Category Archives: News

What Does the Tech Future Hold?

While writing about the astronauts tweeting from space earlier tonight, I couldn’t help but think about other technology breakthroughs that could be coming sooner than we think. Even five years ago, we wouldn’t have dreamed that we’d have people out in space sending real-time messages to us here on Earth via an instant-messaging type of communication such as Twitter.

Heck, five years ago we thought that “someday” we would have a black President. We figured maybe “one day” we would see cell phones that actually let us DO things. It seems to me as though “someday” is here much sooner than we figured.

What other things do you feel that we may see come to fruition sooner than we previously thought? What other ground-breaking news have you read today?!

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Is Your Mobile Device Making You Less Productive?

According to a newly-released study, that mobile device in your hand is likely stressing you out, and making you LESS productive! Most of us who are power users tend to think that our iPhones and Blackberry’s help us be more efficient, and get more done. Sadly, that isn’t always the case for some people.

Look at it this way: if you are one of those power people who have to constantly check your phone, how much time are you taking away from your actual work? Instead of a simple task taking twenty minutes to finish, it can take more than an hour. The gadget on your desk is pulling you – you’re constantly checking it to make sure you aren’t missing anything. Instead of actually focusing on your work and helping you get things done, the phone is instead causing your tasks to take even longer. This can stress you out, because you know you aren’t finishing things on time.

For those of you who may recognize yourself in this, you should take a step back. Turn your device off when you start that next spreadsheet or Google doc. Don’t turn it on (or even look at it!) again until you complete your task. Try setting aside specific times during the day to check for new messages, tweets and updates. Once that allotted time is up, turn the gadget back off again.

Don’t let your need to stay in the loop get in the way of getting your job done. I really don’t want to read one day that someone has gotten themselves fired for spending too much time staying connected… and not enough time actually being productive. Sadly, I have a feeling this is already happening around the world. Our jobs demand that we are always accessible… yet they get angry if they feel we spend too much time reading the latest news or emails from coworkers. How are we supposed to find balance?

Tweets From Space

This time it really is true: an astronaut has tweeted while in outer space! According to a news release posted a little while ago by NASA, astronauts aboard the International Space Station received a special software upgrade this week – personal access to the Internet and the World Wide Web via the ultimate wireless connection.

This personal Web access, called the Crew Support LAN, takes advantage of existing communication links to and from the station and gives astronauts the ability to browse and use the Web. The system will provide astronauts with direct private communications to enhance their quality of life during long-duration missions by helping to ease the isolation associated with life in a closed environment.

Previously, the astronauts had to email their tweets back to Earth, which would then be posted to Twitter by someone on the ground. With the advent of the new Crew Support LAN, they can tweet in real-time, just like you and I can!

Think back just a few years ago. Did it seem possible that we would have people sending tweets while they were in space? I don’t know about you, but things like this have always seemed to be some far-off possibility that “might” happen “someday”. How cool is it that someday is here… and we are witness to it?!

How Much Would You Pay for an iPhone App?

When it comes to a very useful iPhone App, when does the price tag become too much? For the most part, things available in the App Store come with a fairly reasonable price tag. However, there is one App that will cost you a cool grand. What type of App could possibly cost that much? It won’t wash your car, your laundry or your dishes – unfortunately. It will help you pass the Bar exam in California, though.

That’s right… the BarMax CA App costs $999.99. The App features several thousand pages’ worth of study material, as well as audio guides. It is designed to help a future lawyer prep themselves to take the Bar Exam, and purportedly is well worth the money. The maker of the App, BarBri, does have a regular course, as well… for more than three thousand bucks. When looked at in that light, the iPhone App is a steal!

I’m wondering how many other types of Apps we’re going to see of this nature – and with this type of price tag. I can already foresee this breaking ground into new territory, where other educational institutions and test-prep companies start rolling out versions of their courses for the iPhone. What’s next? We can already get a degree via the Internet. Perhaps one day we’ll be able to get one solely through iPhone Apps! How convenient would that be? Study and test right from your mobile device while you yourself are on the go!

Do you think a program such as this is viable, and worth the money? Where would you draw the line when it comes to buying a new App? How do you decide what price tag to put on something that adds value to your life? It will be interesting to see how many of these apps sell in upcoming days, weeks and months. I plan to keep an eye on it, just to satisfy my own curiosity.

Can a Tweet Get You Grounded for Life?

I’ve warned you before that you have to watch what you say online. Even when you crack a joke, you should likely step back and make sure it comes across the way you intended it to, prior to actually hitting that “send” button. In the case of Paul Chambers, it could have saved him a lifetime of hassle. Sadly, he will no longer be flying the friendly skies, thanks to a complaint he made on Twitter.

When a recent flight of his was canceled, he decided to vent his frustration on Twitter with a bit of dark humor, stating: “Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” . Unfortunately for him, the police don’t find it a bit funny. A week after posting the message on the Twitter, he was arrested under the Terrorism Act. He was then questioned for nearly seven hours by police officers who took his joke as a security threat. He has been suspended for work pending investigation, and been banned from the local airport for life!

This goes to show that once again, we really do need to step back once in awhile prior to speaking. What are your thoughts? Are the police taking this a tad too far, or are they right on the money? What else have you read around the ‘Net today that opened your eyes, or made you stop to think?

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Steve Wozniak Loves his Google Phone

Apparently, the Woz has jumped ship! He may still have his iPhone, but he told a news show today that he loves his new Google Nexus One! The Apple co-founder calls it his favorite gadget. Does this come as a surprise to anyone? Are you shocked that he would say such a thing… in public?

It doesn’t shock me in the least that Woz would say such a thing. He has openly criticized Apple in the past when he didn’t agree with something they were doing. He griped that the first-gen iPhone should have included 3G support when it shipped. He also claims that the phone should be more open to developers. While he didn’t call the Google phone by name during the recent interview, it’s easy to figure out that’s what he meant. Woz stated: “Well, it’s the latest one. It’s a non-Apple product, but it’s a gadget that just came out yesterday.”. At that time, the Google Nexus One phone was just one day old. I couldn’t find any other important pieces of tech that were released the same day, can you?

This will be a hot topic to read all over the Web in coming days. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on this front, especially right on our own network of sites!

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Do You Have Enough Facebook Friends?

Facebook doesn’t think you have enough friends! Earlier today, the site started pushing its Friend Finder tool at the top of the main News Feed when you log in to the service. The feature suggests you use it by showing you the photos of three existing friends that have already used the tool to find new friends too. The reasoning behind this sudden push is pretty obvious: the more friends you have, the more you’ll use the site. Thankfully, there is an option to permanently make the notification disappear if you don’t want to use it.

I can see the pros and cons of having this on the main page, right out there to be seen immediately upon logging in. Sure, you may find even more friends. You also may have more people find you… possibly people you wouldn’t necessarily want to be friends with. Some people are very selective as to who they add to their friends list. Those people will likely not enjoy the deluge of new friend requests waiting for their approval (or denial!) tomorrow morning.

There has been a lot of news today in our world. Devastation in Haiti… Google in China… Friends on Facebook! There have also been a number of excellent posts made right within our community. I hope you had a chance to make your thoughts known.

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China Responds To Google's Threats

China has finally broken its silence regarding Google’s threats to leave the country. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu has indirectly responded to the search giant’s warning that they will stop censoring results in China, and may close down its site altogether. Google is blaming recent security attacks as the main culprit for their decision.

Google China

Speaking in Beijing at a ministry meeting, Jiang claimed China believes in an “Open Internet” and that the country welcomes international Internet enterprises to conduct business in China according to the law.

While not mentioning Google by name, its clear this has been a huge story all over the world. There has been no indication so far as to whether the Chinese government has been in talks with Google as of yet, but the search engine is keen to speak with Beijing’s authorities in coming weeks. The company hopes to look at operating an unfiltered search engine within the law in the country, though no changes to filtering have yet been made.

China does encourage the use of online services in both education and business. However, current law means a national firewall will filter all web content. It remains to be seen if Google alone can change how business is done in China, but if one company is big enough to do it, my money is on them.