Here's what I love about Google+ in general and the Google+ Diet in particular:
Instead of saying, "I'm going to write a blog post now," or "I'm going to send an e-mail" or "I think I'll tweet something" you simply say what you have to say, then decide who you're going to say it to.
If you address it to "Public," it's a blog post.
If you address it to "Your Circles" it's a tweet.
If you address it to your "My Customers" Circle it's a business newsletter.
If you address it to a single person, it can be a letter to your mother.
Insane Indian skyscraper replaces balconies with glass pools.
A 37-story residential skyscraper in Mumbai, India, called the Aquaria Grande Tower (currently under construction) will have the most insanely awesome feature ever: glass swimming pools where the balconies normally go for some of the apartments.
I've been talking about my expectation that Apple would release a wristwatch for a long time (see the links below). Now, a new report in The New York Times says the company is doing exactly that. The report said, in part:
"In its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., Apple is experimenting with wristwatch-like devices made of curved glass, according to people familiar with the company’s explorations."
(The picture on this post is not the watch -- it's a concept dreamed up by a user.)
Advertiser leaving Facebook after discovering that 80% of the clicks they're paying for are from 'bots.'
A company called Limited Run publicly announced on Facebook that they're leaving Facebook, and for two reasons:
First, they did their own analytics and found that 80% of the clicks Facebook was charging them for were from automated "bots."
Second, the company changed their name. They requested that Facebook change the company name on the business page. But Facebook told them (allegedly) that in order to change their name on Facebook, they would have to spend $2,000 more per month on advertising.
If these allegations are true, how widespread is this abuse?
Lifehacker is running a poll, asking "What’s Your Social Network of Choice?"
But they give Facebook and Twitter an unfair advantage: At the bottom are "Like" buttons for Facebook and Twitter. They're giving a tool to virally promote the poll on two of the social networks, but not the others. As a result, Facebook and Twitter have WAY more votes than Linkedin, Pinterest, MySpace and Instagram.
But Google+ is dominating the poll anyway, with (at the time I write this) twice as many votes as Facebook.
That's not enough.
Since Lifehacker decided to favor Facebook and Twitter, let's send them some Google+ love in the form of MASSIVE votes for Google+:
1. Share this post with all your circles.
2. Go here and vote for your social network of choice:
MIT student creates computer-controlled magic levitation.
MIT genius +Jinha Lee has created (in collaboration with +Rehmi Post from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms,) an incredible computer-controlled system for levitating objects.
The project, called ZeroN, uses magnets, a Kinect visual system, plus special software that enables either the computer to move a steel ball around in space, or a human to just grab it and move it, essentially telling the computer where it should go.
It can even remember how it was moved, then repeat the movement automatically.
A special iPad-holding toilet (complete with a "splash guard" for the iPad) is designed to help toilet-train toddlers. Parents are invited to choose from the variety of toilet-training apps already available in the iOS app store.
In other news, there is a variety of toilet-training apps already available in the iOS app store.
Spread the word: Google+ has the best Olympic stream anywhere!
I've checked Twitter, the RSS feeds, the official Olympic Committee feeds, the various global networks and news channels. And I'm certain that the best way to monitor the Olympic games is Google+ with a simple search stream.
Just watch it go by, and occasionally click the "are you there?" link.
Here's why Google+ wins the gold medal for following the Olympics:
1. The stream has pictures you can see without clicking.
2. The stream has content you can read without clicking.
3. You can "spin out" posts to read later by using keystrokes. (Press and hold the "command" key on a Mac or the "Ctrl" key on a PC, then click on the time of a post to spin it out in a separate tab for reading later.)
4. You can comment, and engage in instant global conversations.
5. You get all kinds of content, from personal experiences to news to videos to opinions.
6. It's live, real-time coverage.
7. You can literally hit the "Pause" button and go make yourself a sandwich.
Spread the word, people. Google+ is MUCH better than Twitter for keeping up with the games!
The lovefest known as the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference starts Monday. As with any such event that involves Apple announcing new products, the global outpouring of love will be matched by a rising outburst of hate.
Some people hate Apple. Other people hate people who hate Apple. Many of these haters have turned pro, leading to a lucrative “hater industrial complex.”
I know, because I’ve been the target of hate from both sides. I’m on the hate list of both the most extreme anti-Apple haters and pro-Apple haters.
Passion in technology, flame-wars, fanboyism and its discontents are nothing new. But in the past couple of years, something new has happened: The loudest, most insistent hate is now coming from the anti-Apple crowd, rather than the pro-Apple people.
+TechCrunch just posted a really good piece on the death of Adobe Flash on mobile, and Apple's role in killing it -- or, at least, foreseeing its death when others didn't.
When Steve Jobs' "epic missive" explained in devastating detail why Apple didn't support Flash on either iPhone or iPad, he divided opinion. Rivals pounced on the opportunity to differentiate by supporting Flash.
Five years after the iPhone shipped (Thursday), Adobe announced that its Flash Player would not support devices running Jelly Bean, essentially announcing the phase-out of Flash for mobile devices.
It turns out that everything Steve Jobs said about Flash was exactly right. It was just no good for mobile.
EU officially agrees that nobody reads terms of service agreements.
The European Commission is planning to stop Facebook's practice of harvesting your political opinions, sexuality, religious beliefs, location and so on and sharing that data with advertisers without explicit user permission.
The new rules will apply to other sites as well, but Facebook is currently serving as the poster-boy for abusive personal data-harvesting.
Here's what's interesting: The sign-up terms of service agreement authorize Facebook to do this, but nobody reads these things. Facebook's is 4,000 words long: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php
What the EU is saying, essentially, is that getting users to agree to a long-winded user contract does not let companies off the hook for informing users.
In other words, it's now assumed that nobody reads terms of service agreements (which is true).
What does this mean for the whole industry of software EULAs and online terms of service user agreements?
Why Progressive Insurance Is About to be Crushed by the Internet
Long story short: The sister of a blogger named Matt Fisher was tragically killed in a car accident. She had Progressive insurance "protecting her" against accident by an underinsured driver, which happened to be the case in this accident.
The family said that because the other insurance company paid only $25k, Progressive owed $75k to make up the difference, as they were contractually obligated to do. But instead of paying, they instead worked closely with opposing lawyers to help them prove the accident was her fault, so they could get out of paying.
Now famous bloggers like Seth Godin are jumping in to publicly shame Progressive.
71-year-old man shoots Internet cafe robbers. Is that good or bad?
A surveillance video was posted on YouTube this week, showing two armed crooks (one had a bat, the other a gun) holding up an Internet cafe in Marion, Florida. A few seconds into their robbery, 71-year-old Samuel Williams pulls out a legally registered and legally carried handgun, and starts popping caps into their asses.
Everyone survived. The robbers were later arrested, and Williams was not charged.
Does this event support the idea that conceal-carry permits are a good idea, and thwart crime?
Why you'll be wearing a wristwatch again by this time next year.
People don't wear wristwatches like they used to. And the reason is clear: Since everybody's got a mobile phone, and the phone tells the time, a watch is unnecessary.
But the mobile phone has always been an insatiably greedy platform -- it needs more features, more power, more convenience and, above all, more pixels.
Get used to the idea of the big platform companies selling or supporting wristwatches that serve as additional screens for and controllers of the phones in our pockets. I believe that Apple and Google will do so, and a large number of small companies -- including Pebble (which shipped it's long-awaited smart watch today).
Five strong trends are all converging to make smartphone wristwatches a near certainty. Here are those trends:
A Japanese company called INAX is working on a $4,500 Bluetooth-enabled INAX Satis model toilet you control with your smartphone.
Their MySatis Android app (and in the future, an iOS app) gives you the power to rise or lower the toilet set or turn on the bidet feature. It even has built-in speakers that play music streamed from your phone.
The toilet is expected to make a big splash when it drops in February, 2013.
Interactive Panorama of Mars Built Out of Curiosity Pictures
A Google+ user named +Andrew Bodrov skillfully stitched together a large number of pictures taken by the Curiosity rover on Mars. The result is this interactive panorama, which lets you look around the red planet, and even zoom in on details.
California is getting ready to vote this year on a proposition to require the labeling of GMO foods. The industry doesn't want you to know which foods are GMO, and they're going to spend a fortune to prevent you from knowing.
Facebook still owns your personal photos and information even after you delete your account.
The truth is that nearly all users have no idea what they're legally agreeing to when they sign up for social networks.
The UK's Telegraph has a nice, super simple summary of some aspects of each network's terms of service.
For example, Facebook's 14,000-word terms of service gives Facebook the legal right to "use your content in any way it sees fit... Facebook can transfer or sub-license its rights over a user’s content to another company or organisation if needed. Facebook’s license does not end upon the deactivation or deletion of a user’s account."
A German artist named +Tobias Leingruber has come up with this concept for a Facebook ID card.
His point is to bring attention to a possible future in which social network identity is so broadly accepted that it's more important than government issued identity documents like drivers licenses or passports.
The Chinese government celebrates the Tiananmen Massacre by censoring all mention of it.
In the days leading up to the anniversary, the Chinese government is stepping up the censorship of social media, banning words like "tank" and "never forget." They've even forced the Chinese Twitter (Sina Weibo) and other sites from allowing users to change their profile pictures, lest they upload a picture of a candle or something.
I'd love to hear from my Chinese friends: What do Chinese people really talk about when discussing Tiananmen?
US government buys 7 million pounds of 'pink slime' for America's children.
Pink slime is when they take all the cow parts left over after everything usable has been removed from a cow, grind it up, sterilize it with ammonium hydroxide (which may not work), then shape it into burgers and other food-like products.
Pink slime is so nasty and controversial even McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell have stopped using it. But a new report says the US government is buying 7 million pounds of it to feed to America's school children.
Some of my friends in the tech press have got that Google+ fever, and are running wild with it. But others don't get it. They come to Google+, look around and wonder what all the fuss is about.
Most of these friends really like Twitter, or really get Facebook. So by way of analogy, I'd like to share with them (and you) how I view Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
Here's the analogy:
Twitter is Penn Station.
If you're using social media for content discovery (and who isn't these days), you will find very little of that content on Twitter itself. Nearly all the content you get from Twitter is through links on Twitter to content posted elsewhere.
In that sense, Twitter is a hub for people coming from one place and headed to some other place.
Yes, there is some content on Twitter, just as there is "content" at Penn Station (restaurants, Madison Square Garden, etc.), but it's lightweight content designed for people in a hurry.
Like Penn Station, Twitter is useful, valuable and necessary, but mostly as a conveyer of minds from one place that isn't Twitter to another place that isn't Twitter.
Facebook is Long Island.
Unlike Twitter, Facebook is a destination or a place to "live." There's massive content there -- all the content some people really need.
Like Long Island, Facebook is a great place to live if you want to spend your time with family and friends.
And like Long Island, Facebook is an island.
It's not a walled garden anymore. There are no physical walls or barriers that prevent people from posting publicly and sharing the links to those individual posts, but hardly anyone does that. Most of the content on Facebook is either personal content for family and friends, or it's Twitter-like links to outside content. Hardly anybody blogs on Facebook, for example.
Facebook is not about Big Ideas. It's about little league games, drinks with friends, backyard barbecues and cultivating relationships with family and old friends.
If you grew up on Long Island, it doesn't matter that the Island doesn't have the best restaurants in the world, the best theater, the best night-clubs or that Long Island isn't the best place in the world to publish something. It's where your peeps are, and that's why you love it.
Google+ is New York City.
Like New York City, Google+ is a huge, beautiful, vibrant, multi-cultural engine of ideas.
New York City is an industrial city, and its main industries are about information and creative content (the stock exchange, book and magazine publishing, fashion, etc.) and in that sense Google+ is analogous.
Like New York City, Google+ is a great destination and a great place to live for people who want to meet interesting new people all the time, create and publish content and be intellectually stimulated.
It's got vibrant theater (YouTube), the very best places to mingle and interact with people (Hangouts), awesome places for curation (Picasa, YouTube and regular posts) and more.
Just as New York City has Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal, Google+ has everything that Twitter has. And just as New York exists on the physical Long Island with Brooklyn and Queens, Google+ does the same stuff Facebook does.
If you've lived on Long Island as I did for ten years, you know a lot more people on Long Island than you do in New York City, but that doesn't make it a better place to live, necessarily.
The difference between visiting and living in New York.
Here's the thing: If you're an occasional visitor, a tourist in New York City, spend most of your time in Midtown, take the open-top bus tour, go to the top of the Empire State Building, eat at Original Ray's Pizza and see The Lion King on Broadway, you will not experience New York City and you will have no idea what the place is all about. You won't understand why and how people live there and what they love about it.
You won't understand New York City unless you move there, cultivate a community and actually live and work there.
Like Penn Station, you can understand what Twitter is all about in an hour. Like Long Island, you can understand what Facebook is (if your family and friends live there) in a three-day weekend -- it's about family and friends.
But like New York City, you can't understand Google+ with a casual, occasional and superficial visit.
And if you're a content creator -- writer, photographer, blogger, film-maker, restauranteur, etc. -- hoping to benefit from New York City or Google+ -- you will get no benefit if you visit as a tourist.
But as a resident, the rewards are astronomical in the way of contacts, stimulation, inspiration and opportunities to publish and publicize your work.
In order to "get" Google+, you've got to actually leave Long Island and move to the Big City. (And once you arrive, you've got to leave Penn Station...)
I don't know if these analogies make sense to anyone else, but this is how I view the differences between Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
A new paper by Stanford University researcher Gerald Crabtree finds that now that humans no longer have the selective pressures of a hunter-gatherer existence, we no longer need intelligence to survive and, as a result, we're getting dumber.
Separate from that study, I also wonder whether a similar process is happening culturally. Are dumber people about to "survive" culturally, and remain famous and influential no matter how unintelligent they are?
One version of the so-called "American dream" is to work hard, save your money and buy your own home. This 14-year-old girl named Willow Tufano has already realized that dream.
Long story short: She lived in an area with a lot of foreclosed homes. She convinced investors who were buying those homes to let her sell on Craigslist the stuff people left behind. She earned enough money to buy a 2-bedroom home on auction for $12,000. She went halvies with her mom, but intends to buy mom out in a few years.
The family cleaned up the home, which had been trashed by the previous owners, and rents it for $700 a month.
Now Willow is saving her money to buy a second home.
An immigrant from India, inspired by the movie Lincoln, did some research and discovered that the state of Mississippi never officially ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which bans slavery.
Ranjan Batra, who is an associate professor of neurobiology and anatomical sciences at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, went home after seeing the movie and went to the site USConstitution.net. There, he discovered a footnote on ratification of the amendment that said: "Mississippi ratified the amendment in 1995, but because the state never officially notified the US Archivist, the ratification is not official."
It turns out that Mississippi refused to ratify the amendment in the 1860s, then forgot all about it until 1995. When lawmakers in the 1990s realized that the state still hadn't ratified it, they voted to do so. But for reasons unknown, the state never filed their ratification with the federal government, which is the final step in the process.
Now, thanks to Batra, the state of Mississippi has notified the US Archivist, thereby officially banning slavery.
Every once in a while, a tech writer who doesn't use Google+ confuses their own lack of use with non-activity on G+ generally, then embarrasses themselves by suggesting that Google+ is a "ghost town" or something like that.
Today, some Gizmodo blogger named +Leslie Horn, who hasn't posted on G+ since July of 2011 -- before it even launched publicly and who has completely missed the boat -- joked today on Gizmodo that maybe the site's outage today was due to "neglect."
She wrote: "If a social network falls on the internet and nobody's on it, has it actually fallen at all?"
You hear that? She says nobody is on Google+. Are YOU nobody? Let's all go to the Gizmodo site by clicking the link below and leave a comment for Leslie. Let her know how crazy active Google+ is!!
If you scratch the surface of many recurring online debates and differences of opinion -- the PC vs. Mac, Android vs. iPhone and Google+ vs. Facebook conflicts, as well as arguments over issues like privacy -- you'll find that it's often really a culture-war argument between geeks and noobs.
US meat supply massively contaminated with superbugs.
Consumer Reports says 90% of US supermarket ground turkey is contaminated with superbugs -- antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Earlier this month, a government monitoring group found more than half of samples of ground turkey, pork chops and ground beef bought in US supermarkets contained antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
The contamination of the food supply with superbugs is caused by the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock to make them bigger and also enable them to survive in cramped, unhealthy conditions without dying of the diseases that spread in such an environment.
Bottom line: Antibiotics makes meat cheaper. But is it worth the lower price?
Prediction: Apple will NOT be announcing this today.
The future of the PC desktop is the desktop, according to this purely fictional concept by Adam Benton.
The idea is that your desktop itself would be a Microsoft Surface-like multi-touch display that responds to objects placed upon it. Sync your phone by just setting it down on the desk. Touch any area of the desk and it becomes a trackpad.
I wonder if the threat of mass starvation might get people to consider organic agriculture.
Bees are being wiped out by a long list of issues. One major issue is pesticides and fungicides, which not only kill bees, but weaken their immune systems and make them vulnerable to various diseases another issue.
Food companies and consumers use these chemicals because they make food cheaper. But now they're on the brink of making food VERY expensive due to shortages.
What will it take for us to reject industrial agriculture? Will the threat of starvation and massively high food prices do it?
How wearable computing will change everything (even for those not wearing computing!)
Listen, you tech-savvy, trend-resisting cynic you. I want you to stop dismissing wearable computing as a pointless, narcissistic fad.
Wearable computing is not for people too lazy to look at their phones. It’s not a trendy toy for wealthy yuppies. And it’s not about joining +Robert Scoble in the shower.
What you need to know is this: Wearable computing is the next evolution of consumer electronics. And it changes everything for everyone and not just the people actually wearing the computing. (It will even change Apple!)
This American Life interviewed immigrants on what surprised them when they came to the United States.
Here's what surprised them:
* Insanely well stocked supermarkets with an impossible variety of foods * Flag obsession * Religiosity * No haggling over prices * Fake food everywhere, and in huge portions * Amazing culture of convenience * Poverty * People who obey traffic laws * Young people don't get a new boyfriend/girlfriend every week like on TV * Americans don't hate their own families like they do on TV
Here's my column about why Google+ Communities represents the most highly evolved public communications medium ever devised.
Before, Google+ was a great place for a certain kind of person, but it wasn't for everyone. The feature transforms Google's social network a supremely relevant and friendly place for everyone and anyone to talk about the things they care about. It's a whole new G+ now.
The new Google+ Communities feature is better than you think. Here's why:
Drunk Tourist Falls Asleep On Baggage Belt; Discovered In X-Ray Machine
A drunk Norwegian tourist crawled onto a baggage conveyer belt at Rome's Fiumicino airport and fell asleep next to his luggage. He traveled on the conveyer for about 15 minutes, sound asleep, before being spotted on the security X-ray scanner.
How the junk food industry won the war against children.
Wow! Reuters has published a scathing account on how the junk food industry bought the US government and defeated just about every initiative proposed to save children from the life-wrecking effects of their disease-causing products.
This is a must-read column for anyone curious about how our corrupt government fails America's children.
Is Apple really the most valuable company in history? Did the Indian government build millions of $35 tablets and distribute them to students? Did the Saudi Arabian government create a city for women only?
No! These are lies told by the media. And in all cases, the truth was revealed by bloggers.
I'm really happy to be talking about this -- finally!
My son, +Kevin Elgan, has been working at a really cool Silicon Valley startup for about a year. They've been in "stealth mode," so he's banned me from blogging about it.
Well, their official public launch is today at 7am Pacific (as in right now), so finally I get to tell you about it!
The company is +Tynker ( http://www.Tynker.com ), and their mission is awesome. They want to make software programming a standard part of the curriculum for children in elementary and middle schools.
Tynker's software enables kids to build games and animated stories using something like electronic LEGO -- building blocks of environments, objects and actions that kids have fun playing and creating with. It all happens in the cloud. Once kids build projects, they can share them with friends to be played on Android phones, iPhones, laptops, Chromebooks -- whatever.
But while the kids are playing, they're actually learning programming skills, critical thinking and gaining a foundation for science and engineering education.
Tynker has been running pilot programs at over 20 schools, and apparently the kids are building some amazing things.
Teachers are apparently loving Tynker because it's a comprehensive, turn-key package of software, instruction and everything they need to teach these critical skills. Plus, it's easy for them to teach because the kids love using it.
The company was founded by the same geniuses who created Plusmo a few years back (which they sold to AT&T).
Anyway, you're going to be hearing a LOT about Tynker, but wanted you to hear it first from me. : )
Do you eat at your desk? (Oh, shut up -- you know you do!) If so, maybe you need Dutch designer Hella Jongerius' keyboard concept, which has a plate right in the middle where your face is as you hunch over your keyboard and eat junk food.
It looks like that was accurate, but an understatement. A new report from IDC says Apple shipped about 22.9 million iPads of both Mini and Maxi varieties. Various reports say that the Mini outsold the Maxi.
Meanwhile, Microsoft sold fewer than 1 million Surface tablets, according to IDC.
How and why Monsanto has "devastated" agriculture.
Monsanto got approval to sell its soybeans genetically engineered for its Roundup herbicide by telling the USDA that glyphosate (the main poison in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide) is a low risk for weed resistance.
Since then, some 20 weed species have evolved resistance to glyphosate and Roundup, becoming "Super Weeds" that are very hard to kill.
Monsanto's genetically modified corn, which manufactures its own poison, has had the same effect on the bugs it's designed to kill -- forced them to evolve resistance to the poison. Plus, it's probably toxic to humans.
Monsanto's GMO soy and corn is added to the vast majority of processed foods in the supermarket and at fast food restaurants. There's almost know way for consumers to avoid these crops, as Monsanto's shills in Congress refused to require the labeling of GMO food.