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    July 2, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Keyboard Paws

    Via: Cutest Animals Twitter

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    June 26, 2014
    Apple’s Cheapest iPod Touch Yet

    These days, it seems like the idea of having a separate device to play music seems almost old-fashioned, like having a rotary dial telephone or an 8-track player in your car.  However, for some folks–people like me, for example–like having a device that only does one thing and does it well, rather than one device that does everything well kind of.  In that spirit, Apple has both upgraded and reduced the price on its line of iPod Touches.  The 16gb iPod Touch is Apple’s cheapest iPod yet at $199!

    Not only is the iPod Touch cheaper, it’s also got upgraded features.  The $199 iPod features a 4-inch 1136 x 640 Retina display, an Apple A5 processor, a 1.2-MP FaceTime front camera, and a rear-facing 5-MP camera.  It also comes with iOS 7, with the ability to upgrade to iOS8 when it comes out later in the year.  It also comes in a lot of new colors, just in case the standard silver wasn’t good enough.  It comes in pink, yellow, blue, space gray, silver, and red, which means you can now match it up with any outfit you want.

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    June 25, 2014
    Forget.Me Helps You Be Forgotten

    To their credit, the European Union has been very progressive in fighting for the right of people to be forgotten.  To that end, they’ve managed to convince Google (via the power of a lawsuit) to be persuaded to forget people in its search results.  The EU calls it the Right to be Forgotten, and Google now has a form online for people in the EU to use to try and get search results removed.  However, it’s not all that easy to get Google to cave to your demands, and that’s what Forget.me is for.  Forget.me is a service used by people who want to make Google forget about them.  Forget.me launched on Tuesday and apparently it was a huge success.

    According to ReputationVIP CEO Bertrand Girin, whose company is behind the service, said by Wednesday “we have had 700 people register and about 80 forms sent to Google.”  He added, ”If we say out of every 100 people in Europe, one person has a problem with a Google search result, and if one in ten of those do the submission, that’s 500,000 people.”

    Of course, just because the service exists, that doesn’t mean it is needed.  After all, the Google removal forms are online and available for free, but there’s the matter of making your attempt as successful as possible.  If Forget.Me is as good as they say they are, it might be worth the money to get the offending search results removed sooner rather than later.

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    June 25, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Back To The Limo

    Via:  Imgur

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    June 24, 2014
    Microsoft Outlook Suffers 5-Hour Outage

    If your office is like mine, you depend a lot on managed provider solutions.  Namely, the organization I work for no longer uses locally-hosted email service; our email is provided by Microsoft as an online-only system provided through the state.  Fortunately, it’s controlled by someone in the state organization, using servers that aren’t local, but at least are in the state.  However, people who depend on Microsoft’s own cloud service weren’t as lucky.  Microsoft Outlook was down for 6 hours or more today, leaving thousands of people without email service.

    If you were one of those who suffered through the outage, you have my sympathies.  Our email goes down periodically, and it’s miserable because so much of our communication is done via email.  Lots of folks also depend on email to send documents back and forth, or perhaps they use Microsoft’s cloud storage solution.  Either way, when Exchange does down, everything grinds to a halt.  Hopefully they were able to manage without email for a day.

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    June 20, 2014
    The iPhone’s Crime-Stopping Kill Switch

    Recently, both Apple and Microsoft have announced that they were going to install so-called kill switches in their smartphone operating systems.  Basically, what that means is if someone steals your phone, you can remotely send a signal to the phone that renders it useless, locked down and able to protect all your data.  Good deterrent to thieves, right?  As it turns out, Apple’s kill switch has reduced smartphone thefts in New York City.

    And not just in New York.  From London to San Francisco, Apple device thefts are down.  San Francisco is down 38 percent; London is down 14 percent.  New York’s thefts, from grand larceny to simple robbery, are both down as well.  Unsurprisingly, thieves are turning to easier targets:  Samsung phones are getting stolen more and more often, picking up the slack from the stolen iDevice market, I supposed.  Maybe it’s time for all smartphones to have kill switches built into them, and maybe then we’d see device thefts completely eliminated (or perhaps a chop shop-type device theft ring increase).

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    June 19, 2014
    Test-Drive A Personal Drone Detector For $500

    Are you worried about drones?  You know, those quiet, hovering, all-seeing eyes in the sky piloted by vague yet sinister government agencies?  I’m not, but it’s a pretty rational fear.  There’s a company out there who is working on a system you might be interested in, and for $500 you can take it for a test drive.  Domestic Drone Countermeasures (DDC) is the company behind the Personal Drone Detection System, a system that, well… does what it says on the tin.  DDC has created a system that detects drones and alerts you to their presence.

    The company, based in Portland, Oregon, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to support their product.  Basically, it triangulates moving transmitters using a mesh system, which is basically how it tracks drones.  If this seems like something that might interest you, for the low price of $500 you can be an alpha tester of the product and be a part of the testing pool.  Which, really, is a very cool reward indeed.

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    June 18, 2014
    Wordless Wednesday: Smart Fridge

    Image:  Beard Complex

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    June 18, 2014
    Amazon Unveils Fire Phone

    It takes a brave company with some real confidence to look at a crowded market and shout, “Me too!”  Amazon is one of the bravest companies running today, given their history of jumping into industries.  They launched the Kindle e-book reader into a crowded market and came out on top.  They launched the Kindle Fire and immediately became a force in the tablet marketplace, especially among other Android-powered devices.  They have a streaming music service and streaming video service (and two-day shipping) connected with Amazon Prime.  And now, they’re taking aim at the mobile phone market.  Amazon has announced the Kindle Fire Phone.

    The Fire Phone comes with one really cool feature.  Dubbed Firefly, it’s a service that allows you to point your Amazon smartphone at any television show or product and be taken to a page on Amazon’s store to buy it.  If you’re listening to a song, you have your phone listen to it and you can buy that, too.  It’s a spectacular feature, especially when paired with Amazon’s database of 100 million items.  There’s also a 3D-type display, for those interested in that.  Plus, presumably, it’ll make phone calls.

    The phone, sold without a contract, is $649, but a $199 AT&T version will be coming soon.  The phone comes with 12 free months of Amazon Prime, which is one of the best services imaginable for the money.

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    June 12, 2014
    Stop Facebook From Sharing Your Browser History

    One of the perils of modern computer use is the fact that your browser history is pretty much fair game for any website you go checking on.  Facebook, in particular, is looking like the sort of company that is willing to steal pretty much all your search and app history for its own uses.  In this case, they’re selling advertisements based on the kind of stuff you’ve been looking at.  If that kind of privacy invasion seems concerning to you, there’s a way to stop that from happening.  Here’s how you stop Facebook from selling your browser history.

    Facebook describes it this way:  ”You might visit a company’s website that uses cookies to record visitors to it.  The company then asks Facebook to show their ad to this list of visitors, and you might see these ads both on and off Facebook.”

    You have to head to the Digital Advertising Alliance and use their tool to help your browser opt out of the potential websites.  I opted out of 34 companies just while writing this post, and there are 116 or so more that participate in the opt out program, which will definitely help you keep your information a bit more secret and blocks the Facebook ad harvesting technique from being successful.

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