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Acme International Space Station

- Sunday, February 11, 2018 No Comments
The Trump administration wants to turn the International Space Station into a commercially run venture, NASA document shows...

The White House plans to stop funding the station after 2024, ending direct federal support of the orbiting laboratory. But it does not intend to abandon the orbiting laboratory altogether and is working on a transition plan that could turn the station over to the private sector, according to an internal NASA document obtained by The Washington Post.

“The decision to end direct federal support for the ISS in 2025 does not imply that the platform itself will be deorbited at that time — it is possible that industry could continue to operate certain elements or capabilities of the ISS as part of a future commercial platform,” the document states. “NASA will expand international and commercial partnerships over the next seven years in order to ensure continued human access to and presence in low Earth orbit.”

Source: Washington Post

'Fat Leonard' and the Navy

- Thursday, February 1, 2018 No Comments

The scope of the Fat Leonard scandal expanded when the Navy confirmed was investigating about 190 current and retired Navy personnel — mostly officers — to determine what role they may have played in the scandal and whether disciplinary measures are warranted.

Former US Navy Cmdr. Troy Amundson, 50, admitted taking bribes, including accepting the services of several prostitutes, from foreign contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, known as "Fat Leonard," and his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

"Amundson admitted that from September 2012 through October 2013, Francis paid for dinner, drinks, transportation, other entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes for Amundson and other US Navy officers."

See more at CNN

Internet, Keep Your Hands Off My Rom Coms

- Friday, December 29, 2017 No Comments
The tech world is often misunderstood as hard and cold. Movies about the internet have commonly fallen into the sci-fi and dramatic genres. Romantic comedies just don’t work for us web-dwellers because we’re all robots and we have no feelings, right?

Nope. There’s nothing Meg Ryan and a little soft focus can’t warm up. Take these tech-inspired romantic comedies (rom coms) and warm up your cold, bionic heart.

Plotter Turns the Map on Your iPhone Into a Social Discovery Tool

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For all the talk about how much better Google Maps is than Apple’s default maps app on the iPhone, the experience for both essentially boils down to the same thing: search for a place on a map and look up directions. Plotter aims to take mapping on the iPhone to the next level by adding a social layer and some features that will appeal to your inner cartographer.

Plotter’s app users a simple way to create, share and discover maps with friends and the Plotter community. Rather than simply look up a bar on Google Maps, you can use Plotter to plot out all your favorite bars in a particular city and then share that map with friends. Likewise, if you’re new to an area, you could surf Plotter to search for maps from other users of things to do.

“Plotter was built out of necessity,” the company’s founder and CEO Tom Nolan told Mashable. “As a frequent traveler and constant user of my native maps app on the iPhone, I was always hoping for additional functionality with maps.”

In some ways, Plotter is reminiscent of Stamped, an app recently acquired by Yahoo and subsequently shut down, which let users mark their favorite venues on a map. However, the map wasn’t the central feature of Stamped and users didn’t have the option to create and share multiple maps of recommendations like they do on Plotter.

Mobile Apps In The Enterprise: 7 Essentials

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Mobile devices have become the world’s steady companions that we take anywhere and use everywhere. A recent forecast by McKinsey & Company estimates that by 2014, 1.7 billion mobile devices will be accessing the Internet – and a steady diet of online content. Widespread smartphone and tablet adoption is giving birth to a new ecosystem of mobile apps. Apple with its iTunes App Store is currently the gold-standard of the mobile experience, and it enables distribution to millions of users. In early 2013, Apple announced that users had downloaded an astounding 40 billion apps from its App Store, with almost half of that total logged in the last year.

The rollout of smart mobile apps yields numerous benefits not only to consumers but also for the enterprise. Mobile apps for business must offer the expected, Apple-easy download experience, but the enterprise requires quite a bit more for apps to be successful and risk-free. Many companies are struggling to manage the proliferation of mobile apps and connect to business content.

Here are seven critical areas for enterprises to address as apps multiply through the mobile enterprise ecosystem.

1. Not Point Products: Using An Enterprise Mobility Platform

The basic foundation of the mobile enterprise begins with deployment of the devices – employee and corporate-owned — along with a portfolio of productivity apps. The goal is simple: The user downloads an app and starts using it. All onboarding, app registration and bootstrapping is done by the enterprise mobility platform — the server strings, logon information or certificates are pushed to the user’s device automatically.

2. Configuration: Based On Roles And Responsibility

Deployment and configuration policies have to go hand-in-hand. Ultimately, enterprise workers want to be able to use any device and any app, accessing content without any roadblocks. Ideally, if an employee has an iPhone or Android phone provided to them, they will immediately have the secured content and correct business apps configured based on their roles and responsibilities (finance, HR, sales, etc.).

3. Deployment: Cloud vs. On Premise

Enterprises have a choice of where they get content and apps. They can come from the cloud, be stored on premise, or in some hybrid combination. This piece of the mobile equation doesn’t have a correct answer, but IT has to remain keenly aware where each component of mobile content resides and (most importantly) who has authorized access.

4. Beyond MDM: Managing Devices, Apps, Content And Things

IT must maintain control over how mobile devices access corporate information: At the very least, IT has to be able to turn off the device, content or app if the mobile hardware is lost or stolen. A key component of that is creating lockable configuration and security policies. Mobile Device Management (MDM) software helps IT centrally manage, secure and deploy mobile data, applications and devices, including tablets and phones. The journey continues beyond MDM to Mobile App Mgmt (MAM), Mobile Content Mgmt (MCM) and eventually takes you on the journey to securing not just devices but every machine in the Internet of Things.

5. Security: At Every Stage In The Lifecycle

A Symantec study calculated that the average annual cost of mobile breaches for an enterprise business was $429,000. Security has to be part of the fabric of mobile throughout the enterprise. It must be integrated into the initial mobile strategy – and into each subsequent stage in the mobile lifecycle. It must be nimble and designed for the post-PC era of mobile computing.

6. Interoperability: Take A Cross-Platform Approach

In a mobile enterprise, all devices, apps and cloud services need to recognize each other and be able to share content. As we deal with a combination of HTML-based mobile-Web apps and device-native apps, three key factors contribute to interoperability.

First is cross-platform support. Most enterprises will have to cater to Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Windows and BlackBerry.

The second factor is backend connectivity: While all mobile users will run Tripit, for example, against the same hosted backend, your enterprise apps needs to run against your company’s backend systems. For example, a customer relationship management (CRM) app needs to access your customers in your CRM system. A Leave Request app has to run against your own enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.

Third, enterprise apps must adhere to your company’s information technology security standards. Employees will access your corporate data from the open Internet, and you need to safeguard your business data.

7. Mobile Apps: Buy And/Or Develop Your Own

Mobility starts with the app creator, which could be an individual developer, a customer who wants to develop an app, a partner or an internal development team. Many larger organizations will benefit by designing their own apps for mobile-enabled business processes. These mobile solutions can tap into different applications and workflow tools using dashboards to monitor everything from sales to the health of the entire business in real time.

Yahoo Killing Message Boards Site and Other

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Yahoo announced in a Friday afternoon blog post that it’s killing seven products from its line of consumer offerings.

The doomed products include Yahoo’s BlackBerry app and Sports IQ. The BlackBerry app will still be available to users who have already downloaded it, but support for it will cease. The Yahoo Message Boards website is also set for shuttering, although users will still be able to access message boards for individual properties such as Yahoo Sports and Yahoo Finance. Yahoo avatars will no longer be supported either, while the Yahoo Clues beta product, Yahoo App Search and Yahoo Updates API round out the list of casualties.
All the changes take effect April 1, except for the Yahoo Updates API, which will stick around until April 16.
“Ultimately, we’re making these changes in an effort to sharpen our focus,” Jay Rossiter, Yahoo’s executive vice president for platforms, wrote in the blog post announcing the changes. “By continuing to hone in on our core products and experiences, we’ll be able to make our existing products the very best they can be.”

Twitter Outages = Snow Day On The Internet

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Why the schadenfreude, you might ask? Why take delight at the misfortune of others? Well, let me be clear. I have endless compassion for the brilliant engineers at Twitter. They’ve built something unbelievably powerful, and it’s a testament to their talents that it runs at all. But I think the human users who spin the wheels of that real-time interruption machine could use a break every once in a while.

When Twitter is down, it’s like a Snow Day on the Internet.

I understand that most people can and do use Twitter by choice. That’s a very good thing. As an intentional hobby, Twitter is immensely valuable. Just dipping into the stream can provide an hour’s or a day’s worth of news, humor and even friendship, if you keep your Twitter feed tidy enough. “Twitter is my rosary,” my word-hero Erin Kissane once said.

Make Better Presentations With the Instagram for Pitch Decks

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“Hey, I really enjoyed making this PowerPoint,” is one of those things nobody says. Haiku Deck aims to change that with its iPad app for making and viewing presentations.

Before addressing the pain point of bad PowerPoints, the founders of Haiku Deck were part of TechStars’ inaugural class of entrepreneurs in Seattle. Their initial idea didn’t fly but it was their experience on the ground, pitching to various investors or partners, that led them to the idea for Haiku Deck.

“We were almost never finding ourselves [pitching] in a conference room,” says Haiku Deck co-founder Adam Tratt. The app now has been downloaded 250,000 times, with more than 100,000 decks made by users.

Despite the introduction of tools including SlideRocket and Prezi, the process around creating and presenting slides hasn’t changed much in 20 years. It involves a lot of Google searching for images, resizing text and on occasion, adding animations that will make your audience chuckle, at least the first time. What you end up making is often nothing to boast about — it gets the point across, but can look jumbled or be hard to read for your audience.

Tratt looked to his past product experience at Microsoft (working on Office) where he became familiar with an important statistic about feature usage: 80% of people use 5% of product features. Often, full-featured software gives people “too much rope with which to hang themselves,” he explains.

That’s why Haiku Deck, much like the poetry format haiku, has a strict framework.
“99% of the world is not a designer.” Tratt notes most people know something looks good when they see it, but cannot pick out a color palette.

The app comes with five “themes,” or templates (with 11 more for purchase). Finding images is a no-brainer — the app actually allows you to input relevant Creative Commons images, with attribution included, as soon as you type in a slide title or body text (you can also upload your own images).

The charts included in Haiku Deck are also unique. In a time when data turns heads, bring it into pitches is crucial, but the numbers themselves don’t always tell the story. Haiku Deck offers three types of charts: bar chart, pie chart and statistic chart. For example, in the bar chart, you would drag the bar to the correct number, say, 80 — and then add a label for each bar. It’s the kind of gesture action you expect when using a touchscreen.