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Tech Lovers: Put an End to Dropped Calls and Improve Cell Phone Reception


There are lots of technologies available to help boost your cell phone signal. You could install a signal booster, set up a cell to VoIP antenna, or hop carriers. Which option is right for you depends on your specific situation. We’ll help you decide the best decision for you and your calling habits.

Signal Booster

Using a signal booster, you can improve the cellular reception in your car, home, or office. There are a range of models and options to choose from, but they all work basically the same way. These devices relay the signal between your phone and the cellular tower. This can be a simple repeater or a smart signal booster. The difference is that a repeater will just repeat anything it receives. On the other hand, a smart signal booster will clean up the incoming signal before forwarding it. This can improve call quality while boosting your signal.

Cell to VoIP

Similar to a signal booster, there is a range of devices you can purchase to pickup your cellular signal and transmit your call over the internet. This is a good option when you have a broadband connection in an area with poor cellular reception. However, rural areas will commonly have poor cellular service and lack high-speed internet service. Also, if you’re going to use VoIP, why would you pay for a cell phone bill? You can save a lot of money by switching to a VoIP service and forwarding your calls to your cell phone when you’re away from your home or office.

Switch Carriers

Depending on where you live, the carrier with the most national coverage may not be the best choice for you. It’s much more important to have coverage where you live and work than to simply cover a large part of the country where you don’t typically make your calls. Before switching carriers, always check their sites to see if you’ll get service in your area. T-Mobile has a dedicated page of its coverage maps, with with a zip code finder and detailed information about its network’s range. It also offers a no-contract service that allows you to switch carriers easily if your calls are dropped too frequently.

Deciding What To Do

Now that you see the options you have, you’re probably wondering what you should do. Unfortunately, there’s no one answer for all situations. With some troubleshooting, you can figure out what’s right for your needs. Begin by using your phone to map out the signal strength in your area. If you’re having too many dropped calls at work or at home, take your phone on a tour of that location. Note the places where your signal drops below two bars, or cuts out entirely.

Finding the Signal

If you have at least two bars near a window, you could focus on making and receiving your calls in that area. Simply moving your home office or repositioning your desk can make a big difference in cellular reception. Ensuring that you’re not blocking your phone with your hand or pointing the antenna away from the location with the best reception can also help. If none of these options work, you can consider installing a signal booster. Most of these devices will need to be setup in a location with at least two bars of service.

Jumping Networks the Right Way

Don’t make the mistake of jumping out of a contract with poor reception at home only to find that your new contract has poor reception at work. Instead, you should focus on the no-contract plans that allow you to easily switch if the service doesn’t meet your needs. These pay-as-you-go plans will usually offer the most competitive plans because customers can easily switch services at any time. For this reason, they also tend to offer the best coverage.

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Factors That Cause Sluggish Internet Speeds | Why Is My Internet So Slow?!


There are several factors that can contribute to sluggish Internet speeds. If you have a “high-speed” Internet connection, then you should be getting at least 10 megabits-per-second connectivity speeds. The best high-speed connections will deliver as much as 1000 megabits-per-second – faster than a cat on fire! And if you are just managing an average connectivity speed of 25 megabits-per-second, then you are doing fine; surfing and streaming with mad speed.

But what about when your Internet speed is sluggish and slow?

If your Internet service is classified as a “high-speed” connection, and your performance is slow to the point of frustration, then there are some things you can check for, and just maybe speed that slow machine up. You see, the Internet is a huge network of different technologies attempting to come together and communicate with fast efficiency. That, obviously, doesn’t always happen. Your connectivity could be being affected by a variety of techy ailments. Here’s what to look for if your Internet speeds are 8 megabits-per-second or slower:

* If you really want fast Internet speeds, then it’s time to upgrade that 10-year-old Linksys router. You need a modern gigibit-speed router that is designed to accommodate truly fast connections, like 25 megabits-per-second and faster.
* If you already have a gigibit-speed router, then you need to make sure it has been properly configured. Make sure that you password-protect your home network so some freeloading SOB across the road isn’t piggybackin’ your signal; slowin’ down your surf speeds.
* If your network or machine has been infected with spyware or malware, those thieving programs could be sapping the speed from your connectivity. Pay for Norton’s or another top-rated anti-spyware network protector program.
* It could be an issue with your Internet service provider (ISP). In this case, the issue would most likely be short-lived, and rectify itself after a short while. Call your ISP if you think it’s something on their end slowing your connectivity down.
* If the memory in your browser cache is loaded full, then that could cause sluggishness as well. You need to keep as much hard drive space free as possible for the long-term best performance of your devices.
* Today’s web pages move electrons very quickly. If your device or machine is more than three years old, it may not be able to keep up with these zooming electron transfers. Upgrade your device in this case.
* Keep windows that are not in active use closed. Having a load of windows open simultaneously makes your CPU overburdened, possibly causing connectivity sluggishness.

So you see, if you are consistently getting Internet connectivity speeds of 8 megabits-per-second or less, then you very likely are being affected by one of the above possibilities. The list above is not inclusive, but it does touch on the most common issues with Internet speeds – find out more at iiNet http://www.iinet.net.au/internet/broadband/adsl/. Don’t assume that just because you got Time Warner’s best plan, you have high-speed Internet connectivity. Check other possible factors that could be slowing down your surfing experiences. It’s worth checking into because when you have super-fast Internet, life is simply better.

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Social Finance Raises Upwards Of Seventy Five Million Dollars To Help Eliminate Student Debt


Understudy loaning administration Social Finance is near securing another round of to the extent that $75 million, as stated by two gurus acquainted with the organization’s arrangements.

The San Francisco-based organization is one of another era of loaning and counseling administrations sponsored by wander speculators that are looking to help borrowers better deal with the just about $1.2 trillion in understudy credit commitments at present crushing the money related spirits of America’s graduates.

Social Finance, which works together as Sofi, has officially brought $77 million up in its last adjust of wander subsidizing in 2012 from speculators, including the Chinese long range interpersonal communication administration Renren, Baseline Ventures, and DCM.

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Noesis Has Raised Thirty Million Dollars In Business Funding For A Power Efficiency Project!


Taking a page from the Solarcity playbook, the facilitated vitality productivity programming and administrations organization Noesis Energy has raised another $30 million store to help fund the vitality proficiency tasks of its clients.

The activities Noesis will store will run from $300,000 to $1 million. Harmon might not unveil the name of the bank behind the obligation vehicle, however said that the organization might affirm its association once it had crossed a certain giving limit. Then, financing little scale ventures can offer huge returns when taken off the country over administration suppliers, as stated by Harmon.

Austin-based Noesis, which is sponsored by Austin Ventures and Black Coral Capital, has itself brought $20.5 million up in two rounds of subsidizing since its launch in 2011.

Top 10 Part Time Jobs Opportunities for Everyone


It is rightly said that time is money. There is not a single hour in the day when you are not free. Then why do we not indulge ourselves in the activities that would pass our time in addition to making some money?

There are ample of part time activities that you could employ so as to make some money. Your income will be supplemented and you will not get bored.

There is no particular age limit for part time jobs. Anybody from any place and at any time can work part time.

Although there are dozens of part time opportunities but here we discuss about only 10 opportunities for different kind of people. So no matter you are a kid or student or a housewife or even retired, you will find something for you.

Part time Jobs for Students

  • Tutor

Tutor at some institute is a very favorable option for students. In this world of computers, there have been many computer coaching institutes being set up all over and not all people know to use computer. If any student has basic knowledge about the computer hardware, windows and Microsoft office, he could be a tutor at some computer coaching institute. He could also be a tutor of some normal coaching class also. He could teach the students who are younger to him. He will not only teach younger students but also improve his teaching skills which could prove useful for his future.

  • Working

Working is also one favorable option for students. Since, they do not have expertise knowledge about the things; they could become sales person at the shops. Book stores, Women Accessories shop and many others require sales person. A student could join one and earn money. There are many pharmacies that require staff who could work for them until late night. Hence, if there is any pharmacy nearby to the house then he could work there as a sales person. Study should not be neglected.

Part time Jobs for Housewives

  • Tuitions

Most of the house wives are free during the afternoon time. Would it be not advisable to start coaching a group of students during that time and earn money? There is no need to find a place; she could start it at your own home. She could start with a small batch in the beginning and gradually increase the number of students. In this manner, she will get the satisfaction of earning and also her education will be utilized for a good purpose.

  • Small scale factory

There are number of small home business ideas for woman. Women and cooking go hand in hand. Home-made products are not only loved by many but are also in much demand. Pickle, papad, ladoos and many more eatables can be made at home during the free time and then can be sold to the nearby shops and stores. A house wife can also sell them herself at home. She will make some money and will get noticed for her cooking skills. She should have a valid license.

Part time Jobs for Working People

  • Online Jobs

Almost all the people who work have a basic knowledge of computers. Online jobs serve best for the people who are working as they do not have any free time during their regular jobs working hours. They could take up writing, data entry, typing, designing, surveying etc. If you are one among them then you could take up some online job and work during the night time. However, deadlines need to be followed. Hence, be careful!

  • Freelancer

A working person could also be a freelancer like a writer, a photographer, a journalist or for that matter anybody. He will be paid for the work he does. He will be accountable directly to the client. Hence, there will not be more pressure about the deadlines or late delivery. Such a person ought to have numerous contacts for this purpose.

Part time Jobs for Retired People and Kids

  • Counseling

This world is full of miseries. No person is happy for what he has. He wants somebody to guide him when he is low and help him overcome the life’s obstacles. As the retired people are old and they have a lot of experience about life and also work, they could become a part time counselor. If you are thinking of becoming one, a small room or balcony would be enough for you to do the work.

Business

A retired person can join hands with any of his friend in setting up a small business or shop. It can be a garment shop, a general store or a book store. He could employ some people for the overall maintenance and sale of the goods. He will require a lot of capital for the shop. Hence, it would be advisable to think wisely before investing money.

Part time Jobs for Disabled People

  • Handicrafts Business

Everybody loves handicrafts and best out of waste items. They not only look chic but also attract eyes of many. Disabled people can make such items and then sell them to gift shops or could hold an exhibition at their respective homes. They could also stitch some pillow covers with embroidery, fabric painting, rubber paintings, glass paintings etc.

  • A visiting professor

The time when the disabled people would sit at home without education has gone. There are many schools and colleges that have been set up in order to promote education in such people. A disabled person could work as a visiting professor or teacher in such schools and share his knowledge. Apart from the payment, he will also be showered numerous blessings by the parents and other people.

 

Before You Build, Understand the Demand


I’m a huge fan of Lean Startup thinking and believe applying the scientific method to the design process is a profound and essential concept.

However, I have a minor beef with the popularization of the “Build > Measure > Learn” methodology, or at least its name:

Calling it “Build > Measure > Learn” leaves it open to the misinterpretation that something has to be built before you can measure or learn anything of value.

This is definitely not the case. Understanding the underlying demand a product exists to serve is crucial and much more important than understanding the effectiveness of the product itself.

Iteratively building out a product is just one of many, many ways to explore and define that underlying demand. If it’s the only one you’re using, you’re artificially limiting yourself to a single, lengthy and very expensive method of inquiry.

Building something is the most expensive way to validate your assumption that it should exist.


Lots of Ways to Understand Demand

Here’s just a small sampling of ways to quantify demand without having to actually build the thing to find out:

  • Pre-Sell It
    There’s no sound quite like a check being cut. If you can get someone to buy it before it’s even built, that’s a very strong indicator of demand.
  • Fake doors
    If the feature was built, where would they go to click through and use it? Add links in those locations as if it already existed and point them to “coming soon” screens. See how much engagement those links get.
  • AdWords Testing
    Run AdWords campaigns whose copy describes what your feature would do. Point them to landing pages designed to capture contact info. Measure demand in clickthroughs & signups.
  • In-App Surveys
    It is generally inadvisable to only pay attention to what customers say instead of what they do, but you can gather some great insights by asking people questions within the context of your app.

All of the above require either zero or minimal engineering hours to pull off. Some of them cost some money to carry out, but compared to the cost of actually developing something, it’s a paltry sum.

You may think taking these steps would slow your company down, but that would only be true if your definition of progress was something as limited as “building things”.

If you instead define progress as “delivering value to the customer”, you can see how these approaches actually speed things up by avoiding the time-suck of developing things that don’t have a demand.


Building is Investing

What these all have in common with iterative product development (the “build” in Build > Measure > Learn) is that they’re investments of time, money and effort applied to better understanding what it is that people want.

When “building” is thought of as an investment in understanding rather than an inevitable, necessary step, it becomes clear that it’s only one of many options, and not always the most desirable one at that.

To remind myself of this, I’ve stopped calling it “Build > Measure > Learn” and started calling it “Invest > Measure > Learn” instead.

This reframes the method to something that I feel is more accurate to its spirit, and serves as an ongoing reminder to always employ the most effective and efficient options to validate my ideas.

When I build, I’m placing a bet that I’ve accurately identified and understood a demand. Using all the tools in the “understanding demand” toolkit significantly increases the chances of that bet being a winning one.


Fin


I hope you enjoyed the article!
You can follow me on Twitter at @SamuelHulick to find out whenever others just like it come out.
I'm also writing a book on User Onboarding!

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How to Succeed as a Millennial Without Really Trying.


Patchwork careers, debt and an indie soundtrack.

The Kids Are Not Alright

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I grew up being told that if I did well in school, participated in a slew of extracurricular activities, volunteered, didn’t “mess around” too much with the opposite sex, didn’t spend all my money on clothes and got into a good college, that I’d be “alright.

So, I checked off all those things and more on my Path to Success Checklist! and then—life happened.

When sophomore year of college I got sick. Really sick. It would take three years to figure out what was making me sick (spoiler: rotting appendix) but the point is, when LIFE interrupted my plan, suddenly that was it.

Game over.

Even as I was moaning in agony on a stretcher in the emergency room, I was still dutifully conjugating Russian verbs and sending reassuring emails to my professors, who were alarmed when I suddenly *gasp* missed a class. “I’m sure it’s nothing!” I told them, my lips curled up in a painful grimace, “I’ll be back in no time! Send me assignments, I can still do work. I can still be good. I can still matter. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is going to ruin this for me! Because I worked hard for this so nothing will take it away! Right?”

Well, that’s the thing that no one tells you when they’re filling your young mind with all these bullshit life equations:

HARD WORK = SUCCESS

Sometimes that’s true. On a small scale, mostly. You have to allow for a margin of error, an element of unpredictability. When we start reducing life to a series of concrete mathematical concepts—because it feels better than considering that which is unknown to us about the future — we are really setting ourselves up to fail.

After I began to heal, having lost everything that “mattered” in my life, I decided to just do something, anything to feel like I was rebuilding my life even in a small way.

I took jobs here and there. I moved around a little. I fell in love.

And then, I said to myself: what is the most important thing, from a practical standpoint, right now?

The answer, given my health, was health insurance.

So, I applied for a paper-pushing position in a hospital where I would be given health insurance and 40 hours a week of doing something. Best of all, if I had a flare up of illness, hey, I was just an elevator away from the ER.

I was given this job because someone believed in giving me a chance. I didn’t have a completed college degree, but I would do whatever needed to be done. In this case, what needed to be done was a lot of filing and staple pulling.

So, for 40 hours a week, I pulled staples.

For this I had (slightly) above a minimum wage, health and dental and vision, and the nagging feeling that I had sold my soul to the devil somewhere along the line and this must be some kind of hell.

So, I decided that I was going to work on top of work: while I pulled staples, I perked up. I listened hard. I learned. And when opportunities arose, I asked for them. I asked for more. I did everything I was asked to do, no matter how mundane, and I did it damn well. I didn’t complain (at work anyway) and I respected everyone from the guy who mopped the floors to the CEO of the hospital.

I didn’t act entitled to anything more than what I had, but I made it known that I was eager to learn— and would gladly take an opportunity to do so.

After six months, this was rewarded. I got a promotion. And from there, I just kept climbing up the ladder. And I went back to school on the hospital’s dime. And I started writing on the side for extra money. And soon my writing became part of my job.

And then, it was my job.

My day starts at 5:30 am, I spend a half hour responding to emails, Tweets, other social media interactions. I go get my morning coffee. I get in to my office at the hospital at least a half-hour before the eight hour clock starts, so I can organize paper, really listen (not just half-listen) to voicemails and chat with coworkers. For eight hours, I do some things that I really like and quite a few things that bore me beyond belief. For this, I am paid. Then, I go home and write. For this, I am also paid. I peruse Tumblr to de-stress. I read a few pages of a book. Then, I sleep. Many nights I have to take some kind of sedative to shut my brain down, but eventually, I am dreaming.

I’ve realized, though, that I benefit from that eight hour day of mindless tasks. My most creative ideas pop up when my hands are otherwise engaged and my mind can wander around to new places. Around the 50th staple, I get an idea for a novel I might write someday. By the time I’m home at night or on the weekend mornings when my coffee steams in my hand and the sun rises over the bay, I can crank out two or three solid articles— because for 40 hours I could think about how to craft each phrase while simultaneously flipping through large stacks of paper.

I work in a hospital all day and I write mostly about health and healthcare. I live and breathe my work, and it’s not always fun or interesting or “fulfillment” but my bills get paid — and then some. I have earned the freedom to write. I have some security that I didn’t have when I was on the former path to success. I created my own definition of success, and rapidly achieved it— because I was willing to improvise.

I’m twenty two years old. I have three jobs, a pension plan, health insurance, my own car, a nice apartment in a safe neighborhood, a partner who really gets me, and above all else, the slow by steady return of my health and sanity. I achieved all of this by not doing anything I was told would bring me this kind of success but instead, I just did what made sense to me in the moment . . . and hoped for the best.

That being said, do I have “free time?”

No. Not a lot of it. Do I want any? Not particularly. I worked hard to be able to combine my interests and passion into something that I can earn a living doing, so I have the satisfaction each day of knowing that I can get paid to do things that also feel good to me, and are enjoyable.

I didn’t achieve that by waving around a college degree or a proper resume. I got here by knowing my place, working hard and taking opportunities when they were given to me, holding them in my hands like delicate little eggs that did not guarantee any kind of real protection from cracks.

As Gen Y, we were really done a major disservice in our youth. Being constantly praised and built up to believe that we would all succeed if we did everything on our Checklist for Success!, we emerged expecting everyone to fawn over us when we had a college degree! Why no one prepared us for the far more complicated reality of Real World Living is beyond me; but here we are, struggling while our parents and teachers cluck at our “lost potential.”

We are a generation that grew up being promised we were special, and instead we entered adulthood already feeling we were just disappointments before we’ve even had the chance to really live.

I challenge you to shed the paradigm that you will be successful. Instead, think about what will make it easier for you to do the things that you want to do: if you can spend eight hours a day pulling staples so you don’t have to worry about healthcare and paying your rent, then you can and will find ways to do the things for which you have a firey passion.

If you are truly passionate about something, it will seep out of your pores and demand to be felt by everyone around you. Eventually, it will become part of your day to day routine, even if you think it’s impossible.

Passion always finds a way; but it has its own timeline, and anything you do to try to speed it up is only going to exhaust and frustrate you.

Don’t give up; not just on what you truly want, but also the seemingly useless and boring things that you have to do “just to get by” — everything has potential, every single opportunity is a piece of your puzzle. It’s just a matter of figuring out where it fits — and revealing the picture it creates.


Abby Norman writes and drinks coffee on the coast of Maine. Tweet her @abby__norman. You might like another piece of hers on Medium, Hush, the tale of an introvert trying to live as an extrovert.

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The Essence of Wisdom2.0


Stay curious. Have a beginners mind. Know you always have a choice in how you feel or what you do. You are not your emotions, rather they are a part of you.

I was reminded of all of this as I returned to my third Wisdom2.0 conference. I wasn’t even going to go. I decided that after two years of attending, I didn’t need to attend. I’d save some money and time and focus on other things. When a ticket was gifted to me, I made the choice to go back. I was grateful for the opportunity and couldn’t believe I was going, even when I thought I didn’t need to go. I jumped at the chance and was one of the dozens of people there representing Google.

Wisdom2.0 is about connecting and learning more about how each of us, whether we work in or use technology, can make the world a little better, less stressed out, and can become more aware to give back or contribute to the world. Over 2000 of us huddled in the bowels of the Mariott Marquis in San Francisco over the course of four days. Greeting, learning, growing, listening, and teaching each other. We started as a conference, and after the three days, as Congressman Tim Ryan proposed, we ended as a movement.

Wisdom2.0 is about the people and their actions, their companies, or personal missions to give back or create. Each of us there was hungry to learn. I felt drawn to share and connect, like most of us. Others were curious, there for work or to check out what this scene was all about.

Wisdom2.0 is about learning and teaching others how to be less stressed, by staying in the moment and not freaking out about the future, or dwelling in the past. Some of the greatest teachers of our time were on hand to remind and reiterate the techniques to reduce stress, clear your mind, and feel good where you are, in whatever you do.

I continued to learn new things. I engaged with dozens of interesting and motivated like minded people. I felt re-energized to help create my vision of an authentic life where I share my mindfulness side with work and help influence others to take this on so they can live happier, fuller, less congested lives.

I was gently reminded that all of us everyday can choose to be authentic. We choose how we show up to work, to our families, or how we play and interact with others. We can buy products from companies that give back (Give-nesses as 10 year old founder of Make a Stand Lemonade Vivienne calls it) or support and build companies that aren’t serving our planet or ourselves other than to make money. The choice is yours.

Here’s my key takeaways:

Thoughts are distracting.

As speaker Loic Le Meur says in his own article on his Wisdom2.0 experience, “Mediation created a new space in my brain.” I feel the same way. I started meditating two and a half years ago, and it’s provided a way to instantly drop into stillness, and center myself. Don’t let the name intimidate, it just means to be aware. Even if it’s noticing how I walk down the street, feel the wind on my face, that counts.

We’re all in this together.

Ariana Huffington said this in her keynote speech. We are a collective consciousness. Our actions, non-actions, words, and how we chose to spend our money, time, and efforts all matter and effect many beyond just you and who you touch. It’s a ripple effect, and every single one of us has that power. If you don’t think you have it, you’re wrong. If you don’t believe it, try it. After all, what do you have to lose?

Wisdom is consciousness, the body, and authenticity.

What is wisdom? Is it passed down generation to generation? Is it what we innately know without reading a textbook or taking a class? Is it from taking a class? Is it how our body feels or reacts? Is it what we as a society have learned over time? It is all of this. It is yourself. It is everyone together. It is also your own authenticity — the ability to show up as your full self, without putting on a mask for your boss, your friend, your kids. It is feeling fear, sadness, hurt, anger, and joy, and being ok with all of it as part of yourself.

I leave the conference with ideas and courage in how I can contribute as an agent of change, my own self-declared purpose, for myself and others to lead a life filled with more engagement, happiness, and less stress. Stay curious, my friends.

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Yesterday Apple Fixed A Bug In iOS 7. It’s A Doozy


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Yesterday Apple announced a fix to a security bug in its iOS 7 system. Today Web security experts have parsed the patch to figure out what exactly the problem was… And apparently it’s a doozy.

Wired has all of the gory details:

“[The] terse description in Apple’s announcement yesterday had some of the internet’s top crypto experts wondering aloud about the exact nature of the bug. Then, as they began learning the details privately, they retreated into what might be described as stunned silence. “Ok, I know what the Apple bug is,” tweeted Matthew Green, a cryptography professor at Johns Hopkins. “And it is bad. Really bad.”

The culprit of what may be one of Apple’s biggest security snafus is an extra “goto” in one part of the authentication code, Wired reported. That spurious line of code bypasses the rest of the authentication protocols.

The bug could could allow hackers to intercept email and other communications that are meant to be encrypted, according to a Reuters report which was issued late on Friday night.

Meanwhile, ZDNet notes that macs may have been left vulnerable.

As ZDNet’s contributing editor Larry Seltzer wrote:

Make no mistake about it, this is a very serious bug. The bug makes it fairly straightforward to intercept and decrypt SSL/TLS communications, probably the most important security protocol there is today.

Here’re more details, on the patch from ZDNet.

Photo via Flickr user aditza121

http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/22/yesterday-apple-fixed-a-bug-in-ios-7-its-a-doozy/

Facebook Might Actually Be Good For Your Brain (If You’re Dyslexic)


Facebook Might Actually Be Good For Your Brain (If You're Dyslexic)

I’m not a kid anymore (unless you’re being very charitable with your age guidelines), but I can only assume today’s parents are telling their kids “Facebook will rot yer brains.” In fact, the opposite might be true, according to a teeny, tiny little study from England. Especially for kids with dyslexia.

Yes, Owen Barden of the Centre for Culture & Disability Studies at Liverpool Hope University recently published a paper that says, contrary to what you might assume, that Facebook use can actually help kids who struggle with dyslexia overcome their literary challenges in a number of ways. Sounds strange, right? The entirely text-based format of Facebook (and most other social media) would seem like a hurdle for a kid who has trouble with reading and writing.

But as Barden explains in his research paper, children with reading difficulties actually flock toward Facebook’s text-based format:

Because dyslexia usually is defined in terms of significant difficulties with literacy, we might reasonably anticipate that the participants would see Facebook as stigmatising rather than levelling the playing field, because of the very public literacy events that it demands. However, the data indicate that far from shying away from Facebook because of fear of their difficulties with literacy being exposed, the participants enthusiastically embraced it. The students saw Facebook as a desirable presence in their education, one that supported inclusion.

In other words, compared to more rigorous venues like the classroom, kids feel less intimidated by reading or writing on Facebook. Cool!

Barden observed five areas of improvement among students who used Facebook: keeping track of deadlines; increased awareness and feeling of control over the learning process; better control of reading and writing rules; and the feeling that Facebook provides a platform to give and receive help when needed.

Caveat time: as mentioned above, this was an exceedingly small study—just a gathering of students from a single school in England. This study doesn’t look into the impact of home life, socioeconomic status, or any of a plethora of other contributing factors.

Still, it’s fascinating to think that Facebook might actually be benefitting students with learning challenges. Even if it’s simply serving as a neutral, un-intimidating platform for kids to get practice reading and writing goofy status updates, maybe that’s enough benefit to justify kids using Facebook (in moderation).

If nothing else, this study might arm kids with a scientific come-back when mom or dad starts crowing about Facebook being bad for the brain. [Research in Learning Technology via Daily Dot]

http://gizmodo.com/facebook-might-actually-be-good-for-your-brain-if-you-1528837450