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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

RECAP: Discover How To Unlock Your Potential With STEM #PotentialOfUs

March 31st, 2015 by Christen

Have you ever felt like you would have a greater impact on your community – or the world – if you could just amplify your voice, scale your business or hone your technology skills? Women hold less than 25% of our country’s STEM careers – it’s time to change that. During the 21st Annual Black Women’s Expo in Chicago – Verizon gave consumers insight into the opportunities awaiting them in tech (while celebrating the final days of Women’s History Month featuring trailblazing ladies of technology) with the “Unlock Your Potential” women in STEM panel.

 

The Black Women's Expo

 

An event designed for women by women, the Black Women’s Expo celebrates women’s aspirations and achievements and provides a platform for women to discuss solutions to the issues they confront in daily life. In its 21st year, BWE is the nation’s longest running empowerment exposition for the African American consumer, garnering attendance of more than 29,000.

 

 

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Leading the conversation on innovation, the “Unlock Your Potential” panel included Lisa Laws  – Engineer/Deputy COO for City of Chicago, Luvvie Ajayi – Blogger for AwesomelyLuvvie.com, and Abby Knowles – Executive Director of VZW Network in Midwest Area.  During the event, panelists generated compelling conversations that inspired the audience and informed how technology is being used and STEM opportunities available.  Guests left the panel with knowledge on how vast STEM truly is – whether it’s helping the lives of citizens in a community, building a nationally recognized blog, or operating the nation’s largest wireless network.

 

Check out live tweets from the #PotentialOfUs inspired panel via Storify below:

 

 

 

 

If you’ve ever wondered how to carve your own unique niche in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) you can discover ideas and innovators celebrated by Verizon by following their stories online and via social media PotentialOfUs.com #PotentialOfUs.

Apple Trade In Program Expanded To Android And Windows Phones

March 30th, 2015 by Tech Staff

iphone

 

Smartphone users now have yet another reason to take a second look at updating to the latest Apple device.  Apple has expanded its trade-in program to include Android phones, BlackBerrys and Windows Phone handsets.  That means, now using the Apple Trade in program, you can turn in any Android, Blackberry or Windows phones towards the purchase of an Apple product or Apple gift card.

Users will be able to trade in their phones from other platforms in Apple stores in the U.S., UK, Canada, France, Germany and Italy via its iPhone Reuse and Recycling Program, and receive a gift card to use at Apple stores.

Previously, Apple updated its website to include a step-by-step guide on how to ditch an Android device for an iPhone — and, most recently, CEO Tim Cook said during an earnings call that the company saw more Android users switch to iOS after the launches of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus than after the launches of the past three Apple devices. Apple does not appear to be offering the trade-in program online yet, but it’s being offered in stores.

The iPhone trade-in program launched in 2013 to encourage Apple fans to swap their old iPhones for store credit toward a newer one. Apple, which gives credit for the current value of the older device, requires users to purchase a new model on the same day as the trade.

 

Would you ever trade in your Android, Blackberry or Windows Phone to buy a new iPhone or Apple gift card? Share your thoughts below!

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Jay-Z To Relaunch His New Tidal Music Service Today With Your Favorite Superstars #TidalForAll

March 30th, 2015 by Tech Staff

tidal

 

The music game is about to get real interesting! Tidal, the high-definition music streaming service acquired by rapper/music mogul Jay-Z, is gearing up for its official relaunch today, and it will be doing so by reportedly making a move to snag new releases by some of the biggest musicians of the moment including Kanye West, Madonna and Daft Punk, ahead of rival services like Spotify and Beats.

 


If you’re browsing social networks or follow music news, the list of artists gathering around Tidal shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise: a swathe of big-name musicians — including Madonna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Arcade Fire, Calvin Harris and others are using the #tidalforall hashtag on sites like Twitter and Instagram, as well as sending out messages or just changing their profile to a turquoise blue color to support the service.

 

Jay Z Tidal

 

What’s the pull for these artists? It’s partly the Jay-Z connection. His Roc Nation agency works with a long list of musicians to provide publishing, management, label and other services, with Tidal becoming yet another string on Roc Nation’s bow as a one-stop music distribution shop.  On the other hand, Tidal is also offering a more attractive set of terms to musicians than other streaming services — often agreeing to payouts of twice as much as its rivals.

With many artists complaining that digital music is not providing decent enough returns, the later of these could be a deal maker for Tidal. The big question is whether artists are willing to make the bet on payouts-per-stream over that of visibility: right now Tidal has only 35,000 subscribers paying $19.99 per month across the markets in which it is active, which include the U.S. and UK. By comparison, Spotify noted 15 million paying subscribers in January of this year. Tidal also offers a standard definition service at $9.99.

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Fashionistas Rejoice! You Can Now Change The Style Of Your Shoes With This App

March 30th, 2015 by Christen

Hey fashionistas! Wouldn’t you love owning an endless supply of stylish shoes? What if you never had to worry about spending hundreds (or even thousands) on shoes again? There’s a new app for that and to be honest, I’ve been awaiting the arrival of this technology for years!

 

Volvorii Smart Shoe

 

The Volvorii Smart Shoe has a color/pattern changing panel that you can adjust via your smartphone to match whatever it is that you’re wearing. In a second, you can go from subdued office look to a pop of color on your pump, because technology is awesome. The panel is an e-paper display — aka, a colorful, flexible version of your Kindle screen. You can get the shoe in black or white and of course change the panel all you want. The team of creators also plans to launch a line of accessories that you can clip onto the shoe to further customize it. Think bows or baubles. There’s reports that there will even a back attachment option if you want to add an ankle strap.
 

Volvorii Smart Shoe

 

Why wouldn’t you want to extend your shoe wardrobe by changing into a new pair of Volvorriis? To support the project, you can pledge any amount, but to get your own pair of Volvoriis, you need to lay down $249. They plan on retailing them for $499.  Would you invest in a pair of ever-changing heels?  Share your thoughts below!

Uber Drivers Are Judging You…And It Could Cost You Your Next Ride

March 26th, 2015 by Christen

During  a recent uber trip from Harlem to LaGuardia Airport, my driver stops in front of the Delta departure terminal, turns around and says “I’m a new uber driver, please give me a 5-star rating and I’ll give you one back!” I smile, nod and quickly exit the Toyota Camry to catch my departing flight.  Sometime between TSA and my flight, I re-rehearse our conversation in my head and realize, “Wait, did I just get rated by my uber driver???”

 

Uber rating

 

If you’ve ever used Uber, you’ll know that after every ride passengers are prompted to give the driver a rating–five stars for a perfect score, less if the car got lost, the driver was rude, or if there was a funky smell as soon as you got in. One thing I bet you didn’t know however, is that those Uber drivers you’ve been rating are rating you right back!

During a recent Florida trip, one uber driver explained “What Uber want is for people to respect the driver, and for drivers to respect the customer. We go above and beyond,” he said. “They can give us a low rating. It can go both ways. That way, we can police each other.” Uber also admits that its drivers can refuse to pick-up low-scoring passengers.
An Uber user who ended up on the blacklist told CBS how she got up there: “I asked the driver what was going on. And he basically told me I had a really low Uber rating: Under three out of five.” No, she wasn’t overtly rude or difficult with drivers to deserve the score, she simply chose to work on her phone rather than chat during her ride: “I feel really judged for being blacklisted for not being really friendly,” she said. Any passengers who manage to get a really low scores allegedly could be banned from using the service, or given a temporary cooling-off period.

 

uber rating

If this news surprises you, you’re not alone. Until now finding out what your passenger rating is hasn’t been easy, but the next version of Uber’s app will clearly display the information. For now, you can find out your rating by sending a request to Uber, or by asking your next driver your customer rating.

New to Uber? Want to sign up for your first Uber ride? Click HERE! Want to learn more? I’ll be sharing tips on how you can improve your Uber customer rating and improve your chance of timely Uber pickups soon!

 

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Spring Clean And Earn Cash For Your Stashed Electronics

March 25th, 2015 by Christen

Spring Cleaning With Electronics

It’s officially the first week of Spring (even though the weather feels like it’s the first day of winter – Brrrrrr.)  expect to see more ‘Spring cleaning’ ads and opportunities bombard your life like never before.  If you’re like me, you probably have an oasis of electronics that you’ve been hoarding since 1983 – and it’s time to let go.  How else do you expect to keep up with the latest technologies, if you can’t let go of the nostalgic gadgets of the past?  There’s no better time to include electronics on your spring cleaning agenda than now.

With so many options to clear some space, earn cash or do good for the planet, there’s no reason not to try these spring cleaning tips below…

 

spring cleaning with electronics

Cleaning:

It’s clear that your new 60″ HDTV or laptop is not on the chopping block (yet) – so there’s no need to consider getting rid of it.  But when was the last time you cleaned up your electronics?  Consider this:

Be clean: Keep your computer hardware germ-free. The best ways to clean the accumulated dust, grime, and gunk from your keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

Don’t clean your HDTV with Windex. The chemicals found in commercial cleaning solutions could damage your flat-panel’s screen. Instead, opt for a microfiber cloth dampened with water.

4 tips to speed up your PC. Regular maintenance will keep your computer humming at a fast clip. Here are four simple steps for getting it back into shape after a gluttonous winter. Springtime would also be a good time to back up your digital data.

 

 

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Earn Cash For Electronics:

Take inventory of all unused electronics in your home, and separate them into two piles.  Everything that’s two years old and older, place in pile A and all of your newer (unwanted / unused electronics) place in pile B.

Research:  Now that you’re ready to sell some of your electronics, you need to know how to price those items and make some money.  Take your newer items (Pile B items) and research the retail prices online and on sites like Craigslist and eBay.

List:  Based on your preference, you can then list those items on Craigslist, eBay or other sites like Gazelle.com or for a quick fix EcoATM examines your device and offers a price based on its condition. If you decide to sell it, you’ll drop in you device and receive cash right away. You can search for the nearest EcoATM on the company’s website.

 

earn cash for electronics

Donate:

You might not do much with the hundred or so dollars you get for that used laptop, but a local school or library could benefit greatly from having more working computers. There are many options for donating your old devices, from local charities to larger established programs.

Goodwill and Dell teamed up for the Reconnect program, which accepts donated computers at select Goodwill locations. The official site has a full list of items it will accept and locations near you. The Salvation Army also accepts used computers and electronics.  If you’re donating a cell phone, the Verizon’s Hopeline program and the 911 Cell Phone Bank are just some of the many charitable projects that can do good with your old handset.

 

 

hopeline-by-verizon

 

Recycling:

Now for Pile A.  If your device is too old or damaged to sell, don’t just chuck it into the trash can, recycle it.  Many electronics manufacturers also have mail-in and drop-off recycling programs for their old devices, including Apple, Samsung and Sony. Wireless carriers will take old flip phones at no cost.  Sometimes, recycling older electronics can become costly with processing fees, but I’ve found Best Buy’s Recycling Program to be the best and easiest of them all.  Head to the nearest Best Buy and they will take electronics off your hands for free.

 
 

Now that you have a few tips to get you started, how do you plan to tackle your spring cleaning projects?  If you plan on donating, recycling or selling your electronics in the process, let us know your experience below.  

Spring Cleaning With Electronics

Spring Cleaning With Electronics

Spring Cleaning With Electronics

 

Smartphone Plans Exposed: 4 Mobile Myths Costing You Real Money

March 24th, 2015 by Tech Staff

Most people today have a cellphone that rarely leaves their side. In fact, cellphone usage is at an all-time high, with 91 percent of adults owning one, reports the Pew Research Center. While the technology has drastically improved many aspects of daily life, the cost of devices and service plans – as well as the complex contracts – leaves many people feeling like they’re being hustled.

 

 

mobile myths

 

We believe you have a right to know about the commonly believed misconceptions about the cellphone industry that are causing people to spend more than necessary. Get the facts by learning the truth about the most common cellphone myths below!

 

Myth: One late payment won’t affect your credit score

Reality: It doesn’t take much for your credit score to take a hit. One late payment can stay on your record for up to seven years. Because most of the top wireless carriers use your credit score to judge whether they should give you the best deals, that means one bad decision can haunt you years later. First, always make it a priority to pay your bills on time. Second, look for a carrier that considers more than a credit check to obtain the best deals.

Myth: The advertised deals from carriers are for anyone

Reality: Wireless carriers spend $4 billion advertising their “best” deals on smartphones, yet in reality, more than half of Americans cannot get the deals because they are reserved only for those with the “best” credit. According to the Consumer Federation of America, credit score plays a “vital” role in many purchases.

Myth: Almost all American adults have a smartphone

Reality: At a time when mobile connectivity is sweeping the globe, the United States ranks 13th in the world in terms of smartphone penetration ? behind a dozen countries including Australia, Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are more than 100 million American adults who don’t have a smartphone according to Pew Research and the U.S. Census Bureau. A smartphone paired with the right plan for your needs can keep you connected and benefit your budget. Furthermore, many people choose to eliminate land lines and sometimes even Internet service at home to save and then solely rely on their smartphones to stay connected.

 

Myth: You pay more for smartphones with no-contract plans

Reality: Consumer Reports states it’s cheaper to buy a phone through a no-contract plan. Why? Because you finance the phone separately from your wireless service and therefore once it is paid off, your monthly bill can decrease. You will not continue to pay a higher amount after that time – unlike an annual service contract plan. Research popular no-contract prepaid and postpaid plans, like Simple Choice from T-Mobile, Verizon or WalMart Family Mobile. Loyal customers can immediately qualify based on their relationship with each carrier making the best wireless deals more accessible.

Discover Instagram’s Newest App For Collage-Loving Grammers – Layout

March 23rd, 2015 by Tech Staff

Instagram is rolling out Layout, a free, standalone app that merges multiple images into one. It’s available on iOS now (on the App Store), and an Android version is expected in the next few months.

instagram layout

 

Users pick up to nine photos from their phone’s Camera Roll — whether they were snapped via Instagram doesn’t matter. The app organizes them in three sections: recent photos snapped, photos with people’s faces in them, and an area with all your shots. There’s also a “Photo Booth” feature, which employs the smartphone’s front-facing camera to snap four shots in quick succession.

Layout suggests up to 10 collage templates to choose from, depending on the number of selected photos, and lets folks tweak their work any number of ways, like dragging and dropping photos in the collage, pinch-to-zoom, and a sci-fi-like “mirror” effect that duplicates part of a shot. Afterwards, they can share their creations from inside the app to platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Flipboard, Slack and others. (Twitter integration is noticeably absent.)

 

instagram layout

 

Why collages? Look at the numbers. According to Instagram, one in five active users — at least 60 million people — already use third-party mobile apps like Diptic, Moldiv and Stitch to make collages.

Layout is the second companion app from Instagram. Last fall, the company rolled out an app called Hyperlapse that lets users create image-stabilized, time lapse videos.  Are you a Hyperlapse user?  Looking forward to using Layout for your next photo-sharing collage? Tell us below!

 

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Got Digital Clutter? 3 Ways To Spring Clean Your Digital Life

March 20th, 2015 by Tech Staff

Smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, GPS device – are you drowning in digital clutter? If so, you’re not alone. Americans spend more than 43 hours per week on a variety of devices, and nearly half (47 percent) have one or more devices they no longer use at all, a survey by Intel discovered. Spring is a great time to add “cutting digital clutter” to your list of seasonal tasks.

digital clutter

Decluttering your digital life doesn’t mean you have to give up your technology, throw devices away or spend a bundle on replacements. Here are three easy ways to spring clean your digital life this year:

1. Choose more flexible devices.

Technology keeps getting more impressive every year and keeping pace is essential in both the personal and professional realms. Beyond only going for this year’s hottest new tech, look for devices that do more. Tablets, 2 in 1 devices and portable all-in-ones pack versatility and power into a single compact device. Here are three great options of new devices that are powered by Intel:

Dell Venue 8 7000 Series – The thinnest tablet in the world, this innovative tablet features Intel RealSense Snapshot technology, which allows you to measure, gauge depth, refocus images and bring photos to life with the touch of a finger. An Intel Atom processor gives the tablet lightning-fast performance, and an edge-to-edge infinity display creates an immersive experience for users.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro – Lightweight, ultra-portable and fanless, this 2 in 1 device features the newest Intel Core M processor to better serve your entertainment and productivity needs. A 360-degree hinge allows for different modes, including laptop, tablet, stand and tent, and it has a long-lasting battery to ensure busy users can stay productive while on the go.

Dell Inspiron 23 – If you’re looking to upgrade your old desktop PC, this all-in-one features a 23-inch screen ideal for watching movies or family game night and at less than half an inch thin is one of the thinnest options in its category. One available model houses the new Intel RealSense 3D Camera, enabling capabilities like gesture control, 3D scanning and 3D printing that bring new ways for the family to have fun together.

2. Donate old devices.

You can spring clean your digital devices and give back at the same time when you donate older devices. From smartphones to desktop PCs, numerous organizations facilitate getting older, no-longer used devices from donors and putting them in the hands of people who need technology but can’t afford to buy the latest tech items.

Check with your local electronics retailer, school district, church or other community organizations to see if they accept device donations.

3. Recycle old devices.

Every 1 million laptops Americans recycle saves enough energy to power more than 3,500 homes per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Recycling cellphones and other devices also allows for the recovery of a number of valuable metals, including copper, silver and gold. Recycling devices keeps them out of landfills.

The EPA offers a searchable database of device recycling programs on its website. Retailers, device manufacturers and even mobile service providers offer recycling programs. Many cellphone companies offer trade-in programs that allow you to hand in your old device and get a discount on a new one.

Before you donate or recycle, be sure to remove personal information from the device in addition to the battery, which may need to be recycled separately. If you don’t relish the idea of letting go of the device altogether, consider recycling it within your own home. Your old smartphone may no longer meet your needs but it could be a great starter phone for your pre-teen, and that laptop you find too heavy to lug from meeting to meeting may work just fine as a dorm-room device for your college-age child.

Spring Clean Your Closet By Selling Your Wardrobe Online

March 19th, 2015 by Tech Staff

closet

 

Spring cleaning will be here before you know it, and we’re here to help you get a jump on it right now. Go through your closet and pull out those pieces that kinda fit, but not really. Upgrade your space and wallet with sites that are built especially for you to sell your clothes with ease.

It’s time to sell your fashion goodies for the good of your closet and your wallet.

 

Twice

If you don’t have the time or interest in posting your items piece by piece, you can box up your entire closet purge and send it to Twice. They’ll send you a prepaid shipping label and a selling kit, then you just send them your items. Their shopping pros go through your pieces one-by-one and look at the brands, wear and styles to give you an itemized price list for the pieces they’ll accept. You can get paid in any number of ways — check, PayPal, Venmo or even a Target gift card. If you’re not digging the deal, they’ll ship your clothes right back to you.

 

Poshmark

poshmark

Poshmark is kind of like a Craigslist for clothes. Right from the app, you can post a picture of your item and list the details: size, brand, fit, etc. Fill in the original price and the listing price, then boom! You’re up and running. When you sell an item, Poshmark takes $3 for sales under $15 and 20% for anything over that. They’ll give you a pre-paid shipping label, but unlike Tradesy, they don’t send you something to ship your item in.

 

 

 

ASOS

 

ASOS is a regular haunt for fashion junkies. Their styles are diverse and perfectly funky. In their Marketplace, you can shop right from other ASOS lovers’ online boutiques or start your own. With your ASOS boutique, you’ll get an Account Manager to help you manage your sales as well as coverage from ASOS themselves. If you have enough to start a boutique from your own closet, great! If not, get one going with friends. You pay $30 for your boutique each month as well as 20% commission on sales, but if you’re a regular closet purger, it may be worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

Tradesy

With Tradesy, you can sell any item in your closet that’s in good condition. They make the whole process super simple. Just upload pictures of your item and its information. With that info, Tradesy will give you an idea of how much your item might sell for on the site.

Then, you post your item and the magic happens: First, they’ll clean up the main image of your item to make it look the best it can by eliminating the background and balancing the colors. No #whiteandgold, #blackandblue issues here. When your item sells, Tradesy will send you a bag for shipping. All you have to do is drop it in the mailbox. They take 9% of your sale as a fee.

 

Now that you have a few options for your next fashionable closet cleanse, you can get started towards your closet Spring Cleaning today!

What are some less than fashionable items that you’re looking to shed from the winter?  Share your stylish spring cleaning goals in the comment section!

 

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