It’s Called A Press Event, Let’s Keep It That Way

The “Lying on the Beach” podcast is now on “Stitcher” and “Spotify.” “Tune In,” “Google,” and “Apple” are coming soon.

Photo by Eliot Hess

More and more journalists are talking about not attending certain press parties and conferences because the focus is no longer on them. The rooms are now filled with way too many “here today, gone tomorrow,” social media influencers. They are the ones getting “first class” accessibility to the new products and scoops. Watch out corporate America and event planners. If you keep treating editorial writers and broadcasters like second class citizens, you will find yourselves without high profile coverage. TV personality Steve Greenberg and PR Agent Lois Whitman-Hess discuss the dilemma.

Click here to listen.

Or ….

Facebook Is Not Alone

Image: CFO Innovation

For the last several weeks, I have had to listen to many of my contemporaries talk about the dangers of Facebook. I find it very interesting that most of the comments came from friends who know very little about Facebook, and why it became so important to so many.

While everyone is focused on Facebook, they seem to be ignoring the fact that they too are vulnerable because of their participation on digital media with giants such as Amazon and Google. Both companies are collecting far more information on all of us than Facebook has ever been capable of obtaining.

Think about it.

Amazon and Google know your personal email, home address, credit card information, purchases, websites you have visited, trips you have made, local tracking information, addresses of your friends, your reviews, on and on.

The so-called Facebook backlash is just the beginning of more truths about the digital world. Get ready for it. You are very involved and you better be prepared for all kinds of exposure.

Read about the realities of the digital world in Mashable.

Click here. Facebook isn’t the only one with too much of your data. Just ask Google and Amazon.

A Sneak Peek At The Next Type Of Robot 

The world of robots just keep getting more diversified. If you are concerned that robots will totally replace people, now you can start worrying about pets. 

Marc Raibert, CEO Boston Dynamics, a Google company, just showed a group in Europe, SpotMini, a four-legged robot that resembles a small dog.  It can perform tasks like opening heavy doors and climbing stairs to deliver packages to the front door of a home.

Boston Dynamics was acquired by Google in  2013 for $500 million. 

MIT Technology Review, recently quoted Rainer, saying, “Many people are talking about drone delivery. So why not just plain legged robots?” 

Weighing 55-pounds, the dog can trot, move sideways, and perform delivery functions at various speeds. SpotMini is presently controlled remotely. The future calls for total automation.

SpotMini may soon be delivering your groceries, dry cleaning, and flowers. Instead of  tips in cash, you may need to start providing treats.

You’ll Be Hearing More About Alphabet 

Robert Cardin Photography

Google’s co-founders, Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin.

I just finished reading the most interesting  story about the founders of Google. They are about announce a shakeup in their company that will not impact us but will allow them to please investors. They are separating the profitable divisions from the experimental ones. The new company is called Alphabet.

You can read all about Larry Page and  Sergey Brin in the CNET story I was referring to.  However, the part that caught my attention the most was when both Page and Brin said they 

“credit their outrageous success to education, but not in the way you might think. They insist the key was Montessori schooling, which relies on a method that emphasizes collaborative learning without tests and grades. Other notable Montessori alumni are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, the NBA’s reigning MVP.”

That really surprised me. It’s not that I haven’t heard of the Montessori method before, but that they pointed to that experience as the foundation for their creative thinking. 

It makes me wonder about how their minds work. We can all use a little of that.


No More Email Regrets


By now, you probably have heard the news. It was all over the press last night. I didn’t want to take a chance that you might have missed it, so here we go again.

If you have an Gmail account, you can now undo “send” after you clicked the email option. The new Google feature gives you the five to 30 second delay option. This is great news for folks like me who like to use an email to vent and then delete. Every once in a while, I might actually send it and then have huge regrets. I need the few seconds to change my mind. Do you too? 

The undo feature is not yet available on mobile devices, so many of us are slightly disappointed. Most of my friends spend the majority of their time on their smartphones.
I am pretty sure Google will be forced to release this feature on mobile devices as soon as possible considering they have 900 million users worldwide, which I’d the largest email service available. 

I predict the other email services will be announcing a similar feature soon. 

Social Media Networks For Nepal

   Our visit to Nepal a few years ago. Photos by Eliot Hess.  

There are many people who question the impact of social media on today’s society. Some people feel it’s done more harm than good.

I’m not one of those people. I’ve seen how social media has helped the lonely become a part of a community, helped others build new relationships, re-established old ones, and come to the aid of millions in time of need. 

Google and Facebook have taken major roles in helping people across the world connect after the tragedy from the Nepal earthquake. Both are offering services that connect family and friends in the United States with the people of Nepal.

Facebook has introduced the Safety Check, a feature that allows Americans to find out  If their loved ones are okay.  All the survivors have to do is report in. Google resurfaced its Person Finder to help locate missing family and friends. Their Internet tools work faster than traditional methods (waiting for embassies to report who survived).  

It’s comforting to know that the big social networking companies have taken an active role in using their core competencies to benefit others. It’s always so rewarding to watch successful companies giveback and show us how their skill sets make all the difference in the world.  



Happy Anniversary YouTube

Ten years ago this week, the first video was uploaded to YouTube. Company co-founder Jawed Karim, posted his trip to the zoo. Owned by Google, YouTube has 1 billion users uploading 300 hours of video a minute

Photos from the reading of David Steven Simon’s new play, Grave Doubts, at Ripley-Grier Studios.


Smartphone Camera Is A Language Translator

Does everyone know about this but me? You can place your smartphone camera over any foreign language sentence (book, sign, movie marquee) and you can get an automatic translation. All you need to do is download the Word Lens app.

If you knew about this, why didn’t you tell me? I found out about it from my cousin Hanna. I simply asked her to tell me about a few of her favorite apps. When she mentioned Word Lens, I didn’t believe her. Then she demonstrated and left Eliot and me speechless.

We travel a lot and this app can come in very handy. We can’t wait to try it on every foreign sentence we can’t decipher. You have to watch the video above to see a quick demo. Don’t miss it. You’ll want to translate everything.

When I Googled Word Lens, I was surprised to learn the app has been around for years. Google now owns it. The actual explanation is that it uses the built-in cameras on smartphones and similar devices to quickly scan and identify foreign text. It then translates and display the words in another language on the device’s display. The words are displayed in the original context on the original background, and the translation is performed in real-time without connection to the internet.”

This is so awesome. I never have to worry about trying to translate a menu or foreign language document again.


That’s Hanna

Google’s Back Story

As the years pass-by, my fascination with Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, grows deeper and deeper. Their search algorithm has changed the world. I must Google things 10 or more times a day.

I even stopped entering names and phone numbers of restaurants, retail stores, doctors, and movie houses into my contact list. I just look them up on Google. I find it easier than maintaining an address book. I am also able to spot pertinent information from time to time that I would not normally see.

In an unusual interview with Page and Brin, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, questions them about “What might have been” if they didn’t make certain decisions. What makes this fireside chat so interesting is that Khosla’s company, wanted to buy Google for less then $2 million not long after the company was born.

It is very interesting to examine the chain of events that led up to the Google as we know it today. The interview gives us great insight into how the tech business functions and why certain companies come out on top.

I watched this video several times because I wanted to savor every moment of it. Good life lessons are shared and it makes us wonder what the future has in store for all of us.

Smarty Pins

Photo by Mashable Composite Google.

Google has just introduced a new game that is perfect for our age group. Called Smarty Pins, the game is all about your knowledge of geography. Most of our contemporaries are pretty well versed, even if they haven’t travelled a lot.

I’m not playing this game, because on a speedy quiz like this, I go blank. Even though I have done extensive traveling over the last 12 years, I am sometimes hard pressed to pinpoint exactly where a certain city is located.

That is why we love the gift that my friends Ruth and Howard gave us a few years ago, a framed map of the world. The NY Times/National Geographic map which allows us to mark cities and countries visited with color coded pins. I can stare at the map for hours.

Smarty Pins uses Google Maps for its layout, locations, and zooming in and out features.

So many of you are beating me silly with Words With Friends, that I dare not take on any more challenges. I do, however, expect you to let us know how you like Smarty Pins.

Learn more about Smarty Pins here.