Record level of students appeal Leaving Certificate results

first_imgA record number of Leaving Certificate students are appealing their exam results this year, it has emerged.According to the State Examinations Commission (SEC), more than 9,000 candidates have made applications to appeal more than 17,000 grades.This is a 74% increase on the number of students appealing compared to last year, and an 87% increase on the actual number of grades appealed, according to RTE.  The rise follows significant publicity surrounding the appeals process over the past year, following a successful High Court challenge to appeal procedures this time last year.Rebecca Carter took a case to the High Court alleging an unreasonable delay in the processing of appeals after she narrowly missed out on a college place due to the slowness of the process.Following a High Court ruling in her favour, the SEC introduced changes this year to speed up the appeals process.Students now receive the outcome of any appeal more than three weeks earlier than previously, in mid-September. There has been a 192 per cent increase in the amount of music students appealing their final grade – with 479 applications received.Design and communication (187 per cent), Higher-level Irish (161 per cent), Biology, French, Spanish, German and engineering are among the subjects being appealed in huge numbers.Around one in five papers are upgraded after an appeal.The SEC said the increase in appeals is greater than it anticipated.However, it said it wants to reassure candidates that the planned issue date of the week beginning 16 September will be achieved. During the appeal process the original marking of an exam is reviewed by an appeal examiner who was not involved in the original marking.Last year, 16% of appeals were successful for candidates, resulting in upgrades. However, five papers were downgraded during the process.Record level of students appeal Leaving Certificate results was last modified: August 30th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Station House Hotel is the place to party this festive season!

first_imgFancy something a little bit different this Christmas? The Station House Hotel in the heart of Letterkenny is the place to party this festive season!They have everything you need for an unforgettable night; centrally located, festive décor, good food and drink, coupled with a warm welcome, friendly banter and lots of Christmas cheer!Everyone knows that Christmas is all about the food and the atmosphere and both are always at the heart of the Station House Hotel. This year the Station House Hotel is hosting two wonderful Christmas party nights with special accommodation rates, and to top it all off the organiser for all Christmas Party Night Bookings with 10 or more guests Eats FREE.This year their party nights run on December 13th & 14thThe evenings will start at 7.30pm with a Warm Mulled Wine Reception, followed by a delicious Four Course Festive Banquet.CLICK HERE to download The Station House Hotel Christmas Party Nights 2019 Brochure. To book any night or event, just call: 00353 74 9123 100www.stationhouseletterkenny.comEmail: [email protected]: facebook.com/stationhouseletterkennyBrowse the full The Station House Hotel Christmas Party Nights 2019 Brochure by clicking here.Station House Hotel is the place to party this festive season! was last modified: November 15th, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:christmas partiesThe Station House Hotellast_img read more

Darwin Caught Out of Bounds

first_imgWhat business does Darwin have in quantum mechanics or engineering?  Wasn’t his a theory on the origin of species – that is, plants, animals and living things?  Some scientists seem intent on extrapolating his views to all of reality, including areas commonly thought to be in the domain of intelligent design. Let’s get physical:  An article on Science Daily claims that Darwinism is a “Bridge to the Quantum World,” in that the “Darwinian Concept of Natural Selection Figures Into Theory About Core of Physical Reality.”  The point of a group of physicists at Arizona State is that Darwinian thinking provides a conceptual bridge between the quantum mechanical world, where everything is unpredictable and counter-intuitive, and the classical physics world that we experience with the senses.  How is that?The decoherence concept holds that many quantum states “collapse” into a “broad diaspora,” or dispersion, while interacting with the environment.  Through a selection process, other quantum states arrive at a final stable state, called a pointer state, which is “fit enough” (think “survival of the fittest” in Darwinian terms) to be transmitted through the environment without collapsing.    These single states with the lowest energy can then make high-energy copies of themselves that can be described by the Darwinian process and observed on the macroscopic scale in the classical world.But does this metaphorical use of fitness and selection confuse or illuminate?  In biological Darwinism, fitness must be conveyed to offspring through genetic information.  Whatever “selecting” goes on in a quantum-level event is likely to be different with each process.  There arguably are more differences than similarities between biology and “quantum Darwinism,” whatever the term means.    Nevertheless, David Ferry of ASU feels that the metaphor offers a “new view in the search for evidence of how the quantum-to-classical world transition actually occurs.”  The article appears to anticipate some incredulity.  “If you can wrap your mind around all this, he [Ferry] says, ‘You open the door to a deeper understanding of what is really going on’ at the core of physical reality.”  That promise has a very Gnostic flavor to it.Let’s get medical:  The word algorithm makes an awkward pair with Darwinism, the latter referring to an unguided, directionless process – the opposite of a planned sequence of problem-solving steps with a goal.  Yet New Scientist claimed that you may avoid surgery one day thanks to a “Darwinian algorithm.”  The article says, “Software that mimics Darwinian natural selection could help boost the energy efficiency of brain implants and reduce the need for surgery to replace their batteries.”  (Relax: they said brain implants, not brain transplants.)    How can an algorithm be Darwinian?  Doctors at Duke University wanted to find waveforms in brain implants with the most efficient power consumption, to avoid costly and dangerous surgeries to replace batteries.  Darwin came to their rescue:Working like natural selection, the GA [genetic algorithm] takes a population of random waveforms, mutates the “fittest” of them – in this case, those with lowest energy use – and then “interbreeds” the mutated forms to make new “offspring” waveforms.  The process is then repeated through several “generations” until the optimal waveform is found.One thing immediately apparent is that this is artificial selection, like cattle breeding or rose breeding.  Artificial selection is a form of intelligent design, because whether or not randomness plays a role in the creation of a population of objects, intelligent agents choose among the population the traits they want for their own purposes and designs.  Natural selection does no such thing.  According to Darwinian principles, nature has no mind or direction or purpose – only the immediate need for survival in the competition for resources.  So the statement “working like natural selection” is blatantly misapplied here.  And like the quantum mechanics case (bullet 1 above), the talk of populations, mutations, fitness, interbreeding and offspring is metaphorical at best, misleading at worst.  Waveforms are not living organisms.  They have no genetic code or innate capacity for reproduction.  Darwin discussed artificial selection, but not waveforms or wave functions.If these scientists are merely employing Darwinian terms rhetorically as figures of speech, perhaps their infractions are excusable.  But applications of Darwinian thought to areas far beyond its original domain raise questions about whether the terminology, especially when employed in searches for “the core of physical reality,” is being driven by science, ideology, or cultural mythology.One of the main ways Darwinism survives in spite of its poor fitness as a scientific theory is due to its rhetorical plasticity.  Its advocates routinely confuse terms and misapply concepts, allowing it to escape philosophical predators amidst a thicket of smokescreens.  The territory behind Darwinian rhetoric is too often mined with equivocation.  CEH is your minesweeper.(Visited 10 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Identifying practices to best manage phosphorus

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Farmers have every incentive — economic and environmental — to do what is right with regard to nutrient management and water quality.The challenge is that no one out there is quite sure what the right things to do really are, at least not yet. This is where the extensive effort of the On-Field Ohio! project to evaluate/revise the Ohio Phosphorus Risk Index (P Index) comes into play.Identified as the key nutrient in the formation of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie, Grand Lake St. Marys and other bodies of freshwater, phosphorus is the primary focus of efforts to improve water quality. The P Index takes a broad look at various on-farm management practices and scores them based on the risks and benefits they contribute to improving phosphorus management.“The Ohio P Index is intended to provide a field scale estimate of phosphorus runoff risk. It is based on field physical characteristics as well as farmer management practices,” said Elizabeth Dayton, a soil scientist with the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources who leads the project. “The P index concept has been around since 1993. The P Index considers risk factors for phosphorus transport that affect runoff like slope, infiltration rates and risk factors for phosphorus sources such as tillage, fertilizer placement method and soil test P.Many thousands of water samples have been collected for this research.“It all started with the creation of the P Index framework in 1993 where USDA-NRCS in collaboration with Land Grant universities developed state P indices. Since then, there has been a revised Nutrient Management Standard from USDA-NRCS that puts a big emphasis on validating/updating state P indices. Luckily, just as that new standard was released, we were putting this project together so we are very much in line with what needs to be accomplished moving forward.”Since its creation, the P Index has been offering farmers insights into the decisions they make with regard to the phosphorus management on their farms with a scoring system for management practices. The problem is that the Ohio P Index has never been validated for accuracy with on-farm tests to see if the system reflects P runoff risk from farm fields.“Ohio’s P risk index had never been validated. If we don’t have an accurate assessment of the risk then we don’t know if the index is functioning correctly,” Dayton said. “There has been a lot of small plot work nationally and states borrow from each other, but we really hadn’t done much field work in Ohio, so that is why we are doing this. We aren’t the only state looking to revise their P index. Ohio is really joining the conversation on this with the work we are doing now.”More than $1 million has been invested in On-Field Ohio! by Ohio agricultural organizations, including the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association and the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program. This major investment is being used for conducting on-farm, edge-of-field testing through a partnership with The Ohio State University, OSU Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. The USDA-NRCS matched the $1 million investment, creating a total of $2 million for the on-farm research.“The sampling equipment alone is $1 million and it costs $500,000 a year to collect the samples,” Dayton said. “Our research relates the field management practices and the soil chemistry to the field runoff. This will allow us to help farmers make management decisions to go along with what they already know about their agronomics.”The help of agricultural commodity groups got the process started, but it would not have continued without the cooperation of farmers throughout the state. After the funding was in place, the next step was to find the fields that would most closely meet the project’s parameters and then get permission from the producers of those fields to set up the necessary equipment, which includes a station for surface runoff and a station for tile runoff.The site selection process for the project was very stringent, using agriculture statistics and soil survey information to create a distribution of what exists in agriculture in Ohio. Out of that distribution, researchers could see the predominant practices in Ohio. That allowed them to select fields that reflect those predominant practices in the state and also get the whole spectrum of management practices and other parameters to evaluate. Some of the specific management practices and factors being evaluated are tillage, soil type, fertilizer placement, soil phosphorus content, field topography, soil infiltration rate, drainage control structures, erosion potential, and cover crops.After runoff water is collected at each station, the samples are taken to the lab and analyzed for phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment content.“Thanks to Greg LaBarge, OSU Extension field specialist, we collect a tremendous amount of information about farmer management to compare to the runoff so we can relate the on-field practices and storm events with what we see in the runoff,” Dayton said. “That is what is helping us to revise the P index.”Terry McClure’s farm in Paulding County is one of the research sites for the project. McClure is very comfortable with the process now that the stations are in place, but admits it took some consideration before putting his farm and farming practices under a microscope.“You try and think about all of the ramifications of being involved in a project like this,” McClure said. “I worried a bit and then thought to myself that this needs to be done. We don’t know what is causing the issues in Ohio and agriculture needs to be one of the first ones to know. If some of this run-off is coming off of my farm, I need know how and what we can do to change that. That is lost nutrients for farmers and we need to understand it.”McClure hopes this research will help many farmers in his area and hopes that he can benefit firsthand from having this research station on his farm. He wants to be sure he is applying the nutrient at the right time, doing the best job with the right amount, and going through the rest of the 4R thought process at a very local level.“Let’s face it, we all have a system that we get in to,” McClure said. “Is my system the best? Can I make small adjustments to apply the nutrient that is needed to make better use of it and make sure I keep it on the soil when it belongs?”The research is now being conducted on 29 farm fields around Ohio with 15 different farmers.“We have 14 fields in the Western Lake Erie Basin and eight in Grand Lake St. Marys watershed and seven in Scioto River Watershed,” Dayton said. “We really appreciate our participating farmers. They just farm the fields as they had been doing. We have a broad range of farmer management practices represented. Some of our farmers use long-term no-till and some of our farmers are using lots of tillage. We have surface broadcast, banding, and combinations represented in our farms. We interviewed them ahead so that would be built into the study. This wouldn’t be possible without their help and the support we have received from Ohio agriculture. Ohio ag is really committed to being a part of the solution here.”So far, data has been collected on more than 1,000 runoff events generating more than 8,000 runoff water samples with more than 24,000 analyses completed. More than 1,500 soil samples have been taken resulting in more than 6,000 soil analyses.“Our first year was really consumed with just doing the sampler installation and we still don’t even have a full crop rotation for some of our participating farmers. If we really want to see the results of some of these practices we need more opportunities to see some working,” she said. “We are looking at the resiliency of these practices to these big rainfall events. We’re in our third year of collecting data. It was initially a three-year project and we just put in a request for a three-year extension.”Moving forward, the key objectives of the research are to begin to summarize the vast amount of information to:Evaluate the Ohio P Index so that the scores accurately reflect transport runoff risk.Increase the number of management options integrated into the Ohio P Index for fields with high scores.Implement the revised P Index on a broad scale to protect Ohio surface water quality.Create a Web-based tool so farmers can easily calculate and manage their transport runoff risk.“Right now the only runoff data that I have summarized is for 2013 and we are just getting the 2014 numbers. Later this summer or this fall we will be putting out a few recommendations, which will just be tweaking how the P index is scored and weighted,” Dayton said. “Then, as more data comes in we can continue to improve. Right now I am seeing areas where the P index could be changed considerably. In terms of the on-farm practices, we are seeing that big changes on the farm can lead to big changes in runoff.”Though still very early in the data analysis, Dayton is already seeing differences in no-till fields with regard to the stratification of nutrients.“We are seeing some doubling in stratification in no-till. Is that a lot? Maybe. But how much stratification is OK? I am hoping we can shed some light on that,” Dayton said. “If you are doing no-till are you willing to incorporate your fertilizer? We are trying to quantify and rank these kinds of practices. We don’t have the answers to these questions yet, but we hope to.”She is also finding less influence from soil type and more influence from soil nutrient levels.“I am not seeing an effect by soil type,” she said. “What is really driving the differences are the soil test phosphorus levels.”The P Index follows the Tri-State Fertility Guidelines, which are also in the process of being updated in an effort led by Steve Culman in the Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources.Together these two separate research projects could lead to much more accurate decision making tools for farmers in the future who are trying to do what is best economically and environmentally on their farms.“I don’t think there are a lot of problems with the current recommendations. What farmers need to know is a ranking of them because if they are going to invest their time and money in something, they need to know what kind of bang for the buck they will get if they adopt the practice. We plan to extrapolate this for the whole state,” Dayton said. “There is a lot of conflicting messaging about this now and I do hear a lot of frustration when talking to farmers. If they do this will it work? I sympathize with them and we are trying to get some answers for them through this project.”For much more on the soybean checkoff, visit the Soybean Rewards web page at http://www.soyohio.org/council/for-ohio-farmers/soybean-rewards/. Also, see the related video at ocj.com by searching for keywords “Dayton P Index.”last_img read more

Third Wind: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment with New Business Models

first_imgRelated Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… chris cameron Tags:#start#startups Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting “Flower Garden Free was never a big player,” Llopis writes. “But, as soon as the in-app Flower Shop was released, downloads started climbing, and on Christmas day they went through the roof (relatively speaking).”So with the new iPad released today, iPhone app developers may have found a new platform for their mobile app business models. If you have an iPhone app whose sales have been steadily declining, look to the iPad or the existing options on the iPhone for new ways to raise sales. With the highly anticipated Apple event finally underway in San Francisco, tech fans around the globe are already speculating how Apple’s new iPad might change the state of computing. Another group of people listening intently to the happenings at the Yerba Buena Center are iPhone application developers, who are curious to see when they may be able to begin developing apps for the iPad.As we’ve seen, the iPad is a blend of the iPhone OS and OS X, and it opens up opportunities for new business models for developers, so we thought we would point out a story of a man who rejuvenated his business by taking advantage of new iPhone and iPod Touch business models. Noel Llopis, an indie game developer and author of the blog Games from Within, recently wrote about the ups and downs of the App Store, which he witnessed first-hand with his application, Flower Garden. The app allows users to plant seeds, water them and watch their virtual flowers grow over time.After some initial success after the apps launch, Flower Garden became what Llopis calls “a strange in-between app” where it was more successful than 99% of apps, but it still wasn’t a chart topper. Llopis tried to bolster his less-than-thrilling sales by adding more features, like Facebook integration, and by releasing a lite version of the application.“Fortunately I was right and the effect on sales was very noticeable, pretty much doubling sales,” Llopis writes on his blog. “But it never really took off in any significant way, and sales slowly declined over time.”Llopis was nearly ready to move on and forget about Flower Garden. But when Apple released In-App-Purchases last summer, he found his second, if not third wind. The graph below from Llopis’ blog shows the effect in-app-purchases had on Llopis’ application, represented in yellow and green versus the stagnant blue of the regular application. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

iPhone to Android: One Week with the Nexus S

first_imgWhat it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Because podcasts are an important part of my mobile experience, I quickly sought a way to replace them. What I found was a dedicated app from Google that is supposed to function as a podcast player: Google Listen. Although it’s a Labs project (meaning beta or early release), it sounded perfect: “search, subscribe, download and stream” it said. What more do you need? Only one problem: Google Listen required an SD card to store its downloads to. The Nexus S doesn’t have an SD card slot, so Google Listen wouldn’t work. (This problem appears to be solved by one of the latest updates, however.) My first thought at the time: this would never happen with Apple. Tags:#Google#mobile#NYT#Product Reviews#web But Wait, Where’s my Google iTunes?One of the first major pain points I hit from the iPhone to Android transition was iTunes withdrawal. Although I rarely purchase music from iTunes these days (MOG, a $10 per month, all-you-can-stream music service fulfills my needs), I do use iTunes for music and podcast management, organizing my apps, and downloading or renting TV shows and movies.There are third-party services that allow you to copy over your media libraries from the computer to Android, but they aren’t provided by Google and are often incomplete, lacking features and functionality. DoubleTwist, a popular application which has been called the “iTunes for Android,” doesn’t allow you to subscribe to podcasts if you’re a Mac user. The other thing I really missed by leaving iTunes behind was video. Where do you get video on Android? And I mean professional content, not “user-gen,” YouTube videos and Internet webcasts. I mean Hollywood-produced stuff. Current TV shows, movies? The answer: you don’t, not really. There’s no Netflix app for Android (yet), there’s no iTunes ecosystem, there’s no Hulu. The few apps that do allow for streaming either include you having to configure software on your PC (Orb), subscribe to a service (Slingbox) or they offer limited selection (mSpot Movies). It’s an oddball mix. That means the easiest way to get movies and TV shows to your Android, sorry to say, is bittorrent. You torrent the file, drop into into DoubleTwist (or another media management app) and sync. Of course that’s wrong, and it’s illegal. So don’t do it!The Killer Apps (& the Rest)Then there are the apps. There was an interesting discussion on the Internet recently where a longtime Apple insider John Gruber asked: where are the killer Android apps? He wanted to know about the Android exclusives, the Instagrams and Flipboards of the Android world, that is. He didn’t want to count the innovative keyboard replacement apps like Swype or homescreen replacements like Slide Screen, because those couldn’t exist on Apple, so that’s not a fair comparison. OK, fine. Nor did he want to count Google’s own apps because… wait, what? Because Google’s apps are far, far better on its own OS than on iPhone, perhaps? Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement As a (relatively) new mom, the one thing my smartphone needs to do and do well is take great photos. Google touts its camera as being able to take “stunning photos and videos.” I disagree. The camera couldn’t get an action shot of my 1-year old to save its life. Try after try after try. When I shared this information on Twitter, a discussion flared up on FriendFeed, where my tweets are archived.As one user (Johnny Worthington) explained, it’s not just the megapixels that matter when it comes to taking photos. The camera’s sensors matter too. Even Apple CEO Steve Jobs pointed this out in his keynote address, saying, “megapixels are nice, but what these cameras are really about is capturing photons and low light photography. So we’ve gone from 3 megapixel to 5 megapixel, but we’re using a backside illuminated sensor.” Long story short, moving toddler + varying lighting conditions + iPhone = great photo. On Android, those same conditions lead to a series of blurred images.Another minor bug with the photo gallery occurred when I uploaded a photo taken vertically directly from the gallery to Facebook (handy feature, by the way), it posted horizontally. Maddening. Happens every time.On yet another occasion, after posting pictures to Foursquare using the new check-in feature, I later returned to the phone’s photo gallery to find that all of my newest pictures were gone. Pictures that only existed on the phone, because I had yet to post them elsewhere. (I guess I should have left Pixelpipe enabled, hmm?) While my husband teased that it must be “user error,” I pulled out a bag of tricks left over from my Windows days – I rebooted the phone.Sure enough, upon restart, the phone noted it was “checking USB storage” for errors and when it completed the boot up, the photos had returned.Oh, Android.Battery LifeSupposedly, the battery life is supposed to be improved on the Nexus S – Engadget, for example, got 20 hours during heavy use. I’d love to know how. My Nexus S battery can’t make it through a day. Even after pairing down the apps to just those from “responsible” developers, making heavy use of the Android Task Killer app, the battery just drains. The most common activity that leads to drains appears to be the Web browser, from what I can tell. Although, according to the phone’s battery drain monitor (an included Android tool, if that tells you something), the top offenders are the display, Google Maps, Android System, Cell standby, Android OS and Wi-Fi. Yes, just my phone being a phone.Comparatively, my iPhone, jailbroken no less, can make it much, much longer. It will still have a charge even if I forget to plug it in overnight, for example. The Nexus S would just die.Plus, while in use, the phone really heats up. Cold winter? Break out the Nexus S. That’s a hot little handheld… literally.iPhone or Android? Granted, I’ve mostly focused on the glitches and problems I had with the Nexus S, some of which were even corrected before I posted this (e.g. Google Listen). I don’t want to take away from what the Nexus S’s many strengths are – the complete Google Experience, the Voice Actions, the integrated Google Voice and Skype calling, the portable Wi-Fi hotspot, NFC, Navigation, a better keyboard, and, although I didn’t mention it – the speedy, well-equipped Web browser and a usable copy-and-paste (still needs improvement, though).At the end of the day, however, can I switch to Android? I guess not. I took my waterlogged iPhone to the local i-Hospital and they’ve repaired it. A new cable, a battery and $160 dollars later, my iPhone is ready for pick up. I haven’t gotten it just yet. I’m going to give the Nexus S until the end of the month to change my mind, before switching back. After 30 minutes of frantic searching, I found my iPhone. Under four inches of water. In a pond. Sunken deep into the sandy bottom. The story of how it got there isn’t all that interesting – it involves chasing a squealing toddler running towards the water’s edge – I never even heard the quiet sploosh at the time, when the phone slipped out of my pocket somehow, and into the water. But the horror I felt seeing the shiny little Apple logo glinting in the afternoon sun beneath the rippling surface is something I won’t soon forget. My iPhone. Destroyed.Luckily for me, I had a backup. For over a week, I had been playing with the brand-new Nexus S, Google’s latest flagship Android device, running the stock version of the Android mobile operating system code-named Gingerbread. But I hadn’t switched over to make it my primary device. Now I had no choice.We’ve been a dual iPhone/Android household for some time now, because my husband bought the Galaxy S (AT&T Captivate) shortly after it launched and I had the iPhone 4, after an upgrade from the 3G. I’ve had plenty of time to go hands-on with Android, delving into both the OS and the flourishing application ecosystem. I’ve installed, configured and tested many apps on the Galaxy S, and for a while, I was even jealous that he had the newer phone. Android felt more modern, more functional and more “tweakable” than the iPhone. The screen was bright, it had widgets, live wallpaper, built-in navigation, voice-activated everything and a notification system I still long for. It seemed like a step up.But now I wondered: can Android be my permanent device?Before getting started, understand that this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive review. I don’t review gadgets, nor does ReadWriteWeb. We know there are plenty of other places where you can get detailed specs, analysis, and descriptions of everything about this phone, from hardware to software. This is not that. Not by a long shot.Getting Set UpInitially, once I got over the shock of the iPhone’s unfortunate death, I was excited to try the Nexus S. I installed widgets and apps and set up the phone to work with my Google Voice account. That alone was a major plus. On Android, you don’t have to launch a separate app to make a Google Voice call – it’s integrated with your phone. You can make outgoing calls via Google voice, send and receive text messages through Google Voice, even access visual voicemail messages with the app – and they’re transcribed.Or, if you prefer, you can use Skype Out to make calls, too. Again, just by pressing the phone button.These are great features.Talking to Your Phone sarah perez Related Posts I went in search of replacement apps. Unfortunately, outside of the Google app ecosystem, the apps I found were a huge step down in terms of functionality. One I tried called Podcast by Magma Mobile just stopped playing my podcast in the middle of an episode because the podcast I was downloading in the background completed. As I tried to figure out what was going on, I somehow even ended up playing two podcasts at once. That shouldn’t even be possible!I found that for some podcasts (CNET, Engadget, TWiT, e.g.), it was actually preferable to use their own dedicated app. But this leads to a disjointed experience, where features, controls and user interface vary wildly from app to app. It’s true. Google Maps has 3D. Google Navigation gives you spoken, turn-by-turn directions. Google Voice, as noted above, is built-in and integrated with your phone. On the Nexus S, Google Tags is the first mainstream NFC (near field communications) app that lets you scan NFC tags, soon to be a revolution in mobile advertising and mobile payments – just wave your phone by a poster with an NFC tag, and your phone will take action, opening the Web browser and navigating to a particular Google Place page, perhaps, like Google is testing now in Portland.Gmail, Calendar, Voice Search, Google Earth, YouTube, etc. – all the Google Apps are built-in. The phone is the complete Google experience where Google’s latest innovations have a chance to shine, instead of being begrudgingly admitted into a curated app marketplace after FCC pressure demanded it, as Google Voice was, at long last, on iPhone.That said, working with the non-Google apps was an odd experience. Of course, the mainstays are there: Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, Amazon, IMDb, Pandora, Pixlepipe, Skype, WeatherBug, etc. But the features and functions of each app are tucked away in menus and settings, with no real consistency from app to app. There’s a surprising amount of configuration that has to be done with the apps, too. For example, in CNET’s app, I was surprised to find it hadn’t updated the podcast list – you have to tell it to download new episodes and when. After installing Pixelpipe, I was surprised to find that, after taking a photo, I was immediately prompted to share it via Pixelpipe – a handy feature, but on by default? That’s odd. I had to shut it off, or hit “cancel” after every snap. The Magma Mobile podcast app oddly began running in the background, providing me with “notifications” from “Magma Mobile News,” which, if tapped, took you to a list of news about new Android apps and updates. It was like I had installed some sort of adware on my phone. And I had to kill the app from running with the ever-present Advanced Task Killer app. Sigh.For the second time, I thought: this would never happen on iPhone. Don’t get me wrong, I love that I can choose to do more on Android out-of-the-box. I mean, who doesn’t want a mobile hotspot? But sometimes that openness felt too open. I’d rather apps ask before they integrate, for example.So what apps did I end up installing? Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Amazon, Kindle, Angry Birds, Barcode Scanner, Best Buy, Bump, CNET Audio, DoubleTwist, Dropbox, Engadget, FiOS Mobile Remote, Grocery iQ, IMDb, Google Listen, mSpot Movies, picplz, Pixlepipe, ShopSavvy, Skype, SwiftKey and Swype, Microsoft Tag, Tango, Target, Trapster, TripIt, TweetDeck, Waze, WeatherBug, Where’s My Droid and Yelp. That got me going, now I’m hunting for the unique and interesting apps, and exploring the popular homescreen replacements.Taking Photos Something as simple as texting a friend or performing a Google search can be done via voice. With the Nexus S, you can really talk to your phone. Voice access is everywhere – on homescreen widgets, a “voice” button on the new Android Gingerbread keyboard, or you can just press and hold the Search button. Voice Actions, a new pre-installed feature on the Nexus S lets you give the phone commands. You can send texts, start phone calls, ask for directions, launch Navigation, see a map, launch the browser, configure an alarm, play your favorite music and more.And anywhere there’s a blank text box, you have the option of hitting the voice button instead of having to type in letters, one by one. If you choose to enter text the old-fashioned way, however, the new Android keyboard works well. With auto-suggested word completions appearing above the entry box, (very much like the SwiftKey app allows for although not quite as smart – it doesn’t appear to be an adaptive system), typing is much faster than on iPhone. The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technologylast_img read more

How the transformation of the automotive industry is IoT-driven

first_imgRelated Posts For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Tags:#autonomus cars#driverless cars#Internet of Things#IoT#Self-Driving Of all the industries that the Internet of Things (IoT) has influenced, the automotive industry — with its connected car — seems to remain particularly successful at capturing the interest of consumers. From predictive maintenance of vehicles to smart cars that can offer you advice regarding parking reservations, today’s connected car comes equipped with a number of technologies that were once considered impossible.While the entire automotive industry is undergoing a technological transformation, there are a few manufacturers that are ahead of the others when it comes to innovation. The recent Mobile World Congress that was organized in Barcelona was attended by many of these manufacturers that are doing noticeable work to accelerate the arrival of the car of the future through unique combination of technologies, expertise, and partnerships. One of the most developments was SAP’s partnership with Hertz, Nokia, and Concur Technologies.Here’s a quick review of how the new partnerships will expedite the process of innovation and offer car users with an intelligent, automated, and personalized driving experience.Mojio — A Solution for Scalable Deployment of Connected Car ServicesMojio is an innovative platform that allows a seamless collaboration between the automotive, insurance, and telecom industries to create an ecosystem that features advanced data collection and analytical capabilities. It collects three types of data — contextual, behavioral, and diagnostic to offer a personalized experience to the users while improving asset availability and performance.Built on SAP Vehicles Network, Mojio is working with Google, Microsoft, and Amazon to offer an improved experience to the users. Here is a couple of future possibilities of how Mojio’s partnership with tech giants will add to the comfort and convenience of the users.Amazon/UPS/DHL/FedEx will use the geolocation data of users to deliver an order directly to the boot of the car while the owner’s having their lunch in a restaurant or attending a meeting.IFTTT and Mojio will work collaboratively to update your calendar automatically based on travel habits and track new trips in a Google spreadsheet. Ronald van Loon Hertz to Explore the Potential of In-Car Personalisation with IoTHertz joined the SAP Vehicles Network to become the first rental company to leverage the IoT for offering personalised experience to its customers. The partnership will allow Hertz to integrate in-car personalisation with travel and itinerary planning to offer its customers just what they need. Apart from this, Hertz will also use Concur Technologies’ TripLink to allow customers to generate an all-inclusive expense report at a single click. This, in turn, will save time and improve user convenience.Nokia to Add Multi-Layer Security to Connected CarsNokia has designed a new solution called Intelligent Management Platform for All Connected Things (IMPACT). IMPACT offers advanced data collection, analytics, and business application development capabilities, allowing service providers to offer a number of value-added services to their customers, such as:Getting real-time updates on traffic flowPersonalisation of driver settingsMonitoring and alerts regarding fuel levels, speed, and various other metricsNTT and SAP Collaboration to Improve the Safety of Public TransportIn addition, to offer customers an improved experience, SAP has also partnered with NTT to devise a one of its kind solution that will improve the safety of public transform. Known as Live Transportation Monitoring, the solution has three main components — SAP’s connected transportation safety portal, NTT’s IoT analytics platform, and a unique fabric called “Hitoe.” The fabric is coated with a polymer that will collect and conduct data regarding the driving behavior and key health parameters of drivers to help service providers improve the safety of their passengers, as well as drivers.The fabric is coated with a polymer that will collect and conduct data regarding the driving behavior and key health parameters of drivers to help service providers improve the safety of their passengers, as well as drivers.Combines, all these technologies are likely to accelerate the development of a connected car and help the automotive industry understand the true possibilities of the IoT. IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…last_img read more

Is the government worried about smart coffee pots taking down the West Wing?

first_imgTen years ago you didn’t have to worry about someone hacking your refrigerator. Today, your personal home assistant is quite literally listening to your every move. Experts believe that in just a few years, there will be over 20 billion devices connected to the internet with the possibility of being compromised by an attacker due to the lack of security built into these devices.It comes as no surprise that, as IoT devices proliferate, attackers are increasingly looking to exploit them. Large-scale events (like last October’s DDoS attack targeting systems operated by Dyn) and warnings from security experts finally have government officials paying attention. See also: Is smart city cybersecurity being dangerously underestimated?Think of it this way. A government employee connects a smart coffee machine into the same WiFi network that his or her computer is connected to (though manufacturers of smart coffee machines often instruct that these devices should be connected to their own isolated WiFi network so that in case this particular network is breached, it will not harm any other devices). Shortly after, an attacker targets the network. The coffee machine does not have anti-virus software installed, or any type of security for that matter, so it becomes infected. Soon, the entire network will be compromised. So, a coffee pot can infect the West Wing’s network with ransomware? It’s not likely, but it’s certainly possible.Days ago, the federal government introduced the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act, an initiative designed to set security standards for the government’s purchase of IoT devices. The government doesn’t often involve itself in manufacturing decisions so that they steer clear of stifling innovation. However, IoT security is now a matter of national security. Senators Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) are spearheading the effort to require companies that sell wearables, security cameras, sensors and other web-connected tools to federal agencies to adhere to stricter security regulations.And while it is good news that IoT-device security issues are getting more attention, the proposed bill would only impose security regulations on devices sold to federal agencies, not to devices sold to consumers.A lot of questionsThis raises a lot of questions concerning consumer IoT-device security in the United States. How will independent consumers benefit from the security features and enhancements that would be required of products being sold to the federal government? Will all vendors of IoT products be held to the same standards, even if the products are not purchased by the federal government? Can vendors pick and choose what models are sold to the government and to consumers? Will there be a standard requirement for all goods and technology sold in the United States, especially for those devices in which personal data is collected? This bill should challenge consumers and vendors alike. We are aware of the true danger IoT devices can create beyond the computer; they can control systems in the real world. Too often, security is an afterthought instead of a partner in decision-making and building of products we have grown to enjoy as consumers; since the adoption of IoT devices is on the rise, manufactures are competing to stay ahead. This means creating cheap products quick – which means overlooking security measures. As a result, consumers sacrifice their security and privacy for the convenience and enjoyment of a product and service. Instead, we should challenge ourselves and ask if the convenience is worth the risk and compromise. We should demand that creators and innovators of IoT devices should consider security a top priority. White hats can passAnother interesting part of this proposed bill is the cover it provides to researchers. If passed, the bill will “exempt cybersecurity researchers engaging in good-faith research from liability under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when in engaged in research pursuant to adopted coordinated vulnerability disclosure guidelines.”This means security researchers would be given more freedom in “good-faith” to explore IoT devices for vulnerabilities through white hat hacking and other means. As a result, more researchers will be able to ethically disclose more discovered compromises and security concerns. Right now, we have to ask ourselves whether this bill is a long-term plan and strategy to keep security requirements and validation in sync with rapidly growing technology, or a problem that we will have to keep monitoring and fixing. Answers to these questions will come with time, and unfortunately, trial and error.The author is the Chief Information Security Officer at SecureAuth. With 15+ years of leadership experience implementing Vendor Security Risk and Assessment Programs for startups and Fortune 500 companies, she defines the security road map for SecureAuth’s suite of adaptive authentication and IS solutions. She is recognized as a subject matter in Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) frameworks. Danielle Jackson Related Posts Follow the Puck Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfacescenter_img Internet of Things Makes it Easier to Steal You… Tags:#cybersecurity#ddos#featured#hacking#Internet of Things#IoT#top#Washington Small Business Cybersecurity Threats and How to…last_img read more

How does outdoor recreation help communities increase capacity to help military service members and their families navigate transitions?

first_imgRecently, the MFLN Community Capacity building concentration area partnered with the Family Transitions concentration area to conduct a webinar focused on outdoor recreation and its usefulness to military service members and their families in transition. But what does outdoor recreation have to do with Community Capacity Building?  That’s a good question, and the one we will address today in this blog post.It all starts with how you define community. A common definition is “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common,” or similarly, “a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.” But for conservationist Aldo Leopold, those definitions weren’t good enough. Leopold developed a philosophical perspective on the way humans interact with the rest of the natural world called the land ethic, and argued that we should enlarge the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land (Leopold, 1949).So, if we enlarged the boundaries of the community to include the land, the landscapes and inhabitants within and beyond our traditionally defined communities, then perhaps we could envision that one measure of a community’s capacity to help military service members and their families navigate transitions is its ability to provide recreation, restoration, and conservation venues and activities.   It follows that perhaps a higher capacity community might have more to offer in this domain than a lower capacity community.Now, let’s see how that compares to what experts in the field of community capacity in the military families context say. Community capacity for military service members and their families as a concept to order our concentration area’s work is understood to be composed of two essential elements. These elements are, first, shared responsibility for the general welfare of the community and its members, and second, collective competence, demonstrating an ability to take advantage of opportunities for addressing community needs and for confronting situations that threaten the safety and well-being of community members (Bowen, Martin, Mancini, & Nelson, 2000).The first element, shared responsibility for the general welfare of the community, seems to be a natural fit with Aldo Leopold’s land ethic. Extending that shared responsibility to include stewardship of landscapes and creatures is a fundamental tenant of many conservation and recreation organizations (see for example Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Sierra Club Outdoors, and others). And there is plenty of evidence that recreation opportunities are important to community well-being and public health.The second element, collective competence, demonstrating an ability to take advantage of opportunities for addressing community needs and for confronting situations that threaten the safety and well-being of community members seems to link directly to the land ethic and its expanded community, and more so to recreation and conservation activities that are focused on improving or protecting the community. We have been inspired by programs that move military family members and veterans from an interest in fishing for trout to involvement in cold water fisheries restoration, or interest in scuba diving to becoming engaged in replanting coral fragments.As the Community Capacity Building concentration area matures and develops, you can be sure we will continue to explore how expanding the community to include landscapes and other creatures helps communities strengthen their capacity to demonstrate “readiness and performance in the face of opportunity, adversity, and positive challenges” (Huebner, Mancini, Bowen, & Orthner 2009). And we are very interested in hearing about your experiences of how outdoor recreation and/or the natural environment have been a part of your community capacity building efforts with military service members and their families.  We invite you to please share with us those experiences here in the comments section below. For examples of outdoor recreation opportunities, go here, and get outside!Additional ReadingBowen, G. L., Martin, J. A., Mancini, J. A., & Nelson, J. P. (2000). Community capacity: Antecedents and consequences. Journal of Community Practice, 8(2), 1 – 21.Bowen, G. L., Martin, J. A., Mancini, J. A., & Nelson, J. P. (2001). Civic engagement and sense of community in the military. Journal of Community Practice, 9(2), 71 – 93.Leopold, Aldo. (1949). A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There. Oxford University Press, New York.Huebner, A. L., Mancini, J. A., Bowen, G. L., & Orthner, D. K. (2009). Shadowed by War: Building Community Capacity to Support Military Families. Family Relations Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 58:216-228.Suggested Additional reading about Aldo Leopold and the Land Ethiclast_img read more