Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Secrets leading to Success from Serial Entrepreneurs

For most entrepreneurs, starting and running one successful business during their career is much challenge. But for serial entrepreneurs — those who start, run and often sell multiple businesses — the thrill of startup life is too appealing to do it only once. These founders have mastered for a long time the art of growing a business from the ground up, and therefore have a lot of wisdom to impart to current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Whether you just want to focus on the one business you have or dream of launching several companies in the future, here's what you can learn from 13 successful serial entrepreneurs. Hannibal Baldwin, co-founder and CEO of SiteZeus (previous company — Baldwin Beach Capital): "I believe the success of progressive entrepreneurship lies within ... identifying and understanding the gap worth solving, the system-level technology or design to solve that gap and the business and financial intelligence to execute with strategic speed." Steve Gefter, managing director of IDDS Group (previous company — TSG Management): "Serial entrepreneurs have a mindset unlike anyone else; they are entrepreneurs on steroids. A 'get it done' work ethic is the most essential trait. Starting a business takes a lot — financially, emotionally and physically. To start one business requires a 'roll up your sleeves' mentality, so imagine what it takes to start five or 10. You either have it or you don't; and the most successful serial entrepreneurs do." Devaraj Southworth, CEO of Thirstie (previous companies — Tailfin Ventures, iThinkLabs, 30Seven Design): "I watched [my grandfather] build his own business, Gotham Button Company, as little as he was. He loved his business and the people that helped build it with him. What I remember the most was that he was always striving to do things better. I knew the road of the entrepreneur wasn't going to be easy, and that chances of success were very small, but I also knew it was the path I wanted and needed to try. Anyone can have a great idea, but turning that idea into a reality and executing on it is the difference between success and failure. For any entrepreneur, anything is possible, as long as you work incredibly hard, stick to your vision and build the right team." Georgianna Oliver, founder and CEO of Package Concierge (previously founded and sold two businesses in the multifamily housing industry): "Leverage your connections. Your network can make valuable introductions, contribute financially and most importantly provide realistic, experiential advice. I maintain connections with past employees, colleagues, managers and other influencers in the multifamily space, and even now, I run business ideas and challenges by them for input." David Goldin, president and CEO of AmeriMerchant (previously co-founded Media Connection of New York): "said You need to be constantly thinking of how to enhance and grow your business because your competitors are doing the same. Remember that losing is not an option and when you're in stressful situations, you've got to figure out ways to navigate and overcome the obstacles. If it was easy to be an entrepreneur, then everyone would be one. The best entrepreneurs need to be resilient and bounce back from anything."

The best Android phones you can buy right now

Buying a new Android smartphone is a hard work most times, and i have a tough time figuring out which device is worth wielding. The multitude of choices the Android world offers can be confusing to wade through. Before you even start looking at the options, you have to narrow down what you want the phone to look like and what it should be best at. If you’re in worry of where to go, I can help. These are the best Android phones in four general categories. Here on this blog you get the phones you should consider bringing home. Best all-around smartphone
A phone that covers it all round should be able to do it all: snap photos, play music, make phone calls, and do it all without dying out on you halfway through your morning commute. The Galaxy S6 (or Galaxy S6 Edge, if you prefer) excels at all of that. The Galaxy S6 boasts an impressive metal-and-glass build quality that far exceeds many of the other Android devices. It comes in four different colors, so you can choose one that best matches your personality. It’s also equipped with a stunning Quad HD Super AMOLED display with a pixel density of about 577 pixels-per-inch—that’s higher than both the HTC One M9’s Full HD display and the LG G4’s 538 PPI pixel density. The Galaxy S6 is powered by a 64-bit Exynos Octa 7420 processor. It’s fast—seriously fast—and the pared-down TouchWiz interface certainly helps a lot. The camera experience has also gotten better now that the phone is packed with a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera. I did a bunch of rigorous testing with the Galaxy S6 and the iPhone, and the Galaxy S6 came out on top. The 5-megapixel front-facing camera takes great selfies, too, and it features a 120-degree wide-angle lens, so you can fit in more than a few friends in a group selfie. Best Android phone camera
In case snapping photos and making them look good for the Internet is your main concern, then you should bring home the LG G4. It offers a plethora of manual camera controls—even more so than Samsung’s excellent Galaxy S6. You can tweak the settings for the exposure, ISO, lens focus, and white balance. You can also shoot in RAW, which offers more editing control in post-processing. The manual controls are super fun to play around with, too, and if you have a smartphone tripod rig, you can pop on the G4 to take long exposure shots. The aperture of the G4’s rear-facing camera is f/1.8, which helps it produce better-looking images in low light and contributes to those artsy shallow depth-of-field effects when you’re playing around with manual focus. It’s fast at snapping photos thanks to its laser autofocus, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not the final product will come out blurry with its optical image stabilization. The LG G4 is a solid phone overall, too. It’s equipped with a powerful processor, a Quad HD display, an expansion slot, and a removable 3,000mAh battery pack. Best phablet
The Galaxy Note 4 as for now is still the best phone-tablet hybrid on the market. Its 5.7-inch display is a beautiful piece of hardware. It sports a premium-feeling metal casing and an improved S-pen that’s great for doodling or taking notes—the stylus also offers a little tactile feedback. The bundled-in S-pen applications are great for productivity, whether you need to write out a note or doodle on screen. Its 16-megapixel rear-facing camera is nearly as good as it's flagship counterpart, the Galaxy S6. It also boasts a Quad HD display and 3GB of RAM. And, since it’s almost a year old, you might be able to grab the Galaxy Note 4 at a discount. Best budget phone
Motorola’s Moto G for now is still the best Android phone for less than $200 off contract. It’s basic and affordable, and works a lot of wonders as a unlocked phone that you can toss in your travel bag and bring with you around the world. At $180, the second-generation Moto G features a 5-inch, 720p LCD screen that actually looks a little more premium than it is—I keep forgetting that it’s not full HD. Its size makes it easy to tap out long messages and you’ll be able to enjoy YouTube videos with friends thanks to its front-facing stereo speakers. It also features a microSD expansion slot, in case you need more room to store your shows when you’re on the go, and its 2070mAh battery lasts all day. Best of all, the Moto G has no bloatware whatsoever. It’s stock Lollipop right out of the box with a few added extras like Moto Assist; there's no skin or app bundle constantly in your face and asking for you to interact with it.

Monday, 29 June 2015

The 10 important tech stories you may have missed

In the world of tec, a lot happens in a week. Too much, in fact, for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories from this week. From Apple announcing Apple Music will pay royalties to artists and Reddit celebrating its 10th birthday, to Gmail announcing its ‘Undo Send’ button, it’s all here. AndOn Sunday morning, Taylor Swift wrote a letter to Apple, explaining the reason why her album 1989 won’t be on Apple Music service when it launches at the end of the month. Taylor Swift wrote, “I’m sure you are aware that Apple Music will be offering a free 3 month trial to anyone who signs up for the service. I’m not sure you know that Apple Music will not be paying writers, producers, or artists for those three months. I find it to be shocking, disappointing, and completely, unlike this historically progressive and generous company.” Soon after, Apple’s Eddy Cue announced that Apple Music will pay royalties to artists during its three-month free trial for users after Taylor Swift publicly complained about its policy. Swift responded to Apple by tweeting to her followers that she was “elated and relieved.” Taylor Swift also confirmed on Twitter that she will be giving out her latest album, 1989, on Apple’s Music streaming service. Taylor announced Thursday after Apple decided to pay artists royalties during Apple Music’s free trial. Swift wrote on Twitter: “This is simply the first time it’s felt right in my gut to stream my album. Thank you, Apple, for your change of heart.” A lot of people believe that this enter thing was planned out in order to bring press to the release of Apple Music, which is going to be released in just a few days
Reddit celebrated its 10th birthday on Tuesday by releasing a ton of data on the site’s subreddits, users, and content. Reddit’s most viewed posts are “I am the guy with two penises, AMA” and “I am Barack Obama, President of the United States, AMA.” Since Reddit was founded in 2005, the site has grown to 230 million unique monthly visitors, 16 billion uproots, and only 2.5 billion down votes. It’s not a major surprise to find out that several of Reddit’s top posts and comments have been about penises. But, it’s also good to point out that Redditors have donated close to $1.8 million to different causes, ranging from disaster relief to Haiti, to raising of funds for school teachers.
You can now be able to sign up for Facebook Messenger, even if you don’t have an account on the social network. To get started, Facebook only needs your first name, last name, phone, and photo. The company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, “With this update, more people can enjoy all the features that are available on Messenger — including photos, videos, group chats, voice and video calling, stickers, and more.” Payments, stickers, and video calls will be available to those using Messenger without Facebook accounts.
Dating apps like Tinder and Match.com make it easy to find love, and now there’s an app that does the total opposite. Binder, which is available for iOS and Android, allows users to end a relationship with just one swipe to the right. To use the Binder app, users must choose the gender of their significant other, add their name and phone number, choose from a list of harsh reasons for ending the relationship, swipe right, and the app will take care of the rest. If you want to avoid that long awkward break-up conversation, you can have the Scottish man dump your crappy boyfriend. You can download Binder from the App Store and Google Play.
Gmail announced its ‘Undo Send’ button on Tuesday, which can help save users from sending emails to the wrong recipients. The feature was added to Inbox by Google less than a month ago, but thankfully, the feature has now been introduced to Web users. The ‘Undo Send’ button allows users to set a time from 5 to 30 seconds in which they can change their mind on sending an email. It’s been a Labs feature in beta for years, but is now a regular option.

Android M: All the Small Things You Need to Know for Now

All the small things Anytime I get my hands on a new operating system, I am just so excited by the small tweaks as I do by the major talking points. And for the case of Android M it doesn’t disappoint: Although it looks like Lollipop on the surface, it comes packed with all sorts of refinements and additions that promise to make your Android experience that much more enjoyable. Here you have 13 to check out in the developer preview. 1.Redesigned app drawer The app drawer gets an overhaul in Android M. First off, it’s now a scrollable pane rather than a series of pages. Also, apps are grouped by which letter of the alphabet they start with, which makes it a little easier to find the app you’re looking for. These changes may be a bit jarring for long-time Android users, but they’ll make finding apps that much easier for every other person. 2.Google Now voice search from the lock screen Google apparently get to know that people don’t make phone calls as much as they used to: The dialer shortcut on the lock screen has been replaced with a shortcut to Google Now’s voice search functionality. Simply swipe from the lower left corner to start a voice search. 3.New lock screen notification panel behavior The notification panel on the lock screen was a little wonky with Android Lollipop, as Computerworld’s JR Raphael noted—it basically showed you what you were already looking at on the lock screen itself. Android M improves on things somewhat—instead of merely showing another instance of your notifications, it will also open the quick settings panel instead. Your notifications will slide down and appear below the quick settings panel. 4. Quick access to frequently used apps The app drawer has another pair of tools designed to make finding apps easier. The first is a quick-access bar that shows your four most frequently used apps. This panel will appear when you use the search box on the home screen or Google Now screen. 5. App drawer search box Also new is a search box in the app drawer, so you can quickly and easily go to the app you want to use without having to scroll through the list. 6. Uninstall apps without leaving the homescreen Uninstalling an app on Android M this time around no longer requires you to go digging through Settings: Simply drag an app to the homescreen, then to Uninstall. Similarly, you can view app info or remove an app from a folder by dragging an app’s icon to the appropriate command. 7. Separate volume levels for ringtones, alarms, and media playback How many times have you wanted to temporarily lower your ringtone and notification volume, but still keep blaring your music at full blast? Android M now comes with separate volume control sliders for media playback and notifications. You used to have to set these individually in the Settings menu. 8. Google Settings and Settings are now one Have you at anytime found yourself puzzled as to why Google Settings—where you would go to change your preferences for various Google services—lived in a separate app instead of, you know, in the Settings app? Under Android M, Google Settings live within the Settings app: Just go to Settings > Google. 9.Hidden dark interface mode Tucked away in Android M’s hidden developer options is new the setting that lets you switch from Lollipop’s generally light-colored theme to something less glaring. To get to it, open the Settings app, tap About phone, then tap the Build number seven times. Go back to the main Settings screen, then tap Developer options. Finally, tap Theme, then choose which theme you’d like to use. 10. Customizable quick settings drawer Another developer tool, the SystemUI Tuner, this lets you rearrange or remove buttons in the quick settings drawer. Go to Settings > Developer options and flip the SystemUI Tuner toggle to the on position. Go back to the main Settings screen, then tap SystemUI Tuner. Tap Quick settings, and rearrange quick settings options by dragging and dropping the icons. 11.Per-app battery saver mode Android Lollipop has a battery-saver mode that you can easily switch on to save precious power when your battery gets low. Android M builds off of Lollipop with an enhanced “doze” mode , which limits certain background tasks when your phone’s been inactive for a period of time. If you want all background tasks to continue for a given app, though, you can turn “doze” mode off on a per-app basis. Go to Settings > Battery, then go to the Options menu (the three dots in the upper right) and ta Ignore optimizations. Tap the downward-pointing arrow, then tap All apps. Tap an app’s name, then toggle the Ignore optimizations slider to the on position. 12. Turn off heads-up notifications If you dislike the so-called “heads-up” notifications which slide over on-screen content in Android Lollipop, Android M is here to rectify the situation—at least a little. To turn off heads-up notifications on a per-app basis, go to Settings > Sound & notification > App notifications. Tap an app you no longer want heads-up notifications from, then toggle the Allow peeking switch to the off position. Use your Bluetooth to improve GPS accuracy You might already know that you can have your phone use nearby Wi-Fi hotspots to improve its location accuracy, but with Android M, you can set Bluetooth to improve GPS accuracy as well.To do this go to Settings > Location, then tap the Options menu (the three dots), and then tap Scanning.

Friday, 26 June 2015

OnePlus 2 unveil set for July 27 with virtual reality reveal

The OnePlus 2 is going to come straight to your face on July 27. That’s because OnePlus will broadcast its launch in virtual reality and soon hand out free viewers to those who sign up. The viewer design is based on Google Cardboard, an open-source blueprint for a cheap, virtual reality viewer that really works with a smartphone. Just as the same with the LG G4, and last year's OnePlus One, the company is leaking out the details of its new phone one announcement at a time. First up was news the OnePlus 2 will have the Snapdragon 810, with sufficient tweaks to mitigate any overheating issues. OnePlus also says the device will have a USB Type C port, which is gaining traction as the new standard for charging and data transfer. The story standing behind the story: The OnePlus One was a very decent phone, especially for the price, but it had its share of issues with bugs, terrible marketing missteps, and a very frustrating invite-only sales system. For the OnePlus 2 to gain traction, its parent company will need to show it’s grown up a bit. Marketing stunts are well and good (except when they objectify women), but buyers want some trust that if they run into problems with the phone, a reputable company will be there to support them.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

The 200GB microSD card that can transfer up to 1,200 photos per minute

This spring, SanDisk showcased the world’s first 200GB microSD card which, at the same time, just so happens to be the highest-capacity microSD card on the market. Today, Liliputing reported that the Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card is available now from a number of retailers at the MSRP of $240. While it might seem excessive to shell out over 200 clams on an SD card only to be filled with every episode of The Wire and all three Back to the Future movies, it’s actually a considerably more modest price than the $400 price tag SanDisk previously suggested. Its Amazon listing indicates that Sandisk’s new high-capacity microSD card offers transfer speeds of up to 90MB per second,which almost double that of its 128GB counterpart. SanDisk claims that the improved read speed will allow for up to 1,200 photos to be transferred between devices in a single minute. Seeing as it’s a Class 10, which enables both video recording and playback, the card is presumably geared towards photographers and filmmakers who need more space than other SD cards can typically provide. Reaffirming this assumption, the UHS-I comes packaged with an SD card adapter specifically intended for use with MIL cameras. Furthermore, the MicroSD card is waterproof, temperature-proof, shock-proof, X-ray-proof, and magnet-proof in case the possibility of destruction was a deal-breaker for you. Though it is admittedly on the pricey side, the SanDisk 200GB microSD card brings opulence in speed, storage, and durability that may very well justify the cost. If not, the 128GB flavor of the same card retails at $79 — more bang for your buck if you’re concerned with sheer volume.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

How you can switch from iPhone to Android and keep all your stuff

Have you grown tired of Apple’s walled garden of apps and the iron grip it maintains over the iOS platform. Well, the freedom of Android welcomes you with open arms, but don’t forget to bring your data along for the ride. Apple does not really make it particularly easy to move your data from iOS to Android—it’s more interested in moving people in the other direction. Still, with just a few tools and some patience, you can be up and running on Android without missing a beat. Contacts Let's assume that you’ve been an iPhone user for a while, odds are your contacts are synced to iCloud. That makes it easy to log into iOS devices and have your address book readily available, but it also makes it easier to get it into Google’s ecosystem. The first step is to make sure you’ve got your contacts in iCloud to begin with.To do this, go to the main settings on your iPhone and open the iCloud menu. Just make sure you’re logged in and have the switch next to Contacts flipped to on.
Next,you head over to the iCloud website and open the contact manager. In the lower right corner there’s a settings “gear” icon. Click that and select all your contacts, then use the same button to choose “Export vCard.” This file has all your contacts saved in it, so don’t leave it laying around. Then you go straight to the Google Contacts website with the vCard and log in with your Google account. If you don’t have one, create one—you’ll need it. Go to More and click Import. It will have you select the vCard file and that’s it, all your contacts will be saved in Google’s cloud. At this point you should already have a Gmail address, check the contacts there first. If you already use Gmail as your main email, you might have entries for many contacts without phone numbers. It helps to run the duplicate finder (in the left column) in Google Contacts to make sure all those entries are merged. Photos and videos Google has recently launched a new photo and video manager app on both Android and iOS, so this one is easy. All you need to do is grab the Google Photos app from the App Store and log in with your Google account. In the settings, you’ll find a setting for Backup and sync. Just head into that menu and enable backup of your photos. It’s free for images up to 16MP and videos up to 1080p. Google calls this “high quality,” and it will compress images slightly and shrink them if they’re too big. If you want the full untouched files, you can do that too. However, it counts against your Google Drive storage limit. Everyone gets 15GB of that for free. You will also be prompted to set this up when first running the app.
The above procedure will make sure all the photos and videos captured on your phone are saved online and easily accessible on Android, but that’s only for content you’ve still got on the device. If by any means you have deleted local copies and rely on iCloud Photo Library, you’ll want to get those files too. Make sure you have your iCloud library synced to your computer with the iCloud client, then go to photos.google.com. You can drag and drop all those files from your computer’s file explorer into the browser window to upload them. This is all only true for videos you’ve taken. Any video content purchased from iTunes is wrapped in restrictive DRM that prevents it from being used on non-Apple devices. Bummer. Bookmarks If you spend any amount of time browsing from your iPhone, there are probably bookmarks in Mobile Safari that you want to bring along with you to Android. Apple has chosen to make it strangely difficult to get the bookmarks out of Safari on iOS, though. The fastest and easiest way, once again, is to use the iCloud client on your computer.
At this point now you have to make sure you’ve got Safari set to sync in the iCloud settings on your phone, then head to your computer and open iCloud. One of the sync options there is Bookmarks. You will need to have Chrome installed on your PC or Mac to get the option to sync directly to that browser. If you want to use Firefox on Android, you can just send the bookmarks to that browser instead. Both will sync from your computer to phone instantly. Keep in mind, if you’ve been using Chrome on iOS to manage your bookmarks, all the work is done for you. Chrome bookmarks will sync across devices automatically. There is currently no version of Firefox on iOS, so if that’s what you want to use on Android, you’ll have to use the iCloud syncing procedure above. Mail If you have been using Gmail on your iPhone,then you just have to feel free to skip ahead. All your mail will show up on Android when you log in with your Google account. If you’re using iCloud email, you don’t have to leave that address behind. Most device makers have a generic email app on the phone that lets you add any IMAP account (like iCloud), but the Gmail app also has that option now.
Alternatively, you take a look at CloudMagic and Mailbox, which have easy automatic iCloud setup. Both are free apps. Calendar Apple’s iOS calendar app does not include an export option, so you’re looking at another iCloud workaround to get this data into Google Calendar. You might also consider using a third-party app that’s available on both platforms if you don’t feel the need to commit fully to Google’s ecosystem. For example, you can simply use Microsoft’s Sunrise calendar app and log in with iCloud on iOS and Android. To move the iCloud calendar to Google’s system, you need to make sure it’s synced with iCloud in your main iOS settings. Then on your computer, go to the iCloud website and open the calendar. Click on the Share icon next to the calendar you want to export and mark it as public. This will give you a link that starts with webcal:// but you can change that to http:// and paste it into your desktop browser’s URL bar.
The URL is to download an ICS file, which you can use on the Google Calendar website to import your calendar. In Google Calendar, click Other calendars in the left column and select Import calendar. Point it at the ICS file you just grabbed and you’re done. Music The Android-focused equivalent of iTunes is Google Play Music, which comes with free storage for up to 50,000 songs. Because the iPhone does not have a fully accessible file system, you can’t easily export your music files directly from the device. The quickest way to move to the Android-friendly Play Music is to sync your music library to a computer using iTunes, then upload to the Google cloud. If you have a relatively small music library, you can go to the Play Music website and just drag all your songs anywhere in the window to upload them. For larger libraries, download the Google Music Manager for your PC or Mac. In the Upload tab, you can point Music Manager at your iTunes library and everything will be uploaded in the background.
Google Play Music is able to accept MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, and OGG. Apple has been selling only DRM-free music for a few years at this point, but if you still have any old DRM-protected music, none of that will work with Play Music. Apps and games One out of the many reasons people stick with iOS is that big selection of apps and games, but Android has gotten much better in this regard over the last few years. Still, you won’t find any method for directly moving apps and games from your iPhone to Android. The two systems are not compatible and there’s no way to prove that you already bought something on iOS. If you want the same content, you’ll have to buy it again.
All the major apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Pandora are available on Android. Check the top charts in the Apps section and you’ll find all of them. For your specific app loadout, you’ll have to do just a little searching. The online Play Store makes it easy to find and push both free and paid apps/games to your phone, and it’s a little faster than using the Play Store on your device. You can install apps to your phone right from the web (it's weird that Apple hasn't figured that out yet, frankly). If you’re not able to find something you used on the iPhone, check out AlternativeTo. This website shows you potential alternatives to a wide range of apps and games. So if you were a big fan of the weather app Dark Sky on iOS, AlternativeTo might suggest you try 1Weather or Weather Timeline on Android. Getting all your apps sorted out will probably be the biggest pain when you make the switch, but the increasing use of cloud services on both platforms has made the overall process much easier than it used to be. Take it step-by-step and you’ll be done in no time.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Google wristband can give doctors constant stream of patient data

Google has created a health-tracking wristband that is able to give health care professionals real-time information on the well-being of their patients. The wearable is able to measure a patient’s pulse, activity level, skin temperature and heartbeat rhythm. It’s also able to monitor light levels and light exposure. This data could be used to learn more about patient behavior outside of the hospital and better treat ailments, Google said on Tuesday. For example, data showing that a person isn’t moving around frequently or spending limited time outdoors could indicate illness, Google said. Don’t expect to use the device to track sleeping patterns or count steps. Unlike consumer-focused health and fitness wearables and smartwatches, Google’s “cardiac and activity sensor” device is designed for medical settings, the company said. Health-monitoring features are available in smartwatches running Android Wear as well as the Apple Watch and fitness trackers from companies like Fitbit. However, doctors are reluctant to incorporate these wearables into patient care because the devices’ sensors haven’t been validated for accuracy. In order to accept wearables, physicians need devices with medical-grade sensors that take precise readings, critics have said. The search giant’s life sciences group, which is a part of the Google X research division, developed the wristband, which looks like a smartwatch with a square display with rounded corners attached to a wristband. Google didn’t immediately reply to questions about the wearable’s battery life and if it runs Android Wear. Google is now working with several research partners on medical studies to determine if receiving a constant stream of data can help doctors better treat disease, said Jacquelyn Miller, a Google spokeswomen. The company didn’t provide details on what conditions it is studying. Gauging the device’s usefulness in clinical settings could take several years, Miller said. If the wearable proves beneficial to care givers, Google will look for partners to build the device, she said. Google’s other life sciences projects include a contact lens that can monitor a person’s blood sugar levels. The company is also contributing its sensor technology and imaging technology to a robot-assisted surgical platform bye for now.

Selfie sticks and lens adapters: mobile camera accessories that can think outside the box

The phrase “this goes all the way to the White House” can officially refer to selfie sticks, now that President Barack Obama has been featured in a Buzzfeed video taking pictures of himself with a telescoping monopod. Meanwhile, smartphone camera accessories, in general, are in the throes of a turbulent adolescence. The selfie stick seems to be giving the story of a larger trend with smartphone accessories: some are made for some bizarre purpose that seems unapologetically bizarre, while others are actually so useful that you should consider adding it to your bag of tricks. As smartphones now dominate casual photography, expect the number of accessories that users can buy to “enhance” their photo-taking to skyrocket. We have assembled a list of some of the unconventional smartphone camera accessories out there – from the ridiculous to the brilliant. Sony QX 1 ($400)
Sony wishing to shake up the photography industry with the QX line of “smartphone partners.” The QX1 seems a little high until you realize what it is: an adapter with a large 20.1-megapixel APS-C sensor that effectively turns your smartphone into a mirrorless camera. Simply attach a variety of Sony E-mount lenses (optional, and it’ll add significantly more to the price), and you open up a new world of focal lengths and capabilities your smartphone only dreamt of. But it touts impressive features like a shooting speed of 10 frames per second and 1080p Full HD recording. The QX1 is ideal for those who own Sony lenses, but if you’re looking for a point-and-shoot option, check out Sony’s QX100. Narrative Clip ($150)
you may wonder what it would be like to have photos from every moment of your day? The narrative clip does just that. The tiny device snaps a photo every 30 seconds with its 5-megapixel camera. It has 8GB of built-in memory and is small and light enough to clip onto your shirt. We dig it. A new version, the Narrative Clip 2, has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so it can communicate with your smartphone for quicker sharing. Muku Shutter Remote ($39)
The Muku Shutter Remote, for both iPhone and Android phones, uses Bluetooth to take pictures remotely from up to 30 feet away. Place your device on a tripod with a phone mount, set up a shot, and take a picture of your group – with you in the photo. There are some few shutter remotes for phones out there, so if Muku doesn’t seem like a good buy then you could check out something like Hisy. Smartphone Ring Light ($55)
This particular one is a case for your iPhone that holds a detachable, swiveling LED ring light on the back that can be used either in its resting position on the back of your phone, swiveled so that the ring is around your phone’s camera lens, or detached if you need the light somewhere particular. It runs on AAA batteries, so you don’t need to drain your phone. SoloCam
If it sound broken, don’t fix it, right? Well, it seems a lot of people think the selfie stick is broken, and are looking to reinvent the wheel or build on top of it. One is the SoloCam, which is currently running an IndieGoGo campaign. Besides a telescoping pole to attach iPhone or Android phone, the dual-grip handle consists of a built-in high-definition, old-school-looking microphone that’s synced with the SoloCam app via Bluetooth. With your phone’s display acting as a teleprompter, you can use the SoloCam to essentially create one-man, in-the-field videos, whether it’s a video podcast or Periscope broadcast. Cliquefie

Only on Android: The best apps you will only find on Google's OS

Some how you’re probably tired of hearing it. Another new app launches, and it looks awesome. And then you go to download it, and discover the catch: only on iPhone. Mosttimes an Android version comes along later. Other times not at all. It’s a serious drag, especially given Android’s dominant market share. It’s even more puzzling that this is still the habit of some large companies, as evidenced by Twitter’s slow rollout of Periscope and Spotify’s new feature set that’s still nowhere to be found on Android. That’s not only the case for all developers. There are some who not only build for Android, but create apps that are only possible on Google’s platform. This type of thinking comes with great enthusiasm for the green robot. So we reached out and chatted with a few developers who were eager to share the cool, Android-y stuff they’ve built. These apps are the perfect showcases for your iPhone-carrying friends next time you get a whiff of that Apple superiority. Muzei Wallpaper and Form Watch show how apps can partner up Google’s Roman Nurik created some apps that showcase a feature or capability that you can only do with his company’s mobile platform. He had already done that with his DashClock Widget, which was originally built for the now-retired feature of Android lock screen widgets. His latest project is Muzei Live Wallpaper, which puts a new work of art on your home screen each day. While live wallpapers aren’t an Android-exclusive anymore, pairing them up with a smartwatch .
So he also built a Form Watch Face, which syncs up the background available in Muzei and displays it on both your phone and watch. It’s certainly not going to make you more productive, but it’s intended as one of those showcase features to give other developers ideas about how to extend Android. “The integration with the Muzei wallpaper app was partly a showcase of Android’s flexibility and framework features (more on that in my Medium post), and partly a way to let Android Wear users personalize their watch even further. To me, Android Wear is all about glanceable information and personalization, and I feel watch faces epitomize both—so working on a watch face seemed natural.” For Nurik, Android no longer just stands apart in function, but also in form with Material Design. The aesthetic is just as critical to differentiate Android from other platforms by giving developers the tools to make their apps look like they belong on Google’s OS. “At events we’ve held and participated in, we’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback,” Nurik said. “That’s not to say we’re ‘done’ with material design; we get tons of external requests for more examples, more UI patterns, more framework support, and additional guidance, and we plan to build on material design to make it even easier for designers and developers everywhere to use it.” The Form Watch Face app specifically embraces this, as it uses a font built for Google’s first design conference. Muzei has additional extendability, as any developer can create a batch of backgrounds to use with the app. They can just head to the Github depository and start building. Flynx floats above the home screen Facebook’s chat heads is never the only type of bubble that can hang around on your Android home screen (messing with the home screen is definitely off limits for iOS developers). Flynx saves links from Twitter, Facebook, other apps or Chrome and puts them on your home screen as a gentle reminder about what you want to read. It’s like a more persistent form of Pocket. Arunangshu Bhakta, a developer on the Flynx team, said this kind of capability is one of the reasons that developing for Android can be rewarding. “Operating systems like iOS have a very closed ecosystem and they do not have any concept like floating widgets,” he said. Such a capability can be found inside an iOS app, but it can’t work with the core of the operating system in this way. Looking ahead to Android M, he’s optimistic about the revamps to permissions that won’t pester the user so much. Currently when installing an app a developer has to list every possible service of part of the device the app may interact with. “I like the way Android M handles app permissions, where apps ask for permissions when required. Also, Android M’s doze [feature] looks promising from the first look and feedback that we are hearing,” he said. Our hands-on with Android M found that developers will be able to tap even deeper into the operating system’s power and give the user more control with better notification settings and visibility of RAM usage. Trigger opens up NFC, core customizations Trigger brings a level of commands and customization to your phone that is nowhere near possible on iOS. For example, Trigger allows you to create a series of tasks that your phone performs automatically, like to turning on the Wi-Fi when connecting to a particular Bluetooth device, or dimming the screen when your phone reaches a low battery level.
Or there’s the world of NFC tags. You can place an NFC tag on a nightstand, table, or anywhere else and program it to perform a specific function when you tap it with your phone. While the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have NFC chips, Apple restricts their usage to Apple Pay. “Trigger works with many sensors beyond NFC, and a lot of what it does (e.g. dimming display to save battery life when battery level drops) can only be done on Android. iOS doesn’t let apps change phone settings, for example,” said Triger developer Kulveer Taggar. Trigger also has a geofencing capability, so you can tell your phone to flip Wi-Fi on and connect to a particular network when you arrive at work, home, or anywhere else. This feature is still listed as beta as relies on access through Google Play Services, but it’s worked rather well for me. Such specificity in how an app can access so many core elements of the operating system is, according to Taggar, why he continues to enjoy creating Android apps, even though he also builds for iOS. “You can really get into the nuts and bolts of the operating system to create new experiences,” he said. Custom launchers remain an Android exclusive With the iPhone, the interface is what it is: and other tricks that came along with iOS 8, but just stop thinking about other large-scale customization. Not so with Android. Developers can creat custom app launchers, which allow you to change up the home screen in any number of ways. One of the originals is Nova Prime Launcher. The app has been around since the early days of Android, when Google’s ugly OS desperately needed a makeover by third parties. Nova Launcher just went through a major revamp and now offers a more Material-friendly look. It’s very similar in design to the Google Now Launcher, but offers significantly more customization. You’re able to change the number of apps that can fit on each home screen, re-size the icons, and can even set the launcher to make use of custom gestures. Developer Kevin Barry says it’s this kind of openness that makes him partial to developing for Android. “The closed nature of iOS has kept me Android-only. I love the personalization space and Android not just allows it, but encourages. The type of apps I’ve done so far wouldn’t be allowed on iOS devices.” That’s why he thinks the new app permissions coming in Android M are essential - because you can do so much as a developer, you don’t want a lengthy list of caveats might scare some away. “After Android M has decent market share, developers will have the freedom to add features requiring the camera, GPS, contacts, or whatever, without scaring away users who don’t want that functionality. Currently, if it’s not core functionality, it’s not worth it for developers like me who target power users who are often privacy conscious.” The largest sea change that’s coming for developers is how Google Now On Tap will integrate more deeply with apps to give you even more context-aware content on your phone. This opens up a lot of possibilities for apps to work together and connect more tightly to Google services. Don’t expect any of the apps we’ve highlighted to jump to iOS anytime soon. While iOS 9 brings a lot of new features many copied from Android), there’s no hint of any new openness that would let you do anything close to what these apps can do.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Right Employee, Wrong Job? Here's What you can Do

Sometimes hiring great employees is no easy task, but hiring the right person for the right job is even more harder. No matter how many job applicants a company has at hand, it's difficult to find someone with a great work ethic and personality who fits the company culture, aligns with your goals, and is skilled and trained to do the job you're looking to fill. As a result, you're bound to make a few hiring mistakes along the way. Sometimes, you end up hiring the right person for the business, but not for the right position. Maybe, a few months into the person's employment, you realize he or she has the right attitude but is not a good fit for that particular job. If that's the case, it may be time to rethink this employee's responsibilities. What are the signs that will prove to you that may have the right employee in the wrong job? Angie Nuttle, CEO of talent and organizational development consulting firm Corporate OD Strategies, said there are three ways you can tell. The first sign? These employees aren't passionate about their work, and it's clear in the way they talk about it. People who are engaged with their jobs will speak and act with passion, Nuttle said, so if the flame is dwindling, some new responsibilities may rekindle their love for their position. Another sign is this, Nuttle said to look out for is that the employee is bored or isn't being challenged enough. "By the time people are finishing the job quickly, then they have too much time on their hands and are nonverbally telling you they need something meatier to work on," Nuttle said. On the other hand, people who are too obsessed with their jobs could also be in need of some job restructuring. The ability to deal with change and ambiguity is very important in today's business world, Nuttle said, but some employees get obsessive over every detail and don't want to change. Christian Muntean, principal at leadership consulting company Vantage Consulting, provided some other signs to look out for: The employee shows a pattern of weakness in a particular area. The employee expresses frustration about one responsibility or the role in particular. The employee has a certain set of tasks or duties that they always seem to put off. Other employees or managers tell you that the job doesn't seem to be a good fit. And, of course, if the employee tells you the job may not be the best fit, you should listen. Muntean said that most of the times, employers ignore these statements and try to remain encouraging or tough on employees. But just because your employee exhibits these signs, it doesn't always mean that you need to change the employee's job entirely. "Sometimes, the answer isn't a complete reassignment," Muntean said. If the employee is otherwise competent in the role with your company, you could keep the person in that role but make some adjustments to his or her responsibilities, Muntean suggested. You could also explore options like additional training and coaching, Muntean said. In any sense, if you have an employee you think could benefit from a role change, you should approach the person the right way, confirm that the employee wants to change roles and make the transition as smooth as possible, experts agree. Getting the right role So now, how do you achieve that smooth transition? "It boils down to identifying the role that encompasses what the employee's interests are and where those intersect with the company's needs and their skill set," said Amal Zahri, managing director and overseer of talent acquisition at DriveTime. This means you need to talk to your employees about what would better suit them and how they feel about their jobs. Jennifer Martin, principal business consultant at Zest Business Consulting, said you should ask these employees if they have a skill or talent that is being underutilized in their position. This means more than just asking if there's something they'd rather be doing, Martin noted. Rather, you should ask if the company is getting their best work, and how they could put their skills to better use. And make sure to clarify that you have your employee's best interests in mind. Nuttle suggested giving the employee feedback on what he or she is doing well and find ways to maximize it. For example, tell employees that they're doing a great job in a certain field and that it makes you think they can step up and do more meaningful work in another way, Nuttle said. "Let them know your goal is to help them develop to their most full potential and capacity, and mean it," Nuttle said. Of course, you don't have to avoid talking about the needs of the company, but you should also keep the focus on the employee's needs and goals. "Whenever possible, keep the conversation about the employee's long-term career goals, where they see themselves heading within the company and identifying the role that pairs their aspirations with overall business needs," Zahri said. And most important, give employees some control over the situation — don't let them feel like it's something being done to them, Nuttle said. Making the transition When we are talking about making a transition, there are a few important steps to follow, Martin said. First, consider the input from both angles — make sure that management and the staff member both agree that there should be changes, Martin said. Then, if everyone agrees, talk to the employee about what the transition will entail, including job title and assigned duties. Finally, Martin noted, if employees are taking on more responsibility, they may not have time to get everything in their job description completed to the best of their ability. To avoid this scenario, have the employee write down a list of his or her job responsibilities in a given month, and then see which tasks can be delegated, and to whom, Martin said. If you're willing to make the change and you approach it the right way, it can only help your business, Muntean said. "If the change is done well, it will nearly always result in improved morale and productivity," Muntean said. "Not just for that employee, but often for anyone else whose work was impacted by that employee's responsibilities."

These headphones won’t only help you sleep better, they also may help improve your memory

“I was not able to sleep for three days before the Kickstarter campaign launched,” Tim Antos, co-founder of sleep-tracking headphones startup Kokoon told me. The irony of looking overtired when you’re promoting such a product was not lost on him, but any cause for concern was unwarranted. The device smashed its $100,000 target within a few days, and is now well past $600,000. The team at first didn’t know what to expect prior to the launch, and freely admit they weren’t as prepared as perhaps they should have been. “We just wanted to get it out there, and not waste our time if it turned out not to be something people wanted,” fellow founder Richard Hall said. Thus they decided to stretch the campaign time to 60 days. Now, still with another month to run, Kokoon is gearing up to expand the team, and further enhance the product. Work while you snooze What should we expect? While the Kokoon sounds like an unusual, alternative take on a sleep tracker, it could end up benefiting wearers in unexpected ways. The team is researching ways the headphones can help you when you’re awake, and work some special magic to improve memory retention when you’re asleep. The EEG sensor built into the headset monitors brainwaves, and can accurately measure concentration levels, in the same way it looks at sleep patterns. Wear them during the day, perhaps while working our studying, and the Kokoon will recognize when your attention wanders. Kooks is exploring the prospect of partnering with streaming music firms, ready to deliver tracks that have been proven to give the right areas of the brain a jolt while being played — giving you an espresso-style pick-me-up, without bothering with the drink itself. If you are really excited by the idea of your brain activity being exploited to help make you concentrate better, you’ll love what could come next. Returning to sleep, the team is looking closely at some recent scientific research that used audio played at key times during the deep sleep phase to promote better memory consolidation and retention. “It’s just one study,” Hall explained, pointing out that it’s still very early days, “but it shows that when noise is played at a time when brain wave oscillation is at its slowest point, memory can be improved.” The prospects for students, anyone learning a new language, or simply those of us who don’t have very good memories in the first place, are tantalizing. All these areas are potentially part of Kokoon’s future. For now,all is doing is to be helping people not only sleep better, but also understand where improvements can be made if they’re not. The EEG allows the Kokoon to directly monitor the part of our body that’s actually doing the sleeping. The sensors are clever enough to lower the music after you’ve fallen asleep, and switch to white noise if you’re not resting well enough. It’ll begin to learn which methods and sounds work best for you too. If you sleep on your side, the idea of wearing an over-ear headset in bed probably isn’t very enticing. However, Antos assured me — being a side-sleeper himself — the headset has been designed for exactly that type of person. Breathable materials, ergonomic ear pads, and a kitten-soft inner earphone material are all being used to make sure the Kokoon is as comfortable as possible. Still at the prototyping stage, the version of the Kokoon we saw wasn’t final, but the design is close to how it’ll be at launch, which is expected to be early next year.

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Five Things to Try: Photoshop Mix enables easy image merging, and FireWhip hurts so good

Are you looking for the latest and greatest apps on the Play Store? You’ve come to the right place. Our Five to Try column collects the top new releases, and this week is headlined by Adobe Photoshop Mix, a handy tool that makes it easy to combine images on the go—and it’s just one of four new Adobe apps out this week, amazingly. The FireWhip is the week’s standout game, delivering a frenzied, arcade-style affair that burns bright and fast. Meanwhile Portal (the app, not Valve’s classic game) allows easy PC-to-phone file transfers, Vessel opens up the new video service to Android users, and Colbr builds early momentum for Stephen Colbert’s Late Show launch this fall. Got some room on your device? Let’s dig in. Adobe Photoshop Mix
This free app—brought over from iOS—focuses on combining images or clearing away unwanted photo elements with relative ease. You can use a finger or stylus to select a portion of a photo and then transpose it onto another (or simply zap it away), using the included tools to smooth out and enhance the results. Mix also lets you tweak the coloring for select parts of photos, as well as the whole image. It is actually one of a few Adobe apps that made the Android leap this week for Creative Cloud users. Color CC lets you create themes from colors you capture in the world around you, Shape CC generates vector graphics from photos, and Brush CC makes it easy to build Photoshop and Illustrator brushes from graphics. They’re all highly specific tools, but together they help expand the Adobe mobile suite and make it easier to be ready when inspiration strikes. FireWhip Whips and fire are much unwieldy on their own, so by combining the two it provides an ideal starting point for a tricky arcade-style affair. The FireWhip itself sits in the middle of a mostly-black screen, and as you draw continual circles around it, the blaze begins growing and spinning—and enemies start floating in for you to toast. Some how controling the whip isn’t easy: Inconsistent swipes don’t do much, but spinning too rapidly extinguishes the flames. You’ll have to find a nice rhythm and then learn to crack the whip with a well-timed swipe, which is useful for taking out advanced foes. FireWhip ($1) is tough from the start, but the missions smartly act as tutorials for learning the ropes, and the grimy soundtrack and pixel art pair well with the brutal, sudden deaths. You can even capture GIFs of your epic, eye-searing flameouts. Portal
We all have our different solutions for getting files from a PC over to our Android devices—via email or uploading to and downloading from the cloud, for example—but they’re rarely straightforward or rapid. Portal, a new app from the makers of Pushbullet, is the smartest and most direct solution I’ve used to date. Simply point your PC or Mac browser to the website and scan the QR code with the Android app: now you’re connected. From there, you can drag files to the browser and have them instantly transfer to your phone via Wi-Fi. Portal even sorts them based on file type, so music files end up in the appropriate folder for other apps to access them, for example. The main Pushbullet app has similar functionality bundled in, but Portal minimizes the hassle for quick, efficient transfers. Vessel Beta
For those who creates videos , the recently launched Vessel offers you the ability to generate more income than YouTube thanks to both subscription fees and ad views. For viewers, on the other hand, the benefit of paying a monthly fee ($3) is that those creators release videos exclusively through Vessel days before anywhere else. It’s a service for die-hard fans, assuming the creators you like are using it (the list is still relatively thin). And the new Android app—still in beta, but available freely in the Play Store—provides a pretty slick browsing and viewing experience, although finer video controls are MIA and the right-side navigational drawer shuns Material Design tenets. Vessel comes with a free trial, plus you can watch non-exclusive videos for free anytime, so viral video fans might as well give it a shot. Colbr
We are less than three months away now from the debut of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and Colbert (the comedian) has retired “Stephen Colbert” (the character) from his long-running Comedy Central show. As such, it’s not entirely clear just what to expect as far as tone and sense of humor. But we are getting some clues, and Colbr is the latest development. Essentially, the app collects the various media—podcasts and video shorts—being released in the run-up to the premiere, offering a one-stop hub for your Android device. It’s simple in approach and design for now, but Colbr is an ideal way to start preparing for September. And kudos on that Tumblr-teasing title, Stephen.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Books burns and discs dies, but these etched sapphire ‘Nanoforms’ will last forever

Storing data for a notable stretch of time is a trickier task than it might seem. As we all know paper and film can last a few generations if they’re carefully preserved, but even under the best conditions they tend to fade after while. While digital media (CDs, flash drives, and external hard drives) have a 30-year life span at best — assuming they aren’t scratched, corrupted, demagnetized, or rendered obsolete by newer systems before then. And the cloud? That’ll only last for as long as we can keep our current Internet infrastructure intact, and that’s completely out of your hands. Okay, what assuming you want to store something for a thousand, one hundred thousand, or even a million years? How would you preserve information for that long? The answer, according to French entrepreneurs Alain Rey & Farid Benzakour, is to etch your data into sapphire with a high-powered laser. Using this technique, the duo have created a unique analog storage device dubbed the “nanoform” Nanoforms are essentially a high-tech cross between stone tablets and microfilm slides. Instead of chiseling crude symbols into a hunk of rock, Rey and Benzakour use a sophisticated laser etching process to scrawl information into a disk of lab-grown sapphire — the second hardest material known to man. Using this method, they’re able to etch out shapes in incredibly fine detail — so small that they need to be magnified (like microfilm) in order to be read. In order to give you an example of just how small they can go, Rey and Benzakour printed the book War and Peace –in its entirety– on a 4-inch demo disk, and the whole thing took up less than a quarter of the disk’s area. On top of that, the technique isn’t limited to just text. The laser can etch out practically any shape you want, so pictures aren’t out of question either — so long as they’re black and white. The beauty of this approach is that, in addition to resisting water, fire, acid, and corrosion, the disks are completely analog. You don’t need a computer to read them, the information can’t be hacked, and the etched images can be viewed with just about any kind of magnification device — a camera with a macro lens, a microscope, a pair of binoculars, or even just a big magnifying glass. Rey and Benzakour have recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise money for production. For a pledge of about $150, they’ll send you a 1-inch nanoform engraved with whatever the heck you want. If all goes according to plan, they expect to begin shipping sometime around November this year.

A UV-emitting door which handles and neutralizes bacteria, helps in fighting the spread of disease

On the list of most germ-ridden objects you come across on a daily basis, door handles are probably one of the worst. They’re particularly problematic because, while lots of people touch them on a daily basis, they generally don’t get cleaned as often as, say, a kitchen counter — or even a toilet seat for that matter. Okay now, nobody has ever think about to sanitize door handles, but luckily for us, a pair of enterprising high school students from Hong Kong have developed a brilliant new handle system that might one day keep germs at bay — without any harsh chemicals or regular cleaning. Here’s how it works. The handle (which creators Simon Wong and Michael Li recently presented at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh) uses two different germ-killing techniques. For starters, the visible surfaces of the handle are made from titanium oxide — a naturally occurring metal oxide that’s known for its anti-bacterial qualities. This was a very pretty smart design choice, but Wong and Li didn’t stop there. Titanium dioxide doesn’t always kill 100 percent of surface bacteria, so to boost the handle’s microbe-murdering abilities, the duo outfitted it with a special UV-emitting glass cylinder. Every time it’s used to open the door to which it’s proudly attached, the handle puts out a short burst of low-wavelenth ultraviolet light — effectively scrambling the DNA of any germs that might be hanging out on the surface, and rendering them incapable of breeding/multiplying. And it gets even better. As if titanium dioxide brackets and a UV-emitting glass handle weren’t genius enough, Wong and Li also designed the system to be completely self-powered. The boys attached a gearbox to the door that converts the motion from opening and closing it into electricity. This creates enough energy to power the handle’s internal LEDs, so it doesn’t need an outside energy source to work. I think that is a very great invention and soon hospitals will start making use of it

Thursday, 18 June 2015

How you can install the Android M preview on a Nexus device

The next main release of Android, code-named Android M, is going to bring a whole host of new features and enhancements. If you have a Nexus device and can’t wait until the third quarter of this year to get your hands on Android M, you can try the developer preview now. It's buggy and doesn't have all the features now, but since when has that stopped you? Installing the Android M preview takes a small command-line know-how. And as is the case with any other pre-release software, you may encounter unforeseen problems, so install Android M on a secondary device that you don’t rely on, or you be prepared to the risk of losing your data. Getting started Okay for the fact that installing the Android M preview will require you to wipe your phone, you’ll want to back it up before you begin. You’ll also want to update to the newest non-beta version of Android available—Android Lollipop 5.1.1 as of this writing—if you haven’t done so already. Updating now may save you headaches later on in this process. Next, take a few minutes to download and install Google’s Android Studio developer tools if you don’t already have them installed. The installation process is pretty straightforward, and Google provides step-by-step instructions that explain how to do it. If you don’t have Java installed on your computer, you’ll need to download and install that it as well. As soon as you have the developer tools installed, go ahead and download the Android M preview from Google. Note that Google provides different preview builds for each device, so make sure you get the one made specifically for your device. You can get builds for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus Player. I installed Android M on a Nexus 5, so I downloaded the “hammerhead” image. Double-click the file you downloaded to unzip the image files. Keep these files in a safe place—we’ll come back to them in a few minutes. Prepping your phone Installing the Android M preview will require you to turn on Developer Mode on your phone. The process varies slightly depending on the version of Android you’re running, but on Android Lollipop, pop open the Settings app, scroll down, then tap About Phone. Scroll down to the Build number and tap it 7 times to unlock the developer options. Now the next thing you do is to return to the main Settings screen, then scroll down and tap Developer options. Finally, toggle the switch for USB debugging to the on position and confirm when requested.
And next, you find the folder containing the adb and fastboot tools that come with the Android developer tools. On OS X, these tools are tucked away in the hidden Library folder for your user account: To get to it, select Go to Folder... from the Finder’s Go menu, type ~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/ into the text field, then press Go. On Windows, you’ll find the folder on your C drive. The filename path will look something like C:\adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20131030\adt-bundle-windows-x86_64-20131030\sdk\platform-tools, though the names may vary slightly depending on which version of the developer tools you have installed. Your best bet may be to go to your C drive and poke around a bit. Track down the image files you unzipped earlier, and move them to the folder containing adb and fastboot (it streamlines the process some by reducing the number of terminal commands you need to execute).
Now, you are to make sure your computer can find your phone. And so you go ahead and plug your phone into your computer using a USB cable, and confirm the connection on your phone if prompted. To check for devices, open a Terminal or Command Prompt window (if you don’t know where to look, use your operating system’s search function to find the Terminal or Command Prompt). Type cd followed by the filename path listed earlier into terminal then press enter—for example: cd ~/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools/. The cd command is the same on both OS X and Windows; only the filename path format is different. Once you do that, type “adb devices” and press enter. You’ll see something like “0ae33abd02ba3467 device.” If you see that (the big string of letters and numbers will vary), you’re good to go. If not, go back and make sure you have USB debugging enabled on your Android device. Important Note: If you’re using OS X and you get an adb command not found message, try adding “./” in front of the commands you type—for example, ./adb devices. This tells the Terminal to look in the current folder for the adb tool. This applies to all commands mentioned in this article.) Once your setup passes the adb devices test, type adb reboot bootloader and press enter, then Your phone will now reboot into fasboot mode. Okay now you may take a look at your phone’s screen: If it says “locked state: locked,” you may need to unlock the phone’s bootloader first. Run the command fastboot oem unlock, then confirm on your phone that you want to unlock the bootloader. Note that doing so will erase all data on your phone, so be absolutely sure that this is necessary before you run this command. Installing Android M preview Now that your bootloader is unlocked, it’s time for you to install the Android M preview on your phone. Type flash-all.bat (on Windows) or flash-all.sh (on OS X) to run the installation script, then press enter. (Note very well that: If running the script results in a string of command not found messages on OS X, you’ll actually have to open the script in a text editor—TextEdit works—then add “./” in front of all instances of “flash-all.sh” in the script, just as you did with terminal commands you entered. Save your changes then quit your text editor, and then try again.) The flashing process takes some time, so be patient: Your phone will restart when the flashing process is complete. If all goes right, your phone will spring back to life with Android M installed. It may take your phone a while to boot back up the first time you restart, so don’t panic if your phone is stuck on the boot screen for several minutes. If you have unlocked your bootloader, you may want to lock your bootloader again for security reasons, so reenable developer options and USB debugging, then boot into fastboot mode using the adb reboot bootloader command, then run the fastboot oem lock command: Depending on your device, you may lose your data again. Press your power button to restart your phone one last time. You’re all finished. And so go and have fun exploring Android M! I think that's clear?

5Good Things Your Small Business Could Learn from 'Bob's Burgers'

As a person you may have this question in mind, which reads that what can you learn about business from your favorite TV shows? A lot actually, especially if you're a fan of "Bob's Burgers." The hit Fox show, approaching its sixth season this fall, has been the inspiration behind a successful blog and cookbook endeavor, and it can easily serve as business inspiration, too. Before you term "Bob's Burgers" as just another cartoon, consider this: The show is a hilarious and quirky — yet accurate — portrayal of what it's like to run a small, family-owned business. While much of the show focuses on the characters' bond as a family and the kids' interactions at school, the entire program still centers on the Belchers' restaurant and the very relatable trials and tribulations that come with maintaining a struggling small business. Okay that's very cool, and now here are five important lessons current and hopeful small business owners can learn from "Bob's Burgers." And if you've never seen the show, now you have an excuse to spend more time on Netflix — it's for the benefit of your business! 1. You have to believe in (and love) what you're doing. "Bob's Burgers" the show may be successful, but Bob's Burgers the restaurant — not so much. Bob Belcher makes just enough to keep the eatery going and support his family, but the Belchers are constantly struggling with money, and the series makes several references to Bob not paying the rent on time. At one point in season 1, Bob even takes on a late-night taxi driving gig just to pay for a birthday party for his eldest daughter, Tina. There are also many examples in the show in which other characters write off the restaurant and doubt Bob's skills as a cook (even though many of them are pleasantly surprised when they actually try his food). Apart from all of these setbacks, through it all, Bob's passion for his craft — making delicious burgers — never diminishes, and his family never stops supporting him, either. His wife, Linda, along with Tina and the rest of her siblings, Gene and Louise, are always there to help and lend a little humor to the situation, too. Regardless of what happens, Bob still gets excited every time he comes up with a new burger recipe, and it's clear that he genuinely loves what he does and is as dedicated to making his business successful as he is to his wife and his family. Running a small business is never as easy as it may seem. It's a challenge, and sometimes even when you do everything right, you can still struggle or even fail entirely. And success is about a lot more than having business savvy or the right products and services. You also have to have the right attitude and the dedication to make it work, just like the Belcher family. 2. You need to find work-life balance. This one in particular is especially true with family-owned businesses, because not being able to separate your work life from your home life can predictably cause serious strain on your relationships and your business. The Belcher family isn't perfect when it comes to separating work and life, but the family members make a valiant effort and are a great example of why it's so important. Bob, more than anyone else in the family, struggles with the family versus work aspect of running the business, but he also puts in the most effort to make it successful. This is partly because he's a great boss and father, but also because he knows what it's like to lack that balance, having grown up in a restaurant himself — and he has the strained relationship with his father to prove it. In fact, Bob, who felt like he'd been robbed of his childhood, was so afraid to do the same to his own kids, that he even fired them during season 3, so that they could enjoy their summer as children. The kids, however, were upset, because they loved working at the restaurant, so they found another job (and disaster ensued, but that's a whole other story entirely). In the end, of course, the kids came back to work and Bob realized that he had made a mistake — he already had a great relationship with his kids at home and at work. And while Bob, Linda and the kids often have personal conversations and discuss family issues in the restaurant, they seem to have a fairly good handle on things, and they know when to be serious. When you work with family and friends, it's inevitable that you won't be able to perfectly separate the business from the personal, but finding a balance can mean the difference between success and failure. 3. You are surpose to work within your means. Small businesses don't most time have access to the same resources as big companies, and it can be very frustrating to think things like, "If only we had this amount of money, we could do this thing that would boost business," knowing that you still have a long way to go before you can afford it. It can be tempting to overreach and try to pull off something that you don't really have the budget for, but if it backfires, it can be a huge blow to business. The Belcher family learned this lesson the hard way in season 4, when they tried to out-advertise their competition, neighboring family-restaurant Jimmy Pesto's (with whom Bob has a long-standing feud) by purchasing a commercial slot during the Super Bowl. The ad cost the family $3,000 — a lot, considering Bob's Burgers' main form of advertising is Gene standing outside in a burger suit with a megaphone. And it didn't even work in the family's favor. Not only did the Belchers fight over how the commercial should be shot, but Jimmy Pesto also wound up using the same celebrity endorser. And in the end, the commercial didn't even bring in more customers, making the huge price tag totally not worth it. The point is, trying to outdo your competitors or operate like a bigger business won't get you anywhere. The Belchers' Super Bowl commercial didn't put them out of business, but taking a huge, spontaneous financial risk like that could if you're not careful. Focus on what works for your business the way it is now; eventually, you might just get to where you want your business to be. 4. You need to be creative. At this point we're not just talking about Bob's wonderfully unique and delicious-sounding burger of the day creations, although they certainly don't hurt. As previously mentioned, most small businesses don't have the same resources as larger companies do, and that means you need to get creative — just not $3,000 Super Bowl commercial creative. Bob may struggle to make money and keep his business running, but he does know how to take advantage of situations that could draw in more customers. For example, Gene joins a mascot race at the local baseball park, and Bob tries to get the boy to plug the restaurant over the announcements. And Linda isn't afraid to take risks, either. In season 1, she convinced Bob to let her throw a murder-mystery-themed dinner theater at the restaurant. At first, it wasn't successful; they put a little too much emphasis on the "murder" part, and some customers were uncomfortable. But after a weird encounter with a robber, customers were actually impressed, which goes to show that maybe had it been executed differently, the dinner theater concept could've worked out well. The Belchers' creative attempts may not have always been the most successful, but what's important is that they still tried and weren't afraid to do things that were a little out of the ordinary to garner some attention for their business. 5. You have to be willing to fight for success. As a business owner, Bob is at all time fighting to keep his business open, especially when it comes to dealing with his landlord, Mr. Fischoeder. The wealthy owner of nearly everything in town, Fischoeder isn't the nicest or most understanding landlord, and often makes Bob the butt of his jokes. He also takes advantage of his tenants, especially the Belchers, often threatening not to renew their leases. When it comes to fighting back, Bob is often the first one to challenge Fischoeder's actions. In the season 5 finale, Bob and his family led all of the tenants to protest rent hikes, which led to a "Hunger Games"-style showdown in the woods involving water balloons (admittedly, that probably wouldn't happen in real life.) Fischoeder tries to bribe the other tenants to turn against Bob in exchange for lower rent (making Bob's rent higher). But in the end, the Belchers are able to remind everyone why it's so important that they stick together, and Fischoeder eventually agrees not to increase their rent for a while. You may not have an eccentric, greedy landlord to fight for your business, but Mr. Fischoeder is a good representation of the adversity that many business owners face. If you want your business to be successful, you have to be up to the challenge.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

You can customize the keys on this E-Ink keyboard to look however you want

Somehow i believe you’ve heard that Burger King slogan “Have it your way,” right? Okay think of this keyboard as the Burger King of keyboards. The Sonder keyboard gives you the chance to program your keys any way you’d like, and that’s not an exaggeration. You know when you’re typing and the time comes for you to dig deep into your brain and pull out some keyboard shortcuts? You don’t have to anymore. Each of the keyboard’s keys has a transparent E-ink display so you can create any icon or symbol you desire right below your fingertips. 50 of the keyboard’s 78 keys have tiny screens that can be reprogrammed with different images. Other cool features include light-up keys and a crisp, responsive key mechanism. Sonder is compatible with a Mac, PC and even a tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth technology. What kinds of keyboard can you create? Well, for starters you can set up QWERTY and DVORAK, English or Chinese, but the possibilities are really endless. Emoticons, Photoshop icons, even macros to eliminate those drawn out sequences of commands. There’s a collaborative aspect to Sonder as well. Set up your keyboard to communicate with other users, and you can share keyboards in an online library or save them in the cloud for later use. Sound great, right? There’s just one catch. It’s not actually available, yet. Sonder’s Kickstarter campaign is going to launch later this year, but in the meantime you can head over to the company’s website in order to pre-order the keyboard. At least it won’t run you as much as some other adaptive keyboards like the Optimus Popularis. Sonder’s original price is giving out at $299, but it’s on sale for $199 if you pre-order it now, according to the company’s website okay thanks.

Monday, 15 June 2015

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You can protect your manhood from phone radiation with these silver-lined boxers

Now if it occurs that you’re reading this on your mobile phone, then you know for sure that you’re holding a mildly radioactive device, which emits high-frequency electromagnetic waves—a form of radiation. If you’re a guy and you carry this very important device in the front pocket of your pants, you may be inadvertently damaging your own very important equipment. You know what we’re talking about here. The scientists at the University of Exeter discovered that electromagnetic waves can affect male fertility: Men who carried cell phones in their front pant pockets had less alive and mobile spermatozoa than men who kept their mobile devices away from their vital parts. Even worse—while radio waves are a form non-ionizing radiation, which is much less dangerous than ionizing radiation from nuclear plants or X-ray machines, the International Agency for Research on Cancer still considers them potentially carcinogenic to humans. Next time you stick your smartphone into your front jeans pocket, think again. Maybe you don't know you aren’t the only one with the problem. According to the World Health Organization, 6.9 billion people in the world walked around with mobile phones in 2014, and it’s fair to estimate that about half of them were men. What can these billions do to shield their crown jewels from the damaging waves? Luckily, four people among those billions had an idea. They created radiation-prove underwear.
This problem started back in 2006, when four friends — Daniel Herter, Berno Delius, Peer-Boy Matthiesen, and Nick Piepenburg — were students at the Munich Business School in Germany. Cell phone use was skyrocketing at that time, and the four were growing concerned about the side-effects. “Every day we keep thinking how mobile phones were getting more and more important and we were wearing them every day in our pants right next to the other very important thing in our lives,” Piepenburg told Digital Trends. With some research they found out that silver makes an efficient shield for this radiation type, but they couldn’t come up with a good solution on how to wear it. Hardly anyone would encrust their loins in metal armor, after all. “Silver is nice, but how to combine it with boxer shorts?” Piepenburg reflects on their conundrum. “We thought about it, but never found a solution.” After so many years the group revisited the idea. They found a fabric that already contained a certain amount of silver in it — it was used for people with specific skin allergies. “That fabric was already on the market, but we increased the amount of silver in it to certain limits,” says Piepenburg. The material they use is made of 20 percent silver and 60 percent polyester, while the rest is polyamide. That combo made for a super-fabric that blocks the nasty radio waves like a bulletproof vest—while still being soft, comfy, and easily washable. “The fabric in our boxer shorts stops 98 percent of mobile phone radiation,” says Delius. “We tested and certified it with the University of German Armed Forces.” The group later found a manufacturer, Edelweiss GmbH, to produce the fabric, and formed a company they named Kronjuwelen — Crown Jewels. Then they launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the initial production run. Some of the perks for early backers? T-shirts printed to read #backedmyballs and yes, of course, some of the soft and silvery body armor for your junk that they’ve already produced. Radiation-proof boxer shorts. A must-have for every guy. But wait, we taking about men/guys what about women? Aren’t ladies’ vital parts in similar danger? That’s a future direction, say Piepenburg and Delius, but the threat is somewhat different for women, and the protection is a little more challenging to design. Female reproductive organs are located higher up in the body, in parts of the stomach that aren’t covered by the petite lingerie women wear. Luckily, women are less exposed to that radiation in any case. Unlike men, they often carry their phones in purses, further away from the body and in between other objects like makeup bags or wallets, all of which cuts down on the amount of radiation they receive. But because some studies noted that cell phone radiation may be harmful for a developing fetus, the group is definitely thinking about “silverware” for the femmes. Are there any catches in the idea? Well, Kronjuwelen isn’t cheap. The price will be about 30-35 Euros, or double what Calvin Klein boxers sell for, Piepenburg says. That may sound a bit costly, but think about it: You’ll be quite literally wrapping your cojones in a silver lining. And aren’t your crown jewels priceless? Enough said in conclusion.