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Olivia Russell

Olivia Russell

Remarkably gifted, knowledgeable and resourceful Market Research Analyst with over eight years experience in collecting and analyzing data to evaluate existing and potential product and service markets; identifying and monitoring competitors and researching market conditions and changes in the industry that may affect sales. I have done masters in marketing from Australian Institute of Business.

Friday, 23 December 2016 07:32

Apple iOS 10.2 Is Causing New Problems

Sticking to your guns is often seen as a good thing, but sometimes it can do more harm than good. Especially when it means persisting with a mundane process in full knowledge that it will cause new problems…

In short: today Apple AAPL -0.70% stopped signing iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1. What this means is Apple servers will not recognise either update as legitimate anymore so iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can no longer downgrade to them from iOS 10.2, which Apple released last week. Apple typically stops signing old versions of iOS within a week or two of launching a new version.

And yet persisting with this seemingly simple housekeeping exercise makes no sense whatsoever given the problems iOS 10.2 is exacerbating with the so-called ‘30% battery bug’.

Apple iOS 10.2. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

Apple iOS 10.2. Image credit: Gordon Kelly

First reported by me last month, the 30% bug can affect every iOS 10 compatible iPhone with the exception of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and it causes the phone to die suddenly when the battery is around the 30% mark. To date Apple has acknowledged the problem initially with a small batch of iPhone 6S models (a batch size it then increased), but says it has found no evidence of this happening to any other model.

This stance has been maintained despite a 62 page long thread in Apple’s official Support Communities forum, frustrated tweets from iPhone 6S Plus owner Tony ‘Father of the iPod’ Fadell and a stern warning from the Chinese Government which argues the numerous reports it has received of the problem across multiple models mean Apple is failing to “meet basic consumer needs for normal wireless communication.”

The Big Signing Problem

So where does the issue arrive from Apple’s decision to stop signing iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1, especially since many peg these updates are responsible for the 30% bug’s creation in the first place? It’s quite simple: it is because iOS 10.2 is consistently reported as making the problem even worse.

“Same here, iOS 10.2 actually made the problem worse,” says Apple Support Communities poster ricardo jb in response this growing theme on thread. “The battery percentage seems to get stuck at some level for a while, even with battery draining apps such as pokemon go running, then it drops different percentages at different moments, it's really random.”

Since I first pointed this out I have also been contacted numerous times over email and social media by users empathising with this situation:

Complaints on Twitter mirror the same frustration expressed by users on Apple Support Communities. Image credit: Twitter

Complaints on Twitter mirror the same frustration expressed by users on Apple Support Communities. Image credit: Twitter

Furthermore iOS 10.2 is actually introducing the 30% bug to previously unaffected iPhones which is why some had found downgrading to iOS 10.1.1 or iOS 10.1 to be a good temporary fix. Forum poster IHIP699 spells out this situation and perfectly sums up the subsequent frustration at Apple’s decision to prematurely stop signing these releases:

iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1 were seen as a safe haven for many troubled iOS 10.2 users - but not anymore. Image credit: Apple

iOS 10.1 and iOS 10.1.1 were seen as a safe haven for many troubled iOS 10.2 users - but not anymore. Image credit: Apple

Hope On The Horizon?

So with Apple’s bizarre decision to maroon users on iOS 10.2 should we all be picking up our lanterns and pitchforks and descending on Apple HQ? Not yet. Because there are two pieces of potentially good news.

Firstly, while holding out on admitting to the wider battery problem, Apple did introduce a battery diagnostics tool in iOS 10.2 which it declined to list in the release notes. Apple also declined to tell me how the tool works, what it collects or where the data is sent but it is at least an attempt by the company to try and investigate what is going on.

Further to this we have iOS 10.2.1 which Apple currently has in beta testing right now. Again Apple has declined to list any features of iOS 10.2.1 to beta testers, but some have noticed significant improvements to the 30% bug while trying it:

Some Apple Support Communities users have seen improvements with iOS 10.2.1. Image credit: Apple

Some Apple Support Communities users have seen improvements with iOS 10.2.1. Image credit: Apple

Yes, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it offers hope - especially with more iOS 10.2.1 betas likely to come before release. It is also worth pointing out that (as large, powerful and self confident as Apple is) the growing pressure from users coupled with the frustration of a vocal Chinese government surely must mean the company is moving quickly behind the scenes.

I know cynics will call this hokey optimism, but I think the combination of the diagnostics tool and early iOS 10.2.1 reports gives us enough reason to be hopeful. Even if Apple, in stubbornly sticking to process and cutting off the downgrade path from iOS 10.2, has affected users banging their heads against the wall right now…

Author : Gordon Kelly

Source : http://www.forbes.com/sites/gordonkelly/2016/12/21/apple-ios-10-2-iphone-battery-problems/?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=partner&utm_campaign=yahootix&partner=yahootix&yptr=yahoo#295b51c24f2c

Friday, 23 December 2016 07:13

You’re an Adult. Your Brain, Not So Much.

Leah H. Somerville, a Harvard neuroscientist, sometimes finds herself in front of an audience of judges. They come to hear her speak about how the brain develops.

It’s a subject on which many legal questions depend. How old does someone have to be to be sentenced to death? When should someone get to vote? Can an 18-year-old give informed consent?

Scientists like Dr. Somerville have learned a great deal in recent years. But the complex picture that’s emerging lacks the bright lines that policy makers would like.

“Oftentimes, the very first question I get at the end of a presentation is, ‘O.K., that’s all very nice, but when is the brain finished? When is it done developing?’” Dr. Somerville said. “And I give a very nonsatisfying answer.”

Dr. Somerville laid out the conundrum in detail in a commentary published on Wednesday in the journal Neuron.

The human brain reaches its adult volume by age 10, but the neurons that make it up continue to change for years after that. The connections between neighboring neurons get pruned back, as new links emerge between more widely separated areas of the brain.

Eventually this reshaping slows, a sign that the brain is maturing. But it happens at different rates in different parts of the brain.

The pruning in the occipital lobe, at the back of the brain, tapers off by age 20. In the frontal lobe, in the front of the brain, new links are still forming at age 30, if not beyond.

“It challenges the notion of what ‘done’ really means,” Dr. Somerville said.

As the anatomy of the brain changes, its activity changes as well. In a child’s brain, neighboring regions tend to work together. By adulthood, distant regions start acting in concert. Neuroscientists have speculated that this long-distance harmony lets the adult brain work more efficiently and process more information.

But the development of these networks is still mysterious, and it’s not yet clear how they influence behavior. Some children, researchers have found, have neural networks that look as if they belong to an adult. But they’re still just children.

Dr. Somerville’s own research focuses on how the changes in the maturing brain affect how people think.

Adolescents do about as well as adults on cognition tests, for instance. But if they’re feeling strong emotions, those scores can plummet. The problem seems to be that teenagers have not yet developed a strong brain system that keeps emotions under control.

That system may take a surprisingly long time to mature, according to a study published this year in Psychological Science.

The authors asked a group of 18- to 21-year-olds to lie in an fMRI scanner and look at a monitor. They were instructed to press a button each time they were shown faces with a certain expression on them — happy in some trials, scared or neutral in others.

And in some cases, the participants knew that they might hear a loud, jarring noise at the end of the trial.

In the trials without the noise, the subjects did just as well as people in their mid-20s. But when they were expecting the noise, they did worse on the test.

Brain scans revealed that the regions of their brains in which emotion is processed were unusually active, while areas dedicated to keeping those emotions under control were weak.

“The young adults looked like teenagers,” said Laurence Steinberg, a psychologist at Temple University and an author of the study.

Dr. Steinberg agreed with Dr. Somerville that the maturing of the brain was proving to be a long, complicated process without obvious milestones. Nevertheless, he thinks recent studies hold some important lessons for policy makers.

He has proposed, for example, that the voting age be lowered to 16. “Sixteen-year-olds are just as good at logical reasoning as older people are,” Dr. Steinberg said.

Courts, too, may need to take into account the powerful influence of emotions, even on people in their early 20s.

“Most crime situations that young people are involved in are emotionally arousing situations — they’re scared, or they’re angry, intoxicated or whatever,” Dr. Steinberg said.

Dr. Somerville, on the other hand, said she was reluctant to offer specific policy suggestions based on her brain research. “I’m still in the learning stage, so I’d hesitate to call out any particular thing,” she said.

But she does think it is important for the scientists to get a fuller picture of how the brain matures. Researchers need to do large-scale studies to track its development from year to year, she said, well into the 20s or beyond.

It’s not enough to compare people using simple categories, such as labeling people below age 18 as children and those older as adults. “Nothing magical occurs at that age,” Dr. Somerville said.

Author : Carl Zimmer

Source : http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/21/science/youre-an-adult-your-brain-not-so-much.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

New year’s here; time to start revving up for 2013. Year in, year out, we make resolutions to better ourselves in terms of getting rid of poor habits, picking up good ones, taking better care of ourselves and the people around us, learning to manage our lives better etc.


The good news is that in this age of smartphones, we can actually use our smartphones to help us achieve these resolutions. We’ve compiled 40 iOS apps that you can use for free, to help out with your New Year resolutions. Some feature productivity enhancement traits, others help you to watch your finances and your health, and if you have a habit to kick, there’s an app for that too.

There’s no better way to celebrate a renewed year with the right spirit to take on the next batch of challenges. Here’s to a fruitful 2013 ahead. Onward to the list!

Save More Money

Can’t seem to save enough money to buy yourself all those awesome geeky stuff you really must have? Looks like you need your very own financial advisor, like the ones below.

Toshl Finance

This all-in-one finance manager syncs with all your devices with an account on their website. You can track your expenses and view your budget to ensure you’re not overspending. It also has the option to add bills so that you get reminded of those due dates.

Toshl Finance


For a more business-focused app, Concur can help keep track of and manage travel expenses. Set different currencies and manage hotels or flight plans for overseas travel. You can then generate an expense report when you return home.



With Expensify, you can sync your credit cards and bank accounts to track purchases with real-time updates. It’ll be able to track transactions via eReceipts; otherwise you can take pictures of paper receipts, and with that information be able to generate a expense report.



HelloWallet allows you to track multiple bank account balances. It also gives you a summary of your budget progress and can average out your spending trends based on categories you’ve created.


Mint.com Personal Finance

Mint allows you to add multiple type of bank accounts to your account on their website. You can add your personal bank, credit, loan and retirement account to Mint and it’ll automatically retrieve transactions as you make them.


Bills & Accounts Manager

When you have many little ‘accounts’ like rent, phone or cleaning services, then you can manage them with this app. Manage bills for each of these little accounts and remind you when it’s time to pay via SMS or email.

Bills Monitor

With Bills Monitor, you can easily categorize and manage your bills. You can view weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly reports on your spending in each category and view due dates on the in-app calendar.

Bills Monitor


MoneyPad is a simpler way to manage your budget and expenses. You can set a monthly budget for each category and be able to view if you’ve exceeded your expenses.


Pageonce – Money and Bills

Pageonce not only allows you to to connect your bank, credit card and investments accounts, but also allows you to pay bills with their app. You can track your spending and bills then get reminders to pay those bills within the secure app.


Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker

If you want to keep track of your spending through receipts, Shoeboxed allows you to take pictures of your receipts where it will automatically extract the store and expenditure information.


Visual Budget

Visual Budget allows you to manage expenses of different accounts simultaneously and sort them into different groups at the same time for easier management. You can also set recurring transactions such as your Internet or phone bill.

Visual Budget

Eat And Live Healthier

Not too long ago, we featured health-related apps you can download on your iPhone. Here are more apps to add to that list.

Sworkit – Circuit Training Workouts

For easy to do home workouts, Sworkit comes with a few moves and instructions for both strength training and yoga. You then set the amount of time you want to work out for, and it’ll provide a simple workout program for you.


Whole Foods Market Recipes

If eating healthy is the goal of your New Year, then this app will give you the information and recipes you need to start eating healthy. It features diary free, fat free, gluten free and many other healthier-than-usual recipes to suit your needs.

Whole Foods

The Eatery

Want a reason to take pictures of your food? This app encourages you to do so and allows your friends to rate what you’re eating. It also keeps track of what you eat and ensures you’re on a good overall diet.


Restaurant Nutrition

If you’re not one to cook at home and find yourself eating out a lot, this app will give you the nutrition information of food you can get in popular restaurants.

Restaurant Nutrition

My Diet Diary

With this app, you can track your weight loss by inputting food, exercise, weight and water consumption information. It will then take these information and determine if you’re on the right path to losing weight.

My Diet Diary


If you’re closely watching what you eat, this app suggests that you have a 40%-30%-30% ratio intake of carbohydrates, protein and fat in grams. Keying in this information from the packet of food you’re eating will determine if what you’re eating is nutritious or not.



Juice allows you to track your sleep, diet and exercise to help you change the way you use your daily supply of energy. It gives you tips to help better the usage of your energy and has weekly reports to track how well you’re progressing.


Calorie Counter by FatSecret

This app has a barcode scanner and a database of all the nutritious info of food with barcodes. It helps you keep track of your meals, exercise and weight to help you get healthier faster.

Calorie Counter

DailyBurn Tracker

DailyBurn features a combination of tracking your food and calories, and also provides workout and training plans to help you achieve your health goals.


Make Or Break Habits

During this New Year, if your goal is to break a bad habit like smoking or drinking, we’ve got some apps to help you. Need to pick up a new habit? We got that too.

Habit Maker Habit Breaker

All you have to do is add a habit and then decide if you want to ‘make’ it or ‘break’ it. You then start tracking by tapping the happy or sad face – happy if you succeed, sad if you do not – then watch your progress with charts and graphs.

Habit Breaker


Kickit is an app designed to help you quit smoking by showing you financial incentives. By saving up on the cigarettes you are not buying, you can see an estimate of how many more days are left before you can buy that thing you have been eyeing.



Quitter is an app to break bad habits that cost you money. It could be smoking or a constant craving of junk food. You can see how much you’ve saved each day, add pictures to motivate you and share your progress on social networking sites.


Since iQuit

If you have a bad smoking habit, then this app may be able to motivate you through each day by showing you how much time and money you’ve saved since you quit smoking.

Way Of Life

This is a habit-building app to help you identify and track your habits with charts and notes. You can then share these charts with others to ensure you’re on the right path of building a good habit.

Way Of Life


Bloom will inspire you to create good habits and make better choices as it reminds you to do productive things throughout your day. You can also add pictures and it’ll show them to you via reminders as a way of self-motivation.


Be More Productive

With only 24-hours in a day, these apps could help you be more productive by better managing your time and daily to-do tasks throughout each day.


30/30 is a simple app that helps you keep track of the tasks that you should be doing. You set up a list of tasks and allocate a specific time for each task. Once the timer for the first task starts, it will tell you to move on to the next task once the time of the first task finishes.



We’ve done an in-depth look of Any.DO before, but it needs to be on this list. Having a to-do list and setting deadlines for each list item can help you manage your time better and not miss out on any important tasks. Not only does it work across iOS and Android devices, it’s now integrated into Gmail and you can set reminders right from your mailbox.


Cozi Family Organizer

If most of the members on your family have an iOS device, this app will be able to share family calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists and family journals. Everyone logs in to one account with their own email address and will be able to see daily tasks that each person has to do.


Errands To-Do List

Here’s a simple to-do list that enables you to plan out the entire month ahead of you. It also comes with a wide range of image icons to be used together with individual tasks. You can also email individual tasks or folders of tasks as a way to share the information with others.


Intuition: Mom’s Assistant

If you’re a busy supermom and need to get a million things done in a day, this app will help you organize a to-do list which you can share with family members via email. You can also get reminders and notifications of nearby locations which can help you complete your errands.

Mom's Assistant

Organizer To-Do

Another to-do list organizer that will help you manage your daily tasks easier. You can color-code tasks, sort by priorities or due dates, organize tasks by folders and show a number badge on the home screen icon to easily tell how many tasks you have each day.



A reminder app that allows you to set an alarm that repeats each minute, hour or day until you actually complete the task, kinda like having a mom-style virtual assistant who can’t stop nagging you to get your stuff together. You can also share reminders with others via email.


Remember The Milk

This app works really well with the features on their website. With an account on their website, you can set reminders via email, SMS and instant messenger. It also syncs and backs up whatever information you add to your mobile device to the web account.

Remember The Milk


Todoist is a productivity app that helps organize your tasks and works well with your desktop browser or Android device. It also works well with services like Gmail and you can get notification reminders via SMS or email.


Schedule Planner

This to-do app allows for integration with the iOS calendar or Google Calendar. You can easily plan your day by color-coded categories. At the end of the day, you get a colorful diagram that tells you how you spent your time each day.

Schedule Planner

Look For A Better Job

Feel like you’ve hit a brick wall in your career? Maybe these job search apps can help you get a new, better job you want to get up out of bed for.


If you’re looking for a job and want an online presence of your skills, then go to LinkedIn and create an account immediately. This app will help you get job-related notifications wherever you are.


Interview Skill

This app has resources for interview skills to help you get through different questions that the interviewer might ask. You get tips via text, audio and video which you can listen and even watch on the app.

Interview Skills

Job Search

Based on the job search site Indeed.com, this is the iPhone app where you can look for jobs wherever you go.

Job Search

Jobsite Jobs

Here’s one for UK readers. The UK website Jobsite.co.uk app allows you to search for jobs by skills, location or job type. Results can be sort by relevance, date or salary which you can save into your account. Job applications have to be done via the website.

Jobsite Jobs

Author:  Brian Voo

Source:  http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/new-year-resolution-ios-apps

Saturday, 17 December 2016 06:09

How to minimise the impact of ransomware

Ransomware attacks have become the cybercrime du jour, affecting a growing number of organisations nationwide.

An easy, low-risk way for criminals to exploit almost any network intrusion, ransomware is a type of malware attack that prevents organisations from accessing their own data or computer system until they pay a ransom to obtain a decryption key.

According to a CNN report, ransomware events collected $209 million in Q1 2016, and are expected to collect $1 billion in 2016. The FBI estimates that attacks using the CryptoWall variant of ransomware accrued over $18 billion by June 2015. And, in the first quarter of 2016 saw quadruple the attack rate seen whole of last year.

No industry is immune from ransomware attacks although some, such as healthcare, have been especially hard hit.

An April 2016 ransomware attack at Maryland’s MedStar Health hospital network forced ten of its hospitals to operate without access to their central networks for more than a week

Following a ransomware attack in February 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center paid $17,000 in bitcoin to recover its data.

With ransomware attacks on the rise, organisations of all sizes have found themselves vulnerable and struggling to reduce risk or respond to an attack.

Opening the door to attacks

There are a number of security vulnerabilities that leave computing networks open to ransomware. Most incidents involve an unsuspecting individual clicking on a tainted link or email attachment.

Systems with out-of-date or misconfigured software can also be compromised to help spread ransomware. While Windows computers have been a big target, Android and Mac systems have been targeted as well, meaning that no computing platform is safe.

“The big issue at the end of the day is if there is any security hole, someone out there knows about it and is going to try to exploit it, and it’s always going to be the people you don’t want,” says Dave Packer, VP of product marketing at Druva.

The widespread use of mobile devices by today’s workforce has also escalated the risk of malware attacks.

While many companies are protected by a corporate firewall, employees are now connecting to enterprise data and services using their own weakly protected mobile devices.

Likewise, the deployment of unsecured mobile applications for employees and customers has created new opportunities for attacks.

Organisations may be tempted to cross their fingers and hope they won’t be targeted. Unfortunately, the chances of ransomware or other malware attacks are very high, with serious consequences for organisations that fail to take preventive action.

In addition to paying a stiff ransom, victims may suffer costly business downtime and, in some industries, fines and penalties for data breaches – not to mention a loss in reputation as well.

All of these can be very expensive in their own way. It likewise takes time and money to respond reactively to incidents when there’s no viable plan in place.

Companies that pay the ransom to recover their data still face the threat of significant data loss if their files are altered during the decryption process, especially if an organisation is under litigation as it poses the risk for data spoliation.

And don’t forget that many victims of ransomware never recover their data even if they do pay the ransom.

Druva’s data protection experts have outlined six proactive steps that IT can use to keep data safe. These steps provide the foundation of a backup plan that is highly efficient, seamlessly executed and unnoticeable to the end user.

1. Protect distributed data: ‘How’

An enterprise-grade automated backup solution that performs regular backups across devices, desktops and cloud apps, such as Office 365, will protect distributed data and act as an insurance policy in case of a ransomware strike or other intrusion.

Make sure to select a cloud-based backup solution, as it provides off-site storage. Off-site storage that leverages any of the AWS or Azure storage locations not only provides off-site capabilities but also complies with local data residency laws by storing it in the same region.

2. Backup distributed data: ‘Who’

Does your current backup plan cover 100% of your user base, including geographically distributed teams?

To reduce your exposure to potential data loss, review and validate the deployment scope of your backup plan to ensure that your backup solution deploys automatically to all end users needing protection.

At a minimum, you should ensure that key users are covered by your data protection policy.

3. Review the scope of your data backup: ‘What’

What are you backing up? You’re probably protecting desktops and email, but what about other user-specific data sets such as profiles, system and app settings, or folders?

Druva recommends that organisations review, validate and, as needed, modify backup content to ensure that all important data for protected users is backed up.

If you need a more comprehensive plan, you should consider creating custom folders where users can store data for backup and further reduce data loss.

4. Check backup frequency across distributed teams: ‘When’

How often are you backing up? Every two days? Eight hours? Four hours? Do you need an even more aggressive schedule for executives?

Review, validate and, if needed, modify backup frequency to ensure automated, periodic backup of mission critical data for all protected users.

As a general rule, backup data at minimum once every four hours, and every two hours for key users. You may also want to select a different backup frequency depending on the requirements of specific users and teams

5. Validate your retention policy: ‘How long?’

How long are you keeping your backups? 14 days? Seven weeks? Six months? Review, validate and, if needed, adopt a longer retention policy to meet internal objectives and ensure a sufficient recovery point objective (RPO), especially for key people and departments.

Your data retention policy may vary depending on your industry, regulations and internal IT policies. IT, legal and compliance teams may need to weigh in on data retention needs.

6. Re-assess policies periodically: ‘Looking ahead’

While the preceding measures might provide sufficient protection for the foreseeable future, revisit your backup policies approximately every six months to ensure that they meet your organisation’s needs. IT often has the primary responsibility for this routine and, in some cases, acts in coordination with the legal team.

Author : Ben Rossi

Source : http://www.information-age.com/how-combat-hackers-during-rio-2016-olympics-123461737/

Personality tests have long been used to predict people’s life outcomes – and not always that successfully. But a HOT new kid on the block – the Holland Occupational Themes – might be the best test yet.


Based on your hobbies and interests, which category from the six below do you feel you fall into? In other words, are your hobbies mainly...


Realistic hands-on activities using tools, machines, animals 
Investigative museums, science
Artistic making music or art
Social interacting with others
Enterprising running stalls or selling online
Conventional computers, data





A recent study found that the answers given on this questionnaire could predict a whole host of lifestyle factors 10 years later. Realistic types are high earners, and the least likely to be unemployed, with artistic types the opposite. The latter also see themselves as less healthy than others of the same age, though there’s no evidence that this is actually the case.


Social and conventional types might sound like polar opposites, but both are particularly likely to get married and to have children within 10 years of leaving school.


However, only the social types are also likely to be low earners. Enterprising types are the opposite: high earners who tend not to marry (or even have a single serious relationship) within this period. Finally, investigative types are an enigma, scoring neither the highest or lowest on any of these measures of professional and personal life – a mystery that they themselves would presumably enjoy investigating.


A fully referenced version of this article is available at benambridge.com. Order Psy-Q by Ben Ambridge (Profile Books, £8.99) for £6.99 at bookshop.theguardian.com


Auhtor : Ben Ambridge

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/oct/16/hobbies-and-life-outcomes-personality-test

(NaturalNews) Having immediate access to the sum of human knowledge and experience via the internet is inimitably amazing. However, new research suggests that being able to pull up almost any information with the click of a button could be making people more stupid while simultaneously imparting a false sense of self-perceived intelligence.

A team of psychologists from Yale University evaluated more than 1,000 students who took part in a psychological experiment on the impact of searching the internet. After being asked the question "How does a zip work?", some of the students were told to click on an internet link for the answer while the rest were given a printed sheet containing the same information.

Later, the two groups were quizzed on an unrelated question: "Why are cloudy nights warmer?" Individuals in the group that searched online for the answer to the first question were found to believe themselves smarter than they actually were compared to the group that read the same information on the printed sheet.

Experts believe that this phenomenon occurs because searching the internet puts people's brains in a type of "search mode" where they feel more powerful and smarter than they actually are. In other words, having access to the internet makes people feel like the wealth of knowledge therein is somehow part of their own brains.

"The Internet is such a powerful environment, where you can enter any question, and you basically have access to the world's knowledge at your fingertips," stated lead researcher Matthew Fisher, a fourth-year doctoral candidate in psychology at Yale University

"It becomes easier to confuse your own knowledge with this external source. When people are truly on their own, they may be wildly inaccurate about how much they know and how dependent they are on the Internet."

Excessive smartphone use is causing widespread cognitive atrophy, study finds

Experts claim that smartphones are making the problem even worse because people increasingly rely on them for immediate access to information in lieu of using their brains. Research out of the University of Waterloo found that people who frequently use their smartphones tend to use their brains less frequently, and vice versa.

They found that using internet search engines to pull up information makes people cognitively lazy and diminishes their ability to solve problems using their own critical thinking skills. The results of this study indicate that intuitive thinkers, or people who tend to use their guts to make decisions, also tend to use search engines to make decisions. Analytical thinkers, on the other hand, tend to rely more on their own brainpower

"They may look up information that they actually know or could easily learn, but are unwilling to make the effort to actually think about it," stated study co-author Gordon Pennycook when discussing what smartphones and internet search engines do to people's cognitive skills.

"Decades of research has revealed that humans are eager to avoid expending effort when problem-solving and it seems likely that people will increasingly use their smartphones as an extended mind," added Nathaniel Barr, the paper's other lead author.

What is the solution? Spend less time searching the internet and wasting time on your smartphone and focus instead on actually reading and processing information the old-fashioned way.

"With the internet, the lines become blurry between what you know and what you think you know," added Fisher. "In cases where decisions have big consequences, it could be important for people to distinguish their own knowledge and not assume they know something when they actually don't."

Source : http://www.naturalnews.com

Auhtor : Ethan A. Huff, staff writer 

It’s one of the Internet’s oft-mentioned ‘creepy’ moments. A user is served a banner ad in their browser promoting products on a site they visited hours, days or months in the past. It’s as if the ads are following them around from site to site. Most people know that the issue of ad stalking – termed ‘remarketing’ or ‘retargeting’ - has something to do with cookies but that’s barely the half of it.

The underlying tracking for all this is provided by the search engine provider, be that Google, Microsoft or Yahoo, or one of a number of programmatiic ad platforms most people have never heard of. The ad system notices which sites people are visiting, choosing an opportune moment to ‘re-market’ products from a site they visited at some point based on how receptive it thinks they will be. The promoted site has paid for this privilege of course. Unless that cookie is cleared, the user will every now and then be served the same ad for days or weeks on end.


Is this creepy? Only if you don’t understand what is really going on when you use the Internet. As far as advertisers are concerned, if the user has a negative feeling about it then the remarketing has probably not worked.

If it was only advertisers, privacy would be challenging enough but almost every popular free service, including search engines, social media, cloud storage and webmail, now gathers intrusive amounts of personal data as a fundamental part of its business model. User data is simply too valuable to advertisers and profilers not to. The service is free precisely because the user has 'become the product' whose habits and behaviour can be sold on to third parties. Broadband providers, meanwhile, are increasingly required by governments to store the Internet usage history of subscribers for reasons justified by national security and policing.

The cost of privacy - dynamic pricing

Disturbingly, this personal tracking can also cost surfers money through a marketing techique called 'dynamic pricing' whereby websites mysteriously offer two users a dfferent bill for an identical product or service. How this is done is never clear but everything from the browser used, the search engine in question the time of day, the buying history of the user or the profile of data suggesting their affluence may come into play. Even the number of searches could raise the price.

This seems to be most common when buying commodity services such as flights, hotel rooms and car rental, all of which are sold through a network of middlemen providers who get to decide the rules without having to tell anyone what these are. Privacy in this context becomes about being treated fairly, something Internet providers don't always seem keen to do.

ISP anonymity – beware VPNs

Achieving privacy requires finding a way to minimise the oversight of ISPs as well as the profiling built into browsers., search engines and websites. It is also important to watch out for DNS nameservers used to resolve IP addresses because these are increasingly used as data capture systems.

At any one of these stages, data unique to each user is being logged. This is especially true when using search engines while logged into services such as Google or Facebook. You might not mind that a particular search is logged by the search provider but most people don’t realise how this is connected directly to personal data such as IP address, browser and computer ID not to mention name and email address for those services. Put bluntly, the fact that an individual searched for health, job or legal advice is stored indefinitely as part of their personal online profile whether they like it or not.

In theory, the traditional way of shielding Internet use from ISPs can be achieved using a VPN provider. Techworld recently covered free VPNs available to UK users in a standalone feature so we won’t repeat its recommendations here but it is critical that the user doesn’t make naïve assumptions about this technology. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel from the user’s device and the service provider’s servers which means that any websites visited after that become invisible to the user’s primary ISP. In turn the user’s IP address is also hidden from those websites. Notice, however, that the VPN provider can still see which sites are being visited and will also know the user’s ISP IP.

Why are some VPNs free? Good question but one answer is that they can perform precisely the same sort of profiling of user behaviour that the ISP does but for commercial rather than legal reasons. In effect, the user has simply swapped the spying of one company, the ISP, for another, the VPN.

Post Snowden, a growing number advertise themselves as ‘no logging’ providers, but how far the user is willing to go in this respect needs thought. Wanting to dodge tracking and profiling is one thing, trying to avoid intelligence services quite another because it assumes that there are no weaknesses in the VPN software or even the underlying encryption that have not been publically exposed. With that caveat:

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – VPNs


IPVanish is a well-regarded US-based service offering an unusually wide range of software clients, including for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux, as well as mobile apps for Android, iOS and Windows Phone. There is also a setup routine for DD-WRT and Tomato for those who use open source router firmware. Promoted on the back of speed (useful when in a coffee shop) and global reach as well as security. On that topic, requires no personal data other than for payment and states that “IPVanish does not collect or log any traffic or use of its Virtual Private Network service.”

Costs $10 (about £6.50) per month or $78 (£52), and even accepts payment in Bitcoins.


Another multi-platform VPN, Romanian-based Cyberghost goes to some lengths to advertise its security features, its main USP. These include multi-protocol support (OpenVPN, IPSec, L2TP and PPTP), DNS leak prevention, IP sharing (essentially subnetting multiple users on one virtual IP) and IPv6 protection. Provisions around 50 servers for UK users. Also says it doesn’t store user data.

Pricing is based on the number of devices protected. Premium covers one device and costs £3.99 per month while Premium Plus costs £6.99 per month for up to five devices.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy browsers

All browsers claim to be ‘privacy browsers’ if the services around them are used in specific ways, for example in incognito or privacy mode. As wonderful as Google’s Chrome or Microsoft’s Edge/IE might be their primary purpose, we’d bed to differ. The companies that offer them simply have too much to gain from a world in which users are tagged, tracked and profiled no matter what their makers say. To Google’s credit the company doesn’t really hide this fact and does a reasonable job of explaining its privacy settings.


Firefox by contrast is by some distance the best of the browser makers simply because it is does not depend on the user tracking that helps to fund others. But this becomes moot the minute you log into third-party services, which is why most of the privacy action in the browser space now centres around add-ons.

We recently updated our look at the other privacy browsers on the market, including services such as Tor, but failing that users can resort to add-ons.

Disconnect Private browsing

Disconnect is a slightly confusing suite of privacy add-ons offering private browsing and visibility (control over tracking cookies, including branded social sites), private search, essentially a VPN dedicated to the anonymous use of search engines. The former worked fine on Firefox while the latter required Chrome. There’s also a Premium desktop version that bundles these features and more into a single service for up to three devices for an annual fee

Disconnect is essentially the VPN idea presented in a different way with browser add-ons for those not wanting to go that far. The service says it neither collects not stores personal data beyond that required for payment and does not disclose any of this unless legally required to do so.

The add-ons are free while Premium costs $50 per annum. Mac/iOS users are offered a separate service, Privacy Pro, for the same price.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy search engines

It might seem a bit pointless to worry about a privacy search engine given that this is an inherent quality of the VPN services already discussed but a couple are worth looking out for. The advantage of this approach is that it is free and incredibly simple. Users simply start using a different search engine and aren’t required to buy or install anything.


The best know example of this is DuckDuckGo, which was embedded inside Mozilla’s Firefox in November 2014. What we like about DuckDuckGo is protects searches by stopping ‘search leakage’ by default. This means visited sites will not know what other terms a user searched for and will not be sent a user’s IP address or browser user agent. It also offers an encrypted version that connects to the encrypted versions of major websites, preserving some privacy between the user and the site.

DuckDuckGo also offers a neat password-protected ‘cloud save’ setting that makes it possible to create search policies and synch these across devices using the search engine.

Oscobo UK search

Launched in late 2015, Oscobo competes head-on with DuckDuckGo but in truth is almost identical bar the fact that it returns UK-specific search results by default (DuckDuckGo requires a manual setting). As with DuckDuckGo, the search results are based around Yahoo and Bing although the US outfit also has some of its own spidering. Beyond that, Oscobo does not record IP address or any other user data. According to its founders, no trace of searches made from a computer are left behind. Where does it make its money? As with any search engine, from sponsored search returns.

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – DNS nameservers

Sister title Computerworld UK recently covered the issue of alternative DNS nameservers, including Norton ConnecSafe, OpenDNS, Comodo Secure DNS, DNS.Watch, VeriSign and, of course, Google. The attraction of these is overwhelmingly performance and sometimes deeper levels of domain security. We highly recommend them compared to ISP DNS equivalents on that basis.

However, as with any DNS nameserver, there are also privacy concerns because the growing number of free services are really being driven by data gathering. The only way to bypass nameservers completely is to use a VPN provider’s infrastructure. The point of even mentioning them is that using an alternative might be faster than the ISP but come at the expense of less privacy.


Available on and, DNS.Watch is unique in offering an alternative DNS service without the website logging found on almost every rival. We quote the firm: “We're not interested in shady deals with your data. You own it. We're not a big corporation and don't have to participate in shady deals. We're not running any ad network or anything else where your DNS queries could be of interest for us.”

Best 7 online privacy tools 2016 – Privacy utilities

Abine Blur

Blur is an all-in-one desktop and mobile privacy tool that offers a range of privacy features with some adblocking thrown in for good measure. Available in free and Premium versions ($39 a year) on Firefox and Chrome only, principle features include:

- Masked cards: a way of entering a real credit card into the Blur database which then pays merchants without revealing those details. Using this feature requires a Premium subscription ($39 per annum) and incurs additional credit card processing fees each time the card is charged with credit.

- Passwords: similar in operation to password managers such as LastPass and Dashlane without some of the layers of security and sophistication that come with those platforms. When signing up for or encountering a new site Blur offers to save or create a new strong password.

Masked email addresses are another feature, identical in principle to the aliases that can be used with webmail systems such as Gmail.  Bur’s management of these is a bit more involved and we’d question whether it’s worth it to be honest were it not for the single advantage of completely hiding the destination address, including the domain. Some will value this masking as well as the ease of turning addresses on and off and creating new ones. On a Premium subscription it is also possible to set up more than one destination address.

- Adblocking: with the browser extension installed, Blur will block ad tracking systems without the conflict of interest are inherent in the Acceptable Ads program used by AdBlock Plus and a number of others.  We didn’t test this feature across many sites but it can be easily turned on and off from the toolbar.

- Two-factor authentication: Given the amount of data users are storing in Blur, using two-factor authentication (2FA) is an absolute must. This can be set up using a mobile app such as Google Authenticator, Authy or FreeOTP.

- Backup and Sync:  Another premium feature, this will synch account data across multiple devices in an encrypted state.

- Masked phone: probably only useful in the US where intrusive telemarketing is a problem, this gives users a second phone number to hand to marketers.  Only works in named countries including the UK. Only on Premium.

Overall, Blur represents a lot of features in one desktop/mobile browser extension. Limitations? Not terribly well explained in places and getting the best out of it requires a Premium subscription. Although the tools are well integrated and thought out most of them can be found for less (e.g. LastPass) or free (e.g. adblocking) elsewhere.  The features that can’t are masked phone and masked card numbers/addresses.

Author:  John E Dunn

Source:  http://www.techworld.com/

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 13:02

Twitter changing way job seekers find employment

Your next big tweet may be just a tweet away.

For the job seeker and the employer, Twitter has turned into the next frontier for connecting both.

The social media site is changing the way people find jobs.

Finding a job can be a full-time job in itself: circling ads, hitting job fairs, printing, and editing and updating resumes and cover letters.

"Social media can be leveraged by job seekers and certainly by employers in finding those seekers to fill those positions," the founder of Conversation Research Institute Jason Falls said.

Falls said social media is this era's next frontier for job seekers and employers.

"As an individual, think about this: You can get on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, other networks, and if the person who is hiring for that position has an account and is on there, you can start to interact with them and have conversations with them as if you're just a fellow citizen of level," Falls said.

WLKY's Eric King typed "Louisville jobs" into the Twitter search engine, and scores of companies currently hiring came up.

"Actually social media is a very big tool for Brown Forman, and we leverage it in as many ways as we can," Brown Forman's director of global talent acquisition, Arelis Correa said.

Brown Foreman has a Twitter page devoted to nothing but job recruitment and it's always monitored.

As a result, the company has been able to add some top talent to its workforce.

"It's been very successful. I just had a meeting with our Twitter rep, and she mentioned that we are outperforming our competitors," Correa said.

But using social media to land big opportunities comes with big commitment.

Most notable: make sure your social media footprint is respectable.

"The fascinating thing about social media is you can very easily go out and see not just how smart the person is, but do they have a following online that they can bring to the table for your company?" Falls said.

"As a whole, integrity is very important to us so anything one may do that goes against integrity self-respect of themselves or others, it is something that we're going to pay attention to. We just can't ignore it out to -- we may not seek the information, but if for some reason we find it or it comes from a channel, it is something we are going to unfortunately have to look at and consider," Correa said.

The experts said even if you're not using social media outlets to find jobs, employers may be looking at them when choosing the right candidate.

They suggest being responsible with what is posted because it could cost a big opportunity.

Author:  Joseph Pisani

Source:  http://www.wlky.com/

WHEN an unusual rash, spot or feeling pops up it's tempting to go online and search Google for information, but often people become anxious and more worked up by Dr Google's insight.

It's difficult to distinguish the reliable online medical information and no search engine can replace the advice of a trained professional.

Yet looking for answers and explanations about health concerns is a natural part of human curiosity and a new initiative has found a way to eliminate the anxiety Dr Google can create.

Words for Wellbeing was launched today at Ipswich City Council Library under the watchful eye of Bernadette Praske, Principal Engagement Officer for West Moreton Hospital and Health Service.

She said people commonly say, after leaving the hospital, they want more information but don't always know where to find it.

Words for Wellbeing has brought together trusted books and websites, selected by qualified medical professionals, which can be accessed through the library and at home.

There are also a range of recommended apps to help people manage their health conditions on a day to day basis.

"People are not sure where to get information and often find, if they just google search, they get incorrect information, then become concerned without necessarily needing to be," Ms Praske said.

"We're trying to get people away from searching on Dr Google and scaring themselves.

"It's really important to understand chronic conditions; people live with them on an ongoing basis and understanding it can improve quality of life.

BYE DR GOOGLE: A new health initiative developed by a team including Bernadette Praske and Jodie Curtis offers Ipswich residents accurate and reliable medical information.BYE DR GOOGLE: A new health initiative developed by a team including Bernadette Praske and Jodie Curtis offers Ipswich residents accurate and reliable medical information.Helen Spelitis

"Having that trusted information (set aside by the Words for Wellbeing project) means people can access the information that doctors recommend."

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Sue McKee said similar initiatives had been highly successful in the UK and Western Australia.

 "Under the program a GP nurse or health professional will suggest a range of books available for borrowing which  directly relate to the patient's current mental or physical health concern," Ms McKee said.

 "Although books can sometimes work on their own, research has shown that self-help approaches work best when  there is support from a health professional.

 "There's solid evidence from the UK that self-help books can help people understand and manage common conditions like anxiety, stress and depression."

Source : qt.com.au

Author : Helen Spelitis

The search for “how to impeach a president” has increased by 5,000%.

Only hours after Donald Trump won the election, many people were already looking for ways to impeach him.

Searches for “how to impeach a president” saw a 4,850% increase after the president-elect’s victory, notes the Independent. Yesterday, the top states searching for this were Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado—all of which Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won in the election.

View image on Twitter

Today, the search term “impeach Trump” is No.8 on Trump-related queries, according to Google Trends. People in Oregon, California, Washington, and Colorado are also searching for this, as are those in Vermont. Clinton won Vermont on Tuesday night with 61% of the vote.

Searches for “how to move to Canada” also increased in the U.S. the night of Trump’s win, according to the Independent. So much so, the country’s immigration and citizenship website crashed. The same search also surged 350% after Trump’s victory on Super Tuesday, leading the immigration and citizenship site to display a warning that said users “may experience delays while using the website.”

Source:  fortune.com

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