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Krazy #9

EACH TECH S.N.A.C.K. CONTAINS A STORY, NEWS, APP, CARTOON AND KRAZY!

State-of-the-art facial recognition technology, which had been the stuff of hypothetical privacy nightmares for years, is becoming a startling reality. It is increasingly being deployed all around the United States by giant tech companies, shady advertisers and the FBI – with few if any rules to stop it.
— Trevor Timm from The Guardian

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5 Things - Week Ending 6/14/13

This is the 46th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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In her 2011 book Disconnect, National Book Award finalist, former senior White House health advisor and internationally regarded epidemiologist Devra Davis revealed that the cellphone industry is knowingly exposing us to dangerous levels of electromagnetic radiation. No small problem when you consider that of the roughly 7 billion people on this planet, about 6 billion of us now use mobile phones.

I am concerned if what Devra Davis is claiming ends up being true. I have had a cell phone in my front right pocket daily for the past 11 years. This is an interview worth reading!


Has Technology Killed Cursive Handwriting?

Vignesh Ramachandran:

In the United States, somewhere around the third grade, cursive handwriting instruction has long been a sort of milestone, or rite of passage. But in recent years, the nation’s Common Core State Standards — which at least 45 states and the District of Columbia, have voluntarily adopted — took out the requirement for cursive instruction in K through 12 schools. It has stirred quite the debate, since it’s up to each individual state to decide whether cursive is important enough to teach its own students. In recent months, North Carolina legislators approved a bill to require its students to learn cursive in elementary school, the Winston-Salem Journal reported. North Carolina joins states like California, Massachusetts and Georgia, which have already added a cursive writing requirement, according to The Associated Press.

It appears that there is a debate across the country whether it is worth teaching elementary students cursive writing. By reading this article, I discovered that there are numerous benefits to learning how to write in cursive.

On the flip side, I will be the first to admit that I have not written in cursive since elementary school. I have utilized the numerous years of typing classes much more than the time spent learning how to write in cursive.

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the issue! Feel free to discuss with me next time you see me in person or contact me.


The History of the Weird Keyboard Symbols You Never Knew You Needed

Adam Clark Estes:

And it’s not just the @ symbol that has a sordid past. Many of the symbols that you’re jamming into your keyboard on a daily basis had rich past lives before they became internet-age fixtures.

We see the following symbols all the time. @, * &, $, ©

This article gives you a little background on how they came to be. I found this quite interesting!


Cost-Effective Alternatives to Cable and Satellite Television

Trent Hamm:

The average American cable/satellite bill is $128 per month. Let that sink in for a minute. $128 per month.

Naturally, this average does include bundles of premium channels that many households subscribe to, HD service (which the providers charge more for), DVRs, and other such perks.

Still, $128 a month just to have something to watch on the television? Ouch. There’s got to be a cheaper way.

In the past week I have had three of my clients have discussions with me about "cutting the cable". They all expressed their disgust at the high cost.

If you feel like you are spending too much on cable/satellite, I would encourage that you check out some of Trent's suggestions in this article and read the blog post I wrote in September 2012 titled "Cutting The Cable".


Security-State Creep: The Real NSA Scandal Is What's Legal

Rebecca J. Rosen:

As much as one might be personally appalled by the notion of the NSA collecting everybody’s call records, disgust doesn’t make something unconstitutional. Rather, the real scandal here is what’s legal — namely, how the surveillance powers enabled by modern technology have been embraced and expanded by Congress and a succession of presidents, and how the Court has failed to develop a robust system for applying the Fourth Amendment meaningfully to the questions of the 21st century.

June has been dominated by headlines of the National Security Agency collecting massive amounts of information from the following companies:

  • AOL
  • Apple
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Skype
  • Verizon
  • Youtube

I am personally very disturbed by this news. This article makes the claim that there may not be anything illegal about what the government is doing. The reason for this is that the court system has failed to keep up with the times in regard to technology.

I hope that the Supreme Court takes a look at this situation and updates some previous rulings to better serve the needs of people in 2013 when it comes to privacy and technology.


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

5 Things - Week Ending 4/12/13

This is the 42nd post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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Before Heit had a chance to finish typing the text, his car drifted onto the wrong side of the road. Realizing his mistake, he overcorrected, quickly turning the steering wheel in an attempt to move his vehicle back into the right lane. He lost control of the car and it veered off the highway, rolling and flipping until it came to a stop.

This story is really sad. This kid lost his life because he couldn't wait until he arrived at his destination to have the following conversation:

Friend: Hey man I had to run out for like an hour
Heit: Sounds good my man, seeya soon, ill tw

He never finished the text. He looked up, saw his car was in the wrong lane, overcorrected and ended up rolling the vehicle.

If you have young people in your life, please take a few minutes to have a caring conversation with them about texting and driving.

I just talked to my wife's brother Mikkel (senior at Farmington High School) about this article this morning.


Watch Facebook's First Ad for 'Home'

Facebook has announced new software that can be installed on some Android based smart phones. The idea behind the software is that you are connected to your Facebook friends 24/7.

Even if I still used Facebook I would not want Facebook dominating my cell phone.

It will be interesting to see if this takes off or not.


On Teens and iPhones.

Alex Guyot:

Here at CDO High School in Tucson, Arizona, iPhones are everywhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if iPhones were represented at an even higher percentage than the 48% shown in the study. iPhones are most definitely considered the “cool” option, and I see kids with them from every group of people in the school. Moreover, there is no sign of iPhone growth slowing any time soon, as the social pressures inherent in any high school ecosystem have taken Apple’s side, and iPhones are being pushed on non-iPhone users by other kids all around the school. It hasn’t gotten to the point where not having an iPhone is a black mark upon you, but it certainly seems to be an indicator of status. Kids with iPhones seem to find every excuse to have them in sight at all times. iPhones are constantly laying in the open on desks or being held in hands, even while not in use, yet I notice non-iPhone owners are much less prone to flaunting their devices in a similar manner.

I have been reading some stories suggesting that Apple has lost its cool factor (whatever that is). I read this story written by 17 year old Alex Guyot who shares his observation of the phone culture at a middle class Arizona high school.

One lesson that I wish teens would learn (besides not texting while driving) is that you shouldn't make your purchasing decisions based on what others are doing, but rather make an informed decision on what makes the most sense for you.

I remember that for my first couple years in high school I was under the impression that wearing a certain brand on clothes and having a cell phone (not everyone had one in those days) would help get more people to like me. It didn't make one bit of difference.


Struggle to Ban Smartphone Usage in Gyms

Catherine Saint Louis:

The sheer ubiquity of smartphones adds to privacy risks in locker rooms, where bans were first imposed but are still often ignored.

David W. Marr, 26, a Wal-Mart employee and a massage therapist, recalls letting his towel hang open in a locker-room sauna this year at a 24 Hour Fitness in Glendale, Calif. A teenager nearby appeared to be playing a game on his phone. “I see this kid caught with a deer-in-the-headlight look,” Mr. Marr said. “He looked at me, and shut the phone.”

He said he suspects he was videotaped naked, and he complained to management the next day (the gym’s policy is that taking pictures or videos is forbidden). “Anybody can be pretending to have a conversation and filming at the same time,” he said.

The other weekend I was at my cousin's birthday party and we started talking about technology. Someone mentioned their concern about changing at the gym due to the ubiquity of smartphones. Almost all smartphones have a camera and with just a couple of taps someone could take a photo or video of you and upload it to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or send it via email without you even knowing it.

This raises some major privacy concerns and it sounds like gyms are struggling to regulate smartphone use in their gyms.


Why and when the iPad is the best e-reader

Joel Mathis:

For the first time in history, when we sit down to read a book, we’re faced with more than simply a choice of what to read—we must also decide how to read it. Perhaps you’ve found your favorite reading method, and tend to stick with it. But the truth is that different mediums offer different strengths, which are in turn tuned to different types of reading. Wedging yourself into a corner with just one device for all types of reading can deny you the pleasures and advantages of the other.

I thought that this article did a nice job explaining the pros and cons of reading a book via various methods (iPad, Kindle, and book).

My favorite way to read is on the Kindle. I can't say enough positive things about it!


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5 Things - Week Ending 3/8/13

This is the 40th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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Sometimes multiple updates for Flash or Reader can occur in the same month. Adobe notifies Flash and Reader users of new available updates by displaying a notice regarding the availability of the new software. But when you see this type of notice from Adobe, how can you tell if the Flash update is valid or an attempt to install malware on your Mac?

When I teach Staying Safe In A Digital World I often get asked how a person can tell if an update is legitimate or not. I explain that you are safe when updating from the following:

  • Windows Update on a PC
  • Software Update or App Store on a Mac

In this article it recommends that you double check Adobe's website before installing an update for Adobe Flash or Adobe Reader to make sure it is actually an update from Adobe and not some malicous software. If you want to learn more on this topic, I would encourage you to read the entire article by clickin on the link above.


Netflix Series Spending Revealed

Andrew Wallenstein:

Micelli returned again and again to the notion that the broadcast networks were doing themselves a disservice by diverting tens of millions of dollars into promotion that would otherwise go into the programming. He believes Netflix’s focus on Big Data to guide viewers to content is a big advantage.

I love that Netflix is creating orignal programming. I am glad to see that Netflix is pouring the money that traditional television stations spend on advertising new shows on the actual show itself.

Britta and I watched House of Cards when it was released in February and loved it. We are also looking forward to Arrested Development when it comes out in May.

Netflix is a big reason that we have been able to "cut the cable" and still have plenty of stuff to watch.


Study: ‘Likes’ likely to expose you

Raphael Satter:

Clicking those friendly blue “like” buttons strewn across the Web may be doing more than marking you as a fan of Coca-Cola or Lady Gaga.

It could out you as gay.

It might reveal how you vote.

It might even suggest that you’re an unmarried introvert with a high IQ and a weakness for nicotine.

I deleted my Facebook account in October primarily because I was concerned about how much time I was wasting each day on their website. I was also concerned about privacy and this study supports my viewpoint that using Facebook may cause more harm than good. I have still found a way to stay in touch with friends and family without using Facebook.

What have you exposed about yourself by clicking on Like buttons?


Apple Maps directions beat Google Maps, Waze in pundit's head-to-head test

AppleInsider Staff:

All involved were in separate cars with different navigation systems: LaPorte with Waze, Dvorak with Google Maps, and Rubenstein with Apple Maps.

The three vehicles made several different stops in California, including Apple’s corporate headquarters in Cupertino. The fact that Apple outperformed Google and Waze in providing directions with traffic a real-world scenario made Dvorak admit he now has to “wonder what the fuss was about” regarding dissatisfaction with Apple Maps.

There was quite a bit of backlash in the media when Apple removed Google Map data from the Maps app and replaced it with its own data.

I have been using the Maps app since iOS 6 debuted in fall 2012 and I have nothing negative to say about it. On occasion it has trouble finding a location, but for the most part it has been very reliable. It appears that Apple has been working hard in the past few months fixing any issues that they find and this article shows that Apple Maps outperformed Google Maps and Waze in a real world test.


Walt Mossberg: How Apple Gets All the Good Apps

Walt Mossberg:

Apple tightly controls its software and hardware, and is fiercely competitive in battling its rivals, especially in the mobile market. And yet, while the company never creates apps for anyone else’s mobile system or device, each of its major mobile-platform foes — Google, Amazon and Microsoft — make many of their apps available for Apple devices. That makes those devices the sort of Switzerlands of the mobile world.

This is yet another benefit of buying an iPhone or iPad. You get the benefit of all of Apple's apps and services (Siri, FaceTime, iCloud, iTunes, iBooks) and yet you can also use apps from Google, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Microsoft, etc.

If you buy a competing device you won't be able to use any of Apple's unique apps or services. With Apple products you get the best of both worlds.


If you appreciate the free content on NiceGuyTechnology.com please support Mike by shopping on Amazon. If you click on the link and buy something, Mike will receive a small percentage of your purchase and it won't cost you any extra! Thanks for your consideration!

5 Things - Week Ending 3/1/13

This is the 39th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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TurboTax 2012 for iPad is an excellent option for filing your personal and small business taxes. As full-featured as both Mac and Windows versions of the same application, TurboTax 2012 for iPad guarantees that you need look no further than you iPad to handle all your tax filing needs.

I just finished doing my taxes on Sunday evening using TurboTax on my Mac. I didn't even consider doing them on my iPad because I have done them on my computer for the past 10 years. I think next year I will give it a try on the iPad.

The reviews in the App Store appear to be quite positive.

You can download TurboTax from the App Store. You can try the app for free, but you will have to pay for it before you file your taxes.


The age of the brag is over: why Facebook might be losing teens

Ellis Hamburger:

At some point, adding these details, like hundreds of photos from a recent vacation and status updates about your new job amounted to bragging — force-feeding Facebook friends information they didn’t ask for. What was once cool was now uncool. Worse yet, it started to feel like work. Maybe the burden of constantly constructing immaculate digital profiles of ourselves is tiring. “I find it boring, and I don’t really care about knowing all my friends’ details anymore,” my fifteen-year-old cousin Neah Bois wrote to me. “I think it’s stupid when people post a lot of pictures about their lives and all that stuff… I go on to talk to family and connect, but really I only go on once a week or so.

I left Facebook in October 2012 and have not missed it one bit. It does not surprise me to hear that teenagers are starting to move on to something different. I have met many high school and college students who are now spending a bunch more time usine Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Tumblr.

What do you use Facebook for? Is it to see what friends and family are up to or do you use it to brag about your life?


Is This the First Commercial for the Apple iWatch?

This video shows what one person thinks an iWatch might do. Some of the stuff in the video looks like it belongs in a science fiction movie. It reminds me of how some of the stuff we are doing on our devices today would have been the work of science fiction just 10 years ago.


The true cost of free-to-play games

Rene Ritchie:

We need to stop bitching that “it should be free” or “$1 is too much”. We need to stop pretending that a game that provides hours of enjoyment is worth less than a movie ticket or a fancy cup of coffee. We need to support the the best and the brightest developers with real money, so that they keep making the kind of games we want to buy.

I think it is great that there is an abundance of free apps available in the App Store. I have quite a few of them on my iPhone and iPad.

I have discovered in the past year that many of the apps that I use on a regular basis are apps that weren't free.

On the first page of my iPhone I have the following apps that cost money:

  • Lighty
  • Due
  • Things
  • Check The Weather
  • Horizon
  • Fantastical
  • 1Password
  • Drafts
  • Notesy
  • Downcast
  • Reeder
  • Instapaper
  • Tweetbot

I use my devices so much that I want to limit the amount of ads that I see (very common in free apps) and I want to support the people that make the apps that make my life easier so that they can make a good living and continue to make great apps.

If you think you are going to use an app on a regular basis, I would encourage you to seek out a high quality app and spend the minimal amount of money it would cost to acquire that app. I found that I use my iPhone and iPad for so many more things after investing a small amount of money to get good apps.


iPhone 5S planned for August, next iPads may debut as soon as April

Rene Ritchie:

iMore has learned that Apple is planning the release of the iPhone 5S for this summer, currently for August. Next generation iPads, presumably the iPad 5 and potentially the iPad mini 2, may also debut as soon as this April.

I believe that the next iPhone will come out this summer. I am not 100% sure about the iPad mini 2 coming out next month though.

I am planning on purchasing the iPhone 5S for myself when it comes out and giving my iPhone 4S to my wife.

5 Things - Week Ending 2/8/13

This is the 37th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

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The Apple iWatch

Bruce Tognazzini:

The iWatch will fill a gaping hole in the Apple ecosystem. It will facilitate and coordinate not only the activities of all the other computers and devices we use, but a wide array of devices to come. Like other breakthrough Apple products, its value will be underestimated at launch, then grow to have a profound impact on our lives and Apple’s fortunes.

This is an incredibly insightful look at the possibility of Apple developing a "smart" watch. The author explores some of the ways a person might use a "smart" watch.

I wouldn't be surprised if Apple isn't at least exploring the possibility of creating a "smart" watch.


Reed Hastings on Arrested Development, House of Cards and the Future of Netflix

Nancy Hass:

Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has a name for this prison and what it does to the people trapped inside it: managed dissatisfaction. “The traditional entertainment ecosystem is built on it, and it’s a totally artificial concept,” says Hastings. “The point of managed dissatisfaction is waiting. You’re supposed to wait for your show that comes on Wednesday at 8 p.m., wait for the new season, see all the ads everywhere for the new season, talk to your friends at the office about how excited you are.” If it’s a movie, he adds, you wait till the night it opens, you wait for the pay-channel window, you wait for it to come to cable. Waiting means pent-up demand, millions of people watching the same thing at the same time, preferably at night, when they’re pliant with exhaustion and ready to believe they need the stuff being hawked in all those commercials. Waiting, Hastings says, is dead.

Britta and I made the decision when we got married to not have a television in our house. Does that mean we never watch any movies or television shows? No.

We chose not to have a television so we wouldn't end up watching random shows while we were bored and so we wouldn't be subjected to the constant barrage of advertisements that tempt you to buy stuff that you don't need.

We make extensive use of Netflix and iTunes for our media consumption. I love the direction that Reed Hastings is taking Netflix. We just started watching the new show House of Cards that Netflix produced and it's wonderful. It's the way television should be. Not only is it commercial free, but they released the entire season on the same day so you can choose how to watch it. Space out the episodes and enjoy it over a period of time or become obsessed and watch multiple episodes in the weekend (guilty).

I thought Nancy Hass did a great job with this article and I would encourage you to check it out!


Why the Facebook and Apple empires are bound to fall

John Naughton:

Apple’s current strength is that it actually makes things that people are desperate to buy and on which the company makes huge margins. The inexorable logic of the hardware business is that those margins will decline as the competition increases, so Apple will become less profitable over the longer term. What will determine its future is whether it can come up with new, market-creating products such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

Facebook, on the other hand, makes nothing. It just provides an online service that, for the moment, people seem to value. But in order to make money out of those users and satisfy the denizens of Wall Street, it has to become ever more intrusive and manipulative. It’s condemned, in other words, to intrusive overstretch. Which is why, in the end, it will become a footnote in the history of the internet.

The year is 2020.

Apple is stil selling truck loads of consumer gadgets. They are still making Macs, iPhones, and iPads. The trend that I have witnessed over the years is that people who buy an Apple product tend to buy additional Apple products. I can't imagine this trend reversing itself anytime soon.

Facebook has gone the way of MySpace. The majority of its users have left for a different service just like people left MySpace before it. The primary reason will be due to increased advertisments and concerns over privacy.

I do believe that all companies and empires will crumble eventually but to think that Apple will fall in the near future is foolish in my opinion.


Manage Multiple Apple Devices In Your Family With iCloud and Apple ID

Christopher Meinck:

Devices are tied to an Apple ID and they are treated as if one person is the owner of multiple devices. In a typical household, a parent is the owner of an Apple ID that is used on the assorted iOS devices. Let’s say that Mom has an iPhone and is exchanging texts with Dad, a friend or a co-worker. An iMessage sent to Mom’s Apple ID will show up on her daughter or son’s iPod touch. Similar issues can happen with Facetime. You could be receiving Facetime requests from your child’s friends who shared your Apple ID. Photostream can also be a major issue when a family is sharing an Apple ID. If enabled, photos taken on each device in the family will share to the other family members with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. If you have a Mac with Photostream enabled, iPhoto will also start streaming photos from everyone in the family.

This is a very common question that I receive during classes and while working with clients.

In my mind it makes sense to share an AppleID for purchases. Why should my wife have to pay money for the same App that I just downloaded? We even share the same AppleID for iCloud so we can sync our calendars, contacts, and reminders. I know that Britta doesn't want to receive FaceTime calls or iMessages intended for me on her iPad mini. We set up a seperate AppleID for her for those purposes.

If you want to share an AppleID for purchase and one for services check out this article and scroll down to the section titled, "Using One Apple ID for Purchases And One For Services". It will walk you through the process. If you still need help after reading this article I am always available to help!


Krop Circle

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Krop Circle is a new App that allows you to crop your photos with various shapes. The free version of the app comes with just a circle crop. For less than one George Washington (99 cents) you can unlock numerous other shapes. I have enjoyed using this app to create some neat looking photos!