A cool new internet and radio project has recently come out of Germany. Created by Golo Föllmer of Martin Luther University in Halle, Germany, Radio Garden is a project that connects people to radio stations from all over the world. It is available on the web. Just visit Radio.Garden or download the Radio Garden application for your smart phone. It is possible to enjoy the connections of Radio Garden in your car by connecting your smartphone app directly to your car’s digital system. This is of course if your car supports mobile app integration.
As soon as you access Radio Garden via your computer or over the phone a map of the world starts to appear and green dots slowly begin to populate the continents. These green dots represent radio stations found in cities and towns around the world. Scroll around the world to literally connect to radio stations as far away as Europe, Asia, Africa and all over your country wherever you may be located. The interface map can be described as a very simple version in look and feel to Google’s Earth program.
Creator of Radio Garden, Martin Föllmer says that his project helps bring distant voices from far off and isolated places such as the Faroe Islands and New Zealand closer to us. He goes on to say that it connects people and places. Radio Garden also allows people to explore broadcasting processes across the world and see what other people are listening to at any given moment. After all, aren’t we all a little curious on what people on the other side of the world are listening on their radio stations? Radio Garden makes that possible.
Radio has helped communication to cross borders and Radio Garden continues that mission by allowing people to access radio stations on a global level. If you are traveling abroad and want to reconnect with your favorite radio station, then Radio Garden is a perfect way to do that. The best part of Radio Garden is that it is free to use. Listen to some music from around the world, hear some funny languages and marvel at how interconnected and globalized the world has become now. You will be able to access both commercial, talk and college radio stations via Radio Garden.
Wednesday, December 14th, it came out that Yahoo! has had a security breach. Again. This particular attack, which took place in August 2013, has leaked the information of over one billion Yahoo! users. This breach is the biggest one in Yahoo’s history, quite possibly the biggest in the history of the internet. This particular breach is twice the size of the 500 million user breach that was discovered in October. That particular breach took place some time in 2014.
The question coming to the forefront of user’s minds is, how can this happen? The answer is simple; security does not appear to be a priority. What is clear in this instance is how lackadaisical Yahoo has been concerning security. Users hold a certain amount of trust in email/tech companies to keep their data, including passwords, emails and banking information, safe. Yahoo has very clearly neglected this trust.
What does this mean for Yahoo Inc? The company itself is being scouted by Verizon for possible acquisition. The 2014 data breach caused Verizon to take pause in the purchase process, so what could a breach that is doubled in size mean for the deal? Currently Verizon is “review[ing] the impact of the new development before reaching any final conclusions.”
The more important question is, what happens to the users that have been affected by the breach? So far, the company has reached out to the potential breach victims, requiring password and security question changes. The company has also said in an email to the users, “We continuously enhance our safeguards and systems that detect and prevent unauthorized access to user accounts.”
Users are being encouraged to change passwords, even if they haven’t been affected, as well as the typical diatribe of “don’t click on suspicious links, don’t download attachments from people you don’t know, etc…”
Is this latest debacle something that Yahoo can recover from? Will Yahoo’s users regain their trust in their email provider? Read more about the effects of this breach here.
Every time we log into a website, we trust that our data is basically secure and we are able to get the information that we need from the website without hassle. We also trust the website to keep our information safe and prevent us from having our information stolen. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Recently, Yahoo news reports that its data information was stolen by some criminals.
They found that these criminals had actually gone as far to offer to sell the data – the data of over 200 million accounts, to be exact. This sale was offered sometime around the summer and was kept fairly quiet until a recent development. This is in addition to the attack in 2014 where 500 million accounts were reported to be stolen.
The story gets even more interesting from there, with Yahoo stating that over 500 million accounts are compromised. This hack comes at a time when Yahoo is trying to sell all of its web stock to Verizon for a sale of approximately $4.8 billion. There are several steps that users will have to take to protect their account, all of which Yahoo is trying to streamline for its users. The hack was announced this week, however some people claim that Yahoo has known about this hack for up to two years.
Yahoo’s data is extremely vulnerable right now, and users are advised to take extra security precautions while they use their Yahoo accounts.
Perhaps Yahoo’s biggest mistake was that they didn’t inform Verizon – the company that they were selling the web shares too – about the attack. Though dates are sketchy, Yahoo states that 500 billion accounts were stolen in 2014 – accounts that they were just now able to start reclaiming and building more securely. They claim the attack was state sponsored although they have no evidence of such as of yet. This could potentially be the biggest data breech in history.
One thing is certain: Yahoo data is currently not secure.
For more information, read more here.
Facebook has long been searching for a way to compete with the Snapchat app. After two tries that failed, Facebook is attempting to beat Snapchat at its own game again. Instead of trying to purchase Snapchat for $3 billion (Facebook made the offer in 2013) or launching the Slingshot Snapchat app (a 2014 attempt), Facebook has headed to Instagram to launch Instagram Stories.
Instagram Stories is a brand new feature that allows users to share various moments of the day, beyond what users would usually share in their Facebook profiles. Instagram Stories also keeps people from worrying about sharing too much information, because the “story” will disappear after 24 hours. Until now, this was a feature that make Snapchat stand out.
This tech move was a smart one on Facebook’s part, since it adds a desirable feature to an app that was already very popular. Users don’t have to download anything new, which means that 500 million people will be able to use Instagram Stories right away.
Instagram Stories is also a great idea because it allows people to post without the information becoming part of their permanent social media record.
Instagram Stories is available to both iOS and Android users, and is utilized by tapping the a+ symbol at the top left of the screen, or swiping left from anywhere in a user’s news feed to add a video or photo. Instagram also allows users to draw on their “story” or add text to make the story particularly interesting or memorable.
Snapchat is an extremely popular mobile messaging app that is used to share photos, videos, and text messages. It is also used to share drawings. Millions of people around the globe use this amazing app daily.
It has been announced that Snapchat’s Discover and Stories page is getting a complete makeover. The new page features squares instead of circles. Snapchat users were comfortable with seeing the icon for Vice or BuzzFeed, but they will now have to get used to seeing the image and headline associated with the story. The image and headline will give you a preview of what’s inside. This new feature will help people find stories that appeal to their interest. For example, you may not know that Tastemade features exclusive food videos, but you will be able to figure it out with the aid of the new breakfast image.
Snapchat users will now be able to subscribe to the Discover stories that are related to their interests, and unsubscribe from the stories that do not appeal to them. This is great news for users who were frustrated with being bombarded with stories they weren’t interested in reading. Unfortunately, this may be bad news for publications that are trying to establish a relationship with prospects in their targeted market. Publishers relied on the Discover page to reach people who may not normally follow their brand of content.
Snapchat continues to make moves to please their subscribers. Only time will tell if their latest move will become a smashing success.
Airbnb, the tech company that allows people to rent out their homes over the internet, is considering adding new features to their popular service. Rumors are that Airbnb is interested in doing an IPO, so their introduction of new features is one way for them to boost the potential value of their stock. New features include the ability to look for rental units with other users, additional support for businesses looking to use Airbnb and a more sophisticated rating system for renters and property owners.
These moves are strategic for Airbnb, and the support for businesses is a very powerful move. Billions of dollars are spent annually on business travel, and Airbnb wants to cash in on this. Much like Uber providing cheaper rates than taxi companies, Airbnb allows homeowners to provide cheaper rentals than hotels and steal business away from them. The tech companies call this innovation, but the taxi drivers and hotel owners call it an illegal business.
As such, Airbnb finds itself clashing with regulators. In the United States, Seattle city government is proposing regulation to prevent commercial customers from renting out space on the Airbnb platform. The Seattle city government wants private homeowners to rent out extra space, but they want to keep all of the housing stock in Seattle available for actual people living there, not short-term rentals. This is happening among Seattle’s housing crisis and economic growth. As for Airbnb? Things are looking good.
Uber is, in a nutshell, a glorified taxi service that allows people to get from point A to point B with easy app finesse. Uber drivers were previously known as independent contractors. This went without saying for a while considering that they drive their own personal vehicles and set their personal schedules, but most recently, this has changed. The wondrous world of Uber has now developed a set of fresh criteria that enables drivers to charge late fees if a customer does not show up on scheduled time. After a $100 million dollar class-action lawsuit settlement, Uber drivers are now seen as employees rather than contractors, and will now receive benefits and reimbursement for expenses. This may initially seem more rigid to current Uber customers, but the new protocol is actually making things a lot more driver-friendly. The overall experience is beneficial to both the driver and customer, creating a clear cut dynamic where there is no room for loopholes or grey areas on either end. There’s a 2 minute window and then you are charged This seems to be a reasonable system that Uber has established. It gives the company more professionalism and offers its customers an equally satisfactory destination experience. This level of organization will enable Uber to become more of a robust, well-respected company. The end goal being easier to reach than they might have originally expected.
Every tech connected individual will, at some point, run afoul of data caps. Originally implemented for Internet Service Providers in high traffic areas, data caps have since crept into nearly internet providing agreement. Smartphones, satellite internet, and desktop/laptops are all forced to comply with these agreements. Go over your data cap, so the contracts read, and we’ll charge you extra for every bit downloaded.
Consumers and watchdog groups have long suspected data, or broadband, caps were simply price hikes on unsuspecting customers. This argument was bolstered by tech experts pointing out that cost of providing internet to consumers (in terms of routers, switching equipment, and other infrastructure costs) has dropped precipitously over the last 15 years. So if their costs data caps were meant to cover have dropped, why are service providers still charging more then ever for them? The public got its answer this past week in a series of recent interviews with smaller ISP corporations. Sonic (an independent California ISP) and growing giant Frontier Communications have stated that they will not be imposing data caps, as their infrastructure costs are so low that such a measure would be totally unneeded (As detailed here). These recent disclosures all but prove that ISP giants such as Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon, are doing little more then gouging customers to prop up their uncompetitive (and decidedly mature) market. Keep this news in mind the next time you get a bill saying last night’s Netflix movie was a download too far.
With the advent of the cellphone and the growth in mobile internet use as a broadening slice of the online market, applications have been the hot new areas of emphasis in Silicon Valley for the past few years. Everything from pizza delivery to laundry service and online shopping have been ported into mobile apps. This has long been seen as a hot new place to cash in for software developers and “tech startups.” However, it appears that the application boom might be slowing to a crawl.
It seems that users are simply getting tired of apps. Perhaps it is due to market saturation, and the most useful applications have already been invented. After all, the Facebook application is used by more than a billion users, so they aren’t likely to continue growing (as everyone already has a facebook.) There are two exceptions to this drop in growth, Instagram and Uber. These companies represent relatively new forays into technology and social media. People are fans of ride sharing and not paying excessive fees for a taxi, so Uber’s success makes sense. Uber has also been involved in a cutthroat battle with competitor Lyft and regulators in several cities and countries. Instagram is a photo-based social media outlet that is also seeing excellent growth. However, almost every other application is seeing very slow growth. One fascinating statistic in the report: the average smartphone user downloads an average of zero applications per month.
The tech world is witnessing a rapid expansion of product launches and elevated sky-high expectations from the growth of Internet of Things (IoT). All the stakeholders are vigorously looking forward to positioning their offerings in anticipation of the windfall rewards from the fast rising IoT adoption.
As IoT becomes increasing important and more vendors interested in the market, one thing is clear. IoT only works with a good combination of apps, services and connected devices. The internet acts as networking medium for IoT solutions because it offers the required service-level agreement (SLA). The quality of service (QoS) provided by the internet regarding quality reliability, service, and availability is still not the best. One fundamental question to ask is: Is the internet is ready for IoT?
The Internet can be relied on to support billions of devices of plugged-in and connected devices, but we also have to be worried about a spamming refrigerator, dropped connections, and hacked cars. The fact is that new gadgets or "things" is accelerating. It seems, however, like the "T" in the IoT is getting the majority of attention than the Internet. To ensure consumers interact with IoT in the right way, developers have to ensure the communication satisfies the connectivity of Internet of Things that will enable the connected products to work well without the potential pitfalls and drawbacks.