Archive | Technology Trends

Real-World Testing Makes Autonomous Driving A Reality

Self driving cars. A vision of the future that if you follow the musings of the mass media are soon to be a regular sightautocars on roads across the country. Google has been testing its autonomous cars for some time now – with the odd public hiccup – and has made no secret of its desire to get their vehicles into the wider motoring world sooner rather than later.

Eagle-eyed residents of Mountain View CA may have already noticed that Google’s pod-shaped prototypes – kind of like a Fiat 500, but with a distinct lack of Charlie Sheen – are already hitting their streets and, according to a recent blog post, the company is keen to have feedback. The self-driving system, which can reach a top-speed of 25 mph, has logged around 1.8 million miles on a Google test-track (recording 12 “accidents” since 2009) and the long-term goal is make the vehicles a standard part of the automobile industry within 5 years. Continue Reading →

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Product Hunt Discoveries – A Collection of Apps Found on Product Hunt

Personally, I am a big fan of Product Hunt, and try to check it semi-regularly. For those of you who are not familiar, producthuntProductHunt is a site that attempts to put together a community-curated list of the latest and greatest offerings from entrepreneurs everywhere. As an entrepreneur, you are required to receive an invitation from someone in the community in order to post your product or business. Although you can find everything from monthly boxes of Japanese candy to security cameras, a large portion of the products you will come across on Product Hunt’s pages are apps. Seeing as though the emergence of new apps (both mobile and desktop) is integral to keeping testers busy, I thought I would dedicate this space to highlighting some of the most interesting apps I have seen on Product Hunt recently. Continue Reading →

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The New Rules of Net Neutrality

This past Friday (6/12/15), the FCC approved a new set of regulations on internet service providers, roughly one and a half years after previous regulation attempts were nullifiednet-neutrality. Known as “Net Neutrality”, these regulations have been put in place to ensure that providers are unable to limit web speed or access to users for any (read: monetary) reason. According to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: “Starting Friday, there will be a referee on the field to keep the Internet fast, fair and open…Blocking, throttling, pay-for-priority fast lanes and other efforts to come between consumers and the Internet are now things of the past.”

In essence, the new Net Neutrality laws ensure that internet access is treated as a public utility. Moving forward, many of the regulations that apply to telephone access will now also apply to internet access as well. Continue Reading →

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New Technology Prompts Healthcare Transformation

Modern technology has given us many things that our grandparents (or even parents, for that matter) would have medicalnever thought possible, such as carrying around a computer in our pocket and connecting instantaneously with people across the world. This technology is part of our everyday lives, however, this incredible advancement in the world of personal, mobile technology has a much more practical and important role to play.

The healthcare industry is undergoing a revolution right now, and mobile and high-tech devices are at the heart of this transformation. Here are a few interesting and revolutionary apps and gadgets in the healthcare industry.

1. Metria Wearable Sensor: The Metria Wearable Sensor is a little device that adheres directly to your skin and monitors things such as cardiac monitoring, number of hours slept, and breaths per minute.The little gadget then can upload this information to a Bluetooth device, such as a smartphone, for analysis. The potential uses for this span from fitness and exercise to cardiac monitoring for at-risk individuals. Continue Reading →

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Four Must-Have Tools for Apple Watch Owners

Ever since the recent release of the Apple Watch, there has been a large amount of buzz around Apple’s foray into the world of apple-watch-6_1wearables. For the average consumer, this swell of information can tend to be a little bit overwhelming.

If you are one of the trendsetters out there to have one of these highly desirable devices in your possession, this post is for you: Read on as we detail a number of resources for proud new owners of the Apple Watch.

WatchAware

So you’ve received your watch in the mail. Great, now what? An Apple Watch isn’t of any use without a few killer apps, so in order to help us out, WatchAware has put together a comprehensive list of the best Apple Watch apps on the market. The list is organized into a number of useful categories, such as “Unleash Your Inner Control Freak” and “Be More Productive, But For Real This Time.”

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Wearable Tech: The New Antidepressant?

thync_neurosignalingI was curious when I saw an article yesterday about a local Boston company (local to the Applause/uTest HQ, that is) touting its latest wearable, Thync.

Wearable technology is nothing new, but just recently we have seen a proliferation of more of the devices from the Android Wear to the Apple Watch. However, what drew me to this story about Thync is that this is no ordinary wearable. According to BetaBoston, this is “a new kind of wearable device that lets you hack your mood with the flip of a switch.”

The user will place a small, triangular patch on their forehead, and control the moods they want to experience with the aid of an iOS app. Users can choose between two modes of feeling “calm” or switching to “energy,” if they’re in need of a boost of caffeine…without the caffeine.

The fascination for me stems out of the fact that the wearable device could be seen as a replacement for antidepressants for those with anxiety or depression — one click of an app, and a rush of euphoria passes over you, calming you before that big presentation, without the aid of chemicals and drugs being pumped into your body.

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Testing for Security With the Internet of Things

The following is a guest submission to the uTest Blog from Sanjay Zalavadia of Zephyr.Hardware icons

The Internet of Things (IoT) places a great deal of pressure on security testers to ensure that applications on these appliances will be protected from threats.

IoT has become the new buzzword across industries, with many organizations scrambling to accommodate the trend. IoT implies that there will be a lot more connected devices than laptops, smartphones and tablets. Employees are likely to add wearables, coffeemakers and other objects to the new network in order to reap all the benefits IoT has to offer.

All of this places a great deal of pressure on security testers to ensure that applications on these appliances will be protected from threats.

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Three Surprising Findings From the Internet Trends Report for 2015

Mary Meeker has just released her always-excellent Internet Trends report for 2015. For those of you not familiar with the venture cap2015-internet-trends-report-1-638italist and partner at the Silicon Valley firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Meeker has been producing reports like this for roughly 20 years, and her work is often considered a bible of sorts for tech investors. In the past, she has covered topics such as e-commerce, the evolution of search, and the rise of the mobile web.

In any case, Meeker usually packs her reports with a lot of information and statistics, so I thought I would go through some of the more interesting and surprising findings from her most recent update.

The internet had 35MM+ users in 1995, good for 0.6% of the world’s population. Today, there are 2.8B internet users, or 39% of the world’s population.

The part that surprised me about this statistic is that only 39% of the world uses the internet today, although this is most certainly a first-world bias on my part. Another interesting statistic related to these is that the United States made up for 61% of all internet usage in 1995, and now accounts for only 10%.

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When it Comes to Usability Testing, Mom Knows Best

When designing an app or website with usability in mind, most UX experts like to think in terms of user persoUntitlednas. That is, rather than considering the needs and wants of a population of thousands, they consider a specific individual who might be using their product.

By synthesizing data gathered about people in the real world and then designing for those scenarios, designers are able to focus on more manageable goals.

Similarly, when conducting usability testing on an app or website, it helps to have specific user personas in mind. Although it is certainly possible to imagine certain scenarios or to have empathy for various types of users, it can be difficult to fully embody a type of user different from oneself when testing.

It seems here we are presented a problem: Software testers are by definition tech-savvy, so can they truly inhabit the mind of a technology novice (this is an especially relevant question, as it is usually good practice to design for the lowest common denominator)? This is the problem that The User Is My Mom hopes to solve.

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Eliminating the Middleman: Millennials Gravitating Toward Alternative Lending

Uber. Airbnb. Etsy. What do all of these companies have in common? In addition to offering ways for people to make a little bit of imagesextra income on a part-time basis (sound like another company you know of?), they allow for more efficient transactions by removing the middleman.

For example, instead of having your call routed through a livery service, needing to contact a rental agency, or having to visit a retailer offering handmade crafts, you are able to deal directly with the entity that is providing you with the service in all of the above instances. This phenomenon is also commonly known as disintermediation.

It seems that “disintermediated” companies are beginning to infiltrate the world of finance. Personally, it seems that this sector is perfect for this kind of innovation, as banks typically make a decent profit off of transaction fees, amongst other things.

Additionally, consumers are becoming more and more disillusioned with the banking industry, especially the younger generation. In one poll, 7 out of 10 young people said they would rather go to the dentist than listen to what banks have to say. Not only this, but some sources estimate that the alternative lending industry is potentially worth a trillion dollars.

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You’ve Got Mail: Verizon to Acquire AOL

aol-running-man-logoThe days may be numbered for the iconic AOL running man logo as Verizon announced today that it is acquiring the tech company formerly known for dial-up Internet service in a deal worth $4.4 billion.

The merger is set to bolster the telecom giant’s mobile and video initiatives with the addition of AOL’s powerful advertising delivery platform. The acquisition also includes AOL’s impressive roster of content and media companies, including The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, MAKERS and AOL.com.

According to USA Today, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong says the focus of the acquisition is mobile and video. “That is where the future is going,” he says, stressing that “the whole world is shifting to video.”

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Four Tech Startups to Watch From TechCrunch Disrupt

Every year in San Francisco and New York City (and more recently in the EU and China), tech publication TechCrunclogoh hosts an event called Disrupt. Disrupt is a conference where startups compete against each other for the chance to win venture capital money from investors, and press and accolades from the media.

This past week, Disrupt NY 2015 was held from May 4-6, so we thought we would give you a quick overview of some of the more exciting startups who competed in the Startup Battlefield competition:

Parashoot  – Perfect for the compulsive cataloger, or those who agonize over finding the perfect shot to post on Instagram, Parashoot is a small device that clips on to a person or a set location, and can be set up to automatically record video and shoot pictures.

The range of capabilities that the 1.5 oz device has is impressive, as it can be programmed to capture auto video, time lapse photo and video, slow motion, photo burst or standard recording mode. Not only that, it comes with some relatively stylish cases to boot. Parashoot looks to compete with other wearable camera products such as NarrativeClip.

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