Tag Archives: Funny

Apple granted patent for fitness tracking headphones

7 hours ago


Original Article URL: http://gigaom.com/2014/02/18/apple-granted-patent-for-fitness-tracking-headphones/

Apple health tracking headphones

photo: USPTO
Summary:The patent describes a headphone-based monitoring system that can detect metrics such as heart rate, perspiration and temperature.

Rumors of a fitness-focused iWatch from Apple have only recently reached a fever pitch, but a patent published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday shows the company has been interested in a way to track health and fitness since at least 2007. Spotted by AppleInsider, the patent describes a head-mounted monitoring system that can detect data such as heart rate, perspiration and temperature, and can be controlled via head movements.

In the patent, Apple details ways to incorporate this monitoring system into earbuds, headphones or headsets. Because any of those devices are worn close to your ear, an embedded activity sensor can measure fitness metrics such as heart rate. This data is then synced back to your iOS device via the headphone cord or wirelessly over Bluetooth.

Apple EarPods

Additional sensors — such as an accelerometer, gyroscope and/or motion sensor — might also be integrated, allowing the headset to recognize movement-based controls. This means you could skip songs or control volume with a simple tilt of your head, though I could also see a feature like that making for a lot of unintended musical choices.

Apple originally filed for the patent back in 2008 (after a provisional application in 2007), but it actually seems more relevant than ever today. The headset it describes reminds me a lot of the heart rate monitoring headphones that LG introduced at CES earlier this year, though it looks as if Apple’s version could detect a lot more than just heart rate.

Considering Apple first filed for the patent over five years ago, this idea likely predated the rumored iWatch and fitness focus for iOS 8. And while Apple’s trademark white earbuds may not be as ubiquitous as they once were, I could see them making a comeback if they could be used to do more than listen to music. I just hope they’ll sound better too.

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6 Interactive Things You Can Do With Google Maps

When most people use Google Maps, they use it to get from their house to some destination they have never been to before. But Google Maps is actually a powerful educational tool that can teach you a lot about the world around you. Spend some time exploring Google Maps and see what kinds of unique features you can find.

Display Locations in 3-D

If you press the “3″ or “t” keys while in Google Maps, it will take on the familiar blue and red hue of a 3-D image. There are special glasses you can get from Google which will allow you to see all of the images in 3-D. The depth of the images may not change whether or not you can find your destination, but it looks very cool.

You Are Here

If you look at the bottom of the Google Maps page on your browser, you will see a feature that not many people know about. It is an identifier button that will put a “you are here” marker on your screen. By using GPS and IP functions, Google Maps can get a very close approximation of your location.

Dynamic Route Sharing

Google Maps allows you to create dynamic links of the places you have been and the routes you have taken. These links can be shared with your friends to help the find you when you are meeting out for the night, or determine where you could have gone wrong when you were trying to follow someone’s directions.

Photo Tagging

When you are using your smartphone to take pictures of the places you have been, Google Maps can tag those pictures with the proper location the moment that you take them. This can help you to organize your photos easier and it also helps when uploading pictures to your social media pages. This feature should work even when you automatically upload your images to your T-mobile smartphone’s sim card.

Maps of Underground Tunnels

Google Maps shows you just about every above ground road in the world and it is also starting to collect information on underground tunnels as well. For now, people can see some of the caverns of the Amazon rain forests and the underground Akiyoshi-do Caves of Japan. Google is currently expanding its library of underground images.

Navigating a New City

Google Maps has the intuitive search feature that Google is famous for, which means that Google Maps is able to create walking routes for you to explore whenever you are in a new city. This feature will start with the hotel you are staying at and then develop walking directions to what Google perceives to be your favorite restaurants and tourist spots. You can customize these routes by giving Google actual search criteria to use as opposed to a vague history of past searches.

Google Maps is the app that many people choose to help them get from one place to the next. But, as with most Google products, there is more than meets the eye with Maps. When you take the time to discover all that Google Maps can do for you, it is easy to see why this can be such an invaluable travel companion.

Image via Flickr by heiwa4126

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Mobile Talks!

February 18, 2014


Last week Rakuten announced the $900 million acquisition of global communications service Viber. Of course, we think there are tremendous synergies for us, but this deal also represents a seismic shift in how people are engaging with each other, consuming content, and making purchases. What two threads connect them all? Mobile and Communication!

What makes Viber different is that it represents a new generation of services that were built mobile-first. This gives them a DNA-level edge over other services that were founded on desktop technology. Look no further than the term “desktop” to realize that it is something that does not fit seamlessly with modern life. It is something that you need to go to, whereas mobile is, obviously, something that goes with you.

Second, Viber is a service that highlights new and innovative ways that people are communicating. If you told me a few years ago that people would be communicating with digital stickers, I would hardly have believed you. But they are! People are also using these platforms to share and consume digital content, including photos and videos, and to enhance business collaboration. In times of disaster when traditional communication lines fail, mobile-first communications platforms are where people turn to. Viber saw dramatic increases in use after the earthquake in Japan in 2011 and last year in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines.

Historically, telecoms companies have defined how people communicate. They offered us 3 options: phone, text, and, don’t forget, the beeper. Not exactly cutting edge. Now, dynamic marketplace-style app ecosystems have birthed new services that represent how people actually want to communicate. Oh, and these services are more fun, more reliable, and cheaper. I know where I will be investing.

Disrupting communication. Disrupting consumption. This is the future. This is why we bought Viber. Mobile Talks!

Posted by:Hiroshi Mikitani

Sean Parker on the Negative Consequences of Social Networks

In this session from Techonomy 2011 in Tuscon, Ariz., Sean Parker, Managing Partner at Founders Fund and a co-founder of Napster, highlights some of the potential negative consequences of social networks. Also appearing in this video: Jim Breyer of Accel Partners and Techonomy’s David Kirkpatrick.


Parker: One of the things that worries me—you know, look, in a sense governments have always utilized whatever communication mediums are available to conduct surveillance, either legally or illegally, and a lot of the surveillance has been far more intrusive than, you know, looking at information on social networks. In functioning democracies, this is done under the context of a subpoena, and it is—you know, it’s really no different than—actually, probably in a lot of ways less intrusive than tapping someone’s phone. So, you know, there’s this wealth of data that’s publicly available, and to the extent that you’re going to raise kind of issues in the public sphere, obviously the standard answer that we always come back to, that we’re always giving: you’re choosing to make this information available. It’s completely up to you how you want to represent your life online, factually or erroneously, potentially. You can be extremely smart and extremely clever about how you broadcast and to whom you broadcast what information.

So, that being said, you know, I do think that some additional capability is required when you take into consideration that these networks, or just the emergence of kind of group organizing technology, much of which is going to lead to the individual empowerment that we talked about, will actually lead to fringe groups and cults, and basically isolated whackos who are finally, for the very first time, no longer isolated whackos.

Kirkpatrick: Right.

Parker: That’s incredibly scary to me. When you take all these Unabomber types, who are essentially sitting alone in their bedroom with no ability to reach similarly crazy people, and you give them tools to organize, you know, you’re—it sort of leads to this threat that no one’s really talking about.


MentalHealthCop blogger’s Twitter account suspended

West Midlands police say aspects of Insp Michael Brown’s social media communications are being investigated
Michael Brown

Michael Brown, author of the MentalHealthCop blog, regularly posted about policing and mental health issues. Photograph: PA

The Twitter account of an award-winning police inspector well regarded for his work on mental health issues has been suspended.

West Midlands police said “certain aspects” of Michael Brown’s communications posted to his social media account were being investigated.

The force did not elaborate further on the trigger for the move, but assistant chief constable Garry Forsyth said he could not imagine any organisation that would want employees to use official social media accounts “to be openly critical of it [their employer] – or indeed allow it”.

The officer’s @MentalHealthCop Twitter feed has disappeared since the suspension was announced on Saturday.

In a statement, the force said: “Certain aspects of the officer’s communication are currently being investigated for alleged misuse of a force account and as such it would be inappropriate for the account to continue whilst further enquiries are made.”

Brown is well regarded by mental health experts. His blog, set up in 2011, won the national mental health charity Mind‘s 2012 digital media award.

On his Twitter feed, which had about 16,000 followers, he regularly posted about policing and mental health issues.

An introduction to Brown’s work and role on his blog reads: “Police inspector, visiting lecturer and author of the MentalHealthCop blog. I have a particular interest in policing and mental health and have been formally commended by the chief constable for my work at a local, regional and national level. I gave expert evidence to the Independent Commission on Policing and Mental Health in 2013.”

The suspension of the account prompted the West Midlands police and crime commissioner to signal he would be raising the issue with the force’s chief constable.

Bob Jones stressed that although he would speak with Chris Sims, he had no role in individual professional standards-related inquiries and all such investigations had to be treated equally regardless of the individual’s public profile.

Commenting on his Twitter account, Jones said he “always thought Michael’s tweets really good news and have often retweeted. Will raise with chief constable.”

Of the suspension, the force said it had a social media policy in place setting out how accounts should be used by its officers in both a personal and professional capacity.

West Midlands police said: “As a force, the corporate communications department monitors all corporate use and should any inappropriate or operationally sensitive communication be identified, this will be taken up with the individual. In serious cases, the matter would be referred to the force’s professional standards department.

“Any breaches of force policy are taken extremely seriously and will be thoroughly and professionally investigated.”

Forsyth, who is responsible for the force’s local policing and service improvement, said: “Our policy is intended to enable officers and staff to communicate with our communities effectively to offer an insight into our work. It does impose some restrictions but we are, of course, an organisation that holds sensitive information so we have to ensure that there is some restraint.

“I also can’t imagine any organisation that would want its employees to be openly critical of it – or indeed allow it. The policy is not intended to discourage personal perspectives and I believe a human element assists with engagement.”

The force said it actively encouraged officers of all ranks to use social media as a useful tool to update and inform the public.

Forsyth, responding to public questions on the suspension of Brown’s account, later said on Twitter: “We all understand the enormous value and benefit of his [Brown's] work but importantly can’t pre-empt and won’t pre-judge investigation.”


Marketers Will Lead Adoption of the Internet of Things

Photo credit: NeimanMarcus.com

Photo credit: NeimanMarcus.com

Mass adoption of the Internet of Things will happen without most people noticing it. Why? In part, because except to select user groups, like technology early adopters, the term “Internet of Things” is meaningless. No one is saying, “hey you should go sign up for this Internet of Things thing”. There isn’t an actual thing to sign up for anyway.

But the main reason is that usage of the connected devices that make up the IoT will be driven by needs we didn’t know we had. Needs that marketers will tell us we have.

Marketers will drive adoption of the Internet of Things, gather even more of your data, and use it to sell you more things.

Many IoT predictions that I see paint a future of connected homes that sense your every move, mood, and need. For instance: your online calendar shows that you had meetings all day long, so your stereo (or music app on your iPad) knows to play mellow music when you get home from work.

But is the segment of people who want Jack Johnson on auto-play large enough to drive mass adoption of interconnected devices in the home? If not, who will drive this need? The answer is whoever will benefit financially from knowing where you are and what you are listening to, i.e. your data. In this case, it’s the music app that can sell ads based on what it knows about you (your work patterns,whether you live alone, your musical taste — from which age and even gender can often be derived).

Here is a theoretical scenario showing how marketers could lead the way towards what Cisco predicts will be 50 billion connected things by 2020:

Even Smarter Shoes

You buy a pair of shoes from Zappos. The shoes know how many steps you have taken. Using aggregate data on how long (number of steps) this type of shoe typically lasts, Zappos sends you a prompt to replace your shoes just as they begin to wear out. The shoes anticipate the need.

Zappos is already a master at anticipating user needs. For instance, they’ll send you an email a year after you bought winter boots to let you know it’s time to buy them again. They also geo-target Facebook ads based on weather data, to show you ads for Uggs when it’s snowing. The next step is to connect actual product usage with the individual user (you), then use the resulting data to anticipate your needs — and sell you more shoes.

Zappos is already using your data to anticipate your needs.

The awesome/scary thing is that it won’t seem like an intrusion. It will seem like a service. That’s how smart marketers will use the IoT. As long as there is a value exchange for the user, the awesome part of this “service” will assuage any concerns over personal data.

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Internet Phases: Past, Present, and Future

Thanks to you, last week’s report on the collaborative economy was readily received, and has been viewed over 26k times, the media picked up on it, and bloggers alike. As we digest what it means, it’s important to recognize this is the next phase in the internet, and the next phase of social business. In fact, in both the second era and collaborative economy era, we’ve found they’re using the same technologies (social tools) but instead of sharing media and ideas –people are sharing goods and services. This is all part of a continuum and we need to see our careers progress as the market moves forward with us.

What it means to your career, clients, and company.
Change in our careers is good, it leads to new opportunities, growth, and fun. It does require us to move out of our comfort zones and prepare for new growth. With that, here are three insights to remember as we make this next phase.

  • Prepare for the next phase in your career, as we shift eras. The internet continues to evolve, and with that our careers. The mid 90s saw the blistering heat of the dot bomb era as the internet became a dominant force, it subsided through a global recession and industry implosion and we saw the second phase emerge, dubbed Web 2.0 where information creation and consumption was democratized by all. The next phase is the same principals of sharing and democratization, but now involving goods and services.
  • Take what you’ve learned in social business and apply it to the collaborative economy. If you’re in social business, you’re a good spot. The same rules apply about letting go of control, shifting to engage, and connecting with customers. Learning to listen for understanding, engaging w ith customers, developing programs where customers become your advocates, and how to scale. All topics I’ve researched deeply, and will apply to this next phase.
  • Change is in inevitable, prepare for this next phase now. The next phase is already starting, last week’s LeWeb received international appeal, and funding to sharing startups is on rise, even cities like Amsterdam are opening up to sanctions with AirBnb and mainstream media and news covers this movement. We must start preparing for our next phases of our careers now. We can and will do this together.

I hope this graphic and matrix help to clearly articulate our next phase, save it, share it, and activate on it now. If you’d like to join me on a webinar to learn more and ask questions, you can register on this page.

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GPA: Greatest Personal Advantage

“It’s not the grades you make but the hands you shake.”

I’ve always loved this cliche because while it is relatively true, it’s a worn-out justification for any extroverted college student that really has no direction in life or drive to get better.

Yes, networking helps and many times it lands someone a job or opportunity that he or she may otherwise not receive but to assume that “shaking hands” is all you need to succeed is not only a stupid approach but it’s incredibly egocentric.

I wanted to lead with that because this is not what I am talking about here. But it’s not about the grades you make. I am not saying that grades aren’t important or that hardwork isn’t necessary. But what I learned from my worst semester in college has little to do with the results of my courses:

Education is not about Grade Point Average but a different kind of GPA.

Most of my worst semester was spent on my work in marketing rather than my school work. My fault. I own it. It was a struggle with time management, work-life balance and priorities. But I don’t regret it because I learned a lot. It just wasn’t always the material on which I was assessed.

Chemistry class — not my ballpark. I probably won’t ever need to know much detail about hydrogen bonds or cations. And honestly, I don’t remember much of what I learned about either. Same goes for Macroeconomics and ironically, and embarrassingly, Intro to Marketing was the worst. So, my final grades reflected it. I didn’t fail any of them. But it wasn’t good.

Admittedly, this had much to do with my focus and passion, or lack thereof, for these courses and for school in general. But what I took away from those twelve weeks has proven far more useful:

I learned adaptability. I didn’t understand chemistry or economics but I found ways to be a part of the conversation that was often over my head.

I learned responsibility. There was nobody to blame but myself.

I learned self-reflection. My weaknesses were glaring. I had to own them. So, I did. And I learned to supplement weak areas with my strengths finding ways to minimize the impact of my shortcomings.

Lastly, and most importantly, I learned that GPA should stand for Greatest Personal Advantage. Education is about experience, challenge and opportunity to find what you best bring to the table. Maybe that strength is scholastic ability but that may not be the case for everyone; it certainly isn’t for me.

This is not me advising to stop paying attention in class and to stop caring about grades. Please don’t misinterpret my point. But my worst semester in school proved that grade point average is a microcosm of the entire education experience and it is most certainly not a measure of my ability or intellect.

So, embrace struggle. You don’t have to be proud of poor results but be proud and willing to take positivity from them. And start putting more emphasis on your GPA.

A strong handshake never hurts either.

If you liked what you read, hit the recommend button.

Or tweet it. That would be cool.

I’m an Interactive Media and Personal Branding strategist with Resonate Marketing Group and a marketing student at Butler University.

If you want to talk, find me on Twitter and connect with me on LinkedIn. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Gut investing

I’ve always admired deep-thinking tech investors. The ones that construct a big overarching thesis to frame their investment philosophy. “Software is eating the world,” “the bottom up economy,” and “investing in thunder lizards” are a few of my favorites.

Just before heading out on stage at a tech conference, TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington asked me, “How do you pick your companies?” I responded, “I don’t know, I trust my gut” — he seemed unsatisfied and told me, “You’ve got to come up with something better than that.”

It’s been a couple years since that conversation and I’m slowly starting to piece together what it means to “gut invest” for me. I’d like to share a couple examples.

Going with your gut or trusting your gut simply means running with an internal emotion or reaction to events and data. I then take this emotion and apply it to a timeline — seeing if the feeling comes back amplified.

When I first discovered Twitter, my gut took me to the following model — users tail or follow people they know. This threw the more popular bidirectional friendship model out the door. My gut noticed a few things: 1) This is fun. Building an audience and increase your followers had a very game like feel to it. 2) This is easier than starting a blog. The fear associated with long posts is nonexistent, and 3) What if celebrities adopt this? I took those gut insights and applied them to time. E.g. What does this look like and how big will it be 1, 5, 10 years from now. These feelings led me to my investment in Twitter 5 years ago.

Earlier this year my gut led me to invest in Tesla Motors. But not for the reasons you might think. My friend David Prager is the proud owner of a new Model-S. The second he got the car he did the rounds letting us all drive it (thanks Prager!). What struck with me most was not the car, but the sound it made. When he dropped me off, he stepped on the peddle and was whisked up a large San Francisco hill. All I heard was the electric swish/hum of acceleration. For me, it sounded like so many sci-fi movies I had seen growing up. It sounded like the future. A few days later I remember hearing a large city bus trying to climb the same hill, the diesel engine rattling and struggling almost as if it out of shape, fighting for its next breath. Taking these feelings, some data, and applying that to time led me to my investment in Tesla.

It’s important to note that I’m also a believer in data and using that data to inform your decisions. Especially in later rounds of financing. But in the early stage, at the seed of an idea, for me, I go with my feelings, my gut, around the product and it’s features — and how that might fit within the market over time.

Of course, my gut isn’t infallible, it’s certainly been wrong — but it is the intangible, emotional data that I lean on when looking for the next big thing.

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Why Places like ODesk are killing the writing industry. Okay, I might be exaggerating slightly…

Odesk. Elance. PPH, or PeoplePerHour. If you’re a writer, like I am, you’ll have heard of these sites.

They’re a great way to get started. You learn how to deal with clients, learn how to handle projects, and multitask like you’re a mother with 11 kids.

But, and boy is it a BIIIG but.

Places like these degrade and demean writing. Let me explain. If you’ve ever been to one of these sites — or if you’d like to go and look now, I’ll wait — you can very quickly see what people are offering to pay, and what people offer to work for. And let me tell you — it’s not much.

There are writers out there working for cents an hour. And what’s worse, these writers are fighting each other for these jobs; they’re applying and bidding over these jobs. It makes me a little sick to see what people will work for.

Now, in all honesty, a lot of the ‘writers’ aren’t writers. I mean, they say they are, sure. But I ran a test ‘job post’, and many of these so-called writers couldn’t even string a coherent sentence together. Yes, they’re foreigners, and I’m not suggesting everyone should speak English — how boring life would be with culture and differences.

What I AM saying is…if you’re prancing around saying you’re a writer, and you can’t WRITE…well, you’re just wasting your time, and making the rest of us look bad.

Not only that, those of us who work hard and believe we’re worth more than cents, have people approach us who end up saying (once we’ve given them a quote) ‘Woahhh, hold on there cowboy! I’ve got a writer here whose charging 1 dollar for a 500 word piece! Why would I pay that outrageous sum?!”

And then we’re left with two options:

  1. ) Try and explain that our writing does that we say it does; sounds good, looks good, and makes people buy (or at least read what we’ve written!).
  2. ) Give up and find clients who understand the importance of great content (and great copywriting — sales copy is what I mean).

Option two is the wise choice, if you don’t want to go to bed with a headache tonight, that is. Now, am I writing this expecting things to change? No. Am I writing this with the intention of crusading like a white knight across the internet for writers around the world? Hell no, I don’t have that kind of time.

But if just one potential client or a writer who charges pitiful sums reads this and agrees, or I change their mind, hell — I’ll call that a win.

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Ad Copywriter, Marketing Consultant, Leicester Tigers Fan, Nerd, Book Worm – I am all of this and more!