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Search tags: An-Abney-And-Associates-Technology-Blog
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text 2014-04-04 06:26
Abney And Associates Technology - How much is too much for kids?


    We live in a technological age where it often seems that everything is coming at us all at once and information overload is the edge of a cliff we teeter on daily. My son, who is not even 3 years old, plays games on my iPad and has his own tablet – a Nabi. Watching him navigate the programs – some educational and some not – has led me to question whether it serves a greater good or harmful to his cognitive development.


    I know he is learning hand-eye coordination and being exposed to a great many ideas, enhanced vocabulary and even the beginnings of critical thinking skills, but is there a hidden cost? Parenting magazine had an article entitled “The Right Technology for Kids at Every Age.” The answer, according to the article’s author, Gwenn Schurgin O’Keeffe M.D., the American Academy of Pediatric’s tech expert, isn’t entirely helpful in settling the question. She believes, “there really is no ‘right’ age to allow our kids to dip a toe into the digital pond.”


    O’Keeffe proclaims that thanks to technology we are free to open “the mind to an almost endless expanse of knowledge.” She went on to list different devices and apps and what your child should be able to do with such devices at different ages. The only warning I found was about cell phones emitting electromagnetic fields and a child’s developing skull being thinner than that of an adult. But doesn’t knowledge of any sort require a context, a level of maturity to process and value it? Can we integrate knowledge and use it without that gate? Should we even try? On that, O’Keefe is silent.


    This complicated issue definitely involves balance – allowing your child some exposure while also making sure they have equal or more time to use their imaginations, read books and play games that do not require batteries.
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text 2014-04-02 06:26
Abney And Associates - Technology reveals your life on social media




How easy is it to use social media to find out what people are doing, without them realizing they are being watched? It took me less than two minutes to not only identify where a randomly chosen 16-yearold girl lives, goes to school and hangs out with friends, but also to pinpoint within three houses where she babysits. And when she's home alone with the kids.
From the Google Street View of those houses, it's a fair guess she is at the one with all the toys in the yard.
I learned she plays soccer, is in French immersion, and is probably a skier or snowboarder if the resort where she spent Spring Break is any indication. I can probably correctly identify where she went to elementary school. I know what she looks like, and I can recognize her friends. And once I know where she lives, it's not a big stretch to guess her parents' identity.
Creepy? Yes. Hard to do? No. Just ask Karl Swannie, founder of Victoria technology start-up EchoSec, a company that has created a search engine that mines close to 500 data feeds, including social medianetworks and open data from governments and the private sector - the search engine I used to randomly pick out a traveller at the Vancouver airport to see how much I could learn from their digital trail.
If it hadn't been for EchoSec aggregating everything posted from a location in a single search, it would have been difficult to pick out the teen's single Twitter post from millions of others. What sets EchoSec apart from other search technology is its ability to "geo-fence" - that is, to draw a virtual line around a building or an area, and to tap into all the publicly available data from that location. That means not only social media feeds but open data that could include everything from live webcam feeds to government information. "It definitely opened my eyes," said Swannie. "There's a level of education that has to happen out there. People have to be aware that (their digital postings are) permanent, it's public. This is definitely a new way to visualize the data."
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text 2014-04-01 09:03
Abney And Associates - Facebook buys maker of solar-powered drones



Facebook has bought a Somerset-based designer of solar-powered drones for $20m (£12m) as it goes head-to-head with Google in a high-altitude race to connect the world's most remote locations to the internet. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, has unveiled plans to beam broadband connections from the skies, using satellites, lasers and unmanned high-altitude aircraft designed by the 51-year old British engineer Andrew Cox.



His Ascenta consultancy will become part of Facebook's Internet.org not-for-profit venture, joining a team of scientists and engineers who formerly worked at Nasa and the US National Optical Astronomy Observatory. Facebook is building its Connectivity Lab as a direct challenge to Google's Project Loon, which is launching high-altitude balloons over New Zealand and hopes to establish an uninterrupted internet signal around the 40th parallel of the Earth's southern hemisphere.



The race to put the first man on the moon was led by the US and Russian governments, but today it is private companies – the cash-rich digital corporations of Silicon Valley – that are driving the sub-space race. The ambition is to connect the billions of people who currently have no access to the world wide web. "In our effort to connect the whole world with Internet.org, we've been working on ways to beam internet to people from the sky," Zuckerberg wrote on his blog. "Today, we're sharing some details of the work Facebook's Connectivity Lab is doing to build drones, satellites … and lasers to deliver the internet to everyone." "Our team is actively working on building our first aircraft now," Zuckerberg said in a paper published yesterday. "Key members from Ascenta, whose founders created early versions of Zephyr, which became the world's longest flying solar-powered unmanned aircraft, will be joining our Connectivity Lab to work on these aircraft. We expect to have an initial version of this system working in the near future."

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