By Ashley Thielen

There are approximately 260 million cellphone users in the United States – that’s 85% of the population [2]! Now think about how many cellphones you have had in your life. Think about your old flip phone, QWERTY keyboard slide phone, and your first touch screen device. What did you do with them when you upgraded to the next latest and greatest device?

There are nearly 1 BILLION old and forgotten handheld devices tucked away, collecting dust in people’s homes [1]. Of those that do purge the old devices from their homes, it is estimated that less than 20 percent of them are safely recycled, meaning the majority are dumped in the landfill where they can release their toxic materials including arsenic, acid and lead [3].

Consumer electronics, including cellphones, tablets and laptops, contain a large number of toxic and hazardous materials that can pose risks to human health and the environment. Such materials include heavy metals such as lead and mercury, as well as arsenic, acid, beryllium and cadmium [1]. The improper disposal of electronics creates what’s known as e-waste (electronic waste) in our landfills and poses as a threat to our environment and health due to the way these toxins linger.

So, what can you do to help the growing problem of e-waste?

Donate. Resell. Recycle. And whatever you do, DON’T THROW AWAY YOUR ELECTRONICS!

Donating or recycling consumer electronics helps conserve our natural resources and avoids air and water pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that recycling just a million cell phones reduces greenhouse gas emissions equal to taking 33 cars off the road for a year. It is also estimated that for every million cell phones we recycle, 35 thousand pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered [2].

Help be a part of the change!

Here are a few ways you can safely dispose of your old cellphones and handheld electronics.

Donate

An easy way to safely and easy get rid of your old electronics is to give them away to someone else who needs them. Do you have a friend or family member that could use your old cellphone? If not, consider donating them to someone in need and give your old electronics to a charity. Most charities will take phones in any condition and determine if they are able to be refurbished or not, and if they aren’t, they will safely recycle them. Here are 2 great charities to consider! Make sure to check out your local charities for electronic drives, too!

Cell Phones for Soldiers

Cell Phones for Soldiers gives back to the troops who dedicate their lives protecting us by providing them with a lifeline. The program accepts all makes, models and conditions of cell phones. Each $5 contribution or donated device valued at $5 will provide troops with an estimated 2.5 hours of free talk time! Visit their website to print out a shipping label or to find one of their official drop-off locations!

Medic Mobile 
Medic Mobile safely recycles your phone or tablet to fund healthcare programs in Africa, Asian and Latin America. Each phone donated, working or not, is either refurbished for medical use or recycled to fund their many projects around the world. The phones can be used to register pregnancies, quickly track disease outbreaks, monitor medicine stock and communicate emergencies. Visit their website to learn more and to print out a free shipping label for your old devices!

Resell or Trade-In

Make some extra money and help someone who can’t afford a brand-new phone! If your device is semi-new and in good condition, you can check with your carrier to see if they have any trade-in deals for you to upgrade to a new model at a discounted price. There are also many reputable websites that buy and resell your old devices. Here are a few companies that can help you get extra cash for your device.

Gazelle

Gazelle allows customers to sell old electronics and buy certified pre-owned devices. It’s quick and easy! Visit their website to get an offer on your device, ship it for free, and get paid by your choice of an Amazon Gift Card, PayPal or check! You can also find a kiosk near you to sell f or immediate cash.

Best Buy 

Visit Best Buy’s website to check their trade-in estimator to see what your item is worth, then trade it in for a Best Buy gift card you can use to upgrade to the latest tech. You can trade in your device online or at a participating location if you want your gift card instantly.

Recycle

Drop off your old phone at an electronics recycling location or take-back program. Phone parts and materials can be used in a new phone or product – metals, plastics, and batteries can all be reused for other products.

ecoATM

ecoATM offers an easy-to-use and eco-friendly kiosk that rewards you for recycling old devices. Last year, ecoATM recycled over 14 million devices and enabled the recovery and reuse of 1,050 pounds of gold, 10,808 pounds of silver and 493,836 pounds of copper! Simply visit one of the many ecoATM kiosks to recycle your device for instant cash!

Best Buy 

Best Buy has collected and responsibly disposed of more than 1 billion pounds of electronics and appliances to reduce e-waste. They accept all kinds of used tech regardless of where you got it, how old it is, or what condition it is in. All U.S. Best Buy stores offer the in-store recycling program for customers who bring in their old electronics.

The Wireless Alliance

The Wireless Alliance specializes in asset recovery and recycling of cellular phones, smart phones, tablets, and other consumer recyclables. Working, tested, data cleared devices are sold to repair centers worldwide for refurbishment and reuse. Devices that cannot be reused are shredded and the metals are extracted for asset recovery to produce new products! Go to their website to print out a free shipping label.

Don’t contribute to e-waste! Donate, resell, or recycle!

Sources:

[1] https://www.ecoatm.com/going-green/

[2] https://www.epa.gov/recycle/electronics-donation-and-recycling

[3] http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161017-your-old-phone-is-full-of-precious-metals

 

By Maria Ruiz and Ashley Thielen

No need to sit down on a computer for long hours, these apps will help you Blog entirely from your phone!
Nowadays, social media influence is becoming bigger and bigger. If you are thinking of becoming a blogger/content creator or already are and want to grow your audience, it can be difficult. But we want to show you how easy it can be! Here are some great apps you can use to become a blogger on the go.

  1. WordPress

The WordPress app allows you to do just about the same thing you can do on your computer. You can write up a draft for a blog post, format how you would like it to look on your blog site, and check comments and stats. It will also give you real time notifications and provide posts in the reader to help you get inspired.

download app here

  1. Hootsuite

Now that you have your content, let’s start sharing! Hootsuite is a great tool for scheduling on all your social platforms, so you don’t have to manually do so on our own time. You can schedule your posts through the app and set the time and date of when to publish. You can also track how your shared content is performing and receive notifications when someone mentions your brand.

download app here

  1. Crowdfire: Social Media Manager

Let me introduce to you your new BFF. Crowdfire is a your very own personal social media manager. This app is a bot that does loads of work for you. It can compose your own posts and schedule them at the right times. It can automatically find and recommend articles and images your audience will love. You can schedule all your social posts in one app! Let the app do the managing and you do the creating.

download app here

  1. Podcast Addict

To be a successful Blogger/Content Creator, you need to be in the loop on what’s going on at all times, so you can share with your audience the latest buzz. Podcast Addict allows you to manage podcast, radio, audio books, live stream, YouTube, Twitch, and SoundCloud Channels all from this app. Get inspired with new topics from your favorite channels.

download app here

  1.  Snapseed

To grow your audience, you should grow your content style. And as always, there is an app for that! Before posting your awesome picture, let’s make it even better! Snapseed is a complete and professional photo editor developed by Google. It has over 29 tools and filters, easy-to-use, and amazing results!

download app here

Start creating and posting with these amazing tools and slowly but steadily watch your audience grow!

 

Read the lastest buzz at Buzzpad

By: Maria Ruiz and Ashley Thielen

Our phones are becoming a bigger part of our lives as we become more and more dependent on them. Technology has given us the ability to store all our information in our smartphones, including our credit cards, social security, passwords, email, messages, photos, and the list goes on! It is extremely crucial to know how to secure your smartphone and protect all your valuable information. Here are ten easy ways to do so.

1. Lock your screen with a secure passcode
First things first – keep your phone locked! You store all sorts of valuable information on your device and the first step to protecting it is to require a passcode to unlock it. Luckily, locking a smartphone has never been so easy. Technology has provided us with a few various unlock options, including fingerprint sensors, facial recognition, voice recognition, pattern, and the good old pin.

It’s recommended to have your phone locked the moment you stop using it as well as requiring a pin when it’s has been restarted. Also, use six digits instead of four for the pin. If you want to go the extra mile, constantly change the pin and make sure it isn’t predictable (don’t use your birthdate, “0000”, “1234”, “1111”). Nearly 3.4 million passwords are 1234, don’t be one of them. To set a passcode to unlock your phone, go to Settings > Security > Screen Lock

2. Encryption and two-factor authentication
Android devices can encrypt all data. Thieves are usually interested in wiping out all the information on your phone to resell it. You should be prepared for the worst and encrypt those phones! First, make sure your phone is fully charged. With your phone still plugged in, tap Settings > Security and scroll down to the ‘Encryption’ section. Tap ‘Encrypt phone’ and read through the security warning. Tap again to begin the encryption process. Don’t play with your phone while it’s in this process. Android will inform you when it’s complete, ETA 1 hour.

It’s easier than you think for someone to steal your password. Google offers two-factor authentication to add an extra layer of security to your accounts. It requires you to sign in with something you know (your password) and something you have (a code sent to your phone). To require an extra step of verification to your Google account, visit Google’s two step verification page or go to Google Settings Privacy Checkup in your device Settings and click ‘Get Started.’ Other companies and apps are following Google’s steps and are offering similar 2-step verification for logging in, too. Check and see if your apps and accounts offer something similar.

3. Only install apps from the Play Store and uninstall apps you aren’t using
I mean this people, don’t install apps outside of the Play Store. Most Android malware comes from third party application sources. Google has been working on making the Play Store safer than ever now with Google Play Protect. This automatically scans your Android device for apps that can harm your phone and will notify you of any security risks that are found. Make sure it’s turned on by going to the Play Store Settings > Play Protect. You can see there the most recent apps scanned. Make sure to turn on the ‘Scan device for security threats’ for extra security. Check for apps you aren’t using and uninstall those for extra protection.

4. Update software and apps
Having your operating system and apps updated doesn’t just mean you will have the latest and greatest cool features, but also provides bug fixes. Updates on your phone and apps will fix patches to security vulnerabilities.

Have your apps set to auto-update over Wi-Fi so you don’t have to worry about doing it manually. To do so, go to Google Play’s Settings > General > Auto-update apps menu. Your Android phone should automatically tell you when a new update is ready to install, or you can go to Settings > About Phone > System updates to check manually.

5. Use a secure messaging app
A popular instant messaging service, WhatsApp, now offers end-to-end encryption. These types of messaging services allow you to chat freely with friends without its server being accessed by someone externally. The messages can only be visible between the two who have physical access to it.

6. How to locate and wipe your phone remotely [if it is lost or stolen]
Google Find my Device makes it easy for us to locate our if we misplace it. If you misplace your smartphone, log into your Google Account in another device and click ‘Find My Phone.’ It will guide you through steps to find its location, make it play a sound, lock, and even erase all content from the device. To make sure you have Find My Device enabled, go to Settings > Google > Security > Find my device (On)

7. Turn on Chrome’s Safe Browsing feature
Apps aren’t the only thing that can harm your phone. Unsecure web pages can steal your personal data by downloading a harmful app without you knowing. Luckily, Chrome for Android boasts a ‘Safe Browsing’ mode that will warn you if sites have nefarious activity. To make sure it’s activated, go to Chrome and click the three-dot menu button on the right corner. Tap Settings > Privacy, and make sure ‘Safe Browsing’ is checked.

8. Get apps & media locked
If you want to be a bit more EXTRA and extra protect your photos and apps, you can also download an app called ‘Safe Gallery Free’. This app will allow to protect your galleries with either a numerical or pattern-based password.

9. Back up your files
It is also very important to be backing up all your media in case something happens to your device. You can easily backup your photos and videos with your Google Account using Google Photos and Google Drive for important files, images and videos. It’s recommended that any sensitive file in your phone should be stored out of your phone and many devices now support external USB drives, that allow you to transfer files to your computer or a hard drive. The less sensitive files on your phone the better.

10. Social media and what to share
We’ll leave you with probably the most important form of security. We have become addicts in sharing our stuff on social media and sometimes it can get a bit out of hand. Don’t be guilty of TMI (too much information). The information you choose to share may be thought to be shared only to your close friends but unfortunately once your information is out it’s now on the internet and you have no control over who may see it. Skip writing personal information such as address, phone number. Also, disable location settings on social apps it’s the better and a safer option. Share your vacay pictures after you’re home, keep your passwords to yourself, and before posting a picture make sure the image isn’t giving out personal information (Kim Kardashian was robbed after displaying her expensive jewelry on social media). Also check the privacy settings on each of your social media platforms to see what information is being used and shared with third parties. Disable the permissions that allow your information to be shared externally and make sure to read the Terms of Use and Privacy Policies so you fully understand what is being done with your information!

Be smart. Be Safe.

Sources:

https://www.techradar.com/how-to/how-to-encrypt-your-android-device

http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-ten-best-ways-to-secure-your-android-phone/

https://www.techadvisor.co.uk/how-to/google-android/secure-android-3637549/

https://www.androidcentral.com/weakest-link-your-phones-security-you

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3187451/android/6-easy-ways-to-keep-your-android-phone-secure.html

By Maria Ruiz and Ashley Thielen

Nowadays you can basically communicate with emojis and perfectly understand what one another is saying. Emojis are all over our social platforms, spread through stores, and they even have their own MOVIE. Have you ever seen an emoji cupcake? What about a pillow, balloon, or t-shirt? You name it, they are all over the place. But where do they come from and who keeps making them? We’re here to tell you…

Before we flash back to the past, let us explain what exactly an Emoji is. An emoji is an icon that includes facial expressions, places, things, animals, and basically any common object. Emojis originated from Japanese “e” meaning picture and “moji” meaning character in Japanese. [2]

The Father of Emojis

Shigetaka Kurita a.k.a. “Mr. Emoji”, according to the Verge, is the father of the emoji as we know it. Kurita was an employee at a Japanese company called NTT DoCoMo, the predominant mobile operator in Japan. He was part of the intrepid i-mode team that sought to revolutionize Japan’s means of communication [1]. Kurita was frustrated with digital communication and how using just text was emotionless and could be misinterpreted or miscommunicated.

A very insightful Kurita quote from Storify explains his rationale for how he came up with emojis in the first place:

“Everything was shown by text. Even the weather forecast was displayed as ‘fine’. When I saw it, I found it difficult to understand. Japanese TV weather forecasts have always included pictures or symbols to describe the weather—for example, a picture of sun meant ‘sunny’. I’d rather see a picture of the sun, instead of a text saying ‘fine’.”

Him and his team attempted to convince big tech companies like Fujitsu, Panasonic, and Sharp to design the emojis themselves but failed to catch their interests. With a major in economics and no experience in design, he and his team went old-school and got to work by putting down their emoji-design ideas on paper, coming up with a collection of 176 characters.

After finishing their first round of designs he took them back to the big companies and in seconds they took Kurita’s emoji designs and incorporated them into their devices. Soon NTT DoCoMo competitors started to incorporate their own emoji designs to their devices making them more detailed and even added animation to them.

Emojis Become Global

By 2007. emojis spread to North America and adapted quickly! Since then, emojis have had different designs depending on the product used. That was when The Unicode Standard came along. Their duty was to ensure consistent handling and encoding of text expressed in a majority of the globe’s writing systems. In other words, Unicode Standard made the emojis compatible, if you send a happy face from your android device to someone with and IOS device, they will get the same emoji, just translated into the OS (Operating System) of their phone.

The Evolution of Emojis 

Emojis have been revolutionized these past few years. In 2014 emojis included images depicting African-American faces in their character sets. In 2015, users could hold down on specific emojis and choose the specific skin tone they wanted, making it a more diverse, global base feel of communicating. By the end of 2015, 185 more emojis were added, like the middle finger, the burrito, taco, unicorn, zipper mouth face, and many more. By 2016, the emojis got more gender diverse, when 100 new and redesigned emoji characters that focus on gender diversity were released. You can now see more female characters than ever and same sex couples. Additionally, by the end of the year, all members of Unicode voted against the rifle emoji and replaced the pistol emoji with a green water gun.

What will Emojis do next? 

Even the father of emojis couldn’t believe they would take off as they did in such a global perspective. As Kurita says, “I used to think that was true, just in Japan. But it’s the same everywhere.” Only Unicode knows what’s next for emojis… what new emoji do you want next?

If you want to request a new Emoji to Unicode you can through their website: http://unicode.org/emoji/selection.html

Sources:

[1] https://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2016/10/the-surprising-history-of-emojis/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emoji

[3] http://www.iemoji.com/about/where-did-emoji-come-from

[4] https://mashable.com/2016/08/23/emoji-inclusion-aboriginal-flag-and-other-proposals/#fRCbT5oXLqqC

[5] http://unicode.org/emoji/selection.html

 

Read more buzz at Buzzpad

By: Ashley Thielen and Maria Ruiz

Yesterday was the first day of Spring (GOODBYE WINTER!) and what better way to celebrate than with a little Spring cleaning! And we’re not just talking about your closet – your tech gadgets could use a little purging and cleaning up, too!
Here are some tips for cleaning up your smartphone.

  1. Find what’s eating up your memory

First things first – let’s find out what’s eating up the memory on your phone! This can be found in your device settings. For Android N, go to Settings > Storage. Here you can see how much storage you have used and have much you have left. You can also see what apps are taking up the most storage by clicking Apps.

  1. Clear the cache

Most Android apps store data so that future requests for that data can be completed faster. This is cached data. These files are stored in app caches for convenience and aren’t really necessary. They are essentially just junk files that take up space (all of which can add up to over a gigabyte!). You can see how much space the cached data is taking up by going to Settings > Storage on your Android device. If you need to clear up space on your phone, clearing your cache is a safe and easy way to do so. To clear an apps cache, go to your Settings > Storage > Apps, then select the app and tap Clear Cache. To clear the cache for ALL apps, tap Settings > Storage > Cached data, then tap OK in the confirmation window.

  1. Delete apps you don’t use

Let’s be honest, you probably have some apps on your phone that you never (or rarely) use. Time to DELETE! To figure out which apps are taking up the most space, open Settings and go to Storage > Apps. Your apps will be listed by size – the biggest apps will be at the top. Now it’s time to decide which apps you can and cannot live without (you have ESPN, ESPN Tournament Challenge and NCAA March Madness Live, do you NEED all 3?).

To delete an app that you installed, open Settings and go to Apps > select the app you would like to delete > tap Uninstall. What about those pre-installed apps that you can’t delete? IT’S NOT FAIR, I KNOW. But you can “disable” them and save yourself some of that storage in Android 4.0 and higher. To do so, select the app you would like to delete in under your settings and tap Disable. You can always go back and enable the app later.

  1. Organize your apps.

Now that you only have apps left that you actually use, rearrange and group them together to make your home screen less cluttered! On Android, you can move an app on your home screen (and between home screens) by tapping and holding the app and moving it left or right to put it on a different page. You can group your apps into folders by dragging the apps on top of one another. You can rename the folder by simply tapping it. Grouping your apps into folders make your phone seem so much more organized! Try grouping them into social media, work, photos, music, etc.

  1. Use an SD card and cloud storage

Another easy way to save storage on your phone is by storing files on an SD card or cloud storage, like the Google Drive (which gives you 15GB of free storage!)

Photos and videos can take up a significant amount of your phone’s storage, and you can save space by putting them on an SD card or Google Photos. Google Photos is awesome because it allows you to back up your entire photo library to your online Google account for free! You can choose to back up your photos at “high quality” resolution (up to 16 megapixels) or at the original size. Google Photos only offers unlimited storage for “high quality” photos, and any photos backed up at the original size will count against your Google Drive storage limit (15GB) – but, you can pay to upgrade your storage at any time! Once your photos are backed up, you can delete them from your phone to free up space. To do so, open the Google Photos app and go to Settings and turn the Back up & sync switch on. Once you’ve backed up your photos, go to Settings > Free up device storage. The app will tell you how much space will be freed up by deleting your backed-up photos!

Pro Tip: Before backing up your photos, go through and delete any pictures you don’t want. Do you need 30 different versions of the same selfie or can you pick one good one?

You can do this with your music, too! Instead of downloading music, you can free up space by streaming songs with an app like Google Play Music or Spotify. Most streaming apps give you the option to select certain songs to download to your device to listen to offline (when Wi-Fi and data is not available) in addition to allowing you to stream, for a small monthly cost. You can also free up space by keeping your music and podcasts on an SD card.

  1. Clean up/delete your downloads

Just like your computer, your Android device has a downloads folder where miscellaneous junk files downloaded from the internet are stored. To access your downloads, go to your apps and tap Downloads. If you tap the 3 dots in the corner, you can choose to sort your downloads by size to see what’s taking up the most storage space. If there are any files you don’t need, tap and hold the file to select it, then tap the trash button. This is an easy way to free up storage by purging random junk on your phone!

  1. Clean up your contacts

Still have the phone number of the Papa Johns from your college town saved in your contacts? Or what about that cute guy you met at the bar whose name is saved as “Hot Guy from Bar” that you never contacted again? Or, even better, Susie Que from 10th grade math class that used to help you with homework? Time to DELETE those numbers. If it’s likely you will never contact the person again, remove their number.

  1. Get rid of old messages

Like your contacts, it’s time to delete old conversations that you don’t need. Having too many threads can slow down your phone, so if there isn’t any extremely important information that you need in the conversation, delete it! Pictures and videos sent in conversations take up a lot of storage, as well, so save what you need and delete the rest! Rule of thumb: If the conversation is older than 30 days, DELETE!

You can also set message limits for your conversations to automatically deletes old message and prevent your texts from getting out of control. To do this on Android, go to your message settings through the Messaging app and turn on the Delete old messages feature. You can then set text and multimedia message limits for your conversations, which will serve as your “spring cleaning” assistant all the time!

  1. Unsubscribe from promo emails and clean up your inbox

Does your phone say you have 9,478 unread emails? Same. As part of your tech spring cleaning, you should go through your inbox and delete old emails and junk. Pro Tip: Create a separate email address for promotional emails and loyalty programs so your primary inbox isn’t flooded with random stuff you don’t care about!

  1. Change location permissions

Privacy aside, allowing to many apps to access your location can slow down your phone. On Android you can view app permissions by going to your device settings and tapping Apps. Select an app and tap Permissions to view if the app has access to your location. You can disable the location permission by selecting the switch next to Location in the menu. (Note: Depending on the app, app functionality can be impacted by disabling location access, so turn them off at your own discretion).

  1. Update your apps and OS

Updating your phone and apps can be annoying, especially when it seems like new updates come out every other day. It’s easy to ignore the updates, but a lot of the time these updates are important – I mean who wants to miss a cool update or security patch?! JUST DO IT. Even more importantly is making sure your operating system is up to date. While you’re doing your spring cleaning, just get this one out of the way – the improved performance will be worth it.

  1. Install a cleaning app

Installing a cleaning app can help continuously optimize your phone with minimal effort from your side. One of the most popular cleaning apps for Android phones with 500+ million downloads is Clean Master. Free to download from the PlayStore, some of Clean Masters top features include junk cleaner, battery saver, and free antivirus.

  1. Clean your touch screen display

Clean oil, dust and grime off your phone screen with a microfiber cloth. If you don’t have one, you can stick a strip of scotch tape to the surface of your screen and peel it off to remove dirt and dust. However, avoid using paper-based wipes! These can create small scratches that can build up over time and affect the responsiveness of your touch screen!

  1. Disinfect!

Your phone is dirtier than you realize – despite all the germs on your hands, think of everything your phone touches throughout the day. You don’t have to be a germaphobe to realize that there’s probably some serious bacteria on your phone… the same phone you hold up to your face. It might be tempting to wipe a Clorox wipe across it, but DON’T! Cleaners with alcohol and ammonia can damage the protective coating on your screen, so avoid products with those ingredients and keep an eye out for products that say they are safe for electronics/screens! Don’t forget to clean your case, too!

  1. Cable drawer

Let’s be honest here – we all have that cable drawer somewhere around the house that is everything but organized. It’s time to untangle those chords and find out which ones you truly need and really don’t. First, separate the chords from the type of USB they are and for what devices you need them for. You can find the image below and see the top 5 most common cables we use today. If you happen to have 16 2xMicro USB cables and only have one device, I think it’s time to unplug.

Figure out which cables you actually use and if you have a couple of the same one, stick with two of your favorite ones (one for your home and one for on the go) and get rid of the rest. Recycle! Best Buy has cable recycling bins right in the entrance, so if you happen to be near one, stop by and say goodbye to the tangles. If you know of a friend or family member that might need it, it never hurts to get those cables a new home, too.

Clean away my dear friends and say hello to SPRING!

 

Check out our latest buzz at Buzzpad, where writing gets techy.

 

Note: the device we used to write this post runs Android N

By: Maria Ruiz and Ashley Thielen

 

Spring Break is coming our way and if you still don’t have any plans, here are some great travel apps that can get you on your feet and off to new adventures! These are a few of our favorite apps that you can get from the Play Store.

 

  1. Last Minute Flights

This app is made for those last-minute trips to anywhere of your choosing. You can enter our desired location and it will show you the next upcoming flights at your local airport for a fair price – start booking kids.

  1. Airbnb

Airbnb is revolutionizing the way we travel and where we lay our head. Everyone is ditching the hotels and saying hello to staying in the city like a local. You have many options to choose from depending on what you are looking for. You can pick a hip apartment right in the heart of the city or a nice quite suburb house in the outskirts. As a spring breaker it’s always fun to travel with friends and it has never been so easy, you can now book a crib with friends and split it evenly through the app. Talk about taking a break.

  1. Turo

Now that we are living like a local in our cool new Airbnb flat, it’s time to move around like a local. This cool new app is making car rentals look old fashion. Turo is an app that operates a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. It allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles for people looking for a quick ride around the city.

  1. Trip by Skyscanner

Now that you arrived in the city, have a place to stay, and a car to ride, now what? Trip is a new online travel agency. It’s best for in-the-moment planning. This app takes your interests, location, and weather into account to suggest restaurants, activities, events and more. Give back and share your experiences by creating postcards & reviews of your adventures with fun custom photo filters

  1. Volo

Your very own travel journal right on your phone. Keep your experiences and moments alive with words and photos, mark destinations that you want to remember. You can also co-write a story with whoever you’re traveling with to create a truly unique story. You can keep your stories private or share your stories right in the app to inspire others and connect your love for travel.

 

Check out more tech buzz right here, Buzzpad.

 

By: Ashley Thielen and Maria Ruiz

Who runs the world? It’s International Women’s Day today and we would love to give a shout out to these amazing and powerful GIRL BOSSES that are making a HUGE statement in the tech world.

The technology industry is innovative and progressive when it comes to its products and services, however, when it comes to women, it is not.

Women continue to be extremely underrepresented in the global technology workforce. Women make up 40% of the world’s workforce, according to the World Bank, and in the tech industry, men outnumber women at all levels [1]. Only 21% of executives in the tech industry are female, according to a PayScale report [2]. Those in the industry face gender discrimination, the glass ceiling, shortage of female mentors, and a gender-based pay gap.

 [4]

On #InternationalWomensDay we celebrate the women who have overcome the challenges of gender discrimination in all industries and advocate for gender parity in the global workplace.

We would also like to give a shout out to a few of the powerful females in the tech industry.

Susan Wojcicki – CEO, YouTube

Susan is the current CEO of YouTube. In 1999, she joined Google as their first marketing manager and worked her way up to SVP of Advertising and Commerce where she handled two of Google’s largest acquisitions – the $1.65 billion purchase of YouTube in 2006 and the $3.1 billion purchase of DoubleClick the following year [5]. In February 2014, she was appointed CEO of YouTube and was names one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2015. We applaud Susan for her commitment to diversity and equality in the workplace. During her time as CEO of YouTube, the percentage of female employees increased from 24% to 30%. She also frequently advocates for the importance of balancing family and career life. [6]

Whitney Wolfe – Founder and CEO, Bumble

Whitney Wolfe co-founded Tinder but left in 2014 after facing gender discrimination from other executives (including another founder who was also her ex-boyfriend) and filed a lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment. Bumble stemmed from the idea of putting women in control with the hopes of eliminating the creepy pickup lines, sexual harassment, and unsolicited genitalia pictures by having women make the first move. She has also expanded the “swipe right” model beyond dating, to include making new friends and career networking. So enough with the swiping and more of the empowering! [7]

Sheryl Sandberg – COO, Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg graduated from Harvard and worked as the chief of staff for the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury under President Clinton. Prior to becoming the COO of Facebook in 2008, Sheryl was the VP of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google. She became the first woman to serve on Facebook’s board of directors in 2012 and made Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list that same year. The following year, she released her first book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, which discusses feminism, sexism in the workplace, and the barriers to gender equality in the workforce and offers advice to help women achieve their goals. It is an international bestseller has sold more than one million copies.

Xin Hamilton – Global Marketing, Coolpad

Let’s finish this blog with our very own #GIRLBOSS at Coolpad. Xin Hamilton is nothing but a total B.A. not only by being the Head of Global Marketing at Coolpad, but also a full-time mom of two. She started her career journey by moving to San Diego from China to pursue her career in Marketing. She began working at Coolpad as a Marketing Manager 6 years ago and worked her way up with hard work, persistence and a passion for the smartphone industry. She now oversees all Global Marketing for our company and not only that, but she is leader of our ALL-GIRLS marketing team in the U.S. – talk about Girl Power! Keep on leading the way, Girl Boss, we stand right beside you!

______

Much work remains to create a workforce free of gender inequality and we encourage all women to recognize their worth, stand up against discrimination, and #PressForProgress.

Sources:

[1] https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SL.TLF.TOTL.FE.ZS

[2] https://www.payscale.com/data-packages/gender-pay-gap/women-in-tech

[3] http://www.isaca.org/info/2017-women-in-technology-survey/index.html

[4] http://www.isaca.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/2017-Women-in-Technology-Graphic.pdf

[5] https://www.thebalance.com/powerful-women-in-tech-2071172

[6] https://www.forbes.com/power-women/#67ea108d5e25

[7] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/18/fashion/bumble-feminist-dating-app-whitney-wolfe.html

 

Check out Buzzpad for more cool blogs like this one!

By: Maria Ruiz

 It’s almost been a year since I was introduced to 22 young adults who were nominated as Youth of the Year by the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs. They were eagerly sitting in a conference room in ABC7 studios in Hollywood getting ready their workshop with Coolpad. It wasn’t long ago that I was in their shoes, counting the days until my high school graduation and when I would be in the “real world.” As we were waiting for the workshop to commence I would casually ease drop on their small talk about what schools they were going next and what they were majoring in.

I was having those same conversations with classmates seven years ago and felt them so fresh in my mind, as though they took my sleep away the night before with all the nerves. But I must say, these kids weren’t lost, OH NO, these kids had GUTS. When they introduced themselves to Coolpad they would say their names in bright bold letters and in that moment was when I realized I’ve never met such a young bunch so BOLD. I was ready, ready to embark on this ten-day trip with them to the other side of the world, China.

 

So how did these kids mark their future?

 

First of all, they hustled. They hustled to the extent that they stood out among the group of all the Boys and Girls Club in Los Angeles and were nominated Youth of the Year. Let’s be clear here – this trip wasn’t handed to them, they worked for it in ways that are nothing but inspiring. They earned a round trip to China, how crazy is that? What’s even crazier was watching how much they grew day by day during this awesome experience.

 

They became true travelers. They traveled half way across the world. Some have never even been on a plane before and not only did they get on a plane for their first time, but they traveled all the way to China! They arrived in China, where the culture was vastly different from that in the United States, and took it all in with a smile on their face and a cheerful “Ni Hao” everywhere they went. I could see them swallow their fear and embrace their experience. They conquered the art of travel as they hopped on and off airplanes and hotels through Xiamen, Shenzhen, and Shanghai, tried authentic Chinese food, and embraced the Chinese culture.

 

They met with global innovative companies. As we went city to city, we met up with the most amazing and innovative companies that are impacting us from a global perspective. The most common message these companies would give is that they are the future, and after working with Coolpad on this project, I couldn’t agree more. BYD Motors and COMAC were a great example. BYD is innovating at a fast rate, creating automobiles, buses, trucks that are all hybrid electric or all-electric vehicles. They want to change the world and the way we live in it, cutting down gas emissions and bettering the environment. COMAC is a commercial Aircraft Corporation of China. When we met with the CEO, he told us how their young ideas can change the way aircrafts are made, making them faster, manufacture them with new materials, or even have them be see-through so passengers can enjoy the ride with amazing views. They showed them that their ideas can become big innovative companies like these and how they can leave their fingerprint and change the world.

 

They met local students. During our trip we met with local college students from Xiamen University. As the students sat together I thought it would be a quiet and shy classroom, but it turned to loads of ongoing conversations between one another. They learned from each other and realized that they have a lot of similarities – career goals, hobbies, and even taste in music! It was inspiring to hear that one of the nominees was taught to write “Anything is possible” in Chinese calligraphy by local student. Who would have thought this amazing trip would have allowed for new friends from different backgrounds connect in such a meaningful way?

 

They met Coolpad! Well helloooo, they met US and it was AWESOME! They met Coolpad in Shenzhen at our Headquarters. We put them into teams to challenge themselves and learn more about the smartphone industry. They also learned how to market a product to customers using creativity, teamwork, and new ideas. Additionally, they learned the importance of creating, which requires patience, hard work, and stepping out of your comfort zone. Coolpad strives for exploring new ideas, build great teams, and doing things never done before. It was an honor to open the doors to the Boys and Girls Club and explore this amazing industry together!

 

Lastly and most importantly, they took their experience back to LA. They returned CONFIDENT AND WORLDLY. I personally grew and learned so much from the young adults on this trip and even after a year, I still take the things I learned and the memories I made with them with me everywhere I go. Boys and Girls, if you are reading this, I leave you with this: The world is yours. Take it with confidence and with guts just like you took this trek to China. Keep on traveling and taking on the world with your smiles and positivity. Keep on inspiring and most importantly, keep on showing the world why you are here. With love, Maria.

Coolpad is passionate about giving back to the communities it serves. We are proud to have received the Community Excellence Award from the China General Chamber of Commerce for our partnership with the Los Angeles County Alliance for Boys & Girls Clubs and commitment to help cultivate a global culture mentality in the community. We look forward to continuing to work with the Boys and Girls Club LA Alliance and other organizations in our communities across the country.

Check out our weekly blogs here!

By: Ashley Thielen and Maria Ruiz

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about 5G – the next network revolution. But what exactly is 5G? What does it mean for the average consumer? We’re here to give you a high-level crash course in 5G and its implications, without the technical jargon (yes, Buzzpad is where writing gets techy, but not THAT techy).

You’re welcome

5G is the successor of 4G LTE. The G stands for “Generation.” (You thought it’d be higher tech, huh? Us too.) The various generations are defined by their data transmission speeds and have been marked by a break in encoding methods, also known as air interfaces, which make them incompatible with the previous generation [1].

Wireless phone technology started in the early 1990s with 1G, which relied on analog radio signals – these were the giant brick phones from back in the day.

90s kids will understand

The technology expanded to 2G wireless networks and enabled people to send text messages between 2 devices with the transition from analog to digital radio signals. The third generation, 3G, brought in faster data transmission speeds which gave mobile cellphone users the ability to access the internet.

To the internet!

4G enhanced many of the capabilities from the 3rd generation of wireless technology with increased speed. With 4G, people were able to download and upload large video files. Wireless companies then added LTE (Long Term Evolution) to 4G connectivity, making it faster and more consistent. It is currently available to 98 percent of Americans [2].

 

Evolution, am I right?

So, what will 5G bring to the table?

According to the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 10 U.S. adults use the internet via mobile only [1]. The 5th generation of wireless technologies goal is to support the rising number of mobile internet users by providing faster speed, greater responsiveness, capacity for more data and ability to bring connectivity to smart devices. Ultimately, the impact of 5G can be broken down into three categories: 1) greater speed, 2) lower latency and 3) the ability to connect more devices at one.

The internet that gets you 

5G will dramatically increase the speed at which data is transferred, allowing users to move more data. It has the potential to provide speeds up to 10 gigabytes per second – that’s 10 times faster than average 4G LTE speeds [3]! You can download the latest season of your favorite Netflix show or an entire HD movie in just seconds with speeds like this! Such speeds can also be useful when using a VR application on your phone or streaming 4K live TV.

Hasta la vista baby

5G will also allow for reduced latency, or quicker response time during data transfer. For example, the response time between when you click a link on your phone, sent the request to the network and when the network responds and takes you to the link, will be faster. Lag time can last about 20 milliseconds and with 5G, that will be reduced to 1 millisecond [6]. Fast response times can be critical for connected devices like self-driving cars that need to slam on breaks or robotic surgery devices that are performing a procedure.

Say goodbye to reckless drivers

Finally, 5G will provide the ability to connect a lot more devices at once – think connected devices and smart home! We are in an era where AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (internet of things) is transforming life as we know it by connecting everything. Analysts estimate that by 2020 there will be more than 20 billion installed IoT devices around the world [7]. Unlike 4G LTE, 5G technology will provide the capacity to power all these connected devices.

When will we see 5G? The major carriers are looking to deploy mobile 5G in select cities this year, with nationwide coverage within the next 2 years. However, consumers won’t see real benefits until 5G capable devices reach the market, which will likely come with a big price tag!

Or maybe we could just stick with old school…

#NowYouKnow!

Check out how Artificial Intelligence will affect our future here!

Sources:

[1] https://www.pcmag.com/article/345387/what-is-5g

[2] https://www.usmobile.com/blog/5g-will-affect-consumer/

[3] https://gizmodo.com/what-is-5g-and-how-will-it-make-my-life-better-1760847799

[4] http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/29/technology/what-is-5g/index.html

[5] https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/29/what-is-5g.html

[6] https://www.cnet.com/how-to/5g-network-technology-here-are-the-basics/

[7] https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603770/the-5g-economy-how-5g-will-impact-global-industries-the-economy-and-you/

[8] https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/msn/t-mobile-will-deploy-blazing-5g-this-year-but-you-cant-use-it-yet/ar-BBJFwzQ

[9] http://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-5g-wireless-is-coming-20180109-story.html

 

By: Maria Ruiz and Ashley Thielen

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a big deal in the tech industry and will become an even bigger part of our everyday lives in the near future. This technology will soon touch more than one billion lives across the world.

But what exactly is Artificial Intelligence? What does AI mean for society? AI focuses on how machine can imitate human intelligence and can become human-like through modern technology. Here are 10 ways AI will take part and transform our future and humans’ way of living as we know it.

  1. E-Commerce

Amazon is changing the way the world consumes. To give you an idea of how big of a powerhouse Amazon is, 84% of consumers made Amazon purchases in the last year. AI is evolving greatly with E-commerce by allowing consumers to make purchases by simply just asking. One in five consumers have made a voice purchase through Amazon Echo or a similar device and this number is estimated to increase to 33%. According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be conducted by voice by 2020. As Google CEO Sundar Pichai put it, “we will move from mobile first to an AI first world.” Shopaholics beware, it won’t get easier than that.

Read more here and here

  1. Advertising

AI is influencing the art of advertising, as well! Applying AI to your business is now crucial in order to make it successful. With the abundance of information available online, there is not enough technology to turn it into meaningful insights. This is where AI comes in! Machines are getting better at extracting insights from complex datasets. “The key is to leverage analytics to improve business decisions and internal operations while deepening customer relationships.” AI platforms allow retailers to govern price change, fix stock-outs, decide on the timing and cost of promotions and make merchandising decisions that lead to more sales.

Read more here

  1. Healthcare

AI is also taking over healthcare in all aspects and will have a positive impact on the industry. There will soon be AI-based virtual assistants that can quickly detect people’s moods by picking up cues in speech, inflections and facial expressions. AI platforms could eventually interpret lab results, detect depression or potentially even underlining chronic conditions such as heart disease. IBM Watson, an AI platform, is expected to able to diagnose cancer 4 times more accurate than a human nurse. Watson has also helped achieve a 73% psychotherapy completion rate among veterans with PTSD. And, you know the tricorder X device in Star Trek that instantly examines patients? IBM Watson is working on a device like the tricorder X that can examine a person’s health in seconds.

Read more here

  1. Education

AI will also have a great impact on education. Students could eventually be taught by bots instead of human teachers. These machines would also be able to advise, tutor, and grade assignments. Additionally, with the development of AI technology in society, curriculums themselves will fundamentally change, and educators will prepare students for a job market in which millions of roles have been replaced with machines. Teachers and student might even have their own AI teaching/learning assistant to guide them and reinforce their knowledge until they begin their professional careers.

Read more here

  1. Households

The impact of AI on households is already happening and has been increasingly prevalent in the past year. We are filling up our homes with an ecosystem of personal assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home, and the Home Pod from Apple. Smart assistants will be the key to bridging the gap between humans and “smart” homes. (Does anyone else think of the 1999 Disney Movie, Smart House, when we talk about smart homes?). And, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook wants to be part of the game and has spent a year building “Jarvis” an imitation of the super-intelligent AI assistant in Iron Man films!

Read more here

  1. Law

Let me introduce you to your new lawyer, ROSS, an artificial intelligence researcher. ROSS pretty much mimics the human process of reading, identifies patterns in text, and provides contextualized answers with snippets from a given document in question. Within seconds you can get legal advice with 90% accuracy compared to 70% accuracy when the same practice is done by humans. So, if you are thinking of studying law, it’s a good time to search for a new career path, since there will be about 90% less lawyers in the future – only specialists will remain.

Read more here

  1. Transportation

This year the first self-driving cars will appear for the public. By 2020, the entire industry is predicted to be disrupted. Consumers will be able call a car with their phone, which will then drive them to their destination. There will be no driver and no need for parking. If this prediction is true, our kids will never know how to drive or even own a car. We will probably transform parking lots to parks. There will be less car accidents worldwide. Car companies will go bankrupt and don’t even get me started with car insurance companies…

Read more here

  1. Real Estate

The influence on AI on the car industry will create a ripple effect on real estate as well. Since people will be able to work while commuting, consumers will move further away from offices and in neighborhoods of their preference that will likely be less expensive and decrease saturation of bigger cities.

Read more here

  1. 3D Printing

As the technology is becoming more developed, 3D printing machines are getting by the second and 100 times faster to print. Many apparel companies, such as shoes, are starting to use 3D printers to manufacture their products for a more efficient and cost-effective solution for production. Airplane parts are also beginning to be 3D printed and there are now 3D printed buildings in China! By 2027, it is predicted that 10% of everything produced will be 3D printed.

Read more here

  1. Agriculture

The world’s population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 – that is a lot of mouths to feed if you ask me! This means we rethink the way we produce our food – we need to do it the smart way, the AI way, per say. In a new initiative called FarmView, researchers are working to combine sensor, robotics and artificial intelligence to create a fleet of mobile field robots. They hope this technology will improve plant breeding and crop-management practices.

Read more here

The future of AI allows for exciting and innovative changes in society. What do you think of the ways it is expected to impact our lives in the near future?

 

Alexa is also growing out of just smart home devices and into more and more parts of life – from speakers to wearables, navigation systems, and even smartphone devices! Read more here on how Alexa is taking over!