Tag Archives: Technology

Lyft requests will light up phones for deaf drivers

Back in April, Lyft launched features that made its system easier to use by deaf drivers and those who are hard of hearing. Now, it’s adding a couple more to celebrate National Deaf Awareness Month. Thanks to its partnership with the National Association of the Deaf, the ride-hailing firm has developed “flash-on request” for drivers.


If they’ve activated the app’s hard-of-hearing accessibility function, they’ll get a powerful visual notification whenever a ride request comes in: their phone’s screen and flashlight will both light up. When combined with the Amp emblem flashing the words “New Ride,” it could lower the chances of a driver missing out on a request.


In addition, Lyft is also making an attempt to breach the language barrier between drivers and passengers. It’s beefing up the automated text it sends out notifying passengers that their drivers are deaf or hard of hearing with a link to a tutorial on how to say “Hello” and “Thank you” in American Sign Language. The company didn’t say when the features will be available exactly, but it promises to roll them out soon.




Putin says the country that perfects AI will be ‘ruler of the world’

Forget the arms race or space race — the new battle for technological dominance revolves around AI, according to Vladimir Putin. The Russian President told students at a career guidance forum that the “future belongs to artificial intelligence,” and whoever is first to dominate this category will be the “ruler of the world.” In other words, Russia fully intends to be a front runner in the AI space. It won’t necessarily hog its technology, though.


Putin maintains that he doesn’t want to see anyone “monopolize” the field, and that Russia would share its knowledge with the “entire world” in the same way it shares its nuclear tech. We’d take this claim with a grain of salt (we wouldn’t be surprised if Russia held security-related AI secrets close to the vest), but this does suggest that the country might share some of what it learns.

Not that this reassuring long-term AI skeptic Elon Musk. The entrepreneur believes that the national-level competition to lead AI will be the “most likely cause of WW3.” And it won’t even necessarily be the fault of overzealous leaders. Musk speculates that an AI could launch a preemptive strike if it decides that attacking first is the “most probable path to victory.” Hyperbolic? Maybe (you wouldn’t be the first to make that claim). It assumes that countries will put AI in charge of high-level decision making, Skynet-style, and that they might be willing to go to war over algorithms. Still, Putin’s remarks suggest that his concern has at least some grounding in reality — national pride is clearly at stake.



Facebook will soon purge video clickbait from the News Feed

Facebook has announced two new updates that will limit video clickbait posts from appearing in the News Feed. The posts being targeted are those that have fake video play buttons embedded into an image, and videos of a static image.

Facebook’s algorithm actively promotes videos, especially longer ones. Spammers have exploited this to trick users into clicking links to low-quality websites and those with malicious ads. Users started noticing static images disguised as videos a little while ago where some pages were gaming Facebook’s algorithm by just uploading static memes as 10-second videos.

“Publishers that rely on these intentionally deceptive practices should expect the distribution of those clickbait stories to markedly decrease,” Facebook engineers Baraa Hamodi, Zahir Bokhari, and Yun Zhang, wrote in a blog post. “Most Pages won’t see significant changes to their distribution in News Feed.”

The demotion of video clickbait posts will roll out over the next few weeks. In May, the company rolled out more tweaks to the News Feed to limit clickbait posts.

Facebook has been taking a more aggressive approach to moderating content on its platform since the US election, after the social networking site was criticized for not doing enough to combat fake news proliferating on its platform.



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

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.

Read Apple CEO’s email denouncing white supremacism in Charlottesville

Apple will make $2 million of donations to civil rights groups working to fight white supremacism such as that on display in Charlottesville, and it will furthermore match employee donations to similar causes on a two-for-one basis. There will soon also be an option added to iTunes for Apple users to contribute to supporting one of Apple’s chosen organizations, the Southern Poverty Law Center. In an apparently related move, Apple Pay has ceased accepting payments on websites selling white supremacist and Nazi gear.

The email in full:


Like so many of you, equality is at the core of my beliefs and values. The events of the past several days have been deeply troubling for me, and I’ve heard from many people at Apple who are saddened, outraged or confused.

What occurred in Charlottesville has no place in our country. Hate is a cancer, and left unchecked it destroys everything in its path. Its scars last generations. History has taught us this time and time again, both in the United States and countries around the world.

We must not witness or permit such hate and bigotry in our country, and we must be unequivocal about it. This is not about the left or the right, conservative or liberal. It is about human decency and morality. I disagree with the president and others who believe that there is a moral equivalence between white supremacists and Nazis, and those who oppose them by standing up for human rights. Equating the two runs counter to our ideals as Americans.

Regardless of your political views, we must all stand together on this one point — that we are all equal. As a company, through our actions, our products and our voice, we will always work to ensure that everyone is treated equally and with respect.

I believe Apple has led by example, and we’re going to keep doing that. We have always welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world and showed them that Apple is inclusive of everyone. We empower people to share their views and express themselves through our products.

In the wake of the tragic and repulsive events in Charlottesville, we are stepping up to help organizations who work to rid our country of hate. Apple will be making contributions of $1 million each to the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League. We will also match two-for-one our employees’ donations to these and several other human rights groups, between now and September 30.

In the coming days, iTunes will offer users an easy way to join us in directly supporting the work of the SPLC.

Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” So, we will continue to speak up. These have been dark days, but I remain as optimistic as ever that the future is bright. Apple can and will play an important role in bringing about positive change.





How to make phone calls with Google Home

Google’s smart speaker can now pull double duty as a phone for voice calls. The company just confirmed that it’s rolling out Google Home’s calling feature in the US and Canada beginning today. Users can dial anyone in their contacts and local businesses for free — so long as the call recipient is in one of those two countries. The calling feature was first announced back in May.

In turning its speaker into a phone, Google is taking another step to challenge Amazon and its Echo devices, which introduced calling and messaging features earlier this year. But the two companies take a significantly different approach in how the feature actually works and who you’re able to communicate with.


To place calls with Home, you just say “OK Google, call (recipient).” You can also do “Hey Google” if that’s your preferred phrase for activating the speaker. The person you’re calling needs to be stored in Google Contacts for things to work right, so if you’re using another app or service for contact management, you’ll want to make sure those numbers are also in Google’s cloud. Though it might seem like Home is basically just acting as a speakerphone, that’s not the case. Calls are made over Wi-Fi, so they don’t use your phone plan’s minutes. In fact, Google Home calling is entirely separate from your smartphone. That’s both good and bad at the moment, which I’ll get into next.


  • Google Home lets you call anyone in your contacts; it doesn’t matter if they also own a Google Home speaker or not. You’re calling their actual phone. With Alexa calling, you’re always calling someone else’s Echo device or their Alexa smartphone app. That’s the major difference between the two, and definitely swings in Google’s favor.


  • There’s no way to call someone else’s Google Home like you can make Echo to Echo calls with Alexa. Google only supports outgoing calls. If you’re a fan of video chat, Amazon wins this one since you can make face-to-face calls with two Echo Shows or an Echo Show and the Alexa app.


  • If you’re not a Google Voice or Project Fi user, the person you’re calling from Google Home won’t see a recognizable phone number. Instead, they’ll see “unknown” or “no caller ID,” which might make someone hesitant to pick up. Just think of all the mobile spam calls we’re dealing with these days. You might find yourself leaving a lot of voicemails! Users of Google’s phone-related services Voice and Fi can link their number to Home right away to avoid this inconvenience and have that number displayed to recipients. Google has promised to have it working for everyone else by the end of the year. Please hurry, Google.


  • The only way to use Google Home voice calling is with your Google Home device. Amazon’s Alexa calling and messaging can be done using the Alexa app when away from your speaker, but again, since that’s uniquely between Echo devices, it doesn’t really make sense for Google’s approach.


  • Unless you’re linking a Google Voice or Project Fi number, you don’t need to configure any settings before placing your first call; Home has access to your Google Contacts and is also smart enough to call the right businesses you request.


  • Google Home can identify different users in your house by voice, so if you say “OK Google, call dad” it will call your dad without needing to ask which user is making the request. Pretty neat. Though even a single slip-up there could get awkward…


You can tell Google Home to display the phone number you’ve got tied to either Google Voice or Project Fi by going to the Assistant settings in your Google Home smartphone app for Android or iOS. Once that’s done, recipients will see your number show up instead of the terrible “no caller ID” thing.


It’s super important to know that you cannot initiate emergency calls to 911 using Google Home at this time. This is probably because calls are actually made over Wi-Fi and not with your mobile device, so 911 might have trouble pinpointing an accurate location for whoever’s calling. Still, this seems like something Google should work to resolve. Being able to yell out for 911’s help if you can’t make it to a phone seems like a pretty critical use case for a device inside your house that can now do voice calling.



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

The information below is the reason I wrote this book, drones will be commercialized in the future surrounding the year 2025 according to research I’ve seen. Now is the time as an entrepreneur for making money with drones. 

Commercial drones and their services are expected to become a multibillion-dollar industry in the next decade, according to a new report from market intelligence firm Tractica. The report says that in 2017, drone revenue should amount to $792 million — mostly from hardware sales. By 2025, Tractica predicts the market will rise to $12.6 billion, with two-thirds of the revenue coming from drone-based services rather than hardware. “A number of major industries are seeing strong value propositions in utilizing drones for commercial use,” says Tractica research analyst Manoj Sahi. He named media, real estate and disaster relief as just a few of the industries that could use drone-enabled services. The report says that advances in technology, economies of scale, cloud-based applications and the drive to disrupt the market will contribute to commercial drone success in the coming years.

Via GeekWire


You and Elon Musk Have the Same Number of Hours a Day. 6 Ways to Become More Productive Today

We all have only 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Many of us at some point become overworked and underpaid. If you still feel you have some work to do to reach your career goals, perhaps it’s time to make some changes to how you are working.

Elon Musk is a brilliant businessman, engineer, and inventor who has taken the world by storm with his forward thinking. While we may not all be on the same mission, one thing that we may share is a need to improve our work-life balance as entrepreneurs.

Here’s how to get more accomplished each day, the easy way.

1. Start your day off right

Sometimes, coffee is the breakfast of champions. Billionaire Elon Musk wakes up and spends about 30 minutes addressing high-priority emails and having coffee. This allows him to start his day off on the right foot, by crossing critical tasks off his list first thing in the morning. If you’re anything like me (with a penchant for saving the most difficult tasks until the last minute), then this might be a good method to help you boost your productivity.

2. Change the way you look at social media

You hear it all the time: People say that social media marketing is the key to a successful business. Remember to keep in mind that the organic reach of social media is low and the algorithms are ever changing. If you want reach, it’s going to cost you — that’s how social media makes its money these days, after all.

For this method to work for you, unique content is the way to go. If you’ve found yourself stuck in a rut of sharing others’ work and not creating any of your own, you’ve got to step it up. Get noticed in the media, contribute articles, and get interviewed on podcasts to get exposure.

Another way to utilize social media is to reach out for collaborations with businesses that have a like-minded following. People will share your work via their social platforms when they feel it offers their readers valuable information or even entertaining content.

3. Change the way you chase opportunities

Recognize that today’s tools and technology have opened the doors of opportunity for entrepreneurs. There’s so much you can do if you have the ideas, the initiative, and the will to keep going. Take control of your career, and remember execution is key!

First, get focused by spending time this week giving your business an honest evaluation, and then get to work. Keep an eye out for new opportunities, continue to meet new people and make new connections, and always have goals in place.

Know what you want to accomplish next, and continue to meet and set new goals. Write them down to make them real. Always try to get more exposure, and don’t limit your thinking.

4. Change the way you take advice

When you run your own business, everyone will have advice for you, coaches to friends and family members. Sometimes it’s good advice, but sometimes you have to listen to your instincts and do what you think is right. After all, you are the entrepreneur.

You have to figure out what makes sense for your business. Listen to someone else’s ideas and put your own spin on them. Trial and error has always been my best friend. It allows me to try something my way, and if it fails, I understand why and can move forward without wondering, “What if?”

5. Change the way you work

Some days you feel on top of the world and unstoppable. Other days you might be running low on motivation. Strive to keep focused, and continue to chip away at your goals. Complete the tasks that are not as difficult to get you going. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll be happy that you didn’t waste your time.

6. Change the way you price your work

How much is your time worth? Just because you are good at something, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Is what you’re doing feeding your soul, making you a better person, or feeding your family?

Remember that your time is valuable, and that you don’t have to take jobs you don’t enjoy. If for the time being you’re stuck doing something you’re good at but don’t love, at least make sure it makes sense financially.



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