App Camp for Girls seeks to address the gender imbalance in technology professions by inspiring girls who are middle-school age with a broad introduction to the process of app development, from brainstorming to pitching their apps. You can support them by contributing to their Indiegogo campaign.
App Camp for girls is a one week, full time day camp program for middle school girls. Campers get the full experience of being an app developer, from brainstorming and designing coding and marketing. They use Xcode and MacBook Pros, the same tools that professional app developers use.
In 2013, App Camp for Girls launched their first camp in Portland, Oregon. In 2014, they were able to establish a second camp in Seattle, Washington. In 2015, they will launch the first Canadian camp in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The App Camp for Girls 3.0 indiegogo campaign is being done for the purpose of making it possible for them to expand throughout the United States. They have selected four new locations for 2016. Their equipment is shared between locations, so they will need two more sets of MacBook Pros and iPod touches to meet the needs of the additional locations. They also need to recruit and train organizers and volunteers, rend a location, order supplies, food, and other necessities.
At the time I am writing this blog, the App Camp for Girls 3.0 indiegogo campaign has 16 days left. It has obtained 41% of the funding it needs. They are a non-profit organization that can help girls to get involved in technology.
There’s no doubt that 2015 is going to be a huge year for advancements in car technology, and Ford is leading the race with the all new 2015 Ford Edge. The Edge is packed with innovations in performance, safety, utility, and entertainment.
The 2015 Edge is outfitted with several new features to help you keep track of your vehicle’s position and prevent collisions, both while in motion and while parking. Ford’s lane-keeping technology senses the vehicle’s position in traffic and alerts the driver to steer back into the correct lane if it has drifted. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®), which warns you when another vehicle enters your blind spot, and a 180-degree front camera has been added in addition to the standard rear camera to give drivers additional coverage. Ford has also made parking easier with a cross-traffic radar alert system to warn drivers of oncoming traffic when backing out of a parking spot, as well as an enhanced active park assist system that helps to guide your vehicle into and out of parallel parking spaces.
The 2015 Edge introduces several new and improved safety features, including glove box knee airbags to cushion the knees of the front passenger in the event of a collision; inflatable rear safety belts to reduce head, neck, and chest injuries; and AdvanceTrac® and curve control sensors that measure the roll rate of the vehicle and adjusts engine torque and brake pressure of all four wheels to give the driver better control of the vehicle. The 2015 Edge also has heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel to make the driving experience more comfortable for everyone.
One of the most noteworthy features of Ford’s recent vehicle lineup is Ford Sync. The 2015 Edge is equipped with Ford Sync with MyFord Touch lets you effortlessly connect your smartphone to your vehicle via Wi-fi to give you in-car, voice-activated access to your music, apps, navigation, and more, right from your car dashboard. Ford Sync is now available for even more trim levels, making these exciting new innovations even more accessible.
Powered by Ford’s new 2.7-liter V6 EcoBoost engine, the 2015 Ford Edge Sport is even more powerful than the previous 3.7-liter V6 model, with a 25 percent increase in torque, giving the Edge Sport an incredible total of 315 horsepower for ultimate speed and performance power.
The 2015 Edge Sport boasts an improved suspension with high-strength boron steel antiroll bars that are 26 percent stiffer against bending forces and 14 percent stiffer against twisting forces. Comfort and performance is further enhanced with the new electric power-assisted steering system, which improves both steering and parking by 30 percent. This makes for a smoother, quieter ride for both everyday commuting and open-road adventures.
The 2015 Ford Edge and the 2015 Ford Edge Sport will be available starting this spring. The 2015 Edge starts at $28,100, and the 2015 Edge Sport starts at $38,100.
I remember getting my first DVD player and the movie “The Waterboy”. I also remember streaming my first movie in “Hulk”. Years since, people have debated about losing the tangible disc and moving to streaming. Eventually we knew the DVD would become a thing of the past. As technology improved and new devices came out this year, we may have seen the last viable use for the DVD. Here is why:
Blockbuster Goes Bye-Bye, Streaming Video Grows
Blockbuster video rentals closed up in November. This was after a long run and competing with Netflix, followed by Red Box machines. When DISH network bought out Blockbuster, they gave it a home. Its apparent that DISH didn’t want to get into the physical video rental business. So the doors closed.
Netflix tried to close their DVD rental doors a couple years ago with the whole Qwikster debacle — a move that almost killed the company. Somehow they came back stronger than ever, pushing more streaming TV shows and introducing quality shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Add to that promotions — such as the launch of Chromecast: Netflix gave 3-month subscriptions to the first buyers.
I have to admit, I still have my Netflix subscription…
Since Netflix switch to TV show-based content over movies, newer movies take a lot longer to show up on the service. That is where Amazon is leading the pack. You can rent or own the home digital rights of a movie or TV show instead of going down to the store and picking up the box.
Google Chromecast did two things. They brought the streaming app device down to an affordable price (not that it wasn’t already with the Apple TV and Roku). Chromecast also extended the life of older LCD TVs.
Instead of spending hundreds of dollars on TV’s with apps inside, they could get a cheaper TV and a set top box to run their content. Sure, the TV is not 1080p 120 Hz, but how many homes care about that type of quality? Especially if the TV is in the bedroom or even since our generation spent years staring at a Cathode Ray Tubes with full satisfaction.
Ultimately, they just want to get Chromecast and Netflix, then possibly cut their cable.
Netflix and YouTube in 4K (2160p)
Time to move to bigger and better video quality. 4,000 pixels – or 2160p. At CES, we will definitely be bombarded with 4K television technology — and we will LOVE it.
Even though some home theater experts have adopted 4K, home Internet speeds don’t really take into account 4K streaming just yet. A 4K video will take 6-12 Mbps connection. DSL won’t be able to handle that, especially if you surf and watch at the same time.
Even the computer is losing the DVD drive. Current Mac models don’t come with any type of optical drive. Tablets and smartphones also are disc-free. As desktops lose ground to tablets, the DVD will join the floppy disk, Zip drive and tape backup.
The Pawn Shop Effect
The best way to watch the DVD market is to watch the resale of the DVD. Major chain Pawn America runs a special on Tuesdays for DVDs. In May, they started special events where DVD movies only cost $1.
While newer titles might fetch your more, if you pawn a DVD title, they will most likely buy it at .10 cents so they can make .90 cents.
With all these factors (along with others such as DVR technology and flash drives), 2014 looks to be the year we finally lay the DVD optical disc format to rest. Blu-Ray discs still have value, but the DVD player will definitely be placed with the old TV and VCR down in the basement or garage.
You know the 2-flip USB rule. The USB plug won’t work, so you flip it. It still doesn’t work so you flip it again. Then it plugs right in.
Well that is all going to change.
The USB Implementers Forum announced they are working on a new plug that will work however you plug it in. Other features will include a smaller size plug and the connector design will scale for future USB bus performance. You can read it all on USB Implementers Forum document.
Smaller Type-C connectors will be an advantage to newer and smaller tablets, phones and notebooks. Alex Peleg, Vice President of platform Engineering at Intel stated his excitement over the device. He believes this will become a great all-in-one plug and the “only connector one will need across all devices.”
Current USB 3.0 standards can transfer at speeds of 5 Gbit/s. As compared to Thunderbolt 1, which can do 10 Gbit/s per channel (20 Gbit/s total).
This new connector could show up as early as mid-2014 when the USB 3.1 specification is expected to be completed.
Apple was pretty secretive on their Black friday sale. Target seemed to be the best option for an iPad this week and people stood in line for their black friday deal as early as 8 PM Thursday night. So did you get a new iPad Air or iPad mini?
After scouring the ads, I chose to stand in line at Target last night. They offered a $100 gift card with purchase of an iPad Air or $75 for an iPad mini. I got there at 7:50 expecting about 25-30% of the crowd was heading toward the iPad line.
Walmart offered $100 gift cards for iPad mini. Best Buy also had a gift card deal. Apple store only had a $75 card, didn’t advertise their deals and also didn’t give any deal for a Retina mini. So hopefully the 20% waiting in front of me for iPads won’t deplete the inventory too bad.
Once the doors opened, the line moved quicker than a one horse open sleigh. Of course, that was the first line. The second line was the true wait – people anxious for their iPads for the holidays.
What was interesting was the people I talked to in line already had iPads. This was either an upgrade or they wanted to get a second tablet for their families. One person was waiting for a Nexus 10 tablet, but decided to get the iPad as well.
Target was also ready for this event as most people got the iPad they wanted. They did run out of 16 GB iPad Air at about 9:30 PM. I was in line for a 32 GB model anyway and I saw a lot of iPad minis getting sold, too. You could even get 2nd and 4th generation iPads that night.
I tweeted VegasBill during the event, who also was waiting in a Target store line in Vegas. I shouted out “This is what it will look like in a couple hours”.
Domino’s Pizza is experimenting with the idea of delivering your pizza to you via drones (instead of drivers). The “DomiCopter” is a manned drone that was created through a partnership between a digital media company called T and Biscuits and a company called Aerosight that makes Heli-cam drones that are designed to be used for filming and photography. Both are UK companies.
There is potential that the “DomiCopter” could turn out to be nothing more than a way to attract attention to Domino’s Pizza. (In other words, it might be just a PR stunt). In the United States, there are Federal Aviation Administration rules that specifically do not allow companies to fly an experimental drone for commercial purposes.
The Oppikoppi Festival, which takes place in South Africa, is intending to use drones to deliver beer to people who are in a crowd at the music festival. The idea is to prevent people from having to walk away from the stage where a band is playing whenever they want to buy a beer. Instead, the drones are supposed to drop the beer from the sky to the person who ordered it.
It will be interesting to see how that works out. Drones that deliver beer. Drones that deliver pizza. What’s next?
The Oppikoppi Festival has been taking place in South Africa every year since 1995. It is a big music festival. For this year, the 19th year of the festival, they are going to be trying something new to help distribute beer to the people who attend.
According to HypeBot the festival will make use of small drones that will deliver beer directly to the person who ordered it. He or she won’t have to walk away from the music, and stand in a long line, in order to purchase a beer.
Instead, a small, 8-propeller helicopter drone, that has been loaded with beer, will fly over the festival and locate the person who ordered a beer. The drone will then drop a single beer, which has been attached to a small parachute. Use your smartphone to order the beer, and stay put. The beer will come to you!
This year, the Oppikoppi festival planners are intending to have people hand guide the drones. In other words, the drones won’t be functioning without a human guiding them along behind the scenes. If things work out well, there is potential that other large, outdoor, music festivals may decide to use some beer delivery drones.
The Technovation Challenge began in 2009. It is run by Iridescent, which is a 501c3 non-profit company. The purpose of the Technovation Challenge is to give girls the opportunity to learn how to start a company and become high-tech entrepreneurs.
Teams of five (or more) high school girls can enter. All they need is “a safe place to meet, a laptop with internet and a smart phone”. It doesn’t cost any money to enter the Challenge. A curriculum is provided to the teams to help them through the process. Every year, a theme is selected for the Technovation Challenge. For 2013, girls needed to develop an app that solves a problem in their local community. They can focus on a health problem, a social problem, or a lack of resource.
This year, there were 115 submissions. You can check out a complete list of the finalists. One that caught my attention is a team from The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City. The team of high school girls have created an app called “Arrive”.
The purpose of the app is to allow girls to use their smart phones to check into school. Administrators can use the app to view student attendance by class and last name. Parents can opt-in to having the app send them a text message when their daughter arrives at school.
This would replace the school’s current check in system, which uses plastic ID cards and countless paper attendance sheets. Instead of having students gather around one check in point, “Arrive” would let them scan a QR code (which can be placed in many locations). The video below shows the girls as they explain more about what “Arrive” will do.
Nobody likes robocallers, including the Federal Trade Commission. Last year, in October, the FTC launched the Robocall Challenge. The purpose was to have innovators create solutions that would block illegal robocalls.
The winners have now been announced. Nomorobo won for “Best Overall Solution”. Say the name Nomorobo out loud, and it sounds a lot like “no more robo”. It was created by Aaron Foss, who is a software developer.
There is a video on the Nomorobo website that explains how it works. It has been designed to work with existing technologies and will block illegal robocalls. It is a cloud based solution that does not require normal callers to have to enter PIN’s or CAPTCHAs.
There is another winner for “Best Overall Solution”. It has a long name: Robocall Filtering System and Device with Autonomous Blacklisting, Whitelisting, GrayListing and Caller ID spoof detection. It was created by Serdar Danis, who is a computer engineer. The two winners of “Best Overall Solution” will split the $50,000 prize.
The FTC also selected a Federal Trade Commission Technology Achievement Award winner. The winner was a solution called: Crowd-sourced Call Identification and Suppression. It was created by Daniel Klein and Dean Jackson. They are both Google engineers. There is no monetary prize for this award.