6 plus 128 GB

IMG_0755.JPGThe center of the universe, Fifth Avenue at 59th St. NYC.

I bought the iPhone 6 plus, 128 GB, in slate gray. It wasn’t a tough choice for me because I lost my iPad two months ago and this is going to be the replacement. I am counting on the additional length to be just right for reading newspapers, magazines, and books.

I’m actually quite excited because I have been squinting for too long. I’m not going to get the new iPhone for a few weeks because we ordered it from our local Verizon store. Eliot woke up at 3am on Saturday morning to buy the unit for me but the Apple site was down even though they said that was when they would be open for business. He tried getting into the site for an hour and then was just too exhausted to stay up any little longer.

He ordered the iPhone 6 Plus later at lunchtime. Tonight we had dinner with our friends on Central Park South. In the walk back home, we stopped by the Apple store. People were already lined up waiting to be the first to own the new iPhones. Who are these people and why do they have the time to sit and wait?

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11:00pm and the Apple store was packed. I needed a new cord so we ventured inside. It’s still a wonderment to me.

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So that’s a wrap.

El Paso Threatened By ISIS

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I had to make a decision today. Was I going to wait for the news to come to me, or was I going to go where the news was being made? I didn’t really have much of a choice if I wanted to find out more about how the city of El Paso, TX was being threatened by Islamic terrorists who reportedly were going to cross the Mexican border in order to attack the United States.

On this day of 9/11, I was dumbfounded to find out that New York was relatively safe but the people of a secondary city like El Paso (that’s probably being too kind) had to live in fear. I first learned about the situation from a 25-year old brand manager who works for my client, Helen of Troy, a billion dollar manufacturer of hair appliances located in El Paso, TX.

During a conference call this morning, Leslie told me that most of the activities in the city were being cancelled because there were reports “that the militant group of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) were working in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez so they could attack the United States with vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED).” El Paso, Texas, is the home of Ft. Bliss, the Army’s second-largest installation..

At first I thought she was kidding me, I Googled “El Paso ISIS” and found two small stories about the situation from a local FOX station and a weekly Texas newspaper. No major coverage, just a few mentions here and there.

Then I went to Twitter. In one easy flick of a click, I found plenty of tweets to let me know how grave of a situation it was down there,

John Galt (@jgalt666)
ISIS may have formed a terrorist cell in or near Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a Mexican border city across from El Paso.

Larry Stewart (@Larry_Stewart)
Rolling thru El Paso, looking to the south. The border within a mile or two. Wondering if that’s where ISIS might… fb.me.

cheryl (@HNSCCH)
ISIS is crossing the boarder from Mexico to El Paso people going to the wwa date PLEASE BE CAREFUL

Charles Dickerson (@ChasD3)
FEDS WARN OF IMMINENT ISIS ATTACK ON SO. BORDER — UPDATE — ISIS Openly Operating Just Yards From El Paso, Texas |

b-dawg (@Beee_8)
Everyone outside El Paso “omg run hide Isis!!!” Everyone in El Paso ” you going to chicos or chipotle

Dee (@MBTI_Geek)
A warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued

Bianca (@chavezbianca)
Why am I the only one on my tl freaking about ISIS’s threats on El Paso? “Coming soon” can mean 9/11

So the next time you are curious about something, go to the search box on Twitter, type in a few key words, and watch how you will be inundated with info in just a few more hours.

Good luck !

The National September 11 Memorial Museum

Eliot and I were one of the first New Yorkers to see the new National September 11 Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center. Our friend, journalist Rob Calem, gave us his tickets because he had an assignment out-of-town. He was invited along with all of the other residents in lower Manhattan who were displaced when the Towers came down. It’s been 13 years and the pain of losing the nearly 3000 people who perished is as strong as ever.

IMG_0676.JPG Information Center

IMG_0689.JPGSection of Steel Facade, North Tower, floors 96 to 99.

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IMG_0722.JPGThe Remains of the Survivor Staircase

IMG_0701.JPGNorth Tower Communications Center

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IMG_0733.JPGThank You Rob. It was very kind of you to allow us to go in your place. We were overwhelmed being among folks who were closely connected to the World Trade Center.

Visitors walked quietly through the rooms reading every word on the posted plaques. Those that held hands were probably the families of the victims. Our hearts sank as we passed each one. Others were policemen, firemen, medical first responders, and nearby neighbors. You could see the horrific memories on their faces. They all wanted to show their solidarity. Of course, we did too.

The museum allowed us to take photos except in the “Day Of” rooms where many personal belongings were on display. Cameras were off limits. These were the tougher rooms to explore. There were warning signs letting you know that some of the displays and videos were explicit. We just can’t imagine how the families of those who died were able to walk through these rooms. It was very emotional.

Bill Gates Takes Active Role Changing The Way History Is Taught

A few days ago, the financial columnist for the New York Times and co-anchor of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Andrew Ross Sorkin, wrote an article about how Bill Gates wants to change the way high school students learn history. The reason why I’m spotlighting this story is because it’s interesting to see how a tech pioneer wants to spend his billions.

You can read the story here. Gates is serious about this initiative. He doesn’t want to sell this concept to school districts. He would rather target each and every high school in the United States to make sure they are 100 per cent committed to the program.

Gates got enthralled with this project after he watched a DVD called “Big History” by Australia professor David Christian. Gates loved the way Christian wove together “a synthesis of history, biology, chemistry, astronomy and other disparate fields.” He then divided the history of the world “into eight separate “thresholds,” beginning with the Big Bang, 13 billion years ago (Threshold 1), moving through to the origin of Homo Sapiens (Threshold 6), the appearance of agriculture (Threshold 7) and, finally, the forces that gave birth to our modern world (Threshold 8).

If you want to order the DVD’s, click here.

Be sure to watch Christian”s TED Talk below.

I’m So Dizzy

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I have no idea why anyone would want a levitating wireless speaker, but word has it that it generated a lot of attention at the recent major tech show in Germany called the IFA.

A Taiwan company, ASWY, was the first to show off its spinning Bluetooth speaker. It features a magnetic stand for extraordinary spinning. If spinning makes you too dizzy, you can use it without the base as a regular speaker.

Stay tuned. There are a number of other companies that plan to introduce spinning speakers over the next few months.

All this for $150.00,

Understanding Friendships

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Tyler Perry

I always wondered about my friendships. There was always something mysterious about them. Then a business associate/friend showed me this video made by comedian, songwriter, director, producer, and actor Tyler Perry. He freely expressed his personal views on friendship and life’s expectations, I’m including the video here because, at our age, we need to remind ourselves what’s really important.

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The Newest Digital Bodyguard

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I wish the world had products like this when we owned a second home in Montauk, and then Quogue. Instead I spent 25 summers walking around at night looking for bogeymen, or the gang of Hell’s Angels, who I thought would kill us. I grew up in an apartment building so living in a home was foreign to me.

Of course, if I owned the Withings Home product during that stretch of time, things might have been different. I really needed a security system that was more than the typical home alarm that many of us had in those days. The Withings Home unit is a smart HD camera that monitors indoor surroundings beyond anything you ever encountered before. For example, it has a 135-degree wide-angle zoom as well as night-vision capabilities.

A friend told me about the Withings Home unit, but then I Googled it. CNET, the tech site, had a great description. Read it here.

Its super-sensitive sensors detect motion and noise and recognizes the presence of people. It will even pick up a whisper sound and alert you. The same unit monitors temperature, humidity levels and air quality.

Retailing at $219.00, it will be available shortly. Let me know if you buy one and how well it works.

Lights, Camera, No Action

I couldn’t help myself. I couldn’t stay away. I just wanted to visit the apartment building where Joan Rivers lived one more time just to say goodbye. She lived on my block (62nd St.) a few avenues over. One East 62nd St. is perfectly situated. She had Fifth Avenue and Central Park to the West and the ultra lavish Amaranth Restaurant and Madison Avenue to the East.

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Leave it to Joan to have one of the most ritzy places to worship in NYC adjacent to her condo, the Fifth Avenue Synagogue.

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However, the family is having the funeral service at Temple Emanuel which is just around the corner on Fifth Avenue. Emanuel has the largest congregation of any Temple in the world and is super reform. My daughter had her Bat Mitzvah there.

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Joan lived on the top three floors of the building. Check out the top two floors which are set back so she could have a gigantic outdoor garden. The first floor of her condo features a ballroom. Can you imagine? All appraised for $23 million.

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People from all walks of life came to the condo to pay their respects. Young, old, white, black, fat, thin, male, female, wrinkles, no wrinkles, everyone had their own personal connection to Joan. Several policemen were stationed outside the building just to make sure no one would bother the family. Groups of 50 to 60 would flow in and out all day and night, It was all very civilized. Everyone wanted closure.

Who Are You Wearing?

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Joan Rivers lived right down the street from me on East 62nd Street. I took great comfort in knowing she was nearby. Sometimes I would stand outside her apartment wondering where she got all that energy. Her doorman told me she was President of her Condo. Read all about that here.
She was the real deal.

A number of years ago, Eliot, Whitney and I decided to have our last meal before the Yom Kippur fast at Sarabeth’s on Central Park South. We were deep in conversation when three elderly women sat down next to us. It turned out to be Joan, Cindy Adams, and Barbara Walters. Three old friends having a holiday dinner together. No cameras, no annoying fans, no fanfare. Those in the know told me this was a yearly routine. This holiday is going to be very difficult without Joan.

At 81, Joan had a popular Internet TV show, “In Bed With Joan,” was one of the most popular on folks on Twitter and Facebook, and was the star of “Fashion Police” and a reality TV show, “Joan and Melissa.” She also made weekly appearances in clubs around the U.S.

Here are some tweets regarding her death.

Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360)
I don’t want to live in a world without #JoanRivers. No one does – @Andy on #JoanRivers

Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest)
It was a treat running into Joan in the hallways at E!…she was always on… always a riot. Our thoughts are w/ you & your family @MelRivers.

Melinda Gates (@melindagates)
“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself.” – Joan Rivers, a true pioneer for women in comedy and show business.

jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander)
My friend, Joan Rivers – we were robbed of many more laughs. You made us laugh at ourselves, Joanie. You blazed many trails. Thank you & RIP

Blair Underwood (@BlairUnderwood)
Joan Rivers had me on her talk show many years ago & I was surprised & have often said that she was one of my favorite interviews.

Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow)
Joan Rivers will always be a pioneer. She paved the way for a lot of comedians. I’m very sad she’s gone.

Frank DiGiacomo (@frankdigiacomo)
#JoanRivers Did you hear Tom Cruise just had a baby? He was there when it was born … He should have been there when it was conceived.

Mandy Moore (@TheMandyMoore)
RIP, #JoanRivers…. What a spirited force, trailblazer and beacon for all things funny. Such a loss.

Rocco DiSpirito (@roccodispirito)
R.I.P. #JoanRivers. You made the world laugh. We’ve lost a #legend today. #inspiration #comedy

Robin Roberts (@RobinRoberts)
So sad that #JoanRivers has passed away. Thinking of her daughter @MelRivers and her family, friends and many fans. #RIPJoanRivers

James Woods (@RealJamesWoods)
#JoanRivers always teased me at every red carpet event. She was always right and always hysterical. She was a joy and I will miss her. RIP

Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand)
I first met Joan Molinsky (that was her real name) when I was 17 years old. We were both in an Off-Off Broadway show called “Driftwood.”
She was a real character, and I am so upset by her passing. She was too young and still had much to do. – Barbra Streisand.

With This Ring I Thee Web

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Image from Mota website.

I think I wrote a pretty clever headline considering the topic that I am about to share with you. As I mentioned to you in a few prior posts, wearable technology is one of the hottest topics in the digital business.

First there were smartphones, then smart watches, and now–drum roll please–smart rings. A well established company in the wearable tech business, Mota of Sunnyvale, CA, has designed a smart ring that will feature all kinds of notifications : text messages, email, calendar events and incoming calls.

The cool thing about the Mota smart ring is that its not obtrusive. More and more folks are complaining that smartphones are interfering with their social lives. No one wants to put their phones down. If people replaced their smartphones with a Mota ring during social hours, they can still be connected without checking for messages. A quick glimpse is far more acceptable than being completely immersed. This is one of the reasons why the smart ring may become so popular when it goes into production later this year.

Designed for use with both Android and iOS devices, the smart ring also has a silent vibration mode that can be tailored to deliver different vibration patterns for your smartphone contacts.

Let’s cross our fingers (ha, ha) that the Mota smart ring works well! Thank you Mashable for telling is about it.