What is a Bumper Ad?

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In the realm of online marketing and video, change is constant. One such case in point is the bumper advertisement.

What is a bumper ad? Also referred to as snackable content, it is a six-second video that is short and sweet but still grabs the viewer’s attention, many times coming in a string of several short, related ads.

Why such a short promo? There are several reasons, but the main factor is the bombardment of competing video content trying to reach people who are hit with thousands of messages a day from every direction.

How much media is consumed by the average person?

What is a bumper ad

geralt / Pixabay

Thanks to multitasking (and our method of accounting for it, explained in a moment), US adults’ average daily time spent with major media will slightly exceed 12 hours this year, according to eMarketer’s latest report, “US Time Spent with Media: eMarketer’s Updated Estimates and Forecast for 2014-2019” (available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers).

But while our reports early in the decade told a story of robust gains—with increases in digital usage more than compensating for declines in time spent with nondigital media—growth has been petering out.

See the full post here:  US Adults Now Spend 12 Hours 7 Minutes a Day Consuming Media

Even though that sounds like a lot of time spent online, they are considering the fact that many people are on more than one device at the same time. For example, someone watching TV will many times be surfing the net on their smartphone, and both count separately.

Telling a Captivating Story

The days of the 30- and 60-second advertisements being forced on viewers are pretty much over. If an ad contains a good enough story to keep the attention of the spectator, then it might work.

However, it is a fine line between keeping an onlooker’s attention and raising brand awareness for your company. That is where the bumper ad comes in, but it isn’t easy to create an effective ad experience in such as short time period.

This video offers some tips, plus it is pretty entertaining to watch:

So how do you make your brand unskippable? That is the million dollar question! According to Google Adwords, a bumper ad must be six seconds max and nonskippable to fit into that category.

How To Create A Bumper Ad

The temptation with a bumper ad is to try and pack everything in all at once. This can result in the message being lost because of over stimulation. Instead, these ads often work well in mini segments or in conjunction with a related TrueView ad campaign, which is a skippable format.

Stand Out from the Competition

ColiN00B / Pixabay

The trick with bumpers, of course, is to maximize your 6 seconds. It’s natural to want to try and do a little bit of everything, to literally cut your 15- or 30-second spot and capture everything it once had in 6 seconds. But that’s not how to succeed. Frankly, it’s impossible, and you end up drowning your message in a sea of noise. Rather, success comes through creating a series of vignettes and stringing them together. Don’t try to focus on three elements in 6 seconds. Instead, create three distinct ads that each focus on one element. In addition, voiceovers, music and emotion — particularly comedy — play particularly well in bumpers. When these things are combined, the message becomes clear. Short-form messaging has also allowed brands to take more chances and be more creative with longer-form Trueview content because the purpose each ad serves can be definitively divided: one for reach and awareness, the other for deep-level engagement, etc.

Read more here:  The 6-Second Impact: Bumper Ads Explained

Popular social platforms like Snapchat, where a video can only be 10 seconds long, are part of the logic behind this push. Marketing to the younger generation is on every marketing agency’s agenda.

Even Facebook has recently announced their intent to experiment with shorter ads, coming at a time when they are planning to debut some original video programming. Breaking up a video campaign into shorter chunks that are interconnected is part of the six-second era of advertisement, and if the giants of the industry are on board, we all better be ready to morph into the six second era.

 

 

 

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Top Streaming TV Options

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Saying Goodbye To Traditional TV

More people than ever are cutting the cord from the traditional TV programming that forces you to subscribe to hundreds of channels just to be able to watch three or four of your favorite shows. It is not only young people that want to choose their own lineup of programs; even baby boomers are becoming more finicky and streamlined.

Top Streaming TV Options

Pexels / Pixabay

Not that long ago there was really only one online streaming option: Netflix. Today, though, there are a number of competitors that want your eyes on their programming, which is lowering the price and expanding viewers’ choices.

Not only are internet connections faster, but with all the video devices available and the growth of the mobile market, services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube TV are investing a lot of money in what they offer their subscribers. Some aspects to consider are:

It’s more complicated now, with Netflix battling other well-known subscription services, such as Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as with upstarts including Acorn, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV. If you only watch a few movies or shows each month, it probably makes more sense to opt for a pay-per-view service, such as Amazon Video, FandangoNow, or Vudu.

But if you do watch a lot of programs or movies, or you’re looking to cut back on—or cut off—your pay TV service, subscription services make the most sense. They offer up an all-you-can eat buffet of streaming content, often at a price well below what most of us spend each month for pay TV.

Read the rest of the story here

So how do you decide which is best for your situation? Getting over-the-top internet television services is what most cord cutters are looking for.  Some offer DVR services, some offer more channels, and some lower prices, but how do you know which one is your dream stream?

This video gives tips for their opinion of the top streaming TV options, and you might be surprised at their choice for the #1 alternative:

What is the big hubbub about PlayStation Vue?

As mentioned in the video, PlayStation Vue is an online video service from Sony that has over 400,000 subscribers to date.  With a monthly subscription, you get a load of live TV channels, including ESPN, ABC, and Fox along with DVR features and on-demand programming, all available on a variety of Internet-connected devices.

With TV, sports, movies, and news live and on demand, some of PlayStation Vue’s main features include:

  • Cloud DVR with unlimited storage

    PlayStation Vue Streaming Service

    WikimediaImages / Pixabay

  • No annual contracts or extra fees
  • Stream on up to 5 supported devices at the same time
  • No PlayStation console required
  • Receive tailored recommendations
  • Personal DVR on up to 10 profiles

The bottom line for many is “How much is it going to hurt my bank account?”:

How much does it cost, and what’s included?

Pricing for PlayStation Vue depends on the availability of live local broadcasts, which in turn depends on where you live. In markets that include live feeds from most or all major networks—that is, ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox—service starts at $40 per month. Everywhere else, Sony offers “Slim” packages starting at $30 per month, with ABC, NBC, and Fox offering on-demand video. (Find out live local channel availability by plugging your zip code into the Vue website.)

PlayStation Vue FAQ: Everything to know about Sony’s cable TV alternative

I love that PlayStation is morphing into the future, considering gaming consoles aren’t as hot of an item as they used to be. There are so many great gaming apps available on mobile devices, so kudos to Sony PlayStation for “moving their cheese”.

Internet streaming services are substantially lower in price than the big cable providers and along with the capability to subscribe to your favorite shows, there’s no doubt that traditional TV providers are concerned.  The ultimate decision on cable vs. streaming services doesn’t have to be black and white, but be sure to shop around and find a package that fits your specific needs.

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Gesture Control Technology

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Lazy or Innovative

With technology advancing faster than ever, it has become an integral part of our daily lives. From smartphones to smart clothes, new ways are being developed to make our lives easier.

Gadini / Pixabay

I know this will give away a bit about my age, but I remember when you actually had to get up and change TV channels. Yes…I know, very distressing, right?

Even though the TV remote control was invented in 1956, we still didn’t have one until I was around ten years old. (This was partially due to the fact that my parents were very frugal, and definitely not lazy.) When we got our first TV with a remote, we thought it was fascinating.

Now there is the potential to turn everyday objects into remote controls using gesture control technology. According to Wikipedia, the potential of this technology could drastically change the way a computer is used:

Gesture recognition enables humans to communicate with the machine (HMI) and interact naturally without any mechanical devices. Using the concept of gesture recognition, it is possible to point a finger at the computer screen so that the cursor will move accordingly. This could make conventional input devices such as mouse, keyboards and even touch-screens redundant.

Read the full definition here:  Gesture Recognition Technology

Google’s Project Soli

This would definitely alleviate problems with carpal tunnel syndrome that affects many people who work on a computer all day, every day…like me. In 2015 at Google’s I/O Conference, Project Soli was announced, a new sensing technology that uses miniature radar to detect touchless gesture interactions.

They use a very small radar sensor that can translate hand movements into digital signals. Even though this video is a couple years old, it gives the background on this mind blowing tech:

Soli isn’t meant just for computers. Its potential applications are phones, speakers, cars…basically any IoT devices. Because it has no moving parts, there is nothing that can break and it all fits onto a chip so it consumes very little energy.

Other Gesture Recognition Technology

Is Soli ready to be released? Not at this time, but there are other groups working on a similar tech. Lancaster University announced what they are calling a revolutionary technology called Matchpoint. Similar to Project Soli, it allows you to use gesture recognition to manipulate objects.

The difference is that with Matchpoint you are able to use any object as a remote control with spontaneous spatial coupling. This post explains more:

The Matchpoint technology is relatively simple to operate. Like its glitchy predecessors, it requires a webcam. To operate, a user interfaces with the screen which will display a circular widget with menu items around the circle. This interaction between movement and display is being described as  “spontaneous spatial coupling.”

What sets this tech apart from previous iterations is that it doesn’t look to interact with specific body parts. It instead targets and identifies rotating movement. This allows the tech to operate without calibrating or registering specific objects. It can be used with televisions, computers, and other devices that use screens.

See the full post here:  New Gesture Control Tech Turns Anything Into a Remote

If this seems hard to envision, here’s a short video showing more about this amazing new innovation:


Another example of gesture technology is the Myo gesture control armband that uses a technique known as electromyography. The armband is able to read electrical signals from the muscles in your forearm, map them to gestures made with your hand, and then allow you to control other devices with those gestures.

Gesture control technology is also utilized with Kinect, which is line of motion sensing input devices by Microsoft for Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles and Microsoft Windows PCs.

The possibilities are endless for assisting humans in so many ways, and combined with artificial intelligence, we may all become jobless couch potatoes. Or at least we will be able to focus our wasted energy changing channels on something more productive.

 

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280 Characters Per Tweet

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Double Down With Twitter

We recently posted an article about a Twitter user who figured out a way to send a Tweetstorm in one single post instead of as individual conversation threads. Since it was discovered by accident, the Little Blue Bird wouldn’t comment on whether this technology would be implemented for everyone to use.

Apparently they were just testing it to see if an interconnected Tweetstorm was a feasible idea. However, it seems that they were experimenting with other ways to expand the length of conversations by doubling down – 280 characters per tweet.

“When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting,” Twitter said in a blog post.

It is a significant moment for the 11-year-old Twitter, which has been trying to figure out how to change the social media service without alienating the people who have embraced its short format.

Twitter to Test Doubling Tweet Length to 280 Characters

Pleasing everyone isn’t easy, and the 280 character announcement received a lot of attention.  The reaction from users on Twitter seems to be mixed.

Many believe that the 140 character limit is the core of what makes Twitter unique:  thoughts that are short, sweet, and to the point.

Others feel that the limited number of characters makes it difficult to carry on an in-depth conversation and that you can’t express yourself in that amount of space without leaving out important pieces of the dialogue.

In addition, multiple tweets are hard for others to follow, which could be the reason behind the Tweetstorm experiment. This video sums up the forthcoming changes:

Other recent changes that have helped people broaden their posts were removing images and GIF’s from the count. They also eliminated the @names in replies to a group. Depending on the number of people included, it would sometimes take up most of the character count.

Twitter has received a lot of response to the announcement on the original @Twitter account. Many comments are somewhat vulgar and angry, others are supportive and excited. A number of individuals were requesting other changes, such as having the ability to edit a tweet.

As Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, re-tweeted the post, he was also bombarded with commentary. He followed up with this post back to the community:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

I’ve been on Twitter since 2011 and have enjoyed the unique, fast-paced atmosphere of the platform. My thoughts on the character increase are that if you don’t like the changes, continue using a shorter format. Just because you have room for 280 characters doesn’t mean you have to use them.

If it’s bothering you that other people’s tweets that show on your timeline will be longer, there are ways to block those users. There are so many bigger issues to worry about, so don’t let it ruin your day.

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YouTube Director Mix For Video Marketing

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Assisting Businesses With More Tailored Ads

YouTube has rolled out some new tools geared toward helping businesses improve their video advertising. One of the most intriguing is called Director Mix, which allows businesses to create bulk video ads targeting a variety of audiences, all from the same video clips.

YouTube Director Mix

StockSnap / Pixabay

How does Director Mix work?

Advertisers will provide the Director Mix platform with the building blocks of a video, including copy, background, and voiceovers. From these building blocks, YouTube’s software will create hundreds of different versions.

The ads are then sent out to a specific audience tailored around things like online search history and what apps they have downloaded. Here’s more information about the tool:

YouTube today introduced a series of new tools for marketers, one of the more notable being “Director Mix,” a technology that allows a company to create thousands of video ads tailored for different audiences all using a single creative asset. That is, the advertiser could upload a number of different voiceovers, backgrounds, and copy, and the system will then automatically create different versions of the video ad to match the advertiser’s various audience segments they’re targeting, explains Google in an announcement about the new technologies.

YouTube’s new ad tech automatically personalizes ads, can now target using Google Maps, app install data

YouTube Director app for business

3dman_eu / Pixabay

 

Previously, advertisers were only able to target users based on searches they performed on YouTube. This new technique uses data from Google and is able to drill down deeper into viewer’s habits.

For example, if a user downloads a fitness app and has searched online for health clubs, they would potentially receive ads about exercise equipment.

Tara Walpert Levy, the vice president of agency and media solutions at YouTube, explained to Business Insider that their quandary was,  “How do we help brands to find an easier way to make more personalized ads that connect better with people’s attention and are even more effective in viewing it?”

Advantages of YouTube Director

The YouTube Director app, currently only available on iPhone, is another facet of the new marketing tools from Google and YouTube. It encourages individuals to shoot their own video footage, easily edit it, add text and animations, and upload it for promotion.

This video was released showing how the app can take a business owner on a step-by-step wizard for creating their own video:

Video Ads vs TV Ads

Google and YouTube’s announcement today referred to their latest Ipsos research that suggests people are three times more apt to pay attention to online video ads as opposed to television ads. This is based on the assumption that when someone goes to YouTube, they are there to watch video, so a video advertisement is somewhat expected.

They listed several reasons why they feel this new system will enhance people’s viewing experiences as opposed to interrupting them:

Google Data Gathering

typographyimages / Pixaba

1) Helping brands reach the right audiences
2) Enabling custom creative at scale
3) Telling a story that breaks free of a single unit
4) Measuring the impact – New ways to measure sales liftInside AdWords: Know Their Intention, Get Their Attention: New Ways to Connect and Measure on YouTube

As a user of Google products, there is a vast amount of information stored concerning your online activity, which is something we put up with in order to use their platform. It does feel a bit like “Big Brother is watching” and doesn’t go over well with some that feel like it is an invasion of privacy.

However, by leveraging that comprehensive supply of Google data in coordination with YouTube Director Mix for video marketing, it will improve the efficiency of the ad as well as your marketing dollars.

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How Smart Are Smart Clothes?

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Wearable Technology and Fitness

The fitness industry is full of wearable products for people obsessed with working out. Options like watches, rings, and earbuds that can do everything from monitor your heart rate to counting your steps to making sure you get a good nights sleep are quite popular.

These  fitness trackers and smartwatches are basically like a wearable computer. Even though you don’t see too many people talking into their watch like a phone, they are becoming more and more common with standalone capabilities.smart technology

But how about wearable technology and clothing? It would make sense to have our shirts or pants be “smart” since they are usually something no one ever leaves home without.

Clothing That Has Your Back

This article highlights why wearable tech is a smart move:

Smart clothing started taking its first tentative baby steps in 2015 and while it’s not quite gone mainstream just yet, more companies are starting to play around with the concept of connected garments.

Much more than strapping gadgets to our wrists, faces, ears and feet, smart clothing can constantly track our heart rate, monitor our emotions and even pay for our Starbucks. All without grabbing a phone or even tapping a smartwatch screen.

Read the full post here:  The best smart clothing: From biometric shirts to contactless payment jackets

The above article provides some of the coolest smart clothing tech, with a rundown of the features. There is everything from shirts, shorts, pants, socks, hats, swimsuits and bras that can offer typical components like tracking your fitness and playing music, but some are much more sophisticated.

The swimsuit can warn you if you’ve been in the sun too long, shorts that can coach you on stride length and hip rotation, yoga pants that can encourage you to hold that pose a little longer, and socks that monitor your baby’s heart rate, breathing, and sleeping patterns.

So how smart are smart clothes? Pretty darn smart!

NikeConnect Jersey

Take that another step with Nike offering a team jersey that can connect you with your favorite NBA team:

By tapping your smartphone to the “jock tag,” you’ll get information about your team’s stats and highlights, licensed products, tickets for games, and even a personalized playlist of your favorite player available for download from Spotify. Pretty cool, right?

The are a couple potential downsides, though. For one, all the above-mentioned perks pour in whether you want them to or not. They will also know quite a bit of personal info about you such as where you bought it, where you live, and your location each time you connect your smart jersey to your phone app.

Oh, and did I mention that they cost $200?

As with all technology, the cost of these wearable smart clothes will eventually come down once it becomes more mainstream.

Smart Accessories

Clothing accessories are part of many people’s daily ritual, and there’s a growing trend for some that aren’t necessarily smart technology but are just plain smart to use. Purses, computer bags and backpacks with a built in solar panel that have the capability to charge your mobile devices are hot items for outdoor lovers.

They usually contain a flexible monocrystalline solar panel, battery, charge controller, plugs, and cords and are great for people that do a lot of walking or hiking but have also been used by the military and in situations of natural disasters, such as the recent hurricanes, that knock out electrical power.

This article offers some good reasons why lugging around these solar powered bags makes sense:Solar Powered Backpack

…life can often feel like a constant hunt for USB ports and plug sockets. And, while keeping your phone juiced is just about doable when you’re at home or in the office, what if you’re going for a hike?

The good news is that there’s an alternative source of energy available wherever you are: the sun. And technology is starting to harness its power, with solar-powered bags becoming increasingly common.

See the full post here:  10 brilliant solar-powered bags to keep all your gadgets charged

Backpacks that not only have solar chargers but also security and proximity features are great for traveling. None of them mentioned in the above article are extremely expensive, but most are over $200.

And as we said before, the cost usually comes down once the supply and demand goes up.

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A Storm Is Coming…A Twitter Tweetstorm, That Is

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What is a Twitter Tweetstorm?

A Tweetstorm is a series of related tweets posted by a Twitter user in rapid-fire succession. It’s usually used to make a broad statement or commentary as a way to get around the 140 character limit. The problem is that these tweets can be hard to follow because they are all separate, even if the user gives a “shout out” to his community that the statements are part of a thread.Twitter Tweetstorm

Recently, it seems a Twitter user discovered a way to create a series of Tweets on their Android phone that are all linked together and can be sent simultaneously. Even though they are individual Tweets, they can be all sent concurrently to show as one connected conversation.

Not Available To The Public…Yet

This feature hasn’t been launched as of yet, but it’s in the works. Here’s more information about the person that figured it out:

By institutionalizing tweetstorms with a graphic user interface, Twitter could make sharing expanded thoughts more accessible to everyone. Whether it’s telling a suspenseful story, stringing together breaking news facts, or going on a long-winded rant that should have been a blog post, tweetstorms let you distribute deeper and more nuanced content.

Under the pseudonym Devesh Logendran, a Twitter user passed on their sighting of the tweetstorm feature to TNW’s Director of social media Matt Navarra. Twitter told us “No comment to share on the record” when we asked about the feature that refers to tweetstorms as “threads”. We have no additional information on if or when this feature will ever launch, but have learned that it’s not currently available for public testing.

See the full post here:  Twitter has an unlaunched tweetstorm feature

Cursory vs Comprehensive

There has been an ongoing discussion at Twitter concerning allowing users to post more extended dialogue. Those in favor of keeping the 140 character limit feel it is what makes Twitter unique and forces people to choose their words carefully and creatively.

Others want the platform to allow longer, more in-depth conversations. It seems like this new feature would be a combo of both. This video provides a rundown of what the benefits a Tweetstorm will bring to users and its potential downsides of longer tweets in your timeline:

Will Twitter release the Tweetstorm feature? Some are saying no, but it depends on how much of a priority it is. Looking back to the beginning of 2016, Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey posted a message about the 140 character limit that was, ironically, a screenshot of a much longer message.

He said that when the limit was put into place, it was based on the max number of characters for an SMS message. The CEO said is part of what Twitter is, but he also hinted toward allowing longer conversations by saying, “I love Tweetstorms! Those won’t go away.”

There was a lot of conversations about this revelation, and here is one response to the news of the secret Twitter feature:

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Twitter has slowly moved toward loosening up their rules by doing things like excluding an image link from counting toward the 140 characters in mid 2016. They also made Twitter handles (@mention) not part of the character count a few months ago.

Even though their identity has always been short, sweet and to the point, letting people express themselves in an extended fashion, even if there are limits to how many posts per day, might be the best of both worlds.

 

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Will Artificial Intelligence Become Part Of Our Daily Routine

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The Answer Is Yes…It Already Has

When you think about artificial intelligence, it can bring about visions of science fiction movies with machines that take over the world. Is artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more of a routine experience, similar to what owning a computer was like in the mid 90’s?

artificial intelligence and our daily lives

Pixabay

Comparing AI, also known machine intelligence, to natural intelligence can be equated to a computer that has the ability to learn vs the human brain. The latter has the ability to process more than just data, but it is limited to constraints of how quickly the neurons can fire.

These building blocks of the  human brain have the capability to fire 200 times per second and is a complex system that shows emotions and sensitivity. A computer, on the other hand, is basically inputs and predictable outputs that can process billions of cycles per second.

So how will artificial intelligence become part of our daily routine? It already has, but it’s more in the background for most people. This article lists 17 everyday applications of artificial intelligence:

Current Common Uses of AI

1. Smart Cars
2. Surveillance
3. Detecting fraud
4. Fake News
5. Customer Service
6. Video games

Smart home devices

Pixabay

7. Predictive purchasing
8. Smart recommendations
9. Smart Homes
10. Virtual Assistants
11. Preventing heart attacks
12. Identifying criminals
13. Preserving Wildlife
14. Search and Rescue
15. Cybersecurity
16. Work automation and maintenance prediction
17. Hiring (and perhaps firing)

Read the original post here:  17 Everyday Applications of Artificial Intelligence in 2017

Numbers seven and eight in the above list are especially important for business owners. Managing data and intelligence gathering are part of the process that helps today’s businesses succeed by finding solutions to problems through Big Data.

One aspect business owners deal with regularly are finances and taxes, and through Intuit products with Quick Books and Turbo Tax, AI is reshaping how small companies operate.

Intuit Logo

Wikimedia Commons

According to a PDF published by Intuit concerning the rise of smart apps for small businesses, “smart apps can give accountants and bookkeepers the ability to sift through financial data more quickly and easily as well as do a better job of interpreting the data. Intuit, for example, is infusing its QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Self-Employed solutions with AI and machine learning capabilities to take the friction out of and put insights into everyday tasks.”

All of this technology been happening gradually enough that most people don’t even realize how many aspects of our lives are already integrated in artificial intelligence. There are some that feel like we need to reign machine intelligence before it gets out of hand.

What Are Business Leaders Saying About AI

Influential businessman, Elon Musk, has a lot to say about this topic and he made a strong statement over this 2017 Labor Day weekend:

Elon Musk celebrated Labor Day with a dark premonition: Countries competing to be the best when it comes to artificial intelligence technology could “likely” be the cause of WW3, according to the prolific technologist and entrepreneur.

Read the full post here:  Elon Musk warns that vying for AI superiority could lead to WW3 | TechCrunch

The Tesla CEO, who is ironically developing the hardware needed for full self-driving automobiles, has invested in a number of AI companies including Google’s Deep Mind Technologies, and is also the founder of Space Exploration Technologies, AKA SpaceX.

It might seem like a bit of a conflict, but don’t second guess how this entrepreneur feels about allowing the competitiveness of AI to become more important that solving problems that bring us together:

The future of artificial intelligence is a little scary but also exciting, as the problems that could be solved will benefit human existence. From diagnoses and treatments to collaboration and intelligent bionic limbs, the medical uses are endless.

Another industry that is already utilizing artificial intelligence is manufacturing. In fact, it was one of the first industries to harness artificial intelligence by using robots to assemble products and package them for shipment.

With all of these changes as part of our future, should you be worried about losing your job? Honestly, there’s a good chance it will not only affect your job directly, but also your industry and the company you work for.

However, preparing yourself with a list of your strengths and weaknesses, including not only your technical skills but also other abilities and interests, can help you focus on the future opportunities that you might be suited for. Don’t be scared; embrace changes that are coming with your eyes wide open.

 

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What To Expect With The iPhone 8 Launch

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Potential Tech Included With The New iPhone 8

It’s not all that surprising that Apple is once again coming out with a new version of the iPhone. According to a number of sources, it has been leaked that the launch date for the iPhone 8 is set for September 12, 2017.

The Wall Street Journal was one of the first to cover the undisclosed update, as noted in this Time.com article:

iPhone 8 Announcement Date: Everything We Know So FariPhone 8 new color

Apple is planning an event for September 12 to unveil its new iPhones and more, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal. The Journal’s report comes after French website Mac4Ever recently said that Apple is planning to take the wraps off its new iPhones at a September 12 event. Apple has not yet responded to TIME’s request for comment.

Read more here:  iPhone 8 Announcement Date: Everything We Know So Far

Start Saving Your Money

What is surprising is the price. Apple must be quite proud of this special 10th anniversary edition, which is rumored to be $999 for the entry level with 64 GB of memory. That’s a price hike of almost $350 from the iPhone 7 that came out almost exactly one year ago in September of 2016.

One of Apple’s newest upgrades is to have extra storage of 256 GB for $1,099 and 512 GB for $1,199. Speculation for the need of  this amount of storage is due to higher resolution video in conjunction with Apple TV.

The other major ingredient that is pretty cool technology is the capability for facial recognition. It is a strong security measure for users when authenticating payments or if their device is stolen.

The author of this video does an excellent job of going over the new features:

Wireless Charging

The capacity to charge the iPhone 8 wirelessly is also a component that is driving the cost up. It’s known as inductive charging, meaning it uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy.

On a side note, the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is also coming out soon as well, but through a bit of controversy with their leadership and following the Galaxy Note 7 firestorm. They are similarly priced and it will also offer wireless charging.

Back to the iPhone 8 launch. Here are the main features you can expect:

iPhone 8 launch date, specs and price: Everything we knowiPhone 8 vs iPhone 7 display

  • Curved, edge-to-edge OLED display with True Tone technology and/or Ion-X glass
  • Virtual home button
  • Facial recognition alternative to Touch ID
  • “Wireless” charging (i.e. inductive charging) and/or faster USB-C charging
  • Dual-lens camera, possibly in a vertical configuration
  • AR capabilities featuring rear-facing 3D laser for enhanced depth perception
  • Support for the Apple Pencil
  • Stainless steel and glass body
  • Multiple color including a reflective, mirror-like finish
  • Upgraded storage and memory, possibly starting at 64GB and 3GB of RAM
  • Intel or Qualcomm modem
  • iOS 11 (preview)
  • Enhanced water resistance or waterproofing
  • Higher quality earpiece for louder, clearer audio
  • Apple’s next-generation processor (the A10X or A11)

Read the full post here:  iPhone 8 launch date, specs and price: Everything we know – CNET

Bigger Display Screen

There are a few other additions that are going to be part of the unveiling. The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus are also part of the excitement. They will have similar features minus the facial recognition and the high cost.

The iPhone 7S and 7S Plus will come in a new copper color to make them stand out from previous versions. Even though he display screen for the iPhone 7S Plus is good sized, at 5.5 inches, the display on the new iPhone 8 will be a whopping 5.8 inch display.

 

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New Development For Google Maps – Q&A

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Google Maps Continues to Morphhttp://ift.tt/2wywslZ

For online search, Google Maps is becoming the go-to place for everything from finding a website, directions to a business, and reviews. You can see bike paths, check the traffic, and share your location with your friends.

Google Maps allows you to contribute business information, and you can even become an expert local guide. You can create a map of your favorite places, embed it, and share it with others.

What next? It was recently announced that Maps have become more interactive with Google Maps Q&A. In other words, you’ll be able to chat via a maps business listing.

This tells more about how it works:

Google brings Q&As to Google Maps | TechCrunchChanges with Google Maps

Starting now, when you find a place in Google Maps, for example, you can scroll down in the business’ listing and find the new Q&A section between the business’ details like phone numbers and the “popular times” widget. Unsurprisingly, you’re not likely to find any questions there yet (and I don’t think there’s a prize for asking the first question), but that’ll likely change over time.

Google is also encouraging business owners to use this for an FAQ section, and the company notes that business owners will get a notification when somebody asks a question.

Read the full post here:  Google brings Q&As to Google Maps

This new development for Google Maps is only available via mobile. Once you have searched for a location, you touch More Info at the bottom, which takes you to the business listing.

Scroll down past the option to claim the business and you’ll see a box for Questions & Answers. Enter your question or comment and click post.

You can even upvote information so people know it was helpful. The following video shows how the Q&A works:

There has been speculation for quite some time that Google Plus, the social network owned by Google, is eventually going to fold. Many were surprised when they rolled out an updated version of Google Plus at the beginning of 2017.

However, the 550 million active users on Google+ doesn’t compare to the 1 billion daily users of Facebook. So, how can they make their platforms more social?

We all know Google is constantly morphing, and two places in particular these changes are happening is with Google Maps and Google My Business listings.  Earlier this summer they added the ability to post about events, products, and services directly to Google Search and Maps.Messaging on Google My Business Listings

These posts are basically like blogging directly on your business listing, providing helpful content for people searching for a business like yours.

They also offer a messaging app for mobile, where users are able to send questions about your business. The business owner can set up auto-responses when they are busy and follow up with the potential customer as soon as they are available.

You can read more about this feature that was fully rolled out around a month ago:

Google Messaging Rolling Out to More Dashboards

The product allows the business to “listen” to the messages either via SMS or Allo. Customers are advised on the typical business response time.

Google has been giving business owners more and more reasons to visit the front page of Google for their brand search. It seems that with Messaging, Google is attempting to give consumers a reason as well.

See the full post here:  Google Messaging Rolling Out to More Dashboards

My point is that it almost seems like they are transitioning from Google+ to social features within Google Maps and Google My Business listings. The mobile revolution is behind a lot of the updates, and it only makes sense to focus on those users.

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