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New ‘Bondsy’ App Aims to Create Trade Marketplace / Social Network Hybrid

The Bondsy AppGrowing up, many people had hobbies focused on collecting, whether it was stickers, sports cards, pogs, or even Beanie Babies. But arguably the most important aspect of a hobby was the ability swing trades with friends. The objective, of course, was to acquire a coveted collectible– the thrill was in the hunt.

The new app Bondsy is the grown-up version of this. The iPhone app is a unique, user-friendly marketplace-meets-social -network that enables users to list unwanted items (e.g. a pair of pink headphones) to a trusted environment of interested people.

There doesn’t appear to be much competition either. Craigslist, the internet’s reigning place to quickly (and cheaply) pawn off unwanted goods, is often too seedy for even the most genuine transaction. And while Facebook’s “Marketplace” is certainly a more friendly online community, any “available items” status would inevitably get lost in the mix with the incessant influx of Buzz Feed links, funny cat videos, and ex-girlfriends’ tropical vacation photo albums.

The app itself is simple to use. To get started, a user just needs to snap a photo, write a caption, and add one or more price tags. Price tags are completely free form, allowing users to ask for whatever they might want (not just money). In addition, users can also set different price tags for friends, and even friends of friends.

But perhaps the most interesting feature of Bondsy is its “trade” option. While people can use Bondsy to sell items, the app encourages users to make a trade. To help facilitate this, users can create a list of “wanted” items as a potential return. This truly brings everyone’s childhood full circle in the mobile age.

Bondsy’s origin only adds to the genuine nature of the transaction-based social network. Diego Zambrano, the co-founder of Bondsy, accidentally came up with the app idea out of personal necessity.

“In 2007, I was moving from Brazil to New York and I didn’t want to bring anything with me. So when I decided to get rid of all my stuff, I had an insight. There were a lot of marketplaces out there, but I wanted to offer my things to my friends first. So, I came up with a hack.”

Zambrano used Flickr to upload photos of his unwanted items, and then emailed all his friends a link to it. However, instead of responding to his email, Zambrano noticed that people were directly commenting on the photos. At that moment, he knew he had created a new social experience.

The proud co-founder believes that Bondsy will be a success since users are naturally more comfortable transacting with friends, but also because there are more layers to the app than people think.

“You stumble upon things you might need and want, but didn’t know it. You can get to know more about your friends and their taste. It sparks conversations.”

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – May 10

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features the tenth birthday of the iTunes store, pajamas that read to kids, and an app that keeps tabs on man’s best friend. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

iTunes Store Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary


It may not seem like it, but the iTunes store has now officially been around for 10 years. With iTunes, Apple forever changed the music industry, providing fans a way to legally access and own music online, says Megan Gibson of Time. In a time where many companies were trying to fight off illegal downloads, Apple developed an alternative that stuck around. This marked the birth of a digital music revolution, which later led to advancements and other services like Pandora and Spotify. iTunes continues to thrive 10 years later and there’s no sign of things slowing down anytime soon.

AT&T Launches App-Based Home Security System

AT&T has jumped into the home security market with its new “Digital Life” a wireless, personalized, app-based home security solution, according to eWeek. The solution allows users to remotely check in on their homes in real time, receive emails or texts alerting them to an issue, and remotely unlock or lock doors and windows. It’s an all-IP solution, running over AT&Ts 3G network. The company is offering several different packages ranging in price from $29.99 a month with a $149 setup fee to $39.99 with a $249 setup fee. There are also a variety of add-ons available. Digital Life is currently available in 15 markets and should be in 50 by the end of the year.

Is Your Dog Too Lazy? This New Tech Product Will Help You Find Out

A new product known as FitBark is a small device that attaches to a dog’s collar and keeps track of all activity, allowing owners to keep tabs on how active their pooch is. Emily Price of Mashable reports that data from the device is transferred to the cloud either through the owner’s smartphone, or a small “home base” station placed in the house. At the end of each day FitBark provides a “Bark Score” letting owners know how much exercise their dog got over the 24 hour period. The objective is to help make sure dogs stay active and healthy. It can also be useful when taking the dog to the vet because exact details can be given about recent lulls in activity.

Father of Six Invents Pajamas That Tell Stories to Children

Pajamas Read Books to Kids

Keeping one child entertained can be quite a task. Taking care of six? Now that’s quite a handful. Juan Murdoch, an Iowa father of six, has come up with the idea for smart, storytelling pajamas, reports Wilson Rothman of NBC News. There are 47 unique dot patterns on the pajamas, and each triggers a story or an animal lesson when scanned with a smartphone or tablet. There are free apps that go with the pajamas, one that has readings of Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen classics; and a second that has pictures and information about 47 different animals. The inventor says he hopes to have at least three more apps out by Christmas. The pajamas can be purchased for $25 a piece.

 

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Food Trucks and Social Media

Whether they’re hawking donuts, tacos, Mexican food or fish, food trucks have started to become commonplace in many cities in the United States. Coinciding with the increase in the number of food trucks is the ubiquity of social media. Given that food trucks often move to multiple locations during the day, outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Instagram are the perfect tools to help hungry customers find the meal they’re looking for. These apps also lend themselves to telling the stories of these trucks, with great pictures of food on the grill, check-ins from trucks that have just parked and are open for business, and posts with the schedule for the upcoming week. Without these tools, it’d be much more difficult for food trucks to connect with their audience, especially because they’re often open for business in different locations each week.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – April 16

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features Facebook making waves on Android, an “invisible” bike helmet, and a new app to help keep teen drivers safe behind the wheel. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

The Bicycle Helmet You Don’t Wear on Your Head

The Bicycle Helmet You Don't Wear on Your Head

A bike helmet called Hövding that has been developed by two Swedish industrial design students is turning some heads, says Jeremy Bogaisky of Forbes. The “helmet” is really an airbag in a collar worn around the neck. If there is an accident it deploys to envelop a bicyclist’s head. The product has been approved, but its inventors are facing some challenges because of the device’s high price ($515) and some reservations about it’s effectiveness. The invention does solve the problem of people not wanting to wear conventional helmets because they aren’t stylish or will mess up their hair. Also, an electronics redesign is in the works and could help lower the cost of the product. Whether this invisible helmet will become a trend among cyclists remains to be seen.

New App Aims to Keep Teen Drivers Safe on the Road

A new app designed for the iPhone (and coming soon to Android) is attempting to help teen drivers be more alert and experienced behind the wheel, according to USA Today. The app, Time to Drive, was developed by the University of North Carolina and is geared for both teen drivers and their parents. Some of the features in Time to Drive include the ability to record the amount of driving the teen does and what conditions they’re in, tracking of hard stops, tips for parents, and goals for teens and parents to work on together. The app comes at a time where it’s much needed; teen driving deaths increased last year after being on the decline for several years prior. Statistics show that new drivers are at the highest risk when first getting their driver’s licenses. The creators of the app are hoping that by making practice more fun and easy they can help cut down the number of fatalities.

Could You Do Without Your Cable TV? 30 Percent of Americans Say Yes

Could You Do Without Your Cable TV? 30 Percent of Americans Say Yes

The popularity of Internet television and streaming shows on tablets and devices is allowing many people to keep up with their favorite shows without having to pay for cable television. Alexis Kleinman of The Huffington Post reports that a recent survey by Belkin and Harris Interactive found that 30 percent of Internet users in the United States would consider ditching their cable plans and primarily watch content online. Does this mean the end of television? It’s highly doubtful that would happen anytime soon, but statistics show a large increase in online viewers. Currently, 106.2 million American watch TV shows online at least once a month. And the survey predicts that by 2014 more than 50 percent of Internet users in the United States (130.7 million people) will be watching television online.

Facebook’s “Home” is the Talk of the Tech World This Week

Facebook is making headlines yet again, this time for it’s new “Home” on Android. Home is a series of apps that attempts to always keep mobile users on the social media platform’s network, according to CNET’s Jennifer Van Grove.  When using Home on Android, the phone’s home screen becomes a Facebook cover feed, or a visually rich and swipe-able version of the news feed. Home also includes a more picture-perfect version of messaging, complete with a Facebook-invented feature called “Chat Heads,” with colorful notifications that include friends’ pictures.

 

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Prezi Offers Visually Stunning Way to Share Ideas

Prezi Presentation AppSome speakers bore their audiences to tears by using presentations that have nothing but slides with dull lists and bullet points. As the material blends together and their listeners slowly drift off to a faraway place, the presentation fizzles. Whether or not the information was good becomes unimportant–all because the way it was presented was tedious and boring.

Professional speakers and lecturers are turning towards technology to engage their audiences and communicate their ideas. Dr. Daniel Crosby of IncBlot Organizational Psychology understands the power of a good presentation. His TED Talk called “You’re Not That Great: A Motivational Speech” kept audiences rapt and earned him a place as one of Monster.com’s12 thinkers to watch in the world of leadership and organizational development.

What was Crosby’s secret for keeping the presentation interesting? Well, for one he had some very interesting information (he’s currently writing a book based on it). But Crosby also credits Prezi, cloud-based presentation software with a zoomable canvas that allows you to create visually captivating presentations that lead audiences down a path of discovery.

“Since Prezi is dynamic, beautiful and novel, my participants engage at an increased level which makes my job easier,” Crosby said.  ”I can’t count how many times I’ve had someone come up to me after a presentation and have them ask me, ‘What was that software you were using?’ It immediately makes me and my work memorable.”

Prezi’s software allows users to present from any device. Choose between the freedom of the cloud, the security of your desktop, or the mobility of the iPad or iPhone. Prezi is also three dimensional, allowing users to guide their audience through the presentation, rather than just flip from slide to slide. Users can also zoom out to show the overview of the Prezi, zoom in to examine the details of their ideas, or simply move freely through the Prezi and react to the audience’s input.

TED Talks - PreziPrezi is starting to become the technology of choice for many other TED Talks speakers as well, including Peter H. Diamandis, founder and chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, the co-founder and chairman of Singularity University.

“Prezi is helping reinvent the art of presentation,” Diamandis said. “Farewell, one-dimensional thinking. Hello motion, dynamism, flexibility and power of inter-connection. When I gave my TED Talk, I chose Prezi to bring my ideas to life.”

While Prezi has almost immediately caught on among professional speakers, it’s also become popular within other sectors, including business. According to Prezi’s Kelly Hook, currently 80 percent of the Fortune 500 are utilizing Prezi to facilitate presentations and the company just hit 20 million users and 2 million iPad downloads.

So whether your next presentation is to TED or to your sales team, consider using Prezi to step outside of the PowerPoint box.

For more TED Talk videos, including many using Prezi, check out their YouTube channel. WARNING: May be addicting.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – April 1

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features a new phone charger that’s slim enough to fit into wallets, apps that help you hail cabs, and a 5-foot jellyfish robot. All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

A Five-foot Jellyfish? Good thing it’s Only a Robot 

Robot Jellyfish - Surveillance Tool

As if people don’t find regular jellyfish pesky enough, Virginia Tech researchers have created a 5-foot robot version that can autonomously patrol oceans for surveillance and environmental monitoring, according to UPI.com. The robo-jellyfish has been named “Cyro” and was developed as part of a multi-university, nationwide $5 million project funded by U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center and the Office of Naval Research. According to the article the goal is to “create self-powering, autonomous machines that can travel the world’s ocean for surveillance, monitoring the environment, studying aquatic life, mapping ocean floors and monitoring ocean currents.”

Study Shows Facebook Users Check Facebook 14 Times a Day

How many times have you checked Facebook from your phone today? 5? 10? 15? A recent study by the analytics firm IDC shows that people check Facebook on their phones on an average of 14 times a day, according to NBC News. And Facebook wasn’t even the most checked application, according to the study; it was email. Also, the group surveyed said they spent about two-and-a-half hours a day on their phones. Almost half the group (44 percent) used their phones as an alarm clock, and 79 percent checked their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up

Having Babies with Three Biological Parents May Soon Be Possible

As a child it was pretty tough to sneak things by two parents. Now things might get even more difficult. CBS New York reports that new technology that would bring babies into the world with three biological parents is close to being legalized in the United Kingdom. The main goal behind the technology is to be able to prevent mitochondrial disorders. The British public overall has supported the technology, according to published reports, but lawmakers have yet to make a decision on whether doctors can use it.

This New Phone Charger is So Slim it Will Fit in Your Wallet

Chargecard Wallet Cell Phone Charger

Finally there’s an answer for techies on the go who are tired of their cell phones running out of batteries. And it doesn’t require lugging around a a phone charger–well, at least not one of normal proportions. The ChargeCard, an invention that turned up on the site Kickstarter, is a USB phone charger that can fit in a wallet as easy as a credit card, says Seth Porges. The charger easily slips into a wallet, but some people are even finding that it fits between their phones and cases.

Use One of These Apps to Hail Yourself a Cab

Tired of missing out on cabs all the time in your nearest city? Luckily, there are several apps for smartphones and devices that can help you get your next taxi or ride share. This week, a post on the Mozy blog profiles Hailo in New York City and TechHive’s Caitlin McGarry breaks downUber, Side Car, and Lyft. Whether you’re looking for a yellow cab, a limo, or simply to get in the HOV lane, these apps make coordinating a ride easier than ever.

 

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Live from Your Living Room: Streaming Concerts

Live from your living roomThe lights come up, the crowd erupts, and jazz musician Walter Smith III steps onto the stage at Berklee College of Music in New York City. Smith III plays hundreds of gigs a year, so the sights and sound are familiar, but there is one thing about this show that’s different from all the others: it’s being recorded and streamed live over the Internet.

Live streaming of concerts is a growing trend in the music industry today, thanks to the increasing technology that’s available, according to Darren Lieberman, Senior Manager, Business Development & Music Partnerships at Livestream. Livestream, a platform that allows users to view and broadcast live video content, sells recording products to producers as well as broadcasting live shows on its website.

And despite what many may think, it’s not too difficult to stream a concert live for millions to see at home.

“At its simplest form — if you have a solid internet connection with enough bandwidth, a computer meeting our minimum specs running our free software, and a webcam, you can go live pretty instantly,” Lieberman said. “Just over the last 3-4 years we’ve seen a huge uptake in artists using live streaming. And as the technology gets even better and the costs to stream shows get lower, more and more artists will continue to jump on to the trend.”

Smith III jumped on the trend for his March 7 Berklee show, which was part of NPRMusic’s The Checkout – Live at Berklee, which brings critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to their alma mater for concerts to be streamed live online and on the radio.

Amy Schriefer, Sr. Product & Events Manager of NPR Music, said she also believes streaming live concerts is a trend that won’t be going away anytime soon. “As the industry changes and budgets shrink, we’re hearing from more artists that it just makes sense to do one show that reaches dozens of markets on the web and on the air,” she said. “The majority of our live webcasts are done in partnership with our member public radio stations, providing exposure on multiple platforms. The Checkout Live series, which features live jazz shows from venues, including Berklee, is aired on WBGO and webcast simultaneously on NPR Music.”

Smith III, who just released the new album found his show to be a positive experience. “It works well because people who wanted to go to the show but couldn’t can now see it. Whether they can’t make it due to distance, lack of tickets, or other reasons, this gives them a chance to see the performance.” It also doesn’t hurt that the musicians don’t have to do anything differently for the streamed shows — except maybe shorten a song or set here and there, he explained.

Lieberman echoed Smith III’s comments about these types of shows benefiting fans, but he also said they’re good for artists. “Not only is streaming a concert a way to attract new fans who may buy tickets to a future show, existing and new fans alike can follow an artist’s account on Livestream to be notified when they announce an event and go live with one.  This is a great way for artists to re-engage their existing fans and stay in touch online through social media and Livestream,” he said.

While Smith III said he believes video of concerts will continue to grow, and hopes the majority of it will be aired by organizations like LiveStream and NPR who allow the artists to have “control of the content.” If such legal streaming of concerts continues to grow it may cut down on the amount of concert clips posted online that are unauthorized, he said.

As for whether or not he plans to do more live streaming shows, Williams III said he might, but certainly doesn’t want to do too many. “I wouldn’t want every concert recorded,” he explained. “One every now and then is good.”

And this one was very good. Check it out at NPR Music.

 

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Where to, Bub?: Geo-Locating ‘Hailo’ Taxi Cab App Expands to New York City

Taxis in New YorkNew Yorkers are a people who appreciate convenience. Take, for example, its omnipresent taxi cab fleet. Be it a 4 AM flight out of John F. Kennedy Airport, or a 5 AM (ahem) last call at a club, there’s a good chance you’ll find a yellow Ford Crown Victoria–or ten.

But New York City is also a constant survival of the fittest. There’s always a little competition while trying to hail a cab, and sometimes you just can’t beat out the crafty veterans. The popular app Uber has tried to attract some fed-up taxi customers, sending a geo-tracked limousine service to your door or street corner. But for most folks, an on-demand limo is just far too much more expensive than the traditional metered cab.

In an attempt to keep up with the times while maintaining the comparatively reasonable costs, Hailo, another geo-locating taxi app, has recently struck a deal with New York City cab companies. Now, New Yorkers will be able to track taxi cabs in their direct vicinity, and with the touch of a button, “hail” them from the comforts of their home, cubicle, or even local bagel shop.

Hailo works just like Uber, but with yellow cabs instead of black Town Cars. A customer can see how many available cabs there are in their area, what the wait time would be, instantly hail the car of choice, and store their credit card information so that payment is seamless. Even though taxis in New York are unlike any other city in the world, “Hailo” is not a neophyte when it comes to big-city cabbing. The company currently works with the taxi fleets in Barcelona, Boston, Chicago, Dublin, London, Madrid, Tokyo, and Toronto.

But the app isn’t just for passengers. As Hailo points out, taxi drivers spend a lot of time trying to find passengers too, and now with the app, taxi drivers will be able to have a far better idea of where needy passengers are located, which will cut down on the fickle nature of the business (and gas expenses).

Visit the Hailo website here, or take a moment to watch their introductory YouTube video. As an additional bonus, if you sign-up for the app now, Hailo will deposit a $10 credit into your account.

Download Hailo for free in the iTunes Store or the Google Play Store.

 

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Technically Speaking: Stories of the Week – April 1

Each week we scour the internet to find the best stories on technology, digital living and news of note. This week features 47-inch touch-screen navigation systems coming to New York, tweeting churchgoers, and a smart watch battle.  All that and more in this edition of Mozy’s Technically Speaking.

Huge Navigation Touch Screens Coming to NYC Subway

New York City officials are trying to make it a lot easier for people to reach their destinations without getting lost. According to CNET, the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority is collaborating with the Control Group, a technology and design agency, to provide 47-inch touch-screen kiosks with detailed maps of the city to be used in the subway system. The kiosks will feature interactive maps, alerts, and service announcements, according to the article, and up to 90 of them will be installed this year.

Would You Skype Your Wedding? 49 Percent of Brides Say They Would

Gone are the days of having a wedding with a single photographer. Technology is taking over in the wedding world, says Sherri L. Smith for Mashable. The article discusses how recent studies have shown that brides are very willing to use an abundance of technology when they say “I do.” While 49 percent said they wouldn’t mind having their ceremony being shown on Skype, 59 percent used Facebook to find or share wedding ideas, 68 percent took and shared photos of dress fittings and other preparation, and 59 percent update Facebook with their new name within one day of the wedding. As for Bachelor and Bachelorette parties, photos and video from those seem to be a little harder to come by.

Reverend Encourages Churchgoers to Tweet During Sermon

In the past most churches would frown at the use of cell phones during services. But Rev. Patrick Mead, senior pastor at Eastside Church of Christ in Colorado Springs is embracing the use of social media and technology. The reverend encourages his parishioners to Tweet or send Facebook messages out during his sermons, writes Stephanie Earls. And Eastside Church of Christ isn’t the only one using, or encouraging the use of social media among its congregation. More and more church leaders are turning to social media to spread the word of God, share information and to woo new members.

Will the Smart Watch be the New Tech Craze? Apple and Samsung Think So


It’s official: the smart watch is the next big thing: at least in the eyes of  tech giants. Apple and Samsung. Reports surfaced earlier this month that Apple was working on a new iWatch, but details were scarce. Since then, Samsung has also announced plans to develop its own version of a smartwatch, according to Doug Gross of CNN. Of course Samsung isn’t releasing any details either, so no one knows the features, cost, or even look of the new devices. The smart watch may be the latest  product in the “wearable technology” trend that has most recently included Google Glass.

 

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World Backup Day 2013

World Backup Day is March 31, 2013. Now is a great time to audit your current backup solution, make sure you know your backups are working and test restoring your files, This World Backup Day guide walks you through testing your own Mozy setup, and what to do if you’re not currently backing up.

Make sure to make it through to the end for 2 chances to win awesome prizes!

Mozy users: Check your backups and restores

Now is a great time to make sure that you know how to restore your files. Run through a test restore with these instructions.

Running into any problems or have some questions? Our support team is standing by – they’re here to help!

Don't Currently Back Up? Use Mozy.

What should you look for in a cloud backup provider? We’ve put together a helpful guide with some good questions to consider in your search.

  • Part 1 - Making Copies, Safekeeping, To the Cloud
  • Part 2 - Not Prepared to Lose, Create and Change
  • Part 3 - Incremental and Versioning, Backup Considerations

With over 3 million users, Mozy is a great choice for protecting your data. You can get started with a free 2GB account. Need more space? No problem – use the promo code “WorldBackupDay” for 15% off all new  1- and 2- year MozyHome and MozyPro accounts. Sign up for Mozy.

Backup is important for businesses as well. Over 90,000 businesses trust MozyPro with their important information. Find out how MozyPro can turn your backups into a competitive advantage for your company.

World Backup Day - Share and Win!

Know someone who doesn’t backup or needs some help getting started? Click here to tweet out the 15% discount code and help them get started with protecting their files.

Everyone who tweets will be entered to win one of three ZAGGSparq Portable Battery chargers (capable of charging a smart phone/device up to four times on a single charge) because you could always use some “backup” power, right? One entry per Twitter account, please.

Mozy Online Backup - What's Your Story?

Has Mozy saved your bacon recently? Let us know how in the comments – you could win  a Sonos Playbar TV Soundbar and Wireless Speaker ($699 value). One entry will be chosen by our team.