Posts tagged actually

Here’s A Phone-Charging Bracelet You Might Actually Wear

<em>Editor’s note: This post was originally published by our partners at <a href=”http://fashionista.com/2014/08/phone-charging-bracelet”>Fashionista</a>.</em>

There’s no cellphone owner who doesn’t understand intimately the special agony of watching their device drain and then … die. It’s a universal. Most people have a plan B: Use a Mophie juice pack, bring along a charger and pray for an outlet—or this reporter’s favorite, hang out in a bar for an hour and use the bartender’s charger. There’s always one behind the counter.

A new startup called Q Designs is hoping to make juicing on the go a bit more convenient. The company just launched pre-orders for its first product, a sleek bracelet that conceals enough rechargeable lithium-ion battery to give your phone a 60% charge. The bangle, available for both Android and iOS devices, unhooks to reveal the connector.

We took a look at one of the prototypes a few weeks ago, and it’s really, truly not bad-looking. It comes in black, silver and gold, the last of which co-founders James Kernan and Alessandro Libani say they spent a lot of time getting exactly right. The bracelet is still fairly thick—according to Kernan, making it any thinner would reduce the charging potential significantly —so it’s a statement, but a clean one.

It’s also not terribly expensive. Pre-orders run at $79, and the bracelet will eventually retail for $99, hopefully in time for the holiday season. Although frankly it’s the type of thing we’d like to have for September’s various fashion weeks, a.k.a. the month of dead phones. 

View full post on ReadWrite

Why YouTube Music Key Is A Streaming Service That Might Actually Work

After much hype over YouTube’s rumored music service and delays in its launch, big changes are finally coming to the video site and Google Play Music All Access.

On Monday, Android Police reported that Google-owned YouTube is launching YouTube Music Key, a paid streaming music service that will offer ad-free, audio-only and offline playback for $9.99 per month. What’s more, Google Play All Access will be rebranded as Google Play Music Key. YouTube may actually have a winner on its hands with this new service if it stays close to its video streaming roots.

Google has already added 20 million tracks and complete albums to Youtube Music Key, and has also acquired the domain YouTubeMusicKey.com.

In addition, YouTube’s new streaming site will offer concert footage, remixes, and cover songs. This may be the key to making the service take off. Music is a huge and integral part of YouTube’s ecosystem, a place where video streaming fans can access and discover music videos, concert clips, radio performances, fan covers, and more.

YouTube has long been instrumental in music discovery. In 2013, Billboard included the number of YouTube plays into determining its Hot 100 Singles Chart. Many YouTube users, like myself, use the video site to play songs through a single video or a playlist. I’ll use YouTube not only to watch Sam Smith’s music video, but also to see a video of him singing the same song live, or to watch a fan-made cover of the song. 

YouTube is making a smart move by replicating the accessibility and range of its video site on YouTube Music Key. Fans who flock to YouTube to see the full range of possibility for a song or artist will be able to do the same with the paid streaming service.  

One question remains: Will users fork over the $9.99 per month for this YouTube-curated streaming service, or will they continue to go the free route on the already established video streaming site? We’ll have to wait and see. Google has not commented on when YouTube Music Key is set to launch.

Images courtesy of Android Police, lead image of Sam Smith by Flickr user wfuv 

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GitHub May Actually Be Dragging Government Into The 21st Century

Ben Balter wants to get all up in the U.S. government’s code, and he thinks you should be able to as well. Balter, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer, is GitHub’s official Government Evangelist. His purpose: to educate government agencies about adopting open-source software.

Balter’s battle is an uphill one, but it’s finally beginning to pay off. GitHub, the nation’s most popular Web-based hosting service for mostly open-source coding projects, has just surpassed 10,000 active users within federal, state, and local governments—a number that’s roughly two and a half times larger than it was at this time last year.

GitHub revolves around the repository—basically, a directory where users store the underlying code for computer programs. In exchange for free hosting, GitHub requires repositories are open source; that means anyone can copy or suggest edits to software hosted there. That includes major open source projects like Ruby On Rails and some projects by companies like Facebook and Twitter.

The United States Of GitHub

Ben Balter

GitHub began training its sights on government last fall with the launch of GitHub and Government, a portal designed to help government workers take advantage of open source software and tools so they can reuse pieces of code that are known to work—and so don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.

Balter’s job is to be GitHub’s eyes and ears in Washington by meeting with agencies and educating them about the basics of open source software. The biggest problem is the culture, he says.

See also: GitHub Goes Government, Aims To Open Source Civics

For instance, when Balter sends government agencies links to GitHub repositories, they frequently ask him to resend PDFs or PowerPoint slideshows instead. Such “closed data” formats—meaning there’s no way to extract data and do something (anything!) with it—are anathema to the freewheeling, flexible GitHub culture.

As Balter told me: 

You’ve got government contractors that only know legacy languages. You’ve got administrators within government that don’t know whether open source can be trusted. So there’s a lot of education that needs to happen. Plus, there’s an entire industry dedicated to selling closed solutions to the government, and open source has to compete with that.

But the government is more open to modernization than it once was. HealthCare.gov, the Obama administration’s initially disastrous website for Affordable Care Act signups, was a wake-up call regarding the atrocious interfaces and outdated technology of some government Web pages and their underlying services.

When The Feds Go Digital

Now, the White House has taken a page from San Francisco. Earlier this week it established a new U.S. Digital Service that, among other things, will set out technology best practices for the federal government. Running it will be Mikey Dickerson, the former Google employee who led a team credited with fixing the problems at HealthCare.gov.

See also: The White House Now Has A Digital SWAT Team

It’s one small step for a government mainly stuck in the dark ages of technology. Balter told me that while he was on the White House SWAT (Software Automation and Technology) team, he wrote a script that cut the time one White House lawyer had previously spent messing around with spreadsheets from 45 minutes—to one:

As a taxpayer, we want these people working on law stuff, not busywork. And they would collect FOIA requests in spreadsheets and they would spend 45 minutes a day merging those spreadsheets. So we coded a script in 30 minutes so they can press a button and do that 45 minutes of work in one click. And if we share this script with other agencies, that’s the value of open source. We can free up government employees’ time to work smarter.

When usability and modernization are still major problems with some government websites, it’s a little early to be thinking about citizen participation. However, Balter is optimistic. He wants to have all 50 state governments using GitHub in some capacity by year’s end.

“I want your average 18-year-old to have the same facts and figures as a K Street lobbyist,” he said. “Where he or she can walk into a congressional office and point out a discrepancy with the open data he or she found in the government’s GitHub repository. And in my dream, the congressperson says, ‘You can submit a pull request to fix it.’ All of a sudden everyone’s on equal footing and we have participatory democracy.”

Local Government Wins, Too

One of GitHub and Government’s major success stories is the city of Chicago, where government employees and citizens are working side-by-side to map the city’s bike routes. Meanwhile, the city of Philadelphia’s proposed data specifications for flu shot locations was so successful, Chicago and San Francisco later borrowed the code.

When GitHub says that it has 10,000 “active” government users, it really means government users who have “done something on GitHub other than signing up.” So while it’s unrealistic to assume 10,000 government employees are regularly using open source technology, it’s still possible that 10,000 of them think open source is a very good idea.

“There’s nothing preventing the government from modernizing,” he said. “If we hit the reset button, I think more people would envision a more open government that ‘shows its work’.”

Lead photo courtesy of GitHub; photo of Ben Balter courtesy of Ben Balter

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Finally, a Tesla Car You Can Actually Afford

Editor’s note: This post was originally published by our partners at PopSugar Tech.

Zero-emissions vehicles for all! The luxury electric carmaker Tesla confirmed in Autoexpress that an incredibly affordable sedan called the Tesla Model 3 is in the works.

In the world of Tesla, affordable means under $35K, which cuts the price for its four-door Model S ($70K) in half. Don’t even get us started on that $100K two-seat convertible. This new price point is a huge step for planet-saving electric cars. It’s about the same cost as the fully outfitted models of a 2014 Ford Explorer or a Toyota Camry. The Model 3 is a Tesla that normal humans — not just gazillionaires — can actually afford.

The secret is making the battery much cheaper. During a meeting with the California Public Utilities Commission, CEO Elon Musk discussed a 20 percent smaller battery that could go 200 miles on a single charge. Tesla’s most accessible car will go on sale by 2017, so you’ll have to wait a little while.

Image courtesy of Getty 

More stories from PopSugar Tech:

3 Tips For Picking Your Best Password Ever, From Veronica Mars 

Marvel’s New Thor Is A Woman!

The Funniest Reactions To Comcast’s Awful Customer Service

The App That Lets Parents Set Speed Limits On Teen Driving

The TSA’s Instagram Feed Of Confiscated Items Is Ridiculous

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Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search

Everyone knows that browsers don’t always report where visitors came from when they arrive at a website. When they don’t report where they were in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) referrer header, often the traffic is considered “Direct” — which really means,…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

View full post on Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Snapchat’s Most Popular Feature Isn’t Actually Snaps by @mattsouthern

The Verge reports that Snapchat’s most popular feature is no longer self-destructing, private snapshots. On the contrary, its most popular feature is actually the most public and least temporary. Snapchat’s Stories are now viewed with greater frequency each day than snaps are, up to one billion stories are viewed each day in fact. If you’re not familiar with what Stories are, it’s a feature that launched late last year that lets users create compilations of snaps, viewable for 24 hours. Stories, like snaps, can only be viewed by friends. However, there is a setting you can change that would let […]

The post Snapchat’s Most Popular Feature Isn’t Actually Snaps by @mattsouthern appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Writing Panda-Pleasing Content Your Audience Will Actually Care About by @mindydweinstein

Panda, along with all the other updates and changes in the search landscape, makes our jobs as digital marketers tough. Whether you have to answer to your clients or to in-house supervisors, knowing how to get results with your SEO work, while avoiding penalties is enough to cause sleepless nights. There is doubt Panda has caused waves in the SEO community and online space. With the continuous changes and the most recent Panda 4.0 update, some digital marketers are scrambling to ensure they are protected. We know thin content, scraped content, and article syndication can be problematic. The bottom line is […]

The post Writing Panda-Pleasing Content Your Audience Will Actually Care About by @mindydweinstein appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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Meet Ringly, An Attractive Wearable Gadget Women Might Actually Want

There’s something stupid about smart jewelry. But at least one manufacturer is trying to up the game.

Despite evidence indicating that women are the predominant adopters of major technologies, or that we outnumber men as prospective buyers of wearable gadgets, this device category—which inherently targets us—tends to be rather lame.

When you look at a smartwatch, a fitness tracker, smart glasses or any other wearable, there’s usually some sort of major fail involved when it comes to looks, pricing or functions. Even more so for smart jewelry. This had me ready to dismiss Ringly as just more of the same.

But there was something intriguing about the concept of a smartphone-notifications wearable disguised as a cocktail ring. If the startup could pull it off—i.e. offer something better than toy jewelry that also worked well—it just might have a winner on its hands.

So I agreed to take a closer look at the ring, which just opened for pre-orders this week. I’m glad I did.

Looking Good

There’s a higher aesthetic standard for wearables than other types of gadgets. Because you’re, well, wearing them, other people look at them all the time (and sometimes judge you on them).

Google finally wised up on this score, bringing in fashion designer and Google Glass nerd Diane Von Furstenberg to redesign the smart spectacles. It’s the reason Pebble redesigned its plasticky smartwatch in a metallic version called the Pebble Steel, which goes on sale in Best Buy stores later this month.

Yet smart jewelry makers just don’t seem to get it. All too often, the products feel cheap, like plastic pressed and painted to look like metal. Occasional beauties do hit the market, but they frequently carry a ridiculous price tag or boast a “killer feature” that’s just too lame to be taken seriously.

According to co-founder and CEO Christina Mercando, Ringly takes this problem very seriously. “We designed it to hold up as jewelry and as a wearable,” she said. For the young entrepreneur, who has degrees in human-computer interaction and fine arts from Carnegie Mellon, the device solves the “rudeness” problem of having a smartphone sitting out all the time. It’s designed for women who want to stay connected, but don’t want the intrusiveness of ever-present technology—or to look like a cyborg donning geek-wear.

As you’d expect, Ringly doesn’t look like a gadget at all. It looks like a cocktail ring with a large precious or semi-precious stone set in a matte gold band. The bronze-brass alloy is plated with 3 microns of 18 karat gold, and the whole water-resistant case feels sturdy and well made; not at all cheap. I asked Mercando what would happen if the gold wore away: “Would it change color, or look trashed?” After all, such questions are important when you’re assessing jewelry.

“No. At most, it will look less matte and a little shinier,” she said. Assuming she’s right, the ring seems to hold up as a stylish fashion item. As it turns out, it also holds up as a gadget.

Working Great

Ringly offers discreet notifications, vibrating as iPhone and Android alerts come in via Bluetooth Low Energy—but only those alerts that require immediate attention. Think calls, texts, emails and appointments, as well as a select choice of other apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, eBay and Tinder. Any more than that and your finger would buzz all day long. The ring can also flash a small notification light on its side.

Using an accompanying mobile app, Ringly owners can set four different vibration patterns, as well as five different colors for the light. At the moment, though, you can only assign those personalizations to particular apps, not to individuals—say, a spouse, boss or close friend As a special treat, the company will embed a real diamond—a really small one, to be sure—in front of the LED in the first 1,000 pre-ordered units.

Powering the device is also a cute affair. The smart jewelry comes with a ringbox that doubles as a charging station. Just pop Ringly into it, and the magnetic contact points deliver the juice for another two to three days of use. I had hoped battery life would be longer, but the ring’s compact design can’t exactly house a giant power cell.

Still, it’s one of the nicest-looking smart jewelry products I’ve seen, particularly at this price point. Pre-orders go from $145 to $185 during the pre-order phase, and will go up another $50 as the full retail price when it officially launches this fall.

And Being Fabulous

The notion of vibrating smartphone alerts (or lights) on the finger, sans some sort of display, might seem sort of, well, basic these days. You obviously won’t get much information as to who’s texting, or what they’re sending you. But as a work colleague pointed out to me, there’s something refreshing about a device that can distill notifications into their most essential form—especially considering how many smart gadgets are bloated with complex features.

Simple, however, doesn’t mean boring. Ringly also has an accelerometer, which means that it’s capable of recognizing gestures some day. Mercando ran through a possible scenario: “Imagine trying to quit smoking. You could set this gesture,” she said, pulling her hand away her mouth, like she just took a drag from a cigarette. In that case, the ring could be used as a nag prompt, with “it vibrating, to remind you that you’re trying to quit.”

It’s an interesting idea, made even more so by the potential of communication moving in two directions. All that finger-waving might actually kick off actions in other devices one day.

In other words … gesture control, anyone?

The thought is intriguing, if a bit undeveloped at this point. It’s also not clear that it would appeal to Ringly’s target customer of decidedly non-geeky women. But I find this kind of impressive. Mercando and her team obviously put more thought into the product than its initial feature set would suggest, meaning it may grow into new uses down the line.

Despite my critical view of smart jewelry, Ringly managed to appeal to me—as a harried professional who needs a handle on important notifications, as an early adopter of technology and, perhaps most importantly, as a woman who likes pretty, shiny things. So I did what I rarely ever do: I placed a pre-order. Apparently, I’m not alone. According to the company, the product drew $60,000 in pre-orders within the first eight hours.

At this point, I’m crossing my untechified fingers that this wearable’s smartness and looks will hold up in day-to-day usage in the real world. I’ll find out for sure this fall.

View full post on ReadWrite

It Exists! Ringly, An Attractive Wearable Women Actually Want

There’s something stupid about the smart jewelry category. But at least one manufacturer is trying to up its game.

Despite evidence indicating that women are the predominant adopters of major technologies, or that we outnumber men as prospective buyers of wearable gadgets, this device category—which inherently targets us—tends to be rather lame. 

When you look at a smartwatch, a fitness tracker, smart glasses or any other wearable, there’s usually some sort of major fail involved when it comes to looks, pricing or functions. Even more so for smart jewelry. This had me ready to dismiss Ringly as just more of the same.

But there was something intriguing about the concept of a smartphone-notifications wearable disguised as a cocktail ring. If the startup could pull it off—i.e. offer something better than toy jewelry that also worked well—it just might have a winner on its hands.

So I agreed to take a closer look at the ring, which just opened for pre-orders this week. I’m glad I did.

Looking Good

There’s a higher fashion standard for wearables than other types of gadgets. Because you’re, well, wearing them, other people look at them all the time (and sometimes judge you on them).

Google finally wised up on this score, bringing in fashion designer and Google Glass nerd Diane Von Furstenberg to redesign the smart spectacles. It’s the reason Pebble redesigned its plasticky smartwatch in a metallic version called the Pebble Steel, which goes on sale in Best Buy stores later this month.

Yet smart jewelry makers just don’t seem to get it. All too often, the products feel cheap, like plastic pressed and painted to look like metal. Occasional beauties do hit the market, but they frequently carry a ridiculous price tag or boast a “killer feature” that’s just too lame to be taken seriously.

According to co-founder and CEO Christina Mercando, Ringly takes this problem very seriously. “We designed it to hold up as jewelry and as a wearable,” she said. For the young entrepreneur, who has degrees in human computer interaction and fine arts from Carnegie Mellon, the device solves the “rudeness” problem of having a smartphone sitting out all the time. It’s designed for women who want to stay connected, but don’t want the intrusiveness of ever-present technology—or to look like a cyborg donning geek-wear.

As you’d expect, Ringly doesn’t look like a gadget at all. It looks like a cocktail ring with a large precious or semi-precious stone set in a matte gold band. The bronze-brass alloy is plated with 3 microns of 18 karat gold, and the whole water-resistant case feels sturdy and well made; not at all cheap. I asked Mercando what would happen if the gold wore away: “Would it change color, or look trashed?” After all, such questions are important when you’re assessing jewelry.

“No. At most, it will look less matte and a little shinier,” she said. Assuming she’s right, the ring seems to hold up as a stylish fashion item. As it turns out, it also holds up as a gadget.

Working Great

Ringly offers discreet notifications, vibrating as iPhone and Android alerts come in via Bluetooth Low Energy—but only those alerts that require immediate attention. Think calls, texts, emails and appointments, as well as a select choice of other apps, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Uber, eBay and Tinder. Any more than that and your finger would buzz all day long. The ring can also flash a small notification light on its side.

Using an accompanying mobile app, Ringly owners can set four different vibration patterns, as well as five different colors for the light. As a special treat, the company will embed a real diamond on the LED in the first 1,000 pre-ordered units.

Powering the device is also a cute affair. The smart jewelry comes with a ringbox that doubles as a charging station. Just pop Ringly into it, and the magnetic contact points deliver the juice for another two to three days of use. I had hoped battery life would be longer, but the ring’s compact design can’t exactly house a giant power cell.

Still, it’s one of the nicest-looking smart jewelry products I’ve seen, particularly at this price point. Pre-orders go from $145 to $185 during the pre-order phase, and will go up another $50 as the full retail price when it officially launches this fall.

And Being Fabulous

The notion of vibrating smartphone alerts (or lights) on the finger, sans some sort of display, might seem sort of, well, basic these days. You obviously won’t get much information as to who’s texting, or what they’re sending you. But as a work colleague pointed out to me, there’s something refreshing about a device that can distill notifications into their most essential form—especially considering how many smart gadgets are bloated with complex features.

Simple, however, doesn’t mean boring. Ringly also has an accelerometer, which means that it’s capable of recognizing gestures some day. Mercando ran through a possible scenario: “Imagine trying to quit smoking. You could set this gesture,” she said, pulling her hand away her mouth, like she just took a drag from a cigarette. In that case, the ring could be used as a nag prompt, with “it vibrating, to remind you that you’re trying to quit.”

It’s an interesting idea, made even more so by the potential of communication moving in two directions. All that finger-waving might actually kick off actions in other devices one day.

In other words … gesture control, anyone?

The thought is intriguing, if a bit undeveloped at this point. It’s also not clear that it would appeal to Ringly’s target customer of decidedly non-geeky women. But I find this kind of impressive. Mercando and her team obviously put more thought into the product than its initial feature set would suggest, meaning it may grow into new uses down the line.

Despite my critical view of smart jewelry, Ringly managed to appeal to me—as a harried professional who needs a handle on important notifications, as an early adopter of technology and, perhaps most importantly, as a woman who likes pretty, shiny things. So I did what I rarely ever do: I placed a pre-order. Apparently, I’m not alone. According to the company, the product drew $60,000 in pre-orders within the first eight hours.

At this point, I’m crossing my untechified fingers that this wearable’s smartness and looks will hold up in day-to-day usage in the real world. I’ll find out for sure this fall.

View full post on ReadWrite

Multilingual SEO: It’s Actually a Pretty Big Challenge for Google to Determine the Language of a Query by @5le

There are many words which are spelled the same but have different meanings based on language and location.  A very simple example is the word “football”. In the US and Canada refers to a game played with a ball that is thrown in the air and carried towards a goal; while, in the UK and Australia it refers to a game that is played by kicking a ball into a goal (also known as ‘soccer’ to Americans). So, how does Google determine which meaning of a specific word a user is after? Query Challenge Every time someone conducts one of these […]

The post Multilingual SEO: It’s Actually a Pretty Big Challenge for Google to Determine the Language of a Query by @5le appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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