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The Russians are coming – social media opening up closed worlds

Elizabeth Rust : October 22, 2015 1:01 pm : Blog

light-of-the-world-1426922-640x480Blah, I haven’t blogged in forever. Not that I haven’t been thinking about my blog, I’ve just been so bogged down with ideas and features that I haven’t had the energy to write for it.

Lately I’ve become a bit obsessed with watching YouTube vlogs. When I can’t sleep, most of the time, I’m watching these early in the morning. I’m especially watching ones produced by Americans in Russia.

Why? It’s just so fascinating to see them walking around, speaking with people, seeing what they eat, just everything.

I’ve always been a bit obsessed with Russian culture. I wanted to either learn Russian or French in high school. But for some unknown reason got myself thrown into Japanese – didn’t you know Japan was supposed to be the next powerhouse – showing my age, possibly. Needless to say, I’ve never used any of the Japanese I learned in those four years.

Yes, sanctions do come into play – the ballerina who can’t get the right pointe shoes – restaurant owners who can’t get the right pizza cheese – but I’m astounded by how everyone just gets on with it. They whine a bit on the blog, but by the end they’ve come up with a solution. I like that!

There’s just something about social media opening up closed worlds. A story in there, perhaps, I don’t know. I can’t seem to get my head around how to pitch this to anyone in a topical way.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Samsung wireless audio 360 speaker

Elizabeth Rust : June 19, 2015 12:17 pm : Blog

Samsung 360Last night I went to the launch party for Samsung New Wave. The typical party – tech journalists flown in from throughout Europe, given lots of alcohol, nice hotel room, etc. Though what I’m finding interesting is the amount of fashion bloggers invited to these events. It seems that ever since Apple made friends with Vogue, the entire tech industry wants to make friends with fashion. It’s quite amusing to see very pretty (usually blonde) girls with gobs of lipstick mixing with the very casual techies. Maybe that’s the answer to more women being interested in technology – mix them with fashion journalists? Ha! Maybe not.

So back to Samsung 360, it’s basically a speaker that propels music throughout the entire room. So wherever you are, you can hear the music. I’m not sure I like the design, it looks like a Fabridge egg, as one of the demonstrated said to me, but I do like how it’s completely wireless. For example, put your iPad safely in your room, speaker outside and have a barbeque.

London based garage duo, Gorgon City said: “Playing through the Wireless Audio 360 speakers was wicked. This is a great piece of kit for people who love music and are we have enjoyed being part of the launch.”

Is this revolutionary, quite possibly not, but I do like the concept of a small mobile speaker that’s able to produce near professional sound quality.

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Tech just isn’t for techies: Verona, Uber and drones

Elizabeth Rust : May 11, 2015 12:34 pm : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies

It’s a warm day in London. Hopefully that means summer is just around the corner. In the meantime, check out these bytes. Get them to your inbox every week by signing up here!

Favourite byte
Verona is a new Tinder style app that aims to make love matches between Israelis and Palestinians. Singletons log into the app using Facebook and identify themselves as Israeli or Palestinian and are then matched with the opposite. Users then swipe right if they like someone, left if they don’t, and if the two match, they can start chatting and potentially meet.

“I very much believe that the basis of any relationship is communication,” founder Matthew Nolan told Refinery29. “So if these two cultures are forced to be separate in all this conflict, forming relationships between them could be the glue that hopefully ignites a shift in consciousness.”

Lots of bytes
Who are the modern day Yuppies, and will we ever get rid of them? Think Uberdrives make a lot of money, think again, but their bosses do. This app can help taxidrivers earn more. Kim Kardashian’s selfie book isn’t expected to sell any copies. Learn how to get a woman’s attention over the internet. Pilots want civilian dronesto have stricter flying laws. 42% of Tinder users aren’t single! Instagram found the owner of a diamond encrusted Cartier watch. You can get a gold Apple watch for a fraction of the cost. Want to film the police? What it’s really like at Tech Crunch Disrupt. Soon you could use your smartphone to scan your blood for parasites.

(Don’t get on Kanye West’s bad side!)
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And just for kicks, check out these cats who have smelled the catnip a bit too much.

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Tech just isn’t for techies: Facebook geography, #MetGala and Periscope fight

Elizabeth Rust : May 5, 2015 11:21 am : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies


Tech just isn’t for techies has been away the past couple weeks. We’re back now, and here are our favourite bytes to start your week. Sign up here!

Favourite byte
If you’ve ever tried to ‘check-in’ using Facebook and it thinks you’re in a completely different place – sometimes miles away from where you are – then you’ll understand the frustration of the Gotland’s residents in Sweden. According to Facebook the island just off the mainland of Sweden is in Norway, just north of Oslo.

“It’s ridiculous,” said Ulrica Fransson Ingelmark, editor of the Gotlands Allehanda newspaper, which first reported the bug.

“It’s been weeks since companies and private persons got a new address in Norway, and we talked about it a lot on the island, and nothing changed, and then we wrote about it, and now it’s a viral success, and Facebook still hasn’t changed it.”

The resident are concerned about tourism, saying they don’t have the fjords. Julia Bendelin who works for an advertising agency on the island said: “Give us back our island!”

Lots of bytes
How Internet mapmakers are helping Nepal. Teens who sexit could be charged as sex offenders. Your weekly shop just got easier with the internet. Los Angeles continues to become the next Silicon Valley with Snapchat signing a 10 year lease in Venice. A Chinese tech company has pulled an ad wanting to hire ‘sexy’ women to motivate their coders. You can now give someone ‘the finger’ with this emoji. Perhaps these women could use it. Check out this guide if you want more info on any emoji your heart’s desire. What to do when you have lots of Twitter followers and you aren’t famous. If you want to run for politics, make sure you buy your domain namePeriscpe is the real winner in boxing. Don’t let the government run your life. I always have a tech-free Saturday, maybe you should too. And I couldn’t ignore the Met Gala, will it save Yahoo!?

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And just for kicks watch a Lego Star Destroyer be smashed at 1,000FPS.

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Tech just isn’t for techies: IRL, Silicon Valley and life sized mechanical horse

Elizabeth Rust : April 13, 2015 11:19 am : Blog, Tech just isn't or techies


What you need to read to start your week – sign up!

Favourite byte
Did you know people are using Twitter to meet new people in real life? According to the New York Times Tweeters are posting open invitations to see who shows up.

“As I see it, you meet everyone you can because you never know what’s going to happen down the road,” Peter Shankman said. “Everyone you meet, everyone you talk to, you should be networking. You’re not necessarily looking for business, but if you have the opportunity to meet someone and say, ‘Hi,’ why wouldn’t you?”

Though some Tweeters warn that responding to open invitations can pose risks.

Julia Lynton-Boelte, a life coach from Vashon, Wash., showed up at a park in Oakland, Calif., after a Facebook friend she barely knew invited all her followers to come celebrate the completion of her most recent art project, a giant, heart-shaped pillow. “She wanted all her friends to show up and bring a pillow,” she said. “So I drove to the park with this pillow, which is an awkward thing to do, right? You can’t really play it off like, ‘Oh, I always bring my pillow to the park.’”

Ms. Lynton-Boelte soon realized the invitation wasn’t as open as it seemed. “I definitely was not expected at that party,” she said. Perhaps, she guessed, the artist just wanted to brag about her art project but felt more comfortable couching it in a faux invitation. “I had to make the best of a bad situation.”

Lots of bytes
Cities are trying to create their own Silicon Valleys, but is this a good thing? See what this new father said. Cinemas just got a little more high-tech. This is what traditional marketplaces can learn from Etsy. This is the very well coordinated Black Twitter campaigning for #Ferguson and #MikeBrown. Another study claiming that using Facebook too much can make you depressed. But Facebook is now everywhere thanks to their advertising campaign. Forget the #Applewatch, check out this alarm clock. Or how mobile phone developers are really focusing on the camera. A new app for dating women. A ski resort funded by crowdsourcing. If you break a leg, you could get an even better bionic one. Tech will not solve education. A life-sized mechanical horse!

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And just for kicks, check out the Lego Titanic. It’s quite possibly the biggest Lego kit ever sold.

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