Category Archives: Technology

The Rise of the Asset-Light Generation

Every year, Mary “Queen of the Net” Meeker releases her must-read “State of the Internet” report, gleaning insight from predominant internet trends, with almost prescient accuracy.

In this year’s presentation, one of the major themes she identifies is the rise of the “sharing economy” or as Mary calls it, a shift to an “Asset-Light Generation.”

Mary-Meeker-2012-Internet-Trends-Year-End-Update-Business-Insider

A simple translation of this term is: Americans buying less stuff. It is a trend that should not only inspirit sustainability advocates, but Americans all-around. Asset-heavy consumption has led our country to experience a rise in obesity, a rise in pollution, and a rise in debt, with a net impact of a decrease in quality of life.

So cheers to the rise of the “Asset-Light Generation” — there’s hope for us yet.

Facebook goes native! Releases new apps that are twice as fast

Facebook has finally answered the question that’s been bugging Wall Street and the rest of us, “when are you going to get mobile?”

Yesterday, the answer came as Facebook launched major upgrades to their iPhone and iPad apps. From the N.Y. Times Bits blog:

Those who have suffered from the sluggishness of the current apps can breathe a collective sigh of relief: these new versions are much faster.

The apps look nearly identical to their predecessors. The main difference is that most of their old Web-based code has been replaced with the native programming code used for iOS

Even more, Facebook has gone all Google Plus on the issue (you know Google making social everyone’s responsibility):

In recent interviews, Facebook executives said they have retooled the organization so that every product team is working on mobile, and the company holds weekly training courses on programming for Apple and Android devices.

 

The Verge is reporting that these updates make the apps twice as fast:

In building a native Facebook app for iOS, the company looked at improving three key places, “the app’s largest pain points” all relating to speed: launching the app, scrolling through the News Feed, and tapping photos inside the News Feed. “We’re twice as fast in all these areas,” Mick Johnson says.

 

I’ve been playing with the app and the claims appear to be true. This is good news for Facebook fans (and stock holders) because slow apps can be killer for growth.

 

**Sorry for the “native” joke, but I couldn’t resist :)

 

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Logitech creates a keyboard you can spill coffee on

A true innovation. Everything should be made waterproof.

The New Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

Today, we’re excited to announce the Logitech Washable Keyboard K310 – the keyboard that loves a wash. From a light dusting to a rinse in the kitchen sink, this keyboard is easy to clean and easy to dry.

We’ve all experienced that moment of distraction, followed by panic, resulting from a cup of coffee or soda, or anything else, spilling all over our keyboard. That’s life. Spills, messes and mishaps will happen, but that’s okay because this keyboard can handle whatever life throws at it. That’s why we call it life proof.

 

The only question I have is can I bring it in the pool!

Kara Swisher turns the Yahoo! drama into a soap opera – and it’s too much fun!

Boy, have I got a soap opera for you. It’s a saga of tech nerdery and an old-school company trying to reinvent itself.

The story starts with Kara Swisher, of All Things D, who has gone gaga over the hiring of Marissa Mayer as Yahoo’s CEO. In the 37 days since the announcement (July 16, 2012) she has personally written 32 articles.

Each one with a title full of pizzazz and humorous photos (of mostly cats). The content is all serious and interesting to read as Marissa seems to be hitting all the right notes. But, the way Kara is playing it out is just too much fun.

Take a look at the titles below and you will see what I mean:

 

This Week in MarissYa: iPhones for All, Flickr Love and Management Musical Chairs

With Nearly 10 Percent Drop in Week After Alibaba Cash Switch, Yahoo Shareholders in “Marissery”

 

Mine! Mine! All Mine! Yahoo Says It Might Just Keep Those Alibaba Billions, Rather Than Giving the $ Back to Shareholders.

Mayer Will Extend Free Food to NYC Too, While “What Is Yahoo?” Question Is Hereby Banish’d

 

Here’s the Do-Not-Forward Mayer Memo Bidding Goodbye to Ross “The Hair” Levinsohn From Yahoo (His Farewell and SEC Docs, Too)

In Week Two, Marissa Mayer Googifies Yahoo: Free Food! Friday Afternoon All-Hands! New Work Spaces! Fab Swag!

 

“Yes, Keep Moving”: Marissa Mayer’s First Memo to Yahoos (Natch!)

 

How about a few hash tags for the drama:

#MarissYa – #Marissery – #Mine!Mine!Mine! – #freefood – #yahooglers – #RossTheHairLevinson – #googifies -#natch!

 

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Mars rover Curiosity test fires the laser – pulverizes a rock just for fun (and science)

Johnny Five, aka the Mars rover Curiosity, continues its scientific journey. The nuclear-powered laboratory in-a-box pulled out it’s laser to blast a rock that got in its way. From NASA:

The mission’s ChemCam instrument hit a fist-sized rock named “Coronation” with 30 pulses of its laser during a 10-second period. Each pulse delivers more than a million watts of power for about five one-billionths of a second.

The energy from the laser creates a puff of ionized, glowing plasma. ChemCam catches the light with a telescope and analyzes it with three spectrometers for information about what elements are in the rock.

 

NASA said the main function of this was target practice to calibrate the ChemCam.

You gotta love the sense of play NASA is bringing to this mission. Not only are they releasing these stories about test-firing lasers, but they are all over social medial, including fan art on Facebook, a first-person Twitter account, sharing stories on Google Plus, and posting articles on their much more user-friendly website.

A great idea for the much beleaguered space agency, that I assume is a bid to get them back into America’s good graces…and taxpayer dollars.

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Interview with Cisco Founder Sandy Lerner: The Difference between Weird and Eccentric? Wealth

Last night, I had the pleasure of seeing a screening of Something Ventured, a documentary that traces the genesis of some of the world’s most revolutionary companies, from Atari to Apple to Genentech, and the impact of venture capital on entrepreneurship. The film premiered at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival and features some legendary VCs who helped foster America’s start-up culture, encouraging an environment of risk that yields unprecedented rewards.

The documentary is well worth the watch (it comes out on Netflix next year), giving insight into and a history of venture capitalism, but the highlight for me was the entrepreneurs, who had the vision and passion to create entirely new industries. A hidden gem of the movie is an exclusive interview with Cisco Co-Founder, Sandy Lerner, who is touted as the first female philanthropist to emerge from the Silicon Valley boom era.

Lerner was ousted from Cisco (in very much the same style of Steve Jobs from Apple) at the age of 35, worth $170 million in stock options that she immediately sold. The most compelling component of the one-on-one is the utter acerbity she still harbors about the ousting. Cisco was not a company she built and co-founded; it was a child she conceived, that was brutally ripped from her arms. The interview is a telling confessional of how little money factored into her passion and ambition, which is an overriding theme for the entrepreneurs featured in the film.

After the screening during the Q&A, the film’s producer acknowledged how much effort it took to persuade Lerner to do the interview and speak about her firing, then directed the audience to a recent and rare interview she did with FoxNews about sustainable farming. Two highlights of the interview come in this admission from Lerner, “I got fired by the same guy who fired Steve Jobs” and her response when asked if she thinks she’s a bit eccentric:

I am now that I’m rich. I used to just be weird.

Second Life Failed Because Facebook Became Our Second Life

Slate recently did a piece on why Second Life, the virtual reality world, failed. It concludes, rightfully so, that the Linden Labs creation world lacks a clear purpose. Given how significant this factor is in the “real world” — people with a strong purpose and vision in life thrive, while those who lack direction, don’t — the rationale makes sense. In the words of Kit DeLuca (Pretty Woman): “You gotta have a goal. Do you have a goal?”

But there’s something missing, and I believe it’s an even bigger part of the equation: social, more specifically, Facebook. Second Life launched in 2003. Facebook came out in 2004 and with it came the rise and explosion of Zynga games, FarmVille and CityVille.

If purpose is the defining factor for success, then why is one of the most purpose-driven games in the world, World of Warcraft, losing players? My answer: Facebook. Blizzard Entertainment’s now seven year-old brainchild has been losing players since last October and has lost ~two million subscribers during the last 12 months.

Let’s compare this to The Sims Social, the Facebook addition to the Sims series. By augmenting the videogame with a Facebook edition, it expanded its user base and is second only to CityVille, Facebook’s most popular leisure activity.

Second Life failed because Facebook became our new virtual world, our “second life.” The alternate world is simply too disconnected from where people spend the majority of their time online.

Create a Facebook Page for your pet (like Mark Zuckerberg)

At the last big Facebook conference Mark Zuckerberg and SNL comedian Andy Samberg kept talking about Beast, Mark’s new dog. They would show a Facebook Page with all these photos, comments, and fans.

Which got me thinking that if Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, can have a page for his dog…then so can I!

I have been hoping for a way to bring my puppy into the social network, after all, my parents and friends from birth are on it. Why not our pets?

In four easy steps we can set-up a Facebook Page for your pet and have it look professional, just like Mark Zuckerberg’s. All you will need is some basic information and a few pictures. Let’s get started.

Step 1 – Create a Page

Choose what type of page you want. For your pet, start with “Artist, Band, or Public Figure,” then for your category choose ‘public figure’ and add the name of your pet.

Step 2 – Edit Info

After creating your page there will be a wizard but I suggest skipping it. After that you will be on your main page, click on “Info” on the left side menu. Then click “Edit Info,” located towards the top/middle.

From here you have a wide range of options, but if you want to follow Mark Zuckerberg then only fill out these:

  • Location
  • Affiliation
  • Birthday
  • Biography
  • Gender
  • Personal Interests
  • Website

*Note: you will need to wait a while or get 25 fans to choose a username. This is important because it also becomes your website URL (facebook.com/beast.the.dog). So start thinking of the username you want (I chose facebook.com/fuzzy.the.dog).

Once completed, hit “Save Changes,” (located at bottom) and then “View Page” (located at top right).

Step 3 – Add Photos

Mark has over 60 photos of Beast. I have twelve. You will need six to get started. Five of them for the photo bar at the top of your page and one for a profile picture.

Get your photos on your computer and then click “Photos” on the left menu, and then click “Upload Photos”.

You can select multiple photos at a time. Try to upload all six at once. While they are uploading add a name for this “album” like profile pics or getting started.

Once they are uploaded you can add descriptions and names to each photo. Hit “Save” and then “Publish” to finish the process.

Now, you are looking at all your photos in your album. Click on the photo you want as your profile picture for your pet. Scroll down towards the right and click on “Make Profile Picture for Page”.

Adjust the cropping and hit “Done Cropping”.

Good job! Now your page should be nearly complete and looking good:

Step 4 – Add Owners

From main view of your page go to the right menu where it says “Admins” and click “See All”. You will already be listed but you can add your partner, spouse, children, etc.

Once you add in the admins and verify everything, go to the menu on the left side and click “Featured”. Click on the box that says “Add Featured Page Owners”. Check all the boxes, hit save, and then on the top right-click “View Page”.

On the left menu you will now see the “Page Owners”, a great way to bring the whole family onto the page.

Done!

Voilà!

You now have a page for your pet. Let all your friends know so they can become a fan/like. Keep adding photos, share some stories, and enjoy having your pet on Facebook.

For more help and info check out the one I created: Fuzzy.the.Dog

Sex In The Cloud: An Interview with Sex Blogger & Professor, Stef Woods

With websites like exRATED (http://exrated.com) popping up, allowing people to review their exes and aiming to be the ultimate Yelp for those looking for insights on potential romantic partners, and Facebook algorithms that can determine your sexual orientation without you indicating what it is, and increasingly more of our personal and private information being posted online, leading to sometimes embarrassing, if not life-altering consequences, a historically behind-closed-doors activity is now evolving to a more “out there” experience and forever changing how we view and approach sex.

I caught up with my friend Stef Woods, attorney, sex and relationships blogger, and professor of ‘Activism and Social Media‘ at American University to discuss the topic.

When I asked her what trends she’s noticing online with regard to sex and sexuality, here’s what she had to say:

 Interesting question. The huge growth in social media has led to a new sexual revolution of sorts. People now obtain much of their sex education from the Internet. The majority of sexual health and entertainment purchases are done online. And, the more that women and men write about sexuality, sexual health and sex toys online, the more that sex is normalized. Women can learn about sex during menopause or how to achieve their first vaginal orgasm. A gay teen can see a video, encouraging him to stay strong because it does get better. A couple can shop for their first toy together. Planned Parenthood has even implemented pilot programs that allow people to text and IM staff for answers regarding STIs, pregnancy, contraception and AIDS.

However, the combination of social media and sex can also lead to public scandal and private crisis. Would Weiner have lost his position without Twitter? Would the world have known the extent of Tiger Woods‘ indiscretions without social media? Would Phoebe Prince and Tyler Clementi still be alive if they hadn’t been subjected to cyber-bullying? Has social media increased the opportunities for people to engage in emotional and sexual affairs?

I personally believe that “sex in the cloud” is forcing us to deal and address sex in a more open and transparent manner, and that this can only be a good thing. I don’t believe AIDS would have declined as sharply as it did in the United States without the education and awareness the internet and email provides.

On the flip side, change can be uncomfortable for a lot of people, especially around a topic as sensitive as sex. I can’t even tweet about tampons without eliciting vehement commentary from a handful of men.

Which is why people like Stef, who is trailblazing a path to a more accepting, compassionate and informed sexual society, are so necessary — and impressive. It’s tough enough to talk about and sometimes even have sex in the comfort of your own home.  But doing it for all the world to hear and see, and having it captured in the cloud indefinitely — it’s a whole new ballgame.

*Stef Woods is a professor at American University, attorney, sexuality educator, writer, and women’s health advocate. She writes about relationships, sexual health, breast cancer, and dating on her blog, City Girl’s Blog. Next semester she will be teaching ‘Sexuality and Social Media.’