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Thursday, 21 February 2013 16:02

Sony Introduces New Playstation 4

(CNN) -- The eyes of the gaming world are on Sony, which on Wednesday is expected to unveil the PlayStation 4, the latest version of its popular gaming console. It's been more than six years since the company launched its PlayStation 3. That's an eon in the warp-speed tech industry, and the company faces a drastically altered landscape as it enters a new round of battles with its top competitors: Microsoft's Xbox and Nintendo's Wii (and, now, the Wii U).Long gone are the days when gamers had to pop into their local game shop for the latest titles. PC gaming, Web streaming and smartphone and tablet games have all sapped the popularity of the venerable living-room console. In this new era of mobile, connected gaming, experts say faster processors and flashier specs won't be enough for the next generation. "If you look at where the market is headed, it's clear that Sony needs to acknowledge that the traditional console business is dead," said Dan "Shoe" Hsu, editor-in-chief of gaming site GamesBeat. "There will still be some room for big-budget, disc-based games sold at retail stores, sure. But mobile, free-to-play and social are huge in gaming, and the next PlayStation needs…
Wednesday, 20 February 2013 16:47

Jeep Twitter Account Hacked

Twitter hackers have striked again! This time it's against one of America's most well-known car brands. On Tuesday, Jeep experienced what has become the latest in a series of anonymous assailants taking over the social media of major companies. The news comes just a day after Burger King's official account experienced the same fate when hackers changed its profile pic to the logo of hamburger rival McDonald's. The most shocking of the tweets includes the claim that Jeep was sold to GM-owned luxury brand Cadillac. Pranksters also alleged drug abuse among the company's employees. To make matters worse, these updates were accompanied with vivid imagery. Hacker's changed the account's bio, describing the page as "the official Twitter handle for the Jeep®". It again played on the Cadillac joke, and even used hashtags to reference the Burger King incident. Another clue linking the two episodes is the appearance of a car painted with McDonald's colors and logo that appeared on the Jeep Twitter page. @jeep also began following @burgerking after the attack. Is it the same hacker in both instances, or a case of a copycat? The world might never known who's behind the prank. But, just how funny is the…
Monday, 18 February 2013 15:37

Sleep Texting is on the Rise

Teens are known for being dependent on their cell phones -- exchanging as many as 60 text messages a day -- but are they so attached to their devices that they'll respond to texts while they're sleeping? Yes, say some experts -- and the behavior is becoming more common. Earlier this week, a CBS affiliate in Philadelphia spoke with Dr. Elizabeth Dowdell, a professor of nursing at Villanova University, who believes that more and more teens may be texting in their sleep "It's something new. We're just starting to get a handle on it," Dowdell told The Huffington Post. "I think that we will start to see more of this as cell phones become much more accessible at all ages." With sleep texting, the beep of a cell phone lightly awakens a person, so he or she will reach over and respond to a message (sometimes with jibberish). However, the person has no memory of having done so in the morning. Dowdell explained that while she has not conducted research on this particular phenomenon, she's seen enough anecdotal evidence to suspect that it is on the rise. The professor initially heard about the practice from one of her students who…
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 14:24

How Facebook Can Ruin Your Relationship

You may want to think twice before declaring to the world your love for your "valentine" this Valentine's Day. Through three separate studies, psychology researchers from the University of Kansas found that people in romantic relationships don't like their partner broadcasting their feelings to the Facebook world. One of the problems with your significant other opening up on Facebook is that "you feel less special and unique," Kansas doctoral student in psychology Juwon Lee concluded. Many times you feel they're trusting you with intimate information, but then you see them sharing their feelings with everyone, Lee said. The Kansas University researchers created mock Facebook walls as part of the studies, with various levels of opening up, and asked participants how they'd feel about the postings if each was a romantic partner. When there was a high disclosure rate on feelings, particularly deeply personal feelings, there was a feeling of less intimacy with that person, the researchers found. Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-kanalley/facebook-valentines-study_b_2670613.html?utm_hp_ref=technology
People young and old prefer reading paper books to tablets and e-readers, but older individuals could find themselves reading faster and with less effort on a tablet. The news came from a small study released this week in PLOS ONE from researchers at the historic epicenter of the printed word — Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany. Among 360 readers ages 21 to 34, no difference in reading speed or brain effort was detected between reading via a book, a Kindle e-reader and an iPad. But big differences were recorded among 21 users ages 60 to 77 when they read the same text on paper instead of the devices. In fact, using an iPad improved speed and reduced effort compared to paper and e-readers. Researchers measured eye movements and brain activity from EEG readings to determine ease of reading. Traditional ereaders were no help: Reading a short page of text on a Kindle took the older group about 28 seconds, the longest of the three. Switching to the printed book shaved 1.5 seconds off the time. But reading on an iPad took just 24 seconds, that's 2.5 seconds faster than reading on paper. While that may not represent a big…
A few days ago my colleague, Mia Aquino, put out the following call for urgent iPhone assistance on Twitter. Mia's not alone: Complete home button malfunction is one of the more common maladies befalling iPhones, if Apple's support forums are any indication. There are all sorts of suggestions for fixes in the link above: Recalibrate the home button; blow in the charging port like it's an old NES game; dab some WD-40 on the button itself. Or, the old reliable: Visit the Apple Store and cry helplessly until the Geniuses give you a new phone to make you leave. Any of these might do the trick for you. Failing those, though, there is a sure-fire way to gain access to your home button without tinkering with or possibly damaging your hardware that I've had friends employ and enjoy in the past. Fact is, you can get your home button on the touchscreen, available for you at any point that the screen is powered on. Go into Settings, and then General, and then Accessibility, and then Assistive Touch. Turn Assistive Touch on, and you'll see a persistent white dot in the top left corner of your screen. This is your new…
Thursday, 07 February 2013 16:06

Facebook Fatigue?

(CNN) -- Facebook follows you everywhere. It's on phones and computers, at work and home, and in the news. So it's understandable that people might need a little rest from the social network. New research suggests that Facebook fatigue may be setting in with some users. Twenty-seven percent of Facebook users surveyed in the U.S. plan to spend less time on the site in 2013, compared with only 3% who plan to spend more time, according to a study from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. (Another 69% of Facebook users say they plan to spend the same amount of time on the site this coming year.) The Pew study also found that 61% of Facebook users have taken a break from the service for several weeks or more. During these breaks, the vast majority of Facebook vacationers don't delete their profiles. Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/05/tech/social-media/facebook-breaks-pew/index.html
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 14:44

Access Instagram From Anywhere

Instagram has just announced that its full feed has made its way to the web, meaning that users no longer have to access through the dedicated mobile apps to check out all of their content, and participate in the conversation around posted photos. The web-based feed comes in both desktop- and mobile-optimized flavors, meaning you're set if you're using something like BlackBerry not yet graced by an official app (minus the ability to post photos, of course). Instagram has been making overtures to the web after remaining mobile-only for a long time, but this goes beyond simple flirtation. http://techcrunch.com/2013/02/05/instagram-launches-full-image-feed-for-web-browsers-including-commenting-and-liking/
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 16:39

Google Online Ads Racist?

Every job candidate lives in fear that a Google search could reveal incriminating indiscretions from a distant past. But a new study examining racial bias in the wording of online ads suggests that Google's advertising algorithms may be unfairly associating some individuals with wrongdoing they didn't commit. After learning that a Google search for her own name surfaced an ad for a background check service hinting that she'd been arrested, Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney set out to investigate whether race shaped online ad results. She searched over 2,000 "racially associated names" to determine if names "previously identified by others as being assigned at birth to more black or white babies" turned up ad results that indicated a criminal record. Specifically, she focused on ads purchased by companies that provide background checks used by employers. Sweeney concluded that so-called black-identifying names were significantly more likely to be accompanied by text suggesting that person had an arrest record, regardless of whether a criminal record existed or not. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/online-racial-profiling_n_2622556.html?utm_hp_ref=technology
Monday, 04 February 2013 15:58

Too Much Technology?

First there was email, then cell phones, then Outlook and now the Android tablet. All of them were supposed to make things easier. They were supposed to make us more productive. And although technology may be good for some, it seems to making life more difficult for most. Looks like the good old fashioned Franklin Planner may be ready for a return. New productivity products "have skyrocketed in the last couple of years. There is way too much out there to make sense of it all," said Whitson Gordon of Los Angeles, editor in chief of Lifehacker, to the Wall Street Journal. In theory, everyone loves a good idea, the problem is implementing them. The result is the same old swamp of email overload, to-do lists that never end, and projects that somehow never get completed. The failure of most people to implement classic time management ideas begs for a root cause analysis. There are two causes. First, there's the failure of self-discipline. And as the WSJ puts it: improving your productivity isn't about searching for a better app or finding the right software. "Ultimately it comes down to managing yourself." If people struggle to diet, or exercise, or quit…
Thursday, 31 January 2013 17:13

Reintroducing BlackBerry

BlackBerry is clearly trying to revamp its outdated style to compete in the cellular phone market. The once coveted Blackberry phone has seen its sales and desirability floundering amidst a post iPhone and Android market. The innovative QWERTY keyboard has been replaced by touch screens and wide screen phones that function more like tablets than cell phones. Yesterday, BlackBerry held a press conference announcing its new operating system BlackBerry10 and its first touch screen phone BlackBerry Z10. It is also releasing the BlackBerry Q10 which has the more traditional BlackBerry keyboard. The cell phone maker had been operating as 'Research in Motion' and has officially changed the corporation name to BlackBerry, they will now trade as BBRY on NASDAQ. The former cell phone giant is also hoping to breathe new life into its brand by bringing in singer and actress Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director. According to Rap-Up: Keys will work closely with app developers, content creators, retailers, carriers, and the entertainment industry to further shape and enhance the BlackBerry 10 platform through music, books, film, and apps. Only time will tell if these new changes will impress consumers and restore BlackBerry's position as a top contender in…
Wednesday, 30 January 2013 16:22

Social Networking a Benefit in the Workplace?

By allowing employees to participate in a work-sponsored internal social networking site, a company can improve morale and reduce turnover, according to a Baylor University case study published in the European Journal of Information Systems. The study, which looked at a financial institution's efforts to acclimate new employees into the organization, also found that participation led to a greater sense of well-being and organizational commitment and better employee engagement. "For millennials, mixing their work life and their social life via an online social networking created positive emotions for the employees who use the system," said Hope Koch, Ph.D., Baylor University associate professor of information systems in the Hankamer School of Business and study co-author. "These emotions led to more social networking and ultimately helped the employees build personal resources like social capital and organizational learning." SNSs can have a positive impact on IT employees and their workplace, especially when the new employees are relocating to unfamiliar areas and need to build a network, assume highly technical jobs and become integrated into a large organization where it may be difficult to know where to go for help, according to Koch. The study centered on a financial institution's efforts to reduce IT…
Tuesday, 29 January 2013 15:17

First Google, Now Twitter?

Twitter's second transparency report, released Tuesday, documents government requests for users' information. The results will surprise no one who has been keeping track of civil liberties online: Law enforcement has an increasing appetite for private information. The report disclosed that Twitter received 1,009 requests for account information from July to December 2012, a 19 percent jump from the first half of the year, which Twitter chronicled in its first transparency report in July. Eighty-one percent of the new requests came from the U.S. "It is vital for us (and other Internet services) to be transparent about government requests for user information and government requests to withhold content from the Internet," Twitter's manager of legal policy, Jeremy Kessel, said in a blog post accompanying the report. "These growing inquiries can have a serious chilling effect on free expression -- and real privacy implications." Twitter said it was often asked to hand over data without a warrant. Because of the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, law enforcement may often use a subpoena to demand basic subscriber information, such as the email address associated with an account. Around 60 percent of requests for Twitter data from the U.S. involved only a subpoena, which…
We're now living in the era where Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are dominating. People choose to make every aspect of their lives readily available to the world by broadcasting pictures and personal details on social media. Being overly assessable and overexposed on social media can result in humiliation, wrecked relationships and even job loss. The stakes for playing in the social media game are high so is it worth it from a business perspective? According to James Debono, co-founder of Big Thinking Online, a leading online marketing agency, "We need to embrace social media, the possibilities it brings, and the challenges it presents in order to remain profitable and, most importantly, relevant in an ever increasing social world." Social networking for marketing yourself and/or your business has become a necessity. It gives professionals a financially inexpensive way to expose their brand to a larger audience, which increases their chances of attracting more customers and brand advocates. However, too much of anything can become unhealthy, and the same is true for social media. Whether you have a tangible business or you're promoting yourself as a brand, you need to be very strategic when it comes to how you present your brand…