Computer Mouse Inventor Dies at 88

The man who invented the computer mouse, and developed the early form of e-mail and word processing software, Dr. Douglas Engelbart, died last Wednesday in his home in Atherton, California at the age of 88.

The computer mouse was first launched into public awareness during the 1980s, and then it became an essential part of the computers sold by Apple Inc. and the International Business Machines Corp. And over the next 30 years, the mouse was offered in various colors and styles, but despite the device’s success over the years, Dr. Engelbart never earned a single penny of royalty from his invention.

His passing was first reported to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California via-e-mail by the late doctor’s daughter, Christina; it was said that it was kidney failure that caused the death of the tech pioneer.

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Nook HD and HD+ Drops Price for One Week

If you ebook lovers out there thought that Barnes and Noble’s Mother’s Day sale on the Nook HD and HD+ was amazing, get ready for the Father’s Day sale.

Last month, Barnes and Noble cut down the price of Nook HD and Nook HD+ the week leading to Mother’s day and this month, it’s as if they’re giving the tablets away for a lot more cheaper.

For this week only, Barnes and Noble will only give you the Nook HD (8GB) 7-inch tablet for $129 and the Nook HD+ (16GB) 8.9-inch tablet for $149, all with free shipping plus, of course, tax in most states.

These are really nifty deals on the Nook tablets since they’re not selling refurbished versions of it but actually brand new units; normally, a Nook HD sells for $199 and an HD+ version sells for $269.

Nook HD and HD+ practically has the features that most high-end tablets can offer but for only a fraction of the cost, and although it may lack GPS and cameras, still it offers high-resolution screens and memory expansion slots, it’s Google Play compatible and it even has Bluetooth pairing for when you may need speakers or keyboards.

This is definitely a deal that tablets and ebook lovers can’t dare to miss.

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Twitter’s Two-Step Verification Method

You’ve probably heard of the numerous hacking of major corporations’ websites that happened earlier this year and Twitter is one of them. That’s why the developers of the micro-blogging site recently introduced a two-step verification method to add extra security for its users.

The goal is to keep unwanted “guests” out of each private user’s account. So the developers came up with a new authentication method that would require the user to hand over their mobile number through a secure Twitter page. Though this particular method makes signing in a little bit slower, it ensures to keep user accounts safe from being compromised.

To use this new service from Twitter, the user must first turn it on. After doing so, Twitter will send an SMS containing a verification code to the user’s mobile phone every time they access their Twitter account; this is to give or its application a permission to access a specific account.

To turn this setting on and to set up your two-step verification method, you would have to sign in to your Twitter account and visit your settings panel. Look for the “Account Security” section then you’ll see the option to require a verification code whenever you sign in, but before you can actively use this feature, you would have to enter your mobile number. Just simply click on the “add a phone” link if you haven’t added a phone number yet.

Remember though, once you entered your mobile number, Twitter will ask you to send the word “Go” to 40404 via-text message and with this all kinds of SMS notification will be turned on by default. If you don’t want to receive notifications via-SMS at all times of the day, just change your mobile settings immediately via-the settings panel.

This new method may seem to be a lot of work, but it’s actually worth the extra effort as the developer’s ensured users’ safety with this newly launched method.

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Apple Cuts iPad Mini Shipments in Half

Apple is reportedly cutting down the shipments of iPad Mini in half due to less demand for the said device.

The latest addition to the iPad family is probably about to enter a rough road ahead as it has been reported that Apple is cutting down shipments to retailers in half due to low demands for the product.

Reports further states that AU Optronics, the company that supplies the panels for the iPad Mini, will only be shipping around 2.5 million to 2.8 million units to manufacturers in the second quarter of this year from the 4 million units it shipped during the first quarter.

Which also means that Apple will be sending out lesser iPad Mini units to retailers than usual. The root of this particular slowdown in production and shipment of iPad Mini’s is said to be due to the disinterest of consumers to buy new gadgets in during summer season.

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Amazon Rumored to be Developing Smartphone with Holographic 3-D Display

Amazon is about to answer Sci-Fi geeks dreams by developing a smart phone with a holographic 3-D display.

If there is something, us sci-fi geeks have been waiting for forever, it’s probably the holographic way of communicating. We’ve seen it on Sci-Fi movies and TV shows, read it on books but we were left with one question: “Is it ever possible?” Well, it seems that Amazon is going to answer our prayers as they have been reported to be developing a smart phone with a holographic 3-D display!

Amazon moves its focus from ebook readers to developing a smart phone device with a glasses-free holographic 3-D display as reported by The Wall Street Journal last Thursday.

In the Journal, the new device was described as such:

“Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three-dimensional at all angles, [sources] said. Users may be able to navigate through content using just their eyes, two of the people said,”

It was also reported that Amazon is working on two smart phones. One is the amazing glasses free hologram 3-D display and another is a more conventional smart phone.

Amazon is reportedly aiming to release its new gadgets within the year, although it may not all be achieved due to performance and financial issues as stated by The Wall Street Journal. Despite of this, tech and sci-fi fans remain hopeful for the gadget to hit the market soon.

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New Plasma Device Developed

Scientists developed a new way to control and create plasma that could transform energy and storage.

A team of scientists at the University of Missouri recently found a new way to create and control plasma that could possibly change energy storage.

Most of us are all too familiar with only three states of matter such as solid, liquid and gas, but there is also a fourth matter known as plasma. Plasma has the same elements with fire and lightning, thus most life on earth depends on plasma as it emits energy from producing fusion reaction within the sun.

Professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering, Randy Curry, along with his team developed a devise to launch rings of plasma at distances that could go up to two feet, and even if the plasma reaches a temperature hotter than the surface of the sun it will not emit radiation and will be safe to humans.

The success of the study depended on the development of a way to make plasma form its own self-magnetic field. This magnetic field holds the plasma together when it gets launched and travels through the open air. Curry states that the launching of plasma in the open air is like the Holy Grail in the field of physics.

“Creating plasma in a vacuum tube surrounded by powerful electromagnets is no big deal; dozens of labs can do that. Our innovation allows the plasma to hold itself together while it travels through regular air without any need for containment.” Curry stated.

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Online Tutorials

With the rapid growth of technology it is impossible for kids and teenagers to keep up and focus with their studies, especially with the new video games that are coming out of the market frequently.

Computers made it impossible to force children and teenagers alike to pick up a book especially when they can always Google all the information they need, but although it is good that information is just within reach, there is still a negative side to it.

The down side of this is that children and teenagers would lack the real skill they need with their studies such as social interaction and being inquisitive. They might even fail to develop enough learning skills if they just depend on searching for quick answers.

Another is that not everything we find on the internet is credible enough to be a source of valid information as anyone can post anything online these days.

So is there a solution to this?

Solution is probably a big word for this type of problem, but remedy is just the right one.

If the children cannot be easily taken away from the computer why not install educational softwares that they may find fun and interesting. This is very helpful for children whose age ranges from 4 to 10 years old and although this is just a temporary remedy, (as children would later on find it boring as they age) parents might be able to help their children develop some of their basic skills in reading and solving minor math problems.

Another remedy is that giving children 2 to 3 hours of computer usage per day. In this way, children will be disciplined enough to manage their time well between their chores, homework and leisure time. Doing this might also help your children to go out more and interact with other children to develop their interpersonal skill.

But if a child or a teenager is really finding it hard to cope with his or her studies due to excessive usage of the computer or other distractions he or she might have, it might be best to hire a tutor for the child as to have someone to guide them with their academics and also to have someone to constantly remind them about their schoolwork. Doing so might also develop the child’s skill in communication and expand his or her knowledge by having someone to ask information from.

It is best to hire a professional teacher for the job. When in doubt, ask for a resume and contact the character references the applicant listed. Parents may also want to consider hiring an online tutor for their children who can work with their children after school and even during the weekends as to not bother with having someone coming over and covering extra expenses such as transportation and food allowance.

This is also an ideal way to help children cope with their academics when their own parents are busy enough with work and house chores while still using the computer. This unconventional way of learning is in no way promoting excessive usage of the computer for children, but it is just simply to help children learn while being able to do what they like to do and that is be in front of the computer.

If you can’t break them, join them!

Online learning is also a good way to help a child develop his or her’s inquisitive skill as the child may have someone to ask and clarify details and information from. It also adds extra interaction with another person to develop their communication skills well.

Although it is still strongly encouraged that parents give their children limit in using the computer and let them play outside and interact with other children, still it wouldn’t hurt to let the children learn while doing what they like to do.

If you are considering online tutorials and don’t know where to start, send me an e-mail at miavenus[AT]hellokitty[DOT]com. I’d be very glad to send you my resume. :)

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LivingSocial’s Website Hacked

LivingSocial says its website was hacked and that personal data of approximately 50 million customers may have been compromised.

The company announced today that names, email addresses, and passwords may have been compromised by the said attack, however, the company cleared that the database containing the customer’s credit card information was not affected.

LivingSocial is now working with the authorities to investigate the hacking and the company is contacting customers from across the globe where it operates to let them know about the attack through e-mail, requesting customers to reset their passwords and to disregard any e-mails claiming to be from LivingSocial that asks for their personal and account information.

The company also posted a banner on their website that reads: “Important notice for customers. If you haven’t already updated your LivingSocial password, please update it now.”

The company did not explain how the hacking occurred, but they described it as a cyber attack that “resulted in unauthorised access to some customer data from our servers”.

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Microsoft to Give a Preview of Xbox Durango in May

Preview of the new Xbox, code named Durango, is scheduled in May.

As reported in The Verge, Microsoft will be giving a preview of the new Xbox at a special event in May.

The said event is said to be scheduled on May 21st at a small venue wherein Xbox developers will be giving out the first details about the new Xbox, code named Durango, along with this are Microsoft’s plan for Xbox this year.

Rumors are that the new Xbox may now require an always on internet connection, making a wildfire of complaints from future users. Microsoft’s creative director, Adam Orth responded to the issue and told the mass to just “deal with it.” — a statement which led Microsoft to issue a public apology.

The new generation of Xbox is expected to hit the market later this year, approximately sometime in early June and is said to run in Windows 8, fulfilling Microsoft’s first step in placing the Windows OS at the center of their products and services.

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Facebook’s Small Business Program

Facebook is now educating new and small merchants about online businesses and advertising, while introducing their ad tools on the side.

With online shops being a huge hit, 3% of other small businesses advertise their products and services online in hope of gaining more customers and profit. Facebook took a huge part in helping small businesses flourish in the past few years as Facebook pages about small businesses were created, in return, approximately 645 million views and 13 million comments per week were made by small business clients.

These were all made possible by the small business education program spearheaded by Facebook itself. The program was launched in 2011 along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business. Kirsten Bury from the Facebook’s small business team will hit the streets this weekend to raise awareness about Facebook’s marketing tools and the possibility of helping small business owners gain more profit through online advertisement.

Facebook, having been supported by huge companies with an extravagant amount of budget for online advertising, now features an easy and user-friendly marketing tools that are more affordable for small business owners. Facebook’s new ad tool offers a one-click targeting and automatic optimization to reach the most accurate prospect clients, part of their marketing tool is technology literacy to help small merchants cope with the basic technicalities of their ad program and also to aid them with the process of handling an online business.

Facebook hopes that they could help small businesses to flourish with their campaign on educating small merchants about online advertising and introducing easy to use marketing tools.

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