Founder, writer, editor, instructor, web librarian — Websmartboomer. Read more about me and why I started this website.
Intuition Robotics is developing an artificial intelligence-based robot companion to help older adults use technology to stay connected with family and friends and to live a more active lifestyle.
With a stylish dome body and a separate detachable screen, ELLI•Q doesn’t look like a traditional robot. The key purpose of ELLI•Q is to act as an easy interface to access social media, messaging programs, and audio and video streaming. For example, the device could alert the user that their grandchild has posted a new photo on Facebook, show it to them on the screen, and allow them to comment using speech-to-text technology.
Unlike most other home assistants, ELLI•Q can recommend activities of its own accord. It might ask if you’re interested in watching a video, for instance, or after long period of watching television, suggest a walk. It can also act as reminder to take medication and has the ability to monitor wellness and the environment in the home.
“Our goal is to leverage a combination of our proprietary technology, emotive interaction models and gerontology insights with elegant design to empower older adults to intuitively interact with technology and easily connect with content and loved ones, and pursue an active lifestyle,” says Dor Skuler, CEO and Founder of Intuition Robotics. “We like to think of her as part communication coordinator, part facilitator of lifelong learning and part coach. She’s easy to talk to, intuitive to operate and understands her owner.”
Using “Natural Communication” such as body language that conveys emotion, speech interface, sounds, lights and images to express herself, ELLI•Q uses machine learning to learn the preferences, behavior and personality of her owner, and proactively recommends activities based on that history and recommendations by family.
According to Age UK, nearly half of all people aged 75 and over live alone and more than 1 million say they always or often feel lonely (Age UK, July 2014). Thirty-six percent speak to less than one person a day and 11% say they spent five days or more a month without seeing anyone.
“The idea of having a robot companion is quite dystopian, especially for older generations. Through years of research, we were able to develop a design language and user experience that feels natural, with subtle expressions to develop a unique bond between ELLI•Q and its owner. ELLI•Q could never replace human interaction, but it can be an important motivating factor in keeping older adults healthy and active when living alone,” says Yves Béhar, CEO and Chief Designer at Fuseproject.
Intuition Robotics, a startup pioneering social companion technologies, will be starting a trial phase in the homes of older adults in the Bay Area, February 2017.
Good news for people who use a wheelchair or other mobility aids — Google Maps now has a feature that shows wheelchair accessibility information at many business locations in the United States.
The wheelchair access information is available on Google Maps under the "Amenities" section for a business. According to an article in Mashable, "Google Maps sources the new accessibility information about locations from its Local Guides community, members of which answer questions about the places they visit." Questions about accessibility were added and answered by the millions which gave Google the confidence to start displaying the results with the listings.
Not all places are covered but the more information that is sourced from the Local Guides community the more places that can be added.
Top image courtesy of Toa55 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
NPS National Mall
Use the National Park Service's official app to explore 70 cultural and historical sites at the National Mall and Memorial Parks. Features include walking directions, site information, recommended tour routes, events, news, and a map with a “Locate me” icon so you will always know where you are. Use the Park Lens augmented reality feature by holding up your device's camera to see identifying labels on all the sites. Just tap a button to send a digital postcard to friends and family from the National Mall. iOS | Android
With the Arlington National Cemetery's app, ANC Explorer, you can locate and receive directions to grave sites, events or other points of interest. The app also provides self-guided tours, easy access to general information, and the ability to save searched burial records to a mobile device. iOS | Android
This is the digital mobile guide to the Smithsonian that allows visitors to search the collections, access tours, podcasts and other apps. Use augmented reality (AR), "Smithsonian that Way," to discover the behind-the-scenes work of the Smithsonian's museums and more. iOS | Android
Guide to National Statuary Hall Collection of State Statues
This app is a guide to 100 statues at the U.S. Capitol that have been donated by the 50 states to commemorate Americans from all walks of life and chapters of U.S. history. iOS | Android
U.S. Capitol Rotunda
Located in the center of the U.S. Capitol below the Capitol Dome, the beautiful Rotunda has been used for important national events for nearly 200 years, including the lying in state of eminent citizens and dedicating works of art. Use this app to learn about the historic ceremonies that have occurred there and to explore the Rotunda's amazing architecture, commemorative sculptures and historic paintings. iOS | Android
U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Guide
The U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Guide includes all the information you need to prepare for a visit to the U.S. Capitol: information about tours, visitor amenities, locations, hours of operation, watching Congress in session, Exhibition Hall, the Capitol Grounds, the Statue of Freedom, Capitol statues, and security. iOS | Android
United States Holocaust and Memorial Museum
Explore the stories of individuals who experienced the Holocaust through collections of family photographs, personal artifacts, and videos. The free Visit USHMM mobile app lets you create your own itinerary from exhibitions and events specific to the day of your visit. iOS | Android
Explore more than 130 extraordinary works by artists including Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, and others at the National Gallery of Art with the Your Art app. Use the app to listen to audio commentary, find works of art, view maps, and learn about other important visitor information. iOS | Android
The National Zoo app offers an interactive map to the 163-acre national zoo so that you can easily find animal exhibits, restrooms, food amenities and gift shops. There are four self-guided tour options, schedules of daily programming, webcams of the zoo's animals and other information about the animals at the National Zoo. Use the app to add scheduled animal demonstrations and programs to your calendar and to access up-to-the-minute Metro train and NextBus feeds for taking public transportation to and from the Zoo. iOS | Android
Visit Washington DC
The free and highly rated travel app from Dizgo Inc., Visit Washington DC, offers information on booking tours, free things to do, the Metro Stations, a Calendar of the best events to attend, trivia, recommendations on where to eat and more. Use the app to create a personalized itinerary and to save money with promotional offers from local businesses. iOS | Android
Image courtesy of michaelbennet at Freerangestock.com
It’s not often that any one of us needs to dial 911, but we know how important it is for it to work when one needs it. It is critical that 911 services always be available – both for the practicality of responding to emergencies, and to give people peace of mind. But a new type of attack has emerged that can knock out 911 access – our research explains how these attacks occur as a result of the system’s vulnerablities. We show these attacks can create extremely serious repercussions for public safety.
In recent years, people have become more aware of a type of cyberattack called “denial-of-service,” in which websites are flooded with traffic – often generated by many computers hijacked by a hacker and acting in concert with each other. This happens all the time, and has affected traffic to financial institutions, entertainment companies, government agencies and even key internet routing services.
A similar attack is possible on 911 call centers. In October, what appears to be the first such attack launched from a smartphone happened in Arizona. An 18-year-old hacker was arrested on charges that he conducted a telephone denial-of-service attack on a local 911 service. If we are to prevent this from happening in more places, we need to understand how 911 systems work, and where the weaknesses lie, both in technology and policy.
Computer networks have capacity limits – they can handle only so much traffic, so many connections, at one time. If they get overloaded, new connections can’t get through. The same thing happens with phone lines – which are mostly computer network connections anyway.
So if an attacker can manage to tie up all the available connections with malicious traffic, no legitimate information – like regular people browsing a website, or calling 911 in a real emergency – can make it through.
This type of attack is most often done by spreading malware to a great many computers, infecting them so that they can be controlled remotely. Smartphones, which are after all just very small computers, can also be hijacked in this way. Then the attacker can tell them to inundate a particular site or phone number with traffic, effectively taking it offline.
Many internet companies have taken significant steps to guard against this sort of attack online. For example, Google Shield is a service that protect news sites from attacks by using Google’s massive network of internet servers to filter out attacking traffic while allowing through only legitimate connections. Phone companies, however, have not taken similar action.
Before 1968, American emergency services had local phone numbers. People had to dial specific numbers to reach the fire, police or ambulance services – or could dial “0” for the operator, who could connect them. But that was inconvenient, and dangerous – people couldn’t remember the right number, or didn’t know it because they were just visiting the area.
The 911 system was created to serve as a more universal and effective system. As it has developed over the years, a 911 caller is connected with a specialized call center – called a public safety answering point – that is responsible for getting information from the caller and dispatching the appropriate emergency services.
These call centers are located in communities across the country, and each provides service to specific geographic regions. Some serve individual cities, while others serve wider areas, such as counties. When telephone customers dial 911 on their landlines or mobile phones, the telephone companies’ systems make the connection to the appropriate call center.
To better understand how denial-of-service attacks could affect 911 call systems, we created a detailed computer simulation of North Carolina’s 911 infrastructure, and a general simulation of the entire U.S. emergency-call system.
After we set up our simulation, we attacked it to find out how vulnerable it is. We found that it was possible to significantly reduce the availability of 911 service with only 6,000 infected mobile phones – just 0.0006 percent of the state’s population.
Using only that relatively small number of phones, it is possbile to effectively block 911 calls from 20 percent of North Carolina landline callers, and half of mobile customers. In our simulation, even people who called back four or five times would not be able to reach a 911 operator to get help.
Nationally, a similar percentage, representing just 200,000 hijacked smartphones, would have a similar effect. But this is, in a certain sense, an optimistic finding. Trey Forgety, the director of government affairs for the National Emergency Number Association, responded to our findings in the Washington Post, saying, “We actually believe that the vulnerability is in fact worse than [the researchers] have calculated.”
These sorts of attacks could, potentially, be made less effective if malicious calls were identified and blocked at the moment they were placed. Mobile phones have two different kinds of identifying information. The IMSI (International Mobile Subscriber Identity) is the phone number a person must call to reach that phone. The IMEI (International Mobile Station Equipment Identity) is used to track the specific physical device on the network.
A defense system could be set up to identify 911 calls coming from a particular phone that has made more than a certain number of 911 calls in a given period of time – say more than 10 calls in the last two minutes.
This raises ethical problems – what if there is a real and ongoing emergency, and someone keeps losing phone reception while talking to a dispatcher? If they called back too many times, would their cries for help be blocked? In any case, attackers who take over many phones could circumvent this sort of defense by telling their hijacked phones to call less frequently – and by having more individual phones make the calls.
But federal rules to ensure access to emergency services mean this issue might be moot anyway. A 1996 Federal Communications Commission order requires mobile phone companies to forward all 911 calls directly to emergency dispatchers. Cellphone companies are not allowed to check whether the phone the call is coming from has paid to have an active account in service. They cannot even check whether the phone has a SIM card in place. The FCC rule is simple: If anyone dials 911 on a mobile phone, they must be connected to an emergency call center.
The rule makes sense from a public safety perspective: If someone is having (or witnessing) a life-threatening emergency, they shouldn’t be barred from seeking help just because they didn’t pay their cellphone bill, or don’t happen to have an active account.
But the rule opens an vulnerability in the system, which attackers can exploit. A sophisticated attacker could infect a phone in a way that makes it dial 911 but report it does not have a SIM card. This “anonymized” phone reports no identity, no phone number and no information about who owns it. Neither the phone company nor the 911 call center could block this call without possibly blocking a legitimate call for help.
The countermeasures that exist, or are possible, today are difficult and highly flawed. Many of them involve blocking certain devices from calling 911, which carries the risk of preventing a legitimate call for help. But they indicate areas where further inquiry – and collaboration between researchers, telecommunications companies, regulators and emergency personnel – could yield useful breakthroughs.
For example, cellphones might be required to run a monitoring software to block themselves from making fraudulent 911 calls. Or 911 systems could examine identifying information of incoming calls and prioritize those made from phones that are not trying to mask themselves. We must find ways to safeguard the 911 system, which protects us all.
Mordechai Guri, Head of R&D, Cyber Security Research Center; Chief Scientist, Morphisec endpoint security, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; Yisroel Mirsky, Ph.D. Candidate in Information Systems Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, and Yuval Elovici, Professor of Information Systems Engineering, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Knitting is a popular hobby and has a long, amazing history around the world. Here are seven websites that have everything a knitting enthusiast could want to find on the web.
The world’s leading museum of art and design has some unique resources for the knitting lover. View and download patterns, including a collection from the 1940s, view numerous articles, and read about the history of regional knitting in the British Isles & Ireland. There’s also a reading list of selected books about knitting.
For over 35 years, the Craft Yarn Council (CYC) has represented the leading yarn companies, accessory manufacturers, magazine, book publishers, and consultants in the yarn industry. The Council sponsors various promotional and educational programs, including the acclaimed Certified Instructors Program, Discover Knit and Crochet classes, and its popular I Love YARN Day event (the second Friday in October), which offers a virtual meeting place for the nation's knitters and crocheters. Find free patterns, discover classes, and access standards and guidelines for knitting and crochet including:
For knitters of all skill levels, AllFreeKnitting.org is dedicated to offering the best free knitting patterns on the web. The site also offers tutorials, tips and articles for the knitting enthusiast. You’ll find free product reviews and giveaways of "all the latest and greatest products including yarn, knitting books, totes, and more." The free email newsletter, Knit Picky Patterns, features knitting photos, free knitting patterns, and video tutorials in every issue. Create a free account and you can comment on patterns, add private notes to patterns, rating patterns, and create a personal Knitting Patterns Box where you can save your favorite free knitting patterns from all over AllFreeKnitting.com in one place.
TKGA is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated specifically to knitting. As a member, you will have access to:
They are working to develop a virtual education program. Membership is $25 a year.
This is a project of New Media Arts, Inc., a nonprofit organization. "This ongoing project is an effort to scan craft pattern publications that are in the public domain, to preserve them, so we can keep our craft heritages in our hands." Patterns for all kinds of crafts are available for free including: knitting, crochet, woodworking, and cross-stitch. APL also hosts a Yahoo Group of over 5,000 members.
During WWII knitting was a way that many people supported the war effort. According to The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, the cover story of Life magazine on November 24, 1941 explained "How to Knit" and included instructions and a pattern for a simple vest. The article advised, “To the great American question ‘What can I do to help the war effort?’ the commonest answer yet found is ‘Knit.’” Thousands of Americans did just that to provide soldiers with warmth and loving reminders of home. The museum website also notes that First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was often photographed knitting for the war effort.
Since 2006, The National WWII Museum in New Orleans has coordinated the service project called Knit Your Bit—a volunteer-based effort to collect and distribute hand-knit scarves to veterans. Knitters and crocheters in all 50 states have participated and tens of thousands of scarves have been distributed to veterans' centers, hospitals, and service organizations across the country.
There are patterns to print out, information on starting your own local effort for Knit Your Bit, and you can join the Facebook group to hear the latest news, get information on Knit-Ins at the Museum, and more.
The “CKC” is on mission to "preserve and promote the art, craft, and scholarship of knitting, crochet, and related arts.” The Center offers online exhibitions and you can become a charter member to support the efforts. Your membership will support:
Map lovers this is for you! The Library of Congress is joining forces with the Digital Public Library of America to bring rare and historic maps online for everyone to enjoy.
The first batch of records will include 5,000 items from three major Library of Congress maps collections—the Revolutionary War, Civil War and panoramic maps collections.
“We are pleased to make the Digital Public Library of America a new door through which the public can access the digital riches of the Library of Congress,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “We will be sharing some beautiful, one-of-a-kind historic maps that I think people will really love. They are available online and I hope even more people discover them through DPLA.”
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to collaborate closely with the Library of Congress, to work with them on the important mission of maximizing access to our nation’s shared cultural heritage,” said DPLA’s Executive Director Dan Cohen, “and we deeply appreciate not only the Library’s incredible collections, but also the great efforts of the Librarian and her staff.”
The Digital Public Library of America is a portal—effectively, a searchable catalog—that aggregates existing digitized content from major sources such as libraries, archives, museums and cultural institutions. It provides users with links back to the original content-provider site where the material can be viewed, read or, in some cases, downloaded.
“The Library of Congress’s extraordinary resources will be exponentially more available to everyone in the United States through DPLA. This partnership will benefit everyone, from curious thinkers to scholars,” Amy Ryan, President of the DPLA’s Board of Directors, says in a statement. The Library of Congress expects to add a significant portion of its digital items to the original trio of collections over time, covering other collections such as photos, maps and sheet music.
At no additional cost, all Netflix members can now download great series and films onto their iOS and Android phones and tablets. So if you enjoy Netflix at home now you can watch your shows offline on airplanes and other places where the Internet is expensive and limited. So watch great movies anywhere and save money too.
To download titles from Netflix on your mobile device, you'll need:
Not all movies and series are available for download, but there are more on the way, so there's plenty of content available for those times when you're offline. Look for the “Available for Download” category inside the app to find downloadable content. When the option is available for an episode or movie, tap the download button. It looks like this:
You have the option of either Standard or Higher quality downloads. The Standard is a slightly lower video quality that requires less storage space and so it's faster to download.
To watch your downloaded titles:
Make sure to delete a downloaded title before you attempt to download a new one.
Delete a downloaded title from your iOS device
Delete a downloaded title from your Android device
Delete all downloaded titles
A growing percentage of Baby Boomer business owners say they want to exit their businesses in the next 5 or so years. Yet, according to a survey by Business Enterprise Institute, less than 1 of 10 business owners have started a written Exit Plan. A Southern California Business Exit Planner has created an in-depth, absolutely free webinar to show baby boomer business owners what they're missing.
"Exit Planning 101: What's in an Exit Plan? is a 40 minute, page by page look at what a written exit plan looks like so owners can see and understand what the benefits of a written plan are", according to Certified Exit Planner Bill Black. Black, is the Founder and Host of the Exit Coach Radio Show, an extension of his highly successful podcast of the same name which tackles the most critical aspects of business planning and offers actionable advice to business owners who need to make sure their entire company - as well as their employees and loved ones - will be protected once they leave.
The Webinar will be offered several times over the next month. "Webinars are a great way of learning, as they give business owners a chance to submit questions and see what questions other business owners are asking", Black added. The webinars are available free of charge and Black's hope is that business owners will understand how the process of preparing an exit plan is critical to setting goals and choosing planning strategies and how it can save owners a tremendous amount of time and money. "The key point of a written exit plan is to make sure that a wide variety of strategies are explored and to give an Advisor Team (consisting of Tax, Legal, Business and Financial Advisors and often others) a central planning document to work from."
To see webinar times and register business owners should visit www.BusinessOwnerWebinars.com
For more information about Exit Radio Coach radio go to ExitCoachRadio.com and you can access the Exit Coach podcast via Stitcher and iTunes. Through his podcast, Black has interviewed professional advisors from fields such as law, accounting, banking, insurance and marketing for their best tips, ideas and precautions for Business Owners. All of those interviews have been archived and indexed into 12 topic categories in an audio library at ExitCoachRadio.com.
A collection of Ted Ed technology videos that educate, answer important questions and challenge us to imagine the future. Learn what the web actually is, how a computer works, what amazing things to expect from touch technology, and how computers learn about us.
Did you know that the web is not the internet? This is a short, easy-to-follow visual tutorial to help folks understand more about the web and how it works.
A fascinating look at the measure of technological progress and potential.
Short term memory, long term memory, CPU, DRAM, RAM and more computer terms explained simply.
How machines are learning to identify human emotions using pictures, text, body language, the voice and biological changes. Possible beneficial uses include providing a sense of companionship for lonely elders and cost effective therapy for mental health issues among others. The implications for privacy and predictive crime technology are also discussed.
Learn about the science of touch technology and the revolutionary digital experiences and opportunities that are coming.
Straight from Apple, most of the these tweets come with a short how-to video. They're all great features that you should know about. Go through this list and pick up some cool iPhone know-how right now. Some of you will soon be impressing your children and/or grandchildren with some amazing texting tricks.
Keep your friends and family close. Add favorites to your lock screen and contact them directly from there. pic.twitter.com/5Euw5riqCL— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) January 3, 2017
Capture twice the memories. Here’s how to snap a photo while filming a video. pic.twitter.com/FwHL8FEmzn— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) December 9, 2016
Multi-tasking refined. Respond directly in notifications without leaving what you are doing. pic.twitter.com/eQUsagGNqb— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 11, 2016
Set up customized mailboxes to view the entire day’s mail. pic.twitter.com/C0RLPnp9KZ— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 7, 2016
Mail conversations now appear as one continuous thread. pic.twitter.com/r4EQL8vY0q— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 5, 2016
Make your tone understood: New message bubble effects show just how you feel. pic.twitter.com/HQ8VHIaG7l— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 2, 2016
More fun, more personal. Send a message in your own handwriting and your friends will see it magically animate. pic.twitter.com/jM5LruxwMr— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) October 31, 2016
Invisible ink lets you have more fun writing your friends. Your photo or text will remain hidden until swiped. pic.twitter.com/Z820DN4ard— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) October 16, 2016
When an emoji just doesn’t cut it: Use full-screen effects to set the party mood or celebrate. pic.twitter.com/54mTJKTPMq— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) October 27, 2016
Let your fingers do the talking. Use the Digital Touch menu to view all available gestures, then try each one. pic.twitter.com/3l8HlphX2H— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) November 8, 2016
One finger, lots of thumbnails. Here’s how to easily select several photos at once. pic.twitter.com/1AnA7gRPXZ— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) December 10, 2016
Lighten up. Make lighting adjustments in advanced editing tools. pic.twitter.com/YZLc5SV2Pc— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) December 13, 2016
A picture is worth a thousand words. Uneven shouldn’t be one of them. pic.twitter.com/00XSCHJf8C— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) January 2, 2017
React with a Tapback. Blend texts and reactions seamlessly in iMessage. pic.twitter.com/khUkEoJpJ6— Apple Support (@AppleSupport) December 3, 2016