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Intel is reportedly working on a new augmented reality headset

Intel is reportedly jumping into the world of augmented reality with a new headset. The company is using its RealSense 3D camera technology in the AR headset.

Augmented reality is a separate but similar idea to virtual reality. Instead of taking up your entire field of view with computer-generated visuals, AR allows you to see the real world, but overlays visuals onto it. Intel’s foray into AR rather than VR makes it stand out against the deluge of VR headsets that have been announced or have hit the retail market in the past year.

Although Intel hasn’t released any details regarding its AR project, some predictions can be made about what it could end up being like. Because the headsets will use the RealSense camera technology, it is very likely that the device will be more than just a heads-up display akin to Google’s failed Glass experiment. It will probably act like Microsoft’s HoloLens, overlaying visuals that correspond and change with the environment you’re looking at.

Currently, Intel’s major AR competitors include Microsoft’s HoloLens, which has the high asking price of $3,000, Apple, which has been researching AR and VR since at least January, and Google. 

With these industry titans delving into AR headsets, it will be interesting to see what innovations each come up with to make their device the most attractive to buyers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that while Intel is working on developing this AR technology, it probably won’t be selling it itself, but offering the technology to other companies to put their own spin on it. The sources were not aware of any manufacturing partners yet.

New glasses project images directly onto retina with a mini-laser

 Japanese company called QD Laser in collaboration with the University of Tokyo has developed a pair of glasses that come with a tiny camera that captures data and a laser that prints imagery from the camera directly onto the retina. The glasses are still in the prototype stage but researchers with the project gave a demonstration in Osaka last week at the 1st Medical IT Solutions Expo of Medical Japan, indicating that they do work at least to some extent.

The retina, is of course, a layer of cells on the back of the eyeball that receive light from other parts of the eye and then trigger nerve impulses that send information to the parts of the brain that decipher the imagery data that is sent. The new glasses override the function of the lens and other associated eye parts, making it possible for people with problems of the outer eye to see.

The glasses have been developed as a medical device intended to help people with vision problems, but the researchers also plan to market the glasses as a VR device as well. The approach appears to have an advantage over other such efforts because the glasses look very nearly like ordinary glasses—the technology is hidden inside reducing bulk. That sets them apart from cumbersome goggles or even devices such as Google Glass.

As a medical device, the glasses are intended to help weak-sighted people, those who have trouble focusing, for example, not those who are blind. Weak-sightedness is typically caused by problems with the muscles that control lens focusing—projecting directly onto the retina bypasses such problems and thus represents a new approach to restoring vision in such patients. Representatives with QD Laser claim the glasses will provide wide viewing, high brightness and multi-position and focus-free viewing.

Despite being billed as utilizing an ordinary pair of glasses, the prototype is still a little bulky, reporters at the Expo noted, but the company hopes to make them less so—there is also of course the issue of how much power is needed to run the glasses and how sharp of an image they can produce. The company plans to commercialize the glasses sometime this month with finished improvements by the end of next year.

iPhones with iOS 9.3 to warn users if bosses are watching them

The new feature doesn’t add any way to stop the monitoring, but it will make people aware of it
Apple is adding new features to its iPhone to help people know if they’re being spied on.

Phones running the as yet unreleased version of iOS, 9.3, will receive an alert if their employers are spying on them.

The latest beta shows a small message on phones that are being managed under Apple’s Device Enrollment Program, which allows companies to deploy and manage a large number of phones and keep them secured.

“This iPhone is managed by your organisation,” a message on the handset’s lock screen reads. The about page offers more information about the tracking, making clear that company’s IT departments can monitor and locate devices that are being managed using the software.

The feature doesn’t appear to offer any way to know whether a handset is being watched at any particular moment, and no way of altering those settings, which must be done by the device’s owner. But it helps remind users that their personal information might not be secure if their handsets are owned by their employer.

The company is engaged in a number of battles over privacy — most prominently with the FBI in the US, where it is fighting in court over whether it can be compelled to unlock a phone. The new update doesn’t seem to be linked to any of those discussions but comes at a time of increased scrutiny of Apple’s security policies.

The FBI case revolves around an iPhone that was owned by the government and given to one of the San Bernardino shooters as an employee. But the government did not install any such software, despite having paid for it, according to previous reports.

The feature was discovered in a beta version of Apple's iOS software, which means that Apple could remove it before the full version is released to the public.

Surface Pro 4 keyboard with fingerprint sensor now out in UK

There's some good news for those of you who have previously been eyeing up the fancier keyboard with added fingerprint sensor for Microsoft's Surface Pro 4, as the accessory is now available to pre-order in the UK (and other European countries).

The Surface Pro 4 Type Cover with Fingerprint ID (in black, or as Redmond calls it, onyx), which was previously only out in the US, bolsters security with biometrics and can now be snagged for the princely sum of £135.

If you pre-order now, the Type Cover will ship by March 15, so you should have it in a fortnight's time.

Hello, Windows...
The built-in Fingerprint ID sensor lets you use the power of Windows Hello to login to your Surface device with one simple touch from your fingertip. The fingerprint scanner can also be used to do things like authorising an app purchase from the Windows Store.

As well as the latest Surface Pro 4, the keyboard is compatible with the Surface Pro 3, so those with a slightly older machine don't have to miss out.

It's not unusual to have to wait a long time before we see certain pieces of Microsoft hardware in this country, and by now we should be used to it. Indeed, the much acclaimed Surface Book itself didn't go on sale until a couple of weeks ago.

Where to Find a Great Job That Pays Well

If you’ve found yourself contemplating a new job or new career, don’t despair. Even though the ongoing economic slowdown means most industries still face cutbacks and layoffs, there is one field that’s projected to grow steadily in the future: Health Care Professionals.

Job opportunities in health care are on the rise and expected to increase 34 percent through 2018.  This is due to two factors: Firstly, the American population is aging rapidly.  A much larger population of the elderly means a huge increase in demand for medical services and the people that provide them.

The second reason is related to technology. Our health care is getting more and more sophisticated.  And, that means highly skilled people are needed to deliver the service.

Put these two things together and you get higher salaries and more employee demand.

We all know that doctors make the big bucks.  But, talk about paying your dues – doctors must endure over 10 years of schooling and work horrendous hours.

Fortunately, you don’t need to become a doctor to settle into a stimulating, secure, and well- paying job.  There are many opportunities available, and one of the best ways to get into the field is as a medical assistant.

The field of medical assistants offers many options for flexibility and job growth. The position can be part-time, full-time, or even just evenings and weekends.  Working conditions and benefits tend to be excellent, and you can manage to have a life outside of work as well.

Medical assistants can specialize in a particular type of medicine such as podiatry, ophthalmology or chiropractic care, and their job duties are diverse.  They include:

  • Handling both administrative and clinical duties, while reporting directly to an office manager, physician, or other health practitioner.
  • Taking medical histories and recording vital signs.
  • Explaining treatment procedures to patients.
  • Assisting physicians during examinations.

Accreditation programs are often be the best way to get into the field. These programs will teach you everything you will need to know to work in a medical office—from clerical skills such as filing, transcription and recordkeeping; to anatomy, physiology and medical law, and ethics. Often these programs also provide internship opportunities and job placement services for graduates.

Completing a proper certification program can also make you eligible to move up from an initial position with a little additional training down the road.

Many medical assistants choose to take additional classes to become nurses and health care practitioners. Some take on additional administrative training and become office managers for larger practices. Your first job as a medical assistant is more of a jumping-off-point for a bigger, more rewarding career in the health care industry.

As with any training or educational course, always research any program thoroughly before beginning. Find out exactly what kind of training you will be receiving through your program and what kind of assistance and placement programs are in place to help you upon completion.

Working in the health care industry can be extremely rewarding, and a medical assistant training course can be the first step to a long and satisfying career in the health care field. 

Facebook Live videos will now appear higher in your News Feed

According to Facebook, people spend three times longer watching videos when they're live compared to videos that are no longer live. 

"Now that more and more people are watching Live videos, we are considering Live Videos as a new content type – different from normal videos – and learning how to rank them for people in News Feed. As a first step, we are making a small update to News Feed so that Facebook Live videos are more likely to appear higher in News Feed when those videos are actually live, compared to after they are no longer live," the post says.

Facebook claims that Pages won't see significant changes after this update. 

A Facebook Live video is simply a streaming video, similar to the feature offered by other live-streaming services like Meerkat and Periscope, with viewers able to react to them and offer comments. 

The feature was originally launched on iOS in August 2015 for a small number of verified accounts and celebrities in the U.S. Facebook had rolled it out for everyone mid-February and added Android support last week. 

6 Ways to Attract Recruiters to Your LinkedIn Profile

You know the drill. You’re unhappy in your current job — or unhappy with no job — and are desperately updating your LinkedIn profile that hasn’t been touched since the last time you were in this situation.

Well, you’re not alone; this sums up the dysfunctional relationship many professionals have with their LinkedIn profiles. While some flock to LinkedIn only when in need and apply to already posted positions, the platform is at its best when maintained regularly and optimized to allow hiring managers to reach out to you.

LinkedIn's career expert Nicole Williams helps elaborate on six ways to optimize your profile and attract more recruiters to you now.

1. Develop a Keyword Strategy
If search engine optimization is not your expertise, here is a mini lesson. LinkedIn’s search functionality makes it easy to find people by their name, skills and any other words that appear in their profile — which is why these words should be chosen with thought.

First, make a list of terms associated with your skills and experience. Ask yourself, "What words would someone search for to find me?" If strapped for terms, seek inspiration from a job positing you are interested in.

Next, take those terms and rework them from the perspective of a searching recruiter. For example, you may have the term "digital strategy" in your LinkedIn profile; however, a recruiter would be more likely to search for the term "digital strategist." Synonyms are also important; you never know if recruiters will search for "digital," "online" or "Internet," so include them all. Lastly, you want to organically incorporate these key terms into your profile to attract both the search engine and human reader alike.

2. Say Cheese
Williams says that "hiring managers are seven times more likely to view your profile if you have a photo; it’s a must have."

Not only does a photo allow your profile to stand out in the search results, but also shows recruiters that you are active on the network and LinkedIn is a viable way to contact you. Williams suggests using a photo that places you in the context of your job. You want to help hiring managers envision you in that position.

"If you are a chef, feel free to show yourself in a kitchen, or in front of a whiteboard if you are a marketer," Williams says. "But don’t use a picture of yourself with your dog, unless you’re a veterinarian."

3. Be Vain
Williams also prompts all passive and active job seekers to claim their vanity URL. This is a customized URL that drives directly to your profile.

"Using your name in your vanity URL gives it a chance to appear in a Google when someone searches for you," says Williams.

This makes it easier for hiring managers to find you and share your information with other hiring managers. If your preferred vanity URL is already claimed, incorporate a relevant key term, for example

4. Rack up Recommendations
Solicit recommendations from people you have worked for or with. "Make a strategic plan for your recommendations," says Williams. "Approach different people and suggest particular skills or experiences you would like them to highlight."

This strategy helps provide hiring managers with a more holistic view of you and your past work. However, the most important part of the recommendation is not necessarily the content, but that it exists at all. It shows that someone was willing to take the time to personally vouch for you.

5. Strategic Connections
The more connections you have on LinkedIn the more likely you are to come up in a hiring manager’s search results. Strategically identify people you’d like to be linked to and approach them with a custom connection request.

"The biggest mistakes users make is asking for too much in the first request," says Williams. LinkedIn are no different than connections in real life.

"Find an affinity you have in common, ask a question, but don’t ask for a job in the first connection."

Groups work similarly and if you and a recruiter are in the same group, you can rise to the top of their search results. Join groups that are relevant to the industry you are in and a few recruiters in your field will most likely be members as well.

6. Now Share with your Connections
"Don’t just set up your profile; actively engage in LinkedIn," says Williams. Share useful content or comment on the shared content of others to make your profile more viewable. Interacting with others on the platform not only makes you visible to them, but also their connections.

If you don’t have time to scour the Internet for shareable content, Williams suggests leveraging LinkedIn Today, a feature that allows you to receive the most read news on your chosen topics. Choose one story per day from that feed and not only will it help you in your current job, but it might catch the eye of a hiring manager for a future position.

Try out these six LinkedIn tips and post your results below. If you have tips of your own, share them in the comments.

Microsoft Office 2016 is coming to Windows Store

Office 2016 is getting the Project Centennial treatment

It seems that Microsoft is getting ready to push out a Project Centennial version of the Office 2016 suite on the Windows Store – or at least, a test version is now available, which certainly points to the possibility of this happening before long.

Project Centennial focuses on allowing developers to convert their Win32 desktop apps to ones which are compatible with the Windows Store and optimised for Windows 10.

So, in other words, you'll soon (in theory) be able to download the full desktop apps for Office on the store (as opposed to the touch-focused Office apps), and the process will be simplicity itself, as WinBeta notes.

With one click, the entire suite will be downloaded swiftly, installed and ready to run, no mess and no fuss.

Not functional yet
At the moment, the apps are apparently listed on the store, but they're not functional – this is clearly labelled a test version, and while it will install, when you launch any of the apps, nothing happens. So there's not much point downloading it now, and indeed some folks who have installed this version have reported trouble with uninstalling it.

We'd leave it alone, then, but this is exciting because it shows that hopefully the full implementation of the Office suite on the Windows Store will soon be live. Although there is no guarantee of that, of course. Redmond is only playing at testing right now.

Microsoft is naturally enough pushing the Windows Store (and indeed Windows 10 in general), and earlier this month introduced the 'Built For Windows 10' label which highlights those apps specifically built as universal apps for its newest OS.

How to download iOS 9.3

Apple's iOS 9.3 looks set to be one of the biggest updates to iOS 9 yet, with improvements coming to several native apps, including Notes, Apple News, CarPlay, and more. There's also the addition of a long-awaited system-wide feature called Night Shift, which calmly tones down sleep-disrupting displays.

The new iOS won't actually be available until sometime this Spring, but if you want to get your hands on the new features today, you can - with the iOS 9.3 Public Beta.

It used to be the case that only registered developers could get hold of beta versions of the next iOS, but Apple's had a change of heart. Now anyone who wants to try out the latest beta can do so, and in this guide we'll show you exactly how.

Of course, it's the nature of beta releases to be a bit buggy. That said, some users might not notice any major issues and find the beta perfectly usable - your mileage may vary. On the upside, you can always downgrade your device and restore your device to the way it was before, and we'll show you how to do that too.

1. Create a backup

First you need to make a backup of your phone in case things don't work out and you want to revert to the previous version of iOS. Note that an iCloud backup isn't enough - you need a full iTunes backup to perform a downgrade.

So, attach your iOS device to a computer with the latest version of iTunes installed and click on the device's icon in the app. In the device's Summary screen, under Backups, click This Computer, check the box to Encrypt iPhone backup (this is necessary to back up all your data) and click Back Up Now.

2. Archive your backup
The backup procedure takes a few minutes to complete. Once it's done, you need to archive the backup to ensure that iTunes doesn't overwrite it with backups of the new iOS. Windows users will need to manually archive the backup by moving it out of the default backup directory (see Apple's support website for more).

To archive the backup on a Mac, select iTunes > Preferences from the menu bar and click the Devices tab. Right-click the new backup in the list and select Archive. A time and date added after the backup name verifies that the backup has been successfully archived.

3. Sign up to Apple's Beta Program
In order to grab the latest iOS Beta release you need to sign up for Apple's Beta Software Program. Open a browser, navigate to and click the blue button on the page to Sign up. Next you'll be asked to sign in with your Apple ID, so be sure to have that to hand.

If you previously enabled two-factor authentication you'll also need to enter a verification code sent to your Apple devices. Once that's done, it's time to install a new profile.

4. Install the new Profile
Over on your iOS device, open Safari and type into the address bar. On the loaded page, tap the option to Download Profile. Once the beta profile has downloaded it will automatically open the Settings app on your device and ask you to confirm the installation.

Click Install and accept the terms and conditions. You'll then be prompted to restart your device. After the reboot, open Settings > General and tap on Software Update. Tap Install Now to download and install the latest beta version of the new iOS.

5. Check app compatibility
With the latest beta version of the new iOS installed on your device, the first thing you should do is check that everything's working in general. Interact with your device as you normally would and look out for odd/slow behaviour or screens crashing out. Apple's betas are usually relatively stable, but issues can arise.

If you want to help Apple iron out bugs, you can use the Feedback app, installed as part of every beta. Beta software can also affect third-party apps, because developers won't have submitted their updates to the iTunes Store to ensure compatibility.

6. Check out new features
Of course, the reason you updated was to take advantage of the new features and improved Notes, Apple News, Health and CarPlay apps so be sure to test them out. Of particular note is the new Night Shift feature designed to reduce the amount of sleep-interfering blue light you're exposed to at night (similar in intention to third-party app Flux).

You can find the new controls in Settings > Display and Brightness, and enable/disable the feature using the new option in the Control Center. Also check out new 3D Touch Quick Actions on several stock apps.

7. Roll back in Recovery Mode
If you've experienced issues with the Beta - apps crashing, poor battery life and the like - it's easy enough to revert back to the previous version of iOS using your archived backup. First, go to Settings > iCloud and turn off Find My iPhone.

Now, connect your device to your computer and force restart it: press and hold both the Sleep/Wake and Home button for at least 10 seconds, and don't release when you see the Apple logo.

Keep holding until you see the iTunes icon on the recovery mode screen. In some cases you may need to repeat this process to get it to work.

8. Restore from backup
With your device in Recovery Mode and attached to your computer, a dialog window should appear in iTunes. Click the 'Restore' button and confirm again when iTunes warns you that the device will be wiped. To open the iPhone Software Update menu, click 'Restore and Update'.

This will give you details on the latest official release of iOS; click Next and then accept the terms and conditions to begin the fresh install. When it's done, select the Restore Backup option in iTunes and choose the archived backup you created in step 2. Click Restore, allow the process to complete and you're done.

Learn Spanish 5 easy ways

5 Tricks to Learn Spanish (or Any Other Language) from 2 People Who Speak 11
Two polyglots discuss their shared love for the Spanish language and offer some tips for language learners.

Spanish is the most studied second language in the United States. Many Americans start learning it in middle school or high school, but most of us never reach a level where we can really communicate in Spanish. I studied Spanish for all four years of high school and have almost nothing to show for it besides, “Me llamo John-Erik. Yo nací en Los Angeles. Chicle en la basura, por favor.” As is painfully obvious from this thimbleful of Spanish I retained after high school, my relationship with the language never left the classroom and thus never really came to life. Where did I go wrong?

I needed expert advice so I consulted two guys with a lot to say about the Spanish language: Luca Lampariello, who hails from Italy and started teaching himself Spanish as a kid (he also speaks English, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese…), and Babbel’s polyglot-in-residence Matthew Youlden. Here are their tips for learning Spanish (or any language for that matter).

1. Connect it to your life
Don’t isolate your study of the language from the rest of your life. You’re not learning Spanish in order to talk about learning Spanish. This kind of recursive loop gets boring very quickly – and can be severely demotivating. Instead, think of Spanish as a new way to experience your everyday life: change the display language on your computer to Spanish; find Spanish-language movies and TV shows to watch (with Spanish subtitles); get your news or celebrity gossip fix from Spanish-language magazines, newspapers and websites; check out Spanish-language podcasts and youtube videos on topics that already interest you. If you use Spanish to do things that you’d be doing anyway, studying daily will become an automatic reflex instead of a dreaded chore. Just remember that languages are a means to an end, not goals in themselves.

2. Connect to native speakers
The best way to connect Spanish to your daily life is to spend time around native speakers. If any of your friends speak Spanish, convince them to speak it with you for at least half of each time you hang out together. If you eat at a Mexican restaurant, try to order in Spanish. If you travel to Latin America or Spain, don’t just fall back on “¿Habla inglés?” Any time an opportunity to speak Spanish presents itself GRAB IT! You need to practice what you learn and talking is always the best way to do that. Once you can hold a basic conversation, find a Spanish-speaking meetup group or club so that you can pursue one of your hobbies in Spanish. This could be anything from a dance class to a choir to an astronomy club.

This is also the secret to retaining what you have learned. As Luca puts it, “My parents had some good Spanish friends who came to eat at our place once a week, so I was able to practice with them. If you have the opportunity to speak many languages on a daily basis, then you won’t forget them.” This applies if you are juggling 10+ languages or if you are simply trying to keep a second language locked in your memory. The more you use it the less likely you are to forget it.

3. All roads lead to Rome
Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese and Romanian can barely consider each other “foreign languages” since they all evolved from Latin. These “Romance” languages have such similar vocabulary, syntax and grammar that they are more like siblings. This overlap with his native Italian made it easy for Luca to start learning Spanish, but he still had to focus and make Spanish learning a daily practice.

By comparison, an English speaker appears to have a huge disadvantage when learning Spanish. After all, English evolved from Anglo-Saxon, a Germanic language. What could English and Spanish possibly have in common? Quite a lot, actually. English draws roughly half of its vocabulary from French and Latin, so although they may not be siblings English and Spanish are certainly cousins. Consider Matthew’s example, “la proclamación de la democracia”. That phrase barely needs to be translated into English! And as Luca elaborates, “democratisation, democratización, démocratisation, democratizzazione … you can learn four languages at the same time.”

4. The imitation game
An authentic accent: the final frontier. To master a Spanish accent you need to listen closely to native speakers and imitate what you hear. Think of yourself as a method actor: You aren’t just learning the lines, you are attempting to inhabit your character. However you expose yourself to Spanish (hanging out with Spanish-speaking friends, talking with tandem partners over Skype, watching Spanish-language movies and TV shows) imitate the voices you hear as accurately as you can. Over time this will familiarize you with sounds that you aren’t used to making. At first it may feel silly, like you are doing a bad impression, but once the correct pronunciation sinks in you will be “in character” when you speak Spanish.

Since Spanish has so many different regional accents, the people you choose to imitate can give your Spanish a particular regional flair. Because he studied in Barcelona, Matthew speaks Spanish like a barcelonés, while Luca developed his madrileño accent after dating a girl from Madrid. My Spanish might be light years behind theirs, but I’m trying to emulate my Mexican friends in hopes that, one day, I’ll be able to interject into almost every sentence like one of the dudes.

5. Jump right in!
The tips above will only help if you simply start learning. No, not tomorrow—now. What are you waiting for? It’s OK, you can start small, like 10 minutes a day. Combine short sessions of daily study with the tips above, and you will hear yourself speaking real Spanish in no time!

Microsoft gathering data to improve biometric login system for Windows 10

Microsoft representatives set up a temporary research station in Seattle this weekend to make 3D infrared scans of volunteers’ faces.

According to a report in Geekwire the goal of the exercise was to help the company test new versions of Windows Hello, the biometric login system for Windows 10, by gathering a wide variety of real-world scans to improve the accuracy of the facial recognition technology.

The report noted: “The process took about five minutes, requiring participants to sit on the other side of a computer, facing a camera array taped to the back, and then move their face and adjust their body in a variety of prescribed motions to capture an accurate scan.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft’s biometric solution partner BIO-key International, Inc. announced the successful completion of a 12-city roadshow with Microsoft, which featured BIO-key’s fingerprint scanners and software solutions as part of the U.S. launch of Windows 10 for Business and Office 2016.

How to Monitor Your Kid's Text Messages to Keep Them Safe

Built by Parents for Parents

How to Monitor Your Kid's iPhone or Android Text Messages!

Here’s some exciting news for parents looking to monitor their child’s text message activity. Child safety website TeenSafe has launched a new version that not only lets you view your child’s social network activity, but also lets you read the text messages they send and receive on their Android or iPhone.
Better still, you can even read text messages that have been DELETED on the phone!
Text message monitoring has been of huge interest in recent years. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, kids spend an average of 7 hours, 38 minutes a day connected to some type of electronic device. The big worry for parents is that they don’t often know what their child is doing on their phone, online, or in the real world — and their kids aren’t always forthcoming with what’s going on in their lives.
From sending friends seemingly innocent (but potentially provocative) photos, to online solicitations, sexting, or befriending some less-than-desirable characters, kids can make mistakes caused by youthful inexperience. Those actions can end up haunting a child and parent forever, but TeenSafe gives parents access and visibility into their child’s world.
TeenSafe also works on an iPhone -- including iOS9. You don’t need your teen’s phone to set it up, and you can monitor the iPhone without needing to jailbreak it, which can invalidate the iPhone warranty. All you need is your child’s Apple ID and password.
The application for Android smartphone installation is slightly different, but just as easy. Just enter some basic info, accept the app on the phone, and you're good go.
Once you register with TeenSafe, the information gets downloaded to your private login page where you can read all the iPhone or Android text messages your child has sent and received. You can also view their phone call logs, phone contacts and web browsing history, and monitor Instagram and WhatsApp activity. TeenSafe also uses the phone's GPS to track its location on a map.
And nothing shows up on your child’s phone, so they won’t know about it unless you tell them.

9 Tips to Make Sure Your Website Is Up to Date

Sprucing up your website doesn't have to mean a full redesign every few years. There are some less evasive things that can be done to freshen it up and make sure it is performing well.

Just like spring cleaning your house, an annual dusting of your website will make sure it remains responsive, SEO friendly and continues to give your customers what they want.

Here are 9 things you can do to keep your website in tiptop condition.

1. Code
If, like me, you have no idea what all those strange letters, numbers and symbols mean behind the scenes, you may want to get someone in to help you with this one.

Cleaner and more organised code means a faster website that loads in a flash and is easier for the search engines to crawl.

2. Title tags and META descriptions
If you have an SEO strategy, you're probably already tweaking these on a regular basis.

Your title tag lets the search engines know what your web page is about, so make sure you review this regularly. Likewise with your META description, although not a factor in SEO, it must be relevant and appealing to your customers. If you're not sure what it is, the META description is the short piece of blurb that comes under your URL in the search results. It's important that it speaks to the reader, highlights the benefits you offer and contains a call to action. The only issue is you have just 160 characters to play with, so you'll have to get creative.

3. Alt tags
Yes, more tags. The Alt tags are the ones you find behind the images you use on your website. During your review, make sure every image has a tag, but that doesn't mean you should be stuffing them with keywords. Every tag should be relevant to the image.

Plus, where you have your logo on your website, make sure it's Alt tag contains your company name or website.

4. Images
Once you've reviewed the coding behind your images it's time to look at the image itself. Are your photos and graphics still relevant? Are they looking a bit dated? What about the size of them? The file size will have a huge impact on the loading time of your website, so if at all possible compress them to give your users a better, faster experience.

5. Call to action
Take a look at your calls to action.

Are they working?
Are your website visitors being converted into customers? If the answer is no, or you're looking for a high conversion rate, your call to action is a great place to start.

Did you know that Dell increased sales by $25 million just by changing their "Learn more" call to action to "Help me choose"? So if you're not already doing so, test different calls to action to find the one that works best for you.

6. Navigation
The navigation bar on your website is the map your visitors use to find their way round. Check to make sure it is clear and easy to follow. It's also a good opportunity to make sure it aligns with your SEO strategy.

7. Compatibility
More and more people are accessing the Internet through their mobile phones, so it's essential your website is mobile friendly.

8. Refresh
While you're reviewing all these aspects, why not add in something new. How about an explainer video or infographic? Adding fresh content to your website is a must whether it's a video, graphic, article, report or series of blogs.

9. Does it work?
One of the main reasons websites fall short of the mark is because they are designed and written by people within the business.

Think about it - your business is your baby and you're going to want to shout about it to everyone. But what are your customers looking for? Certainly not your euphoric ramblings about how great you are.

They want to know what you can do for them, which is why it's a great idea to get someone from outside your company to read your content, follow your navigation and generally 'play' with your site to see if it tells them what they need to know.

This exercise is also a good way to check for broken links.

Creating and publishing your website isn't a one off activity. It's vital you revisit your site regularly to make sure it's keeping up with technology and the needs of your customers.

What to do when your website becomes too successful

"Build it and they will come", as the saying goes, and this mantra is repeated to many companies that have built websites. However, for some, a website can become too successful and groan under the weight of traffic.

This sounds like a nice problem to have, but if it means your customers are having a poor experience when the servers can't cope, action is necessary.

"While large traffic spikes are something most website owners don't need to worry about, it can and does happen – such as after a successful newsletter, popular article or viral video," says Karl Mendez, managing director at CWCS Managed Hosting.

"However, if a web server is overloaded and causes temporary disruption, it can do more harm than good for business. After all, online users expect websites to load quickly and, if they don't, they'll (more likely than not) go elsewhere."

This strain can happen around holiday time or other special events. The run-up to Christmas is an obvious example but other times of year can catch out website owners.

"Popular consumer events such as Black Friday are a prime example of when retail websites that see too much success in one go struggle to manage," says John Beechen, head of managed services at Salmon.

"As a result, websites can experience outages, slow browsing due to degradation in site loading times, and on retail sites queues that are implemented to cope with the high volumes can cause frustration for customers."
Monitoring the situation
It is all too easy to blame lots of users, but often problems are caused by not addressing issues before they manifest as the traffic increases.

Paul Griffiths, technical director at Riverbed Technology, says that website failures are often a result of a number of network performance issues, such as poor change management or simply lack of capacity on the hosting platform.

"If a company doesn't have the monitoring and diagnostics systems in place to detect where the issues lie, it can take much longer to resolve and have the website back online as normal," he says.

In today's competitive environment, it's vital for a digital business to ensure that its website can scale in-line with the company's growth, or the firm can quickly become a victim of its own success. There are a number of key steps that businesses can take in order to do so, according to Michael Allen, Solutions vice president at Dynatrace.

"Load testing is key amongst these measures, enabling businesses to see how the website will perform under heavy traffic before it hits," he says.

This is becoming critical, as research has shown that application delays and failures during high demand periods directly affect revenue and brand reputation – 75% of all smartphone/tablet users will abandon a mobile site or app that is buggy, slow or prone to crashes, whilst 42% will complain on social media about a poor online experience.

"However, it's also important to continuously monitor website performance and maintain real-time visibility into the end-user experience. This will enable businesses to intervene in the event that users begin to experience difficulties, reducing abandonment rates and potentially lost revenues," adds Allen.

Capacity planning
Another way for firms to ensure their websites are up to the job is by the use of capacity planning tools that help in preparation for peaks and troughs in demand on designated national shopping days such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
"Add in the layers of complexity driven by mobile consumers, and many organisations are finding that applying advanced operational analytics to their capacity planning – using real data as the basis for building contingency plans – gives them the confidence needed when making fundamental decisions to support peaks in demand," says Peter Duffy, CTO at Sumerian.

Duffy says there is no reason why companies and customers alike should continue to suffer due to outages caused by poor IT capacity planning.

"Companies need to be ready to support growth, and in the age of online retailing, that all begins with knowing exactly what capacity headroom they have available, and having the ability to model different scenarios of increased demand on existing and hypothetical infrastructure. This enables them to know exactly how much traffic they will be able to cope with, and plan accordingly," he says.

Clouding the issue
Mendez says that some firms should take advantage of cloud load balancing. He says this enables traffic to be distributed across multiple virtual cloud servers that are within the same data centre, or across multiple data centres for additional redundancy. "A load balanced cloud means web hosting can be extremely robust and flexible, increasing the reliability – and therefore the user experience – even as a website grows."

Another way to avoid putting pressure on the system is to let someone else take the heat and use a content delivery network (CDN), with queuing systems being used like a safety valve.

"These redirect visitors to a third-party website until the main site has the capacity to deal with them," says Alex Painter, website performance consultant for NCC Group. "Instead of a blank screen or error message, visitors get meaningful feedback while they wait. This is good for delivering a relatively seamless experience and also reduces the extent to which traffic problems are exacerbated by frustrated users hitting the refresh button."

Some outages are inevitable, but if a business takes steps to test and optimise its site, the firm can at least take some comfort in the knowledge that it wasn't the architect of its own demise.

Google just made the tablet the ultimate museum piece

Quite often we find ourselves staring down at our phone while exploring museums, frantically Googling topics to try and learn more about what I'm looking at.

Little plaques to the side of an exhibit never give enough information to truly explain what we're seeing and we wish there was something to help educate us further. Thankfully, Project Tango is here to help.

Google's indoor mapping tool has been around as a concept for quite some time now, but in partnership with Lenovo the company has finally installed it in its first public location.

We were lucky enough to be shown Project Tango working its magic at the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona – and we can safely say, this is going to change the way you visit museums. At first you may think using a tablet will only distract from the education of museums, but in fact Tango can enhance it.
We were rather skeptical when walking into the first exhibit. That feeling continued when we had to calibrate the tablet by waving it round the room.

That involves spinning in circles for a few moments to let cameras and sensors on the back of the Dev Kit slate work out exactly where you're stood. From there it will then place you on the map and instruct you where to go first.

Project Tango doesn't use GPS; all the indoor navigation features are run through the camera technology on the back of the device, and that's why the Dev Kit tablet is so thick right now.

Locating the tablet only took a few moments, then Project Tango showed us where all the exhibits sat. This means you can separate the wheat from the chaff easier and just walk right up to that piece of artwork you'd like to see. There's no more having to search around for that one educational hit.
What we'd like to see next is a review system where visitors can provide a rating or comment on exhibits, and recommend the top picks for those short on time who just want to see the highlights.

Right now, Project Tango can navigate you where you want to go. For example, we chose a painting about a two minute walk through the museum, tapped on it and it set us on the trail.

Walking through windy corridors and complicated exhibits, the tech knew exactly where we were at all times and made sure we didn't bump into any walls or priceless art.
There are two modes for navigation right now. One with a simple floor plan, easiest for finding the exhibits you want to see, and another through the camera which generates an AR trail on the floor for you to follow.

If you walk the wrong way through the museum it'll automatically calibrate the next best route and send you on your way.

When we were nearing the chosen exhibit, a little pop up tells you where to stand to get the best view. Then there was a notification to say we had arrived, and we were told to point the tablet at the exhibit itself.

Our first port of call was the epic Battle of Tétouan by Marià Fortuny. This painting takes up an entire wall in Barcelona's largest museum. It's huge, and depicts a part of the Spanish-Moroccan war of the 1800s.
This is where Project Tango will change how we learn in museums. Points of interest in the artwork itself are highlighted by the program.

If you press on these you'll then get a little explanation sharing information about what you've seen, allowing you to learn more about the artwork itself.

It means rather than reading a small plaque, there are dynamic pictures and more information to help you fully appreciate the piece.
One of the highlights is how easy this system is to implement for the museums. All it requires is someone to walk through the museum one way and go back through exactly the same route but the opposite way to create the map. If Project Tango is using a 180-degree lens, that's all you need to grab the footage.

From there it's just a case of data entry to show what and where the exhibits are as well as adding in more information about the art.
A Google spokesperson said the intention is for museums to initially hand tablets out to guests when they walk in the door, much like places do with audio guides already.

However, as the technology required for Tango works its way into standard smartphones and tablets, museums can begin to phase those tablets out and allow visitors to use their own devices in the years to come.

It's sure to better engage children, while teaching them more effectively about what they're seeing.

There's a lot of room for growth too. Keeping children engaged can sometimes be a struggle in these sort of attractions - so why not implement games within Project Tango?

Imagine a treasure hunt through the museum, which also teaches children at the same time - all through Project Tango.

Google representatives spoke about how having this tech on your phone camera will allow you to walk into a store and track down an item without having to ask for directions from staff. Google may see Project Tango as a wider technology with the focus on retail elements, but this is where it will be most useful.

There's no reason to think that museums wouldn't want to drop audio headsets in favor of Project Tango. Especially when tablets are available on the cheap and Tango will be so easy to set up.

In a time when you can explore The British Museum through Google Maps, it's clear that museums want to adopt new technology and become part of the twenty first century. This is the way they can do it.

The best tech to get your pet fitter

Is Daisy puffing and panting as she runs to fetch the stick? Or would Tim rather nap than catch literally anything you try and entice him with? If so, then your pet might be too fat.

It seems that it's not just humans that are getting fatter as a species - it seems our pets are experiencing an obesity crisis every bit as severe, with one study by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention discovering that 58% of US cats and 53% of US dogs are overweight.

And scarier still, there's a perception gap where 90% of cat owners and 95% of dog owners don't even realise their pet is overweight.

So what to do? Luckily, this is where technology can help as there are not just new gadgets that can help us get fit - but help our animals too. It might sound insane or a bit of a gimmick - and some of them are - but there's some genuine innovation out there which can help us look after our furry housemates better.

If you imagine Fitbit, but for dogs, you basically have Fitbark. It's a collar-mounted activity tracker that will keep watch on your pooch.

It'll log the amount of activity taken and rest taken, you'll be able to see at a glance what exercise they are getting.

But what really makes it work is the connectivity with other dog owners: You can set fitness plans to try and get your dog as fit as the average dog of the same breed - or even push it to the max and train your dog to "Olympian" standards by making sure they hit the desired amount of exercise.

Just as with Fitbit, you can compete with your friends too to see who can record the most "Bark Points" if you need that kind of motivation.

The data can also be easily shared with vets, meaning that they can make informed judgements on providing the best care when your pet is unwell too.
PetNet SmartFeeder and SmartBowl
Of course, getting your animal moving is only half of the battle. The much trickier part of getting fit is making sure you eat the right amount of food, and this is as true for animals as it is for us. Luckily, PetNet has it sorted, with its SmartFeeder and SmartBowl technology which works for both cats and dogs.

The SmartFeeder is a plastic tower which you fill with food, and then use an app to control portions - which can be adjusted automatically according to an app feeding plan.

The SmartBowl, which was unveiled at this year's CES, works similarly and will use lights to guide you in portion control.

And like all modern tech products, PetNet has also figured out how to bundle it with a subscription service. For a monthly fee, it will regularly post you petfood, so that you'll never run out, and so that Rover will always have something to eat.
Borrow My Doggy
Technology isn't just about packing as many sensors into a gadget as possible, but is also about connections. Borrow My Doggy is an app designed to help dog owners ensure their pet is getting as much exercise as it needs - without the burden of having to go out for a walk yourself.

Essentially Tinder for dogs, it will match up dog owners with people who would like to volunteer (for free!) to walk and play with dogs.

So you can kick back and relax, resting assured that Fido is getting his walkies and getting the love he needs so you won't come home to a distressed pooch.
Originally funded by IndieGogo under the name "Bistro", CatFi is a smart feeder which will work for multiple cats.

Using "cat facial recognition technology" (yes, that's a thing now), when your cat puts its head into the feeder it will spit out the amount of food allocated to that cat by the app.

While there, the base will also weigh the cat and work out how much food is being eaten, so you can keep track of your cat's vital statistics.

You can even receive notifications when your cat goes to eat - and then tune into a live video stream of the cat chowing down, wherever you are in the world.

The app even has built in community features that lets you compare and share pictures and videos of your cats - because hey, the internet doesn't have enough cats already.

And if you want to do it cheaper, then an Android phone and a cardboard box means you can use CatFi Box to do a very similar thing in terms of monitoring your cats eating habits.
If you want more detailed analytics than the likes of FitBark can offer, then Voyce is a smarter alternative.

This is a collar that can not only track activity, but like the most recent generation of fitness wearables for humans, Voyce will also track the resting heart rate and resting respiratory rate of your dog too - and even the quality of the sleep your pet is getting. If you're one of those that can't get enough of what's going on with the health of your dog, then there's not a lot this system doesn't monitor.

It's a fully fledged "wellness management system", according to its creators - so much so that the company also offers a "Pro" version aimed at Vets that can monitor your pet remotely.
Runningham Palace
As you can see, there are plenty of gadgets available for cats and dogs, but what about smaller pets? There are loads of us with smaller rodents hidden away in our houses, and sticking a sensor-based collar on an otter simply isn't going to work.

One hobbyist has stepped in with a running wheel for his hamster - Runningham Palace - which tracks just how much exercise it is getting and you can have one too, but be warned: this is a DIY project.

To make it work, it requires an Arduino and a custom circuit board, and it stores its data using the online open platform for the Internet of Things, ThinkSpeak. It's incredibly clever - so crack open the soldering iron and monitor your ham's health, with stats spat out at the end telling you that your hamster needs to run a little more... how you get it to do that, we have no idea.