Shoppers Being Tracked By Their Cell Phones, Cool Desk Fans & How Social Media Is Changing Mentorship

Shoppers Being Tracked By Their Cell Phones: I came across a New York Times article today that is a bit disturbing. It seems that some brick and mortar stores that are very envious of the way Amazon and other online retailers can see, via the viewing customers do of webpages on their websites and the online purchases of those customers, what items their customers are interested in and then tailor the search results those shoppers see to fit their tastes – the idea of course being that if you show customers things that their purchase and viewing history indicates they like – they’ll be more inclined to buy them. And all of that of course gives online retailers an edge over brick and mortar stores; so some brick and mortar chains have been looking for more high tech ways to compile information about their customers and one of those companies – Nordstrom – instituted a way to track which customers when those customers entered their stores by tracking the Wi-Fi signals of their cell phones.

Granted the Nordstrom posted signs to alert patrons they were doing this – and not surprisingly they had so many complaints from customers that didn’t want their cell phones tracked every time they visited a Nordstrom store that the company ended the experiment after only a few months. However, both the fact that online retailers can gather so much information about customers without their consent and the fact that brick and mortar stores are looking for similar ways to track customers via our Wi-Fi connecting technology does give me pause.

I’m sure most online retailers have some little bits of info at the bottom of their 100 page user agreements (insert little bit of sarcasm here!); but honestly how many people read those multiple page user agreements in their entirety? Most of us simply want to purchase the item we want to buy and get back to our lives not sit in front of a screen for an hour reading through a user agreement.

And that is the long way around the barn of saying that we all need to be aware our rights to privacy are at risk in our increasingly interconnected high tech world.

Here’s a link to the Times article on Nordstrom titled “Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell;”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/business/attention-shopper-stores-are-tracking-your-cell.html?hp&_r=0

Cool Desk Fans: The tech site Mashable offers a fun article today – and a timely one for most of us in the U.S. where it does seem to be an exceptionally hot summer. The article is titled “7 Chic Desk Fans to Keep You Cool” and it offers a slideshow of cool desk fans for all of us who’d like to say cool this summer. They have everything from a solid traditional looking metal fan – the “Charly Little” and the “Hunter Retro Fan” to fancy high tech sci-fi looking fans like Dyson “Air Multiplier” and the “USB Windmill Fan” that latter fan can indeed powered by connecting it to a USB port on your computer.

Here’s the link to the fan a article:

http://mashable.com/2013/07/15/best-table-desk-fans/

How Social Media Is Changing Mentorship: While I was looking at the tech news on the Mashable website I came across an article tilted “How Social Media is Changing Mentorship” which discusses just that subject! How social media is offering more options than ever before for people to be mentored by experts – via – and you guessed it – internet connecting technology. The article isn’t a long one but discusses how can find a mentor on social networking website among other options and how you can connect with your mentor from home while wearing your pjs if you wish!

Here’s the link to the article:  

http://mashable.com/2013/07/14/social-media-mentorship/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Clifford, Stephanie. & Hardy, Quentin. (2013, July 14). Attention, Shoppers: Store Is Tracking Your Cell. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 15, 2013.

Pittman, Aaron. (2013, July 14). How Social Media is Changing Mentorship. Mashable. Online. Accessed July 15, 2013. 

Senior Personal Technology Series Is Coming In August!

The library will be offering a new Senior Personal Technology Series in August. The series offers a relaxed atmosphere and ample opportunity for attendees to try out personal technology devices including touch-screen laptops, tablets and e-readers.

And we’ll be offering an overview of:

  • What you can do with a Windows or Mac computer right out of the box
  • What you can do with a tablet like the iPad
  • Skype Video Calls
  • What you can do online (basically an overview of the Internet)
  • Email basics
  • And anything else anyone attending has questions about!

Here’s a link to a PDF of the brochure for the series that offers more information:

Senior Personal Technology Series Brochure July 10, 2013

Have a great day!

Linda R.

Blog Posting July 12 – 14, 2013 Weekend Digital Catalog Suggested Reading, Listening & Viewing

E-Books:

All the Dead Yale Men: A Novel by Craig Nova: Originally published in 1982 to wide acclaim, The Good Son remains Craig Nova’s undisputed masterpiece. This classic explored the complicated entanglements of fathers and sons —expressed in the story of nouvue-riche father Pop Mackinnon, who used his wealth to manipulate his son Chip into the ‘right’ kind of marriage upon the young man’s return from World War II.

Chip eventually gave up the love of his life and married to secure his future – and what were the consequences of that decision? All the Dead Yale Men answers that question in telling the story of Frank Mackinnon, son of Chip, a prosecutor in Boston with a happy marriage and a daughter set to follow his footsteps into law school. Chip’s death throws Frank into his family’s legacy, where he must contend with the inheritance of the Mackinnon’s beloved land and a bevy of secrets that dates back three generations. And when Frank’s daughter Pia falls under the sway of local bad boy Aurlon Miller, his grief over his father’s death triggers the family legacy of social standing and manipulation to begin anew, leading Frank to the darkest edges of what a father will do to protect the ones he loves.

All the Dead Yale Men examines the end of an era, how privilege and inheritance often crumble in the face of the modern world, a story enriched by the setting and mythology of Boston and its surroundings. The novel not only moves the Mackinnon’s story forward but will recast historical elements of the classic novel as well, heralding the arrival of a new American classic.

Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London: Buck is a four-year old shepherd dog, living a pampered life of an estate dog. His life changes when he is kidnapped and sold into service during the Klondike gold rush, where he is made to haul heavy sleds through the deep snow fields. In the new environment, he soon discovers his dominant primordial instinct. He learns not only to survive, but also flourishes in it.

Jack London’s The Call of the Wild is a masterpiece in both its style, which set a standard for generations to come, and its genre, raising adventure writing to the level of classic literature. While being exciting and entertaining, Buck’s story is also thought provoking that makes it an enduring story for all ages.

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley: Two Women. One Mysterious Relic. Separated By Centuries. Nicola Marter was born with a gift so rare and dangerous, she kept it buried deep. When she encounters a desperate woman trying to sell a small wooden carving called “The Firebird,” claiming it belonged to Russia’s Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof.

But Nicola’s held the object. She knows the woman is telling the truth.

Beloved by readers as varied and adventurous as her novels, you will never forget spending time in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Susanna Kearsley’s world.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano: Delightful Blend of Love and Laughter  in Turano’s Sophomore Novel.

Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women’s suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn’t need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor.

Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton’s sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit’s end.

When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can’t be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

Wired for Innovation: How Information Technology Is Reshaping the Economy by Erik Brynjolfsson: A wave of business innovation is driving the productivity resurgence in the U.S. economy. In Wired for Innovation, Erik Brynjolfsson and Adam Saunders describe how information technology directly or indirectly created this productivity explosion, reversing decades of slow growth. They argue that the companies with the highest level of returns to their technology investment are doing more than just buying technology; they are inventing new forms of organizational capital to become digital organizations. These innovations include a cluster of organizational and business-process changes, including broader sharing of information, decentralized decision-making, linking pay and promotions to performance, pruning of non-core products and processes, and greater investments in training and education.

Innovation continues through booms and busts. This book provides an essential guide for policy makers and economists who need to understand how information technology is transforming the economy and how it will create value in the coming decade.

Audio Books:

Flat Water Tuesday: A Novel by Ron Irwin: Rob Carrey, the son of a working-class cabinet maker, arrives at the Fenton School with a scholarship to row and a chip on his shoulder. Generations of austere Fenton men have led the rowing team, known as the God Four, to countless victories—but none are as important or renowned as the annual Tuesday-afternoon race against their rival, Warwick.But first Rob must complete months of preparation driven by their captain, Connor Payne’s vicious competitive nature. As the race nears, the stakes rise, tempers and lusts are fueled, and no one can prevent the horrible tragedy that befalls one of them.Fifteen years later, Rob returns home from a film shoot in Africa to end a heartbreaking relationship with his girlfriend, Carolyn. But when a phone call from one of the God Four compels him to attend the reunion at Fenton, no part of Rob’s past remains sequestered for long and nothing about his future is certain.As much about the sport of rowing as it is a novel of finding oneself, not once, but again in mid-life; Ron Irwin’s Flat Water Tuesday is a testament to the pride and passion of youth, and an ode to the journey of forgiveness.A stunning novel of boarding school, family secrets, deep and passionate love, and the brutal pain of sports training.

The Night Detectives: David Mapstone Mystery Series, Book 7: The private detective business starts out badly for former Phoenix deputy David Mapstone, who has teamed up with his old friend and boss, Sheriff Mike Peralta. Their first client is gunned down just after hiring them. The case involved the suspicious death of a young Arizona woman who fell from a condo tower in San Diego. The police call Grace Hunter’s death a suicide, but the client doesn’t buy it. He’s her brother—or is he? After his murder, police find multiple driver’s licenses, and his real identity is a mystery. Complicating the case is that the condo’s owner is an Arizona state senator who was instrumental in Peralta’s recent election defeat.

In San Diego, David finds the woman’s boyfriend, who is trying to care for their baby and can’t believe Grace would kill herself. He, too, hires the pair to solve Grace’s death and reveals some darker facts. Grace was putting herself through college as a high-priced call girl, an escort for rich men who valued her looks and discretion. Before the day is out, the boyfriend is murdered, and David barely escapes with his own life. Whoever is killing their clients may be coming for them.

Neither the lovely beaches of San Diego nor the enchanting desert of Arizona can conceal the brutal danger that exists there. Solving the case will take Mapstone and Peralta into the world of human trafficking, corrupt politics, and the white supremacist movement. They no longer have badges, but they are still detectives—the night detectives.

Music:

Now That’s What I Call Party Hits by various artists

Digital Audio Download Includes:

1. Party Like A Rock Star (Shop Boyz)

2. This Is Why I’m Hot (The Original) (Single Version) (Edited) (MIMS)

3. Run It! (Chris Brown)

4. Gold Digger (Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx)

5. Right Thurr (Edited) (Chingy)

6. I Think They Like Me (Remix) (Edited Album Version) (feat. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow Wow) (Dem Franchize Boyz feat. Jermaine Dupri, Da Brat & Bow Wow)

7. Do It To It (Main Radio Version) (Feat. Sean Paul Of YoungBloodZ) (Cherish Featuring Sean Paul Of YoungBloodZ)

8. Milkshake (Kelis)

9. 1 Thing (Amerie)

10. Don’t Cha (Pussycat Dolls and Busta Rhymes)

11. Promiscuous (Radio Edit) (Feat. Timbaland) (Nelly Furtado Featuring Timbaland)

12. We Be Burnin’ (Recognize It – Amended Album Version) (Sean Paul)

13. SOS (Radio Edit) (Rihanna)

14. Get Ur Freak On (Amended Version) (Missy Elliott)

15. Ain’t No Other Man (Christina Aguilera)

16. Hey Ya! (Outkast)

17. Feel Good Inc (Album Version) (Gorillaz)

18. Since U Been Gone (Kelly Clarkson)

19. Girlfriend (Radio Edit) (Avril Lavigne)

20. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head (Kylie Minogue)

NOW That’s What I Call a Modern Songbook                                                                                                                                Digital Audio Download Includes:

1. I Dreamed A Dream (Susan Boyle)

2. Hidden Away (Josh Groban)

3. Haven’t Met You Yet (Album Version) (Michael Bublé)

4. Hey, Soul Sister (Train)

5. Bubbly (Album Version) (Colbie Caillat)

6. Highway 20 Ride (Zac Brown Band)

7. I Run To You (Lady Antebellum)

8. Misery (Acoustic Version) (Maroon 5)

9. Apologize (OneRepublic)

10. How To Save A Life ((Original Album Version) (Clean Version)) (The Fray)

11. King Of Anything (Sara Bareilles)

12. Soldier Of Love (Sade)

13. No One (Alicia Keys)

14. Who Will Comfort Me (Melody Gardot)

15. The Look Of Love (Diana Krall)

16. Come Away With Me (Norah Jones)

17. Glitter In The Air (P!nk)

18. Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson)

Videos:

Joe Pass: Solo Jazz Guitar: Joe Pass is one of jazz guitar’s all-time masters. He demonstrates legendary techniques that will be of value to rock guitarists as well as jazz purists. Joe covers chord melody, chord substitutions, leading tones, chromatic chords, voice movements, and many more special exercises, all with the unique Joe Pass twist. A chance to study with a jazz guitar legend!

One Peace at a Time: A Film About a Messed Up World… and How We Could Fix It: A film about a messed up world... and how we could fix it. Sprinkled with music from Bob Dylan, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson and WillieNelson, One Peace at a Time lyrically weaves a tapestry through 20 countries and is as magical as it is informative. Activist Turk Pipkin (The Sopranos, Nobelity)) continues his global journey of knowledge in action with a goal to create a virtual roadmap to a better future by focusing on specific solutions in these troubled times. Join Pipkin as he chronicles the model Indian orphanages of The Miracle Foundation, family planning initiatives with Thailand’s Mechai Viravaidya, Ethiopian water projects with A Glimmer of Hope, and Architecture for Humanity’s global design challenge for communities in need in the Himalayas, the Amazon and the slums of Nairobi.

The STLS Digital Catalog may be found on the library’s homepage of SSCLIBRARY.ORG

Or via the following link:

http://stls.lib.overdrive.com/FE5904CF-8A91-4688-A592-7A046C7988D3/10/536/en/Default.htm

And if you have an smartphone or tablet look for the OverDrive Media Console app in your app store – it is the app that will allow you to check out free library e-books and audio books and download them to your tablet or smartphone.

Digital Catalog music and video titles must currently be downloaded to a Windows computer to enjoy.

Have a great weekend!

Linda R. 

Email Services Available From The Southeast Steuben County Library

Did you know that the library offers patrons the option to be notified by email when a requested book or other item, otherwise known as an item that is on hold, comes in to fill their request?

And did you further know that the library offers patrons the option to be notified by email three days before their library materials are due that their checked out library items will be due in three days — so that patrons can renew those titles by telephoning the library or if they prefer self-service through StarCat*?

It is true!

All you have to do to obtain library email services is tell a library staff member you want to sign up and then give them your email address!

And after you do that…

You will receive an email notification any time a book, DVD, audio book or other requested library item is ready for you to pick up at the library.

And you will receive notification three days before your library items are due – reminding you that they will be due in three days  — which will give you the opportunity to renew those items before they are due, either online or by calling or visiting the library, or simply to return the items to the library before they are due.

Just a quick FYI regarding library email services! If you’d like to turn on the library email services option for your library account just let us know!

Linda R.

*StarCat: If you’re not familiar with the term “StarCat” – here’s a short definition! StarCat is the online library catalog of physical materials for all member libraries of the Southern Tier Library System. And if you access StarCat you can search for books, audio books, DVDs and other library materials you’d like to read, watch or listen to and you can request them. You can also log into your library account and see what items you have checked out, see what items you have previously checked out (after you choose select that option) and renew your books. 

Apple’s Chances On E-Book Appeal, Chromebooks Selling Well As Sales Of Most PCS Continue To Drop & Verzion Needs To Sell iPhones

Apple’s Chances On E-Book Appeal: As I’m sure most people already know Apple, which was the lone defendant in the U.S. Department of Justice e-book anti-trust lawsuit  came down on the losing side of the suite. The DOJ ruled that Apple did in fact collude with five major U.S. publishers to raise the price of e-books. The five published named in the suit were five of the largest publishers in the U.S. and they all settled the suit with the DOJ before the trail began leaving Apple as the lone losing defendant. Apple has said it will appeal the DOJ decision. And if you’re wondering what Apple’s chances of winning an appeal might be — the answer is apparently slim. I’m a librarian not a lawyer but I gather from what I’ve read that the DOJ ruling is that Apple engaged in anti-competitive behavior not that the company influenced the price of e-books per se. 

Here’s a link to an All Things D article on the subject titled “Apple’s Chances of an E-Book Ruling Appeal Are Lousy, Say Legal Experts:”

http://allthingsd.com/20130710/apples-chances-on-an-e-book-ruling-appeal-are-lousy-say-legal-scholars/

Chromebooks Selling Well As Sales Of Most PCS Continue To Drop: I came across an interesting ZDNet article today that discusses the fact that although PC sales in general continue to lose ground to tablet sales — there is one portion of the PC market that is growing and that part of the market is made up of laptops that are selling for under $300. Some of the super cheap laptops are running Windows 8 but 20 – 25% of that under $300 market each month is made up of Google Chromebooks. 

And I can understand why! 

We have a Google Chromebook at the library. It is the $249 Chromebook and offers users a basic, reasonably speedy computing experience. If you have Wi-Fi or access to Wi-Fi and use the web for the majority of your PC tasks than a Chromebook isn’t a bad computer to purchase as a second computer or an entry level computer for someone (you do need to have access to Wi-Fi). Stop by the library sometime and you can try it out!

Here’s a link to the ZDNet article titled “Chromebooks a Bright Spot in the Dark PC Market:” 

http://www.zdnet.com/chromebooks-a-bright-spot-in-the-dark-pc-market-7000017964/

Verizon Needs To Sell iPhones: I came across an article today titled “Verizon May Need to Sell $23.5 Billion Worth of iPhones by End of the Year” and thought I’d share the link because it seems Verizon made a deal with Apple in 2010 to sell a certain number of iPhones and they haven’t sold enough of them just yet — which may translate into the fact that Verizon may sell some iPhones at lower prices or as part of a more desirable-then-usual cell phone deals later this year. So if you’re in the market for a new iPhone in the fall you may want to check out the Verizon site before buying a new phone!

Here’ the link to the article:

http://allthingsd.com/20130711/verizon-needs-to-sell-23-5-billion-worth-of-iphones-by-the-end-of-the-year/

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Paczkowski, John. (2013, July 10). Apple’s Chances of an E-Book Ruling Appeal Are Lousy, Say Legal Scholars. All Things D. Online. Accessed July 11, 2013. 

http://allthingsd.com/20130710/apples-chances-on-an-e-book-ruling-appeal-are-lousy-say-legal-scholars/

Paczkowski, John. (2013, July 11). Verizon Needs to Sell 23.5 Billion Worth of iPhones by the End of the Year. All Things D. Online. Accessed July 11, 2013. 

http://allthingsd.com/20130711/verizon-needs-to-sell-23-5-billion-worth-of-iphones-by-the-end-of-the-year/

Vaughan-Nichols, Stephen. (2013, July 11). Chromebooks a Bright Spot in the Dark PC Market. ZD Net. Online. Accessed July 11, 2013. 

http://www.zdnet.com/chromebooks-a-bright-spot-in-the-dark-pc-market-7000017964/

 

 

 

DOJ Rules Against Apple in Anti-Trust Suit, Improved Google Maps App & iOS 7 Upgrade Changes

DOJ Rules Against Apple in Anti-Trust Suit: The U.S. Department of Justice has ruled against Apple in the DOJ v. Apple anti-trust suit that alleged that Apple colluded with several major U.S. publishers in 2010 to force the number 1 seller of e-books in the U.S., Amazon, to accept what is called an Agency Model of pricing e-books. The term Agency Model basically means that publishers set the price of all their e-books instead of the e-book sellers and thus all e-book sellers that wish to sell e-books by publishers using the Agency Model must charge consumers whatever price the publishers set for their e-books to be allowed to sell them.

The DOJ has stated during the case that the Agency Model was adopted by Apple and five of the largest publishers in the U.S.* (all of the so-called Big Six publishers sans Random House) in response to Amazon undercutting other e-book sellers and in fact frequently selling e-books for a loss in order to sell more of its exceptionally popular Kindle e-readers. And indeed just after the Agency Model was implemented prices of most new e-books listed on Amazon went up a couple of dollars each, generally from $9.99 to $12.99, seeming just about overnight and just at the same time Apple was unveiling its first generation iPad which of course allowed iPad purchasers to buy e-books through Apple’s iBooks Store via the Agency Model pricing.

Apple spokesmen still insist they did nothing wrong in negotiation with publishers and agreeing to use the Agency Model to sell e-books via the iBooks Store and have said they will appeal the verdict which probably will translate into the case going before the Supreme Court.

So I’m sure we haven’t heard the last of this case!

Here’s a link to a Reuters article on the subject, titled Judge rules Apple conspired to raise prices on e-books, which offers more information on the subject:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/us-apple-ebooks-idUSBRE9690GE20130710

And another article on the same subject from the New York Times titled “Judge Rules Against Apple in E-Books Trial”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/technology/judge-rules-against-apple-in-e-books-trial.html?ref=technology&_r=0

Improved Google Maps App: New York Times Tech guru David Pogue offers an article today on the new and improved Google Maps app for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. The new apps offer a speedier performance and better information on places – in fact Pogue glowingly notes of the improved apps that “Half the time, you don’t even need navigation instructions; you just use Google Maps as the world’s smartest Yellow Pages, to find a nearby restaurant, movie theater, drugstore or whatever;” and I think Pogue’s recommendation just about sums it up! If you’ve got an app device Google Maps is an indispensable tool!

Here’s a link to the Pogue column on the New York Times site:

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/an-improved-google-maps-app-for-apple-and-android-devices/?ref=technology

iOS 7 Upgrade Changes: Every so often I say something about versions of iOS or Android and someone says to me – “What does that mean?”—and basically what the terms iOS and Android refer to is the stuff that makes the smartphones or tablets produced by Apple and a variety of Android tablet and smartphone makers, including Google, run. So an iOS upgrade means that Apple has, or as in this case is going to, improve the running system (aka mobile operating system) of its iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch models. And Apple usually unveils some neat extra bells and whistles functions – some extra icing on the cake if you will – with their upgrades so this fall when Apple upgrades its mobile iOS software to iOS 7 you should find some new features and a new look for your mobile Apple devices. The new Apple iOS is supposed to appear to have a flat type of more modern look than previous iOS versions and today word came that Apple is also changing the default text font for their mobile devices to Helvetica Neue from Helvetica Light so that too will make iPhones and iPads displays look just a bit different this fall!

Here’s a link to a CNET article on the subject titled “iOS 7 swaps skinny font for thicker one in typographic U-turn;”

http://crave.cnet.co.uk/software/ios-7-swaps-skinny-font-for-thicker-one-in-typographic-u-turn-50011685/

And a second link to a Mashable video on the subject that offers a broader scope of information titled “Apple Releases iOS 7 Beta 3 and Other News You Need to Know:”

http://mashable.com/2013/07/09/apple-ios7-brief/

 

Have a great day!

Linda R.

*All the publishers settled the DOJ charges out of court before the anti-trust trial began.

References

Chen, Brian., & Bosman, Julie. (2013, July 10). Judge Rules Against Apple in E-Books Trial. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 10, 2013.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/technology/judge-rules-against-apple-in-e-books-trial.html?ref=technology&_r=0

Pogue, David. (2013, July 10). A Better Google Maps App for Apple and Android Devices. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 10, 2013.

http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/an-improved-google-maps-app-for-apple-and-android-devices/?ref=technology

Raymond, Nate., & Stempel, Jonathan. (2013, July 10). Judge rules Apple conspired to raise prices on e-books. Reuters. Online. Accessed July 10, 2013. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/10/us-apple-ebooks-idUSBRE9690GE20130710

Schroeder, Stan. (2013, July 9). Apple Releases iOS 7 Beta 3 and Other News You Need to Know. Mashable. Online. Accessed July 10, 2013. http://mashable.com/2013/07/09/apple-ios7-brief/

Driverless Cars & The Impact On Municipal Revenues & Apple Offers Free Apps As The App Store Turns 5

Driverless Cars & The Impact On Municipal Revenues:  I mentioned in yesterdays’ blog posting that there was a cool article in the New York Time on the evolution of driverless cars and today the author of that article – Nick Bilton – offers another article that discusses how driverless smart car technology will greatly decrease the number of traffic and parking tickets issued in cities and how, correspondingly, this will greatly decrease municipal revenue for big cities. Bilton notes that in Washington, D.C. on average that “six parking tickets are issued every minute of a normal workday. That is about 5,300 tickets on each of those days. Those slips of paper have added up to $80 million in parking fines a year;” – Wow! $80 million a year is quite a big source of income! No doubt municipalities will find new ways to generate more revenue for their cities when driverless smart cars become mainstream items– but I find the article interesting because I honestly had no idea that parking and traffic tickets generated that much revenue and because I can see a day coming when some people that don’t drive a great deal won’t necessarily need a car.

Imagine if in our area – Corning, NY (population about 10,000) we could summon a driverless car whenever we needed one to take us to work, home again, to the grocery store or the mall and we might not have to make car payments or pay for auto insurance or auto maintained because we might share these cars with other members of our local community

Most people don’t spend hours a day driving – some people do of course have a long commute and for them it is another story – but many people live and work within the same town and if they could quickly and easily get around their local region then maybe we could share cars,  cut down on pollution and cut our cost of living by eliminating having to pay for and maintain a car.

Granted car enthusiasts who love to drive might just want to own their own cars anyway – I’m betting they will – but for some people having access to community owned self- driving (and no doubt at some point self-cleaning) smart cars will increase they ability to get around town and allow them to keep a few extra dollars in their budgets.

Here’s a link to the Bilton article titled “The Money Side of Driverless Cars”

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/the-end-of-parking-tickets-drivers-and-car-insurance/?ref=technology

Apple Offers Free Apps As The App Store Turns 5: Apple’s App Store has just turned 5 and to celebrate they are offering some apps for free for a limited time. There is a section in the store titled “5 Years of the App Store” and the free apps include games like “Infinity Blade II,” and “Tiny Wings HD” and other apps like “How to Cook Everything” and “Traktor DJ.” So if you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch you might want to check out the free apps!

Here’s a link to a Verge article on the subject titled “Top iOS apps and games go free ahead of App Store’s fifth anniversary:”

http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/8/4502810/ios-apps-and-games-go-free-five-years-after-app-store-launched

Have a great day!

Linda R.

References

Bilton, Nick. (2013, July 9). The Money Side of Driverless Cars. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 9, 2013.  http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/09/the-end-of-parking-tickets-drivers-and-car-insurance/?ref=technology

Byford, Sam. (2013, July 8). Top iOS apps and games go free ahead of App Store’s fifth anniversary. The Verge. Online. Accessed July 9, 2013. http://www.theverge.com/2013/7/8/4502810/ios-apps-and-games-go-free-five-years-after-app-store-launched

 

Adobe Photoshop & Suite Subscriptions, Facebook Search Update & Imagine A Future With Driverless Cars

Adobe Photoshop & Suite Subscriptions: Adobe is taking a page out of Microsoft’s book and actually going a step further by offering a subscription only model for their latest version of Photoshop and also for the full Adobe Suite. And the extra step further I referred to is the fact that unlike Microsoft, which still offers an individual download version of its software (i.e. you can purchase a copy of Microsoft Office or one of its components like Word for a one time only purchase price), if you want the latest version of Adobe Photoshop or the Adobe Suite you have to pay for a subscription as the company is no longer offering the latest versions of Photoshop or the Adobe Suite for sale for a flat one time only rate. There are a number of different Adobe subscription packages; however, the entry level package for Photoshop now costs $30 per month.

We do seem to be moving towards a subscription only world which I’m sure makes companies like Adobe, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Microsoft very happy as it makes them more money but it does give me pause because it seem like consumers will be at the mercy of those same media, software and publishing companies and if we truly get to a point where you’ll never own a copy of the software, movie, television show because you can only buy access to the content then what is to stop those companies from pulling the plug on your access to the content you’ve paid to license? Somehow although I am something of an idealist I’m doubtful that those media, software and publishing companies will have the best interests of the consumer at heart – I tend to think they’ll want to make more money by charging you repeating subscription fees to access software, e-books, movies and television shows. But then I digress and the subject of the ownership of digital content, or the lack-there-of is a whole other subject for future conversation!

Getting back to the subject of the Adobe software, if you like to do light photo editing and prefer to pay a one-time only purchase fee you can still (at least for the present) purchase a download or disc version of the of latest version of Photoshop Elements — Photoshop Elements 11 – Amazon is currently selling that standalone software for both PC & Mac for $68.88.

And here’s a link to a New York Times article on the new Adobe subscription service which is aptly titled “Software as a Monthly Rental:”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/04/technology/personaltech/photoshop-cc-turns-software-into-a-monthly-rental.html?ref=technology&_r=0

Facebook Search Update: Facebook is updating its search function options starting this week. The search function for U.S. Facebook users will now include some advanced search options. The new search options are collectively being called the “Graph Search” and basically the options are tools that allow you to input more information into your searches so you can search for “photos of my friends before 1996” or “Restaurants in New York City my friends like” and get better results.

Here a link to an ABC News article on the subject that offers more in-depth information:

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-graph-search-function-rolls-us-users/story?id=19597958

Imagine A Future With Driverless Cars: On to one of my favorite topics the evolution of driverless cars and how that evolution will change our society!

The New York Times offers an article on just this subject today titled “How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities.” Now I like the idea of the positive changes to cities that driverless smart cars will bring – less parking spaces needed, less traffic gridlock, fewer traffic tickets, more room available to build new homes and businesses because having smart cars will translate into those cars being able to drop off their owners at their requested destination and then the cars will go find a parking space.

However, what I really like about smart driverless cars is more universal and three-fold:

1. The increase in safety on the roads (and for both car passengers and pedestrians) because driverless smart cars won’t get distracted as people do by smartphones, upcoming appointments or whatever else is on their mind and driverless cars have sensor to prevent them from running  into pedestrians or pets that run out in front of them;

2. The increase in free time driverless smart cars will offer their owners.  Now this one you can take one of two ways! If you want to you’ll  able to focus on work related tasks like reading your work emails, going over details for a conference or presentation or returning video calls while on your way to or from work or your latest conference. If on the other hand you’ve already worked  really hard during the day you’ll be able to sit back and relax and watch a video, listen to music, read a book, work out on your exercise bike or even pick up and eat  your dinner during your evening commute! Cool stuff – more time to do whatever you want to do in an increasingly busy world – and I think we’re increasingly busy because in our high tech Internet connected world – we’re connected to our great communications technology 24/7/365 but then that is a whole other discussion!

3. The third super cool point I see about the evolution of smart driverless cars is how the technology will free many homebound people who can’t drive but who can get about. For example, someone who is blind or disabled and thus can’t drive but can get out will be able to own a smart driverless car and go to the movies, or the grocery store, go shopping  or go to visit friends or relatives on their own – the independence factor will be very cool!

So that is my current “Smart driverless cars are cool” pitch for the moment!

Have a great day!

Linda R

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/disruptions-how-driverless-cars-could-reshape-cities/?ref=technology

References

Bilton, Nick. (2013, July 7). Disruptions: How Driverless Cars Could Reshape Cities. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 8, 2013. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/disruptions-how-driverless-cars-could-reshape-cities/?ref=technology

Pogue, David. (2013, July 3). Software as a Monthly Rental. New York Times. Online. Accessed July 8, 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-graph-search-function-rolls-us-users/story?id=19597958

Stern, Joanna. (2013, July 7). With New Improvements, Facebook Brings Graph Search Function to All U.S. Users. ABC News. Online. Accessed July 8, 2013. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/facebook-graph-search-function-rolls-us-users/story?id=19597958#.UdrQQdI4vTo