Mac’s Snow Leopard no longer secure?

As I attempt to download Maverick on my MacBook Pro, I am also reading articles about the  Snow Leopard, or Mac OSX 10.6 security updates. As many of you know, Apple products are known to be easily hacked into due to their poor security measures.

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So it is very very unfortunate for those of us who use Snow Leopard, because as of yesterday, Apple is ending its security updates for this particular operating system. There is an option to ensure your security however. You can update to the Maverick operating system, for free as long as you have the latest Snow Leopard update installed and the Mac was purchased in 2007 or later. Mavericks won’t work with MacBooks and iMacs sold before 2007.

http://money.cnn.com/2014/02/27/technology/security/snow-leopard/index.html

This bad news extends to PC users. Microsoft has announced that it will discontinue security updates for Windows XP on April 8.

Update: I couldn’t update to Maverick because I need more free space. I had the same problem updating to iOS 8 on my iPhone, when that came out. -_-

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By maggiebania

Uber

No its not valley girl speak. Uber is an app available for smartphones that allows you to get a taxi service without having to call a cab. Uber is exclusive; it does not send you a yellow cab, but an Uber car. Uber is becoming more and more popular in big cities like NYC, LA, and Chicago. Uber is even available in New Brunswick! Here are more locations where Uber car service is available:

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There are many benefits of using Uber instead of a standard taxi cab. Clear pricing is available before you actually order the Uber car, so you don’t have to worry about going over the meter. Its also cashless– you pay for it via your app with a credit card, so there’s no need to tip. You can also split the bill with carpoolers! You can pick which Uber vehicle you would like to ride in, with a selection from black sedans, to spacey SUVs, to even a luxury car. 

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I think the next time I need to go to the airport, I’ll be definitely using Uber instead of regular ‘ole cab. Its interesting to see how detached we’re becoming as a whole. It seems as if the most “groundbreaking” technology is almost always computerized, decreasing the amount of human contact for the convenience of time. 

By maggiebania

GPS Collars for Pets

While surfing the web last night, I came across something very interesting regarding dog collars. Fascinating, I know. Apparently people are finally figuring out a more humane way of tracking their dog (or cat) without microchipping them. Pettracker is a company that specializes in making little waterproof, weatherproof, and dogproof gps trackers that attach onto your pet’s collar for about $100. 

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I think this is a great invention. Not only does this prevent the lost dog scenario, but it also does it in a very humane way– its noninvasive. This particular company allows the pet owner to set up the gps tracker so that they can check their pet’s location from their computer or their smartphone. They also include an “Activity Tracking” which tracks its health (this a little beyond me to be honest.) The only downside to this I find, is that you have to charge the tracker. But, the tracking device sends you reminder emails or texts to alert the user to charge it. 

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This kind of technology could very easily be manipulated and used against us in the future, but then again thats taking the Hollywood science fiction approach. 

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I also found these QR codes that can attach to a pet collar. It provides GPS location mapping on the profile page whenever the QR code ID tag is scanned and provides veterinary and contact information. 

 

Its absolutely crazy how technology can affect even simple things like tracking down lost pets. 

By maggiebania

Howcast

The Internet, and specifically YouTube, is a great place to learn how to do almost anything.

A couple of years ago I discovered Howcast. Howcast used to be an iPhone app but now exists as a YouTube channel.

Howcast produces thousands of online ‘how-to’ videos that are approximately 2 minutes in length. Howcast is an excellent source for people who want a quick video on how to do something. Alternatively, if you only have two minutes, Howcast is a great way to spend your time learning something.

Some examples of great Howcast vidoes:

1)How to Fake a Clean House: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8Z1oLm8IhM

2)How to Make Homemade Ice Cream in a Plastic Bag: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3-OAwhIvU0

3) 10 Beauty Tips and Tricks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6Ikhk1QzVk

By taking advantage of what the Internet has to offer, the possibilities of things to learn are limitless.

Texting While Walking

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/the-difficult-balancing-act-of-texting-while-walking/?rref=health&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Health&pgtype=Blogs

Texting has become such a part of our daily routines that we may not have noticed how it affects us. A recent article from the New York Times explained how texting has affected our ability to walk. 

Plenty of people I know (myself included) constantly walk and text. However, according to the above article texting while walking can have negative short-term and long-term consequences. For example, a study done by the University of Queensland found that people who were texting while walking walked “like robots” with shorter steps, a rigid body position, and in less of a straight line. These seemingly minor changes may result in people tripping because they are not aware of their surroundings. In addition, texting while walking may lead to more long-term neck and shoulder pain.

Although there are consequences to texting and walking, plenty of people still manage to do it successfully. Multiple cell phone apps, such as Type N Talk, facilitate walking and texting by turning on the camera on the phone utilizing a transparent keyboard superimposed over the image seen by the camera.

 What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any consequences of trying to multi task texting and walking?

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(https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/type-n-walk/id331043123?mt=8

Ask Me About My Oscar.

With the Academy Awards just days away, many people are speculating, even wagering absurd amounts of money, on the winners of some of the major categories (sorry, but no one really cares that much about Best Costume Design or Best Film Editing, it’s just not that sexy.) What are the major categories I just mentioned you ask? Simple. The big ones everyone notices are Best Picture, Best Actor [& Actress] In A Leading Role, Best Director, and sometimes we like to pretend we care about Best Actor [& Actress] in a Supporting Role. 2013 was a great year for movies, and there have been some titles I have been crazy about, and some titles I skipped altogether, but I can honestly say that the movies I paid to go see in theaters have not disappointed. Movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street, American Hustle, Her, and Gravity just to name a few, have gripped my attention and all have added a new spice to Hollywood, further progressing the overall American film standards.

What am I trying to get at here? That’s a good question, you ask many good questions. Rolling Stone magazine, a magazine I personally subscribe to, has a film critic, Peter Travers, with whom I may agree with sometimes, with whom I may disagree with sometimes, but always I respect what he has to say. What has Mr. Travers done that it is worth me mentioning right now? Great question, I am impressed with your intrigue. Mr. Travers has broken down the list of Academy Award Nominations worth mentioning (see earlier spiel about nominations people care about,) and explains which wins would be considered upsets, which wins are probably going to happen, and overall favorites to win. If that is not enough for your afflicted attentions, he also compiles a list of movies that were flat out snubbed from the Oscars, despite being more than worthy of a nomination, if not of the golden statue itself. Hey Alex, where do I read this list that Mr. Travers has compiled for me? Don’t worry, I am already on top of it, I’ll give you the link so you can read it for yourself.

http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/pictures/oscars-2014-peter-travers-picks-who-should-and-will-win-20140225

Welcome to the Smartphone Race

This past Saturday, I finally committed to getting a smart phone–my first one ever. I decided to get the iPhone 5s and I can say that it has truly changed my life in this short amount of time.

I didn’t fully understand the addiction or dependency that people had towards their iPhones, but now that I have one, it’s a whole new world. Because I don’t have to carry my iPod, phone, and computer with me, my pockets and bags feel so much lighter. I also am finding myself spending less time on my Mac and more time on my phone. Additionally, I feel more connected than ever. If I get an email I can check it right away. The same goes for a text, an email, and a snapchat. And all these apps…it’s truly remarkable how this little device is capable of changing life patterns.

For the past week, I have not been able to physically get off my phone. There’s always something new that grabs my attention. And being someone who is new to this whole smartphone world, I feel like I’m turning into one of those people who is absorbed by their phones. Case in point: I almost walked into a pole today because I was too busy checking my email. Maybe my obsession is due to my excitement for finally being part of a circle that I had chosen to be excluded from in the past. Or maybe it’s because the iPhone is just too freaking cool to put down. Whatever the reason, I know that going back to a basic phone  is not an option. It’s too late to turn back. I have officially  become a member of the smartphone race. And so far, I have no regrets.

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Anonymity on the Internet

In You Are Not a Gadget, Jaron Lanier talks about anonymity on the Internet. This immediately made me think back my middle school days when my friends and I would communicate mostly through AOL or similar messaging services.

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When using AOL messaging everyone must have a ‘screen name’ that becomes their online identity. What I found interesting about ‘screen names’ is that they rarely involved the person’s actual names. Rather, screen names typically included the person’s hobby, favorite number, birthday, pet, or something else that the person liked.  I found it interesting that through time many people have stepped away from anonymity. From what I have noticed, nowadays people’s email address typically include some variation of their first and/or last name. On sites like Twitter and Facebook, anonymity is usually scarce and people take pride in attributing their posts to themselves.

Why has this shift away from anonymity occurred? Perhaps, because online identities have shifted to become a virtual representation of ourselves, and who doesn’t want to get credit for what they do online? On the other hand, other websites such as Reddit or still pride themselves in anonymity. 

What about you? Do you prefer to be anonymous on the Internet, or is anonymity a thing of the past? 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/23/we-re-all-still-secretly-using-our-1990s-aol-screen-names-why.html

A Smart-Phoneless World

Imagine if the smart phone disappeared, what kind of world would that leave us with?

http://www.cracked.com/photoplasty_805_the-world-tomorrow-if-smart-phones-disappeared-today/

If you don’t already know of it, I highly recommend visiting http://www.cracked.com for some interesting facts that most people would otherwise never know. Who knows, maybe you can get a second date with a very interesting person if you pull out one of these obscure factoids? I digress. What the first link shows is a hilarious take on what the world would look like without our beloved, handy dandy smart phones. I thought the candy crush photo was hilarious (for those of you who are like me and rarely click on the links people include in their blogs, this picture shows a man with a huge hammer about to smash a crudely photoshopped image of a mountain of candy,) and the iBell, a home door bell with a personalized finger sensor, polaroids of the foods we eat, etc. etc. Though the post is clearly a joke, it does point out some serious issues with the way we do things, such as texting and driving; one of the pictures is a man driving while sending out a telegraph with a morse code machine.

DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT LIABLE FOR THE COUNTLESS HOURS THAT CAN BE LOST SURFING THE VOID THAT IS CRACKED.COM. SEEK IMMEDIATE HELP IF YOU EXPERIENCE SURFING LASTING MORE THAN 4 HOURS, AS THIS CAN BE A SERIOUS SIDE EFFECT OF THE WEBSITE.

DIgital Peasant Chic

This chapter really hooked my attention because of the scary reality of technology for our future. We are so addicted to the hype of new products, completely blinding us from the power of these advancements. It will forever be true that “any skill, no matter how difficult to acquire, can become obsolete when the machines improve”(Lanier 55). In a way it is much like a double-edged sword. We obvisiously want to create the most advanced machines and medicines for longer life spans, but that eagerness has created consequences that could seriously alter our life for the future. Lanier explains how advanced technology like robots continue to exceed expectations on their capabilities. Many people think of robots as fictitious characters in Sci-Fi movies, but they are becoming much more real. We are losing our natural ability of creating and sustaining relationships to gadgets and systems that are prioritizing our time. We forget to remember we have little to no control over these innovations, leaving it in the hands of the privileged. As a society we have all assimilated to life in the digital world because that is the new norm. My grandpa has a simple black flip phone without a camera or text messaging. He just cant seem to get with the groove of technology and hes becoming the minority. In 50 years, it will be weird for someone to think about a time before computers.

I think another trend that Lainer exposes in this chapter is that future income and social inequality will continue as the technology advances. The rich will continue to receive the best treatment and products. Their manipulation of how these innovations are distributed will increase the distance between future social classes. And their manipulation of the media content through technology will dominate our everyday lives; it already does. Lanier states “If content is worthless, then people will start to become empty headed and contentless.” Most of the media we read and see is what we are being told, something we as a society have learned to accept. The average person might have the means of creating a film with the technology but anything of quality it quickly scooped up by a rich businessman waiting on a deal.