Technology Closes The Gender Gap, Almost

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Nielsen, a leading global information and measurement company, released an international survey that says when it comes to desired features for a smartphone, both men and women almost want the same thing.

I was getting encouraged that men and women were finally seeing eye-to-eye.

Not so fast. Mashable, the tech site, reminded me there is still a difference,

While both sexes wanted some of the major things, the survey did show that men are interested in mechanical things and women are more cosmetic oriented.

The survey of 58 counties revealed that females were concerned about price, contract terms and camera capabilities and men focused on operating system, screen size and processor speed.

Both genders wanted the best price possible, intuitive features, and longer battery charges.

I guess we are headed in the right direction.

I’m in a Relationship With My Computer

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More and more Americans are becoming just like Joaquin Phoenix in the movie “Her.” They are spending a disproportionate amount of time with their computers or hand held devices. I am one of them. In fact, let me restate, I’m proud to be one of them.

I see nothing wrong with being on the computer for as long as I want to each day. I’m on it for work, play, and information. After taking the Mashable “computer.relationship” test, I realized that I probably like my computer better than I like most people. Yes, except for you, of course.

Think about the following points and let me know where you stand.

1) Do you remember how or when you first became so attached to your computer?

2) Suddenly, your phone knows you better than I do.

3) It’s putting a damper on other relationships.

4) But you don’t need them. Your phone will comfort you.

5) Its warmth will calm you down.

6) Your friends are getting worried.

7) You try to evade the issue, but need to look up a word that describes how you feel.

8) They just don’t get it!

9) Nothing is more panic-inducing than realizing you left your phone at home.

10) Your hand can’t even function properly at this point without it.

11) Losing your phone is as devastating as losing a loved one.

12) You consider your phone a lifeline and you couldn’t survive without it.

13) Then you wake up, grab your phone and start all over again.

Embarrassing Typos

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The first thing I do every morning minutes after I wake up is check to see if Susan Leigh Babcock has proofed my blog post. She normally wakes up around 5am so my copy gets corrected long before you read it. She always sends me the edited and unedited versions so I can see the errors of my ways.

I get real upset when I check my copy and see that the iPhone auto-correct changed some of my words. I always check my copy but somehow I don’t seem to catch those words. I am convinced that the words were right when I typed them but somehow auto correct snuck in and changed them again after I published.

My friend Steve frequently tells me that PR people in a hurry will often send him an email saying “photo shit” instead of “photo shot.” When I see Steve in person he will lean over and whisper “I got three shits today” or “Four shits.” For a long tine, I thought he was talking about his bathroom habits.

Mashable, the tech site, just published a list of words often misspelled.

1-Misspelled: seperate
Correct: separate
Tip: There’s a rat in sep-a-rate.

2-Misspelled: definate
Correct: definite
Tip: Take a close look at the final syllable: nite.

3-Misspelled: calender
Correct: calendar
Tip: You probably pronounce the last syllable as [er], so you have to think [ar] as you write it: cal-en-dar.

4-Misspelled: mispell
Correct: misspell
Tip: You know how to spell spell; add the prefix mis- to it: mis-spell.

5-Misspelled: privlege
Correct: privilege
Tip: You might be pronouncing this three-syllable word with only two syllables. Notice the second i: priv-i-lege. Another common misspelling is privilige. Note the e in the final syllable: priv-i-lege.

6-Misspelled: arguement
Correct: argument
Tip: The verb argue ends in e, but you must drop the e for ar-gu-ment.

7-Misspelled: concensus
Correct: consensus
Tip: The sensus in consensus has nothing to do with the word census. Our word census comes from Latin censare, “to rate, assess.” Consensus comes from Latin consensus, “agreement, accord, sympathy, common feeling.” Think SSS: Con-Sen-SuS.

8-Misspelled: pronounciation
Correct: pronunciation
Tip: There’s no “ounce” in pronunciation, but there is a “nun.” The verb is pronounce; the noun is pro-nun-ci-a-tion.

9-Misspelled: accomodate
Correct: accommodate
Tip: Two sets of double letters, cc and mm: accommodate

10-Misspelled: dependant
Correct: dependent
Tip: People who misspell this one may be thinking ofdefendant, which does end in -ant (although the -ant in defendant is also pronounced [ent].) Note the final syllable in dependent: de-pen-dENT.

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The In Crowd

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The most awesome place on Earth to be this week is SXSW, formerly and casually known as South by Southwest, in Austin, Texas. Running from March 8-12, SXSW features the brightest minds in emerging technology. It is also one big party where people drink and eat too much.

To get a proper perspective on what goes on here every year, click here. Lance Ulanoff, editor at Mashable, tells it like it is.

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Lance Ulanoff

Appy News

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If you watched the video I posted yesterday from Mashable, the tech blog, about International CES, you would know that smartphone apps are going to have a much stronger presence at the show. I am thrilled because apps make our lives so much easier.

There is even going to be a “appy hour” for everyone to meet each other. How cute is that?

The world of apps is amazing. What did we do before them? Some of them were available in hand-held devices. Now we carry one small unit that does it all.

A few days ago I saw a former client at the Miami International Airport when I was about to board my flight back to New York. Shane Samole, CEO of Excalibur Electronics, used to produce hand-held gadgets that did a lot of what we get now right on our smartphones apps, like word and sports games, dictionaries, mind teasers, and children’s activities. We never thought back then that all these little devices would be replaced by software on our cells.

Samole is now involved in the next evolution of consumer products but he wouldn’t reveal any details. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur.

Meanwhile, thanks to Mashable, here is a preview of some of the apps we are going to see at International CES. Read the list and then click here to find out more about each app. Some of these are mindblowers. Most of them are available on all mobile phone formats.

1. Match Paint Colors

2. Use Your Phone as a Level

3. Start Your Car

4. Measure Stuff Using Your Camera Lens

5. Create Blueprints (or Design Your Dream Room)

6. Visualize Your Home Using Augmented Reality

7. Monitor Your Heart Rate

8. Use Your Phone as a Remote Control

9. Change the Color of Your Lightbulbs

10. Program Your DVR Remotely

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What To Expect From International CES

Every year when I attend International CES, family and friends ask me what I think will be the hottest trends at the show. There is no easy answer to that because the show is no longer just about consumer electronics. It’s about innovation. The show is attracting automobile manufacturers, health companies, smartphone apps, home automation and accessories that hit every category imaginable.

Gary Shapiro, CEO, of the CEA, the Consumer Electronics Association, tells everyone to call the show the International CES and not the Consumer Electronics Show, because many new product categories are becoming increasingly innovative and everyone is welcomed to exhibit.

The video below is a real treat for anyone who is not attending the International CES this year because Shapiro outlines what the show is all about. Produced by Mashable, a tech blog, the video is a great look at behind the scenes.

Be Prepared For The Next Weather Emergency

Ever since Sandy hit last Monday, I have been thinking about what our home should be equipped with in case of another emergency. I know that it is difficult to think about but we now know we have to take precautions. I combed lots of websites and publications to find the right answers and then I stumbled on exactly what I was looking for in a story in Mashable, a leading tech blog. I wanted to share the products they recommended.

Gas-Powered Space Heater, no electricity,required.

Jump starts your car battery back to life.

Loksak makes an airtight, waterproof bag in a variety of sizes to protect value gadgets.

The Camelbak’s All Clear water bottle uses solar power to purify your drinking water.

This portable solar charger can power your cell phone twice.

Mophie’s iPhone case keeps your phone charged up to 36 hours longer.

This external battery charger from Energizer can charge multiple devices at once and can add approximately six hours of laptop use.

Check out this solar power radio with a backup hand-crank and a flashlight.

Hands free headlamps have become very popular because you can see in the dark and others can now see you.

Presidential Debate Generated 10 Million Tweets

The difference between the senior generation and those in their 20s, 30s and even 40s, is that by the time the Presidential debate was over, the under 50-crowd knew exactly how well each candidate did. I didn’t, because I wasn’t on Twitter. I had to wait for the analysts and news reporters to tell me how the entire debate played out. I had my own ideas but i was clueless what others thought.

Not the Twitter crowd. They were tweeting away within their own Twitter circles making remarks about everything from the color of the candidate’s ties, to their haircuts, body posture, eyeball action, and of course, remarks. President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney generated 10 million tweets, which made it the most tweeted political event ever.  CNET, a tech blog, reported that the issues and the fact-checking as each candidate made his statement, got the most tweets.  The two biggies were Obamacare and Medicare. Many gave their disapproval of Jim Lehrer. Some tweets where cheering Jim on to close down the debates until the candidates stuck to the rules.

The wonderful thing about Twitter is that it got the younger crowd very involved in the Presidential race, something that was never a draw before. Twitter allowed them to micro blog, so they could actually report the news. They also gave their opinions as the comments were being made. A lot of educators believe that interaction on Twitter  engages and teaches more than sitting idly by in a classroom.

It comes as no surprise that the biggest Twitter star was Big Bird from “Sesame Street.” CNET reports that  there were more than a quarter of a million Tweets calling out the Bird after Governor Romney said that he would cut Federal Funding for PBS.

Mashable, another major online tech newsletter, reported that even teens got in on the act through their mobile devices. Some tweeted, but a lot were texting. Yesteryear, most young folks didn’t even know who was running for office. Now half of young adults, 18 to 24, said they have been involved in Presidential discussions. That is good news considering 16.8 million teens become eligible to vote in this election.

I’m Curious, Martha

No one can ever accuse me of being a Martha Stewart groupie. I don’t cook, clean, bake, garden, or create floral boutiques out of cauliflower.

I do, however, think of Martha often because of a short but impactful conversation I had with her on the way to the Consumer Electronics Show many years ago. I spotted her at JFK airport walking alone down an aisle pulling her wheelie.

I asked her why she was traveling without an entourage. She was surprised by my question. “I am just a ‘working girl’ going to CES to seek out the latest in innovation.” In just the few minutes we spoke, Martha admitted to me she was driven by her “curious” mind.

I instantly became very jealous of her. She was “curious” and was doing something about it. How many of us get “curious” about a topic and never do anything?

Now some 20 years later, Martha is still as “curious” as ever. She is in her late 60s but seems ageless as she keeps reinventing herself over and over. She showed up this weekend to give a keynote speech at Blogher, a 5,000 mom, garden and food blogger conference in New York City.

A friend of mine, Andrea Smith, a lifestyle writer for Mashable, a tech blog, interviewed Martha about her life in social media. I am going to share it with you so click here.

“I love Twitter,” Martha told the crowd. “It just made sense to me.”

In addition to being a whiz on Twitter, Martha Stewart has amassed a huge following on Pinterest, with more than 80,000 followers. Andrea asked her, “So how does the master of all things domestic also master the digital?” Please watch the video to find out.

Cell Phone Madness

I had another topic that I was going to write about today, but I am going to skip that to talk about cell phone etiquette. I just came up in the elevator in my office building and had to listen to a gal in her 20s who was was projecting her voice into her cell phone like she was auditioning for a Broadway show. Not only that, but the topic was so intimate I was shocked she would discuss it in public. The young woman was talking to her mother about some female infection she had.

Quite frankly, I felt she had invaded my privacy. Elevator rides should be a “quiet zone” or at least a “whisper zone.” We are all in close quarters and do not need someone else screaming in our ears. I truly feel I am turning into Andy Rooney, cranky and intolerant. I know it is my age.

So while I was on this rage rant, I called up a few friends in the tech business and did some research on Mashable, the tech blog, to see if anyone else feels the way I do about “cell phone” madness. These are my results. The first few come from Mashable and the balance are from the business friends I contacted.

1. Avoid Sensitive Topics in Public
The person next to you at the airport really doesn’t want to hear about the ups-and-downs of your dating life, and revealing the details of that big business deal in the works could get you fired if it’s overheard by the wrong person. Either walk to a secluded location or let your caller know you’ll call back when it’s possible to talk in private.

2. You Don’t Have to Google Everything
Don’t be the person who whips out his or her phone to settle an argument by looking up a disputed fact on Google. While it’s nice to finally be able to settle barstool debates in real time, avoid the urge to look everything up on your phone.

3. Stop Pulling Out Your Phone at Social Events
Avoid making calls at the gym, or, better yet, leave your phone in your locker. The same goes for social gatherings, including the dinner table. Put your phone on silent and put it away for the duration of the meal. A note to my relatives and friends from Digidame: Even though I place my mobile phone on the table at a restaurant when dining with you, it doesn’t mean that you can accuse me of being rude. My business is all about constant editorial deadlines, so I quickly check my email twice during dinner to see if I have to answer some member of the press. I try to do this discretely. I would say that I rarely get urgent after-hours emails or calls, but it does happen. My job is to monitor urgent matters or deals that have to get done. I wish I could say the same thing for friends of mine who are constantly checking their emails for social reasons on my time.

4. Don’t Leave a Voicemail
This is a Mashable notation. News to me too! These days, no one likes receiving voicemails. The next time you can’t reach someone by phone, try the Gentleman’s Maneuver: Hang up before the beep and send a text instead. Chances are you’ll get a response more quickly.

5. No More Talking on the Toilet
Don’t take your phone into the bathroom. A recent survey of 1,000 iPhone users revealed that nearly 85% have used their phone while in the bathroom. Not only is this unsanitary and risky for your device, but it’s also off-putting to callers to hear a telltale echo or a sudden rush of water.

6. Stop Posting Pictures On Facebook While Power Walking With Friends
A friend of mine said she gets so frustrated when she gets into a power zone only to get interrupted by a friend who just happened to see something he has to take a picture of. Not only does he stop to take the photo, but then he immediately posts it on Facebook. This action ruins the entire purpose of power walking with friends. I can think of friends who do that constantly when in a group just strolling along. Several of us have to stop and wait for the person who is a block behind us.

7. Do Not Talk To Friends While In The Company Of Other Friends
This complaint comes from a Chicago buddy who says that every time one of his pals picks him up in his car so they can ride together, he is usually engaged in a conversation. He has to sit there quietly alone until that person gets off the phone. He said he wanted to take his own car in the first place, but the friend insisted they ride together. What was the point?

8.Do Not Walk Away From Your Cell Phone
This pet peeve was told to me this morning by one of my clients. He hates when people visit his office or country home and they leave their cell phone on his desk or kitchen table when they go to the bathroom, go outside, or go talk to someone else in the vicinity. He finds himself constantly being interrupted by the other person’s phone ringing no less than eight times before voice mail goes into action. He feels like it is such an intrusion on his privacy.

If you have any other pointers be sure to leave them in the comment section. We are all in this together and none of us are innocent.