5 Tips for Using Facebook Smarter and Less Stupidly Thursday, May 29 2014 

 

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by Tech Columnist

Let’s say you follow my advice to cope with having too many Facebook friends by learning to selectively ignore the ones you don’t care about, instead of going on an unfriending spree.

Obviously there’s another side to the issue: What about “friends” you’d prefer to hide from?

Again, I think there are easier solutions than a time-consuming and unpleasant friend massacre to maintain the social-signal function of Facebook — and your privacy.

1. By all means, do not be friends with actual enemies. Just for the record, it is in fact a good idea to unfriend anyone you believe might have actual, active, visceral ill will toward you. This shouldn’t require any special effort on your part. Nasty breakup? Lawsuit? Grounds for unfriending.

2. Pay attention to who can see what you post. Apparently this is such a problem that even Facebook is preparing changes to make it easier for members to avoid “accidental oversharing.”

But even now it’s not all that hard to, at a minimum, make sure you’re not sharing every post with the public at large. Click the Privacy Shortcuts icon at the top left of your home page and choose Who can see my stuff? At a minimum, make the default Friends. (Not Public.)

You can change this for every status update if you want, and specify that any given update be made visible only to a particular list of friends. If you want to devote the time to it, you can structure a system that will result in some of your “friends” seeing absolutely nothing you post.

3. Just don’t say anything stupid! Frankly, I am not interested in such a granular approach to picking and choosing the audience for every Facebook utterance.

A more efficient strategy: Permanently limit your audience to friends, and just don’t say anything on Facebook that would be harmful to you or anyone else if the entire Internet ended up seeing it. Do not complain about your job, do not trash acquaintances, do not make off-color remarks.

If you want to say something genuinely private, don’t say it on Facebook.

4. Avoid arguments. What’s that? Someone is wrong on the Internet? Ignore it. Do not weigh in with a snarky rebuttal. You will not win the argument; you will escalate it. People will get emotional. Stupid things will be said.

Sure, you think it’s your moral duty to correct an erroneous analysis of Obamacare. But guess what? You are not Batman! So just pretend you didn’t see it, and let somebody else step in and stoke a pointless flame war.

5. Don’t overshare with Facebook itself. Facebook has many, many questions for me: Where did I grow up, what are my favorite bands and movies, and so on.

My friends do not have these questions. Those who care to know are quite aware of where I grew up, and even those who don’t care have heard me go on about The Kinks and Stranger Than Paradise. There’s really no logical reason to disclose this sort of thing unless you are, in fact, somehow attempting to send signals that attract more “friends” who don’t actually know you. (In which case, you can hardly complain about having friends you don’t really know!)

Just ignore all that. Facebook really wants to know more about you because that helps its advertising business target better. And I don’t particularly care how Facebook wants me to use Facebook. Do you?

8 Big Questions About Google’s Self-Driving Car Thursday, May 29 2014 

Martin’s Thoughts:  Something like this is in our future.  Like the very first gasoline cars in the 1890s and early 1900s, this will look very strange and primitive in about 100 years when  internet connected self controlled cars are commonplace.

 

 

BY SAMANTHA MURPHY KELLY

Google on Tuesday unveiled the design of its self-driving car prototype, a pint-sized two-seater with no steering wheel, no brake pedal and a big “stop” button. The car has a curious design (exact dimensions are still unknown) and even has a smiley face on its front exterior.

In a demo video released by the company, a mother details how she can catch up with her son in the car without keeping both eyes on the road, and a couple discusses how safe they feel when the vehicle slows at curves and speeds up at the right time. There’s space enough for two people and a dog to sit up front. The vehicle can go up to 25 miles per hour for now, but Google says it will eventually hit significantly higher speeds.

Google’s car is expected to hit the market by 2020, almost 15 years after the company first started the driverless vehicle project. More recently, it’s been testing the cars on the streets of San Francisco.

SEE ALSO: See How Google’s Self-Driving Car Navigates City Streets

While it’s up for debate if automated driving will truly take off, it will unquestionably usher in a host of new issues, everything from safety issues and traffic laws to accident liability and potential hacking. Here’s a look at some of the bigger ones worth addressing:

Why would you want a self-driving car?

These sensor-filled vehicles have been programmed to make driving decisions based on what’s happening around them in real time, such as slowing down for jaywalking pedestrians, watching for cars that sneak out of hidden driveways and looking for cyclists making gestures that indicate a possible turn. The cars detect objects out to a distance of more than two football fields in all directions — making it more powerful than the human eye.

Without fallible humans behind the wheel, these cars could have a profound influence on improving road safety.

“The primary advantage here is that it could have a huge impact on safety,” said Joshua Schank, of the Washington-based nonprofit Eno Center for Transportation. “People are not great at driving — 30,000 people die in car accidents each year. Machines can be much better than humans when it comes to driving; they don’t drink or text and can think faster.”

In addition to the potential for reducing crashes, self-driving cars could ease congestion, improve fuel economy, reduce parking needs and bring mobility to those who are unable to drive.
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Who would use it?

There are use case scenarios for everyone. Not only could the self-driving car streamline commutes — from the grocery store and the office to long road trips — but it could also help transport the elderly, kids and the blind. Taxi and bus companies could also utilize the technology and bring individualized transportation to non-car owners.

What will it cost?

It’s unknown how much a self-driving car would cost, but like with any form of new technology, it will be high: “You could have the greatest technology in the world, but if it’s not affordable, no one will be able to enjoy it,” Schank said.

Will consumers feel safe?

In order for the Google self-driving car to really hit the mainstream, not only does the technology need to be perfected, it has to win over consumer trust. Google’s demo video shows passengers very pleased with the experience — early testers have called it relaxing, while others likened it to a tram-ride you’d find at Disney World.

 

 

 

Perhaps it’s the type of thing each person has to see and experience in person before deciding if it would fit their lifestyle.

But according to a recent study conducted by Seapine Software in February among 2,000 U.S. adults, about 88% said they would be concerned about riding in a driverless car — most of which worried the equipment could fail, such as a braking software glitch or a failed warning sensor that alerts the driver of danger.

“We found, not surprisingly, that safety was the number-one concern that survey respondents noted for their reluctance to adopt driverless technology,” said Rick Riccetti, president and CEO of Seapine Software. “That means that until manufacturers — in this case Google — can prove, without a doubt, that their product is free from software glitches or failures there simply won’t be a market for them for the average consumer.”

SEE ALSO: 12 Mysterious Google Maps Sightings

Recent disclosures and recalls related to car safety issues, including the ignition switch recall delay by General Motors, are not helping in the short term either, Ricetti added. While Google has its work cut out for itself, consumers could easily be swayed if safety and efficiency is proven.

Forget carjacking. What about car hacking?

The study also found that 52% of respondents fear a hacker could breach the driverless car’s system and gain control of the vehicle.

“For all the positives, the industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack,” said Wil Rockall, director of KPMG’s cybersecurity team, in an emailed statement. “Self-drive cars will probably work through Internet connectivity and, just as large volumes of electronic traffic can be routed to overwhelm websites, the opportunity for self-drive traffic being routed to create ‘spam jams’ or disruption is a very real prospect.”

Although the industry would naturally take safety and security seriously, Google would likely have to create ways to step in if issues occur along the way.

“Overrides could also be built in so that drivers could shut down many of the car’s capabilities if hacked,” Rockall wrote. “That way, humans will still be able to ensure their cars don’t route them on the road to nowhere.”

But Schank of the Eno Center for Transportation said that the ability to hack into individual cars would be extremely difficult.

“You would definitely need a security system in place, but it would be very hard to hack into a number of individual systems,” he said. “You might be able to hack into one, but doing so to many cars would be a big challenge.”

Who’s liable in an accident?

The Eno Center for Transportation believes automated self-driving cars have the potential to dramatically change the transportation network. In a recent white paper that looked at potential impacts and hurdles for transportation professionals and policymakers, it noted that self-driving cars could reduce crashes, ease congestion, improve fuel economy, reduce parking needs and bring mobility to those that are unable to drive. But it also highlighted many concerns, especially in terms of liability.

“When there is a car accident now, it’s relatively easy to sort out who was at fault, but in an autonomous vehicle, the water is murkier,” Schank said.

The issue is similar with the airline industry — if there is a crash now, who is at fault: the pilot? The manufacturer?

“It would be far more difficult to watch over that with every car crash, but then again, if vehicle collisions decline because of this technology, it might not be that big of an issue. We just don’t know yet,” he added.

 

 

 

 

As for getting self-driving cars on the road, some states such as Nevada have already issued permits to do so: “There is certainly an eagerness to adopt automated cars from a regulatory standpoint,” Schank said.

Will everyone want a “cute” car?

And finally, let’s talk design. When the Google car prototype is unveiled in the video, one tester calls it “cute.” The reaction isn’t surprising: coupled with the small size of the vehicle and that smiley face on the front, it is cute. But not everyone wants a cute car.

In a society that prides itself on the style, shape and flexibility of picking a car that fits their personality and needs, the self-driving car — or at least this model — is extremely limiting. The concept itself embodies the coolness of future but in a nerdy form factor.

SEE ALSO: Google’s Self-Driving Car Looks Rather Familiar

It’s the same complaint many have given the high-tech Google Glass: neat in theory but geeky on the face. Just like Glass, perhaps the car will eventually come in different shapes and sizes.

Who are Google’s partners?

It’s unclear as of right now who Google has partnered with to built the car, but one thing is evident: companies want in.

Uber cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick said during the Re/Code conference on Wednesday in San Francisco that he sees practical use for Google’s self-driving cars in Uber’s business.

“The magic [of a self-driving uber car] is, the reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re paying for the other dude in the car [the driver],” Kalanick said. “When there isn’t another dude in the car, the cost for taking a road trip becomes cheaper.”

Google has not yet responded to a request for comment on any of the unanswered questions mentioned in this story.

 

 

 

A great Light has gone out of the World Wednesday, May 28 2014 

 

Maya Angelou Dead at 86

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American author and poet Maya Angelou died in her home in Winston-Salem, N.C.,authorities said on Wednesday. She was 86 years old.

Cause of death is unknown. Citing “health reasons” less than a week ago, Angelou backed out of the 2014 MLB Beacon Awards luncheon, where she was to be honored for her part in the civil rights movement. Angelou was also hospitalized last month.

Her last tweet was on May 23:

Born in St. Louis, Angelou is credited with a list of plays and movies. She is the author of 30 books, and she was the first female African-American director. Angelou received several awards throughout her lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Arts in 2000 and the Lincoln Medal in 2008.

Angelou famously recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration in 1993.

In an interview with TIME last year, Angelou answered 10 questions, ranging from her unusual relationship with her mother to her love of guns. Her answers truly reveal the candid personality for which she was famous.

 

Amanda Wills

Amanda Wills is the Deputy Managing Editor at Mashable

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype Wednesday, May 28 2014 

Martins’ comments:

This is a great idea!  Been waiting for something like this since  I watched the Jetsons cartoon as a kid. I will buy one when the price becomes affordable, the flying option is available and the bugs have been worked out of the design.

Google Unveils Self-Driving Car Prototype

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif. — Google has been building self-driving cars for years, but what we’ve seen so far has always been retrofits of existing cars — until now. The search giant unveiled on Tuesday a fully autonomous self-driving car, built from the ground up by Google and its partners.

Company co-founder Sergey Brin revealed his plans at Recode’s Code Conference in southern California. He told Recode editors Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (who has ridden in the car), that there’s a safety benefit in a custom-built self-driving car. Because the car doesn’t have a steering wheel, accelerator or brakes, it has more sensors in strategic spots than is possible in a regular vehicle. It is also equipped with a big “stop” button. In addition to all this tech, Google’s autonomous car includes internal power steering and power brakes.

“It was inspiring to start with a blank sheet of paper and ask, ‘What should be different about this kind of vehicle?'” Chris Urmson, director of the Self-Driving Car Project, wrote in a blog post about the new car.

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Swisher said riding in the all-electric car was like going on a Disney ride. Considering it currently has a maximum speed of roughly 25 mph, this makes sense. Brin described riding in the car, which in one test was programmed via smartphone, as “relaxing,” and similar to catching a chairlift. He added that the car will eventually go up to 100 mph once it’s proven to be able to travel safely at that speed.

As for when the cars — which are significantly smaller than traditional cars and include couch-like seating — might actually make it to real highways, Brin said Google will soon test them with drivers. “Within a couple of years, we’ll — if we’ve passed the safety metrics we’ve put in place, which is to be significantly safer than a human driver … have them on the road,” he said.

 

 

by Lance Ulanoff

If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help Saturday, May 24 2014 

If You Need Any Convincing That Solar Roadways Are The Future, This Video Will Help

 

 

 

 

19 year old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove Tons Of Plastic From Oceans Thursday, May 22 2014 

19 year old Develops Ocean Cleanup Array That Could Remove 7,250,000 Tons Of Plastic From Oceans Read More: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/03/19-year-old-student-develops-ocean-cleanup-array-that-could-remove-7250000-tons-of-plastic-from-the-worlds-oceans.html

 I am unlikely to be on this planet in 50 years, but a lot of people reading and hearing this will be.  What kind of world do you want to live in?  I want my grand children who are alive now to have one at least as pleasant as I had 50 years ago when I was young.

6 Ingenious Wearables that Can Protect Your Face from Surveillance Cameras Thursday, May 22 2014 

Let’s say you’d rather not have your face captured or digitized for purposes beyond your control — whether by surveillance cameras or some random Google Glasshole.

You’ve got options. Even if none of these is a perfect fit for your wearable-privacy needs, maybe one will inspire you to devise an all-new response of your own. We’re in a creative moment with wearable anti-tech, after all. For more on that, see my column today.

 

1. Following the lead of CV Dazzle, here’s a tutorial on devising your own anti-facial-recognition makeup-and-hair strategy. Results on this Tumblr.

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3. As spotted in the recent M.I.A. “Double Bubble Trouble” video: thePixelhead full-face mask, by Martin Backes, so that your mug appears as a pixelated blur to cameras.

 

4. Also spotted in that video, but of origins unknown to me: face-changing bandanas.

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5. Inexplicably absent from said video: V. Stiviano masks, as popularized by the former assistant to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Not terribly creative, but pretty effective in response to Glass or paparazzi.

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6. Finally, in a brilliant anti-anti-tech response, there’s the Machine Knit Identity-Preserving Balaclava: Andrew Salomone’s hilarious ski mask that covers his entire head, but offers a bitmappy representation of his actual visage.

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It was his solution to “keeping my face warm without hiding it.” I’d wear one — with Salomone’s face on it, at least.

Write to me at rwalkeryn@yahoo.com or find me on Twitter,@notrobwalkerRSS lover? Paste this URL into your reader of choice:https://www.yahoo.com/tech/author/rob-walker/rss.

Intro to Google Hangouts Thursday, May 22 2014 

 

Online video conferencing is becoming more popular. Video is being used for more than conferencing too! One of the most well-known live streaming video platforms is on Google+, called Hangouts. Since this technology is so new, many people get frustrated by the fact they don’t know how to use it. As someone who’s been using Google Hangouts for over 18 months, I am often asked to help people understand Hangouts. Here’s an intro to Google Hangouts.

There are actually two different types of Hangouts: Hangouts and Hangouts On Air

Hangouts are typically used for private video chats with another person or group of people. They are not recorded to YouTube and only visible to the people you invite to them.

Hangouts On Air are publicly viewable and automatically recorded to you YouTube channel associated with your G+ account. You can invite individuals or circles to join the hangout and up to 10 people (including you) can be on at one time. You can not invite the public to join on air, but by default, they are able to be viewed by everyone.

In this video, we cover everything from starting a Hangout On Air to embedding it on your site.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch#action=share

 

 

 

Some important take aways: 

    1. Hangouts are the GREEN icon in the upper right of your G+ page. Hangouts On Air are the yellow icon in the left sidebar on the G+ page (the left side bar is shown when you hover over the home icon in the upper left corner).

 

    1. You want to mute, or unmute, yourself when you are not talking (talking), especially when more than two people are in the hangout.

 

    1. External headphone and microphone is a must when hanging out with more than two people. You don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment, use you earbuds that you talk with on your phone.

 

    1. Lighting is important. Have the light source in front of you, not in back of you.

 

  1. If you are hosting the hangout, make it easy for people to join or watch. For Hangouts On Air, you can put the YouTube video into the Google+ event or embed on your site. You can also make sure people know they are invited by copying the URL of the HOA and messaging or posting for them to see if they don’t see the notification.

In addition to hosting my own Hangouts On Air, I’m also the community manager atHuffPost Live, where the majority of our guests join us using Google Hangouts. I use Hangouts more than I use my phone to talk to people. If you have any questions or want to learn more, please leave a comment below and I’ll try to address it.

Random thoughts on a beautiful day Saturday, May 17 2014 

There is so much radical partisanship on all sides.  I prefer to focus on beauty.  Beautiful art, people, music, nature and skies.  I think the ugly  and evil should be stopped but not focused on and made the center of my life.  I want the center of my life to be Beauty, Light, Life and Love.  Once the truth is known, it is not possible to go back to sleep and slavery.

New Smart Glasses Will Wake You Up When You’re About to Fall Asleep Wednesday, May 14 2014 

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Do you have a nasty habit of falling asleep during big office meetings, at church or behind the wheel? An upcoming pair of smart glasses could help predict when you’re about to nod off, potentially saving your job (or your life) in the process. This wild wearable, called the Meme, is set to launch in Japan in 2015 at a starting price of 70,0000 yen, or about $685.

Developed by Japanese manufacturer JINS, the Meme uses eye and motion tracking in order to figure out when you’re tired. Once it knows that you’re a bit sleepy, the Meme will send a notification to your smartphone via a companion app and buzz in your pocket.

MORE: Best Apps for Google Glass

The Meme glasses, which look pretty subtle for a smart device, can do more than track your drowsiness. The device sports fitness features such as calorie counting and step tracking. A short video on the JINS website shows the Meme interacting with a laptop via Bluetooth.

The Meme will launch in multiple forms, including a more traditional glasses design as well as a sunglass variation. We don’t know if these smart spectacles are headed to the states, but until Google Glass learns to give us a nudge when we’re sleepy, we hope they do.

Via Engadget/Jins

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