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Nick Tridea

Nick Tridea

Friday, 23 December 2016 14:23

What’s next for tech in 2017?

Against 2016’s difficult backdrop of Brexit debates, political commotion and muted economic expansion, it would be easy to assume 2017 would be a slow start in terms of growth and innovation.  But the outlook for technology promises to be anything but. 

As managing director of one of the fastest growing tech firms in the UK, I’ve experienced first-hand how the pace of technological development has taken place at breakneck speed.  And while some may be taking a step back, cautious of what’s to come, technology is one industry that shows no signs of slowing down.

The fluid workforce

Technology has clearly accelerated a shift in our society towards a faster-moving, temporary, project based workforce. This promises to be a trend that continues into 2017. 

For many businesses, skill-shortages will drive technology investment towards more sustainable, intelligent, intuitive and integrated solutions.  

This shift in employment will also drive further specialism between consumer brands delivering either high-end, bespoke products (to the few) or high automated, low-cost, self-service products (mass-market). It will be even more competitive, with a focus on seamless customer experiences.

Productivity and unification

Productivity isn’t necessarily about adding more functionality. 2017 will be the year for choosing unified apps – applications that work seamlessly across a variety of different channels and devices. In will be critical that unified apps work in the same way whether using an iPad, Microsoft Surface, PC, MAC, iPhone or smartphone. 

This must reduce deployment overheads for companies investing in technology - as employees will already know how to navigate and use the systems on the devices of their choice, this removes complexity and improves productivity.

Biometrics

Biometrics is one of the hottest topics in technology and cybersecurity markets today - the use of biometrics for user authentication and identity is essential in tomorrow’s world. We are likely to see an increasing variety of industries making use of biometrics, as it becomes more reliable and more affordable.  For example, in healthcare, biometric technology can be used to ensure patient identification. 

In the leisure industry, fingerprint identification is now being used in gyms to ensure that only members can access the facilities. In industry, biometrics are being used for tracking time and attendance along with access control.  What’s of real interest here is the intelligence that can be harnessed, thanks to certain identification. Joined-up intelligence, internal and bureau sourced, means businesses can understand more about their customers’ needs and preferences. 

It can enable them to make faster, better decisions based on greater evidence. This will help them achieve the best possible outcome for their business (efficiencies) and the end customer (customer experience). Technology will finally guarantee businesses can accurately identify customers, real-time, as individuals - across any channel or device. 

Personalisation techniques, in marketing, will no longer be considered a dream but essential to performance and loyalty.  It also means an era of real-time, intelligent programmatic advertising. This refers to the process of using software to buy digital advertising - most common in real-time bidding - where no human would be able to handle the auction quick enough. 

Applying intelligence to programmatic advertising, across channels, will not only reduce wasted advertising spend but also ‘spam’ advertising techniques.  

 ePayments unbound

The PSD2 (Payments Services Directive 2) and Open API (application programming interface) standards in Banking will come into force in the UK (and the wider EU) soon. Implementing technologies that comply with PSD2 will bring exciting innovations in security and app development as well as other products or services, in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Intelligence not data

Cloud computing and big data are no longer just buzz words, they are driving transformation even for small and medium-sized businesses. We are about to enter the era of powerful tools that can interpret big data, thanks to the emergence of real machine learning.  

Better reporting obviously leads to better decision making. Artificial intelligence and machine learning have been around for a while, but they are more advanced and prominent. Autonomous systems that can process information, alter their behaviour, predict actions, understand conversation or trends are being developed thanks to advanced algorithms, parallel processing and massive data sets.  

Machine learning will be taking on big data - taking historical data and projecting forward, for real-world applications. Microsoft Dynamics NAV already has machine learning capability for sales forecasting, stock forecasting and cash flow forecasting.  

Human empowerment

Intelligent apps such as VPAs (Virtual Purchasing Assistants) can now perform some of the functions of a human assistant, making everyday tasks easier (by prioritising emails, for example) and its users more effective (by highlighting the most important connections).  

You’ll soon be hard pressed to find a business application without AI, whether it’s for marketing, resource planning or security. Empowered millennials are starting to catch onto the fact that empowering experiences are worth so much more than material things alone.  From smart vehicles to devices as innocuous as light bulbs, intelligence is being used to enhance the experience we have with our things. The more intelligent things there are, the bigger intelligent networks and network applications will become. 

There are more and more devices where you can ask a question and you’ll get an instant answer. Computer adaptability is boosted by faster processing and internet connectivity.

Content is still king

Nearly two decades ago, Bill Gates declared “content is king!” Since then we’ve experienced a seismic content revolution: social media, user generated content and augmented reality. However, I believe that content will now have to cater for information overload and even shorter attention spans such as personalised, dynamically built video or animated content presentations. 

Virtual and augmented reality will continue to blend the digital and physical worlds. Graphic overlays and visual immersion are just a couple of examples of how virtual reality will also be applied and tailored.

Author:  Craig Such

Source:  http://www.itproportal.com/features/whats-next-for-tech-in-2017

Whether you’re a business owner trying to make your enterprise more profitable, a marketer trying to make your life easier, or just a consumer eager for the latest and greatest technology, it’s hard not to be excited about the new tech trends that are shaping our world.

Over the course of the past year, I’ve made a number of predictions about how technology would develop throughout 2016, and while many of my forecasts came true (more or less), there have also been some surprising developments in new areas that are worth our attention.

These are some of the most important and defining tech trends of 2016:

1. Streaming video.

Chances are, you’ve seen at least one of your friends or a major brand you follow stream a live video for their audience over the past year. That’s because streaming video is becoming more practical, more popular, and in heavier demand. Streaming video is interesting to users because it gives them an “in the moment experience,” being able to see through someone else’s eyes rather than just seeing a retrospective update. Because it’s been nearly perfected by brands like Facebook, it’s easier than ever for anyone to live-stream a broadcast at any time. Expect this trend to develop further with products like iGlass and Snap’s Spectacles.

2. Augmented and virtual reality.

AR and VR are already seemingly starting to become overused terms, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention them on this list. Oculus Rift exploded onto the scene this year, along with dozens of competing devices and systems. Sales figures suggest that this is more than just a passing trend, and the hype wasn’t overblown (exactly). Plus, augmented reality app Pokémon Go crushed expectations with over 100 million downloads, ushering in what could be a new era for augmented reality gaming—and some marketing and advertising opportunities that go along with it.

3. Artificial intelligence (AI).

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have begun to creep into our lives in more diverse and unexpected ways. Just at a glance, AI algorithms are starting to self-improve search rankings and search results, automated investing, and personal digital assistants. So far, there have yet to be any major roadblocks—instead, we’re seeing major breakthroughs, such as AlphaGo beating a human Go master for the first time in history. We’re getting better at making our machines better, and in the next few years, we may start inching closer to approaching human-level intelligence with these systems.

4. Data visualization.

For a few years, every kind of “tech trends” post you could imagine mentioned “big data,” at least in passing. Today, big data is still around and still influential, but people aren’t referring to it in such generic terms anymore; instead, they’re focusing on its applications. One of the most important pieces to the big data puzzle is being able to interpret and manage the data accurately, and draw meaningful conclusions from what you’ve gathered; and that’s where data visualization comes in. Thousands of companies have sprung up to aggregate, project, visualize, and interpret data on behalf of non-professional data analysts, and to make “big data” more practical for the business world.

5. The open enterprise.

The “open enterprise” is a loose term that defines the tendency for different companies and applications to offer themselves through other apps, websites, and device functions. For example, you can order an Uber directly through Google, and Starbucks having plans to expand its mobile ordering app so consumers can order coffee while doing other things on their devices. This is becoming important because the “mobile experience” is becoming fluid, comprising elements of web surfing, information retrieval, and the use of functionality all at once. Being available to your customers no matter what app they’re using is a critical way to build awareness and encourage more engagements.

6. Blockchain and crypto-tech.

If you know the term “Blockchain,” it’s probably because of its association with BitCoin—or because it’s become a hot new tech fad that only keeps growing. Blockchain is a specialized way of sending, receiving, and processing information, which made it the ideal way to track the “ crypto currency ” of BitCoin. Now, Blockchain tech is being used in the healthcare and insurance industriesand is currently being explored by other developers. There’s a ton of potential for higher security and smoother consumer transactions here, and we’ll see those paths unfold into 2017 and beyond.

7. IoT streamlining.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and smart home technology have failed to “take off” for several years; despite lots of smart devices on the market, the diversity of different companies offering solutions and the lack of a singular, unified “language” has made it difficult to create full internal networks. Now, companies like Google (with Home) and Amazon (with Echo) are trying to streamline IoT, making devices revolve around centralized hubs. The problem of unification in IoT may soon come to a close.

 

The success and impact of these tech trends in 2016 means that more companies, entrepreneurs, and developers will be focusing their efforts in these areas in 2017 and beyond. The potential is overwhelming, and I, for one, and thrilled to see how these and yet-unpredictable technologies develop in the next few years, and how they affect entrepreneurs and startups. I’ll be writing about them as they develop, so keep your eyes peeled for new updates.

Author:  Jayson DeMers

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2016/12/15/the-top-7-technology-trends-that-dominated-2016/#72e2b0f71ef0

I wasn’t the only one to check my router on the morning of Friday, Oct. 21. The internet was down, and our digital infrastructure was reportedly under attack. To some, this meant the end; to others, it was just a morning without music in the background. But the outage felt strangely universal, affecting the most intimate parts of our lives—Spotify, Airbnb, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, PayPal, Reddit, the New York Times, and Fox News were all affected. The internet, as parts of the US learned in a few short hours, is everywhere.

The hackers targeted the Domain Name System (DNS), which is essentially the internet’s phone book. While most people were compulsively refreshing their screens, I was imagining the chaos playing out in a sprawling glass structure in Playa Vista, California. This monolith not far from LAX belongs to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the proudly omnipresent organization that basically governs the internet’s framework. I didn’t know they existed until I interviewed for a job with them last fall.

Admittedly, my understanding of everything under the hood was slim when we first met. The position—a technical writer with marketing-communication chops—was unlike anything I’d come across in my ten years as a self-described copy mechanic. But I prepared by finding every answer to every question out there. What was this place? What did they do? What was I signing up for? I recognized the acronym from owning small domains over the years, but not much else. Despite a thorough search and plenty of public chatter, I was no closer to understanding: On one hand, the nonprofit sounded like a mysterious NGO; on the other, a sci-fi federation of planets.

So I dug a little deeper. By 1999 the web was exploding in scale and scope, and the US government needed someone to manage its unwieldy phonebook. The internet needed order, not to mention maintenance and a few basic rules. That’s where ICANN came in, and they paired up with the US government. The decision gave us search functionality as we know it in the form of a safe, stable system of IP addresses. Some praised the formation between a private company and political forces, while others argued the DNS switchboard should remain open and unregulated.

Fast-forward to last month, and ICANN’s contract with the US Department of Commerce finally expired. (But don’t worry, the internet is still running as usual—well, nearly.) It arguably wasn’t the best time to enter the private sector, what with cyber-warfare and accountability on the rise. But the internet remains free and open with a framework that is utterly unprecedented, US-government relationship or not.

My interview experience was pretty banal: a phone conversation to start, a few written items, and finally multiple Skype sessions with personalities in far away places. Prepare for lots of time zones, I was told. (The irony of working for the very technology responsible for flattening time and space wasn’t lost on me.) The discussions were serious and thoroughly welcoming, like a college admission interview. They also carried all the weight of a should you choose to acceptultimatum, driven home by the fact that ICANN meets annually in exotic locales, from Marrakech to Hyderabad.

All in all, I learned a lot about the US’s digital governing body—but I learned even more about what it takes for someone to work at the internet.

Work with devices—but don’t be one

Whether it’s a hot startup or a heritage brand, working in digital is basically part and parcel to any career path today. But think about the people, where and how you see yourself engaging. I now work in the tech industry—for one of the giants. Working at one of those pace-making companies is like being in a self-contained ecosystem in many ways, and it’s a rite of passage to see your first engineer walk into a glass door while looking at their phone. But I was surprised to learn so many at ICANN came from traditional media, such as print and television. Very few of them were serial entrepreneurs, and very few were tech bros. These weren’t digital natives—they remember pre-internet times, and our conversations reflected that experience. So consider your coworkers and how you like to communicate: Are you pinging colleagues? Meeting for coffee? Sitting in silence? It sounds obvious, but choosing the types of people you want to work with can be woefully overlooked when you get caught up with the free almonds and beer.

The internet is made of people

And that’s a huge responsibility. This fact was stressed more than once: As much as our culture is created on and by this thing called the internet, it’s still ultimately a community. ICANN’s official language is English, but its bylaws state at least six translations be made at all times: Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, and Spanish, plus more online. If nothing else, this was a great reminder that people exist—both on and off the internet. From product development to press relations, the audience for anything in this nebulous landscape will always be a living, breathing community.

The internet never sleeps—and you probably won’t either

It might as well be a casino: no clocks, no time, no real place. Plenty of freelance professions are used to keeping strange hours for clients with timely needs, but for a copy guy, I wasn’t used to such extremes. I’ve since learned to adapt, and I’ve updated my CV to purposefully denote flexibility by including cities and time zones where you can find me. For example, I’m currently based in New York on Eastern Standard Time—that doesn’t mean I can’t take a call in Paris, but you know that it’s not ideal. Time doesn’t exist in certain industries anymore, so prepare to take that meeting when some of us are still sleeping.

Don’t sweat the tech

I was skeptical about handling the massive amounts of data and localization work at ICANN—I worried about it even more than the bureaucracy. But we all worry about learning new skills, whether it’s a content management system or, in my case, distilling copy about wonky scripts and root zones into clear nuggets of text. I consider myself a copy mechanic. Recruiters and HR types seem to like that phrase too—it suggests a willingness to embrace ambiguity and rise to the challenge with only your took kit in tow. Action begets action, and experience is no different.

In the end, the internet wasn’t for me. Or maybe I wasn’t for the internet.

For now, I’m back to managing copy and grabbing whatever interesting jobs it has to offer. But ask anyone in this line of work: Don’t dwell on the rejections. Keep sending those pitches, exploring those opportunities. (That is, until you wake up and can’t check your email one morning.)

Watching the news of internet outage unfold two weeks ago, I couldn’t help but think about ICANN and the people cranking the gears one more day. The nature of 9-to-5 work is changing, clearly: You might not hold the same hours as your colleagues, come with the same background, speak the lingo, or embrace your team’s Slack channel with the same gusto as that guy sending all those GIFs. But we should all remember: However this thing turns out, the internet is proving to be the one great equalizer, everywhere and everything at once.

Author:  Jason Orlovich

Source:  http://qz.com/827186/so-you-want-to-work-for-the-internet-what-i-learned-interviewing-with-the-gatekeepers-of-the-web/

This press release was orginally distributed by SBWire

Singapore -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/11/2016 -- The evolution of the Jobs Bank was announced on the tenth of October, 2016, by the government's minister for Manpower, Lim Swee Say.

According to Say, the Job Bank will be transformed and will become a one-stop, non-stop marketplace which is available via the Web. Users will be able to check out career options and look for listed positions via the site's internal search engine. This is easier than waiting for upcoming job fairs. Since it will be more convenient and loaded with appealing and practical features, this Jobs Bank opens up a whole new world of possibilities for Singaporeans.

You'll find that it will provide access to plum jobs, as well as rank-and-file jobs. It will be easy to register for and it will provide a range of services which help you to find a job or market and refine your skill set.

Singapore is definitely an island city-state which believes in progress. The government is always trying to improve quality of life for its citizens and this new initiative is just one example of how it is working to make things better. The Job Bank is designed to target those from an array of age groups. It's perfect for those who've just received University degrees, or for those who are older and want to stay active via employment, whether it's full or part-time.

 Workers will be able to hone their career skill sets by utilizing the Skills Framework found at the Jobs Bank. As well, employers who use the Jobs Bank will need to post jobs for Singaporeans before they allow foreigners to apply.

The Minister didn't set a firm date for the marketplace's launch. However, its primary iteration is already in place. During a recent career fair, five hundred job vacancies from fifty-one employers, who offer information technology and communications technology, populated the first iteration with their job positions. Companies from bio medical, professional and aerospace niches are also posting on the website.

The success of this initiative is virtually guaranteed. In fact, success is already measurable. Job placements which are successful have gone up by twenty percent and workers are making more money in Singapore, even in lower-tier positions.

How to Learn More

The Jobs Bank is a government initiative, so keeping tabs on official Singapore government websites and media releases will be a great way to stay in the loop. As the Jobs Bank is perfected and moves closer to launch, you'll likely be hearing a lot about it via Singapore-based websites and newspapers.

This Jobs Bank is for everyone. It will be loaded with positions and help features which make it possible for Singaporeans from all walks of life to access the career support and opportunities that they need. For this reason, this new initiative is something to get excited about.

Author:  Morris Edwards

Source:  http://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/3171600

 

Saturday, 10 December 2016 15:25

Marketing Trends Shaping the Year to Come

Ask any of your friends, “are you sick of marketing email?” and you’ll be sure to hear the same thing: marketing emails flood their inboxes.

 

You probably agree. Personally, I spend 10-20 minutes a day grooming through my emails and unsubscribing from marketing emails. It gets to the point where I’m not even reading emails, I’m deleting them before I read past the first three words in the subject line.

 

This, among other trends, is changing the narrative for digital marketing. Marketers who want to keep up in 2017 should be aware of the following trends.

 

Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017

 

Ad Blocking Software Changes Digital Advertising Spend

 

Ad blocking software is so common that it has created major obstacles for marketers trying to reach consumers. It has forced brands to abandon traditional digital marketing tactics and brainstorm new ideas — but a lot of the new ideas are actually right in front of their noses. The advent of the digital age distracted us from who really helps sell products, and that is people. Ninety-two percent of people make purchases based on peer recommendations, and that means people are influencing each other’s buying behaviors. Marketing teams need to start turning their focus from traditional digital advertising campaigns to customer and influencer marketing content.

 

 

 

 

Chief Marketing Technologists will Help Make Marketing Technology Decisions

 

As the marketing landscape continues to embrace advanced technology, CMOs need to successfully partner with IT in order to meet marketing objectives. Simultaneously, IT must evolve in order to effectively collaborate with technically-oriented marketing teams. The role of chief marketing technologist (CMT) will serve as the connecting officer between marketing and IT. The CMT will be responsible for managing MarTech budgets, relationships with vendors and relationships with agency partners.
 

Companies will Drop Gimmicky Marketing Tools

 

There is a lot of spend happening for niche marketing tools that range from $50 to $500 per month, the majority of which rarely get touched. In 2017, marketers will eliminate these gimmicky tools that make data muddy and instead move their focus to real content about real customers that supports the peer-to-peer influence trend.
 

Google’s Index Split Pushes for Improved Mobile User Experiences

 

Google announced an index split between mobile and desktop content. That means there will be different search engine results on different size devices, with the mobile results given primacy.This will push more focused designs and give users a better experience across the board. This also means marketers will need to invest more into better responsive design, examine their mobile SEO and reexamine their mobile strategy if they want to compete in both indexes.
 

Email Marketing will Become Less Effective

 

Do you read your spam? It arrives in the form of newsletters, automated sales email and general queries. If you are good at sniffing it out and marking mail as spam, then a lot of emails wind up in spam. What this means for marketers is that their emails are being heavily ignored. Email marketing is still effective but not nearly as effective as it used to be. So marketers will need to look to other forms of digital marketing to reach their consumers.

 

 

 

 

As People Get Weary of Sales Automation, Direct Sales Contacts Prevail

 

The email automation era is becoming very easy to spot, and it’s happening everywhere. Multiple emails like this land in our inboxes on a daily basis. This robotic tactic may even begin to harm a brand’s reputation. Sales people will go back to being people and will personalize an email or pick up the damn phone. The excitement of automation in the digital era will also make people realize that they like to talk to people. 
 

A Return to the Human Touch

 

After a massive digital wave changed the way the human population communicates and consumes information, I truly believe we're seeing a return of people being people again. Expect more humanizing of brands and more content around storytelling rather than cramming features into robotic emails campaigns.
 

About the Author

 

Randy Apuzzo is founder and CEO of Zesty.io, a web content management company. Childhood hacker turned entrepreneur by age 15, Randy has more than a dozen ventures under his belt, and today serves as a digital strategist applying both computer science and brand marketing expertise.

 

 

Author:  Randy Apuzzo

Source:  http://www.cmswire.com/

In a motion filed by assistant federal defender Peter Adolf, he argues that during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s operation into the deepweb child pornography site “Playpen,” the FBI made the child pornography issue even worse.

Similar motions claim that the FBI themselves distributed as many as 1 million pictures and videos of child pornography to more than 100,000 users while overseeing the operations of the Playpen site.

As part of the operation known as “Operation Pacifier,” the FBI infiltrated Playpen and had full control of the site during February 2015. During this time, the FBI uploaded illicit pictures and videos that allowed malware to be installed on the computers of the site’s users. The malware led to the eventual prosecution of 186 individuals.

According to The Daily Caller, three lawyers have filed motions against the FBI for their role in distributing child pornography and running the site. In addition, several judges have recommended throwing out or suppressing evidence obtained in the hacking of users’ computers.

According to Peter Adolf’s motion filed on August 22nd to dismiss his client’s indictment, Playpen membership rose by 30 percent and the weekly number of visitors to the site increased from 11,000 to 50,000. His motion claims the FBI distributed 200 videos, 9,000 images and 13,000 links of child pornography.

His official statement:

From there the FBI distributed child pornography to viewers and downloaders worldwide for nearly two weeks, until at least March 4, 2015, even working to improve the performance of the website beyond its original capability.

As a result, the number of visitors to Playpen while it was under Government control [jumped] from an average of 11,000 weekly visitors to approximately 50,000 per week. During those two weeks, the website’s membership grew by over 30%, the number of unique weekly visitors to the site more than quadrupled, and approximately 200 videos, 9,000 images, and 13,000 links to child pornography [sites] were posted to the site.

Adolf is arguing that his client’s charges should be dropped because the FBI’s actions during the investigation were shocking and equated “outrageous conduct.”

“Government agents worked hard to upgrade the website’s capability to distribute large amounts of child pornography quickly and efficiently, resulting in more users receiving more child pornography faster than they ever did when the website was running ‘illegally,'” Adolf added.

Adolf lists comments from some of the site’s users that further his client’s claim that the site was functioning better than it ever had prior to the FBI’s presence.

Of those comments praising the site’s functionality some included comments like these:

“Yes, it is working much better now!”

“Working FAST today :-)”

“It now runs everything very smoothly!”

Adolf points to two previous circuit court cases in 1984 and 1986 where cases have been dismissed when government agents have supplied or were “intimately involved” in the production of illegal material, or when their conduct resulted in injuries to an innocent third party. The government’s current standards for child pornography include a new case of abuse each time a child has his or her image viewed.

Between information in Adolf’s motion and the similar motions filed on the 22nd, the FBI distributed a million pictures, videos, and links, and according to those defense attorneys, that number is a “conservative estimate.”

From the Department of Justice’s own press release:

“Producing and distributing child pornography re-victimizes our children every time it is passed from one person to another.”

“The court should schedule an evidentiary hearing to determine the extent of the harm caused by the government’s investigatory tactics and dismiss the indictment if the Court finds the governmental conduct leading to the charges against the defendants unable to reconcile with fundamental expectations of decency and fairness,” the attorneys concluded.

Author:  C. ALIENS

Source:  https://www.deepdotweb.com

You turn your back for just a minute and — subdivisions.

Well, maybe not a minute in real life. But in the Google-verse, yes.

The search-engine giant has a nifty new diversion that allows anyone to see a 30-year sequence of satellite photos of virtually anywhere on Earth. And there’s no better place to start than Ottawa. 

Controls allow you to watch a high-speed time lapse — 30 years in a 10-second sweep — or slow it down, or even go frame-by-frame, year-by-year, from 1986 to 2016.

In the lower left, you can watch Barrhaven as it begins to swell in the mid-80s, then explodes through the 1990s and into the 21st century.

Likewise, Kanata, Orléans, and outlying communities such as Manotick — are transformed from smallish bedroom communities to the grand fiefdoms of suburban life and commerce they are today. 

ottawa

But such transformation is hardly unique to Ottawa. Simply opening the links on the navigation mosaic takes you to some of the most profound environmental and urban transformations, from disappearing inland seas to melting glaciers to the oilsands of Alberta to massive dams. 

The tool also reveals how robust technology has become.

The data — more than 5.4 million images since 1984 — have been collected mostly by a four Landsat satellites that have been scanning our shiny blue marble since 1972. Earlier images lack the crisp definition of those more recent.

The European Space Agency’s Copernicus Program and its Sentinel-2A satellite have been adding to the image bank for the past two years.

Author:  Ottawa Citizen

Source:  http://ottawacitizen.com/

Even though Apple has long been one of the most successful, profitable and closely-observed tech companies on the planet, it’s absolutely dumbfounding how often armchair pundits and analysts manage to get everything wrong about the company. In a dynamic that still defies explanation, Apple’s success is rarely applauded; on the contrary, its success is often used to justify the position that the company has peaked and is about to undergo an unforgiving fall from grace.

That notwithstanding, the sentiment that Apple has lost its ability to innovate, meaningfully increase revenue and otherwise succeed has seemingly grown by leaps and bounds over the past few months. From critics bemoaning the MacBook Pro’s new Touch Bar as nothing more than a gimmick to analysts criticizing the iPhone 7 for sporting the same form factor as the two previous iPhone models, the idea that “Apple is doomed” is not only persistent, but is arguably more prevalent than it’s been in years.

Sure, Apple has the iPhone 8 coming out next year, and sure, analysts believe that the device will shatter all existing iPhone sales records, but that’s apparently as high as Apple will be able to go, according to some. In fact, analysts at Oppenheimer believe that Apple will soon “embark on a decade-long malaise.”

In a research note obtained by Business Insider, Opppenheimer writes: “Apple lacks the courage to lead the next generation of innovation (AI, cloud-based services, messaging); instead will become more reliant than ever on the iPhone … We believe Apple is about to embark on a decade-long malaise. The risks to the company have never been greater.”

Nothing in the tech sphere is ever predictable, but I think we can all agree that predicting where a company will be in 10 years is utterly absurd. Consider this: the iPhone didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Even in a more compressed time frame, look at how quickly Netflix managed to turn into an entertainment juggernaut and how quickly Microsoft managed to turn things around with Satya Nadella at the helm.

The idea that Apple lacks the “courage” to be at the vanguard of the next generation of innovation is certainly interesting, and not wholly without merit, but it completely ignores the fact that no one at this point knows what the next great area of innovation will be. Will it in fact be AI? Or will it be augmented reality? Or, perhaps, virtual reality? Or maybe it will be something completely different, something that’s not on anyone’s radar at the moment.

Microsoft famously missed the wave of smartphone innovation that Apple ushered in when it released the iPhone. Apple, however, has yet to miss a wave of innovation. Consequently, the idea that Apple is about to fall into a “decade-long malaise” seems a bit off the mark.

Apple certainly faces a number of challenges, but it’s always struck me as peculiar that Apple is never afforded the benefit of the doubt when it has a long track record of delivering innovative products to the marketplace.

Oppenheimer’s note concludes: “We believe its strong profitability, a cash hoard for protection, and one last ‘growth’ hurrah from the tenth-anniversary phone will keep investors interested in the company.”

Funny thing is, analysts have been predicting Apple’s ‘last growth hurrah’ for years on end.

Author:  Yoni Heisler

Source:  http://bgr.com/

Innovation is necessary in the fight toward social progress. Socially conscious inventions have a crucial impact on the world at large, but they often make the biggest difference for vulnerable communities.

 

For people facing inequality around the globe — like those living in poverty — these innovations can be game-changers, helping to tackle problems that directly threaten their survival.

Though certainly not an exhaustive list, these seven inventions made a difference for low-income communities in November, challenging inequality in innovative ways.

1. The app helping to fight wage theft.

 
 

Wage theft, or denying employees payment for their work, is a major issue facing low-income, hourly workers — especially immigrant laborers with few federal safety nets and employment options. A new app, called [email protected], is helping day laborers independently track their hours and document workplace violations. 

The creators at Cornell University say the app is particularly helpful for day laborers who often change worksites and employers week-to-week, making it difficult to keep track of their own data. [email protected], which launched on both Android and iPhone last month, allows users to document all the information needed to make a wage complaint.

2. The Facebook tool helping people connect in disasters.

2 The Facebook tool helping people connect in disasters

Rebuilding in the aftermath of disasters disproportionately impacts low-income communities, as they struggle with the inevitable financial burdens. That makes it difficult to find essentials, like food, water and shelter — especially when they're scarce.

A new Facebook tool called Community Help, which was announced at the Facebook Social Good Forum in November, hopes to help those in need access vital disaster relief resources. The new feature will pop up after a user activates Safety Check, allowing "safe" users to connect with others who are offering or looking for help in the area.

Categories in the feature, which will roll out to users in early January 2017, will include Food & Water, Transportation, Shelter, and Baby Items.

3. The sneakers that biodegrade in your home.

 
 

To tackle the role of fashion companies in environmental issues and climate change, Adidas announced a new shoe prototype in November, which can biodegrade in consumers' own homes after use, just by adding a simple enzyme.

Within 36 hours, you can safely rinse the shoe down the drain. Adidas could introduce it to the market as early as next year.

4. The inexpensive bricks made of recycled paper.

4 The inexpensive bricks made of recycled paper

There’s a reason 3D printing is so popular these days: it’s awesome. Instead of having to spend thousands of dollars working with a prototyping company, you can create a physical object yourself in no time at all. Of course, you’ll need to know how to use 3D design software before you can 3D print anything, and printers themselves can be very costly.

 

Nubrix, created by South African inventor Elijah Dan, are bricks made of recycled paper. But they're just as strong as the building materials you're used to — they can withstand fire and rain. They also only cost 60 cents, which is three times cheaper than standard bricks in South Africa.

The design was one of the winners of Higher Education Solutions Network's TechConcompetition in November.

5. A reversible tent helping homeless populations.

A reversible tent helping homeless populations

In lieu of affordable shelter, WeatherHYDE is a reversible tent that protects homeless populations and impoverished communities against all types of weather.

One side of the innovative tent protects against severe cold by trapping your own body heat. The other side uses reflective panels to help keep out extreme heat. A Kickstarter campaign to provide 500 tents to families in need ran throughout the month of November, receiving more than $145,000 worth of funding.

6. The Chrome extension taking on unethical production.

 
 

The extension (and the accompanying mobile app) is a way for shoppers to see affordable, ethical businesses that produce the items they want. Not only could the app help low-income people save money and shop more ethically, but widespread awareness of unjust working conditions could help improve workers' rights around the world.

7. The app that could make cancer screenings accessible.

A new app announced by IBM in November hopes to use your phone's camera to save your life. The app screens for melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer — by allowing users to snap a picture and upload it to an analytics service, which can recognize and reliably identify characteristics of disease. Though similar systems already existed, IBM says the accuracy of its new tool is groundbreaking.

For those who are uninsured, preventative services like cancer screenings come at a steep cost, meaning accurate and early testing via a smartphone could help with the financial burdens of health care. However, IBM and medical professionals agree that more testing is needed before bringing the tool into widespread use.

Author:  KATIE DUPERE

Source:  http://mashable.com/

Sunday, 27 November 2016 07:39

iPhone 7 Hardware & Software Specs

Each year when Apple introduces a new iPhone, critics and users hold their breaths for a major breakthrough to be included in the new model. With the iPhone 7, there's no major breakthrough, but there are two fairly big changes—one good, one maybe not so good.

 

The positive major change introduced with the phone is the new dual-camera system available on the iPhone 7 Plus.

 

With two 12-megapixel cameras, a telephoto lens, and the ability to capture DSLR-quality depth of field effects, the 7 Plus' camera is a big step forward and could lay the ground work for even more advanced features later (think 3D). On the downside, the features don't ship out of the box; they'll be delivered via software later.

 

The negative change is the removal of the traditional headphone jack. The iPhone 7 will now include only a Lightning port for connecting wired headphones. Apple put the removal in terms of "courage," and it certainly fits with the company's other controversial-at-the-time feature removals (DVD, Ethernet, floppy discs), but whether the included adapter dongle is enough to satisfy users remains to be seen.

 

The most notable changes introduced with the iPhone 7 include:

  • Removal of the headphone jack—Bound to be the most controversial iPhone change in years, the iPhone 7 removes the traditional headphone jack entirely. Instead, users are expected to use headphones that connect to the phone's Lightning port or AirPods, a new set of wireless headphones introduced by Apple at the same time. 
  • The dual-camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus—The camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus is a major upgrade. It includes two 12-megapixel cameras on the back of the device, with the second camera offering a telephoto lens. This enables new image effects using depth of field (the foreground of the image in focus, the back blurred), live previews of depth of field effects, and up to 10x zoom. The camera flash also includes four bulbs (up from 2) for better color accuracy.
  • Higher top-end Storage—The highest capacity storage on the iPhone 7 is now 256 GB, up from 128 GB in the iPhone 6S. 
  • Better color fidelity in screen—Both Phone 7 models have technology built into their screens that allows them to display a greater range of colors, delivering better-looking images. This technology was introduced previously on the iPad Pro.
  • New color options—In addition to silver, gold, and rose gold, the iPhone 7 offers two new color choices: Black and a high-polish "Jet Black." Jet Black is only available in the 128 GB and 256 GB models.

 

 


 

 

 

iPhone 7 Hardware Features

 

In addition to the changes noted above, new elements of the iPhone 7 also include:

  • The new A10 Fusion processor 
  • W1 wireless audio chip to support AirPods and new wireless Beats headphones
  • Redesigned, solid state Home button with new force feedback engine
  • Improved user-facing camera
  • 25% brighter screen
  • The ability to edit and add effects to Live Photos
  • Improved battery life
  • IP67 water and dust resistance
  • Support for Felica NFC standard used in Japan.

 

Screen

  • iPhone 7: 4.7 inches, at 1334 x 750 pixels
  • iPhone 7 Plus: 5.5 inches, at 1920 x 1080 pixels

 

Cameras

  • iPhone 7
  • Back camera: 12 megapixel, digital zoom up 5x
  • User-facing camera: 7 megapixel

iPhone 7 Plus
Back camera: Two 12-megapixel cameras, one with telephoto lens, optical zoom to 2x, digital zoom to 10x
User-facing camera: 7 megapixel

 

Panoramic photos: up to 63 megapixel
Video: 4K HD at 30 frames/second; 1080p at 120 frames/second slo-mo; 720p at 240 frames/second super slow-mo

 

Battery Life
iPhone 7

  • 14 hours talk
  • 14 hours Internet use (Wi-Fi)/12 hours 4G LTE
  • 30 hours audio
  • 13 hours video
  • 10 days standby

 

iPhone 7 Plus

  • 21 hours talk
  • 15 hours Internet use (Wi-Fi)/13 hours 4G LTE
  • 40 hours audio
  • 14 hours video
  • 16 days standby

 

Sensors

  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Barometer
  • Touch ID
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Proximity sensor
  • 3D Touch
  • Taptic Engine for feedback

 

iPhone 7 & 7 Plus Software Features

  • The improved camera features of the iPhone 7 Plus don't ship with it. Instead, they'll be delivered as a free software update later in 2016

  • Editable Live Photos

  • iOS 10 support

  • Support for all existing iPhone features like FaceTime, Siri, GPS, AirPlay, App Store, Apple Pay, etc.

 

Colors

  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Rose Gold
  • Black
  • Jet Black

 

US Phone Carriers

  • AT&T
  • Sprint
  • T-Mobile
  • Verizon

 

Size and Weight 

  • iPhone 7: 4.87 ounces
  • iPhone 7 Plus: 6.63 ounces
  • iPhone 7: 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches
  • iPhone 7 Plus: 6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

 

Capacity and Price

  • iPhone 7
  • 32 GB - US$649
  • 128 GB - $749
  • 256 GB - $849
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • 32 GB - $769
  • 128 GB - $869
  • 256 GB - $969

 

Availability

  • The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus go on sale Sept. 16, 2016. Customers can pre-order them starting on Sept. 9, 2016.

 

Previous Models

When Apple releases new iPhones, it also keeps previous models around to sell at lower prices. With the introduction of the iPhone 7, Apple's line up of other iPhone models is now:

  • The iPhone 6S & 6S Plus will be available in 32 GB and 128 GB models for $549 and $649, and $649 and $749, respectively
  • The iPhone SE remains in its current 16 GB and 64 GB configurations and at its current pricing
  • The iPhone 6 & 6 Plus will be discontinued.

 

Author:  Sam Costello

Source:  https://www.lifewire.com

 

 

 

 

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