Day: March 6, 2017

Old-school social networks Tagged and Hi5 bought by MeetMe for $60M

 Like bizzaro Facebooks, Tagged and Hi5 launched in 2004 to help you meet new people instead of connecting you with friends you already know. Through social games and paid dating features, they earned a surprising amount of revenue despite being relatively unknown. Tagged bought Hi5 in 2011 before branching out into standalone social app development and renamed the parent company If(we). But… Read More

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IBM and Salesforce partner to sell Watson and Einstein

Server room in data center Two of the best-marketed names in artificial intelligence are coming together to pitch their wares to a sea of unwitting rubes new customers with the announcement that IBM and Salesforce are going to partner. The new partnership amounts to a way for IBM to sell consulting services across both Salesforce’s Einstein and IBM’s Watson AI-branded businesses. Insights from Watson will now… Read More

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Pizza-ordering Pie Tops sneakers are as good a reason as any to question your existence

 Pie Tops are not the future of sneakers. They’re not some cool prototype like the HyperAdapt that point to a shoe company finally realizing a long sought-after feature. They’re a good gimmick from a pizza company looking for a way to capitalize on March Madness with a pair of shoes that order a pizza when you squeeze their tongue. I’ve tried them, they’re real… Read More

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Snakisms: the snake game, but now with meaning

Pippin Barr’s Snakisms is a version of the classic game Snake, but with a selection of philosophical viewpoints to choose from at the outset.

SNAKISMS was begun on the strength of the idea of “Ascetic Snake”, a game of Snake in which the snake isn’t meant to eat the apple (or whatever that thing is in Snake). That basic reversal of the standard form of the game struck me as funny because those sorts of things always strike me as funny, but on turning to actually make the game it seemed pretty clear it was too much of a throw-away idea all on its own.

And so it came to pass that I decided I needed to make a whole set of Snake games based (loosely) on different philosophies, eventually settling on the idea of “isms” because SNAKISMS is really a pretty great title for a game, I think you’ll agree. The design process took a surprisingly long time in terms of coming up with a set of “reasonable” interpretations of philosophies/isms that could be translated in some way to the mechanics of the original Snake game.

The creator’s Comp Sci PhD thesis concerns the moral dimensions of gameplay.

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Chris Christie's Port Authority boss blackmailed United into scheduling a flight to bring him to his weekend place

Former NJ Port Authority Chairman David Samson — a “staunch ally” of Chris Christie — got United to schedule an extra, largely empty Friday night flight from Newark airport to Columbia, SC, where he had his weekend place (the flight returned early Monday in time for him to go back to the office). A court has now accepted his guilty plea for accepting bribes and sentenced him to one year of house arrest and four years of probation.

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The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business

E-commerce can be a minefield to the average Joe. Many big decisions need to be made, from deciding what to sell to how you can start setting up an online business. But, don’t let the online world scare you. With the following tips, you will be well on your way to creating your own successful business.

Refining, Designing And Sourcing Your Product

There are lots of options when embarking on a career in e-commerce these days. You can design your product, employ a third-party company to do this for you or source stock and mark up the price to make a profit.

It doesn’t matter how you go about obtaining your product. What’s more important is that you take your time to make the right decisions.

The D.I.Y. Approach

Product design can be a long and arduous process. But, if you want to offer a unique and valuable product or service to your customers and succeed with your online business, then you need to be ready to do your homework.

Pro tip: To launch an online business with a self-designed and prototyped product, your product needs to be refined to meet the needs of your audience. This should involve rigorous product testing.

GoldieBlox is one good example. It has taken the children’s toy industry by storm with products designed to encourage young girls to pursue an interest in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

These construction toys were designed to overcome the societal obstacles that can afflict girls in early childhood development and make them believe that STEM subjects are off limits to them.

GoldieBlox craftstruction

Shopify entrepreneur and founder Debbie Sterling divulged that, to get her product right, she embarked on a long process of prototype testing and tweaking with focus groups to test on small children. Sterling created crude prototypes of her early designs and she employed children of differing age groups to play with them, observing them as they did.

Each focus group revealed new things to change about her products. One of her discoveries was that female children get frustrated with asymmetrical construction toys. As a result, she tweaked her designs to feature only symmetrical slots.

Debbie’s experiences teach us that all products need multiple levels of refinement and testing to ensure that they successfully fill a niche in the market and meet a customer’s needs.

Third Party Design

Third party design can be a great way to get your product ready to prototype or manufacture quickly. This method of design can speed up the process of getting your product ready to market in your online store and allow you to focus solely on marketing it and making sales.

Services, such as Viral Style, enable you to design your unique, personalized garments online, set your price and use their services to market the product through email placements and social media.

Here’s how it works:

  • You need to create your garment with the online design suite
  • Set a price at which you wish to sell your product online
  • Utilize Viral Style’s marketing services to gain exposure for your product
  • Collect a percentage of each design’s sales as a profit

However, this kind of design model is not without its drawbacks. For example, Viral Style takes a percentage of each sale for their service.

Despite this, by speeding up the product design process, third party designing services is still a good tool, especially since it can make your business more accessible to people.

Buying In Your Product

Is creating or designing a product not so appealing? If this is your concern, you should consider becoming an online merchant.

Being a merchant requires spending time doing a lot of research to ensure that you find the best quality products at the lowest price and then mark them up to make a profit.

Here are some ways you could source products and set up an online business:

Find a simple accessory niche – Merchants make most of their profits on the accompanying accessories to their products. These accessories, such as HDMI cables and phone cases, are less price-sensitive. Despite this, merchants can still make the same profit on an HDMI cable as they would do on a TV.

Consumable/ disposable and subscription products – These products often lead to repeat business, which is great for any merchant. If your product is regularly ordered, you could be on your way to generating a sustainable profit. Consider running a subscription service for guaranteed periodic sales.

Gaps in the online shelves – Perusing the online stock levels of products on Amazon or Ebay is often a good idea. Products which are consistently out of stock are a great business opportunity for you.

Be relentless: test your product, or do your research until you get it right. See our previous article on why your business ideas most likely need a little work.

Setting Up Shop

setting up shop

So, now that you’ve made or found your niche product, how do you get the ball rolling?

Here are some important points to consider when you are selecting which method to adopt in selling your product online:

The ability to showcase your products and brand through attractive imagery: Promote your products and brand with unique imagery, including crisp, high definition photos or infographics.

A clearly designed buyer’s journey: An easy to use online interface is required to convert your page visits into sales and avoid shopping cart abandonment

Communications with customers are key: Make the most of the online world by using calls-to-action to capture email addresses and click-through buttons to gain social media follows. You can then use social media and newsletters to advertise your products and get your brand heard.

Content value exchange is important: Linking your online store to your brand’s social media and offering other content, such as a blog, can be very useful. Your customers will be more likely to give you their contact details or business if you inform or entertain them.

Strategize your platform: Ebay, Amazon or Etsy are all fantastic ways to sell products online. However, if you want more control over the buyer’s journey, you should consider an all-in e-commerce platform.

See Also: How Online Blogging Is Influencing Business Trends

Marketing Your brand: Authenticity Is Key

A brand story is the foundation of any growth strategy.

Making your brand story clear and engaging with your customers is a great way to make your online business stand out from the crowd. You can also try giving your products and services a human face.

Invest In Your Brand Story

Your brand story should include:

  • The reason your company came to be
  • What motivates you and your team to come to work each day
  • An inside look at your company

High Brew Coffee, for example, engage their customers with an excellent brand story of their online store. The coffee retailer’s website boasts the story of how the founders first came to conceptualize the brand.

Their website even hosts a short animated video which transforms their story into stylized visual content. This is in keeping with their brand image and creates an emotional connection with the consumer.

The experience of buying from them is not like buying from a stranger as their brand story has put a face to the name High Brew Coffee.

See Also: 5 Smart Ways to Boost Brand Awareness 

Take Aways

Setting up an online business has never been easier but there are a few things you need to do before you set up your shop:

Refine your product: Whether it has been handcrafted or purchased online, make sure that your product fills a niche in the online market that guarantees sales.

Sell your products the right way for you: With so many options out there, it is worth doing your research to find the right way to sell your products online. Consider an e-commerce platform for greater control.

Be authentic: Let your customers know what’s special about your company by expressing your brand story and offering a face to your brand’s name.

Are you considering setting up your own online business? What lessons will you take away from it? Let us know in the comments.

The post The Average Joe’s Guide To Setting Up An Online Business appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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How to Make Quick and Easy Poached Chicken

How To Quickly Cook Chicken on the Stovetop

I have a lot of recipes in my regular rotation that use just a small amount of shredded or sliced cooked chicken, like my go-to lunch salad, these BBQ burrito bowls, and any number of quick weeknight soups.

If I have some leftover chicken in the fridge, I use that for these easy meals. Otherwise, I use this poaching method to quickly cook a few chicken breasts when I need them!

Continue reading “How to Make Quick and Easy Poached Chicken” »

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5 Simple Ways To Cope With Life

There have been times where I found life to be really difficult to cope with. During those times, I have succumbed to stress, had low self-esteem and felt that I just could not carry on. Fortunately, I have come through and this encouraged me to share with you 5 simple but effective ways to cope with life.

Recognize your situation

Sometimes, one of the most difficult things to do is to recognize your own situation. When life is tough, it becomes difficult to see what is actually happening.

Negative thoughts can make it hard for you to think clearly. They can make you feel as if there is no way you can continue.

To break this kind of thinking, ask yourself: Have I changed?

Take note of the things you have been experiencing lately, like struggling with sleeping, not eating well, drinking excessive alcohol and no longer doing the things you enjoy. These are all signs that you are not effectively coping.

Recognizing these signs is the first and most important thing you should do. Once you are able to recognize your struggles, you can start finding ways to improve things and make your life better.

Try to identify what is triggering your anxiety. It can be the sad passing of a friend or family member, money problems or relationship difficulties. Or it could be a combination of things which are mounting up.

See Also: 3 Healthy and Inexpensive Ways to Cope with Anxiety

Make time for yourself

practice meditation

You are important and you need to recognize this. Failure to see your importance can easily make you neglect yourself.

Ensuring that you are eating a healthy diet is one of the best things you can do. When your body is healthy, so is your mind.

Try to engage in some form of exercise. This doesn’t have to involve a trip to the gym. In fact, you can start with a gentle stroll around a local park.

Although exercise can’t instantly cure your stress, it can help reduce your anxiety as well as help divert your attention. In addition to healthy eating and exercise, you can also do meditation.

There are a number of resources online that can give you advice on how to meditate. If that isn’t up your alley, you can try breathing exercises. For this one, you need to:

  • Find a quiet area where you will not be disturbed for five minutes. Get comfortable and switch off your phone.
  • Close your eyes and slowly breathe out through your mouth over a count of ten.
  • Hold your breath for a moment
  • Breathe in through your nose slowly, over a count of ten
  • Hold your breath again for a moment before repeating the process.
  • Repeat the steps ten times

With each breath, concentrate only on your breathing. Feel how the air enters and leaves your lungs and pay attention to how your chest expands and tightens.

As you perform the breathing exercise, visualize the times you were happy and imagine that you are there, at that exact time and place. As you visualize your happy place, try and think of every detail- what you see, smell and feel. You need to involve all your senses and really immerse yourself in the image you are creating in your mind. Now, as you do this, touch your thumb and index finger together.

At first, this may seem unusual, but, in the long run, this technique can make you easily recall your happy moments easily.

Plan a way to move forward

Once you know what is causing your stress, you can start looking for ways to solve it. If you know you won’t be able to solve it on your own, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

In case you are being stressed by money problems, for example, there are organizations that can help you with advice and support. For bereavement, there are counselors who can give you practical help to move on.

There are a lot of organizations online that can give you support. If you find this uncomfortable, you can go see your doctor.

Keep a ‘Positive Diary’

positive diary

A “positive diary” works similarly to a journal. However, instead of paying close attention to negative thoughts, you write down positive things about your day.

For each day, you need to record three positive things. They can be things you felt or thought of during your work at the office, while working out in the gym or during your walk home.

As much as possible, disregard the negative things that may have happened. Focus only on the positive things to attract more of the good energy into your life.

See Also: How To Overcome Negative Emotions Using 5 Writing Techniques

Know that you can carry on

As I said above, there will be some days where you will encounter setbacks and there will be times when your best-intentioned plans will fail. You need to know that this is something that happens to everyone and is not a reason to give up.

Some time ago I went through some pretty tough times. At that time, I thought they were insurmountable. However, I kept going, looked for positives and got through it.

I was reminded by reading some of my Facebook memories which showed some pretty bleak posts from previous years that showed me how I found a way to get through. In time, things did get better.

Don’t give up

You may feel that there is no solution and that the only way forward is to leave this world. Although tempting, this isn’t one of the best ways to cope with life. If you ever feel this way, please get professional help.

I recently had to attend the funeral of a very good friend who took his own life. It was devastating to look around a room and see his work colleagues, friends and family all wondering if they could have done anything to help him.  Actually, we could have done something- had he only asked.

Moving on and finding ways to cope with life can take some effort and time. This, however, doesn’t mean that they aren’t doable.


The post 5 Simple Ways To Cope With Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision

Eye safety in the workplace is a commonly overlooked issue. Unless a worker is assigned in a hazardous environment, he’s not likely to wear any protective eye gear.

Unfortunately, the industrial setting isn’t the only place you can compromise your vision. Even working at home can negatively affect your eyes.

As a guide, here are some of the ways you can promote eye safety at work.

Maintaining Eye Safety in Factories/Industrial Settings

Job-related eye injuries are common, especially for carpenters, mechanics, plumbers and other craft workers. Serious injuries could leave your vision impaired for life so make it a point to protect your eyes while at work.

Here’s how:

1. Understand the Risks

Most eye injuries are caused by small particles or larger objects hitting the eye. It’s a fairly common incident among people who work in factories and construction sites.

In addition to that, exposure to chemicals, radiation and bodily fluids could also raise the risk of injury, contamination and blood-borne diseases.

If you work in an industry where you’re exposed to these dangers, pay special attention to your environment and gauge how at risk you are.

2. Protect Your Eyes

safety goggles

The best way to prevent eye injury while at work is to wear protective eye gears, which are considered 90% effective. Because of this, most industries require workers to wear impact-resistant safety goggles, protective glasses, face shields or helmets.

You can also get prescription safety glasses or special eyewear that can protect against radiation and chemicals.

3. Replace Eyewear Regularly

Replace glasses and protective gears if they show signs of damage. In addition to their negative effects on your eyesight, they can also potentially cause injuries.

If you wear contact lenses, make sure to have them replaced before they scratch your eyes. Scratched eyes can disrupt your vision and make you more prone to infections.

They can also increase your sensitivity to light, too.

If you wear prescription glasses, it’s a good idea to consider LASIK eye surgery to get rid of them. It’s safe, painless and the best choice for vision correction.

Maintaining Eye Safety in an Office

Industrial settings are not the only ones that can put your vision in danger. Working at an office or from home can also affect your eye health, especially if you spend long hours in front of a computer.

Digital eye strain has become a common complaint. In fact, over 70% of Americans suffer from it today.

To make sure you don’t end up adding to that number, here are some of the best tips you can try:

Modify Your Workspace

eye safety in the office

The area where you work should be set up in an eye-friendly manner to prevent strain and improve comfort.

Ideally, the center of your computer screen’s display should be 10-15 degrees below your eye level and 20-24 inches away to keep your eyes and neck comfortable.

Keep the brightness of your computer screen at a level that matches the area around it. Make sure to reduce the color temperature and enlarge the text so you can read easily.

See Also: 8 Ways To Set Up An Awesome Home Office

Install Proper Lighting

The wrong lighting can affect your eye comfort, especially if there’s glare on your computer screen or work surface.

To ensure proper lighting in your office, avoid placing lights directly over your head or behind you. If you use a desk lamp, ensure that it doesn’t shine straight on, over or behind your computer screen.

Use blinds or drapes to reduce glare from windows. You can also install adjustable lighting so you can choose a comfortable level of illumination for your work.

Take Frequent Breaks

If you stare at a computer screen for too long, your eyes are going to get strained. Give them a break by following the 20-20-20 rule.

This technique involves looking away from the screen every 20 minutes at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Blinking 20 times every few minutes can help as well.

Stepping away from the computer for 5-10 minutes to stretch and walk around also improves eye comfort. In addition to that, moving around reduces muscle strain and boosts productivity, too.

See Also: 7 Foods that can Improve your Eyesight

No matter what your job is, your eye safety in the workplace should be a top priority. It won’t only ensure your health, but it can also boost your productivity and efficiency.

If ever you face an eye injury, blurriness or loss of vision, seek medical attention right away. The earlier you receive medical help, the more you’ll be able to prevent severe eye damage.

The post Eye Safety In The Workplace: Effective Ways To Protect Your Vision appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

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Sleep in a spherical capsule hotel that floats over to a desert island by morning


Imagine going to sleep in a floating capsule hotel, and waking up on a desert island in the morning.

Amazingly, that’s an experience a theme park in Japan plans to offer.

Huis Ten Bosch, a Dutch-themed park in Japan, is building spherical capsules which float on the sea. 

海上ぷかぷか、球体ホテル ハウステンボスが開発中 | 2017/3/6 – 共同通信 47NEWS

— 惰眠 (@Damin_EN500) March 6, 2017

The two-storey capsules are left to float slowly overnight to an island, which houses numerous attractions that tourists can explore the following day. Read more…

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Police find an antique-looking gun on a guy, and people think he's a time-traveller


Here’s an actual blast from the past.

The folks at Baltimore Police Department posted a photo of a gun on its Facebook and Twitter accounts Thursday, after it was seized from a 36-year-old man during a traffic stop. 

Police said it also found drugs inside the vehicle, and that the man was a repeat offender. 

It’s a pretty regular crime story, except people can’t seem to get over the gun. It looks like an antique from the Civil War, or something you’d keep next to your chamber pot. 

And of course, the internet took it away with their hilarious comments. We really mean it.  Read more…

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The hat for Elon Musk's 'Boring Company' is predictably boring


As we’ve said time and time again, Elon Musk is serious about boring. 

The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX (who, since recently, also has “Tunnels” listed in his Twitter description) has posted a photo of a hat with a sign “The Boring Company.” 

The hat, a flimsy black baseball cap — you know, the type your granddad probably wears — is exactly what we’d expect from Musk at this point, since he made several puns about “boring” tunnels.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 6, 2017

If you’re wondering what the hell are we talking about and whether this is the same Musk who aims to send people to the Moon and Mars, the answers are “we’re not quite sure yet” and “yes, it’s the same Musk.”  Read more…

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India hoists its tallest flag at the border but some are highly unimpressed


Indians have a new selfie spot to show off their national pride. 

The Tricolor was hoisted on the country’s tallest flag post (360 feet) at the Indo-Pak Attari Border on Sunday. And in no time, locals and tourists thronged the venue to witness the sight.

The 120-feet-long and 80-feet-wide flag was unveiled by a member of India’s ruling political party.

India’s tallest (350 feets high) National Flag hosted at the reception Centre of Wagah Border today. Jai Hind 🇮🇳🇮🇳

— Kamal Sharma (@kamalsharmabjp) March 5, 2017 Read more…

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Forever alone: Why too much social media use might lead to loneliness


The more time you spend staring at your smartphone — scrolling through Facebook, trolling on Twitter, snapping on Snapchat — the lonelier you’re prone to feel, researchers say.

A national study on young adults found that frequent use of social media might be associated with increased feelings of isolation. As anyone with FOMO knows, watching other people’s digital lives is an imperfect substitute for real-world interactions.

“We are inherently social creatures, but modern life tends to compartmentalize us instead of bringing us together,” said Brian Primack, the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Research on Media, Technology and Health at the University of Pittsburgh.  Read more…

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IBM adds new API to quantum computing cloud service

IBM Quantum Computer IBM announced today that it was updating its Quantum Experience cloud with a new API that it hopes will increase the abilities of researchers and other interested parties to build more sophisticated applications with its experimental quantum computing system.
Last May, IBM opened up its 5 qubit computer in its NY state labs to the public in the form of a cloud service. The hope was that by… Read More

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Ford begins testing 3D printing large car parts for cost-effective customization

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 09:  Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford, speaks at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) on January 9, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. The show is open to the public from January 14-22.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) The spoiler on a future Ford car you buy might be 3D-printed. Ford Motor Company announced on Monday that they’ve begun testing 3D printing of large-scale parts, using tech provided by 3D printing industry giant Stratasys. The pilot project is designed to find out how Ford might be able to use 3D printing to make large parts, tooling and components at relatively small volumes, where… Read More

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What Betsy DeVos’ confirmation means for innovation in education

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 15:  Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks at the Magnet Schools Of America Conference on February 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. DeVos addressed a recent protest at a public school she visited in Washington, DC last week following her controversial nomination to the post by President Donald Trump.  (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Following Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as Secretary of Education, the American education system could drastically pivot in unexpected ways. It’s difficult to know exactly how. What we do know is that the declining state of education, and historical opposition DeVos has already faced for her views on its privatization, will lead to the development of new technological advancements. Read More

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Let’s face it, Mobile World Congress isn’t about the mobile any more

EDITORIAL USE ONLY - shutterstock_258075431 As over 108,000 attendees from 208 countries filed into the echoing halls of Mobile World Congress last week,  I was reminded of the old First World War chant, sung by the soldiers on the front lines in a tone of heavy irony: “We’re here, because we’re here, because we’re here!” Every year, Mobile World Congress positions itself as the world’s meeting… Read More

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