Archive | June 2014

Cue is a Home ‘Spit Kit’ That Mimics Five Lab Tests

Cue

The quantified self movement has been mostly focused on athletes and people trying to be active and measure their progress, but in the last year or so it has branched into the medical realm. Cue is one such example of this phenomenon. The device, which debuted on Tuesday, tracks inflammation, vitamin D, fertility, influenza, and testosterone via a swab of spit, snot or blood. The Cue is a tiny handheld device that contains a microfluidics array to test a variety of hormones found in the blood (vitamin D, fertility, inflammation), saliva (testosterone) or mucus (influenza). For $300 at retail ($150 or $200 for a set number of pre-orders), you buy the device and get a set of five cartridges that will actually handle your bodily secretions and then be disposed of. This way a family can share a Cue much like they would a scale or thermometer. Additional cartridges cost between $2 and $5 depending on the test.

Read the full story at Giga OM.

How to Remove Android Bloatware Without Rooting Your Phone

Android

It’s an all too frequent dilemma. You get one of the best high-end Android phones out there-maybe it’s a Galaxy S5, or maybe it’s an HTC One-and the hardware is impeccable. But the software experience is all mucked up from carrier add-ons and skinning. While you can root your phone to get the true stock Android phone experience you’d get from a Nexus device, you can actually get a similar stock experience without rooting. To remove apps, the easiest way is by downloading a few Google-made apps and making them your defaults. Google Calendar, Google Keyboard, and Google Hangouts are the calendar, typing, and chatting experiences you’d get on stock Android, and they’re available for download right from Google Play. Alternatively, you can download the APK for these and other stock KitKat features here.

Read the full story at Wired.

Google Now Can Remind You When It’s Time to Pay Your Bills

Google Now

As predicted back in March based on an APK teardown, Google Now has received bill reminder integration via your Gmail account. The level of detail for some billers seems fairly basic at the moment: Google Now identifies emails in your Gmail account as bills, and a card will show up with the name of the biller, the amount due, the due date, and an option to view the email the bill was sent with. The “Pay now” image we mocked up doesn’t look exactly like what our tipster sent, but that’s probably because this bill isn’t for a billing provider Google Now has achieved rich integration with. What you’re seeing is probably the most basic incarnation of the feature, whereas other billers may have or receive in the future more detailed information and options for action (such as paying your bill). We know that strings for things like minimum payments, previous balances, last month’s bill, and “see more bills” exist in the Now APK.

Read the full story at Android Police.

It’s Still The Information Super Toll Road: An Intended Consequence of Net Neutrality

Toll Plaza

On May 15, 2014, the FCC voted to move forward with considerations on a proposal for new rules known as “Open Internet” rules – the new name for Net Neutrality. If you are a provider of Internet services, nothing has changed. You still get to do business exactly the way you have been. If you are a concerned citizen wondering how you can compete and prosper in a world where ISPs charge for the “fast lane,” you still have time to make your case.

Back in 2010, I wrote this article to help get the discussion going. Right now, the FCC’s current ruling should highly motivate all interested parties to get into the discussion. Here’s a way to think about it.

An Excellent Place for a Tollbooth

Internet Toll Plaza

There’s still an ongoing battle between Level 3 and Comcast (update: since the article was originally written, Level 3 and Comcast have settled their dispute). It’s a good example of the kind of issues that are intended consequences of the Net Neutrality debate. Netflix uses Level 3 to deliver its videos to customers. It pays Level 3 for bandwidth. If you are a Comcast customer, you pay Comcast for bandwidth. In theory Level 3 is getting paid and Comcast is getting paid and everything should be fine. However, in order for your Netflix movie to arrive at your Comcast-connected home, the bits have to pass from Level 3 to Comcast. If you’re Comcast, this is an excellent place to put a tollbooth.

Up to now, Level 3 and Comcast have had an arrangement that allowed each company to send bits bidirectionally. The arrangement was made back when both companies sent about the same amount of bits to each other. But now that Level 3 is sending more bits through Comcast than Comcast is sending through Level 3, Comcast wants to be paid. This is the nature of the current battle in its simplest terms. But, like I said, it’s a smoke screen.

The clich description for the public Internet (courtesy of Al Gore) is the “Information Superhighway.” It’s a reasonable metaphor for the way information travels around the Internet. Even engineers like to call bunches of bits getting from place to place, “traffic.”

People vs. Bunches of Bits

In the physical travel world, you can get from place to place several different ways. You can walk, ride a bike, take a car, take a bus, take a train or fly. Of course, while some places are only accessible by air, we all know that remote locations very often require us to use multiple modes of transportation. Now, imagine that people are bits.

The physical transportation world also has a fairly well defined class structure. It is segmented with modes of travel that efficiently meet the needs of each constituency – and it is economically segregated. You are about as likely to find an Upper Eastside Socialite in the lounge at the Port Authority bus terminal waiting for a bus to South Carolina, as you are to find a single mother of six on welfare in the Admiral’s Club at JFK Terminal 8 waiting for her first class seat to the Vineyard. It happens, but not often. Most of the time, modes of travel – air, train, bus, car, bike, feet – are a function of economic class, means and emergent need. To keep the metaphor going, imagine that Comcast is Cathay Pacific Airlines and Time Warner Cable’s basic broadband service is Amtrak and Verizon’s low-end DSL service is Greyhound.

How would we expect the economic landscape to look in a world where, instead of one Information Superhighway, we’d have web of public and privately owned Information Super Toll Roads? Would we expect people who could only afford Greyhound bus service to do business with companies in Europe or Asia? Would we expect people who could only afford Amtrak train service to compete with people who could deliver merchandise overnight via air? Would organizations that own toll roads make it just a little too expensive to compete with them? Would organizations that own airlines charge competitors for extra bags and bigger seats? Keep asking travel questions – they all apply!

A Look to the Future

It is hard to be optimistic about a future world where there is a low-powered free and open Internet and a web of private toll roads owned by non-governmental organizations that inherently compete with their customers. The specter of such a world bodes ill for innovation, entrepreneurship and, in some ways, even the doing of digital life. That said, regulating pricing for Internet Service Providers will seriously dissuade private investment in the infrastructure we need to move America into the Information Age.

This line of thinking begs for the question: Will a plurality of Internet under-classes evolve? Want a current day analog? Look at the prepaid mobile phone business. It’s huge, and so unstructured that even the service providers don’t know who is using their products or how they are using them.

Back in the day, phone companies charged us for making calls, but receiving a call was free. This was a function of technology, not desire. As soon as cell phones hit the market, we started paying for time used (bandwidth) both coming and going. What’s happening with Net Neutrality is a fight over exactly the same issue. Now, we pay for the bandwidth we use on one end. If this goes the wrong way, we (you and I) will pay for bandwidth both coming and going. On a personal level, this is not onerous. However, at the enterprise level, if we were to govern America for the best possible GDP (as opposed to governing for corporate profits), it has the potential to be a huge problem.

I am NOT advocating any government involvement with the Internet. I think government has proven that it has no business being in any business. However, this is not a debate you can leave to others. Get your elected officials on the phone. Take a few minutes to learn about the issue. This is the moment that we have to step up and become architects of our digital future. Become part of the solution… America needs you!

How to Write the 7 Most Awkward Job-Related Emails

Writing Emails

It’s not what you say but how you say it.

In Boston this spring, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation proved that statement when it turned a mundane road sign into a viral sensation.

Rather than tell motorists to “Use Your Turn Signals,” the department took a more familiar approach with locals:

Now go “Pahk the Cah in Hahvahd Yahd.”

MassDOT officials realize to catch the attention of drivers, they need to connect with their audience in a thick Boston accent.

The takeaway for our careers? People will listen to – and act on – what we ask of them, but we need to use the right language in the right ways. Frankly, that’s a huge reason young professionals struggle to land jobs.

Below are instructions for how to write the seven most awkward job-related emails. You know, the kind of emails where you think “Umm, how do I say this exactly?”

1. How to respond when you don’t get the job but still want to stay on the company’s radar

“Hi _____

Thanks a lot for the response. I’m sorry I did not land the job but appreciate your email to let me know.

All the best,

-You

Note: Then, when they least suspect it, you also send a handwritten note and thank the person for the opportunity to interview. Why? Check out this comment from an NTLB post republished on Ragan, a communications resource: “I sent a thank you note after I bombed a technical interview where I was clearly not qualified for the job, and a couple weeks later they called me with an opening that was a perfect fit because my note had made them remember me.”

2. How to network with someone who’s really important

“Hi _____

My name is _______, and I am [how you know this person]. I saw [your connecting person] the other day, mentioned what I’m up to and she suggested I connect with you.

[2-3 sentences on “what you’re up to” and in this section, clearly explain why you’d like to network with this person. What do you want from him/her? Be direct.]

I know you’re busy, and I would really appreciate a few minutes of your time. If you have a few minutes, we can meet in person somewhere convenient for you or talk over the phone.

Thanks in advance, and please let me know what works.

- You”

Notes: It’s important to tell the person 1) your connection to him/her 2) what you need/want and 3) you understand he/she is super busy and you want to be respectful and not take a lot of time. Important people move fast, especially in big cities.

3. Networking email to someone you sorta kinda know at a company where you want to work

“Hi _____,

My name is _______. A while back, you and I [give the reason you two know each other; be as descriptive as possible so the person will know right away]. I hope you’re doing well!

I was on your company website and see your team is hiring for [specific name of the position]. I am well qualified for the job and have a good deal of experience. [Give one solid example to back up your claim; no longer than 1-2 sentences.]

If I send along my resume, do you think you can pass it to the right person? If you need me to provide any other information that would help, I’m happy to do so.

Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you.

- You”

Notes: Details. Details. Details. Be clear who you are, how you know the person and what you need that person to do. And don’t make this mistake with your job application.

4. Email two weeks after a job interview and you’ve heard nothing

“Hi ______,

My name is _______, and two weeks ago I interviewed at your office for the position of _______. I want to follow up and check on the status of the job opening. If you need more information from me, please let me know.

Thanks so much,

- You”

5. Bothering someone important who said he/she would pass along your resume but hasn’t yet

“Hi _____,

I hope you’re doing well!

I am ______, and I [remind the person how you two became acquainted]. I want to follow up about my resume as you mentioned you could pass it along to [the person who you want to see it]. Again, it would be great if you’re still able to do that.

And if you can send along the resume, please remind [the person who you want to see it] that [1-2 lines on why you are the best person for the position; give your networker a bit of ammo he/she can use].

Again, I know you’re busy so I appreciate your willingness to help me.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks,

- You

Notes: Always overcommunicate the small details. Never assume people remember you or what you need from them.

6. How to ask for a letter of recommendation from someone you haven’t talked to in five years

“Hi _____,

This is [your name], your student from [names the class(es), the year(s) and the school]. I know it’s been a while since we last spoke, and I hope you’re doing great.

[If you feel comfortable enough, ask a question or two about the person. For example: “How’s college life still treating you?” or “How’s your family?”]

I am [the reason you need the letter of recommendation]. I would appreciate a recommendation from you if you have the time. If you need me to send along any biographical information or remind you of the work I did in your classes, I am happy to do that.

Thanks so much, and I hope to hear from you soon.

- You

Notes: Offer to provide additional information, make absolutely sure the person will remember who you are and, in general, be accommodating. You have 17 other challenges to worry about in the real world. Avoid a snag here.

7. How to write an email to set up the “I’m leaving” conversation with your boss

“Hi _____,

Do you have a few minutes at the end of the day? I’d like to talk with you about something.

Thanks,

- You”

Notes: No easy way to start this conversation, but it’s best to leave the details to the in-person meeting.

(This content was originally posted at News to Live By.)

Shelly Palmer Radio Report – May 19, 2014

Have you ever wished your technology could do more? Forget about multitasking – what if your computer could help the world? That’s the idea behind Volunteer Garage, which connects you to a volunteer computing grid so you can donate your computer’s processing time to a network of volunteer computers. That power is then used to do find answers to all sorts of big scientific questions, like how to battle climate change or how to cure cancer. If Volunteer Garage sounds like something you’d want to do, it’s easy to sign up. Head over to Volunteer-Garage.com and decide which project you’d like to volunteer your hardware for. Then, download the software, which runs in the background of your computer and communicates with the project’s server to send along any data it has processed. That’s all it takes – if you’re willing to let a program run in the background while you go about your business, you can help combat the biggest problems facing our world today – without lifting a finger.

i-UniK American Forest series Apple iPad Air Slim Protection Case with built in Sleep/Awake Function – (Hickory)

i-UniK American Forest series Apple iPad Air Slim Protection Case with built in Sleep/Awake Function – (Hickory)

  • Wood imitation cover material (NOT REAL WOOD) that is inspired by our nation’s great forest
  • All features and functions are accessible with the case on, including the microphone, speaker, headphone jack, cameras and connector port
  • 2 folds design to support viewing in portrait or landscape mode and accommodates a natural typing angle
  • Folio design, your iPad Air screen is protected with Built in Sleep Awake Funciton
  • NOT COMPATIBLE with the previous generations of iPAD (1/2/3/4 Retina)
  • Case offers handsome, durable storage
  • Precision-cut camera holes provide access to your device’s ports and camera without removing the case.

Custom made for 2013 9.7 inch Apple iPad AIR model, DOES NOT FIT PREVIOUS IPAD

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