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Stupid Technology That You Don’t Want or Need: Instagram sunglasses and a GIF taking camera

Posted by admin on May 20, 2014 in geekery, lists, opinion, technology

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The world is full of great and amazing inventions, things that wow the mind and blow the senses. And then come the not so amazing, those that give pause, make one think ‘eh, and simply seem like a wonderful way to blow a lot of resources. That’s what I’m celebrating now, the many odd and surreal parts of technology that we really *might* have been better off without.

The Ten Lens

What is it: Think of these as Instagram sunglasses, shades that let you see the world through a variety of rose colored filters.

Why: Why let real life get you down? Why not view it all through pretty tinted lenses, that makes everything slightly saccharine and glowy? Who needs to reminisce over old times when every day has an old-timey feel. Yes, this is basically exactly what actual tinted sunglasses do, but these are “Tens Lens” sunglasses so it’s totally different. Seriously, the creators say that, “Whilst typical sunglasses block out the light with desaturated, cold colors; Tens work with the warmth of the sun to lend an uplifting tint to the world beyond the lens.” Absolutely not the same thing (insert eye-roll).

And that’s why you should pay 60 bucks for them through their Indiegogo campaign, instead of ten dollars at H&M for a pair you lose the same day.

Otto Camera Takes Only Gifs, really

Otto, the camera that takes only GIFS

What is it: This is a camera built with Raspberry Pi that can capture GIF’s – not pictures. Yes, you can GIF away with a snap and a crank and be ready for Meme heaven.

Why? You love Gifs. I love Gifs.The world loves Gifs. We crack up over Gifs all the timer- heck GIFs are continually one of the most popular and growing subreddits on Reddit, the internet purveyor of what’s cool for the modern disenfranchised moody hipster. Why should you have to painstakingly create a GIF in Photoshop or manually DIY it with one of the zillion free GIF makers out there? What a drag! Why not capture a GIF in one go with a camera that’s designed for your needs?

The Otto camera features a rotating crank that captures an insta-GIF, not an instaPic and shares it with your cellphone.. so you can share it with the world. Now that’s good symbiosis, right? The camera is adaptable as the creators have built in capabilities for add on accessories, including a an Arduino-powered flash bulb that can be triggered to capture GIFs when it detects certain actions, for example they say it can “trigger the camera [for actions] like a totally badass high-five.” I mean you could just use a GIF making app on your phone, but then you’d totally lose camera carrying “cool” credentials right? Read more…

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These Chicas Poderosas 2014 Projects Might Change The World

Posted by admin on May 7, 2014 in geekery, lists, technology

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“Fail Fast, Succeed Soon.” Sounds like a strange thing to say, but the more you think about the phrase, the more you realize that it’s a pretty productive mantra. Don’t get stuck working on an idea that doesn’t make sense if you can change it. This was the catchphrase of the Chicas Podersosas 2014 Miami event, a four day workshop that brought together smart men and women from across the globe.

They gathered to explore ways that technology can be used to create interactive storytelling – and to empower women. Led by visual storyteller Mariana Santos, a Knight International Journalism Fellow, stories were proposed, teams were chosen and goals were set.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that were created. None are “complete” – the goal was to demonstrate what you can build in a few days with mentorship and to develop the skills to then move these ideas forward. Where possible links to projects have been provided.

Here’s a look at some of the projects that were created. None are “complete” – the goal was to demonstrate what you can build in a few days with mentorship and to develop the skills to then move these ideas forward. Where possible links to projects have been provided.

Mapping Unmarked graves from the Drug War

“This is a story about drugs and where they end up,” said Andrés Lizcano Rodriguez, who proposed the idea.“Drug prices have gone up more than any other product in the last 20 years – apart from technology.”

This group used data to look at the deaths caused by the drug trade, the 20 million US consumers that have inadvertently caused the murder of 70,000 people in Mexico since 2006.. The group created a responsive website that mapped out this issue, including personal stories and statistics to back it up. Read more…

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Bodyvertising strangeness includes Beardvertising, Thighvertising and Mohawking

Posted by admin on Mar 7, 2014 in beauty, lists, news

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There is nothing today that we don’t commercialize in some way. We name children after cities and wine (seriously,  people use London and Champagne as names for girls), watch movies full of product placement and have our school classes sponsored by Sprint and Coca Cola. The body is the last bastion of all this consumerism overload, and for some time now advertisers have been coming up with creative ways to let us brand ourselves here. Forget the ordinariness of tattooing brand names on your forehead (creepy, but soo last year) and meet some of the strange but temporary ways to get messages out there.

bearding

Beardvertising

What is it? Adverts placed in the beards of men, primarily hipsters that draw attention to the brand. These adverts can be clipped on.

Why? Well, when you have a beard everyone looks anyways, so why not commercialize on it? Now that’s “real Native Advertising.”

Who has bought into it? Brands like Dollar Shave Club.

How much can you make? They say they will pay $5 a day for you to wear a beard-board, but quite how they select you is unclear. It was popular last year, when the concept went viral, but though you can still submit an application online, it’s unclear if this is still running. The concept was created a by a marketing firm, but who says this couldn’t go bigger than that? Think Santa.. maybe.

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Thighvertising

What is it? Commercializing the fine art of the female thigh. Why wear tights when you waste space where you could place an advert? Everyone looks at ladies legs, so why not make money off all those street creepers? Thighvertising is the temporary placement of adverts on women’s upper thighs.

Why? Duh, thighs = money. This is offered by Japanese firm Absolute Territory/ Zetta IPR, and they take girls aged 18+ who can show they have more than 20 social media connections. The women who get approved need to wear the sticker on their thigh for around 8 hours. Read more…

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Lessons learned From Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean in: An illustrated guide

Posted by admin on Feb 21, 2014 in books, geekery, lists, opinion

Sheryl Sandberg Job Advice

I recently read Sheryls Sandberg’s Lean In and have a few thoughts I wanted to share about it. First, the book is not half as intimidating as it looks from the outside.  The intimidation wasn’t the title,  the cover photo or the feminist message you knew it contained, but the actual size. The hardback size. Bound, big and heavy. The publishers went for the “serious” cash rather than the mass return, and published a book that looked very big and weighty. It looked long. It felt like it would be worthy. It turned me off.

Fast forward a few months and I downloaded it on my Kindle. And I discovered the book is short. Really short. 24% in and I’m at chapter 5. There are eleven chapters. And it’s SO easy to read. It’s essentially a self help book which uses Sheryl Sandberg’s career as a framework. Sandberg is surprisingly honest and open about her personal failings and her family life. She shared anecdotes about crying at work. She revealed her mistakes. She talked about regrets, such as being insensitive to pregnant women (before she’d experienced it). I learned about how she grew up (who knew she was from Miami?), her parents, her sister. I was impressed with her before, but now I like her.

I feel that the publishers did a disservice by releasing a hardcover copy of the book as a lot of people who could have benefitted from this probably didn’t read it. But now that I have – and enjoyed it – I decided that I’m going to break it down for all the people who are to time poor or lazy.

A lot of the lessons in the book are about the way you look at things. It’s about the angle, not the events. Yes, she acknowledges gender discrimination, wage disparity and social issues. But she doesn’t try and make you change the world. She offers practical, useful advice on how to make the best of a flawed situation, and maybe make some bigger changes along the way. I’ve been quoting certain phrases to people, and that’s pretty rare for me, so the following nuggets are ones that stood out for me personally.

leaninbigproblem

This is a question that Sandberg suggest using when approaching a job role you want. It’s not about you- it’s about what you bring to the company. Read more…

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A surprisingly realistic list of technology predictions for 2014

Posted by admin on Jan 3, 2014 in geekery, lists, opinion, technology, Yum

foodinifood

We hoped for many things in 2013. We were promised these by tech companies, by journalists (oops), by advertisers. Did we get them? Hell no. Where’s the 3DTV in our living room? Why aren’t we 3D printing clothes at home? Why on earth are we still having to fly to Los Angeles from NYC; just where is Elon Musk’s magnetic levitation train? God knows.

Still, we have hope, we have faith, we have wallets.

Technology will continue to change our lives, and we look forward to 2014, a year of immense scientific discovery, technovation and stuff we can never afford.

Here’s the top five technology predictions for 2014 of things that will realistically happen in the tech world. (Originally published on Fusion.net)

3D printing food will become commonplace…but you still won’t be able to afford it

This year 3D printing food became a bit closer to reality. We were already used to 3D printed fashion and had been impressed with the variety of designers out there offering this to us, but food was still a long way away. Sure, we knew that Google 3D printed pasta at their Mountain View cafeteria, but how did that apply to regular folk? However, this year we had NASA announce they would 3D print pizzas in space and saw the launch of Foodini, a prototype 3D food printer that can be used to make multiple things such as ravioli and chocolate.

Downsides are that it prints one ingredient at a time (boo) but it’s miles above previous 3D food printer prototypes which had complicated parameters about what they could and couldn’t make. This isn’t going to be mass produced anytime soon, but as the 3D printer movement got so HUGE over the last year, with hundreds of brands now in the space (MakerBot, ForrmLabs etc.) the cost had lowered so much that you can buy a basic 3D printer for $500.

“With 3D printing food we already have factories and machine parts in place,” said Marcelo Coelho, a research affiliate at MIT who designed a 3D printing chocolate machine called the Cornucopia at MIT as part of his graduate project and who gave a talk on Digital Gastronomy to Microsoft last year. “The challenge is to take a machine used in a factory and enable it to be used in a kitchen, hundreds of ingredients to manufacture.”

Expect to see a resurgence in 3D printed food appliances and associated “food materials” all over the media and Kickstarter. Just don’t expect to be able to afford one…yet. Read more…

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Ten Must Have Free New York apps for newbies

Posted by admin on Oct 15, 2012 in lists, news, technology

AlmostZara has now gone international, and I’ve moved my main residence from London to New York City. After going through the various stages of culture shock- meeting after midnight is normal, everyone takes home leftovers from restaurants and my monthly metro card is a quarter of the price it is in London– I’ve been getting to grips with local apps.

A hardcore cellphone junkie, I can’t live without my handset, and in a new city making sure you have the most relevant and useful apps is a must. The following apps are the ones that have become invaluable to me in the last few months, and they help me manage everything from transport issues to finding out cinema times. This might sound pretty basic, but most of these are ones that I had to be told about by my peers- a search through the Android marketplace proved pretty useless in helping me narrow down the apps I needed for everyday life.

In no particular order here are my top ten apps for navigating New York City.

Embark NYC

The New York metro is many things- 24 hour, air conditioned, and full of crazy people offering you candy for $3. What it doesn’t have is any easily accessible maps for the system- unless you like holding a broadsheet to your face as you work out where the C train is (Clue: There is no C Train-FAIL!) Embark NYC is a free app, and its wonderfulness lies in its basic simplicity. You have the whole NYC Metro stations at your fingertips, you can zoom in and out with finger swipes and it’s great to work out just where the different trains interest. If you want to be more advanced you can set it to calculate different journeys for you and to alert you to the best route, but I prefer it for its simple navigation and basic layout. It beats Google Maps and the MTA app by miles, and though it’s basic, that’s just what makes it so wonderful. Did I mention it’s free? Read more…

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The Five Technology Lies you’re guilty of

Posted by admin on Jul 16, 2012 in lists, opinion, technology

Technology has brought us many things; the inability to ever get honestly lost anymore, dinner parties where mobiles get their own place setting and an encyclopedia of knowledge at our fingertips  (thus forbidding us the option of successfully cheating at Scrabble). With all these amazing additions to out lives comes one major downside- the inability to ever be fully turned off- this wired world means we are always connected, and this can be a little bit draining, as no one likes worried phonecalls if you haven’t updated Facebook for two days. It’s hard for people to lie low whilst living in the world 2.0, so in order to cope with the unwanted infringement of private lives a few technology lies have evolved which are hard to disprove but easy to use. Shake your head at that and deny you’re anything less than honest in your dealing with folks? Right, how about when your Mum calls or you’re required to be a plus one for the birthday of someone you hate? I don’t think the following will come as any surprise to you, but it might make you feel better to realize that other people equally embrace escapism from the world by doing the exact same things. Try not to fret too much at these tips as inevitably they’ll all be redundant in 5 years when tech evolves. Here are the five most common technology lies told- as chosen by me (and possibly used on you all at various times).

‘I never got your email’ a.k.a Your email went into my Junk folder

Occasionally really important emails DO go into the spam filter, but in all likelihood MOST of them don’t, so if I haven’t replied to you it’s because I don’t want to. I’d never say that though, so when I get one of those awful pesky follow up ‘did you get my email’ emails, the little white spam filter lie slips easily out and keeps everyone happy. This can be foiled with the sneaky ‘alert when opened’ software many Outlook users enable, but that just means the emailer will be judging you, rather than calling you on your bullshit.

You also have to think what their motivation is- if they know you have opened their email and not replied, surely they should take the hint? On a personal level this would be rude, but in business where a high volume of emails get sent everyday, this generally means that their email was irrelevant or not priority at the moment. Follow ups  just serve to demoralize each side, and can only foster feelings of resentment. If it’s a friend you’re lying too, well, I’m not that interested in their baby photos either- that’s what Facebook is for, so go put that gooey first step/first smile/first poop pics up there so I can ignore them at my leisure and not fill up my inbox with them. Read more…

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