lite. You can, though, send and receive messages quickly and efficiently, which seems just about perfect for an app called Messenger.

As user experience goes, I’m not sure what else to tell you, other than that all of the puffery in and around Messages mostly exists to keep you staring at Messages rather than necessarily improving your life and mind. You only have so many engaged minutes to give in one lifetime. Don’t spend them lobbing ingredients at a Food Network bot.

Shoot the Messenger

Lite doesn’t just save you time because there’s less to fiddle with. It also spares you very real seconds—and frustration—by not sputtering under its own weight, as its fuller-featured counterpart most certainly can and does. It’s a greyhound next to a slobbering Messenger mastiff.


Field of machines: Researchers grow crop using only automation

A farm in the United Kingdom is the first in the world to successfully plant, tend and harvest a crop without a single person ever setting foot in the field, according to researchers and developers involved in the project.


From sowing the seeds to picking the grain, human workers were replaced with automated machines operated from a control room. The project, called Hands Free Hectare, was completed last month with a yield of 4 1/2 tons of barley, according to news releases.
The automated farm was a joint venture by Harper Adams University in Shropshire, England, and Precision Decisions, a farming specialist company in York.
“Previously, people have automated sections of agricultural systems, but funding and interest generally only goes towards one single area,” said Kit Franklin, an agricultural engineer on the project.
Experts agree that automation technology has been available for some time now, but in recent years its implementation has been accelerated by decreasing costs and changing demographics in the workforce.
“The rising cost of labor is a huge driver in the field of agriculture technology,” explained Matt Nielsen of Autonomous Solutions, a Utah-based company that converts vehicles from manual to robotic control. “It makes sense when you compare the cost of technology to the cost of labor.”

Harbinger of what’s possible

However, there are limitations still to be assessed. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables are more delicate than sturdy grains and may be more susceptible to bruising in a harvest void of human touch.
There are also social and country-specific considerations. In Japan, for instance, agricultural automation may be a necessity; in India, it could mean unemployment for millions.
“Technically, complete automation is feasible everywhere, but economically and socially it only makes sense in certain situations,” said David Zilberman, a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Berkeley.
Nonetheless, the complete mechanization accomplished in the UK is a harbinger of what’s possible in agriculture production, according to experts.
At Hands Free Hectare, agronomists and engineers used customized tractors and drones to cultivate the barley from an area roughly equivalent to two and a half acres.
Drones with multispectral sensors took aerial images of the field, while smaller machines at crop level took samples to assess what fertilizers to apply and where. Live camera feeds were used to detect invasive weeds or disease.
Earlier this year, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization stressed the need for technological innovation to create alternatives to high-input and destructive farming practices — methods that are unsustainable to meet global food needs, the FAO warned.

How Elon Musk Is Quietly Helping Hurricane Victims in Puerto Rico

With President Trump and the mayor of San Juan in a war of words this weekend over the relief efforts in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and a stream of harrowing images coming out of the island and its neighbors in the Caribbean, it’s easy to feel gloomy about the response to the disaster.

But while dysfunction and ugly politics have been capturing the headlines, companies and celebrities have been mobilizing to aid Puerto Rico. Many of them have been making a ruckus on behalf of those suffering without power, clean water, or access to medical care, but at least one big name has been keeping his efforts relatively quiet–Elon Musk.

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Bringing power back to Puerto Rico

With the entirety of Puerto Rico’s electrical grid down and some places expected to be without electricity for months, residents of the island are in desperate need of alternative sources of power. That’s something Musk’s Tesla knows plenty about, and thankfully for Puerto Rico’s 3.5 million residents, the company is happy to help.

“As soon as the storm passed, Tesla began sending hundreds of Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels to the devastated island in an effort to restore electric power there,” reports Fortune, “and the shipments of Powerwall battery systems are continuing.”

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There are also Tesla employees on the ground helping install the systems, the article goes on to report, and Musk himself personally donated $250,000 to the relief effort. Some even see the possibility of a small silver lining in these efforts, suggesting that the devastation of the traditional power grid could provide Puerto Rico with an opportunity to build a more sustainable system.

It should also be noted that Musk and Tesla, while providing a characteristically innovative response to the disaster, are far from the only big companies lending aid. Lots of other businesses, from Starbucks to Facebook, are also donating to the relief efforts.

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“With 90 percent of cell towers on the island out of service, people can’t get in touch with their loved ones–and it’s harder for rescue workers to coordinate relief efforts. We’re working to get Puerto Rico back online. We’re sending the Facebook connectivity team to deliver emergency telecommunications assistance to get the systems up and running,” Mark Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post, for instance.

Want to do your own bit to help Puerto Ricans pick up the pieces after Hurricane Maria? Here are some of the best charities to donate to, according to charity rating site Charity Navigator.


Snapchat is partnering with artists to place augmented reality sculptures around the world

Snapchat is partnering with artist Jeff Koons to bring some of his more iconic sculptures to its app.

From today, Snapchat users will be able to explore his work in augmented reality at select locations around the world. His balloon dog sculptures will be digitally placed in Hyde Park in London and Central Park in New York, and others will be placed at other popular public spaces around the world.

When users are near one of the sculptures, the locations of which they can check on Snapchat’s site, the app will point them towards its exact location. The sculpture will appear on the user’s phone as they approach, allowing them to explore it up close, almost as if they were actually standing next to a real sculpture.

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Snapchat has a form on its website inviting other artists to bring their work to the messaging platform, but it’s unclear whether it’s currently working with any other artists yet. Right now, it’s essentially like Pokémon Go, but for three-story sculptures of inflated dog balloons.

Snap appears to be betting big on augmented reality as something that will keep users coming back to its app over its much larger competitorslike Instagram. Today’s partnership comes less than a week after Snap launched augmented-reality world lenses—interactive models similar to the Koons sculptures that users can share in their snaps—for advertisers. Right now, users can add a model of the flying car from the forthcoming Blade Runner sequel, or add a man selling Bud Light beer to their snaps. And a few weeks earlier, Snapchat introduced three-dimensional versions of Bitmoji, the user-created cartoon emojis, which users can add to their snaps.


Snapchat is partnering with artists to place augmented reality sculptures around the world

Stormtrooper bot with facial recognition guards against intruders

We know what Star Wars fans will be wishing for this Christmas — aside from Sphero’s R2-D2 and BB-9E toys. Ubtech, the company behind the dancing Lynx robot, is releasing a Stormtrooper bot. Although it can’t teach you yoga, you can use voice commands to instruct it to ward off intruders (hopefully not with an actual blaster). Its facial recognition tech also allows it to store up to three faces in its memory bank.

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That way, it can shout at any uninvited guests that keep barging into your room. And, its accompanying mobile app packs an augmented reality game that lets you fight off the Resistance and launch First Order attacks. The robot is available for pre-order from Ubtech right now, and will ship in November. It will set you back $300.


Those keen to snap up the Stormtrooper should be aware that its manufacturer has previously come under fire from the security community. In August, cybersecurity firm IOActive claimed that Ubtech’s Alpha series models did not encrypt the data they stored, making it easy for hackers to steal the info. Tinkerers even managed to turn the cute little bots into screwdriver-wielding, stab-happy maniacs. Not exactly stocking filler material, then. But, no such claims have been made about the Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper.


How Vulnerable Is Your Job to Automation?

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Training and education may not be enough to robot-proof your job, a recent report dealing with the impact of automation and offshoring on job loss shows.

The 10 jobs most vulnerable to automation include mathematical science occupations and insurance underwriters, according to a Ball State University study. A college degree is usually required for these occupations, both of which have median annual salaries of more than $65,000.

Many of the other top 10 jobs most vulnerable to automation pay less and don’t require the same level of education.

However, all on the list have something in common, according to “How Vulnerable are American Communities to Automation, Trade and Urbanization?”

“The study found that low risk of automation is associated with much higher wages, averaging about $80,000 a year,” states a news release on the report. “Occupations with the highest risk of automation have incomes of less than $40,000 annually.”

Only one of the jobs least at risk of automation — occupational therapist — paid about $80,000 a year, according to the updated report released last week, but published in June.

Like most of the other robot-proof jobs, occupational therapist is a “high touch” occupation, or one in which direct interaction with clients and/or colleagues is routinely required. Most of the least vulnerable jobs are in health care and related fields.

The study looked at communities throughout the United States that are most at risk of job loss due to automation. No Ohio counties made the top 25 list. Ranking first was the Aleutians East Borough, Alaska followed by Quitman County, Georgia and Aleutians West Census Area, Alaska.

“Automation is likely to replace half of all low-skilled jobs,” said Michael Hicks, director of Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, in the release. “Communities where people have lower levels of educational attainment and lower incomes are the most vulnerable to automation. Considerable labor market turbulence is likely in the coming generation.”

The report also looked at jobs most at risk of being off-shored. Several of them had median annual salaries in the $80,000 range or higher. They included: computer programmers ($79,530), computer and information research scientists ($80,110), actuaries ($97,070), mathematicians ($111,110) and statisticians ($110,620).

One in four of all U.S. jobs will be at risk of being lost to foreign competition in the coming years, the report says.

The report incorporates research on automation and offshoring published in recent years, as well as an analysis of government and other data.


1. Data entry keyers. Annual median wage is $29,460

2. Mathematical science occupations, $66,210

3. Telemarketers, $23,530

4. Insurance underwriters, $65,040

5. Mathematical technicians, $46,600

6. Hand sewers, $23,640

7. Tax preparers, $36,450

8. Photographic process workers and processing machine operators, $26,590

9. Library technicians, $32,310

10. Watch repairers, $34,750


1. Recreational therapists. Annual median wage is $45,890

2. Emergency management directors, $67,330

3. First-line supervisors of mechanics, installers, and repairers, $63,010

4. Mental health and substance abuse social workers, $42,170

5. Audiologists, $74,890

6. Healthcare social workers, $52,380

7. Occupational therapists, $80,150

8. Orthotists and prosthetists, $64,430

9. Health technologists and technicians, $41,260

10. Hearing aid specialists, $49,600


Mercedes-Benz Launches Van-Based Drone Delivery Pilot Program

Turns out Amazon and UPS aren’t the only companies interested in drone delivery. Mercedes-Benz is teaming with U.S. drone systems developer Matternet and Swiss online retail firm Siroop for a drone delivery pilot program in Zurich, Switzerland.

The program, which started September 25, uses drones working in concert with modified delivery vans. Over the course of the three-week pilot program, Siroop customers will be able to order certain items (there’s a 4.4-pound weight limit) for drone delivery. Drone flights will take place seven hours a day, five days a week, but only in favorable weather conditions.

The drones won’t deliver packages directly to customers. They’ll pick the items up and fly to one of two Mercedes-Benz Vito (a.k.a. Metris) vans, which will stop at four “rendezvous points” around Zurich. There, drones will drop off their packages and the vans will deliver them to the customers. The entire process will be timed and compared to conventional delivery methods, a Mercedes press release said.

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Mercedes believes using a van, rather than a drone, for the last leg of the delivery has certain advantages. For one, the customer’s experience doesn’t change: They’ll still be greeted at the door by a delivery person, not a drone. Landing the Matternet M2 drones on the roofs of vans also keeps them high off the ground, Mercedes notes, potentially decreasing the risks to nearby pedestrians.

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The combination of vans and drones isn’t a new idea. Workhorse has tested drone delivery in concert with UPS. Some of the company’s Horsefly dronesmay even get into the field in time for the busy Christmas shopping season. However, Workhorse wants to use drones for the final leg of deliveries, which is the opposite of Mercedes’s concept. Amazon also seems to want to use drones for that so-called “last mile” of deliveries.

If the Swiss pilot program goes well, Mercedes will push for greater integration of drones into deliver services. The automaker believes drones could rendezvous with delivery vehicles on their regular routes, adding urgent shipments at the last minute. For that to happen, though, Mercedes and other drone proponents will have to prove to regulators and the public that swarms of drones don’t pose a safety hazard.


Intel makes the case for wireless PC-based high-end virtual reality

Intel recently hosted a 100-year-old man at its virtual reality lab in Hillsboro, Oregon. Lyle Becker was a big fan of the VR flight simulator, which reminded him of the planes that he flew in World War II. That kind of first-time experience evokes a sense of wonder at the immersiveness of VR, and that’s why Kim Pallister, director of VR excellence at Intel, believes so much that VR will be a transformative medium.

While VR is off to a slow start, Pallister believes that it will catch on in the long run. Intel recently pivoted away from a tech demo that it called Project Alloy, a stand-alone VR headset, to something entirely different. The first generation of VR headsets, such as the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, are connected to powerful personal computers via wires. Everybody wants those wires to go away, but how you tackle the issue matters.

Pallister said Intel tried at first to put the processing power in the headset itself so that you don’t have to connect a wire to a PC. But the company also worked on connecting the headset display to a PC via a wireless technology. Pallister thinks that will deliver a much better experience.

The WiGig wireless networking technology, which uses a short-range 60-gigahertz radio, can transfer data at fast enough rates to feed VR imagery from a PC to the display in a VR headset. With the WiGig connection, VR headset makers will be able to exploit the extra processing power available in a full desktop computer, rather than a more limited processor that has to run on battery power in a compact headset.

I recently joined a small group of journalists who jointly interviewed Pallister. We talked about Becker, the immersive nature of VR, Project Alloy, WiGig, and Intel’s partnership with Blueprint Reality on a VR presentation technology. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.


Vimeo Acquires Livestream and Launches Vimeo Live

Vimeo is adding live-streaming capabilities to its video-sharing website so that users can stream live events, including everything from concerts to sporting events.

The company said on Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire the live video streaming service Livestream and is launching a new service called Vimeo Live. IAC-owned Vimeo did not announce the financial details for its acquisition of Livestream, a Brooklyn-based company that says it has more than 10,000 subscribers including businesses like Spotify and Dow Jones.

Once the deal closes, Vimeo said it will fold Livestream’s technology into its new Vimeo Live service, which will allow Vimeo’s paying community of “creators” to stream live video from anywhere and then archive that footage, which they can distribute and sell later through the site.

Vimeo’s subscribers, who currently pay as much as $50 per month to host their videos on the website, will have the option of signing up for a similar monthly or annual subscriptions for access to Vimeo Live’s new live-streaming tools. Vimeo’s website is already advertising those new Vimeo Live subscription plans, starting at $75 per month as well as a custom plan for businesses like media companies that costs $800 monthly.


“Live streaming is the #1 request from our creator community this year, and we’re focused on bringing a new level of quality, convenience and craft to this evolving medium,” Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud said in a statement. “With the launch of Vimeo Live and the addition of Livestream’s impressive team and innovative product suite, we can empower a diverse range of creators to produce beautiful live experiences with professionalism and ease.”

Vimeo Live will allow subscribers to broadcast live events in high-definition video with the option of hosting live-chat next to the video. And, once the deal for Livestream closes, Vimeo Live will also offer mobile live-streaming, including through the Vimeo app on Apple iOS, Google Android, Roku, Amazon, and Samsung devices, among others.

Vimeo’s push into live-streaming comes only a few months after the company announced that it had abandoned plans to launch a subscription video service in 2018. That service would have featured original programming from Vimeo, which had said it planned to spend “tens of millions” of dollars on original content in an attempt to follow in the footsteps of other streaming video services like Netflix (which is spending $6 billion on its own original programming this year).

Instead, Vimeo will look to compete with other digital companies that already offer live-streaming video, including Google’s YouTube and Facebook’s Facebook Live.


Dubai tests drone taxi service

The two-seater, 18-rotor unmanned vehicle took off for a five-minute flight above a strip of sand on the Gulf coast.

The flight was watched by Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.

Dubai has big ambitions for becoming a smart city, with drones and robots central to its plans.

The drone was designed by German firm Volocopter and the firm said it hopes to have the taxis up and running within five years.

“Implementation would see you using your smartphone, having an app, and ordering a Volocopter to the next Voloport near you,” said chief executive Florian Reuter.

“The Volocopter would come and autonomously pick you up and take you to your destination.”

The drone had previously been tested in Germany in April.

A man looks on as the flying taxi is seen in Dubai

Rival Chinese firm eHang was supposed to be the first to launch a fleet of flying taxis in the city but its plans appear to have been delayed.

Blade Runner?

Dubai has positioned itself to become the smartest city in the world with ambitions to have self-driving vehicles account for a quarter of journeys made by 2030.

Noel Sharkey, a computer scientist and robotics expert at Sheffield University, said of the drone plans: “The big challenge will be dynamic obstacle avoidance of other taxis, buildings, birds and delivery drones.

“The skies over Dubai could become uncomfortably crowded very quickly. The ground level of the city could become a dark place of intrigue and mystery like Blade Runner.”


Microsoft is releasing Office 2019 next year

Microsoft is announcing its next major release of Office today at Ignite in Orlando, with a planned release for next year. Office 2019 (arriving in the second half of 2018) will include the usual Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook client apps, alongside server versions of Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype for Business. Microsoft is planning to release preview copies of Office 2019 in the middle of 2018, and the software is primarily designed for organizations that aren’t using the cloud Office 365 versions.

Office 2019 will include better IT capabilities for businesses that aren’t using Office 365, and new ink features like pressure sensitivity, tilt effects, and ink replay. Excel will also include new formulas and charts for data analysis, and PowerPoint will pick up the morph and zoom animation features that Office 365 customers are currently taking advantage of. Microsoft says it will share more on Office 2019 in the coming months, but for now it sounds like if you’re on Office 365 you’ll still have the most up-to-date features.


Daydream View users can now browse the web in VR with Chrome

Google is looking to make VR more mainstream. To that end, Chrome’s “happiness evangelist” François Beaufort, recently announced on Google+ that VR web browsing capabilities are coming to Chrome in the near future.

Actually, basic support is already available in the newest Chrome 61 stable build. What does this mean exactly? Well that Google Chrome users with a Google Daydream View headset will be able to view and interact with (most) websites in VR mode, as well as follow links between pages, and move between 2D and immersive viewing for sites that support WebVR.

Google added support for WebVR tech in Chrome back in February, but now you’ll be able to experiment surfing any site on the web in VR, regardless of whether it has specific VR extras added or not.

The list of Daydream-ready smartphones has been growing steadily in recent months and currently contains high-end models that have received a lot of attention from the Android community including the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30, but also the older ZTE Axon 7and Huawei Mate 9 Pro.

Since some basics capabilities are already available in the latest stable Google Chrome 61 release, those who have a Daydream View headset and compatible phone at their disposal can go ahead and start browsing the web in VR.


Apple starts collecting browsing data in Safari using its differential privacy tech

Today’s public release of macOS High Sierra brings with it some key updates to Safari — including the ability to disable cross-site cookie tracking and turn off autoplaying ads. Arriving alongside those features is a less publicized new addition to Apple’s proprietary browser: data collection. The company is using its newly implemented differential privacy technology to gather information from user habits that will help it identify problematic websites.

This form of data collection is the first of its kind for Safari, aimed at identifying sites that use excessive power and crash the browser by monopolizing too much memory. Apple is also documenting the popularity of these problematic domains, in order to prioritize which sites it addresses first.

Differential privacy is a method for collecting large swaths of information without grabbing any personally identifying data in the process, so none of the information can be traced back to the user. The concept dates back to academic research, algorithmically obscuring user data, while bulk collecting information, in order to identify larger trends.


As SVP Craig Federighi put it in a WWDC keynote, “[O]ne of the important tools in making software more intelligent is to spot patterns in how multiple users are using their devices.”

Apple has already used differential privacy for some relatively low-level applications, including predictive text in keyboards, emoji usage and search predictions. As such, the technology is already part of the company’s Device Analytics program.


It’s an opt-in box that you can choose to tick, depending on whether you want to send that information to Apple, much like you would with the company’s crash reporting. As such, Apple won’t be prompting users with an additional sign up or notification marking the new data collection in Safari.


Apple starts collecting browsing data in Safari using its differential privacy tech

You can learn to build aerial taxis with Udacity’s new Flying Car Nanodegree

Online education company Udacity is growing its new Nanodegree program yet again – it’s adding two entirely new programs to the roster, including a new entry-level self-driving Nanodegree, as well as a brand new one focused on ‘flying cars’ (though it’s actually a bit more nuanced than that).

The Flying Car program will include course material created by world-leading aeronautics and aerospace industry experts, including MIT professor Nicholas Roy, ETH Zurich professor and Kiva Systems co-founder Raffaelo D’Andrea, University of Toronto Aerospace Studies professor Angela Schoellig and Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun himself. Thrun is also CEO of personal aircraft startup Kitty Hawk, which is also acting as a hiring partner for the new program to provide job opportunity for Nanodegree grads.

Despite its name, however, the Flying Car program isn’t actually all that focused on flying cars – its mandate covers a range of future transportation tech, and includes education material around drones, including quadcopters with self-flying capabilities and remote-controlled aircraft.


MIT’s Roy calls the ‘Flying Car’ name a “metaphor” in a blog post announcing the new program, and Udacity CEO Sebastian Thrun told me in an interview that there was some internal date about using the name at all. The curriculum is going to focus primarily on fundamentals of autonomous flight, including path and motion planning, vehicle control and perception sensor systems.

This should produce Nanodegree holders with skill sets that can scale to match the opportunity – from practical applications today in areas like commercial drone asset monitoring, to a future where short-range autonomous cargo and even passenger transportation is a viable real world tech.


“Today, the self-driving car is a much more present thing in terms of politicians thinking about it, and society thinking about it,” explained Thrun. “But one of the things that I am afforded here in Silicon Valley is to understand where the world is going. I firmly believe that flight, be it drones for package delivery, or what we do at Kitty Hawk where we build vehicles for passenger transport, that those things have a big future.”

Flying cars aren’t exactly the flight of fancy they once were, either; a range of companies, including Thrun’s Kitty Hawk, but also including Airbus and even Uber, are either building autonomous personal transportation systems themselves, or doing a lot to encourage their development. Some of the big remaining challenges that stand in the way of this kind of tech becoming the real deal include the very subjects being taught in the program – of course, identifying and providing resources where the market is underserved is what Udacity’s Nanodegrees are all about.


You can learn to build aerial taxis with Udacity’s new Flying Car Nanodegree

Microsoft and Facebook’s massive undersea data cable is complete

Microsoft, Facebook, and the telecoms infrastructure company Telxius have announced the completion of the highest capacity subsea cable to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean. The cable is capable of transmitting 160 terabits of data per second, the equivalent of streaming 71 million HD videos at the same time, and 16 million times faster than an average home internet connection, Microsoft claims. The cable will be operational by early 2018.

Called Marea, which is Spanish for “tide,” the 4,000 mile long subsea cable lies 17,000 feet below the ocean surface and extends between Virginia Beach, Virginia and the city of Bilbao in Spain. Marea also stretches a route south of most existing transatlantic cables. Because of this, Microsoft says the cable will provide resiliency for those living in the US and Europe by safeguarding against natural disasters or other major events that might cause disruptions to connections like those seen during Hurricane Sandy. More importantly to Microsoft and Facebook: both companies have large data center operations in Virginia.

“Marea comes at a critical time,” said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft. “Submarine cables in the Atlantic already carry 55 percent more data than trans-Pacific routes and 40 percent more data than between the US and Latin America. There is no question that the demand for data flows across the Atlantic will continue to increase.” For most of the route, the cable — made up of eight pairs of fiber optic cables enclosed by copper — lays on the ocean floor. Some parts are buried to protect from shipping traffic, usually in areas closer to the shore.


In a blog post, Microsoft said the project was completed nearly three times faster than usual, in under two years. Marea’s cables are an “open” design, which will allow it to evolve as technology does, and as the population of internet users around the world jumps. The Marea cable also provides a path to network hubs in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, where the next billion internet users are anticipated to come from.

Tech companies are increasingly moving into the infrastructure space, funding new cables themselves, rather than joining telecom consortiums which operate undersea cables already. Google has also invested in two cables that run from the US to Japan, South America, and other countries in Asia. With the Marea cable, Facebook and Microsoft’s investment gives them more control over the vast amounts of data they need to move quickly around the world. Both companies will benefit from improvements in cloud services for products like Microsoft’s Office 365, Azure, and Xbox Live, and Facebook’s Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp.


Robotic Dentist Implants 3D Printed Teeth in Woman’s Mouth in Autonomous Surgery

We’ve all volunteered for things in our lives, whether it’s something we want to do or something we may not be super excited about. Many volunteers are needed in the medical field to test out new technology – how would we know it’s possible to transplant organs without trying it out first? I have always been fascinated by the selfless people who volunteer to donate their kidneys to strangers; I don’t know if I could do it. Some volunteers offer not to donate, but to be on the receiving end of new procedures that need to be tried out. A woman in China recently volunteered to have 3D printed teeth implanted in her mouth…by a robotic dentist.

According to the South China Morning Post, there is a major shortage of dentists in the country – about 400 million people in China are in need of dental implants, but each year, only about one million people receive them. Sometimes when people can’t get dental surgery, they’ll visit individuals who are not qualified to perform dental work, causing themselves more harm. Dental surgery is hard enough, given the small, often hard to see space that dentists have to work in, without having to worry about not having enough dentists.

We often see 3D printing technology combined with dental applications, and using robots in surgery is not a new concept either – we’ve seen robots that are designed to perform hysterectomies and even brain surgery on epilepsy patients, but this is the first robot dentist I’ve ever heard of. This is also the first completely autonomous robotic dental implant surgery, and the researchers who developed the robot hope it will be able to help with the shortage of qualified dentists in China, as well as cut back on problems caused by human error.

As a person who is already terrified of going to the dentist, the idea of a robot wielding the instruments sounds like my absolute worst nightmare. But, I do believe anything that can safely cut down on human error during surgery is a good idea, so I should probably get used to robots running operations.


This Simple Change on the Apple iPhone Could Save Countless Lives on the Road

There’s nothing quite like “borrowing” an idea from someone else in the tech world. It’s all about how you implement the idea, how you make sure the idea is still general enough that it is not outright theft, and then how your user base reacts to the change.

That’s what makes a new feature on the iPhone, called Do Not Disturb While Driving, so interesting. It’s something Android users have enjoyed (or been annoyed by) for a while. On the iPhone, it means your phone is basically locked. When you use the mode and pick up your phone, you’ll see a screen that says your phone is disabled.

When you get a message or receive a phone call, the iPhone can then send a message back that you’re driving. To enable the feature on any iPhone that runs iOS 11, just head to Settings and enable the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature. You can set it to activate automatically when the iPhone senses you are driving or manually when you decide to use it. (A chip inside the phone can sense movement that could only be a car.)


Over the last week, I’ve use the feature many times. Well, to be more specific–I’ve stopped after driving to sit idle in a parking lot or the curb and picked up my phone, only to realize that it was impossible for me to check for a text or glance at my iTunes playlist.

You can go through a few settings to disable it of course, but it’s really a reminder to stay safe, remain vigilant, and keep your attention on the road. And here’s the amazing part. It worked. I refrained from glancing at the phone, even though it was safe to do so, and I decided to just wait until I was out of the vehicle entirely.

We know distracted driving is an issue, because accidents and fatalities on the road have risen slightly in the last year or two. It’s a problem because your brain goes into a strange blackout mode where all you see is the screen and nothing else–no pedestrians, no other cars, no roadside objects. It’s a good thing the brain does this, because it allows us to focus. It’s a bad thing when you are driving 70 miles-per-hour in heavy traffic.

For Android users, the feature has been available since last year at least. I recall using it with a Google Pixel phone connected using Android Auto to several makes and models, including a nice sports sedan with a lot of horsepower. The feature also blocks messages and calls. There’s no way to prove Apple noticed this feature and added it, but the Pixel essentially does the same thing–sensing the car is moving and blocking calls.

You can use a custom message on the Phone to send back to people to let them know you are driving, and you can select whether all calls are blocked or just those not in your contacts or favorites. Anyone can use a trigger word (“urgent”) to contact you even if you are Do Not Disturb mode.


A Chinese warehouse reportedly cut its labor costs in half with a fleet of tiny robots

It’s a disconcerting narrative to the American government, but the US is being outspent and out-scaled by the implementation of robots in China. Asia produces more robots than the rest of the world combined, and Chinese workers fear unemployment at the hands of robots more than anyone else. Even the Obama White House warned (pdf) that to stay competitive America needed to further invest in artificial intelligence and software that helps allow robots to operate in dynamic environments.

Shentong Express, a Chinese shipping company, showed off a mildly-dystopian automated warehouse last week that reportedly cut its labor costs by half, according to the South China Morning Post. In a video, tiny orange robots made by Hikvision ferry packages around an eastern China warehouse, taking each parcel from a human worker, driving under a scanner, and then dumping the package down a specific chute for it to be shipped.

The human’s main job in the video appears to be picking up packages and placing them label-up on top of the robot, a task modern robotics is only just starting to put into warehouse production. A spokesperson told the Post that Shentong is using the robot in two of its warehouses, and hopes to expand use to the rest of the country.

Just because little robots appear to be sorting boxes in this warehouse doesn’t we’ll all be out of work—data from Amazon suggests that even with 45,000 of its own robots in fulfillment centers, the American company still is looking to hire more and more humans for other tasks.


A Chinese warehouse reportedly cut its labor costs in half with a fleet of tiny robots

Synthetic muscle breakthrough could lead to ‘lifelike’ robots

Humanoid robots are a step closer to being lifelike after engineers developed synthetic muscle that can lift a thousand times its own weight, it is claimed.

The artificial muscle can also push, pull, bend and twist.


Experts say they’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots and it’s the closest artificial material equivalent they have to a natural muscle.

The long term plan is for engineers to develop artificial intelligence to learn to control the muscle.

The 3D-printable synthetic soft muscle doesn’t need an external compressor or high voltage equipment as previous models did.

Up until now no material has been capable of functioning as a soft muscle due to an inability to show the desired properties of high stress and strain, according to the engineering team at Columbia University in the United States.

Team leader Professor Hod Lipson said: “We’ve been making great strides toward making robot minds, but robot bodies are still primitive.

“This is a big piece of the puzzle and, like biology, the new actuator can be shaped and reshaped a thousand ways.

“We’ve overcome one of the final barriers to making lifelike robots.”

Inspired by living organisms, Professor Lipson said soft material robotics hold “great promise” for areas where robots need to contact and interact with humans, such as manufacturing and healthcare.


He said that, unlike rigid robots, soft robots can replicate natural motion – grasping and manipulation – to provide medical and other types of assistance, perform delicate tasks, or pick up soft objects.

To create a system with high strain, high stress and low density, study lead author Aslan Miriyev, a postdoctoral researcher in the Creative Machines lab, used a silicone rubber matrix with ethanol distributed throughout in micro-bubbles.

The solution combined the elastic properties and extreme volume change qualities of other material systems while also being easy to fabricate, low cost, and made of environmentally safe materials.

After being 3D-printed into the desired shape, the artificial muscle was electrically moved using a thin resistive wire and low-power (8V).

It was tested in a range of robotic applications where it apparently showed “significant” expansion-contraction ability, being capable of expansion up to 900 per cent when electrically heated to 80C.

(Image: Getty Images Europe)

By using computer controls, it is capable of moving, according to Dr Miriyev.

He added: “Our soft functional material may serve as robust soft muscle, possibly revolutionising the way that soft robotic solutions are engineered today.


Proterra’s big electric bus can go 1,102 miles on one charge

With cities and countries about to put bans on internal combustion engines in the next couple of decades, electric bus technology needs to advance. Proterra thinks it just proved it’s already there.

On Tuesday, the California-based company said its Catalyst E2 Max went 1,102.2 miles on a single charge, a world record for the longest distance traveled by an electric vehicle without recharging. The test was performed at Navistar’s proving grounds in Indiana, and the results were confirmed by that company.

“For our heavy-duty electric bus to break the previous world record of 1,013.76 miles — which was set by a light-duty passenger EV 46 times lighter than the Catalyst E2 max — is a major feat,” Matt Horton, Proterra’s chief commercial officer, said in the news release.


The E2 Max uses a 660kWh battery and hides it in the 40-foot-long bus body. By comparison, a Tesla Model S P100D has a 100kWh battery to achieve a 315-mile range. Hyundai recently announced the Elec City bus that has a 180-mile range from a 256kWh battery, but it can be fully charged in one hour.

No transit agencies are using an E2 Max, however, according to the Los Angeles Times. Proterra is selling a model with a 350-mile range, and last year, agreed to supply Foothill Transit in Southern California with a 35-foot model with a 35-mile range that can be recharged in 10 minutes.

“Early electric bus adopters like our first customer, Foothill Transit, have paved the way for future heavy-duty applications, like motor coaches and commercial truck,” Proterra CEO Ryan Popple said. “As we see incumbents and more companies enter the heavy-duty EV market, it has become very apparent that the future is all-electric, and the sun is setting on combustion engine technology.”

You may not own a car, but the bus you get on soon could be electric.


Switzerland Is Getting A Network Of Medical Delivery Drones

When a hospital needs to rush a delivery from a lab somewhere else in a densely populated city–for example, when a surgeon needs an urgent biopsy of a tumor in the middle of a surgery to determine how much tissue to remove, or a gunshot victim in the ER needs blood that the hospital doesn’t have in stock–that delivery can sometimes get stuck in traffic. Couriers are also expensive. In Switzerland, hospitals and labs will soon begin using drones to make those deliveries instead.



Permanent drone delivery networks are already in use in Africa, where drones send units of blood for transfusions to remote clinics in Rwanda, and will soon deliver other medical supplies such as antimalarial drugs and emergency vaccines in Tanzania. But Switzerland will be the first country in the developed world to have permanent drone networks, with drones flying through urban airspace near busy international airports.


Matternet, a Silicon Valley-based tech company, designed the drones, along with a cloud system for sending and receiving platforms–and a newly launched system that can autonomously load, launch, and land the drones. “It allows us to have our drone system connecting facilities that don’t have any trained personnel on how to use the drone,” says Andreas Raptopoulos, founder and CEO of Matternet.


By the end of the year, the company will have small networks in place at labs and hospitals throughout Swiss cities. When a lab technician takes a sample that needs to be sent urgently, they’ll use an iPhone app to put a request in the system, and put the sample in a special container for biohazardous material. Then they’ll scan a QR code to load the container into the ground station outside, and then the system does the rest: pulling the sample inside, requesting a drone if one isn’t already on site, loading the drone with a freshly charged battery and the sample, and launching on a route generated by the cloud system. When the drone lands itself on another station at a hospital, someone inside is notified and retrieves the sample using the same app. When not in use, the drones will be stored in a secure room at a hospital.


Once the value of medical deliveries is proven, the company thinks that will serve as a bridge into other on-demand deliveries. “We share the enthusiasm of Amazon and Google and others that it has a potential to revolutionize on-demand e-commerce and on-demand transactions around goods,” says Raptopoulos. “The best way to start operating . . . is to start in places where first of all there’s a clear benefit, the margins are such that they can pay for this, and the economics work out for the customer, and you can easily make the argument that there’s public benefit behind it.”


Google signs agreement with HTC, continuing our big bet on hardware

Of the three most influential companies in smartphone design, Nokia fragmented into a million pieces after being bought out by Microsoft, Apple is still going strong, and Google just bought the third with its $1.1 billion deal with HTC. The reason why Google acquired what looks to be the majority of HTC’s phone design and engineering team is simple, and it’s been obvious for over a year: Google is serious about becoming a hardware company.

Early in 2016, Google created a new hardware division and re-hired Motorola chief Rick Osterloh to run that group. A brief few months after that, the company was plastering the streets of Europe and the US with billboards trumpeting the arrival of the first “Made by Google” Pixel devices. Why do we refuse to acknowledge what’s right in front of our eyes?

Google is going to war against the iPhone.

It sounds preposterous given the number and quality of apps that Google produces for Apple’s iOS ecosystem, but the iPhone is a direct threat and counter to Google’s overarching goal of being ubiquitous on every internet-connected device. Apple’s voice assistant Siri searches the web using Bing rather than Google, and Apple Maps was created explicitly to shake off Apple’s dependence on Google Maps.


Mastering Virtual Reality: A Beginner’s Guide To Start Making Money With Virtual Reality

People have been waiting for VR to take off for years and they have been met with disappointment—until recently. A lot of evidence is now promising a bright future for VR but investors should be knowledgeable about several things before diving in; like what the risks are, how big the market is going to be, why this strategy should be played out in the long term and who the key players are.
Book Includes:
1.Virtual Reality Rises 
2.Virtual Reality via Real Estate
3.VR Goldmine 
4.Virtual Reality Apps
5.VR Business Opportunities
6.AR and VR in Education
7.VR Now
8.Diving Into VR
9.Medical VR Is Changing Healthcare
10. VR Golden Era
11. AR marketing Ideas
12. Making Money in Augmented Reality
13. Virtual Reality and Therapists
14. Diving Into VR
15. Before Investing In Virtual Reality
16. VR with Blockchain

Nest Hello video doorbell rings for smart security

The smart home expanded this week as the Nest Hello was revealed as a new video doorbell from the company that made the smart thermostat. This doorbell includes a camera as part of the Nest Cams network. This camera can detect a person approaching or near the doorbell and send an alert and/or a photo to the device’s owner.

The Next Hello is certainly not the first smart doorbell on the block. Also appearing in the last half-decade were the Xchime, the August Doorbell Cam Pro, the SkyBell WiFi Doorbell, and perhaps most famous of all, the Ring. The Nest holds the distinction of being the only smart doorbell made by Nest, appearing as part of the Nest smart home ecosystem.

Nest Hello allows its user to engage with both friends and strangers (or dogs, or even a ghost!) using the device’s “HD Talk and Listen” system. This device’s talk and listen system has “echo suppression” as well as ambient noise cancellation for clean, sharp sounds. This system also rolls with its own collection of pre-recorded responses, this allowing the user to engage with the guest at the door without actually having to speak out loud.

The Nest Hello smart doorbell is the only one of the collection of devices introduced by Nest today to be without a specific release date or pricing. The folks at Nest suggest that this device will be available in the United States and Canada at around “the first quarter of 2018”, with a release set for later next year for Europe.

This is but one of a collection of Nest devices expanding the brand well beyond the living room. This week’s event brought about the Nest Secure Alarm System, with Nest Guard, Nest Detect, and Nest Tag. This week’s event also revealed the Nest Cam IQ outdoor security camera – all part of Nest’s new home security family.


Lyft offers 400 scholarships for online self-driving car course

Online learning portal Udacity launched its first 36-week “nanodegree” course for self-driving car engineering last year. There’s a new, introductory course available now as well, focused on bringing students with minimal programming into the larger program. Even better, Udacity has partnered with Lyft (which has self-driving plans of its own) to provide scholarships to the intro course in order to increase diversity to the program. 400 scholarships are available to US-based students with “varying levels of experience;” the application window closes October 1st.


Lyft says that people “from all backgrounds and perspectives” should have the opportunity to contribute to the future of transportation in the form of self-driving cars. “Diversity is crucial for creating solutions that serve everyone, and ridesharing is for everyone,” the company writes on its website. “That’s why these scholarships will specifically target communities that are underrepresented in technology in the US.”


In addition, Lyft will provide mentorship opportunities through its lyf, which is where the company houses its self-driving division. The nanodegree itself will cover topics like “machine learning, object-oriented programming and probabilistic robotics.”


Of course, if self-driving cars aren’t your thing, you can always enroll in Udacity’s new Flying Car nanodegree (which really focuses more on drones than actual airborne autos).


Moving Beyond E-books… and Into the Virtual

Over the years, multiple different versions of geocaching developed, which evolved as technology grew more sophisticated. Laws were established governing where geocaching could occur, historical sites and cemeteries being commonly off-limits. There have been rescues of searchers who have gone into dangerous areas, and, tragically, there have been deaths as well.

Humans love a mystery story, and we also love new technology. The combination of the two is irresistible to many. One evolving technology brings both together: augmented reality.

When we think of augmented reality, we think (mostly) of Pokémon Go. That is the latest and most successful commercial application of AR we’ve seen so far. Released last summer, Pokémon Go has had millions of people out on the streets, in parks, at beaches—even at the White House—searching for and “capturing” virtual critters. The phone-based app displayed a map (created with GPS technology) of where the user was standing or walking, and imposed Pokémon creatures available for capture. The point of any Pokémon game is collection—the more creatures you have, the better you are doing. Suddenly people found themselves exercising and exploring in ways they hadn’t before. This is, ultimately, virtual geocaching.

Any hunt is a story—which was the point of Masquerade. The quest for the Holy Grail—which has inspired poetry, opera, Indiana Jones movies, and Monty Python—is a story. A mystery is a hunt for clues that will lead to a solution. Where there is seeking, be it one individual’s search for answers about his life or a community’s hunt for a perpetrator, there is the possibility for an AR application to bring it to life.

In other words, publishers have the opportunity to look at stories in different ways. Publishers can develop apps for readers, who could point them at books in a manner similar to Pokémon Go and retrieve additional information about the story, or trivia, or details about the likely size of Jo March’s house. AR provides the “enhancements” that we were looking for with e-books—that other dimension that a straightforward narrative can’t offer without footnotes.

Even more enticingly, publishers have the opportunity to create games from their stories. Imagine a Harry Potter AR game: your house is your dormitory, your school is the Hogwarts classrooms, your homework is framed as “spell practice.” AR allows readers to bridge the gap between the narrative and their own lives.

Laura Dawson, CEO of Numerical Gurus, is a book supply chain consultant. She also facilitates Metadata Boot Camp, a webinar series tackling metadata issues in publishing.


Google will now show you what ebooks are available in your local library

Google has added a new feature to Search that will show you if your local library has the ebook you’re looking for in stock. If you’re old like me and didn’t know that you could borrow ebooks, well you can, and many libraries across the US have a digital collection that you can borrow from.

Now you don’t have to bother searching through what’s likely an archaic library website — Google will do all the legwork for you. The company says the feature is now available on both mobile and desktop to users in the US.


Ethereum Could Challenge Credit Card Companies In “A Couple of Years”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of his blockchainplatform, sharing his predictions during a talk with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF 2017 event on September 18.

Despite the growing popularity of Ethereum and other technologies like it, a large majority of people still don’t know what blockchain is or what it does. However, once the technology does reach the mainstream, Buterin believes it will be able to take business away from major credit card companies. He sees this shift potentially taking place in the next “couple of years.”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin believes the blockchain-based platform has the potential to rival financial institutions like Visa in scale. Before it can, however, it needs to increase the speed with which it can process transactions.


Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is optimistic about the future of his blockchainplatform, sharing his predictions during a talk with AngelList founder Naval Ravikant at TechCrunch’s Disrupt SF 2017 event on September 18.

Despite the growing popularity of Ethereum and other technologies like it, a large majority of people still don’t know what blockchain is or what it does. However, once the technology does reach the mainstream, Buterin believes it will be able to take business away from major credit card companies. He sees this shift potentially taking place in the next “couple of years.”

Before Ethereum can compete with the likes of Visa and MasterCard, though, the platform will need to speed up. “Bitcoin is processing a bit less than 3 transactions per second,” Buterin explained to Ravikant. “Ethereum is doing five a second. Uber gives 12 rides a second. It will take a couple of years for the blockchain to replace Visa.”

According to Business Insider, the co-founder said he expects to see low-security financial prototypes revealed within the next year, which may signal the beginning of Ethereum’s ability to disrupt mainstream finance. That said, a few more years will be needed before their effectiveness can be proven.


Buterin’s thoughts on the capabilities of blockchain extend beyond finance and into the world of cloud computing. While he believes Ethereum has a solid chance at changing the financial world, Buterin is less optimistic about its effect on cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).


Sony Xperia XZ1’s scanner comes with a 3D printing service

When Sony introduced the Xperia XZ1 at IFA, the Japanese tech giant said it was seeking partnerships with 3D printing services to go with its pre-loaded 3D scanning app. Now, Sony and Sculpteo have revealed that they’ve teamed up to give people the power to 3D print anything anytime they want to, using only the XZ1. You don’t need to fire up your computer during any part of the process at all.


When you fire up the 3D Creator application, you’ll find Sculpteo’s 3D printing services integrated into its interface. Want to immortalize a childhood toy that’s falling apart or to produce a three-dimensional print of your own face? Just scan it (or yourself) with 3D Creator and send the file straight from within the app to Sculpteo’s machines. You can even pay from within the application and then send the finished product anywhere in the world. The 3D-printing outfit will print your creation using multi-colored materials and in the size your specify.


The tech titan highlighted XZ1’s 3D Creator app at IFA, and it’s easy to see why — the pre-loaded application has the ability to generate realistic 3D scans of objects and people in under a minute. Sony even demoed what it can do by using the app to scan my colleague’s, Cherlynn Low’s, head, and the result was surprisingly detailed and life-like. By making Sculpteo’s services a built-in feature, Sony has made the XZ1 more attractive to builders, makers, creatives and anyone else who wants an easy way to scan and print objects. The XZ1 will be available on September 19th, so you only have to wait a few more days, though you’ll have to be prepared to spend $700 to get one.


UK bans fully autonomous weapons after Elon Musk letter

The UK has sided with global robotics and AI experts in formally declaring that humans will always retain control over the country’s robotic weapons systems.

In August, Elon Musk led 116 experts in robotics and AI in calling for a ban on autonomous weapons. The letter, with signatories from 26 countries, was sent to the UN with an ominous warning:

“We do not have long to act. Once this Pandora’s box is opened, it will be hard to close.”

The announcement from the UK Ministry of Defense coincides with the Defense and Security Equipment International show, one of the biggest arms exhibitions in the world.

Mark Lancaster, the minister for the armed forces, said: “It’s absolutely right that our weapons are operated by real people capable of making incredibly important decisions, and we are guaranteeing that vital oversight.”


The reason you’re hearing so much about this issue recently is that autonomous weapons systems are now on the cusp of becoming a reality. Russian arms maker Kalashnikov recently announced it was developing autonomous combat drones that could acquire targets and make decisions by themselves.


Yesterday I reported that Israeli autonomous drone maker Airobotics is entering the defense industry.

Some semi-autonomous weapons, which require some human oversight, are currently in use around the world. One example is South Korean gun turrets along the border with North Korea, which can lock onto human targets.


Missile defense systems are also largely autonomous.

The U.S. Department of Defense doctrine on so-called Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) is somewhat vague. DoD directive 3000.09 states that autonomous weapons systems “shall be designed to allow commanders and operators to exercise appropriate levels of human judgment over the use of force,” which is strikingly non-committal.

Last year, then-current Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work told the Boston Globe, “We will not delegate lethal authority to a machine to make a decision.”

But Work went on to complicate that stance, adding, “The only time we will . . . delegate a machine authority is in things that go faster than human reaction time, like cyber or electronic warfare.”


Here’s the new Apple Watch software

In Apple’s big product show today in Cupertino at the new Steve Jobs Theater, Apple COO Jeff Williams unveiled Watch OS 4, which is largely focused on health and fitness. The new OS features a redesigned workout app, high intensity interval training, enhanced swim tracking smart activity coaching, GymKit to pair with machines at the gym, a revamped heart rate monitor and new music experience.

With Watch OS 4, you’ll be able to see your heart rate right on your watch face. And when you launch the app, you’ll see your resting heart rate and recovery heart rate, which tells you how quickly your heart rate drops after a workout.


When you’re not active, your Apple Watch will be able to notify you if your heart rate is elevated. The new OS can also detect arrhythmias.

With OS 4, person-to-person payments will be possible via ApplePay. which means you can send and request money right from the Messages app on your watch. The new software will be available to everyone on September 19.


Here’s the new Apple Watch software

Wary of robots taking jobs, Hawaii toys with guaranteed pay

HONOLULU — Driverless trucks. Factory robots. Delivery drones. Virtual personal assistants.

As technological innovations increasingly edge into the workplace, many people fear that robots and machines are destined to take jobs that human beings have held for decades–a trend that is already happening in stores and factories around the country. For many affected workers, retraining might be out of reach —unavailable, unaffordable or inadequate.

What then?

Enter the idea of a universal basic income, the notion that everyone should be able to receive a stream of income to live on, regardless of their employment or economic status.

It isn’t an idea that seems likely to gain traction nationally in the current political environment. But in some politically progressive corners of the country, including Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay area, the idea of distributing a guaranteed income has begun to gain support.

Over the past two decades, automation has reduced the need for workers, especially in such blue-collar sectors as manufacturing, warehousing and mining. Many of the jobs that remain demand higher education or advanced technological skills. It helps explain why just 55 percent of Americans with no more than a high school diploma are employed, down from 60 percent just before the Great Recession.


Hawaii state lawmakers have voted to explore the idea of a universal basic income in light of research suggesting that a majority of waiter, cook and building cleaning jobs — vital to Hawaii’s tourism-dependent economy — will eventually be replaced by machines. The crucial question of who would pay for the program has yet to be determined. But support for the idea has taken root.

“Our economy is changing far more rapidly than anybody’s expected,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, who introduced legislation to consider a guaranteed universal income.

Lee said he felt it’s important “to be sure that everybody will benefit from the technological revolution that we’re seeing to make sure no one’s left behind.”

Here are some questions and answers:

What is a universal basic income?

In a state or nation with universal basic income, every adult would receive a uniform fixed amount that would be deemed enough to meet basic needs. The idea gained some currency in the 1960s and 1970s, with proponents ranging from Martin Luther King Jr. to President Richard Nixon, who proposed a “negative income tax” similar to basic income. It failed to pass Congress.

Recently, some technology leaders have been breathing new life — and money — into the idea. Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and others have promoted the idea as a way to address the potential loss of many transportation, manufacturing, retail and customer service jobs to automation and artificial intelligence.

Even some economists who welcome technological change to make workplaces more efficient note that the pace of innovation in coming years is likely to accelerate. Community colleges and retraining centers could find it difficult to keep up. Supporters of a universal basic income say the money would cushion the economic pain for the affected workers.


Samsung wants to launch a foldable Galaxy Note in 2018

Apple is preparing to draw scores of eyes to Cupertino later today as it unboxes a clutch of new iPhones, including a new premium handset, called the iPhone X, slatedto have a near bezel-less OLED display, a 3D face unlock feature and a $1,000+ price-tag, while bringing various new camera and feature tweaks — many of which have leaked in recent weeks.

Even so, the new iPhones are set to look like, well, iPhones — aka slabs of expensively shiny glass.

So what better time for rival Samsung to tease that it might finally be nearing the point of outing something rather different: A smartphone with a foldable screen — encouraging consumers who might be thinking of shelling out serious bucks for Apple’s new glass slabs to think twice.

Bloomberg reports that Koh Dong-jin, president of Samsung’s mobile business, has said the company is setting its sights on 2018 to release a smartphone with a bendable display.

“As the head of the business, I can say our current goal is next year,” he told reporters. “When we can overcome some problems for sure, we will launch the product.”

He was speaking at a press event in South Korea announcing the Galaxy Note 8 phablet to domestic media. The future foldable phone is intended to sit in the same Galaxy Note portfolio line-up, according to his comments.


Samsung has been teasing the fact it’s working on a bendable device for multiple years now — showing investors a range of folding prototypes in 2013, and teasing bendy screen concepts (branded Youm) at CES that year. Though its tests date back further still, while it’s been showing off concept videos of flexible devices for a similarly long time.

But while Samsung has been happy to scatter suggestive tidbits about its folding phone plans over the years, the date for a potential commercial release has never been firmed up. Instead possible release years have been mentioned then pushed further forward in time — apparently as it encountered new manufacturing complications.

So it’s fair to say that the latest claim — that 2018 might finally be the year of the folding phone  — should be taken with a large pinch of salt. Especially as the timing of the tease coincides with the most important date in the Apple calendar: iPhone X day.


And, well, let’s face it, concept smartphones don’t have a great record of ever seeing the light of day either.

Even if you assume Samsung has made some progress on its bendable prototypes, having worked on the concept for more than five years at this point, there’s no doubt that creating a screen robust enough to be opened and closed (and prodded) as much as 150 times+ a day by touchscreen-addicted humans is a huge challenge.

And after the flaming disaster of the Galaxy Note 7, which had to be recalled after some batteries caught fire, the risk-margin for Samsung on this potential release must be very tight indeed…

No one wants a folding phone if that means screen glitches and/or a handset that feels tacky and whose dimensions hark back to the heft of late 1990s mobile devices.

(For the record, Samsung’s folding phone has been rumored to be called the Galaxy X. So Apple’s choice of premium brand name for its top tier new iPhone is probably causing more than a little irritation in South Korea.)


Ahead of iPhone X day, Samsung teases 2018 foldable phone launch plan

Samsung’s Gear watches will help with senior care and employee safety

Samsung is taking on the world of work via three new integrations with its Gear smartwatches. SoloProtect uses the Samsung Gear S3 to keep tabs on people who work alone, like real estate agents and home healthcare workers, while Reemo integrates with the Gear S3 and S2 to monitor the health of seniors in care facilities. Ability Wearables, along with Samsung’s Gear Fit 2 and S3 devices, helps keep track of people who work long shifts, like truck drivers, construction employees and healthcare workers. Samsung is spotlighting these and a VR solution for fitness centers at the Mobile World Congress Americas conference in San Francisco this week.

SoloProtect is a 24/7 monitoring and communication service that provides emergency alerts, geo-location and status checks to businesses that employ lone workers in higher-risk environments. “Safety and reliability are top of mind for all employers, but historically, it has been difficult to manage safety for individual employees operating outside the traditional office setting,” said SoloProtect CEO John Broady in a statement. “By equipping workers with a high-quality Samsung smartwatch integrated with SoloProtect, we can help businesses increase the safety of those operating alone in the field, and provide them with the ability to concentrate on their task at hand with greater peace of mind.”


Reemo’s platform tracks activity level, heart rate and sleep quality of seniors in care centers, which can help their caregivers provide better care. “We’re thrilled to join Samsung at Mobile World Congress Americas this year to further demonstrate mobile technology’s impact in the senior care industry,” said Reemo’s CEO, John Valiton, in a statement. “Samsung’s enablement of the Reemo platform through its wearable devices has made technology truly accessible to seniors by providing mobility, safety, awareness and connectivity to create independence in the aging experience.”

People at risk for falling asleep on the job can wear a Gear smartwatch that connects through Samsung’s GearUP platform to connect with Ability Wearables’ real-time health intelligence systems, letting employers both predict and react to employee fatigue on the job. “Samsung is pushing the envelope with its range of wearables,” said Ability’s CEO Shiv Madan in a statement. “By applying this collaborative solution to employees at high-risk of fatigue, we believe we can help solve many of the fatigue-driven challenges facing today’s workers.”


Chatbot offers legal help to Equifax data breach victims

The DoNotPay robot lawyer generates documents US consumers can take to the small claims court.

Depending on the state, consumers can sue Equifax for up to $25,000 (£19,000).

The Equifax data breach has affected 143 million US customers.

Despite repeated requests by the BBC, Equifax has not confirmed exactly how many UK consumers were affected, but reports suggest the details of up to 44 million British people may have been compromised.

The firm has committed to working with regulators in the US, UK and Canada on next steps. It is also offering free credit monitoring and identity theft protection for a year.

“We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting data, and we are conducting a thorough review of our overall security operations,” said Richard Smith, Equifax chairman and chief executive, when the breach was revealed.

DoNotPay was invented by British teenager Joshua Browder, who is an undergraduate at Stanford University.

The free service was originally designed to help appeal against parking or speeding tickets by selecting the right letter that corresponds to the user’s issue.

This is not the first time it has been programmed for altruistic purposes – in March, Mr Browder adapted the bot to help asylum seekers with immigration applications and to obtain financial support.

As of July, he estimated that the bot had helped to defeat 375,000 parking tickets in two years.

Unauthorised access

At the end of July, Equifax discovered signs of unauthorised access to data including names, addresses and social security numbers.

The credit report giant set up a website where consumers can check whether their information was accessed and sign up for free credit and identity theft monitoring.

The data breach is one of the biggest ever reported in the US and victims are at risk of identity theft and fraud.


Red Cross to start testing drones in disaster relief efforts

The American Red has teamed up with the UPS Foundation and drone manufacturer CyPhy Works to bring drones to sites of natural disasters. The goal is to use drones tethered to the ground to assess damages through constant aerial observations. This is where CyPhy Works comes in.

The pilot program utilizes CyPhy Works’ Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) platform. In this test the platform will provide constant power to a drone flying stationary at 400ft through the use of a tether. Since the drone is tied to the ground, constant power can be provided from a ground-based generator thus providing uninterrupted surveillance for days or weeks at a time. A 30X zoom camera will then be used to surveil tens of miles around the drone and would be able to assess the impact of a disaster to best direct relief efforts and later to accelerate insurance payout.

The parties involved agreed to launch a one week, onsite trial in an area heavily flooded by Hurricane Harvey. If successful, it could be used again following Hurricane Irma.


The Boston-based CyPhy Works has been testing this tethered platform in different scenarios. During Forth of July fireworks and the Boston Marathon, CyPhy works provided hours of aerial surveillance to the Boston Police Department. The test with the Red Cross takes CyPhy Works out of Boston and potentially in locations without a power grid or general utilities.


Red Cross to start testing drones in disaster relief efforts

U.S. House unanimously approves sweeping self-driving car measure

The U.S. House on Wednesday unanimously approved a sweeping proposal to speed the deployment of self-driving cars without human controls by putting federal regulators in the driver’s seat and barring states from blocking autonomous vehicles.

The House measure, the first significant federal legislation aimed at speeding self-driving cars to market, would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year. The cap would rise over three years to 100,000 vehicles annually.

Representative Doris Matsui said the bill “puts us on a path towards innovation which, up until recently, seemed unimaginable.”

Automakers, business groups, and advocates for the blind praised the House measure. But one consumer group said the House bill did not do enough to ensure self-driving cars would be safe.


Under the bill, manufacturers seeking exemptions must demonstrate self-driving cars are at least as safe as existing vehicles. States could still set rules on registration, licensing, liability, insurance and safety inspections, but not performance standards.

Automakers would have to submit safety assessment reports to regulators, but the bill would not require pre-market approval of advanced vehicle technologies. The measure now goes to the Senate, where a bipartisan group of lawmakers has been working on similar legislation.

Automakers and technology companies, including General Motors Co and Alphabet Inc’s self-driving unit Waymo, hope to begin deploying vehicles around 2020. They have been pushing for new federal rules making it easier to deploy self-driving technology, but some consumer groups have sought additional safeguards.

Current federal rules bar self-driving cars without human controls on U.S. roads. States have issued a variety of different rules in the absence of clear federal guidance, and automakers have complained that California’s rules are too restrictive.

The policy group Transportation for America said cities are worried the House “legislation will preempt local authorities from managing their own streets and fail to give local leaders the confidence that manufacturers and operators will be aware of and follow local laws and regulations.”

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao will unveil revised self-driving guidelines next Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan, citing sources, and the department confirmed plans to unveil the new guidelines next week. The House bill would require compliance with the guidelines.

GM said in a statement that “while more work is needed,” the House measure is “good progress toward a law that will facilitate realization of the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits of self-driving vehicles.”

The House bill would also require automakers to add a driver alert to check rear seating in an effort to prevent children from being left behind, and to consider performance standards for headlights.


Facebook is testing features to help you make new friends

Facebook wants to show you more of what you have in common with potential new friends and make sure you don’t forget about your old ones either.

The company is rolling out a feature that allows you to get a closer look at your friend’s buddies. It’s not only showcasing connections you’ve yet to make but a lot of current friends as well, which seems a bit odd, but I suppose it helps you orient yourself with friends you haven’t interacted with in a bit.

Once you tap on a button urging you to “get to know [name’s] friends” you’re cast into a carousel of the connections. Previously, the most prominent way Facebook orients you with potential new friends was by showing you your mutual friends. This option digs deeper, showing you events that you both attended, pages you both like, places you’ve both worked or lived.

In February, Facebook began rolling out “Discover People,” a feature designed to help you find new connections largely through groups and events. The friend cards are the same here, but this roll out throws them into a more wide feature release.

Facebook is also looking to get you closer to some of the friends you already have in the app. Motherboard reports that a new feature is bringing some Tinder-like functionality to Messenger, allowing users to connect if they both indicate that they’re interested in hanging out. It’s also a little reminiscent of some of Snapchat’s efforts to get you to interact with friends you haven’t traded messages with in a while. Having this functionality inside Messenger is, again, a bit of an odd choice given that you’d have to switch to the main app to view a person’s profiles.


There doesn’t seem to be any clear “dating app” language present instead it’s more focused on friendly encounters, i.e. “Would you like to meet up with [name] this week?” The changes that would need to be taken to transform this feature into a Tinder or Bumble-like applet don’t take any major mental leaps though and dating could be a huge move for the company in the future.

Ultimately, Facebook is better with friends and even if the connection suggestions that Facebook comes up with are already stellar, it’s good to see some of the thinking that’s being done behind the scenes in terms of common interests.


Facebook is testing features to help you make new friends

Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch review: Fantastic controllers for VR

Elon Musk Talks About The Tesla Model S

Lyft is bringing another self-driving car pilot program to the Bay Area

Lyft is partnering with yet another self-driving car startup — this time with in the San Francisco Bay Area — to launch a pilot program that will shuttle ride-sharing customers to their destinations in vehicles controlled by artificial intelligence, not humans.

The partnership is just the latest step in Lyft’s plan to offer up its vast network of passengers and drivers to companies developing self-driving cars. Lyft already has partnerships with GM, Boston-based NuTonomy, and Waymo, the Google self-driving car project that spun out to become a business under parent company Alphabet. and Lyft did not specify when this pilot program will start actively shuttling passengers in autonomous vehicles. Executives with and Lyft say they expect to launch “soon.”

Initially, the pilot will involve a small set of passengers who will opt in to this program, Taggart Matthiesen, senior director of product of Lyft, told The Verge. He did not provide a specific number of vehicles or participants, but noted the self-driving car will have a safety driver behind the wheel to take over in case the artificial intelligence controlling the car fails, and of course, to meet California regulations.

Once a ride is requested,’s software will evaluate whether or not the route is feasible, said Carol Reiley, co-founder and president of This may be a route that has been pre-selected, Reiley said, adding that the company’s self-driving technology can handle rainy and nighttime conditions., which was founded by former graduate students working in Stanford University’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, will use the pilot to test the limits of the self-driving car technology and further develop it so the riding experience is consistent, regardless of the conditions of route, Reiley said. A consistent and safe ride is something all companies developing self-driving car technology are chasing, with varying degrees of success.


Despite the lack of logistical details, the partnership is a milestone for the lesser-known, which received an autonomous vehicle testing permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles in April 2016. This partnership — the first that has publicly announced — gives the startup the opportunity to potentially bring its self-driving cars to the 350 cities in 40 US states where Lyft operates. uses a different approach from other companies racing to deploy autonomous vehicles. Startups generally train their self-driving vehicles with deep learning technology, a sophisticated form of artificial intelligence algorithms that allow a computer — essentially the car’s brain — to learn by using a series of connected networks to identify patterns in data. Traditionally, deep learning is used to teach the car how to recognize objects, such as the ability of the car to detect a traffic light or a pedestrian. In general, the use of deep neural networks is limited to this task.


Israeli Drone Maker Airobotics Raises $32.5 Million in Private Funds

Israel’s Airobotics, a maker of automated industrial drones, said on Thursday it raised $32.5 million in a private funding round led by BlueRun Ventures China, Microsoft Ventures and

It also received funding from existing investors including, CRV, BRV, Waze CEO Noam Bardin, Richard Wooldridge, and David Roux, the co-founder and former chairman of Silver Lake Partners.

Airobotics said the funds will meet growing demand in the mining and homeland security industries and go towards investing in its business development efforts and expansion across industrial facilities.

It added that it is creating a new division of Homeland Security and Defense, as well as an initiative to use fully automated drones to perform emergency tasks in cities.

Airobotics is the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot, as licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority of Israel (CAAI), which positions the company as a world-leader in the field of automated drones.


India is officially the next stop for Hyperloop transportation technologies

According to an announcement made earlier today, the Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) to bring the futuristic transport pods to the Indian state. The deal took months to iron out, as India has supposedly been in talks with HTT since December of last year.

HTT’s hyperloop transportation system in Andhra Pradesh is the first planned route in India. It is designed to connect the cities of Amaravati and Vijaywada, cutting a trip of more than one hour down to just six minutes. Funding for its construction will come primarily from private investors.

hyperloop india htt
Image Credit: HTT

“We are extremely delighted to have entered into a MoU with the Government of Andhra Pradesh to bring the HTT hyperloop to India,” Bibop Gresta, chairman & co-founder of HTT, said in a press release. “In partnering with Andhra Pradesh, HTT will work with local stakeholders to build the regulatory standards necessary for safe and efficient operation.”


The agreement involves a two-phase plan. The first phase is a feasibility study set to begin in October, which could last for six months. Phase two would be the actual construction of the hyperloop, which HTT says would bring 2,500 jobs to the Indian state.


Aside from this almost immediate economic benefit, the more efficient transportation of a hyperloop system could fuel the IT industry in Andhra Pradesh, according to Nara Lokesh, Cabinet Minister for Information Technology, Panchayati Raj, and Rural Development for the State of Andhra Pradesh.


India Is Officially the Next Stop for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies

IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership

IBM and MIT came together today to sign a 10-year, $240 million partnership agreement that establishes the MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab at the prestigious Cambridge, MA academic institution.

The lab will be co-chaired by Dario Gil, IBM Research VP of AI and Anantha P. Chandrakasan, dean of MIT’s School of Engineering.

Big Blue intends to invest $240 million into the lab where IBM researchers and MIT students and faculty will work side by side to conduct advanced AI research. As to what happens to the IP that the partnership produces, the sides were a bit murky about that.

This much we know: MIT plans to publish papers related to the research, while the two parties plan to open source a good part of the code. Some of the IP will end up inside IBM products and services. MIT hopes to generate some AI-based startups as part of the deal too.

“The core mission of joint lab is to bring together MIT scientists and IBM [researchers] to shape the future of AI and push the frontiers of science,” IBM’s Gil told TechCrunch.

To that end, the two parties plan to put out requests to IBM scientists and the MIT student community to submit ideas for joint research. To narrow the focus of what could be a broad endeavor, they have established a number of principles to guide the research.


This includes developing AI algorithms with goal of getting beyond specific applications for neural-based deep learning networks and finding more generalized ways to solve complex problems in the enterprise.

Secondly, they hope to harness the power of machine learning with quantum computing, an area that IBM is working hard to develop right now. There is tremendous potential for AI to drive the development of quantum computing and conversely for quantum computing and the computing power it brings to drive the development of AI.

With IBM’s Watson Security and Healthcare divisions located right down the street from MIT in Kendall Square, the two parties have agreed to concentrate on these two industry verticals in their work. Finally, the two teams plan to work together to help understand the social and economic impact of AI in society, which as we have seen has already proven to be considerable.

While this is a big deal for both MIT and IBM, Chandrakasan made clear that the lab is but one piece of a broader campus-wide AI initiative. Still, the two sides hope the new partnership will eventually yield a number of research and commercial breakthroughs that will lead to new businesses both inside IBM and in the Massachusetts startup community, particularly in the healthcare and cybersecurity areas.


IBM and MIT pen 10-year, $240M AI research partnership

Steve Jobs introduces Original iPad – Apple Special Event (2010)

Google launches a new certification program for mobile web developers

Google today launched a new certification program for mobile web developers. As the name implies, the Mobile Web Specialist Certification is meant to help developers show off their mobile web development skills, no matter how they learned them. The program joins Google’s existing certification programs for Android developers, cloud architects and data engineers.

Taking the open book test will cost $99 (or 6500 INR in India) and consist of a number of coding challenges and a 10-minute exit interview, which allows you to explain why you chose a given solution to solve your exam questions. You’ll have four hours to complete the coding challenges and you can take three stabs at the exam if you don’t pass in your first attempt. Some of the topics covered here include basic website layout and styling, progressive web apps, performance optimization and caching, as well as testing and debugging.

Google also offers a study guide to help you prepare for the exam.

Once you pass the exam, you will get “a digital badge to display on your resume and social media profiles” (for reasons I can’t explain, Google notes that you can even use this badge on your Google+ profile…). This isn’t about some digital badge, of course. The main idea here is obviously to give developers a way to highlight their skills to potential employees. Given that this is an untested program, though, it remains to be seen how these certifications will actually influence hiring and interviewing decisions.


Google launches a new certification program for mobile web developers