You’ve heard it a thousand times before: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” That’s because it’s true. A picture can often express emotion better than words. Just take a look at the winners from our recent Mozy Summer Photo Contest 2014.
Some of the photos made us smile, others made us laugh out loud, while others made us contemplate the wonders of nature. But all of them helped us to see the beauty that’s all around us.
After tallying the votes, we awarded one grand prize winner and three consolation prizes:
- Grand Prize: “Flying High” by Jackie Linder
- Consolation Prize winners:
- “Deep in the Canyon” by Rita Meistrell
- “Interested Observers” by Lauren Ward
- “Perfect Sunset” by Jenine Reed
Our grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift card. Each of our consolation prize winners will receive a $25 gift card. Congratulations to each of you!
Thanks to all of you for your submissions. And thanks to everyone for voting for your favorites. We’re already looking forward to our next photo contest, so keep taking great pictures of your favorite subjects!
MozyHome Free and MozyHome paying customers receive support via our comprehensive knowledge base. MozyHome paying customers receive additional support via a live chat support line. These are great options to find answers to any questions you may have about your Mozy service. However, if you are more comfortable speaking with someone on the phone, Mozy now has a Pay for Support phone service offering. You can purchase a single incident of telephone support by calling 1.866.789.6699 and entering your Support ID (after you log in, your support ID is located in the upper left of the support.mozy.com page). Phone support is available from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday. The cost for one incident is $19.99.
We trust people who lie, in a roundabout way. Come again?
Recently, I read Ryan Holiday’s national bestselling book, Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator.
Holiday claims he made his living by manipulating the media, by distorting the newstelling. He did that by manipulating, distorting and spreading half-truths, and creating and promoting rumors that he knew to be false and then letting them enter the public’s imagination through blogs and other sources. Once respectable media picked up on the story—even if only to link to the blog without confirming or denying the accuracy of the information—the public often assumed it must be true.
Holiday says he wrote this book “Because I’m tired of a world where blogs take indirect bribes, marketers help write the news, reckless journalists spread lies, and no one is accountable for any of it.”
Now, Holiday wants people to understand how the media works.
If what Holiday writes is true, then all of us bloggers are manipulators to a certain degree. After all, we want to convince you of something—to do something, buy something, believe something, or even to not believe something.
According to Holiday, “Blogs must—economically and structurally—distort the news in order for the format to work. As businesses, blogs can see the world through no other lens. The format is the problem. Or the perfect opportunity, depending on how you look at it.”
What Holiday means is this: A blog writer has just a few seconds to hook the reader. The so-called “bounce rate” on blogs—the percentage of readers who leave the site without clicking any of the links—is very high. If we remember that the purpose of the blog is to promote an idea or sell a product or service, then a successful blog writer has to follow certain rules to decrease the bounce rate.
High on the list of rules to follow is to create a catchy headline. A great headline means that you are going to grab your readers’ attention, at least long enough for them to remain on the page and read the first line. Of course, the first line has to be catchy, too, if the reader is going to continue reading. And keep the paragraphs short. And always remember that readers are busy and have quite a few options when it comes to where they are going to spend their time reading. So the blog should not exceed a certain number of words.
I learned early in my career as a journalist that no matter how mundane or complex a topic may be, a good writer has to find an angle. For example, a famous actor becomes more interesting when the local newspaper highlights that he attended high school in town and was the one who spray painted something derogatory on the water tower at the edge of town the night before the homecoming game against the school’s biggest rival. Then you jump the story to page 4 because on page 5 there’s a full-page ad announcing a sale at the local department store. Good stories sell papers, and advertisers buy space so that readers will see their ads and ultimately buy their products or services.
As Holiday emphasizes, writers need to find not only the angle, but the click-driving headline or an eye-catching image in order to generate comments and click-throughs.
But it’s important to remember that there are many things worth reading, doing, buying, believing or not believing. The onus is on each of us to do the research. In other words, we need to study the issue; we need to do our homework; we need to avoid being manipulated. We need to make a genuine effort to figure out what’s accurate or inaccurate.
So how do you do that? For starters, figuring it out should involve more than simple Internet searches. It certainly involves more than just reading a blog or two. To be sure, technology has made our lives much easier. We have a number of tools right at our fingertips. Literally. But we have to do more. As one of my old journalism professors used to say: “Dig deep for the details!”
Getting down to the nitty-gritty—that which is essential, those specific details about why something is real or true or valid—may take more time and effort, but in the long run, truth is always worth finding. Trust me, I’m not lying.
I define my workspace as…
My preferred workspace is at home on the couch with my laptop in my lap and the TV on as background noise. I work best comfortable, with some distractions. In the office my workspace is my cubical with a 21.5 in screen; it is big and nice. I flip between three desktop spaces to stay organized and keep work separate from quick distractions when I need them for a mental break. I also use my huge white board for structuring projects before I create them.
A device I can’t live without….
I always tell myself that I could go tech-free for a while if I want to, but I am probably too attached to my phone. I get lost a lot when away from home because I have no sense of direction. Without my phone’s GPS, I would never make it anywhere new on time.
When I arrive at work, I typically start my day off by…
I start by marking my time in a Google doc, so I can know how many hours I have worked in the day/week. I don’t want to cheat the company or my wife! Then I check my emails for anything pressing. After that I try to get done anything I want done before standup, then lead standup because I am the scrum master.
My work routine is…
Come in and work on those things that everyone expects me to have done. When I have done that, I work on more exciting things, like tools to make my job easier, and making the automation we have better. I love that I can use my ideas to improve my job and the work of those around me.
I do/do not listen to music at work and it helps me work better because …
Having something to listen to helps me to not lose focus. It depends on the day what I want to listen to. Some days it is audio books; some days it is music; some days it is just others in the cubical farm. I prefer audio books because I feel like that’s a better use of my time.
The best advice I can give a recent college graduate looking to do what I do is …
Believe in yourself and have ideas. Anyone can do most any job, but if you are able to innovate even on little things, everyone will like you. Don’t think just because you haven’t done much outside of classwork that you cannot contribute, because it will surprise you what you know.
Outside of work, I am passionate about …
People, programming, and baking. I love being around people; they give me the energy I need to be happy. I am not the best programmer; I am learning a lot every day, but it’s fun to know that I can make things that are useful for the world around me. I have cooled down from baking because I gained weight, in part because I have a job where I mostly sit, but I love the look of delicious things when they come out of the oven, and the faces on people when I share those delicious things.
My eating habits are …
Spastic. Before I was married and had someone to cook for, or for me, I lived off of chicken breasts and quesadillas. Now I get in more vegetables, and have a few recipes that work for meals, like chili, meatloaf, and the classic spaghetti and meatballs.
If I could be someone for a day, I would be …
This is a hard one. I would either be the best friend of Nikola Tesla so I could see him work from up close, or my wife so I could understand why she appreciates me so much.
The “secret sauce” that makes me who I am …
My “secret sauce” is my belief that I can do anything. I know things can take a lot of work, but I truly believe if someone else can do something, I can do it too. Maybe not as fast or not as perfect, but I can do it. I can even do things that no one else has done before because I am original. I am not going to try everything in the world, but if I want something, I can reach that goal.
1818. When you think about cycling, you probably don’t think of 1818. But the velocipede—as that first two-wheeler was known—for all practical purposes was the first bicycle to hit the road. (Some might argue that the velocipede wasn’t the first bike because it didn’t have a drivetrain and riders had to push themselves forward with their feet. But take a look at a picture. The velocipede is a bike.) It was invented by Baron Karl Drais, who called his invention Laufmaschine or “running machine.”
Cycling has come a long way since the Laufmaschine. If the Baron were alive today, he would be astounded by how cycling has evolved. First, consider that the Laufmaschine was made from cherry wood, brass, and iron and weighed nearly 50 pounds (22.7 kg). No carbon fiber or lightweight alloys back then. Even so, Baron Drais must have been pretty proud that on his first ride he was able to cover 8 miles (13 km) in one hour. For comparison, the speed record on a modern bicycle is 83 mph (133 km/h), unless you’re racing down a volcano. That record is 102 mph (165 km/h) (it would have been faster had the volcano been erupting).
Next, consider that today’s modern racing machines in the Tour de France weigh 15 pounds (6.8 kg). Interestingly, these bicycles could weigh less. They are required to weigh at least 15 pounds. It’s not uncommon for riders to add dead weight to the frame to meet the minimum weight requirement. BTW, if you want lightweight and are not planning to race in the Tour de France, there is a road bike that weighs 6 pounds (2.7 kg). Got $45,000? (Yes, even your bank account will be lighter.)
But these days, it’s not just about the bike. It’s about getting the most out of the bike by adding high tech to the riding experience. The following are some of the ways technology can change the way you approach cycling and improve your performance.
Do you want to track your ride? You can with Strava. By using your iPhone, Android, or dedicated GPS device, you can analyze and quantify your ride. But Strava does more than just measure your performance; it’s designed to motivate you to seek continual improvement in how you ride. You do that by comparing your performance to past rides and other riders who have ridden the same route. If you’re faster than another rider, then you know you’re doing something well. If another rider is faster, then you’ve got some catching up to do. Which might motivate you to train harder to stay at the front of your imaginary peloton. But Strava is more than just about competition; it’s about camaraderie in the biking community. It’s kind of like riding with others who are not riding beside you.
If you like the idea of having a personal trainer but don’t want to pay for a personal trainer (the human kind), there’s the Garmin Edge 305. This GPS-enabled device attaches to your handlebars and automatically measures speed, distance, time, calories burned, altitude, climb and descent, and records all of this data to analyze later. If that weren’t enough, this personal trainer also includes a barometric altimeter to tell you the elevation. The Edge includes a heart rate monitor and a speed/cadence sensor. Clearly, this isn’t your father’s bicycle speedometer.
If you cycle, you know that eyewear is a must. But today’s glasses are more than just eye protection. Consider Recon’s cycling glasses. The Recon Jet glasses provide heads-up display for the serious cyclist. They’re kind of like sunglasses on steroids (but since we are talking about cycling, let’s be perfectly clear that we’re not talking about those kind of steroids) just for the cyclist. Recon’s on-board sensors provide speed, distance, elevation gain, and more. And they connect to your heart rate monitor, power meter, and cadence sensor. Talk about instant information in your face, literally.
Today’s cycling gear can make you look and feel pretty darn good. Carbon frame. Check. Form-fitting Lycra shorts and jersey. Check. Cool looking, multi-functioning glasses. Check. Aerodynamic helmet with catchy design. Check. Technology device to measure and analyze your progress. Check.
But let’s not get too serious about all of this high tech cycling gear. After all, no one says you can’t have a little fun, right? If you’re game and you’re willing to embrace a bit of LED low tech, consider adding rainbow Hokey Spokes to your modern Laufmaschine. Attach these blades with LED lights on your bicycle wheel spokes to brighten your image—and even display text. If the Baron could only see you now! Come to think of it, everyone will be able to see you now, at least at night.
Summer is in full swing in the northern hemisphere!
We know you take incredible photos and trust Mozy to keep them safe. To thank you for that trust we are happy to feature our 2014 Summer Photo Contest. Take a great shot, attach it to this blog post, and you could be the winner of one of three $25 gift cards, or the grand prize winner of a $50 gift card!
To submit your summer photo, please follow these steps:
- Make sure it is your own original work. No copycats!
- The photo should be appropriate for all ages.
- In the comments section below give your photo a title and then click on the photo icon below the text box () to upload your photo.
- You will also need to sign in to post. You can use your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, or Google login.
- Then just wait! Your photo will be reviewed and then posted.
Once it’s live, you may also want to share it with your friends and family. Photos that have more “likes” will certainly get our attention.
Photos will be judged on the following criteria:
- Has a distinct summer feel
- The “Aww” factor, as in “Aww, cute!” or “in awe” of the scene.
Entries must be submitted before August 18, 2014. Winners will be announced in the August newsletter and posted on this blog.
Good luck! We’re excited to see your amazing photography skills!
*Void where prohibited by law.
A few weeks ago I noticed one of those beautiful $20K motorcycles coasting down the street. Yes, with a rider on board, sort of. Let me explain. The bike was nearly impossible to miss—and hear: classic design, two-tone paint, plenty of chrome, and that unmistakable rumble. But it wasn’t any of those characteristics that held my attention; it was something completely unexpected and unrelated to the bike itself. With one hand on the left handgrip, the rider’s right hand was holding a smartphone and using his thumb to punch in numbers. I assume he was texting or using a GPS. You can’t easily talk on a cell phone with that kind of rumble. Granted, he was coasting down a hill and there wasn’t any oncoming traffic, but still, a motorcycle is best controlled with two hands on the bars. Besides, it’s only with two hands that a rider is able to manage the clutch, front brake, and throttle.
As a motorcycle rider myself, I wasn’t impressed. I have learned that if someone is behind the wheel of a car or is riding a motorcycle unsafely, they not only endanger themselves, they also endanger others on or near the road, be that another driver, motorcyclist, jogger, pedestrian, or cyclist.
Today, many states restrict the use of cellphones while operating a motor vehicle. In fact, some laws are so specific that they spell out the restrictions. For example, in some states cellphone use is banned while motor vehicle operators are traveling through school crossing zones. This and other laws are defined as “distracted driving laws.” Some states prohibit all drivers from using a handheld cell phone while driving. It doesn’t matter if you’re talking or texting. It’s a primary law and you can get pulled over for breaking it. Some states just ban novice drivers (that is, teenagers) from using a cell phone while driving. But really, anyone who drives distracted is a novice. An experienced driver should have learned that lesson long ago.
In case you’re interested in the distinction between primary and secondary laws when it comes to cell phones, a primary law means that an officer can ticket you for using a cell phone without any other traffic violation taking place; a secondary law means that an officer can issue you a ticket for using a cell phone only if you have been pulled over for another violation, such as speeding or coasting through a stop sign.
What are some of the results of using a cell phone while driving? If you consider this one fact, then it’s easy to see how quickly an accident can occur when you’re driving and texting: “Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. When traveling at 55 mph (88.5 kph), that’s enough time to cover the length of a football field [about 91.5 meters] blindfolded,” according to one source. And it’s not just texting, it’s other related behavior. For example, talking on a cell phone or even listening to one increases your risk of causing an accident. Even reaching for a cell phone is considered distracted driving and increases your risk of being in an accident. The National Safety Council estimates that each year 1.6 million crashes involve drivers who are using cell phones and texting. In other words, one in four accidents is the result of using a cell phone while driving.
And if you think using a hands-free device makes it all right, you would be mistaken. Using a headset or hands-free device does not result in fewer accidents. You’re still multitasking while driving. You’re still driving distracted.
You might be familiar with Pulitzer Prize winning columnist and very funny guy Dave Barry, who wrote a number of newspaper columns during his career about what he called “driving stupid,” wherein he highlighted some of the crazy things people do while driving. I still vividly remember something I witnessed not long after reading one of his columns. Call it “fact is stranger than fiction” or “I never would have thought of doing that.” A woman was flossing her teeth while doing her best to steer her vehicle by using a very small percentage of the sides of her hands against the wheel. I can barely floss my teeth standing in front of a mirror. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I don’t think I would have believed that a driver would endanger not only herself but also endanger those driving near her for the sole purpose of cleaning her teeth. (Hey, why not just gargle while you’re at it?) You’ve probably seen other more common distractions as well, such as drinking coffee or soda from small to very large containers; shaving (fortunately—if there is a fortunately in this situation—shaving with an electric shaver and not with shaving cream and a razor); applying mascara or lipstick; eating burgers, donuts or other fast foods; or letting Fido rest his paws on the wheel so that his owner can pretend that Fido is pretending that he can drive the car. The list is probably endless.
A tool is only as smart as its user. The car will move if someone starts it and steps on the accelerator. A cell phone will function if it’s in someone’s hands and fingers are pressing buttons. But sometimes a car or a smartphone isn’t in the hands of a smart person. The bottom line: when you’re driving a motorized vehicle, drive the vehicle and focus on what you’re doing and where you’re going. If you need to use your phone, be smart about it and pull off to the side of the road. Or better yet, wait until you arrive at your destination. Sure, there are always “emergencies” or excuses to justify driving distracted, but by doing so you risk creating another emergency. And there’s no excuse for that.
There’s been a huge amount of discussion in the media over the last 48 hours about Facebook’s experiment on emotional contagion and whether it was appropriate for the social media company to carry it out. Here’s one such article from the Wall Street Journal.
What a lot of people are finding frightening, as Gismodo explains, is that they didn’t realize that they had actually agreed to take part when they signed up to the company’s EULA.
No idea what a EULA is? You’re not alone. A EULA is an end-user licensing agreement. It’s essentially the big blurb of terms and conditions that you have to tick the “I agree” box next to in order to be able to use the service.
Do you remember agreeing to taking part in Facebook experiments? No? Well, if you’re a Facebook user, the chances are that you have agreed to it. Statistically, there’s a strong possibility that you never read the EULA before you agreed to it. In a recent Mozy investigation, less than 10 percent of people told us that they made a point of reading a EULA before signing up to an online service and more than 30 percent never read any of them.
If there’s one lesson to take away from this incident, it’s to carefully check the EULAs on the cloud services you’re using, both personally and at work. Can your provider view your data? Can they change the location of your data center? Who owns your data if you want to leave the service?
And it’s not just the core cloud services that your company uses that you should check over. Many companies have a huge “shadow IT” infrastructure set up by people who might not have access to legal support and are often unfamiliar with best practice in selecting IT partners. If your business lets individuals choose their own services to move large files, sync data to the cloud, outsource role-specific IT support—or anything else—make sure you have a policy for checking those EULAs. Because, if it’s not being done centrally, there’s a good chance that it’s not being done at all!
And, if you don’t know what sort of issues to be looking for in your EULAs, check out this white paper from IDC.
 Online poll carried out in December 2013 of Facebook users in the USA, Ireland, UK, France, Germany, and the Netherlands.
You’ve probably heard of 3D printing, but you’ve probably never heard of Chuck Hall. Hall is the inventor of 3D printing. He’s even known as the father of 3D printing. Hall patented the process of stereolithography—otherwise known as 3D printing—in 1986. The technology allows you to produce prototypes and parts one layer at a time using resin that hardens when exposed to UV light. My first real exposure to this from a practical sense occurred last year when a friend designed and then created a part using his 3D printer to replace a broken door latch on the family’s clothes dryer. Although the reproduced part wouldn’t hold up for long, it would serve its purpose until the manufacturer’s replacement part arrived later that week. When you have four children, a properly functioning dryer comes in handy.
Years ago a 3D printer would have cost you tens of thousands of dollars. A couple of years ago, the 3D printer Tom used to create the part for his dryer set him back a relatively small amount of money: $2,500. Today, a quick search on amazon.com reveals 3D printers for considerably less than that. These printers use resin, rubber, plastic, plant-based plastic, powdered metal, etc. to print in 3D. It won’t be long when most households will include a 3D printer that will be used to make replacement parts for everyday items or create items that today are purchased from department stores, sporting goods stores, hardware stores, or even hospitals.
What are people using 3D printers for today? Women are going to love this one: printing your own makeup at home. Inventor Grace Choi, founder of New York-based Mink, has created a desktop 3D printer that prints makeup she calls the Mink. This Mink can take any image and transform it into a cosmetic, and you choose the color—any color in the world! So, what kind of makeup can you create? Eye shadow, blush, and lip gloss. The possibilities are endless. (I will not be sharing this info with my wife and two daughters.) The Mink can take any image and instantly turn it into a wearable color cosmetic. Although still in development, Choi, a Harvard School Business graduate, says that when her 3D makeup printers become available they will retail for about $300 and then decrease in price once popularity increases. Choi says that her makeup printer will be about the size of a Mac mini. With what little I know about makeup but with what I know about how much the women in my life spend on makeup, the price should decrease very quickly.
3D printers are also being used to create the perfect cast to speed up the healing of broken bones. According to Deniz Karahasin, founder of Osteoid, the company that’s created a concept design for the custom cast, these casts could reduce the time required for a broken bone to heal by up to 38 percent and increase the healing rate by up to 80 percent in fractures. If you think this is more than a cast, you’re right. The cast uses low intensity pulsed ultrasound to stimulate bone healing. By using a 3D body scanner, the area with the broken bone is scanned and then the data is transferred to the software that creates the cast. The web-like design can make anyone look like a superhero. And no more itchy, stinky, and heavy casts made from plaster. (I still remember when my daughter broke her arm and two months later the doctor cut away the cast. What a smell! And what was that pen and part of a coat hanger doing in there?) Kids are going to love this. No more whining about broken bones. Hopefully, no one will be breaking bones on purpose for the bragging rights of wearing one of these cool-looking casts.
Other items that have been made with a 3D printer include a kayak, which an engineer made using 58 pounds of resin; shoes and shoe inserts for a custom-fitted feel; and even parts for semiautomatic weapons. Yes, you read that right: the 3D printer has been used to print lower receivers for the AR-15. (If you’re not familiar with the AR-15, it is a highly modular, semiautomatic rifle that’s similar to the M16 used by the U.S. military. The lower receiver is the part into which the barrel, stock, and other parts are added to complete the weapon.) As controversial as making gun parts might be for some people, there is no controversy surrounding the surgeons who used a 3D-printed model of a heart to study the problems with a 14-month old baby’s defective heart. The surgeons used the printer to create a larger-than-life model prior to surgery, which made it much easier for them to “see” the actual defects and then figure out how to solve the problem before opening up the tiny patient. Some items printed with the 3D printer are not just models. For example, a father used a 3D printer to print a prosthetic hand for his son using $10 in material.
If you aren’t quite ready to purchase a 3D printer, you can still enjoy the benefits of one. Shapeways will print models you send them, or you can choose from thousands of 3D print shapes designed by professional designers.
What does the 3D printer mean to the masses? That someday in the not-too-distant future, the printer is going to be churning out a lot more than just words and images on paper. Things like saving life, perhaps protecting and taking life, making life prettier, and making it more enjoyable and comfortable. The possibilities are as endless as words on a page.