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Researchers: Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction

Slashdot - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:38pm
Rambo Tribble writes Researchers from the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich, and University of Fribourg have found evidence that smartphone use changes the way your brain interacts with your thumbs. Using electroencephalography to study brain activity in smartphone users vs. feature-phone users, they found apparently persistent, increased activity in areas of the brain associated with the thumbs. Of course, this may well be true of other repetitive activities, like keyboard use. Reuters provide a bit more approachable coverage.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:07pm

As Chief Content Officer of a learning company, people frequently ask me: “Won’t all of your content eventually be free? After all, when technology enters the market, free is right behind it.” Then they’ll point to something like the music industry, where annual revenues have declined more than $20 billion from their peak over a decade […]

The post Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Why Iceland Is the World’s Greatest Genetic Laboratory

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:00pm

Iceland is unique in many ways: It has active volcanoes, semi-tasty whale-based dishes, and a kickass travel advertising campaign. It’s also the best place in the world to do genetic research.

The post Why Iceland Is the World’s Greatest Genetic Laboratory appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

The First Auction for Algorithms Is Attracting $1,000 Bids

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 2:00pm

A new auction is treating seven impactful algorithms like artworks.

The post The First Auction for Algorithms Is Attracting $1,000 Bids appeared first on WIRED.


Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser Could Land At Ellington Space Port Near Houston

Slashdot - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:53pm
MarkWhittington writes Despite having been rejected in NASA's commercial crew program, Sierra Nevada has been very busy trying to develop its lift body spacecraft, the Dream Chaser. Having rolled out a smaller, cargo version of the spacecraft for the second round for contracts for commercial cargo to the International Space Station, the company has amended the unfunded Space Act Agreement with NASA to add a closeout review milestone that would help transition the Dream Chaser from the preliminary design review to the critical design review step. Finally, Sierra Nevada announced a new agreement on Tuesday with the Houston Airport System to use Ellington Spaceport as a landing site for the cargo version of the Dream Chaser.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Open Source, Technology

Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:49pm

On Tuesday, Apple acquired FoundationDB, an enterprise software company with a major open source component. On Wednesday, that open source component was no more.

See also: Apple Buys FoundationDB In A Decisive Break With The Jobs Playbook

FoundationDB’s GitHub page, which was a bustling open source repository mere hours ago, has now been locked up. “This organization has no public repositories,” a message now reads, indicating that FoundationDB’s new owners have made the project closed source.

Many developers were using FoundationDB’s open source software for database projects when the software was pulled. Unless those developers had made clones of the GitHub repository, the takedown could put their projects at risk. A group of Hacker News commenters dedicated a thread to discovering recent forks of the repository for anyone using it.

“Pulling an open-source project upon which people may depend is total jerk behavior,” one commenter wrote.

According to commenters on a TechCrunch article about the acquisition, neither FoundationDB nor Apple warned anyone using deployed versions of the software that they were about to close the open-source repository. With such warning, developers could have at least cloned the software on their own accounts and continued their work without major interruption.

Developers had no warning that there was anything unstable about FoundationDB’s open source status. Before the Apple acquisition, company's FAQ stated, "We have released several FoundationDB language bindings and layers as open source software and anticipate continuing to do so." The FAQ has been pulled, but you can still read it here.

With this move, Apple is indicating that everything FoundationDB has created is for its use alone, regardless of how recently it was intended for everyone’s use. It's certainly Apple's right to do so, but there's nothing nice about it. 

Photo by hans van den berg

Categories: Technology

Facebook Unveils Immersive 360-Degree Video for News Feeds

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:34pm

Facebook is testing what it calls "spherical video," a new breed of online video you can view from multiple angles.

The post Facebook Unveils Immersive 360-Degree Video for News Feeds appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

10 Things That Might Unexpectedly Spike Your Startup's Churn Rate

ReadWriteWeb - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:32pm

Guest author Scott Gerber is founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council.

Gaining new customers is always a priority. But that doesn't mean keeping your existing clients happy isn't also high on the to-do list. Keeping your startup's churn rate steady—and low—is critical.

So what's going wrong when those numbers take a turn for the worse? I polled 10 entrepreneurs from YEC about the surprising things that could negatively effect a company's churn rate, so you can learn how to up your game.

Slow Website Loads

How fast your website typically loads will negatively impact your churn rate if it's slow. People don't like to go to a slow site or app. If it takes longer than a second or two to load, I'm going to ditch your app for another one. It's not worth my time.

Pro tip: Speed up your Web server so that you have a lot more RAM and it can process the requests faster. Have solid state hard drives to make everything go faster. A CDN is required to handle loads in different countries, have fast connections, etc.

The goal is to have a fast website/app. This will help customers not get frustrated when using your service.

John Rampton, JohnRampton.com

Expired Credit Cards

Most credit cards expire every few years, which will cause recurring transactions to fail. Using a service such as the "account updater" tool in your merchant account can go a long way towards fixing this problem. Additionally, proactively emailing customers prior to the expiration date can encourage them to manually update the card before the transaction fails.

Sathvik Tantry, FormSwift

No Clear Guidelines For Major Features

Having easily accessible, clear guidelines and FAQs about how to use the main features will help customers understand how to properly use your product. Otherwise, customers will churn as they spend a long time trying to figure out how to use your site but are not able to experience the full value of the product.

Randy Rayess, VenturePact

Customer Apathy

When a product is new, customers are excited. But they can become apathetic if there is no change or improvement. People remain interested in Apple’s iPhone because new versions come out each year. Give your customers something to look forward to by sharing your development roadmap. They will feel connected to your company and excited about the future.

Eric Schaumburg, eventr.io

Too Many Clicks

Customers are lazy (you know you are, too). So spend energy simplifying everything throughout the customer funnel—not only how they buy your product, but also how they communicate with your team. No matter how strong your brand is, you will lose customers if interactions are painful or slow.

Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

Lack of Focus

It is fairly common knowledge that a startup's best weapon is focus, but focus is also your best weapon against churn.

The most common answer to high churn is to keep adding new features. However, the real solution is to cut out features and make your product or service more focused. Do one thing incredibly well and you'll stand out from the pack. In addition, focusing on one thing makes it much easier for customers to "get it" it before they churn.

James Simpson, GoldFire Studios

Neglecting Client Communication

Most people are so focused on trying to get new clients they forget to promote their brand with the clients they already have. If your clients are consistently getting messages from competitors, they could be lured away. Maintaining communication and promoting your brand to current clients can help ensure they aren't poached by the competition.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

Lack Of Relatability

It's important that in your client relationship they occasionally hear your voice instead of only reading your emails. Changing providers/vendors is a pain, so give them one more reason not to: Because they don't want to break up with you!

Adam Stillman, SparkReel

Poor Interface Design

To most customers, the user interface is the product. A poorly designed website, or structure that is not coherent and easy to understand, will create additional hassles for your users. Those hassles will turn into frustrations, and those frustrations into cancellations.

Communication is important, but most customers aren't going to submit a ticket about their ignorance over your product when a plethora of competitors also exist in the market. Every founder needs to take a course in UX Design to better understand the fundamentals of customer interaction with their products.

Cody McLain, WireFuseMedia

Failing To Cultivate Loyalty

Your efforts to come across as personal and approachable—to let your customers know you care about them and that their business is important to you—will be one of the hidden factors that can impact your churn rate. If a customer feels zero loyalty to you and a competitor offers a similar service with a lower price, they'll have no motivation to continue giving you business.

You know that you work hard to continually improve your business, but unless you communicate this in a way that lets them know you care, they'll never know. Even just a simple email reaching out to them and giving them suggestions based on their account will let them know you've been working hard for them, and they'll have more reason to prefer you to an unknown competitor.

Dave Nevogt, Hubstaff.com

Lead photo by Neil Bird

Categories: Technology

Zuckerberg Wants to Move Fast and Help Everyone Make Money

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:30pm

In an exclusive interview, Mark Zuckerberg tells WIRED how Facebook is much more than the blue “F” icon on the front of your smartphone.

The post Zuckerberg Wants to Move Fast and Help Everyone Make Money appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Sweet New Facebook Messenger App Turns Texts Into Pop Songs

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:30pm

Zya Ditty is a new mobile app that turns your typed text into autotuned vocals singing along with famous songs.

The post Sweet New Facebook Messenger App Turns Texts Into Pop Songs appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Facebook Thinks Its Messenger Can Kill Junk Mail

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:27pm

Facebook wants its homegrown messaging app to replace email as the way we communicate with the companies we buy from.

The post Facebook Thinks Its Messenger Can Kill Junk Mail appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Kleiner Lawyer Says Pao Twisted Facts to Get a Big Payout

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 12:59pm

Throughout her closing argument, Kleiner's lead defense attorney sought to show that Pao blamed others for her own failings but was simply not cut out to be a venture capitalist.

The post Kleiner Lawyer Says Pao Twisted Facts to Get a Big Payout appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

To See the Birth of an Atlantic Hurricane, Look to Africa

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:30am

If you're looking for the beginnings of an Atlantic hurricane this season, point your eyes and satellites at Africa.

The post To See the Birth of an Atlantic Hurricane, Look to Africa appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Decades on, Ray-Ban Wayfarers Remain the Pinnacle of Cool

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:00am

With 80-year-old glare-cutting science and 60-year-old hipster-cool chic, these iconic sunglasses have ridden the waves of fashion in timeless style.

The post Decades on, Ray-Ban Wayfarers Remain the Pinnacle of Cool appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Veronica Mars

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 10:00am

Ready to go on mystery-solving adventures with Veronica Mars? Pack your binge-watching bags, we're going to Neptune (California)!

The post WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Veronica Mars appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Fantastical 2 Is a Crazy-Powerful Calendar App for Your Mac

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 9:00am

When Michael Simmons and Kent Sutherland started building a calendar app for the Mac, their goal was simple: fix everything bad about iCal.

The post Fantastical 2 Is a Crazy-Powerful Calendar App for Your Mac appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

New Headset Could Seamlessly Mash Up VR and Hand-Tracking

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 9:00am

In the world of VR hobbyists, the only real hardware is a pidgin of devkits and kludgy peripherals. That may be changing soon.

The post New Headset Could Seamlessly Mash Up VR and Hand-Tracking appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology

Clever App Reveals a Snapshot of Your Location—In the Past

Wired - Top Stories - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 7:00am

The app aims to bring glimpses of history to your smartphone screen.

The post Clever App Reveals a Snapshot of Your Location—In the Past appeared first on WIRED.








Categories: Open Source, Technology