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Starting November 11th, your reviews of restaurants, hotels, shops, songs, and products — and your image — could show up in ads when searched on Google. It’s called Google’s Shared Endorsements. The image in this post is an example.
If you are uncomfortable with this exposure, there’s an easy way to opt out of Google’s Shared Endorsements:
Log into your Google account (for most people, your Gmail account). Then come back to this post and click on http://plus.google.com/settings/endorsements. In the page that comes up, scroll to the bottom and UNCHECK the box next to the phrase: “Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.” Then press the SAVE button. That’s it!
For more information regarding Google’s Shared Endorsements in ads, click here for some more information from ABC News / The Associated Press.
Download and read the excellent perspective on the Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a., “Obamacare” — entitled “Health Reform: Seven Things You Need To Know” — by clicking on this link.
(BBC) Scientists took cells from a cow and, at an institute in the Netherlands, turned them into strips of muscle which they combined to make a patty. Researchers say the technology could be a sustainable way of meeting what they say is a growing demand for meat. An independent study found that lab grown beef uses 45% less energy than the average global representative figure for farming cattle. It also produces 96% fewer greenhouse gas emissions and requires 99% less land. For the complete article, click here. Image courtesy of the BBC
Over the last week, I have been testing the very latest PHILIPS 60-Watt-Equivalent LED bulb. It’s fantastic. It looks great. The light is excellent. It uses just 11 watts. And it delivers 830 lumens — 30 more lumens than my previously reviewed PHILIPS LED bulb and EcoSmart LED bulb. And, unlike the prior PHILIPS bulb, this one is dimmable! The light is a very pleasing white, 2700 Kelvin (“K”). Life expectancy, based on three hours per day, is an amazing 22.8 years. According to recent reports, the bulb is 17% more efficient than its previous generation and uses 12% less power. The icing on the cake: Home Depot recently dropped the price ten bucks — from $24.95 to $14.95. At this new price point, this is a superb bulb. In fact, it may have just become my favorite LED bulb in the 60-watt-equivalent LED category.
As part of my ongoing LED light bulb reviews, the following is my real-world testing of the EcoSmart 13-watt (60-watt-equivalent) LED bulb. In case you haven’t noticed, traditional 100w & 75w incandescent bulbs have been phased out (all manufacturing in the U.S. has ceased). Why? Because although America has just 5% of the world’s population, we use 26% of the world’s energy. And lighting is a major culprit. I have been testing all sorts of replacement bulbs — so you don’t have to. Skip the compact fluorescents and head straight to the new generation of LEDs. They’re “instant on,” dimmable (most of them), and light a room just as good — or even better — than traditional bulbs. The best bulb I’ve found so far is the “EcoSmart” 60-watt-equivalent “bright white” LED. Although packaged as a 60-watt replacement, it has nearly the same number of “lumens” (amount of visible light) as a 75-watt incandescent. It will last 25x longer than an incandescent bulb — up to 23 years! And only uses 13 watts of power. The color of the light is pleasing, too — a very natural, bright white. Bottom line: It will save you up to $161 vs. a regular 75-watt bulb. And it will keep working for a quarter century. It’s $9.95 at Home Depot — a great deal. I’ve included a photo so you can spot it quickly in the aisle. Suggestion: Buy one and try it. I bet you’ll like it! Let me know…
(Bloomberg) Samsung Electronics Co. fired the first of three smartphone salvos this year aimed at hurting Apple Inc in its home market, releasing a bigger and faster Galaxy S4 that reviewers said may only glance its target. The device announced yesterday at New York’s Radio City Music Hall is lighter than predecessor S3 and has software to track movement of the eyes and waves of the hands. The Galaxy S4 will be able to take photos in two directions, monitor sleeping habits and translate commands into different languages as the South Korean company tries to lure customers in a slowing global smartphone market. The handset, with a 5-inch screen and 13-megapixel camera, goes on sale in the U.S. on April 26 with carriers including AT&T Inc (T)., Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc. The Galaxy S4 is among three high-end smartphones Samsung is releasing this year after being overtaken in the U.S. by the iPhone 5 in the fourth quarter. For the complete article, click here. Image courtesy of Bloomberg
(CNN) “MakerBot [has] unveiled a desktop device that can scan small three-dimensional objects. Called a MakerBot Digitizer, it’s meant to complement the company’s Replicator printer by letting customers scan objects, then feed the resulting digital files to the Replicator to be printed. The Digitizer uses two lasers and a webcam to scan objects up to about 8 inches in diameter…. The process takes less than three minutes. Once the digital scan is completed, an object can be printed right away. It’s easier and faster than using software to design a digital printing model from scratch.” For the complete report, visit this link. Image courtesy MakerBot
Results: Over the 4-year study period, there were 121,084 firearm fatalities. The average state-based firearm fatality rates varied from a high of 17.9 (Louisiana) to a low of 2.9 (Hawaii) per 100,000 individuals per year. Annual firearm legislative strength scores ranged from 0 (Utah) to 24 (Massachusetts) of 28 possible points. States in the highest quartile of legislative strength (scores of >9) had a lower overall firearm fatality rate than those in the lowest quartile (scores of <2) (absolute rate difference, 6.64 deaths/100,000/y; age-adjusted incident rate ratio [IRR], 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37-0.92). Compared with the quartile of states with the fewest laws, the quartile with the most laws had a lower firearm suicide rate (absolute rate difference, 6.25 deaths/100,000/y; IRR, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.48-0.83) and a lower firearm homicide rate (absolute rate difference, 0.40 deaths/100,000/y; IRR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.38-0.95).
Conclusions and Relevance: A higher number of firearm laws in a state are associated with a lower rate of firearm fatalities in the state, overall and for suicides and homicides individually. As our study could not determine cause-and-effect relationships, further studies are necessary to define the nature of this association.
Eric W. Fleegler, MD, MPH; Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH; Michael C. Monuteaux, ScD; David Hemenway, PhD; Rebekah Mannix, MD, MPH
JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():1-9. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1286.
Published online March 6, 2013
“Entrepreneurship is how America became great,” Case said. “The good news is that we’re still the most entrepreneurial nation in the world. The bad news is that all the other countries are trying to catch us.”
Case was speaking in Detroit at Techonomy on Entrepreneurship and American Relevance.There are two types of founders, Case said: those who create an interesting product or service but have modest ambitions…and those who are trying to change the world, who are swinging for the fences.
Those who are swinging for the fences are continuing the grand American tradition of entrepreneurship, he suggested, continuing the legacy of legendary Detroit founders and leaders such as Henry Ford.
Case sees what’s happening now as the next revolution in technology. After the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the initial stages of the digital revolution, we’re now seeing perhaps the most important part of the digital revolution: the impact of digital technology on all aspects of the economy.
Even heroes, of course, need loyal sidekicks. That’s why Case accepted the role of chairman of the Startup America Partnership, which is focused on building up all the regions of the U.S.
Not just social media companies — not just Facebooks and Instagrams — but also companies that use technology intelligently in transportation, in manufacturing, in all aspects of the economy.
“In some ways, every company is now a technology company,” Case said. The most important thing for entrepreneurial heroes, according to Case?“They really have to have passion.”
Image credits: Blastr, John Koetsier
Checking one’s voice mail seems to be considered an even a bigger chore than leaving a voice message. Retrieved voice mail fell 14% among Vonage users in the same period.
“They hate the whole voice-mail introduction, prompts, having to listen to them in chronological order,” says Michael Tempora, senior vice president of product management at Vonage. One response by the company to the trend is a new voice-mail transcription service that converts voice messages for delivery as e-mail or text.
The service also e-mails a direct link to the voice-mail audio file, letting users bypass several steps to listen to it. “Voice transcription isn’t perfect,” Tempora says. “But they understand who called and what the message is about.”
The transcription tools make skimming through messages easier for on-the-go users such as Dmitri Leonov, an executive at SaneBox, a maker of e-mail inbox management software. “E-mail (etiquette) says to respect your friends’ time,” says Leonov, who rarely listens to messages. “And I should stop leaving voice mail, as well. Practice what you preach.”
The non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation has prepared a superb summary of the Affordable Care Act. No hype. No political spin. No mis-information.
Read about: The individual mandate. Employer requirements. Prevention and wellness programs. How public programs are expanded. Premiums. Cost-sharing subsidies. Related tax changes. Health insurance exchanges. Impacts on private insurance. State role. Cost containment. Improving quality and health care system performance. Nutritional information required to be disclosed by restaurant chains. Long-term care. Coverage and financing.
Here’s the link to the KFF summary of health care reform as provided by the Affordable Care Act: http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf
F.Y.I., regarding “coverage and financing,” the KFF summary reports:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the new health reform law will provide coverage to an additional 32 million when fully implemented in 2019 through a combination of the newly created Exchanges and the Medicaid expansion.
CBO estimates the cost of the coverage components of the new law to be $938 billion over ten years. These costs are financed through a combination of savings from Medicare and Medicaid and new taxes and fees, including an excise tax on high-cost insurance, which CBO estimates will raise $32 billion over ten years. CBO also estimates that the health reform law will reduce the deficit by $124 billion over ten years.
How would you like to raise up to $2 million for your startup business? And do it by letting investors “point-n-click” the cash your way via the Web? It may soon be nearly that simple, thanks to the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act” (more commonly known as the “Crowdfunding Act”) that passed the House in an overwhelming (and bi-partisan!) 407 to 17 vote. President Obama is another driving force behind the legislation, which is designed to dramatically streamline fund-raising for entrepreneurs.
After the bill passes the Senate (and all indications are that it will), and President Obama signs the legislation into law, entrepreneurs will be able to turn on a grassroots method to raise capital — equity sales online — with greatly reduced SEC restrictions. The freer flow of money would be rocket fuel for startups, which are an essential engine for a robust economy and job creation.
“Crowdfunding” — a way for masses of people (“the crowd”) to feed ventures with capital via the Web — has blossomed in recent years thanks to sites like Kickstarter.com. But SEC “red tape” (primarily the Securities Act of 1933) has prohibited these sites from directly offering investment shares in the enterprises. The new Crowdfunding Act will remove this barrier. No longer will equity sales be restricted to accredited investors. And the power of public-supported funding will be unleashed.
Entrepreneurial endeavors will be able to sell up to $2 million in ownership shares to an unlimited number of investors. And individuals will be able to invest up to $10,000 or up to 10% of his or her annual income, whichever is less.
If a company seeks the maximum $2 million in funding, it must supply “the crowd” with audited financial statements. A company can choose to bypass the audited-financial-statement requirement — but then the maximum capital it can raise is $1 million. (That’s nothing to sneeze at!)
When the President signs the legislation into law, it will be a great day for all entrepreneurs. Just as important for America, the ensuing new businesses will provide a shot of adrenaline for the economy and help rev up the job-creation engine. Everyone will win.
Chime.in, a just-launched social-media site, claims it will pay all content posters 50% of the advertising revenue generated on their profile pages. This in stark contrast to Facebook, which has built a $65 billion empire by leveraging members’ content to attract advertisers and amass revenue.
To provide a first-hand report, I created Chime.in account (very simple to do), and explored the site. Although the site is still in beta, I must say the user interface is well thought out. Since the site has just turned on, you probably have a good shot to get your personal name as your user name. Hey, it’s free. Go for it. www.Chime.in
The following is a snippet of a Huffington Post article about Chime.In:
“While Facebook has earned billions of dollars selling ads next to the content uploaded by their 800 million members, users haven’t seen a dime from their posts.
Share with Chime.in and Chime.in will share with you. The site, which allows individuals to post photos, links, videos and text in two thousand character ‘chimes,’ will give users 50 percent of the revenue it earns from selling advertising on their profile pages.
‘This is a firing shot in social media,’ [Bill Gross, the founder] told The Huffington Post. ‘Finally, the interests of the content creators are aligned with the interests of the publisher because they get something for their hard work.”
For the complete article, visit http://huff.to/ogyFGi
Image courtesy The Huffington Post and Getty Images.
I came across this inspiring two-minute video on YouTube about entrepreneurs. They formed the fabric of our country — and could (and should) be our engine to the future. Start your day off with this video. It will lift your spirits. Then take that rush of adrenaline and dose free spirit — and go for it. Change the world.
The America Invents Act is the most significant overhaul of U.S. patent law since 1952. Through this Act, American inventors can hope to see a breakthrough in the logjam of patent applications that hold up applications for years at a time. (At last count, there are over 700,000 backlogged patent applications — slowing countless product and business innovaions from seeing the light of day.)
The bill also gets the U.S. on the same patent footing as the rest of the world, by changing our system from a “first-to-invent” standard to a “first-to-file” standard. This one change, alone, is designed to eliminate the myriad of court cases that try to resolve which inventor came up with an idea first.
Additional information can be read at the following AP report: http://bit.ly/pWOQR0
Photo courtesy of the AP.
Over the last couple of months I’ve seen a flurry of doom ‘n’ gloom scenarios based on the nearing peak (in mid 2013) of the 11-year solar cycle. For instance, a little over a week ago I read in the International Business Times, “Severe Solar Storm to Create Global Chaos and Complete Darkness” followed a week later by “Severe Solar Storms Could Disrupt Earth This Decade.”
I’m not picking on the IB Times. I’ve seen similar reports in Popular Science, such as the June 30th article entitled, “Are We Prepared for a Catastrophic Solar Storm?”
So are we all toast?
Here’s the reality:
It’s true that with the near total dependence on computers for every aspect of our lives, we’ve never been more vulnerable to solar activity. I described in a previous article a recent near-miss of a CME (corona mass ejection) — essentially a ball of plasma ejected by the sun. If a large CME hits our planet, power could certainly go down for an extended period of time.
One of the biggest concerns of scientists is the “Fukushima Effect” in which the backup generators and battery systems at nuclear power plants run out power. Such a circumstance could cascade to the point where water-cooling systems would become inoperable — and result in Fukushima-like catastrophes around the world. The actual chances? Hard to predict precisely. But, by legitimate estimates, pretty low.
More likely to occur: Gas pumps at your local service station would stop working. (They’re essentially computerized pumps; the credit-card processing network would also likely go down.) “Telecommuting” would not be possible, as phone and Internet would be flicked off like a switch. Cell phone service would also go down as soon as the backup generators and / or batteries at the cell towers run out of juice. (You won’t be able to charge your cell phones, anyway.)
If the power grid goes down, once your food runs out (or spoils) in your fridge, don’t count on restocking at the supermarket. The 18 wheelers that are the mainstay of food delivery across the country would also quickly run out of fuel — and, as mentioned above, the services stations would be unable to refill the rigs.
The probability of a sweeping, worldwide catastrophe as outline above is low. But CMEs can, and have, made direct Earth strikes over the centuries — and caused significant disruptions. Do a Google search for the “Carrington Event.” In 1859, during the peak of another solar cycle, a CME knocked out telegraph offices around the globe (and even shocked some of the telegraph operators). Most scientists agree that — because of entrenched computerization and satellite-based communications — the same magnitude CME today would disrupt society on a widespread basis.
I’m hoping the media doesn’t escalate the risks to an astronomical level. The last thing we need is a massive wave of hysteria. But, hey, it can’t hurt to keep an extra candle or two around the house. And, perhaps, a couple of cans of Spam…
For a reasonably well-proportioned (non-hyped) news report — with an exceptional piece of video from NASA of a CME — check out the following two-minute CNN video: http://bit.ly/h7GEmn
For reference, the NASA image associated with this article shows the approximate size of the Earth as compared to a solar eruption. (In reality, the Earth is 93 million miles away from the sun — so a flare would never envelop the Earth as in the NASA comparison.)
In 2007 President Bush signed into law an energy bill that requires light bulbs to be 30 percent more efficient by 2012. Sounds like a good idea, right? Today’s old-fashioned “Edison” bulbs turn only 10% of electricity into light — with the other 90% turned into heat. But now some “brilliant” lawmakers want to overturn the 2007 law, and they’ve introduced legislation to do so.
Their rationale? People should have the right to choose how they want to light their homes and businesses, regardless of bulb type or efficiency. Now, I’m all for a free society and minimal government impact on our lives. But the reality is that America has five percent of the world’s population, but consumes a whopping 25% of the world’s energy. Expressed another way: On average, each one of us consumes five times more energy than an individual in any other country on the planet. And lighting is one of the heftiest contributors.
Edison bulbs have been around since 1879. As we all learned in school, Thomas Edison found a way to create light by sending a current through a metal filament, causing it to glow. But this ancient technology, as mentioned above, is a terribly inefficient light source; for most homes, it’s the second-largest energy expense.
Today’s energy-efficient light-bulb alternatives come in all shapes, sizes, and types.
The now-popular “curly” fluorescent light bulbs (a.k.a., compact fluorescent lights, CFLs) are much more energy efficient (20% or more). But some people don’t like the slight turn-on delay. And, contrary to recent media reports, they don’t contain life-threatening levels of mercury. Yes, they contain some mercury — but only about one hundredth (1/100) of the mercury as the medical thermometers we grew up with.
My personal preference is the LED light bulb, based on the same LED technology used in everything from flashlights to TV displays. They are considerably more expensive — $20 to $40 per bulb. But, because they are up to 80% efficient (vs. an Edison bulb’s 10% or a CFL’s 20%), they pay back quickly in energy savings — and can save hundreds of dollars per year in operating costs. And forget about replacing them. Under typical usage, a single LED bulb can last up to 25 years.
Watch for the costs of LED bulbs to plummet over the next year or two, as demand and production increase.
Companies are springing up, all across America, to manufacture both CFLs and LEDs. These companies are creating jobs and fostering innovation. Now if only the light bulb would go on in the heads of our politicians.
Beginning on January 12, 2012, the door will open to essentially unlimited variations of domain names. The current suite of 22 gTLDs (generic top-level domains, such as .com, .org, .net, .edu) will blossom to almost anything you can imagine.
According to the ICANN press release:
“ICANN has opened the Internet’s naming system to unleash the global human imagination. Today’s decision respects the rights of groups to create new Top Level Domains in any language or script. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind,” said Rod Beckstrom, President and Chief Executive Officer of ICANN.
New gTLDs will change the way people find information on the Internet and how businesses plan and structure their online presence. Virtually every organization with an online presence could be affected in some way.
Internet address names will be able to end with almost any word in any language, offering organizations around the world the opportunity to market their brand, products, community or cause in new and innovative ways.
“Today’s decision will usher in a new Internet age,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of ICANN’s Board of Directors. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”
For the full press release, please visit http://www.icann.org/en/news/releases/release-20jun11-en.pdf
Image courtesy of CBS News and iStockPhoto.
(eMarketer) A digital revolution in couponing coupled with the belt-tightening of the recession have combined to make coupons cool among more than just those clipping the Sunday circular. Digital coupon usage is now firmly a part of the online shopping experience of millions of U.S. consumers.
eMarketer estimates that by the end of 2011, nearly half of U.S. adult Internet users, or 88.2 million people, will have redeemed an online coupon or code for use either online or offline in the past year. By 2013, 96.8 million adults will redeem an online coupon.
For the full report, visit http://bit.ly/lZfDE1
A super-easy way to find the lowest price of gas in town is with the handy Web site www.GasBuddy.com. Just type in your ZIP code and — presto — the lowest prices at the nearest gas stations will pop up on your screen. There’s also a handy app for your iPhone, Android, or Windows mobile phone. Click & save — now!
(Andrei Hagiu, Harvard Business Review) “Much is being written about the impact that new communication technologies and channels (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) have on traditional marketing. The deeper question is: Will these new communication channels actually force material changes not just in the way companies market their products but in the strategies and operations they use to develop and build those products as well? In my view, the answer is an emphatic yes. It’s another instance of the proverbial medium that changes the content.” To read Andrei’s intriguing article, follow this link: http://bit.ly/esfnu6
Check out the insightful Op-Ed piece from Nobel economics laureate, Joseph Stiglitz, as he outlines his plan for substantial economic growth and reducing the deficit.
“Deficit reduction is important. But it is a means to an end — not an end in itself.” He adds, “Years of underinvestment in the public sector — in infrastructure, education and technology — mean that there are ample high-return opportunities.”
You can view the full article at http://politi.co/fZA3hG
You’re essentially looking over my shoulder as I write, think, create, invent, and — in general — ponder the world around us. Feel free to peruse my writings and chime in as you’re so inspired. I encourage spirited debate.
This is a specially crafted multi-pronged conduit. Everything I type feeds parallel simultaneous streams to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my e-mail broadcast system. It’s a global tightrope without a net. Oh, my.
No topic is off limits. If you’re looking for a site that is “politically correct,” you’ve come to the wrong place. Hit the back button on your browser now.
Lots and lots of new features are coming online. They’re all in various stages of development. You’ll soon see innovative things I’m working on — such as a live, streaming, two-way “TV channel” of sorts where you’ll be able to interact with me (audio, video, text) in real time as I type here in front of my computer.
This is my platform to push the boundaries of technology in every dimension.
Hang on tight. We may achieve orbit. Or we may sail off a cliff. But the ride will be exhilarating.