Independence From Smartphones

As an electronics laggard, I just bought my first smartphone a little over three months ago. The world has become so much more accessible since becoming a part of the iPhone family. I know the weather, find out how my friends are doing, go shopping, text, and more all before getting out of bed in the morning. However, over the Fourth of July holiday, I went “Up North” to Hale, Mich. for five days. While you are suppose to enjoy nature and get away from society for a few days when on vacation, I found myself constantly checking up with everything I left behind because Grandma and Grandpa Conrad decided to get WiFi. For the first time since getting my smartphone, I wished that I left it at home.

Photo Credit: Mike Licht Via: Flickr Creative Commons

Is my smartphone taking over my life? It has been reported that smartphone owners check their devices over 150 times during the average 16 hours people are awake during the day. This constant need to check on what everyone else is doing, posting and saying distracted me from enjoying the beautiful lake house I was staying in. Apparently, 84% of people worldwide say they cannot go a single day without their phones and sadly I have become part of this statistic.

My questions is, why couldn’t I put my phone down or turn it off? According to Judson Brewer of Yale’s Therapeutic Neuroscience Clinic, people are addicted to their phones for the same reason many are addicted to gambling. Cellular Devices comply with the associative learning pathway of human brains, and this makes us feel good or bad depending on the situation. When gambling, people do not know when they are going to win and this makes winning even more fun when it happens. When using smartphones, we don’t know when we are going to get a notification or what it is going to say. This triggers excitement within us, causing addiction to our devices.

I love having a smartphone because it connects me with the rest of society. Entertainment and information combined make having a smartphone so convenient and enjoyable. However, the addiction we have with our smartphones need to be controlled. Next year, I plan on leaving my phone at home while I enjoy what the physical world has to offer.

iPhone 5: iOS 6 Changes Worth it?

On September 19th, Apple pushed its new iOS 6 software live. With iOS 6, came five big changes: Maps, Siri, Camera, Mail, and Passbook. Out of these changes, the changes with iOS Maps App is by far the one that has the most controversy. Google Maps, which was a pre-loaded feature, has been completely taken off the home screen of the iPhone. Once re-downloaded, the iOS Maps, now controlled by Apple and not Google, is missing points of interest feature, Google transit directions and street images. To say that’s not enough change, the Maps gives inaccurate and incorrect destinations, for instance saying that a farm in Dublin was in fact an airport, which can cause major miscommunication dilemmas for pilots.

Though iOS Maps seems to have the most controversy, the other changes have a more positive note to them. Siri can now tweet, facebook, and make reservations for you. The new Camera feature is by far the most fun to play around with. Now, users can take panoramic shots of different places they visit to the people they are with.

The Mail App now allows you to attach photos and videos straight through the app, which was not possible before. Lastly, a new pre-loaded feature on the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which allows users to be more organized when it comes to storing, boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons. But the Passbook app does not automatically transfer tickets and coupons into its app, users have to download the ticket vendor’s app, the airline company’s app, or the store’s app before they can start storing their information in this app.

The biggest changes to iOS 6, to say the least, give users a mixed feeling about them. Only users can judge themselves, if they like these new features are beneficial to them. It will be interesting to see how these new features affect internet marketing’s fast-paced life.

HOW TO: Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics Online

New this time around for the Olympics is online streaming–where anyone with a computer can log on and watch the Olympics right from their laptop or home computer! This may seem like a minor change, but in fact, it just adds to the increase in communication that the world has experienced since the last summer Olympics in 2008. The entire way the game’s highlight events and key moments have been shared is changed, and much faster at that! The combination of online streaming, twitter, facebook, and youtube has made the Olympics seem much closer to home than they actually are–halfway across the the world in London!

Now that the Olympics have all-around become a more digital and global experience, it seems only appropriate to put together a guide to streaming the Olympics, so that you too can be in the loop with the eventful (no pun intended) Olympic games!

Here are some guidelines to (legally) streaming the games live online or on your phone or tablet!

You need to have Cable!

Most online content in the US is only accessible if you have subscribed to cable or satellite. NBC streaming of the olympics is no exception. The good news? NBC has managed to work with almost all cable and satellite providers out there, so there should be no hitch in getting access!

If you don’t have cable, have no fear! You can always access the highlights on the NBC Olympics YouTube page.

If you’re in the US

In the US, NBC is the official broadcast partner of the Olympics. Therefore, NBC will air the Games on NBC and NBC-owned cable stations as well as stream more content online in real-time than they ever have before. But as usual, there’s a catch. You not only need to be a cable subscriber, but also you need to get MSNBC and CNBC. If you meet this criteria, then all you need to doo is head to NBCOlympics.com/LiveExtra and click on “Click here to get ready”. Then, follow the instructions, and you’ll be set to go!

If you can’t get to a computer, there’s always the option to watch the live streams from your iOS or Android device with the mobile NBC Live Extra app for iOS and Android. The great thing about this app is that you can use a four hour “guest pass” to the Games in case you don’t know the username or password for your cable provider.

If you’re in London

BBC is providing livestreams of the Games via the BBC Sport website and mobile apps. If you’re in the UK, you have access to every sport for up to 24 live HD streams!

BBC also has apps for iOS and Android to watch these livestreams. In addition to the livestreams, BBC will also feature results, news stories, and daily highlights for users to look over when in a hurry.

If you’re in another part of the world

Freecast.com has a streaming and TV guide for olympic coverage in over 150 countries! Also, the IOC has an official Olympic channel on YouTube that will be broadcasting the games live in territories in Asia and Africa that lack broadcast partners. This channel will also offer clips, replays, and highlights of the events.

Turns out that no matter where you are in the world, you too can be a part of this year’s “digital games”!

 

 

 

 

 

Smartphone Usage at Night Stressful

More and more people are adopting smartphones in order to become fully connected to the world through their mobile device. Companies are also making moves to connect with employees by giving them smartphones and developing mobile applications as a way to increase employee engagement. At first glance, it is great to be able to access your work email 24/7, but this continuous feeling of being plugged in can also be draining. In fact, a new study from the University of Worcester has found that the feeling of being constantly connected without the ability to freely disconnect induces stress.

Companies, like Volkswagen, are now starting to react. The German automaker’s employees all use blackberries, and the company has decided to limit the email server to only be activated during business hours. This means that employees are free from constant communication with work once they leave the office. Roger Cohen, a reporter for The New York Times is one of the many who think that this is a smart move. Cohen says people often fall subject to a, “contemporary state of anxiety in which focus on any activity is interrupted by the irresistible urge to check email or texts.”

Remaining plugged in arguably increases employee productivity, but it is important to also address its potential downfalls. In the future, more and more companies will surely address this issue. As an intern, I have yet to feel the 24/7 pressure of having your phone connected to work. However, I have witnessed the poor effects this connection can have. For example, I have experienced many vacations when a family member gets their relaxation time derailed by incoming messages that blow up their smart phone. It is important that employees can be reached in the case of a work emergency while away from the office. On the other hand, I also think that employees deserve to have a feeling disconnect when they leave the office, if they so chose, especially during vacations. I would guess that Volkswagen employees appreciate this move and that the company is well on its way to having great employee satisfaction.

 

 

Google Purchases Motorola Mobility for $12.5 Billion

Google

About 8 months ago, Motorola split into two companies, Motorola Mobility and Motorola Solutions. Motorola Solutions offers communication solutions for enterprises and governments while Motorola Mobility focuses on consumers and manufacturing mobile devices, including those with the Droid brand.

Google has acquired Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or approximately $12.5 billion, a 63% premium to the closing price of Motorola Mobility on Friday, August 12, 2011.

While it is unusual for Google to purchase a hardware company, Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile at Google, said in a statement released early Monday morning, “We expect that this combination will enable us to break new ground for the Android ecosystem. However, our vision for Android is unchanged and Google remains firmly committed to Android as an open platform and a vibrant open source community. We will continue to work with all of our valued Android partners to develop and distribute innovative Android-powered devices.”

CEO of Motorola Mobility, Sanjay Jha, said, “This transaction offers significant value for Motorola Mobility’s stockholders and provides compelling new opportunities for our employees, customers, and partners around the world.”

While Motorola is only one of many manufacturers that use Google’s Android software, other companies such as Samsung and HTC, will still be allowed to release phones with the Android software.

Google will now be in direct competition with Apple and Blackberry.

Google anticipates the transaction will close at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, and Motorola Mobility will run as a separate business.

Smartphone’s: Can you live without it?

Mobile phones capable of face-time video chatting, Internet browsing, social network status updating and sharing are arguable the years hottest accessory. Smartphone’s allow us to stay updated and in-touch with our friends, family and business engagements in a content rich fast-pace environment that is our World. Location based mobile search changes the way we seek information, making it easier to find the things we need, when we want, from wherever we are. A Mashable article describes the relationship between human and Smartphone as addictive, reporting that, “37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are addicted.”

CrackBerry.com

The Smartphone has integrated itself into every aspect of our lives, evolving the way we conduct business and socialize with others. The development of sleek applications that support and maybe even encourage questionable social media habits make web browsing easier. There are mobile applications for just about everything, and we can get information about anything from just about anywhere. Technology is evolving and we are evolving with it, adapting our communication, research and sharing habits. Is it really that big of an issue? Only time will tell, but until then mobile phones will continue to improve and influence our daily habits and lifestyle.

Mashable: Are Smartphone’s Taking Over Our Lives? [Study]

Kidney Exchanged for Apple iPad 2

The phrase, “that’s going to cost me an arm and a leg,” typically means something is going to cost a large sum of money. For 17-year-old Zheng, a high school freshman in China, that expression took on a more literal meaning…only a Kidney.

Zheng really wanted an iPad 2, but didn’t have enough money so he did the unthinkable and sold his kidney. I’ll repeat that. He sold his his kidney. The majority of student’s would save up for this kind of purchase but Zheng couldn’t wait. After coming in contact with a kidney-selling agent on the internet he decided that risking his life for 20,000 yen ($3K USD) was a pretty great deal. Zheng had the operation, received his money and returned home with more than one new Apple gadget.

Photo: MyChinaViews.com

His mother became very suspicious and reported her son to authorities, ultimately exposing Zheng’s secret kidney transplant.The hospital Zheng claims to have had his surgery at is denying any connection to the 17-year-old and authorities haven’t been able to contact any one involved in the organ transplant fiasco.

It seems Zheng is getting the last laugh here as he enjoys his new toys. After reading this article I wondered how many illegal organ transplants go unreported? Who are the recipients of these organs? Are the iphone mobile applications worth it? How far would you go to get what you wanted? I just hope Zheng doesn’t find another organ-selling agent online and another part of his body to sell in a year when his Apple gadgets are out of date.

The Next Web: Chinese student reportedly sells his kidney to buy an iPad 2

Taking a Piece of the Apple Back

Apple announced on Tuesday its new guidelines to App Store for publishers. Applications will be working the same for users, it is the rules for publishers where the changes have been made. There are many apps available that charge subscriptions fees; either weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, and annually; therefore these companies (who have created the apps) are consistently making money off of their content. Since creating the platforms (iPhone, iPad, and the iTouch) in which all the information is communicated on, Apple decided that it should be getting a piece of the funds being made by these companies, I mean after all these companies would have subscribers if is wasn’t for Apple…right? The new policy follows these guidelines, as long as users are purchasing the apps from the App Store, Apple will be taking the 30% cut of the purchases being made to the from subscription applications.

image provided by: zedomax.com

The publishers of the content driven apps are 100% free to make the subscription to their applications available on their own site, and this is where Apple cannot take a cut from the information.  However, according to Apples new app policy, unless a users sign up for the app on the publisher’s site, publishers cannot provide in-app links for customers sign up outside of the App Store. Therefore these companies would have to get users to go directly to their site to avoid losing some of their profits to Apple. Many of the people who currently run these apps are worried they won’t be able to survive, and are also unsure as what Apple will do in the future…who’s to say the won’t try taking a bigger cut from profits made by theses content driven subscription applications.  Has this

It is hard to figure out who do side with on this matter, to me it make sense that Apple would be taking a cut, because without having the technology created by them none of the companies would be able to be gaining profits. Although if you are thinking about it from the perspective of the app creators, who are building content for readers to have daily, weekly or monthly, publishers are the ones creating the content for readers to subscribe in the first place. Maybe you’ll think a little differently next time you are purchasing one of your apps for the App Store or directly from the publisher.

Social media vs. 911

Social media is taking the world by storm. The influence is so prominent that it is reported that people are now using social media during emergencies. We have noticed lately that social media has been used in national and international crisis in the past few years, such as the political hubbub in Egypt, but people are actually using it to inform their social networking site viewers of personal emergencies.

A few years ago, two girls found themselves trapped in a storm water drain used their phone to inform Facebook of their emergency rather calling 911. This was somewhat ridiculous to authorities at the time, but researchers have found that social media can play a large role in emergency response. A recent survey shows that almost half of respondents said they would use social media to inform relatives and friends that they are okay in the event of some sort of disaster. The survey also reported that 69% of respondents think that emergency response agencies should monitor their social media sites to respond promptly to people in trouble. CDC Emergency and the American Red Cross are the top emergency agencies on Twitter; this allows them to quickly respond to people in need.

I think that the idea of using social media in emergency situations is an interesting topic, although there are both pros and cons. Because it is so easy to post on Facebook and Twitter, it’s more likely that people will abuse the sites. It also seems that the younger generations are more likely to update their Facebook and Twitter, so most of  the population of the older generations will not be taking part in this. On the other hand, people are constantly on social media sites from dawn until dusk, and it would take 2 seconds for anyone to receive word of an emergency, and in turn, attempt to help the person(s) in need. Facebook and Twitter sites take just seconds to update it is proven that these social media sites have actually helped in emergency situations. Let’s not get rid of 911 just yet though.

New Apple Rumors!

With the recent introduction of the Verizon iPhone weeks old, we are now able to move on to the next set of Apple announcements. Most assume that the next event will bring about the unveiling of the much anticipated iPhone 5, but there have been rumors about other products that might be announced, along rumors about different features that might be included on the iPhone 5. These are some of my favorites

iPhone Nano

According to Mashable, who has talked with someone that is close to Apple, there is a mini iPhone that “he has had his hands on” . This would indicate that not only is it possible, but it would seem to be a fully developed concept. The iPhone Nano is said to be 1/3rd the size of the iPhone 4 and would utilize the Apple MobileMe service for data storage. It’s also said that it would start at $200 w/o a contract, which is about half off the price of a new iPhone. I’m not sure how they would be able to pull of a quality phone that small, but I’m sure I’ll want one.

iPad 2

Another popular rumor floating around is that the second generation iPad will be released this summer. There have rumors that there will be a smaller 7″ version, but most of those have been shot down. The prevailing theories is that they will be the same size, possibly with a shape similar to the iPhone 4, and will have dual cameras and an SD slot. Supposedly there are blueprints floating around that show a new shape, cameras, and the SD slot. It’s also rumored that the new line of devices, iPhone and iPad, will be flash compatible, which would allow you to run the internet properly, and play Farmville, on your device. I hope these rumors are true, because the iPad is a few features away from being a great piece of technology.

The next rumors have to deal with the iPhone and it’s fight with the Android phones for technological domination. There are several rumors flying around about possible iPhone 5 upgrades that would better position it against the Android phones

8-12 MP Camera

Another rumor that Mashable reported on was that the next generation iPhone will boast an 8-12 Megapixel camera. With Android phones offering cameras in the 8 MP range it’s important for Apple to catch up, and pass them if possible. There are cameras in Europe with 12+ MP cameras, so the technology is out there, so it’s not a question of whether or not the technology exists, it’s just whether or not Apple will want it.

Larger Screen

Another area where the Android phones are superior to the iPhone is screen size. Many of the Android phones have 4″ screens, and consequently have been praised for their multimedia capabilities. There are rumors that the iPhone 5 will bump up to a 4″ screen to compete with the other phones. I think that would be great, and would make the iPhone a much more versatile phone that won’t be so difficult to use for surfing the web and playing games.

Physical Keyboard

This rumor is less likely than the other, but it’s worth being mentioned. With the advancements of the touch keyboards on the current phones, it isn’t likely to see this, but if they decide to keep their screen small, or even shrink it, it’s possible that this would be a good idea. We’ll see

This is what I hope for.

I know these might all be totally false, but it’s fun to speculate. Whatever Apple ends up doing this summer, we can be sure that it will be awesome.