Actrix Online Informer – May 2014
The Actrix Online Informer is published each month to help keep
Actrix customers up-to-date with what's happening on the Internet, and to
help ensure they have every opportunity to benefit from it.
Welcome to the May Actrix Online Informer
Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for May 2014. This month we take a look at some of the most exciting gadgets and gizmos that will feature in 2014. Fancy a watch that's a smartphone, or a music-playing mattress? Then this is the article for you!
We also round things off with 10 interesting facts about one of the most popular gadgets arounc – the iPhone
This month's YouTube feature is of dialect coach Andrew Jack who takes us on a tour of the British Isles, seamlessly changing his accent and explaining the different sounds as people talk and we move around the UK.
As a child, when you lay awake at night wondering what the future would be like, did you imagine you'd ever see a world with the technology we currently have? Wireless broadband, smartphone technology and 3D printing are some of our society's most recent technological achievements, but what does the future hold?
While we can't quite predict what things will be like in 100 or 1000 years, we can still look a little way into the future to see what the next year will bring in terms of technological advances.
Here are some of the coolest gadgets and gizmos of 2014.
The iPhone is one of the most popular gadgets around, and Apple's popularity looks set to continue to increase. But did you know:
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Cyberspace news snippets
What's been happening in the online world?
Third of census forms completed online: Information on how we completed the five-yearly census suggests a move to filling in the forms entirely online may be on the cards. Click here for more.
XP use drops below 10 percent: Trade Me says the proportion of people visiting its website who were using Windows XP computers dipped below 10 per cent for the first time last month. Click here for more.
Smartphone app for dark city streets: A former Victoria University student who felt unsafe on city streets has developed a smartphone app that keeps tabs on its user in dangerous situations, and is being recommended to Wellington students after two recent attacks. Click here for more.
Jeremy Tauri: All aboard the app train: If you think of Flappy Bird and Facebook when someone mentions smartphone apps, it's time to think again. More and more businesses are using apps to improve productivity and their connection with customers and clients. Click here for more.
Kill off email to boost productivity: Employees' reliance on email as the primary mode of communication is hurting business productivity, according to an executive at one of the world's biggest technology companies, Cisco. Click here for more.
Growing industry has app developers racing: Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding their niche. Click here for more.
Big hopes for big data: Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns. Click here for more.
Brazil Congress passes internet bill of rights: Brazil's Senate unanimously approved groundbreaking legislation that guarantees equal access to the internet and protects the privacy of Brazilian users in the wake of US spying revelations. Click here for more.
Brazil conference to plot post-NSA internet: A global conference in Brazil on the future of the internet in the wake of US spying revelations might be much less anti-American than first thought after Washington said it was willing to loosen its control over the web. Click here for more.
Vevo monthly viewership hits six billion: Vevo, the online music video hub that is a joint venture of two of the world's biggest music labels, has seen a nearly 50 per cent increase in the number of music videos streamed each month from its platform. Click here for more.
Amazon snares classic HBO shows in deal: Fans of classic HBO shows like The Sopranos and The Wire will soon have access to those series and more through Amazon Prime in the first online streaming deal signed by the cable network. Click here for more.
Travelling through time on Google Maps: Trips down memory lane are now available on Google's digital maps. The new twist on time travel is debuting today as part of the "Street View" feature in Google's maps, a navigational tool that attracts more than 1 billion visitors each month. Click here for more.
Japan's digital eyes show your emotions: Can't be bothered to show anyone what you're thinking? A Japanese scientist has the answer – a pair of digital eyes that can express delight and anger, or even feign boredom. Click here for more.
Control the future with a wave of your hand: We're all guilty of waving and shouting at technology when it won't behave, but now our gadgets are finally paying attention to what we say and do. Click here for more.
Report: Amazon to unveil smartphone: Amazon.com is preparing to launch its long-rumoured smartphone in the second half of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people briefed on the company's plans. Click here for more.
Scientists try to 3-D print a human heart: It may sound far-fetched, but scientists are attempting to build a human heart with a 3-D printer. Click here for more.
High-tech farm machines harvest Big Data: Steps away from a replica of the revolutionary 1837 steel plow at tractor company John Deere's headquarters sits a combine as big as a tank and packed with computer wizardry that harvests huge volumes of valuable data as it gathers crops. Click here for more.
Device helps paralysed man move legs: Three years ago, doctors reported that zapping a paralysed man's spinal cord with electricity allowed him to stand and move his legs. Now they've done the same with three other patients, suggesting their original success was no fluke. Click here for more.
Charge your phone in 30 seconds: An Israeli start-up is promising to fully charge your phone in 30 seconds. Click here for more.
It's time to stop hating Google Glass: In the nearly two years since Google began testing its augmented-reality eyewear, public reaction has progressed from "that's amazing" to "those look stupid" to "if you wear them, you deserve to be physically assaulted". Click here for more.
Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace: Google has bought Titan Aerospace, a maker of solar-powered drones, saying it could help bring internet access to remote parts of the world as well as solve other problems. Click here for more.
Report: Facebook plans mobile payments: Facebook is preparing to join the mobile- payments race with remittances and electronic-money services on the social network, the Financial Times reported on Sunday, citing several people involved in the process. Click here for more.
Russian social media founder flees country: The founder of Russia's leading social media network, a wunderkind often described as Russia's Mark Zuckerberg, has left his post as CEO and fled the country as cronies of President Vladimir Putin have made steady inroads into the company's ownership. Click here for more.
Apple and Android
Cortana v Siri: virtual assistants battle: With Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft is taking on Siri, Apple's chatty assistant in the iPhone. In Microsoft's corner is Cortana, a brand-new virtual personality that shares the same name as Master Chief's holographic helper from the Halo games. Click here for more.
Copyright vs Piracy
Microsoft sued over $731m IE miscue: Microsoft's board faces a lawsuit over the way it handled an error with its Internet Explorer browser that ended up costing the company a record-breaking US$731 million fine by European antitrust regulators. Click here for more.
Google's stake in Samsung trial revealed: Google's stake in the outcome of a US$2 billion trial over smartphones using its Android operating system was revealed by testimony that the company indemnified Samsung Electronics against some of Apple's patent claims. Click here for more.
Google files patent for contact lens camera: Google has applied for a patent that details a way to fit a camera into a contact lens. Click here for more.
Security and Privacy
Bitcoin promoter indicted for money laundering: Prominent bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has been indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on charges of funnelling cash to the illicit online marketplace Silk Road. Click here for more.
Add a second layer of protection online: If the Heartbleed security threat teaches us anything, it's that passwords don't offer total protection. Click here for more.
What to do the moment your phone's stolen: Thinking of stealing a smartphone? Aim for an older one. Our phones and tablets are both highly valuable and highly portable, making them ideal targets for theft. But a simple pocket swipe on the bus isn't quite enough these days. Click here for more.
The Weird, Wide Web
New York police pic campaign backfires: New York police didn't quite get the response they were hoping for after asking users to post photos of themselves with officers as part of a PR campaign. Click here for more.
Browser extension fixes literal mistakes: If you're a cool-headed, fair-minded, forward-thinking descriptivist, it doesn't bother you one bit that people often use the word "literally" when describing things figuratively. Click here for more.
Each month we dredge through our archives to pull out stories from the Actrix Newsletter of exactly five years ago. Sometimes these stories will show just how much the net has changed in such a short time, and sometimes they'll be included just because they're interesting.
McDs hit by email scam: An email scam has been doing the rounds, offering $50 McDonald's vouchers in exchange for filling out a survey and providing personal information, including credit card details. Click here for more.
Would-be flatmate a fake, so is $6300: Janine Demanser just wanted a flatmate. Instead, the Napier woman's internet posting attracted a scam merchant who sent thousands of dollars in fake traveller's cheques with the intention of ripping her off. Click here for more.
Global botnet hits Kiwis too: At least 10,000 New Zealand computers have been taken over by malicious hackers, who are already selling sensitive information online. Click here for more.
Facebook, YouTube at Work Helps Productivity: Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It'll make you a better employee, according to an Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity. Click here for more.
Facebook Takes a Dive: Why Social Networks Are Bad Businesses: The business of having online sites with content created by amateurs to be viewed by other amateurs never had a reasonable chance of making money. The fact that at one point Facebook had a $15 billion valuation, that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp (NWS) bought MySpace, and that Google (GOOG) bought YouTube only proves the "greater fool" theory. Click here for more.
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