Tech Tuesday: Technology For The Way We Live

This post originally appeared on the SkillStorm blog: www.skillstorm.com/blog

Angry Birds: User Beware

[Image Courtesy of yahoo.com

If you’re one of the millions who can’t stay away from playing Angry Birds, you’ll want to take notice of this warning. The ever popular Angry Birds has come out with a new version called Angry Birds Space, and unlike the previous games this one is coming with a ‘users beware’ notice. According to security experts at SophosLabs (http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/), malware infected editions of the new game have been placed in unofficial Android app stores. In this fake version, the program disguises itself as a completely legitimate download of the popular mobile game. Once the Trojan (Andr/KongFu-L) gains access to your smartphone, it installs code that may compromise any information you have stored.

Piracy Is A Cost We All Bear

All indications at this time the version of "Angry Birds Space" in the official Android market (recently renamed "Google Play") is *not* affected. And while this is not earthshattering technology news, it is worth mentioning: first, don’t download apps that have been pirated. Second, piracy is a real problem, not only because it compromises software, but because it takes money away from the inventors and puts in the pocket of the thief.

Sources: Nakedsecurity.sophos.com, Mashable.com

 

Is a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words or $1 Billon

Image courtesy of Instagram

What do you do when your competition threatens to outperform your business model? If you’re Facebook, you buy it. There has been a lot made about Facebook’s $1 Billion purchase of Instagram. Was a company that has only been in existence for just over 18 months worth the price? Only time will tell for sure, but consider how we use our smartphones today. We take pictures. Pictures tell stories of who we’re with, what we’re about to eat, the funny things that catch our attention, etc. and we post the picture/stories on social media sites like Facebook.

Just earlier this month marketing research firm Lab42, developed an infographicthat may help to explain Instagram’s popularity. We are using our smartphone to find new restaurants, photograph their meals and write review. According to the firm:

About 19% of those that use their smartphone while at a restaurant update their status on Facebook. Meanwhile, about 24% said they take pictures of their entrees and 18% check-in to the restaurant on services such as Foursquare.

 

What Sets Instragram Apart

Although both Facebook and Instagram are social sites, Facebook images are archived so they are showing our memories, while Instagram is showing what’s happening in the moment. But that is not the only difference. If you saw the movie The Social Network, you know that Facebook was designed for the computer. Herein lies the biggest difference and perhaps the reason Facebook went after this newbie; Instagram was designed as an app for mobile use. It was built to engage on a platform Facebook hadn’t mastered yet.

 

Facebook didn’t just purchase the app with all those cool filters; it bought the intelligence behind it –the employees. Right now there are assurances that Instagram will stand alone and not be absorbed into Facebook. Only time will tell for sure.

 

Why Should We Be Concerned

There has been much speculation as to whether or not Instagram was worth the price. A bigger concern should be, is this an example of how big social media companies buyout smaller sites? From a developer standpoint this might be a financial boon, but for consumers this could be a sign of how information, products and services will be consolidated to just major companies.

Do you agree this was a good move for Facebook? Are you worried about consolidation? Share your opinion below.

Sources: Huffington post.com, Inc.com, Mashable.com

 

New App Helps Kids Living With Autism

Image courtesy of AutisMate

April is Autism awareness month and it only seems fitting to mention a new tool that could help millions of kids and parents. AutisMate was developed by Jonathan Izak to aid his brother and first cousin, both of whom live with autism. Izak came up with the app to be an alternative tool based on what he saw as the limitations of other tools that are as he says, “often too complex and not intuitive enough for autistic children, who tend to struggle with generalizing.” The app is designed to be relevant to the user’s current location.

 

AutisMate has an intuitive interface, and in-app customer support. It’s designed to promote communication, functional skills, and social skills and the app can support multiple users, so it could be used by therapists who work with several different autistic children.

To learn more visit AutisMate or iTunes.

Sources: Autismate.com, Mashable.com

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