All Articles Tagged "technology"

No Work Emails, No Social Media: I Did A Digital Detox For My Own Sanity

March 9th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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This past weekend, I realized that I am at a place of burnout. I’ve been unmotivated to do any work, and no matter how much sleep I get the night before, I still feel exhausted. I haven’t been able to finish the book I’ve been reading, no matter how good and suspenseful it is. My attire has been reduced to a combination of T-shirts with jeans, T-shirts with sweatpants, or T-shirts with leggings. My eating habits have included handfuls of pretzels, chips, candy, cakes and cookies that have created a bit of fluff in my midsection. Basically, I’m a mess right now.

When I stopped to reflect on what was causing this, I realized that technology played a huge part in my rut. There’s this need to feel connected, and there’s nothing like mobile technology to create an exhausting sense of urgency in one’s life. Allow me to explain.

Each morning, when I wake up, there’s a short moment of peace. It’s immediately interrupted by a great flow of Slack alerts, responses, and work conversations. There’s a massive load of emails, mostly junk, and the more I delete, the more they seem to appear. There’s the daily aggravation of balancing life and work, and most days, I just want to pack up and leave it all behind. Phone, laptop, everything. But I recently came to the conclusion that I needed a break one morning after realizing that I didn’t charge my phone the previous night. By morning, it was already on 10 percent. Because my work days are so hectic, only having 10 percent of battery life usually would’ve driven me up the wall, and I would have made a mad dash for my charger. But this time, it died…and I had no desire to charge it.

I left my phone off for a day because I needed peace and rest. I needed to separate myself from the very thing that consumed most of my time. With freelancing, I spend most of my day surfing the web for trending topics, breaking news, or ideas that would be ideal for the platforms I write for. I then have to pitch those ideas to groups via my mobile phone and await feedback. Imagine me and about 30 other people in a single network doing the same thing. It’s notification overload from sun up to sun down. Buzzing, vibrating, pinging all day and night. I try to focus on one thing, but I’m getting alerts for another thing. And then once a piece is published, I have to log into my social media accounts for self-promotion, and then the notifications letting me know people are reading and commenting on my work is all day and at random. So I decided that I had to shut my phone off.

I didn’t Google search articles and tips on how to motivate myself or how to get out of the rut that I was in. I just finally let myself sit in it for a day and promised myself that I wouldn’t let my next day be the same. So during that time without my phone disturbing and interrupting my peace, I slept, got over some work humps, watched TV, slept some more, went for a walk, listened to music in the dark and read a book. I made the day about myself and not what I had to do for others. I just needed a mental escape because I was utterly drained. So, for once, I hit the reset button, and I think I want to start implementing this into my self-care days once a week. In that one day, I realized how much technology consumes me and how I need to be more conscious of the way I manage it so that I can slow down, relax the immediate sense of urgency placed on everything, and recalibrate–for the sake of my own mental health.

Pop Mom: What Moms Should Know About Getting Girls Involved In Technology

March 4th, 2016 - By Erickka Sy Savane
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Black Girls Code

Black Girls Code

Ever had one of those moments when you realize exactly how much you don’t know about a topic? This happened to me the other day when a friend shared a post she’d written entitled ‘What 29,000 Girls Taught Me About Tech.’ I was shocked by the high number of girls involved in technology; and to be more honest, surprised that girls are learning tech. Not because they’re girls, but because I associated it with something that people learn in college. Perhaps it’s a world that I’m not privy to because my daughters are just four and six-years-old, but reading this article definitely opened my eyes and got me wondering at what age I should consider getting them involved? In this ever-changing society we live in no one wants to be the last one on the boat.

So to bring me up to speed, I decide to call Keesa Schreane, tech speaker, blogger, analytic marketer, friend and author of the above-mentioned article. Here’s what she shared. Consider it a mom’s guide to girls in tech or “Girls in Tech for Mummies.”

Mommynoire: What’s your experience with girls in the tech world?

Keesa Schreane: My primary volunteer work is with Black Girls Code and the Girl Scouts who are focused on Science Technology Engineering in Math (STEM) in their day-to-day curriculum in school. I feel like children should have strategies to understand the different careers, so I’m helping these girls to understand the options that are out there. I’ve been doing it for 5 years.

What should a mom know about STEM?

I would recommend doing your research in a particular city. Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code and she started this organization to make the world a better place for her daughter who was interested in the STEM area. There are also other organizations like Girls Who Code, Coder Dojo, which I’m learning more about, and the Girl Scouts.

What are the girls learning?

At one of the Girls Who Code events I went to over the summer the girls were learning how to build a video game. It was a full day event. We had the right materials, the right teachers with coding backgrounds, as well as volunteers who didn’t code, but are there for moral support. The girls may not build the biggest, best game in one day, but they have the foundation of how to build and even better than that they have exposure. They also learn teamwork.

What else can they learn?

There are different coding classes that are taught in high school and college. For example, Python coding, you can even learn online. What we do is help girls understand what a career looks like in a STEM field. Here’s a woman who has a PhD who chose the scientific field for her career, what is her day-to-day like at a company or as an entrepreneur? Learning coding is great, but the true value is exposing them to women who have chosen careers so they can determine if they like it for themselves.

At what age should we start exposing our kids to the tech field?

Children like playing with iphones, naturally, so they kind of expose themselves. If they’re playing with your phone, play some games. See what they find interesting.

Some moms are anti-game because of the addiction factor. How do we know which games are good for our kids?

 I’d reach out to organizations like the Girl Scouts or Black Girls Code to see what steps they’d recommend you take given your child’s age. They’re experts in the field.

Read the full article here.

App Helps Busy Girls Provide Friends With Love Life Updates

February 10th, 2016 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Corbis Images

Corbis Images

Life can get quite hectic. Many of us are juggling full-time jobs, graduate school, side hustles, social lives and  of course, dating. Unfortunately, schedules that packed rarely afford you the time to keep your BFFs completely up to date regarding the details of your love life, which makes it difficult for them to give helpful input when you call on them for advice. Deciphering that text message for you or helping you determine whether or not you’re wasting your time with this new guy or girl will be challenging because they don’t really know the back story.

Thankfully, technology  has provided a solution to this problem. There’s a new app on the market called WhoNow, which basically allows you to keep your inner circle in the loop regarding the latest happenings of your love life. The app allows you to post updates  about your relationships, situationships and hookups that are only visible to your approved friends. You can also share photos and details about that new guy or girl you may be dating, and of course, inform your circle when things don’t work out with a particular person.

Oh, and if you’re looking for advice, WhoNow also has a commenting feature called “Anonymous Hotline,” which allows you to anonymously solicit advice for some of your burning relationship questions. You are also able to adjust the feature’s settings depending on whether or not you’d like your question to be visible to just your friends or any WhoNow user. Either way, all of your hotline posts will be anonymous.

According to WhoNow developers, the purpose of the app is not to have everyone all up in your business, but to make girls like you and I better daters.

“Dating is very hard these days and people are dating for different reasons. By asking for feedback and advice on your dating life, not only on the person that you’re dating, but on what you’re doing, you can have more successful relationships,” WhoNow CEO Austin Cohen told Glamour in a statement.

WhoNow is available for download for both iPhones and Androids. Do this sound like an app you’d be interested in checking out?

 

The Techie Mom: Enter To Win A New Bitdefender

January 29th, 2016 - By Kay Hudson
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bitdefender-2[1]

As a busy media professional and mom to a super adventurous 5 year-old, I have to be mindful about all of my tech tools and gadgets. To a prying eye – there are so many things to discover within all of my devices. The checklist: In my personal and professional arsenal I have a desktop computer, a year-old laptop, a tablet, a super chic smartphone, plus a mobile Wi-Fi on deck. With so much information on the line, it is important that I keep my devices and information, which includes, but is not limited to – passwords and pictures totally protected at all times.

Digital fraud is so big now. Because of that, I realize that I have to be more careful about hackers and spammers who can invade my digital life. A week ago, I was at techie friends home having lunch. While talking about internet safety she introduced me to her Bitdefender BOX. I was totally clueless about the product. Cute packaging for sure – but what did that little white BOX do? She noted that the device operated like an antivirus for home networks. Think of it like this – you hear about terms such as data theft, phising, fraud and other online threats that could really bring chaos to your life – well this really cute BOX, solves those issues from an app. Please fall in the love with the word: Protection.

All you have to do is connect the small Bitdefender BOX to your home Wi-Fi router and within minutes all of your gadgets are protected. Please note that the BOX protects anything connected to the internet or with an IP address. So how do you operate the device, which is considered a leader in data and device security? Simply through your your iOS or Android Apps store. If you are as connected as I am, I truly recommend being protected while on the internet.

bitdefender-1

So how can you get a Bitdefender to secure all of your devices? MN partnered with Bitdefender to give away one device, retailed at $199! Contest ends, Saturday, January 30th. Winners will be notified via social media.

HOW TO ENTER:

Via our FB, note why you need Bitdefender to protect all of your devices. Share your views in our comment section. Don’t forget to show some social media love and follow Bitdefender Box on:

Facebook: @BitdefenderBOX

Twitter: @BitdefenderBox

Visit bitdefender.com/box for more information!

It has been described by The Wall Street Journal as a “breakthrough idea” and by FOX News as “the best way to prevent future digital break-ins.” Bitdefender BOX is a sleek, small and mighty piece of hardware that protects all devices in the home such as PCs, Macs, Android and iOS tablets and phones alike. Once connected to the Internet, every device, even Smart TVs, smart appliances like fridges, thermostats or gaming consoles are vulnerable to malware that silently does its work. It offers the convenient ability to manage the device remotely via smartphone, and it provides the added benefit of digital protection for a number of connected devices that currently do not feature their own protection.

Bitdefender BOX uses Bitdefender technology to keep everything safe, even from threats that come via USB sticks or portable storage devices. All devices connected to your home network are instantly protected. BOX monitors traffic performed on connected devices and blocks different categories of online attacks before they reach the device. With this extra layer of protection you are safe from both online and offline threats.

Bitdefender BOX is available for purchase at $199, including both the hardware device and one- year service. Yearly subscription, regardless of number of connected devices, is priced at $99. Ordering is now available on bitdefender.com/box. Currently available only in U.S.

 

 

Inventors Believe This Tiny Device Can Prevent Sexual Assault

November 4th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Inventors Believe This Tiny Device Can Prevent Sexual Assault

Indiegogo

1 in 6 women have been victims of sexual assault, but there’s a new device on the market that aims to put a dent in this alarming statistic.

ROAR for Good—a company devoted to women’s safety—recently introduced their first product, Athena, which is a safety device that aims to prevent sexual assault.

The tiny device, which works in conjunction with a mobile app, is approximately the size of a half-dollar and weighs about an ounce. With the swift press of a button, Athena will let off an alarm while notifying your emergency contacts that you’re in distress via text message.

“Over the last 16 months, we’ve performed exhaustive research and conducted numerous focus groups and user testing to ensure Athena will be easy to use in panic situations without being accidentally triggered,” developers explained on Athena’s Indiegogo page.

Athena can be worn as a necklace, or it can be clipped to your clothing or handbag. It operates in two modes: “alarm” and “silent.”

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Athena cofounder Yasmine Mustafa was inspired to create the device during a backpacking trip in South America.

“As amazing as [the trip] was…literally everywhere I went I would hear of a time where a woman had been attacked,” Mustafa shared with Mashable.

When she returned home, she learned that a neighbor had been beaten and assaulted while outside reading her meter.

“When I read the news story the next day, that’s when the idea for ROAR was born,” she continued.

Athena can be purchased for $75.00 (plus shipping) on Indiegogo for the remainder of Roar’s crowdfunding campaign. The device will be available for sale internationally as early as May 2016, and will retail at $99. A portion of proceeds from each device sold will be donated to educational programs that have been shown to reduce violence.

Have You Heard About The Threesome App 3nder?

October 23rd, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Have You Heard About The Threesome App 3nder?

Shutterstock

Inviting a third party into the bedroom just got a lot easier for couples who are into that sort of thing. 3nder—the threesome app that launched last year—recently received $500,000 in seed capital from unidentified investors.

According to the New York Post, nearly 1 million users have downloaded the iOS app since it was launched by a London-based startup company.

Currently, California is the 3nder’s biggest market in the United States. New York comes in at number two. The app charges approximately $13 per month for membership and provides a platform for singles looking to hook up with couples and vice versa.

“Nowadays more people are looking for relationships that are designed with more freedom in mind,” said 3nder’s 25-year-old founder Dimo Trifonov, according to Tech City News. “Consensual non-monogamy for singles and couples is becoming more prevalent, especially among young people. We are building the first safe environment for open minded people where they can meet likeminded partners, and the response has been fantastic. We are also gender-blind and orientation-blind, so everyone is welcome.”

To verify identities, the app requires users to log in through Facebook, which has more seasoned swingers concerned.

“People were saying, ‘I can’t log in with Facebook — I’m gonna lose my job,’” according to Trifonov. “But people between 18 and 34 are not so affected by imaginary moral values.”

Would you be open to trying 3nder?

Phubbing: The Silent Relationship Killer

October 7th, 2015 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

It’s Friday night, and you could not wait to get home to Bae. Dinner is cooked, the kitchen is clean, and the two of you decide to crank up Netflix while cuddling on the living room sofa. Then, it happens. You whip out your cellphone because you simply can’t wait until the movie is over to check in and see what the Internet was up to while you were gone. Before you know it, you’ve missed a major chunk of the movie, and your partner is annoyed with you for interrupting your quality time together.

Please stop.

According researchers at Baylor University, ignoring your partner as he or she sits right in front of you so that you can browse the world wide web on your electronic devices is called “phubbing,” or “phone snubbing” and it can potentially diminish the quality of your relationship.

Gawking at your cell phone for hours isn’t the only form of phubbing. Merely having the device in eyesight while you’re supposed to be spending quality time with your romantic partner was considered phubbing as well.

46.3 percent of the survey’s adult participants reported that they had been phubbed by a lover at some point, and 22.6 percent admitted that this behavior caused conflict in their relationships.

“What we discovered was that when someone perceived that their partner phubbed them, this created conflict and led to lower levels of reported relationship satisfaction,” said co-author of the study, Dr. James A. Roberts. “These lower levels of relationship satisfaction, in turn, led to lower levels of life satisfaction and, ultimately, higher levels of depression.”

Less than half of the phubbed participants, 32 percent to be exact, expressed satisfaction with their relationships.

“In everyday interactions with significant others, people often assume that momentary distractions by their cell phones are not a big deal,” said co-author Dr. Meredith David. “However, our findings suggest that the more often a couple’s time spent together is interrupted by one individual attending to his/her cell phone, the less likely it is that the other individual is satisfied in the overall relationship.”

David continued:

“Specifically, momentary distractions by one’s cellphone during time spent with a significant other likely lowers the significant other’s satisfaction with their relationship, and could lead to enhanced feelings of depression and lower well-being of that individual. Thus, when spending time with one’s significant other, we encourage individuals to be cognizant of the interruptions caused by their cellphones, as these may well be harmful to their relationship.”

So the next time you and Bae are enjoying some one-on-one time, consider leaving your phone in the next room.

Little Tech Heads: Do Your Kids Need A Technology Diet?

August 18th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
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I have 2-year-old twin boys and there was a time about a year ago when TV was my savior so that I could get five minutes of mommy time. I was still in the room with them, but I had a break from constantly entertaining my sons. Then I went through a period for a few months where I cut out all TV and that wasn’t easy, however, we all survived and I think it was really good for them to have a break.

It’s no secret that technology has become an addiction to many people. Whether it’s at a restaurant, at home at the dinner table, at school, or hanging with friends, kids are constantly tip tapping away on their phones and tablets and updating their social media pictures and status messages or playing games.

According to a recent study on teens and social media use, the Pew Research Center found that “Aided by the convenience and constant access provided by mobile devices, especially smart phones, 92% of teens report going online daily — including 24% who say they go online “almost constantly,” according to a new study from Pew Research Center. More than half (56%) of teens — defined in this report as those ages 13 to 17 — go online several times a day, and 12% report once-a-day use.”  

If you find that your child is watching too much TV, playing video games for hours at a time, and just generally disconnected from the family and more concerned with what’s on their favorite blog then you might want to consider a technology diet. Try committing for one year and see if you notice a difference. A tech detox and maintenance is not easy, but it could be beneficial. Here are some things to consider:

Lead By Example

It just doesn’t make sense to tell your child they can’t update facebook 50 times a day when they see you doing the same thing. Take an assessment of your social media/technology consumption. If you find that you are on as much as them, then make a commitment as a family to scale back so your kids see everyone is serous about it.

Library Time

The library may not be a kids idea of fun but there can be some cool ways to make it a little more appealing. Dedicate a day once a month where you go as a family and everyone picks three books about things they like. If your son likes video games let him read a book about it versus playing all the time.

Increase Family Time

When there is a technology cutback you need to figure out other fun things to do. You can make a family pizza night and play games that the kids pick. You can go bike riding and pack a picnic or even find out when your local museum has child or teen night etc. The whole point is to get their minds on other things besides Facebook or their favorite show.

Screen Free Areas
If you are downsizing on tech time then take TV’s out of the kids rooms and out of the kitchen if it’s there. Have one to two TV’s around for less temptation. Put tablets and laptops away until the weekends or whenever they are allowed.

14 Fitness Gadgets & Accessories To Get New Moms Back In Shape

July 10th, 2015 - By Rich
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New moms find themselves trying to keep up with the demands of their newborn and other day-to-day operations…on little to no sleep. It’s challenging but not impossible. One way to keep up your energy — and receive much needed endorphins to relax you  — is with a good workout. Here are some fitness-related gadgets you might want to consider.

14 Fitness-Related gadgets for New Moms to Try

Update: #ProjectDiane Kickstarter Campaign, #RewriteTheCode Hits $25,000 Goal In Less Than Two Days

June 12th, 2015 - By Janel Martinez
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RewriteTheCode_image

 

Original Report By Janel Martinez- 6/2/2015:
Women (and several men) gathered at Etsy headquarters in Brooklyn, New York last Thursday for the kickoff of Digital Undivided’s Innovation Thursday series with Etsy’s Director of Seller Development Kimm Alfonso. The intimate conversation touched on various points, from Etsy’s education programs and creating an engaged network to going from seller to Etsy staffer and the company’s IPO.

In addition to the evening’s conversation, Digital Undivided’s Managing Director Kathryn Finney had an announcement: The social enterprise would launch its Kickstarter campaign for Project Diane on June 1.

Named after Civil Rights leader Diane Nash (she was co-founder of SNCC), Project Diane is an initiative designed to disrupt the long-standing issue of pattern matching within the technology industry by identifying diverse founders of startups and tech companies. Initially, Project Diane’s goal was to identify and capture data surrounding women founders of color and, ultimately, promote and connect this growing demographic within the space. Now, however, Project Diane has entered a new phase, #ReWriteTheCode. This includes a Kickstarter campaign to help create a documentary film on intersectionality in tech.

“We started off just collecting the names, and we still are, of Black women who are founders or co-founders of startups,” Finney, who credits 2014 FOCUS Fellow Brit Fitzpatrick for putting the initial stages of #ProjectDiane in motion, told MadameNoire. “Then we started to do some research ourselves trying to find people.”

The results have been very interesting, says Finney, who started DID in 2012. Of the 300 companies that’ve submitted themselves into the database, the majority are not technically considered startups, which is an interesting challenge for the Black and Latino community. (The term startup, while often debated, refers to a company designed to scale very quickly. For example, consultancies aren’t seen as startups due to their lack of ability to scale fast.)

The initial data also shows that less than .1 percent of all venture funding in the past five years has gone to a Black woman. More so, only one Black woman, Pathbrite founder and CEO Heather Hiles, has raised over $10 million.

“That’s problematic for us because we need that revenue to go to the next level,” said Finney.

In order to “limit bias in our data collection and to find founders who may be ‘hidden,’ we needed to look at the gender and racial makeup of startups in popular databases like CrunchBase and AngelList,” wrote Finney in an email. “Once we started to do this, we realized that no one had ever looked at the race and gender makeup of the startup community. We were creating the primary database. So what started as a simple solution to a discrete problem became a big solution to a very big problem.”

Project Diane is raising $50,000 to complete primary research on the gender and racial makeup of the 60,000 strong startup ecosystem and will use that data to create a comprehensive gender and racial mapping of the global startup community.

For more information on the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

Update By Lauren R.D. Fox- 6/12/2015:
Project Diane’s #ReWriteTheCode Kickstarter campaign hit its goal of $25,000 without any media promotion in less than two days. “People do care. People do want to hear our story. It’s given people something to believe, particularly women of color, who were starting to feel almost abused by the tech world. They were really feeling like there was no hope, and nothing we could do,” creator Kathryn Finney told The Huffington Post

Project Diane has a financial goal of $50,000. Currently its #ReWriteTheCode campaign has raised $41,012. Click here to donate.