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Japanese toilets operate via smartphone technology

Dec 19, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  9 Comments

by Can Tran (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Using the toilet has been made faster and easier through the introduction of a high-tech model to be applied in conjunction with a smartphone operating the Android OS.

The latest in Japanese technology may have made everyday tasks a little TOO convenient. One of the natural functions or “great emergencies” is having to do a number two. For those that have access to working toilets, there is a simple push of the lever on the side. The waste gets sent into the septic tank. That’s simply all there is to it.

If you have a smartphone that utilizes the Google Android OS and have and almost $4,600 to spare, you can purchase one of the latest SATIS model toilets from the Inax company. This toilet is very high-tech as you operate it via a smartphone, provided you have the Android OS installed.

Through your smartphone, you can make the seat go up and down and flush the toilet. In this respect, it saves you a few seconds of having to do things manually.

However, there are other features to this special toilet. It tracks water consumption, electricity consumption, and so forth. Also, this toilet has built-in speakers to use in conjunction with the streaming music function of the app. While you are doing your usual business, you can listen to whatever you want.

Another feature is being able to record every minute of you using the toilet. It gets stored on the “Toilet Diary” feature of the smartphone application. Asides from being a high-tech toilet, it is combined with the unique Android app.

This special toilet will be available in February 2012.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Outraged over Instagram’s privacy changes? Here’s how to kill your account

Dec 18, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  3 Comments

by David Silverberg

On Monday the mobile photo-sharing service Instagram, now owned by Facebook, announced a major overhaul to its terms of service, stating it has the perpetual right to sell its users’ photographs without payment or notification.

Taking effect January 16, 2013, the new policy says it will have the perpetual right to license all public Instagram photos to companies or any other organization, including for advertising purposes, “which would effectively transform the Web site into the world’s largest stock photo agency,” as CNET notes.

The dry language in the new Terms of Service may be confusing to some users, but essentially it states the company may accept payment to in exchange for the use of a person’s username, likeness, photos and other data for sponsored content or promotions, CBS News writes.

“That means that a hotel in Hawaii, for instance, could write a check to Facebook to license photos taken at its resort and use them on its Web site, in TV ads, in glossy brochures, and so on — without paying any money to the Instagram user who took the photo,” CNET writes.

Also worth noting, CNET adds, is if Instagram users continue to upload photos after January 16, 2013, and then delete their account after the deadline, they may have granted Facebook an irrevocable right to sell those images in perpetuity.On forums such as reddit, users complain this new policy gives Instagram and Facebook too much power over a user’s photos.

Remarking on the public nature of Instagram’s service, one commenter writes, “Public is fine and all, but when someone uses something to make money, you’d think the original creator (if you want to call Instagramming creating), should have a say in it.”

Deleting your Instagram account but saving your photos

The revamped privacy policy has caused massive backlash among many Instagram users, and some have stated they plan to delete their accounts. But it’s not a simple process, Digital Journal found out.

In order to kill your Instagram account, you might want to download your photos first. A service such as Instaport can download your entire Instagram photo library in just a few minutes, as Wired notes.

You then need to notify Instagram you plan to delete your account by going here. Realize, though, Instagram can’t reactivate deactivated accounts and you will not be able to sign up for Instagram later with the same account name.

Instagram boasts more than 100 million users and 58 photos are uploaded to Instagram everysecond. In April 2012, Facebook bought the photo service for $1 billion.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Report: Mayor Bloomberg considering Financial Times acquisition

Dec 11, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

by Andrew Moran (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

Is New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the midst of purchasing the Financial Times? A new report came out Monday that suggested the billionaire media mogul is considering buying the print news outlet.

“Michael R. Bloomberg is weighing the wisdom of buying The Financial Times Group, which includes the paper and a half interest in The Economist, according to three people close to Mr. Bloomberg who spoke on the condition of anonymity to divulge private conversations,” wrote reporters Michael Barbaro and Amy Chozick. “Mr. Bloomberg has long adored The Economist, and his affinity for the paper, at least as a reader, has deepened lately.”

The New York Times reported that the “stars are aligning” for the sale of the Financial Times and that Bloomberg L.P., majority owned by Mayor Bloomberg, is seriously interested in acquiring it.

Pearsons chief executive Marjorie Scardino, who is leaving at the end of the year, has said that the newspaper has not put up a for sale sign – chief executive Rona Fairhead is also leaving in April. The mayor or his staff have reportedly declined to comment on the stories.

Although Bloomberg News generates revenue through online content, Bloomberg heading a print publication is still possible because it would purchase a well-respected daily content generator. It was noted that Reuters is a likely bidder for the financial newspaper.

The news outlet also reported that Daniel Doctoroff, a confidant of Bloomberg and the chief executive of the company, has said that he is rather skeptical on a deal that would involve purchasing a print newspaper. It should be noted that others close to Bloomberg have urged him to make a large digital acquisition, such as LinkedIn.

During a visit to the Financial Times headquarters in London, he was asked if he would purchase the newspaper, in which the mayor responded, “I buy it every day.”

At a book party held by the Bloomberg Family Foundation this past spring, he recalled a conversation he once had regarding newspapers and billionaires.“Someone said the only people buying newspapers these days are billionaires with egos,” said Bloomberg. “And then he looked at me and said, ‘Like you, Mike.’”

This article was previously published in Digital Journal [Link]

Photo via Center for American Progress

Survey: Only 27% of companies have social media-focused employee

Dec 7, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

By Leigh Goessl (Guest contributor/Digital Journalist)

A new survey has found that less than one-third of companies have a designated employee to manage social media accounts. Instead, it appears most businesses assign social media as a task on top of other employee job responsibilities.

The survey, conducted by Ragan Communications and NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions, found that employers “are cautious” about assigning social media as a primary duty to specific employees, reported Mashable.

In determining these results, the two firms polled over 2,700 social-media professionals and it was discovered 27 percent of companies assign social media as a position, but 65 percent opt to include social media as an additional job responsibility on top of other designated tasks

.”They’re doing events, they’re putting out newsletters, they’re writing press releases, and now they’re handed this task of overseeing Twitter accounts, Facebook and Pinterest pages,” says Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications, in a press release.

The survey results led to the creation of an 18-page white paper that outlines all the findings.

“It is becoming more important than ever for communicators to pause to evaluate the role of social media within their organizations,” said Demetrios Skalkotos, senior vice president, NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions in the press release. “The Ragan/NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions survey provides insight to help communicators fully understand the current impact and potential of social media as a marketing and communications tool that can drive their business, deliver a positive client experience, create and sustain a positive brand and reputation.”

Other findings showed businesses have not been increasing their social media budgets and are unlikely to do so in 2013. Additionally, 70 percent of survey participants were “dissatisfied” or only “somewhat satisfied” with how they measure social media efforts.

Many experts today recommend including social media strategy as part of a company’s marketing plan as without a plan, it’s unlikely objectives will be reached.

The companies plan to create a six-part article series to be posted on that explores the survey data in greater detail.

This article originally appeared on Digital Journal [Link]

Sony’s ‘Smart Skin’ camera detects zits before they appear

Dec 4, 2012   //   by admin   //   Media blog  //  No Comments

By Abigail Prendergast (Digital Journalist/Guest contributor)

Sony‘s new SSKEP (Smart Skin Evaluation Program) is capable of mapping out various types of skin and conditions. When put into cameras in mobile devices, this technology will be able to see blemishes before they even materialize.

Sony, long known for being a highly successful, and at times, bold company, has developed the technology to detect blemishes before they are even on your face.

According to PC World, the tech giant announced on Monday that its “Smart Skin Evaluation Program,” or SSKEP, can be utilized in smartphone and tablet cameras in order to evaluate the health of a user’s skin. This is done by analyzing various wavelengths of light that reflect off of different types of skin, determining things like texture and pigmentation.

Stating that it utilizes CMOS image sensor technology, Sony combined such with the newly developed program so it can pick up on irregularities and other flaws on a digital image, pixel by pixel. This includes the ability to see below the skin’s surface by utilizing non-visible light, including light near the infrared spectrum.

In Japan, both skin care products and evaluation is a “booming industry,” especially when it comes to females. Sony said they wanted to expand the new technology into a “diverse range of applications.”

Saying they wanted to “expand the use” of the aforementioned CMOS sensors, which are used in phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and iPhone 5, hoping to stretch out the cameras’ ability to sense objects, colors and movements.

Despite its struggles and subsequent outsourcing, Sony is promoting its image sensors quite actively, particularly those used in mobile devices. The company said it will invest $1 billion into production of the sensors by September 2013.

Just this past August, Sony started sales of its “stacked” image sensors, utilizing chips that “stack” their on board circuitry underneath the pixels that are used to take pictures. So far, images have been captured by “laying it alongside.”

This new technology will ultimately lead to a more efficient means of photo taking, along with a smaller footprint due to faster processing, Sony claims.

This article originally appeared in Digital Journal [Link]