Friday, December 9, 2016

Tech Tidings for December 8 - Part 2

Now, back to our story - or stories, actually.

Microsoft Buys LinkedIn

Microsoft has finalized its purchase of LinkedIn, paying around $26 billion.

Google Meets Emoji

A new Google feature allows searching via emoji. 

The Social Media World Keeps Growing

Zenly allows check-ins and location sharing with family and friends. 

Treem is a new chat and messaging app with organizational features - and maybe some money for regular users.

Is Net Neutrality Endangered?
A possible pick for FCC chairman may be changing the status quo.

Parent Advisory: What are your teens actually texting with those abbreviations?
Texting abbreviations have gone beyond LOL for laughing out loud.  There are now sexting codes.

Using Visa Card for Online Purchases?  Watch out.
Hackers - from Russia or wherever - can guess details for your Visa card in as little as six seconds. 
[Two personal suggestions here: 1.  Have a low limit credit card specifically to use online. 2.  Use Mint or similar app that allows you to check accounts regularly, even daily, for suspicious items]

And Some Fun to End On
404 pages are website error pages.  Most are pretty standard, but a few web designers get creative.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Tech Tidings for December 8 - Part 1

Photo from Pexels 

Straight from my table at my favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant, here news on technology for the week. 

What Not to Do on Uber Rides

The ride hailing service has posted behavior standards.  Avoid rudeness and abuse are among the guidelines.  Sounds like a good idea for social media too. 

Facebook in the News - Again

People do not want to see hoaxes on Facebook (at least the thinking part of the population).

FB is testing a feature that lets you create your own custom profile pic frame - if it passes standards.  Only available in certain countries right now. 

Another FB feature in testing turns comment reels into a message thread.

Another reason to be cautious of what you read on FB: gift exchange scams.  

For Those Still into the Pokemon Craze

New Pokemon are coming says parent company.

Sprint and Starbucks become PokeStops.

For Science Teachers
NASA is posting GIFS on Giphy

Watch What You Post on a Plane
A report show how governments may spy on phone use while on airlines.  Watch what you post there (and it is not a bad idea for the rest of your locations either).

Trump and Technology
Trump is to meet with technology leaders next week.

A transition team member was fired for tweeting a fake news story.  (Yes, leave the fake news to Facebook).

To Be Continued... 
Lots of interesting tidbits this week. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

A Series of Literary Tidbits

Some tidbits on series books:

Harry Potter Goes to Broadway
Creators of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, set 9 years after the final book, are in talks to bring the play from London to New York

The Cats Who-Done-It
I love cat themed mysteries, but especially these three series where the cats play a more central - and verbal- role.  In all three, we actually hear from the cats. 
Midnight Louie by Carole Nelson Douglas. Midnight Louie - The black cat takes on Las Vegas crime with a Sam Spade nuiance and the help of his human, Temple Barr, and a few more "felines about town".
Mrs. Murphy by Rita Mae Brown and her feline co-author Sneaky Pie Brown
"Harry" Hairisteen has a way of getting involved in the mysteries of her Virginia hometown.  She also has a way of getting into trouble, but her faithful animal companions, cats Mrs. Murphy and Pewter, and Corgi Tucker.
Joe Grey by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Not only does the reader hear the cats in this series, the cats' humans do also.  Joe Grey, Dulcie, Kit, and special guest cats in the series can actually speak and read like humans - which gives them quite an advantage in their secret help to police in their California coastal town. 

Goosebumps Author Goes Comic
Writing comics that is.  R. L. Stine has confirmed he is to write a series for Marvel Comics.  

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tech Tidings for December 1

Santa Meets Pokemon
A Google Santa Tracker app has been updated with a Pokemon Go type game. Present Quest allows the user to track and collect presents around the city. 

Big Brother Finds It Easier to Spy on You
A change in Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure affects search warrants, allowing hacking software to be planted on a suspect's computer.

Pen and Paper Giving Way to Stylus and Tablet
A new study finds technology being used more at schools.  The study is from Quizlet, a learning tools site.

The Buck Stops at the White House
A new app allows users to see a virtual image of the White House when a phone is pointed at a dollar bill.

Loved Mythbusters? Try the White Rabbit Project
Grant, Kari, and Tori from Mythbusters are back with a new Netflix series called the White Rabbit Project.  The promo says the trio will explore tech, weapons and more in the science themed show.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Tech Tidings for November 24: a new weekly feature

Tech Tidings is a new regular feature, rounding stories of general interest from the technology world. 

Two Female Tech Pioneers Honored
Margaret Hamilton and Grace Hopper were honored as Medal of Freedom recipients.  Hamilton wrote the code that would become the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo project. Hopper worked on the early Mark I computer during World War II, helped create mainframe programming language COBOL in the late 1950s, and is credited with coining the phrase "bug in the system.

Temperature Controlling Mugs for Sale at Starbucks
Starbucks is now selling Ember Temperature Control Mugs.  The mugs are designed to keep hot beverages at a perfect sipping temperatures.  the mugs are available in stores and online for $149.95.

NHTSA On What Phones Should Not Be Able to Do
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration has released new voluntary proposed guidelines for software makers and device manufacturers. The guidelines  aim to cut down on driver distraction from mobile apps and hardware.  They can be found here.

Trump Encourages Apple to Build US Manufacturing Plant
President-Elect Trump has reported spoken to Apple CEO Tim Cook on the possibility of bringing Apple manufacturing back to the US.  Incentives, including a tax break, may be part of talks. 

Amazon Deletes Incentivized Reviews
Amazon is working to delete reviews given in exchange for the product or a discount.  The reviews given were to be "an honest review", but the company has found that such reviews may lead consumer to mistrust the review system as a whole.

Don't Be Fooled on Facebook
Facebook has been in the news over accusations that fake news stores on the social media side may have swayed the election.  Whether that charge is true or not,  some caution before sharing that news feed story is in order.   Check out the article linked before for tips on how to avoid being fooled.

Was the Election Hacked?  Statisticians Say Unlikely
While some cybersecurity folks, plus Green Party candidate Jill Stein are calling for vote recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, some statisticians and elections experts say a hack is unlikely. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Thinking - a Dangerous Pastime Politically

Hmmm. LeFou, I'm afraid I've been thinking [Lefou:] A dangerous pastime [Gaston:] I know 

I've been doing a little thinking of my own, on politics.  Fake news, retractions, wrong polls - this election has seen them all.  Sorting out the issues and the accusations has been difficult, but I have been trying.  Here are a few of my THOUGHTS on Election 2016. 

1. On who won the popular vote:   An election win by popular vote would , to my understanding, require 50% + 1.  No candidate has that.  Factoring in third party candidates, over half the population can be said to have voted against either major party candidate.  

2. On campaign rhetoric:  Both candidates  did some misrepresenting according to the following sites: 

3. On character:  First, a cliche, but a true one:  nobody is perfect.  So all candidates have flaws; it is human nature.  Second, the accusations thrown at the major party candidates:  Money issues within organizations seem to be the most proveable for both major party candidates.  From there, both have faced other accusations that are unproved at best and disproved in cases for both.
4.  On accusations and issues:  Here I am looking at the accusations faced by Trump, since he has been declared the winner of the Electoral College.  A definition of some terms, according to Merriam- Webster:

Bigot - a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)
Racist - a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
Homophobic - irrational fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexuality or homosexuals
Misogyny - a hatred of women

Sexism - unfair treatment of people because of their sex; especially : unfair treatment of women

A look at sources across the ideological spectrum reveals both accusers and defenders, seeming to indicate some subjectiveness in the use of the terms. A look at the voting patterns ( indicates that, while certain demographics did vote more heavily for one or the other candidate, not all did.  There were minorities, women, LGBT, and college educated folks who voted for Trump, seeming to reject the idea that he is dangerous to those groups.  

A stance on certain issues of disagreement may contribute to some of the labels.  A disagreement on an issue does not automatically mean the person has the fear or hate noted in the above definitions. To encourage thinking on the issues of disagreement, here are links to: 

Comments over the years from Trump:

Official policy statements on his website:

Gaston and Lefou aside, I used to tell my students: Thinking is good.  I stand by that THOUGHT. 


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Character and Politics

Election 2016 has been filled with hurled accusations.  The mud thrown is threatening to swamp us all.  Where are the people of good character we used to have running for office?!

Ummmmm......  Well..... 

Unfortunately, politics has alway been rife for scandel and few, if any, presidental folks escape the bad character charges that the opposition chooses to throw.    Check out these links on political scandals of the past.

So, what am I going to do this election?   Vote as best I can according to the issues ( --  and continue to pray a lot!